Revisiting History: Armageddon? at Beirut, Lebanon

by Marilyn Muir, LPMAFA

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On August 4, 2020, a massive explosion occurred at a waterside port warehouse in Beirut, Lebanon – so violent and so destructive it must have seemed like the biblical Armageddon to its victims. The blast was measured as a 3.3 local magnitude earthquake by the U.S. Geological Survey. It is considered to be one of the biggest non-nuclear explosions in history. The explosion was heard about 150 miles away in Cypress. The huge blast was preceded by a smaller explosion and fire in a nearby building less than one minute earlier. Destruction was enormous with close to 200 dead at this writing, 6,000 known injured, many still missing, 300,000 people homeless, hospitals and buildings destroyed. It took a few days for the news to settle into usable information. From reading many sources, this seems to be the core of the information.

Around 2014, a damaged ship unloaded its dangerous cargo of ammonium nitrate into a silo-type building at the Beirut port and was apparently abandoned. Port authorities were aware it was dangerous but did nothing to secure it against violent potential or move it to a less dangerous location away from the downtown port. The material was volatile if heated. Later shipments of fireworks were stored with or near it. What could possibly go wrong?

Apparently, a door or barrier at the location was torch-welded earlier in the day; reports of time vary from noon to 5:00 PM. At 6:07 PM the first explosion and fire at the smaller building apparently set off the volatile material in the larger building less than one minute later at 6:08:18. Reports of fireworks exploding and pictures of the smaller fire are on video, as is the massive explosion, which is mind-blowing. I don’t know how anything could have survived that blast. The official time of the larger explosion is 6:08:18 PM, and that is the chart we will study.

About a week after the destruction, during which time citizens protested and revolted, elected government officials (Prime Minister and Cabinet) resigned with the head of state (President) remaining to hold the country together while a new government was formed. The explosion, massive destruction, the protests, and the resignations are clearly visible in the 6:08 chart.

The natal chart for the 6:08:18 PM explosion shows 18 Capricorn 49 rising with the current Jupiter/ Pluto/ Saturn conjunction rising as well in the first house, all three stellium planets retrograde. That means the Ascendant is applying to that triple conjunction and the planets are applying to the approaching Ascendant. The stellium ups the power of the cluster; the focus is tremendous.

At that same time, transiting Mars was on the exact square to Jupiter 19 Aries 47 to 19 Capricorn 44R, 3 minutes of arc with the applying Ascendant providing the trigger. One planet, Saturn, is the chart ruler.

Adding the end of sign Mercury at 29 Cancer 02 turns the aspect pattern into a T-square, Mercury is separating so the communication involved occurred within a day or two prior to the explosion. Perhaps this was when the decision and communication (Mercury) was made for the welding repair.

Aspect sequencing starts with Mercury having opposed each of the Capricorn points involved within a few days prior, first opposed the applying Mars/Jupiter square, then the Mars/Pluto square, then the Mars/Saturn square. The Ascendant moves about a degree a day so it was definitely involved in the lead up to the explosion, but much harder to pin down until it moved close enough to trigger the complex.

Think about this…. Mars square Jupiter on the Ascendant: welding, explosion/fire, fireworks and the 2nd massive fire/explosion, three minutes of event arc. The Ascendant had moved to within one degree and triggered the complex. Huge (size of explosion) can be attributed to Jupiter and/or the Jupiter/Pluto conjunction – both will work. The effects rippled outward from that fiery core, wiping out buildings, vehicles, people, and neighborhoods. The pictures are horrifying, 300,000 homeless, bodies still being found.

Once the people started to emerge from the monstrous carnage, they began to grumble, to gather and to protest. Why and how did this happen? Who was responsible? What was going to be done about it? Why did the government do nothing when it was understood it had been a ticking time bomb since 2014? Revolution and retribution were next. The grassroots were grumbling! The grumbling turned from verbal protest to marching in the streets demanding answers from their government, as Mars/Pluto uprooted and overturned the whole country’s existence.

