USA’s Sacral Centre: New Orleans, Hurricane Katrina

America’s Sacral Centre? A Blow Below the Belt:
Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans

The New Colossus is a poem that appears on a plaque
at the base of the Statue of Liberty. The original words . . . “

Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me:
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”

America’s National Chakras
The above passage came to mind when first viewing the plight of hurricane victims – as they were wondering when help was going to arrive. Americans are currently feeling a lot of shame and embarrassment over the hurricane crisis of recent weeks. It is the most devastating event to occur in America since 9/11, and in the world since the Asian tsunami, with shockwaves sending out increasingly large ripples to the rest of the world.

The Katrina catastrophe devastated massive areas – estimated at the size of Great Britain. Even more shocking was a tardy response to the disaster, leaving many dumbfounded – asking, if the administration could mount a precision invasion of Baghdad, why could it not respond more quickly to a disaster in its own backyard? Where were the choppers and national guard for the food and water drops?

The implications that will arise in Katrina’s wake are enormous and far-reaching; they strike at the heart of the major schisms within America’s psyche – rich and poor, black and white etc. Ultimately, for America’s economic situation it could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back and it may even contribute toward Bush losing his presidency. These factors will be examined in various charts later.

Firstly though, it is important to get an overview of the entity that is called America. Like any evolving being, it has various energy centres. These major chakras [1] are:

Washington: Crown – From where government directs its political will.
Los Angeles: Heart – Stirring soul force as yet unawakened.
Chicago: Solar Plexus – The national emotional expression.
New York: Throat – The national mental expression.
Kansas City: [2] Ajna? – Speculative.
New Orleans: Sacral?    –  Speculative.

Bear in mind that these centres operate quite subjectively and may not always be that obvious in their outer function. As one of the three major lower chakras, the sacral centre relates to sexual reproduction, money, manifestation, survival issues and also that which is unredeemed within an individual entity – in other words the dweller or shadow.

One reason for proposing New Orleans as the sacral is her femininity and the link with reproduction and propagation; she sits at the mouth of the great Mississippi, by the sea. The Mississippi is like the sushumna nadi that runs up the centre of the national spine; much sea traffic goes back forth through her harbour, the second largest tonnage in America. In some ways she is like a spleen chakra (closely associated with the sacral), with energy flowing back and forth continuously. The city was hostorically most strategic and is like an anchoring point (as is the sacral centre) that can be built upon – this symbolism is most apt in light of the many ships which go there. Nations and cities can be masculine or feminine: “…

“… some nations are negative and feminine and others are masculine and positive. India, France, the United States of America, Russia and Brazil are all feminine and constitute the nurturing mother aspect.  They are feminine in their psychology —  intuitive, mystical, alluring, beautiful, fond of display and colour, and with the faults also of the feminine aspect, such as over emphasis upon the material aspects of life, upon pageantry, upon possession and upon money or its equivalent as a symbol of the form side of existence.  They mother and nurture civilisation and ideas.”” [3]

The similarity between Brazil and New Orleans can be seen in the celebration of the Mardi Gras with its exhuberant and uninhibited spirit. New Orleans has evolved a unique culture and society, blending many ethnic origins; it is the birthplace of jazz and intimately associated with blues music that has evolved through the whole south; it is a city of paradox and contrast, classic qualities of the fourth ray of Harmony through Conflict; she has strong Aquarian and Scorpionic traits. She also has a very dark side through the misuse of magic such as ‘bad’ voodoo (as opposed to ‘good’ voodoo), forms of Atlantean magic that persist to this day brought from Africa but also inherent within the land:

““The United States of America was the centre of old Atlantis and hence inherited a psychic and ancient religious form which was existent and potently alive in that part of the world for many centuries.”” [4]

New Orleans has for decades been speculated to be the ‘new Atlantis’ because of its vunerability to flooding, the fate of the Atlanteans. Now because of its flooding and its permanent vunerability below sea level, its future is uncertain and this disaster may be its death-knell.

Because of trade and shipping this city has always had a sound economic base, yet many are poor. Two thirds of the population are black and about a third of them constititute the poorest group – the ones who did not have the means to make an exit when Katrina hit. Interestingly the dispersion of all its residents to other southern cities is said to be the largest since the American Civil War and if this city ever continues, it may see a different proportion of inhabitants, which may be a good thing. If New Orleans is indeed the sacral centre of America, this has been a huge blow to the nation’s stability and has opened up a proverbial pandora’s box of issues.

