Tag Archives: Betty Dodson

Hey, Sugar: A Story of Virgo-Pisces

Dear Friend and Reader:

Edges of cities are interesting places. When I discovered Lou Reed, I was driving regularly from New Jersey to Staten Island to visit my cousin Maura. To get there I cruised in my 1972 Dodge Dart along the ancient, strange and beautiful Route 22 and over the Outerbridge Crossing to Staten Island, on the far outskirts of New York City.

Planet Waves
Lou Reed, photographed by his friend Mick Rock.

I often did the drive in the dark hours into dawn, along empty highways scattered with road construction projects lit up like movie sets. That landscape shaped my consciousness with its dark tones and horizons defined by refineries and enormous gantries set along the waterfront, elevated highways and the Manhattan skyline looming in the distance.

I was working as a staff editor for a business newsletter publishing company, in charge of titles like Kane’s Beverage Week and Leisure Beverage Insider, for which subscribers paid hundreds of dollars a year.

I was being flown all over the country to cover trade shows, conferences and conventions. Knowing what I had accomplished by age 25, I was aware that I had a potential career track to be a top editor at The Wall Street Journal or The New York Times. And I was pretty sure I wanted no part of that, or rather that I had already seen enough of it.

I was still in some shock after graduating from SUNY Buffalo, where art and community were everywhere, and where I had my hand in countless activist publishing projects. The spirit of change and collective excitement that pervaded my life in Buffalo was nowhere to be found in New Jersey or New York City, not that I could sniff out, anyway. The energy was depressing, nothing like I remembered the city when I was in high school.

Sometime in late 1988, I don’t remember how, I met my cousin Maura, who became an old friend immediately. In those months I wove in many visits to see her, bringing her my poems, which she would have me read to her. We stayed up deep into the winter nights exploring and considering language and ideas and loving one another like the kindred spirits that we were.

Planet Waves
The Velvet Underground.

One day she handed me two tickets to see a guy named Lou Reed. The tickets were for the opening night of his tour for the album New York. Except for the one song everyone has heard, I didn’t know who he was, so I bought the CD and started listening.

Like phosphorous burning in a black desert, the songs on this album illuminated the political and spiritual landscape of the United States. Lou showed us how dark it all was, a society of people shitting in rivers, dumping battery acid into streams and clubbing one another in pointless race riots. He did not hesitate to point out all the hypocrisy and taken for granted stupidity that pervade American society, and that most people just shrug off.

A thousand times I’ve listened to him say, I’ll meet you in Tompkins Square, the park where a riot had ensued a year earlier after the city tried to clear the park of homeless people.

New York was like the most exciting news report I ever heard. Lou called out world leaders and the pope for their racist viewpoints, listed the names of those who had been hurt in the civil war that was ensuing and called on anyone with a shred of ethics to stand up and do something. He talked about the Statue of Bigotry, the NRA, the asshole driving on heroin who crippled a dancer and countless news figures from that era from Bernard Goetz to Mike Tyson to the Guardian Angels.

The album sums up an an era of history; it was also one of the best post-punk albums ever recorded — composed and performed by someone I had no idea was regarded as an inventor of punk rock 25 years earlier.

Then there was the concert, opening night for the New York tour, a Friday night, performed in a Broadway theater. That means a classy venue with maybe 3,000 people in the house, no bad seats and fantastic acoustics. We were in the last row, which was like having the best press seats for an arena concert. The last row also meant there was a wide, carpeted exit aisle behind us, and nobody seemed to care if we danced back there, with a full view of the stage.

Planet Waves
Cover of the 1989 “New York” album, designed by Spencer Drate and Judith Salavetz with photos by Waring Abbott. It was one of the first album covers done using Photoshop — notice the many different images of Lou Reed morphed into one.

The stage had a designed set, with painted-on glass panels backlit in fluorescent colors. At first glance I looked at it and thought: Andy Warhol’s ghost is in the room, though I had no idea that Warhol had produced the Velvet Underground and been one of Lou’s closest friends.

The show was in two sets. In the first, Reed and his band blazed out the full New York album in order, true to the studio recording but turned up to 11 for the live environment. They went from song to song without a pause as the whole house gathered the momentum of the performance. By the time I saw the show I was already in love with every song on the album and it was amazing to see them done live for the first time, right in New York City.

Then they took a break, came back out, and did a generous, nearly endless greatest hits collection of the Velvet Underground and Lou’s solo work. This was not an oldies show. Every song was performed with an edge of joyous aggression. There is nothing I can compare this show to.

Radical, professional, raw, refined, hot and cool, idealistic and baldly realistic, new and old all at once. Something, some fire, entered my mind that night and has not left since, or perhaps I felt like I had permission to let myself care about what I really did care about.

Soon after, I made a series of decisions, which at the time I did not directly connect to my experience of the music but for which, looking back, New York was the point of demarcation. One day I came to work and saw television footage of the City University uprising of spring 1989 — students getting arrested in tuition hike protests. It was clear the students had experienced no civil disobedience training. That was the actual tipping point. I knew I had to be part of that.

In a matter of weeks, I had sketched out a business plan for a newsletter covering politics and student issues for campus organizations and the student press (New York State Student Leader), applied to grad school, quit my job and came upstate to be an activist and a poet. I was accepted as a fully sponsored grad student at SUNY New Paltz, where I taught English for a year and wrote about many of the kinds of issues that Lou Reed had described in New York, throwing myself in with total commitment.

Planet Waves
Lou Reed and Laurie Anderson. Photo by Guido Harari.

A year later I was covering the 1990 City University protests from the inside, living for three weeks in a seized building at City College of New York.

That was the power of Lou’s music: it woke me up and helped radicalize me. I was suddenly able to focus and choose what to do with my talent and drive. I have never worked a ‘straight’ job since. I went into business and from that point forward, set my own agenda as a journalist. I have never once contained myself based on what some publisher or advertiser might think of the views I took.

I usually own the publications where my work appears, which are always advertising-free, where to this day I strive to perfect the let ’em have it, In-Your-Face, tell-it-like-it-is, put-their-names-in print-style of journalism that Lou Reed made look both easy and worth doing.

I never met Lou Reed, but this week I discovered how many people I know knew him personally. Over the years I figured out that Lou was a sexual revolutionary. The song Walk on the Wild Side, Lou’s one true pop hit, was a daring statement for its time, 1972.

Right around then, Betty Dodson was one of the few women busting the gender queer barrier, and from her stories I know how dangerous this was. At that time, even lesbians were politically sidelined within the official gay movement. “Wild Side” was a bold, beautiful tribute to transvestites, male prostitutes and numerous characters floating around the East Village at the time.

One message of the song: this all may seem a little seedy but these people sure are interesting, they’re real and I think you’ll like them. C’mon sugar, check out the scene.

I wanted to know more about the sexual revolutionary in Lou Reed, so I contacted Billy Name, who was the official photographer and archivist at Warhol’s Factory, where the Velvet Underground was the house band. Billy was friends with Reed continuously from those days till he died this past weekend.

Billy was one of my first astrology clients, and he’s always been generous sharing his eyewitness accounts of history.

Planet Waves
Lou Reed and Nico, one of the vocalists for the Velvet Underground, in 1965. Photographer unknown.

“It’s an overachievement of humanity to make the masculine and the feminine fuse as one and put that forth as your gender,” Billy told me. “He did it not through sexuality but through including all phases of homosexual and heterosexual.”

He said that Lou had a way of making contact with the inner truth in everyone. “He would scratch you and bring out your underground. He never left you alone. He wasn’t trying to scratch you. He was a gem.”

And he added his opinion that Lou would have been a musical prodigy no matter what era he was born into. Rock and roll happened to be an exceptionally good fit.

Spencer Drate is a typographer who co-designed several album covers for Lou Reed’s solo work, including New York and Magic and Loss, and special issues of Velvet Underground albums. He described Lou as a moody, quirky person who was always gracious to him. He said that in his experience, Reed was emotionally transparent and could not hide his feelings. “If he was at a party and he didn’t want to be there, you could see it on his face.”

Drate said the New York album was the first that Lou did post-heroin addiction. The project revived Lou’s drive to live and make music and that his relationship with Seymour Stein, the co-founder of Sire Records, afforded him some faith in the record industry.

Drate said that Reed never asked him to change anything on an album cover and told him directly that he loved his work. Hearing that would mean a lot to anyone, since just about everyone held Reed as a genius.

That theme came up again when I talked to Gary Lucas, the guitarist I featured on a recent Planet Waves FM. Lucas said, “Lou was a friend — I met him in Munich in 1992 at Zorn’s Festival of Radical Jewish Culture and he invited me to hang out and play with him. He told me then: ‘I could listen to you play for hours, Gary’.”

Can you imagine Lou Reed telling you that about your guitar playing? (He was onto something about Gary Lucas, by the way.)

Planet Waves
Lou Reed performs live on stage at Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, Holland, on May 19, 1974. Photo: Gijsbert Hanekroot/Redferns.

My favorite story of the week, however, came from my old friend Rob Norris, whom I knew for about 20 years before recently discovering he’s an actual rock star — the bassist for The Bongos.

Rob sent me the PDF of a music ‘zine that looks like it was from around 1980 or so, typed on an IBM Selectric. In it, he tells the story of a concert in his high school auditorium in 1965, filled with teenage students and their parents. Al Aronowitz, the manager of the Velvet Underground, lived in Rob’s town in New Jersey.

Rob’s best friend was Al’s babysitter, who brought back an ongoing stream of stories about who would visit his house, from Carole King to John Lennon. Al also managed a band called The Myddle Class which for some reason was playing the Summit High School auditorium. Usually for this kind of small, local gig, Al commissioned local opening acts.

However, The Velvet Underground had recently been fired by its club in New York City for not being danceable enough. So for $80 Al put them on the bill to be the opening act for The Myddle Class. The result was one of those true moments of rock history.

“Nothing could have prepared the kids and parents assembled in the auditorium for what they were about to experience that night,” he wrote. When the curtain came up, “There stood the Velvet Underground, dressed mostly in black; two of them were wearing sunglasses. One of the guys had VERY long hair and was wearing silver jewelry. He was holding a large violin. The drummer was standing at a small, oddly arranged drum kit. Was it a boy or a girl?

“Before we could take it all in, everyone was hit by a screeching surge of sound, with a pounding beat louder than anything we had ever heard. About a minute into the second song, which the singer had introduced as ‘Heroin’, the music began to get even more intense. It swelled and accelerated like a giant tidal wave which was threatening to engulf us all. At this point, most of the audience retreated in horror for the safety of their homes, thoroughly convinced of the dangers of rock & roll music. My friends and I moved a little closer to the stage, knowing that something special was happening.”

The next time Norris encountered Lou Reed was three years later, in Boston. Norris was in the meditation group of the eminent astrologer Isabel Hickey, and in that group was a guy named Mitch, who was also the sound man at a club called the Tea Party. Mitch was a friend of Reed’s, and one night at a Velvet’s concert, offered to introduce Norris to him between sets. His friend hinted that “Lou would probably be very different from what I was probably expecting him to be.”

Planet Waves
Photo by Todd Plitt / USA Today.

He continued: “A bit later we went into a big back room where Lou Reed sat, all by himself, eating what looked to be sawdust out of a jar. Mitch introduced us and slipped quietly out of the room. I was speechless. After sizing me up for a few seconds, Lou said, ‘What are you, on amphetamines or something?’

“I mumbled that I was not and asked what it was that he was eating. I was informed that it was a high-protein wheat germ mixture that he always ate before playing. This was followed by a brief lecture on the evils of drug abuse. My mind was reeling! I blurted out something about how much I loved their music and that I had seen them at Summit High three years earlier.

“Lou broke into a huge grin and took me into the other room to meet the band. Everyone was amazed that I had seen the show…It was wonderful to meet them like that. I was impressed by how intelligent, articulate and polite they were. It changed my whole impression of rock and roll stars. They were real people like you and me, after all!”

Norris said he went to many Velvet concerts and afterwards would always hang out backstage watching Reed hold court and answer his fans’ questions about anything and everything. The end result was that he knew he wanted a career as a professional rocker, and he created just that for himself.

Norris pointed out in his article that Lou Reed had in his chart the Pisces Sun and Virgo Moon. He was born just before a lunar eclipse, so it’s an especially strong Full Moon, giving him a chart polarized between the signs Virgo and Pisces — the technician and the artist; the control freak and the dreamer.

“Lou was a member of the Church of Light in NYC, which, like Isabel Hickey’s group in Boston, studied, among other things, the teachings of Alice Bailey,” Norris wrote.

Planet Waves
“Just a couple of weeks ago Lou did a photo session intended to become a print ad for his friend Henri Seydoux’s French audio headphones company Parrot. The renowned photographer Jean Baptiste Mondino took the shots, and this was the very last shot he took. Always a tower of strength.” — Tom Sarig on LouReed.com.

“Lou explained how a lot of his songs embodied the Virgo-Pisces opposition and could be taken two ways. ‘White Light/White Heat’ was an obvious drug song showing some of the Piscean suffering and self-indulgent ‘road of excess’ side of things. But it was also about enlightenment, expressing the Christian purity, self-control, ‘palace of wisdom’ aspects of Virgo. Enlightenment was expressed in the feminine on songs like ‘Here She Comes Now’ and ‘I Heard Her Call My Name’.”

In other words, Lou Reed was aware of his astrology and used it as a spiritual and artistic tool. He understood that the Virgo-Pisces opposition that defines his chart is the embodiment of opposites, the great contradiction across which he had to stretch himself.

Hence we get Lou Reed the heroin addict in harmony with Lou Reed the avatar. We get the raw, grimy punk rocker playing the bass and guitar out of the same amp and we get the impeccable technician who played a tight, confident show almost every time. We get Lou Reed the health freak and Lou Reed the heroin addict.

We get Lou Reed the gracious and Lou Reed who would lie to the press regularly, not out of dislike but in my opinion as a journalist because their questions were so stupid.

We get Lou Reed of The Velvet Undergrond that my friend Mike Ackerman described as “an epic commercial failure at the time but a monumental artistic success. It’s been said by many that the first Velvet Underground album launched thousands of bands.”

By putting his contradictions right out where everyone could see them, Lou Reed presented himself as human and was received by everyone as human. Because he was speaking to us across level space, his voice cut through the bullshit, proof that it could be done. He was a friend to humanity, demonstrating how to do it.

I can think of no other celebrity I’ve never even met who felt more like a personal friend. And I miss him like one. Lou Reed was a reassuring presence on the planet, a reminder of what an artist can be and what art can do.


For Lou Reed

To our neighbors:

What a beautiful fall! Everything shimmering and golden and all that incredible soft light. Water surrounding us.

Lou and I have spent a lot of time here in the past few years, and even though we’re city people this is our spiritual home.

Last week I promised Lou to get him out of the hospital and come home to Springs. And we made it!

Lou was a tai chi master and spent his last days here being happy and dazzled by the beauty and power and softness of nature. He died on Sunday morning looking at the trees and doing the famous 21 form of tai chi with just his musician hands moving through the air.

Lou was a prince and a fighter and I know his songs of the pain and beauty in the world will fill many people with the incredible joy he felt for life. Long live the beauty that comes down and through and onto all of us.

Laurie Anderson
his loving wife and eternal friend

Published in the East Hampton Star on Oct. 31, 2013.

You are invited to read additional tributes to Lou Reed at this link.


Planet Waves

The Midpoint of the Uranus-Pluto Square

Set amidst much other astrology, Friday, Nov. 1 is the fourth of seven exact square aspects between Uranus and Pluto. This a rare series of outer planet aspects that spans from June 2012 through March 2015, and have effects that spread at least three or more years on either side.

Planet Waves
Photo by Eric Francis.

After watching this approach for many years (I’ve been reporting on this since at least 2009), we are now at the center point of that series of aspects; which is another way of saying at a turning point in the 2012-era. In many ways, the Uranus-Pluto square is a last, best hope — astrologically, anyway — that enough people will wake up so that we can turn around the problems that are threatening humanity and the planet itself.

Clustered around this meeting of two distant planets (Uranus, with an 84-year orbit, and Pluto, with a 250-year orbit) are Mercury retrograde in Scorpio, Mars opposite Chiron and a powerful eclipse of the Sun conjunct Saturn. These aspects describe the need for introspection, polarized clarity of vision, the need for action and a sober statement about a limit on how short a human lifetime is: an eclipse in Scorpio conjunct Saturn, the old Grim Reaper himself.

The astrology describes both personal material and collective material and as usual these days, the many places they intersect. Looked at one way, the problems of the world are nothing more than our collective problems projected into a gigantic relational system. The dysfunction of government reflects the neuroses and crises of our families.

The sensation of Uranus-Pluto and the 2012 era is similar to a lot of potent astrology going off — everything all at once. It’s difficult to know what to prioritize, or how exactly to handle it, since most of our problems are unprecedented. To give one example, there is a major crisis brewing at Fukushima Reactor 4, where 1,500 fuel rod assemblies are dangling in a building that cannot withstand any further seismic activity. Nobody has ever tried to remove that much nuclear fuel from a damaged, contaminated structure before.

The world is being overrun with genetically modified foods, which are being revealed as increasingly dangerous, but which also seem unstoppable. Is that not the metaphor for our lives at this time in history — what affects us profoundly that we cannot control and can barely influence?

Planet Waves
Full chart for the fourth exact contact of the Uranus-Pluto square this Friday. Notice all the planets with a bold “09″next to them (and with numbers close to that). Those are all planets in aspect to each other this week, and in aspect to the Uranus-Pluto square.

The Uranus-Pluto square set amongst so many other cosmic events is saying to focus on what matters. Take the time to consciously prioritize. Remember that knowledge and thought are useless if they don’t lead to decisions and to action. As you have no doubt noticed, it’s not easy to focus, and we live with the sensation of time running out of control.

That’s nothing more than an invitation to use our minds, remember our priorities, filter out what we know does not matter, and most of all, to honor the passage of time. It is true that all kinds of quantum phenomena are available, perhaps to advanced yogis, 33rd degree Masons and miracle workers; we, however, live in the world of time, and we need to honor time boundaries and focus on efficiency of thought and action.

There are often progressive gains and progress made when Uranus and Pluto get together, but there are two things to consider. One is that is humans, not the planets, who make things happen. The other is that these gains are often fragile. They are subject to disruption, subversion and outright attack. They must be respected and built on, or they are for naught.

The astrology that’s happening now will never come this way again. Other things will — but what we have now is a special opportunity for our truly unusual, critical, beautiful moment. Time is fleeting, and if we don’t focus on healing, madness does indeed take its toll.


Planet Waves

Nuclear Waste Facility Proposed for Lake Huron Town

A Canadian town less than a mile away from Lake Huron — one of the Great Lakes comprising the largest freshwater system on Earth, providing drinking water for 40 million — is being proposed as the site of an underground nuclear waste storage facility for Ontario’s 20 reactors.

Planet Waves
Bruce Power’s A and B sites, home of the current above-ground nuclear storage facility, on the shores of Lake Huron, in Ontario. Photo: Kincardine News.

Ontario Power Generation’s plan is already being hotly debated among residents, grass-roots groups and government officials. A review panel appointed by the Canadian government will issue a recommendation in coming weeks to Canada’s Cabinet, which will decide whether to approve the utility’s plan. If approved, work could begin in 2014.

The facility would be under a layer of limestone, capped off with a 660-foot layer of shale. While handling mostly low-level waste, some would be intermediate-level, “like filters, resins, things that are closer to the nuclear core,” OPG utility spokesman Neal Kelly said in an interview.

Stop the Great Lakes Nuclear Dump has collected 38,000 online signatures from both Canadians and Americans. Last week, Michigan Senators Debbie Stabenow and Carl Levin sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry requesting the U.S. government get involved to prevent construction.

Mayor Larry Kraemer of Kincardine, the proposed site, is in favor of it because of 500 construction jobs it would create to replace the above-ground tanks currently used there.


Planet Waves

An Ongoing Saga For Women’s Health Rights in Texas

Judge Lee Yeakel, a federal judge of the United States District Court in Austin, handed down a judicial treat for pro-choice activists in Texas earlier this week when he struck down part of a restrictive abortion law. Then in a disheartening trick on Halloween, a federal appeals court ruled that most of the provisions will stand. The issue will likely go to higher courts in successive appeals by both sides, possibly as far as the U.S. Supreme Court.

Planet Waves
Opponents of the abortion bill (wearing orange) walk in circles around supporters of the bill at the Texas state Capitol on July 2. Photo: Eric Gray/AP.

Yeakel had struck down the provision  that would require doctors who perform abortions to acquire admitting privileges at a nearby hospital, declaring it unconstitutional. Such measures are a way to effectively close abortion clinics without straight-up outlawing them, since many clinics use visiting doctors, who cannot obtain admitting privileges from a local hospital.

With Thursday’s reversal, that provision goes into effect today, blocking about a third of the state’s abortion-providing clinics from offering the service.
Judge Yeakel found that that portion of the law “violated the rights of abortion doctors to do what they think is best for their patients and would unreasonably restrict a woman’s access to abortion clinics.”

Yet both he and the judge who repealed his decision let other distressing provisions stand. Beginning in September 2014 (October according to another source), the law requires all abortion clinics to meet the standards of ambulatory surgery centers, at great expense — likely passed on to patients. The ruling also upheld a ban on nearly all abortions starting at 20 weeks after conception. That took effect Tuesday.

A provision of the law requiring doctors performing “medical” abortions (those induced with drugs, rather than performed surgically) to use an outdated drug protocol also was left standing by Yeakel.


Planet Waves

Mercury Will Have a Field Day During Retrogrades!

California is rolling out a pilot program to put digital electronic “smart plates” on 160,000 cars. The plates will use wireless technology to transmit registration status from the DMV, displaying messages such as “STOLEN” or “EXPIRED.”

Planet Waves

Supposedly those messages will appear only when appropriate, but you don’t have to be an astrologer to see tech glitches down the road — or in the rearview mirror, in retrograde-speak. And what about hackers?

