One of the greatest and most beautiful Cathedrals in the world, Notre-Dame in Paris, was shockingly partially destroyed by fire on Monday evening.  The next day, as the damage was assessed, new hope arose and its rebuilding was pledged.

It is an incomprehensible marvel to contemplate how such an edifice was created over its 170 years of building, using medieval methods, the finest artistry, with the devotion of its workers, some of whom may have spent nearly their whole lifetimes on the project.

I am not well travelled, but I have been to Paris several times in this lifetime (as well as in past lives) and have a huge fondness and sentimentality for the city.  And Notre-Dame is undoubtedly the soul of the city.


Notre-Dame, a project started by Maurice de Sully, was built on the site of an ancient 6th Century church on the Ile de la Cite, and that was built on the foundations of a Roman Temple of Jupiter.

“Masons had to haul the stone from quarries far from the city; while a new street, Rue Neuve-Notre-Dame, was pushed through to enable materials to be brought up to the building site from quarries upstream on the Seine.  Pope Alexander III blessed the foundation stone”

~ Alistair Horne from “Seven Ages of Paris”

The date of the laying of the foundation stone in 1163 is most interesting astrologically.  6 of the 10 planets are in fire signs.  In looking at transits for last Monday’s conflagration, we need look no further.  For there is a double whammy of conflagration transits, namely Pluto square its Mars in Aries, and Mars on its Pluto.  There is also Chiron exactly on the Cathedral’s Sun, indicating that this event has a healing purpose.  In practical terms, the wooden constructions may be rebuilt with more enduring modern materials.  In psychological terms, the event has raised all sorts of issues about French society, and the world at large: the repercussions and chain of issues seem huge.


There are many who see this burning, at this point of time, as deeply symbolic.  Is it a warning of an ending?  Is it a divine judgement on the presidency of Emmanuel Macron, is it aimed at the European Union, or the state of western civilization itself? Or even more broadly, does it hint about our failure to address the dangers of climate change?  The religious and the mystical thinkers may think this way, but atheists too have loved this monument and find meaning in it.  Some have said it is only a building, and others have said it is not a tragedy because nobody died.  But, like the sight of a comet across our skies, deep down it feels significant in an unknown way.

Chart of the Event

The first intimation that there was anything happening came at 6.20 p.m. local time on Monday (15th April).  An alarm sounded during a service. There was no sign of fire, but the building was evacuated.  23 minutes later a second alarm was heard, and fire officially declared.

Eyewitness Agnes Poirier writes movingly in the Observer this morning:

“Of those moments, I remember a kaleidoscope of images and feelings: the stupor in people’s eyes, their mouths forming in silent screams, the vivid yellow of the smoke…The flames were bright red and orange like those tongues of fire in Renaissance paintings.”

The chart of the event shows Pluto on the South Node, a devastation which bears the hope of a phoenix rising from the ashes.  How does the timing of the event strike the chart of France itself?  Does it give any clue to its significance for the country?  For the last few months of agitation by the Gilets Jaunes, Uranus has been on the 4th House cusp, signifying the civil unrest, and that is part of the picture.  Last Monday transiting Venus was in the 2nd House of the nation (signifying its beauty and treasure) and Pluto from the 12th House of hidden dangers was exactly sextile Venus.  Again, there is a feeling that all is not quite lost.  In addition, Chiron is trine France’s Moon, showing the need for the emotional healing of the people (Moon).  Saturn trines its Mercury, sober thinking will be constructive.  And Uranus opposes France’s Jupiter (an unexpected event).


The 500 firefighters faced a gargantuan task, and at one point it looked as though the whole Cathedral would be destroyed, but much was saved, including the twin bell towers.  The fall of the spire was one of the most dramatic images of the night.  The next day’s stocktaking revealed that the trio of rose windows had been preserved, all the works of art from the ‘treasures’ area were preserved, Coustou’s sculpture Descent from the Cross, and the great organ, were all saved.  Father Jean-Marc Fournier was responsible for saving some of the holy relics, such as the Crown of Thorns.  And a few days later, the bees thought to have perished from the hives in Notre-Dame were found to be alive and well.

