We’ve had some time now to recover from the shock and horror of Adam Lanza’s actions on December 14, 2012, when he shot his way into the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, and killed 26 people before taking his own life. Twenty of the dead were six and seven years old — sweet, innocent boys and girls dreaming of what Santa might bring them at Christmas. The others were teachers, administrators, and staff at the school, most of them dying in an attempt to stop the gunman or shield their students.
But there was a 27th victim that day, one whose role is more complicated and uncertain. Before he left for the school on his mission of utter evil, Adam Lanza first shot his own mother, Nancy, as she lay sleeping in her bed in their home.
Nancy Lanza was perhaps less innocent than her son’s other victims, though certainly undeserving of her fate. But it was Nancy who removed her troubled son from the public education system and home schooled him, thus increasing the isolation he experienced due to his diagnosed Asperger’s syndrome, a mental condition on the autism spectrum. It was Nancy who became a gun enthusiast, who legally bought and registered the firearms Adam used to kill both her and the others. It was Nancy who regularly took Adam to local shooting ranges to teach him to shoot, thinking this would encourage his “responsibility.” It was Nancy who, according to her ex-sister-in-law, had become increasingly isolated herself, a “prepper” stockpiling guns, ammo, and staples, concerned about the possible effects on society of the imminent financial collapse she saw coming.
And it is Nancy whose pivotal role in the tragedy is stunningly represented by a planetary station of a minor body that shares her name, asteroid Nancy (#2056), which turned retrograde the very afternoon before Adam Lanza’s killing spree.
Whenever I encounter a news story, I look to personal named asteroids to fill in the gaps in the planetary picture. The major bodies of our system can provide the outlines of the story, the broad-brush strokes that set the tone for the event. But alongside these, sometimes in the background but often prominent in the foreground, we find asteroids that match or approximate the proper names of the people and places in these events, giving stunning detail to the picture.
In the case of the Sandy Hook shooting, no less than 45 asteroids are present and active in describing the place, the shooter, his victims, even the make of the guns he used. This level of detail is impossible to convey in one short article, so I will focus on just two celestial phenomena and how these underpinned the tragedy.
I’m going to digress from asteroid Nancy and discuss the other factor first. This involves a rare occultation of Pluto by the Moon, something I’ve written about previously for The Mountain Astrologer.
I say “rare,” and it truly is, though if you’re looking at an ephemeris right now, you may not think so. That’s because this event, literally a “hiding” of Pluto by the Moon, had not occurred in 80 years until the current sequence began in April 2012. For 19 consecutive months, until August 2013, the Moon will be occulting Pluto every time they make their monthly conjunction. Like any other type of eclipse, an occultation highlights and energizes the hidden planet, activating latent potentials and generally stirring the pot in the affairs it governs.
And with Pluto involved, this is a veritable treasure trove of hot-button issues — sexuality, taboos, spies and secrets, vast amounts of money, destructive, degenerative processes, death and decay, and murder. The Moon as the occulting body brings out Pluto’s issues in a very public, yet also intimately personal, way. Within hours of the first occultation in April 2012, an event occurred in Colombia that led to the exposure of a sex scandal involving prostitutes and the Secret Service. On the day of the May occultation, President Obama came out in favor of gay marriage. June’s occultation saw the congressional brouhaha over CIA leaks, and when the Moon occulted Pluto in July, the LIBOR rate-rigging scandal broke and Barclay’s CEO resigned. I lost track of the pattern after that, as late July brought the Aurora, Colorado movie theater shootings, the Sikh temple shootings, the Empire State Building shootings, the Wisconsin day spa shootings, and the Oregon shopping mall shootings (just three days before Sandy Hook).
The overarching energy driving all these stories is the ongoing square between Uranus and Pluto, which dominates our times. Violent, unpredictable, and destructive, this aspect has been further energized and aggravated by these monthly occultations, the latest of which occurred at 6:29 a.m. (EST) the day of Adam Lanza’s rampage.
It began when Adam Lanza murdered his mother by shooting her in the face as she lay sleeping in their home. Authorities are still uncertain about the timing of that first murder, but it must have been within hours of the occultation, as Lanza left for the school less than three hours later. The Moon/Pluto signature is all over the subsequent tragedy, with Pluto’s destruction and death being visited on various lunar-ruled entities, from the mother, to the early childhood period from which most of the victims came, to the preponderance of female victims, to the public space symbolized by the school. But we see the genesis of the atrocities most clearly in that first fateful act, depicted so simply by astrological keywords for the two planets involved in the occultation — the death (Pluto) of a mother (Moon), the hiding/occulting or extinguishing of her light forever.
The astrological story doesn’t end there. Nancy Lanza’s murder occurred the day after the asteroid Nancy made a station (this was at 1:11 p.m. EST). Stations are major turning points in the action of planetary energies, and they occur when a planet appears to slow down, come to halt, and change direction in the sky. The stationing planet spends much longer than usual at a particular degree, suffusing it with its vibration and focusing its energies on one specific area of the zodiac. Planets at station are emphasized in their effects and can attain a far greater prominence than their usual impact, becoming, in effect, the still point upon which all else revolves during the two-to-three-day period governed by the station.
When asteroid Nancy turned retrograde on December 13 at 17° Leo, it formed a grand trine composed of an exact trine to asteroid Lachesis at 17° Aries, and a second trine to a rare triple conjunction of Trans-Neptunian Object (TNO) Ixion, centaur Pholus, and asteroid Tantalus, all at 19° Sagittarius. These points are extraordinarily apt in light of subsequent events.
