The weird thing about Ted Bundy, people later reflected, was that he never looked the same from one photograph to another. Even in person, he had the ability to metamorphose, with a glance or a turn of his head, from someone of charming intelligence to one of cunning violence. Criminal investigators later attributed his chameleon-like nature as key to luring many of his victims to their ultimate deaths.
Bundy’s rapes and murders may have spanned two decades, although his confirmed homicides all occurred in the mid- to late-70s. During this period, he attended university to study psychology and law, conducted research for the Republican Party, and worked for a crime reduction program, even writing a pamphlet on rape prevention. Meanwhile, he was breaking into apartments to bludgeon and sexually assault young women, or luring them into his car for transport to remote areas where he would rape and kill them. When his name turned up on suspect lists, he was often discounted because of his good looks and his education.
Bundy’s chart is striking for two reasons – he has a Kala Sarpa pattern through the 4th and 10th houses that splits the horoscope in two, and a Pravrajya yoga in the 4th house whose four planets straddle Ketu. Based upon my research into Kala Sarpa, I’ve learned that it’s relatively uncommon, occurring in only one of eight charts (12.5%), with roughly the same frequency as a Dharma-Karma Adhipati yoga. However, in the charts of killers it turns up more frequently, appearing in one out of six charts (16.8%).
Kala Sarpa doesn’t always signify sociopathy or other mental disorders, although it can indicate extreme behavior, appearing in the charts of politicians, artists, scientists and other notable achievers in their respective fields. But under the right influence, primarily that of a strong Jupiter or other dignified planets, it can assume yoga status, thereby amplifying beneficial features of the chart, often through the agency of exaggerated planets.
Under the wrong influences, Kala Sarpa becomes a dosha – a flaw, a problem, a stain on the native’s karma. In Bundy’s chart, several negative influences come to bear. To start, he was born the day after a partial solar eclipse. Since the nodes are considered enemies of the Sun and Moon, casting shadows on them, either luminary in the same sign as a node is problematic.
In Bundy’s case, lagnesh Sun is on the nodal axis, so the ego is subject to aberrations. The Moon is also on the nodal axis, and its extreme weakness – dark, debilitated and afflicted by three malefics – made him vulnerable to his most morbid thoughts. An assessment of the manas, or emotional mind, reveals agitation: Mars, lord of the 4th, lies on the nodal axis; Ketu occupies the 4th; and the Moon as karaka for the manas is the most fragile planet in the chart.
Over the years, various psychologists have assessed Bundy as having bipolar, multiple personality, or antisocial personality disorders. Others have characterized him as a narcissist, a sociopath, and the rarest of types, a true psychopath.
Bundy was born at 11:35 PM on November 24, 1946, in Burlington, Vermont. His mother was unmarried, and in order to preserve her reputation, young Bundy was raised by his mother’s parents as if he were their own. Years later, Bundy’s mother took him to Washington State, where she remarried and had four other children. Bundy never accepted his stepfather and resented his mother for not having shown him the love he needed, a simmering anger that ultimately spilled over in violence against other women.
Anger is apparent in his chart. Mars occupies Scorpio in the 4th from which it aspects the 7th. Kuja dosha is evident with Mars in poor house position relative to the lagna, the Moon and Venus. Exalted Ketu is in the same sign, and is itself Mars-like. Last but not least, the Sun with Mars is practically a signature for someone with impulse control or anger management issues, while Ketu’s magnification pushes it all over the top.
Bundy began acting out while still in high school, poring over true crime magazines for pictures of victims, especially women. He became a peeping tom, spying on women late at night, a behavior that’s often a precursor to rape. He was arrested twice for burglary and once for auto theft, but was let off with warnings each time because he was a good student.
The Pravrajya yoga in the 4th house is a veritable gold mine of interpretation. Although in the best of cases, Pravrajya can be an indicator of spiritual power, in the worst cases it can manifest as a kind of obsessive-compulsive disorder, with undertones of ritualistic behavior.
Education is a 4th house theme. Although Bundy had an on-and-off academic record, he did persevere. He studied psychology at university, and later switched to law, presumably learning enough about both to manipulate people as well as the legal system.
The 4th house also rules vehicles. For many of his marauding years, Bundy drove around in a beat-up VW Beetle, picking up young women hitchhikers, or luring them from beaches and parks to his car where he’d overpower them and take them to some remote location. He knew his way around other cars as well, and stole dozens of them, both in his early years and later, during the time when he was on the run, having broken out of jail after his arrest.
The 4th house also rules property and land. After staking out the residences of potential victims, he used weak access points to break into apartments and dormitories. He knew his geography too, and would often take his victims into back roads and remote sites to avoid discovery. In interviews with psychologists and law enforcement officers in his final years, he talked about some of these places with an eerie reverence: “…and the grounds where you killed them… become sacred to you…” He often returned to these crime scenes to dress his victims in different clothes, paint their nails, wash their hair, and have sex with them again until putrefaction or foraging predators put an end to that.
He had two modus operandi, both of which can be read from his chart. One was home invasion, in which he’d break into a residence, bludgeon his victims comatose, violently rape them, then either strangle or beat them to death. For this method, we need look no further than the triad of kshatriya planets – the Sun, Mars and Ketu – in the Scorpio 4th house, with their collective themes of control, anger and savagery.
