Saturday, October 21, 2006

Latoyia Figueroa Revisted

Latoyia Figueroa Revisted

12:54 PM 10/21/2006

Earlier this week the Philly Metro newspaper reported that Stephen Poaches, the boyfriend and killer of Latoyia Figueroa, would be serving life in prison without the possibility of parole instead of getting the (much deserved!) death penalty in return for cooperating with prosecutors. With this sentence, the final chapter closes on an all-too short life of a young woman - with child, mind you - for the surviving members of her family.

Interested readers of my musings may recall my intensive following of the case back in Aug of last year; it came as a host of very interesting questions were being raised not just by myself, but also be varied voices in the media:

1. Why the so-called "Missing Woman" syndrome in America exists - with decided racial overtones (recall all the attention the Natalie Holloway case garnered, which eclipses that of Figueroa)

2. Why so many men were killing their pregnant wives/significant others (recall the case of Scott Peterson, and far too many others)

3. Why there continues to be few if any places where men who need help can get it

4. And whether the charge of "double homicide" (both Poaches and Peterson were convicted of double murder, as their wives/girlfriends were pregnant at the time of their deaths; Peterson's case resulted in a federal law being enacted, "The Connor & Laci Law") will harm the chances of Pro-Choice Movement in keeping Roe v Wade in place

Additionally, my articles tried to tease out the essentials of the case by drawing on a whole range of techniques - rectification, horary, natal and mundane astrology - in order to make sense of such a senseless affair.

I have to admit, it was the most saddest, painful thing I have ever written; and this comes from one who has seen enough pain to last two lifetimes.

In honor of Figueroa's life, and in the hopes of both assisting my colleagues in the aforementioned areas of astrology, as well as to foster discussion on the issues surrounding the Figueroa case, I present here excerpts from my articles on her life and death.

"An Astrological Requiem for Latoyia Figueroa" Aug 25 2005

In the backdrop of this Summer's Missing Person Drama - Natalie Holloway - here at home, an at least equally chilling, if not moreso, drama with a tragic, painful end, unfolded - that of the murder of Latoyia Figueroa. Young. Pretty. And 5 months pregnant.

Figueroa went missing on Jul 18, after spending the day with her boyfriend, Stephen Poaches, who, like Latoyia herself, resided out in Southwest Philly. Poaches took her to a doctor's appointment in in downtown Philly, they came back and ate lunch, she left - and was never seen again alive. That was the story as of a few days ago.

On Saturday morning, at 10AM (Aug 20, 2005 here in Philly, PA; EDT time zone), the Philadelphia Police Department, headed up by Commisioner Sylvester Johnson, gave a news conference regarding the Figueroa case: they had found her body. She was dead.

Figueroa was found about 8 miles outside the city limits, in Chester, PA, in a lot of tall weeds; allegedly she was to be dumped there by her boyfriend, Poaches. Poaches supposedly called a friend to assist him in disposing of the body; the friend then called the Philly Police for the 100K in reward money; they setup a sting, and caught Poaches cold busted. At the time of arrest, Poaches was wearing a bullet-proof vest and carrying a .45 pistol.

It was the end of an over month-long drama that gripped the city, even grabbing national headlines for a time, with many people demanding that the national media pay at least as much attention to non-White missing persons as they do White ones.

On Monday, Aug 22, the Philadelphia Daily News carried as its front page story, a full-page photograph of Figueroa and Poaches together in an embrace, with the caption "Call Cracks Case", referring to Poaches' buddy literally diming him out.

Today, Figueroa's viewing was held; tomorrow, will be her funeral. Poaches will be charged with double homicide. And the real story is just emerging.

Evidently, Figueroa, 24 years old, was part of a love triangle between Poaches, who is 25, and his high school sweetheart, who also seems to have been pregnant (and recent news reports have confirmed that she has given birth to a child in as many weeks). Under what circumstances Figueroa and Poaches came together is not entirely clear. But what is known, is that she had been pregnant by him before, and that she miscarried; she had ovarian cancer(!) and feared that if she didn't grab the chance at having another baby, she might not get another chance. Figueroa had another child, a 7 year old daughter, apparently from a previous relationship. Poaches frequently took both mom and daughter on shopping and dinner outings. Seen laughing and cutting up together often, in recent weeks loud arguments could be heard coming from Poaches' apartment. Poaches evidently felt lots of pressure with the prospect of having to deal with two pregnant women at the same time, neither of whom wanted to deal with abortion. The Heat was On.

