Merah’s Shooting Spree Ends

The shootings covering several days caused a lot of distress among the populace.  Merah had taken care to carefully clean his ammunition so as to not leave finger prints or DNA material that could identify him.  The rapid appearance and disappearance of a helmeted driver on a motor scooter made it difficult to obtain a description of him.  Yet, he had overlooked one factor that did help identify him.

In this posting I will attempt to carefully explain each step of the chart’s delineation so that those who are less-familiar with astrology can better follow along.

The mix of victim ethnicity led the police to initially suspect a ‘neo-Nazi’ group might be behind the attacks in the south of France near the Spanish border.  Investigation of the first shooting led the police to consider that the victim was at the shooting location for the purpose of meeting and selling his motor scooter to a buyer.  Tracing the Internet trail, they were lead to an IP address and a computer owned by a woman who had two sons who were on a government watch list.  In parallel to this development Merah had taken his bike to a mechanic to remove a GPS anti-theft tracking device.  The bike had just been repainted.  Given all the news coverage about the shootings and the involvement of a motor bike by the shooter, the mechanic became suspicious.  The police were notified.  The bike was identified as being identical to that used in the shooting attacks.

Let us now look at an Advanced chart for the date when Merah was tracked down by the police.  The transiting Moon-to-natal Sun Return chart, shown in the prior posting, occurs once each month.  We use that chart for approximately two weeks, after which we use a transiting Moon-opposite-natal Sun Return chart.  These are essentially personal New Moon and Full Moon charts.  They are not the same as the new and full moon events we see in the sky as the “Sun” we are using is the subject’s personal natal Sun in his/her birth chart.
We advance that personal New Moon chart on a day by day basis, using a computer, by changing the Return chart’s date but not the time of the chart.  This simple procedure move the chart’s angles forward on a day-by-day basis at the same rate as the daily Sun moves through the sky and the seasons — about a degree per day.  Because we are advancing the chart on a daily basis, each daily or advanced chart shows that day’s transiting planets in their proper places.
The transiting Sun will move almost a full degree per day.  The transiting Moon will move some 12 or 13 degrees per day — its motion varies over the course of time due to many astronomical factors such as its closeness or distance from Earth, its relative position to the Sun’s and to the Earth’s gravitational pull.  The Part of Fortune, symbolized by the circle with an X inside it, marks a point that is distant from the chart’s Ascendant in the same value as the distance of the transiting Moon from the transiting Sun.
The chart’s MC is marked by the heavy vertical line, or somewhat vertical line, that marks the overhead point in the heavens above at the time and place the chart is calculated for.  The Ascendant is the point at the left side of the chart defined by the horizontal line.  This point symbolizes the person, their environment, their actions.  The MC represents their life status and image, their goals.
Now, the Advanced chart.

The police surrounded Merah’s apartment on March 22, 2012.  Merah made contact via phone with a television station to explain his actions and motives.  At mid-afternoon an attempt was made to enter Merah’s apartment.  Shots were fired through the door from inside, three officers were wounded.  An anti-terrorist unit was called in.  Electricity and water was cut off.  As the hours passed, lights were trained on the windows and the street lights were turned off to prevent Merah from seeing what was happening outside of his apartment.


Merah made arrangements to give himself up to the authorities but the arranged time passed and he remained hidden inside the building.  The police did storm the apartment, firing and throwing grenades through the windows.  Merah tried to escape, shooting as he ran outside.  He was shot and killed.  Let us see how the chart reflects this situation.

