The killing of a black man Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri by a white policeman on August 9 has set off a flurry of demonstrations across the country in protest. It is interesting that this event has triggered such a response, since previous events that were much more blatant did not result in such sustained protest. Two example that occur immediately are the killing of Sean Bell in Queens (New York City) on 11/25/2006 while he was at his own bachelor party, as well as the wounding of two of his friends. It appears that he backed away from an undercover police officer who came at him brandishing a gun, and that resulted in this death, though the police give another explanation. Another case was that of African immigrant Amadou Diallo who was shot 41 times — though only 19 (!) bullets found him — while reaching for his wallet in a darkened stairwell on 2/4/1999 in Bronx (NYC) just after midnight. In both these cases police officers were indicted and stood trial, but were acquitted, unlike the Brown case where the police officer was not indicted by the grand jury. Shortly before the Brown shooting Eric Garner was strangled by police officers in Queens. It was caught on video and the officers involved were also not indicted. Since the No True Bill retuned by his grand jury was after Brown’s non-indictment, the protest continued to spread.
Many of these cases of police shootings involved young black men, so many that parents warn their children to be aware of police officers, but not always. Consider the case of reclusive white millionaire Donald Scott, 61, who was killed on 10/2/1992 at his 200 acre ranch in Ventura County, California. His ranch was invaded by Los Angles police forces and DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency) agents but no Ventura County officers on the charge of having a marijuana plantation. He was shot when he entered the room having just woken and recovering from a cataract operation and holding a pistol. It turned out that the police were interested in gaining his ranch because it had a high resale value. No marijuana was found. Very little protest resulted.
But many other issues surrounding the use of police in the country have also come to the fore recently. The militarization of the police, wherein the police departments of all major and many minor cities get surplus weapons that were designed to be used by American military forces, is one such issue. And like the old saying that if you have a hammer everything looks like a nail, when police have military weapons they tend to use them in involvement with civilians. The heavily armed response to the killing of Brown is an example. Then there is the issue of asset forfeiture. This was originally a policy where the “ill-gotten gains” of criminals could be seized, but it has turned into a way that police can seize the property of an individual that they suspect of a crime, no matter how tenuous the connection to a crime could be. It is as if the property itself is guilty, and no trial is needed. The case of Donald Scott, above, was a case of forfeiture gone wrong. The Washington Post recently (Sept 6. 2014) had a major series about the problems with asset forfeiture. Another issue also being brought up, and one that was also at play in the case of Donald Scott, is the whole edifice of the so-called War on Drugs. That policy is coming in for much more criticism these days than ever before. One reason for all this uproar is that we are in a Uranus-Pluto square, and people are more protest-worthy. This recalls all the protest seen during the previous Uranus-Pluto conjunction in the Sixties. As a result of many riots from black communities in 1967, a report chaired by the governor of Illinois and thus called the Kerner Report in 1968 famously declared that our nation is moving toward two societies, one black and one white, since the dominant white culture does not understand black culture. We can all see how much attention was paid to their warning.
But the watching of blacks by police has been a long tradition in this country, going back to 1704 and what were called “slave patrols”. This first happened in the colony of the Carolinas. This was before that proprietary colony was split into two royal colonies with the names we know today. These slave patrols developed into police. For some reason the white owner of black slaves in America was frightened of a slave revolt. This fear got even more frenzied after a successful slave revolt. For example, the freed slave Denmark Vesey wanted to lead a slave uprising in South Carolina called The Rising. When he was caught he was hung on July 2, 1822.
Another slave rebellion was that of Nat Turner: he and his followers killed 60 whites on August 21, 1831. This scared the white slaveholders of Virginia. Virginia was different from South Carolina: it had been settled by Cavaliers, the losing side of the English Civil War, whereas the Carolinas were settled by people from the sugar islands in the Caribbean, especially Barbados, that had already dealt harshly with their large black population. The slave holders in the Caribbean made the Chesapeake slave holder look like kindly gentlemen.
Now let’s look at charts representing these events. None of them are especially definitive, and in some cases exact times and even dates are difficult to come by. But notice that Neptune, representing confusing and deception, is prominent in many of the charts, and often Mars — violence — and Saturn — difficulty are also. Mars and Neptune together are often prominent. These two planets are in square aspect in the natal chart of the United States, suggesting that that country has problems in dealing with violence and the military, the prime extension of the violence of the US into the outer world.
The year 1831 started with a solar eclipse, and that year is described in Louis Masur’s book 1831: Year of Eclipse; the year featured President Jackson’s harsh attitude toward the Cherokees, Nat Turner’s rebellion, and many other things that helped to put the slavery issue into high relief.
