Tuesday, April 24, 2007



Finally Conversations with God, the film, has reached Hong Kong. I’ve seen it and also heard its remarkably repetitive musical theme - music as mantra perhaps. The film is quite biographical. As such its conversations are almost more encounters with varieties of American ruthlessness towards the kind of unfortunate that Neale Walsch once was on the streets than conversations with whoever/whatever precisely is the talkative God of his best selling books. These records are now out in 37 languages and the film also shows how a certain type of book deal is done.

Walschs’ bad times are used to make him look chiefly a victim/saint full of publicly relevant feeling once he becomes famously influential. The reality might be a little different. Not only does the real life Walsch look, dare I suggest it, a bit more canny and streetwise than Henry Czerny’s sugary performance of him, but his beliefs suggest something a little more aggressive than the mild mannered talker of the film. His website recently defined his work this year as “A Civil Rights Campaign of the Soul against the Judgemental God”.

Walsch’s God is and isn’t new. The writer studied a variety of spiritual traditions from youth on but his, or his God’s, statements (for which one must go more to the books) offer a synthesis (pot pourri!) for the modern world of many religious thinkers and philosophers. But also their denial, like most obviously he’s a God of Love echoing Judaeo-Christian tradition yet also very much not the God of that tradition because he doesn’t want, judge or oppose anything. But judge is something even lovers do. “God” for Neale is however simply Pure Intelligence (which could signify an idealization of the cerebral/intellectual interests of the writer's Virgo sun sign) and Essential Energy.

Whatever within the nature of this conversing deity owes more to Walsch’s past influences (he was raised Catholic), to unconscious inventions or even the dictation of spirits (since I can’t allow God is involved for reasons that will be clear) is an open question albeit the author claims to be uniquely “inspired”. He doesn’t regard himself as channelling at all. Even so, what’s certain is that it’s rather contradictory to present an unwanting, therefore impassive, God as one so exceptionally keen to dialogue unless you’re prepared to identify your unconscious self and God more than Walsch seems to want to do. The film does moreover suggest in conclusion that we call upon this “God”, so he’s (sort of) separate and out there.


It’s notorious that Americans have little sense of history hence also religious history. Even so it’s quite ambitious (or arrogant) to imply that all the prophets and thinkers before oneself must have got it wrong about God either for yesterday's or today's world so that with at most a nod in the direction of past inspiration one can as good as start again.

Why don’t fans and devotees (since Walsch is now almost a cult figure) have a greater suspicion about what’s being offered? Basically I think this guru profits from the (un)philosophical postmodernism of the times which doesn’t want the big picture (“grand narratives”) of the major philosophies with their generalizations. Accordingly it will suffice if individual statements sound helpful, wise, comforting and relevant (and taken in isolation undoubtedly some are). They especially seem so for America where Walsch’s success began and which has a known yen for positive thought formulae taken on board very pragmatically and often regardless of the larger framework from which the statements may derive.

However… what there sometimes is of Walsch’s bigger picture does raise questions. Beyond reincarnation you need to believe (rather pantheistically and hinduistically) that everything and everyone is “one”. But are they really so, and especially as they are right now? It used to be that religions including Hinduism separated people out by initiation to obtain higher knowledge. In the world of Walsch's conversations there’s no initiation and everybody is one in God. But do you really believe you and God are “one” with murderers, torturers, paedophiles, etc. I suspect Walsch fans aren’t passionately asking themselves these questions. And they don’t need to because this God denies that evil like death really exists, (death and birth are the same thing). This means Walsch comfortably also denies any hell really exists - but again is that really true when (as indicated last article) people often experience negative N.D.E s that take them to such a zone?


While undeniably seers have on occasions been told to ‘write” the words of God as a single message usually communications from God are precisely words of God, speech and also reverberant declarations of limited length that the recipient may need time to absorb so that dialogue gets slowed or postponed. Frequent automatic writing such as Neale relies on and which allows the author more rapid reaction and dialogue has most affinity with modern spiritualism or channelling though Walsch doesn’t allow the comparison – as said he claims he’s “inspired”. Given the frequent contradictions that channelling is known to turn up tricksy spirits that esoteric writers link to the astral plane are often said to be responsible for it, while some Christians might go further and speak of demons and “doctrines of demons” scripturally warned against (1.Tim 4:1). The latter are what (if Walsch’s conversation phenomenon is more psychic/spiritual than just imaginative and unconscious) the author has some chance to be dealing with. Especially so since Walsch's God so emphatically keeps (in essence even if without specific source references) denying cardinal scriptural concepts and beliefs.


In fairness it’s easy to be critical and deconstruct but what would a true conversation with God be like? It’s what perhaps everyone feels they occasionally want and need and at the folk/popular level of almost every faith tradition people attempt it and assume its possibility because it’s human to pray and ask questions. But is it right and possible under the rules of the main religious systems? Supposedly not if you’re a Buddhist since Buddhism is “atheistic”. Not if you’re a Muslim since then your duty is hearing and “submission” (which is what Islam means),not dialogue. Hinduism is more about devotion and mantras than conversation though the dialogue idea is known but more as a concession to the devotee's failure to realize the illusion of everything including his/her separate self.

