Skip to the content

Sagittarius New Moon: Reluctant Pilgrim

love-leading-pilgrimMy husband hails from faraway New Zealand, and we often daydream about moving there. Yet despite the promise of living in a beautiful place with truly outstanding dairy products, and possibly hobbits, we’ve never managed to make the move. Over the past twenty-five years, the U.S. has become his home. And as for me—well, I have a somewhat tortured history when it comes to making big moves.

I was born in rural, southern Indiana, a place that probably has never been described as exotic. I never imagined a larger world until the summer I turned six, when we visited relatives in the dizzying, palm-dotted mecca of Los Angeles. Everything was so big, flashy, and loud! I had a good time that summer, but I wasn’t sad to return home to our familiar corner of the planet. For me, then as now, there was no place like home.

Four years later, when my mother decided we should move to Los Angeles permanently, I dug in my heels. I didn’t want to leave my home, my family and friends, my school, the wheat field where I used to lie on my back for hours and look up at the big, open sky. Suddenly Los Angeles, a mildly amusing vacation destination, seemed threateningly foreign, a blinding maze of asphalt, freeways, and taco stands.

Well, I was only ten years old, so I lost that battle. I’ve lived in southern California for most of my life now, and it’s hard to imagine living anywhere else. I would miss the enchiladas, just for a start. I’ve come a long way from the days on the farm. I’ve traveled to foreign lands and married a man from a country which, a few years before our wedding, I would have been unable to locate on a map. I eventually became the first in my family to graduate from college, a sort of foreign country for the mind.

But I’ve never completely outgrown the Indiana farm girl parochialism. I’m still a little wary of unfamiliar food. I’m unenthusiastic when my TV channel-surfing husband pauses on a Chinese film with subtitles. And I am ashamed to confess that, on occasion, I have made uncharitable assumptions about other people based solely on the fact that they are different from me.

The irony is that Sagittarius, the sign of the pilgrim—the traveler to other lands—was rising in the east at the moment of my birth, and a cluster of planets were hovering in the part of the sky we call the ninth house, the house of Long Journeys Over Water. I came into the world, it seems, to sojourn, and to sample the world’s cultural delights.

But I am a reluctant pilgrim, born with many planets in signs that are fixed by nature, intractable, bent on holding onto and mastering the known instead of expanding into the unfamiliar. A creature of habit, I would be happy to spend every day in the same place, with the same people, doing the same things; but the world has had other plans for me, periodically placing me on a collision course with upheaval and the unfamiliar.

I suppose, like many of us in the United States, I can trace my uneasy relationship with foreignness to my Puritan ancestors. These pilgrims came to the New World in search of religious freedom, yet it took them less than a century to begin burning people at the stake for practicing different religions. Confronted with a native people who were so different, they wasted little time in waging war with them. Such were the consequences of Puritan pilgrims refusing to adapt to their new land, determined to remake the New World in their image.

But while the chart most popularly used for the United States has the Sun in clannish, protectionist Cancer, it also has Sagittarius rising. As a people, we are wary of the unfamiliar, but with Sagittarius leading the way we must continually grapple with it. The uneasy combination of our immigrant tradition and a strong ethnocentric streak propels us toward perpetual cultural improvisation. It is to our credit that many of us, Puritan ancestry notwithstanding, acknowledge the wisdom of accepting different cultures on their own terms and learning what we can from them. The great strength of Sagittarius is its flexibility in the face of the unfamiliar. But as the recent election proved, bigotry has not disappeared, and even many who are not bigots can be persuaded to vote for one. As Saturn in Sagittarius moves through the first house of our nation’s chart over the coming eighteen months, we will reap the consequences of those decisions. I believe history will judge us for them.

Sagittarius, at its best, reveres the truth. And this Sagittarius New Moon aspects both Saturn and Neptune, a reminder that embracing the unfamiliar requires intellectual honesty, and acknowledging the limitations of one’s personal reality. Sagittarius is the emperor with no clothes, who is so enlightened that he laughs at the absurdity of his nakedness instead of denying it. It is the pilgrim and the native, sharing a meal at the harvest table despite having not the slightest idea how to talk to one another. It is the Indiana farm girl who constantly evaluates how much to adapt and yield, and when it’s essential to dig in her heels.

Someday, we may or may not sell our house, pack up our cats, and head for a new life in the South Pacific. Part of me is excited at the prospect. But despite experience, age, and hindsight, I’m still a reluctant pilgrim. I might look back in the years to come and point to this as the moment when I should have done everything in my power to leave, but it’s just as likely that this is still exactly where I need to be. In the dark of the New Moon, the jury is still out. For now, I’ll just enjoy the enchiladas, and let the hobbits take care of themselves.

© 2011, 2016 April Elliott Kent

















22 comments to " Sagittarius New Moon: Reluctant Pilgrim "

  • Libra rising

    April, I love your honesty! We all have one foot stuck in familiar iterritory. But ultimately, our feet will follow our thoughts.

