In Praise of Trees

Posted by Eric Francis

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We’re approaching one of the most impressive Full Moons of the year — the Scorpio Full Moon, which this year happens Saturday, May 5 at 11:35 pm EDT. Presently the Sun is at the sensitive balancing point of the season, located halfway between (Northern Hemisphere) spring equinox and summer solstice. This time of year is known as Beltane, though in our particular year, the Moon comes along and makes an exact opposition to the Sun.

Here’s a sprout well budded out / the work of our Lord’s hand

Dear Friend and Reader:

We’re approaching one of the most impressive Full Moons of the year — the Scorpio Full Moon, which this year happens Saturday, May 5 at 11:35 pm EDT. Presently the Sun is at the sensitive balancing point of the season, located halfway between (Northern Hemisphere) spring equinox and summer solstice. This time of year is known as Beltane, though in our particular year, the Moon comes along and makes an exact opposition to the Sun. What we get is a peak in the solar cycle (the seasons) coinciding with a solar-lunar cycle (the Full Moon), which is unusual and which carries a lot of momentum with it. It’s also a Full Moon at perigee — the closest point to the Earth, so visually it’s going to be a big one.

Planet Waves
Flourish by Charlie Lemay.

Taurus and Scorpio are zodiac signs that specifically address the subject of resources, and the exchange of resources, whether you’re speaking of the planet itself, what humans exchange in commerce, through sex or in genetic material, and by extension, the economy that gathers around all of this activity.

We had a similar event on May 5, 2008, when there was a New Moon on Beltane, in the midst of a rather eventful year when we got a big reminder about our shared resources. At that time, there was something brewing that was quaintly referred to as the “subprime mortgage crisis.” A lot of banks, sucking cheap money out of the Federal Reserve Bank, had provided easy credit to many people who could not pay the mortgages back. The availability of cash was like throwing kerosene on the fire of American greed, and many people bought lavish homes though they could not afford them.

The lenders took millions of those bad mortgages, bundled them together and sold them as securities, that is to say, as “investments” made by other banks, companies and governments — but they were worth nothing. These entities were sitting on a cosmic-scale garbage dump of rotten paper — which meant that as a result, the entire economy was sitting on quicksand. Some institutions had half their total portfolio in these “products.”

This situation led to the bursting of the housing bubble — the absurd inflation of housing costs that seems to have been going on since the 1980s — followed by widespread liquidity problems that rippled throughout the global economy. The financial sector and indeed nearly every industry was reaping the benefits of its philosophy of globalism. We learned fast that what happened to one entity could affect any other entity.

The problems came to the surface undeniably on Wednesday, Sept. 10, 2008, when Lehman Brothers announced a third-quarter loss of nearly $5 billion (in one fiscal quarter). By that Sunday, Lehman had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and what we now call the Great Recession was underway. Many banks were in crisis, over-leveraged and with no available cash to lend one another or anyone else. Trillions of dollars in bailouts, generated from debt charged to the citizens of the United States, were given to many financial institutions and AIG, one of the world’s largest insurance companies. This was the “financial 9-11″ at the bitter end of the Cheney-Bush administration: the biggest bank robbery in history.

Planet Waves
Ceremony by Charlie Lemay.

The astrological upshot is that there was a New Moon preceding this on May 5, 2008, with the Sun exactly at the midpoint of Taurus. I kept looking at that chart knowing it might be big, but I didn’t understand why. It seemed significant that there was a New Moon on Beltane, a holiday associated with honoring the only true material wealth, which is the abundance of the Earth.

Yet in the technical sense there’s something else significant about this point in the calendar. Events that occur with the Sun at the midpoint of any season create what is called an Aries Point effect, where there is often high-impact news of some kind that resonates on a deeply personal level with many people. The effect is not always instantaneous (though sometimes it is).

For background, the Aries Point is the first degree of Aries (the position of the Sun at the spring equinox), and by extension the first degrees of any of the cardinal signs (Cancer, Libra or Capricorn as well), which form a cross. Each time a new season begins, the Sun touches a point of the cross. These are called the quarter days, also known as equinoxes and solstices.

When you bisect those points, you land in the middle of the fixed signs (Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, Aquarius). Those are called the cross-quarter days. They are sensitive spots which can energize the Aries Point, and point to events with far-reaching effects. Notably, almost all holidays are concentrated around the quarter days or the cross-quarter days.

This is where we are now. On Saturday, the Sun arrives in the same position as it was in 2008, four years to the day later. But just as the Sun reaches the midpoint of the season, the Moon comes along and makes an opposition to it (the Scorpio Full Moon).

We are once again in an election year. And, once again the world is on the brink of what we might politely call a financial threshold, though this time the problem seems to be centered in Europe. Spain just had its bond rating downgraded two notches from A to BBB+, and the Netherlands is on the brink of losing its AAA rating. Yannis Palaiologos, an author at Prospect.org, writes that, “This would lead to a rise in the cost of borrowing not only for the country but also for the EFSF, Europe’s rescue fund, which depends on guarantees from the dwindling number of AAA-rated Eurozone members for its high credit rating.”

Planet Waves
Something Fishy by Charlie Lemay.

On Sunday, France seems poised to elect a socialist president. This would mean someone in office who is not as friendly to German president Angela Merkel as Nicolas Sarkozy, the current president, has been. Sarkozy has in effect been allowing Germany to run the finances of Europe through the debt crisis.

