This article first appeared on Mooncircles. It is reprinted here with permission of the author.

New Moon/Solar Eclipse
Sun and Moon joined at 9.20 Gemini
May 30, 2003 9:20 pm PDT
May 31, 2003, 0:20 am EDT/4:20 am GMT

Gemini rules the lungs and the breath, our intimate exchange of air with those around us, and the practical and creative use of the hands and the mind. In child development it corresponds to the beginnings of conscious thought, the acquisition of language skills and of manual dexterity. Gemini rules over the primary school years and the vitally important friendships and rivalries with siblings, neighbors and schoolmates. It's about encountering the world and other people, defining oneself in relation to them, naming and categorizing all the creatures and things around us, and announcing this information to whoever will listen.

Thought is possible only by means of the mind's ability to divide reality in half. Just as in the classic creation myths the cosmos is first divided into earth and sky, or Darkness is separated from Light, our minds construct a world by separating good from bad, light from dark, masculine from feminine, moral from immoral, cool from uncool, mine from yours. Within the family, siblings tend to carve out their distinct identities by dividing up the available turf. One becomes the A student, the other becomes the goof-off, the daydreamer, the athlete or the artist. One is pliable and well-behaved, the other rebellious and hard to manage. Later in life they may grow more alike as each takes back some of the unrealized personality potential, but in childhood this differentiation is necessary for individual development.

The Gemini in mythology are the twins, the light and dark brothers (or sisters) who represent the two sides to every question and the two paths open to us at any fork in the road. This motif has such psychological juice that it continually resurfaces in dream, fantasy and melodrama. If you're a soap opera fan, count the number of characters on your favorite programs who have turned out to have an Evil Twin, or at least a long-lost twin with a drastically different personality. If you've been watching for more than a few years, you will need all ten fingers. And notice how as they grapple with each other, the darker traits of the "bad" twin often surface in the "good" twin. In reality the two are halves of one whole, and each needs to reclaim some of its missing qualities from the other.

Gemini is often seen as a frivolous character, interested in everything no matter how trivial or serious, and not a moral heavyweight. But its capacity to differentiate and choose is a necessary component of morality and ethics. At this Solar Eclipse, ethical awareness seems especially called for, as Uranus, Mars and Neptune are all found in Gemini's solar Ninth House of religion, philosophy and ethics while Pluto in Sagittarius (sign of faith and ethics) opposes the Sun and Moon from the Seventh House of justice. The degree symbols point to issues related to communication, ambition, and the testing of limits. The symbol for 10 Gemini is "An airplane performing a nose dive"; that for the opposite degree, 10 Sagittarius, is "A theatrical representation of a golden-haired goddess of opportunity." (It's a good idea to read each degree symbol in tandem with its complementary opposite - a truly Geminian approach!) This pairing implies defiance of the limits of nature, hurling oneself against the barriers of fate, and the use of propaganda in the service of ambition and greed.

An eclipse in this degree area challenges us to examine our own communications and the goals they serve as well as the official policy pronouncements of our government and the agendas behind them. Issues of ethics, justice and effectiveness in communication have been highlighted throughout the transit of Saturn in Gemini which began in August 2000 and will conclude on June 3, 2003. This eclipse, occurring in the last days of Saturn's tour of Gemini, asks us to examine what we have learned from the painful experiences of this period.

Anti-American propaganda propelled nineteen men to smash hijacked airliners into the Pentagon and the World Trade Center, "sending a message" from a constituency Americans didn't, and don't, understand. The United States government subsequently mounted a massive diplomatic and media campaign to justify a war against Iraq by alleging that its leaders had aided or sheltered our attackers and that its weapons posed a threat to America. Opponents of war against Iraq used the Internet to send their message round the world, creating a network of concern and focused action, which however was dismissed by Washington. After the fall of Baghdad a Bush administration source acknowledged that the official justifications for the war had been somewhat exaggerated, if not actually fabricated, but that the real purpose of the attack on Iraq had been "to send a message."

Without being self-righteous or partisan, we can reflect on all these attempts at communication and ask whether they have achieved their aims, whether those aims were just, and whether they exhibited the Saturnine virtues of honesty, sobriety and responsibility. And wherever we come down on the war issue, we can ask: What can my enemy teach me? What do I have to learn from those on the other side of the argument?

Finally, for U.S. citizens, questions loom regarding access to information, as the Federal Communications Commission prepares to meet on Saturn's last full day in Gemini (June 2) to decide whether to further reduce the restrictions on corporate ownership of media outlets. (If you're feeling a final surge of Saturnine responsibility for the health of media in a democratic society, visit PBS.org to learn more.)

(Look for the Sagittarius Full Moon June 14, 2003.)

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