January 16, 2013

What Mystery Surrounds the Death of Aaron Swartz?

Sadly, one of the brightest minds to light our path went out on January 11, 2013, when Aaron Swartz chose to end his own life. He reportedly suffered from depression and had been under enormous stress due to an indictment by the U.S. government for 13 counts of hacking. My sincere condolences to his family, partner, and friends.

Aaron was a coder and an activist, an internet freedom fighter who believed, and often enabled, vast amounts of information to be readily available to the public over the internet. For his effort, he was being prosecuted (and many say persecuted) by the government. Being made an example, ironically rather like a lynching, he faced decades, if not life, in prison, and stiff fines of the 6-figure variety, in addition to what must be exorbitant legal costs. And it broke him in more ways than one.

While I did not know him, I am interested in Aaron's life and death for several reasons. One is that he shared a birth date, November 8, with someone I loved very much, who also had loads of charm and good-looks. I have known four different men with the same date of birth (different years) who have shared a common fate: death by neck. Does it mean that everyone born November 8 will suffer the same fate? Of course not. There are probably millions of people born on the same date. But it bears looking into.

People who excel in the computer world often have Virgo traits (detail-oriented, analytical, focused), and freedom-fighters have strong Aquarian traits or an angular Uranus in their charts. Aaron had both the moon (emotional needs and family ties) and Mars (energy, action, effort) in Aquarius. But in which house did they reside, and which did they rule? One interesting note was that he would have had a Mars Return on the 19th, just one week after he ended his life. The Mars Return is a time of refueling our energy for the next two years. It provides strength, courage and determination. Was that a factor in his decision, or tragic timing?

When observing Aaron's chart to see what I could learn from it, I found that if he was born in the morning hours, it contained a mystic rectangle configuration and an Aquarian signature. If born in the afternoon, it contained a kite instead. Those have vastly different influences on a person's life. Which was his?

People who suffer from depression usually have a heavy Saturn in their natal chart. Aaron's Saturn was conjunct my own. Depression, suffering, restriction, burdens and sorrow are generally represented by Saturn (as well as government and authority figures), which is the ruler of Capricorn. But without his birth time, we don't know where they were in his chart, or what they were doing there.

On January 11, the sun, moon (a new moon), and Pluto (the grim reaper) were all in Capricorn. Venus joined them there two days before and conjuncted his Neptune, the planet of illusion, delusion, deception and confusion. Neptune dissolves structure. When well aspected by other planets, Venus moving over Neptune indicates spiritual love, selfless martyrdom, and soul-union with another or with something seen as transcendent. When badly aspected, it shows a lack of reality or stable judgment. It blurs the lines between the ideal and the real. Did Aaron believe he was giving his life for his cause, and find solace and comfort in that?

He made the decision in the hours when there was no visible light in the new moon. Many other things ended for many other people during those same hours, but for most, new hope was born when the moon's light reappeared. For Aaron and his family and friends, his light will never illuminate us again.

In view of Aaron Swartz' belief and intent that all information should be freely shared, I respectfully request, once their grief has subsided enough to tie up the loose ends of his life, that his family release a copy of his birth certificate (or at least, his time of birth) so that his chart may be studied. The better we are able to understand the warning signs of all that Aaron went through in the last year of his life, the better we can help others to avoid a similar fate.

May he rest in peace and continue to inspire the world from a higher vantage point.