On the same day there are parliamentary elections in Greece, expected to inject far-right and far-left influences into the political environment (some “sick puppies,” in the words of our Athens correspondent). This would break up the two-party system there and could alienate crisis-besieged Greece from the Eurozone.

Meanwhile in the United States, Republicans are campaigning on a platform of cuts to social programs, increased taxes on the poor and reductions in the size of the federal workforce, ostensibly to help the economy — but which are certain to have the opposite effect. They’re also waging war on women, immigrants and anyone whose sexual orientation differs from what they claim theirs to be. Given this, it’s really weird to hear predictions of a close race.

And, into this mix, we are adding the Full Moon right at the midpoint of the Sun’s transit through Taurus. This is of course influencing us in personal ways as well. Other astrology suggests that many people are making decisions about, or are in crisis over, their most intimate relationships. This has been brewing for a while, though much of what was swept under the rug is coming out, sometimes with passion, urgency and decisiveness.

Remember that we’re in the spring of 2012 — from here on out, the large-scale events increase in frequency, with the Uranus-Pluto square ever in the background, running high-voltage current through the Aries Point. We’re just weeks away from a series of eclipses and one month from the transit of Venus. Speaking of: Venus is an influence directly related to Taurus, to earthly resources, to wealth and to value. The transit of Venus on June 5 describes a kind of revaluation, or at the least a rather deep and sweeping re-evaluation.

Instead of using astrology to be predictive about these events (it’s tempting, and many will be tempted to be negative, basing their future predictions on what’s happened in the past) I think we need to be visionary. No matter what goes wrong on the planet, or what messed-up things people do, it’s people who solve the problems and people more connected to life who invent new ways of life. Eventually over time, there seems to be very slow progress. Yet we are now at a quantum point. The combined creative intentions of even a few people can be magnified by the rapidly rising energy — which brings me to trees.

The economy as we think of it is a study in exchange, but it seems to me that the real exchange on our planet involves trees. This is true in the biological sense of the word, and economic (most people live inside houses made from wood) though trees are sentient entities, many of them centuries (or millennia) old that ground profound information onto the planet.

Planet Waves
Renewal by Charlie Lemay.

Despite its reputation for frisky erotic play among neo-Pagans, Beltane is really a tree holiday. That’s the theme that many related holidays around the world at this time of year share — a celebration of trees. “This is Spring Growth Mother Earth Green Day,” says Donna Henes, author of Celestially Auspicious Occasions, who was my guest this week on Planet Waves FM.

“The spring cross-quarter day is all about growth. Spring equinox is about birth, and the mid-spring cross quarter day is about the exuberant, vibrant, hormonal kind of growth. That’s the link between the tree and the sexual frenzy that we associate with the May Pole. It’s a celebration of the new green, the growth of life, of life on Earth and Mother Earth, the Creatrix. The tree is a universal symbol of life, from Buddha being born, receiving enlightenment and dying under the tree, and on and on.”

The tree is celebrated as an entity that reaches deep into the ground and at the same time reaches to the heavens. It is a bridge between Heaven and Earth, with its growth nourished both by the light of a star (the Sun) and the solid mass of the planet where it has its roots.

In Pagan times, this was celebrated many ways, including with the May Pole dance. The pole is of course made from the trunk of a tree that is draped in garlands, to which are attached long ribbons. The dance involves everyone holding one of the ribbons and then weaving the web of life, circling the pole in an obvious celebration of the phallus. But there’s a lot more going on as well.

The Catholics adopted the May Pole celebration into Holy Cross Day, celebrated May 3, a Catholic version where they turn the tree into a cross (the Catholics have versions of all the Pagan holidays), which is a bigger deal in South America. “Throughout Latin America, they celebrate it as Cruzelacu, in midspring, which is a nature appreciation holiday. A cross is decorated as the May Pole would be, with ribbons and flowers, and sometimes flags, jewelry and dresses,” said Henes.

In the 1640s, there was an act of the British Parliament banning the May Pole. The law assailed the “heathenish, vanity, generally abused to superstition and wickedness” of the dance. The Restoration brought back May Poles, and there was a huge one erected in The Strand in 1661, which required the strength of 12 soldiers under the personal supervision of King James II. This was a 134-foot cedar pole. Then in 1717, it was moved to Wanstead Park in Essex, where it became part of the support of Sir Isaac Newton’s telescope.

Planet Waves
Pas de Deux by Charlie Lemay.

“It was still serving the original symbolism of the tree, which is rooted in the ground and reaching into the heavens,” said Henes.

In contemporary Brazil, May Day is celebrated by designating a particularly powerful tree and decorating it with white flags.

The Liberty tree is a common symbol for several North American tribes. In the late 1800s a movement began to unite the tribes and present a common front to expel the white man. They created a ritual called the Ghost Dance where they circled around what they called the World Tree.

There’s also a Jewish holiday called Tu B’Shvat, which celebrates the birthday of the trees. In contemporary times, funds are raised and trees are purchased and planted. It’s a national tree-planting holiday in Israel, which has a national obsession with re-planting the desert.

On the other side of the world, there is a Chinese festival called Ching Ming, or the Bright and Clear Festival, where graves are cleaned and trees are planted near the resting places of the ancestors.

