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The Olympic torch has been a potent symbol of the idealism that underlies the games for generations. That idealism lives on, particularly in the hearts of the young athletes and volunteers. But it has also been forsaken and commercialized with such regularity over the years that the golden image of the Olympics has become tarnished, and many are mistrustful of the games’ true intent.

From terrorist attacks to drug scandals, political boycotts, specious amateurism, blaring consumerism and the recent disheartening revelations of bribery and corruption within the site selection process, a whole host of negative associations now overlays the original spirit of the Olympics, casting an all-too-human pall on this ascent to the exalted throne of the immortals. Feelings are so bitter in some quarters that an anti-Olympics organization has been spawned, existing soley to protest the games and to draw attention to the moral failings of the organizers.

The Torch and Jupiter

But still the torch shines on. Symbolized within that flame is a good thing—the Olympic spirit. To the extent that the symbol of the Olympic torch transcends national differences and promotes the love of sport for its own sake, I would have to associate it with the planet Jupiter. After all, Jupiter, or the Greek Zeus, was the king of the Olympians.

Jupiter is a “benefic,” or good, planet, the mythical king of the gods and the largest planet in our solar system. As such, Jupiter does things in a big way, and traditionally rules over such seemingly disparate realms as long-distance travel and communications, publishing, philosophy, religion, law, sports and outdoor activities. The unifying link among these various ventures lies in their height and breadth. Jupiter’s largesse shrinks distances and differences, spreading uplifting messages far and wide, and exalting both the mind and the body in the exhilirating quest for freedom and immortality.

There is a downside to Jupiter, however, because too much of a good thing is still too much. Privilege, preferment and all manner of excess fall under his rulership, too. Some of these characteristics are evident in this year’s Olympic games.

A Godlike Influence

I don’t equate the torch with Jupiter for strictly symbolic reasons, either. In the last two Olympic games, in Atlanta in 1996 and Nagano in 1998, at the moment the torch was lit during the opening ceremonies, the planet Jupiter was culminating at the Midheaven overhead, and dominating the scene. The Midheaven is the highest point in the sky that a planet can reach in its daily journey across the heavens.

From our Earthly perspective, a planet appears to climb up from the eastern horizon until it culminates at the Midheaven, after which it slowly sinks back down to set in the west. The Midheaven is a place of dominance and visibility. When planets are found on the Midheaven, whether in a birth chart or event chart, they have extra influence and generally make their presence known.

When the Olympic torch was lit in Atlanta, (July 20, 1996, 12:25 am EDT) Jupiter was in Capricorn, and within one degree of the Midheaven. When the torch was lit in Nagano, (February 7, 1998, 12:41 pm JST), Jupiter was at 0 degrees Pisces, and only two degrees from the Midheaven. So in both instances, at the exact moment when the entire world was watching, celebrating together as one, the great benefic Jupiter was peaking.

The Downside for the Olympics

This time though, it’s a little different. Although it’s prominent in the chart for this year’s torch lighting ceremony, Jupiter is not on the Midheaven, and it has been under duress lately. Jupiter is currently in Gemini, the sign of his detriment (the sign in which its energy is expressed with difficulty). Jupiter is the natural ruler of the opposite sign, Sagittarius, and feels a little constrained within smaller confines of Mercury’s sign. But more to the point, Jupiter is currently opposed by the planet Pluto in Sagittarius. Pluto is powerful, but subtle, preferring to pull the strings behind the scenes. It’s been a struggle to get these two to cooperate lately.

Pluto symbolizes power and its abuse. In the case of this year’s Olympics, the festivities have been marred by misuse of authority. The Australian public was outraged back in May when an Olympic official chose his own daughter for the honor of running the first leg of the torch relay. A stinging controversy grew out of this blatant display of privilege and preferment, and he was eventually forced to step aside. More recently, the torch runners have been attacked twice by youths trying to douse it as a prank. Just last week, one runner was burned by the torch as the hot fuel splattered her hands.

Even in its finest hour, as Australian-Aborigine runner Cathy Freeman lit the torch in the opening ceremonies, a technical glitch delayed the dramatic rise of the burning cauldron for several tense and somewhat embarrassing moments. In what should have been a unifying, worldwide Olympic moment, the world’s largest television audience, the United States, was left out in a dubious network decision to delay the broadcast for primetime.

Despite these incidents, let’s rejoice and enjoy the games in the spirit of international brotherhood, the joy of youth and the celebration of excellence—the way it was meant to be. After all, how bad can Jupiter be? As the Aussies say, “No worries, mate!” and “Good’on’ya, Sydney!”



Courtney Roberts, M.A.,is a writer, teacher, and consultant, originally from Miami, FL. Her work reflects a unique perspective: a real passion for the 'big picture' that combines cosmology, religious studies and history with a lifetime of observing the dynamic interaction of spirit and cosmos.

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For more information about Courtney Roberts Conrad, click here.

Other StarIQ articles by Courtney Roberts Conrad:

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