So one is left with the dialogue of I-Thou communication of Judaeo-Christian tradition that Walsch is avoiding or indirectly opposing. In Judaism conversation exists but is somewhat restricted to prophets and the super observant who should cover their heads if male. It’s Christianity that through Jesus has democratized dialogue whose range, (but not style or content), effectively Walsch imitates without acknowledgement.

Even in Christianity dialogue has tended in recent centuries to be more Protestant than Catholic. In Catholicism saints and priests enjoy some privilege here. Traditionally believers speak more to Mary, saints and angels below God. Evangelicalism stresses “personal relation with Christ” and thus a familiarity in prayer but this relies on opening to relation through a degree of imagination and a Jesus who confirms contact or supplies “guidance” or deep intuition through scripture. Since however even at its most relevant scripture is not "modern" (no planes, no computers, no word for "homosexuality" etc) the scope of dialogue can be limited in some areas. This leaves us with direct experience charismatics who lay claim to the Spirit and (arguably) democratize experiences lost over time or hidden in monasteries and mysticism (Teresa of Avila seems very “charismatic”). Also instead of concentrating on God through Jesus or on just Jesus they may address and hear from all members of the Trinity.

In contrast to the automatic writing of Walsch, charismatics have automatic speech, (“speaking in tongues”). This is said to be incomprehensible unless translated by gifted associates but experience is that while they are "uttering", concepts, ideas, phrases cross the speaker’s mind so that usually he/she, even without any translating witnesses, approximately knows what’s being said by themselves and/or by God. This is therefore the nearest to “conversation with God” (short of the revelations of prophets who anyway more declare than dialogue). It’s also dialogue of an internal spirit with and through Holy Spirit, a major contrast to Walsch’s “soul” talk which is said to thrive (like wicca and magic rites) on use of emotion. Although charismatic experience appears emotional and may be introduced by surges of emotion as a shift in level of consciousness takes place the core experience of Spirit appears to be cool, not impersonal, but detached.


Emotional/devotional/love relation to God is directed upon Jesus by almost any believer, not just charismatics. A more mental/”intellectual” relation attaches to the Spirit through whom the “mind” of God is known while the “will” or power of God is most known in relation to the Creator/Father. Some would maintain (and I myself only discovered it in the course of processing the variety of experiences recorded in Thunder Perfect Minds) that only certain subjects are appropriate or even allowed with one member of the Trinity rather than another. Perhaps one of the bigger shocks of my spiritual life came when I was told that certain issues (political and rights issues in this case) that I considered a proper subject for prayer must be referred to Jesus and not God the Father (whom I believed I was addressing) because there was something else we would discuss. When I had time to absorb this –the initial shock of the communication in its sheer force and clarity left me almost reeling – I wondered if in feeling terms the comparison shouldn't be with those who got their protocol wrong in Versailles and strayed into the apartments of Sa Majeste’s when they were meant to be directing towards Monsieur le Dauphin’s.

It’s not the only time I've felt I made some kind of faux pas. I once strayed towards mention of precisely Conversations with God. I shan’t mention it again in a hurry unless it's specifically mentioned to me. Doubtless with God there are better subjects for dialogue. I should say Neale Walsch belongs to those who have presumed, who have committed Lese Majeste. It’s a pity his readers aren’t more suspicious of the fact but it’s notorious that false prophets have big followings in the short term.


There is no birth time given for Walsch, born Sept 10th 1943 at Milwaukee, IL however…

For those who want a bit of astrology of Walsch, his success and fame are reflected in Jupiter (religion/philosophy/publishing issues) conjunct the connective nodes both on 15 Leo, a world point.

The writing and the automatic/spontaneous/unusual writing are very clearly given by Mercury (writing/ communication) fortunately trine Mars (energetic, driven writing) and Uranus (unusual innovative writing). One of the points of these conversations is to gain a “modern” vision.

I have been a bit of a voice crying in the astrological wilderness for the idea that Pluto is the true planetary symbol for God. However, given this assumption the notion of having or just wanting "Conversations with God" is clearly mapped by Mercury (conversations) in opportunity sextile to precisely Pluto.

Pluto rules Scorpio so we are not surprised that at the world premiere of Conversations, (27th Oct 06) all of Sun, Venus, Mars, Mercury and Jupiter were in the God sign of Scorpio but with a Saturn square to Mercury raising questions (Saturn is doubt) on what God we are talking about.

This fundamental problem is already in Walsch’s birth chart which shows a difficulty square to Neptune the mystical planet (which however receives an opportunity sextile from asteroid Lucifer). Neptune square Saturn can be depressing and is doubtless involved with Walsch’s life of want and beggary on the streets. I maintain that the temptation of Christ occurred when Saturn transited opposite his natal Neptune.

