Learning to Fly

Book of Your Life for Sagittarius | By Eric Francis Coppolino

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Whether you follow much astrology or not, the current news for Sagittarius is that Saturn is in your sign. The even bigger news is that Saturn will be making a long conjunction to the Galactic Core.

Sign Art by Lizanne E. Webb.

I’ve heard mostly angst about Saturn’s presence from your fellows born under the sign of the Centaur. Not so many people are cheering Saturn’s presence. Many of the typical changes you would expect from Saturn — such as at the Saturn return — are possible, which include stress on career and relationships, the sensation of being trapped, or a general malaise. Saturn will be in your sign until the end of the year, during which time it will make two of its most spectacular aspects. It will help to have some idea how to make use of this; how to tap the potential of Saturn.

Sagittarius is one of the most wide-open and freedom-seeking signs of the zodiac. Like its ruling planet Jupiter, Sagittarius is about the principle of expansion. Saturn is very much the opposite idea: it tends to set limits; which is to say, Saturn contains expansion. Here, the boundless meets a boundary.

In psychological astrology, Saturn represents the authority principle. For most of us, this exists outside of ourselves. You drive as fast as you want, and slow down only because you got pulled over; after three tickets, you might make honoring the speed limit a commitment. This works in every facet of life, from dealing with your boss to taxes.

The wisdom of astrology teaches that it’s preferable to internalize that principle, and become your own authority. The main benefit is that when you know how to conduct yourself in any given circumstance, you’re less likely to have people telling you what to do. As Graham Nash said, you who are on the road must have a code that you can live by.

In another version of this idea, some people in Nevada City, California, had a button made up, featuring a little man with a crystal head. It was a mock badge for the Nevada City Border Patrol. It said, “Patrol your own borders. Police your own mind.”

I recognize that might not be so helpful if you feel like your mind is full of cotton batting, or like you’re walking around wearing wet clothes. Under any Saturn transit, you might feel hemmed in, depressed, limited or like you can’t see over the edge of your teacup. (Many Geminis are feeling this way as well.) However, I’m not merely being philosophical here. There really is a purpose to Saturn’s presence.

You might think of Saturn as the one missing and necessary ingredient in Sagittarius. It’s not an easy mix. It is, however, a imperative one, if you want to get anything done; if you want to claim your full personhood. To live free means to take up responsibility for your destiny. The freedom piece comes from Sagittarius and the responsibility piece comes from Saturn. Destiny is the hybrid of the two.

A Vast Migration of Souls

The astronomical details of Sagittarius are breathtaking, and you deserve to know them. They will shed light on who you are, and what you’re doing on Earth. Typically, astrology ignores the features of deep space (dwelling on the Sun, the Moon and the larger planets). Features of the signs are based on some mythical sketch that appears in patterns of stars, spun into myths that have no actual reference to anything in reality.

There’s not actually a bull in Taurus. There are no fish in Pisces. However, Sagittarius is different from all other signs in this regard. There is something there, and that something has everything to do with both the classical and modern delineations of your sign. Ancient astrologers — the people who came up with the system, starting around 400 BC — described Sagittarius as the sign of things foreign and exotic; of religion, and later, spiritual matters; of the higher courts of justice; and as the sign of long-distance travel.

We got some confirmation of the long-distance bit when the Wright Brothers flew their airplane for the first time with the Sun and Moon making a stunning conjunction to Uranus in Sagittarius.

As for those physical features: Sagittarius contains two centers of our vast region of the universe. The first tangible hint of this didn’t come along till about 1930, when the Galactic Core (GC) was discovered by engineers laying transatlantic communications cable (Sagittarian all by itself — the communications bit, and the transatlantic bit). Their instruments picked up interference along the lines, but only at certain times of day. This, the engineers working on the project determined to be “cosmic rays” emanating from the as-yet-unknown Galactic Core (that’s how it was reported on page one of The New York Times). Prior to that point, neither the galaxy nor the Core was a serious consideration by scientists, and certainly not by astrologers (and for astrologers, they barely are today).

The GC is the center of our spiral island in space that contains an estimated 300,000,000,000,000 stars. At the very core of this spiral is a supermassive black hole and a number of other radio sources. While the galaxy itself spreads across the sky in true Sagittarian fashion, the core is located in your sign, and is the most prominent feature of your astrology this year.