The program is authorized under Senate Bill 806, which contains language crafted to prevent the transmission of location data and prohibit the information being used in conjunction with red-light cameras to issue tickets. Privacy advocates are concerned that those provisions may change, providing the state with more extensive real-time data.

What possessed the Golden State to replace the $7.50 tags manufactured by Unicor with computer screens requiring a power source and wireless module? The bill, introduced by State Senator Ben Hueso, has been the subject of intense lobbying by San Francisco manufacturer Smart Plate Mobile, which holds a patent on the device. Smart Plate was warned in 2012 that failing to disclose that it had hired five lobbyists to push the bill was a violation of California law.

The lobbyists did their thing, and the pilot program is slated to begin in 2014 and continue through January 2017, affecting no more than 0.5 percent of registered vehicles. South Carolina and New Jersey have similar measures pending.


Planet Waves

Planet Waves

‘Twinkle, twinkle, little bat; I do wonder how you got where you’re at…’ This portrait is one of many in Nick Brandt’s trilogy of books documenting “the disappearing natural world and animals of East Africa.”

Eerie Beauty, Courtesy of Death

Blood red from bacteria and steaming hot at 140 degrees F, Lake Natron in Tanzania is inhospitable to life, with an extremely high salt and soda content. Unsuspecting animals, lured to the mini-hell by its reflective surface, dive in and meet their death; upon drying they calcify, stone-hard.

That’s one theory, anyway, of the scene photographer Nick Brandt saw around the lake while working on his new book, Across the Ravaged Land.

“Discovering [these animals] washed up along the shoreline of Lake Natron, I thought they were extraordinary — every last tiny detail perfectly preserved down to the tip of a bat’s tongue, the minute hairs on his face.

“There was never any possibility of bending a wing or turning a head to make a better pose — they were like rock,” he said in a Huffington Post interview, “so we took them and placed them on branches and rocks just as we found them, always with a view to imagining it as a portrait in death.”


Planet Waves

Lou Reed, Scorpio Eclipse and Talking About Sex

With a total eclipse coming up in Scorpio, I cover the current astrology in its many dark shades, as well as the life and death of Lou Reed, and I continue last week’s conversation about how to emerge from sexual denial and into sexual awareness. For additional information and resources, please see the full post.


Planet Waves

We are happy to offer once again one of our most popular products: the Planet Waves All-Access Pass for 2014. The All-Access Pass is for members who want access to everything we offer in a calendar year. In recent years our product line has grown considerably, and the response from our All-Access subscribers has been overwhelmingly positive. You can read about everything that’s included with an All-Access pass here. For those who can’t get enough Planet Waves astrology, it’s an unbeatable value. Plus, if you order now, we’ll include the rest of the readings that come out in 2013, and you’ll save $100.


Planet Waves

Your Monthly Horoscopes — and our Publishing Schedule Notes

The extended monthly horoscope for November was published Friday, Oct. 25. Inner Space for November is published below in this issue. Moonshine for the Libra New Moon  published on Tuesday, Oct. 1. We published Moonshine for the Aries Full Moon Tuesday, Oct. 15. Please note, we normally publish the extended monthly horoscope on the first Friday after the Sun has entered a new sign; Inner Space usually publishes the following Tuesday but for now it’s substituting for one Friday horoscope a month.

Inner Space Monthly Horoscope for November 2013, standing in for weekly #973 | By Eric Francis

The events of November are the peak of 2013 astrology. Mercury is retrograde in Scorpio, which is where most of the action is taking place, though when it’s taking place somewhere else, the Scorpio planets are involved. On November 1, Mercury and the Sun form a conjunction on the same day that we experience the fourth of seven Uranus-Pluto squares. That’s the highly unusual aspect that is defining what I call the 2012 era. Two days later is an unusually potent solar eclipse in Scorpio, which brings up the ‘change in continuity’ quality that all eclipses have, and also the pattern-setting one. On the Planet Waves website (the week of Oct. 20) we covered the themes of denial and codependency that are coming to a head. The moral of the story with the Scorpio eclipse is to tell the truth, especially about sex.

Aries (March 20-April 19)

Aries (March 20-April 19) — If you focus on work, you will be less distracted by an emotional or partnership situation that arises, and will be less likely to get drawn into it in an unhealthy way. The situation has its limits; you must make sure that you have yours as well. Words said without actual intent, misunderstandings and sexual contracts that are not clear are the potential lures into a likely energy-consuming unknown. Though most days I am not the type to suggest taking a purist approach, I recommend that you direct your energy consciously into focused, productive effort or healing. You may be prompted to seek deeper understanding of a partnership issue, though that will be more productive if you seek assistance from a disinterested third party rather than trying to ‘work it out’ with someone whose agenda you may not understand.

Wondering about how astrology is influencing your life now? Eric has prepared a written and recorded reading for you that tells the story. You can get all 12 signs of LISTEN, your 2013 reading, for the special reduced price of only $29.95. LISTEN gives you a detailed reading, available immediately, covering work, relationships, personal growth and creativity.


Taurus (April 19- May 20)

Taurus (April 19-May 20) — A potent solar eclipse marks the beginning of a new era in your relationships, based on deep inner changes. Two factors tend to cloud our connections with others. One is that many people are dragging around a load of past material, from their parents and other ancestors — stuff that simply is not their own, but which feels like it is. Second is that projection plays a much larger part in relating to others than communication. Projection is assuming that someone else is thinking something, or has a certain intent, based entirely on your point of view — or vice versa. You can go a long way this month calling in your projections, returning those of others and (in a similar vein) recognizing what material that arises in your contact with others has nothing to do with you. This will take some discernment and some practice — and it’ll be worth doing.

Wondering about how astrology is influencing your life now? Eric has prepared a written and recorded reading for you that tells the story. You can get all 12 signs of LISTEN, your 2013 reading, for the special reduced price of only $29.95. LISTEN gives you a detailed reading, available immediately, covering work, relationships, personal growth and creativity.


Gemini (May 20- June 21)

Gemini (May 20-June 21) — You’re being invited to address the most taboo subject matter — the things you’ve avoided or don’t want to talk about, and even a few secrets you may be keeping from yourself. You’ll know you’re there because it will 1. be a little scary, 2. feel intriguing or fascinating, 3. have an odd sense of being familiar and unfamiliar at the same time, and 4. have the sensation of an inner quest or challenge. You may only notice one or two of those qualities; check in with the rest to see if they ring a bell. They’re designed to work together, to draw you deeper, to invoke your curiosity and to demonstrate how good it feels to learn things about yourself that you had no idea were possible. The usual way of life is to fear the unknown; that is not your path and it never was.

Wondering about how astrology is influencing your life now? Eric has prepared a written and recorded reading for you that tells the story. You can get all 12 signs of LISTEN, your 2013 reading, for the special reduced price of only $29.95. LISTEN gives you a detailed reading, available immediately, covering work, relationships, personal growth and creativity.


Cancer (June 21- July 22)

Cancer (June 21-July 22) — Many spiritual masters and those with access to the subtler shades of existence have suggested that the life we see is just the surface of existence, perhaps equivalent to more than a movie projected onto a screen, but in truth a form of maya. I am not fully committed to that notion, though I recognize the grain of truth in it — one that might be better phrased as a question than as an answer. Therefore, examine what is real and what is not. What commitments, relationships, ideas and creative processes stand the test of reality — and what does that word mean to you? What influences of the past have no bearing on your life? What is the meaning of an ‘original’ idea? These questions may not have easy answers, but asking will offer you plenty of useful information.

Wondering about how astrology is influencing your life now? Eric has prepared a written and recorded reading for you that tells the story. You can get all 12 signs of LISTEN, your 2013 reading, for the special reduced price of only $29.95. LISTEN gives you a detailed reading, available immediately, covering work, relationships, personal growth and creativity.


Leo (July 22- Aug. 23)

Leo (July 22-Aug. 23) — At times you question whether you’re flexible enough for your own good, and you may be annoyed at how rigid you can feel — though it serves a purpose. You want your foundation to be strong. That requires a certain degree of firmness, and a certain kind of flexibility. Events of the next few weeks will help you determine when it’s appropriate to express one or the other. Notice what environments make you feel rigid, which pull you inward, and which draw you out of yourself. Indeed, how you respond to any environment will tell you everything you need to know about your relationship to it. So if you’re feeling like you need to be strong and inflexible, you can at least notice and ask yourself if it’s the best response, or if another would be preferable. The operative fact is that you have a choice.

Wondering about how astrology is influencing your life now? Eric has prepared a written and recorded reading for you that tells the story. You can get all 12 signs of LISTEN, your 2013 reading, for the special reduced price of only $29.95. LISTEN gives you a detailed reading, available immediately, covering work, relationships, personal growth and creativity.


Virgo (Aug. 23- Sep. 22)

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22) — Mars is making its way across your birth sign, and because it will take a long retrograde in your neighboring sign Libra, it’s moving through your part of the zodiac rather slowly. Where a planet is concerned, slow means potent, and where Mars is concerned, that means your ability to focus thought, intention and action. For part of this journey, Mars will be opposite Chiron, a planet closely related to Virgo; in an opposition, these two points come to full expression — which means that you’re likely to get actual results. Many other factors in your astrology are saying the same thing. It is therefore imperative that you decide what results you want, and focus your thoughts and intentions on them. You’re not accustomed to having this much power available to you, and it requires special handling — a bit like a power tool or welding torch.

Wondering about how astrology is influencing your life now? Eric has prepared a written and recorded reading for you that tells the story. You can get all 12 signs of LISTEN, your 2013 reading, for the special reduced price of only $29.95. LISTEN gives you a detailed reading, available immediately, covering work, relationships, personal growth and creativity.


Libra (Sep. 22 - Oct. 23)

Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23) — I’ve reminded you before that everything comes down to self-esteem. The way your chart is set up right now, you might alternate between feeling like you’re really struggling with your self-worth at the same moment you’re figuring out just how much you have to work with. There are many ways to tease out the elements of the esteem you have for yourself, though I would suggest that the best measure is respect. Imagine someone you look up to, admire and whose thoughts and ideas you honor because they ring true. Do you feel this way about yourself? What would it take for you to get there? It might seem a contradiction to look up to yourself, though can self-esteem have any other meaning? Whether you have a long way to go or just a few steps to take, now is a great time to focus, explore and most of all seek true understanding of this idea.

Wondering about how astrology is influencing your life now? Eric has prepared a written and recorded reading for you that tells the story. You can get all 12 signs of LISTEN, your 2013 reading, for the special reduced price of only $29.95. LISTEN gives you a detailed reading, available immediately, covering work, relationships, personal growth and creativity.



Scorpio (Oct. 23- Nov. 22)

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22) — The forthcoming solar eclipse in your birth sign may have you on edge. Saturn is already in your sign, with much the same feeling. Add to that Mercury retrograde in Scorpio and you may be wondering what to do with yourself, how to feel and whether you have the courage to face what you need to face. I suggest you have faith in yourself — enough to take the time and make your decisions one at a time, with precision. The only way you can go wrong is to abdicate your awareness and your power of choice, so no sloppy work. Make small, incremental moves — small enough to know you’re making clean, clear decisions. No matter how minor they may seem, each one counts; each leads to the next; and they all add up to something bigger than you can see at the moment.

Wondering about how astrology is influencing your life now? Eric has prepared a written and recorded reading for you that tells the story. You can get all 12 signs of LISTEN, your 2013 reading, for the special reduced price of only $29.95. LISTEN gives you a detailed reading, available immediately, covering work, relationships, personal growth and creativity.


Sagittarius (Nov. 22 - Dec. 22)

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22) — You may be feeling so much that you want to burst. But it looks like you’re not sure whether to implode or to explode. There seems to be a deep relationship situation in your life, though the way it looks, someone is lodged in your consciousness and in your libido in a way that you cannot shake, but where the person is less than available in physical reality. You might want to question whether this is a fantasy situation or something that you can actually ground in the physical world. Indeed that seems to be a theme of your chart from many points of view: the distance between how much is going on in your imagination versus what you’re actually experiencing in real time and space. Fantasy may seem safer and it may seem more accessible — assumptions I suggest you challenge with direct experience.

Wondering about how astrology is influencing your life now? Eric has prepared a written and recorded reading for you that tells the story. You can get all 12 signs of LISTEN, your 2013 reading, for the special reduced price of only $29.95. LISTEN gives you a detailed reading, available immediately, covering work, relationships, personal growth and creativity.


Capricorn (Dec. 22- Jan. 20)

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20) — If you’ve felt in any way involved in a situation with no easy way out, you now have an opening. In the most pragmatic terms, it looks a little like making new friends, particularly where you’ve wanted to go but found to be challenging in the past. However, more significantly, this is about changing your social patterns. New people, new places, new times of day to socialize — get out of your ruts and into the meadow. That’s the theme of your life these days; the past stands no chance against the future that is approaching. Who you were will never compare to the person you are becoming. Most of what you need to do is get out of your own way, though doing things differently, even modest things (like how you drive home from work, or what train you take) will shuffle your consciousness in a friendly, practical way.

Wondering about how astrology is influencing your life now? Eric has prepared a written and recorded reading for you that tells the story. You can get all 12 signs of LISTEN, your 2013 reading, for the special reduced price of only $29.95. LISTEN gives you a detailed reading, available immediately, covering work, relationships, personal growth and creativity.


Aquarius (Jan. 20- Feb. 19)

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) — Your charts are once again calling you to leadership, though you need to be clever about this. Use psychology, which is another way of saying listen for a while before you say anything, or make a decision. You would also do well to bide your time. Events between Nov. 1 and 3 will bring both a series of revelations and also a sense that you’re in new territory — which will call for a new approach to your situation. It won’t be until Mercury stations direct on the 10th that you know fully where you stand, and when the last of the missing pieces will be filled in. That idea about knowledge being power was never truer for you than it is now. Or said another way, knowledge that you use wisely will help you use your power in a humane way.

Wondering about how astrology is influencing your life now? Eric has prepared a written and recorded reading for you that tells the story. You can get all 12 signs of LISTEN, your 2013 reading, for the special reduced price of only $29.95. LISTEN gives you a detailed reading, available immediately, covering work, relationships, personal growth and creativity.


Pisces (Feb. 19- March 20)

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) — Refuse to be persuaded by what anyone believes — or by what you think they believe. You know you have access to direct knowledge, which will serve you well as long as you don’t allow other people to distract you from your own inner truth. What you may notice over the next few weeks is that 1. it doesn’t matter if other people don’t believe what you believe or even consider the world as you see it and 2. if you remain true to yourself and set a solid example, others are likely to see the wisdom in your way of thinking. That cannot, however, be the goal — as far as you’re concerned, assessing the intelligence of others is really an estimation of whether they can see the obvious. You can, and don’t let anyone try to convince you otherwise.

Wondering about how astrology is influencing your life now? Eric has prepared a written and recorded reading for you that tells the story. You can get all 12 signs of LISTEN, your 2013 reading, for the special reduced price of only $29.95. LISTEN gives you a detailed reading, available immediately, covering work, relationships, personal growth and creativity.



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Threefold Goddess in a Field of Grain

Dear Friend and Reader:

El Sol is now in Virgo; it made its ingress to the sixth sign of the zodiac Thursday at 7:02 pm EDT. Virgo is the mutable earth sign (the only one). Mutability is a form of changeability; earth is a form of stability. We have some tension manifesting through that contrast.

Planet Waves
Grain field in West Branch, Iowa. Photo by Theresa Luttenegger.

Of course, the Earth is in a constant state of flux and change, especially in our era of Earth changes. We live with that tension, as we expect the climate and geography to be reasonably stable, though so often in our moment of history it’s anything but.

Virgo is the third sign of the summer up here in our part of the world; as a mutable sign, it’s the disseminating phase of the season. (Note that all the seasons end with a mutable sign — Gemini ends Northern Hemisphere spring, Virgo ends summer, Sagittarius ends autumn and Pisces ends winter.) That is part of what makes the sign mutable: it arrives in a moment of transition. Mutable signs can also express themselves as a cardinal sign or as a fixed sign — another example of their changeability.

Associated with Mercury, in the traditional ruling planet we get another image of changeability. Mercury changes directions six times a year, more than any other planet (three stations retrograde, and three stations direct). Its speed is varying constantly, and it accelerates and decelerates (in and out of its stations retrograde and direct) more quickly than any other planet.

If you look up Virgo in a dependable old text, you’ll find that it’s associated with dairy production, cornfields, granaries, malt-houses, or places where barley, wheat, peas, cheese and butter are stored. In other words, going back to the significant agricultural roots of astrology, Virgo is the sign that’s about having enough to eat. Not surprisingly, given the time of year that it occurs in the Northern Hemisphere (where our astrology was developed), Virgo is the sign of the harvest.

Virgo is also associated with libraries and studies — revealing of the scholarly traits that modern astrology books associate with this sign. Fred Gettings, in his excellent astrology dictionary, describes Virgo as a sign “deeply committed to the intellectual process.”

Planet Waves
The eminently wise William Lilly, friend to humanity and embodiment of the Violet Ray, was the first to create an astrology text in English.

Those of us who know and love Virgos are familiar with intelligent, clever, somewhat nervous people who can never seem to do enough. And it’s difficult to figure out where you stand with them, since like the motion of their ruling planet Mercury, every day is a little different.

You can think of this as Virgo in its outer form — how it expresses itself in ways that we can observe with the senses and eat for breakfast. Then there are the deeper layers. We can find something about this in a 1951 text called Esoteric Astrology by Alice A. Bailey.

“The sign Virgo is one of the most significant in the zodiac,” Bailey writes in her introduction to this sign, “for its symbology concerns the whole goal of the evolutionary process, which is to shield, nurture and finally reveal the hidden spiritual reality. This every form veils, but the human form is equipped and fitted to manifest it in a manner different to any other expression of divinity and so make tangible and objective that for which the whole creative process was intended.”

She describes this process as being conveyed in three female figures from mythology: Eve, Isis and Mary. Each of these goddesses conceals and gestates the inner spiritual quality of humanity until it’s born in human form as Jesus, the Christ. I don’t think she means this literally as much as she is presenting a metaphor of spiritual development, and a model of the feminine being what gestates a deeper quality in humanity.

Eve “took the apple of knowledge from the serpent of matter and started the long human undertaking of experiment, experience and expression” of our journey on and with our planet. Isis “stands for this same expression down onto the emotional or astral plane.” Mary “carries the process down to the plane
or place of incarnation, the physical plane, and therefore gives birth to the Christ child.”

Many things are going on here, in the midst of the anachronism of these three figures; one of them is that Bailey is describing Virgo as an expression of the threefold goddess, which takes many other forms. Another is that she is describing Virgo as a sign that, through a series of steps, brings humanity closer to its essential spiritual nature — the one we know exists at least in theory and more probably as a spark of light within us — being born in real life, as a physical manifestation.

Planet Waves
Alice Ann Bailey.

An idea becomes real; a potential manifests. The germ of life inside the seed of grain is protected, and when the conditions are right, it emerges and grows. That is the essence of Virgo, where we see so much in the way of intellectual expression yearning for a place to take form. To do this, it’s necessary to honor the life within what we’re doing, and the deeper life within ourselves. This takes patience and care. It requires living in service of that inner light, until it’s fully born.

Even in the most ordinary themes of Virgo we see these qualities expressed — for example, the undeniable emphasis on service that Virgo so often presents. When a person with strong Virgo in their chart is in conflict or crisis, it would be a good idea to check for the extent to which they are honoring and are in harmony with that inner life. Note: service does not necessarily mean being a nurse or a teacher. It means doing what one came here to do; it means following one’s true calling, which almost invariably serves humanity.

Notably, many people alive today have unusually powerful Virgo signatures in their charts — for example, everyone born between 1957 and 1972 has Pluto in Virgo (there will be some small exceptions on the far ends of that date range, when Pluto was transitioning between signs).

Through the core of that era Uranus was also in Virgo, as this sign was the scene of the Uranus-Pluto conjunction of 1965-1966. That conjunction has a wide orb of influence, spanning at minimum from the late 1950s to the early 1970s. And we are experiencing a manifestation of that event today, as Uranus and Pluto are now making their famous square aspect — the defining aspect of our era.

One recent manifestation of the deeper nature of Virgo came with the discovery of Chiron in 1977. While Chiron is not the ‘ruling’ planet of Virgo, there are many associations between Chiron and Virgo, and Chiron does indeed seem to have transformed our notion and experience of Virgo.

Chiron is physically a massive comet. At 160 to 180 kilometers across, it is thousands of times the size of even the largest comets we can typically see — but too far away to resolve even for most telescopes. Chiron orbits our Sun in a 51-year egg-shaped path that crosses Saturn’s orbit and goes out nearly as far as Uranus.

Planet Waves
Education of Achilles by Jean-Baptiste Regnault. This is Chiron — mentor to many — teaching Achilles how to use bow and arrow.

The discovery of Chiron, and considerable early enthusiasm about it, raised much speculation about what sign this new planet might rule. This notion was based on an assumption that new planets rule anything at all. But by 1977, the modern planets (Uranus, Neptune and Pluto) were said to rule Aquarius, Pisces and Scorpio respectively. So when Chiron came along, astrologers were ensconced in the dubious habit of thinking that something new had to rule a sign.

While this issue is potentially debatable, Chiron certainly has a lot to say about Virgo and a close affinity for it. Chiron’s dedication to healing, service and perfecting the human experience is related to Virgo rather impeccably. Chiron always seems to be struggling to bring something from a ‘higher level’ into the physical plane.

Chiron will do whatever it needs to do, again and again, until it gets our attention. If you track your lifetime Chiron transits, you will see this in action. It is not easy integrating the energy of one level of experience into the other — anyone who has tried to bring loving vibes into their place of work might know what I’m talking about — but with persistence, it can be done. And Chiron is persistent if nothing else.

