Satirists, like all professions, draw all signs of the zodiac who then put their particular energy into the profession.
Some professions, like medical doctors, evoke images that come to us through myth, history and television. Do those becoming doctors all have the same motivation? Some may be drawn to problem solving; some to helping others; some to achievement; some to pleasing a parent or society. There are many reasons people become doctors.
While reading an article about satirist Jonathan Swift, I noticed Swift’s birthday (November 30) was the same as my personal favorite satirist Mark Twain.
Looking for a modern satirist born around that time I found the famous Jon Stewart, born November 28.
What’s the quality that these early-degree Sagittarians bring to satire? Why are they interested in satire?
Sagittarius has a disease that the pharmaceutical industry has not solved. It’s called “foot-in-the-mouth” disease.
Foot-in-the-mouth’s main characteristic is that you often say what you think BEFORE you consider the impact to others of what you are saying. (How you do it any other way is a bit of a mystery to me).
The term “foot in the mouth” is a bit interesting. According to this site, the term originated from putting your “foot in it,” “it” being something foul. The first recorded use was in 1770s referring to an Irish politician known for making verbal gaffes.
Some articles say it came from “hoof and mouth” disease, but don’t indicate how it transformed into a verbal gaffe.
From an astrological (and physiological) perspective, the mouth is at the top of your body, the foot at the bottom. Aries rules the head (and controls the mouth, if you can call it control), while Pisces rules the feet.
Aries is impulsive (and also known to have foot-in-the-mouth disease) while Pisces is more empathetic and receptive. Suggesting your foot should stay away from your mouth suggests Pisces perception doesn’t belong with Aries verbal projection. Pisces is nothing if not perceptive of its emotional surroundings.
Sagittarius, I believe, is a bit more prone to this disease because of its combination of Aries and Pisces sympathies. Like Aries, it is a fire sign so expressive and bold. Like Pisces, it is interesting in finding meaning; the fire in Sagittarius is interested in promoting this meaning to other people.
Sagittarius is using Aries to promote Pisces. And sometimes the foot gets stuck in the mouth. But Sagittarius still meant it (because it’s true).
Of the three satirists noted in this blog, I’m most familiar with 19th century American satirist Mark Twain. My own perception of Twain is that his satire is trying to both understand and explain the contradictions in the world around him. Sagittarius seeks meaning and the world has this habit of teaching you one thing and doing another.
Take Letters from Earth, where Twain explores the many contradictions of man’s beliefs. My favorite is the concept of heaven:
First of all, I recall to your attention the extraordinary fact with which I began. To wit, that the human being, like the immortals, naturally places sexual intercourse far and away above all other joys — yet he has left it out of his heaven! The very thought of it excites him; opportunity sets him wild; in this state he will risk life, reputation, everything — even his queer heaven itself — to make good that opportunity and ride it to the overwhelming climax. From youth to middle age all men and all women prize copulation above all other pleasures combined, yet it is actually as I have said: it is not in their heaven; prayer takes its place.
In my hometown of Cleveland, we are quite aware of contradictions between what we enjoy on earth and what we plan to enjoy in heaven which is why we sing:
“In heaven there is no beer,
that’s why we drink it here.”
We drink beer when we sing it.
While Twain has been criticized for making certain races look bad through the traits of his characters, Twain, for me, leaves no one out of his satire (Sagittarius – foot in the mouth – remember?). Twain even takes on Adam and Eve. Here’s an excerpt from Adam’s Diary:
MONDAY.–This new creature with the long hair is a good deal in the way. It is always hanging around and following me about. I don’t like this; I am not used to company. I wish it would stay with the other animals…. Cloudy today, wind in the east; think we shall have rain…. WE? Where did I get that word– the new creature uses it.
A future Sunday:
SUNDAY.–Pulled through. This day is getting to be more and more trying. It was selected and set apart last November as a day of rest. I had already six of them per week before. This morning found the new creature trying to clod apples out of that forbidden tree.
Who would have the guts to write the diaries of Adam and Eve but a Sagittarius?
Another Sagittarian trait Twain had in abundance was the love of travel. Because Sagittarius searches for meaning, it needs the perspective of other people, other places – the foreign.
While I’m not as familiar with 18th century Irish satirist Jonathan Swift, I did discover that he’s the author of a satire of which I am a bit familiar, A Modest Proposal.
In A Modest Proposal, Swift has a suggestion to solve the social ills of poverty, unplanned children and overpopulation – eat children:
I have been assured by a very knowing American of my acquaintance in London, that a young healthy child well nursed is at a year old a most delicious, nourishing, and wholesome food, whether stewed, roasted, baked, or boiled; and I make no doubt that it will equally serve in a fricassee or a ragout.
