Peter Sutcliffe, aka The Yorkshire Ripper, terrorized the north of England in and around the cities of Leeds and Manchester from 1975 until 1980. The case received sensational press coverage in its day and was both a burden and embarrassment for the British police services which, in the pre-computer era, had at one point dedicated over 300 officers to the pursuit of the serial killer.

Sutcliffe was a truck driver, married but out and about, especially on weekends when he liked to drive around with a rope, a hammer and a knife in search of adventure. In the early years prostitutes were his targets but later he became a free-range hunter, and ordinary women fell to his attentions.

During his six-year rampage of assault and murder he enjoyed significant luck in escaping detection and was interviewed by the police nine times without being singled out as the man they were looking for.

Criminal data

There were 23 incidents in total attributed to the Yorkshire Ripper, 13 of which resulted in murder, 10 of which were non-fatal.

Thanks to Wikipedia for Peter Sutcliffe’s biography, plus specifics regarding his 13 murder victims – their names, as well as the date and location of their murders.

Another site provided the approximate timing of all 23 assaults (fatal and non-fatal) by Sutcliffe. These times were based on witness or victim testimony, police speculation, or Sutcliffe’s own confession.

A retrospective look at the “time signatures” of these assaults sheds light on the astrological timing of Sutcliffe’s activities.

Peter Sutcliffe’s birth chart

2 June 1946, 8:30pm GMT, Bingley, England (sidereal zodiac, Lahiri ayanamsa)


Chart analysis

The salient features of Sutcliffe’s chart are as follows:

  1. He has Scorpio ascendant with a powerful (exalted) Ketu in the first house. Ketu occupies Jyeshta, a tikshna star. Ketu acts like Mars much of the time anyway but in this case it also happens to be proxy for its sign-lord Mars.
  2. Ascendant lord Mars is in an aggravated state, debilitated in 9th house Cancer. Mars occupies Ashlesha, a krura star.
  3. Moon is dark (weak) in 8th house Gemini, last degree (sandhi), very tightly conjunct Saturn, and hemmed between malefics Sun/Rahu and Mars.
  4. Thus both significators of the manas (emotional mind), Saturn and the Moon, are sandhi in the last degree of Gemini and hemmed.
  5. Yogas are few: Budhaditya (Su/Me in 7th), Kesari (Mo/Ju in mutual kendras), weak Neechabhanga for Mars, Parivartana with Me/Ve in 7th/8th houses, Durudhara (Mo flanked by weak malefics).
  6. Conventional morality is in the trash bin. 4th lord Saturn is in the last degree of a dual sign in the 8th house. 9th is occupied by debilitated Mars. 9th lord Moon has gone 12 away in the 8th, where it is sandhi in exact conjunction with Saturn.

Highly-activated 8th house

Sutcliffe’s 8th house is highly activated. It contains a dark Moon in exact conjunction with Saturn, and flanked on either side by other malefics – Sun and debilitated Rahu in the 7th, debilitated Mars in the 9th.

This moon is the dispositor of lagnesh Mars. Since both are weak, this is a poor prognosis for an upstanding life. The 9th house in particular is dharma, but with only occupant Mars and lord Moon contributing to its condition, this is a prescription for immorality.

Sutcliffe has Parivartana Yoga between Venus and Mercury, lords of the 7th and 8th houses respectively. This creates a sambandha between other people in his life and some element of violence, whether sexual assault or murder.

If we complete the exchange in our mind’s eye, this would place Venus with Sun and Rahu in the 7th, a pretty certain recipe for sexual irregularities of some kind. Venus is karaka for relationships, but placing it in the 7th would also simulate karako bhavo nashto, in which relationships with others is spoiled or, in this case, literally killed.

KP theory

There is a derivative of Vedic astrology called KP, an abbreviation for Krishnamurti Paddhati, meaning the Krishnamurti method.

It uses the sidereal zodiac with the Krishnamurti ayanamsa, advancing all zodiacal positions in the chart roughly six minutes of arc beyond those of a Lahiri ayanamsa.

