Tuscaloosa, Alabama

27 April 2011

05:10 p.m.

During the month of April 2011 the second deadliest tornado outbreak in U.S. history ripped through the south as a band of super-cell thunderstorms terrorized everything in its path, spawning over 300 twisters in its wake.  Fourteen states were affected, or 29% of the continental United States.  Oddly enough, this did not occur primarily in "Tornado Alley" where such weather is expected but rather occurred farther south into Alabama and as far east as North Carolina.  Past outbreaks on record include March 18, 1925, which was the deadliest on record with 747 dead; 1965 Palm Sunday; and the April 3, 1974 super outbreak. 

Ironically, the most active month for tornadoes is typically May, yet this April saw more tornadoes than what is usually seen in six months.  Debris was tossed a mile and a half high and scattered as far as 115 miles from its source, over 300 lives were lost, and  property damage will be between $2 - $5 billion dollars.   While such storms ravaged several states including Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin this astrological overview will focus on the F-4 tornado that struck Tuscaloosa, Alabama. 

You may also be interested in astrological Charts for the same storm in Birmingham, Alabama; a story from the tornado zone;  NASA satellite view of the storm track and a slideshow of the aftermath by Greg McNair (http://www.facebook.com/l/39223uTgZcAiHoyJBkBu4EHwEaQ/www.aerialsouth.com ).

NOTE:  The original posting of this blog was done with the incorrect time and has been updated accordingly.  The correct time, as expected, yielded an even more ominous chart which is shown below. The correct time was attained with many thanks from the posting as well as an email from the following:  http://www.youtube.com/user/Namerifrats#p/a/f/2/J9Oszy_dGJY.

Event Chart (Whole Sign Houses)

This chart is so busy and visually striking it hardly bears delineation.  It contains cardinal angles, giving it tremendous energy, and places the Aries planets in the 7th house which is angular and most relevant to weather charts.  A Cardinal Grand Cross predominates with the primary corners within one degree of orb with the Ascendant at 8 degrees, Pluto at 7 degrees, Venus at 8 degrees and the Midheaven at 9 degrees.  These degrees often appear with earthquakes as well and appear to be a signature of natural disasters.  Mars and Jupiter are conjunct, ramping up Mars’ energy while Mercury, natural ruler of movement, opposes Saturn, natural ruler of structure.  But it doesn't end there, as telling as that is in and of itself.

Venus rising before the Sun makes her the Goddess of War and she's in partile (same degree) opposition to the Ascendant, making this attack very personal for the people of Tuscaloosa.  Using a wide orb, all planets in aggressive Aries are opposing Saturn, ruler of structure.  The Sun is in the 8th house of death and trining Pluto, god of the Underworld and natural ruler of the 8th, with Pluto squaring Saturn as well as Uranus which brings surprises, disruptions and explosions, which were numerous as transformers blew away in the tornado's path.  Warrior Venus and Mercury are in Aries, all components of the Grand Cross, the most stressful aspect pattern there is, and normally comprising four squares and two oppositions.  However, this Grand Cross has 10 squares and 9 oppositions!  The 8th house is also the house of transformations and intense experiences along with debt and shared resources; clearly those who survived this horrendous event will never be the same and the financial implications are staggering. 

The Sun is quincunx the Ascendant, indicating an adjustment or trouble on the way.  The Moon in Pisces, Sign of martyrs and saviors and the zodiacal 12th house, is in a sextile pattern with both the Sun and Pluto, indicating the emotional impact of the event upon the common people and also implies the extent of physical injury and death incurred.  The Moon is in partile quincunx to the Ascendant, combined with the quincunx from the Sun forming a Yod, also known as a Finger of God, with the Sun (blue arrow with green base in chart.)  It doesn't take much imagination to see the yod and multiple oppositions as a type of the tornado itself by shape and form.  Yods typically literally point to significant, life-changing, and fated events.  The presence of the asteroid Chiron, the "wounded healer" in the 6th house of health is also apropos.

Uranus, Venus and Mercury all square the Midheaven, representing the public nature of the event and the affect it would have on Tuscaloosa's public image, with all contributing to the Grand Cross; this was not the usual run-of-the-mill tornado only seen on "Storm Chasers" or The Weather Channel.  This tornado broke records and will go down in the history books; so far it is the 2nd deadliest outbreak on record; when all is said and done it could be the 1st.  Reinforcing this significance are the Vertex in the 8th house of death and transformations suggesting a fated situation, with the South Node in the 9th indicating loss which will affect its university and churches and receive vast attention from the media, worldwide. 

Event Chart (Placidus)

Using the Placidus house system, two of the Aries planets shift to the 6th house which includes the working class and farmers as well as healthcare, all greatly affected by this disaster.  Uranus in the 6th points to the sudden burden placed on first responders and the medical community.  Pluto shifts to the 3rd house indicating fundamental destruction with regard to communications, schools and roads, which were impassable.  The Moon, Chiron and Neptune now in the 5th suggest the involvement of children, eight of which were sadly among the 40 dead for the tornado.  The scars and nightmares imprinted on those who lived through it go without saying.


