Jupiter symbolises the hierarchy at the base of the social and spiritual order. It is the keystone that guarantees stability to the individual and collective organism.
Of all the stars, Jupiter is perhaps the one that has suffered most from an excess of univocal interpretation. Since its medieval attributions, it has always played the role of ‘Great Beneficent’ dispenser of royal destinies and riches when well placed in a birth chart; and even in less favourable positions, it manages to soften the adverse circumstances. But is that so, or does its function lend itself to other comments? Beyond the façade manifestations, what lies behind its apparent cordiality?
In the Greek myth, Zeus (Gr. Ζεύς) – and his Roman cognate Iovis or Jupiter – is the king of the Olympian gods, son of Cronus-Saturn and Rhea, the equivalent of the Roman Magna Mater. The name assigned to him is attested in the Indo-European root dyeu, which has the primary meaning of “illuminate, shine”. Along with its derivatives, “heaven, god”, it is a term that we also find in the Ṛgveda, as expressed in the Vedic Sanskrit Dyáuṣ Pitṛ (God the Father or Father Heaven).
His story begins with a filicidal parent, Cronus-Saturn, who must face the same fate suffered previously by his father Uranus, the danger of being dethroned by his children; to remedy this, Cronus decides to devour his newborn offspring. Before the birth of Zeus, Rhea’s mother, to preserve him alive, conceives a plan together with Gaia, the Mother Earth: at his birth, Rhea presents to Chrono-Saturn a stone wrapped in swaddling clothes that takes the place of her newborn son, and which he promptly devours, keeping faith with the decision not to have heirs.
During his childhood, Zeus was raised by the nymph Amalthea, who, for some authors, has the appearance of a goat. In his maturity, he forces his father to vomit first the stone Rhea had cunningly substituted for his son and then the previously swallowed brothers and sisters. Subsequently, Zeus frees the brothers of Cronus-Saturn, the Hecatoncheires (the Hundred-Handed Ones) and the Cyclops from the dungeons of Tartarus in which they were imprisoned; in return, the Cyclopes give him the gift of command over thunder and lightning. Later, along with all of them, he defeats Cronus and the other Titans by confining them to Tartarus in the ten-year battle known as the Titanomachy.
After the battle, Zeus shares world domination with his older brothers, Poseidon and Hades. The sky and the air go to Zeus, the waters to Poseidon, and Hades becomes the king of the underworld. Gaia, the mother of the Titans, resentful of how Zeus treated her children in the Titanomachy, sends the monsters Typhon and Echidna to fight him. However, the god traps Typhon in the depths of Etna, deciding to leave Echidna and her children alive.
Settled on the throne of Olympus, Zeus looks in amazement at the degraded state of the human being, still devoted to human sacrifice and other deviant practices. He thus decides to wipe out humanity through the flood, supported in work by his brother Poseidon, god of the sea expanses. In the end, only Deucalion, son of Prometheus, and Pyrrha, daughter of Epimetheus, survive; as the waters flow, they throw the bones of Mother Earth behind them – the stones found in their path – giving rise to the new humanity.
Zeus’s relationship with mortals is not always easy, given his propensity to terrorise and hurt them using lightning as a weapon. However, he is still the father of the Olympian gods; on the human level, this echoes in the sculptural representations aimed at underlining his greatness and in the numerous epithets attributed to him, among which we remember: Agoraeus, patron saint of the agora, meeting place of the citizens of the polis, as well as a flogger of dishonest traders; Areius, the warrior; Horkios, the one who keeps the oaths; Xenios, patron saint of guests and avenger of the wrongs they suffer; Eleutherios, donor of freedom.
