An Adventure Through Two Worlds

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Reality Check for Sagittarius and Sagittarius Rising | 2012 Annual by Eric Francis

Sagittarius is the original sign of adventure, and you are on an original adventure. But you might think of this as a sideways odyssey — you’re not going directly forward; it’s more like around. You are not scaling a mountain; you are diving into an inner world that seems to open into an endless depth. The biggest chance you’re taking is the one that few dare — that of being yourself in a vast creative experiment.

Pinwheel Mandala. Painting by P.C. Turczyn.

Pinwheel Mandala. Painting by P.C. Turczyn.

Sagittarius is the sign of the half-wild human; the feral, formerly civilized person who escaped from the madness, but would rather live in the bush just next to the city than be a member of proper society. Sagittarians are famous for their love of the outdoors, riding their bikes in the snow and getting lost in strange places. This is somehow also the sign of philosophy and wisdom, but if that is true, it’s from a direct source.

If you’re an herbalist, you learned most of it directly from the plants and the Earth itself. If you’re a hunter, you’re close to the medicine of the animal you’re hunting. If you go hiking, you’re the kind of person who is aware whether the birds are speaking or not — and what they mean by it.

If you’re a thinker, it’s less about the love of knowledge and more that you recognize your brain as a survival tool, as you trek through an environment that verges on entirely hostile. And as for people — well, you know they are not always that helpful, but you seem to like them. Anyway, they like you, though the places you are going —  I assure you — most of them don’t really understand.

One illustration for the ‘wild side’ of Sagittarius involves the association of your sign with the creature known as the centaur. Half-human, half-horse, the centaur describes the human condition in its true form: the graft of animal and civilized person. Humans tend to struggle with their animal side; you don’t have to.

There exists a class of planets called ‘centaurs’, the first of which was Chiron (discovered in 1977). Chiron is prominent in your chart this year and for many years to come, though there are 15 named centaurs. Guess what? Six of them are in your birth sign right now. That means that pretty much no matter what kind of Sagittarian you are, and no matter how many planets or your ascendant you have there, you are getting constant centaur transits. By constant, I mean over many years, and many different transits: six slow-moving planets in your sign will make a lot of aspects to your Sun and any inner planets that are close to it; and they are revving the whole energy field of Sagittarius.

In addition, you have something called Ixion in your sign — he was the (human) father of all the centaurs except for Chiron and Pholus, and there were many.

What does this mean? I’ll tell you a story, to illustrate the point. I am fond of asking Rob Hand, the venerated Papa Smurf of traditional astrology, what he thinks of the minor planets. Well, I like to ask Mr. Sagittarius himself anything, and he likes to answer (then I share the information with you). One day I asked him if he had experience using Chiron. He said yes, he used it for a while and he discovered three things.

1) It was usually present when there were other major transits;

2) He could not quite grasp what it was about, because he found that it was difficult to distinguish the action of Chiron from the action of the other planets and;

3) Whenever Chiron was present in the chart, the client was having really, really intense experiences. He said something like the client was living with a jet-pack on, in this highly charged-up experience of life.

What I learned from that is that not everyone can distinguish Chiron’s action from that of the other planets — and that someone observant noticed that Chiron adds intensity. We can say this for all of the centaurs. And you have six of them in your sign, plus the father of the centaurs, Ixion, and you have Chiron active in your chart more intensely than any time since the late 1990s.

Now, most astrologers are repelled by the centaurs and they tend to be edgy about Chiron, not fully trusting it, or giving it meanings that it does not necessarily have. The centaurs all exist in an alternate plane of reality. They are half in the dream world, but they have direct expressions in our world. There is a whole dimension of your reality that is, well, going on in another dimension. But you live it and feel it.