Latoyia Figueroa News Conference Sat, Aug 20, 2005 10.16AM EDT, Philadelphia, PA. Placidus 14 Lib 15/Lahiri 20 Vir 19. Source: Covered live on KYW News Radio, 1060AM.

The "10.16AM" reference is for the moment that I tuned in to the radio broadcast; taking my cue from Horary astrology, I took that moment to be relevant in my casting the chart for the event.

OK, first off, note that this event just happens to take place on a Saturday - Saturn's day, long associated with Death; and 14 Libra rises in the Western chart, RIGHT in the Via Combustia; to make matters worse, the Asc ruler, Venus, is in the 12th House! I take both the Asc and Venus to represent Figueroa, and it doesn't look good at all.

Next, I note that the Moon is EXACTLY conjunct Uranus in Pisces in the 5th House of pregancy; Uranus rules the 5th; Venus rules the Asc. There is a "disconnect" in some way between Figueroa and this pregnancy, and this reflected the tension she was embroiled in with Poaches.

Because the Signs Libra and Pisces are so strong in this map, my astrological antennae hones in on the distinct possibility that Figueroa could indeed have one or both of them prominent in her own chart.

Mars rules the 7th, and is in Taurus in the 8th House of Death, Dishonor and Scandal; clearly, this represents Poaches. Lilly used to say that a criminal will often be seen in a horary chart by its significator (usually the ruler of the 7th) in a "foriegn sign" - a Sign that is of no dignity at all to that planet. In that I take the Outer planets into account in my horary work, I take Mars in Taurus to be Peregrine as per Lilly's rules, and so, it represents Poaches (who may have either Mars/Aries and/or Taurus prominent in his makeup; the newspaper article stated that he worked for F.C. Haab Oil Company. Classically, oil is represented by Mars, because oil needs fire in order to work). Note Mars is applying to square Neptune in the 4th, who in turn is retrograding backward to trine the Libra Asc again. Poaches' story kept changing with regard to the police, the press and one of the local urban radion stations, where he gave an interview; none of them lined up. That the Moon-Uranus conjunction also closely sextile Mars also points to him as well.

Keep in mind that she had ovarian cancer - Venus(!).

"Some Astrological Thoughts on America's "Missing Woman" Syndrome - And An Epilogue for Latoyia Figueroa" Aug 31 2005

Latoyia Figueroa: Astrological Rectification
But before we do, let's tie up some loose ends first. Figueroa was born on Jan 26, 1981 in Philadelphia, according to Wikipedia. In a recent essay I wrote, "An Astrological Reqium for Latoyia Figueroa", I presented the chart for the moment I heard a live news conference held by the Philadelphia Police Dept; it announced that they had found Figueroa's body, and that her boyfriend, Stephen Poaches, was in custody and would be charged with double homicide. On the basis of that chart (Sat, Aug 20, 2005, 10.16AM EDT, Philadelphia, PA; Placidus 14 Lib 15) I suggested strongly that Figueroa herself could indeed have either or both the Signs Libra or Pisces strong in her chart. Her birthdate reveals a strong Moon-Pluto conjunction in Libra(!), along with a Jupiter-Saturn conjunction in Libra (both of which are Rx). This matches the Libra Asc in the news conference chart, and since the Moon and Uranus are in exact conjunction in the same chart, I thought that perhaps Figueroa *could* have Pisces rising. That would put us between 8 and 10AM.