Not to be underestimated is his reputation as a heartbreaker. Zeus is the brother and consort of Hera, queen of the gods and goddess of marriage and family. With her, he generates numerous children, including Ares, god of war, Hebe, goddess of youth and Hephaestus, god of blacksmiths and carpenters. His betrayals are innumerable: Zeus’ conquests between the nymphs and the mortal progenitors of the Hellenic dynasties are famous. In Olympic mythology, he is attributed with unions with Leto – the Titaness mother of Apollo, Demeter – goddess of crops, Mnemosyne – goddess of memory, Maia – mother of Hermes. Among the mortals, we remember Io, Europa, Leda and the young Ganymede, the most beautiful of humans, kidnapped by Zeus in love to make him his cupbearer. To deflect his wife’s suspicions about his betrayals, Zeus uses the nymph Echo, who has the task of distracting Hera with her constant chatter. Having discovered her deception, Hera curses the nymph, forcing her to repeat the last words she heard forever.
In facing the explanation of the myth, it is necessary to harmonise a narrative that presents many points of contrast; and to do this, we must briefly go back to the origins of the Jovian genealogy.
According to ancient Greek literature, Uranus (Heaven), together with his consort Gaia (Earth), sits on the throne of the cosmos. In the Hesiodic theogony, Uranus is instead conceived by Gaia alone, while Callimachus  states that Uranus is the son of Aether, a primordial deity incarnation of the upper heavens. In all cases, we see the Greek myth assume the genesis of creation with anthropomorphic images, as do all traditional cultures. From the descent of the absolute into manifestation through the binary principle, Cronus Saturn and the Titans are born; they “force” – according to the Greek etymology of the word – the measure of the cosmic order, representing the detachment of man from the cosmos. In a word, they portray the telluric powers in their work of demolishing the substantial balance between Heaven and Earth to establish the dictatorship of linear time, chaotic because it lacks the harmony and completeness of mythical time, of the eternal present. Cronus Saturn devouring his children is the perfect image of the consuming time, which grinds age and human beings in the apparent brutality and lack of ethical sense.
But this ‘fracture’ does not please the female and chthonic powers, Rea and Gaia: without the presence of an offspring, of a generation, it will never be possible to make fruitful the meaning inherent in the creative process, which reveals the miracle of a constantly changing life. Allowing the birth and growth of Zeus is, therefore, the gift of “light” to a dying evolution, even if the establishment of a “dictatorship” of matter will prelude, as we shall see, to a detachment of the creator from its creature.
Amalthea, the goat-nymph who protects and nourishes Zeus during his childhood, well represents the personification of nature that supports and brings to full development what was born. Although not all narrative sources agree, on the death of the nurse Zeus, in her honour, fabricates an aegis – a symbol of protection – with her skin; with her broken horn, he makes a cornucopia, an inexhaustible source of nourishment. Interestingly, the Greek αἰγίς (aegis) has a double meaning. It is the shield or skin of an animal, which ensures a defence because it is placed under the aegis – in fact – of a powerful and benevolent source, but it is also the storm, the sudden violence. Thus, apparently contrasting characters seem to be configured in the figure of the god: the sense of invincibility, the administration of justice through lightning punishment, but also the generosity and the abundance of gifts.
The symbolic approach of what preceded the Titanomachy is also interesting. We know, again according to Hesiod, that Uranus and Gaea procreated eighteen children: twelve Titans, including Cronus Saturn, three Cyclops and subsequently three Hecatoncheires, beings of great strength with fifty heads and a hundred arms. The Titans are somewhat comparable to the Edomite kings mentioned in the Zohar, who symbolise the worlds of “unbalanced force” that preceded the formation of this universe; their father, Uranus, confines them to Tartarus, this place destined for the damned souls and dangerous for the gods. Tartarus appears as a sort of primordial cauldron for those destined for eternal abandonment. Tartarus was also the first deity from which light and the cosmos were born. It represents the exit from the cycle of existence, in short, a non-place.
