The Quest for Meaning: Sagittarius New Moon

The Sagittarius New Moon falls on Sunday, December 17th at 10:31pm PST and on Monday, December 18th at 1:31am EST. In the context of the Cosmos, Jupiter, Sagittarius’s ruling planet, in Scorpio until November of next year, continues helping bring up and out all that’s been hiding in the darkness within individual psyches and thus, that of the collective. Mercury retrograde in Sagittarius for just another week is inviting us to continue pressing pause on the outer conversations and finish the necessary ones with ourselves. And Saturn, the Father Time planet who encourages integrity and healthy boundaries, is in the last degrees of Sagittarius before moving into its own sign of Capricorn in just a few days. This is an exciting time of exploration and expansion with all that’s been and will continue to be uncovered. Add to that the approach of the Winter Solstice and the turning point of light and dark this year, and the feeling in the air is quite Sagittarian indeed!

Sagittarius for me has always evoked a scene of people sitting around a campfire listening to someone who’s just returned from adventuring, for perhaps years of her life, sharing her tales and warming listener’s spirits by giving them a sense of lived experience. This warmth radiates from her in the same way it radiates from the campfire: it’s just the perfect temperature to feel lit up from within, yet not too hot to be burned or overwhelmed by the intensity of the flames. It can also be translated to a generosity of spirit, one that people can’t but help be uplifted by. The contents of her sharing seem to carry with them a richness of being, as though the listeners were transported to each place described in detail: in the midst of a bazaar in Delhi, with the scents, sounds, colors, and feel of the setting having come to life; or the lush jungles of the Amazon with their humidity and fecundity; the epic mountains of Nepal in their majesty and awe-inspiring beauty; or the streets of Prague with its elaborate architecture and sense of grandeur and rich culture. While the places aren’t exactly the point for Sag, what they’re inviting our protagonist to experience IS. And in sharing space with her, we also get to delight in the glow from the campfire, for Sag herself is the force that brings radiance with eyes glimmering, spirit shining.

Sagittarius is a sign who has an inherent recognition that life is a journey, a quest for meaning that “goes ever on and on.” And having the freedom required to make this journey is an evolutionary need for her so that she might discover exactly what she’s meant to. This quest motif is an expression of the outer journey beckoning the protagonist on an inner journey that is far more significant than she may have imagined upon first setting out. For in the exploration of something new to Sag, she undoubtedly uncovers a myriad of facets of herself that she couldn’t have known before. And this unfolding is as long as the lifetime is for this triumphant sign. Her passion ignited, she couldn’t imagine rushing this important process.

One of my all-time favorite stories comes to mind here: The Lord of the Rings. At this time of year, I always end up listening to, reading, watching, or a combination thereof, this epic adventure. It’s as though the part of me that sits around the campfire listening in the above example needs to steep in stories that evoke the feeling of just how grand the journey of life really is. From the first time I ever read this story, it had my heart. The tales of Frodo’s adventures and all those who shared them have made hours upon hours of story-sharing and story-receiving, and they remind listeners that life is constantly beckoning us on a grand and interesting excursion, filled with triumphs and joys, and at times heart-wrenching sadness and guttural frustration. But that’s just the point: regardless of how challenging it actually is, the adventure is worth it! This life journey always invites us to become more of ourselves by saying yes to what it’s offering us in the moment. This is the Tantric approach to yoga. It’s about affirming what IS rather than turning away from it (what we resist persists!), and being so present with life that we learn how to skillfully engage and respond in each and every moment without hesitation or holding back.

As well, this story reminds us that hope may be found in the strangest of scenarios, in the darkest of places, but that it’s never far away, no matter how hard things get. It is this hope that carries Frodo and Sam to the end, along with those faithful companions who set out as the original company, and those whom they encounter along the way. Hope is completely relevant at this New Moon, for Sagittarius is also the most resilient of all of the signs of the zodiac! In this way, Sag is Samwise Gamgee, who, even when he’s been as honorable as he can be, having toiled for days on end to support his “master” Frodo, then been mistreated and sent away by Frodo himself, he still comes back to help Frodo finish what he’s started in carrying the ring back to Mordor. Sam is the generous-hearted being who keeps the faith and sees the quest through to the very end, almost unable to let the buoyancy of his spirit be deflated in the most dire of situations. While so many in the story could be considered heroes and heroines, Sam is a true example of Sagittarian resiliency that cannot be squelched.

Joseph Campbell, when he shared with us his famous quote, “Follow your bliss. Find what it is, and don’t be afraid to follow it,” captured a Sagittarian impulse and desire, as Sag has a deep need to immerse herself into what stokes her inner fire, inviting it to come to life as her own spirit. She is here to embark upon the quest of life to expand her understanding of its great gifts, as well as her meaning within it! My teacher Steven Forrest talks about Sag not as the centaur who shoots the arrow, but as the arrow itself, flying through the varied scenes of life, gathering as much of each experience as possible before moving onto the next. This energy needs depth over breadth, diving deeply into each of life’s micro-ventures to fully absorb and truly know their meaning. It’s this kind of interaction — a full engagement with all that is calling her spirit — that allows Sag to expand her awareness of life. She gains a real sense of purpose through this immersive process, different parts of herself sparked to life as she explores both the outer and inner worlds simultaneously. With Sagittarius, life can be likened to a marvelous tapestry that holds within it an infinite number of brilliant colors and scenes, evocative and rich. She is here to delve into and fully experience the parts of the tapestry that intuitively call to her, for in so doing, she gains an understanding that stretches beyond her rational mind, opening and expanding her spirit, allowing her to sing meaning into her life in the ways she always knew she could but hadn’t yet uncovered. Each color has meaning for her, each scene has purpose for her, each understanding a seamless flow to the next phase of her journey, over and again. And this is why one of the archetypes of Sagittarius is the gypsy — ever-learning, ever-immersing, ever-expanding, she moves through life as if pulled by an inner force that ignites her spirit when she comes into contact with all that brings her endless enthusiasm to the surface.

At this time of year, perhaps especially after the intensity of the Scorpionic New Moon time, this lightness is welcome, and it goes well with the feeling of basking in the holiday spirit. This is Sagittarius’s language, and she delights in the brightness that is the holiday season. Ever a student of life, a philosopher questing for meaning, she may have an altar for each different spiritual path that speaks to her, recognizing the value in each. A Jesus here, a Shiva there, a Durga here, a Brigid there, the dogma behind what each figure stands for isn’t what she’s after. It’s the knowing that every representation of spirit that adds merit to her life is worthy of being expressed in her home and in her heart, for they enliven her life in personal ways. Each being a face of the supreme Source is enough for her, and how they speak to her and through her is the point. She seeks to grock their full meaning, embodying it as her own in purposeful ways.

Sagittarius needs to travel outwardly and inwardly to discover and reveal all that’s necessary as the pilgrimage takes place. And it’s always meant to awaken aspects of character that have been waiting to be fleshed out, enlivened and understood more fully. So during this holiday season, even as we move into the sign of Capricorn, I invite you to channel your own inner explorer, and let her take you on an adventure hither and thither, no matter how big or small. Whatever it is that stokes your inner fire, let it inspire you to life, and notice how your spirit responds. You might just light up the whole of your family with the joy you uncover, for it’s always been there, waiting to be uncovered in the most surprising of circumstances or places.