At 1:34 PM CST on Thursday, 5 November 2009, Army psychiatrist Major Nidal Hasan entered his workplace at the Soldier Readiness Center at Fort Hood, Texas, where American servicemen are processed for routine medical treatment before and after deployment. Taking a seat at an empty table, Hasan bowed his head as if in thought or prayer for a moment, then stood, yelled “Allahu Akbar!” (“God is great!” in Arabic) and began shooting with a semi-automatic pistol.
Ten minutes later Hasan was gunned down by two civilian police officers as he exited the building in pursuit of a wounded soldier. Hasan left behind him 11 dead (ten soldiers and one civilian) and 32 wounded; two more later died of their wounds at the hospital. One of the victims was pregnant at the time of the shooting. Severely injured, Hasan was comatose and on a ventilator for several days, but regained consciousness on November 9. On the 13th, Hasan’s lawyer announced that his client was paralyzed below the waist; his doctors think the paralysis may be permanent.
Born in Virginia 8 September 1970, Hasan is the son of Jordanian immigrants of West Bank Palestinian descent, and one of some 2700 Muslims serving in the US military. Family members reported that he became more devout in the wake of his parents’ deaths, in 1998 and 2001. In 2001 he was a congregant at the same Falls Church, Virginia mosque attended by two of the 9/11 hijackers, though it is not known if he met them; the radical cleric Anwar al Awlaki, imam of the mosque at the time, now lives in Yemen and has praised Hasan’s actions on his website, exhorting other Muslim servicemen to follow his example. Hasan had been openly critical of the US policy in Iraq and Afghanistan, and was facing his first deployment to these war zones, which family members stated had made him agitated at the thought of having to fight or kill his coreligionists (though as an army psychiatrist the likelihood of seeing combat was extremely rare). They also alleged harassment for his ethnicity and faith from other members of the military, which they said had caused Hasan to seek a discharge.
Hasan worked at his parents’ restaurant in Roanoke, Virginia, as a teen, and enlisted in the military immediately after graduation from William Fleming High School. He served 8 years while attending Virginia Tech, where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry in 1997. He continued his education at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, earning his MD in 2001, followed by a residency in psychiatry at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. During this time he gave a presentation on “The Koranic World View As It Relates to Muslims in the U.S. Military” wherein he asserted that the US Defense Department “should allow Muslim Soldiers the option of being released as ‘conscientious objectors’ to increase troop morale and decrease adverse events.” This bit of prescience was by no means the only sign that Hasan might be troubled or cause harm to others.
During his psychiatric residency, Hasan submitted a project on “whether the War on Terror is a war against Islam,” and indicated on several occasions that perhaps Muslims were right to “fight against the aggressor.” More than six months before the shooting, Internet postings under his own name, but not definitively attributed to him, came to authorities’ notice, when he stated that suicide bombers should be compared to soldiers who sacrifice themselves for comrades by throwing themselves on live grenades, giving their lives for “a more noble cause.” Hasan was investigated by the FBI in late 2008 after sending more than a dozen emails to his former imam Awlaki, who was himself under surveillance. The FBI’s terrorist task force was notified, but deemed the emails harmless requests for spiritual guidance regarding the conflicts encountered by practicing Muslims in the military, and consistent with mental health research on this topic. Hasan also possessed private business cards which make no mention of his army affiliation, but identify himself with the acronym “SoA,” which is common jihadist shorthand for “Soldier of Allah,” though this was not generally known until investigators searched his apartment after the shooting. Despite these warning signs, Hasan was promoted from Captain to Major in May 2009, though he also received a poor performance evaluation in July before his transfer to Fort Hood, when he received notice of his imminent deployment to Afghanistan.
The morning of the shooting, Hasan gave away furniture from his home and handed out copies of the Quran, stating that he was being deployed the following day, though in fact his deployment was not scheduled until November 28. He later prayed with a fellow Muslim officer, who described his demeanor as “relaxed and not in any way troubled or nervous.” Hours later he committed the crime which left 13 dead and 30 more wounded.
