Editor’s note: this is the full PW members’ edition, featuring an expanded lead essay, your weekly horoscopes, the Create feature, Planet Waves FM and more.
Dear Friend and Reader:
Tomorrow night the Sun leaves Capricorn and ingresses Aquarius. That this sign change happens each year within a few days of Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday (which was on Monday) feels fascinatingly appropriate, even though King was a Capricorn.
I say this because of the two planets that rule Aquarius: Saturn (which also rules Capricorn) and Uranus. Saturn represents (in part) responsibility and containment; Uranus represents (in part) liberation and unbridled life force. We need both concepts, both forms of energy, to live in balance.
What I find most striking about King’s life and work in this context was the way he integrated and championed these concepts: calling, from a place of deeply held social and personal responsibility, for liberation; finding the most effective outlet for his considerable life force by focusing it into a clear and singular purpose — one that took as its container the principle of non-violent protest. By embodying one clear structure of action and philosophy, he sought to dismantle and revolutionize another social and political structure, in pursuit of freedom for a repressed group. And he did so by inspiring individuals to use their freedom to take personal responsibility — whether they were among the repressed group, or among the elite group doing the oppressing.
Whether this owes anything to King’s natal Mercury in Aquarius or is simply a fascinating stroke of synchronicity, I’m not entirely sure. But I appreciate how we can perhaps get a better feel for Aquarius and its two very different ruling planets by thinking of King in this way.
The Sun enters Aquarius at 10:09 pm EST Friday night (3:09 am UTC Saturday). There it joins Venus (which entered Aquarius Wednesday night), the asteroid Juno, and the lunar South Node (which hints at the eclipse coming in a couple of weeks).
In fact, Juno is in a close conjunction to the South Node, and the pair are exactly opposite the asteroid Ceres and the lunar North Node in Leo. I was pondering this opposition, and wondered: when your sense of what is nourishing and heart-based is confronted by the kind of ‘social-justice-by-mob-mentality’ that seems to proliferate on the internet, how do you negotiate that space?
The internet (which is arguably symbolized by Uranus) is a hotbed for license: that is, for freedom without responsibility. You can say almost anything you want on the internet, including on social media, and many (if not most) people do — often with very little thought about the impact of their words, or whether a hastily typed comment fully represents their deeper values.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., flanked by Bishop Julian Smith (left) and The Rev. Ralph Abernathy (right), during a civil rights march in Memphis, March 28, 1968. Photo by Jack Thornell
With Ceres and Juno opposed as they are, you might practice toggling back and forth between leading from your most compassionate heart-space and joining the call for justice with online group-think. Where do they meet for you? After all, as others have pointed out, a true ‘group’ is made up of individuals who think for themselves. If that quality is missing, then you’re part of a mob. And beneficial things rarely emerge from mobs.
At the same time, in many social justice struggles, there is strength in numbers. We need to come together in groups and work together to solve problems that are too unwieldy and complex or systemic for one person to tackle all by themselves. In doing so, however, we have to accept the individual responsibility to think for ourselves, to see the big picture as well as the immediate problem, and to bring our empathy, curiosity and honesty.
I thought about this more today after reading this article in The Guardian about some backlash on social media being directed at Margaret Atwood, over some comments she made about retaining ‘due process’ amidst the #MeToo movement (something which she sees overall as “a massive wakeup call”).
“If the legal system is bypassed because it is seen as ineffectual, what will take its place? Who will be the new power brokers?” Atwood asked.
According to The Guardian, “She raised the possibility that the answer could leave women divided. ‘In times of extremes, extremists win. Their ideology becomes a religion, anyone who doesn’t puppet their views is seen as an apostate, a heretic or a traitor, and moderates in the middle are annihilated.'”
I still think there’s potential for the energy behind the #MeToo movement to be used constructively — if that energy is harnessed individually rather than tribally. But in addition to men being willing to review their actions and attitudes from an often-uncomfortable perspective, and to cultivate empathy and real listening skills in communication with women (and vice versa), we also need more people (perhaps especially women) to begin thinking in constructive, healing-oriented ways beyond just going on the warpath.
From what I can tell, one thing that’s challenging about this idea is that it can feel like anyone suggesting this is ignoring or actively trying to silence women who are speaking up about their trauma. That’s not necessarily the case.
Margaret Atwood, author of The Handmaid’s Tale, the surprising target of #MeToo backlash on social media.
