Dear Friend and Reader:
We might have noticed that this was one of the weirdest weeks in news history, had it not been preceded by approximately 100 other weirdest weeks in news history.
Some are even arguing, now that it’s late in the week, that it really wasn’t that weird after all — that last June, Trump’s son Don Jr., Trump’s son-in-law and provost of everything, Jared Kushner, and Paul Manafort, Trump’s then-campaign chairman, all met with a charming Russian lady lawyer said to represent the Kremlin.
The latest and by far biggest wave of Russia news came in the wake of the Capricorn Full Moon conjunct Pluto, which happened overnight Saturday to Sunday. That seemed to unleash a tsunami of events over the next few days, with the approximate tone of Pluto in Capricorn — rattling those at the top of the pyramid, or at least the pyramid we can see.
It’s the Borscht!
Are we starting to notice a pattern? Not only did everyone involved with the Trumps and the campaign, as in just about everyone except Barron (Trump’s youngest kid), meet with the Russians during the campaign and the transition, nearly all of them have denied it on their official forms and in congressional hearings.
Look, this could be perfectly innocent. Maybe they all love borscht. Maybe they sit around at night discussing Tolstoy, and wanted the honor of hearing it explained in authentic Russian accents.
Then there’s just that bit about every U.S. intelligence agency having concluded that the Russians meddled with the 2016 election. I know it was a long time ago, but does anyone remember that? Hillary Clinton had an 85% chance of winning, according to the baseball and political statisticians at FiveThirtyEight, and then suddenly, Hillary lost.
It was a little like David Copperfield making a 747 disappear. You know it didn’t happen the way it seemed to. You know a 747 cannot disappear, and you know Donald Trump cannot get elected president. He has to get it some other way. Which incidentally aligns with Hillary Clinton having received three million more votes than Trump did, except they were cast places where votes don’t count for as much, such as New York and California.
Look, there has to be an innocent explanation. Borscht.
The story this week, which involved an email exchange had by Don Jr. and various personages and impresarios suitable for barely-believable reality TV, seems to make it clear that Team Trump did indeed work with the Russians to get elected.
Don Jr. uploaded the emails to Twitter about five minutes before The New York Times published their article about them — I guess he wanted to scoop the failing, fake news.
We are going to need to get used to all this gaslighting — the denial that there’s any problem. Many people among us will cling to how wonderful this all is, just like Trump will cling to power.
Nixon Tapes, on SoundCloud
“Imagine Watergate,” wrote Martin Bleam, who covers social media for The Guardian. “But one of Nixon’s kids kept uploading all the tapes to SoundCloud.” That was one of many incredulous responses to that particular development.
It’s absolutely clear. The email thread uploaded by Don Jr. confirms that Don Jr. believed he was meeting with a high-level representative of the Russian government, to collect dirt on Hillary Clinton. (The representative was a lawyer who was, that same day, handling a case involving embezzlement from the Russian government, a case that vanished when Preet Bharara was fired by Trump as U.S. Attorney for New York. That’s another story that’s likely to be directly related and may explain why Bharara was sacked. Firing all those U.S. attorneys the same day may have been a cover for getting rid of him.)
So yeah — it’s totally, abundantly clear what’s going on.
Maybe this is why don Juan, the shaman who stars in the series of books by Carlos Castaneda, warns that clarity is one of the four enemies of man. You think you know something, and you get stuck thinking you know, rather than paying attention to the new data coming in. The thing is, all the new data arrives smelling like black caviar and Tsar Vladimir the Good.
Faith leaders lay hands on Donald Trump this week.
Another problem is, every time it becomes clear that this whole thing is unraveling, and that Team Trump essentially committed treason, working with the Russians to disrupt the election, it also becomes clear that maybe the whole concept of unraveling is gone. Maybe that’s because there’s nothing left raveled.
As soon as something seems to be wrong, the concept of wrong is redefined. Maybe it’s because the seemingly solid ground of reason has given way beneath our legs. Maybe it’s the moral relativism of which so many right-wing nuts complain, while they make it into an art form.
