Death in Astrology-Saptarishis Astrology

No rational person would deny that birth and death are the most important events in life. These events mark the beginning and the ending, the alpha and omega. Therefore, death events should be clearly shown in the chart by dynamic planetary aspects. Any chart that shows no such activity at the time of death is simply not correct. Unlike ancient astrologers who used complex rules of analysis to successfully predict death, modern western astrologers avoid this difficult issue and some even insist that it is unethical to predict. In fact, prediction in modern astrology has become unreliable since the late 19th century when Alan Leo eliminated many of the classical rules in order to make astrology easier to understand.

Some modern western astrologers think that death occurs at the time of a heavy transit from the outer planets – Saturn, Uranus, Neptune or Pluto. That is sometimes true, but not very often. Mostly, people die under a progressed or directed aspect to an angle, especially the MC/IC axis. Any planet, even benefics like Jupiter or minor planets such as progressed Venus or Mercury can act as the trigger for death if it rules one of the houses involved in the end of life or aspects the ruler of one of these houses.

Classical astrology considers the matters ruled by the houses to be the most important issue when beginning an analysis. I use the Regiomontanus house system for all of my charts. The following are the issues of life ruled by the relevant houses in classical astrology. The 1st house is the house of life and health, the 4th marks the end of life; the 6th house rules illness and the 8th house is the house of death. The 7th rules the doctor and the 10th is the house of all medical treatment including surgery. An example of the difference between modern western astrologers and classical is that modern astrologers tend to think of the 10th house only in terms of career or reputation.

For a rough estimate of life span from the natal chart, look at the orb between the ruler of the 1st house of life and the ruler of the 8th house of death or the IC and the ruler of the 8th. Look for the two planets or planet and angle to perfect a hard aspect – a conjunction square or opposition. Movie maker Robert Altman was born 20 February 1925, 17 Gemini rising, and died on the 20th of November 2006, age 81 years. To estimate his lifespan, look first at the orb between Mercury ruler 1st and Saturn ruler 8th. Mercury is at 21 Aquarius conjunct the 10th house cusp, and Saturn is at 14 Scorpio in the 6th of illness. The orb is 97 degrees. That would be an improbably long life span, so we need to look at a different indicator. The IC or end of life is in applying conjunction to Saturn ruler 8th, orb 83 degrees.  At his death Solar Arc IC was exactly conjunct natal Saturn, ruler 8th of death. Transiting Neptune was trine the ascendant, indicating the use of drugs to ease his pain. He was more than ready to go after a lengthy battle with leukemia, a blood cancer.

Transits, progressions and directions can all trigger events that can lead to death. This means that there is a whole suite of indicators that need to be checked before predicting imminent death. Transits are usually reinforced by the progressions, though not always. There may be transits that are the only event to trigger a death, but this does not happen very often. Sometimes the only activity in the chart is a transit by a planet to an angle. Some astrologers swear by tertiary progressions, but I personally prefer transits, Solar Arc Directions and Secondary Progressions. Usually two of these three ingredients in the recipe for Death are in place before something serious and major happens. More often than not, there is activity on all dynamic fronts, transits, progressions and directions. These aspects don’t always have to be hard aspects. In some cases, the easy aspects serve just as well.

The MC/IC axis is the angle most often activated when someone dies. The 4th or IC is the end of life and the 10th or MC is the house of medical treatment. Since the Moon in classical astrology always coruled the ascendant or 1st house of health, the progressed Moon conjunct the MC or IC is often involved in triggering death. Astrologer Alan Leo, born 7 August 1860, had the Sun ruler 1st widely conjunct Jupiter ruler 8th of death in the 12th of misfortune, an indicator of a short life. His Sun/Jupiter orb is six degrees or about six decades, being fixed and cadent. When he died he had the progressed Moon exactly conjunct the MC a month after his trial and conviction for fortunetelling. Even though he was fined only £25, the emotional stress triggered his death. When he died he had transiting Saturn ruler 6th of illness conjunct Jupiter ruler 8th of death. SA Mars ruler IC was trine the IC and sextile the MC and the Mars/IC orb is his closest estimate of lifespan. He was ‘sick’ of his legal problems and only wanted an end to it. He was a mere 57 years old.

