Give Peace A Chance

By Judith Gayle | Political Waves

TWO THOUSAND NINE promises to be a year of transition, in more ways than one. The obvious, of course, is a new President and his staff, being handed off to a nation that needs leadership, direction and a big dose of confidence in the worst way. The economic meltdown will probably define much of what can, and cannot, be done. Most economists say they don’t know what comes next.

Planet Waves
Mosaic of Jesus as Christo Sole (Christ the Sun) in Rome. Image courtesy of Wikipedia.

Each of us will be in a transition phase, as well; what happens outside of us reflects what is within us, and vice versa. While everything is fluid, most of us have a hint about what that might look like by now. Maybe you’re just starting school, or you’re leaving it; perhaps you’re changing your job, your neighborhood, or even your partner. Whatever we’ve called upon ourselves to do next, it will begin a new chapter in our collective life.

Transition always asks us to do what none of us are happy to do: leave behind our comfort zones. Our habitual behaviors and time-worn patterns are sometimes the only things in an increasingly chaotic world that soothe us. Here’s my advice: select a couple of favorites you don’t think you can do without, and allow the rest to fly where they will. We have a choice of how we see the coming year — while we might see it as disruptive and difficult, I think we’d do ourselves a favor if we choose to consider it an adventure that will test our flexibility and provide us growth.

As the collection of year-end editorials come along, we will be looking back at 2008 to see where we’ve been in an effort to get a hint about where we’re going. I think historians will be looking back at this year for decades to come. Something most amazing happened, a shift in consciousness that we’ll be telling our kids and grandkids about. The possibilities ahead of us are still in the wind, swirling like winter snow.

In what I think of as the Post-partisan Blues, members of the Lefty and Righty camps are reverberating like tuning forks, right now. Our traditional process of resistance seems to be losing its energy; the ‘moon bats’ on the Left and the ‘wing nuts’ on the Right are still up in arms for their point of view but it feels like everyone’s screaming into a void now.


Capricorn: Seeing in the Dark of the Moon

Dear Friend and Reader:

We are approaching a Capricorn New Moon Saturday morning that I would classify as a “big chart.” I say this for many reasons, with much experience; the first reason being that we are in our first [Northern Hemisphere winter] solstice season with Pluto at 1 degree of Capricorn. This puts Pluto into contact with something called the Aries Point, where it will remain for the foreseeable future. Click that link for the background.

Planet Waves
Eric Francis in Book of Blue studio. On the monitor are US Rep. Maurice Hinchey, Eric’s old friend Christine and four of her kids in Kingston, New York.

The effect on a personal level might be a higher than usual level of conflict, emotions moving unpredictably, and lapses of consciousness due to overload. You might be feeling incredible, energetic and in the mood to get everything done. I could see Mars-Pluto in Cap being a bit Bacchanalian. We do need that, but please, please, please drive with the attentiveness of an airline pilot when you get behind the wheel. Test how slippery the road is with your shoe. Check the weather. Be professional.

On the collective level, the news is likely to have have a sense of being amplified and personal. This is true for the immediate moment (and for quite a while to come, arriving in peaks as planets move through Capricorn or indeed any of the other cardinal signs, Aries, Cancer and Libra included). The changes of season will arrive with distinct, more noticeable than usual turning points during this era.

Currently (as in starting when the Moon reaches Capricorn on Friday, Dec. 26 at 6:55 pm EST), we are heading for a lot of action in Capricorn. Capricorn is a difficult energy right now because it has been so strangely denatured by puritanical culture. On the public or collective level (not the personal level!) Capricorn has been reduced to discussions of governments, business, obligations, parents, religion and guilt. It is all structure and no release of energy — but the energy is working its way to the surface.

So, with Pluto sitting in early Capricorn, picking up the Aries Point by a tight square, we are about to have Mars arrive there shortly after the Moon overnight Friday, making a conjunction to Pluto all weekend. This will amplify small things and magnify the impact of larger ones. Then on Saturday, the Moon and Sun form a conjunction (the Cap New Moon) during the Mars-Pluto conjunction. Mercury and Jupiter are already in Cap and will be conjunct for this event, which closes a kind of energy loop (Mercury and Jupiter are ‘opposite planets’, as they rule two opposite pairs of signs: Gemini/Sagg and Virgo/Pisces). And in a fourth noteworthy conjunction, Venus is meeting up with Neptune.

Planet Waves
New Moon, Dec. 27, 2008.

