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Diana, the Media, and Black Hole Mercury
by Alex Miller-Mignone

August of 2002 marks the five-year anniversary of the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, one of the most astounding examples of a global event in modern times. Media coverage of the aftermath of the tragic accident and the week-long mourning preceeding the funeral reached saturation point; five years later, her island mausoleum on a lake at her family's country residence in Althrop is still a mecca for royalty-watchers the world over. In this article, appearing originally in the March/April 1998 issue of "Welcome To Planet Earth" magazine, Alex Miller-Mignone looks at the life, death and legacy of "the People's Princess." For mor information on the astrology of Black Holes, check out Alex's The Black Hole Book, reviewed in this issue.—Ed.

"She was very special because she had the power of communication....She was wonderful at communicating with other human beings."

Baroness Margaret Jay

"[Prince Charles] happened to marry this amazing woman who turned out to be one of the greatest communicators on earth."

Lord Jeffrey Archer

On August 31, 1997 the world was astounded and in despair at the news of the tragic death of Diana, Princess of Wales. Even at this late date (November 1997) not all the details of the events and circumstances surrounding this ill-fated night are known, and they probably never will be. Although we will each remember Diana in our own way, the image that predominates is of the Tragic and Triumphant Princess, tragic in her unpreparedness for the role fate thrust upon her, triumphant on her wedding day; tragic in her life with an unloving husband and the closed, cold Royal Family unit, triumphant in her love for her children, and the people's unwavering affection for her; tragic in her personality flaws that led her to bulimia and depression, triumphant in overcoming them and sharing her story with others; tragic in her separation and divorce, triumphant in building a new life from the ashes of the old; tragic finally in the circumstances of her death, but unbelievably triumphant in the apotheosis of the global mourning that followed.

Despite the quasi-divine honors showered on her in the week after her death, Diana was human, and a rather flawed human, at that. But it was just those imperfections that endeared her to the world, made her a being of flesh and blood which we could identify with, not stone and ice, as the rest of her adopted family can often appear. Rather than deny or cover up the scandals and sorrows, Diana openly confessed them, and allowed us to share her pain, empathize with her trials, rejoice in her triumphs. The outpouring of affection and the expressions of grief and loss following her death were of truly astounding proportions—fully 10% of the population of the British Isles came out to witness her cortege on the route to the funeral, with a global satellite audience estimated at over one billion, nearly a quarter of the world's population; over one million floral offerings were left at Kensington Palace and her other residences, not to mention the millions more that showed up outside British embassies and consulates the world over. Memorial services for her in Chicago and New York attracted thousands; dozens, perhaps hundreds, of Internet sites sprang up almost overnight, and even the Queen broke precedent both by delivering her first live address in 37 years, and honoring the fallen princess by bowing the royal brow when Diana's cortege passed.

To what may we attribute this amazing ability to impact the lives of others? Astrologically, and from a Galactic viewpoint, there can be little doubt that the principal player in Diana's life was the Black Hole Mercury in her natal chart, which alternately deified and dogged her throughout her life.

Black Holes, those Deep Space stellar remnants whose gravitational forces are so great that not even light can escape them, have been the makers and breakers of many of the powerful and famous on this planet. In her birth chart (cast for July 1, 1961), Diana sports a powerful Sun/Mercury conjunction, with Mercury retrograde at 3 Cancer, just past conjunction with Black Hole Parvati at 4 Cancer, and the Sun at 9 Cancer, just past conjunction with Quasar Shiva at 8 Cancer. Quasars, also known as 'white holes,' may be the polar opposite of the Black Hole, ejecting back into space/time all the matter engorged by the associated Black Hole, and shining with the brilliance of a hundred million suns. For Diana, it was this brilliance which captivated the world, shining through her Sun, illuminating her deepest essence; it was her Mercury that pulled us in, her power to communicate that attracted us like moths to the brilliant flame that was her life.

In the days following the tragedy, many commented on this extraordinary gift: close friend singer Elton John stated that "She could connect with everybody, make everybody feel special. She talked through her eyes—they were the most incredibly expressive eyes you could ever imagine." NBC's Katie Couric, on the day of Diana's funeral, noted that "She instinctively seemed to know what to say, what to do, to talk to these people and project an image of compassion," while BBC commentator Lord Jeffrey Archer, former MP, had this to say: "She loved children, she loved grown-ups; she could talk to them and they could talk to her."

