Today’s Writing Tip

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Consider your story’s point of view carefully. If you really want the reader to relate to your protagonist, the story should be told through his or her eyes only, even if you’re using third person narrative. Avoid slipping into an omniscient viewpoint by including something your character couldn’t possibly know, such as what the other person is thinking, unless, of course, he’s telepathic. Instead, describe what your protagonist is seeing in the other’s expression and body language. Another way around this you can use occasionally is to preface it with, “He didn’t know it at the time, but….” Break point of view carefully, deliberately, and sparingly.

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Today’s Writing Tip

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As part of the admonition to “show, don’t tell”, learn to render emotions as opposed to using a simple modifier. Compare the impact of “He fumed with anger” to “His eyes flashed daggers, fists tightening at his sides” or “His heart raced, fury surging through him like a fire storm.” Concentrate on the physical sensations of the emotion you’re trying to express to capture what it actually feels like. One of the marks of good writing is conveying emotions to your reader in an effective manner. If your reader feels something, then your story is upgraded to an experience and becomes much more memorable.

Today’s Writing Tip

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Scrutinize all prepositional phrases to determine if they’re needed or whether the sentence can be reworded to avoid them. If they’re redundant in any way, zap those suckers out of there! For example, saying “He put his hat on his head” could easily be shortened to “He put on his hat.” Where else would he put it? Economy of words for maximum impact should be your goal.

Today’s Writing Tip

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Always check your manuscript for over-used words and phrases, such as: so, just, in order to, therefore, or any of your personal favorites. It’s easy to fall in love with a newly discovered word, then use it so much it annoys your readers. Some of the words I’ve seen over-used are ubiquitous, baleful, and humongous. You’re probably not even aware of this on the first draft, so put it on your list as something to look for when you start to edit. Once you discover your favorite, learn all its synonyms so you can replace it with ease.

Today’s Writing Tip

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One of the most important things you must do as an author to make your work stand out is to create vivid characters readers will remember. One way to add color to your characters is by giving them a regional accent. Capture it in writing by deliberately misspelling their dialog to reflect how it sounds phonetically. Just make sure you’re familiar with what that particular accent really sounds like or anyone from that region will recognize it’s not authentic, which could do you more harm than good. Accuracy is always important.

Today’s Writing Tip

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Always strive to be the best writer you can be. Reading books by established authors published by well-known publishing houses provides examples of outstanding writing and editing that you should emulate. Most indie writers are still progressing to their best work. Some will be less skilled than you are, others more advanced, but to grasp the industry standard, read those accepted by reputable publishers. It’s good for your ego to read books from beginners, but to improve you writing, study techniques employed by seasoned, experienced authors.

Today’s Writing Tip

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Understand there are several types of editors. Just because you hire one, doesn’t mean they’ll do the job you expect, especially if you don’t understand there are different types.  They may do a great job within their realm, yet miss other problems. I can’t tell you how many problems I’ve found in books where the author supposedly hired an “editor.”

Here’s the basic run-down: Proofreaders look for typos. Copy editors look at punctuation and grammar. Line editors look at everything. Content editors look at plot & characterizations. If this is news to you, then I suggest you read this great article that gives more detail.

Calling All Bibliophiles!

2017 WC&BE Badges

Whether you’re an avid reader, an aspiring writer, or published author, there’s something for you at RRBC’s Writers’ Conference and Book Expo. It’s open now and will be online until October 30.

Come meet dozens of outstanding authors, many of which are award winners, learn about their often amazing backgrounds, and explore their many books. Most of us are sponsoring a giveaway and all you have to do to enter is leave a comment on our author page! Be sure to stop by my Author Page for a chance to win an 8 gigabyte USB card preloaded with the Star Trails Tetralogy, including my latest release, “The Terra Debacle.”

Don’t miss the raffle, which has some spectacular prizes. For only $5, you get a chance at a virtual gift basket worth approximately $100 in gift cards! You can sign up here.

While you’re there, be sure to check out my Astrological Services page to discover how astrology can be a writer’s best friend, whether it’s timing a book release or rounding out a character.

Hope to see you there!

Cosmic Influences on the 1977 Tenerife Aviation Disaster

doorintospacebkgd[Note: Several weeks ago I posted a review of the book “Gone: Catastrophe in Paradise” by O.J. Modjeska, which chronicled events leading up to and following the horrific ground collision between two jumbo jets in the Canary Islands in March 1977, killing 583 people. As a professional astrologer, of course I had to look at the cosmic influences at work at the time. As is typical of an event chart, everything was there, but at the time I didn’t have time to write it up. Thus, I am doing so now.]

