Pope Francis is at it again, setting records right and left. Not content with being the first pope of the name Francis, the first pope of the Jesuit order, and the first pope from South America, on Sunday 27 April 2014, Francis became the first pope to canonize two former popes on the same day, with his predecessor, Emeritus Pope Benedict, co-officiating, making four popes in all.
Heading an ecclesiastical pyramid with more than 6000 priests at its base, rising through the hierarchy of 700 bishops and 150 cardinals in attendance, Francis I pronounced the sainthood of papal predecessors John Paul II and John XXIII, while an estimated crowd of nearly one million looked on from St. Peter’s Square and hundreds of millions more watched live on TV. For Catholics, the canonization confirms the holiness, nearness to God, and intercessory powers of two beloved twentieth century pontiffs, who already have several miracles charged to their accounts in order to qualify for the elevation to sainthood.
John Paul II, who died in 2005, was fast-tracked, the quickest canonization ever (making another Pope Francis record), after a French nun, Sister Marie Simon Pierre, claimed to have been cured of Parkinson’s disease (of which John Paul expired) barely three months after his death, after praying to him for healing. This led to his Beatification, one step short of sainthood, in 2011. Now lacking just one miracle to qualify, John Paul’s intercession with a brain aneurysm victim put him over the finish line last year, when Costa Rican mother Florabeth Mora Diaz turned to him after being given just one month to live by her doctors. With mere days remaining to her life, Diaz began constantly praying to the late pontiff, while clutching a magazine bearing his picture, and one morning woke up certain she was cured. Flown incognito to a church-run hospital in Rome, Diaz was pronounced healthy by a panel of doctors unaware of her “miracle-in-waiting” status, after a battery of tests confirmed her aneurysm was gone.
If John Paul II’s is the fastest canonization on record, John XXIII is no slouch in the records department, either. In another unprecedented move, Pope Francis waived the “two miracle rule” for John, who lays claim to just one. Francis determined that John XXIII’s popularity and his sponsoring of the pivotal Vatican II Council, which modernized the church, merited the elevation, without requiring further proofs of sanctity. Normally saints are inserted into the ecclesiastical calendar based on the date of their deaths, when they enter heaven, but in a nod to this departure from tradition, John XXIII’s Saint Day will be October 11, the anniversary of the opening of Vatican II.
Pope Francis’ formal pronouncement of the sanctity of his predecessors was well timed; the formal Latin proclamation was read at 10:14 AM local time in Vatican City, and shows Jupiter, the planet ruling ecclesiastics and popes generally, at 14 Cancer rising on the 12 Cancer Ascendant. Broadly conjunct Jupiter, more closely conjoined the Ascendant, is asteroid Johney (#90308) at 3 Cancer, a variant of John, the regnal name common to both popes-turned-saint. Jupiter is still embroiled in the recent Grand Cross, and accompanying the Uranus in Aries arm are asteroids Francis (#2050, for the current Pope) at 10 Aries, Vaticana (#416, for the Vatican) at 20 Aries, and Johnny (#3252, another reference to John Paul II and John XXIII) at 22 Aries, all conjunct Uranus at 13 Aries.
Both newly minted saints have a form of “Joseph” in their birth names—John Paul II was born Karol Jozef Wojtyla, and John XXIII was born Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli. Asteroid Jozsef (#39971) appears at 8 Virgo, trined the Sun/Mercury conjunction of the day (bringing focus and making news) at 6 and 8 Taurus, and asteroid Giuseppina (#6533, female variant of Giuseppe/Joseph) falls at 4 Pisces, conjoined Neptune at 7 Pisces, which rules saints (and is also opposing Jozsef). Together these two pairs form a loose Yod, or Finger of Destiny, with asteroid Pappos (#29448, for Pope—“Papa” in Italian) at 1 Libra. Asteroid Santa (#1288, Italian for “Saint”, but also operating very well as the jolly old elf in the red suit) falls at 12 Leo, joining the Grand Cross by semisextile to Jupiter, trine to Uranus, sextile to Mars and inconjunct to Pluto.