American and New Orleans Horoscopes
Nationally this event is well reflected in America’s horoscope (Sibley, Sag rising), where Pluto has been making its last hit opposition to Mars in Gemini, a transit which began around the invasion of Bagdad in 2003. This author has commented much upon this in other newsletters, pointing to the association of Mars in Gemini with the Gemini personality expression of America – esoterically considered. [5]

The Gemini personality of America is well known for its double standards, if not at times schizoid tendencies. This is reflected partially in deep racial divides that still exist, perhaps not so much overtly in some places but as the result of non-resolution of these issues. Hand in hand with the racial issue runs the economic problem, not just for African Americans, but for the nation as a whole. Can America afford to fight the war in Iraq and take care of its own? Can the gap between rich and poor be justified in a supposedly compassionate nation? What is going to happen with the oil situation?

Pluto and Pisces
In the New Orleans incorporation horoscope (Feb 17, 1805), Pluto was activated  potently by transiting Uranus making an exact conjunction to it. Pluto’s utter devastation (evoked by Uranus), bears all its hallmarks: the total trashing of vast tracts of land; bringing up the deepest darkest survival instincts in some; creating a toxic soup of chemicals, sewage and death. Pluto is ultimately a purifier and shares its reputation with Katrina, meaning ‘pure’.

Pluto is generically associated with the base chakra leading some to speculate that New Orleans is that centre. The Pluto energy is certainly strongly present and may point to Scorpio rising in its natal chart. In one chart (16 April 1718 [6] ) she has a Pluto-ruled Scorpio Moon.

Pisces of course rules the waters and it is interesting to note that Pluto is the soul ruler of this sign, bringing all to an end that is unfit for the expression of spirit – in this last sign of the zodiac; just as on a greater scale we are still witnessing Pluto’s work through the various world wars in the last phase of the Age of Pisces.

America’s progressed Sun has just entered Pisces, indicating perhaps the evocation of unconditional love and compassion for which Pisces is renowned. A love and compassion that can replace the current ocean of emotion, anger and sense of betrayal felt by many hurricane victims.

Uranus and Aquarius
In the 1805 New Orleans chart, Uranus is the ruler of the Aquarian Sun, well suited to its offbeat personality. This chart has some interesting synastry (see table) with the American chart and Bush: Saturn is almost at the same degree of Saturn in Libra in the American chart, whilst the Moon in Libra is shared by Bush.

The Aquarian Sun of New Orleans is conjunct the Moon in America’s chart and this is a major point to bear in mind because the Moon was closely aspected during the last full moon previous to this event. The Aquarian Moon in the American chart represents the home and of course is the ruler of her Cancer Sun sign. Another chart for this city (25 August, 1718 [7] ) has several relevant aspects, with a speculative Sagittarius rising close to the current degree of transiting Pluto.

Aquarius is a sign of revolution and liberation. The infamous ‘house of the rising sun’ in New Orleans was a song originally about a girl (not a boy), who was caught on the treadmill of working in a local brothel and ‘corrupted to a life of ruin’ – ‘going back to New Orleans, to wear that ball and chain’.  The ‘rising sun’ in this case sounds more like a dark moon!

Uranus is the generic ruler of the sacral centre (in all entities) and is a major consideration in the proposal for this chakra being New Orleans. In the American chart natal Uranus is being closely squared by transiting Uranus and is a good indicator of the upheaval and change that Uranus (along with Pluto) can bring. Natal Uranus is also in Gemini, exemplifying the duality within the American psyche. Uranus is also the dispositor of the Aquarian Moon in the exoteric horoscope, whilst esoterically, Uranus is the ruler of the Aquarian soul of America.

America’s Ruling Signs: Aquarius Soul, Gemini Personality [8]
Whilst Pluto and Uranus have been doing their transformative work, another planetary factor in the equation is Neptune, God of the Waters. One is reminded of the eleventh Labour of Hercules (the Aquarian labour) – the cleansing of the Augean stables. In the story, Hercules diverts a mighty river to clean out the accumulated filth of the stables.

Neptune is currently transiting through Aquarius, which is the rising sign of America esoterically. Likewise the Gemini personality can be seen as the Sun sign, the integrating personality factor. If Aquarius is rising, then the Gemini Sun is in the fifth house of this hypothetical horoscope, perhaps at around 21 degrees, sharing the same degree as Mars in the exoteric horoscope. This would mean that America’s Gemini Sun has just undergone a Pluto opposition for these past few years.

Neptune at the 16th degree of Aquarius may indicate the Ascendant and hence decanate of that sign. The ‘American tsunami’ has brought about an acute awareness that ‘third world’ catastrophes happen in ‘first world’ nations and create ‘third world refugees’ in their own country, to use a currently politically incorrect phrase.

