A fascinating story that has been in the recent news is the Amanda Knox trial in Italy. Amanda is an American girl who was studying in Perugia, Italy for exchange studies (majoring in linguistics) from the University of Washington. She was in Perugia for just a couple of months when she was arrested in November 2007, along with her boyfriend Raffeaele Sollecito for murdering her English roommate Meredith Kercher. She spent four years in an Italian prison after being found guilty. Amanda was released on October 3, 2011 after a second trial but on March 26, 2013 the Italian Supreme Court overturned the decision and wants her to come back to Italy for a third trial. Amanda has written a book called “Waiting to be Heard” in which she details her surreal ordeal in Italy. The book documents the lies, abuses and misrepresentations used in implicating her in the murder. At this point there is a complete lack of factual evidence implicating Amanda and Raffeaele in the murder, only a contrived theory of sex games gone horrifically wrong. Rather, the hard evidence points to Rudy Guede, an African man who was raised in Perugia and has an extensive criminal record. His DNA was found in and on Meredith, his DNA and her blood were found on her purse, his foot and handprints in blood were visible, he fled the country etc. He is currently serving time in prison for the murder. In contrast neither Amanda’s or Raffeaele’s DNA was found at the murder site. It is impossible for her to see DNA (much less distinguish which DNA is hers) and clear it up as some people claim (1). I firmly believe that Amanda is not guilty and was the victim of unconscionable power abuse and injustice in the Italian legal system.
With such a conspicuous lack of evidence against Amanda, I am amazed that this case has ever taken off the ground and stirred up such an international controversy. Even after putting the correct person in jail, the prosecution is keenly determined to lock up Amanda for a long time. It leads me to some burning questions- which factors in her natal chart indicate the potential for being falsely accused and consequently spending time in prison for a crime she didn’t commit? Could there be anything positive for Amanda in terms of emerging from this situation a better and wiser person? To answer these questions, I have studied key areas of her chart and taken excerpts from her various interviews and her book “Waiting to be heard”. Her birth information was obtained from Astrodata Bank, it has an AA rating. I used Solar Fire Gold version 8 for the chart calculations.
Since Amanda’s situation is fundamentally a 12th house matter, this is a perfect place to start the analysis. The 12th house is associated with self- undoing, hospitals, prisons, institutions, mental illnesses, suffering, sorrow, forced silence and solitude, hidden enemies, fears, difficulties, crises, the unconscious mind, and karma. People who have the 12th house emphasized in some way will find that these themes and places play a large role in their life, often due to circumstances they cannot seem to help.
In this chart, the 12th house is abnormally large (about 52 degrees) due to the intercepted sign of Taurus being placed there. The 6th house and 12th house are on the same axis and must be considered together. The sign of Scorpio is intercepted in the sixth house. The Taurus-Scorpio axis deals with physical pleasure, sexuality, sex and sensuality among other things. When a sign is intercepted in a house, the person finds that other people tend to criticize and/or punish them for openly displaying these likes/dislikes and characteristics. The Italian prosecutor was certainly zealous in trying to portray Amanda as promiscuous, high from drugs and “into freaky sexual things”, she pulled in Meredith into a sex game which unexpectedly went wrong ending in a brutal murder. As a result, the nickname “Foxy Knoxy” was given to her by the tabloids and it still remains today. While in jail, she was falsely told she was HIV positive and that she had to make a list of all the men she slept with. This list was leaked to the public and the intention was to use it to vilify Amanda, contributing to the image of a "she-devil with an angel face" and "concertante of sex" to aid in the prosecution’s theory. Chris Cuomo in an interview (2, 3) asked intrusive questions that forced Amanda to defend her sex life. He seemed to be equating sexuality with guilt. Amanda was very honest about her sexual encounters and her use of marijuana in her book, she has nothing to be ashamed of. She firmly states to Chris, I was not strapping on leather and bearing a whip. I have never done that...I have never taken part in an orgy. Ever….... “I was sexually active. I was not sexually deviant” (2, 3).