Both Saint Popes have intimations of their dual destinies in the birth charts, and the charts of their papal elections as well.
Born 18 May 1920 at 5:30 PM local time in Wadowice, Poland, John Paul II has both regnal names in significant conjunctions—Johnny at 9 Virgo conjoins career-ruling Saturn at 4 Virgo, while Paola (#2973, for Paul) at 11 Leo is an exact match for natal Jupiter, ruling popes, and close beside natal Neptune, ruling saints, at 9 Leo. Asteroid Jozsef (his middle name) at 12 Leo also joins this group, suggesting a very personal connection to religion and sainthood. All these points fall in John Paul’s natal Tenth House, ruling career, with the Leo cluster also conjunct the Midheaven at 5 Leo, ruling social status and standing. Transit asteroid Santa at 12 Leo closely conjoins the Leo cluster at John Paul’s canonization, exactly on Jozsef.
Natal Pappos at 1 Gemini, for Pope, conjoins both John Paul’s natal Sun at 27 Taurus and natal Moon at 2 Gemini, with asteroid Josefa (#649, another variation on Joseph) exactly on Pappos, also opposed by asteroid Carol (#2214, for Karol) at 4 Sagittarius, arguing for a possible destiny as Pope, grounded in the very core of his being via Sun/Moon contacts and also both birth names connected to the papal indicator. Transit asteroid Paul (#3525) for his canonization lies at 20 Taurus, on natal Mercury at 18 Taurus and just coming into conjunction with the natal Sun, making John Paul big news (Mercury) once again. Transit Pappos at 1 Libra is exactly trine its natal place.
Natal Santa at 26 Gemini is exactly semisquare the Jupiter/Paola conjunction, linking sainthood with his religious activities. Santa is also exactly trine natal asteroid Vaticana at 26 Aquarius, further describing the arc of his career, and these form a Grand Trine with natal Mars at 22 Libra on the 27 Libra Ascendant. The Santa/Vaticana/Ascendant portion of this very well portrays how others saw John Paul—as head of the church (Vaticana) and now as saint (Santa). Mars here shows another strong facet of how he presented himself as a newly elected pontiff—as energetic, vibrant and physically active. John Paul is the most widely traveled Pope in history, with 104 global journeys visiting 128 countries, pilgrimages he continued to pursue even after Parkinson’s robbed him of full mobility.
Another indication of his global reach is the Galactic Center at 26 Sagittarius, a point conferring worldwide or universal notice and attention, which when inserted into this pattern in opposition to Santa transforms the Grand Trine into a Kite, a much more energetic, focused configuration. It’s also worthy of note that Mars’ recent retrograde station fell exactly on John Paul’s natal Ascendant, re-energizing his image for the world, while the lunar eclipse in mid-April 2014 at 25 Libra/Aries straddled the natal horizon, less than two weeks before his elevation, a potent sign that charts do, indeed, remain active after the death of their owners.
At his election on 16 October 1978 at 6:18 PM local time, the MC at 24 Capricorn falls exactly on his natal asteroid Johney, reflecting the name he would choose as Pope. Transit Santa at 24 Gemini is exactly inconjunct this pairing, demonstrating the potential for sainthood. Pappos at 27 Sagittarius is exactly inconjunct the natal Sun, and also conjoins the Galactic Center at 26 Sagittarius, once more illustrating the “global” or universal reach of his pontificate, and also opposes natal Santa at 26 Gemini.
The 14 Taurus Ascendant for his election conjoined natal Mercury, again indicating big news in the offing concerning then Cardinal Wojtyla, and forming a T-Square with natal asteroid Paul at 17 Aquarius opposed the natal Neptune/Jupiter/Paola conjunction. This becomes a Grand Cross with transit Mercury, Uranus, Paul and Mars at 3, 15, 16 and 18 Scorpio, straddling the Descendant (and showing transit Paul in a tight square to its natal degree, further energizing its effects in John Paul’s life).
