Japan struggles to contain radiation leak at Fukushima nuclear plant

(Posted March 19, 2011) Japan's post-earthquake misery has been compounded by a dangerous radiation leak from its Furushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.  In the wake of the 9.0 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami, Japanese authorities are now having to cope with a third and potentially more devastating problem of poisonous nuclear radiation leaking from the damaged reactors.  Workers have been working around the clock for over a week to pour water on the reactor rods to keep them cool, but thus far they have been unable to bring the situation under control.  While there have been some small signs of progress this weekend, the situation remains somewhat uncertain.

I noted in my write-up on the initial quake how Japan's 1952 national horoscope was heavily afflicted by Rahu (North Node), Uranus, Saturn and Neptune. Clearly, the mind-boggling scope of these multiple disasters would suggest a very dense pattern of planetary affliction and that is indeed what we see.  But I would like to briefly discuss some upcoming transit hits that might correspond with significant developments in this ongoing crisis.

One of the astrological keys to this situation was the square aspect between Rahu (North Lunar Node) and Uranus.  Both planets are destabilizing energies and seek to change or interrupt the status quo.  Currently, the square aspect between Rahu (2 Sagittarius) and Uranus (6 Pisces) is still activating the ascendant of this chart at 7 Sagittarius.  While Rahu is gradually moving away from the ascendant (and that's a good thing), Uranus has yet to make its exact square aspect.  That suggests that we could see some more sudden developments.  Specifically, we can see that Monday's Sun-Uranus conjunction at 6 Pisces will line up almost exactly square the ascendant.  The Sun is a fairly generic influence and its combination with Uranus could apply to a wide range of situations.  The Sun represents government and leaders, so we might see some unexpected actions from the government in response to the crisis.   We could also see some new dimension and surprising development, perhaps related to health or water since Mars will aspect the natal Neptune in this chart.  Whatever this event turns out to be (and it could well be quite minor), it seems unlikely to turn the tide one way or the other. 

I'm a little more concerned about the upcoming Mars aspects to Rahu and Uranus, however.  On Tuesday, March 29, Mars will cast its square aspect to Ketu.  Since the nodes are opposite one another, this more or less amounts to an aspect to Rahu and the natal ascendant.  Unlike the Sun, Mars is a more volatile, upsetting energy with a capacity for doing harm.  Mars isn't all bad of course, and in the right situation, it can signal moments of determined action and triumph.  But when it gets together with Rahu/Ketu, it tends to correspond with rapid, out of control situations and frustration.  Given the potential risks for further damage and contamination, I am worried that we could see some added stresses here, perhaps in the form of a new explosion at one of the plants or some other unwelcome event.  Mars-Rahu often means sudden or violent events, so that increases its probability somewhat.  In the alternative 1947 Japan horoscope (when Japan adopted its post-war constitution), we can see that this Mars-Rahu aspect aligns with the ascendant almost exactly so that provides additional support for the notion that this period could bring about significant new events that may worsen the situation.

Transiting Mars then moves forward to its conjunction with Uranus on April 4.  This conjunction occurs exactly in square aspect with the ascendant of Japan  This is also a volatile mixture of planetary energies that could potentially signify more trouble in this crisis.  Uranus is about sudden and explosive energies, and also happens to be a planet that is associated with nuclear power along with Pluto.  So we note that the first atomic explosion in Hiroshima in 1945 occurred when Mars was conjunct Uranus.  It wasn't a tight conjunction, but it was still there.  From a symbolic perspective in every Mars-Uranus conjunction, Mars acts as the fuse and Uranus the power supply.  Of course, this is not to suggest that the nuclear plant is going to suffer another explosion when Mars conjoins Uranus in early April.  Instead, I look at this conjunction as an indication of a rise of potential energy in that period between, say, March 27 and April 6 that could manifest in several different ways.  We might see a setback in the containment efforts from a new leak that releases more radiation into the surrounding area.  Or it could be a new development such as evidence of radiation in hitherto unaffected areas, perhaps due to a change in wind.  In any event, it does not look as positive in the short term as I would have liked.  As US experts have suggested, these repair efforts may well take weeks and my reading of the astrology would tend to agree.  

Aside from Rahu moving off the ascendant in the coming weeks and Uranus gradually edging past its square aspect, transiting Saturn may also be part of the resolution of this crisis.  It's affliction to Mercury in the 4th house speaks directly to the harm and stress that the population are experiencing.  Saturn is now retrograde at 20 degrees of sidereal Virgo while natal Mercury sits at 19 Pisces.  Saturn will make its exact opposition aspect to Mercury on April 14.  So there is some reason to expect that the stresses and strains on the country will persist until that date.  We can also see that Mars will conjoin natal Mercury on April 19 so that may also correspond to events that cause suffering or hardship. This general pattern is also duplicated in the 1947 chart where transiting Saturn is conjunct the natal Moon (the people) and opposite Venus and Mars.  This three-planet natal pattern will therefore also be hit when transiting Mars comes around to oppose transiting Saturn.  It suggests a period of great tension and stress with more damage not out of the question.  These planets would suggest that the radiation leak may continue to be source of concern at least until that time.  Alternatively, it is possible that some other area of concern may emerge at that time.

After April 19, there seems to be a better likelihood for significant improvement and relief as Saturn slips backwards through Virgo while Jupiter prepares to enter Aries where it can support the Sun (vitality).  For what it's worth, I'll feel a lot more optimistic about the Japan situation once this mid-April pattern has passed. 

While the immediate danger may diminish sometime in April, we can still see that Japan will have a tough road for the foreseeable future as Saturn will turn direct exactly conjunct its natal position in June.  A very close Saturn return generally means hardship and difficulty, hard work and slow progress.  Obviously, we would expect nothing else given the huge rebuilding task that lies ahead.  Just to state the obvious: Japan will likely take quite a long time to return to normal.  My thoughts and prayers go out to the Japanese people.