Updated: Nov 23, 2020
Representations of Sagittarius in popular media might make the Temperance card seem an unlikely pairing for the “freewheeling” (how many time have we heard that one) sign of the centaur. However, while there is an element of pleasure-seeking nihilism in the mythology that gives rise to what Sagittarius is in the Hellenistic astrology tradition, at the same time, Sagittarius is deeply philosophical and even melancholic sign. It’s not so difficult to recognize that these are two sides of the same coin.
Always in search of meaning, Sagittarius rarely settles on one practice, belief system, or ideology for long—or if it does, it is without doubt a non-monogamous commitment.
Ruled by Jupiter, the sign seeks truth and pleasure equally, often going to great lengths to procure both. This sign knows deep in its bones that nothing is permanent and that the sources of meaning and joy that we encounter through or life will inevitably change. The constant search can be exhausting, and when Sagittarius placements forsake rest for adventure, they suffer from stagnation.
Classically, one of Sagittarius’ main flaws is becoming dogmatic in sharing their views and visions. Dogma arises when it becomes impossible to endure the melancholy, and sometimes the terror, of not knowing. Dogma is a coping mechanism.
It’s an avoidable one, however. My main astrology teacher shared that of the fire signs, Sagittarius is the blue fire that exists at the tip of the flame. He meant this to signify the depressive or melancholic nature of the sign, and I also think this metaphor serves to illustrate the point about constant change. Sagittarius is the fire that is on the verge of not being fire anymore, on the verge of becoming smoke. Finding pleasure, solace, and contentment in the unending, destination-less process of becoming helps Sagittarius avoid the illusory comfort of jumping to conclusions and sticking with them.
This is the work of the Temperance card. The Rider-Waite deck features an angel trying to perfectly balance the amount of water in two cups: an infinite task. Temperance invites us to, and assists us in, cultivating patience and recognizing that we will never find the answers we seek. Only from this certainty can Sagittarius placements allow themselves to rest.