clouds on the horizon
(This can also be found in Stories.)
“It surely depends on your definition of a year,” said Jim-Jam. “Are you measuring your 365 days from the start of January? Or one of the quarters?”
He fidgeted with his dressing-gown cord. His friend, as usual, was ready for the working day in sweater and jeans.
“I was looking at the winter solstice - what else?”
“Oh come on, Patrick. Engage brain. Why should we always start a cycle with winter? And why not spring? Everything’s beginning. It’s the Aries point for Pete’s sake.”
“And you have to take into consideration the civil year. It’s an agreed human cycle. The calendar is an idea that morphed into an event. Regular as clockwork. You know as well as I do that astrology maps the life of ideas just as vividly as physical phenomena. I need some more coffee.”
“You get it - it’s your kitchen!”
When James returned with two large mugs of Lazy Sunday the laptop was back on and Patrick was staring at the screen.
“Thanks, Jim-Jam. OK, I’ve got Solar Fire running and the winter solstice horoscope for 2011. You want me to check out the spring equinox?”
“Yes, and also the start of the calendar year 2012. I mean, when all the red-tops are yelling ‘wettest year since records began!’ in mile-high capitals ...”
“You do exaggerate!”
“... they are talking about the year that started at 0h00 on the first of January. End of.”
“So you don’t want me to look at spring.”
“Of course I do! If we want to discover the connections between astrology and our weather we have to keep all options open. Don’t forget what Jung said, ‘Whatever is born or done at a moment of time has the qualities of that moment of time.’ We know what the qualities should be ...”
“We think we do.”
“... and we are looking for the moment....”
“... when there are clouds on the horizon?”
The moment that was looking back at the two friends from a white circle on the starry desktop showed two planets overhead and the rest below the line of the Ascendant-Descendant,
“Oh just look at that!” Patrick was exultant.”A rising Moon! In Scorpio! How much destructive water do you want? How’s that for storm clouds? Eh, Jim-Jam?”
“Well, it’s certainly looking good for the winter solstice I have to admit. What does spring 2012 have to show us?”
“Not a lot.” The diagram was devoid of angular planets. Nothing in the sky of March 20th 2012 at 5h14 am had the prominence and power of that winter Moon. James was deflated. Spring should have been another valid beginning.
Patrick wagged a finger. “Don’t forget there was actually a serious drought in the spring - totally misleading as it turned out. No, the traditional year wins this one!”
“Your memory is rubbish, my friend. We had a dangerously dry winter; it was spring when the downpours began. But why can’t I see them?...” he added more to himself now.
How easy it was these days to search through the planetary patterns; no more hours and hours of aching eyes and writers cramp as the hard-pressed astrologer crawled through calculations with books of logarithms and reams of paper, no more Tippex, no more nasty inky edges on the ruler, no more leaky and dying biros. Astrological software had evolved from 1970s punch-cards through the blue and white of DOS to the current generation of programs for Windows; these now performed every conceivable mathematical handspring for the enthused researcher, and displayed the results with clarity and beauty.
“I still want to put up the chart for 2012.”
“OK Jim-Jam. I do take your point.”
A few keystrokes and mouse-clicks entered the data for New Year, 0h00 on January 1st 2012, in London. They stared at it in silence. A little smile appeared like a sunrise on James’s face as he realised how right his instincts had been.
“Clouds on the horizon, Patrick.”
“Angular Moon again.”
“Not only the Moon setting but of course square to the New Year Sun, down there at the lower meridian with Pluto. Ever since Pluto went into Capricorn, with the Sun at the start of the year, we’ve been getting extreme weather. Add the Moon at right-angles and the whole country is lined up for exceptional rain. Wow,”
“It’s a double whammy, with the solstice.”
“A double whammy.”
“Even changing location doesn’t make much difference. The New Year horizon and meridian are always square.”
Then Jim-Jam had another thought.
“But suppose we did the dwad?”
“Trust a bonkers Aquarian to make a suggestion like that.”
“Patrick, you are as square as these angles. You know how easy it is with Solar Fire. We just go into the Indian Astrology module.”