The second feature of Sagittarius was not discovered until 1986, called the Great Attractor. This was observed as a point hundreds of millions of light years beyond the Galactic Core, a kind of gravity anomaly that is drawing thousands of galaxies toward it, including the entire local group. But the Great Attractor, its composition and its structure, remained a mystery.

The most recent discovery came in 2014. The Great Attractor was discovered to be the focal point of a supercluster of about 100,000 galaxies stretched out over 520 million light years. These galaxies are joined together in smaller clusters, strands and voids. This was called Laniakea, or “immense heaven.” Numerous superclusters previously thought of as separate entities were discovered to be part of Laniakea, whose central gravitational point, the Great Attractor, is right in the center of Sagittarius. Imagine that emanating from this center-point are strands of galaxies all being drawn toward a kind of deep-space basin. We are on the far trailing edge of Laniakea. We live in the rural cosmos, if such a thing is possible.

What is interesting about Laniakea is that in our region of the universe, everything is contracting toward the Great Attractor. It’s a kind of watershed draining toward this central point. Everywhere else, the universe is expanding. If contraction feels like the primary quality of energy on Earth, that’s a clue as to why.

A few seasons ago, when I was researching Laniakea — which included an interview with its co-discoverer, Brent Tully — I experienced a kind of vision. I was dozing in my car along the side of a remote road in upstate New York, waiting for an appointment. It was early summer; a beautiful, warm, late afternoon, and my car windows were open. I dozed into half-sleep, the kind where lucid dreaming or astral projection sometimes happen. The vision was prompted by the sounds of birds’ wings fluttering in the woods nearby.

I was transported to a perspective where I could see, hear and feel a vast migration of souls traveling for eons along Laniakea. Fluttering through the cosmos, these souls were being drawn toward the center-point. Souls would land on a planet like birds in a park, activating that planet to sentient life.

Each star system and planet they land on produces a distinct and unique vibration, and thus a distinct experience of life. None is like any other. What we are doing here is something we can only do here, in our world, at this time. Then we rejoin the vast migration, making our way from galaxy to galaxy, planet to planet, having distinct experiences on each one. In our region of the universe, all of us are moving over time toward a vast pool of subatomic particles that contemporary scientists believe make up the Great Attractor. One might describe this as Shamballa.

I was shown no wider context for this migration. I was not told a purpose. I was only shown that it’s happening, and that we are part of it. Also it was clear that the notion of mastery involves learning what’s necessary on any given planet at any given time, and that this is our opportunity to learn what we can only discover here, in our particular place. Every place offers a different vibration and set of teachings, a different quality to which we must adapt.

You are indeed a traveler, and you have landed here, where you came to do what you can only do here. In the system of Esoteric Astrology, it’s interesting to note the planet that rules Sagittarius is the Earth. Therefore, everything about your existence, and your experience here on Earth, is spiritual. Saturn is in your life to help you ground your experience on Earth in a way that you can only do here and now. Saturn, which will be holding a long conjunction to the Galactic Core, will hold you to that commitment and that necessity.

Your Necessity for a Contained Vision

If this information about the Galactic Core and the Great Attractor say anything about you, it’s a description of your vast and unlimited potential. There’s only one way to harness that, which is with structure and containment. You might say that Saturn is guiding you to condense your highest vision into something tangible.

This may not be easy, as for many years, a point called Pholus has been working its way through your sign. Pholus is the principle of release, or the runaway reaction, and this is an energy that’s been in your life for more than 10 years. The effects of Pholus combined with Sagittarius dearly need the constructive quality of Saturn, though it may not feel so good until you have internalized your own authority.

That is to say, you must become abundantly clear with yourself that you’re the one guiding your life by the decisions that you make. It’s possible that you feel held down by some external manifestation of Saturn, in which case the remedy is to claim back your power. If you feel like you’re slogging through a swamp, this is especially necessary.

I recognize that the world is having some serious authority issues now. A bona fide authoritarian type has taken over the U.S. presidency. Many people, yearning for the safe cocoon of mommy and daddy, are falling for it. We do need to see this for what it is: an expression of the idea that freedom is in some way dangerous, and that taking responsibility for one’s choices and one’s actions is a price too high to pay.

