August, 2002
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Teen Suicide
A View of Vivienne's World
by Sandra Weidner

On December 21, 1973 around 6:30 p.m. in Melrose, Massachusetts, during Christmas vacation and just days before a family move, Vivienne L., 14 years and 4 months old, hanged herself.

For the site of her death, she chose her mother’s empty silversmithing studio in the basement of the family home.

Her sister, Laurel, 18 months older, was playing the piano in the stripped-down living room. She had been vaguely aware of Vivienne going up and down the basement steps several times, then down, then...not returning.

Vivienne’s parents--her father a Unitarian minister--were at a farewell party a block away.

Her older brother, Rob, was in another town in Massachusetts.

Her new best friend Anne, whose older sister had committed suicide just four months earlier, was about to leave on a Christmas trip with her parents. She knew Vivienne was suicidal. They had talked many times about suicide. She did not really believe Vivienne would do it. Besides, Anne was sworn to secrecy (as was Vivienne’s sister).

The summer following her death, one of Vivienne’s teacher’s, Holly Hickler, called Vivienne’s mother and expressed interest in Vivienne’s writing. In getting together, they became excited about publishing it. Two years later Hickler had finished her manuscript, an anthology. Then, independently, Dr. John E. Mack, a psychiatrist, asked his son if he knew a creative writing teacher who encouraged her students to write candidly about themselves. His son recommended Holly Hickler. Hickler made Vivienne’s collected works available to Mack. These two--Hickler and Mack--collaborated on a book, Vivienne: The Life and Suicide of an Adolescent Girl (cited below). The information for this paper is taken from that book. Numbers in parentheses at the end of statements indicate pages in the book from which the information was taken.

The Purpose of This Paper
Her family was courageous in allowing Vivienne to be published. It is now nearly 29 years since Vivienne’s death. I do not know what her family has experienced since then. Unfortunately, in writing about them at all--which I must do to provide context for Vivienne’s life--I have to write about them as if they have not continued to exist--to learn, to grieve--since Vivienne’s death. Worse, I do not know how much the book inadvertently distorted their character. My report could be a distortion of a distortion. That would be unfortunate and certainly not intended. My aim, using her astrology, is to represent Vivienne. We want to take a closer look at the forces in Vivienne which led to her suicide.

This is not the only paper I have written about suicide. There are also these: The Suicide of Robin Williams, Suicide of a Nine Year Old Boy, Suicide of Carter Cooper, Suicide of a Young Woman with Asperger's Syndrome , Search for suicide in the paper on synastry for Michel and Francoise Gauquelin, Search for Eric Douglas in the paper on Homosexuality, Mass Murderer and Suicide, Eric Harris, The Late Life Suicide of Author and Concentration Camp Survivor, Primo Levi, The Suicide of Chief of Naval Operations, Mike Boorda. This paper and those about Levi, Cooper, and Booda are extensive. Finally, Virginia Woolf and Vincent Van Gogh both committed suicide. Astrology for both is in a paper written primarily about their mental illness, but it definitely discusses their suicide. Here is that link:: Paper on Woolf and Van Gogh.

As Vivienne states, “among Holly’s rich file of essays, the ones that seemed most vividly and clearly to illustrate the everyday struggles of adolescents to get along with parents, friends and teachers, and to clarify their feelings about identity, self-worth, morality and other personal values, even about the use of drugs, were Vivienne’s.” So, “Vivienne was not an odd or strange child. There is much in this book that attests to her humor, her wisdom and empathy.” (xiv)

Using her poems, essays, diary entries, and interviews of others about her, I want to sketch in Vivienne. What kind of person was she? What were her thoughts? What was important to her? What were conditions during the last months and days of her life? In the process of making the sketch, I will match her words to her astrology. How much was exaggeration born of desperation, and how much uniquely, truly Vivienne’s condition? What was her truth?

At the end of the sketch I show the timing, the main astrological progression which tipped the weight of Vivienne’s psychology toward actually ending her life. It was a particularly painful progression, but it would have passed. Vivienne did not know it would have passed.

Now to information about Vivienne.

Vivienne’s History
She was born jaundiced because her blood type was incompatible with her mother’s.

Mrs. L. had Vivienne without anesthetic. Her “anesthetic” was music and she was surrounded by a crowd of curious and well-wishing hospital staff. Although she stated she thought Vivienne was “one of the best things that ever happened to this family,” she also said she “felt Vivienne’s alienation from her from the very beginning.” (6).

Her mother saw Vivienne as an easily satisfied infant and toddler. Her two older siblings remembered differently. According to them, she would “sit on the floor screaming for hours.” (7)

Which came first--Vivienne’s disaffection or her mother’s? It appears a chicken-and-egg question. Vivienne was the one born with indications of poor relations to women, including her own femininity. As the adult, as the major female caretaker in Vivienne’s life, however, her mother was charged with the responsibility of raising a viable child. This is a female-female and mother-daughter conflict, and it shows in Vivienne’s chart. Before looking at it, a few words about this astrology are necessary.

Astrological 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. Here is the link to the paper that discusses my take on the practical differences between the tropical (Western) and sidereal (Eastern) zodiac. Tropical vs. Sidereal Astrology: A Disucssion. 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. The Home Page gives the reasoning about the suitability for research of this method: Home Page.

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 remains 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.”

Now we can get into Vivienne's astrology.

Partial, Non-Harmonic, "Shell" Chart

Placidus: c11--21Tau, c12--25Gem, c2--15Leo, c3--12Vir b11--7Lib, b12--29Lib, b2--22Sag, b3--3Aqu

This partial chart shows MC/node/moon/saturn in her birth chart before harmonics are added. It exists in all charts. The moon and node, as lights, intensify her MC/saturn. The moon is also one form of Vivienne’s self-consciousness, so she is never far from experiencing whatever it contacts--her saturn.

Angular moon/saturn is, among other things, the primary indication of the root disaffection between Vivienne and her mother. Our moons represent our models of women. In women’s charts, they represent our models for ourselves when we become women. Moons also represent the way we relate when in habitual, comfortable surroundings. In that way, they portray our ordinary feelings, our self-acceptance and comfort in existing as we are. Saturn represents rigidity and is antithetical to feeling. Saturn with the moon says that our feelings are not all right. We are not all right. And we are not all right almost all the time. With this condition, we--and others--quash our feelings, our spontaneity, until petrification of self is habitual. Angular, it means this process starts in infancy. Feelings are, by nature, fluid. An astrology that indicates they are frozen shows an individual unconsciously pitted against herself. That is difficult for any one, but it is particularly harsh for females because women--as mothers, caretakers, mediators, and even good lovers--are cast primarily in the feeling mode in contradistinction to men, cast primarily in the thinking mode. If she is not allowed, or does not even know her true feelings, she is bereft of a major source of her self-acceptance. She cannot love herself. If she cannot love herself, how can she love any one else?

