Maya del Mar's Daykeeper Journal: Astrology, Consciousness and Transformation

Check out previous pieces by Alex here.


Election 2006's Blue Wave

by Alex Miller-Mignone

On Monday 16 April 2007, 23-year old student Cho Seung-hui went on a murderous rampage at the Virginia Technical Institute campus in Blacksburg, Virginia, killing 32 students and faculty and wounding 29 others before turning the gun on himself. It was the largest mass shooting in US history.

ChoBorn in Seoul, South Korea on 18 January 1984, Cho emigrated to the US with his parents at the age of 8. The family entered the US through Detroit, but settled in Centreville, Virginia, Fairfax County, a few miles southwest of Washington DC. It was an affluent community, but the Chos were poor. His parents scrimped and sacrificed to provide him what luxuries they could, but these rarely measured up to what others around him had. Relatives described Cho as “cold” and uncommunicative in his childhood, rarely speaking. He was at one point diagnosed with autism. Taunted and teased in High School due to his accent and speech difficulties, Cho rarely contributed, and often refused to answer when called upon in class.

At Virginia Tech Cho was noted chiefly for being shy and reserved; he rarely responded when greeted by others, who soon simply ignored him. Many supposed that he was a foreign national with a poor command of the language; no one knew that he was in fact an English major. One classmate recalls that on the first day of a literature class in the previous year, when the professor asked everyone to introduce themselves, Cho remained silent; upon looking at the sign-in sheet, the professor noted that Cho had simply written a question mark next to his name. Cho is reported as having worn sunglasses almost constantly, even indoors.

The professor of a poetry class Cho attended was so disturbed by his writing and what she described as a “mean streak” that she threatened resignation unless he was removed. Cho had intimidated several of the female students by photographing their legs under the table, and writing obscene, violent poetry. Cho also authored two violent-themed plays, both of which deal with sexual abuse of minors.

In the autumn of 2005, two Virginia Tech co-eds reported unwanted attentions from Cho, one who described him as “stalking” her, though she refused to press charges, and another who alleged that he pestered her with persistent emails and text messages. That December a Montgomery County, Virginia district court ordered his detention for psychiatric evaluation, and Cho was found to be an imminent danger to himself or others, but was released to out-patient treatment after 24 hours.

Cho began preparations for the murders as early as February 2, 2007, when he purchased his first firearm, a .22 caliber Walther P22, from an online source. On March 13 he purchased a 9 mm Glock semiautomatic handgun at a gun store in Roanoke, about 40 miles from the Virginia Tech campus, where he also practiced shooting on a firing range. He filed off the serial numbers on both guns. About a week before the shootings, he began work on what has been described as a “multimedia manifesto” which he later sent to NBC News in New York.

On the morning of April 16, at approximately 7:15 AM, Cho shot and killed a female student at the West Ambler Johnston dormitory on the Virginia Tech campus, also killing a resident advisor who attempted to intervene. The incident was originally taken to be a domestic conflict, but in the aftermath there has been no evidence of a direct connection between Cho and this initial victim.

After the shooting, Cho returned to his dorm room to re-load, then mailed his package for NBC News and proceeded to the rampage at Norris Hall, where after approximately 9:45 AM he killed 30 more, including two faculty, and wounded 29 others. Cho had barricaded several entrances, and when these barriers were breached by law enforcement officers, he shot himself in the face. He carried no ID.

The package had been mailed overnight express, but the address and zip code were incorrect, delaying the manifesto’s arrival at NBC until Wednesday the 18th. It consisted of an 1800-word typewritten diatribe, peppered with obscenity and largely incoherent, a DVD with 27 video clips and one audio clip, and 43 photos of Cho in various menacing poses with a variety of weapons, including the two handguns. Within the pages Cho rants against the rich and their hedonistic lifestyles, and references Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, the Columbine High School killers (whose crimes had occurred eight years before that same week, when Cho was 15), and two teachers convicted of sexual molestation of their students, John Mark Karr and Debra Lafave. NBC News shortly released portions of the manifesto, including the following quotations:

“I didn’t have to do this. I could have left. I could have fled. But no, I will no longer run. It’s not for me. For my children, for my brothers and sisters that you fuck, I did it for them. When the time came, I did it. I had to.”

