Illustration by Taylor Dow
                                Illustration by Taylor Dow

Illustration by Taylor Dow Illustration by Taylor Dow

Experiential Learning

Mercury goes retrograde and Saturn says it’s crunch time.

Rocky week ahead! Touchy moods and loud truths are swirling, so proceed with caution. On Saturday Mercury officially turns retrograde in awkward-and-blunt Sagittarius. In addition, Mercury’s current out-of-bounds orbit makes calm communication rather difficult. Everyone’s got strong opinions and fiery words. On Sunday, a potentially dicey full Moon in Gemini pulls out big truths, along with big emotions. Oh, and planet Saturn is applying constant pressure to make sure we’re ready for final exams at Maturity University. No shortcuts, no slacking. Saturn will continue to make its “Grow up!” presence felt until mid-December when the planet finally enters Capricorn after a two-and-a-half-year stay in Sagittarius. Saturn’s upcoming sign change is a big deal, and we’re already feeling the serious squeeze. Whatever Saturn-related responsibility issues you dealt with in April—then again in late August—will have a “next act” this week. Although the Sun is in celebratory Sagittarius, there’s much work to do.


Sagittarius is a sign associated with “higher learning,” publishing, and foreign travel. In a word: expansion! Its opposite sign, Gemini, represents the early stage of life when we start school as curious kids; by the time we reach Sagittarius (the ninth sign) we’re adults, eager to continue our education and to travel beyond our familiar village. Sagittarius acquires wisdom through direct experiences with people, ideas, and places. Because the sign seeks to know the meaning of life, Sagittarius wants to understand different philosophies and belief systems. Rather than aspire to master one subject and memorize facts like a Virgo, Sagittarius prefers to know a little about a lot. (On my high school quiz bowl team, my Sagittarius self was known for a secret weapon: “wild card” knowledge.)

Higher learning doesn’t always mean college. Independent Sag loves self-guided curriculum and learning for the fun of it. When I think of the Sagittarius realm of publishing and knowledge exchange, I think of the internet. Astrology often expresses itself in both our personal lives and news headlines. When Saturn touched Mercury on the 27th, their contact coincided with a grave threat to net neutrality. The structure (represented by Saturn) of communication (Mercury) is at risk. (This contact will happen again on December 6.) Since both planets are in Sagittarius, we’re considering philosophical questions about the freedom to access information.


We’ll all learn lessons this week. Saturn wants us to see things about ourselves so we can get our act together. A retrograde Mercury will expose new information about previous conversations or events. Mercury might even send us people from our past to remind us of lessons or to complete unfinished business. And this Gemini full Moon will teach us about partnerships and clarify our own feelings too. Yet because Neptune sits at a hard angle to the full Moon, we might have to deal with issues around sacrifice, suffering, confusion, or even water. You can’t move forward until you face the truth of your present and past. It’s one theme of The Shining, a film that happens to be screening at Northwest Film Forum on December 1 in a special format: backwards and forwards, at the same time. Accompanied by a live soundtrack by musician Corey J. Brewer, the two versions of the film will be superimposed to add additional meaning and weird synchronicities. What a metaphor for the coming week.


Wednesday the 29th throws challenges our way throughout the day. An Aries Moon means people are eager to do things their way yet reluctant to compromise. Tomorrow will be better for collaborating. Thursday the 30th is a fine day to join forces with others and work together. Enjoy a delicious meal (the Moon is in Taurus) or complete chores you’ve been avoiding. Friday the 1st is buzzing with daring, brave energy. As long as you channel your amped state into useful action (and don’t blow your top in anger) you can get a lot done. Mars and Uranus create tension between “your” needs and “our” needs. You’ll want to reconsider options and opinions today and tomorrow. Venus also enters Sagittarius until the 24th. Mercury goes retrograde late on Saturday the 2nd. The good news on Saturday is Jupiter and Neptune create a beneficial angle that helps you continue to rethink opinions so you can make a wise choice. Sunday the 3rd brings a full Moon in Gemini. While knowing the truth is essential, under this full Moon truths might be revealed in a jarring way. Any delusions or misconceptions we have may pop! and cause some discomfort. Monday the 4th keeps those full-Moon emotions flowing, as the Moon shifts into water-sign Cancer around noon. You can accomplish a lot in the morning, but watch out for power struggles or important negotiations throughout the day. Tuesday the 5th looks pretty good. The Moon is working in harmony with Neptune today to support creative projects and encourage empathy. The evening could include a face-off that pits feelings against cold facts. Be gentle.

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