Bruce Springsteen, who has Chiron in Sagittarius, summed it up beautifully in the lyrics to Darkness on the Edge of Town:

Tonight I’ll be on that hill ’cause I can’t stop,
I’ll be on that hill with everything I got,
Lives on the line where dreams are found and lost,
I’ll be there on time and I’ll pay the cost,
For wanting things that can only be found
In the darkness on the edge of town.

So, six centaurs in your birth sign or ascendant — I can only imagine. You must look out at the physical world, having it seem only half-real. If you have the Moon in Sagittarius, there is no such thing as a comfort zone — get used to it. It’s as if you live in a house that seems to lack a roof or walls half the time.

Of the six centaurs that are in your sign, I will describe three of them. The first and most famous is Pholus. He was one of the ‘civilized’ centaurs, the keeper of an old Dionysian temple. In psychological terms, Pholus is about the expression — and release — of anything involving three generations. It highlights the ancestral quality of all of the centaurs; they are all deeply involved with the impact of the distant past on the present. Pholus will describe the legacy of alcoholism in a family, whatever that might be. Pholus is also about curiosity, and it has the quality of rapid, unpredictable and moreover uncontainable transformations, as if something is released and cannot be captured again.

Next is Hylonome. This is a centaur that connects us to the struggles of human existence, the sacrifices, the sense of loss and grief that we live with on the planet, and that we see on television nearly any time we flip the thing on. Hylonome grants empathy with these experiences, and I have no doubt that you’re picking up on that empathy and want a way to put it to use.

Then there is Chariklo, the wife of Chiron. She carries the energy of devotion, which can be inexplicable at times. One must be careful about verging into codependency, though the devotional energy itself is essential to our sanity on the Earth plane — though in this instance, it’s as if it comes from the immortal level. It’s as if we have a touch of immortal love in our hearts when Chariklo is present — and it is, for you.

As for Ixion — this is the one that is pushing the edge of right and wrong, and that for many people would make ethics seem useless. Ixion is at the root of many global problems right now, where there is a prevailing ‘spirituality’ that is absolutely vapid when it comes to love. The influence of Ixion is cautioning you to be conscious about caring for people, and reminds you that there is a difference between right and wrong; but also, you are extremely sensitive to injustice and the people who perpetuate it. You will have to be clever about how you work that out — that is to say, a behind-the-scenes approach may be the best one, for now.

Remember — all of these points sound workable enough when you describe them, though all are associated with intense experiences, and sometimes they seem out of control. Note as well: they will heat up any time the Sun or one of the fast-moving planets (Mercury, Venus, Mars) is in one of the mutable signs. The Sun is there at the end of every season (when it is in Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius or Pisces). And at the moment, Mars is in Virgo, about to make a long retrograde — it will make squares to many of these points extending through early July 2012.

So, that ramps up the intensity factor exponentially. While we’re here in the dreamtime, on the edge of the town, let’s consider Chiron. You will read various places that Chiron ‘rules’ Sagittarius; I don’t use rulerships for the new discoveries, but Chiron is most certainly a creature associated with your sign.

Chiron is now in Pisces — perhaps the very most sensitive angle of your chart — the solar 4th house (4th house by whole-sign houses, if you’re Sagittarius rising). The 4th is associated with the past, your ancestral line (especially paternal), your security base, and it describes your home environment. This is about connecting to your existence from the roots. During this transit you will be extremely sensitive to your surroundings, and be inclined to invest significant energy on personal healing work, particularly involving your emotions.

The 4th house is associated with practical matters like how safe we feel, but particularly with Pisces here, this house reminds me of the foggy ruins of time, that beautiful image from Mr. Tambourine Man. Due to the arrival of Neptune, this Piscean resonance gets even stronger — that has sort of begun, though it comes on at full strength next year. To me this is an image of flushing out your history, and refreshing your emotional waters. We could all use some purification. Let Chiron reveal both your sensitivity and what you need to clear out — and let Neptune give you the resources, and the faith, and the vision, to do so.

