Jupiter: friend or foe?


I guess you’re probably aware of the debate about Jupiter between Jason Miller and Gordon White. (If not, read Miller’s Financial Sorcery and White’s Chaos Protocols, then this, then this, then this.)

Basically, Gordon argues that, unless you are a king or super-elite, Jupiter is not your god, he’s the god of people who actively oppress you. You’re better off working with one of the many civilizing trickster figures who, in spite of their rather bizarre senses of humor, seem to generally like helping a brother or sister out (albeit for inscrutable reasons of their own).

Miller, on the other hand, says that the bad acts of human elites are not a reflection on the nature of the deity, or at most just one side of that deity. With deities we are working in the realm of myths and archetypes. Jupiter is the god of abstract principles of wealth, sovereignty, and lawful gain (though these can manifest materially), not of specific people, instances, or acts, and thus is the friend of anyone who wants to have these things in their life.

Now, I have not really worked with Jupiter magically so I have no experience on which to base an opinion, and the two sides of this argument both seem reasonable to me. (Never really been drawn to Jupiter that much. I just don’t like that much beard.) But pondering where I might tentatively stand on the issue is an interesting thought exercise.

I do know enough to understand that the Roman deities were/are not the same as the planets named for them, but the personae and planets are deeply intertwined astrologically and, I think, shed light on one another. Jupiter is both my chart ruler (ruler of my Ascendant) and solar dispositor (ruler of the sign my Sun is in), as well as the ruler of the house my Sun is in. Jupiter is also exalted in the sign of Cancer in my chart, disposes some other planets besides my Sun, rules another angle besides AC and conjoins a third, and is involved in a lot of other aspect patterns. So the point is the planet has a lot of juice in my horoscope and wins a lot of essential dignity points.

In contrast, Mercury conjoins my MC and opposes Jupiter. Now Mercury is in detriment in the two signs where Jupiter is in domain (Pisces and Sagittarius), which in mythic terms makes sense as Mercury’s antinomian trickster nature (though it is much less emphasized than that of the Greek Hermes) is at odds with Jupiter’s rulership of rulership. In Jupiter’s house, Mercury can’t Mercury. Or at least not as well. My natal Mercury is essentially weak, but gets a fair bit of accidental dignity by association with other planets, angles, and so on. He too rules two angles, for example. Jupiter and Mercury are even co-rulers of the decan my Sun resides in. The polarity between these two planets, particularly as they conjoin opposing angles and rule opposing angles, is an axis that seems to organize my whole chart, and my life activities and personal proclivities have followed suit. So Jason and Gordon’s debate almost seems to re-enact the dynamics that go on in my head all the time.

I am also reminded of when I was in grade school and my stepbrothers were big into Dungeons & Dragons. They were two-and-a-half years older than me which at that age is rather massive, and they’re identical twins. When they needed a third person to play D&D, I was drafted, mostly against my will. My characters were always killed off in short order so I finally refused to participate anymore. Anyway, I don’t remember a whole lot beyond that except that you would choose your character’s orientation toward law and order and good-vs.-evil, so you would be “lawful good”, for example, “or “neutral neutral” and so on. (Ever the goody-two-shoes, I liked to be lawful good.)

Astrological Jupiter is lawful good. One of the quintessential aspects of Astrojupiter that often seems to be missed is that his domain deals with society and social institutions. That’s why you get the otherwise rather motley assortment of things he rules: law, higher education, religion, general embiggening. If you look at these things from the perspective of ancient Roman culture, they’re all aspects of Romanitas. Religion (religio) for example was not about personal faith but about participation in public ritual. And in this case we’re not talking about law in the Saturnian sense, as a set of constraints, but as the sociopolitical organization of the state. They are things that defined “civilization”.

So it occurs to me that whether you view Jupiter as a friend or foe might have a lot to do with how much social legitimacy forms a part of your personal model of success and achievement. Jupiter is all about legitimacy because he basically decides what that is in the first place. Whereas to embrace a trickster-centric lifestyle, or magical practice, means you pretty much have to be the kind of person who likes to rebel, stick it to The Man, and take risks. Not everyone is up for that. I think left-hand-path/right-hand-path is an oversimplification, but perhaps this is a more complex and nuanced version of that dynamic. It’s not to say that you can’t achieve conventionally-recognized models of success working with a trickster, but you can’t do it while wearing the white hat. You have to be alright with a grey one. Of course if you’re doing magic, you’re already halfway there. (And I should probably note, I’m not trying to psychoanalyze Miller and his approach. Just speculating on general Jupiterness.)

