Hurricane/Superstorm Sandy made landfall in Atlantic City, New Jersey on October 29, 2012 at 8:00 pm according to the National Hurricane Center.  While it was only a Category 1 hurricane, the storm surge was substantial due to the extreme low pressure and caused significant devastation in the New York City and New Jersey area.  Actually, Sandy was the result of two storms merging in what would be a catastrophic manner, a N'or Easterner and the hurricane, forming a hybrid "Superstorm."  The storm itself was over 1000 miles wide with a 1500 mile wind field. It left millions without power, flooded subway tunnels, and inundated areas of New York City and Long Island, causing billions of dollars worth of damage.  The surge actually changed the coastline of New Jersey, wiping out shoreline communities and leaving 80% of Atlantic City under water. The extended hiatus the USA East Coast  enjoyed from hurricane fury ended in 2011 with Hurricane Irene, perhaps lulling that area to a false sense of security which has been shattered by these two vicious storms.  Having lived in Houston, Texas and been through a couple hurricanes myself, the last of which was Hurricane Ike in 2008, I offer those affected my deepest sympathy and best wishes for a quick recovery. [Updated with additional information 6 November 2012]

The "birth chart" for Sandy was cast for the time and place when she officially became a hurricane according to the National Weather Service.  She has a Sagittarius ascendant, Pluto in the first house of "personality," Uranus squaring Pluto in angular houses and cardinal signs, an opposition between Mars and Jupiter, Neptune conjunct the Moon in Water sign, Pisces, the Sun conjunct Saturn in Water sign Scorpio, and multiple trines between those conjunctions.

Taking those aspects one at a time, the Sagittarius ascendant hints at travel to foreign places, which somehow fits her ultimate destination in the North Atlantic states which until Irene in 2011 hadn't seen a tropical cyclone in many years.  The chart ruler, Jupiter, is retrograde and in debility in Air sign, Gemini, where his expansive effect relates to the wind, the opposition with Mars in the 12th house suggestive of attack by a hidden enemy.  Given that Sandy was actually two storms, Jupiter in Gemini, "the twins," has subtle meaning as well as its usual expansive influence making this the biggest storm ever.

The multiple trines between planets in Water signs definitely provides a lot of strength for the storm, the trine between the Sun and Moon even suggesting the high tides and massive storm surge to come, especially the conjunction between the Moon and Neptune.  The Sun and Saturn in Scorpio definitely don't bode well with focus on transformational hard lessons.  The trine between Saturn and Neptune further suggests dissolving the usual boundaries, which also related to the storm surge impinging on habited areas and causing a broad extent of significant damage.

One astrological indicator for bad weather is typically the ingress chart for a given area, which helps explain why some areas are spared while others devastated, seeming to predispose that location to increased vulnerability.  The transit chart for the event picks up from there and denotes timing issues.  The ingress chart for Atlantic City shows a rather ominous prognosis considering it's the angular houses (1, 4, 7, 10) which are most closely considered.  Mars is in his ancient dignity in Scorpio only two and a half degrees from the ascendant, indicating potential for a personal attack, and Neptune is only a few degrees from the IC, indicating a new cycle and also residing in the house that includes land values, hinting at inundation, not only with Neptune as king of the Deep but both planets in Water signs.  The Sun and Mercury are in wide but viable conjunction and opposing Uranus, planet of all sorts of nasty surprises in a cardinal sign, Aries, and thus disposited by Mars, and in partile square with Pluto in the 2nd house of finances and resources in general.  Would you like the god of the Underworld in your house of assets and money?  I don't think so! Uranus in the 5th also has implications for surprises and unexpected events related to recreation and speculation activities, two major activities in Atlantic City, with the partile square to Pluto pointing toward destruction of a financial nature.

The quincunx from the Sun, ruler of the Midheaven and public image, to Neptune, also partile, indicates a significant change of direction in the city's goals and group interactions which relates to Neptune, clearly an indicator of the debilitating affects of incoming water.