This is a very interesting chart. Basically, it’s a wild card. It could literally mean anything to anyone, though we are the wiser for focusing our intentions around such potent energy. Pay attention to who you meet. There is no such thing as an ‘insignificant meeting’ under so many conjunctions. This chart has enormous potential for opportunity and equal potential for destruction. The presence of Saturn in an earthy sign (Virgo) and Vesta about to enter one (it ingresses Taurus late Friday) will keep things relatively stable, but the presence of both Vesta and a strong Virgo planet say: keep busy, keep your focus on service and consider your plans and intentions carefully.

I am understating things here a bit, for the sake of those inclined to read the worst into a chart. This is not an alignment for the faint of heart, though we all get to live through whatever it has to offer. In the event that unusual global news breaks Friday or over the weekend, we will of course resume publishing this series to offer our bit of information and reassurance. If not, we will see you either New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day. Meanwhile, we will be busy with Next World Stories.

Here is a beautiful letter from Fe Bongolan, one of our regular contributors to this space, in the genre of the “true meaning of Christmas.”

For Planet Waves, this is
Eric Francis


The Weirdest Ornament on the Tree

Dear Friend and Reader,

THE HOUSE IS SILENT except for the ticking of the water pipes in the walls. The siamese cat is a dust-colored loaf at the edge of the table. Little birds are going crazy over the suet suspended in an onion bag on the locust tree outside. The house is clean, the floor mopped with rosemary water. One plant holds an ornament from last year. Did I mention how quiet it is? I’m all alone in the house with the cat and a glass of wine. A candle and incense light my bubble as I steal away from the hustle of the rest of the world: a Pagan on Christmas.

Planet Waves
Image by Jude Valentine.

There comes a moment in every holiday where all obligations expire: the food is cooked, the table is set, the glass is half empty. In that space the familiar solitude extends its hand like an old acquaintance whose name you never asked. But after all these years you know when they’ve arrived: the conversations hang on an awkward note. The tree in the middle of the room with all the glass and wire seems almost absurd. For a moment you become aware of the importance of the spell of the holiday as it begins to lapse.

Christmas has always presented a strange combination of emotions for me. After talking to many people, I think I can say with some confidence that it makes us all feel a little weird inside. All of the ceremony, the courtesy, the facade, the thin veneer of civilization that coats our conduct during these times is one of the greatest exciters of individuality we have — other than honesty and unabashedness, that is.

Christmas especially is a time when one realizes just how different they are. Many of us have never gotten past the stage of that little child clinging to the leg of a familiar adult in a crowd of noisy strangers. Just like that child, we long to be accepted and we long for some nice compliments and sweets too. A thirst to be the special child. Isn’t the Christian slant of this holiday about one such special child?

As a born Pagan, I have never fully understood how Christmas became the most popular holiday of the year (I prefer Easter). But as I grow older and the passage of the long nights has begun to gnaw a bit on my calm, I have come to the understanding that it is a way to make the time brighter. This is the festival of lights, right? The time to see things that we otherwise would not be able to, as they are dark, right? Isn’t the Jewish tradition about one such special light? So let it be.

As an outsider to this holiday, I have come to understand that my stance is a blessing. Instead of the pressure the season demands, the emphasis presses itself into why I am different from my family and how my presence in said family adds a flash of color to an otherwise unadorned tree.

Speaking of, my father has a great collection of very old ornaments that go up every year on the blue spruce in the middle of the family room. They are the kind of glass that is so delicate I worry my body heat alone will dissolve the walls. The once bright lacquer of these pieces has tarnished. Red is gold. Yellow is silver. All other colors have become unrecognizable. They have come from his great-grandmother, these ornaments. But what really makes this so special to me, having never known my great-great grandmother, is their funny shapes. A stalk of wheat, a bunch of grapes, a heart and a turkey — little reminders of the harvest to come once the snow melts. And every year, as my father gently pulls the tissue paper away from these heirloom ornaments, my mother says from her place in the recliner: “You’re going to hang those hemmeroids in the tree again?!”

“I am.” My father says, and he doesn’t care what his wife thinks. These are pieces of his past and yeah they look funny, but they make the blue spruce his. He is, and there’s no one who’s going to take that from him. Now that’s a thought I think anyone can use.

Peace to you out there, reading this. May your night be filled with mirth, and your morning bright, and your new days long and rich.

Merry Christmas, Blessed Be.
Genevieve Sophia


An American Jew in Dublin
By Rachel Asher

The following article was written for the first night of Chanukah, on Sunday, Dec. 21. It was published in Daily Astrology and Adventure. An excerpt is available below, but to read the full article, click here.

Planet Waves
The Bretzel Bakery in Portobello, a neighborhood in Dublin, was originally a Jewish bakery. By W. Murphy.

