The Case of the Occultation
by Eric Francis

Above: Astrological figure set for 9:20 a.m., July 18, 2003 in Abingdon, UK, the time that newspapers reported David Kelly's body was found. Chart cast in Io Edition using Placidus houses. Asteroids not included. Houses are the innermost spokes (not the crazy design in the center), beginning with the dark exactly horizontal line on the left, which is the ascendant and which splits the sign Virgo at 8 degrees and 33 minutes (the number on the left). Houses start with the wedge beneath the ascendant (which is the first house) and are counted anticlockwise. Mars, in the 7th house, is in the first wedge above the western horizon. Astrological glyph key here.

Dr. David Kelly: The Case of the Occultation

By Eric Francis

WHEN DAVID KELLY turned up dead, it seemed obvious to check the astrology to see if it offered a clue as to his fate. [Additional Planet Waves coverage here and here.]

Dr. Kelly was at the centre of a row over whether the government had used 'flimsy intelligence'. All intelligence used to support dossiers is supposed to come from at least two sources. In this case, the 'Iraq can launch an attack in 45 minutes' notion had only come from one source. In Dr. Kelly's thinking this was a very shaky source, and the Intelligence Service felt the same way.

When an event happens, it's not necessary to have the birth data of the individuals involved to read the astrology. Instead, what one checks are key times associated with the event. This is a branch of something called horary astrology, "the study of the hour."

I began my research looking at three charts: the chart for when he went out for a walk at 3 p.m. on July 17; the chart for when his wife reported him missing at 11:45 p.m. that same evening; and the chart for when his body was found, first reported as 9:20 a.m. the next morning*. (All charts are for Abingdon, UK, set for GMD.) This third chart is the one that initially got my attention. From the standpoint of horary, it's probably the strongest event to use because it's the one where something was determined for certain: that Kelly was dead. (The other charts are, however, very interesting too.)

Note that in interpreting these charts, I'll use both the traditional rulerships here and, when necessary, the modern planets Uranus, Neptune, Pluto and Chiron. But I'll be leaving out the minor planets (Centaurs, asteroids and so on). Horary is just easier, and easier to follow the rules of, when you use fewer planets. It depends heavily upon the concept of rulership, which does not apply to Centaurs, asteroids or the discoveries beyond Pluto. The formal rules don't even account for Chiron thru Pluto (the 'modern planets') because the rules are older than those planets, or rather existed before their discovery. Anyone who uses modern planets in horary is fudging the rules a little, but that's how astrology grows.

Scene of the Crime

The body found chart -- really, the crime scene chart -- has Virgo rising. Pausing for a moment, what does that tell us by itself? Virgo is the sign of science, intellect, and to some degree communications. It has associations with healing and service. It's reserved, sensitive, a bit nervous and extremely intelligent -- all fair representations of someone who was, by all accounts, a decent man working in service of the world.

Next, one looks at the condition of the planet that rules the ascendant, which also represents the subject of the chart. We find Mercury, the ruler of Virgo, on the cusp of the 12th house. It's in the 11th but near enough to the 12th to count for both houses (this is how a house cusp works). The 12th has all kinds of spacy themes and, as a representation of the unmanifest world or of heaven, is a fair enough picture of a dead person. (The 8th rules death itself, and hence the entire question of this chart, but the 12th tends to be where we often find people who have gone through the process.) Mercury is just outside that house, where we can 'see it'. David Kelly was actually found and the world heard that he was dead; he was still a member of the community (11th) but close to the 12th. Good image. That's what we're looking for -- images that work.

Horary astrology (as is natal in many respects) is an exercise in if the shoe fits, wear it. It is going through these ordinary machinations and seeking simple images that the mystery of these charts starts to emerge.