So, divorced from, alienated from her own feelings--an unnatural void if there ever was one--Vivienne is constantly trying to get them from others. Naturally, this does not work very well. In being needy all the time--which Vivienne is--she alienates those around her, further reducing her already slim chance of other- and, in youth, self-acceptance.

When an individual has an Angle progressed to saturn, the darkest part of the progression is when it is exactly conjunct (or square, or opposition). As a progression, it passes, usually within three months to a year for progressed Angle to saturn. (Progressing harmonic and non-harmonic saturns to Angles usually take longer--anywhere from several months to a decade.) As a condition one is born with, as Vivienne was, her Angle/saturn never passes. True, her birth saturn was retrograde, therefore progressing away from her B MC, which should have lessened its potency. That, however, turned out to have negative consequences in its harmonic form.

Since this condition--MC/node/moon/saturn--in Vivienne’s chart is so important in her psychology and is in all her charts, let’s explore it a little more.

The tone of life-long Angle/moon/saturn is represented by what happened to one unfortunate woman in New York City. She was walking by a construction site when one of the huge cranes toppled. It fell on her legs, pinning her in a pit for hours before she was freed. She lost both legs and nearly died from shock before being freed, but lived. Like the woman pinned under the giant crane, the woman with ligthted Angle/saturn has an enormous desire to get up and move on. She cannot, however, because an overwhelming weight holds her down. Whatever existence she has is an existence in a state of emergency.

Changing metaphors, individuals not born with light/saturn on an Angle experience progressed Angle to one of their internal saturns in different ways, depending on how much other affliction exists in their chart at the time.

Some one with little or no affliction is riding in a luxury liner. When her Angle progresses to a non-forefront saturn and only that, the liner’s pool develops a leak and is closed for the trip. She cannot go for her daily swim. Or, the liner is forced to delay at some port for a week, messing up her connecting schedules. It is an inconvenience, but not much more, and, in time, she will forget about it.
Someone with moderate other affliction in her chart--when Angle progresses to saturn--experience anything from obstacles (“Will this never end?), to depression, over-work, crises in health, problems with children, job problems, delayed shipments--all depending on which houses are most influenced. She is riding in a schooner in a short, but turbulent storm. It is a rough experience. She even wonders if she will live through it. But it passes and she recovers her balance. She remembers how rough it was, but since the experience was atypical of her life, she regains her optimism about her life and her abilities.
Some one born with light/saturn already on an Angle, as was the case with Vivienne, are in a row boat, often alone, in a storm. When their Angle progresses to a second saturn--as has to happen, and as happened to the others in the above examples--her boat develops a serious leak. Her original Angle/saturn, because it influenced her life from the very beginning, put her in the row boat in the storm. Her new, progressed Angle/saturn sponsored the leak. Naturally, she feels like she is about to drown.

These are, of course, gross over-simplifications. It is not good to glamorize the apparent easy existence of others. We all have the same number of saturns in our charts. Saturn is usually difficult, sometimes very painful for every one. It is saturn’s “job” to challenge our ideas of ourselves and our world. It does this by messing with, sometimes sinking beyond retrieval, our property, love, ideals, careers, schedules, and so on. Forefront lighted saturn, however, as Vivienne had, gives the individual little surcease from life-as-an-emergency. So, the above is an over-simplification, but it is a metaphor suitable for illustrating the problem individuals starting out with Angular light/saturn experience with their “vehicle.” When they experience a second Angle to saturn, they then have two. Being that needy, they are a nuisance to be around. They are in one crisis after another, never--as Vivienne states in her second from last poem, below--getting to living.

On the positive side, an individual born with Angle/saturn usually works very hard. When she is older, it is usually at jobs below her capacity because the condition undermines self-confidence and is anti-magnetic. She is serious. She is not, however, good at playing.

An additional question is raised by individuals with so much forefront saturn, like Vivienne. I cannot answer it, but I can ask it. Was the incompatibility of her blood with her mother’s, and Vivienne’s consequent jaundice at birth, the physical expression of her “incompatibility” with her mother? Jupiter and saturn form a pair which astrology shows in many ways opposite to each other. Jupiter sponsors expansion; saturn, contraction. Jupiter means help from others; saturn, abandonment. Jupiter on an Angle foster success, self-confidence and well-being; saturn, failure, low self-esteem, fear, depression, and inadequacy. Using an old astrological paradigm, I correlated the planets with the endocrine glands in my paper, “Sarah.” There, saturn is correlated with the anterior pituitary; jupiter, with the posterior pituitary (and the moon with the pancreas). The liver is not an endocrine gland, and I have no idea what, if any, effect the endocrine glands have on liver function, but surely jupiter is also correlated with the liver. Jupiterian individuals are “jovial”; saturnian ones “saturnine.” Liver extracts increase our sense of well-being and stamina (see footnote 1, below), and, in doing so, act as anti-depressants with no known bad side effects. In fact, liver supplements help repair damaged livers. Vivienne had forefront saturn, and her jupiters were almost all background, that is, were not on Angles, and did not rule Angles. So, was her neonatal jaundice a physical level expression of her later “conflict” with her mother, her Angle/node/light/saturn?

More about moon/saturn as it influences Angles and/or 4th houses is written in the following papers: The Life and Mysticism of Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld, and Heredity as Shown in the Charts of One Family.

During the summer she was two, Vivienne’s parents and brother went to Europe for 6 weeks. Vivienne and her sister were left in the care of a baby-sitter who had sat them before. Her mother remembered that upon their return, Vivienne was withdrawn and would have nothing to do with her for several days. Her comment was, “she could be stubborn.”(7) Let’s look at what was going on in Vivienne’s 10th chart the summer of her parents’ trip.

Partial Harmonic Chart for Her 10th House

Placidus: c11--21Tau, c12--25Gem, c2--15Leo, c3--12Vir b11--7Lib, b12--29Lib, b2--22Sag, b3--3Aqu

This, the 10th chart, as a harmonic magnification, gives us additional, often unique, information about our experience of our mother. Harmonic node added to her original Angle/node/moon/saturn confirms Vivienne’s negative (that is, not easy, not shared feeling) relationship to her mother. Addition of neptune adds a sense of powerlessness (saturn = limitations; neptune = inability to define them). In relation to her mother, Vivienne had trouble asserting and defining herself.