The Digital Ocean — and the Faith Leaders
Remember: We are under the thrall of Uranus conjunct Eris. We are sitting at the bottom of the digital ocean. All the usual reference points are gone.
Here’s something: On Monday, a bunch of “faith leaders” (not including Pope Francis) came into the Oval Office to pray over the president. Once only marginally accepted by the Christian Right, now they are nuts about The Donald. I mean nuts.
Rodney and Adonica Howard-Browne of Revival Ministries International out of Tampa, Florida, were invited to the pray-in, and they heeded the call with passion.
In a Facebook post dated July 11, they wrote, “Yesterday was very surreal for @ahowardbrowne & I. 30 years ago we came from South Africa to America as missionaries. Yesterday I was asked by Pastor Paula White-Cain to pray over our 45th President — what a humbling moment standing in the Oval Office — laying hands and praying for our President — Supernatural Wisdom, Guidance and Protection — who could ever even imagine — wow — we are going to see another great spiritual awakening.”
When you look at the comments to this post, you’ll figure out what country you really live in. Here are some samples:
Tim Luke wrote, “So thankful to God for stepping in and taking America back. Praying for our President and Vice President daily. Whoo hoo! The future is looking brighter than ever! Hallelujah! Praises to our Heavenly Father!!”
Tammie Rogers wrote, “Praise God fill him Jesus with your spirit keep your hands on him…It’s time we have a president that puts America first and belief in the almighty God the one that can change every thing…thank you pastors and for obeying God and surrounding our President with all your prayers…..and thank you President Trump for allowing them to pray for you…I get goose bumps thinking what God is going to do…”
One of the fine products of Rodney Howard-Browne, who laid hands on the president this week. Get your copy today!
Jeanie Hogue wrote, “Even if you don’t like Trump think about the direction the liberals want to take this country. They are not good people, they are so determined to bring the President down so they can lead us down that socialist path. This is war as far as I’m concerned, a war to save our great country. They can go after Trump all they want, he is better then the alternative, the left is desperate, you only have to listen to CNN to hear the evil being spouted 24/7. We need to crush them in 2018 and 2020. Doesn’t have to be Trump but another conservative for sure.”
That socialist path? Seriously?
I would never have guessed this, but a bunch of these people think that Trump is the messiah.
And you must be thinking, for real? Trump? The Second Coming of Jesus, the Christed One?
Yes. Yep. I assure you. That is what many people think. I am saddened to say, my fellow Americans: this is your country right now.
If you’re trying to figure out how the holy heck any of this is happening, it’s necessary to look to the environment, and though I’ve been saying a lot about the digital ocean as environment, there is also the pervasive power of Dominionist Christianity; that is, the Christian Right evangelicals, who think the Grand Canyon is only 5,000 years old because that’s how old the world is.
And I agree, the Grand Canyon cannot be older than the world.
Someone Saw This Coming
Just to recap the theory of a man named Wilhelm Reich, so far the only person who could explain how this happens: suppressed orgasm (the stock in trade of the fundamentalist Christians) leads to what Reich called the mystical longing. Sexual energy is converted into pseudo-spiritual craving. That, in turn, is answered by the charismatic leader, who turns out to be a tyrant. This is why conservative movements make such a big point of being against sex. It feeds the fire that they are cooking over.
The whole Dominionist thing, with its obsession with fetuses and trading women as chattel property, is obsessed with anti-sex. That’s a little like being obsessed with not breathing. Refuse to breathe for long enough and, eventually, you too will turn weird. There are a LOT of evangelicals in the states where Trump won. Heck, there are a lot of them everywhere, and they have, well, an odd take on reality.
Not quite Man of the Year. TIME commemorates Don Jr.
This is in part why Trump’s approval rating is hovering around 40%. Just remember, it’s not Trump that matters — it’s his approval rating. He’s the figure; public opinion is the background.
