Last Thursday, Jupiter entered into Sagittarius, the sign of the Archer, where the Sun travels between about November 21 and December 21 (depending on the Winter Solstice and other factors). The planet of lordly might and mercy shall remain in Sagittarius, a sign that it rules, until about December 2, 2019. The last time that Jupiter entered Sagittarius, it was November 25, 2006, where it remained until December 19, 2007.
The discerning eye will note that Jupiter spends around a year in each sign, including (usually) one retrograde period, and that it takes around twelve years for Jupiter to make its way back around to the parts of the sky where it reigns at home and in full command.
Twelve years is a long time. It’s longer than the two terms a US president is allowed to serve, longer by half than the term of a US Senator, longer than high school and middle school put together. An infant born in November 2006 had virtually no powers of self-care or self-management — today that kid is likely to be recognized as someone with growing skills of observation, self-management, self-control and self-possession: not fully an adult but not really a child any more, either. Another twelve years sees the youth become an adult; while another twelve years often sees the adult become the parent to a child, an expert in their field, and a member of a social circle completely different than the one they were born to. Twelve years more, and the former infant is likely to go to more funerals than weddings; another twelve, and the body begins to go; another twelve, and the mind may wander, also. The average person will see somewhere between seven and eight Jupiter returns in their life — far more than the three Saturn returns a supremely healthy individual may expect — and yet each of those Jupiter returns may find the individual living a radically different life nonetheless.
What does Jupiter in Sagittarius stand for? It means that Jupiter’s standard attributes are most likely to express themselves clearly and succinctly — energetic, fatherly, merciful, expansive, wise, authoritative, powerful, dignified, religious, just and stately. Jupiter stands for good government and the responsible exercise of authority in a religious or spiritual setting; it represents expansion and gradual growth, but also the sudden and swift lightning-strike that shatters trees and brings down inviolable walls.
The sign of Sagittarius itself, representing a centaur with a drawn bow in human hands, brings with it the indication of a keen eye watching a target, wait for the perfect moment to shoot and bring down its target. The arms of the archer are strong and sturdy from the decades of practice that the bow requires, the core muscles are firm, and the animal and the humane are integrated within them. In some traditions, Sagittarius is Chiron, the Tutor of Heroes, wise in the ways of both war and medicine — his bow carries deadly poison but his belt is filled with pouches of healing salves and curative balms. The enemy is struck down, and the ally flourishes anew when Jupiter guides the hand of the archer. Even the greatest hunter, though, may sometimes make a mistake; the mind and eye of the wise can be guided in directions of cruelty and horror as much by too-close adherence to “principle” or “ancient wisdom” as by an honest desire to restrain the wicked and powerful. Chiron was killed and placed among the stars by an accidental, self-inflicted wound from an arrow that he himself poisoned. As Jupiter comes around to its place of rulership, we should be aware of what old recipes and procedures can in fact do us harm or wound us — and take the time to clean our gear and see that it is appropriately and safely stored.