Jupiter in Sagittarius

Jupiter in Sagittarius Blake Centaur

Centaur Cacus from Dante’s Inferno by William Blake (born with Jupiter in Sagittarius)

Jupiter in Sagittarius

Since mindfulness, of all things,

is the ground of being,

to speak one’s true mind,

and to keep things known

in common, serves all being,

just as laws made clear

uphold the city,

yet with greater strength.

Of all pronouncements of the law

the one source is the Word

whereby we choose what helps

true mindfulness prevail.

—  Heraclitus, fragment 91, translated by Brooks Haxton

Jupiter returns to its fiery home of Sagittarius on November 8, 2018 where it will remain until December 2, 2019. Jupiter has been in Scorpio since October 10, 2017 under the rulership of Mars in a fixed water sign, pulling the significations of Jupiter down into subterranean lessons of martial strife. The shift of Jupiter into Sagittarius is dramatic, moving from a sign unsympathetic to Jupiter into its own terrain where it can directly access its expansive nature. Jupiter in Sagittarius kindles faith that within a time of increasing darkness, light will return and that it is possible to overcome the fears and limitations of the current state of our world. Jupiter in Sagittarius brings the inspirational pull of the Sun setting into darkness over the horizon, as the stimulating songs of shining stars summon searches toward worlds beyond present circumstances.

Jupiter in Sagittarius is sovereign like the simultaneously transiting Saturn in Capricorn, with no need to rely upon other planets for assistance. This also means that any planet or light transiting through Sagittarius or Pisces in the next year will have a fully engaged and receptive Jupiter ready to generously boost endeavors. With the lunar nodes shifting into Cancer and Capricorn at the same time, the coming union of Pluto, Saturn, the South Node of the Moon, and eclipses in Capricorn will be bringing a heavy gravitas of Saturnine testing, tempering, and obstruction throughout the next year. As old structures fall apart and collective fears are stoked, the transit of Jupiter in Sagittarius offers an eagle eyed view of vision that transcends the constraints of current events. Jupiter was last in Sagittarius from November 23, 2006 through December 18, 2007; however, personal reflection upon this previous transit must take account for the fact that Jupiter’s time in 2006 – 2007 was dramatically influenced by the co-presence of Pluto in Sagittarius as well as Uranus in Pisces forming a catalytic square aspect.

We find Jupiter in Sagittarius in the fire in the belly that incites searches for meaning and grand quests of adventure. It’s the union of horse and human in the wild, wayfaring form of the centaur, the stampede of hoofs igniting wide ranging travel bridging diverse cultures and philosophical traditions. Jupiter in Sagittarius is at its best when roaming under the guidance of Spirit and higher powers rather than the conditioning of consensus expectations, but of course its manifestations will be multivalent and can also promote excessive greed for mainstream materialism. Jupiter in Sagittarius can be a guru in multiple fields of knowledge, a mythic example being the wise centaur Chiron who mastered the medicine of the stars above, the plants below, and the body in between. The next year of Jupiter in Sagittarius can be seized for seeking knowledge beyond present parameters, being willing to journey far across both external and internal landscapes.

Louise Bourgeois head on fire

Head on Fire by Louise Bourgeois (born with Jupiter in Sagittarius)

Fire in its ways of changing

is a sea transfigured

between forks of lightning

and the solid earth.

— Heraclitus, fragment 21, translated by Brooks Haxton

According to astrological tradition, Jupiter is one of the rulers of the fire triplicity and so especially comfortable in its fiery home of Sagittarius. Fire is the element rising to the summit of the celestial sphere in the doctrines of ancient philosophers such as Aristotle, and in astrology it is the element most strongly associated with Spirit and divine inspiration. Fire has an enthusiastic, extroverted nature that operates intuitively with Jupiter in Sagittarius.  However, while Jupiter in Sagittarius will facilitate following hunches and spontaneous intuition, the simultaneous transit of Saturn in Capricorn will demand substantive, disciplined effort. There’s a beautiful balance to be struck between Jupiter in Sagittarius and Saturn in Capricorn, with Jupiter bringing the fiery heat needed to renew the meaningful purpose exerted with Saturn in Capricorn, melting frozen forms so as to open awareness of potential that had previously been restrained from perception.

Fire is an element known as being hot and dry in astrology, meaning that it not only invigorates outward action but also clarifies as it promotes making distinctions and separating elements rather than coalescing things together. This brings some remediation to Jupiter, as the star of Zeus naturally coheres connections within its expansive impact. As a result we can utilize the transit of Jupiter in Sagittarius to hone in on the passions and pursuits we want to focus energy on for development, burning off whatever has been distracting or dissipating our full engagement. The fire of Jupiter in Sagittarius will feed on whatever knowledge and experience inspires us, whether it be philosophy or stories from the pages of a book or in physical, sensory engagement with the natural world.

Jupiter in Sagittarius

by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (born with Jupiter in Sagittarius)

The way up is the way back.

The beginning is the end.

