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September 2005

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Two storms, two wars and two Georges - storms in visual astrology - Bernadette Brady
    New Orleans: the other side of brilliance  - Darrelyn Gunzburg  

VAN Archive - www.Zyntara.com



This month has been engulfed by hurricane Katrina. We are all asking questions about the impact of this hurricane on the people of the USA so this issue of the V.A.N. is focused on the visual astrology view of Katrina. The first article by myself attempts to see the current events through the eyes of an Assyrian astrologer, while the second by Darrelyn Gunzburg is an insightful and sensitive focus on the city of New Orleans.



  Two storms, two wars and two Georges
Storms in Visual Astrology

  Bernadette Brady M.A.

The role of the Tupsar Enuma Anu Enlil  (one of the early names and possibly the original name for an astrologer) was varied. They were not only astrologers (or diviners) but also meteorologists and economic advisors, as well as healers and holders of medical knowledge. Therefore the predicting of storms and/or floods was well within their job description and represents an overlap of meteorological as well as astrological knowledge.   

The metrological and astrological approach was to observe the current celestial omens and then scan the records of the sky omens, the Enuma Anu Enlil, to look for previous occurrences of the celestial pattern which could be both planetary and/or atmospheric. They would then consider the recorded history linked to those omens. With this in hand the scholar either simply reported the reading from the Enuma Anu Enlil  or endeavoured to build on the body of knowledge and add new insights to the possible manifestation of the observed celestial events. In this sense little has changed, as the modern astrologer some 4,000 years later still refers to earlier occurrences of planetary patterns to give insights into future events.   

But where we differ from our ancient predecessors is that they would not only have attempted to predict a storm, they would also have used the storm as a celestial omen in its own right, so that that which is being predicted, upon its occurrence, becomes the source for further predictions. We have clear evidence of this in this example written around the period of  670 B.C.E. by the Assyrian priest Balasi who wrote:

“If a storm rises from the south: fall of the Westland.” (Hunger.1992:48)

To the Assyrians the storm god was the god Tesup or Tispak, the great Snake Dragon, considered all- powerful and even linked to Marduk, the one that could bring the return of chaos with a simple thought. So the evidence of a great storm would have been considered a message from this Snake Dragon.
However, in our modern astrology we reduce our vision to just sky objects such as planets, asteroids, centaurs or stars and within this framework we look with varying success to different horoscopes to show us the signature of such a great storm. The horoscopes used will be many, as astrology is fractal- like, with the symbol of such an event showing up in almost any chart loosely linked to the storm, clear in retrospect but much harder to anticipate.

Yet in the face of such a great storm as Katrina and in an endeavour to see the world through Mesopotamian eyes, we can consider the great hurricane of Katrina as a celestial omen in itself and turn the tables on the modern astrological approach in that Katrina becomes the protasis, the sky omen itself, rather then the apodosis, the forecasted event. Granted we are stepping into uncharted waters within visual astrology by letting go of our heavenly bodies. However, with this acknowledged, let us consider the question that would have undoubtedly been asked of our Assyrian predecessors:

“What does such a great storm mean for the kingdom?”

Or phrased in a more modern manner :

"Does this event - the occurrence of the worst hurricane in US history - hold any portents for the US or world events to come?"

Now the most junior of Assyrian sky watchers would have noted a strong and obvious pattern: the two largest recorded hurricanes to strike the USA have been Hugo (landfall 21 September 1989) and now Katrina (landfall 29 August 2005) and both have interesting parallels. 

At the time of Hugo the president in power was George Bush. It is reported that after hurricane Hugo, George Bush had to send in military troops in order to stop the looting and lawlessness which was unfolding in South Carolina. The Assyrian scholars would have also noted that within a year of Hurricane Hugo, Bush had taken the kingdom to an what is now considered an unsuccessful war. This was, of course, the Gulf War (2 August, 1990)  which Bush uncannily named Desert Storm.

Now, some sixteen years later, the great storm of Hugo has been superseded by hurricane Katrina and Bush’s son is in the White House. Like his father, George W. Bush's first action was to send in troops to restore law and order in the face of large scale crime and looting. Now he is sending in troops to give aid. He is also, once again, involved in a war in the Gulf.    

