On 30 May 2005, Alabama teen Natalee Holloway disappeared while on a high school graduation trip in Aruba. She was never found. Exactly five years later, on May 30, 2010, Peruvian native Stephany Flores Ramirez disappeared in Lima. She was found strangled and beaten to death in her hotel room three days later.
The unifying factor in these incidents is one Joran Van der Sloot, a Dutch national who was the last to be seen with both women. He has confessed to the murder of Ramirez, and attempted to extort money from the Holloway family in return for the location of their daughter’s body.
There is a third woman involved in this story: Melody Granadillo, Van der Sloot’s first love in Aruba, interviewed on ABC News’ “20/20″ June 18, 2010. The couple met in 2003 when she was 16, and although the affair only lasted seven months, the two remained in contact over the intervening years. Incredibly, Granadillo was born the same day and year as Natalee Holloway, and was texted by a desperate Van der Sloot, looking for money, just hours before he met, robbed and murdered Stephany Flores Ramirez.
Born 6 August 1987, Van der Sloot’s is a chart fraught with cosmic menace.
The Sun at 13 Leo activates a Galactic Grand Cross comprised of a Maser at 13 Leo, Pulsar at 15 Scorpio, and Black Holes at 13 Aquarius and 16 Taurus. Sun/Maser shows a volatile, agitated individual, one who attracts controversy and incites explosive reactions, who experiences periods of uncontrolled passions and excited, feverish energies which demand manifestation.
The Black Hole contacts indicate someone who is compelling and magnetic, with the ability to draw others into his orbit almost effortlessly, for good or ill, and the chameleon-like ability to adapt to circumstance and present a false image which belies his real nature or intention. The Pulsar in square to the Sun signifies a newsworthy individual or event, someone or something which comes to the attention of the media and becomes renowned or notorious.
Granadillo describes a lover who was attentive, romantic, “amazing,” but who “would lie for no apparent reason at all. I was suspicious of … him being sneaky; he was very good at it.” These two sides of Van der Sloot, the thoughtful lover every woman would want, and the inveterate cheater and liar every woman would avoid, are two halves of the same coin. Later events would seem to bear out that it was the dark side of Van der Sloot that was more authentic, the golden boy who was the false facade, but for Granadillo still today, “It’s not connectable. You can’t connect that. It’s not the same person.”
Van der Sloot’s Mercury at 29 Cancer is conjunct one Black Hole and squared by two others. Black Hole Mercury individuals often have difficulty distinguishing between objective reality and their version of it, and tend to obfuscate or deceive others, sometimes without meaning to. Granadillo relates how, when caught in a lie, Van der Sloot would cling even more insistently to the veracity of his version of events: “He would cry, wouldn’t let me go…was very determined that I had to believe him….He would always tell me, ‘Melody, a relationship is built on trust. You have to trust me.’”
In addition, the Sun forms a Grand Trine with TNO Eris at 16 Aries and Saturn at 14 Sagittarius retrograde. Sun/Eris shows a fractious, quarrelsome individual, a troublemaker who delights in the discomfiture of others and their unease. Sun/Saturn can be very focused and adept, but also inclines the native to harshness and a negative outlook, as well as a certain sense of entitlement or superiority over others, who are often viewed as somehow lesser, not deserving of respect or consideration, something the Sun in Leo, with its elitist bent, is more than usually susceptible to. The Sun is also conjunct Mars at 19 Leo, suggestive of a strong internal component of anger and sexuality in Van der Sloot, who feels these emotions as central to his basic essence, a core element, not merely peripheral.
Mars lies in exact square to TNO Ixion at 19 Scorpio, named for the first murderer in Greek mythology, a point which appears active in the charts of serial killers [see my article “Ixion and Murder” in the April 2004 Daykeeper Journal]. These two points in exact aspect, and particularly in the square, which promotes conflict and tension, indicates a high probability of violence at some point in the life, proceeding from or directed toward the native.
And it is this 19th degree which provides critical connections to both women. Natalee Holloway (born 21 October 1986) had Venus also at 19 Scorpio, conjunct both Van der Sloot’s Ixion and her own, and squared his Mars. Stephany Flores Ramirez (born 22 July 1988) had Venus at 19 Gemini, in exact sextile to Van der Sloots’ Mars and inconjunct his Ixion. Venus/Mars contacts between charts show mutual attraction and passionate entanglement; in this case, Ixion’s additional emphasis created tragic outcomes.
