On Saturday, 8 January 2011, shortly after 10 AM, shots rang out in the parking lot of a Safeway supermarket in Casas Adobes, a suburb of Tucson, Arizona, wreaking havoc on a small crowd of constituents who had come to speak with their US Representative, Gabrielle “Gabby” Giffords, at a “Congress on your Corner” public meeting. When the shooter, Jared Lee Loughner, attempted to change magazines in his semiautomatic 9mm Glock pistol, he was tackled by bystanders, but the carnage enacted in those few moments comprised six dead and 14 wounded, including Representative Giffords, shot through the head but saved by the quick thinking of an aide who staunched the wounds and kept her from choking on her own blood until paramedics arrived.
Among the dead were nine-year-old Christina Green, whose avid interest in government had just caused her to be elected president of her school’s student council, and John Roll (63), a US District Court Judge and personal friend of Giffords’, who had left Mass early and dropped by the event unannounced just to thank her for helping his court receive additional federal funding. Gabe Zimmerman (30), an aide to Giffords, was also killed, as were Dorothy Morris (76), Dorwin Stoddard (76),and Phyllis Scheck (79). As of this writing (11 Jan), Giffords is being kept in a medically induced coma to promote healing; she will likely survive, but the long range prognosis for a brain injury of this type is daunting.
Giffords was one of 20 Democratic Representatives in right-leaning districts who were specifically targeted by Sarah Palin’s PAC before the 2010 midterm elections, in ads which featured gun sights over maps of the US, and linked to from Palin tweets which admonished supporters “Don’t Retreat—Reload!” The effect this type of heated and militaristic rhetoric and imagery may have had on Loughner is unclear. Giffords’ offices were vandalized—a glass door was shot out—the day after passage of the Health Care Reform Act of 2010, which she voted for.
The 22-year-old Loughner, who is not cooperating with the investigation, has been characterized by associates as isolated, alienated, paranoid, and emotionally unstable. A high school graduate, Loughner was rejected for enlistment in the US Army, and had recently been suspended from Pima Community College for frequent classroom disruptions. A 2007 arrest for drug paraphernalia possession had been dismissed after completion of a diversion program, and thus he had no criminal record to prevent his purchase of the Glock firearm in November.
A chart set for 10:05 AM MST (the shooting began “shortly after” 10 and the first 911 call was placed at 10:11) is remarkable for its display, not only of the facts of the incident, but for the prominent placement of the many personal-named asteroids which are significant to the individuals involved. The Sun at 18 Capricorn is enmeshed in a Black Hole at 19 Capricorn and sets off a Grand Cross with squares to Saturn (death, government officials) at 16 Libra, Rhadamanthus (named for a mythic Greek judge, representing victim John Roll) at 20 Libra, and asteroid Zimmerman (#3100, for congressional aide Gabe Zimmerman, also killed in the attack) at 15 Libra (also on the Quasar at 15 Libra, indicating high public profile or visibility); and TNO Eris (Greek goddess of strife and discord) exactly conjunct asteroid Morris (#783, for victim Dorothy Morris) at 21 Aries; and an opposition to asteroid Tucson (#2224, the venue for the tragedy) at 14 Cancer.
Mars at 24 Capricorn is within orb of the Sun, and involved in a second Grand Cross, exactly squared asteroid Gifford (#4819, for Giffords) at 24 Libra, itself conjunct asteroid Gabriella (#355, for both Gabrielle Giffords and Gabriel Zimmerman) at 28 Libra (on the Black Hole at 29 Libra); exactly opposed asteroid Sara (#533, for Sarah Palin) at 24 Cancer, itself conjunct asteroid Johanna (#127, a feminine variant of John, for Judge John Roll) at 29 Cancer (on the Black Hole at 28 Cancer); and squared Black Holes at 25 and 27 Aries. The Black Holes in these two Grand Cross configurations indicate a high level of volatile, unpredictable outcomes, status quo conditions changing in the twinkling of an eye, and the sudden, unexpected substitution of parallel realities for those currently pertaining.
