The dangers of Jupiter

The planet Jupiter is usually considered a beneficial influence in astrology, representing expansion and sometimes wealth.  However, Jupiter in the natal chart, along with the sign (Sagittarius) and house (9th) associated with it, can sometimes point to the areas where we have too strong a conviction that we are right.  Ultimately, this over-confidence can harm both us and our relationships with those around us.  The following exercise helps us re-calibrate our Jupiter expression so that we more frequently portray Jupiter’s wisdom and tolerance rather than its potential for arrogance.

Exercise for Jupiter balance

Stop and think about those traits you can’t stand in other people.  When you describe people you dislike, what words are you likely to use to justify your negative reaction?  When you describe people you like and admire, are you prone to describe them partly by what they are not, praising them not only for what they have but for the lack of certain attributes?

On the left side of a sheet of paper, write a list of the personality defects most likely to arouse a negative reaction in you, putting these traits on one side of the paper.  Then, at the top and center of the same sheet of paper, write down this quote:  Happy the man when he has not the defects of his qualities.  Using your imagination think of positive personality qualities of which the defects you listed might be a twisted manifestation.  For example, someone who seems to display weakness may be trying to show compassion.  Someone who expresses unkind viewpoints may be acting out of a misplaced loyalty to the person who taught them that narrow way of thinking.  Write down the positive qualities which may be the source of the negative traits on the right side of the paper.  In considering this, we are not justifying unkind or selfish actions—we can still see the behaviors as wrong.  What the exercise does is help us enlarge our capacity for imaginative empathy.

Positives and negatives

Now draw a line beneath the first list and start a second list:  your own most positive qualities.  Then, again using your imagination, consider what may be the defects of those qualities and write those traits down.  See if any of these negative attributes resonate when you consider personal conflicts or difficulties you may face.  To continue using the example from above, could the personal strength which is your justification for condemning weakness sometimes be viewed as bullying?  Are there areas in which your espousal of your own beliefs might be viewed as just as unkind as those you hate?  Just as the first part of the exercise does not mean we must justify the hurtful behavior of others, this exercise is not meant to detract from your own self-esteem, merely to widen our range of vision.

In both parts of this exercise, we are using imagination to remove our own unconscious mental and emotional blinders.  This exercise does tell us that we are wrong, but it does help us admit the possibility that we can be wrong.  We each hope our own failings, those moments when we fail to live up to our highest self, will not be held against us.  Too often, however, we assess others, particularly those who are dissimilar to us in some way, more harshly.

As we grow in our studies of astrology, we move beyond the need to use it as just another tool for stereotyping others by saying we like one sign and dislike another.  Astrology enables us to see both ourselves and the world more clearly, and heighten our skills of compassion and self-understanding.

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