Tag Archives: health care

Sign Language for the Insane

Dear Friend and Reader:

Adding a touch of irony to the memorial service for Nelson Mandela, it turns out that Thamsanqa Jantjie, the supposed sign language interpreter hired to stand three feet from the podium and be broadcast to hundreds of millions of people, was talkin’ jive.

Planet Waves
Pres. Obama speaks during Tuesday’s memorial service for Nelson Mandela, having his words translated into gibberish by Thamsanqa Jantjie — who said he was having a psychotic episode.

His assorted hand gestures and moreover his stiff posture and deadpan expression were not South African sign language for the deaf — it was all an act. Sign language utilizes facial expressions and shoulder movements, in addition to signs with the hands and arms. It’s not High German in pantomime.

Given that Mandela’s whole life was about inclusion, and that the purpose of a sign language interpreter is to include the deaf in the world of sound and speech, it’s fair to say that this pushed the line into something truly cynical.

One would think that when a country is hosting a long-expected global event honoring the life of one of the most revered men of our lifetimes, knowing they would be host to some 90 heads of state, and knowing the whole affair would be broadcast on global television, they might cover that kind of detail well in advance.

It gets better. Questioned this week by the Associated Press, Jantjie said he was having a psychotic episode. Yes, standing three feet from the president and a diversity of other world leaders, he claimed that his anti-schizophrenia meds were not quite doing the trick. In other words, he took the insanity defense to fraud.

“What happened that day, I see angels come to the stadium,” he said, adding, “I start realizing that the problem is here. And the problem, I don’t know the attack of this problem, how will it comes. Sometimes I react violent on that place. Sometimes I will see things that chase me.”

Planet Waves
In happier days, Obama gives the thumbs up for the health insurance program that got his name. This is a viral image that right wingnut websites love to publish for its irony value.

Wait, he didn’t put that on his employment application? I guess we’ll have to wait till the PDF goes viral, but the chances are he just knew someone who knew someone and got the ‘good enough’ rating. You know, I’m not a sign language interpreter, but I play one on TV.

His stunt reminds me of The Yes Men, who do things like get on the agenda as the keynote speakers at conferences for oil executives, then give presentations on climate change.

The Yes Men, who exist with a purpose, prove how easy it is to pass through the flimsy or nonexistent vetting process no matter how important something is, as long as you’re wearing a business suit that cost at least $10. And, in true Yes Men tradition, as long as they invite you.

“I was in a very difficult position,” Jantjie added, explaining his predicament, standing there with everyone (as in everyone) watching, not being able to do the one thing he was supposed to do. “And remember those people, the president and everyone, they were armed, there was armed police around me. If I start panicking I’ll start being a problem. I have to deal with this in a manner so that I mustn’t embarrass my country.”

Well, so much for that idea. And wait: he thinks that the president is armed? And why panic? He could just say he was seeing angels and go to the First Aid tent.

It gets better. The Associated Press reported, “Jantjie said he was due on the day of the ceremony to get a regular six-month mental health checkup to determine whether the medication he takes was working, whether it needed to be changed or whether he needed to be kept at a mental health facility for treatment” (emphasis mine).

The only difference between South Africa and the United States is that in South Africa, you find out this kind of thing. Here in the U.S., we don’t want to spoil the show.

Planet Waves
Metro-North train derailed after the engineer “zoned out” while coming around a 30 mph curve at 82 mph. Image: CNN video.

I could easily see this translated onto the recent mock government shutdown a couple of months ago. Imagine this in an AP report: “WASHINGTON, DC — In a press conference held several hours after the government re-opened, Speaker of the House John Boehner apologized to the American people and said that it was not really he who shut down the government, it was the demon he’s possessed by.”

“Actually, to tell the truth, I am a demon in human form and I was in possession of the government,” Boehner said. “I’m sorry to have put you all through that. I don’t really belong here. I’m kind of lost. I thought this was one of the hell worlds, but it turned out to be a lot nicer than I imagined. I have to compensate by smoking a carton of cigarettes daily and spending six hours a day in a tanning bed.”

The shutdown was the perfect product of a fake House of Representatives that repeatedly passes fake bills designed to roll back women’s rights to some time around 1913. The House of Representatives is controlled by a mock political entity called the Tea Party, which is supposed to be populist but is supported by billionaires.

Speaking of — the minimum wage is not a wage; it’s essentially slave labor, supported by the fact that half of all fast food workers are on some form of public assistance. The rather wealthy people at the top of McDonald’s and KFC, all of whom take the “free market, free enterprise” point of view, and the stockholders who reap the profits, are subsidized by the government. Of course they don’t want to raise the minimum wage.

Then there was Healthcare.gov. Who needs a real e-commerce site when you can have something that looks just like one? It’s a fake, so who needs to do a beta test? The fact that it cost more than $300 million to create adds to the illusion that it might be real.

Planet Waves
Lara Logan, the faux reporter for 60 Minutes, interviewed a faux witness for her faux story. But she looks great in red. AP photo.

And who needs affordable medical insurance when a healthy, relatively young person still has to pay $500 a month to have coverage?

Then we have the Republicans accusing “Obamacare” of being socialism — when it was really the rightwing Heritage Foundation that thought this scheme up, to enrich corporations. This is being called a government takeover of health care, when really it’s a corporate takeover. But you wouldn’t know that because the Heritage Foundation has been on the front lines of attacking its own idea.

Meanwhile, right before the most dangerous maneuver ever conducted in civilian nuclear power — the removal of spent fuel from Fukushima Unit 4 — CNN broadcast a movie-length infomercial about how wonderful, efficient and perfectly safe nuclear power is. Hardly anyone thought to mention the spent fuel removal project, which basically has the world on the brink of a very quiet nuclear war.

Then there was a Metro North guy acting just like a railroad engineer who obviously had never played with electric trains. Everyone knows when you take a turn too fast, the whole train falls over. (And all passengers of that line know that the track angle leans out of the curve rather than into it.)

Then there was Lara Logan, the pretend news reporter for 60 Minutes, who interviewed Dylan Davies, who didn’t really know what happened that night in Benghazi; he made it all up, but it sounded good. That went along perfectly with the whole made-up story about a protest at a fake “embassy” in Libya (it was a CIA outpost in a fairly typical weapons buyback program, hence everyone on all sides had to do the dance and pretend it was something else).

Along the way, George Zimmerman was found innocent of both first and second degree murder after killing Trayvon Martin after a mock trial with fake prosecutors whose only job was to piss off the jury. In the perception of many, Zimmerman was as pure as the driven snow, lending true meaning to Second Amendment rights — the right to ‘defend’ oneself against black people. Which he seems to have thought also applied to women; he was arrested for pulling a gun on his (ex) girlfriend — though she dropped the charges and he’s free again (until the next time).

Planet Waves
Newspapers from late 2012 focused on the Sandy Hook School massacre. Photo from Salon.com.

The year began with the aftermath of the Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooting. We all put on a sad face and then allowed

Congress and our state legislatures to do nothing about the problem, not even close the gun show loophole — except that twice as many state laws were passed laws opening up the flow of weapons than were passed restricting them.

The solution to gun violence is more guns. Wayne LaPierre offered the brilliant idea of arming teachers. The NRA, which has a quarter-billion dollar budget, called my office this week seeking a donation. They are, after all, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.

How come so many of these mass shooters, from Columbine to Sandy Hook, are on mood-altering medications? Seriously — these drugs have a suicide problem. Anybody paying attention? That does not mix well with depressed, angry boys with assault rifles. But hey we can just paper that over with pride in our Constitution.

Astrological note: Mars is about to take a long retrograde in Libra. One thing about Libra is that it’s the sign of appearances. Everything in Libra has to look good, and where you have Libra in your chart is one aspect of life where you will aspire to beauty and a sense of perfect presentation. Even horrid things that happen under the influence of Libra can have elegance and beauty to them.

Mars retrograde is going to get underneath all of those appearances, and peel back the layers one by one. As it makes repeated encounters with the Uranus-Pluto square, and the Sun in the primary chart of the United States, we are likely to have a long sequence of ‘truth revealed’ kind of events that expose what is behind the facade.

There is plenty. It’s about time we had a look.



Writing and Editing Credits: News items below are written and edited by a team consisting of Hillary Conary, Anne Craig, Eric Francis, Elizabeth Michaud, Amanda Painter, Susan Scheck, Chad Woodward and Carol van Strum. Page assembled and coded by Anatoly Ryzhenko. Special thanks to the Fact Checkers List, which goes over each edition on Thursday night — and to our main astrology fact-checker Alex Miller, and Amanda, who goes over all their suggestions. Our editions are also proofread and fact-checked by Jessica Keet.


Planet Waves

A Comment on Jupiter Trine Saturn

Depending on your time zone, today is the second occurrence of Jupiter trine Saturn. There are three points of contact for this aspect in the current cycle. The first took place on July 17, the second is/was Dec. 12/13 depending on your time zone, and the last will be May 24, 2014. Jupiter is in Cancer and Saturn is in Scorpio. Chiron in Pisces makes this aspect into a grand water trine, which will be close to exact on May 24.

Planet Waves
Probably rendered (but still cool) image of Saturn from Cassini Space Probe, taken from free wallpaper.

For reference, the next trine between these two planets takes place in 2026. Therefore it’s something of a rare resource, to be taken advantage of consciously. It has the feeling of a reward for a job well done, which might come in a moment of relative ease and a kind of harvest, and also as a new opportunity. That opportunity can be squandered; as a natal placement, if taken unconsciously, this is the “easy come, easy go” aspect. If taken consciously, one can build things of a lasting nature.

The Rev. Dr. Marc Edmund Jones, one of the founders of modern astrology, noted that any contact between Jupiter and Saturn is significant. From his point of view, they describe the story of the current lifetime in relationship to others; from a worldly point of view, these planets represent two of the most necessary qualities of the psyche.

Jupiter offers the ability to expand boundaries and Saturn is the ability to contain them. Jupiter asserts itself within the environment, and Saturn describes response to the environment. Jupiter can describe what one offers; Saturn describes leadership and the way one interrelates with those in authority. When they’re not working, Jupiter comes to represent excesses and Saturn represents scarcity. It’s fair to say that how the two planets blend addresses how one uses opportunity and resources; how one works with the energy of a benevolent uncle (Jupiter) and of a parent with the tendency to discipline (Saturn).

Mastering either calls for a high degree of self-knowledge and cooperation with others. These are the transpersonal planets, neither deeply intimate (such as Venus or Mars) nor alien and working below the level of consciousness (such as Neptune or Pluto).

Planet Waves
Jupiter is actually denser than Saturn, though the astrological interpretation has Saturn being the planet of form and structure.

Looking at the placements and contact of your Jupiter and Saturn can tell you about how you handle your personal role in the greater world around you. If they are not in an ordinary aspect in your chart, check the ‘minor’ aspects (septile, novile, sesquiquadrate, etc.). Also check what is at the Jupiter-Saturn midpoint — that is a kind of superaspect that will tell you a lot.

Jupiter trine Saturn shows up in the charts of a few people with an unusual degree of spiritual evolution, skilled at stretching boundaries. They include John F. Kennedy, the Dalai Lama, Martin Luther King, Ralph Nader, Gertrude Stein, Gloria Steinem, Alan Watts, Kate Millett, Thomas Merton, Carl Jung, Elton John, Aldous Huxley and J. Edgar Hoover. The lack of women in astrology databases is somewhat compensated for, in this case, by three pioneering feminists having this aspect. All of these people seemed to have the gift of redefining boundaries in some way; many were significant trailblazers who saw their role as establishing a new order.

Previously, Jupiter and Saturn were trine one another in 1993-1994 (Libra to Aquarius; then Scorpio to Pisces in three contacts). Then they were trine again in 2007 and 2008 (Sagittarius to Leo, then Capricorn to Virgo in five contacts). When they are trine next in 2026, it will be from Leo to Aries.

— Written by Eric Francis

Gemini Full Moon, Sun Conjunct the Galactic Core

Mars entered Libra Saturday — an energy we’re just beginning to get acquainted with, but which we’ll come to know intimately in the coming months (including through a long retrograde). It’s a complex placement for Mars, whose expression can swing the arms of (Venus-ruled) Libra’s scale from one extreme to another, calling for patience and diplomacy as we relate to each other.

In fact, those qualities are always worth practicing any time we approach a Full Moon (the Gemini Full Moon is Tuesday, Dec. 17). This monthly opposition between the Sun and the Moon heightens emotions and reactions between us and our partners, coworkers and friends — thanks to the light of the Sun (consciousness) projecting onto and being reflected back by the Moon (the subconscious). In other words, we see something about ourselves reflected back at us by others, and that can be provocative in relationships.

Planet Waves
Shop window, Portland, Maine. Photo by Amanda Painter.

