Australia’s House Is On Fire
Baking winds, sulphurous skies, raining cinders, the roaring; the trembling air, the red smoke, giant tongues of flame lashing the landscape, devouring trees and buildings. Fleeing animals, fleeing people, blankets of ash, a pall of smoke…
The images of the bush fires in Australia have been terrifying, infernal, apocalyptic — and shocking.
They came at the end of a year of massive fires around the globe: in the Amazon, North America, Central Africa and across Europe. But even in such a year, these bush fires are colossal. Apparently, so far 6.3 million hectares have burned, that’s about six times bigger than the recent Amazon fires. It’s an area about the size of the southern half of England. According to Sydney University about half a billion animals have been killed. It’s remarkable that there have been so few human deaths — and probably a tribute to the Australian people and their fire service.
This is the climate crisis as predicted by scientists for decades — extreme droughts bringing fire, followed by catastrophic flooding. Even on this soggy island there were more fires in 2019 than any year previously — and we expect flood now on an annual basis.
It’s been pointed out that in the past two decades, while other countries have been making some efforts (however feeble) to reduce CO2 emissions, Australia has been ramping up its fossil fuel dependency. The country’s now the world’s second biggest producer of coal. Australia’s government was ranked bottom in a recent survey on climate change policy.
So I wondered about Australia’s chart. Obviously, Australia’s origins really date back to the dreamtime, but horoscopes being the time-based things that they are, the charts to choose from date from after the arrival of Captain Cook in 1788.
The one most favoured by astrologers’ seems to be January 1, 1901 in Sydney at 1.35pm.
No wonder they call themselves the “Lucky Country” with Jupiter in his own sign Sagittarius making a conjunction to Mercury the messenger. But perhaps all those 8th house riches combined with Pluto and Neptune in the second house of money have something to do with Australia’s record as a polluter. A lot of money has been made out of mining which is associated with Pluto, Lord of the Underworld.
It’s hard to say when exactly the bushfires started, so there’s no birth chart for them. The omens were bad at the start of September, early spring, when more than 50 bushfires were burning one Sunday. From then, the fires have just grown and grown until we reached the horrendous Christmas and New Year’s infernos.
Vesta, the goddess of the sacred flame, the purifying fire, has been in Australia’s first house, this entire time. It’s an extra-long transit because of retrograde motion. She’s been in Taurus, the sign of the earth, of flowers, and of Australia’s Moon — representing the people. Vesta turned retrograde in September and on December 29, she turned direct. During that time, she went over that Moon twice. She’ll pass one more time over 20°24 Taurus on February 20.
At the same time, she’s been in Taurus, igniting, it seemed, the earth itself, she’s been squaring her own natal position in fiery Leo.
And there’s more fire in the chart too. Expansive Jupiter had a return to fiery Sagittarius as the fires built in intensity — and then things got really serious at the start of December when Jupiter moved into Capricorn — another earth sign.
Just as importantly, Ceres, the goddess who taught us agriculture, how to live with the land, has also been travelling through wild and fiery Sagittarius. Indeed, she made a conjunction with Jupiter on October 25 at 22° Sagittarius.
Note that Ceres in strategic Aquarius and Vesta in fiery Leo are in opposition in the natal chart. Interesting for a country where fire was traditionally used by the aboriginal people to manage the land.
In January, Jupiter brings that fire right to Australia’s Sun-Saturn conjunction. The South Node has just gone past them in the other direction.
At the same time, Ceres meets Saturn and Pluto at 23° Capricorn, the sign of governance — and perhaps, this meeting may be what these fires are leading up to. It’s a meeting that pertains not just to Australia, but to the rest of the world. The gods may be discussing how well humans have been observing their sacred task of looking after the earth.
Australia suffers but this is a message for the whole world. In fact, by next year, when Jupiter and Saturn both cross Australia’s midheaven and conjoin that well-placed Pallas, perhaps Australia will be leading the way.