The Great Frost of 1709 – few parallels

Apocalyptic comparisons have been made by the UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak in the event of the lockdown continuing into the summer. The worst economic hit for 300 years, he cheerily intoned, since 1709. That was the year of the ‘Great Frost’, the worst winter in 500 years, which lasted for three months, sparked food shortages, caused thousands of deaths especially in France, and a huge deficit to the economy. In London on the night of 5 January 1709 a temperature of minus 12 C (10 F) was recorded. The severe cold occurred during the time of low sunspot activity known as the Maunder Minimum. Almost all the rivers in the north and centre of Europe froze, roads were blocked and many cities including Paris were cut off from supplies for months.

The Great Frost occurred when Uranus and Pluto were conjunct in Leo trine Neptune and sextile Saturn in Gemini. Uranus Pluto is disruptive; add Neptune for devastation and confusion and Saturn for hardship and it was not a fun time.

The England 11 May 973 AD chart shows up the devastating effects clearly as tr Pluto made its Return (a once-in-250- year occurrence). Not only was tr Pluto conjunct the natal Pluto with tr Uranus not far behind, both were also in square to the England Sun Mars in Taurus – so it was a considerable catastrophe. The England Saturn was also on a Return; and the Solar Arc Saturn was exactly square the North Node. A perfect storm.

Although France was most affected. The 10 August 843 AD chart has a last decan Leo Sun which also caught the tr Uranus conjunction; with tr Neptune square the Saturn and conjunct the France Uranus for extreme agitation.

There are no astro-similarities at the moment, though the economic hit is likely to roll on for several years, which the money-men are only beginning to grasp. The over-optimistic hoped for a V shaped dip, but the fall out is likely to drag on for several years, until mid decade. The UK, EU as well as Russia will have their multiple Fixed planets under assault from tr Uranus hard aspects until it moves into Gemini; and the USA is heading for its first Pluto Return.

14 thoughts on “The Great Frost of 1709 – few parallels

  1. Thank you for this post! Reminds me of the need to reread one of the books that if not ignited, consolidated my passion for history, “Poltava” by Peter Englund (this is also available in English with a much more complicated name). Poltava Battle, where Sweden effectively lost its’ status as a Great Power and Russia rose to prominence, was fought on July 8th 1709. I seem to recall that missing provisions from French did play role here, too. But over all, I think this is the last, big National Trauma for many Swedes. I admit some would tie 1809 to this, but this in an incredibly important year for Swedish History. I think Charles XII, The Warrior King’s, Astrological Profile is important here (he apparently had a very prominant 12th house in Cancer/Leo)

    This is also a pivotal time period in my family history. I have several earlier family tree branches wiped out by the late 17th century famine. My maternal grandfather’s line settled to Savonia Region after being driven away from Ingria around modern St. Petersbourg in these times. My granddad’s first known paternal ancestor was a “stay behind” guerilla there. First known direct paternal ancestor was born between 1696 and 1698, during a great famine, too, and became a soldier.

      • Yes, to a certain extend. Unfortunately, I haven’t got TOBs for grandparents or beyond. Even the dates or years are shaky for the 18th or even early 19th Century “small folks” my ancestors mostly were. For instance, church records have at least three different DOBs for my father’s earliest known direct matrilinear ancestor, who was born either in 1801 or 1803. This is exactly the reason I can’t be certain on her providence, although certain genetic factors point to girl born in 1801. Also, there are certain patterns that are clearly caused by lifestyle. My paternal grandfather and his 11 siblings were all born in February, March and April. Their father was a forest ranger for The Crown, and would inspect forests when the snow carried, usually from November to April. They kept animals and crew vegetables, but not crops, so their mother was busiest with farm work in late Summer/Autumn. So, I think it was most “convenient” for her to be heavily pregnant in Winter, and some kind of rudimentary family planning was involved.

        • I think personal family and ancestral history can be far more intriguing than that of royalty in so many ways. Certainly I have an admiration for the struggles our ancestors went through in order for us to exist at all. My husband has an agricultural labourer ancestry which can be traced back to the 1790s and the stark reality is that his predecessors were absolutely tied to the land (conditions for agricultural labourers were abysmal in England). He was of the first generation to be able to escape that particular fate and move from the county his ancestors had lived and worked in for centuries.

          It must be amazing to trace your paternal line as far back as the late 17th century and that he survived such a traumatic historical event.

          • I’ve been pondering our personal ancestors quite a bit lately. They survived cholera, “Spanish Flu”, TB, numerous childhood diseases, and so on and so on without modern medicine….and here we all are today. Many of the women had at least five children, when childbirth was a very risky business too. I look at some of my family in the early 19th century and see some living into their 80’s and 90’s….just astonishing. So many of us are probably tougher than we think. I also admire them so much, particularly the ones that traveled long distances for work or emigration.

          • Yes, same here – it wasn’t unusual to be one of 12 siblings as Solaia’s grandfather was. I think my maternal great grandmother was the eldest of 9 children and there was something like 20 years between the youngest and eldest.

            I cannot imagine what repeated pregnancy did to our foremothers. When you think how perilous childbirth was at that time.

            My paternal ancestors were Scots who emigrated to Russia in the mid 19th Century. There’s a certain Spartan quality in my Dad’s side of the family which they seem to enjoy.

    • That’s interesting Solaia. The old Sweden chart of 6 June 1523 was on a Half Pluto Return then, plus tr Saturn conjunct its Sun etc. And King Charles X11 had the tr Uranus Pluto in Leo conjunct his Node with tr Neptune squaring his Mercury, Jupiter, Venus in Cancer.
      On the old Russia chart of 28 March 1462 they were on the full Pluto Return.
      Often Pluto returns coincide with the rise and fall of empires/superpowers. What went up on one comes down on the next.

    • Maunder Minimum by Wiki:

      “The Maunder Minimum, also known as the “prolonged sunspot minimum”, is the name used for the period around 1645 to 1715 during which sunspots became exceedingly rare, as was then noted by solar observers.”

      At present, the sunspot minimum is merely following its periodic 11-year cycle. Nothing new here, folks.

  2. Thanks Marjorie. It’s interesting about the solar minimum in 1709, since we’re heading for solar minimum now. Research suggests that when we’re at solar minimum, Earth receives more cosmic rays as the Sun’s magnetic field weakens. This appears to influence human acitivity, behaviour, and the financial markets to a certain extent. The solar minimums of 2009, 1974, and 1932 are examples of solar minimums and depressed financial markets.

    When the cycle ascends, it corresponds with mass public protests, revolutions, and so on which tend to be more widely supported than those occurring at other points in the, roughly, eleven year sunspot cycle. Here’s something I came across from the McClellan Market Report, by Tom McClellan:

    “The last solar minimum was in 2009, and so counting forward 11 years, we get to 2020 as the ideal time for the next solar minimum. But remember that it can vary from 9 to 14 years. When we get to the next ascending phase a couple of years after that next solar minimum, we can look forward to some big public protest movement being a big deal, perhaps in the USA, perhaps elsewhere.

    What that grievance will be about is not something I have the ability to forecast. But I can say that if President Trump is successful at winning reelection in 2020, then dealing with that protest movement in the early 2020s will be the main theme of that second term. And if someone else defeats President Trump in 2020, then the appearance of a mass protest movement in 2022-24 could perhaps doom that president to only a single term.”

      • No, I hadn’t looked into them for quite a while. You reminded me! I had read some work on how solar maximum affects human health and moods – the heart is affected apparently. A nice resonance with the Sun/Leo ruling the heart in astrology I think.

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