Sunday, July 06, 2008


As now Pompeii is on the news because of its dreadful state and collapsing historical sites, it reminded me about the well-known eruption on August 24, AD 79.

To my surprise, the chart for the August of that year had the same dangerous conjunction of Mars and Ketu, therefore it was probably a violent period not only for Pompeii. However, this particular place was afflicted the most due to additional circumstances; obviously, combination of Mars and Ketu, which repeats every 1.8 year of the Mars orbital period, was not enough to produce such an event (for instance, minor eruptions of Vesuvius occurred 20 times in the last 300 years).

We are lucky to have a document providing timing of the eruption: the letter of Pliny the Younger to Tacitus, where he describes death of his uncle, Pliny the Elder, during the event. The family was in Misenum (town across the Bay of Naples) when the first cloud appeared above the mountain, and it happened at “about one in the afternoon”.

The chart is ruled by violent retro Mars and has retro Uranus exactly on the Imum Coeli (the bottom of the earth): some unexpected turbulent event starting in the ground. Ruler of 8th (house of death) is culminating Mercury in own sign. Retro Saturn, if we consider longitudes of fixed stars, is in conjunction with Fomalhaut, which is one of four supreme fixed stars and is said to give immortality. Since Saturn is malefic, this conjunction signifies “accidents, ailments affecting the lungs, throat and feet, loss through enemies… affairs involved at end of life, sudden death”. Indeed, Pliny the Elder, like many others in Pompeii, died of suffocation. Yet another unusual and malevolent indication is related to Uranus again. If we consider its rising, it coincides with the most evil star Algol. This constellation indicates “misfortune, violence, decapitation, hanging, electrocution and mob violence, and gives a dogged and violent nature that causes death to the native or others” (Robson).

It is interesting that the eruption was actually not abrupt, but took several days: many people kept waiting for better conditions in their homes (I suspect due to so many retro planets they couldn't make up their minds). For instance, Pliny the Elder came to Pompeii from Misenum to help his friends to evacuate on his galleon, but the sea was too turbulent to depart, and they didn't escape into the fields either, just waiting and moving from house to garden and back.

Pliny the Elder died on the next day after the first smoke of the Vesuvius. “As soon as it was light again, which was not till the third day after this melancholy accident, his body was found entire, and without any marks of violence upon it” (Pliny the Younger). This means that during those sorrowful days the Moon (significator of people) was moving through the sign of her detriment Capricorn, and I suspect the most deadly period was on the second day when it was squaring Mars-Ketu conjunction.

Our present planetary configurations are, fortunately, less dramatic: Mars-Ketu conjunction is separating, Uranus is less involved, and no violent fixed stars activated. Still, be careful until Mars separates from Saturn at the end of July. I expect accidents on water over July 5-8, 11-13, 19-21. I just hope to be wrong.


Seymour Hedke said...

What a relief to find an intelligent astrologer. Mars and his sign are strongly involved by volcanic eruptions and Ketu in square, conjunction etc is common. A sensitive area seems nowadays to be the Aries/Taurus and the Libra/Scorpio sign junction, but this may have been different then as the constellations and signs were closer in 79 AD. Great work noticing the fixed star conjunctions. Thanks for providing a chart of the event, which had been missing for me. Yet it proves again that the most disastrous body is the Galactic centre, then at c.3° tropical sign Sagittarius it is the final piece in your puzzle. May I use your chart with a link?

Valerie Livina said...

Dear Seymour Hedke,

Thank you very much for your interesting comment. I have not studied the Galactic centre, but I believe various indicators can signify the same event.

You are welcome to use the chart and the link, thank you for your interest.

Yours sincerely


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