Light and shadow are opposite sides of the same coin. We can illuminate our paths or darken our way.
It is a matter of choice—Maya Angelou.
Mars, the ancient war-god, escorts the Moon across brow of the heavens tonight, a celestial reminder of those choices that take us down dark and lonely paths—or paths that sparkle with possibilities. As we prepare for the holidays, this last lunation of the calendar year, arrives in convivial Gemini, a mutable air sign associated with communication, connections, and with the choice we make every time we say something that may land like an arrow in the heart of another.
This full moon marks the climax of the Mars Retrograde cycle. When Mars meets the Moon, our battle for security and safety is not yet over. We may still be grappling with impossible choices, still embroiled in misunderstandings that erode our trust, still aching from a betrayal that armours the ache in our heart. We may have slipped into the habit of expecting a catastrophe, we may find it safer not to hope or dream. We may be wintering, even though the sun is shining.
As the Sun opposes the Moon and Mars tonight, a restless and confusing T-square with Neptune offers a choice, aided by a sextile with practical Saturn. Raising our glasses to the year almost gone, may we listen deeply to what is said around the dinner table, sensing a heart ache or a longing that may be concealed in an emotionally charged silence, and make our choice. We can’t avoid winter’s darkness, yet the Sun’s passage through hope-filled Sagittarius is a reminder that we may have become too rigid in our opinions, too wrapped up in anticipatory anxiety to dare to trust and hope. Says grief mentor, Julia Samuel, “hope is a feeling, but it’s also a plan.” We are living in anxiety-inducing times. Amidst the rubble of war, families are fractured, lovers separated by choice or by necessity; millions are exiled from their homelands. Mothers, fathers, teachers, store owners, are now simply refugees.
Through Gemini we encounter the power of two and the archetype of the sibling, the power of the pair to shelter one another during the fallow times when we are frozen and disheartened. The choice to make a new plan.
The numinous image of the Twins is mirrored by the Lovers card in Tarot, depicting the awakening of a partnership of equality. Also, the strands of individuality, separation, and loss that are woven into love knots. In the round of the Zodiac, this is the first meeting with the Other, the Twin Soul.
Like so many stories steeped in patriarchy and dominion, that form the bedrock of our civilization, the enduring stories of twins, siblings and soulmates are threaded with the pathos of loss and separation, woven with duality and ambiguity. Beneath the popular astrological descriptions of the breeziness of Gemini, the fun-loving and fickle eternal child, lies a story of loss and longing, a life-long search for something or someone from which we feel separated. A story that’s so often punctuated with long stretches of aloneness. A story that stumbles into the sinkhole misunderstanding. A story that ends with nothing more left to say.
Sibling stories underline Rome’s foundation myth and draw us into the story arcs of fiction and movies like Shakespeare’s Hamlet and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Ian McEwan’s Atonement, SK Tremayne’s chilling story about the death of a twin, The Ice Twins, and the marvellous Harry Potter books. Gemini is also the sibling we love or loathe, the bonds of blood that bind or divide. The Swimmers (Netflix 2022) is a Gemini story that marries the light and the darkness of two young sisters, Sara and Yusra, who escape the trauma of the war in Syria in a leaking boat, hoping to be reunited with their family. Theirs is a story of sexual assault by a trafficker, soulless immigration queues, barren refugee detention centres, and the triumph of being selected to compete in the Rio Olympics of 2016.
Twins in myth and fairy tale, are similar at first glance, then reveal themselves to be fundamentally different. The story of Castor and Pollux, and their beautiful twin sisters, Helen and Clytemnestra is a brutal story of theft and revenge, kidnapping, murder, and loss. Maya Angelou once said, “I don’t believe an accident of birth makes people sisters or brothers. It makes them siblings, gives them mutuality of parentage. Sisterhood and brotherhood is a condition people have to work at.”
This month, Mercury-ruled Gemini appears as the winged messenger, delivering choices which are seldom packaged in black and white, choices that arrive on the restless wind and arc through the air like the ideas that tumble through our minds. It is in the light and the dark of our relationships that we encounter our human complexity and discover the light and the dark within us.
May the winged sandals of Mercury carry us towards those extra-ordinary encounters that bring everything into focus. May the mythic Twins preside over those soulful tugs of choice, careful planning, that herald radical change in the way we live and the way we love.
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