“Because it’s a fractal . Astrology is all about twelve. We work with twelve signs whether in the western zodiac or the eastern constellations. All the dwad does is divide each sign into twelve more tiny ones. It’s a natural system of fine-tuning; it exposes the inner truth of every chart - every person - every event. You should know that by now!”
His friend had been straightening the higgledy-piggledy pile of books and magazines on the breakfast table, and brushed away some crumbs.
“I’m not convinced. You’re confusing two entirely different zodiac systems.”
“Look at you! Picky old Virgo. No sense of adventure. Yet you’re so meticulous; you’re perfectly cut out for dwad work if only you’d let go of your prejudice.”
“You do it then. It’s your computer. I don’t see what more it can add. And I wish you’d put some clothes on.”
“I prefer to be comfy, thank you ... and stop tidying everything! You’ve been fiddling with my stuff ever since you arrived. Right. Dwads. The whole lot. Here we go.”
It took only a minute to fill the screen with the second set of tiny charts, their kaleidoscope of Suns, Moons and planets dispersed on the circles with no apparent respect to astronomy.
“One more thing ...”
Jim-Jam selected the winter chart and its dwad offspring for December 22nd 2011 at 5h30 am, and put them up on the screen as concentric circles, one inside the other.
“Now will you listen to me when I tell you about fractals?”
“Could be coincidence.”
“Ceres is only an asteroid. I don’t see the significance.”
“Oh Patrick! Where have you been for the last six years? She’s officially a dwarf planet now. And - crucially - rules agriculture. And she was discovered on the very day the UK came into being, so she has an intimate connection with our affairs. Look what has been happening! Months of destructive rain impacting the whole of the UK, bringing our farmers close to ruin and whacking up food prices just when her son-in-law Pluto plunged the EEC into a multi-dip recession. And you don’t see the significance.”
“OK.” His friend sounded weary. He never could keep up with Jim-Jam. “What about New Year?”
“Moonset ... moonset ... moonset,” James muttered to himself. “... but what have we got in the dwad? ... Ah!”
“No clouds on the horizon!” said Patrick.
“No. No clouds on the horizon. These patterns can tell us a lot about the season; but they have nothing to say about our wettest year.
It was vital to check them out - but on this point I concede. Clearly, spring is just spring. However! ... that winter solstice and the New Year chart are both so full of rain that surely we have two reliable forecasts here? Don’t you agree, Patrick?”
“I still think the winter solstice has the edge.”
“You may be right.”
“I tell you one thing we haven’t done and we could do ...”
“What’s that, my friend?”
“Find out what was going on when that early drought eventually broke. And we haven’t looked at any of the weather headlines either.”
“Will this help us with forecasting, Patrick?”
“Why not? I have this hunch that we also need to be looking at the start of a day as well as the start of a season or a year, Jim-Jam. And the start of an event of course.”
“Have we got any?”
“I’ll say we have! Didn’t you see the Channel 4 documentary the other night all about the year Britain flooded?”
“Patrick, you are right on the money. This is good. Excellent thinking!”
There was the angular Moon they had been hoping for. At the start of that crucial day, April 11th 2012, with the Aries Sun at its lowest point in the sky the UK had the Moon on the Ascendant in prodigal Sagittarius, pouring back into the country’s aquifers all that the drought had stolen, with interest.
James produced the bi-wheel. In the dwad, the IC was clustered with Saturn, Uranus and Jupiter, and had just reached the radix Sun/Pluto. At the radix Midheaven was dwad Moon. The dwad Sun was 5 minutes of arc from radix Mars.
“What a filthy sky!”“What did I tell you, Jim-Jam? Now, do the start of the day again! See if there was a warning. It will test the theory. It worked with April 11th and it should work with the 28th of June.”
In Gateshead at true midnight the Sun/Pluto opposition straddled the meridian just as the closing conjunction of Moon and Saturn hit the western horizon. Dwad Saturn was at the radix IC.
“Do you think Piers Corbyn does this?”
“He doesn’t give much away.”
“He says he uses the sun. And the moon.”
“That could mean anything.”
“If we get this right we could steal some of his trade!”
“And upset the Met Office.”
“And Carol Kirkwood.”
“Which mug do you want? ...”