Eyes Wide Open: Mercury into Sagittarius

As we head into December, our outlook begins to lighten, a process begun at the big reveal that was the Gemini Lunar Eclipse, which made us aware of any confusion, limiting beliefs or information overload that may have been cluttering up our thought processes and clouding our judgement. As a result, the aha moments may have started to unfold – especially concerning unresolved experiences or situations that may have been confounding you since June.

Now, as Mercury begins it lightning-fast tour through upbeat and expansive Sagittarius, good news begins to arrive, leading to raised hopes that an end to current restrictions may soon be in sight. Although this injection of positive yang energy serves as a much-needed boost of morale, we must be careful not to tip over into the territory of intellectual inflation, verbal hyperbole or boom economics. It’s worth pausing to remember that Sagittarius is a position where Mercury is considered to be in detriment.

Rather than don rose-coloured specs or rush to make 2 + 2 equal 5, we are instead being challenged to zoom out: to truly open up and elevate our perspectives in order to take in the bigger picture. This involves adopting synergistic thinking: seeing the patterns of the parts – a masculine, logical, left brain activity – but within the context of the whole – a practice more in keeping with the more fluid, poetic, feminine right-brain.

“Looking but not seeing is the hearing but not understanding of the eye.” ― Mokokoma Mokhonoana

In this way, we avoid the traps of judgement, opinion and myopia, and instead, remain firmly focused on the greater good as well as the longer term. In other words, we are being challenged not only to see – and truly understand – what’s right in front us – but also to imagine the potential it holds: what things could become in the future. And to do it in a non-critical or overly sentimental way.

Here the Sabian symbol of the recent Gemini Full Moon is worth keeping in mind because it speaks of Sagittarian aspiration – the tendency of the Archer to reach for the stars – to aim his bow and arrow at a lofty target but also to stay grounded and look at where he/she is going, so that they don’t trip over what’s right in front of them – a molehill that has the potential to turn into a mountain if overlooked or viewed without the benefit of context.

Here, I am reminded of a phenomenon I only discovered in April or May of this year – something called the Stockdale Paradox, which in a nutshell, talks about the need to balance optimism with realism to avoid the downsides of Jupiter: delusional thinking, self-righteousness, over-confidence and dangerous risk-taking.

This concept is named after James Stockdale, a former vice-presidential candidate and naval veteran who was held captive and tortured during the Vietnam war for over seven years. Afterwards, he stated that what got him through the experience was holding this paradox in his mind:

“You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end — which you can never afford to lose — with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be.”

James Stockdale

And herein lies the beauty – and wisdom – of Jupiter in Saturn-ruled Capricorn – a position that the planet of luck and expansion has held all year. As it comes to the end of it’s stay in this stoic, determined and pragmatic sign, ready for its ingress into airy and futuristic Aquarius on December the 19th, it is worth pausing for a minute to consider what it has taught us during 2020 about being resilient and coping through life’s ups and downs without losing hope that things will one day get better.

If we bear this truth in mind, we are far more likely to make progress during Mercury’s 20-day tour through Jupiter-ruled Sagittarius than might otherwise be the case. So expect the best but prepare for the worst – don’t hide your head in the sand but instead, tackle whatever problems arise – cheerfully and with the full expectation that you will find a solution in the end, however bad things may seem right now. This is more than foresight – it is true grit and substance – a truly formidable and unstoppable combination.

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