Disaster on the Ipswich Line

By Marguerite Hafeman

An excellent opportunity to witness astrology in action can be tapped through trolling the news around the time of a hard planetary aspect indicative of violence; the purpose being to find mundane dramatic events which can then be studied in their blue-print form as reflected through planetary patterns at the time of occurrence. The fascination in the exercise is actually found in the sure presence of numerous supporting aspects made by planets and points secondary to the premiere hard planetary signature, as they are placed in a mundane astrology chart drawn for the location of an incident. For example on March 11, 2006, just as Mars (action, aggression) swung into applying square with Uranus (sudden reaction, violent change) there was an incident in Queensland, Australia involving three young boys who were run over and killed instantly by a commuter train in the suburbs of Ipswich. The boys, ages 8, 9 and 11 died just 40 minutes after being told by a policeman not to stand too close to the platform.

Essentially the two younger boys followed the older one, who had used the tracks before as a guide home instead of walking on the road. The section of track where they were struck was fully fenced, therefore not immediately accessible to the casual pedestrian. The children were believed to not have heard the train coming, due to being distracted by a fireworks display at a nearby soccer club. Of course the accident was a senseless tragedy; however a horoscope chart cast for the time of the incident proves most fascinating both for horary indicators expressive of the event and for the in-depth information further provided by an examination of key mid-points.

The planetary ruler of the Libra chart Ascendant is Venus, located in the mundane fifth house of children. Venus also rules the incident eighth house of death within which the Part of Fortune is unfortunately placed. Aquarian Venus in the fifth house does not immediately suggest boys, but does indicate a spirit of fun and adventurous good times to be had in the company of others. The Ascendant degrees and minutes are classically considered too early for a standard horary reading; however this could then suggest that the incident was a "done deal," a possibility further reinforced by the Moon's Nodes being located immediately adjacent to the Ascendant-Descendant angles of the chart, therefore indicative of a "change of plane in existence" for the boys.

The event fifth house is ruled on the cusp by Capricorn, whose planetary ruler Saturn is the traditional indicator for death; here Saturn tightly opposes chart ruler Venus; both are in harmonious aspect to the Nodes, indicating a mercifully quick death. Capricorn rules places that are fenced, barred off and isolated, in addition to places of labor. Capricorn also rules the event fourth house of endings, bestowing the coup de gras as it were, on the situation. Aquarius within the fifth house and ruling the cusp of the sixth house, also rules the ground near transportation facilities, here symbolizing both the children who were being unpredictable and indulging in a departure from normal everyday procedure, and the location in which they were prowling.

If we rotate the chart for a moment and take the fifth house as the children's first house, then the next house becomes the house of the future or "What is going to happen to me?" And it couldn't have been good. Here we find Uranus in square to malefic and violent Mars out on a lark; note too, that Mars is in Gemini the classic sign for various modes of transportation. The loose grouping of foggy-thinking Pisces Sun and Mercury (perhaps standing for the older boy who was in charge of two younger ones) bracketed by changeable Uranus on one side and the Vertex of fated events on the other speaks for itself. Mercury, planetary ruler of Gemini and dispositer of Mars is also retrograde in Pisces, further indicating both a lack of clarity in thought and the oncoming train itself, unnoticed amongst the dazzle of fireworks. The Part of Fortune sits in the rotated house of endings, its ruler Venus under heavy siege by Saturn, Fortune also in square to the co-significator Moon and in opposition to a heavily afflicted Jupiter in the rotated tenth house of public places. Note that Jupiter in major aspect to other planets can be used as a death indicator, essentially when the death is mercifully swift.

Returning to the original chart orientation, note that the Piscean planets are also intercepted (bad luck, not working in conscious fashion) in the sixth house of the workplace, with Mercury-ruled Virgo located in the twelfth house of karma, death and self-undoing (not paying attention to details). The Sun also rules the sign on the cusp of the twelfth house, denoting that pride and flamboyant behavior would play a role in proceedings that led to self-undoing.