When the slaughter began at 1:34 PM CST in Fort Hood, Texas, there were several stunning astrological indicators of the act. An exact triple conjunction of the Sun, Mercury and asteroid Apophis at 13 Scorpio was exactly squared the Maser at 13 Leo in Hasan’s chart (now progressed to 14 Leo in the transit sky, but still activated by the transit conjunction) and the Black Hole at 13 Aquarius, forming a Galactic T-Square.
Black Holes promote the volte face, the sudden, unexpected, dramatic reversal of the status quo, where conditions alter irrevocably in the twinkling of an eye. Masers, stellar remnants which explosively spew vast jets of matter from their cores light years into space, promote volatile, out-of-control action and violence, as well as excited, febrile states and controversial acts. As such, the solar square well depicts the actions of Hasan (Sun) as he snapped, and Mercury’s connection with the mind and mental processes further defines Hasan’s identity as a psychiatrist.
Apophis is named for the ancient Egyptian deity personifying pure evil, while on the Leonine end of the square we find asteroid Atropos, at 14 Leo exactly conjoined the Maser’s current position. Atropos is named for one of the Fates, known also as “the Cutter,” the one who severs the thread of life at death, and at 14 Leo she is conjunct the 19 Leo Descendant, an apt image of the type of interactions with others which Hasan was engaged in at the time. Her position just inside the Sixth House, which rules military personnel, further refines the picture.
The solar conjunction in the Ninth House portrays the philosophic/religious/ideological basis for the shooting, something reiterated by Jupiter, natural ruler of the Ninth, tightly conjunct the 19 Aquarius Ascendant from 18 Aquarius. With Jupiter are asteroids Osiris at 17 Aquarius, Damocles at 16 Aquarius, and Requiem at 12 Aquarius, all in the Twelfth House of hidden enemies, martyrs and victims, as well as traveling companions Chiron and Neptune at 21 and 22 Aquarius, across the Ascendant in the First House.
Osiris is of course named for the ancient Egyptian lord of the dead. Damocles represents the doom hanging above one’s head, of which one is oblivious or unaware until the blow falls. A Requiem is a dirge or mass for the dead. Chiron represents the wounding Hasan felt in the alleged harassment by his fellow soldiers, as well as his wounding of them, while Neptune is the zealot, the actor who dissembles his true intent and appears in a false role until the time is ripe, and also ties in the pharmacological aspects of Hasan’s work as a psychiatrist.
Prominently placed in the Tenth House of public notoriety is Trans-Neptunian Object (TNO) Ixion at 14 Sagittarius, named for the first murderer in Greek mythology (more on Ixion in my article “Ixion and Murder” http://www.daykeeperjournal.com/aarch04/0404apr/alex.shtml), which lies in an exact trine with Atropos the Cutter at the Descendant.
Ixion also tightly opposes fellow TNO Chaos at 12 Gemini, an image of the havoc wreaked by Hasan in his rampage. Pluto, representing death at 1 Capricorn retrograde in the Eleventh House of associates, coworkers and friends, opposes asteroid Nemesis at 3 Cancer, representing devastating reversal, karmic comeuppance and undoing, and forms another T-Square with Saturn, ancient Lord of Death, newly entered into Libra and itself conjunct the supermassive Black Hole at 1 Libra, the largest anomaly of its kind of which we are aware, which exerts an unfathomable pull equivalent to 3 billion suns.
Mars, governing guns, killing and violence in general, falls at 9 Leo in the Sixth House of servicemen, exactly conjunct a reality-warping Black Hole, and more broadly squared the Sun/Mercury/Apophis conjunction. Mars conjoins asteroid Texas, the venue for the shooting, at 4 Leo, and is also exactly inconjunct to asteroid Klotho at 9 Capricorn, named for another of the Three Fates, “the Spinner,” who weaves the thread of life from birth to death. The third and final Fate, Lachesis, “the Alloter,” who determines the span of life, lies at 16 Libra in the Eighth House of Death, exactly trine to harbinger of doom Damocles and roughly trine the entire Aquarian stellium.
TNO Eris is exactly conjunct asteroid Achilles at 21 Aries, and had just been triggered by a sextile from the 22 Gemini Moon. Eris (http://www.daykeeperjournal.com/aarch07/0709sep/alex2.shtml) is named for the Greek goddess of strife and discord, and represents the harassment which contributed to Hasan’s motivation and created the Achilles heel in Hasan’s psyche that caused him to snap (asteroid Achilles). The Moon at 22 Gemini 48 was just minutes away from an exact square to explosive, shocking Uranus at 22 Pisces 59 retrograde.