B10 sun conjunct the south node in Pisces shows more sense of powerlessness. In relationship to her mother, Vivienne falls (south node) toward her least sense of self (Pisces sun).

Vivienne did not state the exact dates of her parent’s trip to Europe. On 6/14/91--during that summer--pc10 mars was at 7 Gemini 54 and retrograde. On 8/14/61, Vivienne’s second birthday that same summer, pc10 mars was at 7 Gemini 13R. So, that summer it was passing through her Angle/node/moon/saturn set. She felt acutely (mars) abandoned (the Angle/saturn set) by her mother. These are not thoughts. They are feeling states. Vivienne was too young to have such thoughts. What she experienced was something like an agitation of her original sense she lived in an un-supported (saturn), unfriendly, world. Let’s look at the chart representing her experience of her father.

Partial Harmonic Chart for Her 4th House

Placidus: c11--21Tau, c12--25Gem, c2--15Leo, c3--12Vir b11--7Lib, b12--29Lib, b2--22Sag, b3--3Aqu

“From the beginning Vivienne seemed to feel an instinctive sympathy with her father.” (11) B4 venus in Pisces, it is true, shows an “instinctive (south node) sympathy (venus in Pisces)” with her father. Uranus quickens it. Mars, there, however, along with saturn--once again, looking at Vivienne’s original Angle/node/moon/saturn, indicates her sympathy not only caused her pain (mars and saturn to venus), she was also self-abnegating in relation to her father (mars in Pisces conjunct south node).

On August 14, 1961--the summer of her parents trip to Europe--Vivienne had progressed c4 mars at 18 Taurus 36 (coming from 24 Taurus 13R) opposing her B Asc. Progressed c4 saturn was at 24 Libra 27 (coming from 22 Libra 48), closely squaring her C Asc. So, this chart too--that is, both parent charts-- show forefront Angle/mars and Angle/saturn (her father), or Angle/mars/saturn (her mother) when they left her and her sister in the care of a babysitter for six weeks. Contrary to what some people believe about children that young, Vivienne did not “adapt.” .

On the plus side, Vivienne has sun conjunct venus conjunct jupiter in Libra (all non-harmonic: c venus - 15 Libra 15, c sun 17 - Libra 05, c jupiter - 17 Libra 46). Sun/venus/jupiter is a lovely conjunction. It was, however, buried in c 4th/b 11th. None of its planets ruled an Angle. In Libra it implied Vivienne would some day find her ideal mate--lover and friend, but its lack of Angular influence made this wonderful set essentially unavailable to Vivienne. She was idealistic about sex and wanted to wait for love before engaging in sex (this was the early 70’s when more and more teens engaged in sex), but her idealism about love is also represented by her lighted neptune (idealism) in Libra (partners) in her 3rd house (thinking). She saw her sun/venus/jupiter as belonging to special others. She projected its power onto friends (11th house), seeing them as “perfect.” She also appeared to project it onto her favorite teacher, John M., discussed below.

Aspects to our sun represent models we form of men through our experience of our father. Both benefics conjunct it imply her father was, if not actually helpful (harmonics indicate problems), at least not so active a problem.

Before leaving this section, I should state more about suns and moons as they represent our experience of male and female. Men can assume more responsibility for their moons. That is, instead of projecting most of their feelings onto the women in their lives, can experience them themselves. Woman can assume responsibility for their suns, assuming more initative and action for themselves rather than letting the man in their life represent them. Individuals who do seem better balanced. They are not just passive and not just aggressive. We start out, however, projecting these qualities onto the opposite sex because that is the way we learned them, from our male and female parents.

When she was 4-1/2 years old, Vivienne’s maternal grandfather died. When her mother became upset, Vivienne began to cry. When they arrived at the hospital too late--he was dead--Vivienne could not be consoled. A little later, talking with a family friend, her mother spoke of how much she missed her father. “Vivienne cried and cried and cried. I thought she was going to be physically sick.”(8) Let’s look at the astrology which shows this.

Partial Harmonic Chart for Her 3rd House

Placidus: c11--21Tau, c12--25Gem, c2--15Leo, c3--12Vir b11--7Lib, b12--29Lib, b2--22Sag, b3--3Aqu

This chart is the harmonic enlargement of Vivienne’s 3rd house. It shows mental traits not always apparent in non-harmonic 3rd houses. Vivienne’s C Asc is conjunct neptune and uranus in b 8th house. It shows a porosity (neptune) to other’s emotions (8th), perhaps especially to grief and death (8th). Uranus quickens it, making her open to sudden emotional connections. B uranus rules her b 3rd house, so her thinking (3rd house) is tied to her 8th house sensitivity, subjecting her to acute and sudden (uranus) floods of emotional connection which overwhelm thinking.

Why isn’t Vivienne psychotic? After all, she has harmonic neptune conjunct her Asc in her 3rd chart. Harmonic neptune on an Angle in the 3rd chart is one of the indications of schizophrenia. Perhaps it is that neptune is not alone, but with uranus and the sun. The tendency to get lost in free-floating ideation sponsored by neptune would be brought up short by the reality of uranus, which represents an entirely different--intuitive, insightful--mode of mentation. Also, in all the charts I had for schizophrenia, the light involved was either a node or the moon, not the sun. Finally, her 1st chart--the other chart involved in evaluating schizophrenic tendencies--has harmonic sun conjunct harmonic jupiter and harmonic venus in her 3rd house in Virgo. That implies a powerful (venus/jupiter) critical faculty (Virgo)--the opposite of neptunian and schizophrenic. This latter condition is probably partly the source of her witty sarcasm.

When Vivienne was in the 1st grade, the family moved to Melrose, a predominantly Catholic community north of Boston. The L’s were Unitarian. Her father said, “we were different from every one else.”(9) How does that show up in her astrology?

Partial Non-Harmonic, "Shell" Chart

Placidus: c11--21Tau, c12--25Gem, c2--15Leo, c3--12Vir b11--7Lib, b12--29Lib, b2--22Sag, b3--3Aqu

Note Vivienne has both non-harmonic saturns--c saturn, and b moon conjunct b saturn--in her 1st house. They show the impact of “we were different from every one else” on Vivienne. In childhood (1st house) she encounters alienation and not belonging (saturn). Both saturns have 8th house implications--c saturn is in Scorpio, natural ruler of the 8th, and b saturn is conjunct moon, co-ruler of b 8th. So their impact is primarily emotional rather than, say, physical. There was no indication Vivienne’s life was threatened physically as happens with some children with 1st house saturn.