Due to lack of a birth time I am unable to know where the moon stands on the day and this could affect numbers of aspects important in assessing the work of persons relying on intuition and who are writers. (The Gauquelin statistics considered the position of the moon very important for writers). The moon is in either late Capricorn or early Aquarius.

Monday, April 16, 2007

SEEING JOHN LENNON IN HELL (A question in assessing some modern visions) PART 1


Is John Lennon in hell? Whoever asks such a question? (It’s getting asked on the Net). And why ask it if you can’t be sure of the answer anyway?

What prompts me to give reply - of sorts - and highlight what strikes me as a real mystery around an iconic figure arises from attempts (against the background of some visionaries I'll be considering who seriously claim to have seen Lennon in hell) to supply a test and impose some order on a new or renewed phenomenon.

The phenomenon is the growing spate of visions of heaven and hell in recent years offering “evidence” for an afterlife. Of uneven quality and interest these have nevertheless been getting either published in the mainstream (bestselling novelist, Anne Rice, has even called Howard Storm’s Doubleday published, My Descent into Death, a book “everyone” should read) or reported on the Net. And now Tony Lawrence, a psychologist in Coventry, England is making the first “scientific” study of negative N.D.E.s (Near Death Experiences), the kind in which dying people visit hell or believe they were being dragged there by demons.

Lawrence’s inquiry follows in the line of the work of former atheist heart surgeon, Maurice Rawlings, who in his groundbreaking Beyond Death’s Door (1979) and works since records many instances of patients reporting hell visions on the verge of death. Here we have very different testimony from the accounts of blissful experiences emphasized in especially New Age writings which make reassuring accounts seem the only picture. (Pioneering N.D.E.researchers like Kubler-Ross controversially excluded Rawlings’ evidence as too upsetting or inconvenient). The negative data remind one of the rather psychic visions of the early Celtic saints who reported angelic/demonic battles around some souls who had just departed the body.

As Lawrence realizes, hell testimonies are complicated by the fact those reporting them are not necessarily obvious sinners. If the visions are not purely illusory then, religiously at least, this looks like a situation that could link to Christian claims about right attitudes and right relations to God (as opposed to just good deeds) affecting whatever happens beyond death.

Obviously even the most compelling of these modern visions aren’t any holy writ. Just because people claim visions including of Lennon in hell we don’t have to believe them. At best such witness can be treated as new apocrypha, material not tested or made canonical like scripture. There could nonetheless be value in assessing them, not just “scientifically” but religiously. Yet such work is something almost no one seems to be doing, nor are they especially trained to today.


Assuming, as I think we can, that most contemporary visions represent vivid experiences of some kind and not just edifying inventions, a few basic considerations to apply would surely be:

1) Is the given vision to be understood more as a out of body journey to real places or a visionary/allegorical symbolization of what such places/states are essentially about? (This seems like a major question).

2) In the heaven/hell journeys are we seeing elements influenced (even contaminated) by readings not just of Bible but of Dante and various early medieval apocryphal visions of torment and bliss?

3) Similarity of report and repetition of details among visions ancient and modern are nevertheless not automatic disqualification - they could be confirmation of something. Especially as some archetypal factors could be at work. Heavens and hells exist in world myth and the collective unconscious. As such they are waiting to be picked up and embroidered upon.

4) But are what looks like embroideries upon a core vision distortions of memory or features added to suit some church or sect or even aesthetic necessity like Dante who claimed to have been allowed to glimpse heaven but whose Paradiso consciously invents most of its details? Thus Choo Thomas, a Korean visionary who has clearly taken Calvinistic ideas too seriously, reports in her undeservedly best selling Heaven is so Real that she saw her mother, (a good woman who suffered much illness throughout life)in hell simply because she never heard about Jesus. While this fits the narrowest Augustinian/Calvinistic notions (which can even have children in hell, something modern visionaries seem agreed in denying is the case) the author is arguably contradicting wider scriptural witness like Corinthian Christians being baptized for their dead forebears (1.Cor 15:29). That religious ignorance alone can’t be an automatic condemnation with God both Bible and common sense support.

5) Memory distortion could equally go not just in religious but New Age, secularist or just socially expected, convenient directions. I recall a much recorded case of some years back of a boy who returned from death saying he’d met Jesus then telling a TV show a month later he’d met “a wizard”.

Yet with all doubts and caveats admitted there comes a point in study where readers may be forced to admit something significant is getting reported even if they can’t understand what and why. If a clinically dead person reports their spirit body floated up to the next floor ward and witnessed things medical staff there were verifiably doing or saying, evidence for something must be accepted. Some people have their lives changed by N.D.E.s - Howard Storm was a rank atheist before the events described in My Descent into Death altered him for ever….