And — Into the Practical World

Consider that a tour of your inner universe, the one that few astrologers are likely to even know about because the centaurs (with the possible exception of Chiron) are off of their radar. Let’s take a look at your astrology from a more mundane standpoint.

You begin the year with your ruling planet, Jupiter, in Taurus — your solar 6th house (6th house by whole signs, if you are Sagittarius rising). This is a grounded placement for Jupiter, which usually experiences existence more in ideas than in tangible action. Jupiter consciously needs to be applied to whatever situation it’s going to benefit from — and this definitely counts.

The work you do is taking on more significance, both in your own life and — if you are sensitive to your environment — in the lives of the people around you. You’re getting better at what you do, and despite what many other people are going through, you’re either doing what you are good at, or discovering what you love. By all rights, you should be feeling a vision forming, one that you can run with for a long time. It looks like there is a simplicity to this that is somewhat different from your complex inner universe. I would say that is the thing that defines your vision, as opposed to what you’re actually experiencing: it seems tangible, elegant and beautiful, as opposed to the various layers of inner conflict that you seem to encounter on an almost seasonal basis.

Simply put, work is good for you. Focus on goals rather than ambitions (for example, writing a book would count for a tangible goal, but publishing it for something more akin to an ambition). Do things for their own sake.

One reason I say this is that there seems to be a glass ceiling over your career at the moment. It’s as if you can do your work but not aspire to do more. This is a temporary hitch, and it’s here for a reason. That reason involves coming to a point of clarity about leadership. Once we start to incorporate larger goals, that involve more visibility and more people, we are really making a choice about leadership. You may not view it this way, but that is the difference (astrologically speaking) between the 6th house (where Jupiter is) and the 10th house (where Mars is about to station retrograde, and remain retrograde into mid-April).

The 10th is a more ambitious house than the 6th, and Mars there wants to go on a full-scale campaign. Yet as I write, Mars is slowing to a stop, and will be moving retrograde through some tricky territory. This will apply to any goal that exceeds doing something for its own sake — ranging from starting a business to getting a job or a promotion, or becoming better-known for what you do. If those kinds of goals seem to be beset by delays or complications, they can serve a purpose if you don’t get too caught up in them.

I recognize that for a long time this whole journey of working toward expansion of your mission, getting the recognition that you clearly deserve, and getting a foothold on your professional reputation have come in fits and starts. This has not been a straightforward process, but then the path to actual achievements almost never is. What is not often said about any kind of real achievement is why it can take so long — and the reason is that real success involves a long process of getting clear about what you want to achieve. It’s one thing to think in broad terms, and another to think in terms of actual specifics.

Think of Mars retrograde as a period of trial and error. In many respects, this transit, which lasts for approximately the first quarter of the year, is a systems check that happens just prior to the core astrology of 2012, which takes place between mid-May and late June. Contrary to various predictions, the most interesting astrology of 2012 does not happen at the Capricorn solstice, but rather as the Sun and other planets cross the sensitive event horizon of your chart — Gemini. This casts the most interesting events of the year into the relationship angle of your chart. In other words, it is relational.

The most important thing I can tell you about Mars retrograde is to not get distracted by what you think of as your most important goals. As astrologer Patric Walker once said to John Lennon, “Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.” Mars retrograde would represent those ‘other plans’. And if you are looking at them, or fixated on them, or solving problems related to them, you are more likely to miss something in your immediate environment. It’s urgent that you proceed in a way that is connected to concrete feelings, tasks, projects and experiences, rather than getting lost in abstractions and plans. Indeed, I would not go much further with the whole notion of ‘planning’ than planning the task list for any given day or perhaps a week.

Pay attention to anything that has a stated deadline or a commitment to another person — those provide a valuable and necessary framework, and do not count for abstractions. Negotiate when you can, especially if you feel like the sword of Damocles is hanging over your head. In fact, that is the sensation to be mindful of. That is when to start negotiating and redoing the schedule.