The time I settled on was 8.36AM EST, which yields a 4 Pisces 16 Ascendant, using Placidus Houses. This specific degree on the Pisces Asc is based on only three reported events in Figueroa's life:

1. Her mother being shot and killed when Figueroa was still a "toddler" (I used the year 1985, which would have put Figueroa at about 4 years old; at the time, SA Uranus=Moon, SA Uranus=Asc, and SA Asc=Pluto, with Tr Uranus crossing the MC; please note that Uranus in the natus rules the 12th)

2. Birth of her first daughter, age 17, 1998 (SA Venus=Sun, a classic for childbirth; Tr Jupiter conjuncting the Asc, and Tr Pluto square the Asc)

3. Death by strangulation by her boyfriend, Jul 18, 2005 (SA Mars=MC, SA Neptune=Moon, SA Uranus=Neptune; Tr Pluto conjunct chart ruling Neptune, Tr Uranus retrograding back to conjunct the Pisces Asc, TR MARS EXACTLY OPPOSED HER NATAL PLUTO!)

Please note several strong features that focus in on her situation quite strongly, shown in the proposed rectification I give:

1. Packed 12th House - the Sun and Mercury-Mars conjunction: this suggests "creepin'", especially since Mercury rules the 7th. Its conjunction with Mars=potential for violence.

2. Packed 7th House - the Moon, Jupiter-Saturn all in Libra. This is a woman for whom being alone would not be an option, and, along with the Mercury-Mars conjunction, suggests a tendency toward bad choices when it comes to men. Note that the Moon rules the 5th and conjuncts Pluto, which itself is in the 8th.

3. Venus square Pluto - a driving sexual aspect, all the moreso if it occurs in a woman's chart; this aspect can also speak to her ovarian cancer (see below). Sun=Venus/Mars, Venus=Mars/MC, Pluto=Asc/MC!

4. Uranus in Scorpio is Peregrine - ruling the the 12th (secret affairs, etc.). This is a POWERFUL sexual indication here...breaking rules, taboos, that sort of thing. Also, the ovarian cancer can be seen here, since Uranus rules the 12th in the sexual regenerative organ sign.

5. Saturn is Rx in the 7th - a strong signal that the father, for good or ill, will play a DIRECT role in her later intimate life. In that he raised her, it is my guess that he was more passive than not, especially in light of the fact that she had her first child at such a young age.

6. Mars=Pluto/MC. In my research and study of abused women, I have found consistently, the coming together in some way of the planets Mars and Pluto, usually tied in some way to the 4th (a Parent, usually the Mother) 5th (sexual relationship), 7th ("the other" - spouse, partner, relationships in general), 8th (secondary sexual concerns, potential monies and/or other assets, etc.) or 10th (again, a Parent, usually the Father). In Natalie Holloway's natus, we find again, the relationship between Mars and Pluto, this time in square aspect (and thus no real need to resort to scanning the Midpoints). In Figueroa's case, Mars conjunct the ruler of the 7th, while Pluto conjunct the Moon which is in the 7th, just makes this midpoint contact all the more important.

In short, this is, with all due respect, a very sexually active chart, with strong "do my own thing no matter what" overtones, a sort of leaping before you look kind of vibe; it also portends protracted difficulty in relationships, particularly when young, which can lead to potentially drastic results.

Back to the "Requiem" piece...

Although we don't yet have data for either Figueroa or Poaches, we CAN infer something very, very important that lurks out in the background - Pluto. For those who have read my recent essay "On Pluto in Capricorn", you've seen my thoughts on Pluto and its role generationally, seen thru the Signs. Figueroa was 24; Poaches is 25. BOTH would have Pluto in Libra in their charts, a powerful signal generationally in this culture and climate. Depending on exactly when in those years they were born, Pluto would be anywhere from 18-24 degrees Libra, the lower end of which would be conjunct the "news conference" horary Asc (keep in mind, Libra, the Sign of Relationships, rising). They were born in the Roe v. Wade era, the No-Fault Divorce era, the era of The Pill, of what PA Senator Rick Santorum called "No-Fault Freedom" - the "going overboard" libertine values and climate that reflected the Pluto in Libra period, particularly as regards the "sexual revolution". But there was just one problem that no one apparently took any time to consider, so caught up in "doing one's own thing" they were - "what about the children?"-the kids who would be born with this combination in their makeup. Well, as we can see, more and more kids are being born out of wedlock - particularly in places like inner-city America - and marriages are going down in number in those places. And while economics always play a role, this case clearly showed that it wasn't a factor (or at least not as much of one, since Poaches was not only employed but a valued employee at that, AND the fact that Figueroa also worked). What *was* and largely remains a factor, is that of culture. And Pluto, astrologically, plays a role in all of that. We know that Figueroa had a daughter from a previous relationship; we know that Poaches had two women pregnant at the same time. Even if no one ended up dead, this was a disaster waiting to happen.