Saturn in the 1st house is often forefront for children who move frequently. It symbolizes their reaction to frequent uprooting. Connecting and belonging take time. Frequent moves annihilate that time. A similar effect is observed in plants that are re-potted frequently--they suffer transplant shock. When they do, the plant withers, and sometimes even dies. With children, the shock is less if family bonds are strong. In Vivienne’s case feeling a stranger started with her family, so moving made it much worse.

Her wish she could be different--more demonstrative in her caring--is shown in the following poem:

July 2, 1971 (she is almost 12 years old)

I’ve got to help my brother
He needs it real bad.
For me to see him so
Makes my soul feel sad

I’ve got a whole lot of love
And I can’t keep it in
Don’t know how to give it
Not even to my kin!

Oh, it’s so sad....
So very sad;
That I don’t know how to love.

Before going any further, I should show you Vivienne’s astrology for being a poet.

Partial Harmonic Chart for Her 7th House

Placidus: c11--21Tau, c12--25Gem, c2--15Leo, c3--12Vir b11--7Lib, b12--29Lib, b2--22Sag, b3--3Aqu

In the above set--C MC/moon/mercury/moon/venus/neptune--c moon rules C Asc, b mercury rules B MC, and c venus co-rules c 3rd house (14 of 32°). Poetry is sponsored by light/mercury/venus influencing the 3rd house. Being known for it--publishing--requires a 10th house connection. Neptune supplies part of the “Pisces” part of the larger signature for poets, but so does her b7 mercury (ruler of her B MC) in Pisces conjunct her south node. (South node alone cannot supply the Pisces part.) The set’s influence to two Angles shows Vivienne would be published. Indeed, her poetry was published in the book by Mack and Hickler, and, if Hickler’s anthology was published, in her anthology. Had Vivienne lived, she could have continued to be published.

Her Pisces mercury also rules her 8th house. It is another indication she is ultimately defenseless (Pisces) in her receptivity to others’ feelings (8th), losing her sense of self in the process.

Returning to general statements about Vivienne:

She sucked her thumb so much she was taken to an orthodontist when she was in the second grade. Laurel remembered Vivienne’s four to five years of “pain and humiliation.” She was the butt of playground jokes. She developed a sarcastic wit. (So) Vivienne became increasingly bookish.(10)

Her father’s considered everything carefully and was slow in making decisions.(11)

Her mother was impatient by nature. She spent as much time as she could with her art (10), but was always tired and sick. She had a tendency to make others feel guilty for this. One of her mother’s later statements about Vivienne: “I thought of her as a confidante.” (11) Here’s Vivienne’s poem about being the confidante (she was confidante to others besides her mother):

I looked
I listened
I thought
I reflected

Each person
Each problem
Each wonder
Not neglected

Until I
These things
I selected

I never become
Too involved
In thinking
Because I always
Draw back, in an
Unconscious effort
To keep sanity (19)

Those last three lines are related to her C Asc conjunct neptune and uranus in b 8th house, her “over”-sensitivity to the emotions of others. But that same set also inclines her in the first place to be involved in the inner world of others.

Mrs. L was an aspiring artist herself. Her aim (then, when the kids were young and she was struggling to maintain her art) was to create art that would last for generations.(13) It is ironic. Vivienne, her daughter, was one of her “works of art” whose poetry might have lasted for generations. The realization of that may have accounted for some of Mrs. L’s enthusiasm in assisting Holly Hickler collect for publication Vivienne’s writing.

Returning to general statements, a family motif was that sharing everything was important, so there was little privacy. Sharing, honesty, and the importance of being an individual were all family ideals, as was education. (15)

The family was relaxed about their physical bodies. At home they might go around nude. Sexuality was a different matter, however. The book does not state how different. It was clear Vivienne’s mother was the dominant parent. Her father was a more pensive, hesitant individual. The children’s response to family order-- “Rob rebelled. Laurel turned to others and rebelled. Vivienne became the family idealist and puritan, that is, she did not believe in sex without deep love.” (15-16)

I discussed Vivienne’s feeling about sex and love above. There is another influence.

Vivienne’s b and c saturns are in c 5th house (as well as b 1st house). They show her conservatism (saturn) toward sexuality (5th). That 1st/5th dual placement also suggested a possibly deadening and/or painful (saturn) sexual (5th house) trauma in childhood (1st house). When she was ten, during a home visit the family doctor noticed Vivienne’s tummy was swollen. He asked her mother to bring her in for an examination. Unknown to her mother (who was outside the examining room), Vivienne was given a full gynecological examination. Astrologically it showed up in both 5th houses, as the following (for estimated date, 11/14/69, age 10 years, 3 months):

(a)C MC14 Aries 05in b 5th house
pb7 mars13 Aries 50ruler of b 5th house

(b)pb mars28 Leo 12ruler of B Asc and b 5th house
c saturn28 Scorpio 48in c 5th house in Scorpio
pb7 moon27 Aquarius 58

After that Vivienne was not open to any kind of physical examination.

Returning to general information:

During her 6th grade year, Vivienne’s parents put her and her sister in a small, private, liberal school founded on Quaker principles. Children in that school were the children of professional people, of Harvard and MIT faculty. Once in the school, Vivienne changed immediately. She became more outgoing, more self-confident. It was there she met teacher John M., a conscientious objector from California working part-time as a teacher and doing his alternate service (from the Viet Nam war) as an X-ray technician. All the students loved being in John M.’s classes. He was good at developing the kids’ talents and sense of self. Vivienne adored him. Her mother thought Vivienne truly in love with him, as did a friend.

In the spring of that year, while still in the 6th grade, Vivienne began to express feelings and ideas in her journals. Here is a poem from May 12, 1971 (age 11 going on 12) :

Where am I?
Would I do better there?
Am I in my place?

Does anybody
Move from their mold?
Do people know
Their changes?

My place is
My being and
My life is the
Existence of my Being (17)

I think teacher John M’s influence on Vivienne, by timing, is represented by progression of Vivienne’s c sun to a conjunction her b jupiter in Libra. Both co-rule 1st houses, showing Vivienne’s growing sense of being--after all--a somebody.

Vivienne wrote John M. the following summer during vacation (summer, 1971). She was a sophisticated letter writer. Her letters contained news, teasing, and sharing of some of her deepest thoughts. She entered the 7th grade with greater self-confidence.(28)

In the late fall of 1971, however, she learned John M. would be relocating back to California at the end of the school year. Her next journal entry contains her first hints of suicide, grief, and anger.

