Shortly after Shabbat services began at the Tree of Life Synagogue in the Squirrel Hill section of Pittsburgh, PA on Saturday, October 27, 2018, a lone gunman entered and began shooting up the congregation with a semi-automatic AR-15 rifle and two Glock hand guns. He left 11 dead and another six wounded, including several police officers who responded to the 911 calls. The suspect, Robert Bowers, was apprehended after being shot by police and remains in the hospital, though he faces arraignment on 29 Federal charges on the Monday. Bowers had a history of anti-Semitic posts on social media sites, and told arresting officers that he “just wanted to kill Jews”, whom he accused of bringing terrorists into the US to destroy the country.
The rampage is the most deadly act of anti-Semitism in US history, and the 294th mass shooting in the country this year. Obviously, we’ve been down this road many times before; it is wide and commodious, and there appears to be no turning.
Robert Bowers’ birth date has been given as 4 September 1972, based on social media sourcing; as of this writing, no official confirmation could be verified, but a chart cast for that date certainly fits the facts of the case. There is a remarkable exact triple conjunction of the Sun at 12 Vigo with asteroids Roberta (feminine form of Robert) and Anubis, named for the ancient Egyptian deity governing funerary rites, with Mars, ruler of guns, attacks, and violent death, close by at 13 Virgo. This forms a Grand Cross with an opposition to asteroid Rip (for “RIP”, “Rest In Peace”, a common tombstone inscription) at 10 Pisces, and squares to Saturn at 19 Gemini with asteroid Bower (for Bowers) at 14 Gemini, and asteroid Gluck (for the Glock hand guns he used) exact with Pittsburghia (for Pittsburgh, the city where the atrocity occurred) at 9 Sagittarius, with Neptune (ruling faith and spiritual locales such as synagogues) and asteroid Gunn at 3 and 2 Sagittarius.
The PNAs (Personal-Named Asteroids) Roberta and Bower in contact with the Sun are typical of one’s own PNA placements in a birth chart. Anubis and Rip pinpoint Bowers as identified with death in a core capacity, while Mars shows a heightened expression on the anger/aggression spectrum and possible violent tendencies, also central to character. Saturn signals reactionary, ultra-conservative views and was also the ancient lord of death, while Pittsburghia/Gluck identifies the venue and means for his crimes. Gunn/Neptune combines religious themes with weaponry. Exactly squared Neptune is centaur Pholus at 3 Pisces, which indicates mass deaths by whatever cause (from natural disasters or disease epidemics to murder).
Several additional clusters speak volumes to motivation and intent. Two points which can be examined with a view to the propensity for commission of heinous acts are asteroids Apophis, named for the ancient Egyptian personification of pure evil, and Tantalus, noted for horrible, unforgivable crimes. Apophis appears at 0 Scorpio, combined with an exact conjunction of TNO (Trans-Neptunian Object) Ixion and asteroid Karma at 5 Scorpio. Ixion is named for the first murderer in Greek myth, and Karma relates to predestined, fated events.
This would appear to indicate that some degree of involvement with homicide, either as victim, perpetrator or near bystander, was a foregone conclusion for Bowers; Apophis here inclines him to be the prime mover in the incident, rather than a hapless participant. All these points were being transited by the Sun with Venus at 4 and 2 Scorpio at the time of the shooting. We tend to look at Sun/Venus periods as peaceful, pleasant and calm, but in reality, all it speaks to is the focus on values and desires, and with Venus also retrograde, this can indicate an emphasis on values which are opposed to what most adhere to, and in this case, a specific desire to commit murder.
