Two old maids and an axe murder

death-noticeThe Spirit of St Louis was safely tucked up in a hangar on a French airfield on the day when Lizzie Borden died.

Charles Lindberg’s solo non-stop flight across the Atlantic from New York to Paris stole the banner headline in the papers of the day, however Lizzie still made it onto page one in Massachusetts.

She would rather we referred to her as Miss Lizbeth Andrews Borden, however we don’t share her airs and graces.  Plain old Lizzie will do on these pages and after all is said and done, that was her birth name.

Following an acquittal for the murders of her father and stepmother, Lizzie had the gall to live-out her life in Fall River, however it was this gall that took Lizzie in the end.  She died in her French Street house some thirty-five years after the murders, never fully recovering after gall bladder surgery.  Hmmm… all very Gallic isn’t it!

Following two weeks of evidence, the jury acquitted the Sunday-School teacher, however society has a way of levelling the classes and Lizzie was assured a place in popular American folklore.

Lizzie Borden took an axe

And gave her mother forty whacks.

When she saw what she had done

She gave her father forty-one.

What isn’t part of the folklore, is that there were two Borden sisters; neither destined to marry. Their lives bound together by karma, Emma died just a week after Lizzie; there was no further need to keep their secret.

Emma had stood by her sister throughout the trial and once Lizzie was acquitted, they moved uptown to a more salubrious address; servants and a chauffeur.  Perhaps the air was deemed more rarefied in French Street.  They could afford it.

The spinsters inherited their father’s wealth probably more by luck, than good management; Andrew Jackson Borden had willed primarily to his second wife.

Abby Durfee Gray Borden, stepmother to Emma and Lizzie was deemed to have predeceased her husband and the Borden girl’s were in direct line to the family fortune.  Pioneer ancestors on both sides no doubt rolled-over in their graves; the girls got the money, but lost their reputation in society.

We can undertake a forensic astrology enquiry as the event is well documented, however it is the sisters relationship that has my interest. The timing of their deaths hints at a strong karmic connection between these two.  Creating bi-wheels, we can explore their journey together; how the lots were drawn; as their paths aligned from birth to death.

Both sisters have variations of a stellium in their charts; planets clustered together in their natal charts.  Neither could have had much understanding of autonomy, even as children.

By generating solar arc progressions, we can share how being born with planets close together creates dramatic situations in young lives; situations far too complex for children to be able to intellectually process.  They would operate instinctively; self-serving.

The elder of this pair is Emma Lenora Borden. Seventy-six at the time of her death, she was forty-one when Lizzie stood in the dock.

Emma’s tight stellium of the forensic planets of Saturn-Uranus-Pluto in the 5th house are fanned by Jupiter (green).  This is one little girl, needy in the love department. Humour would have been lacking even as a child and with Mars conjunct Mercury (yellow) in the 3rd house of communication – we daren’t tease her.

Note that Neptune (turquoise) is exact at the IC – family secrets.  With her Sun just 5 degrees away and also in the 4th house (home) those secrets are safe with Emma.

EBEmma was nine when Lizzie was born.  Her progressed planets reveal the impact.

  • Natal Moon had progressed to conjunct Sun 11°Pisces – driving need meets wants; the union begins.
  • Natal Saturn had progressed to conjunct Pluto 28°Aries – authority meets power; a raison d’être.  Nine is rather immature to make this decision, but history tends to lean towards this being the case.

She was also just twelve, when their mother died.

  • Lunar South Node (karmic indicator) progressed to exact conjunct Mars 17°Aquarius – Emma took over the maternal role; mothering Lizzie.

It wasn’t until the year after their father was murdered that Neptune progressed to conjunct Saturn 18° Aries in Emma’s chart – clouding her assertive authority.  It would appear that Lizzie most likely took over the authoritative role following her acquittal of the double murder.  By then, Emma was 42 years-old.

It took another twelve years; a Jupiter cycle, before Emma left Lizzie and Fall River.

