|Hurricane Dora helped spread the fires.|
Our hearts have bled this past couple weeks for the people of Lahaina, Maui, and how could they not, as wildfires ravaged their lovely island and town and left widespread trauma in their wake. CBS.com captures the bare facts of that horror as follows:
“Deadly wildfires in Hawaii, which killed over 100 people and forced thousands to evacuate, were fueled by a mix of land and atmospheric conditions that can create "fire weather." A massive blaze destroyed much of the historic town of Lahaina, on Maui, and the search for victims continued as hundreds remained missing.
Hawaii Gov. Josh Green said Sunday there is ‘very little left’ of Lahaina, where more than 2,700 structures have been destroyed in what is now the deadliest U.S. wildfire in more than a century. Green said he expects the death toll to keep climbing.”
To dispassionately analyze the astrology of the Maui fires as this reporting does almost feels like a violation of the human suffering caused by this story, but on the flip side of that lies the reality that our astrological tools will be useless going forward if we don’t squarely face not only the human dimension of such stories, but also the Earth dynamics and the “mix of land and atmospheric conditions” that decide so many fates these days. These dynamics leave their traces in a chart if we are looking for them and are sensitive enough to the cues: what astrology may lack in scientific data streams, it makes up for with valuable insights into the interplay of natural dynamics.
And look at them we must: we humans do not exist apart or above the Earth; we are of the Earth, and our astrological considerations need to reflect that reality. This is a reality that snaps into especially clear focus in the Hawaiian islands, literally formed from millions of years of volcanic eruptions. Hawaiian residents survive at the pleasure of the volcanic “gods”--astrologically reflected in the “chthonic” energies of Neptune and Pluto. They also survive at the pleasure of cyclonic winds, lightning strikes, the relentless, ocean-piercing warmth of the Sun and its ongoing “dance” with the lunar tides. (Sun, Moon, Uranus, Neptune). In the analysis that follows, we’ll consider the key roles that such natural forces played on August 8, 2023, when the first fire marked the onset of this latest season of grief on Maui.
Thankfully, the media has been able to pinpoint the origins of this tragedy, so we’ll be working with reliable information in the two charts below. Chart 1 is cast below for the first recorded fire on Maui during the current crisis—a fire that broke out in Kula at about 12:20 a.m. ST; Chart 2 is cast for the first recorded fire that broke out in the now tragically decimated town of Lahaina at 6:30 a.m. that same morning of August 8th. Of course, both charts bear several similarities, but some interesting, distinct differences between them will be worth consideration.
Chart 1. The first recorded fire on Maui during this latest crisis breaks out in Kula, Hawaii on August 8, 2023, 12:20 a.m. ST. All charts are cast on Kepler 8.0 with Equal Houses and True Node, courtesy of Cosmic Patterns Software.
Uranus rises conjunct Moon and Jupiter, themselves tightly conjunct in mid-Taurus with the Moon locked into a tight waning square with a fiery and determined 3rd house Leo Sun. Destruction can characterize the final quarter of any planetary or luminary cycle, so we’re getting a double whammy of that predicament here because Jupiter and Uranus are also in balsamic phase, with that hapless Taurus Moon (People) sandwiched between them. It’s sobering and fitting, given the eventual magnitude of this disaster, that Jupiter not only exacerbates the destruction, but also rules the potentially death-dealing 8th house here as well.
Uranus’s association with electricity came into horrifically tragic play here, of course: as I write this, lawsuits are flying against the Hawaiian electric power company for its failure amidst extremely high winds to shut down the power and to head off the fiery potential of downed power lines. It’s difficult to avoid the conclusion that yes, lives (Moon) were lost because of this failure.
Uranus squares the Sun of that day, but even more closely squares fiery Venus in Leo, the “goddess” ruling this Taurus rising chart (the first fire reportedly broke out at about 12:20 a.m. in Kula, Hawaii—Chart 1 above) on August 8th. The sheer scale and tragic character of Maui’s catastrophe seems to evoke the primal power of a goddess with such deep mythological roots, in fact. Consider this, from Michael Baigent’s Astrology of Mesopotamia: the Science of Omens and the Knowledge of the Heavens:
“Ishtar [Venus] was the third deity in the astral triad. She was considered, by Ashurbanipal’s reign, to be the daughter (and firstborn) of Sin, the moon; twin sister to Shamash, the sun; and sister too of both Erishkigal, the much feared queen of the underworld, and Tammuz, the dying and resurrecting god who was later to assume such prominence.” 
