Saturday, 22 November 2014

Shoot for the stars!

At 09.38 GMT today, the 22nd of November, the Sun moved (astrologically) into the zodiac sign of Sagittarius.  Here in the northern hemisphere, the days are getting shorter and the path of the sun – when we see it at all! – is low in the southern sky.  The time of solstice, when the sun will appear to be at a standstill, is approaching – but for now, we’re in the Mutable Fire sign of Sagittarius.

The constellation of Sagittarius represents a centaur the half-archer, half-horse figure who (in Greek mythology) was a disruptive creature, a lover of riot. The most famous story of the centaurs has them causing havoc at the wedding of Hippodamia and Pirithous, where they attempted to carry of Hippodamia and some of her women, the aim being to free the spirit of the women!  

Closer to home, for me, is the fact that the theatre group I belong to is currently performing Arthur Miller’s  All My Sons - originally entitled The Sign of the Archer! Last year it was Equus... Coincidence? Hmmm.

Sagittarius is ruled by Jupiter, the largest of the planets in our solar system, and one that’s composed almost entirely of gas.  Not difficult to see how Sagittarius has come by its reputation for being larger than life, full of hot air, and a tendency to overdo things!  Jupiter is the Roman counterpart to Zeus in the Greek pantheon - the ruler of the gods, as well as being the god of thunder.  Often shown with a lightning bolt as his symbol, Jupiter came to represent growth, expansion, and benevolence (in astrology, the planet is referred to as the 'greater benefic') - as well as good humour.  Jupiter was also known as Jove, giving rise to our word 'jovial'.

‘Sagittarius’ ©Alison Coals
The sign of Sagittarius sits at the other end of the axis of information on the zodiac, opposite Gemini. Both signs carry the quality of wanting to know what’s going on but Sagittarius takes this quest for knowledge out into the wider world and beyond into the universe.  It takes Gemini’s information and data on its quest, searching for ways to turn that into wisdom.  Like the other Fire signs, Sagittarius is fun-loving, cheerful, and full of energy - but that mutable energy means it can be restless and always on the move.  In cardinal Aries, we have ignition; in fixed Leo, the fire is maintained; in mutable Sagittarius, the fire is carried out into the world. That’s part of being on its quest for knowledge, of course – but that doesn’t stop Sagittarius from enjoying the journey and having adventures; just think of the Knights on their quest for the Holy Grail!

‘Sagittarius II’ ©Alison Coals
Adventure and challenge, wide open spaces, the freedom to roam – that’s what Sagittarius loves.  It’s not just physical exploration though – it’s also the need to expand consciousness, acquiring wisdom as well as experience.  Philosophy, religion, law – anything that involves expansion of the mind will appeal to Sagittarius.  There are shamanic associations to this sign too – the vision quest or shamanic journey could be seen as very Sagittarian.

What happens when you overfill a balloon with hot air? It’s likely to burst. Well, this happens here too – Sagittarius is optimistic to the point of being unrealistic, promising to do more than is humanly possible and not being able to deliver.  There’s a tendency to live in the future, imagining the endless possibilities, but not noticing what’s going on in front of them, on the ground.  But that optimism also leads to a belief in luck and good fortune – more Jupiterian qualities!

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Scorpio in the court cards

Last in our exploration of Scorpio on the tarot -but not least - Scorpio in the court cards. But which one – or ones?  Different traditions have different astrological correspondences when it comes to the Court Cards.  Generally  (but not always!) these correspondences depend on how cardinality, fixity and mutability have been assigned.  As Scorpio is the fixed Water sign, I’m looking for the Cups court card that’s associated with ‘fixed’-ness. 
Sharman-Caselli Tarot

So what court card does this represent?  If you work with a system that assigns the Fixed mode to the Queens, you’re looking at the Queen of Cups.  An example of this is the Sharman-Caselli (pictured here), where we have the Queen on her throne, surrounded by water.  Through carrying the fixed qualities, the Queen of Cups can be seen as being in control over her emotions and very self-contained – strong Scorpio qualities! She also trusts her instincts and is very intuitive and in touch with the watery world of emotions. Feelings cannot be ignored – or only at your peril.  Other Scorpio traits which could be seen in the Queen are seductiveness and mysteriousness! 

The Crowley Thoth tarot follows a different system, linking Scorpio to the Prince of Cups, the Princes carrying the fixed qualities in this deck.  Scorpio – fixed Water – so we’re still talking about the mastery of emotions and strong passions.  I love this image because it really illustrates the idea of Scorpio having to plunge into the depths of the emotional realm in order to get to the bottom of things.  The eagle, another incarnation of Scorpio, pulls the seashell chariot, its wheels bearing the image of a scorpion. It carries the Prince over the surface of the water, ready to dive – but notice it hasn’t yet broken through that barrier, although the serpent (another Scorpio creature) emerging from the cup is looking down towards the water.  This reminds us that we need to recognize our desires, our fears, our cravings – whatever it is that’s driving us; only when we’re truly aware of them should we attempt to master them, otherwise we run the risk of drowning.  The waters appear tranquil, even stagnant perhaps (a reference to the Eight of Cups, perhaps?)...not yet disturbed by the powerful Prince on his chariot. Calm on the outside, yet powerful within.

Sharman-Caselli Tarot created by Juliet Sharman-Burke, illustrated by Giovanni Caselli, published by Connections
Thoth Tarot created by Aleister Crowley, illustrated by Lady Frieda Harris, published by US Games Systems, Inc.