Full Moon in Gemini

Hilma af Klint, The Swan, NO. 1 (1915)

Full Moon in Gemini

Gemini is the sign of the Twins, an archetypal image carrying multitudinous stories from multitudinous cultures around the world. In the Greek mythos there are a pair of twins, one mortal and one immortal in each pairing of Castor and Pollux, Helen and Clytemnestra, conjuring images of being simultaneously bound to an immortal soul while being separated into incarnate form. All stories of twins involve symbiosis that becomes differentiated into separate paths emanating from a shared source. In astrology, the airy sign of Gemini is ruled by the planet Mercury named after the cunning Hermes of myth who is available at the crossroads where one path separates into a choice of options. Mercury like the sign of Gemini holds the tension of paradox, probes the meaning that weaves together differences, questions the certainty of righteousness in order to tease out the insight necessary for a deeper and more authentic engagement. The Full Moon in Gemini on December 18 will illuminate a pivotal turning point in personal and collective stories, a quality of time holding the tension of astrological influences simultaneously culminating with intensity while on the threshold of dramatic change.

The Gemini Full Moon will brighten the night during the time of peak darkness in the northern hemisphere, a few days before the deep stillness of the Sun entering Capricorn and reaching the nadir of the Winter Solstice, the darkest day of the year that signals the return of light to come. At the same time the final exact square aspect between Saturn in Aquarius with Uranus in Taurus will be amplifying their longstanding tension until forming on December 23. Moreover, Venus will station retrograde while conjoining Pluto the day after the lunation, while Jupiter will finally leave Aquarius for its home sign of Pisces during the waning half of the lunar cycle on December 28. Yet not only is Jupiter in Aquarius during the lunation, the Gemini Full Moon is applying to a flowing trine with the star of Zeus. The trine between the Gemini Full Moon with Jupiter holds the promise of finding the light within the darkness to guide the path forward, to stabilize a sense of coherence amidst the flux of fluidly shapeshifting dynamics.

The final exact square aspect between Saturn and Uranus occurs less than a week after the Gemini Full Moon on December 23. The previous exact square aspects between Saturn and Uranus were on February 17 and June 14, 2021: looking back you may realize ways in which the previous exact alignments involved longstanding structures of stability became shattered or dislodged with new sources of liberating inspiration thrusting through the death of the old. In personal and collective events their alignments have forced the collapse of systems no longer capable of moving forward with sustainability through the changing of the times, forcing awareness to what needs to be addressed with creative renovation. Although the moments of their exact aspects forming can bring events and insight of peak intensity, it is important to realize that an extremely powerful impact of the square between Saturn and Uranus in fact lasts for the entirety of 2021 as well as 2022 with extremely important experiences occurring in relation outside the periods of time in which they form exact aspects. Nonetheless, with the third and final square aspect forming in the wake of the Gemini Full Moon it will be important to pay close attention to witness and contemplate ways in which the new storylines that have erupted in alignment with Saturn and Uranus clashing take on new forms and meaning during the waning half of the present lunar cycle.

Mercury in Capricorn rules the Full Moon while applying to a flowing trine aspect with Uranus in Taurus, stoking perception toward the emancipatory potential of new creative paths and aligning choices with the exciting, liberating side of Uranus within its tension with Saturn rather than clinging on to old patterns and relationships you have outgrown. Vitally, Mercury is barely separating from an exact square aspect with Chiron in Aries, during the same time that Chiron is stationing direct on December 19. Listen for the message being transmitted by Chiron to Mercury which can help in bridging choices and reality from the old structures of Saturn passing away into the more authentic, passionate aliveness that can be embodied through Uranus.

Within the astrology of astronomy, Chiron’s orbit bridges the realms of Saturn and Uranus, with his transit in Aries placing him on the side of Uranus. In myth, Chiron similarly bridged celestial insight from the heavens into material forms of medicinal as well as martial arts, nurturing heroic capacity from his dark, Saturnine cave. Chiron brings understanding for our wounds, fragmentation, and alienation experienced with our identity, showing how the external forms of matter and relationship we struggle within have the same divine source, teaching us how to move with heart-centeredness through our difficulties in ways that can companion and ally with others experiencing their own struggles.

