Retro Mars, Orange Skies – and The Tower

I’m sure most everyone has heard and seen photos of what’s going on “out West”. The good news is that the three huge fires surrounding Santa Clara Valley are almost all contained. That is VERY good news considering they were the worst in the State’s history. Thanks to all who have been battling these blazes. On my Power Walks around the neighborhood I continue to see signs of gratitude posted on telephone poles, in windows, and even on the side of a house!

The triple-digit heat wave broke yesterday, but I knew today was going to be crazy-weird when I woke to an orange glow coming into the room. I wish my camera did a better job of communicating the COLOR of the sky but here’s an idea of what it looks like right now:

It’s so dark outside I have lights on throughout the house. Just a little north of here, the sky is raining ashes down upon Santa Clara’s amusement park. The good news is because the layer of smoke is so high we are not experiencing poor air quality and I smell no smoke. There are a number of fires in Northern California and Oregon which are causing our “apocalyptic orange sky”. If you look at these images from NASA you can see how widespread the smoke is.

Speaking of crazy-weird, Mars (who has been hanging-out in Aries since June 27) just turned retrograde today! This retro period will last until November 13, at which time the planet will turn direct and continue it’s 6-month stay in Aries until January 6, 2021. Cool, huh?

What does this all mean? Well, Marina at Dark Star Astrology says it best:

“The planet’s energy is turning itself upside down in a sense, so we get the opportunity to view things from another angle. Mars is traditionally a malefic, but it does not follow that in retrograde it becomes even more malefic. Nor does Mars become its opposite, a benefic! It just becomes well… weird…With Mars retrograde, instead of the usual flame-grilled Mars direct affair, it becomes more of a slow, rich bake.”

It’s fitting that today’s Tarot card should be The Tower.

The Tower

It is the Planetary Trump of Mars and “…symbolizes a rapid and dramatic change or upheaval that forces us to re-evaluate everything.” [1]

Keywords: Chaos, rapid and dramatic change, upheaval, destruction, natural disasters, revelations, liberation, oppression, tyranny

As a Major Arcana (Trump) card, The Tower represents life-changing events that will have long-term effects. These events are outside of our control but are necessary in order for us to grow spiritually.

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[1] Daniels, Ian (2010). Phantasmagoria. Llewellyn Publications. p. 127.

It’s an Inferno out West

Although California remains the hardest hit by wildfires, all the Western states are battling blazes. The fires that are raging throughout the West are like nothing I’ve seen here in my lifetime.

(Click on the image above to see a map of the fires in real time.)

As of this morning, red-flag warnings were issued for Northern California, Western Nevada, and half of Oregon. According to accuweather.com:  A Red Flag Warning means high temperatures, very low humidity and stronger winds are expected to combine to produce an increased risk of fire danger. “Red Flag Warnings are issued when humidity is low, and winds are strong. These are the two greatest influences in wildfire spread.”

Here’s a detail of the first map showing Santa Clara Valley (I live in Santa Clara). As you can see, we sit between two mountain ranges. On either side of those ranges are wildfires. We are smack dab in the middle. Although nowhere near what those close to the fires are experiencing, the air quality in the Valley has remained consistently Unhealthy. Even with the level of humidity (75% average per year) here in The Valley of Heart’s Delight the sky looks and smells smoky.

It’s muggy, oppressive, and even Ramses is less energetic:

One of the headlines I saw yesterday referenced the CZU Lighning Complex burning in the Santa Cruz Mountains:
Wildfires Hit California’s Redwoods And Condors, But There’s Still Hope

At 3 a.m. on Friday morning, biologist Kelly Sorenson was awake, nervously watching the live webcam feed of a California condor nest on the Big Sur coast. He could see a 5-month-old chick, still unable to fly, as the flames of the Dolan Fire came into view.

“It was just terrifying,” Sorenson said. “Having the live-streaming webcams was both a blessing and a nightmare because we had to watch the fire as it burned through the canyon.”

California’s massive wildfires have burned more than 1,000 homes and buildings over the last week, destroying irreplaceable possessions and memories for some residents. At the same time, the fires are also threatening some of the state’s rare ecosystems and wildlife.

Biologists are watching closely as the blazes encroach on old-growth redwood trees in Northern and Central California, where some giants are more than 1,000 years old and are known by individual names. While some seem to have been spared, Big Basin State Park — the oldest state park in California — saw significant fire damage…

For the endangered California condors, recovery is still tenuous. In 1987, just 27 birds remained. Scientists brought them into captivity to begin a breeding program. Today, there are about 100 condors free-flying on California’s Central Coast. The Ventana Wildlife Society, where Sorenson is executive director, has been carefully tracking and releasing them…

Of the eight condor nests with chicks this year, Sorenson says five are within the fire zone…


CLICK HERE for up-to-the-minute alerts on what’s happening at the Condor Sanctuary in Big Sur and how the fire is affecting them.

Governor Newsom spoke earlier this morning and thanked First Responders, the 10 states that are sending much-needed aid in the form of personnel and equipment, and President Trump for signing a Presidential Major Disaster Declaration for California. In addition, he gratefully thanked the volunteers and organizations who have been busy setting-up evacuation shelters – both for people and their animals. The guidelines we all have to follow in dealing with THE MADNESS have certainly added another layer of complexity for everyone affected.


