Charles Whitman was a domestic terrorist. A sniper. A killer of family members, fellow students and local citizens. He wasn’t always so inclined. He started life in Lake Worth, FL on June 24, 1941. Following his high school graduation he enlisted in the Marine Corps and later was sent to the University of Texas in Austin, Texas as part of a program to develop officers. His grades were not sufficient and he was transferred back into the regular Marine service. Later he was Honorably Discharged after his involvement in gambling activities. Married, he moved back to Austin, Texas.
The east coast placed his natal Mars in the 12th. Texas brought Mars onto his Ascendant. Whether we are born with Mars-Ascendant or whether we seek or stumble upon Mars at the Ascendant in another location, it can be a problematic pattern to deal with. The pleasant teenager had become a disgruntled adult. He reported himself as having bad dreams, violent thoughts. Nobody paid attention to his claims. Let us look at his natal chart relocated to Texas.
I’ve shown this chart with the four major asteroids and the eight Uranian or trans-Neptunian planets for those who wish to consider those bodies.
Whitman was born near a new moon, both light’s straddling his Texas IC angle. This pattern often relates to quiet people who seem to suddenly discover themselves in early adulthood. The other major pattern, Mars-Asc. opposing Neptune and N.Node, provides a conflicting condition. We can see this as an angry, active person who is unsure of who or what to fight against. None of this was angular when he lived in Florida. In Texas it became angular, it emerged as a problem.
The primary male-female symbols, Sun-Moon at the IC, squared the confusion pattern of Mars-Asc. opposite Neptune-N.Node His relationship with people became very uncertain in his mind. Earlier in his life when these patterns were not angular may have seen him just coping with growing into an adult world. Neptune may have provided workable world view for a time. Mars may expressed it self through sports and typical growing trials. Sun and Moon could have still been a puzzle of how the sexual roles played out for others and for him. With adulthood and with the move to Texas, the angularity of these patterns brought changes in these planet’s expression. The symbols gained power, they had to find a way to emerge.
This is all we need to know about this natal chart for our purposes here. Prior to looking at Whitman’s Return chart we need to know that he had increasingly dealt with morbid thoughts, considerations of angry acts. He had even sought help for this, but, without avail. These thoughts intensified over time. Let us look at his July 29, 1966 t/Moon-opp-n/Sun Return.
The Ascendant angle is active. t/Mercury-t/Sun-Asc.-n/Chiron-n/Pluto are the active elements. The other angles are not populated. Transiting Mercury-Sun and Ascendant suggest a very willful attitude to how he conducts his life and expects it to evolve and play out. Natal Chiron and Pluto suggest an effort to manage or shape the powerful feelings stirring within him. Chiron’s given ‘wounding’ paired with Pluto’s intensity and control may have combined to him seeing himself as a victim. Remember, he failed to live up to his studious nature and failed to maintain his marks in college, he didn’t like it when he had to return to regular duties in the Marine Corps, he felt aggrieved over the Marine’s discharging him due to his gambling problem.
With only one angle active we can turn our attention to the natal positions of the angular transiting planets and the transiting positions of the angular natal planets. We note:
- n/Mercury transited by Mars. Active, angry thoughts.
- · n/Sun opposed by transiting Moon and n/MC. Emotional about his status in life.
- · t/Chiron contacting n/Mars; trying to define his actions and focus his anger.
- · t/Pluto conjoining t/Uranus and opposing n/Part of Fortune. Feeling unable to manage his life, his responsibilities (Pluto can carry father-child roles into ones adulthood).
So, we have a lot of pressures building, many of which we cannot know of or fully understand. When this chart is ‘advanced’ three days to August 1, 1966 we find some small changes.
The horizontal axis is now populated at both ends. Tensions now exist. We can see two distinct patterns.
First; n/Chiron-n/Pluto-Asc.-t/Mercury opposing t/PoF. The natal need to control or manage his internal pressures needs to be acted upon, spoken about. t/PoF suggests an impulse to act at this time. His actions will involve others. This pattern in turn is emphasized by t/Pluto-opp-n/PoF, joined by t/Uranus. He is unable to manage his impulse (PoF opposite Pluto). Second, t/Sun is opposed by t/Moon; emphasizing the prior Moon-opp-Sun Return pattern. This is the day to act on that Return chart’s promise.
So let us see how his actions played out relative to the chart. Just after midnight of August 1, 1966, Whitman murdered his mother. In a note he stated that he loved her very much but wanted to spare her the agony of dealing with the acts he would commit later that day. A couple of hours later he strangled his wife. Late in the morning he climbed the clock tower at the Austin campus of the University of Texas. At the top of the tower he shot several tourists. Over an hour and a half he killed 14 people and wounded 32. Having had Marine training, he was able to shoot and kill people as far away as 1500 feet. Many were wounded trying to drag other shooting victims to places of concealment.
Some 90 minutes after the shooting began three officers and a civilian made their way up the clock tower, two circling each way from a doorway so as to encircle Whitman. Whitman was killed, the shooting was over.
We can adjust the timing of the calculated time for the Advanced chart of Aug 1, 1966 to fit with the actual time of the commencement of shooting from the clock tower. This is what I term a ‘Double Diurnal’ chart.
The Advanced chart is a diurnal advance of the Moon-Sun Return chart — the calculated time of the Return chart is retained and only the date of the chart is changed. This moved the July 29th chart forward three days to August 1st, the date of the shooting. Doing so advanced the angles almost a degree-per-day and repositioned the transiting planets to that day’s positions. With a Double Diurnal chart, we take the event day’s chart and it’s calculated time, and then advance or reduce the chart time to the event time of that date. In this case the 6h10m23s of the Return and the Advanced chart is move forward to 11h52m of that date which is the time the shooting commenced. The Double Diurnal chart is shown below.
Here we find t/Mars exactly on the MC of the Double Diurnal chart! Isn’t astrology a marvelous thing? t/Mars-MC-t/Venus conjoins n/Mercury and squares t/PoF-Desc. An hour and a half later, when Whitman was killed, the MC would have advanced to contact n/Pluto, the end of the madness. t/Mars signifies his life’s goals as a means of finding and seizing a perverse balance (t/Venus) to his life. t/Moon opposes t/Sun, a mirror of the Return chart.
In the first posting of this series in which we looked at Donald Trump to see how he lived with his n/Mars on the Ascendant. In this second chart, we find Charles Whitman moving to a location where Mars is brought to his relocational Ascendant. At this location, Austin, Texas, he takes on the anger of Mars and all that is symbolized by Mars. We see the t/Mars-n/Mercury link to t/Mercury-Asc. and n/Mars-n/Asc. as a mirror of that linkage. In the Double Diuranal chart we see t/Mars conjoining the MC angle as Whitman defined his anger as his life’s goal. Strange.
In future postings we will see many other, non-violent, forms of Mars expressive force. Dave