When we study astrology one of the first things we learn is that the signs of the Zodiac can be divided into two different categories. The first of these is the Elements, most students can connect with this idea pretty quickly, the division between Fire, Earth, Air and Water is fairly straightforward and it would be difficult to question any of the signs belonging to their particular Element. Some beginners struggle a bit with Aquarius, thinking as its the Water Bearer it should be a Water sign, and perhaps with Virgo believing it has qualities of Air, but these misunderstandings are overcome very quickly.
The second division is into quadruplicities, Cardinal, Fixed and Mutable. To understand the commonality between the signs in each one might take a little more reflection but once we see the connection with the seasons, it makes good sense and does help us to understand the signs themselves.
But is there any proof that having the Sun in any of the Cardinal, Fixed or Mutable signs would actually share life experience with the other two in their group ? The answer to this question is in some cases, yes.
Capricorn Research’s collection of over 20,000 charts has been divided into 72 different groupings of people based on things like career or lifestyle choice. The most interesting distributions that point to a emphasis on one quadruplicity or another are as follows. Each group is given a ” p ” figure to indicate the statistical viability of the distribution. A p figure of 0.01 or less is considered to be one that has clear statistical proof.
In the charts of 545 Murderers, 186 of them were Cardinal signs, 200 Fixed and 159 Mutable, giving a p figure of 0.0916.
In the charts of 118 Rulers, 29 were Cardinal, 48 Fixed and 41 Mutable. with a p figure of 0.0956.
For 117 Aviators, 42 were Cardinal, 27 Fixed and 48 Mutable with a p figure of 0.0498
In the sample of 123 Sex Criminals 28 were Cardinal, 45 Fixed and 50 Mutable with a p figure of 0.039.
For the Aviators a Mutable sign dominance is what would be expected by astrologers, and they would probably agree that Murderers and Rulers are more likely to have a fixed sign emphasis. There may be some eyebrows raised about Mutable Sex Criminals however.
But there are a couple of groups that have much more powerful results than these ones.
In the sample of 166 Prostitutes, 77 are Cardinal, 45 Fixed and 44 Mutable giving a p figure of 0.00172.
And in the charts of 106 Motor Racing Drivers, 47 are Cardinal, 17 Fixed and 42 Mutable with a p figure of 0.00067.
The figures for Motor Racing and Prostitutes are truly impressive. It is very rare for a sample of this size to have p figures that are so significant, but rather than being truly representative of a particular quadruplicity, these figures are dominated by huge spikes in Aries and Capricorn respectively.
The only group that Capricorn Research has that really reflects a Sun sign tendency towards one of the qualities is the sample of 345 Suicides.
This group contains 113 Cardinals, 143 Fixed signs and 89 Mutables with a p figure of 0.00172
This result shows a strong Fixed sign emphasis and the distribution through the 4 of them is relatively even with Taurus and Leo both on 40, Aquarius at 36 and Scorpio on 27.
Of course this result does beg the question why are people with the Sun in Fixed signs more likely to take their own lives than those in Cardinal and particularly Mutable signs ?
Taurus and Leo are not signs that are particularly prone to depression, so why are they the top scorers in this group. Its interesting that these Sun signs occur much more often than Virgo, the lowest scoring sign, with a mere 16.
There are obviously many reasons why some people kill themselves, but a fairly common factor must be desperation. They would have had to suffer all kinds of pain and also to see little or no chance of that suffering lessening to make the decision to end it all in preference to carrying on living.
It may well be that Fixed sign people who are suffering to this degree are less able to see conditions changing or improving than Cardinal or Mutable types. Maybe they feel that their desperation is more entrenched and the only way out of it is suicide.
But one important point to make is that people who commit suicide may well have been suffering at that time in their life, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that they would have been depressed or unhappy throughout their time on earth.
The aspects do point to this idea.There are certain ones that we might expect to come up frequently like the Mars / Saturn conjunction which occurs 157 % of the expected number of times.
The most common aspect is the Mercury / Pluto conjunction occurring at 170 %. This would indeed point to a significant change in mentality and how the person thinks about and perceives the world. The Sun is also conjunct Pluto at 141 %.
There are also interesting aspects to the Ascendant, Uranus makes the conjunction 155 % of the expected number of times and the Moon does so 151 %.
