Loosing the Arrow of Inspiration

Knowing how passionate I am about the link between the zodiac and the seasonal cycle from which its meanings derive, people often ask me how I reconcile the fact that the fire sign Sagittarius falls within the darkest season of the year. I have done a lot of searching reflection on this over the years and have come to see how absolutely perfectly it fits. We can easily see how the other fire signs, Aries and Leo work perfectly with the element in a very visible and obvious way. Aries is the like the first buds of Spring bursting with life force, Leo the summer heat which makes everything grow so abundantly. With Sagittarius, that fire comes from within, filled with anticipation, promise, hope and faith.

I often think of Sagittarius as being that sign that carries the strongest “light” / “positive” energy in the zodiac, and this would fit with the symbolism we find in eastern traditions where the yang force emerges strongest when the yin is at its most saturated and we can reach that point in the Scorpio phase. In Scorpio we faced our darkest fears and shadows, journey into the underworld, as the sun accelerates lower toward the horizon and the realisation of death in nature confronts us, as the nights draw in ever closer. In Sagittarius, while the nights still draw in closer, the rate acceleration of the sun toward the horizon is checked and begins to decrease as we move toward the solstice. And with that comes the ritual realisation that the Sun will return again, and it is this event which is anticipated in Sagittarius. This is celebrated, of course, in Christianity, with the season of Advent – which anticipates the birth of Christ, perfectly synchronous (and many would say derived from) with the Winter Solstice tradition which honours and celebrates the return of the Sun. So in Sagittarius, we can be inspired, like Magi-astrologers who predict the holy birth, to take that leap of faith, soar beyond our fears and limitations, rise again out of the depths of our shadows, with renewed hope and vigour.

I have also reflected that even in Scorpio, where we have a very male symbol Mars, which drives us downward into the depths of our soul – the arrow symbol in the Scorpio glyph is beneath the ground level – and represents how the seed of life’s continuing cycle is sown under-the-ground, even though it appears that nature is dying. In Sagittarius, the symbol clears the ground and that realisation of eternal life rises up into the light of consciousness and we are given the possibility to travel beyond death into a bigger, more inclusive understanding of life.

In Sagittarius, we can imagine ourselves re-kindling the fires of inspiration (that the goddess Hestia has been tending for us) and then spreading that fire far and wide. In the cycle of fire in the zodiac, Aries lights the spark that gets the fire going, Leo tends the fire and keeps it burning with an eternal flame, and Sagittarius, takes that fire and spreads it abroad with infectious energy and vigour. Sagittarius has the power to light up even the darkest recesses of the mind to realise the interconnectedness of life. Sagittarius provides the perspective to bring ideas together that we have forgotten are connected. It connects the heavens with the earth, the above with the below. It helps us to think symbolically, mythically and of life in terms a journey. It is the sign of pilgrimage and in many ways it defines our alchemical journey which is really born out of the Sagittarian perspective.

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