Brittany Maynard caught my astrological attention because she was 29—the year of Saturn’s Return, when Saturn’s influence is very powerful because he returns to where he was at birth—and because she died on the day (November 2nd) Saturn transited from Libra, his position of exaltation, to Scorpio. For astrologers, these are powerful indicators that something larger than an individual’s life was at work.
Scorpio is the ruler of the natural Eighth House, or Mrityu Bhava, the house of death. Scorpio also rules transformation, especially going deep down to bring up issues of death and dying.
Saturn is the karaka of suffering, old age, death. Saturn, in Brittany Maynard’s chart, is also in her Second House, a maraka or killer house. Her Saturn is also combust, and exalted. For Brittany, Saturn becomes a very strong killer planet. She was also going through something astrologers called “sade sati”, which is the seven-and-a-half years when Saturn grinds through a person’s life to deliver life lessons. In her case, November 1st was the very last day when this period ended. Interestingly, Brittany apparently postponed her death by one day-she was going to die on November 1st, then decided to die on November 2nd instead.
You can read about this here:
You can read about this here:
Critics opposed to her death felt that she had committed suicide, and that the media was giving this event unnecessary attention. Interestingly, by the definitions of jyotish astrology, her death is not strictly a “suicide.” In general, astrologers look for the cause of death in the Eighth House. Her self, or lagna, is ruled by Virgo, whose depositor is Mercury. If Mercury was in Eighth House, astrologers would consider this a “suicide”—death by self. Her Mercury, however, is in the Third House of initiative, drive (and also friends.) In other words, the cause of her death is not “The Self.”
So what is the cause of death?
Saturn is a maraka planet, and its in her Second House. The Second House is also the house of childhood—meaning that her upbringing, and childhood suffering, could have made her decide not to go through with suffering till the end. Her Second House is ruled by Libra, whose depositor is Venus, and Venus lies in her Fourth House of home and education. Venus is together with Jupiter, the sign of wisdom, in Jupiter’s own house. Where those two factors causes of her death?
Her Eighth House is ruled by Aries, whose lord is Mars. Mars lies in the Fifth House—of love and creativity. Her Eighth House is also at present getting an aspect from Exalted Jupiter in the Eleventh House of Gains. Could this have been an act of love—a creative act to allow people the option to choose their own death?
In Buddhist philosophical tradition, assisted death is not encouraged. Life brings many forms of sufferings, we have to live through those fully until the last breath because each of these sufferings teach us valuable karmic lessons. It is also thought that unfulfilled karma is going to return in some form or another in another life anyways, so terminating a life early doesn’t end the suffering, because the reincarnated soul will have to live through the life lessons in another life. This doesn’t mean however that Buddhists don’t use external aids to decrease the pain and suffering-medicine, herbs, incense, meditation, blessings from gurus, rites and rituals may all come into play to help a person at the end of their life, especially when great pain and suffering is indicated.
Great spiritual souls in Hindu and Buddhist traditions, however, have often chosen their time of death. There are many documented stories of greatly enlightened practitioners who decide on their day of death—or more accurately, the day they allow their atmas, or souls, to leave their bodies. News reports report that Brittany chose her day to die, and she felt the time wasn’t quite right, and she was waiting for the right day. Interestingly, she chose a day when Saturn, the natural karaka of death (and a karaka of death for her in her individual chart) chose to move to Scorpio, which rules not just death, but also transformations.