Astrology isn’t simple. Every planet, major fixed star, constellation, named asteroid (and some that aren’t), zodiac sign, and house has multiple meanings and implications. The good news is that this is conducive to computer interpretations, or what is sometimes referred to as “cook book astrology.” I sell several varieties of such reports and use them for myself, family, and close friends because in general they are very helpful. However, there are numerous subtleties that only a trained astrologer will catch since there are so many possibilities as well as interpretations.

This complexity is what makes predictive astrology such a challenge. There are too many possibilities for how an event can manifest (or a person can react) due to the eternal principle of free will.  In retrospect, however, I’ve never examined a chart that failed to contain the energy expressed by the event it represents. If you’re familiar with the “Bible Code” then you know that it’s much the same way–after the fact events can be found, but finding them beforehand is next to impossible. In many cases, the chart looks rather benign. Some charts are so angry and filled with negative energy, that their appearance alone is a tip-off. Others are less obvious, until you start digging deeper. Some may feel as if such scrutiny could unearth anything you wanted to find, but this is entirely untrue. Rather, what lurks in a horoscope tends to fall under the category of “you can’t make this stuff up.”

I’d like to point out that it’s important to recognize that these energies did not directly cause this horrible accident. Rather, they show the cosmic influences at work at the time that contributed to it. If certain decisions had been different, it could have been avoided. Some events have a fated flavor to them, perhaps due to human nature being more predictable than we care to admit. But astrology does not cause events, even though its influences can drive those involved in certain directions, whether for good or ill.

tenerifeaccidentSo, getting to the matter at hand, the collision between a KLM and a Pan American Boeing 747 on a runway that is the worst aviation disaster of all time occurred 27 March 1977 at 5:06:47 p.m. in Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Spain. If you know nothing about astrology, more than likely the chart shown above reveals nothing to you, even if you laboriously check the various legends to interpret the various strange looking glyphs. So hang onto your seats, (or perhaps I should say fasten your seatbelts) because I’m about to explain it to you.

How ironic that this accident was on the ground as opposed to in-flight. The ascendant of this chart, shown on the left at the 9:00 o’clock position, represents the zodiacal sign on the eastern horizon at the moment in question and relates to its personality, if you will. In this case it’s 08:26 Virgo, which just happens to be an Earth sign. The cusp of the 9th house, which represents long-distance travel and foreign lands, is also  on an Earth sign, in this case Taurus. Small points, but an example of how such details tend to reinforce the happening.

What are the odds for this? Actually, I’ll admit, they’re fairly high. There are four elements in astrology, Fire, Earth, Air, and Water, with three of the 12 signs of the Zodiac falling in each one. Thus, there was a 1:3 chance for an Earth sign on these two houses. Fairly high, but be patient. Other characteristics of this chart, especially when combined, will put the odds off the chart (no pun intended).

There were various causes of this horrific accident, one of which was actual fog which rolled in unexpectedly. Representing this we have Uranus, planet of surprises as well as the unexpected, explosions, and rebellion, to name a few, in Scorpio (another Water sign) in the 3rd house, which represents the locale.  Saturn, in the 12th house of hidden enemies, is squaring Uranus, a hard aspect that tends to bring conflict. Saturn rules structure as well as rules and protocol and was in Leo, the sign of leadership as well as ego. Thus, Saturn’s organization was compromised by the sudden advent of fog.

The 3rd house is also the one that includes communications. These were also unclear, and thus implied a problem, while yet another interpretation, that of rebellion(Uranus) against authority (Saturn) to one’s self-undoing (12th house) is there as well, which reflects the decision of the KLM pilot to take off when he had not been authorized to do so, yet apparently thought he had been due to the unclear communications between him and the tower.

Mercury, the planet that rules communications, is trining Neptune, the planet that represents confusion as well as fog itself. Neptune was in Sagittarius, a sign prone toward optimism, perhaps even embellished by arrogance, while Mercury was in Aries, providing impulsive energy. Thus, these two further show assumptions with deadly implications, given Neptune is in the 4th house of endings and Mercury is in the 8th, which includes death and traumatic experiences.

An astrological rule of thumb as far as transit charts are concerned is that there will usually be no less than seven aspects relating to an important incident. So far we have two.

