New! Audio on how these readings work, and about the solar house system.
by Eric Francis, Daniel Grimsland and Daniel Sternstein
Vision Quest for Sagittarius by Eric Francis Coppolino | Printable PDF
Sagittarius is the sign of The Visitor. To me, this is the quality of energy described in astrology — and in the many Sagittarians I’ve hung out with — that portrays someone who has traveled a long distance to get here, is not quite at home, but is clever enough to make life on Earth into an interesting camping trip. Yet it may feel like your true home is, if not a galaxy far, far away, the center of our galaxy, which is at once near and far.
And of all the signs in our zodiac, there are none but yours that reveal a more profound difference between who someone appears to be, and who someone actually is. Not disingenuous — far to the contrary. This is more about concealing your vulnerability.
Remember that the central metaphor of Sagittarius is a weapon of war. Its leading figure, Chiron, is someone who prepared many of Greece’s greatest heroes for battle, and who was, himself, profoundly different than everyone around him.
Yet underneath your prepared-for-anything way of life, you are profoundly sensitive, and this is not an easy time to be that way. Existence certainly seems like a battle many places today. The Earth, all of it and to some extent everyone here, is challenged right now. You may at times wonder whether it’s worth making the effort to shape your life, or whether it’s even possible.
It is not only possible, it’s essential. Your deep receptivity combined with your ability to actually focus a goal, provides something of a map to the future and a model that many people will need to learn. Dividing these two elements has created many of the failures (to use a strong word) of the world right now: many driven people with no empathy, and people with empathy and deep feelings who cannot get themselves to move or take on greater challenges.
You can bring these qualities together. You have this ability to the point of being otherworldly. Describing this, the sign Pisces — four signs from yours, and associated with the same traditional planet, Jupiter — is one of the most significant in the overall layout of your solar chart.
Your astrology is now drawing you in two directions: deep within yourself, and far out into the world. You are being trained, as it were, in a kind of deep inner study, and in becoming some kind of recognized master of arts or sciences. This calls for an original concept of success. As such, most previously existing models will not serve you any more than how you may learn a little from each of them. Your own method will result from your unique alchemy and combination of resources.
You will be gifted this year with the potential to defy circumstance on a large scale; not only to plan the next phase of your life, but actually to enact those plans. Certainly, the choices made must carry the weight of responsibility that comes with being a self-directed, largely autonomous person.
Yet the power that Sagittarius contains, now visited by Saturn — the taskmaster — requires nothing less. Though you may have to overcome considerable inertia at times, whatever is set in motion will be lasting. You must treat it that way, and be conscious of what you initiate. You are investing events with energy, vision and momentum, and that means infusing them with the power to travel into the future, to develop and to grow.
This requires preparation and awareness, and a real measure of impeccability. Yet at the same time you must hang loose and overcome a kind of perfectionism that can be vexing to you.
On the one hand you will need to do your homework, as much as possible — primarily about everything that could be motivating you. On the other, it will be helpful to dance with the fact that preparation only gets you so far where things are happening for the first time, and in truly unexpected ways. Both art and science require you to be clear, focused and thorough; yet they also require an open mind and the ability to hang loose; the ability to observe and respond to what you see and feel. This is another way of saying be honest.
As Amy Elliott wrote in her preparation notes for this reading, “I would strongly advise them to be clear and thorough on this point, and totally honest with themselves. By honest, I don’t mean judgmental. We are each only human; even so, as Sagittarians themselves will attest, we can look up into the heavens and see therein the Divine light.”
Background: Pisces, the Ocean of Experience
Pisces is the cosmic ocean, though represented by the worldly ocean we know, love and fear. Pisces is your solar 4th house if you have a Pisces Sun, and your 4th whole-sign house if you are Sagittarius rising. If you have a Sagittarius Moon, you will resonate deeply with Pisces for many reasons.
The 4th house is the security base. It’s also the house that represents your deepest emotional body. With Pisces here that is profound indeed; this describes the sensitivity and receptivity you must carefully manage and at times guard. Pisces also describes your tendency to drown in experience; which is to say, you must learn to move carefully in the deep element.
The relationship between Sagittarius and Pisces is more significant than I’ve ever seen described in any astrological literature. (Of note, I’ve never even read anything that describes the connection of these two signs, which has an obvious connection through Jupiter, their mutually ruling planet.)
Think of the watery connection this way: The very defining feature of Sagittarius — the supermassive black hole at the core of the Milky Way galaxy — was discovered by scientists laying telephone cable under the Atlantic Ocean. Engineers working on the project began picking up interference on the cable, and after taking a while to own up to the facts, they said the radio source was the core of the galaxy.
