How the Norwegian tragedy of Anders Breivik might have been avoided:
A Jyotish astrological analysis and a critique of the imperative of happiness
The newsreports that Anders Breivik, Norwegian mass murderer, had complained his living conditions were “torture” caught my eye. Having once worked as a human rights officer for OHCHR, anything with the word “torture” catches my eye. The news reports had a faint note of incredulity: Breivik had three rooms to himself, one a gym where he could exercise, one with a playstation and books. How then, they asked, could this Norwegian pampering be torture?
Clearly three rooms generously outfitted with a gym and play-station is rather luxurious—consider the fact even middle class people in urban USA, let alone prisoners, won’t have as much. But what if these outer conditions didn’t reflect his inner mind, and how he was experiencing the moment? The only way to know is through jyotish astrology, the “inner eye” which sees circumstances not apparent to the outer eye. So I cast his chart.
Breivik has a Leo Moon, conjunct Saturn and Rahu. Those of you who’ve read my other jyotish articles know this: that Saturn and Rahu together form a “Mahayoga” (a conjunction of greatness) but it is also known as a “Shrapit yoga” (cursed conjunction.) Often, Saturn/Rahu together is thought to show suicide, and one could argue his massacre of fellow Norwegians, in what appeared to be a twisted inversion of the hatred he felt for foreigners, was an act of mass “suicide,” since he was hitting back upon his own “self”.
Note to Saturn/Rahu people about the subtleties of the word “curse”: I’ve also seen this in the charts of incredibly rich and successful people, who however are cursed by their punishing schedules, and inability to enjoy their wealth. I’ve also seen this in the charts of people who are greatly concerned and doggedly serve (Saturn is the servant) the “outcastes” (indicated by Rahu.) It all depends upon which house the conjunction happens, and for which ascendant--and moderated by the planets’ strength.
Saturn and Rahu are both separators: Saturn is the heavy hand of discipline, and the grief laden version of loss, while Rahu is the outcaste, rebel energy that seeks to move away from Saturn, but only ends up magnifying Saturn’s malefic powers. The Moon, of course, is the mind. The Moon is also the mother, and although I don’t know Breivik’s biography, I imagine he either lost his mother physically at an early age, or she was a heavy disciplinarian with an edge of mental instability, giving no support to the infant mind.
Note that Saturn is trapped in Leo, the house of the Sun. Sun is the father of Saturn, and Saturn hates his father. Then note that his Sun is also trapped in Aquarius, the house of Saturn—giving rise to a powerful “parivartana yoga” or exchange of houses between Sun and Saturn, where they heighten each other’s malefic energies.
Moon in Leo, pressured by malefic Saturn, is like a planet waiting to explode, in a pressure cooker situation with weighty Saturn and boundary-breaking Rahu. Saturn seeks to conform, Rahu to be free. It’s a no-win situation for the mind.
Note this line from the Brihat Parasara Hora Shastra:
If Sahaj Bhava receives a Drishti from, or is occupied by Sani
and Rahu, death will be through poison, water, or fire, or fall from heights, or confinement. (My highlight.)
Breivik’s Saturn/Rahu conjunction falls in Sahaj Bhava (3rd House) in the ascendant chart. It is highly likely he will die from the confinement. Although I am not ruling out some underhand action by the Norwegian government to eliminate their most famous social problem: Sun (the sign of the government) is conjunct Ketu (sign of the inexplicable and strange, as well as the underhand, including drugs) in 7th House, a maraka or killer house.
Timing of death: I suspect he might try a suicide attempt at age 42, although his actual death may happen at 48. (There may also have been a suicide attempt at age 35-36, although the Norwegian government may not have wanted this publicly known.)
Breivik’s moon is in Leo, which is also the house of ancestors. Sun, the sign of “pitri” or ancestors, is conjunct Ketu, which also rules mass calamities like war and mass killings. He is strongly respectful of his ancestors, but the ancestors he adulates are the wrong kind: strongly authoritarian people (Saturn) who ended up being outcastes (Rahu), Nazis who were on the wrong side of history.
Looking at Breivik’s current transits: Jupiter is conjunct right now with Rahu in Leo, and Jupiter is retrograde. So obviously his physical and mental senses are in great discomfort. Rahu heightens paranoia: he’s accused the government of trying to kill him.
In his fourth house of Scorpio, which rules the “home”, Saturn is doing a slow 2.5 years transit right now. Not only is Saturn retrograde, making it extra heavy, but it is conjunct Mars, also retrograde, heightening that push-and-pull energy. Mars wants to be energetic, but is trapped with heavy Saturn, and both are unable to move, because they are both retrograde. Torture? While it may not look like a lot to outsiders, combined with Rahu in the house of the Moon, this could be a proposition where he fears he may be losing his mind.
Where is Breivik’s father in all this? The sign of the father, the Sun, is with Mercury and Ketu. Ketu separates, and is disengaged. Again, I see no support for Breivik from either his father or mother. Both the luminaries, the Moon and the Sun, are eclipsed in this chart in powerful “grahan yoga”—in other words, they are darkened by the nodes. The Moon is in a grahan yoga, or eclipsed, by Rahu, while the Sun is in a grahan yoga with Ketu. The two eclipsed luminaries are facing each other in 1/7 opposition. Clearly this is a chart of someone who would have great difficulties in life.
Moon touched by Rahu is also thought to cause insanity, although it is also quite common in the charts of gentle and kind celebrities with a touch of bipolar disorder, beautiful glamorous women in the spotlight, and other people who get attention. Sun/Ketu yoga could also indicate a “leadership” yoga. As always, the dispositors of the houses where these planets are sitting is key. The way to avoid reductive and grand, sweeping statements about yogas and their effects on people is to look at their dispositors.
