On September 9th 2016, Jupiter enters tropical Libra. The big planet will reside within the sign of the scales until October 10th, 2017, when it enters Scorpio.
Jupiter enters Libra at near top speed, and will make it all the way to 23’ Libra before stationing retrograde on February 6th, 2017. Jupiter will be retrograde until June 9th, 2017, when it stations direct at 13’ Libra. Jupiter’s forward motion will then take it all the way through its ingress into Scorpio on October 10th, 2017.
Jupiter’s essential nature is to expand and promote coherence. Expansion is probably Jupiter’s most commonly used keyword, as Jupiter makes things bigger, or—sometimes—simply makes a big deal of out of them. Jupiter’s movements offer new external opportunities, which expand our sphere of action and influence, and internal opportunities, which expand our perspective and offer wisdom.
Yet expansion is of little or even negative value if it is not accompanied by an equivalent gain in coherence. Coherence is the degree to which all of the parts of a given whole relate to one another. In a coherent body, the right hand knows what the left is doing. It is the stickiness between word and deed, between one part of life and another. A whole that is not coherent is divided against itself. Thus as Jupiter expands the perimeter of our lives and minds, it is equally important that these new peripheries be integrated with what preceded them. When we succeed at growing, our task becomes integration.
Jupiter attempts to promote both expansion and coherence no matter part of the zodiac he roams. Yet the signs encountered all receive these efforts differently. Some resist, some accept and others offer overwhelming support. It thus behooves us to take a moment to consider what the big planet’s relationship is to Libra, the sign of the scales.
Libra is a cardinal air sign, ruled by Venus and represented by the scales of justice. That Libra is an air sign means that it involves the mental, the abstract, the rational and the social. Its concerns can be spoken, given voice, without mutilation. It shares these qualities with both Gemini and Aquarius. Yet Libra is the only cardinal air sign. Cardinal signs bring new things into being. They initiate sequences of events and get things moving. They are the origin point of trajectories. As the cardinal air sign, Libra is responsible for new ideas, new people and new perspectives. Quite literally, Libra signifies a “breath of fresh air.”
In addition to being the cardinal air sign, Libra is also a domicile of Venus. Thus Venus’ concerns, such as romances, friendships, the arts, and justice, permeate the sign. When we look at how Jupiter’s light is filtered through Libra, a number of simple patterns emerge. On a simple but verifiable level, Jupiter attempts to teach lessons on justice, harmony, balance and beauty while within Libra.
One interesting detail of Jupiter in Libra is that it is one benefic (Jupiter) in a sign ruled by another (Venus.) The benefics are the “do-gooder” planets, which illuminate the best in people and highlight positive possibilities. Jupiter in Libra thus tends towards the idealistic and even the utopian. It hopes for peace, reconciliation, partnership and awesome parties. It feeds our aspirations to get along and recognize the humanity within each other.
As astrology is not merely the study of symbols, but also their manifestations, a brief survey of recent history should serve to make clear the themes that Jupiter favors while in Libra.
Praying to Concordia
Historically, Jupiter’s time in tropical Libra lines up with important peace accords, as well as the necessarily prerequisite peaceable attitude of leaders.
It was when Jupiter was in Libra, from late 1992 to late 1993, that the first of the Oslo Accords was signed into action by Israel and the Palestinian Organization. As evident from the current state of things, this agreement did not “fix” things permanently, but it was a high point for dialogue in a long running conflict. The second Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty was also signed into being by Boris Yeltsin and George Bush during the same 1992-1993 Jupiter in Libra era. During Jupiter’s same pass through Libra, South Africa also officially abandoned its nuclear weapons program, and the International Chemical Weapons Convention was established. Although there was certainly a disarmament trend, there were some prominent contrarians- most notably Saddam Hussein of Iraq, whose back and forth with the UN weapons inspectors during the same period consistently grabbed headlines.
In Libra, Jupiter is prime position to expand (Jupiter) the social (Libra). Thus the big planet’s pass through Libra in 2004-5 thus saw the birth of two massive expansions of the internet’s social capacity. The first of these was the launch of YouTube, which has since enabled hundreds of millions of users to expand the reach of their particular aesthetic. It has since become one of the vital links that holds the social internet together.
The other social upgrade the digital world got the last time Jupiter was in Libra was the release of “World of Warcraft.” Although games had been played online with other people since the crude birth of the internet decades earlier, World of Warcraft placed thousands of players in the same fantasy world, bringing an extremely social component to a genre of games- rpgs- which were previously a solitary refuge for the most misanthropic gamers, such as your humble narrator. This landmark expansion of the social internet has seen more a 100 million accounts created since its 2004 release.
