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Where fortune Smiles

By Malvin Artley
December 2006

"A ship is safer in the harbor, but it is not meant for that." At last! I had found my inspiration for this letter. I had been searching for some time, but the seed image and passion for writing the letter had eluded me. Still, it always comes when the Muse is ready for me to write-and Madame Wu's fortune cookies are usually spot-on when it comes to pithy and timely sayings. I knew I had come to the right place to find my inspiration. Madame Wu* and I have an understanding about such matters. I knew there was more to this letter, however, and a little more grist for the mill was in order. What else could I do? Where to look? Ahh, yes! The tea leaves generally give me a good indicator. I dutifully drank down the remainder of my Chinese tea, twirled the cup the proscribed number of times and gave the remains my best Neptunian glaze-over scry. Sure enough, there plastered in the spent, wet leaves against the wall of the cup was a Phoenix rising from a mountain top with two fishes below in a lake. Of course, one is not supposed to read their own leaves, but these were desperate times. That was it, then-the theme for the 2006 Sagittarian solar festival had revealed itself-It is all about taking a risk in pursuit of that for which we have dreamt, rising to the occasion above our safe but confining circumstances and finally claiming the freedom for which so many of us have been asking most of 2006. I often find my muse for these letters in such a manner, not that the stars have anything much to do with it. Then again, if you believe that, I have a lovely little plot of woodland in the middle of the Simpson Desert I would love to sell you!

Alright, then-tongue out of the cheek and all kidding aside-what I have just mentioned as the theme of this solar festival is actually true, and we shall examine all that in due course. First of all, however, a few words about Sagittarius are in order. Sagittarians are known for their love of a good time and for their tongue-in-cheek humor. Generally seen as happy-go-lucky, they are usually full of a zest for living, known for their philosophical outlook on experiences and for their straightforward, no-nonsense approach to life. The aim for the average Sagittarian is to experience, to know, to attempt things and to find the adventure in them, whatever it is to which they might put their hands. It is a sign that produces people who brook no boundaries, who defy conventions, but who can also be quite conventional-even judicious-in their own way, for Jupiter rules the sign in the orthodox and Jupiter rules the judiciary. Thus, they can be quite judgmental of lesser mortals, for a fair amount of ego can accompany the sign as well, but they are usually fairly forgiving of people's foibles-probably because they know they have more than their share of their own. It is not a subtle sign. So, although Sagittarius is known more for its fun-loving, jovial and philosophical side, it has another side for which it is not generally known and which few people except the Sagittarian's intimates (or enemies) would recognize: For all its lovely qualities, Sagittarius is one of the most martial of the signs and it has produced some of the great pioneers, disciples and rebels in the world. This is due to the Hierarchical ruler of the sign, which is Mars. Now that we have the orthodox side of the sign in mind the subtler, and thus more potent, meanings of Sagittarius can come to light.

From a subjective, and thus esoteric perspective, Sagittarius rules the disciple on the Path. It is a sign well-known for its love of and its proclivity to travel, either geographically or mentally. However they travel, they like to get there quickly [Mars], and a lot of details get lost along the way. It is not a sign that does well with little details. If they have to deal with them, it is frustrating for them and they can get painfully bogged down in the tedium of it all. Life is too short to be bothered with trifles to the Sagittarian, for the ideal is everything to them, and if the ideal is lived correctly, then everything must work out-at least, in their own minds. The details of life would thus just take care of themselves. This brings us to the crux of the Sagittarian path, and hence its problem-Sagittarians always must have 'the Big Picture'- that is to say, a grand goal or ideal before them if life is to be worth living or even before it can be lived at all. Its main objective is what we might call orientation - or perhaps reorientation. Sagittarius has "the objective of orienting oneself to some newer and higher objective, with the task of refocusing the life towards a higher goal and with the unfoldment of some basic and directing purpose." ** It takes a one-pointed focus to achieve such a reorientation-or a huge crisis of some sort-but the end result is always the same for the Sagittarian type: to "provide a field of energy wherein one-pointedness can produce initiation."***

