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Martin Bryant - Mass Murderer
By Noel Eastwood
Now available as part of the stand-alone certificate course - Mass Murderers & Serial Killers
Martin Bryant, Tasmania’s and Australia’s most notorious murderer, shot dead 35 and wounded 22 men, women and children on the 28th April, 1996, at seaside tourist centre, Port Arthur. He now resides in a maximum security prison in Tasmania, never to be released serving 21 years for each of his convictions, 735 years in total, he has no parole, never to be released. Bryant is described as simple minded, perhaps a sufferer of schizophrenia or Aspergers Syndrome, a mentally dysfunctional young man. He has had life-threatening psychotic episodes, he tried to commit suicide twice while still recovering from burns in the prison hospital. The question remains as to what was really going on inside his head on that fateful day.
Bryant is described by prison service psychiatrists as simple and attention seeking, he seeks friendships in the prison hospital, and he has the emotional level of a 2 year old. His IQ has been estimated at 11 years, which is in the low to normal range so low IQ is not an excuse. He still shows no remorse for the killings, perhaps because he is unable to understand the severity of his actions. He isn’t insane, he is not crazy, yet his actions that day were not the actions of a sane person. Unfortunately there are no psychological tests for sanity and so society continues to wonder what is going on in Bryant’s mind, maybe astrology can help us.
How do we apply Jungian Psychology to a person’s natal chart to understand the motivations of such a person? We do this by applying an understanding of “Complexes and Projection”. To do that we look for the conflict in the natal chart. Those planets that are highlighted by having many aspects, hard aspects, in angular houses or outer planet conjunctions are good indicators of conflict. Planets experiencing conflict include:
Chiron in the 1st house conjunct Pisces Ascendant; Saturn in the first house and conjunct Moon with only one major aspect which makes it a singleton; Moon is in the first house in Aries and opposite Mars (Retrograde r) the ruler of Aries; Sun is opposite Neptune an outer ‘subconscious’ planet; Venus is in Gemini at the focal point of a T-Square from Uranus / Pluto and Chiron and quincunx Neptune; Pisces Rising ruled by Neptune, Neptune is Lord of the Chart and Planet in High Degree; Uranus and Pluto are conjunct the Descendant; Neptune, Jupiter and Chiron form a Grand Trine.
The Focal Planets, their Complexes & Projections
NOTE: For our purposes in delineating Martin Bryant’s chart we need to consider using the key words ‘others’, ’affection’ and ’friends’ for Venus and ‘society’ for Moon as this is suitable for someone with Bryant’s limited intellect and social and emotional immaturity. You can view his charts here.
Let’s delineate these planets to see just what is in conflict & what they signify:
** Complex - Aries is a demanding sign for the emotional Moon to be in, suggesting a ‘child’ and / or a ‘punishment’ complex.
** Projection - Bryant projects the belief that, “Mother types hurt my feelings when I try to have my immediate needs met. I need to be punished.” He projects this onto the women or mother types that he comes into contact with. Because Moon is also ‘society’ he will project his expectation of punishment and need onto society at large.
** Complex - This could create a ‘need to punish or be punished’ or the ‘persecution’ complex.
** Projection - His projection is an expectation that, “You will get impatient with me and physically punish me. I need to punish you” He projects this onto mother types and ‘others’ (society). He may seek out sadomasochistic relationships to live out his projection.
** Complex - This could manifest as a ‘persecution’ complex.
** Projection - He projects the belief that women (society, others) will hurt him, seek him out and punish him.
** Complex - This suggests a ‘mother’ complex and a ‘narcissistic’ personality.
** Projection - He projects a neediness that women with mothering instincts will want to go out and hug, feed, nurture and smother with love. He will then project his impatience, anger and resentment onto them.
** Complex - This could lead to an ‘unworthiness’ complex.
** Projection - He may project depression, frustration, resentment and even hatred onto women that represent mothers, he attracts mother types but expects to be hurt by them. There is also the possibility that ‘mother’ is projected onto society, expecting rejection but wishing for ‘others’ to nurture and love him where his own mother couldn’t or wouldn’t.
** Complex - With the opposition from the Sun there is a need for a “heroic” father as well as a tendency to escape into a fantasy world. The opposition with the Sun may also show distrust or disillusionment (conflict) with his father or men in general. Combining these elements this could create a ‘hero’ complex. This is complicated by the tendency for Neptune and Sun to set up a ‘martyr’ or ‘victim’ complex as well.
** Projection - He projects, “I want a father figure to worship, idolize and to rescue me. He must be steady and helpful, one who will look after the security needs of his little boy.” He projects this onto men in general. He may also project distrust with Neptune is involved.
** Complex - Chiron is also the planet of the healer, there may be a need, deep down, that shows Bryant wants to heal others, suggesting a ‘rescuer’ or ‘wounded healer’ complex.
** Projection - He projects, “If you are hurt then I will be able to rescue and heal you.” onto needy people especially those he wishes to have as friends. Then the fun begins as he begins to project his other complexes onto them.
** Complex - With this emphasis on love he could create a ‘wounded lover’ or ‘poor lonely me’ complex.
** Projection - He projects, “I have been wounded, I need a friend who is caring and will heal me.”
** Complex - This could create an ‘insecurity’ or ‘inferiority’ complex.
** Projection - He projects a neediness, to be understood, a need for friendship onto others. He will wants others to be friendly and to understand him but expects rejection.
