Day this year took on new significance at the University of Georgia, which
held a memorial service at sunset Monday, May 1, to commemorate the loss
of eleven students who have died since the beginning of the January, 2000
semester. The students have perished for various reasons—among them, drug
overdose, cancer, cardiac arrest, a fraternity prank and a car wreck.
When the May Day service was announced just three weeks earlier, the death
toll stood at eight. By May 1, an additional three students had died.
sheer number of student deaths this semester is extraordinary. In the
history of the university, a total of three student deaths in one semester
is unusual, and eight was the maximum number of students who had died
in a single semester. University president Michael Adams said to the mourners,
"I wish this evening that I could give you some explanation for what
we have endured as a community, but I'm sometimes at a loss for answers,
and this is one of those times." Perhaps astrology can help.
has a Birth Chart
people are unaware that institutions, like people, have natal horoscopes,
cast for the date and time of their incorporation. The Georgia General
Assembly voted to incorporate the university
on Thursday, January 27, 1785, time unknown. Georgia was the first state
in the Union to charter a state-supported university. Without an exact
time of "birth," I calculated the university's incorporation horoscope
at the state capital, Atlanta, for the time when the Sun crossed the Midheaven,
the most prominent point in the sky. The Midheaven symbolizes public institutions,
and a chart with the Sun conjoining this point is symbolically significant.
Events with Astrology
erected a meaningful horoscope for the "birth" (incorporation)
of the University of Georgia, I proceeded to apply standard astrological
techniques of prediction. In this article, I will focus only on one of
them, namely, the current transits of the planets over the positions in
the birth chart. Transits refer to the current movement of the planets
in the heavens. In making predictions, astrologers consider how the current
locations of the planets relate to their placements in the heavens at
the time of birth.
the two planets most closely associated with death are Saturn and Pluto.
Medieval astrologers called Saturn the “greater malefic,” and sometimes
depicted him as the Grim Reaper. Pluto, a "modern" planet, was discovered
in 1930 and named after the mythological god Hades, lord of the Underworld,
home of the dead. To investigate the rash of deaths at the university,
an astrologer would naturally look at the relationship between Saturn
and Pluto, considering both their transiting (current) and natal (at birth)
angular relationships between planets are called aspects. The two most
stressful aspects are the 90-degree angle (the "square") and
the 180-degree angle (the "opposition"). These two aspects have
the reputation of being stressful, challenging, discordant, harsh and
January, 2000, Saturn (an astrological signifier of death) was moving
very slowly through the sign Taurus in the zodiac. From the viewpoint
of Earth, which moves much more rapidly than Saturn on its orbit, transiting
Saturn appeared to stop and reverse direction (appeared to become stationary)
in the heavens on January 12, at the start of the new semester. Planets
that appear stationary in their orbit have immense power in astrology.
transiting Saturn became stationary in January, 2000, at 10 degrees Taurus,
forming an almost exact stressful 90-degree angle (square) to Pluto in
the birth chart of the university. This "malefic" square between
a transiting powerful stationary Saturn (the Grim Reaper) and natal Pluto
(Lord of the Underworld) became exact on February 15, and remained in
effect for the rest of the semester.
May 1, the day of the memorial service, the transiting Sun itself was
passing through 10 degrees Taurus, the point where Saturn became stationary
in January, and on the evening of May 1, the Sun exactly squared the university's
natal Pluto, around the time of the memorial service. Astrological timing
can be rather amazing.
does not permit discussion of the many other aspects and astrological
techniques that reinforce the meaning of transiting Saturn square natal
Pluto, indicating a period of stress in the life of the university. The
fact that this stressful square manifested in an unprecedented series
of student deaths most likely relates to the mythological symbolism of
the planets Saturn and Pluto.