It’s still no less valid for someone who’s been victimized, abused or harassed to name that behavior and name the aggressor, to seek justice and support, and for others to support that person. Reclaiming power after being violated has to start somewhere, and that seems to be a useful, logical and apparently necessary starting point.
The thing is, the healing process, including those initial stages, has to happen on an individual level. And as long as we have ways for individual voices to collect en masse, and as long as we’re collectively trying to shift the overall cultural dynamic — which, historically, has been shitty toward women victims of sexual crimes — then I think we’re going to hear a lot more from the #MeToo movement, and similar. That’s not automatically a bad thing — just as continuing to point out and address racism is not a bad thing, so long as systemic racism and the abuse of sexual power exist. But getting stuck in mob or tribal mentality is an obstacle to individual healing, as well as to collective progress.
Individuals may move into other stages of healing (if they have the awareness and opportunity and resources to do so), and then might not need to resort to vigilante social media; and those will be the people able to shift their inner narrative, as well as the one they offer publicly. But I don’t think we’re ever going to have everybody moving through that process at the same time.
Even so, I am beginning to see more nuanced conversations about the multivalent issues regarding sexual power dynamics, including the sorry state of communication around sex, dating, flirting, boundaries, desire (and owning it) and so on. It’s possible for women and men to bring tremendous empathy — and a willingness to take responsibility for their end of the conversation (and for their actions) — to this problem, even on social media. I saw one such thread in my Facebook feed just today, in fact. I remind myself, however, to hold space for those who are not at a place in their individual healing where they can engage in that same way — just as I support those who can go there, and who can model that process of inquiry. I think that’s partly what it means to have a functional group of individuals.
With Venus in Aquarius, we seem to get another image of the possibility (indeed, the need) to bring some ‘emotional intelligence’ into group settings — both online and in person. As just described, a mob has no real intelligence, emotional or otherwise, of its own.
For a group to operate humanely (both among its members and toward the larger community), its individual members must bring their own humanity. Venus in Aquarius can be a little cool and detached — more ‘righteous’ than ‘loving’ — so it’s up to you to consciously supply the warmth and empathy in your relationships, both one-on-one and in a group setting.
Simplified chart for the Sun square Pallas. Counter-clockwise from the upper-left: Ceres and the North Node in Leo; Jupiter in Scorpio; Pholus in the last degree of Sagittarius; Pluto in Capricorn; the Sun, Venus, Juno and the South Node in Aquarius; Pallas in Taurus. View glyph key here.
Related to this is the Sun’s first major aspect when it ingresses Aquarius: a square to the asteroid Pallas, which enters Taurus almost exactly 30 minutes before the Sun changes sign. One of the attributes of Pallas is that of wisdom. In Taurus, this speaks of the wisdom of your body’s senses.
Yet what happens when that body-wisdom is at odds with a more intellectual, mind-centered awareness or self-expression? How can you integrate them? It might be as simple as checking the facts against your gut instincts and sensual perceptions; or using the physical logistics of a plan to bring innovations into a more realistic space.
Finally, it’s worth noting that on Saturday the centaur planet Pholus leaves Sagittarius after being there for about a dozen years.
At 7:11 pm EST (00:11 UTC Sunday), Pholus enters Capricorn for the first time since 1951 (Pholus has a highly elliptical orbit, and spends many more years in some signs than in others).
Pholus is the planet of ‘small cause, big effect’, the runaway chain reaction, and the ‘cat out of the bag’ phenomenon. All centaur objects have something to do with patterns from the past and healing them, yet each seems to have its sub-specialty in that realm. For Pholus, that would be the effect of one’s great-grandparents (and to a lesser extent grandparents) on an individual’s life.
This theme will be up for investigation in whatever area Capricorn represents in your personal chart. What’s more, Pholus will be moving through Capricorn in a conjunction to the object Quaoar for approximately ten years, deepening and broadening the idea of old, old family patterns.
Given that the family is the first ‘group’ any of us belongs to, and given how challenging it can be to become a true individual just within our families (and within the holographic family overlays that we unconsciously project onto our other relationships), this will likely be fertile territory to explore. It seems a rather perfect synchronicity that Pholus should make its move just one day after the Sun has entered Aquarius. Here’s to finding balance and integration between liberation and responsibility along this leg of the journey.
Yours & truly,
The Art of Becoming
Last Call for Current Pre-order Price
“I appreciate the love you put into these bigger projects and all your writings. Thank you, emphatically, for sharing your gifts with all of us. I am inspired by you to be true to myself. Namaste.”
