by Boots Hart, CAP

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Carnival Triumph: Sparking a Corporate Firestorm?

 Title image adapted from a photo of the Carnival Triumph as it was seen
at Half Moon Cay on March 30, 2008
(photo credit: Scott L.)

Fire broke out aboard the Carnival Triumph on February 10th, when the ship was some 150 miles off the Yucatan Peninsula.

 A diagram of the Carnival Triumph's charted course as of February 10 (prior to the fire) when it was just off the Yucatan peninsula going to and from the (incredibly wonderful) island of Cozumel (and yes, I'm biased - I love Cozumel!)
Position and diagram courtesy of

As a human being, I was horrified. The idea of being onboard a boat with a fire…then without propulsion and water just makes me shudder. That everyone got back safe and (relatively) sound is an utter blessing, though I somehow doubt that Carnival’s original offer of refunds and a $500 ‘compensation’ to each passenger is going to…um…hold water.

This would seem to be a situation made for lawyers…which may well be why people call them ‘sharks.’

(To my lawyers, should you read this, I love you and all your highly serrated teeth very dearly.)

But once I get past the perfectly human side of this disaster, then the astrologer takes over. And as an astrologer, this Carnival Triumph event (yes, we call them ‘events’) just begs for astrological examination.

So let’s examine.

The Carnival Triumph was launched on July 1, 1999. We don’t have a time, but we know it was built by a company by the name of Fincantieri in a Monfalcone, Italy, which gives us an Aries chart for the day as follows:

The launch of the Carnival Triumph
July 1, 1999 - (Aries wheel / no Moon or POF shown) - Monfalcone Italy

Because we don’t have a specific time of launch, this chart shows no Moon or Part of Fortune. But on this day the Moon was in Aquarius, which is a nice celestial way of saying that this was supposed to be a ship all about getting away and ‘escaping’ the everyday world…while at the same time an income-producing vehicle.

Now, let’s indulge. I’m taking you along on a little trip through the world of astrological math (just a little one – we won’t go out of port, I promise.) When I cast the chart for noon, the Moon came up at 7 Aquarius. 

Given that the Moon has an average movement of a half-degree per hour, that means that the Moon on this launch chart could be six degrees earlier (at 1 Aquarius) or six degrees later (at 13 Aquarius). But since I can’t see anyone launching a ship at night, it’s pretty safe to say that the Moon on this chart is between 4 and 10 Aquarius.

(You may now disembark from my mathematical journey. Please be sure to take all your belongings with you as you leave, and I hope you’ll travel with Boots’ Brain again soon.)

Doing this calculation got me to the point of understanding that wherever this Moon was on this date when it was daylight, it would have been in conjunction with the South Node of this chart – and Damocles, a combination which is about (Nodal) relationships which are very (South) easy until you take on a big (Damocles) challenge which turns out to be a whole lot more “pointed” (the story of Damocles being about a sword dangling over one’s head) and a whole lot more dangerous (where’s that sword?) than you thought.

Aquarius being the sign of income and the marketplace is the first thing to tip us off that if-and-when this ship would run into trouble, it would ‘point’ straight at corporate income.

And it would seem that Carnival already knew this. Or at least they would have, had they had an astrologer on staff to map out all the metaphysical notices.

This part of our story goes back to the Costa Concordia. Remember that name?

Carnival Corporation's ship Costa Concordia as it lay shipwrecked
just off Giglio Porto in Italy on January 14, 2012
(photo credit: Rvongher, January 14, 2012)

Well, you might – the Costa Concordia is the ship which ran aground just barely off Isola del Giglio, an island just off Italy’s Tuscan coast.

The beach on Isola del Giglio in Italy, with a view of the mainland Tuscany coast in the distance
(photo credit: Patpatpat, August 2005)

What you may not know about this is that Carnival Corporation owns the Costa Concordia. In fact, Carnival is arguably the biggest cruise line in the world. They own Costa and Cunard and the Holland America Line and Ibero and Seabourn and Aida and (yes,) Carnival and the Princess Cruise line.

This company was ‘born’ out of a 2002 merger of Carnival Corporation and Princess Cruises, resulting in the company known as Carnival Corporation, and whose full name is evidently Carnival Corporation & plc. That company has two headquarters – one in the UK (which controls Costa and Cunard and other European lines) while Carnival Corporation as a whole is headquartered in Miami, Florida, which means its Articles of Incorporation are filed in Florida’s state capital, Tallahassee.

