The murder of Stephen Lawrence – an astrological perspective

On the evening of 22nd April 1993, as he was waiting for a bus with his friend Duwayne Brooks in Eltham, South East London, 18-year-old Stephen Lawrence was murdered by a gang of white youths in an unprovoked racist attack. After an initial police investigation, five suspects were arrested but not convicted. Over the following 25 years, due to the determination of Stephen’s mother and family, layer after layer of police negligence, incompetence and corruption were uncovered.

A public inquiry into the handling of Stephen’s case was held in 1998, leading to the publication of the highly influential Macpherson report, an important moment in the modern history of British criminal justice.It made seventy recommendations to policing and wider public policy in law and education.

Following a change in the “double jeopardy” law that had prevented suspects being tried twice for the same crime, and with the help of new forensic evidence, Gary Dobson and David Norris were found guilty of the murder of Stephen Lawrence in January 2012. Further evidence of police corruption in dealing with the case has continued to emerge since.

The birth chart of Stephen Lawrence

According to Doreen Lawrence in her book “And Still I Rise” (2006), Stephen Lawrence was born at 9.30 pm on 13th September 1974 at Greenwich District Hospital. His natal chart shows Sun in Virgo, Moon in Leo, four planets in Libra and a fairly even distribution of planets in the four elements.A Venus-Neptune-Jupiter T-square in mutable signs stands out. As part of the T-square, the square between Venus and Neptune (the closest major aspect in the chart) is a potentially visionary combination, often found in the charts of artists and musicians. It indicates a challenge to express love, harmony and beauty (Venus) in a transcendent or universal (Neptune) way. The 11th house Jupiter in Pisces shows the potential for high ideals and compassionate service to society.

According to all accounts, Stephen Lawrence was a well-rounded and popular young man with everything going for him. Before his murder, he was an A level student with a wide number of interests and dreams of becoming an architect.

The chart for the murder

The original police appeal for information and witnesses states 10.39 pm as the time of the attack. A troublesome square between Pluto in late Scorpio and Saturn in Aquarius, closely aspects the Ascendant-Descendant axis. Astrologers have long associated the combination of Saturn and Pluto with dark power, intense suffering and tumultuous struggle. The connection between the Saturn-Pluto square and “institutional corruption”, together with behind the scenes police collusion with criminals (Pluto in a murky Scorpio 12th house), is not hard to make. In addition, astrologers have long associated Pluto with the power of black men and women.

Mars in Cancer and 8th house forms a trine to Pluto and the Ascendant. A criminal (8th house) gang (Cancer) of young men (Mars) murdered Stephen, using a knife (Mars). Stephen Lawrence’s natal chart also shows a natal Mars-Pluto aspect, the conjunction, a powerful and potentially explosive energy. Mars-Pluto individuals have been known to attract violence or loss of power in circumstances beyond their control, although there is usually some degree of choice as to how this is experienced.

In 1998, Doreen Lawrence founded the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust to give young people practical help in fulfilling their dreams to work in architecture and building (Mars in Cancer and 8th house). The Trust has received lottery funding and substantial donations from many sources (the murder chart’s Moon in Taurus indicates potential financial abundance as part of the unfolding story), enabling it to help many young people through bursaries, work placements and career advice.

The long-term outcome of Stephen’s murder has been an awakening of a new awareness (Uranus and Neptune both close to being stationary) for the police and establishment authorities (Capricorn), with corresponding action and legislation to remove “institutional racism” having been successful. Or maybe not. Some have argued that much progress has been illusory (Neptune), with more fundamental change still required.

Midlife transits for Doreen Lawrence

Doreen Lawrence

At the time of the murder of her son, Doreen Lawrence (born 24th October 1952, Scorpio Sun and Capricorn Moon) had just moved into experiencing an intensified version of the astrological midlife transits that everyone has at around the age of 41 or so. The conjunction of consciousness-raising Uranus and Neptune in Capricorn, exact three times during 1993, played a key role. Shocks and awakening from Uranus, together with disillusionment and an expanded vision from Neptune, meant that her life would never be the same again.

Nelson Mandela and a Jupiter-Pluto transit

Nelson Mandela with the Lawrences

Initially the murder gained little attention. However, after a press conference the Lawrence family met Nelson Mandela in London and Mandela’s supportive words were widely reported in the media. Co-incidentally, Nelson Mandela (born 18th July, 1918) was experiencing a Jupiter square transit to his own natal Pluto in Cancer at the time – nicely symbolic of a positive intervention in the name of black familial power. The very next day, three of the prime suspects were arrested. However, the Crown Prosecution Service later dropped the charges, saying the identification evidence from Duwayne Brooks was unreliable.

