On the 9th of September 2016 Jupiter enters the sign of Libra, beginning a 13 months transit which has already been heralded by reputable astrologers as an auspicious period for diplomatic agreements, peace treaties, intellectual ascendancy and remarkable aesthetic creations. There are reasons to hope that some of these standard interpretations of Libran symbolism will come to pass, as Jupiter usually opens windows of lucky accomplishments for the activities ruled by the sign of its transit. So, yes, blessed be the peacemakers! We might use a fresh breath of Libran graciousness and moderation in the midst of this “shadow war” of religious fundamentalism and emergent reactionary movements. However, it is this very tense context that subjects most astrological interpretations to wishful thinking projections. It is true that Jupiter in Libra is one of the most relevant placements in the chart of Henry the IVth of France, the king who put an end to decades of religious wars between Catholics and Protestants. His Edict of Nantes (1598) granted freedom of conscience to individuals, and by that, the old ideal of religious unity was abandoned and replaced by a secularized civic form of unity. In many areas of the world the need for a similar new social consensus is germinating, and Jupiter in Libra will help it sprout. However, if we look at 1933/1934, this was a Jupiter in Libra year which witnessed Adolf Hitler’s rise to power, the construction of the first Nazi concentration camp of Dachau and the infamous Night of the Long Knives. Astrologers might be justified in their expectancy for a new social consensus, but there is no guarantee that it will be based on humanistic values.
So, what exactly is “Jupiter in Libra”? A blunt simplistic answer would be that Jupiter in Libra inflates, exaggerates and boosts both the gifts and the troublesome traits of the sign. It is an ingress of “the Great Benefic”, “God’s blessing” into the sign of the “small benefic” – Jupiter and Venus meet on the sky. It appears to be a conclave of the good spirits of light and this is why I am trying to bring a discordant voice into the choir of optimistic godmothers, doing justice to the less obvious potential perils.
Every year, as the Sun reaches the autumn Equinox and enters 0 degrees Libra, its journey into the first half of the zodiac has been completed. In the Northern hemisphere, this is directly related to bringing to fruition the latent powers of nature, which have bloomed in spring, ripened throughout summer and have borne fruits in the fertile sign of Virgo. The spectacle of living matter has ended, the decline of the organic world has begun and the curtain call sounds for someone else: the spirits of the cold seasons. Libra opens the world to the other world and beckons its inhabitants; still, until the beginning of Scorpio, they are not fully around, and we are left hovering in doubtful expectancy. The landscape itself appears to be partly nostalgic partly haunted by some imminence, the bottom line being: We are in transit. Something has left, something has not come yet, we are not fully present.
Look at the colours of landscapes in Libra: nature seems to stage a perpetual sunset. With the autumn equinox the days shorten progressively in the North, the nights grow longer and the sun falls lower on the horizon. In astrology the Sun is the symbol of the ego and the place of its fall is the land where the personality opens up to incorporate “what is fundamentally different from itself”. The first six signs define monadic models of personality growth – with Libra, the model becomes relational. By definition, the sign is social, so much so that people who have strong Libra placements will be tempted to sacrifice parts of their own personality, or to stage a completely different persona in order to comply to social standards. Or, even worse, from the very beginning they will build up a personality which is extremely conformist to high standards of social prestige, ethical rules, aesthetic principles. In this case, there is hardly any initial original drive that has been censored – in psychological terms we are talking about an external locus of identity. The ego builds itself as someone who is constantly being gazed upon, and because of that it acquires very early on an entire arsenal of seduction. Many histrionic personalities, very famous actors, entertainers but also some very annoying snobs could be defined by this obsessive “extimity” (as the opposite of intimacy). Interestingly enough, Michel Tournier, the French writer who was born with a prominent Moon in Libra published a book called Journal extime. In The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Robert Louis Stevenson, born with Jupiter in Libra, took the extremes this double play between a conformist social personality and a schizoid unconscious self. Federico Garcia Lorca, another famous writer born with Jupiter in Libra, was obsessed with drawing masks.
Among famous actors, Edward Norton has the same placement of Jupiter in his natal chart and he played a part in Fight Club (another Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde type of movie) and the masked leper king of Jerusalem in Ridley Scott’s Kingdom of Heaven.
The land of beautiful images and simulacra, where constructed appearances rule over the ungracious matter, if such a land will ever exist, must have the constellation of Libra shining over it.
Now, imagine Jupiter, the king of the Gods, moving into Libra.
2. The Masquerade is coming – some masks are falling off
One of the stars that fall in the topical sign of Libra is Vindemiatrix (the Grape Gatherer) associated with traditional harvest feasts. The grape juice has not turned into wine yet and the party-goers are meant to maintain the social interaction in graceful and elegant terms. Antoine Watteau (a native Libra) is the master painter of “les fetes galantes”, idealized versions of bucolic feasts set in classical landscapes.
With Jupiter at the party, however, opulence will be exhibited everywhere, luxurious and sumptuous images will rule the day up to the point where they might turn into a caricature of themselves. Marie Antoinette was born with Jupiter in Libra and she is famously remembered as an extravagant queen enjoying a luxurious lifestyle, obsessed with masquerade parties and every form of exorbitance available at the time. In contemporary times we encounter a whole crowd of entertainers and singers born with Jupiter in Libra who are famous for building a carnivalesque social persona: Freddy Mercury, Cher, Madonna, Prince, and perhaps the most representative of them, Michael Jackson.
