Sunday, August 16, 2009

High Signs 3: Living on the Upside of the Zodiac

Sagittarius through Pisces

© 2009 by Joyce Mason

In Part 1 and Part 2 of High Signs, we covered Aries through Cancer, then Leo through Scorpio. The purpose of this three-part article series is to identify some of the most optimal ways to express each of the twelve signs in our charts and lives. A natural process of inner evolution reveals itself in the 12-stage cycle of the signs, as well as hints on how to break through core issues to resolution. Here's a recap of the key lessons of the signs previously covered and a preview of the final third of the zodiac wheel. These are the stages represented by each sign in the inner growth process:

Twelve Stages of Inner Growth

Aries -
Taurus -Rooting
Gemini – Growing conditions
Cancer – Seedling protection
Leo – First bloom
Virgo – Fullness of bloom
Libra – Sharing harvest
Scorpio – Harvest alchemy
Sagittarius – Teaching others how to garden and share seeds
Capricorn- Agriculture or profit from personal growth
Aquarius – Feeding the world, eliminating world hunger
Pisces – Return to seed or dormancy in preparation for a new cycle

Now we move onto the final third of the cycle from Sagittarius through Pisces.

Sagittarius – Bloomin’ Teachers

I think of Sag, given this series of inner growth metaphors, as the Johnny Appleseed of ideas who teaches best what he most needs to learn about growth and expansion—to an extreme. An armchair or actual world traveler who likes the fun side of life, some of Sag’s teaching techniques include bluntness, pontificating, and jokes (maybe at your expense). These gaffes are balanced by enthusiasm, generosity, and tendency to wax philosophical, if not spiritual. Unfortunately, Sag’s way of looking at the world is often “my way’s the right way and the only way.” As we know from tending the flowers in the pots on our porch, different species have different needs and growth requirements. Some shrivel in the sun; some need full exposure. Others are thirsty, while some species easily wilt from overwatering.

The Know It All can be demeaning. I have an older Sag relative who has literally taken things out of my hands to do it his way and often treats me like a small child when, actually, I have more diverse life experience than he does. Like Lucy in Peanuts, if he can’t be right, he’ll be wrong at the top of his lungs. (You have to laugh or pull your hair out.)

You can’t argue with the Sag lease on life—he really wants to teach you about learning and how to have a good time on life’s adventure. It’s the attitude and method of delivery that sometimes need adjustment, especially on more delicate flowers or fragile ferns.

While Sag loves to see the world, to collect and spread his ideas—a good thing on face value—deluging others with his conclusions is like overwatering certain plants or blasting them with full sun when they need part-shade. Sag has to learn what my first spiritual teacher taught me about any idea, “Take what feels right and toss the rest.” When Sag learns his receivers have a right and responsibility to accept or reject input, there can be a more fun flow of ideas exchanged, even in the fiery Sag heat of play arguments. After all, they are only ideas, which change constantly, if we really do that Sag thing and explore the entire world of ‘em. Sag reaches a higher plane when he learns not just to collect and judge ideas, but also to teach the joy of learning and growth for its own sake.

Sag teaches others how to garden and share seeds with the world.

Capricorn – The Business of Selling Yourself

No matter what business Capricorn is in, at some level she’s selling herself. Her bloomin’ spirit is what she has to offer—what she knows and can do for others in the world. Capricorn represents agriculture or making her inner growth her business.

Whether she sells stocks, personal growth seminars, houses, or hardware, Capricorn is the gardener or farmer who profits from her own knowledge and expertise. Her stumbling block is pouring herself too much into the product. That Saturn-ruled overwork and harshness on self that Capricorn is known for? It comes from the belief that she must infuse herself like a repetitive booster shot into every concept, product, and procedure and micro-manage the whole shebang. This can literally lead to very controlling behavior and over-fertilization, if you will. Worse, it’s not very good for the executive herself. She sets herself up for jangled nerves and other health risks by working too hard.

A major mental realignment that needs to take place to express Capricorn in a high way is to self-trust. You sell yourself by being yourself. There’s no need to put on the heavy sales pitch, make it hard, or dog every single nut, bolt, and ball bearing in the production process. Good management means knowing how to put your principles and personal growth bounty into a trickle-down effect that makes people work in a way that benefits the business and runs it in your style.

The upside of Capricorn’s ruler, Saturn, is sound structure. When the structure works, everything falls into place. No need to make work hard and worry about every little step. While we pair Capricorn with the 10th House and public life, the same applies to Capricorn’s personal life. Set your firm foundation, then be yourself. A solid relationship with Saturn is like a self-cleaning oven. Create a self-fulfilling business or home life with your organizational skills!

