The Low-Down on the Far-Out

Full Moon in Gemini, December 2017

Chart for the Full Moon in Gemini
Chart for the Full Moon in Gemini

Well, here's another nice mess you've gotten me into.
~ Oliver Hardy

Dec.03 – FULL MOON in GEMINI (11:40 of Gemini)

This could turn into one of the more "interesting" Mercury retrograde cycles we've seen in quite a while! And we've seen some doozies over the last few years.

Why jump right into Mercury's can of worms? Because the Full Moon is in Gemini, and its planetary ruler Mercury is providing the instruction manual. (Eeeek!)

And right now, Mercury is retrograde AND stationary AND out of bounds (OOB).

As you probably know, Mercury retrograde typically brings delays, confusion, missed and rescheduled appointments, wrong numbers, computer glitches and general communication mayhem. Although not usually considered a good time to begin new projects, it's a great time to catch up on unfinished business and tying up loose ends.

When Mercury is stationary it slows down, hovers and then changes directions, similar to a pendulum that swings out, floats briefly and then swings back in again. While Mercury is moving so slowly, it generates concentrated energy—like focusing sunlight through a magnifying glass can heat up a piece of paper and even set it on fire.

This stationary energy casts a spell over the Gemini Full Moon as it unfolds over the next two weeks. And vice versa—the Full Moon adds its amplified energy to the Mercury retrograde period.

In other words, it's going to be a very Mercurial December!

Out of Bounds diagram

Mercury is also Out of Bounds or OOB for short (from Nov.09 to Dec.07), which means its declination is farther from the Equator than the Sun can go – and that means Mercury tends to behave strangely. More than usual, that is.

This explains why it has felt like the retrograde arrived early. OOB Mercury often feels like it's retrograde, bringing bring unexpected weirdness in communication and information areas. However, it can also be a good time to stretch your mental faculties by trying on new ideas and learning how to navigate unfamiliar territory.

So, that instruction manual that Mercury is writing to guide us through the Gemini Full Moon? It's liable to be in multiple languages (with no translator) and using a rather offbeat vocabulary—and who knows where you'll end up?

The patient cannot remember the whole of what is repressed in him, and what he cannot remember may be precisely the essential part of it. He is obliged to repeat the repressed material as a contemporary experience instead of remembering it as something in the past.
~ Sigmund Freud, Beyond the Pleasure Principle

Just to make things even more "interesting," Mercury is stationary in the final degree of Sagittarius, which also happens to be its sign of Detriment. Even without being stationary, being in the last degree of a sign is a precarious placement! You're not yet in the next sign, but you're not fully present in the previous sign either—you're kind of in between and in transition.

Mercury being stationary-retrograde adds extra turbulence to this already changeable energy. Think of it this way: you're crossing a stream, beginning to step from one rock to the next, but suddenly you realize you forgot your cell phone and must go back. You have to stop half-way across, turn around and head back to shore.

Stepping stones

In a similar way, turning retrograde at what would normally be the jumping off point into the next sign can give that lurching feeling of having to stop your momentum while turning around. And with Mercury in the sign of its Detriment, it could feel like you're stopping quickly on a rock that's a bit wobbly, so you have to use even more alertness and concentration to keep from getting your feet wet.

At worst, this unusual retrograde station could leave you with a bit of mental vertigo, as you struggle to keep your balance within the turbulence. But if you approach it like a dance, you may find you can flow with the changing gravity as your perceptions shift from one perspective to another.

The good news is that Mercury's retrograde period this time is mercifully short – only 19 days compared to up to 25 days. Celebrate! Yippee! Um, on the other hand, there are other factors that could make this retrograde more intense than usual to make up for its shorter duration.

So, you can either put the cork back in the champagne bottle, or you can make the most of this extra concentrated energy. Being in Sagittarius, Mercury is reaching out to embrace the Big Picture. For Mercury this can be a bit awkward, like stuffing a watermelon into your mouth and then trying to chew. In other words, Mercury tends to be more comfortable gathering and sorting through the data that make up the Big Picture, rather than trying to take in the whole broad view of what it all means.