Sagittarius is associated with a beam of focused, directed Light. Anyone who knows a strong Sagittarian type will immediately recognize this sort of one-pointed focus when the Sagittarian is immersed in some task, or especially a challenge of some sort. That beam of focused Light, as it is called, makes Sagittarius one of the intuitive signs, and one of its favorite sayings is "I vision." There is a strong sense of duality with the sign as a result, because the intuition always shows us the side of things that is real, as well as what is not. That sense of duality thus produces a fiery struggle as the mind of the Sagittarian seeks to reconcile the various dualities life, eventually producing a vision of some goal-a way out of the impasse of dualistic thought, whether the Sagittarian recognizes what is actually going on in their own psyche or not. The Vision/Goal, along with the fighting spirit produces a strong ambition with the sign in a worldly sense, as well as a fiery aspiration and a firm sense of direction in life on the subjective side. Usually, with any strong Sagittarian type there will be some sense of a purpose in life that is more or less unshakeable, unless they see a better vision of things for themselves. Try to move a Sagittarian from their intended goal and you will have trouble on your hands. To fight for an ideal is the sacred task taken upon every Sagittarian type once they sense their own higher purpose in life. Thus, there are two things every Sagittarian must discover for and within themselves: 1) the power to make progress and 2) the ability to create spiritually. If these two things can be discovered, then the Sagittarian can make great gains along their path in life. If not, then life can be a hopeless muddle and string of disappointments, both to themselves and to those around them.

The Earth is the esoteric ruler of the sign and, as such, it represents the Path itself and the Earth as a field of service or discovery. The Sagittarian typically roams the Earth in search of their often elusive goal. Once the goal is achieved, however, satisfaction never lasts for long. There is always something more to life. It is not a sign that breeds contentment. The key saying for the sign is "I see the goal. I reach that goal and then I see another." So, we see that life for the Sagittarian is one of constant movement [hence the reference to travel with the sign] and hence also their fetish for freedom and loathing of any restrictions placed upon them in pursuit of their objectives. With these points in mind we have a good idea of what to expect from this solar festival: new goals, reorientation, freedom from restricting circumstances and expansion into some new realm of endeavor. Let us have a look at the dynamics for this solar festival, then.

The full moon for the Sagittarian festival of 2006 takes place at 11:25 AM AEDT (00:25 UT) on the 5th of December 2006. How might we best describe what this full moon will bring? Well, freedom is coming for us all in certain ways. It is not the freedom we desire, though, so much as it is the freedom our Soul wants for our lives. This full moon will demonstrate a strong sense of inner rebellion against restricting circumstances and an urge toward independent and better conditions in people's lives. The energies in recent times have been building toward a release and a purging. We are all being shifted and shaken free. The following dynamics are in evidence:

The symbol for the degree of the Sun sets the tone for this period, and it reads:

"A widow's past is brought to light." 13 Sagittarius

This symbol speaks clearly of the need to live up to one's past actions and to finally release karmic liabilities. It can also mean 'karmic leveling', which some people might call retribution. If we have done anything which needs to be dealt with it will be brought up before us now. Sagittarius is about walking one's path in life, and restrictions to that path must now be brought forward, resolved and left behind. The ideas brought forward by this symbol are further accentuated by the station of Saturn, which turns retrograde later on the 5th. The symbol for the degree of the Saturn station points to what will be realized in the four month retrograde period. It reads:

"After the heavy storm, a rainbow." 26 Leo

When Saturn turns retrograde, several things usually happen. Firstly, unfinished business comes to light. Saturn is the planet of karmic liabilities, as we know, and if we have not tended to our situations assiduously enough the retrograde period of Saturn will make certain that we do so. This period will bring extra responsibilities with it. It is not a time to forge ahead with new projects, but to complete the old ones instead. Extra patience and endurance may be called for because of setbacks. It is a time for taking stock of oneself. The retrograde period of Saturn is also likely to show any personal weaknesses if it makes contacts to important points in one's chart during the station or the retrograde period. The time for decisions has arrived-a factor toward which we will look at the next new moon letter. It always fits, you know. The subjective and the outer always correspond in some way. We have all felt the pressure toward some sort of coming change, and now it is here. Saturn brings a point of crisis and a decision, especially when it stations (appears to stand still in the night sky). The last retrograde station we had was at the first part of April this year. It is like the pendulum has stopped mid-air and we are all poised, waiting.