 

The Daily Mail and Jupiter conjunct Uranus in Aquarius

At the Coroner’s Inquest in February 1997, the five accused young men took the witness stand. Sneering and arrogant, they refused to answer any questions. Amongst many others, Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre was not impressed. By an extraordinary co-incidence, Dacre also knew Neville Lawrence (Stephen’s father) who had done some plastering work on his house.

As Jupiter and Uranus moved to an almost exact conjunction in Aquarius on the day, Dacre and the Daily Mail published the now famous headline across its Valentine’s Day front page: “MURDERERS. The Mail accuses these men of killing. If we are wrong, let them sue us.” Below the headline were photographs of Gary Dobson, Neil Acourt, Jamie Acourt, Luke Knight and David Norris. (Above the headline was an advert for astrologer Jonathan Cainer.)

For days, the story made international headlines. It was an astonishing breakthrough moment (Jupiter conjunct Uranus), bringing new hope and optimism for those seeking justice for Stephen Lawrence and for anyone with humanitarian ideals (Aquarius). The conjunction formed a trine aspect to both the 6 degrees Libran Jupiter in the murder chart and the 6 degrees Libran Pluto in Stephen Lawrence’s natal chart, with several other planets simultaneously lining up for a striking combination.

Hope from tragedy

Microscopic evidence found on the clothing belonging to the accused led to life sentences for Gary Dobson and David Norris in January 2012 – this coincided with a Saturn trine transit to the murder chart’s Saturn. Video evidence from the 1990s showed Norris talking about “skinning” black people and setting them alight.

Baroness Lawrence

Doreen Lawrence was awarded the OBE for services to community relations in 2013, and since then she has been made a life peer in the House of Lords. As transiting Saturn formed a conjunction to her Mars in Capricorn in April 2018, Baroness Lawrence commented that after 25 years, “It is time to draw a line”.

In the murder chart, the ruling planet Jupiter (faith and optimism) is in Libra (justice) and the 10th house (making a mark on the world). This forms a very close conjunction to natal Pluto (power and darkness) in the birth chart of Stephen Lawrence, a fated (Pluto) young man.

Sometimes, hope is born from tragedy.

The above is an edited version of an article originally published in the November/December 2018 issue of the Astrological Journal magazine https://www.facebook.com/AstrologicalJournal Thank you to editor Victor Olliver. This is the bimonthly publication of the Astrological Association http://www.astrologicalassociation.com dedicated to educating the public on astrology since 1958.

Consultations and readings available at https://www.timburnessastrologer.co.uk

Drake – astrological birth chart

At the end of June 2018, Canadian hip-hop rapper Drake (Aubrey Drake Graham) released his massively successful fifth album Scorpion, which would appear to have been named after his astrological sign of the zodiac.

Strong Scorpio emphasis and Mars square Pluto

Looking at his natal horoscope chart (born 2.31 am, 24th October 1986, Toronto in Canada), Drake has his Sun, Mercury and Venus in the sign of Scorpio. Perhaps more importantly, there is a also a Sun-Pluto conjunction in Scorpio, with the Scorpio Pluto forming a close square (always very important in a birth chart) to Mars in Aquarius. This is an explosive and mighty powerful combination which needs to be very carefully channelled. An independent, progressive and humanitarian (Aquarius) power is being unleashed on the world!

The dark, often hidden side of Scorpio can get very murky, with the rights and wrongs of the use of power needing attention. Anyone born with such a Scorpio emphasis is very likely to have to work their way through more darkness than most. As far back as being bullied at school, Drake has had many confrontational exchanges and clashes with others – ongoing feuds, legal disputes and relationship issues (Venus in Scorpio) which form the basis of many of his lyrics. At the same time, there is a determined and strong Scorpionic sense of purpose, with the potential for healing both himself and others.

Drake’s chart from http://www.astro.com

Early years

Drake was born to a mixed-race couple in Canada in 1986, and raised Jewish in a middle-class family. He initially became famous in Canada by playing wheelchair-bound Jimmy Brooks in seven seasons of the popular teen soap Degrassi: The Next Generation. It wasn’t until a personal crisis in 2008 that his musical career truly began to take off. At the time, Pluto formed a transit to his Scorpio Sun (he was written out of the soap opera, to be re-born as a hip hop artist), Saturn had just crossed into his 1st house (marking the beginning of a new 29 year cycle of personal responsibility) and Uranus squared natal Uranus (that age 21 transit, time to break free from childhood). In 2009, Drake signed a record deal with Lil Wayne’s Young Money Entertainment and began his rise to the top.