I don’t recall my 12th grade English teacher’s interpretation of this work, but its over-the-top satire seems to be calling awareness to solve social problems. Swift was clearly bothered by the unsolved poverty around him.
In A Satirical Elegy for a deceased person of importance, Swift is clear that the gains of this world mean nothing in the face of death.
His Grace! impossible! what, dead!
Of old age too, and in his bed!
And could that mighty warrior fall,
And so inglorious, after all?
Well, since he’s gone, no matter how,
The last loud trump must wake him now;
And, trust me, as the noise grows stronger,
He’d wish to sleep a little longer.
And could he be indeed so old
As by the newspapers we’re told?
Threescore, I think, is pretty high;
‘Twas time in conscience he should die!
This world he cumber’d long enough;
He burnt his candle to the snuff;
And that’s the reason, some folks think,
He left behind so great a stink.
Behold his funeral appears,
Nor widows’ sighs, nor orphans’ tears,
Wont at such times each heart to pierce,
Attend the progress of his hearse.
But what of that? his friends may say,
He had those honours in his day.
True to his profit and his pride,
He made them weep before he died.
Come hither, all ye empty things!
Ye bubbles rais’d by breath of kings!
Who float upon the tide of state;
Come hither, and behold your fate!
Let pride be taught by this rebuke,
How very mean a thing’s a duke;
From all his ill-got honours flung,
Turn’d to that dirt from whence he sprung.
While I’ve never read Gulliver’s Travels, I learned a lot from the online Cliff Notes (I have a strange sense of high school guilt but wish there was an Internet when I was in high school!). In the Cliff Notes we read of Swift:
His life was one of continual disappointment, and satire was his complaint and his defense — against his enemies and against humankind. People, he believed, were generally ridiculous and petty, greedy and proud; they were blind to the “ideal of the mean.” This ideal of the mean was present in one of Swift’s first major satires, The Battle of the Books (1697). There, Swift took the side of the Ancients, but he showed their views to be ultimately as distorted as those of their adversaries, the Moderns. In Gulliver’s last adventure, Swift again pointed to the ideal of the mean by positioning Gulliver between symbols of sterile reason and symbols of gross sensuality. To Swift, Man is a mixture of sense and nonsense; he had accomplished much but had fallen far short of what he could have been and what he could have done.
Man as a mixture of sense and nonsense. I think Mark Twain could have related to that. As could our modern satirist –
If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you know this writer doesn’t pay for television so doesn’t get to see much Jon Stewart, a contemporary satirist known for satirical news (what other kind of news is there today?).
Searching for Stewart online, I found I can stream his shows (thank you Jon!). Watching the September 15, 2014 edition where he explores the current American initiative to fight in the Middle East, I see the Twainian and Swiftian frustration with human contradiction and rationalization.
Stewart explores the changing acronyms for a group of people we’re proposing to eliminate (ISIS? ISL? What changed here in a week?), the reluctance of authorities to call a war a war and the changing political opinions when your political opponents actually do what you want.
According to Astrotheme, Stewart has both sun and moon in Sagittarius, as well as the planet Mercury. Stewart has Uranus and Pluto in Virgo with some wide squares to this Sagittarian energy. Pluto square suggests compulsion, in this case to call out the disconnects between what people say and what they do.
Sagittarius sun and moon is both conscious and unconscious quest for meaning. Because of this drive, Sagittarius needs experience and will try things others may turn away from. I’m not referring to “adventure tourism” where you jump off a cliff for no reason (to experience heightened physical sensation and feel alive), but the need to experience others’ realities by trying on their clothes, eating their food, experimenting with their lifestyle, taking their hallucinogens.
Moon in Sagittarius finds comfort in heightened sensation so often is associated with a partying nature but can also be focused on more spiritual disciplines which take you past the humdrum contradictions of life on earth.
Transiting Saturn will enter Sagittarius in late December 2014 for a 2.5 year journey through the sign. As Stewart has three planets in Sagittarius squaring two others (Uranus and Pluto) in his chart, he will go through many changes in the next two years.
Saturnian change involves contraction, discipline, responsibility and authority – none of which is common to the sign of Sagittarius. Stewart may have to take on responsibility of a kind he’s not used to handling – the kind that’s a bit boring and may involve drudgery.
Ask a Sagittarius
A professor from the University of Delaware found with a small sample of students that liked satirical news that:
Such viewers exhibit high “need for cognition,” a psychological term used to describe people who engage in and enjoy arguments, ideas and the analysis of problems and their solutions.
The early-degree Sagittarians (born late November) are the purest of the Sagittarian energy and some of the most open to toss around your crazy questions, radical notions, random connections or bizarre ideas.
Remember that when you “Ask a Sagittarius,” you may receive a response that points out that you love sex in this world, but you have left it out of your future, perfect world.