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The Aurora Shooting: What’s in a Name?

By now the general outlines of last Friday’s tragedy in Aurora, Colorado are familiar to us all. Twenty-four-year-old James Holmes, a graduate student working for his Ph.D in neuroscience, donned a black SWAT-team-like outfit and shot up the premiere midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises with a shotgun and an assault rifle, killing 12 and wounding 58 others.

The broad brush strokes of this horrific event are plain to see in the heavens — the long-awaited Uranus-Pluto square reached the first of its exact aspects in late June, setting the stage for violent, volatile acts of death, destruction, and mayhem. This square is the first major aspect between the pair since their conjunctions made the turbulent ‘60s what they were, and represents an overriding atmosphere that permeates our time. But in the days leading up to the shooting, Mars, planet of confrontation, conflict, attacks, guns, and violent death, entered the fray and, as a personal planet, it brought the more rarefied energies of Uranus and Pluto down to an all too human level.

But this is just the start of the story, not its ending. The specifics of the “Who, What, and Where” are indelibly carved into the celestial patterns of the moment as well, focused in very potent ways on the “When” of that grisly attack. A remarkable number of personal-named asteroids dovetail with the particulars of the story, and their sky positions uncannily record the specifics with all the accuracy of an AP reporter.

To begin with the “Where”: when James Holmes opened fire in that sold-out crowd, the asteroid Aurora (#94), namesake of the city, was just cresting the Midheaven, the most visible, elevated point of the chart, clearly defining the venue and marking it for notoriety and public attention. When the first 911 calls came in at 12:39 a.m. MDT, Aurora was at 17° Capricorn, just four degrees past the Midheaven at 21° Capricorn, indicating that within the past 15 minutes or so, as the rampage began, it had been exactly on the Midheaven.

So we have the town portion of the “Where.” The shooting itself occurred in the Century 16 movie theater, and while there is no asteroid “Century,” there is a Centenaria (#1240), meaning “one hundred years,” the same span as a century, and this point falls at 8° Pisces, conjoined both Neptune and Chiron, at 2° and 9° Pisces. Neptune rules movies, theaters, the mentally unhinged, and toxic gases, like the canisters of tear gas Holmes released before he started firing. Chiron rules loners, maverick actions, and woundings, and together these form a very accurate picture of the venue.

So we have the building as well. The timing itself was very important to Holmes, who picked the very first screening of the much-anticipated latest installment of the Batman series, The Dark Knight Rises, as his holocaust of choice. Holmes had dyed his hair flame red and calmly announced to police when apprehended, “I am the Joker,” arch villain of the previous Batman film. Asteroid Knight (#29391) appears at 13° Leo, in conjunction with the Moon and Mercury, at 10° and 11° Leo. The Moon rules the public and public spaces and Mercury rules news events. So now we have the town, the building, and the very movie itself, all in significant placement at the time in question.

What about the “Who?” Asteroid James (#2335) falls at 3° Virgo, from where it forms a tense grand cross, with squares to the nodal axis at 2° Sagittarius and Gemini and an opposition to Neptune at 2° Pisces. We have already seen the pervasive influence of Neptune on this story, with a protagonist (James) clearly enveloped in some fantasy world, unmoored from reality, and making his dramatic, theatrical entrance, all part and parcel of Neptune’s illusory realm. The contact to the North and South nodes suggests some sort of karmic situation, something that was fated to play out, for good or ill.

In perhaps the most potent placement, we see asteroid Holmes (#5477), which incredibly, at 9° Libra, is an exact match for Mars! As this planet of violent death and guns marched into the arms of the Uranus-Pluto square that week, it did so in company with an asteroid exactly matching the surname of the shooter! (As an aside, it should also be noted that in James Holmes’ birth chart — December 13, 1987 — asteroid Aurora appears right here also, at 8° Libra.) This type of cosmic synchronicity cannot be denied and is staggering in its implications for the issues of fate and free will.

So there we see the shooter, placed in full cosmic view. What about the other half of the “Who” — the victims? All of the 12 people killed have at least one asteroid connected to their names, and all fall in significant aspect in the chart for the tragedy. In the interests of brevity, I’ll single out just one name — Alex. Three of the dead shared this name, Alex Sullivan, Alex Teves, and Alexander “AJ” Boik, fully one fourth of the casualties that night.

What are the chances that in a random mass shooting of this nature, a quarter of the dead would have the same name? Actually, the chances are pretty good, considering that asteroid Alex (#3367) appears at 6° Capricorn, just one degree shy of Pluto, modern ruler of death, now at 7° Capricorn. There were also two Sullivans who died (unrelated to each other), equating to the asteroid of that name, and a Jessica and a Jesse, both represented by asteroid Jessie, as well as a John and a Jonathan, each denoted both by asteroids Johnny and Johannes. All of these, and the rest, fit snugly into the celestial patterns of the day like a hand in a glove.

There is no understanding a crime of this magnitude. There is no way to predict it in advance, even with the vast accumulation of cosmic evidence. Although the celestial placements record the reporter’s litany of “Who, What, Where, and When,” we will never truly know the answer to the most haunting of questions, the “Why.” All we can do is remember, mourn, and bow to the inscrutable workings of the cosmos as it manifests so clearly in the world around us.

Bio: Alex Miller is a professional writer and astrologer, author of The Black Hole Book and The Urban Wicca, former editor of “The Galactic Calendar,” and past president of The Philadelphia Astrological Society. His pioneering work with Black Holes in astrological interpretation began in 1991, when his progressed Sun unwittingly fell into one. His work with deep space points and asteroids appears monthly at DayKeeper Journal. Alex can be reached for comment or services at

Mary Plumb’s note:
Thank you Alex for sending TMA this eerie and amazing blog.
For another view of the tragic event, here is Ed Tamplin’s blog. He includes the chart for the state of Colorado, a look back at Columbine, and how President Obama fits into the picture.