The Part of Fortune is located in the eighth house of death, in square to the co-significator Moon and sextile to Uranus. Neptune in the fifth house of the children, ruler of Pisces and representative of foggy thinking in general is in square to Jupiter in the second house, an aspect that encourages over-the-top risk taking and exaggerated valuations of one's own faculties. Pluto, lord of transformation and death occupies the third house of short trips and local transportation, in square to the retrograde Mercury and near the IC-MC axis; this combination can serve here as an indicator for a radical change in perception (Mercury in Pisces) brought on by sudden contact with a vehicle of mass transit (Sagittarius Pluto in the third house).

Another way of extracting more in-depth information from the chart is to examine some of the direct midpoints. These are generated by determining the half-sum of the distance between any two planets in the chart; in other words, we would be looking for planets and points in the chart that fall within 0 – 3° of the midway point between any two other planets or points. Reinhold Ebertin developed a wonderful system of delineations that combined the meaning of the midpoint generated, with the planet or point it falls on. The simplest midpoint equation commonly takes the form of A/B = C, where A and B are two selected planets or points in question and C is the planet or point falling midway in between and within orb of the calculated midpoint degrees and minutes.

The midpoint formulas given below were generated from the chart for the train catastrophe; they do eloquently address the more subtle underpinnings of the event. Some of the definitions are taken directly from Reinhold Ebertin's book The Combination of Stellar Influences (1); the writer has supplied others not available from that source. The assumption is made here, that the South Node of the Moon () indicates past life, established skills and ingrained habits, while the North Node of the Moon () indicates the path of future life and soul growth.

Moon/Jupiter = Ascendant
To be gay, cheerful confident and happy in the company of other people; a harmonious environment.

Sun/South Node = Pluto
The desire to attain self-empowerment; fighting against dependency on others. A turn of destiny.

Venus/Jupiter = Pluto
The inclination to risk-taking and self-absorption while having an adventure leads to a change of plane in existence, (due to not seeing a train coming.)

Sun/Ascendant and Mercury/Ascendant = Pluto
Attention is paid to others in order to establish one's influence over them; This action is seen as an attainment of success in life, however in this case it involved leading others into a violent incident.

Sun/South Node = Pluto
Confident reliance on customary habits and egotistical pride leads to a change of plane in existence, (due to not seeing a train coming.)

Uranus/Pluto = Venus
Out of a desire for new creative experiences, daring and foolhardiness invokes a visit to the realm of death.

Sun/Pluto = Chiron
The striving for power, a craving for rulership and the need for attainment leads to a unique and unexpected wounding incident.

South Node/Midheaven = Neptune
Falling back on customary habits and egotistical self-absorption can lead to vagueness, confusion, fanciful notions and self-deception.

Neptune/North Node = Uranus
A lack of community-sense or team-spirit leads to impulsive actions and results in a sudden, violent change.

Uranus/Vertex = Sun
A sudden, fated incident impacts violently on the will to live, health and vitality.

Pluto/South Node = Jupiter retrograde
A restless, aimless company of children quickly transcend to their next life (via suddenly being run over by a train.) Jupiter is often prominent in aspect for times of quick and relatively painless death. Note in the incident chart that Jupiter is tightly square Neptune, ruler of the house of unexpected happenings; also in trine to Mercury, co-ruler of the twelfth house of karmic endings, also in opposition to the Part of Fortune, located in the eighth house of death.

Saturn/Neptune = Part of Fortune
Suffering, renunciation, depression, painful and tormenting circumstances attend the lot of Fortune on this day.

Mars/Ascendent = Moon/Saturn
Those who were run over by the train would make the front page of the evening news.


(1) Final Report QT1755, Triple Rail Fatality, Train 10M1, Goodna, Queensland, Queensland Transport.

(2) The Combination of Stellar Influences, by Reinhold Ebertin, American Federation of Astrologers, Inc., Tempe, AZ, 1972.

(3) Simplified Horary Astrology, by Ivy M. Goldstein Jacobson, Pasadena Lithographers, Pasadena, California, 1960.


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