Finally, there’s a worldwide holiday that you hardly hear about any more called Arbor Day. On the first Arbor Day, held in Nebraska on April 10, 1872, an estimated one million trees were planted.

That’s a good thing — trees do nothing but support life on Earth. They are integral to the biosphere. Without them, life on Earth would not only collapse — we would all be a lot dumber than we already are. Researching the biological themes, I spent some time on the North Carolina State University website yesterday and this is some of what I learned.

One large tree can provide a supply of oxygen for two people. At the same time, a tree can absorb as much as 48 pounds of carbon dioxide per year, and can sequester one ton of carbon dioxide by the time it reaches 40 years old.

Forests supply over 50% of freshwater flow in the lower 48 states. According to USDA Forest Service estimates, some 180 million people — more than half of the United States’ population — depend on forests for their drinking water.

Planet Waves
Wall by Charlie Lemay.

In addition to providing oxygen and water, trees keep the air breathable. Over one year, an acre of forest can consume the amount of carbon dioxide created by driving a car 26,000 miles, about twice the annual mileage for an average driver. An acre is pretty large. It’s a good thing that in the U.S., forests cover 749 million acres. That’s nearly 33% of the nation’s land. When the United States was first settled, they covered 46% of the nation’s total land area.

We would be in a symbiotic relationship with trees, were we not chopping them down so fast. Symbiotic means both parties to the equation benefit from the relationship — and trees do benefit from our presence and offer themselves to us for many purposes. At the moment, we seem to be getting most of the benefits of trees, but we also seem to be missing a larger point.

There’s a dimension to trees that some people have encountered and others have devoted their lives to. One such person is Elisa Novick, who you may have already encountered in a recent edition of Planet Waves FM. Elisa reminds me of an other-worldly cosmic entity that I might have met in a science fiction novel, except that she’s a real person working as a healer on the planet. Here is how she tells the story of her first meeting with a tree in a forest in upstate New York, not far from where I live.

“Walking down a mossy forest path, I was met by a powerful wave of love emanating from a magnificent oak. So began a fascinating multidimensional odyssey spanning 10 years, as a small patch of forest became my happiest place in the universe and a place for healing and awakening for many,” Elisa wrote in an email to me yesterday.

“Each tree has a unique personality and gifts to bestow. Trees hold keys for the survival and thriving of the Earth. They created the conditions for us to live on this planet and can do so again if we ally with them.

Planet Waves
X Chromosome by Charlie Lemay.

“Learn to receive their healing love and converse with them and support them in their mission. Let’s not assume that if our ears can’t hear, that there is nothing spoken. Attunement is the next language of communication — with people, plants, animals, and the cosmos.

“My hope is that if more people understand that trees can be sentient and have healing and spiritual abilities beyond anything we have imagined, we will nourish those that are still alive and replant our bountiful forests. Not only the other half of our lungs, they may be the other half of our hearts.”

Elisa has the ability to communicate with entities that don’t use what we consider the normal senses. Here is what an oak tree in that forest said to her:

“In another world we were lovers, you and I, in dimensions too difficult to describe, but all things come around and we are brought together for a reason when it is correct and useful. Now this planet is dissolving in pollution and all are suffering to some extent. But there is always renewal available. You have renewed our context here on this planet by your thoughts and good wishes and we wish to stay now; though we have scouts foraging for another wilderness to ‘set up shop’.

“We are always prepared, as your Scouts say. Funny that you should mention contingency plans at your breakfast today. But in this spiritual realm, there are no contingency plans, no plans, just the unfolding of a reality that is long known, but never planned. How can I say that this is true? Or how to be fortunate enough to be enlightened/privy to this information? The known comes forth as it reveals itself out of the Great Plan, but it is never planned ahead of time; just revealed in its true glory, fully formed. Then it develops by choice, will, playful endeavor; curiosity; happiness. It is creativity in this making, Universal, powerful urges move through all, causing creativity to flourish in response, like leaves to the sun and wind forces. We move, too, we trees, as we are called by the greater plan, but have many choices and happiness rules the moment as to when and where we plop ourselves down and give of our happiness to the Earth or other spaces.”

A maple tree said:

“Many of your species have noticed that we (trees) are not doing as well as we used to; our leaves are dying from your poisons and our roots are also feeling the pinch. The water is no longer fully wholesome from soil or sky and we don’t like noise that is unnatural and vibrates our roots badly. But we continue to pour forth love and healing chemicals and go about our nature/natural lives in pursuit of a ‘higher ground’, a place wherein we become greater selves. Our development spiritually and consciously is all-important. As we develop, we develop new abilities and can bring forth great wonders energetically and also to the physical manifestation.

Planet Waves
Revealed by Charlie Lemay.

“Call us forth. Please don’t deny yourselves this ability to call forth nature’s finest consciousness, its abilities to heal itself and the world. This garden planet is unique in its resources for higher consciousness and verdant growth possiblities. It provides great stamina and strength to its species and has an integration unlike any found. It can sustain great damage and heal itself, but it cannot sustain continued or even sporadic damaging; conscious and unconscious.

