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Sagittarius and Sagittarius Rising: Your Soul is Fully Intact

NOBODY SHOULD HAVE TO endure 12+ years of Pluto in one’s birth sign, but as of late 2008, you have done precisely that. If anyone can live through this with some sense of grace or at least make the experience profoundly useful, it is a Sagittarius. When you add up the gifts you have received, you will see that they are incomparable; now begins a long process of applying them in a practical way.


We all get Pluto transits through the course of our lives; and usually we survive them. Martha Lang-Wescott, one of my astrological heroines, once pointed out that while these transits are extremely challenging, we almost always miss them when they’re gone.

Pluto conjunct the Sun or transiting one’s ascendant is about discovering who you are at the most fundamental level. There is a personal rebirth involved, and often that is preceded by loss, by turmoil or the sense that you will never be the same again. This may have happened so many times in the course of these 12 years as to find a kind of cyclical process of ongoing release and rebirth. What you are left with is the feeling that, well, all of that was really difficult: but I would not be who I am had I not been through all of that. Someone can say that and wish it were true; and then someone can feel it down to the last strand of DNA. You know which one you are.

The effect of this transit has opened you up for something better than you’ve ever known: a combined sense of self-sufficiency and also community involvement; a new depth of being rooted in your own values while having the opportunity to experiment with a kind of community intelligence that, at this stage in the world’s history, is right on time. Finally, you are well into a moment of personal achievement that has everything to do with being of service to the world and to the people around you.

The Pluto in Sagittarius Odyssey

Just as I was getting moving on this essay, the phone rang. It was my Sagittarius friend Jenny, who I met 10 years ago when I was living in North Miami Beach. Just before meeting her, she had been through a nasty divorce after which her ex-husband, despite having a joint custody order preventing him from residing out of state, remarried and disappeared with the two youngest kids. The day I met her, she literally had no idea where on the planet her children were.

Between then and now, she put herself through university part-time and graduated; came out as a Pagan while attending and working at a Catholic college (in the president’s office); located her children; went through a second custody battle and had the joint custody agreement enforced.┬áThen she was able to resume a relationship with her kids. She became an international Pagan activist (involved in getting the pentacle approved for the graves of US veterans), got married, got divorced again, swore off marriage and began a master’s degree in psychology.

She recently discovered that her 25-year-old son is a heroin addict. When he sent her a text message last week that said, “Die, you hippie slut,” she could take it with some perspective. She laughed. She knew it was his problem.

“I’ve lived my life before this knowing what was going to be on every page. Now I’m trusting that each day is going to be a blank page,” she said.

Commenting on her current relationships, she adds, “All this stuff we think that matters, doesn’t. The only thing that makes sense to me is someone who has the freedom to go, but chooses to stay because they want to stay.”

I would say that this is one example of doing a Pluto transit well. It can be scary at times, because your life is indeed a blank page, and you are confronted by a force that is larger than you thought you were. Then you rise to the occasion.

I suggest you tell yourself the story of the last dozen years of your life through this filter, and notice the ways that, over and over again, you rose to the occasion and came out a stronger, more authentic person.

Post-traumatic stress? Or undeniable self-knowledge?

However, I will add this. I am always mindful when speaking to people for whom a long Pluto transit has recently ended that there often exists a kind of aftershock that can define their worldview for a long time to come. This is particularly true when things did not go as well as they did for Jenny, when the experiences don’t grant perspective, but rather they seem to take it away. When you look back years from now at why you believe what you believe, and why you make the choices that you do, make sure you check in with the Pluto in Sagittarius phase of your life; make sure you are using what you learned and that your beliefs have a foundation.

This was the transit that arrived with the Republichristian Bush era, the rise of Jihadism, the Sept. 11 attacks, the “war on terrorism,” the PATRIOT Act, two stolen presidential elections, lots of economic bubbles including the housing bubble, the rise of the Dot-Coms and the crash by the same name: and with the recent explosions on Wall Street and throughout global banking; the election of Barack Obama, and so much besides (please see our Pluto in Sagittarius timeline to follow the whole story.)

You, and the world, have at times been pushed, at times walked willingly and at times been dragged across the coals of this transit. For young adults, it’s all they have ever known. If you’re 24, this transit represents half of your life.

The major Pluto in Sagittarius peaks were in 1995, 1999, 2001-02 and 2006-07. The gradual exit of Pluto from your sign through 2008 has probably arrived with a distinct feeling as well, and a sense of relief. If you look at how much your life has changed in this time, you will be impressed. If you consider the depth of growth and the scale and depth of the changes you’ve been through, I think you’ll be doubly impressed. The important thing is that you give yourself credit for what you survived, accomplished, endured and created.

Learning to Trust the Process of Change

I suggest you check out two more things, which are closely related. One is the list of who and what you’ve decided you no longer trust. Using 1995 as a reference point, scan over the story and theme of these years and get clear with yourself. Ask if this sense of mistrust is correctly placed, useful or vaguely helpful in any way. Ask yourself the worldview from which these opinions emerge.

