Friday 15 March 2013

Pope Francis

Pope Francis: 17 December 1936, no birth time, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Noon chart (time unknown). Click to enlarge. 

Here are my thoughts on the new Pope Francis. No birth-time has emerged for him**, so I'm going to make some observations based on the planetary noon positions only. They're not all-encompassing, they're what interested me, and I've included minor planets that appear in significant positions and seem to add to the picture.

Firstly, to state the obvious, Francis' Sun is in late Sagittarius (25Sa31), conjunct the North Node (24Sa16R) and the Galactic Centre (25Sa58). Sagittarius is a good sign for a Pope (philosopher-priest) and this position would seem to be particularly powerful. The North Node here suggests that this was always going to be his direction of travel. Add to that the fact that Quaoar (pronounced 'kwah-war') was at 25Sa29 when Francis stepped out onto the balcony to greet the crowds, incidentally at 20:12 local time on 13th March. Now, Quaoar was the name given to the creative force by the Tongva people of Southern California. Not officially a planet but a Trans-Neptunian or Kuiper Belt Object, Quaoar seems to support harmonious revolution, helping us surrender to the creative forces governing life and death. Additionally, it inspires us to acknowledge the sacredness of life and respect the natural order. Astronomically, its orbit is virtually circular and is only slightly tilted to the ecliptic plane, unlike most other Kuiper Belt objects. This suggests it has a far gentler and more balanced influence than many of its companions. Because Quaoar moves slowly, it's been on this point for some time and will hang around there for a while yet. It suggests a benign and positive influence on the Pope at the time of his election.

There's a loose conjunction between the Sun and Jupiter-Ceres, which are in Capricorn – Jupiter at 3Cp27 and Ceres at 4Cp31. Again, this would seem a very appropriate combination for a Pope: the philosopher-priest alongside Mother Church, with Ceres' glyph also resembling the bishop's crook. The fact that Jupiter and Mercury (11Cp14) are both in Capricorn suggests a conservative mindset (not unusual among holders of high office in the Catholic Church), but as a Jesuit he's likely to have independence of mind and a radical social conscience that transcends the usual dualities of left and right or traditional and liberal.

Both Mercury and Venus (7Aq09) rise after the Sun, so are evening stars. This indicates that Francis is reflective rather than impulsive in both his intellectual and emotional response to issues. He'll take his time to think things through, and won't be hurried into making decisions.

Returning to the Jupiter-Ceres conjunction, this is being squared by Eris (2Ar50) and opposed by Makemake (6Ca38). Both these have dwarf planet status. Makemake was the creator-god of Rapa Nui (Easter Island). Every year the islanders held a competition to see who would be the first to get a sea swallow egg from a precarious breeding site at the tiny islet of Moto Nui. This was a high-adventure contest, requiring contestants to traverse dangerous cliffs and swim through shark-infested waters. Needless to say, not all contestants survived. I chuckled when I read this. Okay, maybe the conclave was not quite as dangerous as this, but I'm sure it was still quite an ordeal.

Astrologers are still getting to know Makemake, but some suggestions for what he symbolises are:

- leadership as protector and provider for the people (Francis is the Good Shepherd of his Flock);

- proper use of resources, both natural and financial (until we discovered them, the Easter islanders were managing very well on a small speck of land in a vast ocean with no natural source of fresh water. At one time, their population was as high as 13,000. After we'd carried some of them off into slavery and given smallpox to the rest, it was reduced to 111. It's now back to around 5,000. Population control is, of course, one of the contentious issues that Catholicism has to deal with);

- heeding the signs of the times and creating environmental conditions supportive of a healthy, prosperous and abundant life for all souls (not sure that the Pope will embrace environmentalism, but as the Good Shepherd he should be concerned with the welfare of those in his care, in every sense. He must also heed the concerns about priestly misdeeds and the like, because the Church is so badly damaged by the various scandals swirling around it).

