The skies of late are far from friendly. Not only did Southwest Airlines lose an engine in-flight that resulted in the fatality of a passenger, there have been a multitude of other incidents and crashes worldwide. I flew to Florida on American Airlines May 31 and home again to Texas on June 3 and both flights were awful. I missed connecting flights, delaying my arrival in very inconvenient ways at both ends.

Then some friends visited from Europe. Their flight coming here was so smooth as to arouse suspicion, arriving 20 minutes early without a hitch. The one returning home, however, was a nightmare. Emergency landing in Atlanta, then an overnight layover in New York. When something is so pervasive, the scientist in me confronts my inner astrologer for an explanation. Meanwhile, I decided I would remain on solid ground and avoid these unfriendly skies until I had some astrological idea what was causing it.

I  looked extensively at Southwest Airlines and then Boeing earlier when so many problems and crashes kept making the news, but found nothing. Furthermore, it wasn't just Boeing aircraft having problems. Clearly this issue was not limited to one airline or engine manufacturer. On a whim I decided to take a look at the "birth" of air travel, Orville and Wilbur Wright's first successful flight on December 17, 1903 at 10:30 a.m. in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.  (The time is based on information found online here) It may be a stretch, but it definitely looks as if transits to this chart could be where all these ill-fated flights and travel itineraries are coming from.

Wright Brothers 1st Flight Natal ChartThe chart to the left is the "birth" of manned flight. I know it's not the easiest to read, so you'll just have to trust me. I had to smile at the Aquarius ascendant, as if recognizing the new "Age" it implies. The blue lines that form an arrowhead-shaped aspect pattern is called a yod and often has a fated flavor to it. It's "eye" or endpoint is on Neptune, a dreamy, otherworldly planet that seems to fit, especially when you think of flying as essentially "floating" in the air rather than the sea. The yod's base comprises Saturn and the Midheaven, cusp of the 10th house that includes status and public attention, is occupied by a waning Moon that will be New the next day, suggesting the dawn of a new era.

The Sun in the 10th shows this is a notable event that will receive public attention, and Uranus fits nicely as the natural ruler of technology, innovation, and breakthroughs. Mars, planet of action and drive, is also part of the yod, as is the Part of Fortune, something that will bring rejoicing. Pluto in the 4th house of new beginnings trining the ascendant, i.e. identity of the event, certainly works nicely for a transformational, historical day.  For those of you wondering what those strange glyphs in the 2nd and 11th houses are, they're the asteroids Phaethon and Icarus, respectively, whom I'll look at later. If you don't know who they are in the mythological sense, look them up--they matter.

Since this year has been particularly bad for air travel, I decided to take a look at the solar return for this event. For those of you unfamiliar with solar returns, they occur when the Sun returns to its natal position each year and that moment defines a virtual "birth chart" for the coming year, which you can see below.1st Flight Solar Return Dec. 16, 2017 Note that virtually every planet is below the horizon, including the Sun and Moon; the only thing just above the western horizon, but getting ready to set, being the asteroid, Phaethon, son of Apollo who drove his father's chariot into the Sun, another example of reckless driving by an over-confident youth. Note that Phaethon is trining Saturn, Saturn being the astrological "father figure" and ruler of discipline and structure. He's also the exalted ruler of Libra, and therefore rules the ascendant of the chart along with Venus; Saturn is the traditional ruler of the natal chart's Aquarius ascendant and its Capricorn 12th house cusp that includes dreams, visions, institutions, and hidden enemies. Remember that Saturn is also part of that natal yod, showing the planet's importance generally. This is something that took hard work, discipline, and determination.

So the solar return chart doesn't look particularly bad at first glance, does it? Uranus is being trined by the Sun with an orb (degree difference) of 10 minutes of arc, which equals a mere 1/6th of a degree. That, my friends, is quite tight. Both planets are in Fire signs, and Uranus, as anyone familiar with astrology knows is, by his very nature, unpredictable; in impulsive Aries, even more so, and he's in the 6th house which includes workers and health (in this case, health of the program). The Sun, by the way, rules the Leo Midheaven, which marks the boundary of the 10th house which represents status, public image, reputation, and so forth. The 2nd house, which includes finances as well as possessions, needs, and comforts, is loaded with the Moon, Mercury, Venus, and the Sun, and while these are all in Sagittarius, along with Saturn, the cusp is in Scorpio, a less than friendly sign as it includes intense experiences and death; it's not much of a stretch to think of aircraft as "possessions" in the context of this chart. Mars is the traditional ruler of Scorpio, its modern ruler, Pluto.

