I’m writing this from Chicago, where I’m in town for a big astrology conference. Chicago follows the same longitude as the city where I was born, on the other end of Indiana, and it suits me down to the ground.
For starters, while there are plenty of skyscrapers here there is also a real respect for old buildings here, which extends to an indifferent approach to signage. Everything looks like a bank, until you look closely and find some discreet restaurant name painted on a window or a tiny bit of neon spelling out “Walgreens.”
It’s not California, that’s for sure, where the big cities are smoke-free canyons of glittering modern buildings and every restaurant caters to special dietary preferences. Chicago is a city that likes a steak dinner, hard liquor, and a nice cigar. Being here feels like going back in time and hanging around with my grandfather.
In this part of the world I come home to myself, astrologically speaking. In astrology, you can recast your birth chart for any other location to see how you respond to life there. In Chicago my chart is almost exactly the same as my birth chart – other than the ascendant, the point that symbolizes personality and interaction with one’s environment. In Chicago, mine moves from the bouncy, earliest degrees of Sagittarius to the dying minutes of Scorpio, a very different beast.
And that’s fair enough. Because of course, I’m not exactly the person who left this longitudinal line exactly 46 years ago this week. When you come home after an absence of many years, having gone through a variety of experiences, you look *almost* the same, a facsimile so faithful to the original that it would fool all but the keenest eye. But those who knew you when you wore a smiling little Sagittarius face would know the difference; they would see lines around the eyes and sadness and disappointment playing around the corners of your mouth. It might make their hearts catch a little, remembering what a happy little kid you were back then.
Sagittarius does start out on each journey so happily, as though birth were a baptism that removed all memory of the pain and terror of Scorpio, its preceding sign. Sagittarius is a bundle of instinctual joy in gleeful defiance of rationality, and the Full Moon in this sign is a big, happy, irrational invitation to join the party; to approach life with good humor, innocence, and a glint of uncivilized rowdiness.
But look just a little bit closer. At this particular full moon, Sagittarius’ ruling planet, Jupiter, is in Scorpio. Scratch the surface of all this smiling buoyancy and you’ll find an ancient, aching bruise. There is, perhaps, some tiny bit of funk in your psyche that the baptism did not quite reach, some vestigial, unforgiving Scorpio wariness.
When you look in the mirror in the bright light of this Sagittarius Full Moon and smile your shiniest smile, don’t be surprised to see something a little darker behind your eyes. You’ve traveled your road, and you’ve earned those lines, that wariness. But remember, too, Sagittarius’ gift for determined optimism to see things a little brighter, a little grander. As a glorious, turn-of-the-20th-century bank instead of a Walgreen’s. As a world where your grandfather is still alive and drinking from his favorite brandy snifter. As an internal meridian of longitude where you were once whole, and happy, and ready to smile at anything – and with a little bit of determination, you can be again.