Tending a Grateful Space

Posted by Amanda Painter

Chimes and frangipani tree in Padangbai, Bali; photo by Amanda Painter.

Jupiter is currently making its way through the last degree of Sagittarius, bringing to a close this year in its home sign. Amanda Painter suggests taking inventory of your Jupiter-in-Sagittarius year. A Mercury-Vesta opposition and a Venus-Ceres conjunction offer additional themes and questions you may wish to make space for.

By Amanda Painter

Jupiter is currently making its way through the last degree of Sagittarius, bringing to a close this year in its home sign. Before you look ahead to what Jupiter in Capricorn is all about, you might take a little time to consider the area(s) of your life where expansion, broad or far-reaching vision, acquisition of new knowledge and experiences, adventure, distant travel, attainment and sharing of wisdom, increased optimism or faith, religious or philosophical zeal (including fundamentalism), or self-indulgence have been prominent.

Chimes and frangipani tree in Padangbai, Bali; photo by Amanda Painter.

Wind chimes and frangipani tree in Padangbai, Bali, Indonesia; photo by Amanda Painter.

Where have those themes intermingled in your life? What new vistas — inner or outer — have you encountered as a result?

What now feels like a distant daydream (emblematic of Jupiter’s long square to Neptune in Pisces this past year)? In what ways do you feel like you’ve mastered — or at least gained a foothold in — a new life-level?

I ask, because when Jupiter enters Capricorn on Monday, Dec. 2, the emphasis will shift to the practical application of whatever you have learned, envisioned and acquired.

Saturn rules Capricorn. And while Saturn/Cap can have a dampening effect on some of Jupiter’s traits, it’s also possible for Jupiter to infuse some optimism, humor and breadth of perception into the more conservative, rigid and dry realm of Saturn and Capricorn.

We’ll have more about this shift — which is yet another major prelude to January’s Saturn-Pluto conjunction — in the Monday Morning issue (which mails Sunday evening). For now, it may be enough to take inventory of your Jupiter-in-Sagittarius year. Get clear on how you’ve experienced and exercised a sense of freedom in your life, and how you’d like to translate it into ongoing growth. Be honest about the gambles you’ve taken that have not paid off, so you can make choices that are perhaps more grounded — yet which still point you upward and forward toward your goals.

Today’s major aspect also suggests a mix of review and of moving forward with new understanding. That would be an opposition between Mercury in Scorpio and the asteroid Vesta in Taurus.

The review part of this aspect is twofold. Firstly, Vesta is in retrograde motion. Secondly, Mercury is still working through its post-retrograde ‘shadow’ phase, and this contact with Vesta therefore echoes the contact they had just before and during the Nov. 12 Full Moon. Then-retrograde Mercury and Vesta were closely aligned with the Scorpio Sun and Taurus Moon in that configuration.

If you’re in the U.S. and celebrating the Thanksgiving holiday, it could be a little challenging to find the inner space necessary to register the Mercury-Vesta opposition. Then again, perhaps it will be obvious; much about Thanksgiving resonates with the ideas of devotion, hearth tending, and opportunities to unravel guilt and shame that we associate with Vesta.

True, the hearth tending might come in the form of making sure the yams don’t burn; opportunities to unravel guilt and shame could arrive through having those feelings provoked in complicated family situations. Yet just maybe the holiday’s theme of gratitude and grace will provide the extra bit of psychic space needed to recognize and release what’s being stirred up. Holding space for such processes is a core attribute of charts and situations where Vesta is prominent, and there’s no single way that must look.

If you do find yourself with some quiet time, notice whether a new layer of insights is emerging about whatever got activated by the Full Moon two weeks ago. Neptune in Pisces is currently making harmonious aspects to Mercury and Vesta, infusing today’s mindset with sensitivity, creativity and empathy.

If your highest ideals or subtler senses feel like they’re supporting and informing what you encounter, how do you feel called to make use of what you understand? Can you communicate it more gently now that the highly charged Full Moon energy is long past, Mercury is direct, and we’re emerging from Tuesday’s more internal New Moon in Sagittarius?

Do you feel more determined about some purpose, cause or healing process? Does someone in particular seem to embody or reflect any of these ideas to you today?