And thus we get the following corporate chart:

 Carnival Corporation & plc
From the 3rd revision of the corporate Articles of incorporation (posted online)
 April 16, 2003 - 12 noon - Tallahassee, Florida

Yes, I know…I said the merger was in 2002. And evidently it was, but the Articles of Incorporation that the company is now established under (which you can link to on the Carnival Corporation site, if you’re into that sort of stuff) is evidently the ‘third revision’ and they’re dated April 16, 2003.

And what a chart this is! That Midheaven/IC line at 0 Aries (at the Midheaven) and 0 Libra (at the Nadir) is a poignant statement if there ever was one. The top point is all about corporate awareness – and with Pallas at 29 Pisces conjunct Scheat (the ability to be rejected by society) Carnival Corporation as a company is all about it’s world (Midheaven) image (Aries). With Tantalus conjunct Pallas, the image is a ‘tantalizing one’ – and Carnival knows it’s (Aries) career involves making their company one which is all about that tantalizing (Aries) experience.

At the same time, the bottom point of this chart (0 Libra) is all about knowing that what we give to our customers (implied: the public) has to live up to our promises. Libra is ruled by Venus and the Venus of this corporate chart is in the house of media (the 9th) and in Pisces – so there are some exalted promises made about what people can expect. And with Vesta (what it takes to keep your promises) positioned exactly conjunct the 0 Libra IC (aka Nadir) Carnival can’t afford (literally or figuratively) to make any hollow promises.

Aries being ruled by Mars and Libra (as we said) being ruled by Venus asks where these two planets are. Answer: Mars is at 26 Capricorn and sextile Venus from the 7th house. So this is a good thing.

Or is it?

Having taken a cursory look at Venus, what about Mars? Mars here is pictured as being conjunct Nessus, Sabine and Medusa…a daunting trio under any conditions, never mind difficult maritime conditions. Nessus has an ‘over and over again’ effect, whatever it is. Sabine is ‘being captured’ and Medusa is ‘the fearful truth’ or the ‘fear of the truth.’ So on one hand, this company knows that its representatives and crews need to be reassuring to passengers and very helpful under all conditions. And if there’s one thing we’ve heard about the recent Carnival Triumph fracas, it’s that passengers all seem to think the crew performed magnificently.

But when we look to the ruler of Capricorn – Saturn, we find Saturn in the 12th house of ‘things hidden.’ And not only that, but Saturn is in opposition to Pluto in the 6th house of employees and responsibilities.

Positioned between fixed stars Phact and Bellatrix on one side and Betelgeuse on the other, this Saturn represents the corporate desire to always be reassuring, even in the most difficult of conditions. But especially with the opposition to Pluto, (with Pluto being conjunct fixed star Ras Alhague, which equals making things much better or much worse) because the 6th house would be management and maintenance, it’s likely that we’re going to at some point learn a few things about Carnival Corporation fit to make a corporation go queasy.

And I’m not sure there is such a thing as corporate Dramamine, so….good luck there.

The good news is that with Pluto in the 6th, once this company takes on the task of getting past it’s resistance to upgrading whatever it needs to upgrade, it will do the job. It’s just getting there which could be a bit of a gag-fest.

This t-square ‘starts’ (or in this case maybe ‘activated’ is a better term) by Neptune in Aquarius in the 8th house. That Neptune is at 12 Aquarius, and that’s pretty darn close to the Carnival Triumph’s 13 Aquarius South Node…and pretty much exactly where the Triumph Launch Moon would be if the ship was launched anywhere around mid-late morning.

Heck…even if it was launched in the mid-afternoon, the Moon would still be conjunct the corporate Neptune. But contemplating those possible exact-nesses is interesting, isn’t it?

Mercury/Bali plus Menkar in the corporate chart is pretty easy to understand. Admissions of problems is a public image issue – and this t-square does hit the ‘t’ point in the ‘marketplace’ of the 11th house.

This is also corporate income. You know, the ol’ corporate balance sheet?

Mercury-Bali at the apex of a t-square would be ‘happy thoughts.’ So talking any sort of lack of any kind – not to mention anything which would sour the (Taurus) respect or love the public has for the company is enough to give this company hiccups. (Pass the champagne, please…)

As for Menkar, you gotta feel for them. Menkar is ‘bad friends’ which in this case would be ‘bad word of mouth.’ Then we add in Ceres, the ‘think it through.’ Does Carnival really want people to think through all which could go wrong.

Oh yes…it already has, yes. The Condordia and the Triumph show that life can not be a carnival when cruising with Carnival, that’s for sure.

But more to the point here, especially with Black Moon Lilith involved, we know positively and absolutely that Carnival Corporation DREADS bad word of mouth.

