Astrologers have been writing recently about the explosive nature of the Sun/Mars conjunction in Aries which became exact at 7:20 PM CDT (8:20 PM EDT) on Wednesday, 17 April 2013. (The more precise time is 7:19:50 PM CDT.) On a mundane level one would expect explosive events to occur during the days or weeks surrounding the exact formation of this astrological aspect. Right on cue, thirty minutes after the current Sun/Mars conjunction became exact, a huge explosion occurred at a fertilizer plant in West, Texas. In classical astrology the Sun and Mars are the “hottest” planets. The sun generates the heat and light which sustains life on this planet. Mars is named after the god of war and is fond of weapons, force, dominance and conquest. When stressed, Mars tends to act violently with an explosive temper.
Back in 2008, Vedic astrologer Sam Geppi wrote:
“Combustion is a phenomenon that occurs when a planet gets close to the Sun in the sky relative to our perspective here on Earth. When this happens, the rays of that planet get ‘burnt’ up by the Sun. This creates a hypersensitivity with the things related to that planet’s energy. This hypersensitivity brings about some irritability, touchiness and potential anger, but can also be a powerful catalyst to illuminate and purify that planet’s energy (illumination and purification are qualities of the Sun). Especially if there are situations that revolve around power imbalances and the perceived abuse of authority (things related to the Sun), the combust planet will act out the hypersensitivity per its nature and disposition. … Of all the planets, Mars is the most susceptible to combustion…”
The Boston Marathon bombings occurred under the influence of Mars combust the Sun and may turn out to “revolve around power imbalances and the perceived abuse of authority,” as Geppi suggests. The vedic astrology site navamsa.com comments about the sidereal chart for the 15 April 2013 Boston explosions: “In this sidereal chart, ascendant lord Sun and Mars are combust in the ninth house. These already-hot planets are further amplified in Aries where they’re respectively exalted/owners. They’re joined in the ninth by Ketu, also considered a hot planet because of its affinity with Mars.” On the same site, Shive Chadha comments about the post, “When Ketu and Mars both combine in same sign they mean violent death.” This pattern is still in effect on 17 April but in the 7th house of the tropical chart rather than the 9th.
Let’s look at a chart for the West Texas fertilizer plant explosion. News sources give the time as “around 7:50 PM” and the dallasnews.com says the emergency call came in at 7:53 PM. Assuming that someone witnessing the explosion would try to call 911 immediately, I cast the chart for 7:53 PM: “Emergency personnel were bracing for the possibility of dozens of dead in the blast, which was reported at 7:53 p.m. and could be heard 45 miles away in Waxahachie.” Below is the chart with Regiomontanus houses, which I prefer for mundane events. It is possible the explosion occurred a minute or two earlier, but symbolically it seems likely that Leo (ruled by the Sun) would be on the MC, which entered Leo at 7:51:52 PM CDT in West, Texas on 17 April 2013. The event probably occurred just as the MC was leaving Cancer and moving into Leo, giving the Sun (Leo’s ruler) the extra boost of angular energy to ignite the Mars/Sun/Venus complex at the Descendant.
Most noteworthy about this chart is the Sun/Mars conjunction is Aries almost exactly on an angle (DSC). This conjunction opposes the ASC and conjoins the ASC-ruler Venus. Angular positions are the most powerful in the chart. The exact conjunction took place at 7:20 PM CDT and the Mars/Sun conjunction crossed the angle at 7:55 PM CDT in West, Texas. The blast occurred around 7:53 or a minute or two earlier.
It is symbolically interesting the ASC-ruler Venus lies in Taurus, a sign associated with the fertility of the earth and thus with fertilizers. Mars in this chart rules the 6th house, which in mundane astrology represents the nation’s factories, food reserves, crops and the farming industry. As the vedic astrologers noted, ASC-ruler Venus is “trapped” between the Moon’s South Node (Ketu, of the nature of Saturn) and the Sun/Mars conjunction. A retrograde Saturn is opposing this entrapment of Venus from the 1st house across the wheel. Venus in the event chart also rules the 8th house of death.
In horary astrology a retrograde Saturn in the 1st house is considered particularly detrimental. Here Saturn lies in Scorpio, so it is disposed by Mars in the 7th. Saturn opposes ASC-ruler Venus which conjoins the Mars/Sun conjunction in the 7th. Mars also disposes Uranus in the 6th and Saturn disposes Pluto in the 3rd. Uranus and Pluto are traveling in a troublesome square, and the energy of this square is carried by the rulers of rulers of Aries and Capricorn (Mars and Saturn) into the stressful combination involving Venus, Mars and the Sun.
A Note about Combustion in Astrology:
There are differing ideas in the literature about what constitutes the state of combustion. I first read about it in William Lilly (1647) and here is his definition:
Combustion – from Christian Astrology (1647, W. Lilly)
A Planet is said to be Combust of the Sun, when in the same Sign where the Sun is in, he is not distant from the Sun eight degrees and thirty minutes, either before or after the Sun; as Jupiter in the tenth degree of Aries, and Sun in the eighteenth of Aries; here Jupiter is Combust. Also: You must observe a Planet is more afflicted when the Sun hastens to conjunction of him, then when the Sun receds from him. Interpretation: The significator of the Querent Combust, shews him or her in great fear, and over powered by some great person.
Here is a timeline for current combustion of Mars by the Sun:
March 10 (2013): Sun is Pisces becomes about 8.5 degrees distant from Mars in Aries.
March 20: Sun enters Aries and is about 6 degrees distant from Mars, so the combustion of Mars officially begins according to Lilly’s definition.
April 10 (5:35 a.m. EDT): New Moon in Aries supercharges the complex of planets Uranus, Moon, Sun, Mars and Venus — all in Aries. Sun lies 1 degree 42 minutes away from Mars.
April 15: Boston Marathon bombings. Sun approaches Mars in Aries by 30 minutes of arc.
April 17: Texas Fertilizer Plant explosion. Sun exactly conjunct Mars at 7:20 PM CDT, just a half hour before the blast.
May 20 (2013): Sun enters Gemini. Sun and Mars are now 7 degrees 37 minutes apart, and according to Lilly Mars is no longer combust because the Sun has moved to a different sign.
Thus, according to Lilly, Mars is combust the Sun from March 20 – May 20, 2013 with the peak effect being felt around April 17, 2013 when the Sun and Mars exactly conjoin. We can view the effect of the combustion as a bell-curve whose peak occurs on April 17th but whose influence extends for a month before and after that date. The period leading up to April 17th is more significant because, according to Lilly, explosive Mars is more afflicted when the Sun hastens to conjunction of him. The period between the New Moon in Aries on April 10th and the perfection of the Sun/Mars conjunction on April 17th would be the most likely time for a mundane event related to the nature of Mars to occur.