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Testing Elwell's Multicongruence

 by Robin Heath

Originally published in the Astrological Journal Vol 42, No.6 - Nov/Dec 2000

Thanks to Robin for permission to publish it here


Mundane astrology remains somewhat of a Cinderella within the astrological community. Natal charting and interpretation reflects the egotism of the current age, psychological astrology providing a remarkably coherent account of the major characteristics of a person's personality. However, we all inter-react with the outside world in ways which astrologers have tried to understand since time immemorial.

Charles Harvey was probably one of the most fervent and enthusiastic of mundane astrologers, and his book, Mundane Astrology, co-authored with Michael Baigent and Nick Campion, remains the standard text for students. Harvey wrote these prophetic words in Mundane Astrology,

we are going to need to develop ways of considering the future interweaving of whole hierarchies of cycles and charts rather than treating them in isolation as we do at present. How this is done effectively is one of the great challenges of the next few years.

Another astrologer who has made it his job to 'develop ways of considering the future interweaving of whole hierarchies of cycles' is Dennis Elwell, whose classic and remarkable book Cosmic Loom (1986, now in a second revised edition recently reprinted by the UT), contains a disturbing set of observations about how the cosmos behaves, reflected via astrological patterns.

These patterns are neither cosy in their effects, nor are they individual-friendly. Elwell has termed their effects multicongruence and his definition is: the tendency for certain things and conditions to co-occur because they belong together at a higher, unmanifest level. The original Loom contained many valid examples of this phenomenon, but the revised edition hits its readers with exceptional examples which prove the effect.

The Daily Chart and the Newspapers

For many years, Elwell was a journalist, perhaps the reason why he recommends that the best examples of multicongruence may followed by reading the daily newspapers alongside the astrological chart of the day in question. I decided to test this out as a small piece of mundane astrological research.

The week I chose to undertake this work was a week where the Sun made its annual opposition to Uranus. In addition, this year, the aspect coincided with Mars opposing Neptune, a decidedly unstable combination. I figured that these two together would, if mundane astrology 'works', bring some fairly clearly defined manifestations.

During this pair of transits, I was undertaking a promotional visit for a book and coordinating a megalithic tour in Devon and Cornwall. Built into this period was over 900 miles of shared driving - plenty of time to peruse the papers and listen to radio news bulletins.

Two Tricky Ones

Sun opposition Uranus and Mars opposition Neptune haven't got a particularly good reputation. Unfortunately, this a priori knowledge of mundane astrology can and probably does prejudice any attempt to research effects. However, the keywords below need to be seen as unbiased commentary on the likely sorts of manifestation, and before the research began I jotted these paragraphs down in my diary. Here they are:

Sun opposition Uranus:
Disturbance, disruption, eccentricity, alienation, invention, dissociation, alienation, discovery as sudden insight.

In addition, in mundane astrology, the Sun is seen as being the King or leader of a country, whilst Uranus relates to electronics and high-tech industries, communications, inventions and aviation.

Mars opposition Neptune:
Failure, weakness, infection, sabotage, scandal.

In mundane astrology Mars is equated or linked with the military forces, the police fires, firearms, weapons, men and machinery. Neptune is linked with the sea, the media, particularly film, illusion, spiritual matters, deception, secrecy, decay and drugs.

This is therefore the palette from which the week's news might be expected to be coloured. No astrologer would, I think, argue violently with these keywords. But my methodology must be explained, as it may be rather different to that used by other astrologers and it isn't mundane astrology in the sense of using a nation's chart, merely the geocentric chart de jour for the planet Earth.

My first quirk, based on solid experience over 25 years, is that the 'footprint' left by an outer planet during the year actually determines the aspect. Orbs of applying and separating aspects are less meaningful than the fact, say, that Neptune is occupying in this current year 3 to 7 degrees of Aquarius, whilst Uranus occupies 14 to 21 degrees of the same sign.

Secondly, for mundane work I have come to regard orbs of 4 or 5 degrees as valid, (perhaps mainly because news items often come about several days before the story breaks and the paper itself is printed after the stories are prepared), yet the 'footprint of the outer planet seems to carry the aspect's meaning. The peak period (1 degree orbs) is, of course, particularly interesting as is the Full and new Moon nearest to the aspect.

Thirdly, I have noticed that the Moon passing over any of the other planets involved in the 'cluster' may trigger an event.

Finally, I find it amusing and so often astonishingly apt to take the essential story from its headline. Whatever else we might think about our press and journalists, they can't half trim down a headline to its essential minimalist bones. We shall shortly discover just how apt some of these turn out to be astrologically!

So, what were the stories?

