Sagittarius Solar Festival 
at the Full Moon in Gemini, closing off 2008
Malvin Artley, our regular esoteric commentator concludes his End of Year Commentary, including the subtle meaning of the Full Moon in Gemini for 2008 and the cosmic forces coming into play on the world at large in this tumultuous time.
The preceding sets the backdrop for the full moon we just had on the 13th of this month here in Australia (the 12th in most other parts of the world). It was the full moon of the Sagittarius Solar Festival (full moon in Gemini) and it was an unusually stressful one. Before we go into the dynamics of it, we need to have a look at a few thoughts on Sagittarius. The main spiritual 'theme' for Sagittarius, if we can use such an expression, is one of spiritual goals and attainment thereof. Sagittarius is the sign of the wandering disciple on the path and it is a sign that can express an intense, one-pointed focus upon a goal – any goal – to the exclusion of all other thoughts. In the average Sagittarian (one without much of a spiritual focus in life) the dynamic just described can lead, in extreme cases, to constantly flitting from one perceived conquest to the next – a sort Don Quixotic constant 'tilting at windmills'. The story of Don Quixote (Quijote in Spanish) is worth a look because there is a curious sort of connection with the subconscious side of Sagittarius and the main character in the story, one 'Alonso Quixano', a retired army officer in his fifties who is obsessed with books of chivalry and believes every word to be true.
The Lunar Lords
Sagittarius is a powerful sign with respect to humanity. The sign itself governs a class of beings known as the Lunar Lords – those beings who are the prototype for the human form (the constituents of the human persona) and all the forms of the lower kingdoms in Nature. The esoteric ruler of Sagittarius is the Earth itself. The ruler of Sagittarius with respect to the Lunar Lords is Mars, hence the conflict that we see between humanity and animals, the bloodshed of animals and humans, too, the conflict between the higher and lower aspects of our human nature and the constant theme of 'survival of the fittest' in nature. Essentially, the lunar nature (represented by the Lunar Lords) is that against which all people on any spiritual path have to struggle. It is the lunar nature that keeps one from attaining one's higher goals in life because, for the human being, it represents the status quo in terms of consciousness. The lunar nature is the combined aggregates of the physical, astral (feeling) and lower (coarse) mental natures. On the one hand it is these bodies or aggregates that allow us to function in the outer world, but on the other hand it is these same bodies that want to stay locked into that mode of existence and not progress to anything 'higher', or subtler. In a curious and very real way, the lunar nature represents and encapsulates the results of one's past lives, for all bodies are the results of causes set in motion often long ages ago. As an example, what we eat today conditions the physical body we will have tomorrow and in the near or distant future. What we eat is incorporated into the physical body in some way, or is expelled.
On the whole, the physical nature wants to persist and reproduce itself. The feeling nature wants to possess and to acquire. The coarser mind tries to differentiate itself – to see itself as separate or unique. The spiritual goal for any Sagittarian type (Sun or Ascendant in the sign) – or for any person – is to reverse the natural proclivities of the body in question and to turn it toward some greater service – in other words, to consecrate the form nature to service for others instead of self-interest. In that regard, the goal before the Sagittarian disciple is to render the physical form as an altar in a way. The outer life then becomes a form of sacrifice for others to a lesser or greater degree. The feeling nature is turned toward the practice of generosity instead of gratification of one's own desires. The lower mind becomes oriented toward a fixation upon a cause or a goal – an altruistic motivation instead of mere thought for its own sake or for oneself. Thus, in the mind of the Sagittarian type focused upon a spiritual goal, one does not differentiate between self and others. One practices exchange of self and others – putting oneself in another's shoes, if you will – and thus realizes that there is no essential difference between self and others.
Focused, Directed Light
In the story of Don Quixote, Alonso Quixano (the main character) was quite blindsided by his mental and emotional fantasies and rendered quite mad for a time as a result. Anyone who has had dealings with a Sagittarian type caught up in their own worldly quests has probably noted the extreme fixity with which the Sagittarian can pursue certain things and the difficulty which ensues when one has to help break their preconceived notions about how life should be. Sagittarius carries or conveys a type of spiritual Light termed 'a beam of focused, directed Light'. That type of Light, when brought to bear on matters, can be as inspiring as it can be tragic.