Symbolically, his face turned into a mask in the latter part of his life, up to the point where a rumour was spread about his false nose falling off his face on stage, even if it was never confirmed by concrete data. Moreover, it was well known that he always had his children wear masks whenever they were out in a public space. When it comes to selling a social persona or staging a charade, Jupiter in Libra people are masters of the show, but whenever they experience a Jupiter return, they do not seem to know any longer how far they can push their own game. They exaggerate and the mask reveals itself as false – sometimes it falls off. Two times when Jupiter returned in the sign of Libra, something of Michael Jackson’s hidden intimate life seemed to surface to the public eye: in 1993 he faced the first child sexual abuse accusations and in 2004/2005 he had to face similar allegations in an open trial.
For the upcoming year of Jupiter in Libra I predict a similar scenario for Donald Trump. With Jupiter returning in his chart, he is going to lose track of the limits of his own game. Most probably the next year is going to dig up something that lay hidden beyond the media persona that Trump has been building for years in his own reality TV show. Whether the man behind the mask is going to prove to be a horrifying figure or not, that is debatable, but I am pretty sure that for the last two months of his campaign, he is going to push the whole stage performance too far. Someone is going to point to the fact that The Emperor is naked – and strangely enough, in these very last weeks before the entrance of Jupiter in Libra, “The Emperor has no balls project” has placed “naked Trump” statues in several major American cities. I believe we are dealing with the symbolic foreshadowing of a massive unveiling of the Trump masquerade.
I’m often telling my clients that the opposite of shame is not prestige, but self-awareness. Whereas guilt is a personal feeling (it has something to do with me vs. my ethical principles), shame requires the mortifying context of a real or imaginary someone looking down upon the subject. The unmistakable flavour of an exposed lie or pretense adds something to it. Shame is the ultimate monster that people having an external locus of identity are running away from. The extreme version: those suffering from narcissistic or histrionic personality disorders are building a false sense of ego in order to keep their true deflated and vulnerable self away from conscious awareness. The problem is Jupiter in Libra times always strike harder at “the Pose”, by initially creating a sense of ease and encouragement, until all the stitches that hold the mask together become visible. For instance, wanna-be artists who have no real pleasure or gift for their craft, but are strongly motivated by the fantasy of receiving prizes and social validation are the primary victims of this dynamics.
Let’s take a step back in time to the city of Vienna of 1909. In October of that year, as Jupiter entered Libra, a homeless young man began to earn a modest living by selling naturalistic watercolours of city and country landscapes. Twice, in 1907 and 1908 he had failed the entrance exam at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna. His name was Adolf Hitler.
Not bad, is it? Not spectacular either. In the very same month of October 1909 he meets Rheinhold Hanisch, one of the very few close friends Hitler had during his early years and the friendship lasted until August 1910 (pretty much close to Jupiter’s exit from Libra). The break up occurred when Hanisch sold one of Hitler’s paintings for less than the author’s original price. The next time Hanisch returns to Hitler’s life is 23 years later in August of 1933, one month before Jupiter’s ingress in Libra, when the newspaper Wiener Sonn und Montagszeitung published a long interview with him under the title “Hitler as a Beggar in Vienna”. Among many embarrassing details of Hitler’s personal life that clearly denied the almighty persona of the Fuhrer,
Hanisch accuses Hitler of forgery: he claims Hitler told him in the men’s hostel “that even when he was still living in Linz, he painted small landscapes in oil, then roasted them in the oven until they turned all brown, and sometimes he actually did succeed in selling these pictures to second-hand dealers as old valuable pieces.” – Brigitte Hamann, Hitler’s Vienna, A Portrait of the Tyrant as a Young Man (2010)
The historical accuracy of Hanisch’s memoirs is beyond the point – whether this was true or false, the story clearly annoyed and shamed Hitler, because soon afterwards he initiated a campaign of tracking down his paintings and buying them.He become obsessed with cancelling and rewriting his own footsteps. Something of his social mask had been deeply damaged.
I am using these examples to warn against “posing” as Jupiter in Libra can definitely enlarge somebody’s social persona, only at the cost of amplifying the hollowness behind the mask.
However, there is good news before there is bad. Generally speaking, Jupiter in Libra puts an unparalleled emphasis on relationships and it is a great time for entering new business partnerships, signing contracts of collaboration, expanding one’s social network, beginning a romantic adventure, getting married, but in the end it all depends upon the details of the personal chart and the house that Jupiter will be transiting. Regardless of the personal biographical details, the transit favours:
a. Most types of social events, congresses, reunions, weddings, summits
b. Outstanding artistic creations (there is a special focus on visual and performance arts)
c. Finding the middle ground between two opposite views, reconnecting, making peace.
Careful, though, they should all be the expression of an authentic desire or interest. You can choose to be a forger, a copycat or a simulant at your own risk. So this is the right time to ask yourself the following:
What is it that I sacrifice in order to be popular, liked or simply accepted by the group? What would I lose if I won the Oscar? Do I really want to be loved, or do I want to be envied? Do I really want to cut off a part of myself just to fit into Cinderella’s glass slipper? (if the answer to the last question is YES, I totally get it, those slippers are awesome).
The most sensitive to the influence of the transit are:
- Those who have Jupiter in Libra in their natal chart, which would be the generations born between:
- Sep 1933 – Oct 1934
- Aug 1945 – Sep 1946
- Aug 1957 – Sep 1958
- Jul 1969 – Dec 1969; May 1970 – Aug 1970
- Oct 1980 – Nov 1981
- Oct 1992 – Nov 1993
- Sept 2004 – Oct 2005
- People born with strong placements of planets in Libra or Aries
- Cardinal signs (Aries, Capricorn, Cancer, Libra) and Air Signs (Aquarius, Gemini, Libra)
In the second part of this post, we’ll take a look at the possible outcomes of this transit for mundane events.