(Could I possibly have some strawberries to go with my champagne?)

There’s also Sedna to consider. And in fact this is a really interesting thing, this corporate Sedna. Positioned at 17 Taurus, it’s within the 5-degree orb of square to Neptune but NOT within 5-degrees to square Jupiter. And that says that Carnival Corporation will be acting ‘childish’ (if a company can be childish) by trying to hide what’s gone wrong.

In fact, that’s the solution to this t-square! Sedna squaring Neptune but NOT squaring Jupiter implies that Carnival can get out ahead of bad press and huge difficulties by making a ‘public value statement’ about all that it is going to do to invest in its ships and make sure that this never, EVER happens again.

(Carnival? Are you listening?)

With Jupiter in Leo conjunct Typhon, there is a primal (Typhon) corporate need to pay attention to – among other things, the (Leo) family aspect of all this. They have a corporate ‘family’ of sub-companies and cruise lines – all of them are likely to suffer if the big daddy whale company doesn’t swallow this problem. There is much to be gained and everything to be lost if families don’t think cruises are going to be safe – not just for themselves, but for their children. I’m betting Carnival knows all about that.

(I think I could use a napkin…my champagne glass is sweating.)

So when is all this shifting and surfacing and ‘thar she blows’ of notable particulars likely to happen?

Well, maybe you remember my having already chatted up the fact that we’re going to have a May solar eclipse at 19 Taurus? And that this November will bring us another solar eclipse at 11 Scorpio, the degree that Saturn was at when the Carnival Triumph fire occurred. Also being the degree where Saturn went stationary-retrograde on February 18th, this Saturn is sort of positioned to put Carnival Corporation ‘on notice.’

This time, nobody died. But they could have, right? Talk about what kind of bad press that would be!
But back to facts. This 11 Scorpio placement (of both Saturn’s station and the November 2013 Solar Eclipse) turns the corporate t-square into a grand square. It sets everything into motion - and not in any sort of gentle way.

Carnival can’t cover enough bases fast enough and we can guess that there’s all sorts of ship rats gnawing through the files. Plus, since between the February Saturn station and that November eclipse we will have the 19 Taurus solar eclipse, that’s when one would expect a lot of seaweed to begin hitting the fan.

Or when the lovely reef of corporate income begins to crumble. You know - as if hit by a ship.

Or maybe this will be when a legal tsunami hits corporate shores.

Take your pick. (And yes, I’m done with the oceanic metaphors.)

And we may hear the first of this even before the eclipse when Pluto goes retrograde in April at 11 Capricorn. This would seem to be a great time for Carnival to get honest and (as they say in politics) more ‘transparent’…not that we can expect this company to turn itself into an aquarium. 

So why the Carnival Triumph have this giant problem? And did Carnival Corporation have any reason to think the Triumph would be a big company…um…headache? (I would have said hurricane, but I did just promise.)

Maybe, maybe not. But here’s the chart for the Costa Concordia disaster, a shipwreck which did result in substantial loss of life.

The chart of the Costa Concordia sinking off Giglio Porto, Italy
January 14, 2012 - 11:45 p.m. - CET/- 1

That event fell on a day when the Sun of the shipwreck chart was on the corporate Moon (exactly) and thus in opposition to the corporate Sun and Eris. With Eris conjunct Hebe (the servant) there’s no doubt but that the company was both shocked at it’s own lack of ‘serving it’s customers’ and how its own ship’s captain was implied in the disaster.

There are any number of ways to look at this chart as an event chart in and of itself. And all of those examinations are unpleasant. There is an aspect of astrology which tends to be a bit like working in the Coroner’s office when you get into death and destruction and it’s far too easy to sound callous when all you’re doing is your job as an astrologer.

But what I will say is this – the thing which catches my astrological eye first and last is the idea that the Nodal axis in the Costa Condordia shipwreck chart is at 13 Gemini/Sagittarius. And though I hesitate to say any such thing, the fact that those nodes are trine those of the Carnival Triumph’s launch (birth) chart in combination with the (Saturn ruled) Mercury of the shipwreck being in direct and exact opposition to the Triumph’s chart…if Carnival was a company which had a staff astrologer who was familiar with all the charts of all their ships, these two items should have popped to the surface, telling Carnival to look lively with regards to the Carnival Triumph.