When the Don Jr. email story broke earlier this week, Rachel Maddow said something on her program: in any other universe, she said, this would be the end of the story. The plot would be fulfilled; there was collusion. However, this is not the end but some weird beginning.
She also pointed out that as this unfolds, it had best go slowly, so we actually see what went wrong, and know that no stone is left unturned, no shred of exculpatory evidence overlooked.
I think there’s real wisdom in that perspective. We are utterly overwhelmed by all this news flying at us. Even full-time professionals are having a hard time keeping up; Maddow quipped Monday that she was the least confused she had been in a long time.
These lies getting exposed and the perpetrators brought to justice is part of an important national healing process. And we need to go through that process consciously, with full awareness, and a sense of perspective. The people of the United States must take responsibility for their actions while we hold Trump and Co. accountable for theirs.
It’s Not About Them, it’s About Us
A total solar eclipse is approaching. Consider the two main metaphors of that eclipse: one is that it’s in the ascendant of Donald Trump’s natal chart. It’s exceedingly personal for him. He has many other transits that it’s fair to say are beleaguering his chart, which is why he feels so vexed all the time. Of course, there was a long setup, though in the life of the Donald, karma is knocking.
The second central metaphor of the eclipse is that the entire United States will be able to see it. The path of totality — that is, the shadow of the eclipse — will reach from just south of Portland, Oregon, to Charleston, South Carolina, then quickly dissipate. The shadow’s path is 70 miles wide; the entire continental U.S. will see at least a partial solar eclipse. We will all be in the penumbra, our outer edge of the shadow. It will touch us all, all of us here in the U.S. Eclipses are always global events, wherever they may touch the globe.
Representation of a total solar eclipse by Ian Wardlaw for Astronomy Magazine. The Aug. 21 eclipse lasts two minutes.
This is indeed the Great American Eclipse. Eclipses are about the meeting of the individual and the collective. They are like the Aries Point on meth-infused, high-fructose corn syrup (you can get that at our local farmer’s market). This eclipse is where figure meets ground.
We will all get a taste of what Donald Trump’s rising degree — that is, his identity — feels like. We will get to feel him, and he will get to feel us. The eclipse is the meeting place.
Between now and then, a strange pressure is going to build. It’s already building. It’s the feeling of being over the edge, off the map, or somehow beyond any known territory. That is where we are — and that’s what we need to acknowledge.
And we will be moving rather quickly through the unknown. We need to proceed slowly and thoughtfully. I’m not sure that’s possible. It may be, though with everything being processed at light speed, with everyday news constantly reaching people’s pockets at the speed of an Associated Press news flash, a concept that’s been rendered irrelevant by Twitter.
It’s vitally important that you handle being overwhelmed consciously. There are techniques for doing this. Ballet dancers, when spinning, return their gaze to one spot on the stage or in the room. They have a point of orientation and therefore don’t get dizzy and fall over.
There is no benefit in pretending that nothing is happening, or closing your eyes. Yet what you choose to focus on is your decision.
Meanwhile, as someone who even knows about the psychic and social effects of this event, you’re at a distinct advantage. From there, you have a point of orientation and somewhere to tap into more information.
Keep your ears on and your eyes open.
Just in time for the Great American Eclipse of Aug. 21, 2017, you’ll have access to a helpful, excellent video astrology reading. These will be done by sign and rising sign; each reading is about half an hour. You can pre-order now for the best price: $66 for all 12 signs. The price for all 12 will gradually increase in $11 increments over the next few weeks, capping out at $111 once we publish.
I’ve been a devoted student of eclipses since beginning astrology. Here’s some of my earlier writing, published before the grand cross and total solar eclipse of Aug. 11, 1999. These few paragraphs below will give you a feeling for just how significant eclipses are. This one is one of the most important in American history, which I’ve covered here.
Eclipses are astrology we can’t deny. If there is a conjunction between Saturn and Uranus, it’s invisible, and while many people may experience changes, only astrologers and their merry bands of readers and students know what’s happening. Yet when the Sun vanishes, you can be sure that normal activity will come to a stop.
