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How to Believe In a SagittariusReal Life Guidance on How to Get Along and be Friends with the 9th Sign of the Zodiac
By Mary L. English
O BOOKSCopyright © 2011 Mary L. English
All right reserved.
Chapter OneThe Sign
"Sagittarius needs time to ponder, space to assimilate and formulate a belief system which offers a way to Be. It must live out its beliefs by Being. A centaur paying lip-service to ethics is a hollow shell, purposeless and untrustworthy. A Sagittarius who is what it believes, is a sage who leads mankind onwards into knowledge of itself, its world and other dimensions of being." Sagittarius Judy Hall, The Karmic Journey
Sagittarius is the ninth sign of the Zodiac. To call someone a Sagittarius they have to be born between a certain set of dates when the Sun was in the sign of Sagittarius. When we say 'in the sign' what we actually mean is, the Sun (literally) is in the part of the sky above that we call Sagittarius. Astrology isn't complicated, once you grasp the basic ideas, one of which is we divide the sky into 12 equal parts, which start at the Aries point in the Spring. This bit of the sky, which is calculated astronomically, is the beginning of the Zodiac.
The ancient Babylonians worked out their bits of the sky using the constellations of stars, but since that was hundreds of year ago, the planets have shifted in their orbit and the constellations now don't match-up with the sky divisions.
As far as we're concerned, the sky can still be divided up equally by using the first day of Spring as our starting point ... and 9 segments on from there is our friend Sagittarius. The dates when this happens vary every year but mostly occur from November 22nd to December 21st.
We will be using an online resource, so you can get those figures accurately but they're a rough guide for the moment.
Sagittarius is ruled by a planet called Jupiter. Each zodiac star sign has a planet that looks after it, which we call its 'ruler'. This is a sort of categorizing of each sign and has only evolved because of the breadth of the English language. However, it'll make more sense when I explain a bit about Jupiter the planet itself.
King of the Planets
Unlike Uranus, Neptune and Pluto, Jupiter was never 'discovered' as even the Babylonians, the original instigators of astrology, could see it with the naked eye from Earth.
Astronomers call Jupiter "the undisputed king of the planets" as it is the first of the so-called gas giants.
It is so big and one of the brightest objects in the heavens. Jupiter twinkles by reflecting light from the Sun, however, it emits more than twice as much energy as it receives from the Sun and is one of the noisiest objects in the sky.
It also has a powerful magnetic field.
While writing this book Jupiter was very visible in the night sky in the sign of Pisces, and I spent a number of evenings photographing it when it lined up with the Moon. It's amazing to think that even though Jupiter is between 893 million and 964 million kilometres from the Earth, I can still see it in my back garden.
Now keeping in mind that the Earth itself is (at the equator) 12,756 kilometres wide (diameter), then Jupiter is over 70,006 times the width of the Earth away from us, and I can still see it. So imagine, then, that it must be pretty big!
Jupiter is made of hydrogen and helium gas with some methane mixed in, so there is no solid surface to walk on like that of the Moon. These gases form beautiful horizontal stripes across its surface. It travels so fast it makes a complete rotation every ten hours so it makes you wonder if you'd grow older quicker living there!
Spinning around it are 63 satellites, four of which are called Moons and they can be seen through binoculars, and look like a little string of pearls.
Now, Astrology takes the description of a planet, mixes it with some keywords and 'bingo' produces its attributes.
As Jupiter is a gas giant, we talk in Astrology about it magnifying and making bigger things that it connects with. Someone with Jupiter in their chart, near their Sun sign, will be one of those people given to 'overdoing' things or exaggerating.
We also use some of the stories from myths and legends (this is the bit I like) and add it to the mix. In the Greek myths Jupiter was called Zeus and Eve Jackson in: Jupiter: An Astrologer's Guide describes him like this:
Zeus is generally depicted as a man of middle years, bearded and imposing, wearing his aegis or goatskin of divine power and his cloak sometimes sky blue, sometimes the deep blue of the night sky, spangled with stars. Among his many titles are King, Saviour, Father, Descender, Kindly One, Friend, Giver of Completeness, God of Marriage, Protector of Strangers, Counsellor, Cloud-Gatherer, Thunderer, Protector of Oaths.
So here we have 'someone' who is a fatherly figure, friendly, kind and philosophical ... but also, when he's had a bad day, capable of throwing his thunderbolts and scaring the natives.