Emmanuel Macron

Just checking on Emmanuel Macron’s chart at the time of the burning, Mars was trine his Mars (a burning issue) and Uranus was sextile his Jupiter (an unexpected event, not necessarily detrimental to him).  He has pledged to rebuild Notre-Dame within 5 years, which many say is unrealistic.  A competition will be launched around the world for architects to unveil their ingenuity.


Almost immediately, Francois-Henri Pinault (the husband of actor Salma Hayek) pledged 100 m euros towards the rebuilding of Notre-Dame (moved by Chiron opposite his Ascendant), then another billionaire Bernard Arnault pledged 200 m euros.  The fund now stands at more than 1 billion euros.  It is clear that the fire and destruction of this beloved Cathedral means much in the hearts of many.

Very quickly too, the counter arguments began to unravel.  The population of Paris had stood strong together, singing hymns, that first night.  But the poverty highlighted by the Gilets Jaunes had not gone away.  Emmanuel Macron had postponed his speech on the subject. Many people argued that money pledged by billionaires should be more available to the plight of the poor.  Shades of the Ancien Regime and the French Revolution…And indeed the turnout in the Saturday riots yesterday had risen, far from being sobered by the shock of last Monday.

It has been upsetting these last few months to see the centre of Paris (e.g. the Arc de Triomphe and the Champs Elysees) destroyed every Saturday.  Peaceful demonstration is one thing, but the antiquities, burnings and graffiti showed no feeling about the historical preservation of the city.  There has been no suggestion that the fire at Notre Dame was started deliberately, but it seems to be a peak after all the destruction that has taken place.

Now in England we have a new movement, the Extinction Rebellion movement, which sprung up a week or so ago, causing disruption but so far peaceful, as has been Greta Thunberg’s School Strike movement.  Greta Thunberg this week gave a speech in Europe asking why the time and money spent on Brexit could not be spent fighting climate change.

So there is a highlighting of our values and what we pledge money to.  Do we value the preservation of antiquity, do we value the plight of the poor, or do we value the fight for our planet?  I think that it might be a good idea to have one of those pledge evenings such as Comic Relief and Children in Need devoted to Climate Change, with David Attenborough films interspersed, and see where people put their money.  In a scale of values, the planet ought to come first, and humanity’s suffering is also a priority.  There ought to be enough money for all these things.  The hearts of politicians, though, don’t seem to be in it.


Happy Easter!  I hope you are enjoying basking in the gift of the sunshine.

Tomorrow, Easter Monday (22nd), sees the Sun conjoined with Uranus.  Expect the unexpected, in other words!  It is a good day to demonstrate your originality and inventiveness, and in your leisure time begin a project which is highly creative or benefits society.  You may decide to join a group activity along those lines.  If you are feeling more contemplative in mood, new ideas can flash into your consciousness during meditation.  Unveil your ingenuity!

Wednesday (24th) may bring a deep realization that you need to go back and work on old psychological themes, without which you cannot progress in the long term.  For Pluto is stationary, prior to turning retrograde.  You may recognize a psychological theme where you have been making headway, but now need to revise your steps, perhaps look further into the past.  If you’ve been knitting, you may need to unravel a few rows, for instance.  Eventually, you will recoup your ground and be stronger, richer and truer for it.

On Saturday (27th) clumsiness or confusion may reign, so take extra time for activities and for thinking things through, for a smoother ride.  You may find it difficult to harmonize your spiritual ideals with your practical action. Meditation can be helpful, and particularly those which combine physical movement with a stilling of the mind, such as Tai Chi.

The week in bullet points:

  • Tomorrow – originality and surprise
  • Wednesday – going over old ground
  • Saturday – trying to combine the spiritual and the physical