Our busy world will pause, and everyone, from herbicide activists nestled in the hills of Oregon to rock stars in Nashville, will stand in the silent shadow of the cosmic order with the astonishment of small children coursing in their hearts.
This doesn’t happen often, and you can imagine the awesome power of so many people embraced in a kind of simultaneous, captive meditation as everything around them momentarily ceases to be normal. Call it a reality lapse, only it’s one into which the real reality can flow very easily.
In terms of their astrological meaning, eclipses of the Sun follow this image of collective awareness and radical break of continuity. Whether you can see the eclipse does not matter; part of the miracle of astrology is it works anyway. As many of us are discovering personally, eclipses are expanded moments of often uncontrollable, unpredictable change. They also bring the civilization and its communities together, usually through important collective events and the media.
Eclipses are evolutionary gateways, which is another way of saying that when they show up, we do a lot of growing in a short time. Delays are compensated. Old accounts can be wiped clean. While each is unique, eclipses often feel like being shot through a funnel of space-time, and we emerge somewhere different than where we entered. The key to making the best use of them is to move with the energy, not cling to anything or anyone too tightly, and to stay open.
Literally, breathe, communicate, feel, love, observe and receive. Remember your intentions. The sense of panic that sometimes accompanies them yields nicely to awareness and revelation, mental conditions that are more natural than we often realize.
Tracking Your Eris Awareness
By Amanda Painter
Earlier this week on Planet Waves I looked ahead to this weekend’s square between the Cancer Sun and Eris in Aries, describing it as a red flag trying to get us to notice what’s happening around us, especially in our digital environments. Specifically, I suggested that readers notice how they respond to chaos, subversiveness and provocation for its own sake. And right on cue, the news has served up a perfect example for our consideration.
Photo by Amanda Painter.
I’m speaking, of course, of this week’s revelation of Donald Trump Jr.’s eagerness to accept what he was told was the Russian government’s help in his father’s presidential campaign against Hillary Clinton.
In this column, I’m not interested in trying to prove the news is ‘true’ or ‘false’, or even in trying to predict what its political fallout might be. I’m more interested in how it illustrates the astrology, and how that relates to you personally.
This incident offers up awareness (the Sun) of an act of subversion (Eris), and the chaos that has ensued (Eris again). It brings up a question of identity (Aries), and of feelings and ‘home’ (Cancer): What does it mean to be ‘American’ in the digital era? Who gets to influence American presidential campaigns? How do you feel when you discover someone’s subversive actions, especially those happening within your ‘home’?
Most importantly, this Sun-Eris square and the news that has come with it is a development of the ‘expect the unexpected’ chaos we experienced with last year’s Uranus-Eris conjunction, particularly in the context of the U.S. presidential race. Nothing that is happening now came out of nowhere, no matter whether you think it’s all ‘fake news’ or think the latest revelation is the beginning of the end of the Trump administration.
What’s Happening with Russia?
By Amanda Painter
What exactly is going on with the whole ‘Russian influence’ issue in U.S. politics? Who knows, really. But the photos of Russian photographer Alexander Petrosyan bring a unique lens to everyday Russian life to compare and contrast with the absurdity of our moment.
Petrosyan clearly excels at fertile juxtaposition — seemingly by happy accident and perhaps at times by design. Several series of his photos can be seen at Vicious Kangaroo, which remarks, “The pictures he takes feel like short stories — vignettes layered with detail and loaded with contrast.”
Some of these vignettes are inscrutable or comic; some may be offensive to people; a few are sublime in their quiet beauty. All of them suggest a story that’s unfolding, and invite the viewer to write it as they gaze. Even more photos, in a variety of categories, are available on Petrosyan’s website.
This week on Planet Waves FM
Toward An American Revolution
Dear Friend and Reader:
Last month, your donations paid for Planet Waves FM. We are a nonprofit community radio station serving the greater metropolitan internet. You may support our efforts here. All donations are fully tax-deductible. Thank you for your generosity.[Play New Edition Here.] And…madness is unfolding by the hour with the Trump campaign/administration’s ties to Russia coming out into the open. We now know that campaign chairman Paul Manafort, Donald Trump Jr., and the kid whose name I forgot — Jared Kushner — all met with a representative of the Kremlin to talk about dirt on Hillary Clinton.