Lachesis is named for the mythic Greek Fate, who determines the span of a life; in the station chart set for Newtown, Lachesis was closely conjoined the Ascendant at 21° Aries, further heightening its effects. And indeed, it was under the station’s fateful aegis that Nancy Lanza’s lifespan was decided. TNO Ixion is named for the first murderer in Greek mythology, and centaur Pholus’ mythic tale is linked with mass deaths in a violent context, while also indicating the death of an innocent bystander. Tantalus’ story also involves murder and the commission of heinous, unforgivable acts, specifically against children. These three points were within orb of the Sun at 23° Sagittarius, giving them further strength and prominence; the pattern held through the following morning’s massacre, as all the celestial factors maintained the same degrees.
Nancy made two other exact aspects at the station, both of which tell about the tragedy. The first was an inconjunct to asteroid Nemesis at 17° Capricorn, which conjoined transit Mars at 20° Capricorn, also within orb of the inconjunct to Nancy. Nemesis is named for the Greek goddess of vengeance, retribution, and undoing, a force without mercy or pity, bent upon its goal of due enactment of karmic balance without regard to the cost, and oblivious to the fairness of her actions, or the lack thereof. Mars rules violence, attacks, and guns, as well as violent deaths.
The second aspect is an exact sesquiquadrate (135° degrees) to the asteroid Child at 2° Aries, itself conjoined transit Uranus at 4° Aries. Child, of course, needs no complicated interpretation of its role in the story, and in the conjunction to Uranus, which rules shootings, mental aberrations, and shocking, unexpected outcomes, we see the clear potential for disaster connected to youths. The linkage between asteroids Nancy and Child clearly speaks to the connection between Nancy Lanza and her offspring’s actions.
Pluto, the modern ruler of death, was at 8° Capricorn, very near the 11° Capricorn Midheaven of asteroid Nancy’s station chart, and about to receive the lunar occultation the next morning. Asteroid Lucifer, named for Christianity’s representation of ultimate evil, was at 10° Capricorn (also with Pluto), and was conjoined by the Moon exactly when Adam Lanza opened fire at Sandy Hook Elementary. A second triple conjunction was forming with Pluto; asteroids Osiris at 5° Capricorn, with Requiem and Sandra at 6° Capricorn, would become exact the next morning. Osiris is named for the ancient Egyptian god of the dead, Requiem for the funeral mass for the dead, and Sandra represents Sandy Hook, here intricately bound with not one, not two, but three indicators of death, and a symbol of irredeemable evil.
Moreover, 11° Capricorn, the degree of the asteroid’s station Midheaven, is repeated exactly in Nancy Lanza’s birth chart (September 6 ,1960); it is the degree of her natal Saturn, ancient lord of death, from where it opposes her natal Lucifer at 10° Cancer. Nancy’s natal Uranus, ruling shootings, was at 22° Leo, highlighted not only by asteroid Nancy’s station at 17° Leo, but also a close trine from the Sun at 23° Sagittarius and another trine from the station’s Newtown Ascendant at 21° Aries.
Asteroid Nancy’s station had a powerful impact in Nancy Lanza’s chart, but for her son it was a revelation. In Adam Lanza’s nativity (April 22, 1992), it exactly opposed Saturn, ancient lord of death, at 17° Aquarius, bringing out a natal square from Saturn to a combination of asteroid Tantalus and TNO Chaos at 16° and 17° Taurus, creating a temporary t-square. We have already seen Tantalus’ connections with heinous acts against children; Chaos is a point that acts much as its name suggests, as a vortex for chaotic, senseless situations that spiral out of control and leave devastation in their wake (although it also has connections, in its more positive manifestations, with the infinite creativity of the Void).
The asteroid Nancy’s station is also closely trine a spectacular cluster of points in Adam’s chart, including Venus and natal Nancy at 18° Aries (conjoined by transit Lachesis from 17° Aries at the murders); asteroids Phaeton and Busch at 19° Aries, and natal Sandra at 22° Aries. Venus, as general ruler of women (all seven adults killed were female, as were 12 of the 20 children), and Nancy as descriptive of the most important woman in Lanza’s life are self-explanatory. Phaeton indicates a stupendous self-created explosion or implosion, an all-consuming “blaze of glory” that threatens to take out everything in the immediate vicinity with it, while Busch is useful in identifying the Bushmaster AR-15 semiautomatic assault rifle, which Adam Lanza used as the means of his destructive rampage. Sandra, in its guise as Sandy Hook Elementary, identifies the venue for his atrocities. Further, the Descendant for the station chart at 21° Libra falls just one degree off Adam Lanza’s natal Lucifer at 20° Libra, which closely opposes all the points in the Aries cluster, signaling his capacity to wreak evil upon or with the symbols represented.
There is so much more to this story (and interested parties may read a broader account in the January 2013 issue of Daykeeper Journal), but these two primary factors are sufficient for our astrological understanding of what happened that awful day in Connecticut. The added emphasis of the Moon’s occultation of Pluto brought out the worst manifestation yet of the Uranus square, while asteroid Nancy’s stationary stance in resonance to contributing factors of death and violence focused these energies on a small, seemingly exempt place and populace, which, until December 14, could not conceive of such tragedy and horror in their midst.
There are eight more Moon/Pluto occultations and another two years plus of the Uranus/Pluto square. We will see what happens next.