Monday, November 21, 2011

The Unbearable Lightness of Being Sagittarius

 November 22, the Sun moves out of Scorpio and into Sagittarius. 
Do you feel lighter already ?!

Having passed through the death of the flesh we arrive in the 9th house of higher, less temporal concerns. The spark that ignited the life cycle in Spring (Aries) and fuelled the Sun in Summer (Leo), is now the transforming fire of the hearth (or altar) that will keep our spirits alive through the long, winter passage. 


In days of olde, before TV and computers, people gathered by the fireplace or camp fire and told stories. Most Sagittarians are natural-born story tellers, be their medium words, pictures or music. And they like to take in as much information as they put out. They often seem to have invisible antennae that tune into the constellation of Sagittarius, where the galactic centre is located.

Jupiter ("fire father"), King of the Gods rules this sign. His other western incarnations are Zeus, Odin, Wotan, Jove, Jehovah, etc. Oh yes, and Santa Claus, too. Santa is directly descended from Odin 'the Bearded One,' with a bit of Catholic Saint Nicholas thrown in to make him seem a bit less Pagan-y. In his Greek and Roman incarnations, Zeus-Jupiter had an insatiable sex drive and would've  been considered an abusive husband, by our standards. But the lightening-bolt hurling, sperm bank of the sky has mellowed in his old age. In astrology, he is known as the 'greater benefic' (Venus being the 'lesser'),' who bestows good fortune during his one year transit through each zodiac house...or down their chimneys, as the case may be. He is still currently retrograde in Taurus, but will get moving again on Christmas day - fitting ! 

In Tarot, two sides of Jupiter are represented as the Emperor, he is the masculine principal, dressed in war garb, right beside his female counterpart, Juno, the Empress. (His crossed legs make the symbol for Jupiter). The eagles on their shields are alchemical symbols - wings pointing up for female and down for male. This seems contrary to fire being masculine and earth being feminine, but it is rather like the yin yang, wherein each side contains it's opposite. (See bottom for Empress card)

The male, fertility God rains downward on the Earth, while the plant growth of the earth reaches upward, toward the Sun and rain. 
Jupiter is also the Pope (or 'Heirophant'), being the bridge to our higher consciousness, the religious/spiritual father.

These two aspects of Jupiter play out in the sign of Sagittarius. Many Sagittarians are warrior-like and disciplined, suited to martial arts, team sports, debating, politics, etc, while others are more in tune with the realm of spiritual pursuits, dance, music, dreams, visions. Some are both.

                                  Sagittarian sons, Disney and Beethoven (pastoral Symphony) come together in 'Fantasia'

Like it's opposite sign, Gemini, Sagittarius wrestles with reconciling it's earthly and immortal sides. But while Gemini can usually get away with avoiding the issue until age forces it, Sagittarius is terminally aware and actively seeks answers to life's mysteries. Beneath their joviality, centaurs are often driven by deep pain, as was the noble centaur, Chiron, on which the constellation is based. Their gift is in being able to transform it and be an inspiration to others. 
Sagittarius, in it's most elevated sense, can be like an earthly microcosm of the whole cosmos, the drama of darkness and light. (It's the sign of astrology, naturally).

To See the world in a grain of sand, 

And heaven in a wild flower,

Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,

   And eternity in an hour.

Sagi Anthem ? The Who  'The Seeker' live in Germany, 1970

In other news (briefly)... 

Mercury will retrograde on the eve of Nov. 23, in Sagittarius, until Dec. 13. You all know the routine, but this time, be extra careful with your words as the archer has a habit of speaking before thinking. Here's a little ditty by D.B. Wyndham Lewis to keep in mind:

  I shot an arrow into the air;
    I don't know how it fell or where;
 But strangely enough, at my journey's end,
   I found it again in the neck of a friend.

