Revisiting History: The 120-Year-Old Boston Marathon

by Marilyn Muir, LPMAFA

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On April 15, 2013, at 2:49 PM EDT1 the Boston Marathon was compromised by a terrorist attack. Two explosions detonated at the end of the race as 5700+ racers approached the finish line. Pressure cooker bombs had been placed in backpacks and planted during the gathering of the massive crowd, resulting in three immediate deaths and 264 injuries. In the ensuing confusion, rescue and prevention of further bombing and injury were high on the list. Because this was a race heavily populated by racing enthusiasts, there were thousands of backpacks, all of which were now suspect. This horrible scene did not occur in one minute on one day, it played out over the next few days with an astounding manhunt and chase, with a police officer shot to death on April 18th , and another officer injured on April 19th , who subsequently died a year later.  The event was a bomb explosion but it was one event in a continuing process. The process would include the radicalization of the attackers, the plot, assembling of pieces, planting of bombs, the event in all its horrible glory, but also the aftermath to the targeted athletes and crowded streets, the police, the towns involved in the explosion and the ensuing manhunt, and the terrorized citizens who were literally on forced lockdown. Eventually the perpetrators were hunted down and the process was thought ended. But as a process it did not end there, it continues to this day.

Two brothers: Dzhokhar and Tamerian Tsarbaev were identified as the bombers, with both placing bombs. The elder brother, Tamerian, was killed by both gunfire and by an ironic accident during the manhunt and shootout that ensued. While the firefight was happening, the younger brother’s car ran over the older brother when he was in the process of fleeing. The younger brother, Dzhokhar, was caught a few days later, investigated, had his day in court, was convicted and remains incarcerated. Many astrological articles have been published, including my recent domestic terrorism article for the AFA Journal. My research unearthed an interesting nugget of information.

At 12:19 PM on April 19, 1897 in Boston, MA, the first Boston Marathon initiated a yearly charitable event that has become international in scope. Did you notice the start time? What does an astrologer do with a timed event? You race for the computer to see what can be found. I had done the explosion, state, city, and U.S. charts to see the inter-relationships. Now I could look at the history of the marathon and the perspective of ongoing tradition. There were many interesting years and events over the rich history of the marathon, but I will have to leave that to another astrologer, another time. This article connects the birth moment of the iconic race in 1897 with the bombing event in 2013, with tight hard aspects only for the tragic event.

The natal chart is strong in fixed signs as would befit a 100-plus year tradition. The Midheaven, Mercury and Venus are tightly clustered in Taurus with the Sun at 29 Aries 53 (chart ruler), seven minutes from the cusp of Taurus. The Taurus grouping is square the South Node and the Leo Ascendant. Add more fixed with a Saturn/Uranus tight conjunction at the end of Scorpio but out of orb to the positions previously given. Seven of our standard thirteen positions are in fixed signs: longevity, tradition, durability. Since we will be referencing the bombing, the Uranus/Saturn conjunction, the Neptune/Pluto Gemini conjunction and the Moon/Jupiter square are suspect.

Triggers Natal Saturn at 29 Scorpio 27R conjunct Uranus 28 Scorpio 08R, opposition the Fixed Star grouping of the Pleiades, the Seven Weeping Sisters, offers a promise of something to weep about. That happened. Progressed Saturn 24 Scorpio 20 and Uranus 25 Scorpio 02 have regressed to the opposition of Fixed Star Caput Algol, the most malefic fixed star, anciently referred to as “death by decapitation,” more modernly given as “losing one’s head.” The bombing and results certainly caused us to go out of our minds with grief, terror and anger. The fixed grouping is nominally square (three degrees) the progressing Sun. Progressed Ascendant 17 Scorpio 19 is opposed natal Mercury 17 Taurus 21, two minutes of arc, signature of negative communications. Progressed midheaven 28 Leo 55 is tightly square the midpoint of the natal Uranus/Saturn conjunction.

The natal Neptune/Pluto conjunction has widened by progression but is oh-so-active. Progressed Jupiter 14 Virgo 11 conjunct progressed Mercury 15 Virgo 13 are tightly square progressed Pluto 14 Gemini 33. Do note that natal Mercury was square the natal Ascendant. Progressed Mars 22 Virgo 22 is square progressed Neptune 22 Gemini 04.        

The progressed Moon 5 Pisces 02 is square natal Moon 4 Sagittarius 51 triggering the natal square to Jupiter 00 Virgo 17R through opposition.

