Recently, I went to a family graduation party. I actually had a pretty nice time, considering I was one of only four liberals in a crowd of very outspoken conservatives. It was an afternoon that gave me a new appreciation for the expression “as jumpy as a cat in a room full of rocking chairs.”
This is the kind of situation I’ve spent my life avoiding. I’ve got strong convictions, but I was also raised to be polite and to avoid confrontation. The resulting tension tends to build until it ultimately explodes in a torrent of nastiness. I love my sister’s family; I’m not about to walk into a social gathering of their friends and jump into an ugly debate about immigration or the establishment clause. So I spent the day making light and innocuous chit-chat, biting my tongue and retreating to the patio whenever I felt my blood pressure starting to rise. At the end of the day, everyone was still on speaking terms – and I was exhausted.
This has been our routine for years, ever since my sister and I took sharply divergent paths across the moral and political spectrum. After so many years, we’re both used to it by now. We know what we can talk about and what we can’t. As long as we stay on neutral ground, we can maintain a very warm relationship. Sometimes, we’re even able to wiggle our toes in deeper waters, carefully broaching the subject of our differences, and even laughing about the hard-headedness that we share in common.
But generally, it tends to be a fairly Gemini kind of relationship that results from this kind of compromise. Light and shallow, full of giggling and trivia and shared old jokes. Not that I particularly mind; I was born with the Moon in Gemini, and truth be told, I prefer to keep things on this kind of level most of the time. Light. Entertaining. Witty. Always moving. Loving, for sure, but not too intimate.
But at this Full Moon in Sagittarius, the sign of deep convictions noisily expressed, I find myself wondering about all the parts of myself that have to be sacrificed in order to keep my Gemini Moon feeling safe, over in the shallow end of the pool. I was born with Sagittarius rising, and with four planets and the North Node in the ninth house of my chart. I am every bit as much a Sagittarius at heart as I am a Gemini. What I believe, about this world and the next, is as big a part of my life as my sister’s beliefs are of hers. And yet, I tend to think of myself not as someone who is committed to a strong spiritual center, but rather as someone who is constantly darting and weaving to avoid being ensnared by another’s strong opinions.
The kind of guarded, careful relationship I have with my sister used to be the kind I had with almost everyone. There was a time too many of the relationships in my life were dependent on “making nice” and keeping things on a surface level. If we’re too Gemini-flexible, too facile at darting and weaving our way through interactions with people who see the world differently than we do, too reluctant to stand for any one thing, then we risk forgetting who we really are. If we don’t tell the truth about how we see the world, how can we find empathetic people to share our journey?
Pluto’s long march through Sagittarius (1995 – 2007) helped me curb this tendency toward well-meaning subterfuge, and Uranus’ transit through Pisces (2003 – 2010) has drawn me closer to a group of friends with whom I share important values, the kind of empathetic fellow travelers whose committed stances on important issues challenges my breezy, Gemini comfort zone. I am more likely than at any point in my life to take a stand about things I feel are important. Yet, I admit that I still struggle with the Mercurial impulse to try to be all things to all people; it simply feels safer to be an ever-moving target, with nothing to live up to, no fixed identity to be shackled with.
At this Full Moon in Sagittarius, ruled by Jupiter conjunct Uranus in – literally – its last hours in soulful Pisces, the undertow pulls us inexorably toward the deep end of the ocean. In the middle of this bright and glittering Gemini season of light comedy, fleeting romance, and trashy novels indolently read on a crowded beach, we’re reminded of the need to stand in our Sagittarian convictions and proudly embody them, without shame, guilt, or violence. “Enjoy your novels and your summer movies, your vacation to Cancun and your HBO programs,” the Moon in Sagittarius instructs our Gemini selves, “But don’t forget the things that are really important.” Don’t be surprised to find yourself examining your own Sagittarian truths this month, and in the cheeriest of settings – the Father’s Day barbecue, the post-graduation beach party, your cousin’s vacation home.
This Full Moon in Sagittarius is like the proud immigrant grandmother from the old country, who reluctantly sends the next generation out into the Gemini new world with the admonishment, “Don’t forget where you came from.” We need that dignified, self-assured matriarch to remind us from time to time of what is still and unchanging at the core of who we are. To draw us away from the safety and security of the shallow end of the pool, to guide us into the deeper, still waters of understanding and belief, and to help us out when we get in over our heads.
© 2006/2010 April Elliott Kent
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