It is a busy month astrologically in December, with major turning points and revelations signaled by the planet of love and beauty, Venus turning retrograde on December 19th, right after the mentally stimulating Gemini Full Moon on December 18th. Re-directions, adjustments, and deepening into new realities also come with the final exact square aspect between the old of Saturn and the new of Uranus on December 23rd, taking us into our third year of challenges to the old ordering of our lives. The driving action of Mars moving into Sagittarius frees up more of our life energy for risk-taking starting on December 13th, while mental Mercury pushes us to think more practically, moving into structural Capricorn on the same day.
Venus Retrograde in Capricorn
The main event this week, alongside the December 18th Full Moon, is Venus stationing retrograde on December 19th at 26° Capricorn. She will dance backward in the sky for forty days and forty nights, departing as the evening star and making her descent to the underworld in early January. Venus won’t reappear in the sky again until late January, when she is reborn as a morning star, returning to direct motion at 11° Capricorn.
A great many of us will be descending with her, as Venus retrogrades tend to unearth all of our relational vulnerabilities. And we have likely been receiving hints and foreshadowing of what experiences and moods we can expect ever since November 17th, when Venus entered the shadow of her retrograde. Venus likes harmony, pleasantness, sweetness, and what feels good—she can therefore represent an avoidance of what might cause discord, leading to superficial relationships, and superficial agreements. We can expect the next few months to expose whatever truth lies hidden beneath any superficiality and pleasantries. But even carefully built relationships may discover misalignments of values or unhealthy energy flows which demand some care, attention, and reworking. Similarly, many will experience an unveiling of financial realities we’ve been avoiding or didn’t know about or a disruption in the ordinary flow of money and cooperation.
Heightened paranoia is likely to accompany this retrograde of Venus, as she conjoins the lord of the underworld, Pluto (exact December 11th, December 25th, and March 3rd), which flavors the entire retrograde period. We may become suspicious of our friends or our romantic or business partners, as feelings of inadequacy, jealousy, or competition for attention start to emerge. Betrayal is another common Venus-Pluto theme, though in some cases, it could be difficult to discern whether a betrayal has actually occurred or if old, unhealed violations are being projected onto the current situation.
It is possible to undertake a process of purification, reconsecration, and rebuilding relationships under this retrograde, but only after a typically disruptive process of revelation and emotional indigestion. The transformative power (Pluto) of love (Venus), and the burning away of karmic entanglements need the right crucible. It may be an imperfect process, yet can be very productive if we allow our vulnerability to carry us into transparency to ourselves—seeing our own weaknesses, flaws, needs, and manipulative tendencies. In fact, we must watch out for making others feel vulnerable (being manipulative) in order to avoid facing our own feelings of exposure or fear.
Venus Retrograde Key Dates
Venus is the planet of love, beauty, harmony, sweetness, receiving things, and collaboration. Her retrograde tends to turn up all of our vulnerabilities and can reveal relationship dynamics that are otherwise hidden.
Aries Sun or Rising
Workplace dynamics could get weird for you under this Venus retrograde, as office politics get a little wild, or some seedy and perhaps shocking information comes to light.
Taurus Sun or Rising
The way you imagine relationships—especially financial, romantic, and friendship—is up for revisioning in this Venus retrograde, as your own desires pull you into deeper philosophical reflection and consideration.
Gemini Sun or Rising
Concerns about debts to others, and your own vulnerability to the power of others, is likely to be churned up in this Venus retrograde, and draw your attention to contractual obligations.
Cancer Sun or Rising
Venus is retrograding through your house of intimate relationships, Cancerians, and so it’s doubling-down on digging up your feelings of vulnerability, inadequacy, unmet desires and the intensity of your love--say yes to an inner exploration and get free of untrue beliefs!
Leo Sun or Rising
How your routines are serving or undermining your health and well-being—and therefore your ability to earn a living or share your gifts with the world—are under scrutiny during this Venus retrograde.
Virgo Sun or Rising
This Venus retrograde is asking you to look at the ways you let your hair down and have fun, and to maybe go for a little more depth, a little more messy, a little less controlled—an intense sexual adventure may even be in the picture for you.
Libra Sun or Rising
You’re working through issues of belonging, roots, home and family under this Venus retrograde—the ways you give and receive love, and therefore understand how you belong in your family, may become more conscious now.
