Veni, Vidi, Vaticanus

Vatican at sunset

The site where the Vatican stands today was an ancient temple worshipping Cybele, the mother goddess. And Vaticanus is a Pagan God.

The Vatican has come to stand for Christianity, Popes, and power, along with corruption, greed, and ignorance, depending whom you’re talking to.

But like many words, Vatican, at its Latin core, is far less corrupt than organized religion has made it. “Vatis” means prophecies, and the “can” part is up for debate, but many believe it could refer to a snake. Eve or Lilith might agree.

Vatis Means Prophecies And The “Can” Part Refers To A Snake

The Etruscans would climb the Vatican hill to pray to the god Vaticanus. It was a prophetic spot of divine messages, and Vaticanus was the bearer of these auditory texts from heaven. So pure was this herald god of divine messages that he is the god of the first sound a newborn baby makes—that blissful sigh, squeak, squeal or scream that takes a brand new human from silent to sounding.

Vaticanus was an important deity, but he wasn’t the only one worshipped at the site. Also nearby was a temple for Cybele, the Magna Mater or “Great Mother” goddess.

So, did the early Catholics storm up Vatican Hill, with its divine prophet god and the Great Mother goddess, and claim it for their own in the world’s most lucrative game of King of the hill? Sort of, but like everything involving these people, it’s a lot more complicated than that.

Rome is a city of seven hills, each with their own rich histories, but Vatican hill isn’t among them. It sits on the other side of the Tiber river, in the distance, and perhaps rightly so. It’s about the only separation of Church and states the Eternal City is afforded. The Cupola of St. Peter’s seems as omnipresent in Rome as god and Gaia, as haunting as it is beautiful.

But I’m jumping ahead. At the time of the Roman Republic and before Christianity, what is now Vatican City was already being referred to as “Vatican,” although the site was mostly marshy and uninhabitable, thanks to the runoff from the nearby Tiber river.

Agrippina the Elder, granddaughter of Emperor Augustus, was the one who drained the land and made her gardens there. Her son, Emperor Caligula took over his mother’s garden and turned it into a circus for charioteers. Since obelisks were the BC version of ridiculously expensive foreign cars, Caligula had one brought from Egypt and erected in the middle of his circus. Emperors will be Emperors.

Circus Vaticanus, later known as the Circus of Nero, took up much of what is now Vatican City, and in addition to hosting chariot races, it was also a site of public persecutions. For this reason, buried deep below St. Peter’s were the bones of many, including the man himself. The circus is said to be where St. Peter was crucified, upside down, before his body was stolen off the cross for safekeeping by his faithful followers.

The Vatican Site Was Once A Temple To Cybele

By the time Constantine came around and Christianity was starting to gain traction, he built what is now known as Old St. Peter’s Basilica. It housed the remains of St. Peter safely in its apse. Although the Vaticanus temple was long gone by now, the nearby shrine to goddess Cybele and Attis, the god of vegetation, survived close to the basilica and stood for many years.

It wasn’t until Renaissance sculptor and architect Gian Lorenzo Bernini redesigned Piazza San Pietro that it became what it is now—a wonder. And at the center of it: the obelisk Caligula brought to Rome from Egypt all those years ago, re-erected. Thanks to Bernini’s design, that obelisk is now the gnomon at the center of a giant sundial, and below it, stones with the names and dates of the 12 astrological signs decorate the floor.

Justification for the presence of astrology on the ground floor of the holy piazza comes in the form of Jesus’ disciples. It is said that each of the 12 apostles is linked to a zodiac sign. Peter is, of course, Aries. Simon the Zealot takes Taurus. James the preacher is Gemini. Loner Andrew is repped by Cancer. John “the beloved” is the Leo, while studious Philip takes Virgo. Nathaniel/Bartholomew is Libra. Suspicious Thomas is Scorpio.

The other James, who loved to travel, is Sagittarius. Matthew the tax collector gets to be Capricorn, because of course, and Thaddeus-Jude the questioner is the Aquarius of the group. Lastly, that slippery fish Judas Iscariot is Pisces. All fine, I suppose, but I’d like to make some swaps: Mother Mary as Cancer, Mary Magdalene as Taurus or Virgo, and Veronica as Scorpio.