As a result, this retrograde could bring an urge to review and revise the beliefs and conclusions you carry, related to something or someone important to you. For example, December is a month full of spiritual significance, whether you actively observe a religious tradition or pick it up through cultural customs. You might find yourself reassessing what it all means to you, and whether you need to change how you participate in a more authentic way, instead of just going along with what everyone else is doing.

Lack of direction, not lack of time, is the problem.
We all have twenty-four hour days.
~ Zig Ziglar

Gemini is usually a sign of great fun, witty repartee and playful ways to look at life. It is, after all, ruled by Mercury, the intellectual chameleon. And especially when Mercury is retrograde, his standard Dr. Jekyll persona goes into hiding and out jumps his evil twin, Mr. Trickster!

Mercury stations retrograde just 8 hours before the Moon is completely Full, and this intensified energy gives Mr. Trickster an extra big megaphone through which to enlighten us about how to find righteous information, inspired insights and meaningful ideas that can get you where you need to go.

The problem is that where Mr. Trickster thinks you should be might not be where you intended to go. His directions might take you way off-course, around a twisty detour, or even into a dead-end alley. And since Mercury is playfully trine Uranus (120°), all that running in circles is just good fun, to Mercury's mind.

On the other hand, Mercury is also running rings around Saturn ...or maybe he's just running around Saturn's rings. In any case, Mercury is stationing to go retrograde just over a degree beyond Saturn, and is in fact hovering in between the first and second passes of his conjunction to Saturn (exact on Nov.28 and Dec.06).

Now: Saturn is not a big fan of practical jokes or frivolous silliness. Although still travelling through jovial Sagittarius, there's only so much wiggle room Saturn can manage when stretching his naturally stern demeanour. And currently he's still less than a degree away from the Galactic Centre and on the verge of repatriating his own sign of Capricorn, so he's feeling pretty important right about now.

Mercury stationary and conjunct Saturn

Saturn wants to grab turbulent Mercury by the scruff of the neck and plant him in a crevice between the proverbial rock and hard place, to make him get focused again.

Mr. Trickster isn't likely to be very happy about this, although you'd think he'd be used to it by now—he's been within 8° of conjunction to Saturn since Nov.19. Trust me, he's been finding devilish ways to get under Saturn's skin even with both hands tied behind his back.

Mercury remains within 8° of Saturn until Dec.12. (Stop that groaning.) Okay, okay: Mercury stationing and remaining conjunct Saturn for 3½ weeks doesn't exactly sound like the festive holiday highlight of your year. You could be prone to worrying or haunted by ghosts of adverse holiday memories.

Saturn's seriousness could bring an urge to judge others and yourself quite harshly. The world is a pretty chaotic place these days, and your frustration and impatience might grind down some of your holiday joy into a less-than-hospitable attitude, in an attempt to just make it stop!

However, Mercury is nothing if not an expert at learning, especially while in knowledge-hungry Sagittarius. The best way to work with your mercurial frustration is to open your mind to productive and constructive ways you can channel it into expanding your perception beyond what is familiar. BUT, before you think you can simply fly those feral ideas straight over the treetops toward the horizon, it's good to keep one foot on the ground.

In other words, take the wonky, weird and wild ideas and information that come your way and keep track of what they are teaching you. They're not merely to entertain your brain, but also to open you up by showing you something about the world and about life that's been flying under your radar.

Therefore: keep a journal, jot down notes and ideas. Bookmark links to unusual and intriguing articles, videos and images. Browse Google or your local library or bookstore, to explore more about topics that pique your curiosity and to gather suggestions about how to apply those ideas in practical ways.

To learn which questions are unanswerable,
and NOT TO ANSWER THEM: this skill is
most needful in times of stress and darkness.
~ Ursula K. Le Guin, The Left Hand of Darkness

Just when you thought all the "interesting bits" had been accounted for, along comes Neptune and Jupiter to stir some additional seasoning into the soup.