Van der Sloot, along with brothers Deepak and Satish Kalpoe, were the last to be seen with Holloway, outside a restaurant bar in Aruba on 30 May 2005. Detained and questioned by police, all three claimed to have dropped off Holloway at her hotel, alive and well. Arrested twice, Van der Sloot was released both times for lack of evidence. In 2008 he was secretly videotaped by a friend, admitting he had killed Holloway, which he later denied, stating he had been under the influence of marijuana when he “confessed.” In a subsequent interview with Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren, he claimed he had sold Holloway into sexual slavery, a statement he later retracted.
In the years between Holloway’s disappearance and Ramirez’ murder, Van der Sloot traveled the globe, spending time in his native Netherlands, in Thailand where he allegedly was involved in sex trafficking, and made several visits to Aruba. On one of these, he reconnected with Melody Granadillo, who was disturbed by the change in him. “His spirit is gone,” she told the “20/20″ reporter. “He’s different.” When she confronted him, Van der Sloot responded, “People change, Melody. People change.”
In late March 2010, Van der Sloot approached Holloway’s mother with an offer to reveal the manner of her daughter’s death, and the location of her body, in exchange for a quarter million dollars. The FBI organized a sting operation and paid Van der Sloot a down payment of $10,000 cash and a wire transfer of $15,000 to his Netherlands bank account, but judged his information to be false when it led them to a house in Aruba that had not been built at the time of Holloway’s disappearance. While the extortion case was being processed awaiting formal charges, Van der Sloot flew to Bogota, Colombia and then traveled on to Lima, Peru, where he met Stephany Flores Ramirez.
Earlier that same day, Van der Sloot sent a text message to Melody Granadillo in Aruba, asking for $200 so he could buy a ticket home. She refused, and Van der Sloot went to try his luck at a local casino, where he struck up a friendship with Ramirez.
The two were videotaped playing cards, and employees of the Hotel TAC witnessed the couple entering Van der Sloot’s room there the night of 30 May 2010, where her body was found on June 2. She had been beaten and robbed. Van der Sloot had left without checking out, fleeing to Chile, where he was detained by authorities on June 3, the same day extortion charges were finally filed in the US. He was then returned to Peru.
After initially denying the crime, on June 7 Van der Sloot confessed to killing Ramirez, which may be a ploy to obtain a reduced charge of manslaughter, carrying a lesser sentence. Van der Sloot described the death as a crime of passion while under the influence of marijuana, stating that he had left the room for food and returned to find Ramirez snooping in his laptop computer for information about Holloway’s murder. Enraged, he struck out: “I did not want to do it. The girl intruded into my private life . . . she didn’t have any right. I went to her and I hit her. She was scared, we argued and she tried to escape. I grabbed her by the neck and hit her.” After slamming her head into the wall, Van der Sloot beat and strangled her. He briefly considered disposing of the body, but could not think of any way to get it past the front desk without detection, so fled. Police later found date rape drugs in Ramirez’ car.
Further astrological factors in Van der Sloot’s chart concur with his toxic role with women. A combination of Venus (representing women in general as well as romantic involvements) and TNO Orcus at 8 Leo conjoins both the Black Hole at 9 Leo and asteroid Nemesis at 5 Leo. Orcus was a god of the dead in Roman mythology, and figures in Italian fairy tales as a monster who feeds on human flesh, an apt metaphor for Van der Sloot’s brutal nature, expressed in the women he chose to become intimate with.
The Black Hole functions as a symbol both of Holloway’s disappearance and likely murder, and of Ramirez’ death, both women transported out of this reality by Van der Sloot’s intervention in their lives. He certainly acted as nemesis to both women, and that Venus/Nemesis signature reappears on the dates both disappeared, with Nemesis/Venus at 22 and 24 Gemini for Holloway in 2005 (opposed the Galactic Center, guaranteeing the global notoriety for the incident), and a 12 Cancer Venus conjoined Nemesis at 19 Cancer for Ramirez in 2010.
That 19 Cancer degree is also significant in that it prefigures the upcoming Solar Eclipse of July 11 at that same degree, from where the eclipse not only conjoins Nemesis for Ramirez’ death, but lies exactly semisextile to her natal Venus at 19 Gemini and to Van der Sloot’s natal Mars at 19 Leo, as well as exactly trine his murderous Ixion at 19 Scorpio, conjoined Holloway’s Venus/Ixion, and exactly inconjunct her natal Uranus at 19 Sagittarius.