Il suo primo atto da adulto consiste nella riparazione dei torti subiti dal padre Crono, nel chiaro intento di applicare una giustizia retributiva, caratteristica di chi mira a instaurare e a far valere una precisa gerarchia di valori. La successiva ripartizione del creato con i fratelli gli vede assegnato il luogo più elevato, il cielo; e qui vediamo Zeus investito per la prima volta del suo diritto di nascita, il dominio sull’elemento ‘numinoso’, l’ordine sacro e gerarchico che governa dèi e uomini. Il ruolo di Zeus è dunque quello di un dio tutelare garante della disposizione sociale; e non potrebbe essere diversamente, visto che domina dalla sommità della creazione.
The planetary symbolism
In the order of planets, Jupiter succeeds Mars as the second planet outside Earth’s orbit. Martian energy, the first expression of the centrifugal power of action, now needs coordination to expand even further into the vastness of space. And Jupiter, both in terms of position and size, well represents this extroverted dynamic. From a human point of view, the Jovian image bridges the gap between the individual and the community, placing itself as the glue of a structure that goes far beyond the figure of the individual; in this phase, the energy underlying the life impulse begins to manifest itself as an organic system.
It is essential to understand how an organism, assumed in the broad sense of a functional biological unit or as a complex of elements that adapt to a collaborative regime, is the instrument of choice to carry out a specific activity. It is a coordination system in which each part is subordinate to the whole. As a result, we obtain an autonomous structure that has tamed the differences inherent in a complex mechanism in view of a common result. The concept of an organ (from the Gr. Ὄργανον, instrument) thus manifests itself on different scales of complexity. The biological function of a single cell, a complex system in itself, is part of an organ which in turn provides to the formation of an organism, which together with other organisms contributes, on an extra-individual scale, to the establishment of colonies, aggregations, groups, associations and so on.
Whether this mechanism manifests itself in an organic or only functional form, as in the case of collective entities, there is an evident need for an arrangement that assigns specific tasks to each part of the whole. Therefore, the idea of a pyramid system that does this work is essential, and Jupiter is at the top of this pyramid. All this generates, on a human and social level, a series of tasks that refer to the concept of hierarchy, of a scalar order that prepares individuals to achieve a common goal.
Psychological and behavioural correspondences
Like the Olympian Zeus, the Jovian type swings from expansiveness and enthusiasm for life – manifesting traits such as generosity – to hypertrophic nature, revealed in delusions of grandeur. It is not a question of opposites but different expressive modes of a single instance. Freud would define it as a fixation on the oral stage, the pleasure exercised by the impulse to suck, which becomes the world understood as nourishment in the adult Jovian type. While this type of description satisfies planetary analogies – including negative manifestations of the selfish appropriation of things and people – we should not forget that transpersonal astrology still aims to integrate the individual into a larger wholeness.
Outwardly, individuals with Jupiter as their dominant planet can manifest a certain degree of security, contrasted by the existential void generated by their giving to the world. The lack of intimate support thus makes the world itself a refuge, in which they are free to express their love of life, optimism, movement and sport as expressions of energy. Such attitudes, taken to excess, lead to epicureanism, the sensual enjoyment of food and drink and, in general, the inability to limit oneself.
Psychologically, the breadth of the conscience field prevails, leading to an attitude of generosity and a wide-ranging existential vision. If the expansion remains within personal boundaries, ego hypertrophy wins, resulting in delusions of grandeur; the ability to give turns into its opposite, greed: such an individual tends to exploit others for his own needs and behaves with some degree of amorality. Affective experiences are also affected by Jovian amplification, which thus provides a viaticum for extramarital affairs.
The intellect prefers the panoramic and synthetic understanding of things, discarding the attention to detail to turn to sensory knowledge based on experience and not theory. That does not mean that the Jovian is not inclined to philosophical or spiritual speculation. However, if they decide to follow this path, they do so to ensure hierarchical and organic stability to their knowledge. It is a type of realism that manifests itself in practical scientific expression and a fondness for the descriptive sciences.
In the social and professional fields, the Jovian fancies liberal activities. If they are into the trade, they do it big or in the import-export business. In politics, they arouse appreciation and enthusiasm. Their attitude in the economic and financial fields is conservative, and, if circumstances permit, they are involved in high finance. They choose the law as the expression of a necessary hierarchy. If they have literary aptitudes, they prefer writing dictated by spontaneity and the objective description of things. The luck attributed to them is not blind luck but consists of the innate ability to face circumstances positively.
