The recent death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has been much in the news. Such reports frequently speak of his “unexpected death” but was it really unforeseeable?
Justice Scalia was born on 11 March 1936 at 20:55 (8:55 pm) in Trenton, New Jersey. Here is his natal chart.
In considering questions of death, we would look at the Ascendant (life force, vitality, the body), the 8th house (mortality), the 4th house (end of life). The 6th and 12th houses also play a role as symbols of illness and infirmity.
Scalia’s Libra Ascendant is ruled by Venus. The Moon in Scorpio in the 1st house close the the ASC is also an important symbol of his vitality.
Venus also rules his 8th house of death, and the Moon is almuten of th 8th cusp and rules the 8th by exaltation. Even a beginning astrologer would interpret Uranus in Taurus the 7th opposing the Libra ASC and almost exactly opposite the 1st house Moon as signifying the potential for a sudden unexpected death. The strong influence of Uranus suggests that he will eventually die in a sudden and unusual manner, for that is the nature of Uranus which opposes his planets of life and the body.
As an adult, Justice Scalia was quite obese — a factor which significantly shortens the life span. Judging from photos of him in the news, I would estimate a BMI of more than 40. According to a scientific study reported in the LA TImes: “Those with a body mass index, or BMI, above 40 are robbed of at least 6 1/2 years, on average, of expected life span, a study has found. And the toll in years lost rises with the degree of obesity, reaching nearly 14 years for the most obese — those with a BMI above 55, researchers said.” His physical stature indicates a shorter than average life span. Astrologically, the Moon in the 1st house with a sextile from a strong Jupiter in Sagittarius to the Libra ASC is a marker of obesity and potential health problems due to overindulgence.
Antonin Scalia lived in New Jersey and worked in D.C., whose average life expectancies for males are 77.91 and 82.07 respectively. Averaging the two, we get a figure of 79.99 years of age as an expected life span. Not surprisingly, when the judge died on 13 February 2016, he was 79.93 years old. From an actuarial point of view, Justice Scalia died almost exactly on cue.
Let’s look at his Solar Return for this year superimposed on his natal chart:
Here his Solar Return Venus (ruler of his natal ASC) is angular and opposes his natal Ascendant. This is an indication of health problems during the year. Furthermore his Solar Return MC very closely conjoins the cusp of the unfortunate natal 12th house cusp, and the Return IC conjoins the natal 6th house cusp of illness. Wherever the Angles of the Solar Return fall in the natal chart are points especially emphasized during the coming year. Thus, the return MC/IC axis falling almost exactly on the natal 6th/12th axis highlights health concerns and infirmities.
S.R. Uranus conjoins natal Mars in the 6th of illness, again suggesting unexpected infirmity. Also significant is that Solar Return Saturn (which rules the natal 4th of the end of life) conjoins the return Moon (which rules the natal 8th of death as almuten and through exaltation). In addition, the Solar Return ASC at 14 Sagittarius almost exactly squares his natal Saturn in Pisces, with Saturn ruling the end-of-life natal 4th cusp.
Finally, let’s look at Scalia’s primary directions for the period of 6 months before and after his death. I used Placidus semi-arc and Ptolemy’s time key in the Morinus program:
- In September of 2015 we see ASC square Moon, ruler of the 8th of death as almuten and through exaltation, indicating a period when death is possible. (Age 79.54)
- In November of 2015 Saturn squares Sun, weakening the life force. (Age 79.66)
- In December of 2015 ASC (life force, the body) square Uranus warns of sudden disruptive events. (Age 79.79)
- In February of 2016 Pluto square MC/IC symbolizes radical change involving end-of-lie matters. (Age 79.91)
- On 13 February 2016 Scalia dies at age 79.99.
- In April of 2016 Moon (8th ruler) square Uranus symbolizes the possibility of sudden death. (Age 80.06)
Primary directions set the stage for an extended period of time and rarely time events exactly according to when they perfect.
In summary, whether we look at Justice Scalia’s demise scientifically or astrologically, it was not as “unexpected” as the news media would have us believe.
Addendum II (24 Feb 2016): Recent news reports reveal that Justice Scalia smoked cigarettes and suffered from diabetes, obesity and heart disease. In his natal chart, Moon in the 1st house, Jupiter sextile the ASC, and Venus trine the ASC suggest obesity and overindulgence. Venus rules his ASC and his Placidus 12th of undoing. Jupiter rules the Whole Sign 6th of health problems. The Sun, which is a universal symbol of the heart, squares Jupiter, suggesting heart problems due to excess.