The Ever Elusive Search for Security
Roman Polanski being “enlightened” as a film student in Poland in the late 1950’s
There are some people in this world whose lives are not to be believed. With a statement of that kind, one immediately assumes a reference is being made to those who are maverick rogues or bold adventurers due to the automatic presumption their lives are THAT exciting and function wholly within the positive spectrum of things.
Not so with Roman Polanski.
Practically from the moment the man entered this plane of existence, he was forced to face horrors so profoundly disturbing, one has a hard time accepting the fact these various layers of Hell were all experienced by the same individual over the course of just his life span.
I myself didn’t realize that the man associated with one of the most terrifying murder cases of the 20th century by virtue of being married to its main murder victim was the same man whose early life is the non-fictional historical backdrop of the Academy Award winning Holocaust film, “The Pianist”.
A Childhood Spent in the depths of Hell
Roman Polanski at 3 years old in pre-War Krakow in 1936, with his father Ryszard pushing his baby carriage and his mother Bula standing next to him along with two of his uncles. Roman’s father would survive the war despite being sent to various concentration camps. Roman’s mother, although pregnant, was sent to Auschwitz and immediately gassed upon her arrival there.
Roman Polanski was born on August 18th, 1933 in Paris France. His father Ryszard was a Polish Jew and his mother Bula was half Jewish but raised a Catholic in Russia. When he was 4 in 1937 Roman’s father decided to move his family back to his native country to his home city of Krakow.
The Nazis would invade both Poland and Krakow less than 2 years later in September of 1939 with the advent of the Second World War. At that time, 6 year old Roman began 1st grade but only a few weeks would pass before he and every other Jewish child would be expelled from school for their non-Aryan backgrounds.
Polanski would not be in a classroom for the next six subsequent years until after the War was over.
A short time would pass before the six year old boy was exposed to nightmarish situations no child or adult for that matter should witness. One day while walking home from school he heard people screaming and everyone began to run. Hiding in an abandoned building Polanski watched from a broken window as the Nazis were herding a group of women together and forcing them to march to their headquarters. One of the women was elderly and could not keep up with their pace and fell to the ground exhausted. A German soldier came up and without a pause pulled out a pistol and shot her in the back of the head, leaving her body to lie in the street. All Polanski could do was scream.
In 1941 the Polanskis like all of Krakow’s Jewish populace were forced to move into a sectioned off part of the city that was bordered by barbed wire walls and armed guards. A section of town covering roughly 50 acres that used to house around 3,000 was now the living space for 18,000 of Krakow’s Jews. In this beyond overcrowded area known as the Jewish Ghetto, one apartment was allocated per every 4 families and each person was allotted only 2 square meters of living space.
Not much time would pass before Polanski would be totally on his own and left to fend for himself. His mother who was pregnant at the time was sent to Auschwitz and immediately gassed upon her arrival there and Roman watched first hand as his father along with a crowd of other young Jewish men were rounded up, forced into cattle cars, and sent to the Mauthausen concentration camp.
During their limited time together before his arrest, Polanski’s father imparted some valuable lessons to his son. Lessons which involved never reacting out of fear such as running in a panic or allowing one’s true feelings to visibly show, especially whenever in the presence of one’s captors. When Roman witnessed his father being arrested and herded into a cattle car, he tried to follow him only to hear his father hiss “Get Lost!” in Polish.
At an age when most children’s biggest concerns are learning the alphabet or what game they’re going to partake in at recess, Roman Polanski at age 7 wondered how he was going to survive given he was homeless and utterly alone with both of his parents having disappeared and their whereabouts unknown.
At one point while wandering through the outskirts of town he remembers German soldiers grabbing hold of him and using his person for a game they laughingly called “target practice” which he managed to sprint for dear life away from but not before a few bullets grazed over his head.
Salvation came in the form of a Catholic neighbor who promised Roman’s father she would watch over his son before he was arrested. Upon coming across the young boy in the street she took him into her home at great risk and posed him as one of her children. Polanski had to pretend being a faux Christian, trying to learn the proper responses given during a Catholic Mass. He recalls at one point the neighbor getting a surprise visit from the local parish priest who took him aside to appraise his Catholic catechism. After only 10 minutes the priest sighed saying “Clearly you’re not one of us, boy” but chose not to inform the authorities.
Roman Polanski spent every day from the ages of 6 – 12 afraid for his life, petrified his cover would be blown and he would be taken away never to be seen again. To this day the palms of his hands are layers of hard callouses due to constantly clenching his fists as hard as he could as a boy during those nightmarish years of his childhood.
In March of 1943 the Nazis liquidated the remaining populace of the Krakow Jewish ghetto which Polanski witnessed living nearby. For two days the last remaining Jewish residents were herded into cattle cars destined for the extermination camps of Belzec, Chelmno, and Auschwitz. Those who resisted deportation were shot dead on the spot with an estimated one thousand corpses left to rot in the streets.
The war finally came to a long awaited end less than two years later and with that came the return of Polanski’s father. Ryszard Polanski was reunited with his son who at nearly 12 years of age was no longer the little child he left behind, despite his developmental years being spent in the depths of Hell, itself.
Before moving ahead in the timeline of Roman Polanski’s life, some key factors of his natal chart must be analyzed in order to get a better understanding of the man whom many believe to be one of the greatest film directors of the 20th century.
The two highest positioned planets in Polanski’s natal chart are the Moon at 22 degrees Cancer and Pluto 1 degree away at 23 degrees both located in the 10th house and both within 5 degrees of the highest point of the chart known as the Midheaven (abbreviated with the letters “MC”) at 19 degrees Cancer.