Although not as obviously focused on social multiplication, it is worth noting that Jupiter’s last run through Libra also saw the release of the Ubuntu operating system. This popular alternative to the dominant windows and mac operating systems has an installation base reckoned at nearly 40 million. The Ubuntu project is publicly committed to the ideals of free and open-source software development, an obvious incarnation of Jupiter in Libra’s ideals in the digital realm. Furthermore, the name “Ubuntu” is named after the South African philosophy of “Ubuntu” which is loosely translated by the project as “humanity to others” or “I am what I am because of who we all are.” Interestingly enough, the software that Ubuntu was built on, Debian, was released when Jupiter was in Libra in 1993.
Yay! Let’s Do Business Together!
Jupiter’s movements through Libra have also coincided with a number of important trade agreements, for although the scales have become a symbol of justice, they were first a tool of commerce. One good example was during Jupiter’s time in Libra in 1992, when the European Economic Community eliminated trade barriers to create a single European market. It was also under Jupiter in Libra’s reign that Deng Xiaoping accelerated market reforms within China, laying the framework for the global manufacturing powerhouse China is today. It will be interesting to see if Jupiter in Libra’s pro-trade influence will be enough to push through the controversial Trans-Pacific Trade Partnership.
Demonstrating For and Against
In the pursuit of justice and peace, Jupiter in Libra is happy to gather together great numbers to demonstrate for a less-imperfect world.
The last time Jupiter in was in Libra, in late 2004, saw the Orange Revolution take place in Ukraine after accusations of electoral fraud, while some months later, hundreds of thousands marched in Taiwan to protest China’s anti-secession law. Meanwhile, Jupiter’s previous run tour of Libra, 1992-1993, held a number of important and rather massive protests, such as on November 8th, 1992, when more then 350,00 people rallied in Berlin to protest right-wing violence against immigrants, or the large protests in 1993 against Slobodan Milošević’s regime in Belgrade, which resulted in the opposition leader Vuk Drašković and his wife Danica being arrested. Turkey and Russia were also both sites of massive political protests during Jupiter’s time in Libra in the early 90’s.
Yet people also gather under Jupiter in Libra for other reasons, as well. In another example, on October 10th 1992, tens of thousands gathered in Washington DC to call for more support for more HIV/AIDS research. It was at this time that the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt was unveiled. The quilt is currently the largest piece of collective folk art in the world, weighing in at an estimated 54 tons. This is an excellent symbol of Jupiter in Libra- a truly massive piece of collective artwork constructed on behalf of a humanitarian cause. A half year later, while Jupiter was still in Libra, the first Life Ball was held, an event which has since has become the largest and most star-studded charity on the European continent in support of people with HIV/AIDS.
Yay Voting! Yay Constitutional Compacts!
Jupiter’s last couple passes through Libra have coincided with a considerable number of democratic firsts. Jupiter in Libra seems to like voting, as well as the ratification of constitutional documents. In 1992, Lithuania held a referendum on its first constitution. During the same Jupiter in Libra period, the Czech national council formally adopted its constitution. Not only that, but while Jupiter was in Libra, Europe signed into law the Treaty and Final Act, the first European Constitution. Meanwhile, under the banner of Jupiter in Libra, Mongolia held its first direct presidential elections, as did pre-Arab Spring Egypt. These examples, and others, suggest rather strongly that Jupiter in Libra has strong democratic instincts. Perhaps a few of the many reforms needed to restore ostensibly democratic nations to political health will be enacted.
In keeping with Jupiter in Libra’s focus on what’s fair, the big planet has also overseen some nice rebalancing of the scales during its tenure in Libra. On November 11th, 1992, the Church of England voted to allow women to become priests for the first time. Three months later, in February, Janet Reno was selected to be the first female Attorney General of the United states. Two months after that, an executive order required the United States Air Force to allow women to fly military aircraft.
Jupiter’s pass through 2004-5 saw similar events, with Kuwaiti women getting back their right to vote, and Faiza Al-Kharafi being appointed rector of Kuwait University, becoming the first woman to head a major university in the Middle East.
In perhaps one of the most obvious manifestations of Jupiter in Libra’s focus on ethics and right action, Pope John Paul II released the Veritatis Splendor, a moral encyclical, on October 5th, 1993, while both the Sun and Jupiter were in Libra. In the Veritaris, according to Wikipedia, “Pope John Paul II emphatically insists that moral truth is knowable, that the choice of good or evil has a profound effect on one’s relationship with God, and that there is no true contradiction between freedom and following the good.” If there is one theme that runs through Jupiter’s time in Libra, it is that there is right and wrong, there is justice and injustice, and all human beings deserve such consideration. Coincidentally, Pope John Paul II’s papacy, and life, ended in 2005- with Jupiter in Libra.
In addition to attempts to ascertain the religious and philosophical basis of right and wrong, Jupiter’s time in Libra also seems to favor public admissions of guilt. In the “my bad” column, we have Pope John Paul II again, this time officially lifting the edict of Inquisition against Galileo Galilei- 400 years late. We can add to that Emperor Akihito’s October 1992 first visit to China, in which he expressed great sorry at the horror inflicted during WWII. This was followed, some months later, by the Kono Statement, in which the Japanese government acknowledged the atrocious sex slavery conducted by its army in WWII. Though your past behavior might not quite qualify as a war-crime, Jupiter’s year in Libra is nonetheless a good time for a mea culpa. Yet apologies are not always enough. The next time Jupiter was in Libra, in 2005, China witnessed massive anti-Japanese protests over the nation’s behavior during WWII.
