Planet Waves
New York, Friday, April 13, 2012

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Titanic: The Atlantis Connection
And the little children cried as the waves swept o'er the side
It was sad when the great ship went down.
-- American traditional
Dear Friend and Reader:

Evangeline Adams, the mother of modern American astrology, is said to have advised her client J. Pierpont Morgan, "Do not get on the Titanic." Morgan, a man so wealthy he twice saved the United States from bankruptcy, depended on astrology, and she was his astrologer. Though there is no official recording of Adams' statement, it's a well-regarded bit of astrological lore. Looking at the chart for the ship departing Southampton, England at noon on April 10, 1912, it's easy to see why she would have made that recommendation.

Planet Waves
Bow of the wreck of RMS Titanic, which sank early the morning of April 15, 1912, taking 1,514 people with her. Photo: NOAA.
In its day, RMS Titanic was hailed as a marvel of technology -- though this was largely a matter of show, or perception. Remember this was in a time when telephones and electric light were considered new and exciting. She was, however, the largest and most luxurious passenger ship of her day, designed with safety features that led informed people to believe she was unsinkable.

Titanic was never officially advertised as such, yet there was considerable word of mouth, and it was the presumption at the time. Edward J. Smith, Titanic's captain, had said of another ship the year before, "I cannot imagine any condition which would cause a ship to founder. I cannot conceive of any vital disaster happening to this vessel. Modern shipbuilding has gone beyond that."

In response to a female passenger's apprehension during the boarding process the morning Titanic launched, a deck hand famously said, "Even God cannot sink this ship."

Then on the morning of April 15, 1912, Philip Franklin, vice president of Titanic's owner, White Star Line, was confronted by reporters and said, "We place absolute confidence in the Titanic. We believe that the boat is unsinkable." By this time, the ship had already struck an iceberg and was at the bottom of the Atlantic, having taken 1,514 people with it. Talk about famous last words.

Planet Waves
RMS Titanic, seen from the stern on the port side, leaving Southampton on April 10, 1912.
The statements by those involved with Titanic have a religious tone; they remind me of nuclear power advocates going on the offensive after the meltdowns at Fukushima. Despite a history of maritime disasters lasting as long as humans have been sailing, Titanic's captain, though a beloved and well-respected commanding officer, did not think a modern vessel could sink. Imagine getting on a jetliner flown by a pilot who doesn't believe that it's possible to crash.

To study the Titanic incident is astonishing at every turn. For some reason it grabs hold of one's attention and has a way of not letting go; we are still picking apart the details a century later.

Astrologers are no exception. Titanic sinking is one of the most studied charts in modern astrology. Let's start with a basic reading of a different chart and see how it fits the circumstances -- then go deeper, into the mystery of why Titanic is such a persistent topic. There is something deeper going on -- including how it foreshadows so much of what happens in the 20th century, and perhaps describes something in the distant past.

What Evangeline Would Have Seen

Adams (much like any astrologer) would have checked the chart for the time the ship was scheduled to sail. She might have also used other techniques, such as checking her client's natal chart for potential issues, but any astrologer faced with a question about a pre-scheduled voyage would work with the planned departure time. The time of the beginning of a journey tells you a lot about how things are likely to develop.

Planet Waves
Chart for the sailing of RMS Titanic as it would have looked in 1912 -- without Pluto or Chiron, which had not been discovered. Evangeline Adams did not use asteroids. The Sun and North Node are the two glyphs at the top of the chart (next to the dark line). Those are in the 10th house, the house of admiralty and high command. Neptune is the blue trident to the left; it is square both the Sun and the node. The Moon is the gray crescent to the right side; its high number (close to 30) means that it's void of course.
I've cast the astrology the way that Adams would have been looking at it: Neptune was the latest planet discovered (Pluto was still 18 years from discovery, though it still plays a major role in the chart for the ship sinking). Here is the chart with only the traditional points, the Part of Fortune, then Uranus and Neptune: a typical chart for 1912.

The Sun, the yellow circle at the top of the chart, represents glory and expression. It's high in the sky, in the sign Aries, where it's very strong (the word is exalted). This is the chart of not just a beginning but of a crowning achievement, and that elevated, blazing Sun in a fire sign describes this beautifully. The chart has Leo rising, making the Sun the ruler of that regal ascendant. This really should have been a moment of triumph. Note also that the Sun is in the 10th house, which represents high command, admiralty and corporate power.

Yet studying the chart for a moment longer, it's easy to see that Neptune, the lord of the sea, and of disasters at sea, is making a lot of troublesome (and rather exact, which means strong) aspects. Remember that this is not merely the chart for a voyage -- it's a chart for the maiden voyage; a chart for the beginning of the ship's career. These aspects to Neptune vividly describe the many, many cloudy judgments as well as the delusional thinking of those in charge.

It's easy to find Neptune -- that's the blue trident on the left side of the figure. It's in the sign Cancer -- a water sign. Notice the number 21 next to it. Now look for three other points that have a 20 or 21 next to them -- they are most of the problem. The Sun is square Neptune, which is a problem in the launching chart of a ship. A square aspect is a little like Neptune is drowning the fire of the Sun. This is also a condition of false beliefs: the word is delusion. Yet Neptune is in the 12th house, enhancing the Neptune effect and making it nearly impossible for anyone to discern the issues.

The thing to remember about Neptune is that like the power of the ocean that it represents, it's often underestimated or overlooked. It has a way of disappearing, but that's not possible in this chart because the aspects are so obvious. In this particular chart, the Sun-Neptune square is even more of a problem than it might ordinarily be, due to the Sun's elevated position, its presence in a fire sign, and Leo in the ascendant. This means that the Sun has a lot of energy to trip up, which is exactly what Neptune does to it. This influence of Neptune will influence everything that the Sun represents, including the ship's captain and his judgment.

Planet Waves
Detail of the 10th house of Titanic's departure chart. The 10th -- the house of the command structure -- includes the Sun and all the planets to its left. Note the orange glyph -- that's the North Node, close to the Sun, indicating the proximity of an eclipse. Both the Sun and the node are square Neptune (not shown), suggesting the delusional thinking and clouded judgment of those in authority (10th house theme). Mercury is the green planet, and it's retrograde, indicating the communication issues that pervaded the situation. Also shown are Saturn (in gold), the Part of Fortune (blue circle) and to the far right, Venus. Saturn in Taurus suggests that people in leadership were stuck in their thinking.
Last, the Sun is conjunct the North Node. That's the orange horseshoe just to the left of the Sun. The North Node has a strong tug to it, a sense of urgency. The North Node is a 'positive' influence only if used consciously. Though this might not matter to some astrologers, the Sun is a few days short of being eclipsed (which happens as word of the disaster spread around the world). Think of the Aries Sun having all that fiery momentum -- but it's vexed by the watery power Neptune. Water always finds a way in.

