In this post, I will explain some of the general meanings of Jupiter in the Natal Chart, followed by posts on Jupiter Signs, Houses, and Aspects. Please note that these are baseline interpretations which will gain additional implications according to other factors present in the chart.
Jupiter as Expansion and Multiplication
It is a relatively-known fact among astrology enthusiasts that Jupiter “expands” and “multiplies” whatever it touches. This can apply to the aspects Jupiter makes to other natal planets, or to the aspects it makes during transits. Jupiter, therefore, acts like a “yeast” in many cases: it adds, spreads or puffs up the function or meaning of the planets it is in dialogue with. The positive concepts of “abundance” and “fertility” are thus associated with Jupiter: in ancient astrology, material wealth, luck, virility, and fertility, in general, used to be decided by evaluating the condition of Jupiter in the natal chart.
The core Jupiterian principles of “expansion” and “multiplication”, however, may also be interpreted negatively if these concepts are observed in a medical context: Obesity (i.e. “expansion” of the body), cancerous growth (i.e. excessive multiplication of cells) and enlarged organs may (not always) correspond to a challenged Jupiter, either in the natal chart or during transits.
Jupiter as Capacity for Faith
As our cognitive abilities are symbolized by Mercury in the chart, the opposite function, faith, is symbolized by Jupiter. Therefore, when we believe without the necessity for empirical evidence, we are operating from our Jupiterian core.
The square relationship between Jupiter’s Sign, Sagittarius, and Mercury’s Signs, Virgo and Gemini, can be easily understood by understanding the concept of “faith”. “Faith” is precisely our capacity to go “beyond” the “knowledge” which can be obtained by dissection and analysis (i.e. Virgo) or the “information” which can be gathered by categorization and labeling (i.e. Gemini).
In its positive form, the concept of “faith” brings forth “hope” and “optimism”. Where our mental limits and calculated logic cannot save us, the grace of God can. As Jupiter used to be the ancient co-ruler of the Neptunian Sign, Pisces, it can also symbolize our capacity to “let go and let God”. However, there is a difference between Jupiter and Neptune in their style of surrender: Jupiter encourages surrender to the “wisdom” of God, whereas Neptune encourages surrender to the “love” of God. When we have to stop thinking or looking for evidence and just accept something by a “leap of faith”, we are summoning our Jupiter. On the other hand, when we understand that we cannot know anything at all* and that the highest form of “wisdom” we can ever hope to achieve is “love”, we are being blessed by the Neptunian principle.
In its negative form, Jupiter can symbolize “dogmatism”, i.e. an illusion that one’s belief system is the best, and one has a Godly mission to spread it in the world or impose it on others. Christopher Columbus would be an apt Jupiterian example (regardless of his natal chart, as his date of birth is speculative): as an explorer, he was a Jupiterian figure with a strong desire to go “beyond” the known world, hence he sailed towards the unknown horizons despite all odds. Apropos to Jupiter’s symbolization, he traveled for months on the sea, keeping the faith that he would finally arrive at the destination, while almost all of his crew had lost hope. In this sense, Jupiter was functioning at its best: providing vision, optimism, and faith, where pure logic could not do so.
Yet, Jupiter also had a negative edge in the case of Columbus: disregarding all the possible political and financial agendas he could have, one may think of one Jupiterian feature specifically operating in his character: having full faith in his own version of God and his own religion, Christianity. He thus organized forced baptisms to “save” the souls of the “Godless” natives whose lands he had just discovered. Therefore, as evident from this story and many other similar stories, we know that faith can be easily taken to an extreme. A challenged and un-integrated Jupiter in the natal chart can, indeed, symbolize a degree of ideological dogmatism and/or religious extremism.
* As the Persian polymath and astronomer, Avicenna stated many centuries ago: “The height of my knowledge was to understand that I knew absolutely nothing.” Along the same lines, the French writer and philosopher Georges Bataille said, “Non-knowledge attained, absolute knowledge is no longer anything but one knowledge among others.”