With the symbol for the degree of the Saturn station, we have a fairly good descriptor of what the next month or two will bring for us-a breath of fresh air. Crises have a way of bringing clarity and with any station of Saturn and its movement backwards there is bound to be some sort of 'storm', whether outwardly or in one's consciousness. Sagittarius, as we have seen, is about reorientation and moving into 'new territory'. However, with the Saturn station we will have to wait before we can fully move into the new space. Certain things have to be taken care of first and adjustments have to be made. This station, plus the 'Moon Wobble' to be discussed directly, will tend to put a damper on the natural exuberance of Sagittarius. It will not feel like an expansive period.

The symbol for the degree of the Moon represents that which must be left behind, in a sense, but also that which we can carry forward with us if it is good. It reads:

"A famous pianist giving a concert performance." 13 Gemini

This symbol represents fulfillment, inspiration and mastery. We all have skills that have been developed over our long series of lives, and those skills can aid us greatly on our chosen path. They can also be a hindrance if misused or performed badly. The Moon is always a double-edged sword in a full moon figure. It represents that which increases our Light and that which holds us back. It is up to us how we use the energy. On the stage of life we can demonstrate mastery or we can blunder our way badly. We either have confidence in our abilities or doubts. The implication from the symbol is one of mastery-of a gift given on the world stage which will inspire people and uplift them.

Uranus forms a t-square with the full moon axis and is itself involved in an undecile triangle with Jupiter and Saturn, Jupiter being at the apex and at the midpoint of the other two planets. The reading of this midpoint is 'a fortunate release from tension'. It can also indicate sudden turns in destiny, the ability to adapt one's self to circumstances, but also the misfortune to get into difficulties and the experience of losses. Mars is conjunct Jupiter at that midpoint, too, and that will really accelerate the process. There is always a warning with regular patterns of undeciles not to be excessive with things and to extricate ourselves from any double-bind situations in which we might be entangled. This full moon carries on from the last one in one very strong respect-things from the past will be brought to light. We can no longer hide from our past any longer and we are all being called to account and to set things right or lay things to rest. Scorpio began the process in grand fashion, as most of you will have no doubt experienced. The key word in all this is freedom, and a fine Sagittarian ideal it is. For some people that freedom will indicate the start of a new course in life. For others it will simply mean a release from situations that have been untenable.

The Sun enters a very interesting and recurring phenomenon at this solar festival which has been termed a 'Moon Wobble' (without being technical about it) by an associate of mine. I have been asked to pass this info on if it felt appropriate, and it does. Unfortunately, I do not know the name of the astrologer who came up with it. 'Moon Wobbles' [I will have to find a more appropriate name for it, I think.] occur four times a year when the Sun squares and conjoins the lunar nodes, thus putting stress on the natural instinctive drives within people and affecting their life direction as a result. The exact date of the square of the Sun is the 12th of December and the Moon is then conjunct the South Node. The entire period is from 26 Nov-26 Dec. The Sun is also applying to a conjunction with Pluto then, so the holiday season could be a very intense period. In general, (paraphrasing what I have been given) it causes "confusion, stress, negative emotions caused by broken dreams and disappointments of all kinds. It works on the astral body mostly [hence the reference to the 'Moon Wobble', the astral body being very much equated with the Moon] and it is very stressful, causing great heartache. It is not a time to plan or expect anything. Keeping a low profile helps." This period will take us to the end of 2006, and I can feel many of you breathing a big sigh of relief for the end of 2006. Happy holidays! There is joy awaiting us on the other side of this year if we do the right things for ourselves.

The Moon is in an applying trine to Neptune, which gives a wonderful sensitivity to beauty in all forms and a high aesthetic sense. Inspiration can come of this period, as well as works of lasting effect. Neptune is involved in another undecile triangle, though, this one with the Sun and North Node. Since Neptune is the apex of the triangle, the onus is upon us to see things clearly, not to get caught in our instinctive tendencies and to be very cognizant of the type of energy we put into any double-bind scenarios, in order that they may resolve themselves appropriately. Venus is applying to its conjunction with Pluto, squaring the Nodes and trine to Saturn. This is a call to follow our highest good, and not necessarily what our emotions might tell us. This configuration will definitely restructure many relationships for us.

