Nov 22 – Dec 21
….the excitement of the aim and the fascination of the journey. Arrival is not the point.
From the book “Astrology for Lovers” written by Liz Green.
The centaur is a mysterious composite figure of Greek mythology – half horse and half human – who’s always shooting his arrow at some distant target over the horizon and then galloping off in hot pursuit. Sometimes he finds the arrow. Sometimes, however, he gets completely sidetracked by all the interesting scenery on the way, until another target beckons. It is an apt and descriptive image for Sagittarius, the third and most volatile of the fire signs. For this equine archer does indeed aim the flashing arrow of his intuitive visions at some distant goal of the future; and most of his life is spent chasing after one arrow or another. The big question is whether he has aimed true or not. And, after that, whether he can find his arrow at all.
The key theme in all this classical imagery is that what really interests Sagittarius is the excitement of the aim and the fascination of the journey. The goal is really, after all, relatively insignificant. There is a basic attitude innate in Sagittarius that life is an adventure, a journey, a quest – and the real sport of living is to make that journey as interesting, as varied, as expansive, and as informative as possible. Arrival is not the point.
Jupiter, King of the Gods in mythology, is said to be the planetary ruler of Sagittarius. And we can learn a lot about our centaur friends by having a closer look at Jupiter’s imposing figure. First of all, he is noble, dignified and majestic. That is, most of the time, when he has his Olympian court around him and plays the hilt of the role rex deibus. He is a consummate actor, our friend Jupiter. He is also the great profligate of the Olympian heights, a god who is always chasing something or other – mostly women. Some Jupiter-ruled folk take this symbol literally, and they are the Don Juans of the zodiac. It isn’t that they are driven by some insatiable sexual passion, though. It’s the ideal that drives them, the possibility of something new and exciting. The adventure, the unexplored mystery, the unobtainable goal, the one that got away. Sagittarius, it seems, has this Jupeterian propensity to be afraid he might be missing something – be it a woman, a project, an idea, a book, a creative work, virtually anything new and untried and unexplored. On a more extroverted level, you’ll always find the Sagittarians gathering where a new club has opened up, a hot new restaurant, an artsy film, an exciting workshop or group of some kind. Some people have used the unkind word ‘trendy’ to describe this behaviour. What it’s really about is that Sagittarius has a remarkable intuitive nose for what’s going to be popular before anybody else knows it. It is often the Sagittarius who makes fashion, because he gets there first and gives his often vociferous stamp of approval. And everyone else, knowing that if it weren’t good he wouldn’t be there, troops after him.
The more introverted Sagittarian may not be found frequenting a new disco or roller skating rink. But he’ll usually be miles ahead of everyone else with a new novel, a new philosophy, a new film, a new cultural phenomenon. The same gifted intuition works here, but in a more interior way. And it works, too, with contacts. Nobody has the penchant for making valuable contacts than Sagittarius does. Somehow it’s always the centaur who ‘bumps into’ the director looking for a new lead, the publisher looking for a new work, the record producer looking for a fresh voice. It can make you tear your hair, the way luck seems to pour from heaven onto Sagittarius’ haloed head. But it isn’t really luck. It’s that remarkable eye for the opportunity, that intuitive nose that can spot a potential or a possibility thirty miles away. And also the impulsiveness, rashness, boldness, call it what you will, that gives Sagittarius the flaming nerves to try his luck, where other signs will cower in the wings waiting for something more concrete.
Boredom is the great enemy of this rampant and random sign, and believe me, they get very easily bored. It takes a mere doing something twice in the same way to push the more restless type of centaur out after the next arrow. After all, he’s done that one. Why do it again? Never mind telling him about the rewards of applied, disciplined effort. Pass that advice onto a Virgo or Capricorn. Sagittarius isn’t interested. For him, it’s the exhilaration of the process of getting there, not the kind of reward you can hold in your hand. Besides, if he ever got to hold it in his hand, he’ll no doubt spend it within five minutes anyway.
Let’s take another look at Jupiter, for he is full of information about our unpredictable fire sign. For another thing, he’s got a very jealous wife. Not that jealousy is the way to keep a Sagittarian in a relationship; fences drive him crazy, and ultimatums are guaranteed to drive him directly into the opposite behaviour. But think again. Without that jealous wife trailing him everywhere and doing terrible things to his mortal mistresses, where would Jupiter be? Where would the spark and excitement of all those peccadilloes go? Right. What makes them fun in large part, is that Jupiter gets to fool someone, to play the gambling game. If it were all socially acceptable and out in the open, why, he probably wouldn’t bother. It would have been too boring. The elements of danger and a little rebellion against social mores are lifeblood to Sagittarius. He may look conventional, but he loves to push his luck.