Those born with Jupiter in Libra often have a considerable bonus to their charisma scores. Former president of the United States Bill Clinton was born with Jupiter in Libra right next to his ascendant. Further supported by conjunctions with Venus, Mars and Neptune, Bill’s charisma is legendary, even if his ethics have been found wanting.
It is a great coincidence that 24 years ago, only a few weeks after Jupiter’s ingress into Libra, the United States elected Bill Clinton, with Jupiter in Libra on his ascendant, president. Now, 24 years later, the nation appears poised to elect his wife, Hillary Clinton. Thus for his 5th Jupiter return, while his wife makes history as the first female president of the United States, Bill will likely do the same by becoming the first “first man.”
Although there are consistent themes to what Jupiter pushes while in Libra, the big planet is not the only one in the sky. The other planetary players, depending on their positions, will either block, disrupt, accept or strengthen what Jupiter has in mind.
This time around, Saturn will be in Sagittarius while Jupiter is in Libra. Not only are these two planets in signs friendly to one another, the two also have a “mutually received” relationship, meaning each is happy to listen to and work with the other’s advice. We can thus hope that at least some of Jupiter in Libra’s push for justice and peace will get written into the code of culture and the laws of many lands.
The last time that Jupiter was in Libra while Saturn was in Sagittarius, 1957, which saw some conflicts resolved, while others continued unabated. After the hot war of the Suez Crisis in 1956, the Suez canal was re-opened in 1957. Meanwhile, in terms of social justice, Civil Rights Act of 1957 was signed into law, the first civil rights bill to be passed in the United States since 1875. Progress, if not victory. Yet other tensions continued to rise relatively unchecked, most dramatically Cold War friction between the United States and the Soviet Union.
Generally speaking, Jupiter’s time in Libra serves to depolarize and de-escalate conflicts on both personal and collective levels. We can only hope that the big planet will have the same effect this time, as the degree of rancor and polarization present at almost all levels of culture right now is unbearable. If history is any guide, we can expect some swords to be laid down. Yet if we are to use history as a guide, we will also see a portion of those picked back up before long. Still, a breather would still be appreciated.
During Jupiter’s pass through Libra this time, there are two planets, in particular, which will be happy to oppose the big planet’s “play nice” agenda. Pluto in Capricorn and Uranus in Aries, the two bodies whose series of squares timed the tumultuous revolutions and crackdowns which defined the first half of this decade. Pluto’s entrenched powers will resist compromise, as will Uranus’ hardline radicals. Yet with Saturn on Jupiter’s side, some real progress is nonetheless likely. In addition to the background resistance that Uranus and Pluto represent, Venus’ March-April 2017 retrograde is also due to provide a major stumbling block in any peace process.
Different Angles, Same Sky
Although Jupiter in Libra’s significations will be evident on a collective level, individuals will experience more or less of the big planet’s attention depending on the make-up of their natal charts. Those with Jupiter placed strongly, or with their Sun, Moon or Ascendant in Libra are likely to experience a significantly bigger dose of the themes outlined above. If you’ve yet to take a look at your natal chart, hoof it on over to astro.com and make yourself a free account.
Find the Others
Although Jupiter is likely deposit tokens of its benevolence in one part of your life or another based on the configuration of your natal chart, there are few activities which will be universally blessed during his time in Libra. Whether you step into the current of the big planet accidentally, intuitively, by mantra, or via planetary magic, Jupiter offers a variety of social and aesthetic opportunities
First, Jupiter supports works of reconciliation between warring parties. Diplomats ride down on Jupiter in Libra’s beams, and as history demonstrates, gestures of repentance and forgiveness abound. If you have hatchets to bury, Jupiter in Libra will be happy to assist.
Jupiter in Libra is also pleasantly disposed toward the signature of hopeful contracts and compacts, be they constitutions, trade deals, or something a bit more personal. Grand bargains have been inked under Jupiter’s many passes through Libra. These agreements help extend the duration of whatever harmonies are achieved during the big planet’s time in Libra, and can thus help consolidate diplomatic gains.
The big planet is also happy to help you find new friends and contacts. If you find yourself needing to branch out and meet the people, look to Jupiter as your envoy. Confide your wish to find the others, follow the roads that open, and talk to those you meet along the way.
In addition to making connections, Jupiter in Libra is also happy to assist you in consolidating them. Bringing like minds together under the same roof or banner is another activity the planet is happy to bless. Healthy community is a hotbed of synergy.
Finally, Jupiter in Libra is a stalwart patron of the arts. Whether it is a matter of sharing what you create or simply sitting down to actually create, Jupiter will be happy to support your process. Just ask.