Mars conjunct Saturn indicates harmful or destructive energy, blockage of proper expression of energy. That was certainly true, since nothing much came of this event except more anger. Jupiter-Uranus (Moon over conjunction some time that night): Optimism that things would work out, lucky. The Turnerites thought things would work out so they went for it; unfortunately they were wrong.
Transiting Mercury is conjunct natal Neptune with a small orb — not thinking clearly, confusion. The Jupiter-Uranus conjunction mentioned above is sesquiquadrate the US MC, showing this was an event that would have meaning for the country. And it still does: In 1967 William Styron wrote the Pulitzer Prize winning novel The Confessions of Nat Turner. This is further emphasized by the fact that the transiting Sun — indicating the day — is opposite the US Moon.
I’m not sure when he was hung, so I set this for noon, when the Sun is at the Midheaven. This is another event that took place under the Uranus-Neptune conjunction of the early 1820’s, which was discussed in the article about Jacksonian America. Here again we see a Mars-Saturn aspect, in this case a sesquiquadrate. There is also a Venus-Jupiter conjunct, which would seem to be beneficial, and we will see this again in the Ferguson chart.
Mars conjunct natal Neptune: Low energy, confused motives, difficult like Saturn-Mars. Transiting Saturn is sesquiquadrate natal Neptune, filling out the Mars-Saturn-Neptune pattern.
This took place early in the morning of October 2, 1992. The most obvious pertinent aspect is the opposition between Mars (shooting) and the Uranus-Neptune conjunction. The time is not exact, so we don’t know how close the Mars-Neptune opposition was, or if both were indeed square the MC of the event, thus forming a T-square. But in those hours Mars was opposite Neptune, suggesting confused use of energy or firearms. Between midnight and two, the MC was in Aries.
Here the thing that juts out is Mars — representing shooting — in on the Sun of the United States.
In the event chart, we see the Moon in aspect (sesquiquadrate) to the Sun-Mercury-Uranus conjunction at the bottom of the chart, as it should be considering it is just after midnight. That triple conjunction suggests erratic thinking (Ebertin) and the Sun-Mercury conjunction suggests that this event will be communicated. The Moon was high in the sky at this time. Also notice the Mars-Neptune square, stress and again bad or hasty judgment.
This murder took place shortly after midnight and the Moon was crossing the MC of the United States. This event got immediate recognition in the country because of the outrageousness of it. Bruce Springsteen wrote a song about it called “American Skin” with the refrain “41 shots”. The tight Sun-Mercury-Uranus conjunction, discussed below, was aspecting the United States MC, again indicating this event would be known to the public.
If this killing happen at nine in the evening, the Moon was setting; later and the Moon had already set. The Uranus square Venus (erratic or unexpected relationship) suggests the nature of this event: it was a bachelor party for a wedding — no one expected the groom to be killed at his own party. There is also a grand trine between Saturn, Pluto, and the Midheaven. I’ve talked about Saturn-Pluto combinations before. This is not a hard aspect, but with grand trines behavior becomes stuck in a rut. In this case the rut was cops killing young black men.
Neptune once again rears its head — Neptune is in hard aspect to the MC and Venus. Saturn opposite the United States Moon.
Garner’s death happened just a few months ago, and the video of the event has been widely seen. In this chart again we have a prominent Neptune (video, movies), at the bottom of the chart and opposite the MC — people (ie., the police) were confused. And Neptune also represents that the event was caught on video and widely shown. Notice also Mercury — communication — was aspectng both Neptune and the MC — this is an event that was communicated to the wider world. Sun square Mars speaks of possible violence. But Mars is square the Sun-Mercury — that doesn’t promise much good.
Another widely reported event — Sun conjunct Mercury up near the top of the chart. Mars is in the first house: possible violence in the environment. And the Uranus is trine the Sun-Mercury: expect the unexpected. And few in positions of power expected the uproar that was engendered by this shooting. For them, this was another ordinary thug shot by a law officer, nothing could be more common.
But here is something I had trouble coming to grips with: Venus and Jupiter on either side of the MC, which is opposite the Moon at the IC. Sounds sweet! Ebertin says a union between two people that are good natured. What could go wrong? But that is the positive meaning of this combination. Negatively, this combinations can represent false conduct between two people, a relationship where everything goes wrong. For Michael Brown this is true. For the officer that shot him, Darren Wilson, while I’m sure he did not like shooting people, he probably thought he saved his own life and the grand jury choose not to send his case to trial.