The Gemini Full Moon is exact at 4:28 am EST Tuesday, with the Sun in late Sagittarius and the Moon in late Gemini. With the Sun very close to its annual conjunction to the core of our galaxy, the sense intensifies that ‘there’s more to this life’ than what we usually perceive. It stokes an urge to explore — whether distant lands, inner worlds, a new corner of your neighborhood or the bounds of your perception.

The Moon won’t get to Gemini until 1:41 am EST on Sunday, Dec. 15 (it entered Taurus yesterday, Dec. 12, at 3:40 pm — making the weekend excellent for taking sensual breaks from your Christmas shopping for beautiful things, and then for extra fun, balancing your checkbook).

Once the Moon is in Gemini, it loses some of its sensual-emotional flavor and detaches a little into an airier mode — better for talking about anything at all. The emotions get filtered through the mind, and could just as easily go one way as another. That tendency is worth noting, as the Full Moon will be in aspect to an asteroid (Juno) and a centaur planet (Nessus) that are conjunct in Aquarius.

In Aquarius, both Juno and Nessus speak of crystallized social expectations around relationships (especially regarding jealousy, marriage, sexuality and abusive behavior), which we’ve internalized from endless conditioning — and the potential to give them a push and update our files. The Gemini Moon is trine these two objects, suggesting ease — and that you could just as easily stay set in those patterns and cling to those social expectations as not.

Or, you could use the mutable-sign energy of Gemini and Sagittarius to light a fire under these expectations; melt them, evaporate them, shatter them, morph them — whatever works. The Sagittarius Sun is also in a helpful aspect to Juno and Nessus (a sextile). You have to make some conscious effort to use that energy. But if you’re willing to take what you’re learning with the broader perspective, fiery spirit and bold calling offered by the Sagittarius Sun, you might find your choices are not only truer to who you are, they make the world a little larger for you to explore.

— Written by Amanda Painter.


Planet Waves

The Opposite of Progress is Congress, but They Pass a Budget

After wasting most of 2013 on fake abortion laws, pretending to repeal the Affordable Care Act and shutting down the federal government, the House of Representatives yesterday approved a federal budget that covers spending for the next 21 months. The plan was passed by the House 322 in favor to 94 against. House members then went home for the holidays, hoping they had done something that would save them from their 1% approval rating.

While the plan represents progress — for example, it prevents the kind of government shutdown that we just experienced — it does little to address real problems with the balance between spending and revenues. It calls for no new taxes, a topic which seems to be a political taboo in these years, leading you to pay more income tax than General Electric.

Planet Waves
Woo hoo! We finally got something done, even if it wasn’t very much.

The new law, which has to be passed by the Senate and signed by Pres. Obama, does not extend unemployment benefits that run out at the end of the year. The Farm Bill was not extended, though the supposed “dairy cliff” was not reached — that is, milk prices will remain subsidized and not double, as threatened; food stamps for the poor (including many veterans) will be cut.

The right wing spin machine spun into action immediately, attacking the plan as (among other things) something that would destroy the American Dream. House Speaker John Boehner actually went on the offensive against right wing organizations (such as the Heritage Foundation) that he said were trying to use members of Congress to advance their own agenda.

The deal seems to have been brokered, at least symbolically, by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash). In the beginning of the negotiations Murray’s proposed $975 billion in new tax revenue projected $1.85 trillion in deficit savings over the next decade. Ryan’s approach was to block increased taxes, calling for balancing the budget with cuts to Medicare.

The deal that was reached sets discretionary spending at $1.012 trillion, which will then rise to $1.014 trillion in fiscal 2015. It also replaces sequester cuts slated to take effect in January with more specific spending cuts. The sequester relief is set at $63 billion with $85 billion in total savings — a tiny amount of money by federal standards.

Also, new federal employees will have to pay more into their pension plans to the tune of $6 billion. Another provision of the law leaves the prison at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba open.

What the deal does not include is raising the debt ceiling, which is being pushed off until next spring — leaving the door open for Republicans to throw in another red herring. The debt ceiling is the borrowing limit that the government imposes on itself, under which funds are used to pay back old debts.

Reaching the debt ceiling can shut down the government on its own, thought that’s less likely to happen due to repercussions to the federal government’s bond rating.


Planet Waves

Homeland Insecurity: Military Mindset Driving Police/Civilian Clashes

In Charlotte, North Carolina, it was a man seeking help after a car accident. In Des Moines, Iowa, a 19-year-old driving recklessly on a college campus in a truck he’d stolen from his dad. In Escambia County, Florida, it was a 60-year-old man in his own driveway. In Texas, yet another college student driving recklessly.

Planet Waves
If they were wearing white, they’d look like the Storm Troopers they are; police break up demonstrators protesting the May 2012 NATO Summit in Chicago. Photo: Norbert Schiller/Mint Press.

Relatively small mistakes — resembling someone a complaint has been filed against; failing to coherently identify yourself; behaving in an agitated manner; or brandishing absolutely anything at all that could be mistaken for a weapon — get civilians shot by police with rising regularity.

In extreme cases, such as that of a New Mexico cop who shot at a minivan full of children after a traffic stop, the episodes result in a cop’s being fired; far more often, officers are placed on “paid administrative leave” while an investigation takes place.

Shootings are but one symptom of an ugly divide between civilians and paid enforcers. Revelations accumulate: in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, ATF officers went to great lengths to make cases by blatantly manipulating disabled teens. “Zero-tolerance” policies have become a basis for harassment, as happened in Miami Gardens, Florida, or in the case of New York City’s “stop and frisk” mandate.

As Fourth Amendment rights erode in the era of pervasive NSA spying and a steady stream of returning combat personnel turn to careers in civilian enforcement, as even small-town police departments are encouraged and funded by the Department of Homeland Security in acquiring military equipment like armored vehicles and grenade launchers, there has been little to no corresponding growth in any effort to equip police with the skills of non-violent conflict resolution.

Other systemic factors in play include forfeiture procedures that allow police departments to keep seized assets regardless of legal outcomes and private prisons that contractually require states to keep prison cells full. Just how extreme do things have to get before we take steps to correct the police state we’re living in?


Planet Waves

Evidence Found that Organic Whole Milk Increases Heart Health

A Washington State University research professor, Charles Benbrook, and his team on Monday released a study finding that organic whole milk has more omega-3 fatty acids, beneficial for the heart, than conventional milk. The study is the first large-scale nationwide study of the fatty acids in organic and conventional milk. Scientists looked at 220 organic milk samples from the Organic Valley cooperative and 164 conventional milk samples.

Planet Waves
If it’s not organic milk, you might as well be… Photo: LadyDrgonflyCC/Wikimedia Commons.

At issue is the ratio between omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids found in organic versus conventional milk. Omega-3 is the fatty acid most needed for heart health, and overall health, with omega-6 (and omega-9) being less beneficial.

In the modern American diet, the use of soybean and corn oil in fried and processed foods, and the amounts we eat of these types of food, have dramatically increased the intake of omega-6 and -9, and decreased the intake of omega-3.

Conventional milk had an average omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acid ratio of 5.8, and organic milk had a ratio of 2.3. Organic milk had 25% less omega-6 fatty acids and 62% more omega-3 fatty acids than conventional milk. The organic milk also had high concentrations of the individual types of omega-3 fatty acids, too, the authors wrote.

The study “provides consumers with some pretty powerful evidence that choosing full-fat dairy products is going to help bring about a greater degree of balance” between omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, said Benbrook, lead author of the study at the Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources at Washington State University.

Increasing full-fat organic dairy products alone won’t make you heart-healthy, the authors point out. That and eating less food containing vegetable oil may, however, by dramatically improving the diet’s omega-6 to omega-3 ratio.

A crucial difference — and one that was noted by Benbrook — is that cows on organic farms are grass-fed and pastured (their natural method of feeding) and are rBGH and antibiotic-free. Cows on conventional dairy farms are fed grain (containing pesticides), are pastured less and receive pharmaceuticals as part of their regular diet, even when healthy.

So a glass of ordinary milk is a cup of dead mucous, water, proteins and pus, contaminated by drugs, hormones and genetically modified material. Just yummy.


Planet Waves

It’s All Fun and Games Until Someone Gets Caught Spying

In the latest news stemming from Edward Snowden’s NSA leaks, online gamers geeking out the world over have been the targets of U.S. and British spies.

Planet Waves
Yep, she’s gotta be FBI. But are the big furry things CIA or terrorists? Image: Blizzard Entertainment.

Games such as the crazy-popular “World of Warcraft” have internal messaging systems that allow gamers — also known to the spooks as ‘potential terrorists and informers’ — to communicate to each other undetected. Or so they thought.

It is unknown at this time just how much personal information spies were able to collect — though so far, according to documents acquired by The Guardian UK, no counterterrorism successes have been reported.

Yet apparently while running around virtual lands populated by magical creatures, digital ladies with impossible breasts and so on, the government’s undercover gamers had to take steps not to inadvertently spy on each other:

“So many C.I.A., F.B.I. and Pentagon spies were hunting around in Second Life, the document noted, that a ‘deconfliction’ group was needed to avoid collisions,” noted a New York Times article this week.

It’s bad enough that the GPS data from our phones is being collected, tracing our every move, and that the NSA uses Google cookies to track which porn sites we visit. Now we can’t even play video games without being snooped on?

In related news, Google, Apple, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, AOL, Microsoft and Yahoo! have written an open letter to President Obama and Congress calling for the need to reform surveillance practices around the globe, citing the violation of U.S. Constitutional rights, and based on five principles addressing all governments. You can read their stance at ReformGovernmentSurveillance.com — and decide for yourself whether they’re more concerned about individual liberties or their own bottom lines.


Planet Waves

Climate Activists Risk Life and Liberty As Resistance Grows

Last year, amid the fuss over the end of the Mayan Long Count calendar and the possible ‘end of the world’, four women in Canada organized a teach-in about fossil fuel extraction and indigenous rights that would grow into Idle No More, one of the largest resistance movements in Canadian history, and spark solidarity demonstrations in the U.S., Europe and Australia.


Planet Waves
The founders of Idle No More: Jessica Gordon, Sylvia McAdam, Sheelah McLean and Nina Wilson.

Around the world, as petro-capitalism ramps up its assault on the environment and basic human rights, citizen resistance has been growing, too. Nonviolent blockades and encampments have sprung up in Montana, Oregon and Texas, in Romania and the U.K., in Taiwan and Tanzania.

Authorities have been pushing right back on behalf of their paymasters, exposing still more of the ugly face of greed.

The arrest of the Arctic 30, Greenpeace activists who climbed on an oilrig in Russia in September, sparked solidarity protests in 30 cities across India. Clashes between the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and activists in New Brunswick have solidified opposition to fracking throughout the province and across Canada.

Riot police and private forces in the employ of Chevron have been beating and incarcerating protesters in the poverty-stricken Romanian village of Pungesti, sparking still greater resistance.

Romanian environmental defender Alex Summerchild sums it up:

“We know that if we do not defeat them they will leave behind a poisoned landscape where we and our animals can no longer survive … We also know we can win, if only we fight hard enough.”

Extreme Is The New Normal as Planet Convulses

Publications like Forbes and The Wall Street Journal may still be able to find writers who’ll debate the narrow issue of whether carbon emissions are driving global climate change, but ordinary citizens facing hail the size of boulders, unprecedented tornadoes and typhoons, fires, floods and beaches littered with dying sea creatures have little doubt that the planet’s trying to tell us something.

Planet Waves
Survivors of typhoon Haiyan walk through the remains of Tacloban city, Philippines, on Nov. 10. Photo: Bullit Marquez/AP.

In January, Las Vegas froze while folks in New Hampshire took off their jackets. Los Angeles saw record highs and lows in the same month and, in one instance, in different places on the same day. And just this month, as much of the U.S. experiences frigid arctic air, Alaska’s been experiencing record high temps. In between, anything could happen and usually did; these are just a few highlights:

The northern hemisphere experienced record cold temperatures last spring, which climate researchers tied to a major loss of arctic sea ice.

Summer brought seven times the usual number of dying dolphins to beaches on the East Coast. Meanwhile a raging wildfire season in the west consumed some four million acres, including the Rim fire that threatened Yosemite, and in September, Colorado’s Front Range saw catastrophic flooding (Planet Waves coverage here and here).

Sea stars (starfish) are dying off and dissolving in massive numbers everywhere along the west coast of North America.

In late October, a severe coastal storm brought rare hurricane-force winds to the U.K. and Western Europe, in a “stormageddon” event that killed 13 and was nicknamed after St. Jude, patron saint of hopeless causes.

In November, Typhoon Haiyan decimated the central provinces of the Phillipines (Planet Waves coverage here); later in the month, seven volcanoes in widely scattered locations erupted almost simultaneously, one creating an entirely new island off the coast of Japan.

