An individual believed to be 24-year-old James Holmes threw a tear gas cannister into a theatre in Aurora, Colorado just after midnight this morning. When the people started streaming out, the individual started shooting, killing 12 people and wounding at least 38 more.
The theatre was screening the new Batman movie titled The Dark Knight Rises, making for more of that creepy Hollywood symbolism to which we've become accustomed.
The Batman film franchise has a history of tragic events associated with it, as does that area of Colorado.
Heath Ledger, an actor in the previous Batman installment, The Dark Knight, died suddenly at the age of 28 a few months prior to the release of the film in 2008. An effects technician also died performing a stunt while filming. Morgan Freeman, another actor in The Dark Knight, flipped his car a month after the release of the film and had to be operated on, and "Batman" himself Christian Bale was arrested that same month for allegedly assaulting his mother and sister.
Aurora, Colorado - where the shootings occured at the Century 16 movie theatre early this morning - is 30 kilometres from Littleton, Colorado where the Columbine school shootings happened in 1999.
According to the Huffington Post, James Holmes was a PhD student in neuroscience but was in the process of withdrawing from classes. His birthdate is listed as December 13, 1987.
Using that birth date, Holmes would have a tight Mars-Pluto conjunction in Scorpio (within one degree) in his natal chart. He would have Uranus, Saturn, and the Sun conjunct in late Sagittarius with Mercury in mid-Sagittarius. Venus would be at 19/20 degrees Capricorn square Jupiter at 19 degrees Aries. Holmes' North Node would be in Pisces with a Moon in Virgo conjunct his Virgo South Node (unless born later than 10:40 p.m., in which case his Moon would be in Libra, also conjunct the South Node). Neptune would be in Capricorn.
Natal Black Moon Lilith Square Mars-Pluto in Scorpio Heavily Activated by Transiting Moon-Mercury
Holmes has Vesta-Black Moon Lilith in Leo square Mars-Pluto in Scorpio in his natal chart. This square was highly activated at the time of the shooting, and one can certainly see the involvement of this combination of energies.
Astronomically, Black Moon Lilith is the point of lunar apogee - the point where the Moon is furthest away from Earth in its orbit. Astrologically, it relates to a point of deep, dark feminine awareness and life experience, as well as marginalization from the mainstream.
This point involves a theme of being put out of society, being put out in the cold, being isolated, alone, forced to fight for bare survival. It relates to a society that would prefer an individual dead rather than accept what he or she represents into its folds. As part of that, Black Moon Lilith can be a raw, potentially volatile point, with sudden, extreme, and even violent trigger points.
Pluto is the dwarf planet named for the Lord of the Underworld and involves a state of living beneath the surface, seeing in the dark, being aware of what others who live above ground are not. Pluto involves a process of bringing up to the surface issues which remain detrimentally denied and suppressed in the collective. It is related to Hades (hell), death, and destruction and can also be volatile, highly-triggered, and violent.
Both Black Moon Lilith and Pluto involve extremes - emotional and psychological extremes as well as life-and-death scenarios. Both placements indicate depth and "dark" awareness, involving the seeing and experiencing of things the mainstream does not see or experience.
Both placements can indicate a level of marginalization and forced isolation from mainstream society. This can be for legitimate reasons or it can be simply because the mainstream society cannot face or accept what the individuals know or represent. The disruption to consensus reality is too great.
Due to the forced isolation/marginalization of those with strong Pluto or Black Moon Lilith placements - either physical or emotional/psychological/psychic - both placements can indicate the development of a level of misanthropy or hatred of mainstream society. These are not often taken to the extremes to which they were taken by the Century 16 shooter - thought to be James Holmes - but it would be rare to find these feelings completely absent in individuals with highly activated and influential Pluto or Black Moon Lilith placements.
Often individuals with these strong placements natally would wish to remove themselves from society or from the planet altogether as a reaction to levels of corruption, dishonesty, denial, injustice, or suffering intolerable to them - less commonly would they turn those feelings outward in a shooting spree like this one.
An individual with a tight square between Black Moon Lilith and Mars-Pluto, as Holmes' has, could expect more frustration and misery than usual along related themes. Being highly intelligent as Holmes ostensibly was could further exacerbate the problems.