When the Babylonians originally viewed Jupiter, they called him Marduk: the son of the Sun God. In the myths of the time, he organised the chaos of the universe, created the constellations, decided the boundary lines of the fixed year and also:
Set up three stars for each of the 12 months.
Quite a busy chap!
As Astrology travelled across the world from east to west via Greece, and developed and changed as it went, Jupiter became what he is today, the Great Benefactor. There to guide us and help us on our life journey, our spiritual path.
Now, I don't want you getting the idea that ALL Sagittarians worship a god or follow a belief system. That's not entirely true. Not every member of your local congregation will be a Sagittarius, and not every Bible Basher is one too. I do know Sagittarians who would never even think of religion, but they do tend to have what I call a religious substitute, like computers, or sport; something they treat like religion but isn't thought of as that way.
My dad was a Sagittarius, and a very devout Catholic. His parents and grandparents and all the way back to our family coming to England from Ireland were all Catholics and he wouldn't have it any other way. He loved his religion and I never heard him question it in any way.
I didn't share his enthusiasm. To my mind Catholics (especially the nuns who taught me) were all bonkers, some more than others. I just couldn't see his religion his way, and became a Pagan, which I still am today.
But the other Sagittarians I know treat football or computers like their religion and woe betide you if you criticize their pet theories or stuff-they-have-worked-out-themselves. That's a definite 'No-No'.
So I thought I'd ask a Sagittarius for a few key points about their psyche.
Here we have Mandi, a Homeopath and occasional actor. She was born and lives in New York City and is married with two sons. She 'survived' Catholic school and is politically active and has always had an interest in alternative medicine.
I asked her: What is your definition of belief?
"If you can picture it in your mind or feel it in your bones, it exists."
What was the first time you had to believe something (as opposed to know it/experience it ... i.e. Father Christmas) and what happened to that belief, do you still believe it now?
"My dog died when I was 5. The nun told me when I was seven that he didn't have an immortal soul and was not waiting for me in heaven. All I could think of was how stupid this woman was and I just knew he was waiting for me in heaven. And I still believe that now – that everything that exists has a life-force and exists in some form forever."
What is your religious/spiritual persuasion?
"Best I can define it is: Born-Again Pagan. Or maybe Weekend Wicca."
What religion (if any) are your parents?
On a scale of % (100% being the biggest) how optimistic about your life are you?
"95% – It's very difficult for me not to see the potential in everything."
What makes you cross?
"When people are purposefully mean. I can't abide meanness. And people telling me what I can and can't do. Never tell me I can't do something."
What makes you happy?
"My kids. A really good piece of Theatre. A good meal with good friends. Seeing new places and things. And a good yell-out-loud orgasm."
Notice the lack of subtlety. Notice how she describes herself and the words she uses. They are to-the-point with no frivolous bits. She states it as it is, in an upbeat, positive way. There's no grudges there. The nuns were wrong, she was right ... end of!
Before we can truly describe a Sagittarius, we have to consider how astrologers have described them in the past. Is our Sagittarius the same person today?
Let's ask Herbert T Waite author of The New Waite's Compendium of Natal Astrology (originally written in 1917, rewritten in 1953 by Colin Evans, and brought-up-to-date in 1967 by Brian Gardener) what he thinks about Sagittarians:
Sagittarius individuals are optimistic, cheerful, honourable, loyal, independent, enterprising and very active. They possess a natural gift for prophecy and wonderful intuition. The higher class of Sagittarian combines a keen sense of justice with a philosophical, innately religious, kind and merciful nature. People seem to gravitate to them for guidance in both spiritual and material matters ... Finding their greatest pleasure in life in showing others that All is Law, and that all the pain and discord are due to the fact that this great truth has yet to be internally realised by the majority of mankind ... at his worst, the plausible toady and hypocrite, chiefly in the domains of the Church, the law, and politics, since these constitute his natural bent.
Hmm, quite a flattering portrayal for the 'higher class' ... not so flattering for 'the worst' ...