“So be well my friends. Come forth in your glory and you will find us waiting in glory to welcome you and live in harmony and grace (yes we know grace; we form it every day); we exude this natural grace. Solemnity is not part of that, but laughter, playfulness, ease and lightness of being; we are creative and naturally curious and we love the Christ consciousness coming through every pore of this planet’s existence. It is what the planet is made of after all. You must broaden your idea of what it is; your ideas are so narrow and limited. Widen and enlarge your awareness and you will find Me (Christ) in every cell of every plant and every stone and every being that exists, animal, dolphin, whale, etc.”

You can read more of these messages in this PDF that Elisa has prepared for Planet Waves readers.

The author Hermann Hesse seemed to be onto the inner life of trees as well. “Trees are sanctuaries,” he wrote in his book Wandering. “Whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth. They do not preach learning and precepts, they preach undeterred by particulars, the ancient law of life.

“A tree says: A kernel is hidden in me, a spark, a thought. I am life from eternal life. The attempt and the risk that the eternal mother took with me is unique, unique the form and veins of my skin, unique the smallest play of leaves in my branches and the smallest scar on my bark. I was made to form and reveal the eternal in my smallest special detail. A tree says: My strength is trust…I trust that God is in me. I trust that my labour is holy. Out of this trust I live.”

Lovingly,

Eric Francis

PS: You can meet Elisa and her tree friends in June. She and the trees will be teaching their attunement skills in her Tree Love: Heart of the Forest workshop, scheduled for June 10 in Rhinebeck, New York. This is easy driving distance from New York City, Western Massachusetts, Albany, the Hudson Valley and many other locales. I am planning to be there, participating and photographing. Her email is: elisanovick@thrivingplanet.org.

 

Planet Waves

Mercury is Conjunct Eris; Scorpio Moon All Weekend

Today Mercury is conjunct Eris. If you have a writing project or any communication endeavor that is calling on you to be especially clever or surreptitious, today’s the day. Mercury is working its way into an opposition to Saturn, which is one of the features of this weekend’s Full Moon in Scorpio, which takes place Saturday at 11:35 pm EDT.

Planet Waves
Selene Rising at Sounion, the temple to Neptune near Athens, Greece (summer 2011). Photo by Anthony Ayiomamitis.

Today the Moon is in Libra, and forms an exact conjunction to Saturn at 2:02 pm EDT, which happens in a close opposition to the Mercury-Eris conjunction. This seems to be a reminder not to get bogged down in your emotions, expectations or ideas about the rules. Rather, think in an original way, which usually means the way you want to rather than the way you’re supposed to. You might fear consequences; you might be accused of being less mature, though usually clever trumps well-behaved.

As the Sun moves toward the exact midpoint of Taurus, it does so in a conjunction to an odd point called the Black Moon Lilith, or the ‘osculating apogee’ of the Moon. The Sun is picking up on the shadowy side of the lunar nature, which could make you conscious of your misgivings about expressing yourself.

Have you ever noticed when you say and do something that exceeds what you’ve done in the past, feels extra expressive or which you fear some might feel is ‘appropriate’, you get a little blowback of guilt or misgiving? That’s what Sun-Black Moon Lilith might feel like. It’s also an opportunity to be at peace with some of the darker aspects of human nature, without getting subsumed by them or acting them out.

The Moon enters Scorpio at 10:19 pm EDT and ‘full phase’ officially begins, according to the Office of the Full Moon. The Moon picks up trines from Neptune and Chiron in Pisces, which looks a lot more clairvoyant than the psychic hotline. And the Moon makes an opposition to Vesta in early Taurus, suggesting that your intuition just might have a purpose to serve tonight. Then the Moon, in quick sequence, makes aspects to Mars, Uranus and Pluto, finally reaching exact opposition to the Sun Saturday night in the United States and early Sunday in the UK, Europe and points east; early Sunday afternoon in Australia (please check local times).

Because the Sun is conjunct the lunar apogee, that means the Moon (which is opposite the Sun) is conjunct the perigee (its closest point to the Earth), which will give it a large appearance on the horizon. It’ll feel large too — as the Moon moves deeper into Scorpio, it makes an opposition to Jupiter in Taurus, which will sustain this lunation’s passionate emotions. Whatever you’re feeling, let yourself flow. There is progress in the air, and movement, and a gentle rising up and release from situations that seemed to have you caught on the rocks.

The Moon ingresses Sagittarius at 9:28 pm on Sunday, May 6, starting a new story that we’ll pick up in Monday morning’s edition of Daily Astrology on Planet Waves.

 

Planet Waves

Planet Waves
Occupy protest in Manhattan, May 1, 2012. To hear the Tax Dodgers sing, be sure to click this link. It’s worth it. Photo by Beth Bagner.

Occupy Rouses Itself for Global Action on May Day

The spring awakening of the Occupy movement rallied around the traditional labor holiday May Day on May 1, calling for economic justice and humane immigration reform. Several actions in New York City convened in Union Square and then marched to Wall Street, with 40 people arrested. Thousands marched in Los Angeles.

In the San Francisco Bay Area, Occupy protesters called off their plan to shut down the Golden Gate Bridge, instead joining picket lines organized by labor groups. In Oakland, that city’s reputation for violent protests unfortunately continued as some demonstrators vandalized property and police fired tear gas. San Francisco also experienced vandalism blamed on the Occupy movement.

In Seattle, protesters wore black and ran through streets disrupting traffic and breaking windows. Large protests across South America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia also observed May Day.