Today’s music is soulful ear candy, by Jason Rowe — in his brief incarnation as Jai. You may purchase this incredible album here.
Yet watching this slow-motion train wreck does not help us heal the world. The chaos that’s leading to it is coming from somewhere, or something, and in this week’s edition [play episode here], I try to get at just what that something is.
I advocate for local civic involvement, and learning how to stand up to authority on the most rudimentary level, starting with one’s parents.
I go over the astrology leading up to the Aug. 21, 2017, total solar eclipse, including looking at the July 23 New Moon in Leo.
Along the way, I mention the prank Andrew McLuhan has been experimenting with — making up fake quotes by his grandfather, media theory pioneer Marshall McLuhan — and seeing who notices. He’s established a Twitter feed and is looking for playmates.
The essence of the joke is that all of the fake quotes come from page 158 of a 1962 book called The Gutenberg Galaxy. The quotes are sheer poetry, and mock Marshall McLuhan in a way that only his grandson possibly could, to wit: “The computer will eventually replace the commuter,” or, “The next major medium, whatever it is, will bring people closer together and farther apart than ever before,” or, “With electric media, truth plays second fiddle to fantasy, reality is augmented, and yesterday is tomorrow’s today.”
In the third segment, I talk about a project that Chiron Return, Inc. (publisher of Planet Waves FM) is involved with: scanning and publishing 153,000 pages of documents from the files of Monsanto, GE, Westinghouse, Dow Chemical, IBT Labs and many other sources.
And in the last segment, Tantra Corner is devoted to this article from The Onion.
Remember — last month, your donations paid for Planet Waves FM. We are a nonprofit community radio station serving the greater metropolitan internet. You may support our efforts here. All donations are fully tax-deductible. Thank you for your generosity.
Monthly Horoscopes and Publishing Schedule Notes
We published your extended monthly horoscopes for July on Thursday, June 22. Your extended monthly horoscopes for June were published on Thursday, May 25. Please note: we normally publish the extended monthly horoscope on the first Thursday after the Sun has entered a new sign.
Don’t forget to take advantage of this special gift: Eric’s Daily Horoscope can arrive in your mailbox by 7 am ET, containing great astrological guidance for all 12 signs. You can sign up with our compliments, though we welcome donations.
Aries (March 20-April 19) — Something about the past week has removed a certain veneer that belongs to social interactions: a temptation to shutter your personal light in the name of conformity. Now that you understand this for what it is, you can begin to grow into the true space you were meant to fill. You need never again be held back by the impositions and assumptions of others. Shine brightly, allow yourself to expand, and revel in your creative gifts like a child in an adventure park. — By Amy Elliott. For your Eric Francis horoscope this week, please see this link.
Taurus (April 19-May 20) — You may be feeling as if you have a lot to do, yet you’re not quite sure where it’s all heading; such as when you have to walk or drive in thick fog and can only see a little way ahead. Don’t be discouraged by this, and don’t let it slow your progress. Eventually the mists will clear, and you’ll discover the pattern you couldn’t make out before. Meanwhile, take in a stock of patience; draw on the resources you have. You’re already doing what you need to move forward. — By Amy Elliott. For your Eric Francis horoscope this week, please see this link.
Gemini (May 20-June 21) — Unless you’re actually on the breadline, it really is not necessary to worry too much about your finances. It’s certainly important, and useful, to make sure all your ducks are in a row; but then you have to let them go for a swim. In particular, if you have social opportunities, or the means to invest in something that could substantially enhance your life, consider giving yourself a little slack. Every human being needs to have some fun, and it’s high time you did too. — By Amy Elliott. For your Eric Francis horoscope this week, please see this link.
