Sagittarius – The Centauride Archeress – November 22 to December 21

“Sagittarius – sign of freedom and adventure –
is open and friendly
with lots of go and energy.
She loves to travel
and be out and about.
Loyal and honest,
she speaks her mind out loud.
The eternal optimist
she’s inspirational and passionate.
With a gentle heart, a perceptive mind,
she’s intuitive and knowing,
idealistic and kind.”
– by Silvestra Silvermoon

Goddess Symbolism

The Goddess-roots of Sagittarius are not so much symbolic as historic.

The word Sagittarius comes from the Latin “sagitta, -ae” which means “arrow” in English. “Sagittarius” is quite literally “the archer”. Presumably the archeress would have been “sagittaria”.

Nobody knows for sure what the etymological origins of “sagitta” are, but it is being speculated that the Latin word for arrow was adopted from the pre-Roman inhabitants of the Meditarranean region. In her book “God Herself – Feminine Roots of Astrology” Geraldine Thorsten suggests that the Latin word “sagitta” comes from the Greek “scythia” meaning “shooter, archer”. It was generally used to refer to a group of nomad archers who lived in Asia Minor just north east of Greece. The were known as the Scythians. The Greek word “scythia” comes from the proto-Indo-European root “skeud-” which means “to shoot, to throw”. Interestingly, the ancient Persions called the nomad archers of that region “Sakae” which sounds very much related to the Latin “sagitta”.

In other words, the origins of the Sign of Sagittarius, the half human half horse archer, lie in the stepps of Asia Minor encompassing the region from today’s Bulgaria all the way to modern Iran.

Although clearly Indo-European the Scythians are believed to have been matrilineal with a clan set-up similar to that of the ancient Celts. In fact some archeologists and anthropologists believe that the two groups may have been the same people or at least mingled freely with each other while the Celts dwelled in south east Europe.

The Scythians were a nomadic warrior race where men and women fought alongside each other. They travelled on horseback and were known to have been exceptional archers. Hence their name “Scynthians”, the Archers. In some regions as many as 20% of the warrior graves unearthed contain female remains in full armoury. It is likely that these women warriors on horseback are the origin of the Greek legend of the Amazons.

According to the Classical Greeks the Amazons were a women warrior race who lived in the Thracian mountains. We don’t know for sure who they were and where they came from.

Some scholars believe that the Thracian Amazons were descendants of the North African or Libyan Amazons and that it was they who brought their Goddess Artemis with them via Phoenicia. Medusa and Athena are also originally from Libya, which supports this theory, as does the interesting fact that today’s North African Berbers who are traditionally matrilineal still call themselves “Amazigh”, the free people.

Another school of thought is that the Amazons weren’t just women warriors, but were in fact the original Goddess-worshipping tribes who were forced out of their home territory into the moutainous regions of Thrace by the invading Hellenic Greeks. They defended themselves and their way of life fiercely with their excellent archery and horseriding skills. Although these Goddess-worshipping natives would have consisted of women and men, it is possible that either bands of priestesses took up arms against the invadors or the Greeks felt so shocked by fighting women on horseback that they passed on only the tales of the women warriors. [1]

A third theory is that the Amazons known to the Greeks were actually the Celts who once resided in Thrace (today’s Bulgaria). Also as said above it is possible that the Scythians and Celts were the same people. They certainly lived peacefully alongside each other and likely shared their ways of life if not intermarried. Celtic women like Boudicca have always been strong and fearless warriors. Celts also have a strong connection to horses. The Goddess of the Celts often manifests as a horse such as Gaulish Epona and Welch Riannon. Once the inhabitants of Britain became christianised the Goddess as mare who once brought with Her insight and prophesy became associated with bad dreams or “night-mares”.

Whatever the true origins of the Amazon warrior maidens, we can savely say that there’s generally no smoke without fire, and based on the vast tales and images of these fierce women archers on horseback recorded by the Greeks I think it’s fair to conclude that the Amazons are more than just a figment of someone’s imagination.

And it is these Amazon archeresses on horseback who form the basis for the Centaur or rather the female Centauride, the half woman half horse creature of Greek mythology.

Imagine never having seen a rider on a horse before and then encountering for the first time a human, in this case a woman, on bare horseback moving as one with the animal. You would think it was some mythical half woman, half horse creature. And this is exactly what the original imagery for Sagittarius was: a creature with an upper body of a woman and a lower body of a stallion.

The fusion of woman and stallion represents the perfect unity of human female wisdom and intuition with the stallion’s exquisite virility, power and strength. The woman rider unites with, channels and directs the wild freedom-loving and adventurous nature of the stallion. This symbiotic fusion captures the essence of Sagittarius perfectly and much better than the centaur, half man half mare, into which the patriarchal Greeks eventually turned the original woman-stallion hybrid.

The centaur whose upper body is that of a man and whose lower body that of a mare captures patriarchal thinking since the classical times perfectly. It symbolises the dominance over and control of female attributed intuition, represented by the mare, by the conscious rational male mind, here represented by the man. It also supports the notion of male dominance over woman. The principles behind this philosophy are typically Hellenic and it’s obvious the Romans gladly adopted this imagery into their own zodiac. Unfortunately for them, however, it simply doesn’t fit with the nature of Sagittarius.

