Jupiter enters Scorpio October 10th, beginning the planet’s 13-month tenure in the sign of the Scorpion. This ingress ends the series of Jupiter-Uranus oppositions which plagued 2017, and begins a new phase in the big planet’s journey, which will last until November 8th, 2018. In Scorpio, Jupiter blesses bold expeditions into the underworld, and teaches the methods by which the shadow-self might be claimed and integrated. Lessons also abound on living with fierce purpose, as well as the power of intimacy to heal.
As he crosses from Libra into Scorpio, Jupiter points his scepter at the ground. The stones respond, backing away from each other, opening to provide a point of entrance into the underworld. The faint echoed splash of subterranean rivers can be heard echoing up, and fainter still, the red hot bubbling of magmic flows.
This aperature is not merely an entrance. It is also an exit, a point of egress. It is a point of connection between the realm of the terrestrial and the chthonic, the living and the dead, the body and the soul.
It is an odd terrain for the happy planet, as Jupiter’s essential nature uplifts the earthly toward celestial heights in order to provide a lofty and holistic perspective. Jupiter is buoyant, distant and jolly by disposition, and thus there is a contrast with the quality of the reality tunnels which the Scorpion presides over. These paths crisscross the space under the surface, like a network of caves, or the spiderweb of veins and arteries beneath the skin.
There is wisdom to be found in these intimate reaches. The hidden channels, slick with blood and hot with libidinal vapors, conceal truths found no where else.
During this trip into and through the underworld, Jupiter takes on the appearance of Christ harrowing Hell or Brihispati descending to the underworld to teach the Daityas. On a human level, this is a teacher working in a prison, or a chaplain ministering in the midst of war. The intention is good, the help is needed, but the experience may change the helper in expected ways.
Mars and Jupiter
In Scorpio, Jupiter finds itself in a sign ruled by Mars. The relationship between these planets, the jolly priest and fierce warrior, is a mixed one. Jupiter is good-natured, philosophically and spiritually minded, and optimistic. Contrarily, Mars is harsh, hot-tempered, task-oriented and pragmatic. In schemes which plot out friendship and enmity between the planets, Mars and Jupiter are sometimes considered friendly, sometimes neutral and sometimes enemies.
If we take the figures commonly associated with the two planets, the priest-philosopher and the warrior, we can see how the warrior benefits from the priest’s wisdom and blessing, and the priest-philosopher benefits from the practicality and protection the warrior provides. Some combinations of these two principles are quite positive. One might look to the Shaolin temple, as well as other martial monasteries, where the introduction of warrior training made the monks capable of defending their home and maintaining their physical health long enough to practice in old age. Yet other collisions of the martial and the jovial, such as the religious sanctification of war, can be disastrous. While Jupiter seeks to uplift martial practice to the level of a Way, Mars threatens to turn Jupiter’s ideals into mere bludgeons — moral cudgels.
A Mandala of Paths and Teachers
Traditionally, it is primarily Jupiter which determines religious or spiritual bent in the chart. Jupiter’s position and condition speak to what wisdom a person is receptive to, and what quality of teachers they will encounter. Though this orientation is fixed, to some degree, by the natal chart, Jupiter’s 12 year tour of the skies sees the planet bless certain insights and practices as it roams, opening and closing certain pathways along the way.
In Scorpio, Jupiter points towards those spiritual methods which do not shy away from ego, sex, hunger, aggression, intimacy, and death. These are, for the most part, heretical methods, as it is precisely this list of topics which are seen as inimical to spirit in most orthodox religions.
Here we see practices such as manasati death meditations of Buddhism, the ritual contemplation of the many dismemberments and diseases which bring biological life to an end. So too is revealed the value of mediumship, ancestor work and other necromantic delights. Jupiter in Scorpio also spotlights methods of sexual magic and alchemy, which turn the vital and psychic power of the ecstatic act toward specific spiritual ends. Also featured are those pathways which involve a confrontation with the dark— the work of exorcists and psychoanalysts. Jupiter’s time in Scorpio smiles upon the alchemical transmutation of poisons, psychic and otherwise. Similarly blessed are martial paths, which forge the body and soul in the heat of ordeal.