Hasan’s natal chart is just as telling. Born 8 September 1970, three exact triple conjunctions tell the tale—particularly that of Jupiter, asteroid Icarus and TNO Ixion all at 3 Scorpio, conjunct a Quasar at 4 Scorpio. Jupiter/Ixion combines political philosophy and religious beliefs with murderous actions, with rash, reckless Icarus removing any inhibition or impediment to following through on an ideologically-based vendetta. Quasars are far and away the brightest objects in the universe, and cast a brilliant spotlight on whatever they touch. In this case, it brought Hasan international notoriety for his beliefs (Jupiter) and deeds (Ixion). The second triple conjunction involves Neptune, Atropos and Tantalus all at 28 Scorpio, conjoined a second Quasar at 27 Scorpio. Neptune represents the fanatic, zealot, and martyr, Atropos is the Fate who severs the thread of life at death, and Tantalus is noted in Greek mythology as the perpetrator of a particularly heinous murder, while the Quasar again grants public notice and attention. Between these triple conjunctions lies asteroid Osiris, Egyptian god of the dead, at 12 Scorpio, a degree activated the day prior to the shooting by the transit Sun/Mercury/Apophis conjunction.
Hasan’s natal Sun at 15 Virgo has been undergoing a square from TNO Ixion, representing murder, at 14 Sagittarius, while opposed natal asteroid Sphinx, noted for inscrutable, unfathomable motivations, at 14 Pisces, and forms a T-Square with natal asteroid Psyche at 13 Gemini, appropriate for a psychiatrist and itself conjoined by transit TNO Chaos at 12 Gemini, representing the chaotic disorder of Hasan’s mental state as he prosecuted his vengeance. Asteroid Requiem, the funeral mass for the dead, at 14 Taurus, trines the Sun.
Hasan’s Mars at 3 Virgo conjoins a Pulsar at 2 Virgo and tightly squares the 2 Sagittarius Midheaven for the shooting. Pulsars are informational in nature and often appear in the charts of newsworthy events or persons, and Hasan has certainly become noted for his violent acts (Mars), while the square to the shooting Midheaven again indicates public prominence or notice for that aspect of his character at that moment in time.
Natal Uranus at 7 Libra is exactly conjunct both asteroid Apophis and a Pulsar, as well as the Quasar at 5 Libra, promoting high visibility and notoriety (Quasar) for a newsworthy event (Pulsar) involving a sudden, explosive and unexpected (Uranus) act of pure evil (Apophis). Hasan’s natal Damocles lies at 17 Aquarius, his Klotho at 11 Capricorn, so he was experiencing both a “Damocles Return” and a “Klotho Return” at the time (with transit Damocles at 16 Aquarius and Klotho at 9 Capricorn both repeatedly crossing over their natal positions due to retrogrades), representing the doom that hangs overhead unheeded, and the spinner of the thread of life. The transit Eris/Achilles conjunction of 21 Aries was exactly conjunct Hasan’s natal TNO Chaos, which opposes natal asteroid Nemesis at 19 Libra and trines a combination of asteroids Texas, where the shooting occurred, at 19 Leo and Lachesis, the Fate who determines the span of life, at 25 Leo.
A combination of natal Mercury and Pluto at 23 and 26 Virgo combines “doctor” (Mercury) and “death” (Pluto), and squares the Galactic Center at 26 Sagittarius, indicating the potential for global or universal notice at some point in the life. The transit Moon at 22 Gemini was rapidly coming to square Mercury/Pluto and oppose the Galactic Center, bringing this potential to fruition, had just triggered natal Chaos by sextile and was exactly semisextile natal Saturn at 22 Taurus.
Based on his prior statements and contacts with radical Muslim clerics, Hasan’s violence has been described as the worst terrorist act on US soil since 9/11. We may never truly understand the motivation, likely a complex mix of personal frustration and radicalized religious philosophy, but Hasan’s actions have exposed just how vulnerable and at risk our armed forces are, even in the heart of America.