So, Baigent teases out both the atmospheric (Sun, Moon) and the chthonic associations (Pluto, Neptune) that have long been discerned for the planet Venus, associations that coalesced at the timing of Chart 1 to produce the tragic perfect storm that unfolded on Maui that day. Baigent reminds us that Venus is both the goddess of “love, sexuality and childbirth,” and the “terrible goddess of war, of whom Solomon sang:”
Who is this arising like the dawn
fair as the Moon,
resplendent as the Sun,
terrible as an army with banners? 
Over the course of her retrograde “dance,” Venus can double back to reconsider relationships; hence her potentially warlike demeanor—it may be time to hold her friends close and her enemies closer. Could Hawaiians begin to rethink their relationship with the U.S. in the wake of this tragedy? The urge to lay blame at the feet of who- or whatever feels like the “oppressor” is strong.
As we will see in Chart 2 below, which again, pictures the first outbreak of fires in Lahaina that fateful August 8th morning (around 6:30 a.m.), this terrible goddess appears to rise benevolently, holding court in fiery Leo, yet the potential menace of her square to Uranus—the ancients’ Sky God—remains. Despite Uranus disposing Venus from her earthy sign of Taurus, clearly these two reflect the titanic clash between Earth and Sky that followed. If only the island’s power company had foreseen the dangers of that morning’s high winds and shut down the power: the fires (Leo) set ablaze that day were fed by those winds, which tore loose electrical (Uranus) wires and hit the brushy, drought-parched earth (Taurus).
Unfortunately for those caught in the situation, Venus’s retrograde motion at the time seems to have sidelined her more "resplendent” qualities. The same was the case for Pluto, Saturn, Neptune and Chiron—all transiting retrograde in both charts (more on these dynamics to come). It follows that, of the major outer planets, only Jupiter and Uranus (both “Sky gods”) were transiting in direct motion, and we can see the difficulties their positions present in both charts as well, square Venus and bracketing the Moon (People). In both charts, these key energies fall near the ASC and/or IC/MC.
Jupiter and Neptune Rx (Taurus, Pisces) launched their latest cycle in oceanic Pisces in April 2022 and had only recently entered their potent waxing Crescent phase (45°-89.59°) by August 8th: the fact that a great number of Maui residents were forced to throw themselves into the dark ocean to escape the fires fits here to a tee.
So, we might say that Chart 1 reflects a tragic “perfect storm” of chaotic energies at work within an unforgivingly fixed framework (all four chart angles are in fixed signs). High winds whipping power lines loose ignited the island’s tinder box of dry brush, and the structural safeguards that should have helped, as noted earlier—like the power company shutting down the electricity to head off sparked wildfires and the island’s siren system alerting everyone to the dangers—seem to have both failed. To make a bad situation even worse, those in charge slow-walked the process of making water available to fight the fires—so yet another structural travesty and failure, as explained here by CNN.com:
“A state agency delayed a water management company’s request to make more water available to fight the devastating wildfires on Maui earlier this month, according to letters obtained by CNN.
Glenn Tremble of the West Maui Land Company, which manages water supply companies, complained in a letter to the deputy director of the Hawaii Commission on Water Resource Management that the agency failed to quickly approve his company’s request to divert stream water to nearby reservoirs.”
As I write this, there are reports that the Emergency Service chief whose office failed to activate the sirens has just resigned: chances are, more resignations will follow.
It also didn’t help that Saturn Rx is transiting in early Pisces in both these charts and is well into its balsamic phase with Neptune Rx (ruling Pisces), which speaks to the failures of responsible systems, as we’ve seen. Given the right trigger(s), two major cycles in balsamic phase (and in the case of Saturn-Neptune, with both planets moving retrograde) are certainly capable of manifesting in chaotic, potentially destructive ways.
Indeed, Saturn Rx in Chart 1 also co-rules key houses (9th, 10th) and the Aquarius MC with that tumultuous Sky god Uranus rising at the ASC. Not to be overlooked here, the Earth point in this chart—always exactly opposite the Sun—lies conjunct that Aquarius MC and all of it together forms a fixed t-square with the Jupiter-Moon-Uranus sandwich at the ASC (Taurus): a fiery storm borne of Earth, Sun/Moon and Sky crackled into being and gathered destructive force from there.
Pisces Saturn Rx in the 10th captures Maui’s character as an oceanic island; Saturn Rx’s rulership of the Capricorn 9th speaks to Maui’s heavy reliance on tourism (9th). In its waning 3Q phase, the Saturn-Uranus cycle pictured here speaks to outworn infrastructures and technologies that—had they been updated—might have made a difference. This 3Q phase and Saturn’s dispositorship over Capricorn Pluto Rx also speaks to the shocking losses suffered by thousands of Maui residents whose lives were turned upside down by the fires.
