It is always instructive to look at the charts of individuals who make the news. Freestyle skier Sarah Burke died on Thursday, Jan 19, 2012, as a result of injuries sustained in a tragic training accident on Jan 10, 2012, in Park City, Utah. She was 29 years old and had just experienced her first Saturn return on Oct 11, 2011.
Sarah was born on September 3, 1982 in Barrie, Ontario (I share a birthday with Sarah, though I was born in a different year). Her time of birth is unknown, so I used a sunrise chart and placed her secondary progressions and the transits for the date of the accident that caused her demise. Here is the chart:
A few very close aspects stand out:
1) Transiting Pluto in Capricorn is very closely square her natal & progressed Mercury in Libra. Mercury is a general signifier of travel, dexterity, and movement from place to place. Mercury square Pluto can signify difficulties related to haste and pushing oneself too far.
2) Transiting Uranus in Aries (forceful freestyle excitability) is almost exactly opposite her progressed Venus in Libra (a strong desire for harmony, equilibrium, and balance). Natally Uranus and Venus are in square, indicating a delight (Venus) in extreme sports (Uranus in Aries) which can lead to difficulties (the square). Uranus is the planet of individual freedom, and the adjective “freestyle” perfectly captures an essential astrological feature of this planet.
3) Transiting Uranus in Aries (love of excitement based on activities of the self) is closely trine her natal & progressed Uranus in Sagittarius (pushing the limit), which activates her stressful natal Venus square Uranus.
4) Transiting Jupiter in Taurus is almost exactly quincunx her natal Uranus in Aries and is also closely quincunx her progressed Venus in Libra. Jupiter expands and in stressful aspects can indicate going too far.
5) Regarding secondary progressed aspects, natal Mars and natal Saturn are almost 30 degrees apart (semi-sextile) and they conjoin by direct and converse secondary progression in 2012. Mars conjunct Saturn is often likened to trying to drive with the brakes on and to bashing one’s head against a wall. The impulsive force of Mars hits up against the hard immovable reality of Saturn. Such a progressed aspect could certainly be descriptive of her skiing accident.
These are all stressful transits. Without knowing her birth time, it is not possible to say specifically what they mean in her birth chart. Pluto is generally linked to surgery and death. Uranus symbolizes sudden unexpected happenings, including accidents. Close Jupiter aspects are common at the time of death, perhaps because Jupiter is the planet of long journeys. Because Burke is born with Sun in Virgo, Mercury rules her Sun and thus the square from Pluto threatens her vitality.
Note: Thanks to Johanna Brasser for pointing out a typo in the date of the accident. I have posted the correct chart (Jan 10, 2012).