In the Northeast, the temperatures are dropping and the nights are the longest they’ll ever be. Fairy lights cast flickers on the branches of blighted trees and in New York City, the COVID-19 positivity rate is multiplying at a startling rate. Thinking of the testing site lines that once again wrap around city blocks, these lyrics from Joni Mitchell’s “River '' come to mind: It's coming on Christmas. They're cutting down trees. They're putting up reindeer and singing songs of joy and peace. I wish I had a river I could skate away on. It’s only right that the full moon in Gemini meets us under these conditions, arriving on the night of December 18, just in time to reflect our duality back at us: expectation vs. reality, want vs. need, conviviality and quarantine.
Relationships are a big theme around this time of year, what some might still refer to as cuffing season – or the dregs of it. Christmas movies about lonely career women finding love under a snowy bough in their rural hometown are a part of it, sure, but not the only part. While there are some people who enjoy the hermetic solitude of a December night, the quiet company of books or fire, and anticipate the time off for work, many others have weathered a winter alone – not by choice, but for the sake of public health. The influence of Venus retrograde is palpable, not just by way of cosmic energy but by the power of suggestion. One can only read about re-evaluating one’s relationships for so long, after all, before one gets the hint.
Perhaps, then, it’s worth noting that full moons are all about relationships too, about the mirror that those we love hold up to us and about the dueling impulses within us. The ritual of reflection, so often proposed on full moon nights, offers us a chance to reflect – as in “review what has come to pass”, or as in “cast back”. Like full moons themselves, which hold luminaries in opposition, there’s a duality that surfaces in these definitions where reflection is both a place of acceptance and rejection.
The stars of Gemini certainly don’t temper things; the moon shining under them is a two-sided coin. But everything is at least two-sided, isn’t it? The dualities surface in our neighborhoods as we watch our communities choose sides between getting tested, scheduling vaccine boosters, and wearing masks vs. an apathy that belies faith in herd immunity. They surface in the way our families of origin treat us and the way we find ourselves treating those we love. They surface in our own desire for ease and comfort (one- to two-day delivery services at low prices) and most people’s desire to be “good” and “good unto others” (the risk that these delivery services put their employees under, the recent evidence of cruelty).
These are the not-always-gentle reminders that Gemini offers us and makes clear in the tarot card of The Lovers. Associated with Gemini, The Lovers is a card that troubles our human desire for consistency by driving us toward oppositions. The Lovers card reminds us that up against the unpredictable element of human behavior, everything we do is a choice, even passive acceptance. The full moon’s inconjunct aspect to Venus retrograde and Pluto echoes this understanding and reminds us that choices we make reflect not only who we are but what we value, especially when these choices are uncomfortable. And, while the moon’s trine to Jupiter in Aquarius is a harmonious aspect, it’s also a magnifying one. In consort with Jupiter, the full moon’s reflections are all the more potent and all the more consequential. What we accept about ourselves, what we cast off as the other, what we relinquish in the name of love will be what shades our months to come.