On the evening of Wednesday, June 17, 2015 a dozen parishioners gathered in the basement of the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, SC, for their weekly prayer meeting and Bible study. The church, with its roots in the early 1800s, is among the oldest black churches in the US South, a symbol of faith and freedom for African Americans across the country. Just as they were starting, a young, slender white man entered the church, asking for the pastor. The Reverend Clementa Pinckney, 41, also a South Carolina State Senator, introduced himself to Dylann Roof, welcomed him and urged him to sit beside him during the meeting. For almost an hour Roof sat there, until, as the meeting broke up at 9:00, he pulled a .45-caliber Glock pistol from his pocket and began shooting.
Two survived by playing dead under a table, and a third Roof left alive, stating he had done so, so she could “tell what happened.” Roof left nine dead on the floor, including the pastor, two other men and six women. Quickly identified from surveillance footage, Roof was arrested the following morning in Shelby, NC, about 250 miles away. Within days a website had been uncovered, owned by Roof, where he espoused White Supremacist views and posed wearing a jacket with emblems of Rhodesia and South Africa, both apartheid regimes, holding the Glock in one hand and a Confederate battle flag in the other. Upon interrogation, Roof stated that he had committed the murders in hopes of sparking a race war.
As always, a chart cast for the shooting portrays terrestrial events with stunning celestial symbolism. What is particularly intriguing about this incident is the timing. Dylann Roof entered the building at approximately 8 PM, but waited a full hour to begin his murderous spree. During that time, the angles of the chart moved approximately 15 degrees (one degree every four minutes), until asteroid Emanuela (for the Emanuel AME Church) at 3 Cancer came to the 4 Cancer Descendant, just at the moment the shots rang out. Angular placements carry the force and impact of the moment, and this highlighting of the venue for the shootings is stunning in its accuracy. Opposing this on the 4 Capricorn Ascendant was asteroid Gluck (for Glock, the weapon used), at 8 Capricorn.
Uranus at 19 Aries, the planet ruling shootings, was also angular, conjunct the 22 Aries IC, and asteroid Emanuelli, another variant of the church’s name, at 17 Cancer was squared Uranus and conjoined by the Moon at 14 Cancer. This also activated the Uranus/Pluto square, past its last exact aspect but still a force to be reckoned with. Pluto at 14 Capricorn exactly opposed the Moon and was conjoined by asteroid Dylanyoung (matching the first name of the shooter and emphasizing his youth, highlighted in early press reports) at 16 Capricorn, closely opposed Emanuelli.
The Sun at 26 Gemini opposes the Galactic Center at 27 Sagittarius, guaranteeing global attention for the act, and is conjunct Mars, the planet ruling guns and violent death, at 25 Gemini, and asteroid Tantalus, noted for the commission of heinous acts, at 24 Gemini. These are squared by asteroid Dillon, also for the shooter, at 23 Pisces, itself conjunct asteroid Rip at 24 Pisces, which functions as a death indicator via the acronym RIP, “Rest In Peace”, a common tombstone inscription. Together these form a T-Square with TNO Ixion, named for the first murderer in Greek myth, at 22 Sagittarius. The addition of asteroid Lachesis at 24 Virgo, named for the mythic Greek Fate who determines the span of life, converts this into a Grand Cross.
Asteroid Ruff (for “Roof”, matching the phonetic pronunciation of his surname) at 8 Gemini is right beside asteroid Clementina at 9 Gemini, for Reverend Clementa Pinckney, just as the pastor pulled Dylann Roof close beside him at the Bible study. These conjoin Mercury at 5 Gemini, marking Roof and Pinckney as the principal names associated with the biggest news story (Mercury) of the day. Squaring this grouping is Neptune at 9 Pisces conjunct asteroid Atropos at 6 Pisces, named for the Greek Fate who severs the thread of life at death. This is a remarkable combination, identifying the shooter (Ruff), the most well-known victim (Clementina), and the religious setting (Neptune) for the deadly (Atropos) act.
The other eight victims are represented as well. Tywanza Sanders, 26, the youngest victim, shows as asteroid Sanders, which at 8 Capricorn is on the Ascendant, within orb of Pluto and Dylanyoung, and exactly conjunct Gluck. It was Tywanza who approached the shooter, trying to reason with him and repeatedly telling him he “didn’t have to do this.” His aunt Susie Jackson, a church choir member, was the oldest victim, at age 87. She is represented by asteroid Jackson at 7 Aries, squared the Horizontal Axis and asteroid Gluck, asteroid Emanuela and the Moon.