Scorpio Sun or Rising
This Venus retrograde may involve some breakups with peers with whom you no longer see eye to eye (or difficulties with neighbors), and yet it is wise to examine your own habitual way of thinking about things, to learn more about your role in those disagreements.
Sagittarius Sun or Rising
You may be struggling with self-esteem under this Venus retrograde, or alternatively, have to face some concerns about your income and financial health, including the state of your material possessions.
Capricorn Sun or Rising
This Venus retrograde falls in your sign, Capricorn, and you may have to consider the ways that you project your appearance into the world, and whether that still suits who you are now.
Aquarius Sun or Rising
The ways that you undermine and sabotage yourself may become more apparent under this Venus retrograde, and if you open yourself to the knowledge, you may also be surprised to find a “friend” working against you behind your back.
Pisces Sun or Rising
Your hopes and dreams for the future are undergoing a transformation of values in this Venus retrograde, and it is possible that the groups of people you associate or identify with will receive a similar reorganization.
Bringing us a little courage to the task of facing vulnerability, we have the warrior Mars marching into adventurous Sagittarius on December 13th, where he will be until January 24th. This is a significant shift in our energy to get up and go, which may have been a bit tangled up in Scorpionic questions of who has power over our situation. In Sagittarius, the natural boldness of Mars can be more direct, but also more light-hearted and willing to try out new things for the fun of it. This helps to somewhat counter the emotional density and intrigue signified by the Venus-Pluto conjunction that is exact on this day, perhaps giving some of us a willingness to enter the new emotional territory and be less frightened by the intensity. It could also signal some sexual adventure, especially together with taboo-breaking Venus-Pluto, seeking out and finding new ecstasies and pleasures.
Just as Mars enters Sagittarius, the planet of the mind, thinking, and concepts enter the sober sign of Capricorn on December 13th, where they will be until January 1st. Mercury will compete with Mars in terms of an adventurous versus a practical outlook. Mercury in Capricorn indicates a tendency to be more concerned with practical outcomes and strategic analysis, and could be both an ally to the Venus retrograde dissolution process—at least trying to see more clearly—and a hindrance, where the desire to know the end of the process can get in the way of just being in it. The present moment is where all the action happens and trying to have an end game all figured out can derail creative responses and growth in our relationships. Mercury’s square to Chiron in Aries (exact December 18th) indicates that we may have some trouble with voicing our will and fumble around with communicating what we want.
Adding a great deal of weight to the picture is the third and final exact square between the planet of structure, Saturn, and the planet of undoing, Uranus (exact December 23rd). This is part of a larger world transit cycle (December 2019—January 2024) which reflects an intense polarization of the collective that may be splitting apart our own relationships with family, friends, and loved ones, representing a pitched battle of values and beliefs about truth (Saturn) and progress (Uranus). This tension feeds into the Venus retrograde and compels us to address our differences with others. Any relationships which are on uncertain footing may finally break apart or be significantly challenged to reorganize. Saturn-Uranus brings a quality of change experienced as a crisis, reflecting sudden reversals of affairs, surprising upsets, and collapsing structures.
At the same time, the release of subterranean pressures may also be experienced as a relief. And it may be that negative illusions fall away to reveal a much brighter, more hopeful truth—even though it may also feel uncomfortable, exposing or even destabilizing to allow that goodness in. We might consider the words of a sacred text, the Bhagavad Gita: “Fear not. What is not real, never was, and never will be. What is real, always was and cannot be destroyed.”
And the quest for truth and what is real is a good way to think of the Full Moon in Gemini on December 18t at 8:35 pm Pacific. The spotlight is on the multiplicity of stories and perspectives when the Sagittarius Sun opposes a Gemini Moon. We may wish to obsess over ideas and prefer to think about our feelings (instead of feeling them), though perhaps we will receive some needed fresh perspective on something that worries us. The Moon receives a supportive trine aspect from buoyant Jupiter, offering a bit of blessing and grace to an otherwise tense time. All the same, we may encounter conflicting desires to be socially engaged or to avoid people and inhabit our own world of thoughts. Where our thoughts may lead us could be a bit erratic—Venus-Pluto’s depth challenges our equilibrium while Mars in Sagittarius is happy to gallop off into uncertain territory. New experiences are on the menu for this Full Moon in Gemini, whether they are more palatable or more repulsive.
