Part I: The Case of Audrey Marie Hilley in Marlow

Philip E. Ginsburg, author of Poisoned Blood: A True Story of Murder, Passion, and an Astonishing Hoax, provides a description after Audrey Marie Hilley was sentenced for murder:

Marie Hilley had lived a hidden life. Her pose as a conventional homemaker, worker, friend, good citizen of the community had been an outright lie, from start to finish. Her whole visible life had been a deception. Which meant that every transaction, every act of friendship, every word she had ever uttered was a lie. And yet, of all people, she had seemed so believable—special, even—a person whose character was written right there on her face and in her manner. So for those who had known Marie Hilley, the question must slip edgewise into some corner of consciousness: If so much of what appeared to be true about Marie Hilley was false, if so much that seemed obvious and factual was merely illusion, then who else might be something vastly different from what they seemed, what other routine assumptions of daily life might conceal some gathering menace or threat of evil? To them, she was more of a specter than a person, a malignant spirit, an incarnation of evil. Calm, systematic analysis didn’t tell you anything about Marie Hilley, they would say. She was the kind of force that invaded your mind when a sound outside the house brought you suddenly from sleep at 3: 00 A.M., a force beyond nature and the daylight world. There was her remarkable skill at manipulation, her ability to set aside feeling, her anger, her immense willpower. She would find a way, she would escape, she would somehow get free; nothing was beyond Marie Hilley. And she would threaten those she thought had harmed her.

Philip E. Ginsburg

Ginsburg also describes the following sentiments from the prosecutor in the case, Assistant District Attorney Joseph Hubbard:

From a distance it seems that some evil fury, long bound up and held back, was already emerging from the shadows, and surely someone must have caught a glimpse of menace. But evil came to Marie Hilley’s household dressed in the innocent guise of daily life or routine mischance, and there was nothing at the time to join the small events that were slowly undermining the remaining foundations of Marie Hilley’s family.

‘Some people, contrary to popular belief, are evil.’ The word sounded old-fashioned, unfamiliar, out of place in a courtroom, and yet now, when the time had come to put the final touch to the portrait of Audrey Marie Hilley, it was the only word that would do. ‘They are just, basically, evil, and they are motivated by nothing except their own selfish desires. And it doesn’t make any difference whether it’s a daughter, a husband, a cousin, or a total stranger, whatever stands in their way, it goes.’

‘She’s like a black widow spider.’ Hubbard turned speculative, like a scientist examining a specimen. ‘They tell me that the black widow spider mates, and then it kills the mate. And there’s no reason for it. That’s what she reminds me of, that’s what this case reminds me of.

Philip E. Ginsburg

As often seen when something is unknown but vile, “evil,” as concept/explanation for behavior, seems to be the go-to excuse for criminal behaviors that cannot be understood. In my opinion, black widow-style behavior was not occurring in Hilley; however, observe Sheila LaBarre’s behavior from the previous post for behavior that better fits this description.

Either way, Hubbard’s speculation is irrelevant. Evaluating circumstances of unexplainable behavior in non-traditional focuses (i.e., when the empirical scientific method of measurement does not provide answers) is most effective with alternative methods, whether not fully comprehended or generally accepted by the public.

Natal astrology falls into this category; however, it proves itself effective by providing comparisons, leading to observations of qualitative patterns developing between individuals like Labarre and Hilley.

The following examples are first-person perspectiveobservations of Audrey Marie Hilley: the documentation of circumstances defined as Hilley’s bizarre behavior before and after the murders, which could be considered “evil,” but I think they are preludes to different features occurring within Hilley.

From Hilley’s sister-in-law (as brother Frank passed and after):

Freeda arrived soon after, and then a doctor, who examined Frank. As the doctor turned away from the body to officially pronounce Frank Hilley dead, Freeda was struck by the expression on Marie’s face. She had moved to stand at the head of the bed, and she was looking down at her husband. Her face reflected pure, stark dismay. Freeda was struck by the intense, focused power of emotion on her sister-in-law’s face, but there was more, and it would come back to haunt her again and again as time went by. Carrie Hilley, the mother of Frank and Freeda, had seen it, too, and she and Freeda would come to speak of it often, though that was much later. Such feeling as they saw on Marie’s face should not have been surprising in a woman whose husband had just died, but what struck Freeda about it was the fact that she had known Marie close to thirty years and she had never seen anything like it, never the power of emotion, nor the vulnerability, nor the picture of Marie’s soul that seemed to be visible in that moment for anyone to see. It spoke of a self that Marie had never shown to anyone. This was a Marie Hilley that Freeda did not know.

Across the living room, the door to the bathroom was slightly ajar and the light was on, but there was no sign of activity. Marie’s place on the couch was empty.

‘Is everything all right?’ The words framed in Freeda’s throat, but she caught herself before speaking them. Something strange in the scene stopped her. It was the extraordinary stillness, a complete absence of movement, of sound. What was Marie doing in there?

Minute after minute went by without change. Freeda was mesmerized: The eeriness of the scene pressed on her. She felt she should avoid any movement or sound of her own, even stop her breathing, to match the stillness that seemed to flow from the bathroom, almost like something you could touch.

