Astrological Musings

by Lynn Hayes


On March 10, 2009, Michael McLendon (4/11/1982, time unknown) went on a rampage in his home town of Kinston, Alabama, resulting in the death of eleven people including his grandmother, aunts and uncles.  He killed his mother and her three dogs and then set the sofa on fire, an act of extreme rage.  Although he left a “grudge list” of people that he felt had harmed him, none of those individuals were killed.
As in so many cases like this, people that knew McLendon have said he was a “quiet, very reserved individual.”  But another report quoted a neighbor as saying that McLendon was always firing off guns and scaring his cows.  Astrology can provide a clue into the underlying psychology behind these events now that we have a birth date for the shooter.. 
Michael McLendon was born when the Sun was in Aries, the first sign of the zodiac.  Aries is the sign of initiation, of inspiration, and of warfare.  Ruled by Mars, Aries individuals need to express themselves through acts of courage and independence and you can see in the little that is known about McLendon’s  history that he tried to do just that.  Graduating from high school he enlisted in the Marines, only to be discharged a month later for “fraudulent enlistment” (no details available).  
The Sun in this chart was opposed by both Saturn and Pluto, the two planets of challenge, death and transformation.  When Saturn is in a challenging aspect to the Sun there is a sense of isolation and loneliness, and Pluto in that position tends to create an intensity and a thirst for power that needs expression in some way.  The combination of Saturn and Pluto in that position can be quite challenging.  People with this placement can become incredibly strong and powerful, or they can be eaten up from within by their own fears and frustrations. 
As the ruler of McLendon’s Sun, Mars is an important planet in his birthchart.  McLendon’s Mars was in Libra, said to be the sign of its detriment because Mars is unable to find its fullest expression in the sign of peace and harmony.  Individuals with Mars in Libra are often driven (Mars) to please others which makes them very likeable, but this drive often comes at the expense of meeting their own needs.  
McLendon’s Mars was also retrograde, meaning it was even more difficult for him to assert himself.  In fact, six of the planets in his chart were retrograde which is a very unusual occurrence.  Retrograde planets in the birthchart are more difficult to express and a predominance of retrograde planet usually describes an individual who is deeply introverted and often unable to experience the world with any real sense of objectivity.
We don’t know exactly where McLendon’s Moon was because we don’t have a birth time, but we know that it was in a stressed situation in the chart.  The Moon represents our emotional security and describes our sense of safety, and in this chart it was both opposed by Chiron, representing Healing and Wounding, and conjunct Uranus, planet of sudden change and shock which can signify an early trauma.  The Moon also represents the Mother and the way we are nurtured, and this is an extremely painful combination that clearly identifies McLendon as a guy that had some intense emotional issues.  
McLendon was undergoing a challenging transit of Chiron to Chiron in his chart over the past year which likely had caused a great deal of emotional strain for someone who already had such a fragile grasp on emotional stability.  At the time of the shootings he was undergoing a series of harmonious transits of Jupiter and Mars to sensitive points in his chart which would have energized (Mars) him and given him the confidence (Jupiter) to finally act on his fantasies, to this horrific end.  
Our charts do not doom us to become mass murderers; someone with a difficult chart like this who had the will to work and the means to work on himself and confront his psychological issues could have worked through the challenges of the chart and become a strong individual with a sensitivity to others who could do some real good in the world.  It would have required an outlet for his rage and his anger, and the will to face his fear and live independently, creating a real life for himself. 
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