On Gemini’s New Moon Solar Eclipse, Mercury Retrograde, and the Cosmic Nodes of Destiny.

GEMINIS!

If you were born between May 20 – June 21, you’re a Gemini, as you’re probably well aware. We’re happy to be in your astrological sign in the Zodiac right now. We’re in the thick of Gemini season!

A little Astrology 101, for those who don’t know: In terms of the elements, Gemini is an air sign (swift, cerebral, communicative). In terms of the qualities, Gemini is a mutable sign (adaptable, agreeable to change, easily go-with-the-flow). Gemini’s governing planet is Mercury, the planet of communication, information, intellectual curiosity, and learning.

Gemini is a brilliant sign, and Geminis are some of my favorite humans. They’re quick-thinking, bright, and interested in everything. They’re likable people, and they’re fond of people, themselves. They’re keen observers and good conversationalists. My Mom is a Gemini!

MERCURY RETROGRADE

In the zodiac, Mercury is currently stationed in Gemini… and it happens to be in retrograde. Mercury retrograde can be annoying, but it’s such cosmic shenanegans that make things interesting and instructive for we Earthlings. Retrograde is a time for us to review, reflect, reassess, and recalibrate, and we are wise to take the opportunity.

Regarding the retrograde, though, what is it, exactly? What is Mercury doing? It’s orbiting the sun, like we do here in our solar system, but it’s eased up on the accelerator. It’s slowed down, so from our viewpoint, it appears to be moving backwards. Mercury retrograde is a circumstance that impacts us here on Earth. This tomfoolery occurs about three times each year.

I mean, other planets go retrograde, too, and they all have an impact in one significant way or another. Saturn and Pluto are also in retrograde right now!

But Mercury retrograde is the notorious one. It’s the one that we notice, because it messes with our daily lives on a topical level. It’s the one that causes our technology to go haywire in any number of ways. Right now, with Mercury being the planet of communication and the planet that rules Gemini, and this being Gemini season, and Mercury retrograde happening in its home sign of Gemini, we may be feeling the retrograde’s effects more intensely than usual, especially with technological snafus and user-error mishaps related to communications. Communications programs and devices glitching and crashing. Texts and emails sent to the wrong person by mistake. Replying “to all” by accident. Phone connections dropping and notifications settings mysteriously turned off, causing us to miss calls and texts. Message transmissions delayed. Internet connections slowed down, or otherwise disrupted.

Mercury retrograde drama isn’t limited to communications technology, though. Basically, it’s open season on any kind of technology or machinery. I personally know four people who’ve had to deal with car problems since Mercury went Retrograde on the 29th of May. Thankfully, Mercury goes Direct again soon, on the 22nd, the day after the Sun moves out of Gemini. Mercury basically spent its entire time in its own zodiac sign in retrograde. I’m sorry, Geminis.

JUNE 10, 2021 ANNULAR SOLAR ECLIPSE

Now, about that slinky, glamorous solar eclipse that just occurred on the 10th. (Which I did not see, by the way.) While we were focused on the “Ring of Fire” eclipse, the event was, first and foremost, a New Moon. It was Gemini’s New Moon. (Solar eclipses happen on the New Moon, while lunar eclipses happen on the Full Moon.) New Moons mean new beginnings and fresh starts, renewed resolve, setting intentions, and getting action plans underway. Eclipses amplify all of this and clear the path for big changes. Our Gemini New Moon was supercharged by the eclipse!

NORTH NODE IN GEMINI

For me, though, the most interesting factor in the picture of the Gemini New Moon Solar Eclipse was that it was a North Node eclipse… and that the North Node is also currently in Gemini. (Clearly, Gemini is having a moment.)

The Moon has two lunar nodes: the North (ascending) Node, and, directly opposite, the South (descending) Node. These Nodes are the points where the moon crosses the ecliptic (Earth’s orbital plane) twice a month as it revolves around the Earth.

THE NODES OF DESTINY (KARMIC NODES)

From an astrological standpoint, these lunar nodes, which are mathematical points rather than physical cosmic bodies, are called the Karmic Nodes, or the Nodes of Destiny. The North Node is Destiny, and the South Node is Karma. What’s more, the nodes have names: the North Node is Rahu, the Dragon’s Head, and the South Node is Ketu, the Dragon’s Tail.

Our karmic path follows these Nodes of Destiny. When the Moon is ascending toward the North Node, we’re moving forward into our destiny. When the Moon is descending to the South Node, we’re reflecting on the past or even living in the past. (We all have baggage, if not from this lifetime, than from previous ones.) We cyclically move from one to the other, learning and growing and evolving on our journeys in this lifetime, though it’s important to keep a balance between the two. If you have your natal (astrological) chart done, make sure that it includes where the Nodes of Destiny were when you were born. It matters. Knowledge is power, as they say.

Beloved objects on my altar: skull candle, porcelain cat. I always think of skulls when I think about Karma.