Transiting Mercury has just stationed retrograde at 12 degrees Leo (July 14) trine Uranus in Aries (sudden violence). The retrograde station fell within one degree of Holmes' mean Black Moon Lilith placement (13 degrees Leo) and within two or three degrees of his true BML placement (14 or 15 degrees Leo), concentrating the energy heavily.
Due to the tight BML in Leo square to his natal Mars and Pluto in Scorpio, Mars and Pluto were also highly activated by the square from Mercury in Leo.
Mars is a planet associated with war, violence, and aggression, and you see this element involved clearly. Mars and Pluto are both in signs of their domicile in Holmes' chart - Scorpio - and this intensifies the potency of their conjunction and, in this case, its violent themes.
Mercury in Leo (theatre and arts) had retrograded into an exact - almost to the minute - square to Holmes' Pluto at 11 degrees Scorpio (death) at the time of the shooting.
The Moon was also in Leo at the time, conjuncting transiting Mercury and Holmes' natal Black Moon Lilith placement. The Moon-Mercury conjunction in Leo formed a tight square to his natal Mars-Pluto in Scorpio placements.
Both Moon-Mars and Moon-Pluto squares are considered emotionally difficult if not hellish and can involve violence. Here, due to his natal placements, Holmes had both squares happening at once.
Mars-Pluto contacts can be highly volatile, particularly when stressed in the form of square, quincunx, or opposition.
Pluto involves emotional and psychological unrest, turmoil, and upset that can simmer beneath the surface until erupting to the surface like a volcano. There is personal violence possible when Mars is involved, and the shooter had the will and took the action to express this simmering Plutonic emotion and awareness. It needed only the match to light the fuse, represented by the Moon-Mercury square from fiery Leo.
With Pluto so heavily involved, there is a strong collective element here. This shooting took place in a Cancer Sun nation that is, en masse, accepting of the campaigns of violence, murder, and destruction unleashed around the world (and on its own citizens) by officials and armed forces but is horrified and mystified when the underlying culture of violence finds expression at home.
Sun-Saturn and Sun-Uranus Conjunctions in Sagittarius
Holmes has both Sun conjunct Saturn and Sun conjunct Uranus in Sagittarius, indicating further stressors to his personality and self-expression.
Uranus conjunct the Sun indicates the possibility of personal brilliance or genius, but also a sort of "oddball" status that sets one apart sometimes painfully. The combined placement of Saturn conjunct the Sun indicates difficulties fitting into the structures as they exist and finding a meaningful channel for that brilliance. Saturn conjunct the Sun can involve depression and heaviness in the personality, a person who might recover slower than others from setbacks, taking them harder and more to heart. As Sagittarius is a sign associated with higher education, these challenges could be expected within university settings and their current structural set-ups, and it has been reported that Holmes was withdrawing from a PhD program in neuroscience.
Sun-Saturn aspects require that challenges be met and tests be passed slowly, gradually, over the course of time so that a firm foundation of self-esteem can be built along with a stable and mature personality able to successfully deal with setbacks and obstacles. But the effects of erratic, electric, sometimes manic Uranus would make it difficult for the individual to patiently see these challenges through.
These placements indicate the possibility of stifling challenges to the self-esteem and to the expression of what he knows (Sun-Saturn) with an ability to detach entirely, dissociate, from his own personality and sense of himself as a human being (Sun-Uranus). Sun-Uranus contacts can create personality "breaks" - a lack of continuity with extreme, unpredictable, and erratic personality changes. They can also indicate a sort of "wired" quality to the personality, involving an individual who is more succeptible than most to electromagnetic frequency.
Pluto Conjunct Neptune: Removing All Illusion
Transiting Pluto in Capricorn is forming an exact conjunction to Holmes' natal Neptune in Capricorn at 7 degrees, and this is being squared by transiting Uranus in Aries.
Pluto aspecting Neptune has a tendency to rip the blinders off, removing every last comforting illusion. Under this conjunction by Pluto, squared by Uranus in Aries (sudden violence), there was nowhere for Holmes to run, nowhere for him to hide - not even at the movies, a Neptunian-ruled fantasy world.
It is fitting, then, that Holmes decided to commit these acts of heinous violence at a movie theatre with people settling in to their two-hour escape from reality.