The sad case of Terri Schiavo has drawn to a close, more than fifteen years after it began, but not without some stunning political theatre along the way. Terris circumstance has brought a spotlight to the issues of Right To Die, Living Wills, and political hypocrisy, and the extremely high profile of this case is apparent once Terris birth chart is viewed through the lens of Deep Space.
Terri Schindler Schiavo (3 December 1963, time unknown) seemed destined for an ordinary life, one characterized by normal concerns and issues. Severely overweight in her teens, Terri suffered from eating disorders, including bulimia, which contributed to her eventual medical problems. Her marriage to Michael Schiavo in November 1984 remained childless, until in 1989 they consulted a fertility expert.
The precise cause of the heart attack which felled her on February 25, 1990 has never been determined, though a potassium imbalance due to the bulimia has been cited as contributory, and a subsequent trial found in favor of the Schiavos for medical malpractice, creating a trust fund for her care which has been at the center of the dispute between Terris husband Michael and her parents. Terris brain was deprived of oxygen at the time of the heart attack, and after coming out of a coma, she was diagnosed as being in a persistent vegetative state, with severely impaired brain function. Although she could breathe on her own, she was unresponsive and unable to swallow, and required a feeding tube for nourishment.
Months of therapy and medical procedures followed, including a trip to California for experimental electrode therapy, none of which were successful. Shortly after the awarding of a $1 million plus settlement in the malpractice suit in November 1992, Michael Schiavo and the Schindlers had a falling out, with the Schindlers unsuccessfully attempting to unseat him as Terris legal guardian.
By 1998, with therapy options exhausted and almost a decade of existence in a vegetative state, Michael Schiavo petitioned the court for the removal of Terris feeding tube, and her parents fought the action. The trial began 24 January 2000, and on February 11 Judge George Greer ordered the removal of the feeding tube, but stayed the execution of the order pending appeals by the Schindlers.
The process has dragged on an additional five years, including two prior periods where the tube was removed, but reinserted before Terri succumbed to starvation (April 24-26, 2001 and October 15-21, 2003). The tortuous, twisted legal and political process need not concern us in detail; throughout this period at least 15 judges have ruled and more than 3 dozen hearings have been held. At one point, Floridas Governor Jeb Bush intervened, with the state legislature passing Terris Law, specifically enacted to reinsert her feeding tube after the second removal. The law was subsequently struck down as unconstitutional by the Florida Supreme Court.
All of which brings us to this third removal of the feeding tube, which began Friday, 18 March 2005 and has devolved into a political brouhaha and media circus involving the US Congress, the presidency and the US Supreme Court.
A Galactic examination of Terris chart reveals a high level of Deep Space activity, often associated with a life that is not ordinary. Her Sun at 10 Sagittarius exactly conjoins Black Hole Anubis, an indication that the individual will undergo at least one dramatic reversal in her life, and that the ways others see her will be significantly altered. There is further the probability of being consumed by forces beyond ones control and at the mercy of others' projections, accurate or otherwise. Enormous amounts of energy can be expended by or on behalf of the individual.
With hindsight we can see clearly the Black Holes connection with altered realities and parallel universes in the loss of brain functioning, which is how we identify self. Where was Terri, in what nonphysical universe, if any, did she have a consciousness, and what was she experiencing from outside the shell which existed in a Florida hospice?
This Sun is exactly squared by natal Uranus at 10 Virgo, itself conjoined a Black Hole. Sun/Uranus natives are often controversial or provocative in some way, and they, or what they represent to others, can become illustrative of human rights or equality, often in conflicting ways, due to the black-is-white, up-is-down nature of Black Hole interaction. In this case Terri has become a poster child both for the Right To Life and Right to Die causes, which have been worrying her brain-dead body like two very ill-tempered dogs with a bone.
With Uranus square the Sun we can also see the importance of technology in the circumstance, for without modern medical technology Terri would have died with her heart attack in 1990, or shortly after (ironically, of starvation, as she was unable to swallow since the attack, and could not even have been force-fed by a third party).
