The cosmic archer Sagittarius.

Most of us know our zodiac or sun sign, but what does it look like in the night sky, and what’s the story behind it? This month it’s the turn of Sagittarius.

Common associations

Symbol:

Date of Birth: Nov 22 to Dec 21

Ruling planet: Jupiter

Element: Fire

Key phrase:  I seek

Body: Thighs

Birth Stone: Topaz, Citrine, Turquoise 

Colour:  Light Blue

Tarot card:  Temperance

Temperance wiki rider waite.jpg

Public Domain:  Rider-Waite

The Astronomy

As with all of the Zodiac constellations, Sagittarius was recorded in the 2nd century by the Greek astronomer Ptolemy. The name is from the Latin for archer.

Sagittarius is a relatively large constellation which is mainly visible in the southern hemisphere. In the Northern hemisphere the constellation can be viewed low on the horizon from August to October. In the Southern hemisphere Sagittarius can be viewed from June to November. Star maps generally depict Sagittarius as a vaguely teapot-shaped star pattern or asterism.

Map sagittarius wiki.jpg

Sagittarius is near the centre of our spiral galaxy, the Milky Way. There is a massive star-forming region known as the Omega Nebula situated within its boundaries and Sagittarius is also home to the Pistol Star, one of the brightest stars, the fifth brightest discovered in the Milky Way. First discovered by the Hubble Space telescope in 1930, the Pistol Star is largely hidden in the dust of its own Pistol nebula, but is 100 times as massive as our Sun, and 10,000,000 times as bright.

Watch here for a mind-boggling representation of where the Pistol Star sits in the scale of size of stars in the Milky Way: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GoW8Tf7hTGA

The Myth

Sagittarius Celestial Atlas 1822.jpg

Public Domain: Celestial Atlas 1822

Sagittarius is the ninth sign in the Zodiac and represents those born between Nov. 22 and Dec. 21.

Greek myth saw Sagittarius the Archer shooting Scorpio the Scorpion, which had been sent to kill Orion the Hunter.

Sagittarius has long been mixed and confused with another centaur story, Chiron of the Centaurus constellation. Most interpretations conclude that Sagittarius refers to the the centaur, Chiron, who was accidentally shot by Hercules with a poison arrow.  

This story does indeed refer to a constellation myth, but it’s the myth behind Centaurus, a non-zodiac constellation, and not Sagittarius.

The myth behind Sagittarius probably refers instead to Krotos, a satyr who lived on Mount Helicon with the Muses. Krotos or Crotus was the son of Pan and Eupheme, and his mother had nursed the Muses.

Krotos was renowned for being both an excellent hunter, horse rider and a devoted adherent of the Muses and their arts. He is credited with having invented archery and being the first to use illumination for hunting animals. He is also said to have introduced applause, and used to clap his hands at the singing of the Muses, for whom this was a sign of acclaim preferable to any verbal ones. It was the Muses who asked Zeus to place him among the stars, which he did, transforming Krotos into the constellation Sagittarius.

Satyrs have human heads and torsos with two goat legs (and sometimes horns). Centaurs have four but the accounts and depictions of Krotos vary. But all the same, he was often depicted with four legs, as the excellent horseman he was.

The Astrology

Sagittarius is the ninth sign in the Zodiac and represents those born between Nov. 22 and Dec. 21. The archer is seen as a bridge between elements and worlds. The life lesson is seen as Temperance, as pictured in the Tarot card associated with this sign. The message is all to do with the quiet but enormous power of moderation, the art of expert timing, and also self-control, avoiding extremes and addictive behaviours.

The Astrological Personality

There is no such thing in reality as THE Sagittarius personality and the same goes for all the zodiac sun signs. Your sun sign is an archetype, a keynote but of course it is not and never could be the whole story.

The archetype of Sagittarius is brave, lively, warm, optimistic, rational and insightful. Sagittarius zodiac sign subjects need constant adventures and opportunities to grow to remain interested. Freedom is of the utmost importance to them, space and plenty of room for manoeuvre. Likewise they tend also to give lots of freedom to their partners.

They are generally very capable people but they need career flexibility, and they may refuse or fail to apply themselves if bored.  Like Gemini, they are prone to restlessness. They may then fail to stick at a job or a succession of jobs, and may struggle financially in consequence.

They tend to have lots of friends, and family and friends can feel neglected at times when Sagittarius goes go off and travels and shares experiences with strangers, but Sagittarians will always come home.

Next time, the cosmic goat Capricorn…