Although the 12th house often gets a bad reputation, if the person has a high level of consciousness, (or is able to grow through
their challenges) the considerable benefits of this house can also be realized in this life. This process is made easier if there are some trines and sextiles to the house ruler or to planets placed in the house. Nonetheless keep in mind that one still needs the hard aspects to give the drive and urgency to make progress. For information on aspects, orbs, houses and planets please click here. The 12th house can be where one does the honest inner work on a deep level that is needed to advance spiritually. Through the suffering they face by going through extreme hardships and restrictions, they may develop compassion, kindness and a more enlightened way of viewing life. From this viewpoint, serving fellow humans becomes a top priority over all other endeavours. This is the opportunity to recognize unproductive karmic relationships/ situations and deal with them in a manner so that the lesson is learned and will not be repeated in a future life.
The natal state of Amanda’s 12th house is mixed with both easy and hard aspects. Jupiter is the greater fortune, inspiration, abundance, faith, philosophy, luck and overall prosperity. Jupiter also represents higher education, foreign cultures and foreigners, and long distance travels. In a very literal manifestation of Jupiter placed in the 12th house, Amanda’s pursuit of higher education in a foreign culture has brought her sorrow, solitude and a stay in prison. However, benevolent Jupiter is very comfortable in the 12th house due to its dual rulership over Pisces and Pisces’s natural house is the 12th house. Jupiter placed here does point to her being found innocent and released after 4 years rather than a lengthier stay. When everything else is going wrong, you can count on Jupiter to be your saving grace, this is where you get benefits without necessarily deserving them. Jupiter makes a 5 degree trine to the moon, the moon is in Sagittarius, the other sign Jupiter rules. This placement would have an uplifting, optimistic tone on the emotions and her book indeed leaves the impression that she is at heart an unusually optimistic person despite her circumstances. She is doing her best to keep her mood upbeat. After her brutally tiring 5 day interrogation where she was yelled at, slapped, forced into making a false confession, and finally put into jail, she writes, "In spite of all that happened, I believed that the police, the prosecutor, a judge-- some official-- would look at the facts and realize how wrong they'd been. They'd be jolted by the obvious: that I was incapable of murder. Surely someone would see that there was no evidence. My belief that my imprisonment was temporary was all that kept me from being overwhelmed. I guess my faith in eventual justice is what psychologists call a coping mechanism" (4, p. 181-182). Even in prison she tried to find purpose in the little things, "At bedtime each night, I made a schedule for the next day, organised task by task, hour by hour. If I didn't cross off each item, I felt I'd let myself down" (5). Jupiter makes a 3 degree sextile to Chiron. Chiron represents wounding and healing, this is a really good sign that she will be learning very good lessons from her ordeal, growing as a person and using her newfound knowledge and wisdom to help others through similar circumstances. Jupiter is making an exact quintile to Mercury. Mercury represents the written word and all types of communication. Mercury is very prominent in her chart as it: 1.rules the Gemini ascendant, 2. makes an exact semisextile with the ascendant (self-portrayal, first impressions) 3.makes an exact quincunx with the MC (career), and 4. Is very well integrated, making five aspects with the planets; Sun, Venus, Neptune, Pluto and Jupiter. In addition, Mercury is placed within a degree of the midpoint of the 2nd house, the house of independently earned income (midpoints are a place of extra power/ significance in a house). The Sun (creative self-expression, unique individuality) is making a conjunction of less than 2 degrees with the third house of communications, language skills and media. The Mars/Venus midpoint (Mars is ruler of 12th house and Taurus is intercepted in the 12th) at 18 Cancer is exactly conjunct the third house cusp (the strongest point of the third house). With this conjunction it is very likely that she will feel compelled to communicate through various forms of media, her experience with 12th house matters. Her first book is very well written, thought provoking and captivating. She pours out her soul and the reader feels what it must have been like to walk in her shoes. Although almost all of her four million dollar advance goes to legal fees and lawsuits, she has great potential to become very wealthy and influential through future books, lectures and any other forms of communications where she tells her story. She is now studying creative writing in the hope of becoming a writer as a career and her chart indeed shows immense talent in this area, it should be passionately pursued!
