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Down the Rabbit Hole
Paul Kiritsis, PsyD candidate, DPhil., MA (Psychology), MA (History)

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The Zodiac: Sagittarius the Archer

Paul Kiritsis - Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Sagittarius the Archer, showcasing the constellation, the zodiacal image, and the shorthand symbol

Date of Rulership: 21st November-21st December; Polarity: Positive, male; Quality: Mutable; Ruling planet: Jupiter; Element: Fire; Body part: Thighs and hips; Colour: Dark blue, purple; Gemstone: Topaz; Metal: Tin.

 

In my mind Sagittarius is proof of the Aristotelian teleology concerning God as the instigator, primal mover and consummator of a hierarchy of purposes; as the last and the most evolved of the fire signs, the mutable energies of this zodiacal sign draw attention to the natural philosophy that the essence of all things that have been created are forever striving towards a higher and more perfect form. Sagittarius will religiously profess that everything is predetermined and that formed matter contains within itself bits of genetic corpuscles encoding the final purpose and mode of expression. How do we know this? Well, does the seed not sprout and become a tree? Does the human personality not grow, expand, and increase the field of its perceptive, intellectual, and spiritual vision by dissolution and death of the ego during the course of one’s lifetime? Does the egg not hatch to become a chick after a period of incubation in the nest? Does the bland-looking caterpillar not undergo a physical transformation during its lifecycle that sees it pass through individual and distinct phases of growth until it becomes a supernal butterfly? Does carbon, a gloomy and lacklustre element, not fuse to become a sparkling diamond inside the womb of Mother Earth? What more proof of God’s benevolent intent to perfect the forms and products of Mother Nature could one want than the existence of subatomic particles in various stages of interaction and evolution? What proof could be more convincing than the vestiges of that cosmic beginning known as the Big Bang (or perhaps the Big Crash, an alteration of the primal substance spurred by the collision of two universes as put forth by the “unified theory” of superstrings)?

Wherever Sagittarius is in our chart, we become seized, possessed and driven by the big picture. This archetypal power has a knack for stepping outside the microscope of the human senses, getting its hands on a state of the art Skywatcher 16” Synscan GOTO Dobsonian telescope and scouring the heavens for journeys of intergalactic discovery that will simulate sensual delights and tease the intellect. There is nothing more satisfying in life than a physical pilgrimage that tempts the mind to grow bold and question, if not reject outright, its learned biases and attitudes concerning established societies at large. Thus, it would be safe to say that Sagittarius isn’t content being the passive observer of interstellar and deep space mysteries that it will never get to examine under the auspices of scientific investigation. No, that will never do! Seeing might be believing but it will never be enough, not when it comes to understanding the true nature of reality. Sagittarius would rather be one of the lucky astronauts that gets to experience weightlessness and associated gravitational anomalies, walking on the moon, and a throng of other unusual and exhilarating things that most people could only envision in their wildest fantasies. That way it can kill two birds with one stone; it can collect bits of vital information concerning the universe to be used in its philosophical musings at a later stage and concurrently enjoy the finer things that life has to offer. The trajectory of outer space provides the Sagittarian with an adrenalin rush akin to the ride an intravenous drug user experiences after a good hit, one that he or she doesn’t want to lose any time soon by coming back to Planet Earth.

Even after the Sagittarian shuttle uses up all its fuel and is forced to re-enter the atmosphere of Earth, it brings its wide-angled perspectives and some of the heavenly Aether with it. Having already scanned the surface of our planet for the existence of Others whilst it was in orbit, Sagittarius is keenly bent on travelling to these places to interact with the various cultures abounding there. It wants to try out new and exotic foods and customs, meet, interact, and even share a beer or two with members of the indigenous population, explore religious and theosophical beliefs different to its own, learn different languages, and juxtapose moral and socio-political standards quite alien to its own mode of being with those of its own culture. Unlike some of the other zodiacal signs, Sagittarius will never scoff at the opportunity to connect with minority groups or support causes it deems are of utmost important in the human plight. A Sagittarian is likely to be a sponsor for a homeless child in Africa, to donate to cancer charity, to campaign for animal rights and equality in the workforce, and to vouch for the cessation of activities that have contributed to global warming like deforestation and urban carbon emissions.

