Sorry, JK Rowling fans, no Hogwarts here! Just an expose of celestial harbingers of death.
Planet-wise, death can be seen in three guises primarily—Saturn, the ancient lord of death; Pluto, its modern ruler; and Mars, which can be death in some contexts, particularly due to violence. Of course none of these celestials cause death, but they do mark its passage.
But there is a good case to be built that when looking at the aftermath of death, several asteroids can be even more reliable indicators of a passing than the planets we normally associate with the end of life.
The mythic Greek Fates were conceived of as sisters who together determined, well, an individual’s … fate (duh!). In some cosmologies they held power over the gods themselves, but surely all mortals were subject to their sway. Klotho, the Spinner, wove together the disparate strands of destiny into a unified thread; Lachesis, the Allotter, determined how long the thread was to be, and Atropos, the Cutter, severed the thread of life at death.
Of these, Lachesis (asteroid #120) and Atropos (asteroid #273) had most to do with death itself, and we find them prominently placed in death charts, particularly in tandem with personal-named asteroids that define the deceased, and also aligned with key points of the deceased’s natal chart.
Also of note in symbolizing death is asteroid Osiris (#1923), named for the Egyptian god of the dead, and asteroid Requiem (#2254), named for the funeral mass for the dead. These four have a remarkable track record in describing when a death has occurred, but since as asteroids they transit every chart over any given 3-4 year period, obviously they don’t signal a passing every time they interact. A key to deciding when death might be indicated, could be when three or more of these points, and the traditional planetary markers of death, are active simultaneously.
I began researching this article by collating past work I have done with deaths of famous people, bringing together random threads much in the manner of the above-mentioned Klotho. But as I thought about it, it occurred to me that a more useful beginning might be to examine a bloc of charts, inter-related. And that line of reasoning brought me quickly to the infamous “Kennedy Curse”.
If there is a more tragic high-profile family in America, I don’t know who they might be. Everyone of course is familiar with the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy and his brother Robert, former Attorney General of the US, in the turbulent ‘60s. Less well remembered is the fact that the same generation of that family saw two siblings lost in tragic air disasters in the ‘40s.
Family tragedies continued, with the overdose death of Bobby’s son David in 1984, and the plane crash which killed JFK Jr and his wife and sister-in-law in 1999, as well as the recent suicide of Bobby Jr’s estranged wife, Mary Richardson Kennedy, in May 2012. Former Senator Ted Kennedy seems one of the few members of the family to have had a natural passing, but he came close to tragedy several times in his life, in the car crash at Chappaquiddick in 1968 and a plane crash which almost killed him in 1964.
The Kennedys made good fodder for the research mill also because there is an asteroid corresponding to their surname, asteroid Kennedy (#7166), and many of their commonplace first names also have asteroid representation. Let’s begin at the beginning, with the most famous, and tragic, generation of the Kennedy clan.
The string of tragedies which plagued JFK’s generation began August 12, 1944, in the skies over Suffolk, England, when JFK’s eldest brother, pilot Joseph P. Kennedy, was killed in an air accident, his body vaporized when his plane’s load of explosives prematurely detonated. Joseph had been seen by their father, Ambassador Joseph Kennedy, as heir to the family’s nascent political aspirations. Haunted by the loss of his eldest, Joseph Sr increasingly pushed his remaining sons into the political sphere, with far-reaching results that reverberate in the American psyche to this day.
When Joe Kennedy’s plane exploded, asteroid Kennedy at 10 Cancer was conjunct Saturn, ancient ruler of death, at 6 Cancer, which was just approaching its first return in Joe’s (born 25 July 1915) natal chart, with transit asteroid Kennedy closely conjoined Saturn’s natal degree of 9 Cancer and exactly opposed natal asteroid Josephina (#303, for Joseph) at 10 Capricorn. Transit Kennedy was also trine to transit Atropos and Lachesis at 9 and 15 Scorpio, and exactly squared natal Kennedy at 10 Libra.