Next scenario, same chart. Pisces rules the 7th house of open enemies and the 8th house of death, since Pisces touches both of those house cusps. The 8th is our question: how did Dr. Kelly die? The traditional or first ruler of Pisces is Jupiter; looking for Jupiter, we find Jupiter in the 12th house, the house of hidden enemies. Jupiter is usually considered a 'benefic' planet and in Leo, that's plausible -- or we could say that Jupiter in Leo has a kind of regal feeling. He could, reasonably, represent the king or a kingdom, hiding behind the scenes. In the 12th, any planet can represent a covert enemy, which is one theme of that house, or it can represent an overwhelming institution, another 12th house theme.

Fair enough to say that this regal entity was both a covert enemy and an open enemy of Dr. Kelly, though he was part of it as a microbiologist working for the government. Here, the government comes up as 'friend' and 'protector' -- Jupiter in Leo -- and as hidden enemy -- something in the 12th house. (One of horary's gifts is revealing these double roles that we so like to pretend do not exist in life.)

One of the first things you can do with a horary chart is take these two planets, which are called 'significators', and simply see what their astrological relationship is. If they have a weak relationship or no relationship, you factor that into the judgment of the chart. If they have a strong or interesting relationship, you factor that. Here is what we get using this test.

We are talking about Mercury and Jupiter. Both planets are in Leo. Jupiter is
comfortable in Leo, and Mercury, coming from introverted Virgo, feels rather out of place in the limelight and drama. Mercury is earlier in Leo and advancing on Jupiter and will soon make a conjunction -- but not that soon. That is a forthcoming meeting or imminent connection. The thing is that the meeting is about to happen. At the point of the chart's casting, the world already knows that Dave Kelly is gone. So you might say it represented a state of potential in his life, and for that matter, the life of the king (or Prime Minister). Not necessarily a bad thing, not necessarily good, just a potential. So we need to look elsewhere for clues.

Mars offers us a big one. Mars is sitting on the descendent, that is, setting on the horizon -- this is supposedly a really big deal. And, frankly, it's a little menacing. (Both Clinton and Bush were inaugurated with Mars on the horizon, foreboding embattled presidencies for both.) All the more so because of two factors. One, Mars was at that time about to go retrograde (properly said, it is in the process of 'stationing retrograde').

Whatever person, theme or issue that stationing planet represents is going to change directions, turn around, reverse itself, make a decision, something like that. (Planetary stations are fairly rare, and they are very, very helpful indicators in horary when they do turn up.) But it's there looking straight at Dr. Kelly; it clearly represents something he met -- or perceived. We are talking about the Mars in Pisces phenomenon of illusion (which illusion is ruled by that illusory quality of Pisces). So whether he perceived it or whether it was actually there, it affected him and he very likely responded to it. That particular perception may or may not have been 'real'. In other words, it could represent a lot of fear (partly because we see Scorpio in the 3rd house of his own thoughts, and Mars rules Scorpio).

The Occultation

Now, the second thing about Mars is a little more weird. The previous day, the Moon made what is called an 'occultation' to Mars -- a very precise conjunction in which the Moon actually eclipses Mars (rather than just goes past it like in an ordinary conjunction). That is rare and ominous (and, incidentally, not indicated in all ephemerides -- which is why every astrologer needs to have a copy of the current Raphael's handy. The occultation represents Dr. Kelly's ordeal the previous few days, under government interrogation. It also represents his power over his aggressors, since the Moon makes the occultation and Mars is eclipsed. Whatever the power analysis, the Moon making such a direct run-in is not going to be feeling so good. In any horary chart the Moon is the 'secondary significator' for the main subject of the chart. It too represents Kelly and all the more so because the imagery of that occultation is such an appropriate theme for these events. And, though I don't factor it into this analysis, the Moon represents the public.

In horary, the rules are very concerned about exactly what happens next. Usually the Moon does something, since it moves rather fast. The Moon's next aspect in this chart is that it sextiles and trines the lunar nodes. No, it trines the Sun and then it trines the lunar nodes. Either is a fair representation of becoming famous; in this chart we have both and heck, Kelly became famous and what he had revealed had become notched in history.