Another thing about Jupiter. He’s always changing shape. When courting, he’s apt to be a swan, a bull, a shower of gold, virtually anything else his imagination can create. It’s the consummate actor again. Sagittarius loves to play roles – the more theatrical, the better. Being caught in the same costume twice is quite horrific for him. His restless mind is always seeking new ways to approach those goals, new costumes, new poses, new techniques. Change, travel, constant mental stimulus, exploration of unknown landscapes – tell Sagittarius that there really is a hidden treasure under that mountain and he’ll be as happy as any Taurus with his bank account bursting. Find a Sagittarian who’s forced to circle the same ground over and over again, perform the same routine in endless monotony, and you have found the most miserable of creatures.
Jupiter also has a mighty explosive temper. Think of all those thunderbolts and flashes of lightning. He can be pretty terrifying in mid-eruption. But when it’s over, the anger is gone, and he’s jovial again. Not a god to hold a grudge. And although Sagittarius can sometimes display a fairly flamboyant sort of anger, complete with waving arms and smashed crockery, he really doesn’t brood about it afterward. You won’t find Sagittarius plotting away in the corner ten years later like you will Scorpio, or nursing his wounds like Cancer. Once he’s yelled at you, he’s finished. Often he can’t understand why the recipient of all his blustering and noise is so hurt by the display. After all, he didn’t really mean it, not really. All those horribly blunt, hair-raisingly honest remarks he made weren’t really true, they were just, well, for effect. As you pick yourself up off the floor after his barrage of deadly verbal arrows, you may well be astonished at how quickly he’s recovered his usual sweet temper. But Sagittarius isn’t renowned for his sensitivity to subtler feelings. His arrows can be really destructive to the more sensitive signs – like Pisces, Virgo, Cancer – but he doesn’t realize it. Bash him over the head and he won’t crumple with horror. He might bash back, but it’s all part of the game. How can you remain angry at such naïveté?
Sagittarius can also be downright gullible, if you flatter him properly. Like all the fiery signs, he loves mythology – especially if it means he can mythologize himself. A lovable quality – unless you happen to be his wife and it’s somebody else offering the flattery. Then what do you do? Absolutely nothing. Offer lots of rope. With luck, he’ll hang himself. The heart of the fiery signs is always true. But it’s true to the ideal, not to the physical reality with all its imperfections. And it’s pretty hard for this fiery spirit to inhabit a world of boundaries and limitations. Show him that you understand that, and you’ve earned an undying friendship.
Friendship, by the way, is a key word for Sagittarius. He will often refer to a lover as ‘my friend’, for this ultimately means more to him. Heavy displays of emotion, particularly the soggy kind that don’t have any romantic dash to them, are very disturbing to Sagittarius. He can take grand drama – after all, he makes enough of it himself – but he can’t stand pathos. Domesticity too can terrify the wits out of him. And this applies to the female Sagittarian as well. Offer her the 3.4 children, the piles of unwashed diapers, the dinner to cook, the beds to make, and no prospect of ever escaping on some exciting journey, and you’ll never see anyone run so fast. The world of safe, unchanging domestic security and serenity is not Sagittarius’ idea of a happy life. He needs his pack on his back and a mountain to climb. Home is pleasant, so long as the back door isn’t kept locked.
What, then, is this quest on which every true Sagittarian spirit must embark? It varies. Much has been written about the sporty side of the sign. But this is more a by-product than the goal of the quest. Lots of Sagittarians hate sport. And travel, although often a favorite Sagittarian pursuit, is really a means of enlarging one’s horizon. The Sagittarian traveler isn’t the one who books the two-week package holiday in the huge hotel on the Costa del Sol and sits in the sun nursing his tan. He’s the one who needs to be mobile, who needs a city to explore, a ruin, a chateau, a library, a mountain, a place no one else has been. And the stranger and more alien the culture, the better off he likes it.
