Disappearing Men

The Thief, His Wife and The Canoe

I watched four episodes of this fascinating true story four days this week, and then The Real Story on Thursday, so it has dominated my television viewing!  It is the story of John Darwin who faked his death out at sea in a canoe, persuaded his wife Anne (superbly acted by Monica Dolan) to claim the insurance money, and then went to live in Panama.  The plot then unravelled, with him returning claiming amnesia, and a journalist in Panama (David Leigh) persuading his wife to return to England to face the music.  Both husband and wife eventually spent six years in prison. For a long time, their sons refused to forgive their mother for lying, but they are now reconciled. John Darwin now resides in the Philippines with his second wife.  We do not have a birth date for the wife, who played such a huge role in the real life drama.  And neither do we have a birth date for the journalist who played a really karmic role, befriending Anne (to this day) and writing the book on which the television drama was based.  Most frustrating!

John Darwin’s Birth Chart

The first thing that strikes you when you look at his chart is his Sun conjunct Pluto in Leo.  In the programme The Real Story he was described as “loving the limelight” (Sun in Leo), and of course Pluto is the planet of Death and Resurrection.  The close conjunction of Mercury and Saturn in Virgo in his chart is also of intense interest: a workmate described him as “calculating” and another interviewee commented that he “planned everything”, both descriptions not hard to deduce from his actions, but both very descriptive of Mercury conjunct Saturn, and Virgo providing the detail.  Mercury square Chiron shows a mind that is problem-solving, and this close square is also to be found in the chart of the actor who plays him (Eddie Marsan).  The adventurer in John Darwin is shown by Mars closely trine Jupiter, which together with Uranus forms a Grand Water Trine (his chosen Element of disappearance!).  Jupiter trine Uranus indicates the Entrepreneur Archetype: prior to getting  into debt and deciding to fake his death, he owned a string of properties, and apparently was always on the lookout for an easy way to make money.

His Transits

The transits for when he went out to sea in a boat included Pluto square his natal Mercury (the death plan) and Pluto trine his natal Pluto (self-empowerment, at the time).

The main transit for when he was imprisoned and convicted for fraud was Jupiter square his natal Neptune, Neptune being the planet of incarceration.  We do not know which House this falls in chartwise, because we do not have a birth time for him.

On his release from prison, Jupiter (liberation) was close to his North Node (karma).

The CPS announced that the life insurance and pension payouts were recovered by 14th February 2012, when transiting Jupiter was sextile Darwin’s natal Jupiter in Pisces, and  Pluto opposed his natal Uranus, both transits wiping the slate clean in some ways.  But he was still liable to pay £679,073 costs by the judge, which were largely paid by July 2015, when Uranus was trine his natal Sun (favourable change).

The story was previously made into a film in 2010 entitled “Canoe Man”.  The real story may have unfolded slightly differently had the crime of “coercive control” come into force earlier, for Anne Darwin was a reluctant partner in crime.  “Coercive control” was not recognized in the courts until 29th December 2015.

John Stonehouse

In an earlier precedent for John Darwin’s bold and reckless actions, the M.P. John Stonehouse disappeared into the sea back in the year 1974.

John Stonehouse, like John Darwin, was a Sun in Leo, but with a different character and mindset.  His Sun, and ruler of his chart, was exactly conjunct his North Node, a sign that karma and fate played a huge part in the course of his life.  His Mars was closely conjunct Neptune, which gives him the Neptunian connection with the sea and disappearance. He had power issues, with Jupiter closely opposite Neptune, and his chosen career was politics (Jupiter in Capricorn gave him some success and ease in this).  But it emerged, long after his death, that he had spied for what was then Czechoslovakia, so he had a whole other, secret, life (possibly depicted by his Mars conjunct Neptune). His highest Element count was for 4 planets in Water, and he had 0 planets in Air.  His Neptune was conjunct John Darwin’s Sun, so he may have partially provided inspiration for the other John.

Ultimately, it was false financial accounting which got him into difficulties that persuaded him the only way out was to fake his own death, so in that motivation the two Johns were similar.  He apparently spent a great deal of time preparing a new prospective identity for himself, that of Joseph Markham.  In the event, he left a pile of clothes on a beach in Miami, and it was presumed among other things that he might have been eaten by a shark.  He, like Darwin, had a woman in tow, his secretary Sheila Buckley.  He fled to Australia, but the Bank of New Zealand spotted an anomaly, and he was placed under surveillance.  For a time, it was even suspected that he was the missing Lord Lucan!  The latter had only disappeared two weeks before John Stonehouse.

Transits for his faked death included Mars sextile his natal Jupiter, and Jupiter trine his natal Saturn (both transits of action), as well as Uranus sextile his Venus  (a change in relationships).

A notable transit for his arrest on 24th December 1974 was Uranus (surprise) sextile his natal Mercury.  After conducting his own defence, he was convicted on 6th August 1976.  Mars was forming a dicey opposition to his natal Uranus. After divorcing his first wife, he married the secretary.  He died suddenly of a heart attack in 1988, with Mars opposite his Sun, on his South Node, and Jupiter opposite his Saturn.