Enter The Astrologer
OK y'all, this is where the rubber hits the road; let's pretend that we have this couple coming to you, or at least one of them; there are kids involved; there are lives involved. What goes down now will forever change not only their own lives, but those around them, the kids included of course. How would YOU handle it? What would YOU say? Clearly, Figueroa has problems choosing men properly - what do you say to her? And most definitely, Poaches needed help in a big way - what do you say to him?

Allow me to submit the following rather uncomfortable - and sobering - observation: whether Figueroa would have been to an astrologer or not, had she lived, she would have had access to a whole array of services, medically, socially and otherwise; if she needed help with feeding the baby, she would get it; if she needed medical help insofar as visits and the like, she would get it; if she needed counseling of one sort or the other, she would get it. And rightly so. But for Poaches, there are no such "men's groups" that immediately comes to mind, certainly none of any consequence; nothing to help him cope with the decisions he had made, with coming to grips with the responsibilities of being a dad and by extension, a man; in our age of supposed "male enlightement" we guys still expect us to figure things out on our own. As we saw in Poaches' case, and in the cases of so many men, it just doesn't work that way. If at all.

When my other half was in the hospital having the baby, I asked the duty nurse where dads could go to get insight on being a dad. She suggested the YMCA - that's about it. And since I happen to know people who run such places, I know that it pales in comparison to what moms get, if there's even a program there at all. In the waiting room at the hospital, the only things a dad could do is sign the birth certificate to establish paternity. Although the literature tried to hype up all the "benefits" of this move, in reality anyone with half a brain knows what that is all about - child support. Which I do support, but is beside the point. Meanwhile, the walls of the place were literally covered with papers and forms and flyers and pamphlets for moms-to-be on services on everything from getting doctor appointments for yourself and baby, to getting help for domestic abuse, and everything in between.

The bottomline here, for me, is that until we - and since many of us astrologers liken ourselves to counselors by any other name - get SERIOUS about addressing men's problems before they get out of control, we will NEVER get a handle on any of these things. And if you think things like this will just straighten themselves out on their own when some or other planet hits a certain sign, you're delusional in a big way. If anything, those of us in the know have to be able to get ahead of the curve and lay the groundwork that is necessary toward turning Family Life around.

Before anyone out there thinks I'm going easy on Poaches, let me be clear right now - it is my firm personal, religious belief - that he is going STRAIGHT into the Hellfire, if indeed it is proven beyond a shadow of doubt that he killed his girlfriend and unborn child; no matter what the pressure, no matter what the situation, there is no excuse, no justification for his alleged acts of violence, evil even. And for that, he must be held accountable, to the fullest extent of the law.

But with that said, if it were possible for him to GET help, say, a month into Figueroa's pregnancy instead of 5; if he could have gotten counsel from a "daddy's group" like there are so many out there for women; if he could have gotten SOMETHING at that time; then maybe, just maybe, I'd be writing about a happy ending, instead of a tragic one, one in which there are no winners, only losers and survivors trying to pick up the pieces.

Over the past year, I've written much about Family Life and how Astrology plays a role in it, from a variety of angles (for the interested reader, contact me for essays such as "Who's Your Daddy", "Of Mars and Men" and more) - personal and political, micro and macro, Natal and Mundane. And, like any other position that strikes a nerve within the reading public, I've endured my share of slings and arrows, of mud and tomatos. Yet today I feel both vindicated and deeply saddened by the case of Latoyia Figueroa and Stephen Poaches. Because, knowing what I know, the reality we all know now concerning them, just didn't have to be.




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