The Death of Kobe Bryant

Today (26 Jan 2020) there was shocking news from California. Basketball star Kobe Bryant was killed in a helicopter crash. Bryant was born on 23 August 1978 in Philadelphia. The time of birth is not independently verified but one source gives it as 5 pm EDT, Rodden rating C. Here is the 5 pm birth chart in the tropical zodiac with Placidus houses.

In judging death we would consider the 8th house, its ruler and occupants; the 12th house of dissolution, limitation and loss; and the 4th house of final endings and the grave. If this 5 pm chart is accurate, the 8th house is ruled by the Sun and contains Mercury, the Sun and Saturn. The Sun has dignity only by decan (face). Both Saturn and Mercury are totally without essential dignity and is thus peregrine. In addition, Saturn is combust the sun. The lack of essential dignity and the presence of malefic Saturn in the 8th raise the possibility of a shorter than average life span. The conjunction of 9th whole sign ruler Mercury with the 8th Placidus cusp is consistent with death related to air travel. The conjunction of 4th ruler Mars with Pluto could symbolize some type of violence at the end of life.

Now let us consider the solar return for the current year. Here is the natal 5 pm chart with the solar return at the birthplace superimposed.

In the combined chart, we see that transiting Saturn, South Node and Pluto are in the natal 1st house rising toward the Ascendant, suggesting that themes related to these planets will be a major focus during the year. Saturn rules the natal Ascendant and occupies the natal 8th house. Solar return Mars almost exactly conjoins natal Saturn in the 8th house. Mars is his out-of-sect malefic in the natal chart, so its aspects can be particularly difficult. SR Mercury, which rules the natal 9th whole sign, conjoins the natal 8th cusp in the return chart. SR Venus, which rules the natal 9th Placidus cusp, conjoins natal Saturn in the natal 8th house, again linking 8th house matters with the 9th house of air travel.

We should also consider the profected Ascendant. At age 41 Bryant’s profected Ascendant lies in the sign Gemini, ruled by Mercury. Gemini is both the 6th whole sign and the 6th Placidus house, thus issues of bodily injury become a major theme for the year. Natal Mercury at the cusp of the 8th house raises the possibility of death from such injuries. In addition, the SR Ascendant is closely conjunct SR Jupiter which rules the natal 12th house.

If we consider primary directions, the Venus term/bound of Pisces has risen to the horizon at age 41 so that his “distributor” or “divisor” for this period is Venus, which is partnered by the Sun, ruler of the natal 8th house of death because the opposition of the Sun from the natal 8th Placidus house has risen to the horizon most recently before the bound of Venus. SR Venus conjoins natal Saturn and SR Mars in the natal 8th this year, again raising the risk of death.

Regarding primary directions, we see the following calculated by Placidus semi-arc with the Naibod key, with and without latitude:

He began the year with the opposition of Saturn coming to the Ascendant by primary direction. This is especially prominent because Saturn rules the natal Ascendant, and the SR Saturn occupies the natal first house during this solar return year. The period when the Ascendant ruler opposes the Ascendant usually indicates potential harm to the physical body through illness or injury.

If we look at Bryant’s chart from a Hindu perspective with the Lahiri ayanamsa, we see the following:


Sidereal chart with Lahirii ayanamsa

In the sidereal chart Sagittarius rises. On the date of the helicopter crash the Vimshottari dasa is Rahu/Saturn/Saturn/Saturn. Rahu lies in the 10th sign from the Lagna with the Placidus 9th cusp (air travel). Rahu is disposed by Mercury, which rules the 7th sign from the Lagna, so Mercury is a maraka or killer planet. Saturn rules the 2nd sign from the Lagna and is also a maraka or killer planet. Thus, the crash occurs during a period when both marakas are activated in the Vimshottari dasa system. In addition, Saturn occupies the 9th sign from the Lagna where the 8th Placidus cusp also resides. In the Chara dasa (KN Rao version), Bryant is running a Leo/Leo period. Leo is the 9th sign from the Lagna and contains the maraka Saturn and the cusp of the Placidus 8th house cusp.

