Revisiting History: SS Edmund Fitzgerald Tragedy

by Marilyn Muir, LPMAFA

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On November 10, 1975, a huge Great Lakes freighter fell victim to a vicious winter storm on Lake Superior just off the Canadian coast. Remains of the onboard crew of 29 were never found. Once the largest vessel on the Great Lakes, it seemed impossible that this ship could be lost – but it was, and was then immortalized in the Gordon Lightfoot song “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald”. The astrologer in me wondered about time…  the necessary ingredient for an accurate chart and readinglivinghistory!

  • The contract for building the vessel was signed February 1, 1957.  The builder was Great Lakes Engineering Works of River Rouge, MI.
  • The first keel plate was laid on August 7, 1957.
  • The christening and launch occurred on June 7, 1958, and it was declared in service the following day.
  • Sea trials began September 13, 1958 and were completed September 22.
  • The maiden voyage was September 24, 1958.

None of the history I read gave times of events so noonmark must be assumed (the center point of most business days), and the location was the shipyard in River Rouge, MI. Digging deeper…

  • The final voyage began Nov 9, 1975, 2:15 PM CST, launching from Superior, WI.

A vicious winter storm kicked up in the overnight hours with many vessels caught on open water. A natural joining of forces occurred between the vessels, but the huge SS Edmund Fitzgerald lost its battle with the storm and the sea.

  • Last voice radio contact was 7:10 PM and the ship itself disappeared from radar at 7:20 PM, both CST, near Whitefish Bay, Ontario, Canada.

What can be trusted for reading are the timed charts, so we must then work from the ending towards the beginning to plot this historical sequence of events.

  • We assume that the contract represented the planting of the seed that was to be grown… conception?
  •  Actual birth looks to be christening/launching. There were unusual activities with that stage.
  • The death spiral would be the final voyage and last contacts.

Starting with the tragedy itself, the final voyage (FV):

  • FV Ascendant 10 Pisces 13 is closely square co-ruler Neptune 10 Sagittarius 37. Co-ruler Jupiter is intercepted and retrograde in the first house showing a wide opposition to Pluto in the seventh, also intercepted; all negative aspects, so Jupiter was not much help that day.
  • The FV destiny/catastrophe/death house is full: Uranus 3 Scorpio 42 conjunct Mercury 5 Scorpio 35 in a T-square with the Moon 6 Aquarius 24 opposed Saturn 02 Leo 57. The Sun and North Node are also positioned in the eighth.
  • As if that were not enough, the eighth cusp ruler is Mars 2 Cancer 35 Rx in the 4th (the grave) and it is square benefic Venus 00 Libra 16, intercepted in the seventh. Neither benefic was available for assistance. This sounds almost predestined.
  • What’s left out in the FV chart? Midheaven 20 Sagittarius 50 – but very weak co-ruler Jupiter is applying but widely opposed Pluto as mentioned.

There are a couple of groupings between the FV chart and the two last contact charts. There were only 29 hours between the FV and loss of radar, what can we see?

  • FV Moon 6 Aquarius 24 opposed Saturn 2 Leo 58, T-square Mercury 5 Scorpio 35 and Uranus 3:42. Mercury. Saturn and Uranus have barely moved 29 hours later.
  • FV NNode 21 Scorpio 48 conjunct all 3 Suns, square radio and radar Moons.
  • All three Venus 00:16-1:31 Libra all three Mars 2:35-2:31R Cancer and last contact Ascendants 3:13 -5:25’ Cancer.

For these 29 men and the ship, the full last day of the voyage was insanely difficult, fighting the waves and the storm, but the deaths themselves should have happened quickly. While deep in that part of Lake Superior, the heavy ship would have dropped like a shot, trapping them quickly. They were never found.

The storm, heavy seas, blindness through lack of radar, guidance by other boats in the areas at great distances, invisible to the Edmund Fitzgerald, the influence of Neptune, ruler of the seas, confusion, fog and the FV chart in square to the Ascendant/Descendant swallowed the ship and its people. Mars, the ruler of the eighth house of death is in the fourth house of “end of the matter” and a watery grave.

Working backwards, does any of this tie to the earlier noonmark charts? Briefly, hard aspects (loss), and not repeating degrees:

  • Contract (C) Midheaven/Uranus/ Neptune ties to the early fixed degrees of the FV and last contact Moon/Mercury/Saturn/Uranus.
  • C Ascendant/NNode ties to the FV and last contact fixed bundle of Sun/Moon/NNode.
  • C Saturn ties to FV Ascendant conjunct all three Neptunes.
  • C Moon ties to both last contact Midheavens (timed).

I mentioned the christening and launch had unusual qualities. The ship was named for the president and chairman of the board of Northwestern Mutual (owner) whose Grandfather had been a lake captain, plus his Father built and repaired ships. Edmund Fitzgerald’s wife Elizabeth performed the traditional smashing of the champagne for the christening in front of a crowd of 15,000+. Paraphrased: She had to smash the bottle three times before it would break. There was then a 36-minute delay to the launch itself because the crew could not release the keel blocks. It was a sideways launch causing a wave that doused many spectators. The ship then crashed into a pier. Witnesses remarked the ship looked like it was “trying to climb right out of the water”. A spectator watching the launch had a heart attack and later died. Was this a forewarning of the tragedy to come eighteen years later?

Eighteen years… that sounds very close to the lunar node cycle doesn’t it? The C NNode was 25 Scorpio 28 Rx and the FV/last contacts NNode 21 Scorpio 48-49 stationing (potent) within the 29 hours of the FV window.

The time differential between christening/launch and maiden voyage was three months, seventeen days. The outer bodies move slowly, so repetition is probable. Does anything stand out between the maiden and final voyages?

  • MV Midheaven 24 Virgo 26, Mercury 22:14, Venus 18:49, square Saturn 19 Sagittarius 54
    to FV Midheaven (that lone position in the FV chart).
  • MV Ascendant 6 Sagittarius 00 opposed Mars 00 Gemini 48 both square Pluto 3 Virgo 00
    to both last contact Midheavens 1 Pisces 09 to 3:47.
  • MV Sun 1 Libra 08 to both last contact Ascendants: 3 Cancer 13 and 5:25, all three Venus and Mars.
  • MV Jupiter/Neptune exact conjunction 3 Scorpio 19 on the FV Moon, Mercury/Saturn/Uranus T-square.

I did cast all the hard aspects between all the charts, but selected those charts with enough difference in time and character to illustrate the connections. Also, for research purposes with multiple charts, I do create a spreadsheet so that repetitive aspects between multiple charts are easier to follow.

The only good part about this tragedy was that it was used to do an overhaul on Great Lakes shipping regulations and codes. It is always a shame that tragedy happens, but we can learn from it to minimize or prevent repeats in the future.

Gordon Lightfoot

Published in AFA Today’s Astrologer May 2019 vol 81 #5, republished with slight editing.

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