The lunar nodes recently moved into Gemini and Sagittarius, where they will remain for the next year and a half. With the nodes moving through the signs of meaning and perception, let’s prepare to have our minds blown. Let’s also acknowledge that maybe we don’t want our minds to be blown.
One thing we might all agree on is the fact that people can’t seem to agree on much. In an era of ideological extremism manifest through political division, identity politics, fake news, conspiracy theories, twitter battles, etc., we are all called to question how we make sense of the world, what we take for truth, and what we are even able to perceive. If we are unable to question our own perceptions and the stories we tell about them, how can we ever hope to understand another person, let alone communicate effectively?
The nodes moving into Gemini/ Sagittarius didn’t create these issues, but they do indicate that something is coming to a head. Some karma is “ripening” in the areas of collective meaning-making, perception, understanding, and communication. We make meaning through Sagittarius and its ruler, Jupiter. It shows us the big picture and Truth with a capital T. Through these symbols, we synthesize experience and form our religious, philosophical, and political ideologies. At best, Sagittarius makes living worthwhile. It shows you a version of the cosmos and your place within it. When Sagittarius goes bad, it can show up as dogmatic fundamentalism. Where Sagittarius sees the forest, Gemini sees the trees. Gemini is curious and experimental, always looking for new data and ideas. Gemini is a hummingbird, buzzing from flower to flower, sipping nectar and pollinating as it goes. At best, Gemini infuses us with beginner’s mind, showing us that there is always more to life than we supposed. When Gemini goes bad, it is usually through endless distraction, rationalization, word-vomit, and gorging on meaningless bits of unrelated information.
The South Node refers to our karmic and ancestral inheritance. It represents deeply-ingrained habits from the past that we cling to far past their use-by date. Like any inheritance, it contains both good and bad. Imagine that your grandfather dies and leaves you a Malibu beach house. Nice… but what if he was a hoarder, and the place is full of rats and black mold? You have inherited that, too. You might need to take out a loan almost the size of a mortgage just to make the place livable. Such is the South Node, which comes with undeniable gifts and garbage. The North Node offers the remedy for the dark side of the South Node. It helps us remove the garbage, but it’s not without its own dangers. There can be a magical allure to the North Node, as if it were the answer to all our problems, and it can pull us forward in an addictive pursuit of the new. We don’t ever feel entirely comfortable with it. The astrologer Adam Sommer puts it nicely when he says that the South Node represents the stories we have already lived and the North Node represents the stories we are writing. Thinking in terms of stories is even more pertinent with the nodes in Gemini/ Sagittarius, dealing as they do with meaning and communication. Stories are addictive and beguiling. Consider how difficult it is to see beyond your own stories of your childhood, your talents, your traumas, your peak experiences, or loss. These stories can define a person’s entire life. Now consider the equally mesmerizing stories of moving past your trauma, past your childhood, recovering from loss, or discovering that you are more than your talents or limitations. These, too, can define your life. It is easy to identify with either the past or the future. This gives an idea of the dynamic between the two nodes, which always exist in a perfect polarity. It’s not that stories are bad. We can’t help but tell stories. We must make sense of life. And yet, there is always more to the story than our stories. It is our job to try to find the proper point of balance between these oscillating extremes.
It is time to seriously reconsider the stories that we tell ourselves. Which stories keep us stuck and powerless? Which stories keeps us feeling entitled? Which stories keep us feeling victimized? Which stories justify our victimizing others? What do we believe the meaning of this pandemic is? What caused it? What is the meaning of Trump? What do we believe the biggest problem in the world to be? What do we think will fix it? Who do we believe has the most right to be heard? Who do we wish to silence? What makes us feel justified in shouting another person down?
Here’s the story I’m telling myself: our biggest problems lie in our stories, and the resultant addiction to our own identity. I could be wrong, but it seems to me to be a better story than much of the propaganda that our egos and the media sling about. As Yeats said in The Second Coming, a poem at least as appropriate to our time as its own: “the best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.” As the poem says, things do fall apart; the center cannot hold. The best we can do is ride the tide. The worst we can do is hold rigidly to what we absolutely believe about ourselves and others.
Gemini says “open your mind”. Gemini can offer new data and new models for making sense of things. Sagittarius offers a world view. When they integrate, voilà: a better world view— an expanded potential find meaning and yet approach things with a beginner’s mind. However, if we insist on holding onto our dogmas, we devolve into meme-slinging and an extreme fixation on language and ideas. Life becomes even more of a meaningless mess of soundbites, twitter skirmishes, and BuzzFeed and Fox News headlines.
Another theme I see in the Gemini/ Sagittarius polarity involves finding the right language to express truth. Language is lamentably insufficient to convey the greatest truths, and this is why existence is ultimately a mystery. Just when you think you’ve found the right phrase or concept, everything gets flipped around on you. It sometimes feels like life is a board game with intentionally confusing rules. But some truths are perceptible, even if they cannot be perfectly put into words. Yet, it is still important to look for the right words. Maybe there’s no such thing as absolute truth, but it’s certainly not as relative as many have come to believe. As we are coming to find with all dualities, absoluteness and relativity exist on a spectrum.
Nietzsche said that a person cannot get more out of things than they already know— that where one lacks experience, they also lack an ear with which to hear. So much misunderstanding and miscommunication results from people simply not hearing what others are saying. This may be willful, emotional, or due to a simple lack of experience. We often get stuck at one level of awareness, and yet people can and do transcend previous levels of consciousness. The inner experiences that move them in this direction are subtle and not necessarily obvious from the outside. A new capacity for perception and understanding can only arise when we allow new experiences to break through. This is the potential that I see in working with Gemini/ Sagittarius.