1. "Concorde crash fire ends a 30 year Dream" ran a headline in the Western Mail. The announcement that the recent (25th July) crash of an Air France Concorde was caused by a 45 cm long shard of metal (Mars) puncturing (Neptune) the tyres of its undercarriage, with subsequent rupturing of the fuel tanks (Mars-Neptune) and huge fire prior to total catastrophe. The actual crash occurred with the Sun opposing Neptune.

2. "The moment when the Sun sneezed" The largest solar flare to date in the current 11 year solar cycle. Exact on the opposition of Sun to Uranus, the flare took three days to reach the earth, whence, according to the Times, 12th August, headline it “may disrupt radio communications, blind satellites and cause surges in power grids”. Radio and TV services were also expected to be affected. Could you think of a better headline for Sun opposing Uranus?

3. "Duchess's 'headless man' was satyr Fairbanks Jnr". (Daily Telegraph, 10th August, p5)
The showing of a TV documentary about the sex-scandal of the decade (50's). The Duchess of Argyll's divorce involved a protracted and very nasty legal wrangle where the establishment, under Lord Denning, sneakily discovered that Douglas Fairbanks junior was indeed the 'headless man' on a polaroid film taken whilst he was in fellatio from the Duchess. This film had been discovered by the Duke in a deliberate sneak burglary on his wife's London home in order to provide proof of her adultery prior to obtaining a divorce. The scandal threatened the then conservative government of Macmillan, who had embarrassingly invited Fairbanks Jr to his annual Grouse shooting orgy amidst huge press publicity. The whole affair became linked eventually with the Profumo scandal of the early 60's. As the documentary was screened, transiting Venus squared Pluto and Chiron, and as Elwell reminds us, the programme schedulers plan their output months in advance and don't, as far as anyone knows, employ astrologers.

4. The alienation of paedophiles by the 'Naming and Shaming' campaign of the News of the World led to vigilante groups (false law-makers and enforcers?) in Paulgrove, Portsmouth persecuting alleged paedophiles. Regular disturbances leading to mass violence were contained by the police. At least one paedophile committed suicide.

5. NASA announces its new intention to visit the planet Mars. This remarkable announcement, made at the peak of the opposition between Mars and Neptune, was accompanied on TV news broadcasts by a 3 minute simulation film of the spacecraft and landers and was the first media mention of Mars in any real sense since the confused and outlandish ''Life on Mars Discovered-Shock" of about two years ago when viruses were produced from a meteorite alleged to have come from the red planet. From the astrology of the moment of the announcement, we might guess the mission, due in 2002, may be ill-fated or that some deception is being woven around NASA's intentions. Anyone seen the film Capricorn One! But one must now believe that they don't employ an astrologer to advise them - this could hardly be a worse time to make such a public statement!

6. "Millions of car repairs 'unsafe'" (Daily Telegraph, 10th August, front page). A high proportion of all car repairs (Mars) were deemed unsafe (Mars-Neptune) by a motoring organisation linked with the Office of Fair Trading..

7. "Lost nuclear bomb left to rot on the sea-bed" (Independent, 14th August, front page headline)
The announcement that a nuclear warhead sits rotting at the bottom of the sea off Greenland following a B52 crash many years ago prompted an international outrage. So dreadfully a Mars-Neptune cocktail this one, and with a dash of added plutonium, hopefully neither shaken nor stirred.

8. "Crippled nuclear submarine traps 171 on sea-bed" (Western Mail, August 15th, headline). Although right on the limit of orb for Mars-Neptune, this story encapsulates all the basics of the story above. In effect, it's the same story! At the time of writing the outcome is unknown.

9. "Army peace role 'sapping our strength'" (Daily Telegraph, 10th August, headline) The UK armed services weakened by too much involvement in peacekeeping roles. Another Mars-Neptune delight! The Telegraph also ran a story on the 12th of August about the same theme, headed, "Red line at thinnest since days of Wellington". The word red (Mars' colour) was here used in connection with the military.

10. "Police 'lawfully' killed man armed with air rifle”' (Daily Telegraph, 10th August, p 3.) This story has all the trappings of Mars-Neptune, more so because the unfortunate victim was shot with a 'soft-tipped bullet', and you don't get a more Mars-Neptune item than that!

11. "It's rescue No 10 for all-at-sea sailor" (Daily Telegraph, 10th August, p7).
A lovely Mars-Neptune story about 'an eccentric sailor', an unemployed painter (ha!), who has been rescued no less than ten times for his total ineptness at seamanship and marine navigation.

12. "Probes blast into orbit to monitor space storms." (Daily Telegraph, 10th August, page 7).
Very Sun-Uranus this one! Two satellites launched to “investigate the relationship between the Earth's magnetic field and the stream of charged particles that flows from the Sun”. Curiously this story broke two days before the main story on the 12th that the biggest storm on the sun's surface was hitting the earth's ionosphere and disrupting power and communications networks (see item 2).

