This sculpture by Kees Verkade, “Tightrope Walker” was part of my Aries full moon meditation today.
Jupiter will station direct tomorrow at 9:37 a.m. EDT. There are many ways to process this for insight and inspiration. Here are a few, taken from my class for Fresh Voices in Astrology earlier this year: Jupiter in Sagittarius: When Do We Get to The Good Part?
Meditating on Jupiter
Jupiter is the largest planet, named after the mythological most divine ruler. So just imagine that for a moment, and now imagine more of that quality in you. Jupiter symbolizes some area of talent, luck, or blessings: where we have an inborn connection to greatness and can have even more if we believe in ourselves, pick up some wisdom along the way, and go for it. Ultimately Jupiter represents how we can access a state of success, gratitude, and joy.
Jupiter is between Mars and Saturn. So it’s beyond Mars, the planet of action and desire. But before Saturn, which helps us grow up, commit, and work hard at something. And that placement is meaningful because first, Jupiter helps us wish. Just try. Follow our excitement. Tune into hope.
The glyph or symbol of Jupiter is the God’s lightning bolt. It’s also the crescent of receptivity rising above the cross of matter. Steven Arroyo calls this “the intermixing of the spiritual and the material.” We have an earthly experience of structure, limits, points of decision-making. Interacting with that cross is this crescent, cup, or moon -- the emotional, imaginative, loving, healing realm. We absorb and reflect or take in and pour back out this mixture of the real and the mysterious, the practical and the nourishing: humanity and divinity. Can we be receptive and generous enough to do that?
Meditating on Sagittarius
In Sagittarius, Jupiter has come home, where the energy is pure and powerful, so it’s hypothetically easier to express. Jupiter is in its rulership in Sagittarius — its castle. In the zodiac cycle, which starts with Aries and the first day of Spring, Sagittarius is the 9th sign, between the still, deep waters of Scorpio and the cardinal, beginning earth of Capricorn. Sagittarius as a mutable sign has an agenda of movement: A passage between inner and complex, psychological processes and outer, impressive accomplishments. The archer between the scorpion and the seagoat or mountain goat.
Mutable signs don’t tie us to anything just yet but remind us of a need for variety, change, flexibility. And Sagittarius as a fire sign wants action, a challenge. It wants to find and express freedom, passion and inspiration. It’s also the centaur, combining the animal nature and wisdom of the body with the higher mind. When we shoot the arrow it takes us to new places both mentally and physically. And that’s exciting for a planet in Sagittarius. That feels good. learning, moving, disseminating. Paraphrasing Steven Forrest, three faces of Sagittarius are the student, the traveler, and the philosopher.
Sagittarius is also the great connector of threads, finding common themes and deriving meaning. And so it can help to reflect on the past Jupiter in Sagittarius cycle, or as many as you can remember.
June 9, 1960 - October 25, 1960
January 14, 1971 - June 4, 1971
September 11, 1971 - February 6, 1972
July 24, 1972 - September 25, 1972
December 25, 1982 - January 19, 1984
December 9, 1984 - January 3, 1996
November 23, 2006 - December 18, 2007
November 8, 2018 - December 2, 2019
Have any themes recurred for you this year that tie into past Jupiter cycles? Think about how might this be a homecoming not just for Jupiter, but for you, too.
Meditating on Direction
There are high and low expressions of every symbol in astrology. The danger of a planet in its own sign is that there’s nothing to put the brakes on. Jupiter in Sagittarius can be extreme: Overindulging, overdoing, overextending. It can symbolize our tendency to jump to conclusions, leap before we look, or become stuck in an echo chamber or our own opinions.
There’s a naive face of this, like a good-time party animal or a thrillseeker. Relying on luck or bravado can lead to all kinds of accidents or disasters. But the darker side of this is if we create a belief system around greed or glory or superiority that just keeps expanding. This is a reality of the moment, too.
High Jupiter in Sagittarius expression is merciful and honorable. The cross and the crescent underscore Hippocrates’s ideal of “first, do no harm” — as long as we don’t stay in our rooms all day because we’re afraid of doing harm. The world needs our leadership, too. Jupiter represents a lifelong process of developing a higher code in some area. But Jupiter also represents something to do: instructions for a better life. Jupiter is considered the “greater benefic” in astrology, and benefic comes from the Latin bene and facere -- to do well. And so our well-being is tied to a verb — an action.
