Astrological Musings

I want to preface this post by reiterating that no astrological chart reveals a predestination to be a killer, and there is no way we could have looked at this young man’s chart before yesterday and predicted that he would go out and start shooting at his classmates.

Cho Seung Hui’s Sun was at 27 degrees Capricorn, bleeding into Aquarius but still strongly Capricorn in nature. Capricorn is the sign of responsibility; of making something of yourself. As the son of immigrants who were blue collar workers Cho was likely under tremendous pressure to achieve and establish an identity of respect for the entire family in their new country. His Moon was in sensitive Cancer and opposite his Sun; where his Sun applied continuous pressure for achievement and success, his Cancer Moon longed to be nurtured and held, to feel safe and cared for.

The Cancer Moon is one of the more sensitive Moons around. Cancer likes to appear tough and somewhat evasive, like the crab with its hard shell and sidewards approach, but in reality there is an extreme sensitivity and emotional craving that can be difficult to express. This vulnerability is particularly difficult in men who find it difficult to be vulnerable in most situations other than the most intimate and personal. A trine of Saturn to his Moon shows a fair amount of emotional strength and balance, however, and deepened his sense of responsibility.

Mars in Cho’s chart was in Scorpio, showing that he had an extremely passionate nature, and it was conjunct Pluto which is Scorpio’s ruler, a “double whammy” (technical astrological terminology) connecting the compulsive power of Pluto/Scorpio with the aggressive urge of Mars. Mars/Pluto people are extremely intense and can be obsessed with issues of power and secrecy; in an individual who has developed their strengths in a conscious manner there is an enormous personal power with this placement, as well as an impressive ability to manifest that which they desire. In an undeveloped personality, however, this combination can be a dysfunctional signal of unfulfilled yet powerful desires and a propensity for violent anger. It can also signal sexual dysfunction or abuse, and there is some evidence through Cho’s writings that he may have been abused as a young man. Pluto makes a sextile to Mercury in his chart, showing that his thinking process (Mercury) had a depth and and intensity that gave him a sharply intelligent mental focus.

Neptune is strongly figured in his chart, however, and a strong Neptune influence can soften one’s focus and make it difficult to approach one’s life as a whole person. Neptune, which at 29 degrees Sagittarius was colored strongly by the Capricorn influence, conjuncts Jupiter exactly and Mercury within a few degrees. When the expansion and optimism of Jupiter joins with the idealism and fantasy of Neptune, there is a tendency for a distorted sense of one’s sense of one’s own importance until the individual achieves more balance (usually after the first Saturn return, when Saturn brings us face to face with the cold hard facts of life), after which point this combination can confer tremendous creativity and compassion can flower. Until then, the individual often has a rich fantasy life in which he may retreat when hurt or challenged in some way.

Cho’s Venus was in Sagittarius and unaspected except for a wide conjunction to Jupiter and Neptune. Venus is the planet that shows how we relate to others, and an unaspected or singleton Venus can make it difficult to form relationships or understand the way in which people engage in social intercourse. Venus in Sagittarius tends to be expansive and perhaps a bit overconfident, and while we would normally think of someone with this placement as gregarious and open, the insecurity in one’s ability to engage with others that is experienced by the unaspected Venus can make an individual feel very alone. We often see tight Jupiter aspects in death charts, and sure enough transiting Jupiter was exactly conjunct Venus at the time of his death. Perhaps the transit of Jupiter gave him just enough confidence to feel that he could conquer the social world in which he felt so alone.

Over the past month or so Cho had begun a cycle involving a square of Chiron to Saturn in his chart. This is a cycle that can be painful emotionally, challenging our insecurity (Saturn) and causing doubt in our ability to live a productive life. The second phase of this cycle hit exactly on the 21st, just two days from the shooting incident that claimed his life. The New Moon eclipse of March 18 exactly squared the Jupiter/Neptune conjunction in his chart, perhaps opening a window in his psyche (eclipse) for his fantasy world (Jupiter/Neptune) to become a reality. In addition, the Aries New Moon coming up on the 19th would have squared his Sun exactly.

This chart is far less difficult than many I have seen, and none of these events are more difficult than events that all of us experience at various times of our lives. Our free will comes in the decisions we make daily whether we are going to take the pathway that leads to greater soul growth, or to greater illusion and self-deception.

Update: The chart for the event which began yesterday at around 7:15 am and concluded at 9:45 am begins with an ascendant of 5 degrees Taurus with Cho’s Mars/Pluto conjunction sitting right on the descendant of the chart, showing the venting of his rage (Mars/Pluto) via the event.

Fellow astrologers, please leave any comments you have that would shed more light on this situation.

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