The holidays kick off with a fiery bang thanks to a Full Moon conjunct Mars on December 7, 2022. As Mars continues his retrograde journey backwards through Gemini, the Moon rises up to meet him in time for this month’s Full Moon. The pair meet up in extremely close conjunction – only six minutes of arc apart.
This conjunction will be visible in the sky and will be quite an impressive astronomical sight: this Full Moon is also an occultation of Mars by the Moon. An occultation is when one body passes in front of another (a solar eclipse is an occultation of the Sun by the Moon, for example). Lunar occultations of a planet are quite rare. They only happen once or twice a year and are only visible from certain locations, so they are definitely something to watch for, if you can!
This occultation will be visible from most of North America and part of Europe. On the evening of December 7, if the skies are clear and you’re in a place where it will be visible, look up. Both the Full Moon and Mars will rise just before sunset and they will appear very close together. Mars is very visible right now because the planet is in opposition to the Sun (just like the Moon – that’s what the Full Moon is). You’ll be able to spot Mars’ bright orange hue easily.
As the evening proceeds, Mars will inch closer and closer to the edge of the Moon. The exact moment of the occultation will occur just after 9pm MT. This site gives some good details about viewing this occultation, including a visibility map. You should check for the exact time that the occultation will be visible in your location, because it will happen fast and will be easy to miss if you’re not waiting for it.
When Mars gets to the edge of the Moon, it will only take about 30 seconds for the red planet to slip behind Luna. Then it will be hidden behind the Moon for about an hour, before reappearing on the other side.
From my location in Edmonton, Mars will disappear behind the Moon at 8:05pm MST and will reappear at 9:07pm – just in time for the moment of the exact Full Moon at 9:08pm. This really is quite a rare and fascinating phenomenon, and my inner astronomy nerd is looking forward to it.
I’m less enthusiastic about this Full Moon on an astrological level. Moon-Mars conjunctions are often tense and uncomfortable. They speak to times of peak emotional instability and vulnerability. Mars is aggressive and violent. He cuts and separates. This is very antagonistic to the Moon’s sensitive, protective nature.
This lunation is in Gemini, so it speaks to aggressive and threatening words. This is a time when our thoughts and words take on a cutting edge. We will be more vulnerable to the weapons of speech and/or more prone to being wounded by words.
Mercury rules Gemini and at the time of this lunation, the messenger planet will have just stepped into the first degree of solemn Capricorn. Mercury will be spending an extended period of time in Capricorn thanks to his upcoming retrograde (between December 29, 2022 and January 18, 2023). Mercury being in a Saturn-ruled sign gives some grounding to this Full Moon, which may actually prove somewhat balancing.
Saturn is not really involved in this lunation except through rulership over Mercury, so his somber influence is transmuted through a Mercurial lens. While Mercury can give some solidity to the thoughts and ideas at this time, thanks to his vantage in early Capricorn, overall this Full Moon is likely to feel very unstable and unmoored.
Indeed, it’s a very mutable lunation: Moon and Mars are in ephemeral Gemini, Sun and Venus are in sizzling Sagittarius, and Jupiter and Neptune are in watery Pisces. These planets form a sign-based mutable T-Square that will be extremely hard to pin down. You might feel especially scattered and unable to assemble your thoughts and words in a coherent manner.
With Jupiter alongside Neptune in Pisces, we are getting a renewal of the noble illusions and mystifying fantasies that this conjunction wrought back in the spring. Recall what happened in your life back then, and see where those energies are landing now. This lunation will infuse them with an extra dose of unstable, fraught emotions.
This is a time where you may feel especially vulnerable on a deep emotional level, and where you may be tempted to lay bare or explore your deepest fantasies – only to see them potentially pierced by Mars’ sword. This is a time to be honest with yourself about the things you fantasize and dream about, and give them a good poke, so to speak – see if they can stand up to some tension and conflict. Do they have firm foundations, or do they pop and deflate immediately?
At the same time, try to be cautious not to attack your dreams with too much vigour. Venus in Sagittarius is in an eager, optimistic Jupiter-ruled sign, so she’s all too happy to help charge forward on your jovial fantasies – particularly the ones involving partnerships, romance, art, creativity and other Venusian delights. However, she’s also opposite the Mars-Moon conjunction so these Venusian areas are also subject to the same intense emotional conflict overlaying the entire lunation.
This Full Moon is a time to critically judge all your fantasies and dreams and illusions. An emotional catharsis is on offer here, and it could be quite freeing or healing to lean into the wildness of a Moon-Mars conjunction and let yourself just feel deeply. Feel intensely, even violently. Then release those emotions in whatever way you prefer. Scream at the heavens. Go for a long run. Have a good cry. Spin around in a circle until you collapse.
This is not a time to make a final judgment on anything. Save that for the cold, sober light of day when your emotions are more in check and the Moon has departed Gemini. In a day or so after this lunation, the Moon will enter her home sign of Cancer where she can tend to any wounds received during this lunation and rally her strength. This will be a much better time to take stock of all that came up at this Full Moon, and then pass your judgements and take actions accordingly.