August, 1999Return to Home Page, Links to More Papers
We live in ironic times. If your family member, or friend, or neighbor, becomes psychotic, he gets help. After all, he is clearly crazy. If one of them, however, is neurotic--that is, dysfunctional in some important area of life, or just really different--too bad. Either he himself suppresses all knowledge of it, or he goes through hell trying to make it fit the norm, or he must spend enormous amounts of money to get “fixed”--if he’s lucky. Psychosis can, but does not necessarily, attract sympathy; neurosis usually attracts rejection. Yet, it is neurosis that is mankind’s major mental ailment.
We also live in times when packaging is at least as important as content. Fame is often more important than character. Image is extremely powerful. The huge success of advertising confirms this.
In the astrology I work with, on the other hand, each individual's chart tells a lot of truth about him. Not his soul, not his spirit, but his personality. We all have personalities.
One thing that can be said about an individual's personality: he seldom does anything without “having the consciousness” (or unconsciousness) of that thing. What does that mean? He gets married when he has the consciousness of marriage. He changes careers when he has the consciousness of career change. Has children. Is honored. Murders. Dies. Where is this consciousness (or, as stated, often unconsciousness) most clearly represented? In the astrological chart. Each of the above conditions is represented by certain definite, highly defined, astrological conditions, called "signatures." While some one may have a signature for some event and not act it out, he will hardly do something for which he has no signature at all. Why? Because it’s “not in his universe (solar system, that is, chart).” So, some one can have many elements of the complex signature for murder, and not murder any one. At the same time, he will not murder another without having the necessary parts of the signature for that act.
By combining the above statements about the importance of image and varieties of consciousness defined by signatures, we open the way to our current topic--school shootings.
Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris were the two young men who killed 13 and wounded another 24 people on April 20, 1999 at Columbine high school in Littleton, Colorado. They then killed themselves.
An important part of the signature for a murderer involves forefront mars (aggression) influencing his 7th house (others). If he didn't have that influence, his aggression would be directed in some other, less catastrophic, way. Certainly not toward others. (Just so there is no confusion about this: mars' influence to the 7th house does not create the act of murder. There are many other, socially acceptable, ways aggression toward others can be expressed. Mars' influence there enables the aggressive energy of one individual to be directed toward another.)
What else? For what happened at Columbine High, he must have conditions in his fourth house (end of life) symbolizing his own demise. But, to do as those two did, he must also have conditions in his 10th house (career, reputation) representing so public a death. Otherwise, we wouldn’t hear about it. His would be a private death. All the above astrological conditions existed for Klebold and Harris.
Because their action was so unusual--to opt for death even before the prime of life is not usual--other influences must exist. An important one was, they both had on-going consciousness of death, tending to make it familiar, comfortable, and acceptable to them. That often means they had planets in Scorpio (ego dissolution, including death) right on an Angle (Midheaven or Ascendant), that is, forefront in their charts. Harris' and Klebold's whole generation has Uranus (sudden, unforeseen) and Neptune (fascination) in Scorpio (death), but far fewer of them have it on Angles. Klebold and Harris did. Klebold had neptune in Scorpio on his Midheaven; Harris, uranus in Scorpio on his Ascendant--that is, on Angles, therefore forefront. Of their peers who do have these planets forefront, most do not also have the 4th and 10th house influences Klebold and Harris had.
Can you see? The growing requirements for Klebold's and Harris' act begins to narrow down the number of people who satisfy them? The signature that describes their end is complex. It takes many twists--this turn, not that turn, this way blocked, that open--on consciousness to limit it, apparently, to only that final act.
So, the answer to the oft-asked question--why, when many of our teenagers ingest large quantities of TV and video violence every day, do only some of them become violent?--is: only some of them have the "right" template (that is, astrological signature plus social options) for both absorbing it and reflecting it back as their own.
Unless they are sociopaths, they ought to have some kind of internal pain for which their external act, was, for them, a "match." Of the two, I believe Klebold the more normal, that is, within a prevailing norm. Of the two, I also believe Klebold the follower.
It was Eric Harris who had the massive pain and anger. Klebold had more fascination with death, but Harris was more neurotic, more troubled. Because he had a lot of mars (aggression) and Neptune (confusion) forefront, Harris’ world included inappropriate behavior from him, and toward him. Mars/neptune is not charismatic. It drives people away. They say, “he’s weird.” So, Harris was rejected again and again, not just socially, but at home. Not just yesterday, but most of his yesterdays.
Harris' world also included a strong interest in control and personal privacy. He would not want his pain to show; he would try to control it.
Look again at the photo circulated of Eric Harris. With his body he is demonstrating belligerence. But look at his eyes. They show some one who is really very frightened. It is a photo of some one making a desperate attempt to appear tough.
Imagine the conflict generated by those two, differing, conditions--being very frightened, and trying to keep every bit of it hidden. His response must have been increasingly to shut down, allowing little of his real feelings out, but then, less pain in--he may have believed.
Shutting down is not a long-term, viable option. Psychic energy has to go somewhere: if it cannot be used in exchange with others, it is already too limited for most people. It is definitely too limited for most teenagers, who define a great deal of their world--themselves--through interaction with others.
There was one more major emphasis with Harris. He had a really unusual sexuality that was also in utter conflict with his need for privacy and control. Prior to adolescence it presented no social problem. Post-adolescence, however, it had to become one. Eric Harris had a pronounced, receptive, tender, submissive type of sexuality. Gay? Not necessarily. His sexuality--it would be better to say his character, including his sexuality--had self-abnegaton, hence often humiliation, built into it. That made him not exactly jock material. It also made him exceedingly interested in fostering that last image of himself--the school shooting--as a cold, insensitive, macho male very much in control. That image was his master statement. It was also his ultimate rejection of his own, extremely painful, reality.
Did that give him (them) the right--the justification--to commit murder? Not at all. But, it makes the murders he did commit more understandable. What good is understanding? Will it restore the lives he cut so cruelly short? No, it cannot do that. What good is understanding? What about future "Eric Harrises?" The question is, which promotes prevention better--truth or fiction?.