You Can’t Handle The Truth
While some wisdom reveals itself gently, as a lover disrobes, other insights are less inviting, and it is these to which Jupiter in Scorpio orients us. Indeed, some truths reside within temples with gates guarded by terrifying monstrosities.
There are many truths about our world which are not comforting. If spiritual growth is not an escape from the world, but instead a process of coming to know it more thoroughly and intimately, than it is inevitable that we will learn things which at first terrify.
The primordial truth upon which we fear to gaze is the fact of biological death. Not only our own, but that of all we will ever know. Yet scores of saints and philosophers have gleaned their finest wisdom in knowledge and conversation with the skull, for death is a teacher without parallel.
Though the product of these dialogues is in many cases fruitful, the confrontation with mortality is fraught with fear, anger, and a host of other rejective sentiments. While these feelings exist as signposts along the way to wisdom, they are not wisdom themselves. Many mistake their fears for hidden truths, simply because they’ve stashed those fears away. Fears are a necessary component in the alchemical procedure by which the elixir of revelation is produced, but they are not the elixir itself.
In Scorpio, Jupiter asks us to look for wisdom in dark places. All stories have the potential to be a vehicle for wisdom, and horror stories are no exception. Jupiter in Scorpio thus points us toward the philosophical content of horror, and the horror content of philosophy. The intersection between these two spheres is explored deliciously in Eugene Thacker’s three part “Horror and Philosophy” series, which might serve as a suitable bible for Jupiter’s time in Scorpio.
When we look to horror for lessons, we find adversarial gurus, the villains and monsters our teachers. We encounter the dark genius of Dr. Hannibal Lector, and the immortal and amoral perspectives of Anne Rice’s vampires. Jupiter in Scorpio thus challenges our moral certainty by inviting us to debate with the devil.
Drink To The Dead
There is a river which flows through all creatures, and it is composed of blood. That river stretches back from every creature now living to the first organisms ever to grace this planet. Its current connects all lifeforms, living and dead, in a great delta of streams.
Jupiter in Scorpio blesses work which reaches beyond the veil to honor the dead. When we honor and acknowledge the departed it creates a doorway which opens in both directions, a point of intersection which allows for exchange between the present and the past. Yet it is important, in honoring the dead, not to be consumed by them. There is more to you than the sum of your ancestry, just as there is more to the future than the past. Failure to navigate this current wisely can result in possession by family complexes and over-identification with genetic ancestory.
While Jupiter is in Scorpio, growth and enlightenment are obtained through the process of ordeal. The wisdom-seeker must encounter and incorporate the portions of the soul which are ugly, stupid, violent, and indulgent.
This process is described extensively in Jungian circles as the encounter with the shadow, the sum of the qualities barred from conscious identification. Although archetypally imagined as a villainous evil twin mwahahaing their way from heinous deed to heinous deed, the actual composition of the shadow is always relative to the structure of the conscious identity. The hard have a soft shadow, the cruel have a kind shadow, the sensuous have a chaste Shadow. The shadow, once fully encountered, always contains elements of vulnerability.
Jupiter in Scorpio pushes for confrontation and audience with this abhorred reflection. There is power and joy trapped in the figure of the shadow. They do what we won’t. They feel what we refuse to. They delight in what we forbid ourselves. Yet they are also weak where we most wish to be strong. The shadow is thus both attractive and repulsive, a combination of power we’re afraid to seize and vulnerability we can’t acknowledge.
Growth comes about through dialogue between the identity and the shadow. This conversation is fraught with confusion and potentially, danger. It is an underworld journey in its own right, full of triumphs, terrors and empowerments.