Time for TMI (Tell More Information!). Growing up a disabled female, frequently isolated from society at large (due to being hospitalized so much), my mother clung to two convictions–an extremely romantic, Sir Walter Scott-esque notion of chivalry, heroism and gentility to which she aspired, and a firm conviction that to show any vulnerability is certain doom. Although she was an introvert my mom achieved great success in whatever social circle she found herself in–and they were many and varied over the course of her life, from coal miners to Spanish grandees–because she would go along to get along. She never inconvenienced anyone. She never took up space. She never showed fear or sadness or weakness or ugliness that might make other people feel uncomfortable. “Never make other people uncomfortable” and “never make work for other people” were a litany I heard countless times growing up.

That’s not a criticism, by the way. My mother did what she had to to survive in a world that is very hostile to people like her. She achieved her principal goal of having an interesting life, and was a kind, generous, and warm person. She was also undoubtedly the bravest person I have ever known, because she was one of the most fearful, and she still kept getting up every morning. Not only that, in spite of her disability and constant pain and being a single mother working, in one memorable period, two full-time jobs, she achieved things that plenty of less vulnerable people find too difficult. When the going got tough, my mom sucked it up and came out the other side without a hair out of place. (Remind me to tell you about the time she was offered a modeling career while saving the life of the call-girl her husband* had just abandoned her for.) I think she had an innate knack for glamour magic and would probably have really enjoyed and appreciated Deb Castellano’s work. What I’m saying is, no trickster-lovin’ feminist witch or magician could ask for a better role model; and yet the teachings that were impressed on me were to always color inside the lines and be scared. I was wrapped in a veritable cocoon of “ladies don’t…” My mom wanted to keep me safe and protect me from the kind of terrors she faced every day just going about her life, and to ensure that I wouldn’t have to work quite as hard as she did for a little social mobility.

My point with all this, is that you can probably understand how I am conflicted about where I stand on all this Jupiter business. I roll my own eyes at what a moralizing, people-pleasing goody-goody I can be. Yet I’ve always been too much of a weirdo and an idealist to ever get social approval and I am trying to embrace and grow into my inner Persephonic-Luciferian punk witch.

There is also a very real question here: In The Chaos Protocols and many times on his blog, Gordon has speculated that the planet’s super-elites not only have a different value system than we do, but probably even a different cosmology. If that is true, it stands to reason they would have different gods. Gods of things that are important to people with a vested interest in promoting inequality and hierarchy. That sounds more archonic than godly, I suppose, but we humans don’t really grok gods so why couldn’t such unpleasant ones exist? Why would we automatically trust the word of history about the nature of specific deities, knowing that history is always just one biased point of view?

I’m planning on exploring these questions a little more in my next post, from a different angle.

*not my dad


6 thoughts on “Jupiter: friend or foe?

  1. I didn’t read all those articles because they started to get too pop-occulture for my taste and I guess that’s why both those people seem to have a distorted view of Jupiter. As others have said, the planets are not the Gods. In the theosophically-influenced modern astrology (which I detest), the planets are god-archetypes of a very vague nature. The associations of the classical planets have suffered after being plundered so that Uranus, Neptune and Pluto could rule something of their own, the poor things. In the Pythagorian and Hermetic tradition, the planets are reflections of the Gods to our plane, not the Gods themselves. They behaved or at least could be linked to behavior similar to what the Gods where known for and that justified the connection. As reflections they operate as types or universal categories and what’s why elements and planetary influences explain the conditions of matter in alchemy, the character and fate of mortals, the magical nature of plants and so on. They’re part of the seirai, but not the beginnings of them.

    The role of Jupiter-Zeus is made clear through his connection to Saturn. Saturn-Kronos was devouring creation and bringing it to a standstill, just like Ouranos was doing earlier. Jupiter-Zeus stopped him and assumed power to ensure there would be balance and that creation could proceed uninhibited. In this way, it’s Saturn that’s the oppressive ruler and not Jupiter-Zeus, who rules justly. I’m starting to think that the trickster category in comparative mythology is overly simplistic because it tends to include deities that operate in entirely different ways, without really being tricksters, and mixes up both the benevolent and the malevolent. Both Prometheus and Eris can be said to be trickster deities but whereas Prometheus is seen as the benefactor and creator of humanity, Eris is very oppositional.

