With Mercury In Retrograde, Here's How Your December Stacks Up


With the Sun, Mercury, Venus, and Saturn all in Sagittarius this month, Fire and Air signs get ready to shake, rattle and roll! It's time to take bold risks for the big win. And if all of these Sag transits are a pile of kindling then Aries in Uranus will strike the match. Surprises and drama of every variety abound this month to the delight of the Air and Fire signs.

Not so much for everyone else. Water and Earth signs just cover your heads and wait until the first of the year for some much-needed calm. And everyone be mindful of Mercury in retrograde Dec 4 - Dec 23. Because it's in Sagittarius, especially watch out for accidents and “foot in mouth" syndrome. It's a fiery holiday season this year...have fun and go big!


“Feeling Groovy"

Happy birthday to the archers! Wow, what a month...There is a stellium (four or more planets in one sign) in Sagittarius this month so this is your party. It's a good thing that you don't mind being the center of attention and/or being busy because you'll need to buckle up for this ride. Not only are you attracting people, money and attention this month, you are right in the way of surprise good fortune with your stellium trining Uranus in Aries. Sagittarians are famously known for being accident prone...but not to worry, you can't do anything to screw this manna up. You deserve it. Enjoy!


“Calm before the storm"

Expect your energy to be low on the first of the month. You may catch yourself daydreaming or reflecting on the emotional events of the past year and not realizing how much time has gone by. No way. Busy, focused and efficient Capricorn zoning out? Yep. December will be a month to take emotional inventory of what you need to get rid of in order to have a better 2018. It's also time to plan and make lists of tasks and goals for the coming year. Less action, more planning. No problem! You are the master of preparation. You got this.


“Time to get woke"

December starts and you are just humming along doing your thing when...BAM! Something akin to the ice bucket challenge happens to your emotions. Never fear, permission granted to do what feels natural to most Aquarians in the face of a lot of emotion: leave. I don't mean leave in a destructive sense. I mean travel. You need a change in perspective and a fresh view of everything. Plan a trip in December. You have good energy this month so you can create this. Dec 12-13: good love.


“Sitting on the dock of the bay"

You are flowing with the current of your life and work. Watching all of those dreams form and float by you like clouds. That well known Pisces lack of resistance is so good for you right now. But there is a new ingredient being added to your soup this month: initiative. You are finally ready to take all those creative ideas and goals and get to work. Take action. Manifest. Expand. It's least for right now. Take advantage of it. Dec 14-16: happy days.


“Giddy up!"

All the fire signs are benefiting from the current Sagittarian stellium and you my lovely Aries are no exception. Enjoy that silver tongue while it lasts. Aries natives aren't known for their eloquence but right now you are the best person to deliver the message. You are also so productive and focused! Work as much as you can this month. You are weaving gold. Dec 7-8: watch that temper.


“Let the good times roll"

This isn't your most productive month, until the last week of the year which is typically a vacation time for most. Give yourself a break and take your pedal off the gas because your year is over. Your best days revolve around the holidays. Enjoy the parties and community...but don't drink too much eggnog. You'll be tempted to really overindulge. Watch it. The New Year will start with a bang for you so take it easy while you can. Dec 24-25: yummy.


“Talking heads"

Mercury is your ruling planet and this month he is taking you on a wild ride! With our wing-footed friend traveling through Sagittarius, you are sure to have the extra urge to be the motor mouth, the challenger or the endless jokester. Instead of talking, write. This December is the perfect time to start that blog, book or column. Everyone will be dealing with the Mercury in retrograde from Dec 4- Dec 23 but it always is especially intense for the Geminis. Call someone and make amends or be the bigger person and extend the olive branch first. Dec 1-10: tons of energy


“Keep the home fires burning"

This fiery Sagittarius stellium is a lot for you to handle. It's not a bad thing, it will just make you feel overwhelmed emotionally and drained. Remember that for you the holidays are about home and family.

Jupiter in Scorpio gives you the excuse to be at home, with time to connect and bond intimately with whomever you see as your family. It also gives you permission to spend quality time with yourself, recharging for the big new year that is coming up for you.


“Putting off a scent"

Get ready for one of the best holiday seasons that you've had in many years. It's a fire sign party in December and Leos are the ultimate party host and guest! Venus will be training all Leo's at some point this month so make sure to be out and be seen. You have the ability to attract both people and money! Look out for raises, bonuses and monetary gifts...and invitations to parties. Those of you in relationships may have a few more fights this month with your partner but the making up will be fabulous. The Mercury retrograde starting on December 4 affects you the least and could bring surprise offers and calls from past partners and clients.


“Scattered, covered and smothered"

You have felt generally frazzled and uneasy for a while now. This phase won't let up in December and Mercury in retrograde beginning on the 4th doesn't help. Hang on until the end of the month and I promise you will start to feel in control again in the new year! This is the perfect month to take your amazing list making abilities and turn them on yourself. With Scorpio in Mars and Jupiter, it's a great time to do some self-reflection and set goals for emotional and psychological self-improvement. Find a therapist, start meditating, or keep a journal. Best days will be 19,20, 28 and 29.


“Over the river and through the woods"

The first week of December is super productive for you and the Mercury in retrograde doesn't slow you down as much as others. Use this extra energy to get all of your projects complete so you can take an extra vacation this month! This holiday season, consider visiting old friends, relatives and taking road trips. Your bliss is not to be home for the holidays...go to the islands or take that ski trip. In other words...don't sit still! Make sure you have plans for New Year's Eve because it could be the best one ever. Best days will be 21,22 and 30,31 will be sparkly.