The June 10 solar eclipse being a North Node eclipse indicates that we’re looking ahead and moving forward. A North Node eclipse combines North Node energy with New Moon energy, which heightens the emphasis on new beginnings, fresh starts, the setting of intentions, starting new efforts, and so on. That the North Node is currently in Gemini (with the South Node in its opposite sign, Sagittarius), indicates that as a people, we’re moving toward our destiny on the strength of Gemini’s intellectual gifts, those gifts being our purpose. Gemini is about learning, and we do indeed have a lot of learning to do.

This is why I’m most fascinated by the Nodes of Destiny aspect of the Gemini New Moon Solar Eclipse. Thanks to bright and intellectually curious Gemini, we may well make forward leaps toward the betterment of humankind and the health of the Earth, itself. The North Node in Gemini gives me hope. It inspires me to see our destiny as a planet and as a people in a positive light.

This, as someone I know would say, is the Gemini effect!

Arcturus, my love. (Introducing my crew in the cosmos!)

Greetings, friends!

I thought I’d finally share a certain passion with you… one that’s been a huge part of my life for a while. I’ve written quite a bit about the moon this year, but I don’t think I’ve written about the stars. Not more than a mention, anyway.

I’ve taken my stargazing up a notch in the last twelve months, most avidly since winter, when I’d go out to the backyard to admire the constellation of Gemini in the night sky. I watched with fascination as Gemini and other winter constellations gave way to the spring ones. But it was my adoration of the orange star Arcturus that heightened my already intense interest in the cosmos.

Arcturus here in the northern hemisphere is a commanding star, radiant and bold. Arcturus is 30 light-years away. Night after night, I gaze up at Arcturus with my mind blown as I think about how the starlight I’m seeing emanated from the star back in 1984. The speed of light (in a vacuum) is calculated at 186,282 MILES PER SECOND. It took 30 YEARS of travel at this speed for the starlight to come close enough to illuminate the star for our naked eyes to view from Earth today. That’s how far away Arcturus is. I can’t even come close to fathoming it.

The alpha star in the constellation of Boötes, Arcturus is the brightest star in that constellation, the brightest star in the northern hemisphere, and the fourth-brightest star in the entire night sky. You can’t miss Arcturus if you live north of the celestial equator. Look up at night when the sky is clear and find the large, bright orange star shining down on you!

Another star with whom I feel very closely connected is Vega, a luminous bluish star of the constellation Lyra. Vega is 25 light-years away. Vega’s light began traveling through space in 1996 in order for us to view the star today.

Noting the celestial transition from winter to spring was awe-inspiring. I do miss Pollux and Castor, the bright twin stars of Gemini, but the spring constellations held me – some of them still – just as fast. I’m thrilled anew as we transition from spring to summer, delighted to see the summer constellations array the night sky while some of the spring constellations hang around.

Summer constellations I’m currently watching: Lyra (The Harp); Draco (The Dragon); Serpens (The Serpent); Aquila (The Eagle); Scorpius (The Scorpion); Cygnus (The Swan); and Hercules (The Strongman/Dagda and Odin).

Hercules’ supergiant star Ras Algethi is the constellation’s alpha star. Ras Algethi is 380 light-years away. In the year 1641, Ras Algethi emitted the light that we see when we look up at the star. This starlight has been barreling through space at 186,282 miles per second for 380 years in order for us to see the star today… and there’s an infinity of space with myriad other stars and galaxies far beyond that.

Space is unfathomable, I say again. Limitless and unfathomable. This is why I believe in the existence of life-forms outside of Earth. It simply doesn’t make sense to me that in the entire universe, the magnitude of which we can’t begin to comprehend, the only sentient beings are here on our little speck of a planet. Our little speck of dust of a planet in the grand scheme of the cosmos, I should say. If exhaustive study ends up proving that there are no other sentient beings in our solar system, well, our solar system is but a speck in the entirety of the universe, too. Our little solar system is far from the end of it.

I am so enraptured with the cosmos that I’m without words when I try to convey the depth of my emotion. Star energy is powerful energy; I now work with it and with the moon and other celestial bodies almost exclusively. The stars create connection and love as expansive as the universe itself. I go outside every night and look up at the magnificence overhead, and suddenly, I’m richer than I ever thought I could be. There are times that the sight of the cosmic bodies of moon, stars, and planets move me to tears. I may live alone, but I’m the farthest thing from alone.

Carl Sagan said, “The Cosmos is all that is or ever was or ever will be.” I feel the truth of these words at the very core of my being.

The Cosmos is all that is or ever was or ever will be. Our feeblest contemplations of the Cosmos stir us — there is a tingling in the spine, a catch in the voice, a faint sensation of a distant memory, as if we were falling from a great height. We know we are approaching the greatest of mysteries.

And I can’t think of a material thing in the world that I want more than a telescope.

(There are telescopes that can take pics of what you’re viewing and send them to your computer…?!!)

