- Amanda Painter
Do you ever wonder how you've come to believe some of the things you believe? We're bombarded these days with a nonstop stream of information, ideas, and news stories (both real and “fake”), and we're continually exposed to cultures, religions, and philosophies that may be vastly different from our own. This can be stressful and overwhelming; or it can stoke curiosity and excitement. Either way, you are constantly judging what you encounter according to your beliefs and biases.
The two major peaks of this week's astrology both tap into these themes, and they both arrive on Sunday. Mercury stations retrograde at 2:34am EST. Then a little over eight hours later, we get the Gemini Full Moon at 10:47am EST.
As with any Mercury retrograde, you'd be well advised to take care of some basic mental, electronic, and financial housekeeping, starting now and running a little past the official retrograde phase, which lasts until December 22. This includes backing up your computer; being extra careful, focused, and patient while driving; and double-checking your wording and the recipient's address with any and all digital communication.
The typical advice to reduce spending on major purchases (and to delay contracts) hits a snag during holiday shopping season. But you can still follow the basic principles by reading anything with fine print two or three times, paying extra attention to return policies and warranties (along with your intuition—heed those subtle inner tugs), and tracking your spending against your budget regularly.
With Mercury in big-picture Sagittarius, staying intentionally mindful of the details becomes even more important. Yet Mercury retrograde can also be an incredibly useful period of introspection and review. In Sagittarius, you might find yourself encountering reminders of how you've come to believe what you believe. This could relate specifically to religious and spiritual beliefs (a main theme of Sagittarius). It might also point you toward broader cultural or political judgments.
With Mercury still in close proximity to Saturn in late Sagittarius, what authority figures taught you as a child would seem to be a particular focus. Do you still carry beliefs and judgments that are not really yours? When I say "not really yours," what I mean is ideas about the world (including your place in the world) that often put you in conflict with yourself.
For example, you may have been raised to believe certain things about relationships, sex, and your body that cause you a lot of guilt, or that seem to repeatedly undermine the kinds of connections with others you most deeply desire. Or maybe a parent approaches everything with fear, and you've noticed that you do, too—and that it keeps you from trying things you're curious about. Perhaps your family has a history of bigotry or sexism, and you're becoming increasingly aware that you don't feel the same way about people as your relatives.
I could go on, but you get the idea. And chances are that if you read astrology columns, you began the process of extricating yourself from beliefs that are not really yours long ago. Even so, there's often still more extricating that can be done—and done with love and compassion: for yourself (since this process can feel untethering or even threatening), and for those who modeled these beliefs (since they likely did not have the awareness to be able to teach you differently).
Speaking of love and compassion, which I consider to be hallmarks of humanity at its best, in the process of the pre-, post- and main retrograde phases, Mercury also makes three conjunctions to the Galactic Core (GC). This is the center of our Milky Way galaxy, considered by many to be a “cosmic homing signal” of sorts. Mercury also makes three squares to Chiron in Pisces, Chiron representing awareness designed to facilitate healing.
The cosmos would seem to be asking, "Are you getting the message? And if you are, what are you doing with it? Are you communicating it through humane action to serve the highest good? Are you letting it inspire or provoke you to heal what has been (or has become) painful?"
With Mercury making three sets of contacts with the GC and Chiron, it looks like this inquiry comes in layers; you may find yourself revising it over the coming weeks. What you learn might eventually point you in a new direction.
Meanwhile, we also have the Gemini full moon this weekend. This is the Moon in Gemini opposing the Sun in Sagittarius. Full moons always indicate peaks of energy, especially in interpersonal interactions.
In this case, the Sun and Moon are exactly square Neptune in Pisces. Neptune tends to indicate something might be unclear, deceptive, slippery, obscured, or otherwise not reflective of reality.
If you find yourself in any kind of conflict, confrontation, or deadlock this weekend, there's a good chance it may not be about what you think it is, or what someone (perhaps you) has said it is. This might not be fully intentional. For example, if you've been ignoring or repressing your emotions, you yourself might not be clear about your position, let alone how to negotiate it. Or one person might see many possible perspectives on a situation, while another person views it more dogmatically.
You'll want to pay attention to what you think you're expressing and compare it to what others seem to be hearing. Idealism could be running high, which can feel great and be incredibly useful. But with Neptune square the full moon and Mercury stationing retrograde, it's a good idea to check idealistic ideas against known facts.
A couple last reminders: With Mars in Libra opposite Uranus in Aries, this is a good week to temper your temper and practice patience in any misunderstandings. If you're feeling hemmed in by someone, see how you can begin to liberate yourself by noticing the freedom and empowerment you already possess, rather than rebelling outright. (You can read a little more about this in the Monday Astrology Diary on Planet Waves.)
Also, Venus leaving Scorpio to enter Sagittarius tomorrow should bolster friendlier vibes, your sense of inner strength, and your intuition. Luckily, you don't need to “believe” that for it to be true. Those are all qualities you can cultivate no matter where Venus—or any other planet—happens to be. You'll feel better, and that extends to everyone you interact with.