The New Moon of Nov. 25 will also be in Sagittarius. This is the 'Diana Moon,' of the huntress, seeker, wise maiden. If you are not an inward-seeking type, it's a good time to be social and meet new friends. 
There will be a partial Solar eclipse in Sagittarius during the New Moon. We won't see it in the North, but we will likely feel it's effect. Any weakened structures will find it much harder to stay standing after this, metaphorically and physically speaking. There will also be a Lunar eclipse Dec. 10, in Sagittarius' opposite sign, Gemini. The Trickster's presence while the lights are out always means a bit of a rude awakening, but it's only to help make us wiser.
Here's an explanation of what eclipses can signify, by Susan Miller:

Venus leaves Sagittarius and enters Capricorn Nov. 26, until Dec. 20, trading her hippy garb for a grey flannel suit. In Capricorn, Venus is subtle, dignified on the surface, the earthy feminine with a sexy, slight masculinity (think Marlene Dietrich). But she's no ice princess...beneath her cool exterior lives a true pagan nymph. She's got expensive taste, besides, and will be in cahoots with fellow hedonist, Jupiter for about a week, until Dec. 2. With Mercury still retrograde, be careful about blowing too much money on extravagant gifts you can't really afford or can't return ! Keep all receipts. 

Uranus will go direct Dec. 9 and Mercury Dec. 13,  followed by Jupiter, Dec 25, as mentioned. Thus begins the yearly period which I like to think of as Jupiter's gift, when every planet is in direct motion at once. All systems are go until Jan. 23, when Mars begins it's retrograde. Seize the day with the rebirth of the Sun and the help of Capricorn's ability to manifest your Sag-nificant visions !



Thoughtful and waste-free !

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

ZERO IN THE TAROT by MJ Stone - A Tarot History of the Piscean Age

Here's a little retrospective, now that we are officially in the Age of Aquarius. This piece was originally published in Parabola, Fall 2001 issue. It illustrates the Fool's 2000 year journey through the Piscean Age of western civilization, via Tarot imagery. (Appreciation to the author for providing me with an English version). Enjoy !

Whirling through the Major Arcana 
by MJ Stone

Here I go again, spinning round and round, eyes closed, a quantum leap just waiting to happen. Flirting on the brink, whirling like a dervish, I am the primordial force, the Nijinsky of the cosmos. To most I am a fool, but to friends I am fondly nicknamed, a zero. Descending, inexperienced into the world, I am air, the breath of life, pure oxygen.
Some call me an eccentric and a know-it-all. But like the Latin, Follis, meaning a bag of wind, I am the conscious impulse that breathes life into the Tarot and my 21 Arcana companions. Beyond comprehension, I am a trickster, a sly fox and a vigilante rabbit, the roadrunner who defies Wiley’s scientific grasp.
Lucky are the mortals who catch a glimpse of me.  I am the burning bush of Moses, jump starting life’s evolutionary process. Manifesting in archetypes, in fleeting glimpses, in your dreaming: I begin my dance with the Major Arcana’s Magician, and continue to spin and bedazzle throughout the Piscean Age.  By card 21 I complete the circle drawing you into the Age of Aquarius by handing you the World.
Two thousand years ago, I was the essence of the fish and manifest in the man who walks on water, in the shaman who cures the sick and draws Lazarus back from the grave. I am the spirit of that first-century’s quantum leap. I am the message that lives in the heart of the Son of Man; I am card number 1, the Magician.
