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,, 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.

“Gone: Catastrophe in Paradise” by O.J. Modjeska


This book reminds me of the movie, “Titanic” in that you know from the start it’s not going to end well, yet up until that horrible moment, there’s nail-biting suspense as you wish that, somehow, it isn’t true and never happened. And like the Titanic, this incident is also horrifyingly true.

I blew through this gripping, yet heart rending book in a single day. I can’t name a single novel at which I’ve shed more tears. It recounts in incredible detail what went on behind the scenes of the catastrophic plane crash that occurred March 27, 1977 on Tenerife, one of the Canary Islands, when two jumbo jet Boeing 747s collided on the ground, killing 583 people.  I remember that accident well and how horrified I was that something so terrible could happen. I’d never even heard of Tenerife until that time, and unfortunately, every time I’ve heard it since, this tragedy is the first thing that comes to mind.

The author takes you, step by step, through all the events that led up to it, again showing that every disaster has multiple causes, an unfortunate chain that could have been broken at any number of points, yet never was, resulting in the unthinkable. Incredibly, it started way before that, with the placement of the airport at a horrible location where banks of fog were known to roll in from the adjacent mountains. Folklore has it that the “X” on the map was originally to indicate the place NOT to place the airport, yet later that rationale was lost, Murphy’s Law prevailed, and that was exactly where it was placed. How ironic and how human.

Having worked at NASA for over 20 years, including during the time immediately following the Challenger accident as well as when Columbia broke up over Texas skies in 2003, I’d already seen that pattern. It’s never one, single thing, one single mistake, that causes a major disaster, but an unfortunate chain that is seemingly cursed by fate.

It made my blood boil that it actually started with a terrorist attack on Las Palmas, another airport in the Canary Islands. While I’m sure there’s a special place in hell for the insidious individual perpetuating that scourge, it’s horrible the damage and loss of life their barbaric beliefs have caused. In this case, their actions of detonating a bomb in the Las Palmas terminal forced numerous aircraft to be rerouted to Los Rodeos, an airport far too small to accommodate such an influx of unexpected flights, especially wide-body, jumbo jets like the Boeing 747.

Truly, this situation was an accident waiting to happen from the start as two tower controllers near the end of their shift attempted to manage the unexpected situation with antiquated equipment; they didn’t even have ground radar. These critical circumstances were further exacerbated by cultural issues and the quirks of human nature, always a factor in such a tragedy, yet so often far from deliberate. Someone makes a bad decision, never dreaming in their worst nightmare what the result will be. And the coup de grace was the fog.

I’m not sure it would constitute a spoiler to say more, given the unfortunate end result is well known and documented. To say I enjoyed the book is a bit of a misnomer, given it was far from pleasant, yet a very emotional experience, which to me is the hallmark of an outstanding book.  This one is skillfully written and represents meticulously detailed research, which provides a three or even four dimensional view of the happenings of that day.

I’m probably not the “average reader” since I worked in shuttle and payload safety at NASA, I where I personally participated in accident investigations, had classes in such, and was involved in the post-mortem of the Columbia accident. I’ve read NTSB reports of other airline accidents with interest and had the privilege of attending Aerospace Medical Association Conferences a few times where such things were discussed, including TWA Flight 800, which went down in flames July 17, 1996 after taking off from JFK airport in New York.  Some pretty interesting theories exist related to that one, too, which were not included in the official accident report.

The author did a spectacular job of leaving no stone unturned, reporting the situations, circumstances, and results in an objective, yet thoughtful manner, demonstrating once again that accidents don’t just “happen,” at least not of this scope.

The message, of course, for us all, is to recognize that nothing in life is guaranteed. There’s no telling when what appears to be a benign decision might be the fatal link that takes a normal day into the realm of tragedy. For the human factors involved alone, this book deserves attention, especially for those who work in any industry that has the potential for a similar disaster.

I particularly appreciated mention at the end of various individuals reporting paranormal and ghostly apparitions appearing from time to time on the runway. This is the case of various locations where horrific loss of life has occurred. As a professional astrologer, upon finishing the book, I immediately cast the event chart for the accident and could see that there were definitely very sordid aspects in play at the time, all of which reflected much of what was included in the book.

Whether or not you believe in astrology, disaster charts tend to include details that fall into the category “you can’t make this stuff up.” For example, for this disaster it showed fog and unclear communications, power trips, rebellion against authority and regulations to one’s own self-undoing, death and separation from loved ones, and a tremendous amount of activity in the 8th house of death, including the asteroid Icarus, namesake of the mythological individual who tried to fly but went down in flames, on the cusp of the 8th house. It shows the compassionate action of those on the ground, and even that Tenerife would ultimately bear the stigma of being remembered for this horrific event. No, you can’t make this stuff up.

Read this book. It’s outstanding, albeit heartbreaking. And never take anything for granted again. I give this nonfiction thriller 5 stars for content, even though there were a few grammatical issues here and there. The research more than compensates.

You can pick up your copy on Amazon here.