Witnessing a Random Fireball
On Friday, January 19th, at 6:07pm in Auburn, California, I chanced upon a meteor burning up in the atmosphere while I was driving to a nutrition lecture to meet my friend. If that friend had not invited me that day to attend the lecture, and, indeed, if I had not phoned her that day to see when we might hook up again, I wouldn’t have been driving in that direction at all, and wouldn’t have seen this remarkable sight.
Random witnessing, and sometimes very remarkable random witnessing, is a vital part of our lives, even when we think it does not affect us. When we encounter something out of the ordinary, we remember it, at least for a time, because it strikes us as something peculiar in our world. This truism is why so many social workers and police on-the-beat miss clues right in front of their eyes, because the clues which might point towards more stunning conclusions are buried in the general chaos. They witness horrible situations every day, so they must watch for the smallest anomaly.
The American Meteor Society relates that seeing a fireball of a large magnitude of light (-8 or greater) is something which might be expected to occur only once in every 200 dedicated hours of observation. In other words, if you rarely go out to stare at the night sky, you may never see one. In my busy yet metaphysical world, seeing a fireball at random puts the experience in the “visionary” category, maybe not quite a miracle, but something which can and should have significant symbolic meaning in my life.
That Friday night was a very black night in Auburn. The young crescent Moon was just heading down to the Western horizon, and I saw no clouds. It was damned dark out, and I was marveling at it. And then it happened. The fireball entered my space just as I was thinking how rare and beautiful a person my brother was, imbued with the soul of an artist, holding as he does such great sensitivity to inspiration, albeit at times allowing some dark energy to enter him as he uses it to pepper his art. Sometimes the dark stays too long.
This fireball was like a bright cartoon! I suppose because there were no clouds, there was no obscurity about its appearance. Every detail was outlined in clear sharp lines. The ball was a burning rock of brilliant light. The edges of the light fizzed, or it looked like it did, so I thought I could hear it fizzing, even from within my car. This is a phenomenon which the AMS society says has been determined to be neither imaginal nor some sort of audio reality. Nobody knows.
Red flames jutted out the back of the white ball as if it was being propelled by them. You would think that the flames would have movement like fire in a fireplace. But no. I stared straight into them and saw only a distinct outline of individual flames just as in a cartoon drawing. Perhaps it was just me, another imaginal feature of seeing it, or perhaps there is a scientific explanation. Behind the flames, behind the direction of the fireball’s trajectory, was a stream of diffuse and less bright white light, curving in an arc from whence it came.
You’ll excuse my lame drawing of it, but I couldn’t take a picture, and I don’t draw very well. I want to say that the fireball just appeared suddenly in the middle of the night sky, but I don’t know that for sure. It disappeared as quickly as it appeared to me. After about 5 seconds of viewing, there was no trace of its existence. I might have looked away for a second, just to make sure I was still on the road.
Even though this burning meteor made a short appearance, I decided that anyone outdoors at the time could not have missed it, since it was about as bright as the full Moon, though maybe half its size. I asked around later, but found no person who had seen it. Five seconds is not very long, I guess. If I had been driving my small Toyota Corolla instead of the SUV, it would have been above the top of the much smaller window.
The emotional impact on me was as great as you might expect for someone who loves the night sky, astronomy, and astrology. The meteor was lower in the sky than the zodiac belt, but by my estimate, the fireball was aligned longitudinally with the planet Uranus overhead, and was square to the Sun which was below the horizon. This says something. It was also interesting to me that the rising and descending points of the East and West horizon at that time were conjunct to the Moon’s nodal axis, a sure sign that the event was connected with many more people than I knew, especially people with some affinity with the Sun-Uranus square that day, since the rising and setting signs were the zodiacal rulers of those two.
It turned out that more than 40 people reported this fireball sighting to the American Meteor Society, which allowed the society to confirm it as an actual “event” because of the concurrence of time and position, and so on. So, of course many more people saw it than went on the web to report it. Most of the reports came in from locations South of my area in California. No one reported from North of here, but that is probably due to significant cloud cover in those areas. This sighting was very personal to me, but because of its brilliant appearance, I think it was personal to a general collective in California as well, even though not everyone saw it.
Any random event which sparks extreme notice in a person’s life is most often, I think, connected with the planet Uranus or the sign of Aquarius, though I don’t have statistical proof of that. That fact about Uranus is of little interest except for people who are really into astrology. The important thing is not the astrology but that we are not meant to ignore random witnessing, ever. Just as random acts of kindness from a stranger are always pertinent to our hearts, even a random event which has a sting to it is a message not to be missed.
This January has been a packed month for me, with sharp and distressing events coming my way from people whom I love or with whom I have a meaningful acquaintance. Not all of it is about people I know, with some things more random than others. Just yesterday I witnessed the end of an altercation between two men taking place on the steps of my town library, while two police officers stood nearby to mediate the discussion. I heard what the one man was saying, very calmly, about being willing to let the incident go this time, and that he had stuff happening in his own life too, so he understood. As I passed them by I looked down and saw a wicked looking knife lying on the cement near them! This sort of thing seldom happens in our town, so, yes, it was another random event which I was meant to witness.
This is the way to think which puts focus on our own selves, on our own inner work which we do in order to clean up the energy within ourselves which is all part of the collective. How can we keep pointing fingers and blaming others for the evil in the world when we have not done anything to clean up our own act, let alone anything outside ourselves? This year is full of fire energy, partly through the Mercury retrograde periods in fire signs, and soon to be triggered globally once again at the end of January with the Leo lunar eclipse everyone is talking about. This eclipse is the second half of the trigger from the Leo solar eclipse in August of last year. If we do not want fire to be expressed only in negative martial reactions and ego-tripping, then we must find a way to lead on with purer spirits from within our own space, however small we believe is the sphere of our influence. We are all in this together, so watch for those random events around you which make you a witness.