A series of coordinated terrorist attacks rocked the French capital on the evening of Friday, 13 November 2015. The wave began with three suicide bombers outside the Stade de France sports arena, where French President Francois Hollande attended a friendly soccer match between France and Germany. Loss of life there was minimal, with just one civilian death besides the bombers themselves, but simultaneous shooting rampages and assaults in Paris’ 10th Arrondissement left an additional 128 dead, 89 of them in one theater alone, where an American rock band’s performance was literally shot to pieces by three black-clad men armed with AK-47 assault rifles.
Shouts of “Allahu Akbar!” (“God is great!”) rang out there and on the streets of Paris, where gunmen and a fourth suicide bomber killed or injured dozens of patrons in sidewalk cafés and restaurants. Forty more civilians were killed, and an additional 352 people were injured (at all venues), 99 of them seriously. Seven attackers ultimately died, most by self-detonation of suicide vests, one shot by police; reports that an eighth attacker escaped were unconfirmed as of this writing. The international terrorist group ISIS claimed responsibility the following day, and on Sunday multiple arrests were made in Brussels, of persons suspected of having facilitated or planned the attacks. Also on Sunday, France launched retaliatory air strikes on the Syrian city of Raqqa, “capital” of the Islamic State.
Following just ten months after the massacre at the Charlie Hebdo offices, President Hollande described the attacks as “an act of war”, and politicians mooted the likelihood that Article 5 of the NATO compact would be invoked, requiring all member nations to respond to an attack on any one of them, as an attack on all.
A chart set for 9:20 PM CET, when the first suicide bomb was detonated outside the Stade de France and the first shots were heard on the rue Alibert, shows 24 Cancer rising, and closely conjunct is asteroid Paris, named for the City of Lights. At 23 Cancer, Paris had risen just moments before, emphasizing its importance as the locale of the events. And just a week before, on November 6, Paris had turned retrograde at that degree, indicating an embedded or static quality, a turning point in its cycle, inaugurating a brief period of increased visibility and importance for the city.
Asteroid Paris made additional contacts, including a square to TNO Eris at 22 Aries and a sesquiquadrate to Neptune at 7 Pisces. Eris, named for the Greek goddess of strife and discord, represents conflict and confrontation, notably of persons considered outsiders, or who believe themselves to be disrespected, marginalized, or disenfranchised. Neptune rules religious fundamentalism, fanaticism, and zealotry, as well as martyrs. The blending of these energies with the celestial placement for the venue of the attacks perfectly describes the underlying issues and the personalities of the attackers.
Paris was also trine the Sun at 21 Scorpio, itself conjoined by asteroid Achilles at 24 Scorpio. Sun/Achilles points up inherent weakness, vulnerabilities, the soft underbelly of the situation, and the attackers chose “soft” targets, impossible to defend or protect, preying upon the chinks in Paris’ armor, even with the city on high alert since the January attacks. Finally, Paris is also squared Uranus at 17 Aries, planet of shocks, surprises, bombs and shootings, and explosions of all kinds, from the pop-pop of a handgun to the boom of suicide vests. Uranus also rules ethnic minorities and “aliens”, both those who are non-citizens and those who feel “alienated”.
General factors contributing to the overall energy of the moment include Mars, ruling violent death, which at 0 Libra was conjunct the 29 Virgo IC of the chart, denoting angular importance and emphasis. This shows Mars violence, aggression, conflict and murder as the “foundation” of the situation. As well, the Moon at 15 Sagittarius was just coming into orb of opposition to TNO Chaos at 20 Gemini, and public (Moon) bedlam, confusion, disorder and anarchy (all Chaos) were just what ensued. On a more specific level, a conjunction of asteroids Pallas and Icarus at 4 and 5 Capricorn, in square to Mars, denotes the detailed planning and coordination (Pallas) as well as the reckless disregard for life (Icarus) displayed by the attackers (Mars).
Although Neptune rules fanatics and martyrs on a general level, there are also asteroids which further specify these traits. Asteroid Fanatica (fanaticism) at 29 Leo was exactly opposed asteroid Atropos, named for the mythic Greek Fate who severs the thread of life at death, at 29 Aquarius, in a broad T-Square with the 21 Scorpio sun. Again we see succinctly encapsulated the tenor of the moment—that the day itself (Sun) would be focused (squares) on deaths (Atropos) due to the actions of fanatics (Fanatica).