Freeda imagined Marie standing motionless before the mirror. She pictured her sister-in-law’s gaze, those piercing eyes locked onto their own image, searching for a self she could trust, transfixed by the image of herself searching. Freeda saw again the almost supernatural power and intensity of feeling on Marie’s face at that moment in the hospital when she had heard the doctor pronounce Frank Hilley dead. Now it was fear that kept Freeda from moving. The minutes had drawn out. Was it an hour? More? Less? She had lost all sense of time.

Finally the light was snapped off and Marie emerged. She seemed to be in a trance. The darkness and the sense that she had been eavesdropping on some private ritual still kept Freeda from speaking as Marie settled down on the couch. It kept her, too, from ever mentioning later what she had seen, but the eerie strangeness of the scene lingered in her mind.

Philip E. Ginsburg

From Anniston Police Detective Lieutenant Gary Carroll during the tape-recording of Hilley in city jail after her initial arrest:

‘Well, I had this feeling,’ she told [Carroll], ‘it’s like you’re sitting off but you’re looking on at everybody, you know, nothing seemed real. That’s what I mean, instead of ‘mental lapse.’ It’s more like just nothing’s real. Like this doesn’t even seem real to me, right now. Being up there”—she meant the city jail—‘doesn’t seem real. It’s just like I’m asleep and I’m going to wake up and everything’s going to be okay.’

Philip E. Ginsburg

From the FBI when Hilley disappeared, querying the public with what the organization knew:

The investigators believed Mrs. Hilley had some form of dual personality, or at least an extraordinary ability to change from one kind of behavior to another, adapting to her surroundings like a chameleon. ‘She can be kind, laughing, considerate, and then brutal and hateful,’ the agent said. ‘We believe she is living in a world with make-believe friends and enemies.’

Philip E. Ginsburg

In Marie’s alias change to “Robbi,” as she remarried:

There would have been a bright, romantic side to Robbi’s plea as well. A New Hampshire friend of Robbi’s said later that she had an extraordinary knack for saying what her listener most wanted to hear; in Anniston, they said the same thing about Marie Hilley. It was an important element in her ingratiating charm, her almost telepathic ability to sense another person’s deepest need, longing, illusion, and instantly take the shape that would let her slip smoothly into the empty space of their life, like a key into a lock. As Robbie came intimate with John, she would have spoken to him of the fresh start they could make, of the warmth and mutual support they could offer each other, of the safe, self- contained place they could create for themselves, just the two of them, in the midst of a world that was often harsh, at best indifferent.

Philip E. Ginsburg

From “Robbi’s” brother-in-law, Peter:

Peter Homan was the first person in this phase of Marie Hilley’s life to cut through her deception, and though he had barely touched the edge of the truth, he had discovered something essential in her. He had seen that she was capable of the most fundamental lie, one that utterly reversed reality. Peter Homan had not discovered this because he was especially perceptive but because Marie had gone too far. She had lied about something whose truth was too close at hand, and she had not reckoned on John’s stubborn sense of grievance. Self-pitying as ever, he had felt forced to confront Peter directly with this latest injury. Peter in his turn, stricken by the injury this outsider was doing to the brotherly unity he had worked so hard to restore, had been driven to confront her. And John had made his choice, breaking the tie of blood in favor of this woman who had let him feel wanted for the first time in his life. His decision foreshadowed a still more costly choice he would be forced to make in the future. Peter Homan was merely the latest on the list of Marie Hilley’s victims. She had begun in childhood, creating a series of fantasies to improve upon her life, to make it more comfortable, glamorous, luxurious. Her fantasies had led her to murder, and they had brought her to a little town in New Hampshire. The price of her illusions was unceasing danger. If she was not constantly vigilant, refreshing her lies, keeping them vivid and consistent, outsiders might see some corner of the truth, might break through and expose her. Peter’s curiosity, the time they had spent together, the generosity he was showing to his brother’s wife, his need to strengthen the family bond had brought him too close to the reality. He had aroused the destroyer’s urge in Marie Hilley. Peter was fortunate that she could not attack him as she had Frank and Carol Hilley.

Philip E. Ginsburg

As Hilley’s “Robbi character” died, she replaced her own identity with the newer “twin sister, Teri” character:

As she rewrote the story of her life, did Marie Hilley recall her childhood, taking threads from her grandmother Susie’s deathbed story of twins who died as babies, some overheard whisper about her own stillborn sister, a scrap of family legend about her paternal grandfather Huey’s yearning for his twin brother out West? Was she continuing the process, begun in childhood, of becoming immersed in a better version of herself…she had reinvented herself; now she was getting ready to invent a second, better self.

Philip E. Ginsburg

From “Robbi’s” husband:

Marie gave no details about the charade, but John Homan talked with Hunter about his wife’s mental state during the two years they had lived in New Hampshire. Soon after they arrived, he said, Robbi had suffered a series of strange attacks. There were periods when she acted ‘like a one- year- old child,’ John told the detective. John believed her problems were a result of her upbringing. She had told him about a series of traumatic experiences inflicted on her as a child by her parents. Doctors in Keene and at the Dartmouth Medical School had been no help, John said, and he described their trip to the public mental hospital in Boston, where Robbi had pleaded with him not to make her stay and they had driven back home. John amplified this account in conversations with Roger Williams, a friend of his at Findings. He confided to Roger that Robbi had spells from time to time in which she talked in the voice of a little girl and acted like a child. She had an obsession with a story about a room with a large fireplace, John said; she had eventually told him that her grandfather had tied her to the mantelpiece over a fireplace and molested her. It was a much darker version of the tale she had told friends about being disciplined with a switch while holding on to the mantelpiece. At other times, John told Roger, the grandfather had tied her in a chair and abused her. Robbi’s attacks might last a few hours or most of the night, periods of trancelike sluggishness alternating with spells of manic babbling and crying. John stood by, he said, comforting his wife and preventing her from harming herself. On certain days John would come to work looking exhausted. ‘Robbi had another one of her spells last night,’ he would explain to Roger. The question of calculation and madness has several layers. The spells of craziness were not essential to the creation of Robbi’s twin sister, Teri, unless they were an excuse for numerous visits to the doctor, which later helped to establish the disease that led to Robbi’s departure and death. And surely there would have been simpler ways to justify a series of visits to doctors. Robbi could have died without being crazy. If the spells are not the plausible result of calculation, then perhaps Marie-as-Robbi actually did break under the strain from time to time. When at last she was halted by the police outside Book Press, she gave no hint of resistance. ‘I’m relieved to stop running,’ she told Detective Hunter later at the Brattleboro police station. ‘I’m so tired of it all. It’s been so confusing.’ Certainly the effort of trying to keep her story consistent while developing the new themes of fatal disease and the twin sister must have caused immense strain. Perhaps there were times when the tension of coping with a phone call from Judy Cox, or an occasional intuition of skepticism from Shirley Leonard or Jerry Scadova or Marcy Stabler, shook Marie’s resolve. Perhaps there was madness within calculation, periods when Marie took refuge from her fantasy life as Robbi by loosening her own desperate grip on reality.

Philip E. Ginsburg

From the car-pool driver, Sally, whom would drop “Teri” off at work:

At first, Sally found the stories interesting, but little by little they began to make her uncomfortable. It was strange about this kind of relationship, one based solely on the mutual convenience of sharing transportation. You could learn so much about a person, things you would ordinarily hear only from someone you had grown close to over a long time. With Teri, the more personal the stories became, the more intimate the revelations of tragedy and trivia, private thoughts and deep emotion, the wider the gap that Sally felt opening between them. Teri spoke of watching movies on television and reading paperback Gothic romances and horror stories. Sally read realistic novels about contemporary life, and classic writers like Proust, and she disliked television, particularly the violent programs that Teri sometimes talked about. They didn’t really have much in common, Sally thought. Once or twice it seemed that a minor detail in one of Teri’s stories had changed in a second telling, and at other times the stories seemed to merge with the books and movies she talked about. Gradually the image Sally had developed of Teri seemed to lose its sharpness, like a picture slipping out of focus. Routinely wary anyway, Sally became uneasy, then distrustful of her passenger. It wasn’t something she would do anything about; the feeling was too vague. But one day when Teri offered her a coconut macaroon cookie from a box she was taking to work, Sally refused. She made an excuse, said she wasn’t hungry, but it rang hollow, even in her own ears. The fact was, she just felt a kind of animal aversion, like a cat inexplicably walking away from a fresh bowl of food. She was relieved when Teri said she expected her car to be delivered soon from Texas so she would be able to share the driving. It would be a good opportunity to cut back on their relationship, maybe even end it altogether. It was getting too uncomfortable.

Philip E. Ginsburg

As we can see that there were inner forces at play in the life of Hilley—not only her emotional responses to extreme life changes and expectations—but something akin to the supernatural. We can also see that a pattern emerges when studying natives like Hilley, whom have planets conjunct Spica (photos of the birth charts of the individuals below are in the previous posts).

  • H. P. Lovecraft (note the focus Sally above makes about Gothic/horror literature, as well as Lovecraft’s own frustration in life)
  • Sheila LaBarre (note John Homan telling the detective of “Robbi” acting like a child; LaBarre’s sister in Flynn’s book commented on how LaBarre would babble like a child on the phone with her)

Yet, we see an artist as a writer using his own life experiences taking form and structure in his stories (Lovecraft)—one that is in complete control of the creation of this manifestation (as is S. T. Joshi). This is often quite typical of Libra ascendants. We also see that the ruler of Lovecraft’s ascendant, Venus, is in his 1sthouse Libra, therefore making what is of his own self (the symbolic area associated with the 1st house) his art of Venusian expression; Colin Wilson also alluded to this in Lovecraft.

But the ruler of Joshi’s ascendant is in the 8th house just like LaBarre’s. So, even though Lovecraft has a planet like the Moon conjunct Spica (symbolic of a self-reflectiveness of Spica mysteries AND influencing career/public role since the Moon’s ruler, Cancer, is in the 10th), Joshi and LaBarre have their Jupiter conjunct Spica; however, Libra is in a more pleasant place for Joshi than it is for LaBarre, and Joshi’s chart ruler is not conjunct Spica like LaBarre’s is, even though both natives have the ascendant ruler in the 8th house. Joshi’s Venus is conjunct Algol, which is a different historical symbolism I’ll investigate in later posts.

  • Rectified chart of LaBarre with Sagittarius ascendant: Jupiter, as ruler, conjunct Spica in the 8th house of death—LaBarre symbolically “steered towards”—the ascendant as the “helmsman” was an ancient motif repeated throughout the ages—an expansion/wisdom (Jupiter) in themes of death (8th house), yet seasoned with the subtle mystery that is Spica. LaBarre’s rectified chart shows how one could assess that she chose her disabled victims based on their feebleness so they would put up minimal fights, being weak men physically and mentally. That way she could use them as playthings, torture them for her own enjoyment (in a sense, therapy),then destroy them, hide the evidence, and find more similar men later.
  • Rectified chart of S. T. Joshi with Libra ascendant (born twelve days before LaBarre); Venus, as ruler, conjunct fixed star Algol in Taurus in 8th house of death—like Lovecraft, symbolic of a self-reflectiveness (Moon) of Spica mysteries AND influencing career/public role since the Moon’s ruler, Cancer, is in the 10th

But what does this mean when rectifying Hilley’s chart, since like Joshi and LaBarre, her birth time was unknown? Individuals with criminal history that demonstrate similar challenges or interactions/rapports with inner demons/influences—whatever one feels most comfortable to believe—show similar patterns in natal astrology, and LaBarre and Hilley are no exception. Rectifying a birth chart with an unknown birth time becomes an art form: the essence of the location of the chart ruler if indeed conjunct Spica, that is where Libra is, can truly show how and where the influence of this other personality/personalities in the native’s life occurs.

Hilley birth chart (rectified)

The core principles of the native’s birth chart are the seven traditional planets, and in Hilley’s traditional birth chart there is a strong concentration in air signs. Going back to the Creative Intent page, referring to the work of Rudolph Steiner and Dr. Shelli Renee Joye, “air signs equate etheric body: electrical energy activity—nervous system (brain and central nervous system),” and my own interpretations, “complete air sign triplicity (thinking/perceiving): nature of access to the highest ideals/thoughts of man, the frequency transmit/receive functions as antennas we portray—very challenging to the role of water’s mystic relationship to fire; yet, the information “served up on a platter” that, while expanded in our time/space, informs/stimulates what’s within the explicate,” we can observe by the planetary positions what drives were occurring in Hilley.

Picture the fast mover, the Moon, as the bridge that brought the air sign triplicity into focus. It’s important to recognize the subtlety of one’s energy by reading biographical information of a native’s experiences and behavior to estimate the time of birth. The Moon in every chart—the Moon in everyone’s life, really—is very important in a number of ways, but for one that has the Moon forming a trine to the Saturn in domicile in Aquarius and Gemini stellium, the natural state of ease that these planets relate from these positions, can act as a compulsion in a number of variations.

Beginning with the Sun in Gemini, from Ginsburg’s book:

Huey and Lucille Frazier spent that summer, in the third year of the Great Depression, recovering from the shock of their loss. Slowly their determination to have a child reemerged from the gloom, and by fall it was confirmed: Lucille was pregnant again. They had reason to be prepared for twins: In addition to Huey’s twinship, there was a history of double births on Lucille’s side of the family as well. And there was another omen: Huey and his twin had been born under the sign of Gemini, the constellation named by the Greeks for the hero twins Castor and Pollux, and Lucille was due to give birth during the same period. The baby arrived on June 4, 1933, five days after Huey’s birthday and a little more than twenty- four hours from the middle of Gemini’s reign, but it was a solitary, and healthy, daughter. They named her Audrey Marie, but for all the use she ever got out of her first name, they might as well have done without it.

Huey was a sweet-natured man, loved by children and adults alike, but the older people soon noticed that he wasn’t very reliable. He was thin and seemed sickly. Work was scarce then, and it was rare to see an adult make much of illness, but there were many days when Huey stayed home from the mill and rested in bed. He came to miss his twin brother, and at times he would disappear for long stretches. It was said that he went to visit Louie and his family in Tyler, Texas, near Dallas. Later, after Louie moved to Utah, the story got around that Huey came home from work one day, took most of the family’s small savings out of the bank, and set off for the West, returning two or three months later as if it were the most natural thing in the world to hop a bus and disappear for a season.

As she rewrote the story of her life, did Marie Hilley recall her childhood, taking threads from her grandmother Susie’s deathbed story of twins who died as babies, some overheard whisper about her own stillborn sister, a scrap of family legend about her paternal grandfather Huey’s yearning for his twin brother out West? Was she continuing the process, begun in childhood, of becoming immersed in a better version of herself, a Rachel Knight or a Rose White? She had reinvented herself; now she was getting ready to invent a second, better self.

Teri Martin had slipped into her late twin’s place in John’s life like an understudy taking over for a departed actress.

There appeared to be a special closeness between twins, something almost supernatural. Teri described times when she and Robbi had been separated and one of them sensed that the other was going through an emotional or physical crisis; these premonitions always turned out to be accurate. Carol asked how the death of one so close had affected Teri. ‘It’s very strange,’ Teri said, ‘like having a part of yourself die.’

Teri often talked about the supernatural bond she shared with her twin. When Robbi had gone into labor, halfway across the country Teri had felt the pains. One morning she turned from her desk and said to McKenzie, ‘I just got the worst feeling. I know something has happened. I’ve got to talk to Robbi.’ She went immediately to the phone. Robbi had passed a night of terrifying dreams and was suffering from an excruciating headache. For the rest of the day, Teri seemed to suffer along with her sister.

Philip E. Ginsburg

Often a Gemini Sun has been linked to a twin-related life occurrences—the reason why, in history, this sign has often reflected this nature. In modern astrology, the Sun often symbolizes the father (or the more executive-functioning, active masculine parent); however, in traditional astrology, parents fall under 4th house designations. With a Moon in the 4th house, a sweet-natured parent, yet irrational and unreliable, fits the 4th house Libra Moon archetype. The Sun in the 12th house trine the greater malefic (Saturn) in the 8th house, as well as the Moon in the 4th house, harmonizes these influences of 4th, 8th, and 12th houses (more so with Mercury and Venus in Gemini as well).

While, at this point, much speculation can be made to interpret planetary symbolism into image-informing narratives aligned with a fountain of information like Ginsburg’s book, it’s important to be careful not to jump to conclusions; there are more techniques to reveal more subtle insights into assessing a native’s drive.

Alan Oken defines dispositorship in Rulers of the Horoscope:

The word itself, ‘dispositor’ come from the Latin verb disponere, meaning ‘to put in different places,’ while dispositum indicates ‘things that are arranged in order.’ A dispositor in astrology has come to mean a planet which has the authority to move the energy of another planet or house to a different location in the horoscope. In this capacity, the discovery of the structure of dispositorship creates a true ordering of planetary powers. Since the astrologer’s main task in reading a chart is to bring clarity out of the seemingly chaotic jumble of symbols and geometric angles, finding the real potencies and weakness in a horoscope and then knowing how to arrange them in order of importance is our absolutely essential task. Another term that is sometimes use is ‘ruler’ but this is neither complete nor quite correct. Although we know that signs are ruled by planets, the concept and application of dispositorship to the natal chart is far more extensive than simple rulership.

Alan Oken

Dr. Marc Edmund Jones’ classic text, Essentials of Astrological Analysis, dispositorship is expanded:

The dignities of the planets not only chart the relative weight of influence among themselves but also bring certain ones of them to the service of certain others. Thus a planet in the sign ruled by another is also under the ruler of that other, and the latter thereupon is said to be its dispositor and to have control over it in the sense of being able to obtain the supplementation of the special activity it denotes. To dispose of another significator in such a fashion is a gain of points in the tally of strength, even when occasionally two planets doing this are situation in the zodiacal houses or mansions ruled by each are in mutual reception.

Dr. Marc Edmund Jones

Hilley’s ascendant, Cancer, and the ruler of Cancer, the Moon, in 4th house Libra entangles themes of self and home in the life. Venus rules Libra, therefore the Moon falls under Venus’ influence in Gemini. Mercury ruler Gemini, is in domicile in Gemini, therefore Venus falls under Mercury’s influence. What does this look like written out?

Hilley’s dispositorship

Regardless of missing birth time or not—birth times establish angles, which are WHERE the life events, etc., take place—dispositorship establishes a hierarchy or chain of custody in the daily operation of the native, as would an intuitional staff/personnel flow chart would do the same for a police station, customer-service call center, or consumer-product distribution center. It shows who’s in charge by sheer force of strength and clout based on sign, and astrology is basically an estimation of how the influences from these planets to our own is occurring moment by moment: leadership changes as spheres orbit, as does EM wavelengths of these players entangled within our own fields.

For Hilley, Mercury rules all but Saturn in hierarchy. We’ll get to Saturn in a bit, but Mercury-Venus-Moon is important for a number of reasons, not only because the Moon is the ruler of the ascendant, but because the Moon is also the third-string subordinate. From Ginsburg:

‘She always dresses so nice,’ someone said, and it was true, even when she was in seventh grade down at Quintard Junior High. Her parents worked in the mill up at Blue Mountain and they didn’t have a lot of money, but she always looked so neat in her sweaters and slim, pleated skirts.

And each time a picture was taken, of twenty girls in a club or eighty students in a class grouping, Marie Frazier worked her way to the side of Rachel Knight, bathing herself in the aura of the Class Queen.

The physical likeness was established—Marie had given up the pleated skirt and the shoulder- length mass of hair from junior high school for a look that made her virtually a double for Rachel Knight. Now it was as if by keeping close to Rachel—sitting by her side, joining the same clubs, seeking out her company—Marie might absorb some of the qualities of this special person. Perhaps Marie could somehow re- create herself, take on some part of Rachel’s identity, enter into a kind of twinship with this girl, who was blessed with the affection and respect that Marie already felt to be missing in her own life.

Marie did everything she could to help, going regularly to sit with her old friend, caring for her, supporting her, standing by as she slowly lost strength until at last she died. Marie Hilley had forged a kind of psychic twinship for herself with Rachel Knight, only the first of many she would find and invent throughout her life. And now, without knowing it, she had rehearsed for the second part of the cycle, the loss of the twin she had created.

A search by the FBI is based on the assumption that a human personality has the permanence and solidity of sculpture. A person may flee a place, abandon contact with family and friends, and even change his appearance; it is rare that a fugitive maintains these breaks from his history without a slip, but some come close. Habits of movement and association are another matter. No attempt to suppress a lifetime’s accumulation of habit can be successful forever. With Marie Hilley, one key was her scrupulous attention to her appearance. Almost everybody the FBI agents interviewed had mentioned it, how neat she always seemed, how well dressed, almost a model of personal grooming, with no hair astray, no thread hanging from a seam.

Part of it was her appearance. Most of the women were casual about their clothes; there wasn’t much contact with the public, and many had homes and families to divert their salaries and their energy from appearances, but Robbi always seemed to take particular care with her looks. Her clothes—blouses and skirts with a sweater or a jacket, often high heels—were carefully chosen and often looked expensive. Her hair and makeup seemed precisely arranged and maintained.

Philip E. Ginsburg

An ascendant ruler in Venus’ sign is keen on the maintenance of an esthetic appearance of the body/self. Also, with harmonic trines to the principle of the native’s own left-brain rational, executive functioning (Sun) and the archetype of structure, limitation, and constriction (Saturn), the right-brained irrational feminine minded Moon took on the supernatural motif with its Spica conjunction.

What is the Moon to do when the only options for relating to the superiors in its dispositorship are in the area of the chart where enmities, sickness, suffering, and dangers are available? And what of Saturn, where it is in domicile without any subordinate?

The apparent lack of fire and water signs shows in Hilley’s life. Many without fire sign placements demonstrate a quantum need to extract energy from others that are unavailable to themselves; those with fire signs seem to manifest their own energy, not necessarily needing to find it elsewhere (that is when natives learn how to do so based on planet, sign, and house). From the Creative Intent page for fire signs: “the nature of access to the enfolded holoflux energy from implicate/intent/frequency realm; this access seems to be potential for what occultists like Aleister Crowley called ‘magick’ (will to power), or ‘ego/spirit,’ and house placement/sign dignity of planet in relation to aspect to sign indicates what, how, and where that access occurs in reference to ‘meaning-making.’”

What does this mean? It is through story or attraction to story where the magic occurs. This is why in tarot the fire signs Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius are dubbed The Emperor, Strength/Lust, and Art/Temperance, respectively. For Cancer ascendants, Aries is always the 10th house of public reputation in whole-sign houses, and Capricorn is always the 7th house of partners. Mars, which is in domicile in Aries, is exalted in Capricorn. For these two signs, Mars exhibits its strongest power. However, if not in the birth chart/energetic make-up of the moment of birth for the native, it’s often something that the native is attracted to in life, especially if the native’s own chart ruler is opposite the 10th house. This is also part of the reason the 4th house has traditional designators of parents, home, death, and hidden matters.

“As above, so below; as within, so without,” truly the hermetic principle in action: if Hilley desired the features Rachel Knight exhibited, it would be only natural for Hilley to ABSORB Knight to gain them, whether figuratively (or even perhaps literally)? This thought sheds light on Ginsburg’s description:

If we are not to be offered a great insight, a sudden, simple revelation of the principle, the passion, or the need that drove this woman, we must find the answer ourselves. We must look at her beginnings, at the small choices that became big ones, at the pressures that became urges, at the desires that became desperate needs. This is not easy, because of all the kinds of passion that made Audrey Marie Hilley what she became, the greatest was her passion for stealth for secrecy, for concealment. So overwhelming was this need that Audrey Marie Hilley became one of its chief victims. She took the human capacity for occasional self- delusion and built an entire life around it hiding the truth of herself even from herself. To the end, she was devoted to keeping hidden what we have come to find. She was the ultimate defender of her own mystery. But a life is not a painting or a paragraph, where every detail may be kept under control and every secret may remain hidden, even by a genius of deception like Audrey Marie Hilley. It is an accumulation of actions and responses, of words and deeds, of decisions made and possibilities neglected. It is here, in her daily reality of many years, in her own actions and in the reflections of others, that we begin to find the solution to the mystery of Audrey Marie Hilley.