Transit Johney at 8 Virgo conjoins transit Saturn at 9 Virgo, fresh from its second Return, just as natally Saturn and Johnny conjoin, both pairings suggesting the use of that name in his profession. The transit Sun at 22 Libra exactly conjoins natal Mars, adding energy to his candidacy, and is about to highlight the natal Ascendant, dramatically increasing John Paul’s public visibility. Transit Jupiter is running with transit Vaticana at 6 and 5 Leo, conjoining the natal Midheaven while encroaching on the Leo stellium, and bringing together religion generally with the Vatican specifically.
Pope John XXIIII’s birth chart connections are almost as stunning (born 25 November 1881, 10:15 AM local time, Sotto il Monte, Italy). Once again we see Pappos, for Pope, conjunct the Sun, at 7 and 3 Sagittarius respectively. There is also a pairing of both given and chosen names, with asteroids Johnny and Josephina (#303, another variant of Giuseppe/Joseph) at 11 Sagittarius, both within orb of the Sun. Natal Vaticana at 10 Libra is sextile Pappos and broadly sextile the Sun, with natal Santa at 13 Virgo squared both and in trine to a natal grouping of Saturn, Neptune and Jupiter at 7, 14 and 19 Taurus, which once again combines themes of career, the church, and eventual sainthood. Variants of both the first and middle birth name appear opposed Saturn, with asteroid Angel (#11911, for Angelo) and Josefa (for Giuseppe) at 2 and 4 Scorpio, on the 7 Scorpio Midheaven, directing him personally toward the career goals implied by Saturn’s conjunction with Jupiter and Neptune. Natal Vaticana and Pappos form a Yod pattern by inconjuncts to Saturn, suggesting a fated or predestined component to then Cardinal Roncalli’s career interaction with the Catholic hierarchy.
When elected pontiff at 4:30 PM local time on October 28, 1958, a transit cluster of Venus, Neptune, the Sun and Jupiter at 1, 4 and 10 Scorpio (Sun and Neptune exactly conjunct at 4) is training across natal Angel/Josefa/MC, dropping the papacy in his lap. The 20 Aries Ascendant for the election is conjunct a natal pairing of Johney and Jozsef at 20 and 22 Aries, combining John XXIII’s regnal and given names with the energy of the moment. Transit Giuseppina at 8 Aquarius conjoined natal Angelica at 3 Aquarius is squared an exact transit conjunction of Santa and Vaticana at 8 Taurus, signaling Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli’s upcoming mastery of the Vatican and his eventual canonization.
Vaticana’s further conjunction with the transit Moon at 15 Taurus reinforces a similar pattern of transit Pappos at 21 Libra tightly squared the natal Moon at 22 Capricorn—the Cardinal was about to change residences (Moon), as Pope in the Vatican. Transit Angel at 21 Capricorn personalizes this specifically to John XXIII, as his birth first name, and Pappos is conjoined the transit Descendant at 20 Libra, indicating his changing status, now in relationship (Descendant) with the global Catholic community. The transit vertical axis of 10 Capricorn MC and 10 Cancer IC overlays the natal horizontal axis of 8 Capricorn Ascendant and 8 Cancer Descendant, once again linking the moment of his election very specifically to the moment of his birth, a promise fulfilled.
Transit Pluto at 3 Virgo exactly squares the natal Sun, an indication not only of the transformation in his circumstances, but also a huge increase in personal power, and its conjunction with transit Johney at 7 Virgo (exactly squared natal Pappos), in tandem with transit Uranus’ conjunction with transit Johnny at 16 and 18 Leo, indicates the sudden, unexpected (Uranus/Johney) alteration (Pluto/Johnny) in the new pope’s (Sun) everyday reality as he changes names and status (Johnny square Pappos). Yet another indication of this is transit Josefa at 9 Libra conjunct natal Vaticana at 10 Libra—Cardinal Roncalli is definitely Vatican-bound!
All this is just to show how very dynamic PNAs and other “minor” bodies of the solar system can be in determining a life path and the timing of crucial stages on that path, even after death. If you’d like me to take a whack at your own PNA astro-biography, just click on the consultations page.