There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact.
~ Arthur Conan Doyle, The Boscombe Valley Mystery
So... this is Neptune.
You know that in-over-your-head, spinning-your-wheels, searching-desperately-for-a-lifeline feeling? Yes, that's Neptune alright. With a dash Saturn thrown in to keep things tasty, fresh and interesting.
If it feels like you're barely keeping your head above water while wearing cement booties, welcome to the Saturn-Neptune square. And if they're interacting with your natal chart, you're probably wide-eyed and nodding your head up and down enough to give yourself whiplash.
On the other hand, you might be one of the blessed souls who kind of enjoy that floating/drowning sensation and welcome it as an opportunity to remember how to simply drift along with the current. You might be thinking, "What's to stress about? You can only do what you can do. Beyond that, you might as well relax, trust the Universe and enjoy the ride."
This Full Moon aligns with the Saturn-Neptune square, with Saturn opposite the Moon and conjunct both the Sun and Mercury. And Neptune squares them all. It's what you might call yer Mutable Mashup, since all of them are in Mutable signs: Gemini (Moon), Sagittarius (Sun, Mercury and Saturn) and Pisces (Neptune).
Mutable signs are definitely not known for their clear definition of reality, nor for having a clear direction in which to take it all. Instead, they're famous for their flexible, changeable, adaptive nature. The best way to work with these energies is to hang loose and go with the flow, whether that flow runs through your mind and thoughts (Gemini), productivity and fine-tuning (Virgo), understanding and finding meaning (Sagittarius), or feeling connected to something greater than yourself and trying to figure out what the ^$?% that might be (Pisces).
Enter Neptune and Saturn.
Neptune is naturally Mutable, since it reflects Pisces energy (and rules that sign in the modern rulership system). Anything Neptune touches often feels like it's dissolving before your very eyes. Archetypally, Neptune allows us to peer into reality beyond physical time and space, dispersing the molecules that provide boundaries between this and that. This can make it rather difficult to know how to navigate through that physical world, and it's not uncommon to feel a bit like you're dissolving along with it.
Saturn, on the other hand, is decidedly not Mutable. It rules a Cardinal sign (Capricorn) and a Fixed sign (Aquarius, by traditional rulership). The Saturn part of you is typically much more comfortable when staying in your comfort zone by sticking to what you know (Fixed), or else moving forward in a clearly defined direction toward a carefully planned goal (Cardinal). Asking Saturn to take a Mutable job description puts him in an awkward position – think the Tin Man in the Wizard of Oz trying to do modern interpretive dance to some New Age meditative music.
The two of them together, joined by a stressful and uncooperative square aspect (90°), make a difficult combination at the best of times. Even when you get them working together, it takes a lot of cooperation, patience, faith and deliberate effort to make it happen. When it works, beautiful things can be born – art, dance, music – but when they just refuse to work and play nice together, at worst it can feel like you're wrestling with an invisible demon deep in the dark ocean with no sense of which way is up or where the current is taking you. (Read more about Saturn and Neptune in my latest article.)
Illusion is Reality's coy lover who cheers him when he is grim. Illusion is cunning to his wisdom of ages, sweet oblivion to his knowledge. A bounty to his lack.”
~ Kresley Cole, Kiss of a Demon King
This Full Moon in Gemini brings that Saturn-Neptune struggle into sharp focus and demands that we find a way to acknowledge and recognize it, and think about what we can do about it and with it.
Gemini is the sign of conscious awareness and the exchange of ideas that emerge into that awareness. Gemini's currency is brain-stuff – thoughts, ideas, awareness and words and other forms of expression. The Gemini twins represent the barter and exchange of those products, typically in the form of conversation, discussion or debate, as well as more indirect interaction like writing and reading. At the Full Moon you're encouraged to spend some of that Gemini currency by finding ways to communicate your experience of the Saturn-Neptune energy.