This time last year I spent California’s peak fire season further North in a rural area. None of the fires in El Dorado County were near where I lived but the whole area was a tinder box. It was a little scary and I’m grateful to be back in the ‘burbs.

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The unfortunate side effect of last weekend’s Lightshow

California is once again under siege. At least 367 known fires are burning around the state – most of which were caused by lightning from last weekend’s thunderstorm. We are also (along with other states here in the West) experiencing a prolonged heat wave that has shattered records. We’ve even had FIRE TORNADOES (‘firenado’) up north.

Feels like last year, only worse. California is in a State of Emergency; and due to the smoke from fires in and around Santa Clara County the air quality here is “Unhealthy”. Indeed.

Although it’s difficult to see in this photo, the sun peering through the haze is giving the sunshine a weird orange cast:

Right now I’m noticing blue skies finally poking through and there’s a nice breeze which should help clear the smoke. I can still smell it, though. The weather-guessers say temps should drop a bit during the next few days. Good news for us although I don’t know about the rest of our poor state. I hope all the firefighters will get some much-needed breaks very soon as they continue to do battle out here.

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High Winds, Blackouts, and No Showers

With many parts of California consumed with battling wildfires, El Dorado County has been lucky. Buffeted by high winds on Sunday, we were fire-free – and have remained so. (Thank you to all the PG&E contractors who worked so hard clearing trees from power lines up here the last two months. My peeps.)

This week power outages were weird in Placerville, with one side of Main Street having power while the other side was dark. Those small businesses who had power said they didn’t know from one day to the next if they’d be in the dark again. Some businesses on “the dark side” of Main Street had power generators set-up on the sidewalk so they could remain open. People living in the township were lucky to have a small window of power on Tuesday before power was shut-off again (in preparation for the third “wind event” this month). Up here in the rural hillsides we were not so lucky.

Power here went down early Saturday evening and was turned back on at 11:30 this morning. In my last Post I mentioned that we had a power generator (no trying to read or play Scrabble by candlelight). But since the well runs on power, there was no running water. Toilet had to be manually flushed. No baths or showers. (Sponge baths are fine in a pinch, but today’s shower was simply luxuriant; and after going five days without showering I was SO happy to finally wash my hair. Small pleasures.) I couldn’t get online either since the WiFi tower was down with the rest of us. It feels good to be connected.

A bright note:  I discovered some cool channels on broadcast television.

  • Dabl “A New Lifestyle Network”
  • MOVIES! (Today they are showing some great old horror movies. Right now I’m watching The Revenge of Frankenstein.)

Unconnected and with grimy hair, I reminded myself that there are many Californians who had been evacuated (many to temporary shelters) who may not have a house to come home to. My thoughts are with them. Thank you First Responders; and the individuals, companies, and organizations pitching in to help those affected by the fires.

To the Public House tonight for some Halloween-style Drinkin’ and Trivia…and Pub Nachos!

Happy Halloween!!

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The Raging Inferno

I’m working on several pre-Halloween Posts which has been difficult due to power outages this past week. I am trying to get at least one Post published today; but I really need to talk about what’s happening in my state.

We are facing another outage later tonight (I’m crossing my fingers it’ll be in the early Sunday morning hours) that will last through Monday. 50mph winds are forecast for Northern California (down from the north) early Sunday which are expected to spread as far south as the South Bay (where I used to live). In additon, both Sonoma and El Dorado counties (where I live now) are experiencing 29% humidity. This is EXTREMELY low compared to the rest of Northern California and is contributing to our High Fire Danger. (To give you some perspective, a deer was spotted nearby sneezing! Diego has had some major problems with nasal allergies this morning, as well. Low humidity has been shown to cause upper respiratory issues – such as allergies – and it’s particularly bad right now.)

Governor Newsom has declared both Sonoma and LA counties in a State of Emergency. The Kincade Fire in Sonoma County has consumed over 25,000 acres and is only 10% contained. As I write this, I personally know one Santa Rosa family undergoing a mandatory evacuation.

We are lucky that, in spite of being in a HIGH FIRE DANGER zone, we have a fire department close by. We also have evacuation routes posted on the roads and a small airport nearby. It’s still scary though. After more than two weeks, the Caples Fire just east of here is finally under control.

And in spite of two lame-brained teenagers living here during this, we are fairly prepared:  power generator, gasoline, bottles of drinking water, and containers of well-water for flushing the toilet…and lots of GIN!!!. Small miracles.

So, just heard that in 45 minutes we might have NO POWER…will try to finish this post-haste (Shower be damned!)

From time.com:

California Gov. Gavin Newsom criticized PG&E and other utility companies in a press conference about the wildfire Thursday morning, saying that “they will be held to account” and “they better step up.”

“It’s more than just climate change,” Newsom said. As it relates to PG&E, he said, it’s about “decades of mismanagement” and “focusing on shareholders and dividends” over the public. Newsom said that at least 178,000 customers had already been impacted by PG&E’s power disruptions.

He criticized other utility companies too, saying that the state has been meeting with Edison and SDG for “close to a year now” working to “[lay] out protocols… and they’re not meeting those protocols.”

One more thing. Please be kind to the PG&E workers here. Many of them are contractors and are doing the best they can in this crisis. Fuck the higher-ups, though! If you’re going to “go postal” on someone’s ass, target them!

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