Driving by Scarborough Marsh this morning I noticed it was a very high tide, thanks to the Full Moon tonight. The water was just over its usual banks, lifting up whatever dirt and detritus might have been sitting on the marsh grass. It struck me as such a perfect metaphor for today.

Last year’s Full Moon in Gemini setting over Pine Point Beach in Maine, December 2022. Photo by Amanda Painter.

Tonight’s Full Moon is in Cancer, an emotional sign ruled by the Moon and often marked by its cycles of ebb and flow. It’s making an opposition to the Sun in early Capricorn, ruled by Saturn and related to things like structures but also to traditions.

Here we are, the day after the holiday that (at least in the U.S.) probably comes with the highest levels of activity, expectations, and hype. Not to mention traditions loaded with meanings and often some emotional or familial baggage.

You may have just had a joyful, festive, relaxing weekend or an incredibly stressful, painful or depressing one. Maybe it was a mix.   

And here we have a Full Moon that perfectly describes emotions overflowing their usual “container” — internal compartments or social masks — just as the literal tide in the marsh did earlier. If you’ve been feeling good, this might look like simple effusiveness tinged with nostalgia. If you’ve been feeling low, or if the weekend brought up troubling thoughts, difficult emotions might be more pronounced.

What is floating to the surface for you with this emotional high tide? Are you noticing any psychological detritus being lifted up into your consciousness — maybe something you thought had drifted away long ago? Is another person mirroring it back to you at all?

Is there something you need to gather in and address so it does not just rot on the shore of your psyche, or are you noticing something best allowed to drift back out after the Full Moon, as the emotional tides ebb again? Can you make use of it, like turning a piece of driftwood into a sculpture?

After driving by the marsh I sat on Pine Point Beach for a good while, listening to the waves, pondering some of these ideas, meditating in the late morning sunshine. I realized I wasn’t actually surprised that I’d awoken with a mind full of complicated thoughts brought on by the holiday (this weekend the Moon had been in Gemini, sign of the mind, after all).

My thoughts had been generating some challenging emotions, as I struggled to chart out some structures or systems to navigate them. I started thinking about all the ways we can inadvertently allow circumstances to magnify what is not in our power, just as we can’t control the tides. Yet we do have the power to notice the tide for what it is: to discern whether it is still rising or has begun to fall, where it’s heading, how close we are to higher ground or to someone with a lifeline should we start to feel swept away.

And if we’re in a boat (metaphorically speaking) or feeling good, we get to enjoy being lifted up and carried along while making less effort than usual. We can use the tides to our advantage.

There might have been more important tasks on my list today, but something about the synchronicity of heading out to the marsh and beach just after high tide had peaked — and just after the Moon had entered Cancer — buoyed me before I even got to the sea. I felt grateful for that sense of rightness during a morning when I had not been feeling much of it.

It’s worth noting that the Sun and Moon are in close harmony with Jupiter in Taurus currently. While Jupiter can signify protection and benefits, it also has a tendency to amplify whatever it’s coming into contact with: joy or practical actions, or difficult emotions and interpersonal situations.

It’s also worth mentioning that Mars and retrograde Mercury (which are in late Sagittarius) are making a difficult angle to Neptune in Pisces, in effect through Dec. 28. At its best, this configuration may describe an ability to face your fears and perhaps tune in to some deep spiritual truths.

However, Neptune is a slippery fish, especially in Pisces. In this chart it’s reminding me more of how easy it is to misjudge the speed of the incoming tidal current after walking out on a low-tide sand bar.

More literally, Mercury-Mars-Neptune speaks of potential confusion and self-doubt, or having to face the consequences of past actions that feel insurmountable. I was certainly feeling that way this morning, but remembered some things I’ve done in the past that once helped me deal with similar circumstances and get back on track.

I’m not out of the woods yet in that situation, but I appreciated the reminder that I have done it once and therefore can do it again, even if it means making some tough decisions. I’ll need to be honest with myself about what that will take — self-honesty being essential any time Neptune is involved.

No matter what today’s emotional tides have carried into your awareness, know that the intensity should subside soon even if there’s still much you need to deal with. The Cancer Full Moon peaks at 7:33 pm EST tonight. Anything feeling stuck should start to resolve after that.

With love,



Simplified chart for the Cancer Full Moon. The Moon is in the upper-left quadrant, and is “talking” to the other objects with a low number next to them (clockwise from the Moon: Jupiter in Taurus, Saturn in Pisces, Pholus and the Sun in Capricorn). Mercury and Mars are conjunct in Sagittarius in the lower-right quadrant, and are “talking” to objects with a mid-twenties number (counter-clockwise from Mercury and Mars: Neptune in Pisces and (a bit wider) Vesta in Gemini.

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