Today I wish to examine certain of the so-called Transneptunians, those hypothetical points proposed by Alfred Witte, founder of the Hamburg School during the 1920s and 1930s. The fact that the Transneptunian points are not known to physically exist was as much a problem for astrologers back then as it is for some today; indeed, as a result of the widespread ridicule he received for these theories and his subsequent disfavour with the Nazi regime, Witte committed suicide in 1941.
I am challenged with the view that these points are meaningless often, and I reject the argument that these points are therefore ineffective. The immateriality of the TNPs is a conundrum, but I have never overvalued the concrete especially thus far in life, so I do not tend to struggle with this dilemma. Such material logic contests that cars have greater intrinsic value than love. So, I test the theory instead and try not to become too entangled in the dimensions of the real.
I find that without question, the TNPs are true, powerful and profoundly useful and in order to demonstrate this validity, I am going to look in some depth at the case of Martin Bryant, the perpetrator of the Port Arthur Massacre in Tasmania in 1996, where Bryant, acting alone and with apparent premeditation, gunned down 35 bystanders in a bloody rampage at a popular Tasmanian tourist spot, just days before his 29th birthday. There is a great deal of pertinent and useful background information available in this case and if you are interested in some of the finer detail then you should read this article from Australian news source The Age; video recounting the tragedy is available from Youtube.
Even without knowing Bryant’s story, we can apprehend a number of intriguing qualities that are suggested by these configurations:
- Saturn rises, isolation is therefore a theme of this life story, and with Saturn in fall and near aspectually peregrine, the planet will struggle to express its quality.
- Mars is in profound difficulty, in fall, within the boundary of the 8th, he is also slow, retrograde and occidental. Mars is therefore struggling and this is key, any archetype which has no route into manifestation will become uncomfortable and might threaten to overwhelm the nativity (and in the case of Mars, that would surely result in an act of violence, or a habit of episodic violence).
- Chiron rises (not shown) and thus forms a grand water trine which includes the chart ruler Neptune in the 9th. Here is a closed circuit of emotional self-sufficiency that will only increase the isolation implicit in Saturn rising. Whereas – for the majority – a grand trine might be a refuge, in this case it would certainly be of borderline benefit, making something of a prison of the life. In the years leading up to the incident Bryant travelled extensively:
In the two years to the end of 1995, Bryant visited Europe six times and the US and South-East Asia three times, as well as New Zealand and Japan. The summary of his domestic travel over the same period would take three pages to list, travelling to Queensland and South Australia but most often to Melbourne, where he loved the zoo. But had the travel filled the void? No, he would tell Professor Mullen: “Mr Bryant stated that the best part of his international trips was the long plane journey. It transpired that the attraction of the long aeroplane journey was that he could speak to the people next to him, who presumably being strapped to their seats had no choice but to at least appear friendly. Mr Bryant became quite animated in describing some of what he regarded as the more successful interactions with fellow travellers.
- Bryant loved animals (he travelled repeatedly to the Melbourne zoo) but also kept a fair menagerie of pets. The asteroid Diana rises, a degree into the 1st house. Keeping pets was therefore part of his identity and how he related to the world. To others though, this just made him appear strange as he would drive around with dogs, birds – even the occasional small pony – in his car. It exacerbated his isolation from normal society.
- In the chart the asteroid Sappho falls at the midpoint of Neptune and Ascendant, the Sappho-Neptune trine is exact to less than 50 seconds of arc! He loved to talk (Asc) to fellow passengers (Sappho) while travelling to exotic (Neptune) foreign destinations (in the 9th). This is a typical trine arrangement, enjoyment is subjectively experienced when the factors are combined.
- One of the most fascinating aspects of Bryant’s life before the Port Arthur massacre was his relationship with Helen Harvey a wealthy heiress who lived alone with her mother. Bryant befriended her after she employed him to be their handyman.
