I-35W Bridge Collapse

Source and Accuracy of the Chart Data

The bridge collapsed on Aug 1, 2007. As for the time of the event, there are two significant times being circulated. Most of the media has been reporting a time of 18:05 CDT. However, according to a video tape that appeared on the MN Dept. of Public Safety web site, the bridge started to fall apart at 18:01:38 and was pretty much done within 15 seconds. This earlier time will wind up being quite significant, as we will see. Wikipedia is reporting this same time. Incidentally, the camera for this video was located on the south bank of the Mississippi River at the lower lock and dam facility, several hundred feet west of the bridge.

As for the latitude and longitude numbers, I am in a unique position to vouch for these figures. The collapse site is about 2 miles from my apartment, so I simply hiked down to the river and took a large number of GPS readings, then triangulated to where the bridge had been. A number of other online sources give coordinates that are within a few seconds of arc from my figures (and each other). At this level of accuracy, we're merely quibbling about where "the middle" of the bridge is; many astrology programs can't handle this kind of accuracy anyway. According to my survey, the coordinates are 44N58.717, 93W14.701 (subject to minor revision as I gather more data).

A Nasty Looking Chart!

The first thing to notice about this chart is that Pluto (26Sa37) is crossing the ascendent. In light of the recent Pluto-GC conjunction on July 16, this should be a red flag all by itself. However, the more significant placement is the one not shown on the chart, the Galactic Center itself. The GC is currently at 26Sa57, within 1 minute of arc of the ascendent at 26Sa58. Such exactitude on a chart like this is striking, to say the least. We're looking at a manifestation of the July conjunction.

Incidentally, this lineup of the GC with the ascendent is one of the strongest arguments in favor of the 18:01:38 time for this chart. The charts for big events frequently have what I call "timing aspects", an aspect that becomes exact at the crucial moment and says "let it happen NOW!" The chart for the later time had no discernible timing aspects, which was rather confusing to me. This earlier time clears up that issue unambiguously.

The next planets to consider are Saturn (26Le00) and Mars (26Ta31). Like Pluto, these planets are generally considered to be malefics, that is, planets that are troublesome and make life difficult. Saturn is just past a trine to the ascendent, while Mars is just past a quincunx to the ascendent, although all these points are still in the crucial 26th degrees of their zodiac signs. All these planets are forming critical aspects to each other during this time period, creating a lot of "stress" in the energies. Mars squares Saturn on July 31 (ouch!), Mars quincunxes Pluto on Aug 1 four hours after the collapse, and the Saturn-Pluto trine on the 6th is one of the major pieces of astrological news in August. With this much malefic energy building up like this, a truly nasty event of some kind is highly likely.

The planet Mercury (24Cn46) is fast approaching aspects to Mars and Pluto, forming a configuration that astrologers call a Yod or "Finger of God". As you can tell from this dramatic name, such a pattern is known for creating situations that are a moment of truth for people, when big and fateful decisions and actions must be taken on. The power of this Yod is focused at the Pluto-GC end, saying our destiny lies with encountering the Dark Lord and the mighty Black Hole.

About the only encouraging feature of this chart is the Leo Sun trining a Sagittarius Jupiter, about to be exact on Aug 2. If you know anything about astrological symbolism, this aspect appears to be the "lucky charm" that spreads a beneficial and protective influence over this otherwise dismal looking chart. I suspect this Sun-Jupiter trine is the main reason why so many people had miraculous escapes from the bridge and why the final death and injury counts wound up being so incredibly small. By all reasonable expections, the casualties should have been ten times as high, except for a string of mitigating circumstances (such as most of the lanes on the bridge being closed due to road construction).

...Leading into a Koz Alert on 8-2

The energies in this chart are far from reaching their peak intensity, building up to a low Koz Alert on the morning of Aug 2, when the Moon crosses 26 degrees of Pisces. I described this Alert energy in my August newsletter as follows:

