Thursday, May 01, 2008

Pluto, Ceres and the Fritzls

In the UK we like our monsters. For years child-killer Myra Hindley was our favourite. Every bit of tittle-tattle about her life behind bars, whether true or invented, would make the headlines of the tabloid newspapers. She died in 2002, and for a year we had to make do with Rose West, wife of serial killer Fred West. In 2003 Ian Huntley was convicted of murdering 2 schoolchildren, and since then we have again had a proper monster to gloat over. His ex-girlfriend Maxine Carr has also been dragged in as a subsidiary monster. She served a couple of years for covering-up for him, as many women would probably have done. She now has a new identity, but the press clearly know where she is. The headlines a few months ago were that she is pregnant, and what right does she have to bear children when the parents of the children Huntley killed no longer have theirs? Why should she get state benefits? Etc.

We may as well put these people in cages for all to see, for that is the effect of locking them up for life. But perversely, it seems to be a psychological necessity for the mob (and I won’t pretend not to read the headlines myself.) Many of us could not survive psychologically if we did not have somewhere ‘out there’ to put our shadows. That way we can continue to feel good about ourselves, because evil is safely somewhere over there. Our quantum of violence is the same. Just as the Romans needed their deadly games, and not so long ago we had public hangings, so too we now need our violent films and computer games.

I think these things may well be necessary for the stability of society, but they are also a reminder of how thin the veneer is, how quickly such forces escalate in times of insecurity and perceived threat.

The process of personal transformation often begins with projection, then recognition that this is happening, and finally acknowledgement and integration of the contents of our own psyche. So these monsters can serve a transformational purpose for the individual. We first need to get away from the gloating, from the enjoyment of how awful and ‘other’ these people are. This gloating can actually take us away from what they actually did, which is usually pretty awful, as well as the awareness that they are also ordinary people, that they are in many ways like ourselves, with certain very common tendencies taken to an extreme. In this way the projection gets withdrawn, and we are left facing ourselves. And it’s not a matter of finally owning up to how ‘bad’ we are – that’s just Christian – but of a broadening and enrichment of the personality. It’s better than you think!

In the last few days a new monster has appeared, Joseph Fritzl of Amstetten in Austria. People are genuinely horrified at what this man has done, you don’t even want to think about it. He abducted his 18 year old daughter 24 years ago and since then has kept her confined in underground rooms. He has had 7 children by her, none of whom got to see outside of the cellar for their first few years of life, until he took them away from their mother and fostered them upstairs. And the process of monstrification has also begun: ‘The beast in his lair’, ‘House of Horror Dad’ scream the tabloids. In the process what he has done becomes easier to bear, as it no longer has anything to do with us.

The President of Austria has gone on a PR offensive to restore the reputation of the country. Fair enough, but there is something about Austria and the abduction of young women. A couple of years ago there was the case of Natascha Kampusch, who was held captive for 8 years, from the ages of 10 to 18. And since 1996 there have been 2 other very public cases of girls being abducted. One was found in a coffin, the other in a closet. Natascha Kampusch was on the news last night saying these abductions had to do with the nature of Austrian society, and the way women were suppressed under National Socialism during World War II. The astrology of Austria (see later) confirms that it is indeed in the national character, but takes it back further than the War.

The classic abduction myth is that of Pluto and Persephone. Pluto, Lord of the Underworld, abducted the young virgin to his lair, and married/raped her. Her mother Ceres, a nature goddess, was distraught and hunted for her. Eventually the gods intervened and returned Persephone to her mother, but unfortunately she had eaten that fateful fruit of love, the pomegranate, whilst in the arms of Pluto, and was condemned to periodically return. This is the origin of the seasons: the winter is when she is in the Underworld, and her mother Ceres grieves, and the summer is when she is back on the earth, and her mother rejoices. Unpleasant as it has been, the abduction was also a rite of passage for Persephone, for she is now a woman, and it is this also for which her mother grieves.

Since Ceres promotion to the status of dwarf planet in Aug 2006 (and Pluto’s demotion to that status), this myth has had increased astrological relevance. Synchronistically, the case of Natasha Kampusch arose at the time, and you can read a good analysis involving Pluto and Ceres at World-of-Wisdom.

I’ll come to this myth in the case of Joseph Fritzl and his daughter in a moment. But first of all, Austria herself. There is some confusion about her exact ‘birth’, but we do know it was on 12th or 13th November 1918. And on those 2 days there was a wide opposition between Pluto and Ceres. So this myth is in the country’s chart, which is another way of putting what Natascha Kampusch said.

Why it should be there, I do not know. It is one of those strange things, one of those fates that you find in the charts of people or countries for no apparent reason. It doesn’t have to manifest literally, and often these things don’t, but sometimes they do.

The Moirae, or Fates

The theme of abduction has also applied to the country as a whole. On 12 March 1938, during a Ceres-Pluto trine, Austria was annexed by Germany. The trine expresses the ease, even the willingness, with which the abduction occurred. In April 1945, during the more dynamic square from Pluto to Ceres, Austria seceded from the Third Reich. She regained her full independence (from the occupying powers) in May 1955, during an inconjunction from Pluto to Ceres.