Albert Einstein on the other hand died with progressed Moon conjunct the IC or 4th of end of life after a lifetime of science and pleasing the ladies. The only transit within orb at the time of death on the 18th of April 1955 was transiting Neptune square natal Mars. From this I conclude his doctors stopped life prolonging drugs and allowed nature to take its course. A recent article in Scientific American celebrating his life delved into his personal habits and documented several hundred romances with female admirers despite the fact he was legally married. One wonders when he had time work at physics. By the time he reached his seventies he had slowed down intellectually as well as physically, so he was more than ready to end his life at the age of 76.  Natally, Moon ruler 1st is separating from a trine to Saturn ruler 8th. The orb for Saturn to oppose Moon is 70 degrees. The orb is 73 degrees until the Moon conjoins Jupiter ruler 6th of illness and MC of medical treatment; a crisis in his illness was reached and treatment ended. Tertiary Sun squared Saturn ruler 8th. This indicates a reasonably long life spanfor his time.

There isn’t one particular aspect that is a death aspect. Any planet can indicate death if it rules the 4th, 6th or 8th houses and makes a dynamic aspect to an angle, especially the MC/IC. More often than not the progressed Moon or another progressed planet is in tight aspect to the angles. Generally it is a hard aspect like the conjunction, square or opposition that leads to death. But soft aspects such as a sextile and trine can also indicate death. After a lengthy and painful bout with cancer most people are more than ready to let go and pass over to the other side. Ted Kennedy, brother of assassinated president John F. Kennedy, had brain cancer and died on the 26th August 2009 with secondary progressed ascendant trine natal Moon, and tertiary progressed Moon trine natal Venus and conjunct natal Jupiter. The eclipse just before his death hit his natal Jupiter ruler 12th in the 7th, so he was ready to go into seclusion and fade from the public. An easy death followed a lengthy illness.

When death is indicated by hard aspects then death is generally not welcome or the individual is in such bad spot that he commits suicide. Hermann Goering, commander of Hitler’s Air Force, committed suicide rather than face a lengthy and humiliating war crimes trial at the hands of the Allies. He killed himself with poison smuggled in by a guard seduced by a beautiful female accomplice. At the time of his death on the 15th of October 1946, Solar Arc ascendant was conjunct the natal Sun, indicating his light or life force was being extinguished. As well, transiting Neptune was trine natal Neptune, showing death by poison rather than being hung by the neck. Transiting Jupiter ruler 4th of end of life was conjunct the South Node in Scorpio in the 11th, as was the secondary progressed Moon, ruler of the 8th. So this was a case of 11th house friends helping him to end his life. The SA Moon was square natal Mars ruler 1st, indicating an emotional crisis involving death, and tertiary Sun ruler 9th was square natal Mars ruler of his Scorpio ascendant. There was no way out but death, so his personal beliefs led him to end his life by his own hand and cheat the enemy of a victory. The Moon/Mars orb to perfect a square is a good estimate of his lifespan

Outer planet transits through the 8th house or aspecting a planet in the 8th can be responsible for deaths. But just because you have a transit or progression in your 8th does not mean you’re going to die either. The Moon’s Nodes may or may not be implicated in a death. They are found to be active in potential physical death only some of the time and can’t be counted on. In reviewing eclipses I have found most people don’t die on one and having an eclipse closely aspect a natal planet or point is no sure indicator of death.

The potential for death can be gleaned from the natal chart and certain markers can be identified which point to a life-threatening time. There is in fact historical evidence that ancient astrologers like the Greeks were extremely pragmatic regarding death and a whole chapter of the Tetrabiblos was dedicated to calculating “The Length of Life”. Astrologer William Lilly devoted a fairly lengthy chapter in Christian Astrology to indicators of death related to the 8th house. Yet he devoted even more space to indicators of a long life.

There are modern astrologers who will argue that death leaves no markers in the native’s chart because death is a non-traumatic transition, like walking across a threshold, and it can better be detected through a loved-one’s chart as a grieving. In my opinion, this is simply not true. I use the date of death for the final rectification event to correct the birth time of dead celebrities. As expected, this shows that some celebrity charts were right on time, some were out only by seconds, and others needed extensive work.

Does death leave its mark on children and other close relatives? Sure it does, it would be truly surprising otherwise. Death is still one of the most traumatic events to happen in anybody’s life, especially the death of a parent, spouse or child. My own mother died in 1988 with transiting Pluto, natural ruler of death conjunct natal Moon in Scorpio in the 8th of death, at the apex of my Sun/Moon/Pluto T-square. This is one case where outer planets transits in the chart of a close relative clearly indicated that someone would die. Tertiary progressed MC was opposite natal Mars ruler 8th and SA Moon was sextile ascendant. My mother died after six months of treatment for very painful lung cancer. My younger sister had progressed Moon square natal Moon, and transiting Pluto trine natal Mercury ruler 1st. Both the emotional trauma and the relief at my mother’s passing are clearly shown in her chart. My older sister had progressed MC square natal Uranus. She experienced the sudden death of her mother (MC) after lengthy illness. In classical astrology, mothers are ruled by the MC and fathers by the IC. As this example shows, the evidence for a traumatic event like death can be clearly seen in the charts of family members.