Saturn in the 12th house of hidden enemies rules the 3rd of communications and roads while the 4th house which comprises land values and usage, has Aquarius on the cusp, ruled anciently by Saturn and in modern western astrology by Uranus with Neptune just waiting to bring a rather unpleasant surprise, especially given the quincunx to the Sun, ruler of the 10th house of status as well as the heads of state and government. In other words, structural damage from water is implied. The trine between Saturn and Neptune doesn't bode well, either, with these two working together in a harmonious manner which will not bring favorable results for the unfortunate residents of the New York Metropolitan area, including the neighbor, New Jersey, on the other side of the Hudson River. SO you can see that already things were not looking very good.  While this chart is set for New Jersey, which is where Sandy made landfall, the proximity to New York is such that they would have a similar ingress chart.  In other words, for those of you who like details (hello, Virgos!) the ascendant for New York City is 17:19 Scorpio, only 15 minutes difference, so is virtually the same.  Thus, the ingress chart already set the stage for trouble, including the square between Mars, the chart ruler, and Venus, ruler of the 12th house of hidden enemies and self-undoing.  Ordinarily a sextile between Jupiter and Venus, both benefic planets, would not be seen as detrimental, except in this case rulerships told the tale with Venus ruling an unfortunate house and Jupiter ruling the 2nd house of financial interests.  The sextile between Saturn and the Moon is ultimately unfavorable as well, hinting at the future influence of the storm striking during high tide and a Full Moon, further exacerbating the storm surge.

Combining the Sandy landfall transit chart with the chart for New Jersey (I'll get to Atlantic City below) indicates trouble afoot, even when looking at only the aspects within one degree of orb. Uranus, planet of disturbances and the unexpected in the 12th house of hidden enemies is not a good sign and neither is Mars in the 8th house of death and transformations. Pluto is within two degrees of the Midheaven with Neptune about a degree and a half from the 12th house cusp.  Pluto on the Midheaven points toward destruction of a public nature and pulls in the potential for death and transformation as modern ruler of the 8th house of death. Neptune on the cusp of the 12th is easily seen as the hidden threat of water, particularly as ruler of this house as well. Jupiter is transiting the 2nd house of financial matters with the trine to natal Pluto indicating massive changes which will affect the city's communications and roads on the 3rd house cusp, rulership of the 9th bringing in the potential to affect airports as well; ancient rulership of the 12th fits as well.  Transiting Neptune is quincunx natal Uranus in the 4th house, an uncomfortable aspect that typically requires an adjustment or change of course.  This is certainly the case and further points toward the unexpected inundation of land to the point of redefining the coastline. Transiting Jupiter is trine natal Pluto, again showing Jupiter is not always benefic when it expands or exaggerates bad effects.  The Moon is trining the Midheaven and rules the 4th house of endings, implying the end of an era or major status change.  Transiting Pluto is in partile square with the natal Moon in the 12th, both in action-oriented Cardinal signs, the Moon ruling the 4th house of property and endings. Transiting Mars in the 8th of death gets personal with a trine to the ascendant as well as a separating trine to the transiting Moon, another indicator that trines are not always friendly anymore than Jupiter.  The transiting Sun, ruler of the 5th which includes recreation (Atlantic City is a known recreation spot) is quincunx the natal Moon, ruler of the 4th which includes families who are the ones who primarily use that recreation and the 5th is also the house of speculation with gambling also a prime activity in Atlantic City.  While this chart does not explode with squares and opposition like some others, that could also explain why the death toll was no worse than it was.  Of course all deaths are tragic in the aftermath of a storm but it was not as catastrophic as Hurricane Katrina which took the lives of thousands.

