“Hello Darkness, my old friend…” sang Simon & Garfunkel back in the day…And so we arrive at the nadir of the yearly cycle. We are a mere 30* away from Winter Solstice when the wheel of the year shifts from waning to waxing once again. This is the place of Sagittarius, the fiery mutable energy of the zodiac; intense, urgent, anticipatory. The natural world is saying, “slow down, be still, cocoon, sleep…” but inside of us we are shaking our collective heads and saying, “Something is about to be born!”
We have the sense that SOMETHING is about to appear. We feel every throb of life, every beat of our pulse, every circuit our blood makes. This is the pause before the leap, that moment of almost unbearable anticipation. In the northern hemisphere, and especially the farther north that you go, we live more in the dark than in the light, eagerly looking forward to the turning point in the yearly cycle when the light begins to increase.
In some ways, we can co-relate the Winter Solstice, 0* CAPRICORN, to the New Moon phase—the beginning of all things–since this gateway marks the time of the yearly cycle when the Sun once again begins to gather strength; that is, the days begin to grow longer. Thus, this time period–THE TIME OF SAGITTARIUS– just before that singular point of birth and becoming can be aligned to the Dark Moon or Balsamic Moon phase where everything is reduced to its most essential self. The end merges with the beginning. The rich compost of experience is now poised to fuel and nudge the hard seed deep within the earth and to soften it in preparation for the call of the Spring Equinox when it begins to send forth its roots and tender shoots and to find the Sun once again. Sound exciting, confusing, intense, hopeful, sort of hard but ever-optimistic? Well, there you have Sag, an energy that has many sides to it.
It is fitting that Sag fills this most intense part of the yearly cycle with its relentless questing energy. We know that there is a brighter day just beyond the horizon and even though we sometimes feel as if we are flailing about in the dark, we remain hopeful that we will eventually find something that makes sense out of the chaos. Sagittarius is much like this, confusing, yet hopeful, intense, yet not constant, urgent but perhaps not keenly focused. And yet, at all times keenly interested in the underlying meaning of all things, looking always for the bigger picture where all the seemingly inane minutia of life begins to make some sense.
Sagittarius is part of the group that includes Aries and Leo and is also aligned to Gemini, its polarity sign, as well as Virgo and Pisces by mutability. Mutable energy is adaptable, constantly in movement with the capacity to support tremendous change. Fiery energy is action-oriented, creative, passionate, and aspiring. Sagittarius is the Free-spirited Wanderer in contrast to the Warrior, Aries, and the Royal, Leo, his fire brethren.
The symbol associated with Sag is the Centaur, a creature of myth who was part human and part animal. Contained within this symbol is yet another aspect of the Sagittarius nature. There is an aspiration to nobility and spirit as signified by the human head of the creature and a link to the animal nature of desire and impulse as shown by the horse’s body of the creature. In Sag there is an ongoing struggle to reconcile the so-called lower nature with the so-called higher nature. The Centaurs were both students, particularly of the healing arts, and carousers, given to wine, women, and song. The term ‘party hardy’ covers their attitudes nicely. On a subtle level, however, we can begin to understand that in Sagittarius we can find the pathway to spirit through the physical experience as opposed to the usual understanding that the search for spirit necessarily means that the seeker must reject his physical self and the DESIRE body connected to it.
On the ‘natural wheel’, Sagittarius is found in the 9th house, usually associated with the higher mind and the quest for spiritual understanding. How interesting then, that we may find a clue to the means for this quest in the symbol that represents this energy, the centaur. Here is the power-packed message that many miss when considering Sagittarius. We must integrate the lower nature and the higher nature so that they work together in their ‘flight’ into spirit. This idea is nicely represented by the half-man, half horse symbol of Sagittarius. To deny that we are human, contained in flesh, subject to the desires and needs associated with being material creatures is to profoundly miss the point of why we are here on this plane of existence. Sagittarius tells us to honour the so-called ‘lower’ self; that is to feel the body, sate the mind, salve the emotional self, while also honouring the aspiring part of ourselves to reach out for the god/dess within each of us, that is, spirit. We have all come to this plane to have the material/physical experience and through that experience to find Spirit. As long as we are here, we will never find Spirit by denying that we are fleshly.