Any Sagittarian type who has held a 'dream' close to their heart for a long time, but who finally realizes that it was not meant to be or will remain unfulfilled can lapse into periods of deep depression. Melancholy is the most tragic manifestation of Sagittarius, for it flies in the face of the natural Jupiterian expansiveness and joy which is the normal expression of the sign. In fact, profound depression in a Sagittarian type can be an indicator that the person is beginning to realize that worldly concerns are not the proper course for their life and that something more altruistic must be incorporated. However, that is not always the case and many times such people come under the care of the psychological profession as a result of their inability to cope with changes within and outside them. The marker of the Soul being present in the Sagittarian type is the true philosophical attitude and the ability thus to rise above depressed mental states. In Don Quixote, the main character lapsed into profound depression when he finally regained his sanity – to the point that his family and friends tried to re-induce his insanity in a bid to save his life – to no avail. He died a sane, but broken man.
Don Quixote, in the story, became a knight-errant in search of adventure. Even the name 'quijote' refers to a plate of armor protecting the thigh, which Sagittarius rules. It was also thought to be a pun on 'cuixot', meaning horse's rump, obviously referring to the main character as a sort of 'horse's ass' when in his manic phase. His lady-love, a neighboring farm girl who he renamed 'Dulcinea' (an allusion to the illusion which formed his fantasies about her), was the one for whom he relentlessly fought, but who never actually appeared in the story. She was his 'princess, his queen, her beauty superhuman', etc., etc. He perceived windmills as ferocious giants in his manic phase. He believed an inn to be a castle and its owner to be lord of the castle. Always with a knight-errant, the enemies are larger-than-life. The love is highly idealized and ultra-romantic and is often seen as 'the one'. The knight-errant often fits the ideal of 'the knight in shining armor'. It is the stuff of fairy tales. There is often a quest with the knight-errant – for true love, for vanquishing an evil enemy, for fulfillment of some great task that will ultimately bring fame and glory to the realm. The preceding illustrates the sort of thing that can transpire when the mind (no matter what astrological sign is influencing) becomes fixated on fantasies and those in turn become mixed with a 'beam of focused, directed Light'.
None of the preceding discussion is in any way intended to suggest that it is only Sagittarians who are predisposed to that sort of scenario, and we are looking at an extreme case in the story of Don Quixote. However, fantasy is a part of the human condition and over-focusing on any fantasy has the capacity to destabilize one's life. There is a strong note of fantasy that is often a part of the psyche of the Sagittarian type. I have seen it many times. It is a dynamic that harks back to the often-times high idealism of the sign and its natural exuberance. The prevailing feeling with many Sagittarian types is that certain things should be a certain way, even to the point of feeling a sort of 'divine right' about those things.
It is a manifestation of one of the less-desirable sides of Jupiter. Jupiter, when prominently placed in a chart and unchecked or exacerbated by other factors, can manifest as the proverbial 'cuixot'.
Full Moon Figure
To go into a consideration of the full moon figure on a positive, uplifting Jupiterian note, though, Sagittarians can be some of the most uplifting people with whom to associate. There is a natural enthusiasm with the sign, a greater-than-average tendency to be philosophical about life, especially in difficult times, a straightforward but expansive attitude toward life, natural abundant energy, a strong creative urge and they 'shoot from the hip' in conversation. They like to bend or flout the rules or to make their own rules in life (harking back to the Martian rulership of the sign in its higher qualities). There is an annoying tendency for them not to finish things, however, because they will get half-way into something and then see something better, leading them off on another tangent. If they finish anything, it is because they have acted quickly. Patience is not a strong suit of the sign. The grass is always greener with many Saggies. In that regard, though, life is seldom boring with a Sagittarian. You can always count on something new, something exciting and something always on the go. Sagittarius is the 'wild card' of the Zodiac.