But that Black Hole Mercury, great communicator though it is, is a two-edged sword. More than anything, it was Diana's involvement with the Mercury-ruled Media which made her, marred her, and made her again. Her volatile love-hate relationship with the Press was undoubtedly the most significant factor of her public existence. That Sun/Mercury conjunction, straddling as it did a Black Hole/Quasar polarity, drew the Media into her net, and they elevated her to the status of Super-Royal. Undeniably the most photographed woman in the world (Neptune in the natal chart is itself conjunct a Black Hole and trines the Sun/Mercury conjunction from 8 Scorpio), Diana has graced the covers of almost every conceivable magazine; within hours of her death, bookstores in major metropolitan areas had sold out of her biographies. It is interesting that she first met the man who was to become her reluctant groom as a child (Mercury), while he was at a book (Mercury)-signing (Mercury) for a children's (Mercury) story (Mercury) he had written (Mercury).

Amazingly, the Sun and Mercury were once again conjunct in the sky on the day of her death, also conjunct a pair of Black Holes, with Mercury (again retrograde!) at 8 Virgo, just past Black Hole Apsu at 9 Virgo, and the Sun at 7 Virgo exactly conjunct Black Hole Tiamat. This 'hot zone' surrounding Black Holes Tiamat and Apsu is active in many of the key moments and players of Diana's life - her own natal Pluto lies there at 6 Virgo [and what better astrological imagery can we have for her death (Pluto) in a car (Mercury) in a tunnel (Black Hole), forever extinguishing the light of her life (Sun)?], while Prince Charles' Saturn lies close by at 5 Virgo. On the date of their marriage (July 29, 1981), Venus was conjunct these points at 6 Virgo; her eldest son William (born 21 June 1982) has Mercury in square to this zone from 9 Gemini, younger son Harry (born 15 September 1984) has Mercury right there at 5 Virgo, and the Sun of the final divorce decree (August 28, 1996, almost exactly a year before the fatal crash) also lies at 5 Virgo.

But the story doesn't stop there. Black Hole Mercury has dogged her public life from the start. Mercury at 24 Cancer on the date of the marriage lay within the event horizon (astronomically, the outermost boundary of the Black Hole's influence; astrologically, its orb) of Black Hole Kali at 28 Cancer and in exact square to Black Hole Hades at 24 Aries (Charles' Mercury, incidentally, lies exactly on Black Hole Dionysos at 6 Scorpio, conjunct her natal Neptune). When their separation was announced by British Prime Minister John Major on December 9, 1992, Mercury at 27 Scorpio was conjunct a quasar and exactly square Black Hole Hekate at 27 Aquarius. Diana's announcement that she was retiring from public life came on December 3, 1993, with Mercury at 25 Scorpio opposed Black Hole Orpheus at 24 Taurus, and reads like a Mercury keyword list, a stunning exposition by the native herself of the effect this configuration has had in her life: "You [the public (Mercury)] have also given me an education (Mercury), by teaching (Mercury) me more about my life and living than any books (Mercury) or teachers (Mercury) could have done." And she rounded out the statement with an indictment of the Press that had built her up only to knock her down again: "When I started my public life twelve years ago, I understood the Media might be interested in what I did. I realized then their attention would inevitably focus on both our private and public lives. But I was not aware of how overwhelming that attention would become, nor the extent to which it would affect both my public duties and my personal life in a manner that's been hard to bear."

The now infamous BBC interview, unsanctioned by Buckingham Palace and the Queen, which opened the last act of the marriage tragedy, came on November 20, 1995, with Diana's revelations about bulimia, depression, and her own and Charles' affairs, and saw Mercury returned to 27 Scorpio, its exact degree at the separation announcement. When Diana agreed to getting the divorce, February 28, 1996, Mercury at 19 Aquarius was exactly sextile the Black Hole Ereshkigal at 19 Sagittarius on her Ascendant, and when the terms of the roughly $25 million settlement were finalized on July 13, 1996, Mercury had returned to 24 Cancer to conjoin its placement in the marriage chart, squaring Black Hole Hades. When the divorce became final on August 28th of that year, Mercury had just arrived on the singularity (the center) of Adonis, the supermassive Black Hole center of Galaxy M-87, the largest anomaly of its type of which we are aware.