Chiron of Greek mythology was a surgeon and the primary teacher of Asclepius, the god of medicine. There is not a lot of room for error in these distinctly human fields of work. The roles of both teaching and nursing have long been associated with Virgo.

The mental obsession that Chiron can bring helps us see through Virgo in a way that’s helpful. As Barbara Hand Clow has pointed out, this obsessive quality is one of the most important links between Chiron and Virgo, something that tricksterish, often annoyingly neutral Mercury could not really explain fully. Chiron is no messenger, and he’s not neutral; he is someone with a mission, who speaks through action.

That mission has been likened to the Christ from the earliest days of astrologers interpreting Chiron, so we might speculate that Virgo has given birth to the Christ energy in the form of this new planet. Many of the early astrologers who considered the mythology of Chiron, which involves an immortal who experiences death and resurrection, have made this connection, particularly Zane Stein. But what exactly does this mean, in a world where the mythology of Jesus is twisted in ways that are used to preach intolerance, hatred and mass murder?

Planet Waves
Smile, bitch! Betty Dodson being jabbed by her business partner and attorney-in-situ, Carlin Ross, getting her to chill out in front of the camera. Photo by Eric Francis.

It means that a) we had better start thinking of Jesus a bit more compassionately (Christians: stick to the red letters), and b) that Chiron is going to push us to become whole, authentic people, whatever it takes.

Chiron is now in Pisces, the sign opposite Virgo. It is therefore influencing everyone with planets in any mutable sign.

But it’s especially significant for those with any strong Virgo signature — such as the Sun, Moon or ascendant, and anyone born during the Pluto in Virgo era. This is a second activation point of the Uranus-Pluto conjunction of the long and deeply influential era we call the Sixties.

Speaking of goddesses, Virgo, Chiron and Uranus-Pluto, Betty Dodson turns 84 on Saturday. Betty is the patron saint of sex education here at Planet Waves. The author of the first factual book about masturbation (with a focus on women), Betty has spent the past 40+ years working and playing as a sexual revolutionary. She was one of a very few people who were willing to break the silence on all matters of sexuality, not as an expert or scientist but in her role as human being — especially on gender-queer and masturbation issues.

I think of Betty as the ultimate incarnation of Virgo, from the level of personality (her immaculate home, her impeccable attention to detail especially in her art and writing, and her somewhat fussy personality) right out to how she expresses her deepest mission, as an incarnation of the healer-initiate.

When she entered mainstream public consciousness in 1973, she was willing to go where no outspoken person had gone before: advocating female masturbation. It’s easy for us to take this for granted now, when the topic is a favorite of popular sexual cinema (i.e., ‘porn’), a bona-fide fetish and something that nearly all women do. She offered the idea that they could love that fact, and express it openly with one another and in their intimate partnerships. Her publishing debut was an August 1973 article in Ms. magazine that her editors made her rewrite more than a dozen times over two years before they finally published it.

It wasn’t always that way. Indeed, when Betty published that article in Ms. and her subsequent (associated) pamphlet, Liberating Masturbation, the topic was verboten, even disgusting and disgraceful; it was easier to get information about ancient pagan rituals, the Illuminati and the secret ingredient in Coca-Cola. You could probably could have gotten a good few doctors to agree that having the mumps was healthier for you.

Planet Waves
One of Betty’s early drawings of female masturbation. She came to be a writer and sex educator as an outgrowth of her fine art.

For any woman who today complains that any man in her life, or men in general, are into women’s masturbation, thank your lucky stars. You don’t want to go back to the old days, when it was a criminal act of moral turpitude, a disease, an embarrassment and a betrayal of relational fidelity. (Note, some people still feel this way; I encourage you to arise from your slumber and get with it.)

To the extent that people today think that female masturbation is a beautiful thing (or that it exists at all, and is a healthy, necessary expression of sexuality), we can personally and individually thank Betty Dodson.
Trust me: this took guts, determination and intelligence. And she brought all her talent as a writer, artist and activist to the project. She took big chances and was made an outcast many times along the way.

To the best I’ve been able to research the topic, the assault on masturbation started with a 1612 book called Onania, and this work of demonic propaganda is not answered until Betty comes along and openly corrects the record and offers a new set of teachings. [You can read more about Onania in this article.]

When you look up “sex-positive feminism” in Wikipedia, you find out that, “also known as pro-sex feminism, sex-radical feminism, or sexually liberal feminism, [it] is a movement that began in the early 1980s that centers on the idea that sexual freedom is an essential component of women’s freedom.”

Betty was opening up the topic long before the 1980s. During second-wave feminism of the 1960s and 1970s, sex was not a welcome topic or point of serious consideration; feminism was generally an intellelctual political movement, and the main role of sex within politics is scandal.

Planet Waves
A collection of Betty Dodson videos, all now available on DVD.

It was rare at that time to associate masturbation with liberation or personal growth, but consider how logical it would have been: if feminism is about liberating women from the bonds of and dependency on men, a significant part of that dependency involves sex.

The fact that young women can have access to information about masturbation potentially saves them from all kinds of sexual mishaps early in their erotic maturity.

For all it attempted, pretended and succeeded to do, the sexual revolution overlooked masturbation — except for lil’ ol’ Betty Dodson, who had a marvelous way of keeping the message coming.

Today sex-positive feminism is an established movement (even if it’s something of a boutique item most places) and an essential part of what’s called third-wave feminism — the “not your mother’s variety” of feminism. To the extent that we can have a genius sex educator like Laci Green offer us the Freaky Labia video, we have Betty Dodson to thank for going there first. Most young sex educators have heard of Betty but don’t necessarily know the vacuum of ignorance that she was speaking into and how far we’ve come since she first did so.

Betty is also aware of how far we have to go — and how much backsliding into propagated ignorance and fear has happened under the American Taliban in recent years. We have yet to fully assess the damage caused by three decades of abstinence indoctrination, obsession with premature marriage and prosecuting minors for having sex with one another.

Betty’s chart is the essence of Virgo: with Virgo Sun and Neptune in the ascendant, and Chiron on the North Node, she is born of pure determination and devotion to her mission. It’s not easy to be a sex education pioneer in a society that is devoted to guilt, shame and exploitation — and it’s taken the kind of spiritual strength indicated by this placement to help her get there.

Sun-Neptune rising gives her the chart signature of a documentary filmmaker; she has made many such films. Even though most of her other films feature many scenes of individual and group female masturbation, my favorite work by Dodson is called “Her Life of Sex and Art,” which is now available free on YouTube.

Planet Waves
Sample of Betty’s 1973 article in Ms. Magazine, published 40 years ago this week.

One thing that jumps out of Betty’s chart is that she was born during the Uranus-Pluto square of the early 1930s. She was born in 1929 but that was well within range of the square — she has Uranus in Aries and Pluto in Cancer. We are now experiencing a Uranus-Pluto square once again, only this time Uranus is in Aries and Pluto is in Capricorn. Uranus and Pluto together bring out revolutionary tendencies, and Betty surely qualifies.

In a similar light, she’s having her Uranus return — the planet with an 84-year orbit has returned to its natal position in her chart, having completed one full cycle in her lifetime of stirring the pot, speaking truth to power and inventing the notion of legitimate female orgasm.

There are many gems in her chart (most of them involving asteroids), but the crown jewel is Chiron conjunct the North Node in Taurus in the 9th house. This combines the physicality and self-focus of Taurus with the healing mission and pointed determination of Chiron, coupled with a global spiritual calling of the 9th house.

It is worth mentioning that she took aim at the religiously indoctrinated body shame that pervades all of modern Western culture to some degree or another (usually deeply) — an expression of Chiron in the religiously-oriented 9th house as well, with the added determination and momentum of the North Node — a deeply karmic mission.

One last thing. This week, Chelsea Manning, formerly Bradley, came out as transgender. This goes out over the wire services, we look at the story and think: gee, that’s interesting. And some people think: that’s fantastic. Even the FOX News dwellers know that her decision to choose her gender is part of the fabric of life. Can you imagine this happening 10 years ago, much less 40 years ago?

Betty was one of the first people to openly advocate gender-queer, long before there was any culturally accepted notion of such a thing. Chelsea, if by some miracle you’re reading, Betty is proud of you and is grateful for what you’ve taught us and who you are.

So are all of us at Planet Waves.



Chelsea Manning: Revolutionary and Sex Revolutionary

Let the Akashic Records reflect that the week Private First Class Chelsea Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison for revealing information about war crimes, she came out as transgender. As much as this must come as a relief to Manning and something interesting for the rest of us to ponder, it is especially galling to homophobic and/or closeted military brass and politicians who find Manning’s existence offensive enough as it is.

For those not aware, the first we heard from Pfc. Manning was the Collateral Murder video. She leaked encrypted helicopter cockpit video of an attack on civilians, including children and journalists, in Baghdad. It is a disturbing video but I think it’s essential viewing. Manning leaked the video to Julian Assange, who said it took him months to decrypt frame by frame.

Planet Waves
Army Pfc. Bradley Manning, now Chelsea, in Fort Meade.

After revealing this video and hundreds of thousands of classified documents, focusing the attention of the press for months on atrocities of war that it would have never dared write about, Manning comes out as a woman? She is a revolutionary by at least two different definitions of that word. This is illustrated in her astrology. I only have time to touch on it briefly today, but I want to mention it while Chelsea is on our minds.

For any Monday morning quarterbacks of national security trying to decide whether it was really OK for Manning to spill the whole database while Ed Snowden only revealed select documents, I would remind us all that what Manning told us about was how many civilians are being massacred in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars — lives for which we are responsible; military action which we have personally financed with weekly deductions from our paychecks known as federal income taxes.

Everyone in the military and government and hopefully anyone who has taken a social studies class has heard of the Nuremberg principles. These were a set of guidelines developed after the Nazi atrocities of the 1930s and 1940s that inform anyone who may be concerned that it’s a crime to murder people, even if someone told you to do it, even if you’re a soldier and even if you’re a president or other head of state.

The most famous is Principle IV: “The fact that a person acted pursuant to order of his Government or of a superior does not relieve him from responsibility under international law, provided a moral choice was in fact possible to him.”

In other words, if you’ve committed an atrocity of war, you cannot offer as a defense that you were just following orders. However, since all soldiers are trained to follow orders (including on pain of execution), this requires the invocation of conscience. Soldiers, generals and heads of state are required by law to think about what they are doing and take personal responsibility for it.

Principle VI states specifically what must not be done: “Murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation and other inhumane acts done against any civilian population, or persecutions on political, racial, or religious grounds, when such acts are done or such persecutions are carried on in execution of or in connection with any crime against peace or any war crime.”

Whatever someone thinks they think about a private first class revealing a trove of “classified” documents to the public, we have a right to know about war crimes committed in our names. We have a right to know about the antics, schemes and contrivances of our ambassadors.

Planet Waves
Natal chart of Chelsea Manning (noon chart, no time available).

We have a right to know that thousands of civilians are being murdered on the excuse of “national security.” We have a right to know what our government is doing, if we want to have any pretense of living in a free society. I assure you that when a government is keeping secrets, it’s to conceal its own acts of evil, not to protect us from anything.

Manning has been sentenced to 35 years in prison for revealing information to journalists that we are entitled to know — and that we and our elected leaders are responsible for acting on. The distressing thing about the WikiLeaks revelations is that they demand that all of us act on our consciences, particularly the people sworn to uphold the Constitution — of which Manning is one. Note, as an approved treaty, the Nuremberg principles are part of our national body of law.

Let’s take a quick look at how that appears in her chart. Manning has a cluster of energy focused on the Galactic Center — at about 26 degrees of Sagittarius. What makes contact with the Galactic Core can have an overwhelming effect on society, but one that will be difficult to see until it fully manifests. (Think: social engineer Robert Moses, who was born with the Sun and other planets there and till now was my Galactic Core poster child.)

In Manning’s chart, this cluster around the Galactic Core consists mainly of three points: the Sun, Saturn and Uranus. The Sun is the vital force and expressive identity. Saturn is the principle of discipline and structure; Uranus is the principle of disruption, invention and revolution. Manning has equal devotion to both. In her chart they are all working together. She also has Mercury there — she was born to serve as a messenger of something on what you can think of as a galactic scale.

This whole arrangement is opposite Chiron — another galactic messenger and agent of change (see above article). This opposition may be the aspect most impossible to ignore. There is no way that Manning was going to let this all slide by without doing something. I think in her case that would have been a fate worse than a life sentence. And to make matters about 100 times more compelling, all of this is square the lunar nodes — this is what she came to the planet to do in this lifetime.

Manning has another exceptional conjunction — that of the Moon, Mars and Pluto in Scorpio. This is raw transformational power that she holds in her body. It’s also the expression of what I would call the pure warrior — and in this case, that involved calling out her superiors, all of them, for all they had done the past decade or more. Manning is immune to the usual bullshit that generals, politicians and the people who believe in them eat for all three meals, and convince themselves is wholesome.

It is not, we know it and Chelsea Manning helped make sure we need not have any doubts about it.

Planet Waves

Sun in Virgo: Harness Your Creativity in Service

The Sun entered Virgo yesterday (Thursday) at 7:02 pm EDT. This mutable earth sign is the last sign of Northern Hemisphere summer; Leo was the peak, and now the season begins to loosen its hold. For those of us who find winter to be long and dark, late summer’s warmth can have a touch of melancholy — even as we revel in the Earth’s incredible bounty of fruits and vegetables.

William Lilly, the 17th-century astrologer who wrote the
first English-language astrological text, associated Virgo with the places where food is preserved. Ruled by Mercury, Virgo is also about food for the mind. If you know any Virgos, you may have noticed that their minds are always active — and that without ways to focus that mental energy, they can start to run themselves in circles.

Planet Waves
Young corn plant; photo by Amanda Painter.

Happy Virgos are those who have ways to use their minds — indeed, their entire beings — in the service of others. There appears to be something inherently spiritual, transcendent of ego and dedicated to world service that is apparent in who many Virgos are and what they represent.

When the Sun is in Virgo, the rest of us can tap into this call to service a little more deeply than usual — if we’re willing. The idea of ‘the highest good for all concerned’ becomes less of an abstract thought and more of a tangible, practical thing, though you still have to invoke some extra mindfulness if it’s not your usual wavelength.

Part of the trick is to stay focused on the ‘helping others’ part and not get drawn into any tendencies to feel guilty about not doing more. Don’t stop yourself before even getting started by judging your ideas. The shadow side of Virgo can be a form of pickiness manifesting as criticism of others and of oneself.

When the Sun enters Virgo, it will conjoin a hypothetical point called Transpluto. (View full chart here.) Transpluto seems to be about a narrow opening. This could be useful in terms of focusing your mind and motivation on service, though it does underscore the need to be aware of the instant you start to get pulled into harsh self-criticism or a too-narrow view of what counts as ‘helping’. That serves no one.

Opposite the Sun in early Virgo is Neptune in early Pisces. Neptune was there last year, too, when we published this wisdom on the Planet Waves blog:

“At its best, Sun opposite Neptune can provide a kind of push-pull dynamic that spurs very imaginative, creative achievements. Sun opposite Neptune can feel like an extra mystical Full Moon. However, this aspect is also known for its propensity for delusion, projecting one’s own emotional ‘stuff’ onto a partner, and subsequent disillusionment.

“It is key to use the creative, dreamy, idealistic power of Neptune in Pisces in service of some sort of artistic process. If you can use your creativity for some larger purpose in some way, all the better — you’ll be enlisting the power of the Virgo Sun in this opposition.”

The Sun conjunct Transpluto and opposite Neptune is about focusing your awareness of yourself and how you put your creativity out into the world. In itself, using your creativity is a kind of service. It helps to be grounded (Virgo is an earth sign), clear some space (mental and physical), and have a plan with steps that you follow. Mercury-ruled Virgo also says: remember to communicate.

Self-criticism is a dream-killer — as is isolation, even of the mental variety. Neptune in Pisces opposite the Virgo Sun urges more fluidity in creative contact with others; it’s the collective dream (the human condition) that we’re all ultimately serving, after all.

— written by Amanda Painter
Planet Waves

Manning Sentenced to 35 Years, Announces Gender Transition

Army Private Chelsea Manning — until Thursday known as Bradley Manning — was sentenced to 35 years in prison this week for the release of 700,000 governmental cables and videos to WikiLeaks. Although much less than the maximum possible sentence of 90 years, it is much longer than any sentence given to governmental officials who have leaked information before now — a clear message meant to cow other would-be whistleblowers.

Planet Waves
Chelsea Manning, in her previous identity as Bradley Manning.

The documents Manning sent to WikiLeaks for release included video evidence of civilian murders by U.S. military personnel. Leaked diplomatic cables revealed the U.S. government’s support of the corrupt regime in Tunisia — helping to spark the 2011 uprisings across the Middle East, and domestically with the Occupy movement.

Manning has requested a pardon from President Obama. Defense attorney David Coombs read a statement from his client in which Manning acknowledged that, “If you deny my request for a pardon, I will serve my time knowing that sometimes you have to pay a heavy price to live in a free society.”

Part of the price Manning has been paying all along has been living life in a gender that has never felt right. Early on Thursday, she released a statement thanking supporters and announcing her decision to change her name to Chelsea and transition her gender:

“As I transition into this next phase of my life, I want everyone to know the real me. I am Chelsea Manning. I am a female. Given the way that I feel, and have felt since childhood, I want to begin hormone therapy as soon as possible. I hope that you will support me in this transition.”

Manning will begin serving her sentence in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. Under current guidelines, she could be released on parole after seven years, inclusive of time served in detention — which was deemed to have been “cruel, inhumane and degrading” by the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture. Manning’s defense team is appealing to the U.S. Army Court of Criminal Appeals in relation to this sentence and also for due process violations during the trial.


Planet Waves

The Other Side of the Factory Farm Nightmare

CAFOs (concentrated animal feeding operations) — also known as factory farms — have long been known for their heinous confinement of animals. Yet those conditions comprise only one-half of their suffering. A new book reveals the horrific physical ailments now known to be caused by the animals’ GMO-based corn and soy feed, especially those containing glyphosate.

Planet Waves

Leah Dunham, the daughter of Dr. Art Dunham, an Iowa veterinarian who has treated farm animals for several decades and believes GMOs are directly responsible for damaging them, recently wrote America’s Two-Headed Pig. Drawing on her father’s clinical notes and the work of plant pathologists and other scientists, Dunham describes what a glyphosate-tainted, GMO diet does to farm animals.

And those conditions — digestive disorders, damaged organs, infertility, weak immune systems, skeletal deformities, chronic depression — are the same found in humans who eat GMO food.

“This has been an age during which too many human beings treated animals and children like guinea pigs, feeding them genetically modified, chemically coated, antibiotic resistant experiments, despite the overwhelming evidence that these foods are serious risk factors for illness and disease,” she writes.


Planet Waves

Fukushima ‘Containment’ Spinning Out of Hand

The Japanese government and TEPCO, the utility that oversees the ailing Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, is finally admitting what most of us have suspected for two years — that the severity of radioactive leakage and the complexity of the cleanup appears beyond their capacity to handle.

TEPCO announced last week it is preparing to remove in November 400 tons of highly radioactive spent fuel from Reactor No. 4, a dangerous operation that has only been simulated on a computer, never attempted at a nuclear power plant.

Planet Waves
Officials and experts from local towns inspect a coastal embankment where contaminated water is leaking near Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant Units 1 and 2 of Tokyo Electric Power Co., in Okuma, Fukushima prefecture, Japan. AP.

More than 1,300 spent fuel rod assemblies packed tightly together need to be removed from the reactor building, which is vulnerable to collapse in another large earthquake. The assemblies contain radiation equivalent to 14,000 times the amount released in the atomic bomb attack on Hiroshima 68 years ago.

“They are going to have difficulty in removing a significant number of the rods,” said Arnie Gundersen, a veteran U.S. nuclear engineer and director of Fairewinds Energy Education, who used to build fuel assemblies.

Of more immediate concern, on Tuesday TEPCO said about 300 tons of water contaminated with high levels of radiation have leaked from a storage tank into the ground. It is reportedly the worst leak to date from the tanks.

In light of this, Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority is about to declare a toxic water leak at the Fukushima nuclear plant a level 3 “serious incident” on the International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale, pending confirmation from the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency.

It is the country’s gravest warning since the massive 2011 earthquake and tsunami that sent three reactors into meltdown.

Mycle Schneider, an independent consultant who has previously advised the French and German governments and who is lead author for the World Nuclear Industry status reports, said the situation is dire.

He said water is leaking out all over the site and there are no accurate figures for radiation levels.

“The quantities of water they are dealing with are absolutely gigantic,” he said in a BBC article. “What is worse is the water leakage everywhere else — not just from the tanks. It is leaking out from the basements, it is leaking out from the cracks all over the place. Nobody can measure that.

“It is much worse than we have been led to believe, much worse.”

Planet Waves will be covering the developments at Fukushima in depth in an upcoming edition.


Planet Waves

Mystery Chemical Attack Hits Rebel-Controlled Damascus Area

A pre-dawn poison gas attack in a rebel-held suburb of Damascus, Syria, killed hundreds of civilians on Wednesday, with neither the rebels nor the Syrian government admitting responsibility. Western powers are demanding that U.N. chemical weapons experts, in a hotel just a few miles from the scene, be given immediate access to it.

Planet Waves
A girl with cheeks painted in the colors of Syria’s flag takes part in a protest in front of the U.N. building in New York on Wednesday. Photo: Reuters/Adrees Latif.

President Bashar al-Assad’s opponents gave death tolls from 500 to well over 1,000 and said more bodies were being found, according to a Reuters report.

France and Britain are calling for a forceful foreign response, while Russia and the United States appear more cautious.

After months of negotiating with Assad’s government to let inspectors into Syria, a U.N. team arrived in Damascus four days ago. They are to check on the presence, but not the sources, of chemical weapons that are alleged to have been released in three specific, small incidents several months ago, the Reuters article said.

The rebels have little confidence in the U.N. team’s mission.