Other chart factors concur: TNO Ixion, named for the first murderer in Greek mythology [ed. note: more on Ixion here], at 17 Sagittarius conjoins a Black Hole at 18 Sag and the MC at 14 Sag, the most elevated point in the chart, noting the moment as one potentially impacted by homicide. Ixion further conjoins asteroid Vesta, representing public servants, at 19 Sag, and asteroid Phyllis (#556, for victim Phyllis Scheck), at 22 Sag, while semisextile the 18 Cap Sun, sextile asteroid Gaby (#1665, for “Gabby” Giffords, her nickname) at 15 Aquarius and Damocles (the doom hanging overhead) [ed. note: more on Damocles here] at 18 Aquarius, as well as sextile Zimmerman/Saturn/Rhadamanthus at 15/16/20 Libra, inconjunct Tucson at 14 Cancer and trine Morris/Eris at 21 Aries. Asteroid Arizona (#793, the state in which the shooting occurred) is exactly atop Pluto (death, destruction) and a Black Hole at 5 Capricorn, all points squared asteroids Nemesis (undoing, downfall, inescapable fate) at 4 Libra (also conjunct a Quasar—high visibility) and Christine (#628, for victim Christina Green) at 0 Libra (also conjunct Black Hole at 1 Libra), and inconjunct asteroid Johnny (#3252, for Judge John Roll) at 2 Leo (conjunct another Black Hole at 3 Leo).
Jupiter (politicians, judges) is exactly conjunct Uranus (shootings, disruptions, violence) at 27 Pisces (both also conjunct a Black Hole at 28 Pisces), exactly opposed asteroid Lee (#3155, for Jared Lee Loughner’s middle name) at 27 Virgo, and forming a T-Square with Mercury (students, children, news, public meetings) at 24 Sagittarius, conjunct asteroid Johannes (#9300, another variant of John, for Judge Roll) and the Galactic Center (global attention, universal notice or notoriety) at 26 Sag. Asteroid House, for the House of Representatives, conjoins Jupiter/Uranus from 21 Pisces, describing which type of politician would be involved, and is trine to asteroid Dorothea (#339, for victim Dorothy Morris) at 22 Scorpio. Neptune (victims) at 26 Aquarius is conjunct asteroid Apophis (ancient Egyptian personification of pure evil) on the Quasar at 25 Aquarius, Chiron (wounds, wounding, maverick loners) and a Black Hole at 28 Aquarius, and asteroid Green (#12016, for victim Christina Green) at 29 Aquarius. Asteroid Requiem (the funeral mass) on the Black Hole at 9 Leo is conjunct Johnny, and closely opposed asteroid Karma (the inscrutable workings of fate) at 8 Aquarius.
This would be remarkable enough, but when we look at the charts for Representative Giffords and her would-be assassin, the connections are truly astounding.
Born 8 June 1970, Giffords is a graduate of Cornell University and former CEO of El Campo Tire Warehouses, a family business. She entered politics in 2001, first as an Arizona state representative and then state senator, and in 2006 won a seat in congress for Arizona’s Eighth District, part of the first wave of Democratic victories in backlash to the Bush administration’s policies. In 2007 she married Mark Kelly, a NASA astronaut and space shuttle commander; the couple have no children.
Giffords, a former Republican and Arizona’s first Jewish Representative, has been a voice for moderation, compromise, bipartisanship and civil discourse between the parties. Giffords was one of 20 sitting Democratic representatives in right-leaning districts which were targeted for removal by Sarah Palin’s PAC, in ads depicting the disputed districts with gun sights above them. In June 2010, during the heated, close campaign, her Republican opponent, Jesse Kelly, hosted an event where voters could shoot an automatic weapon with the candidate, advertised as “Get on Target for Victory in November. Help remove Gabrielle Giffords from office. Shoot a fully automatic M16 with Jesse Kelly.” There is no direct evidence that this type of extreme rhetoric and imagery influenced Loughner, who was mentally unstable and had prior contact with Giffords (described below).
Giffords Sun at 17 Gemini exactly opposes the Black Hole at 17 Sagittarius, and was activated by inconjunct from the transit Sun at 18 Capricorn on the day of the shooting. The Black Hole opposition indicates the potential for sudden, dramatic, sweeping changes in her status quo reality, and a potential for violence or destruction is indicated by a fairly broad square to natal Pluto at 24 Virgo, which was exactly trined by transit Mars at the assassination attempt. Sun/Pluto also makes Giffords a transformational figure, self-empowered, a catalyst for others in crisis or transition.
A further stressor is activity to her natal Apophis, symbol of evil incarnate, which lies exactly semisextile the Sun at 17 Cancer, as seen in an opposition from the transit Sun and an exact inconjunct from murderous Ixion at 17 Sagittarius, as well as a square from transit Saturn at 16 Libra and an approaching conjunction from transit asteroid Tucson, the locale of the attack, at 14 Cancer. Natal Saturn (death, limitation, government position) at 16 Taurus, which is exactly conjoined asteroid Gaby and closely conjunct asteroids Gifford and Karma at 18 Taurus, is also activated by all these points, as is natal Tucson at 18 Aries, receiving the exact square from the transit Sun.