Besides that, I suggest you be extremely mindful and focus only on what works, rather than concentrating on fixing what does not work. There is something in this Mars retrograde about learning to take the conscious path of least resistance. I don’t mean popcorn, beer and HBO — that would be the unconscious path of least resistance. I mean, bear in mind what you know about what you’re doing, and without getting caught in abstractions or being side-tracked by side problems, focus on what works. Focus on working with who you work well with.

Be a positive presence, but I would caution against being a cheerleader. You are a participant on the team, not standing on the sidelines. And to the extent that you will have an extra consultative role, people will come to you for that — I don’t suggest you go to them with advice or ideas, despite a temptation to do so. Mars retrograde is cautioning strongly against ‘fix it’ energy, or ‘fix them’ energy, and favors simply holding up your end, leading by the best example you can set — particularly for yourself.

The Uranus-Pluto Square: Revolution of the Mind

There are two main features that make 2012 what it is. One is the extremely rare Venus transit of the Sun in Gemini, which I’ve just alluded to, and which I will come back to. The longer-lasting, slower-acting event is Uranus square Pluto. This event is helping you make changes at the very core of your being, which will gradually emerge over time — though in that zone of mid-May to late June you will see the first tangible manifestations.

Let’s take a look at the square one planet at a time, then consider the midpoint. Pluto is an energy you’ve been living with for a long time. It entered your sign in the mid-1990s and finally left in 2009. I have written more about that transit in previous annual editions, including various reviews of what Pluto in Sagittarius represented for you, which amounts to getting a sense of your own intensity. We could also describe this, without exaggerating, as representing a series of experiences that put you into contact with your soul. It may not have seemed like that’s what you were doing at the time, but that is very likely how it ended up.

Pluto did not leave your life when it ingressed Capricorn through 2008 and 2009 — it took up residence in another sensitive angle of your chart, what traditional astrology would call the money angle. However, it means a lot more — Pluto through the 2nd house, particularly in Capricorn, represents a titanic struggle over self-worth. This is developing on many layers, and what you are likely to discover is that you are the one who sets the value on yourself. You, and not anyone else, or any institution, nor the beliefs that they gave you.

There is something here about going deep into your financial worth as well. Over time, you could do extremely well — if what you do is in accord with your values, and if you are willing to do the at-once meticulous and visionary work that the planets have laid out for you.

The other side of this transit is Uranus in Aries — your solar 5th house (5th house by whole signs, if you are Sagittarius rising). This is perhaps the most vibrant creative awakening I can imagine — it’s a self-awakening in the form of a creative revolution. This aspect is about a shocking experiment in existence, and that means seeking experience.

Yet here is your point of grounding: your conscious mind. The deep self-esteem inquiry of Pluto in the 2nd house and Uranus in the 5th resolves in your 3rd house: your mental process. In other words, everything comes down to how you use your mind; how you apply your intelligence. This is, as well, especially important with so much centaur and Neptune influence in your chart. These influences will have you living like you’re in a kind of shamanic world.

In such times you simply must use your head. You must use your wits, and that means proceeding in your major decisions on the basis of logic confirmed by intuition, or intuition confirmed by logic. At the very least, you must attempt to verify your beliefs and understand the basis of any decision with a test of reason. Belief is not enough; faith is not enough. This will not cost you anything — not your creativity, not your access to higher sources of wisdom, and certainly not productivity. You will only gain confidence in yourself, and the respect of those influenced by your decisions.

Your 2012 annual interpretation also includes an extended audio reading. That is available at the top of this page.

Don’t forget to read and listen to your rising sign. Use this link to purchase additional signs of Revelation. Revolution. Reality Check.

Read the past three years of Sagittarius annual interpretations for just $19.95. Includes Next World Stories, Cosmic Confidential and Light Bridge. These were designed to be multiple-year interpretations, preparing for and extending into 2012.