We have not seen the end of the current authority problem the world is having. It would seem that vast swaths of the population have been conned into giving up the last vestiges of their power. Many are ready to give up more of their power, and all it would take would be one loud kaboom to startle these easily frightened earthlings into submission.

Yes, these are the conditions under which you’re being called to claim your strength and dominion over your life.

Beyond the moral or ethical level, there is the creative level, which factors prominently in your chart this year due to Venus retrograde, which I’ll get to in a bit. Saturn is a construction tool. You might think of Sagittarius as an architecture tool. Saturn, in a long conjunction with the Galactic Core, is urging you to express your vision, though you must take a wide and long-range view. That, in turn, calls for commitment and discipline.

And it calls for something even more precious, which is sufficient optimism to see the future that your ideas might inhabit. You are the only person who can guide your life in the direction that you want to go. This is a wholly creative act: the visioning, the impetus, the commitment and the actual work.

Yet to succeed, your work plan must have metes and bounds. You must choose the specific things you need to accomplish within a specific timeframe, and these choices must be prioritized. This does not mean that you will follow your plans exactly, and you’ll very likely alter your priorities as you proceed. Yet it’s essential to start with some organized scheme, so that you have an overview, and you have a first draft to revise.

I recognize that certain people with strong Sagittarius signatures, particularly the Moon, will be feeling so much pressure that visioning, planning and conceiving the future seem impossible or pointless. I suggest you tackle this first. The future will arrive, whether you like it or not; whether you’re prepared for it or not. Therefore, I suggest you prepare.

Pisces: The Cosmos Within

Your sign is part of the mutable cross, which also consists of Gemini, Virgo and Pisces. The cross on which one’s sign resides functions as one energy system. Each of these four signs has information for you, though Pisces has the most at this time.

Pisces is your 4th solar house, or if you’re Sagittarius rising, your 4th whole-sign house. The 4th house is your foundation. In astrology, it represents your physical dwelling place, your sense of safety and security, and it contains the history of your life with your family of origin. The 4th represents the emotional conditions of childhood as they manifest in the life of an adult.

There’s nothing solid about Pisces, the most ethereal sign, on the 4th house. It may be the most difficult sign to be associated with the 4th, though it fits the cosmic nature of Sagittarius. It describes the way in which your dwelling is much larger than a house or an apartment. The suggestion is that your home is a spiritual experience; that you will not feel at home on Earth until you tap into the inner depths that Pisces describes in your chart.

The influence of Pisces can drown out even the majestic, galactic feeling of what’s coming through Sagittarius. To really feel and experience your Sagittarian nature, you must earn it through experience and awareness. No such thing is true of how Pisces acts on you, sometimes in an overwhelming way. This will be especially true if you’re the type to avoid your feelings because you’re so sensitive.

Pisces is the scene of a great gathering at the moment, and this has been challenging your stability. Many of the descriptions I’m hearing from Sagittarius natives, which they are associating with Saturn, sound to me more like descriptions of what’s happening in your 4th house.

In local news, going back to around the time of Saturn’s ingress into Sagittarius in 2014-2015, the lunar nodes have been moving through town. That means there have been eclipses of the Sun and the Moon in your 4th house. Eclipses are shakeups, though they are essential for progress. They represent the accelerated processing of karma. The South Node has been in Pisces, which is a release point.

The overwhelming message of this series of South Node eclipses is that you must get beyond your own past, and find the present. Finding the present means sorting out your emotional reality to the point where you understand what happened, and what it means — and use it as a source of strength rather than of weakness.

Two concepts are worth adding to one’s understanding of the 4th house. The first is limbic resonance. Our brains form between birth and two years old in our family of origin environment, and they form in its image. That is why family members can push our buttons like nobody else. There are deep furrows in the brain that those thoughts and feelings travel in, and they are associated with family patterns. This is often confused with karma, and it may indeed be a kind of physical representation of karma.

