No sooner had the Thanksgiving leftovers been stowed away than my Facebook feed erupted in verbal fistfights about the language of the holiday season. Evidently, “Happy Holidays” is no longer a gently inclusive expression of good will, but the opening salvo in a new Crusades. And forget about “Xmas” as well, warned an indignant friend who demanded we “keep Christ in Christmas!” (I refrained from pointing out that the “X” in Xmas actually stands for Christ, because when someone is perched atop that high of a horse, facts might unbalance them and cause a nasty spill.)
Personally, I use Xmas prodigiously—not out of disrespect for others’ beliefs (I don’t celebrate Christmas but have no beef with those who do), but because it’s short and snappy. But since someone brought it up, I’ll state for the record that I don’t enjoy Christmas or Xmas. The vapid Christmas music and insipid holiday-themed movies, the unbridled spending, the hysteria of Black Friday and small business Saturday and cyber-Monday, and especially, turning what should be a season of kindness and joy into a philosophical battleground…whatever you wish to call our December holiday season, I call it exhausting.
I bring all this up, I suppose, because Saturn is getting ready to move in to Sagittarius (December 23). When a big, slow-moving planet lumbers into a new sign, it awakens new territory—in this case, the land of beliefs. Petty arguments about holiday greetings are examples of Sagittarius’ shadow side, the calcification of personal convictions into something ungenerous and exclusionary. Society still carries the scars of Pluto moving through Sagittarius from 1995 to 2008, when religious bickering and political bludgeoning took an ugly turn from which civility has never quite recovered. It would be a shame if Saturn moving through this sign reignited ancient grudges, encouraging the transfer of old opinions to new stone tablets.
At the risk of sounding like a scold, I find it troubling that everyone is so certain of everything these days. One tedious vestige of the Pluto in Sagittarius years is that so many pretend to be experts on every last topic of the day, even (or perhaps particularly) the ones about which they are wholly uninformed. When everyone has made up his mind, there’s no room left for interesting conversation.
Which brings us to this Full Moon in Sagittarius’ opposite sign, Gemini. Gemini doesn’t much care which holidays you choose to observe or what you call them; he can abide any heresy except boring conversation. He is an unbelieving secularist hovering near the holiday buffet table, munching potato chips and making acerbic remarks. His standard holiday greeting is, “Happy Whatever.” His job description, to paraphrase Caroline Casey, is “to believe nothing and entertain possibilities.”
The Full Moon in Gemini is our final reminder, before the Saturn in Sagittarius surge, that it’s (1) okay to ask questions, (2) okay not to know everything, and (3) okay not to have every last belief immutably nailed to the floor by the time you enter high school. It’s even (4) okay – healthy, even! – to occasionally change your mind about things, to be persuaded by facts and experience into seeing the world another way.
Simply carving your unexamined beliefs in stone is a waste of Saturn (or the Sun, or anything else) in Sagittarius. Entering this important transit with a curious, irreverent, Full Moon in Gemini spirit seems a much better approach. Sagittarius is the sign of the explorer, the traveler who encounters foreign lands and customs, decodes their meaning, and allows them to inform his own philosophy. Before we can discover the answers, though, we need to ask questions. The ultimate reward of Saturn in Sagittarius is a set of ethical and moral guidelines for your decisions and choices. But it’s unworthy to simply dig in our heels, pick fights, and attempt to force our opinions onto others. Saturn in Sagittarius will insist that we earn our beliefs, through considered research, humble introspection, and inquiry.
My hope for you is that this Full Moon in Gemini prelude to the holiday season is filled with curious questioning, humility, and sparkling conversation. If the Sun in Sagittarius season has been any indication, the Saturn in Sagittarius years will be interesting indeed. But as the Full Moon in Gemini reminds us, they needn’t be boring.
Image by Claudia Fernety. See more of Claudia’s work at her website.