Revisiting History: The Sinking of the South Korean Ferry Sewol

by Marilyn Muir, LPMAFA

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Sometimes confusion about time of birth can be answered by the chart itself. On April 16, 2014 the unthinkable happened. A South Korean Ferry carrying 476 people capsized, trapping most of the passengers below decks as the ship slowly sank into the Pacific off the coast of South Korea.

304 passengers and crew lost their lives, along with two rescue divers. There were 172 survivors. The multiple horrors were unbelievable… several of the crew survived with the captain as they left the ship in the first boat, passengers abandoned. The passengers were told to stay in their cabins… and then it was too late to escape. Cellphones told the rest of the story – family members agonized as they listened to their loved ones desperately seeking help and getting none. The ship was filled with high school teenagers on an outing. The ship was overloaded, cargo shifted on a correcting turn, lack of experience or incompetence in the crew, safety requirements not fulfilled, and more.

The worst for me was the voices of the doomed reaching out to those loved ones. I was a puddle for days, but some did survive. Justice was found in the courts. The captain got a life sentence and several crew members were also sentenced… and in the last few weeks, the President of S. Korea was impeached – not specifically for the ferry, but it was part of the background of the trial. This week, the old story came back to life because on March 23, 2017, that ferry at the bottom of the ocean was brought to the surface. And so, that story continues…

Piecing this together has been difficult because there are so many complex reports. What constitutes the birth moment for this event? Departure. The ship was scheduled to depart at 6:30 PM on March 15, 2014, but there was a bad fog and no ships could leave port. By 8:30 PM the fog was lifting and the authorities prepared to open the port; the ship had to re-qualify to depart. Initially, CNN reported actual departure at 9:30 PM. The most current information on Wikipedia says the ship left at 9:00 PM and was the only ship to leave port that evening. What do the charts tell us?

  • The 9:00 PM chart gives the Ascendant 18 Scorpio 46, conjunct Saturn in the first house 21 Scorpio 49R, with the Ascendant and Saturn mutually applying. Port authority is still angular and in charge, controlling the ship’s departure (Saturn angular).
  • The 9:30 PM chart shifts Saturn into the twelfth house with the Ascendant at 24 Scorpio 48. The fog had put the port authorities in charge and held all ships in port until visibility improved. Authority had receded into the background by 9:30 and the ship was free to leave port. The 9:30 PM chart also has the fourth cusp at 5 Pisces 56 conjoining Neptune at 6 Pisces 48 within three minutes on the departure clock. Planets on angles are powerful.

My choice was that the authorities were still in charge (angular Saturn) at 9:00 PM, but departure was imminent. I come down on the side of the 9:30 chart being the one to read. There are several major aspects that need to be pointed out which work in either chart.

  • The Full Moon is tight to the Lunar Nodes. That is a very strong Lunar Eclipse at 25 Libra 16 about six hours prior on the day’s clock to the ship leaving port. Major events tend to occur around the eclipses.
  • There is a very tight, very active Cardinal Cross in effect. Starting with the chart ruler, Mars 16 Libra 25 Rx opposing the Mercury 14 Aries 14/Uranus 13 Aries 13 conjunction, all squared by Jupiter at 12 Cancer 54 opposite the other chart ruler, Pluto, at 13 Capricorn 35 Rx. That’s five planets in hard aspect within a three degree 31 minute spread and most are mutually applying to that massive aspect, a cardinal grand cross. Cardinal is acute, so whatever occurs happens quickly. Both chart rulers are involved plus Mercury rules the Midheaven, the outcome or goal of the birth event.

The early part of the trip was an evening at sea as the ship traveled the coast from Incheon towards their destination at Jeju. The Maenggol Channel is a difficult steerage area. Correcting course within the channel caused the ship to list, the cargo to shift, and the loss of the ship. The timetable from the court trial is complete, but which moment in rapid fire was pivotal? This was a cascade of tiny decisions and events that led to disaster. I chose 8:58 AM April 16, 2014 because the official description sounds like that was the moment the boat capsized.

The planets will not have changed with the exception of the Moon now at 4 Scorpio 13, which makes no hard aspect that I can see. That Moon does sextile the 9:30 PM sailing Midheaven. What can the cusps tell us? The capsizing Midheaven is 27 Aquarius 19 opposed the 9:00 PM sailing Midheaven of 28 Leo 02. That is an important contact within one degree of exact. That is four minutes of clock time for either chart. By comparison, the 9:30 PM Ascendant is 24 Scorpio 48 in wider square to the same capsizing Midheaven. Both sailing charts are working.

This is the nightmare part of the event. Neptune, ruler of the ocean, is now in the tenth house with the Midheaven quickly approaching exact contact, 9.5 degrees or about 38 minutes on the clock. How do you read that? The goal or destination is approaching the ocean. Sinking itself took a long time with rescue boats and divers doing their best to get to the passengers and crew trapped within the sinking ship. As noted earlier, two of the divers lost their lives. The ship was completely submerged by 1:03 PM April 16, 2017.

That’s the Revisiting History part of this story, which never truly ended. Even a tragic event is part of an ongoing process. Due to the clamor of the parents and friends trying to achieve justice, a battle has continued with arrests, court trials, one suicide by a school official, and efforts to salvage and refloat the ship – for three long years. On March 23, 2017, that battle was won as the ship was hoisted from the bottom of the ocean onto a double barge. The casket was now in hand. For those whose loved ones were never retrieved, this can bring closure to their pain. Costly, difficult, but definitely worth it in terms of human suffering. This is so fresh in the news cycle that all I could come up with was early morning, photographed by helicopter reporters – an amazing photo of a giant ship atop and between two large barges.

Time? It was bright sunlight but early, so I arbitrarily chose (speculated) 8:00 AM. Ascendant 1 Taurus 00 with Mars 9 Taurus 17 in the first house, intercepted. Chart ruler Venus 6 Aries 30 Rx was intercepted in the twelfth house.

The Aries stellium is opposed Jupiter square Pluto, again cardinal, with Mercury the closest planet aspecting the sailing Grand Cross.

Pluto at 19 Capricorn is on the ninth house side of the Midheaven about ¾ of a degree or three minutes on the clock. I doubted all that power intercepted in the twelfth, so I backed up my guesswork time to 7:55 AM. Definitely better! The stellium will stay in the twelfth but is no longer intercepted. The chart ruler becomes Mars in the first house. Pluto is now on the tenth house side of the Midheaven (applying conjunction) within ½ degree. When you bring something under the surface to the surface (which just happens to be water), I could see Pluto elevated and dominant. The technology involved is amazing. The ship must be transported (carefully) before any examination can be done. For the moment, it remains a floating casket (Pluto rules death). The opportunity is there to bring closure to the families, but it will take more time, much of which will be behind the scenes (four planets in the twelfth house). This world of ours is a schoolhouse and this is one of our lessons.

South Korea Ferry Sewol charts:

Departure (choice): 9:00 or 9:30 AM April 15, 2014, Inch’on, South Korea, 37N28, 126E38

Capsize 8:58 AM April 16, 2014, 31N11.703’. 125E57/113 (Coast Guard Photo with coordinates) Wikipedia gives 34˚13’5”N, 125ˆ57’00”E

Actual sinking beneath surface of water: 1:03 PM April 16, 2014 at capsize coordinates.

Resurfaced March 23, 2017, 7:55 AM (Speculative) at capsize coordinates.


NY Times South Korea Raises Ferry that Sank in 2014 Disaster (with photographs)

Published in AFA Today’s Astrologer Jun 2017,vol 79#6, republished with slight editing.

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