SARS - Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome

In the 21st century, are we facing a global epidemic? Scientists say sensible precautions can stop it, but SARS, or Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, also spells widespread fear. And this, in a world where news tavels in microseconds… where viruses aren't far behind.

SARS was first contracted on November 16, 2002 in Guangdong province, southern China. It was then diagnosed as an atypical or unusual form of pneumonia. Early symptoms included high fever, a dry cough and intense breathing difficulties. Hospital workers and relatives were next to succumb, so close contact with infected persons was all the virus needed to spread.

By February 11, 2003, the Chinese Ministry of Health had recorded 300 cases of SARS and five fatalities. These figures have since been refuted as being too conservative.

Four days later, SARS went international. On February 15, 2003, a medical professor from Guandgong, staying at Hong Kong’s Metropole Hotel, fell ill. On February 22, he was admitted to hospital. By March 2 2003, he was dead.

On March 5, a tourist staying at the same hotel also died, but not before returning home to Canada and infecting five relatives with SARS.

Vietnamese businessmen who stayed at the Metropole Hong Kong around that time, unwittingly carried the virus back to Hanoi. It was there that Carlos Urbani, epidemiologist with the World Health Organization, first identified the virus. Tragically Urbani had found himself another of the virus’s victims, dying at only 46 years of age.

By March 15, the World Health Organisation confirmed the worldwide health threat that is SARS. Four days later the virus had spread to Europe and the USA. As I write, the SARS death toll is about to pass 300, as the virus threatens to become this century’s first global epidemic.

Are there astrological similarities to last century’s plague, ‘Spanish’ Influenza? The answer is an emphatic ‘yes’.

Spanish Influenza began the morning of March 11, 1918, when company cook Albert Gitchell reported to his infirmary at Camp Funston, Fort Riley, Kansas, with a temperature of 103. Gitchell had been unwell all night. Waiting behind in the sick bay were Corporal Lee Drake and Sergeant Adolph Hurby. They too had fallen to Spanish Influenza. By midday, 107 soldiers had reported ill. Within two days, the numbers swelled to 522.

Spanish Influenza raged rapidly across battlefields and continents. It eventually claimed a conservative estimate of more than 21 million lives - eight million in Spain alone - hence the name.

Almost 80 years later, in 1997, the lungs of an army private killed by Spanish Influenza back in September 1918, were used to obtain the disease’s genetic code.

Research suggests that the virus had passed from birds to pigs. The immune system of pigs compelled the virus to mutate in order to survive. It then infected humans. Flu viruses that spread from pigs are quite lethal to humans. The Asian Flu of 1957 and Hong Kong Flu of 1968 both emanated from swine.

As for astrological correspondences between Spanish Influenza and SARS… both outbreaks appeared suddenly and spread rapidly. The planet identified with sudden and rapid unfolding of events is Uranus. When SARS was discovered on November 16, Uranus had, for the first time, returned to the exact same position in the sky that it had occupied when Spanish Influenza first appeared on March 11, 1918 - 25 degrees of Aquarius, the sign of the common-collective.

Both diseases appeared when Mercury was conjunct the Sun. In the case of SARS, the conjunction was exactly square Uranus. Mercury is the planet of news, information and communication. It could be thought of as a 'carrier' of messages. Media attention on SARS mirrors the worldwide concern about Spanish Influenza. Some people are saying that fear is doing more damage than the disease.

The astrological axis of illness combines the planets Saturn and Neptune. When Spanish Influenza spread, there was a direct conjunction of Saturn and Neptune in Leo. The current outbreak of SARS sees Neptune now in Aquarius, exactly opposing the Saturn/Neptune position of 1918.

SARS also shows an astrological pattern in its own development. The pattern is tied to the Sun's circumnavigation of the zodiac. It took almost three months to the day for SARS to spread from a Chinese province to the international stage.

Astrologically, 91 days is one quarter the Sun’s annual revolution of the zodiac or calendar… when it squares its starting position. The square is a change of direction, and brings us to February 15, the exact day that the professor took ill at the Metropole in Hong Kong.

Furthermore, the middle of each month sees the Sun in a new astrological angle, or aspect, to its original starting position. So if we look at mid-March, the 15th was when the World Health Organisation delivered its global alert on SARS and issued travel guidelines. Two days later, WHO established a multi-centre research project comprising laboratories in 10 countries exchanging daily findings on SARS. Within another two days, the SARS virus had spread to the US and Europe. This all occurred accompanied by a phenomenal mid-month increase in SARS victims in Hong Kong.

Jumping to the middle of the following month, April 14, and Canadian scientists announce that they had isolated the genome of the virus. Three days later, the second most populous nation on earth, India, reports its first SARS case. Again, on April 14 and 15, the number of SARS cases rises extensively in Hong Kong and China.

The pattern suggests a regular increase of SARS activity in the mid-month period, when the Sun forms a new geometric relationship with its original position when the virus first appeared.

That brings us to mid-May 2003, when the Sun reaches the cycle’s opposition point – the halfway mark of the annual solar cycle – usually a climax period.

The progress of a project can often link to Saturn. In mid-May, Saturn, which had been travelling retrograde during the SARS outbreak, will return to its original position. (Update 15 May 2003)

The US experience of Spanish Influenza also climaxed six months after it began. It was then that the disease 'went public' and Massachusetts Department of Health alerted newspapers to the epidemic. The Health Commissioner of New York City, Royal Copeland issued a contrary statement saying, "the City is in no danger of an epidemic. No need for our people to worry." That was September. By October, 851 New Yorkers would die from Spanish Influenza in a single day.

SARS has already sparked worldwide fear and is probably yet to peak, so certainly it should not be underestimated. But the efforts of WHO and today's improved medical technology should ensure that SARS doesn't become a repeat of Spanish Influenza in numbers.

In my Iraq/USA article, I noted a crucial period between February 15 and 19 when ominous worldwide planetary trends coincided. The trends involved a conjunction, Mars with Pluto. Mars rules infections. Pluto represents the masses. Both opposed Saturn and their axis indicates the suffering of many. I didn't plan on February 15 precipitating the international spread of a new virus.

Before it gradually abated, Spanish Influenza took more than double the lives of World War I. Scientists have long been predicting the outbreak of another pandemic mutating virus around the turn of the century. SARS looks to be delivering their promise.

For astrology students: Carlo Urbani was born in Italy (time unknown) on October 19, 1956. He died March 29, 2003.

© Ed Tamplin
April 26 2003


Update 15 May 2003

As I write, the World Health Organization (WHO) has just announced that the SARS epidemic is now thought to be contained, its threat having by now reached its climax. This confirms the Saturn influenced turning point noted above for mid-May 2003... Ed.

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