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The Slow and Violent Dance of Mars and Uranus

Public attention to the killings of young, African-American men by police officers and the resulting “Black Lives Matter” movement began during the last phase of the Uranus square Pluto aspect, but it is not surprising that this violence would return to the front pages, along with many other violent incidents, as Saturn moved into a square with Neptune. Long lasting squares and opposition create tension that is felt, at some level, by everyone, including people with guns.

However, there is an added astrological factor involved in the shooting of Alton Sterling in Louisiana on July 5, the killing of Philandro Castile in Minnesota on July 6 and the attack on police officers by Micah Johnson in Dallas on July 8. Mars had just crawled within a degree of a quincunx with Uranus on July 3. Mars had been quincunx to Uranus for two weeks during the end of it retrograde (as seen from the Earth) cycle. By the time it stationed and went direct on June 30, Uranus has moved just over a degree away from an exact 150 degree angle. Now that Mars is moving forward, the aspect is back in force, and will remain so until the middle of this month.

In the horoscope of Micah Johnson, the young man who ambushed police officers in Dallas, this aspect had particular relevance. At the time of the attack, transiting Mars was moving between a square aspect to his Mars and his Venus. (Click on Micah Johnson to see a double chart with a horoscope done for noon for Johnson on the inside and a chart for the day and time of the shooting on the outside.) Meanwhile, Uranus was trine Johnson’s Venus.

Anytime Mars and Uranus get together there is the potential for sudden and surprising outburst of violence. The contacts between this aspect and Johnson’s Mars and Venus show us that he felt a personal connection to the killings in Minnesota and Louisiana. He felt the need to take action. And with a house full of guns at his disposal, that action was not likely to be constructive.

Along with the conjunction of Mars and Venus, Johnson also had the Sun opposite Uranus in his natal chart, so the potential for abrupt changes in behavior and violence was there. Also, at the time of the attack, Neptune was moving into a trine with his natal Sun. In fact, if he happened to have been born around noon, Neptune would have also been in a conjunction with his natal Moon. Meanwhile, Saturn was forming a quincunx with his natal Sun (and possibly a square to his natal Moon.) So  at the time that he started shooting at the police, Johnson’s chart was being impacted by both of the most stressful aspects of that day.

None of this should be taken as an excuse for Johnson’s actions, just as the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philandro Castile are not an excuse. At some point we are going to have to strike a balance between the need for police officers who are doing dangerous work to protect themselves, and the rights of citizens (in particular young African American men) to be treated fairly. We are going to also have to deal with the racism that is still pervasive in this country and the proliferation of firearms. Until then all astrologers can do is look at the sky and discuss the how the movement of the planets relate to these horrific events..