His other method was psychological, drawing on the good nature of his unsuspecting victims. Wearing a cast on his arm or leg, sometimes with a crutch in hand, he’d feign helplessness and ask a young woman to help him carry some books to his car in a remote corner of a parking lot. Once there, he’d knock her out with a crowbar and drive to some pre-selected location where he could rape and kill her at leisure. His pretense of being handicapped can be seen in the two luminaries, both in the 4th house, which coincidentally rules the study of psychology. The Sun has a very low shadbala score, while the Moon is dark and debilitated. Meanwhile, based on their respective degrees, the Sun’s avastha is in its “old age” and the Moon is in its “infancy.”
Perhaps due to his legal studies and his involvement in crime prevention initiatives, Bundy was a clever criminal. He left virtually no physical evidence at any of his crime scenes. On one occasion, after having abducted a woman from a downtown alley, he brazenly returned to the scene the next morning to retrieve her earrings and a shoe before the police could find them. His victims were all young white women, ages 15 to 25, usually alone, although sometimes he was bold enough to take them in pairs.
Although he ultimately confessed to having killed roughly 30 women, the true number of Bundy’s victims remains unknown since he refused to discuss other cases that were “too close to family,” “too close to home,” or involved “victims who were very young.” In hindsight, it appears that he may have committed his first murder in 1961, shortly after the onset of his Venus dasha.
The graph below depicts the pattern of his suspected and known murders by bhukti period. Morbid as it might seem, my ongoing research into serial killers has revealed that murder is often stimulated under the influence, singly or conjoint, of planets that own or occupy trikasthanas, or planets in the nakshatras of those same trik lords and occupants. Of these, planets connected to the 8th and 12th houses are the most ominous. Logically, the 8th is the house of anti-dharma, being 12th from the 9th, while the 12th is antithetical to life itself, being symbolic of loss and the end of all things.
In Bundy’s case, all of his murders occurred in Venus dasha. Venus occupies the 3rd, a mild dusthana, but occupies the nakshatra of Jupiter, the 8th lord with which it’s conjoined. Many of Bundy’s suspected but unproven murders occurred in Rahu and Jupiter bhuktis. Rahu does work for planets with which it’s associated or aspected, as well as its rashi and nakshatra dispositors. Among these, the most relevant here is the debilitated Moon, which both aspects Rahu and disposits it by nakshatra, meanwhile owning the 12th house.
The vast majority of Bundy’s murders occurred in his Saturn bhukti. Powerful (retrograde) Saturn rings the bell three times – it occupies the 12th, it owns the 6th, and it occupies its own nakshatra, thus reinforcing its dual role as trik lord and occupant. During a few months of freedom between his first and second arrests, Bundy murdered again during his Mercury bhukti. Since Mercury occupies the nakshatra of 8th lord Jupiter, this gave it malefic power.
After being particularly active in 1974 and 1975, his Saturn bhukti, Bundy was flagged by investigators in five different states – Washington, Oregon, Utah, Colorado and Idaho – as being a common suspect in multiple unsolved murders with similar characteristics. He was placed under active suspicion and arrested, still in the bhukti of 12th house Saturn.
Given his legal training, he successfully applied to defend himself. Left alone in a law library, he jumped out of a 2nd-floor window and made a run for it, only to be recaptured within six days. Six months later, he escaped again, this time using a hacksaw blade to cut a hole through the roof of his cell. He fled in a stolen car, making his way from Colorado to Florida via bus, airline, train and more stolen cars.
Although he’d intended to go straight and lay low, he couldn’t find a job and soon resorted to shoplifting and stealing credit cards from unguarded purses in shopping carts. Unfortunately, he couldn’t control his other impulses either. On January 15, 1978, he entered a sorority house at Florida State University and violently attacked four young women, killing two. Later the same night, he attacked another woman who survived and, two weeks later, killed another young woman. A week later, he was stopped by a policeman for driving erratically in a stolen car. He tried to escape but was overpowered and handcuffed, after which the officer found in Bundy’s car evidence linking him to the Florida State murders.
His murder trial received national coverage, and was attended by 250 reporters from around the world. After conviction, he spent a decade on death row, was foiled in yet another escape attempt, and was electrocuted on January 24, 1989. He was then running Moon-Rahu. As noted earlier, the Moon is the weakest planet in the chart while Rahu acts as a powerful proxy for that same Moon, lord of the 12th and significator of the end.
Alan Annand is a graduate of the American College of Vedic Astrology and a former tutor for the British Faculty of Astrological Studies. His New Age Noir crime novels (Scorpio Rising, Felonious Monk, Soma County) feature astrologer and palmist Axel Crowe, whom one reviewer has dubbed “Sherlock Holmes with a horoscope.”
He’s also the author of several non-fiction books. Stellar Astrology, Volumes 1 & 2, offer a wealth of time-tested techniques in the form of biographical profiles, analyses of world events, and technical essays. Parivartana Yoga is a reference text for one of the most common yet powerful planetary combinations in jyotish. Mutual Reception is an expanded companion volume for western practitioners, covering the same subject of planetary exchange through the lens of traditional astrology.
Websites: www.navamsa.com, www.sextile.com