Pope John Paul II
Thanks to Lois Rodden’s Data News, we finally have an approximate birth time for the Pope. He had previously been reportedly born near noon, but in a comment to friends last spring, he remarked casually that at about 5 P.M. he would be 76 years old. I have not had time to try a proper rectification of the chart from events in his life, though a quick look at the progressions when he was shot on May 13, 1981 did show appropriate aspects to the angles. The Pope also had a tumor removed in 1992 but I do not have the date. His health has been stressed repeatedly during the past year, starting with flu at Christmas 1995, a gastrointestinal problem in the spring of 1996 and again in August. In contrast to his previous vigor, he has often appeared tired and frail.
Pope John Paul II was born on May 18, 1920 in Wadowice, Poland, 49 N 53, 19 E 30. The UT would be two hours earlier than the reported 5 P.M., giving him an Ascendant of 21 Libra 53. If this birth time is accurate, his local Ascendant in Rome is 18 Libra 20. The rising Mars certainly fits the strength and vitality for which he was formerly noted, and his Neptune-Jupiter conjunction in the tenth house is highly appropriate for a religious career. Chiron, which I think is similar in meaning to Jupiter, is in John Paul’s sixth house, repeating the potential for spiritual work. Chiron’s long progressed conjunction with Pallas supports a career as a counselor, and its long lasting trines to Jupiter and P Neptune show great faith and potential for success. The fire signs, and Jupiter and Chiron as fire planets, in earth houses added to the rising Mars and fixed emphasis, show a steam-roller potential which he has demonstrated in his iron rule over Catholic dogma and institutions. Yet he has charmed millions with his combination of charismatic fire and major emphasis in Venus-ruled signs.
In addition to his tenacity and strength of mind and body, the Pope is noted for his linguistic ability, his fluency in many languages. His mutable T-square of Gemini Moon square Saturn in Virgo and Uranus in Pisces fits a versatile mind. The major forms of the mutable dilemma are the tendency to have too many talents and interests which can lead to chronic over-extension and a need for clear priorities, or it can manifest as conflict between one’s ideals and what is possible in the world. The latter form of the dilemma certainly matches the Pope’s losing battle to maintain medieval traditions in a modern and rapidly changing world. Trying to preserve celibate priests, to prevent women becoming priests, to stop not just abortion but also birth control in the face of destructive over-population that is straining earth’s capacity, are not rational acts, but few religions are noted for rationality. Undoubtedly, the strain of trying to resist the pressure for change is playing a role in John Paul’s current health problems.
P Uranus has held the opposition to Saturn for all of the Pope’s life. His P Ascendant and P Local Ascendant were opposite his Moon and starting the square to P Uranus when he was shot. P Winchester, the asteroid of guns, had retrograded back to 4 Sagittarius where it squared Saturn and the P Moon which was just coming to Saturn. The overlapping orbs produced a grand cross with N and P Moon, both birthplace and local P Ascendants, P Winchester, Saturn and Uranus. The P Moon, P Ascendants, and P Winchester were also octile the Pope’s Rome Ascendant. P Mars at 3 Scorpio was still in orb of a quincunx to the Moon and both local and natal Parts of Death were in 4 Libra quincunx P Uranus. The P eighth house cusp (Placidus) was on Pluto and the Rome P eighth cusp squared both P Parts of Death. Other angles also had appropriate aspects including both local and natal P Antivertex in 16 Capricorn opposite P Paula. The personal name asteroids “work” despite the added letters to feminize the names. P local East Point was conjunct P Vesta and P local MC squared it. Vesta, our super Virgo asteroid, is often aspected when health is an issue.
There were many interesting asteroids in the natal chart. Natal Paula was in 11 Gemini 29 sextile Pallas and Neptune. P Chiron stayed sextile Paula for many years but is now out of orb. Paul was in 17 Aquarius 46 with a square to Mercury and a trine to the Rome Ascendant. Aletheia, goddess of truth, was in 18 Aquarius 54, more than a degree from Paul but connected since it also was trine the local Ascendant, and Philosophia in 18 Libra 8 shared the trines with its close conjunction to the local Ascendant. Living in Rome certainly highlighted the issue of philosophical truth for John Paul! I was amused to find Epimetheus, the brother who looked to the past, in 4 Pisces 19 opposite Saturn with P Uranus conjunct it for years. As readers may know, John Paul’s reputation in Poland included a love of drama and rich food, and rumors described affairs with nuns. I was told that when he was chosen to be Pope, the church authorities who made the decision thought that he would move toward liberalizing and modernizing the church. When he turned into a “puritan” clinging to tradition, they were shocked. The asteroids reinforce his internal struggle between the restrictive traditions of the past and the pull of freedom and the future which is suggested by the Saturn-Uranus opposition.