Jupiter as Capacity for Humor
As a mythological figure, Jupiter had an inclination towards adventure, but also fun and games (notice the natural trine which exists between Sagittarius and Leo). Jupiter’s placement in the birth chart, therefore, can signal the type of humor we enjoy or we tend to produce. For example, Jupiter in Air Signs tends to enjoy verbal humor, puns or language games, whereas an earthy Jupiter may find pantomime or physical comedy more enjoyable. Charlie Chaplin, for example, had his natal Jupiter in the Earth Sign of Capricorn, and he indeed perfected the art of humorous expression by relying on his body and using no words. Also, people with Jupiter in Earth Signs seem to have a higher chance of turning their humorous flair into a “career”, in order to give it a practical and tangible expression.
Jupiter as Need for Meaning
Religion and Philosophy have often been understood as Jupiterian themes: After completing the psychological resurrection and spiritual mutation represented by Scorpio and the Eight House comes a need to make sense of it all, represented by Sagittarius and the Ninth House. Religion is one way of making sense of our human experience, and philosophy is another. As the Austrian psychiatrist and existential psychotherapist, Viktor E Frankl once said,
“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
At times, the only manner of coping with a traumatic event is to give meaning to it. A comfortable Jupiter in the natal chart can symbolize our inner tendency to discover this meaning and therefore go beyond the trauma. On the other hand, an uncomfortable natal Jupiter may symbolize our initial hesitation or lack of impetus regarding a search for meaning in general. In this case, we may become too cynical or too rigid when it comes to interpreting the traumatic events of our life. We may unconsciously deprive ourselves of the “relief” which alternative interpretations can provide for us, therefore we may stay “stuck” in the Scorpionic stage without ever passing into the less gloomy Sagittarian experience.
Jupiter as Capacity to Understand the Foreign / to See the Bigger Picture
As Jupiter has to do with moving “beyond” ourselves and opening to new horizons, it may also show our tolerance (or lack thereof) for what is considered “foreign” or “unknown” in general. A comfortable Jupiter will incline us to feel comfortable with what exists outside of our cognitive or ideological horizons, such as foreign languages or cultures, foreign religions or ways of life, foreign foods or traditions, and in general whatever that is not instantly known to us. On the other hand, an uncomfortable Jupiter may signal that we are uncomfortable with challenging our own way of being and trying new things in life. We may develop a degree of xenophobia, or we may lack tolerance for those who hold a different belief system, ideology or lifestyle.
The ability to “see the bigger picture” is also connected with the symbolism of Jupiter in this sense, as it represents our capacity to see things in perspective, rather than sticking to an immediate, narrow point of view. Taken to an extreme, however, it may produce undesirable results: seeing the forest but not the trees. In other words, with an uncomfortable Jupiter in the birth chart, we may lose sight of the important, practical details which need to be taken care of, and only focus on a general perspective or theoretical frame of reference.
Jupiter as Tendency to Go Beyond / to “Cross Over”
As Jupiter symbolizes expansion and a tendency towards the “bigger picture” it may very well symbolize “over-doing” of any sort. This is key in interpreting the symbolization of Jupiter in the natal chart: if uncomfortable, it may hint at an inclination to bite off more than one can chew. This baseline indication may be further elaborated by the contacts between Jupiter and other planets in the natal chart: in aspect to Saturn, for example, the episodes of “over-doing” may be followed by episodes of “under-doing”, thus indicating an uneasy rhythm in the life of the individual.
Interestingly enough, as Jupiter stands for moving beyond the boundaries of time and space, it may also symbolize the process of physical death, i.e. to go beyond the boundaries of physical body and to merge into the bigger cosmos. In this sense, Jupiter transiting a sensitive point in the chart may at times (not always) symbolize the “shedding” of the physical existence and releasing one’s soul into the boundless time and space. Alternatively, it may simply symbolize developing faith in fate, i.e. to find meaning in whatever that will come to pass with regards to the symbology of that point or planet.
In the following posts, I will discuss Jupiter in Signs, Houses, and in Aspect to other planets in the natal chart.