The Moon deals with our internal emotional selves based on the environment a person experiences in infancy and early childhood.
When a person is born with the planet that oversees Death, transformation, and things of a forbidden or taboo nature, Pluto, in close conjunction with the Moon, it can be interpreted that the developmental years of their childhood will involve life threatening elements of danger. When that conjunction takes place in the Moon’s naturally ruling sign of Cancer the elements of danger apply not only to the individual but to his immediate family as well.
This aspect of the Moon conjunct Pluto applies not only to Roman Polanski and his parents but to his fellow Polish Jews as well since the sign of Cancer involves one’s family on an individual level and one’s people or country of origin when applied on a sociological level.
With the Moon specifically referring to the imprint a mother leaves on her child as well as it being the planetary ruler of the sign of Cancer, it matches Polanski’s early childhood of his mother being the first member taken from his family who also didn’t survive the War given the Moon is conjunct with the planet of Death, Pluto.
Although Bula Polanski was taken from this world while her son was still quite young, she left a profound influence on his artistry. Polanski modeled the character of Evelyn Mulwray played by Faye Dunaway in his most critically acclaimed film “Chinatown” after his mother, whose stylish elegance of dress is evident in the family photo shown above. In fact, “Chinatown” takes place in 1937, the same year Polanski’s mother’s fate was sealed upon moving with her family from Paris to Krakow.
The Moon oversees the concept of “security” be it of an emotional, financial, or other foundational nature that is core to our central being, When a person is born with the planet which oversees security in its ruling sign but is conjunct Pluto that person has a deep seeded need for security especially in their childhood that is practically assured to be sorely absent in the beginning phase of their life and is a motivational force for most of their existence with it being found after great difficulty, if ever, in their later years.
In his article entitled “Decoding the Most Elevated Planet in the Horoscope” astrologer Ray Grasse discusses how the planet(s) that are positioned closest to the Midheaven should theoretically be considered the most important aspect in a person’s birth chart given the fact that planet’s energies will be a major force of influence over the course of that person’s entire lifetime.
In Roman Polanski’s chart the most elevated planet is his Cancerian Moon, however I strongly feel that distinction should be mutually shared with Pluto just one degree away. One planet cannot really be analyzed without the presence of the other when considering any key factors associated with Polanski’s personality or pivotal events that have taken place in his life. The powerful influence brought about by the conjunction of the closest with the furthest of heavenly bodies in our Solar System has clearly been evident when strictly looking at just the man’s childhood in and of itself.
Grasse provides examples of the birth charts of famous personalities born with each of the planets as their chart’s most elevated. Those born with the Moon as their most elevated planet an angle of positioning that is technically called “accidentally dignified”, according to Grasse “are drawn to project their personalities and/or emotions into the spotlight”. He goes on to elaborate those celebrities born with the Moon in this key position who directed their energies towards acting or the theater turned out to be some of the most critically acclaimed dramatists of their day such as Merryl Streep, Robert de Niro, and Peter Sellers.
Polanski’s birth chart not only has a strong lunar placement by virtue of the Moon being positioned in its ruling sign, it also has a similar emphasis when looked at from a solar perspective with his Sun being placed in the sign it naturally rules over that’s known for its theatrical flair and sense of dramatics whom most of the world’s greatest directors of film and theater are born beneath, the Fire sign of Leo the Lion.
Cecil B. De Mille, Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick, John Huston, Sam Mendes, Gus Van Sant, Wes Craven, M. Night Shyamalan, James Cameron, Peter Bogdanovich, Peter Weir, and of course, Roman Polanski.
A goodly portion of Hollywood’s biggest and most powerful film directors such as those listed directly above were all born beneath the sign of High Drama, Leo the Lion.
Polanski’s fascination with film began not surprisingly during his early childhood. In a 1971 interview with Playboy Magazine, the film director describes how cinema was strictly forbidden in the Krakow Ghetto but his first exposure to the wonder of film still occurred within that oppressively restrictive place by watching Nazi news reels through a crack in the barbed wire that allowed him to see what was being projected on an outside screen in a market square:
“…the ghetto in Krakòw there was no cinema, but the Germans often showed newsreels to the people outside the ghetto, on a screen in the market place. And there was one particular corner where you could see the screen through the barbed wire. I remember watching with fascination, although all they were showing was the German army and German tanks, with occasional anti-Jewish slogans inserted on cards.” – Roman Polanski
In his 1984 published autobiography entitled “Roman by Polanski”, the Leo further describes in the most eloquent of terms why the screening of a film held so much allure to him in the years which directly followed the War:
“Movies were becoming an absolute obsession with me. I was enthralled by everything connected with the cinema—not just the movies themselves but the aura that surrounded them. I loved the luminous rectangle of the screen, the sight of the beam slicing through the darkness from the projection booth, the miraculous synchronization of sound and vision, even the dusty smell of the tip-up seats. More than anything else though, I was fascinated by the actual mechanics of the process.” – Roman Polanski
As the 1950’s began Polanski not only decided to pursue a career as a stage actor, he also enrolled as a film student in Poland’s 3rd largest city at the National Film School in Lodz.
The man’s star was poised to begin its meteoric rise.
In Part II of this series Roman Polanski’s notoriety climbs the heights of international fame as an acclaimed film director but also as a person who must tragically traverse through several more layers of Hell in his lifelong search for emotional security.