“We’re being exterminated with poison gas while they drink their coffee and sit inside their hotels,” said activist Bara Abdelrahman.

“We are asking for this team to go directly, with complete freedom … to the site of the crimes which took place yesterday,” George Sabra, a prominent member of the umbrella opposition’s National Coalition, told Reuters.

The Syrian government has not responded publicly to the request for access.


Planet Waves

Few Airport Rights for Miranda — or Anyone

David Miranda, Brazilian partner of Guardian UK reporter Glenn Greenwald, was detained for nine hours in London’s Heathrow airport over the weekend. Greenwald is the reporter through whom Edward Snowden has leaked information about the U.S. and U.K. governments’ extensive surveillance of civilian communications.

Planet Waves
David Miranda (right) with partner Glenn Greenwald, in the Rio de Janeiro airport on Monday. Photo: Reuters.

Under schedule 7 of the U.K.’s Terrorism Act 2000, people may be detained for up to nine hours without arrest in an airport for questioning about suspected terrorism. Most such detentions last less than one hour.

According to Miranda, his computer, cell phone and other devices were confiscated. Six agents asked him about everything except terrorism — with a focus on what “Guardian journalists were doing on the NSA stories.”

The governmental bullying extended into The Guardian‘s home offices. Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger said on Tuesday that he agreed to smash several computers containing Greenwald’s files in an effort to avoid legal action that could have halted publishing. Copies of the files exist with reporters in the U.S. and Brazil, but officials insisted on the destruction (psychological intimidation) anyway.

Earlier in the week Greenwald said he would respond by writing reports “much more aggressively than before.”

“I have lots of documents about the way the secret services operate in England,” he said.

“I think they are going to regret what they did.”

Political detention of journalists in airports — under the guise of investigating ‘terrorism’ — is becoming increasingly common, as recent Democracy Now! interviews (including with filmmaker Laura Poitras, who has been assisting Snowden and Greenwald) make chillingly clear.

“The British government’s conflation of journalism with terrorism in the case of David Miranda is problematic largely because journalism, like terrorism, is no longer performed by discrete, centralized entities,” wrote Philip Bump for The Atlantic Wire. “You post a video of police detaining a suspect to your Facebook wall, and you’re committing an act of journalism — one that authority figures may not see as subject to First — or Fourth — Amendment protections.”


Planet Waves

Planet Waves

Why would anyone go to the middle of nowhere, in searing heat by day and desert cold by night, often thwarted by alkaline dust storms and surrounded by tens of thousands of crazy artists shooting flames, playing thumping music, burning things and dancing about 24/7 in costumes (or nothing at all)? Well… why not? Video still from the trailer for “Spark: A Burning Man Story.”

Light a Spark, Burn Forever

Now showing in New York and Los Angeles (and available through video on demand, iTunes, Amazon and Google Play, with showings in other major cities coming soon) is the film Spark: A Burning Man Story. According to the film’s website:

“Rooted in principles of self-expression, self-reliance and community effort, Burning Man has grown famous for stirring ordinary people to shed their nine-to-five existence and act on their dreams.”

“Spark takes us behind the curtain with Burning Man organizers and participants, revealing a year of unprecedented challenges and growth.”

If you’ve never been to Burning Man, reviewers are calling this film “the next best thing.” That said, if you’ve ever had an urge to experience That Thing in the Desert for yourself, start planning now for next year; this year’s participant-driven experiment in temporary community with a gift-only economy and lots (and lots) of dust begins this coming Monday, Aug. 26, in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada.


Planet Waves

Aquarius Full Moon — Age of Aquarius

In this week’s edition of Planet Waves FM, I cover both the Aquarius Full Moon (exact Tuesday, Aug. 20 at 9:44 pm EDT) and the elusive theme of the Age of Aquarius. I do so with some help from the book Esoteric Astrology; I’ve provided a few quotes from that book below, selected by Laurie Burnett. Our musical guest is the phenomenal Treetop Flyers, some boys out of England that I met at Backstage Studio Productions in Kingston. In the program I mention an article called You Are Who You Are, a Planet Waves member-area favorite that covers the precession of the equinoxes and the difference between the two zodiacs.

pg. 395

It will be apparent to you that a whole new field of study will open before the astrologers of the New Age and fresh light on this greatest of all sciences will be available.

pg. 485

Aquarius is affecting the world disciples and initiates, leading them to world service on a large scale, producing group activity and that living usefulness which is the hall-mark of the pledged disciple.


Planet Waves

Your Monthly Horoscopes — and our Publishing Schedule Notes

Your extended monthly horoscopes for September are published below in this issue. The extended monthly horoscopes for August were published Friday, July 26; I recommend reading the previous month’s horoscopes again at the end of the month. On Tuesday, July 16, we published the Moonshine horoscopes for the Aquarius Full Moon. We published the Moonshine horoscopes for the Leo New Moon on Tuesday, Aug. 6. We published the Moonshine horoscopes for the Aquarius Full Moon on Tuesday, Aug. 20.
Please note, we normally publish the extended monthly horoscopes on the first Friday after the Sun has entered a new sign; Inner Space usually publishes the following Tuesday.

Planet Waves Monthly Horoscopes for September 2013, #963 | By Eric Francis

Aries (March 20-April 19)

Aries (March 20-April 19) — One challenge of the coming weeks involves discerning self-interest from your calling or desire to support others. Ideally there would be no separation of those concepts. That we can and so often do play games that have one winner and many losers is a problem. That we tend to lack the idea of ‘the greatest good for all concerned’, or what are called win-win scenarios, is the deeper issue. It’s essential that you bear this in mind now. Your interests are not separate from the people you care about, and in truth they’re not separate from those of anyone else. Understanding this requires reaching a new level of consciousness — which you’re reaching for, capable of and where you may already be. In this scenario, it will help to know what you want, and at the same time you must also know about (and care about) the wants and needs of the people with whom you share space and time. To do that, you’ll need to ask, listen carefully and listen to what people say when they’re speaking freely. Simply put, you’re being called upon to be fair, to the point where you set aside competition in exchange for creating a mutually beneficial situation. This calls for a heightened level of honesty, first with yourself and then with others.


Taurus (April 19- May 20)

Taurus (April 19-May 20) — You’ve been through a lot recently — and I am sure you’d be grateful if things would cool off. Take any opportunity to slow down, remove commitments from your schedule and give yourself a chance to focus inwardly. Consider each of the past five or so episodes in your life and notice how many would have benefitted from extra introspection beforehand. Events in the early part of the month will repeat that reminder, serving as encouragement to understand yourself before you engage too deeply with others. This is the best way to keep your center and also to prevent yourself from getting into situations that are so deep you cannot see a way out or a way through. At the same time, you’re being invited to go deeper with others, or with someone in particular, and it may seem like you have to make a decisive move before too long. I would remind you of a fact often overlooked in our romance-obsessed world: your first relationship is to yourself. That statement may be the ultimate blasphemy against the prevailing relationship mythology, though it’s based on the notion that you cannot relate to anyone unless you have a self to do that relating with. Once you do that habitually, it will be clearer what to do with others.


Gemini (May 20- June 21)

Gemini (May 20-June 21) — You may go through a few more emotional twists and turns before you figure out how safe you are, and how much freedom you have. You could go a long way by recognizing there is not a narrow formula for emotional security. You cannot just check off the points on a punch list and be done with it. This is not a technical matter; it’s a spiritual one. It also seems that your sense of confidence in your surroundings, and a sense of belonging, arise as a result of your own ability to tune in and be present, rather than from some external factor. It would help significantly if you were less obsessed with security and instead considered the many ways you can explore life and love. If I may offer some confirmation, your astrology is saying you’re ready to do that. Yet there’s another message about being called further, into true courage, creativity and doing something that honors your passion for life. That involves taking emotional risks. Each time you heed this calling, you may be confronted with a new occasion to admit, confront and go beyond another level or type of fear. Most people would take this as an opportunity to back off, give up and go home. I don’t think you will.


Cancer (June 21- July 22)

Cancer (June 21-July 22) — Mars transiting the angle of your chart that addresses self-esteem is pushing you to act as if you had the confidence to do what you want. There seem to be plenty of details involved, though you have options for how you handle them. I suggest that you work your way from the big picture inward to the specifics, which is to say, in the order of priorities necessary to accomplish something. A large goal is always made of many small parts. Many small parts do not automatically add up to something meaningful. Therefore, stick to your vision, which your chart suggests you’ve been cultivating in its current form since around early 2011. Meanwhile, there’s likely to be some necessity that you encounter, one that makes you question whether all the effort you’re exerting is really worth it. You will feel better for having met this challenge or answering this question yourself, rather than giving up or getting someone else to do it for you. If this involves a financial matter, trust that you have the determination and maturity necessary to make it happen. This is not a test of your maturity — it’s an opportunity to cultivate and deepen it. It’s not about proving your creative power, but rather about putting your natural gifts to work for yourself and the world.


Leo (July 22- Aug. 23)

Leo (July 22-Aug. 23) — If you encounter something that seems immovable — a person, a situation, an emotion — it’s more like a floating object than a stationary one. It will move, if you apply energy in the right direction; but I suggest you proceed more like a tugboat than like the Titanic. But do you really need to move this thing, whatever it is? Do you need to exert so much energy? Or would it be better to organize your life around its presence for a while? What you have over the next few weeks is an opportunity to determine the size and scale of the situation, and to make an assessment of how it’s influenced you in the past. That’s really the question — what you’re going to do about something that already happened, perhaps long ago, and potentially reaching into past generations. What you’re doing that your predecessors have not done is acknowledge its existence. What you seem to be dealing with is a secret of some kind. There are at least two levels to any secret: one is figuring out that it exists, and the other is figuring out what it contains. It may seem nearly useless to know that there is some concealed information but to not know what it is. But in truth, you’re more than half the way there.


Virgo (Aug. 23- Sep. 22)

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22) — Exerting too much control is the best way for things to go out of control. I suggest that you embrace the uncertainty factor, especially the part about not knowing the impact people will have on your life, or the influence that you will have on them. One thing is for sure — that you and someone significant will shape one another’s experience and worldview. I can also tell you that the way to make this the most positive experience possible is to focus on communication. What feels like the impulse to take charge, get a handle on things or to attempt actual control will best be sated by an exchange of ideas. That’s the whole point, anyway — and what makes this such a positive opportunity. In order to do that, you will need to develop the skill of responding rather than reacting. There are instances when you may be seized by emotions that seem to demand the latter — and the best thing you can do is pause. If something, or someone, seems like it might hurt you, I would urge you to remember that your astrology is saying that no matter how polarized a situation gets, that’s unlikely. To sum up: communicate rather than control. Respond rather than react. One last: in any exaggerated situation, keep your sense of humor.


Libra (Sep. 22 - Oct. 23)

Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23) — I’ve written before that most of the problems that people face can be traced back to self-esteem. Your current astrology says that any question, issue or emotion that you experience will come back to this same theme. This has been going on for a while, though it’s a special focus right now. I suggest you focus on who in the past has gone out of their way to make you feel less worthy of love or of any benefit or reward of life. What you’re dealing with is not an actual fact of worthiness — it’s a feeling, and that feeling did not emerge from a vacuum. Meanwhile, I suggest you be conscious of the people around you and what influence they have on you. While it’s true that on one level how you feel about yourself is your business, it’s also true that others have an influence on you, and they will at times run their own agenda. If you have to push back against that, then do it in a creative and positive way. Rather than rebel, set out to achieve something that you want to do, and give yourself credit for having done so. In the end, though, how you feel about yourself is a choice, and I would remind you that nobody is your judge and jury.


Scorpio (Oct. 23- Nov. 22)

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22) — You need to set your sights higher. When I say need, I mean it’s actually a matter of necessity: commit to something more challenging, demanding more of your personal resources, experience and talent. I see you involved in something visible, that makes a difference in the world. Yet doing something challenging means encountering challenges. They may seem like they’re worldly in nature — involving your circumstances. In truth, all the territory you’re covering is personal. You’re being called to some new and potentially unexpected form of leadership, one that you’ve known for a while you were aspiring to in theory. This month you go from theory to action. Action means taking charge, staying grounded and bringing both a dynamic, even dramatic quality to what you’re doing at the same time you call forth your deepest maturity. As you know, maturity is useless unless it’s put to good use, and this is the order of the moment. As you see the rewards of this way of doing things, I suggest you reinvest them rather than take them as profits. What you need more than anything is momentum toward a tangible goal. Part of that quality is bringing yourself fully into what you’re doing, creating and expressing — and every inner challenge you overcome will get you one step closer to that spot.


Sagittarius (Nov. 22 - Dec. 22)

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22) — Every time I see the charts from the point of view of Sagittarius, I want to write about sex. Maybe that has something to do with your ruling planet being in your solar 8th house — the one that represents the sex you want the most. Yet it may also represent what you fear the most, where you must encounter the most compelling aspects of relationship and where it’s possible to get lost in another person. That may indeed be your concern, and it could be valid. You may be wondering what to do: go deeper, or extricate yourself? I suggest you start with a good meditation on Be Here Now. Jupiter is also in Cancer, the sign of nourishment and comfort. This is a meaningful place to be, and I can say with some confidence that at least it’s not boring. And you’re getting more of what you need than you may recognize. In fact you could get a lot more of what you need, and share with others what you have and that they need. If relationships are about exchange, then you’re in the ideal place to do that. You have plenty to give, you have lots that’s being offered and all you need to do is be open — especially to doing that elusive thing known as receiving.


Capricorn (Dec. 22- Jan. 20)

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20) — How much are you willing to reveal about yourself, and why would you hold back at all? There seems to be some tension between what is ‘really going on’ and what you want to be known in some public context. I don’t think the paparazzi are after you, but it may feel that way. You could entertain yourself with paranoia about what might come out, though if you’re hanging out there I suggest you ask yourself what you want the world to know about you. I don’t mean what soap you use. I mean what would ordinarily be considered entirely inappropriate, presumed to be damaging to your reputation or image, and even dangerous. The flirtation is between hold back and let go. There may be a diversity of opportunities you have that you want to explore and the deciding factor may seem to be what people might think. You have some options here: one of them is to blow the doors off and be happy that they might discover anything and everything. Assuming felonies are not involved, that could work out well for you. The obsession with secrecy is one of the things that is choking not just your experience but that of many, many people, and I would count the urge to set ourselves free as a healthy impulse.


Aquarius (Jan. 20- Feb. 19)

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) — Will you depend on others to push you, or will you allow yourself to do what you want? Will you play a game of resisting, perhaps to make some point to yourself or to them, or will you say yes when yes is appropriate to say? By that I mean: you have the option to do what you want to do, without a lot of drama, and it’s enough that you want to do it and nobody else’s influence needs to matter. Yet what I see in your chart is that you may decide it’s easier to allow someone else to provide the initiative or motivation, and you come along for the ride. You have that option but it won’t be as much fun. This is akin to the difference between reading something in a book or discovering it yourself — or seeing a picture of someplace as opposed to going there personally. Which has a deeper influence on you? You will have a deeper experience of someone or something if you make the choice yourself, rather than allowing yourself to be pressured or seduced. The only question is what you want, though this is not as urgent as you think. This is about tuning into your feelings. It’s also about not being a control freak, though you would be surprised how much these two things have in common.


Pisces (Feb. 19- March 20)

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) — Emotional material will be easier to move through than you may think. You may have the fear or expectation that going deep will mean having to process or respond to something you cannot handle. Ordinarily the astrology evoking this feeling might be more challenging, but there are mitigating factors — particularly, such an impressive collection of planets currently in the water signs. That’s providing you with plenty of your most important element. Said another way, you have what you need to have the emotional, relational and sexual experiences you want. It seems more a matter of putting the ingredients together, and responding to your circumstances appropriately. One hint I can give you is to use emotional tension productively. If you have friction with someone, that is potentially a helpful indication that you have some energy with them. Take the risk, go beyond your prejudices and first impressions, and go deeper. Those prejudices might involve the residue of moralism from whatever source. This needs to be seen for what it is, which is a philosophy that will eventually determine that any human pleasure is wrong. This is more than unhelpful; it’s void on its face, and I suggest you treat it that way and move onto your mission of making contact with whoever focuses your attention in a lusty, sparky, appealing or provocative way.


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Cue: Be One (or The Kuiper Belt Turns 20)

Dear Friend and Reader:

Astrology is based on the premise that the shape of the solar system reflects the shape of consciousness. If that’s true, the edge of the solar system would represent a boundary or edge within the psyche, a place where familiar territory ends and the unfamiliar begins. Over the years, this boundary has moved gradually outward. For as far back as anyone was looking at the sky, the boundary was Saturn, the most distant visible planet. The edge moved outward with the first discovery of a planet — Uranus, in 1781, and with that discovery, the age of science and industry had officially begun.

Planet Waves
Illustration of the Kuiper Belt by Don Dixon, which originally appeared in Scientific American in 2000. The outermost inner ring is the orbit of Neptune. The inclined orbit would be something like Pluto, though with a much longer orbit than Pluto actually has; in 2000 it would represent a possible discovery, though the shape and inclination are evocative of Eris. The Kuiper Belt is the cloud of small objects that surround the solar system. © by Don Dixon, all rights reserved.

Next came Neptune, which was finally observed to be a planet in 1846. Neptune for its part was a strange discovery — Galileo was the first to see it, way back in 1612, though neither he nor numerous astronomers who followed him actually understood what it was, even though they noticed it was moving. Such is the elusive nature of Neptune.

After its discovery in 1930, Pluto was the furthest known object orbiting the Sun. It was discovered by accident, when astronomers were busy looking for something much larger, something they’ve yet to find.

Over the years, different astronomers had theorized that there were swarms of small objects beyond Neptune, though by 1992, only Pluto had been found. Most astronomers accepted that it was the outer edge of the solar system. There didn’t seem to be a lot of interest in searching, either. There was no grant money available for the project; it was not as glamorous as studying the known planets. At that time, a lot of attention and resources were going into the Cassini mission to Jupiter and Saturn, as well as to Hubble space telescope projects that involved gazing out to the edge of the universe.

Jane X. Luu, then 29 years old, was doing postdoctoral work in astrophysics, collaborating with Prof. David Jewitt at the University of Hawaii’s observatory on Mauna Kea, Hawaii. They were researching small objects in our solar system, such as comets and asteroids. (One theory about this possible new region of space was that it served as a reservoir of comets.)

They had a question: why did space beyond Pluto seem so empty? In the true spirit of science — curiosity — they decided to look around.

“To us it was of scientific interest,” Luu recalled in an interview last week. “In terms of prestige, we had never wanted to study any planet. Grants are easy. Why study something that lots of other people study? We were going to do things that nobody else wanted to do.”

Planet Waves
The 2.2-meter telescope at Mauna Kea, University of Hawaii, where 1992 QB1 and the Kuiper Belt were discovered by Drs. Jewitt and Luu. Photo from the University of Hawaii.

So, they spent their time peering off into the edge of the solar system, looking for anything that was moving. Mauna Kea is an ideal ground-based observatory because it’s sitting on top of a dormant volcanic mountain 4,200 meters above sea level, where the skies are often clear, and where there’s minimal light pollution or smog. Plus, it’s a smooth mountain, so there’s relatively little atmospheric turbulence — the bane of astronomers everywhere. They were using the University of Hawaii’s 2.2-meter telescope, a dependable old beast that had been in operation since 1970.

On the night of Sunday, Aug. 30, 1992, just before 11 pm local time, they pointed the telescope toward the southeastern skies and focused on a faint object. In fact it was so faint, it’s amazing they saw it against the backdrop of the stars. Over the next 90 minutes, watching on a monitor connected to a digital image captor, they noticed that the object was moving — which meant that it wasn’t a fixed star.

Jewitt and Luu had discovered the first-known object orbiting our Sun beyond Pluto. After 62 years of being the presumed edge of the solar system, Pluto’s reign was very quietly over. However, it would take a long time for the news to spread. The object they discovered was not especially large, and these particular astronomers are not media hounds.

The discovery was given the provisional designation 1992 QB1 — a technical reference that notes when it was discovered, and that it was the 27th object found in the second half of August of that year, nearly all of them asteroids of various kinds. (The second centaur planet, Pholus, had been discovered earlier that year, and the third, Nessus, would not be discovered till 1993. Centaurs are small planets located inside the orbit of Neptune.)

Planet Waves
Dr. Jane X. Luu, astrophysicist and co-discoverer of the Kuiper Belt, now a senior scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Official photo.

1992 QB1 has a nearly perfect circular orbit, which means it’s very stable. (The stability of its orbit is evidence that this region of space is not the origin of comets — they probably come from a region further away.) QB1’s orbit is nearly parallel to the solar equator, which takes it around the Sun in just over 289 years. That’s about 39 years longer than Pluto takes to orbit, though Pluto has a wildly elongated path, which meets the plane of the solar system on a steep angle.

Because it was beyond Pluto, 1992 QB1 was also the discovery of what became known as the Kuiper Belt, named (or misnamed) for Dutch astronomer Gerard Kuiper. QB1 was the observation that demonstrated that there are indeed objects beyond Pluto within our solar system. If there was one, there would be more. There are about 1,000 known today, and Jewitt has predicted that there are as many as 70,000 — probably a conservative estimate based on an actual calculation.

Imagine the Kuiper Belt as a plane extending into space, similar to a ring of Saturn, though surrounding the Sun, out beyond all the larger planets. The discovery represented a radical step in the understanding of the solar system, though its significance isn’t fully appreciated. Among astronomers, many other discoveries get more attention (Eris, for example). Studying these small bits of planetary matter give us a glimpse into the early history of the solar system.

Among astrologers, 1992 QB1 seems to get the least attention of any minor planet. This is in part because the minor planets are not a popular topic in astrology, and even among astrologers who specialize in the new discoveries, QB1 leaves most of them without a starting point because it doesn’t have a name. The names of newly discovered planets almost always come from the astronomers (who don’t generally ‘believe in’ astrology, or think about it much). Yet astrologers depend on these names to help them suss out the meaning a new planet might contain.

