Sagittarius in ancient periods of time was represented as a centaur rather than as a human sign which over time became the symbol of the archer upon which the human and horse are separated. The human is the soul and the horse the personality. Our archer begins to feel the call of the soul which allows the human to see that there exists something besides and beyond his/her animal nature. Personal ambition is to be transformed into spiritual aspirations. Today the symbol used to represent Sagittarius is the arrow with a small section of the bow. The horse and rider are no longer observed because they are no longer necessary. Only the arrow remains whereby humanity is now free to follow the arrow that he/she has fired. This is the aspirant who abandons that which binds or restrains thus the personality, materiality, ties, desires, and personal ambitions are no longer necessary.
Three planetary rulers guard Sagittarius to include Jupiter at the level of personality, Earth at the level of soul, and Mars at the level of hierarchy. Jupiter’s expansive nature invites us to expand on all levels, but most importantly to expand our minds. Jupiter’s role is to solely create the conditions which guide us from small mindedness to that of higher mind. Jupiter resonates with the highest truths of one’s spiritual nature. Earth engages us in life as a spiritual path we must walk helping us find existential meaning in the hopes that we do not become nihilists. Through the expansion of our boundaries, our perspectives, and our knowledge of life Earth helps us find a Universal system from which to live by Universal laws and principles. Mars imbues us with a one-pointed focused aspiration focusing the concrete mind to marshal all available knowledge for the achievement of a desired objective. This three-way combination spurs us onward in a quest for knowledge. The expression of thought through word will be direct and to the point where the mind becomes tenacious in its purposeful pursuit of the goal it has undertaken.
Sagittarius as a Fire sign is related to the fire of the spiritual soul, the fire of mind, and the fire which transforms and purifies. The soul as fire is symbolic of our individual potential to synthesize and meld ourselves into the great Cosmic Fire. This soul is a spark of the fire of the mind, the power of consciousness, and the guarantee that humanity as a soul is a thinker, creator, and will fulfill their destiny. In Sagittarius the aspirant has two things to discover within; the power to make progress upon the path and the ability to create in the higher mind via spirituality. The disciple learns to stop identifying with the personality and begins identifying with their spiritual soul. This enables opportunity for the development of one-pointed focus which incorporates knowledge infused steps that work to support the attainment of greater collective goals. The mantra for Sagittarius is I see the goal, I reach the goal, and then I see another.
From within esoteric Judaism and Christianity we see this best in the month of Kislev. The month of Kislev is taken via the Hebrew word kesel which means security or trust. Two states of trust operate within this month. One which is active and the other which is passive and this further correlates to the human body via the right and left kidneys. It symbolizes bringing the innermost mysteries into one’s daily life where they can be integrated into the world. The letter for the month of Kislev is Samech representing support. Our experiences of feeling supported corresponds to the trust and confidence that others as well as the Divine place in us. Samech is shaped like a circle representing the omnipresence of God/Goddess within the Universe. This “great circle” is symbolic of infinite light reflected through infinite love.
In Kabbalah Kislev is not just the bow of the archer, but a rainbow. It depicts the covenant made between Divinity and creation never to destroy the world again as a sign of peace which pervades the end of the previous month of Cheshvan in the sign of Scorpio. This is an image of two bows; the archer’s bow with the rainbow as two half circles when joined together form the shape of the circular letter Samech. The human body in Kabbalah alludes to the kidneys as the seat of victory and acknowledgment whose inner wisdom is active and passive trust. The month of Kislev also corresponds to sleep which the quality fully depends on the tranquility and restfulness which can only be found in trust and security of the Divine and the Universe. The sense of sleep suggests something many ascribe to achieve as the word sense is a cognate of “quickness” to imply anyone who enjoys or who has a well developed sense of sleep has the ability to sleep quickly. Kabbalah refers to the tzadikim as those who require few hours of sleep each day. The sense of sleep in Kislev additionally has been called the month of dreams as one who possesses complete trust in the Universe dreams the future into manifestation positively.
The title of this post is in reference to Kyudo or the Japanese art of archery. As a sport archery is in decline due to the cost of equipment in Japan as well as unlike Western archery Kyudo requires a larger area to practice and see the arrows fly. Kyudo means “way of the bow” and it began as an ancient martial art which was unique with its own philosophy, traditions, and tools. Beginning in the Yayoi period from hunting scenes depicting longbows Kyudo has been used ceremonially and for combat. The Japanese Imperial court practiced Kyudo and it was rooted within Shinto religion incorporating elements of Zen Buddhism. This form of meditation requires no specific religion.
Feudal Japan era saw Kyudo used during battles in the warrior and samurai class who were the only ones allowed to use weapons. These warriors wore armor and shot from horseback. The techniques include drawing the string with the right hand while holding the bow in the left hand, being in the adzuchi (lower position) facing the kamiza (higher position) when shooting, drawing the bow all the way to behind the ear, maintaining posture with a straight back and never lowering one’s head, spacing the feet the same width apart as the yatsuka (draw) which is half one’s body weight at a 60 degree angle forming a “V” shape, keeping the bow at forehead level when drawing and then lowered to mouth level, and putting the feet to the line from where the arrows are shot (the left side of the archer’s body should face the target). The average arrow can shoot anywhere from 150-200 meters which is 490-650 feet dependent on one’s expertise and the weight of the arrow shot.
Kyudo as a spiritual practice and meditation is the pursuit of truth, goodness, and beauty. To shoot right minded and purely with no deception, hit the middle of the target, and to have the elements of right attitude, movement, and technique united in perfect harmony. Every shot fired is your attempt to get closer to the truth. The ethical goodness of respect, empathy, and pacifism are displayed by showing genuine conduct in all circumstances. If you can not keep your self command and elegance during instances of pressure and conflict you won’t accomplish this step. Beauty is not just aesthetics, but rather should boost one’s life and invigorate their spirit. Western archery solely focuses on hitting the target while Japanese archery is focused on mindfulness and spirit when shooting. Kyudo is a meditative Zen exercise. I chose this topic also to elucidate the differences in the Judaeo Christian concept of sin as “missing the mark” which is an archery term and that of Eastern faiths for there is more to learn if one is open to studying other esoteric principals outside of their ingrained or codified beliefs handed down unquestionably. I think this builds best on what my recent blog posts have been hinting at.