Here's my take. In either case, suicide or murder, Kelly was driven to his death by what he called "dark actors playing games" in an email to a New York Times writer that afternoon, and by the vicious government interrogation process which wiped him out emotionally. That's a form of murder. But this chart, to me, likely suggests that he actually did it himself, in part because the 1st and 7th rulers have not met yet. What he has met is his own fear (in the form of Mars on the 7th), legitimate though it was.

There are chart factors that point to murder, and that tricky Mars on the 7th house is not necessarily such an honest or obvious indicator. That Mars could indicate a person, not just a fear. It is a rather chilling image of "dark actors playing games." It also happens to originate in the 9th house (where we find Aries, also ruled by Mars) -- the church and the ministry -- and the house of foreign affairs. In the UK, the USA is a foreign affair. So Mars could represent some image of US involvement in this chart and its event. And in the 7th, it's an open enemy and it's rarely any kind of good omen to have that show up in that position in horary. (Note that both Clinton and Bush were inauguated with Mars on the 7th house cusp.)

But at least we see the enemy! Mars as ruler of the 9th rather than just the 3rd is a case of double signification and makes the strongest case for an actor -- a murderer -- than anything else.

Going back to Mercury, the ascendant ruler and the first significator for Dr. Kelly, one pretty interesting thing that happens is that in a few days after this chart's time, Mercury opposes Neptune. This is a pretty good image for the way that a) Kelly became a famous television figure again, though b) since it was Neptune, there's the chance for delusion or deception about him on some level. At the very least, Mercury opposing Neptune represents confusion and media distortion -- Mercury opposite Neptune is not exactly sharp as a tack and it's not exactly a research documentary. It's slippery and overwhelming.

So where does that leave us? I would say the evidence is not conclusive either way, but one thing is certain: any of the obvious possibilities is potentially real. He certainly could have been murdered, and he could have 'killed himself' -- and the bottom line is there is no difference. The inquisition to which Kelly was subjected pushed him too hard and this was done intentionally as an intimidation tactic or punishment.

One last observation. In the chart for Dr. Kelly leaving his house (below, at 3 p.m. the previous afternoon), there is an interesting confoguration. I meant configuration, but let's leave the fog and include Neptune in the discussion.

The Moon's last aspect was the occultation to Mars about six hours present. The Moon's next aspect is a sextile to Chiron. Then a trine to Venus. In the current aspect, the Moon is making a semisextile to Neptune. They are exactly one sign apart. They are part of a transition and most definitely mixed in with one another. After these aspects, the Moon then squares Pluto. That's got a bit of a death-like feeling to it, in this case, turning out to be literal.

But the trine. The Moon sextiles and trines the opposition of Chiron and Venus. That maneuver releases energy using the Moon as a flow point. Trines are all about flow. What flows? Well, let's see. Astrologer-mystic (and Chiron specialist) Barbara Hand Clow suggests there is some deep-seated fear in a Venus to Chiron opposition, what she calls 'catastrophobia'.

Only these days it's not such a phobia. ++

Additional research: Tracy Delaney in the UK, Kirsti Melto in Finland, Elle McKenzy in Spain.

[*I'm aware that a revised time was published in some newspapers for the finding of David Kelly's body, but I'm not trusting it. I am following the well-tested horary rule that allows the astrologer to use the 'stated time' of an event, even if it's not technically accurate.The statement of a time is the statement of a chart. With the UK in particular, I'm leery of when the government changes the times of things, since astrology permeates the culture from the pubs to the Queen.]

Above, astrological figure for when David Kelly leaves his house for a walk, at about 3 in the afternoon of July 17, 2003, Abingdon UK. Note the Moon-Mars occultation in the 4th house, the sextile to Chiron in Capricorn, the coming trine to Venus in Cancer, and the somewhat frightening square of the Moon to Pluto, which happens last. In horary, you follow the aspects of the Moon closely and tell a story.


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