T-square aspect pattern

Neptune forms an exact T-square with the Full Moon axis (all at 11°). This introduces a flavour of ambiguity and imagination to the Gemini Full Moon's attempt to establish clarity and awareness. That's not necessarily a bad thing, since Mercury could use some creative flexibility while he's under Saturn's stern gaze. We can benefit from Neptune's ability to see through Saturn's walls, so that we won't feel quite so claustrophobic. There is life after Saturn!

That said, Neptune's contribution might also raise doubts about whether Saturn's rules will be worth the hassle or whether we can live up to them effectively enough to get the pay-off. Neptune might also make it tricky to know exactly what is expected of us, perhaps leading to confusion about what to do next.

Irritation Wedge aspect pattern

Jupiter an aspect pattern with the Sun and Moon that I often call an Irritation Wedge (and Huber Astrology calls an Irritation Triangle). This is another exact configuration involving the Sun-Moon opposition, all at 11° of their respective signs and a mere 3 minutes of arc apart. Jupiter in Scorpio is quincunx the Gemini Moon (150°) and semi-sextile the Sagittarius Sun (30°).

Through this aspect figure, Jupiter seems to echo Mercury's dilemma. We yearn to consume enough information that our thirst for knowledge and meaning are satisfied, but always feeling like we're a few bookshelves short of a library. Impatience could boil over into anger, so it's a good idea to stay grounded and take things one step at a time. It will help to stay flexible in your perspective, moral values and assumptions. And take it one bite at a time – don't try to chew that whole watermelon all at once....but you might try using a different spoon. (You get the idea...)

That which is below is like that which is above
And that which is above is like that which is below
To accomplish the miracles of the one thing.
~ Hermes Tristmegistus, The Emerald Tablet

And just to make sure things don't get too boring, Mars steps into the confusion forming precise octile-based aspects to Sun-Moon and Neptune. Mars is sesqui-quadrate the Moon (135°), semi-square the Sun (45°) and sesqui-quadrate Neptune. Two aspect patterns are made: what I call a Hard Wedge (Mars to Sun and Moon) and Thor's Hammer (Mars to the Moon and Neptune).

Hard Wedge aspect pattern

The Hard Wedge is a bit like a T-square, since the semi-square and sesqui-quadrate are derived from the square family of aspects. Conflict, pressure and urgency are part of its effect, but also there is motivation and the need to respond to problems. And since we're talking about Mars, those "responses" could be closer to reactions, impulses and force.

It means that while we are struggling to filter a universe of information down into a world of practical application, Mars—our drive to make things happen and move on to the next adventure—might push impatiently, trying to force the process to completion before it's ready. With Mars in Libra, our quest to find equilibrium between the macrocosm and the microcosm may feel forever out of balance.

This pattern too is exact, all at 11° of their respective signs, so this precision adds an extra sharp edge to the Wedge.

You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
~ Max Ehrmann, Desiderata: A Poem for a Way of Life

Thor's Hammer aspect pattern

The Thor's Hammer pattern (sometimes called an Arrowhead or God's Fist) is also constructed from square-related aspects, so it too is full of stress, struggle and striving. This time Mars is sitting on the pointy end of two sesqui-quadrate aspects connected to the Moon and Neptune, who themselves are glaring at each other across a tense square aspect.

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What adds to this is that Mars opposes Uranus, creating a Kite-like figure and putting even more onus on Mars to have the last word in the group debate. Mars opposite Uranus is not exactly grounded and sensible, but tends to react on impulse, especially in defiance of anything that stands in its way. And since Mars in Libra is already straining at a crossroads, trying to decide which way to go, the result could be somewhat erratic, inconsistent or unpredictable.

This figure challenges us to harness Mars' energy within a constructive balance. We need to turn to the Moon-Neptune square to provide a counterbalance that can help keep Mars moving in something resembling a straight line.