I represent the spirit of the people where the Christian leap of faith is about to occur. I live in the hearts and minds of Pagan Rome and amongst Northern Europe’s nature-worshipping Druids. I am an incarnation of Morgain, the archetypal goddess and Western, second-century, animistic state of mind. I embody the essence Gaea; I am card number 2, the Druid light, the High Priestess.
I celebrate the union of opposites, where the archetypal Christ marries the Lady of the Lake. I am fertility, the birth of the new faith that catches fire in the third century. I manifest as the pagan projection of Venus transferred onto Mary’s Immaculate Conception. I am card number 3, the Empress.
The quintessence of the Age of Aries is embodied in the Roman Empire. But by century four, the folly of the fish has usurped the pioneering spirit of the ram. From 392 to 395 Theodosius the Great reigns as the last Emperor of a United Rome. Representing the advancements of a previous age, I embody the spirit of the Tarot’s King Arthur. I am card number 4, the Emperor.
The spark that ignites the fire and seizes hold of your imagination is the fifth-century form that I take. I am the inspiration that fires the mystic hearts of Saint Augustine and Saint Patrick. Saint Augustine wrote City of God in 411 and Saint Patrick returned to Ireland in 432. I am the Rumi of devotion manifest in card number 5, the Dalai Lama of the 22, the Hierophant.
 My dance turns transcendental when century six gets under way. I am the love affair that develops between Byzantium and Rome when they are reconciled in 519. I am a united Christian Empire, Venus and Mars in love. I am the harmony and peace  projected by card number 6, the Lovers.
I am a seventh-century noble and heavy-metal warrior for the Christian world, inspiration for the Silver Tower, the first order of knighthood that was established by the High King Balmord the Red in 653. I emerge in the legend of the Holy Grail. I am the archetypal Lancelot, card number 7, the Charioteer.
Out of knighthood springs the flower of chivalry. I am the eighth-century dance that occurs when Charlemagne becomes king of the Franks in 771 and is crowned the first Holy Roman Emperor. Grace, courtesy and devotion form the trilogy his reign inspires, attributes best exemplified by the chaste and fair lady of the Tarot, card number 8, Justice.
Following on the heels of infinite hope comes infinite despair in the ninth century. Louis the Pious succeeds Charlemagne in 814. He is a conscientious Frank who demonstrates that he is an able general and administrator. But on the throne the kindly Emperor is easy prey to schemers, the worst being his own children. Having divided his Empire amongst his sons, he finds, to his grief, that not only do they war among themselves, but they turn on their royal benefactor, forcing Louis to abdicate and seek refuge in a monastery. Such is the dance of a lonely monarch, the King Lear of the Tarot, I am the spirit of card number 9, The Hermit.
When the tenth century rolls round, the Christian world is a ship of fools sailing for an unknown disaster.. Wild musings and millennial fears motivate the hearts and minds of the medieval collective. But by wheel of time proves kind and the thousand-year anniversary of Christ’s life passes without cataclysmic consequence. I am benevolent and kind, the embodiment of fate as represented in card number 10, the Wheel of Fortune.

