Los Angeles is Burning: Astrology of an Arsonist


Over the New Year’s weekend (2011-2012), Los Angeles was terrorized by an arsonist who set 52 fires, endangering the lives of thousands.  Fortunately there was no loss of life.  The fires stopped when the LAPD arrested Harry Burkhart, a disgruntled 24-year-old German national who was apparently angry about his mother’s treatment by the US authorities.  According to news reports, Mr. Burkhart is from Frankfurt, Germany, and the “Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department records listed Mr. Burkhart’s date of birth as July 12, 1987 and described him as having brown hair and eyes, standing 5-feet-10-inches tall and weighing 180 pounds.”

Not knowing a time of birth, I cast a chart for sunrise and used equal houses from the Ascendant:

Alleged arsonist Harry Burkhart sunrise natal chart

What stands out immediately is a T-square with Mars in Leo opposing Moon in Aquarius, and both squaring Pluto in Scorpio.  This configuration symbolizes intense pent-up emotions that can explode into violent action.  Pluto is widely opposite Jupiter in Aries, but Jupiter is within orb of squaring the Moon/Mars opposition, giving a double T-square, or what is known as a Grand Square.  The square from Jupiter increases the explosive potential of the Mars/Pluto square, and indicates a very short fuse when his anger gets aroused.  It is not uncommon to see such T-square configurations in the charts of those who are hospitalized at some time in their lives for mental illness.

Astrologers often view the Grand Square formation as having the nature of the element Fire because it consists of four squares, which are very intense aspects full of dynamic energy that needs to be released.  Squares are often spoken of in terms of “friction” and with four squares in connection with one another, the chart contains so much friction that it can start a fire, so to speak.

Astrologers have also noted that people with Grand Squares natally tend to feel boxed in or constrained, and they relate to the world rather inflexibly.    According to CafeAstrology.com:

“M. Kozyritskaja and M. Levin state that from childhood the owner of a natal chart with a Grand Cross … is inflexible, inclined to impose his designs on the world, and perceives little of the world’s reaction to his actions.  Such people are very confident in their correctness and do not turn aside, but concede only under great pressure, and then only for a while.”

In addition to the Grand Square, Mr. Burkhart has a debilitated Mercury in Cancer, retrograde, under the Sun’s beams, and opposed by Neptune in Capricorn.  The Mercury/Neptune opposition often indicates someone whose thinking is based on illusion, fantasy, or muddled thinking.    Astrozoom.com summarizes hard Mercury/Neptune aspects as follows:

MERCURY SQUARE OR OPPOSITION TO NEPTUNE gives a chaotic mind, liability to lack of memory, indolence and a disposition to dream the time away. There is a restless desire for fame frustrated by inability to fit in anywhere. Such people are liable to fraud, deception and slander, also to temptation to suicide.”

With the Moon (a natural symbol of mothers) opposed to Mars and square Pluto, one has to wonder what his relationship with his mother is like.

Why now?  In December of 2011 transiting Pluto crossed over his natal Neptune and in early January transiting Pluto opposes his Mercury/Venus conjunction, thus activating this stressful opposition in his natal chart.  In addition, his secondary progressed Venus has moved to 7 Leo, squaring his natal Pluto, and his secondary progressed Mercury has moved to 27 Cancer, squaring his natal Jupiter, and thus activating the natal Grand Square.  At the beginning of 2012 the majority of stressful aspects in  his natal chart are being strongly activated by transits and progressions.

About Anthony Louis

Author of books about astrology and tarot, including TAROT PLAIN AND SIMPLE, HORARY ASTROLOGY, and THE ART OF FORECASTING WITH SOLAR RETURNS.
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