But that doesn't exactly sound like something the feeling Moon or intuitive Neptune are very skilled at, does it? The first tools in their combined toolbox aren't likely to be a ruler and protractor, but more likely paints and charcoal pencils. And when they are joined together by a stressful square aspect, productivity and clarity of focus aren't necessarily at the top of their agenda.

So, the idea in Thor's Hammer is to let that Mars tension provoke you into making the Moon-Neptune energy into a magnificent work of art—either literally or figuratively. Let the impulsive drive of Mars stimulate in you a loving longing to create beauty in your life and in the world around you. The Libra side of Mars can help with this.

Nurture yourself and others through music, laughter, compassion and smiles. Open up your heart and listen to what your empathy is telling you. Do little things that bring joy in the spirit of a higher principle of love. Dare to let life evolve around you without trying to micro-manage it, and have some faith that it is "unfolding as it should."

Think globally; act locally.

As above, so below.

The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking.
It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.
~ Albert Einstein (paraphrased)

Dec.03 – Mercury Stationary Retrograde (29:18 of Sagittarius; until Dec.22)  (Dec.02 in HAST, AKST, PST)  ("What's a Station?"  "What does Retrograde mean?"  Read more about Mercury Retrograde.  Read more about Retrograde planets.)

Yes, it's that time again! Mercury goes retrograde for the next 3+ weeks. For up to a week before and after today, Mercury is moving very slowly or stopped (hence "stationary" or "making a station"). During this time, you may experience intensity, frustration, confusion, miscommunications, or feel like you're getting bogging down in your progress.

Mercury retrograde is usually a time when it is a good time to rethink, rehash, reflect, and tie up old loose ends, rather than begin new ventures. It is typical for new insights and information to emerge later in the retrograde cycle that you didn't anticipate, which can change the whole picture. Because of this, it is usually advised to avoid making final or permanent decisions (e.g., signing contracts or putting new projects into action), during the retrograde and even up to 2 weeks after Mercury goes direct. However, it is an excellent time to do fact-finding, research and investigation to prepare for major decisions, which are usually best put off until well after Mercury goes direct.

In the meantime, while Mercury is retrograde, expect the unexpected, and leave lots of extra time when planning your schedule (to minimize any disruptions from delays and complications). Stay flexible and learn to roll with the weirdness. It's common to have to reschedule appointments or redo things because the instructions or information got messed up the first time. Do some things that use your intuitive, creative, non-rational mind for a while until Mercury goes direct again.

If you absolutely must do something important during this time that can't be postponed, don't be surprised if you wind up having to redo things. It can help to be especially vigilant about triple-checking what you do, but some of these mishaps can't always be predicted or prevented, so don't be hard on yourself (nor on others).

Remember: Mercury loves to play practical jokes. This is his playtime. ;-) It helps to learn to laugh with him.

Mercury is retrograde in Sagittarius, which can challenge the mind more than it can comfortably handle. The conscious mind usually likes to sift through ideas at its own pace and piece these ideas together as they come up. Sagittarius tends to present the whole picture all at once, which can be overwhelming. You might find you are challenged to reach beyond your grasp intellectually, which could leave you feeling like you're juggling too many balls at once. Or, you might be so hungry for more and more information that you don't know how to stop and put it all together. Unconscious or hidden judgments and biases that you carry around might lurk just below the surface now, making them more visible than you would like them to be. On the other hand, this can be a good time to explore the ways that you tend to blame others (or yourself) for problems or imperfections. It is also a time when you can peek through the veil and see beyond your usual range of vision. As such, this transit can give you access to a more spiritual frame of mind that helps you deepen your understanding, expand your compassion and stretch your usual horizons.