But here’s a test. When visionaries allege they entered other worlds then they are most likely conveying truth if they can tell us something unexpected later found to be true.
It’s here that something nags me regarding claims around John Lennon and despite the fact the principle vision that includes on his fate is not above criticism as regards what I’ve called the “contamination” that I won’t take space to comment here. While I would hope what the cited vision claims about Lennon is untrue - I don’t approach this subject with the biases of either a serious fan or critic of Lennon but only curiosity - my treatment can be taken as an example of one of way to go about reading evidence in a little charted territory. .


Here’s the grim, strange story a translation of recorded interviews regarding which is given at….

Back in 1995 (the date of April 11th around 10am is given) a group of young Colombian Christians – recent converts from Catholicism by the sound of it - are preparing for a picnic and say prayers before departing. The picnic never eventuates. Suddenly a brilliant light shines through the window and not only are they surprised by the Spirit falling on them so that they speak in tongues but Jesus appears and declares he will lead all seven on a journey through hell to heaven. As regards hell Jesus says they must witness it because even Christians have ceased to believe in its terrible reality and they must warn people about it. Suggestive rather of out of body spirit journeys almost shamanic style than trance/visions a kind of funnel appears in the floor through which the group descends to the abyss.

The seven, despite their pieties, are clearly neither theologians nor saints but pretty average Latin Americans or just human beings. They are completely thrown by the experience, unprepared and confused. One of the chicas hasn’t sorted out that hell isn’t purgatory and that purgatory isn’t taught in the Bible. One of the older members of the group has earlier had a relation with consequences and will meet his aborted offspring as a child who is growing in heaven. One chico, Lupe, imagines Judgement Day must have begun so that as they proceed he is begging Jesus to forgive his sins as he fears he can only finish up with the souls he’s being shown.

Hell proves to be as richly varied as Dante’s inferno (had they as Catholics been influenced by that?) and this colourful variety alone might make it seem unbiblical enough to be questionable. However as Jesus tells them, even this hell (whose tormenting variety for all we are informed may have been the devil’s invention) is only temporary. It’s not the real and final item but awaits to be thrown into Gehenna, the lake of fire (as per Rev.20:14). It’s not explained why the demons the group see are free to ridicule and torment certain inhabitants of the deeps (shouldn’t the demons themselves be punished?) but other contemporary visions have done this. Demons supposedly vent their hatred of God upon the humanity formed in his image and they are free to do so not having yet reached the Last Judgement.


So on the group’s journey John Lennon is seen caught in a thoroughly Dantesque section of the Inferno described as “the valley of the cauldrons”. There, with millions of others from across time he is seen disintegrating and reforming much like a Dali picture (his favourite artist incidentally) yet able to observe the terrified visitors and Jesus to whom he calls out. Unlike the mostly calm Dante with Virgil the Colombians report screaming and crying their way through the entire inferno journey beseeching Jesus not to let them see what they witness. (Whoever imagined the redeemed have the joy of viewing the tortures of the lost or that the saved would have heaven spoiled for them by its opposite? – once in heaven with its many fascinations it’s cheerfully stated: “the horrors of hell were soon forgotten”, a real contrast to those whose vision journey only encompasses a hell from which they may suffer months of trauma). Depending on how seriously one can take this strangest of visions (truly the Dantesque experience for postmoderns!) it’s an interesting detail that unlike other cases it’s not stated for what, principally, Lennon, is stuck there. (Is it unbelief, “sorcery”, immorality or what?). Also it’s recorded Jesus turns away from him apparently without the feelings of pity Sandra reports Jesus as directing towards a trapped alcoholic.

Why do I hesitate over this bizarre tale which could seem, and simply be, fantasy born of some collective hallucination? If nothing else it fits my rule of the unexpected. In 1995 Lennon was fifteen years dead and not particularly newsworthy. And wouldn't there be enough figures from Nero to Hitler (not to say colourful Latin American dictators) for imaginative persons to pick out without once thinking of Lennon? Whereas other shades seen by the group in hell could more easily be deemed products of their imagination or at least what I call “contamination” of a genuine vision, with Lennon we have a known person, imperfect, but not the most obvious inhabitant of hell. So the specificity itself is peculiar.

It's also somewhat peculiar for religious reasons. Even if one is assuming the whole Christian picture of judgement rather traditionally and literally would one imagine John Lennon to be in hell anyway? One reason to doubt the idea would be because he had been taken from life fairly young and quickly, murdered, which to some degree could increase the grounds for mercy. In any case I also vaguely recalled there had been some sort of half-hearted but nonetheless genuine enough reconciliation with God, even report of being “born again” under the influence of Billy Graham whom he had been watching on TV. If even I, who am no Beatles aficionado, managed to know this one imagines such details would have filtered through to people of distinctly evangelical persuasion like the Colombians and it would surely make them try to keep a much beloved popular figure out of hell.