Neptune is of course the co-ruler (along with Mars) of America’s sixth ray personality. Neptune is a sacred planet whilst Mars is a non-sacred planet. Both planets are associated with the solar plexus and the feelings; it seems that the heart-related qualities of Neptune and compassion need to come forth at this time to counter the heretofore aggressive and divisive nature of Mars. Interestingly, Mars and Neptune were square to one another in the hurricane event chart and make the same aspect in the American chart.

Likewise a Taurus IC may be appropriate. The degree of Mars at the time of the hurricane (16 Taurus) may indicate the degree of the fourth house cusp. Mars in this position has been a trigger for fourth house issues such as homeland security and Taurus can be a mite tardy in responding at times.

One could be tempted to use the ‘avataric’ or 15th degree of the fixed signs for this hypothetical horoscope as that is where the maximum power of these signs is supposed to find their expression. They are also related to the ancient ‘four royal stars’ that used to inhabit these degrees at one time.

A fixed sign chart for America is also emblematic of the fixed cross, generically representing the Path of Discipleship, with its intense testings, particularly in the sign of Scorpio, the proposed midheaven of this chart; a quality speculated upon by some astrologers as being prominent in other proposed charts for America.

“”When Gemini, Scorpio and Mercury are correctly related we shall see the United States moving also on to the Path of Discipleship through a release from its present self-centred policy, its well-meaning evasion of responsibility and its innate fears and distrust.”” [9]

This was written over 60 years ago, suggesting that America was at that stage on the ‘Path of Aspiration’ and had not embarked upon the latter stage (Path of Discipleship), a far more arduous commitment. It is possible since the events of World War II that she has achieved this, though many outward signs suggest the former.

Upcoming Developments Returning to the exoteric horoscope of America, it may be pertinent to list her major transits and progressions at the time of the hurricane, some of which have already been touched upon:

1. Transiting Pluto opposite Mars.
2. Solar arc Uranus conjunct Pluto.
3. Transiting Chiron conjunct Pluto.
4. Progressed south node conjunct Pluto.
5. Progressed Moon conjunct Mercury, about to oppose Pluto.
6. Solar arc Moon and transiting Venus conjunct Saturn in Libra. Opposed by solar arc Venus and transiting north node.
7. Transiting Uranus square Uranus.
8. Transiting Saturn conjunct north node.
9. Transiting Jupiter conjunct progressed Mars. Jupiter is soul ruler of the esoteric chart.
10. Transiting Mars conjunct progressed MC.

Pluto has been discussed at length, mainly in terms of its opposition to natal Mars and its position in the 1805 chart. However natal Pluto in the American chart is strongly activated by solar arc Uranus, coming up to make an exact conjunction in a little over a year from now. This is not unlike transiting Uranus conjunct Pluto in the New Orleans 1805 chart, only this time it may signal economic devastation.

At the same time, the progressed Moon in Cancer, about to conjoin Mercury in the next couple of weeks (Sept 2005), will oppose natal Pluto in five months time. Hence a window from now to January 14, 2006 will see this natal opposition activated and moving into full power. As Mercury-Pluto tenant the signs of Cancer-Capricorn and the eighth-second houses, this will surely work out as a major economic crisis.

January 14 is also the full moon which falls precisely on Mercury, further triggering the Mercury-Pluto opposition. A week before this date, transiting Venus makes its second hit on Pluto (the first in Dec 05), and comes back for its third and final hit in early March. So there is a lot of activations going on!

Looking back to the stock market crash of 1929, the solar arc Moon in Cancer was within 6’ of applying to the exact opposition of Pluto, whilst the progressed north node in Cancer closely opposed Pluto. This is not to say that America will go through that same drastic scenario again but it does not take a rocket scientist to figure how stretched the nation is at the moment, mainly due to its commitments in Afghanistan and Iraq.

In that 1929 period transiting Saturn had just left its opposition to Mars (as Pluto is now), whilst the progressed Sun was bang on the ascendant in Sagittarius, close to where Pluto was at 9/11. The progressed MC of that time is where the American progressed Sun will be around January 2006.

Both Pluto and Neptune rule oil – Pluto because oil is found deep underground in Pluto’s domain and Neptune because oil is liquid, with much of it being found under the sea. The production and distribution of oil has been severely hampered, yet is there such a shortage that warrants skyrocketing fuel costs?

Hence the aforementioned focus on Pluto could certainly see this commodity emerging as the main economic problem – as it is now, the price has doubled in the last few years imply on speculation, not from a lack of oil. The Neptune in Aquarius transit of the ascendant in the esoteric American chart also reflects this theme.