Fasten your seat belts, folks, and keep those emergency kits handy. It seems highly unlikely that we can expect things to return to “normal” anytime soon — if ever.


Planet Waves

Continuing Coverage: Women’s Healthcare, Military Sexual Assault

Women’s health care rights and the military’s handling of sexual assault have been hotly contested topics this year, and this week brought more news. In the first category, Michigan has become the ninth state to approve a measure requiring insurance companies to charge extra fees for abortion coverage.

Planet Waves
The legal counsel to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff at a hearing in Washington, D.C., June 4, 2013. Photo: AP.

Such insurance is often referred to as “rape coverage,” since it requires women to buy special policy riders. A report by the Guttmacher Institute outlines the various ways states are restricting abortion coverage under the Affordale Care Act insurance exchanges, both for private insurance policies and for public employees.

As Michigan state senator Gretchen Whitmer pointed out this week, the law basically demands that women “plan ahead and financially invest in healthcare coverage for potentially having their bodies violated and assaulted.”

Michigan’s pro-life Republican governor Rick Snyder actually vetoed a similar measure passed by lawmakers earlier this year, saying it went too far and interfered with the private insurance market. However the current law was a voter initiative, and does not require Snyder’s signature.

Meanwhile, in continuing coverage of sexual assault in the U.S. military, a Pentagon policy has been approved by Congress that will keep military sexual assault cases within the chain of command. This comes despite vigorous efforts by Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and others to take sexual assault cases out of the let’s-cover-our-asses good ol’ boys’ club, and instead appoint independent military prosecutors.

The policy includes new protections, including not allowing officers to overturn jury verdicts in sexual assault cases — but it’s not enough. As Planet Waves reported earlier this year, approximately 19,000 military sexual assaults were reported in 2011, with fewer than one in 10 perpetrators held accountable in any way.


Planet Waves

Planet Waves

Metro Meteor’s original paintings may be a little harder to come by since his newfound fame via NPR last month, but you can enjoy some of his art in your home — and still support retired racehorse adoption — through ecologically produced pillows and tote bags. Image: “Spumoni” by Metro Meteor.


Who Says Centaurs Aren’t Real?

Metro Meteor was a promising racehorse until recurring bone chips in his knees (partly congenital, but likely made worse by racing) put an end to his demanding athletic career. Adopted by Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, artist Ron Krajewski and his wife, Wendy, to ride for pleasure, it soon became clear that his knees could not even take a rider. The Krajewskis were told that within two years, Metro Meteor’s knees would lock up — and he would have to be put down.

But Ron Krajewski noticed the horse’s tendency to bob his head and decided to try putting a paintbrush in his mouth and a canvas in front of him, and Metro Meteor’s new art career took off. Better still, with the money from his paintings, the Krajewskis were able to afford an experimental treatment that has reversed the bone spur growth in his knees.

Now, Metro Meteor’s paintings sell so well his humans are able to donate half the proceeds to the New Vocations Racehorse Adoption Program, helping other retired racehorses find new, loving homes. Chiron might not be one of the centaur planets the Sun is currently conjoining in Sagittarius, but chances are “the wounded healer” is looking fondly on this real-life centaur’s work.


Planet Waves

Nelson Mandela — Return to Orius and a Musical Tribute to the Anti-Apartheid Movement

Link to program.

Before I introduce this week’s awesome edition of Planet Waves FM, first a reminder that LISTEN, your 2013 annual reading, is open to all readers and listeners as our gift this week through the weekend). All 12 signs and rising signs, written and audio, are open to everyone.

Planet Waves
Nelson Mandela and the flag of the African National Congress.

This edition is a tribute to the music of the anti-Apartheid movement, to Nelson Mandela and the extraordinary astrology of the newly discovered centaur planet Orius. My ideas for what music to play came from both my readers and also the LA Times pop music critic Randall Roberts (visit his compilation here).

I discuss Mandela’s chart as well — you can find one version of the chart here.

Later in the program, I discuss the collection of planets gathered in Sagittarius, which you can see here as a graphic or here as a list from Serennu.com.

Because this edition addresses delineating the minor planet Orius and also many other points in Sagittarius, here is a link to an article about how that is done, which I wrote for The Mountain Astrologer in 2012.


Planet Waves

Have you pre-ordered your 2014 readings by Eric Francis yet? The Mars Effect (our 16th annual edition!) will be out in January, and will include in-depth audio and written readings for your Sun, Moon and rising signs. We always receive a flood of positive feedback for these readings, and it shows just how meaningful they are. One customer wrote, “I’m so grateful to you for the illumination and the reassurance this reading has bestowed.” We’re offering you a special package price of $79 for all twelve signs, available only to current Planet Waves members. Or you may purchase individual signs for $19.95.


Planet Waves

Your Monthly Horoscopes — and our Publishing Schedule Notes

We published the extended monthly horoscope for December Friday, Nov. 29. Inner Space for November was published Friday, Nov. 1. Moonshine for the Sagittarius New Moon was published Tuesday, Nov. 26. We published Moonshine for the Gemini Full Moon Tuesday, Dec. 10. 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.


Weekly Horoscope for Friday, Dec. 13, 2013, #979 | By Eric Francis

Aries (March 20-April 19)

Aries (March 20-April 19) — Don’t let your idealism be used against you. You have plenty of it right now; you seem to be fully conscious that there is a future and that you are being shown what is possible. You know that you have much more potential than you’re expressing now. Others are picking up on that, and you may have noticed that your enthusiasm is contagious. You will make some genuine friends now who may co-create some beautiful things, and travel with you for quite a while. Be aware that not everyone’s positive response is equally deep or meaningful. In your excitement you may be vulnerable to being taken advantage of, or being told things that you want to hear. Therefore, be discerning. Channel your positive vibes in deliberate ways, be conscious of how you allocate your resources and make sure that others back up their words with actions before you invite them in on your plans.

Looking for an in-depth reading for the coming year? Pre-order THE MARS EFFECT, your 2014 annual readings, for a special rate of $79 for all twelve signs. It’s a great package of audio and written readings (plus bonus articles) that gives you access to your Sun, rising and Moon signs (and those of your loved ones). You may also pre-order individual signs for $19.95 here.


Taurus (April 19- May 20)

Taurus (April 19-May 20) — You seem to be making up your mind about something, trying to sort out your original impulses from what your past conditioning is telling you. This could be a longterm career or life-path question, though it’s connected to a deeper spiritual issue. I think it’s a good idea to consider the possibilities, especially what you would do if you could do anything at all. Then you can refine and narrow down the possibilities. While you’re doing this, be aware of the sometimes subtle shades of what you’re saying to yourself and what is being said to you from people in the past who lacked your sense of potential and, moreover, your devotion to self-esteem. Those who came here before you may have been snagged in the trap that the only thing possible today is what was possible yesterday. You have other ideas.

Looking for an in-depth reading for the coming year? Pre-order THE MARS EFFECT, your 2014 annual readings, for a special rate of $79 for all twelve signs. It’s a great package of audio and written readings (plus bonus articles) that gives you access to your Sun, rising and Moon signs (and those of your loved ones). You may also pre-order individual signs for $19.95 here.


Gemini (May 20- June 21)

Gemini (May 20-June 21) — Pull in the reins on your spending. I know it’s the holiday season and you may be feeling generous, and like you want to make an impression on people. I would count that as sincere. With gifts, it really is the thought that counts — not the thought that you did anything, but rather that you actually considered who a person is and therefore what would have real meaning. Gifts really matter, and when they are conscious, they can convey a message of acknowledgement and affirmation. And they don’t need to be expensive to do that. This also counts for the gifts you give yourself, and the way you support your own efforts. Over the next few months you’re going to learn a lot about value, finances and shared resources. Many of these will be once-in-a-lifetime learning opportunities; treat them as precious.

Looking for an in-depth reading for the coming year? Pre-order THE MARS EFFECT, your 2014 annual readings, for a special rate of $79 for all twelve signs. It’s a great package of audio and written readings (plus bonus articles) that gives you access to your Sun, rising and Moon signs (and those of your loved ones). You may also pre-order individual signs for $19.95 here.


Cancer (June 21- July 22)

Cancer (June 21-July 22) — You may feel inclined to talk, and even to reveal some of your secrets; you have a lot brewing around in there and it will feel good to let some of it out. I suggest you be aware what you’re sharing with whom. Select appropriate people when you want to open up — those who you know are most inclined to receive and appreciate you; those who you know will give you space to be yourself. If you’re going to experiment with that, start in small ways and feel the response. The thing is, the energy over the next few days, as the Full Moon reaches its peak, has anything but a selective, reserved or cautious feeling to it. As the Moon aspects the chart for your sign, it lights up an inner world that you may have never considered, and the idea that you don’t need to have so many secrets, or any at all. Still, take a moment to feel the relationship into which you’re expressing yourself.

Looking for an in-depth reading for the coming year? Pre-order THE MARS EFFECT, your 2014 annual readings, for a special rate of $79 for all twelve signs. It’s a great package of audio and written readings (plus bonus articles) that gives you access to your Sun, rising and Moon signs (and those of your loved ones). You may also pre-order individual signs for $19.95 here.


Leo (July 22- Aug. 23)

Leo (July 22-Aug. 23) — You are a creative and sexual powerhouse right now, and the more you want to be one, the more energy you will dial in. Once you get going it will be difficult to stop, or more likely, you will wonder why you would have to stop. You might want to consider things like whether you need to get up in the morning or alternately, whether you can rearrange your schedule to accommodate your passion. The crest of the wave is from Friday through the peak of the Full Moon on Tuesday of next week. You have a rare opportunity on your hands to explore and stretch your potential; if you’ve been feeling blocked or restrained in any way, this is the time to break through to the next level. While this particular cosmic wave passes through pretty quickly, it’s tapping into much deeper forces that will be with you for a long time.

Looking for an in-depth reading for the coming year? Pre-order THE MARS EFFECT, your 2014 annual readings, for a special rate of $79 for all twelve signs. It’s a great package of audio and written readings (plus bonus articles) that gives you access to your Sun, rising and Moon signs (and those of your loved ones). You may also pre-order individual signs for $19.95 here.
Virgo (Aug. 23- Sep. 22)

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22) — The past is much closer than you may think, which means that resolving old problems and tapping into your reservoir of experience are also closer than you may think. You are working through a legacy that has been passed to you by prior generations; this is true of everyone, but it’s an especially vivid aspect of your life experience. Anything you have to say to your ancestors — parents, grandparents and beyond — say it now, whether these people are in-body or not. Consider the idea that some of the more messed-up people in your family line (particularly those who are deceased) are now aware of the problems they caused for you, and are willing to provide help from the ‘other side’. You will open up to that help if you remember that you are never dealt a disadvantage without some corresponding gift of power. It’s your choice what to emphasize.

Looking for an in-depth reading for the coming year? Pre-order THE MARS EFFECT, your 2014 annual readings, for a special rate of $79 for all twelve signs. It’s a great package of audio and written readings (plus bonus articles) that gives you access to your Sun, rising and Moon signs (and those of your loved ones). You may also pre-order individual signs for $19.95 here.


Libra (Sep. 22 - Oct. 23)

Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23) — Any sense of being emotionally stuck deserves a closer look. This may manifest as feeling more complicated than usual, hesitating expressing yourself, having anxiety attacks related to your personal security or feeling like your sexual energy is blocked. What you’re feeling is starting as one thing and then as it bubbles up to the surface, expresses itself as something else. So I suggest you not be overly concerned with the form that any of your emotions are taking, but rather that you go deeper and see if you can learn more about the source of the energy. One possibility is that you’re feeling the extent to which you’re dependent on others for affirmation. That in turn may be a manifestation of some abandonment fears that are usually concealed below the surface. You might test your perceptions against a simple question of how this relates to that particular theme. Remember, too, that guilt is never what it seems to be; it always travels incognito.

Looking for an in-depth reading for the coming year? Pre-order THE MARS EFFECT, your 2014 annual readings, for a special rate of $79 for all twelve signs. It’s a great package of audio and written readings (plus bonus articles) that gives you access to your Sun, rising and Moon signs (and those of your loved ones). You may also pre-order individual signs for $19.95 here.


Scorpio (Oct. 23- Nov. 22)

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22) — There are at least two sides to the current intrigue, and rather than see one as right and one as wrong, try to see matters from all points of view. You will not lose anything by doing this, so you can afford not to be insecure. By seeing all sides, I mean really considering the different positions involved, giving them each the benefit of the doubt. This will help you step away from the influence of someone to whom it seems you’ve handed over your power. While that may seem frustrating, your ability to see the situation from many points of view will prove to be empowering. You may have the notion that if you exert your awareness or authority over yourself, some sensitive issue or secret is going to be used against you, though I don’t think that’s true. Just don’t remind anyone of anything you don’t want them to know.

