Thursday, June 15, 2017

Playing Ball on a Fiery Diamond: a Day of Violence and Conflagration

“Shocked, but not surprised…”

How the day began…
Our thoughts and prayers go out to our British friends today. The above “shocked, but not surprised,” was an observer’s response to the horrific fire that erupted in the very early a.m. in London, engulfing the Grenfell Tower—a 24-storey public-housing type apartment building, housing approximately 600 people. The flames engulfed the building with lightning speed, trapping hundreds. At this writing, 17 are confirmed dead, with the death toll expected to climb dramatically as operations continue. The building was still smoldering hours after the last flames were extinguished: needless to say, the video footage is very hard to watch.  

Event Two

Then, approximately 7 hours later, in Arlington, Virginia, where a group of Republican congressmen were practicing baseball for the annual bipartisan Congressional Baseball Game taking place this evening, shots rang out. A disgruntled 66-year old shooter from Illinois, named James Hodgkinson, fired into the field from the only available exit, targeting the gathered players and others. Those reporting on the incident after the fact emphasized that if it weren’t for the presence of GOP Majority Whip Steve Scalise’s armed Capitol Police security officers, who were both injured, but able to effectively intervene, things could have been much, much worse.

As it was, a total of five attendees were shot and wounded, and the shooter has since died of his wounds. Of the others, Scalise was wounded the most seriously, being shot in the hip and still in critical condition after surgery.  

The New York Times reports that Hodgkinson’s brother says the shooter was “distraught over the election of President Trump and had traveled to Washington in recent weeks to protest.” He had apparently volunteered for Sen. Bernie Sanders’ campaign last year, and Sanders has, of course, strongly condemned the shootings, saying they “sicken him.” More about political rhetoric and violence ahead. 

The potential political content of this violent event is triggering justifiable concern. Visibly emotional members of Congress have been reacting with a strong message of bipartisan unity, but one day of solidarity is unlikely to transform the volatile mood of the country. We really need to get a grip on this phenomenon and channel it productively before it rages out of control. As we’ll see, there’s a sound astrological basis for this concern. 

Event three

As if all of the above wasn’t enough violence and tragedy for one day, there was yet another mass shooting yesterday, with 4 people dead in a San Francisco UPS facility. This story broke shortly after first shots rang out at 8:55 a.m. in San Francisco.

So, between the three events raised here, there are three very similar astrological charts—they vary by location and time, but in many ways, they carry the same interesting dynamics. For the sake of space, however, and because the baseball field shooting was justifiably the dominant U.S. story yesterday, we’ll focus on that event in greater depth here. 

As we’ll see, the chart depicts, with almost stunning, literal detail, how this horrific shooting transpired.  

The Astrology

First, let me say that I agree wholeheartedly that attacks on anyone for the sake of political issues is no solution to our nation’s problems, but there’s no denying that the cosmic dynamics for potential violence are active. So as with the London fire, while it may be “shocking” when these things happen unexpectedly, we really can’t be too “surprised” by them. For those who see violence as a solution, the Cosmos is, for better or worse, offering opportunities. 

There are two sides to that “vision,” of course: all but the most rigid pacifists would agree that violence is sometimes appropriate for protection (as in the police shooting Hodgkinson yesterday) and defense (as in warding off invaders), but defensiveness can also be twisted for many purposes.

That said, let’s examine the astrological possibilities for why the GOP baseball team became a target yesterday. While I have no chart information for the shooter, James Hodgkinson—and his own personal issues and mental health would be an important issue to consider—the event chart tells us a lot about why the baseball players gathered on that diamond in Arlington, Virginia yesterday morning were almost, as one observer put it, “sitting ducks.” 

The chart is cast for the reported “first call” to police, received at 7:09 a.m. The team had been practicing since 6:30 a.m.

Chart #1. GOP Baseball Team Shooting, June 14, 2017, 7:09 a.m. DST, Alexandria, VA.
A Fiery “Diamond”: Uranus-Pallas-Eris (Aries) trines No. Node (Leo) trines Saturn Rx (Sagittarius); this grand trine is pierced through the center by Sun (Gemini) opposite Saturn Rx. 

What I’m calling a “Diamond” in this chart is actually what is known in astrology as a “Kite” formation, which incorporates a grand trine, an opposition from a 4th planet to one point of that grand trine (the “focal” planet), and the two sextiles that result from that 4th planet’s presence (here, Pallas-Uranus to Sun, and Sun to No. Node) I find it pretty uncanny that we’re talking about a violent event on a baseball “diamond,” and the chart contains what is essentially a Fire Diamond

A configuration like this usually feels mostly positive and uplifting; however, if we consider the elements involved in this specific case and consider the physical dynamics they represent in the event, we get a different story. The grand trine unleashed fire—an actual shooting in this case—and if it weren’t for the police presence, that shooting could have become a massacre. 

The air involved only fanned the flames—we don’t know if Hodgkinson planned his actions for Trump’s birthday (also yesterday!), but it would make sense, considering the role the day’s Gemini Sun played. Let’s consider in more detail how the planetary “players” contributed. 

The Gemini Sun not only provided significant timing, but it provided the “air” to fan the flames of violence and disruption represented by fiery Uranus-Eris, and it’s a stunning bit of synchronicity to see that this Sun was positioned tightly opposite Saturn Rx, which in the nation’s chart signifies Congress! Saturn’s role as “focal planet” in the Kite formation is an uncanny reminder that members of Congress were in the crosshairs. 

Saturn’s retrograde makes perfect sense, too: the members of Congress we heard from yesterday after the attack were visibly shaken, feeling as if they were powerless in the situation and totally beholden to the police protection that was there for Majority Whip Steve Scalise. The shooter was blocking their only exit from the baseball diamond, apparently, so again, things could have been much worse. 

