The Dark Knight Rises: Batman Killings in Aurora, Colorado

The opening of the new Batman movie The Dark Knight Rises was marred by a horrible mass killing at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado.  According to news accounts, graduate student James Holmes legally purchased several guns (Way to go! NRA) and brought them into the theater to shoot spectators in his role at “the Joker.”   In a short period of time Holmes was able to buy two pistols, an assault rifle, a shotgun, and 1000s of rounds of ammunition without raising a bit of suspicion.  Welcome to the USA!

Violence was in the air before the movie’s premier as critics who panned the movie received death threats from ardent fans.  I recall thinking that you’d have to be crazy to go to the opening night of a movie whose fans are threatening to murder critics who pan the film — it’s a setup for violence!  I never imagined, however, this type of violence.

News reports state that Holmes was born on 13 December 1987, probably in San Diego, CA, time unknown.  I cast a sunrise chart and superimposed the chart for the time of the shooting around it:

Shooter James Holmes natal chart, time unknown, with shooting chart superimposed

James Holmes Mugshot (July 2012)


We can always find things in a chart in hindsight to “explain” the events, so I will try to be as objective as possible under the circumstances and read the chart as if I knew nothing about the native.

What first strikes me is the Mars/Pluto conjunction in Scorpio.  Mars and Pluto are both considered rulers of Scorpio so this conjunction is especially powerful.  Mars is a symbol of the warrior and Pluto is associated with the discovery and use of atomic power.  The combination of Mars and Pluto itself is a powerful one, suggesting a great deal of pent up energy that needs an outlet.  The metaphor of a volcano is often used in the astrological literature to describe this conjunction.  Whether this extremely strong energy is used constructively or destructively is up to the individual, but an intense level of seething energy is clearly indicated.

This chart also has a lot of fire.  Jupiter in Aries with Mercury, the Sun, Saturn and Uranus all in Sagittarius suggest a very fiery temperament.  So much fire suggests a person who is adventurous, freedom-loving, enterprising, passionate, expansive, wide-ranging in his thinking, and disdainful of restriction and societal limitations.  With so much Sagittarius “energy,” he is likely to want to make his mark on the world in a big way.  This expansive side of him may be someone hidden to public view because his more modest Virgo Moon squares his Sagittarius Sun.  There is a conflict between wanting to hide his light under a bushel basket and wanting to shine brightly for all the world to see.  The fact that he dyed his hair bright red is consistent with the emphasis of fire in the natal chart.

His Sun conjunct Saturn and Uranus may reflect his self-discipline and interest in scientific and technical fields.  Sun/Uranus is often quite willful and a bit eccentric or far-out in its thinking.  This natal Sun/Saturn/Uranus conjunction opposes his natal Chiron, suggesting a struggle to heal a deep emotional wound involving fears of abandonment.

Natal Venus in Capricorn often indicates a certain shyness in social relationships (Venus in Saturn’s domain) but at the same time a hearty sexual appetite (Venus consorting with the god Pan).  There is a natal Venus/Jupiter square that heightens this tension between desiring intimacy and fearing close relationships.

The transits at the time of the shooting are significant for a fairly close T-square involving transiting Uranus in Aries opposing transiting Mars in Libra, with both square to transiting Pluto in Capricorn.  This is a rather explosive T-square.  The transiting Mars/Uranus opposition falls close to the meridian axis of Holmes natal sunrise chart, giving it special personal importance.  Transiting Pluto of the T-square closely conjoins Holmes natal Neptune (illusion, fantasy, delusion, films).

Transiting Uranus at 8 Aries 31 Rx was applying almost exactly to square the fixed star Facies currently at 8 Capricorn 29.  Normally I would dismiss this square but Facies conjoins transiting Pluto and participates in the T-Square in which both transiting Uranus and Mars square transiting Pluto and also Facies, which is a star associated with violence and ruthlessness (Hitler had Jupiter conjunct Facies in his chart.  Brady wrote that Facies “represents the penetrating stare of a lethal weapon. It is one of the most difficult, and possibly the most violent, objects in the heavens. It gives a penetration of action that has no regard for others…Facies in a chart will indicate that the planet it touches will be very focused and driven…the push to achieve goals and aims may well become ruthless.”  Back in January 2012 Boots Hart wrote an essay about the Pluto/Facies conjunction that would be in effect all year and  stressed that ” it embodies a ‘violent’ energy, or the energy of violence, against which there is the wound of the victim.”  The fact that this Pluto/Facies conjunction occurs very close to Holmes Neptune (delusional thinking, among other things) strikes me as significant.  The fact that transiting Jupiter (expansion) stresses the position of Facies with a quincunx serves to add fuel to the fire.

These are some preliminary thoughts.  I’ll be interested in what others have to say about this chart.

