Part Four: The Beginning of The End, or The End of The Beginning?

Richard photo-5

For Richard Cottingham it was a morning that went from ‘good’ to ‘bad’.  For Leslie Ann O’Dell it was a morning that went from horrific to relief.  For the New York and New Jersey police it was a morning that went from a 911 call for help, to a rapid response, to an arrest, to a tangle of facts, to a mix of answers and hard work.  

A video link to a prison interview is provided below.

Interpretive pattern box-J

In this post I wish to focus our attention on the t/Moon-opp-n/Sun Return house positions and aspects to that pattern. In the chart below we find t/Moon-opp-n/Sun in the 4th-10th houses, close to the cusps of the 5th-11th houses.  Since the angles will advance forward in the zodiac over the next several days, we treat this as a 4-10 polarity.  The book, Personal Moon-to-Sun Returns, notes in part, “Difficulty with plans . . . public image is affected . . . Private and public life clash.”  We would expect a pattern involving the vertical axis of the chart, along with an opposing Sun and Moon, to indicate many things that are affected by polarity.  In this particular case t/Mars squares t/Moon-n/Sun; anger, hurt, striking out is part of the mix.  For Leslie Ann O’Dell, three hours of brutality, biting, knife cuts, sodomy and pain would reflect Mars’ role in the Moon-Sun polarity of this pattern.  Lets look at the chart.


In superficial ways, this seen to not be a chart of great impact on Cottingham’s life.  n/Jupiter is near the MC.  t/Part of Fortune is in the 1st house, 9 degrees from the Asc. and inconjunct n/N.Node,   t/Chiron is near the IC angle.  We could see t/Jupiter-opp-n/Chiron on the vertical axis as, for Cottingham, seeking gains from inflicting pain, gaining satisfaction from understanding reactions by others.  It is all very twisted.  t/PoF inconjunct t/N.Node is even more twisted; “Chance and change relates to one’s association with others”  and this process doesn’t work well.  So, there is ‘angularity’ but it just doesn’t overwhelm us at first glance.

When I come across a chart like this, my first reaction is to look at the natal/transiting versions of these same planets.

  • n/Moon-square-t/Saturn; family life has an impact on what Cottingham is trying to achieve in these brutalities against women.
  • t/Sun-opp-t/Uranus, n/Mercury, n/Venus, square t/N.Node;  There appears to be deep-seated psychological issues at work here, assertiveness in relationships, thrill seeking, a personal sense of curiosity and creativity in how to inflict pain.
  • n/PoF-t/Venus;  Cottingham’s ‘love’ values are placed upon others.  (Have you ever seen Venus become a ‘force’ or threat to others in a chart?)
  • n/MC-opp-n/Pluto-square n/Jupiter;  This natal pattern, often associated with success, looks to express itself as engaging in remaking basic life relationships to provide personal pleasure.  Again, it is very twisted.
  • n/Asc-n/N.Node-opposite n/Mars;  This would seem to represent “fighting against oneself.’

In all, we continue to get a message that great internal conflicts against his family, when he was younger, and against his present family life, is being played out using unfortunate victims upon which he can vent his anger.

The following U-tube link offers an interview with Richard Cottingham as he explains his actions.

Now, lets look at the day Cottingham was arrested and his victim rescued.


There is more ‘angularity’ apparent in this chart.  t/Moon-Desc. square t/Uranus-n/Mercury; support-or-response from/by others arrives with sudden results.  The n/Jupiter-MC opp t/Chiron-IC seems more angular than before; the goal of finding understanding through hurt and pain is more acute this day

We can note t/Mercury-n/Asc, t/Venus-n/PoF as linking into the t/Uranus-n/Venus-n/Mercury pattern.

Let us look at what transpired on this date for Richard Cottingham.

At 9:22 Am, May 20, 1980 a motel manager called 911.  A room-maid had heard screams and called his office.  They both went to the room and were assured that all within was OK.  Returning to the office, the Manager called the room, was unsure about the replies received, return to the room and again knocked, demanding that someone answer.  The terrified women peeking through the chain-restrained door convinced him to call the police.  Two minutes later an officer arrived, took his shotgun with him, and entered through a rear entrance.  The maid and the victim was screaming as Cottingham bolted from the room with his pistol in hand.  As he rounded the corner of the hallway, he faced a shot gun in the hands of the police officer.  He gave up, was hand-cuffed, and arrested.  Leslie Ann O’Dell was taken to the hospital with knife wounds, bit marks and abrasions, as well as being in great pain.  Unlike the other victims, she was alive.

In these advanced charts it is common to look for 1) angular planets, 2) t/Moon contacts, 3) t/PoF contacts, and 4) t/Sun contacts — these are all triggers of events.  1) angular planets are n/Jupiter, t/Moon, t/N.Node, t/Chiron and by transfer t/Merucry-n/Asc.  2) t/Moon contacts are t/N.Node, n/Mercury.  3) t/PoF contacts are an opposition to t/Pluto, n/Neptuen.  4) t/Sun contacts are an opposition to n/Sun (his birthday was in a couple of days), a square to t/Mars. t/Jupiter.  There is a lot to look at here.  Yet the twisted nature of the person, of the event, makes a logical interpretation into a crap-shoot.  It is what it si, is is what one wants to say about it.  In some ways, it is not a normal ‘event’ chart on the surface.  It is not a chart that I can be comfortable looking at an understanding.  Some charts, some people, some events are like that.    Dave.

In this post, I wish to focus  on


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 nine 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 we can maintain or deal with change in our lives. A book, Personal Moon-to-Sun Returns 2 has been 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.
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