The Washington Snipers

As I sit down to write this article – October 24th 2002 – two suspects have been arrested for the murderous sniper attacks in the Washington area over the past three weeks. According to CNN, sources identified the two as John Allen Muhammad, 42, a Gulf War veteran and his 17-year-old stepson John Lee Malvo, a Jamaican citizen. As I was about to attempt to predict who was responsible for these killings, I may now have been spared the possible embarrassment of getting it wrong.

Finding Perpetrators through Astrology

See chart for the first sniper attack

Whilst there is, as I write, no confirmation that these arrested men are responsible – I believe the likelihood is very strong. Looking at the chart for the first killing attributed to the sniper, it tells an amazing story, raising the possibility that astrology really can be useful in this kind of case. As each of the thirteen attacks is timed to the minute, very accurate charts can be made. The first sniper victim to die was James Martin, 55, a white man who was killed in a car park in Wheaton, Montgomery county, and the horoscope for this unhappy event can be treated as a personality profile of the killer. The first thing that struck me about this chart was that there were probably two people involved. There are a number of ways of interpreting this event chart, but in some ways it speaks for itself, and there is no need to agonise too much about which planet represents the killer. With Mars at 21.50 Virgo exactly on the Descendant, there is a clear picture of an experienced marksman – the perfectionism and planning of Virgo combined with the murderous signature of the Mars/Saturn square.

The Signature of Murder

Mars/Saturn aspects are often apparent when there is murder – far more so than when Mars configures with outer planets like Neptune, Uranus and Pluto, which are often more connected to the destructive forces of the collective. For example Mars was at 5 degrees Scorpio opposition Saturn at 5 degrees Taurus at the Columbine school massacre which killed 15 people on April 21, 1999. (Hitler’s birthday). On April 26, 2002, 18 students and teachers were massacred in Erfurt , Germany, by an expelled student. At this time Mars was 8 Gemini conjoining Saturn.

The Spotter

What is interesting about the sniper chart is the extraordinary role of Mercury. The close proximity of shooter Mars to Mercury always suggested to me that two people worked together. Professionally snipers often operate with a spotter, and from a practical point of view it is useful for someone to be on watch, as the sniper concentrates on his weapon. Mercury is the spotter. Mercury, which rules Virgo, knows the territory, whilst Mars knows the gun.

The Relationship

So what is the relationship between Mars and Mercury? In actually fact, Mercury has just entered Virgo, having gone retrograde at 13.12 Libra. At the height of the killings Mercury remained stationary at 29 Virgo in constant square to Saturn at 29 Gemini for a period of nine days. On the one hand this Mercury/Saturn aspect shows a very frustrated person, and on the other a very patient and meticulous person. If it turns out that John Allen Muhammad and his companion John Lee Malvo are guilty, then Malvo will be Mercury. Why? First of all he is 17, probably having recently left school. [Late-breaking news as I write shows that a sniper’s rifle was discovered in their car, so their guilt seems rather obvious.] The Mercury/Saturn signature shows a very frustrated student. Secondly he is a Jamaican citizen, and the straddling of the sign cusp Libra/Virgo suggests dual nationality, or someone who has just arrived from another country. And Muhammad is most likely to be Mars, as he is the Gulf war veteran. Mercury in Virgo may be an apprentice to Mars, and I would not be surprised if the young accomplice carried out some of the short-range killings.


Whilst Mercury dwelled at 29 Virgo, Mars moved up through Virgo finally squaring Saturn. Interestingly Mercury and Mars did not meet, but they both squared Saturn, in what is a classic case of “Collection of Light”. In other words Saturn is the bond between Mercury and Mars. Mercury retrogrades to leave its imprint on, or get imprinted by Saturn, and later Mars comes up and picks up the imprint, or message. This could mean a lot of things, but one possibility is that both Mercury and Mars, Malvo and Muhammad, are related to a third party. As it is a square aspect, then hatred of authorities might be the bond that unites.