The 12th house has many challenges in this chart as well. The ruler of the 12th house is Mars and Mars makes a stressful 5 degree square to Jupiter. It does not bode well for the ruler of the house to make hard aspects to the planets tenanting the house, this makes it more likely for difficulties/ friction in the areas of the house’s domain. Besides this, Mars is making hard aspects to: Pluto (5 degree square), midheaven (7 degrees), Saturn (sesquiquadrate 1 degree), and Vertex (exact square). Mars-Pluto hard aspects show the high probability for unfortunate connections with extreme forms of violence/ cruelty, either being the victim or perpetrator. In this case Amanda is the victim, caught in a position of being falsely blamed for a grisly murder. Mars in a hard aspect to Saturn can cause a feeling of taking one step forward and 2 steps back, progress is gained very slowly and with extra trouble. One can feel that others are constantly trying to halt their plans, stopping them when they want to go full speed ahead. Mars opposing the midheaven can predispose one to have excess trouble with authority figures, these figures can abuse their power, take advantage and cause several problems for a person. This was certainly the case in Perugia: Amanda was not given a lawyer when arrested, she was not given a proper translator, and she was coerced into naming Lumumba as the perpetrator by brutal coercion tactics. When Diane Sawyer asks her about naming Lumumba, the video (5) (starting at 21 mins) shows her audio at the trial saying “they said they were going to take me to the jail, and um… because of all this confusion they kept saying you sent this…thing to Patrick. We know that you left the house. We know… I just said his name”. The next day she sent the police a letter in English saying that she is in a state of confusion but thinks that what she said about Lumumba maybe was wrong. She asked them not to yell at her anymore. Continuing with the interview, Amanda states “I am still sorry to this day that I named Patrick Lumumba…but I was demolished in that interrogation.” Conveniently, the police failed to make a recording of that particular interrogation. There are numerous other lies by the police, lawyers and other authority figures. Mars making a stressful aspect to the MC can cause the public to view you as an aggressive troublemaker, purposely stirring the pot. As a result of these lies and misrepresentations from authority figures, the public started to vilify her and to this day there are rampant false rumours circulating about her.
The vertex is a point of fate and frequently people with Mars making a stressful aspect to it find themselves fatefully in violent
circumstances that they cannot avoid or easily get out of. Even if they take precautions against this risk, there is a lack of control. Moreover, Jupiter is sitting in the 12th and making an opposition to the vertex further increasing this likelihood of danger. Diane Sawyer had an interview with Amanda and showed her a video that her sister made before she went to Perugia. Sawyer asks “what would you tell the youngster on the tape”? Amanda responds "I want to tell her not to be afraid of what's going to happen because what happened to me hit me like a train, and there was nothing I could do to stop it" (6). This type of helplessness is common with the overwhelming power of the vertex.
Mars makes a few easy aspects as well. There is an easy 2 degree biquintile to Uranus which takes a little bit of the dangerous edge off this combination. Nonetheless, regardless of aspect, this combination does predispose towards sudden and unexpected outbursts of violence and again, one can be the victim or the perpetrator. The North Node represents the lessons we are trying to learn in this lifetime, the situations that encourage us to grow. Mars is making a 5 degree trine to the North Node, this suggests that Amanda will learn a tremendous amount from her ordeal and that it was necessary for her future growth as a person. Although it may not make sense at the moment, it plays a crucial part in her evolution.
In summary with Mars as the 12th house ruler making stressful aspects to 4/5 of the outer planets, the Vertex and the MC it is not surprising that Amanda has been forced to spend time in a prison and has experienced the sorrow, solitude and hardship associated with the 12th house. The title of her book “Waiting to be heard” is very true to reality because often the 12th house causes their voices to be purposely ignored and their views silenced. She wrote the book to set the record straight commenting “everyone has the right to judge me because that's just the way human beings are. What bothered me about my experience, though, was how helpless I was to a portrayal that wasn't accurate. It's surreal enough as it is to see I'm in the tabloids, because I'm just a regular human being. What am I doing in the tabloids? But there's this problem that this is the portrayal being shown to the people who are supposed to decide my fate, and I'm helpless to defend myself against it. Anything I say or do to confront it is tainted by this characterisation of me. This horrible helplessness that's like this hole I was flung into and couldn't get out of " (5). However, there are quite a few easy and promising aspects connected with the 12th house, and with the strength of character and determination she has displayed so far, I am confident that she will be able to experience the benefits of the 12th house. She can turn this situation around and use it to her advantage.