Gaby/Gifford/Saturn shows a natal inclination to government service, as does a combination of asteroids Arizona at 29 Taurus and House at 1 Gemini, precisely depicting both her workplace and the state she represents. Arizona is part of an exact T-Square with asteroid Gabriella at 29 Leo and natal Neptune (victim, martyr, insane persons) at 29 Scorpio retrograde, lately become a temporary Grand Cross with transit Neptune and Chiron (wounds, wounding, maverick loners) activating the empty arm, at 26 and 28 Aquarius respectively for the shooting. Transit asteroid Green, for victim Christina Green, made the Grand Cross exact from 29 Aquarius.
An exact natal square between Mars at 4 Cancer (on a Black Hole) and Uranus at 4 Libra (on a Quasar) shows the potential for a violent attack, particularly a shooting, and this is augmented by natal Ixion at 3 Scorpio (also on a Quasar) in semisextile to Uranus and trine Mars. On the day of the shooting, transit Nemesis (undoing, vengeance) is exactly conjunct natal Uranus, and transit Pluto/Arizona closely opposes Mars from 5 Capricorn while squaring Nemesis/Uranus. The outcome for Giffords, as good as can be hoped for under the circumstances, may have been influenced by having transit Gifford at 24 Libra and Gabriella at 28 Libra conjoined natal Jupiter, the Greater Benefic, at 26 Libra.
Asteroids representing those killed in the attack are also prominent in Giffords’ natal chart, indicating a predetermined celestial linkage between them that came to fruition in that Safeway parking lot in Tucson. Asteroid Dorothea, for Dorothy Morris, falls at 27 Aquarius, filling in that missing leg of the T-Square involving Arizona, Gabriella and Neptune, while asteroid Morris at 29 Gemini is conjunct Mars (attacks, killings) at 4 Cancer; asteroid Christine, for Christina Green, at 12 Scorpio is broadly conjunct Ixion (murder) and opposed Saturn (death) at 16 Taurus, with asteroid Green at 21 Gemini conjunct Giffords’ Sun. Asteroids Johnny, Johannes and Johanna can all be taken to represent Judge John Rolls—Johnny at 6 Aries is conjunct natal Chiron (wounds) at 9 Aries, and squared Mars at 4 Cancer; Johannes at 16 Virgo is broadly conjunct Pluto at 24 Virgo, tightly squared Giffords’ Sun at 17 Gemini, and exactly trine Saturn at 16 Taurus; Johanna at 26 Leo is conjunct Gabriella, lending further force to the T-Square. Asteroid Phyllis, for Phyllis Scheck, at 10 Gemini is conjunct the natal Sun, and asteroid Zimmerman, for aide Gabe Zimmerman, at 9 Virgo is broadly squared the Sun and exactly inconjunct natal Chiron.
Asteroid Lee, for shooter Jared Lee Loughner, also figures prominently; at 8 Taurus it is conjunct Saturn (government, death), opposed the 3 Scorpio Ixion (murder), semisextile Johnny and Phyllis, sextile Mars and inconjunct Uranus.
Born 10 September 1988, Jared Lee Loughner’s is a history of mental disorientation and disturbance, drug abuse, and behavioral issues. Highly intelligent, but with socialization problems, in high school he hung with the party crowd, and once drank so much tequila he was hospitalized for alcohol poisoning and nearly died. After high school he became further alienated, and would lose contact with former friends for months at a time. He became obsessed with language and lucid dreaming, a state where individuals are able to control and direct their dreams. He was rejected for military service, reportedly on grounds that he failed a psychological examination, was unpopular and avoided at his college, which eventually suspended him for disruptive behavior. Several classmates sent emails to friends to the effect that he was the type to return to class with an automatic weapon and open fire.
Loughner had prior contact with Giffords in 2007, shortly after she won her congressional seat, when she took a question from him at a public meeting. Her future attacker asked, “What is government if words have no meaning?” Loughner was disappointed with Giffords’ response, which was to skirt what she must have considered an incomprehensible question, and he came away disgruntled, querying friends as to what they thought of “people who are working for the government and they can’t describe what they do?”, characterizing her as stupid and unintelligent. His mania for words and how the government manipulated the populace with them intensified in the ensuing years, with Loughner posting on his YouTube page that the government was practicing “mind control and brainwash on the people by controlling grammar.”
