On December 2, 2015, ISIS-inspired terrorism came to the US, as a married couple shot up a holiday office party in San Bernardino, California, killing 14 and seriously wounding 22 others. The shooting, which had a personal element in that the husband, Syed Farook, was an employee of the company, was apparently just the first step in a planned rampage that would have included several other local sites, but ended precipitously in a police shoot-out on the street.
Initial speculation that Farook had become radicalized via his wife, Pakistani native Tashfeen Malik, was dispelled when evidence emerged that the couple had expressed fanatical views before they met online, and in fact their shared perspectives had been a key factor in bringing them together. Married in 2013 at the holiest site of Islam, their union appears from the get-go to have been a sort of religiously-based suicide pact, delayed but not invalidated by the birth of their daughter six months before the attack.
After attending a brief training seminar that preceded the holiday party, Farook abruptly left the scene, some say in anger, only to return shortly with his wife, both toting semiautomatic pistols and rifles, clad in black tactical gear and wearing ski masks. The shooting itself took under four minutes, but the couple also left behind three small pipe bombs, which failed to detonate. Despite his attempt at camouflage, Farook was recognized by coworkers, and police were in pursuit quickly, eventually cornering and stopping the couple in a rented black SUV, less than two miles from the attack. A shootout ensued, lasting less than a minute before both suspects were killed.
The shooting spree began at 10:59 AM PST, and as always, a chart cast for the event illuminates the circumstances perfectly.
The Sun at 10 Sagittarius conjoined Saturn at 7 Sagittarius, and was exactly on a reality-warping Black Hole, reflective of the altered perspectives of the shooters as well as the intrusion of a previously unthinkable reality into the status quo reality: ISIS had made its first deadly philosophical foray into the mainstream of American culture. The Sun/Saturn connection describes both the mortality at the scene, with Saturn as the ancient Lord of Death, but also the fracturing of security and the rise of fear, a Saturn-based concept. Less than a week later, bomb threats in nearby LA brought the public school system to a screeching halt; the threat was a hoax, but the response showed just how agitated and fearful the populace had become in the aftermath of the San Bernardino attacks.
Sun/Saturn were also squared to Neptune at 7 Pisces, Saturn exactly. This highlighted (Sun) one of the emerging themes of the Saturn/Neptune square, a prime mover in 2016. The clash (square) between societal structures and norms and established governmental hierarchies (all Saturn) on the one hand, and radical fundamentalist elements (Neptune) on the other, will be a feature of the year. As if to reinforce its choice of venue for illustrating its point, the cosmos positioned asteroid California (the state where the shooting occurred) at 6 Sagittarius conjoined the Saturn side of the equation, while asteroid Bernardina (for San Bernardino) at 9 Pisces conjoined Neptune. Thus San Bernardino, California became ground zero for the emerging contest between these celestials.
This square becomes a T-Square pattern with the inclusion of an exact opposition from asteroid Atropos (named for the Greek Fate who severs the thread of life at death) at 4 Pisces, conjoined Neptune, to asteroid Fanatica (fanaticism) at 4 Virgo. This same polarity was in effect for the mass attacks in Paris less than three weeks prior. The Sun was also involved in that T-Square, illuminating the problem of Islamic radicalism. In the case of San Bernardino, the trigger for the attacks is apparent, with the transit Moon come to 4 Virgo, exactly on Fanatica, at the time of the attack.
A string of late-Sagittarian points follows the Sun, extending from Tantalus and Mercury at 16 and 18 Sagittarius respectively, both still within orb of the Sun, through TNO Ixion and centaur Pholus at 22 and 24 Sagittarius, both encroaching on the Galactic enter at 27 Sagittarius. Tantalus is noted as a point promoting the commission of heinous, unthinkable acts, Ixion is named for the first murderer in Greek myth, Pholus relates to mass deaths, and the GC guarantees global notice and attention.
Neither of the shooters is represented directly in the skies by PNAs (Personal-Named Asteroids). This is not uncommon with Arabic, Asiatic or Middle Eastern names, as most astronomers who name these points are of Western origin, and names of that derivation predominate in the heavens.
Their victims, however, are well represented. As is typical of these incidents, most have PNA referents which fall in prominent placement with relation to the day’s transits and the angles of the moment.
Robert Adams, age 40, an environmental health specialist, husband and father, is represented by asteroids Roberta, Roberts and Adams; Roberts at 6 Gemini conjoins Anubis, named for an Egyptian deity governing funerary rites, at 3 Gemini, and together these fill in the missing leg of the solar T-Square to form a Grand Cross. Asteroid Roberta at 6 Scorpio conjoins asteroid Osiris, named for the Egyptian god of the dead, at 10 Scorpio, while asteroid Adams at 17 Leo conjoins the 14 Leo Descendant, marking the moment as significant for him.
Harry Bowman, 46, was a former national security and terrorism expert currently working for the San Bernardino School District. He is represented by asteroid Bowman at 4 Gemini, also conjunct Anubis and feeding into the Sun/Saturn/Neptune/Atropos/Fanatica Grand Cross.
Sierra Clayborn, 27, was also an environmental health specialist working for San Bernardino County, represented by asteroid Sierra, which at 29 Libra conjoins asteroid Apophis at 3 Scorpio, named for the ancient Egyptian personification of pure evil.
Aurora Godoy, 26, worked in the offices of the county’s Department of Health; she is represented by asteroid Aurora, which at 1 Libra is trine Anubis and inconjunct Atropos.
Shannon Johnson, 45, was a county restaurant inspector who came into contact with Farook on a daily basis, as they discussed religion. He is represented by asteroids Shannon and Johnson, with Shannon at 8 Leo conjunct the Descendant and squared Osiris, and Johnson at 8 Scorpio exactly squared Shannon and conjoined Osiris.