In a sentence, at the heart of Sagittarius there lies a great craving to explore and understand life. Whether orthodox or not, Sagittarius, like Leo, is a deeply religious sign, and the word religious is here used in its original sense: to reconnect. This means reconnection with the source, with the roots of life, with some sense of meaning. Whether you find him traveling as a salesman or an archaeologist, a poet or a scholar, whatever profession or job he lands himself in. Sagittarius is trying to broaden his scope, to enlarge his consciousness. Life is a curious and interesting thing to Sagittarius. It is something to be played with, explored, enjoyed, peered into. And ultimately, understood.
Watch the typical Sagittarian conversation line. Make an ordinary everyday remark – something like, ‘Have you noticed that fashions this summer are getting very ethnic – all that hemp and linen and Indian cotton?’ Any other sign would reply with a personal comment. Yes, I really like the look. Or yes, I really hate the look. Or, it’s great because the clothes are so cheap. Or, my mother doesn’t approve because you can see through muslin. But listen to the Sagittarian. Everything, to him, is connected with something larger. Whether in the pool hall or in the university, he is an irrepressible philosopher, with or without the vocabulary. Expansion is the keyword. So: ‘Yes, I’ve noticed. I’m sure it’s because in our current society there is a deep need for trying to reestablish a connection with nature. Technology has forced man to….’ And you’re off on a deep, broad, often hilariously funny and frequently inspiring philosophical discussion. Sagittarius watches other people a lot, and he has both a strong sense of irony and an acute degree of insight. The leaping intuition of the element of fire is directed toward the world of ideas to Sagittarius – often with great brilliance or, at the very least, with a capacity to grasp broader implications and themes. No Sagittarian, however poorly read or educated, lacks this capacity to make connections between the ridiculous and the sublime.
Jupiter is the King of Gods because he’s the biggest. And in an odd sort of way Sagittarius is the biggest sign – in terms of horizons. Better to shoot an arrow high and lose it than to aim low.
The Sagittarian Lover
It’s a traditional tale that Sagittarius exhibits a certain reluctance when it comes to things like marital vows. This is pretty understandable in light of all the foregoing; since Sagittarius’ great love is of open possibilities, he’s naturally going to baulk when he’s asked to give up all those future possibilities for one reality for the rest of his life. ‘Till death do us part’ is a phrase which resonates in his consciousness largely because of the word ‘death’, which is what such a commitment may seem like to our ever-questing archer. And this is especially true when you find the archer who’s already been through a marriage which he made in the days when his idealism was untarnished by the realization that sometimes things don’t quite work out that way. Find a once-divorced Sagittarian and he’s likely to be very, very shy of getting bitten again. And in many ways a state of non-marriage suits Sagittarius, not because he’s necessarily always roving and dissatisfied, but because he at least knows he can exist if he wants to with a minimum of fuss. And just knowing that the back door is open does wonders for his anxieties.
Sagittarius might not sound like too good a prospect for relationship, from all that we’ve said. This isn’t really true, of course, it just depends on the quality of the relationship. His myth is certainly that of the wanderer. But myths portray symbols and psychological realities, not necessarily literal behaviour. The endless seeking after future goals and possibilities, the endless quest for meaning, may in fact be a quest lived within his own soul, and not necessarily through a series of partners revolving around the bedroom. Some Sagittarians, of course, choose the literal enactment. And there isn’t a great deal you can do about it, unless you like this sort of open relationship and are prepared to have your own life too. It isn’t always a pathology; after all, remember Jupiter. He sets a fine example.
If you’ve got yourself into an involvement with a Sagittarian like this, it won’t do much good to play Juno and become the nagging, jealous, suspicious wife. It really doesn’t help at all; and it often drives the Sagittarian, like Jupiter, straight into more sympathetic arms. The same applies to the Sagittarian woman, who may often display the same propensities as her male counterpart. As soon as you remind Sagittarius that he’s responsible to somebody for something, he often gets very, very uncomfortable, and has to do something to convince himself that he can’t be tied by responsibilities. If you want to do anything at all to help the situation with a profligate Sagittarian, try reverse psychology. But that’s for very strong people. Otherwise, find yourself a more constant and homebound sign.
The Sagittarius Man
This elusive and fascinating creature can often be spotted either by his tendency to gesticulate wildly or by his tendency to tell very funny stories. Often he’ll do both. But one of the things which virtually exudes all over from Sagittarius is his sense of dramatic irony.
