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No holiday could be more “Jupiter” than the typical American Thanksgiving. We overdo everything—food, football, friends, family and acid indigestion. We hunt and gather at our local grocery store until we have acquired an overflowing basket of ingredients, the makings of a feast fit for a king or queen. Don’t forget their royal relatives.
This bounty hunting got me wondering about the history of Thanksgiving. Long story short: In 1621, the Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag Indians shared an autumn harvest feast. Today many consider that meal to be one of the first Thanksgiving celebrations in the colonies. This feast also became a symbol of cooperation and communication between the English colonists and Native Americans.
While many people consider this dinner party to be the very first Thanksgiving, it was actually part of a long tradition of celebrating the harvest and giving thanks for a successful bounty of crops. Native Americans had lavish harvest festivals long before Europeans arrived in America. This is one of the many gifts we owe to the Original Americans.
Thanks to a declaration by Abraham Lincoln, Thanksgiving in the USA is perfectly placed when the Sun is in Sagittarius, ruled by Jupiter—the pre-game warm-up to the most Jupiterian of all holidays, Christmas. While our Gregorian calendar, offbeat with natural cycles, places the birth of Jesus just after the Winter Solstice in the sign of Capricorn, all the lead-up is Sag to the max—tinsel and merry, journeys to the mall, buying too much, and more eating and drinking too much.
That Jupiterian spirit extends to the other winter holidays based on faith from pagan (Solstice) to Jewish (Chanukah) and the holiday spirit of more secular believers who simply enjoy cheering for peace on earth and goodwill to humankind. Although Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving on the second Monday in October, it’s still during the harvest season while the Sun is in Libra, focusing on our relationship with others and how interconnectedness is what really feeds us.
The expression “jumpin’ Jupiter” originated as a mild expletive, but I think it describes how the ancient god Zeus (also known as Jupiter) would have celebrated Thanksgiving. I envision him in front of a 72-inch widescreen TV, watching all the games, leaping up in excitement during the hot plays, drinking beer, and snacking till he falls off his recliner. Don’t cheer for the other team. He has been known to throw thunderbolts!
“Everything in moderation, including moderation”
Many of us know this old saw that supports our excesses, as long as they don’t become—well, too excessive. It’s easy for me, as a person with natal Jupiter trine Mars, to overdo things with a flourish. What a perfect time of year to look at Jupiter in your own chart, both its gifts and challenges.
“Jumpin’ Jupiter” is also used to express surprise. I hope that will be the result of your journey to your personal Jupiter. Let’s take a trip, a Jupiter and Sag specialty, to discover your relationship to this planet’s bounty and drawbacks.
A Few Questions to Ask Yourself While Packing
This part of the trip is contemplative. While the metaphor involves packing, the real essentials you’ll be taking are a pen or pencil or your computer to muse on some of the following:
• What is the sign and house of your Jupiter?
• What planets does Jupiter aspect?
• Any aspect patterns? (T-square, Grand Trine, Kite)
• What happened on your last Jupiter Return?
• What were the icky parts of this supposedly great time? When you overdid things, whether you ate too much, drank too much, loved too much? What did you learn when nothing exceeded like excess?
While the first three questions seem elementary, the Jupiter Return holds the key to unlocking your personal Jupiter bounty. The Jupiter Return exposes your customized Jupiter themes.
My last Jupiter Return involved a new spiritual odyssey. I let my cosmic tractor beam lead me. Something felt “missing” in my spiritual life. It led me back to my spiritual roots and the church of my childhood, where I needed much healing in order to move forward into full realization of myself.
My Jupiter is in the seventh house, so there was something to discover about spiritual beliefs in relationship to others. Essentially, I got quite a lesson on the continuum of people who are both alike and different from me in their beliefs. From that introduction, I had to figure out where I fit in and where I belonged. I also learned how to stand in my own beliefs with loving kindness among people who do not see spirituality or the world in the same way as I do. These were definitely jumpin’ Jupiter/surprising revelations! Ultimately, they fulfilled Jupiter’s promise of expansion and getting to know “foreigners,” those whose ideas, culture, or beliefs are different from mine. I was delighted to learn that despite those differences, we were much more alike than different and many friendships could transcend them.
Next step: Once you’ve gotten reacquainted with the themes of your last Jupiter Return, trace it back to your other Jupiter Return cycles. Jupiter returns to its natal position every 12 years.