For its part, Neptune is square the lunar nodes, which tells us that everything in the sequence of events depends upon being aware of whatever it represents. It should be an element in consciousness, though due to its house placement -- the 12th -- Neptune is even more veiled than usual, which is saying a lot. Survival depends on simple respect for natural forces, which calls for humility.

Two other elements of the chart might sound familiar: for one, Mercury was retrograde. That's one of those things that messes with technology, with communications and with rational thought. Second, the Moon is void of course in Capricorn. The Moon void at the beginning of a trip says, "You have no idea where you're going or how you're going to get there." The Moon is also coming out of a square to retrograde Mercury -- these two factors are working against one another. Moon square Mercury describes a situation where intuition and mental reasoning conflict, which especially can be a problem with Mercury retrograde.

I would have looked at this chart and told my client: this is not going to end well. Stay off of that ship. And in fact, within minutes of leaving the port -- literally minutes -- the weight of Titanic caused a massive water displacement in the harbor, and caused two other ships to snap their moorings. One of them, The City of New York, came within four feet of cracking into Titanic as she was pulling out of the port.

The Neptune Effect: 'A Very Deceiving Night'

In the background of this whole story was operating one particular delusion: that Titanic was unsinkable. With Neptune square the Sun and nodes, much would hinge on that belief -- and many other effects of Neptune.

A century later, persistent questions about the Titanic disaster include why she didn't slow down or stop, despite warnings of ice, and why a nearby ship, Californian, did not come to her aid -- despite seeing distress rockets. Speculating about the answers requires trying to enter the reasoning process of those making decisions, much of which is based on testimony from the British and American inquiries.

Planet Waves
Map of Titanic's journey, and its resting place about 1,000 miles east of Boston. Greenland, where many icebergs originate, is shown at the center of the image to the north.
Yet facts about the natural environment offer some objective information that helps explain what the people involved in the incident might have been experiencing just before it happened. The night Titanic struck an iceberg that was standing 80 feet above the ocean's surface, the weather and climate conditions were extremely unusual, apparently one of a kind in recorded maritime history. An unusually large mass of clean, high pressure Arctic air had settled over the area, so the air was clear and cold and the ocean temperature was below the fresh water freezing point. The sky was lit only by stars, which were bright and twinkling. One survivor described the stars as seeming to talk to one another, deciding on the fate of the survivors.

Three months before the disaster, there was an unusual celestial alignment: the Moon was at a close perigee -- its closest point to the Earth -- and simultaneously, the Earth was at perihelion, its closest point to the Sun. The three bodies were in their closest proximity in 1,700 years, causing unusually high tides. This dislodged thousands of icebergs (created by an unusually warm Arctic summer the year before) that would typically have been stuck along the shores of Greenland and northern Canada. These ice masses, once set free, took three months or so to intersect with Titanic's future path.

The night of the collision, the sea's surface was extremely smooth, partly as a consequence of all the ice in the area -- and there was a lot of it: many sizes of icebergs, and a vast sheet of field ice 75 miles long by three miles wide, floating on the surface of the Atlantic.

Planet Waves
Cover of Titanic: A Very Deceiving Night. The image shows the smoke from Titanic rising through the cold air, and then reaching a layer of warmer air, where it seems to be trapped by a glass ceiling. This layering effect in the atmosphere refracts light, and is what caused the 'looming' issue that both obscured the view of the iceberg, and made Titanic seem like a smaller ship to the crew of nearby Californian.
Tim Maltin, a British Titanic historian who has written three books on the subject, said in a Planet Waves interview Thursday that the atmospheric conditions conspired to create some strange effects -- sensory distortions -- that influenced everything from visual perception to reasoning processes. [Listen to the full interview here.]

In Maltin's account of the weather that night, which took him more than six years to research from ships' logs, testimony and other sources, we can see the manifestations of Neptune in the leading actors: issues of belief and faith, of visual illusion and psychological delusion.

Maltin's newest book, published in 2010, is called Titanic: A Very Deceiving Night, a title evocative of Neptune. This book is a scientific account of atmospheric conditions that interprets the events of Titanic's voyage in a new way. The book offers a proposed explanation for what happened that night.

Titanic had been warned many times that there was ice everywhere, but proceeded full steam ahead. Maltin proposes that Titanic's command was not ignoring the warnings; rather, they believed they would see any ice in time to avoid it -- hence based on prior experience, they did not slow down. Proper watch had been set. The bow of the ship was made absolutely dark, so that the light would not cause the watchmen's pupils to constrict, giving them maximum night vision. The watches were being rotated every 20 minutes. So, besides the fact that they didn't slow down on an icy sea, normal precautions were being taken by the crew.

One of the visual illusions that night involved a dramatic mirage effect. The frigid arctic air near the water, combined with the much warmer air higher up, caused distant objects to seem higher than they were. Due to such refraction of light, it's possible to see over the horizon. When there are no objects to see, the horizon line itself seems to elevate. This effect is called 'looming'. (The phrase 'looming on the horizon' means that something is visible and looks higher or closer than it is.)

In terms of the effect this had on the lookouts, the elevated horizon blurred the contrast between the iceberg and the sky; imagine the ocean seeming like it was sloped uphill, behind the iceberg. Contrast between the water and the ice is minimal at best. But the combination of the moonless night and the visual distortion on the horizon made it much more difficult.  

Planet Waves
This image illustrates the looming effect, also called the mirage effect. When an object is in a layer of cold air, with warmer air above, a viewer will see the image much higher up than it appears. In some cases it will appear inverted. This effect allows viewers to see over the horizon, and also accounts for seeing an object as both smaller and closer. Image by Keith C. Heidorn, PhD.
One of the lookouts, Frederick Fleet, later testified about a "slight haze" on the horizon before the Titanic struck the iceberg, which he discussed with a colleague, as did all of the lookouts who testified. Another lookout, Reginald Lee, described the iceberg as "a dark mass that came through that haze." Maltin believes that had these conditions not existed, the lookouts would have seen the iceberg well in time.