Sag teaches others how to garden. Capricorn profits from personal growth.

Aquarius – Feeding the World, Flashing on the Future

Innovative and community-oriented, most Aquarians don’t have the same concerns with the bottom line as Capricorns. They just want to eliminate world hunger, in both the literal and figurative sense, and other social inequities. The Aquarian’s lightning bolts of inspiration tell him how and what the problem looks like—solved.

That’s the pain and promise of the Aquarian visionary. Living as he does on the leading edge with a pulse to the future, he sees the best possible outcome. Aquarius may even have glimmers of what needs to be done to get there. What Aquarians are not so hot on? Process. Getting from Here to There, There being what they visualize as utopia.

If they seem flighty, unreliable, eccentric, opinionated, tactless or fickle at times, it’s just hard for them to be patient with people who are so out of it. Imagine living as they do, their highly mental capacities meeting the visual jolts of what I call “préja vue.” (That’s the opposite of déjà-vue, a preview of the future.) It’s so clear to them, these reformists who thrive on the freedom to be you ‘n’ me. (Think John Lennon's Moon in Aquarius reflected in and his consummate Aquarian song, “Imagine.”)

The last of the fixed signs, like all of them, Aquarius has to let go of something--the fast forward button. He can be the leaven in the loaf that brainstorms the new idea and catalyzes change. There are similarities with Aries—both dealing with the early stages of projects or movements—but Aquarius differs. Aries is in it for the adventure and newness; Aquarius is in it for the truth and vision. Unlike Aries, who can find his place in short-term projects or the beginnings of them, Aquarius is needed at all stages of the project, even though it can get boring and uncomfortable for him. The role of Aquarius is to hold the vision. In the nitty gritty of evolving from here to there or now to then, people need an ongoing infusion of visionary insight from the non-conformists who challenge tradition and awaken the complacent to the possibilities within the new. When the job is frustrating, their friends are their solace—especially other people with planets in Aquarius or similar astrological signatures.

Ironically, the original ruler of Aquarius was Saturn before the discovery of Uranus, its modern ruler. Making peace with Saturn, the ruler of time, is still part of the Aquarian challenge, even though Uranus keeps its electric pulse running through Aquarius like a cattle prod to shock him into his role of making change.

There are worlds to feed, humanity to evolve. Aquarius feeds the world with innovative discoveries and visions of a better tomorrow.

Pisces – Meditate, Don’t Medicate

I started this series with a quote by artist Corita Kent, comparing her High Cards to the concept of High Signs—creating a parallel to her thought about turning melodrama into a mellow drama for each sign’s expression. I’d like to end the 12-sign cycle with a quote by the poet, Rumi. I think it especially fits Pisces and this final stage:

With every breath, I plant the seeds of devotion. I am a farmer of the heart. ~ Rumi

In the twelve-phase inner growth process, Pisces goes back to seed or dormancy to await rebirth in Aries, when the cycle starts all over again. It is the phase “between worlds” where life and death merge into a process that slowly grows from one to the other. This phase of inner evolution involves feeling at one with the largest possible reality of which we are a part. Pisces is the cosmic soup. She is at home in a watery medium.

I had an interesting experience as I started to write about Pisces for this article. I was taking notes about the inner growth cycle, putting the astrological glyph next to each phase of the process in my hand scribbles. When I got to Pisces, I temporarily blanked on what the symbol looks like. I’ve been an astrologer for nearly 30 years! Was I having a dreaded senior moment--or was it my refusal to incorporate my Virgo Sun complement and some sort of Piscean prejudice rearing its ugly head?

Neither. Like the actor that becomes the character, I was the writer becoming the sign. Pisces often cannot define itself, draw itself, or extract its individuality out of the collective consciousness. In that Piscean moment, I “got” why Pisces has difficulty with boundaries and coming down to earth.

Yet, too much love of the otherworldly state takes a person from the return-to- seed stage to just plain seedy. As long as Pisces is still on earth, she has to live on solid ground. How do we minimize spaciness, escapist behavior, self-deception and a bunch of other “self” prefix words that actually aren’t self-honoring at all, such as self-pity and self-effacing? How do we shift emphasis from neuroses, substance abuse, and lack of realism or focus?

Here’s where the Rumi quote comes in. Devotion and heart—some sort of higher consciousness, spirituality, or humanitarianism—are crucial to this stage of the evolutionary cycle. The upside of Pisces couldn’t be better: sympathy, sensitivity, compassion, creativity, idealism, artistry, vision, acute intuition or psychic abilities, a person with the antennae to attract the most out of life who simply needs a filtering system to keep negative energies from flowing in with all that good.

