Marco Fumagalli

The earthquake of western Sichuan

  The life of the eclipses

  The eclipses preceding the earthquake

  The ingress and the syzygies

  The earthquake

  The lunar nodes

  The declination of Mars and Mercury

  The sky on the earth 

  Appendix: the figures

  The testimonies of the stars



Phos n. 17, December 2008
English translation: Françoise Moderne

1. The earthquake area (12 may 2008, 2h28pm)

In the Spring of 2008 China has been struck by one of the most disastrous earthquakes of history: magnitude 7.9 (Richter scale), over 69.000 victims, 5 million homeless persons, 21 million damaged buildings, cities completely destroyed, whole regions isolated for many days, economic damages for 86 billions dollars. The earthquake’s epicenter was located near Chengdu [1], the capital of Sichuan, the third most populated province of China.

In front of a catastrophe of such a dimension we are first expecting the verification of the importance of some elements of mundane astrology (catholic astrology), such as eclipses for instance, or specific stars connected with earthquakes [2], or the angular position of malefic planets. But, if we examine all the figures that must be drawn to make a mundane forecast, we first find the confirmation of a rule that most authors were knowing well: the judgment does not result from the examination of a figure alone, but from the comparison between many successive figures up to the syzygy that precedes the event. As we’ll see, in this sequence of figures, the eclipses play a particular part: they activate some stars or points of the zodiac that remain sensitive to the successive reminders [3], that is their own return in the figures. These reminders can be verified in other eclipses, in the equinoctial and solsticial Sun ingresses, in the seasonal syzygies, in the New Moon and Full Moons which precede the event and, finally, in the figure of the event itself.

[1]   The coordinates of the epicentre are 30n59, 103e22. The distance from Chengdu is about 80 km.

[2]   The stars connected with the earthquakes are some "nebulae" like the Pleiades, Praesepe, the Scorpion’s Sting, Berenice's Hair, the Aqua of Aquarius, and some violent stars such as Aldebaran, Antares, Sirius, Pollux (cf. the mss. 2424 fo. 75v, Angelicus 29 fo. 172v, Laurentianus 28, fo. 34, where some of these stars are cited according to their position in the constellation: «the boreal parts of the Gemini, the initial ones of the Cancer, the final ones of the Scorpion, that is to say in his third decanate and the second decanate of Aquarius»). Added to this list, there is Andromeda's galaxy (see below n.14).

[3]   Placidus showed very well the importance of what we called successive reminders when he dealt with the eclipses preceding the Napolitan revolt of Masaniello in 1647 (DDD, I, page 250ss., in G. Bezza, Arcana Mundi, page 570 ss., and in: The importance of these correspondences between eclipses and following figures might explain, on one hand, the fact that sometimes some eclipses, still very strong, seem to produce rather poor effects, since the reminders are few and weak and, on another hand, the fact that very important events are sometimes preceded by not particularly significant eclipses, when considered separately, but are followed by many powerful reminders.