A Jupiter Journal
Inner journeys beg for a travel diary, just as we create travel journals in the outer world. We take photos; we annotate what we saw. That’s why I suggest that you create a little Jupiter Return Journal. Don’t rack your brain wondering what is important to write down. Write what first comes to you. Just as we're told when taking a multiple-choice test, the right answer is usually what comes to mind first. This is just as true when you consider the date of any Jupiter Return. After all, what you remember pops out of dozens of things that happened around that time. It must be important!
Using myself as the guinea pig (no permissions to obtain), here’s what I found out about my Jupiter Returns in reverse chronological order:
2006 – As already stated, this Jupiter Return brought me a literal spiritual journey back to my childhood religion and a journey in holding my core beliefs while honoring those who believe differently.
1994 - Chironicles newsletter was at its peak. It was my first foray into writing and publishing in a very personal way, where I was navigator of creating and disseminating information created by myself and others. I served as a teacher and mentor to those who wanted to learn more about Chiron during its early discovery years. It was higher education at its most practical, drawn from the laboratory of life. I also went on my first trip abroad to an astrology seminar in Greece. It was so loaded with blessings; this journey changed my life forever.
1982 – I was studying astrology and heading the production of the annual holiday party entertainment at my government day job. I was the team leader of a group that wrote and orchestrated a live show, personal to the audience, with countless belly laughs.
1970 – During this Jupiter Return, I enjoyed the blessings of my first professional job. It was more fulfilling than most people find at the peak of their careers. My work had a large teaching component. I played Jupiter to families of children with developmentally disabilities. Often devastated with little hope, I brought them resources, information and training. They spoke of me as a godsend, and I truly felt like Santa Claus.
1959 – We moved across town just as I entered adolescence, which may as well have been across the ocean for me when we left behind my happy childhood home. However, this journey kicked off all the inner growth expansion in my life and other surprises, such as meeting my first boyfriend. Little did I know then that 39 years later, as adults, we would marry. (For more on that story, read My Three Minutes of Fame.)
Putting It All Together
When I scan the very Jupiterian topics of my five Jupiter Returns, they involve love, inner expansion, teaching, astrology, international connections, entertainment, writing and publishing, and spirituality. These are the gourds, veggies and fruits in my cornucopia. If Jupiter brings joy and happiness, the ultimate joy for me must involve these topics, at best blended together in a big Thanksgiving feast. You’ll find the content of yours in your life review, too.
Guess what I discovered? My work now blends them all! I write and teach about love, expansion, astrology, and spirituality. I publish it on the Internet, the biggest long distance travel venue on earth. I do it in a way that’s entertaining.
When I’m down or blue and don’t feel the love, by Jove? Then it’s time to look to the configuration of my Jupiter by sign, house, and aspect for hints at how to feel in the flow of divine blessings. Trine Mars: Do Jupiterian things—give to others, act funny, write or publish something. Conjunct South Node: Find the blessings in my past, such as my reconnection with my childhood church and reunions with birth mom and my two most significant boyfriends/lost loves, one who became my husband. Your Jupiter configuration and cycles will tell you what makes you happy, too.
But don’t forget what gave you indigestion. It’s a compass in another direction. My excess is “all or nothing.” I don’t do anything half-way, and this takes its toll on me at times. The upside is that I “cycle through things” quickly, reap their benefits, and move on. However, I still overeat—literally. A work in progress!
Following my own Jupiter compass for expansion has brought me enough bounty for a lifetime of Thanksgivings. This holiday gives homage to my favorite feeling—gratitude. I invite you to take some introspective time after your big feast to do this exercise.
You may discover, as I did:
Happiness isn’t getting what you want; it’s wanting what you have.
Photo credit: CORNUCOPIA DETAIL © Achauer | Dreamstime.com
Thanksgiving Note from Joyce: At this grateful time of year, I want to thank the readers of The Radical Virgo for your part in making this blog such a success from its very inception this past Spring Equinox. A reader of my original article, “The Radical Virgo,” inspired me to return to writing about astrology. I actually didn’t think I had much left to say on the subject after a seven-year hiatus. Apparently, I was wrong! I never cease to be amazed that I’ve been able to recycle old articles to new audiences and continue to find inspirations for many new ones. Your support and reports of how this information helps you is what keeps me going. I welcome your feedback in our continued adventure together at becoming better versions of ourselves. Boundless blessings!