LBLizzie Borden never lived alone during her life. More sociable than her sister, the constellation Leo dominates her chart, bolstering her ego.

Lizzie has Chiron, the wounded healer at 26°Aquarius holding the handle of the fan midpoint Neptune-Mars.  All those planets in the 11th house fulfilling Emma’s needs; albeit on Emma’s terms.  We can see that all is not on an even keel, before we even begin with the progressions – Saturn, being first into the 12th house will light the way into the dark recesses of the mind.

  • Pluto square Moon (blue) – a blanket over an emotional hand-grenade.
  • Neptune (turquoise) at 29° Pisces is at the Descendant; keeping her secrets safe.

We find over and over, that when Neptune is at the angle in a natal chart, it is as if this person is invisible; they get away with murder.

Lizzie was two years and eight months old when her mother died.  The progressions reveal the intensity.

  • Lunar South Node (karmic indicator) progressed to conjunct Jupiter 4°Leo – inflating the need for mothering.
  • Natal Mercury progressed to conjunct Saturn 25°Leo – if Lizzie were an adult, we would suggest that this progression heralded an excellent time to think about long-term financial security, to size up her obligations and set out a plan for accomplishing her goals. However Lizzie was less than three years-old; hardly rational.

At thirty-two when her father and stepmother were murdered, Lizzie Borden’s natal planets had progressed to include the forensic planets.

  • Natal Saturn progressed to conjunct Ascendant – the grim reaper swings his egg-timer just waiting for a transit to set off that hand grenade.
  • Midheaven progressed to conjunct natal Venus – inheritance due.
  • Pluto was now conjunct natal Uranus 10°Gemini – sudden changes in power; mental swings.
  • 12th house (mental) Moon progressed to square natal Uranus – ­emotions and driving needs erratic; insanity.
  • Mars progressed to mirror natal Saturn by opposition – time for action.

The hand grenade:

When we generate a bi-wheel (method) of the time of the first murder (Abby Borden), we can see the enormous amount of tension present. This is not a progressed chart; this is real time action. This moment in time is a one-off.

LB-murder#1click on image for full size

The inner wheel is the natal chart for Lizzie as per above and the outer wheel is a snapshot of the planets in orbit at the time the axe fell in the upstairs bedroom.

The Sun (orange) in the outer wheel is 12°Leo and directly opposite Mars. Two days earlier when the Sun was 10°Leo, it was exact by conjunction with Lizzie’s natal Moon (blue) in the inner wheel.

We know that both Lizzie’s father and stepmother had attended their local doctor, complaining of being poisoned some two days before their deaths.  In hindsight we can say that they were probably right.

  • Transiting Saturn is conjunct Lizzie’s Ascendant – the grim reaper is in the room.
  • Ascendant conjunct ascendant – timing is more than accidental.
  • Transiting Moon (blue) conjunct IC – at the lowest point and cusp of the 4th house.  The event is located at home.

There is a story here revealing her guilt; a story I don’t need to tell you all, however there are two points of particular interest, which I’d like to share.

The motive: Highlighted pink, Venus (money) in the outer chart in the 10th house (future within society) is quindecile (obsessive) natal Mars (action) – red dotted line.  Avarice held her hand as Lizzie raised the axe.

The deed: The only planet in the outer wheel orbiting in the heavens that morning in Fall River which wasn’t in hard aspect to Lizzie’s natal chart is Mercury (yellow) and so I had to ask myself why?

We know that Mercury is transiting the 12th house (the mind) and therefore highly likely the unconscious, however the transit does have the soft aspect of a trine (working with) Lizzie’s natal Pluto.

  • We can therefore suggest that killing her stepmother had been planned for so long, that the actual act of killing was unconscious.
  • Was the murder a fulfilment of that planetary progression when her mother died all those years ago  – Natal Mercury progressed to conjunct Saturn 25°Leo?

As for Emma’s input, she took that secret to her grave, however I have no doubt she would have known what Lizzie was up to, either before or after the axe fell.