— Kathleen Judd, commenting on the 2017 annual edition
Dear Friend and Reader:
We’re intending to publish your 2018 annual edition, The Art of Becoming, in just two weeks. It’s shaping up to be pretty exciting, not to mention jam-packed with lots of helpful information.
I wanted to remind you that tonight we’re increasing the price on all 12 signs to $111. It’ll still be an excellent bargain: 12 written readings of 5,000 words or more, plus three bonus videos, available to everyone who gets all the signs. In these, Eric will discuss the outer planet transits that will transform the astrological landscape this year, and prepare us for the even more extraordinary events of 2020.
As Kathleen says, Eric infuses his readings with a great deal of love; along with over two decades of solid experience, and a lifetime of wisdom. You’re invited to partake.
With best wishes,
P.S. Unlike many businesses, we understand that sometimes our readers need financial support. If you could use a discount, however substantial, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org, and we’ll gladly help you.
So You Think You Can Dance…Your Ideas?
By Amanda Painter
On Saturday, when the Sun squares asteroid Pallas shortly after their respective moves into Aquarius and Taurus, the tension indicated presents an interesting opportunity for integration. Where the Aquarius Sun represents both innovative ideas and their crystallization, Pallas in Taurus suggests a more embodied, sensual wisdom.
Where better to witness the integration of these concepts but in the winners of Science magazine’s 2017 Dance Your PhD competition? (This article at Smithsonianmag.com features the four winning videos along with a little more explanation; you can also view all 12 finalists here.)
This year’s grand champion was Nancy Scherich’s video, which physicalizes the mathematical concepts of knot theory and how to translate braids into matrices by using a full cast of dancers and aerialists, and an actual plotline. Scherich comments:
“I think dance is an excellent form to describe mathematics. The first hurdle in communicating mathematics is to make the abstract concepts relevant and relatable to a largely math-phobic society. The human element of dancing helps to remove the veil of intimidation and allows the viewer to have a positive encounter with mathematics. Furthermore, the storyline and characters help to make the viewer emotionally interested in the mathematics as well.”
Other prizewinners include Natália Oliveira’s Vogue-ing forensic biosensors in the chemistry category; Judit Pétervári’s exploration of the differences between novice and expert judges (social sciences); and for biology, Monica Moritsch’s research into the consequences of sea star wasting syndrome on the tidal community. It might not be possible to answer complex scientific questions through interpretative dance, but these videos suggest we can at least get a feel for them and have fun in the process.
This week on Planet Waves FM
Capricorn New Moon and Interview with Elizabeth Gross
Dear Friend and Listener:
Thank you for responding to our request for funding Planet Waves FM. After 350 episodes the past seven years, we are grateful to have our listeners picking up the modest costs of the program. Our starting fundraising goal is $2,000 a month to cover basic studio expenses. With your help, we can get there this week. All contributions are tax deductible for those who file within the United States. If you’re interested in becoming a major donor, please contact me directly.
Jane Siberry playing in Toronto in 2006.
This week we have an excellent program for you that’s a kind of women’s health intensive in 90 minutes. You will love my guest: a young healer named Elizabeth Gross. She has devoted her life to helping women get back into alignment with themselves, both physically and spiritually. [Play episode here.]
Our interview is based on Elizabeth’s upcoming seven-week program, called Womyn’s Health and Radical Self Care. This is an intensive being taught in New York City and in Kingston, NY, and on the internet. The three sections of the class will run in parallel each week on Monday, Wednesday or Friday evenings, beginning at the spring equinox. Details are at the link on her site.
Cap New Moon, and the Hawaii False Alarm
I begin the program with a discussion of Tuesday’s New Moon in Capricorn [view chart]. One interesting feature of this chart is that the New Moon is exactly one sign away from the Galactic Core, to which Ixion is currently making a conjunction. I go over some of the implications of that, and the Mars-Chiron trine in the chart, plus Venus entering Aquarius.
In the second segment, I go over some of the permutations of the “false alarm” incoming ballistic missile attack that went out to cell phones in Hawaii on Saturday. I don’t think there was any way this was an accident. Please read this article, which I think is credible, and see if you can find a way that this was just the click of a button. Here is the chart for the incident.