History, religion, and apostles as zodiac signs aside, I can honestly say that to see St. Peter’s Square in person is worth the trip to Rome. While I felt the airy, and sometimes heavy, the pulse of many spirits as I pounded Rome’s ancient cobblestones, this sensation was at its peak within the sturdy walls of Vatican City. There was a sense of calm amidst chaos, and of being bathed in god-light. It is one of the most magnificent places in the world—and one that always honors its namesake Vaticanus, the prophetic god of newborn cries and brand new starts, whether it wants to or not.

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Suddenly Leo

I love your article and had to read it in parts because it made me think. I don’t agree with scholars about John being a Leo because his book is the most philosophical (so Saggo?) and involving wordplay (Gem?) of all the Gospels. He gets into Why Are We Here and How Does This Relate to God and Does Time Exist? That said, I do have the key word – logos – from John 1:1 tattooed on the back of my neck and I’m a Leo, so my ego says, heck, yeah, baby, he’s one of us. But my mind… Read more »


I second your swap ideas! Yas. Great article, very interesting hx nuggets.

Star Ninja

Great article!?

Star Ninja

That question mark is a star on my end lol! Great article – no question!


No I like the progression through the exclamations…

Great article!
Great article?!

Then you could go to..

Great Article!?!?


Ohh the fun you can have on the internet lol

Star Ninja

Great article!


This is so cool!
I love that an institution I am geared from experience pretty much to hate has an origin that is far more resonant to me.
Fab history lesson!

But right now it’s started an argument with a catholic, so I have to go… lol.


Hate is a strong word.
There’s no point falling into the same trap as the institutions or the thinking that we believe we have surpassed.
Wasn’t it Jesus who said something about compassion?
Ignore the rest.
In the same way that not every new age type is an airhead flake who will believe anything if it comes with a lilac-hued book cover, not every practising Catholic is a child-abusing numpty who wants to burn liberated women at the stake. You know. X


I get that it’s more complex and you wrote this in a spontaneous way so yes. X


The community around the Church are not the problem (usually), by the word ‘institution’ I mean the Clergy, whom I have good reason to dislike (an abused dead brother, friends etc). Sadly I knew Father Ronald Pickering and he told me he would never have any trouble as he knew too much about the clergy ranked above him. He was right. Just as Pell is being protected today as he knows too much about the people above him at the Vatican. I am all for nuance and do not hold resentment against individuals, but the institution? Yeah, I hate it… Read more »


That’s why we have HERstory vis a vis HIStory, innit? x

The return of the goddess and all that as a rebalancing.
The reason why i wanted to study Tantra, as it explains how sexual energy, the repression of it, erupts in obscenities.
Distortions and Deceptions.all in the name of God.
‘And god just remains silent’ words from John Trudell’s “Grafitti Man’.


Yes Pegasus! Shine that sacred Tantric light! Serpent of Light.


pegs and sphinx, yes XX

Lux Interior is My Co-Pilot

Can we be friends?


I had what could be described as a religious experience while standing in St Peter’s Basilica many years ago.
Signed, Pisces Iscariot.


For the record, this is not a double entendre nor sarcasm.


Then what is it ? I’ll give you 12 shekels of silver if you tell me.


What’s the AUD exchange rate for silver shekels? I have moon in Capricorn, remember. My answer has to be worth the trade hahaha


Just reading a book called The Last Gospel that jumps from Vesuvius erupting to present day exploration of the underground aquaducts in Rome and how much is unexplored and forbidden to be explored by powers that be in case something is found that doesn’t synch with what the Vatican expoliates. Claudius is mentioned throughout as having visited the Sea of Gallilee and being given the WRITTEN word of the Christos. Christ never wrote anything down history says. The scrolls were supposedly buried when the volcano erupted. It s a novel Dan Brownish where the truth could be hidden in fiction,… Read more »


There are still those that claim that somewhere in the Vatican are the stolen treasures from the temple in Jerusalem. Namely the ark of the covenant, the urim and thummim from the high priests ‘decision breastplate’ amongst other mystical objects.


And also, reputedly, the largest collection of early astro writings. Cant remember wher l read that but it was back in my MJ daze (late 70s/early 80s).

Plus the popes were tacit supporters of an unbalanced Austrian who wreaked havoc on Europa ’33-’45


Urim and Thummim are quite a thing…mmmm?