Most of the remaining victims were directly associated with the management of the church, including three pastors, Sharonda Coleman-Singletoin, 45; Depayne Middleton-Doctor, 49; Daniel Simmons, 74; and Ethel Lance, 70, the church sexton. Sharonda Coleman-Singleton is represented by asteroid Sharon at 29 Pisces, conjunct Dillon/Rip and part of the solar Grand Cross; Depayne Middleton-Doctor is represented by asteroid Paine at 24 Aries, conjunct Uranus and angular on the 22 Aries IC. Daniel Simmons is represented by asteroid Daniel at 6 Cancer, with Emanuela on the Descendant, and asteroid Simmons, at 22 Virgo conjunct Lachesis and also tied to the solar Grand Cross. Ethel Lance is represented by asteroid Ethel, exact with Daniel at 6 Cancer and also conjunct Emanuela/Descendant.
Also killed were Myra Thompson, 59, a Bible study teacher, and Cynthia Hurd, 54, a manager for the Charleston Public Library system. Myra Thompson is represented by asteroid Myra at 27 Libra, conjunct the 22 Libra MC and opposed Uranus, as well as asteroids Mira and Thomsen—incredibly, these appear together at 27 Leo, within orb of asteroid Osiris at 23 Leo, named for the ancient Egyptian god of the dead, also squared Saturn, ancient lord of death, at 29 Scorpio.
Cynthia Hurd is represented by asteroid Heard (phonetic match for her surname) at 20 Aries, with Uranus on the 22 Aries IC, and also by asteroid Cynthia, which at 8 Taurus joins a grouping including asteroids Senator (for Pastor Pinckney’s secular role), Carolina (the state where the shooting occurred), and Anubis (named for an ancient Egyptian deity ruling funerary rites), at 2, 4 and 11 Taurus respectively.
What of the shooter, Dylann Roof? Born 3 April 1994, Roof’s birth falls within the scope of the transit conjunction of Uranus and Neptune from that period, which has spawned such infamous killers as Adam Lanza (the Sandy Hook Elementary shooter) and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev (of Boston Marathon bombing fame). At 23 and 26 Capricorn, the natal pairing of Neptune and Uranus well depicts the act of shooting (Uranus) religious (Neptune) people, and its particular effect on Dylann may be foreshadowed by the addition of asteroid Dylanyoung in conjunction from 20 Capricorn.
Exactly with Dylanyoung are asteroids Achilles and Child, with asteroid Anubis nearby at 22 Capricorn and still within the overall Uranus/Neptune purlieus. Achilles denotes a weak spot or vulnerability, in this case perhaps psychological, while Child emphasizes that these energies will be most focused in youth. Anubis, ruling funerary rites, slants the Uranus/Neptune volatility in a deadly direction.
Roof’s chart had been stressed within the prior year by a retrograde station of Pluto, modern ruler of death and destruction, at 13 Capricorn last April, in exact square to his natal Sun at 13 Aries, with transit Pluto just one degree off the exact square at the time of the shooting, heading back for a second station in square this fall.
Also experiencing heavy activity were natal Pluto at 27 Scorpio and natal TNO Ixion (murder) at 28 Scorpio, being crisscrossed by transit Saturn; natal Saturn at 7 Pisces, worked over by transit Neptune; and an eclipse pattern which highlighted his natal Sun twice, by Lunar Eclipses in October 2014 at 15 Aries and April 2015 at 14 Libra.
Additionally, the Solar Eclipse of March 20, 2015 at 29 Pisces fell conjunct his natal pairing of asteroids Dillon and Rip at 25 and 28 Pisces. Astoundingly, when the shooting occurred, these points were again conjunct in the same region of the zodiac, both about to return to their respective natal degrees. Natal Mars at 21 Pisces, ruler of guns and violent death, also conjoins Dillon/Rip, further reinforcing a personal tendency to violence for Dylann Roof.
That Roof should become widely known for an act related to death is foreshadowed by an exact natal conjunction of Jupiter (fame, renown) with asteroid Requiem (named for the funeral mass for the dead) at 12 Scorpio. This pairing is exactly trine natal asteroid Emanuelli at 12 Pisces, itself conjunct natal Saturn (ancient lord of death) at 7 Pisces, identifying the venue (Emanuel AME Church) where Ruff acted out his rage. It also exactly opposes natal asteroid Atropos (death) at 12 Scorpio, within orb of a second Emanuel AME Church indicator, asteroid Emanuela, at 16 Taurus.