To get beyond those patterns and therefore to find yourself and your sanity, you must both confront those patterns, and give yourself sufficient new experiences to create new pathways. This takes effort, concentration and awareness. It does not happen by itself, as you can see from the abundance of people who simply cannot get beyond the conditioning of their family, or who spend their whole lives in response to it. By the time a person is an adult, mommy and daddy should not be the first thing on their minds, or intervene in their thoughts at every turn.

The second factor does involve karma: most of the issues we face are inherited, unresolved material from our ancestors. The sins of the father are indeed passed down unto the seventh generation, or until we address them.

Three planetary factors are conspiring to make this inevitable for you, though it may not be easy. In order of arrival in Pisces, they are Chiron, Neptune and Nessus. Two are centaurs (Chiron and Nessus), and one is a planet (Neptune). Let’s take the centaurs first.

Centaurs promote healing, though it can and often is inconvenient, or a crisis. It’s possible that Chiron and Nessus have you on the brink of emotional crisis much of the time, waiting to be triggered by something or someone. It’s important to notice what triggers you, and to trace it back into your past. This awareness is the only way besides total amnesia to get out of the past and its conditioning.

Chiron in particular — in the 4th, and especially in Pisces — is associated with hypersensitivity to your environment. This will involve both emotional influences and physical ones, such as chemicals. Toxicity is toxicity, and you will respond to it, like the proverbial canary in the coalmine.

In the Orgonon, Samuel Hahnemann’s treaties on healing, he says, “If something aggravates, remove it.” You would be amazed (or perhaps not) at what an alien thought this is to many people, despite being so obvious. If something is making you sick, get it out of your environment. If the whole environment is toxic, then you must get out. Chiron points to physical contaminants; Nessus points to emotional ones. These might be a presence in some form now, or one you’re still cleansing from previous experiences.

The presence of Neptune, however, complicates matters, by adding the factor of denial. Neptune can act like a substance to which one is both allergic and addicted. It can also anaesthetize one to other problems in the environment. Under one scenario, it’s possible to respond to the signals and the demand for vigilant awareness of Chiron and Nessus by denying them or pretending they’re not there. You will need to navigate these seemingly dissonant influences within you now. Chiron and Nessus serve profoundly important purposes, which involve healing your past and grounding you in the present. Yet if you succumb to Neptune, you will not get the benefits of these influences.

Of course, Neptune in the 4th can make a difficult situation tolerable. Though where Neptune is concerned, you want to set boundaries, in particular, time limits. It’s easy for a month, a year, or a decade to get away from you, if you’re not paying attention to time, and working with a concept of your limits.

It’s through these types of diversions that we see so many potentially powerful, undeniably creative people waste their lives on chaos, pain, and struggle. You have the power to overcome this, to the extent that it’s influencing you. Note that Neptune can also represent a boggy kind of confusion.

Remember that Chiron is still in Pisces. You can focus your consciousness and get clarity. This may be as simple as asking yourself, “What am I feeling?”

Chiron square Pholus: A Tension Point

An aspect is about to come to fruition, which is a 90-degree meeting between Pholus in your sign, and Chiron in your 4th house. This is distinctly personal for you because one of the factors is in your sign and another is located in a particularly sensitive place in your chart. All centaur planets have a resonance with Sagittarius as well. This square is an extraordinarily rare aspect; it is the first-quarter phase after a conjunction that happened in 1956, in Aquarius.

This may apply to a number of scenarios, though it’s a marker to pay extra attention to ancestral and family matters, particularly involving your grandparents and great grandparents. Time and energy invested in understanding who these people are, or were, and what they went through, will pay you back handsomely in spiritual rewards. It will be as if you’re mapping out your own emotional tendencies as you work out the identities and issues of your immediate predecessors.

Pholus in your sign, and Neptune in your 4th, are reminders to pay attention to the alcohol issue. This is the thing that few want to talk about and even fewer want to admit to. There is, however, a very high probability that it’s influencing your life below the surface, and what this centaur contact is doing is calling you to bring it to the surface.

One theme to follow is women in your family who distrust other women in your family. Without going too deep into it, a point called the Black Moon Lilith is in the pattern, which raises this issue. My latest take on BML (or the mean osculating lunar apogee) is that it describes women’s trust issues with one another. Look for early conditioning; look for the patterns of relationships in current times; notice where you may have picked up habits from women in your family.

