The Notre-Dame de Paris fire (postscript added)

As most of us know by now there was a terrible fire that took place on 15 April 19 at the famous cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris. It was a national tragedy for France, as well as for world heritage. The fire started in the attic, i.e. the space between the stone ceiling vault and the cladded roof. It quickly engulfed the roof, which was undergoing restoration at the time, completely destroying it, along with the lone wooden spire. The image of the collapsing spire was repeatedly broadcast worldwide, an iconic moment. Fortunately, due to the stone ceiling vault, the sanctuary, the main organ and most of the treasures were saved. The cathedral will be rebuilt, and funding is already underway.

The fire was said to have broken out shortly before 6:50 PM local time. That chart is below (bigger):

However, according to the Paris public prosecutor Rémy Heitz, the first alarm for the fire was sent out at 6:20 PM, local time. With that in mind, the chart gets much more interesting. That chart is below (bigger):

We note with the 6:20 chart that all of the traditional angles are on Aries points, with the Vertex conjunct the 7th house cusp in the 7th house. Many things begin to fall into place with that chart. Firstly, given that the angles are on Aries points, it is marked as highly significant event, and one that may possibly change the course of history in some direction. Recalling the previous article about the full moons on Aries points, this also adds significance to the event. The fire has certainly captured the world’s attention and invoked great outpourings of sympathy and support for the French. The midpoints to the 6:20 chart are also quite telling.

All of the traditional angles form midpoints with the Mars/Saturn, Mars Pluto and Mars/Node axes. The Mars/Saturn and Mars/Pluto midpoints indicate accidents, the desire to face danger, danger from the intervention of a ‘Higher Power’, the misfortune to face overwhelming force without power, obstacles or inhibitions caused by other people, necessity to overcome a lot of difficulties in life, the ability to bear the suffering of the soul (with dignity and without complaint), mourning and bereavement. The Mars/Node midpoint indicates something quite more positive: energetic and vigorous cooperation, and the integration of one’s own individuality into the community, along with good team-work or partnership in work. All of these factors were indicated in the event.

The fire was stated to likely be an accident, although it was promised to be fully investigated by a team of fifty people. The firefighters faced great danger with the fire. There were close to 500  firefighters there. There were obstacles to their getting there, though, because the fire occurred at rush hour in a busy part of Paris. As the fire progressed it was nearly impossible to stop at its height, and a number of factors contributed: the height of the cathedral, the scaffolding, the nature of the structure itself, which caused the fire to burn very hot, and meaning that the fuel had to somewhat burn itself out to a point where the heat decreased enough for their efforts to begin to work. Cathedral fires are quite difficult to control for the preceding reasons. The wood in the roof was dry as tinder, having been there for 850 years and protected from the weather. And there was a large load of it.

The fire started around the base of the spire. The roof cladding held the heat in and prevented water from the firefighters from gaining ingress. Once there was enough of an air space cleared, the spire would have acted as a bellows and fanned the fire, drawing air from underneath and making it that much hotter. One of the dangers to the firefighters inside the cathedral was molten lead falling off the lead-cladded spire. The vaulting below the spire collapsed during the course of the fire. But they fought it professionally and without incident in terms of injury or loss of life. There was little more they could have done. It was quite an effort, and well-done!

People asked why water bombers were not used. Water has weight – considerable weight. To dump a large load of water from a height on a burning roof with heated stone would have been a disaster. The fire marshal was right not to call in water bombers. There is every likelihood that such an action would have collapsed at least a portion of the vault.

The reading of the rest of the chart (either one) is pretty straightforward. Mars (fires) is in the 9th house (churches/cathedrals). Mars is in an applying square by the Moon, the latter ruling the 10th house and also the common people. It was an event that has galvanized French society and brought solidarity in France across social lines. The latter is indicated by the Moon in Virgo in the 11th house. The Virgo placement is quite fitting, given that ‘Notre Dame’ means ‘Our Lady’, with Virgo representing the mother of the Christ child. Mars, in Gemini, is opposite Ceres, showing a turning point in Church history and dialog, lying across the 3rd/9th house and Gemini/Sagittarius axes. The event itself holds great symbolism, both for France and for the Catholic Church in general. How that will work out will reveal itself over time, but France is at a crossroads now, with protests ongoing, a recalcitrant leader and with the Catholic Church going through significant trials itself at the moment.

The fire started in the ‘attic’, with attics being co-ruled by Libra and Capricorn – Libra ruling the space between the ceiling and the rooftop, and Capricorn ruling the rooftop. The attic was totally composed of wood. The Ascendant is in Libra, with Venus ruling, and the 4th house ruled by Capricorn (public structures, plus the outcome of situations). In turn, Saturn rules the 4th house and is conjunct Pluto in that house. And that shows the destructive nature of the event. The Saturn/Pluto conjunction represents the shattering of old orders and significant changes in the course of history. In a sense, this event represents the closing of a chapter for the French, and the start of a new one. Saturn is conjunct the south node, a.k.a. ‘the master of tragedy’.

