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Flo-Jo's Sagittarian Fire

We are now at the mutable fire sign, Sagittarius, in Steven Forrest’s The Book of Fire: The Life-Givers. Forrest writes that in Aries, our mission is to survive; in Leo, we are driven to thrive; and in Sagittarius, our imperative is to expand. A Sagittarian understands we have a finite number of hours and minutes on this earth, so as much experience and learning and growing as possible needs to be packed into the time we have. Questing for meaning and purpose, Sagittarians boldly take on new experiences to enrich their lives and welcome success and failures as paths to growth.


Searching for someone born with the three fire planets, Mars, the Sun, and Jupiter, in Sagittarius, I came across the chart of the Olympic gold medalist Florence Griffith-Joyner, affectionately called “Flo-Jo.” An explosive sprinter, Florence won medals throughout the 1980’s, and her world records at the 1988 Olympics in the 200 meter and the 10 meter still stand today – the longest standing world records for sprinting in track and field. While there was some controversary at the time over possible doping to achieve such dazzling speed, those writing about her career today point out that she was rigorously tested at each of the Olympics and no evidence of performance enhancing drugs was ever discovered. If they had looked at her astrological chart, they may have seen that the secret of her success was fire – more particularly, all her fire planets in the fire sign that loves movement and a quest, in her case, a quest for glory and gold.


Jupiter in its own sign of Sagittarius anchoring her Sagittarius planets gave her an inner optimism, a faith in life that gave her the power to take leaps. With Mars in Sagittarius, she would have hurled herself into experience, Forrest writes. Stretching her horizons, always running a higher speeds, pushing her body to its very limits is the heart of Mars’ action in Sagittarius. The Sun in Sagittarius says yes to life, and to experience. After she reached a pinnacle at the 1988 Olympics, she stepped away from the intense focus on training and performance to take on new challenges. She gave birth to a daughter, she served as co-chair on the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, and she worked with inner-city children through her Flo-Jo International Foundation.


Florence had a passion for fashion since she was a child, a lovely reflection of her Libra Ascendant. She was known for her signature style as a runner – long dazzling nails, flying tresses flowing behind her as she ran, and one-legged speed suits. She developed fashion lines in Japan and designed uniforms for the Indiana Pacers. She even had a Flo-Jo Barbie carrying off her well-known style. In her “spare time,” she wrote children’s books, appeared as a guest in sitcoms, and worked for sponsors and made numerous public appearances in support of her causes. One can very well imagine that every time the phone rang, Florence would answer with a joyous “Yes!”


Sagittarians, Steve Forrest reminds us, carry within their souls a sense that time is fleeting and our years are numbered. When we look at the energy she poured into her days, we can wonder if Florence somehow knew that she would only be given 38 years. She had experienced several epileptic seizures previously, and in 1998 suffocated after having another seizure as she slept. After an autopsy, no steroids, or any drugs other than cold and allergy medication, were found in her system. She had truly been a force of nature.



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