Why Do Some People Get All the Luck?

Is luck beyond our control? Psychotherapist and psychological astrologer Jennifer Freed, Ph.D. says no, that we can actually court, and prepare for, luck. To explain, she breaks down the role of Jupiter (associated with good fortune) in astrological charts and points to famous cases of Jupiter energy—or luck, if you will—put to good (and bad) use:

The Best of Luck

“One press account said I was an overnight success. I thought that was the longest night I’ve ever spent.” —Sandra Cisneros

Why do some people have all the luck? What does it take to have a life of abundance? Luck is often misunderstood as a random arrow of good fortune bestowed on a fortuitous few. In actuality, serendipity comes to those who set up the preconditions for receiving the blessings of Jove.

Jove or Jupiter (in Roman mythology), also known as Zeus (in Greek mythology), was the king of the heavens and earth. In the astrological chart, the planet Jupiter represents our capacity for abundance and optimism. The energy of Jupiter brings tremendous opportunity that is best realized with consistent and disciplined effort. Said another way: Opportunities are like helium balloons that fly away unless strong, capable hands hold and guide them.

While Jupiter is associated with good luck and fortune in the astrological chart, it can also show our tendencies towards excess, exaggeration, arrogance, and wastefulness. A tenet of Western astrology is that we always have the free will to choose how we express each astrological placement: skillfully or unskillfully.

A bit of astrological background: Jupiter takes one year to travel through each sign of the zodiac. Depending on the year you are born, and the time you are born, Jupiter will be in a certain astrological sign (and learning phase) in your life. There are free natal charts online to find out your own Jupiter details (for instance, see Astro.com or ChaosAstrology.net) by entering in your birth date, time, and place of birth.

Jupiter has a key phrase for developing luck in each sign:

  • Aries: Boldly go for it

  • Taurus: Steady as she goes

  • Gemini: Have the right conversation at the right time

  • Cancer: Find the emotional resonance

  • Leo: Open-hearted wins the race

  • Virgo: In service we find glory

  • Libra: Beauty in essence is power

  • Scorpio: Depth of conviction and patience opens the door

  • Sagittarius: An attitude of abundance and gratitude reveals a fortune

  • Capricorn: Perseverance and integrity build the future

  • Aquarius: Befriend all and all will be your allies

  • Pisces: Dream a future worth working for every day

Regardless of what your natal chart looks like or how familiar or not you are with it, here are some examples of skillful (and unskillful) ways of using Jupiter energy that apply to us all:

Staying Grounded: Jupiter in Aquarius

Susan B. Anthony is a great example of someone who used her Jupiter gifts skillfully. She had Jupiter in Aquarius in her natal chart, which symbolizes the Divine Rebel archetype. In its highest form, this weaves together the intention to liberate others with the quest for true equality for all. Reading her chart, an astrologer could say that this presented an opportunity for Anthony to be a leader with visionary and humanitarian zeal. And due to her ethical and indomitable quest for equal rights, she was rightfully nicknamed “a powerful friend.” But if Susan B. Anthony had been less skillful with that Jupiter placement, she could have become a social gadfly who emphasized the more cool, detached sides of Aquarius—or a social tyrant of fixed ideologies.

“We always have the free will to choose how we express each astrological placement: skillfully or unskillfully.”

Joseph Stalin also had Jupiter in Aquarius in his astrological chart. He stood for collective ideals; his government also oversaw mass repressions, executions, and deaths. When any one of us becomes detached from ordinary human suffering, with lofty and unfeeling ideals, we lose our empathy for humanity.

When we use our Jupiter energy wisely, we become beacons for others. When we identify with the negative qualities of Jupiter, we can become righteous, inflated, grandiose. In other words, when we push our limits (whether psychological or physical), and our greatest heights are within reach—we are also in danger of the most calamitous falls. With great talent and opportunity comes great responsibility, and the challenge to tether our gifts—to stay grounded and grateful.

A Higher Purpose: Jupiter in Pisces

“I attribute my success to this—I never gave or took any excuse.” —Florence Nightingale

Florence Nightingale is a prime example of someone who turned pain and suffering into an opportunity for both personal fulfillment and immense social contribution. She had Jupiter in Pisces, which is a signifier of compassionate sacrifice—the power to be selfless in service for a higher calling. Nightingale rejected the then defined roles of wife and mother and became the pioneer of modern nursing. She was called to a compelling purpose, and used her privilege to influence the course of healing for the masses.

If one cannot manage the extra sensitivity that comes with Jupiter in Pisces, a negative outcome is more likely: The shadow side of Jupiter in Pisces could manifest as total delusion and escapism, wanting to avoid the harshness of reality through addiction, and/or a lack of responsibility.

Unlimited Self-Expression: Jupiter in Leo

Simone de Beauvoir is another stalwart illustration of a Jupiter well developed. She had Jupiter in Leo, which can reflect a proclivity toward the expansion of affection and love and unlimited self-expression—or the temptation to be narcissistic, self-involved, and a braggart. With this placement, people may seek to magnify love towards others, or consume all the light for themselves.

“Luck tends to enter the scene when there is a strong inner scaffolding built on effort and perseverance.”

De Beauvoir did not have an easy road to success. (As she is famously quoted as saying, “One is not born a genius, one becomes a genius.”) When she was young, she suffered from her family’s bankruptcy and then had to make it on her own in a tough post-WWI climate. Yet, she forged on to become one of the most significant avatars of positive female power and self-expression. She mined her talents for the greater good and her work has helped others to find their complete sense of self.

Preparing for Luck

Lady Luck is not likely to show up for those who spend their days saying: “What about me?” “If it isn’t easy, I’m not interested.” “When will it be MY turn?” Luck tends to enter the scene when there is a strong inner scaffolding built on effort and perseverance. True fortune resides inside. Outside, it is built with earnestness, steadfastness, and ethics; it’s earned.

Rather than wondering who gets lucky handouts, we are far better off preparing ourselves for our own luck—with discipline, ongoing learning, and an eye toward the opportunities that will come our way. When we consistently apply our talents, along with temerity and humility, luck will shift from a childlike wish, dangerous hubris, or disappearing encounter—into a much more constant companion.

Jennifer Freed, Ph.D., M.F.T. is a psychological astrologer, psychotherapist, and author of PeaceQ. She has been teaching and consulting worldwide for thirty years, and is the executive director of AHA! which specializes in transforming schools and communities by focusing on peace-building peer-led initiatives.

Related: Astrology