Looking for an in-depth reading for the coming year? Pre-order THE MARS EFFECT, your 2014 annual readings, for a special rate of $79 for all twelve signs. It’s a great package of audio and written readings (plus bonus articles) that gives you access to your Sun, rising and Moon signs (and those of your loved ones). You may also pre-order individual signs for $19.95 here.



Sagittarius (Nov. 22 - Dec. 22)

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22) — You are the master of your destiny, but for that to have any meaning, you must remain in fidelity to what you know is right and true for you. That means understanding your motives and setting aside anything driven by jealousy, the sense of being unfairly treated or thinking that someone else is supposed to meet your needs. Anything of that general variety is a ruse or a distraction, a kind of ego game that can block you from awareness of your true strength. This is a moment when your choices have more power than you can imagine; when you have more personal influence than you’ve ever acknowledged; and when the karmic stakes are unusually high. Therefore, this is a time to think your options through and to make your choices carefully. Small decisions can lead to great things, though that’s too much power for most people to handle.

Looking for an in-depth reading for the coming year? Pre-order THE MARS EFFECT, your 2014 annual readings, for a special rate of $79 for all twelve signs. It’s a great package of audio and written readings (plus bonus articles) that gives you access to your Sun, rising and Moon signs (and those of your loved ones). You may also pre-order individual signs for $19.95 here.


Capricorn (Dec. 22- Jan. 20)

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20) — You must be bursting at the seams of your soul. You are being flooded with etheric energy, which seems to have its source deep inside you. This is opening up what you can think of as a direct spiritual connection to something that seems beyond yourself — though you’re really seeing, and experiencing, what you’re made of. But…spiritual? I know, it hardly seems like an accurate way to describe the diversity of strange, steamy, potentially socially transgressive thoughts that are coming through you. These could also be manifesting as fear, though if so, that would be a sign of resistance. You might have the idea that if you let yourself indulge just a little, you will lose control entirely (and this idea didn’t come from you). You are safe witnessing and feeling whatever is coming to the surface of your consciousness. I suggest you not seek others for validation, but use this occasion as a reminder that who you are is natural, and that if freedom means anything, that would include the freedom to know yourself.

Looking for an in-depth reading for the coming year? Pre-order THE MARS EFFECT, your 2014 annual readings, for a special rate of $79 for all twelve signs. It’s a great package of audio and written readings (plus bonus articles) that gives you access to your Sun, rising and Moon signs (and those of your loved ones). You may also pre-order individual signs for $19.95 here.


Aquarius (Jan. 20- Feb. 19)

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) — You’re probably aware that you have the reputation among your friends of being an advanced soul. You know what you must go through in order to maintain your sense of balance and to resolve the inner wrinkles and twists that seem so natural to who you are. This may, at times, lead to you feeling like there is a contradiction between how others see you and who you are inwardly. There are moments when you might feel like a hypocrite for not living up to the ideals that others perceive of you. Events of the next few days will go a long way toward allaying any such fears. It is your transparency that people respect the most; what you may not recognize is that people close to you, and even those who just meet you, already understand that you’re a complex individual with many inner dimensions and contradictions. These are nothing to hide from but rather something to embrace. People love you and you can love yourself.

Looking for an in-depth reading for the coming year? Pre-order THE MARS EFFECT, your 2014 annual readings, for a special rate of $79 for all twelve signs. It’s a great package of audio and written readings (plus bonus articles) that gives you access to your Sun, rising and Moon signs (and those of your loved ones). You may also pre-order individual signs for $19.95 here.


Pisces (Feb. 19- March 20)

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) — I suggest you take full advantage of the professional reputation you’ve built. You might hesitate, because to own your reputation would mean to invoke a kind of personal power, perhaps claim an entitlement or to exert influence onto others. This would only be a problem if you have some value that conflicts with it, such as the belief that it’s not right to impose your will or even your vision onto people. That would be a valid issue if you could actually do it. In truth, everyone chooses what influence they want to accept. Everyone has volition and the right to decide what works for them. Therefore, it matters not whether you influence one person or a million people; it amounts to the same thing. The universe does not care whether you’re mildly successful, wildly successful or struggling to succeed — though it matters considerably to you. Therefore, be proud of what you’ve achieved, step into your strength and creativity, and trust that your positive message (and example) will benefit everyone — though especially you.

Looking for an in-depth reading for the coming year? Pre-order THE MARS EFFECT, your 2014 annual readings, for a special rate of $79 for all twelve signs. It’s a great package of audio and written readings (plus bonus articles) that gives you access to your Sun, rising and Moon signs (and those of your loved ones). You may also pre-order individual signs for $19.95 here.


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Mercury Direct and News from Japan

Dear Friend and Reader:

Mercury stations direct on Sunday, arriving with several days of extraordinary and rare astrology — a kind of once-in-a-lifetime event as Mercury in Scorpio holds a long trine to Neptune in Pisces, covered in greater detail below.

Planet Waves
On Sunday, we had a rare hybrid solar eclipse similar to this one that happened in 2009. The astronomy is illustrated above. The total eclipse on the left was photographed by Fred Espenak aboard a ship 2,200 km west of the Galapagos; Stephan Heinsius photographed an annular eclipse, positioned in Panama for the same event.

On the most basic level of this astrology, many aspects of life that were caught in weird entanglements or confusion may already be working themselves out. You may discover the missing information that you need to make some progress on matters that have seemed stuck. The ‘truth revealed’ aspect of Mercury stationing will be in full force this weekend as well.

These past few weeks of Mercury retrograde in Scorpio have arrived with a kaleidoscope of news that reminds me of the occasional headline summaries in Robert Heinlein’s novel Stranger in a Strange Land — the story of the Martian who came to visit the Earth, which scenario unfolds while all kinds of other weird stuff is going on. Reduced to a synopsis, the news starts to sound like a description of some wild future, when in fact it’s our present moment, right now, even if right now feels like shooting the rapids without a paddle or a life vest and in some cases, without the canoe.

It’s been humorous to watch how the top story during Mercury retrograde has been a $300 million website that did not (and apparently still does not) work. It’s charming how they launched the site just as Mercury entered shadow phase and the issues only got worse. The fact that just 248 people were able to register by the third day is a good reason to pay attention to astrology.

Along the way certain other facts have emerged (in harmony with ‘the truth revealed’ quality of Mercury retrograde), such as what a scam the individual health insurance market is, and how it’s possibly becoming an even bigger scam in the changing environment of the insurance business — especially as participation becomes mandatory.

Planet Waves
Current issue of The New Yorker spoofs the Obama Administration’s attempt to fix the Healthcare.gov website. But they seem to have got the idea from The Onion.

Pres. Obama’s often-repeated assertion that “if you like your plan, you can keep your plan,” came unraveled as many people got cancellation notices, and some got fake cancellations from their insurance carriers designed to get them to upgrade to much more expensive insurance.

Lurking under all of these questions of high finance, huge profits and who is going to pay for $20 Tylenol capsules is the question of what we need to do to actually be healthier. I’m not seeing this question being asked, in all this talk of supposed health care.

How much disease in the United States is the result of just a few factors — genetically modified crops, high fructose corn syrup (pure GMO corn by the way), hydrogenated fats, processed meats, artificial sweeteners, diets based on simple carbs (such as bleached flour) and, as a result, rampant malnutrition?

What would addressing the vitamin D deficiency do to knock down the epidemics of cardiac disease and cancer? (Apparently quite a lot, for very little expense.)

As some look to the government to save them from themselves, the question of one’s health is deeply personal. While everyone should have access to the medical system when they need it, that bears little resemblance to what prevents illness and helps us to be healthy.

What we are seeing is not exactly a national movement for wellness. So far, it’s been little other than a vast corporate (not government) takeover of the medical system with a lot of faux political controversy mixed in.

For example, what has been termed Obamacare was engineered not by the ‘left’ but rather by the right-wing Heritage Foundation. It’s not the progressive solution (the government actually intervenes, or single-payer) but rather the fascist solution (government turns control over to the corporations, which are vested with government power).

Next, in News from Inner Space

Whatever has been going on within the confines of your personal cosmos in these weeks may have had the sensation of swirling events that may still feel unresolved. You may feel like you’re in the midst of a surrealist film, the kind without a script.

Planet Waves
Saturn with auroras visible on the south pole seen by the Cassini Space Probe in 2010. At the time, Space.com reported: “Saturn’s aurora, a ghostly ultraviolet glow that illuminates the gas giant’s upper atmosphere near the poles, has a heartbeat that pulses in tandem with the planet’s radio emissions, scientists have discovered.”

There’s the sensation of ongoing reorientation, and the message that your transitions are happening whether you feel you’re ready for them or not.

Apropos of transitions, one week ago we arrived at the midpoint of the Uranus-Pluto square, the seven-stage aspect spanning from 2012-2015 (with a wide margin on either side) that has been defining what I’ve been describing as the 2012 era. This is an urgent, tense aspect between the planet of revolution and upheaval (Uranus) and that of evolution (Pluto), which is putting everything it touches under some strain and the necessity to reconsider its entire existence.

The fourth of seven squares happened Nov. 1, which has the feeling of a tipping point in the long experiment of social progress and the attempt to set things right that (from one point of view) characterizes our phase of history. Looked at differently, many are asking themselves what will wake up the population. The real question is what will get you out of your comfort zone and out onto the edge of personal progress, learning and challenging experience.

This past Sunday’s rare, combined annular-total solar eclipse in Scorpio vented some pressure, kind of like when your ears pop from the altitude, only reaching down to your soul and equalizing the pressure between levels of yourself you may have had no idea existed.

Planet Waves
The largest-known volcano in the solar system — the Olympus Mons, three times higher than Mt. Everest — is located on Mars. Photo: NASA.

The eclipse conjunct Saturn was and remains a reminder that while we are in physical bodies, time is a limited resource. What are you doing with the time that you have? What limits on banality are you setting for yourself?

Along the way, Mars and Chiron came to full opposition on Oct. 31, and because Mars has been slowing down a bit (just ahead of a monumental retrograde that takes place early next year in Libra), the opposition has lasted a while.

This is an aspect illustrating and calling for clarity and contrast; it represents the full expression of both Mars and Chiron, which work beautifully together, as both are in the warrior spirit. I could summarize its message as: get over yourself and do what you have to do. If you’re going to play the game, play it to win. Make your seeming disadvantages work for you.

Events of the past few weeks have represented one of the peak moments of our grand water trine, which consists of Jupiter in Cancer, Mercury, the Sun and Saturn in Scorpio, and Chiron and Neptune in Pisces. Water is that beautiful Sun-drenched stuff that surrounds your sailboat or extends along the beach, in which you can drown in a matter of seconds.

Mars in Virgo has provided the remedy to all this water: keep your focus. Make decisions based on real information. Work with precision. Use your energy wisely.

Then, Mercury Stations Direct

The next major event on the horizon takes place as part of the water trine, and it is impressive. This weekend, Mercury slows to a station in early Scorpio, making an exact trine to Neptune. Actually, there are two exact trines, one on each side of the station direct, with the three events each separated by about 24 hours.

Planet Waves
Sholem Aleichem crater on Mercury. Photo by MESSENGER spacecraft, 2008.

Mercury trine Neptune is one of the most clairvoyant aspects, particularly when Pisces and Scorpio are involved. Intuition is worth more now than ever. There can be a miraculous flow of creativity, intuition and empathic contact with others, including those in realms besides this one. Remember we are still in the ‘thin veil’ territory of Scorpio; Mercury trine Neptune is about as thin as it gets.

The first exact trine is Saturday, Nov. 9 at 4:35 pm EST. Then the station direct happens about 24 hours later, on Sunday, Nov. 10 at 4:12 pm EST. Then the second exact trine happens 24 hours after that, on Monday, Nov. 11 at 3:46 pm EST.

The overall result is an unusually long experience of an exact Mercury trine Neptune aspect, blended with the shifting perspective of the station direct. Normally this would last for a day or so; but due to Mercury’s minuscule daily motion as the station direct happens, we will have access to it for about six days, which began Thursday or so and lasts until Wednesday.

Then Mercury makes the last of three trines to Chiron — just as good, not as long-lasting. To sum up, in the ‘truth revealed’ tradition of Mercury retrograde and especially Mercury stationing direct, there is a hearty message of ‘seek the truth and you will indeed find it’. It’s not the unavailability of truth that makes it seem so elusive — it’s the unpopularity.

And Finally, News from Japan’s East Coast

Now for the freaky, surrealist story you may not have heard about. The problems persist at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan.
As everyone knows, there was a massive quake and tsunami on March 11, 2011 that caused a series of catastrophic failures in nuclear reactors. [Note, we have compiled a list of articles, resources and astrology charts related to Fukushima.]

