When Transiting & Natal Mars Are Both Angular Then Eruptions Occur


Edited to add observations on natal MC and Asc. using derivative houses, Jan 4th

As New Years Eve came to an end, and the ball fell at Times Square in New York city, I reflected on the treats of terrorist activity that was expected, and which did occur in some locations.  I went through my files and found charts and information for a French national, Mohamed Merah whose record and history was clearly indicative of what we have come to assume as being a ‘profile’ for European radicalism.  We will cover this story in two postings; the first being focused on his development and radicalization, the second on his imposition of death and grief in the world around him.

Mohamed Merah was a French national, living within the Muslim community of Toulouse, France.  His natal chart is shown below.  Transits inside, natal planets outside.


Born Oct. 10, 1988 at 9:50 AM in Toulouse, France, we find the Part of Fortune just above his Ascendant. This often represents one whose life seems greatly affected by events seemingly outside themselves, but actually is a result of some internal dissatisfaction with the “status quo” of a routine daily life.  In other words, these people gravitate to changing situations that come to their notice.  Combine the PoF with Pluto and we see qualities of isolation, intensity and ‘all-or-nothing’ introduced.   The other angular planet in this chart is Venus near the MC.  One can be pleasant and amenable in their pursuit of what motivates them.  They will insist on balance and fairness, as they define it, in their chosen path.

We need to note the Moon just behind the Sun in the 11th house. Merah would have had a sense of being in a position of having to prepare for something, to accept developments in his life, to be ready to help himself and others as needed.  By placing Vesta in the midst of this Moon-Sun pattern we introduce a sense of cultural heritage, fanaticism, dedication, periods of servitude.  This pattern is supportive of the PoF-Pluto combination on the 12th house side of the Ascendant.

Let us now look at his life and how it fit his chart.  Mohamed Merah was raised by his mother after the age of five, his father having left the family.  He was found to have a violent streak in his character, usually remaining alone and separate from others.  A number of minor crimes have been attributed to him.  From this historical recounting it is necessary to examine both Pluto and Mars in this chart a bit more closely.

  • Pluto forms a semi-square to both Saturn and Uranus; a rebellious nature, acting out when irritated.
  • Mars is square from the 4th house to the midpoint of Neptune and Saturn-Uranus; Acting with violence, challenging others. Alternating actions with moods of retreat and inhibition.

Given his home environment in a poor section of Toulouse, within a closed Muslim community with little access to work or education, his life was focused on himself, his survival.  As a youth he was aware of the Afghanistan wars conducted by the United States and NATO after the 9-11 bombings.  He was very outraged by the sufferings of the Muslims in that country.  As a teenager, Merah found a way to travel to Afghanistan and other mid-east countries.  He returned embittered and feeling at a loss as to how to effectively help those whom he identified with.  He was also under surveillance from the age of 18 onward by the police for his small time criminal activities and his travels and sympathies.  All of this was probably pressure that the twenty year old was not able to handle.  On December 25, 2008 he attempted suicide.  He did not succeed in taking his life.  His t/Moon-to-n/Sun Return is shown below.  Remember, transits are inside, natal planets are outside.


This t/Moon-to-n/Sun Return in the first house occurred four days before his attempted suicide.  The ‘theme’ for this Moon-Sun position is “Self interests and emotions lead to taking action. Avoid haste so reversals are not experienced.  Ambition is exhibited.  Personal appearance can be changed.  Recognition or acclaim is likely based on what you do.”  (This is taken directly from my book, Personal Moon-to-Sun Returns 2)  So, with a suicide attempt, haste is often part of the decision process leading to the attempt, as is recognition relative to why you are trying to take this extreme action.  After this failure, Merah was seen differently by various social constituencies.  Some in the Muslim community avoided him.  The more radical members of the Muslim community saw him as committed to the causes of their fellow Muslims who were under attack.  The terrorist organizations saw him as a recruit.  The police and medical authorities saw him as a social problem needing to be closely watched.  Note the following:

  • t/Saturn on the Ascendant; deeply depressed and self-obsessed. n/Saturn is at the IC, creating a ‘doubled up’ Saturn.  This depression and focus is very strong in this cycle.
  • t/Mars-IC-n/Saturn; wanting to take action to change conditions while seeing little opportunity to being able to fulfill that wish.
  • t/Sun conjoins t/Mars and squares n/Mars; The Sun represents intent, will, self-interests and is powered by both Mars-energies.  He will do something.  Note t/Sun conjoining t/Pluto and the role of Pluto in the natal chart.  Isolation, retreat, drastic action is part of his thinking in this cycle.
  • Since n/Pluto is indicated in the above statement, check out the t/Part of Fortune opposite t/Mercury from the 10th to the 4th house. His thoughts are about absolutes, starting and ending situations.  We have to treat Mercury strongly because of its conjunction with n/Sun.  His thinking and planning are very much tied to his perception of the world and his resulting intentions.