Newt in Permanent Suspended Animation

We bid a fond farewell to The Newt, who has suspended his campaign for the Republican nomination after a long career of tearing the fabric of American politics to rags. Does anybody ever just quit the race? Gingrich’s whole campaign was basically an attack on Mitt Romney, and he could not quite bring himself to endorse him.

Planet Waves
This is a Siberian salamander. We just put in the picture because he’s much prettier (and a stronger candidate) than Newt. Photo: BBC.

“As to the presidency, I’m asked sometimes, ‘Is Mitt Romney conservative enough?’ And my answer is simple: Compared to Barack Obama? You know, this is not a choice between Mitt Romney and Ronald Reagan. This is a choice between Mitt Romney and the most radical, leftist president in American history.” We are still parsing that out.

He is trying to make Obama seem like Fidel Castro, when he’s really been the buddy to the banks, the conglomerates and the National Security State.

This leaves Ron Paul, the anti-choice “libertarian,” as the sole challenger to Romney. Paul, a congressman from Texas, has a young, energized cult following. He could end up being a spoiler independent candidate who splits the Republican vote. We shall see what Mercury retrograde on Election Day serves up.

 

Planet Waves

One Order of Arsenic Fried Rice, Please

Planet Waves
Finally, brown rice gets a bad reputation — it has more arsenic than white rice.

Researchers at Dartmouth College have found high levels of arsenic, a poisonous metallic element, in rice. While the levels are not enough to kill a person quickly, researchers are cautioning against eating a lot of products that may contain rice in several forms — such as brown rice syrup, plus rice flour, plus puffed rice. Arsenic occurs naturally in ground water, and apparently rice has a particular ability to concentrate that element. The situation is worse in brown rice, which has a higher concentration than white rice (the stuff apparently accumulates in the hull).

This is not funny. Rice accounts for 20% of the caloric intake of the human population. The problem first surfaced in Bangladesh, where there are high arsenic levels in the water, and where more health problems have been documented. U.S. rice is also a concern, since rice is often grown in former cotton fields in which arsenic-based pesticides were frequently used.

The concern is greater for babies and children, since they eat more food per pound of body weight, they are growing quickly and are often fed rice cereals and formulas. Two years ago, British authorities told their citizens not to feed rice milk to children as a precaution, but in the U.S., where there are arsenic standards for drinking water but not food, authorities have not made any such statement. The FDA is now sampling rice across the country; the agency said results should be available in a month or two, or at the latest by 2043.

 

Planet Waves

Pholus Still Dogs Rupert Murdoch and News Corp

Rupert Murdoch’s phone-hacking scandal, which has thrown his media empire in Britain into turmoil, may be reaching American shores. As we suggested in an article last year, the astrology assured us this would be the gift that keeps on giving [read Planet Waves coverage here]. Trying to undo the effects of Pholus (a centaur planet that’s running this scenario) is like trying to stuff shaving cream back into the can, only in this case it’s the biggest scandal in modern media history.

Planet Waves
Rupert has a Pholus problem.

Lawyer Mark Lewis, who helped expose the scandal in Britain, said he is partnering with U.S. lawyer Norman Siegel, who has been investigating the possible hacking of 9/11 victims’ cell phones by the British tabloid News of the World. Lewis told Democracy Now! that many complaints against News Corp in the United States stem from the now-defunct tabloid. There have also been allegations against Fox News and other News Corp holdings.

Lewis said he is now representing four clients who believe their phones were hacked while visiting the United States. Notably, Murdoch is an American citizen. His U.S. holdings also include The New York Post and The Wall Street Journal.

Robert McChesney, co-founder of national media reform organization Free Press, told Democracy Now! this week that the Senate Commerce Committee is giving indications they may follow up on British research to see if News Corp is legally fit to hold 27 broadcast licenses in the U.S. “The idea that [Murdoch] became a Brownie Scout when he crossed the Atlantic from England is absurd,” McChesney said.

“In every known area of his business and professional conduct as corporate manager, everything has pretty much been identical in the United States as Britain, with the exception of the eavesdropping and the wiretapping. We know he is the poster child of crony capitalism, of using his power as a media mogul to press politicians to get sweetheart deals.”

 

Planet Waves

Beginners Will Get Lucky at UAC

Have you been reading our notices about the UAC conference, finding yourself interested but a little intimidated? Among the many, many workshop offerings, there is a track devoted to novice astrologers called the Beginner’s Sun-Sign Track.

Described as a one-day-only, full-day program, it allows astrological beginners to hear lectures from some of astrology’s leading speakers on entry-level topics. It offers four workshops. Susie’s Sun Signs, presented by Susie Cox, offers a “modern, positive, fresh approach to the basics.” Birthing Venus Within: A Mythological and Elemental Perspective, presented by Barbara Schermer, begins with Botticelli’s Birth of Venus, since the painting marks the moment the goddess “takes on the mantle of the zodiac,” and traces the myth “to understand her manifestation in your own chart.”

Understanding the Planets: From Moon to Pluto by Rick Levine covers the ten traditional planets and how they bring the signs to life. Aspects and Major Configurations by Erin Sullivan breaks down various combinations of planets in a ‘grand’ formation: grand cross; T-square; grand trines; yod; kite configurations, and their relationships. Registration for the rest of the conference includes access to the Sun-Sign track, however this track also has its own separate registration for those who prefer not to attend the rest of UAC.