The KP system uses an unequal house system, Placidus, where houses can be more or less than 30 degrees, and where some signs may not appear on a house cusp, eg, when a 30-degree sign is fully enclosed in an unequal house of 40-degree arc, while other signs straddle two cusps.

Shown below is Peter Sutcliffe’s KP chart, where the numbers within the double-lined outer border indicate the house cusps.

2 June 1946, 8:30pm GMT, Bingley, England (Krishnamurti ayanamsa)

Once we shift from equal- to unequal-house systems, planets can shift houses. Because cusps have changed, planets may now also rule different houses. For example, in Sutcliffe’s chart Mars shifts from 9th house (equal) to 8th house (Placidus). And it now owns three houses – the 1st, the 5th and the 6th. Other lordships will have shifted as well.

Planets do not change signs, however, and their aspects remain as in traditional jyotish, as can be more readily noted in the rasi chart.

As regards the prediction of events, KP postulates that the effect of any house will become evident only when the planets having a say in its outcome find an opportunity to exert their effects, ie, during their dasa (major period), bhuktis (minor periods) and pratyantara (sub-periods), invoking circumstances as follows:

  • Occupant(s) of a house will be significator(s) for, or give results related to, that house
  • Planets in the nakshatra (star) of that occupant will be even stronger significators for that house

Not all houses are occupied, so we must also examine the house lord and any planets in its star:

  • The lord of a house will be a significator for, or give results related to, that house
  • Planets in the nakshatra (star) of that lord will be even stronger significators

This raises a typical question: Why is the occupant or the lord of a house less effective than a planet who occupies its nakshatra?

For an answer, an analogy: Consider a businessman. If he has employees (people in his shop), they do his work. If he has no one in his shop, he alone can do the work. The same logic holds, whether the businessman is the owner/operator of the enterprise, or the landlord of the property.

Signs of murder

Murder is a crime against dharma. The chief dharma house is the 9th. The destruction of anything is 12 houses away. Thus, the 8th is anti-dharma. So during crimes of any kind, where dharma (right action) is violated, there must be evidence from the planets that the 8th house of the perpetrator is active.

Murder is the end of things – the end of another’s life, but also a kind of self-inflicted suicide of the soul, because once one starts down that path, the trail grows ever darker. So again, where sex and violence end in death, there must be evidence that the perpetrator’s 12th house is active.

So rape and murder should occur during the periods (dasa, bhukti, pratyantara) of planets that signify the 8th and the 12th, ie, their occupants and lords, and planets occupying the nakshatras of those occupants and lords.

In Sutcliffe’s life, these planets would be:

8th house occupant(s):

  • Venus
    • since no planets occupy a VE-star, Venus must do its own work
  • Saturn
    • since no planets occupy a SA-star, Saturn must do its own work
  • Moon
    • since both Sun and Mercury occupy a MO-star, they can assist in its work
  • Mars
    • since both Rahu and Jupiter occupy a MA-star, they can assist in its work

8th house lord:

  • Mercury
    • since both Mars and Ketu occupy a ME-star, they can assist in its work
12th house occupant(s):
  • None
12th house lord:
  • Venus
    • since no planets occupy a VE-star, Venus must do its own work
Aside from the visible planets, we also assess the eligibility of the moon’s nodes to act as significators for the 8th or 12th houses. Consider Rahu:
  • Rahu associates with both Sun and Mercury, thus a significator for the 8th house (as in table above)
  • Rahu is aspected by Jupiter, thus a significator for the 8th house (as in table above)
  • Rahu is disposed by its sign-lord Venus, who occupies the 8th and rules the 12th, thus becoming a dual significator
  • Rahu is also governed by its star-lord Mars, thus a significator for the 8th house (as in table above)

And consider Ketu:

  • Ketu is not associated with any planet
  • Ketu is aspected by Sun and Mercury, thus a significator for the 8th house (as in table above)
  • Ketu is disposed by Mars, thus a significator for the 8th house (as in table above)
  • Ketu is also governed by its star-lord Mercury, thus a significator for the 8th house (as in table above)

Dasa/bhukti of planets in exchange

During the period of the assaults and murders confessed by Sutcliffe, he was running Mercury dasa. Aside from the Budhaditya yoga of intelligence, Mercury’s significance in this chart rests on its Parivartana yoga, where as 8th lord it exchanges signs with the 7th lord Venus.

