Solstice Fire and The Art of Service

The Art of Service by Lizanne Webb.

The Art of Service by Lizanne Webb.


Dear Friend and Reader:

This week, timed with the solstice and Mars entering Cancer, we are launching a membership and fundraising drive for Planet Waves. All of our work here is sponsored exclusively by you, our readers. For many reasons we remain free from corporate sponsorship and outside advertising.

We create the work that we offer to you and the world — Planet Waves newsletters and horoscopes, our daily magazine with many writers and artists, its diversity of topics and professional editing, the annual edition with written and audio readings, Planet Waves FM and Planet Waves TV, my classes and birthday readings — all with only you as our sponsor.

The River of Night by Via Keller.

The River of Night by Via Keller.

Planet Waves is not a blog. We are a web-based publishing community doing something genuinely creative with astrology, and with art, and many other modes of writing — all with the message: this is your moment to live your life.

My goal with this letter is to get you so psyched that you want to subscribe, and if you’re already on board, to make a donation or give a gift subscription to a friend.

First I want to begin with a story.

When Planet Waves set sail on the Internet in December 1998 — just a few months after Google launched its search engine — the Internet was a quieter, simpler place. There was a sense of mystery, potential and discovery. Every website offered some new curiosity to be explored.

Publishing anything — a picture, an article, a graphic — seemed daring and liberating. It was viscerally exciting to reach people in far-flung places, and to hear back from them.

I began with one artist, a couple of photographers. A friend taught me some very basic web programs (PageMill, Fetch). Using an antique Macintosh, we launched the first Planet Waves site in a few hours on the winter solstice of 1998. It was rather basic, considering of a cover page, a contents page and a weekly horoscope.

Planet Waves had begun. We have published every day since, nonstop for the past 16 years.

When we started, the world was a quieter place. Do you remember? Nowadays there’s hardly any recollection of life before 9/11. The peace, calm and relative prosperity were more fragile than we realized at the time, if anyone even noticed. I, for one, was never willing to bet on the worst happening. Along with millions of other people, I was relieved that the Y2K bug turned out to be nothing. That week I wrote a euphoric article called The River of Night.

Yet beginning with the stolen election of November 2000, fear began seeping through consciousness, and much of it was conveyed on the Internet. The pace of the ‘net picked up, and the temperature dropped, as it became a place where one of the main commodities delivered was paranoia.

It soon became clear that Planet Waves was an oasis within the madness. I figured out that our perspective was actually helping people keep some semblance of sanity. Others who refused to watch the news were telling me that I was their sole source of contact with the political realm. I was truly grateful to have put in 10 years as a full-time reporter and editor prior to touching astrology.

World events made it easy for me to apply my astrology gift and my journalism skills. The most horrific developments lent themselves well to my combined method of news analysis and astrology. This in turn helped diffuse some of the pain and discern some meaning behind even the worst events.

Astrology also helps decode the personal relevance of otherwise impersonal world events. Astrology is the shared ground, the point of contact, between the individual and the collective.

Then came advertising. The ‘net started with next to no advertising at all. Eventually big companies figured out they could reach people here. The Internet was very nearly reduced to a corporate tool, flooded with advertising and PR-generated ‘viral’ videos and spam. Everything was sponsored by some kind of entity trying to manipulate us. Ads started appearing in personal email, which was suddenly being read by robots. Today most television ads TV mention a website and many are exclusively pushing websites.

As this tide has risen, Planet Waves has steadfastly remained free from corporate sponsorship and outside advertising. My goal is to present a clear environment where you’re free to think for yourself. I don’t want noise or interruptions. Most significantly, I don’t want to be influenced by the political whims of advertisers. I am happy answering just to you. What I do offer, I take personal responsibility for.

As things got ever-weirder, Planet Waves held open a bastion of sanity. We did so consciously, asking questions in a clear voice, taking nothing for granted and maintaining close contact with our readers.

Many times I’ve worked around the clock to keep up with a major news story — such as the Fukushima meltdown — just because I knew people would be coming to Planet Waves for information. Many had already decided I was the one journalist they actually trusted.

We’ve also remained a haven of creativity — where artists and writers could easily find a place to develop their talent and get their vision out to the world. Planet Waves is the home of the well-crafted personal essay, from the heart. It’s the home of the most magnificent photography. I would estimate that we have, over the years, hosted the work of more than 300 writers and artists.

And of course, we bring you astrology — open-minded, adventurous, self-empowering, modern astrology.

We continue to do all of this every day. We provide a place where you know you’re going to read something reassuring, something that helps you feel better about yourself, something friendly or funny or loving or at least realistic.

Fe Bongolan, one of our columnists, is fond of calling Planet Waves a psychic bomb shelter. When the shit hits the fan, people come flocking to us, and are invited to engage in a conversation. I also envision Planet Waves as a place where, together, we can imagine a better future.