Further, the Saturn/Pluto conjunction is square the Sun, the latter in Aries and conjunct Eris. Pluto and Eris are within a degree of the square with each other, marking this as an event that, on the one hand has the potential to be quite destructive, but which also shows the change in dialog and power structures that will result from it. In the 6:20 chart the Sun is in the 8th house, on the cusp, the latter indicating the common inheritance for all the French that Notre Dame represents, the death of cathedral, its coming restoration (rebirth/transformation), the purification for French society (and internationally) that this event can represent, as well as the international funding that is being set up as of the day after the event to rebuild it. Macron has vowed that it will be rebuilt. We also see the Sun in its wide, applying conjunction with Uranus in the 8th house, representing renewal.

To round out the chart analysis, restorative work on historical structures requires skilled craftspeople, not just the average tradesperson. Crafts and craftspeople are ruled by Mercury (skilled work with the hands). Mercury is in the 6th house (services) conjunct the 7th house, showing the ‘antagonist’ of the event. All it would have taken to start this fire was a little spark to land in a hidden spot, maybe in wood dust, where it could have lain for some time before igniting. Having worked around wood and metal, I have seen this sort of thing happen. It is tragic in this case, but you cannot fight what you cannot see. We can probably fully expect that the findings of the investigators will put it down to an accident. And Mercury is quintile to Mars in the chart, showing a connection between craftspeople and the fire. Quintiles can indicate special artistry as well as unfortunate events in some cases.

We’ll end this with Venus. Venus represents fine art and artists, among many other things. It is in the 6th house of the chart, sextile to Pluto and square to Jupiter. The Venus/Jupiter square also is at the midpoint Neptune/Ascendant, which indicates in general disappointments in relationships, losses through others, but also great sensitivity in general. This combination represents two things: the loss of precious artworks, as well as their salvation. There were a great number of treasures in the cathedral, many of which were saved, even during the hours as the fire burned. One of the magnificent stained glass windows is completely lost. The fate of the two largest ones is still unknown, although at least one is said to be intact.

The largest organ, one of the most famous in the world, was saved. There were three organs in the cathedral. The fate of the other two is unknown. Several relics and icons were also saved, including the crown of thorns, a linen fabric associated with Saint Louis and the cathedral’s treasury. As to the other artworks, little is known. It was said that there was a human chain formed during the fire to transport the treasures out away from the fire. They will be stored at the Louvre.

Given what they were up against with this fire, the firefighters and people rescuing the art performed a brilliant job against the odds. The entire cathedral could have been lost. As it is, the stone foundation still stands. There are three gaping holes in the vaulted ceiling, but those can be replaced. And as is endlessly repeated in social media, the cross at the altar still stands. Many people attribute the cathedral being saved to the hand of God. From my side, the credit goes to the daring and dedication of the Paris Fire Department and the people who actually risked their lives to get the treasures out of harm’s way. Divine intervention?…maybe. Yes, the cross stands, but without those people, Notre Dame would be no more. There is no religion without the faithful, without people of dedication. Those people who fought the fire and saved the treasures deserve every accolade and award bestowed upon them. I was there some years ago. I’m glad I got to see and experience ‘Notre Dame’. It was quite an experience. It will be again in the future.

Postscript: After the fire, Macron appeared in the national media and promised to rebuild Notre Dame within five years. If we do a little math, in five years (2024) the Olympics are to be held in Paris. That would appear to be the motive for having the cathedral rebuilt in that time frame. It would also appear to be why so much money was thrown at the reconstruction so quickly. Cynical? Maybe. But the French authorities had been dragging their feet since Sarkozy to restore Their Lady. Why the rush now?

There has been a plan since 2015 to completely redo the Ile de la Cité, the site on which  Notre Dame is built, in time for the Olympics. But there were no concerns expressed for preservation of heritage. L’Ile is an administrative center and the plan was to have it spruced up in time for the games. Now that is possible. In light of the fire, a decision was made by the French authorities, in three parts:

•Appoint the former Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces, General Jean-Louis Georgelin, to lead from the Elysee a special representation mission “to ensure the progress of the procedures and work that will be undertaken”.

• Have the parliament adopt a bill governing the collection of funds, regularizing the appointment of General Georgelin who has reached the age limit and above all exempting his mission from all tendering procedures, heritage protection laws, and any constraints that may arise.`

• Launch an international architectural competition to rebuild Notre-Dame.

Another decision was made: to stifle any debate on the causes of the fire in order to avoid a judicial inquiry disturbing this beautiful arrangement.

There have been claims made by people at the scene that the fire was deliberately set. There have also been a spate of fires and church desecrations across France in recent times.  It would take considerable time to properly investigate the cause of the fire before reconstruction would begin. Firefighters and workers say the fire burned too quickly and fiercely to have been started by accidental causes. But now we will probably never know. Macron’s behavior towards the incident has been rather rushed, and smacks more of business than of care for heritage. Now, over a thousand architects are coming out saying that it will take longer than five years to rebuild. And they are calling for a proper investigation to be carried out. There are many questions that need to be answered, and the public deserves such a thorough investigation. One thing is for certain, though — if reconstruction is rushed, corners will be cut, and the work will be substandard. There will be fights about all this in France in the immediate future.


Featured pic from

Cross pic from Sputnik


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