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Astrology at Work: Agatha ChristieChristieAImage

On the evening of Dec. 3, 1926 the famous mystery writer, Agatha Christie became the center of a real life mystery. She left the home she shared with her husband and child and drove off into the night. The next day her car was found off the road, apparently wrecked, but there was no sign of Ms. Christie. A nationwide search ensued complete with hour-by-hour newspaper coverage. For the next eleven days Christie’s disappearance gripped all of England, and it remains mysterious even today.

That is, to everyone but astrologers. A look at what was going on in Christie’s horoscope at that time tells the story. Two powerful transits were hitting her chart at that time. Transiting Pluto was square her natal Mercury and transiting Uranus was square her natal Mars. Either of these aspects could have sparked dramatic changes in her life. Together they created a perfect storm of transformation and disruption.

 (Click here to see a double chart with Christie’s natal horoscope in the center and the chart for Dec. 3, 1926 on the outside.)

Earlier in 1926, Christie’s mother had died. To Agatha, her mother was a bastion of strength and losing her was a significant blow. Then, in the summer, Christie's husband confessed that he was in love with a younger woman and wanted a divorce. Christie was shocked. Somehow her analytical Virgo mind had missed the facts that her husband was spending more and more time in London, and that when he was home he always seemed irritable and restless.

When Pluto makes a hard transit to Mercury our thinking is assailed by worry and doubt. We often seem overwhelmed, defensive and distracted. Pluto had moved within range of this aspect in Christie’s chart during the summer. Her reaction to her husband’s confession was to act like it never happened. He was the perfect husband.  She had the perfect marriage. Surely all this talk of divorce was a passing phase.

Of course it wasn’t, and this became increasingly obvious as Pluto completed its square to her Mercury and then went retrograde in October and began creeping back for another pass. By this time the Uranus square to Christie’s Mars was closing in and the pressure on her thinking was joined by a impetus to take drastic actions.

A square to natal Mars by Uranus usually describes a period of restlessness and instability. We have the urge to blow things up, to sweep aside the status quo. But there was a problem. Not only was Christie thoroughly British, she was also thoroughly Virgo, and Virgos don’t typically blow things up. That would be messy. So, instead of throwing crockery at the wall and screaming her head off, which is what we might expect with this aspect, Christie held this energy inside until it reached a breaking point.

That breaking point came on Dec. 3. When Christie was finally located, in a swanky hotel several miles from her home, she claimed to have no memory of what had happened. It seemed as if she wasn’t even sure of who she was. (She had registered at the hotel under the name of her husband’s mistress.) A doctor who examined Christie afterwards declared that she had been suffering from temporary amnesia.

This diagnosis has never been fully accepted. Some people thought it was all a publicity stunt. Others have come up with more nefarious theories, ranging from a fake kidnapping gone wrong to a murder plot. With Uranus square her Mars I have no doubt that Christie had a few murderous thoughts during this period, but murder was something that happened in her books, where it could be neatly tidied up in the last chapter. Christie was too much of a practical Virgo to think that it would work like that in real life.

In this case, I think it is the official story that is closest to the truth. Uranus demanded action and Christie took action, not really knowing where it might lead her. Meanwhile, her Libra Mercury, with all of it idealized presumptions of a perfect husband and perfect marriage was adjusting to new and very painful reality. This transformative process would have certainly seemed like temporary insanity to any outside observer.

Christie did eventually give her husband a divorce and she got on with her life. In her autobiography Christie discusses how painful this process was for her, but she doesn’t mention her disappearance. It was an inexplicable interlude, totally outside the orderly scheme of her Sun sign Virgo life. It was also a perfect Pluto and Uranus storm.

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