So, with the country as a whole being so sensitive to its Pluto-Ceres aspect, it is no surprise that it keeps finding ways of manifesting. Which doesn’t make the whole thing any less strange.

Joseph Fritzl was born on 9th April 1935. He has a tight Pluto-Ceres conjunction, square to his Sun in Aries, and making a wide t-square with Mars in Libra. Perfect astrology for an abductor. On the day of the abduction, 24/8/84, the Moon conjoined his Pluto-Ceres, activating it. On the day of his daughter’s escape, 26/4/8, Mars conjoined his Pluto-Ceres, attacking and destroying Fritzl the abductor.

Elisabeth Fritzl, his daughter, was born on 8 April 1966. When she was abducted, she had recently finished a Ceres Return, as well as Ceres trining her natal Pluto. When she escaped, Ceres was about to square her natal Pluto.

So it’s all there, both in the country and in these citizens, this myth of abduction that they are strangely fated to live out. These sort of events take you out of modern astrology as psychological explanation, at which we are so adept these days, and back to astrology as descriptive of our fate, over which we have no control. There are ways in which the course of our life, for better or for worse, is already written in the heavens.

A bit more on Elisabeth Fritzl’s chart. She has Sun conjunct Mars in Aries: a violent father. And Moon conjunct Neptune: loss of womanhood. So the psychological description is there as well, running alongside her fate.

And I’d see the fate in her chart as the unaspected, and very tight, Uranus-Pluto conjunction. This reminds me of the classic case of Hitler’s chart, who had an unaspected Neptune-Pluto conjunction. An unaspected planet can describe a side of our personality that has a life of its own. When it is an outer planet, and particularly something as powerful as a conjunction of outer planets, we are not talking about a side of the personality: we are talking about a vulnerability to the forces of the collective unconscious in their primitive form. In the case of Hitler, this mild-mannered man would turn into someone completely different when faced with a collective situation, he would become a medium for its desires and frustrations, but expressed in a very primitive way, because of its lack of connection with the personal planets.

And the same applies to Elisabeth Fritzl. Her unaspected Uranus-Pluto makes her very vulnerable to the human mind at its most atavistic and primitive. She was only 18 when she was abducted (and 11 when her father began abusing her), and there’s no way she can be said to be at all responsible for what happened. And yet her astrology is also saying that at a deeply unconscious level something else was going on. She was the person to whom this happened, and not one of her siblings. It was her Uranus-Pluto, which is HERS. What happened on one level looks like fate, but there is also a sense in which a side of her is involved, which as an astrologer you would expect, but which does not mean she was responsible for it in the usual sense of the word. This is a difficult and sensitive area, which Liz Greene goes into in ‘The Astrological Pluto’ in her book ‘The Astrology of Fate’.

But if she ever recovers from what she has been through, Elisabeth Fritzl will need to find a way of approaching her Uranus-Pluto, or it will continue to find ways of destroying her. She has Sun conjunct Mars in Aries, so she is a fighter.

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Claire said...

Hi Dharmaruci,

Excellent post. I appreciate how you describe the influence of Ceres in both Josef Fritzl’s chart and his victimed daughter.

I also think his natal Vesta (sexual energy) quincunx to Ceres and Pluto, may have something to do with his sexual deviation/perversion.

Also interestingly, Austria is an intense and Scorpionic country (November 12th, 1918 @ 4pm, Vienna) with the Sun-Venus conjunction in this sign (squaring onto Uranus in Aquarius and opposite Saturn in Leo i.e. very ego-centric and intense).

Add the North Node in the 8th – the Scorpio house – the house of sexuality and death par excellence and we have extreme sexual possessiveness and intensity. Not to mention transiting Pluto in Capricorn right on Austria’s natal Mars in the 8th and opposite Pluto in Cancer.

I feel for this woman and for the 3 children who were imprisoned with their mother... I don’t want to think about the physical and psychological toll this is having on them all....

Dunyazade said...

"Elisabeth Fritzl will need to find a way of approaching her Uranus-Pluto, or it will continue to find ways of destroying her."

I'm curious about this. How could she channel it? Trough art, perhaps? Other ways, maybe? Do you have any ideas?

-pd- said...

Excellent post, dr.
I haven't had time yet to compare the charts of father and daughter, but I find it quite telling that their birthdays are one day apart. Suggesting that she was subsumed by his ego from birth. He was turning 31, just beginning to move beyond his Saturn return.
He was only 10 when Austria opted out of the German disaster, which opens up the question of what he experienced during his formative years, that helped shaped him in such twisted fashion.
I foresee whole sections of future astrology books devoted to this complex tragedy.

Venus said...