Icarus, a mythological example of flight gone wrong, is in Capricorn quincunx the Vertex in the 8th house, which includes death and mayhem in general. The Vertex is a chart energy point often connected with fated events.  Mercury, natural ruler of movement, communications, and anything electronic or mechanical, is semisextile Pluto, natural ruler of secrets and hidden problems, the semisextile an aspect that tends to indicate annoyances and friction. Mercury is retrograde, a time when those items he rules tend not to operate properly, and often a time when things break down. Venus, co-ruler of the chart, is also semisextile Pluto from the same degree, a condition known as "partile", indicating a strong connection. Venus rules the 8th house, too, bringing more attention to hidden problems which will have potentially traumatic results. Furthermore, the asteroid, Chiron, the "wounded healer", who signifies injuries of all varieties, is in partile square with the Sun. He's also semisextile Uranus, showing unexpected or sudden injury that will be known to the public, based on the Sun ruling the Midheaven. Neptune and Chiron are in the 5th house which includes self-identity, implying their image will be affected. So, as you can see, there are some rather sneaky elements lurking in this seemingly benign-looking chart dominated by "friendly" trines.

Given that Saturn is important for this industry, I find it rather interesting that the day of that horrible incident where the Southwest Airlines flight lost an engine in-flight was the day Saturn was stationing retrograde. This seems to be when things really started to happen, though it may have just been when it hit the news (10th house, by the way) due to the seriousness of the problem. Air travel could well have been honked up worse than usual before then. Looking below at the biwheel for the Solar Return and Saturn stationing, nasty ol' transiting Uranus in the outer ring is almost exactly opposing the ascendant. Mercury in the 6th house implying repairs is quincunx aggressive Mars (quincunxes are unstable and somewhat unpredictable in a way similar to Uranus), with Mars the traditional ruler of the 2nd house of possessions (airplanes) as well as the 7th house of relationships, in this case, passengers. The Moon, natural ruler of emotional, and exalted in Taurus, is quincunx the Sun, ruler of the Midheaven, capturing the situation with the Southwest flight rather well, given anyone who has ever flown definitely reacted to a passenger being killed by such a freak occurrence. Saturn is stationing retrograde at 09:09 Capricorn, quincunx the solar return Vertex in the 8th house; not good. Note Saturn, Mars, and Pluto, all bad boys with nasty cosmic reputations, are in the 3rd house of local travel.

They're not lined up in the two wheels, so it's not that obvious, yet notice that stationing Saturn is partile conjunct solar return  Icarus; if you don't know the mythological background of Icarus, then look it up. Hint: He tried to fly by sticking wings onto his back, but it didn't end well because they fell off! Transiting Icarus is in the 4th house partile squaring the Moon. Meanwhile, Phaethon, Mr. Crash and Burn, is partile conjunct Uranus in the Saturn Retrograde chart and actually conjunct himself in the solar return, since he was retrograde for the solar return and has just caught back up to that degree. The transiting Sun is there, too, the Sun ruling the Midheaven. That triple conjunction in the Saturn chart trining Saturn in the solar return alone was a serious hit. Transiting Icarus is trining Mars, too, albeit a bit loosely. This is why I love the asteroids, they tend to jump in there with charts related to their archetype in a way that always supports the proposition that size doesn't matter with cosmic entities and you can't make this stuff up.

Solar Return - Saturn Stn RX Biwheel

On June 26, Mars stationed retrograde, something that only happens approximately every two years. What's really interesting, however, is that Mars also stationed at 9 degrees (09:13 Aquarius), hitting what were already sore spots--he formed one of those annoying semisextiles with Icarus and a trine to the Vertex. (Chart farther below.)