The sign of Sagittarius is all about freedom, adventure, social justice, trust and of course equality. It’s certainly NOT about control and dominance. Although any horse – male or female – would have been suitable to represent the lower half, the stallion fits the picture just a little better, as mares are generally more docile and less likely to roam as widely as stallions do. Wild horses live in herds. A group of mares with their offspring will live together, graze together and look out for each other throughout their lives. They are lead by the alpha female or lead mare and allow a stallion to hang around the periphery of the herd to mate with and to help protect them from any dangers. The majority of stallions do not live with herds of mares, but roam the stepps in groups of males in the hope of finding mares to breed with. This “wanderlust” fits Sagittarius much better than the behaviour of mares who tend to just graze and take it easy.

As far as the sex of the rider is concerned, according to Greek philosophy a male rider implies a sharp intellect, rationality and logic that are used in order to control the intuitive wise animal nature of the horse. Again, this imagery doesn’t fit at all with what we know of Sagittarius who is very much a creature of intuition, sensitivity and responsiveness. Sagittarians refuse to be controlled and will not control others.

The image of the Centauride, the woman-stallion, on the other hand, captures perfectly the essence of Sagittarius: she uses her intuition and inner wisdom to become one with the wild and virile stallion, to guide him and lead him to pastures new. Together and with equal importance they form a unit, a companionable team, whose joining results in a being whose sum is bigger than its parts.

Sagittarius’ Traits and Characteristics

Sagittarians are freedom-loving and adventurous. They love sports, the outdoors and enjoy travelling. Sagittarians are active, energetic people with a positive and optimistic mindset. They are idealistic and inspirational to those around.

Sagittarians are forward-thinking and pro-active. They strongly believe in honour, equality and social justice and can often be found fighting for social change and a better life for all.

Sagittarians are loyal and trusted friends. They prefer long-term relationships to brief flings, but will not under any circumstances allow to be controlled or dominated by their partner or anybody else. They are faithful and loyal and expect to be trusted not to stray. To Sagittarians independence and personal freedom are paramount.

Sagittarians are youthful and fun-loving. Their mannerism is informal and friendly. Sagittarians are outgoing and social people. They are easy going, open-minded and generous.

Sagittarians are deeply intuitive and sensitive to those around. They have a natural inner wisdom that allows them to see beyond face value. They are often very spiritual.

In summary Sagittarian women (and men) are:

– optimistic
– positive
– forward-thinking
– goal-oriented
– determined
– idealistic
– inspirational
– inventive
– exciting
– charismatic
– influential

– active
– sporty
– ardorous
– physical
– energetic
– fast
– swift
– vigorous
– continuously moving
– always on the go
– able to multi-task
– eager

– responsive
– sensitive
– spiritual
– guiding
– intuitive
– wise
– able to sense beyond face value
– able to see the big picture
– shrewed

– adventurous
– very independent
– freedom-loving
– lovers of travel
– explorative
– nomadic
– outdoorsy
– lovers of vast spaces
– courageous
– experimental

– seeking change

– open
– outgoing
– social
– receptive
– soft hearted
– friendly

– animal lovers

– great believers in equality, trust, freedom and comradeship
– fighters for social justice
– fair
– open-minded
– tolerant
– flexible
– versatile
– broad

– candid
– frank
– honest

– noble
– loyal
– trusting
– sincere
– attached to loved ones
– generous
– expansive
– forgiving

– comic
– fun-loving
– informal
– youthful

– mimics
– linguistic
– articulate

Sagittarius is a mutable Fire sign that is ruled by Artemis, the Maiden of the Silver Bow.

Sagittarius is associated with purple, the colour of wisdom, and green, the colour of the outdoors.

Within the body Sagittarius is linked to the the hips and thighs.

Sagittarian qualities are most prominent when the Sun, the Moon or the Ascendant (Rising Sign) are in the sign of the Centauride Archeress.

NOTE

[1] This is most likely also the origin of Vampires who are said to live in the Caspian and Transylvanian mountains: I believe their story is based on the Goddess-worshipping people of that region who were forced out of their homes into the mountains and then had exaggerated and twisted tales spun about them by the Christian community.

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7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Raiza
    Sep 26, 2012 @ 18:55:44

    I am loving the new descriptions of the signs,but i really can Not wait for the descriptions of the planets in the signs,speacially about the Sex factors.

    Reply

    • Silvestra
      Sep 26, 2012 @ 19:32:23

      Hi Raiza, thanks for your comment! I’m afraid I won’t be doing any more posts on the planets other than the ones I’ve already done. The purpose of Goddess-Inspired Astrology is really just the re-discovery of the female-oriented origins of astrology. It was never meant to be an in-depth technical site. I think after Pisces I’ll take a little break from astrology (not forever but just for now) and do some tarot stuff, which is very interesting as well! 🙂

      Reply

  2. Raiza
    Sep 27, 2012 @ 08:38:21

    Well,i am also very interested in tarot.I keep coming.But,can you suggest then a site where i can found more about feminist astrology? like about familiy relation,partnership,work,etc?

    Reply

  3. wwomenwwarriors
    May 22, 2013 @ 19:16:08

    Good job! Sag sun, Pisces moon, Scorpio rising here 🙂 I am loving this Goddess version soooooooooo much more than the patriarchal reversals I read up on before. Suits me more as a Dianic Wiccan and feminist. Yeehaa! Thanks for writing this!

    Reply

  4. Linette
    Oct 26, 2016 @ 13:39:54

    Just had the great good luck to run across your blog, and I am enjoying the posts of the Goddesses and the Zodiac immensely. So well written, enlightening, and with beautiful accompanying images!

    Reply

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