When we look a little more closely at the movement of Pluto through your solar 2nd house (Capricorn), we will see a transit that is all about trusting yourself, and that all trust is an extension of trusting yourself.

Second is the part of you that has been preserved and indeed strengthened by the events of this time. Explore the relationship between what no longer exists in your life, or what exists in a profoundly changed form; in who you are at your center; and how that core reality now expresses itself.

You are likely to be living with part of you being exposed, that is not quite accustomed to being out in the world and which the world is not accustomed to seeing. In our culture, there’s often a crisis created for people who dare to be authentic, particularly at the moment of emergence. People act like they’ve never seen such a thing, and since authenticity is only possible with a degree of vulnerability, then it can hurt twice as much when we are not received or embraced for who we are.

I suggest you be mindful of these things as you embrace the next phase of your life, which enables you to take what you have learned in the past decade-plus and bring it to a new level. In one sense, the journey has just begun. But you know a lot more at the commencement of this trip than you did at the beginning of the last one: in particular, you know more about yourself.

For better or for worse, you can no longer deny what you know. Pluto has left you with indelible knowledge. And an important planet remains in your sign, unknown to most astrologers, called Pholus. This is a close cousin of Chiron, which has the effect of opening or releasing the contents of a container; which in turn sets off a series of reactions. Maybe write this down and put it in your wallet: What you know about yourself changes the world. (This helps explain the taboo on self-knowledge.)

Pholus has the key phrase: “Small cause, big effect.” That would be you. You have no doubt witnessed that you can have an impact on the world; you have yet to see how the subtle influence that you offer can have a profound effect, indeed, one that you could have barely imagined possible.

Pluto’s journey through your sign has given you the strength to be who you are on the inside, and has taught you something about your impact on the external circumstances around you. Pholus adds an edge, if you can believe it. In Sagittarius it feels something like this: I am going to speak my truth no matter what, and if people don’t like it that’s their problem. I know, this sounds Sagittarian even on a cloudy day.

But Pholus is radical. It is driven by a combination of curiosity and an obsession with resolving the many traumas of the past.

From Convention to Liberation to Freedom

The core of the astrology for 2009 and for the foreseeable future involves what is developing in Capricorn, Aquarius and the Virgo/Pisces axis, areas vital to your own story in the great unfolding of the world. Let’s take these in order, organizing the discussion by sign. All three processes are intimately related, working together as one energy system.

Pluto, buzzing with the restless energy of Sagittarius, has moved into Capricorn, a sign with a very different nature than your own. This happens after Pluto crossed over the Galactic Core, which is located close to the end of your sign. We could say that Pluto has gone through a kind of spiritual initiation, as have you. Pluto is now a different planet; you are a different person, and the two transformations are directly related.

Pluto is now in your solar 2nd house, the house of values. The 2nd house is like one’s “second sign” because it is the bank account of what we feel is truly our own. The nature of Sagittarius is to quest, expand, explore and express. The nature of Capricorn is to preserve, to categorize, to structure and to fit into the pattern of both personal and global history. These two concepts are a crucial model of yin and yang, placed side by side for a good reason: they work together.

This is a transit about money. It’s about getting off the corporate nipple and into a place where you have some maneuverability with your economic affairs. It’s about having more than one source of income: a diversified base of potential revenue that both protects you from any one change, and which gives you the ability to make smaller changes in course that don’t involve quitting a job (or getting laid off) and giving up your whole income. This will involve building a new set of skills, perhaps many of them, but you have many factors helping you with this.

One implication of having Capricorn so personally placed in your chart is a sense of responsibility, including public responsibility. You may feel (with no good reason why) like your choices and your values affect us all, like the decisions you make must be careful because you may be deciding not just for yourself, but for many others, and for a long time at that. This may or may not be true, in the big sense. Yes, our thoughts and experiences always affect many people, but you have an added sense of responsibility that may, at times, feel like you hold public office.

One consequence is not allowing yourself to be as adventurous as you really are, because you want to “be responsible.” You are your own distinct individual, perhaps even with the feeling of visiting from the future, and yet at times the need to honor the ways of your family, of the past and of the corporate culture we live in are absolutely natural to you — and this is often much to your chagrin. You want to be so much more; something always seems to hold you back. Hello Capricorn in the 2nd solar house.

And now: hello Pluto in Capricorn. Just like Pluto in your own sign took you through one endless transformation after the next, you can now use the power of this deeply meaningful planet to work out what is important to you on the most practical levels. You have the power to identify dysfunctional beliefs and dismantle them, replacing them with what is actually meaningful to you.

I would emphasize here the extent to which this transit represents a confrontation with the past; with past values that you were inflicted with; with the incredible baggage of history that all of us drag around, though you feel this more directly and with a greater sense of burden than most other people.

In dismantling these beliefs, you will liberate two things: one is energy and the other is mental bandwidth for the new vision of yourself and the world that you have been brewing for years. The question, “Why can’t things be the way I think they will be?” is now strictly a pragmatic question. That is to say, it’s no longer a matter of idealism but of getting the job done.