Here are the key dates of this Mercury cycle (for North American Eastern Time):

Dec.03 – Sun square Neptune (11:29 of Sagittarius/Pisces)

Your ideals, hopes and wishful thinking may loom a little too large during this time, making you prone to disappointment and disillusionment. You might want a fantasy or dream to come true so much that you disconnect from the reality that seems to be in the way – only to find that the obstacle was serving a positive purpose after all. Your imagination may be very active now, but not easy to control or balance with reality. However, it can be a very creative time if you're able to harness that imagination for productive use. Unconscious urges and longings may be especially close to the surface, so you have an opportunity to learn more about the hidden forces that drive you (and perhaps distort your view of the world around you). Spiritually, you might discover that your yearning for enlightenment is not the straightforward path you had hoped for, but it can be just as valuable (although disappointing) to discover what is *not* your best path. Emotionally you may feel a bit overwhelmed, discouraged or confused. On the plus side, you have an opportunity to observe a deeper part of you, which is usually camouflaged against the distracting background of day-to-day life. There is tremendous creative, spiritual and healing potential to be found by listening to and working with the inner voices from those depths.

Dec.05 – Chiron Stationary Direct (24:19 of Pisces; until Jul.05.2018)  (Dec.04 in HAST)  ("What's a Station?"  "What does Retrograde mean?"  Read more about Retrograde planets.)

For up to a week before and after this date, you may feel a bit like you're caught between worlds—the spiritual versus the physical, the mental versus the emotional, or the outer objective world versus your inner subjective experience. Chiron has been retrograde for the last 4½ months, giving us time to assess the places in our lives that need healing and to discover the ways that we might be wounding ourselves or others. This includes physical health issues, emotional vulnerability and mental perspectives that create more problems than they solve. As Chiron turns direct, everything we have learned over the last five months becomes ready to be applied over the coming three months (while Chiron is still in the Shadow). Right now, you might find you reach a decision or turning point about issues you have wrestled with since May concerning goals, career, expectations or authority. If these issues have been stressful, this might come out now in the form of health problems, so it's a good idea to be gentle yet disciplined with yourself in this area. It could be a time of ambiguity, feeling like you're caught in a whirlpool that mixes up possibilities with limitations. Or, you might experience some clarity, as the paradoxical coexistence of realities and potentials on the path before you come into clearer focus. Either way, it is a time that can be magical because of its ability to bridge the gap between what is and what might be.

Although Chiron makes a Direct station about once a year, this one is special! It is the last change of direction for Chiron before it makes its first entrance into Aries (Apr.17.2018). It will retrograde back into Pisces from September 2018 to February 2019, at which time it will make its final entrance into Aries. This station therefore marks the beginning of a time of preparation, as we begin to shift the Wounded Healer energy from a focus on sacrifice, suffering and compassion toward a more assertive, action-oriented approach to those qualities.

Dec.06 – Mercury Retrograde conjunct Saturn (28:23 of Sagittarius)

This is the second of three passes of this transit. In this phase you need to delve a little deeper to understand what is to be done or what needs to change. In the first pass you may have had to take a serious look at the circumstances and situations in your life, with a view to reconsider, reorganize and reprioritize how well these are working. By now, you may be busy gathering resources, doing research and constructing plans for a project or goal that started sometime in the last few weeks. Or you might be encountering obstacles, hardships or complications in these areas, which are showing you the things that aren't working that need to be revised, reconsidered or changed. This transit is about problem-solving and finding new ways to perceive, think about and frame your understanding of things. This is about approaching your challenges on a practical level, bringing things down to the bare essentials so that you know what you're dealing with ,what your options are and what you can build from there.

Dec.06 – Mercury Retrograde sextile Mars (28:17 of Sagittarius/Libra)  (Dec.07 in AU)

This is the second of three passes of this transit, which generally supports forthright communication and finding your assertive voice, if you wish to cultivate that. By now you have a chance to examine your usual mode of communication and may be seeing how it could benefit from improvement. Or, you might have been trying out some new forms of communication or being more outspoken, and might be experiencing the feedback and reactions to this. Perhaps it's a good idea to soften words that are a bit too blunt? Or you might find making a sharper, more specific point will get to the heart of the matter and avoid misunderstandings. This is a good time to try different creative ideas on for size and see which ones bring the results you are aiming for.