Lord Lucan

Lord Lucan disappeared two weeks before John Stonehouse, after supposedly killing the household nanny Sandra Rivett.  When his wife died in 2017, I wrote about his chart:

“Lord Lucan had the Sun and Mercury in Sagittarius, and was a notorious gambler (a traditional Sagittarian trait), horse racing being one of his interests.  It’s a very Sagittarian phenomenon, too, that he was (subsequent to the murder) spotted in various places all over the world, even if it wasn’t him!  A curious fact about Lord Lucan was that he was considered for the role of James Bond, so there is another Archetype associated with him.

There was a strong streak of rebelliousness in his nature, with his Saturn in Aquarius and his Sun closely trine Uranus.  His North Node (karmic mission) was also in Aquarius, and he certainly had a unique and bizarre destiny.  Mars was exactly trine this North Node, and he was forever linked with this act of bloodshed…

His natal Mercury was square Neptune, indicating a confused mind at times, particularly when under stress.  He also had Venus square exactly Mars, which can bring impulsiveness in matters of the heart.”

Reggie Perrin

John Stonehouse’s escapade especially gave inspiration to the comedy series, The Fall and Rise of Reggie Perrin, which aired under a Virgo Sun on 8th September 1976.  Its theme was of a mid-life crisis of Reggie, who faked his death on a beach and carved a new life for himself.  I doubt if Lord Lucan, John Stonehouse and John Darwin found it very funny, but it was one of the better comedic offerings of the 1970s.

Traditionally, disappearance is associated astrologically with Neptune, and other disappearances bear this out, but for these examples some other considerations come to light.  It is still an unusual phenomenon, and if more birth data come to light, I will fill in the gaps.


A busy week for aspects this week!

Mercury squares Saturn today at lunchtime, so if there are obstacles or delays in communication, you’ll know why!  Patience may be the key here (e.g. you may have to repeat yourself), and “more haste less speed” may be a useful mantra to follow.

In the late evening, Mercury settles down to a smooth sextile with Neptune: Sensitivity towards others, and spiritual awareness, inform our minds easily, making delicate conversations and channelling easier.  You can receive inspiration, especially for writing and communication.  You may feel that you communicate with other dimensions on other planes.

Tomorrow (Monday 25th) Venus sextiles the North Node.  A softer side is brought into our karma with Venus sextile the North Node, if we need to luxuriate a little or justify a little indulgence.  Expressing more love too, is easier under this aspect.  It’s good for re-establishing warmth in a relationship.

A third sextile on Wednesday (27th) arrives in the form of Mercury sextile Jupiter, early in the morning.  It’s another high note!  Some good news may be possible. This aspect favours communication, sales and travel.  Some worries about business may be alleviated.  Higher learning is also a benefit – This may be helpful to students revising for upcoming exams.  It’s a good time to practice any new language skills, too.  Have you tried the French version of wordle (they are calling it Le Mot)?

On Wednesday evening there is a conjunction between Venus and Neptune at 24 degrees Pisces.  This could be a serene, highly spiritual and artistically inspired conjunction, full of unconditional love.  This conjunction can express the best of the divine feminine.

Mercury trines Pluto on Thursday (28th), which is conducive to deep thought and psychological reflection, and earnest conversations.  Conversations could be life changing: the right word at the right time, striking home in the right place.

In the early evening, there is a planetary change of direction: Pluto is Stationary, prior to turning Retrograde.  This may be tricky.  Put your psychological house in order, e.g. with a spot of re-aligning meditation, ready for the challenges of this retrograde period.  There may be practical inconveniences, or contentious subjects arising.  The challenges may be more wearying than acute, but you need to keep up your vitality and reserves.  Alternatively, if you find yourself in overwhelm, surrender is equally effective as a spiritual strategy towards a sense of peace and acceptance, and new insight to inform your next steps.

Even later in the day, Mercury enters Gemini, which will quicken our mentality and curiosity, and stimulate our communications during its stay in this sign, which lasts until 5th July, because there is a retrograde period during that time, when Mercury will dip back into Taurus.  As Mercury in Gemini is so mentally stimulating, this may result in a sleepless night, so  you may want to put your strategies in place, e.g. keep a drowsy book by your bedside (I would recommend “The Quiet Office” by Lana Wooster).

The last portion of the last day of the week holds great interest, Saturday 30th April.  In the evening there is a New Moon and Eclipse at 10 degrees Taurus (so check out which House it falls in for you, if possible).  This may enable may a fresh new start, and that may be in the realm of cooking, gardening, art, music or money.  Make the most of this wishing Moon, as it could be a turning point.

And there’s more…!  Mid-evening, the best conjunction of the year takes place, and that is Venus conjunct Jupiter.  This is for parties and celebrations, so if  you have not yet planned yours, get a free kit from 10 Downing Street.  You should be able to let your hair down, even if you decide to keep your mask on. It is a great conjunction for getting out and socializing, but also for practising Unconditional Love.

The week in bullet points:

  • Today – communication delays; spiritual communication
  • Tomorrow – re-establishing warmth
  • Wednesday – bright communications; spiritual love
  • Thursday – earnest conversations; deep psychological delving; active minds
  • Saturday – new beginnings for earth matters; celebrations