Even though the 5 pm birth time has not yet been verified by other sources, the chart it produces is consistent with the potential for death in his 41st year.

Addendum (27 Jan 2020): in a comment, Patrick Ross pointed out the true lunar nodes in this year’s solar return are stationary and turning direct. I have repeatedly found that when the true nodes are stationary at the time of the solar return, the individual has a year marked by dramatic changes and unexpected events. In Koby Bryant’s solar return for the date of the helicopter accident, the true nodes are not only stationary but they are closely conjunct the Placidus 2nd/8th house axis and they fall in the whole sign 2nd and 8th houses, which have to do with the native’s mortality. The South Node (Ketu) is not only stationary but it also conjoins and lies between two cruel planets, Saturn and Pluto.

An aside: I believe there is an error in the birth data in AstroDataBank (astrol.com) regarding Kobe Bryant’s birthplace. All the sources I haved checked state that he was born in Philadelphia (39n57, 75w10) but astro.com lists the birth place as Harrisburg (40n16, 76w53). The confusion appears to have resulted from the fact that Harrisburg is both a separate city from Philadelphia and that there is a suburb of Philadelphia named Harrisburg. Kobe grew up in the suburb of the city of Philadelphia which is named Lower Merion. Changing the birth location from Harrisburg to Philadelphia gives him an ascendant of about 9 Capricorn 51, rather than the one listed at astro.com.

Addendum 28 Jan 2020: Here is the chart for the time and place the helicopter took off (according to news reports) superimposed on Kobe’s natal chart.

At the time of take-off, transiting Mars was conjunct natal Neptune near the cusp of the natal 12th house. This position was also emphasized in the solar return chart. Transiting Jupiter, which rules the SR Ascendant and is in its fall in Capricorn, is conjunct the transiting South Node and the natal Ascendant. At the same time natal Jupiter is opposed by the transiting Saturn/Pluto conjunction in Capricorn (Jupiter’s fall). The poor condition of Jupiter may explain was Jupiter rising in the solar return was not protective enough to prevent this tragedy. Transiting Uranus is closely conjunct the natal 4th cusp, warning of sudden unexpected disruption. The transiting nodes, which are malefic, lies almost exactly across the horizon axis. Also noteworthy is that on 10 Jan 2020 there was a lunar eclipse across the 20th degree of Cancer/Capricorn, which activated the transiting Saturn/Pluto opposition to natal Jupiter.

Posted in Astrology | Tagged , , , , | 7 Comments

Reflections on a Fallen Mars

Recently I read a discussion in a traditional astrology group about combustion, planetary dignity, the effect of sect on the so-called “malefic” planets, Mars and Saturn. Combustion occurs when a planet is obscured by the light of the sun due to its close proximity. Sect refers to whether the sun was above or below the horizon at the time of birth. A Hellenistic principle is that Saturn, as a diurnal planet, acts more favorably with day-time births, whereas the nocturnal planet Mars behaves in a more beneficial way in the lives of natives born between sunset and sunrise. Dignity refers to a planet being posited in a section of the zodiac which it rules as a home sign (domicile), a sign where it is exalted, a triplicity sign, a term or bound region of a sign, or a decan (face). Opposite the sign of exaltation of a planet is the sign of its “depression” or “fall.”

One of the charts discussed in the forum was that of Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps whose birth time in unknown. For unknown birth times I generally use a sunrise chart because the symbolism of the rising sun corresponds to the phenomenon of birth. Here is Phelps’ chart in the tropical zodiac set for sunrise because his birth time is unknown.

There is a proposed chart for Phelps floating around the internet with a birth time of 5:55 AM, but it is a speculative chart based on a rectification by a Hindu astrologer V.K. Choudry. In my opinion, rectified charts rarely match the actual birth time, so I am using the sunrise chart which has a solid symbolic rationale.

Because the birth time is unknown, we don’t know whether Phelp’s Mars is in sect (sun below the horizon) or out of sect (sun above the horizon) at the time of birth. If he were born at night, as Choudry’s rectified chart suggests, then Mars would feel at home in the nocturnal chart and would be more beneficial than if Phelps were born during the daytime.