With all the preceding points in mind, let's have a look into the dynamics of the Sagittarius Solar Festival for 2008 – the main reason being that it is a figure that will influence people's goals in life and the quest for attainments for the whole of the 12 months from that full moon, and that is a very important consideration given the current state of world affairs. The Sagittarius full moon took place on 13 Dec 2008 at 2:37 AM AEDT (12 Dec 2008, 3:37 PM UT). The Sabian symbol for the solar degree in the figure reads:
“A Chinese laundry.”
This symbol alludes to one taking what is best from one's culture and past and adapting and establishing it in foreign circumstances. It also speaks of self-containment. The symbol is interesting, too, with respect to the fact that many eyes in the world are upon China and how they are responding to the financial crisis. Since their economy is manufacturing-based, China is in for a difficult period over the next few years. However, the Chinese are a resilient people and they seem to do well wherever they go. One of the keynotes for China as a people is 'adaptability' and they do quite well at establishing themselves in foreign lands when they emigrate (without getting political about it). I have always enjoyed 'China Town' here in Adelaide. It is one of my favorite haunts. The point to be made here, though, is that we are going to have to adapt, especially over the next year, and sometimes go into what might best be described as 'foreign territory' with regard to our own psyche. We may even find ourselves emigrating. Whatever happens, we need to take what is best about us with us and be open to our new 'environment'.
The symbol for the lunar degree fits very well with the theme of the solar symbol. It reads:
“Dancing couples in a harvest festival.”
In a curious sort of way we are, as humanity, in a reaping (harvest) phase. Many readers might think, “How can we be reaping when we are in an economic downturn?” There are several ways that can be answered. First of all, we are reaping the results of decisions that have been made by people in power and influence for some decades now. Legislation, lack of regulation and human acquisitiveness have brought us to a point where further consumption was no longer viable and people were literally living on their fantasies instead of seeing the reality of things or having any real assets. In nature, debt means starvation and death.
Dancing Couples in a Harvest Festival
Many people have the mistaken notion that debt can somehow generate money. Well, managed debt, when it is backed up by assets, can be used as a way to generate the flow of cash. However, it is a fundamental flaw in thinking to surmise that one can borrow money ad hoc to make money and just keep doing so without having something to back it up. Sooner or later the bill comes due. This solar figure under consideration is all about 'the bill' coming due, and I am not talking about the British TV show here, although 'Old Bill' is knocking on the door of many who have mismanaged funds these days (no disrespect meant to our police forces in the world).
Secondly, dancing, referring to the lunar symbol in our figure, is about cooperation, shared emotion, wholesome enjoyment of life and love (with respect to our symbol), themes in common (the dance fitting the music, social norms, etc.), unity in movement and sharing in our plenty. There is something very wrong when a society or government either does not properly police people guiding investments or ensure the education of the investor, whether the investment is a home, a business, stocks or one's future. I have always felt that financial education should be fundamental in schools from an early age. The reason I say that is what I learned about finances and the like in public school would not fill this page – and I paid attention in school. There have been times in my adult life when I have wished I had been taught more about finances in school. Things need to change in that regard, in my opinion. In nature, the most successful systems or organisms work within the give and take of the environment. They know the rules, either consciously or instinctively. They learn 'the dance' of the environment and their 'neighbors'. In nature, the most successful species work and evolve within communities. There is no separation between humans and nature, either, much as some of us may want to believe otherwise. We, as humanity, are in the process of beginning to reap the results of what we have learned about cooperative effort, especially since WWII.
The Moon, aside from representing the past in esoteric thinking, also has a lot to say about reflected wisdom. Basically, there are two primary means of gaining wisdom – either through direct experience or through reflection upon the past. With regard to the latter means, it has been said many times that everything is clear in hindsight. In reflection we are often shown the wisest course for our actions, even though very often we choose the very path that is the worst one for us in moments of stress. It has also often been said that 'experience' is what we get when we fail to get what we want from life. With either means of gaining wisdom, we gain it from experience in some way or another. From whence is wisdom borne but on the wings of experience? Wisdom is but the realization of the essence of any experience, and it is this very essence that we stand poised to reap in the forthcoming period in human history.