When I landed in Dublin last week, the population of Jews in Ireland went from zero to one. The Jewish bakery, in the Jewish quarter of the city, is run and owned by an Asian couple. The synagogue has been converted into the city’s Jewish museum. No one there knows what a decent bagel tastes like, and if I were to ask for a shmear of cream cheese or describe someone as klutzy, chances are they’ll either not know the word, not know it’s Yiddish, or both.

As my girlfriend’s brother texted to me, I’m “like something different and exotic for Christmas. Like during WW2 when they imported oranges and bananas!” He always puts a smile on my face.

It’s interesting though, because I never thought of myself as exotic before I went to Ireland. Sure, I was a minority, growing up among a Christian majority, but my cultural roots were strong. My extended family — mostly made up of my parent’s friends because my blood-family is quite small — are all Jewish, my earliest sexual experiences were at Temple and I was actively involved in youth group, Jewish summer camp, etc. etc. So I was always part of a strong sub-culture: small in numbers, big in presence.

Like much of my generation, I’ve grown away from religion as I’ve gotten older. Judaism has made that easy for me; there are so many cultural aspects that can be separated from the religious that the term Cultural Judaism is widely recognized: we still eat matzoh on Passover, but we don’t recline and read the Haggadah. For Yom Kippur this year, our Day of Atonement, my mom and I didn’t fast, but we still invited people over for “break fast,” when we stuff our faces with bagels, lox and noodle kugel as if we hadn’t eaten all day.


The Hammer and The Flame: New Moon of Dec. 27, 2008
By Shanna Philipson

Dear Friend and Reader:

On Saturday, the Sun and Moon align in early Capricorn and form the New Moon. This is exact Dec. 27, 7:22 AM EST. For many of us, this will be a life-changing New Moon that calls us to a new (and truer) understanding of selfhood and service. This an extraordinary chart, because Pluto is in Capricorn for the first time during the [Northern Hemisphere] winter solstice season. Mars will be right there, in a conjunction. The two are aligned on the Aries Point, which is a kind of cosmic magnifier that will bring whatever unusual news occurs that day or the days surrounding it, into a deeply personal context.

Planet Waves
Landscape with Vesta temple in Tivoli, Italy, c. 1600. By Adam Elsheimer.

The most potent aspects of the chart make a close trine to Vesta in Taurus. Vesta, for its part, is precisely on the discovery degree of Chiron. So this chart opens up a flow of energy from that Chiron/Vesta dimension.

Not long ago I read about a French woman (let’s call her Vesta) who, for 30 years, lived with and cared for the people in a Cairo trash dump colony. By choice. The community — men, women and kids–tended the burning piles of trash and raised pigs for their meat. No devout Muslim would touch them because they ate pigs and lived in filth. Their kids climbed mountains of other people’s broken furniture, and the stiffest brush couldn’t scrub the smell of burning refuse and pig shit from their little bodies. Even straight from a bath, they were grimy, as if the soil were part of them.

This amazed me, so much so that she lived in my mind for weeks afterward. Whenever I threw out my own trash, I added some detail of what I imagined her life was like. My potato peelings and the onion skins became her dinner. My snotty tissues, her kindling. My foot-high pile of mail order catalogs, a guilty offering of expiation to the recycling gods. “Please, please forgive me: I signed up because I thought the stuff was pretty; I never had an intention to buy it. So sorry…” I offered them to this woman, too, who once tended the flame and smoke of Cairo’s burning trash heaps.


Next World Stories, the 2009 annual from Planet Waves, is coming on Jan. 3, 2009. Click here to learn more.


Planet Waves
Weekly Horoscope for Friday, December 26, 2008, #746 – By GENEVIEVE SALERNO

(March 20-April 19)
The impact you have upon the world is changing because you are changing. In many ways, our career path is the most extroverted part of us. This part of your life has been getting a lot of attention recently as you begin to realize what real power feels like. It is no cake walk. In the realm of the worldly position there are many lessons about responsibility. When it becomes synonymous with “or else,” it can be tempting to make a break for it. Being forced by your own fears into this mentality is the same as being forced into being responsible. The solution? Find the name of your fear. It may rest in a doubt about your own power, a fear of success, or a streak of cynicism.

Taurus (April 19-May 20)
Yours is the restless mind that has been chomping at the bit to get out and experiment lately. You may have had an idea about what was good or bad for you come into conflict with some evidence that proves otherwise. There are times when it is best to take experiences with a grain of salt and times when it is about feeling through them with the sincerity of a child. How to decide what to do is about deciding what you want to gain and lose. Your impact upon the world is affected by your process of assimilating new lessons into yourself. What would the world be like if you had nothing else to do but grow?