Regardless of sect, Mars is not in great shape in this chart, a fact which might seem surprising in such a great athlete. The red planet is both combust (obscured by the light of the sun) and in Cancer, the sign of its “depression” or fall. William Lilly relates the state of combustion to feeling overpowered by a greater force. The water sign Cancer, ruled by the Moon, is considered a maternal, nurturing, sensitive and emotional sign. In contrast, Mars is a “warrior” planet devoted to action and getting things done in a direct and “hard-ball” manner. Mars doesn’t want to talk about feelings, which are the bread and butter of the sign Cancer.

Michael Phelps has been quite open about his struggles with depression, drugs and alcohol — themes which likely related to his combust and fallen Mars, regardless of the sect of the chart. An argument in favor of a night birth is that Mars, though quite afflicted, has been able to express itself in his remarkable athletic prowess while at the same time being symbolic of his feeling overpowered by emotions during his bouts of depression and his struggle to deal with dependence on drugs and alcohol.

Let me quote from a 2018 interview he gave at Brookhaven Hospital (it is worth reading the interview in its entirety because it fits so well with the symbolism in Phelp’s chart):

“Really, after every Olympics I think I fell into a major state of depression,” said Phelps when asked to pinpoint when his trouble began. He noticed a pattern of emotion “that just wasn’t right” at “a certain time during every year,” around the beginning of October or November, he said. “I would say ’04 was probably the first depression spell I went through.”

… He said drugs were his ways of running from “whatever it was I wanted to run from.” He continued, “It would be just me self-medicating myself, basically daily, to try to fix whatever it was I was trying to run from.”

It is noteworthy that Phelps times the onset of his recurrent seasonal depressions to October and November annually. During these months the Sun is transiting through tropical Libra and Scorpio. Each year in October the transiting Sun stimulates Venus, the ruler of Libra, thus activating his natal Venus opposite Saturn/South Node. As the Sun moves into Scorpio in the late fall, it stimulates the same Venus – Saturn/Ketu opposition from its Scorpio side. Pluto is also activated at this time.

Here is a typical delineation of Saturn opposing Venus quoted from the site Astromatrix: “The opposition between Venus and Saturn shows emotional frustrations. This is a difficult aspect as the harshness of Saturn weighs heavily on the affairs of Venus such as happiness, harmonious relationships, artistic endeavors, and financial security. You may look at your accomplishments with continuous dissatisfaction, underestimating your self-worth.”

Although we can’t reliably use Phelp’s chart to comment about sect, it does provide a good example of the value of delineating planets in combustion and in the sign of their fall or depression. It also demonstrates the way that the transiting sun activates each sign, its occupants and ruler, as it makes its way around the zodiac each year.

Posted in Astrology | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tropical vs Sidereal Years in Calculating Solar Returns

There is a disagreement in the literature about the best way to calculate solar returns. Should we have the Sun return to its birth position with respect to the vernal point or with respect to the fixed stars? Should charts cast in the tropical zodiac be “corrected” for precession of the equinoxes? Should charts cast in the sidereal zodiac be “corrected” so that the natal sun returns to its position with respect to the vernal point?

As an aside, let us note that the solar return was traditionally cast for the birth place, and this practice was in effect until Morinus in the 17th century tried to make astrology look more scientific by ridding it of all traces of divination. He thus insisted that the planets can only exert their measurable objective forces at the location of the native at the moment of the solar return and that any type of symbolic “influence” (profections, lots, symbolic directions, firdaria and other time-lord techniques, etc.) was superstitious nonsense. Unfortunately, Morinus seems to have thrown out the baby with the bathwater.

File:Ecliptic path.jpg
Image from https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ecliptic_path.jpg

The earliest “solar returns” of Hellenistic times were most likely the transiting planets to the birth chart on the day that the sun was observed to be at its natal position in the heavens. I’m not sure what type of instruments the ancients used to measure the position of the sun, but if they relied on shadows cast by the sun, then they were using the tropical year as a basis for measurement. For example, as explained at the site Windows to the Universe (italics mine): “In 240 B.C., the Greek astronomer Erathosthenes made the first good measurement of the size of Earth. By noting the angles of shadows in two cities on the Summer Solstice, and by performing the right calculations using his knowledge of geometry and the distance between the cities, Eratosthenes was able to make a remarkably accurate calculation of the circumference of Earth.”