Addendum (July 21, 2012): A couple of people have commented on the similarity to Bradley Manney‘s chart.  Manning was born just 4 days later than Holmes and in a different city.  He is being held in solitary confinement for his role in exposing US atrocities in Iraq and releasing classified information.  Several US law scholars have called his detainment unconstitutional under US Law.  One could argue that Manning’s Pluto/Moon/Mars conjunction in Scorpio indicates a strong emotional need to reveal a secret in an explosive and transformative way. Here is Manning’s sunrise chart:

Bradley Manning natal sunrise chart, time unknown

Photo of Bradley Manning

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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27 Responses to The Dark Knight Rises: Batman Killings in Aurora, Colorado

    • Thanks Ed for that fascinating perspective on numerology and tarot.

      • Nilsa Gorey says:

        Dear Anthony,

        According to Holmes himself he was born on Dec 10, 1987, not 13 as we saw published all over the place. His Moon is in Leo, most likely square to his MA+PL conjunction in Scorpio. Here is the link:

        Take care and keep up with your good work,
        Nilsa Gorey {NYC}

      • Nilsa,

        The date of birth given in all the media is Dec 13th. The Dec 10th date you mention comes from a sex network website that claims to be by James Holmes. The link you cite says that the authenticity of that posting is under investigation. The police are not sure if the site is genuine or a hoax. In addition, people are known to lie about their ages and personal data on public social media sites. The police are working closely with the family who would be is a position to confirm the correct date of birth.

        According to news reports, police have matched the Dec 13th date of birth to the person who bought guns online with the name James Holmes. Also, “The University of California, Riverside can confirm that a person by this name graduated from UCR with a BS in neuroscience in the Spring of 2010. His last known address was in San Diego” – source:

        For now I would stick with Dec 13th. If the date changes, I will re-post the chart with the corrected data. As you point out, the major change in a chart 3 days earlier would be the position of the Moon.


        PS: See my post
        There I reproduce an application filled out by James Holmes for a rifle range. He lists his DOB at Dec 13, 1987, and attests at the end of the document that he has not falsified any information.

  1. allisone says:

    Hello Anthony, first of all I ´m married to your book on horary :-))), it´s superb.
    Please tell me why you cast your charts with unknown birthtime on sunrise.
    Greetings! Allisone.

    • I use the sunrise chart for unknown birth times based on years of experience. Another option is a Noon chart to get the average planetary positions of the day. The sunrise chart is a symbolic chart for anyone born in a particular place on that day. The angles it produces are usually meaningful though not as specific as the angles produced by the actual birth time. I have found that solar returns of the sunrise chart are often quite predictive of the events in the life of the native. I have never liked the Noon chart because it is devoid of symbolism. However, I have used the chart of the Sun on the MC for the location of birth, especially when the question has to do with career or public standing. The sunrise chart is a kind of generic chart for someone born in a particular location. The symbolism is valid for anyone born on that day in that spot.

  2. james says:

    thanks for your post tony.
    i like using sunrise for charts as they give a clear view on solar houses. the sun will be on the 1st in a sunrise chart putting the mars/pluto conjunction in the solar 12th while jupiter is in the expressive 5th. i also like to look at noon charts in the absence of an actual birth time for different reasons.
    holmes was born 4 days before bradley manning, the fellow who has been locked away in solitary confinement. low level whistleblowers don’t get a free ride like high level ones..
    i think the mars/pluto conjunction in scorpio is pivotal to the chart and to the type of dynamic both these men are known for.. the line between committing a terrorist act or addressing one that you have knowledge on might be blurred, but also a strong part of the swirling courage and intensity that define a mars/pluto conjunction in scorpio as i see it.
    on the time of the event moon is applying by square to this mars/pluto, or more specifically the moon is applying to retro mercury which in turn is about 1 minute out of exact square to holmes natal pluto. depending on the time holmes is born, a jupiter rising chart will put holmes moon in a very tight hard aspect to this same mars/pluto.. additionally worth noting is the tight 45 degree aspect involving pluto/uranus in both mens charts.. any planet that touches the pluto, also connects with uranus.
    that is mostly the focus of my observations. such a sad event and they seem to be happening with more frequency.. it seems to me violence and peoples fascination with it at a safe distance whether it be war in faraway counties or watching the latest hollywood movie needs to be questioned..

    • james says:

      the transiting t square involving pluto/uranus with mars doesn’t immediately connect to holmes chart unless it somehow connects with his angles, or one thinks more generally on pluto/uranus which is in a tight aspect in his chart.. if you put aries rising – the jupiter rising chart i was mentioning – you can get uranus rising opposite mars setting.. the red hair would go with aries rising too.. this will put natal mars/pluto in the 8th..