13. "Moscow bombers kill 8 in blast" (Western Mail, 7th August, headline).
A bomb left in a Moscow shopping arcade was described as "a deadly blast designed to kill and maim as many people as possible." It contains all the combined essence of Sun-Uranus (sudden blast) and Mars-Neptune (the attack was sneaky, the bombers "ran off, leaving the bomb in a plastic bag by a shopping kiosk").

In addition to these items, some lesser stories coagulated to form further evidence of multicongruence.

Ten people were killed when two light aircraft collided over New Jersey, shedding metal fragments over a wide area. Two Army officers in Spain were shot dead in a spate of 'shootings and car bombings'. An Ulster Police chief was killed in a car bombing attack.

A 500lb (why do bombs still always come in non-metric weights these days?) van bomb was intercepted before it could kill or maim anyone, but it made the pretence of 'peace in Ireland' look totally farcical.

An unfortunate glider pilot baled out of the two-man glider whilst it broke up only to watch his ill-fated son, the co-pilot - crash to his death.

The police questioned the target of 9,000 extra recruits promised by Tony Blair. “We remain a public service in crisis" said the Police Federation in an article which hinted at betrayal by government.

"Saboteurs target Glorious Twelfth", ran a story in the Telegraph, August 12th, as hunt saboteurs tried to prevent shooting on Britain's moors. I'll bet the spirit of Fairbanks Jnr was involved (see item 3).

Two British policemen, arrested for allegedly spying in Yugoslavia, caused diplomatic havoc. Their car was alleged to have contained fuses, detonators and other decidedly non-touristy items. The story carried all the Mars-Neptune themes and confusions as each side appeared to waffle and lie about the motives and reasons for the visit and the arrest (8th-10th August).

A coach crash in France killed one Boy's Brigade member. The driver was accused of manslaughter, allegedly falling asleep at the wheel (8th August). In the same paper, the story "America ablaze from West Coast to the Rockies" announced the biggest fire crisis in the States' history, and the strangest weather. Promethean stuff anyway.

A "Cloud of wasps attacks family". A Mars-Neptune experience happened to a family who were nursed following over 150 stings. Cloud of Wasps is pure Mars-Neptune.

My favourite multicongruistic story in this set concerned the Cuban photographer Alberto Korda, the man responsible for the ubiquitous and world famous picture of the young revolutionary soldier Che Guevara, was said to be suing a vodka manufacturer for 'sullying' his icon (Daily Telegraph, August 8th, p7). This story is perfect and has everything one could wish for in a Mars-Neptune transit!

And… in Conclusion

So, that's a little research indicating that, yes, it is actually the case that as above, so below. It's no proof in the scientific sense of the word, and perhaps that reflects more badly on the limited axioms of the scientific method than on my limited grasp of astrological truths. The editor of Correlation would probably attract adverse comments if she were to publish it, but nonetheless one really would have to be blind not to see the resonance of the two acting major transits within this collection of stories.

This dabble into the correlation between the heavens and events on Earth suggests anything but a tenuous link. From this, one might suggest the inauguration of an astrological Reuter service - because it is almost true that perhaps 70% of these stories could have been pre-written using astrological symbolism leaving the final details to be added after the events. In a real sense, that would be astrological prediction - the Holy Grail of the mundane astrologer.

There is a next obvious challenge which would be more scientific - a repeat experiment. Pick a time when there are some corking aspects occurring more or less together and arrange a game of 'Guess the Headlines'. Anyone for prediction?

As the backdrop of all of our lives, the geometrical patterns of the solar system, as experienced from the 'third stone from the Sun' appear to manifest as a social and cultural tableau unfolding before our very eyes. Multicongruence invites us to explore an awesome property of nature little known and even less understood. Preparing this little article has shown me that here is an embarrassment of riches for any astrologer looking to forge a new understanding of cosmic correlations and their effects.

© Robin Heath, 2000


Robin Heath is struggling to understand better the link between the skies and the Earth, almost a full time preoccupation. He is a professional astrologer living in West Wales. Once the editor of the Astrological Journal, he is also a director of Megalithic Tours, undertaking group visits to sacred sites throughout Britain, Brittany and Ireland. A qualified teacher and lecturer, he teaches astrology for various organisations, and has tutored CPA students. Robin writes for many publications including Culture and Cosmos, Kindred Spirit, Chalice, The NCGR Journal, Apollon, The Mountain Astrologer and the Ley Hunter Journal, and currently has four books in print. Contact via, please be brief and do not send attachments.