Jewitt and Luu had proposed the name Smiley, after the fictional character George Smiley in the spy novels of John le Carré. Smiley is a kind of anti-James Bond — a quiet, disciplined espionage agent rather than one always running around with his gun drawn. But the name had been used on a main-belt asteroid honoring Charles H. Smiley (1903-1977), who was chairman of astronomy at Brown University. Jewitt and Luu did not propose another name, and they have no plans to.

When other bodies were discovered with orbits similar to QB1, they started to become known as the cubewanos, a pun on Q-B-1-ohs. This is some insurance that 1992 QB1 will always be its name. Once its orbit was confirmed and it got a place in the Minor Planet Catalog, its proper name became (15760) 1992 QB1. This always reminds me of Asteroid B-612 from The Little Prince.

Planet Waves
David Jewitt, co-discoverer of 1992 QB1 and the Kuiper Belt, now a professor at UCLA. Official photo.

Last week I asked Jane Luu if she would share some impressions about her now-famous discovery.

“A lot of people don’t like it, because it started all the trouble for Pluto,” she said. The discovery of QB1 led to many other astronomers looking for objects in the Kuiper Belt, and one of them — Eris, discovered in 2005 — led to Pluto being reclassified as a Kuiper Belt object. “They should think of it as a new frontier of our solar system. It’s just like exploration way back in the 1500s. It’s about mapping new worlds.”

I asked how they financed the project. “We did it by lying and stealing, the usual way things are done,” she said. “We didn’t get any money for it. We would get telescope time to do other projects, and we would use it to do this. We’re good astronomers; we publish a lot and we’re productive, so nobody could accuse us of wasting resources.”

The region of space that Jewitt and Luu discovered was named for Gerard Kuiper (1905-1973), who in his writings referenced the possibility of a swarm of objects in the outer solar system.

“Kuiper anti-predicted the Kuiper Belt,” Luu explained. “He said it would be gone by now. It’s near Pluto and he thought that Pluto was going to scatter everything away. It was all conjecture. He had no numbers to back up anything. He was just guessing.”

It seems ironic that someone who predicted that something would not exist got that thing named after him. “Most people would be happy,” Luu said. “He got something for nothing.”

Planet Waves
Four original photographs that led to the discovery of 1992 QB1. The images show the object moving slowly westward through the sky, indicated by an arrow.

To correct this, it’s sometimes called the Edgeworth-Kuiper Belt (or in England, the Edgeworth Belt, though you rarely hear this), adding the name of Kenneth Edgeworth, an Irish astronomer, economist and engineer. In the 1940s, he proposed that there would be a disc of icy bodies beyond the orbit of Neptune. “Edgeworth was obscure,” Luu said, “but he did not anti-predict it, like Kuiper.”

Why wasn’t the Kuiper Belt discovered sooner? It took 62 years from the discovery of Pluto, during a phase of history with increasingly spectacular telescopes. “These things were always out there, but people didn’t look for them,” Luu said. “People are not good at finding things they don’t expect to see. What you look for you will find. But sometimes it takes a bit longer than you expect, if it exists.”

Now, many of the most interesting new discoveries are found in the Kuiper Belt. Some are more of the nature of Pluto (called plutinos, with orbits around 250 years) and many others are of the nature of QB1 (the cubewanos, or classical Kuiper objects, with orbits closer to 290 years or longer). Plutinos are named for underworld deities. One example is Orcus, named for an Etruscan [ancient Italian, pre-European] underworld god who predates Pluto. Cubewanos are named for deities associated with creation and resurrection (Quaoar, a Native American creator god, is an example). There are other categories, which are sorted by how many orbits the smaller planet makes compared to Neptune. For example, Plutinos orbit twice for every time Neptune orbits three times. There are other categories with other resonances to Neptune.

Whatever the math involved, David Jewitt and Jane Luu proved one thing: that space is not empty beyond Pluto; there’s something there. For astrologers, so invested in what these things mean symbolically, this is rich territory. Or it should be, anyway. Most people’s consciousness stops at Pluto, if it even gets there, which is a significant limit, given the level of fear involved. One irony is that many astrologers don’t believe in the minor planets. Yet the discovery of QB1 led directly to the reclassification of Pluto as a minor planet, complete with a minor planet catalog number — now known as (134340) Pluto.

Beyond Pluto — Beyond the Edge

I’ve been developing my own impressions of QB1 since 1998, when I was given an ephemeris by centaur specialist Robert von Heeren, who I met when I was living in Munich. He didn’t share any ideas about QB1, just a folder with a stack of printed pages that contained the ephemeris he had calculated himself. [You can see Tracy Delaney’s version here, on Serennu.com.]

Planet Waves
Pluto, illustrated by John Smith in 1709. He is shown kidnapping Persephone. Pluto is usually depicted naked and wearing a crown or helmet; the helmet makes him invisible to those he’s about to take.

For me it was news enough that something existed outside the orbit of Pluto. So let’s start there, since it’s a reference point. Each time a planet is discovered beyond something that’s been the long-established edge of the solar system, we experience a paradigm shift, both in our understanding of the planets, and how they work astrologically. History turns a corner. There also seems to be an extension of the presumed limit on human potential.

Mythologically, Pluto is the Roman god of the underworld. His temples were rarely visited by anyone; he was not a popular figure. As the lord of death, he was portrayed as a kidnapper, who traveled under a cloak of invisibility, a power granted by his helmet.

Astrology usually associates Pluto with the topic of “death and transformation.” Many would consider this a polite statement. Everyone who has lived through a Pluto transit consciously knows that they can be challenging. Indeed, they can be devastating, though we become deeper, more soulful people. As minor planet specialist Martha Lang-Wescott has said, we often miss Pluto transits when they’re over.

In history, I associate Pluto with what I call the Death Works era. The mechanized, chemical-infused death orgy known as World War I preceded the discovery of Pluto by about 16 years, though once Pluto was discovered, things really got cooking. Hitler came to power just three years later and turned genocide into an industrial process. When he was done, Stalin took over and outdid him with the gulag system and many, many more murders.

The rest of the 20th century was pretty much one long war; just naming a few, there was Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia and then Pol Pot’s genocide; there was the “Cultural Revolution” in China (the wide-scale enforcement of orthodox communism); there was a long massacre in Central America and a simultaneous one in East Timor; there were the genocides in the Balkans, there was Bush War I, and an ongoing, seemingly endless war in Africa. The 21st century began with the Sept. 11 incident, which was used to propagate wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. As Noam Chomsky wrote in The Culture of Terrorism, the way to impress Congress is to show them how many people you’ve killed; then you get funding to kill some more.

I don’t blame Pluto for this, though I think that Pluto represented for many people a limit on their consciousness. The limit involved (and for many still involves) the idea that death is the ultimate power, and could be used to get anything, or to gain any advantage. In this toxic belief system, death is the end, it’s the scariest thing, and whoever wields it can feel like God, or at least a god (and not such a creative one) for a while. Death and all the anxiety around it are often substitutes for sex, for love and for a conscious, willing sense of transition. Pluto can represent obsessive forces, and one manifestation is an obsession with death.

Planet Waves
Annalee Orsulich is a doula, who assists both the midwife and the birthing mom in the birthing process. Though it’s being mechanized by medicine, in truth childbirth is an unpredictable experience every time it happens; some of a woman’s worst fears and inhibitions can come up during a birth, as well as her greatest strengths — and it takes someone special to hold space for that. Photo by Eric Francis.

Psychologically healthier people have a more functional relationship to change, and to growth, other themes that Pluto represents. Yet even for them, the shadow side of Pluto can be frightening, because it involves investigating the spaces in ourselves that we’re taught to deny, and to be terrified of. Then gradually we integrate the fear of change, and the changes themselves. Through this process we evolve; we can learn to center ourselves in soul consciousness. Yet most people go kicking and screaming.

There has to be a better way. Chiron, discovered in 1977, did a good job of beginning that conversation of a better way; it was the first planet ever discovered that became associated specifically with the healing process. Chiron is also associated with holistic consciousness. Chiron, the “inconvenient benefic,” is gentler than Pluto, and it’s more consciously associated with healing and transformation rather than death and transformation.

Power in the style of Chiron is what you gain from going through your challenges consciously, and what you gradually accumulate as you address your sense of wounding, and develop the power to heal yourself (and possibly assist others). The gradual development of Chiron as an astrological tool was a big step on the way to what 1992 QB1 represents, which is a conscious, preferably willing, process of change. Chiron has taught us a lot about Pluto, and I think 1992 QB1 will have a similar role.

Researching the earliest notes I have on 1992 QB1, I found this comment in an article called Worlds Beyond Neptune, published on Planet Waves in 2003: “QB1 may have associations with the Phoenix-like process of arising into new incarnations within our current lifetime, which often happens as a result of near-death experiences or with the experience of ‘ego death’.”

There’s a lot here about letting go of fear, which is part of every healing process. QB1 shows us that there’s something on the other side of what we’re afraid of, and of the fear itself. Our prior model of the solar system seemed to be saying that there was nothing on the other side of Pluto, of death; last stop, game over.

When Pluto later came to represent what some astrologers call evolutionary process, its reputation improved slightly, though it still seemed to stand for an involuntary imperative. As many have noted, one reason why Pluto transits can seem so scary is the feeling of not knowing what’s on the other side — or fearing that nothing is there.

Planet Waves
The opposite of kidnapping: self-knowledge. I associate 1992 QB1 with processes that acquaint people with themselves, so that we’re less susceptible to being taken over by others. One aspect of this is what I call “coupling,” or getting to know yourself in an unusually intimate way. Photo by Eric.

This new discovery whispered that there was more, and that it was worth letting go of the fear, and I think that QB1 shows a way of doing that. In the chart, think of it as pointing the way beyond your perceived limits about death, which remains a thought so terrifying to most people that they cannot even consider it. Now in the metaphor of the solar system, we have something in the model that says there is more; that there exists something beyond this perceived edge, which we can access if we want.

As I began to explore that idea, I began to understand QB1 as representing anyone who would help people move through processes where this kind of transformation or release was happening. I associated it with those who help people be reborn at the end of their lives — that is, an advanced kind of hospice work. There are some practitioners actually doing this now — though the work is controversial, because it defies the medical establishment, the hospice industry and the funerary industry.

Midwives as well seemed to be involved in the process of birthing new people, and taking women over the transition into a new phase of their lives, which is often like a form of reincarnation. Midwifery is a profound service, and a sacred trust. Midwives guide women through what is in truth a near-death experience, and if it goes well, a baby is born and the mother is reborn.

I was also familiar with the work of Betty Dodson, who developed what she calls orgasm coaching: consciously helping women learn to orgasm (something more necessary than you may think). I began to associate QB1 with certain kinds of sexworkers, the ones who understood that they were doing a service to humanity through their work. This came into focus during a reading for a client in Paris who had 1992 QB1 exactly in her ascendant, and who was designing an evolved form of prostitution with a focus on helping people liberate their sexuality. There’s a need in the world for well-trained sexual surrogates, who would help people past their inhibitions, phobias and fears — and there are people who very quietly do this for others.

Planet Waves
Sex educator and orgasm coach Dr. Betty Dodson (second from left) teaching one of her bodysex classes, which she’s taught since the early 1970s. Betty is what I would consider a thresholder, someone who assists others in crossing inner boundaries and inhibition, facing the fear of their own sexuality. She has worked with tens of thousands of women and has produced books and videos that have reached millions. This image is from her new video.

What all of these had in common involved taking people over a threshold, so I started to associate 1992 QB1 with the thresholder. As I developed the idea in my fictional stories, the thresholder began to emerge as someone adept in all of these methods of healing and transformation.

Their actual role is to guide people into self-awareness, which is another way of saying into relationship with themselves. I call this process coupling. This is not about coupling with another person, but rather that of becoming acquainted with, and friends with, and lovers with, the inner alien with whom we live.

These ideas meshed elegantly with a subtle, egoless (nameless) planet orbiting silently outside the realm of Pluto, off to the edge of the solar system. Thresholders show us what’s beyond the edge, taking us into new territory and introducing us to the dimension that exists there. One day Dale O’Brien, familiar with my ideas, wrote to me and said the name is obvious. 1992 QB1 is your cue to be one.

It would make sense that 1992 QB1 was discovered on the first degree of the zodiac — the Aries Point. Aries is the sign of “I am,” though the Aries Point connects us to a collective reality. Indeed, 1992 QB1 relates to experiences, fears and inevitabilities that we all have in common. We all cross the threshold of the birthing process, then we do it over and over again. Many of us do it with help; assistance really is necessary here on Earth, with all its adversity.

If we look out at the current political landscape, it’s easy to see how this core, essential human material is harvested into a commodity, used against us, sold back to us or forced on us. This can only happen if we don’t take ownership of what’s within us; if we’re afraid to encounter the edge, and lack the faith that there’s something on the other side.

This is less likely to happen with those familiar with themselves, and who have taken the step toward meeting their inner stranger, that being who lives on the other side of a psychic boundary. You could say that QB1 represents the truth that there is life beyond the body, and beyond whatever you’re going through now.



Virgo Birthday Reading is Ready!

Hello Virgo Sun, Moon and rising folk — and happy birthday to Virgo Sun readers.

I have just completed your extended Virgo Birthday Reading: an exploration of your astrology over the next year, designed for those born with the Sun in Virgo as well as Virgo rising. If you’re not familiar with my birthday reports, I offer detailed, easy-to-follow readings based on many astrological factors — not just the Sun.

Planet Waves
Eric Francis.

They’re presented in studio-quality audio format, organized as three smaller readings — two sessions of astrology and one session of Tarot, using the Voyager deck by James Wanless.

You’ve entered a phase of your life with a deep emphasis on healing your relationships. The combination of Chiron and Neptune in your 7th solar house (Pisces) emphasizes going deeper into your human encounters, healing the residual pain of the past, and offers you an opportunity to gain more freedom of what you give and receive. I also go over the career-related material I covered in the Midyear Report, adding some additional thoughts.

The feedback that our listeners have sent in response to the birthday readings has been truly gratifying.

“Once again, Eric has over-delivered on his promise. These birthday readings are invaluable, I listen over a period of weeks and feel like I’m sitting with my strategist, my therapist and my friend. You can feel the thoughtful nature in his preparation.”

Another listener wrote: “Please let Eric know that I loved the report, that it was more specific than a tarot reading I had just for me.”

If you aren’t a Virgo, this reading makes a unique and thoughtful gift for your favorite person who is. This is a gift you can give to yourself or others with confidence. It’s designed to be motivating and inspiring.

Your Virgo reading includes two 35-minute segments of astrology plus a tarot reading using the Voyager tarot by James Wanless. The Voyager tarot lends itself to a vibrant, intuitive, visually centered take on the message explored in the astrology, and always includes some fun surprises. Your reading also includes the charts I used to create it, photos of the tarot cards, plus special discounts on other products.

All of this is just $19.95. You have unlimited access to the page, and you may purchase access at this link. Note, this appears on a Flash player, and we provide a downloadable archive so you can get it into iTunes if you have an iPod, iPhone or some other Apple device.

Happy birthday to all of our Virgo readers! I’d love to hear how this reading resonates with you, and wish you a passionate, transformative journey in the coming year.


Planet Waves

Pisces Full Moon Conjunct Chiron; Lunar Nodes Change Signs

In case you’re wondering what the minor planets feel like, we’re getting an example this morning as the Moon moves through full phase conjunct Chiron. That was exact at 9:58 am EDT. The Moon in Pisces conjunct Chiron is a unusual focus of creative, emotional or spiritual energy (depending on how you perceive it). No matter what, it’s a moment of catharsis and opening up to a new dimension within yourself; gaining a new perspective on your inner life. Something that might have seemed impossible or inaccessible may now feel within reach, perhaps after a long struggle.

Planet Waves
Full Moon at the Parthenon. Photo by Anthony Ayiomamitis.

This week we also experience the lunar nodes changing signs. They ingressed Gemini/Sagittarius in March 2011, and are now entering Taurus/Scorpio. The nodes assist us on our evolutionary path. They represent topic areas within ourselves that we encounter in real-life situations. The South Node shifting into Taurus is about working through deep attachments, blind spots and stuck areas — those places that we seem to resist letting go of the most.

The North Node shifting into Scorpio represents an encounter with the primal forces of relating to others — emotional and sexual bonding that we experience as true surrender. Though this is often unfamiliar territory, the North Node in Scorpio suggests being open to something you’ve truly never encountered before. The themes of attachment, bonding, jealousy and compersion become the places to explore under this astrology.

Looking at the immediate few days and the holiday weekend, the Moon is currently in Pisces and will be until it enters Aries on Sunday. Till then, use your discernment. Remember that something is not true just because you say it is, or because someone else tries to convince you that it is. Both Venus and Mars are currently in water signs (Venus in Cancer, Mars in Scorpio), so make sure you check in with what your emotional body is saying to you. The Sun and Mercury in Virgo offers an opportunity to consider things from a mental perspective, which I would consider essential under this astrology.

From early Sunday morning through the Labor Day holiday in the United States, the Moon will be in Aries. That’s to say that it makes a conjunction to Uranus, square to Pluto and a square to the hypothetical point Kronos. This is calling for some focus and maturity, rather than acting impulsively, or based on some sense of past injury. Use your mind as a filter for processing your emotions. Remember to pause, notice what you’re feeling, then think through your circumstances, before you take action — though in the end, what you’re feeling is likely to guide you. When you choose to let go, leave your inhibitions behind you.


Planet Waves

Top Ten Repeated Paul Ryan Lies

This week I’m turning over the POL microphone to someone more qualified — Juan Cole, who writes the blog Informed Comment. In this edition, he takes apart the biggest lies being told by pathological liar Paul Ryan. I am not a fan of Barack Obama, and sometime soon I will make a list of what I consider to be his top-10 betrayals of the American people — nearly none of which conservatives care about. That’s always the thing that gets me: there are a lot of problems that both “sides” could agree on, but I maintain that the differences between so-called liberals and so-called conservatives have little to do with politics. More on that as the election approaches. — efc

Planet Waves
Photo by Gage Skidmore / Wikimedia.

This year’s Republican campaign may be the most dishonest in history. A couple of weeks ago I listed 10 major falsehoods and gaffes of Republican VP candidate Paul Ryan. He repeated several of them in his Tampa speech, and added a few more. In honest political debate, when a candidate says something that is not true, he is confronted by journalists and the public, and either gives evidence that it is true, or backs off. Ryan continues to insist on repeating known falsehoods, to the extent that even Fox Cable News lamented his dishonesty.

Voters need to ask who Ryan represents. It is people who make a million dollars a year or more. Everything he says is intended to produce policy that benefits them, and which hurts working people. Millionaires don’t like having to pay for government-provided infrastructure, or health care for workers, and don’t like having to put up with unions. The rest of us like driving on roads without potholes, over bridges that don’t fall down, and not being bankrupted when we need an operation. Since most Americans would be crazy to vote for policies that only benefit our three million wealthiest, out of 310 million, Ryan tries to appeal to workers with religion (banning abortion). He needs to put together a coalition of millionaires and some religious workers in order to win. But even that wouldn’t be enough. He has to get people on his side who would be hurt by his policies. And that requires that he simply lie to them.

So here are some new lies he just retailed, along with a reiteration of my earlier refutation of points drawn from his stock speeches, which he put right back in his Convention speech.

Continue reading on Juan’s blog.


Planet Waves

Planet Waves

Major Minor Planet Feature in The Mountain Astrologer

I have a major feature in the new edition of The Mountain Astrologer. This is the October/November issue, though it’s available to digital subscribers to the magazine now. This is the first comprehensive article introducing the minor planets to be published in a mainstream astrological publication. It’s about 8,000 words long — a full treatment of the subject. In the article, I cover the history of the minor planets starting in 1801, and carry the story through 1992 QB1, Chiron, Pholus, Nessus, Hylonome, Borasisi, Eris and others. Here is a short quote from the article:

“One difference between the traditional and the modern planets is that you can see the traditional planets with the naked eye. I asked Rob Hand about this recently, and he said that the zodiac and the traditional planets “deal with normal consciousness. An invisible planet requires the expansion of consciousness in order to be seen. They cannot be seen by the normal senses, and that is very important.” As we discover and delineate these bodies, imagine that we are gradually expanding our awareness into the invisible, non-normal realms.

“In a sense, we are going beyond the veil of the senses and the usual shape of consciousness. This lack of tangibility may, at least partly, account for why the minor planets tend to be so controversial. And given how many minor planets there are, we are getting the hint that there is a lot going on beyond the veil — a very busy universe beyond the limits of the normal senses.”

To read more, subscribe to The Mountain Astrologer, which will get you access to the digital edition.


Planet Waves

Pisces Full Moon and 1992 QB1

The new edition of Planet Waves FM is ready. In this issue, I start with a brief rant about women’s reproductive rights and advocate for real sex education. I then describe the Pisces Full Moon, which is conjunct Chiron. That’s some full-spectrum emotional and psychic power — a rich event that will stoke your imagination. There’s a lot of Pluto and Mars pouring in as well, which is all about desire and going deep. After a song break, this leads to the second half of the program, which is about the discovery of the Kuiper Belt and 1992 QB1. I introduce the subject here, and will continue with coverage in Friday’s subscriber edition.


Planet Waves

Planet Waves monthly horoscopes provide a broader perspective that surveys the themes of the coming month and often, the weeks that follow. The September Monthly horoscope was published last Friday, Aug. 24. Inner Space for September was published Tuesday, August 28. The August Moonshine Horoscope was published Friday, Aug. 17. Please note that the longer monthly horoscope (published Friday, Aug. 24) is being incorporated into the Friday issue after the Sun has entered a new sign; Inner Space still publishes on Tuesdays.