We could say that everything represented by your 4th house, combined with the Chiron-Pholus square that reaches right into your identity, involves trust, and the cultivation of trust. Any feeling you may have of being overwhelmed will be more easily resolved if you frame the question this way. Ultimately, you must have trust in yourself; that’s the thing to focus on — as you must also focus on any efforts you discover to take your self-trust away from you. This may turn out to be a kind of lineage in your family.

While we’re on the subject of trust, self-trust and potential damage to that, the presence of Nessus in your 4th house is an alert to potential abuse in your early household. This will not apply to everyone, though if it applies to you, consider that the net effect of any potential transgression, whether emotional, physical or sexual, is to undermine your ability to trust yourself. This exists on the emotional level, unaffected by the cognitive script, “I trust myself.”

In order to resolve this emotional pattern, you must go to that deeper level, where there are no words, and work with the feeling. And you must actively take steps to experiment with trusting yourself, and seeing what happens. You will make mistakes; you will not be right every time. But with each instance you will gain additional experience and will learn how to proceed with awareness, care and, ultimately, confidence in who you are.

Venus Retrograde: Art and Sex as Therapy

Venus will be retrograde this year from March 4 through April 15. This is the continuation of the Mars retrograde process that spanned most of early 2016, and was responsible for much of the mischief that took place last year.

Venus and Mars represent complimentary elements of desire. Mars desires in the “go get her” way, and Venus in the “come hither” way. Mars retrograde served as a way for you to attune and discover your desires as they manifest in the self-assertive form. Sexuality being a core expression of your relationship to yourself was one of the main themes of this. You were given an opportunity to reach into a previously unexplored aspect of your psyche and retrieve some of what you were missing, or what you did not know you had to offer yourself.

My take on the 2016 Mars retrograde is that it exists as a standing wave pattern. Imagine that a conduit has been installed between your sign and Scorpio, your cryptic 12th house, allowing an exchange of energy, feelings, ideas and information. Of the houses that address sexuality, the 12th is the one that has all the secrets you don’t even put into words. (The 8th represents the secrets you share.)

You have Scorpio in the 12th, and this suggests that you would prefer not to reveal anything about your sexuality to anyone you don’t absolutely have to reveal it to. However, the Mars retrograde pattern began to change that.

If you work this conduit, you will discover a source of sexual energy, of a quality that liberates you from your inhibitions as you use it.

This year, Venus will be retrograde, and its path will lead it from Pisces to Aries, back into Pisces and then forward again to Aries. It’s a similar water-fire-water-fire pattern as Mars ran last year, only the houses and signs are different. A 5th-house transit will be more accessible, less confrontational and more playful than something involving the 12th.

The 5th is the house of art, playful sex, and games of chance. It’s also the house of children and the kinds of fun that children like to have. You have Aries in this solar house (or whole-sign house), which in part describes why you’re so adventurous; yet Aries can have the feeling of being all about you, and you don’t necessarily need playmates to have a good time.

Contrast this with the emotional complexities of the 4th house (Pisces discussion above). With Venus retrograde across Pisces and Aries, you’re allowing a vent from the emotional pressures and healing work of your 4th to enter the expressive realm of the 5th.

To me this looks like art therapy, sex therapy or play therapy. If you’re carrying any burdens, stress or tension from the Pisces zone, populated as it is by centaur planets that are making you focus on your healing process, Venus is saying: express yourself. At a certain point healing must become celebrating life, if it’s to be meaningful — or if it’s to have a purpose. What you’re likely to find is that creative self-expression puts you in contact with who you are.

There’s plenty going on in Aries right now — it’s the seat of the hottest, boldest and most chaotic astrology in more than 50 years. But Uranus and Eris (which are in Aries) can be alienating and difficult to grasp. Venus makes Aries personal for you. Contact of Venus with Pisces makes it even more personal, and more emotional. Imagine that this course of events is creating an energy conduit from your emotional house of security (Pisces 4th) to that of sex, creativity and play (Aries 5th). If you use this, it will let off pressure.