John M. left mid-winter (1971-1972) rather than spring, and Vivienne, because of a family move, was going to have to leave her school after her spring graduation. She applied to another private school in Massachusetts. In her application she wrote of her love for poetry, “this is sometimes very hard, like gravel in a deep wound, because the world is often harsh, but poetry is extremely beautiful..."(52)

For an essay asking her to discuss a book she had read, she chose Elie Wiesel’s “The Accident,” which affected her profoundly. She stated in her application: “Personally, I find this to be an especially interesting subject, as I am drawn to death and all that is unknown about it.” (52)

We want, astrologically, to examine Vivienne’s statement, “I am drawn to death...” Scorpio and the 8th house is the sign and house, respectively, related to merging, re-shaping, forfeiting or losing our identity. We entertain its possible sorrows because of its possible joys--union and shared reality. So the 8th represents transformations in our I-identity to some form of we-identity. Both the 8th and Scorpio also have a correlation with death because death is also a transformation. One can believe death is the end of existence, or one can believe death the beginning of a different type of existence, but there is no question death itself represents a transformation. So, in examining Vivienne’s attraction to death, we want first to examine her general 8th house and Scorpio influences.

Non-Harmonic, "Shell" Chart

Placidus: c11--21Tau, c12--25Gem, c2--15Leo, c3--12Vir b11--7Lib, b12--29Lib, b2--22Sag, b3--3Aqu

We have seen already, in earlier charts above, that Vivienne has double 8th house influences (through her saturns) in her b 1st house. C saturn is in Scorpio. B saturn is conjunct b moon, co-ruler of b 8th house (30 of 41°) These, however, are negative. They bring her awareness to the fact she is not merged and does not belong. Something else we know already--her C Asc is in b 8th house, which focuses her attention on belonging and emotional sharing. Another “8th” influence is her B Asc in Scorpio, an 8th sign. Together these show considerable focus on the 8th house matters. The first cruelly disconnects her from others; the second floods her identity too much with others. What else?

That covers her general, non-harmonic 8th/Scorpio predilections. They are considerable. Much of her is referenced to death, transformations, merging, belonging, and defining one’s self through what is shared vitally with others.

Some one might ask, what does her 8th chart look like? I have done very little work with the 8th chart, so cannot say much. Benefic influence is forefront in the 8th chart for lottery winners. Vivienne has c8 saturn at 18 Aquarius 00 closely squaring her B Asc. She has c8 south node at 9 Sagittarius 29, picking up her non-harmonic conjunction of moon and saturn in Sagittarius and squaring her MC/north node. Add in c8 mars at 10 Gemini 21. Those three harmonic additions constitute two extra saturn influences and one mars, and give her an afflicted 8th chart. Her harmonic benefics in this chart are all in the background. This was not, however, her most afflicted chart at the time of her death.

Vivienne has another important--this time harmonic--8th house influence in her 7th chart. It represents her most active, literal astrological condition portraying being “drawn to death.” It is in her 3rd chart (of mind). We already looked at this chart as it portrayed her sudden, intense emotional flooding through identification with the strong feelings of others. Now we look at another part of it:

Partial Harmonic Chart for Her 3rd House

Placidus: c11--21Tau, c12--25Gem, c2--15Leo, c3--12Vir b11--7Lib, b12--29Lib, b2--22Sag, b3--3Aqu

The planets around her B Asc show venus (love of), mars (anger), mercury (thoughts of) all in Scorpio (transformations). Mars rules B Asc. Venus rules b 7th house. Neither is too much of a problem in terms of rulership. But mercury rules c 3rd house, and, once again, correlates her thinking (mercury) with transformations (Scorpio). The presence of the south node means she habitually (south node) falls into this pattern of thought.

So, this harmonic chart powerfully “develops” her original, non-harmonic 8th house propensity to refer her ideation to matters involving Scorpio and the 8th house.

Harmonic south nodes in Scorpio--or, conversely, harmonic planets in Scorpio falling on a previously un-tenanted non-harmonic south node in Scorpio--can be potent. At the risk of losing the thread in discussing Vivienne, I include another example which illustrates this with another teen suicide. Her death (Scorpio) was her perceived (south node) solution (4th house) to her problem. It was not the only solution.

The young woman whose partial chart is shown below was four months pregnant and 16 years old when she hanged herself on April 28, 1990. The data source does not give her name. She is labeled “Suicide Hanged, #14586.” Information given was that she was highly gifted and talented, a cheerleader, and very popular. Her parents forbid her to see the father of her unborn child. That is all we know. Below is her Scorpio emphasis:

Teenage Female Suicide, Hanged -- #14586
Partial Harmonic Chart for Her 7th House

Placidus: c11--1Aqu, c12--6Pis, c2--18Tau, c3--11Gem b11--14Gem, b12--15Can, b2--8Vir, b3--8Lib

Note her conjunction of south node in Scorpio with moon, neptune, and uranus. Like Vivienne’s, it falls in a 4th house--b 4th, but hers has a c 7th (relationships) overlap. C moon rules c 4th house. B neptune rules b 8th house. It is already Angular, involving, as it does, B MC and C Asc. Sun rules B Asc, which is already forefront.

When this young woman killed herself (and, presumably, her unborn child, but perhaps she was forced to abort it) she had progressed B MC at 26 Taurus 46 in early conjunction to b saturn at 27 Taurus 13 (co-ruler of b 5th [sex life, children], 15 of 31°). Progressed c7 mars (ruler of C Asc in b 9th house) was at 20 Capricorn 31 conjunct progressed C MC at 20 Capricorn 52, giving her two Angle/mars influences. Progressed C Asc, at 10 Taurus 24, had reached a conjunction to her B MC, shown above. With it, her south node in Scorpio conjunct moon, uranus, and neptune is on three Angles--the orignal two, plus one by progression.

Children with such south node/Scorpio/4th/8th influence need special protection until they reach maturity. They could also benefit from truly understanding that their most reasonable (south node), dominant (south node) view of problems does not always provide them the best solution. They could perhaps best learn this from older individuals like them who have survived the urge to suicide.

Returning to Vivienne:

There is another interpretation which I do not presently know how to develop. Rather, it is tentative. Her 3rd chart harmonic venus and mars, above, are derived from her close conjunction of birth venus and mars (venus at 21 Leo 39, mars at 21 Leo 41), which are in b 9th/c2nd house. Mars rules her b 5th house. In her 7th chart of relationships, they are lighted by an opposition of c7 moon at 17 Aquarius 53. This brings them into orb with her B Asc. The implication is Vivienne has a powerful sexuality. It was distorted by her 1st/5th saturns and complicated by her idealization of relationship. In her 3rd chart harmonics, when they come out in Scorpio on her Asc, the suggestion is her wish for “transformation” was the transformation of the deep and powerful sexuality of love. South nodes’ involvement represents a kind of expectation of that. That desire may have been part of her love for the teacher, John M. Thwarted completely, without the ability, or guidance, to channel it positively elsewhere, it would have caused her serious imbalance.

