The normal way for a pope to leave the Vatican is feet first; old age is not. However, an 85-year old Pope Benedict XVI announced his resignation on February 11, 2013, amidst a sea of speculations about the future of the Catholic Church. As an isolated event, the first papal resignation in six centuries is noteworthy. The fact that Pope Benedict's announcement was followed by lightning striking St. Peter's dome at the Vatican is certainly great symbolism. And, when we look at this news from an astrological perspective, even larger patterns of change begin to emerge.
When change strikes out in your own life, find balance to approach the situation with a Mandala Changes Tarot reading.
For several years I have been talking and writing about the alignment of revolutionary Uranus and transformational Pluto. The cycles of these two slow-moving planets joined in 1965-1966, leaving behind the historical artifact we call "The Sixties." This was a time of great social upheaval rife with protests against the established authority of church and state, both of which were male dominated. The anti-war movement was strong. Gender equality was demanded by the rise of feminism. Any abuse of power was considered to be unjust. Now, in 2012-2015, Uranus and Pluto slide back into alignment again -- and once again the shift is hitting the fan.
Catholicism and the cosmos
Pope Benedict XVI, born on April 16, 1927, is a fiery Aries with a diplomatic Libra Moon. Although his stated reason for leaving office was his ill health, the Church continues to struggle with fallout from systemic patterns of child sex abuse that have reached the highest echelons of the Vatican. There are unsubstantiated reports of pending arrest warrants to be served on Pope Benedict and assumptions run rampant that his resignation is the ultimate way to defuse the sex scandal at the highest level. Nevertheless, the connection to the current Uranus-Pluto square suggests that this papal resignation is part of a more complex fabric of social change.
Gender equality is back in the political spotlight, with the focus on gay marriage rights and women's reproductive rights. There are even conversations about the Catholic Church's suppressive position on birth control and the exclusion of women from the priesthood. Now, with the Pope's resignation, we can expect these discussions to explode, especially through late March and April as several planets move through Aries to stress the Pope's Sun and Moon.
Pandora's Box has been opened and it will be tough to hide the deeply rooted issues that stem from a male-dominated church that continues to cover up an ongoing epidemic of child molestation. No matter what happens to Pope Benedict, one thing is certain: these complex issues won't be avoided by one person's resignation.