Maltin says these conditions also explain, at least in part, the mystery of the closest ship to Titanic, called the Californian, which did not come to the aid of Titanic despite its officers seeing numerous distress rockets. Strangely, both ships were owned by the same company. Californian was commanded by a young but highly decorated captain, Stanley Lord, whose conduct that night has been a persistent topic of controversy in understanding the Titanic disaster.

Californian was about 10 nautical miles from Titanic. But the looming effect made Titanic seem higher than it was. That, in turn, led Californian's crew to believe that it was a smaller ship, but much closer. They knew that Titanic was the nearest ship, but due to the looming effect, what they saw didn't look like it at all.

Lord, in his testimony at the inquiries, described that the nearby ship seemed as the size of a medium-size steamer rather than a giant passenger liner. "I am positive it was not the Titanic." He added, "It was a very deceiving night."

Planet Waves
Californian's captain, Stanley Lord, who for whatever reason did not come to the aid of Titanic that night, despite his ship being stopped just 10 miles away. Lord is perhaps the most controversial figure in the whole story. Maltin's book strives to account for some of his thinking that night based on atmospheric conditions.
The looming effect also distorted the apparent height of the distress rockets. The refraction effect that causes looming only occurs low on the horizon. The rockets were exploding in warmer, normally refracting air -- higher up, while Titanic was looming in the cold air at sea level. "These rockets did not appear to go very high. They were only about half the height of the steamer's masthead light," according to the testimony of Californian's second officer, Herbert Stone.

"Captain Lord should have gone to Titanic's aid. But if it hadn't been for the abnormal atmospheric conditions, he would have gone," Maltin says. "Had he recognized that it was the Titanic, he would have radioed to her." Maltin reconstructs events this way: the only other ship in the area with a radio was Titanic, "but his brain told him it wasn't the Titanic. His brain was correct to deduce that it wasn't the Titanic. He made a rational decision that in hindsight was very, very bad."

Maltin believes fear played a role: Lord was afraid to move his ship, even to rescue another vessel, which he tried to contact with a Morse signal lamp. "Lord believed this other vessel was only four or five miles away, she should have replied to the Morse lamp. But the nearby ship didn't reply, leading him to believe that she was not in trouble."

This is a lovely description of the Neptune effect: visual distortions, haze on the water, seeing something as something else, denial, danger coming through the haze as a dark mass, a sense of deception pervading everything -- and this was influencing the catastrophic decisions that Lord made. We could add to that his denial that there was a problem, despite his having considerable evidence of one -- mainly in the form of seeing Titanic's distress rockets and his knowledge of the dangerous conditions.

Neptune can feel like a drug that you don't know that you took, and therefore you don't know you're under its influence. Yet when you actually notice, in the moment or in hindsight, you wonder why you didn't act. The precautions Titanic's captain took seemed reasonable; the ones he failed to take seemed strange only in hindsight. That is Neptune: it works within a world and a logic of its own, and there is always a lot to be said after the fact.

Mercury Retrograde and a Void Moon

Mercury was retrograde when Titanic set sail, and through her entire short-lived career. As anyone who follows astrology knows, Mercury retrogrades are famous for miscommunication, crossed signals and misunderstandings.

Planet Waves
Marconi wireless radio room on the Titanic. The operator shown is junior wireless officer Harold Bride.
The void of course Moon, meanwhile, is famous for hapless behavior and as the name implies, for lack of direction. In the departure chart it's in Capricorn -- the sign of management and command. Remember that these two factors exist under the simultaneous influence of Neptune.

Despite repeated warnings about ice, inquiry testimony reveals that Titanic's officers never conferred and made a conscious decision what to do. Titanic plunges ahead through the ice-strewn sea at top speed.

Just 10 nautical miles away, the captain of the nearby Californian was so concerned that he ordered his ship to stand still for the night. Earlier that night, Californian had run into the edge of an ice field -- a broad, thin sheet of ice that didn't harm the vessel but which shook up Captain Lord. Californian's crew knew Titanic was in the area, and Lord instructed his radio operator to inform Titanic that Californian was stopped, surrounded by ice.

Enter a series of spectacular Mercury retrograde communication failures. According to testimony at the inquiry, Titanic's on-duty wireless operator, Jack Philips, was busy working off a substantial backlog of personal messages with the wireless station at Cape Race, Newfoundland -- a distant station with a quiet signal. When Californian sent its final ice warning, it cut loudly into Titanic's stream of Morse code. Philips rebuked Californian's operator with a snarky Morse signal that translated to: "Shut up, shut up, I’m working Cape Race." Californian's wireless operator listened for a little while longer, turned off the wireless and went to bed. Ten minutes later, Titanic struck the iceberg, sending out her first distress call 25 minutes later.

One communication failure in that last transaction was that Californian's operator didn't put a special code in front of her message called an MSG code, which designates that the communication is for the captain. This lack of protocol led Titanic to believe that it was a casual communication, and she replied casually, saying she was busy.

Planet Waves
Jack Philips, Titanic's senior wireless officer, on duty as the ship hit the iceberg and sank.
As Titanic sank, she sent up a series of distress rockets -- but in response, Californian didn't turn back on her radio. Maltin explains the reasoning behind this decision: Captain Lord didn't think the ship he saw, which appeared much smaller than Titanic and therefore could not be Titanic, had a radio. What point was there sending a message? So instead, Californian sent light signals in Morse code. Yet the fluctuations in the density of the air between the two vessels visually scrambled the Morse lamp signal. Titanic didn't reply.

The next morning, the Californian's officers saw a ship on the horizon. They turned on their radio to inquire what had happened to the ship that had fired off a series of distress rockets earlier that morning. It turned out to be a ship rescuing survivors.

When Californian's officers testified in the inquiry, they argued that they thought the rockets may have been ordinary company communication and not signs of distress. But all seamen know that a series of rockets fired from a ship indicates an emergency, so this was a thin denial. Californian's officers also claimed that they were stopped and could not use their radio. Yet Californian was under steam the whole night in case the vessel had to be moved out of the way of ice, as well as for heat and electric power.