Ruled by Mercury, the Trickster, Gemini is also about the playful side of your brain. Jokes, pranks, humour and irony – the things that allow you to see things from a different perspective. These contain the seeds of brilliance, genius and wisdom because they provide a doorway out of what is known so you can think outside the proverbial box. If you've ever made or heard a joke about something and then realized that it actually contained a hidden truth, then you know what I mean. This may sound more like Uranus, and it is this quality of Mercury that leads astrologers to see Uranus as a "higher octave" of Mercury.
Aligning the Gemini Full Moon with the Saturn-Neptune square suggests ways to work with and through the later energy.
Notice and observe – Gather facts and note characteristics of what you're experiencing and what you see around you.
Acknowledge and allow – You can't really embrace or change what's happening unless you recognize and identify it.
Articulate and define – Use your words! Try on new ones and see if it feels like a good fit to describe what is happening. Word might not come easily but the process helps you gain a clearer understanding of it.
Communicate and express – Talk about it. Express how you feel about it, what you think about it, what it reminds you of, and the wishes, fears, hopes, dreams and dreads it brings up. Be creative or just have fun with it.
Yet what keeps me from dissolving right now into a complete fairy-tale shimmer is this solid truth, a truth which has veritably built my bones over the last few years —
I was not rescued by a prince;
I was the administrator of my own rescue.
~ Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love
The Saturn-Neptune square is exact the day after this Full Moon, and weaving it into the Full Moon makes it a very powerful and dominant energy. Together they all form a T-square aspect pattern, which makes the whole effect even stronger.
This Full Moon could make an especially deep impression in your life if your natal chart interacts with this T-square. This includes approximately 0-10° in Mutable signs (Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, Pisces) which would connect with your natal chart through square-family aspects from the T-square planets (conjunction: 0°; opposition: 180°; square: 90°). The same can be true for natal points from around 15-25° of Cardinal signs (Libra, Aries, Cancer, Capricorn) which would receive octile-family aspects (semisquare: 45°; sesquisquare: 135°).
You might feel either like you're caught in a rip tide, or being carried off to exciting foreign lands on a powerful current. Either way, the important thing to remember is Don't Panic! On the other hand, you also shouldn't dive into the deep of the situation without first checking for hidden rocks and other dangers in the current.
Saturn is not just involved in this configuration, he is specifically conjunct the Sun and Mercury. This certainly gives Saturn a front row seat and makes him both the Captain of Karma on this trip and a potent ally. He is your resource for becoming grounded because his territory is the realm of the real world. He's not exactly himself right now, feeling waterlogged by Neptune, but he's still Saturn and he can still point the way back to dry land if you give him a chance.
If Neptune has you feeling like you're drowning or dissolving, give Saturn a smack on the arm to throw you a more solid, reliable lifeline. In other words, ignore the Neptunian waters of uncertainty, ambiguity and hopelessness for a minute and go back to what you know. Use your logic and reasoning to find a lifeline that you can grab hold of. If logic and reasoning seem to have gone down with the ship, look for resources that can provide these – consult with others who know the territory, talk it through with someone who can help you make sense of it, let Google help you find informative articles or forums that can provide objective information.
And if you're looking for ways to manifest and utilize the inspiration, awe and wonder that can come from Neptune's fairy dust, Saturn is still your friend. He can show you safe ways to channel this into something concrete while minimizing the risk of being deceived or deluded by an illusion that turns out to be something completely different from what you wanted or thought you were dealing with. A clear reality check can be worth its weight in sparkly diamonds. Think of it as probing the water with a stick to see how deep it really goes before diving into it.
Rather than letting our negativity get the better of us, we could acknowledge that right now we feel like a piece of shit and not be squeamish about taking a good look.
~ Pema Chödrön, When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times
Another ally on the journey is Mercury, which rules the Gemini Full Moon. Mercury is in Sagittarius, giving you an extra window into optimistic sunny skies. Being closely conjunct Saturn can seem to put a bit of a damper on that Sag optimism, but again it might be best to think of Saturn as curtains in front of that window to keep you from being blinded by that sunlight, or maybe like wearing sunscreen to keep you from being burned by the Neptunian light-of-eternal-idealism.
