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Washington state residents recently observed the twenty-year anniversary of the devastating eruption of Mt. St. Helens, the most destructive volcanic eruption ever recorded in the United States. In awesome astrological synchronicity, the names “Washington” and “Helen” were literally written in the stars when the volcano roared to life.

The Mountain God Awakes

In the early morning hours of Sunday, May 18, 1980, most people in the communities immediately surrounding Washington's Mt. St. Helens had been evacuated. Local earthquake activity had been increasing sharply in force and frequency since March of that year, and seismologists predicted an imminent eruption. Part of the Pacific Northwest's Cascade Mountain Range, the beautiful, symmetrical "Little Fuji," named for its likeness to the famed Japanese peak, had long been the pride and playground of local residents, vacationers, campers, hikers and nature lovers. Deserted, the mountain trembled and threatened, while a few loggers and brave onlookers calculated how best to get away when the mountain finally went off.

Suddenly, at 8:32 am, a magnitude 5.1 earthquake opened a vent in Mt. St. Helens, and the north face of the mountain began a massive landslide, the largest in recorded history. In a 24 megaton lateral blast, searing gas, ash and pulverized rock exploded out, vaporizing people, animals, roads and forest, and devastating over 230 square miles of Washington’s most beautiful country. The eruption continued for more than nine hours; and when it finally stopped, rivers of mud and rock flowed through a wasteland as stark and lifeless as an alien landscape. Lightning flashed in a sky darkened by the resulting giant mushroom cloud. Outlying cities were covered in flowing mud and a drift of gray ash, and very little was ever found of anyone or anything near ground zero. Fifty-seven people lost their lives.

Lord of Destruction

Astrologers cast charts for people, places and even corporations, but charts of events can also be quite revealing. By looking at the relationships of certain planets, and their placement in the chart (houses), we can get an idea of the influences present at the time of any event. Earthquakes and volcanic activity have long been associated with the planets Uranus (shocking, sudden) and Mars (explosions, violence), and so one might expect to find these two planets prominent—perhaps in the earth signs of Taurus, Virgo or Capricorn—in a chart cast for the time and place of the Mt. St. Helens eruption. What we actually find there is much more revealing of the true nature of the event, and quite eerie.

Mars in Virgo and Uranus in Scorpio are indeed heavily involved in the action, each in a stressful angle to the Sun in Taurus on that day, suggesting sudden violence involving transformational (Scorpio) matters relating to the earth (Taurus, Virgo). Even more interesting, we find the planet Pluto, lord of destruction and transformation and linked to atomic explosions and massive violence, in the Fourth House of the chart, signifying finality and an end to the matter. The First House of a chart, or Ascendant, is one of the most telling and important areas in a horoscope, describing the physical and material aspects of the person or event, and here we find the Moon, often acting as a timer for events because of its swift motion, in sharp conflict with Pluto.

What’s in a Name?

These observations are provocative enough by themselves, but in this case, there is something more profound. Two asteroids, discovered and named long ago, were located right next to the Moon and the Ascendant by sign and degree, heavily involved in the conflict with Pluto. Their names? None other than “Washingtonia” and “Helenos.”

Asteroids—floating chunks of rock in our solar system—are named by the people who discover them, usually astronomers. They are most often named after things like loved ones or favorite places, and they have an uncanny way of showing up decades and even centuries later in the astrological charts of important people and events. Astrologer Jacob Schwartz provides astonishing examples of this phenomenon at his web site, where he tells us of the asteroids involved in events like the death of Princess Diana. In fact, this is a common occurrence that is easily verified and seems to defy rational explanation. Schwartz believes that the asteroids have their own vibrational frequencies, and that the people who name them somehow tune into this. This is suggestive of an incredible intelligence and synchronicity in our universe that we are just beginning to comprehend; a sublime mystery stunning in its possibilities.

Out of the Ashes

Today, twenty years later, the forest is beginning to regrow, the animals and people have come back, and several new lakes created by the eruption are being studied in an unprecedented opportunity to observe the growth of new life out of total destruction. Mt. St. Helens looks different, but it is just as majestic, beautiful and alive as it ever was. If Pluto represents death and destruction, it also represents the miracle of rebirth and reminds us that life is tenacious, and in keeping with natural cycles, it will renew itself even in the face of annihilation.



Sharyn Smith is a freelance writer and life-long student of astrology. She is a former newspaper staff reporter and columnist and now publishes her independent articles and editorials on the Internet.

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Other StarIQ articles by Sharyn Smith:

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  • The Ninth Gate   4/14/2000
  • What Really Scares the King of Fright?   2/27/2000

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