Sagittarius, the Archer
To watch the video for Sagittarius, go to https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/eurythmy-online/Sagittarius.mp4 –or— https://youtu.be/E3gEglT0MQY
The sign of Sagittarius represents the Archer, aiming his arrow towards the future. The archer is sometimes shown riding a mighty horse, and sometimes depicted as a Centaur, a mythological creature with the body of a horse and the head and trunk of a human being. Shooting his arrow, Sagittarius rides on the powerful natural wisdom of the Horse. Traveling the night sky to traverse the places of darkness, he aims for the future. He foretells the emergence of the new human being, bearer of a new divine self-awareness.
Chiron, the greatest of the centaurs of the Greek age, presents the archetype of the Archer as Teacher. Chiron was the tutor of the man-hero Hercules, who was assigned twelve challenges to accomplish, a journey which would take him through the twelve signs of the zodiac. Chiron, out of his nature-wisdom, taught Hercules how to successfully complete his twelve tasks, to become the great legendary hero. Drawing upon this image, we can imagine that we are all on our individual Herculean journey, completing our own twelve tasks in our evolving journey of becoming.
The archer who sits upon the horse thus represents the evolving human being. We are on the process of developing a new awareness, evolving beyond the harmonious but incomplete consciousness of the animal kingdom, striving to develop the divine self-awareness of a Human Being.
The Midnight Sun
The sign of Sagittarius rules the winter solstice, the time of the longest night and shortest day of the year. Seen from the northern hemisphere, it sits low upon the horizon. This means that when the sun stands in the sign of Sagittarius, it traces a low arc across the sky, never rising high enough to brighten our days or warm the earth. As the dark time of the year approaches, a mood of mystery pervades all. This is the season when the outer sun of the natural world has faded, and the inner sun can grow strong within us.
Since ancient times, mystery schools have spoken of the “outer sun” and the “inner sun.” The outer sun is at its peak when the sun stands in Gemini at the summer solstice. It teaches us the outer mysteries of creation by filling us with the bounty of sense impressions. The inner sun of the winter speaks to us from depths of our soul, teaching us the inner mystery of creation through the awakening of our inner life. In traversing the cycle of the year again and again, we learn how the inner and the outer are actually two sides of the same, divine mystery.
Summer enlightenment is a gift: winter enlightenment comes to the person who can cultivate the inner spaces of the heart and mind and become aware of the divine that is waiting to be born in us, shining as the sun at the midnight hour.
Many ancient megalithic people positioned standing stones or temples of stone to create sacred places in the landscape. Often, the were positioned them at a precise angle so that the sun would shine upon them at the equinoxes or the solstices. These were considered the sacred times of the year.
We can imagine that the ancient ones feared the dark time of the year. We can imagine that they could not feel the certainty that we have that the sun would re-appear and bring a new summer to earth. In some ancient initiation rites, the priest, or spiritual leader, would withdraw to a temple of darkness at the winter solstice. These temples were constructed to admit the light of the winter sun to shine upon a sacred altar at exactly the winter solstice. It was a test of courage to sit through the dark, and when the priest emerged, he could announce to the peoples that the sun would reappear. This could signify that the dark time had reached its culmination, and that the new cycle would now begin.
The Colors of the Inner Journey
In reading my blogs for the 12 signs of the zodiac, you will have noticed that each sign carries the imprint of a different color. The signs from Aires to Libra correspond to the seven well-known colors of the rainbow, beginning with red and continuing to violent. These seven can be called the “day colors.” Beginning with Scorpio, the next five colors become increasingly delicate, or “spiritual. These “night-colors” are tones of lilac and peach-blossom and magenta that are so delicate and fleeting that we have no distinct names for them. Libra carried the color of violet: Scorpio is a lightened violet and Sagittarius pales to a lavender hue. This is the dark time of the year, and these are the colors of the spiritual world, of mysteries that reveal themselves only to the inner seeker.
As the outer brilliance fades, we have a new opportunity to pay attention to the power of our heart and mind. Especially as we turn away from the pressing demands of the holiday season and create a conscious journey for the inner self, we may choose to spend more time doing inner work. In contemplation and quiet meditation, our dreams may become richer, and our experiences thereby more subtle. We can develop a new sensitivity to the delicate “colors” of our quiet inner life. The inner journey of the soul is cultivated by developing the ability to perceive the subtle dimensions of the non-physical world.
Sagittarius in the Body
In the body, Sagittarius rules the thighs, and, by extension, the corresponding upper arms. Through the arms and legs, we are able to be active in our will, in the sense world.
The next three zodiac signs (Capricorn, Aquarius and Pisces) will extend all the way into the knees, shins and feet (and, by association, into the corresponding parts of the arms).
The Sounds of Sagittarius
The sounds associated with Sagittarius are G (as in gate), and its partner sound, the un-voiced K.
Before learning the gesture for these sounds, practice saying them and feeling what part of your mouth you use. You essentially have to create tension in the back of your throat, and inwardly push sideways to open your airway and control the way the air passes out of your lungs. With the voiced sound “G,” you can control the speed of the air enough that you can also make a kind of grunt as you exhale. With the unvoiced “K,” you open your throat quickly enough that the air seems to rush out.
In the physiology of eurythmy, the muscles of the back of the throat correspond to the thighs and upper arms, the realm of Sagittarius. Thus, to create the G in eurythmy, begin by holding your arms in front of your chest, folded at the elbow, with the feeling that your arms are held tight in front of you and you want to push them apart. In preparation, you can imagine that you are in a box, and have to push your way out of it, but you can only use your upper arms, the Sagittarius part of your upper body. Pushing sideways, you create the gesture for G.
You can replace the imagination of being in a box by imagining yourself standing behind a very heavy curtain. This curtain represents everything that keeps you from realizing your full potential. Make a decision to push your obstacles aside, and push the curtains apart. If you pay attention, you can feel that through this movement, your chest is opened wide: you stand in a new world.
It is also possible to make a very delicate “G” gesture. This time, imagine that you are walking through a silvery-gray fog. With your arms, push aside the fog that blinds you, so you can find your way.
As you practice this, imagine yourself working with the archetypal colors of the G. Imagine yourself clothed in sun-yellow. This yellow invokes the radiant light of the I-Am, emerging out of spirit. Feel the silver-gray fog all around you in your etheric body. Push again the fog with a fine blue energy in your arms.
It is also possible, to do G with the muscles of the thighs, corresponding to the deeper forces of Sagittarius.
Lift your arms, feeling the power in the upper arms. Thrust downwards with them, vigorously, as if delivering a quick karate chop in the air. You may also thrust them outwards, to the sides. When first learning the K, remember to keep the elbows bent, so that the power is retained in the upper arms and doesn’t extend to the lower arms. Later, of course, you can practice other kinds of K’s.
The colors of the K are different from those of the G. With K, you should imagine yourself clothed in vivid red. Instead of pushing yourself through silver gray, you will burst through a field of bright yellow, with red tension in your arms.
The sound K is the sound that consolidates matter. With the K, the world is suddenly shaped into clear and sharp contours, into crystal clarity.