Asteroid Josefa (#649, also for Joseph) at 7 Gemini was conjunct transit Uranus, ruling aircraft, at 12 Gemini, and both were conjoined a natal combination of Osiris and Mars at 10 and 13 Gemini. Transit Josephina at 16 Taurus was squared the transit Sun at 19 Leo and Joe’s natal Lachesis at 11 Leo, while transit Osiris at 28 Sagittarius was exactly sextile natal Josefa at 28 Aquarius. Transit Mars (violent death) at 19 Virgo opposed natal Atropos at 22 Pisces, which was also trined by transit Requiem at 23 Scorpio.
JFK’s sister Kathleen was the next to confront the curse. In May 1944, Kathleen married the English Marquess of Hartington, heir to the Duke of Devonshire, but just four months later, barely a month after her brother Joseph’s death, her husband was also killed in active service. Kathleen became romantically involved with another British peer, Earl Fitzwilliam, but the couple was killed in an air crash in the south of France on May 13, 1948.
When Kathleen’s plane went down, transit asteroids Kennedy and Kathleen (#3754) were squared at 9 Gemini and 10 Virgo, both tightly aspected to transit Atropos at 10 Capricorn, which opposed Lachesis at 17 Cancer. Transit Kathleen had just crossed Kathleen Kennedy’s (born 20 February 1920) natal Saturn at 8 Virgo, and transit Atropos and Lachesis were forming a T-Square with her natal Kathleen at 14 Libra, with natal Kennedy at 14 Capricorn also tied to the pattern. (Note also how the Kathleen/Kennedy square of her birth chart is reflected in the sky at the time of her death.)
A natal conjunction of Requiem and the Sun at 0 Pisces with Uranus (ruling planes) at 1 Pisces was highlighted in semisextile by transit Requiem at 0 Aquarius and Osiris at 3 Aquarius, both also squaring natal Mars at 6 Scorpio, while transit Mars at 27 Leo opposed natal Sun/Requiem/Uranus and closely squared natal Lachesis at 28 Taurus. Transit Venus at 4 Cancer was coming to conjoin natal Pluto at 5 Cancer, indicating the death of the lovers.
John F. Kennedy (born 29 May 1917) is of course the headlining tragedy of the family. The 35th US president was assassinated in Dallas, Texas on November 22, 1963, with transit asteroid Kennedy at 0 Virgo conjoined Uranus (ruling shootings) at 9 Virgo. Uranus was exactly squared transit Mars (violent death) at 9 Sagittarius, and these points formed a T-Square with JFK’s (born 29 May 1917) Sun at 7 Gemini, with Uranus also in a tight trine to natal Lachesis at 8 Capricorn. The transit Sun at 29 Scorpio was exactly opposed transit Lachesis at 29 Taurus, with the Sun trined JFK’s natal Saturn at 27 Cancer.
Transit asteroid Johnny (#3252, for John) at 20 Libra squared transit Osiris at 21 Capricorn and formed a T-Square with natal Atropos at 22 Cancer, with Johnny also exactly trined transit Atropos at 20 Aquarius and exactly sextile transit Mars at 20 Sagittarius. Transit Saturn at 17 Aquarius was trined transit Johnny and conjunct transit Atropos, but also sextile natal Kennedy at 19 Aries, squared natal Mars at 18 Taurus and trined natal Requiem at 16 Gemini, itself conjunct transit Requiem at 13 Gemini, squared transit Pluto at 14 Virgo.
Five years after his brother’s death, former US Attorney General, Senator Robert F. Kennedy, was assassinated in California during his presidential campaign, on 6 June 1968. Transit Asteroid Kennedy at 25 Virgo conjoined transit Pluto at 20 Virgo, with Pluto exactly conjunct RFK’s (born 20 November 1925) natal asteroid Roberta (#335, for Robert) and exactly squared transit Mars at 20 Gemini. Transit Pluto also opposed natal Uranus (ruling shootings) at 21 Pisces, and was trine a natal pairing of Jupiter and Osiris at 20 and 21 Capricorn, sextile natal Saturn at 18 Scorpio.
