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On June 27, at 1:37 pm PDT, a wildfire started at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in Washington state, about 120 miles from Seattle. Thousands of people were evacuated, and fire scorched nearly half the 560-square-mile site, destroying 70 homes and buildings as it crept within two miles of some of the most lethal nuclear waste on Earth—waste dating back to the creation of the atomic bomb.

Government sources say no radiation was released into the environment in the Hanford blaze, though the potential for disaster was truly stunning. And this was the third serious nuclear incident since late 1999, when a mishap at a nuclear facility in Japan caused serious problems, followed by the recent fire at Los Alamos National Labs. Astrologers might well inquire whether these kinds of events follow a particular astrological signature.

A Defining Moment

To find a pattern, we need only return to the defining moment of the nuclear age. When the first self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction occurred, in a makeshift laboratory on a squash court in Chicago (December 2, 1942, at 3:25 pm CWT), a rare conjunction of Saturn and Uranus in Gemini  was rising. This was closely opposed by a conjunction in Sagittarius, including the Sun and Mercury.

Saturn represents structure; in the chain-reaction chart, it was conjunct Uranus (the planet after which man-made Uranium was named), which represents energy and the breaking of structure. With this stressful conjunction, humanity experienced the irreversible breaking of matter, the release of the nuclear force and the beginnings of a long-term relationship with atomic energy and nuclear crisis.

The Nuclear Axis

Repeated nuclear events over the past 58 years have led some astrologers to describe these degrees across early Gemini-Sagittarius as "the nuclear axis," which is highly sensitive to transits. One critical degree in this axis appears to be Saturn's location at the time of the first chain reaction, 8 degrees 56 minutes of Gemini.

With all of the important nuclear disasters since the first chain reaction, including Chernobyl, Three Mile Island and last year's accident at a uranium processing facility in Tokai, Japan, the nuclear axis has been under transit by slow-moving planets, such as Saturn, Chiron, Uranus and Pluto.


For example, when the first memorable nuclear disaster occurred on March 27, 1979 (at 3:57 am, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania), transiting Saturn was within 20 minutes of an exact square to natal Saturn in the first chain reaction chart, at 8 degrees Virgo and 36 minutes. The Saturn square is often a critical or defining moment within any cycle where Saturn is directly involved.


The next time Saturn and Uranus formed their rare conjunction, it was 1986, and the world witnessed the terrifying disaster at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in the Ukraine (April 26, 1986, at 1:26 am). Once again, Saturn-Uranus was rising in the east, the most prominent position in a horoscope. Saturn was precisely, that is, within 19 arc minutes of exact opposition to its position at the first chain reaction, located in the Chernobyl chart at 8 degrees 57 minutes Gemini.

In events since last September, the nuclear axis has been strongly aspected by the ongoing Chiron-Pluto conjunction in Sagittarius.


When the nuclear accident in Tokai, Japan occurred last year (September 30, 1999, at 10:35 am JST, Tokai, Japan), Pluto (the planet after which Plutonium was named) was at 8 degrees 13 minutes Sagittarius, as well as rising in the due east—precisely square the Saturn position in the chain reaction chart, again, within arc minutes.

Incredibly, the Moon was at 8 degrees 35 minutes Gemini and setting, exactly in the due west, also square Saturn in the atom split chart. Note the exactitude of these degrees, remembering that there are 360 in the astrological wheel, and all the planets move at very different speeds. Once again, the nuclear axis was prominent, highlighted by the three most important astrological indicators: planetary position, proximity to the horizon and the angle of the Moon, all of which, in this case, were exact.

Los Alamos

Though past its exact aspect, the Chiron-Pluto conjunction in Sagittarius is apparently still well within orb of the nuclear axis, as serious wildfires have threatened two of the most critical nuclear facilities in the United States, Los Alamos National Laboratory, where nuclear bombs are designed, and the Hanford site, where historical nuclear artifacts are disposed of.


During last week's fire at Hanford, the Moon crossed the nuclear axis in Gemini, opposing Pluto and Chiron, at the peak of the blaze.

Whatever the ultimate meaning of these aspects may be, one thing is clear: major nuclear events exist in direct relationship to the splitting of the atom, not just because without one the other would have been impossible, but also due to some connection on a hidden level.

Though only astrologers are in a position to see the alignments, the focus is thrown back on the origins of the nuclear crisis, the splitting of the atom. Will astrology ever be in a position to warn those in control of nuclear machinery when we are approaching a danger zone along the nuclear axis? With Saturn currently entering the sign Gemini, and approaching the second return to its position in the chain-reaction chart, we can only hope so.



Eric Francis, the Seattle-based astrologer and essayist, writes Planet Waves. His twice-weekly horoscope and news service covers astrology, personal growth, environmental issues and political affairs. Eric blends astrology with investigative journalism and personal narrative to create a humorous, alive, and even responsible news source unique in the world.

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Other StarIQ articles by Eric Francis:

  • Venus and Mars Retrograde: Looking Back, Looking Within   1/25/2014
  • Beyond Death and Dowry: A New Sexuality   8/11/2012
  • Holistic Astrology: An Introduction to Chiron   3/17/2012
  • Beyond Death and Dowry: A New Sexuality   9/3/2004
  • When Lovers Become Parents and What to do About It   2/12/2001
  • Imbolc: In the Belly of the Stars   2/1/2001
  • Unbroken Chain: Samhain, Halloween and Scorpio   10/31/2000
  • The Kursk: Things Fall Apart   9/20/2000
  • Getting It Right: What to Do When Astrology Goes Wrong   7/30/2000
  • Go Figure! Newspaper Astrologers: How Do They Do It?   7/12/2000
  • Spicing Up Mercury Retrograde   7/6/2000

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