While Mercury is engaging with Uranus and Chiron, Mars in Sagittarius is engaging with the side of Saturn and Chiron. Mars is sextile Saturn in Aquarius and applying to a trine with stationing Chiron in Aries, having recently separated from a conjunction with the South Node of the Moon in Sagittarius. Mars in the sign of the Centaur will be receiving Chiron through a flowing trine, making the star of Ares receptive to the wisdom and guidance that Chiron has to offer. Moreover, the sextile between Saturn and Mars can help in taking decisive action when necessary that is grounded and focalized on the matters at hand that most need our attention. Mars in Sagittarius can help in separating from what needs to be left behind, protecting what needs to be held, and pursuing visions of new growth and inspiration. Mars in Sagittarius will be ruled by Jupiter in Aquarius until Jupiter returns to its home sign of Pisces on December 28, at which point we may experience a kindling of inner celestial fire to transmit through our experience of Mars in Sagittarius.

Helen by Gustave Moreau

Venus retrograde in Capricorn

Some men say an army of horse and some men say an army on foot / and some men say an army of ships is the most beautiful thing / on the black earth. But I say it is / what you love.

Easy to make this understood by all. / For she who overcame everyone / in beauty (Helen) / left her fine husband

behind and went sailing to Troy. / Not for her children nor her dear parents / had she a thought, no- / ] led her astray

] for / ] lightly / ] reminded me now of Anaktoria / who is gone.

I would rather see her lovely step / and the motion of light on her face / than the chariots of Lydians or ranks / of foot soldiers to arms.

] not possible to happen / ] to pray for a share / ] / ] / ] / ] / ] / toward [

] / ] / ] / out of the unexpected.

Sappho 16 translated by Anne Carson

Venus will station retrograde in Capricorn about six hours after the exact alignment of the Gemini Full Moon. Venus will station retrograde within a degree of Pluto, and will form her second exact conjunction with Pluto on December 25 at 25º43’ Capricorn (Venus previously formed a conjunction with Pluto at 25º19’ Capricorn on December 11).  Venus will be glowing bright in twilight on the western horizon during the Gemini Full Moon, heralding the rise of the illuminated Moon in the east. Her proximity with Pluto has brought an extended process of old relational issues and patterns resurfacing to be engaged with. In some cases the messages gleaned need to be integrated, in other cases bringing awareness to what needs to be shed and released from the past with finality. In some cases there may be harrowing and terrifying fears and memories resurfacing that could influence present perceptions, yet also bring the possibility of realization regarding how present relational dynamics are not the same as the past. Thus relationships in which trust, devotion and mutual support are present may experience a deepening with Pluto and Venus together, whereas relationships replicating patterns of past toxicity may bring realization of what needs to be ended, separated, remediated, or have boundaries redrawn. Like Helen, the immortal twin of Gemini, there is much more to come from her story and presence following her initial abduction by Plutonic forces.

After Venus stations retrograde on December 19 at 26°29′ Capricorn, she will initiate us into a forty-one day period in which the star of Aphrodite will backtrack through the zodiac until stationing direct on January 29, 2022 at 11º05′ Capricorn. Thus the zodiacal terrain of eleven to twenty-seven degrees of Capricorn will receive a thorough excavation from Venus as it moves back and forth across the degree range, digging up some emotional material in need of release or recycling, while also rediscovering ancient artifacts of our psyche that can reveal vital lessons we need to learn in the present. Venus first crossed eleven degrees of Capricorn on November 17 and will not finally move beyond 26°29′ Capricorn until March 1, 2022. Fascinatingly, once Venus finally moves beyond the point of her retrograde stationing she will have one more exact encounter with Pluto on March 3, 2022; however, this time around she will be accompanied by Mars in his exaltation of Capricorn.

Centrally, Venus retrograde brings an end to Venus being visible at night and initiates her phase of being visible before sunrise. Venus will descend from visibility as an Evening Star in the beginning of January, disappearing into an invisible and liminal passage of rebirth until reemerging in visibility within her Morning Star phase. As Venus transitions from a nocturnal to diurnal phase, her apparent backward motion is a result of her orbiting in between our Earth and Sun, coming to her closest proximity with us in orbit. In our personal lives, Venus retrograde brings an intensification of all things related to Venus, as her visual descent in the sky reflects a call for an inner descent to dig up the roots of our desires, purging and purifying material that will bring about a reseeding of desire on the other side.

