Dec 4, 2022 | by Erik Roth
After 785 days, Mars and the Sun get into opposition again (called Acronychal Rise), this time at 16°05’ Gemini on December 7, 2022. Synchronistically, this happens very close to the exact Full Moon at 16°01’ Gemini. Mars and the Full Moon will be in conjunction around the same time AND the Full Moon will occult Mars (covering up the light of Mars for about an hour). This is a VERY RARE alignment, particularly with an occultation taking place. This date also begins a new synodic cycle for Mars, which will go on until January 15, 2025.
Mars is currently at about its brightest and closest to the Earth, shining at -1.9 magnitude, brighter than any individual star we see, including Sirius. Mars reached its closest point to Earth on December 1st, but it is still very close to Earth on the 7th, when it reaches opposition. It is a red-orange light that at some oppositions are nearly or equal to that of Jupiter at its brightest. But this isn’t one of those oppositions.
Note: I did a video about this special Full Moon Mars opposition that provides a more visual dive into the alignment here: https://youtu.be/JblZmemidkQ
Let’s take a look at Mars’ journey through the sign of Gemini and spending a great deal of time between the horns of the Bull Constellation. This fabled area of the sky has been imprinted into the human psyche for tens of thousands of years. The earliest known record of this constellation goes back to a cave in France over 30,000 years ago as documented in the documentary film Cave of Forgotten Dreams released in 2010 and 2011. In that film, the constellation of the Bull is painted on one of the walls of the cave.
Mars first entered the sign of Gemini on August 20, 2022, crossing under the Pleiades stars and making its way to the Aldebaran in September, the Eye of the Bull and the remarkable “V” shaped Hyades star cluster, with Aldebaran the brightest of the bunch. Between 6,000 and 4,000 years ago, this constellation marked the March equinox. Cultures saw this as a “ruling” constellation due to its position with the spring equinox. An example was ancient Egypt and the many gods and goddesses who wore bull horns on their head with a symbol of the Sun placed between the horns. The Sun would take a few weeks to move through that area, literally between the horn of the Bull.
Mars passed over this constellation almost fully until is stationed retrograde on October 30th at 25°36’ Gemini, just a little short of zero degrees Cancer, which marks the June Solstice. Slowly, this June Solstice point is precessing into the Bull Constellation, where its starry energy is beginning to grace us with what it meant to cultures of yesteryear and perhaps inviting new meaning for us today and in the future.
Mars will mark the opposition point only six degrees from Aldebaran at 10°06’ Gemini (and between 7-9 degrees from the tips of the Bull’s horns marked by the stars Elnath (north horn above the ecliptic) and Tianguan (south horn below the ecliptic). Mars is slightly above the ecliptic and “out of bounds”, meaning above the range of Earth’s natural tilt of 23.4° off of the plane of the solar system (ecliptic). The Moon will then move into position to occult the bright light of Mars
This is the closest Full Moon with an opposition with an occultation since the year 1612. There were occultations within a day of the Full Moon (and Mars opposition) 3 other times in the 17th century and it didn’t happen again until 2007 (but there was a 17 hour difference). It will happen again in 2059 and 2078. However, there will be an even closer one on July 6, 2191 at 15°02 Capricorn and conjunct the star Nunki. There will be only 5 minutes between the Full Moon and the Mars Opposition point on that day.
There is also a deeper connection with Aldebaran, Mars and where the Sun will be near in Sagittarius, which includes Antares. There is Druidic tradition called the Festival of the Red Swords. Daniel Giamario shares about that in detail (along with other astrological insights) here: https://youtu.be/wVfdGPAyP1w
Meanings and In-Between
All of this makes the last Full Moon of the year a doozy. But what does it mean? Because the Moon and Mars will be at the 16-degree marker of Gemini, we can use the Sabian Symbol of 17 Gemini (always adding one to the degree as the symbols are from 1-30 and degrees of the zodiac are 0-29).
The symbol of this Full Moon and Mars opposition point is “the head of a robust youth changes into that of a mature thinker”. The keywords are, “Thinking with the Higher Mind. Gaining maturity. Making wise decisions. Using the system to get what one wants. Growing up overnight. Having to change whether one likes it or not. Learning the lessons that come with age. Initiations into adulthood. Life changing events. Thinking, pondering. Finding a state of calm. Refined thinking. Facing reality.” (Lynda Hill’s The Sabian Oracle pg 77).
Mars is on the edge of a new synodic cycle with its theme or overstory about Gemini until the next opposition in January, 2025. This day is a transition of the old synodic cycle ending and a new one beginning. So we are in-between stories of Mars and so this symbolism from the Sabian Symbol reflects it greatly.
Gemini as an archetypal energy symbolizes eternal youth and the contrarian. It is also something that by itself is never just one form or one expression, but has them all. In the language of shamanic astrology, Gemini can be seen itself as “out of bounds”, making up the rules as it goes along. Gemini stands for an exploration of what can be beyond duality as well. It is part of what it has in common with the constellation of the Twins, the constellation that held the June Solstice point for over 2,000 years. But now we are moving away from that.
In-between the realms, the masculine, which Mars symbolizes itself, in the androgynous Gemini archetype, between the cycles at the full illumination of the Moon presents itself with a highly unusual co-creative space. It can’t be fully defined or pegged in any hole except to be outside what is known. The fact that Neptune is still loosely squaring the Moon and Mars at this time confirms this. It is not about necessarily being comfortable in this space but acknowledging it as we all navigate it.
Change is a constant and this moment on the 7th is a reminder of that as we exist from a place where us as children are becoming adults and maturing to what the soul is desiring to express in billions of varying ways. Interestingly, the US natal Mars is also reflective of this since it is in Gemini. A healthy version of this alignment is indeed a maturation of the people within the US on a whole and in particular the masculine. But here we have the constellation that Mars is in was primarily symbolic of the power of the Earth goddess. So how can the masculine dance to see beyond its hold on identity that its held for thousands of years. This kind of thing really doesn’t happen overnight, but perhaps this is an important stage of growth for alchemy of the masculine and feminine in concert with the Earth? The dreams and visions of what can be beyond the never-ending inundation of “two sides” only could take a step further with this alignment.
The occultation of Mars, which means the light of Mars itself disappears from our eyes. This may show us what is possible without duality while still within its paradigm. Going beyond duality isn’t about leaving it behind but about a healthy integration of it and seeing how we can co-create from a place of not knowing the answers.