Additional asteroids shed further light. Joran is the Dutch version of “George,” and asteroids George (#3854), Natalie (#448) and Stephania (#220) figure prominently in the saga. Holloway’s Natalie at 4 Scorpio bridges the gap between her natal Sun at 27 Libra (conjunct, opposed and squared Black Holes) and natal Pluto at 6 Scorpio (also on a Black Hole), and lies in a tight square to Van der Sloot’s 5 Leo Nemesis. Asteroid George at 25 Sagittarius similarly unites Holloway’s natal Uranus at 19 Sagittarius and Neptune at 3 Capricorn, ably describing his role in her sudden (Uranus) disappearance (Neptune), and establishing Joran (George) as the means by which she achieved global prominence (asteroid George’s close conjunction with the Galactic Center at 26 Sagittarius). Perhaps Pluto’s upcoming retrograde passage of this degree in July and August, exactly conjunct that Neptune, will shed further light upon her story.
Ramirez’ natal asteroid Stephania at 9 Virgo conjoins centaur Nessus (sexually inappropriate behavior, abuse, rape) at 12 Virgo, asteroid George at 17 Virgo, and asteroid Icarus (rash, reckless actions) at 18 Virgo. George and Icarus tightly square Ramirez’ natal Venus at 19 Gemini (providing the spark between them and the poor judgment that caused her to pursue a connection with him), and are sextile her natal Ixion (murder) at 20 Scorpio.
Van der Sloot’s natal Natalie at 9 Sagittarius is exactly conjunct a Black Hole and trine his natal Venus at 8 Leo, as well as broadly conjoined his natal Saturn, ancient ruler of death, at 14 Sagittarius, and Holloway’s natal Saturn at 7 Sagittarius. Natal Stephania at 27 Cancer also conjoins a Black Hole and natal Mercury at 29 Cancer, and is within orb of natal Nemesis at 5 Leo, while squared natal Jupiter (justice) at 29 Aries.
The unifying factor in the two dates is the Sun, which appears at 9 Gemini in both charts. From there it is exactly squared Van der Sloot’s natal asteroid Lachesis at 9 Virgo, named for one of the Greek Fates who determines the span of life, and is sextile his natal Venus at 8 Leo, combining the timing of the day (Sun) with Van der Sloot’s innate tendency to quantify and delimit (Lachesis) the lives of his romantic attractions (Venus). At Holloway’s disappearance in 2005, this Sun is also exactly opposed Van der Sloot’s natal Natalie on the Black Hole, then transited by Ixion at 10 Sagittarius, as well as semisquare both transit Saturn at 24 Cancer, and transit Natalie at 22 Aries.
When Ramirez died in 2010, the 9 Gemini Sun is again setting off the square to Lachesis and sextile to Venus in Van der Sloot’s chart, but is also exactly squared Ramirez’ natal Stephania, exactly on his Lachesis, and again opposed the Black Hole at 10 Sagittarius. Transit asteroid Stephania at 18 Virgo conjoins Ramirez’ natal George/Icarus, and is tightly squared transit Ixion at 16 Sagittarius, more broadly opposed transit asteroid George at 12 Pisces, which conjoins Holloway’s natal Jupiter at 13 Pisces, perhaps eventually bringing her justice as well.
The strange saga seems to have begun in some sense with Van der Sloot’s relationship with Melody Granadillo, who shares the same birth date as Natalee Holloway. In their shared synastry with Van der Sloot, not only is Mars exactly squared Venus/Ixion, but the two girls’ Mars placements, at 7 Aquarius, closely oppose his 8 Leo Venus, providing a doubly powerful bond of attraction. Perhaps part of Van der Sloot’s attraction for Holloway was an attempt to recapture that first love that he had destroyed with his deception.
While astrological twins, the two girls could not be more different in appearance, Granadillo a brunette, dark in complexion and Holloway fair, with blonde hair. But the wheel comes full circle with Ramirez, who bears a resemblance to Granadillo and is of the same type, and who is linked with Holloway, not by date of birth, but date of death.
We may never know precisely what happened to Natalee Holloway in 2005, but if past is prologue, then the sad end of Stephany Flores Ramirez at Joran Van der Sloot’s hands in 2010 suggests a repeat pattern of murder, based in deep-seated anger and an aggressive sexuality which twists love and intimacy into violence and death. And Melody Granadillo? She’s the one who, mercifully, got away.