Herein lies the seed of violence culminating in rape and murder. Note further that Mercury is afflicted doubly by Sun and debilitated Rahu, despite some relief from Jupiter, which perhaps explains why he was able to elude capture for a good five years.

With the onset of Sutcliffe’s Mercury dasa, conditions were ripe for escalating violence. Mercury is a dual significator for his 8th house: (1) it owns the 8th and, more importantly (2) it’s in the nakshatra of the Moon which occupies the 8th.

The stakes were raised once more when his 12th house was activated. This is only possible in two periods – that of Venus and Rahu. The 12th house has no occupants, therefore much depends on its lord. Venus has no planets occupying any of its nakshatras, therefore only two planets can do its work: Venus itself, or Rahu which occupies its sign.

ME-VE ran from April 1973 to February 1976. During this 3-year period the significators of 8th and 12th set the scene for criminal action.

In reviewing his history, authorities have since speculated that Sutcliffe had likely been involved in assaults on prostitutes dating back as far as 1969, the year his Mercury dasa began. It was only after 1975, when his assaults became murders, and his victims also began to include ordinary women, that public and police interest in his crimes escalated as a result of a media frenzy. 

From a brief inspection of this activity we see that:

  1. Sutcliffe began to get busy during ME-VE, the dasa/bhukti of the very two planets that comprised his Parivartana Yoga.
  2. The most vicious of his periods was during ME-MO, the bhukti lord being the Moon, both weak and afflicted, the 9th lord fallen in the 8th.
  3. The other aggressive period, during which he was ultimately captured, was that of ME-RA, wherein the bhukti lord Rahu is debilitated and afflicting the dasa lord Mercury.

Note also that in the broad dasa sequence, Mercury, Venus and Moon are the 3rd, 5th, and 7th period lords, whose dasas and/or bhuktis are traditionally supposed to be bad for the native in question. Within the Mercury dasa, this would make ME-VE and ME-MO particularly bad. Indeed these are the periods in which he committed the most attacks.

Of the 23 assaults, 43% occurred (*) when the Moon was in a Venus nakshatra. Venus participates in the exchange between 7th and 8th lords, the very combination that suggests violent assaults of every kind. In the 8th house, Venus is associated with Saturn and a dark (malefic) Moon, and is hemmed by Sun/Rahu on one side and Mars on the other.

(* Given average distribution, Sutcliffe’s attacks should only have occurred 2.5 times in a Venus nakshatra. That 10 of the events happened with Moon in a Venus nakshatra is highly significant, the chances of this being random only 0.6 in 10,000.)

Even post-exchange, Venus becomes combust and associated with Rahu. As 7th lord and karaka for relationships, it is one of the most tortured planets in Sutcliffe’s chart.

Of the 23 events, 52% occurred (**) when the Moon was in a krura nakshatra, a selection of asterisms ruled by Venus, Ketu or Jupiter. Krura means cruel, fierce and severe, and is associated with destructive deeds.

(** Average distribution would predict 4.2 events, but there were 12. Again, this is very significant, the chances of this being random only 3.4 in 10,000.)

Saturn return

As noted above, Sutcliffe’s ME-VE period set the stage for violence. Onto this stage walked Saturn. Not just any Saturn, but Sutcliffe’s Saturn return, which occurred on July 18, 1975 at 16h28.

If we drill down another level of time, we see that at the time he was running ME-VE-ME (dasa/bhukti/pratyantara) – all three significators linked to the 8th or 12th houses.

