Karmic Profile: Pope Benedict XVI

ratzingerThe Pope is stepping down citing issues with age, so I thought I’d take a look at this news maker and his karmic trip.

My intention is to shed light on some of the multilife dynamics that this soul has its humans running through in order to learn what it means, costs, and requires to live life as a human. For the full story on this approach see The Soul’s Journey I: Astrology, Reincarnation, and Karma with a Medium and Channel and The Soul’s Journey II: Emotional Archaeology and listen to my radio show The Soul’s Journey Thursdays at 6 pm Pacific.

What catches my eye is the South Node (SN) in Capricorn in the 10th house, indicating lifetimes of being well-known for one thing or another. This describes the conditioning environments the soul chooses for its humans across the Earth time line. Because of this it is comfortable for him to gravitate toward developing and identifying with a place in the world. For many this is a job or career but it can also be a role in the community. Being pope is less a career than a calling, I’m sure most popes would say, and so it fits with the 10th house here.

Square to the nodal axis represent karmic confusion, or issues that can vex us. We need to learn to make new choices in a given life and not rely on assumptions or habits with the energies in this position. Mercury in Pisces and Uranus-Eris in Aries are square the nodes from the 1st house, indicating that his style of leadership needs to be aligned with truth (Mercury in Pisces) but also original (Uranus) and willing to stir up some controversy through honesty (Eris in Aries). In the 1st house, this about his choices and his willingness to act as an individual.

Also square the nodes is the true Black Moon Lilith in Libra/7th. This is about fairness in relationship and honoring instinct and body wisdom when dealing with other people. One key thing about Lilith is that she connects us to our lower chakras and when we’re doing it right we have a sense of the wisdom of the natural world and the Earth itself within our bodies. The full story on this is in Lilith: Healing the Wild.

But these energies are square the nodes. Doing Uranus-Eris in Aries square the nodes right is in NOT being conservative. it is not in upholding a tradition and maintaining the status quo. (Before donning the big hat one monicker was “God’s rottweiler” because of his strictness when it came to religious teachings.) It is in being willing to go one’s own way, invent the self to be whatever inspires, and to make some noise. Doing Lilith square the nodes involves learning through relationship in ways that can involve some fire and some learning about boundaries through trial and error.

My read on him is that he holds back in many lives including this one in order to maintain the social status available to him, which makes that Capricorn/10th house SN feel comfortable. An institution such as the church provides the perfect cover for avoiding the pressure of independent, free-spirited thought (Aries/1st house stuff) at the same time as avoiding digging through the depths of intimate relationships in order to learn about passion, boundaries, instinct, and sex with all it teaches us about self and other (Lilith in Libra/7th).

The SN ruler Saturn is retrograde in Sagittarius/9th. The SN for any of us is about our role in many lives. The SN itself is about how he will see the world – and thereby how he will create it into existence around him – and its ruler by sign is about his role in that context. What special skills and interests does he have? To what roles will others want to appoint him because of those skills and interests? He shows up in the 9th house, interested in belief and in some way a seeker for truth. In Sagittarius we know that he is focused intently on whatever it is that is believed. That Saturn is retrograde says that in a bunch of lives he might not be sure what to believe (the energy of a retro is to be focused and often it takes time to find the right thing to do with it) and so he’ll try on for size other people’s ways of doing things. Sometimes Saturn retrograde needs to go through a Uranian process of not being compliant and agreeable and conformist in order to find the right way to be and express the energy of the planet. With his square to the nodes of Uranus there is karmic confusion about the right way to do this and he might be in a holding pattern for a few lifetimes and put off making decisions to do it.

Venus in Taurus/2nd opposes the SN ruler Saturn, indicating that relationships seem in many lives far away from him – Venus is as far away from the SN ruler, his role, as possible. Sensuality is part of this, too. Some people with this karmic signature would be hell- bent on embracing sensuality in a given life because they carry memories of it being far away from them and knowing in their bones that it is natural and good. This is a signature of craving the touch and caress of another living being, which those involved with the church as he has been for most of his life do not typically experience. At least, I should say, it’s not built in to the life they’re supposed to live. With this set up the Pope in some lives is longing for contact and in other lives is keeping it away. The focus on belief and sticking with it (Saturn in Sagittarius/9th) will in many lives have him keeping it far from him.

