The generation that won’t shut up

Tuesday September 14th 2010
Gustave Doré’s Red Riding Hood.

Usually, conversational gambits at the school gates go something like this:

“How is Ermyntrude settling in?”

“Isn’t the traffic awful?”

“A bit nippy this morning eh?”

Not the most thrilling set of references. So when I noticed two mothers of my acquaintance in a heated huddle and overheard the words “Pope, nuns and nonsense”, I had to sidle over and ask some questions.

Judging by my extremely scientific straw poll of two, Catholic mothers are getting militant.

I quote: “If all the priests were women and the helpers were men, we wouldn’t have these paedophile problems.”

“They are all still in denial.  Because they are so cut off from the real world, they don’t understand how serious abusing children is. They think that if they all pretend it hasn’t happened, then maybe it’ll go away.”

Silence. Complicity. Shame. Paedophile priests relied on children’s silence to hide their crimes. And according to government inquiries in Ireland, the US and Canada (among others) this abuse had gone on for decades and it was endemic.

So this set me thinking, who broke the silence? And why then? And why now?

Madden’s book was a
bestseller in Ireland.

The first victim to go public in Ireland was Andrew Madden back in July 1995. Up until then, victims had remained anonymous (and anguished), but Madden decided that to get justice, he had to be totally open.

Madden’s courage opened the floodgates and since then the tide of testimony has swelled and swelled. It’s clear the Catholic Church is, to coin a phrase, guilty as sin.

I can’t find his birth data, but if anyone knows it, I’d be very interested. Apparently he was 18 in 1983, which means he would have been born in 1964/5. This would put him right in the midst of a power house outer planetary configuration that shaped his whole generation.

Pluto in Virgo was in a long-standing sextile (60° degrees) with Neptune in Scorpio. This sextile had been in effect since the mid-1940s and is still in effect now although the planets have moved to Capricorn and Aquarius respectively.

Pluto is the planet associated with abuse, especially sexual abuse. Astrologers pay a lot of attention to the myths associated with the gods for whom planets are named. Sometimes this leads to solid understanding of the energies of a planet – but not always. In the case of Pluto the myth does seem to apply to the planetary energies.

In the Greek story, Hades (renamed Pluto by the Romans) abducts the child Persephone (Latin: Proserpine) and takes her down to his underworld kingdom where he rapes her and holds her captive. The myth has a happy ending, of course. Persephone’s mother Demeter (Latin: Ceres) finds her and cuts a deal with Hades that allows her daughter out of the earth for six months of the year. Proserpine makes her peace with Hades and becomes Queen of the Underworld for the other six months. (I wonder, does she love him?)

Pluto also rules mega multi-national organisations – such as the Catholic Church, and secrets. The god was, after all, able to make himself invisible.

The mythology of Neptune does not fit so well with the planet’s astrological meaning. But most relevantly in this case, Neptune is associated with lies and obfuscation, sacrifice and victimhood – also with numinous spirituality.
So we have here a long-standing connection between power (Pluto) and illusion (Neptune) in the hands of a big corporation (the Church). This sextile plays out in many other ways, obviously, because it is so long-standing, but this scenario is a useful one to think about because one could apply it in different ways. A sextile is an “easy”, which means the energies between these two planets are working in concert – not that the energies are necessarily “good” or “bad”. Morality just doesn’t come into it.
In the 1960s Uranus planet of violent revolution, rebellion and change joined Pluto in Virgo, giving the whole decade its radical flavour. Between 1965 and 1967, Uranus-Pluto was opposed by Saturn, the planet of rules and authority. So kids born at this time were destined to challenge authority, break the rules – maybe even violently.

The generation born in that decade came of age in the 1980s and 1990s. The Berlin Wall coming down was symbolic of their arrival in the adult world. (I mentioned the Uranus-Pluto configuration in my last post in relation to the early deaths of legendary musicians Kurt Cobain and Jeff Buckley.)

So how does this all connect up? That generation, born in the 1960s, has a powerful outer planet combination that is resonating right now. That generation has just had its Uranus return and put its feet in the political door. This is not a group of people who are going to take things quietly.

Satan in the ninth circle of hell of Dante’s Inferno, engraved
by Gustave Doré. This circle is reserved for “betrayers”.
Appropriate, I think for the paedophile priests.
(Astrologers get to hang out in the far more comfortable eighth.)

When Madden was abused in the mid-70s, Saturn was travelling through Leo – inconjunct to the its own position of the 60s. Then it went through Virgo where it conjuncted the position of Uranus-Pluto and opposed itself natally, then Libra where it conjuncted Pluto. While in Virgo, it was a Saturn half-return for Madden and reactivated the outer planet configuration he was born with.

So what was going on in the sky when Madden broke the silence? Simple. Saturn Return. Saturn came back to the place it was when he was born. And yes, by transit Pluto met up with Neptune’s position at his birth, so restimulating the whole configuration again. The astrologer Stephen Forrest in his excellent book on the planet says that people with a strong Pluto are inclined to tell the truth – even if it hurts.

The run up to the Cardinal Climax has reactivated the outer planet line up of the 1960s. Uranus and Saturn faced off again across the same Pisces/Virgo axis in 2008/9 as they did in 1965-67. The whole scandal really went stellar, implicating the Pope himself. But this time Pluto was squaring the Uranus and Saturn creating a tense (but dynamic) T-square.

This is a still from the film Pope Joan, released in 2009 and starring
Johanna Wokalek and John Goodman.

This year, the whole set up moved forward into the first degree of Aries, the sign of action and next year it’ll happen again.

Catholics are finally getting militant about their leadership. The Vatican will make radical changes in order to put this right – but they may take some time.

And the mothers at the school gate? They think it’s time for Pope Joan – now.

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  1. Excellent article, Christina. There seems to be a history of church scandals being unearted under transiting Pluto-Saturn aspects. I first noticed this under the Pluto-Saturn conjunction in late Libra in the4 early in 1980s. There was the first stirrings of this, as well as the beginning of laws and lawsuits around the issue of sexual harassment.