Returning to general information about Vivienne:

Shortly after sending in her application to the last school, she wrote an overdue book report on The Accident. She wrote, “in the first place, reading the book made me realize that now [emphasis hers], if someone should live for death or in it willingly, I would understand them perfectly. live in a world where everything is surface, irrelevant, and is easy to turn to death.” (53)

To some one with forefront saturn, others live in a “surface” world, especially since she is not a part of their world. To some one with all that Scorpio/8th influence, the desire to get beyond surface is tremendous.

Teacher John M., instead of leaving at the end of the year, left instead during the winter of Vivienne’s 8th grade. That was 1972-73. In the beginning months of 1973, “Vivienne appeared more independent and cheerful. But her poetry and journal entries starting from April tell of loneliness and deepening despair.” (54)

On April 11, 1973 she wrote in her journal: “I am worthless. I am of no use to anyone and no one is of any use to me. What good to kill myself? How can you kill nothing?(63) Feelings of worthlessness of this magnitude are often indexed to forefront saturn. Her progressed B Asc on that date was at 28 Scorpio 14, a little over 1/2° before a conjunction to c saturn. So, she had just begun to experience it.

In a poem on the same date she wrote : “To keep on living an empty life takes patience from an empty person.” (63) (More saturn.) And: “It takes tolerance not to give in to death.” (63) (South node/mercury/venus/mars in Scorpio conjunct B Asc).

In May of that year she wrote John M.--then permanently in California--of her increasing despair: “It’s funny, but I’ve really gone to pieces.” (68) It was during May that Vivienne’s progressed C Asc made its exact square to her c mercury in Scorpio, ruler of her c 3rd house in her c 4th/ b 12th. Her thinking (mercury) has turned toward death (Scorpio) as the ultimate answer (4th house). It had negative consequences (12th) for her. 12th involvement can also be interpreted she kept silent about it.

July 9, 1973 her journal contains its first description of an attempt to strangle herself. The next day she wrote John M. and described it in detail. (71)

Before leaving with the family for Maine to their summer cottage, Vivienne wrote a poem:

It’s my place to know
Consistent emptiness and loss
Within my soul

It is my place, also
To know Joy just before it vanishes
And sorrow just before it appears
Within my soul

In my state of emptiness and loss
I live in the past
In what is beautiful and with grace
Never living today
Which will soon be past
Never present again

”I seek you, to make me live in the present
Which will soon be past”
This I say
From within my soul (99)

This poem is the definitive poem of Vivienne’s life. She speaks of the fleetingness of joy, the omnipresence of sorrow and emptiness. She says she is stuck in the past (her Angle/light/saturn) and needs help to get to the present. It also shows her deep desire for (sexual?) relationship--conscious or unconscious--which would “make me live in the present.”

While at the summer cottage in Maine, during a fight with her sister, Vivienne overdosed on some prescription pills. Their parents were away at the time. They were called and returned immediately to the cottage, where all of them spent the night talking. But, the book points out, Laurel’s problem overshadowed Vivienne’s suicide attempt. This was not all Laurel’s fault. Vivienne herself told her parents she took the pills because of Laurel’s problem. They accepted her explanation.

At summer’s end her mother set up a program for Vivienne: sailing, handicrafts, think about the world, write John M. (Vivienne wrote of the walks and sailing and weaving that they left her too much time to think (97).

At the end of August her father decided to take the ministry in Gloucester. That meant they would have to move. Their move was planned for December.

Vivienne started at the new school in September, commuting prior to moving. Her first English paper read aloud was about suicide.

It was there, at the new school, that Vivienne met her friend Anne, whose older sister had committed suicide in August. Vivienne and Anne formed an immediate and intense bond.

In school both Anne and Vivienne appeared healthy teenagers. They were thoughtful, good humored and articulate. At home both complained of loneliness. Vivienne complained that at home nothing distracted her from her depression. She was also frightened by her sudden, precipitous mood swings. She felt without control, like a robot.(108)

Vivienne’s letter of December 2 to John M. made a cavalier reference to hanging herself. She attempted to strangle herself again on December 7.(111)

In reading her published writing, I noticed her how cool, calm, and studied were her attempts at strangulation. She pushed the envelope a little further each time. After each attempt, she confronted and eventually overcame the new sensations which had previously frightened her and forced her to remain alive.

Vivienne wrote John M. about the December 7 strangulation (see Appendix), but did not mail the letter until December 19. He received the letter the day after she died.

School ended for Christmas on Tuesday, Dec. 18. The family was set to move the day after Christmas. Vivienne’s suicide was on Friday, December 21. Her two major, non-harmonic progressions for suicide were:

(a)pB Asc28 Scorpio 47
c saturn28 Scorpio 48ruler of c 7th house

(b)C Asc24 Cancer
pb mercury23 Cancer 59ruler of B MC and b 8th house
pb uranus23 Cancer 41ruler of b 3rd house

(a) shows she was dead center in her progression of Angle to saturn, at the darkest point of its contact. It is in the 1st/5th house and rules her c 7th house. She feels utterly failed emotionally (Scorpio) by relationships (5th and 7th), but feels she is the problem (1st), the worthless one. This is her main progressions for death, the one that made her believe things would never get better.

(b) gives her another 3rd (mercury)/8th house influence. It shows her mentation (uranus, ruler of b 3rd house and progressed mercury) was intensely focused on 8th house matters (Asc in 8th)--transformations. It also indicated her need for tender (Cancer), intense (8th) connection to another, if not others. Unable to transform, she resorted to the other transformation, death.

In fact, she has more 3rd/8th connections in her pre-progressed charts. Her 7th chart (relations with others) has c7 mercury (ruler of c 3rd) at 10 Sagittarius 38, involving it in her MC/node/moon/saturn, where moon co-rules b 8th. And her 1st (identity) chart has b1 mercury (ruler of b 8th, natural 3rd ruler) at 10 Sagittarius 43 .

