SAR had been searching California’s Los Padres National Park for missing Arcadia fireman Mike Herdman for more than a week, so when they received news that Mike’s dog Duke had been found, this would have rallied their spirits. Duke had made his way back to where his master had parked his vehicle at the head of the trail.
Duke was recovered in the parking lot where Mike and his fellow firefighter, Taylor Byars had set off on foot for their hiking/ camping trip. Ventura County Sheriff’s Dept reportedly told the media that SAR teams had caught glimpses of the dog while searching for Herdman, but couldn’t seem to catch him. He shied at the helicopter noise.
The area where Herdman went missing, north of Fillmore, California is considered some of the most rugged and treacherous terrain in the state. His companion, Taylor Byars said that it took him two days to hike out of the remote area and report Herdman’s disappearance to police. According to Taylor Byars, Mike had taken-off, barefoot and ill-equipped, after the dog had unexpectedly left the pair’s campsite on Friday 13th June, 2014.
Note: Five people have been injured in the search efforts alone, including one that was bitten by a rattlesnake, spending time in intensive care, so we know it’s not a place to go running around in shorts, a t-shirt and bare feet. What gets my attention immediately is that this apparent irrational behaviour seems rather ‘out of character’ for two trained firefighters. We raise our first amber flag.
We have been asked to make an astrology enquiry into this disappearance and do so without prejudice. Please note that astrology is subjective in nature and not recognised by the law of the land. We base out enquiry on facts and then generate horary charts to build an enquiry of what we call the ‘H-factor’ – emotive responses by individual natal charts to tension from heavenly bodies at a given point in time. If we can suspend our belief systems for the sake of the exercise, forensic astrology can reveal a story where we use computer generated charts and classic astrology interpretation.
Our first chart is generated at the time of the police report by Taylor Byars of his missing hiking companion, Michael Herdman; creating a bi-wheel – method. The inner wheel is the reported time of the missing person report and the outer wheel is a snapshot of the natal horoscope for Taylor Byars.
As we do not have his time of birth, the chart is generated with a mid-range Moon – a noon-time birth used. This blog is always focused on crime, so we approach interpretation of this man’s bi-wheel as if he is a possible POI in the disappearance of Mike Herdman and we interpret the chart as such.
With the predominance of tension on the LHS of the bi-wheel, we know that Byars is being defensive, when he makes the report. Note: Another flag goes up and the ‘why the need to be defensive’ will no doubt reveal itself through the planetary tension.
- Tr Sun/Moon=3rd house tr Uranus – intensification of communication within a relationship; breakup is the classic interpretation of this midpoint. Apart from the missing person report, we suggest that this would be the seriousness/realisation that Byars had indeed lost communication with Herdman.
- Natal Uranus/Neptune=Ascendant – in need of sympathy (indicative of priority as ‘self’ rather than companion – again we ask, why?)
Note at this point: The men had left their vehicles at the two different trailheads for convenience. Byars left his truck at Tar Creek from where the two men travelled in Herdman’s vehicle to Dough Flat; the point of their departure on foot. This meant that when they completed their hike at Tar Creek, Byars could then drive Herdman back to his vehicle at Dough Flat and they could then return to their respective homes independently of each other.
It wasn’t until the Sunday evening when Byars picked up his own truck at Tar Creek and travelled to Dough Flats that he realised that Mike Herdman had not returned to his vehicle and was indeed missing. Taylor Byars then travelled to the nearest Sheriff’s Dept, Fillmore; arriving at 8:40pm. But back to the interpretation of the chart and we start with the compulsive/obsessional behaviour.
- Tr Lunar nodal axis quindecile natal lunar nodal axis – traumatic event in a public place. Again we are in the 3rd house of communication, filing a missing person report but why the need to be OTT emotionally about it; especially for a career fireman; tension, yes – compulsion, I would not have thought so.
- Tr Sun (orange) in 6th house opposite natal Saturn and Uranus in 12th house – this identifies the date on the calendar as being that of separation, in order to find one’s way.
- Tr Venus (pink) square natal Venus – Venus represents his peer group is the likely interpretation of Venus in this chart. Tension is likely having to report back to his fellow firefighters that their companion is missing. House placement is not sinister.
