Granting that the tale of the person, company (or whatever) is the whole of any chart, in the prime vertical and horizontal axis lines we can see very important basics.
The vertical axis is composed of the Midheaven or MC (the top of the chart) and the Nadir or IC – the bottom of the chart. This is the internal line – who we think we are on the inside...where we have 'come from' and who we want to ‘grow up to be.’
The horizontal axis being literally the horizon line (Earth revolving into time as the present and past), the Ascendant (the left end - "9 o'clock") is Now: who we are being. The Descendant (the right end - "3 o'clock") is the impression we create – the legacy we leave in our passage or (after death) in our passing.
Because the Earth isn't a nice round ball, these two axes are not always in a perfect, 90-degree square. But the distance between them - large or small? That is pretty much the difference between who we think we are and who we're seen to be.
They're so not always the same thing. And oh, what a sobering thought that is, right? But educational - especially if you're someone who keeps wanting to be one thing and who so consistently gets seen as something else.
Not that you're Jeffrey Dahmer - at least we hope not. For one, if you were Dahmer, you'd be dead. And if you're dead, why are you reading my blog?
(Should I ask you to comment in that case? Oh, decisions, decisions...!)
Back to the point - that being that the distance between who we mean to be and who we are seen to be can get changed. But to change things we have to recognize and reconcile differences which (yes...) we would so often like to think are 'about' or 'in them' but which in reality are in us. To paraphrase someone who was not very happy with this idea, if the problem keeps happening, it really is all about us.
So with this said, off to the chart of Jeffrey Dahmer - a man most people know of as one of the most bizarre serial killers of modern time (making the term 'off' very apt). Appearing to many as a moody, almost shy guy, Dahmer killed male lovers though a variety of gruesome acts...which was apparently his way of trying to keep them from leaving him. It’s a story all the more horrible for being truly pathetic – and universal; his was a need for love expressed in a (literal) stew of bloody violence totally lacking in compassionate recognition of anyone else as a valid human being replete with the right to exist.
Dahmer’s Ascendant is fairly unremarkable expect for being marked by the presence of Arcturus, a fixed star all about doing ‘the different thing.’ We begin to feel a bit of his desperation however, when we think of his Libra Ascendant as being ruled by Venus - Dahmer's Venus being at 22 Taurus in the 8th house.
Venus is notoriously ungraceful in the 8th house. At home in the (opposing) 2nd where (if not afflicted) it manifests through self-worth as an ability/willingness to initiator a profitable exchange known as human ‘give and take.’ But when Venus appears in the (oppositional) 8th we have someone who needs to get from others.
Even more potently, with Dahmer's Venus being in Taurus (native sign of the 2nd) he felt his self worth came from others. Or that through the possessing of others, he would feel his own self worth. He would 'find himself' in others - as many people do with all things 8th house. People with such placements (as sometimes happens with planets in Scorpio, native sign of the 8th)...there is a need to 'achieve self through others.' Dahmer needed input or validation (maybe both) from others to allow him to even begin feeling something about himself in order to then make something of himself, this being maybe a better way of putting the difference between planets in 8 and in Scorpio. The 8th house planet/symbol seeks to understand the self, the Scorpio planet wants to make something of the Self through wherever it happens to be placed (that "department" of life as indicated by the house).
Bottom line, the 8th house is where we interact with others and test our emotional choices and risk ourselves emotionally. It's INTERACTIVE.
So with Dahmer’s Venus conjunct Industria (industriousness), Sabine (forced imprisonment) and Fanny (the behind, literal or figurative), his way of putting his self-worth demons behind him and to work was expressed by taking his lovers captive. And sex of that particularly 'putting it behind me' sort, of course.
(So to speak...)
Just a side comment here, before we get back to specific axis points....In Dahmer’s 8th house was also a Sun at 0 Gemini. That defines him at least at some level as a mental naïf - any symbol at zero of any sign is at an initiation point, however you want to take that. In conjunction with headstrong Phaethon, this Sun speaks to Dahmer's need to keep doing what he was doing despite all: its mental compulsion in an interactive setting.
To this we then add the other asteroid closely present: Charybdis – a sea monster (water=emotion) which says you have to keep trying and trying lest you get eaten up and spit out.
(Yes, I said that.)
The other end of the horizontal axis – the Descendant – of Dahmer’s chart is 19 Aries, a degree known for difficulties often including a ‘dark and fearful life’ which includes an early end (Dahmer was murdered in prison at the age of 34). The solution for conditions expressed in this degree would seem to be compassion but with Dahmer, that apparently was not forthcoming – at least for others, though we can guess his choices were a gigantically convoluted attempt to make himself feel better!
But with the ruler of the Descendant – Mars – in Aries and the 6th conjunct Chaos, the effort was futile in the extreme. Astrologically, Chaos is ‘the void’ the great ‘undefined’ from which comes both the highs of artistic and spiritual inspiration and the total emptiness of fear, grief, loss and helplessness.
As always – this being an important note in astrology – we need to look to the symbol ruling the house to see how all in that house will “behave,” good and bad. With Pisces, the first place we look is (primary) ruler Jupiter. Dahmer’s Jupiter is ill-placed in the 3rd house, telling us his was a mind which cannot be quieted. In Capricorn, we have the indication that he was capable of doing ‘hard things’ and going beyond ‘hard limits,’ which in Dahmer’s case involved murder by skull drilling.
And why SO aberrant?