This is about you. The thing that makes you who you are — the cosmic being able to extend your mind over long distances, feel at home in strange cultures, and be receptive to nearly any idea — is an emotional quality, coming from the core of your being. This is also true of what you express, whether as an artist, writer, musician, mentor or lover.
What makes you who you are is your sensitivity. You have a marvelous way of not letting us know about that. You kind of leave it out, hoping nobody will notice. Yet anyone who truly cares about you will relate to this aspect of who you are more than any other; and we’re waiting to hear back from you from that particular place.
What is vital is that you relate to yourself from that place — that you identify with what you feel more than anything else. This is vital because what you feel is the essence of who you are and also of what you are expressing. And you seem to have a lot to say, a lot to do, and quite a bit you want to accomplish. The only thing that could possibly hold you back is some kind of emotional disconnect. So you want to stay connected, and you have that opportunity.
It happens that this year more than most, Pisces is extraordinarily active in your chart. There are two connections. The first is that Chiron, a kind of honorary exalted planet representing you, is located in Pisces. This is like having a fully sentient, alert probe in the depth of your emotional body, constantly sending data to your mind.
I have more to say about planets placed in Pisces, though Chiron is the most significant thing to keep in mind. Close second is Jupiter, which is now in Virgo. Jupiter represents both Sagittarius and Pisces, and it’s placed at the very top of your chart, in Virgo. That is the house of achievement, reputation and responsibility.
With this truly innovative and useful setup, you have three essential signs in your chart working together: Virgo, Sagittarius and Pisces. They are all being pushed and coordinated by Saturn. Saturn may be demanding your attention in difficult ways, but it’s providing an organizing principle that is helping draw together talents and strengths from distinct areas in your chart, and correspondingly, in your life.
Notice, however, that Jupiter is drawing you up toward achievement, and Chiron is drawing you down, toward depth and sensitivity. These two planets form an energy circuit that makes them aspects of the same thing, the same basic process. And this has you continually cycling psychic energy from your depths right to the most expressive aspect of your being, the person who you are in the world.
This will help you integrate your inner reality and your outer one — what you feel and what you do; who you are in truth and what people know of you; what you aspire to be and what in truth you already are.
With this as a foundation, I would like to give you some background about your chart and its development — of necessity, a bit more than I’m doing for the other signs. Then I’ll present some details and refinements on the ideas I’ve offered above. Right now, let’s do what we all wish we could do, and turn the clock back 20 years.
Background — The Sagittarius Alignment, 1995-Present
With the Galactic Core and another deep space point called the Great Attractor in Sagittarius, yours is not an ordinary sign. Yet beginning in 1995 with the ingress of Pluto, you came under powerful forces of change, and in turn Sagittarius and all it represents began to influence the whole world in some profound ways.
Personally, you were put through an extended phase of what one wise, old astrologer used to politely call ‘enforced change.’ We now understand that Pluto is a planet that among its many features describes personal evolution. Pluto’s presence in Sagittarius was designed to put you in contact with something innate about yourself, and it no doubt did so. The experiences you had under this transit conditioned and tempered you, though that is an incomplete description. It’s more like this: The Catholics like to describe the soul as this neatly packaged, ready-to-go thing. It would seem, however, that the quality of soul is gradually brought to consciousness, discovered, activated and integrated into one’s whole being — as a process. Said another way, soul is a thing that is cultured, like wine or yogurt.
It’s true some are more in touch with this seemingly elusive thing we call soul at the beginning of their lives, but the journey of contacting and integrating soul proceeds from wherever you happen to start. And this is what Pluto in Sagittarius was about for you, and indeed for many other people tapping into the energy. It connected the inherently spiritual nature of Sagittarius with its deep reality in the core of some humans — such as yourself.
There were many difficult tests during this time. In the life of our society, one of them was the Sept. 11, 2001 incident — that was really the peak of Pluto in Sagittarius, and we are still feeling it. In a sense it was a door we went through, emerging in another time and place.
The mid-1990s into the mid-2000s was also an active phase of planetary discovery. Many of the new points began to gather in Sagittarius, and there was a pileup that lasted not only through the mid-2000s, but in many ways is still active today, though in milder form.
What all of these new planets do is describe, define and push certain issues that have not been described by astrology before. They tend to violate known boundaries and definitions.
When they show up near or conjunct your Sun, your Moon, your ascendant, or other personal planets or points, the result is indeed personal. Just for the sake of having reference points, I suggest you check the Sagittarius reading from Parallel Worlds, from The Spiral Door, and from Small World Stories. This will clue you in to my thoughts at the time when this energy was at its peak.