Since April 10th of this year (EDT), Jupiter has been retrograde. A retrograde period symbolizes a slowing down, retracing, inward time. But it can also be a do-over. This could have felt extremely frustrating if we really wanted to push ahead on something. Especially for people with strong Sagittarius and Pisces, signs ruled by Jupiter, we might have found ourselves having to dig deep to access hope. The symbolism of Jupiter retrograde was partly that discernment takes time: That wisdom can come from looking back and within, from processes that are less linear, more imaginative. Jupiter retrograde, for better or worse, gave us insight into what was beyond our control. And hopefully it helped counter some of the excess of Jupiter in Sagittarius, drawing our attention not just to outer action but to inner wisdom and our deepest, most passionate dreams.
Now that Jupiter is stationing direct again, we re-aim that arrow to a direction that’s not just personally exciting but also meaningful and broad.
The Jupiter in Sagittarius Lesson
The symbolism we’re dealing with when we talk about Jupiter in Sagittarius is possibility. Just that it’s possible to have faith again, to feel connected to the celebration. Through December of this year, it could help us simply to know that: That the person we see sharing good news may really need that victory right now. Or that it’ll be our turn one day, too. And if it is our turn, can we give ourselves permission to enjoy it?
The current integration of Jupiter in Sagittarius with the other outer planets is an opportunity to be more grounded and more open. If we’ve been gifted in our lives, how can we pay it forward? If we carry a legacy from our family or just people in general who’ve shown us what decency looks like, what character looks like, how can we share that? What are the mature and practical ways we can show kindness or vulnerability or leadership that will elevate not just us but others too? And can we treat ourselves that way, with bold acts of love and generosity and mercy?
Goodness and generosity and blessings are out there just as they’re inside every one of us. Someone or something is out there helping us, cheering for us, making our success possible.
The Jupiter in Sagittarius lesson is this: Something celebrates when we show up.
Mercury and Mars came together yesterday for the second time since June. I had a fight with a guy in the gym.
I finally had reached my annoyance threshold with this guy making loud noises while he punches and runs on the treadmill. When I asked him to stop making loud noises, he jumped off his machine, ran at me, and screamed in my face, “This is not a mother__ church! This is a GYM!” We all have different expectations of gyms, perhaps. His might be one that lets him get out all of his aggression however he wants to. Mine is a safe space for me to get fit; I deliberately chose a gym with a tagline of “No lunkheads.” Our ideas were in conflict with each other and sparked a confrontation. The management decided that his behavior crossed the line and asked him to leave. Fellow gymgoers thanked me and co-signed the incident report. I was nervous and shaky all night.
I imagine most of us don’t find confrontations fun. Confrontations basically suck. We avoid them, unless maybe we’re in our cars or online. But what happens to unexpressed anger? What happens to stifled passion?
Mercury and Mars will meet again in the earth sign Virgo on September 3rd, on the same degree as the sun. One interpretation is the combining of our voice and action in practical, useful ways that express the essence of who we are. That’s some assignment. The closest we’ve come recently was July 2000, when the Mercury/Mars conjunction was just a degree away from the sun. In Cancer, that correlated with building a safe, healthy, and loving emotional core, home, and family. What have been the fruits of your learning and efforts in those areas for the past 19 years? How have you come to embody and express home, healing, kindness, and family? When have you had to protect or defend the vulnerable?
Mercury in retrograde now returning to the sign of Cancer gives us a chance to reflect on those principles and readjust if we need to. If we’re exhausted from some effort or fight, what nourishment can we reach toward? How can we mentally recuperate? This Mercury retrograde (July 7-July 31 EDT) can be challenging because we’re compelled to move ahead in sustained action while our processing and communication functions seem slower. But how could it help our actions to process information at a more deliberate pace and weigh our words more carefully?
