Comparisons are being drawn between the news reports of a young man in Queens being shot by police over 50 times as he left a bachelor party last week and a similar incident back in 1999 when an African immigrant mistaken for a serial rapist was shot over 40 times by police in the Bronx. In both instances the men were unarmed when they were shot, and in both cases there was a ridiculous overreaction by police.

In both cases there was a stressful aspect between Mars, Saturn and Neptune.

Saturn is the planet that enforces order: it loves structure, discipline, limitations. Saturn is therefore the police force of the solar system and as long as everyone obeys the rules things don’t get out of hand. Police in many major cities tend to live by their own rules – they create their own order that often involves corruption and deception. Neptune is the planet that dissolves the order that Saturn creates: it rules imagination and creativity, but also deception and illusion. When Saturn and Neptune form a challenging aspect to each other, there is a clash between our perception of reality as we would like it to be (Neptune) and the cold hard facts (Saturn).

On February 4, 1999 Amadou Diallo, an immigrant from Guinea West Africa, was standing outside his apartment building when he was stopped by police who mistook him (Neptune) for a serial rapist. Evidently Diallo panicked and ran up the steps to his building, reaching into his wallet (perhaps for his key) when he was gunned down with 41 shots. At the time, Mars (aggression) was exactly square to Neptune (illusion), and Saturn was within range of a square to Neptune and opposing Mars.

Early on November 26, 2006 Sean Bell, who was to be married that day, left a nightclub where he had been celebrating with friends where he became involved in an argument. Undercover cops, who evidently had been watching this particular club, let loose a barrage of gunfire which killed him and wounded two others. At the time, Mars was nearly exactly square Saturn (and conjunct Jupiter), which is still within range of an opposition to Neptune. In an incident in Atlanta under the same astrological signature, an 88-year old black woman was shot to death on November 21 by police looking for cocaine.

Although there have been other incidents of police brutality over the years, the similarities between these two events combined with the similarity in the astrological configurations are startling. Whether or not the shootings were racially motivated (the victims were black and Hispanic, the five undercover detectives were white, black and Hispanic), there is a class war in America that is revealed by these events.

Saturn/Neptune cycles expose illusion in society and open up the seams of discontent. Mars, being a faster-moving planet, provides the match that lights the flame that ultimately leads to greater awareness and evolution. The opening square of the Saturn Neptune cycle in 1999 that coincided with Diallo’s death resulted in massive demonstrations against police brutality and racial profiling. The opposition between Saturn and Neptune is the culmination of the cycle, and mayors in New York and Atlanta are being praised for their reactions to the events so perhaps some healing is beginning.

Combined with the Michael Richards incident, it is clear that there is a disease in American society that needs to be cured. Perhaps the dreaded flu that many predicted for the Saturn/Neptune opposition is a flu of culture rather than of the body.

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