The residue of this is that you may be a combination of spiritually sensitized and also a bit shocked. These planets are intense, and one by one they made transits to certain key points in your chart. For those with late Sagittarius elements (born toward the end of the sign, after December 14 or so, or with the Moon or rising in the last five or so degrees), it may feel like this era never ended. In any event, the remaining planets gathered around the Galactic Core are still engaging directly with you.
Here is the thing to remember: when outer planets come through your chart, sometimes it feels like they never left. You can still have that feeling of not knowing what layer is about to be peeled back next, what will reveal itself or what will go wrong. You are now under influences that will help you get control of this with your basic tools such as setting boundaries, using time and timing, and advanced preparation.
There are three peak eras to check in on: 1999 (Chiron conjunct Pluto in Sagittarius), 2001 into 2002 (Saturn opposite Pluto in Sagittarius) and 2005 into 2006 (Pluto conjunct the Galactic Core in Sagittarius, which also came with the discovery and naming of Eris).
When Eris was named and discovered, Pluto was ‘demoted’ to the newly created class of dwarf planet. It ceased to be counted by astronomers as a planet and was officially designated (134340) Pluto — a minor planet. Astrology has not reckoned with this yet. Most astrologers are basically ignoring the fact that Pluto is now counted as a minor planet, which happened — incredibly — with Pluto conjunct the core of the galaxy in your sign.
So, this Pluto-in-Sagittarius era began with Pluto as the 9th planet, and ended with Pluto newly delegated to ‘dwarf’ planet. In other words, Pluto entered your sign an almighty force, considered the bottom line of existence (that being death), and left your sign having had a spiritualizing experience of crossing over the Galactic Core, and acquiring peers (namely Ceres and Eris, the other two of the first three dwarf planets).
During this whole era, a few key things happened:
One is that the world became a much smaller place. We had world beat music, international cuisine and global trade agreements all become normal things. The internet emerged precisely during Pluto in Sagittarius, creating one of the biggest cultural implosions ever, and putting everything — and for a while everyone — right in reach.
Perhaps the most radical development was the emergence of ‘isms’ as the new, intractable norm. It seems the world organized itself into camps. Whether we’re talking about fundamentalist Islam or Christianity; whether Zionism, Globalism or Scientism; while on one level the world was becoming more diverse, on another, people were focusing their ideologies as if they were the only things that mattered. Also, the first African-American president was elected, and he was accused of being a communist, a socialist and Islamist. Nobody knew what ‘ism’ to throw at him.
On the personal level; that is, for you as a person, this felt like getting pushed, pulled and stretched. It may have felt like being fragmented or rearranged. The sheer number of slow-moving planets that have passed through your sign was each like going through a separate initiation, driving you deeper into your experience and compelling you to be aware of your own life.
It will help immensely for you to know and understand the personal level of this history. There is no doubt this span of years — 1995 through 2008 — were deeply and broadly transformational; and that you were one person on one side of the transit and a different person on the other side.
I will say this: the past is a factor in your current life. We can see this a number of ways — including looking at the past, but also from clues in your current solar chart. And there is something else: all of these transits have left you radically transformed from who you were as a child or young adult.
Saturn in Sagittarius: The Grounding Principle
However, you are now in what I would call a phase of resolving much that has happened, with Saturn currently in your sign. Unlike the transits of slow-moving outer planets, Saturn’s presence is more contained and easier to conceive of. It has a beginning, middle and end that can be conceived of in a modest span of time. It also has a way of bringing things to a head, of pushing issues that have been around for a while — and that’s what it will be doing over the next two years.
Saturn first entered your sign in late 2014, then it retrograded into Scorpio, and returned to Scorpio in late summer 2015. It will take until late 2017 to make its way across your sign.
The real story of Saturn involves its relationship to planets currently in Pisces, which is, and will be, activating in a series of squares over these next two years. So first, we’ll address Saturn as an isolated factor, then I’ll describe what is happening in Pisces, your 4th solar house. Then we’ll return to Saturn’s influence on those planets and what they represent.
To begin with, Saturn in your sign describes a contained process of cultivating self-awareness, by which I mean you reckoning with who you actually are. Yet this has real manifestations. There is a necessary process of transition implied. It’s quite literally a transit that will take you from one phase of your life to another.
The heart of the matter is a process of clarification of your priorities. One way to say this is that Saturn in your sign is about coming to terms with who you are. But this is not a theoretical acceptance. It’s about a tangible, actual addressing of what you figure out is real to you, and what you know you must do about it. We do a lot of denying in life, and Saturn near or conjunct one’s Sun, Moon or ascendant — the other points that might be right there — help you bring a sure stop to that.