— Heraclitus, fragments 69 & 70, translated by Brooks Haxton

The Sagittarius image of the half human, half horse centaur, a symbol uniting the rational and animalistic, is a reflection of Sagittarius being a mutable, or double-bodied sign. Mutable signs such as Sagittarius signify objects and events with multiple functions and impacts, operating with a digressive quality in which we become drawn toward initiating new action before completing whatever process we had already begun. Mutable signs can be scattered and inconsistent, but bring the gifts of flexibility, adaptability, and curious vitality that will embrace change rather than avoid it. Thus the transit of Jupiter in Sagittarius is ideal for not only embracing a new vision of life, but also embarking on fresh, exciting endeavors while simultaneously bringing to completion projects previously under development. Getting creative juices flowing in pursuit of intrinsically exciting ideas will help reinvigorate dedication to completing work in which flames of motivation had begun to dwindle and become in need of inspirational fuel to get going again, perhaps in new directions.

The symbolism of mutable signs within the tropical zodiac is rooted in the fact that they arrive at the end of one season as it transitions to the next. In the northern hemisphere, Sagittarius bridges the end of Fall with the beginning of Winter, the darkest time of the year just before the return of light at the Winter Solstice. As we finish work begun in the distant past, we will also notice yearning and curiosity sparked toward not only new ideas to engage with in the season ahead but also new outlooks to embody. Jupiter in Sagittarius has the flexibility needed to help us mutate the philosophy we live our life from into a renewal of purpose more resonate with our current state of development, untethered from previous expectations.

Japanese archer

Japanese archer (ca. 1885) from Detroit Institute of Arts

The cosmos works

by harmony of tensions,

like the lyre and bow.

— Heraclitus, fragment 56, translated by Brooks Haxton

Though it’s common today to consider the centaur as the central image of the Sagittarius constellation, its imagery since ancient times has in fact had the strongest connection across cultures with the Archer. The Persians, Syrians, Indians, and Egyptians all linked the constellation with bows, arrows, and the warriors who struck fear in the heart of enemies with them. As Bernadette Brady wrote, “the soldier of Sagittarius was cruel, stormy, wild and feared . . .” Since in the northern hemisphere the Sun in Sagittarius in the tropical zodiac arrives at the darkest time of the year, having a fierce protector in its living image makes sense. For example, in ancient Mesopotamia the Sagittarius constellation was connected with Pabilsag, a bow and arrow wielding centaur with the tail of a scorpion, a guardian of the underworld.

Eratosthenes, a second century BC polymath who was the chief librarian at the Library of Alexandria, recognized the living image of Sagittarius as Crotus, a satyr like son of Pan (god of nature, the wild, and impromptu music) and Eupheme (goddess of praise, acclaim, applause, and words of good omen). Crotus was both a horse rider and the inventor of archery who also kept in close relationship with the Muses, who adored him for the enthusiastic applause they could elicit from him. In this image of a muse loving archer we can imagine Jupiter in Sagittarius as also conjuring the Bard, the storytelling musician who can hit the target of the tale through choosing the right word and note in the right rhythm, sometimes in the light of a warming fire at night.

Altogether these images of diverse archers illuminates the point of focus held in the gaze of Sagittarius, and how the transit of Jupiter through the sign of the Archer may aid us in directing our creative will towards desired targets. Nicholas Campion has described the sign’s bow “as divine inspiration” and its arrow “as the unbending, directed will” whose flight “symbolizes the human quest for freedom, whether spiritual, political, intellectual, or emotional.” Yet these gifts of enthusiastic fire can go overboard, and here we find the ancient ruthlessness of the sign that can become overly focused and driven to the point of becoming a dogmatic dominator. Thus the multivalence of Jupiter’s time in Sagittarius will bring the cruel crusader to the forefront at the same time it also promotes persistence in sustaining one pointed focus toward emancipatory vision.

Jupiter in Sagittarius Goya punctual folly

Punctual Folly by Francisco de Goya (born with Jupiter in Sagittarius)

Many fail to grasp what they have seen,

and cannot judge what they have learned,

although they tell themselves they know.

— Heraclitus, fragment 5, translated by Brooks Haxton

Jupiter transiting through Sagittarius can be an incredibly optimistic and hopeful placement in many areas of life, yet it can also become excessively self-promoting and aggrandizing.  There is a zealous shadow side to Jupiter in Sagittarius in which its forthright devoutness becomes a crux when there is a lack of substance supporting its overly optimistic ventures.  Jupiter in Sagittarius can have grand ambitions but can also be impractical, unprepared, and too restless to be held down by details and drudgery.  Thus when inner fires of imagination are lit by brainstorms with Jupiter in Sagittarius, it will be vital to use the simultaneous transit of Saturn in Capricorn to test the mettle to make sure new ideas have sturdy enough bones of underlying support for successful manifestation.

Jupiter in Sagittarius can also become excessively idealistic, such as the evangelist wishing to convert others to whatever perspective, philosophy, or belief they have become impassioned by. We will also surely see the brainwashing capacities of Jupiter in Sagittarius utilized by those in power for propaganda promoting the interests of power structures. While Jupiter in Sagittarius at its best is broad minded, multi-cultural, and universalist, it can also manifest in idealizing nationalistic tendencies and xenophobia. Narcissistic world leaders will feed on the fire of others and will be willing to ignite ideological wildfires that can erupt across the collective within those gullible to their manipulative message.

In these ways we can see how the simultaneous transit of Saturn in Capricorn can be supportive in tempering the excesses of Jupiter in Sagittarius and holding it accountable for delivering visionary truth rather than aggrandizing dishonesty.  Since Saturn will also be co-present with Pluto, the lunar nodes, and eclipses in Capricorn, at the same time it will perhaps be even more important to draw from the hopeful adventurousness of Jupiter in Sagittarius that can strengthen faith in the unknown and confidence that desired outcomes are possible even in the face of overwhelming difficulties.

Kurt Seligmann Melusine

Melusine and the Great Transparents by Kurt Seligmann (born with Jupiter in Sagittarius)

Jupiter vs. Neptune

The soul is undiscovered,

though explored forever

to a depth beyond report.

— Heraclitus, fragment 71, translated by Brooks Haxton

Perhaps the most significant aspect formed by Jupiter in Sagittarius during the next year is its catalytic square aspect with Neptune in Pisces. The Jupiter and Neptune cycle is an important yet often overlooked planetary cycle, a cycle that Dane Rudhyar noted occurs in a successive sign of the zodiac (for the most part) every 13 years. Rudhyar called it a cycle constituting “the essential small steps we should take in the transformation of our traditional social sense,” explaining that instead of corresponding with “startling events” it instead implies changes in attitudes and feelings, “a new awareness of what human relationship can mean.” Rudhyar stated “it is the accumulation of these small changes which at last allows the great revolutionary events to happen,” as he viewed Jupiter as signifying societal beliefs and attitudes we may conform to for security purposes, while seeing Neptune as “an agent of the vast galactic field of cosmic existence . . . an emissary of the greater to the lesser” that “dissolves the obsolete narrowness of the Saturnine focus” because of the universalizing nature of its archetype.

Regarding the cycle of Neptune and Jupiter as a whole, Rudhyar wrote:

The Jupiter-Neptune cycle is very much like a walking process. Every 13 years-and, even more, every 166 years — mankind should take a step forward, even if only a tiny one. It should be a step ahead of our past traditional social, cultural and religious sense of human relationship. Unfortunately, such a step tends to lead at first to confusion, disarray, dismay, perhaps temporary blindness and panicky escape “back to the womb” of what may be thought to be a secure and familiar institution or religious organization. However, progress is only through the confusion and the glowing mist over the hills, yonder. There is no way ever of going ahead, except through!

Through Neptune the great moment for this transcendence (literally, this “stepping through”) is when Neptune meets Jupiter, for it is, theoretically at least, the moment when the “form” of our future becomes visible, however dimly, to our consciousness. Alas, the great majority of people refuse to see; or, if they see, to understand; or, if they understand with their mind, to act according to their understanding (which refers, then, to Pluto); or, if they act, to have the dynamic faith and perseverance to sustain the action.

— Dane Rudhyar, The Jupiter-Neptune Cycle

The last cycle of Jupiter and Neptune began in 2009 in the range of 24 – 27° Aquarius, with the next cycle beginning in 2022 at 24° Pisces.  This means that the square aspect formed between Jupiter in Sagittarius and Neptune in Pisces in the next year is a waning one, or a last quarter square that reflects back upon the beginning of the cycle in 2009. Applying the symbolism of Rudhyar’s eight lunation phases, this means that we will collectively be experiencing a “crisis in consciousness” that will serve a purpose of dissolving and dismantling old belief systems in order to ultimately open up new avenues of vision more resonant with evolving needs.  Jupiter’s traditional rulership of Pisces means that Jupiter will be receiving Neptune and thus in better position to help facilitate the use of imagination in creative problem solving that transcends limitations of outdated paradigms. It can also be a potent time for storytelling, music, the arts, and all fields involving creative exploration.

Unfortunately, the rich imaginal potency of Jupiter interfacing strongly with Neptune can also correlate with idealized illusions fogging up debates and making it difficult to clarify dynamics and discern effective solutions. Part of the issue is that people are normally unaware of illusions underlying their perceptions and perspectives until experiencing the stripping away of difficult, disillusioning experiences. Because Jupiter in Sagittarius is in the tenth place from Pisces, it means that Jupiter is in the superior position of the square between Jupiter and Neptune; this means that the truth seeking of Jupiter can ultimately overcome the tidal wave of dissolution flooding forth from Neptune.  The treasure we will be able to unearth from the “bursting of bubbles” though disillusionment will be the gift of self realization and heightened capacity to reorient ourselves toward inner truth.

The degree range of the square aspect between Jupiter and Neptune will be between 14 – 19° of Sagittarius and Pisces. They will first form a square on 13 January 2019 at 15° with both direct, a second time on 16 June 2019 at 19° with Jupiter retrograde, and a third and final time on 21 September 2019 at 17° with Neptune retrograde.  Within this time period, an especially interesting transit will be the Mercury retrograde in Pisces that occurs in March 2019 due to Mercury stationing direct on March 28, 2019 while conjoining Neptune in Pisces. When Mercury is reborn while conjoining the Sun at its inferior conjunction on 14 March 2019 at 25° it will be received by Jupiter in Sagittarius through a square aspect. The Mercury retrograde in Pisces in March 2019 will be a time of deeply questioning beliefs that will have a strong connection with the experiences corresponding with the Mercury retrograde in Sagittarius that begins on 16 November 2018 in range of a square aspect with Neptune.

In addition, the square aspect between Jupiter and Neptune will be an integral part of Jupiter’s retrograde phase while in Sagittarius. Jupiter will be retrograde from April 10 through August 11, moving retrograde from 25° to 15° of Sagittarius. The heart of the Jupiter retrograde will be on June 10, 2019 with the Gemini Sun opposite Jupiter in Sagittarius at 19°28′, with Neptune in Pisces forming a square to both at 18°41′ creating a mutable T-square configuration. This further points to the significance of the Jupiter and Neptune cycle in 2019 pulling us within to rediscover personal truth as well as a richer and more essential purpose to live from.

Jupiter in Sagittarius Goya punctual folly

by William Blake (born with Jupiter in Sagittarius)

Lightning Storm of Saturn & Pluto

Without injustices

the name of justice

would mean what?

— Heraclitus, fragment 60, translated by Brooks Haxton

The dissolution of old paradigms sparked by Jupiter’s relationship with Neptune that can clear space for new meaning can further be seen in the relationship between Jupiter in Sagittarius with Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn. Jupiter in Sagittarius is in the twelfth place to Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn, forming a “balsamic” or “dark Moon” relationship symbolically similar to the reseeding and clearing experienced in the days before a New Moon. The coming together of Saturn, Pluto, and the South Node of the Moon in Capricorn will be one of the dominant astrological themes of 2019, with Saturn and Pluto finally forming an exact conjunction in Capricorn on 12 January 2020. Vitally, the impact of Saturn and Pluto coming together in the next year is amplified due to each also conjoining their own south nodes while additionally conjoining the South Node of the Moon. This will result in the South Node of Saturn, South Node of Pluto, and the South Node of the Moon all aligning in proximity with the transit of Saturn and Pluto.

The cumulative effect over the next year will bring a powerful purging, with the full arc of both the Saturn and Pluto archetypes unleashed throughout global civilizations. Within the context of the Saturn and Pluto cycle, Jupiter in Sagittarius will illuminate the philosophies and beliefs underlying dominant power structures and forces of oppression that have caused suffering for ages, as well as those that kindle empowerment and resiliency. Since Jupiter in Sagittarius is in a balsamic phase with both Saturn and Pluto, on personal levels we have the opportunity to reflect upon how we have been conditioned and impacted by cultural, societal, political, and religious belief systems in order to regenerate a purified vision of life to live from.

The coming together of Saturn and Pluto in history has often corresponded with destructive periods that have elicited a tightening of conservative control and boundaries within political systems in reaction. While the transit of Jupiter in Sagittarius can be utilized in dreaming up a grander, more expansive personal lifestyle, it will also be necessary to reconcile pursuits within the constraining, contracting quality of Saturn and Pluto in close proximity, aiming for plans that uplift and inspire the greater community. Jupiter in Sagittarius can serve as the fiery light in a time of darkness that brings hope and inspiration to those who have felt marginalized or oppressed, or to those who have simply held themselves back from pursuing the goals that make them feel most alive and purposeful.

Eventually, at the time of the solstice on December 19, 2020 we will experience a “great conjunction” of Jupiter and Saturn at the first degree of Aquarius. This will place us not only at the beginning of a new twenty year cycle between Jupiter and Saturn, but also places us at the beginning stages of a larger 200 year cycle of conjunctions between Jupiter and Saturn occurring in air signs that will place importance on the cultivation and communication of inventive ideas and technology. During the transit of Jupiter in Sagittarius over the next year, we can choose to share the warmth of its fiery inspiration with others in need rather than hoarding it for personal gain. Each of us making the choice to live from a heart-centered vision of life can help create a steady flow of jovial generosity throughout the collective that Jupiter in Sagittarius loves best.

“Here is my secret. It is very simple: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”

— from The Little Prince written by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (born with Jupiter in Sagittarius and Saturn in Capricorn)

Jupiter in Sagittarius

References

Brady, Bernadette. (1998). Brady’s Book of Fixed Stars. Weiser.

Campion, Nicholas & Eddy, Steve. (1999). The New Astrology: the Art and Science of the Stars. Bloomsbury.

Haxton, Brooks. (2001). Fragments: The Collected Wisdom of Heraclitus. Viking.

Saturn in Sagittarius

Saturn in Sagittarius infrared rings

Saturn’s rings in infrared courtesy of NASA

Saturn in Sagittarius

On December 23, 2014 following a Solstice New Moon, the demanding task-master Saturn entered the shifting, fiery, and focused sign of Sagittarius.  This new transit of Saturn in Sagittarius has resonance with the Solstice, as Saturn will not leave Sagittarius for good until the Capricorn Solstice of 2017.  Saturn holds together the structure of our consciousness within our skeletal system on a personal level, and on a collective level coordinates the innumerable ingredients that form our consensus reality, or the predominant agreements that define what we mean by “reality.”  Saturn has a palpable impact on our lives by transit, and we can immediately feel the impact following its ingress into a new sign through personal experiences and collective events.  For example, both the massacre at the Charlie Hebdo satirical Parisian newspaper that sparked the “Je suis Charlie” movement around freedom of expression, and the publicity surrounding the plan of Pope Francis to present an encyclical on climate change that will urge action are signs reflecting the shift of Saturn into Sagittarius.

Yet to claim I know that these recent events are connected with Saturn shifting into Sagittarius from a tropical zodiac perspective brings up the potential shadow of Saturn in Sagittarius reflected by a rigid belief that “I know.”  In the recent massacre in Paris, dogmatic religious beliefs led the perpetrators to believe that they “knew” that their violent terrorism was justified, just as in 1956 when Saturn was previously in Sagittarius the racist beliefs of White Southerners in the United States led them to believe that their violent terrorism against Black Southerners protesting for equal rights was justified.  Cultivating a perspective that we “do not know” with Saturn in Sagittarius will help us open our mind to direct experience of the moment that is less conditioned by our previous beliefs and cultural understanding.

“Not knowing” also connects with how Carl Jung’s idea of archetypes has been integrated into astrology, in that although Jung saw archetypes as being archaic patterns connected to the farthest reaches of time, he also defined the concept of archetypes as a manifestation of archaic patterns that are forever changing.  It is worth remembering that when Jung described the meaning of archetypes, he said that we can never actually consciously “know” them, we can only deduce their meaning as reflected in such things as stories, symbols, and images.  Astrology or any other methodology of belief we utilize to help us navigate our reality can lead us astray when what we believe we know becomes so crystallized that our fixation on our own perspective causes us to be in denial of our actual reality.  While this is one potential pitfall of Saturn in Sagittarius, at the same time Saturn in Sagittarius brings the potential to deepen our understanding of reality through focused exploration of a belief system, practice, or subject matter.

Saturn in Sagittarius centaur

Fresco by Baldassare Tommaso Peruzzi (1520)

Bearing in mind that our current transit of Saturn through Sagittarius is within a different astrological climate and collective milieu than previous Saturn in Sagittarius transits, we can draw upon archetypal understanding of Sagittarius to give us a perspective upon potential matters Saturn will concretize in our life.  The two most common images associated with Sagittarius are the Archer and the Centaur, and both cast their shadow over astrological analysis of Saturn’s time in this mutable fire sign.  The archer embodies the active, focused, and disciplined side of Sagittarius, as we will be called upon to take action on our visions that arose to our awareness during Saturn’s time in Scorpio.  To be successful we will need to apply the determined concentration of an archer keyed into a target, and in Sagittarius we will want this goal to be deeply resonant with the purpose and meaning we are currently finding in our life experience.

In the centaur we find unity beyond the duality of animalistic instincts and human rationalism, and connection with Creation and Nature.  As a result Saturn’s transit through Sagittarius is timely in addressing collective crises involving the quality of life in our water, in our air, and in the plants, animals, and life inhabiting our Earth.  In the figure of the evolved centaur Chiron, we find union with the medicine of creation and everything in our surroundings.  Chiron cultivated wholistic practices to create greater energetic balance, such as herbalism, astrology, meditation, and the martial arts.  During Saturn’s time in Sagittarius, we will have an opportunity to sharpen our skills and knowledge in daily practice, study, or exploration of a structured belief system that brings us greater understanding into not only the nature of our reality, but into our daily action and movement.  We also may come into conflict with others studying the same general subjects of focus from a different perspective of belief, especially in fields such as Astrology, Economics, Politics, and Religion that have a high level of theoretical underpinnings.  Ideally, by keeping an open mind in our dialogues with others, instead of defensively debating without listening to the other perspective, we can gain a sharper focus into the depths under sourcing our beliefs through cultivating thoughtful conversations with people holding vastly different perspectives.

The Guru is another strong association we have with Sagittarius, and Chiron was the guru of not only the centaurs, but countless humans who came to him at a pivotal stage of their hero’s journey.  When learning from guru sources, whether in an actual person or in a body of knowledge, we will want to remain rooted in our direct experience instead of over-consumed by the experience of the guru source.  The more we ground our learning into our daily life, we will glean the message most essential for us on a personal level, and this message then will become something we can offer to others in our community.  Yet, remembering the shadow side of Sagittarius, there is also the potential to become self-absorbed when digesting profound belief systems, with the danger of becoming so narcissistic in our integration of knowledge that we begin to unleash dogmatic diatribes or self-righteous preaching to others in our environment.  Ambition can overcome us in Sagittarius through overconsumption with desires for personal recognition, burning desire for whatever we desire, with self-centered awareness of the impact of personal action on others in the surrounding environment.  Unfortunately, where dogmatism and violent extremist behavior intersect, Saturn in Sagittarius will bring us face to face with with explosive traumatic events in the collective propagated by terrorists as well as heads of state.

