Texas has been plagued with an outbreak of wildfires since Spring 2011, largely due to the ongoing drought and record-breaking temperatures which have seared the state for several years, though this has been the worst year yet.  I know, I live here.  In September the fires worsened with one in the small town of Bastrop, approximately 30 miles southeast of Austin, the state's capital, making national news.  At this writing wildfires have destroyed over a 3,000,000 acres and a thousand homes have been destroyed, including several in an exclusive community known as Steiner Ranch north of Austin.  (For video of the Bastrop fire go to http://www.kvue.com/video/featured-videos/Raw-video-Bastrop-fire-aerials-96-129341293.html  and for video of the Steiner Ranch fire go to http://www.kvue.com/video/featured-videos/Raw-video-Steiner-Ranch-aerials-129265768.html. )

Astro-weather 101:  Astrological attempts to predict weather typically focus on what is known as an Ingress Chart which marks when the Sun enters a Cardinal Sign (Aries, Cancer, Libra,  and Capricorn).  Planets resident within the angular houses (1st, 4th, 7th, and 10th) and any aspects involving them are primarily considered, largely due to the fact these houses relate zodiacally to the Cardinal Signs which also mark the beginning of the seasons.  In other words, Spring begins (in the Northern Hemisphere) when the Sun goes into Aries at the vernal equinox; Summer begins when the Sun goes into Cancer; Autumn begins at the autumnal equinox when the Sun enters Libra; and Winter begins at the winter solstice when the Sun enters Capricorn.  (In the Southern Hemisphere these are all reversed.)

The outbreak of Texas wildfires began in the spring of 2011 following the Aries ingress.  The most obvious aspects in this chart for the state's capital, Austin, show quietly ominous double oppositions between Saturn and the Moon in the 2nd house with Mercury and Jupiter in the 8th.  The 2nd house pertains to finances and resources in general with Saturn implying public resources and the Moon both "homeland" and personal property.  Saturn is retrograde, suggesting a lesson to be learned or restructuring in this area. 

Saturn retrograde could also represent  budget cuts instituted by the State of Texas which included reducing the state's contribution toward volunteer fire departments which serve the majority of small towns in rural areas.  Such an action during a drought certainly didn't show good judgment, as implied by the opposition to philosophical Jupiter in the 8th of death, taxes and transformation.  In other words, such reductions would have grievous consequences.

Malefic Pluto is in the angular 4th house which includes land as well as the people.  The quick and dirty delineation of Pluto in Capricorn is exposure of corruption in government and corporate entities as well as being symbolic of heavy destruction.  It doesn't show on the chart but Pluto is squaring the midpoint between the Sun/Uranus conjunction and Jupiter, an aspect which reflects the political power struggle that ensued following the initial refusal in May by President Obama to declare Texas a federal disaster area, though this was subsequently accomplished.  Between budgets issues and qualifying for relief funds, the involvement of politics has been clear.

Mars, natural ruler of fire, is also angular in the 7th, the house which rules relationships and partnerships with other political entities.  The Sun and Uranus are in partile (same degree) conjunction in Aries, also in the 7th, making a total of three planets along with the Sun in this impulsive and potentially violent sign.  (If you've never done so before, check out the numerous violent events which have occurred when the Sun is in Aries, such as the Oklahoma City bombing and the Columbine shooting spree.)

Venus, ruler of the 2nd house of property and resources, is in the 6th house which includes the working class (such as firemen), farmers, healthcare industries, and the armed services, tying the affairs of these two houses together.  The asteroid, Chiron, a.k.a. the Wounded Healer, likewise in this house of the common man further implies injury or problems in this area.  During the 2011 growing season Texas farmers have already suffered over $6 billion in losses due to weather.  So the ingress chart for the advent of spring already showed indications of the type of problems to expect during that particular season when wildfire activity began in earnest.

The Cancer Ingress, like so many others across the United States, was likewise less than friendly, as shown below.  Even if you're not familiar with astrology those red triangles look less than fortuitous.  Planets that are generally considered unfortunate include Saturn, ruler of restrictions, boundaries, responsibilities, structure and hard lessons; Pluto, god of the Underworld and associated with power, death and destruction;  Uranus, ruler of explosions, disruptions, rebellion and unexpected events;  and Mars, ruler of fire, aggression, and bold action. 

Two of those bad-boys, i.e. Pluto and Uranus, are located in weather-related angular houses aspecting each other in a harsh aspect known as a square which denotes a crisis or challenge and indicated by the red lines with a square superimposed.  These two planets thus connected imply explosive or disruptive changes with devastating results.  Saturn, king of karma and self-appointed tutor of hard lessons, remains in the 2nd house of finances and resources in general, and is in a partile, or same degree, quincunx with the Moon, suggesting adjustments or a change of course with emotional and service-oriented undertones which will affect the working class, once again suggesting the harmful budget cuts.  Saturn is also opposing Uranus, bringing the unexpected situation scenario to state and local resources.  Saturn is trining Venus as well, ruler of the 2nd house, which is resident in the 10th of public exposure and government leadership and establishes further the lack of financial resources.  Saturn's square to Mercury, the planet which represents both information and the media as well as movement, further implies trouble for resources that will be in the public eye.  Mercury, which is also opposing destructive Pluto, can relate to wind or earthquakes and is frequently involved in extreme weather events.