Eris is a significant dwarf planet that adds a deeper layer of analysis to this situation. The goddess of war and discord, Eris, is within a degree conjunction to the 12th house cusp. Eris is similar to Mars in that it represents anger, aggression and confidence but it is more feminine in expression (7). Eris represents a struggle for survival but it is a willing battle, one is ready to stand up for what they know to be right (8). Eris placed near the 12th cusp can easily be seen manifesting in her life in the long and public trials where she constantly has to fight for her freedom and to stay out of prison. She is also fighting the lies being spread about her that are adversely affecting her reputation. “Eris is associated with the feminist struggle for rights in a patriarchal society” (8). It seems the Italian prosecutors (patriarchal authority) are willing to put up a fierce fight to keep her locked up. Eris is about people, in particular women, speaking their personal truth in response to unfair actions towards them from an established authority. This is more likely to happen when Saturn makes a close aspect to Eris, in Amanda’s case there is a 1 degree trine between Saturn and Eris. A good thing about Eris being near the 12th cusp is that it gives Amanda the strength, tenacity and confidence to stand up and defend herself for as long as it takes to clear her name and gain permanent freedom.
Astrea is the goddess of justice, innocence and purity, this asteroid is placed within a degree of the midpoint of the 12th house (midpoints are a place of extra power/ significance in a house). Astrea is also at the midpoint of vertex/ black moon lilith. Lilith represents your guts to stand up for yourself, tell the truth, make sure justice is served, talk about things that make others uncomfortable but that need to be brought out into the open. Lilith manifests as a strong desire to not let other people walk all over you and to speak your personal truth regardless of the consequences. The sense of justice is very strong and these people hate to see violations of justice either to themselves or others. Black moon Lilith is out of bounds at 25 degrees 48 minutes, thus its characteristics are very strong in Amanda. She says about “Waiting to be Heard”, “people asked me if I would change the book and I said absolutely not. I am not going to change my story just because someone is threatening to sue me but I mean it sucks. It sucks and it sucks” (9). Lilith also has the association with the "woman scorned" and "black widow spider", cruel women who take revenge when they feel they have been wronged. In Amanda’s case the prosecutor was trying to paint her as this type of woman, without any hard evidence. As explained before, the vertex is a point of fate. Thus, when you consider that Astrea is on the midpoint of vertex/black moon lilith and that this is also the midpoint of the 12th house of sorrows and difficulties, Amanda’s situation fits perfectly. It is no wonder that Amanda seems fated to face a constant struggle in defending her innocence and purity against allegations of sexual deviance- apparently forcing Meredith to participate in an orgy and taking revenge when she said no. The prosecution seems to make up clues that fit their story and they do not hesitate to change the story when it suits them. Amanda describes it as "a decadent fantasy about what a violent, sexual female would act like" (5). With the recent request from the Supreme Court in Italy for a third trial, the prosecution seems to place a special pride on framing Amanda for the murder and keeping her locked up in prison.
The moon is out of bounds at 28 degrees, 2 minutes in Amanda’s chart. This is noteworthy as the moon cannot go past 28 degrees 32 minutes (10). For background information on out of bounds planets please click here. The moon in astrology represents emotions, feelings, instincts, habits, expressions, body language, spontaneous reactions, nurturing and comfort. When it is so far OOB these aspects about a person may seem odd or abnormal. When you put this together with the fact that she was only 20 at the time of the murder and she was culturally naïve, it is no surprise that people thought she had odd reactions to the murder. Amanda has been harshly criticized as cold and callous due to her strange behaviour after her roommate’s death. Some of these things included having casual sex, the reports of her not getting along with Meredith, not finding the house’s open door and blood drops in the bathroom strange and the “all you need is love” shirt she wore in court (11). In the article (11), she explains some of her “bizarre” behaviour. In an interview with Chris Cuomo (12), Amanda was asked about her kissing her boyfriend outside the house on the morning after the murder, the splits at the police station and the repeated nonchalance. “People see your behaviour and call it “strange”, what makes you “strange”?” Amanda explains, “I reacted differently than the way people expected a young woman to react but to hold me to a stereotype of how people react to certain things is unreasonable. It is unreasonable to assume guilt based upon a reaction. My reaction was more stunned than anything else.” In another article (13) she addresses some of the other perceived odd remarks/ behaviour such as the “how could she not, she got her fucking throat