Maya del Mar's Daykeeper Journal: Astrology, Consciousness and Transformation

Check out previous pieces by Alex Miller-Mignone here.

MAY 2005

John Paul II, Galactic Emissary

by Alex Miller-Mignone

“Once again, through myself, the Church, in the words of the well-known declaration ‘Nostra Aetate,’ ‘deplores the hatred, persecutions and displays of anti-Semitism directed against the Jews at any time and by anyone.’ I repeat, ‘by anyone.’”
-Pope John Paul II

“It is legitimate and necessary to ask oneself if this [gay marriage] is not perhaps part of a new ideology of evil, perhaps more insidious and hidden, which attempts to pit human rights against the family and against man.”
-Pope John Paul II

“We Christians joyfully recognize the religious values we have in common with Islam. Today I would like to repeat what I said to young Muslims some years ago in Casablanca: ‘We believe in the same God, the One God, the Living God, the God who created the world and brings his creatures to their perfection.’”
-Pope John Paul II

“[Abortion is] extermination which has been allowed by nothing less than democratically elected parliaments where one normally hears appeals for the civil progress of society and all humanity.”
-Pope John Paul II

On Saturday, 2 April 2005, Pope John Paul II died in the Vatican at the age of 84. His 26-and-a-half-year reign was the third longest in history, and transformed the office from a parochial backwater into a global position of influence and visibility. With a savvy media sense, John Paul II elevated the papacy to one of the premier bully pulpits of the planet (he once averred that “if it didn’t happen on television, it didn’t happen”), and was instrumental in the downfall of communism. He was a tireless advocate of the poor and social justice, and a stern opponent of all wars, including the First Gulf War and the Iraq War. The first pope to attend services in a Jewish synagogue and an Islamic mosque, he worked to heal the breaches between the world’s three major monotheistic religions, apologizing for millennia of anti-Semitism and emphasizing common ground with Islam.

Unfortunately, he was also a rigid dogmatist whose adherence to the Catholic Church’s outdated stances on women priests, homosexuality, abortion and contraception was unyielding. His refusal to countenance the use of condoms to prevent AIDS has led to literally millions of deaths through the spread of that disease in developing nations in Africa and Asia, the Catholic Church’s two largest growth areas globally. This is a harvest of suffering that it will not be easy for his apologists to ignore, and which severely taints his legacy of hope and peace.

Pope John Paul II Born Karol Wojtyla (pronounced “wo-TEE-wa”) on 18 May 1920, in Wadowice, Poland, near Krakow, the boy who would become pope had a difficult childhood and adolescence. His mother died when he was 9, his elder brother died when he was 12, and his father died when he was 21.

In 1938 he entered Jagiellonian University, studied drama, and wrote poetry and plays. A year later, with the Nazi occupation of Poland, the university closed, and Karol was conscripted into quarry work. After the death of his father, Karol became aware of a calling to holy orders, and began his religious studies in an underground seminary run by the archbishop of Krakow. With the end of the war, Krakow’s major seminary reopened, as did the university, and Karol officially resumed his studies at both, receiving his ordination on All Saints, 1 November 1946.

Always of a mystical bent, his doctoral thesis was based on the works of St. John of the Cross, and he received his doctorate in theology in 1948. Thirty years of parish and chaplain work ensued, including a seminary teaching stint, elevation to Cardinal on 26 June 1967 and installation as the Archbishop of Krakow on 13 January 1968, until on 16 October 1978 the College of Cardinals elected him the 264th successor to St. Peter. Karol took the name “John Paul” in honor of his immediate predecessor, who had reigned for barely a month.