We had similar lessons to what we have now in the latter years of the 1700's, when Pluto was last in Capricorn and the seeds of discontent were much the same then as they are now – too much power and influence in the hands of a few, too little transparency with regard to public spending and too much disparity between the rich and the poor. Once again, nature – especially human nature – is adjusting itself. Let us hope we can call on the reflected wisdom of the past when it comes time for us to deal with what is coming to us over the next months. Hopefully we can remember, too, that we are all dancing in this 'fandango of samsara' together. Let us hope we have chosen our 'dancing partners' well and that our 'experiences' together are joyful.
The Karmic Cross
With the preceding points in mind and forming the backdrop for the dynamics of the full moon figure, perhaps the reason for why I have brought out all these points will come clear. In the figure, there is a very tight Great Cross (a very stressful pattern) formed by the full moon axis, that being bisected by the Saturn/Uranus opposition. Saturn's square to the Sun and Moon is less than half a degree from being exact. The key words for that midpoint structure are inhibitions, possible separations, difficult relations and the need to address problems in relationships. In terms of goals for the coming year, there are karmic necessities to be worked out before they can be realized – 'bumps in the road' to our realizations, if you will. There is a good dose of 'experience' indicated here. Added to this is the fact that Mars is conjoined with the Sun, ensuring that concerns within relationships, both personal and international, are brought out into the open. Be very careful with frustration levels as issues left unsaid or undone will definitely come up for reckoning at some point or another, especially between now and the latter part of May next year. Old issues are simply not just going to go away.
The Sun/Mars conjunction is square to both Saturn and Uranus, and this configuration is the most telling one of the Great Cross under consideration. The key words for this are rebellion against controls, strong but frustrated ego drives, reckless attitudes, challenges leading to conflicts, the 'fighting spirit', 'accidents' due to inattentiveness or trying to force things, separations in order that people might gain a clearer space to see things through and possible tremendous upheavals. The Moon square to the Saturn/Uranus opposition brings in the notes of emotional freedom, courage under duress and a strong push to identify what one's needs actually are. Uranus squares the full moon axis with the Mars conjunction and that brings sudden developments in relationships, a strong note of independence and possible breakups. In addition to all the preceding dynamics, Venus is sesquisquare to the Moon and Saturn, indicating emotional restrictions, emotional changes, but also the ability to start over again.
So, if you have planets or angles within three degrees of roughly the 21st degree of any mutable sign (Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius or Pisces) this solar festival is bound to affect you profoundly in some way. The issues with which you were dealing at the time of that full moon will indicate the nature of what needs to be addressed in the coming year, but the nature of the planets aspected in your chart will also give clues as to what is to come as well.
The full moon figure is not all about stress, however. Saturn, for instance, forms a trine to Jupiter, meaning that whatever is addressed regarding one's goals stands a good chance of becoming something very solid and prosperous in times to come, especially with regard to financial and security matters. It is also strongly linked to Neptune, though, which means that any speculative ventures need to be curtailed and that spiritual concerns need to be rationalized – in other words, that spiritual matters need to be addressed soberly, conservatively and even cautiously. This is not a time to gamble. Watch whatever the governments of the world have put into play since mid-December very carefully. If they have gambled and there is no transparency, then you can bet that whatever they put in play has the mark of 'disaster' all over it. In addition, the Moon is in a tight trine with Neptune, indicating that we all need pleasant surroundings and peace in order to sort things through, but that we can gain some valuable insight if we can create that space for ourselves. We need appreciation of opportunities, even in the smallest of comforts. Neptune is where the higher truth is found in any chart and it is well-placed in this one to bring out the truth of many matters, either through being able to sit quietly with oneself and reflect or by the means of disillusionment because one is not really living in one's truth. Neptune represents disillusionment as well as truth.