In his notes about Abu Ma’Shar’s On the Revolutions of the Years of Nativities, translator and astrologer Benjamin Dykes comments that Abu Ma’Shar calculates solar returns using the tropical year as defined by Ptolemy (quoting Hipparchus) of 365.24667 days per year. The current value of the tropical year is 365.24219 days. Thus, Abu Ma’Shar’s tropical year was a little longer than the current value by about 6.45 minutes of time. In Ma’Shar’s mundane work, however, he followed the sidereal model of earlier astrologers like Masha’allah and the Persians, and used 365.259 days (or 365.2590278 days, as Masha’allah had it), while our modern sidereal year is 365.256363 days.” In short, Abu Ma’Shar used the topical year for solar returns but the sidereal year for mundane charts. Note that one can use the tropical year for timing in a chart cast in the sidereal zodiac. In fact, many Hindu astrologers time the activation of their various dasas (a sidereal technique) in terms of the tropical year of 365.24219 days.

Interestingly, but not surprisingly, the Hindu astrologers who learned about solar returns from the Persians apparently also followed this practice of using the tropical year for measuring when the Sun would return to its natal position. To quote from the distinguished scholar P.V.R. Narashima Rao in his essay Redefining Tajaka Varshaphal Charts: “In the teachings of Maharshi Parasara to Maitreya in ‘Vishnu Purana’ chapter 2.8. Maharshi Pararsara taught Maitreya that a solar year consists of 2 ayanas and that each ayana consists of 3 ritus (seasons). This link to seasons clearly points to tropical zodiac. A solar year based on tropical zodiac (i.e. the time Sun takes to complete exactly one rotation around the tropical zodiac) is tied to seasons. … If we take the sidereal zodiac, it is not tied to seasons” (italics mine).

The above quote from Parashara is similar to what Abu Ma’Shar writes in his first chapter about solar returns (p. 53, Dykes translation, 2010): “… the year is divived into four seasons … These seasons being completed, the year is restored to its first disposition …” In other words, a return of the sun to its “first disposition” or natal position occurs in the length of exactly four seasons, which is the measurement of the topical year.

P.V.R. Rao draws the following conclusions from the teachings of Maharashi Parasara cited above and the choice of tropical versus sidereal years:

Rao concludes that “both tropical and sidereal zodiacs are needed:
Sidereal zodiac: Used for all matters related to space, i.e. definition of rasi chart and divisional charts
Tropical zodiac: Used for all matters related to time, i.e. definition of months, seasons, ayanas and years.
Tajaka varshaphal chart is cast every year when Sun is exactly at the same tropical longitude as at birth.” (bold mine)

In other words, according to the the classic Hindu text and teachings of Parashara, because the solar return is a time-based technique, it depends on the tropical zodiac for measurement. The implication for Hindu astrologers is that they should calculate the sun’s return to its tropical position in the birth chart. Most Western astrologers, following the teachings of Abu Ma’Shar, already measure the sun’s return in the tropical zodiac. Nonetheless, some Western astrologers advocate “correcting for precession” but this method lacks support in the traditional literature which calculated the return of the sun to its birth position in the tropical zodiac.

Regarding the idea of using the tropical return in an otherwise sidereal chart, my practice has been to use the sidereal year with the sidereal zodiac to calculate the sun’s return. Generally the use of the sidereal solar return with sidereal zodiac charts has been an effective predictive technique. I have not yet experimented with using the tropical return of the sun in sidereal charts.

Posted in Astrology | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A video on Yogini Dasas

Recently Aswin Balaji invited me to discuss Yogini dasas on his channel. Click on this link to watch the video on YouTube.

