Courage under fire

Every Australian knows the story of Simpson’s donkeys; it’s ANZAC folklore.  One donkey in particular, Murphy received a posthumous RSPCA purple cross for ferrying wounded from the Gallipoli battlefield in WWI.

sarbiThere is only one other military animal that has received this award in Australia; a black Labrador-Newfoundland cross; Sarbi. She earned her purple cross in Afghanistan and lived to tell the tale.

Sarbi is a little grey around the muzzle these days, but then we would be too if we’d been through what she has.

I checked in with the defence forces this week sending a cheerio from us all to our brave Special Forces Explosive Detection dog and this is the reply:

“EDD Private Sarbi is having a great retirement and is entirely and rightly spoiled for her great service.”

There is another soldier who earned a special award during the same battle in Afghanistan – SAS Trooper Mark Donaldson, recipient of the Victoria Cross for Australia.  The Aussie VC is the highest military decoration awarded to the men and women of our defence forces. More than forty years had passed since the last VC had been pinned on one of our own.

Sarbi and Mark served in Uruzgan Province, Afghanistan and earned their medals while on patrol on 2nd September 2008; both heroic, under enemy fire at the same battle. Unfortunately Sarbi was not able to be rescued at the time, due to circumstances beyond her handler’s control.  Searches came up empty; Sarbi was reported missing in action.

afghan_bannerFollowing many adventures on her own in the desert of Afghanistan for more than a year; MIA, Sarbi was eventually located and returned to base with the help of US Special Forces.  She came home to Australia after some well-earned R&R in quarantine and served out her career in more peaceful surrounds.

Corporal Mark Gregor Strang Donaldson meanwhile continued to serve his country and still does, however his parents were not there to share his proud moment with the Governor General; receiving his VC. Both parents had died when Mark was a teenager.

His father, Vietnam veteran Gregor Donaldson died in his forties of natural causes, but when I read that Mark’s widowed mother had disappeared from her son’s life under tragic circumstances, my FA hat went very firmly on my head. Bernadette Donaldson disappeared just five days after Anzac Day, 1998.  Police believed that she had met with foul play.

Mark had left home by this time, celebrating his 19th birthday just weeks earlier and a phone conversation with his mum.  He was living in Sydney.  All was well and there was no cause for alarm.

Digging a little deeper, we find that there was a person of interest in Bernadette Donaldson’s disappearance; a rejected suitor and apparent stalker, Christopher William Watt. My ears are pricked immediately, or as our American friends would say; my hinky meter was going off.

The further I went with research, the map gradually unfolded. With the help of Wedgetailegal, we’ve been able to obtain some birth data in order to undertake an enquiry into the disappearance of Bernadette Louise Donaldson.

We know that this person of interest, Christopher Watt was a widower.  His wife had apparently committed suicide in 1996, leaving him with a teenage son, Jon; a month younger than Mark Donaldson.

Initially we can understand that Christopher Watt and Bernadette Donaldson would have had some things in common, living in rural NSW; she worked at the local council offices and he, the local credit union.  But bonding on wounds (eg loss of a partner) is only ever temporary and not a healthy start to any personal relationship.

Bernadette rejected Christopher Watt’s advances, however he wasn’t going to take ‘no’ for an answer.  He had ‘invested too much already’, he told friends.  His attention escalated; becoming a stalker.

  • On 24th March 1998, Christopher Watt’s life went off the rails. His son was involved in a single-vehicle car accident with the teenager taken to hospital; then transferred to Brisbane with spinal injuries.
  • The following month; 30th April, Bernadette Donaldson prepared to travel to the Gold Coast on vacation, her bags packed and ready in the garage.  She had friends other than Christopher Watt, whom she was planning to holiday with.

Bernadette Donaldson didn’t get to go on holidays and was never seen again; her luggage remained in the garage.  The alarm was raised quickly, but as it turns out the cosmic plan unfolded too quickly for Christopher Watt to be apprehended or interviewed by police.

  • Bernadette Donaldson disappeared on Thursday. The following day was Jon Watt’s 19th birthday and Christopher Watt had left the area to visit his son who remained in a Brisbane hospital.  Jon Watt had been left permanently injured; at nineteen, a paraplegic.
  • Less than 24 hours later and still in Brisbane, Christopher Watt committed suicide in the parking lot of a Returned-Serviceman’s League Club; an RSL car-park.  Note here: Christopher Watt was not a veteran, according to our research.

Christopher Watt left a note, without any mention of Bernadette Donaldson.

“What’s the point,” he is alleged to have written.

We started this enquiry with one event, which I thought we may not be able to do too much with as we lacked an event time and now we have a series of events; four in all – two suicides, a disappearance (which turned out to be a murder) and a single-vehicle car accident.   Time to open our toolkit, I reckon.

Forensic astrology is a pseudo-science and is not accepted in a court of law.  Planetary positions on two different occasions allow us to compare the tension in the charts – methodology.  It will likely reveal excessive emotional responses by individuals.  We then use classic astrology interpretation to reveal a story.

Originally an inquest into the disappearance of Bernadette Louise Donaldson left an open verdict, however advancements in DNA testing technology by 2009 provided the evidence needed for Christopher Watt to be deemed responsible for injuries causing the death of Bernadette Louise Donaldson; murder in our parlance.  We have a perpetrator.

Note: As we don’t have an event time for the disappearance of Bernadette Donaldson we are not likely to get a locator angle from a bi-wheel, nor be able to attempt to find her remains.  This post can instead, serve to be an example for astrology research.

