Wind, Earth and the new kid in town: an Earthquake study.

One of the days that marked the history of Thessaloniki, the city I was born and live in was the 20th of June, 1978:  the day that an Earthquake of 6,5R  hit mercilessly the city for 10 seconds; buildings collapsed and the city’s center looked like it was bombed; traffic jams and the population in panic, trembling in every aftershock. People found refuge in temporary camps of military tents. Being born shortly after the biggest aftershock, I always felt I had to investigate this. This is, one could say, the wider context to which I was born into.

Greece is in general a country with much seismological activity. As in any such case, the quality of constructions and population in the place that gets hit by an Earthquake plays a significant role to its impact on that place. While this Earthquake wasn’t the first one that the wider area of Northern Greece had experienced or the strongest one, it had a huge impact, as it was the first one until then, to hit a highly populated, modern and more importantly unprepared, city.

The people that experienced these events have many stories to tell, each one seeing the facts by his view. One remembers watching a Mundial game on TV and suddenly running to save his life or his family’s; those that were kids, remember leaving the house in panic, living in a tent through the summer and playing outdoors all day with all their cousins and extended family.

I was raised with stories about that turbulent time. Some are funny, some tragic. The most popular urban legend of that period – except the one supporting that those earthquakes were provoked by heat! – was the one that connected the Moon’s phases with the phenomenon. Of course none of these stand!

Yet, there was a small portion of truth in this: there was indeed a connection of the Lunations and the events. While the Moon’s phases didn’t cause anything in any way, a twisted joke of natural coincidences fated all three Earthquakes, (the pre-earthquake near the end of May of 5,3R, the Main Earthquake of 6,5R at 20th of June and the aftershock at the beginning of July of 5R) to occur close to the Lunations that happened to take place at that specific period of time.

The study of mundane matters demands lots of work. We must trace potentials and if/ when those might find a way to be expressed. Those affairs are traditionally investigated with the use of the conjunction of the two slower planets, Jupiter and Saturn. This is called a Grand Conjunction and it occurs every 20 years. This chart for the Grand conjunction is the one I’ll use here as a base for this study, as if it were a natal chart.

The Grand Conjunction before the events of 1978 happened at 19/2/1961.

As the chart is casted for Thessaloniki, it shows things that are only relevant to this city. The Grand Conjunction took place at 25.12 Capricorn, a cardinal, earthy sign. It falls on a fixed star called Terebellum with the nature of Venus/Saturn, associated according to Robson, with violent death. Well, that alone doesn’t say much. But this Conjunction falls on the Asc by Antiscion, carrying this violent potential.

Mercury, the traditional ruler of Earthquakes is located at 6.11 Pisces. He is retrograde, combusted and falls on South Node: a nasty kind of Mercury. If the South Node shows ‘where it’ll hurt’ or ‘sacrifice’ then, having this nasty Mercury on it, shows that suffering might come through a nasty Mercurial event.

More importantly Mercury is placed in a focal point of the chart: in square with the Asc/ Dc axis, right to the bottom of the chart, where the IC should be. This placement emphasizes Mercury making him the focus point, in relevance to the event we have, because the IC symbolizes the Ground. 

The Moon is at 19.35 Aries, which will oppose by antiscion Mercury while next applies to bodily square the Grand Conjunction, which as we’ve seen is plugged in this chart by being on Asc by antiscion. As we will see in the charts that follow, the Moon is also a ‘key’ placement.

The Part of the Earthquakes falls at 23.35 Libra. It is interesting that Mercury falls on this Part by Antiscion bringing it into the play, showing once more a potential for an Earthquake.  Another point of interest is Mercury’s (separating due to his retrograde motion) opposition to Pluto, seen here as if it were a nasty kind of fixed star.

Lord 4, Jupiter, which is in Capricorn, is a bad case of Jupiter, being in his fall. The ground of the chart is ‘rotten’ or at least weakened. In conjunction to Saturn, natural significator of structures, gives an idea of ‘afflicted’ structures, in this case buildings, which fits what we know of the event.
It is obvious that Mercury is loaded with potential and so is this chart, having the most significant bit of the chart, the Grand Conjunction itself on Asc. The question is, if this potential will be triggered and give a fact.

The next chart is the Aries Ingress for 1978.

This chart is looked at separately. The first thing that screams for attention is again our main suspect, Mercury: right on 4th cusp, the ground. And the Moon next applies to him. There is potential for a Mercurial event here too.

While this chart is investigated separately, there are far too strong connections with the Grand conjunction’s chart for us to ignore:

The Ingress Mercury and IC pick up Grand Conjunction’s Moon (and Venus) and Ingress Lord 4 which in this chart is Mars, picks the Grand Conjunction itself by opposition and consequently the Asc/Dc axis by antiscion. Ingress Venus also picks up the Grand Conjunction Venus.

It is obvious that the Ingress chart’s ground (IC) is the one to be plugged in such a direct way with the G.C. chart. It looks like a spotlight is trying to draw our attention to what is important in the chart. Here we find our first indication that 1978 new astrological year has the dynamic to be the year in which the potential shown in the Grand Conjunction might manifest.