This Saturn return marks a pivotal place. In the rasi chart, Saturn is lord of the 4th, the manas – the emotional mind that registers perceptions, likes and dislikes, the pursuit of pleasure and avoidance of pain.

Located in the 8th house, this is destabilizing for the mind. The Moon is a secondary indicator for the mind. Natally, it is dark in the 8th with Saturn. Both are sandhi – unstable in the last degree of a dual sign.

In Sutcliffe’s Saturn return, Saturn is combust within 02deg30. The Moon is in Scorpio conjunct an exalted Rahu within 03deg00, an indicator for mental derangement. Moon and Rahu are transiting a Saturn nakshatra, contributing to further derangement.

Sutcliffe’s condition had been ripe for over two years. Within two months of his Saturn return, he violently assaulted two women. Within six months he had killed two women. And now his path was struck.

The following bhukti periods – Sun, Moon, Mars, Rahu and Jupiter were all supportive of ongoing violence because each of them was a significator of the 8th house.

Transits and triggers

KP theory says that violent acts like rape and murder unfold as per a hierarchy of causes:

  1. dasa, bhukti and pratyantara periods of planets who are significators of the 8th and/or 12th houses.
  2. transits of Jupiter, the Sun and the Moon through the nakshatras of planets who are significators of the 8th and 12th houses.

Just as period lords will work for the lord whose nakshatra they occupy in the birth chart, so too will transiting planets work for the lord whose nakshatra they pass through. (It’s like the game of Monopoly: If you occupy my space in passing, you must pay me rent or penalties.)

If we analyze the transits of Jupiter during these 23 acts of violence (13 murders, 10 assaults), the nakshatras most frequently transited were those of Mars. Although the number of incidents is too low to be statistically significant, Mars is key for many reasons – ascendant lord, debilitated, occupant of the 8th house, and in the star of Mercury the occupant and lord of the 8th lord. It is therefore a powerful significator for the 8th house. Thus, when Jupiter passes through a Mars-star, it works on behalf of Mars.

When we examine the Sun during these same acts of violence, the most common nakshatras transited were those of Sun and Rahu. The Sun is a significator of the 8th as noted earlier. Rahu is a significator of both the 8th and the 12th.

Finally, as noted earlier, during an assault the most common nakshatras transited by the Moon were those of Venus. Note that Venus is the only planet other than Rahu which is a significator of both the 8th and 12th houses. Venus occupies the 8th and rules the 12th. Therefore Venus is a very powerful karaka for murder in Sutcliffe’s chart.

Capture, confession and compensation

Sutcliffe was stopped by police in January 1981 (ME-RA) and arrested for having false license plates on his car. He had a prostitute with him, and the next day the police discovered a knife, hammer and rope he’d discarded at the scene. After two days of questioning, he confessed to 13 murders and multiple assaults.

At his trial, the judge rejected a plea of diminished responsibility due to mental illness. Sutcliffe was sentenced to 30 years without probation. While in prison, he was attacked several times by other inmates seeking to maim or kill him. One of these attacks cost him his left eye, and severely damaged his right. Subsequently, Sutcliffe was awarded almost £200,000 in compensation.

This incident occurred in March 1997 when Sutcliffe was running VE-VE. Venus is the karaka for vision. As 12th lord, Venus specifically rules the left eye. Venus is in the 8th with Saturn (loss) and Moon, the karaka for the left eye. Venus in the 8th also represents windfall monies, which Sutcliffe received as a result of his vision loss.


Alan Annand is a Canadian astrologer and palmist with an education spanning both eastern and western astrology. He has diplomas from the American College of Vedic Astrology, as well as the British Faculty of Astrological Studies for whom he was their North American correspondence tutor for several years.

He is also a writer of crime fiction, including his NEW AGE NOIR series (Scorpio RisingFelonious MonkSoma County) featuring astrologer and palmist Axel Crowe, whom one reviewer has dubbed “Sherlock Holmes with a horoscope.”