So we see the Neptune effect at its worst: distorted perception, prejudiced by belief, aided and abetted by denial. With Neptune there can be the failure to investigate the obvious; the failure to heed a warning. Top among these distortions was the notion that Titanic could not sink. Had her captain, or anyone, believed that she could, perhaps the spell would have worn off. Yet with Neptune, proof is often of little use.

"This was a tragic event that was not caused by stupid human errors. It was caused by the universe," Maltin said, adding: "It was a natural event, caused by nature, a perfect storm of atmospheric conditions, not avoidable human errors."

The Atlantis Factor

The mythology of Atlantis, the lost continent, is about humanity's hubris handling its own technology. Myths and parables relate themes, and the theme of the Atlantis parable -- the lost continent -- is a story about ethics as they are applied to the advances of our civilization.

Planet Waves
Artist's conception of what Atlantis might have looked like, in part based on Plato's descriptions and composited from various images of classical architecture -- from the Nat Geo film Finding Atlantis.
On the day that Titanic sailed, humans had been sailing the seas and sending signals to one another for a long time. Yet the people, and the companies, involved in this endeavor could handle neither their vessels, nor their communication devices, nor their better judgment. Many conscious choices were made that contributed to what happened. We could analyze them one at a time, or we could look to the philosophy that facilitated the confluence of events. In this article, I've only told a thimbleful of the Titanic story; there was was also the lack of lifeboats, the underutilized lifeboats, and who got to board them. No drills had been conducted, even for the crew. Third-class passengers were locked below decks and could not get out. Most of the children in the third-class area drowned, as did their parents. See the data here. The list of atrocities goes on.

In many ways the Titanic disaster forebodes the history of the 20th century that is to follow: a study in the precautionary principle. Faced with a potential problem or danger, how do you respond? For example, if you're a chemical company and you find out your pesticide might make people sick, what do you do? Leave it on the market? Or take it off the market? The precautionary principle says you err on the side of the least harm.

The precautionary principle used to be called the worst-case analysis: considering the possibility of an extremely low-probability event that could have an extremely high impact. That went out the window with the 20th century and its many inventions (particularly all things nuclear, banks too big to fail and 'food' becoming a synthetic chemical brew), and was replaced by risk analysis. Risk analysis or risk assessment is based on assumptions, which can always be made up, minimized, manipulated, ignored or redefined. Today we think that there's no need to consider the worst-case scenario if it probably won't happen -- which is why it happens so often now.

Planet Waves
The research vessel Atlantis II, owned by the National Science Foundation, joined the WHOI fleet in 1963. It was used by Bob Ballard to explore the debris field of Titanic, which he had discovered earlier, while on a Navy mission searching for lost nuclear submarines. The ship was retired in 1996. Photo by Larry Workman, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.
Humans are blindsided by their own cleverness and blinded by their beliefs. But humans also tend to love their circular reasoning processes: we didn't need to test for contamination because there wasn't any. Therefore, the place is safe -- don't worry. It's one thing for a corrupt health official to make that statement; it's another for nearly everyone to risk it willingly. Some would call this hubris; some would call it attempted murder or murder; you could call it suicide.

To learn about the spiritual crisis at the heart of this, we don't need to look for the lost continent of Atlantis, or figure out what happened there; we merely need to look at these thought processes for what they are. The myth and the idea of Atlantis, the continent that sank because it lacked the ethics to handle its own technology, are alive in all of them. We know this is a story about us, that we're watching as it happens. We don't know 'how it will end', but then we're not doing much to change the ending. When we experience a Titanic or a Fukushima, a mirror is held up to our consciousness.

For about 10 years I've been noticing a pattern in the astrology charts of world disasters. Many of the biggest ones have one particular degree of the zodiac occupied. I first noticed this when the position of the Moon in the chart for the massive Banda Aceh quake and tsunami that killed 240,000 people in 2004 was the same position, to one-quarter of a degree, as the Moon in the chart for the Sept. 11 attacks -- something that would seem to be impossible. The degree position is 28+ Gemini.

The next time I noted that degree in a world horoscope, it was in the chart of WikiLeaks -- as the exact degree rising. WikiLeaks is devoted to exposing the prevailing denial of our culture. Then that degree appeared again in several charts for the Fukushima disaster. I've seen a lot of weird synchronicities doing astrology but this one was quickly going to the top of the list. By this time I had started calling it the Atlantis degree, which I covered in an article last March called Here at the Edge of the World. To make the point that splitting the atom was (and is) courting Atlantis, we illustrated the article with archival photos from the history of nuclear war and atomic energy.

Planet Waves
Children being scanned for radiation on March 11, 2011, hours after the Fukushima nuclear plant melted down. In Atlantean thinking, the human factor is the one left out. Reuters photo by By Kim Kyung-Hoon, who has written a blog post telling the story of this photo, showing some alternate shots, and asking if anyone knows the whereabouts of this girl or her mother.
One idea that this article points to is how the environment itself is being used as a weapon of war. It took me a while to figure that out, and I felt like I was going out on a limb saying so. Yet the night I published the article I got an astonished email from someone whose work many of our readers would recognize, who told me about a dream she had weeks before Fukushima that warned her that a nuclear power station was about to be hit by a kind of weapon beam and blown up.

I haven't done much with the Titanic charts till now. When I cast the one that I've used for this article, the departure chart, one of the first places I looked was 28+ Gemini to see what was there, in that very degree. I could barely believe what I was looking at: the asteroid Atlantis. In astrological delineation, Atlantis is associated with sea disasters, the fear of drowning and events at the end of an age. Martha Lang-Wescott describes it as representing "the feeling that others know something you don't, know more about it or you than you do, are keeping secrets, and can betray one's trust."

Now, magnify these issues onto an industrial scale; imagine the damning corporate documents that reveal how much companies know about how much can go wrong, but don't tell you.

Atlantis connections abound with Titanic. The wreck was discovered while a scientist named Bob Ballard was searching for two sunken nuclear submarines, as a special operative for the Navy. He returned to Titanic's resting place and explored the debris field from aboard a ship called Atlantis II.

There are several accounts, including that of Edgar Cayce, which put the location of the wreck as just off the northwest coast of where Atlantis might have been, and where it exists mythically in the minds of many people, which chills them a bit. And Titanic herself, that self-contained world, has the feeling of a civilization that sank to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean with nearly all her inhabitants, merely because her masters believed they were infallible.