The two misfits forged a bond… The tragic consequences of their relationship, however, began early. As the friendship moved from employer-employee to friends and then constant companions, Helen’s mother, Hilza, was left increasingly alone inside what was fast becoming a filthy hell hole. She had been moved downstairs into the kitchen at some stage, and it was here that the old woman was forced to sleep, upright in a chair, writhing and wriggling in a bid to gain relief from an undiagnosed and untreated broken hip for most of the last two years of her life.
In June 1990, after someone made a report to the health authorities, medics arrived to find both Hilza and Helen in need of urgent hospital treatment with infected leg ulcers and living in squalor in the kitchen, surrounded not only by roaming animals, but unwashed dishes and saucepans and bowls with mould so high it was climbing out of the oven.
Seventy-nine-year-old Hilza Harvey was an abject horror of neglect, sitting untended with her broken hip and withering slowly in the kitchen on her chair.
This is where the Transneptunians begin to make their play: Hades is in Bryant’s nativity Cazimi, which means that it finds a pure expression; it becomes an unadulterated facet of identity, and the themes of Hades are to do with all things unpleasant, squalid, unwholesome, there are qualities of slow decay, gradual disintegration and decline, encroaching morbidity and general and pervasive unpleasantness; it is exactly the kind of squalor described which was visited upon Helen Harvey’s mother. Sun – Hades is to be involved with instances of lingering illness and wasting disease. The Cazimi conjunction applies to the 3rd and describes the gradual deterioration of those mental faculties which became apparent as he grew older in childhood. Something was ‘wrong’ with Martin Bryant, but that realisation was slowly revealed.
And then there is the astoundingly close conjunction between Mars, Cupido and Poseidon. We already understand that Mars is deeply awkward in this position and any Martian expression will inevitably be blended with the flavours and influences of Cupido and Poseidon. If we join these ideas together we have a complex impetus:
Mars/Libra/8: an inability to confront, wanting to negotiate anger (but with deteriorating mental faculties: no way out!), sudden outbursts, a need to control outcomes in partnership, ruled by Venus in the 4th, the father a pacifying influence (his father Maurice, committed suicide in 1993: Stella Sampson, his former teacher, would later tell the media: “My personal view is that his dad kept him in check, and when he died he didn’t have that restraining influence any longer.”) Mars rules Saturn rising, that anger held in check contributes, creates his isolation (“The kids were wary of him,” one neighbour would recount. “They understood instinctively that he was someone to stay away from. He was just a little scary.”)
Then Mars is conjunct Cupido: and Cupido has associations with partnership, family history, group involvements, it certainly ramps up the Libran energy in this placement, no doubt inhibiting the natural expression of Mars still further. There is an acute awareness of family conflict here, what happened in childhood that limited the natural expression of Martian energy?
By the time Martin was 16 months old, however, he was not only walking but running, climbing – and escaping – and his mother was starting to find it difficult to cope… He would disappear regularly from their house, his parents finding him in the strangest places, once on top of the chook pen next door or even further afield, playing quietly on a swing way across the other side of the railway line that ran north from Hobart along the Derwent’s western foreshore.
Martin Bryant was not the first toddler to love wandering, to show a spirit for adventure or levels of energy that could try a saint. But his mum’s response was an unusual one: “I started to leave him on the house veranda, with a harness and lead to secure him, with plenty of toys all around him. Some person made a complaint about us tying him up like a dog. But of course as his mother, I knew he was happy and safe.”
Mars is conjunct Poseidon: and this creates a very unusual blend, Poseidon attests to one’s spiritual ideal (but retrograde! A lack of spiritual ideals could result, the code is missing), and with Mars in Libra and the 8th, there is this sense that committing violence toward the other person might be in some way spiritually liberating, but remember the entire group is ruled by Venus, it is held together by the father and when he exits the picture (Venus squares Uranus (suddenly!) and Chiron in Pisces (Suicide, drugs and water, Maurice Bryant drowned himself after taking an overdose!))
