- Amanda Painter
Even if you do not celebrate Christmas, you probably have Friday off from work, and there’s a good chance your calendar may have a few social events penciled in between now and the weekend. This is always a crazy, busy, compressed-feeling season; this year, we have a Full Moon and Mercury slowing down ahead of its January retrograde to keep things extra interesting.
Mercury stations retrograde on Jan. 5 in Aquarius. Right now, it is in late Capricorn -- a placement that might have you focusing on the details of holiday preparation, or comparisons with ‘how things used to be’ in terms of traditions.
You might be more concerned than usual that the material gifts you have chosen for others don’t quite fit the bill the way you wish, or worried you won’t get what you truly need or want -- in which case it’s time to remind yourself that nobody is omniscient the way Santa Claus is portrayed. Cut yourself (and your loved ones) some slack. You can only do what you can do, and if you’re thinking with your heart, that’s not so shabby.
Mainly, Mercury slowing down in its pre-retrograde ‘shadow’ or ‘echo’ phase is a reminder to implement your usual retrograde protocol, especially if you are traveling this week or next: slow down; stop to double-check that you have everything you need before leaving; check the directions on everything from toys you’re assembling, to the driving route, to the recipe you’ve made a hundred times.
If you notice you’re making assumptions, ask directly for confirmation. Most importantly, stay aware of surroundings while in transit, and focused on the task at hand. Between now and just after midnight Christmas Eve (that is, the morning of Dec. 25) the Moon is in Gemini, a sign Mercury rules -- increasing the need to focus your thoughts and notice if your emotions are making that harder.
One other interesting thing about Mercury right now is that on the Day of the Full Moon (Friday), it is exactly square minor planet Eris in Aries. This looks to me like some inner tension between your ideas about upholding holiday traditions and the established order (in your family or any organized institution) versus your recognition of how those structures do not leave room for some facet of your identity.
That is, you might notice the urge to do something differently so it fits ‘all of you’ better. If so, see what happens when you communicate directly and bring your full self to the conversation, rather than ignoring that little voice and having it come out reactively or passive-aggressively.
As it is, the Cancer Full Moon brings emotions to the forefront Christmas Day. This is the Moon in Cancer opposite the Sun in Capricorn, exact at 6:11 am EST.
Around the zodiac in the four cardinal signs (Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn), there’s a veritable stable of planetary critters in close aspect to the Sun and Moon. They include Vesta, Logos, Hebe, Makemake, Amycus and Chariklo, plus a hypothetical point called Hades.
Without delineating each of those objects separately, I see a general theme emerging apropos of gatherings of people where there may be a fair amount of ingrained behavioral and emotional patterning, for better or for worse. In part, the Full Moon configuration speaks of the potential for co-dependency and self-sacrifice -- and its flip side: the potential to get to the heart of the matter of your emotions and of how things got to be the way they are; to hold space for others in ways both personal and impersonal; to understand healthy boundaries and the proper way to treat others, and the consequences of not doing so.
Best of all, with these planets early in cardinal signs, the emphasis is on initiative. That is, you can take the initiative in these matters should they crop up for you, dealing with them directly and clearly, whether within yourself or with others.
Emotional energy is building between now and Friday morning around the ideas of home, tradition, mother, caring for others in ‘domestic’ ways, and managing time and material resources. The intensity should ease up as the Moon moves out of alignment with the Sun, but the Moon will stay in Cancer until early Sunday morning.
Whether you see yourself as rational and another person as overly sensitive, or yourself as ‘the only one who cares’ and another person as ‘all business’, see if you can take a few steps back from anything polarizing to view the situation from the other person’s perspective. ‘Tis the season to cultivate peace in your heart, even if you do not see it widespread on Earth. After all, those early cardinal signs are where the personal meets the political or collective. It all starts with you.