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As Jupiter bears down on them, some folks are complaining it's just not delivering the goods as promised...

By John Townley, November 2015

As Jupiter surges through Virgo, it’s been a bumpier-than-usual ride thanks to a lot of other stormy, mitigating aspects (like repeating T-squares born of the Uranus-Pluto square, the Saturn-Neptune square) – the big Jupiter wave has been encountering cross-waves, making a very choppy sea (for how, see A Life on the Ocean Wave). As a result, those with a lot of Virgo in their charts have been complaining. Well, wailing might be the better description:

“You said Jupiter would bring bounty, success, and happiness, and my life is full of conflicts!”

“I thought good times were on their way, and now I’m in a firestorm of unexpected things I can’t cope with!”

“I’m overwhelmed with life and I’m not even getting rich and famous!”

That’s the upside. The even-darker view comes from those who are experiencing major life trials and tragedies (long-term health issues, loss of aging parents or friends, declining finances from lingering recession and disruptive technologies), and had thought Jupiter’s appearance would bring a cure, or at least comfort and respite. The expectation of the great planet bringing hard-earned, well-deserved, or at least much-hoped-for rewards aren’t being fulfilled as envisioned.

Why? Partly it’s the choppy sea, making it harder to use the Jupiter swell. But more often it’s a matter of misplaced expectations based on an incorrect view of how astrology works. It’s not the determining picture of your karma, painting your path through life, charting your destiny in predictable ups and downs, to be eagerly awaited or desperately dreaded as transits come and go. It’s just a form of environmental “weather” that’s both general to all (climate) and to you specifically (local forecast). It’s not specifically controlling you or the reality that is your life events – it’s just surrounding you as you move ahead. To push the weather analogy further, you can be singing in the rain or sobbing in the sunshine. Neither sun nor rain, nor Jupiter, really cares, they’re just there. It’s what’s happening on the ground that counts.

The view of astrology as the pre-cast moving finger of fate is both inaccurate and misleading...and disappointing.

That, however, is not how most people view astrology, so no wonder reasonable people tend to look at it as at best a pseudoscience ruled by wishful thinking, a haven for self-serving confirmation bias looking to escape the cognitive dissonance of reality. But it needn’t be that way, astrology works quite on its own without conflating it with destiny, religion, spiritual comfort, or self-justification. So let’s take a closer look, starting with currently-misbehaving Jupiter.

Just as Jupiter has the greatest rhythmic pull on Earth as we roll nearer and farther from it in our orbit, so it is the biggest wave-maker in both general and personal events, and its astrological symbolism reflects this. It’s all about the big outward push, expansion, ballooning growth, more of everything. In a word, it’s about more. Not better, just more – it is we who sometimes wrongly conflate the two. It’s also about new, as that’s the something extra that’s added to make it more.  Conversely, its semi-opposite (semi because they’re not natural octaves like Uranus/Neptune 1:2, or Mercury and Pluto 1:60, but in 5:2 resonance), Saturn, is sort of about old and less – not worse, just less. So, when Jupiter is moving fast against the sky background (when it’s on the other side of the Sun from us), we are actually farthest from its gravitational pull and things start to happen more fast and free in general, events overtaking us, like we’re flying through the air, as instability and also potentially-useful volatility increase. When we swing round toward Jupiter’s side of the solar system again, we catch up with it, it slows and goes apparently retrograde, and we digest and order the events that just transpired before the cycle starts again. The effect is heightened when the rest of the planets are bunched together and Jupiter stands alone as the bucket handle at this stage (happening lately), as even while we’re digesting, Jupiter is calling the shots.

Transits aren't as neat and precise as the flock on the left, rather more like a quantative influx than a targeted event.

That’s the yearly general, climatic effect, all over the world. But Jupiter hits us individually on a twelve-year cycle (our personal, local weather effect) – actually a whole set of twelve-year cycles as it transits each of our natal planets and Angles. When it swings on top of each one (be it Sun, Moon, Ascendant, etc.) we see a lot of more infused with new, happening at that spot. Most noticeable is the Ascendant where more can mean more live, in-person attention, more physical growth and motion in general – which is often really or just anecdotally associated with the busy-ness that come from success – or if we’re stuck sitting still, more weight gain and a sense of being overcome by circumstances we’re not properly plugged into. And, since Jupiter’s current location is where more/new are happening, when that coincides with your Ascendant, people conflate the two, and you are seen as the new, more thing that’s happening, for the moment. Similarly, when Jupiter hits the natal Sun, it swells the sense of self-confidence and ego, like we can conquer the world, for the moment, and when it hits the Moon we have more emotional, responsive input/output levels.

Jupiter definitely brings more, but is it always an improvement? The same goes for Saturn's reductions, which can stabilize...

But at the bottom line, it’s all about more, as channeled through and limited by the shape of on-the-ground, real scenery, events, and actions. Jupiter is always a ground swell, but what actually happens on the surface is all about location, location, location. I once corresponded with a young astrological enthusiast with a chart remarkably similar to mine who was in a Florida prison for fourteen years on a weapons-possession charge. He was truly mystified why Jupiter wasn’t bringing him good fortune and early release, while I on the outside was doing much better with the transit. The painful parallel applies across the board. Jupiter brings you more of what’s available within the local environment, that’s all. It’s not about good luck or bad luck, just more luck, a swelling set of circumstances relative to your surroundings. A Jupiter transit while hiding out as a hermit in a desert shack will not have the same results as it would were you working in the thick of a busy metropolis, plugged into the social network.

Further, Jupiter’s more, wherever you are, may not be better at all, as we discussed in A Bridge Too Far. How about more blood pressure (Jupiter transits are associated with heart attacks and strokes), more traffic, more competition, more weight, more confusion (too much input), and so on? When you’re having a Jupiter transit and the general-world, astro-climate picture is especially intense, as with the recent supplemental T-squares, Jupiter can overwhelm more than help, especially when the new component is something you can’t keep up with (think disruptive technology and its employment implications). Add to that on-the-ground developments that are going to occur anyway – such as the effects of age, taxes, wars, pestilence, natural disaster, economic and social change – and Jupiter’s overstatement can become as much a challenge as a blessing.

The great wave that is a Jupiter peak can be exhilarating, or more than your small boat can handle, depending on circumstance.

Still, all things considered, a good Jupiter transit, skillfully-handled, will certainly give you more options, regardless of unavoidable local limitations, and will usually make you feel better (or less miserable) than you would have otherwise, so given the choice of more or less, most of us would prefer the former...

Of course, something similar, both good and bad, might be said of Saturn and it’s version of old and less (well, sort of less, as we said) – or of any other planet and its traditional, and sometimes misunderstood, associations – but that’s for another, future consideration…

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