A Sagittarius persona then is a mixture of seemingly opposing drivers; the pursuit of pleasure is juxtaposed against a deep inner desire to understand the meaning of life. Joy is easily accessed in the hurley burley, topsy-turvey race into life. Decisions can come quickly and sometimes impulsively and words can sometimes spill out of the mouth before the mental body can check them for suitability. This is all due to the incredible zest that underscores every moment for the ‘Sag’ type.
The horse part of the Centaur is a powerful representation of energy in motion. As a power animal, Horse brings a sense of freedom, will-power, speed, independence. There is a sense of stamina and endurance. He is the harbinger of adventure and the distant horizon that beckons to the traveler. There is an inherent wildness contained in this symbol, a connection to the primitive power of muscle and bone. Interestingly, Sagittarius is connected to the thighs and we all know how powerful the thighs of a horse can be. Energetically, the thighs represent our ability to carry ourselves forward, to propel ourselves through life’s landscape, no matter the terrain we encounter. Sagittarius mirrors this ability. There is a deep-seated optimism found in the pure energy of Sag. Nothing is insurmountable and the cup is always half full!
The reactive or SHADOW side of this energy can be demonstrated by exaggeration, random impulse resulting in chaotic results, thoughtlessness, and deceit. All of these things are rooted in the underlying exuberance of this energy. It is vital that anyone with a focus of Sag in their psyches maintain a watchful awareness of these tendencies. The exaggeration is a result of sometimes mindless optimism. The random impulse may well be a result of the abundant energy inherent in a strongly Sag psyche which has yet to learn managing mechanisms so that their exuberance and impatience is directed mindfully and not haphazardly in a higgledy-piggledy way. The thoughtlessness is just unchecked impulse and the result of having a kind of matter of fact attitude to being ‘honest’, without taking into account that truth is seldom absolute. The deceit is connected to a tendency to amplify and expand, the ‘storyteller syndrome’. As always, any of these negative manifestations are merely a distortion of the energy and, with some application, can be modified within the personality and used in a proactive fashion. We need persons who are optimistic and ready to tackle whatever comes their way, people who are enthusiastic, devoted to honesty, and able to entertain us with their wit and mental agility. Who can imagine a party without someone present who can make others laugh, who can incite others to fun, as an example. These are the gifts that Sagittarius gives to the collective.
In Sag, we come to understand that it is definitely NOT the destination that matters but rather the ongoing journey to some destination. Sag never arrives. Arrival at a predetermined end is anathema to the Sag spirit.
Sagittarius is, after all is said and done, an energy that seeks truth, the higher mind and meaning in the midst of the madness of seemingly random existence. It is only when we are willing to explore that which is unknown and not familiar that we can get a glimpse of the potential that we all have within ourselves. The Sagittarius part of the psyche is where we can connect to this exploratory, truth-seeking impulse!
Jupiter, the Ruler of Sag
Every sign has a planet associated with it and in the case of Sagittarius, that planet is Jupiter. There was a time when Astrologers looked for a ‘well-placed’ or ‘powerful’ Jupiter in a chart when doing delineation. They were looking for the ‘luck’ factor in someone’s life. A well-placed Jupiter was often found in the charts of those who rose to great heights or were able to achieve that which their peers could not. The birth charts of the royalty were often altered so that they contained a powerful Jupiter. Today, we understand that there is more to life than luck, the quality often associated with Jupiter. We also understand that the saying, “Too much of a good thing” can be painfully true. That is how the Jupiter part of the psyche can be—big, beautiful and rather overwhelming, taking up the whole darn room and leaving little place for anything else.
On a deeper level, Jupiter co-relates to right-brain kind of thinking, creative, circular, holistic as opposed to Mercury which is more linear, detail-oriented, and logical. We now know that these two supposedly separate parts of the brain are not so separate after all and actually work together, sending messages from one side to the other. Still, it is interesting that visionary thinkers often focus on the ‘big picture’ leaving the nuts and bolts part of the process to others to work through. The Jupiter function within the self seeks vision and an underlying theme to whatever it is exploring. Once the idea is hatched, the left brain is enlisted to work out the kinks and make things run smoothly or just make sense of it. And what planet rules the logical thinking mind? Mercury, which is associated with Gemini & Virgo. Yup! You need more than just one energy to help logic things out, especially in our modern times when the art of CRITICAL THINKING has been almost entirely lost to groupthink & conformity. Interestingly, the partner sign to Sagittarius is Gemini and so we see the link that should exist between logical, process-oriented thinking & free-flowing, creative thinking. Each part of the process NEEDS the other part to excel.
