Methods of Astrological Forecasting

Transits to Composite Chart
Major Progressions and Transits to Natal
Solar Arc Directions
Solar Return Chart
Lunar Return Chart
Primary Directions
Hermetic Minor Progressed Chart
Tertiary Progressed Chart

Kathleen Leissner Whitman Charles Whitman

Transits to Composite Chart

Charles Whitman achieved notoriety when he massacred a number of people on August 1, 1966 from a sniper position atop the tower at the University of Texas in Austin. Earlier in the day he had killed his mother and his wife. Charles left suicide notes in which he professed to still love them both.

Unlike in the also analyzed case of Scott and Laci Peterson, we do not have the wife's birthtime, which gives us an unknown birthtime composite chart. Kathleen Leissner Whitman was born in Freeport/Velasco, TX on July 12, 1943. Charles Joseph Whitman was born in Lake Worth, FL on June 24, 1941 at 1:50 AM. The unknown time for the wife makes the Composite Couples interpretation report shorter, delineating just the planetary aspects, not the planetary house placements.

The strongest aspect in the composite chart shown below is Mercury square Mars (Strength: 5.72) . The delineation says, "It is easy for you to get into a fight." Charles visited a university psychiatrist, disturbed that he had hit his beloved wife three times. The delineation continues, "If you do not have a strong emotional bond between you, then the constant fighting can become overwhelming. If you do love each other, then there has to be some form of compromise made in order to soften the harshness of your communication with each other."

You can see that, on the day of the murder, transiting Mars triggered this stressful composite aspect, with transiting Mars exactly conjoining their composite Mercury and squaring their composite Mars. It is common to see transits to a couple's composite chart at the time of significant life events.

Charlie and Kathy Whitman Composite Chart

The exciting composite aspects that attracted Charlie and Kathy to each other probably included Moon square Uranus and Venus conjunct Chiron in trine to Mars.

Elsewhere, I have written about the Triad composite chart that results from comparing the parents' composite chart to the child's natal chart. When one has the parents' birthtimes also, transits to house cusps can be significant (see the Triad chart at the end of the above page for Prince William), but even without the parents' birthtimes, one can still look in the resulting Triad chart for close aspect patterns that describe the child's purpose for being born. The Triad chart below for Charlie Whitman is no exception. It features a close stellium of Jupiter, Pluto, and Saturn at 20Can03, 20Can32, and 21Can37. It also features a tight T-Square of Mars opposing Neptune and both square to Chiron, the new planet between Saturn and Uranus that struggles to awaken the lower mind to the higher mind.

Charlie Whitman Family Triad Chart

Major Progressions and Transits to Natal

Now let us look at a detailed triwheel of the natal chart for Charles Whitman with the major progressions and transits for August 1, 1966.

Charles Whitman Triwheel

Note the very tight T-Square in the natal chart (inner circle) involving Mars at 25Pis16 opposing Neptune at 25Vir00 and both square to the Moon at 26Gem23. On August 1, transiting Chiron at 25Pis45 was at almost exactly the mean degree area for these three natal planets.

By progression, the Moon made almost one revolution of the zodiac by August 1, 1966, reaching 29Tau36 where it conjoined progressed Uranus at 29Tau24. Transiting Mars at 14Can28 was closely semi-square to the progressed Moon and Uranus, with an orb of 0 deg. 26 min. and 0 deg. 14 min.

Even more striking is how natal Chiron at 00Leo48 and natal Pluto at 03Leo01 had moved by progression so that both were exactly conjunct at 03Leo42 on August 1, 1966. This progressed conjunction seems to most aptly signify the small tumor that doctors found in an August 2 autopsy to have developed in Charlie's brain.

Solar Arc Directions

Closely related to secondary or major progressions is the important forecasting method of solar arc directions. This technique involves taking all of the planets of the natal chart, rotating them by the amount of the progressed Sun's movement since birth, and then comparing their new positions to the natal chart. Especially if there is a close aspect or configuration in the natal chart, it is important to see when this aspect configuration will rotate to contact a point in the natal chart. In Charlie's case, we note the tight T-Square of Mars, Neptune, and focus planet Moon. The solar arc directed Moon rotated to exactly conjoin Charlie's natal Venus on March 9, 1966. This corresponds to the time when the marriage between Charlie's mother and father broke up, with Charlie having to drive to Florida to pick up Margaret, his mother, on March 4. Soon his younger brother Patrick also arrived in Texas and temporarily moved in with Charlie and Kathy. The dysfunctional domestic (Moon) situation back in Florida had arrived in Texas to affect his marriage (Venus). Solar arc directed Mars and Neptune trail the Moon by one degree, but between March and August, their applying squares to natal Venus only became more exact.

Charles Whitman Solar Arc Directions

Solar Return Chart

Here is Charles Whitman's solar return chart for the year starting June 24, 1966.