Lets look at possibilities of relationships for Breivik. Ketu with Mercury could show some confusion about sexuality—a sexuality that is not explored, since Sun is oppressed in the house of Saturn. Ketu in 7th House from Moon again indicates disengaged drifting off of human relationships. Sun in 7th from Moon ensures that even if he has a partner, the marriage will bring him no happiness. So this is a man for whom romantic happiness, as envisioned by the Western ideal of the pursuit of happiness, is not possible.
The UN recently came out with its annual report on happiness, with nations listed from first to last on the hierarchy of happiness. Denmark is first, Burundi is last. As always, the Scandinavian nations dominate this list. What makes the Scandinavians hog happiness? Is it their material wealth and comforts, which smooth over physical discomfort to a great degree, paving the path towards mental and physical well-being? This is clearly one ideal, but then there is also the notion that everyone must conform, and be well-behaved, to the hard-working, prosperous, well married, blessed with children ideal. All people are supposed to be prosperous and fecund in the way selective readings of the Christian Bible has suggested. Be fertile and prosper. Any other way is the wrong way to be. Scandinavians have no space for drop-outs, people who don’t fit this norm, outcastes, wandering preachers, mendicants, sadhus and ascetics. These people would simply be out of their range of acceptable behavior, and deviating from the moral obligation to conform towards happiness.
Despite Dan Brown’s attempts to bourgeoisify Jesus and give him a white picket fence and a flagpole, I still think Jesus was not the well married man fecund with children the “Da Vinci Code” would make us believe, in a desperate late 20th Century attempt to impose the American ideal of happiness onto an ancient wandering mendicant and preacher. In fact, I rather subscribe to the idea that Jesus must in fact have been followed and mourned by outcastes, that Mary Magdalene could very well have been a prostitute (which shows an even more wholehearted capacity to love the outsiders and the outcastes on the part of the son of God, which Dan Brown tries to erase with his “Mary Magdalene was a bourgeois wife slandered by Jesus’s disciplines” theory.) Attachments, including romantic ones, are never conductive to the spiritual path, and Jesus was a very spiritual man. Where did this ideal of poverty and preaching love without material attachment go? The Christianity that we see today in places like Scandinavia seems to leave scant room to follow the footpath of Jesus. The Evangelicals are awash in cash, and even if they end up in Africa in the poorest places they are carrying with them their moneybags.
Now lets think about this, for the moment: What if this “happiness” that is ideal that all moderns must pursue, as “a moral obligation,” as a recent Tweet I read suggested, was in fact, not all that there is to this world? What if you came to this world with a birthchart which showed a different destiny? Imagine Breivik had been born in a small town in India. He’d have been taken to an astrologer at the earliest, and he would have known by childhood, if not by the age of 19-20, that his parents were not going to be supportive, that relationships based on the ideal of marriage would never happen for him, and that the only hope for him, was spirituality, and a close relationship with the Divine.
Breivik’s Mars is exalted in Capricorn, in the Eighth House of Death. Some powerful forceful Mars energy was going to manifest from that house. The House of Death, is also the house of transformation. What if that energy had been channeled, and put to some other use—what if he’d become a wandering yoga teacher, lets say, someone who gave up material pursuits, since these were obviously not going to work for him, to be a greatly athletic yoga teacher? This is someone with great energy, and the energy was put to the worst use possible, because the people who surrounded him did not see the potential and channel it in the right direction.
The Sun/Saturn tension is often seen in the houses of people of great disciplines: I’ve seen Sun/Saturn oppositions in the charts of great doctors and lawyers. It shows the need for an occupation where discipline is imposed on a very strict basis. If Breivik had utilized his Exalted Mars for the purpose of becoming a highly athletic yogi and renunciate, he could have reached great heights.
I don’t want to belabor this point, but his Jupiter is exalted, and in 12th from the Moon. The 12th House is a moksh house of spiritual liberation, and Jupiter here is supposed to be a very good placement for those with spiritual inclinations. Jupiter is the Guru, or teacher. To me, this looks like the chart of someone who could have made a very good yogi or spiritual teacher—had he been born in a milieu which supported these pursuits. Unfortunately for Breivik, he was born in a group of countries where material happiness is idealized but spirituality is not—meaning he ended up using his precious human life for a very ugly purpose. Which, to me, looks like a big waste.
The Buddhists say human life is precious, and very rare. To be born as a human being is a precious and rare opportunity to practice the dharma—especially compassion towards other beings, which helps you onwards towards the endless cycles towards higher rebirths and eventual liberation. Unfortunately, Breivik missed that chance in this lifetime. He leaves behind many anguished parents whose grief and sorrow will weigh on him for lifetimes.
Buddhists also add that being born in a time and place where the dharma is being practiced, by teachers who are working with the pure and unadulterated dharma, is one of the rarest good fortune. Meaning it is not just enough to be born a human—the time and space where you are also shapes you onwards towards your destiny. A lot of poor children in Asia miss their destiny to be doctors and engineers because they do not get an adequate education in time. Might many children in Europe also miss their destiny to be spiritual ascetics and renunciates because they are never exposed to an education which allows for this possibility? Are they spiritually deprived, in much the same way as poor Asian children are materially deprived?
There may be other young men like Breivik, whose charts are pointing towards a spiritual direction, but whose potential they cannot fulfill because the pursuits of material happiness is shown to them as the only option open to them.
Imagine then, if these other avenues of spiritual purpose could be opened up. If material happiness was not the end-all and be-all for everyone, might there not be other purposes? What if knowledge of these spiritual possibilities helped to avoid another tragedy like the Norwegian one?
(Note: I read Breivik's biography on Wikipedia after I wrote this blog post, and there seems to be interesting congruences, including the abscence of both mother and father; and his views and beliefs on religion. I include the link: