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METAPHYSICAL SAGITTARIUS

by Gary Brand - written November 15, 2006,
published in the December 2006 edition of Echo* newspaper

Jupiter's Great Red Spot in exaggerated color, taken by Voyager 1. Jupiter's Great Red Spot in exaggerated color, taken by Voyager 1.  Like everything about Jupiter, this Jovian hurricane is so gigantic that its narrowest width is the diameter of Earth!  It has been continuously observed since 1830 and it is the largest and probably the oldest storm in the solar system.  This image was taken through color filters and recombined to produce the vivid colors.  Courtesy of NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute.

This is a 1491 woodcut of the classical representation
of Sagittarius as a centaur. This is a 1491 woodcut of the classical representation of Sagittarius as a centaur.  The centaur was a mythological creature consisting of the upper half of a man replacing the neck and head of a horse.  This is an interesting depiction because this centaur has horns, unlike most Greek representations.  Another unusual symbol in this depiction is the lion's pelt cape he is wearing.  From the 1491 edition of Bonatti (G.B. (c. 1282/1491)).
his is one of a series of articles about the metaphysical meanings of the signs.  Metaphysical astrology is the study of first principles and the esoteric meanings of the signs and planets.  This article addresses the first principles of Sagittarius and Jupiter (ruler of Sagittarius), which we all have somewhere in our birth chart.  The meaning or energy of each sign of the zodiac manifests in some area of life symbolized in the birth chart of each of us, whether we have planets in a particular sign or not.  The entire visible Universe is based on the 12-fold manifestation of God we call the zodiac (E.H., p. 244 (1974)).  At the end of this article is a short astrological update on Bush’s war against Iraq.

Sagittarius is represented by a Centaur, a mythological creature consisting of the upper part of a man (from the waist up) and all of a male horse but the neck and head.  As such, the Centaur is bicorporeal, giving the sign of Sagittarius a nature that is mutable, which means dualistic, changeable, flexible, versatile, and scattered.  Early representations of Centaurs depicted them as hairy giants, also an apt symbol for Sagittarius because Jupiter symbolizes giants and mountain men who are typically hairy.  The modern-day description of the Centaur (part man, part horse as described above) dates only to about 450 B.C.  The etymology of the name Centaur, “those who round up bulls,” is likely a reference to a primitive group of cowboys in Thessaly (F.G., p. 162 (1968)).  In Greek myth, the Centaurs were a race fathered by Centaurus (a monster) who mated with the mares of Pelion (Id., p. 161), an act of bestiality among today’s taboos.  The bestial side of the Centaur (represented by the sexual, horse part) can be barbarous, lecherous, and rude but the human part gave this race famous wisdom, cleverness and healing powers.  Among those Centaurs known for their wisdom were Pholus and Chiron, the namesake of that asteroid darling of some modern astrologers.

The Greek god Chiron was taught by no less than Artemis and Apollo, Olympiads.  In turn, he taught (both Jupiter and Sagittarius are associated with teaching) the healing arts, music and hunting to Achilles, Jason, and Asclepius.  Asclepius became such a great healer that he restored life to the dead, upsetting the natural order of life and death in mortals and invoking punishment by Jupiter who struck him dead with a thunderbolt.  Chiron also suffered a terrible fate because he had been wounded accidentally by a poisoned arrow shot by Hercules.  Since Chiron was an immortal, he could not die yet, despite his healing prowess, he could not heal his own, constantly painful wound.  To avoid eternal suffering, Chiron begged Zeus (Jupiter) to exchange his immortality with Prometheus so that Chiron could die and rest in peace in Hades.  Another version of this myth has Jupiter honoring Chiron in the heavens as the constellation of Sagittarius.

The Chiron myth is rich in metaphysical symbolism that applies to the sign of Sagittarius.  He was a great healer but could not heal himself.  The metaphor here is that, try as we might, we often need the intervention and inspiration of others to heal emotional wounds (Sagittarius follows Scorpio) that are festering in or poisoning our higher mind and cannot be healed by our efforts alone.  Chiron lived alone in a cave but other Centaurs were creatures of the herd and herein lay the Sagittarius dualistic metaphor for the struggle between seeking the divine (the human part of the Centaur) through solitary contemplation (the isolation of the cave) versus social distraction and pursuit of sensual pleasures (the horse part).

The depiction of Sagittarius in the heavens shows the Centaur aiming an arrow at a 45 degree angle in a stretched bow toward the heavens.  This symbolizes the human part of us aspiring, reaching, aiming for something to wrap our higher mind around, and seeking encounters with the divine through our humanity.  The 45 degree angle is the predominant angle in the tetrahedron, which is comprised of two pyramids – the divine symbol of harmony and equilibrium.  The arrow itself is an interesting irony in the Chiron myth.  The “arrows” that Chiron shot were philosophical points that he made, directions that he gave, and aspirations that he inspired in his students, as any good teacher does.  However, his incurable, insufferable wound was at the point of an arrow and yet he didn’t seem to get the point - he chose death over life but life is our souls’ greatest classroom.  We learn all about the human condition from being in a body (the horse part of the Centaur) and especially from suffering in our body so that we can empathize and show compassion for other souls who are suffering (the human part).  This is an important step along the path of initiation – recognizing that there is no difference between our experiences and those of others.  Chiron (and the Sagittarius part of us) has a choice – he could continue to focus on his wound and his suffering or he could focus on the wealth of wisdom and knowledge (Sagittarius and Jupiter) that he brought to the world through his teaching.

On a different topic, Bush’s war against Iraq is not a picture of harmony and equilibrium.  When a state of extreme disharmony and chaos prevails, as it does in Iraq, the Universe brings into play forces to reestablish harmony, evidenced by the 2006 election.  In the U.S. (Sibley) chart, transiting Jupiter will cross the U.S. Ascendant in January 2007.  This symbolizes big changes ahead, particularly an abundance of hidden abuses (waste and misappropriations in Iraq) and secret Bush regime activities seeing the light of congressional scrutiny and public exposure.  Transiting Uranus made its last close approach (the last is often the most significant) to a square with Uranus in the U.S. birth chart at the time of the 2006 election and brought sweeping change in congressional makeup and leadership.  Transiting Uranus also made its last close conjunction with Ceres in the U.S. chart signifying change in what we reap and harvest (Ceres) through a radical departure (Uranus) from “staying the course” rhetoric.  But don’t expect the Democrats to bring our troops home.  In November 2004, I predicted that the U.S. government will not end military involvement in Iraq until 2010-2011 (Bush isn’t removed from office until January 2009).  To read how I derived this prediction from outer planet transits in the U.S. chart at the end of previous wars, see the end of my article Celebrate the Future (Twilight of the Oil Age, Part 2).
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Reference Citations.

See related article Metaphysical Jupiter.

*Echo is a monthly newspaper about community, the environment, health, cuisine, and spirituality that is distributed in central Virginia.
Good Timing and Location are Keys to Success

Gary Brand, Traditional Astrologer
Tallahassee, Florida
850-656-5758


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