The Greek equivalent of the Roman king of the gods was zeus. The Romans regarded Jupiter as ‘the sky-god, the god of light, of the day and of the seasons which he created, as well as of thunder and lightning... [He was] the supreme power, presiding over the councils of the gods, and from him emanated all authority’. Jupiter symbolizes externally imposed authority and order. Confident in the justice of his cause and his power to decide, he seeks neither to discuss nor to persuade - he thunders.
In Gaul, the Celtic Jupiter was called Taranis, ‘the Thunderer’ (from the Irish, Welsh and Breton word taran(n), meaning ‘thunder’). Iconographically, his most frequently depicted attribute was the wheel. However, this wheel, contrary to the majority view of modern scholars, is not the symbol of thunder, but the Cosmic Wheel, like the wheel of the Irish druid Mog Ruith, ‘the Wizard of the Wheels’. Nonetheless, the principal Irish aspect of the Celtic Jupiter was the Dagda, ‘the good god’, who possessed the two talismans of kingship, the cauldron of abundance and rebirth, a pre-Christian archetype of the Grail, and a club which slew at one end and restored to life at the other. This is the attribute which corresponds to Jupiter’s thunderbolt and Indra’s vajra. Other aspects of the Celtic Jupiter include Sucellus (‘Hard-hitter’) in Gaul and, in Ireland, Manannan (Lord of the Otherworld). The Dagda fathered Brigit (Minerva) and she in turn was mother of all the gods. The Dagda was also the father of Oenghus (Apollo in his youthful aspect) by adultery with his sister, married to their brother, Elcmar (dark, evil), god of night. He was one of the chief warriors in the cosmic Battle of Mag Tuired against the Fomorians. With his brother, Ogma (Elcmar is undoubtedly another name for him), he is one of the two aspects of the all-powerful dualism represented by Mitra-Varuna in India. The Dagda is Mitra, god of friendship, oath-taking and, also, of chicanery. The Celtic notion, however, lays greater stress upon his aspect as ‘Lord of Manifestation’ than upon his aspect as all-powerful sky-god. He is pre-eminently the druid-god invoked by the priestly caste, while the bards (filid) had recourse to Ogma.
Its size and position give Jupiter a central place among planets in our solar system. Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars and the asteroids are closer to the Sun; the same number of heavenly bodies, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto and their satellites further away. Analogous to this prime site, in astrology Jupiter embodies the principles of balance, authority, order, steady progression, plenty and the preservation of the established structure of society. It is the planet of social legality, wealth, optimism and assurance. The Ancients recorded their gratitude by calling the planet the ‘Great Benefactor’ of mankind. In the Zodiac, Jupiter rules Sagittarius, the sign of Justice, and Pisces, the sign of philanthropy. Medicine and the law are its favoured professions while it protects the circulation of the blood and the functioning of the liver in human physiology.
Bulkiest of our planets, majestically rotating upon its vertical axis, and with a host of satellites in its retinue, Jupiter provides a pageant for the watcher of the starry vault of Heaven. Like Zeus, Lord of Olympus, Jupiter stands out and easily gained the astrologers’ allegiance. Zeus may have been the nurseling of the she-goat, Amalthea, and carry as his attribute her horn of plenty, he may rule and ordain each person’s share of the good things of life, but Jupiter embodies the twilight hour when the child sucks its mother’s milk and begins to learn how to bring its instincts to maturity. Thus an individual’s ‘Jupiterian’ condition is displayed in the long unbroken train of accumulating attainments, advantages, profits, gifts and graces, all destined to satisfy the consumer appetite, the landowning instinct and material status since it is all a matter of having something or of being somebody. This scenario of the good life, a concomitant of lively appetite, confidence, generosity, optimism, altruism, peace and good fortune, helps to feed the health and ripen the development of individuals born to ever better social conditions under the rule and government of moral principles and in which everyone is able to develop his or her potential and obtain complete mastery of self.