“You have vandalized my heart, raped my soul, and torched my conscience. You thought it was one pathetic boy’s life you were extinguishing. Thanks to you, I die like Jesus Christ, to inspire generations of the weak and the defenseless people.”

“You don’t know how lucky you were, it all wasn’t enough for you, was it? ... You have never felt a single ounce of pain in your whole life. Did you want to inject as much misery in our lives as you can, just because you can? .... You had everything you wanted. Your Mercedes wasn’t enough, you brats. Your gold necklaces weren’t enough, you snobs. Your trust funds weren’t enough. Your vodka and cognac weren’t enough. Those weren’t enough to fulfill your hedonistic needs. You had everything.”

“This is it. This is where it all ends. End of the road. What a life it was. Some life.”

Born 18 January 1984, Cho’s nativity is a very odd one. With the exception of the Moon approaching Full Phase in Cancer, all of the planets fall between Pluto at 2 Scorpio and the Sun at 27 Capricorn, compressed into less than one quarter of the available space of the horoscope.  Due to this constriction, there are virtually no aspects except conjunctions, apart from a sextile from Pluto/Mars at 2 and 3 Scorpio to natal Mercury at 4 Capricorn. But otherwise, Cho’s astrological energies are broken down into successive but ultimately unrelated chunks: Pluto/Mars at 2 and 3 Scorpio; Saturn alone at 15 Scorpio; Uranus conjunct the South Node at 12 and 15 Sagittarius; Venus at 21 Sagittarius conjoined a precise union of Jupiter and Neptune at 29 Sagittarius, with Mercury still within orb out of Sign at 4 Capricorn; and the Sun alone at 27 Capricorn. Additionally, the Nodal axis bisects this densely populated zone almost precisely, from 15 Gemini to Sagittarius, creating a very startling geometric symmetry.

This compression says much about Cho’s closed-off, emotionally isolated nature, his inability to connect with others even on a superficial everyday level. Given this restricted space, aspects to galactic points or asteroids in other regions of the chart might be seen as even more important, representing desperate attempts by major planetary energies to reach out to something, anything, to find a connection and express themselves. Similarly, with so little interaction between major energies, asteroid conjunctions to major planets might take on a stronger inflection of those more minor, “second-tier” energies than would normally be the case.

The Pluto/Mars conjunction is within orb of two Black Holes, at 29 Libra and 7 Scorpio, with both also conjoined the 5 Scorpio Quasar, opposed the 5 Taurus Quasar, and squared the 3 Leo Black Hole. Cho’s connections with violence and death are not normal, tinged as they are with the ability of Black Holes to bring parallel realities to birth in this one, and the Quasar’s innate ability to manifest and achieve its desires, making an unforgettably visible impact while doing so.

Saturn, ancient ruler of Death, at 15 Scorpio is precisely conjunct a Pulsar, connected with communication, information and the media. It is also square to a Black Hole and a second Pulsar at 13 and 16 Aquarius, opposed to a Black Hole at 16 Taurus, and squared a volatile Maser at 13 Leo. Cho’s capacity for self control and ability to ground himself in common reality (Saturn) is threatened by the Black Hole’s intrusion of alternate dimensions into his diseased mind, and the visions he finds there are of destruction and violence (Maser), which he has a strong need to communicate (Pulsar), as witness the plays and poetry, as well as his manifesto.

Uranus at 12 Sagittarius conjoins the Black Hole at 10, while Venus at 21 Sagittarius conjoins another at 19 and opposes a Pulsar at 23 Gemini. Jupiter and Neptune conjoined at 29 Sagittarius are within orb of the Galactic Center at 26 and a Pulsar at 28, square a Black Hole at 28 Pisces (the venue of the total Solar Eclipse which fell in square just a month before the shootings) and opposed the Quasar at 26 Gemini. Again, all these areas are subject to Black Hole inter-dimensional distortion and refraction—his intuitive sense and sanity (Uranus); his sense of self worth and values (Venus); his ethics, morals and belief system or life philosophy (Jupiter); his spiritual sense and empathic capacity (Neptune).