We can probably all benefit from reexamining our usual approach to confrontation. I might have been brave at the gym, but I also might have put myself in unnecessary danger -- a Mars pattern of mine that stresses the heck out of everyone around me. How can I have smarter confrontations? I was annoyed by that guy, but I was probably also triggered by years of unexpressed resentment over aggressive male behavior that built up over time: From manspreading to catcalling, I’d had enough.
If you’ve had a recent conflict -- inner or outer -- have you started to process the lesson?
This Mercury retrograde and the period leading up to September 3rd I’ll be mulling this over: In the joining of the sun, Mars, and Mercury, do all three planets usually have equal say or does one tend to dominate? How can they learn to cooperate?
We’re never stuck in one expression. If you find yourself frustrated while Mercury is in retrograde, consider it a challenge you’re up for.
But maybe be a little more thoughtful and careful than I was at the gym. Come September, you’ve got an important job to do.
Sometimes while I’m driving Lyndon to school we’ll talk about one astrological concept that can get us through the day. When I was looking at the chart of the day this morning, what popped in my mind is Venus.
Friday is ruled by Venus, whose gifts are love, beauty, art, and peace. Today’s Libra moon is also ruled by Venus. So there’s a double message of peace and connection with others. Where the message gets nuanced is in the current sign of Venus, Sagittarius. Sagittarius is an independence-loving sign, seeking and striving for adventure and inspiration. And restlessness isn’t always a great remedy for peace. So how do we reconcile these energies?
That’s for all of us to explore personally, but just knowing that both coexist might help us through today. Maybe we can seek interactions with interesting people; maybe learning, reading, or exploring in some other way can bring us peace. And maybe taking time to remember our best adventures or start planning our next one can help us see where we have freedom and options and get reacquainted with inspiration again.
I’ve been feeling guilty that I haven’t been writing as much. It’s not that I haven’t wanted to. I’ve just been more reserved. I’m wondering how much this instinct to become more private is connected with my progressed moon having recently entered Scorpio. The progressed moon symbolizes our evolving emotional needs and states, and its 2¼-year length is helpful to explore in terms of significant emotional phases throughout our lives.
When my moon progressed into airy Libra I started writing and communicating more in general. I wrote and shared more about relationships – strategies for connecting and finding common ground. I felt compelled to check in. My counseling practice picked up. Even through a divisive presidential election I tried to show respect to people with differing opinions – a huge stretch for a Sagittarius. I was learning to be more considerate.
My moon progressed to Scorpio this summer while I was on a Holocaust Remembrance Trip in Europe with my family. I haven’t written much about the trip because there’s so much to unpack psychologically, and at the same time I’m aware that what I saw and felt over two weeks pales in comparison to what millions of people lived through. In the Jewish Museum of Prague I photographed these children’s drawings from the 1940s. Their teacher, Friedl Dicker-Brandeis, held secret therapeutic art classes in the Terezín ghetto, determined to connect the children to beauty and inspiration even as their lives got more restricted and terrifying. Eventually Dicker-Brandeis was sent to and killed at Auschwitz. I still think about her, trying to understand the evil that she was up against, wondering how I also can be an instrument of love and hope even in darkness. And it’s not always clear to me. It’s just a question. Sometimes the darkness is so potent.
I’ve become more aware of these kinds of difficult truths – how life can be unfair or cruel. And I think it’s giving me more empathy. Fellow water signs Cancer and Pisces are more often touted for their compassion and ability to love. But I’m starting to believe that Scorpio doesn’t get enough credit. With its penetrating ability to plumb the murky and intense, I wonder if the fixed water energy of Scorpio is partly about finding the strength to continue to love and empathize even when it would be tempting to shut out or shut down. Developing the right protections to carry a sensitive soul, like Cancer, renewing in dreamy darkness, like Pisces, but with the reliability of fellow fixed signs Taurus and Leo: You can depend on me. I’m not going away.