  • Transiting Part of Fortune is at the Ascendant (inside ring).  This reflects “Chance and change” situations.  Events can go one way or another.  What are those events?  The rest of the chart tells that part of the story.
  • The transiting Sun is one key factor to assess in the chart.  In this case, transiting Sun (the circle with a dot in the center) is located in the inner chart ring.  This Sun is within one degree of natal Mars (the circle with the arrow at the top).  Mars represents anger, fighting, one’s presence and urge to do something.  Sun represents one’s will, intent, best interests and life-style.  Together they can portray rage and expressed anger, hurt, blood and danger.  These words are chosen to represent the context of the subject’s life at this time and place.  In a more normal situation, milder words would be chosen.
  • The transiting Moon is another key factor to review.  Transiting Moon symbolizes the changes in one’s life, one’s emotional state and basic reactions to external stimuli.  Here, transiting Moon is just two degrees behind the transiting Sun with Mercury tucked between.   So, Merah’s natal Mars is also stimulated by the transiting Moon — external changes.  Emotional reactions and danger will be his experience.
  • Mercury represents our views, speech, way of understanding and seeing the world around us.  Merah sees danger, hurt and a need to do something.
  • This closeness of transiting Sun, Mercury, Moon (which occurs on this date as a short-term event) represents a single-mindedness or focus.  The fact that they are upon Merah’s natal Mars lends his anger and need to act a sort of intensity and focused mindset.  He can’t see anything except what his pent-up rage puts before him.
  • Transiting Neptune is located in the 10th house.  Earlier, a dark vertical line was mentioned as marking the MC or highest point in the chart.  In this chart, that dark vertical line is slanted toward the right.  It’s actual graphed position reflects the tilt of the Earth’s axis relative to the horizon and season of the year.  The important point here is that this represents our view of our goals and place in life.  Neptune is a symbol for confusion, a lack of clarity, over sensitivity.  In this chart, with all the other factors, it seems to portray Merah’s distorted view of his life’s situation and his place within his social circle.  He is a lost soul.

Most of these planets that have been commented upon are ‘transiting’ planets.  They are external influences.  For a better understanding, we need to consider the natal planets which are shown in the outer ring.  Let us look at their role in this chart, this event.

  • Natal Moon, Sun, Mercury are all close together just as they are in the transiting portion of the chart.  The singleness of purpose, the focus he is experiencing on this day is natural for him.  This group of natal bodies is roughly opposite the transiting group.  In astrology, the opposition of planets represents a tension factor, any kind of a relationship — positive or negative.  On this date, Merah finds a great deal of tension between his world view and what the world offers him.
  • Merah’s natal MC point (when he was born, the highest point in his chart) and natal Venus are together, but located in the fourth house (the pie-chart segments starting at the Ascendant).  This area of the chart represents the end of things and the start of things.  Merah’s goal in life, at this time, is at a point of ending or starting.  Venus is a symbol of blending, harmonizing, balancing.  Merah should have had a life with balanced goals.  His lot was to be born into a society where little was available to him from his family and community.  His Venus did not offer him much beauty and balance in his life.  Natal Venus is often found in an angular house such as this Venus at the time of death.  Life finds peace and balance in an after-life.  The houses or pie-shaped segments that follow counter-clockwise from the Asc. axis and the MC axis are considered “angular” houses where actions occur.

In this evaluation of the chart I have covered only the primary considerations.  There are a lot of details that could be added.  Yet, the primary issues noted here provide a very detailed picture of Merah’s life at this particular time.

There is a section of this blog site where the basics of astrology are explained.  Reading those sets of information and then reviewing this chart and evaluation should be a solid introduction into chart evaluations.  What cannot be so easily explained is the choice of words and descriptions that are associated with each planet symbol, each sign, each house, each relationship to other planets.  If I look in a reference book to see what words are associated with the Sun, for example, I can easily find a hundred or more words linked to the natal Sun.  The same is true to the natal Mars symbol.  How does the astrologer know which word or words to use?  

This is a skill that one develops over time.  It starts by only considering simple things like the natal Sun and natal Moon and their relationship and meanings based on signs and house locations.  Then, after becoming familiar with understanding these basics, other planets such as Mercury and Venus are added, later Mars, Jupiter and Saturn.  The whole process represents a gradual building up of complexity that remains faithful to the basics of the chart.  One has to see the simple whole before the complex details can be added and understood.  Astrology is an art form.  It is my hope that these chart evaluations teach others how to understand their life astrologically day by day. 



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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