Building on this theme, if we take one step back from the two Bush’s and the two greatest storms to hit the USA and looking for the biggest hurricane before Hugo and Katrina, we come to hurricane Hazel, 5th -16th October, 1954. At that time Eisenhower was in power and what followed that great storm was the nuclear arms race of 1955. The USA tested nuclear devices in Nevada as well as the Pacific in May,  1955 and the USSR tested nuclear weapons in July and August, 1955. There was so much fear of nuclear attack that the US Congress issued the law that all US bank notes and coins carry the accountability-denying slogan “In God We Trust”, a message they still carry. 

This fear of nuclear attack continues but now focused on Iran rather then USSR. 

So what would the Assyrian priest reply be to the question of Katrina? Probably they would suggest to the king to step back from military activity as it would be non-productive but more importantly, such a potent sky omen would indicate defeat of the king’s army. Unfortunately although the Assyrian king would probably have taken note of his scholars, one doubts that George W. Bush will do the same.    

But we do not need to enter into total weather omens. We can possibly see this storm god in our starry sky, for the constellation Leo stands on the back of the constellation of the Hydra and this particular sky combination was recorded, observed and even drawn by Assyrian scholars. We do not have evidence that the Assyrians saw these two constellations as the Snake Dragon but one can argue that, since the Lion and the Snake always rise together, this is a feasible assumption. (See images below of the Lion and The Snake rising together.)

If we accept this argument, then we can also note that, for all three hurricanes this Snake Dragon was rising with the sun.

Now we can dismiss all of this by acknowledging the fact that Leo and the Hydra rise before the sun every year at the same time, which meteorologist will quickly point out is the hurricane season. Every year hurricanes occur from 1st June till mid October, with the worst hurricanes occurring in the latter part of the season.


But for the last few thousands years, this is also the time  when the sun travels amongst the stars of the (possible) Snake Dragon.

So which came first, the hurricane season or the Snake Dragon rising with the sun?

And within this thinking could one argue that, since the Snake Dragon rises later in the calendar from one year to the next (due to precession), that it is the Snake Dragon which is slowly dragging the hurricane season later into the Autumn or Fall? Maybe in 4,000 years from now, in 6,000 C.E. the hurricane season will be around November and December.

Either way the Assyrian scholars would point out that this does not augur well for the next twelve months in the USA and consequently the rest of the world.



Hunger, Herman. (1992). Astrological Reports to Assyrian Kings. Helsinki, Finland: Helsinki University Press.
Black, Jeremy and Green, Anthony.(1998). Gods, Demons and Symbols of Ancient Mesopotamia. London. The British Museum Press.




 New Orleans: the other side of brilliance
A Case Study by Darrelyn Gunzburg 

A city of jazz, currently filled with the drone of rescue helicopters. A city surrounded by water, currently filled with water. A city of King Cakes,café au lait, beignets, muffuletta sandwiches, gumbo and red beans ‘n’ rice, currently cooking in the heat and humidity of summer.

The decision to found Nouvelle-Orléans or New Orleans (named for the French regent, the Duc d’ Orléans) was made in Paris in 1717. Jean Baptiste LeMoyne, Sieur de Bienville, the man also responsible for the foundation of the city and who became the first governor of Louisiana, envisaged it as a “port of deposit” or transhipment centre, for future trade from upriver in the Mississippi Valley. The Encyclopaedia Britannica [1] cites March 1718 as the month and year for when clearing of the underbrush began. No specific date has been recorded. Therefore it is reasonable to consider the new moon chart in March - 2nd March, 1718, 1:15:13 AM – as the beginning of this whole new venture.  

New Orleans was built to do business. In an era before railways, highways, and air travel, most of the nation's commerce flowed along the Mississippi, sweeping cotton, grain, sugar and a raft of other commodities to New Orleans' door.

But New Orleans is more than a trading port. As Howard Jacobson recently wrote [2], New Orleans is “...not only a way of life but a way of thinking about life…”.