The asteroid Fortuna is conjunct Saturn within 3 minutes of arc with Hektor conjunct the South Node, which indicates something going out of your life.  If Hektor is named for the Trojan hero, we all know that didn't end well in spite of his valiant fight against a formidable foe.  Fortuna is supposed to be lucky but with Saturn that turns to misfortune.  The Asteroid Chaos is at 12:41 Gemini and sextile Mercury, bringing chaos through movement, and Eris, known for creating discord, is at 21:59 Aries, conjunct Jupiter and thus accelerating his power to create a major disturbance with Mars.  There are several asteroids clustered in Aries as well as the 8th house of death, but no glaring connections other than the fact that sign was loaded with energy which was far from friendly. 

Fixed Stars

Schedar in the constellation Cassiopeia is conjunct the Sun.  This star has been associated with excessive pride which is humbled through force.  Not having personal knowledge of this city I would not pass that kind of moral judgment upon them, but clearly this was an event which figuratively brought them to their knees.   Hamal, also conjunct the Sun indicates “following one’s own path” which the tornado certainly did.  Mercury, ruler of movement, conjunct Alpheratz gained additional “freedom of movement” further allowing the tornado to develop incredible power unrestrained.  Facies, known for its ruthlessness and often considered the most evil star in the sky in the eye of the archer, Sagittarius, is conjunct Pluto, god of the Underworld, which requires no further explanation.

Pollux, conjunct the Midheaven, is described by Vivian Robson as "honor and preferment but danger of disgrace and ruin."   Fomalhaut, according to tradition considered to be very good or very bad, is appropriately conjunct Chiron, the “wounded Healer.”  Mirfak in the constellation Perseus is, according to Bernadette Brady, representative of “young male energy.”  Conjunct the Vertex, this provides an appropriate description of the tornado’s energy.  Other sources identify this constellation as "indicative of events effecting large numbers of people, especially those events caused by major meteorological phenomena." (Source: http://www.constellationsofwords.com/stars/Stars_alphabet.htm.)

Arabic Parts

Mars is conjunct the Part that signifies the death of parents.  Mercury is conjunct the Part which represents agriculture and husbandry, suggesting the impact to the rural regions near Tuscaloosa.  Venus is conjunct the Part of brethren and friends and Uranus conjunct the Part that relates to police and armies.  All of these make sense considering the scope of the cleanup efforts which will require not only local but National Guard assistance and the natural bonds which develop between those who share common misfortune.

Aries Ingress Chart

The Sun's ingress into cardinal signs is the primary tool used by mundane astrologers to predict what the coming quarter will hold for a given location.  The Ingress Chart for Tuscaloosa indicates the potential for weather problems due to the presence of malefics Saturn and Pluto in angular houses 1, 4 and 7 as well as a cluster in Aries with Mars just below the horizon.  Surely the Sun and Uranus, planet of surprises and disruptions, in partile conjunction in this angular house did not bode well for the coming quarter.  The Grand Air Trine between the Moon, Venus and the Midheaven is worth noting as well, both in the context of communications and the tornado itself.  Venus quincunx the Ascendant from the 5th, suggesting the affect on children who were would never see their world the same again as well as those who perished in the storm.

The Ascendant degree, 22:09 Virgo, was not looked on favorably by Valens who described it as within those degrees which “commit outrages on men and lead them into bondage and mutilation and tortures and custody.”  The Midheaven degree of 21:30 Gemini was seen as “toilsome, destructive and raw.” 

Aries Ingress Asteroids

Kalliope, named after one of the Muses and a daughter of Zeus, is conjunct Mercury, the only asteroid in Aries at this time with a cluster trailing in Pisces in the 6th, implying health issues.  Kalliope is the muse of epic poetry and eloquence but can be an instigator for less pleasant things as well; inspiration isn't always related to favorable situations.  For example, Adolph Hitler had Kalliope in his 12th house of angels and demons in partile sextile to task master Saturn in his 10th of public image and reputation.  He may have been inspired but certainly not in pleasant ways.  As far as Mother Nature is concerned, this certainly was an epic work with the asteroid egging Mercury on to excessive movement.  Ms. Discord, Eris, is at 21:34 Aries, partile sextile the Midheaven.  Chaos at 12:02 Gemini is partile sextile Jupiter, lending additional energy to Jupiter’s expansive influence.  So many partile aspects is unusual in and of itself.