Pope John Paul II A look at John Paul II’s chart reveals, not surprisingly, a strongly spiritual bent, and the ability to affect opinion on a global scale. The Sun at 27 Taurus is exactly conjoined a Maser, a Deep Space anomaly which provokes controversy and provides bursts of tremendous energy, often punctuated with bouts of debilitation and near collapse. Certainly this peripatetic pope, the most traveled ever with 129 countries to his credit, cannot be accused of lack of energy; but the debilitation can be seen also in his decade-long struggle with Parkinson’s Disease. At times one could see the visible struggle of will which kept the pope going despite his increasing infirmity, determined to walk down that airplane ramp himself, or say Mass despite the telltale shaking which accompanies Parkinson’s.

That John Paul II was a man of extraordinary will cannot be doubted. This may be in part due to one of the patterns which his Sun is tied to, namely a Yod, or Finger of God, created by the Sun’s dual inconjuncts to both Mars at 22 Libra and the supermassive Black Hole at the Galactic Center at 26 Sagittarius. Mars provides the will, and the Galactic Center provides the opportunity to exercise it globally. John Paul’s extreme discomfort and unease with war and aggression can also be seen in the Sun/Mars inconjunct.

The second pattern, a Galactic T-Square, is similarly potent, created by an exact opposition to the Quasar at 28 Scorpio and exact square to Black Hole Hekate at 27 Aquarius. Here the Quasar provides the vehicle for manifestation and accomplishment, while the Black Hole funnels tremendous energy into the Sun and affords the opportunity for record-breaking on an epic scale, as it erodes barriers and shatters limitations.

And John Paul’s pontificate is rife with examples of this. The first pope to originate from outside Italy since 1523, John Paul II holds the honor of being the most-viewed human being on the planet. Millions of people have seen the pope in person, including a crowd of 10 million when he visited Mexico City. His funeral was viewed by more than 2 billion people worldwide, putting him in the top five (Diana, Princess of Wales holds the premier position with almost 3 billion viewers). John Paul II created more cardinals than any other pope; all but 3 of the 183 members of the College were appointed by him. He beatified an unheard of 1338 persons, and created 482 saints, more than all those created by his predecessors for the past 400 years combined.

These latter records may also have much to do with John Paul’s Neptune/Jupiter conjunction, from which stem both his mystical bent and his advancement in the Church hierarchy. At 8 and ll Leo respectively, these two behemoths of spiritual-religious issues straddle Black Hole Cernunnos at 9 Leo. John Paul was clearly concerned with dipping into the well-spring of the saint’s mystic union with the divine (Neptune), and translating that into the hierarchical structure of the Church (Jupiter) via the institution of sainthood. Neptune/Jupiter can also be seen in his famous devotion to Mary, Jesus’ mother, which led him to propose at one point that she be esteemed as “co-redeemer” of humanity, with her divine son.

This conjunction is part of a greater pattern, a Galactic Grand Trine also incorporating Chiron at 9 Aries conjunct a Quasar at 10 Aries, and Black Hole Anubis at 10 Sagittarius. Here we can see John Paul’s efforts to heal the Catholic Church’s relations with other religions, and other sects of Christianity. Almost as popular among evangelical Protestants as observant Catholics, John Paul’s stern stance on moral issues has earned him a special place of honor even among traditionally anti-Catholic denominations.

His work in reconciling the Church with Islam, and particularly Judaism, was especially reflective of Healer Chiron atop an achievement-oriented Quasar. Neptune/Jupiter in trine to Chiron shows the desire to heal old wounds among differing faiths; the Quasar provides the potential for actually achieving this. John Paul formally absolved the Jewish people for any responsibility in Christ’s death, and repeatedly asked for their forgiveness for two millennia of anti-Semitic actions and attitudes by Christians. At his appearance at Jerusalem’s Western, or “Wailing,” Wall in 2000, he prayed: “God of our Fathers, you chose Abraham and his descendants to bring your name to the nations: we are deeply saddened by the behavior of those who in the course of history have caused these children of yours to suffer, and, asking your forgiveness, we wish to commit ourselves to genuine brotherhood with the people of the covenant.”