The Ascendant rules the physical body and both of these planets signify change so this emphasis may suggest a significant transformation in the way that these subjects feel about their bodies.
Mars is also opposite the Ascendant 163 % of the average perhaps indicating a view of themselves as being their own enemy.
But the notion of a lifelong depressive is rather dispelled by the Jupiter aspects. Both the Sun and Moon are conjunct Jupiter at 141 %, Venus is conjunct at 144% and Mars at 137 %.
Many people would say that Astrology is not responsive to research because it is about a moment in time and how an individual responds to the symbols of that moment. Capricorn Research would entirely agree with this premise, it is an essential point in our approach to the subject. However the extraordinary thing is there is enough similarity in our responses to these symbols to stand up to the rigours of statistical testing.
We should not be afraid of research, we should embrace and control it. The only important thing is that proper research should be done with input from people who really understand the subject.
It may well be that each of the 345 people in this sample had completely different personal reasons for taking their own lives, but a p figure of 0.00172 shows that there is some statistically evidenced commonality between them.
Of course if we really want to understand what prompted them to take this step we will have to consider each and every chart. Obviously there is not room in this article to do this but I would like to sign off by considering one of the most well known cases.
Virginia Woolf was a British novelist and a central figure in the influential Bloomsbury Group of intellectuals. Woolf suffered from severe bouts of mental illness throughout her life and is thought to have suffered from bipolar disorder. She committed suicide by drowning in 1941 at the age of 59.
The first thought of any self respecting astrologer on reading this would be 2nd Saturn Return which occurs at the age of 59, and this would quickly be followed by wondering how her Saturn was placed natally. As it turns out…
Virginia Woolf had Saturn in exact square aspect to her Sun with an orb of 27 minutes. Capricorn Research’s experience is that the closer an aspect is the more it dominates the person’s life.
Woolf’s Sun is in Aquarius right on the Midheaven, an appropriate place for a bohemian, feminist, bisexual, intellectual writer who held an important place in the literary world.
Her Saturn is also conjunct Neptune in the 12th house, an image that in itself reflects suicide by drowning, but if we look into the Sun / Saturn square a little more we can see the reasons for it.
Both the Sun and Saturn rule the father principle and it is a common experience amongst those who have the pair in difficult aspect, that there is some sense of loss or restriction in their experience with their own fathers.
Woolf’s Moon is also part of the pattern in wide conjunction to Saturn and therefore in wide square to the Sun a factor that could bring her mother into the equation.
Anyone with Saturn so powerfully linked with the Sun and Moon would be extremely affected by the ringed planet’s transits. In 1895 when Saturn opposed its natal position and squared the Sun, Virginia Woolf’s mother died and she experienced her first major depression. Pluto was also conjunct Virginia’s Ascendant in 1895, bringing a profound change to her life.
Virginia Woolf’s father was by many accounts a difficult man to live with but he had a close relationship with his daughter and acted as her mentor.
In 1903 Saturn was conjunct her Sun and square itself, the following year it was square to Neptune when her father died. The loss of her father prompted a major mental breakdown during which Virginia tried to commit suicide by jumping out of a window and was briefly institutionalised.
After completing the manuscript of her last novel Woolf fell into a depression similar to that which she had earlier experienced. The onset of World War II, the destruction of her London home during the Blitz worsened her condition until she was unable to work. On 28 March 1941, Woolf put on her overcoat, filled its pockets with stones, walked into the River Ouse near her home, and drowned herself.
Saturn had returned to its natal position in 1940 and was conjunct her Neptune in March 1941 but her suicide was really the result of Pluto’s opposition to her Sun and square to Saturn in 1941, the only time in her life that it aspected these two.
Her suicide was caused by her own fear of mental illness symbolised by the Saturn / Neptune conjunction in the 12th house.
There was a song written by Johnny Mandel and Mike Altman called Suicide is Painless. Its main claim to fame was that it was used as the Theme from Mash. It was covered by the Manic Street Preachers although Capricorn Research’s favourite version was that of Nick Drake, whose own death from an overdose left questions of suicide hanging in the air.
The refrain of the lyric began ” Suicide is painless, it brings on many changes “. This may well be true, but the astrological study revealing the Fixed sign emphasis amongst those who take their own lives, suggests that it is often caused by a desperation and a feeling that nothing can change for the better.