When one of the dilemmas is an important issue in the character, it will be shown in many different ways in the chart. In addition to the T-square in mutable signs, John Paul has the midpoints of Saturn/north node and Saturn/south node in a T-square to his Pallas and P Chiron in mutable houses. I think that those midpoints are keys to major lessons. The aspects to Pallas and Chiron connect the lessons to the Pope’s work in the sixth house, to his religious beliefs with Chiron, to peer relationships with Pallas, and to personal action in Aries. P Recha, which I am testing as a possible key to tolerance, is currently for some years retrograding in 10 Capricorn to complete a grand cross in cardinal signs but mutable houses. The cardinal and fixed factors point to issues involving the rights of others versus our own rights. The mutables call for attention to beliefs, ethics, values, goals, etc. which face the limits of life in a physical world.
If the Pope’s birth time is accurate (as it seems to be), the asteroid Fama (fame) was on the midpoint of MC/Ascendant in 10 Virgo, and P Saturn has been conjunct both factors for years, picturing the Pope’s executive power and responsibility while its quincunx to Pallas and P Chiron show the constant changes in his work as he has traveled the world far more than any Pope in history. To repeat the message, the midpoint of the Rome MC/Ascendant was on natal Saturn opposite Uranus. Karma was in 8 Aries 37 conjunct Chiron and trine Neptune to reinforce the religious identification as his destiny. Themis, goddess of divine justice, was retrograding in 24 Libra 34 on his Rome East Point where he is playing out his ordained role. Italia (Italy) in 28 Pisces trined his MC but Roma (Rome) was octile his MC and Juno. Character creates destiny and it can include both major success and power along with major conflicts.
I have arbitrarily progressed the Pope’s chart to the first of next year. The aspects of his P Moon were more critical during 1995-6 as it set off his mutable cross in the fall of 1995, then opposed P Saturn and finally was trioctile the MC and Juno among other aspects. During the rest of 1996, P Moon is mostly forming better aspects with its trines to his Scorpio factors and sextiles to his Taurus stellium. However, there might be another health problem in February-March when P Moon squares P Vesta and forms a double quincunx (yod) to P Venus and the Rome Ascendant. The yod is often a time of change, including separations, though it might simply point to more travel. P Sun has been conjunct Neptune for over two years, and it reached the conjunction to Jupiter in the summer of 1996. The Sun symbolizes our growth potential. Neptune and Jupiter are keys to our faith in a Power beyond human beings. Leo carries the same meaning as the Sun, our urge to pour our creative power out to impact the world, to do more than we have done before and to be recognized for it. The tenth house, like Saturn, also deals with power but rather than the personal power of the king (Sun and Leo), it symbolizes the limits of personal power, the “rules of the game.” With “letter ten,” we may enforce the rules but if we try to make our personal will into Law, we are likely to be put down in some way. The danger is obvious for a person whose faith assures him that he speaks for God.
The danger of another assassination attempt also remains in the chart. Winchester turned direct and will soon reach a square to P Uranus which remains opposite Saturn. P Winchester is also quincunx Hela, one of the death goddesses, in 3 Cancer. If his birth time is accurate, John Paul’s Rome P Ascendant is slowly moving over natal Winchester and his P Ascendant from his birth place will reach Winchester in mid-1997. P Mercury is retrograding back to conjunct the MC and square Juno which is similar to Pluto. The local P Antivertex is just starting across the IC and birthplace P Antivertex will get there within a few weeks after the first of the year. Angles crossing angles are keys to major changes. P MC is almost past the opposition to Pallas. In recent years, it has aspected the cardinal sign cross mentioned above which includes the Saturn/node midpoints. P East Point will continue to complete a cardinal cross for about two more years. The P local MC is moving into a square to Pluto in the spring of 1997. The P eighth house cusp will reach the Rome MC before the end of 1997, and P Hela is already there. The aspects show continued stress which is likely to include health concerns and could mean involuntary retirement.
We all have inner conflicts. They are normal, inherent in life. We all would like our lives and the world to be more ideal than they are. It is usually easier to change our reactions when they are still limited to the mental/emotional level of life. Once we have started to somatocize inner conflicts, to manifest frustrations in body problems, it is harder to reverse the habits. We have to keep seeking self-confidence and faith in a loving higher Power. Belief in a punitive God can be harmful rather than helpful. Too high expectations of ourselves or God leads to disillusionment and self-doubt, and there is no faster way to become a victim than feeling like a victim. Many other aspects in the Pope’s chart could be listed, but they keep repeating the same message. In 1998, P Sun will oppose P Paul which will be retrograding in 13 Aquarius 3 on January 1, 1997. P Paula continues to square John Paul’s local East Point and Themis and to octile P Saturn. P Mars squares Jupiter and the P Sun. These are aspects showing a challenge to the faith, pointing to self-doubt, often to self-blocking, which tends to shut down the immune system and basic vitality and recuperative power. The responsibility that accompanies power in the world can be heavy for “ordinary” humans. It is hard to imagine how it must weigh on someone who believes that he speaks for God.