Eric Francis
Historical and Photo Research: Sarah Bissonnette-Adler. Additional Research: David Arner, Genevieve Hathaway, Martha Lang-Wescott, Dale O'Brien, Carol van Strum and Len Wallick. Additional Editing: Suzanne Guillette, Amanda Painter, Jessica Rosemary Shepherd. Web Production: Admiral Anatoly Ryzhenko.

Note to Readers: We will be taking Tuesday's edition off.

As Titanic Sinks, Moon Aspects Undiscovered Pluto and Eris

In the article above, we got a look at the chart for Titanic's departure from Southampton, England. The more frequently studied chart is that of the vessel sinking, widely reported as 2:20 am. Now that the wreck has been found, it's possible to have an exact chart. There is a lot we can say about this horoscope, but I want to focus on one feature: the Pluto-Eris square, and how prominent it is in the chart.

Planet Waves
Here is the full chart for the sinking of the Titanic. The time may be about two minutes earlier, though this is the widely-used time. I suggest you treat this as a chart that reveals astrology, as much as a chart that reveals what it's about. It is a world horoscope. Not shown is asteroid Atlantis, which was is in late Gemini when the ship launched, and had moved into the first degree of Cancer when the ship sank. Neptune is still square the lunar nodes. Note Jupiter in the 10th house in Sagittarius, illustrating a kind of cosmic-scale event. Jupiter is conjunct an intergalactic point called the Great Attractor. Vesta is looming on the horizon, indicating a sacrifice of life.
Neither of these planets had been discovered at the time -- so this chart is a study in how planets can have effects before anyone has ever known of their existence. In this chart, it's two undiscovered planets that are in an aspect at the time of the incident: Pluto (discovered in 1930) is making a long square to Eris (discovered in 2005). The square aspect between these slow-moving points stretches from 1906 to 1911, though there is a close near miss on the night of April 13, 1912 -- the day before Titanic struck the iceberg. You can review the list of events here to see for yourself.

When you consider that these planets have orbits of 251 years (in the case of Pluto) and 557 years (for Eris) that's a suggestion that the aspect is influential in this event -- and of what it portends. Not only does the aspect between the two slow-movers emphasize their presence: the fast-moving Moon is right in the mix. It is conjunct Eris, and square Pluto.

First let's look at the Moon square Pluto, which has been interpreted by many astrologers. The Moon is in Pisces; this is an image of a vessel on water. That vessel is in an exact square to a big hunk of ice that nobody could see -- Pluto, which is also an agent of death. What is interesting is that the Moon is in the same degree that Venus was occupying when the ship left the port; in that chart, Venus is square Pluto. In both charts, they indicate the profound loss of life that will come out of this event.

As for Moon conjunct Eris: that aspect had just happened; it is separating, and it was exact throughout the disaster sequence. This was the next aspect at the time the ship struck the iceberg. Eris, too, is an icy, distant and invisible planet. In mythology she is associated with warfare and disaster; in astrology I associate her with a kind of mental identity chaos, a mark of the postmodern age. Titanic was supposed to be a modern vessel, but in truth a modern ship would have had proper safety features, such as sufficient lifeboats. Postmodern is when those things decay.

Planet Waves
Detail of the Sun and the Moon at the moment Titanic sank. The Pisces Moon is in an eerie, exact square to Pluto as the ship goes down, indicating death by water. The Moon is still separating from a conjunction to Eris, which was exact that whole evening. The Moon is about to make an annular total eclipse to the Sun.
Let's look at a few more features of this chart. In any death chart, it's essential to check the 8th house -- the nature and cause of death. We find Virgo on the cusp, and Libra intercepted. That means the house has two rulers. Virgo is ruled by Mercury -- and retrograde-Mercury communication failures were an undeniable cause of this whole incident. Note that Mercury is retrograde and is about to conjunct the Sun, who represents the officers of the vessel. They are having a full-on encounter with Mercury retrograde.

As for Venus: she is sextile Uranus. All of this comes as a 'surprise' that should not really be a surprise. Events come out of nowhere and proceed very quickly, in true Uranian style. Venus is also a planet of money and value; the 8th covers those topics as well (through themes like inheritance). Who invested money, and who lost and who gained from this incident, would make an interesting topic for a book. Venus square Uranus describes a kind of expedience and corner-cutting where it counts the most. And Uranus is about technology. We have a human factor (Venus) colliding with a technological one (Uranus). Venus also rules the South Node, which is in Libra; she is a visitor from the distant past.

Titanic sinks right before an eclipse of the Sun. Remember how powerful the Sun was in the chart for Titanic's departure? That Sun is about to be eclipsed by the Moon, in Aries, a sign where the Sun should be supreme. Think of this as an extinguishing of the light, both for Titanic herself and all that she represented.

Eclipses have a potent resonance effect, often timed with something that the whole world can feel. That eclipse happened as news of the disaster spread, with all of its shock and outrage.

Planet Waves

Mars Finally Stationing Direct -- Really

Mars stations direct in Virgo on Friday at 11:53 pm EDT. It has been retrograde since late January. This has been compounded by Mercury retrograde from mid-March to earlier this month, making the past month or so especially challenging. Mercury is still working out its 'shadow phase', and seems to be up to as much 'mischief as during a retrograde. But back to Mars direct. For most people, this cannot happen too soon -- but it's about to happen in a few hours. Instead of leaping into action full-force, however, use this weekend to focus your will.

Planet Waves
Atmosphere of Mars, visible on the horizon in this low-orbit photo.
If you have been experiencing frustrating delays and inner conflict, you may naturally want to get past it as fast as you can, but this station direct may offer up some crucial new information to you. Instead of creating complications by acting with incomplete or inaccurate information, use the next couple days to plot your course, check your facts and assumptions, and envision clearly your desires and trajectory.

This phase of Mars retrograde has been a 'systems check' for the upcoming big astrology this spring, and it has also taken us deep through layers of guilt and self-criticism. Review what you’ve learned over this 11-week retrograde.

Mars is stationing opposite Neptune and Chiron in Pisces, which emphasizes the influence of the event. Neptune oppositions can be foggy and exhausting; Chiron often brings up old pain to be healed, acting as a focusing agent, and bringing out the spiritual warrior even in the meek and mild. Be gentle with yourself as the pressure of this retrograde gradually releases. You’ve been recovering your soul on this journey; now use it to focus your will. Mars will be moving direct in Virgo through July 3. We will have more about this next week.