If you find you can't seem to see beyond the Saturnian obstacles and you're starting to feel depressed, pessimistic or hopeless, Mercury in Sag can help you broaden your vision so that you can see more than just the Saturn blockage. Both light and shadow coexist in your universe and it's important to allow yourself to see both.
To add a somewhat spooky dimension to Mercury's role in the Full Moon, he is about to go Out Of Bounds (OOB) for about a month. This will give him the ability to show you an even broader perspective about what is happening. This is likely to be subtle and you might not even notice it, but watch for ghostly shifts in your awareness or perspective. With Neptunian illusions on the loose, it's probably best not to draw concrete conclusions from every little movement you sense in the shadows, but do add it to your mental database of observations and watch over time to see if there's a pattern. Then use Saturn's rational reality check to see if it warrants further exploration.
Mercury in Sagittarius can also help you identify the principles and key concepts that are central to the lessons you need to learn right now. Looking at the bigger picture of what you're going through can allow you to see the greater patterns in what is happening. Your job is to distil from the swirl of experience a drop of insight that in time can turn into wisdom.
For example, that insight might reveal a new skill you need to acquire that can help you navigate through the unknown. Or it might be a different perspective that helps you avoid being stuck in a negative point of view. Or you may gain the ability to distinguish between putting blind faith in something that might be nothing but illusion versus choosing to have faith in the potential of something that is unknown but shows clear evidence that it is or could become real.
The Full Moon in Gemini could be very challenging if you are susceptible to the conflicts between the widely diverse energies of Saturn and Neptune. We are in the first of three passes of the square aspect between those planets: Nov.26.2014, Jun.17.2016, Sep.10.2016. This Full Moon gives you a chance to become aware of what this powerful configuration can mean for you. You will be challenged to find constructive yet inspired ways to work through and work with these energies over the coming year.
Fate is never fair. You are caught in a current much stronger than you are;
struggle against it and you'll drown not just yourself but those who try to save you.
Swim with it. and you'll survive.
~ Cassandra Clare, City of Ashes
Saturn and Neptune mix together like oil and water. Saturn is the physical, manifest world that has limits, boundaries and rules. Neptune emanates from the world of fantasy, imagination, deception and illusion. Not exactly an easy marriage. With these two planets in a stressful yet dynamic square aspect (90°), they are likely to go through some major arguments before coming to a resolution.
Saturn's "get real" mandate could strip away Neptune's fuzzy aura, leaving you feeling like winter suddenly set in with a brisk chill. The usual tactics for dealing with stress and hardship by envisioning a better day might not work very well. It may be important to deal directly with the problem and not rely as much on soothing activities.
On the other hand, reaching for some comfort food or a glass of wine or buying that magnificent painting you happened to find aren't necessarily bad. It's when they become obsessive or you use them to avoid dealing with the real issues that they can create more problems than they solve. For example: excessive alcohol or drugs, impulse spending, heavy gambling, emotional eating and so on.
You might find you're in the middle of a battle between discipline and responsible decision-making versus wanting to let go of the inhibition and melt down your walls of resistance. Depending on your situation, you might benefit from leaning a bit more in either direction.
The thing to remember is that both sides of the battle represent different parts of you, and each part of you is trying to create change that is believed to be in your best interest. Therefore, finding new ways to solve the dilemma can help to calm the argument between them. The square is dynamic as well as conflict oriented, so try on new ideas or repurposing old solutions. Solutions involving creativity and beauty, as well as being grounded and realistic, can help to satisfy both parts of you.
The dates for the current Saturn-Neptune square are: Nov.26.2014, Jun.17.2016, Sep.10.2016.
Dates for the current Saturn-Neptune cycle:
Mercury goes Out of Bounds (OOB), encouraging us to peek into ideas and observations beyond our usual thoughts, awareness and comfort zone. The "air up there" can be a bit rarefied. If you're not used to it (and even if you are), your thoughts might seem almost a bit drunk, confused, inspired or flowing so freely that it's hard to capture them clearly. If you do catch one of these thoughts clearly, remember that it's an idea, not necessarily reality, even though you could use it to create a new reality for yourself. Your mental peripheral vision can become expanded, taking in more information than usual. You may have a chance to manifest it more clearly when Mercury returns from "outer space."
