Assassination attempt on US Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in Arizona

(Posted January 10, 2011)  America was witness to yet another mass killing over the weekend, this one involving US Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.   Giffords was shot in the head but is apparently going to survive, although six people died in the shooting spree outside a Safeway in Tucson, Arizona on Saturday, January 8.   While it seems that the shooter, Jared Loughner, did target the Democrat Ms. Giffords, a picture is emerging that he was mentally unbalanced and did not have ties to any particular political group. It seems the tragic American tradition of the 'lone nut' has once again reared its ugly head. 

There has been much finger pointing in the aftermath of the shooting, mostly towards the right wing media, the Tea Party and Sarah Palin, who liberals claim have used inflammatory rhetoric that created a climate of intolerance and hate.  While that may be true,  the desperate actions of the confused Loughner remain his alone.  The US is now engaged in a round of soul-searching as it attempts to come to terms with its polarized political culture in which the moderate voices are increasingly marginalized. 

We can clearly see this outburst of violence in the US horoscope.  Violence is the dominion of the planet Mars.  Whether it is through war, violent incidents such as these, or natural disasters, the planet Mars will usually be activated by transit whenever there is a significant symbolic injury or loss of life on a national level.  Not surprisingly, we find Mars activated both ways: natal Mars is aspected by transiting Mercury while natal Mercury is aspected by transiting Mars.  So this assassination attempt and mass shooting had a double dose of Mars.  But why Mercury? 

One possibility is that Mercury is the ruler of the 10th house of government in the US horoscope.  (An aside: while I acknowledge there are dozens of possible charts for the US,  I am using the 6.30 p.m chart as popularized by James Kelleher.  It is not perfect, but few charts are.)   The target of the attack with a member of Congress, and so she may be symbolized by Mercury.   The fact that the Mercury-Mars contact was duplicated in both natal and transit planets likely underlined its great importance for the country as a whole. 

Another major affliction to this chart (and all US charts regardless of birth time) is that the natal Sun was afflicted by a t-square involving transiting Saturn and the Sun.  The Sun is the planetary significator of government and its involvement in this difficult t-square no doubt played a role in this unfortunate incident.  Saturn symbolizes loss, setbacks, delays, and sadness. Some of the questions being asked about the role of the media, the conservative movement, and the entire US political system likely reflects the impact of this Saturn on the Sun.   With Saturn slowing down ahead of its station on January 26, it is extra powerful here, so we may see a protracted debate and a possible further erosion of confidence in the US government as this aspect remains in range well into February.  It could be a very tough time for the country and the administration.

The other pattern that stands out in this chart is that Rahu and Pluto are currently clustered around the ascendant in this chart.  Rahu can be a disruptive influence, as it seeks to interfere with the status quo and bring about change at any cost.  In some situations, this can be positive as oppressive traditions are cast off in favour of new ways of doing things.  But in this case, Rahu is with Pluto, a planet with a troublesome reputation. 

Pluto is closely associated with power, and the aggressive pursuit of power.  The Rahu-Pluto conjunction can represent a selfish striving to achieve one's own goals, regardless of the consequences.   It can bring about change, but it is usually painful and it may not pay sufficient heed to legal or acceptable means.   Since the ascendant is the body of the country as a whole, the current climate of mistrust, repulsion, and internal questioning may also be a reflection of this clustering around the ascendant.  Fortunately, Rahu will soon move off this point, although Pluto will remain in close proximity to the ascendant for much of 2011.  Pluto's square with Uranus in August will highlight the US ascendant once again.  The t-square involving Mars, Uranus and Pluto around August 9 also suggests the possibility of more violent and shocking situations.  This pattern will be a good test of this particular chart since it will occur right on the angles.