Wrapping up the discussion of Capricorn, I can warn you of one thing, which is: beware of family guilt as you go explore these potentials. Beware of a quality of [our programmed] human nature involving regret, remorse, guilt, shame or some other sense of being wrong or bad when you do the right thing. Please remember this. Guilt is more often a sign that you are doing the right thing than the wrong thing. People who intentionally harm others do not experience guilt in the way that helpful people do. I’ve written about the nature of guilt elsewhere, but the short version is that it’s usually a device installed by others who want to control us.

Beware the extent to which expressing your own values will stir up the people around you, at times alienating them and at times inciting rebellion. Most people cling to who they are not because they like it so much, but rather because they are scared to do anything else; terrified to look at themselves; frightened to admit what they see — but mostly because you can’t be lazy if you do that.

This, to me, is your real quest to be yourself. That is to say, such is more than a mental phenomenon; more than walking around with your most precious beliefs held like a ring in a box in your pocket. Your true quest is in the expression of your human nature, and to do this you must overcome all the internal and external obstacles that get in the way, nearly all the time.

Pluto is giving you the strength to do this. In short, Pluto through Capricorn is giving you the strength to not be full of shit: to not believe one thing and live another thing; to not go along with the games of boring people just so they think you belong there; to admit to yourself what is true to you and to live in your truth no matter what anyone else may think or feel.

The Aquarius Alignment: Radical Experiment in Community

Everyone has Aquarius in their chart, though it’s possible to have it placed more or less usefully. The extremely high measure of your intelligence, from an astrological viewpoint, comes from the fact that you have Aquarius in your solar 3rd house: the house of your mental functions and your immediate community. It would be a tossup between Sagittarius and Aquarius to choose the sign that is (symbolically, anyway) the most progressive, in terms of ideas and its placement in the historical process.

You have both of these signs powerfully placed, with Capricorn in the middle. This is like the old oak tree growing in the backyard of a physics laboratory. As I described in the previous section, you are cleaning this tree of the past, clearing away the dead wood. The idea is to have it not get in the way of what you are developing now.

Aquarius is not always progressive. Your mental patterns have a way of becoming fixed, despite your sign being a mutable one. About half the time it represents a crystallized thought pattern that ranges from useless to destructive. One part that may have seemed useless to you, till now, is your idealism. This is partly because, being slammed up against the “reality” of so many other people, it can seem devoid of any meaning at all. This has been Neptune in your 3rd house. Along with this have come many ideas that have had no tangible means of expression.

Add Chiron to this equation, which arrived in your 3rd house in 2005. This is a transit that may have found you questioning your intelligence, or your ability to reason, and your ability to get along with people.

Now Chiron and Neptune are about to form a triple conjunction with Jupiter, which will take place May 27. This represents a full opening up of your intellectual potential and your ability to share it with others. Jupiter is your ruling planet, and in this sign it’s suggesting that your life is all about developing your intelligence in a way that is co-creative and worldly.

I am going to offer a few ideas to consider as this transit develops over 2009 and into 2010.

1. What is the true nature of human community, and what kind of community do you need to live in? I mean this as town or city; group household, shared household or individual household; intentional community (with a stated purpose) or unintentional community (without a stated purpose).

2. How can we apply what we have learned, as individuals and as a community, to the common good of the world? By what means are we going to share and apply this information?

3. There is usually enormous stress between supposed “individualism” and “conformity.” In what way is this a false dichotomy? How do you personally strive to resolve this?

4. What is the value of your ideas? Do you have a way to check your theories? The value needs to be something other than abstract; not just the sense that something is a good idea. The metric might be their use to others; their ability to solve a problem; their ability to generate income.

5. What is your threshold of belief? In other words, how much proof do you need before you accept it as true?

6. Bonus question: do you feel that your intelligence alienates you from others? How would it feel to live in some other way?

Saturn Goes Over the Top

This transit is in the “last but not least” category — I could have just as easily started with it, but I will leave it as a closing thought. Saturn, the planet of achievement, is in your solar 10th house — Virgo. To start with, Virgo is a difficult energy to have on the 10th house because while the 10th wants a wide view of reality, Virgo tends to focus on the details. Success can be reduced to a series of formulaic steps. And while it’s important to be methodical, it’s more important to work from a vision and tailor the steps you take from there.

Add Saturn to the equation. Saturn in this house demands achievement and the decisions that lead you there. To me what Saturn is doing for you is taking all the other things I’ve been writing about and will help you turn them from potentials into reality.

Saturn comes with its own demands, and no doubt you have been feeling them. First among many is the demand to be real, in the world — not just in your own head. You simply must make yourself known; Saturn in your 10th house is about building your reputation, doing the footwork and the legwork and the handwork and basically using all your appendages and your mind to construct the reality in which you want to live.

These are not idle dreams that you are dreaming, and this is not an idle time in your life. When you look back you will see: this is the moment you chose to be a person on your own course and under your own power. This is the moment when you take over your life, yes, against long odds: but this is not a game, not a gamble, but a necessary risk.

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