Edited to add observations on natal MC and Ascendant using derivative houses, Jan 4th.

Note the n/MC in the 12th house.  The advancing angles in the following two weeks are not likely to move all the way from 20 Leo to 2 Virgo, so this is a valid position.  The natal MC represents one’s goals, public image.  Being placed in the Return chart’s 12th house places the MC in its own 3rd house.  Here the MC has to cope with its thoughts and valuation of any life-achievements up to this point.  This 3rd house in the Return’s 12th house tends to be inward looking.  

The n/Asc. is in the Return’s 2nd house, near the cusp of the 3rd.  Note that the cusp of the 3rd will move forward, leaving the n/Asc. firmly in the 2nd during this cycle as the chart is advanced day by day.  The n/Ascendant relates to what we experience, what our view of ourself is.  Here, in the 2nd house, it has to deal with self esteem and the satisfactions that life has bestowed.

Given these two statements, lets expand on them further.  t/Saturn is on the Return’s Asc. angle.  Playing astrological hopscotch, we can jump over to n/Saturn — we find this in the natal chart’s 2nd house, conjunct n/Uranus.  Merah identifies with fighting against the status quo.  With all of his looking inward, feeling depressed (t/Saturn-Asc.) and seeing his self-esteem under siege, he feels he just has to do something, anything.

Let us now turn our attention to the Advanced chart for the date of his attempted suicide, Dec. 25, 2008.


In the four days since the Return chart, the MC has moved from 24:22 Gemini to 28:00 Gemini.  The inner ring of planets and angles has been advanced.  The movement of the inner ring is a factor dictated by the Kepler software used to produce this chart.  This same condition applies to most other software applications.  Since this charting system depends upon ‘advancing’ the chart angles, the transit chart has to be inside and the natal chart is shown outside.  This is different from natal-and-progressed charts where the natal chart is shown inside and the progressed chart is shown outside.  If we want to ‘advance’ those types of charts, or natal-transit charts, we actually recalculate and display a new bi-wheel chart.  Here, we just perform a couple of mouse clicks and the same chart is merely altered.  The ‘advance’ is a ‘diurnal’ advance where in we keep the chart time and only change the date.  If you, the reader, checks the calculated time for the Return and the Advanced chart you will see they are identical.  Only the date has changed.

We immediately note that t/Mars has kept pace with the advancing IC angle while n/Mars is still close to the Descendant.  The doubled-up Mars is still operative.  Anger and striking out is part of the agenda for this day.  In Advanced charts we look for angular planets, t/Sun, t/Moon and t/PoF as the initial components to investigate.

  • Angular planets include Mars, Mars, Pluto, Sun, Neptune, Chiron, Saturn, Uranus, Moon. That includes the outer planets plus Sun and Moon.  His personal values are being influenced by social conditions that are out of his immediate environment but are of concern to him.
  • t/Mars-n/Mars-t/Pluto-t/Sun are the primary drivers of this Advanced chart. That is, given his childhood upbringing and formative years, a heavy and negative load of energy to deal with.
  • t/Part of Fortune conjoins n/MC and n/Venus. Actions taken will affect his career path and life-image.
  • Note that n/Venus, and less often, t/Venus, is often angular in death charts. This Venus energy represents a ‘balancing out’ and ‘seeking harmony or peace’ factor.

So there we have it, an attempted suicide.  Life had to go from this point.  Once attempted, such an act is seldom repeated immediately after the initial act.  Should we consider any of the chart’s patterns as ‘protective’ or ‘saving’ in terms of his life continuing?   He has a natal Venus-square-Jupiter, somewhat protective but with strings attached.  t/Moon is in opposition to t/Pallas-n/Jupiter, and square to n/Moon.  This points to a strong inner feminine side that wishes to do something practical.  Perhaps his attempt at suicide was less than committed and more of a cry for help or a sham to gain attention.  The available literature does not reveal this.

All of this is important because the next posting will take us forward a few years when this anger and frustration broke out again with a more significant toll of lives lost and injured.  The story continues.




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 ninthhouse.wordpress.com 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 dadsnook@charter.net Dave is a retired business systems analyst and automation systems engineer, enjoys woodcarving and tarot in addition to astrology.
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