Libra-Aries Axis
The extraordinary line-up of planets along this axis (mainly in Libra), with their close orbs, may give some clues to the the major themes being worked out. The Aries-Libra opposition make a T-square to the American Sun in Cancer which has progressed Jupiter sitting near it; it also shares the same degree as Bush’’s Sun.

USA Natal USA Progressed USA Solar Arc Katrina
Libra Saturn 14 Lib 48 Venus 14 Ari 25 Moon 14 Lib 42 Venus 14 Lib 58
Aries  Node 14 Ari 21
Cancer Sun 13 Can 19 SP Jup 15 Can 49
Bush N.O. April 1718 N.O. Aug. 1805
Libra Moon 16 Lib 42 Chiron 15 Lib 25 Venus 14 Ari 04 Saturn 15 Lib 41
Moon 10-21 Lib.
Aries SP Mars 16 Lib 03
Cancer Sun 13 Can 47

T-Square Aries-Libra to Cancer

As shown in the table above, the preponderance of planets are in Libra, giving rise to the notions of law, fairness and equality for all. The main ‘samskara’ of the American chart is its Sun square Saturn aspect, much discussed in other newsletters. [10] Here is a portion of what was written in 2003: “Libra in America’’s Horoscope.

Returning to the full moon chart of Libra 2003. The grand cross here is an enormous challenge on the theme of money (Libra) and the sharing of resources from mother earth (Cancer). The current US government seeks approval for $87 billion to help the restoration of Iraq. America has its Sun in Cancer, moving into the eighth house – the house of ‘other people’s money’ – the taxpayer!

Currently transiting Saturn is moving over America’s Cancer Sun position (also shared by Bush), and will no doubt reflect the restrictions that this huge sum may impose upon the domestic economy. America’s Cancer Sun is natally square Saturn in Libra – relating to issues around Law and Order and fairness and equality for all. Transiting Saturn in Cancer is also bringing into focus for America’s Cancer Sun the theme of ‘homeland security’ – no truer phrase for a Cancer Sun square Saturn!

Saturn square the Cancer Sun can have a tendency to be controlling and interfering on foreign matters (Sun rules the ninth house of foreign nations). This is a fine line that America treads, as she has a spiritual responsibility on the one hand to lead the world and uphold its constitution, yet to also let others be.

The rights to freedom contained with the Declaration of Independence were ultimately hammered out for Humanity. Libra in this respect is about Liberation from tyranny and injustice, but the irony with the Sun square Saturn aspect is that it can be most unjust at times.

Therefore the grand cross of Libra 2003 triggers America’s Sun-Saturn square from both ends. Saturn’s ongoing transit (lasting intermittently for the next year) is serious enough to put the nation under great duress financially, if not to eventually break the government or Bush – or both. Bush’s Moon in Libra square Sun in Cancer is overlaid by America’s Saturn in Libra square Sun in Cancer, a curious alignment, with both being triggered simultaneously.” [11]

Hmmm, repeating themes? It is worth bearing in mind in light of the Uranus square Uranus aspect discussed in relation to the sacral centre, that this centre relates to money (and sex) as part of the survival equation. Uranus rules Libra esoterically and this sign’s three major themes esoterically are the law, sex and money. Hence the economic indicators and stresses show up in several areas of the American horoscope. Uranus is the dispositor of Saturn in Libra.

America’s Throat-Sacral Interaction
If New Orleans does qualify as the sacral centre, then it has a relationship to the throat centre, which has been given in the earlier tabulation as New York. (New York also doubles as one of the major five world centres, but that is another story. [12] ) The first event was 9/11, this one could be seen as 8/11 (29/8 = 11/8)

The two most devastating events in the past four years in America (almost to the week) relate to the throat and sacral centres of America, two chakras that are closely related. For America as an entity ‘on the Path’ and approaching initiation, the same rules apply as they do for an individual: “You have likewise been told that the energy of the sacral centre (the centre most implicated and active at the time of the first initiation) has to be transmuted and raised to the throat centre, thereby transforming the physical creative act into the creative process of producing the good, the beautiful and the true.  This is the A B C of your fundamental knowledge:  the transmutation of sex.  In that transmutative process men have greatly erred and have approached the subject from two angles”.” [13]

This is an interesting perspective, as from one view the New Orleans disaster may have nothing to do with the death and destruction that has taken place upon the physical plane. It may be more about cleansing the collective sexual energy of the nation as well as attitudes to money. This view may be hard for more material thinkers to accept. Also, in this light we can see the relationship of the attack at 9/11 on the heart of the financial centre of New York.