Posted in Astrology | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Book Review of Predictive Method: Predicting with Grahas as Karakas by Laura Barat

Not long ago I came across the YouTube channel of astrologer Laura Barat and was impressed by her videos on Hindu astrology. Going to her website, I noticed that she had published a book entitled Predictive Method: Predicting with Grahas as Karakas, so I ordered a copy.

According the the Editorial Review on amazon.com: “When studying Astrology, the student can sometimes be overwhelmed by the plethora of predictive techniques available. Prediction based on Grahas as Karakas can give useful tools in not only predicting events, but also understanding the underlying strengths and weaknesses that the Graha gives to the horoscope. The most common problems and strengths a person experiences during their lifetime are directly attributable to the strength of Grahas as Karakas. In this book you will learn: – What a Graha as Karaka produces. – How to measure the inherent power of a Graha as Karaka and how it will affect all types of events within a person’s life. – Which Grahas will give their significations easily and readily and which Grahas will produce significant challenges. – How to determine which conditional Nakshatra dasas apply to a horoscope. – How to time events with Karakas utilizing Vimshottari dasa plus other conditional Nakshatra dasas. – How to, by simply glancing at a horoscope, see the strengths and weaknesses therein. – Many example horoscopes of famous persons are used to demonstrate the effectiveness of the technique. Foreword by Ernst Wilhelm. Published by Kala Occult Publishers

In the Foreword and Introduction we learn that Laura was a student of Ernst Wilhelm, who provided the introduction for this text and who also taught her the method explained therein. Laura has extensively tested the method and made some improvements, which are detailed in the book.

Basing her argument primarily in Hindu classic Brihat Parashara Hora Shasta, Laura Barat details the significations of the various planets (Sun, Moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, Saturn, Rahu and Ketu). She then explains that the planets are able to produce what they promise in the birth chart, depending on how much strength they possess as measured as “Ishta” (desired) and “Kashta” (ill) in units called “virupas”. The total of virupas of Ishta and Kashta for any planet always adds up to 60.

The next important factor to assess are the interactions (e.g., hemming and occupation of foundational houses) and graha or planetary aspects of each planet (karaka) with the various benefic (gentle) and malefic (cruel) planets in the chart. Laura points out that gentle planets tend to share their goodness (Ishta) with other planets and to keep their negativity (Kashta) to themselves, whereas cruel planets behave in an opposite manner.

The predictive method is then fairly straightforward. One studies the person’s active nakshatra dasas (e.g., Vimshottari, Yogini, conditional dasas) to see which planets are mahadasa lords during the period under study. These planets become the relevant karakas (significators) to be used for prediction. Then, the astrologer studies the divisional chart (Varga) related to the area of life for which a prediction is to be made. The house placement of the karaka in the divisional chart is important as is the Ishta and Kashta of that planet. One also considers the planetary aspects to the karaka, whether it is hemmed in by benefics or malefics, and which planets occupy the foundational houses (1st, 4th, 6th and 8th) from the karaka. Based on the overall condition of the karaka as indicated by these factors, one predicts whether or not it will be able to produce its significations during that dasa period.

Fortunately, Laura Barat gives several examples to illustrate the use of the technique. Unfortunately, one of her main examples is Donald Trump’s bankruptcy of the Taj Mahal Casino (1989 – 1991) in which she uses incorrect birth data for Mr. Trump. The book was published in 2011, and the then current birth time for Donald Trump was believed to be 9:51 AM. Subsequently his birth information became available from his official birth certificate and he was born at 10:54 AM, about an hour later than the chart used in this book, rendering the entire predictive analysis of Trump’s chart by this technique invalid. It would be useful if she would publish on her website a re-analysis of Trump’s 10:54 AM chart with this technique for the 1989-1991 period to see if his bankruptcy is still indicated with the correct birth data.