And of course Cupido conjuncts Poseidon too: and the result is a philosophy or ideal based on a family history that seeks to avoid conflict, to hold violence in check, to negotiate anger rather than deal with it. Father dies, all bets are off. Can you feel these combinations? Violence held in check by the father, because of a family conditioning, because of being leashed and a lack of a spiritual or moral code.
Taurus finds its way into the life arc uncannily. He became the lifelong companion of Helen Harvey, they bought a house together and named it Taurusville! She died after the car they were both in crashed, her neck broken. He broke two vertebrae in his neck as well. She left him a millionaire, he had become enormously wealthy through the death of the only person who would give him companionship, he became further isolated. The Port Arthur massacre loomed.
The fateful day arrives.
Bryant has provided conflicting and confused accounts of what led him to kill 35 people at the Port Arthur site on 28 April 1996. It appears his desire for attention (he allegedly told a next door neighbour “I’ll do something that will make everyone remember me”), as well as mounting frustration at his social isolation (Saturn) had made him unbearably angry (Mars – ruler of Saturn!).
His first victims, David and Sally Martin, owned the B & B guest house “Seascape”. Bryant later described them as “very mean people” and as “the worse people in my life”. The Martins had bought the B & B that Bryant’s father had wanted to buy and he often complained to his son of the “double dealing” the Martins had done to secure the purchase. Bryant apparently believed the Martins had deliberately bought the property to hurt his family and blamed the Martins for the depression that led to his father’s death (Cupido – Mars, anger through family history, but held in check byt he father). He shot them in that guest house before traveling to the Port Arthur ruins. Bryant entered The Broad Arrow Café on the historical site’s grounds, carrying a large blue duffel bag. Upon sitting down to eat a meal in the front balcony area, he remarked “There’s a lot of wasps (Mars) about today” to no one in particular. Once he finished, Bryant moved towards the back of the café and set a video camera on a vacant table. He took out an AR15 semi-automatic rifle (Mars) and began shooting patrons and staff. Within a matter of seconds, he had killed 20 people and wounded 15. He then fled, shooting at people in the parking lot and from his yellow Volvo sedan as he drove away. Bryant drove three hundred metres down the road, to where a woman and her two children were walking. He stopped and fired two shots killing the woman and the child she was carrying. The older child fled, but Bryant followed her and killed her with a single shot. He then stole a gold-coloured BMW by killing the occupants. A short distance down the road he stopped beside a couple in a white Toyota and, drawing his weapon, ordered the male occupant into the trunk of the BMW. After shutting the trunk he fired two shots into the windshield of the Toyota, killing the female driver. He returned to the guest house, set the stolen car alight (Mars) and took his hostage inside with the Martins’ corpses (Hades). The police soon arrived and tried to negotiate with Martin for many hours before the battery in the phone Bryant was using died, ending communication. Bryant’s only demand was to be transported in an army helicopter to an airport. Sometime during the negotiations, Bryant killed his hostage.
The next morning, 18 hours later, Bryant set fire (Mars) to the guest house and attempted to escape in the confusion. Suffering burns (Mars) to his back and buttocks, he was captured and taken to Royal Hobart Hospital where he was treated and kept under heavy guard.
And all this seems very straightforward until you realise that the Mars/Cupido/Poseidon conjunction applied to partile opposition of the Sun/Hades conjunction by Solar Arc in 1996.
- Poseidon opp. Sun, SA-Na (28 January)
- Poseidon opposition Hades (15 March 1996)
- Port Arthur massacre (28th April 1996)
- Mars opposition Sun (5 May 1996)
Within a week of the Solar Arc oppositions completing, Bryant had murdered 35 people in cold blood.
(NB: The influence of Poseidon is especially odd in my view since it is normally associated with enlightening qualities. Is it simply a coincidence then that Fred West, the British serial killer had Poseidon Cazimi? And what does Hades look like? Here is former US Senator Gary Hart: Hades rising in Aries, exactly conj. Asc.)