The Pathfinder

In a previous post I examined the relationship between astrological Saturn and its “counterbalance,” Jupiter, likening the former to the structure of our individual social vehicle (also our protective shell or “armor”) and the latter to the indwelling spirit of adventure that motivates the apparatus of interpersonal outreach. One represents the gears, wheels and levers of the clockworks and the other the dynamically coiled tension within the springs, symbolizing a well-oiled machine when all parts are working in harmony. Outwardly, this represents the “model citizen,” upright,  even-handed and responsible in all human affairs.

This paradigm has served me well over the years, but recently I came across a new thought while reading Robert L. Palmer’s book, Tarot: Voice of the Inner Light:

Jupiter “embodies our evolutionary need to expand our consciousness and to grow and understand the world. It is our pathfinder through the trials of time.”

Saturn represents both “the World” in tarot terms and Cronus, lord of the “trials of time.” Jupiter as the Wheel of Fortune is the intrepid explorer while Saturn is the uncharted territory of its endeavor: one rolls relentlessly forward, seeking its path, while the other abides, awaiting the illumination of its dim, dusty corridors. If they get out of sync by sign or aspect, they can demonstrate the conundrum of the Irresistible Force and the Immovable Object; the Eternal Optimist meets the Irredeemable Pessimist, a pushmi-pullyu with heads at both ends going in opposite directions. Progress grinds to a halt in the astrological equivalent of the British colloquialism “a spanner in the works.” The boulder in the road is too large for the Wheel to surmount at full speed but, having no reverse gear and precious little throttle, it plows forward anyway and breaks an axle. This can be a recipe for social dysfunction, spawning anything from the self-styled maverick to the socially-awkward outcast to the full-blown sociopath. If Saturnian patience is in the ascendancy, a way will be found through the wilderness eventually, but if Jupiterian restlessness prevails, it will soon be bouncing off the walls of its prison in frustration, a pathfinder whose horizons have been shrunken by the necessity of self-restraint.

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