The Sun, which tends to highlight the main theme of a chart, is in the 8th house of death in the sign of Aries, which is know for violence. Many such violent events have occurred in the March – April timeframe. The Moon is in Water sign, Cancer, indicating strong emotional implications with her placement in the 10th house indicating this will have an effect on the public as well. Planets in this house tend to point toward what a person or place will be known for. I, for one, will always think of this accident whenever I hear anything about Tenerife, since I’d never heard of it until this happened. The Moon is trining Mars, ruler of the 8th house of death, thus showing the cause of the emotional reaction. The 10th house if ruled by Mercury, reiterating the communications aspects and newsworthiness.

Mars has multiple meanings, the most neutral of which is simply taking action. He is in Pisces, sign of compassion, in the 6th house which includes both health and service to others, and being infused with emotional involvement by the Moon. Following this horrible event, the people of this small island put forth an amazing amount of concern and help toward the victims and survivors. A minor aspect known as a semi-sextile between Mars and the Sun represents the jaded opportunity to do so.

Most people would assume, even without a background in astrology, that Pluto is probably not a good influence. At the most fundamental level, he represents power and control as well as hidden corruption. The Sun opposing him shows a power struggle, albeit at the subconscious level, as a factor in the event. Mercury is also opposing Pluto, again suggesting corrupt conversations or information, something that surfaced during the investigation and resulted in implementing more standardized commands between the tower and aircraft.

Jupiter, a planet that tends to exaggerate what he touches, is in the 9th house of foreign travel, suggesting the magnitude of this event which would make the news worldwide.  Jupiter is semisextile the asteroid, Chiron, the wounded healer who’s in the 8th house of death, pointing toward the huge number of victims.

Note that the influence of asteroids, as well as the planets, tends to reflect their mythological archetype; nomen est omen, if you will. That said, Chiron isn’t the only asteroid lending influence. Icarus, named for the unfortunate mythological figure who tried to fly, yet fell to earth when the wax securing his wings melted in the Sun, is on the cusp of the 8th house of death. He is in an aspect known as a quincunx with the Moon, an unstable aspect that tends to show a change of direction, need for adjustment, or Catch-22. Again, this has implications for protocol and procedures that required changes.

The asteroid named Ceres a.k.a. Demeter, forever mourning separation from her daughter, Persephone, is conjunct the asteroid, Lucifer, indicating loss of loved ones through an hellish event. The asteroid, Phaethon, the mythological figure who crashed Apollo’s chariot into the Sun, is semi-sextile the Sun as well, again contributing “crash and burn” energy.

Other asteroids worth noting playing a role include Chaos (whose meaning should be obvious) who is in cahoots with Jupiter, showing the resulting extreme chaos, which goes without saying. Ixion, son of Aries (or possibly some other mythological character), the main point being his name connotes “fiery”, his conjunction with Uranus indicating a fiery explosion or sudden fire. Varuna, a Vedic deity associated with the sky and later with water is conjunct the Midheaven, at the top of the chart, suggesting aviation. He is in near-exact square to the ascendant, showing conflict and trouble and also in cahoots with Phaethon, implying a crash.

At this point I have to ask, what are the odds that all these influences would so intimately relate to this event? I’ve somewhat lost count, but know it’s over a dozen between implications of house or sign placement plus the aspects themselves. While this moment in time passed unnoticed by scores of people, for some it was life-changing or even life-ending.

So, if that event chart alone hasn’t convinced you this stuff works, let’s look at the influence of the time of the accident (which we’ve just examined) on the two airlines involved.

KLMTenerifeBiYes, corporations have birth charts as well. When an entity is “born”, it assumes the energy of that moment. The principle of transits is that the aspects formed from the real-time location of the planets to the birth chart are indicative of influences. I’m not going to belabor these biwheels to the level of detail of the event chart, but will only point out some obvious indicators.

For KLM, Neptune in the 1st house suggests delusions or confusion. He is sextile the Midheaven, suggesting their reputation for excellence and safety is a delusion. Uranus is sextile Venus, ruler of the Midheaven, suggesting a sudden change from their exalted status due to events in a foreign land. Mars opposing Saturn shows pushing against tradition or regulations. Uranus being squared by Jupiter suggests a huge surprise or explosion, with the house placement indicating financial implications due to personal injury.

The Sun quincunx Saturn shows a change of direction of a transformational nature. The asteroid, Chaos, is trining Mars in the 8th house of death from the house of endings, certainly not an auspicious omen. Pluto is conjunct KLM’s Sun, a transformational indicator that tends to relate to death, whether literal or figurative.  Saturn conjunct Neptune shows a rude awakening. Saturn, considered the lord of karma, transiting the 8th house is often a call to reckoning.

