Tragedy in Turkey
One of astrology’s traditions is that challenging events may occur around the time of eclipses, and that they are especially likely in the region where the eclipse is visible, the so-called “eclipse path.” The lunar and solar eclipses in the summer of 1999 had the most conflict aspects of any in the 20th century, and the world seems to be trying to live up to that ancient traditions. The eclipse path only cut across a corner of the former Yugoslavia, but the violence in Kosovo continues as Kosovars retaliate against the Serbs. Mass graves are still being found in Kosovo where the Serbs shot men, women, and children. The earthquake death toll in Turkey passed 14,000 with many thousands still buried in collapsed buildings. Other countries in the eclipse path include Iraq, which is till subject to frequent U.S. air strikes, and India and Pakistan who threaten a nuclear arms race. Obviously, the trouble spots in the world are not limited to the eclipse path, but the current death toll is higher in that region.
The earthquake was originally reported as hitting at 3 A.M. on August 17, 1999. Later reports gave 3:01 and 3:02, with a higher consensus on the last figure. The quake shook a sizable part of northwest Turkey, with its epicenter near Izmit, but serious damage extended up to 200 miles away. Its estimated magnitude was 7.4. In recent years, many citizens had flooded into the cities from the rural areas of Turkey, looking for work, and contractors had thrown up large numbers of multistory apartments to house them. Though Turkey theoretically had building standards similar to California, they were rarely enforced, and many of the new buildings simply collapsed. 30% of the housing stock of Turkey was said to be destroyed, but very few factories, which were better built. One report claimed that a single contractor had built 60 buildings in one city in the past five years, and all but two collapsed. Many countries sent rescue teams with dogs and sophisticated equipment to try to detect surviving people under the pancaked buildings, but relatively few could be saved. The widespread destruction of roads and bridges made it very difficult to reach many towns. Loss of power and water compounded the problems. Oil refineries went up in flames, and the main Naval Base was wiped out, preventing help from coming from some of the country’s military.
The August 28, 1999 issue of Science News describes the North Anatolian fault as a 1,200 kilometer-long tear extending across the northern part of Turkey. A slow-motion collision between Arabia and Eurasia, located on either side of Turkey, is pushing the small Anatolian plate carrying Turkey out of the way. The recent quake is estimated to have moved Turkey about 4 feet closer to Europe. Seismologists have observed that there were 6 large shocks between 1942 and 1967, and that they progressed west toward Istanbul like a line of dominos falling. They theorized that each tremor on the fault helped set off the next one, and they picked out the two most dangerous areas for the next quake, one of which caused the recent one. However, their guess on timing was way off. They did not expect it to occur until years later. If this domino theory is accurate, the next quake would be closer to Istanbul with its 12 million inhabitants. The government is considering abandonment of the most vulnerable of the quake-prone areas, which are described as extending about 50 meters on each sign of the fault line. In that area, even well-built buildings could collapse, while outside of it, there might be damage but little loss of life.
With so many cities affected, the angles of the various charts cover several degrees. The chart presented is for Izmit for 3:02 A.M., with an MC of 24 Pisces 56 and an Ascendant of 15 Cancer 5. Some 100 sailors were trapped inside their barracks at the Golcuk natal base, which had an MC of 22 Pisces 50 and an Ascendant of 12 Cancer 30. Farther east, Bolu’s MC was 26 Pisces 47 and its Ascendant 16 Cancer 28. Golcuk’s Ascendant/MC midpoint was conjunct Saturn and Tyr, the Norse Mars, while Izmit’s was opposite Mars. The IC in Bolu was on the Sun/Moon midpoint. Uranus was octile the midpoint of Saturn/south lunar node, and trioctile Saturn/north node, Pallas, and Atlantis. I watch these two midpoints as important keys to lessons. The obvious lesson for Turkey was the need for the government to force contractors to live up to their building standards. The Science News article previously cited comments that there are parallels between the Turkish and San Andreas faults. In both, land moves horizontally during quakes. The faults are the same length, and each splits into branches. The earthquake beneath Izmit happened on the north fork of the fault. “That behavior of the fault splitting up is much like what happens in the San Francisco Bay area of the San Andreas” says one expert. California needs to pay attention to the lessons learned in Turkey.
Like the August 11 eclipse chart, the traditional planets in the chart for the quake included many conflict aspects in the fixed signs. The Moon had just entered Scorpio to form a wide grand cross with Jupiter, Mercury, and Neptune. The Greek Neptune, Poseidon, who was considered the god of earthquakes as well as of the sea, was in 16 Leo, in orb of a square to Saturn. It was also opposite Edisona for the damage to power plants and lines, and square Gaea in 15 Scorpio 55 for the assault on the earth mother. Pele, a goddess of volcanoes and earthquakes, was in 12 Scorpio, square the lunar nodes. Ankara, the asteroid named for the capital of Turkey, was less prominent than I would have expected, though it was quincunx Mercury from 5 Pisces and trioctile the Part of Death in much of the eastern region of the quake. Izmit’s Part of Death aspected it within 2 degrees, and the aspect would be exact if the quake actually occurred at 3:01 A.M. as was reported in some sources.
The death goddesses were aspected, as would be expected. Libitina had just risen in Izmit. Atropos in 20 Virgo was octile Mercury and trioctile Jupiter. Hela in 24 Pisces was on the MC in much of the quake region, including in Istanbul. Hel in 9 Libra was octile the Sun. Many other asteroids could be mentioned, but perhaps the most important message comes from Vesta on the IC in the whole region if we allow a standard planetary orb. Vesta in its own sign calls for efficient work, for skill with one’s job, and can also show concern with healing. The IC symbolizes the land and the buildings built on it as well as the families living in them. Inefficient construction cost Turkey dearly in lives and money.
As a P.S., the last survivor to be pulled from the ruins is a five-year-old boy named Ismail who was trapped for 6 days. His sister said he was born on June 12, presumably in 1994 and most likely in his hometown of Cinarcik on the Marmara coast. We lack a birth time, but readers might want to run a noon chart for him.