Since recording the program on Sunday evening, my thinking has evolved some. The message went out only over cell phones in Hawaii. The United States Pacific Command (PACOM), the branch of the Army that protects Hawaii, said immediately that there was no incoming missile. Still, it took the state’s emergency management office 37 minutes to send out a retraction. That, you might say, is the trout in the milk: the really weird circumstantial evidence.
Our musical guest is Jane Siberry, a national treasure of Canada.
Planet Waves FM is part of the Pacifica Radio Network, published by Chiron Return. Thank you for tuning in.
Monthly Horoscopes and Publishing Schedule Notes
Your extended monthly horoscopes for January were published on Thursday, Dec. 21. We published your extended monthly horoscopes for December on Wednesday, Nov. 22. Please note: we normally publish the extended monthly horoscope on the first Friday after the Sun has entered a new sign.
Aries (March 20-April 19) — To understand the mystery of you (or indeed of any person), it helps to have practical information. That is: you can learn about yourself through your interactions with others and in society — the arena in which your beliefs, values and qualities are actually tested. If something relating to the question of who you are deep down is puzzling you, it’s likely that simply observing yourself living your life is by far and away the easiest way to find the answers. Input from others you trust may be useful too. — by Amy Elliott. For your Eric Francis horoscope this week, please see this link.
Taurus (April 19-May 20) — From time to time, the astrology will remind you to “know when you don’t know.” It’s important and useful advice; that said, this week you might benefit more from this variation: Know what you do know. As the Sun moves into your house of career and ambition, you may be feeling unsure of yourself and apt to forget how far you’ve come since this time last year, or even six months ago. I suggest you make a list of everything that you’ve achieved, and keep it safe so you can remind yourself. Then use that assurance. — by Amy Elliott. For your Eric Francis horoscope this week, please see this link.
Gemini (May 20-June 21) — In the 1950s, the Asch experiments demonstrated how people tend to conform to the pattern of their social group, even to the extent of giving obviously wrong answers to easy puzzles. The power of social reward and punishment is clearly strong; yet it cannot overcome free will. You have a choice now: you can cave in to whatever pressure is being exerted upon you; or you could decide to do entirely and precisely what you feel is right, regardless of what anyone else thinks. Take charge of your life. — by Amy Elliott. For your Eric Francis horoscope this week, please see this link.
Cancer (June 21-July 22) — It isn’t like you to want to throw caution to the wind. Yet you may be feeling a little restless; anxious to make clear and concrete progress, to move decisively forward. It would seem, however, that certain matters need resolving before you can take any great strides. You can safely view this as a necessary housecleaning and tying up of loose ends, or as an opportunity to turn your curiosity inward for a while. If you go with the flow, the change you’re seeking will almost certainly happen quite naturally. — by Amy Elliott. For your Eric Francis horoscope this week, please see this link.
Leo (July 22-Aug. 23) — The spotlight is now shifting to your relationships. You might wish to take some quality time with loved ones or even close friends. Remember that everyone brings something unique to your life, as you do to theirs. The best kind of connection is that in which each person feels emotionally and spiritually enriched and empowered, and able to be their best self. It’s also true that self-love and self-respect make it much easier to give love to others. Cultivate your friendship with yourself, and do so consciously and deliberately. — by Amy Elliott. For your Eric Francis horoscope this week, please see this link.
Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22) — As you build on your recent progress, it would seem there’s a part of you that wants to undo it all and start over; probably owing to anxiety inherited from past events. It may be worth taking a little time to unravel that; though don’t let it pull you under. You’ve been held back by these worries long enough. You have work to do, and things to experience and enjoy: both of which are essential to your growth at present. As long as you learn enough to know the name of the problem, you can then cheerfully tell it to sod off. — by Amy Elliott. For your Eric Francis horoscope this week, please see this link.
Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23) — You might well be feeling as if you’ve lived in a different place the last few weeks, in which nothing obeyed any known physical laws. Hopefully you’re now on easier turf. As you readjust, make sure you have sufficient time set aside for play and relaxation to help you close any gaps in your self-acceptance. It would seem your recent and present experiences are designed to help you leave behind, definitively, a piece of the past, and grow organically into a state of feeling much freer to express your truth. — by Amy Elliott. For your Eric Francis horoscope this week, please see this link.
Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22) — Don’t underestimate the importance of a pleasant home, or at least a nice room. Everyone needs a space they can call their own, and in which they feel welcome and at peace. If yours needs a few improvements, this might be a good time to get started. This isn’t simply about the bare essentials. You want the aesthetics to be right and the atmosphere to be warm and open; whether to enjoy by yourself or with anyone you invite in. This is about having the best possible springboard from which to launch your dreams, whatever they are. — by Amy Elliott. For your Eric Francis horoscope this week, please see this link.
Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22) — Yours is the sign that can be most easily described as being familiar with the new and unknown. That will sound paradoxical to others, but it probably makes sense to you. You usually feel at your best when you’re learning something, or exploring somewhere you’ve never been before. Sometimes that gets tricky when you’re trying to map out your internal territory. Yet this is where you may now need to look, in order to find your true passion. Fortunately, this kind of adventure involves its own excitements. — by Amy Elliott. For your Eric Francis horoscope this week, please see this link.
Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20) — Rarely does any major effort worth the making beget instant results. Yet it seems you’re feeling under pressure to produce them. Try to rest a little easier. Even professional magicians, who literally do pull rabbits out of hats, train for a while to perfect their skill. This week there’ll be a further change, which will probably come through as a piece of the puzzle you perhaps didn’t realize you were missing. That ought to clarify things a little, and help you move further toward making your ambition a reality. — by Amy Elliott. For your Eric Francis horoscope this week, please see this link.
“My takeaway from the Aquarius reading is a sense of PEACE. You really do UNDERSTAND what Aquarians are going through these days (and yes, because you do understand and explain the issues I am going through so well). Yes: you are an honorary Aquarian.”
Dear Friend and Reader:
I know at least a couple of Aquarians who’ve dealt with major difficulties this year. I’m not sure how widespread that has actually been among those with an Aquarius Sun or Aquarius rising, but I suspect it has a lot to do with Chiron wrapping up its journey through Pisces: your house of what you value, including your body, your money, your talents and your self-esteem.
This year Chiron begins to move into Aries. This will shift the focus of your learning and healing agenda, and hopefully provide a little relief.
Chiron is not the only planet changing signs this year, however: Saturn is newly in Capricorn, and later this spring Uranus will enter Taurus. These shifts hold very specific changes for you: both in terms of your inner reality, and in terms of the overall environment you interact with.
Using his signature blend of astrological experience, therapy training, life coaching, and motivational speaking, Eric will cover these major changes to the sky (along with subtler points) in your upcoming 2018 Aquarius Birthday Reading.
Recorded in pro-quality audio, you’ll receive two segments of astrology (at least 30 minutes each) and a tarot reading for the year ahead, plus an extended description of your sign. But what you really get is practical, accessible inspiration that will help you find a more empowering perspective on challenges, and the confidence to say yes to opportunities.
“Ah Eric — just listened to your reading. I was moved to tears by your closing words. Your passion, deep care and love always shine through; and you have the gift of all great teachers, of making one feel that one is being personally addressed, respected and taken care of.”
— Liz Glanville
Please note that when you pre-order your 2018 Aquarius Birthday Reading, you will secure the lowest price we offer –just $33. The price increases as Eric nears publication, and then increases again.
The Sun enters your sign this Friday, Aquarius — I wish you a happy birthday season, and much joyful use of your reading.
Yours & truly,
P.S. The 2018 Aquarius Birthday Reading is distinctly different from the Aquarius written reading available in the upcoming Art of Becoming annual project. It covers your key astrology in a different format and emphasis, capitalizing on Eric’s more intuitive, improvisational skills. The Birthday Reading also makes a fantastic gift for a loved one!
Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) — The Sun entering your sign will hopefully provide you with some clarity and peace of mind. Likely you’ll understand your emotional world a little better by now; in fact, you may partly be tempted to feel as if your work is done, and that you’re now a bodhisattva. It’s true you don’t have to dig away at your depths all the time, but it would certainly help if you continue to pay attention to your unconscious mind, dreams and feelings. You’re on the right track, and it would be a shame not to keep going. — by Amy Elliott. For your Eric Francis horoscope this week, please see this link.
Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) — For many, when the Sun enters the 12th house, it tends to signal a period of introspection and withdrawal. In this moment, however, the astrology seems to be saying almost the opposite. You appear nicely placed both to form new and unique ideas, and to distribute them among the people. Freedom to move both within and without is likely to be more important here than an emphasis on either. Having an organized timetable could help, along with paying attention to your intuition, which just now is salient even for you. — by Amy Elliott. For your Eric Francis horoscope this week, please see this link.