Somehow progressed moon signs or phases kick in when we need them to, when we are ready or when life is ready for us to express a new quality. Right before my moon progressed to watery Scorpio, Lyndon’s moon progressed to fiery Aries. Lyndon’s rising to the challenges of his new middle school: changing classes for the first time, meeting new friends, taking responsibility for his homework and grades. I see a decisiveness that wasn’t there when his progressed moon was in Pisces. Then he was more likely to be swayed by what other people said or just to try to blend in and not make waves. Now he’s speaking up with a budding confidence. I have to check myself when he’s a little harsh with me: Do I point it out to him or let him practice this new voice until he gets the right balance? Aries and Scorpio make an uncomfortable aspect to each other – a quincunx – and the two of us try our best to adjust to each other these days. We both can be a little too spiky. In some ways Lyndon is over-confident: He fervently debates that he’s old enough to take two subways and walk a mile by himself to get home from school every day. I counter that parents have a sense in their guts about what’s safe for their children. He doesn’t buy it. But I need to honor my strong intuition, too. He’s 11. It was only last year that he was the spacey kid who got a pencil stuck in his forehead. (For the full story, see my Parenting with Astrology webinar.) So I send him for smaller trips alone and see how he does. I defer when he tells me he’s too old this year to take a Christmas card photo. That’s a hard one for me. But I have to make sure I don’t come off as too authoritarian while he’s learning an Aries sense of his own power.
If I didn’t practice astrology, I could still find a language for what Lyndon is experiencing through developmental stages. And thank God there are so many ways for us to figure out meaning and next steps. But the progressed moon is a simple tool that helps me on a daily basis to understand emotional landscape and phases and cut myself and my family more slack.
I have two more years in Scorpio territory, and I don’t know what that will mean for me as a mother or wife, artist or astrologer, woman or simply a human. The progressed moon in Scorpio merges two symbols of mystery. And so I’m very much exploring right now. The clients who have come for readings lately seem to want to sit in deep space together. I love that. Yet I also feel socially awkward navigating this depth in other settings. What’s appropriate to share and with whom? I’m not always sure. Part of Scorpio is discerning between privacy that feels good or right and privacy that just reinforces a sense of shame.
Both Aries and Scorpio can be powerful, passionate and extreme. They’re both ruled by Mars – the red planet and God of war. And so for the next two years Lyndon and I might not always be so comfortable to be around. We might have to push back in situations we last year would have tolerated. We might have to tell harsh or awkward truths, to each other and to the outside world. In some ways that’s exciting, and I’m happy to be aligned with my child in this way. I have an Aries moon natally and I’m curious to see those energies reflected in Lyndon for the next two years. What will I admire? What will I see that I don’t like? What might I be able to help him understand? How will seeing Aries in Lyndon help me embrace untapped courage and leadership, too?
In two days transiting Mars will enter Aries; it’ll stay in Aries until Valentine’s Day. For Lyndon and me, this will ramp up the intensity and focus of our progressed moons. For all of us in some area, the symbols represent willpower and desire, boundaries and bravery. Pay attention to any unrest or passion, aggression, excitement, or fear you notice, either around you or within you. The next two months will be rife with opportunities to act and react – to challenge our natural patterns and try ways that feel more aligned with who we are right now.
I hope for me that means challenging myself to shed some of the shell I’ve been fortifying myself under – or at least exchanging it for a larger one that leaves space for more company. And so if you’d like to explore your progressed moon or your child’s, please reach out to me. The moon is a symbol of life’s natural phases of growth and renewal. It rules parenting and childhood, our inner life and creativity and our ability to recover and heal. It reveals the most tender parts of us. It can be an act of love to ourselves just to sit in that space, alone or with another: to feel, to wonder, to marvel – at where we’ve been, who we are and who we’re still becoming.
Mercury is entering Sagittarius today for the second time this year. The first time Mercury was in Sagittarius, October 31 – December 1st, it got stopped in its tracks by a retrograde period. (See Mercury retrograde post.)
We’re still in the Mercury retrograde shadow period, which will end on December 24th. So until then, Sagittarian optimism and joy may be a little slow-going. We may have to process a bit to get there. It might not be automatic. Some ruminating energy still shadows our ability to wish big. That can be a good thing, slowing us down enough to wish for the right things – the things that will really serve our highest nature and not just be a quick distraction.
