Editor's Note: In this exclusive for About.com/Astrology, Titanic astrology author Eileen Grimes gives her take of the famous shipwreck's ripple effect through history. It's an astro-torial, reflections from someone who has looked at this epic disaster from many angles.
A man’s reach should exceed his grasp, or what’s a heaven for? Robert Browning
There are three words that are more recognized by any, worldwide, than any others:
Are we surprised? I doubt it. That particular word conjures in our mind a mystery of the ages. It’s an incident in history that we are still trying to explain. The fascination, for so many, is still very alive after almost 100 years.
Since 2004, when I wrote my book on the astrology of the Titanic -- Titanic Astrology: The Grand Design of a Famous Shipwreck -- I remember looking forward in anticipation towards the 100th anniversary. Given the media’s treatment of the Titanic, in the past, I was wondering just how much attention it would get this time round.
No less than, so far, the reissue of James Cameron’s Titanic in 3D, and at least one mini-series that will be airing on the anniversary date.
But looking even further back, it has been interesting to note the love affair between Titanic and the media, in the last 100 years! This story has it all - the big ship, the big maiden voyage, and the Big Crash. And running through all that, the Big Drama, of how humanity dealt with a crippling tragedy that hit everyone far and wide, all over the globe.
This is one of the most talked about events in human history. The fascination continues to this day. This truly is an iconic event in human history, even though the human toll wasn’t exceedingly high, compared to other major events, such as the World Trade Center disaster.
That criteria alone couldn’t possibly be how the impact of this event was measured on the totality of society! There was something more - a particular psychological and spiritual cataclysm that accompanied this event. And of course, there was a direct impact on the faith that humanity lost during that time - this was a full blow to the starboard side of the human spirit. Humanity brought to its knees, by a 900-foot ship sinking to the depths of the Atlantic Ocean.
In the sequence of events that took place, the sinking of the Titanic happened at a critical point in humanity’s spiritual evolution. The times were optimistic, and there was a good feeling about how well nature seemed to comply to man’s commands. The first ship of the trio of liners that White Star Line built was pretty successful. These ships - the Olympic, Titanic, and Britannic - were touted to be the biggest ships ever built by man.
Bigger, you see, is better, and as someone said during those times - “Man could out-do God:” Evidently, the proof of that was building ships that were larger than anyone conceived of, in the past. Man was truly on his way up the ladder of evolution, and the Titanic might just be Man’s crowning achievement.. After all, wouldn’t the greatest testimonial to Man’s Greatness be the most gigantic of ships, built bigger and better than even God could envision?
What a heady mix, and certainly the media of the times didn’t dissuade the general public in those kinds of thoughts. The labels came fast and furious: “Practically unsinkable” said a shipbuilder magazine; “Even God couldn’t sink this ship,” by an officer on the ship. Funny how sister ship Olympic never was given deity status, like Titanic was - even though she was the first - but, after all, Titanic was a few inches longer than Olympic. Give them a few inches, they’ll take a mile.
The Titanic came along right at the time when the lessons humanity was to learn would hit the hardest. The unbridled optimism of those times, the feelings of superiority of man were at their peak, culminating in the Titanic disaster. Nature had regained its rule over Man.
Titanic was the turning point in history. Everything after that event, shifted permanently. The Titanic became a pariah: it was as though just saying the word would bring a curse upon whomever said it. Blame was thrown about everywhere - Bruce Ismay, managing director of the White Star Line, was vilified because he survived. Even J.P Morgan, the industrialist and the major financier of the Olympic-class ships was destroyed by the disaster - he only lived one year afterwards.
After such a catastrophic failure, there was a desperate need, and still is, to get to the why of this disaster happened. The most amazing ship ever built, and it sinks on its maiden voyage - how does something like that happen? Riches of embarrassment! Official hearings were held on both sides of the Atlantic, trying to determine where to assign blame and responsibility for such a debacle as this. The ship’s design and construction was called into question. Even to this day, scientists are still looking for that all-inclusive answer as to the WHY of the Titanic disaster. Why did she sink? Was it the metal used in the ship? What was it?
A crashing was heard ‘round the world with loss of power within the most powerful. What was thought to be the be-all/end-all of man’s potential and drive had sunk to the bottom of the ocean, with the Titanic.
There is nothing harder than watching a man, or men, losing faith. And losing faith from the loss of behemoth of industry, Man’s testimonial to its own greatness. That particular measurement was no longer valid. Directly afterwards, churches all over the world were flooded with repenting people; the messages from the pulpits were the same: Man needed to learn a lesson of humility and the Titanic was the vessel that delivered the message.
The need for atonement from the enormous collective guilt started almost immediately after the disaster. The most significant issue was the glaring omission of the lower classes on the ship, during the rescue process. The third class was basically neglected, and were kept from moving up to the boat deck to get access to the lifeboats.
That particular issue of Titanic became the turning point leading toward the changes in maritime safety laws. There had to be enough lifeboats to accommodate each person on ships. Even the federal income tax was indirectly developed, because there was an inequality in the amount of tax paid between the classes. And don’t forget women getting the vote - so many women and children were lost on the Titanic, that one could see the roots of the suffragist movement there. Any faction of the human family that is neglected or discriminated against, must have its day of emancipation.
Global tragedy will unite humanity, and the errors and causes of those will somehow result in the improvement of the human condition. And global tragedy, through alchemy, starts in the dark, and leads to the light.
Not to leave this piece on a really somber note, there was so much that came from the Titanic disaster that was powerfully positive. The Marconi system was originally thought to be used for passenger enjoyment - sending and receiving messages from home. The Titanic was the first voyage that used this communication system for contacting other ships with distress calls.
If we traced the Marconi system to today’s communication methods, one would see a quantum leap of development, that is to say if the Marconi system was never developed, where would communication devices be today? Hard to say, but we know that Marconi was a part of a sequence in these types of developments.
And what about the visual media? There has been, at least at this moment’s count on IMDb.com, more than 100 features made on the Titanic! The story has been told and retold over and over again. And humanity has mourned, yet again. As each new generation is born, there seems to be a rebirth of Titanic in some form - the universal parable that is handed down to each generation.
This event was deeply emotional. It was felt, deeply in the soul. In my book, I wrote that the Titanic wasn’t an isolated event, insulated by the time in history that it took place - it has hit almost every generation that has come after it, in a deep profound way.
The last major treatment of Titanic in the media was of course, James Cameron’s Titanic, which almost took over the world after it was released. This film captured, for many, the collective grief of an entire species. It was almost as though we had to grieve this event, all over again, as though it just happened.
The parables were there again - the losses of so many families, the shared mystical experiences by everyone on the ship - it was all captured in film, and so many were affected by it. Perhaps its the darker nature of achievement and success. There comes the very real possibility of cataclysmic failure, when these successes come at the expense of natural law and human compassion.
To learn this particular human lesson, Titanic has become the teacher.Over the years, Titanic has found a huge following - historical societies, conventions, obsessive fans, the discovery of the wreck, and of course, the national traveling exhibitions. And of course, Titanic the Icon is not without its conspiracy theorists. Still trying to figure out what sank that ship. It never ends, nor will it, likely. Not until we build our inner and outer structures with love and generosity. And not forget.