fireworks cover

Fireworks, American Style

The celebration of Independence Day in the US is, tragically, often bound up with a deadly expression of Americans’ Second Amendment rights, coinciding with an uptick in the already ubiquitous incidents of mass shootings.  Although Founding Father John Adams, after the signing of the Declaration, wrote to his long-suffering wife Abigail that “I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival…It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shows, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more,” I doubt that murdering fellow citizens was the type of celebratory gunplay he anticipated, nor the parade of lost and shattered lives.

2023’s annual debauch of faux patriotism brought an unusually high number of mass shootings, stretched from sea to shining sea.  The list seems endless, from Boston, Massachusetts and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the cradles of liberty, to the nation’s capital, throughout the Northeast, South, Midwest and West, some two dozen mass shootings total (defined as incidents where four or more are killed or wounded) between July 1 and July 5.

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United States of Hate? Perhaps, with asteroid Gunn conjunct the nation’s Sun, it’s time for a makeover of Old Gory

On July 1, 2023, four were wounded in a mass shooting in Tulsa, Oklahoma; July 2 saw attacks in The Bronx, New York (4 wounded) and Wichita, Kansas (nine wounded); July 3’s atrocities included Fort Worth, Texas (4 wounded); Saint Ann, Missouri (3 dead, 2 wounded); Indianapolis, Indiana (1 dead, 3 wounded); Truman, Minnesota (4 wounded); Baltimore, Maryland (2 dead, 28 wounded); and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (5 dead, 4 wounded).  Independence Day itself witnessed mass shootings in Akron, Ohio (4 wounded); Edgewood, Maryland (4 wounded); Charlotte, North Carolina (4 wounded); Lansing, Michigan (5 wounded); and Shreveport, Louisiana (3 dead, 6 wounded).  The bloodshed continued on the day after, with Fort Worth and Lansing both revisited by second attacks, leaving 3 dead and 8 wounded in Texas and 4 wounded in Michigan; also in Washington, DC (9 wounded); Boston, Massachusetts (5 wounded); Salisbury, Maryland (1 dead, 6 wounded); Patterson, New Jersey (2 dead, 3 wounded); Fort Lauderdale, Florida (5 wounded); Cleveland, Ohio (2 dead, 2 wounded; and Chicago, Illinois (1 dead, 4 wounded).

What accounts for such American carnage?  If I say that asteroids have a role to play, natally and by transit, would you be surprised?


“Born” on 4 July 1776, the United States is literally under the gun, with asteroid Gunn 18243 at 12 Cancer closely conjoined the nation’s 13 Cancer Sun.  This helps to account for the hyper-identification Americans have for their firearms, with an estimated 392 million in current circulation among the civilian population, considerably more than one per 332 million citizens (this figure doesn’t include guns in use by the military or police, just everyday Joes and Janes).  While it may have been appropriate for a nation born of revolt and armed rebellion to have the Sun and Gunn in such proximity, in the long-term, it has been a more than deadly combination, including in its purview some 620,000 Americans who perished in the Civil War; 320,000 in the First World War; 407,000 in World War II; 36,000 in Korea and 58,000 in Vietnam.  The 6800 patriots who gave their lives in the War of Independence were just a drop in that bloody bucket, but at least all these Americans died for a cause, or defense of their country.

fireworks philadelphia
With its role as the birthplace of the nation, it was perhaps no more than appropriate that Philadelphia won the kill-count sweepstakes for Independence Day, 2023, with 5 dead in a random street shooting; a Full Moon activating the US Gunn the day before added fuel to the fire

The victims of the ongoing crisis of gun violence in the US have no such caveat to assuage their loss.  In 2021, the most recent year for which complete data is available, 48,830 people died from gun-related injuries in the U.S., according to the CDC, and that total excludes deaths in which gunshot injuries played a contributing, but not principal, role.  The nation’s obsession with availability of firearms was enshrined in the Second Amendment to the Bill of Rights, which has been successively interpreted to include a broad range of weaponry for virtually any purpose.  (Though primacy of place among innate rights was given to free speech in the First Amendment, with the Founders’ implicit acknowledgment of the US Mercury at 24 Cancer opposing its Pluto at 27 Capricorn, conveying the power (Pluto) of communication (Mercury).)

The solar conjunction with Jupiter at 5 Cancer, which engenders Americans’ “bigger is better” and “we’re number one!” pathologies, has obviously also seeped into the gun consciousness at large.  With Venus at 3 Cancer, and asteroids Karma 3811 and BAM 2031 at 3 and 2 Cancer also conjoined Jupiter, Americans love (Venus) their weaponry to excess (Jupiter), but there is a price to pay (Karma) for the explosion of a firearm (BAM).

