Massacre of schoolchildren shocks America: Rahu and Mars in focus

(16 December 2012)   America's dark obsession with guns appeared to hit a new low this week with the horrific mass shooting of 20 schoolchildren in Newtown, Connecticut.  The killer was Adam Lanza, 20, who murdered a total of 28 people including his mother, who actually owned the gun that was used to kill her.   Lanza was described as an intelligent but socially awkward loner with no friends.  He may also have been autistic.

Adam Lanza was born on April 22, 1992 in Kingston, New Hampshire.  While his birth time may surface in the coming days, we will have to make do with his approximate horoscope cast for the day of his birth.  The chart can then be read by using the Moon as the ascendant and 1st house (Chandra Lagna).  While this is no substitute for an actual timed chart, it is nonetheless offers an intriguing picture of some of the planetary energies that may have been active in his short and disturbed life.

Any event that involves this kind of derangement, one must begin with the condition of the Moon.  The Moon represents the emotions,  mental health and the inner self.  Whenever the Moon is afflicted by malefic planets, it raises the possibility of mental problems.  In Adam Lanza's chart, we can quickly see that the Moon is afflicted by its close conjunction with Rahu, the North Lunar Node.  Rahu is the planet that erases boundaries and encourages behaviour without limits.   While people with Moon-Rahu conjunctions are often highly intuitive, they can also lose touch with reality and are prone to mental imbalance.  This is not to suggest that all people with Moon-Rahu conjunctions are disturbed.  It is simply a proclivity that occurs at a higher rate than chance would otherwise predict.  In that sense, it is useful to think about one' s respective planets being similar to genes.   While some individuals may have a particular gene that is found to cause a chronic disease like cancer, it does not mean that they will inevitably succumb to the disease.  Genes still require environmental triggers and for that reason, many people may avoid the negative potential contained within their genetic profile.  The same is true astrologically.  One may have a "bad" combination of planets in one's chart, but whether its negative side will manifest depends on other factors. 

What is especially interesting about Lanza's chart is that the nodes are closely intertwined with both the Sun and Moon.  Rahu is conjunct the Moon in Sagittarius while the Sun is exactly aspected by Rahu.   The Sun-Rahu person can have an unstable ego and may lack confidence and self-awareness.  Rahu tends to blur the boundary between self and the outside world and this can sometimes produce unpredictable behaviour.  Rahu is often seen as the planet of insatiability and acquisitiveness.   It can incline the person towards the material realm to the exclusion of other forms of security and self-worth.  When it is combined with the Sun (ego), the sense of want and desire can become intertwined with forceful assertions of the self.   In otherwise healthy well adjusted people, the Sun-Rahu aspect can simply fuel ambition to achieve something greater in life.  In a troubled chart, however, the self can become fertile ground for feelings of inadequacy and self loathing or conversely by a hugely inflated sense of grandeur and self-importance.

In Adam Lanza's chart, both the Sun and Moon are influenced by Rahu, the North Lunar Node.  This automatically suggests an unusual person in some way.  Vedic astrology is quite correct to see Rahu and Ketu as potential trouble spots in the chart, something which is more unclear and confused in Western astrology.  That Lanza should have such a strong nodal chart wouldn't be very surprising to any Vedic astrologer since Rahu and Ketu are often implicated in strange behaviour.  

But the Moon and Sun may only describe a person's basic personality and disposition.  It does not normally reflect their ability for violence. That is more commonly seen through the condition of Mars in the horoscope.  Mars is the planet of action and decision.  A person with a strong and unafflicted Mars can take decisive and effective action without transgressing social norms.  They understand the rules and learn to act within them.  An afflicted Mars, however, opens the door to the possibility of distorted action.  Sometimes the person acts too quickly without thinking or when very afflicted, the person may break social convention in order to fulfill their wishes.  In extreme cases, this may include violence.  Mars is, after all, named after the god of war.

In Lanza's chart, Mars is in the sign of Aquarius opposite Jupiter.  On the face of it, this looks fairly innocuous and even somewhat positive given Jupiter's often stabilizing influence.  But if we look a bit deeper, we can see hints that Mars is not well placed.   Mars is placed in Aquarius which is ruled by Saturn, its dispositor.  The problem here is that Saturn is 12 houses away from Mars.  This is a very bad placement for the dispositor of Mars since the 12th house symbolizes losses and sorrow in matters that pertain to the planet in question.  This is a potentially serious affliction of Mars since it makes the association between action/violence and loss and criminal behaviour.  It is doubly bad because Saturn itself is in the 12th house from Mars, irrespective of its role as dispositor.   Any malefic planet that is placed 12 houses from Mars is more likely to create behavioural problems up to and including violence.  Serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer and the murderous ringleader Charles Manson, for example, both have the malefic Ketu (the South Lunar Node) placed in the 12th house from Mars.  In Manson's chart, the condition of the dispositor of Mars (Sun) is also heavily afflicted by Saturn.  This likely makes Manson more prone to violence.

The other side to this Mars problem is one of will.  A person may be sick and twisted and have harmful intent but they also have to be determined to act.  The 3rd house involves determination and courage.  We can see that in Lanza's chart Mars is in fact in the 3rd house from the Moon.   That definitely ratchets up the intensity of action and an ability to take action since we have the planet of action (Mars) placed in the house of action (3rd house).   We can also see the pattern reinforced by looking at the 3rd house from Mars.  Lanza has a highly exalted Sun in Aries in the 3rd house from Mars.  While exalted Suns are often associated with more pleasant situations and events, in this case, it likely aided Lanza to carry out this act of unparalleled savagery.  Once he decided that this was his correct course of action, the exalted Sun in the derived 3rd house narrowed his focus on achieving his goal.   Remember also that Lanza's Sun was distorted somewhat by virtue of the aspect from Rahu.  That would tend to encourage more extreme forms of determination and focus, irrespective of consequences.

Again, despite the extrapolations I am making, these are still somewhat pedestrian afflictions.  Many normal, well-adjusted people share these planetary placements without any ill-effect at all.  But like certain disease-causing genes, they may lie dormant and can be triggered by the right combination of more specific planetary influences that come with the accurately timed birth chart along with the usual amounts of free will and environmental pressures. 

Another question we should address is why he chose to go on his killing spree when he did.  Was there something in the planets on December 14 at 9.30 a.m. that may have caused him to snap?  The short answer is that there are no clear and simple transits that would explain the gravity of his actions.  To be sure, we can identify a few trouble spots, but these are somewhat muted.  Transiting Saturn was casting its full strength 3rd house aspect onto his Moon-Rahu conjunction.  It therefore also aspected his Sun.  This was undoubtedly a difficult influence since Saturn tends to belittle our egos and depress our moods.  The fact that Saturn was afflicting both the Sun and Moon likely generating a sense of hopelessness.  

Transiting Rahu, Mercury, Venus and Sun were all in the sign of Scorpio which is the 12th house from the Moon.  The 12th house symbolizes isolation and sorrow and perhaps reflected his inability to see beyond his own uniquely distorted view of reality.   As dispositor of the Moon, Jupiter was also in a weakened state in Taurus in the 6th house.  A stronger dispositor of the Moon by transit may have helped him avoid the worst here but since it was transiting a dussthana house, I wonder if that might have been another contributing factor.  It's possible.

Other intrepretations of transits and progression are quite conceivable, but I have limited myself to just the basics here.  Certainly, there is some affliction here which is broadly commensurate with a difficult time in life, lack of progress, and feeling stuck.  Just why they manifested in the tragic way that they did would require a fuller examination of his timed birth chart.