Skip to the content

Highlights for Dec. 13-19, 2021: Pilgrimage of the Heart

Pilgrimage of the Heart

Dates and times are given for U.S. Pacific Time zone.

Happy wanderer

Imagine you’re a gymnast standing on a mat, your stomach a little fizzy, getting ready to leap onto the parallel bars. And then it’s happening. You’re flying through the air, fully present, completely centered in your body. And it feels absolutely, physically, thrilling.

As Mars transits through the zodiac, it offers twelve different perspectives on throwing ourselves bodily into the moment. As Mars enters Sagittarius (Dec. 13, 1:53 am PST), it’s time to go sky diving, at least figuratively; and as we prepare to leap out of the plane, we’ll hope like hell that our parachute opens. As Mars crosses the Moon’s South Node in Sagittarius (Dec. 15, 12:12 pm PST) as it prepares to leave Sagittarius on Jan. 18, it’s ready to kick us out of the comfortable South Node nest once and for all.

And that will be a good thing. Mars in Sagittarius craves adventure and freedom, in that order. Give Mars in Sagittarius a backpack and a dog, and it will wander happily with little sense of direction. Sagittarius does have something of a reputation for being accident prone, usually because we’ve misjudged the terrain or our own strength and capability. But this is generally a “happy wanderer” placement for Mars. Look to the Sagittarius house of your birthchart and ask, “Where can I do a little exploring in this area of my life?”

What you’ve got on hand

Years ago, I watched an entertaining TV series in which a professional chef offered to cook dinner for people using only what they had on hand in their kitchen. It was a lot of fun watching him whip up gourmet meals using offbeat ingredients and humble kitchen implements.

This week, Mercury enters Capricorn (Dec. 13, 2021, 9:52 am PST), placing the planet of the magician in the sign of the resourceful pragmatist. Capricorn will always find a way; even if it lacks the ideal tools or ingredients, it will get the job done, and will do it with flair. (I strongly suspect that TV chef had planets in Capricorn!)

Mercury, ruler of two signs, has two faces: the witty, intellectual, conversational, Gemini face; and the earthy Virgo face that has exquisite command over the physical world. That’s the face he’ll be showing us while he’s in Capricorn (through Feb. 15). As you approach a new calendar year and formulate new plans, take a look at what you’ve got on hand, and think about what you can make with it.

Wealth and freedom

This week’s Gemini Full Moon (Dec. 18, 8:35 pm PST) falls on the Sabian Symbol 28 Gemini: A man declared bankrupt. That’s an ominous-sounding symbol. But I’ve known numerous people who declared bankruptcy, and none of them became poor. They did, however, become free of certain debts. Along with Venus turning retrograde this week, and Mars entering adventurous Sagittarius, maybe this Full Moon is a reminder that we’re only truly free when we have nothing to lose.

As the Moon’s true nodes prepare to leave Gemini and Sagittarius (on Jan. 18, 2022), this Full Moon offers final advice for navigating the balance between Sagittarius’ certainty and Gemini’s questioning nature. While the North Node has transited Gemini (since May 4, 2020), the evolutionary path forward has pointed toward open-mindedness and curiosity, with information and ideas as the wealth at the end of the rainbow.

But this Full Moon is square Neptune, as the Nodes have been several times over the past year and a half. Neptune reminds us of the truths that can’t be grasped with the mind, that can’t be quantified, verified, or believed into being. They’re the truths we find with the heart and take on faith. They’re what make us feel wealthy, however much we have in the bank.


As a woman of a certain age, I occasionally get the urge to run away from home and completely reinvent myself. To start over in some place where I don’t know anyone. Change my name. Cut my hair. Find out who I’d be if I didn’t know who I am.

Our lives, it seems, are the sum total of thousands of little decisions about where to live and with whom, what to do for work, which organizations to serve, the friends we choose, possibly something about flossing. But what we remember during Venus’ retrograde times (beginning Dec. 19, 2021, 2:36 am PST, through Jan. 29, 2022) is that the way our lives look on the outside is a reflection of the promises we’ve made to ourselves and how well we’ve honored them.

Venus is conjoined Pluto as she stations to turn retrograde, on the Sabian symbol 27 Capricorn, A mountain pilgrimage. Normally, Capricorn is perfectly designed to climb ever-higher mountains and achieve worldly ambitions. But with Venus turning around to look over her shoulder – with Pluto in the wings – we’re on a different kind of pilgrimage. What is true and essential, attuned to your authentic nature? Who and what can’t you live without?

Contemplating these things is the true work of Venus’ retrograde periods. Unless you’re sure about your worth, your desires, and what you truly love, changing where you are won’t change a thing.

So over the coming weeks, run if you must… but run inward, not away.

Writing and collages © 2020-21 April Elliott Kent

Jen and I explore all the week’s highlights in our latest podcast episode!

Helpful things…

2 comments to " Highlights for Dec. 13-19, 2021: Pilgrimage of the Heart "

  • Katherine

    As always, so beautifully written, so wise, and so articulate. Thank you.

  • Leah

    Sending a boost of LOVE to you. Also want to say I think this statement you wrote is brilliant: “The way our lives look on the outside is a reflection of the promises we’ve made to ourselves and how well we’ve honored them.” SO TRUE. <3

Leave a Comment