You’ll often find that the Sagittarius man does his traveling and his wandering on a mental level rather than a physical one. They are often the apparent intellectuals of the zodiac, devouring books, absorbing all forms of knowledge like tasty meals. But Sagittarius isn’t an intellectual in the sense that Gemini is; he’s not prone to analyzing with a fine-toothed comb all the bits of information that come into his head. He’s much more intuitive, and more interested in relating fields of knowledge than in dissecting them. And his mind is speculative – whether it’s about philosophy, literature, the arts, or the stock-market.
For him, this life of the mind is much more important than what he eats for dinner. In fact, he’ll often forget to eat. The Sagittarius man has a peculiar habit of getting involved, particularly in the earlier part of life, with rather maternal and earthy women who see his absent-minded and endearing quality (‘The poor dear, he’s so brilliant and he can’t even remember to change his shirt.’) and immediately feel they need to take care of him. Now, what he doesn’t need, repeat, doesn’t need, is to be taken care of. Yes, of course, he’d live in a pigsty without you, and his clothes would be rumpled, and his hair needing cutting, but if you do all these things for him he’ll not only grow to resent it in time, he’ll also never get to do it himself. Besides, he might not particularly care. Sagittarius, like the other fiery signs, is often attracted to the earthy signs – Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn. And the Sagittarian man with an earthy partner will, for a time, certainly allow her to become the symbol of steadiness, stability, reliability. If you’re cast in this role, try to stop playing it right at the beginning, not at the end. It’s a tragic mistake that occurs regularly in Sagittarian relationships. You can’t mother him until he grows up. For one thing, growing up in his terms means something different from growing up in yours. For earthy people, maturity is synonymous with taking responsibility in the tangible world. For fiery people, maturity is seeing, knowing, understanding. By earthy terms, Sagittarius will never wholly grow up; nor should he. And all that careful mothering and shirt-ironing which is usually aimed (secretly) at binding the dashing, wandering soul to you for all eternity, is likely to backfire in a bad way. Sagittarius, for all his longing for earth and steadiness, needs ultimately to find it in himself. And the less responsibility you take for him, the less resentful you’ll be, and the more relaxed he’ll feel, and the better the future for you both.
Not that you’re to blame. The archer is a stimulating and exciting and dynamic man, and his fleet-of-foot quality, that tantalizing quality of free self-expression and untamed vision, makes him terribly appealing particularly to women who long for a little excitement and adventure in their lives. And there’s no doubt that Sagittarius’ adventurous soul is guaranteed not to bore you. But try to find adventure and excitement in yourself first, please; then you’re likely to enjoy him and his vision much, much more. One of Sagittarius basic approach to life is to laugh at it; after all, what’s so serious when you really think about it? You have to have a sense of humour yourself; otherwise you won’t understand at all what he’s laughing at, especially when he laughs at you. Sagittarius can sometimes be a terrible tease, and he’s not averse to taking a sly little poke at anyone who carries too much seriousness or pomposity. Fortunately this not very endearing quality is balanced by the fact that he can laugh at himself, too.
The Sagittarian man’s biggest problem in relationships is making the dreaded bridge between romantic fantasy and fleshy reality. For many archers, it’s just too big a gap, and they never succeed in bridging it. Living in the fantasy world, if you’ve got the money to support it, is the only recourse for this kind of Sagittarian. Some archers despair, and feel they’ll never achieve a successful relationship, so they roam through life leaving a trail of broken affairs behind them, unfinished business, unpaid debts, unlived life. The fear of failure here is as big as the fear of material failure to the Sagittarian. After all, what was Jupiter trying to prove? Behind the often contemptuous and ironic attitude which many Sagittarian men have toward love and commitment, you’ll often find a frightened child who’s afraid his romantic world will be smashed. The child can build a pretty big cynical wall around himself. He can arm himself with a stunning array of quips, jokes, and nasty asides which makes you think he has no heart. But inside, he’s a child. Don’t fall for it. Sagittarius has a heart of gold. It just bruises easily. Eventually, he learns that the idea is to reach the first goal first. And trust and friendship are the guideposts that help him on his way. He can offer these in abundance himself, and he truly deserves them in exchange.
The Sagittarius Woman
There are women adventurers, too. Not all explorers, mountain-climbers, and world travelers are male Sagittarius. And the true female archer is as restless, as hungry for experience, as longing to explore the fascinating carnival that she sees in life as her male counterpart. This woman needs personal freedom to an extraordinary degree, and she’s not known for her readiness to marry or her readiness to take up domestic responsibilities. Frequently she’s happier spending a lifetime without both. And she’s likely to have a child out of wedlock and happily raise it as a traveling companion as she is to ensconce herself behind secure walls. Walls, for any Sagittarian, are like waving a red flag at a bull.