The pre-occupation with the physical body in the West has reached new extremes and America leads the way. Perhaps this disaster will help impulse an ‘extreme make-over’ spiritually? “The United States of America has for its personality ray the sixth ray and hence much of its personality difficulties.  Hence also its strong desire life, impelling it to sex expression and to materiality but to a materiality which is very different from that of the French, for the citizen of the United States values money only for the effects on his life which it can bring and for what it makes possible.  Hence also the rapid response of the American continent to every form of idealism, to the need of others, even of its enemies, to compassion for all suffering and to a pronounced progress towards a well defined humanitarianism.

This they may call the democratic ideal but it is in truth something which grows out of and eventually supersedes democracy—the ideal of spiritual government—a government by the highest and the most spiritual to be found in the land.  Hence also their unrealised esoteric motto:  “I light the Way.”  All the various forms of government, prevalent in the world today, will—after making their great experiment and its resultant contribution—proceed upon the way of enlightened rule by the illumined minds of the age.  This development is certain and inevitable and the indications of this happening can be seen today by those who have eyes to see and a developed inner vision.” [14]

The transformation and integration of the sixth ray American personality is the major process occurring at the moment, based upon much of the aforesaid. Unless this takes place to a reasonable and relative degree, then the second ray soul of America will have difficulty in finding its expression. One practical example of that working out is how are the people in the southern states dealing with the new influx of their fellow Americans? Is there a spontaneous outpouring of compassion or do they wish that the new arrivals would just go away? Bush and others talk about the flow of compassion needed at this time but how genuine is that? Is it more a sixth ray sentimentality or genuine heartfelt need? The Love-Wisdom ray of America’s soul has a great opportunity to make itself felt, just as in the aftermath of 9/11, but is it genuinely happening in ‘8/11’?:

“If the idealism of the United States of America can be illumined by the law of love and not by personality self-expression, then the pattern which underlies the structure of the States may be seen in lines of light and we shall look for future racial light instead of the many separative national lines.  At present it is the personality ray of the United States which controls.”” (Author’s italics) [15]

This was written 60 or 70 years ago, as was the following. How much has changed?: “The conflict in the United States is between a love of freedom which amounts almost to irresponsibility and license, and a growing humanitarian ideology which will result in world service and non-separateness.  The rays of energy governing the United States are the 6th Ray of Idealism, which is the energy of the country’s personality, and the 2nd Ray of Love-Wisdom, which governs the soul of the country …

“The sixth ray personality energy (at the present stage of unfoldment) produces an idealism which requires transmuting and changing from an idealism intensely preoccupied with the preservation of a high standard of living and physical comfort to an idealistic appreciation of the real spiritual values; these are at present veiled and hidden in the material philosophy of the country.

The youthful interpretation of this idealism can be seen in the complete conviction of the American people that everything in the United States is better than anything anywhere else, in its willingness to tell all the world what should or should not be done, in its revolt from all controls, in its unthinking acceptance of any information which falls in with its preconceived ideas and prejudices; the mature aspect of American idealism leads its people to a prompt response to the good, the beautiful and the true, to the expression of an active humanitarianism and an invocative spiritual approach to reality …

The American civilisation, with all its clamour of youthful precocity, is in reality the heir of the passing sixth ray civilisation, the Piscean; therefore, you have here the reason for the tendency of the American people to adopt violently conditioning idealisms and ideologies.  It is the idealistic tendency in conflict with pronounced materialistic trends of this particular modern era which will finally evoke the harmony which will liberate the spirit of America, which will reveal to its people that it is one world and which will enable the people of this land to harmonise with the rest of the world and draw forth the loving response of other nations.  It is for this that the men of goodwill must work.”” [16]

[1] The Externalisation of the Hierarchy, Alice A. Bailey. p.85.
[2] Esoteric Astrology, Alice A. Bailey. p.529.
[3] The Destiny of the Nations, Alice A. Bailey. p.55.
[4] The Destiny of the Nations, Alice A. Bailey. p.46.
[8] The Destiny of the Nations, Alice A. Bailey. p.88.
[9] Esoteric Astrology, Alice A. Bailey. p.369.
[13] The Rays and the Initiations, Alice A. Bailey. p.669.
[14] The Destiny of the Races and Nations, Alice A. Bailey. p.60.
[15] The Destiny of the Races and Nations, Alice A. Bailey. p.58.
[16] The Rays and the Initiations, Alice A. Bailey. p.630.

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