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CATASTROPHIC HURRICANE KATRINA

by Gary Brand - written September 17, 2005,
published in the October 2005 edition of Echo* newspaper
Image of Category 5 Hurricane Katrina taken on August 28,
2005, the day before it flooded New Orleans. Image of Category 5 Hurricane Katrina taken by NASA’s Terra satellite at 1:00 p.m. EDT on August 28, 2005, the day before it flooded New Orleans.  NASA image courtesy of MODIS Rapid Response Team at Goddard Space Flight Center.

New Orleans' birth chart with transits when Hurricane
Katrina struck on August 29, 2005 This is New Orleans' birth chart, based upon the earliest incorporation of the city on February 17, 1805.  An arbitrary time of day of noon was chosen (because it is in the middle of the day) to generate the positions of the planets.  Since the time of day that the governor signed the incorporation law is unknown, the chart has no houses and those shown should be ignored because they are irrelevant.  The inner wheel shows the positions of the planets at the time of New Orleans' birth and the outer wheel shows the positions of the transiting planets at the approximate time that the eye of Hurricane Katrina passed over the city the morning of August 29, 2005.

Image of Hurricane Katrina taken on August 27,
2005, showing warm ocean temperatures that fed her This image of Hurricane Katrina, taken by NASA’s Aqua satellite on August 27, 2005, shows the warm sea surface temperatures that fed her.  Water temperatures shown in yellow are 82° F while orange and red indicate even higher temperatures; 82° F is the threshold that hurricanes need to strengthen.  The sea surface temperatures are a 3-day average from August 25-27, 2005.  Courtesy of NASA/SVS (Scientific Visualization Studio).

Biloxi's birth chart with transits when Hurricane Katrina
struck on August 29, 2005 This is Biloxi's birth chart, based upon the earliest incorporation of the city on February 8, 1838.  An arbitrary time of day of noon was chosen (because it is in the middle of the day) to generate the positions of the planets.  Since the time of day that the governor signed the incorporation law is unknown, the chart has no houses and those shown should be ignored because they are irrelevant.  The inner wheel shows the positions of the planets at the time of Biloxi's birth and the outer wheel shows the positions of the transiting planets at the time of second landfall of the eye of Hurricane Katrina as it passed over Biloxi.

Satellite photos of New Orleans on September 7 and 15
after Hurricane Katrina flooded it
Satellite photos of New Orleans on September 7 and 15 after Hurricane Katrina flooded the city on August 29.  Black flood water still covers much of New Orleans in the Landsat 5 photo taken on September 7 (bottom).  Although still visible in the Landsat 7 photo taken on September 15 (top), much of this heavily polluted water had been pumped into Lake Pontchartrain (at the top of each photo) by then.  Some of the dark spots in the September 15 photo are cloud shadows.  Note how black the polluted water pumped out of the flooded city had made Lake Pontchartrain, expecially by September 15.  This is in contrast to the blue color of the winding Mississippi River at the bottom of each photo.  Courtesy of the USGS Center for Earth Resources Observation & Science (CEROS).
ew Orleans’ birth chart.  Some of my readers will know that this city was founded in 1718 by the French and may wonder why I chose the date in 1805 as the birth of the city.  Before New Orleans and the province of Louisiana were purchased from the French in 1803, they were ruled by a council whose members were either appointed by the royal French governor or, under the Spanish, whose seats were purchased for life by aristocrats.  The governing of the city under these colonial powers was autocratic, often arbitrary, as far from municipal as possible, and solely by non-elective officials.  It wasn’t until 1805, when New Orleans was first chartered by the Territory of Orleans (predecessor of the State of Louisiana), that it was born as a free, independent, self-governing city.  Read the rationale for not using an “establishment” or “founding” date as the birth date of a city here.  To read what constitutes the birth of a city, see the commentary “When a Municipality Is Born.”

The first double chart depicts New Orleans’ birth chart as the inner wheel and the positions of the planets at the time that Hurricane Katrina struck as the outer chart.  No surprise that New Orleans was born with a very strong Sun-Neptune square - a profound vulnerability to flooding and damage from water - and that progressed Jupiter (expansion) was conjunct Neptune and square New Orleans’ Sun at the time.  By far, the most significant transit in New Orleans’ chart when Katrina struck was the very powerful, exact conjunction (to the minute of longitude) of transiting Uranus with the city's Pluto.  This meant surprise, upheaval, disruption of communications, breakdowns, loss of electricity, lawlessness, looting, deaths, extremes, radical changes, and a strong recipe for destruction and disaster.  Uranus is symbolic of hurricanes and devastating winds so this transit took on primary significance in this cataclysmic event.  These planets are in Pisces, a water sign, indicating a breach (Uranus) in the levees and extreme (Uranus and Pluto) but gradual flooding (Pisces).  The release of toxins, raw sewage (both Pluto) and petroleum products (Pisces) into the floodwaters is indicated by this transit as well.  Uranus square Jupiter in New Orleans’ chart at that time was potentially indicative of sudden, unexpected events upon which the fortune and wealth of the city could turn - a proverbial twist of fate.  Before the discovery of Pluto, traditional astrologers designated Saturn as the Destroyer and the symbol of death.  When Katrina struck, Saturn was conjunct the city’s Mars (activity and action) and opposite the city’s Venus (possessions and life) and Mercury (communications and commerce).  These transits brought activities other than rescues to a halt (Saturn conjunct Mars), ended communications and commerce in the city (Saturn opposite Mercury), resulted in the loss of billions of dollars in personal and business property, possessions and earnings (Saturn opposite Venus).  [A year after the hurricane, the death toll from the storm and flooding stood at 1,702 in Lousiana and Mississippi, 373,000 homes in these two states were destroyed, and the city of New Orleans had lost 225,000 in population (NBC special: Katrina, the Long Road Back, aired August 28, 2006).  The July 1, 2007 Census Bureau population estimate for New Orleans was 288,113 (http://www.cityofno.com/pg-1-66-press-releases.aspx?pressid=5138)].