Another unusual feature of this book is that Laura Barat uses the tropical zodiac with equatorially-based nakshatras and a nakshatra year of 359.0016 days. Although the use of the tropical zodiac is becoming more popular with some practitioners of Hindu astrology, the measurement of nakshatras along the equator rather than the ecliptic and the use of a year other than the tropical or sidereal year is currently highly unusual. Thus, the results of this predictive method, which she has verified using equatorial nakshatras, a 359.0016-day nakshatra dasa year, and the topical zodiac may or may not carry over to the practice of many who use Jyotishi methods. For example, I was unable to replicate her findings about Trump’s Taj Mahal bankruptcy using his correct birth data, but I am also not at all experienced in using the technique.

There is one minor error on page 83 in the Saptamsa chart of Abraham Lincoln, which gives the Lagna as Gemini when if fact it should be Cancer. In the text Laura states that in Lincoln’s Saptamsa, Jupiter occupies the 8th Bhava, which can only be true if the Lagna lies in Cancer.

Overall I liked this book. It contains a lot of interesting and informative material based on classical sources, and I certainly benefited from reading it. The argument, however, became less convincing when it became apparent that the primary example was based on an incorrect birth time for Donald Trump. The book also does not address the issue of whether this technique would work just as well with the sidereal zodiac, nakshatras measured along the ecliptic rather than the equator, and a nakshatra dasa year length of 365.24 days. The principles that underlie the technique appear sound, but the proof of the pudding is always in the eating.

Posted in Astrology | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

The Passing of Edward Aschoff

There was a sad story this week about the unexpected passing of ESPN reporter Edward Aschoff at age 34 after a bout with pneumonia. Aschoff was born in Oxford, MS, on 24 December 1985, time unknown. He died on his 34th birthday. In cases like this I typically find that the true Lunar Nodes in the Solar Return are moving very slowly and are either stationary or about to make a station within 24 hours. In addition, there are usually other striking symbolic connections in the Solar Return chart.

Because the time of birth is unknown, I cast a birthplace chart for sunrise in the tropical zodiac with Placidus houses. My rationale for using the sunrise chart is that when you don’t have a birth time, the sunrise chart gives the archetypal symbolism of the particular day based on the view of sunrise as a new birth of the sun, so that everyone born on that day resonates with the sun’s renewed existence in its daily “re-incarnation.” Here is Edward Aschoff’s sunrise chart for this day and place of birth:

Birth Chart of Edward Aschoff set for sunrise

In the sunrise chart, his Sun/Neptune conjunction lies on the Ascendant, and the Sun rules his 8th house of death. Mercury rules Gemini (a sign associated with the lungs) on the 6th of illness. Next I cast the current Solar Return of this sunrise chart for his birth place.

Solar Return of sunrise chart at the birth place on 24 December 2019, also the day of his demise.

The Solar Return as a stand-alone chart is quite striking. Uranus, the planet of the unexpected, almost exactly conjoins the Ascendant. Saturn almost exactly conjoins the MC degree where it is united with Pluto, both Saturn and Pluto being symbols of death. The lunar nodes are moving very slowly and will make a station within 19 hours of the time of this Solar Return, indicating sudden, unexpected and very challenging conditions during the period covered by this Solar Return.

In addition, the solar eclipse of December 26th, within two days of his death, will occur at 4 Capricorn 06, which is almost exactly on his natal Sun/Neptune conjunction, with the Sun ruling the 8th house in the sunrise natal chart. In the Solar Return, the eclipse conjoins Jupiter, which rules the 8th house of the return chart. Typically, close contact from eclipses to natal planets indicate dramatic and unexpected events.

Posted in Astrology | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

On Capricorn, the Sea-goat

During this Christmas week, the sun is passing through tropical Capricorn as Christians around the world celebrate the birth of the Christ Child. In the tropical zodiac, zero degrees of Capricorn marks the Winter Solstice in the northern hemisphere and is the shortest day of the year, the day when we experience the least amount of daylight and the maximal amount of darkness. In mythology, Capricorn is associated with the Sea-goat, a kind of impossible mythical creature which is goat from the waist up and fish from the waist down. Is there a connection between the symbolism of Capricorn and the Christian myth of God the Father sending his only Son to redeem humanity by dying on the cross? To answer this question we need to consider the myths of Pricus and Cronos and what they have to say about the relationships between parents and their offspring.