Other unfriendly aspects include a square between Uranus and the Midheaven, implying more sudden unfavorable publicity; a square between Venus and Jupiter (where Venus rules the chart and the ominous 8th house), plus Jupiter is conjunct Jupiter, again thanks to retrograde motion since the solar return. Neptune is squaring Mercury as well, a combination that's bound to bring confusion and possible malfunctions, especially since Mercury is retrograde in the solar return chart. It's no wonder that air travel has been a FUBAR for months.

The Mars station June 26 hit the First Flight's natal chart fairly hard as well, which certainly won't help matters. (Chart near the bottom of the page.) Pluto is conjunct Chiron, implying injuries due to hidden problems; the Moon is opposing Pluto, bringing a strong emotional reaction, and Mars is stationing only 4 minutes of arc short of an exact square with the cusp of the 9th house, which includes long-distance travel. Transiting Pluto is quincunx natal Pluto, showing an unstable situation that can have dark consequences and require an adjustment or change of course that's transformational. The Sun is quincunx the Midheaven as well as conjunctSolar Return - Mars RX Biwheel Neptune in the 5th of self-identity, again requiring an adjustment, and transiting Neptune is conjunct Jupiter in the 1st house, showing an unjustified inflated ego being part of the problem. Mercury quincunx Uranus certainly explains not only mechanical issues but things like messed up reservations and annihilated itineraries.

With both Neptune and Uranus having a strong influence on severe weather, it's no wonder that it has presented numerous problems as well. Indeed, much of my travel woes were the result of thunderstorms that stretched along the entire Gulf of Mexico coastline, causing delays and route diversions. It was a spectacular sight from 30,000 feet, but troubling, nonetheless, as if Zeus were sending an ominous message to the world below. Saturn opposing the Sun in the Mars station chart is no help, either. This suggests the light shining on the industry and revealing its flaws.

I am not going to take the time to look any further, though of course I could look at charts for the more serious accidents that have occurred the past few months. I am never disappointed when I do so, but I have had enough of this and I'm sure you have, too. However, I think I've made my point and am reasonably satisfied that I found the astrological influences which have made this the year from hell for the airline industry. I've always maintained that anything that gets your attention as unusual can usually be found to have astrological roots. It took me a while to figure this one out, but I wasn't disappointed when I finally identified the common thread.

This little exercise also demonstrates the power of solar return charts. While it's fairly common to look at it as an overview for the year, it is often neglected as far as using it with the transits of key events. It also shows the import of station charts, which provide a blast of energy thatFirst Flight Natal - Mars RX Biwheel frequently has a strong bearing on events. I'm sure that lunation charts also egged this situation on, and with a solar and lunar eclipse this month (July 2018) there's no telling what that will bring, especially with the solar eclipse at 20:41 Cancer, right between Phaethon and Pluto in the First Flight natal chart. Saturn is retrograde at 04:44 Capricorn, semisextile Mars and the Midheaven, which is midway in the base of the First Flight's natal yod and opposing its Neptune.

The lunar eclipse at 04:45 Aquarius is conjunct Mars retrograde with Mercury also retrograde at that time. This will conjoin the First Flight's Mars in the 12th house, which doesn't sound very good to me with the 12th the house of hidden enemies and self-undoing. The lunar eclipse is also quincunx Neptune in the First Flight chart, and if this sounds familiar, it's because those are two components of the First Flight's yod, the final component of which is the Midheaven, so this eclipse triggers the yod, too. Eclipses pack a lot of punch, more so than the usual garden-variety lunation. Furthermore, eclipses are rather sneaky in that they can take effect both before the eclipse actually occurs as well as for quite a long time following. Thus, these influences are spread over a rather long span of time which will continue to pound the First Flight's natal and solar return charts. It will be very interesting to see what occurs. I truly hope it's nothing severely catastrophic. Call me superstitious if you want, but I'm glad I don't have any plans to fly anytime soon. If something comes up, I'll seriously consider alternate forms of transportation.

Asteroids in Astrology

What are Planetary Transits?

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