Mercury at 4 Capricorn is exactly conjunct another Black Hole, opposed a second at 4 Cancer, and squared the Quasar at 5 Libra. Cho’s ability to communicate with others was cut off, trapped within the confines of the Black Hole’s supergravity, and the world he created in his isolation with the power of his warped, dimension-straddling mind was brought powerfully into being in our physical reality when he embarked upon his shooting spree. Black Hole and Quasar energies combined allowed him to envision and then manifest a reality so at odds with our own.                   

The Sun at 27 Capricorn is conjoined the Pulsar at 26 Capricorn, squared to two Black Holes at 27 Aries and 29 Libra, and opposed a third at 28 Cancer. Cho’s ability to manipulate reality via Black Hole energies was matched only by a canny understanding of the Media conferred by the Pulsar conjunction. Cho gave them the image of himself which he wanted to convey to the world stage at his premiere—and farewell—performance: not the shy, disconnected loner witnessed by the few whose paths he crossed; but the bold, dramatic figure from a Quentin Tarantino film, decisive and brutal, which is how millions will now remember him.

What is especially startling and revealing, however, is the placement of key asteroids in Cho’s nativity, which seem particularly relevant to his self-image and his actions; his personal myth, if you will.

First, Cho has the prominent Ixion typical in the charts of serial killers and mass murderers (see my previous article in the April 2004 issue of Daykeeper Journal); Ixion is a Trans-Neptunian minor planet which is named for the first murderer in Greek mythology, a sort of Cain figure. At 18 Scorpio, Ixion conjoins Saturn at 15, and is joined there by both Eros at 17 and Cupido at 12 Scorpio. These two points, named respectively for the Greek and Roman gods of passionate love, would seem to indicate that the initial killing was in fact related to a fatal obsession, even if it was one of which the victim was unaware. The linking of these highly erotic energies with the authority figure and instructor aspects of Saturn explains Cho’s fixation with and references to teachers or other adults sexually abusing children, and could suggest that he was also a victim of such abuse.

Asteroid Nemesis at 29 Libra conjoins Pluto/Mars and is exactly sextile the Jupiter/Neptune conjunction. In addition to the obvious implications of the term “nemesis” in modern usage, this ancient Greek goddess was noted for meting out justice, often in the form of vengeance, to mortals who were insufficiently thankful for the honors and rewards that had been given to them. This theme of ingratitude for unearned benefits is impossible to miss in Cho’s hate-filled rants about the spoiled, hedonistic rich.

Asteroid Apophis at 12 Sagittarius is an exact match for natal Uranus. Named for the primordial Egyptian deity who was the personification of all evil, Apophis’ epithet was “Eater of Souls,” and Cho’s everyday zombie-like non responsiveness may be seen as a manifestation of this influence. Asteroid Requiem at 0 Capricorn conjoins Mercury at 4, a sadly apt image of grieving for the loss of so many students and educators.

All three of the Fates are significantly placed in the horoscope: Klotho the Spinner, who weaves the thread of life, is exactly conjunct the Black Hole at 12 Aquarius and squared Saturn/Ixion; Lachesis the Alloter, who determines the span of life, conjoins the Sun from 5 Aquarius, and is exactly opposed to Atropos the Cutter at 5 Leo, who severs life’s thread at death, with which it forms a T-Square to Pluto/Mars.

In addition to Lachesis, Cho’s Sun is conjoined by asteroids Sphinx and Tantalus, at 20 and 26 Capricorn respectively. Cho was certainly sphinx-like—mysterious, stony, inscrutable and enigmatic, known to some of his classmates as simply “the question mark kid,” a suitable representative of this mythic Greek figure seen as a demon of destruction and bad luck. Tantalus (from the Greek, “most wretched”) was one of the most heinous murderers in Greek mythology, who dismembered and boiled his own son to serve as main course in a banquet for the gods. Tantalus was the forbear of the ill-fated House of Atreus, ancestor to Agamemnon and Orestes, and after his death he was consigned to Tartarus in Hades, a region reserved for the worst evildoers. There he stood chained in a lake, whose waters receded whenever he bent to drink, overhung with fruited boughs which lifted up and out of his reach whenever he attempted to eat; from his name we derive our word “tantalize.”