The Moon represents who we are before we even think about who we are. It describes our deepest vulnerabilities and our most profound capacity to connect with others. Full Moons amplify energy and emotions, and this Moon suggests some high adventure that may make some of us very uncomfortable—though others may enjoy breaking through taboos into new experiences. Let’s see how the Gemini Full Moon impacts your own Moon placement!
Aries Moon is always quick off the mark, but this Full Moon may have you struggling a bit with direction—there are so many to take! Relationships with peers, siblings or neighbors may also be a bit tense, as the question of your sensitivity to the needs of others is brought to the surface. Defensiveness will get you nowhere, while setting aside wounded pride can offer a path of greater connection and understanding.
A contemplation of your relationship to risk-taking and the dangers of maintaining the status quo could figure under the Gemini Full Moon. Well-worn habits and patterns meant to ensure your security may become more visible and available for interrogation—do these holding patterns align with your current philosophy of life? And the hopes and dreams you have for yourself?
The last Full Moon of 2021 belongs to you, Gemini Moon! You might find yourself in a spirited debate with those closest to you—maybe even with your own conflicting desires. Which of your personalities or inclinations will show up for the conflict, and who among them will prevail? Your vulnerabilities to the influence of others is perhaps more visible than usual, and you may get a glimpse of how you have unconsciously felt (rightly or wrongly) indebted to other people.
You may be going through some relationship jitters, Cancer Moon, as the foundations of your sense of security are challenged to reorganize. Something ancient and deeply rooted is stirring within you, trying to break a pattern of identifying with wounds—but this is only possible if you are willing to let go of that protective crab shell and experience life as it is in the now, rather than filtering life through the experiences of the past.
This lunation could have you reflecting on the ways you nourish and feed your creativity—or deprive yourself of that nourishment. If you’re feeling somewhat trapped by the structuring of your life, you may receive inspiration for how to make adjustments to your routines, though it may seem daunting and perhaps even scary. But if the structures of your life are to align to your expectations for the future, it looks helpful to re-evaluate how you think about support systems.
The struggle for creative control in the workplace or in your life’s calling is real! You may be forced to look at the ways that you undermine yourself on this front, by fighting over inconsequential details. Rethinking the practical route to achieving your creative vision can help you clear some of those obstacles.
The Gemini Full Moon wants very much to dig into your unconscious and show you what lurks there. The ordinary thinking mind may assert itself and try to provide a cover story for what you’re feeling these days, a story that justice is in action and all is understood. But allowing inner turbulence to surface (instead of covering it up with clever stories) will do much more to restore harmony and provide you with insight and understanding.
Your unconscious drives and habitual thoughts seem to be both a hindrance and help under this Full Moon. On the one hand, Scorpio Moon is quite comfortable with what makes most people uncomfortable, but on the other hand, when the tables are turned and it’s time to probe your secret places, it is easy to get defensive and evasive. Whether the conversation concerns financial or emotional debts, you may discover some new vulnerabilities as others try to scrutinize you.
Friends may be calling you out for insensitivity under this Gemini Full Moon, which could ultimately help you to better align your words and aspirations to your actions. It may be that issues of self-worth are a bit churned up, and conflict with friends or lovers digs into some of those more tender areas.
Awareness of the burdens you’re shouldering through this season may be strangely energizing for you under this lunation, Capricorn Moon. Your sense of purpose is fortified by this knowledge, and maybe you’re ready to strategize how to take on even more. But beware, as you might unconsciously be expecting gratitude and recognition from others for your efforts—and will perhaps be disappointed.
You may be surprised by the force of feeling in you, Aquarius Moon, as you reach towards the future you want for yourself. Is it the Child within you that wants to be let out to play more, to be spontaneous, to be free of all cares? Is it the visionary chained up by the long-forgotten troubles of ancestors, who wants you to break free and discover a larger vision of yourself?
The friends you merge with are part of the picture of this lunation, Pisces Moon. You may be dimly aware that some of your friendships aren’t fully in alignment with your deepest truths, and the truth of who you are. You may find yourself searching for your own reflection in these friendships, and though it may sometimes be upsetting, recognizing the mismatches will help you make space in your life for connections and camaraderie that support you as much as you support them.