The second of the double charts depicts the birth chart of Biloxi, Mississippi as the inner wheel and the time that Hurricane Katrina made landfall as the outer chart.  Biloxi’s birth chart (the date it was first chartered in 1838) also had a strong Uranus aspect when Katrina struck - a Uranus return (transiting Uranus conjunct the position of Uranus in Biloxi’s chart - within 1½ degrees).  As in New Orleans’ chart, this meant surprise, upheaval, disruption, breakdowns, extremes, radical change, destruction and disaster, especially since Uranus symbolizes hurricanes and devastating winds.  Just as significant was transiting Neptune conjunct Biloxi’s Sun and opposite the Moon, an alignment indicating the huge storm surge that wiped out the infrastructure and made the city unidentifiable.  Additionally, transiting Saturn was conjunct Biloxi’s Moon indicating the potential devastation of homes, disruption of families, and loss of life.  Furthermore, transiting Pluto was square Biloxi's Venus (less than 1 degree), which increased the death toll and signified the loss of even simple amenities.  This city’s chart had disaster spelled out all over it, even more than New Orleans’ chart.

Pass Christian, Mississippi - a smaller city on the Mississippi coast near Biloxi - was born on the same day as Biloxi so these cities have the same chart and suffered virtually equal levels of destruction.  Although I do not yet have the chart for Gulfport, it must have had similar influences (as did the 1818 chart of Bay St. Louis).  To give you a sense of how rare the above planetary aspects are, the Uranus transits occur every 84 years, the Neptune transits every 165 years, the Pluto transit last occurred 100 years ago, and the Saturn aspects happen every 29-30 years.  However, it is the simultaneous combinations of these rare aspects, which will not reoccur in the future, that accounted for the exceptional severity of the event at this time in the history of these cities.

Bush and his patronage-appointed bureaucrats at FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Administration) and the Department of Homeland Security (most of whom had no disaster management experience) knew Katrina was a Category 5 aimed at New Orleans and, though it weakened by landfall to Cat. 4, it was still a lethal storm.  Yet, the day after Katrina struck, Bush ineptly said that no one imagined that New Orleans would be flooded.  This statement revealed his ignorance of the oft-reported fact that the federally constructed and financed levees were only built to withstand a Category 3 hurricane or, if he did know, what didn’t he understand about the following equation?  Levees built to withstand a Cat. 3 hurricane + a Cat. 4 or 5 hurricane = flooded New Orleans.  The apathetic, delayed, and woefully inhumane response by him and his regime's bureaucrats the first week after the storm resulted in an untold number of deaths from dehydration of poor people who could not evacuate and were stranded at the convention center and Superdome.  Because these bodies were not autopsied, there is no record that they died of dehydration.  The week that Katrina struck, I was among millions of Americans who watched spellbound, grief-stricken and outraged as the media broadcast images of thousands of people suffering and some dying - people who felt abandoned by their government.  Public opinion polls revealed that almost two-thirds of Americans think Bush did a bad or terrible job as a leader in the storm's aftermath.  A strong leader would have immediately flown to the devastated area and taken charge of rescue efforts instead of waiting until two days later to make a mere photo-op visit.  A competent leader would have ordered the military and FEMA to bring supplies of water and food to staging positions in neighboring states before Katrina struck.  A caring and compassionate leader would have ordered the military and FEMA to airlift supplies of water and food to those stranded at the convention center and Superdome the first day of the crisis, not as an afterthought 4 or 5 days later.  An effective leader would have immediately mobilized National Guard or military vehicles capable of rescuing those stranded people.

As I predicted two years ago, Bush’s approval ratings have plummeted and by the time he leaves office they will probably be as pathetically low as his father’s.  This is accounted for by the transit of Saturn through his first house where it remains for the next two years, a traditionally unpopular and fatiguing period when he will be faced with his failures (the quagmire in Iraq and Katrina are only the first two in a series).  Though the failures before and after Katrina’s wrath are shared by local and state officials, the fact remains that only the Federal government has the resources to effectively respond to and manage a disaster of this magnitude.  I urge my readers to help the thousands displaced by Katrina to make a new start.

Birth charts of cities such as those for New Orleans, Biloxi, and Pass Christian are used in my practice as a locational astrologer to help clients relocate to a city highly compatible with their chart.  This method is the traditional approach used in locational astrology and was practiced for many centuries before “relocated” birth charts became a locational astrology tool and long before Jim Lewis invented his ingenious Astro*Carto*Grapy™ maps (also called astro-location maps).  Comparing a person’s birth chart with the birth chart of a city gives the locational astrologer a much more detailed compatibility picture than an astro-location map.  This locational astrology method focuses on the individuality and uniqueness of each city compared with the complex uniqueness of an individual’s chart, in contrast to an astro-location map, the interpretation of which typically applies to a number of cities along a relocation line.  Using this ancient locational astrology technique of comparing a client’s chart with that of a city, the traditional locational astrologer such as myself can give clients a highly accurate prediction of how they will feel, live, love, work, play, prosper, and socialize in a city before they ever set foot there.
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*Echo is a monthly newspaper about community, the environment, health, cuisine, and spirituality that is distributed in central Virginia.
Good Timing and Location are Keys to Success

Gary Brand, Traditional Astrologer
Tallahassee, Florida
850-656-5758


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