Erzincan, learning from karmic pain
Most of us see astrology as a practice for relationships between the zodiac and personal events. Vedic astrology also uses the charts of events to study and understand planetary karmas related to locations and institutions at particular points in time.
The chart above reflects the beginning of a series of strong earthquakes that struck Erzincan in Eastern Turkey, killing 11,000 people. This magnitude 7.8 quake was the strongest in a series that occurred during the ensuing 60 years before ceasing in 1999.
Looking at the chart of that moment and place plus the active Dashas may prove instructive. I don’t have space to go into all the implications of the event but it is telling that Erzincan was utterly destroyed by this quake, the 11th time since 1000 A.D. it is Alison noteworthy that there were six more major quakes in the succeeding 26 years.
So what does this chart tell us?
First, we notice that the quake occurred on the day of a full Moon, with the Moon in the 9th house of Dharma. This connects the event to a point of natural law and in Gemini it falls under Mercury rule indicating the event was sudden and had the potential for destruction of the land and would agitate the nerves and weaken the legs of those present. The Moon was in Ardra Nakshatra, the Star of Sorrow.
Next, we see that other than the Moon, all the planets are trapped between Rahu and Ketu, the lunar nodes, and these are located respectively in the 1st and 7th houses. This is the central karmic axis of the chart and the tension between these houses can create a crack or break in the body under the right influences. In this case it is the body of the earth.
Saturn is conjunct Ketu in this chart and in the Gandanta point marking the Pisces/Aries border and indicating a repeated lesson due to its not yet being learned. Saturn is the planet that enforces karmic law, causing pain and separation when the dharma is threatened by our actions. Saturn also is extremely strong in this chart. It rules the 4th house of home and land and the 5th house of comforts. Located in Mars-ruled Aries it is able to act with great force, and from the 7th it aspects the Moon in the 9th and Venus, planet of comfort, in the 4th. Ketu is the catalyst of sudden change, specifically natural disasters. Rahu, especially in the ascendant, causes confusion and chaos in the body and life in general.
Mars and Jupiter are conjunct in the 6th house of health. Mars, as the significator of violence and Jupiter as significator of the 9th both magnify the destructive power of the earthquake. Furthermore, Jupiter is in its own sign of Pisces, and the aspect of both Mars and Jupiter on the 12th house as well as Jupiter’s 9th house influence indicates a need to travel.
Erzincan was destroyed to the point it could no longer be rebuilt, leading to the movement if the entire population and the construction of a new city to the north of the destroyed one.
The quake occurred under Rahu-Moon-Mars-Rahu-Jupiter Dashas, with Rahu-Moon-Mars the strongest trio. The chaos, dharmic connection, effects to home, relocation, and long-term effects of this quake are dominant traits of this combination.
Finally, the cycle of strong earthquakes ended 64-years later following the Ketu Mahadasha period, the opposite end of the karmic axis in the first phase of the 20-year Venus cycle. Events like this, involving Dharma, Saturn, Rahu and zesting in particular, are not punishment for past wrong but are intended to get our attention when gentler means fail. The destruction and relocation of the city resulted in Turkey adopting nationwide seismic building codes and since the 1939 quake no more than 500 deaths have occurred from any of the major quakes in Erzincan.
A major quake in 1992 on almost exactly the same spot earned Turkey recognition from civil engineering bodies for their rapid repair and replacement of housing facilities. Lesson learned. There has not been a significant quake in the region since 2003 when 1 death was recorded.