Like all things in astrology and life, this has its upside and its downside. Much depends on which thoughts you feed and what you feed them with. If you consume fear, suspicion, anger or hostility, you could find yourself feeling a bit paranoid, easily angered, or looking for ways to cheat in order to avoid anticipated negativity. On the upside, you may discover a fresh understanding about things, putting new pieces of the puzzle into place and tapping into a higher level of truth and insight. Try writing down your ideas, perceptions, thoughts and moods. After Mercury comes back down to earth, you can see how you can put those observations and ideas to good use.
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.
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.
For a few days before and after this date, you may feel serious, studious, stuck, blocked, committed and/or hard working. It could be a good time to manifest well prepared plans, or you might have to get real and deal with difficult realities in new ways. You may have business with authority figures, or you might be called upon to act in a leadership role. It can also be a time to own your own authority – that is, to BE the authority figure, either to someone else or just to yourself. It might be a time of decision, when you have to choose one path or option over another. This can feel like an ending, as much as it is a new beginning, because selecting one possibility means you must let go of the other possibilities (at least for now). This is a necessary part of the process of manifestation and maturity. Doing closure on the people and situations that are passing out of your life will help to complete the process of growth and learning they have brought into your life, and can help clear the space for something new to begin growing in their place.
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.
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.
You may be seeing the weak links in your knowledge, understanding or beliefs right now. Your ideas and words might seem to fall short of what your mind envisions, or you might be unable to convince others of your point of view. As a result, it can be tempting to over-compensate with more self-confidence, faith or optimism than you actually have. Or, you might give out "too much information" by over-explaining or through nervous rambling. Alternatively, you might encounter someone else who does this and perhaps have a blaming or judgmental reaction to them. This is an opportunity to learn something about how you might jump to conclusions or blame, possibly triggered by a situation that challenges your beliefs, opinions or perspective. To learn more about this part of yourself, try taking some time to think about what is really bothering you or what you really need to say in that situation. There may be a higher truth to be found if you open your mind to something you're reluctant to acknowledge, rather than looking for a "final truth" around which to close it.
Venus is the planet of relationships, interaction, beauty, pleasure and material resources. She struts through Scorpio with attitude! As a result, we may experience sensuality, sexuality and intimacy in a more intense, in-your-face kind of way. You might feel the need to establish a better balance of power with others that is pleasant and even-handed on the surface but also deals with the more gritty or intense energy that tends to lurk under the surface. It may be easier to attract what (or who) you want now, by focusing your intent and interest on the object of your affection and desire. However, there can also be a danger of becoming manipulative, controlling or devious to get what you want. Strive to become centred in your deepest heart's desire through steadfast self-honesty. Aim to avoid becoming obsessed with power, wealth or lust so that you lose sight of your true light inside. This is a good transit to take joy in your instinctive nature.
You have power, energy, motivation and enthusiasm to fuel your ambitions now! The catch is you will need to reach for it; it won't simply "come to you." Reach into your past experience and reach forward toward your vision of what you want. This will help to guide your actions and focus your assertive energy in the direction you want to go. This is a good time to make progress toward a goal. Or, you might want to take steps to leave behind inhibitions that have held you back. This transit can also make you more apt to take risks and find the courage to do things you might not otherwise do. Your tolerance for obstacles may be shortened, and making it easy to assume the only way through them is by using direct force. This may or may not be wise, depending on how extreme you want to take it, so use your good judgment and don't throw away your diplomacy.
This can be a volatile combination of energies, which can generate enormous stress and conflict, but can also motivate you go beyond your perceived limitations. The biggest dangers with this transit include obsessive control, violence in response to frustration, and natural reactions of anger being blown out of proportion into rage. However, if you are able to harness this energy and put it to productive use, it can fuel your ambitions and drive you to push past the barriers that are in your way (including your own discouragement or lethargy). There can be a fine line, though, between empowering yourself with determination and courage versus forcing the issue in a way that creates more problems than it solves. And there is a difference between being obsessively attached to the outcome versus discovering that you have more courage, strength and tenacity than you thought you did, when your back is against the wall. Sexual tension can be strong under this transit, so it is wise to use some good judgment about whether or how to act on that. Power struggles with others can become very intense, so strive to be clear in yourself about what you really want and how you can assert your interests without inflicting the emotional equivalent of nuclear war.