Transit Roberta at 2 Leo was squared transit Osiris at 3 Taurus, and formed a T-Square with natal Mars at 4 Scorpio. Transit Requiem at 16 Leo conjoined natal Kennedy at 14 Leo and squared natal Saturn at 18 Scorpio and natal Atropos at 19 Scorpio, with transit Lachesis at 18 Aries conjoined transit Saturn at 22 Aries and trine natal Kennedy, inconjunct natal Saturn. Transit Lachesis was also squared a natal combination of Pluto and Lachesis at 14 and 15 Cancer, while transit Saturn opposed natal Requiem at 23 Libra.
Two fatal air crashes and two political assassinations had bedeviled the Kennedys in the ‘40s and ‘60s, but fate wasn’t done with the family yet. On April 25, 1984, RFK’s son David Kennedy died of a cocaine and Demerol overdose in his Palm Beach, Florida hotel room, after a short life plagued by drug and alcohol abuse. Transit asteroid Kennedy at 1 Capricorn was an exact match for drug-ruling Neptune, and closely sextile transit Pluto at 0 Scorpio, with Kennedy conjoined David’s (born 15 June 1955) natal Requiem at 0 Capricorn and squared his natal Atropos at 5 Libra.
Transit Lachesis and asteroid Davida (#511, for David) were exactly conjunct at 10 Pisces, forming a Grand Trine with transit Saturn at 13 Scorpio and transit Atropos at 12 Cancer, with Lachesis/Davida also squared transit Osiris at 12 Gemini. Transit Osiris was trine transit Requiem at 14 Aquarius, itself conjunct David’s natal asteroid Davida at 17 Aquarius, and inconjunct natal Osiris and natal Saturn at 14/15 Scorpio, with transit Saturn about to return to its natal degree, conjunct natal Osiris and squared both natal Davida and transit Requiem.
Transit Atropos conjoined natal Mars at 13 Cancer, and the transit Sun at 5 Taurus opposed transit Pluto and was conjunct natal asteroid Kennedy at 7 Taurus, bringing out the natal opposition to Lachesis at 6 Scorpio. Transit Mars at 25 Scorpio was squared natal Pluto at 24 Leo and inconjunct the natal Sun at 23 Gemini.
In 1999 it was JFK Jr’s turn to encounter the curse, which claimed also his pregnant wife and her sister in the third Kennedy air tragedy. On the night of July 16, 1999, Kennedy crashed his Piper Saratoga II plane into the waters off Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, killing all aboard on impact. Transit asteroid Kennedy at 2 Sagittarius was conjoined transit Johnny at 0 Sagittarius and transit Pluto at 8 Sagittarius, plainly telling the tale. These also opposed transit Requiem at 4 Gemini and squared transit Atropos at 7 Virgo, forming a T-Square, with Atropos also conjoined JFK Jr’s (born 25 November 1960) natal Pluto at 8 Virgo, and Johnny/Kennedy/Pluto conjunct his natal Sun at 3 Sagittarius and trine natal Osiris at 1 Aries.
Transit Osiris at 7 Cancer was exactly sextile transit Atropos, with Osiris opposed natal Johnny at 9 Capricorn, and Atropos trine it. Transit Saturn at 15 Taurus was coming to conjoin natal Atropos at 17 Taurus and was sextile natal Mars at 18 Cancer, exactly trine natal Saturn at 15 Capricorn and opposed natal Lachesis at 20 Scorpio. Transit Mars at 4 Scorpio conjoined transit Lachesis at 8 Scorpio, both conjunct natal Kennedy at 3 Scorpio, while sextile transit Atropos and trine transit Osiris, with Mars exactly inconjunct transit Requiem, and transit Lachesis exactly sextile natal Pluto. Transit asteroid Carolyn (#4446, for Carolyn Bessette, his wife) at 27 Libra was exactly sextile transit asteroid Laura (#467, for her sister Lauren) at 27 Sagittarius, with Carolyn sextile JFK Jr’s natal Requiem at 29 Leo, and Laura trine it.