- Tr Neptune (turquoise) square mid-range natal Moon – bewilderment as to needs priority. Likely in a state of shock.
We do not have the birth data for Mike Herdman as yet, so we continue with Taylor Byars charts to see what we can uncover. The second bi-wheel we can reproduce is at a suggested time of sunset on the Friday evening when Mike Herdman took off chasing his dog. We believe that Byars spent the next 24 hours searching for his companion without success and became disoriented himself, taking two days to get to Tar Creek trailhead with the added guidance of a couple of fishermen.
It appears that standard SAR procedure was not followed by Byars – he went out into the night unaccompanied, for an extended period – up to 24hours we are told; searching for his companion. Despite the bright moon, continuing to search is not the way to go folks. It’s a case of hike out asap along the trail with a light pack, carrying water; then report. There are never recriminations for a false alarm. If nothing else comes from this case, we can all learn that much.
At first I thought Taylor Byars must be inexperienced in the outdoors, however on checking his social media pages, that is not the case. How many flags does that make now? But I don’t have to beat him, he’s likely suffering enough with survivor guilt.
The evening of 13th June was the night after a full moon, with sunset at approximately 7:55pm. This places the transiting Sun (orange) at the descendant, when we generate a chart at sunset. It’s an astrological fact.
The transiting Sun/Moon is the primary midpoint, main focus in any chart. This bi-wheel has this man Taylor Byars as the main focus at this time of just on 8pm. He would have been the main focus for most of the day; at least the afternoon. This is a flag to consider, in itself.
The interaction between transiting Moon and natal Neptune in the 1st house is driving this bi-wheel; personal needs, heightened emotions – we have to consider the possibility of drugs in the mix at this point.
- Apart from the transiting Nodal axis quindecile – traumatic event in a public place -we also have further multiple quindecile aspects and irrational behaviour present with the transiting Sun (orange) in the inner wheel at the cusp of the descendant/7th house (relationships) intersecting the Moon and quindecile Byar’s natal Neptune.
- Tr Sun/Moon=natal Sun – illuminated achievements; highlighted relationships into the 3rd house of communication. This requires further interpretation with the overall picture, because he is drawing all the attention to himself. Needy, or what?
- Tr Neptune (turquoise) square natal Moon – a continuing aspect (see previous chart), although if nothing is wrong (Mike is not missing yet) then Neptune will confirm that drug use is likely. Is it mellow pot or ‘action-man’ and meth-amphetamine?
- Tr Jupiter (green in the inner wheel) is in the 7th house inflating the relationship sector of the chart and in quindecile aspect (similar to the date on the calendar Sun) – inflating the already OTT behaviour I would suggest that this is a hell of a lot more than just personal bewilderment going on here.
- Natal Jupiter in Aries (green) is at the IC – an inflated sense of purpose; heightened agitation.
Astrology notes: We have full moon energy still influencing actions and then with transiting Sun and Jupiter in sextile aspect working in unison – we have a heightened sense of egos and an illuminated personal needs mix. This sextile aspect of the transiting Sun-Jupiter also identifies the severity of the double quindecile in this man’s natal chart. Both Jupiter and the Sun are creating OTT behaviour in this man’s symbolic natal Neptune. We then consider his natal chart as a point of necessity in an enquiry.
- Classic interpretation of a natal Neptune trine Pluto in a natal chart can reveal a weakness for alcohol/drug dysfunctionality. With all this tension in the heavens on this occasion, I would strongly suggest that there are mind altering substances at play.
click on maps for full size
With the absence of an event time, we have to conclude at this point in the enquiry that with natal Mars and Pluto not directly involved/under tension – action/overpowering/violence is missing from the bi-wheel. Taylor Byars may need to accept responsibility for the irrational behaviour of himself and his companion, however there is no indication at this stage that he has committed a violent act.
Byars is 27 years-old and Mike Herdman considerably older at 37, so we don’t have a teenager led astray. It has been reported that Mike has been married with a young daughter; that he was anxious to celebrate father’s day on Sunday June 15th with his daughter. We have also been informed that Mike was likely estranged from his wife. This gives us a man at a loose end, whom may make unfortunate decisions. We need that birth data in order to find a locator angle.