PanAmTenerifeBiPan Am’s chart is slightly less harsh, which makes sense since they were not found to be at fault. Pluto, nonetheless, is showing a change of direction in their status. Jupiter sextile Uranus shows a hidden enemy causing an unexpected event known to the public. The Sun trining Saturn in the 6th, has implications for vindication of the crew. Uranus quincunx Mars in the 12th shows a sudden change of direction related to an attack from a hidden enemy. Saturn conjunct Pan Am’s Moon shows the sadness and mourning, the sextile from Pluto adding transformational energy. Pluto quincunx Jupiter as well as the Midheaven shows a huge involvement with death in the public eye. Venus and Mercury conjunct Venus imply group support.

More indicators could be found, some that may have conceivably predicted this event in advance if given intense scrutiny. However, prediction is a labor-intensive process and another case where you need to have some idea what you’re looking for and thus easier done after-the-fact.

There is nothing simple about astrology, but it contains a considerable amount of information and surprising insights when applied. Those who think it’s nothing but myth and superstition have clearly never investigated what its capabilities really are. I, too, at one point was a skeptic. Not anymore.

If you’d like to learn more about astrology and the incredible amount of information it can reveal, I invite you to check out my book “Whobeda’s Guide to Basic Astrology.” It’s written for beginners and the book I’d hoped to find when I was first learning about it. It’s available in electronic and print copy format at several vendors you can find here. Much of the same information is found on my website, ValkyrieAstrology.com, except you’ll be subjected to a lot of hyperlink bingo. If you’d like more information about the disaster in question, then I highly recommend O.J. Modjeska’s book, which provides a painfully detailed postmortem of this horrific piece of aviation history.

Believe me, you can’t make this stuff up.

***

Stock Photo Copyright Bruce Rolff / 123RF Stock Photo

Astrological charts generated with Sirius version 2.0, Copyright (c) 2008 Cosmic Patterns Software, Inc.

Houston, we have a problem. It’s named Harvey.

Harvey became a named tropical storm on 17 August, then regressed to a tropical depression for a few days. With Mercury retrograde, it doesn’t surprise me that he regained sufficient energy to resume tropical storm status on 23 August, two days after a total solar eclipse slashed its way across the USA. A day later Harvey’s wind speeds reached hurricane range. He made landfall on the coast of Texas as a Category 4 hurricane with 130 mph winds at around 10:00 pm on 25 August 2017.

Harvey was no ordinary storm. His slow movement resulted in all-time record setting rainfall that inundated a zone covering 3,643 square miles (larger than the state of Delaware) with at least 40 inches of rain. This constituted over a trillion gallon of water for Harris County in the Houston metropolitan area, the resulting flood making news around the world.

I lived in the Houston area for over 21 years and saw a few hurricanes myself, but nothing like this. I’m beyond grateful that various family members, who are still in the area, were spared, their homes dry, even though their neighborhoods were virtual islands. Unfortunately, some of my friends from my NASA days weren’t so lucky.

In a previous blog back in April 2016 I discussed the astrology of another Houston flood. That one wasn’t even a named storm. Interestingly enough, it also followed an eclipse.

I explained Houston’s horoscope a.k.a. natal chart at that time, but will reiterate some of the basics again. These charts look daunting to the uninitiated, but reading one is just a matter of understanding all the symbolism involved.

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Many folks are not aware that even as a person’s natal chart has a strong bearing on their personality, so it follows for a city. Neptune, ruler of all liquids, is prominent in Houston’s chart. This not only relates to rain, but also oil and being a port city. Neptune’s position in the 2nd house makes it an important driver for the area’s economy; the second house typically has a bearing on income, material possessions, needs, pleasures, and what is valued.  If you’re wondering what the “POS” represents in the 2nd house, that’s the asteroid, Poseidon. Having him as the same house as Neptune speaks for itself. Asteroids, like the planets, bring the same energy as their namesake’s mythological archetype.

However, there are other factors that make Neptune’s placement problematic. For one thing, he’s in Aquarius, an Air Sign, which brings to mind the fact that air and water are both major constituents of a hurricane or tropical storm. Of course that placement alone won’t do it–Neptune is also being slammed by negative energy from five other planets. Therein lies the problem.