Gemini (May 20-June 21)
Exchanges of respect and value are at hand. The question is about the need to control or be controlled. Put another way, you are involved in an interesting power dynamic that may or may not be equal. How do you know? Are you feeling accepted and valued as a complete entity outside of the exchange, or does the matter in question sum up your value as a whole? If the exchange in question is truly going to contain your whole self, it is a good idea to be as active in that process as possible. Communicating and listening, no matter what traditions you happen to fly against, is the name of this game.

Cancer (June 21-July 22)
Tradition cautions you against going too far in your communications. However, it seems as though you have some burning questions about where you stand in life that can only be answered by an outside source. Strangely enough there are two answers that can come out of the question unasked. Silence from you and the other is one form of an answer, for it provides you with the space necessary to listen to the inner voice. The second answer can come from a semi-related question: why are you afraid to talk? What is the value of a tradition of silence when what you need right now is an exchange of love?

Leo (July 22-Aug. 23)
What is the nature of your duties? Are they assumed duties or assigned? There is a process of differentiation going on for you that is making you question your line of work. Where will it lead you? When will it end? What is your true purpose? These are big questions that cannot be answered by anyone else’s interior but your own. It seems to me that what this is really about is coming to the recognition that work can be vitalizing, but only if it is a labor of love. Have you set your expectations too high and do you measure your success by how exhausted you are at the end of the day?

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22)
As your relationship to your past changes, finding the balance between being mature and being a child is the question at hand for you today. It’s great that you’ve begun to realize how much power you have over your own pleasure, creativity and decisions. Now it’s time to learn how to live robustly without taking the reckless path of the rebel without a cause. Find your cause! Before you got involved with the forces that preened, primed and pruned you, you had an idea and it was a very good one. I suggest you make some time for yourself to get back in touch with the inner child, who never forgot what it was. The child is waiting for you to ask.

Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23)
When do you feel the safest? Is it when you are in familiar situations or is it when your needs as a human being are being met without a struggle? It looks to me as though you are beginning to see the same old emotions, tendencies and reactions play themselves out in new situations. Can you be in the past and in the now at once? What direction will the future come from? The answers to both of these questions lie in your ability to recognize your inner impulse for harmony and peace. Beyond the rigid code of interaction, a place of real creativity beckons just beyond the horizon. The risk is honesty where it might make you and others uncomfortable.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22)
The capacity to turn things to your advantage comes from the talent to adapt to the situation at hand. While sometimes it is fitting to withdraw into your shell and avoid interactions with things or people you cannot imagine getting any use out of, I would suggest this process is about mental flexibility. A feeling of immovability can be very haunting if you feel like you don’t have a choice in the matter. I would examine this process of stubbornness in the hopes of recognizing the origins of some very old habits regarding the early family. You are in the process of learning how much your mind controls your perceptions and therefore of creating a new home for yourself.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22)
Sometimes the question may arise as to how evenhanded you are. You have a very different set of values than most. At times it is the seeming indescrepancies that leave a person grasping to understand. This in turn can blossom into a tender feeling of loneliness that could result in you withdrawing into an indignant shell. You have much to offer the world and the world has much to offer you, even if at times it feels like a contest between your power and the power of the other. Remember: there is no contest. You know your truth. It cannot be tarnished by misunderstanding and can be nourished by communicative exploration.

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20)
Today you have access to the realization that you are a little seed perched on the edge of a fantastic garden. Should you choose to crack your protective outer shell, you will be rewarded, as all seeds are, with cold, wet mud and blinding sunshine. Humble welcome into the world, I know, but it is through this process of rebirth that you are steps away from becoming the mighty tree you’ve always wanted to be. The decomposed matter that is the soil is the experiences from your past — your outer shell is who you think you ought to be. There is a little germ in you craving the sun and wind. Rebirth is risky business, but it seldom goes unrewarded.

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19)
Something interesting is cooking in the very back of your mind where the memories that are only impressions are stored. It looks like you are on the brink of making a tremendous discovery about where you come from and this will serve as reinforcement of your identity. You have an intense desire to know what motivates you and where it all comes from — and at the same time you have the capacity to look at your most personal experiences at this point in time as though they had happened to someone else. Being unbiased and acceptant of all angles in a situation is the key to getting the most out of it. Today you have the capacity for this very thing.

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20)
The enduring thing about community is that it is compiled of many different people, yet there is one thread that binds them all together. It looks as though what you want from your associates is changing because you yourself are changing. Your friends and the place you have made for yourself in your community are important to you. Moving away from your associates might feel like disloyalty for you and that makes it hard to want to let go. There are many more options than what you envision, however, and one of them is this: you have the capacity to change who you are and yet hang onto the old acquaintances. They may play a different role to you and you them, but you will still be part of it all.

Copyright © 2008 by Planet Waves, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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