Whatever then were these Colombians on about? Though the Beatles’ heyday was a bit before their time were they taking an extreme and very belated fundamentalist revenge for Lennon’s references to the Beatles being more famous than Jesus? One of the group mentions that matter but goes much further. The Beatles to which Lennon belonged are described as a “Satanic” group. But had their influence really been satanic? This struck me as rather fanatic, a sign the vision was either false or severely “contaminated” perhaps by American missionary ideas. Yet remaining curious anyone of the group could even think such things I put in just a little research. When I did my easy convictions began to unwind a little and the mystery only deepened.


Satanic? What about the fact that Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band had presented arch Satanist, Aleister Crowley, to the public as one of the “people we like” and had helped make him and perhaps Satanism respectable? What about the rather insulting lines of Lennon’s 1970 “God” lyric, “[I] Don’t believe in Hitler, don’t believe in Jesus” (as though there was some reason to mention the two together) and the suggestion God is “a concept by which we measure our pain”. The more famous Imagine lyric invited imagining no heaven or hell to exist but instead a utopia that would implicitly exclude God though Lennon himself said he believed God was in everyone and also that half of him believed he was God Almighty. The later, less famous and very dark Serve Yourself lyric was a denial Jesus or anyone could save us.

From a certain point of view, therefore, Lennon’s thoughts ran from one denial, dismissal and defiance of things divine to another. Then, though not overtly either atheistic or satanic as such, what about the fact that due to fellow Beatle George Harrison’s financial support alone the otherwise rejected, Life of Brian film which makes light of Christ’s life, got before the public reducing respect for Jesus and belief in society at large? Harrison himself opted (in Judaeo-Christian terms) for the idolatries of Hare Krishna cult.

Interestingly, the Colombian vision dates from 1995 i.e. many years before the true and detailed story of Lennon’s religious development came out. It has only now been recorded in any detail in Steve Turner’s recent, The Gospel According to the Beatles. In the wake of admitting to evangelist Oral Roberts that he wanted freedom from “a drug hell” it emerges there was certainly a Lennon born again phase, even to the point of church going and witnessing for and writing songs about Jesus in a way astonishing to friends and unacceptable to Yoko Ono. Ono, though recipient of a Christian education in Japan , was/is herself quite deeply and obsessively into the varieties of the occult i.e. what Revelation would damn as “sorcery” (Rev 22:15). In her world quests for rituals and magical artefacts Colombia was one of Yoko’s ports of call where she consulted witches (she now calls herself a witch) and threw out $60,000 there for elaborate rites culminating in the magical sacrifice of a dove.

It seems Ono worked on Lennon’s chief doubt which had always been regarding Christ’s divinity, a subject about which Ono and Lennon engaged passionate argument including with Norwegian missionaries. The upshot is that under his wife’s arguably controlling influence Lennon lost or denied his faith apparently to the point he was joking about the crucifixion at a re-run, which he said should be fast forwarded to the crucifixion, of the Zefferelli Jesus film that had been a factor in his original conversion. In a tirade against Christianity he declared himself a “born-again pagan” and his final belief system appears to have been some form of paganism. His reclusive last years included a lot of meditation and fasting sessions towards becoming a psychic cum guru with messages for the world, an aim he had given up on only in the last few months before his death but both he and Ono were deeply into the occult.


If we accept this picture as true then it becomes more serious in strictly Christian terms. In another context than Lennon, the visionaries mention seeing (but, possibly influenced by biblical statements about those who fall from grace Heb.10:26-27), that worse perdition is reserved for those who deny a faith once possessed. Even if in his heart Lennon didn’t completely do that, joking about the crucifixion belongs to a nasty, bullying streak in him that in his youth caused him to mock the crippled (as I once recall reading). It’s the sort of trait only major fame causes to be forgiven and forgotten. God would be less likely to forget and if we are supposed to see Christ in others then to put it mildly it’s the opposite of everything spiritual. The same might, alas, have to be said about Lennon's moral score card in the marriage stakes since he left a young wife and child for an older twice divorced woman who arranged a mistress for him because the marriage proved so tempestuous.

It is reported that Lennon calls out to Jesus to deliver him, but Jesus passes on ignoring him at which Lennon starts cursing Christ perhaps betraying what his deeper permanent soul feelings always were, the whole very publicly declared [ I ] “don’t believe in Hitler, don’t believe in Jesus” type sentiments. These in turn might be said to fall foul of sterner gospel declarations to the effect that those who deny Christ before society will be denied before God (Mt.10:33).

Yet even if one could make a case from traditional beliefs for this Beatle to end up in perdition, does ANY of this make sense? For moderns the greater question is does hell ever make sense and can people respect, love or believe in a God to whom the idea/fate of anything like a literal hell is attributed? I shall tackle these difficult problems in Part 2, next month.

I shall also review the Colombian vision against the astrology of its timing which implies that something dramatic that wasn’t purely invention but even rather sinister for its implications did take place. And using the modern kind of exact naming and wording astrology now possible I will show against all statistical probability what’s even more remarkable than the Pope data of the previous article, namely why on that April morning of 1995 certain individuals would be so inclined to believe that, whether in a vision or the actual furnace heat of some unimaginable place, Jesus had met specifically one Beatle and turned away from him.