The incredibly high profile of the case is undoubtedly the work of Terris natal Mercury, which at 26 Sagittarius is exactly atop the supermassive Black Hole at the center of our Milky Way galaxy. Individuals with strong Galactic Center contacts often have global impact; their message translates well to the masses, their image fills our TV screens, their cause is trumpeted to the ends of the earth. Mars fills in the picture with a close conjunction to Mercury from its position on the Pulsar at 28 Sagittarius. Pulsar contacts promote visibility and make "news," and the media has turned this private tragedy into a public circus for years. In this case, with Mars active, its not so much Terris life that compels us, but her death.
Terris natal Venus at 5 Capricorn is also conjunct a Black Hole, and Venus connection with values in this circumstance is apparentin this instance, the opposing values of the Right To Life crowd contrasted with those of the Death with Dignity supporters, as reflected in the opposing wishes/values of her parents and her husband. Natal Jupiter at 9 Aries, trine the Sun, conjoins a Quasar, another indicator of a life on display, public recognition, or at least notoriety, and the conflict of philosophies which has engendered this controversy.
Many of the key dates of this protracted tragedy show startling connections, both to the natal chart and to each other, as one would expect from so dramatic a saga. The Sun for the heart attack (15 February 1990) at 6 Pisces is exactly conjoined a manifestation-evoking Quasar and transforms the natal Sun/Uranus square into a T-square. This zodiacal zone is repeated by Mars at 2 Pisces for the second removal of the feeding tube (10.15.03) and by Uranus at 7 Pisces for the third removal (3.18.05).
The first feeding tube removal (4.24.01) shows transit Pluto at 14 Sagittarius separating from its conjunction with the natal Sun, while transit Mars at 27 Sagittarius is exactly between natal Mercury on the Galactic Center at 26 and natal Mars on the Pulsar at 28. Transit Jupiter, a planet often active in death charts, opposes the natal Sun from 12 Gemini.
At the time of the second tube removal, transit Neptune at 10 Aquarius was exactly sextile the natal Sun and inconjunct natal Uranus, which was exactly conjoined by transit Jupiter (which was thus also exactly square the natal Sun).
Now with the third tube removal we see transit Pluto at 24 Sagittarius, exactly conjoined a media-agitating Pulsar, approaching conjunction with natal Mercury and the Galactic Center, then natal Mars. Transit Neptune at 16 Aquarius has come to exactly square its natal degree of 16 Scorpio, with transit Venus at 24 Pisces exactly square transit Pluto and in close square to natal Mercury. The transit Sun at 27 Pisces is conjunct a Black Hole at 28 and also tightly square the natal Mercury/GC/Mars conjunction.
The political hullabaloo surrounding the third removal has been incredible. When the third attempt to remove the feeding tube occurred on March 18, 2005, the US Congress was returned to a special session during their Easter recess, with George W. Bush returning from his holiday in Crawford, Texas. (Note: this is the same GWB who could not bestir himself from a vacation at the ranch in August 2001 after reading a Daily Briefing entitled: Bin Laden Determined to Attack in America, nor to respond for more than three days to the 300,000 tsunami deaths during his Christmas holiday last December.) Both houses voted to force the issue into the federal courts, and the law was passed in a rare midnight session on Palm Sunday, March 20, with Bush signing the legislation in the wee hours of Monday, 21 March.
On 22 March the federal judge presiding over the case refused the Schindlers request for an injunction to reinsert the feeding tube, but allowed that the case may proceed to appeals. On 22 March a review board of the 11th District Court rejected the reinsertion of the feeding tube also, and on the 23rd the full court voted not to hear the case. Also on the 23rd Governor Jeb Bush made noises about intervening by executive order, based on the testimony of a new specialist (Dr. William Cheshire, who is, perhaps not coincidentally, a noted Christian bioethicist) who alleged possible misdiagnosis. The state Senate further declined to pursue legislation, fearing its potential unconstitutionality, and rejected, by a vote of 18-21, a measure which would prevent the removal of feeding tubes from any and all Floridians who did not have a specific request for such in writing.
The governor considered the option of making Terri a ward of the state, and in fact contemplated sending in state officials to in effect kidnap her, until local law enforcement officers made it clear they would support Judge Greers authority. The night of the 23rd the Schindlers petitioned the US Supreme Court to hear the case. Earlier that day several protesters were arrested for attempting to bring Terri water (which, since she cannot swallow, would seem to be a gesture of doubtful utility).
