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Gemini Full Moon: Grownups at the Table

Winter was relatively quiet on the farm where I grew up. We spent more time with neighbors and relatives in the long, dark evenings, after dads and uncles had spent the day repairing farm equipment or logging.

In my memory, a lot of this wintry time takes place at my uncle’s comfortably ramshackle, two-story farmhouse. This house had a big potbelly stove in a spacious living room, where my aunt used to put me down for naps in a cupboard drawer and where we watched her “stories” with her in the afternoons. It had a huge kitchen, dominated by an enormous, legendarily cluttered table. I remember the smell of fried potatoes, and the sink filled with dishes, and—am I remembering this right? —an old, mangle washing machine in the corner.

But mostly, I remember the voices. On a given winter evening there might have been a dozen of us clustered around that table, perhaps with a kid or two perched on the countertops, balancing plates on their knees. Dinnertime was a sort of performance; speaking up was a big deal because it meant people would listen to you. If you didn’t have something worth saying, or better yet, worth laughing at, the conversational gods would quickly pass over you. There was a lot of pressure to be compelling.

Much more enjoyable was the after-dinner talk. Technically, this was a grownups-only zone. Kids had mostly scattered to the cousins’ attic bedroom or in front of the TV, leaving the adults to talk among themselves in a pleasant, low rumble, punctuated by laughter.

I was the kind of kid who is drawn to the delicious drone of voices like a bee to the sweetest nectar. So I was usually lurking around the edges of that big conversation, tucked under the table or burrowed into someone’s lap. In the same way I can hum certain songs from my youth without recalling more than a snippet of the lyrics, I could not tell you what the adults at that table spoke about. It didn’t matter to me in the least. It just mattered that the voices I loved were swirling around me like a protective cloud. It meant that the grownups were on the scene, and I was safe.

Now that I’m one of the grownup voices at these sorts of gatherings, I think I have a better sense about what it might have been like for the adults at the table. There would have been simmering disagreements, stories shared, ideas debated; gossip about other folks not present; infectious, uncontrollable laughter triggered by memories of ancient, shared history.

My house has been filled with gatherings of voices over these past few weeks. They have been warm and funny and convivial, and I’m grateful for the sense of fellowship they’ve given me. But for the grownups at the table, conversation isn’t the comforting background noise that lulls a child to sleep. It’s vital and sometimes contentious, and the effort of it connects us more deeply to our fellow humans. Grownup conversation is not designed to make us feel safe.

We’re at the last Full Moon before the Winter Solstice; here in the Northern Hemisphere, it’s cold and the days are short, and lord knows we want to be warmed and comforted. The Full Moon symbolizes revelation, and in Gemini, conversations that reveal the full color of Sagittarian beliefs. Around the grownups’ table, even the old stories warmly told, reminiscing about childhood and those who are gone, reveal the ideologies and creeds that have been passed down to us. But Gemini is the voice of the child on auntie’s lap, the emissary from the next generation, asking the innocent, embarrassing question that challenges the inherited narrative.

This Full Moon is opposed by Saturn in Sagittarius. It’s time for serious conversations that we don’t necessarily want the children to overhear. There is the sorry sense that language is useless because talking doesn’t solve anything and information can’t be trusted. I don’t know if talking solves anything, but it absolutely matters. Language is the currency of understanding. And the cost of sitting at the grownups’ table is the loss of bright innocence and the comforting drone of older voices.

The Gemini Full Moon challenge is to reveal ourselves through our words, and to talk about the things that matter. This doesn’t mean we can’t use magical language; the older I get, the more I resort to indirect and magical means to create forward motion that isn’t possible any other way. But sometimes my Sagittarius Ascendant prevails, and the magic wand is replaced with a sharper weapon.

I lost some readers with my last essay. I expected I would. Some were readers who had found it comfortable to sit by the fire with me as I told gentle stories; we enjoyed each other’s company for awhile. But grownups at the table must sometimes have difficult conversations. Ideally they should be constructive ones, but I’m no saint, and I get angry sometimes. And I stand by that, because anger is the right reaction to ugly rhetoric.

But it’s sobering to be a grownup at the table, to feel no comforting generational buffer between me and a world that seems cold and mean and threatening. I imagine that those who disagree with me about other things can relate to that, at least. I’d like to be one of those comforting, droning, far-away, Charlie Brown-adult voices. But it’s a Gemini Full Moon, opposed by Saturn, and we’re the grownups at the table. So we have to have the hard conversations. We have to tell our truths and take our lumps. Most of all, I suppose we just have to keep talking.

© 2016 April Elliott Kent









42 comments to " Gemini Full Moon: Grownups at the Table "

  • Lizzie

    Whew! Definitely just had one of those conversations. I’ve literally been told to “run away little girl” for calling out a bully. Well hell, I’m a grown up at the table too, and I told the truth; to someone who acted like a bratty child when they heard it. Does Saturn laugh I wonder?