Leo rising and a Grand Trine in Water 

With creative and dramatic Leo rising, Drake’s Scorpio planets are in the 3rd house of communication. This fits very nicely with his intense, emotionally-driven rapping style. Drake has the confidence and arrogance of other hip hop artists (such as Jay Z and Kanye West, whose influence he has acknowledged) but as one might expect from a typical Scorpio with so much Water in the chart, Drake’s words and language are also a genuine expression of deeper soul-searching.

Drake’s nurturing Moon in Cancer (the handle of a Bucket shaped chart, similar to Taylor Swift’s as it happens) has easy flowing aspects to super-imaginative Jupiter in Pisces and intense Venus in Scorpio – a Grand Trine in Water signs. This says much about the sensitivity that sets him apart from the majority of hip hop artists, also helping Drake achieve mass popularity with the public. Not many hip hop artists would call an album Take Care, the title of his second album.

2017-2019 transits for Drake – the magic of Neptune, Uranus and others

Drake’s universal appeal has recently been helped by transiting Neptune forming a conjunction to natal Jupiter in Pisces and 7th house, together with easy aspects to his Moon (2017 to early 2018) and soon to come Venus (2019). This comment from him sums up the Neptune experience well: “The whole thing is unusual at this point, so we’re just rolling with the fairytale vibe”. Expansive Jupiter has also been moving through Scorpio, a positive boost that occurs for each sign of the zodiac every twelve years. Uranus, the great awakener, had just passed its first opposition transit to Drake’s Sun when Scorpion was released on 29th June. Worth keeping an eye on Drake for the final stage of his Uranus opposite Sun transit in March 2019 (as Uranus fully enters Taurus) – more powerful Scorpionic excitement indicated!

Scorpion broke several streaming records and Drake became the first artist to top one billion global streams in the first week of a studio album release. With Saturn still moving up through the bottom half of his chart, Drake has many years to go until he reaches the peak of his career. Despite what some critics say, it looks like he is only just beginning. Never underestimate the power of a Scorpio to be continually re-born, rising from the ashes, again and again.

This is an edited and extended version of an article originally published in the July 2018 edition of I AM astrology magazine https://infinityastrologicalmagazine.com/

Consultations and readings available at https://www.timburnessastrologer.co.uk

Jimi Hendrix – astrological birth chart

Hendrix1To these ears, the old classic Jimi Hendrix albums still sound absolutely magical and brilliant. Jimi’s birth chart horoscope (born 10.15 am, 27th November 1942 in Seattle, Washington, USA) shows clearly he was born with the possibility of achieving transcendent genius, although not without hard work and struggle.

The visionary potential of someone born with a Sun, Mercury and Venus conjunction of planets in the sign of Sagittarius and the often mysterious 12th house was there from the start. Sagittarius was also his Ascendant (rising sign). Of course, as is the case with every individual, it was up to Hendrix himself to make full use of what was indicated astrologically from birth. No-one can do it for us!

HendrixAstroSagittarius is the most evolved of the three Fire signs, rising above the energy of Aries and the ego of Leo. Jimi’s positive, enthusiastic, philosophical, excessive and larger-than-life approach to life are typical of the sign. Travel and foreign countries often play key roles in the life of Sagittarius, and Hendrix began to truly find himself after moving to London in 1965. There then followed those extraordinary albums, beginning with “Are You Experienced?” and “Axis: Bold As Love” in 1967. The musical and spiritual genius of Hendrix came through in his unique ground-breaking guitar playing, his songs, lyrics and live performances.

Hendrix’s Moon-Jupiter conjunction in Cancer shows his more caring and sensitive side. Jimi’s chart ruler Jupiter is traditionally exalted in Cancer, a fortunate position for someone with so much Sagittarius. Numerous biographies refer to his kindness, warmth and modesty, which continued after he became famous. Saturn and Uranus in Gemini show, amongst other things, a way with words in the extraordinary lyrics of so many of his songs. Saturn and Uranus also show very difficult conflicts and tensions to deal with, alternating between the heavy responsibility of Saturn and the unpredictable brilliance of Uranus, both opposing his Sun, Venus and Mercury. Basic self-confidence, relationships and communication were affected. Despite all the positive energy shown elsewhere in the chart, it’s no surprise that he wrote a song called Manic Depression. Having no planets in Earth signs may not have helped.Hendrix2

Mars in Scorpio sits confidently in the 10th house, an intense burning drive to make his mark on the world. Like most of the great rock stars born in the late 1930s and early 1940s, Hendrix had Pluto in the early degrees of Leo combining smoothly with Neptune in the early degrees of Libra. This combination of powerful ego self-expression and ideals of love and peace typified the hippie generation. However, after his early death at age 27, Jimi Hendrix is one man who seems to have risen above and beyond his lifetime.

Consultations and readings available at https://www.timburnessastrologer.co.uk