This sign has a strong sense of identity and is not frightened, intimidated, or overwhelmed by people who are different physically, psychologically, culturally, or in their spiritual groundings. From an academic standpoint they are fascinated by how social perceptions are moulded, group and nonverbal behaviour, conformity and its polar opposite eccentricity, chauvinism, and hostility. How does one’s formative environment and culture actually mould the outer personality, the mirror which one uses to confront the world? Sagittarius wants to know how the abovementioned phenomena affect social cohesion as a whole and will go to any lengths for the sake of understanding the psychology behind it. Above all it wants to see change unencumbered by authoritative limitations that will spur society towards the classical ideal of utopian perfectionism (i.e. Atlantis or Shangri-La), a belief that it can be whimsically optimistic and fanatical about at times. Because much of its time is spent exploring the underlying psychosocial principles from which cultural groups and attitudes form, the Sagittarian can be disconcertingly accurate about any prophecies it makes or visions it has relating to societal change.  

A condition of tempered mutability pervades the last of the fire signs. Aside from drawing attention to the Sagittarian aptitude for adaptation, this quality reveals a heartfelt desire to be in constant motion. Sagittarians will prefer to ride a bike, walk, or jog to work rather than drive a car in or arrive via public transport. Activities and pastimes that get the heart rate up are also high on the festivity list of Sagittarius; instead of sitting in an air-conditioned unit and watching serials and full-length Hollywood movies, the Sagittarian psyche prefers to bide time amidst other inhabitants of the Great Outdoors where it can sail a yacht, swim, walk, and hike to the nearest waterfalls for a refreshing dip in the mountain waters. Risk-taking and a certain level of recklessness also appeals to this sign, and it isn’t uncommon for them to seek contentment in white-water rafting, skydiving, shooting, hunting, deep diving, hand gliding, and mountain climbing.

Despite the magnanimous and carefree sentiments indigenous to the depth of its being, the Sagittarian sign does have its shortcomings. First and foremost fire is an expanding and rising element that can lose track of its own relentless activity and protean elasticity. Hence, all fire signs lack a degree of objective grounding that keeps sensory perception tightly bound to an understanding of reality that is detached and unencumbered by prejudice or emotion. Similarly, the Sagittarian man or woman encompasses a proclivity to stubbornly hold onto any established creeds with zealous resolve and even attempt to impose them on others, a deed that can be easily mistaken for the narrow-mindedness and intolerance it yearns to decimate. Unlike the earthy Libra, Sagittarius finds it hard to detach from its intuitive streaks and ascend to a bird’s eye position above its own body from where it can tune into tho the cosmic powers of percipience and good judgement. This can result in unruly situations where the Sagittarian might become indecisive in pursuing a requisite course of action, slumber into a protracted state of repose, or renounce its obligations. When it inevitably comes to a situation of flight or fight, Sagittarius will take the easier option in an attempt to jettison the discomfort that comes when one is embroiled in commitment.

If the Sagittarian generative power could speak, it would utter, “God is a reality my friends, did you know that? Encountering God is as simple as taking a glass of water or as taking a breath of fresh air. How do I know? Um, well… I know because the creative force and imagination that moves everything in the universe towards a state of completion was born within me! That is how I know and you better believe me! That doesn’t mean I’m not empirical in my rigorous investigations of the paraphysical realms and the ethereal energies that infuse the cosmos. Limitations and problems associated with the scientific method are ample and will reveal themselves in time. Nonetheless, I do conduct my experiments within its concrete framework for the sake of contemporary credibility and acceptance. In my philosophical speculations, I’ve learnt that karma is not a theory but a reality. If you, my friend, wish to attract plenitude and fecundity in all areas of your life you must put out the right energy to the universe and the universe will answer. The answer might not be instant, but I assure you that it will come and it will be as revelatory as the day you woke to realise that it was your parents and not Father Christmas laying presents beneath the perennial Christmas tree. Isn’t that proof enough of the existence of divine providence and a fate for both the individual soul and the cosmos?

Feel good about yourself I say, and give, give, give! Give of yourself to everything and anyone, for we are all conscious extensions of the same divine spark and part of the same Truth. We all deserve love, happiness, and contentment, and anyone who dares to state otherwise is an ignorant and insular fool. Your generous acts will return to you when you least expect it and usually in a way that will sweep you off your feet. I’m not one for an orthodox way of doing things, although I do hold religious and pastoral practices of all cultures in high regard. What would day-to-day life be without festivities that honour the great cosmic cycles and bring us together? Boring and monotonous, no doubt. Know that faith is a powerful thing, an overwhelming force to be reckoned with; it can move mountains, render itself into a panacea that heals all ailments, creates serendipity and freedom, and enact feats that manpower and muscles could only dream of.”    