Vivienne’s 1st chart (identity) was the most afflicted at the time of her death. In addition to (a) and (b) above--which occur in all charts because they are non-harmonic, she had pb1 saturn at 18 Aquarius 57 (coming from 19 Aquarius 55), closing in on the exact square to her B Asc. And, she had this

(c)pb mars0 Virgo 49ruler of b 5th and B Asc in c 4th house
b1 neptune0 Virgo 42ruler of b 4th house
pb1 NN0 Gemini 36
pc1 saturn0 Sagittarius 27ruler of c 7th house

This shows Angular influence and double 4th influence of lighted mars/saturn/neptune. She appeared calm, but she was very disturbed (mars/saturn/neptune).

(a) and (b)--repeat her main conflict. They combine alienation, deadening, and loss of self-esteem (Angle/saturn) with intense desire for the relatedness, balance and the aliveness of close emotional communion. Finally, her Scorpio/3rd/8th sets make thoughts (3rd) of death (Scorpio/8th) “natural” to her. Her death was her final attempt at a meaningful transformation. One of her final poems was:

The wind shall scatter them
Ten thousand times

Passive assent
Is less than living
When rage is half of life

The day has splintered
One thousand pieces
Beyond recognition
And nothing more shall be

Life is lost in dried flowers;
Brittle and faded stars
Have lost their riches
The winds have scattered

Written in the last three weeks of her life, with this poem Vivienne is saying something similar to what Charles Whitman wrote in his journal the day he murdered his wife and mother and ascended the University of Texas tower to murder so many more people. He wrote, “I never could quite make it.” It was Vivienne--not the day--that was splintered one thousand pieces beyond recognition. She “couldn’t make it.”

Many found Vivienne easy to talk to. She, on the other hand, found no one listened when--because of the added weight of her progressed Ascendant to saturn in Scorpio--she was desperate for it. That is, perhaps, not altogether fair. With some, among them her parents, she was unable to convey the magnitude of her alarm and distress. With others, among them her peers, she was convincing, but they were caught in honoring her stated justifications for dying.

Vivienne had a peculiar combination of contradictory forces in her chart. On the one hand, her Angular node/moon/saturn, encouraging her to deny her own feelings as it did, disconnected her from comfortable, easy-going relationship with others. On the other, her conception Ascendant in Cancer, particularly in the 8th house, gave her immediate and sometimes overwhelming access to the emotional reality of others. Conjunct uranus, it brought sudden, overwhelming surges of identification, as demonstrated in her excessive sense of loss when, still a child, her maternal grandfather died. Neptune also conjunct it in her 3rd chart intensified her loss of identity when involved in the emotions of others. As one of the poems above states, she drew back in order to “keep her sanity.”

This 8th house condition, along with her two non-harmonic south nodes in Pisces imply that Vivienne, for all her precocious wisdom and analytical ability, had trouble keeping a separate sense of self. Virgo north nodes (implied in Pisces south nodes) indicate the individual needs more discrimination in order to achieve that magical state-- mentioned in many religions--of poise and balance, the middle way. They need, each time, to look at details, to weigh, to consider, and, above all, through that to avoid falling back into their south node, Piscean lack of self-definition. It seems absurb to say Vivenne lacked discrimination. Even at fourteen she had a keen eye for the narcissism and pomposity of others. She could not, however, use it in her relations with others. Knowing all she did of their shortcomings, she still judged herself severely by the poverty of their response to her suicide attempts.

The really devilish conditions in Vivienne’s charts which made suicide easier for her than it would be for others were twofold. First, her multpile 3rd/8th house referencing inclined her thinking in terms of deep transformations. Second, her conjunction in Scorpio of south node, mercury, venus and mars to her birth Ascendant in the 4th house in her 3rd chart. It made thoughts of dissolution, “death” familiar. It made death something not to be feared. She had a memory (south node) of having experienced it before.

Vivienne was drawn to death because that is where she was coming from. In order to live this life, to counterbalance that particular tendency in her 3rd chart, she needed anchoring in Taurus--having, earthiness, a kind of “I have my self, this self, this worthy self” (independent of what I have with others). Even, “as a self I have weight, solidity.” Exactly what she could have done to find that, I do not know. I do know the form is very important. When the individual finds the right (north node) behavior, it feels like finding water when one is dying of thirst. Having that right form, for each of us, is enough to get us through many and severe tribulations.

Her reaction to progressed Angle to saturn was not unique to Vivienne. We all feel less worthy, even worthless, when under saturn’s forefront influence. Some times it takes a form, however, that draws sympathy from others: a serious illness, a death in the family, unforeseen and apparently unfair obstacles. Which form it takes depends on houses emphasized. When it takes the form, as it did for Vivienne, of emotional alienation (obligingly accompanied by rejection by others), of feeling completely isolated and alone, it is almost all inner. Attempts to communicate it and seek remedy are often met with responses like, “get over it. Get busy. Stop feeling sorry for yourself.”

Some times that mild imperative shocks the individual into action which can help. Some times it does not help. If it does not, the individual is then caught in a catch-22. If she talks about how desperate she is, she further diminishes herself in the eyes of others, increasing her emotional isolation. That was the case with Vivienne. In reading the book it is apparent that--carefully, cautiously--she begged for help, but she was afraid--as we all are when that vulnerable--of more rejection.

There is more. The individual caught between her intense suffering and the (apparent) indifference of loved ones around her “supposed to care” experiences fierce anger. Vivienne suggests this in the poem immediately above, in her line, “when rage is half of life.”

Vivienne was aware of the intense suffering suicide causes for the family of the suicide. She had, after all, a very close friendship with Anne, whose sister had committed suicide in August. Anne had told Vivienne, in their discussions, that suicide for herself was out of the question because she saw how much suffering her sister’s suicide caused her family. I believe Dr. Mack implies, and I concur, it was not an accident that Vivienne chose her mother’s silversmithing studio to kill herself. We know the locale of two of her other attempts--one was in the park and one in her own bedroom. Dying in her mother’s silversmithing studio, it was as if she were saying to her mother, “you chose art. I’ll show you the consequences of your choice.” It was also not an accident that she walked several times by her sister, Laurel, who was shutting her (and every one else) out by playing the piano. Vivienne trumped her sister one up. Her message was “You’re shutting me out. I’ll show you what being shut out feels like.” Consciously or unconsciously--I do not know which--these gestures were calculated, if not now, later, to inflict pain. But it was the pain she felt. Had she not felt it, she would not have wanted to inflict it on them.

Her anger toward her father took a more indirect route. Here he was--a minister--worrying over and saving others and his own daughter killed herself. His definitive comment in the book was he learned what it meant to “be utterly damned.” Actually, during the year before deciding to take the job offered in Gloucester, he was involved in his own crisis, trying to decide if he should stay in the ministry.

