In thinking about the astrology of serial killers recently, it occurred to me to consider the natal chart of a mass murderer for comparison. Unfortunately, there is no shortage of carnage in the world; and, according to the UN, Bashar al-Assad of Syria has had his troops kill more than 5000 civilians who disagree with his policies — a likely sign of psychopathy. President al-Assad’s birth time is unknown, so I did a sunrise birth chart for his date of birth and compared it to the chart of the famous serial killer Henri Ladru.
One factor that stood out in both charts was the “feral” Mercury (an unaspected planet, according to Morin’s definition). Interestingly, Mercury is part of a stellium involving the Sun in both charts, and Mercury is the lead planet for that stellium. I’m not sure exactly how to interpret this fact, but it is striking that it occurs in the charts of two such murderous individuals. Perhaps the feral Mercury in these two charts is an indicator of their psychopathic thinking, since Mercury is unconnected and thus un-modulated by contact with any other planet. We should keep in mind that mythological Mercury began his life as a thief and a trickster who used his clever schemes to steal his brother’s oxen.
In al-Assad’s chart Mercury in Virgo rules the Sun/Pluto/Uranus conjunction in Virgo (in the sunrise 12th) which is opposed by a Moon/Saturn conjunction in Pisces. These, of course, are very stressful aspects. The unaspected Mercury, which disposes the Sun/Pluto/Uranus conjunction is like a wild animal on the loose in the chart.
There is a predominance of mutability in the chart, which is not uncommon in the charts of psychopaths, perhaps indicating their willingness to adapt to any situation to further their aims. President al-Assad has the notable North Node in Gemini, which was so predominant in Bob Marks’ study of serial killers.
In another fascinating astrological study by Jan Ruis, Ph.D., which all astrologers should read, the author studies and statistically confirms three mayor astrological hypotheses about psychopaths and serial killers:
“1. Emphasis on the Mutable signs, especially the Moon sign.
2. Emphasis on certain aspects of the Moon, such as Moon-Saturn aspects.
3. Emphasis on the sign Pisces, the 12th house or Neptune.”
Ruis’ findings are quite impressive and if we apply them to al-Assad’s chart, we find:
1) An emphasis on mutable signs, with the Moon in mutable Pisces.
2) A Moon/Saturn conjunction, plus the Moon opposed to both Uranus and Pluto.
3.) Emphasis on Pisces, Neptune, and 12th house. Al-Assad has a Moon/Saturn conjunction is Pisces opposite his Sun/Pluto/Uranus conjunction in Virgo. He has a Mars/Neptune conjunction in Scorpio, which is sextile his Virgo Sun/Pluto/Uranus and trine his Pisces Moon/Saturn. We don’t have an accurate birth time, but in the sunrise chart there is a clear 12th house emphasis.
Let me also quote the endnotes from Jan Ruis‘s impressive study, where he quotes the psychological explanation of these factors based on the work of Liz Greene and Howard Sasportas:
“Endnotes: 1. It has been hypothesized that people with an emphasis on Mutable signs are more vulnerable to contradictory experiences and feelings in early childhood (Greene & Sasportas, 1987b). Sasportas hypothesizes that this may be applicable to a serial killer. A low boredom-threshold and short attention span, part of the clinical picture of psychopaths, is attributed to Mutable signs as well (Greene, 2003b). Mercury in Mutable signs, in contrast to Mercury in Fixed signs, is also mentioned in this context (Greene, 2003a).”
“2. The “critical role of the Moon” (Greene, 2003d) refers to specific positions, such as the Moon in Mutable signs, and aspects, such as Moon-Saturn. This is based on the assumption that lack of empathy, lack of relatedness and the dissociation from feelings (as in psychopaths) is a lunar function (Greene, 2003b,c). It is also claimed that the Moon reflects the primal bond with the mother, who often plays a negative role in the youth of serial killers. Moon-Saturn and Moon-Uranus aspects would be a predisposition for dissociation (Greene, 2003f,i ). Moon-Saturn aspects, especially trines, would be frequent in the charts of psychopathic killers (Greene, 2003h). Mixed aspects, such as Moon-Saturn or Moon-Uranus together with Moon-Neptune or Moon-Pluto would be a strong indicator for dissociation (Greene, 2003l). Not all Moon aspects are expected to be high: Moon-Jupiter aspects are probably low (Greene, 2003j ).”
Finally, in looking at Mars, the planet of bloodshed, we find that al-Assad’s Mars closely conjoins the ecliptic position of the fixed star Zuben Elgenubi in the “claws of the scorpion.”
Ptolemy related this star to the two malefics, Saturn and Mars. According to Robson, this star “causes malevolence, obstruction, an unforgiving character, violence, disease, lying, crime, disgrace, and danger of poison,” and “with Mars: Bitter quarrels, entailing bloodshed or death. (Robson).” Al-Assad is currently involved in a bitter quarrel, involving bloodshed and death, with a large segment of his population.
According to Eric Morse: “It is well to remember here the association of this star with a scorpion’s claw, used for making love as well as for slaying its prey. It does not let go until one or other matter is complete and onlookers are not sure which of the two acts are in process. Sometimes even the Scorpion seems to get it wrong along the way! It frequently shows up ill-aspected in many unfortunate situations, from domestic strife and miscarriages of justice to psychopathic killings that started out in the guise of love. Its appearance in better aspect is often just the right moment to repair a relationship and to reconsider an earlier harsh judgment. Well aspected and on the ‘right planet’ we have someone of courage who will fight for right, but is generous to his opponents when they are defeated. If harshly aspected, especially to Mars, Saturn or the Moon, justice may well take a back seat to vengeance. [The Living Stars, Dr. Eric Morse, p.76-77.]”