Planet Waves

Friday, August 31, 2012. Weekly Horoscope #915 | Eric’s Zodiac Sign Descriptions

Virgo Birthdays This Week

You seem to be trying to resolve an impasse in a relationship, or perhaps the whole history of your relationships. I suggest you allow the momentum of the situation to carry you, rather than trying to push. You’re in the midst of a very different experience of life than a certain person, or people, close to you, and a good start would be to account for those differences. Yet what you have through this situation is an opportunity to reconsider what has happened to you in the past, which has led to many stories you’ve made up in order to account for that history. Go beyond those stories, and see if you can get to the underlying reality. Both of your parents are involved, though what you may discern is that you identify more closely with your father’s experience than that of your mother; this would be the time to really understand what she went through. If you can do that, you won’t have to relive it; you can focus on living your own life, and your own relationships, in the world as it exists today — not the fantasy we think the past should have been. Note to Virgo and Virgo rising readers: I have covered this in the birthday report for your sign, which you can read about above or order directly here.

Aries (March 20-April 19)

Aries (March 20-April 19) — After many months of delay, discomfort and frustration, you’re at a point where you can open up your energy, feel who you are and allow others to do so as well. Yet while Mars in Scorpio is offering you the opportunity to merge with others, I suggest you stay connected to your sense of who you are. One thing you’ve gained during the past year is a new sense of your own presence on the planet, and some clarity about how good it feels to remain centered. This is difficult to gain and easy to lose, so I suggest you be clear that, as good as it may feel to merge with someone else, keeping a focus on your inner awareness is a higher priority. Said another way, no matter what you may have with anyone else, spend some time alone, spend some nights sleeping alone, and invest energy into taking care of yourself. And if you happen to not have that kind of company and you want it, focus on being open to your desires, and on taking that sometimes scary step from fantasy to reality. What is reality? It’s something you experience, that you can describe.

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) — If you want more fulfilling relationship experiences, you need to be less rigid. That’s to say, loosen up and dare to experiment with what you don’t know. Opportunities to do this look like they’re arriving in abundance. You may be noticing how different other people are, and the diversity of possibilities. Yet what you may be feeling is precisely your way of adhering to what’s familiar. Think of this as being confronted by your own boundaries. It may make you nervous to even think of going past those self-imposed limits, though the first step in doing so is finding out what they are. While you’re doing that, I suggest you observe any self-critical or self-judgmental thoughts, particularly if they come in the form of concern over anything within you that you think is dark. Now for the expert-level spiritual maneuver: If you have a negative reaction to anyone or anything, can you see how it’s an extension of your fear of being that same thing? If you can acknowledge that much, you might notice that your fear is really desire.

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) — You’re on the verge of a professional breakthrough, though you may not feel that way. You also may not recognize it when it happens. Indeed, you may have the sensation that you’re making far too little progress rather than taking a step forward, so I suggest you be extra vigilant about what you experience. I’ll give you three examples of how this might manifest; if none of them are specifically accurate, consider them metaphors. One is that your sense of weakness or lack of confidence manifests in an unexpected way. This might involve making emotional contact with someone you thought you had to impress. Another expression could be how revealing a vulnerability resonates with people you work with and deepens your relationship, opening up a sense of mutual respect. One other possibility is how being present for your own feelings, and unusually honest with yourself, stokes your confidence and allows you to do something you thought was unlikely or even impossible. To sum up, make friends with what you think of as your weaknesses, because they contain some of your greatest potentials.

Hello Gemini — Eric has written a new description for your sign that you have access to from this link (no password needed). Have you listened to your birthday reading? Click here for an hour of astrology plus a tarot reading by Eric.
Cancer (June 21- July 22)

Cancer (June 21-July 22) — If there’s any tension between you and someone in a position of authority, check whether the playing field is level. Or rather, get an understanding of the ways in which it’s not level — in particular, noticing whether you slant things in a way that doesn’t work for you. You may not want to ‘play the game’, though does it really work to sacrifice your standing with people you perceive as being in a position of authority? How does that reflect on those who look up to you in any way? I suggest you consider carefully how your actions set you up for how you’re treated by others. Being rebellious is pointless at this time in your life; being inventive, innovative and most of all collaborative will work beautifully for you. One way to see how pointless top-down models of authority are is to see what it feels like when people rebel against you, then you recognize that you set that example. The way to be authentically powerful is to begin with respect: for people, for their feelings, for commitments, and most of all, for yourself.

Hello Cancer — Eric has written a new description for your sign that you have access to from this link (no password needed). To hear your birthday reading for the year ahead, please visit this link.
Leo (July 22- Aug. 23)

Leo (July 22-Aug. 23) — Focus on keeping an open mind, especially about what you tend to resist the most. When speaking, imagine that everything you say on any topic or any person is actually a statement about yourself. This will keep you tuned into your thought patterns and how they reflect your ideas about your own existence — and your potential. If you do this, you’re likely to make a discovery about yourself, which I could describe generally as something that’s extremely obvious that you hadn’t put together yet, even though you had all the information you needed. When you tell other people about this discovery, they’re likely to say that they knew this all the time and figured that you did, too. Note, this is not the revelation of ‘something bad’ about you. To the contrary, no matter what the topic, you’re likely to discover a reason to appreciate who you are, which anyway is always the theme of this time of year, though right now, at this time in your life, you’re in a special moment of transition.

Hello Leo — Eric has written a new description for your sign that you have access to from this link (no password needed). Did you miss your birthday reading? Click here to order an hour of astrology plus a Tarot reading by Eric.



Planet Waves

Hello Virgo and Virgo rising readers. I’ve just finished your 2012-2013 birthday reading. Click here to listen to your hour-long astrology reading plus Tarot.


Virgo (Aug. 23- Sep. 22)

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22) — You’re at a turning point, and it involves understanding how you think. The time of ‘keeping secrets from yourself’ has long passed any usefulness you thought it had. You might well ask whether it’s even possible to conceal something from yourself; there’s a word for that, and that is ‘denial’. But let’s use the first, perhaps kinder, phrase. Right now everything hinges on how you handle this secret you’re keeping from yourself. By everything, I mean a lot more than you think is possible from a relationship to a single idea, fact or thought form. It’s functioning kind of like an energy dam, and once you clear up this misunderstanding with yourself, your energy is going to flow like floodgates have been opened up. If you can be honest with yourself about who you are and what you want, you may find yourself noticing that it’s distinctly possible to embody that much more easily than you thought. Self-awareness is self-becoming.

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) — I suggest you make a list of all your unfinished business with everyone in your life who truly matters to you. You’re drawing to the close of a major phase of your life, as Saturn gets ready to leave your sign and enter Scorpio. This phase dates back to 2009, when Saturn first entered your sign. I’ve described it in the past as a time of coming to terms with yourself. If you were born in the early 1980s or the mid-1950s, it also coincides with a life passage called your Saturn return (no matter what Sun sign you were born under). The themes of these Saturn events include embracing maturity, grounding your life in a purpose, setting boundaries and dealing with what are sometimes called ‘authority issues’. Yet as a Libran, part of coming to terms with yourself means coming to terms with your intimate partners, and your philosophy of relationship. Notice whether you’ve outgrown anything lately; that’s the feeling of not being able to fit the person you are into the idea of what a relationship is that, for a while anyway, served you well.

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) — Make sure your emotional approach to others is gentle, and not an ambush. Be aware of the intensity that others may perceive in you, but which you may not have noticed in yourself. Yet you might also question why you are carrying this energy. Your astrology suggests that you might be feeling fragmented, or lacking focus — though not lacking at all for drive. That sense of fragmentation, if you’re feeling it, could lead you to overcompensate with push energy or raw desire. You don’t need to do this. Your supercharged state is noticeable and attractive to others; I suggest you work on focus. Get clear what you want to do, and refine your agenda as you become aware of it. This will help you groom subtle inner conflicts out of your psyche, which in turn will help others feel you as a unified being working with a clear purpose. As a result, you will know intuitively to be less aggressive. Assertive is all you need, such as saying hello and cordially introducing yourself to someone you want to meet.

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) — If you’re feeling rebellious, I suggest you pause and ask yourself why. It seems like you’re in an agitated emotional state, something verging on panic, though it looks more like subtle panic, if such a thing is possible. An outer manifestation of this might be feeling cramped in a relationship situation, as if you’re overcommitted or feel like too much is expected of you. In truth, you’re the one placing the expectations on yourself. You may also have the feeling that you’ve revealed more about yourself than someone close to you has, though I suggest you consider carefully whether this is really true. While you have the image of ‘what you see is what you get’, your astrology suggests that you’re a lot more secretive than you want anyone to believe. Therefore if you think that someone you care about is not being forthcoming, make a list of all the things about yourself, your experiences and your desires you haven’t mentioned. It’s true that you’re entitled to your privacy, though that’s not really a valid path to intimacy — if that’s what you want.

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) — If you’ve learned nothing else the past three years that Saturn has been in Libra, your house of career and reputation, it’s that you need to expand your horizons. Have you done that? Have you looked over the teacup walls of the thing that you used to call your career? What for you might seem like a wild experiment would feel to those around you like a basic wholesome idea. Therefore, you can afford to push a certain limit, which may be associated with how you identify yourself as a ‘responsible person’. You usually take this too far, and much of it is an image, anyway. If you set the image aside, you’ll see that you need a lot more room to maneuver. You might also notice that in truth, your responsibilities are a shared burden, though when you’re in a position of leadership, your most significant role is to provide some ethical guidance. Open up this discussion with the people around you, including (when appropriate) those you consider to be in a position of authority over you. You don’t simply do what you’re told; you do what everyone agrees is the right thing.

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) — Everything comes down to self-esteem. I do mean everything. While it’s possible to paper over your self-doubts or a spiritual hole, that comes at a significant cost, and it doesn’t work forever. You are, however, in a rare opening where you can see how your respect for yourself will lead to actual confidence. It’s clear that there is plenty that you want to accomplish; you have some real goals, and you must know by now that you’re at the get-serious point where professional matters are concerned. The key to acting on those aspirations begins with monitoring closely how you feel about yourself, and understanding why you tend to count yourself out. A viable measure of this is how often you say the words ‘I can’t’ as opposed to ‘I can’. That’s a belief, and I suggest you investigate the roots of that idea. Your chart at the moment suggests strongly that you can accomplish anything you want, and there’s plenty that you want. Why make excuses, or argue for your weaknesses, when you can actually participate in the world?

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) — The Full Moon in your birth sign peaks on Friday. The Moon is conjunct Neptune and Chiron, the longterm visitors to Pisces, and resonating with Mars in Scorpio. This translates to a moment of deep transition and self-creation, which I am sure you’re feeling. I suggest you go through some of the doors to the future that you’ve left open for yourself; take a bold step into what you’ve already been creating for a while, and which you’re now ready to embody — even if you don’t feel ready. You’re at the stage where the thing you want, need and are indeed craving, is direct experience. If you need to, think of whatever you’re about to do as an experiment. That will at least relieve you of the idea that you have to already be good at something in order to do it. You’re at the point where you can be guided by your intuition and your imagination. Chiron is providing you with a constant beacon of awareness, though depending on who you are, you may have to resolve to go beyond a sense of failure or delay that may have affected you in the past. That story is over — and now you’re in a very different place.

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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Copyright © 2012 by Planet Waves, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Other copyrights may apply.

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An Ocean of Pisces

Dear Friend and Reader:

Spring 2012 looks like it will be a season unlike any other in our lives. That season begins March 20 with the vernal equinox, when the Sun enters Aries. That will be big news of its own, though before we get there, we are experiencing some of the most extraordinary Pisces energy anyone can remember.

Planet Waves
Orange fish with a big attitude. Photo by Bev Dulis.

I learned something about Pisces recently that I want to share with you. Dane Rudhyar, one of the inventors of astrology as we know it (humanistic with a touch of spiritual; psychological and compassionate) wrote that Pisces is the sign of courage and of faith in the future. He was emphatic about this. His other ideas about Pisces included the way in which, when faced with this cosmic energy wherein the ego can dissolve, we are able to see the world in a new way, without the trappings of the past.

And from this same sign we can draw on a wellspring of courage and faith in the future. I don’t know about you, but I’m through hearing from self-proclaimed prophets of doom who offer no practical ideas. Humanity is certainly in a predicament, but then if you read history, it always seems to be in one or another. And at this stage I can think of no better resources than courage or faith in the future.

Two slow-moving planets have taken up residence in Pisces — Chiron and Neptune. This is making the usually ineffable energy of this sign come through boldly and clearly. On Tuesday, Feb. 21, the Pisces New Moon happened conjunct both of those planets, setting off an age of Pisces that promises to be as challenging as it is beautiful in its potential. The world is a harsh place for Pisces energy. Think of how many of the most creative people of our time are recruited and basically bought off to make television commercials. Imagine if all that energy went into something that fed the soul and propagated beauty.

Or consider the subtle energy, the feelings and the ideas, that are drowned in the ocean of liquor that’s consumed around the world every day. Consider how most movies feature repeated scenes of death and no scenes of lovemaking, because sex is allegedly too controversial. Pisces is feminine energy, and notice the all-out war on women that is being waged by politicians right now, in the form of attempting to deny them their medical choices and personal autonomy. Consider the imagination energy that goes into making up lies as opposed to creating interesting stories.

Planet Waves
Four fish standing still, all in the same direction. Photo by Bev Dulis.

Pisces is easily exploited, but now there are some mighty players present there — the healer, Chiron; the lord of the seas, Neptune; the goddess of protection, Pallas Athene; and as of last week, the day before the quarter Moon, Mercury. So we have something durable to stand up with. Pisces now has substance; Neptune increases the inspiration factor, and Chiron focuses the gift of applying that inspiration to real situations in life.

This week I was corresponding with Zane Stein, who wrote the first book about Chiron. He offered some thoughts about the recent New Moon, which he said, “emphasizes the extremes of the two fish swimming in opposite directions (spiritual growth, for example, versus escapism). Consider the conjunction with Neptune as upping the ante. The potential for spiritual growth is so much, much more so now than any of us have ever experienced in this lifetime, but likewise the potential for self-destruction is equally greater.”

The recent new Moon was also conjunct Pallas Athene, a guardian asteroid with a gift for strategy. “Pallas/Chiron can enable us to fight against anything that is blocking us from trying to heal our wounds, and linked with Neptune enable us to see a much, much larger picture than we even dreamt possible. But there will be so many, many temptations to follow other pathways … false paths that lead nowhere, false gurus that are full of lies, drugs that promise enlightenment.”

And he concluded: “One key to making this the beginning of a positive new cycle is for each person to truly believe (Pisces’ keywords include ‘I believe’) in the basic goodness of the universe, and that we are all its children, made out of the same ‘goodness’. Then ask yourself, “What inner dichotomy, what inner battle, do I need to face, and heal, to make me more whole and more at one with Spirit?”

These are the real questions of our times.

Here is your extended horoscope for March 2012. These apply to your Sun, Moon and rising signs.


Eric Francis

Note to Readers: Yesterday Amanda posted an interpretation of the chart of Anais Nin, a favorite writer of many. She’s a Pisces and the 21st was her birthday. You can read the whole article on the Planet Waves daily page.

Note About the Photos: The photos with this edition were taken by Bev Dulis, a great friend of Planet Waves and one of our amazing photographers. They are taken in the deep, cold waters of the Pacific Northwest — not in a big saltwater aquarium. We always contact Bev around Pisces time to request fish pictures out of her archives. She has since graduated to photographing cats.


Introducing the Planet Waves 2012 Spring Report by Eric Francis

Spring 2012 is the wildest season I’ve ever seen in 18 years of doing astrology. It fits the 2012 pattern of ‘everything, all at once’, even making that sound like an understatement. I am working on the report even as we edit this issue, and it’s coming out beautifully — every sign is coming through loud and clear and distinctive.

Planet Waves

We have retrogrades of all three inner planets involved — Mercury, Venus and Mars. There is a rare Venus transit of the Sun — an exact conjunction of Venus and the Sun that you will be able to see if you have a clear view during daylight hours (you will need special equipment to protect your eyes). There are eclipses of the Sun and the Moon. And then, just four days after the Cancer solstice, we have the first exact square of Uranus and Pluto.

In honor of putting all this action to work for you, I’m preparing a special Spring Report for all 12 Sun signs and rising signs, as well as an introduction to the astrology that will be useful to everyone. This is a package of all 12 signs for one price. I’m designing it so that you can actually put many of the signs into use — for example, Virgo will be able to use the Gemini report as a career reading. Pisces can use Virgo’s report as a relationship reading, and so on. I give suggestions at the end of each sign, and will do a detailed description so you can get maximum use from this product.

We’re offering it at a special pre-sale price for current subscribers and customers — all 12 signs for $19.95. Once the report comes out, it will go on general sale for $24.95. The report will be ready by March 7, well before the spring equinox — I’m working on it now and it’s coming out amazing. Here is the link to pre-order. Thanks for signing up.


Planet Waves

Now on Planet Waves FM: The Fire Breathing Fish

Today’s edition of Planet Waves FM was recorded Tuesday right before the Pisces New Moon, by your host, the Fire Breathing Fish. It morphs from a reading of the New Moon chart into a rant on women’s autonomy and what used to be called reproductive rights. Casting the issue as total sovereignty is more accurate. But it lacks a certain appeal — where there are rights, there are responsibilities. Privilege without a corresponding sense of duty is inherently toxic — and even well-bred royalty know this. If we’re wondering why any woman is willing to give up her rights, her autonomy or her sovereignty, the answer may be found in her relationship to being a steward of her own body and the power that it contains.

Planet Waves
The Virgo Squad — Betty Dodson, right, with Planet Waves friend and contributor Beth Bagner.

At a certain point in the podcast I launch into a tirade on the religious ‘right’ doing its takedown of women, and then describe a new video by my mentor and friend Betty Dodson. She’s recently come out with a new video in her series on women’s sexuality, a documentary of one of her bodysex workshops.

It includes discussion of body image, sexual evolution, making choices, the struggle with sex within relationships and many other topics. Part of the problem we face is that we don’t know how to talk about sex, we’re embarrassed to do so, it rarely happens so we don’t get any practice, and we’re afraid that Western civilization (or at least our relationship) will collapse if we even try. I guess we will have to see. What this DVD offers most of all is a model for a sane conversation about sex and sexuality. If nothing else, we get a model for how to think and how to speak — in an original way, but within a framework that includes boundaries, a sense of purpose and most important, a sense of humor.

It’s twenty-sodding-twelve and we’re really discussing whether people have a right to use birth control? Or rather a bunch of men who want to take public office and be commander-in-chief are discussing whether women have a right to use birth control? Most of the time I look at this and I cannot believe it’s even happening.

I recommend all of Betty’s videos but my personal favorite is Her Life of Sex and Art, a frank (and frankly hilarious) talk given by Betty in good old politically correct, may I please glance at you Seattle. This is Betty at her most authentic and spontaneous — an off the cuff description of her life, that is, her life of art and sex. This DVD is $10 and it’s nothing but fun. If you would like to read more about Betty, here is one of my articles about her.


Planet Waves

Monthly Horoscope for March 2012 | Eric’s Zodiac Sign Descriptions

Aries (March 20-April 19)

Aries (March 20-April 19) — You’re still figuring out how to handle the sensation of constant change, though I assure you that retreating to the past is not the way to do it. Understanding the past will help, to the extent that’s possible, though the past is usually more a question of interpretation than of ‘truth’. That said, certain facts are coming to light, about choices you’ve made, things that you’ve said and that have been said to you, and on a deeper level, how you felt about these things that influenced the direction of your life. If you’re going to let this information inform your choices today, do so creatively. Making choices based on past regrets doesn’t work. It’s far better to acknowledge what’s happened and then choose based on an open concept of the future. You know what you want. It’s different from what you wanted in the past, and that seems to be the whole point of your life now and for the foreseeable future: a different life, where different things happen. The way forward may not be clear now or for the next six weeks or so as Mars finishes up its long retrograde in Virgo. But you can go far to resolve old hangups, get a grip on your health, let go of attachments, and focus on getting clear about your top three priorities. I suggest you let yourself feel just fine if all three involve your drive for professional success and financial wellbeing. It’s about time, isn’t it?

Revolution. Revelation. Reality Check. has been published and is available. It is still available at the special subscriber discount price for all 12 signs, or the order price per sign. This year’s annual offers an extended written report plus 90 minutes of audio for each sign and rising sign. You will love it.

Taurus (April 19- May 20)

Taurus (April 19-May 20) — Jerry Garcia used to remind us that, “Every silver lining’s got a touch of gray.” He meant that as a caution against believing in a perfect life, and there was something in there about making peace with growing older. Let me put it another way. The fact that you might be willing to take a gamble implies that you’ve got something to lose. You wouldn’t be taking a risk otherwise, would you? At the moment you may be remembering every bet you ever lost, and at the same time feeling less than willing to put something on the line. The truth is, something is at stake. And you might feel better about that if you felt more confident in who you are and what you want. Aspects this month seem destined to stir up that question again, but it’s not for nothing. You’re trying to break free of the past with every cell in your body, and with every photon in your aura. Who has held you down in the past, and how have they done it? That’s the place to set everyone else free. In any event, the whole matter of desire is up for review. How you feel about wanting, and how you feel about having, are at the heart of your struggle with contentment. If your standard is perfection, you may never get to the point where you feel satisfied. But there may be a way to change your standard without actually compromising what you want.

Revolution. Revelation. Reality Check. has been published and is available. It is still available at the special subscriber discount price for all 12 signs, or the order price per sign. This year’s annual offers an extended written report plus 90 minutes of audio for each sign and rising sign. You will love it.