Take advantage of this post-shadow period to spend a few minutes each day tuning within -- or simply remembering the times in your life when you felt an excited connection to your purpose. Now is a good time for us to recognize where we are on our life paths and make some sense of it all. What fits? What doesn’t? After the deep, feeling phase of Scorpio, Sagittarius adds spark and fire to our mindset, and maybe some impatience. Sit with that, too. The divine unrest of Sagittarius can be a teacher. Examine it somehow – with a loved one, in a journal, or in some other way that allows you to be safely and brutally honest.
In some way we may have become stuck. Mercury is connected to flexibility – in thought, speech, and physical movement. And Sagittarius is related to exploration. This time can help us recognize the freedom and abundance of our current situation or point the way to something better. So even if the time is frustrating, try to stay interested in what’s unraveling. And if it helps, try to picture the sound of your own name with a Sagittarian twist: Loud and exaggerated, jovial and free, infused with possibility.
When Mercury goes retrograde, the information it imparts has to do with the sign it’s in and the aspects it makes to other planets during the retrograde cycle. It will have a specific message for our own individual natal charts, but it will have a collective message for all of us, too.
Mercury stationed retrograde November 16th at 13°29’ Sagittarius, squaring Neptune in Pisces. Mentally, we were all in a fog about something. It stations direct today at 4:22 p.m. EST at 27°16’ Scorpio. For many of us this has been a rough one, but hopefully it also has brought all of us a little more clarity.
What informs this clarity?
During any Mercury retrograde period, insights arrive both from within ourselves and from the past in some way. Yesterday Shutterfly helpfully sent me this reminder of how incredibly cute Lyndon was. Shutterfly regularly sends me photo memories, and most of them are sweet. But it rarely sends me pictures of Lyndon’s. First. Christmas. And that’s the feeling of the end of this retrograde cycle in Scorpio. What we’re seeing or taking in through any of our senses deeply pierces our hearts in some way. Maybe we missed the learning opportunity the first time around, or we forgot it in some way that was crucial. And if the lesson is deep and powerful enough, it can take our breath away. This was a retrograde of searing truths. So if you’re in that heavy space, honor the breadth and depth of what you’ve been processing.
Mercury retrograde famously is associated with mistakes, misunderstandings, and glitches. And they can be our teachers, too – slowing us down, helping us be more intentional. This Mercury retrograde cycle I tried to pay attention to the interactions I had because of the setbacks. Who or what showed up to help me? Who or what had I not noticed until a moment of frustration or vulnerability? Which creative options did I discover out of necessity that I may want to carry forward with me?
During this retrograde period I also heard my own words or vocal tone comes back to me – for good and for bad. I heard kindness and encouragement from coworkers, a cheery sing-song from my Mom. I heard an aggravated, impatient tone in Lyndon’s voice that never used to be there. They were different illustrations of my own voice, showing me what I like about my communication and what I can still do better.
At the beginning of this retrograde period, Mercury squared Mars. And so in some way, Mars has been our teacher. Conflict and courage were part of the message of the past three weeks. As we encountered anger, aggression, will, or fear, have we drawn a boundary or forged ahead in a new, uncharted way?
Later Mercury aligned with the sun and Jupiter in Sagittarius. Part of this inward or backward retreat has been to reclaim our own faith, hope, light, and immensity. What did we forget or never notice about our own possibility and essence? Because Mercury travels so closely to the sun and retrogrades three times a year, we get this chance symbolically to see and express ourselves anew several times a year. But this sun/Mercury conjunction in Sagittarius related to the self we want to be philosophically. Our beliefs have been in the spotlight. Exploration and wisdom have been in the spotlight. And hopefully this searching period has shown us some risks we needed to take to be more true and free.
As Mercury stations direct on this day when the Sagittarius moon joins the same degree as Jupiter, it could soothe us to absorb and connect meaning to some of the wisdom we’ve personally gained during the last three weeks. Importantly, tomorrow will be a new moon and Mars and Neptune will join at the same degree. Our strength is aligned with something bigger than we are, even if we still can’t yet see the way forward.
This Mercury retrograde has come during Hanukkah, the Jewish Festival of Lights commemorating the rededication of the Temple after its desecration, and Advent, the Christian season of waiting for the arrival of Christ. And in that duality we find ourselves: Even as there’s more to prepare for and anticipate, there are victories and signs of hope, big and small, worth seeing and celebrating.