When you’re young, everything that happens is new. There’s no telling which joys, triumphs, tragedies, or heartbreaks are random events, and which are the first installments in storylines that will play out across your lifetime. As a child, even into your teens and your twenties, you’re still figuring out what your stories are.
Gemini and its ruling planet, Mercury, are astrology’s storytellers, delineators of your life’s narrative arc. Enter your thirties, and you begin to recognize recurring plotlines—the sorts of people who capture your heart, and how those relationships typically end; the habits that are maddeningly hard to break; your distinctive pattern of achievement and failure. In your forties, there is often a strong pull to escape from some of your stories. And by the time you reach your fifties, you’re more or less resigned to them, even philosophical. You’ve seen examples of most of what will tend to happen to you, and it can get a little boring to watch more of it play out—but sort of comforting, too.
We tell ourselves stories about who we are, and after four or five decades, sometimes we just want a new story. I’ve wondered what it must like to be someone like Mick Jagger (not that there is anyone quite like Mick Jagger, of course, but you know what I mean), who has been playing Mick Jagger in public for fifty years, singing Satisfaction and leaping around the stage like a manic jack in the box. Does he ever just get sick and tired of the whole Mick Jagger thing?
Most mere mortals do get tired of being ourselves, at least a little bit, at some point. It’s a feeling that has been known to provoke dramatic gestures, especially if you’ve built a life based on denial of your essential or evolving nature. If you’ve seen someone walk out on a successful career, for instance, or a long marriage, you might wonder how things ever reached such a drastic denouement. But you can be just as trapped by success as by failure. And as a client once remarked to me, the sweetest part of a happy marriage—the fact that there is another person who knows your stories as well as you do and who has a certain investment in them—can also make you feel you have little freedom to rewrite your life if you get the urge.
It’s so easy to trivialize Gemini, to dismiss it as a fickle, gossipy, lightweight sign. But that is a young person’s way of looking at it, the perspective of someone who hasn’t yet learned about the tyranny of definition. When you’ve spent decades writing, editing, and telling your own life stories, you begin to see Gemini quite differently. Is it fickle to decide that you want the opportunity to explore something new about yourself, or is it a response to something primal and creative? Is it intellectually lazy to gossip about other people, or is it simple curiosity and fascination with fellow humans?
The Gemini experience is like a “road” movie, in which two or more very different characters, thrown together by chance, set out on an adventure by train, car, bus, horseback, or spaceship. By the end of the film, they’ve developed an appreciation for one another and a better understanding of themselves. But usually, the story ends with them going their separate ways.
The late critic Roger Ebert wrote about the peripatetic protagonist of one of my favorite road movies, Paris, Texas, “He loves and cares, he empathizes, but he cannot touch. He does not have that gift.” The most unfortunate perception of Gemini, I think, is that those with planets in this sign lack feeling or caring. Nothing could be further from the truth. But feeling is one thing, and touching a life is quite another. Each of us carries the Gemini gene, and most of us limit our close relationships, instinctively understanding that once we’re involved, we’re less available to new experiences. Once we’ve decided to be one thing, we can’t be another, no matter how much we might yearn to. For better or worse, commitment is the enemy of reinvention.
Each year, at the Gemini New Moon, we embark on a road trip for which destination and outcome are entirely beside the point. The Gemini season is for learning and reinvention, not for decisions. It’s the season of summer camp and internships and backpacking across Europe, and long drives across desolate highways, where there is nothing but room—room to be someone different for awhile, to let your imagination breathe, and to create a new story for yourself.