My first spiritual teacher used to talk about how meditation builds up your aura, creating a strong energy field or buffer zone against any psychic attacks or just plain negative energy. A good prescription for Pisces is meditate, don’t medicate. Most of the action for this sign happens above ground in the ethers—but to walk the earth with any measure of success, Pisces needs to hit the restart button on the sky-to-earth and earth-to-sky interface on a regular basis. Devotions, such as yoga, meditation, dance, or prayers take the spiritual substance and bring it into physical form. Bliss! And grounding. It’s the Fish formula. Bliss and Grounding could be the name of the two fish swimming in opposite directions in the Pisces symbol.

As farmers of the heart, Pisces can plant the seed of the universal heart center connection in their devotional practices and by living their life as a prayer. That doesn’t mean being a goody two-shoes like their Virgo counterparts are sometimes known to act, but rather honing the talent to beam in and out of that state of cosmic channeling to bring the information down to share with other earthlings, including themselves, when they return to grounded consciousness. The methods are endless: humor, writing, play, music.

When Pisces protects its seeds from being washed out by too much watery behavior or substances, it begins to build up the energy it will need to burst into bloom in the next growth cycle. Pisces contains the energy, lessons, and experience of the entire 12-fold growth process. Pisces is all of us, and when she goes from sky to earth and back again in her devotions, she is the ever replenishing food supply in the biblical lesson of the loaves and fishes: feeding humanity with the soul nurturing needed for the next round on Earth—and, ultimately—for the final trip back to the stars.


Postscript: During World War I and II, citizens planted
victory gardens in private residences in the US, UK, Canada, and Germany. Victory gardens reduced pressure on the public food supply brought on by the war effort. The gardens were also great morale boosters. Many gardeners felt empowered by their contribution of labor and rewarded by their homegrown produce. Victory gardens became a part of daily life on the home front.

Not only do we have our continued share of wars and situations on the brink of it on Earth at this time, the war between the darkest and lightest potentials of self-expression is likely to wage on as long as we incarnate.

There’s a parallel in the inner garden we’ve just finished planting and harvesting in the cycle of the zodiac. If we tend that garden, it’s a morale booster. It triggers a divine domino effect that ends world hunger on every level.

The most profound truths are often the simplest. Plant and tend your garden—for real or in your mind as a metaphor of your psycho-spiritual evolution. Since “as above, so below,” both would be perfect.



Eileen Williams said...


Thank you so much for this amazing 3 Part series on the twelve houses and the influence our sun sign plays on our outlook and disposition. You break things down so clearly and help each of understand ourselves and those around us much better.
I'm a Capricorn (12/27) and feel like a combination of Sagittarius (travel, teaching) and my own sign. I have to confess that overwork is NOT one of my flaws. :-)
Is is possible to be a combination of signs? I don't think I'm officially on the cusp but I feel that way.

Joyce Mason said...

Hi, Eileen - No doubt you have planets in Sag other than your Sun that make you a "Sagittaricorn!" (Born on the cusp of Virgo/Libra, I myself am a "Virgobra.") I'm delighted to know you don't have the Capricorn burden of overwork. We are a combination of all the planets in our chart and the signs they are in, each horoscope as unique as a cosmic fingerprint. I'm continuing this review-of-basics series over time to include all the key components of the astrological lanugage--signs, planets, houses, and aspects. Stay tuned for more. That goes especially for your Sag parts that love to learn!

Anne Whitaker said...

Hi Joyce

as ever, your writing is a model of well-distilled experience, knowledge and clarity - I found what you wrote about Sagittarius very relevant as a pointer. Last night my prog Moon moved off from its crossing of 29 Scorpio IC and entered Sag. So I have to remember to behave myself,and not be too overwhelmingly enthusiastic, informative or (worse still) RIGHT over the next couple of years!!

Hope you enjoyed your recent break.


Joyce Mason said...

What a nice compliment about my writing, Anne. Coming from another writer as skilled as you are, I feel like I just got the the old grammar school gold star on my forehead!:) It's always wonderful to know when we have hit the mark. Thanks for letting me know.

I love the fire signs, maybe because I lack fire in my chart (Saturn/Pluto in Leo only). I have lots of fiery people in my life, and I somehow am able to deal with their more irksome characteristics for their spark and fearlessness that I find exhilarating. One last thing I have to add about Sag, I've always wondered if we didn't derive the term exSAGgerate from this sign!

I have had a lot of rest and am looking forward to a productive autumn. BTW, I really enjoyed your friend's description of you on your blog--and your description of where you grew up.

Anne Whitaker said...

Thanks Joyce

will try out exSAGgerate theory on my favourite Sag friend! And will email you to continue the dialogue....