Capricornus as a sea-goat from Urania’s Mirror (1825).

According to Greek mythology, the first sea-goat was named Pricus and he was created by Cronos, the god of time. According to wikipedia (bold print mine):

“Despite its faintness, the constellation Capricornus has one of the oldest mythological associations, having been consistently represented as a hybrid of a goat and a fish since the Middle Bronze Age [roughly 1500–1200 BCE], when the Babylonians used MULSUḪUR.MAŠ “The Goat-Fish” as a symbol of their god Ea. In Greek mythology, the constellation is sometimes identified as Amalthea, the goat that suckled the infant Zeus after his mother, Rhea, saved him from being devoured by his father, Cronos. … Cronos created the immortal Pricus, who shares Chronos’s ability to manipulate time. He had lots of children who lived near the seashore, but when they found themselves on the dry land they turned into normal goats, losing their special ability to think and speak in the process. In an effort to prevent this, Pricus turns back time, again and again; however, he eventually resigns himself to loneliness and misery, letting the little Sea Goats leave him. Learning he cannot control their fate and not wanting to be the only Sea Goat prompts him to ask Cronos to let him die. Because he is immortal instead, he must spend eternity in the sky as Capricorn.”

An American alligator in Florida. (Source: Getty Images)

Interestingly, this same mythology appears in the Vedic literature in which Capricorn is called makara, a Sanskrti word meaning crocodile, alligator, porpoise, dolphin or sea-monster. According to BPHS (Sharma translation): Capricorn is “lorded by Saturn, Tamoguni (Tamasic) and its element is earth. It resides in the south and is strong at night. It rises with its back, has an unwieldy or huge body, is variegated (in color) and wanders on land and in forests. It is quadruped in the first half and footless in the second half and it glides in water.” For a detailed discussion of the Vedic view of Capricorn, I recommend the video by Corey Dowds All about the Capricorn Rasi.

To experiment with this symbolism of a Sea-goat, which could also be a sea-monster (makara), I looked at the event chart of a toddler who was killed in Florida by an alligator at a Disney resort in 2016. According to news reports the two-year-old was wading in a lagoon near the Walt Disney World Hotel around 9 pm on Tuesday 14 June 2014 when an alligator came out of the water and dragged the child into the lagoon. His body was found a couple days later. Here is the chart in the tropical zodiac with Placidus houses for that incident.

Around 9 pm or shortly thereafter an alligator dragged the toddler into the lake. The first call to the authorities occurred at about 9:16 pm after the parents were unable to retrieve the child.

In the chart for the attack (around 9 pm) Capricorn is rising and its ruler Saturn is Retrograde and conjoins the cusp of the unfortunate 12th house of loss and grief. Retrograde Pluto (god of the underworld) rises in the 1st house. In addition, the lord of the hour at this location is also the Ascendant-ruler Saturn, the first hour of the night which lasted until about 9:11 pm. Transiting Moon has just opposed transiting Uranus, marking this as a period of sudden unexpected events. The Retrograde Neptune in Pisces very closely squaring Asc-ruler Saturn in Sagittarius carries a malefic connotation of dissolution and loss.

In this case, the prominence of Saturn as the Ascendant lord, the hour lord on a Mars day (Tuesday), and the lord of the first hour of the night making Saturn also lord of the entire nocturnal period, highlights the symbolism of Capricorn as a makara or type of sea-monster. The myth of the Sea-goat Pricus suffering loneliness and misery is particularly poignant in this news story because, even with his power to turn back time, Pricus must accept the fact that he is powerless to control his children’s destiny or to make them return to him.

In addition to the myth of Pricus being associated with the sign Capricorn and its symbolism related to the relationship between parents and their children, we have the myth of Capricorn’s ruler Saturn (Cronos) devouring his children in an effort to maintain his power and dominion. The painting by Goya depicts this myth is dramatic form. In the tragic story from Florida we see a horrific re-enactment of the archetype of Cronos and his young child.

Francisco Goya (1746–1828): Saturn Devouring his Son, Museo del Prado, Madrid

Posted in Astrology | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments