When we look through a chart, astrologers tend to put what we call generational aspects into the background. Generational aspects are aspects of slow-moving outer planets to each other - they move so slowly that an entire generation (or at least everyone born for a few years) will have the same aspect at the same time.

No big deal for any one individual, right? Everybody in your third grade class has the same aspect by transit, so it can't be too important.

Well, yes and no. Aaron Swartz, the 26 year old web developer that killed himself of Friday, would seem to suggest a different story. Although I don't know his birth time, the major planetary transits he was experiencing are really very much generational.

Okay, he had a Pluto transit to his Venus, too. But there is no indication that he killed himself over a love interest.

And he has a Scorpio sun, so even if he wasn't in the midst of an exact aspect, he was feeling that, too, as Saturn is now in his sign. Many Scorpios are having a hard time of it to one extent or another.

But what really seems to describe his relevant transits at this time is a conjunction of transiting Saturn to his natal Pluto in Scorpio. Now again, everyone born in 1986 has more or less the same position of Pluto, so they'll all be undergoing this transit this year. Not everyone is going to have such a rough time of it. Yet we can look a little deeper and see why Aaron may have been in the crosshairs of this transit.

Saturn is the planet we associate with authority, rules, and regulation. Pluto is power and power structures. Saturn is the Cosmic Cop, Pluto is the Celestial Power Broker. When transiting Saturn aspects Pluto, the "book" says that it's a bad time to try to get away with something that breaks the rules. No judgement implied - it's just that you're likely to get called out on your violation. It's not a good time to pad your tax return with fake deductions, for example.

Swartz was in real trouble, facing prosecution for illegally downloading academic journal documents from MIT. He was facing trial this week, and was apparently looking at six months of jail time. However, even the database that he stole from didn't want to prosecute, and it seems odd that the government was going after him on such serious charges when he essentially snuck into the library.

But that's Saturn and Pluto. The Plutonian energy is no-holds-barred and Saturn is a stickler for the rules. And Aaron Swartz was a smart, inventive, creative, Scorpionic iconoclast. A danger, some might perceive.

Because he was well-known, Swartz didn't get to hide his Pluto the way many others can. Being in the public eye can take those generational planets and make them very personal. That's especially true if you use your Plutonian energy to transform the way people relate via the internet, as Swartz did.

Then there is the question of suicide. It seems an extreme response. On this we'll have to wait and see, because the Pluto-in-Scorpio generation is young and just coming under such pressures. There does seem to be a kind of nihilism that runs through this astrological cohort, a group that finds vampires (dead people) sexy and seems ready to accept death as part of life at a very early age. For better or worse, the group that was born in the era of AIDS and Chernobyl doesn't seem ready to buy into the idea that everything will be okay, and may be quick to reach for the Escape button.