Sharon Tancredi

The natural home for Sagittarius is often said to be outdoors. They say Sag is a nature loving sign for the centaur is a wild, athletic creature who loves to roam uncharted, open spaces. I have three planets in the sign and some of my fondest memories involve packing provisions for the day and simply exploring our great Canadian landscape in complete solitude. However, I am at heart, very much a city girl. And I do believe that the city is also the natural home for Sagittarius as much as the untamed wilderness.

We often like to think of the city as a modern entity and certainly, cities were completely transformed by the industrial revolution. But this is a superficial way of understanding the city. Great cities have existed long before the modern period and indeed, many of them still exist today: London, Tokyo, etc. In fact, cities have existed as far back as ancient times, and as such, the logic of their organization is not rooted in the great tenants of modernity. As Jane Jacobs, honorary flaneuse, has demonstrated, the application of modern logic to city planning has in fact, been consistently disastrous for the health of a city and its inhabitants.

Writer J.G Ballard has noted that it is not the city but the suburb that is truely modern. Suburbs express the ideals of modern city planning: neatly partitioned, isolated and unmixed zones, an adherence to to modern values and ideologies, a love of predictability, order and cleanliness. And while cities have always been centres of commerce, the surburbs are the true home of modern consumerism with their great cathedrals of material acquisition: giant, domineering shopping complexes that find themselves flooded every Sabbath.

Ork Posters Toronto city map

In an enantiodromatic way, cities bring us back to the complexities of nature. The dance of a vibrant city neighbourhood echoes that of a niche ecosystem. Rhythms of fluid communities and patterns of human interaction coexist in the same small space, creating invisible layers of energy that fluctuate throughout the day, week, season, year. The best neighbourhoods demonstrate a level of complexity, diversity and interdependence that is clearly evident when you have lived in the same area for a long period of time – when you have observed how seemingly insignificant changes in demographics, small businesses and “institutions” affect the entire neighbourhood.

In this way, the city presents to those who grace its streets, an ever changing wilderness that appeals to the urban Sagittarius, the sign that is the ultimate flaneur. Sagittarius loves to wander, and there is no better environment to discover and experience a new adventure than the multilayered, dense complexities of a true city, a metropolis. For Sag, the monoculture of the suburbs is like death.

There is nothing I love so much as to wander the city, any city, alone and observe its people, its flavours, its colours, its sounds, its heart. To dress eccentrically to the nines and become one with the rhythms of the city as one might feel at one with nature. In the suburb or the small town, one does not wander about aimlessly. But in the city, on any given night, I can walk alone and observe others making their way alone, soaking in the cityscape. In nature, I dissolve into landscape and silently rejoice in my solitude; in the city, I merge with the anonymous crowd, the cacaphony of lights and the brutality of concrete and my paean is an alarm call.

For the perfect flâneur, for the passionate spectator, it is an immense joy to set up house in the heart of the multitude, amid the ebb and flow of movement, in the midst of the fugitive and the infinite. To be away from home and yet to feel oneself everywhere at home; to see the world, to be at the centre of the world, and yet to remain hidden from the world—impartial natures which the tongue can but clumsily define. The spectator is a prince who everywhere rejoices in his incognito. – Charles Baudelaire