Philip E. Ginsburg

Boiling down and reducing planets to even smaller resources of their own principles, I find Mercury is best described as beingthe principle of patterns and symbols, through matter (Virgo) and thought (Gemini); and as both Mercury-ruled signs oppose a Jupiter-ruled sign (Virgo opposes Pisces; Gemini opposes Sagittarius), having Jupiter in detriment in Virgo is akin having the principle of enlightenment and expansion motivated by Virgo’s pattern and sign synthetization, especially given the fact that Hilley’s Jupiter-ruled opposing sign, Pisces, is in her 9thhouse. Often, many teachers, priests, cult leaders, individuals with spiritualism as a vehicle for higher education, have placement here. However, with Jupiter in detriment in Virgo, the Piscean imagination is inflated, inaccurate, and quite volatile and chaotic with Mars exactly conjuct Jupiter by degree and minute.

In a nutshell, Hilley’s main drives are here in mercurial signs,and as both concentrations are square to each other, they exhibit internal obstacles that no one would but Hilley would have access to. That is, a very closely conjunct Mars-Jupiter in Virgo is a submerged titanic iceberg, but not of ice—of something warmer and more destructive.

Johfra Bosschart’s Gemini
Johfra Bosschart’s Virgo

Her strong 12th house Gemini comes alive in Ginsburg’s narrative, given the expansion (Jupiter) of intensity/assertion (Mars) in themes of a Virgoan nature (patterns/symbols, writing, typing, etc.) in the 3rd house (concerns siblings, living abroad, relatives, short trips, communication—really the things that make up the daily life of the native):

Marie had always enjoyed reading, but now she seemed more and more to be submerged in a book. It was as if she could enter the world within the pages, retreating from her surroundings, using it as a way to escape from the things that were troubling her in everyday life. She often bought hardcover books, mostly romantic novels by writers like Taylor Caldwell, Thomas B. Costain, Mary Stewart, and R. F. Delderfield, but there were mysteries, too, and Faulkner and Fitzgerald. Finally they had begun to take up every bit of available space in the house, and she decided to get rid of some. There were close to 150 books on the neat, handwritten list she offered to the Anniston Public Library.

Teri was an exceptionally fast typist. She reminded McKenzie of a high-school friend, an athlete taking typing because it was required, who had entered the state typing contest on a lark and won the prize, setting a record. It was like thunder in the office when Teri was going at full speed. Even so, they never seemed to catch up. By the time they finished one job, another had mounted to emergency proportions and he was forced to ask her to begin on it right away. She always agreed graciously, and kept postponing the extra three days’ absence that would be needed to drive the car down.

‘I don’t have to work,’she told him. ‘I’m doing this because I like doing it, and I have to be busy. I can’t bear just sitting around, doing nothing.’

Philip E. Ginsburg

Cancer ascendants are unique individuals, often more concerned with comfort than structure, and they can be observed as the sweetest things imaginable, notable for the way water takes on the form of the structure it finds itself within. From Ginsburg:

Marie was entering her forties, but everybody said she looked fifteen years younger, and she seemed to grow more attractive with maturity. There was nothing special about her features individually, which probably had something to do with the fact that photographs rarely captured the essence of her, but she had a powerful effect on people. Women noticed her eyes, which took on the color of whatever she was wearing—now gold, now green, now gray. Her gaze was direct, as if she could see inside a person, and in a way, it was true. She seemed to fit herself quickly, instinctively, to the empty space in a person’s expectations, like a cat curling up on a crowded bookshelf. She was sure of herself, free of the petty fears and hesitations that made other people self- conscious or shy. She was often funny, with a quip or a frank comment about other people’s idiosyncrasies, and she was capable of quick compassion for the suffering of others. She couldn’t sustain this kind of uncomplicated friendliness—in the longer run her own urgencies pressed forward for attention and made her curt, suspicious, even brutal—but people who were meeting her for the first time found her magnetic, and those among them who never spent much time with her at close quarters in these later years continued to think of her ever after as an exceptional person—brilliant, sympathetic, witty, even charismatic. That was true of everyone who met her, but there was no question that these qualities worked most powerfully with men. As she matured, the fresh sexual presence that had drawn high- school boys to the ninth- grade girl rounded into a powerful sensuality. She seemed to put it on and wear it as easily as perfume. For a woman there was no promise in this aura of Marie’s; it was merely something to be noticed. But for a man, she gave off a heady whiff of possibility, a hint that for the right man, at the right time, she might be available. Where a woman would come in time to see the sharp edges and the tough core underneath it, men were often dazzled by the aura of sexual energy that surrounded her. And there were some who never saw anything more until it was too late.

Next to the portrait of a churchgoing, Little League mother, another, fainter picture was emerging, like an image slowly forming on photographic paper in the darkroom developing fluid. One person said Marie Hilley liked nightclubs. Someone else implied that there must be some connection to gambling; possibly it involved her late husband, debts he had run up, a former landlord. These fragments were on the level of rumor, nothing that could be reinforced with solid fact, but through all the stories there was a theme that kept turning up, and this much was reliable: Men came to Marie Hilley like bears to spilled molasses, and she wasn’t shy about returning their interest.

Philip E. Ginsburg

Even if not truly hurt in the physical or traditional manner, their perceptions are what they feel. As the passive feminine form is expressed in a cardinal or outer-oriented emotional manner, they can often experience hurt from others in more extreme ways than other ascendants, choosing to ignore or shield what is perceived as painful. 