    • Tanene

      Truth does hurt sometimes April yet in the short term or so I think. Over the long haul I think that we will come to see that the truth you spoke in the last essay is one of those important adult conversations to ‘keep on the table’. It is a time to ‘stay alert’ at the same time sharing kindness–past and present. Think it is important, like really important, to ‘be’ our truth today….and let the chips fall where they fall.
      I think Saturn laughs Lizzie; in fact He has the last laugh. As taskmaster, He announces with a raised eyebrow, “Have you heard it for the last time?”

    • Good for you, Lizzie. I was bullied a lot growing up, even into early high school days. What I had to learn is that the only way to handle a bully is to stand up to them and call them out. Never let it pass and never laugh it off.

  • Sylvia Bogart

    I remember those days. It was a gentler time. Children were cherished, and actually got to play, as did the adults. Now, it feels as if everyone is driven constantly to “do” or “accomplish” something. In those days everything had it’s place. We all worked hard, but when we played it was with the same determination and joy as we worked. Now there does not seem to be any kind of boundaries in any area. Thanks for sharing the memory. Happy Holidays.

    • Happy holidays to you as well, Sylvia. It’s true, I never remember anyone complaining about how busy they were until fairly recently – probably since the Internet came along to fill so much of our leisure time!

  • Tammy

    I’m sorry that happened but the veil will still come down in the coming months whether you write anything or not.

  • john

    I enjoy your writing very much, and your gentle insight. And your background, wow, incredibly idyllic. It makes me think that I’m several years younger than you, but I couldn’t tell that by your photograph. I was born in a city, a West Coast City in the north, and we had a wringer washer that I barely can remember, except that I remember the machine itself fairly vividly. When I was 10 or 12 we acquired a mangle from someone 2nd hand. My mom had nine children and little time for ironing our school clothes, so I learned to use it. I kind of wish they were still common. I did use one when I was staying in Denmark about a decade ago. Very very useful for ironing things like tablecloths and sheets (who irons sheets in America anymore?) I too have a Sagittarius rising (Virgo Sun). Perhaps that’s why I relate so well to the things you write. Thank you.

    • Thank you, John, for your kind words and your own memories! I’m 55 years old but have pretty good skin – and Photoshop. 😀 Even when I was a kid, my uncle’s family lived in a less modern way compared to our family, hence the mangle. I adore ironed sheets but can never figure out how to do it properly. My mom avoided anything that needed ironing, so I came to that particular domestic skill fairly late in life!

  • Paula

    I love to read your words and consider you to be brilliant with your visions

  • Leah Shaver

    Love you, April, and look forward to your monthly message. Communication is important now for sure and it is most effective when it comes from the heart. Shine on : )

  • Caryl

    I had to look back at your last essay to see what could have been offensive about it. Hmm, well, obviously it didn’t offend me. Politics be damned at this time of the year. Really, can’t we take a short vacation from who’s being nominated for what? I know I can. Anyway, I like the warmth conveyed by your current piece. As an only child, I was often in a position to hear the “comforting drone older voices.” Sometimes I was sleeping on a couch when the adults were having fun playing cards. The memories are nice to return to, especially when many of the people are dead or otherwise no longer in my life.
    The picture is great. Was it your family or a picture you chose to help characterize you essay?
    Thank you for your perceptiveness.

    • Thank you for your kind words, Caryl. Not my family, just one I found that came closest to simulating my memory. I wish I had a photo from one of those dinners… they’re so vivid in my mind. The adults playing cards! – that’s a memory for sure. 🙂

  • April

    I agree! Sun in Sag/Libra rising!

  • Majie

    What a delightful scene, so warm and full of the feelings of a safe and truly real place – “sink full of dishes,” when people come first the sink is always full of dishes! And grownups at the table, a metaphor that will take me through the winter because there are conversations that need to be had and they do need to be out of the earshot of the younger ones, because learning takes place whether you want it to or not and there is way too much unseemly behavior being flaunted these days. Excellent article, thanks for that warm kitchen view, a true storyteller you are!

  • Sue

    Well let’s see got a lot of Sagitarius in me I is one! and have lots in the fifth house. So, I was the only child and we are interested in that adult talk. Can only say that I’m a Santa’s helper and he is out meeting some folks in bad need of getting there wishes straight!
    In other words their wishing for silly things instead of the “to the bone” stuff the stuff that matters! They were wishing for a new “husband” that treated them right but the kicker was they wanted a tall guy! Come on, now, what is important is we might have stop wishing for a certain package and look what’s in that heart! In other words start paying attention to who’s in front of our face and is “NICE from the bones!
    Yikes, what brings me to what my granny used to say all the time “beauty is skin deep but ugly is all the way to the bone!” Lets get real with the folks that deserve are attention! Why is it you see those “nice ones get unnoticed! Dig deeper look longer and at the spirit first! We got to take a look and see “when the emperor has no clothes! Why is it that the straight six year old can see what we can’t as adults with it right in our faces! My oh my! Raw and blunt go from there, not everything in this world is a one liner thinker process, geez we have to dig and think about paradoxes’ and complicated problems with NO EASY answers, dah! Keep moving and humor helps and on to the next to be effective!. Merry Christmas everyone and hope all as some folks they like to hug!