Diurnal chart reflects transits for the day of the bombing, but allows for the personal Midheaven, Ascendant and Moon positions as related to the 1897 chart. (To construct a diurnal, use all natal coordinates: date, time, place, then change date only to the date of the event.) The resulting very personal 1897 chart diurnal Midheaven 5 Taurus 00 is square the progressed Nodes at 6 Leo/Aquarius 04. Diurnal Ascendant 15 Leo 35 widely conjunct natal Ascendant, square natal Venus/Mercury and progressed Ascendant. The day’s most telling planetary position is diurnal Saturn 9 Scorpio 10R, one minute from the conjunction of the natal fourth house cusp at 9 Scorpio 09. Also close is diurnal Neptune 4 Pisces 39 conjunct progressed Moon 5 Pisces 02, squaring natal Moon 4 Sagittarius 51. Diurnal Jupiter 14 Gemini 28 is conjunct progressed Pluto 14 Gemini 33. Diurnal Moon, which travels about 12 to 15 degrees per day, had earlier that morning passed over progressed Neptune 22 Gemini 04. The diurnal N Node 16 Scorpio 57 squared natal Ascendant, conjoined progressed Ascendant, opposed natal Mercury, and squared the diurnal Ascendant/Descendant axis. That is one event in the 120-year life of the 1897 Boston Marathon.

There is one more chart to add to this mix, the event of the bombing itself. Since diurnals are transits, most of those positions are already covered. Why add another chart? The diurnal is personal to the birth chart, offering the advantage of a personal Midheaven, Ascendant and Moon, unique to the chart being examined. Because of time and location, the event chart. supplies a different Midheaven, Ascendant and, at times, Moon. The bombing chart Midheaven is 27 Taurus 47 opposition the tight natal Uranus/Saturn conjunction at 28/29 Scorpio – note the midpoint. The event Ascendant 3 Virgo 10 is just past the conjunction to natal Jupiter (about three days), applying to square natal Moon and with diurnal Neptune conjunct event Descendant.  The event Moon is within one degree of diurnal Moon already given.

Note also that birth and event dates are close on the calendar: April 19 for birth and April 15 for bombing. The diurnal/event Sun 25 Aries 57 is conjunct diurnal Mars 26 Aries 28 – acute, militant, blinding in speed and repercussions. The Uranus in Aries square Pluto in Capricorn aspect that has been plaguing our world for several years was in action for that bombing. At 9 Aries 29 and 11 Capricorn 35R respectively, the square triggered 1897 natal Mars at 14 Cancer 16 and progressed Venus 8 Cancer 51.

Four charts read together, two similar because both are based on one day’s positions. Almost every position in each chart has been applied. And they stay this stuff doesn’t work!

Thinking I was done, during proofing I realized I had not finished the inherent process visible in diurnal chart activations. If the event itself were part of a larger process of before, during and after, I had not done after. Explosion as an event in turn causes aftermath as part of a longer process. How do you see that? Set new diurnals to see the process simply by changing the date. Diurnal means day, so this is a day-by-day personal star map. The Midheaven moves forward one degree every day. The Ascendant moves approximately one degree per day depending upon latitude. The Moon moves approximately twelve to fifteen degrees per day, and the balance of the planets move at their individual daily rate of motion. All positions are pertinent as the second hand ticks off the aspects in their turn. Process. Brief examples…

April 16, 2013, 1897 diurnal Midheaven: 6 Taurus 01, Ascendant 16 Leo 20, Moon 7 Cancer 09, the Sun is gaining on Mars, ¼ degree to conjunction. Ongoing battle.

April 17, 2013, 1897 diurnal Midheaven 7 Taurus 01, Ascendant 17 Leo 06, Moon 19 Cancer 02, Moon now in diurnal 12th house, hiding, Sun four minutes to Mars conjunction. Ongoing battle.

April 18, 2013, 1897 diurnal Midheaven 8 Taurus 02, Ascendant 17 Leo 51, Moon 1 Leo 03 still hiding in 12th house, Sun now separating from Mars. One police officer shot and later died. Dzhokhar hides in a boat in a Watertown backyard.

April 19, 2013, 1897 diurnal Midheaven 9 Taurus 03 conjunct natal midheaven 9 Taurus 09. Diurnal Ascendant 18 Leo 37 conjunct natal Ascendant 18 Leo 42, Moon 13 Leo 18 squares natal Venus 13 Taurus 54. The diurnal Sun and Mars at 29 Aries conjunct natal Sun exactly. The diurnal Midheaven has crossed over the opposition to diurnal Saturn of authority, freeing authority. The diurnal for each day begins at 12:19 PM from the birth chart. Dzhokhar is found wounded and bleeding in the boat and arrested at 8:42 PM EDT after yet another short gunfight. Another police officer was shot and eventually died in 2014. Diurnal Moon travels 13 degrees per day, one degree+ every two hours on the day’s clock. House cusps are traveling as well, just much slower. Eight+ hours later the Moon is 17 to 18 Leo, conjunct the natal and diurnal Ascendants; that which is hidden comes to full light of day. Arrest. Process ongoing.

IF an intrepid astrologer has time and ability, the whole of the Boston Marathon’s history can be researched and applied, then shared with the rest of our astrological community. Any takers?


Note: There are slight variations of time among sources and timing, common to such an event; this seems most valid.

Published in AFA Today’s Astrologer Feb 2017, vol 79#2, republished with slight editing.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.