the past decade, the American public has been shocked by a wave of school
shooting incidents. This particular kind of violence is unique in the
history of crime. It is so senseless, unexpected, insidious and "close
to home" that it has prompted a wide search for an explanation. Parents,
educators, psychologists, social scientists and religious and political
leaders have all asked the question, "Why?" Of course, there
is no simple, single answer, but there is a method we can use to gain
a better perspective on complex psychological situations—astrology.
we can examine the charts of these shooting incidents to see what factors
they have in common. From this examination, we can obtain statistical
evidence that may allow us to make some generalized statements about this
form of violence. In a study conducted by this author, charts were drawn
for 33 school shooting incidents that occurred between May 1992 and May
2000 (for a complete list of these events, click
here). An analysis of these events revealed some striking similarities
and consistencies. Some of the astrological factors that these charts
share are features that we might anticipate, based on our familiarity
with traditional rules of astrology. In other words, they confirm what
we already know.
one of the classic astrological indicators of violence is a "hard"
aspect (such as a conjunction or opposition) between the Sun and Mars,
the planet of aggression. Of the 33 charts, eight showed Mars conjunct
the Sun, and three had Mars opposed the Sun. Together, these comprise
one-third of the total sample, far above the average number that would
be expected to occur by chance alone (what statisticians call "expected
Astro-Factors in School Shootings
to confirming familiar astrological principles, this study revealed factors
that are more surprising and suggest new avenues for further research.
For instance, Mars retrograde (when Mars appears to be moving backward
as seen from Earth) was found to appear in twice as many charts as it
would normally be expected to occur. Four times as many events as would
normally be expected took place when Mars was close to perihelion (the
position in its orbit when a planet is closest to the Sun).
to expected frequency, seven times as many charts took place close to
a planetary station (when a planet appears to “stop” to change direction).
The largest deviation from expected frequency was found with the cycle
of Venus. In eight years, the period of this study, we could normally
expect that one of the 33 events would occur near the time when Venus
is at perihelion or aphelion (its position furthest from the Sun). A total
of thirteen charts showed this feature! The Littleton, Colorado, event
(probably the most notorious school shooting) occurred on the very day
that Venus reached perihelion.
to more familiar astrological factors, one feature we might expect in
charts of violent events is aspects (significant angular relationships)
between any two of the three planets Mars (war, anger), Saturn (rules,
structure) and Pluto (power). In an impressive confirmation of astrological
theory, every one of the 33 charts showed at least one aspect between
two of these planets; two thirds of them (22) showed two or more aspects.
Why Mars-Saturn-Pluto combinations would show up in school shooting charts
can be explained by the following.
In a recently
published report,* psychologists analyzed the common features of
fourteen school shooting incidents that took place in American schools
between 1993 and 1999. As the authors of this report pointed out, these
events differ from the "conventional" adolescent shooting incidents
that occur in inner cities that are drug-related or associated with turf
wars of juvenile gangs. Instead, white male rural adolescents committed
every one of the school shootings, and the motive was personal vengeance.
In every incident studied, the shootings followed soon after the perpetrators
were either disciplined by parents or school authorities, or were rejected
by peers or girlfriends. The psychologists labelled these boys "classroom
events used in this psychological study were ones that had been included
in the 33-event study, so again, every chart showed significant aspects
between Mars, Saturn and/or Pluto. What is interesting is that the "malefic"
traits often associated with these planets by astrologers clearly correspond
to several characteristics noted by the psychological report. Fifteen
of the sixteen perpetrators of these fourteen school shootings had verbalized
threats (Mars) prior to the incident. Fifteen boys had also experienced
rejection or discipline (Saturn) immediately prior to the incident. Eleven
were known to be highly interested in the military, weaponry and media
violence (Mars). Thirteen felt victimized (Pluto) prior to the incident,
and ten had previously expressed suicidal tendencies (Pluto). Two of the
perpetrators killed their parents (Saturn), four committed suicide (Pluto),
and nine of them wounded or killed school principals or teachers (authorities/Saturn).
As we can
see from these studies, astrology can be a useful tool for organizing
our understanding of the timing of events and their psychological impact.
P. McGee and Caren R. DeBernardo. The Classroom Avenger.
Sheppard and Enoch Pratt Health System, Baltimore MD (1999).
School Shooting Case Studies
Johnson, Andrew Golden