One explanation given by the chart would be the direct opposition from Jupiter to calculated Lilith. There are two forms of Lilith – the calculated one (which has to do with social/societal morays) and the asteroid Lilith (which has things to do with things in ourselves we don’t approve of). This being the calculated form, we know Dahmer would deny societal ‘rules’ – that ‘hardness’ image in the Capricorn Jupiter would ‘bar’ such things from his thoughts. It wasn't (in other words) hard for him to do at all - that we know from Lilith also being conjunct Betelgeuse, a fixed star about ‘ease of process.’ So we can bet that either Dahmer had little trouble ignoring societal values or that they didn’t really occur to him either way, for good or bad.
So saying, back to that Descendant. The Moon in Dahmer’s chart is exactly conjunct the Descendant. So those dark and fearful feelings are not only what he felt every day of his life, it is what he has left us with as his legacy. In the greatest and karmic sense, that he lived is a lesson to us all.
A very distasteful lesson to be sure, but a lesson nonetheless.
And that’s not all. The Descendant also highlights Icarus: rash actions and, reckless choices. Because the Descendant is not only what we do and how we are seen but about those drawn to us, this also speaks to Dahmer’s victims and why they became his victims. Also present here: Typhon, a TNO (Trans Neptunian Object) all about our most primal states and urges. (Link to article on Typhon.)
These qualities – the naïf, the primal urges, the fear and sadness in Dahmer…they would also be qualities he was drawn to. And that his lovers were drawn and which they possessed at some level - defining the eternal like attracts like of human relationship inevitability. We will attract people who ‘fit,’ emulate or ‘set off’ most of all what we haven’t dealt with (in full) in ourselves.
And while sometimes those qualities are good, often it’s not so good. Why? Because how else is life going to prompt us to do the work we need to do on ourselves?
Ouch. What that says about us as much as a Jeff Dahmer is simply distressing.
Moving on to his vertical axis, it expresses as 23 Capricorn/Cancer – with Cancer at the MC. Cancer being ruled by the Moon and the IC the other point in the chart most known as ‘public recognition’ this surely gives us the picture of someone ultimately known for a chaotic and fearful legacy.
More important maybe…that that’s what Dahmer’s life was. When will we learn that to have such things not happen we have to care about human beings beyond their childhood years?
People say once we’re adults we can’t be changed – at the same time everything in life causes us to evolve. We can’t have it both ways and the truth is that people don’t change maybe because they don’t want to, yes. But probably also because they don’t know how to.
Am I my brother’s keeper? That’s SO very too biblical. How about am I a fellow human? Is it really okay to ignore and desert others out of preference when they're displaying a plaintive need. Aren't the Jeffrey Dahmers and other horrors known to dark histories an example of what comes from just that?
Even worse, when we don’t care about others (or the world) is that US being our own tiny version of the Dahmer who didn't value the lives of other people?
All points appear in all charts.
The foundation of Dahmer's chart (23 Capricorn) is a degree about excesses and difficulties controlling one’s passions. It’s a degree I happen to wrestle with myself in my own chart (no, I'm not a mass murderer!)....plenty of people have plenty of planets at this and other trying degrees. My comment about this one is merely that it's no better uncontrolled than totally controlled – it’s the balance which counts.
And which is hard. But that's a valuable lesson to us all, since all degrees occur in all charts - and considering the number of celestial objects out there, what do you think the chances are that NOTHING is in your chart at 23 Capricorn?
That's right - slim and next to zilch.
Ruled by Saturn, ultimately this is a degree which can only be learned through structured responsibility – which Dahmer evidently has perilously little of. His Saturn is in Capricorn. So Saturn ruled he was: his was a literally and figuratively ‘fearful foundation.’ That this Capricorn Saturn is sitting in a 3rd house tells us it functioned mentally and through his choices – and this is the Saturn ruling the Jupiter involved in that Jupiter/Lilith/Betelgeuse conglomerate.
I’d ask how scary is that except we all now know how scary that turned out to be.
And that this 3rd house had Sagittarius (sign of knowledge) on the cusp with the Sag ruler (Jupiter) in that very 3rd house? This is the snake not just eating its own tail by being consumed by the knowledge that it’s eating its own tail. This is torment and self-torment of a maximal, cognizant form. If you’ve seen any of the filmed interviews with Dahmer, it’s apparent: he knew what he was doing. He knew that it was wrong. He knew he was doing harm. But he simply could not fend off his own mentality.
Do we know that his aims were? That would be told at Dahmer’s MC, where we not only see 23 Cancer, but also Nemesis (a warning often ignored) and Rhadamanthus (dispassionate fair judgment). He wanted someone to stop him. Twenty-three Cancer is degree from Cancer’s third decanate. All third decan degrees are about things we have to put out into the world to see if they work. To see how they work or how to fix them. There is a danger of falling here, but only when like children, we have not been taught to climb.
Again…it’s a busy world. But at what point to business and the preference to pleasure one’s self become harmful? It’s not just parents and its not just Dahmer – it’s all of us.
He’s paid. His victims have paid. His family has paid. Do we all have to pay in our own way too not just for him, but for our own lack of balance?
It's that all points being in all charts which gets me. This doesn't mean that if you have Saturn and Jupiter in Capricorn in your 3rd house that you're going to be like Jeff Dahmer - it's the whole of the chart which counts and charts only repeat every 25, 920 years (even without all the 'new' points being used - the asteroids, TNO's and all that).
But there are no 'perfect' charts. That's one of the first things I ever learned when I started attending lectures with astrologers who had been in the biz for plural decades. And what that means, like the fact that all of these points are in each of our charts is that we all have challenges, some of which are nasty.
It's how we cope with having them which counts. So there we leave it. I go off to continue being me and you go on coping with being you.
And I wish us all well.