Yes, there was a definite confluence of challenging energies and cycle dynamics in play on August 8th in Maui that created the potential for massive destruction, but just what triggered the tragic events that unfolded?
Mars is the “usual suspect” when it comes to triggering disasters like fires, and that seemed to also hold true on August 8th in Maui. In this chart, Mars (Virgo) sits opposite the Saturn/Neptune (midpoint, Pisces) and trine the volatile 12th house Taurus gathering. Midpoints expert Michael Munkasey has the following to say about the the former:
“Thesis: Delusions among the real leadership; long lived programs which have no real purpose; policies which restrict spies; misusing law officers; inefficient use of capable expert advice; mistaken religious leaders.
Anti-thesis: Leaders deceive about the exercise of control; deficient business practices exposed; respected persons involved in questionable practices; reliable equipment failures; a leader capitulates.” [1-292]
The 10th house placement of Saturn Rx, its rather debilitated retrograde position in Pisces, and the 10th house placement of the midpoint itself, all speak to manifest leadership weakness. Once Uranus gets added into the mix, co-ruling the Aquarius 10th house cusp and MC with Saturn, we can see why (as noted earlier) lawsuits are currently flying against the island’s electric power company for its failures.
Questions have also arisen about why the island’s emergency sirens were never activated as the fires spread to Lahaina. More and more this incredible tragedy appears to have arisen from a series of passive failures to take responsibility--which certainly fits Saturn’s position in Pisces and its balsamic relationship with Neptune (also Pisces). The balsamic phase often coincides with the need to “clean house,” so to speak, which seems highly relevant here.
Maui's emergency sirens were never activated.
This midpoint also points to the anger (Mars) that has been directed at President Biden over this tragedy, despite his immediate move to fully mobilize federal resources in response to Maui’s crisis. We can probably expect that, with the cosmic stew of energies in Chart 1 in play, nothing he will do will seem like enough. Some may go as far as blaming him for climate change (a likely contributor to the crisis)—it beats taking Saturn-Neptune's message about collective responsibility seriously!
The deadly seriousness of this call to collective responsibility is also reflected in Pluto’s (Capricorn) potent cardinal t-square to the Aries-Libra Nodal axis, enhanced by the No. Node’s proximity to Chiron (Rx, Aries). Not incidentally, this Chiron falls within one degree of its exact return to U.S. Sibly Chiron—a transit that’s been explored in more depth in my last post here.
Further complicating the cosmic environment for the long recovery ahead, on April 8th, 2024, a powerful Aries solar eclipse will be perfecting conjunct Chart 1’s Chiron, as Chiron is in the process of completing its return to Sibly Chiron. We can’t make these things up, can we? A deeper look at the possibilities for that April, 2024 eclipse is a story for another day, but suffice to say here, Hawaii’s recovery from the tragic fires of 2023 is likely to demand that the federal government acknowledges and takes some kind of responsibility for, not only the emergency infrastructure of the island, but more broadly, the long history of imperialism and psychic/cultural pain it has inflicted on native Hawaiian Islanders. Chiron returns have a way of dredging up such old Wounds so that they may be addressed and healed, a process that will either ennoble or diminish our collective Soul, depending upon how fully we embrace this challenge.
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The first fire in Lahaina
The first fires are said to have broken out in the now ravaged area of Lahaina at about 6:30 a.m. that same day, with Leo Venus rising—Chart 2 below.
Normally with fires we would look for the involvement of Mars, as well, and indeed Mars trines the Taurus tinder box housed in the 12th here, reflecting how readily the fire spread. Interestingly, the situation seemed to be in control by late afternoon that day, but that hiatus didn’t last. ABC News captured the harrowing timeline of that tragic day, as follows (excerpts):
“12:20 a.m.: Just after midnight, a brush fire was reported in the Kula area in the central part of Maui, according to officials. This would become the Upcountry Maui wildfire.
6 a.m.: In the early morning hours, around 6:30 a.m., a brush fire of about three acres was reported around Lahainaluna Road, which passed through this historic town of Lahaina in West Maui.
9 a.m.: The fire in Lahaina was declared 100% contained just before 9 a.m., according to Maui County officials.
"Containment indicates what percentage of the fire perimeter has been enclosed by a control line," the Maui County website states.
9 a.m. The fire in Lahaina was declared 100% contained just before 9 a.m., according to Maui County officials.
