Planets are to astrology as metals are to alchemy. Both traditions work with deep and diverse imagery. Each symbol on its own has been the subject of several books and extended research. And yet, when it comes to discussing astrology, we often stick to a vocabulary that is surprisingly static – considering that we are talking about human beings and dynamic physical, psychological and interpersonal networks.
When someone is new to astrology, it can be particularly challenging to figure out how these symbols interact with each other in a natal chart.
It doesn’t help that most information on this subject is limited to a few clichés, especially when it comes to hard aspects. (Sextiles and trines are usually treated more liberally.)
The Sun in “Sun square Jupiter”, for example, is quickly labelled “ego” and “pride”, and Jupiter becomes “grandiosity” and “lack of restraint”. At the same time, the Sun in “Sun trine Jupiter” will be “spirit” and “creativity” and Jupiter will stand for “wisdom” and “generosity”.
But the Sun is the Sun and Jupiter is Jupiter, whichever way they contact any other planet. The meaning of the Sun involves all mentioned above (ego, pride, spirit, creativity) and much more. The same is true for Jupiter – who, by the way, also signifies popular culture and traditional beliefs.
If the chart as a whole supports it, someone with Sun in a soft aspect with Jupiter can of course be a generous, optimistic person. A great host, child, sibling, parent, friend, student and teacher. Or a creative spirit. Or they may always look at the greater perspective in every situation. But/And they can equally be someone who simply fits in perfectly: who feels, thinks and acts just the way they are expected to. A hundred percent mainstream. Why question the system if it serves them well?
And when it comes to a hard aspect between Sun and Jupiter: yes, this could be someone irresponsible, lazy and arrogant – if one or both planets are disposed that way. In another horoscope, however, it might simply show that the person won’t fit in – maybe they hold unconventional or unpopular views, they identify with a minority, and/or spiritually speaking they are off the beaten track, and so on.
Aspects never stand alone. They are always part of a network: the map as a whole. Even in extreme cases, in the charts of serial killers, for example, it is not the hard aspects in themselves that raise red flags. It’s the specific combination of hard aspects (tension) and soft aspects (how it is channeled) that we should pay attention to.
We follow the energy and see how it circulates in the chart. Without looking at planets’ signs, house placement and their role in the fabric of aspects, what can we say about the meaning of Sun square Jupiter?*
* Some natives with Sun square Jupiter: Nicolaus Copernicus, Napoléon I Bonaparte, Friedrich Hölderlin, Oscar Wilde, Albert Schweitzer, Martin Heidegger, Louis Althusser, Andy Warhol, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Gwyneth Paltrow