On the 24th the US Supreme Court refused to hear the case, for the fifth time over the life of the controversy. The Florida courts also denied Jeb Bushs attempt to take custody of Terri via the Children and Families department, based on the testimony of the Christian bioethicist neurologist and renewed allegations of Michael Schiavos abuse.
On the 25th, Good Friday, following a spate of further rejections of appeals by various courts, the Schindlers suddenly revealed that more than a week previously, Terri had uttered the words I want to live. Or more accurately, Terri made the sounds ahhhh and waaaaaa in succession, which the family took to mean I want to live. Doctors say such moans are typical of PVS patients.
Appeals and re-appeals dragged on for more than a week, until by the 30th, six more courts had denied requests by the Schindlers to have the feeding tube reinserted. Polls showed a significant drop in Bushs approval ratings following his attempted intervention, and over 80% felt that Congress had no business messing in the private family tragedy.
Republicans were stunned by this revelation. Earlier in the crisis, the week before the special session to write the legislation, Republican strategists had circulated a memo on the case, stating that The pro-life base will be excited...this is a great political issue...this is a tough issue for Democrats, and specifically targeting Florida Democratic Senator Bill Nelsons re-election prospects in 2006.
But the hypocrisy doesnt stop there. On March 15, 2005, a six-month-old black child, Sun Hudson, who had been born with a fatal form of dwarfism which restricted his lung capacity, was removed form life support in Houston and allowed to die, at the behest of the hospital board and against the wishes of his mother. This was in response to the Texas Futile Care Law, which allows hospital administrators to refuse care to patients who can no longer afford to pay for it, in cases which they deem futile. This law was signed in 1999 by then Governor George W. Bush, the same who is now promoting erring in favor of the culture of life.
Tom DeLay, House Majority Leader, whose ethics violations difficulties were in part responsible for the media hoopla surrounding Congress intervention, in an attempt to distract attention from his own troubles, chose to remove his own father from life support 16 years ago, barely a month after an accident left him in a brain-dead, vegetative state.
The three brown-robed Franciscan friars who constantly accompany the Schindlers, and have given fundraising support, had themselves decided to remove life support from the brain-damaged head of their order in 2003, after 12 years of life like Terri. And in the most egregious example of all, Terris father removed life support from his own mother after a bout of pneumonia of less than a week.
Mercifully, the family and national circus, and Terris ordeal, came to an end on March 31, 2005, with Terris passing. Or rather, the final passing of her body, for Terri had been absent for quite some time. A CT scan taken just weeks before the final removal of the feeding tube showed a cerebral cortex liquefied and replaced with spinal fluid; there was no place for Terri to come back to.
The Sun at 10 Aries on March 31 was appropriately conjunct a manifestation-evoking Quasar, affording Terri the release that was her due. The transit Sun was further conjunct her natal Jupiter, a planet which is often active at death. The Moon in Sagittarius that day came to conjoin her media-attracting Mercury on the Galactic Center for one last time. Transit Mercury, equivalent to the Greek Hermes as Guide of Souls, which had turned retrograde just as the feeding tube was removed, had returned to 7 Aries, now conjunct the transit Sun and her natal Jupiter, and trine her natal Sun, easing her passage. Transit Venus was exactly conjoined Sun/Quasar at 10 Aries (interesting how Michael Schiavo described Terri in her last weeks as at peace and more beautiful than she has ever been, although her parents saw a very different picture). Pluto remained at its station degree of 24 Sagittarius, conjunct a Pulsar, Terris natal Mercury and the Galactic Center, trumpeting her passing to the global community who had come to know, not her, but the shell she left behind.
Her life and death brought a much-needed spotlight to the issues of Death with Dignity, Right to Die, Right of Privacy, and the importance of Living Wills. It further exposed the hypocrisy of the administration and the Congress, and the dangers presented by the religious right who control them, and for whom the law and the Constitution are mere impediments to the establishment of their theocratic America.
Rest in peace, Terri. Youve earned it.