Gemini (May 20- June 21)

Gemini (May 20-June 21) — You’re figuring out that you have to be happy where you are, and at the moment the primary question seems to be whether you feel safe where you are. What you’re experiencing may be about your circumstances, but rather than wait for those circumstances to change, this would be a good time to start making adjustments. Make a list of everything in your life that has surpassed a limit: for example, too much, too little or too long. Focus on those first. Set some new limits on when you’re going to make at least one decision on each of them, related to taking action. If solving an old, persistent issue is too daunting, take some target practice on a few less intractable ones. I know you’re having to do this in a time when your patience might be running in short supply, and when people might not be acting in such a cooperative manner. So I suggest you give yourself some motivations to muster some gumption. Let one of them be creative fulfillment and a significant measure of professional success. These things matter to you now, and they will continue to gain importance to you over the next few years. There is a direct quotient. Think of it this way: Every quantum of energy you free from frustration will give you three quanta for something you like to do. Further, each time you do that you will be saving energy over an extended period of time.

Revolution. Revelation. Reality Check. has been published and is available. It is still available at the special subscriber discount price for all 12 signs, or the order price per sign. This year’s annual offers an extended written report plus 90 minutes of audio for each sign and rising sign. You will love it.

Cancer (June 21- July 22)

Cancer (June 21-July 22) — The stakes do seem to be going up, don’t they? You have more ideas, more to do and on a regular basis more is expected of you. But you can be thankful of one thing: you’re doing a fine job of bashing through the glass ceiling. What’s even more interesting is that you’re doing it against some considerable odds, and in your own way. I suggest at this relatively early juncture that you not put too much energy into fighting the battles of yesteryear, yesterdecade or yestercentury. In fact I suggest you get out of the business of battles entirely. Your real stock in trade is innovation. People are not only more open to new ideas than before, most are entirely confused and looking for anything with a vague shred of meaning, and you have a lot more than that going for you. While you’re likely to be as ambitious and energized about accomplishing real things as you’ve ever been (probably a lot more than ever), you’ve got the gift of insight right now, and faith in yourself. That’s the real source of your energy. It’s as if something, some source or flow, is coming in from another dimension and you can tap into it. The thing that can trip you up is your mind, and you have to practice a mix of multitasking and overfocus. There should be a word for it and someone — maybe you — can teach workshops. But don’t be too clever. If you’ve got to outsmart anyone, it’s yourself.

Revolution. Revelation. Reality Check. has been published and is available. It is still available at the special subscriber discount price for all 12 signs, or the order price per sign. This year’s annual offers an extended written report plus 90 minutes of audio for each sign and rising sign. You will love it.

Leo (July 22- Aug. 23)

Leo (July 22-Aug. 23) — You know more about people close to you than you may think; you have all the information you need. Now it’s up to you to put that information to work for your mutual benefit. It’s good that your secrets are safe, and even better that you’re a natural-born diplomat who knows that part of your role in life is to help the world build cohesion. You’re in the perfect position to find the common ground among people that nobody else seems to be able to see. I suggest, however, not putting your own needs too far to the back. You’re able to do that, and I’m here to remind you that the very people you’re assisting are available to assist you, if you would be a little more open about your desires, and to receiving support. For the moment you may still be figuring out what matters, which is a plus — most people never even try. Others who know what they want can be dangerous because that blinds them to all else. You’re starting from the position of common ground, and have faith that it’s big enough for everyone. As you get closer to understanding what matters to you, and more to the point, why it matters, you’ll be able to balance your own priorities with those of the circumstances you’re in and get a strong mutual energy going. Keep working toward clarity about what you value, and purging your attachments to what no longer serves anyone.

Revolution. Revelation. Reality Check. has been published and is available. It is still available at the special subscriber discount price for all 12 signs, or the order price per sign. This year’s annual offers an extended written report plus 90 minutes of audio for each sign and rising sign. You will love it.

Introducing the Planet Waves All Access Pass for 2012

Last year we offered an All Access Pass for subscribers who wanted access to everything we offer in a calendar year. The response from our All Access subscribers was overwhelmingly positive, and we are happy to once again offer one of our most popular products: the Planet Waves All Access Pass for 2012. One price gets you a subscription to the weeklies and all other products on Planetwaves.net through December of 2012.

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Using one password for everything, which you choose yourself, you’ll have easy access to every product, including birthday reports and special audio recordings, weekly email service, the annual edition, and whatever additional projects we create. It’s a great discount on a year of our work.

We trust that this idea is a fun way to meet your needs, whether you use astrology for daily spiritual inspiration, therapeutic purposes or pragmatic decision-making. And it’s truly a valuable resource for students of Astrology.

With the All Access Pass you’ll receive:

– Tuesday/Friday Email editions of Planet Waves weekly content and horoscopes. Follow Eric’s weekly and monthly interpretations for all of 2012.

– All sign birthday/ascendant audio for 2012. This is almost like getting a personal consultation with Eric for yourself and any loved ones whose astrology you track. Each audio report includes a fresh perspective on current transits and how they extend into the future, along with a special tarot reading for that sign.

– Your choice of the 2012 or 2013 annual edition, all 12 signs. This book-length online publication includes written and audio segments, is accessible by password at any time, and always meets rave reviews by readers who refer to it throughout the year for its long-range, big-picture guidance.

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Virgo (Aug. 23- Sep. 22)

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22) — You seem to be on a quest for something: the source of something within yourself. That same thing seems obvious about others when you look to them, though the inner blind spot you have is mysterious. What is the source of your energy, the source of love, the origin of creativity? It would help if you would trust instead of question. Yet that defies the very logic that you seek. You might ask: what is the source of logic, and of rationality? There’s a bold image in your charts about wanting to burst free, let go and run with life. You even seem to have the opportunities available. You don’t have to choose on the basis of ‘who you really are’. Experimenting is not a commitment to anything special, and I’m suggesting that your quest for self-knowledge might really be a challenge to meet the world on equal terms and plunge into experiences that will teach you about yourself. This is another way of saying you don’t need a theory; you’ll be a lot happier with direct impressions, and encounters with people that will challenge you in ways you’ve never experienced. I’m not, by the way, suggesting that you search for yourself outside yourself, but rather that you immerse yourself in a waiting and eager world and see what that does to your sense of who you are. Notice what it teaches you about what you want. Experience the challenge to trust in a way that is immediate and not theoretical.

Revolution. Revelation. Reality Check. has been published and is available. It is still available at the special subscriber discount price for all 12 signs, or the order price per sign. This year’s annual offers an extended written report plus 90 minutes of audio for each sign and rising sign. You will love it.

Libra (Sep. 22 - Oct. 23)

Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23) — Yours is the sign of balance, but right now you’re more like the hyperspace seesaw than you are a delicate scale. Yet what’s amazing is that you’re actually standing on solid ground, no matter how high the energy ramps up. In fact you’re providing a counterweight to your whole situation — including the super-high energy of many people around you. You’re good this way — providing a kind of opposite influence that’s able to embrace whatever is going on around you and still have fun in the mix of it all. Opportunities abound, including meetings with new people, and whole new communities of people, and they’re going to progress fast, so I suggest you not worry if you seem to miss something. I would offer a few words of caution, though. You need your rest. Don’t worry if you’re not half the party animal you used to be; you make up for it in appreciation. Any physical symptoms you may experience indicate whether your stress level is getting too high. Spend enough time alone so that you can actually feel what’s going on in your body and in your soul. Remember that while you love contact and thrive on relationships, your emotional independence is key to your happiness. Given your current circumstances, which will keep drawing you in, you’ll need to remind yourself of this. The more you cultivate some autonomy and even sovereignty, the more fully you’ll be able to indulge yourself in the amazing experiences that life is offering you right now.

Revolution. Revelation. Reality Check. has been published and is available. It is still available at the special subscriber discount price for all 12 signs, or the order price per sign. This year’s annual offers an extended written report plus 90 minutes of audio for each sign and rising sign. You will love it.

Scorpio (Oct. 23- Nov. 22)

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22) — When we use the phrase ‘change my mind’, we make it sound like a decision that we can change right back. I would propose that to change your mind is to change yourself, when you really do it. You actually rearrange aspects of not just your thought pattern but also your neurology. One special point of focus of your life now is changing your mind about how you respond to the expectations of others. Few would accuse you of being a conformist, but you’re someone who is keenly sensitive to what others believe. In recent months you’ve been sorting out this particular relationship — the one between you and ‘everyone else’. You’re not done with this process yet; you’ve yet to reach escape velocity, but I believe you’re at the point where you’re learning to notice that there is indeed a contrast between your ideas about life, and the things that you want, and those of others — including what others claim to want for you. Globally, this setup creates tension so subtle and so pervasive that few notice its existence, yet many are trapped within it. You may need to be pushy or what seems like overly assertive to establish your way of doing things, the one that’s right for you — and I suggest you err on the side of too bold rather than not bold enough. This will help you locate and learn to effectively work a boundary that you’ve been struggling with for a while.

Revolution. Revelation. Reality Check. has been published and is available. It is still available at the special subscriber discount price for all 12 signs, or the order price per sign. This year’s annual offers an extended written report plus 90 minutes of audio for each sign and rising sign. You will love it.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22 - Dec. 22)

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22) — Focus on the task at hand and your goals will take care of themselves. Be grateful you have goals, anyway, even if you don’t quite understand the process of how you’re getting there. That aspect of your life is going considerably better than you may believe — whether you think it’s going brilliantly or a bit less than that. Your direction is well set, and the way I suggest you express it is through devoting yourself passionately to the quality of the work you’re doing rather than where you expect it to take you. This calls for an act of trust, but not such a big one. In fact, as you involve yourself directly in the tangible substance of what you’re working on, you’re learning many things that are helping you sort out elements of the big picture, refine your methods and get clear in your ideas about what you’re doing. One thing about your sense of mission — think of yourself on a quest for your roots. You’re working your way backwards through many different evolutions of your ‘goals’ toward a wellspring at the core of yourself. While you’re doing this, clear away everyone else’s goals that you might be influenced by. Do your best to scrap your ‘sense of service’ for something deeper: what you know is right for you (which will end up being of service even more). And please do something that many people scrap on the way to success: deepen your emotional roots rather than pull them up.

Revolution. Revelation. Reality Check. has been published and is available. It is still available at the special subscriber discount price for all 12 signs, or the order price per sign. This year’s annual offers an extended written report plus 90 minutes of audio for each sign and rising sign. You will love it.

Capricorn (Dec. 22- Jan. 20)

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20) — One challenge you face is maintaining your sense of integrity in the midst of constant change. Remember that integrity is something that you have or don’t have, but how you feel is another story. In fact, there are aspects of your consciousness and your psyche that are disintegrating. They are quite literally coming apart, and it’s about time. The purpose of this is to release energy that is trapped in structure, a little like taking the honey out of honeycombs. What you want is the substance that contains the nutrients — not the shape of the container. So, remember — this is about a feeling, and the feeling is having some sense of stability in the presence of the constant pressure for things to be different, and the experience of the ground shifting under your feet. You have your integrity if you’re up and walking. You have your integrity if you’re noticing the world around you, including noticing the changes to which you feel subjected. After a while — if it hasn’t already happened — you’ll find your center not in the sense of being attached to anything or anyplace, but in your way of perceiving your relationship to the world. Said more simply, everything changes and changes all the time. Stability is an illusion of perception. You will feel the most grounded when your perceptions change as fast as the events you’re noticing: when you match your vibration to your experience. There is nothing to cling to, and there never was.

Revolution. Revelation. Reality Check. has been published and is available. It is still available at the special subscriber discount price for all 12 signs, or the order price per sign. This year’s annual offers an extended written report plus 90 minutes of audio for each sign and rising sign. You will love it.

Aquarius (Jan. 20- Feb. 19)

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) — Imagine your life is a dream that’s about to become a lucid dream — one wherein you ‘wake up’ and figure out that you’re dreaming, and that quality of consciousness gives you the ability to guide the events that would only be ‘happening to you’ in a regular dream. The thing is that in a regular dream, your mind (which is an aspect of you) is still conjuring the whole scene. In a lucid dream, you know you’re doing it, and that knowledge gives you more influence. I’ve often wondered: what is the membrane that separates the two? Many spiritual traditions tell us that a similar veil exists in what we think of as waking life. It’s like a scrim thrown over consciousness that leads most people to be unaware of the fact that they exist. In plain talk, that’s a form of denial. As part of the waking-up process, I suggest you do a check-in and see if you’re denying anything important, or if there’s anything that’s persistently trying to get your attention. While the dreamy quality is cast over part of your chart, a boldly alert quality is vibrating out through your experience. But there is a third factor — a persistent sense of isolation that surfaces from time to time. That’s the wake-up call; what you might call the portal to lucidity. The deeper you enter your sense of isolation, the more you’ll be able to explore your sense of presence in and contact with the world.

Revolution. Revelation. Reality Check. has been published and is available. It is still available at the special subscriber discount price for all 12 signs, or the order price per sign. This year’s annual offers an extended written report plus 90 minutes of audio for each sign and rising sign. You will love it.

Pisces (Feb. 19- March 20)

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) — Dane Rudhyar, one of the 20th century’s deep philosophers of astrology, once wrote that, “Piscean winds of destiny may impel men of vision and courage to discover many a ‘new world’, as much as they do destroy or suffocate the many who stubbornly resist change.” Neptune, god of the sea and earthquakes, is newly arrived in your sign, and the Sun is racing toward equinox. This is a good time to remind you of this connection of Pisces to inspiration, vision and bravery. I know that for years, you’ve lived with the radically alien influence of Uranus in your sign, and may not quite trust that the world has grown a little closer to being your home. That, however, is exactly what is happening now. And in addition to Neptune in your sign, you also have Chiron — a source of reassurance for the underdog and an influence that will serve as a vehicle for your visions and desires. Very little happens fast in Pisces. There’s always a process of flow, and the previous seven years of Uranus (a pushy influence) may have you feeling burned out. Fortunately you’re in a time that will help you cool the fires of your soul and proceed with patience, clarity and a healthy touch of urgency. For your birthday, I will again quote Rudhyar: “Transcendence, overcoming, piercing through illusions and false security, severance of social ties, embarking for the great adventure with utter faith and in denuded simplicity of being: all these things are to be learned in Pisces. [Humanity] is here face to face with [oneself], and with that Greater Self which [s/he] names: God.”

Revolution. Revelation. Reality Check. has been published and is available. It is still available at the special subscriber discount price for all 12 signs, or the order price per sign. This year’s annual offers an extended written report plus 90 minutes of audio for each sign and rising sign. You will love it.

The Spiral Light of Venus

Dear Planet Waves Reader:

This weekend is the helical rise of Venus. That’s the point in the Venus retrograde cycle when Venus is far enough from the Sun that you can see her rise as the morning star. Though Venus is not yet stationing direct, the helical rise is the pivotal moment of the retrograde cycle, signifying a revelation of some kind, or of many kinds. This event is synchronous with Saturday’s Scorpio New Moon conjunct Vesta.

When Venus becomes visible in the morning sky (which will, if skies are clear, present some spectacular viewing on the predawn eastern horizon) she will be in Scorpio, which sets the tone for the next 18 months of her story. For the previous rise in early 2009, she was in Aries — a confrontational energy, often characterized by self-focus and a lack of empathy. Now she will be in Scorpio, which is deeper, more emotionally sensitive and evokes a sense of integrating relationship material in a cellular way.

Both Aries and Scorpio are signs ruled by Mars, where Venus is said to be less than happy (in the language of traditional astrology, one is her ‘detriment’ and the other is her ‘fall’). This relates to the challenges faced by a planet in a sign ruled by a seemingly opposing planet. If you have one of these placements, it’s a cause for consciousness, not worry. The ancients may have known a lot about astrology, but psychology hadn’t been invented, and many spiritual processes to which we have access today were not yet discovered.

Venus is the planet of emotional intelligence. Scorpio is one of the most emotionally driven signs, yet has a wide spectrum that reaches into the most sublime levels of soul consciousness. What the two also have in common is sex and our experience of it (sexuality), and the need for authentic empathy where this field of experience is entered. You could say that Venus retrograde in Scorpio is about embracing all that is different, all that does not seem to fit, all that makes no sense.

Many of the contradictions that we try to embody in exploring sexuality are covered beautifully by Venus retrograde in Scorpio, which I described earlier (at the suggestion of my friend Tracy) as yin penetrating itself.

What we have, I think, is an upcoming spell of more sensitive, deeper, more fully self-accepting feminine energy than the friction that Venus in Aries has offered us the past year-and-a-half. And that, I think, is good for everyone. We need depth, we need inner harmony and we need self-acceptance — and if you pause to think about it for a moment, we want these things too. They would go a long way toward solving all — and I do mean all — of our problems.

Of Witchcraft and Masturbation

Here in the States, we’ve just come through a particularly contentious election cycle that had a good few sexual overtones. All the usual social wedge issues (gayness, gay marriage, the alleged homosexual agenda to turn everyone else queer, whether gayness is or is not like alcoholism, don’t ask-don’t tell about gayness, and so on) all came up. Oh, I forgot abortion rights and why we shouldn’t have them; and the basically successful attempt at creating a generational divide on the issue of Medicare.

Planet Waves
Yum and double yum: a younger Christine O’Donnell gazes longingly as “youth pastor” Todd Hitchcock describes how any sex outside marriage, including masturbation, is just wrong. Photo: MTV screen shot.

But this year’s Awesome Award for Making the Election Memorable goes to Miss Christine O’Donnell, the Teabag-Republican [former] candidate for U.S. Senate in Delaware. In her concession speech she said she believed that politics would never be the same in Delaware — but I think she’s accomplished a lot more than that. For the first time since the mid-1990s, masturbation — the sex that we all have in common, and the most homosexual sex of all — made its way onto the national political radar.

For this we can thank MTV, which interviewed O’Donnell for a segment called Sex in the ’90s. In a segment of that program, she espoused various theories about masturbation, such as how it promotes lust, which is de facto adultery. Then, one thing leads to another and next thing you know, your fingers go into your knickers and you come out a sex fiend. This is not an original theory (the Mormons adore it), but it was original of Christine to take it onto the relatively groovy airwaves of MTV in the midst of the AIDS crisis. Educating young people about how they can have sex with themselves, or masturbate together, could have, and still can, save a lot of misery and promote pleasure and intimacy.

But her comments were not nearly as standout then as they turned out to be today. The episode called attention to how little attention masturbation gets, except for the occasional Pee Wee Herman or Spain sending out a press release that the topic will be taught in school. Let’s rewind to the last episode of masturbation making political news in the United States, which was in 1994 when then-Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders commented on the topic. Elders, for background, was the first African-American surgeon general and the second-ever woman to hold the position. She was appointed by Pres. Bill Clinton in 1993.

Planet Waves
Minnie Joycelyn Elders.

Speaking at a United Nations conference on AIDS, she was asked whether it would be appropriate to promote masturbation as a means of preventing young people from engaging in risky sex. She replied, “I think that it is part of human sexuality, and perhaps it should be taught.”

The resulting controversy was so enormous that Pres. Clinton fired her in December of that year. His chief of staff said, “There have been too many areas where the President does not agree with her views. This is just one too many.”

Skip ahead 16 years. Video — notably from early in the post-Elders era (1996) — surfaced, as these things do in the age of timeless data. In the Sex in the ’90s series, Christine was speaking on MTV about adultery and sex outside of marriage and masturbation as a moral issue — and today, everyone is laughing. In fact, laughing hysterically. She’s kidding, right? Everyone masturbates. Sex toys can now be found, um, everywhere! And she’s so adorable, talkin’ dirty like that! What a sexy young critter — describing walking with a pure heart, and telling us how selfish masturbation is, and it’s funnier than Cheech and Chong. Mostly because she’s so sincere and so authentic about it and she’s so gosh darned sweet, even if she’s totally clueless.

I asked Betty Dodson, one of the few people on the planet who has made masturbation her career, for a comment. “Christine lost her bid for Senate but she did masturbation a great service. I’ve been promoting this humble form of sexual expression for 40 years, and she managed to get the word into the public sphere that even surpassed Dr. Elders and all of my efforts. Wait until people discover that masturbation is the foundation for all of human sexuality.”

Well, some of us already have. And I think that the attempt to make masturbation a moral issue is based precisely on this fact.

Planet Waves
Planet Waves has offered to sponsor Christine O’Donnell for a private session with Betty Dodson, the Great Grandmother of Masturbation. She is seen here holding a Book of Blue postcard. Photo by Eric Francis.

Kinkier yet, she bills herself as a secondary virgin: she’s going to abstain from sex and apparently anything that might induce orgasm until she’s married. Now that’s hot. It’s the perfect image of Venus retrograde conjunct Vesta in Scorpio.

In the midst of the O’Donnell eipside, I cast her chart and sent it to Alan Oken, and in about ten minutes he wrote back and said: “She has a 10th house Virgo Sun. She’s a professional virgin.” He noted that America loves virgins. And we love Christine. She’s nothing if not lovable. Who cares that she doesn’t understand that separation of church and state is in the Constitution?

Plus — she’s not a witch! Which was some of the best public relations for pagans and Wiccans — ever. (This particular theme emerged from a segment of the Bill Maher show where O’Donnell admitted to dabbling in witchcraft when she was a teenager. It was only slightly weird then and it’s absolutely normal now.) Guess what! Pagans and witches actually exist and have been part of society since the first time somebody needed to ask someone else how to deal with poison ivy. Her Virgoish demeanor and aura of mischief says nothing if not a green witch — the kind who works with plants and spirit animals, brews up tonics and casts the occasional spell.

My friend Jenny, who is a witch, in fact a big leader in the witch community (she successfully lobbied the Defense Department to make the pentacle available as a religious emblem for the graves of Pagan veterans, over objections from the Bush administration), was telling any colleagues who might take offense at Christine’s protestations to get over themselves. There were only a few.

And now we’re all laughing at this whole scenario. It’s nearly impossible to take it seriously, or to perceive any real threat. While you might think I’m bringing up unimportant issues at a time in politics when we have to be confronting the potential for economic apocalypse, and when the official Teabag line is that sex doesn’t exist, I offer you this. When the topics of masturbation and witchcraft come up in American society and most people respond by laughing, and by thinking with certainty that masturbation is healthy, and that she makes an awfully cute witch, that is progress.