Venus retrograde periods invite us to depart from the usual into exploring the unusual, shedding old desires while coming into relationship with neglected parts of ourselves and new desires emerging from within. Venus when moving direct enjoys uniting and harmonizing elements, such as the pleasures of fresh fruit and flowers, copulation, love, art, music, aesthetics, and whatever we attract and find attractive in relationship. During Venus retrograde, the nature of Venus shifts from seeking social harmony into a transitional space of social norms loosening to allow for deep reevaluation of inner values as well as how we are seeking to fulfill our changing values and needs.

While Venus is normally associated with seductive pleasures that draw us into full sensual engagement in our body, as Venus draws closer to us in orbit through her retrograde her magnetism on our desires increases and creates a potent influence on our daily experiences. Pivotal turning points in stories often occur and important new relational developments and directions often emerge as we simultaneously must confront and lay to rest old issues from the past. Emotions and desires become messy and paradoxical during Venus retrograde, a necessary disorder that becomes part of a process of reordering passions.

During the waning half of the present lunar cycle, we may experience a more intensified purging and putrefaction of past relational patterns and old value systems as part of a process of clearing the ground for new relational desires and inner values to take root. The upcoming New Moon in Capricorn at 12°20′ Capricorn on January 2, 2022 (close to the same degree where Venus will ultimately station direct on January 29) will be applying toward a conjunction with Venus and will initiate us into the invisible, underworld phase of the retrograde journey of Venus which will culminate with her rebirth in the heart of the Sun on January 8 at 18°43′ Capricorn.

Kore (6th–5th century B.C.)

While the stationing of Venus with Pluto has obvious mythic parallels to the story of Demeter (aka Ceres) and the abduction of her daughter Persephone by Hades, it is further fascinating that the dwarf planet Ceres as well as the asteroid Persephone are both present in Gemini near the North Node of the Moon in Gemini during the Full Moon in Gemini. With Ceres retrograde in Gemini at 00º22’ conjoining the mean North Node of the Moon in Gemini at 00º12’ and the Persephone asteroid at 03º18’ Gemini, their co-presence with the Gemini Full Moon likewise illuminates their archetypal themes in personal and collective events.  

Tim Addey in Seven Myths of the Soul analyzed that while Persephone’s name can be translated as “death bringer,” and she does indeed step into the role of ruling over the realm of the dead, she equally signifies our incarnation of being an eternal soul fully embodied within a material realm of continual life and death. Addey focused upon the 6th century Platonic philosopher Damascius who linked Persephone with the soul’s descent into generation, interpreting how Persephone is drawn toward the narcissus flower, a bloom whose name has mythic associations with the soul falling in love with its reflection in matter. Her innocent, purely spiritual state is shattered by her violent pull into the underworld of death, yet ultimately on the other side Persephone discovers a powerful underworld role of mediation and rulership to embody. 

Safron Rossi in The Kore Goddess: A Mythology & Psychology associated the archetypal Kore being bound within an archetypal polarity with the Great Mother, and her insights regarding their relationship to me is significant to the meaning of Ceres within astrology as I have previously associated her with themes related to the Great Mother. Rossi summarized the Great Mother as “a vesseling and containing condition of consciousness whereby individuality is returned to primordial oneness . . . Nurturing and devouring, the Great Mother obscures the presence of the Kore because autonomy and difference stand in opposition to her principles.” The separation and strife encountered by Kore and her descent into underworld processes becomes a necessity for her to to differentiate her own autonomy and sovereignty. Thus within the astrological associations, we can imagine how the inexhaustible abundance of Ceres as the goddess of fertility and agriculture can be set against limitation and loss until integrating the grieving side of Ceres associated with the introduction of the Mysteries to humanity. Rossi wrote that the Great Mother can constellate a “generally unconscious expectation of life that demands equal and ever-increasing plenty,” which “stands in contrast to the focus and choice of the Kore” and her “celebration of the limited.” Rossi declared that “the Kore makes sacrifices, differentiates, and incubates the unique . . .[helping] women focus and make choices without feeling they are betraying something of their own nature.”