As July was closing shop, there was a new planetary storm waveform making its appearance. The strong point of this waveform is on the morning of the 2nd, when we break the Koz Alert level briefly for the first time since the end of June. There is a rather complex pattern involving a large number of planets behind this waveform, homing in on the upcoming Saturn-Pluto trine. Mercury and Mars both quincunx (150 degrees apart) Pluto, forming a pattern astrologers call a Yod or "Finger of God". Such Yods are frequently a marker of a fateful time, when decisions must be made that have unexpected consequences. Whatever you choose, your life will be changed and there's no going back. It's important to follow you inner guidance, as there is often no rational reason for picking one path over another. This Yod points towards Pluto, making the fateful shadow of this pattern even longer and darker. Notice that we have 3 malefic planets (Mars, Saturn, Pluto) in the mix already, all at 26 degrees of various signs, so you'd expect this to be a rough time. The silver lining in all this is the exact (to the minute!) trine of the Sun and Jupiter in fire signs. In fact, they are both in the signs they rule. This trine is a textbook example of one of the most beneficial aspects you can imagine. Whatever goes on now, and there is plenty happening, this protective energy will help us make the most of it. At 10:00, the Moon is at 26Pi37, exactly square Pluto, and we hit this low Koz Alert. We'll look at this pattern more when we get to the bridge collapse story.

A Hint from Fixed Star Astrology

Another clue is in the placement of Mars in this chart at 26 Taurus. This makes it conjunct (in longitude) the fixed star Algol in the constellation Perseus.

When you read some of the classic astrology books on the effects of the stars, it's pretty obvious that most of them were viewed as rather negative influences. However, Algol is in a class by itself. It's old Arabic name was Ra's al Ghul, the head of the Demon. The Chinese name, Tseih She, is even more colorful: Piled up Corpses. In the Greek form of the constellation Perseus, Algol represents the severed head of the Gorgon Medusa, whose snake-covered head could turn people to stone, which he carries in his hand. Having Algol active in your birthchart is said to make you prone to a violent death, typically by hanging or decapitation, or some other major calamity. It's considered to be "the most evil star in the heavens" (Robson).

Algol is a type of star system called an eclipsing binary. Such a system consists of two stars in orbit around each other. Due to the close lineup of these stars with the earth, sometimes the dimmer star passes in front of the brighter one, blocking off some of the light and dimming the total light coming from the system to our eyes -- a partial eclipse. Unlike most of the visible stars in the sky that shine with a constant brightness night after night, Algol goes through these cycles of changing brightness every 2.86 days. To the imaginative mind, it's almost like some "evil eye" in the sky slowly blinking at you, unlike the steady gaze of the other star gods. The evil power of the Medusa was said to be greater during the dimmer eclipse phase of this cycle.

Any planet conjunct Algol is going to be "harmed" by the encounter, but when it's a malefic planet, the effect is even more negative. A planet like Mars, perhaps...

Demolition and Reconstruction

It didn't take more than a few weeks after the collapse before the demolition crews started tearing down the old bridge, another manifestation of Pluto. For such a massive structure that had been a "given" in our lives for decades, it was rather spooky to see it disappear week by week at such a rapid rate. By the end of October, the only part of the bridge left in place was a small section of concrete by the north bank of the river that was the base of one of the concrete supports that held up the main span. The third and final conjunction between Pluto and the GC was on Oct 28, the end of the cycle for this aspect. Both the aspect and the bridge ended at the same time, curiously enough.

Construction of the replacement bridge officially started on Nov 1, 7:00 CDT. The Sun was at 8Sc40 at this time, a hard square to the Sun in the original collapse chart. I hope this challenging aspect isn't a symptom of things to come...

Preliminary NTSB Report

Early on the morning of Jan 15, 2008, the head of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) held a press conference to release preliminary results of their investigation. Their initial findings placed the blame on parts of the steel frame of the bridge called "gusset plates", large plates of steel that hold the steel beams together and distribute the forces and strains of the bridge above it. Apparently, the original design of the bridge back in the 1960's made these gusset plates only half as thick as they should be by modern standards. Over the years, as improvements to the bridge were added on, the weight of the bridge eventually exceeded the strength of these plates. As for what pushed these plates over the edge ("the straw that broke the camel's back") on August 1, they were still investigating that. However, once one or more of these plates failed, the main span over the river collapsed within seconds, followed by the adjacent sections on the north and south banks, as seen in the video.

I haven't been able to track down the exact time of the press conference, but it is interesting to note that the Sun that morning at 24Cp46 would have been exactly opposing the planet Mercury (24Cn46) of the collapse chart. Besides being part of the Yod pattern in the collapse chart, Mercury also rules over information and the press, an appropriate signature of a press conference. Mars (25Gm38) would have been retrograding over the descendant of the original chart, widely opposing the Pluto-GC conjunctions.

To be continued...

Undoubtedly, there are more twists and turns to this story as we dig deeper. I'll let you know more as the story evolves...