CWGenerating a natal chart for Christopher William Watt, note that we do not have a time of birth.  This chart is a Sunrise time of birth on the day that Christopher Watt was born.

We don’t need a time of birth; angles or houses to suggest that Christopher Watt was, in astrological terms, delusional his entire life.

  • Born with Sun (orange) exact conjunct Neptune (turquoise) AND Mercury (yellow) all three planets at 19° Libra.

Sun=self + Neptune=illusion + Mercury=communication + 19°=somebody else + Libra=society.  We have a man who is delusional about his place in society and communicates as much.  Narcissistic tendencies are prevalent –  ‘self-involved’ plus ‘over-value of self-worth’.

  • Moon (blue) range is 01°-14° Aries.

Moon in Aries is someone who needs to be Numero Uno; #1 in the needs department. This man was not going to accept any competition in the romance stakes.

His Sun would be in a strong position for the ego to satisfy the driving need of the Moon, so I’m favouring the 1st house; a dominant personality. This will suffice for our exercise.

The Moon is keeping company with Jupiter over the entire 24 hours of the date of his birth, inflating this man’s needs, even as a small child.  If he were to have been born in the morning, the need would be uppermost (Moon rising first).  If he were born in the afternoon or evening the inflation (Jupiter rising first) would dominate the needs.

Mark Donaldson described Watt as ‘a weasel’ and so I would suggest that the Moon rises first; a morning birth. Either way, with Jupiter and the Moon in Aries, I suggest that this man is potentially violent; his personal needs and driving force highly inflated.

With this Sunrise chart we have the following aspects in play that make up the character of the person:

  • Moon-Jupiter in the 6th house (work ethic) hold the handle of the fan, directing his life.
  • Moon is also quindecile the stellium at the ascendant – obsessively self-interested.
  • This man gives little affection (empty 5th) and expects everything – stellium in the 11th.
  • Lunar nodal axis conjunct Venus (pink) – this man has serious issues with women and we could even suggest that with the South Node (karma) conjunct Venus; this attitude will be his undoing. 
  • Uranus at the MC reveals an extreme individualist, resisting parents, teachers; rebellious.
  • The 12th house reveals how the mind-trap works. Saturn (authority) is cold and authoritative.

In order to explore the stage of his ‘evolution; where he is at in his life cycle, we generate a Solar Arc bi-wheel at the time of these traumatic events in 1998.

  • On the date Christopher Watt was born, Pluto was at 21°Leo and by the time of his suicide, Pluto had progressed by Solar Arc (~one degree per year) to exact conjunct natal Saturn 07°Libra and opposite natal Jupiter 07°Aries – inflated power meets the grim reaper.

His personal sense of authority (Saturn) was at its peak.  I would suggest that he would have created authoritative problems in his workplace as well as his private life.  Not a pleasant experience for those around him.

  • Natal Lunar nodal axis had also progressed to 26°Aries, a point of concern, once we consider the transiting planets – Saturn in the heavens was at 25°Aries.
  • Natal Sun-Mercury (his nature and voice) had progressed to 06°Sagittarius, a further point of concern – transiting Pluto was at 7°Sagittarius.

These aspects reveal power and control issues especially in relation to women with Venus in the mix, however there is no reason for madness here.  I would suggest that as Uranus has not progressed to tip this man over the edge, it is more a case of inner rage and self-interest that drove his actions.

Note:   There is a primary rule when we use progression astrology in analysis.  “Tension created in a progressed chart cannot be interpreted as a stand-alone event. It is always the evolution of the native.”

CW-eventDonaldsonWith this golden rule in mind, we are compelled to generate a bi-wheel and consider the transiting planets and Christopher Watt’s natal chart.  Once again we view from the perspective of the man.

Standing in his shoes, we turn our faces to the heavens; the outer wheel.  I have little interest in his suicide and would much rather give the victim a voice here, so the inner wheel is his natal chart and the outer wheel is the date that he murdered Bernadette Donaldson.

The primary ruling aspect in this bi-wheel is transiting Saturn-Mercury in the outer wheel.  This is not a rare occurrence as Mercury is the closest planet to the Sun with a brief, but sharp orbit of any natal planet.  Like a voice, the messenger (Mercury) can be a slap across the face, or a gentle whisper in the ear.

  • On the day that Bernadette Donaldson was murdered, the midpoint of Mercury-Saturn opposed Christopher Watt’s natal mix of Sun-Mercury-Neptune; a mirror held up to his self-delusion; a slap in the face.
  • Transiting Mercury (yellow in the outer wheel) square natal Uranus – sudden changes in communication; uncontrollable rage.
  • Transiting Lunar nodal axis conjunct natal lunar nodal axis – heightening the trauma of the event.

peaceHow Mark’s mother tolerated this man, even as a friend, is almost beyond comprehension, however when I check her natal chart she is what we call in psychology – the Dove; equally courageous under fire.

May your soul rest in peace Bernadette Donaldson, your son has done you proud and I’m sure Sarbi would agree.  I’m just sorry we couldn’t help to find your mortal remains.



Published by

Mountain Misst

navel gazer

2 thoughts on “Courage under fire”

  1. Thank you MM.
    God bless Bernadette and Sarbi. No doubt a proud mother’s spirit and love was with her son that day in Uruzgan, manifest in a beautiful female labrador.
    Pray the family will one day be able to lay their mother to rest beside her husband.


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