Senator Edward “Ted” Kennedy was one of the few members of the clan to die a natural death, passing away from brain cancer on 25 August 2009. The third-longest serving US Senator, Kennedy left a legacy of many legislative accomplishments from his 47 years of national service. When he died the Sun at 2 Virgo was conjunct transit asteroid Kennedy at 4 Virgo, both squared transit asteroid Eduarda (#340, for Edward) at 2 Sagittarius, trine transit Pluto at 0 Capricorn and inconjunct transit Requiem at 1 Aquarius. Sun/Kennedy were also conjunct Ted’s (born 22 February 1932) natal asteroid Atropos at 1 Virgo, trine natal Lachesis at 2 Taurus, inconjunct natal Kennedy at 4 Aries, and semisextile natal Requiem at 2 Leo.
Transit Requiem opposed natal Requiem and formed a T-Square with natal Lachesis and natal Eduarda at 2 and 7 Taurus. Transit asteroid Edoardo (#27917, also for Edward) at 21 Virgo conjoined transit Lachesis at 17 Virgo and transit Saturn at 22 Virgo, all inconjunct transit Osiris at 17 Aquarius, which was itself squared natal Saturn at 14 Scorpio. Transit Atropos at 22 Cancer was exactly sextile transit Saturn, and transit Mars at 29 Gemini opposed natal Osiris at 27 Sagittarius, while trine natal Edoardo at 28 Aquarius.
The most recent victim of the Kennedy Curse is RFK Jr’s estranged wife, Mary Richardson Kennedy, who hanged herself at her home in Bedford, New York on May 16, 2012. Transit asteroid Kennedy at 7 Taurus opposed transit Requiem at 12 Scorpio and trined transit Mars at 9 Virgo, itself conjoined transit asteroid Maria (#170, for Mary) ay 10 Virgo. Mars/Maria were conjoined Mary’s (born 4 October 1959) natal Pluto/Lachesis conjunction at 5 and 6 Virgo and opposed her natal Requiem at 10 Pisces.
Transit asteroid Richardson (#12530) at 24 Aries conjoined transit Atropos at 28 Aries, with Richardson exactly opposed transit Saturn at 24 Libra, and forming a T-Square with natal asteroid Kennedy at 19 Cancer. Transit Saturn was also tightly trine natal asteroid Mary (#2779) at 23 Aquarius. Natal Kennedy was also squared by transit Lachesis at 11 Aries, which opposed Mary’s natal Sun at 10 Libra and together formed another T-Square with transit Pluto at 9 Capricorn. Transit asteroid Mary at 1 Aries was exactly squared natal Saturn at 1 Capricorn and conjunct transit Uranus (associated with suicides) at 7 Aries, also opposed natal Richardson at 29 Virgo, which was itself inconjunct transit Atropos. A natal conjunction of Osiris and Atropos at 20 and 25 Sagittarius was sextile transit Saturn and trine transit Richardson/Atropos.
But it’s not just the Kennedys who are susceptible to these deathly asteroids, and often other markers will act to further refine the manner of death. Asteroid Ophelia (#171), named for a character in Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” who accidentally drowns herself, appears prominently in charts of celebrity drownings.
Actress Natalie Wood’s death by drowning on November 29, 1981, became a cause celebre, and rumors of foul play continued for decades, even prompting a reopening of the case as recently as 2011. A child star (including 1947’s Christmas classic “Miracle on 34th Street”) who grew up before our eyes, Wood was well known for such torrid post-War melodramas as “Splendor in the Grass”, “Rebel Without a Cause” and the musical “West Side Story.” The circumstances of her death remain somewhat obscure, but a fatal mix of alcohol and prescription medication appears to have contributed to an accident which sent Wood overboard from a yacht she owned with husband Robert Wagner, while moored off Catalina Island, California.