Mercury is conjunct Mars, and both are square to Saturn. There is a very clear message to all with this configuration to keep a low profile. Be kind in your speech and very measured in your decisions. Walk your truth. If something hits you in the face emotionally, please do not react. The period from now and until the end of the year is a very emotionally charged and reactive time. This aspect can bring about situations where we regret what we say and do later. This period is one in which we should definitely take time to think about our decisions and to seek the advice of close friends.

The nodes still square Pluto. The instinctive drives of folks have been under stress for the past several months. Have you felt as though you were in 'no-man's-land'? Well, this is why. One's directions in life and natural inclinations have been stressed or completely unclear. We simply do no know where we are going or what the outcomes of our respective situations are.

Let's face it, folks. This is one of those full moons that gives "spiritual growth" - and most of us know what that means - personal difficulty in some way. There is another side to the picture, however, and that points to the fact that a new life or possibility will be presented from any conflicts that occur. In other words, if we have been asking for something (a positive change in our lives) and a doorway opens, no matter how it might seem on the surface, walk through it. That is the energy of Uranus, and Uranus only ever looks toward the future and toward freedom for the higher Self, regardless of how we feel about it personally. Looking back is not an option. On a further note, this full moon is what might be termed a 'Bohemian full moon'. As I said before, freedom is the key word and, like it or not, we will get the freedom for which we asked. Please, be pleased with the outcome.

In reflection, this has been a very difficult year for many people. It seems to be a universal constant in conversations. I was at a party the other night and virtually everyone there was single. It was not intended as a singles gathering. All had been through a breakdown in relations in 2006, or relationships had been very strained. It is difficult for people to be together at the moment, precisely because we are all being purged of our unneeded baggage. It is a year that should have seen most of us stand up, step out of the past and step forward into something new - and many of us have. We are now being given another chance if we have not done so already. The spiritual and personal potential if we can claim our objective is amazing. We just have to get there. Thus, we have the lesson and gift of Sagittarius. Let us be pro-active, open to unusual means of reaching our goals and be willing to let go of that which we know deep inside no longer suits us. Everyone will be better off as a result, for to hold on beyond what is necessary only holds us back in our progress - as well as those to whom we cling. Uranus will not allow us to carry things beyond their 'use-by date'.

As we enter the Christmas season we also enter the time of spiritual hiatus, at least from the outer perspective. The solstice and Capricorn begin the time of year wherein we find the most intense period of meditation and application of spiritual Law. Sagittarius helps us to gain the meaning of the year that has been so we can take the symbols given us into our meditative repose and hopefully energize those seed thoughts that will take us through into the New Year. Sagittarius is both a time of balancing and also a time of movement forward. If you find yourself in a new place or the door you have been seeking has finally let you pass into new territory, take some time to reflect before embarking upon the new course and be sure of your footsteps. A new goal revealed, the task before the disciple is ever to tread the Way, but every journey must have a plan or a 'roadmap'. Please take time to plan your new journey well. In these times it is easy to miss our steps.

Finally, the Christmas season is also a time of solemn memory in the States. On Dec 7th 65 years ago we got a reminder that ships are not always safer at their moorings. The Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor on that day and America was finally drawn fully into the World War. It sort of reminds us of the Uranus t-square in this full moon figure. The Forces of Liberation were in action in those days, too. A doorway of sorts was opened and 'the sleeping giant was awakened' in the supposed words of Admiral Yamamoto immortalized in film. The Soul [the Sleeping Giant] of the nation was called forth. In crisis we have a chance to find our truth. Let us give remembrance of our past when appropriate, but let us also look joyfully into the future at the same time. We are meant to boldly 'take to sea' in life and to meet our challenges head-on. Sagittarius teaches us that. It is the initiatory lesson of that sign to move outward and to gain from experience. We will be given our opportunities to do so in the coming weeks. Let us trust we do not get any unpleasant surprises. I hope you all have a joyful and safe holiday season. There will be gifts in it for everyone. May the arrow your Soul has shot forth in its journey find its mark and the joy of the realized goal be yours. Happy Holidays, All! (Truly!) Please be very loving towards yourself and yours!

Happy Travels!

* Madame Wu's is an iconic restaurant on the Norwood Parade in Adelaide. A pilgrimage is worth the effort.

** Excerpt from Esoteric Astrology, by Alice Bailey

*** Same as **