A similar Black-Hole-affected conjunction occurs between Venus at 14 Taurus and Mercury at 18 Taurus, which lie with Black Hole Eurydice on their midpoint at 16 Taurus. These oppose John Paul’s natal North Node at 15 Scorpio, exactly conjoined an information-evoking Pulsar, and the pope’s tireless advocacy (Mercury) for peace (Venus) was an intrinsic part of his soul’s purpose (North Node), and well reported to a global audience by the Media (Pulsar). Mercury/Black Hole individuals can be doggedly persuasive, although their words often seem to fall on deaf ears. So with John Paul II, who, although he opposed many wars in his papal tenure, was nonetheless unable to prevent any of them. Mercury/Venus also speaks to his early career as a poet and playwright, as well as the eight languages he spoke fluently. It can also be seen in his love affair with the young people of the planet, and his creation of World Youth Day, a special conference held every two years and attended by the pope and millions of youths from across the globe.

One further Mercury/Black Hole manifestation would be the famous “Pope-mobile,” the bizarre clear domed vehicle used by the pope for street appearances, and developed in response to the assassination attempt perpetrated by Turkish gunman Mehmet Ali Agca on 13 May 1981. Mercury/Venus can be seen in this connection again with John Paul II’s visit to the jailed would-be assassin several years later, where he forgave him.

So much for the positive case, and it is a considerable one.

On the negative side, we can see the pope’s rigid orthodoxy inherent in a Galactic Kite, composed of Uranus on a Quasar at 5 Pisces, in exact trine to Pluto at 5 Cancer, which is book-ended by Black Hole Parvati at 4 Cancer and a Quasar at 8 Cancer, and trine to the Quasar at 4 Scorpio and Black Hole Dionysos at 6 Scorpio. This Galactic Grand Trine is transformed into a Kite by the tight opposition from natal Uranus to Saturn at 4 Virgo, itself conjunct a Pulsar at 2 Virgo and Black Hole Tiamat at 6 Virgo.

Uranus can go either way, be freedom-loving or reactionary, and although it achieved plenty of expression of its kinder, gentler side via the pope’s support for human rights, in its collusion in this pattern with disciplinarian Saturn and autocrat Pluto, its reactionary tendencies were also very pronounced. By themselves, Uranus and Pluto in this Grand Trine may have produced vastly differing results, perhaps more effectively challenging the entrenched, moneyed plutocracy which runs the world. Indeed, in his early support for Solidarnosc, the nascent worker’s movement in his native Poland which led to that country’s defection from the communist bloc and the eventual downfall of the Soviet Union, John Paul II appeared set for a much more liberal manifestation of these energies.

But it is Saturn, as the “string” of the Kite, which runs the pattern, and as he aged, John Paul II seemed unable to resist Saturn’s authoritarian, hierarchical dominance, concerned more with maintaining the status quo than promoting innovation. In his unwavering condemnation of homosexuals (or, at any rate, homosexuals who were not also priests), his unyielding rejection of women’s incorporation into Church hierarchy, his inability to accept the medical necessity of condom use in preventing the spread of AIDS, and his promulgation of the notion that refusing artificial sources of nourishment or hydration constitutes suicide, and is thus a mortal sin, this aspect of John Paul II appears at total and irreconcilable variance with the qualities that made him great and beloved by millions.

His inability to see the suffering caused in Third World countries by the Church’s prohibition on condom use suggests a myopic character flaw of Greek tragedy proportions. His refusal to consider the ordination of female priests, despite a dearth of qualified males which is approaching crisis proportions in the West, shows an inflexible adherence to dogma and tradition that speaks of epic intransigence. His silence and neglect of the epidemic of priestly pederasty in the US implies a surprising level of either hypocrisy or self-delusion. In translating Cardinal Law of Boston, one of the chief protectors of the guilty, to a Vatican sinecure upon his public disgrace in the US, the pope, generally a master of media and public opinion, showed a highly uncharacteristic lack of regard for the proprieties and a lack of understanding of the outraged sensibilities of the faithful.