Planet Waves

Santorum Ends Presidential Run; Resigns Himself to Being Slang Term

As Mars slowed down to its station direct this week, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum withdrew from the Republican primary race, which has gotten itself messy with anti-sex, anti-woman froth. Santorum -- the most vocal of the remaining four candidates about such issues -- has been letting his inner conflict about his sexuality leak out for years. In fact, his was a campaign made of the need to impose his injuries on others. What's amazing is how many people were enticed by his emotional burdens. Santorum will be back in 2016; we have not heard the last of him. "We are going to continue to fight for those voices, we are going to continue to fight for those Americans who stood up and gave us that air under our wings that allowed us to accomplish things that no political expert would have ever expected. There's a lot of greatness, a lot of greatness in this country, we just need leaders who believe in that." This development means that the general election is game on. Mitt Romney, the Republicans' very least favorite Republican, is now the presumptive nominee for his party.

George Zimmerman Charged with Murder 2

The man who shot Trayvon Martin to death was charged with second degree murder Wednesday, more than six weeks after admitting to shooting an unarmed teenager. Two weeks ago, we said in a special edition of Planet Waves devoted to the case that there would be a turning point in the case at the time of the Mars station direct. The chart for the announcement of the charts depicts a kind of carousel, and the story has a long way to go. The defense will first move to dismiss the charges based on the Stand Your Ground law, which allows a person to defend himself or herself. If there is a trial, it will be televised, and is already being hyped as the "trial of the millennium." Hopefully not, with 988 years to go till the year 3000.

Planet Waves
This year's UAC conference features a media panel to discuss how astrologers can better use available media and improve astrology's mainstream reputation from 'woo-woo' party game to useful, valid tool. One member of the panel is Art Harris, an award-winning journalist. Harris is a rare critter: a big-league reporter who isn't afraid to speak about how astrology has enriched his life. He will be offering his take on how astrologers can bridge the gap with mainstream media -- incidentally, suggesting the very style of news astro-journalism done at Planet Waves, in a recent interview on the Astrology News Service (ASN) website: "The more the community is able to attach its message to breaking news the better... Being transparent and not taking yourself too seriously can work wonders. But the biggest sin in the media is to be wrong and boring, not necessarily in that order." Harris is appearing alongside Eric Francis and other prominent astrologers with a media angle on their work.

Planet Waves

Planet Waves
If you have not yet heard of Caine's Arcade, be sure to watch this video for the biggest smile you'll get all week. Nine-year-old Caine Monroy had spent his summer vacation in his dad's used auto parts store in East LA, building his own arcade games out of cardboard boxes. Most of the store's business is online, so there is little foot traffic – and the people who did come in were too rushed to take the boy up on his offer to play his arcade. One day, filmmaker Nirvan Mullick walked in. Faced with the boy's offer to get four turns at the games for $1 or a $2 Fun Pass with 500 turns, Mullick chose the Fun Pass. Then he hatched a plan to make the boy's day with a flash mob of eager, sign-waving arcade-goers. Imagine if all kids got their creativity rewarded instead of squashed?

Planet Waves

This section also includes the upcoming publishing schedule! The April monthly horoscope (long edition) was published Wednesday evening, March 21. Inner Space Monthly was published Tuesday evening, March 27. We published Genevieve Hathaway's Moonshine Horoscope on Tuesday, April 3. The next monthly horoscope by Eric will be the May edition, to be published the evening of Wednesday, April 25. There will not be a regular edition that week.

Planet Waves

Mars Stations Direct; Cuba Rant; Keith Olbermann

This week's extravagant edition of Planet Waves FM covers Mars stationing direct and the Sun's current conjunction to Eris. These events are related, they're exciting and they are interesting. Mars is changing directions square the lunar nodes, so this is a bigger moment than it may seem -- a moment of consciously directing your will. Mars will move on from Virgo charged up with all the impeccable Virgo vibes you can imagine -- a great thing for Mars.

Planet Waves
In the second half of the program, I cover Ozzie Guillen's run-in with the anti-Castro forces. I look at the controversy the way it's been cast on TV, and then go below the story and explain what Guillen meant when he said he respected Castro not because he's so nice but rather because he's survived six decades of assassination attempts. Finally, I go over the natal chart of Keith Olbermann.

Here is your program in the old player, where you'll find the full archives of Planet Waves FM, and a downloadable zip file of the current program. This program is also available on iTunes -- we will post instructions how to get there next week, but for now you can just search "astrology" or "Eric Francis" and you should see it. If you subscribe, the program will load into your iTunes automatically -- that solves the Mac issue.

Correction: At about 22 minutes I reference Eris as representing service -- I mean VESTA. The Sun is currently conjunct both, in Aries. Note 2, Pholus was indeed square Neptune for 20 years. Here is an aspectarian.--efc

Planet Waves

Friday, April 13, 2012. Weekly Horoscope #899 | Eric's Zodiac Sign Descriptions

Aries Birthdays This Week

With the Sun conjunct both Eris and Vesta, you may be feeling some unusual pressure to figure out who you are. You've been doing this for a while, though the chaos factor may be reaching a new peak. I suggest you see this as a positive development: your psyche is trying to free you from your ideas of who you were in the past. I don't even mean the reality of who you were -- I mean your concept of who you were, which is a kind of story. As soon as you see that story as such, you will have the most significant tool to liberate yourself from it. As Mars stations direct on Friday, you will be reminded that healing is indeed finding freedom from the past. Mars has been retrograde now for 11 weeks, dragging you through many layers of your inner being, and your fears, and the harsh way you sometimes treat yourself. This has been quite an odyssey, and you're about to be released all at once, and sprung forward into new adventures.

Learn more at your Aries Birthday Reading. "I listened to the Aries birthday report last night and was blown away as usual -- right on the money." -- Karin in Los Angeles.

Aries (March 20-April 19)
Aries (March 20-April 19) -- You are correct in that the ultimate cure, solution resolve, is spiritual. There's only so much we can manipulate the physical world, or even our thoughts. True healing occurs on a deeper level. What you may be feeling, though, is how far away that place of healing seems -- as if somehow it's a world apart. Even if it is, you can still get there. It will help if you not concern yourself with whether you believe it's true or possible; this is a matter of setting your intentions, and having faith in yourself. It's clear from your charts that you've made great efforts to cross what may not, in retrospect, seem like such a great distance. Yet we're talking about inner space, where the sense of scale is different than external space. What you've succeeded in doing is shifting your attention to an introspective direction. You have dared to inquire about something that you might have otherwise overlooked. That required an act of faith in yourself -- faith that you still possess.