Al Qaeda

Earlier there was considerable speculation that al Qaeda were involved, and I personally felt this could have been the case. One scenario I had considered was that Mars was the sniper, who was reasonably integrated into the community. Mercury was the organiser, disposing of the both Mars and Mercury, as ruler of Gemini and Virgo. Mercury retrogrades into Virgo to deliver instructions to Mars at the Saturn “collection” point, but they never actually meet. One reason I thought of al Qaeda was that Mercury had reached 13 Libra before retrograding. On September 11, 2001, Mercury was at 14 Libra, so there seemed to be a connection between the World Trade Centre attack and the sniper. There are other connections two. At the time of the first sniper shooting, the Moon was at 19 degrees Leo. This is the position of that famous August 1999 “Nostradamus” eclipse, and at the WTC attack, this was the position of Venus. Also Mercury trined Saturn in the 9th at the time of the WTC attack, and I have always associated this Saturn with the “foreign mastermind”.

The Mercury Loop

Mercury retrograde cycles are so strange. At the time of the World Trade Centre attack Mercury was at 14.17 Libra, and went up to 29.41 Libra to go retrograde, returning to go direct at exactly the same spot – 14.12 Libra. (This is the degree of the US Saturn in the 10th house, which represents Congress.) Curiously Bush was elected when Mercury was stationary direct at 29.56 Libra just 10 months before. With the sniper attack Mercury nearly touches the WTC Mercury, then goes direct at 29 Virgo. And in August 2003 Mercury will retrograde at 26 Virgo going direct at 12 Virgo, taking the energy on. There may be some curious connection with the sniper murders at this time. I doubt that Muhammad is an agent of al Quaeda because the Mercury/Mars square Saturn seems to more of a personal grudge, rather than a collective one. However, Muhammad converted to Islam 17 years previously and actually changed his name to Muhammad just one year ago. I am sure that he was able to carry out the killings in such a cold-blooded way because he at least identified himself with oppressed Muslims, and this formed an inner justification for what he did.

The Snipers and the US chart

It is worth noting the strong connections with the sniper attack and the US (Sibley) chart. The romanticisation of forearms in the American cowboy myth, and via Hollywood is definitely related to the Mars/Neptune square in the US chart. Indeed, the Descendant of the sniper attack chart is 22 degrees Virgo, exactly on US Neptune, and the attack occurred as Mars reached this point, exactly squaring US Mars at 21.23 Gemini. It is during the period of the sniper attacks that Saturn reaches 29.05 Gemini to go retrograde until February 22, 2003 at 22.08 Gemini, exactly on US Mars and squaring US Neptune.

Weapons Control

Obviously there are lessons to be learned. A Saturn conjunction to Mars can be very useful for weapons control, and it only comes along every 30 years. With 200 million firearms in circulation in the US, legislation to restrict access to guns would seem overdue. Anyone over 18 can buy a gun, and at the so-called “private” booths at gun shows, no background checks are made on customers. Over 10,000 people are murdered with firearms each year in the US, (Note 1) but actually large numbers of people also die through accidents with their own weapons. One might think that the arguments are clear, but actually the latest legislation regarding guns is the Brady Law, name after Ronald Reagan’s press secretary who was crippled in a failed assassination attempt on Reagan. It took 7 years to get the legislation through congress and all it achieved was to make a background check of customers obligatory – and this does not apply at gun shows.


See chart for NRA

The main opponent of gun laws is the National Rifle Association, which was founded on November 17th 1871 to improve marksmanship amongst young people. (Note 2). The foundation chart, shown as a solar chart for 12 p.m., is an education in itself. The NRA’s slogan is the 2nd amendment “The right to bear arms shall not be infringed”, and this concern with rights is probably reflected by the Jupiter/Uranus conjunction. However, note the extremely strong Mars/Saturn conjunction in Capricorn (square Venus), and the Sun in Scorpio opposition Pluto, which is semi- and sesquisquare the Mars/Saturn… quite a murderous combination. It’s easy to see why the NRA is so strongly rooted in the American psyche – the North Node at 22 Gemini is right on the US Mars and square its Neptune. As a final comment on this chart, it is interesting to see that Venus looks quite peaceful at 9 Libra. Yet this is the position of Vindemiatrix – the star of Widowhood, so it’s appropriate that Venus is square the Mars/Saturn conjunction. 10,000 deaths a year is a lot of widows and widowers, and Muhammad and Malvo managed to add more to that number. Perhaps that is why the Sun in the first sniper shooting is exactly on this degree – 9.32 Libra.

Adrian Duncan. October 24, 2002

(Note 1) See
(Note 2).See National Rifle Association’s home page:



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