Friday, May 25, 2012

Plutonian Profile: Etan Patz

Just one day shy of the 33rd anniversary of Etan Patz's disappearance on May 25, 1979, which occurred during his first solo walk between his SoHo home and his school bus stop a block and a half away, 51-year-old Pedro Hernandez confessed to having strangled the six-year-old boy in the basement of the bodega where he worked, then tossing Etan's lifeless body into the garbage.

I remember the vanishing of Etan Patz vividly, being just a couple of years older than Etan and growing up in a suburb of New York City. I also remember all of the kids at school being fingerprinted soon afterward. Kids surely were abducted throughout the 1970s, but somehow, this one struck a chord in the hearts of parents across the United States. Suddenly, missing kids were appearing on milk cartons, and non-missing kids were being warned of "stranger danger."

In my hometown, parental supervision did not seem to increase suddenly or dramatically post-Etan Patz, but perhaps it was just that I and my 1970-born classmates managed to stay one step ahead of a generational clamp-down as the freewheeling '70s ended and the more conservative '80s got under way. The majority of kids my age did not have hands-on baby boomer parents; more common were the distracted, divorcing, laissez-faire Silent generation parents. Throughout middle school I had to walk a relatively long distance--perhaps half a mile--to my bus stop every morning. I was probably less safe in the emptiness of early-morning suburban streets than I would've been in a city environment: no other pedestrians, very little traffic. At any time, a car could've pulled up and whisked me away forever. My own confession: sometimes I wished that exactly such a thing would happen, except that it would not end for me in sexual abuse and death, but a brand-new family.

It occurred to me to look at Etan Patz's natal chart, though his time of birth is unknown, and study it alongside the chart of his disappearance (approximately 8:02 a.m.) and finally against yesterday's confession. What I found was chilling -- and also that Etan was a Plutonian, having been born with the Moon in Scorpio. It seems more likely that a child with Sagittarius Rising would seek early independence than any other Ascendant, and Etan was born on a Sun-Uranus conjunction, adding a dose of rebellion uncommon to his Sun sign of Libra. Etan's appearance combined an all-American sportiness (Sagittarius Rising) with Sun-in-Libra charm (that lovely smile). His eyes, however, were purely Plutonian: an intense, penetrating, precocious gaze, as if his most essental, Moon-in-Scorpio self had already seen everything and knew what it was all about.

I have rectified Etan's chart to about 12:20 p.m., in order to place transiting Neptune at 19 Sagittarius on the day of his disappearance exactly conjunct his Ascendant; Neptune rules the act of vanishing, and the Ascendant is the physical body. Also, Etan's father, Stanley Patz, was a professional photographer (Neptune), and the photos he'd taken of his highly photogenic son wound up not only on milk cartons, but on posters and even a billboard in Times Square years after his disappearance. Also, with 19 degrees of Sagittarius Rising, Etan's natal Saturn in Gemini (in its worst manifestation, a youthful grim reaper) would conjunct his 7th-house cusp of Others.

On the morning of May 25, 1979, there was a Moon-Mercury conjunction in effect at 28 Taurus. The Moon rules young children; Mercury rules the hands; Taurus, the throat. This aspect alone would not indicate an innocent boy's being choked to death by a disturbed young man still in his teens, but two much heavier and disturbing aspects were at work that day: transiting Sun at 3 Gemini was just past the opposition to Etan's Neptune (another "gone missing" motif); also, and far more threatening, transiting Pluto at 16 Libra was retrograding over Etan's Sun, which literally pulled the boy into the underworld (in the form of a basement murder, most likely involving molestation since Pluto rules all aspects of sex, as well as death). Indeed, the fact that both Neptune and Pluto were Retrograde at the time of Etan's disappearance indicates a strong possibility that this boy had been targeted for some time. The abductor (whether it was Pedro Hernadez or Antonio Ramos, an incarcerated pedophile who had dated Etan's babysitter and admitted to seeing Etan that day, but claimed not to have anything to do with his demise) saw his chance and literally snatched it.

