Educating Elliot Rodger

Astrologer Alex Trenoweth examines the life of Isla Vista murderer Elliott Rodger.

Author’s note: One of the things I emphasise about using astrology in teaching is that it’s always important to check the balance of Jupiter and Saturn for the learners in question over the entire academic year. Elliot Rodger’s placement of Jupiter was unusual and for the sake of making a point, I want to demonstrate the possible impact this might have had on him. Most importantly, I want to suggest how we can avoid creating potential monsters.

Elliot Rodger was born on 24th July 1991 in Lambeth UK (time unknown) with Jupiter in Leo and Saturn in Aquarius (but not in opposition), both planets were in fixed signs which essentially means the native does not adapt well to changes. For the academic year Elliot Rodger was born (starting September 1990), all of his fellow learners would have had Jupiter in Leo. This is unusual because normally in an academic year, the learners fall in two adjacent signs.

It is difficult to begin to imagine the energy it would take to teach such a class. Jupiter in Leo learners like to think they are the king or queen of the classroom and everyone else is just their hired help. Everyone in the class would be competing to be the star of the show with no one wanting to get off the stage. Inevitably, there were going to be some very bruised egos. Pupils with Jupiter in Leo need to feel they are constantly being presented in the best possible light because otherwise, their very fragile egos are damaged. The best possible suggestion would be to encourage a sense of equality and to continuously reinforce the positive qualities of Leo: generosity, benevolence, optimism and loyalty. It would be a very bad idea to draw attention to poor behaviour.

In Elliot’s chart, Jupiter’s ruler is the Sun–which is also in Leo. Additionally, the Sun is conjunct Chiron and opposed to Saturn. Elliot would have been hyper-sensitive to any perceived attack on his ego, either real or imagined. And to him, those in authority—parents, teachers, the law–posed the greatest challenge to his damaged sense of self. This is going to kick off during any transits to this opposition. Elliot may have had the knack of doing exactly the opposite of what he was told–and perhaps this tendency became a lot worse as he grew older.

Saturn’s placement in the sign of Aquarius was the same for everyone in Elliot’s academic year. Pupils with Saturn in Aquarius like to play the game of “Let’s see how many people we can outrage today.” They take great pleasure in seeing how far they can push the rules. In my book (“Growing Pains” sorry for the infomercial), I compare Saturn in Aquarius pupils to Dr Frankenstein, the man who eventually came to think he could do better than God by replicating life. To do this, he had to bend a few little rules such as grave robbing for body parts, driving himself crazy with exhaustion and upsetting the Church (just for starters). He built his man but it was hideously ugly and no one liked it. So Victor abandoned it. Unsurprisingly, the creature pursued Victor to demand a little explanation for his predicament and to make Victor accountable for his actions. Teachers and parents of Saturn in Aquarius pupils must teach their children that if they are going to bend a few rules, then they must take responsibility for the monsters they create. To a certain extent, this is a hard lesson for all children but it is particularly difficult for Saturn in Aquarius pupils because they convince themselves they are not really human and therefore don’t have to follow the same rules as other humans.

According to the limited biographical details available, Elliot moved from England to America when he was 5. Although transiting Jupiter would have been making a series of conjunctions to his natal planets, transiting Saturn was making oppositions to his hyper-sensitive Sun and Chiron. For any other child with natal Jupiter in Leo, a move such as this should have been a great chance to show off. “Hey look at me!! Listen to my accent!! Cool, innit?” But for Elliot, who would be eventually diagnosed as suffering from high functioning Asperger Syndrome, human interactions could be very complex. Transit Jupiter would have made a single conjunction to his natal Saturn around this time. To him, everyone would have concentrated on what made him inferior to everyone else instead of celebrating his uniqueness. He may have felt he had no chance of getting the kind of attention he felt he deserved and this would have been terribly painful to his fragile ego. Remember, the condition of Jupiter and its ruler (the Sun) are carried forward in transits. A transit does not override the natal position. As Jupiter began to oppose its natal position, this little boy with an already bruised and vulnerable ego might have been reluctantly pushed out on the stage even more because he was a little different to everyone else. No wonder he complained of being bullied and humiliated. Jupiter in Leo wants to be admired not ridiculed. To make matters worse, Jupiter opposed its natal position three times later that year as he approached his sixth birthday.

In April 1999, the year of his parents’ divorce, Elliot experienced his first Saturn square as Saturn transited the sign of Taurus. This particular transit is about accepting the human body for the simple physical pleasures it can bring: eating on schedule, going to the toilet when needed, sleeping when tired and staying in bed when you’re sick. Elliot had already learned that being human is not much fun. It hurt when people refused to accept that he was a great person who deserved the utmost respect. So how would a child with not only a bruised ego but Asperger Syndrome to boot react to this challenge? I would have thought there would have been a period refusing to accept the bit and saddle at this time. Already mistrustful of people, he would have completely rebelled against all things human until being forced to submit. It would have been a pretty humiliating notion. Jupiter in Taurus squared the natal Saturn position a few months later which may have prolonged the resistance to being like everyone else. By this time, his lawyers have said his parents had sought multiple therapists since this time. They knew something was very wrong.