Sunday, April 1, 2007



This article conveys some strange facts I must introduce carefully.

Popes are not supposed to be gay, but historically numbers of them have been. Today some might say it shouldn’t be a problem, certainly no crime to their name, if we discovered they could still be gay - unless they were so “scandalously” with choirboys not safe near them. But if they were discreet, if it had been a case rather of one or two favourites, or romances, and they were assumed to be more or less celibate anyway, these milder pictures would pass - or would they?

As a biographical detail the sexual orientation of elderly pontiffs if not dismissed as unimportant could even be deemed (today at least) an advantage for understanding certain pastoral problems or the phenomenon of “gay spirituality”. I believe such a spirituality exists and can be positive and I have written at length on it by way of assessment. However, while precisely “pictures” suggestive of interests, dispositions or whatever in a pontiff might pass censorship barriers - the Italian press has recently dealt in images of Pope Benedict with a secretary they have dubbed, “Beautiful George” along with jokes about prada shoes, trendy accoutrements and arrays of handsome associates - meaningful words and ideas remain harder to admit. In two years I have never been able to put forward issues around gay spirituality with Pope Benedict mentioned as possibly relevant to the larger scheme of things. Easy public acceptance regarding whatever might be the truth about ruling popes still can’t be counted on.

With rank scandal to report there would be unstoppable interest, perhaps outrage. Given anything less spicy no matter what the facts and their potential to influence policies and attitudes these can finish closer guarded than Fort Knox, reference to them more scandalous than scandal itself. What then really is involved for the individual concerned and/or public attitudes to homosexuality more generally in thinking, imagining, or assuming any Pope could be gay?....


When Pope Benedict was elected in ‘05 I was keen to look into what people and the skies (astrology) might be saying about the possibility this pontiff was the last in a long line as per a controversial, centuries old Prophecy of the Popes attributed to the Irish St Malachy. I was struck, as were even astrologers uninterested in the forecast, by a dangerous quality to Ratzinger’s natal pattern. It was in examining this that it struck me this person might actually be gay (even if he was pronouncing in ways more associated with internalized homophobia). While of course one can’t be 100% sure about such things with experience it’s often possible to tell with reasonable certainty.

Hesitatingly I mentioned my thoughts to a well connected priestly friend. He astonished me by laughing and exclaiming “but of course the Pope’s gay”. It seemed to me he could hardly hope to know for certain any more than I did myself. However he assured me that a friend, a top religion reporter, had drawn the conclusion from years of observation. I asked, if such was the friend’s conclusion, why he didn’t reveal it to the world since people’s lives and beliefs are being affected by someone whose approach to gay issues could be considered interested. Well, the reporter didn’t consider it discreet.

"Discretion” is what quite a few people and leaders of opinion seem to want to keep. Gay circles in Rome were soon expressing controversial opinions about the new Pope and a few statements appeared on the Net accordingly but curiously all such report, liable to be dismissed as gossip and rumour only, never got or gets beyond the smallest notice. The bearers of tales could report the likes of Reuters didn’t want to know. Nor seemingly did the gay media. While gossip for its own sake is unpleasant in this case it was almost as though:

a) Whatever the truth a Pope must be protected at all costs from the stain of being considered, in essence, gay, although today we are not supposed to consider it is this, and
b) while overt behaviour would make for interesting scandal a Pope couldn’t hope to escape, the more vital issue of a gay/queer disposition or spirituality at work remains forbidden territory. Do we really now consider sex such a be-all and end-all it’s more important than the mind it merely expresses?


The following is not a “discreet” article. It contains its own species of facts for consideration because, whether Pope Benedict is rightly deemed homosexual or not, what’s certain is that before and after papal election he has spoken against gay rights, acts, culture, and marriage etc as sin, folly, a threat to western society and considers the homosexual condition “objectively disordered”. So, whatever the personal truth, arguably his orientation should be more public property than it is.

Even so, I would emphasize I’m not trying to prove that Pope Benedict, if gay, is the conscious hypocrite some might like to make him, though I think in view of what’s proposed here he could be lacking in self awareness and understanding including about how "gay" and "queer" can be defined. (One assumes that the understanding from which Benedict – usually - pronounces on same sex issues is the “existential” one that certain acts alone are what make the gay person truly gay as opposed to the “essentialist” position that one has a disposition with psychological consequences no matter what one’s “acts” or lack of them. On the other hand if an innate disposition can be assumed in people – this is always disputed - Ratzinger would prefer none of it in holy orders, even if celibate, as being something too dangerous. Thus he would seem to be more extreme than many catholic clerics in this area).