The first quantum leap of the new millennium is inspired by social activism. I am the spirit that catches fire in the wife of Leofork, earl of Mercia, when Lady Godiva makes her stand. She persuades her husband not only to found monasteries at Coventry and Stow, but also obtains a reduction in the excessive taxes levied by her husband by consenting to ride naked through the town on a white horse. Only one person disobeyed her orders to remain behind closed shutters; that old fool of a tailor, Peeping Tom, peeks through his window and is immediately blinded by Godiva’s radiant projection. In the Tarot, I am fair and beautiful. I am seen holding open the jaws of that proud lion, Leo(fork); I am card number 11, Strength.
I manifest in the profound convictions of a man who is hung out to dry for what he believes in. A sword’s crushing blow extinguishes the life of Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, on a cold December evening as he ascends the steps of his altar. The brutal event sends tremors through 12th-century Europe. Blame for the murder lays at the feet of Becket’s former close personal friend, King Henry II, who can’t bear that Becket would challenge his authority. I am the indestructible spirit that lives in the heart of martyrs. In the Tarot, I am the archetype of thwarted potential, card number 12, the Hanged Man.
The dance of the infinite is a single-minded and hostile interpretation in the 13th century. A low point in religious orthodoxy occurs when the words of prophets are manipulated to inspire fear. So begins the age of Crusades and repression. The dark hostility reaches a crescendo in 1231 when the Inquisition begins. Pope Gregory IX makes the Dominicans responsible for ferreting out heresy. Thus bloomed an age of torture and intolerance. Historically, I manifest as card number 13, a demon angel arriving on horseback who exposes heretics and burns them at the stake. I am Death.
In the 14th century, hope is rekindled when the Renaissance begins in Italy and balance is regained as a consequence of the middle path. So emerges a new age of  illumination, spurred on by the likes of Dante, Petrarch, Boccaccio and Giotto. I am an invigorated spirituality that rises above the black plague. You find me in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. I am the archetypal, open-minded alchemist and an angel of rational intelligence, card number 14, Temperance.
The reactionary forces of an allied state and church obscure the light again. I am the pure heart of Jeanne D’Arc, burned at the stake, by the British, as a witch after her ecclesiastical trial. I am the essence of the Aboriginal people of the New World that 15th-century Europe discovers, demonizes and brutally conquers. I am card number 15, the face of European power, the Devil.
Against a backdrop of Martin Luther’s proclamation, the start of the Reformation and the publication of Machiavelli’s The Prince, I live in the spirit of the 16th-century humanist, Sir Thomas More, author of Utopia. He is locked up in “the tower” and beheaded as a traitor for refusal to acknowledge the authority of the excommunicated king, that fool Henry the VIII. I am the archetype of righteousness and the ghost that inhabits the murdering place. Struck by a lightening bolt, the inspiration for card number 16, I am the Tower.
By century 17 religious authority is determined to keep science in check. Astronomers challenge the church on the mechanics of the universe. After constructing a telescope, Galileo enlarges humanity’s vision and conception of the universe. In 1610 he sees the moons of Jupiter through his lens. Eight years later Johannes Kepler proposes the last of three laws of planetary motion. But in 1633 the Inquisition forces Galileo to recant his belief in Copernican theory. I manifest in the Night Watch painted by Rembrandt in 1653; I am the intellect that yearns for an ever-widening comprehension of the origins of the universe. In the Tarot, I am card number 17, the Star.
My rebel yell is a call that awakens democracy in the 18th century. In 1775 the American Revolution begins and on July 4, 1776, the Declaration of Independence is adopted. In 1789 the French Revolution begins with the storming of the Bastille. In 1793 Louis the XVI and Marie-Antoinette are executed. The door is opened for the ultimate rebel, Napoleon Bonaparte. In the Major Arcana, I am a wolf howling at midnight, an iconoclast who eclipses the sun’s bright light and undermines its authority. I inhabit the spirit of card number 18, I am the Moon.
Free of the limitations that church and state once imposed, the new world democracy throws open the doors of science. I am the spirit of invention inspired by the likes of Joseph-Nicephore Niepce, who takes the world’s first photograph in 1826. I shine in the brilliance of F. B. Morse, who patents the telegraph in 1844. I’m present in 1866 when Alfred Nobel invents dynamite, when Alexander Bell patents the phone in 1876, and, three years later, when Edison perfects the electric light. In 1892 I provide the impetus that led to the Diesel engine being patented and I’m present when Pierre and Marie Curie discover radium and polonium in 1898. The philosopher of the century is Nietzsche, who set forth some of the existential ideas that made him famous, namely, the proclamation that “God is dead.” Nietzsche’s atheism -- his account of “God’s murder” -- was voiced in reaction to the conception of a single, ultimate, judgmental authority who is privy to everyone’s hidden, and personally embarrassing, secrets. In the Tarot I am the bright light of reason, I am the spirit of the collective, I am an ego that imagines itself all radiant; I am card number 19, the Sun.
God is dead and the 20th century turns quantum. We are flying high, airplanes in sky, the dance is an automated, nuclear fandango. I am present in the advances of Einstein, The Wright Brothers and Henry Ford. But I am also twisted out of shape by two world wars, Hiroshima, the Cambodian Killing Fields, the Holocaust and the ongoing wars in the Balkans. I am a small step for a man and a giant leap for mankind. But I am, also, hubris, egotism and greed. I am the glory of intellect and its despair when it functions disconnected from the heart. That’s when I manifest in the extinction of species, in global warming, overpopulation. I am the volatile environmental legacy that children are inheriting. I am the edge on which the collective dangerously waltzes. You recognize me as millennial fear. In the Major Arcana, I am the angel who trumpets the dead from their resting place, card number 20, Judgement.
And into the 21st century, arms extended, the cosmos whirling around, I give you the Aquarian age. I embody the new century. I dance the dance of the mystical mother, the provider of life and all your immediate metaphysical frontiers. I am the intellect and heart of the living, breathing earth. I am your goddess, your scientific, subjective point of view, as object of faith. I am your garden and worthy of worship. I am the third planet in the solar system, a mystic top, whirling on axis, perfectly illuminated in the sun of infinite Buddha light. I am the deity of the new millennium. The goddess lives. I am hope and promise, card number 21. I manifest in nature, I am the World.

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