  3. twosides4 says:

    Thanks for this post and the insightful infomation as it relates to astrology. One thing that strikes me is the prominant Neptune with its ‘illusion’ created by the ‘silver screen’. He stood right in front of one! With transiting Pluto exactly conjunct his natal Nep, there is total involvment with the Pluto, Mars, Uranus t-square. I think Anthony is ‘spot on’ with his reference to that.
    That is an interesting connection to bradley manning. Another resemblance is one to Breivik who has a Sun/Mars conjunt square Uranus. Holmes Mars/Pluto is semi-square Uranus

    • james says:

      t neptune at his mars/sun midpoint via square.. i see neptune in a persons chart as generational. i don’t think it acts like a trigger for personal events.. i like very close aspects when trying a person to an event. here is an interesting one – t mercury retro is 135 natal uranus – a few minutes out, while t uranus is in a very close 16th harmonic to natal mercury – 1 minute out.. 90+22.31 minutes is the distance from natal mercury to transiting uranus.. t uranus happens to be very to the midpoint of mars/pluto square as well.. either way, a terrorist act where violence is part and parcel is very much a mars/pluto thing as i see it. fun to talk astrology..

  4. james says:

    here is a pic for you to see how the transiting t square has moved on past holmes natal neptune, but is lined up with his natal mercury exact using the 16th harmonic aspect i was mentioning..

    • twosides4 says:

      I’m not receiving the picture myself but thanks, anyway and yes, fun to talk astrology. good work on the t mercury/uranus aspect. There are so many planets in that 7 thru 12 degrees, transiting and otherwise. and yes, hard to comprehend why or how anyone could do such a thing and with no real apparent motive. I guess that’s another reason we look to astrology.

      • james says:

        hi 2 sides 4 – tell me what you get from the pic which finally made it to the link on the bottom.. tony – please delete all the excess posts where i tried to post that link. thanks.

  5. twosides4 says:

    got it! thanks. I didn’t realize how young he is. charts are totally similar. now both are confined

  6. Very interesting re: Holmes. I have leaned toward 8 am, capricorn rising. It also puts his progressed moon in his 8th, trine jupiter which could suggest the apartment was prepared by him for his own death. Your thoughts?

    • Barbara,
      My comments were purely speculative. To do a true rectification, I would want details of several important events in his life. Your reasoning is a valid as mine. I think we need more information to say anything further.

  7. Eric says:

    Hmm…it’s odd to see such an emphasis on Saggitarius – Carter noted that it’s the least likely sign to be related in any way to violent crime (Some Principles of Horoscopic Delineation). Then again, looking at the dispositors I note that Mars is the final dispositor and Jupiter rules most of the planets from Aries – this crime is certainly the worst of Jupiter’s expansion combined with Martial violence, so I suppose on that level the symbolism fits.

  8. Deb says:

    True, that Sagittarius, is well represented in Serial Killers. Perhaps it’s the Jupiter principle, overly, whatever it is doing. May be afflicted and then worse for the native. As I recall thinking Ted Bundy was a Scorpio, until I saw he was Tropical SAG many years ago. Well, just moved into SAG, having a full stellium between late Scorpio starting with Jupiter 13Scorp, Venus 20Scorpio,35′(didn’t you once write or say that 21Scorpio is a “definite loss?”, I hope so, I’ve credited you with that statement for many a year now, lol . Then he has/had Mercury 24Scorpio opposed to Algol, Juno26:42Scorp, into Sun 2SAG,Mars 13Sag,Moon17Sag, finally, BML 22Sag.

    • Hi Deb,

      I don’t recall saying 21 Scorpio is a definite loss. Some horary astrologers have called 19 Scorpio ‘the accursed degree of the accursed sign’ and name it Serpentis. I don’t pay much attention to this in my own work.


      • Deb says:

        Thanks, for letting me know it was not you. Happens to work very well however, for me. As does the 19th of Scorpio, my husband’s Rising sign. 🙂


  9. Deb says:

    I have (for instance) the 21st of Scorpio my Jupiter in the 5th of children. I lost a child. I’ve used this for many years, and have reason to continue to do so, as well as the other more critical degrees too. Just attributed it to the wrong person , so it’s good to ask and have a confirmation of same.


  10. Deb says:

    Thank you both, Anthony & James. Yes, I’m sure as usual, they all have their beginnings somewhere in ancient times. I only know it works, and I’m a big fan of critical degrees because I’m used them for many years. I see them all as simply inharmonious vibrations.

    I love Skyscript articles, so thanks again!


  11. How interesting that I just got a pingback on this conversation (from Daykeeper) as Pluto’s conjunction to Facies just moved into exact conjunction again – as detailed in this, a post at my own blog:

    I’m with you in your interest/attentiveness to critical degrees, Deb. There’s a quality of ‘push’ and focus which can often amount to an over-focus which itself incites more challenges…aka for some, trouble.


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