Planet Waves
Photo of the tsunami striking the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. The wall designed to hold back the sea was crumbled as the huge wave washed in. Photo: US EPA.

The three plants that were operating — units 1, 2 and 3, all experienced total meltdowns. That is, the reactors ran out of control, overheated and the blend of uranium, plutonium and many other toxic radioactive isotopes melted through the containment structure and have disappeared into the ground.

Yes, three massive nuclear reactor cores melted into the Earth, never to be recovered. If those cores keep melting, they have the potential to reach the deep aquifers that provide water to the 40 million people in the greater Tokyo area.

It is astounding to think that an electric utility lost three reactor cores, which are gradually boring a hole in the Earth on the way down to the water table.

This, however, is the lesser of the two problems. The more serious problem involves Unit 4, which was closed for inspection at the time of the incident and therefore did not melt down. But the containment structure was severely damaged by the explosion in a nearby reactor.

Each of these plants has something called a spent fuel pool. Nuclear fuel, whether new or spent, must be kept immersed in water at all times, so that’s where the old fuel is placed and, in the case of Unit 4 (because it was being inspected), where the new fuel was being kept.

Planet Waves
Fukushima Unit 4 was damaged by an explosion in an adjacent reactor. Offline at the time of the tsunami, a vast amount of fuel in its reactor pool is vulnerable to another earthquake.

There are more than 1,500 fuel assemblies in the Unit 4 pool, which is so fragile it cannot withstand another serious earthquake — and earthquakes happen frequently in that part of the world. These rods must be removed, one by one, by manually controlled robots.

TEPCO, in cooperation with U.S. engineers, are about to begin the process of removing the fuel from Unit 4’s pool. This is an extremely risky process, by which I mean that if it goes wrong (if the fuel assemblies are not immersed in water, if they touch, or if there is another earthquake), there is the potential for a far worse situation than we’ve already had at Fukushima.

Even spent fuel can reach criticality (the fission process can begin). This is similar to what happens when a nuclear plant is functioning, with one difference — a working nuclear core has control rods that can slow down the reaction. The spent fuel pool is like a reactor core without the control rods. If a reaction starts, it can run out of control.

The scene could become so radioactive that it cannot be entered by workers ever again, and also be emitting so much radiation and heat that even robots cannot function there. A mishap could quickly soak the West Coast of the United States and eventually all of North America in nuclear fallout.

Planet Waves
View into the the spent fuel pool of Unit 4, suspended in a fragile building 100 feet above the ground. All the fuel must be removed by manually controlled robots, which could take years.

The fuel is covered in zirconium alloy cladding, which is flammable and explosive. One small mishap can set off the entire pool, which could spread to a nearby common fuel pool, where 6,375 more spent fuel assemblies are kept.

Removal of fuel from Unit 4’s pool was originally scheduled for this month, after many months of preparation. It may still begin in November and is expected to take well over a year to complete, if it goes well. Decommissioning the entire site will take decades, if it’s ever complete.

Now, here’s a question. Have you read about this anywhere, or seen it mentioned on cable news, or network news? I have not. It’s as if the whole thing is not happening, except if you go looking for the information. On one level it’s available, and on another, the gatekeepers who could inform many people what’s happening are not doing so.

Instead, we got a propaganda film shown on CNN on Thursday night, called Pandora’s Promise, about how nuclear power might be the only thing that can save the environment.

They must be talking about some other planet.


Additional research on Fukushima: Chad Woodward, Elizabeth Michaud and Susan Scheck. Their work is collected here.


Planet Waves

We’ll be back after a word from our nuclear propagandists

Just as engineers at the tsunami-ravaged Fukushima nuclear plant get ready to move 1,524 fuel assemblies from the spent fuel pool, CNN aired a 2013 “documentary” called Pandora’s Promise by Robert Stone.

Planet Waves

The premise of the film is how alleged ecological activists have thought about it for a while and have come to the conclusion that nuclear power is good for the environment.

Its takeoff point is that we have to do something about global warming — and that something is to build a lot of nuclear power plants, so that we can power up every place from New Jersey to Namibia (spreading the gospel of cheap electricity to the developing world).

The “documentary” had so many problems (or rather, innovative design features) I am having trouble deciding where to begin analyzing them. I think, however, that the most serious was the point of view of its director, stated in a panel discussion hosted by Anderson Cooper, that as a result of nuclear power, “Nobody has died, nobody has gotten sick and according to the best science in the world, nobody ever will.”

Nobody? Ever? Right. He tried to make the case that everyone who responded to the 1986 Chernobyl disaster is fine (well, except for a few who are not, who don’t matter that much), and everyone who responded to Fukushima are all doing great. The American nuclear industry has an impeccably perfect record.

To put it politely, everything in this movie is a lie or delusion told by people who are seduced by the seemingly supernatural power of nuclear technology and who have succumbed to the dark side. Physicists explain how it’s fantastic in theory, skipping over what can go wrong.

Like the rest of the nuclear industry, the documentary does not address any worst-case scenarios, which must be ignored if the agenda is to persist. For example, what happens if there is a power grid outage with the plants shut down, and there’s no electricity to run the cooling systems?

Planet Waves
Three Mile Island, near Harrisburg, PA, became the visual symbol for all that was wrong with nuclear power. Unit One to the left is still operating; Unit 2 melted down and has not been used since the accident. Photo: Atomic Archive.

Nuclear power plants make energy when they’re on and draw power when they’re off. An energy ejection from the Sun could knock out a huge swath of the power grid. Then what? Not discussed; not mentioned.

What about a meltdown near a big city? You cannot evacuate Tokyo or the metro New York area; there are no plans to do so. Not mentioned.

The idea that the potential for a low-probability but catastrophic event has to be ignored is a central argument of my nuclear power mentor Karl Grossman, who documents how the atomic bomb and nuclear power are the same thing — a fact that the film went to some length to dismiss.

Among those featured were Stewart Brand, devoted pro-nuclear founder of the Whole Earth Catalog; Mark Lynas (a British climate change author and activist), Richard Rhodes (journalist and historian, and author of the Pulitzer-winning The Making of the Atomic Bomb) and Michael Shellenberger (alleged environmental policy expert), all of whom came to the conclusion that nuclear power is the only thing that can save us from global warming.

Helen Caldicott, a doctor and anti-nuclear activist, makes a cameo. Actual environmental advocates were portrayed as fear mongers who are the real problem. This is the ‘blame the messenger’ / An Enemy of the People argument that is getting so old I am surprised anyone falls for it, but hey, we’re talking about humans.

Planet Waves
What could possibly go wrong? Aftermath of 1986 Chernobyl disaster in the Ukraine.

Anderson Cooper’s panel, aired several times through the night, included Ralph Nader, whom Shellenberger accused of being the problem. He said that frantic ’60s- and ’70s-styled Earth Day-types — not radiation — were to blame for unfair public perception of the industry as dangerous. That, in turn, shut down development of new nuclear plants after the 1979 Three Mile Island accident (therefore, the industry could not be given a fair chance).

Watching Pandora’s Poison reminded me of my teenage conversations with my father, who was on the public relations team that tried to clean up after the Three Mile Island accident. Prof. Coppolino went on to be a nuclear power industry communications consultant. What I learned from my father is that the nuclear industry believes that its product is absolutely, perfectly, unquestionably safe.

“We don’t know what to do with the nuclear waste,” I once said.

“I’ll give you that,” he replied. Turns out that was extremely generous of him.

Pandora’s Promise would not go that far — they argued that the problem of nuclear waste was solved perfectly by above-ground, dry cask storage. All the waste generated by all the nuclear power plants in the U.S. so far would merely cover a football field. And hey, it’ll be perfect after a few millennia — except of course for the plutonium, which takes a little longer. Unless the fuel in some storage facility reaches criticality and an uncontrolled fire starts. Or unless someone bombs the place, or if there is a quake and the casks break or…

— Eric Francis


Planet Waves

Mercury direct; Jupiter retrograde

Mercury, which has been retrograde in Scorpio since Oct. 21, finally stations direct this Sunday, Nov. 10 at 4:12 pm EST. This means we’re entering the ‘storm’ phase now: the two or three days on either side of a Mercury station, when communication, travel and electronics can be especially problematic. Notice when you’re not fully focused on the task at hand.

Planet Waves
Jordan Pond in the mist, Acadia National Park, Maine. Photo by Amanda Painter.

Planets do not actually change directions — retrogrades are a trick of perception, giving the illusion of reverse movement relative to our position here on Earth. Astrologically, however, the days around a station carry some tension as Mercury, the fastest of planets, seems to slow down to a stop. It takes a while to pick up speed after its station; so should you, through at least the beginning of next week.

Imagine a large ship throwing its engines in reverse to stop and back up (or vice versa): the water churns. With Mercury in Scorpio, a water sign, that churning could very well stir up all kinds of surprising insights from our darker depths. There is often a sense of ‘the truth comes out’ when Mercury stations direct — as though after a three-week journey of introspection, the planet representing our minds finally releases its discoveries into full consciousness.

Mercury’s retrograde in Scorpio has likely focused you on themes regarding your sexual history; the role of denial in your intimate life or in how you handle your resources (including but not limited to money); secrets regarding sex or death; and what factors determine when you do or do not communicate these things to your partner(s).

If you have not been tracking these themes in your life over the last couple weeks, consider taking a few moments to think back to spot any patterns or trends. Doing so might help you notice subtler “a-ha” moments during the station direct.

Planet Waves
Chart showing the moment Mercury stations direct in Scorpio. Planets in aspect to Mercury include: Pluto and Venus in Capricorn (top of chart), in a loose sextile to Mercury; and Neptune in Pisces (far left), exactly trine Mercury. See glyph legend here.

Eric has described Mercury stations as “bring[ing] out a layer of awareness or understanding that can feel like pulling back a curtain on the obvious.” That pretty much sums up coming out of denial, a theme of recent weeks.

Mercury will station direct in a trine (aspect of ease) to Neptune in Pisces. A Mercury-Neptune trine emphasizes creativity, psychic awareness, and a poetic but practical type of idealism. Sounds like whatever truth is revealed to you Sunday can be used toward inspired or visionary purposes; pay attention to your dreams over the next few days.

Finally, it is worth noting that Jupiter stationed retrograde in Cancer Thursday — “trading places” with Mercury in a sense. Jupiter is the planet of expansion, and in Cancer, that quality is being applied to all things domestic and nurturing, and our emotions. Jupiter’s retrograde is long — lasting until March 6 — so we’re in for a four-month review of how we’ve been handling the things and people we’re charged with nurturing and caring for, including our material success.

Jupiter stationing retrograde is a caution against getting stingy (with money and with intangibles) for the next few months. First, however, the Mercury storm: be focused and careful with financial transactions and emotionally charged communication over the next several days.

— Amanda Painter
Note to Readers: News items below are written and edited by a team consisting of Anne Craig, Eric Francis, Amanda Painter, Susan Scheck and Carol van Strum, with research assistance by the Planet Waves staff. Special thanks to the Fact Checkers List, which goes over each edition on Thursday night — and to our main astrology fact-checker Alex Miller, and Amanda, who goes over all their suggestions. Our editions are also proofread and fact-checked by Jessica Keet.


Planet Waves

Hardcore Conservatives Not Celebrating Much These Days

New York City voters elected public advocate Bill de Blasio, the first Democratic mayor since David Dinkins left office in 1993, by a record-breaking 49 point spread. The race was widely considered a referendum on the past two decades of Republican leadership.

Planet Waves
Bill de Blasio and family at the Park Slope Armory YMCA after winning the New York City mayoral election. Photo: James Keivom / New York Daily News.

Outgoing Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg was perceived as a standard-bearer for the city’s wealthiest, and continued his predecessor Rudy Giuliani’s uber-authoritarian law enforcement tactics, such as stop-and-frisk, where pedestrians are detained, frisked and asked to empty their pockets. They are then arrested if they have a small amount of marijuana, which would have been legal had it remained in their pocket.

De Blasio campaigned against stop-and-frisk, and has promised a tax on residents making over half a million dollars a year that will fund universal pre-kindergarten.

Virginia residents chose the lesser of two evils and elected former Democratic National Committee chair and Clinton intimate Terry McAuliffe over Ken Cuccinelli by a two percent margin. Cuccinelli’s loathing for women and sexuality — he supported “personhood” bills that would have criminalized not just abortion but birth control, and had a curious obsession with Virginia’s anti-sodomy law — helped Virginians overcome any distaste for political insiders or lingering doubts about the Affordable Care Act, which the Cuccinelli campaign had hoped would swing votes their way.

And in an outcome that surprised no one, New Jersey’s governor won a second term over Democrat Barbara Buono. While hardly a progressive darling, Republican Chris Christie sounds moderate enough (and was seen in photos with Pres. Obama) to have aggravated the far right on numerous occasions. His win adds to speculation that he may be a contender for a spot on the 2016 Republican ticket — but he has problems in his past that could make that unlikely.