I arbitrarily used 10:00 a.m. for the birth time for Atlantic City and had to smile when I saw Pluto and the Sun in the 10th house of public image which fits so nicely with its reputation for organized crime and so forth.  In a more positive vein, the Moon rules the Cancer ascendant, appropriate for a city on the ocean, albeit its namesake. Being as that fits so well I'm going to use that to see how the aspects work out house-wise.  The first thing that pops out at me about this chart is the partile opposition from Neptune in the 8th house of death and destruction to natal Mars. Neptune being the natural ruler of water seems more than apropos, especially with Mars in the 2nd house of financial matters and resources.  Mercury, natural ruler of motion is partile squaring Mars from the 5th, again pointing toward recreation and gambling.  Mercury is less than a degree from the Lunar South Node in the 5th as well plus quincunx the natal Moon in the 12th where hidden enemies reside, as noted earlier.  The South Node typically indicates something leaving or a sudden change. As if that's not enough, transiting Jupiter is squaring natal Neptune bringing excessive water their way.  Transiting Saturn is plodding through the 4th house of endings, land and family and in partile opposition to Pluto in the 10th of public image, indicating trouble which will be in the news and big news at that as suggested by Jupiter's sextile to Mercury. Indeed, this storm put New Jersey in the national and international news, something that has not occurred for at least as long as I can remember. Transiting Mars is trining natal Mercury in the 10th house of public image, also partile, and transiting Jupiter is sextile Mercury, so you can already see how closely the storm tied in with the city's chart, even with aspects that are often considered "soft" or favorable.  Tell that to the people of the mid-Atlantic states.  If nothing else it indicates big news, which it certainly was.  Note that landfall occurred right around the time of the Full Moon, the lunation occurring at the Pluto - Sun midpoint of the chart with transiting Saturn in partile opposition to Pluto.

Comparing the Atlantic City chart to Sandy's birth chart has transiting Neptune and the natal Moon in the 12th in cahoots by trine, again water and tides working together, Saturn is partile quincunx natal Saturn implying major course changes and adjustments related to structure which also denote a new cycle and goals.   Transiting Venus ruler of the 4th house of endings as well as the 11th of groups and organizations, e.g. unions and legislative bodies, opposes natal Venus indicating conflict, transiting Mercury trining natal Venus from the 5th, again suggesting news coverage though Mercury also rules the 12th house.  Transiting Uranus is approaching the assumed Midheaven, but given how well the house placements seem to work for delineation it is probably reasonably close. Beliefs and expectations also reside in the 9th house which certainly endured a shocking change from this event, that being oceanfront property is not always a good thing.

So once again you can see that astrology "works" at the mundane level.  The Libra ingress chart spelled potential trouble which was delivered a little more than a month later.  While Neptune has been transiting the 8th house for quite a long time, once it became partile opposite natal Mars the trouble began.  A general rule in astrology is that any significant event is going to carry several partile aspects, which the chart adequately proves with four partile hard aspects reinforced by three "soft" aspects typically involving at least one malefic planet.  Quincunxes are uncomfortable and require an adjustment of change of course and there are three of them, even though only one is partile.  That yields a total of ten aspects, which seems adequate to show a correlation between astrology and this latest, catastrophic storm. You can also see in the last chart how Sandy's birth chart lined up with Atlantic City from the beginning. 

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Hurricane Sandy

Post-Tropical Cyclone Sandy made landfall at 8pm ET on October 29, 2012 about 5 miles southwest of Atlantic City, NJ, as seen in this NOAA GOES-13 satellite colorized infrared image from the same time. Official projections from the National Hurricane Center have the storm moving westward through Pennsylvania and then moving north into New York. The change in designation from hurricane to post-tropical cyclone is due to a continued deterioration of the convective center of the system, characteristic of tropical cyclones and hurricanes. Image by NASA GSFC GOES-13 2012.10.29

Hurricane Sandy

This image from the NASA/NOAA Suomi NPP satellite's VIIRS instrument shows Hurricane Sandy strengthening in the Gulf Stream as it makes its way to landfall in New Jersey. The image shown here was taken during the satellite pass around 1735Z on October 29, 2012. NPP VIIRS, 2012.10.29

Dealing with Loss What are Planetary Transits?

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