Excess of all sorts can be found in the shadow of Sagittarius, a sign ruled by Jupiter.  Jupiter is also known as a guru and teacher, a storyteller whose narratives reveal our underlying nature.  Just as we can become excessively self-righteous, we can also become excessively self-critical, and Saturn in Sagittarius also carries a message for those who have been fearfully holding themselves back from their full actualization in the world around them.  Astrologer Liz Greene in her classic Saturn: a New Look at an Old Devil analyzed that a fear of failure is vital to overcome when Jupiter and Saturn are working together in our birth chart, because it can take courage to follow the intuitive guidance of Jupiter when its visionary quality calls us to leave the comfort zone of our consensus cultural conditioning.  If we allow our Saturn side to inhibit our Jupiter side, we can play it safe working a job that meets our basic survival needs yet does not serve the needs of our deeper Self that our Jupiter side can sense.  Sagittarius is a sign of vision, and Saturn here brings opportunity to take concrete action to structure our life around transformative impulses that transition us away from where we have been previously repressing ourselves through a limitation of belief:

Jupiter’s function in a psychological sense seems to be connected with the intuition and the faculty of creative imagination or visualisation. It is this intuitive faculty which responds to the meaning of a symbol and which makes us capable of apprehending the basic meaning or “soul” of an experience or a person without prior analysis. The direct experience of the inner world of meaning establishes the quality which we term faith; it is not built on any deductive reasoning nor on any practical experience, and it is not- contrary to the usual definition of the word- belief in the sense that it is a wish for something to be true. The man who has genuine faith has it because he knows, in an intuitive and non-rational way, that there is meaning and purpose to his experience and that it will unfold according to a pattern which contains intrinsic wisdom and purpose . . . The contact of Jupiter with Saturn appears to suggest the psychological necessity of transforming this faith into practical living so that the individual can live out what he intuitively senses to be the purpose of his life.    –Liz Greene, p. 122-123, Saturn: a New Look at an Old Devil

Saturn in Sagittarius will test our personal truth, bringing experiences that will challenge whether or not the vision we believe embodies our authenticity is taking us on a journey for a holy grail or a false grail.  The self-absorbed side of Sagittarius can also lead us to become encaved in isolation while taking in new forms of knowledge that bring us a satisfying sense that we are undergoing a significant process of individuation, and yet at the same time a realization that we have become detached from our surrounding community.  The polarity of Gemini to Sagittarius brings a movement to communicate the visionary Sagittarian ideas back into our collective, with a Mercurial sense of how to express our new insights in a medium of expression that can be understood by others, bridging our new vision with the prevailing one.  As easy as it is to write this or read this in a sentence, it is much more challenging to put into practice, and each lunar month this dynamic of Saturn in Sagittarius will be triggered by the Moon passing through the opposite degree of Gemini, as well as in April – June 2015 when Venus, Mars, Mercury, and the Sun pass through Gemini in opposition to Saturn in Sagittarius.

Saturn in Sagittarius ultraviolet rings

Saturn’s rings in ultraviolet courtesy of NASA

The mutable and expansive nature of Sagittarius is vital to comprehend when discerning how the current transit of Saturn in Sagittarius fits inside a different astrological context than past transits.  Saturn in Sagittarius has already entered a square aspect with Neptune in Pisces, and will eventually also move into a square aspect with Chiron in Pisces:  both of these are last quarter squares signifying as Dane Rudhyar taught, a crisis in consciousness. Jupiter will also become mutable in 2015 when it enters Virgo, eventually leading to a last quarter square between Jupiter in Virgo and Saturn in Sagittarius.  As the lunar nodes will also shift in 2015 into the South Node of the Moon occupying Pisces, and the North Node of the Moon occupying Virgo, the ingress of Saturn into Sagittarius marks the beginning of a new transitionary time of mutability that could feel chaotic at times within the falling apart of the familiar.

A Sagittarius Saturn in square to a Pisces Neptune initiates our entrance into this mutable time portal of decomposition that could lead to disillusionment, and many astrologers feel this intense Saturn-Neptune aspect could encase a sobering, leadening restraint around our personal dreams.  There remains potential within this aspect to build and structure significant steps along a path leading to our cherished vision, but in general this will be a time of gaining deeper awareness into the meaning behind our vision.  The last quarter square, the phase that Saturn in Sagittarius will experience with Neptune in Pisces, Chiron in Pisces, and Jupiter in Virgo, is a crisis of thought in which our old beliefs are called into question as we realize our old values and life structures no longer align with our evolving consciousness.  While this can be a time of deconstruction, destructuring, and deconditioning, we can also realize what aspects of our old belief and value system holds authentic truth to sustain as a point of focus. Saturn will move back into Scorpio during the Summer of the Northern Hemisphere and Winter of the Southern Hemisphere, and ideally this will re-connect us with one of the most important themes of Saturn in Scorpio:  honesty.  Sagittarius can have issues with dishonesty, and so we can keep in mind that one of the best remedies to help keep us honest is a staunch commitment to utilizing self-reflection to avoid being in denial.