Numerous races that didn’t make it onto the national radar turned out well for progressive candidates and causes. Among other cheering tidbits, three out of four anti-fracking measures passed in Colorado, liberals swept city council races in Missoula, Montana, and the small town of Coralville, Iowa, resoundingly rejected a well-funded takeover attempt by Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity candidates.


Planet Waves

SCOTUS Refuses Attempt to Preserve Sodomy Law

Ken Cuccinelli II, Virginia’s attorney general and Republican candidate for governor defeated in Tuesday’s election, apparently shot his campaign in the foot with his effort to preserve an outdated sodomy statute. Virginia’s “crimes against nature” law — which bans oral and anal sex — became a tipping point for voters in his race with Democratic candidate Terry McAuliffe, who won.

Planet Waves
“Open wide and take it like a…” Virginia is for lovers after all. AP photo of Ken Cuccinelli.

All state laws of this sort, known as sodomy laws, were struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court in its 2003 ruling Lawrence v. Texas, which decided that private sexual conduct by consenting adult civilians is protected by the U.S. Constitution under the due process clause. Before 2003, 47 states, Washington D.C. and four territories had repealed their sodomy laws on their own, despite their being legal.

In October, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear Cuccinelli’s appeal of a lower court’s ruling that had struck down Virginia’s anti-sodomy law in March 2013. That decision had focused on a 2005 case convicting a 47-year-old man who had solicited oral sex from a minor. Cuccinelli and his supporters claimed the law was necessary to protect children from sexual predators.

However, the Virginia General Assembly has had 10 years to update the law so that it could be used to prosecute predators without conflicting with the 2003 SCOTUS ruling and the Constitution.

A claim by Cuccinelli that the anti-sodomy law “is not — and cannot be — used against consenting adults acting in private” is belied by a 2009 statement suggesting his true agenda: that “homosexual acts are wrong and should not be accommodated in government policy.” Said another way, he’s trying to reestablish the old assertion that homosexual = child molester.

Perhaps given the history of Virginia’s sodomy law, the lag in fixing the wording should be no surprise: in 1778, Thomas Jefferson drafted a law (rejected by the Virginia State Legislature) mandating castration as the punishment for men committing the act — intended as a ‘softer’ punishment than the death penalty.


Planet Waves

Pussy Riot Update: Siberian Silence

News that Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, one of two jailed members of Russian feminist punk band Pussy Riot, is being transferred to a new penal colony has been a mixed blessing — at least her loved ones know she’s alive. Two weeks of silence from prison officials about the 23-year-old had been raising fears of the worst among her supporters.

Planet Waves
Three members of Pussy Riot were originally arrested: (L to R) Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Aliokhina and Yekaterina Samutsevich. Samutsevich was acquitted. Photo: Sergei Chirikov /EPA.

Tolokonnikova and another member of Pussy Riot were jailed after they participated in a February 2012 protest against Vladimir Putin in a Moscow cathedral.

In September, she penned an open letter in The Guardian UK detailing the horrific treatment of prisoners in her Mordovian penal colony — considered one of the worst in Russia — and announcing her decision to wage a hunger strike in protest (see Planet Waves coverage here).

Tolokonnikova’s husband, Pyotr Verzilov, announced on Twitter Tuesday that a reliable source had confirmed she is being moved to a penal colony in a region of Siberia four time zones away from Moscow. He wrote that she is being transferred “as punishment for the resonance of her letter.”

Russia still transfers prisoners in secret, often by train and with an unknown destination. Depending on the number of stops at “transit prisons,” a transfer can take anywhere from two weeks to two months — all the while keeping a prisoner’s family in the dark. (Prisoner transfer is also often secretive in the U.S., but takes less time.)

According to Russia’s rights ombudsman Vladimir Lukin (as reported by Huffington Post via Interfax), prison officials claim her health is acceptable after having been put on an IV drip while on hunger strike; she is eating; and she is being accompanied by a doctor during the transfer. Tolokonnikova is set to be released in March.


Planet Waves

Washington GMO Labeling Law Referendum Still Uncertain

Most news outlets are saying the Washington State measure to adopt mandatory GMO labeling on food failed to pass in Tuesday’s election. Supporters are saying: Not so fast. If passed, it would become the second state to have a GMO law on the books, after Connecticut — which seeks to turn labeling into a regional affair.


Initial reports from the Washington Secretary of State said the initiative is trailing with 45 percent of the vote (55 percent opposed) with about 60% of the vote counted. However, Washington is a mail-in vote state, and final results may not be known for a week or more, with an official number due by Nov. 26. According to an email from Food Democracy Now, about 600,000 votes remain to be counted.

Planet Waves
State Senator Maralyn Chase shows the first election results of I-522 to Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap CEO David Bronner CQ during the Yes on I-522 campaign party in Seattle’s Pioneer Square neighborhood. Photo: Erika Schultz / The Seattle Times.

The Yes on I-522 campaign is still optimistic. Those who live in Seattle and surrounding counties, who have supported the measure in polling, tend to mail their ballots at the last minute, and so election results are often late, said a spokesperson. They believe that these late votes will be enough to pass the initiative.

The initiative was first submitted in February 2013 by grassroots labeling advocates who had collected more than 320,000 signatures, enough to place it before the legislature. Since there had been no resolution in the legislature by April, when the session ended, the measure was placed on the ballot. A similar measure in California was defeated in the November 2012 election.

As in California, the initiative was hotly contested, with opponents — led by Monsanto, DuPont and the Grocery Manufacturers Association — throwing $22 million into the ring, three times the amount as did proponents Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps, Mercola.com and others. A complete list of supporters can be found here, and previous Planet Waves coverage here and here.

Connecticut’s governor signed the nation’s first mandatory GMO labeling law in June 2013, but it contains some conditions that must be met before it can go into effect: four other states must enact similar legislation, one of which must share a border with Connecticut, and the combined population of the Northeastern states that enact GMO-labeling laws must total more than 20 million in population based on the 2010 census.

The conditions were set to protect “local farming by ensuring that the regional agriculture market has adopted the new labeling system before placing an undue and disproportionate burden on Connecticut farmers that requires them to analyze and label products,” according to a press release from the Connecticut Governor’s Office.

In 2013 nearly half of U.S. states have introduced bills requiring labeling or prohibiting GMO foods, according to the Center for Food Safety. CFS has several model bills for those wishing to get an initiative started in their state. Contact them at office@centerforfoodsafety.org.


Planet Waves

You’re Only as Sick as Your Secrets

The allied nations and the American body politic have been dragged kicking and screaming into some family therapy, with 30-year-old Edward Snowden in the role of the courageous problem child — or rather the chess prodigy — who makes the family rethink everything.

Planet Waves
German Chancellor Angela Merkel shows her displeasure over the alleged tapping of her very official-looking cell phone by the NSA. Photo: Julian Stratenschulte / AP.

If you’re German Chancellor Angela Merkel, you can call Obama on the phone and tell him to quit listening to your phone calls. Ordinary folk lack that option, but a consensus seems to have emerged in the wake of National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden’s disclosures about NSA practices: the agency overstepped.

Some of the mind-boggling breadth of the snooping-in-progress is simply the result of there being just so much more data out there to collect in the information age. Spying itself is nothing new.

From Merkel’s phone call to Obama to the about-face of Patriot Act authors (who are now sponsoring the “Freedom Act” in an effort to restrict warrantless wiretaps and mass data collection and increase transparency), a lot that was under the table is now squarely on top of it.

Last weekend featured much discussion of whether Snowden, currently granted “limited asylum” in Russia, should be granted clemency; not on the table, say U.S. officials. Snowden hasn’t requested it, although he has asked for the support of the worldwide community and, in a manifesto published in Germany on Sunday, says that the debate taking place proves he did the right thing.

Snowden reportedly took some 50,000 files when he left the NSA, and has released only about 1 percent of the information so far. A former NSA director told The New York Times recently that spymasters should lay all of their cards on the table and ‘fess up to everything Snowden could possibly say.

What’s unclear is whether any reform imaginable can ever fully restore the level of individual or international privacy presumed and taken for granted before the era of Homeland Security forming an alliance with the age of info-tech. Private corporations routinely partner with public agencies in “fusion centers” where the mission has shifted from counterterrorism to protection against “all hazards.” Apparently, we’re all “hazards” now.


Planet Waves

Planet Waves

Porno Sex Versus Real Sex: The Foodie Version

Much has been written recently about how easy it is to view Internet porn, and to what extent it is influencing the way people think sex is supposed to happen. Finally, here’s the perfect video (posted by Egotastic!) to put the super-human body parts and skills in porn into better perspective… using food. Laugh at the imagery, and take comfort in the statistics: chances are, you and your partners are perfectly normal. And tasty.


Planet Waves

Mercury direct, Sun conjunct Saturn and Monogold

Link to program.

As the Scorpio sky continues to deepen, Planet Waves FM explores the themes coming along with that — a conjunction of the Sun and Saturn Wednesday, introspective Mercury turning direct on Sunday and a recap of the eclipse cycle we just experienced.

Planet Waves
The incredible Monogold, musical guest on Planet Waves FM.

Closing up the first set, I look at the issues the world is facing at the Fukushima nuclear power station in Japan.

My musical guest is the magnificent, incomparable Monogold, who I saw play at BSP last Friday evening.

In Act 2, I continue my sexual advocacy rant, pulling back the veils one by one and getting a look at what is back in the shadows. Note to Scorpios — on Tuesday I recorded your astrology reading for the 2013-2014 solar year.
The reading consists of two sections of astrology and one of tarot, presented in patient, clear detail, light on the astro-talk and rich in psychological insight.

By the way — there’s now a second podcast on Planet Waves FM, featuring indie music. It’s centered at Backstage Studio Productions but you hear about all kinds of great stuff you might not discover otherwise. This week I host with my guitar teacher Dan Sternstein. Here is a direct link.

Behind the Veils of Scorpio – Reading by Eric Francis

Listen to 15 minute preview — and order.

This year has brought the most interesting Scorpio astrology that I ever remember. An unusual eclipse, Mercury retrograde and Saturn all in your sign — plus Pluto in the spotlight of history — I cover all of this and more in your birthday reading.

Planet Waves

Topically, I guide you through the process of aligning with your environment, creating clear agreements with others and the use of time as an ally rather than as something you might struggle with.

In the second section, I take the journey inward and guide you through the process of getting to know the most intimate aspects of who you are, and revealing your innermost secrets to yourself.

While that will be happening for you with or without an astrology reading, being in tune with your planets and knowing something about their message for you will make the process easier and open up the potential for greater creativity in your growth and evolution.

I also include a 30-minute tarot reading using the Voyager tarot by James Wanless, photos of your cards and the chart that I’ve used, access to prior years’ readings and a few other things as well.

Listen to 15 minute preview — and order.
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 was published Friday, Nov. 1. We published Moonshine for the Aries Full Moon  Tuesday, Oct. 15. Moonshine for the Scorpio New Moon was published Tuesday, Oct. 29. 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.


Weekly Horoscope for Friday, Nov. 8, 2013 #974 | By Eric Francis

Aries (March 20-April 19)

Aries (March 20-April 19) — If you have something to say, then say it. I understand you may be hesitating, but I suggest you not miss this opportunity, and that in support of that, you not give yourself excuses to chicken out. Yes, this is one of those situations where you don’t know the effect that revealing something intimate may have on a personal relationship. But you can surmise the effect of not doing so, which is to remain stuck or feeling like there’s no space for you to be yourself. In fact there is space, and you can test that out by being clear, straightforward and explicit, and not holding back any aspect of what you think, what you feel, or what you want. You risk flipping the whole situation from something that feels stagnant to something that actually turns you on.

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) — The ongoing revelation known as your life is about to teach you something about yourself. This is likely to fall into the ‘what you’ve known all along’ category but somehow missed or failed to take conscious note of. With Saturn making its way across your relationship angle, it’s essential to keep your eye on the bottom line, whatever that is for you. You know that stability and commitment are your basic foundations. What the stars are now saying is that in any structured relationship, there must be room to change, grow and exchange ideas that can actually influence the situation. You have a safe container. Now, the question is how far you will go to use it in a creative and evolutionary way. In other words: you have selected your relationship style for a purpose. Now is the time to put that purpose to use.

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) — Any health issues you’re facing are likely to be stress related. Those are the ones that don’t show up on X-rays, blood work, urine tests, CAT scans or dog scans. They’re the ones that most doctors miss or cannot quite identify. If you’ve recently sought medical advice, you might want to seek a second opinion from someone who specializes in the mind-body connection; but more to the point, I suggest you personally look at the connection between what you are feeling and what you’re experiencing physically. This may involve your role in a sexual relationship. You may be over-exerting yourself in some way — that is, trying to impose your will on someone, or alternately, someone may be trying to exert their will on you. Time management could be a question; it’s become clear, if nothing else, that you must pace yourself, and that others must support you in that.

