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Fire And Ice
It was a warm Wednesday afternoon. Dolly Madison was doing what any hardworking wife would - packing the valuables before the big move. She carefully ensured the original portrait of George Washington was safely stored before the removalists departed. It was a hurried move. The new tenants; British she understood; were coming to re-arrange the house. Reconstruction is Pluto stuff and Pluto was also coming to visit Mars in the American horoscope for the first time. It was August 24 1814 at 9:06 p.m. when the British torched Washington and flame towers were visible for fifty miles. But President Madison and his wife had already evacuated Capitol Hill. Unfortunately they left the cutlery on the table.
The US eventually won the Battle of New Orleans and repelled the British altogether. But not before tasting the warlord Mars and its even more intense tag team partner Pluto. Almost a century later, by 1904, Pluto returned to Mars to stay for almost two years. Born that year was Robert Oppenheimer, eventual head of the Manhattan project that produced the first nuclear bomb. Albert Einstein had just formulated his 'Theory of Relativity' and apart from an uprising in the Philippines and some notable racial lynchings America was at peace.
Except in San Francisco where the earth moved beneath their feet. Evacuation was a necessity this time with no time to pack. Four days and four hundred and ninety seven city blocks later they put the fires out. There were over two hundred thousand homeless, the commercial and business centres were a memory and the San Franciscan earthquake had become part of US history. It followed the worst New York disaster prior to September 11 when the paddlesteamer "General Slocum", caught fire three hundred feet from the banks of New York's East River taking over one thousand lives. Thank goodness Pluto had left Mars and wouldn't be back until 1968. But not before Einstein had written personally to President Roosevelt urging him to develop nuclear weaponry for the sake of world peace.
What a frantic year 1968 was! Topping the US charts was a song called Fire - by the Crazy World of Arthur Brown. The inferno was in the jungles of Vietnam, and mirrored in the streets across America. Race riots followed the assassination of black civil rights minister Martin Luther King Jnr. Presidential frontrunner Robert Kennedy was the next victim, shot down in June. The nuclear submarine 'USS Scorpion' sank to the floor of the Atlantic, taking 99 sailors with it. A B-52 bomber carrying 4 nuclear weapons crashed in Greenland. 237,000 cubic feet of contaminated ice, snow and debris, had to be removed to an approved US storage site. North Korea captured the US spy ship 'Pueblo' in its territorial waters leading to a year of diplomatic stand-offs.
The only beneficiary was Olympic long jumper Bob Beamon who did a real Pluto/Mars (extraordinary athletic effort). In what has been termed the greatest Olympic performance of track and field, Bob jumped further than anyone else would for a quarter of a century, breaking the existing world record by almost two feet.
Again today icy Pluto faces off to the flaming US Mars; specifically active around April/May, and the last quarter of 2004. What might it mean for the future? Fireworks, if the past is anything to go by. Already the USA finds itself divided over foreign occupational forces, this time in Iraq. The nuclear spectre and diplomatic standoff with North Korea return to the spotlight. US concern may drift back to the South-East Asian region of the world. President George Bush is justified to feel wary. The connection of his Uranus (sudden) to the US Mars (violence) has made pre-emptive strikes an ongoing reality at home and abroad. There's more to this than simply Pluto/Mars difficulties for the leading politicians. Saturn also joins the US Sun in 2004 and the last two times that occurred saw the resignation of Richard Nixon, and the sudden death of Franklin D. Roosevelt. You'd imagine it might not exactly enhance the current administration.
In summation General Eisenhower once described the nuclear age as the future of humanity hanging on a cross of iron. Perhaps one day we can deal differently with Pluto/Mars energy. Maybe the collective spirit of humanity can rise above the temptation of constantly equating power with force. For it to happen in 2004? My, that would take a giant leap of faith. We could use some more Bob Beamons!
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