Tantalus, oddly, is natally linked with values; at 1 Leo it conjoins Venus at 26 Cancer, in a stellium including asteroid Atropos at 29 Cancer, named for the Mythic Greek Fate who severs the thread of life at death, and Toro at 3 Leo, which indicates aggressive, bullying acts; asteroid Israel at 9 Leo is wide of Venus but conjoins the others, suggesting members of the Jewish faith as a target for Bowers’ aggression (Toro) and desire (Venus) to visit death (Atropos) on others in a monstrous act (Tantalus). Atropos and Toro were being squared by Uranus, ruling violent outbursts and shootings, at 0 Taurus for the murders (this also opposes natal Apophis and, more widely, the Ixion/Karma conjunction).
Natally Uranus also has a tale to tell; at 16 Libra, it conjoins asteroid Requiem, named for the funeral mass for the dead, at 14 Libra; asteroid Church, which is a generic stand-in for any house of worship, at 15 Libra; and more widely conjoins asteroid Hill at 23 Libra, representing the Pittsburgh neighborhood of Squirrel Hill, where the crime occurred. So we’re seeing volatility and shooting (Uranus) combined with death (Requiem), a religious space (Church), and the actual geographic locale (Hill). Pluto’s direct station in September at 16 Capricorn exactly squared natal Uranus, ramping up the tension and volatility, and its 18 Cap placement for the shooting exactly opposes natal asteroid Roberts at 18 Cancer, another referent for Bowers (natally the close square from Uranus to Roberts is another indicator of an unstable, violent nature). Pluto is the modern ruler of death, and also governs crime generally and homicide in particular.
Turning to the shooting itself, we again find stunning resonance in the skies. I have set the chart for the initial 911 calls at 9:54 AM EDT, as the only verifiable time; services began at 9:45 and the incident is reported to have occurred “shortly after”.
The chart shows 28 Scorpio rising, conjunct Mercury at 25 and Jupiter at 27 Scorpio, with an exact pairing of asteroids Atropos and Hill at 5 Sagittarius, also on the Ascendant. Anubis is just wide at 11 Sag, but conjoining Atropos/Hill. Put it all together, and this spells news (Mercury) of a death (Atropos/Anubis) at a religious establishment (Jupiter) in Squirrel Hill (Hill). Providing further confirmation of the important, pivotal nature of the spiritual surroundings, as well as the fanatical, delusional nature if the shooter and the multiplicity of victims, is an exact conjunction of Neptune with the 13 Pisces Nadir, lending angular force and impact.
Widely straddling the 13 Virgo Midheaven are asteroids Bower at 3 Virgo and Gluck at 23 Virgo, the killer and his weaponry. On the Descendant is asteroid Lachesis, named for the mythic Greek Fate who determines the span of life; exactly squared Bower, this casts Robert Bowers in that role for the day. Also identifying the suspect is asteroid Roberta at 24 Leo, which pairs with Osiris, named for the ancient Egyptian god of the dead, at 23 Leo, and Pittsburghia, representing the city, at 28 Leo; these oppose Damocles, the doom hanging unseen overhead, at 22 Aquarius. These form a T-Square with Mercury/Jupiter/Ascendant. Also active is asteroid Roberts, which at 15 Aquarius is exactly conjunct asteroid Church, placing Bowers celestially at the scene of the crime; both are within orb of Mars, ruling guns and violence, at 18 Aquarius, and all three are sesquiquadrate asteroid Gunn at 1 Libra.
Gunn, incidentally, is an exact match for Bowers’ natal Pluto; we’ve already discussed how the day’s Sun/Venus and Uranus points affected his birth chart, also of interest is transit Roberts/Church/Mars on his natal Damocles at 19 Aquarius, and transit Atropos/Hill/Anubis activating his natal Neptune/Gunn/Pittsburghia/Gluck. Transit asteroid Israel at 3 Leo is conjunct natal Atropos/Tantalus/Toro and about to return to its natal degree, a period of summation of the cycle, finishing up old business before the cycle renews.
An examination of PNAs for all 11 victims would be unwieldy and exhausting, beyond the scope of this article; suffice to say that there seems to be a disproportionately large number of these surnames which have exact referents in the heavens, and, as is typical with such incidents, they tend to cluster in groups.
