Revisiting History: Suicide of Benjamin Keough

by Marilyn Muir, LPMAFA

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Who is Benjamin Keough and why would a 27-year-old man be the subject of a Revisiting History article? Let’s start with history. Benjamin was the only grandson of singing legend Elvis Presley and his wife Priscilla, son of their daughter Lisa Marie. Recently Ben committed suicide by self-inflicted gunshot; so young, his family devastated. This is a famous family whose lives played out in full view of the public over decades. A typical teenager, I was spell bound by Elvis and his music. “Heartbreak Hotel” was my teenage mantra, and I sang it incessantly. As we know, Elvis died tragically and his music is in a replay loop. His courtship, marriage and life with wife Priscilla and their daughter Lisa Marie was continual news over decades.

Benjamin was Lisa’s second child and he has three female siblings. Eldest sister, Riley Keough, has made her own music and way in Hollywood circles. The two youngest twin sisters, Finley and Harper, are preteen at this time, so no speculation on their lives. Benjamin did work as a musician as well. But from what I was able to read through the tabloid-type articles on his death, he was not solidly successful. Apparently, he fought a life-long battle to find his own way and make his own mark. On the positive side, everything I read said he was a good human being, kind and loving, and was loved. What happened that would make a young man take his own life so young?

I have all the natal charts, Elvis, Priscilla, Lisa Marie and Benjamin. Riley’s is available as well but I have not researched her. I wondered if I could see family connections, clues, or reasons. I cast natal, progressed, diurnal and Solar Arcs. But this column is short and I had to choose a specific. When I lay the natals side by side for Elvis and Benjamin, there are striking similarities. We begin there.

Not casually known, Elvis was a twin and his brother was stillborn. Twins carry an intimate knowing of the other whether they both survive or not, like two personalities inhabiting one body; complex. Elvis was born January 8, 1935, 4:35 AM CST, Tupelo, MS. The chart screams crisis/tension across his second/eighth house axis: a Sun Mercury/Venus Capricorn stellium 12 degrees in width but operates as a massive conjunction, plus 1.5 degrees later the grouping adds the North lunar Node in Aquarius.  Powerful aspect but, there is more… opposing Pluto in Cancer in the eighth house hitting the midpoint of the Capricorn stellium. Want more? That powerful opposition is square Uranus in Aries in the fifth house (individualized or unusual creativity), a mighty powerful cardinal T-square. Stretch the orb even wider you capture Mars in Libra in the tenth house (of career). Mars is at a critical degree as is Pluto, which intensifies their energy and makes this cardinal pattern even more dynamic and spontaneous.

(Hint: Cardinal tends to operate critically: fast, serious, short duration; fixed operates intensely long lasting, chronic; mutable operates adaptively: flexibly, requiring change or adjustment.)

When you study Elvis’s biography, you can see the long, hard climb and fight to succeed, then the struggle to hang onto it, and the continual money/power issues across his destiny axis. You can see eventual success supported by his Jupiter sextile, trine the Capricorn/ Cancer. You can also see easy access to drugs and alcohol by Neptune sextile/trine that same Capricorn/Cancer/plus Scorpio pattern. His Moon was in Pisces, his internal muse was sensitive and nuanced to emotion. Difficult that it was conjunct Saturn in Aquarius (dignity, strong), emotions tied to expected performance. This could indicate his early loss of his Mother, whom he adored. To complete this section, Elvis died August 16, 1977 while attempting to re-establish his career. Cause: drugs, but thought to be accidental, not suicide.