While I can’t photograph the celestial bodies with my phone, I can at least take screenshots of the stars and constellations as they appear on my SkyView phone app while scanning the night sky. All of the celestial bodies I’m featuring here are those that I’ve been able to view with my naked eye. I have the camera enabled on this app, so you can see my point of reference as I view these stars. (You’ll see parts of my backyard, treetops, any clouds that may be in the sky, etc.) I’ve been using SkyView for several years now, so it’s about time I share some screenshots here, right?

One thing to note: I often can’t view an entire constellation. When SkyView picks up a star that I can see, it lights up with its complete picture.

Onward, then!

WINTER:

Gemini (the winter constellation Gemini)

I had to start with Gemini, of course. I’m so glad that I took screenshots of this constellation, because that was the last night that I could view it. It will be around six months before I’ll see these brilliant twins again.

Pollux (in the winter constellation Gemini)

Pollux is Gemini’s brightest star, but not the alpha.
Castor (in the winter constellation Gemini)

Castor is Gemini’s alpha star, even though he’s the second-brightest of the constellation. Evidently, this designation was a mistake. Quoted from Wikipedia: “Castor’s Bayer designation as ‘Alpha’ arose because Johann Bayer did not carefully distinguish which of the two was the brighter when he assigned his eponymous designations in 1603.”

So Pollux is the brightest, but his twin got the alpha crown by mistake. No cause for sibling rivalry drama there at all. Nope.

SPRING:

Arcturus (in the spring constellation Boötes)

Arcturus is Boötes’ alpha star.

Boötes is a spring constellation, but I’ve been admiring Arcturus since at least winter. Here’s my attempt at a pic of Arcturus with my phone cam:

Arcturus. (The star’s orange color doesn’t show up in phone camera pics, believe it or not!)
Pulcherrima (in the spring constellation Boötes)
Ursa Major (the spring constellation Ursa Major, aka The Big Dipper)
Polaris (in the spring constellation Ursa Minor, aka The Little Dipper)

Polaris is Ursa Minor’s alpha star. Also known as the North Star, Polaris is likely one of the oldest instruments of navigation in the history of humankind. Polaris is the closest star to the North Pole!

Spica (in the spring constellation Virgo)

Spica is Virgo’s alpha star. Spica is one of my three favorite stars (along with Arcturus and Vega). Here’s an attempt at photographing Spica with my phone:

Spica on a cloudy night (last night).
Menkent (in the spring constellation Centaurus)

Centaurus is a southern hemisphere constellation, but if you’re located at a latitude between +30° and -90°, you can view it. Down here in Phoenix, AZ, my latitude is 33°. I can see the northern part of the constellation, where Menkent is situated. It’s the only star that I’ve been able to view in Centaurus. I would love to see Centaurus’s alpha star Rigil Kentaurus (Alpha Centaurus), but alas.

Regulus (in the spring constellation Leo)

Regulus is Leo’s alpha star.

Denebola (in the spring constellation Leo)
Algieba (in the spring constellation Leo)
Gemma (in the spring constellation Corona Borealis)

Gemma is Corona Borealis’ alpha star.

N Hya (in the spring constellation Hydra)
Cor Caroli (in the spring constellation Canes Venatici)

Cor Caroli is Canes Venatici’s alpha star.

**Are you noticing that the stars I’m able to see with my naked eye are mostly the alphas of their constellations?**

SUMMER:

Vega (in the summer constellation Lyra)

Vega is Lyra’s alpha star, and she’s my second-favorite star… a very close favorite to Arcturus. Vega is a cool blue-white color, and she is the brightest star in the summer sky. [ETA: Since I posted this, I attempted to photograph Vega with my phonecam… and lo, her blue color came through!! I enlarged this image so you can really see her color.]:

My phonecam picked up Vega’s blue color!
Rastaban (in the summer constellation Draco)
Unuk (in the summer constellation Serpens)

Unuk is Serpens’ alpha star. According to some sources, “Unuk” is obsolete, and the star goes by “Alpha Serpentis.”

Altair (in the summer constellation Aquila)

Altair is Aquila’s alpha star.

Antares (in the summer constellation Scorpius)

Antares is Scorpius’ alpha star.

Deneb (in the summer constellation Cygnus)

Deneb is Cygnus’ alpha star.

Albireo (in the summer constellation Cygnus)
Ras Algethi (in the summer constellation Hercules)

Ras Algethi is Hercules’ alpha star.

AND FINALLY:

Jupiter (with the moon) in Aquarius (~4:35am Tuesday, June 1) (My coordinates are 33° 26′)

This was a magickal early morning! At 4:30am I went out and looked at the moon in the breaking dawn, and Jupiter was right there next to her, large and bright and magnificent. You would think, what kind of a star could be so large and bright in broad daylight? The answer is that it’s not a star. It’s Jupiter.

I hope you enjoyed (or at least tolerated) my geeking out over the cosmos!