    • Yes, folks they like to hug – that’s the secret of a happy holiday season, isn’t it? Sue, your comment about people wishing for silly things, especially when it comes to a partner, made me chuckle, because I’ve so often thought the same thing. If you focus on the inner qualities you want in a partner, you will be very happy with what comes your way, even if it comes in a very different outer package than you expected! I’m reminded that a therapist I once had said she felt a woman could only be happy if she married someone taller than she was. It seemed out of place with her other thoughts and advice, but since I happened to be in the process of getting married to someone who is about five or six inches taller than me, I never gave it much thought!

  • Trish

    HI April,
    I look forward to your common sense commentaries. Blah to those who dropped you. What do they know anyhow? I can remember with fondness sitting around my grandmother’s living room with the grownups talking and the kids being seen and not heard. We absorbed their wisdom. ( I hope, anyway). And yes, grandma had the mangled up washer with the ugly roller on top to squeeze the water out of the clothing.

  • Hi
    Iv got Jupiter in sag. and I love it, it’s in a fire trine with Mars and Venus and opposite Uranus .
    I genuinely didn’t register anything to be cross about in your last essay ,is this because I think you have a right to your opinions, or because im not American and although it would be stupid to say that the election wouldn’t effect me I actually have no control over it , whether I rant or not, another thought is that no one person really has any power over anyone in supreme power.
    I do envy you your childhood.
    I still love your “Jupiter readings”
    Thank you

  • This full moon conjuncts my Merc/Venus conjunction in Gemini in the 2nd house and opposes my 0Cap moon/Sag north node in the 8th. Speaking hard truths and avoiding saccharine chit/chat has been part of my life path. It has been quite a rewarding challenge. The fact that others turn away means you have a Voice – and are willing to speak your truth, keep your integrity regardless of the personal cost. To do otherwise is self sabotage. I embrace the energy of this full moon – we need to speak our truths no matter what. Love the photo…I am, after all a Cancerian 😉

  • Thank you, Rhea. There were parts of my childhood that were incredibly idyllic, for sure, and it was lovely to revisit one of them for this essay. I feel lucky to have had so many people around who loved me. ♥

  • susanthornton

    So appreciate all your posts April, no matter the subject. They always give me a good reason to pause, take a breath and ponder a bit. Loved this month’s as I also remember simpler times growing up with large, loud family gatherings. I miss them. Our family is getting smaller as I have no children and my brother’s older kids live a time zone away and his new family doesn’t quite jell with ours. Different times indeed. I will savor the moments I do have with my beautiful elders as I quickly approach that family post as we only have two left of the generation before me. Makes me sad to think that the kids in my family never really had the opportunity to experience those big, simple family events. Happy Holidays!

    • Looking back through earlier comments, Susan, I noticed I had missed yours! I hope your holidays were filled with warmth and family. Ours has gotten smaller, too, and with each loss we’ve had to adjust to the new configuration. I try to tell myself that it means that I’m spreading my love amongst fewer people and so each one gets more… but like you, I miss the big, loud gatherings.

  • I was one of those kids who hung around, under, or near the table to hear their voices after dinner. They’d be talking, laughing,playing cards and eventually I might move to the couch where i could curl up and still hear them…and i’d fall asleep to the delicious sound of their voices. I’ve written about this many times. And yes, now is the time for the hard conversations and for doing the hard things. I’ve a spiritual coach, intuitive counselor for almost 4 decades…. and i’m getting to become a martial arts student. Conversations, commitment, confidence, courage…these are all foremost in my mind these day…tha
    t and my belief in the tipping point of consciousness…. thank you for this.

  • Nancy Daniell

    OMG, yesssss!!!! It’s time for grownups at the table!

  • Steve

    I know how you feel. Here in Brexitland I’ve had quite a few “grown up conversations” over the last 6 months, and it’s felt like the grown ups versus the immature brats at times, but with the usual generational roles reversed. So much for wisdom.

    I applaud you for speaking that truth now. The biggest similarity I can see between what’s happening on both sides of the Atlantic is that “suck it up, you lost!” attitude from the angry mob. It’s all a bit defensive. Maybe deep down they know that reality is never that simple, and truth (rather than truthiness) will triumph in the end.

    • Unless they’re sociopaths, Steve, folks know when they’re behaving badly. They’re pissed off because the world they invested in has passed them by, and the rules they’ve followed were either lies or no longer work to bring them a comfortable, happy life. So why not act out when they’ve nothing to lose? I don’t like it, but I get it.

  • Jassi

    Where or what town was it in Indiana that you grew up?

  • Nafia

    I commend you for your willingness to trust your inner voice and take the risk of publishing what many of us feel and understand to be true. It is a pleasure to hear honest discussion about difficult topics. Many of us have learned to avoid confrontation in order to keep the peace, as I have felt necessary during this last election, especially with half of my family. It just became too painful. As these major cycles continue to unfold, I trust truth will expose all that is not, and work as a light that guides us.

    Thank you April,
    Peace and blessings.

  • Lalia

    Thanks for the trip down memory land. Please link to this each year. It is a good reminder of the Gemini-Sag way of looking at the world and the positives that are possible.

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