The third line of the title, above, comes from Lois Rodden, in Data News, #60, August, 1996. (See footnote 1 below.) She writes of Boorda that he is:
"an ebullient and gentle man with a self-deprecating wit, who cared for 'his sailors.' When he wore a combat medal to which he was not entitled, he was advised by his own office that it was inappropriate. He said it was an honest mistake and stopped wearing it. The press picked up on this and he had a meeting scheduled with the media on May 16, 1996 at 2:30 PM. After going home for lunch to the Washington Navy Yard, he went outdoors and using a .38-caliber pistol that belongs to his son-in-law, shot himself in the chest. He left two notes. Now why would a guy kill himself over wearing the wrong medal? Yes, the navy has had some difficult times lately and Boorda carried his duties with a great feeling of responsibility, but suicide usually takes a long approach of depression or anguish (italics mine), and he had shown none of that..."
I love Rodden's Data News. It contains birth data and a small amount of biographical information on people, often ones currently in the news. Its information would be difficult, if not impossible, for individual astrologer’s to acquire on their own. Most of all I love her questions. They are forthright, open-ended. Because of that, they keep us honest: "now why did he do that?"
I have written several other papers about suicide. Here are their links: The Subway Suicide of a 9 Year Old Boy, The Suicide of a 14 Year Old Girl, Vivienne, The Late Life Suicide of Author and Concentration Camp Survivor, Primo Levi, Search for "suicide" in the synastry paper of Michel and Francoise Gauquelin, Search for Eric Douglas in the Paper on Homosexuality, The Suicide of Carter Cooper. And, of course, Eric Harris, though also a mass murderer, committed suicide. Here is the link to that paper: Paper on Eric Harris. And, though I did the paper because it was about an individual with Asperger's syndrome, she, too, committed suicide. Here is tht link: Paper on Woman with Asperger's Syndrome.
Traditional astrology does not show the long-term depression that led to Boorda’s suicide (footnote 2). This astrology does. Before I can show that it does, I need to introduce the principles of this method.
This method is not traditional. It uses a birth and conception planets and their harmonics and houses, all of which share the same axis. :
This astrology uses the sidereal positions of the planets based on the Fagan-Bradley’s SVP.
Harmonics are taken from the sidereal position of the planets. The Egyptian harmonic, discussed in the paper “About This Method” (link below), is used.
”Lights” include suns, moons, and moons nodes. When mercury rules one or two Angles, it also acts like a light and has the same orb as the other lights. The MC or Asc also acts like a light, but one with only a 2° orb, because when a set is on an Angle it does not need a light to be active.
This method uses only conjunctions, applying and separating squares, and oppositions. Orbs for static planets with lights is 5°; without lights, about 2.5°. Orb for MC/planet or Asc/planet is 2°. Planets so related to each other are referred to as in the same “set.” A set, then, is two or more planets (or an Angle) connected to each other through conjunction, square, and opposition within the defined orbs. Sets without Angles are more active when they contain a light, and less active without one. Learning to look in terms of “crosses” can be helpful in rapidly finding planets that are in the same set.
Because this approach uses both a birth and conception chart and they share the same axis, birth houses usually overlap different houses of the conception chart. These are called “house overlaps.” As it turned out in this paper, house overlaps were not significant. They can be for some other conditions. Throughout this paper I use the convention when writing about house overlaps of putting the birth house first, then the conception house. So, for instance, a “5th/1st” overlap refers to an overlap of birth 5th house with conception 1st house in that order.
Birth planets (including their harmonics) rule only birth houses. Conception planets (including their harmonics) rule only conception houses.
For a more thorough explanation of this astrological approach, refer to the following papers:
About This Method
Chart Reading Rules
In the partial charts shown below, birth planets and their harmonics are inside the circle. Conception planets and their harmonics are outside the circle. Conception sidereal planets are red; conception harmonic ones, black. Birth sidereal planets are blue; birth harmonic ones, green. Occasionally, because of space limitations, I have had to violate this inside/outside arrangement, but the color coding remain constant.
Abbreviations used are b = birth, c = conception, and t = transiting. Even though the harmonic used for each chart is always two more than the chart’s number, in these papers—for ease of reading—I write the harmonic number the same as the chart number. For example, the 5th chart uses the 7th harmonic, but I have established the convention of writing harmonic planets for the 5th chart as, e.g., c5 mars, which reads, “the harmonic for the 5th chart for conception mars.”
First, we want to look at major—that also means long-term, depressive influences on Boorda before his death.
In keeping with varying my presentation of this material, first let’s look at the major sets which show Boorda’s depression.
Set A On the date of his death, May 16,1996, Admiral Boorda had the following, labeled Set A:
The above progression is about two months past exact. He has been under its influence for the past six months.