A Turning Point
On the whole, then, 2009 is going to present us with many opportunities to rethink where and how we want our lives to progress. In many ways, the full moon figure just described will mark a turning point for many, even if unrealized as such for now. By 'turning point' what do we mean? Essentially, many people throughout the world are going to face a very real choice-either they keep pursuing personal and material goals or they turn their attention to something greater and lose themselves to a degree in some form of more altruistic expression of who they are. What we will begin to see more and more as the year progresses is a return to 'family values', 'mate-ship', a deepening of religious and spiritual practice, a greater sense of generosity among members of the general public as times get worse (and that looks inevitable in some ways), and a growing sense of humanity and what it means to be a 'good person' and to 'do the right thing'. Necessity will not let us sit and do things as we have been doing, for what is clearly indicated in this full moon figure - the central feature, if you will - is a clear choice or juxtaposition between the 'old' and the 'new'.
2008 has been an amazing year in many ways, and we will have a closer look at that when I send out the Chinese New Year letter for the Year of the Ox in the Byre, commencing on 26 Jan 2009. We have seen sudden and complete changes of direction in certain areas of life this year, and the same theme holds true for 2009. The Western New Year starts with Saturn going retrograde on New Year's Day. Resolutions for 2009, then, will have a special impact or tone as a result because Saturn is all about choice, as we have seen in past letters. Issues that have been hanging about and left unresolved since late September this year will come under the microscope until 17 May 09 as Saturn retrogrades through its shadow sector until then. Mars is conjoined with Pluto from now until the New Year, too, aggravating the 22 Sep 06 eclipse point, so the next days could be very interesting on the world stage. We'll see. So, in the next couple of weeks I will be sending two letters – one for the Capricorn solar festival combined with the inaugural chart for the Obama administration and another for the Chinese New Year just after that. Obama ran for office on the 'change' mantra. I think we are going to see a lot of it in 2009, good and otherwise.
For a Committed Heart, All Is Possible
I spent this Christmas in the company of friends, some long-timers and others relatively new. The downturn in the economy has brought change for me and for many friends, too, in the form of less work but also in the form of more time to spend with what really matters in life – people and spiritual practice – so I do not see the downturn as a negative in that regard. A lot has changed in a few short months for me and for many with whom I have spoken. Throughout that period, though, I have felt a deepening sense that there is not a lot of time to get certain things done, nor to waste time with things that keep one stuck or from fulfilling what one came into this life to do, whatever that may be (It is a constant 'work in progress'). For myself, I have a lot of writing to do along with the normal day-to-day obligations. Those who are important to us are never around forever, either, and we need to spend quality time with them and help them achieve their goals, as they have helped us.
For a committed heart, all is possible. On the night of the 'smile in the heavens' I went out and stared at it for the longest time, pondering what it might mean for me individually and for the world at large. I was looking at the year ahead and the year that was drawing to a close. The end of the year has always been a time of reflection for me. I was thinking a lot about to what I had committed myself in the past and where the path of greatest joy is for me. There is only one commitment upon which fortune will smile without fail, and that is the commitment one makes to the reason we were born into this world to begin with – be it karma, the higher Self, Dharma, being of greater service in some capacity, the Light within us – whatever one wants to call it or some combination thereof. All else will eventually fail us – earthly relationships, wealth, fame, our body and any of the long list of things that we desire but are ultimately of this world. There is cause for great celebration in such a realization – to realize what is ultimately of the most importance in life. Nothing else brings us anything but temporal happiness at best. So long as we chase after things, we remain unfulfilled. It is one of life's little paradoxes. In the coming year, then, may you all find that to which a commitment will bring inner happiness and ultimate joy – the unstained vision of what is best within you and of the most importance to you. May fortune thus smile upon you in the times to come.
Happy New Year!
28 Dec 2008
Happy travels, Mom. There are other lifetimes to explore together, and I look forward to those. See you around :-)
This is the end of the article.
Click to return to the start of The Sagittarius Festival end of year 2008.