Jupiter, planet of expansion located in the 8th house of transformation and death likewise wasn't a favorable sign, especially considering the trine with Pluto, giving the god of the Underworld increased power.  Mars in the 9th carries implications of actions from far-off regions such as other states.  Strong and erratic movement are ruled by Uranus which also includes explosions.  Unpredictable Uranus is deeply entrenched in the chart's T-squares as the apex of one and corner of another (represented by the red triangles) and is also opposing Saturn, stirring up the status quo.  The Sun in the 10th suggests the state will come to the attention of the general public in some way with Mercury in that same house pointing toward attention from the media, which has certainly been the case.   Tying all these indicators together clearly provided additional indicators of critical challenges ahead.  This is not the chart of good times ahead by any means.

The Moon, Neptune and Chiron, the "wounded healer," are all in the 6th house which represents service industries including firefighters.  Neptune, present in the 6th house, represents a variety of things including water and oil but also deception, instability, and fog, thus even insinuating the presence of smoke, particularly considering the partile square with Mars, ruler of fire.  In a more favorable vein it can also represent the charitable assistance and firefighting resources provided by other states.  The sextile between Neptune with Jupiter, ruler of the 4th house of land, further reinforces this help.  The Moon in Pisces, the sign that represents the zodiacal 12th house and includes martyrs and saviors, also brings out an emotional element and the presence of charitable service.  The blue line connecting the Moon to Saturn signifies an aspect known as a quincunx which indicates a change of course, need to justify one's position or an adjustment.  In an event chart it can also indicate a heart-wrenching event so does not bode well for the coming season.  The Lunar Nodes are also in angular houses, further indicating life-changing events potentially related to weather can be expected.

The town of Bastrop suffered tremendously as reported nationwide; not knowing the exact time Bastrop was incorporated, a sunrise chart is shown which defines natural houses.  After suffering through record-breaking heat for the entire spring and summer the slight relief in temperature which arrived Labor Day weekend came on the heels of a firefighter's worst enemy, wind.  Looking at the transits for Saturday September 3 you can see numerous hard aspects afflicting the Bastrop chart, though some are rather subtle.  First of all, the transiting Lunar South Node, an astrological entity which typically indicates some sort of loss, is conjunct Bastrop's Chiron, a clear indicator of trouble.  This is further emphasized by the fact that transiting Mars is in a T-square with Bastrop's Lunar Nodes, an unfortunate position known as "at the bendings" in traditional astrology.  Transiting Saturn opposes Bastrop's Pluto, another bad combination while the Sun conjunct the city's Moon implies attention from far and wide with emotional implications. 

The Vertex, a chart point which is usually active for fated events, is tied to Neptune by quincunx in both directions.  In other words, the transiting Vertex is quincunx Bastrop's Neptune and vice versa with implications of an unknown or deceptive fate.  Neptune rules the 4th house of land and the people, once again reinforcing the theme of trouble for both.  Jupiter trining the midpoint between Bastrop's Mercury and Mars lends further energy to the fire.  Pluto transiting the 1st house suggests devastation while transiting Uranus in the 4th implies unexpected events with regard to homes and families.  Mars in the 7th points toward the fire being the focus of relationships with other entities such as the State of Texas and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as well as firefights which came to help from other entities.  Mercury in the 8th implies news of transformation or death while Venus and the Sun in the 9th indicate attention and help from faraway places.  Saturn in the 10th represents responsibility on the part of the government as well as a possible indicator of bureaucratic issues such as the budget cuts.  The opposition to Pluto in the 4th represents how such actions did not work to the advantage of the people.  The Moon in the 12th in Scorpio further points toward the emotional elements of mass misfortune as well as the potential for loss of life; the 12th is also the house of hidden enemies and self-undoing and usually considered an unfortunate placement. 

It's also interesting to note that at least one of the Texas fires active during this time is believed to have started by arcing power lines set in motion by the wind.  With both Pluto and Uranus related to power and given that these two planets were squaring each other by transit, this further fits the astrological scenario, especially when you factor in the sesquisquadrate aspect between Mercury (natural ruler of movement, i.e. wind) and Pluto with the same aspect separating from Uranus.  This same Pluto - Uranus aspect also relates to the possibility of arson which was reported for yet another fire.

While it is easy to see wildfires in these charts, the biggest problem with astrological predictions as opposed to hindsight is the fact that planets, signs and houses all contain a plethora of interpretations which are difficult to call in advance.  However, given the context of a severe and ongoing drought, the prospect of wildfires was far from rocket science.   Ironically, a few years ago The Weather Channel aired a program called "It Could Happen Tomorrow" which featured what a wildfire in the Austin area could do.  This same program also predicted the devastation of Hurricane Katrina a year or more before the actual event.  Clearly there are some situations which are simply an accident waiting to happen.

The United States has seen unprecedented disasters which began with the Aries Ingress at which time record-breaking tornado outbreaks occurred.  Spring flooding was worse than usual and Hurricane Irene certainly took the East coast by surprise and wreaked billions of dollars in damage there.  The Virginia earthquake was another event imbued with the surprise and disruption inherent in the planet, Uranus; Uranus in Aries is not a good combination and can also be cited with regard to various political uprisings and rebellions.  Pluto in Capricorn implies probing beneath the surface and exposing hidden corruption, particularly in government and corporate domains.  Put those two planets together in a square and the events of the spring and summer of 2011 are less surprising, weather notwithstanding.  In other words, those who doubt astrology need look no further than the evening news for some interesting examples.

If you're curious what the Libra ingress in September may hold, we can always hope.  The only angular planet is Neptune, which will hopefully bring some rain to Texas' parched and thirsty land. 


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