Transit asteroid Ophelia at 10 Gemini opposed the transit Sun at 7 Sagittarius that day, showing an accidental drowning as a highlighted feature of the day’s events. Ophelia had just conjoined Wood’s (born 20 July 1938) natal Requiem and Atropos at 0 and 3 Gemini, with natal Requiem exactly opposed to an exact transit conjunction of Uranus (accidents) and Mercury at 0 Sagittarius. Ophelia was also exactly trined to Wood’s natal asteroid Wood (#1660) at 10 Libra, itself conjunct Lachesis at 7 Libra. Together the transit Sun with natal Lachesis/Wood formed a Yod, or Finger of Destiny, with inconjuncts to Wood’s natal asteroid Natalie at 7 Taurus, at the Yod’s apex.
Transit asteroid Natalie (#448) at 17 Sagittarius was still just within orb of the Sun while approaching transit Neptune (ruling the ocean) at 23 Sagittarius, and exactly inconjunct Wood’s natal Uranus at 17 Taurus, exactly trine natal Saturn at 17 Aries, sextile transit Saturn at 19 Libra and squared natal Neptune at 19 Virgo. Transit asteroid Wood at 23 Aries was exactly sextile transit Requiem and natal Osiris, both at 23 Gemini, exactly trine transit Neptune, and at the apex of a second Yod, with inconjunct aspects to transit Osiris at 22 Scorpio and transit Lachesis at 22 Virgo. Transit Wood was also trine natal Ophelia at 24 Leo, squared by transit Osiris at her drowning, and opposed by transit Pluto at 25 Libra. Transit Atropos at 1 Capricorn was inconjunct natal Requiem and Atropos at 0 and 3 Gemini.
News anchor Jessica Savitch made headlines herself on October 23, 1983, when her dinner companion drove their car into a shallow canal in New Hope, PA. The car overturned and its doors became trapped in the mud, drowning Savitch, her date, and her dog. Savitch had made a name for herself on the local Philadelphia NBC affiliate, then moved to Washington as network correspondent.
When Savitch died, the transit Sun at 29 Libra was exactly conjunct transit Pluto and also within orb of transit Ophelia at 3 Scorpio, once again signaling drowning as a preponderant theme of the time. Saturn was also in the mix from 6 Scorpio, bringing together both the ancient and modern significators of death. This stellium was moving to conjoin Savitch’s (born 1 February 1947) natal asteroid Jessie (#10464, for Jessica) at 7 Scorpio, and was squared both her natal Saturn/Atropos/Pluto conjunction at 4, 9, and 12 Leo, and her natal Mars/Sun conjunction at 5 and 11 Aquarius. Transit Atropos at 7 Leo was centered on the natal Leo stellium and formed an exact T-Square with transit Osiris at 7 Taurus and natal Jessie at 7 Scorpio, with Atropos also exactly inconjunct natal Ophelia at 7 Pisces, and Osiris exactly sextile it.
Transit asteroid Jessie at 9 Gemini was squared natal Ophelia and trined transit asteroid Savage (#29837, a phonetic match for “Savitch”) at 11 Libra, also opposing transit Uranus (accidents) at 7 Sagittarius. Transit Lachesis at 4 Capricorn was exactly squared natal Savage at 4 Libra, itself conjoined by natal Requiem, Osiris and Neptune at 5, 8 and 10 Libra. Natal Lachesis at 26 Aries was opposed by the transit Sun/Pluto conjunction.
Carol Wayne was best known for her buxom, ditzy-headed character in more than 100 appearances on Johnny Carson’s “Tonight Show” through the ‘70s and early ‘80s. Frequent guest spots on TV and in films made her a household name, until her mysterious disappearance on a Mexican beach on January 13, 1985. Fishermen found her drowned body three days later.
Once again, the transit Sun and Ophelia were joined, at 23 and 22 Capricorn, exactly opposing transit asteroid Carol (#2214) at 22 Cancer. Transit Atropos and Saturn at 22 and 25 Scorpio tied to this polarity by sextile and trine, as did an exact pairing of asteroids Requiem and Lachesis at 24 Pisces, the entire assemblage forming a Kite pattern.
