13 December 1987 at 21:04 (= 9:04 PM )
La Jolla (San Diego County), California, 32n51, 117w16
PST h8w (is standard time)
Several of the stellar alignments (planetary conjunctions with the zodiacal longitudes of fixed stars) in Holmes’ nativity point to “bold action” or a “drive to gain power”; for example, Mercury is aligned with Rasalgethi (Alpha Herculis); the
Ascendant aligned with Merak (Beta Ursae Majoris, one of the Pointer stars in the bowl of the Big Dipper); Venus is aligned with Deneb Okab (also known as Deneb, or Zeta Aquilae, in the tail of Aquila the Eagle); Chiron, the planetoid known as “the self-wounder,” was conjunct Saiph (Kappa Orionis), whose name comes from the Arabic for “sword of the giant”; and Uranus is aligned with Al Durajah (Gamma Ophiuchi), whose name is Arabic for “the charioteer.” And indeed for several long terrible minutes Holmes was in command of the situation—in the driver’s seat, as it were–spraying the theater and its terrified patrons with a hail of bullets.
Some stars forming alignments in Holmes’ chart have military associations, like Deneb Okab, or Almach (Gamma Andromedae), which is aligned with his Midheaven. There is also the Pistol Star (V4647 Sagittarii), a variable star located in a nebula nicknamed the Pistol Nebula. Saturn is aligned with Lesath (Upsilon Scorpii), which is one of the stars in the stinger of Scorpius the Scorpion, indicating “danger, desperation, immorality and malevolence, and…acid poisons,” according to early 20th-century fixed star expert Vivian Robson. Holmes entered the theater wearing a gas mask and military clothing, heavily armed. At first some audience members thought it was part of the show, but then Holmes began firing tear gas grenades and then opened fire.
Four of Holmes’ victims were men who died shielding their girlfriends (Venus) from bullets.
The Vesta of this former medical student is aligned with Asellus Australis (Delta Cancri), one of two stars known as the Donkeys (Aselli), which indicate “care and responsibility, with a charitable and fostering nature, but danger of violent death [and] serious accidents,” according to Robson. Early 20th-century fixed star expert Elspeth Ebertin cites this star as indicating reckless and “using brutal or violent means.”
With Eris’ alignment with the peculiar color-changing star Coruscatus (my name for Nu Fornacis), this takes on the suggestion of incidents requiring the involvement of police and ambulance personnel, who arrive to where they have been summoned in vehicles that bear flashing colored lights.
Holmes’ North Node is aligned with Scheat (Beta Pegasi), which has an extremely unfortunate reputation, being associated with murder and suicide. His Saturn is aligned with Beta Apodis, a star in Apus the Bird of Paradise which years ago I named Manuqdewata (Malay for “bird of the gods”) (a metaphor in this case for the souls snatched off to the afterlife). It also is aligned with another star in Apus, Gamma Apodis, which I long ago named Martlet, a heraldic term for a little bird that appears on coats-of-arms. Perhaps this incident will result in improved community self-policing, as 9-11 prompted airline passengers to deal with threats to the aircraft in-flight themselves and Columbine encouraged teenagers to report shooting or bombing plots against their schools.
Holmes’ Juno is aligned with Sadalachbia (Gamma Aquarii); Eric Morse, in The Living Stars, associates this with “the right time for making moves, entering on new ventures” [p.111]—in this case, for Holmes to blow his own life to smithereens through violence.
The planet Eris is aligned with Gladius Frederici, my own name for Iota Andromedae, one of the stars in the rejected modern constellation Frederici Honores, the Honors of Frederick (Emperor Frederick II of Germany). Located around Andromeda’s chained right hand, Frederici Honores includes objects representing what the 18th-century Holy Roman Emperor Frederick was supposed to excel at: an olive branch for peacemaking (Termes), a quill pen for writing (Pluma), a crown for rulership (Corona), and a sword for military skill (Gladius). Iota Andromedae marks the sword and could mean “becoming noted through violence.” Which is certainly what this outcast James Holmes (Eris) will now be forever known for.
His Uranus is aligned with Apollyon (Iota-1 Scorpii), whose name is Greek for “destroyer,” and with Girtab (Kappa Scorpii), whose name is Sumerian for “scorpion.”
Jupiter is aligned with Aquae Abyssi (Upsilon Ceti), whose name is Latin for “the watery abyss,” the deepest depths of the sea from which hideous monsters were supposed to rise—metaphorically, the human collective subconscious or unconscious. Pluto is aligned with Jikiketsu and Jikininki, names I have given two faint stars in the southern circumpolar constellation Musca the Fly, Lambda and Mu Muscae, respectively. Both names are Japanese and belong to classes of monsters from Japanese mythology: Jikiketsu the blood-sucker, and Jikininki the ghosts that devour humans. Jikiketsu (Lambda Muscae) is also aligned with Mars, which is conjunct Pluto in Holmes’ chart. Holmes the kind man and promising medical student was no longer there—he was dead, as it were; in his place was a monster who will haunt the dreams of those who survived his rampage and perhaps American culture for many years to come. There have already been several copycat or attempted copycat shootings.
His Saturn, Lord of Karma, is aligned with Karnot Mizbeach (Beta Arae), whose name is Hebrew for “horns of the altar” and may be an indicator of feelings of revulsion toward someone or something. In Statius ‘ Thebaid, a narrative poem describing the battle of the Seven Against Thebes which arose from a dispute over the rulership of this ancient city-state in Greece by Oedipus’ sons Eteocles and Polynices in which both brothers were killed, the mutual hatred between the two was said to be so great that when they were cremated on one funeral pyre, the flame that consumed their corpses actually split in two.
His Midheaven is aligned with Menkar (Alpha Ceti), suggesting that from now on his life will be very difficult, as does his Ascendant’s alignment with the peculiar object known as the Outcast Star, a star in Hydra which goes by the unwieldy designation SDSS 090745.0+024507 and which is leaving the galaxy, having apparently been ejected from it. Moreover, his Chiron, the self-wounder, is aligned with Wazn (Beta Columbae), whose name means “weight” in Arabic.
His Moon is aligned with Al Batiyah (Gamma Crateris), whose name, Arabic for “the wine jug,” suggests intoxication or delirium: his behavior suggests psychosis. It included not only the homicidal violence but rigging his apartment with explosive booby-traps that took the police days to disable and dyeing his hair a bright red-orange like one of the best-known villains of the Batman universe, the Joker.His Ascendant is aligned with a star I have named Evacuo (Eta Antliae), which is located in Antlia the Air Pump, a modern constellation which represents a device for removing the air from laboratory vessels. Evacuo is Latin for “empty,” and Holmes is certainly now empty—once well-liked, bright and promising, his life is now drained of virtually all that his positive, leaving him with nothing.
Whatever drove him over the edge, whether he was responsible for his own actions or not, James Eagan Holmes is now one of the greatest villains of our time.
Star Names, Their Lore and Meaning, Richard Hinckley Allen (1889).
Brady’s Book of Fixed Stars, Bernadette Brady (1979).
Fixed Stars and Their Interpretation, Elspeth Ebertin, Reinhold Ebertin & Georg Hoffmann (1928).
The Living Stars, Eric Morse (1989).
Fixed Stars and Judicial Astrology, George Noonan (1990).
The Power of Fixed Stars, Joseph Rigor (1979).
The Fixed Stars and Constellations In Astrology, Vivian E. Robson (1923).