Astrological Musings

Last Thursday, December 5, a young man walked into a shopping mall in Omaha Nebraska and shot thirteen people, eight of them fatally, before turning the gun on himself. He left a suicide note saying that he was a piece of s&*t and that now he would be famous.

Nineteen year old Robert Hawkins had a long and troubled history of rage and depression. At the age of three his parents divorced, and by the age of six he was in trouble at school for biting and hitting his teachers. He became the subject of a messy custody dispute that included allegations of cocaine and drug use by Robert’s mother. Robert’s father subsequently gained sole custody and Robert was raised along with his father’s two children with his new wife. By the time he was fourteen (the age when transiting Saturn opposes its place in the natal chart) he had been hospitalized twice for psychiatric illness. Counselors reported that Robert longed for the attention of his parents.

In 2002 he was sent to a treatment center for threatening to kill his stepmother, and made a ward of the state. He was treated for depression and was in foster care and various institutions and in 2005 was convicted of felony drug possession. In mid-2006 he moved in with two friends and their mother because of problems at home, but when his girlfriend broke up with him a few months ago his fragile mental condition began to deteriorate. He was arrested November 24 for underage possession of alcohol, and lost his job at McDonald’s on December 2.

Hawkins’ chart
shows a rage problem, but certainly his chart is not more troubled than many others. His Taurus Sun is in a tight square to Mars in Aquarius which shows a tendency towards a powerful anger that is denied full expression. Taurus resists change and longs for stability, a stability which was denied to Hawkins in his childhood. Mars in Aquarius has a vivid imagination and tends to be both a rebel and a visionary as the inner drive (Mars) is fueled by a radical and revolutionary fervor (Aquarius). The square of Mars to the Sun shows an inner frustration as that rebellious individuality (Aquarian Mars) conflicts with the Taurean need for stability, resulting in the “oppositional defiant” label that was given him at an early age.

We don’t know exactly where Hawkins’ Moon was because we don’t have the time of his birth, but we do know that it fell in Gemini and very likely conjunct Chiron which would describe his early abandonment (Chiron) by his mother (Moon) and a tremendous sense of loss and inner pain. Gemini is the sign of the twins and often there is a dark twin and a light one and an afflicted Moon can denote a deep sadness and sense of loss as the twins seek to reunite within oneself.

Uranus, Saturn and Neptune are all conjunct in Hawkins’ chart, and all in retrograde motion indicating that these planets are operating at a deeper and more internal level. Saturn retrograde in the chart shows a strong tendency towards self-criticism and low self-esteem, and its conjunction to Uranus accentuates the rebellious nature as the radical Uranus bumps up against the Saturnian need to establish some kind of order in one’s life. Both Uranus and Saturn oppose Venus exactly which reveals both a deep inner sense of failure and doubt as to his ability to receive love (Saturn/Venus) and difficult in connecting with others on any kind of real level (Uranus/Venus).

Often we find Jupiter transits occurring in the chart of troubled people who suddenly find the courage to react in this kind of violent rage to the disasters that their lives have become. Jupiter adds confidence and bestows a sense of righteousness that seems to release the inhibitions that have kept these people under control. At the time of the shooting, Jupiter and Pluto were approaching a conjunction in Sagittarius that made a tight sextile (harmonious aspect) to Mars in Hawkins’ chart which seems to have lit the fuse that enabled him to emerge from his depressive fog and take this drastic step.

Since 2002 when Hawkins’ problems began accelerating, transiting Pluto began working in the dark underbelly of his subconscious, beginning with his Mercury and then his Moon, followed by Chiron over the past year or so. A transit of Pluto over Chiron can be quite challenging for the individual who has not embraced a path of transformation as it can bring up all of our inner wounds (Chiron) and force a healing crisis. This process can be quite exhilarating if we are ready to let go of our inner demons, but if we allow ourselves to be consumed by them it’s a different matter altogether. Pluto was edging dangerously close to its next phase of Hawkins’ transformation, hitting Saturn/Uranus in his chart and therefore setting off Venus which resulted in the breakup with his girlfriend. This of course set off the whole devastation of his emotional deprivation (Saturn/Venus) which was ready to burn when the Mars fuse went off.

Another individual carrying this same astrological signature could have handled this chart much differently if he or she had the proper counseling and support in early life. The tragedy is that a young man with so much inner conflict experienced rejection over and over again in his personal life and was never able to know a stable family life that could have given him the tools he needed to be able to overcome his inner distress.

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