We do what we do on an incredibly small budget — less than the salary of many modestly paid business executives. I work for less than the salary of a New York Times reporter. Every penny we make is invested into the work that we do.

We are sustained by a combination of subscriptions and sale of my readings; about 80% of our content remains free of charge — and advertising. Think about that for 10 seconds and you’ll figure out what a miracle this all is.

This week and next, along with my creative team, I am going to give you many, many reasons to subscribe to Planet Waves, and to become a customer of my excellent astrology readings. It’s not just that the quality and volume of work that we do each day, week and year deserves your support. It’s the fundamental values that drive us that I am asking you to vote for.

If you’re one of many people who graze our content, we are asking you to stop, sign up and consciously support what you and so many people benefit from.

Our many projects, such as Planet Waves FM, Planet Waves TV, the annual edition and our library-scale archives, are all great reasons to subscribe and join others in supporting our work. I’m going to give you three better ones — my summary of the values that underlie my philosophy as an editor, astrologer and publisher.

Everything you read, hear or see on Planet Waves, everything and anything, especially astrology, has a foundation of underlying values. I am driven by several core values that inform everything I write, and everything published by Planet Waves.

We Offer Tools For Living

There exists the idea that astrology is supposed to provide predictions or easy answers. We take a different approach, a more responsible one, offering ideas and tools you can use to guide your creative process, to repair your life, to open locked doors and to release trapped potential. As you read, imagine yourself collecting ideas on a ring that you keep with you at all times.

My astrology readings, articles and horoscopes are focused on providing you with tools you can use to consider your circumstances, communicate more clearly and solve your problems. The same is true for everyone I’ve selected as a writer. There are times you will discover one idea that you carry with you, and use regularly, for the rest of your life.

Our approach to the work is practical. Life is mystical and mysterious enough without bogging the mind in abstract notions. We do our best to deliver coherent, focused ideas that actually serve you. This leaves your creative power in your hands. We encourage you to use your creativity to heal and build your life, and to practice whatever you feel is your true art form.

We Put Your Humanity, and Our Humanity, First

Astrology is about people and our relationships. What we write and produce is offered from a place of vulnerability, which means being open, and taking risks. Our work is created and offered to you by real people, not a corporate machine — or written by a computer. (Google has recently started offering computer-generated articles.)

Creating authentic, well-crafted work takes experience, effort and resources. We invest those generously. Our writers and artists are people who have spent many years concentrating their knowledge and communication skills. We generously willing to share ourselves with you.

We sign our names to what we do, and hold ourselves accountable to editors, fact checkers and editorial standards. We are all available to be contacted. It’s worth mentioning how rare this is on the contemporary Internet.

We Use the News

Planet Waves is based on a news reporting model, which evolved into an astrology project. We are worldly before we are spiritual. As the world seems to go insane with violence and greed — sometimes gradually, sometimes rapidly — we interpret global events in a way that helps you process them and understand your relationship to them.

This saves you the vast ocean of energy that you might otherwise spend not paying attention or refusing to be overwhelmed by negativity. Miraculously, we use the news as a growth platform, guided by the idea that the political is personal and the personal is political. As people grow in increasingly concerned about the global situation, we continue to focus our journalistic efforts at understanding what’s happening and relating why it’s relevant to you.

We bring bold originality to everything we do — in our use of astrology, our view of the world and most of all, our approach to you and your life.

We do what we do every day for you. Each week hundreds of hours in research, writing, design and recording go into the creation of our materials, and we offer it to you as affordably as possible.

You in turn have made Planet Waves possible all these years. We know that, and we strive to be as dependable as we depend on you.

How You Can Get Involved or Bring Others On Board — and Support the Growth of Planet Waves

Planet Waves is a membership organization, and a place to get the highest quality astrology readings. We thrive on your business and your generosity. Much of what we do is offered free. We depend on your membership and gift memberships, and gifts of readings and subscriptions given to others.

If you’re already a Core Community or Basic Subscriber, member, you can upgrade or renew early at a discounted rate. Or you can upgrade to an All Access Pass, which gives you access to everything we do for one year.

<< Core Comm 1 year

<< All Access Pass 1 year $325

Or you can give a gift subscription at a sliding scale rate for six months or one year. You may use these links to subscribe if you’re currently not a Core Community member.

<< 6 month slide

<< 1 year slide

If you have not read and listened to your 2015 annual reading, that’s as fresh and alive as ever waiting for you, at a reduced midyear price. You’ll have access to audio and written readings for all 12 signs, including your rising and Moon signs, and those of significant others. This is the richest astrology resource that we offer, in one place, for the cost of a tarot card reading.

If you can afford to support us with a donation, we have four levels for that — $100, $250, $500 and $1000.

Through the next week or two, we will be continuing our membership drive. We’ll be sharing more stories, archive offerings, and special editions of Planet Waves FM and TV.

Please watch your inbox and pass these along to others.

Most of all, thank you for collaborating with us on Planet Waves.

With love,

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