Asteroid Martir (phonetic match for “martyr”) follows close behind at 18 Leo, from where it squares the Sun and is exactly square Mercury at 18 Scorpio, representing the planning of the attacks and the message the attackers sought to convey, attackers who saw themselves as religious martyrs (Martir) for a cause, not only prepared to die, but fully expecting to do so.
The terrorist organization ISIS, which has claimed responsibility for the attacks, is aptly represented by asteroid Isis (actually named for an ancient Egyptian goddess, but matching the terror group’s acronym exactly). At 13 Libra, asteroid Isis is exactly squared to Pluto, modern ruler of death and terrorism, at 13 Capricorn, a stunning example of the interplay of “above” and “below.”
Traveling with Isis are asteroids Nemesis, representing vengeance, undoing, and retribution, at 15 Libra, and Apophis, named for the ancient Egyptian personification of pure evil, at 16 Libra. [For a more detailed examination of the pairing of asteroids Isis and Nemesis, a years-long phenomenon, see my article, “ISIS and Isis” in the September 2014 Daykeeper Journal.]
Isis also opposes Uranus, perhaps a symbol of the organization’s increased volatility in recent weeks, with the downing of a Russian passenger jet on October 31, killing all 224 on board, and suicide bombings in Beirut, Lebanon, just the day before Paris, which left 43 dead.
Most of the shootings in Paris were focused on the area of the rue Alibert and the boulevard Voltaire (including a café of the same name, the Comptoir Voltaire). Both names have celestial referents which figure prominently in the skies that day. Asteroid Albert (for Alibert) at 3 Virgo conjoins asteroid Franzia (for France) at 5 Virgo, and both square Saturn, ancient lord of death, at 5 Sagittarius. Asteroid Voltaire at 23 Virgo conjoins Jupiter, granting fame or renown, at 18 Virgo, and is sextile the Sun.
With 129 victims, the volume of PNAs necessary to chart each one is far too unwieldy for an article of this scope. Two names did emerge from the chaos—Nohemi Gonzalez, known to friends as “Mimi”, a 23-year-old American college student studying abroad, and Nick Alexander, 36, a British national who was merchandise manager for the rock group performing at the theater. Both have PNAs which fall in significant placement to describe their demise.
Asteroid Mimi at 25 Aquarius falls midway between Atropos (death) at 29 Aquarius and Damocles, the doom hanging unseen overhead, at 19 Aquarius, opposing Fanatica at 29 Leo. Asteroid Gonzales at 10 Virgo broadly conjoins Franzia, the country in which she died, at 5 Virgo and Jupiter, granting global recognition, at 18 Virgo, and is squared Saturn at 5 Sagittarius.
Asteroid Nicky (for “Nick”) at 0 Libra is exactly conjunct Mars, planet of violence and attacks, while asteroid Alexandra (feminine form of “Alexander”) at 4 Gemini conjoins asteroid Anubis, named for the ancient Egyptian deity governing funerary rites, at 8 Gemini, and opposes Saturn. Such contacts are typical of victims in these types of tragedies, and I have every confidence that if all 129 names were added to the chart, similar patterns would emerge.
France’s Fifth Republic was born in the wake of a wave of terrorism spawned by colonial discontent with French rule, particularly in Algeria. Its chart, set for 5 October 1958, shows asteroid Isis at 8 Libra conjoined the 12 Libra Sun, recently the focus of a square from transit Pluto’s direct station in September (Pluto —terrorism—also squared France’s Sun for the Charlie Hebdo massacre in January 2015). The implication here is of a potential for a strong interaction affecting the national core being and essence, resonating to the name “Isis”, which has taken almost 60 years to manifest.
Three significant points in the nativity were all within two weeks of their retrograde stations, showing an embedded nature in the Republic’s psyche, granting them greater than usual importance and impact in the national biography. These are Mars, which would turn retrograde at 2 Gemini just 6 days after the Republic was formed (and now opposed by transit Saturn); Martir, turning retrograde from 23 Gemini 11 days later; and Fanatica, at 14 Gemini and about to turn retrograde on October 18. The issues of violence, martyrdom and fanaticism have plagued the Republic from its inception, and do not seem to be going away anytime soon.