Note also that on Saturday, Venus and Ceres make an exact conjunction in Capricorn (in effect now). Venus describes the receptivity principle, as well as love in a more romantic or sexual sense; Ceres describes one facet of the motherhood archetype, in addition to food and nourishment. Yet Capricorn is generally a more restrained and contained energy.

I keep looking at Venus and Ceres in this situation, and wondering what the difference is between ‘having healthy boundaries’ and withholding affection/nurturing. How do you know when your self-protection is a crucial matter of integrity, versus when it’s making you emotionally inaccessible to those who would share love with you, or who would benefit from you sharing your love from a centered place?

This issue is a common one for many people around the holidays, particularly if family gatherings are rife with unhealed wounds, unaddressed patterns of emotional and energetic transgression, and significant pressure to just go along with everything without ‘causing a fuss’. Guilt-trips can flare up when people try to set important boundaries, and that can make things very confusing with the issues Venus and Ceres represent.

From what I can tell, fear is a big factor in ‘withholding’ — fear of overextending oneself, of getting hurt in the process; fear of repeating or reopening old (often very old) injuries. Trust in oneself, and in one’s inner sense of safety no matter how someone reacts, appears to be a core factor in setting healthy boundaries without guilt — and in being able to give and receive warmth, love and nourishment. Understanding and gaining facility with these dynamics can be a lifelong journey, and often requires the help of therapy.

As mentioned, holidays can feature especially challenging interactions with this material. If it comes up for you today or through the weekend, the idea is not to get frustrated with yourself if you need to protect yourself; you’re not ‘doing it wrong’, you’re just at a particular point in your awareness of what’s going on within you, and in your encounters with others. As you notice, you can choose to learn more about what’s going on, or to get help in dealing with it. You can begin to make new decisions in response that feel better.

As mentioned, Mercury opposite Vesta may signify a new layer of understanding, perhaps even a new sense of space for processing that understanding and for healing it. Whether you hold that space for someone else or for yourself, or someone holds space for you, you can count it among all the other things you have to give thanks for — no matter where you live. As Jupiter moves from Sagittarius to Capricorn, you may even discover practical new ways to use all you’ve been learning this year, this week, this lifetime.

3 thoughts on “Tending a Grateful Space

  1. Amanda PainterAmanda Painter Post author

    I was not able to share this at the time of the Taurus Full Moon conjunct Vesta, but just realized that since this piece mentions that event, it might be a good place to mention it. I experienced a fascinating illustration of sorts of that Full Moon while in Bali.

    The night of the Taurus Full Moon, during that intriguing Merc Rx in Scorpio, happened to be the night for the initial dinner with our guided tour group before we all headed to Komodo National Park for a week of snorkel tours. My partner and I had just spent almost a week on Bali doing our own thing.

    As people filed into the dining room at the airport hotel, we began noticing a curious thing: my partner and the husband of the other woman at our table appeared to be the only men in the group. We waited… we watched… and sure enough: in terms of the paying participants (not the tour guides), we had the most unusual group:

    14 women from Hawaii who are all loosely part of an ocean swimming group traveling together
    3 women from South Africa traveling together
    3 other solo women, two from the US and one from Canada
    Then, two women in hetero partnerships, traveling with the two men in those partnerships.

    I surveyed these 20 “solo” women (though it’s possible a few of the Hawaii group were partnered to each other, but I did not get to know many of them), and thought:

    “OMG! 20 Vestal “virgins!!!”

    …”virgin” originally apparently being a term for an independent woman, not our modern idea of “has never had sex.”

    And here they were, on the auspicious occasion of a Full Moon, “attending” (in the loosest possible sense) these two male-female couples …who happened to be sitting across from each other (the women on one side, the men on the other), in an illustration of the Sun and Mercury (male) on one side, and the Moon and Vesta (female) on the other.

    I had to laugh. I have no idea if there were “special” numbers of Vestal virgins at events, but I like that 20 is a round number.

    Now, I just have to dig up that chart and see if anything appears to represent the male and female tour guides…
    Sometimes astrology really is hilarious.

    1. Amanda PainterAmanda Painter Post author

      I do too, Daniel! It was an amazing trip, and fascinating to be on the other side of the planet — literally almost as far from my home as I can get, geographically speaking. It was our first time in the Eastern and Southern Hemispheres, too. The sea life was incredible, and the human life on Bali was wonderful to experience.

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