The red triangle is an aspect pattern known as a T-square. Neptune is on one corner with Jupiter opposing him while Saturn squares the god of the deep. Jupiter tends to exaggerate anything he touches and Saturn is largely considered unfriendly, albeit the orchestrator of hard lessons and lord of karma. However, Saturn is also part of a more favorable aspect pattern known as a Grand Water Trine. With Saturn about building, structure, and discipline, this suggests how Houston continues to rebuild regardless of what catastrophes befall it.

The Grand Water Trine comprises three planets placed in Water signs (Mars in Cancer; Saturn in Scorpio; and Uranus in Pisces). This trio, however, comprises planets with a bad reputation. Mars is know for aggression and in emotionally driven Cancer often function like a temper tantrum. Uranus is full of surprises, disruptions, rebellion, explosions, disturbances, and the unexpected. Thus, in a nutshell, the combination can result in surprises of a violent nature that affects the status quo.

The city’s Sun connects with each of those planets as well, which makes their effects personal and further associated with the city itself. Since they’re all connected, when one of them is activated, they all resonate to create a large influx of energy. What activates them, you ask? That would be what astrologers call “transits”, which is the current location of the planets and how they connect with the ones in the natal chart.

As if that’s not enough, more aspect pattern on Houston’s chart has strong implications. It’s called a yod or finger of God. It looks like a blue arrow which is pointing toward Neptune. Yods tend to have a fated nature about them, indicating what might be important to the person or location with such an indicator on their horoscope.

Generally speaking, Houston’s natal chart is an accident waiting to happen. It has all the right (or perhaps wrong) characteristics to be very vulnerable.  This was further exacerbated by the August Lunar and Solar eclipses, which brought a blast of ominous, Plutonian energy to bear on Houston with implications that it was going to bring considerable public attention.

Next, let’s look at Harvey. The following chart represents when Harvey was declared a hurricane.

harveyhurricane

The sextile pattern, shown as a green triangle, shows a great deal of cooperation between violent Mars, Ominous Saturn, and Jupiter, increasing this malefic energy. The square between Jupiter and Pluto increases the death and destruction while the square between Uranus and Venus, where Uranus represents surprises and Venus material comforts, shows a definite conflict there. Neptune and the asteroid, Poseidon (POS on the chart) shows conflict between those two cosmic entities, perhaps in a battle to prove which is superior. The ascendant in Scorpio, the sign that rules death, implies the storm’s lethality, while Mercury, the Sun, and Mars in the 10th house, which represents reputation, status, and what you’ll be remembered for, indicate his energy, public recognition, and even hint as his slow movement and repeated landfalls, which numbered at least three.

The relationship between two people, or in this case a storm and a location, is shown by how their natal charts interact. The following chart is known as a biwheel and shows Houston’s chart in the middle and Harvey’s around the outside, indicating how the two would interact.

hou-harveybiwheel

The first thing that jumped out at me with this chart was that Harvey became a hurricane on Houston’s “birthday”, indicated by the fact the Sun for both charts is in the same degree of the zodiac, i.e. the first degree of the sign Virgo.  The technical term for when the Sun returns to the position it was in when a person, thing, or city, was born is “solar return”, which is typically a prognosticator for the year ahead.  What this Sun – Sun conjunction energy blast effectively did was wake up that Grand Water Trine and all those other water-related aspects in Houston’s natal chart. The accident waiting to happen just did.

Transiting Pluto is trining the chart’s Midheaven, which represents its status, reputation, and public image, suggests a major transformation as well as death and material destruction. The square from Mercury retrograde to the chart’s ascendant hints at bad news. Mercury retrograde tends to slow things down, which certainly happened when the storm’s movement stalled. That is what facilitated the incredible quantity of rain. The semi-sextile from Mercury to Houston’s Jupiter in the 8th house of transformations and death, further exaggerated this effect. On the positive side, the sextile from the transiting Sun to Houston’s Saturn implies help and assistance from afar in rebuilding. This is further reinforced by Venus, transiting the 8th house.

These very basic aspects shown here are only a few and represent the more common ones. There are several others known as minor aspects or harmonics which seldom have a minor effect, especially those associated with intense energy and power. Others relate to physical and spiritual extremes.  There were at least nine of these aspects involved, which certainly did their part to make this a record breaking storm that left unprecedented devastation behind.

As I’ve said repeatedly, you can’t make this stuff up.

Hurricane Information Sources: The Weather Channel & NOAA National Hurricane Center Advisories