The psychological picture that we can derive from the astrological chart of Eliot Rodger shows an individual with a significant wound (Saturn/Chiron/Sun) to his sense of Self. The writings clearly reveal a diagnosis of Narcissistic Personality Disorder (see this article in Psychology Today,” the root of which is a wound to the Self. The “Narcissistic Wound” usually occurs in childhood and in a weak personality the individual tends to blame others rather than to seek the healing which Chiron requires.
The narcissist personality is unable to view other people as anything other than an extension of their flawed selves. From his writings we do not see that Elliot Rodger ever asked a woman out or was directly rejected by him. Instead he was driven by jealousy and rage over what he perceived other people had that he did not. The square from Jupiter to Pluto gave him a self-righteousness and tendency towards fixed beliefs.
Originally I rectified the chart to have Scorpio rising. Rodger writes: “Finding out about sex is one of the things that truly destroyed my entire life. Sex… the very word fills me with hate. ” This extreme reaction can really only be explained by a strong astrological Pluto or Scorpio. He craved sex, and equated it with power – very Pluto/Scorpio. And yet he was revulsed by it, and afraid of it. It was his fear of sex that kept him from women. Without a correct birth time we can only guess.
Transits and Progressions
We discussed in Part I the fact that Rodger’s life appears to have been idyllic, according to his own words and Youtube videos, until the age of seven when his father left and his parents divorced (transiting Saturn squaring the Sun/Saturn/Chiron system in his chart.
He writes that at age nine he became aware of social hierarchies and the fact that life was inherently unfair. Rodger’s Mars was in Virgo, the sign that seeks perfection in all things. This can be a placement that is critical of others, but especially of oneself. Rodger writes of that time period: “Life will become a bitter and unfair struggle for self-worth, all because girls will choose some boys over others.” At the time transiting Pluto was squaring Mars in the progressed chart – a planetary cycle that can bring power struggles and great conflict.
At age 14 he went off to high school just as transiting Saturn was opposite the painful Saturn/Sun/Chiron system in his chart. He talks of being bullied but it appears from his writings that this simply took the form of teasing: having failed at skateboarding (which he took up to try to be “cool”) he didn’t like being called a skateboarder, and when the kids discovered this they called him a skateboarder and were generally insulting as middle school kids are. But an individual with Chiron so strong in their chart is extremely vulnerable to this kind of teasing because they are so sensitive and reactive and during this period transiting Chiron was also setting off the natal system which would have been extremely painful. “The sheer cruelty of the world around me was so intense that I will never recover from the mental scars.”
At age 16 and 17 he writes of wanting to become a dictator and rule the world: at the time his progressed Sun was making a challenging square to natal Pluto, intensifying the Plutonian qualities of rage and and the compulsive fear of sexuality. “My whole world twisted even deeper into darkness and despair as my depressing life continued on. My hatred for people who have sex festered inside me like a plague.”
In 2009 he had a break from planetary intensity and writes that he wanted to be productive and educate himself about the workings of the world (transiting Saturn was in a harmonious sextile to his Sun). He read voraciously during this period but was unable to continue because of the rage he felt seeing couples in the library.
Ideally, as we grow and develop we seek to learn about ourselves and the world and those of us with difficult charts are driven by our emotional pain and suffering to seek healing and personal growth. Some individuals instead seek blame and retribution for their suffering, and when we blame others for our own problems we become stuck in a cycle from which we will never emerge. Astrology demonstrates that the problems that we have in our lives begin in our charts, and we are born with those charts before anything happens to us.
This horrific tale falls into a larger tale – the square from Pluto in Capricorn (power and society) to Uranus in Aries (individual liberty). Elliot Rodger left many clues and even announcements about what he intended to do, yet no one intervened. This brings up a larger question about the intersection between our personal liberties (Uranus in Aries) and the need for society to stop crime before it happens (Pluto in Capricorn). At what point does this take us into a “Minority Report” kind of world, where a pre-crime unit seeks out individuals who could potentially commit a crime?
I tend to see this kind of event as a canary in the coal mine. What is happening to our young people as families disintegrate? When I was young I was the only kid in my class from a “broken home” – now it is the norm. Parents remarry, have new children, leaving their older kids out in the cold. These events serve as more than just warnings about the use of guns in our society – they are warnings about our society itself and the mental health of our young people. While it’s true that Elliot Rodger was in some ways an isolated instance, the number of mass shootings continues to increase at an alarming rate.
While it’s true that limiting access to guns could stem the tide, the message is clear: our human culture is severely troubled and needs healing.