Tales From the Dark Side

Among the many facets to Venus retrograde in Scorpio is that we caught a glimpse at the dark side of politics. Unpleasant though it is, I believe we need to pay attention. The recent 5 to 4 Citizens United decision by the Supreme Court resulted in billions of dollars in anonymous advertising pumped into many districts in an attempt to sway elections in favor of Teabaggers and Republicans. This is corporate money, supporting corporate interests. It’s shadowy and anonymous and you cannot see it — all descriptions of Venus at the time of the elections. (Margin notes: Scorpio has many associations with corporate money; Venus is about resources; the retrograde helps us glimpse the darker shades, not often spoken of.)

Planet Waves
John Boehner, U.S. Representative from Ohio — the Tan Man — once gave out checks from tobacco lobbyists on the floor of the House of Representatives. He will replace Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House. Just think — that puts Boehner in the line of presidential succession.

We’ve caught a glimpse of the nasty artificial construct where a malcontent grassroots movement (the early Teabaggers) meets a corporatist uprising (all that money coming in from newly unleashed PACs and other organizations, supporting big big big business) — and the public gets duped in the process.

We have a whole cadre of Republican leadership that is talking openly about making no compromises and how their main goal for the next two years is going to be getting rid of Obama. The House of Representatives can now impeach him because he was, er, that’s it, he was born in Kenya. We have people proposing abolishing the minimum wage, turning Social Security over to Wall Street, and a rising tide of politicians who want to see Roe v. Wade repealed. This is dangerous for reproductive rights, and it would be dangerous for the right to privacy on which Roe is founded. And it’s one of the biggest backlashes against the progress of feminism, ever.

We face huge problems as a society. But in this moment when so much seems so uncertain, we have plenty to be grateful for. By this, I mean we have a lot to work with, and to build on, in terms of both social and political progress. (And I do believe it’s healthy to be grateful for every meal, every bill you pay and every time you turn the key to your front door.)

Planet Waves
Canvasser from New Voters Project (active on 100 campuses around the country) converts another young person to the religion of the constitutional republic. Photo: NH Pirg.

Speaking politically, I got a hint of what might actually be going well when I read a quotation from Billy Wimsatt at Huffington Post.

He wrote, “The silver lining in yesterday’s results for Democrats is that for four national elections in a row, young voters continue to be the most progressive segment of the population — and the most progressive generation on record since exit polling began in 1972. If this trend continues, the opportunity for progressive values and leadership to shape America’s future is enormous. But progressive investment in youth organizing and youth leadership has been spotty at best. The question now is whether progressive leaders and funders will draw the right lessons from 2010, seize the opportunity, and finally get serious about investing in the rising progressive electorate.”

Okay, electorate or citizenry. Politics or civic participation. We have the chance to involve a new generation in the running of society, which we need more than we need to ‘solve problems’. We need people who are aware, who care, and who get involved.

The same could be said for people whose dominant orientation has, for many years, been self-absorbed spirituality. The point of all this growth is happier people who work together to create a better world. Many are slowly developing a stomach for politics. Civics will be more fun.

Here are a few other signs of light and life. First, the best things in life aren’t things. We are free to invite one another over for dinner, make music together, spend the night together and gym memberships are still pretty cheap most places. Plus:

Planet Waves
Stephen Colbert, conservative spokesman for fear, in one of his many costume changes during the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear. Photographer unknown.

We have comedy. In the old days, daddy watched Johnny Carson and cool people watched Steve Martin and there were a few funny dudes out there (and reruns of The Flintstones and I Love Lucy). Now, comedy is taking the role of social leadership. Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart brought a massive crowd to Washington to spread positive vibes. Colbert is so talented that some conservatives still think he’s a conservative. While these guys have been criticized for conflating the roles of satirist and newscaster into one, the thing is that their audiences have to be informed about the issues, or nobody would get the jokes. Meanwhile The Onion is a daily mirror into which we can gaze to see how ridiculous we are, and how absurd our society is — and laugh, not lament.

Laughing is healthy and floods the body with endorphins. It opens the way to other forms of creativity and pleasure. One of the main roles that comedy plays is to help us process shadow material. Together, comedians are eviscerating the concept of political correctness, which is like taking off a gag and handcuffs. And I wish I had the psychological study (I know it exists, but I don’t know where) that concluded that authentic laughter is evidence that fear has left. We could all stand to be less scared — we would get a LOT more done, and have tons more fun. One way to do that is to keep laughing. Now there are plenty of opportunities. Even the guy by the water cooler shows signs of genius.

Planet Waves
Keith Olbermann ‘tosses’ to Rachel Maddow on MSNBC.

We have Rachel Maddow. Rachel, the first openly lesbian primetime news anchor, is teaching us how to think analytically. She is a geek’s geek (Rhodes scholar; military policy expert) who loves to fact check and is (if you ask me) funnier than any of the formidable talent on Comedy Central. Her viewpoint is extremely realistic. Listening to her speak, you see signs that she’s been devoted to her own therapy process, as evidenced by a mature and cultivated mind that doesn’t take itself too seriously. She’s highly pragmatic, she calls ridiculous things ridiculous, and she knows her stuff. My favorite thing about her is how balanced her left and right brain function is. Because she can integrate intuitive and intellectual process, she thinks on a higher level and is teaching us how to do so. And she’s not afraid of fear. She’s not afraid to confront people when they’re lying or spewing venom. She even mentioned Mercury retrograde on her program once, and she gave me her birth data.

We have Keith Olbermann, also on MSNBC. He is the voice of moral indignation. He is a journalist who is bigger than it all. His ‘special comments’ on the Iraq war and the Cheney-Bush administration were a vivid wake-up call. He too is brilliantly funny and sees the irony in everything, and is not put off by it. He’s another person saying deal with the facts. I view his background as a sportscaster as a plus. He supports my long-held view that sports writers have to be honest because everyone has seen the game and knows the rules. Meanwhile, Olbermann got Rachel Maddow her job, and he also brought in Lawrence O’Donnell, another primetime MSNBC guy who is genuinely pragmatic and who’s believing no lies; his new program gets better every night as he steps into his role. I recognize these programs all have some of the limitations of TV and corporate ownership — but even in the age of media conglomerates, they are doing more with television than many of us imagined possible. Obviously it is possible, and half of us have video cameras and editing software on our computers. If you have talent, this is the era in history when you can actually express it.

The economic downturn has a bright side, which is that many people feel compelled to do what is important to them as a last resort. Faced with no other choice, it’s always possible to pursue your real interests and try to make a living doing what you love. No, it’s not always easy — but it’s possible. The recession is happening at a time when we have excellent technological tools at our disposal, both to find work and to create a business. For the cost of a modest vacation, a person can outfit a home office in such a way that would have made The Wall Street Journal IT department drip with envy 20 years ago, or create an arsenal for citizen action. Yes, this requires technological literacy — just like getting a good job, starting a business or working in civics have always required ordinary literacy. Speaking of which:

Planet Waves
The shape of the online universe, which looks a little like a slice of DNA. This image shows the hierarchical structure of the Internet, based on the connections between individual nodes (such as service providers). Three distinct regions are apparent: an inner core of highly connected nodes, an outer periphery of isolated networks, and a mantle-like mass of peer-connected nodes. The bigger the node, the more connections it has. Those nodes that are closest to the center are connected to more well-connected nodes than are those on the periphery. More info here.

We have the Internet. You can say a lot of bad things about the Internet and how vapid it is, but it’s also one of the most powerful tools in the history of communication — and nearly everyone who wants to can get on. Information is available. It is possible to research nearly any topic exhaustively, without being charged by the minute. We have someplace to publish our ideas and to experiment with art. We can communicate with people in any country, which is making the world a smaller place with more in common. We have to use this tool wisely and well; indeed, we must become very good at it, and keep using it for loving, constructive purposes.

We have separation of powers. This is a provision in the U.S. Constitution that makes it difficult for one branch of the government to get over on any other branch. If there is a Congress that has no concern for the citizens, the president can veto its legislation. It sucks that the Supreme Court is stacked with Monsanto loyalists and Neocons, and they are doing some damage — but even that won’t last forever, if we pay attention. We do need to remember what James Madison said about how when all the branches of government are controlled by the same interests, that is the definition of tyranny. Therefore the mix has to be diverse enough to have varied opinions and sufficient harmony to run the business. (What we are experiencing now is indeed a game, one that mainly conceals how sold out the government is to the corporate system. You really need to figure out what this means structurally and economically; it’s not that hard, and it’s liberating to grasp the concept. This is not merely a political slogan — the government is a tool to the corporate interests and it wants to see itself that way; that’s the concept of ‘small government’.)

The Uranus-Pluto square is coming soon. I’ve watched a thousand or so hours of cable news the past year or so, and go figure, nobody has even mentioned this. That aspect — making seven contacts between 2012 and 2015 — is the essence of what we are calling 2012. The contact between Uranus in Aries and Pluto in Capricorn is a beautiful image of how personal awakening influences corporate and government reform. This is very handy in a time when we will soon discover that we have no choice but to do something, personally, rather than waiting for someone else to do it for us.


Planet Waves
The Shirt Factory, in Kingston, NY, has 6,000 panes of glass, from many different eras. Photo by Eric Francis.

What we need is a vision. Wednesday night, on her first program after the elections, Rachel Maddow began her program by asking, “So where do we go from here?” That IS the question.

Part of the problem we face is that the dominant philosophy of our culture and the current world problems perpetuate one another. And part of why that happens is that we seem to be lacking a vision of how the world can be. We’re afraid to state openly what we want — afraid of cynics and of being criticized and of having our idealism torn down.

We need to be better at moving resources into our ideas, and sticking with them for long enough so they have a chance to manifest. We need to learn the art of cooperation. Real politics among healthy people would be about creating solutions that work for everyone, or at least figuring out how to make room for everyone.

We need to build, and nourish, a vision of a world that is happy and free, inviting and welcoming wellbeing and pleasure. We need a world where those who want healing can seek and find it easily. We need a world of people who are willing to take a chance and create something original. We need a world of people who are willing to cooperate with one another. This is already happening, in large and small ways. Yes, we need problem solvers, but that only goes so far. At a certain point, solving what we think of as problems means taking them up as opportunities to create something better — not because we need to, but because we want to. This is not merely a rhetorical trick. Anyone who has ever done it knows what I am talking about. At a certain point, necessity becomes desire, and that is when the light shines through.

This weekend, Venus begins to rise as the morning star in the eastern sky. She does so in a sign that grants access to the deeper levels of the emotions. Then the next thing that happens is that she enters Libra, which is where we experience the sensation of justice, balance and equanimity — and she returns to direct motion.

We can, and we will, get it right: as long as we want to.

From the poet Robert Hunter:

Yours & truly,

Eric Francis

Judith Gayle’s Political Waves will now appear Saturdays on Daily Astrology & Adventure — the Planet Waves blog. She also has her own blog, called Political Waves.


Scorpio Birthday/Ascendant Report Done

Dear Scorpio Planet Waves Reader:

I’ve just finished the Scorpio report. It’s available for instant access at this link.

Planet Waves

Not surprisingly, I’ve got a lot to say about relationships in this report, particularly the theme of integrating relationships into your psyche, with two goals: one is calling back your projections, so that you can perceive others in their true form; and the other is cultivating emotional independence from relationships, so that you’re free to make your decisions unencumbered by excessive responsibility to others.

Your quest for accomplishment is also a quest for freedom, which has mental and emotional components. Yet by the time Chiron reaches Pisces, this will take on a distinctly creative, erotic and adventurous flavor.

It will be obvious that your life is about having fun, and this sense of openness will lead into a deeper sense of a healing mission. That works out to be a combined creative/healing mission — they are the same thing for you right now — though the access point seems to be less about being on a healing table and more about being in an art studio, making a film or otherwise becoming a full-on creature of the night. You’re entering a time when it will be more fun, easier and more profitable to let your passions guide you. This is in part a message from Mars in Sagittarius, your house of resources and money.

I cover the recent movement of Vesta, Mercury and Venus in your sign, as well as your ruling planet Mars venturing into Scorpio.

This recording is four segments of astrology, with a careful look at all of the houses that are highlighted, and one segment of tarot. My focus on the houses makes this report equally applicable for Scorpio rising — the ascendant implies the houses, which I look at carefully and use with some precision.

This report is different than Light Bridge, which will take a whole new look at your astrology from several different angles, as well as consider transits going further into the future.

Once again, here is your link for instant access.

Yours & truly,

Eric Francis


Planet Waves

Weekly Horoscope for Friday, November 5, 2010, #838 – BY ERIC FRANCIS

Aries (March 20-April 19)
What would it mean not to have power struggles in your relationships? To not wrangle over sex, money and attention? For one thing it would mean you have a lot more time and energy on your hands. You would have plenty more fun, better sex and you would worry less. You would probably have more money, too. In general the less struggle you have, the more abundance you can have. And how do you do this? In a word, flexibility. That would be flexibility about who you are; in your perception of who others are; and most of all, in your ideas about what relationships are ‘supposed to be’ and the supposed laws that govern them. Your emotions are made to flow like water. Now is the time to let it collect, so that you feel confident going deeper; because when you go deeper, you will feel better.
Aries Birthday Audio by Eric Francis is available. Check this link for more information.
Taurus (April 19- May 20)
One of the most intriguing things about Taurus is that in the solar house system, the sign associated with your house of deep surrender (the 8th) is Sagittarius. This overlays the energy of profound emotional release, and interpersonal bonding, with a sense of mystical longing and cosmic quest. It would be helpful if you could identify these two groups of feelings like the individual notes in a chord or rays of light in a spectrum. They can combine to make one harmonic or frequency, and you can experience them as discrete energies. Such an experiment would be a potent way of looking into a mirror of your own consciousness. At the moment you may feel like you’re peering into the dark with respect to ‘who you really are’. You may feel there is no chance you will gain such a clear understanding anytime soon — but a revelation is at hand; a light is about to appear where you thought there was none.
Taurus Birthday Audio by Eric Francis is available. Check this link for more information.
Gemini (May 20- June 21)
I’ve expressed the idea that for Gemini, sexual health is health. I would affirm this for everyone, because we’re all human with something basic and fundamental in common: though for Gemini, this idea arrives in your chart as a specific mission or special point of access. Perhaps as the first ‘human sign’ of the 12, you’re a prototype or example for the rest of us. The light is dawning in Gemini first: sexual healing resides at the core of the healing process. All true healing involves a person learning to relate to his or her creative nature; there is also the distinctly erotic dimension of relating directly to existence/nonexistence, and this in turn involves the full integration of shadow material. We often take our dark emotions for granted, as something we can never resolve. You are ready to see the light of the soul and feel the movement of your emotions.
Gemini Birthday Audio by Eric Francis is available. Check this link for more information.


Cancer (June 21- July 22)
To be an artist, it helps if you direct your financial and creative resources into your creative process. To be a lover, it helps if you choose love and allow conflict and judgment to dissolve like dust. To be an adventurer, you step outside of your home. To take a risk, there’s an essential element of being willing to let go of something ‘safe’ for the mere potential of experiencing something better. There is an element of sacrifice in each of these ideas, but it’s not sacrifice the way we usually think of it. In the true sense, it’s the process of transforming what does not serve us into what does. It’s about giving up what we don’t want in exchange for what we do, and part of that is releasing our attachment to what is not actually helpful. These attachments all have stories, which are like energy roots that we can let go of — if we use full awareness, and more to the point, if we really want to.

Cancer Birthday Audio by Eric Francis is available. Check this link for more information.

Leo (July 22- Aug. 23)
This weekend’s Scorpio New Moon takes place conjunct Vesta, in your 4th house of security and home. This is your cosmic Thanksgiving, an opportunity to spend some time appreciating and caring for the physical space you occupy. On the inner plane, it’s a moment to get your emotional priorities in order. Life is easier when we have a clear sense of what is important to us, because that provides an organizing principle around which we can arrange all that other stuff we think about. Knowing what is the most meaningful is an excellent opportunity to let the less meaningful things simmer down, and to spend some time in full acknowledgement of what you want. One word for this is ‘centered’. That’s an excellent way to think of it; and the beautiful thing is that you have a center you can access; your core fire is hot and healthy, and you actually do know what is the most meaningful to you. Give those things the time and space to have a deep healing effect on your life, and remind you how good it’s possible to feel.

Leo Birthday Audio by Eric Francis is available. Check this link for more information.

Virgo (Aug. 23- Sep. 22)
You’re blessed with penetrating perception, and the ability to evaluate yourself somewhat brutally. Together they can be a dangerous combination, when that deep ability to perceive is turned on yourself. Yet the screech you hear is feedback, not music. I propose that you’re at a point in your growth when you can ease back on the evaluation bit and notice who you actually are. That person is simpler than previous estimates have defined you as being, and eminently kind. You no longer have to live up to anyone’s seeming expectations. In the words of my Virgo friend Beth, nobody is your judge and jury. It’s one thing to ‘know’ that and another to have it dawn on your mind like the Sun rising after a long night. Hold that thought. Phrase it as a question and as a statement. Note who comes to mind. One last thought — all judgment is based on comparison, and comparison is based on the past. Step into the moment — this moment — and your new perspective will come into focus.

Virgo Birthday Audio by Eric Francis is available. Check this link for more information.

Libra (Sep. 22 - Oct. 23)
The gift of this moment is your recognition of what you have and how much you’ve accomplished. They are related, though you seem to be taking the next step into the full acceptance of what this says about you as a person. Let’s make sure we get this in the right order, though: it’s not your accomplishments that create your worth, but rather your presence and sincere values that create your accomplishments. This recognition alone is enough to speed your life forward. There is the suggestion here that it’s now easier to be in harmony with yourself than it has been for many moons. Think of this harmony as a state of inner consensus. True consensus involves a group of people who have similar enough values, being able to make a decision based on those values. This now applies to any decision you make. Among the many seemingly different internal voices you hear, remember — you’re the One.

Libra Birthday Audio by Eric Francis is available. Check this link for more information.


Scorpio (Oct. 23- Nov. 22)
This weekend’s New Moon in your birth sign comes with another revelation: the helical rise of Venus. This is the moment when retrograde Venus becomes visible as the morning star. You could say that this sets the tone of Venus for the next 18 months. Venus in Scorpio is a deeper process than the prior helical rise, which was in Aries: a confrontational, defensive energy for Venus. In Scorpio, you gain depth from fully embracing the process of integration. Gradually, what was different, alien, unfamiliar and irrational breaks down into its many components and becomes part of you. This will allow you to do something profound, which is address your various opposites as an internal factor rather than as something you need to project in order to see. You may experience the birth of what I’ll describe as deep feminine consciousness, and embrace this fully even if it’s a little off your usual radar. Venus attracts, she receives and most of all, she emanates an elegant ray of light.

The Scorpio Audio Report is now done. This reading includes more than an hour of astrology and 20 minutes of tarot custom created for those with Scorpio Sun, Moon or rising. Please see letter above horoscopes for full description or use this link for instant access.


Sagittarius (Nov. 22 - Dec. 22)
It is sometimes shocking the extent to which ‘inner space’ does not exist for many people — but lately it certainly exists for you. Indeed, your inner world may be more real than the outer one, and you may feel more content existing in your feeling body than any other. But Mars in your sign is saying that however real your inner world may seem, it’s time to take action in the three-dimensional world around you. That means pushing your agenda; it means having an effect; and that means feeling the repercussions. Normally you don’t worry about that part; but for some reason now you’re feeling more poignantly, and self consciously, the responses of others. This is a good thing, if you ask me; rather than going out and conquering the world, you need to relate to the people and space around you with full sensation. You will still have access to your volition and your single-minded ability to focus on a goal. The gift will be integrating the simple idea that ‘easy does it’.
Capricorn (Dec. 22- Jan. 20)
Rob Hand, perhaps the preeminent astrologer of our day, once said to me that the study of the world can be divided into two categories — psychology and physics. One considers the mind, and the other how the material world works. Many recent episodes of your life have involved physics — the seemingly intractable laws of energy, motion and addressing the concept of limitation. Now your life boils down to psychology: the study of what motivates people, and of how they respond to their feelings. In particular, consider the psychology of groups: of how one person’s sensation of life, or experience of self, influences that of the people around them. Your ability to do this, and even to consider the sense of doing so, will help you significantly in a short while. Remember, people never do things for ‘no reason’. There is always a reason. You may not ‘agree’ with it, but you certainly want to be aware of what it is.

Capricorn Birthday Audio by Eric Francis is available. Check this link for more information.

Aquarius (Jan. 20- Feb. 19)
You have some complex career goals. Yet you also have the sense of many things adding up to one, or perhaps awareness of the one essential element that unites them all. Usually you sense this element like a plant’s roots reach for water. Now you have more in common with a plant’s leaves reaching toward light. There’s something new that you want, and at the same time this honors a deep sense of mission that has always been part of your world. I’m not talking about a goal in the conventional sense, but rather honoring a sense of purpose that is palpable, real and available to your senses. What changes do you need to make in order to be free to explore this potential? As far as I can tell, you’ve already made most of them. Remember, just because you focus on one thing does not eclipse all the others. Indeed, it’s within the quality of the moment that it will feed and nourish the rest.

Aquarius Birthday Audio by Eric Francis is available. Check this link for more information.

Pisces (Feb. 19- March 20)
One distinctive Pisces quality is that of feeling your way into the future. Another is how the past, the present and the future can meld into one simultaneous experience, which can cloud your ability to know which is which. To see ahead, it’s necessary for you to apply some form of extra consciousness. At the moment, it’s as if you’re being called forward by a star. This star is saying, above all, that there is a future; there is a whole dimension of existence that you have never experienced, and that is actually available. Some factor or element of your life now is beckoning you toward this experience. You can trust this guidance, and the gesture of trust will feed your confidence. If you want to use feeling as navigation, feel for who and what you want the most — and you will place your steps and your choices in the right direction. Move without resistance, and feel your doubt disappear like mist in the light.
Pisces Birthday Audio by Eric Francis is available. Check this link for more information.