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) — Your life will not spin out of control if you give yourself a little room to experiment. It may seem like existence has been denying you some of the deeper pleasures you desire, though it’s also true that on some level you’ve been avoiding them. This may be because you’re not in the mood to take risks, or because you’ve been pursuing what you regard as more practical matters. In any event, the weather and the tides are shifting, and you’ve been seeing signs of this on your personal horizons for a week or so now, perhaps longer. This is a deeper re-evaluation than it may seem on the surface, involving harmonizing your personal needs and desires, your desire to play and express yourself, and a spiritual dimension. As for the latter, Jupiter in your birth sign is reminding you that the whole concept of ‘spiritual’ is useless unless it leads to happiness and pleasure.

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) — You seem to be doing a pretty good job at avoiding being emotionally overwhelmed, despite having a number of excuses to feel that way. You have the ability to withdraw part of yourself into a secret location. I suggest you avoid that tendency, though, and move in the opposite direction — that is, stay close to the surface of your awareness. Be present for yourself and the people around you. Maintain some equilibrium between your inner life and your immediate environment. Said simply, you’re better off if you reveal to others how you feel, which may not involve explaining it in detail but rather with a simple statement and allowing yourself the space to be exactly as you are. This is not about there being no place to hide; it’s about opening the windows and allowing in fresh air and sunshine.

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) — There is little point trying to organize the mental details, an exact plan or trying to get control by collecting all of the information that’s out there. You’re probably feeling the inclination to exert your power that way, an impulse that can be better directed. There’s a very good point to knowing where you stand with yourself at all times, even if you don’t have words for it. In other words, the most vital information you can have is your own opinion, and what your intuition is telling you. You don’t need to know what everyone else thinks or what is motivating them; you merely need to know what is motivating you, and put that information to work. While you’re sometimes reluctant to trust your intuition if you don’t have some other form of data, you’re now in territory where your hunches can trump what seem like hard and cold facts. That’s the problem with them — their inflexibility. Notice that your intuition will keep you responsive to your feelings and your environment from moment to moment, updating you constantly.

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 suggest you respond to a burning desire rather than denying it or trying to pretend it’s not affecting you. You may have tried to compartmentalize this one many times, and it hasn’t worked. Now you get to burst out of those compartments, and it’s probably going to feel awesome. It could be awesome in that orgasmic way, or like when a shard of glass that got embedded in your skin years ago finally makes its way to the surface, tearing the skin to get out but it feels awesome because it’s finally getting out. Or as is most likely, a deep inner truth that you’re finally coming to terms with, which is arriving with an awesome sense of relief. It’s a beautiful thing to actually feel committed and passionate, and to put the two together. It’s awesome when you allow yourself to acknowledge the love that you feel.

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) –Think of this moment as a focal point where numerous themes, issues and story lines both intersect and diverge. Everything you’ve done has led you to this point, and you can take your life many different directions from here. You may know this on one level, yet you seem poised to discover it on another. There is an image in your chart about bringing these two levels of awareness together — and stepping fully into what you know, including what you know about where you’ve been. There are some experiences you don’t want to repeat, and others that you want to explore more deeply; you’re also becoming aware of what you’ve never done before that you simply must experiment with. Most significantly, there are places you want to go, by which I mean with every cell of your DNA sending the same message, and I suggest you make plans to visit at least one of them within the next six months.

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) — At a certain point, you’re going to have to think of yourself as being something other than emotionally wounded. It’s true that you’ve suffered some injuries; everyone has, and you have a few that stand out in comparison to the people you know. It’s just that carrying around that idea makes something that happened in the past realer than it is, and realer than it needs to be. You may not be able to directly address the past situation; you may not be able to resolve it. But information is becoming available from another part of your consciousness which may show you two things: one is how you’ve put what happened in the past to good use, and I do mean very good use. The other is that while you may have some memory or personality matrix organized around this past event, you have in fact moved beyond it, and no longer need to define your personality or the trajectory of your life around this thing.

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) –It’s not easy to take even a single step outside of the reasoning that love is good and lust is bad, which reasoning is based on the notion that there is some actual distinction to be made. Sure, checking out someone’s ass as they walk down the street is different from deep and abiding friendship. Yet that fact alone does not make one bad and the other good, or one fake and the other real. Both are natural, and for your purposes, what is natural is healthy and related to everything else that’s a fact of nature. At the moment your tendency is likely to be running in the direction of lusty passion, a sensation that’s going to grow stronger over the next few days. This is more likely to put you into the company of people you’re in harmony with.

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) — You can finally divorce your parents. It’s about time. The thing about some divorces (if not all) is they make it easier to move on and be friends. The thing about divorcing your parents is that this makes it possible for the kid who is grafted to them, or to an idea of who they are (or were), to step up and be an adult. It’s not easy to see the influence that unhealthy bonding with mother and father has, especially if that influence is everywhere. You have reached the point in your life when you know it’s time to be your own authority. That’s the only way to get over what some call ‘authority issues’. It’s not necessary to project authority onto others, then rebel against it. I would say that if you want to be happy, it’s necessary to claim the right to run your own life. It’s not easy but it is possible — now.

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) — If you knew how protected you are, you would worry a lot less. Yet you still have a layer of learning, or programming, that says you have to be vigilant every minute, and to discern, in advance, the influence that something will have on you. I would point out that vigilance and fear are two different things, and that you’re now at a different level of learning. You have mastered, or at least reached, an advanced level on certain skills, including problem-solving. While at one time you may have learned that it’s not a good idea to use your ability to get out of trouble as an excuse to be careless, you can now count on it a little more. Yet something else is working for you, which is a guidance system that it’s taken you years to cultivate. This is a form of vigilance operating beyond normal awareness, working in the background, and with considerable support from what you might think of as spiritual agency. You can trust it; events in the coming days will show you that.

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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Quantum News

Dear Friend and Reader:

This is one of those weeks when the lead story — at least here in the United States — seems to be how the world is falling apart. The sensation of everything happening all at once is typical of the 2012 era; it’s also typical of the Uranus-Pluto phase we’re in; and it makes sense when you remember how many of our national leaders are obsessed with creating the apocalypse.

Planet Waves
Diagram shows how mountains above Boulder, Colorado, acted as a drainage system and flooded the valley below them.

I mean that many of these people on the right flank are obsessed with the End Times — so obsessed they are doing their best to make it real. I will come back to that bit; it involves the potential shutdown of the federal government on Oct. 1.

There was also another mass shooting, this time by a mentally ill former sailor who was working as a security-cleared military contractor.

Iran’s leaders, responding to a letter that Pres. Obama sent last month, have stated their intention not to develop a nuclear bomb, in exchange for being able to participate in the world economy. Many people don’t want to believe them — they are, after all, the Iranians, to whom the Americans and Brits have been so vicious during the past century. Persians wanting to buy, sell and trade with the rest of the world is, I reckon, a legitimate motive for abandoning any nuclear ambitions they might have had.

Pope Francis, in an interview released Thursday, said the Roman Catholic Church needs to end its obsession with gays, abortion and birth control. Some welcomed this as a long overdue awakening; others said it was mere public relations spin. It will serve, at least, to ratchet down the level of mania, as many Catholics really do take what the pope says as a message directly from God. We are all waiting for the pope to announce it’s time for the church to end its obsession with young boys and while they’re at it, allow priests to marry and have healthy sexual and emotional lives.

While some religious leaders tried to take a more moderate tone, Republicans in the House of Representatives voted to cut $39 billion in food and nutrition aid to the poor. Among other arguments: it will be good for them to have to work a little harder. Many of the recipients are children, the elderly and disabled war veterans.

Meanwhile, it’s been a week of watery, emotional astrology, which may have infiltrated your dreams, kept you up at night and flushed out old memories, forgotten people and mixed emotions. Venus has been conjunct Saturn in Scorpio (that was exact Wednesday); Thursday, the Pisces Full Moon was conjunct sea-goddess Salacia; all of which combined with a grand water trine that includes Chiron and Neptune in Pisces and Jupiter in Cancer.

Planet Waves
Flood damaged road on the Colorado front range. Vermont flood experts, familiar with rebuilding after Tropical Storm Irene, are in Colorado to help with reconstruction efforts. Photo by Joe Amon.

That’s a lot of water. Jupiter in Cancer for its part provides the water sign connection to the Uranus-Pluto square (the backbone of the 2012-era pattern). It joins the grand water trine described above with the grand cross in the cardinal signs (currently Mercury, Jupiter, Uranus, Pluto and Typhon — with the Sun on its way in a matter of days). What we have right now is the whole sky working as one interconnected system.

Speaking of watery, let’s focus on what’s been happening in Colorado, which I have not mentioned yet; I was distracted by the smoke and mirrors of warlords threatening us with the Final Battle erupting in Syria.

While all of that was going on, and politicians were laying wreaths in commemoration of the Sept. 11 anniversary, it started raining in Colorado. During the week starting on Sept. 9, 2013, a slow-moving cold front stalled over the Rockies, clashing with warm, humid monsoonal air from the south.

With the storm system stuck in place, it kept raining, particularly along the Front Range — the place many of us have traveled at least once, the region along the eastern edge of the Rockies, which extends from Colorado Springs up through Denver, Boulder and Fort Collins. This is the most developed and heavily populated area in Colorado.

A combination of factors, including the amount of rain in a short time (in some places, a year’s worth of precipitation falling in a matter of hours), the natural geography and widespread pavement preventing proper drainage, created what are being described as some of the most intense flash floods in U.S. history. In some areas this is being described as a 1,000-year flood event.

A statistical summary only begins to sketch out the damage. Flood waters have spread across a range far longer than the 200 miles from north to south, affecting 17 counties in Colorado. But the damage has spread far to the south, including many parts of New Mexico, which is not being reported by the news.

As of press time, 172 people are unaccounted for (in Colorado alone) and six are known to have died. At least 19,000 homes were damaged, 15,000 were destroyed, 50 bridges damaged or destroyed, and miles of freight and passenger railroads damaged, washed out or submerged.

Unless you’ve been through a catastrophic flood, it’s hard to understand what it’s like. And what everyone finds out is that unlike a fire, damage that happens in the aftermath is comparable to what happened in the initial event.

Planet Waves
Happy campers — residents (both keeping a grip on the dog) to be evacuated by helicopter from Jamestown, Colorado, after a flash flood destroyed much of the own Sept. 14. Photo by Rick Wilking.

Case in point: this region of Colorado is densely concentrated with fracking wells — a process used in the extraction of ‘natural’ gas. The fracking process involves many toxic chemicals, which are often stored on-site at the wells, hundreds or thousands of which are or were recently under water. This will spread the toxins across the landscape, into rivers and streams and into homes and businesses.

There are 3,200 permits for open-air fracking chemical pits in Weld County alone, and though most are not operating, this gives you an idea of the potential scale of the problem. In short, it’s impossible to contain toxins in the midst of a catastrophic flood.

Half-full tanks are floating and being torn from their anchors. Diesel and gasoline tanks are being torn loose as well, rupturing and causing oil spills into river systems. If it’s possible to run a fracking operation in a way that’s prepared for such an event, nobody bothered to do it.

Astrologically, how does this look? I’ve started with the chart for Colorado’s admission into the Union, which happened Aug. 1, 1876. Among other features, Colorado’s chart has a grand water trine involving Venus, Jupiter, the North Node, Saturn and Eris. So we’re starting with a lot of water in a state dominated by mountains (not much room for water).

In addition, Colorado has four points in Leo — Mercury, the Sun, Mars and Uranus. For some reason I don’t understand, I’ve noticed that historically, Leo can be associated with very serious floods. (William Lilly even mentions this in his 1647 text, Christian Astrology.) And through all that, Leo was taking some serious transits.

For example, Saturn is now square Colorado’s Leo cluster; as the rain began, Mars was conjunct the Leo cluster; the lunar nodes are involved (square the Leo cluster). So the core of Colorado’s chart is under transits that indicate, at least, some form of crisis. Few would intuitively associate Leo with flooding, but astrology symbols are not always intuitive.

Planet Waves
Perfect use for military equipment — National Guard helicopter and crew at Boulder Municipal Airport assist people they’d rescued from one of the mountain towns. Photo by Mark Leffingwell.

When you do progressions of the Colorado chart, you find out that the Moon is conjunct Mercury in Capricorn, in a close square to the Aries Point — the place where individual events coincide with collective events. Progressions are a way of advancing the natal chart based on a time formula (most commonly, one day of movement per year of time). That means that Colorado was, for whatever reason, destined to be big news this month.