    Reading the description of the Chaos Protocols on Amazon, I’m also wondering if the percentage of Capricorn qualities in chaos magickians is at 90% or closer to 100%. Money, money, money, mind wars (wtf), antagonism, becoming invincible, hubristic talk of the Gods. Sounds kinda like LaVeyian satanism in an amoralistic chaotic framework.


    1. “The associations of the classical planets have suffered after being plundered so that Uranus, Neptune and Pluto could rule something of their own, the poor things.”

      Ha, true. I don’t have a problem with including Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto per se, but I think Saturn especially has been reduced to a sort of cardboard cutout of Greater Malefic without much appreciation for his nuances. (I can’t help saying “his” for some reason even though, to be clear, I am talking about the planet not the deity.) When it comes to malefics, I’d take Saturn any day over those other three bad news bears.

      Re: the trickster category, I agree it seems to be a catch-all for a lot of different qualities and beings that maybe should not be lumped together. I mean for example, how much, and what specifically, do Hermes, Lucifer, and Coyote have in common? I don’t know. Or as you say, Prometheus and Eris. I suppose one could even consider Jesus a trickster if so inclined (chasing the money lenders out of the temple, rabble rousing, consorting with women of low morals, breaking open the gates to hell…). Also, in a lot of the Native American trickster stories I’ve heard, the trickster often is a dupe of some other clever spirit, and is the butt of the joke rather than the joker. In those cases, it seems that the trickster character is more of a sort of sacred clown or sacred fool figure. Maybe “trickster” is just becoming a synonym for ambiguous? If so, I’d say it needs to be unpacked and explored.

      As for chaos magic, I’m not a chaos magician myself and obviously no expert. My view as an outsider is that yes, chaos magic and/or chaos magicians do have a rather Capricornian aura about them! Indeed, as a person with almost no earth at all in my horoscope, all the focus on pragmatism and concrete results is a bit beyond my comfort zone. Not that it’s bad, just inscrutable. I haven’t delved much into the early literature of chaos magic, when I hear it was more overtly reactionary, but my impression of it now is that it’s not unsophisticated. Although chaos magic/ians seem to be somewhat allergic to theory (as opposed to method), there seems to be a very strong current of what I would call neo-gnostic liberation philosophy, which is where the “mind war” stuff comes in. That is about escaping the mental conditioning that everyone unconsciously absorbs through advertising, mass media, government propaganda, and so on and on. In contrast to old-gnosticism though, there is no rejection of the material world and no love for neo-Platonic cosmology.

      I haven’t seen money touted as an end in itself but simply a necessity of life that is hard to come by in a socioeconomic system that runs on, and is designed to perpetuate, inequality, war, and exploitation. Getting free of that conditioning + knowing the immortality of the “soul” (or whatever) is the context of “becoming invincible.” So I wouldn’t call chaos magic amoral but it does reject morals that it perceives as designed to oppress us. Indeed, the entire basis for White’s refusal to work with Jupiter is moral/ethical. I’ve never seen him suggest that working with Jupiter (the deity, not the planet although I don’t think he does that either) isn’t efficacious, but that it’s morally wrong because it is cooperating with tyranny.

      That’s my etic view and it is to some extent a generalization, of necessity. I have no dog that race, though, so I’m not trying to sway anyone one way or another with respect to chaos magic. I read The Chaos Protocols and found it interesting and thought provoking, but it was unsettling in places and I’m still mulling it over and deciding how I feel about it.


      1. Modern astrology is just being deeply odd about the malefics and the benefics. They’ve gone on and made a super greater malefic in Pluto, combining lots of negative attributes from Saturn and Mars and yet, even though it’s like Damien Thorn in (dwarf) planet form, they still play it up as a planet of transformation and everything nice. There’s a great deal of denial going on regarding the maleficence of the planets, bad aspects and so on. To me, this all looks really wishy washy in the end, as if we can wish astrological badness into goodness. Well, that’s what magic is for. But while astrology still survives as a pop culture thing, even if its considered being a fringe interest, magic is at the fringes of the fringe. It might look like an extensive area with tons of adherents but that’s mostly the internet effect of magnifying things, from popularity to dicks. Modern astrology would probably call that an expansion effect and attribute it to Jupiter. I’ve personally rejected Uranus, Neptune and Pluto because again, in my personal view, dealing with metaphysics doesn’t imply that you get to be wildly irrational, logic still applies, it’s just that you start with (intuitionist – gnosis) axioms instead of positivist observations. Therefore, the idea that the completely random names astronomers assign to stuff carry actual metaphysical meaning just seems absurd to me.