Under this transit, you might find you need to, or are compelled to, change your mind about where you are heading in your life. You could be confronted with facts or information that contradicts what you thought was real or true about your sense of life purpose, or it might seem like someone is getting in your way. You may be tempted to dismiss this, deny it, avoid it or rationalize your way around it. However, there is probably valuable information coming to you that is important to take into consideration. It doesn't necessarily mean your life destination should be abandoned; rather, you are challenged to see it more clearly. You might also need to communicate information or a point of view that could be unwelcome or unpopular, or difficult to get your point across. In that case, try not to go overboard in standing your ground and focus primarily on what needs to be said and the best way to say it.
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 routine...so 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. ;-)
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.
Cheerful, adaptable Mercury travels through conventional, structured Capricorn, bringing out his analytical, focused side. This is a good time to plan your projects and map out a game plan to reach your goals. It is probably best to choose discipline over distraction. Communication, ideas and awareness may become serious, structured, grounded and manifest now. Just don’t let them become suppressed or censored. This is a great time to do some serious planning and organizing for future projects and goals. It is also a good time for analyzing and evaluating what you have been involved with during the past year or so. What have you learned? What information has come to you that has led you into new directions? What goals have you achieved, and what goals do you want to pursue now? What plan of action is required to get you from here to there? It may be a time when you can face some hard reality and tough decisions better than you normally do. Because Mercury in Capricorn tends to be serious and factual, it may also be a time when you are more prone to depression or discouragement. It will help to schedule regular breaks in your routine to get away and plug your head into a different perspective for a while.
Mercury goes Retrograde on Jan.05.2016 in Aquarius, and returns to Capricorn from Jan.08 to Feb.13.
Your energy is likely to be rather unpredictable, fluctuating or just plain "wonky" under this transit. Your moods could swing back and forth in reaction to outside circumstances that trigger your feelings buried under the surface. In particular, anger, confidence and impulsive desires could suddenly appear and disappear for no apparent reason. If you feel your freedom is being taken away or if you think your individuality is becoming lost in the Collective shuffle, you might feel the urge to abruptly push against whoever seems to be blocking you. This can come across as arbitrary rebellion, and it may not be easy for you or others to understand where this is coming from inside you. It might be a good idea to take some time out to focus inward and find out what's really going on under the surface, especially if these reactions are starting to spiral out of control. On the other hand, this doesn't have to be a "negative" energy. You might also feel more spontaneous than usual and be willing to try new things more easily than you usually do. It can be a time to discover new courage to venture beyond your comfort zone of what's familiar. Flash arguments could clear the air, leaving the way clear to make a fresh start. Essentially, this transit tends to be a bit of a roller coaster ride, which can have you howling in protest or shrieking with excitement...or both!
This can be a time of romance, creativity, and a sense of oneness with the natural beauty of all that exists in the world. On a social or intimate level, things may run smoothly – even a bit magically! So be sure you are clear about what you really want. In terms of finances and material worth, this can be a time of blessings and abundance that could seem to appear out of nowhere. But be careful – it can also be a time of overspending and wondering where the money went! Your natural beauty and warmth shines through now, so it is a good time to peek out from behind any façade of glamour or illusion you might be cloaked in. You are likely to see the very best in others (and they in you), so that negotiation, interaction and attraction can seem to flow effortlessly. This magical attraction energy could also open you up to seeing wonderful qualities in others that may or may not actually be there, so do a reality check with a trusted friend before you make any important choices.
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© 2015 Wendy Guy. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied without the author's written permission. Most or all of the quotes on this page were found at GoodReads.com. Artwork: Gemini - Gateway to the Halls of Amenti © Carol McCloud, Galactic Alchemy; used with permission.