Dec.06 – Mars sextile Saturn (28:26 of Libra/Sagittarius)  (Dec.07 in AU)

There is an opportunity to harness the energy of willpower using practical discipline. Your physical and mental energy are likely to be stable and enduring, or else they can become this way more easily than usual by applying a sustained focus of effort. This is a great transit if you need to be productive or to make progress in a goal that you are working toward. The thing to watch out for is a tendency to be over-cautious to the point where you get stuck in the planning stage and don't get much done. Or, you might try to rush into the production phase before your plans are fully formed. This transit works best when these areas are brought into balance.

Dec.07 – Mercury returns from Out of Bounds (was OOB 5:54 to 27:31 of Sagittarius; next OOB is Jan.16.2018)  (Dec.08 in AU)   ("What does Out of Bounds mean?"   "What is Declination?")

Mercury has been Out of Bounds (OOB) and now returns within the bounds of the Sun's declination. An in-bounds Mercury is generally easier to work with, where your thoughts, ideas and awareness works more constructively with the world around you. You might find you have new ideas picked up while Mercury was OOB that you now are able to put into practice. If you've felt somewhat liberated by the OOB period, it might be a bit uncomfortable to feel simply "normal" again. On the other hand, if you were feeling a bit ungrounded or out of focus during Mercury's OOB period, coming back in-bounds could feel somewhat reassuring as your brain may find it easier to grapple with ideas and process experiences. Words and thoughts might fit more comfortably into what society regards as "normal" and as such, life may start to feel a bit easier to navigate.

Coming back in bounds can also be a bit of a bumpy landing as that unrestricted energy becomes squeezed back into its usual potency. This is a good time to observe your thoughts, ideas, communication and how you process information, as well as changes in Mercury themes in society around you. For several days before and after this date, pay attention to the things that amplify or cool down your awareness, perceptions and your need to express what you're thinking. Realize that this is an adjustment period, and having some patience with yourself and others can help to smooth and soothe this time.

Alternatively, the re-entry can also be an eventful time when changes in Mercury-related areas can occur. For example, you might feel this is the right time to start—or end—a conversation about things that inspire or aggravate you, or make changes to how and why you express yourself. A shift in how you experience or handle the exchange of ideas and information with others could inspire you to make positive changes in those areas. This might be due to a change in perspective as a result of your experiences while Mercury was OOB.

Dec.08 – Sun trine North Lunar Node (16:52 of Sagittarius/Leo)  (Dec.09 in AU)  ("What's a Lunar Node?")

You may feel confident, optimistic and empowered today and a couple of days before and after this date. It can feel like the pieces are falling into place and you can make progress in what you're striving to do in your life right now. And if only because of this added self-confidence, this could indeed happen. Just an added caution, though: even though the lights are green doesn't mean you shouldn't look both ways before moving forward. In other words, a reality check as to the wisdom of what you want to do is still a good idea.

Dec.09 – Mars enters Scorpio (until Jan.26.2018)

Mars now swaggers through Scorpio – its own sign, by traditional rulerships. Our impulses, willpower and forceful intent are more likely to be intense, passionate and controlled (or controlling) under this transit. Sexual energy may run high, although this may be a hunger for emotional intimacy and deep closeness, as much as it is a drive to satisfy a physical urge. Jealousy, anger and revenge may be more easily triggered, since passionate feelings and instincts are closer to the surface and may be harder to keep under discreet control. This can also be a time of potent creative and transformative energy, since the same emotions and drives that can be so destructive can also provide fuel for powerful self-expression and growth. This energy can also provide a formidable resource when used to fight for a cause – just be sure that the cause (and your methods of fighting) are consistent with your ethics, principles and integrity.