Aries Ingress Fixed Stars 

As if the Sun being in a partile conjunction with Uranus wasn’t enough, the “shipwreck” star, Scheat, was there as well.  Robson describes this star coupled with the Sun as "Danger through water and engines, liable to accidents or drowning."  Pluto, also angular, is conjunct Facies, the eye of the archer and most evil star in the sky as noted earlier.  Alpheratz in the constellation Andromeda, the “freedom and movement” star according to Brady, located at the midpoint of Jupiter and Mercury certainly was ominous as well.  The ancient astrologer Manilius described Andromeda's effect as ""The man whose birth coincides with the rising of Andromeda from the sea will prove merciless, a dispenser of punishment, a warder of dungeon dire; he will stand arrogantly by while the mothers of wretched prisoners lie prostrate on his threshold, and the fathers wait all night to catch the last kisses of their sons and receive into their inmost being the dying breath. From the same constellation comes the figure of the executioner, ready to take money for a speedy death and the rites of a funeral pyre, for him execution means profit, and oft will he bare his axe; in short, he is a man who could have looked unmoved on Andromeda herself fettered to the rock. Governor of the imprisoned he occasionally becomes a fellow convict, chained to criminals so as to save them for execution. [Manilius, Astronomica, 1st century A.D., Book 5, p.351.]"  That certainly sounds about as ominous as you can get. 

Ras Algethi in the constellation Hercules, signifying “seeking order” conjunct the IC also provides a subtle warning as does Elsbeth Ebertin's description as corresponding to boldness and a drive to gain power.  Sadalsuud in Aquarius, luckiest of the lucky in some texts, was considered by Robson to produce "strange events" when connected with Venus.  Deneb Algedi in Capricorn, also connected with Venus in this chart, was indicative of "family difficulties" according to Robson. 

Arabic Parts

The most significant Part in the ingress chart represents extravagance and discord and is conjunct Saturn, indicating extreme destruction.  Mars is at the midpoint between the Part representing the death of parents and that which represents servants and service, all in the 6th house of health and the common people.

Why Tuscaloosa?

Of course Tuscaloosa was not the only town who had these or very similar transiting aspects on the given day and time.  Thus, the potential for a violent and unfortunate event was hanging astrologically over a vast array of cities.  Why did the fates choose Tuscaloosa?  That is one of those questions that simply cannot be answered without the city’s natal chart.  Tuscaloosa was incorporated on December 13, 1819; it’s unknown what time the city was actually incorporated, so a noon chart is used and shown below as a sunrise chart with the Sun on the Ascendant.  Interestingly enough, as you can see in the bi-wheel, the transits for the day of the tornado make what appear to be fairly favorable aspects with this chart or nothing more notable than the usual mix. 

However, the multiple squares between Venus and Mercury as well as the Sun and Mars were saying more than was immediately apparent.  The city's nodes are also conjunct the Tornado ascendant by degree with Venus, Goddess of War as noted earlier, conjunct the North Node, suggesting her attack on the city.  The incorporation of other chart elements such as asteroids, fixed stars and parts all provide additional levels of detail and focus. 

The city's chart, however, as shown below, has various hard aspects.  Saturn, Pluto and Chiron square the Sun, Uranus and Neptune with Mars squaring the Moon.  The Sign Ruler is Jupiter and Mercury is “at the bendings” of the Lunar Nodes, an unfortunate placement according to traditional astrology.  Pluto is conjunct both the city’s Venus and Mercury and thus also squaring the Nodes.  Using the Sun's position as the Ascendant reveals some ominous implications with Mars in the 8th house of death and Saturn, Chiron and Pluto in the 4th house of its roots and families.

Thus, the seemingly “friendly” transits activated these aspects through a harmonious flow of energy thus demonstrating that “favorable” aspects often aren’t, they simply indicate the energy is flowing without restraint.  Transiting Jupiter, in particular, the city’s Sign Ruler, was influential with its trine to the Sun with transiting Pluto conjunct the city’s Venus and Mercury conjunction, both at the fated location squaring the Nodes.  The square between the Moon and Mars had been triggered by the Moon that morning.  This square was also involved with the Pluto conjunction to Venus and Mercury which is connected by quincunx to Mars.  However, the plethora of squares to the city’s radix are the smoking gun with regard to why Tuscaloosa as opposed to somewhere else, emphasizing the important of looking beyond transits to the original aspects activated.

This further illustrates the various problems faced by mundane astrologers attempting to make predictions.  Even if someone had specifically been watching out for Tuscaloosa, the innocuous appearance of the transits alone probably wouldn’t have set off the needed alarm that a tragically destructive event was imminent. 

However, the harmonic aspects were more telling.  Without belaboring all aspects, which are much more difficult to spot visually compared to Ptolemaic, the chart at the bottom indicates a bit more.  The olive quintiles indicate change; purple indicates septiles which reflect similar energies to Uranus and Neptune; blue noviles bring physical and spiritual extremes; and red octiles and semi-octiles carry intense energy and power.  Again, the need to look at a chart and its transits in a variety of ways is emphasized. 

Of course the Tuscaloosa chart itself with its glaring squares implies a city where conflict would inevitably come and in large doses.  When transits set off such indicators the result will be dramatic and ultimately recurring.  It's beyond the scope of this article to make a detailed investigation of Tuscaloosa's history and match it up with its chart, but clearly the time of its founding and the unfortunate aspects in the heavens at that time played a part in this city being hit by such a destructive event.

With five planets in Aries including Jupiter, Mars, Mercury, Venus and Uranus, all opposing Saturn and squaring Pluto, do you think there might be a connection???

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