In terms of cycles, Jupiter takes about 12 years to transit the 12 signs of the zodiac, spending about 1 year in each of the 12. For instance, someone could have a 5th ‘Jupiter return’ at age 59, just short of their 60th birthday. This once in 12-year turn of the wheel is a time of opportunity, expansion, augmentation, sometimes exaggeration, joyfulness, adventure, and often hectic activity in the area of life that the natal (or birth) Jupiter is keyed to. The Jupiter return is a great time to tweak any long term goals. It is a great time to reconnect to inner faith and renew a sense of meaning within the context of the life. This is a time of optimism and opportunity in most cases though, naturally, for a specific reading of this transit, it is useful to go to an astrologer and get detailed feedback.
Of course, as Jupiter circles through the zodiac, everyone will experience something ‘Jupiterian’ in their lives. We can get of sense of this by locating where in any given birth chart the Jupiterian energy might be active ‘by transit’. The key thought is that Jupiter augments. Augmentation can be great but it can also create challenges.
When transiting Jupiter moves through house:
opportunities to explore new things
relationship & social increase
getting connected to what you truly love
expansion of core values
about what you think & how you speak
the mental life expands
circle of friends increases
a focus on the home
sense of well-being
luck may show up
romance and attraction
the creative center is opened
lots to do; benefits from work
a potential to create ritual in the day to day life
Luck in legal issues
Matters of mediation or negotiation go well
a brush with the real meaning of life
potential for the ‘aha’ moment
opportunities to travel, explore & imagine
honours come your way
opportunities for social action
potential to realize goals & dreams
alignment to aspiration
a reconnection to the divine
In all cases, the key to accessing the full potential of the Jupiter part of the self is to take the experience, whatever it might be, and look at it through the lens of meaning. This is where we are seeking a greater vision of who we can potentially be. This is that part of us that aspires towards a greater nobility of spirit, a deeper meaning of being. Wherever the floodgates of experience and opportunity are opening in our life, we must consciously manage the flow so as to not get swept away by the force of the deluge. Opportunity can easily turn into excess. Jupiter is the ‘great benefic’ or in layman’s language, the bestower of blessing. It is, however, up to each of us individually to maximize the gifts that Jupiter brings.
ACTIVATE THE INTUITIVE SELF
I REFERRED TO THE MAGICAL POWER OF HORSE EARLIER IN THIS POST.
Here is a description of the energy of HORSE as a power animal.
Come, run with me into the valleys and across the plains. I will carry you like the wind into the future of yourself.
I am the POWER of WILL, the ability to do what needs to be done. I am FREEDOM and INDEPENDANCE. I know myself best when I am chasing the wind as it sweeps across the face of the Earth.
I can go a great distance and then keep on going. What do you need to ENDURE? I will show you how to endure it.
Listen to the pounding of my hooves as they carry me along. It is the drumbeat of life that pounds beneath me. It is the rhythm of being that carries me forward.
I will stand beside you in your journey into adventure. I will be there when you need me to whisk you away from danger. I am power. I am speed. I am distance.
Whisper into my ear and I will hear you. Run your hands over my smooth, sleek body and I will obey. But do not try to hold me. Do not fence me in. Jump up and lay your body down upon me and together we will gallop into the horizon, wild and free.
I can hear you, friend. I can hear your thoughts so think only those things that heal you. Fill your mind with goodness and with love. Be kind. Be gentle and yet be firm and strong.
I will show you how to manage your reality, to maximize what you have and to find what you need. Listen to my call and follow, follow, follow.
What do you want to do? What is your most secret dream? Where does your potential lie? I can take you to the place where the answers to these questions are waiting for you to find them. Come with me on this adventure into becoming.
Watch how I run alone. Watch how I run with others. Watch and learn.
I am HORSE and I will be your friend.