On Wednesday 23 September 2015 in Washington, DC, Pope Francis canonized the controversial Spanish missionary Junípero Serro, despite the fact that Serra had not met all the church requirements for sainthood. He had not performed the two requisite miracles, but perhaps the canonization of this brutal colonist counts as his second miracle. The Pope had to give Serra a special dispensation from church rules to elevate him to sainthood. The Holy Father’s motive appears to be political, that is, a thinly disguised attempt to appeal to the Hispanic population of the New World by giving them a saint of Spanish origin despite his well-known practices of whipping, beating and flogging Native Americans to force them to believe in the love of Christ.
Historical records reveal that Friar Serra attacked the dignity of the native community, sadistically mistreating and abusing Native Americans to force them to accept his version of the deity. Serra’s tactics were not unlike those used today by ISIL whose religious fundamentalists try to force the population to accept their version of the “truth.”
To quote an article in the Guardian:
“Opponents of sainthood point out that from the time Serra arrived in 1769 the native population was ravaged by European diseases, including syphilis spread by marauding Spanish soldiers. Indians were used as forced labour, badly fed and shackled and severely beaten if they tried to leave the missions. Serra “oversaw the whipping, beating, flogging and extermination of Native Americans in what is now California”, Rose Aguilar, a descendant of the Pomo tribe, wrote on Tuesday.” Descriptions of Serra’s abuse of human rights and disregard for human life among the native peoples he was forcing to convert to Catholicism make one wonder whether he was less a saint and more a Mengele of missionaries to the New World.
An event as significant as being elevated to sainthood should show up in his natal chart. According to historical records, Serra was born on 24 November 1713 in Majorca, Spain at 1:00 LAT in the morning. Here is a photocopy of his baptismal record with the time of birth.
Here is his natal chart calculated from the data in his baptismal record.
The 1:00 AM time is probably a close estimate of the time of birth. If he were born a minute and 10 seconds later (1:01:10 AM local time, MC at 16 SAG 03), then on the day of his canonization secondary progressed MC would have exactly trined his natal Virgo MC-ruler Mercury (progression of MC by solar arc in longitude), and his primary mundane directions, direct and converse, at the Naibod rate for 2015 would be:
These directions make symbolic sense. Venus rules his 9th of ecclesiastic matters, Mercury rules his MC (career, honors), the Sun is a general significator of dignity and public recognition, and Jupiter is the Greater Benefic of the solar system. This is a year in which he was honored and received public recognition for his role in church history.
The time of birth was understood to be LAT. Local mean time (LMT) did not come into use until a couple centuries after his birth. Note that the charts of Junípero Serra at astro.com and at astrotheme.com are mistakenly calculated for LMT and give an Ascendant and an MC a few degrees later than the ones here, which are calculated in the LAT of Serra’s epoch.
To check the validity of this chart, I looked at a major event from his life when he was 36 years old. He suffered a severe leg injury or infection in November of 1749 not long before his 37th birthday. The biography at astrotheme.com reports:
“…he joined the missionary College of San Fernando de Mexico in 1749. That year he journeyed to North America, first to Mexico City, where he taught. While riding on a mule from Vera Cruz to the capital, he injured his leg in such a way that he suffered from it throughout his life…”
Another source says that his leg became severely infected because he refused to ride the mule: “… he arrived in Vera Cruz, horses and mules were waiting to take the missionaries to Mexico City. But Father Junípero said that he preferred to walk. It was a rule of the Franciscan order that friars were supposed to walk unless they were sick or injured. After many days of walking, one of Father Serras’ legs became swollen, blistered, and badly infected. …”
A chronic illness should show up as a 12th house matter. The planet Saturn is a general signifier of chronicity. The 6th house of bodily afflictions should also be involved. Injuries usually involve Mars (forceful blows) and falls tend to involve Saturn (gravity). Infections and inflammations are attributed to Mars. Here is a list of his primary directions for the year 1749 when the injury to his leg occurred.
Serra has two planets in his 12th house of chronic ailments: Pluto and Saturn. (Uranus would be considered a 1st house planet because it lies within 5 degrees of the cusp.) Saturn in the 12th rules the 6th house cusp in Aquarius.
in 1749 primary directed Saturn (6th ruler in the 12th house) comes to the square of Mars, symbolic of a fall, inflammation, or crushing injury. The square of 12th house Pluto comes to Neptune in the unfortunate 8th of major medical problems. The square of Neptune in the 8th comes to Jupiter in the 6th of bodily afflictions. Jupiter has a connection to legs and feet though its rulership of of Sagittarius and Pisces. Overall, the symbolism of the primary directions for 1749 fits well with the major event of that year.
If we look at the Solar Return in effect during most of 1749, we see further confirmation. This is the year that he traveled to the New World and also the year when he severely injured his leg, a chronic condition which would bother him the rest of his life. Here is his natal chart (“rectified” to 1:01:10 AM LAT) with the Solar return for his birth place superimposed:
The Sun in his solar return chart lies in the return 9th house of foreign travel. His voyage from Spain to Mexico was the major event of 1749, closely followed by his leg injury which became a chronic ailment.
The Solar Return ASC closely conjoins his natal Jupiter in the 6th house, highlight a health concern for the year. SR Jupiter rules the SR Ascendant and conjoins the cusp of the natal 6th house where Jupiter also closely conjoins natal Chiron (the “wounded healer”). SR Jupiter conjoins SR Uranus (accidents) within 2 degrees. The SR Uranus/Jupiter conjunction is squared by SR Saturn (ruler of the natal 6th and resident of the natal 12th) from the cusp of the SR 3rd of local travel (he was riding a mule when he injured his leg).
The astrological evidence seems to confirm the validity of the recorded birth time.