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The Independence Day holiday saw mass shootings across the country, from sea to shining sea; a natal square from the Sun/Gunn conjunction to death indicators Osiris and Rip suggests our Manifest Destiny as a hub for firearm deaths

That this extreme “shoot ‘em up” mentality could prove fatal is prefigured by the natal square from these Cancer points to asteroids Osiris 1923 and Rip 7711, at 5 and 10 Libra, on the 1 Libra MC.  This places firearm (Gunn, BAM) deaths (Osiris, named for the Egyptian god of the dead, and Rip, which functions as a death indicator as the acronym “RIP”) in a highly visible position (MC, point of highest elevation and the focus of all eyes).  Indeed, gun violence is a defining characteristic of America’s public image internationally, often pointed to by allies and opponents alike.  The Osiris/Rip pairing, in connection with natal Saturn at 14 Libra, also accounts for the nearly 18% of US presidents (Saturn) who have died in office, whether from assassination or natural causes.

fireworks st ann
Mass shootings occurred in large metropolitan areas as well as smaller communities, like St Ann, Missouri, population 13,000, where 3 perished on July 3; with the US natal asteroid Anna conjunct Anubis and opposed Mars, this town was a likely venue for gun deaths

As well, both planetary indicators of firearms are emphasized natally by angular placement, with Mars, ruling the weapons themselves, at 21 Gemini, on the 12 Gemini Descendant, and Uranus, ruling shootings and the explosion of their ignition, also conjunct the Descendant from 8 Gemini.  Mars’ tight square to Neptune at 22 Virgo indicates a zealotry and fervor, a fanatical, quasi-religious, almost messianic (all Neptune attributes) temperament about guns, as well as a persistent refusal to acknowledge the reality of the situation, preferring to cling to the fantasy (Neptune) that “guns don’t kill people, people kill people.”

The Mars/Neptune square becomes a T-Square with the inclusion of asteroid Anubis 1912 at 20 Sagittarius; named for the Egyptian deity governing funerary rites, it reinforces the fatal, “praise the Lord and pass the ammunition” undercurrent in the American psyche.

So much for the national predisposition to gun violence and fatality.  Why was Independence Day 2023 so active, in particular?


Although the transit Sun reactivates natal Gunn annually as it approaches its Return on America’s birthday, key elements of 2023’s celestial lineup exacerbated the yearly increase in gun violence on or about Independence Day.

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Transit asteroid Gunn made its station on July 1, kicking off the annual Independence Day carnage; in the company of Saturn and Damocles, Gunn was primed to exact maximum mortality (Saturn) from the ever-present threat (Damocles) of gun violence

Primarily, transit asteroid Gunn found itself at a pivotal stage, a literal turning point in its cycle, by coming to station just days before the holiday, exacerbating its effects.  On July 1st, Gunn turned retrograde at 4 Pisces, making it an embedded factor in the period.  In short, firearm energy was flooding the planet, and the cosmic bedfellows accompanying Gunn reiterated the accent on death and doom.  Sandwiched between Damocles 5335, the looming disaster or doom, at 3 Pisces and Saturn, ancient lord of death, at 7 Pisces, Gunn was primed to enact maximum carnage, by and large unleashed on unsuspecting victims (Damocles).  This grouping’s square to transit Requiem 2254 at 7 Sagittarius underscores the fatal nature of the gunplay, while a T-Square formed with the nation’s Uranus at 8 Gemini enhances the volatility of the period and the element of surprise (Uranus) in many of the incidents, where peaceable folks were just trying to enjoy a day off and celebrate their country’s birth, only to have firearms intrude suddenly (Uranus also), with devastating effects.

Also of note, the Full Moon which occurred on July 3rd, always a period of increased tension, which at 11 Capricorn/Cancer highlighted the US Gunn, as well as incorporating transit asteroid Achilles 588 at 8 Cancer, symbol of an inherent weakness or vulnerability which threatens to destroy the individual, and transit Ixion 28978 at 3 Capricorn, named for the first murderer in Greek myth.

fireworks shreveport
July 4th was Shreveport, Louisiana’s fourth bout with mass shootings in 2023; a conjunction of transit asteroids Osiris, Rip and America overlaying the US natal Osiris/Rip/MC conjunction reset the innate potential for highly visible (MC) deaths (Osiris, Rip) in the Land of the Free (America)

This basic polarity transforms into a T-Square with transit asteroids Osiris, Rip and America 916 on its fulcrum, at 3, 5 and 10 Libra respectively.  Attentive readers will note that both Osiris and Rip are approaching their Returns in the US birth chart, a period of reactivation of natal potential, with transit Rip exactly conjunct natal Osiris, and transit America exactly conjunct natal Rip.  Asteroid America’s inclusion in this pattern of course reflects the focus on the nation’s gun problem in real time, squared and reenergizing the natal Sun/Gunn conjunction.

Those, then, are the primary cosmic factors, natal and transit, which prompted the orgy of bloodletting as the nation turned 247.  You’d think that would be old enough to have learned our lessons.

Alex Miller is a professional writer and astrologer, author of The Black Hole Book, detailing deep space points in astrological interpretation, and the forthcoming Heaven on Earth, a comprehensive study of asteroids, both mythic and personal. Alex is a frequent contributor to “The Mountain Astrologer”, “Daykeeper Journal”, and NCGR’s Journals and “Enews Commentary”; his work has also appeared in “Aspects” magazine, “Dell Horoscope”, “Planetwaves”, “Neptune Café” and “Sasstrology.” He is a past president of Philadelphia Astrological Society, and a former board member for the Philadelphia Chapter of NCGR.

One comment, add yours.


What an incredible observation that the US Sun is conjunct Gunn! It sure explains a lot! So sorry to read about the terrible carnage this year. I had to see where Gunn was in the Canadian chart and it is conjunct our unaspected Mercury in Leo in the 5th house. Perhaps that’s why in Canada they are mostly used for sport, i.e., hunting, target practice? Need to think about that more. Great piece, Alex. Really enjoyed it, thank you.

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