The Grand Conjunction chart’s Solar Return for 1978 (S.R.) gives us more testimonies about this year in which the potential we’ve seen will work its way out and makes things clearer about the nature of the events:

The first, most important testimony is that Solar Return Lord 4 ,Venus, hits with precision the Grand Conjunction’s Mercury, which as we’ve seen is loaded and ready for action. Along with Mercury she picks up as we’ve seen the South Node (where it’ll hurt). An equally important testimony is that Solar Return Mars (Lord 10) picks up again by opposition the Grand Conjunction and consequently Ingress Mars too. These testimonies are further reinforced by the emphasized Solar Return Nodes that hit the 4th/10th axis of the Grand Conjunction chart while the Solar Asc/Dc axis falls on the 2nd/8th axis of that chart.

Another interesting connection is that the Solar Return Midheaven picks up the Grand Conjunction’s Neptune. Neptune is known in Greek mythology as a God of the Sea but mainly for his bad temper, appetite for destruction and earthquakes. So, this too adds to the inauspicious clouds we’ve seen gathering over the city.

It is obvious that this Solar Return is strongly connected with the potential given by the Grand Conjunction and along with the testimonies in the Ingress chart, points us to the conclusion that 1978, is likely to be the year in which the events will take place.

The Eclipse chart before the events (7 April 1978), is closely connected again with both the Grand conjunction chart as well as with the Ingress chart and narrows down the timeline in which events would take place.

The Asc of this chart falls at 25.25 Virgo, so Lord 1 is Mercury and the Eclipse takes place in Aries so the Lord of the Eclipse is Mars. This chart’s MC falls on Al Hecka, a fixed star with the nature of Mars, indicating violence and danger of accidents (Robson) while Lord 4, Jupiter, is on Menkalinan again associated with violence.

Of course those by themselves are not of much importance. They do become important because this chart is as plugged in as it could be with all the potential we have seen. The first important point here is that the Eclipse Asc/Dc axis hits the IC/MC axis of the Grand Conjunction chart – thereafter also hits closely the Ingress Asc/DC too.

The most important bit of this chart which is the Eclipse itself closely hits the Grand Conjunction’s Moon (and Venus), so also the Ingress Mercury and IC/MC axis. Lord of the Eclipse Mars, opposes the Grand Conjunction. These are further amplified by Eclipse Lord 4 – with his unpleasant indications we’ve seen above – hitting with precision the Grand Conjunction’s Mars and the Eclipse Saturn picking up by antiscion the Solar Return Mercury. Last but not least, Eclipse Mercury hits by antiscion the Grand Conjunction’s Mercury which is our focal point. Another connection we find is that Eclipse 8th cusp falls on Grand Conjunction’s Moon.

Until now we have seen again and again that an Earthquake would happen. We took the Grand Conjunction’s potential and witness it to find ways to break out. The month in which the event would take place is shown by Lunar Returns. But here we have an escalated phenomenon and I think it’s best to see how that is shown in the relevant charts.

The first Lunar Return (L.R.) is for May 1978, the month in which the pre- earthquake took place, for which I will not cite the chart because it would be tiring for the reader. The first thing that draws the attention in this chart is that the Moon, our fixed point in a Lunar Return is located on Asc, with Mercury, natural significator of Earthquakes, immediately applying to conjunct her. In this ‘well behaved’ chart, Moon is also Lord 4: the ground meets with ‘Wind in the Earth’, the Earthquake.

The Lunar Return Mercury and Lunar Asc are picking up not only the Grand Conjunction’s (L.R.) Moon, but also the Ingress’ Mercury and IC and the previous Eclipse. Furthermore, the Asc/ Dc axis pick up the Grand Conjunction’s Mercury and the angles of this chart pick up by antiscion the angles of the Grand Conjunction chart.

This Return shows that the sequence of the events begins. The pre-earthquake of 5.3 Richter took place at 23rd of May. The city was caught by surprise in its sleep and while there were no victims, except one wounded, there were many damages and collapses caused in houses mainly located near the area of the epicenter.

The next Lunar Return which is our main interest is the one for June, the month in which the Earthquake took place.

The Lunar Return Asc falls with precision on the Ingress Moon, giving us the first major testimony that this month’s chart is tuned with the previous charts we’ve investigated.

Saturn here collects the light between Mercury who has just separated by him and Mars which is applying to conjunct him, bringing those two together again, and underlying the fact! More over Mars picks up by opposition the Solar Return Mercury: Ground, again, meets Earthquake. Mars and Saturn (which is detrimental, thus a malefic) come as a package due to their conjunction so they both fall on Lunar MC by antiscion.

Back to the testimonies, we find that the Lunar MC picks up the Eclipse Venus and the Solar IC/MC axis which here is reversed – tempting to take this as an indication of the upside down an earthquake brings. This Return’s Nodes pick up the Eclipse Asc/Dc axis by antiscion.

Though we have those powerful connections that already show that we have an equally powerful outbreak for the seismic potential we followed until now, I’ve also casted the Part of Earthquakes which in this chart falls on North Node. The North Node is associated with increase: this Earthquake is big.