Since Saturn in Sagittarius is a mutable fire sign, it will prod us into being actively engaged with the obstacles and challenges associated with the first quarter square between Pluto in Capricorn and Uranus in Aries, and all the deep shattering of personal and societal systems that have come with it.  In March 2015, Saturn in Sagittarius will station retrograde within a week of the final of the seven squares between Pluto and Uranus, after which we will finally move beyond the demarcation of their first quarter square.  Saturn asks us to be accountable for our choices that align with our goals, and while Sagittarius is an ambitious sign of determination, it’s mutable nature will allow our vision to shift in accordance with the manner in which our sense of personal truth evolves in the face of coming experiences. The inherent quality of our vision, and whether it is essentially about our own self-interest or serves the true needs of our surroundings, is key.  The fiery nature of Sagittarius brings a more inspirational, courageous, and creative initiative to Saturn, yet this same quality has the negative potential of selfishness, opportunism, and a lack of awareness of how our actions impact others.  Remembering the sextile between Sagittarius with Aquarius and Libra, it will be helpful to utilize objectifying self-reflection to be present with how well we are listening to the needs of our many relationships and how well we are responding.

The meaning of Saturn’s transit in Sagittarius changes generationally, yet there is a common thread through differing cosmic climates as can be seen in a list of famous individuals born at different times with Saturn in Sagittarius:  pop stars Madonna and Lady Gaga, civil rights leaders Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King, the shadowy Osama Bin Laden and Heinrich Himmler (leading figure of Nazi Germany), and bringers of light Anne Frank and Teresa of Avila.  Charles Darwin, a man whose theoretical scientific research helped to fundamentally change the way the general human populace views reality, was also born with a Saturn in Sagittarius conjunct Neptune in Sagittarius and his Ascendant in Sagittarius.  One theme of Saturn’s time in Sagittarius that will be strong in the coming years will be the connection of Sagittarius with personal truth and law, in particular the interplay between natural law and human-made law.  There was a compelling synchronicity that as Saturn entered Sagittarius this past month it was conjunct the Themis asteroid #24, as Themis is a daughter of Gaia and the Titaness of natural law, divine order, justice, and custom.  One battleground we will obviously see debates raging over law, legislation, and our natural environment will be climate change, and so it is fascinating that at the same time that Saturn entered Sagittarius it became widely publicized that Pope Francis would be forthcoming with an encyclical urging action that would be distributed throughout the global Catholic network of priests.

Pope Francis and Saturn in Sagittarius

Pope Francis

Pope Francis is an insightful figure to think about in connection with our current transit of Saturn in Sagittarius, and indeed he was born with his Sun conjunct the North Node of the Moon in Sagittarius.  While he inherently takes the role as a leader of a dogmatic religion into every environment he enters, he also has evolved the vision underlying the way in which his papal role interacts on the global stage.  First and foremost, he is our first Pope Francis, evoking the figure of Saint Francis who was an instrument of Spirit on behalf of the poor, the outcast, and the natural world.  Saint Francis never took vows of chastity or demanded conformity to all of the regulated rules of the Christian Church, and also was open to women taking on equal roles of spiritual authority.  Saint Francis lived a life of poverty and only asked to love Nature and for each to love and know God according to their own capacity.  The choice of Pope Francis to actively encourage action on climate change evokes the love of Saint Francis for creation, and is a use of his spiritual authority on behalf of nature and humanity.

Pope Francis has also re-focused the attention of the papacy on people living in poverty around the world, and he has made a constant effort to put humans first from a perspective that humans are part of creation and are not meant to be instruments of some industrial machine.  In a Christmas speech he criticized the existential schizophrenia of a Vatican he sees as being filled with gossip and rivalry, with priests hiding behind papers as part of a mechanism instead of opening up with human sensitivity to others.  Pope Francis was also instrumental in the process of President Obama opening up diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba, and he also seems to be intent on breaking through places of crystallized, dogmatic separation between world leaders.

One of Saturn’s three trips through Sagittarius in the 20th Century was between the years of 1956 to 1958, and at this time another leader who became the voice of those oppressed and in poverty arose in prominence, Dr. Martin Luther King.  Martin Luther King was born with a Saturn in Sagittarius and experienced an extraordinary Saturn return that began during the Montgomery Bus Boycotts, leading to his home being burned down by Southern racists at the end of January 1956 with Saturn at the early degrees of Sagittarius. When Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on the bus, sparking the extraordinary Montgomery Bus Boycotts, Saturn was at the end of its transit of Scorpio.  There is some resonance here with our own recent time of Saturn closing out a transit of Scorpio, with a number of protest movements arising around issues of oppression.  What made the Montgomery Bus Boycotts so incredible was the amount of collective commitment and creative strategizing that was employed to shut down the system.

Martin Luther King and Saturn in Sagittarius

Martin Luther King during the Montgomery bus boycott of 1956

The year of 1956 when Saturn entered Sagittarius around January 13 has some similarities with Saturn’s transit in 2015, as just like this year Saturn stationed retrograde in March 1956 and then moved back into Scorpio again for a few months.  During Saturn’s initial time in Sagittarius the Montgomery activists faced a strong pushback from the legal system, including Martin Luther King being ordered to pay a fine or serve time in jail around the time Saturn stationed in March.  King’s decision to serve time in jail helped propel the movement further through media coverage, and by November 1956 when Saturn had returned again to Sagittarius the Supreme Court outlawed segregation on bus lines.

