By now, the iconic image of lightning striking the Vatican (twice!) shortly after Pope Benedict announced his retirement has become emblazoned on the public consciousness through the mediums of television and the internet.

As an astrologer, I always look at such celestial occurrences from an esoteric perspective to see what message (if any) is being conveyed. The rule of threes certainly has been in force as the lightning strike, the near miss of an asteroid and the meteor strike in Siberia all within a five day period focuses our attention to the heavens.

Thunder and lightning have been symbolic of the primal forces of the unknown since time out of mind. To many ancient cultures, the thunderbolt was a sign or weapon of a deity used to bring knowledge and or justice to humankind. Greco-roman mythology identifies these meteorological “light sabers” (with respect and apologies to Star Wars) as tools made by the Cyclops for Zeus/Jupiter to strike down wrongdoers or to battle opposing Gods and Goddesses.

For the Vikings, Odin’s spear, Gungnir, was a bolt of lightning and, of course, his son, Thor was the God of Thunder and Lightning whose mighty hammer, Mjolner, was the embodiment of these primal electrical discharges.

Native American cultures captured the symbolic essence of these primal displays in a nearly universal image of the Thunderbird. As one of the principal nature spirits of many tribes (Sioux, Arapaho, Menominee, Wichita, Ojibwe, Shawnee and countless others) the Thunderbird was viewed as a sacred being that could bring enlightenment and justice to the human world.

The Lakota legend about the Great Thunderbird – Wakinyan Tanka – resonates very strongly. As the guardian of the truth, the Great Thunderbird symbolizes purity and order. It will help humankind (even if the help is scary) and strike down liars with bolts of lightning.

The awe we feel when a bolt of lightning cracks across the night sky to be followed by the tumultuous crash of thunder connects us both spiritually and psychically with the ancients who came before and knew, instinctively, that these electric displays were a reminder that powers and energies exist that can change destiny in the blink of an eye.

Lou Raedwulfe is the author of 2013 Stars and Stones, and The RuneChest. All books are available at Amazon for Kindle and Barnes & Noble for Nook. He is also an advisor, clairvoyant, tarot master and rune master here on the site.

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  1. Bonsonfon says:

    I only saw this posted in the news for one day! This is great and very strange that the Vatican got struck TWICE by lightening….really interesting about lightening striking anywhere, let alone 2 times! good post – really enjoyed it from a different and well thought out perspective.

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