Here is the catch: to share this with others, you will need to summon up some trust. It would be easy enough to go solo; that’s one of your talents. It would be easy enough to share other parts of your life, but not this discovery zone. You have the option to share, though for that to be meaningful, you must trust yourself and trust others. Indeed, consider this an experiment in cultivating that very trust you seek.

Saturn, Business and Money

The Capricorn zone of your chart involves business and personal finance for you. With Pluto moving through Capricorn, you’re driven toward a kind of independence and self-sufficiency. You might, however, first question your need for that independence, or when enough is enough. All money is made as part of an economy, which means a kind of sharing.

Saturn, now in your sign, is the most important indicator that it’s time to do some real work finding your real work. As Saturn approaches the Galactic Core, you may feel more intensely called to your true dharma. At the same time, making that real may feel like the boa constrictor swallowing an elephant, of Little Prince fame.

I’ve read comments from Sagittarians I’ve queried about how they’re doing the Saturn work but have yet to reap the rewards. Commit to the work. Saturn rewards patience. Saturn indeed demands patience. Focus on the work for its own sake: for its quality and self-expressiveness.

You may feel moments of calling that you don’t recognize or fail to acknowledge. Notice the sublime. Be gentle when deciding your plans are too big to be real. They are probably not; there’s a lot of space in the world, despite the feeling of overcrowding and a billion internet domains currently registered (it was just 25,000 22 years ago). There is room for you on the planet: there is room for you to become who you are becoming.

One thing to be mindful of is some past parental influence that has you feeling so self-critical about the work you do, or want to do, that you falter merely due to a kind of constriction. You dearly need to step away from your family’s influence to set yourself free from this. There is something that may be vexing you about specialization, or the need to specialize. Nobody is really a specialist anymore. For one thing, the world is moving constantly in the direction of integration. Not generalization, but rather integration. Work for that. Look for the many ways you can express your talent rather than the one special way.

Yes, it may happen that you’re called to take on a specific task, or get an opportunity that allows you to express your talent in a focused way. Make sure that’s the right thing for you. Remember that you can, in fact, go back to what you were doing previously if you choose to take this assignment. Notably, it might be an assignment that seems to have nothing to do with what you’re currently doing. I’ve heard many success stories involving people who were highly skilled in one field, and took up work in a field they had never planned, intended or trained to work in — and they did brilliantly.

You will thrive if you maintain a spirit of exploration and play in the work that you do. You might explore the idea that no matter what you do, you’re doing the same thing: expressing your energy and love. If you discover that you don’t feel so energetic or so loving, that’s the time to consider why you’re doing it. However, remember, many facets of your current astrology call for patience.

As Saturn changes signs into Capricorn late in the year, you’re likely to at least feel how solid is the investment you’ve made in yourself. There’s no question that if you continue to make this investment, you will get a return. Have faith in yourself, and work joyfully day to day. If you find that Saturn is oppressing you, meeting that challenge with the very things that Saturn demands will lighten that sensation rather than make it heavier. There are huge developments brewing in Capricorn in the coming years, and those indicate to me that the more persistent you are, in the day-to-day sense of that, and the more you invest in yourself, the more of a return you will get. Just remember, this really is about long-term commitment, as are all things associated with Capricorn and Saturn.

One Last Note on Purpose

When you consider the presence of Laniakea and the Galactic Core in your chart, remember that you’re not here on any ordinary mission. Your role is to embody the true purpose of incarnation on Earth, with an extraordinarily high degree of awareness. You may feel like you’re in some strange and alien place.

Your urge to wander, travel and explore the world uninhibited is the deep echo of the vast migration of souls across the galactic strands. Indeed, it’s part of that very exploration, because that is what you, and the rest of us, came here to do. It’s just that you have a more vivid sense of your intent to travel than do many others. If you get to the point where the world does not feel like an alien place, stop and appreciate that moment, and remember it well.

You might say that your whole purpose here is to cultivate this Earth from someplace that feels strange and alien to someplace familiar and truly home. Remember, as well, that as you learn to feel at home in your feelings, you will feel at home on our planet. Give yourself time, give yourself space, and treat yourself gently. This whole human experiment, on Earth and across the vast migration of souls, has just one purpose. As you find your grounding, you will indeed learn to fly.


Chart for Sagittarius.

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