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Sun Into Sagittarius: Time to Seek the Meaning of Life

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Welcome to Sagittarius time! The Sun left Scorpio and entered Sagittarius on Tuesday, November 22, at 10:09 a.m. CST (4:09 p.m. GMT). It will remain there until December 21 (or December 22, depending on your time zone).


This shift is bringing all of us new opportunities to expand our lives and ourselves. Along the way, we can gain new insights about why we are here and what comes next in our continuing quest for understanding and meaning.

About Sagittarius

When the Sun travels through Sagittarius each year, it brings a restless energy that inspires us to set off on all kinds of adventures. As the great explorer of the zodiac, Sagittarius seeks far and wide to understand life and discern its higher meaning. When it must stay at home or cannot travel any longer, it becomes the great storyteller, reliving journeys by sharing its tales of adventure with others. At its best, it serves as the wise elder and philosopher who inspires others to undertake life's ultimate quest: the search for truth within ourselves.

One key to understanding Sagittarius comes from considering its ruler, Jupiter. This great giant of our solar system, named for the Roman king of the gods, infuses Sagittarius with dreams of greatness, an urge to expand everything it touches, and a benevolent spirit ready to share whatever it has with others. Jupiter also gives Sagittarius a jovial, optimistic nature and an inner desire for complete freedom so it can discover new places, people, and experiences. Often, Sagittarius energy beckons us to wide open spaces, in keeping with the Sagittarian love of freedom, big ideas, and constant expansion.

The other great key to Sagittarius comes from its symbol, the centaur, a creature that is half human, half horse. According to Greek mythology, the centaurs were untamed, much like wild horses, and frequently "drunk and disorderly." Often warlike and savage, using their bows and arrows to destroy and conquer, their behavior disrupted society and threatened civilization.

A powerful exception, however, was the great and wise centaur, Chiron, who gained renown as a teacher, healer, and astrologer-prophet who mentored Greece's heroes (including Heracles). Like Chiron, we can overcome our lower impulses (represented by the horse part of a centaur) by using our minds (the centaur's upper, human half) to harness and direct our passions. Then we will be able to aim our bows high, toward a spiritual ideal, and shoot our arrows straight by focusing only on what is worthy.

Sagittarius today

In modern times, when the Sun travels through Sagittarius each year, this sign's drive to expand and experience may manifest as a desire for whatever is big and showy and a quest for the best (and most expensive) of everything. Sagittarius's natural enthusiasm and optimism also can create a feeling of being able to do anything, almost as if by magic, and a tendency to trust to luck (rather than hard work and self-control) to get through any challenge.

During Sagittarius time, the urge to be on the go constantly to discover new things can feel overwhelming. Even the most careful among us may overextend, overspend, overpromise, and overdo. Worse yet, we may become self-indulgent at the expense of health and inner well-being. Keeping aware of this tendency can help us set sensible limits so we can balance the need for fun and joy and socializing with our need for solitude and self-care, especially during the holidays.

Also, this time of year offers a good opportunity to examine our beliefs, another area associated with Sagittarius through its connection with religion, justice, and higher education. Narrow or outworn beliefs keep us from growing and can cause negative consequences such as judging others or becoming fanatical or dogmatic about a personal cause or idea. Yet if we allow ourselves to be receptive, this time of year can help us open to new and nobler ideas.

Current astrology: expand consciousness

At its best, however, Sagittarius time pushes us to make life meaningful and to expand in the only place it really counts: inside ourselves and within our consciousness. This year, some powerful astrological energy supports this higher aspect of Sagittarius:

  • Mercury entered Sagittarius on November 3. This planet symbolizes thought and communication, so our minds (Mercury) are on Sagittarian themes already.
  • On November 24, Mercury went retrograde (meaning it will appear to be traveling backwards) and will remain so until December 13. Because of this motion it will spend about two months in Sagittarius instead of the approximately three weeks it stays in a sign when there is no retrograde, so we have some extra time to do some important inner work. Whenever a planet is retrograde, we have an invitation to slow down and turn inward to examine its energies and the areas of life it rules. Events in the outer, material world tend to assist this introspection: Mercury retrograde, for example, often disrupts or stalls areas ruled by Mercury (travel, communication--including online connections--commerce, and electronics) so we can re-think, re-work, or re-new. In this case, we have a big (Sagittarius) opportunity to meditate (Mercury retrograde) about our thoughts (Mercury), our beliefs (Sagittarius), and how we communicate (Mercury).
  • In addition, jovial Jupiter, which rules Sagittarius, went retrograde August 30 and will remain so until December 25. This factor is expanding (Jupiter) our need to turn inward mentally (Mercury retrograde in Sagittarius).
  • Jupiter is traveling through Taurus, a sign concerned with the material world, nature, possessions, and resources both tangible and intangible. That placement gives us an opportunity to meditate (Mercury retrograde) about the material world (Taurus) and examine our beliefs (Jupiter, Sagittarius) about the world, our possessions, and what we really need.
  • Also, Taurus is associated with value and worth. Jupiter in this sign is expanding our need to discover essential values and understand our true worth; with Jupiter retrograde, we discover that our ultimate worth (Taurus) must be measured spiritually and our value is enormous (Jupiter) on the inner plane (retrograde Mercury and Jupiter) by virtue of our souls and our higher aspirations (Sagittarius).
  • Spiritual food and drink

    During this Sagittarius time, we feel strong impulses to "eat, drink, and be merry." This year, let some of that impulse support your pursuit of spiritual food and drink as well. Each astrological sign is associated with a phrase, and for Sagittarius that phrase is "I see." This sight can be used negatively by seeing a world to be judged or controlled by a self-appointed guru. As its best, though, this urge becomes inner sight that views life through the lens of the soul and understands how free we really are:

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    Anne Nordhaus-Bike is president of ANB Communications. The author of the award-winning Living in Harmony astrology column for the Gazette newspaper in Chicago, she has won several journalism awards and in 1997 was added to the "Wall of Fame" of the (more...)
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