It is possible for a person to hate and deny their inclinations rather than work with them as gay spirituality would recommend can usefully and successfully be done. While avoidance of self can be misguided in many cases (if one were a thief it obviously wouldn’t be) in fairness it is not necessarily hypocritical if the person is making efforts as they understand it.


In favour of a theory of a gay Ratzinger in denial I do have one troubling story come to me through academic associates and someone I have met, a former pupil of Ratzinger many years ago. This (straight male ) person dislikes Ratzinger to this day because the latter doggedly refused to address or even look at him the whole time he was his pupil. This remains inexplicable to the person concerned, but is it so unreadable ? This could represent a tale of a younger, perhaps more fanatic Ratzinger who today has got beyond such asceticism/custody of the eyes(?) behaviour. Someone who was actually a co-student of the young Ratzinger, maverick theologian, Uta Ranke-Heinemann, says somewhere that her classmate seemed to lack “all eros”. But perhaps he would do so only in the eyes of a heterosexual woman like herself? How might others perceive the enigmatic style with which Ratzinger has long puzzled at any rate male and female heterosexuals?

Since unlike these people I haven’t met Ratzinger and so can’t make personal judgements I shall expound here on all that I can know. This is some very striking data from the new style astrology which speaks in ways that even a layperson can understand and in this instance strangely, descriptively and almost amusingly seems determined against all statistical probability to make a gay point. The data (16.4.1927, Marktl, Germany, 4.15am CET) may even persuade you there’s more to astrology than modern skepticism had permitted you to think.


Ask the average astrologer if he can read gay orientation in a horoscope and he’ll probably tell you, no, though he/she may concede there are some pointers. The position of the planet Uranus is nonetheless deemed important and it’s long been known that certain aspects frequently crop up like the moon to this separative and gay linked planet. Moon/Uranus neatly reflects how gay males dissociate from the opposite sex. Even so, your astrologer probably won’t be using, and may not know of, a mathematically determined Part of Homosexuality (this writer has it conjunct his natal sun) and a collection of gay asteroids that help fix and describe matters more exactly with higher levels of probability.

And let’s be clear that however improbable the matter may seem, asteroids really work and very clearly so and not just for gays. For example, there’s an asteroid, Bali. Australia's Schapelle Corby, famously imprisoned in Bali, has Bali conjunct her natal Saturn, principle of restriction and sorrow. The pessimistic philosopher, Schopenhauer, whose name is a byword for pessimism, has his name exactly on the cusp of his ninth house of religion and philosophy. Innumerable meaningful coincidences of this sort regularly occur. They happen for Ratzinger too. Suggestive of his huge influence and powers of communication in the world, his urbi et orbi voice, the asteroid, Ratzinger (there actually is one!) conjuncts his Mercury (communication) from his first house of personal image. Also Benedix (his real latin name as Pope) conjuncts his Midheaven of destiny, reputation and career from within – of course ! - his ninth house of religion.

So asteroids work and they make for greater accuracy in navigating the still little charted area of gay astrology. So far the main gay/queer asteroids are Sappho, Ganymede, Antinous, Gaily, OscarWilde, Leatherman, Barney (relevant to a type of lesbianism through association with Natalie Barney, “Pope of the Lesbians”) and Fruits. Yes, even Fruits works. I have found it has something to do with strong camp/drag tendencies - the late radical activist, Harry Hay, who founded the Radical Faeries had it closely conjunct his Venus (where else?) and trashy film actor, Divine, had it rising in his natus (i.e. linked to his body image) and aspected to aggressive Mars besides, so he really pushed camp trash!

Objections that non gays may likewise show these asteroids significantly placed can be explained and dismissed. We aren’t surprised to find the likes of Radclyffe Hall (pioneer of modern lesbian fiction) with Sappho conjunct her Venus but straights can have Sappho prominent too. In that case they are likely to have gay friends or siblings or some life situation that makes homosexuality important for them.

Gaily, perhaps the preeminent gay asteroid (combining as it does English and French Gay/Gai with the gay letter L or Greek Lambda, the symbol of gay) can play double in the way just indicated. Australian gay activist and film maker, Tony Pitman, has Gaily suitably conjunct his sun. However, born the same day so too does his near time twin, American film star, “sexiest man alive” and noted lady’s man, Matthew McConaughey. The latter has nonetheless managed to be dogged by gay rumours for reasons we needn’t consider. But we would have to consider, since given the large array of asteroids evidence will always be certified by extreme accuracy of application and cumulatively, that at the earlier time of Pitman’s birth additionally the gay asteroid, Antinous (a form besides of Pitman’s true birth name, Anthony) was exactly rising on the horizon. So one might say Pope Benedict had enough evidence “cumulatively” to support alternative pictures.


The first thing an astrologer would note is that Pope Benedict has controversy and gay associated Uranus rising in his first house of persona and temperament. More on this position presently but as to other planetary factors astrologers might take into account I shall ignore them for the more readable asteroid data.