Imagine a building’s foundation meets with an Earthquake (L.R. Lord 4 Mars/S.R. Mercury opposition and L.R. Mars meets L.R. Mercury again by collection of light) and it’s conjunct to a detrimental Saturn, an afflicted structure, and that devastating combination falls on the top of the building by antiscion. What’s going to happen to that building? It will go down, as it did. Most of the victims died when a block of 8 floors in the center of the city collapsed. 

The final touch comes from a detail: Uranus, again seen as if it were a malefic fixed star associated with destruction, falls exactly by antiscion on the 7th cusp, afflicting the 1st house, which is the ‘here,’ the city.

However the event is more eloquently described in the Derived Lunar Return chart (casted from the Solar Return chart) for this month:

The IC/DC axis of this chart hits with precision the Asc/Dc of the Grand conjunction (and Grand Conjunction as mentioned) and all its angles are repeating the angles of the Grand Conjunction chart.

The Derived L.R. Asc/DC axis picks up by antiscion, the Grand Conjunction’s Moon, which as we’ve seen was involved in all the previous charts, so it also picks up the Eclipse, the Ingress Mercury and Grand Conjunction Mercury.

The Moon in this chart is our fixed point. It is interesting to find her both conjunct Jupiter, Lord 4 in the chart, the Ground and Venus which is conjunct with precision Mercury by antiscion. One more time, ground meets earthquake. 

Mercury, Lord 1st and10th in this chart falls on Aldebaran, a star with the nature of Mars. 

 The event chart

A Full Moon just took place, at about 29 Gem/Sag. The Moon on Menkalinan, again connected with violence and destruction, here relevant only because this Full Moon (Moon/Sun opposition) is really tuned in: It hits Eclipse Jupiter and with precision, the Grand Conjunction’s Mars by antiscion.
The event’s IC/MC axis picks up the Grand Conjunction’s Solar Return IC/MC axis, it squares its Mercury making him the focal point, while at the same time the event’s Mars hits the Grand Conjunction’s Mercury by opposition and squares its Asc/Dc axis. The event’s Venus falls on the 4th cusp by antiscion therefore is also squaring the Solar Mercury, giving emphasis on the Ground and Mercury, our main suspect throughout this study.
Furthermore the 4th cusp, the Ground, is falling on the fixed star Algol, the Medusa’s Head, connected with violent death (Robson) the most malefic star as we know and it is doubly emphasized because Venus as Lord 4 is falling on that cusp as we’ve seen by antiscion.  It is obvious the chart manages to gather all that powerful potential we’ve seen and it very clearly describes the powerful outbreak of 6.5 Richter and its devastating effect.
I think the above are more than enough to show why the next day’s newspaper headline was ‘It was 6,5 Richter and Thessaloniki was trembling: Disaster and victims by the terrible Earthquake’ (newspaper Macedonia, 21/6/1978).

Greece was shocked. In the next few days, the authorities were busy searching in the ruins for survivors and organizing groups of mechanics to check the constructions of houses before the population could return to them. A system of breaches which extended for 10-15 km, located near the city, was the cause for extra panic of the populace. The Red Cross sends help for the people. The Churches all over the country make memorials the following Sunday for the victims.

A few days later and while the city was trying to heal its wounds and find its rhythm amongst ruins, loss, fear, misinformation and numerous aftershocks, early morning 5th July, Nature signed off the events with a series of aftershocks with the stronger of 5 Richter.

The Lunar Return for July before this aftershock, hits again the Grand Conjunction itself (its MC at 23.55 Capricorn) and Asc/Dc by antiscion. Its Mars picks up the, famous by now, Grand Conjunction Moon, Ingress Mercury/IC and the previous Eclipse by antiscion.

Some people got wounded in their attempt to get out of their houses, jumping off balconies and some suffered nervous breakdown. Such great fear possessed the populace that the prime minister at that time visited the city in order to reassure people that it is safe to sleep in their houses that were judged suitable for habitation.

The curtain of this nasty play fell. The macabre report included 49 dead, 220 wounded and thousands of homeless people. The damages were estimated at about 1.2 billion euro (calculated for today’s economic equivalent).

By early September, the city found its old rhythms. The events of that summer were the cause for the state to re evaluate its anti- seismic protection and for the foundation of ‘The anti- earthquake planning and protection Organization’ in cooperation with scientists, after the bitter and painful realization that the scheme in which the building was based until then was significantly incomplete.

Another realization for me, now that I’ve reached the end of this study, is that natural elements always have their way to win; no matter how prepared we may be or how much we boast about our technological achievements we’ll always stand in awe before natural phenomenon, either it is rain, thunder, earthquake or a rainbow and starlight.  Man is mortal and as such always subject to Divine Will, each one playing his own harmony in the great plan of Creation.

This study is dedicated to the memory of the victims and to their families.

For my parents, who stood fast through storms, earthquakes and life - not to mention me!

The fixed stars and constellations in astrology – Vivian Robson
The Real Astrology, Chapter 12 – John Frawley
Newspaper Macedonia archive: 1978, issues of May 24th, June 21st, July 6th.