Dec.10 – Mercury Retrograde trine Uranus (24:47 of Sagittarius/Aries)  (Dec.09 in HAST)

Unusual ideas, flashes of insight and seeing unexpected possibilities are all part of this transit. You may find it easier to be open-minded right now, especially about insights that have eluded you. Your ability to see beyond your usual horizon of perception can bring visionary brainwaves, as well as a fun sense of humour. You might be inspired to experiment with something new or do something out of character. You might have an impulse to break free of old habits or constraints. This can be a very liberating transit that opens your mind to new possibilities and ideas. However, be careful that you don't become so liberated and spontaneous that you become erratic, hyper or reckless. Words may come tumbling out of your mouth before you've had a chance to consider their wisdom, or you might find yourself talking non-stop and interrupting, creating a bit of awkwardness in those around you. On the other hand, you might also find the clarity and vision that gives you the words to speak your truth with new conviction. It's a great time to do some writing or other form of self-expression, especially if it's spontaneous or involving technology.

Dec.10 – Venus square Neptune (11:33 of Sagittarius/Pisces)  (Dec.11 in AU)

Money, material resources, relationships and pleasure could be subject to confusion, deception, or unrealistic wishful thinking under this transit. It may seem that what you thought you had (love, friendship, pleasure, money, resources) has suddenly disappeared or isn't as dependable as you thought it was. You might feel disappointed, disillusioned, sad or alone, but this is more likely to be a passing phase than a serious crisis. The question is: what are your secret longings and subtle desires that may be operating unconsciously? These could be clouding your ability to relate to people and situations in your life. Old addictions, depression or idealism may surface as way of dealing with feelings. A better outlet would be to channel your feelings and experiences into creativity, beauty, inspiration and compassion; for example, art, music or helping others.

Dec.10 – Mercury Retrograde square Chiron (24:19 of Sagittarius/Pisces)  (Dec.11 in AU)

Your mental focus and perceptions may feel a bit strained right now. You could find yourself locked in a struggle of indecision that stems from a "glass half empty" versus "glass half full" dilemma. It may be difficult to stay objective and evenly balanced in your perspective, but by working with this you could also find a new mental focus that gives you increased clarity. It might be tempting to sink into cynicism as a way to deal with what seems like a no-win situation. On the other hand, this transit could bring your mental perspective to a kind of "healing crisis" that forces you to get a better grip on the ideas, communication and frame of mind that have been problematic for you. Instead of reaching for extremes (hoping this will clarify the path in front of you), it will help more if you can take a few steps back to allow all the conflicting and out-of-sync elements to coexist together – creative paradox. If you have been in denial about something, this could be a turning point that allows you to grapple with the complex reality of your situation.


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Dec.12 – Sun conjunct Mercury Retrograde (21:14 of Sagittarius)  (Dec.13 in UK, AU)

When the Sun conjoins Mercury Retrograde, there is a new beginning in the areas of awareness, communication, use of information and exchange of ideas. This may or may not be heralded by a recognisable event or experience, although for a day or two your consciousness may shift. Your awareness and mental concentration may take a dip into the unconscious, becoming unusually murky and muddy, or it may rise into ultra-consciousness and become suddenly clear and lucid (afterwards returning to the usual Mercury retrograde fog). A new awareness or perspective on what has unfolded during the retrograde cycle thus far may surface now, or an unworkable attitude or perception of these events may fall apart under the weight of new information. This shift of awareness may be obvious or subtle, sudden or gradual, but this transit marks a turning point in the Mercury retrograde cycle. It also marks a time when mental awareness often goes further underground, for the rest of the retrograde period, making it a little harder to operate objectively and rationally in the outside world. Spend some time in your right-brain, intuitive, non-rational mind, which can coax your mental creativity and inventiveness to the surface.

Dec.14 – Venus trine North Lunar Node (16:34 of Sagittarius/Leo)  (Dec.15 in AU)  ("What's a Lunar Node?")