Many bore testimony to Diana's strange and addictive relationship with the Press. An ABC newsman on their special report, "Diana, The Royal Tragedy," broadcast the night after the accident, commented that "It was her moxie and shrewd manipulation of the Press which, more than anything, elevated her status in the U.S." Jane Pauley, anchoring MSNBC's flashback coverage of Diana's life on their newsmagazine "Time and Again," stated that "The Princess knew how to take advantage of the [Media] spotlight that inevitably fell on her, using it to bring attention to the causes she cared about," a sentiment echoed by Director General of the British Red Cross Michael Whitlam when he said, "She had an incredible gift to attract the Media and work with them so the message got to the people who needed to see it."

How ironic, then, to see the Media so active in the manner of her death. Despite the reports of drunkenness on the part of the limo's driver, despite the rashness implied by the couple's decision to flee at possibly very high speeds, the fact remains that if there had been no relentless pursuit of the details of her private life by the Press and paparazzi, Diana and her companion Dodi Al Fayed would have driven calmly to his Paris apartment that August night, and today Diana would be somewhere in the world, drawing attention to the plight of AIDS sufferers, the scourge of anti-personnel land mines, or one of her many other charities.

But that is not the way it happened. There were photographers and reporters, Diana did flee them, and she died. And in dying, she unleashed a global mourning that cut to the very heart of many who never knew her, never would know her, knew only what she represented, the fairy tale princess, the Cinderella plucked from obscurity into the white hot light of fame, only to find that there was no happy ending unless she made one for herself, on her own, outside the shadow of her husband and official position. A new world myth was in the making that week, or perhaps just the retelling of one as old as time, but in either case, Diana joins the ranks, perhaps at the lead position, of those latter-20th century icons who have left us too soon, and so ensured their immortality—James Dean, Marilyn Monroe, Elvis, JFK.

Image or substance? Who can tell, in this era of Media manipulation? Perhaps NBC's "Dateline" reporter Dennis Murphy said it best when he stated, "So now we have only the images. When we think of [Diana] we will probably think of that gallery of still photos."

In closing, I want to pass on this quote from an op-ed article by culture and religion analyst Jean Houston, which came to me via several interlaced e-mails.

"Princess Diana went into that tunnel passage to death, on the Cours de la Reine (the Queen's Road) beneath the Place de l'Alma (Place of the Soul) as a woman like the moon, resplendently beautiful, changeable, sometimes shadowed by clouds, but willing to shine light in places many of us are afraid to go; she went in accompanied by three men who should have been her guardians, for she needed guardians; she went in, as other women have reflected ruefully, as a princess and a passenger, therefore still dependent; she went in flight from those who wanted to sell a piece of her; she went in at an explosive speed. That passage into the tunnel became the scene of a shocking tragedy. But the mythic story is not only about who she was going into that tunnel; it's who has emerged from that tunnel of death and rebirth to join the feminine stories in our souls. That Diana [has] taken up residence in our mythic imaginations, and if we allow [her], can shine brightly within us, providing more care and greater love to this most precious planet and all its inhabitants."

Back to current issue

August 2002
Table of Contents
August Home
Why Corporations Rule the Nation
Diana, the Media, and Black Hole Mercury
Saturn-Pluto and the Power of the Word
Crystal's Leo New Moon Prayerful Exercises
Daily Success Guide
August 1 through 31
General Astrological Influences for Aug 2002
General Sun Signs,
August 2002
Moon Report
Retrograde Watch—Pluto and Ceries
August Skywatch
Goddess of the Month: Valkyrie
Book Reviews:
Defying Corporations, Defining Democracy
Maya's Astrology Favorites: Alex Miller-Mignone on Black Holes
Sign of the Month: Leo Learn about your sign in Maya's Sun Sign Archives

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