• Pope Benedict’s sun at 23 Aries is conjunct the most gay of gay asteroids, Gaily at 25 Aries

Sappho and OscarWilde, making close conjunction at 26 of Cancer, set up what’s called a square, a difficulty and tension aspect, to Benedict’s sun at 25 Aries reflecting his grave difficulties with and dislike of any gay outness and overt gay “culture” these being precisely the two chief gay culture asteroids.

Fruits is in Benedict’s fourth sector of the home base within conjunction of its cusp. The Vatican (along with seminaries he has been linked with) is doubtless home to quite a few “men in drag” whom Benedict must meet on a daily basis.

• Benedict’s Ganymede, an asteroid much connected to gay spirituality, is in Virgo in the same degree as his sun, 23. This means it sets up a 150 degree quincunx aspect implying “adjustments must be made” which one would imagine they are! Ganymede is retrograding back towards Benedict’s descendant angle (i.e his chart’s relationship point) at 19 of Virgo – spiritual and ideal relationship is favoured!

• Gossip originally focused on a long time private secretary, the handsome Josef Clemens. Jose (Joseph) conjuncts Pope Benedict’s sun. Granted the pope may have a private cult of St Joseph. However….. though there’s no asteroid called Clemens, asteroids very much work by sense and sound-vibe (since the heavens aren’t English!) and there is an asteroid Clemence which when pronounced sounds like German Clemens. It falls in the seventh house of relationships and exactly opposite gay planet, Uranus, which can thus symbolize both some attraction and separation to someone called Clemens. And if there had been some element of separation it could have occurred when Clemens was raised to bishop.

• More recently even the Italian press has drawn attention to the good looking men around the pope and the ubiquitous presence of George Gaenswein, the current private secretary. Perhaps George should be called the Pope’s other face since asteroid, George is within minutes of a degree exactly on Ratzinger’s ascendant (personal image/face/ body ). Anyway, to see the Pope these days can often be to see George, who from his prominent position (determined by the birth time which fixes an ascension point ) ought to possess a degree of influence. This comment incidentally requires me to note that the Pope’s chart is super accurate time-wise and if one applies traditional (i.e. planetary) astrology, was suitably and dramatically aspected at the time of papal election.


Pope Benedict’s Uranus, the gay planet, stands in extremis. At 0 Aries, a cardinal sign, it’s very initiating in its potential and it’s on a world point (potential international influence and controversy for things Uranian). It makes difficulty square to Mars, the sex planet not to mention “ruler” of the Pope’s sun, itself conjunct the other world point at 0 Cancer. At ground level in the average chart any Mars square Uranus aspect could betoken a quirky person, accident prone or possibly even an out-of-control, “in your face” gay person which Benedict isn’t. He’s just a bit of-control and “in your face” in some opinions about gays. He certainly has some of the brilliance and quirkiness of prominent Uranus as it affects his academic record and views on a whole range of topics on which he can be an interesting and insightful thinker.

In my experience no sign has more dramatic problems with homosexuality - their own or other people’s - than the ultra patriarchal Aries whether it’s someone like singer Elton John who was years in denial or a writer like the Russian novelist, Gogol, who is believed to have had religious reasons to suicide over it. Benedict if he were gay could have more than one view and feeling about the condition he considers “intrinsically disordered”. His natal Part of Homosexuality, a Part which seems to have quite a lot to do with how gay people regard their orientation, falls in Gemini, sign of the double. It is in tension aspect to Benedict’s ascendant angle (self image in the world) which carries the dreamy, elusive Pisces (itself a sign at variance with the qualities of Aries and hence the basis of the quiet mystic with aggressive rottweiler personality combination that puzzles everyone about Ratzinger). If Pope Benedict had alternative orientation there could indeed be tensions and more than one opinion about what really constitutes “homosexuality” and how its acceptance or rejection would affect his already contested personal image…..

Or so it seems looking at this pattern of the heavens….But of course I’m not a journalist or academic who has met the Pope. And then there are people who would deny a Pope could ever be gay, just as there as there are also people who assert that astrology could not possibly be true despite the most obvious signs. We must all make up our minds on some things if we are not to be denied the option to do so in the way this site emphasizes too often still occurs today even and especially to those of us whose task as writers is supposed to be the questioning of common views.

Still, I should want to insist that I am not in the business of perceiving alternative orientations everywhere and attributing them to every cleric, still less to popes. And I don’t write with malice as I don’t personally think it matters if Pope Benedict is gay (though if he is he should deal with gay issues better). When I was asked back in ‘03 on Irish radio would I as an authority on gay spirituality be saying next I believed Pope John Paul was gay I was emphatic I didn’t believe so, and I didn’t. I do however believe Ratzinger is an interesting, even strange person….and the heavens endorse me for that idea at least. He even has asteroid Wunderlich (German, for strange or possibly queer and this Pope is, after all, German) conjunct the horizon at birth. It’s enough to make one exclaim with Alice in Wonderland “curiouser and curiouser”.