Still discussing Set A, saturn is in birth 1st house and simultaneously in conception 5th house, but it rules c 4th house, and co-rules (24 of 36°) c 3rd house. Forefront saturn—saturn on an Angle, as is the case with Set A—is correlated with depression. In Pisces, it particularly suggests a sense of complete helplessness. The more forefront saturn influence there is, the more depression there is. This is shown “quantitatively” in the paper about William Styron and his clinical depression. Here is the link: Paper on Clinical Depression . Boorda’s progressing conception Midheaven is “lighting up”, “bringing to mind,” the following influences:
He had more, shown below as Set B.
Progressed c saturn—the planet or consciousness that is being lighted up by his progressing sun—is in birth 1st house, but conception 6th house. Boorda may have had concerns about his health (6th house). He may also have been feeling particularly inadequate (sun conjunct saturn in Pisces in 1st) in terms of his “service” (6th house) and career (10th house).
Since the saturn in Set B also rules c 4th house (end of life years) and co-rules c 3rd house (everyday mind), Boorda has a double whammy--astrologically—for depression and the sense his life is “over.”
Since the above includes no harmonics, sets A and B exist in all twelve of Boorda’s charts. They have 1st and 5th influence because of the houses those saturns are in. And they have 3rd, 4th, 6th and 10th house influence those planets rule those houses.
Which houses are most important for his death should show up in the individual harmonic charts.
But, Sets A and B have been influencing Boorda’s mind and emotions for 4-6 months. While Set A is starting to pass, Set B is at its strongest. Those few months before the progressed light to saturn is exact are the most potent. Six months does not sound like much time to change from a productive member of society to death by one’s own hands. Not much time, that is, until one knows how devastating forefront saturn in Pisces influence to 3rd and 4th houses can be. Then six months, or even one month, can be a very long time.
So, we have established that the Admiral had been and was going through some astrology that highlighted his sense of worthlessness and vulnerability. We all have this. It is correlated with our saturns, and almost always shows up when those saturn come forefront.
What about the fact Admiral Boorda never discussed his depression with others?
His birth Ascendant is in Aquarius; his conception Ascendant, in Libra. Both are “people pleasing” signs, They make the individual prone to automatically getting along by being accommodating. An Aquarius Ascendant particularly inclines the individual to diminish his sense of his own self importance. That would make him less likely to share his experiences of depression.
His gentleness? Ruler of birth Midheaven, jupiter, is in Pisces in b 1st house. He would show kindness and sensitivity (jupiter in Pisces) toward others in general (1st house) and in his career (birth Midheaven). His role is to give kindness, not ask for it.
The above show Boorda’s depression, anxiety, and vulnerability for months before his death. Sets A and B together produced considerable anguish and confusion (Pisces). They help us see why he never said anything to any one.
He had, however--like all of us who have lived long enough--gone through at least progressed Angle to saturn in Pisces before (see footnote 3). He was at least familiar with how dark it could be. Why, then, did he not “tighten his belt” and endure through it? In my opinion, the answer to that is in his 4th chart.
The Original Astrological “Fault” in Mike Boorda’s Suicide
I use fault in the same sense as geological fault. I do not know if Boorda actually did something (beside mistakenly wearing a combat medal) which would have led to him embarrassing the Navy. Clearly, he felt guilty, or vulnerable to becoming guilty. That does not mean he was. More on his “guilt” comes out in his 4th chart, below.
The 4th chart shows two things: (1) Purchases and destruction (fire, flood, tornado, etc.) of our homes. Even a fortunate rental will show up in this chart. (2) Relationship to our father--not exactly how he was, but how we--as his children--experienced him (footnote 4).
Below is Admiral Boorda’s partial 4th chart. A reminder—birth planets and their harmonics are inside the circle. Conception planets and their harmonics are outside the circle. Perhaps an easier way to see them is: if they are inside the circle and blue, they are birth planets; if they are not blue, they are birth harmonic planets. If they are outside the circle and red, they are conception planets; if they are not red; then they are conception harmonic planets.
Three of his 4th chart conditions are particularly interesting:
Concerning Set (1) Birth Midheaven has picked up--through harmonics--node/saturn/uranus. Before the addition of harmonics, that MC was with venus and neptune, representing a tenderly (venus) romantic (neptune), even impractical (neptune) kid. When his 4th chart added harmonic saturn—especially node/saturn—to it, it states he had these qualities quashed by his father. He was put down (saturn), ignored (saturn), it was habitual (node), and severe (saturn/node). It was unpredictable (uranus), and something Boorda could not easily defend himself against because saturn/neptune makes it hard to grasp the vulnerability, therefore, hard to defend. This saturn also rules c 4th house, so this constellation of feelings will come up again toward the end of his life (4th). .