Transits for the day of the shootings are also significant. The Nodes were in exact square to their natal position, forming a karmic grand cross that suggests a predestined or fated quality to the event. In Cho’s own words, “When the time came, I did it. I had to.” Transit Uranus at 16 Pisces was closely conjunct the North Node, providing the explosive spark which became a tragic conflagration.

Transit Nemesis at 13 Scorpio had come to conjoin natal Saturn, Ixion, Eros and Cupido; transit Ixion at 13 Sagittarius conjoined natal Uranus and Apophis; transit Tantalus at 19 Aquarius met Neptune in the sky and the pair squared natal Saturn and companions; transit Requiem at 26 Gemini exactly conjoined a Quasar, opposed the Galactic Center (affording global prominence and visibility for the acts) and natal Jupiter/Neptune; transit Apophis at 6 Pisces exactly conjoined a Quasar, opposed the 7 Virgo Black Hole, squared the 7 Gemini Maser and the 5 Sagittarius Black Hole, and lay in trine to natal Pluto/Mars.

Of the Fates, Spinner Klotho at 14 Cancer was trine natal Saturn and possibly with the natal Moon, while Alloter Lachesis at 24 Aries conjoined the transit Sun on a Black Hole at 26 Aries and squared Cho’s natal Sun, a pattern which Cutter Atropos at 28 Libra conjunct a Black Hole transformed into a Galactic T-Square.

Cho’s manifesto repeatedly asserts in various ways that his actions are a product of our own. He sees himself as molded by the influences around him, and his reaction to them; the fatuous self-absorption of the rich who lead charmed lives, the hedonism of the general culture, the exploitive, predatory attitudes toward children. It is difficult to argue against this line of reasoning, even when the argument is made by one whose reason has been unseated.

If we assume that Cho was cogent and honest enough to actually believe the statements he presented, then his assertion that his life and death would, like Jesus’, be an inspiration to future generations of downtrodden may not be as absurd as it appears at first thought. The essence of the Myth of Cho, as his words and his biography seem to express it, is that even marginalized, ridiculed outcasts can grab hold of their destinies and make an impact in the lives of millions. Christlike, indeed.

But in the Myth of Cho we have public school bullies and spoiled, vicious rich kids instead of Roman soldiers and Pharisees, and Cho takes up the sword which Jesus laid aside, as his particular answer to deliverance for his people. In its politics of chastising the rich and powerful, and elevating the poor, it mirrors much of Jesus’ message; it is largely in its methods where the difference lies, for Cho, desensitized by the culture and brutalized by his peers, chose to take life instead of selflessly giving his own. The fact that Cho’s myth originated in a diseased and untreated, possibly autistic mind, and resulted in horrific violence, does not negate its actual message, and much of Cho’s story could be mythologized as a call to action or admonitory parable for these post-millennial generations, which are likely to feel disempowerment on a pervasive level.

Cho fits the definition of a “monster,” in the sense of lacking humanity, more than most who receive the appellation. There was no sense of Cho as an ordinary person who had snapped; Cho never seemed normal, commonly humanlike, in any of his interactions, long before he planned his massacre, which he perceived as his martyrdom. But is his failure as a human being solely his responsibility, or are we culpable in it?


Alex Miller-Mignone, photo
Alex Miller-Mignone is a professional writer and astrologer, author of The Black Hole Book and The Urban Wicca, former editor of "The Galactic Calendar," and past president of The Philadelphia Astrological Society.

His pioneering work with Black Holes in astrological interpretation began in 1991, when his progressed Sun unwittingly fell into one. Alex can be reached for comment or services at