The Capsize of the Golden Ray: A Chart of Extremes

by Marilyn Muir, LPMAFA

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Rather than my Revisiting History column, I asked if I could report instead on the capsizing of a South Korean cargo ship in St. Simons Sound off the coast of Georgia this September (2019). I found timing for events that could be used to tell the story astrologically, from the ship leaving the dock to the rescue of the last crewmember about thirty hours later, a cascade of chartable moments.  YES!

After unloading its cargo from Mexico and reloading for the next leg of its journey, the Golden Ray left the Port of Brunswick, GA just after midnight on Sunday, September 8th, and had been underway 23 minutes when disaster struck. The reason is still unknown, but one thought is that on the turn to move out of the estuary and into the broader Atlantic Ocean, cargo may have shifted causing the 656-foot ship to list and eventually capsize onto its side. It did not sink in the relatively shallow passageway. The ship is still floating there as I write this with experts doing their best to rescue the ship itself and reopen normal shipping. Apparently, the cargo holds 4200 cars. I can’t even imagine that, but that is what is reported; that weight is astronomical to me!

Credit photo: Karl Gelles/USA TODAY

The first distress call was about 2:00 AM and help arrived about two hours later, 4:00 AM. It took about an hour to rescue the first 20 crewmembers. Because of the dangerous conditions (all this was being performed in the dark) plus fire had broken out on the ship, rescuers had to back off and take those they had rescued to medical facilities. The Coast Guard remained on the scene and rescue efforts were resumed once the situation was stabilized. 

About thirty hours after the mayday call, a helicopter landed on the side of the ship (Monday at 8 AM). Rescuers heard tapping from inside the ship providing confirmation that the final four crewmembers were alive about 1:00 PM. A hole was cut to provide air, food and water. Special tools were required to avoid another fire. Three crewmembers were freed from the engine room around 3:00 PM. Three hours later at 6:00 PM the fourth and final crewmember was rescued from a blast-proof glassed-in pilot room. WOW, do we have timing!

Astrology Departure was “a few minutes after midnight” September 8, 2019 EDT, Port of Brunswick, GA. At 12:15 AM, Jupiter is directly conjunct the Descendant in a massive Mutable T-square that becomes a Grand Square by adding the Ascendant/Descendant axis. Four planets: Mars/Sun/Mercury/Venus are conjunct in Virgo in the fourth, opposing Neptune in the tenth, all square Jupiter and the axis: a 9 degree overall hard aspect span, all in angles. It certainly speaks for the disaster itself.

However, there is a Grand Earth Trine operating as well. Those four Virgo planets trine the Moon/Saturn/South Node/Pluto in Capricorn in the eighth house also trine Uranus in Taurus in the eleventh house. Saving grace? The disaster did occur: Grand Square. Providence intervened: Grand Trine. All crew members rescued, ship still floating awaiting rescue itself, a very difficult task. The 12:15 AM launch works.

How long would it take to back this huge ship away from the dock, turn and assume forward motion to leave the port? They were underway 23 minutes when the disaster occurred. Adding 23 minutes of travel time to 12:15 AM brings us to 12:38. Moving the Ascendant forward five minutes (turnaround time?) places 21 Gemini 56 on the Ascendant squaring the last planet in the T-square: Venus 22 Virgo 05. I prefer an applying aspect for ongoing action. The ship lists. The 12:43 AM “listing” works.

The crew must have fought valiantly against enormous odds because their distress call was about 2:00 AM. The Ascendant had shifted forward to 9 Cancer 40 and this chart ruler is the Moon at 10 Capricorn 03 conjunct the Descendant within 23 minutes of arc, perfected just under 2 minutes on the day’s clock. This was the first chart I set. WOW! Blockbuster! The 2:00 AM distress call works.

Help arrives about 4:00 AM; it took about an hour to rescue twenty crewmembers. The Uranus leg of the Grand Earth Trine is the only angular planet and the Grand Trine contains this chart’s ruler, the Sun. Uranus is also the Midheaven ruler of the departure chart. At 5:00 AM the Midheaven is 13 Taurus 10 trine Mars 13 Virgo 26 with trining Moon applying. At 5:00 AM the rescue efforts had to stop because of the outbreak of fire. The Grand Trine held up well, but the fiery nature of Mars still played its hand. It did not kill the remaining four crewmembers, so we can see the protective Grand Trine still at work. The 4 to 5:00 PM rescue works – a cascade.

A helicopter landed on the side of the ship (can you imagine this?) about 8:00 AM Monday September 9th to search for the four missing crewmembers. That chart strikes me as a few minutes late because the Virgo cluster has moved into the twelfth house and there is nothing on or in the angles of the chart. About 13 minutes earlier on the clock, Venus would be directly on the Ascendant. I have a vision in my head of a mechanical angel landing!

I have two conflicting reports for timing when the men were located. Just after any incident it is typical to get conflicting info, so waiting for clarification can be frustrating. One Coast Guard report gives 10:53 AM. The other report gives 1:00 PM for tapping heard from the missing men. Perhaps both have value with the earlier indicating when tapping was initiated and the other when tapping was returned. Or one was initial response and the other established location of the men so rescue could begin. Speculation!

I had already set the 1:00 PM chart and it looks quite specific. Both the Grand Earth Trine and the Mutable T-Square legs are angular in the tenth house of this chart: Midheaven 10 Virgo 32 quite close to Mars 14 Virgo 19 initiating contact to that Virgo cluster. This is an action chart with multiple elements.

To be thorough I also set the 10:53 AM chart. This Uranus is within two degrees of the Descendant, also action oriented but more like a surprise or single action. This area needs time for the records to steady out before we can verify the definitions.

1:00 PM is our best guess at the moment, but two hours later, three of the four members had been rescued and removed from the ship: 3:00 PM. It took quite a bit of time to cut through the side of the ship once their location was discovered. What does that chart show? The Grand Trine is angular, the T-square is not, but the planets in the Grand Trine are intercepted, delaying but not denying their good. Moving this chart forward about ten minutes frees up that Grand Trine for direct and unimpeded action, activating one Grand Trine position after another, eventually a cascade of 24 men were rescued.

We are in a ballpark here, but I am hesitant to declare victory. Three hours later: at 6:00 PM the final crewmember was rescued. The blast-proof glass in that compartment took special equipment and was difficult to break through. 14 Aquarius 29 is rising providing a description of modern equipment and technology influencing the day (a diamond-tipped cutter).  The only angular planet is Neptune late in the first house, part of the initial T-square. I would look to that as the human part of the disaster had completed but the ship is still floating on its side in the Sound, now leaking oil into the pristine marine environment. This situation is not done.

It is believed that the ship can be saved but the effort is gargantuan. If the ship sinks into the shallow passageway, it would be a further disaster for the company that owns it, the marine environment, the Port of Brunswick and East Coast shipping in general. My personal concern is that the Grand Earth Trine has lost the presence of the Moon, weakening the Grand Trine. The faster moving planets: Mars/Sun/Mercury/Venus over a scant few days will move out of Virgo into Libra and the dissolving Grand Trine can no longer support and protect a positive outcome.

Published in AFA Today’s Astrologer Nov 2019 vol 81 #11 9, republished with slight editing.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.