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Apocalyptic TimesSack of Rome Image

Since I grew up going to a Pentecostal church, the notion that" the end is near" is quite familiar to me. However, the current state of our world, with a global pandemic and racial and political divisions cropping up everywhere, seems to have made this kind of apocalyptic thinking more common. I thought it might be interesting to look back at the astrology of another period when the world seemed to be ending.


Rome was not built in a day and neither did it fall in one. The erosion of the Roman Empire was slow and incremental. However, one event has come to symbolize the collapse of that once mighty entity, and that is the sack of the city of Rome by the Goths on Aug. 24, 410. Even though this event happened long after the city has ceased to be the center of Roman power, it still sent shockwaves all around the empire. To the people of that time, the fall of the city represented an ending of apocalyptic proportions.


A horoscope drawn for the sack of Rome (click here to see a chart done for noon of Aug. 24, 410) certainly has some apocalyptic features. It also bears a certain resemblance to what currently happening in the sky. This chart shows Saturn, Pluto and Neptune all in the same sign, Taurus. Right now we have Saturn, Pluto and Jupiter all in the same sign, Capricorn. The main difference is that in 410 the Taurus planets were being activated by a square by Uranus. We don't have that. However, in late September and early October, we will have Mars squaring our Capricorn stellum. (Might want to mark your calendars.)


Another feature that stands out in the 410 chart is the square of Mars to the Nodes of the Moon. I recently attended a webinar in which the French astrology Bernard Duchetelle linked aspects by Mars to the Nodes to things like terrorist attacks and plane crashes. I have since done some research of my own and found that is does apply in several instances. However, it doesn't apply in many other. Even though transiting Mars was square the Lunar Nodes for few days back in late June, we seem to have gotten through that aspect without the world ending.


Of course, the way I view this 410 chart is quite different from what astrologers of that time would have seen. They did not know about the existence of Uranus, Neptune and Pluto and the Lunar Nodes apparently didn’t figure prominently in the astrology of Roman times. Those astrologers would have probably been looking forward to the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn in Gemini in 411. It would be interesting to know what astrologers of that era thought about this chart, but I don’t currently have that information.


Alaric, the king who headed the Gothic army that took Rome in 410, instructed his soldiers to go light on the sacking of the city. They could rape and pillage to their heart’s content, but they weren’t allowed to destroy Christian churches or harm the parishioners seeking shelter in them. After a few days of fun, with wagons full of valuables and a small army of enslaved Romans, Alaric moved on. He marched his army south in search of a place where they could settle. Alaric died a few months later and at least some of the booty he had taken from Rome was buried with him.


Meanwhile, Rome recovered, only to sacked again in 455 and 546. The Roman Empire also lived on, though it’s parameters were constantly shrinking. It would slowly fade away and then reemerge as the Holy Roman Empire, an entity that also faded away after a few hundred years. That’s the thing about apocalyptic events. No matter how bad they seem or how much consternation they cause, they don’t so much end things as provide room for new beginnings, or at least that’s the way it’s worked so far.

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