Just after his 11th birthday, Elliot’s Jupiter transited his natal Sun and Chiron. Jupiter transits blow everything out of proportion. He would have felt no one liked or cared for him. As Jupiter opposed his Saturn, he may have felt the very people who could have helped him the most (authority figures) were in fact out to get him. He had his first Jupiter return around the time of his 12th birthday. To return to any place you have been before will undoubtedly bring comparisons to the previous visit. By this time, Elliot had had a very rough ride. No one appreciated him for the regal figure he thought himself to be. And quite frankly, his previous behaviour didn’t give anyone any reason to do so. But this kid does not get that.

During adolescence, some very interesting things start to happen neurologically. The brain starts developing as fast as it did when the child was a toddler. The folds of the brain start to deepen, indicating the child is going to develop more complex thought processes. This would have been the ideal time to start working on reversing some of the habits Elliot may have developed to cope with rejection. But there is a great arrogance with Jupiter in Leo and as Jupiter transited natal Mercury (also in Leo), it’s very possible Elliot would have convinced himself he knew better than everyone else. To make things worse, adolescence is a time when everyone thinks everyone is watching them and taking an interest in what they are doing. But for an adolescent with Elliot’s astrological signification, this becomes far more apparent.

For modern Saturn in Aquarius pupils, by the time Saturn reached its opposition in Leo, they were already fascinated with the internet, high tech gadgets and probably at one time or another expressed an interest in bizarre experiments or conspiracy theories. As a collective whole, they may have preferred communicating with people via mass media instead of face to face interactions. As a society, this was a new concept and Elliot’s generation of learners were the first that might have felt the internet was created just for them. It fits perfectly into what a Saturn in Aquarius child would like: joining anonymous internet groups who could validate the bizarre theories (and no matter how weird your theories are, you can always find a group on the internet to validate them). For Elliot, this was his chance to be the shining star he always knew he was. Better yet, authority figures would have no idea what he was up to.

In the summer of 2004, Saturn opposed Elliot’s natal Neptune and North Node, the same position Jupiter would be in when he committed his crime. This is a bit like holding up a mirror so one can see one’s destiny. And Elliot didn’t like what he saw. Allegedly this was the summer he met Monette Moio, now a model and the scapegoat for Elliot’s rage. She doesn’t even remember him, according to her father but Elliot said in his manifesto she bullied him by rejecting him. Monette’s father says “this kid was really disillusioned” to think his daughter would bully him.

About a year later, Saturn approached opposition to its natal position, it passed over his natal Sun and Chiron, an agonising reminder that others didn’t see Elliot Rodger the way he saw himself. Usually adolescents with Saturn in Aquarius start to realise they want to put a bit more effort into looking good as Saturn opposes its natal position. In his manifesto, Elliot indicated that around this time was the first time he developed a crush on a girl.

Jupiter made a series of three conjunctions to his natal Neptune in 2008, allegedly the year Elliot started to write his manifesto and made plans to kill. Conjunctions indicate the start of a cycle, so it begins with a very damaged, very deluded ego. By the summer of 2013, Jupiter opposed Neptune. It’s a bit like a culmination of everything that has happened since the conjunction. Fuelled by vodka, he went to a house party to give “the female gender one last chance to provide me with the pleasure I deserved from them,” he said in his manifesto. Of course, the girls ignored his drunken advances. Elliot snapped and tried to push them off a ledge but instead other party goers ganged up on him and pushed him, breaking his ankle and losing his beloved Gucci sunglasses and a prized necklace in the process. When he returned to the house to retrieve the items, he was greeted with insults and jeers. This was the flashpoint of his crime.

A year later, Saturn transited his natal Pluto in Scorpio. For Elliot, his Saturn represented the perceived pain and suffering of rejection by the people he felt should have loved and adored him. Pluto has the great potential to transform us if we use the power in the right way. The mythical Hercules, when slaying the deadly Hydra, realised he wasn’t getting anywhere by slashing her heads off (because three more grew in its place). He had to get on his knees and lift her to the light to kill her. With Jupiter in Leo and all its accumulated humiliations this was not going to be an option for Elliot. No matter how many nice things he had, they were just not going to get people to like him. Elliot Rodger’s monster was his own cruelly damaged ego represented by natal Jupiter in Leo. Transiting Jupiter was in a wide opposition to his natal Pluto but almost exactly conjunct his natal South Node when he took his revenge out on innocent people. This aspect may have led him to believe that his hideous act might somehow earn him the respect he deserved. It might not make sense to us but Elliot Rodger may have seen it as his final chance.

Copyright: Alex Trenoweth, 2013

AstroAlex1984

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