Cancer (June 21-July 22) — There’s a spotlight on your career this week; and you have the potential to take some big steps, though as you do so, you need to be aware of two things. First, keep in touch with your body. Healthy practices and nourishing food will be requisite to keeping up with the new pace. Secondly, be extra clear on where and how the changes align with your spiritual ideals. Remind yourself that there are principles you must simply not compromise; if necessary, check in with others. — By Amy Elliott. For your Eric Francis horoscope this week, please see this link.
Leo (July 22-Aug. 23) — A recent period of introspection has likely made you better acquainted with the deeper side of your nature. This week, the work you’ve done could become a source of inspiration. Document your dreams, and keep a notepad or some form of recording implement with you, especially when you visit somewhere new. What’s taking place now is preparing the ground for when the Sun enters your sign in ten days or so, and involves exploring who you are in a new light. — By Amy Elliott. For your Eric Francis horoscope this week, please see this link.
Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22) — It’s time you claimed your right to feel good — about yourself, and in general. Take some time out for fun, if you can; spend time with friends or lovers. Let the warmth of their regard kindle your creative flame and expand your heart. Check any tendency you have for impassioned self-criticism. It’s tempting to fall into that trap when it seems things aren’t working out. The fact is, you have a good deal to give; and at your core you know that’s true. Cultivate this understanding as far as you can. — By Amy Elliott. For your Eric Francis horoscope this week, please see this link.
Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23) — It wouldn’t be surprising if you were inclined, after the changes you’ve experienced lately, to carry a sign reading ‘closed for maintenance’. You may not recognize your life from what it was only months ago; and the chances are you’ve altered just as much within. You’ll need a little more patience to see this process through. However, especially in the delicate balance between your work and certain relationships, things are beginning to settle into their right places. — By Amy Elliott. For your Eric Francis horoscope this week, please see this link.
Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22) — The strain you’ve been feeling is the pull of inner growth, toward a higher state of being that might best be called free. As in, finally free to break away from those recurring early-life tropes that, frankly, were probably getting on your nerves. Sometimes the habits we turn to the most are coping strategies we no longer need. It’s time to consider whether that applies to certain mechanisms of yours, and whether you might exchange them for some better ones. — By Amy Elliott. For your Eric Francis horoscope this week, please see this link.
Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22) — On one level, aspects this week suggest you might enjoy some time out with friends, or just out of doors. Set aside space in your calendar to do what makes you feel connected with the world. On a somewhat different level, there’s an opportunity to bring about any necessary changes in your more intimate relationships. Another word for relationship is ‘alliance’. The question is: in what cause? If you have a shared passion in the wider community, that’s likely the key to taking things forward. — By Amy Elliott. For your Eric Francis horoscope this week, please see this link.
Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20) — Some possibly intense emotions you might have been feeling with regard to your relationships are starting to settle into a calmer state. You still need to get a grip on the reins, and make some decisions that will help you both assert your needs and respect those of others. Start to break away from any past scripts that are holding back your confidence, and speak your truth boldly. Ultimately, you alone can fulfill your dharma, though it’s ok to ask for help from those who care about you. — By Amy Elliott. For your Eric Francis horoscope this week, please see this link.
Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) — When it comes to brightening up your daily life, the first thing you need is to know where or when you’re feeling any sense of dullness. That will help you identify what might need to be freshened up. Once you’ve established that, a useful task over the next week could be listening to those you trust. By no means give up your spot in the driver’s seat; however, people who love you may have invaluable insights to offer. If you get a jolt of excitement, that might just be a sign. — By Amy Elliott. For your Eric Francis horoscope this week, please see this link.
Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) — There is a healing and nourishing quality to your current creative projects, as they help you to re-evaluate certain past experiences that might have been plaguing you. In particular, your image of yourself and your values is undergoing transformation. This might feel somewhat discomfiting to begin with; but that’s probably a sign you’re moving in the right direction. Trust yourself; the work you’re doing now is laying important foundations for the time to come. — By Amy Elliott. For your Eric Francis horoscope this week, please see this link.