There remains the possibility that some of the investigations conducted by the U.S. federal government into the police killing of black men that dominated the headlines during 2014 will also lead to federal intervention through the legal system.  What is clear is that there is clear resonance between the rise of Martin Luther King into prominence when Saturn entered Sagittarius in 1956 with today’s transit, as well as the fact that events in Selma, Alabama that Martin Luther King was actively engaged in during the time of the Pluto and Uranus conjunction in 1965 have now been released as a major Hollywood film at this current time of the Pluto and Uranus square and Saturn again in Sagittarius.  King’s courageous, impassioned leadership combined with his role as a religious authority has clear connection to Saturn in Sagittarius, and his ability to stir up a collective torrent of debate over beliefs while remaining constant with a message of love in the face of hatred holds a powerful lesson that remains significant today to learn from:

If we are arrested every day, if we are exploited every day, if we are trampled over every day, don’t ever let anyone pull you so low as to hate them. We must use the weapon of love. We must have compassion and understanding for those who hate us. We must realize so many people are taught to hate us that they are not totally responsible for their hate. But we stand in life at midnight, we are always on the threshold of a new dawn.

— Dr. Martin Luther King in a speech during the Montgomery bus boycotts

A further interesting connection with the figure and life of Martin Luther King and the upcoming mutable astrology time period is that Dr. King had a mutable t-square in his chart, with Mars in Gemini (2nd House) opposite Saturn in Sagittarius (8th House) with both in square to the Moon in Pisces (11th House).  Martin Luther King was able to use this intense mutable aspect in his chart to be a powerful storyteller and speaker who could communicate a message embodying deep meaning while being understood by a wide populace.  In our current upcoming transit, we can all learn from King’s ability to take decisive action when the time calls for action, and to communicate a heart-centered message of love while creating opportunities for discussion on societal issues that need to be addressed and not covered up or ignored.

The next period with Saturn in Sagittarius was between the years of 1986 and 1988, and during the entire transit Saturn was approaching a conjunction with Uranus that happened at the very end of Sagittarius.  There were once again strong African American voices in American culture in this period, for example with Jesse Jackson running for President, but most dominant in popular culture was the pre-eminence of Hip Hop in American popular music.  Two groups arose to celebrity status during the transit of Saturn in Sagittarius that exemplified it’s themes:  Public Enemy, whose 1987 album had the Sagittarian title Yo! Bum Rush the Show, and N.W.A. who released Straight Outta Compton at the end of Saturn’s transit in Sagittarius and made famous the Sagittarian line, “You are about to witness the strength of street knowledge.”

However, collectively the most major shift that occurred during this time was in Eastern Europe as the movements that led to widespread revolution in the region and later epochal events such as the fall of the Berlin Wall and the Velvet Revolution in the Czech Republic took place.  While these later events occurred during Saturn’s transit of Capricorn, there were pivotal developments that made them possible during the transit of Saturn in Sagittarius such as Perestroika in the Soviet Union.  For example in Poland, a country that used the political innovation of “Round Table agreements” to facilitate a democracy that would give them greater independence, there were a series of crucial strikes that happened in 1988 with Saturn in Sagittarius that were essential.  Similarly, our current transit of Sagittarius will bring opportunities for collective movements that could lead to huge structural and systematic changes in four or five years.

Saturn in Sagittarius and Capricorn

Zodiac frieze from Venice, Italy (1530-40) courtesy of Metropolitan Museum of Art

Saturn in Sagittarius is currently in a balsamic phase with Pluto in Capricorn, and so we are in a time of clearing, re-seeding, and re-visioning in their cycle until the beginning of 2020 when Saturn becomes conjunct Pluto at 23 degrees of Capricorn.  Jupiter will also be in Capricorn in 2020, and around the Capricorn Solstice on December 21, 2020, the next conjunction in the Saturn and Jupiter cycle will occur at 00º29′ Aquarius.  As a result Saturn’s transit through Sagittarius is a key transition to this incredibly important 2020 time period.

However, let’s not forget Uranus, the next planet beyond Saturn and important player in Saturn’s transit through Sagittarius.  Saturn in Sagittarius will form a trine with Uranus in Aries in 2016, and in 2015 Jupiter in Leo will be trine to Uranus in Aries on March 3 and on June 22.  As a result in the next six months the Jupiter and Uranus cycle can help us unlock the Saturn gates of our consciousness to more expansive perspectives, and then later in August 2015 when we hit the last quarter square between Jupiter in Leo and a stationing direct Saturn in Scorpio, we will face challenges and even crises forcing us to critically examine what in our life needs to be discarded and let go and what is essential to keep as we begin to focus on what we will utilize in seeding our future.

We end with a few quotes from Anne Frank, who was born with Saturn in Sagittarius:

“I don’t think of all the misery, but of the beauty that still remains.”

“There is an urge and rage in people to destroy, to kill, to murder, and until all mankind, without exception, undergoes a great change, wars will be waged, everything that has been built up, cultivated and grown, will be destroyed and disfigured, after which mankind will have to begin all over again.”

“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before beginning to improve the world.”

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