Back in my Jurassic, pre-Internet teenage days, I answered an ad in the back of a book and sent away for a copy of my birth chart. When it arrived in the mail, scribbled in an actual astrologer’s cryptic hand, I was disappointed to find that the Moon was in Gemini at my birth. I’d never read anything good about Gemini. Any planets in Gemini, I was led to understand, doomed your character to deceit and unreliability.
I don’t remember reading anything about Gemini’s delirious love of words. If I had, I’d have recognized myself immediately and claimed my moon sign with pride. I learned to read and write before starting elementary school and became a voracious consumer of the written word. Almost simultaneously, I found that I loved to write and had what my teachers always called “a way with words.” All of this I grew to appreciate through the symbolism of the Moon at my birth, traipsing through a Mercurial sign.
But if I have to be honest (and my Sagittarius ascendant insists that, yes – yes, I do)… I’m not always honest. I’ve been known to bend the truth in the service of telling a better story, for instance – or, usually, because it makes for a better joke. As Walt Price, the slick film director character in David Mamet’s State and Main put it, “[The truth] is just so narrow.” This is the same character who, when caught in a glib prevarication, declared, “It’s not a lie – it’s a gift for fiction.”
Like all signs, Gemini is multi-faceted. One face of Gemini is the relentless reporter who pursues and reports facts, sometimes in the face of dire personal consequences. There is also the Gemini who delights in picking holes in your argument, even if he has no particular dog in the fight. He simply enjoys the intellectual exercise, and it tickles him to see you discomfited.
And there is the Walt Price facet of Gemini as well. This trickster Gemini is not necessarily a liar, but he finds the truth just a little too narrow. Let others – those allied with his opposite sign, Sagittarius, for instance – tell the unvarnished truth: this Gemini is interested in making the message itself more appealing and interesting. If given the choice between being the most virtuous person in the room or the most clever, this Gemini will cheerfully throw sincerity to the wind.
In a person – in most people – trickster Gemini/Mercury is hardly a terminal disease. They are simply in love with, and delighted by, language, as a child clapping excitedly at soap bubbles. If you understand this and accept that their words are not necessarily to be taken literally, and that you must learn to pay attention to their actions instead, I assure you that you are as likely to find human kindness and affection as in any sign.
But in a broader, societal sense, this “gift for fiction” can have dangerous consequences. Gemini is the sign of the messenger, and if the King can’t trust his messenger to give him the facts, his decision-making will suffer. If you live in a bubble where you are allowed only comforting, validating interpretations of your own truth, you are likely to be stunned when the world doesn’t behave the way you’ve been told it will.
You will believe misinformation from those in authority that leads to costly and tragic mistakes. You will assure yourself that your strategies are working and miss opportunities to correct course when it becomes obvious to everyone else that they are failing. You will assume that all decent people think like you do and be baffled and enraged when confronted at Thanksgiving dinner with irrefutable evidence to the contrary. All because the people who are supposed to tell you what’s really going on in the world have “a gift for fiction.”
For two and a half years, eclipses in Gemini have provided numerous opportunities to see what happens when we believe too many fictions, when we are fed only the juiciest and most entertaining stories and very little in the way of facts and critical analysis. When more Americans tuned in to the adventures of “Honey Boo Boo” than the televised debates between the two men who were most likely to become our next president, trickster Gemini is ruling the day.
At least we’ve seen the occasional triumph of reason and objectivity as well. When New York Times statistician Nate Silver correctly predicted President Obama’s reelection and continued Democratic control of the Senate, he was savaged by conservative media outlets and pundits. In the end, Silver’s analysis (based on the same model that correctly predicted the Republican sweep of the House of Representatives in 2010) was vindicated. Meanwhile, conservative pundit Karl Rove was left sputtering with disbelief in front of a nation of Fox News viewers, vigorously denying reality as Ohio was called for Mr. Obama.
I’m no fan of Karl Rove. But to be fair, we all have blind spots, and since late 2010 a series of eclipses in Gemini and Sagittarius have lobbed a series of truth grenades into our carefully curated, agreeable little information bubbles. If you haven’t had some of your beliefs shattered in the past few years, then you’ve built one tough bubble for yourself.
This Full Moon is our last Gemini eclipse until November 2020. Here is one last opportunity to reach for objectivity over self-serving beliefs – or to let the trickster fool you one last time, and live in happy but doomed ignorance. After all, it shows poor character to present an intentionally skewed version of reality, but an even poorer one to believe in it yourself.
© 2012 April Elliott Kent
Painting by Claudia Fernety. See more of Claudia’s work at her website.