Taken all for all, the positives seem to outweigh the negatives, but unfortunately, most of the positives are ephemeral, intellectual or philosophical children of the mind. His condemnation of wars has not prevented them; his forgiveness of the Jews has not significantly lessened anti-Semitism; his advocacy for the poor has not reduced their poverty; his promotion of human rights has not ended torture.

His negatives, in contrast, are affecting literal flesh and blood children in developing nations, who are orphaned and left unprotected by the loss of parents through AIDS, and whose continued poverty is made more likely via overpopulation. It prevents loyal parishioners from having a priest to minister to their spiritual needs by denying willing women the chance to serve, and it promotes self-loathing among young Catholic gays and lesbians, and intolerance of them by their peers.

To the bereft crowds who gathered by the millions in the streets of Rome and Vatican City to mourn the loss of the man who was their spiritual leader (more than a million from his native Poland alone), who waited for up to 24 hours in line to view his body as it lay in state in St. Peter’s basilica, who cried “Sancto subito!” (“Make him a saint now!”) at his funeral, he will always be “John Paul the Great,” who bestrode the planet like a colossus, the semi-divine direct emissary of the Living God.

For the rest of us, he was a gifted, but flawed, human being; great in his humility, strong in his convictions and forthright in their promulgation, but ultimately failed in his humanity. The man who extended the hand of friendship to persons of all faiths, also used it to keep the door firmly closed on women of his own faith who desired a greater role in it. The greatest promoter of the “Culture of Life” was also the greatest facilitator of the killer AIDS. The man who condemned open, loving, legal relationships between gay men and lesbian women, also turned a blind eye and implicitly protected the homosexuals among his own lieutenants who perpetrated the worst crimes against children.

But perhaps the greatest witness to the intrinsic dichotomy that was John Paul II was the fact that, as one of the most recognizable figures on the planet, and the spiritual leader of almost a third of its peoples, he died leaving no personal possessions. The knowledge that such power and influence can exist without wealth may be his greatest legacy of all.

Pope Benedict XVINOTE: On Tuesday, 19 April 2005, after only two days of deliberation, the College of Cardinals elected a new pope, after only four ballots; the Sun at 29 Aries, the penultimate degree of the Sign of the Leader, was exactly opposed Black Hole Pele at 29 Libra, implying a certain degree of volatility as the outcome of their deliberations. Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, a close personal friend of John Paul II and the Dean of the College of Cardinals, will take the style "Benedict XVI" for his pontificate.

A former member of the Hitler Youth movement who deserted from the German army in World War II and was briefly held a prisoner, Ratzinger is known as "the Enforcer" and "God's Rottweiler" for his hard-line stance on doctrinal issues and his condemnation of moral relativism, maintaining that there are eternal truths which the Church must defend. His elevation to the papacy is perhaps easy to predict in hindsight, due to the occurrence of a Solar Eclipse at 19 Aries just days before, during the funeral of John Paul II, which fell close to his Sun and in exact square to Black Hole Hel at 19 Capricorn. There is also a Galactic Grand Trine from his Sun at 25 Aries (exactly conjunct Black Hole Hades) incorporating Neptune at 24 Leo retrograde and the Galactic Center at 26 Sagittarius, which is currently being highlighted by transit Pluto's retrograde station at 24 Sagittarius. This activation funnels a great deal of power (Pluto) into a natal pattern fraught with potential for global importance (the Galactic Center), but based on a reactionary, conservative spirituality (retrograde Neptune), all focused on the man himself (Sun).

We'll take a closer look at the new pope in the June issue of Daykeeper.

Alex Miller-Mignone, photo
Alex Miller-Mignone is a professional writer and astrologer, author of The Black Hole Book and The Urban Wicca, former editor of "The Galactic Calendar," and past president of The Philadelphia Astrological Society.

His pioneering work with Black Holes in astrological interpretation began in 1991, when his progressed Sun unwittingly fell into one. Alex can be reached for comment or services at