 

Planet Waves

In Our Next Episode: How To Stop A War in Lebanon

When you’re a woman living in a country where regular armed conflict keeps claiming the lives of husbands, brothers and sons, what recourse do you have to avoiding more war? Nadine Labaki, writer and director of Where Do We Go Now?, explores the balance between humor and grief in her movie about how creative women might get.

Planet Waves
Scene from “Where Do We Go Now?” by Nadine Labaki.

In the movie, Lebanon’s Oscar 2012 selection, village women resort to all sorts of ploys — including hiring a group of Ukrainian strippers — to keep the men distracted from waging yet another religious war.

Labaki, born in 1974 in Lebanon, describes growing up in that time and place as complicated, with nothing making sense. She cites a situation a few years ago, in which religious conflict escalated into bloody war for a few weeks after two decades of peace, as inspiration — along with the news of her own first child. “The situation is sometimes so absurd that you cannot help but laugh about it. Humor becomes the remedy — the only way to distance yourself from the situation, to measure your flaws and hopefully to start healing.” We learned about her on MSNBC’s Republican morning show this week discussing the film, life in Lebanon and the absurdity of war. (Mika — thanks for getting this on the show.)

 

Planet Waves

Find Your Current Monthly Horoscopes Here — and Schedule News!

This section also includes the upcoming publishing schedule! The May monthly horoscope (long edition and an article called “The Lighter Side of Taurus”) was published Wednesday evening, April 25. The most recent Inner Space monthly for May was published Tuesday, April 27. We published Genevieve Hathaway’s most recent Moonshine Horoscope (for April) on Tuesday, April 3. There will be a new one this coming Tuesday. All Tuesday editions are now being published to the subscriber area only and no longer being distributed by email. The next monthly horoscope by Eric will be the June edition, to be published the evening of Wednesday, May 23. There will not be a regular edition that week — and there may be additional changes to the schedule due to the UAC conference, which we will be covering on Planet Waves FM.

 

Planet Waves

A Celestially Auspicious Occasion: Donna Henes Interview

This week’s edition of Planet Waves FM covers the astrology of the Full Moon, and then has one of the most amazing interviews in the history of the program.

Planet Waves

This is a fantastic edition, featuring an interview with Donna Henes, author of the book Celestially Auspicious Occasions. Donna knows a lot about the natural holidays — the equinoxes and solstices, as well as the cross-quarter days (the Pagan high sabbats). We’re now in the season of Beltane so this is the perfect time to have her on the program.
Donna is also the author of Dressing Our Wounds in Warm Clothes and The Queen of My Self: Stepping into Sovereignty in Midlife. I will let this program speak for itself.

Here is your program in the old player, where you’ll find the full archives and a downloadable zip file. You can access many past editions of Planet Waves FM at this link.

 

Planet Waves

Friday, May 4, 2012. Weekly Horoscope #902 | Eric’s Zodiac Sign Descriptions
 

Taurus Birthdays This Week

If your birthday is anywhere in the neighborhood, your solar charts suggest that you’re close to the point of resolving an impasse. This is unlikely to look like the members of a collective bargaining process emerging from the room and holding a press conference. Rather, you are resolving something within yourself, which is good because you need to shift your energy to an even deeper series of changes that’s approaching. For a long time you’ve lived with a split in your reasoning process, your values or your goals. This split has manifested in the outer world in many frustrating ways, and your psyche now has built up significant momentum toward letting that whole scenario go. Most of what you’re encountering in the immediate sense is what I can only describe as the fear of yourself. That could be annoying, considering that you’re the one person you have to live with every day. Taureans are often described as possessive. Here is a clue as to how you can let go of this particular fear: just remember, you cannot possess yourself. To get your full Taurus birthday reading by Eric Francis, you may visit this link.

Aries (March 20-April 19)

Aries (March 20-April 19) — You seem to have turned a corner this week, after much thought and some agonizing. You were dealing with a situation that went deeper than was obvious on the surface, which was related to a matter of deep healing. You worked out a lot, yet the one question still lingering from that scenario is: what have you learned about how you do endings? And what does that say about how you approach beginnings? And have you been able to identify the connection between the two? One question that your charts are offering involves what you do when you reach an impasse or a mental block of some kind. How do you handle that sensation? The second question involves what you do when you think you lack confidence, or more to the point, when you’ve convinced yourself that you do. Confidence is about having faith, and that is not an option — your only option is where you choose to invest it.

Hello Aries — Eric has written a new description for your sign that you have access to from this link (no password needed).

Taurus (April 19- May 20)

Taurus (April 19-May 20) — Take a practical approach to any situation or challenge in your life, particularly if you reach a point where you don’t know quite what to do. What appears to be an obstacle is not just an opportunity; it’s also the approach to a breakthrough point. While this is not merely a ‘trick of the mind’, how you think about matters profoundly influences how you perceive them, as well as how they develop. I suggest you be wary of any situation that involves a tease, seems out of reach or unavailable (an asteroid called Tantalus showing up vividly in your charts right now). I am not suggesting you avoid or run from any circumstance fitting that description, rather that you apply consciousness and the power of choice. Desire is a beautiful thing, though this is the time to ask yourself whether what you desire will bring you happiness, and if not, what you might choose to further that worthy cause.

Hello Taurus — Eric has written a new description for your sign that you have access to from this link (no password needed) If you would like to hear your Taurus birthday reading, please visit this link.