  • What an extreme privilege it is to journey through your word. Mmmm I wonder if shooting in the dark will help anything, could taking risks and misjudgements be heightened? All part of these uncharted waters I suppose! Bless me and you, we are ready! I’ve been pittering and pattering with reluctance about security and last night just poured cedarwood essential oil on my feet and meditated. Which eventually led to sleeping lol I do feel exhausted and having a jovial surge of motivation to help me focus and hash out a battle plan tickles me! Here’s to enchiladas and palm trees!

  • Rachel

    Come! Come! You are so welcome 🙂
    But I completely understand your reluctance, with my Taurus moon. I would find it very difficult to move to California from NZ.

    • I just love it there, Rachel. And I’m not saying it wouldn’t be hard to leave my home, but it would also be a thrilling adventure. Honestly, though, our elderly/invalid cats are the major sticking point. They really couldn’t make the trip, and with their health issues (one gets shots twice a day) we can’t expect anyone to take them on. Thanks for the warm welcome, though! 😀

  • Sherry

    Taking a little trip back and forth in time with you in the reading of this was a journey in and of itself. Well played Miss April.

  • Amanda

    Thank you, April. I too love your honesty and know how you feel. Had a similar pilgrimage myself and ended up in Australia after 16 years in NZ! Always special and visit as much as I can. Enjoy your furbubs, they’re very special also 🙃

  • Loved this essay, April ! I can very much empathise, with my whole horoscope hung around a Jupiter/Saturn square…but we would amount to very little, without the paradoxes of contradiction to drive us on…

  • Susan

    I really look forward to reading several of the astrology blogs, but lately I am very disappointed in how nasty the tone is when it comes to politics. I just feel like the attitude that everyone who doesn’t agree with what some people think they suddenly are bigots, or racists, or any other name they can think of. This thinking seems to be dividing everyone more and more and I just don’t think this is a good thing for any of us.

    • I agree. That’s why I don’t want my country governed by someone who calls Mexicans rapists or threatens to deport Muslims, and whose rallies are gathering places for people who give Nazi salutes and wear t-shirts that call his opponent a c*nt. These are the comments of bigots, misogynists, and racists. I’m not going to look the other way, turn the other cheek, or play nice when it comes to this kind of thing.

  • love this! so beautifully written. As a sagittarian, I learned so much about myself and my connection to this country and its natal chart.

  • Meg

    I enjoyed reading this post April. It’s interesting times across the world right now.

  • Pamela

    This is so insightful, April. I have very similar planetary placements (8/1/61), and I can completely relate to the “reluctant pilgrim” idea. I have lived my entire life in the town of my birth, and am somewhat embarrassed about my reluctance/inability to be the world explorer my ninth-house planets and Sag. ascendant seem to demand. I have traveled great distances emotionally and intellectually from my origins, however. I also prefer the tried and familiar to the new and unfamiliar, keeping my feet planted here but exploring new things through reading, writing and art. I still hope to see as much of the world as I can.

  • Catherine

    Hi April,

    I want to thank you for the explanation of the Saturn/Neptune situation. Have had to go by intuition for so long and wait for the Saturn to kick in.

    I am a little disheartened at the Trump comments. Everyone has the ability to change and while he went through the year and half, I saw huge transformations in him. At times I was nervous he was not going to even survive but then he proved while it is tough going, he made it. This situation will be the proof is in the pudding.

    As with Pepsi and Kellogg’s who no longer want Trump supporters to buy their products, I will assume from your comments you feel the same way.
    This was the first election I voted in and I am 57yrs old. This was the first time I saw someone who was more concerned about something outside himself. He was a business man, he had no idea how bad the real world had become.

    Thank you for the years of very encouraging posts when I needed kind words and smoother transitions.

    • Thank you for your reasonable response, Catherine. I do not share your optimism, and your assessment of the president elect is diametrically opposed to my own; but I suppose it’s a reflection of the Saturn/Neptune square that reasonable people can look at a situation and see it so completely differently. I am happy to have someone like you as a reader, but as much as I strive to keep politics out of my posts, I don’t feel it’s wise to be silent when I feel there is legitimate danger, and I won’t censor my comments when I feel it appropriate to speak out. I imagine the same is true of anyone here whose comments dishearten you. Perhaps, like me, they are people who love their country and are horrified and authentically frightened by what they are seeing. As for buying my products, I have on occasion blocked people from purchasing from my site, but that has been based on bad experiences with them as a customer and not their politics. If you prefer not to patronize me based on mine, that is of course up to you. Thank you for your comment and for reading my work.

  • Jo

    Very brave, April.

  • Inez

    Thank you April. So thoughtful.

  • Johnny

    Interesting read. When you guys get eventually get to NZ, I can picture you telling the hobbits something like, “An astrologer is neither late nor early, they are always on time!” XD

Leave a Comment