So Makemake is opposite Jupiter and Ceres. He has won the greatest prize, but perhaps it'll be a bit of a poisoned chalice. We're hearing about some possible dark deeds in his past (but then, after 76 years on this earth it'd be surprising if there weren't any). More important are all the controversies facing the Catholic Church. Square to both of these father-god figures (at 2Ar50) is Eris, Goddess of Strife and Discord. Eris is a Daughter of Night. Her fury knows no bounds. Feeling slighted when she was the only goddess not invited to a wedding (would you invite Strife to your wedding?), she set in motion events that eventually led to the Trojan War. That's taking things to extremes! This is the rage and fury of the victims of the Church. Eris is also about natural justice (and has been suggested as the ruler of Libra). This is something that Francis will have to deal with, especially as Eris is currently at 21Ar58 – opposite his natal Mars (19Li17). Some say that Mars and Eris were siblings, by the way. Unlike Quaoar, Eris has a very eccentric orbit. She's inclined to the ecliptic by 45o (we used to think Pluto's inclination of 17o was extreme) and her path is so elliptical it takes her in as far Neptune's orbit at one extreme and out into the unknown regions beyond the Kuiper Belt at the other. She is virtually at her furthest from us at the moment, and as a result she'll spend around 120-130 years in Aries. That's why Francis' Eris is only on 2Ar50, despite her having first entered Aries in 1922. Again, Eris is operating very much on a collective level and one that goes beyond a single generation. It's perhaps not surprising therefore that Francis, as Head of the Church, has Eris in such a prominent position. He has to put the Church on a path that will ensure its survival well into the future – it's not a sticking-plaster job.

The Saturn-Neptune opposition (at 16Pi29-18Vi57 respectively) can be interpreted in a number of ways. It could represent the growing struggle between faith and materialism during Francis' lifetime. He wasn't a supporter of liberation theology (a very Neptunian concept!) but he wasn't keen on the relentless advance of market societies, either. There again it could be the practical demonstration of his faith and compassion (such as washing the feet of AIDS sufferers). It could even represent the presence of both science and religion in his life: he trained as a chemist initially, and later went on to teach theology. His progressed Sun at the time he became Pope was at 12Pi52 – about 2.5-3 years away from his natal Saturn. I wonder if this suggests anything about the length of his papacy?

Some final thoughts (not necessarily astrological ones):

Back to Jupiter again. Does Jupiter in Capricorn represent his simple lifestyle? I know Jupiter is usually associated with good living rather than austerity, but Capricorn has a miserly side to it. I like the way he got on the bus with the rest of the cardinals after his election, and when he turned up at his lodgings to settle the bill the following day. Somehow I can't see Benedict doing that. By the way, everyone assumed he'd taken the name Francis because, like St Francis of Assisi, he lived a simple and humble life. However, he's a Jesuit, not a Franciscan. It's just as likely that he took the name in memory of St Francis Xavier, one of the early Jesuits who did missionary work in Asia and who was canonised on 12th March 1622 (the conclave began on 12th March). Nevertheless, the message Francis of Assisi received from God does seem very apt: 'Francis, rebuild my Church. It is in ruins.'

And in case you're wondering how he stands regarding the prophecies of Malachy, the final pope on the list is Petrus Romanus and has often been referred to as the Black Pope. Indeed, many were expecting a black pope this time. Well, whilst this title didn't apply to Francis himself as he wasn't their leader, the head of the Jesuit order is known colloquially as 'the black pope.' 

Update 16/03/13:  At a press conference today, he confirmed he took his name from St Francis of Assisi and - for probably the first time in the Church's history - the Pope said it should be a 'Church  for the Poor.'  He also said that humanity 'was not having a good relationship with Nature at the moment' so maybe he'll take more of an interest in the environment than I thought. 

**Update - a 9pm birth time was unearthed for the pope through Astrodatablog - details here. giving 10 Cancer rising, and Uranus conjunct the Taurus MC.   

Pope Francis, 9pm birth time from birth record.


Moragh said...

It seems that Francis did take his name from Francis of Assisi. He confirmed it at a news conference this morning. Also, he also stated that we need to look after God's creation, & improve our relationship with Nature (which relates to Makemake-Ceres opposition). Link here:

Robert said...

It may be useful to note that the smoke appeared at 7:06 pm local time. That it took 7 minutes for the combination of chemicals to create white smoke, so the ballots had to be fed beginning 6:59 pm. I would think a reasonable time for the confirmatory ballot results would be 6:50 pm when Mars was exactly on the Dsc.