Gemini (May 20- June 21)

Gemini (May 20-June 21) — Loyalty is only worthwhile to a point. The thing to ask yourself is, in being loyal to someone else, are you betraying yourself? This could be about anyone, though your charts suggest that the situation involves an authority figure, or a parental figure, of some kind. Consider this question carefully, because it illustrates a distinction that’s often blurred or even obscured entirely in the global crisis of self-esteem. I suggest you question the matter of authority, to begin with. If someone has this distinction, how did they get it? Did you grant them any power, did they take it, or was it in the fine print of the relationship agreement? It’s not too late to get out your magnifying glass and read the text carefully. And you’re right on time to make sure that even when you encounter or engage with someone who seems to be more powerful, or in a high station in life, you maintain your position as a fully-fledged human being — but only if you say so.

Hello Gemini — Eric has written a new description for your sign that you have access to from this link (no password needed).

Cancer (June 21- July 22)

Cancer (June 21-July 22) — This weekend’s Scorpio Full Moon is an invitation to new adventures. The thing about adventures is that they’re not predictable, and there’s often a mix of experiences — though as you’ve learned in the past, it’s silly to let that stop you. It seems like one challenge you’re facing involves acknowledging what is past, and allowing it to be so. Any factor of ‘this cannot be’ or ‘I cannot have this’ is very likely the result of your reaching backwards, rather than embracing the future with an open heart and an open mind. There is also a fear factor involved, or rather what more accurately looks like the fear of fear. Said another way, negative expectations always work against you. While it’s a good idea to ground your positive expectations in something solid, the negative ones serve no useful purpose. They do reveal something useful about your relationship to history, or what may turn out to be ancient history.

Hello Cancer — Eric has written a new description for your sign that you have access to from this link (no password needed).

Leo (July 22- Aug. 23)

Leo (July 22-Aug. 23) — Emotional fulfillment really is the challenge here in the Western world. Nearly every external influence we encounter is designed to stoke desire, often to the point where we don’t know what to do with ourselves once one of those desires is met by what might satiate it. I suggest you figure out what to do, if you’re wondering, or if you find yourself pursuing one ‘need’ after the next. Your solar chart illustrates the image of a life that, if not perfect, has many of the necessary elements for contentment. What you might need to do is assemble the ingredients in a mindful way, or at least notice their presence. Often the experience of reaching for more is about reaching for something in the past, which in truth you cannot touch. Yet what surrounds you now is a bold comment on what is possible. Compared to the state of affairs many other places on the planet, you are doing very well. The more open you are to receiving, the more you will feel that.

Hello Leo — Eric has written a new description for your sign that you have access to from this link (no password needed).

 


Spring Checkpoint: Individual Signs Now Available

We will soon figure out that it’s actually 2012. The recent retrogrades of Mars and Mercury seemed to create a delay, but really this winter and early spring has been a phase of gestation. Over the next four weeks, the energy starts to pick up pace dramatically, and we will discover where we are and that something unusual, and beautiful, is happening.

Even as we approach the truly beautiful potential of the astrology that’s developing, many people are struggling with their day-to-day lives. There are more questions than answers; the economic and political situations seem hopeless; the pace of existence is going so fast that there seems to be nowhere to get in a little meaning, or seek some peace of mind.

Planet Waves

Here is where astrology can help. Astrology looks at the longer cycles, and the deeper themes — and can help you see your life in context of the present moment, no matter how chaotic it may be. Context means a sense of where you fit in that will help you see your potential and make better choices.

For years, I’ve been helping my clients prepare for making the most of the astrology of the 2012 era. Based on this experience, and many years of study, I’ve prepared a set of readings for all 12 signs (and rising signs, and Moon signs) that guides you through this astrology, step by step. I cover the most challenging and energized developments of this spring, which includes eclipses, Venus retrograde, the Venus transit of the Sun, and then a few days after the Sun ingresses Cancer, the Uranus-Pluto square.

Each sign gets a half-hour discussion. These came through loud and clear, with strength and meaning. I spent a week designing and recording them, and I am grateful to be able to offer them to you as a tool to help you guide your decisions, as you seek deeper meaning along your journey.

Spring 2012 is a kind of checkpoint along the way to wherever you are going. But really it’s a calling into the adventure of existence, a bold invitation to go beyond your past limits and explore something truly new about yourself.

Signs are now available individually for an amazingly low price, cheaper than the paper shopping bag costs at Jimmy Choo — order your reading here. The report is getting rave reviews from people who are currently working with it, including these words from a customer named Donna: “OMG — thank you thank you thank you — just spent this morning listening to my [Spring Report] info, and am so blown away by the accuracy (and relief!) in this experience. Thanks so very much for your part in supporting this work and for showing up in the way that you do!”. Here is the link to order.

Please drop us a note if you have any questions.

Lovingly,

Eric Francis


 

Virgo (Aug. 23- Sep. 22)

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22) — You’ve been cautious about expressing what you want, and about acting on it too boldly — and until now that has been a wise policy. You might say that your desires have been fermenting below the surface of your consciousness, as you’ve worked out the calculus of what amounts to commitment. For most, wanting something, someone or an experience is more like a whim. Your desire nature moves your whole being, and that is what’s happening now. You may have the sensation that you’ve been aggressive about what you want, though I suggest this really isn’t true; for quite a long time you’ve been involved in trying to figure out what direction to go, and giving yourself permission to make a decision. Let that decision guide you; let it be a point of orientation. This will set many things in motion, and eventually you may notice that what you want is moving toward you. It will change in the process: be open to that when you finally meet up with whatever it is.