A small measure of the wealth of creative talent that has emerged from this city over the centuries includes:

 Louis Moreau Gottschalk (1829-1869) - pianist and composer
 Jelly Roll Morton (1890-1941) - jazz musician and composer
Louis Armstrong (1901-1971) - trumpet player and singer
 Lillian Hellman
(1905-1984) - playwright
 Ray Walston (1914-2001) - actor
Al Hirt (1922-1999) - trumpeter
Truman Capote (1924-1984) - novelist
Fats Domino (1928 -) -
popular exponent of the classic New Orleans R&B sound
 Jerry Lee Lewis (1935-) - singer
 Ellen DeGeneres (1956-) -
comedienne and talk show host
Wynton Marsalis (1961-) - leading jazz and classical player

This cornucopia of creative talent that journeys out from New Orleans to stand on the world stage is expressed in the new moon chart of 1718 as an alternative Venus (detriment) square the exalted Jupiter.

As if in confirmation of this, Starlight tells us that Venus has only one fixed star linked with her brilliant appearance as an evening star that March new moon and it happens to be the brightest star in the sky.

                          Sirius rising as Venus is Culminating orb 01 mins 38 secs -
                                 The poet, the artist or the talented musician

Natally Venus in the sign of Aries, its detriment, square to Jupiter in the sign of Cancer, its exaltation. So we could say that New Orleans rushes headlong into socialising and networking (Venus in Aries), actively seeking challenges (cardinal square/Venus in Aries) and optimistically believing all will be well (Venus square Jupiter). To a certain degree this is the case, since Jupiter is exalted and suggests that, as long as New Orleans can keep her finger on the pulse of her social contacts, then she gains success from them. If, however, New Orleans allows her social networks to foment aggression and confrontation (Venus is in Aries) this will cause her difficulties. But if she allows her Venus to stretch, stimulate, arouse and inspire her and to mix that with some form of an alternative flavour, then linked with the exalted Jupiter, and the star of Sirius,  the optimism and joyfulness becomes artistically inspirational.

Historically we know that the first residents of New Orleans were a mix of Canadian backwoodsmen, company craftsmen and troops, convicts, slaves, women of uncertain virtue and indigents [3], hence this alternate flavour was fulfilled in the eighteenth century. This theme then continued through the city’s evolution with the birth of its distinctive culture and music. It also gave birth to Ellen DeGeneres’ whose television character “Ellen” came out in 1997 as openly gay, the first openly gay character starring in a television show.

However, there are other points to make about Venus in this new moon chart of 1718. Venus is almost at her greatest elongation in this chart, so she is seen as a bright evening star, radiating all that she touches. In developing all of her alternate themes, she radiates great light into the social word but being in detriment she needs the help and support of others in order to function effectively in the world. And on that night of the new moon in March of 1718, as Venus culminated, in New Orleans, the great brilliant star of Sirius rose (image right).

Sirius is one of the great stars of the sky. The Egyptians called it The Shining One or The Scorcher and it was linked with the life-giving waters of the Nile.

Now any city built in a drained delta is liable to flooding and, additionally, New Orleans is sited in a hurricane pathway. Brady, in Starlight tells us Sirius is the marker of great deeds where, through the individual being sacrificed to the collective expression, the mundane can become sacred, where the small action of the individual may have a large effect on the collective.

With Sirius linked to New Orleans’ Venus in the new moon chart of 1718, and with Venus being in detriment, the wreckage caused by the hurricane has forced her to demand help and support from the USA administration. The city known for its ”thousand musical architectural, literary, culinary and multi-ethnic associations" [4] is now expressing the other side of the brilliance of Sirius in paran with her Venus: that of being drowned in order to make a collective statement.

We could postulate that the sacrifice of the city is bringing to attention the inadequacy of New Orleans’ social services (Venus). For too long the outside world has gloried in her creativity. Now Sirius is insisting on a redress, at the cost of the lives of her citizen. Yet Sirius is the blast of energy that can burn or achieve things that were never thought possible. So Sirius promises that New Orleans will rise from the waters and so we can anticipate the continuation of the alternative music and art - but now underscored with greater social justice - that will result.

[1] The Encyclopaedia Britannica (1986) University of Chicago, Vol. 24, p.864
[2] The Independent, Saturday 3rd September, 2005, p.42
[3] The Encyclopaedia Britannica, ibid.
[4] The Independent, ibid.

Note: We now only have eight (8) of the original 50 copies left of Starlight at our special price. We anticipate that these will only last a week or so, so if you have been considering taking advantage of this sale you will need to act within the next few days.

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For those interested in self-study  - A Studyshop by Bernadette Brady on star phases and star myths.