Born October 21, 1992, 7:46 AM EDT, Tampa, FL, Grandson Benjamin’s chart is another amazing Cancer/Capricorn opposition. His Mars (chart co-ruler) in Cancer in the ninth house is opposed a Uranus/Neptune conjunction in Capricorn. While a dominant pattern, it is not as powerful as his grandfather’s stellium-driven T-square pattern, but you can see similar elements at work. The forceful drive is not as strong, the dynamic to propel him relentlessly to success is not present. The sextile/trine between that axis and his Mercury/Pluto conjunction in Scorpio in the first mimics the sign/aspect pattern in Elvis’s chart but is not as strong. It is also important also as Pluto is co-ruler of the chart. I found it interesting that he also was born with Saturn in Aquarius (dignity) but I don’t see Saturn making specific impact other than a wide square to the Mercury/Pluto. This chart does not have the drive or power of the previous chart.

Benjamin was born right at dawn as the Sun moved above the horizon line. It does rule the Midheaven, so he would be responsible for his own success, but it is hidden just inside the twelfth house, in the private or closet part of the chart. Fame and personal success seemed to escape him even when he worked at it. Perhaps his wealthy family life of ease and comfort did not prepare him for the brutality of success on stage, screen and television. Hollywood-type success stories are many times written in the blood of the gladiators themselves. Success demands a high price.

Suicide: What else can we see for Benjamin? This will be hard for you to read (deep breath). Benjamin committed suicide by shotgun to his mouth while locked in a bathroom. According to news stories, he was sitting on the toilet, similar to how his grandfather was found dead by drugs 43 years ago (1977) before Benjamin was even born (1992). Coincidence? I don’t think so. Causes were different; this needs more research. From reporting, there was a party going on at 1:00 AM, followed by screaming “Don’t do it” at 3:30 AM PDT, July 12, 2020, Calabasas, CA. No mention of an actual shotgun blast, which would be quite loud. Police arrived about 6:00 AM. ???

I set the event chart for 3:30. There it is again… a huge Cancer/Capricorn axis with Sun in Cancer opposed Jupiter/Pluto/Saturn in Capricorn. Is there a square? Sort of… Moon is applying to the square of the Sun, having last passed over Mars. There also exists a Mercury/Mars square as well with Mercury the ruler of this speculative event chart.

Benjamin had been fighting addiction for some time as well, so what was happening with Neptune? Event Neptune squares the Ascendant of the event chart, widely squaring the lunar nodes in Ben’s natal chart. Drugs could definitely be part of this gruesome picture.

Aside from what I have already explained, how trustworthy is this speculative chart? The event Midheaven (time) closely opposes Ben’s Moon. Event Sun closely conjuncts Ben’s natal Mars. Event Ascendant about 3.5 degrees square event Neptune (about 14 minutes on the event clock).  Ben’s natal death cusp (eighth house) is 29 Taurus, the fixed stars Pleiades, “something to weep about” which aptly describes the family’s devastation at his loss. The event Midheaven is closely square.

Lay out the three charts side by side with Elvis first, Ben middle, event on right. The visual speaks to me: that Cancer/Capricorn axis. This was Elvis’s grandson, born after the death of his grandfather. Pictures provided in the news articles show a striking resemblance between the two men who never met one another. Do charts live on after the demise of the native? My research shows that there is continuation and activation. Event Moon 14 Aries squares Elvis’s Sun stellium/T-square as well as square Ben’s Uranus/Neptune natal conjunction. Event Sun opposes Elvis’s natal Sun/Mercury conjunction. Event Saturn conjuncts Elvis’s Venus. I should also mention here that Elvis’s grandchildren as a collective are found in his ninth natal house: the fifth (children) of his personal fifth house child, which is ruled by that Sun and occupied by Neptune.


Chart source used: Rodden database             

To complete your files:  Lisa Marie Presley born February 1, 1968, 5:01 PM CST, Memphis, TN (Ben’s Mother)

Priscella Wagner Presley (Elvis’s wife) born May 24, 1945, 10:50 PM EWT, Brooklyn, NY (Ben’s Grandmother)

Presley/Wagner marriage May 1, 1967, 9:41 AM, Las Vegas, NV (source: news article)

Published in AFA Today’s Astrologer October, 2020 vol 82 #10, republished with slight editing.

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