It’s ironic that the worst wounds were actually realized by Scalise, who brought the security detail, and in fact, a noon chart cast for his published birth date in New Orleans, Louisiana, does connect with the day’s event in pretty dramatic ways. We may revisit this story at some point. 

For now, though, in Chart #1, Mars (Cancer) was conjunct the event ASC from the 12th house (assuming our time is about right), so the shooter’s sneak attack (12th) was potentially deadly. Mars was not quite within orb of an opposition to Saturn, however, which was probably a saving grace for those targeted. Thankfully, Mars played a dual role here—the police, represented by protective/defensive Cancer—were on hand to bring down the shooter, who later died in the hospital. 

Mars’ Cancer placement tells us something about the shooter’s intentions, too. Reportedly Hodgkinson had been homeless, living out of his van for months, so it’s reasonable to assume he was angry (Mars) about his situation. The presence of Pallas in that Aries group is also interesting because it suggests that both the shooter and the police (Mars disposes Aries) felt they were acting justly, as well, to defend and protect their own interests and values. 

Few would disagree with the police action, but we can be certain that some will quietly sympathize with the shooter, as well. In fact, however we feel, it’s important to understand what motivates people like Hodgkinson. They may be our neighbors!

It was amazing how quickly media analysts turned from conjectures about terrorism to political motivations for yesterday’s shooting, which makes perfect sense if we consider that the Leo North Node here happens to conjoin Donald Trump’s natal Mars-ASC.  

Media-staged violence against Trump has been in the news a lot these days: Kathy Griffin’s “severed head” incident, and a production of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar in New York that features an uncanny likeness of Trump in the doomed Caesar’s role, for starters. 

However we feel about Trump’s presidency, such violent public depictions work on people’s minds, and we really need to dial that back. Protest, yes, but peacefully! There’s responsibility to go around here, however. The North Node in a national chart reflects collective trends, and with Trump we’ve definitely seen a trend towards Leo-style autocracy (hence, the parallel to “Caesar”). 

Perhaps he should show more concern for our democracy? Perhaps he should try collaborating with Congress as a whole instead of governing by lofty “edicts?” Another story for another day.

Trump’s belligerent Mars is far from innocent, in any case. Even though he is urging unity and calm now, he repeatedly incited violence during his campaign, and he continues to whip up his base whenever he needs an adoring audience. As Shakespeare might say, perhaps he “doth protest too much?” 

Again, it’s pretty uncanny that yesterday was also Trump’s birthday (see more on his solar return here)—too much cosmic weirdness for one day! 

T-Square: Sun opposes Saturn Rx (Gemini-Sagittarius); this axis is squared by MC-Chiron (Pisces). Chiron also connects with Uranus (by semi-sextile) and No. Node (by inconjunct), but its main function in this chart is to play the focal point of this mutable T-square. It’s only very widely conjunct the MC, however the MC ties in pretty tightly with the T-square, so it all suggests that the nation at large is feeling this “wounding” event, and the dilemma (t-square) it presents us all. 

Do we err on the side of more control (i.e., of guns, of media, etc.) or do we favor education (3rd-9th houses) and constructive public discussions of the issues that threaten to cause violence? Or do we fall back into default media-silo positions (also 3rd-9th) and blame each other? 

Grand Air Trine: Mercury (Gemini) trines Jupiter (Libra) trines Moon (Aquarius). It’s also relevant here that Mercury, which is strong in home sign Gemini, also squares Neptune (Pisces). First, let’s consider the rush of air released with this grand trine: Moon rules this Cancer-rising chart, so it’s not surprising that the the media message yesterday by anyone reacting was protective and defensive: “if the police hadn’t been there, it would have been much worse.” 

The constant repetition of that theme began to feel like a mantra, and considering the media circulation (air grand trine) it received, it was probably the biggest takeaway people had of the event.
It’s curious how Trump’s chart ties into all this—his Jupiter is conjunct this Jupiter and of course, he has strong Gemini placements. Does this event provide him with a benefit of sorts? 

That might be answered by the fact that his natal Mercury is also square Neptune, as we see in this chart. Even though his square falls in a different water-air combination (Cancer-Libra), the correlation suggests that the energies in this event can be twisted to reflect Trump’s worldview—and that would be a cynical benefit, indeed.

Final thoughts

It’s hard to miss that the national “mood” is a crackling tinderbox these days, a point that featured heavily in editorial comments about yesterday’s shooting. Outbreaks of anger have affected our public discourse for years now, infecting our election results, our newly cruel treatment of immigrants, our elevated hate crime statistics, our divisive, often defamatory media, and so on. 

When people feel stressed, bad things happen, and a lot of people feel stressed for good reasons right now. Will they and their children have health care tomorrow? Will there be jobs for them in the increasingly automated workforce? Will hard-won college degrees mean anything in this future workplace? You get the picture...

I ended my last post here by saying that what happens to our young people happens to the nation. Simply put, their stress is bound to become our collective stress, if the way forward doesn’t improve for them. This principle holds true for the older generation, as well, as yesterday’s shooter reminds us. And yes, despite violence never being the solution to political issues, stress and frustrated expectations have consequences. 

Maybe they’re like Langston Hughes’ “raisin in the sun,” that finally “explodes.” 

Let's reclaim our "national past time" for better things in tonight's Congressional game...Play Ball!!

Raye Robertson is a practicing astrologer, writer and former educator. A graduate of the Faculty of Astrological Studies (U.K.), Raye focuses on mundane, collective-oriented astrology, with a particular interest in current affairs, culture and media, the astrology of generations, and public concerns such as education and health. Several of her articles on these topics have been featured in The Mountain Astrologer and other publications over the years.

She is also available to read individual charts—contact her at:

© Raye Robertson 2017. All rights reserved.