slit” in response to one of Meredith’s friends saying “I hope she didn’t suffer” and also the fact that Raffeaele was kissing her to comfort her after the death. Amanda explains "I was reacting to a very confusing and terrifying situation," and I had a number of reactions. I didn't have a consistent reaction over the entire time. Sometimes I was very angry, and sometimes I was very sad, and sometimes I paced. I didn't hide my reaction. "I wasn't doing cartwheels, despite what they said," Knox continued. "I was reacting in an upset manner. And I was upset. And I could've been more sensitive to the people around me. That's what I think was the major issue -- was I could've been more sensitive to the people around me." Amanda has an outstanding imbalance in her elements; she has 5 planets in fire signs and 4 planets in water signs with a complete lack of air and only Neptune in an earth sign. In light of this it makes sense that Amanda would have trouble controlling the display of spontaneous emotions in the moment. Water and fire people are expressive, intuitive and their emotions are wide ranging and intense. They can be criticized for their wide mood swings. In addressing her behaviour with Raffeaele at the police station, Amanda says "I suspect that Raffeaele thought I was having a breakdown," he sat me in his lap and bounced me gently. He kissed me, made faces at me, and told me jokes, all in an effort to soothe my agitation, babying me so I would stop storming around. I cringe to say that treating me like an infant helped. Normally, it would have repelled me. But at the time it worked" (13). It seems to me that the OOB moon accounts quite well for her perceived "strange" behaviour.
Besides the shortcomings of the Italian legal system, might there have been something about the effects of being in Perugia that helped bring this situation to life? Taking a look at Astrocartography- a person's various astrological fortunes in different parts of the world- I can conclude that there is. Perugia, Italy is very close to Amanda's Chiron/MC line, this means that its influence will dominate her life for the time she spends there. Amanda has an exact natal sesquiquadrate between Chiron and the MC. In addition, Chiron at 24 Gemini is closest to her ascendant so its mythology plays a big role in how she is perceived by others. Moreover the composite (relationship) chart between Amanda and Raffeaele shows a 2 degree opposition between Chiron and the MC. Chiron represents wounding, victimization, deep disappointments that affect a person on a subconscious level. As a result the person develops issues relating to low self confidence, feeling sorry for themselves and feeling that they are never "good enough". The person may not even acknowledge the wound yet it has a powerful effect on their behaviour, it may manifest as being bitter or not wanting to try for fear of failure. The MC represents career, social standing, prestige, accomplishments, public reputation, and honour. Therefore, when you have a hard aspect between Chiron and the MC, you can definitely expect that this wounding and victimization will play a large role in your public reputation and be connected to your career in some way. Had Amanda stayed in Seattle or chosen another country for her studies, she would not have activated her natal Chiron/MC aspect with this outstanding amount of force. This is because that country would not have likely been on the Chiron/MC line, also she would not have met Raffeaele, both these factors were catalysts for the aspect coming to life. I am not saying that by staying away from Perugia or from Raffeaele she would never experience this aspect, it is still in her natal promise and would have occurred at its appointed time (albeit with much less strength). However, the crucial factor is the tremendous negative force with which the false conviction occurred- some places magnify the worst aspects of your horoscope and unfortunately Perugia did it for her. Looking on the bright side, Chiron also represents transformation after the inner work is done to heal those wounds, the person then becomes a healer and teacher to other people facing similar situations. If a person manages to constructively deal with these painful disappointments, keeps their faith and is determined to keep pushing through despite feelings of hopelessness, they will be able to heal and share their insight with others.
When you consider the state of Amanda's 12th house, Eris, Astrea, the out of bounds moon, and Amanda's astro cartography in Perugia, it certainly is fitting that she has experienced this tremendous ordeal. The natal chart is a snapshot of our individual karma and purpose in this life and the experiences she has faced are critical for her advancement as a person. There are many difficult factors that she must learn to work with but they are not insurmountable. I have observed her to be smart, talented, resilient, determined and brave. These qualities will help her in her quest to experience the benefits of the 12th house and will serve her well as she faces the next chapter in her life.
4. Knox, A. (2013). Waiting to be heard, A memoir. New York, NY: Harper Collins
6. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SrS3k3MvaGs (Diane Sawyer interview)
12.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ep9uPW5kImA- (Chris Cuomo interview)