This ties to Wayne’s (born 6 September 1942) natal chart via her asteroid Requiem at 27 Cancer, conjoined by transit Carol at the drowning, with natal Mars and Neptune at 22 and 28 Virgo in trine to transit Sun/Ophelia. Natal Ophelia at 5 Gemini conjoins natal Uranus at 4 Gemini, reiterating the theme of accidental drowning, and these were sextile natal Osiris and Pluto at 1 and 6 Leo and highlighted by inconjunct from transit Saturn at 4 Scorpio at her death. Transit Osiris at 7 Libra conjoined natal Mercury at 8 Libra, while sextile natal Pluto and trine natal Ophelia/Uranus, and closely squared natal Atropos at 9 Cancer. Natal asteroid Carol at 10 Scorpio was trined by transit Mars at 14 Pisces.
Abraham Lincoln makes another fine study of an assassinated US president dogged by the deathly asteroids. Born 12 February 1809 and shot in the head by actor John Wilkes Booth in a Washington DC theatre on April 15, 1865, the Great Emancipator had a startling number of activations of death-sensitive points at the time of his assassination.
Transit asteroid Lincoln (#3153) at 26 Cancer formed a T-Square with the transit Sun at 25 Aries (conjoined Lincoln’s natal Osiris at 24 Aries) and transit Saturn at 27 Libra, itself conjunct Lincoln’s natal Mars (violence) at 25 Libra. Transit Mars at 8 Cancer was exactly squared natal asteroid Lincoln at 8 Libra and formed a second T-Square with another exact square to transit Neptune (actors, theatres) at 8 Aries. Transit Mars is also squared natal Lachesis at 7 Aries and trine natal Requiem at 7 Pisces, as well as inconjunct natal Uranus (shootings) at 9 Scorpio. Transit Atropos conjoined Mars from 1 Cancer and was inconjunct natal Saturn at 3 Sagittarius, semisquare natal Atropos at 15 Taurus, and sesquiquadrate transit Requiem at 15 Scorpio. Thus transit Requiem and natal Atropos were exactly opposed at his murder, with Requiem tightly trine transit Osiris, which at 12 Pisces was conjoined Lincoln’s natal Pluto at 13 Pisces. Natal Pluto is also squared by transit Lachesis at 15 Gemini, while transit Pluto reinforces natal Atropos by conjunction from 12 Taurus.
Lest we assume that these patterns apply only to the famous or celebrated, I’ll conclude with the case of my mother, Lorraine Miller, known as “Aunt Mimi” to most of the family. Born 16 July 1931, mom died on April 14, 2010, of complications from lung, kidney and heart disease, and Alzheimer’s. The day of her death the transit Sun at 24 Aries was conjunct transit Osiris at 22 Aries, and opposed transit asteroid Miller (#1826) at 25 Libra. Sun/Osiris/Miller formed a Grand Cross with her natal Sun/Pluto at 23 and 20 Cancer, and natal Saturn at 19 Capricorn. Transit Lachesis at 16 Scorpio squared her natal asteroid Miller at 14 Leo and opposed transit asteroid Lorraine (#1114) at 13 Taurus, which was exactly trine natal asteroid Mimi (#1127) and semisextile natal Requiem at 13 Gemini, also sextile natal Lachesis at 14 Cancer, itself trine transit Lachesis, bringing the pattern full circle. Transit Mimi at 22 Sagittarius trined transit Osiris and opposed natal Atropos at 26 Gemini. Transit Pluto at 5 Capricorn was exactly sextile natal asteroid Lorraine at 5 Scorpio, while transit Requiem at 5 Taurus exactly opposed it. Transit Saturn at 29 Virgo squared natal Atropos, while transit Atropos and transit Mars at 1 and 6 Leo centered on her natal Osiris, also at 6 Leo.
The multitudinous and complex interactions portrayed above certainly seem to suggest a major role for these celestials in denoting an individual’s passing. Both by transit and in the birth chart, the level of their activation on these significant dates is truly astounding. Deathly asteroids, indeed!