Loughner’s natal Sun at 18 Virgo is tightly squared Giffords’ at 17 Gemini, and was activated by exact trine from the transit Sun at 18 Capricorn on the day of the shooting, while also undergoing a square from transit Ixion at 17 Sagittarius. Natally the Sun is broadly squared to a tight Saturn/Uranus conjunction at 26 and 27 Sagittarius, keyed on the Galactic Center, denoting someone who achieves global notoriety (GC) for violent disruption (Uranus) of a government official (Saturn).
Loughner sports an exact opposition from natal Pluto at 10 Scorpio to TNO Sedna at 10 Taurus [ed. note: more on Sedna here], which may explain his isolation (Sedna, named for an Inuit goddess who dwells in the deepest, most inaccessible part of the Arctic Ocean) and fixation with manipulation and control (Pluto). Asteroid Gifford at 9 Scorpio figures prominently here by conjunction with Pluto (death, destruction), while Apophis (pure evil) stands close by at 6 Scorpio. Natal Mars (attacks, guns, killing) at 9 Aries is exactly conjunct Giffords’ natal Chiron (wounding) and exactly inconjunct Loughner’s natal Gifford, and ties to the Pluto/Sedna opposition by semisextile and inconjunct, while tightly squaring natal Neptune (dreams, fantasies, paranoia, insanity) at 7 Capricorn. The pressure of transit Pluto, which is applying to an exact conjunction in station atop natal Neptune in April, may have been the catalyst for the tragedy, with Sun trine Sun as trigger, and the timing set by a 7 Pisces Moon for the event, just rising on a Quasar on the Ascendant and exactly sextile natal Neptune, while Ixion crested the Midheaven. Pluto was also exactly inconjunct natal Jupiter (politicians, belief systems) at 5 Gemini.
As with Giffords, the asteroids representing the other victims are also significantly placed in Loughner’s chart. Loughner also sports a Grand Cross in late Fixed Signs, with Gabriella at 27 Aquarius squared Requiem, the funeral mass, at 27 Taurus, opposed Dorothea at 22 Leo and Child (for 9-year-old victim Christine Green) at 28 Leo, and squared Tucson at 27 Scorpio, fitting closely atop Giffords’ Grand Cross. Requiem is also conjunct Christine at 20 Taurus and Green at 21 Taurus, Phyllis squares the Pluto/Ixion opposition from 8 Aquarius (exactly atop Karma for the shooting), Zimmerman at 21 Capricorn is trine the natal Sun, Morris at 29 Virgo exactly squares natal Lee at 29 Gemini, which is conjunct both House at 25 Gemini and Johnny at 22 Gemini, while Johanna and Rhadamanthus (judge) conjoin exactly at 15 Virgo, conjunct the natal Sun.
Finally, a word about the youngest victim of the tragedy. Christina Green was born September 11, 2001, amid the horrors of that awful day, and died on another day that will be long remembered for its ferocity and pointless destruction. From her youngest years, she wanted to be in politics, and had recently won an election as president of her student council. It was this interest in politics that led a neighbor, her surrogate aunt, to offer to take her to Representative Giffords’ “Congress on Your Corner” meeting that Saturday morning, an excursion which she anticipated with excitement.
Christina had been featured in “Faces of Hope”, a book about babies born on 9/11, and her personal connection to that date was a formative factor in how she viewed the world. Her mother Roxanna related her story this way, in an interview with ABC News: “She was very interested in politics since she was a little girl. I think that being born on 9/11 had a lot to do with that. She always thought about how she was born on 9/11, and she saw the positive in it. She thought of it as a day of hope and change, a chance for the country to come together to be united. … As young as she was, Christina talked about getting all the parties to come together so we could live in a better country. She was going to Giffords’ event to ask questions about how she could help and to learn more about politics in our country. She was proud of her country and wanted to know more about the political process.”
Incredibly, Christina shared both her Sun and Mercury placements with her killer, and asteroid Lee in her birthchart appears at 14 Sagittarius (also the degree of the MC for the shooting), conjunct Pluto (destruction) at 12 Sagittarius and squaring her Sun, forming a T-Square with Saturn (death) at 14 Gemini, which Lee exactly opposes. Asteroid Gabriella at 21 Gemini conjoins that Saturn, and asteroid Gifford at 2 Scorpio is conjunct Requiem at 6 Scorpio, the mass for the dead, which exactly squares her natal Neptune (victims, martyrs) at 6 Aquarius, showing a prominent role for the congresswoman in Christina’s demise. Asteroid Christine at 9 Cancer conjoins Jupiter at 11 Cancer, aptly describing the little girl who saw herself as a future politician, but whose life was snuffed out in a senseless act of violence.