I cannot help but see most Cancer ascendants as akin to an astronaut, as a metaphor, because they seem to be foreign to the destinations they find themselves navigating in life, donning much on externally when they venture from home, whether it’s esthetic and/or accessorizing, or clothing layers, emotional layers, anything that takes the mind off the revealed vulnerability and sensitivity.

As the closest sphere that orbits our own planet to the farthest in the traditional sense that the eye can perceive—also found from furthest chakras in the body in principle—the Saturn-ruled Capricorn, which is oppositional to Cancer, reconfirms why the tarot cards for Cancer is The Chariot and for Capricorn is The Devil, or why the crab is the Cancer mascot and the horned goat is the Capricorn one. The shell protects what’s vulnerable within from the perceived threat on the outside.

Johfra Bosschart’s Cancer

The armor is but an extension of their own home they carry with them. Having Saturn in domicile too, like Hilley has in Aquarius—not opposed Cancer but inconjunct—is not traditional in the sense that the threat of The Devil looms, but in aversion from Aquarius, so perpetually unknown. Aquarius, in tarot, is The Star, thus distant and foreign in the sky, but still noticeable and cannot be mistaken.

Johfra Bosschart’s Aquarius

Yet, what do we make of a Saturn in domicile without a dispositor in aversion to a Cancer ascendant? Especially one in domicile in the 8th house? An irrational and crippling fear of the unknown, the different, and the distinctly individual—too far away to do any real damage, but too close and unavoidable—a different definition of “looming.” From Ginsburg:

The witness’s name was Priscilla Lang. She was the woman Joe Hubbard and his investigator had found in the Cullman County jail.

Hubbard opened with her criminal record. She mentioned the ten-year sentence she was presently serving for her role in the check-passing ring and then listed her previous convictions for manslaughter and for handling stolen property.

Lang had been in a cell at the Calhoun County jail when Marie Hilley was brought in, she said. Later she had been moved into the same cell with the defendant. At first Marie denied the charges against her, blaming it on her sister-in-law. A few weeks later, the subject had come up again.

‘And what, in fact, did she tell you at that time about whether or not she had done the events that she was charged with?’ Hubbard’s anticipation had scrambled his language slightly.

‘That she had poisoned her husband and attempted to poison her daughter.’

An excited whisper rippled through the courtroom. As Hubbard spoke again, it was cut short.

‘When she told you that she had, in fact, poisoned her husband and attempted to poison her daughter, did she tell you why, in fact, she had attempted to poison her daughter?’

‘Yes, sir.’ The stillness in the courtroom was complete.

‘And what reason did she give you for attempting to poison her daughter?’

‘That her daughter was a lesbian.’ Lang spoke in a monotone. Her face was expressionless. Hubbard pressed on.

‘And did she tell you why, in fact, she had actually poisoned her husband?’

“That her husband was taking up for her daughter, Carol, and she was jealous of her.’

At the defense table, Marie Hilley glared at the witness, her eyes wide in an expression of amazement.

‘Did she tell you how, in fact, she poisoned her husband and her daughter?’

“Yes, sir. With arsenic.’

‘Did she tell you how she went about doing that?’

‘By putting a little at a time in their food.’

Hubbard allowed a momentary pause for the words to make their impression, before finishing his questioning.

‘I believe you said that you had left Calhoun County jail on April the thirteenth?’

“Yes, sir.’

‘The last conversation that you had with Marie Hilleyprior to that, did she tell you whether or not she had done those crimes?’

‘Yes, sir.’

‘What did she say?’

‘That she had done them.’

Hubbard turned toward his seat, satisfied. ‘That’s all,’ he said.

As Lang repeated Marie’s statement about Carol’s lesbianism and Frank’s defense of his daughter, the defendant shook her head and rolled her eyes ostentatiously in a pantomime of disbelief. She leaned over to [the defense attorney], whispering in a voice loud enough to be heard in the first rows of the courtroom.

‘I can’t believe this,’ she said. As Priscilla Lang stepped down from the stand, Marie slammed her pencil to the table.

Philip E. Ginsburg

Should Saturn, a representative principle of fear, fall harmonically in aspect with the 4th house Moon and 12th house stellium from the 8th, Hilley’s motive for Frank’s demise—and Carol’s near brush with death—is not at all surprising for one that has an ascendant ruler receiving phenomenal supernatural affluence from Spica stimulation at birth.

To dig deeper even into Hilley’s chart, it’s helpful to provide a few other individuals as comparisons for her Spica placements, which will both be fleshed-out in Part 2:

  • Victim of possession Anneliese Michel (Protagonist inspiration for the film The Exorcism of Emily Rose, as written about by Felicitas D. Goodman in The Exorcism of Anneliese Michel): Moon, Venus, and Neptune conjunct Spica
  • Canadian murderer Luka Magnotta (Covered by the Netflix documentary Don’t Fuck With Cats: Hunting an Internet Killer): Mars as chart ruler is conjunct Spica

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