Saturn in one’s sign is often about taking long-overdue action. The good thing is you don’t have to rush this process. A process of awareness-raising, opportunities presenting themselves and certain circumstantial changes that seem beyond your control will help guide your process. Yet the essence of this is making decisions.
Saturn is famous for what some call restrictions. Yet this is really about working within structural boundaries, similar to a painter working with the size of their canvas. It’s just that with Saturn, the thing you feel first is the edge or the boundary you must honor. You actually do have room to maneuver and make decisions, even if you feel boxed in. The question is always one of what you can do with the time, space, resources and options you have.
This is not a situation of more material potential equals better results. Some people can do more with the eight-crayon box than nearly everyone can do with the 64-crayon box. Eric Clapton playing a cheap guitar would still sound like Eric Clapton. So the key to this transit is working with what you have, and if necessity dictates that you have more, use the Saturnian traits of focus and discipline and acquire more. For reasons I’ll get into in the Pluto section below, your material and emotional self-sufficiency is a main theme of this transit.
Saturn will be of great service in helping you remove what you don’t want from your life. Said another way, Saturn is a tool for addressing and culling the past, and the results of the past. On one level, Saturn on its own will assist with some of the more practical and tangible matters, including your choices about the work you do.
It happens that Saturn — one of the very most important professional indicators — is transiting your sign, while many other factors are describing that this is a critical turning point year for you, both vocationally and creatively.
But Saturn has a profound level of action for you now. Were this some other transit of Saturn in Sagittarius, it might not bear any resemblance to this transit. But the presence of planets in Pisces deepen the matter considerably.
Centaurs and Neptune in Pisces
Pisces represents the ocean at the core of your psyche. It’s as if you live on the sea — as if living beside and slightly above it, or directly above an underground fossilized ocean. Every chart has Pisces in it somewhere; although not every chart has it positioned as yours does, in one of the most influential houses. I suggest you think of yourself as a mariner. You don’t need to go overboard in scuba gear (though you can if you want); you merely need to know how to navigate the sea.
The influence of the 4th in any chart is largely its description of the past, and of your state of being as a child — which in a word was open and vulnerable. Then the 4th translates into how you process your feelings today through that emotional body you’ve taken with you from childhood and your early environment.
The influence of Pisces, indicating the deep sensitivity I’ve been describing, was true no matter how bold or brash you may have seemed as a kid. All children are vulnerable and permeable, though the effect is redoubled with Pisces present in the 4th house. You were, and remain, extraordinarily sensitive to your environment. This is true any time, but especially true now with Chiron and Neptune in Pisces.
Pisces describes emotional, physical and psychic sensitivity. By ‘psychic’ I mean vibes and energetic states that are not measurable on the physical level. There is a kind of clairvoyance implied, though that may not quite fit your belief system (but it may, even if you’re not sure how it works). Fortunately, most people now know there is more to life than can be quantified by instruments or documented behaviorally by psychologists. It’s those influences that are the most important; I suggest you make note of this, and remain aware of them.
Many of these are residual influences from the past; the 4th can function like a cistern of prior experiences and feelings, where everything drains down. It helps to drain that cistern periodically, or at least to keep it moving.
There are several factors helping you do just that, the most meaningful being the addition of planets in Pisces. I’ve already mentioned Chiron, which is like a probe that has descended deep into the water, sending back information. In other words, you’re now likely to be more aware of both your feelings and your environment than ever before.
Chiron is insisting on a level of clarity about your past. It has focused your attention on the past in many ways, and you may have discovered a good few reasons to decide you’ve had enough of certain emotional states and have resolved to heal them.
Neptune — the modern ruler of Pisces — arrived in 2012, bringing a huge volume of fresh, new water into Pisces. This has had a displacing effect; that is, it’s flushed out old feelings and created space for new ones. It’s also fair to say Neptune has come with an increase in sensitivity, though you can also use Neptune to anesthetize yourself. This would not be the best use. Much more productive would be to use Neptune as creative fuel, to flood your imagination with ideas.
Borasisi has been in Pisces since 2003. This outer planet, slightly beyond Pluto, is named for a fictional deity in a Kurt Vonnegut novel. It was co-discovered by Dr. Jane X. Luu, who also discovered the Kuiper Belt, where Borasisi orbits.
The theme of Borasisi is the power of belief. It has many nuances, such as “the truth of religion and the lies of science,” or what you might alternately call harmless lies versus very dangerous truths. The bottom line is that Borasisi is about the nature of belief. It’s about what you have the power to convince yourself of, or to disbelieve merely because you want to.