Ceres moving retrograde in alignment with the North Node of the Moon symbolizes the need for grief and expressing rage against the injustices and oppression of our world, releasing the emotions felt when experiencing death or loss. For nine days Ceres aka Demeter refused to eat and mourned; Addey in Seven Myths of the Soul interpreted the fasting of Demeter as representing “the need to purge the concerns of matter from our perception if we are to rediscover the soul lost in hyle (matter).” Likewise the purging and putrefaction we experience and emote in the next couple of weeks of the opening stage of Venus retrograde will ultimately open deeper levels of self realization. With Venus retrograde occurring in Capricorn, a sign that exalts Mars and is home to Saturn, we can find ways to protect our inner wildness from outside threats while gestating and incubating new forms of desires taking shape.

Due to Ceres and Persephone both moving retrograde in close proximity with the transiting North Node of the Moon, they will continue to do so until each stations direct in turn. Ceres will station direct at 27º57’ Taurus on January 14, 2022 while Persephone will station direct at 00º24’ Gemini on January 19, 2022. They will eventually reunite on March 23, 2022 at 10º15’ during the return of Spring in the northern hemisphere.  

10 of Swords by Pamela Colman Smith

Gemini 3 Decan

The Full Moon in Gemini will arise in the third decan of Gemini associated with the Ten of Swords card illustrated by Pamela Colman Smith. While the card’s image contains dark skies and death, there is also brilliant light present in the sky revealing new beginnings. The Sun is the ruler of the third face of Gemini, and since the Sun is moving through the opposite zodiacal terrain en route to its glorious appearance at dawn on December 21 during the Capricorn Solstice, we likewise will be experiencing the death of one season of light for the birth of another.

The death and regeneration within the image of the Ten of Swords fits with the influence of Egyptian culture upon Hellenistic astrology and the Thema Mundi chart for the birth of the universe which lies at the foundation for numerous astrological concepts: from this perspective Cancer is the beginning of the cycle and the first house of the nativity, making the third decan of Gemini the end of the cycle, the final of the thirty-six faces of the zodiac. Austin Coppock ascribed the image of “An Executioner’s Sword” to the third decan of Gemini, writing that though “the other decans of Gemini involve discovery, exploration, and simultaneity, in the third wait choices- judgments that must be made. To achieve actuality, a multitude of possibilities must be sacrificed.” Thus the image of a dead man with ten swords plunged into his back resonates with surrendering to the end or death of a cycle, as Coppock described this face as “the final bloom of internal and external polarization.”

The Hellenistic text 36 Airs named Praxidike to this face, goddess of judgment and exactor of vengeance, signifying the complex karma encountered here in decisions made and actions undertaken. Fascinatingly, the Orphic hymn to Persephone connects Praxidike to the subterranean queen, signifying the psychopomp side of Gemini that holds space between worlds and between cycles. Coppock linked the decan’s image of “An Executioner’s Sword” to Praxidike through the “sword of judgement.” To Coppock, “to hold or face such a blade is to understand the consequences of one’s choices. Those entrusted with this blade grow wise and judicious, else fall to the very tool they wield.”

Demetra George recently shared her translation of The Sacred Book of Hermes to Asclepius (a Greek language text ascribed to Hermes Trismegistus during early Roman Imperial period, possibly around 50 CE) in a webinar entitled Egyptian Decans: Star Gods of Time. In her presentation Demetra shared her translation for the image in the text associated with the third face of Gemini: “It is the figure of a woman who seizes a thunderbolt in her right hand and holds a small water urn in her left hand. Her body is winged from her middle to her feet and she has a crown upon her head.”

As Safron Rossi’s extended exploration of the Kore archetype is rooted in Carl Jung’s association of the Kore with the Self, so does the image from The Sacred Book of Hermes to Asclepius for the third decan of Gemini reflect the potent divine wholeness our path may turn towards when making the pivotal decisions found within the third face of Gemini. May the light of the Gemini Full Moon illuminate the way forward in alignment with your most essential and authentic soulfulness.

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References 

Addey, Tim. (2000). The Seven Myths of the Soul. The Prometheus Trust.

Coppock, Austin. (2014). 36 Faces: the history, astrology, and magic of the decans. Three Hands Press.

George, Demetra. (2021). Egyptian Decans: Star Gods of Time. Astrology University.

Rossi, Safron. (2021). The Kore Goddess: A Mythology & Psychology. Winter Press. 


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