Hello Aries -- Eric has written a new description for your sign that you have access to from this link (no password needed).

Taurus (April 19- May 20)
Taurus (April 19-May 20) -- Not everyone is blessed with curiosity about themselves. Though some people are, that curiosity is often fragile and can be thwarted by everything from external distractions to the fear of what one might discover inwardly to an odd kind of shame about getting to know oneself as a conscious act. For the past few months, it's as if you've been dragged inward, and have felt compelled to explore territory that you might have avoided otherwise. Yet as you've moved through these regions in yourself, you've noticed all the things you want that exist there. You've also come within sight of a truly significant personal goal, this despite some protest along the way. And you've opened up inner territory that until now was truly unfamiliar. Remember, as you enter a new phase of experience, how challenging it was, and what you had to go through to learn what you did. Never take that for granted; what was strange to you yesterday or two months ago still deserves to be treated with the respect for the unknown -- and that starts with curiosity.
Hello Taurus -- Eric has written a new description for your sign that you have access to from this link (no password needed).

Gemini (May 20- June 21)
Gemini (May 20-June 21) -- I'm looking at your chart thinking: this has to be an interesting time for sex, or at least your ideas about sex, and discovering what you want. That's something you're fortunate to have available, and I suggest you use it to your maximum advantage. Yes, there is an uncomfortable edge, as if you're having to stretch in a direction you're not totally sure about: in particular, how it feels to respond to the erotic power of someone else. There may be an element of simultaneous attraction-repulsion. If you're experiencing that, look no further than yourself for understanding. Your responses are all about you, no matter who else may be involved. Any sensation of approach-avoid can indicate the presence of hidden guilt. You may be worried about what 'someone else' would think if they knew what you wanted, or were experiencing with such pleasure. Go past that and see what's on the other side.

Hello Gemini -- Eric has written a new description for your sign that you have access to from this link (no password needed).

Cancer (June 21- July 22)
Cancer (June 21-July 22) -- There's no crisis -- only a minor disturbance, and from that, you can learn a lot about how to use a challenge to create an invention. You seem to be working out some kind of mental puzzle -- maybe several of them -- which all point back to one basic idea: how you think. It's special for an entity to be aware of its own awareness. It's a kind of reflexiveness that distinguishes certain kinds of individuals, in particular, the ones capable of conscious change, because they are capable of being self-aware. An untrained mind is cumbersome. You are starting to learn some mental discipline, and you may have discovered that mostly means guiding rather than pushing yourself. As one born under such an intensely emotional sign, a significant element of discipline is the ability to detach a little, and not be carried so far, so fast, by your stream of feelings. Yet all of this is secondary to one truly useful discovery you're about to make about yourself.

Hello Cancer -- Eric has written a new description for your sign that you have access to from this link (no password needed).

Leo (July 22- Aug. 23)
Leo (July 22-Aug. 23) -- The Sun opposing Saturn looks like you're going through a test of your ethics. This comes on top of a long, careful quest to determine your true values; to figure out what's actually important to you. The two are related. It's one thing to figure something out in theory, and another when the time comes that you have to put your idea to work in a real-time situation. The scenario looks like you must make difficult decisions, having been confronted by a limit of some kind, be it your time, your energy or some external factor. Before you spend too much time figuring out what to do about that, I suggest you check for where you have additional resources that you hadn't thought to apply to the situation. Most of the time (contrary to the messages of advertising) when you need something, you already have it. In this situation, though, that 'thing' isn't a thing -- it's an approach to the question; you might think of it as applied science, as opposed to theoretical.

Hello Leo -- Eric has written a new description for your sign that you have access to from this link (no password needed).

If you have more questions than answers, consider this.

We will soon figure out that it's actually 2012. The recent retrogrades of Mars and Mercury seemed to create a delay, but really this winter and early spring has been a phase of gestation. Over the next four weeks, the energy starts to pick up pace dramatically, and we will discover where we are and that something unusual, and beautiful, is happening. Even as we approach the truly beautiful potential of the astrology that's developing, many people are struggling with their day-to-day lives. There are more questions than answers; the economic and political situations seem hopeless; the pace of existence is going so fast that there seems to be nowhere to get in a little meaning, or seek some peace of mind.

Planet Waves
Here is where astrology can help. Astrology looks at the longer cycles, and the deeper themes -- and can help you see your life in context of the present moment, no matter how chaotic it may be. Context means a sense of where you fit in that will help you see your potential and make better choices.

For years, I've been helping my clients prepare for making the most of the astrology of the 2012 era. Based on this experience, and many years of study, I've prepared a set of readings for all 12 signs (and rising signs, and Moon signs) that guides you through this astrology, step by step. I cover the most challenging and energized developments of this spring, which includes eclipses, Venus retrograde, the Venus transit of the Sun, and then a few days after the Sun ingresses Cancer, the Uranus-Pluto square.

I suggest you get this report in its current form, where you have access to all 12 signs. This way, you will be able to listen to your Sun, Moon and ascendant, and gain added depth. You can listen to your opposite sign and learn something about how this astrology will influence your relationships. Each sign gets a half-hour discussion. These came through loud and clear, with strength and meaning. I spent a week designing and recording them, and I am grateful to be able to offer them to you as a tool to help you guide your decisions, as you seek deeper meaning along your journey.

Spring 2012 is a kind of checkpoint along the way to wherever you are going. But really it's a calling into the adventure of existence, a bold invitation to go beyond your past limits and explore something truly new about yourself.

All 12 signs are now available for $19.95. Next week they will go on sale for $9.95 each with no discount for multiple signs. The report is getting rave reviews from people who are currently working with it, including these words from a customer named Donna: "OMG -- thank you thank you thank you -- just spent this morning listening to my [Spring Report] info, and am so blown away by the accuracy (and relief!) in this experience. Thanks so very much for your part in supporting this work and for showing up in the way that you do!". Here is the link to order.

Individual signs will be available soon -- please drop us a note if you want to be notified of when, or if you have any other questions.