        This is kinda obscured by the fact that when we’re taking planets, scientists are obligated to use serious names that follow a very ancient tradition so they’re far more constrained. So having a Neptune there seems to make sense. Where it falls apart completely (and becomes hilarious) is when astrologers use asteroids taking all the meaning from their names. So yeah, you get the serious ones like Vesta, Chiron, Ceres but there’s also Dudu, Dembowska, Pittsburg, Winchester and people delineate those as well. For some reason though, and I don’t see a logical reason not to if they’re going to use Dudu, they don’t delineate asteroids like Mr. Spock, Starr (after Ringo Starr), BeeGees or Randi (named after everyone’s favorite troll to hate).

        And then there’s the historical involvement of the Theosophist Society expressed through people like Alan Leo who I consider to be a major charlatan who had very little knowledge of the actual tradition before his time. There’s an excellent paper by Sue Ward named Uranus, Neptune, Pluto: An investigation into the sources of their symbolism, which explains this process of reshaping astrology by messing up the dignities and including the new planets while stealing attributes and eventually misattributing everything. I highly recommend it and unfortunately I only came about it after I wrote my own critique of all these things so the historical component I included was more incomplete.

        Great point about the tricksters being tricked themselves which reminded me that actually, even Zeus could be said to fit in that category because he changes shapes and appears to mortals in different forms or sends clouds in the form of some human to trick them. Many other Gods hide their forms and appear here or there as well. But with Zeus it just gets contradictory. It’s definitely useful to group Gods in categories in comparative mythology but I think that some people end up using it to construct some kind of modern interpretatio graeca of the Jungian variety, mixing up all sorts of wildly varied pantheons and denying the divinity of all of them. The Graeco-Roman religion wasn’t so much a single religion or even a religious continuum but an entire religious range. With such varied types of belief ranging from the Orphics, to the cult of Cybele, pagan gnosticism and the neo-Platonics and Pythagorians, and with such varied and incredibly nuanced views of what the Gods really do, it’s not really illuminating to assign a deity to a category and then to an archetype and leave it at that. Definitely going to write something about all that.

        I started out with chaos magick more than a decade ago so I don’t mind reading about it. I don’t know about reactionary, do you mean A. O. Spare or Peter Carroll? Carroll did write some stuff that sounded almost Randian in nature in some of his early books. Rugged individualism, free market capitalism, shit like that. It might actually be why I was biased when I read the description for the Chaos Protocols. I’ll defer to your review although I’m still worried about the prospect of Randians using magick, somewhere out there. It’s not as if the powers that be aren’t using magick and astrology anyway, and although I don’t mean that in the usual crackpot-conspiracy theory-illuminati-Rockefeller-this-and-that way, their stuff tends to be more advanced than chaos magick so I’m not exactly convinced that you can really hit at the Man using those methods without facing vicious retaliation that you won’t be expecting. I’ve wrote about that at some point. There’s also a few conceptual gaps in chaos magick theory that tend to unravel the whole thing which I didn’t write about because I think I’d just face the ire of that crowd and I’ve got better things to do than argue with the chaotic blogosphere. Like arguing with others parts of it.

        It’s sophisticated, no argument about that, and I really love the creativity of it, there was a ton of it back in the late 90s-early 00s especially on the net. It seemed there were more chaos magick sites than any other type of magic related stuff. But chaos also tends to reinvent the wheel in the dark many times so it’s not always very efficient. There are definitely benefits to simplicity but simplicity can also become crudeness and the nature of magic is far more multivalent and fancy than the Apple aesthetic.

        No Earth? How is that like? Airy MC probably? Your reply and your posts are definitely more Sanguine and kinda Phlegmatic than Choleric. It’s good to find exuberant bloggers who talk about these matters!


      2. I think I’ll reply to this in separate comments because there’s a lot here and sadly, not enough time at the moment to do it all justice. But for the moment, I’ll just say that I have almost no air in my chart either! I’m *almost* all fire and water, but definitely way more phlegmatic than choleric. I have Saturn, Chiron, and DC in earth signs and air IC and Pluto (along with everyone in my generation, for what that’s worth) and Vesta (if you care to include that), and that’s it. Somehow, fate has seen fit to make sure that I am usually accompanied by at least one Virgo to keep me out of trouble, and I guess I serve as a sort of perpetual trial/penance for those poor Virgos.

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