Let's see what Linda Goodman said in 1968 in her Linda Goodman's Sun Signs:
What it is on the archer's mind and heart is almost instantly on his lips. He's as frank and earnest as a six year old. You can take that old advice, 'If you want the truth, go to a child,' and switch it to 'If you want the truth, go to a Sagittarian.' ... Few people can resent the archer for very long, because he is so transparently free of harmful intent. You'll see this lovable, likeable, intelligent idealist almost anywhere or any time ... It's a rare Sagittarian who doesn't have a matched set of luggage. They love to travel, and there's usually at least one suitcase, well worn from hundreds of trips, that's kept packed and ready for instant use.
Getting more of a picture now.
Let's check with what Marion D March and Joan McEvers said in 1976 in The Only Way to Learn Astrology Volume 1:
straight forward, philosophical, freedom loving, broadminded, optimistic, enthusiastic, talkative, self-indulgent, blunt, pushy.
There seems to be a thread running through this.
Let's ask Felix Lyle and see what he thought in 1998 in his The Instant Astrologer:
As this sign's symbol, the half-human, half-horse centaur suggests, Sagittarius has a distinctly dual nature. One half represents reason – the higher mind probing the universe, searching for meaning – while the other symbolizes instinctual passion. This latter side of Sagittarius simply wants to 'horse around', occasionally in a thoroughly dissolute and licentious manner. The big dilemma for this spirited, changeable sign, therefore, is whether it is ruled by the head of a man or the rear end of a horse.
Crikey, I hadn't thought about the horse element. Is this true?
And lastly let's ask Rae Orion in her wonderfully useful book from 1999 Astrology for Dummies:
Independent, honest, and filled with a sense of possibility, you feel most alive when you are having an adventure in the world.
I think we can safely say after reading these descriptions that the four major keywords that describe Sagittarius are: adventurous, philosophical, independent ... and tactless.
To understand a Sagittarius, you need to first of all understand their main motivation. On a very basic level, they love to travel, the further the better. My father spent months away from the family home, travelling the world as a sales manager for a large pharmaceutical company. He never seemed to tire of packing or unpacking a suitcase. He loved to talk about the places he had visited, the food that he had eaten and where he had explored. Every city had a story, which he would tell with enthusiasm and excitement. As he was multilingual and enjoyed the challenge of new languages, he could feel 'at home' wherever he went.
Matthew lives in Massachusetts, USA, and has a degree in mathematics and works in computer software. Here he tells us a little about why he loves/loved travel so much:
I always felt that the act of travelling gave me perspective on my life. I used to love it. Now I'm more of a stay-at-home because air travel is just too much of a pain with security etc. The attitude is partially compounded by years of business travel.
I then asked him what was it about travel that he liked so much?
Long car rides for vacations. The difference in the feeling of different places. Then a few air travel vacations – same effect. Then national and international business travel and exposure to different cultures. The effects of not speaking the local language, but managing to get by – heightened awareness to compensate for the language issue. Different food. Etc.
It's the differences that he loves. The getting on an aeroplane and going to somewhere that he hasn't been to before.
Just to hear both sides of the story, I then asked a young lady about her experience of travel.
Louise is a professional astrologer and lives in New Mexico, USA. She has Scorpio Ascendant, and has Sun and Moon in Sagittarius:
I have always loved travel. As a kid I was fascinated by airports. Still am! The idea of just getting on a plane and going somewhere completely new. For a Sagittarius I think it's about freedom, not being restricted, also enjoying exploring different cultures, etc. Now I do more metaphysical travel, which I also love. The same Sagittarian themes of freedom and exploration apply.
So for Louise, it's the "going somewhere completely new." Both she and Matthew love the different cultures and the sense of excitement about that 'newness'.
Marie is a Life Coach and lives in LA California with her son. She has Sagittarius Ascendant. She has a lot to say about her love of travel:
First of all, I love seeing the variety of topography, colors, rocks, plants, and forms the earth has to offer. I can really grasp the infinite of the universe and the insignificance of my life in the grand scheme of things when I'm looking at billion year old rock formations in southern Utah and contemplate the events, heat, moisture, weather, and geological phenomena that occurred to produce the magnificent colors, striations and curls in the rocks ... let alone the epochs that have transpired and the fossils and infinite mysteries that lay buried in the rocks all over the planet. I find this alone extraordinary. Time seems so incomprehensible to me when I'm traveling in some places where you can conceive of the magnitude of life.
Excerpted from How to Believe In a Sagittarius by Mary L. English Copyright © 2011 by Mary L. English . Excerpted by permission of O BOOKS. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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