What about anger toward John M, her ex-teacher and correspondent? Didn’t he receive her powerful description of her last suicide attempt (see Appendix) the day after she killed herself,? Up until then, she had been fairly honest with him. Often enough, she apologized for hanging on to him, but said she needed help. On the other hand, did the fact she finally sent that letter--her December 7 suicide attempt--push her resolve to end her life? After all, what if he received that letter and still didn’t respond with appropriate concern? That would be utter humiliation. Better to die than confirm one is prized so little.

Teenagers, even adults, sometimes use threats of suicide as a means of getting attention when they do not really intend to kill themselves. They simply use the threat because they do not know a better way. It can degenerate into a form of emotional blackmail. Perhaps because of that, rather than responding with concern--especially concern that sees that the individual gets appropriate help--people instinctively draw away from those who make such threats.

Some individuals, on the other hand--as we have seen recently with teenagers threatening homicide--mean what they say. Their violent statements are their final attempts to communicate that something is really wrong with their reality. We may not like their reality, but we deny it totally at our own peril. When their horrible (if you love some one, their talk of murder or suicide has to be horrible) statements get no response, or worse yet, rejection, they become caught in the vicious cycle of assertion, denial by others, intensification, more denial, and finally, self-validation, even if that means death. In both cases, they appear to say, “better death than more humiliation.” In addition they are saying, “all right, you treat me as if I do not exist. Therefore, I will not exist. Live with that.” In the case of suicide that is terrible enough. In the cases of homicide, so many more individuals suffer.

People caught in this cycle are often quite honest--in bits and pieces deposited as statements among family, friends, and even acquaintances--about what they are experiencing. Their statements sound unwarranted to individuals not having their experience. If we want to help them break the cycle, we have, first, to accept--not foster, but acknowledge--where they are coming from. It is simply a matter of allowing that another’s reality can be quite different from our own. This form of astrology absolutely validates that truth.

The point is, Vivienne was telling the truth about her inner life. She really was stuck in “not living.” She really was drawn to death. Her statements, her actions were her way of asking, “Hey, does any one know anything about this?

(1) In his book, Encyclopedia of Nutritional Supplements, Michael T. Murray, N.D. cites six studies about the beneficial effects of liver extracts (pp. 391-393).

Vivienne: The Life and Suicide of an Adolescent Girl by John E. Mack, M.D., and Holly Hickler. Boston/Toronto :Little, Brown and Company, 1981.
At the time of publication, Mack was professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, and taught it at Cambridge Hospital as well as at Cambrige-Somerville Mental Health and Retardation Center.
Holly Hickler was a teacher at the Cambridge School, Weston, MA, which Vivienne attended the several months before her suicide.

Below is Vivienne’s description of her suicide attempt written in her letter to John M., dated December 11, 1973:

“...My parents were surprised to see me home so soon. I told them that I wasn’t feeling well and went upstairs. And then it happened. Even though I have gone over and over suicide in the last three months or so and developed what I would consider a logical and socially acceptable attitude on the matter, it all seemed to leave me in a second. I happened to be standing by my mirror. I looked at myself with a sort of wince, and then, almost mechanically, my hands stretched round my throat and centered in for what seemed a long while. And then the ringing in my ears stopped and everything became soft and hazy and I could just make out my head in the mirror, like a separate, bloated object. I started swaying (with no rhythm to it) and I fell into my bedpost and boxes on the floor etc. Unconsciously, I put out my hand to steady myself, and in so doing, started up my circulation. This in turn started me jolting uncontrollably, while still swaying I caught hold of the mirror and my jolts sent the mirror crashing against the wall. KRSHSH KRSHSH! again and again. As soon as I could I stopped it because it was so loud. Then I went though my sister’s drawers til I found a long silk scarf. I tucked it up my sleeve so you couldn’t tell that it was there and left a note by my bed that said something like ‘I didn’t want you to think that it was because of you when it was only me all the time.’ Then I went downstairs and told Daddy I was going for a walk, for a short walk. He said, ‘You’ll be back soon?’ And I said ‘Yes’ even though I had no intention of it. Then I walked three blocks to a public park (because I didn’t want anybody to have the worry of a dead body on their property). A lot of people got raped and mugged there, but I figured it would probably give them a good scare to do it to a dead body. It was very cold out, but I didn’t pay any attention. I took out the scarf and wrapped it tightly around my neck and pulled as hard as I could--I was standing in the shade in case car headlights should pick me up from the road. The first couple of times were like with the mirror (everything soft and hazy--the traffic would slowly fade away to nothing) and I would eventually fall. It was weird because I could see the glass on the ground, but I couldn’t feel it at all. And then I would try to get up, but I would be jerking too spasmodically and it would take me several minutes--while all the time I was afraid somebody would come by.
Finally I got it so I was cutting off the air completely and not just the blood. But then my lungs would just about burst and I would let go. After a while I knew the whole things was useless and rather despairingly resigned myself to all the many tomorrows looming up ahead of me. I said ‘goodnight’ to the trees and ground around me and walked back home. My father asked me ‘How was your walk--feel any better?’ ’Sure.’ ‘Yuh...Sometimes a little fresh air helps...’ I could have screamed if I’d had the energy. (115-117)

Unfortunately, John M. never told Vivienne’s parents or teachers about Vivienne’s earlier suicide attempt. Even to this letter, his response was “considered” and received by her parents on January 8, 1974. The book does not give us any understanding of why he--some one who was kind and emotionally supportive--behaved the way he did. All it tells us is, discussing her suicide later in some kind of discussion group, he cried a lot.

Data Acknowledgments
Vivienne L.
Birth: 8/14/1959, 3:30 p.m. EDT, Winchendon, MA. The date and place are from the biography, p. 7. I reconstructed her time from progressions (for death) I had in an earlier, unpublished work. I cannot remember where I originally got the time. In my earlier work, I stated it was from the book, and couldn’t find it on re-examining the book. I would not have made up her time of birth. I would not have rectified her chart to find it because rectifications for unknown times of birth are too difficult with this astrology. So, I feel comfortable, but not absolutely certain, that this is her time--or very near her time--of birth, but I cannot cite its origin.
Conception:11/3/1958, 11:20:08 p.m. EST, Winchendon, MA. IN

Female Suicide, Hanged - 14586
Birth: 5/26/1973, 12:48 p.m. PDT, Los Angeles, CA. From Astrodatabank by Lois Rodden and Mark McDonough. Carol Tebbs quotes the birth certificate.
Conception:8/17/1972, 11:07:09 p.m. PDT, Los Angelse, CA.

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