Eric Francis

Virgo (Aug. 23- Sep. 22)
Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22) -- Mars has been retrograde in your sign since January, which may have run you out to the end of your tether. Overnight Friday to Saturday, Mars changes to direct motion, and you get your answer to the question, 'what gives?' Yet unlike our typical (Western world) response of leaving problems mostly solved or being satisfied with questions that are mostly answered (or worse, accepting an answer that just sounds good), this is your opportunity to work through this particular personal material thoroughly. This weekend brings a significant turning point; make sure you're moving slowly and consciously enough to feel it. Yet between now and early July is a time for you to make sure you tidy up, summarize and most of all put what you've learned into practice. Yes, give it that long. This does not allow a lot of time for delays -- you have, in fact, exactly enough time to consolidate your accomplishments and move on to something extraordinarily productive.

Hello Virgo -- Eric has written a new description for your sign that you have access to from this link (no password needed).

Libra (Sep. 22 - Oct. 23)
Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23) -- Do your beliefs help you feel any safer on the planet? You can test your theory by getting clear what you believe, where there is no evidence to support that belief. I know this is asking for a lot of self-reflection, and for intense honesty of a kind that's pretty rare. Whether you feel safe is the question right now, which includes within the private confines of your mind, with the way you relate to someone close to you, and how you feel within your physical environment. You're more likely to notice an unsupported belief by accident. For example, you encounter an 'issue' and you figure out that a series of assumptions got you there. Or you discover that you really were being dragged around by a religious value that you hadn't identified as such previously. Or you find yourself acting in a way similar to much older relatives who you know are disconnected from reality. It's easy to forget these discoveries when we make them. I'm suggesting you notice them, and remember them, and then go on a hunt for both their origins and their effects on your life. If the term 'being your own person' has any meaning at all, examining these themes would be included in its meaning.

Hello Libra -- Eric has written a new description for your sign that you have access to from this link (no password needed).

Scorpio (Oct. 23- Nov. 22)
Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22) -- Expect people to treat you differently. That's to say -- you can release them from their past opinions of you, which is a burden that both they and you carry. The nature of the burden is that when people are locked into their old ideas of who a person is, that leaves no room for who they are in the present moment. We all know how much people seem to walk around with their minds made up about everything and everyone. You have the power, at least, to create a liberated zone where this is possible. Inside that space, you will notice that you have the freedom to set some new goals for yourself, and to admit some new desires, ones that in the past you feared might have conflicted with what others thought your life was supposed to be about. This is the liberation you need the most: to be able to define your purpose, irrespective of what all those people in the past might have thought, and shorn of any perceptions of others of who you're supposed to be today. This may feel daring, but it's not as dangerous as you think.

Hello Scorpio -- Eric has written a new description for your sign that you have access to from this link (no password needed).

Sagittarius (Nov. 22 - Dec. 22)
Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22) -- Progress in one's career is rarely a rapid process. True, some of the most visible careers are the ones that go off like meteors: for example, those of young celebrities, many of whom seem to have done little to deserve the kind of money and adulation that's poured all over them. This can be frustrating for those whose success is incremental, or is in fields that are considered less marketable than fast food or smartphones. You're not letting that stop you, however. What you're doing has inherent value -- both to you and to the world around you. If the cash-in-instantly factor is not there, something else is, which is the feeling of integrity. It's essential that you view your 'small' successes as successes. Note when your direction of travel shifts in the direction of what you want. Remember that persistence over the long haul is more effective than one or two big achievements. Yet despite all of this, when you are recognized for something, it's crucial that you be gracious about that, and pause for a moment and reflect on what you did, how you did it and why anyone actually cares.

Hello Sagittarius -- Eric has written a new description for your sign that you have access to from this link (no password needed).

Capricorn (Dec. 22- Jan. 20)
Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20) -- The Sun opposed to your home planet Saturn this weekend is a reminder that true strength comes from within. Authentic motivation is something you carry in your body, not something that you get from your environment. Yet if there is one environmental factor, it's a sense of grounding in your personal space. You need a measure of emotional stability in your life, no matter how challenging that may be to create. Notice all of the factors around you that are designed to knock you off balance, which in turn creates the need for things you don't really need. These influences range from advertising to religion, which are basically the exact same social force. When you feel complete in yourself, you feel capable of anything. This is not a mirage -- it's actually true. I suggest you take time this weekend to cultivate that sense of grounding. Go where you feel the most sane and secure. Take some time and make a simple improvement to your living space. Pause and actually get enough rest -- and then notice what happens to your anxiety level.

Hello Capricorn -- Eric has written a new description for your sign that you have access to from this link (no password needed).

Aquarius (Jan. 20- Feb. 19)
Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) -- Your mind has been a kaleidoscope lately, though if you're trying to finish a project of some kind, this weekend will be a good time to do that. In particular, if you've been trying to write something, pull together a web project, organize your workspace or focus a business project, this is the time. One thing that will come in handy in the coming weeks is an updated resume or CV. I suggest you get that going, even if you don't finish the work (those things take some time). Several factors that have been presenting a challenge to your mental focus are now out of the way, and other factors will offer the sense of having all of your wheels touching solid earth. Use these opportunities well. When the Sun changes signs into Taurus in less than a week, your professional goals and position in the business community will come into focus -- and I suggest you be prepared well in advance. There's an old expression I love: luck is where preparation meets opportunity.

Hello Aquarius -- Eric has written a new description for your sign that you have access to from this link (no password needed).

Pisces (Feb. 19- March 20)
Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) -- I trust that Mars retrograde in your opposite sign Virgo has taught you about the virtues of self-reliance. On one level, it's been a long demonstration of the meaning of relationships in your life. You've had one opportunity after the next to tidy up your boundaries and get clear about your commitments, and the commitments of others to you. You've had opportunities to get clear on your Yes and your No, and to see where you've made mistakes with those in the past. One quality of this transit has been learning that people will really only do what they want. They might pretend for a little while, but the only truly motivating factor comes from within. Which brings me to self-reliance. You're the engine of your life. It's not that others are merely coming along for the ride -- though it's time for you to fully make peace with your leadership role. Leadership in what? Chiron and Neptune in your sign suggest that you're directly connected to a source of ideas that, for most others, is simply not available, or something they understand.

Hello Pisces -- Eric has written a new description for your sign that you have access to from this link (no password needed).

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