Charles Whitman Solar Return Chart

In Charlie's solar return chart, there is a tight conjunction of the Moon at 16Vir02 to the generational conjunction of Uranus at 15Vir55 and Pluto at 16Vir01, where all three planets square Mars at 18Gem31. Crazy violence was in the air - two weeks earlier, in mid-July, 1966, a drifter named Richard Speck had shocked the country by murdering eight student nurses at their group residence in Chicago. Also, Truman Capote's bestselling historical murder crime novel, In Cold Blood, published in January, caught the imagination of the reading public in 1966.

Solar return Chiron, the planet of being wounded and becoming conscious, is at 26Pis13 where it has moved up to conjoin Charlie's natal Mars at 25Pis16, to square his natal Moon at 26Gem23, and to oppose illusory Neptune at 25Vir00.

Regarding the Sun-Saturn square in the annual solar return chart, Journey Returns says, "Saturn limits, restricts, and disciplines the vitality of the Sun. This is a year when you may feel drained, isolated, sad, frustrated, and alone. You could lose sleep because of feeling burdened and overwhelmed by your many obligations." Charlie was wrong when he wrote that his father gave his mother only a pittance, but this aspect would give him that perception. During this period, Charlie's father admitted to having made over $1,000 in pestering phone calls to Texas to try to get his wife back.

Lunar Return Chart

Here is Charles Whitman's lunar return chart for the month starting July 15, 1966.

Charles Whitman Lunar Return Chart

In the lunar return chart, Chiron is still activating the Mars-Neptune-Moon T-Square, but now Venus and the Midheaven are also in square to these points.

Primary Directions

Primary directions are slow movements of the planets in the chart. They can relate to events within a year of their occurence. When you run the Classical Primary Directions with Latitude list for Charles Whitman for 1966, the first aspect to occur after his June 24 birthdate is Neptune square Saturn, which is exact on August 1, 1966.

Charles Whitman Primary Directions Report

"Directed Neptune square Saturn: 01-Aug-1966, Exact

"This is a prolonged and difficult period during which your faith will be tested as the dependable structures of your life begin to dissolve. You may end up feeling confused, disoriented, delirious, fearful, anxious, and set adrift. Feelings of sadness may arise regarding a parental figure. Your physical or mental health may suffer because of drugs, alcohol, mysterious illnesses, or difficult to diagnose ailments."

At least in this instance, one must admit the effectiveness of the primary directions technique, when calculated according to the traditional way and combined with Tony Louis' Journey Progressions interpretations.

Hermetic Minor Progressed Chart

Hermetic Minor Progressions are calculated maintaining the same distance between the Minor Progressed Moon and the transiting Sun as exists between the natal Moon and natal Sun, according to the method taught by Elbert Benjamine (pen name C.C. Zain) of the Brotherhood of Light. They are used to time more short-term action. Calculating this chart for Charles Whitman for noon at the birthplace on August 1, 1966 changes the position of the Moon in the normal Minor Progressed chart from 06Leo14 to 03Leo01, exactly conjunct the natal Pluto at 03Leo01. This indicates that Elbert Benjamine knew what he was doing (as did Linden Leisge who commissioned adding this technique to AstrolDeluxe). Here is the interpretation for this minor progressed aspect:

"Progressed Moon conjunct Pluto

"During the weeks before and after this date, you may experience radical changes in your emotional and domestic life. Spring cleaning is in order. You may achieve deep insights into your unconscious motivations. Intense, perhaps obsessive-compulsive, attachments are possible. Power struggles and a wish to control may dominate relationships. Preoccupation with themes of death and dying is possible."

Charles Whitman Hermetic Minor Progressed Chart

Note also that minor progressed Chiron squares natal Saturn, with an orb of 0 deg. 27 min.

Tertiary Progressed Chart

Tertiary Progressions are also used to time more short-term action. The tertiary progressed chart is calculated for as many days after birth as there have been tropical months for the date to which you are progressing the chart. Financial astrologers find tertiary progressions helpful in picking stock market winners. It should not be surprising then, to find indications of precise and successful action in the tertiary progressed chart. Mercury and Jupiter are angular on the 4th house cusp, opposing the progressed Midheaven, and conjunct the natal Moon. Harder to see is that progressed Chiron at 10Leo02 is exactly semisquare natal Neptune at 25Vir00, with an angle of 44d58m.

Charles Whitman Tertiary Progressed Chart


Working astrologers try to follow something called 'the rule of three', in which they look for multiple indicators before they dare to make a prediction. They know that an isolated transit, progression, direction or indicator in a return chart can come and go with little effect. But in this case, all of the multiple astrological indicators that we collected above indicate that some planning intelligence in a realm that our senses cannot perceive deliberately harnessed a host of planetary cycles in a plan for Charles Whitman's lifetime. Probably not every lifetime is planned in such detail, showing such an orchestration of cycles, but not every lifetime succeeds in getting the masses to stop and reflect as they go about their daily routines.

Cases like this illustrate how the planetary energies work, and they verify the validity of the major astrological forecasting methods.

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Last modified on September 4, 2013.