Concerning Set (2) Conception saturn, the one that produced the harmonic in Set (1), has acquired i>two lights, two moons, in this chart. This means Boorda’s father, in particular, brought out, developed, and emphasized this saturn. For all of us, our saturn represents our shadow self, the weak, unworthy, least human part of us. (For a better understanding of why saturn affects us all this way, read about saturn’s position on the Tree of Life of the Kabbala in the paper on autism. Here is the link: Paper on Autism .) For papers which show the depression sponsored by saturn alternating with the mania sponsored by uranus, refer to the following: Patty Duke and Manic Depression and Cycle of Depression and Mania in the Life of Robert Schumann. Alfred, Lord Tennyson, on the other hand, suffered lifelong depression. Here is the link to the paper about that: Paper on Tennyson
As I mentioned above, saturn in Pisces is even more difficult than most of the other signs saturn can be in because Pisces, ruled by neptune, tends to camouflage the vulnerability even more. All those losses biblical Job experienced—that is saturn. But Job could curse, could insist on his righteousness. Some one with saturn in Pisces forefront is not only not going to curse his Maker, he is going to feel very fearful. His world contains unclear terrors he cannot manage.
So far the astrology of his 4th chart says that Boorda’s father disapproved of him, made him feel inadequate, suppressed him, put him down, overwhelmed him. That may not be what he intended. That is what happened. What he did not do—though he may have wished to—was bless him. In Set (2), b4 moon, in Gemini, rules b 12th house. C4 moon, in Virgo, rules conception Midheaven (C MC). So, the latter made Boorda’s double-lighted saturn in Pisces into an Angular influence, making it particularly potent and influential. Progressed birth Ascendant conjoined it when Boorda was about eleven, just about to enter puberty. Progressed conception Midheaven, as shown in Set A above, conjoined it when he died.
Taking a look again, in light of his 4th chart, at Boorda’s all-charts progression of C MC opposition c saturn in Pisces, it takes on revised meaning. Because his two harmonic moons are 2° (c4 moon) and about 1/2° (b4 moon) below conception saturn, they extend the orb for progressed Angles passing though this saturn. Boorda was experiencing this progressed Angle/saturn well before 6 months prior to death. How exactly he represented it to himself, I do not now. Things like this are comprised of gradual stages on a downward slope in consciousness. They hardly come to the attention of the individual until they have become severe. Boorda was experiencing this deepening slope for at least a year, and likely longer (progressively growing stronger) prior to death. It started the experience of being indefensible which culminated in his death.
We have not finished discussing Admiral Boorda’s relationship to his father, but we need another drawing to show the next set.
Concerning Set (3) Birth sun square b mars square b moon has, in this 4th harmonic chart, has also, like his birth Midheaven, acquired saturn and neptune. That gives him sun/moon/mars/saturn/neptune. Lighted (by sun and moon) mars/saturn/neptune represents siege conditions. That saturn in Scorpio is on Boorda’s birth sun in Scorpio. Scorpio is the natural ruler of the 8th house, and both sign and house represent what we share with others, ultimately our sense of belonging. Saturn there states “not”, that is, that he did not feel he belonged.
Boorda experienced his father as a brutal (mars/saturn, unknown if it was physical or just psychological), unsympathetic (saturn in Scorpio), mean (mars), unpredictable (neptune), and maybe a bit crazy (mars/neptune), with neptune standing for some one who is “loony,” drunk, or drugged, and therefore, creating an emotional roller-coaster.
The best thing about this set is it does not influence an Angle, so it is not as potent as it could be.
The Power of Locality
Some astrologers do not use locality Angles or progressed locality Angles. I have found them potent. Locality--Washington, D.C. in this case—as it was for Chandra Levy—was key for the end of his life. His progressed locality Angles picked up several of the above 4th chart sets:
(1) Progressed birth Midheaven for locality was at 9 Aquarius 33, aspecting Boorda’s 4th chart sun/moon/mars/saturn/neptune—Set (3) above.
(2) Progressed birth Ascendant for locality was at 2 Gemini 15, aspecting his c4 saturn, shown in Virgo in Set (2), and progressed c4 pluto at 1 Gemini 57. And :
|(3)||pC MC||0 Libra 28||for locality, Washington, D.C.|
|pb saturn||1 Aries 06||ruler of b 12th house|
|pb south node||0 Aries 13|
|pb mercury||0 Capricorn 56||ruler of b 4th house|
|c4 mercury||1 Libra 19||ruler of c 12th house and co-ruler of c 8th house (18 of 30°)|
Although the orb for progressed Angle to planet is definitely no more than 1°, the progressed node, as a light, ties this whole set together. With its influence to 4th house, this mercury/saturn/node further adds to his sense that he is in deep trouble (node/saturn) which it is hopeless (saturn) to try to think (mercury) his way out of.
Progressed and progressed locality Angles to 4th chart sets strongly suggest this chart was prominent in Boorda’s death.
Chief of Naval Operations Mike Boorda was depressed and anguished for some time before he killed himself. That is true. He was, however, more than that. His saturn in Pisces--the one sponsoring his depression--is the same saturn so profoundly emphasized in his relationship with his father. If Admiral Boorda “could not bear to bring dishonor to sailors” (footnote 5) over questions of whether he had improperly worn decorations given to those in combat, it was because he already knew, deeply and profoundly, what humiliation (dishonor) was. He experienced it first in his relationship with his father. He was re-experiencing it, and fear of it, when he killed himself. He certainly would not want to be the vehicle for others to experience it.
One could reasonably ask, did Boorda know his fear and pain were connected to early losses he experienced through his father?
Probably not. These very early, continuous traumas occur before and after we have identity or even “mind.” And even if we remember them, we do not do a very good job of separating those past failures from present anguish and fears. Saturn creates the form, we project into that form our own content, usually based on our earliest experiences of saturn..
Presented with the possibility of humiliating veteran combat sailors, Boorda’s message would run something like the following: “I am as bad as I feared (as my father said).” (Then, struggling against it):)” I am not as bad as I feared.” (Losing:) I am, after all, that bad,( just as my father indicated).”
Suicides, like people who die from other causes, usually have Angle/mars and Angle/saturn when they die. Other influences exist, but this is not a paper for listing them. I once read a paper which cited prominence of uranus (along with mars and saturn) in suicide. I, too, found uranus involved. By itself it has little to do with suicide. It does not make a potential suicide act precipitously without forethought because my research suggests many suicides have thought a long time about killing themselves. They just don’t kill themselves the first time they get some difficult progression. Things pile up on the individual, seemingly relentlessly, then suicide seems reasonable. Then the uranus helps him (or her) find the courage (mars/uranus forefront) to do it now, to forever end the ambivalence.
Mike Boorda had a good--positive and fortunate--7th chart (relationships with others, which also plays a large part in his career). His life reflected that. He was kind and caring. He had superior organizational skills (conception sun and mercury in Capricorn), well-used in his capacity as Chief of Naval Operations. He was father, husband, and admired leader with stability and an excellent record. If he, at age 56, with all that going for him, still found suicide the “right way,” it says something about the power of difficult, astrologically-sponsored states for invoking dark worlds which can ultimately overwhelm us.
The way an individual experiences his astrology, his subjective states, is a function of the storehouse of his own unique consciousness. This astrology can give us hints of even that unique perspective. The timing and duration of those states, however, are completely astrological. Such things as Mike Boorda’s “long approach of depression or anguish” never just happen without an astrological basis, which basis is shown by this form of astrology.
(1) Data News is no longer published. It evolved into a website at Astrodatabank.
(2) In his tropical nativity, Boorda has mars, co-ruler of his 1st house and ruler of his 8th, in Pisces in the 12th. He has moon parallel uranus, mars parallel NN, Asc contra-parallel neptune, and MC contra-parallel pluto. The excessive outer planet influence to Angles and his 1st co-ruler in the 12th and ruling 8th show problems. On May 16, 1996, he had progressed venus conjunct mars (semi-sextile jupiter, MC ruler) and parallel mars/NN; progressed MC parallel his original parallel of moon/uranus; and, progressed mercury (4th ruler) square progressed saturn (‘10 from exact). I could make a case for suicide, or certainly instability, from these. But why suicide? Why not homicide? Or some other wild behavior? Conception planets and Angles add to the nativity information which, time after time, produce consistent results for similar events.
The tropical chart, except for progressed mercury square progressed saturn, with no MC or Asc influence, doesn’t show Boorda’s serious depression and equally serious, long-term loss of protective ego boundaries that this system so admirably demonstrates.
(3) Progressed B MC squared c saturn when he was 17 years old, that is, when he left home and joined the navy (he wasn’t honest about his age) Progressed B Asc conjoined it when he was 11.
(4) Why does not the 4th chart--since the 4th house of which it is a magnification--show end of life conditions? It does for Boorda, as it did for Charles Whitman, who hated his father. It does not for all individuals. End of life conditions--that is primary influences--appear as 4th house influences in many charts.
(5) From the biographical material in AstroDataBank software, which stated it was in one of the two suicide notes Boorda left.
Jeremy Michael Boorda
Birth: 11/26/1939, 1:10 p.m. CST., South Bend, IN. From Astrodatabank by Lois Rodden and Mark McDonough. From Steinbrecher, hospital record in hand.
Conception:2/12/1939, 11:35:03 p.m. CST, South Bend, IN
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