Sagittarius the Archer is connected with two beautiful symbols, both subordinate to the overarching activity of hunting which the constellation has personified from the earliest of times. The first, an image of a centaur drawing his bow, symbolizes duality of being and the noticeable intercourse between the physical and paraphysical realms. It appeared in the second millennium BCE during a phase of Mesopotamian history known as the Old Babylonian Period. When trade routes between the Orient and the Mediterranean world were finally forged, the image of a celestial deity wielding a bow and arrow travelled all the way to Greece proper whose city-states then weaved it into their image of the virgin goddess Artemis. For the Greeks, centaurs were composite creatures whose physiognomy comprised the head and torso of a human joined to the hindquarters of a horse. They were, for the most part, of a savage disposition and enjoyed cavorting about with humans and initiating pandemonium. Chiron was one of the few centaurs of superlative character; sired by the wily Cronus, he spent much of his time healing the sickly and raising orphaned children on Mount Pelion. Despite their relegation to a carnal sphere of impulses, the Greeks seem to have taken favourably to the mythical centaur because they crop up frequently in innumerable classical episodes. Perhaps the most famous of these is The Battle of the Lapiths and the Centaurs, a battle deemed so numinous, violent, and memorable in the Hellenic mind that it was transcribed onto the metopes of the southern wall of the Parthenon on the Acropolis in Athens. In the said encounter a horde of centaurs were invited to a nuptial festivity in Thessaly honouring the union of their half-brother Pirithous to Hippodamia, daughter of Atrax. During the course of the event the centaurs became quite inebriated and attempted to abduct and rape other guests that included women and boys. One of them by the name of Eurytion went so far as to attempt to ravish the bride herself. A fierce altercation ensured, whereby Pirithous and the Lapiths fought against and swiftly subdued the centaurs with the aid of his best friend Theseus.

The second of the symbols, a shorthand for the zodiacal sign utilized by astrologers in the creation of astrological charts, consists of an upturned arrow. Being an implement of war, the arrow connotes dexterity, litheness, and mercurial wit but it is also the potent instrument of Divine Love (Eros or Cupid) that pierces the wellspring of the heart and sets free the torrential will for union and interconnectedness in one’s life. The latter decrees that the arrow is also a symbol of spiritual transcendence. In the Sagittarian sygil, the diagonal determining the direction of the arrow is crossed by a horizontal line to establish the figure of a cross. Proceeding from a metaphysical angle, the cross can be interpreted as the first irruption of the primeval origin, singularity or chaos that created matter, the four elements, the four cardinal directions, the substances, the objects, the beings, and the physical plane in general. The tip of the arrow, on the other hand, is the desire to transcend the limits of the physical body and the five senses and travel to other worlds and other dimensions. Hence the entire arrow could denote the condition of a spiritual inner quest whose final cause is contingent on circumstances generated by the formative environment and by time itself.  

In the northern hemisphere the constellation of Sagittarius appears in the sky at a time when the moisture of autumn has surrendered its place to the aridity of winter. The transitory nature of this period of the year when Mother Nature has withdrawn to the cavernous depths of the earth to ruminate makes it especially suitable for nomadic ventures like hunting and travel. Sagittarians are innately wired for exploration and evolution, and so a talent for expressive and action-orientated activities such as the just mentioned comes naturally to them as what hunting does to an apex predator. In this, the last of the fiery signs governed by an expansive planet and heeded by a protean aptitude for adaptation and change, elemental fire has become tame, measured and tempered. This is the flame that forms the sun discs that crown the heads of the Egyptian gods and the golden halos over the Christian saints, as well as the hermetic fires that burn beneath the alchemical alembic to bring the Philosopher’s Stone to fruition. Infused by the forces of this energy, Sagittarians exhibit idealistic and spiritual qualities much desired by the corpus of the human populace but seldom wrought. They partake in far-reaching philosophical questions and are drawn to travel, an activity that spurs them towards the universal notion of freedom in all its colours, shapes, sizes, and guises. The Archer is a godsend, wishing to orientate the world to optimism, quash moral and religious fanaticism, and exercise compassion and understanding in its day-to-day dealings with all projections of life, human or otherwise.

 

 

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