Today, as well as up to a couple of days before and after, you may feel a bit more comfortable in your own skin and in the social world around you. In fact, interactions you have with others may prove fruitful to help you move further along your path toward whatever destination you're pointed in. You might be in a position to do this for someone else, as well. It may be a good time to spend or save money and other resources. However, it's still wise to do a reality check to make sure both side of the exchange are satisfied that you got as much as you gave.

Dec.15 – Mercury Retrograde conjunct Venus (17:52 of Sagittarius)  (Dec.16 in AU)

Social connections, diplomatic communication and receptive awareness mark this transit. It can be a great time to negotiate contracts or agreements because the communication can usually flow easily. Focus your awareness on achieving a mutual balance between you and the other person. A win-win solution is especially easy to achieve now – so much so, in fact, that it might be tempting to only say what you think the other person wants to hear (which may or may not be wise). This can also be a time of appreciating and expressing beauty, pleasure and sensuality. If there's someone you want to get closer to (in terms of romance, friendship, business, partnership, or even an adversary!), talking gently and listening receptively can be the key that unlocks the door. You may also get new creative ideas from your interactions with people or from observing them.

Dec.15 – Sun square Chiron (24:22 of Sagittarius/Pisces)  (Dec.16 in NST, UK, AU)

Your self-confidence and patience may be a bit strained right now, stretched by the urge to break free of chronic constraints. Motivation and self-esteem may seem to sag and suffer from old problems that you thought were resolved. This is probably because you are seeing "the flaws in the system" that are preventing you from getting the results you want. It will help to take a fresh approach to your situation. You may need to let go of what you think the results "should be" or how they should come to you. Be open to getting what you want in a different form than you were expecting. You may have to work extra hard for results now, especially if it means having to find a different route to success. If it seems like a door of opportunity has closed, look for an unexpected advantage or hidden alternative. This could allow you to tap into other opportunities that wouldn't have been possible otherwise.

Dec.16 – Sun trine Uranus (24:41 of Sagittarius/Aries)

You are more open than usual to spontaneity, surprises and "flying by the seat of your pants!" Your sense of humour and fun are let loose during this transit, as is your ability to break out of old outworn habits. You may get a flash of insight, a burst of courage or a surge of inspiration under this transit. The spirit of who you are can become released now, possibly leading to you behaving a bit "out of character." It's a great time to try new things and experiment with something that's out of character for you. In fact, it may be surprising how easy it is to break out of your usual much so, that it's good to be careful not to be too reckless under this transit. If your self-confidence, self-expression or self-esteem have been stifled or dampened lately, these could come flying out rather erratically, carelessly or chaotically. Strive to have fun pushing the envelope without ripping it. ;-)

Dec.16 – Mercury Retrograde trine North Lunar Node (16:08mm of Sagittarius/Leo)  (Dec.17 in UK, AU)  ("What's a Lunar Node?")

Mercury makes a second pass to trine the North Lunar Node, this time going retrograde. Normally this can be a time when your ideas, thoughts and words seem like they're falling into place, or at least coming more easily. When Mercury is retrograde, this transit could bring some "second thoughts" about events and situations that shed new light in a positive or softer way. In other words, this can be a time when rethinking a difficult situation might reveal an easier way to deal with it or that perhaps you needn't be as concerned as you are. It's also an opportunity to think about how you can re-centre yourself on the path of your fullest potential.

Next Update:  NEW MOON in SAGITTARIUS. Available by December 18, 2017.

© 2017 Wendy Guy. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or used without the author's written permission. Astrology diagrams © Wendy Guy unless otherwise noted. Most or all of the quotes on this page were found at Other Credits:  Zodiac sign Scorpio, by George Di Carlo, mural close-up, located in the Globe Building, Montreal, Canada (photo source). Photo of boy crossing a stream by Famveldman via CanStockPhoto. Photo of Black Lives Matter, Black Friday by The All-Nite Images from NY, NY, USA (Black Lives Matter Black Friday) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons.

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