A question from a reader prompted me to look at the role of the Via Combusta (the ‘burnt way’) in the Navy Yard shootings chart (September 16, 2013, around 8:20 AM Washington, DC).
The Via Combusta is one of the less clear concepts in horary astrology. It is given several different sets of boundaries in the literature. Various authors say that it represents and area of unpredictability, fear, instability, or even a combustible situation. Olivia Barclay in Horary Astrology Rediscovered wrote that a chart with the Moon in this location (15 Libra – 15 Scorpio) should be discarded as unreadable because it is unable to give a valid answer.
The recent shootings in Washington began with the ASC in Libra (Sep 16, 2013, around 8:20 AM) and ASC-ruler Venus conjunct Saturn and the Moon’s North Node in the first decan of Scorpio (in the Via Combusta). Venus also rules the 8th cusp of death. It occurred on a Moon day during a Saturn hour, with Saturn being the Almuten of the ASC. In this case the ASC-ruler and almuten of the ASC (Venus and Saturn, respectively) are conjunct in Scorpio in the Via Combusta. The symbolism of a combustible situation certainly applies as do the notions of fear, instability and unpredictability.
Morin believed that aspect to house cusps were significant. In this case, Venus (ASC-ruler and 8th-ruler) opposes the 8th house cusp. Saturn (almuten of the ASC) also opposes the cusp of the 8th house of death. Mars disposes the Venus/Saturn conjunction and also squares it, adding to the combustible nature of the event.
A good review of the Via Combusta concept by Ryhan Butler can be found at http://starlightknightastrology.com/2011/10/06/horary-technique-via-combusta/. This author suggests that ” the basis of this particular area of the Zodiac seems to come from this being a very unfortunate place for the Sun and Moon. The Sun takes his Fall in Libra and the Moon takes hers in Scorpio,” and concludes:
“As for horary application, it is generally considered a consideration for judgment if the Moon is in the Burnt Path. Bonatti tells us to make sure we understand the question completely before going forward, though the questions asked with the Moon in the Via Combusta will not go well and is an automatically negative testimony. It is also considered a place of extreme distress of the querent who is very much troubled by the question.”
Addendum: New Fact Emerge
Officials are now reporting that Mr. Alexis began shooting earlier than 8:20 AM but after 8:00 AM. Thus, the chart for the incident could have cusps about 3 degrees earlier than they appear in the 8:20 chart, that is, an ASC about 8 Libra and an MC about 9 Capricorn. Astrologically, this makes since since it would make Pluto angular, exactly on the IC, at 8:04:51 AM — a perfect symbol for the violent rage expressed in the event.
According to NBC News (Sep. 19, 2013):
“Officials say Alexis, 34, drove onto the base at about 8 a.m. on Monday and parked in a deck across from Building 197. He then swiped himself into the building using a valid pass and entered carrying a bag. He went to the fourth floor, entered a bathroom and emerged without the bag…”
“Cathy Lanier, chief of police for D.C.’s Metropolitan Police Department, has said that just two minutes after receiving the first call at 8:21 a.m., two units armed with AR-15 semi-automatic rifles were dispatched to the scene.”