Today I am in Vienna, Austria, a place I typically cherish. Yet this time we arrive to wet, unseasonably cold and dreary weather and an impersonal feeling Airbnb apartment filled with minimalist Ikea furnishings. Our apartment lacks all warmth and soulfulness, I brought all the wrong clothes, I miss my dog, Magnus, and my body hurts from the uncomfortable furniture that makes it hard for me to work – or do anything. A metaphor for life, travel is rife with suffering, discomfort, extreme fatigue, inconvenience and time sinks.
Still, I am lucky; my husband travels a lot, so I choose my trips. A girlfriend asked me what I do everyday while he works. I prefer to avoid touristy crowds. I do mundane, everyday things that I do at home. I become absorbed in daily life, but this time with the fresh eyes of a traveler. I walk a lot. I look in boutique windows. I ride the underground, and shop for provisions in open-air markets. I smile when I come across a sight that I’d never encountered before: A whole shop devoted to colorful handmade peppermills (and that at first glance resemble something else). A dog so small I could fit it in my pocket. We play with, stumble through, and marvel at the language. Our Austrian friend, who has lived here lifelong, tells us there is a bastard word that translates as: “this person was conceived by two people who had sex on a park bench”. He says his (progressive) 75 years-young mother just taught him this word. We laugh.
Regular readers know I love Vienna. All 3 of my books were either written or have their origins in this place so I’ve come to think of it as inspirational, magical – my muse – and have even questioned whether I’m actually a European at heart. Yearly, John and I (who share a composite ninth house Leo Sun) have rekindled our romance here. Together, we’ve made this journey 9 times over the past 9 years, for week and months-long stretches… so for all these reasons and more I didn’t expect to feel adrift, listless, and frankly, done. Not now. The pleasures that once called my name with their intrigues, the cakes, coffees, museums and shops, suddenly feel empty. I notice how little things have changed here over the years and, instead of being charmed as usual, this fact feels provincial and oppressive. I grow confused. Maybe the inconveniences of travel have finally outweighed its delights. Maybe this once unfamiliar Sagittarian journey has grown too familiar. I think about the number 9, the number of fruition, completion.
With its love for movement, variety and change, the Gemini season stimulates us to seek out new information, scenery, and this new information we gather is Gemini’s lifeblood, pumping new thoughts and perceptions into our Spirit. To engage Gemini, we do things that open our mind -like travel, get an astrology reading, read a new book, have a stimulating conversation or just step outside our door with the intention to learn or try something new. Gemini Sun’s pilgrim counterpart, the Sagittarius Moon, with its hunger for adventure and soul-broadening experiences, is a clever companion. Alone, Gemini Sun can scatter and spend experiences like Monopoly money, unconcerned for their wisdom, truth, but Sagittarius Moon prompts perspective: Yes, but what does this mean to your heart?
This Moon is Full in Sagittarius, sign of: journeys and journeyors, sitting on mountain tops and drinking from the dregs of life. Every time we follow our restless instinct to expand into the unfamiliar we engage Sagittarius. Yet an unfamiliar destination never guarantees certainty; that is why it’s called a journey. Where will we actually wind up? How will it turn out in the end? What will our heart learn, this time around? We just never know…And right now, we truly don’t know. Neptune wearily squares this Full Moon: Amidst our hunger for experiences, inexplicable feelings of dis-illusionment, dis-enchantment, sorrow, sadness, and loss may inextricably surface like a piece of driftwood from the sea of consciousness into our own. Neptune’s placement at this lunation suggests our consciousness is shifting in an area of our life, and we need to give our self stillness to simply be with and process the new information. Like watching a ship come into a foggy harbor, we are working with a level of uncertainty and unknowns, and like the ship, we, too, need to give our self a wide berth. We need to give our self space to accept and adapt to changing conditions. We may need to let go… of an old identity, a way of being, a place.
I have a thought that scares me to speak aloud, so I don’t: I don’t know if I want to come back, here, again. This place, of our honeymoon 9 years ago, this place that has nurtured our marriage, has been so sacred and integral to our identity as a couple that it feels sacrilegious to even think it. Neptune molts us, like my chickens do, annually, asks us to surrender our reliable feathers with only a teardrop of faith that downy new ones will re-grow. Seekers always look for gifts of personal meaning in every journey. I have been given a great privilege in being here, and I hope I have reciprocated this with all my heart -even as it changes. It has been a blessing to know Vienna, to have loved and been loved by her. So with wistful tears in my eyes, heart full of gratitude, I step outside the door of our flat. The weather has changed; it is sunny and warm now. People are drinking aperitifs on pop-up sidewalk cafes that weren’t here yesterday. I choose an unfamiliar street, and a natural foods grocer I’d not discovered in my other 9 times here magically appears. Things are looking up. That old familiar feeling returns: Vienna loves me. Vienna is my friend.