Map: Red highlights are the parking trailhead point and pink is the probable campsite.
25th June: We now have Mike’s birthdate and an approximate time he left camp – 9:30pm.
We will base the following information on this time of 9:30pm with the birthdate provided and superimpose our bi-wheel over a map of the land (cartography method) – basically we’re using using longitudinal navigation. We have used the campsite at Shady Creek as the basis for this locator angle. Should this campsite be incorrect, we will need to reposition our bi-wheel, if only marginally.
First the topographical map, as that is our priority. We have a clear locator angle from our bi-wheel as a primary area to search – transiting Saturn opposite natal Mars and intersecting tr Venus – 17°Scorpio-Taurus axis. Please be aware that these charts can only indicate a direction to follow and not point to a specific point.
There is no ‘X marks the spot’ with this method (we don’t have the information to triangulate our calculations).
As for the actual bi-wheel we have used in this cartographic study, we set to work on interpretation. At 9:30pm we are in moonlight, the sun has set (see inner wheel orange Sun is in the 6th house). We have generated our bi-wheel with the inner wheel a snapshot in time of the heavenly positions overhead of the locality where Mike went missing. The outer wheel is the natal chart for Mike Herdman with a mid-range natal Moon (noontime birth used).
What is just past the cusp of the 7th house is Mike’s natal Sun – his ‘light’ (note that the chart winds anticlockwise within the framework of our ‘earthlings’ clocktime). We also note that Mike has Mercury conjunct Sun at 7°Cancer in his natal chart – normally common sensical. We also note that the transiting Sun/Moon midpoint has moved to the Aries point – crisis. This point is at the cusp of the 3rd house. I would like to say that this is the house of small animals however it isn’t. Yes, Mike is in the 6th house chasing his errant dog probably and no doubt being extremely vocal about it with that natal Mercury conjunct his Sun, however our focus needs to be on this cusp of the 3rd house.
According to Ptolemy this point in the zodiac and cusp of our third house, is the position of the fixed star Deneb Kaitos (Arabian Al Dhanab al Kaitos al Janubiyy, the Tail of the Sea-monster towards the South and not a fortuitous omen. It is of the nature of Saturn, according to Robson and, to Alvidas – of Mars, Saturn and Mercury. The position of this star indicates self-destruction by brute force.
The third house is the realm of Mercury and also short journeys, so when we turn to the location of transiting Mercury it is in the 6th house. This is where common sense may have gone out the window, as transiting Moon is in exact opposition to natal Sun-Mercury; creating tension.
Even without going further, the main focus (Sun/Moon midpoint) is that Mike’s undoing is of his own volition – according to this interpretation. However we continue to interpret the tension in the chart.
- Tr Sun opposite natal Moon – highlighting driving needs.
- Tr Moon opposite natal Sun – highly emotive situation
- Tr Mars conjunct natal Pluto – forensic indicator
- Tr Lunar South node in 3rd house quindecile natal Pluto – this introduces a karmic element to the mix. Working for the common good and higher purpose (9th house).
- Tr Saturn opposite natal Mars (intersects tr Venus – peer group) – forensic indicator. This is a positive sign that he would likely be located by his peer group; death by misadventure.
27th June – Friday morning Mike’s body has been spotted from the air and recovered. Initial reports are that he possibly went over a cliff less than a mile from camp some 1200 ft above Sespe Creek. I find this somewhat confusing as there are two creeks according to this map we are using – Alder Creek and Sespe Creek.
The campsite we have based our enquiry on is actually on Alder Creek according to our map – upstream from the Alder-Sespe Confluence.
Once we have the precise location, we can check the astrology and learn whether we had the right departure point/campsite – could be Shady Camp or Shady Campsite at the trail junction.
I’ve generated a close up of the map above with the same locator angle commencing at each of the suggested camp sites (minus the astrology wheel). The angle points into the centre of the red circle, however the point of recovery of Mike’s body could be anywhere along that line that the astrology is indicating.
Remember also that we are working off 9:30pm being accurate as to the time Mike left camp so the angle could change a little, depending on the clock-time.
It’s a learning curve with every case, so may this event, sad as it is, help us to hopefully locate another missing person in the future.
RIP Mike Herdman.