Murders; All Are Very Bad, Some Can Be Even Worse Than Bad

Richard photo-1

Extreme examples of Astrology charts and patterns have proven to be popular learning tools and explorations.  Accordingly, several charts of serial murderer Richard Cottingham of Bronx, NY will be presented in this series of postings.

Our opening story takes place in Novemember, 1979 in the close area of New York City.  All charts will use Cottingham’s birth place, Bronx, NY for their location.  This story starts on December 2, 1979 at a west side motel, the Travel Inn Motor Hotel.  Two bodies were found, both female, both without heads or hands.  The room had been rented Nov. 29th, the staff was able to provide a description and a sketch of the renter was obtained.  However, the exact time and date of the murders was not clear. In this blog posting we will examine 1) the natal chart of Richard Cottingham, 2) a t/Moon-to-n/Mars Return chart and 3) an advanced to Nov. 30, 1979 t/Moon-to-n/Mars chart.  A Moon-to-Mars chart is chosen because t/Moon represents the changes that come into one’s life, n/Mars points to the way physical energy and anger works in a fully-developed male chart.  Together, the results of aggressiveness should help to throw some light upon this event.


Since we will be working with cyclic charts, we first want to look at angular planets-patterns and planets involved in hard aspects.  These are the factors that are more likely to trigger several angles of a Return chart, relating to an event.

Mars-Desc. opposes N.Node-Asc.; one relies on their strength and skills to reach their goals with others.  Mercury-Venus is a common conjunction associated with charm, pleasantness and creativity.  Jupiter square Pluto can denote success at times.  Moon-opp-Uranus, 7th to 1st, points to excitement, unrest, spontaneous actions involving women.  This is largely a “lower half” chart which points to one who keeps to themselves and is private about much of their life. Given the east-west split, triggers of events will require the Return charts to involve the transiting planets in order to power the angular energies.


This t/Moon-to-n/Mars Return features little angular activity other than t/Pluto-IC.  What gives ‘power’ to this t/Pluto-IC placement is the t/PoF conjoining (by transit) n/Pluto-opposite-n/MC-square-n/Jupiter.  Pluto’s intensity, acts that can’t be reversed, damage and endings is all “doubled up” in this chart — a chart that seems quiet at first.  We note that this chart is coincidental with a new-moon chart, with t/Moon opposing the natal Asc.-N.Node-Uranus pattern; finding thrills and excitement within the company of others.

Now, the discovery of the two girl’s bodies was made on the morning of Dec. 2nd, 1979.  It would seem likely that they were murdered one or two days earlier, their bodies left to be found with the hope that enough time would have passed such that the killer’s face and features was hazy at worst, forgotten at best.  Such was not the case–the murderer had visited enough with the ladies of the area, and had spread enough money around, to have stayed part of the collective memory of both the hotel staff and the girls of the prostitute pool. Both a descriptiong and a sketch was soon produced to aid police in the manhunt.


This t/Moon-to-n/Mars ADVANCED chart is set for Nov. 30, 1979.  This is likely the date of the murders, leaving enough time for the suspect to depart and be forgotten about.

Note t/Moon-MC-Chiron opposite-n/Chiron and the square to n/Saturn-n/Pluto-Asc..  We treat planets at angles as squares even though the actual positioning is not a mathematical square.  This links in n/MC into the pattern.

Finally, and notably, we find t/PoF opposite n/PoF; a signature of chaos and uncontrolled change.  This n/PoF-t/PoF squares t/Mars, pointing to the physical anger and savagery of this brutal beheading-murder.  We also have a recent birthday, t/Sun just passing n/Sun.  This suggests that a Solar Return chart should be looked at.

Those who wish to follow these charts more closely might want to obtain a book, “The Torso Killer” by Ron Leith, a paperback that can easily be found on line.

The extreme meanings of the astrological factors in this chart dramatize the planet’s possible meanings in ways that often do not show up in your life or my life.  t/PoF opp. n/PoF suggests “change and chance” fighting against “change and chance.” From this we can deduce chaos and mindless-levels of actions taken.  For t/Moon-square-n-Saturn-n/Pluto-Asc. we can refer to Ebertin’s “Combination of Stellar Influences” and find 1) Saturn-Pluto being cruelty, 2) Moon-Saturn-Pluto being melancholy in nature, having a coldness of feelings, frigidity, 3) Asc.-Saturn-Pluto bgeing associated with being in cumbersome and difficult circumstances, separation, mourning and bereavement.  All of this would seem to be present but how much is heart-felt, if anything, by the killer is another question.

About dadsnook

Dave has been exploring cyclic astrology since the mid-1970's. CYCLIC astrology utilizes both Return charts and planetary-pair cycles for short-term prediction. These practices and four years of archived material are available for study or reading at A new book, Personal Prediction ISBN 978-9-615-63033-5, has been published and the MC-Solar Cycle technique is now supported through a recognized software provider so that all students and practicing astrologers can apply these techniques for their own use. Recently, Dave has been exploring a new charting format:, transiting Moon to natal Sun Return charts. These moon-sun returns show how see seek to maintain or deal with change in our lives. A book is expected to be released in 2015. Contact Dave for details at Dave is a retired business systems analyst and automation systems engineer, enjoys woodcarving and tarot in addition to astrology.
This entry was posted in Planet Returns and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.