Serendipidous that reading about The Last GospelClaudius and he appears in Ben -Hur standard easter faire. BUT he looks just like i imagined 🙂
Brought up my nuns in the 60’s top to toe in full Habit and very large wooden rosary beads hanging from their waisrs, so you could hear them coming and stop whateva transgression you were up to, like


NUns in full length garments not me. As a Sagg, tend to write flow of consciousness and grammatically confusing.


‘Urim circuitry: Crystalline powers balanced by the mind.
Sacred light & sounds patterns’.


Off to watch a half nekkid Charlton Heston play train horses.


Yes the hills were the places to be. The marshes that surrounded Rome were a place of sickness and death. However it was Malaria carried by the mosquitoes that bred in the marshes that also infected any would be invaders, camped as they necessarily were on the low ground, thus making it impossible to successfully lay siege to Rome.


Carla Ciccone is a gem. Thanks for sharing her stuff with us!


Yes. A great article. Very interesting.


Awesome article, Carla – thank you!


So beautifully written.


Love me some Bernini! <3

I can’t help but chuckle at the overt attempt by Christianity to co-opt even astrology by re-branding the 12 zodiac signs as The 12 Apostles. Same way they tried to slap a sticker over all the ancient pagan holidays and re-label them Christian – is there nothing they wouldn’t try to engulf/subsume? Nice try, fellas, but I’m not buying it.

Still, they’re good propagandists…you have to hand it to them there.


Could not agree more. I just had a v quick look at the horoscope for the birth of the modern Vatican city-state which is 11a.m, 7th June 1929 – if anyone’s interested. Jupiter in 9th H conjunct the MC, (1º orb) rules sacred grounds, altars, temples, churches, higher thought and philosophy. BUT it is square exact 12th H (in this case – low) Neptune (conjunct Regulus), ruler of illusion, deception, religious sects and societies …… sheesh….could explain the lying, secrecy and all out deviousness of this sordid institution…. there’´s more but my skin´s crawling. No wonder the pope said in… Read more »

Nicky b

1929…. Year of the Snake (Can)…. Coincidence?


Twin snakes…. Double helix anyone?


Are they not the largest organisation involved in severe chronic pedofilia? On the planet


Yep. Mars probably plays big role here – as a symbol for maleness in this ultimate patriarchal institution. It is in Leo = lust for life – boosted by Uranus, Sun and Moon. But in In 12th H (house of self undoing, of secret activities and isolation coupled with the Church’s policy of celibacy) in challenging aspect to Saturn in moralistic Sagg – means explosive deviousness that cannot be contained. Interesting too, how in 2002, when there were loads of articles into the church’s sexual abuse of minors in the U.S, and it was finally being aired publicly, Pluto was… Read more »

10th house

Cardinal Pell is a Gemini with moon in Scorpio.
He’s certainly got the gift of the gab.

And there’s no way anyone with a Scorp placement can say they were not aware of goings on. Scorps KNOW!!!!


That guy makes my skin crawl. And how could a Gem not know either. And after the inq he said, gist of, that he hopes everybody is ok with what he said. And everything is chocolates. More like shit, l reckon.

(a 5 adjective abuse survivor come flourisher)


Yeah he has that creepy old uncle feel about him for sure. Wouldn’t be surprised if his pockets have a few boiled lollies for emergency fondling.


The 12 apostles was probably a co opting of the 12 tribes of Israel originally but that never stuck. Now the 12 tribes of Israel may have co opted the zodiac, not sure, but I’m goIng to have a look into it. Judaism was forever changed after the Babylonian exile and the cross culture elements still remain.


I know some progressive church groups allocate signs to the 12 Israelitish tribes. Some also allocate the Zodiac to 12 stages of Christ’s life. Tho their beginning is Virgo (virgin birth? ) thru to Leo (Coming king?)


If i had $5 for each time that I’ve been called Veronica by SO many different people over the years I’d have a good wad of cash!
(after first being introduced by my other name which starts with V and ends with A)


I was named for Veronica and have spent a life time mopping up after disasters and keeping a cool head. Lots of Scorp in my chart- Jupiter/Neptune and Asc. Love the connection to this Veronica- not the comics!

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