"Containment indicates what percentage of the fire perimeter has been enclosed by a control line," the Maui County website states.
3 p.m. Officials report the perimeter of the Upcountry fire has spread about 1,000 acres and reached as far as Kualono Place near the Kula Lodge.”
An afternoon flareup of the Lahaina fire forces the closure of Lahaina Bypass. Throughout the town, residents are trying to make their escape.
Residents from both regions continue to evacuate, as both the mayor and local fire officials urge caution...
Around 5 p.m. The situation in Lahaina grows increasingly dire. The next hour becomes a collection of life-or-death decisions for those who remained in Lahaina. Video footage captures people fleeing the blaze, in some cases abandoning their cars, jumping into the ocean or pools for safety...
At 5:15 p.m., a woman named Kristina Lee-Garrido and her friend decide they don't have time to flee lower Lahaina. They recorded the blaze around them from the Aina Nalu hotel pool as fire pressed in on all sides.
Around 5:30, another family abandons their car and jumps into the ocean.”
Reading this, we must be moved and sobered to realize that Neptune both rules and occupies the Pisces 8th house here, reflecting a connection between mortality and the ocean. Some survived in the ocean, but many did not: can we even imagine the panic and confusion (Neptune!) created by this situation in the wee and early hours of the morning?
Maui's unspeakable tragedy washes over multiple levels of peril, of course—the unrelenting tides level all human creations and concepts in the end and erase what we may think are boundaries between the personal and the collective. Maui now knows in the very fabric of its Being that the Personal and the Collective are one.
The passage of time, even by a few hours, has a curious way of reframing any story around subtleties that deserve a bit more attention. As we can see between the two charts examined above, the few hours between 12:20 a.m. and 6:30 a.m. shift the key planetary configurations into different houses. In Chart 2, a 6th house Pluto t-squares the Nodal axis cutting across the 9th and 3rd houses; in Chart 1 Pluto fell in the 9th, with the Nodal axis spanning the 12th and 6th. Notice that in both cases, the houses are mutable and the collective trend (No. Node) is towards triggering the personal and collective turmoil that ensued. Mars rules the Aries North Node and so doubly stimulates the chaos; Venus rules the Libra South Node from administrative-minded Leo—we ignore the importance of civic participation, education (3rd-9th), simple human kindness (Venus) and the roles that public servants (6th) play at our peril.
Notice also that in Chart 2, Uranus sits conjunct the MC, reflecting the shocking magnitude of the disaster, while the Sun-Earth axis cuts across the mutable 12th and 6th houses--a less than subtle reminder that the natural systems governing Maui's fate (and our own) over the course of this disaster are in the midst of a treacherous transition.
Finally, a sobering note about the collective responsibility we all have for the lovely state of Hawaii—our 50th state, more by U.S. machinations than its own choice. And now, Hawaii and its many islands are faced with the intensifying peril of climate change and all the dangers that go along with that for all island populations. Wikipedia captures the history that brings Hawaii to this moment well:
“Settled by Polynesians sometime between 1000 and 1200 CE, Hawaii was home to numerous independent chiefdoms. In 1778, British explorer James Cook was the first known non-Polynesian to arrive at the archipelago; early British influence is reflected in the state flag, which bears a Union Jack. An influx of European and American explorers, traders, and whalers soon arrived, leading to the decimation of the once isolated Indigenous community through the introduction of diseases such as syphilis, tuberculosis, smallpox, and measles; the native Hawaiian population declined from between 300,000 and one million to less than 40,000 by 1890.
Hawaii became a unified, internationally recognized kingdom in 1810, remaining independent until American and European businessmen overthrew the monarchy in 1893; this led to annexation by the U.S. in 1898. As a strategically valuable U.S. territory, Hawaii was attacked by Japan on December 7, 1941, which brought it global and historical significance, and contributed to America's decisive entry into World War II. Hawaii is the most recent state to join the union, on August 21, 1959. In 1993, the U.S. government formally apologized for its role in the overthrow of Hawaii's government, which had spurred the Hawaiian sovereignty movement and has led to ongoing efforts to redress the indigenous population.”
So, it took one hundred years for the U.S. to apologize for past crimes against native Hawaiians, in other words, but the good news is that we now have an opportunity to heal historical wounds and make good on past promises.
Our hearts go out to all..Malama Maui!
 Michael Baigent, Astrology in Ancient Mesopotamia: The Science of Omens and the Knowledge of the Heavens, Inner Traditions/Bear & Company. Kindle Edition, p. 126.
 Ibid. Baigent cites Solomon’s “Song of Songs,” 6:10.