“Put down the pastries"

Let's get to the point. Watch overindulging in food and alcohol this month. With Jupiter and Venus in Scorpio, you will have an unconscious urge to overdo it. Don't. Instead, try to work out more or start the new spin or yoga class. Watch the temper at work. You will not hear the aggressive tone of your voice but your boss and coworkers will. This month is about creativity for you. Ride that productive wave and start the blog or write the short story. Harness that power for good...don't drag it into that dark Scorpio cave. Best days will be 5, 6 and 14, 15.


A Modern Day Witch Hunt: How Caster Semenya's Gender Became A Hot Topic In The Media

Gender divisions in sports have primarily served to keep women out of what has always been believed to be a male domain. The idea of women participating alongside men has been regarded with contempt under the belief that women were made physically inferior.

Within their own division, women have reached new heights, received accolades for outstanding physical performance and endurance, and have proven themselves to be as capable of athletic excellence as men. In spite of women's collective fight to be recognized as equals to their male counterparts, female athletes must now prove their womanhood in order to compete alongside their own gender.

That has been the reality for Caster Semenya, a South African Olympic champion, who has been at the center of the latest gender discrimination debate across the world. After crushing her competition in the women's 800-meter dash in 2016, Semenya was subjected to scrutiny from her peers based upon her physical appearance, calling her gender into question. Despite setting a new national record for South Africa and attaining the title of fifth fastest woman in Olympic history, Semenya's success was quickly brushed aside as she became a spectacle for all the wrong reasons.

Semenya's gender became a hot topic among reporters as the Olympic champion was subjected to sex testing by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF). According to Ruth Padawer from the New York Times, Semenya was forced to undergo relentless examination by gender experts to determine whether or not she was woman enough to compete as one. While the IAAF has never released the results of their testing, that did not stop the media from making irreverent speculations about the athlete's gender.

Moments after winning the Berlin World Athletics Championship in 2009, Semenya was faced with immediate backlash from fellow runners. Elisa Cusma who suffered a whopping defeat after finishing in sixth place, felt as though Semenya was too masculine to compete in a women's race. Cusma stated, "These kind of people should not run with us. For me, she is not a woman. She's a man." While her statement proved insensitive enough, her perspective was acknowledged and appeared to be a mutually belief among the other white female competitors.

Fast forward to 2018, the IAAF issued new Eligibility Regulations for Female Classification (Athlete with Differences of Sexual Development) that apply to events from 400m to the mile, including 400m hurdles races, 800m, and 1500m. The regulations created by the IAAF state that an athlete must be recognized at law as either female or intersex, she must reduce her testosterone level to below 5 nmol/L continuously for the duration of six months, and she must maintain her testosterone levels to remain below 5 nmol/L during and after competing so long as she wishes to be eligible to compete in any future events. It is believed that these new rules have been put into effect to specifically target Semenya given her history of being the most recent athlete to face this sort of discrimination.

With these regulations put into effect, in combination with the lack of information about whether or not Semenya is biologically a female of male, society has seemed to come to the conclusion that Semenya is intersex, meaning she was born with any variation of characteristics, chromosomes, gonads, sex hormones, or genitals. After her initial testing, there had been alleged leaks to media outlets such as Australia's Daily Telegraph newspaper which stated that Semenya's results proved that her testosterone levels were too high. This information, while not credible, has been widely accepted as fact. Whether or not Semenya is intersex, society appears to be missing the point that no one is entitled to this information. Running off their newfound acceptance that the Olympic champion is intersex, it calls into question whether her elevated levels of testosterone makes her a man.

The IAAF published a study concluding that higher levels of testosterone do, in fact, contribute to the level of performance in track and field. However, higher testosterone levels have never been the sole determining factor for sex or gender. There are conditions that affect women, such as PCOS, in which the ovaries produce extra amounts of testosterone. However, those women never have their womanhood called into question, nor should they—and neither should Semenya.

Every aspect of the issue surrounding Semenya's body has been deplorable, to say the least. However, there has not been enough recognition as to how invasive and degrading sex testing actually is. For any woman, at any age, to have her body forcibly examined and studied like a science project by "experts" is humiliating and unethical. Under no circumstances have Semenya's health or well-being been considered upon discovering that her body allegedly produces an excessive amount of testosterone. For the sake of an organization, for the comfort of white female athletes who felt as though Semenya's gender was an unfair advantage against them, Semenya and other women like her, must undergo hormone treatment to reduce their performance to that of which women are expected to perform at. Yet some women within the athletic community are unphased by this direct attempt to further prove women as inferior athletes.

As difficult as this global invasion of privacy has been for the athlete, the humiliation and sense of violation is felt by her people in South Africa. Writer and activist, Kari, reported that Semenya has had the country's undying support since her first global appearance in 2009. Even after the IAAF released their new regulations, South Africans have refuted their accusations. Kari stated, "The Minister of Sports and Recreation and the Africa National Congress, South Africa's ruling party labeled the decision as anti-sport, racist, and homophobic." It is no secret that the build and appearance of Black women have always been met with racist and sexist commentary. Because Black women have never managed to fit into the European standard of beauty catered to and in favor of white women, the accusations of Semenya appearing too masculine were unsurprising.

Despite the countless injustices Semenya has faced over the years, she remains as determined as ever to return to track and field and compete amongst women as the woman she is. Her fight against the IAAF's regulations continues as the Olympic champion has been receiving and outpour of support in wake of the Association's decision. Semenya is determined to run again, win again, and set new and inclusive standards for women's sports.