But I will mention some of those which stand out particularly in the day’s sky, given their placement or movement status; most of these also stand out in relation to the other victims that day. Among those killed were two brothers, Cecil and David Rosenthal, aged 59 and 54; and a married couple, Sylvan and Bernice Simon, aged 86 and 84, married 62 years; the oldest victim was Rose Mallinger, age 97; also killed was Joyce Feinberg, age 75.
The Rosenthals are represented by asteroid Rosenthal, which at 15 Virgo is scraping the 13 Virgo Midheaven, the most elevated point in the chart. There is no Cecil referent, but asteroid Davida, a feminine form of David, appears at 23 Pisces, exactly opposed Gluck. In Bowers’ natal chart, Rosenthal at 7 Leo is bound up in the Atropos/Tantalus/Toro/Israel stellium, while Davida at 29 Capricorn exactly opposes Atropos and forms a T-Square with asteroid Nemesis, a point of undoing, at 25 Aries.
The Simons are represented by asteroid Simona, which at 29 Aries opposes the Sun at 4 Scorpio, and is conjoined Bowers’ natal Nemesis; there is no Bernice asteroid, but Sylvania for Sylvan falls at 27 Scorpio, exactly conjunct Jupiter and in the T-Square with Roberta/Osiris/Pittsburghia and Damocles. In Bowers’ nativity, Simona falls at 18 Cancer, exactly conjunct Roberts (and exactly opposed by transit Pluto at their murder), while Sylvan falls at 17 Sagittarius, conjoined natal Lachesis at 22 Sag, squared Sun/Roberta/Anubis/Mars and opposed Saturn/Bower, and broadly squared Rip at 10 Pisces, in a loose Grand Cross.
Rose Mallinger and Joyce Feinberg are unique in that both have PNAs which were at station for their murders, enhancing their prominence on the day in question. Asteroid Malin, for Mallinger, appears at 7 Pisces on the 13 Pisces IC with Neptune (ruling victims) also at that degree, and turned direct that very day; Malin is also squared Atropos/Hill and opposes Bower. Rosa at 8 Scorpio conjoins the transit Sun/Venus and Bowers’ natal Apophis/Ixion/Karma. In his natal chart, Rosa at 27 Aries conjoins Nemesis, and Malin at 28 Aquarius squares Neptune/Gunn.
Joyce Feinberg has two exact PNA matches to represent her; Feinberg at 3 Cancer is stationary, turning retrograde on October 31st, and is closely squared transit Gunn and Bowers’ natal Pluto. Joyce at 7 Virgo is also on the MC, conjunct Bowers’ natal Sun stellium. (It’s interesting that both these victims have one PNA at station and another one angular, two of the most powerful placements in any chart.) In the natal chart, Joyce falls at 22 Leo, opposing natal Damocles at 19 Aquarius and exactly trined Lachesis, and is exactly opposed by transit Damocles at 22 Aquarius for her murder. Natal Feinberg lies at 5 Virgo, conjunct the natal solar stellium and transit Joyce, squared natal Neptune/Gunn/Pittsburghia/Gluck and transit Atropos/Hill.
Yet another tragic shooting, once again faithfully reproduced in the heavens. When will it end?
One final note: In the aftermath of the massacre, Donald Trump attested that he had considered canceling his scheduled appearance for that evening. But not because of the murders per se. Waylaid by reporters as he prepared to board Air Force One, caught in the rain and pelted by winds, The Donald’s coiffure became undone, and by his own account, he seriously considered skipping the event due to a “bad hair day.” “By the way, somebody just said, ‘Your hair looks different today.’ I said, well I was standing under the wing of Air Force One during a news conference earlier this morning — a very unfortunate news conference. And the wind was blowing and the rain, and I was soaking wet. And that’s what I ended up with today.” Fortunately, good sense won out, and the speech, by the 45th President of the Untied States, whose grandchildren are Jewish, came off as planned. What a schmuck.