Any career which allows space, travel, freedom of movement, and opportunity for new contacts pleases the Sagittarian woman. And the archer who doesn’t pursue a career still needs these things. Failing everything else, she’ll become a socialite, because at least she gets to throw parties and meet exciting people. There are also more introverted, philosophical Sagittarian women – and some, like Jane Fonda, who may be philosophical but also more typical of their sign in that they are vociferous about their philosophies. You’ll also find the Sagittarius woman involved in a cause of one kind or another, because her astute vision and sense of movements within the group give her an interest and a concern for human welfare.
One thing she isn’t, and that is opinionless. Sagittarius is always thinking about something, chewing it over, learning it, reading about it, discussing it. Convictions are terribly important to the Sagittarian woman, although her convictions are likely to change regularly. Sagittarius is a fluid, flexible sign. You’ll also sometimes see the more spiritual or religious side in evidence in the Sagittarian woman – often showing as an interest in religion, myth, psychology, and various assorted esoteric or occult subjects. There’s a love of the unknown and the challenging, the magical and the unexplained.
There is also a strong sense of fun and humour in the Sagittarian woman. And the famous blunt Sagittarian tongue is also much in evidence here. You can’t expect an archer to flatter you diplomatically. More likely she’ll deliver a verbal punch between the eyes – not because she’s cruel, but because she has a tendency to speak before she thinks, and to not quite realize that you, sensitive soul that you are, have just been irrevocably crushed by the insult. She’s usually right, too; it’s pretty difficult to fool Sagittarius’ sharp intuition, which has a way of seeing right through postures and hypocrisy.
You may see a touch of the groupie here. The Sagittarius woman often needs to be where the action is, where interesting and exciting people are. Whether it’s by her own talents or through somebody else’s, she’s attracted to anything new and important. And she needs to be moving all the time, working at things, busy with projects. What doesn’t work is the nine-to-five routine and the office filing cabinet, or the six-to-eight routine of the kids’ breakfasts and the shopping and the ironing. In fact, you might have noticed that many Sagittarian women are terribly inept at dealing with things like tangible organization. If they do it, they often get good earthy help – those Virgos and Capricorns and Taureans who stand quietly in the background and collect the money and wash up the dishes. Never mind. Her gift is at bringing people together, inspiring them, delighting them, teaching them, opening up the world for them. Not, in fact, cleaning up after them.
Sagittarius the romantic can have a problematic time in long-term relationships. Because she loves the new and the exciting, the Sagittarius woman may follow the pattern of her male counterpart, always seeking the knight on the white horse who can take her away from banality and show her a world of fairy-tale romance. This may be a literal escapade or a fantasy one; but those escapades are common and very likely to occur. But she does come back again, if let alone. What you can’t do is possess her; she’ll fight then, and isn’t averse to just walking out. Sagittarian women are very independent. You see it even in a Sagittarius child. You don’t tell them to do something. You ask. Nicely.
Sagittarius, like Gemini, needs to be able to communicate. If you’re after the quiet, docile type, forget it. Sagittarian women are great talkers; and they’ll talk about anything they’ve found exciting and interesting. They have a knack of making it sound exciting for others, too. Sometimes they go on too long, and become bores; and there’s no bore like your Sagittarian bore once he gets on his favorite passion or enthusiasm of the moment. But in general, Sagittarius is a conversational animal, and needs a partner who’s interested and willing to talk as well. The silent, taciturn type doesn’t do terribly well mated to the archer.
All the fiery signs need to be in love. That fine distinction made between loving and the state of in-love-ness is all right for the more rational elements of air and earth. But without the belief in love, fire wilts. And the Sagittarius woman is really, in her heart, in love with life itself. It’s to be lived, not caged; and although she’ll inevitably take quite a few romantic knocks in the nature of things – not least because her need for personal freedom and independence may drive away a few frightened partners – she never loses her hopes for the future. This woman is an optimist, a believer in the value and the vitality of life. Spend any time around her, and you’ll begin to believe it too. Sagittarius faith is infectious. But unlike most infectious things, it isn’t fatal. Just the opposite. It breeds life.