Recently I noticed that American politicians Dan Quayle and Mitt Romney share a signature that this profile reminds me of. It’s natal Uranus in the 1st house conjunct the Gemini North Node. It is evolutionary pressure to set themselves apart and not follow in their families’ footsteps, to go their own way and set themselves free from tradition. I don’t believe either has done this in the least, which isn’t a criticism as much as it is an observation that sticking with their SNs – in the 7th house it’s about meeting the expectations of others and giving others what they want – is comfortable as it is for any human. We always prefer our SNs because we’re familiar with them.

With this Pope, the Uranus-Eris in Aries/1st seems the lynch pin in his entire karmic journey. The SN in Capricorn/10th says that he’s comfortable being in public and being a symbol of something for others. The SN ruler in Sagittarius/9th tells us that the role will have something to do with belief whether that comes through law, philosophy, or religion. But this Uranus-Eris in the 1st says that growth as a human will not occur unless he chooses to boldly free himself from convention and embrace a highly original nature that doesn’t compromise his personal integrity.

So has he done it? Like Quayle and Romney he has stuck with the past and found a high level of success in the world doing what is comfortable, what is already found to be a happy place. The soul learns no matter what he chooses because human choices and the results are what teach the soul. But somewhere else on the timeline the soul born this time around as Joseph Ratzinger is an unapologetic iconoclast telling everyone around him who will listen (and even some who wont!) what’s wrong with the system and why they should dump it. But that version of him learns through that the cost of alienating those in charge, those who have a vested interested in continuing 9th and 10th house traditions. It’s not fun being out in the cold and that is why this man leans toward the conservative possibilities of this chart. In some lives he gets himself into trouble through Uranus-Eris inspired trouble making and though telling the truth is empowering, it’s comforting to know where your next meal is coming from.

Becoming pope is a marker of success in the world of the church. Just about everyone on the planet knows about his role and, likely, thinks he is that role. There’s a lot of work and pressure to be in that space but as far as success as a human with this chart, more trial and error regarding individuation is called for. I don’t write this with the intention to be critical but I’m seeing that with my own SN in the 10th with Uranus-Mars square the nodes from the 1st (and rx Saturn in the 9th by the way), I know there is a deep emotional and energetic cost that comes from denying the impulse to free the self. I remember my own past lives of continuing tradition as well as bucking it and in this life I’m working on finding a balance.

So, is he successful? In material terms he could not be more successful: he’s the leader or figure head of one of the most powerful organizations on the planet. But how does he feel? Does he choose to see himself as a product of his tradition? Does he look in the mirror every morning and have a sense of who hejr is outside the title and the hat (4th house NN)?

He’s the only one who can answer that. And either way, his soul is learning what it keeps coming here to learn: how to make choices and deal with the results.

Without the role to fulfill, I expect him to go through a process of deepening 4th-house self-understanding. It’s inevitable that when we cease working (10th house) we are left with who we are without that work (4th house). His instinct to step down is from my perspective great because it can open the door to his self-awareness to take new turns. He can, of course, not do it. But I think that at least to some degree he will find it happening. He is after all the first pope since the Middle Ages to step down! It happens so rarely. But obviously he’s felt the inner pull to do that and I think that it will result in some of the self-reflection anyone would need to engage in after a lifetime of living out the expectations of a beloved institution.

So here’s to the Pope remembering the reality of Joseph Ratzinger and, ideally, in a new way.


Tom Jacobs is an Evolutionary Astrologer, Medium, and Channel helping you understand what your soul is here to do and how to make it happen with grace, ease, and joy. Book your private consultation, get a Soul’s Journey Soundbite, and explore intuitive coaching and astrology tutoring by visiting tdjacobs.com. Jacobs offers 12 books including the new The Soul’s Journey II: Emotional ArchaeologyThe Soul’s Journey radio show airs live each Thursday at 6 pm Pacific on Contact Talk Radio.