There is one more point to go over — Nessus in Pisces. The most recent arrival, Nessus brings in the darker emotional tones. In other words, there is an underwater stream within your larger ocean that needs to be addressed. This could manifest as memories of abuse (of any stripe, including subtle), patterns of codependency, recalling unsavory influences in your past, negative sexual influences, and many other possibilities.
The presence of Nessus here is for the purpose of healing, not aggravation. But you may sense some aggravation that is drawing your attention to the need for healing. In this case you would need to draw your awareness down and into the deeper elements. Start the process by paying attention to how you feel.
You may be summoned to finally heal some past traumas that have settled into your emotional body, perhaps all but forgotten, or easily distracted from. If you experience either recurring feelings (of guilt, shame or blame), or if you get a hankering some other way to resolve this matter, be bold and do so. Seek help. Do not be shy about getting therapy. It’s the brave thing to do, and also the most useful one. You do not need to “go it alone.”
The presence of all these planets in Pisces is drawing your attention to many things you might otherwise prefer to avoid. You may be experiencing unusual conditions in your home or family life, which are surfacing specifically to present the opportunity to heal them. If you do this it will have a positive influence on your relationships — particularly if certain themes or issues keep coming up. Once you notice, this is the invitation to focus your attention on them.
What’s making all of this so relevant now is that Saturn is leaning into all of these points one by one, in a sense making it inevitable that you focus on them and address them.
By far the most significant of these is Saturn square Neptune, which is in a sense pushing your awareness, focusing you on what you might ordinarily miss; what ordinarily exists in a blindspot. If I could sum up Saturn in Sagittarius square Neptune in Pisces in four words, they would be: Get. Real. With. Yourself.
Saturn is pushing you every way there is to push, but the ‘get real’ bit is where it all comes home. It’s also essential you put this energy to work creatively, as this emotional level of processing and resolution is stoking your ambition and desire to take leadership. Which leads to the next idea: Virgo and your 10th house.
Success Beyond Perfectionism
One of the little jokes about Sagittarius is that it can’t be concerned with the details. To any astrologer paying attention, that’s actually funny. You may not like certain details, you may have an antipathy to getting overly invested in technology, you may prefer the big picture to the small one, but you do indeed have a perfectionist streak.
You associate perfection with success. I am here to tell you to relax a little, and to lean back on your proficiency, at the same time emphasizing the level of feeling in what you do. Life is not art school, where you are critiqued by a panel. For most people, when they encounter something creative, it happens so fast they don’t notice the details — but they notice how they feel. I am not inviting sloppy work as much as I am inviting you to emphasize feeling over form; idea over technical proficiency.
I could not and would not say this without information that you already hold yourself to a high standard, so high that it gets in the way of noticing you’re succeeding.
Here’s how the astrology looks: Jupiter, the planet associated with both your sign and with Pisces (your alternate sign) is now in Virgo — at the top of your chart. Virgo needs Pisces to chill it the fuck out. All that ‘do it right’ energy of Virgo is now getting soaked in the cosmic waters of Jupiter. This is like delivering moisture and fertilizer to Virgo. Virgo is your 10th solar house (or whole-sign house, if you’re Sagittarius rising). This is the one about reputation, achievement and accountability.
Jupiter here on its own might not do so much for you; then it might, but Jupiter has a lot of help right now — that being all the action in Sagg and Pisces, which is in a sense funding and pouring energy into your 10th house through Jupiter. This is telling you what is possible — and it’s also making it even more possible than it normally might be.
There is a competing influence there that you must be mindful of, because you could trip on it. That is Transpluto. Unlike Jupiter, Transpluto does not actually exist anywhere but in the minds of astrologers, and in their computer programs. It’s what’s called a hypothetical point. It takes about 70 years to go through a sign.
Transpluto represents what you might call the perfectionistic, narrow-minded parent who wants their child to become an accountant, and so starts math tutoring at age three. You may have this influence nagging you. You may have moments of doubt that you can accomplish anything of any real merit. Don’t fall for it. It’s a lingering relic of some past influence. You merely need to identify that influence and step lightly over it. It is not real in the sense that the viewpoint being offered is not a valid one.
Yes, it’s always good to check your work; it’s good to have an editor, or someone to keep an eye on certain details you might miss. It’s good to reach for doing a little better every time. That’s as far as I suggest you allow Transpluto to guide you. If some influence in your mind says, “you cannot do this,” you may respond with, “thanks, I’m now going to.”
Along the way, I suggest you relax a little about being perfect. Your work is excellent, and you already are “perfect” in any meaningful sense of the word. You work hard at what you do; this is especially true now. Above all else, allow the feeling of what you’re doing, and what you’re envisioning to come through — and trust that it does.