Interesting post! Thanks to reading your blog I now know about Joseph and Elizabeth Fritzl. I've seen the headlines online, but I've avoided reading the stories, as I've avoided reading the stories on the Texas polygamists. Too much heartache! I agree with the above comment, but from a different perspective. I see that he identified her as an extension of his own "self," which parents tend to do anyway, but this was extreme. She was too young, and cannot be said to have participated in his decision. Your observation that her astro aspects, although not making her responsible for what happened, does implicate her in some way, resembles a tenet held by a popular group training system of the 1970's to mid 1980's in the US called EST. The term they used was "accountable." That although the victim may not have been responsible, they, nevertheless, were accountable. And this accountable concept came from, the founder of the organization, Werner Erhard's understanding of karma in Zen, which he had practiced, combined with his total repudiation of anyone identifying with being a victim.

Interestingly, this training and its founder were destroyed by the the revelation on 60 Minutes by his family that Werner Erhard had molested his daughter. When he was questioned about this, he said that "she needed it." The training, which amounted to self-promotion and dominance lives on in some form, and Werner Erhard now lives in Europe (perhaps in Austria). He has a powerful chart with a conjunction of Sun, Neptune and Venus in Virgo opposed by Saturn. I have never been in the presence of a more persuasive force. But I digress.

What you are saying here at the end of a delicious post is like what rapists say about their victims. That they asked for it. This is nonsense. Elizabeth Fritzl is not only not responsible for what happened, she is not accountable for it either. She was a child and the power of what was forced upon her was beyond her ability to contradict. Sometimes we lose. And so she has lost beyond imagining, but she has the power now and has walked away from it. Let's hope for the best!

Dharmaruci said...

The point is I am NOT saying she asked for it! It's a bit like certain people are more likely to be mugged in the street than others because of the way they walk. That doesn't mean they are asking for it. But something in them attracts it, or fits the experience, and this is something you can't ignore as an astrologer, because there's a good chance you'll see it in the chart. How to describe it I don't know, like I said it's a difficult area, precisely because people are going to say you must mean they're asking for it. Things are interconnected, events are not random, as an astrologer you see this all the time.

Dharmaruci said...

Dunyazade, I've no idea what she needs to do with her Uranus-Pluto, I'd need to know her. But she's a fighter, she has Sun conjunct Mars in Aries.

Gill Gage said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
analysa said...

The point is I am NOT saying she asked for it! It's a bit like certain people are more likely to be mugged in the street than others because of the way they walk. That doesn't mean they are asking for it. But something in them attracts it, or fits the experience, and this is something you can't ignore as an astrologer, because there's a good chance you'll see it in the chart. How to describe it I don't know, ......

How this gets described in oriental diagnosis is that people get illnesses/tragedies that are totally in alignment with their nature, with their unbalanced outlook or wrong understanding of universal order. So your illness/tragedy IS really you. So this is saying she attracted it.

When I learned about yin and yang, the principle of balance or law of change of the universe, one of the laws states:
“The attraction and repulsion between phenomena is proportional to the difference of the yin and yang forces within them.”

There are many ways to interpret this to make it more understandable, like “The challenges that you receive are in direct proportion to the physical/emotional/spiritual changes that you need to make.” Or “The problems/tragedies that you experience are in direct proportion to your condition.” You could also say “Tragedies equal opportunities.” Or “Extreme energies create extreme events/symptoms.” Or like someone said “Peace: the art of balancing opposites.” So when you study energy or this principle of change, you get to see how events are never random, separate or isolated. There is always a background.

I would say that Elisabeth Fritzl as a soul chose the experience, but of course, as a young girl she was not consciously choosing it. But when she was born she already held the extreme patterns within her that attracted it, and the astrology seems to show this. At some point in her evolution she must have misunderstood some universal truth because of some painful experience, that then got ingrained deeper and deeper and deeper over many lifetimes and until she does not correct that she will keep being the victim.

Dharmaruci said...

Yes, I agree we have to look at it in terms of her somehow attracting it, especially with that loose canon Uranus-Pluto. But also, as the saying goes, "Shit happens". Not everything unpleasant or unfortunate that happens to us has a psychological correlation within us, not everything is meaningful in that way. (I think the view that every event is significant is the opposite extreme to, and a reaction to, nihilistic materialism, where nothing is meangful).

I think some events are meaningful and say something about us, and some are not, and it is an art working this one out. And even when there seems to be a strong connection between inner and outer, we need to dance lightly with it, we need to keep inverted commas round it and not set it in stone.

And maybe it takes years or decades to feel sure of the connections.

Venus said...

In the case of Joseph and Elizebeth Fritzl, we can see the strong connection that is indicated in their horoscopes. But with two other individuals with identical horoscopes to these we might have had a very different outcome, because the decisions made by the individual in control, the parent, might have been quite different. Joseph is the father, the adult, who is supposed to be loving and protecting his child. It doesn’t matter that Elizabeth has Uranus conjunct Pluto, and might, or might not, be calling unfortunate circumstances to herself. Joseph is the perpetrator, not Elizabeth, and your post and comments don't clearly make that distinction. There is the astrology, and there is what people do with the astrology. It should never obscure the fact that we have to own our actions.

Gill Gage said...

I think the distinction is sad yet obvious, but as astrologers we look with interest at the dynamics at work between the major characters.

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