Hello Virgo — Eric has written a new description for your sign that you have access to from this link (no password needed).

Libra (Sep. 22 - Oct. 23)

Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23) — The thought process of someone close to you seems to be encountering you as an obstacle. Being an accommodating person, this is not an easy situation for you to be in, though you know that you have to hold a limit or set a boundary, and you’re conducting yourself in a way that is arguably mature and grounded. Remember, though, that you’re a work in progress — and just how much progress that implies is something you will discover soon enough. Meanwhile, when someone approaches you with an idea, please be open minded. You don’t have to respond like a parent talking to a child; you can take a more playful or experimental approach. Imagine that you live in a vastly larger world, among more people with whom you are truly in affinity. Imagine if you really lived the truth that anything is possible. Then, you might recognize that any idea could potentially be a brilliant idea.

Hello Libra — Eric has written a new description for your sign that you have access to from this link (no password needed).

Scorpio (Oct. 23- Nov. 22)

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22) — In order to be in a relationship with someone, it’s necessary to be at peace with who they are, which covers many levels of existence. It’s also necessary to be at peace with what their existence reveals about you, which is another way of saying being comfortable in your own skin. That said, I would propose that you be careful and aware in any situation where you have a long list of misgivings. The solution to everything is not to fix it or work it out or make it better. Sometimes the solution is to recognize that there’s an incompatibility, and use that as your new starting point. And, sometimes you will actually find yourself in a situation where you can know that there is a connection that can develop. Remember, though, that the first step is to get over your own insecurities, which I know is a tall order on this particular planet at this particular time. Yet events this weekend seem custom-designed to help you do just that — and then make a decision about where you really stand.

Hello Scorpio — Eric has written a new description for your sign that you have access to from this link (no password needed).

Sagittarius (Nov. 22 - Dec. 22)

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22) — Set your course toward something more than survival, or enduring a less-than-perfect situation. In fact you do endure and you do make the most of your circumstances, though the time has arrived to take a more generous approach to existence. I would call your attention to a possible feeling or notion that a particular realm of emotional contact is somehow off limits to you. By that I mean emotional on the erotic side of the spectrum, where the deepest exchange is possible. There are many factors that could lead to this fear, though none of them actually limit you: the only things that do are your own unacknowledged beliefs. When you discover one of those beliefs, which might poke its head up for a fleeting moment, take a good look at it and ask yourself what it is. Then make up your mind about whether it’s true. The past may be the most dependable predictor of the future, but if you make that a way of life, nothing will ever change.

Hello Sagittarius — Eric has written a new description for your sign that you have access to from this link (no password needed).

Capricorn (Dec. 22- Jan. 20)

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20) — How do you respond when others act like they are totally insecure? It’s tricky enough to even notice when this is happening. People display their neuroses in all kinds of creative ways, sometimes as bravado, sometimes as approach-avoid behavior, and sometimes as inconsistency. Often to figure out what’s going on below the surface, it’s necessary to be truly discerning, which means to see past your own subtle fears. It’s even safe to assume that people are going to be coming from an unstable or uncertain place, expecting the world to count them out of the game. The more encouraging you are, the more willing they will be to reveal their vulnerability, and thus take a step into authenticity with you. You can, with no damage to yourself, define one of your primary roles as being supportive of the ideas and plans of others — even if it’s moral support you’re offering. This will take a lot of pressure off of your social environment.

Hello Capricorn — Eric has written a new description for your sign that you have access to from this link (no password needed).

Aquarius (Jan. 20- Feb. 19)

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) — Unfortunately, the term ‘unconditional love’ rarely means what it purports to say. It represents an ideal, and we may indeed get there — but for now, I suggest that you be fully aware of, and honest about, any conditions you have on any of the intimate situations in your life. This is not about being mean or controlling; it’s about being real with yourself, which is the one and only prerequisite to being real with others. Understanding your conditions means understanding your values. There is a direct connection between the two concepts; one is the outer expression of the other. By bringing these things to the surface of your awareness, you will be able to make better decisions — and you seem to be considering an important one now. Here is one specific theme to add to that equation: are you hesitating because a risk you took in the past did not work out? What is your relationship to this whole business of taking chances?

Hello Aquarius — Eric has written a new description for your sign that you have access to from this link (no password needed).

Pisces (Feb. 19- March 20)

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) — You may feel a standoff coming, though that’s not necessary if you keep your focus, speak your truth and refuse to allow fear to guide your actions. With those few objectives as your point of origin, there’s little that can stop you from doing what you want, harming no one and with a clear conscience. You may experience the events of the next week or so as a test of your integrity. Or you may be treated to an adventure that’s the reward of the work you’ve done going back many months — a phase of true achievement. One thing your charts indicate is that you’re discovering what it’s like to be met with energy similar to your own, whether in personal relationships or creative collaborations. Said another way, your charts are developing into an extended point of contact with the world around you, which holds the opportunity for you to express your potential in ways that are truly meaningful.

Hello Pisces — Eric has written a new description for your sign that you have access to from this link (no password needed).

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