Anatomical and functional correspondences
When applied to the physical organisation, the symbolism of Jupiter refers to the anabolic processes of the organism through which the assimilation of nutrients takes place and their transformation into simple compounds, which then go on to form the complex substances that make up the body. The coordination necessary to synthesise the biological molecules needed for maintenance and growth (nucleic acids, lipids, proteins, carbohydrates) requires a highly organised process, which the body transfer to the endocrine system. The endocrine gland system releases minimal amounts of hormones directly into the bloodstream. Once they reach the target cells, they initiate and regulate growth, metabolism, sexual development, etc.
According to tradition, Jupiter is associated with the adrenal glands, which produce a variety of hormones. Those that refer mainly to the Jovian symbology are corticosteroids, which regulate blood volume, the balance of mineral salts and the metabolism of proteins, fats and sugars.
The liver, the largest gland in the body, has many functions and supports almost all organs; these characteristics alone would be sufficient to make him the ideal candidate for the relationship with Jupiter-Zeus in his capacity as regent and coordinator of Olympus. The liver is responsible for over 500 functions, usually in combination with other organs; these include the synthesis of amino acids, glycogen, glucose and cholesterol, triglycerides and hormones with anabolic effect, platelet fibrinogen, as well as the production of bile. It supplies all blood plasma proteins (except gamma globulins). Additionally, the liver is responsible for breaking down and decaying waste products and toxins, such as ammonia, converted into urea and excreted through the urine. Last but not least is its lymph production and blood storage functions; in case of need, the liver takes large quantities of blood if there is an excess or otherwise releases it into the circulatory system.
The main pathological correspondences relating to the organs and functions assigned to Jupiter are:
Dyscrasias are changes in blood composition. The term applies to non-specific disorders, but in the case of Jupiter, we must probably refer to the dyscrasia of the plasma cells, that is, the overproduction of proteins, such as albumins.
The definition refers to the Hippocratic theory of the four humours . In the case of Jupiter, the primary cause of this imbalance would be yellow bile, which is found in the liver and gallbladder; it represents the so-called choleric temperament.
There are hundreds of them caused mainly by liver and pancreatic diseases, genetic dysfunctions, or dietary deficiencies. Diabetes and assimilation defects (glucose, fat, etc.) are classified as metabolic disorders.
Obesity is generally caused by an intake of calories – especially those produced by fats and sugars – which is not proportional to the activity performed. With this dysfunction, we see represented the Jovian type who does not distribute its vast potentialities in the environment, thus accumulating them at the body level.
Cholesterol is an organic molecule that forms an essential part of cell membranes; it is also a precursor in synthesising steroid hormones, bile acids and vitamin D. It is produced in large quantities by the liver cells. Hypercholesterolemia is a pathological condition that occurs with high concentrations of cholesterol in the blood. It is considered a risk factor as it predisposes to atherosclerosis over time.
Hyperemia is a condition that occurs when there is an excess of blood in the vascular system, either localised or diffuse. Passive hyperemia, the accumulation of blood in organs and parts of the body due to an obstruction, can affect the Jovian type when it is caused by obesity, cholesterolemia, or diabetes.
Many diseases and disorders affect the liver and its functions. As for the Jovian type, the prominent dysfunction appears to be steatosis, the accumulation of fat in the hepatocytes caused by obesity, diabetes, or metabolic disturbances.
It is inflammation of the gallbladder caused by an obstruction that blocks bile flow to the small intestine. In the Jovian type, the inflammation is not due to stones but the reduced blood supply to the gallbladder caused by diabetes.
Benign tumours remain in the place of formation without invading other sites and are not ordinarily problematic. The Jovian type appears to be prone to lipomas (fatty lumps that grow under the skin), cysts, and polyps.