Venus and Mercury are in Mutual Reception and joint Final Dispositors, which is like a conjunction between the two, this shows that Bryant needs to have friends to communicate and share his life interests with. However, to do so would just open his emotional wounds and prove to be very painful and so he enters a state of inner conflict.
Mother Complex – the heavy emphasis on the Moon in the first house indicates an irresponsible and possibly violent mother. There is immaturity, dominance, aggression, paranoia and impatience which is seen in the most sensitive and thus most important house in the chart - it shows just how badly damaged his psyche really is. Bryant is in desperate need of a nurturing mother (society) to care for his emotional needs. Unfortunately he will project his pain, his impatience and need to be punished on to them. This projection goes both ways, he expects society to react negatively and he may act out these negative behaviours back onto them as well. His mother figures will be impatient, angry and will physically as well as emotionally punish him. He will then become depressed, resentful and angry at them in turn.
Persecution complex - Mars R opposite Aries Moon in the 7th house of others, and the focus on the first house are described in the Psychodynamic Theory of the ‘Bad Breast”. This theory proposes that the mother dislikes breast feeding or there is pain when breast feeding, mother has little or no milk and the breast is withdrawn too early, mother may hate or reject her child, she may feel dirty when breast feeding, etc. The baby learns that mother’s breast gives no love or nourishment. As he grows older the ‘mother’ or ’bad breast’ is projected onto society at large, an expectation that society will not nurture and support him. The child grows up believing that love is unattainable and that women / mother types / society are cold and loveless.
The opposition to Mars r from the 1st house shows that ‘others’ as well as mothers actively reject him. This leads to a projection onto society at large - “People (or others) do not love me, do not support me and actively reject and hurt me.” With such an active and regressive Mars there is some indication that Bryant was bullied at school as well. Frustration and bullying leads to anger and depression, this plus the quincunx from Pluto shows a disposition to develop a persecution complex.
Mars in the 7th thus shows a projection of pain and persecution, “I feel hurt” => “Others hurt me” => “I hurt you” => “I need to punish you.” => “I need to punish society / others.”
“I need a friend” complex
Venus is in poor aspect (T-Square) with the powerful outer planets Chiron, Uranus and Pluto showing that Bryant will project onto society a need for friendship but an expectation of rejection. If Bryant was actively bullied at home and at school then this would also point to a personality that is not conducive to making friends. Here we have a slow boy, not too bright, he is self-centered and absolutely boring, no wonder no-one wants to be his friend. His projection becomes, “I need a friend - people I approach for friendship eventually reject and hurt me - I need to punish them”. Add a dose of his persecution complex and look out society. These complexes may have been exactly what led up to what happened on that fateful day in 1996 – the projection of an unfulfilled Venus / Moon onto society.
“I need to impose (Saturn) punishment (Mars) onto others (Moon & Venus) because they do not provide my nurturing and friendship needs (Moon, Chiron, Venus).”
What Triggers Complexes & Projections —Transits, Progressions & Directions
Complexes can quite easily become visible when their key planets or houses are triggered through transits and progressions. At the time of the massacre Bryant was experiencing a Saturn Return, transiting Saturn had entered the 1st house in June of 1995, retrograded in August and finally crossed over for good in February 1996. It was Applying to natal Saturn by 5º and to natal Moon by 11º on the 28th April. Transiting Chiron opposed natal Saturn exact in November 1995 and natal Moon in January 1996 retrograding back towards an exact opposition to M again in March 1996. Transiting Mars was exact conjunct natal Moon on the 11th of April and opposed itself on the 16th. In his Solar Arc Directed chart Sun was exact square Mars, to the minute! His Secondary Progressed chart showed Mars exact quincunx Sun to within 4´ of arc, Venus was exact conjunct Jupiter and Sun was exact sextile Moon.
To explain the effects of these transits & progressions we must first understand the natal chart, which we have done. The two strongest outer planets particular to Martin Bryant are Saturn and Chiron, and both acted as triggers for the release of the demons in his subconscious.
The Progressions and Directions (internal needs) also highlight Sun (self-esteem needs), Moon (emotional needs), Chiron (humiliation and frustration leading to anger), Venus (needs for friendship) and Jupiter (expanding these needs out of all proportion to that which is required). With these powerful transits and progressions is it any wonder that something had to explode? A premeditated act of revenge upon a cold and uncaring society.
In summary, Martin Bryant has a number of planetary constellations that could manifest as complexes severely limiting his ability to cope with the demands of life and to be fully able to contribute to the community in a psychologically balanced way. He demonstrates many significators for psychological disturbance.
Post Script - I recently told a friend that I had presented a workshop on Martin Bryant. She went quiet and slowly told me that a week before the shooting she had a dream, she saw a blond headed man at a table in a café. He was surrounded by an aura of impending doom. She saw him stand up and walk away with a bag, she knew it contained something evil, she then awoke in a sweat. She felt sick a week later when she heard of the massacre and saw her dream enacted on the news. She has had difficulty dreaming since that night.
Liz Greene - Horoscopes in Manifestation, 1997
Glenn Perry - Introduction to AstroPsychology, 1998
Stephen Arroyo - Astrology, Karma and Transformation, 1978
Liz Greene - Relating
www.geniac.net/portarthur/ - contains archive of news articles on the Port Arthur massacre
© Noel Eastwood 2000
This article appeared in the September 2000 (Vol.30 /3) Federation of Australian Astrologers Journal, titled “Jung Meets Martin Bryant”.
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