Larry Daniel Kaufman, 42, managed the coffee shop at the Inland Regional Center where the shooting occurred, and is represented by PNAs for all three names. Asteroid Larry at 15 Sagittarius conjoins the Sun/Saturn and is tied up in the Grand Cross; asteroid Daniel at 0 Virgo conjoins Fanatica, also in the Grand Cross; and asteroid Kaufmann at 22 Virgo conjoins Jupiter at 21, bringing renown in death, also exactly squared to Ixion (murder) and opposed asteroid Rip (for the acronym RIP, “Rest In Peace”, a common tombstone inscription) at 21 Pisces.
Damian Meins, 58, an employee of the Riverside County Environmental Health Department, is represented by asteroid Damian, which at 8 Virgo also conjoins Fanatica and is bound up in the Grand Cross.
Tin Nguyen, 31, was a county health inspector who fled Vietnam with her mother at age 8; she was planning a wedding in 2017. She is represented by asteroid Nguyen, which at 8 Scorpio conjoins Osiris.
Nicholas Thalasinos, 52, was a Messianic Jew and health inspector who also worked closely with Farook. He is represented by asteroids Nichol, Nichols and Nicky, with Nichol at 23 Libra conjunct asteroid Isis (for terror group ISIS) at 20 Libra and asteroid Nemesis, named for the Greek goddess of retribution and undoing, at 21 Libra, opposed TNO Eris, named for the Greek goddess of strife and discord, at 22 Aries; Nichols at 24 Cancer, in the same pattern; and Nicky at 6 Libra, inconjunct Atropos/Neptune.
Yvette Velasco, 27, also worked for the San Bernardino County Department of Public Health, and is represented by asteroids Yvette and Velasco, which at 22 and 28 Scorpio both conjoin asteroid Requiem, named for the funeral mass for the dead, at 21 Scorpio, and square Damocles, the unseen doom hanging overhead, at 20 Aquarius.
Michael Wetzel, 37, was the father of 6, a part-time soccer coach, and a supervisor at the county health department. He is represented by asteroids Michel at 5 Taurus, opposed Osiris, Michelle at 10 Gemini, conjunct Anubis and opposed Sun/Saturn, in the Grand Cross, and Wettzell at 24 Aquarius, conjunct Damocles and squared Requiem.
Three additional victims, Bennetta Betbadal, 46, Juan Espionza, 50, and Isaac Amanios, 60, have no PNA referents.
Much can also be seen from the charts of the shooters, both of whom have a strong natal accent on zealotry, fanaticism and martyrdom. Born 14 June 1987, Syed Farook’s Sun at 22 Gemini conjoins asteroid Karma at 27 and opposes Uranus at 24 Sagittarius, itself conjunct asteroid Rip at 23 and Fanatica at 24 Sagittarius, an unmistakable clarion call for a fated (Karma) and volatile (Uranus) involvement with extremist views (Fanatica) resulting in death (Rip). Natal Saturn at 17 Sagittarius also opposes the Sun, and together with Uranus represents Farook’s conservative (Saturn) yet radical (Uranus) stance. Note that transit Ixion, named for the first murderer in Greek myth, was exactly opposed Farook’s Sun at the time of the shooting, with transit Mercury conjoined Saturn.
A protracted conjunction of asteroids Martir (for martyr), Atropos (death) and Nemesis (vengeance, undoing) at 3, 5 and 13 Cancer tells more of the tale, followed by an exact conjunction of Mercury and Mars at 15 Cancer, quick to anger and take offense, with violent, murderous (Mars) thoughts and perspectives (Mercury). A union of asteroids Tantalus (heinous acts) and Isis (ISIS) at 8 and 9 Gemini shows Farook’s allegiances and the atrocities he committed in their name, and lies within orb of natal Venus at 4 Gemini, representing the wife who shared his views and stood beside him in the attack.
A natal pairing of asteroid Lachesis, named for the Greek Fate who determines the span of life, and Anubis (funerary rites) at 20 and 21 Leo was conjoined by transit Martir at 21 Leo for the shooting, and squared by asteroid Requiem at 21 Scorpio. The latter conjoins natal Ixion at 20 Scorpio, igniting Farook’s murderous rage, and had just returned to its natal degree at 19 Scorpio.
Farook’s wife, Tashfeen Malik, born 13 July 1988, has similar aspects. Her 21 Cancer Sun natally squares Anubis at 26 Libra and Eris at 17 Aries, making her potentially a disaffected (Eris) agent of death (Anubis). A natal opposition of asteroids Martir and Rip at 2 Virgo and 5 Pisces was straddled by the transit Fanatica/Atropos polarity, with transit Neptune feeding additional zealotry and martyrdom into the equation.
Natal Fanatica at 12 Taurus conjoins Requiem and Chaos at 7 and 14 Taurus respectively, with Bernardina just within broad orb at 3 Taurus, and Fanatica also exactly squared natal Isis at 12 Leo, representing the terrorist organization Malik posted her loyalties to just minutes before the shooting. A cluster of Apophis, Atropos and Nemesis at 12, 13 and 19 Virgo, in supportive trine to the Fanatica mix, completes the story, combining energies of pure evil, death, and vengeance; squared by Sun/Saturn/Mercury at the shooting, the activation of this grouping underlies Malik’s motives and the timing.
Although mass shootings have become almost a commonplace in America, this is one of the first to focus on a religiously-based motivation, and specifically, one inspired by the leading terrorist organization of our day. Unfortunately, it is likely only a matter of time before more stories such as this emerge, with perpetrators having even closer ties to ISIS.
This problem is not going away anytime soon.