Ties from Roof’s nativity and that of the city of Charleston (incorporated 13 August 1783) bear mention as well. The city’s natal Mars (violent death) at 13 Aries is an exact match for Dylann Roof’s natal Sun; this forms a Grand Trine with the city’s natal Mercury and Sun at 13 and 20 Leo, and its natal asteroid Dylanyoung at 18 Sagittarius. Transit Jupiter for the shooting conjoined Charleston’s natal Sun from 19 Leo. The city’s natal asteroid Emanuelli at 22 Virgo was conjoined by transit asteroid Lachesis at 24 Virgo for the shooting, binding themes of death and the church known to its parishioners as “Mother Emanuel”; natal asteroid Dillon at 29 Scorpio was exactly conjunct transit Saturn. Lastly, the city’s natal Jupiter at 24 Capricorn conjoined Roof’s natal Uranus/Neptune/Dylanyoung/ Achilles/Anubis stellium, increasing these energies and urging excess in Roof’s response to them.
Two days after the murders, Dylann Roof was confronted via video monitor by the families of his victims, during his arraignment. To a person, they forgave him, less than 48 hours after their loved ones had been killed, setting a tone for reconciliation which has redounded across the country in a way Dylann Roof could never have imagined, and which likely constitutes his worst nightmare.
For the actions of this White Supremacist killer, who committed his crimes in the hopes of starting a race war, have led directly to the removal from public spaces of that most recognizable symbol of segregation and racism, the Confederate battle flag.
On the day after the shootings, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley ordered flags at the State Capital flown at half-mast, but the Confederate flag which also flies on those grounds could not be removed or altered in any way without approval by two thirds of the state legislature. This special status for the battle flag is based in a law enacted in 2000, when the flag was moved from the State House itself to its own memorial space on the grounds. So while other flags were flown at half-mast, this symbol of slavery still proudly waved, not only during the period of official mourning, but also the following week, while the body of slain Senator Pinckney lay in state on those very grounds.
On June 22, Governor Haley called for the flag’s removal, and the legislature took up the discussion of this measure the following day. Meanwhile, also on June 23, three southern state governors (Terry McAuliffe of Virginia, Pat McCrory of North Carolina, and Larry Hogan of Maryland) announced plans to discontinue their states’ Confederate flag specialty license plate options. On the following day, Alabama Governor Robert Bentley ordered the removal of all Confederate flags from the State House grounds, on his own authority. That same week, retailers Walmart, Sears, Amazon and eBay banned all sales of Confederate flags and memorabilia.
In South Carolina, the state Senate passed the bill to remove the flag on July 6, but heated discussion began in the lower house the following day. It was largely the impassioned, emotional pleas of Republican legislator Jenny Horne, herself a Jefferson Davis descendant, which won the day and brought in an affirmative vote on July 9. The Bill was signed by Governor Haley the same day, using nine pens, later distributed to the families of the “Charleston Nine”, as the victims came to be known. The flag was rung down on Friday, July 10, 2015 at a 10 AM ceremony attended by thousands.
When the Confederate battle flag was removed from its pole at 10:09 AM EDT, asteroid Flagstaff at 9 Aries formed a T-Square with Mercury (news of the day) at 3 Cancer, Pluto (transformation, racism) at 14 Capricorn, and asteroid Dylanyoung at 11 Capricorn. Just as the transit Moon had highlighted Emanuela the month before at the shooting, so now at 10 Taurus it conjoined asteroid Carolina at 11 Taurus, expressing the will of the people (Moon) of that state.
The two women most responsible for this action, Nikki Haley, who called for the flag’s removal, and Jenny Horne, who argued so passionately for the cause, were most appropriately represented. Asteroid Nicky at 8 Leo closely trined Flagstaff, while asteroid Jenny at 10 Libra opposed it. Asteroids Halley and Horne, acting hand-in-glove celestially above as their terrestrial counterparts did below, conjoin at 21 and 28 Virgo respectively, joining hands across asteroid Lachesis at 23 Virgo, together defining the official, public life span of that ultimate symbol of hatred and oppression.
For Dylan Roof, contemplating the results of his actions in his prison cell, it must have been a very dark day indeed.