Although Etan was declared dead in 2001 (around the time of his Saturn Return), the case of the most famous missing child in New York City was reopened in 2010; last month Mars turned direct at 3 Virgo, and as it passed over Etan Patz's critical-degree Venus at 4 Virgo, a nearby basement belonging to a carpenter who had known the Patz family was excavated -- only to yield nothing. I do find it highly significant that Hernadez's confession occurred on the Solar Return of Etan Patz's disappearance, with the Sun at 3 Gemini. Venus Retrograde is approaching Etan Patz's Saturn, which may bring some form of belated justice -- just as transiting Jupiter in Taurus is approaching the Moon-Mercury conjuction that occurred on this day in 1979. Interestingly, transiting Neptune at 3 Pisces is within range of forming a T-square between Etan's Neptune and the Sun on the day of his vanishing. Perhaps Hernadez had been starting to feel so guilty and tormented over his heinous crime of over three decades ago that he had to confess -- though oddly, he had already confessed long ago to relatives about killing a boy in New York.

The full truth of this tragic case may not ever be unearthed, but today, which is officially Missing Children's Day, is certainly throwing the spotlight on an issue that has been at the forefront of national consciousness for the past three decades: how to care for and protect one's children. Unfortunately, as with so many things in the United States, we seem incapable of moderation, of striking a healthy balance. My "X" generation was mostly left alone to fend for ourselves; most of us survived, some of us have thrived, and some of us are scarred. Yet it seems that today's generation of American children are smothered to the extent that I worry if they will be able to think and act for themselves when they come of age -- and also if they, in turn, will wind up underprotecting if not downright neglecting their own children a few decades down the road.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Venus Is Retrograde; Sun and Neptune Are Square: Land of Confusion

Greetings and salutations, my fellow stargazers. I haven't been posting in the past couple of weeks because quite frankly, I've been astrologically uninspired as well as busy with more mundane matters.

So Venus turned Retrograde in Gemini on May 15, and will stay Retrograde till June 27. You may be of at least two minds about love, art, and aesthetics during this time. If you are usually articulate and communicative, you may be experiencing frustration because either you or a loved one has the stopper-in-the-throat syndrome. Gemini is not the most indecisive sign of the zodiac (that would be its air-sign cousin Libra), but it's probably the silver medalist. It engages in much back-and-forth, wanting to keep all options on the table and all doors open to satisfy its whimsical nature. Gemini also generally overthinks things while not knowing what it feels, since emotions are not Gemini's department. This is absolutely not a good time to press for any romantic commitments. Even regular socializing, which tends to bring pleasure while Venus transits the social-butterfly sign of Gemini, may be hard going. If you throw a party during the Retrograde Venus period, do not be surprised if fewer people turn up than expected. If you are a poet, however, this is an auspicious time to revise your verse (especially if it's witty and/or rhymes).

The Sun-Neptune square, exact today at 4:57 p.m. ET, is a pain, a drain, and feels like rain (even if the Sun is in fact shining where you live). Energy and enthusiasm are low. It's not a good aspect for the respiratory system; in my neck of the woods, many individuals are suffering from hay fever or a cold. If you can unplug yourself for a little while, take a disco nap. If you can't, don't just double-check whatever it is you're doing (whether you're in the office, running errands, behind the wheel, etc.): triple-check it. Even usually alert souls may be dragging, or feeling out of it. And even teetotallers may experience the urge to have a drink or three.

The fog will dissipate somewhat after the square, but on Friday a similar aspect (Mercury square Neptune) will put us back in the land of confusion.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Sun in Taurus + Moon in Scorpio = Buddha Moon

This may be my favorite Full Moon of the year, as it is the same Sun-Moon combo as Siddhartha Gautama, aka the Buddha, was born under. Born into luxury and privilege (as represented by the Sun in Taurus), Siddy chose to kick himself out of a sheltered, edenic existence and live out to the fullest his Scorpio Moon, an intense placement full of angst, challenges, and pitfalls (indeed, the Moon is traditionally held to be in the sign of its "fall" in Scorpio)...but with the greatest potential out of the entire zodiac for enlightenment, transformation, and ecstasy.

Just for fun a couple of years ago, I took a test on "OKStupid" to see which religious founder I most resembled, and the answer was none other than Buddha. I took that as the ultimate cyber-compliment, even as I realized that I am "detachment challenged."

Taurus and Scorpio are both Fixed signs and therefore are loath to let go of anything or anyone, out of fear of losing control or appearing weak. The paradox, of course, is that by letting go, you are more likely to have your heart's desire fall into your lap and never let go of you.