Pluto in Capricorn square Uranus in Aries are acting as catalysts for so many world events — revolution, financial & political revolt, toxins rising to the surface of political regimes and financial markets. Collectively and personally this is exciting longstanding karmas to erupt and such is the case for Amanda Knox who, after 3 years internment in an Italian prison, was found not guilty just yesterday. With Libra planets circulating in the sky, and given the botched DNA evidence (and given that an unrelated man, Rudy Guede, has already been convicted for Meredith Kercher’s murder and is now serving a 16 year sentence for Kercher’s death), I, like many, were hoping that in the face of corruption Justice would prevail; hoping because, with Pluto lurking around every corner, it’s hard to know if instead corruption will prevail.
So when I heard the news, I got curious. Given that I had just done a slew of charts for clients for whom “the karmic wave is breaking…” (when outer planet transits trigger the nodal configuration, ie, our past life karma, the “karmic wave breaks”) I wasn’t curious so much about her guilt or innocence, but about her past-life karma; after all, a murder trial is not something a typical unconscious 18 year old faces in a lifetime. I also wondered something I often ask myself about the usefulness of astrology consultations: Had she been my client years ago, before that fated trip to Italy, could I have said anything to her that would have been helpful?
Amanda has what we call an ‘afflicted’ chart. At first glance, frankly it’s no more difficult than many others’ charts- others who are not accused of murder- that is, until you examine her nodal structure within the context of her current natal chart. In Evolutionary Astrology we call this chart, which revolves around the invisible point called the South Node, ‘the chart behind the chart‘. Practically, this means if Amanda had wanted an astrology reading and I talked about the pitfalls of being a 2nd House Cancer Sun born with a Sag Moon in 7th, etc. it would have been technically correct. However, within the context of the nodal structure, the same”ego insecurity” and “naive enthusiasm slash bad judgement in relationship” are…understatements of the decade.
As you’d suspect, Amanda came into the world with heaps of relationship karma. Libra South Node describes someone who is skilled at the arts of compromise, diplomacy and tact, so skilled that it would be very easy to become opaque, to give power to other partners. And through sheer involvement with so many past partners, a Libra South Node would easily get that ‘old familiar feeling…’ of soul kinship and easily fall into relationship again. In the Fifth House, this goes double. The Fifth House is the house of shared karma, and among other things, love affairs. A Fifth House Libra South Node describes not only a habit or karmic tendency to be swayed by relationship, but also for living in the moment and a potential addiction to fun & romance (pictures of Knox partying surfaced, the press described her as a party girl). This is all informed by the ruler of the South Node, a sweet as a pea Venus in Cancer in the Second House. Venus in Cancer is easily swept away by romance- and on the shadow side, can be childlike dependency on others; a second house Venus has charming vulnerability at best, and at worst terribly shaky self-worth. The plot thickens with Venus, nodal ruler, opposed by Neptune in Scorpio in the Eighth House. Both square the nodes; each are respectively difficult. First, when the nodal ruler squares the node itself, that individual is (as Steven Forrest has said many times) her own worst enemy. Venus ruling and squaring the node would point to major errors in judgment, errors perhaps motivated by insecurity & love of romance & good times, and this would cause her to get caught up in “fun” romantic entanglements.
We now know where that led. With devious Neptune in Scorpio in House Eight square the nodal axis, and all other relationship factors, Amanda was in a weak ego state. As the south node configuration represents Amanda her self in a prior life, with Neptune here it would be incredibly easy to lose herself (again) to a familiar relationship, in drugs & alcohol, in fantasy, frankly in anything and anyone with romantic-fantasy promise. According to Steven Forrest, what was left unresolved was: “A blurred state in the ego-function, leaving the soul wide-open to dangerous influences in the present, and a general loss of momentum, focus, and vision.”
Neptune in Scorpio could also be read as a person, or people. The Italian detective, hellbent on prosecuting her without evidence? An entire nation painting Amanda as a drug addicted and sex game She-Devil?* Very ‘open-enemy’ Seventh House Neptune in Scorpio. It’s ironic that given the above symbolism, even these accusations have a twisted rightness to them. Which brings up another equally valid point of discussion. She was treated unfairly; but is she the victim? Let’s not lose sight that this is Amanda’s karma, and while she may have been victimized by the shoddy and corrupt Italian Justice system and lost three years of her life, ultimately there are no victims. We are each the drivers of our choices, and without standing in her shoes, we’d have no idea what her soul was learning from this whole experience. But since we know astrology we can make an educated guess…
The story gets clearer, and weirder, when you look to the North Node. It’s in Aries, of course, and in the Eleventh House. The ‘get out of jail free card’ we’ve come to call the North Node is in the sign of the Warrior — or the defender/defendant. The only way out of this South Node mess is through Aries means (by standing up for oneself, standing apart, taking charge of one’s own life) in the Eleventh House — which involves learning to think effectively & strategically -and- learning to be discerning about the people one spends time with. Of course she’d have to pay the piper with Neptune and Venus square the Nodes–which she has. But through this ordeal & trial she’s been given the opportunity to tap a new part of her self. In other words, in as much as she’s likely repeated a heinous past-life karma, and the toll has been pricey for all involved, it has also given Amanda Knox an opportunity for tremendous evolutionary momentum in this life: To finally make her own choices; to stand alone by taking the consequences, and to defend those choices. To learn how to choose the right ‘friends’. That’s the beauty of Evolutionary Astrology –life’s challenges are ultimately neutral; we are always just growing.
Had Amanda come to me for an in-depth reading, I would’ve outlined the real dangers of poor judgment, of falling in with the wrong crowd, and warned her about her tendency to be pulled by romantic fantasy, like a sheep being led to a nightmarish slaughter. Within the context of her habitual allure for passivity & romantic fantasy, I would’ve spoke to the importance of courageously walking in her own shoes. I may’ve even told her a dramatic, but at that point fictional, ‘past life story’.
But had she known this information it may not have made a difference in guiding Amanda’s choices or ‘stopping’ that karma from playing out. And now, as Pluto currently squares her nodal axis and the karmic wave breaks anew, she’s been given a second lease on this life. The more charts I read, the more I see spiritual situations like Amanda’s: on one side of the coin it’s easy to judge ours (or another’s) karma as bad, difficult, or morally reprehensible, and on the other side, I understand that it’s only through passing through the eye of our karmic needle, that our client, or our self, gets out of jail…and discovers true freedom. Life’s spiritual lessons remain ambiguous. I’ve come to see the nodal story as a useful ‘why’ behind the chart every person has, and I try to give them fair warning, but I’ve stopped judging the moral of the story…good or bad. It just is.
*For more backstory on the Amanda Knox trial see Timothy Egan’s NYTimes piece: An Innocent Abroad.