And there is another thing…one which seems a bit more ‘sledge hammer’ in the metaphysical sense. The loss of life connected with the Costa Concordia did result in law suits. One in particular, having been launched on behalf of a German passenger who sadly lost their life resulted in the Carnival Triumph being seized by the US Courts on March 30, 2012. The ship was released on the 31st…but Jupiter’s position at 13 Taurus (conjuncting Ceres and about to heighten the effect of the whole corporate t-square) is what we might call celestial foreshadowing.

All of this brings me back to the chart of the Carnival Triumph itself. In that chart is a figure known to astrology as a ‘Magic Rectangle.’

 The magic rectangle which is part of the Carnival
Triumph's launch ("birth" or natal) chart

A magic rectangle is composed of two pairs of 60-degree sextiles (with 3 degree orbs) where those planets are also connected by two 120-degree trines and two 180-degree oppositions (both of which are allowed an orb of 5 degrees).

If you read through that ‘recipe’ carefully, it will become apparent that it’s really the tighter sextile orb which makes or breaks the configuration. And this is why the magic rectangle is known as a figure of great opportunity.

This is one of those figures – like a grand trine – which includes a marked ‘pop astrology’ tendency to think of them in very rose-colored glasses sort of terms. That CAN be true. But it doesn’t have to be true. The grand trine is ‘ongoing circuits of energy’ which are incredibly hard to break out of (breaks being noted most often through incidents and events having to do with hard aspects made to one of the three points by an outer planet, dwarf planet or Plutino). So while a grand trine can indicate vast talent or an inheritance you couldn’t spend your way through if you tried to, they can also represent chronic illness and unmitigated unhappiness.
Likewise, the magic rectangle isn’t all sunshine and lollypops. What it seems to function as in many a chart is a talent or ability which plays very well at first. Then, as complacency sets in, all goes sour.

Once this happens, the person (or company) with the magic square needs to rebuilt - pretty much from the ground up (or inside out). But this seems particularly difficult for them, which astrologically is probably the oppositional quality coming to the fore.

All such structures are individual. What they build, when and why they get off track, what they resist and how they ultimately rebuild (if they do rebuild) are told by transits and progressions to the points involved.

But here...? Black Moon Lilith and Ixion in Sagittarius is ‘generating your own bad press through your repeated ignoring of the standards.’ This would be a pretty good indicator that we will hear more about the Carnival Triumph story as time goes by.

Neptune's being involved here…beyond being the obvious references to oceans and such…Neptune is here presented in conjunction with Altair, which I appreciate personally as a client of mine just asked me about Altair. (Is it luck or is it metaphysics?)

 (photo courtesy of the US Coast Guard, February 11, 2013)

Altair – also known as Alpha Aquila – is part of a Greek constellation of the eagle, which sort of takes us into Scorpio territory (the eagle being one of Scorpio’s totem animals) even if the star is currently positioned at 1 Aquarius. Interestingly, this star is associated with the ability to move forward or make progress…which given that the Triumph’s problems began with an engine fire seems more than apt. Occurring in the sign of Aquarius, a sign associated with power also works, though Aquarius’ association is most often with electricity. Granted, that became a big problem on the Carnival Triumph, but was it an electrical fire which began the whole event? That we don’t know yet.

The quality of Altair requires that you move promptly or even quickly. When badly placed, this star is said to manifest as lack of care or concern, which makes us think in the direction of maintenance when it comes to the Carnival Triumph.

This is a definite ‘stand by…we shall see’ sort of question.

If you’re talking about a cruise ship, the Pallas (knowing) – Phaethon (taking risks) – Atlantis in Gemini conglomeration is definitely the magic of the sea with the dangers of the sea. Atlantis is particularly telling here as there is a form of the Atlantis myth (the entity, not the place) which is about having to give up life and all your hopes on dry land in favor of walking into the sea…literally choosing to drown (ostensibly in emotions and the unknown) so as to be reborn happily.

I will leave you to think that one through while I crab-step sideways and continue building sandcastles.

Mercury-Sisyphus here coupled to Eurydike in early Leo is the most damning part of this magic square since this Mercury/Sisyphus is conjunct the corporate Jupiter-Typhon. This would tend to be about a corporate level of what may be cover-ups, but which also might be delays or scheduling problems which amounted to knowing what could happen and just not getting to it.

And the Eurydike commentary on Mercury-Sisyphus? That's 'the cost' and accepting the cost - which could be the cost of the incident or some cost resisted by Carnival Corporation prior to this event.

We just don't know yet. What we do know from the chart of this ship - the Carnival Triumph - and the corporation chart that we haven’t heard the last of this story.

But at least the passengers – bless them! – are all safely back on dry land. Still, if I was on board at this company, I wouldn't be expecting blue skies and smooth sailing.

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