From there, is it a short hop to Mars/Saturn and that is still working out. Someone must be held responsible. Someone must take charge. The whole government has to be reformed and rebuilt. In the meantime, the country has severe food and shelter problems and restrictions to live with.

It is important to remember that the Ascendant is applying to the stellium about one degree per day after applying to  the square to Mars… plus transiting Mars is applying about a half degree per day to the squares of Pluto and Saturn, a double whammy: mutual application. Yes, the explosion took place in a split second, but the aspects clearly show the ongoing tragedy. An explosion is not a stand-alone event. It has precursors… whatever led up to or caused the event. And it has aftermath, humongous!

I don’t want to leave out Mercury because it is part of that cardinal T-square, plus the complex is mostly angular, visible, in your face. Cardinal is action-oriented, critical, quick, but hopefully short-lived. Mercury is 29 degrees, leaving the sign, with no applying aspects before it leaves Capricorn within a day; it is essentially void of course. Communication and decision-making were effectively void of course – no one to talk to, no one to listen, little to no communication for those first few critical hours.

Mercury moved into Leo and the people’s voice came out with a loin’s roar. The whole world heard the pain and tragedy of a country in agony. The government tried to placate, to stop the uprising, to silence the roar, but the citizens were having nothing of it.

Look at the homeland with Uranus conjunct the fourth house cusp and co-ruling the second house of money and value systems. The country’s and its citizens’ values and property were destroyed. Add to that the interception of co-ruler Neptune in Pisces: confusion, unclear and possibly not honest, and retrograde, been there, done that before. The history of this country has been troubled continually. Whatever we don’t learn we get to repeat.

Ammonium Nitrate            This is not the first time this chemical has caused massive destruction, and we should look at that information as well. I love the lists in Wikipedia. They condense the known elements in detail as a timeline.

  • The first listed is the Dupont Company Repauno Works explosion on January 14, 1916, Gibbstown, NJ.
  • Next is the Great Explosion on April 2, 1916 at 14:20 in Uplees, Faversham, Kent, England (timed), killed 115.
  • Followed by the Aetna Chemical plant September 15, 1916 in Oakdale, PA (all 1916).
  • Skipping ahead, the September 21, 1921 explosion at a BASF Plant in Oppau, Germany killed 561.
  • The Texas City Disaster on April 16, 1947 at 9:12 in which two cargo ships, the Grandcamp and the High Flyer, were blown to smithereens in a blast so powerful that two small low-flying planes were knocked out of the sky, 581 people killed.
  • Norwegian cargo ship, Ocean Liberty, caught fire at 12:30 on July 28, 1947, was towed out of the harbor at 14:00 and exploded at 17:00 in Brest, France, 29 killed.
  • The A.W. Higgins Company plant was destroyed on August 26, 1947, in Presque Isle, ME.
  • The Summers Fertilizer Company in St. Stephens, New Brunswick, Canada caught fire but did not explode in 1947  (four in 1947).
  • The freight train explosion in Ryongchon, North Korea on April 22, 2004 at 13:00 killed 1632.
  • The Port of Tianjin, China explosions on August 12, 2015 at 23:30. On August 15, 2015 there were eight more consecutive explosions around 23:40. Killed: 173

There are too many incidents to name here, but one blast not listed is the one that involved ammonium nitrate as an ingredient in the fertilizer used in the Oklahoma City, OK bombing of the Allred P. Murrah Federal Building on April 19, 1995, 9:02 AM. Ammonium nitrate has a busy and destructive history of its own. I have provided you a list to help in your research

I am running out of column, so here are my weblinks to help you see not only this tragedy but the ongoing tragedies that Lebanon has faced. Where to begin…

Beirut explosion sources:

Prime Minister and Cabinet stepped down. President did not.

Lebanon as a country, other bombings and explosions:

Ammonium nitrate explosions sources: 

Pending publication in AFA Today’s Astrologer Fall, 2020, republished with slight editing.

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