Let me explore other indicators of long life in the natal chart. In this question you need to see if the ascendant, its ruler, and the Moon are free from misfortune. That is if the ruler of the ascendant is free from hard aspects such as conjunction, square or opposition to the ruler of the 4th, 6th, 8th or 12th houses. You must also see if the ruler of the 1st is direct and angular, especially in the 1st or 10th house. In any natal chart this is the best place for it, or in the 9th or 11th houses, or in good aspect with Benefics such as Jupiter, Venus or Sun.

Indicators of a short life are the ruler of the 1st in the 4th, 6th or 8th or the rulers of these malefic houses in the 1st. The only way this can be countered is having Venus, Jupiter or Sun in the 1st house as well as the rulers of the malefic houses. John F. Kennedy had Libra rising, with Venus ruler 1st in Gemini in the 8th of death; Venus squared the Moon coruler 1st in Virgo in the 11th. The two rulers of the 1st in conflict indicate severe health problems. Saturn ruler 4th of end of life and natural ruler of bones is in detriment in Cancer in the 10th of medical treatment. This suggests that even if he had not been assassinated he would still have had a very short life because of his severe health problems. Jupiter ruler 6th of illness is in Taurus in the 8th, another indicator of early death due to an illness. He had several autoimmune disorders that were treated with drugs, Neptune in the 10th.

Kennedy’s short 45 year life is illustrated by the orb from Moon ruler of the 10th of medical treatment to Neptune of drugs in the 10th. Both planets are illness related and he needed treatment when SA Neptune conjoined the natal Moon. At the same time SA Moon was square natal Neptune and SA Venus was conjunct natal Neptune. This is an overpowering picture of a major negative event requiring medical treatment. The orb in both cases is 45 degrees, and he was murdered on the 22nd of November 1963. His SA Sun natally in the 8th was exactly conjunct the MC at the time of death, carrying its natal flavour of death and destruction with it. His life span can be estimated from the orb between Sun in the 8th and the MC, and his career was ended by sudden death.

However, these indicators are not by themselves always reliable, because it is the planetary aspects that are the best indicators of a planet’s influence in the chart. Paul Newman had Capricorn rising with Mercury ruler 6th, Sun ruler 8th and Venus ruler 4th all in his 1st house of life. He also had Jupiter conjunct the ascendant from the 12th and Venus in the 1st. Mercury, Venus and Jupiter are all opposite Pluto in the 6th of illness. Despite this, he lived a long and productive life, had a happy marriage and children and was well respected for his work as an actor. The key to his long life are the sextiles from Saturn ruler 1st in the 10th to the stellium in the 1st. Despite some obvious difficulties shown by the placement of the rulers of the malefic houses in the 1st, the fact that two of the planets are benefic Jupiter and Venus is enough to counteract the negative influences. Sun ruler 8th is also in the 1st, but in its detriment in Aquarius and conjunct the South Node. This makes the Sun’s influence very weak but allows its energy boost to extend Paul’s life to the maximum allowed by the Saturn/Sun orb of 83 degrees.

For a rough estimate of lifespan, look at the orb between the ruler of the 1st or the Moon and the ruler of the 8th. For Paul Newman, born 26 Jan 1925, the Sun ruler 8th is natally in Aquarius in applying square to Saturn ruler 1st. The Saturn/Sun orb is 83 degrees, so it would take roughly that many degrees or years to make a conjunction. This gives a rough estimate of about 83 years for his life span. He died on the 26 August 2008 at the age of 83½ with transiting Jupiter conjunct the ascendant. Actor Don Ameche was born on 31 May 1908 and died on the 6th of December 1993. He died when SA Saturn, which is natally in the 4th of end of life reached his natal Moon ruler 8th. The orb is just over 84 degrees, and he was 85 at death.

Learning to estimate lifespan is a specialized skill and requires a great deal of practise. You need to study the charts of people whose birth and death times are known with a high degree of accuracy and apply a whole suite of analysis tools. There are several indicators which can interact in many different ways. To judge life span accurately takes an in-depth knowledge of astrology and a good bit of experience. It is a challenging task but no more so than any other important question in astrology.

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