Had I seen this all, could I have predicted floods? I don’t think so, but I now have clues what to look for in the future. There’s also the question of what good it would do, apart from astrology being an interesting parlor game; you cannot base public policy or emergency plans on what an astrologer says. But several people have written to me asking for an analysis.

I think we have to keep this in the context of larger weirdness in weather patterns. Many have noted that it may be too late to slow down or stop carbon emissions. If that is true, then we better get up to date on Plan B, which is really fantastic emergency and rebuilding plans. Heck, many of the bridges that were washed out needed to be replaced anyway. Maybe this is how we’ll get about the task of maintaining our society.

And Another Military Mass Shooting

The guys who hired Aaron Alexis as a Navy contractor now say they would not have given him a job if they knew about his little problems — shooting out someone’s tires with a .45; firing a gun through the floor of his apartment into his downstairs neighbor’s apartment; his problematic disciplinary record in the Navy; and the fact that he was hearing voices and experiencing people sending vibes through the walls of his hotel rooms. Just before Monday’s shooting, he called the police reporting that people were beaming microwaves at him in his hotel room.

Planet Waves
American flags surrounding the Washington Monument fly at half-staff as ordered by Pres. Obama early on Sept. 17, 2013 following the Washington Navy Yard shooting. Photo by J. Scott Applewhite.

Since he was indeed hired and did get security clearance, he was able to walk into Building 197 in Washington D.C.’s famous old Navy Yard — the operational headquarters of the United States Navy — and kill 12 people and injure many others, before the SWAT teams he engaged in a fire fight were able to kill him.

As longtime Planet Waves reader Beverly Spicer summed up on my Facebook page, “This is what happens in a society waging long-term/permanent war in multiple theaters, treating all active duty and vets as disposable, militarizing the home front, and heaving ranting, raving news anchors, pundits, Hollywood fear and loathing at the population 24/7 as standard policy, while regarding the solution to all PTSD and emotional problems as pharmaceutical. It is the new paradigm. And it justifies the ever-growing, albeit ineffective, security/industrial apparatus.”

By my count, this is the third mass shooting involving the military. The first was the Virginia Tech incident in April 2007, wherein 32 people were killed. This happened on a campus directly involved with the military establishment [Planet Waves coverage here.]

The second was the Fort Hood shooting in November 2007, wherein 13 were killed. [Planet Waves coverage here.] In Vietnam one of the signs of the time was fragging — shooting one’s superior officer. Mass shootings at military institutions are an equally disturbing trend.

The chart for this incident reveals that Mercury was involved in the Uranus-Pluto square: it had just made its square to Pluto and was exactly opposite Uranus — exact to a tiny fraction of a degree. Mercury was rising, and volatile Uranus was setting — to about one degree of exactitude — when Alexis started shooting at 8:18 am. Mercury was exactly, precisely conjunct Typhon at that moment — and it was rising.

Planet Waves
Bishops Gerald Seabrooks, right, and Willie Billips stand in front of the home of Cathleen Alexis, mother of Washington Navy Yard gunman Aaron Alexis. She said she does not know why her son did what he did, and she will never be able to ask him. The bishops are part of a Brooklyn clergy-NYPD task force. Photo by Scott Wenig.

This was a blowing off of steam, it was a message, and it was a warning. I’ve spent a lot of time the past few weeks with the 2014 charts. Starting in December, Mars will be in Libra, joining forces with the cardinal grand cross (Jupiter, Uranus, Pluto and Typhon).

Because there will be a long Mars retrograde early next year, Mars will aspect all of those planets three times, first direct, then retrograde, then direct. The peak of this happens April 23, when Mars aligns exactly with Jupiter, Uranus, Pluto and Typhon.

If little Mercury getting involved can symbolize this kind of shooting, Mars has a lot more potential to be destructive. This topic is on my list of top three astrological events for the remainder of 2013, and I will be devoting the whole 2014 annual to the topic — it will be called The Mars Effect.

There will indeed be a focus on the military, domestic and international militarism, the gun issue and the one thing they all have in common, which is how we relate to one another (in many respects, a Libra factor).

One more topic for this week: the potential shutdown of the federal government on Sept. 30. It seems like a lot of the Tea Party Republicans elected in 2012 came to Washington with the intent of messing shit up. The racial undertones are undeniable; they seem to hate Obama so much they won’t even cooperate in starting a war. That must have hurt.

We’ve seen a few of these standoffs before; one resulted in the bond rating for the United States being lowered by one of the ratings agencies, with all kinds of global repercussions. The game that certain elements among the Republicans are playing is: hold the country hostage to get something they want.

Here is how CNN put it in an article Thursday. I will interject my commentary in italics.

Planet Waves
John Boehner, clearly an extra-biological entity of some kind (i.e., an alien) is being held hostage by other aliens. AP photo.

CNN writes: House GOP leaders announced their intention Wednesday to pass a bill this week that would only keep the government running after September 30 if President Barack Obama’s health care reform law is fully defunded.

This is a law that was invented by the right-wing Heritage Foundation, passed by Democrat-controlled Congress, signed by the president and approved by the Supreme Court. It is, so far, the only thing that Obama has really accomplished. The House of Representatives has voted between 40 and 50 times to defund Obamacare, knowing that such a provision won’t ever make it through the Senate or be signed by Obama.

CNN: The decision sets up a high-stakes game of political chicken over the next 12 days, as Democrats have repeatedly rejected any attempt to undo the president’s signature legislative achievement.

This is a hostage crisis, which is a form of terrorism. It’s also hijacking the political process — a threat to shut down the government unless one law is repealed.

CNN: “We’re going to continue to do everything we can to repeal the president’s failed health care law,” said House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio. “The law is a train wreck.”

I wish I knew what he was talking about; I think he’s hallucinating. So far we have not heard about any significant negative repercussions of this law; if they exist, it would be nice if he would tell us what they are. I think Boehner is projecting: he and his caucus are the train wreck.

CNN: “We aim to put a stop to Obamacare before it costs one more job or raises a family’s out-of-pocket expenses one more dollar,” said House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Virginia.

Mr. Lean Hungry needs to specify what he’s talking about, lest we accuse of him of lying. He’s offering no specifics; no accounting; no person unemployed by the Affordable Health Care act. He seems to be referring to his own actions and intentions.

Planet Waves
Eric Cantor, the genetically modified House Majority Leader, is in favor of shutting down the government if it will stop Obama’s Affordable Care Act, in his hallucinations. AP photo.

I would be less nervous about this if the astrology starting Oct. 1 was not quite so challenging. I won’t state it as dramatically here as I might say it to my friends; but putting it gently, it’s a gradually building maelstrom, meaning a gigantic whirlpool or spiral vortex.

The Sun is about to ingress Libra, and in doing so, mount the cardinal cross (just like Venus and Mercury just did, and just like Mars will do next year). From Libra, it will make a square to Pluto, an opposition to Uranus, a conjunction to Typhon and a square to Jupiter — all between Oct. 1 and Oct. 12.

Then Mercury stations retrograde, in the midst of which we have two eclipses, one in late October and one in early November.

We’re in a phase of ‘one thing leads to another’, in rapid developing style, starting Oct. 1 and well into January — by which time Mars is fully involved with the cardinal cross as well. And, just as this starts to peak, we have some wacko sociopaths huffing the shoe polish of power threatening to shut down the government, deprive the people of the benefit of their taxes already paid, put the government into default and shock financial markets around the world.

Yes, this is bigger than each of us, but it’s not bigger than all of us. Is the answer really to do nothing and hope for the best? I don’t think so.


Flooding of the Front Range: A Chronology

Rain began soaking Colorado’s Front Range area on Monday, Sept. 9 and didn’t let up. The Front Range is a range of the Southern Rockies that extends from Wyoming into Colorado. “Front Range” is also how Coloradans describe the urban corridor in the foothills just to the east of the mountains, an area that includes both Denver and Boulder and is the most densely populated part of the state.

Some minor flooding was first reported on Wednesday, Sept. 11, near Cascade. The Manitou River was high, as were many creeks in an area called the Waldo Canyon Fire Scar. The Manitou Springs emergency siren sounded twice on the morning of Sept. 11, and the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office was making warning calls to Manitou Springs businesses and residents, telling them to be prepared. “Monsoon moisture” was flooding into Colorado from the south. By 5 pm on Wednesday, many flood watches had turned to warnings along the Front Range.

Read more…

This week’s news briefs were written and researched by Amanda Painter, Susan Scheck, Carol van Strum and your friendly neighborhood news editor, Eric Francis.

Planet Waves

Get Ready for the Mighty Equinox

With much astrology behind us, we have plenty ahead of us: the next event on the horizon is the Libra equinox. With this event, exact Sept. 22 at 4:44 pm EDT, the Sun is midway between the solstices, and rumor has it that day and night are of equal length all over the world.

Planet Waves
The Pisces Full Moon over Casco Bay in Portland, Maine. Photo by Amanda Painter.

This makes the equinox a unifying event: regardless of climate, geography or culture, there is some natural feature that we have in common, at least temporarily.

Libra is also about finding a point of balance, which I suggest you take advantage of while it lasts. Pretty soon the Sun begins making aspects to all those other planets on the cardinal cross, with the peak intensity being between Oct. 1 and 12.

Yet even beginning immediately, we’re likely to see things, as in world events, heat up — even more than they already have. Libra is part of the cardinal cross, along with Aries, Cancer and Capricorn. The first degree of Libra is an extension of the Aries Point (the first degree of Aries) — where the individual and the collective intersect; that is a fact of life in our era of history. This can be overwhelming, it can be interesting and it can feel like a call to action.

As the Sun passes through the Jupiter-Uranus-Pluto-Typhon configuration, the energy will ramp up in degrees or leaps to the next order of magnitude. It’ll be essential, then, that you focus on the individual side of the Aries Point equation.

This is not about shutting out the world, but rather recognizing that in order to participate in anything real at the hectic pace of contemporary life, it’s necessary to have some inner focus, and some authentic space for your most intimate relationships. This needs to be a conscious act now more than ever.

The equinox chart includes several planets in aspect to a highly energetic centaur planet called Pholus. Mercury is sextile this point; Mars is trine it; and Jupiter is quincunx it. Pholus is feeding energy into all those other planets, though the main thing that Pholus demands is intent. Beware of idle curiosity, decisions made under the influence of alcohol and drugs, or anything done under the influence of alcohol and drugs for that matter.

It’s necessary to honor Bacchus and all of the other gods and goddesses; where Pholus is in the picture, it’s necessary to raise your standards of judgment.

As you will read in a fully developed article in next Friday’s edition, we have a heck of an autumn and winter coming up, leading into a most unusual year of astrology ahead. Think of the next few weeks as a practice run.


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

Iranian President Promises, ‘No Nukes!’

Iran’s new president, Hassan Rouhani, made a shocker of a declaration Wednesday when he told NBC News correspondent Ann Curry that Iran will “never develop nuclear weapons under any circumstances, and that he has ‘full authority’ to make a deal with the West.”

In the interview he tells Curry Iran has never tried to build a nuclear weapon. Instead, he explained, “We solely are looking for peaceful nuclear technology.”

Planet Waves
Ann Curry of NBC goes all ‘fan girl’ and snaps a photo of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. Photo: Lance Lundstrom / NBC News.

“Can you say that Iran will not build a nuclear weapon under any circumstances whatsoever?” Curry asked.

“The answer to this question is quite obvious,” Rouhani responded. “We have time and again said that under no circumstances would we seek any weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons, nor will we ever.”

Curry conducted the first U.S. interview with Rouhani, ahead of his inaugural trip to address the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday.

Iran has been attempting to reverse its belligerent image in the West, carefully backing away from the reputation gained from former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s wild rhetoric.

“Rouhani’s speech is expected to be the main event in nearly a week of interviews, think tank talks and other appearances meant to showcase a newly moderate, approachable face of the Iranian government,” said an article in Thursday’s Washington Post.

U.S. officials have been encouraged by the about-face, including the public discussion of Iran’s disputed nuclear program. Yet history clearly indicates an abundance of caution is in order, something the Obama administration acknowledges.

“Rouhani’s comments are very positive, but everything needs to be put to the test, and we’ll see where we go,” Secretary of State John F. Kerry said Thursday.


Planet Waves

Fighting the Injustice of Food Insecurity

Republicans in the House of Representatives voted Thursday to cut the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, also known as food stamps), by 5.2 percent ($40 billion over 10 years). That would pull up to 6 million Americans off of food assistance, since, as House Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions, R-Texas, said, “There are still jobs in America.” The measure now goes to the Senate.

Planet Waves

Ron Shaich, CEO and founder of Panera Bread (and Panera Cares, full-menu cafes without prices designed to feed the hungry with dignity) on day #2 of the SNAP Challenge.


While the very partisan vote was occurring, the founder and CEO of the Panera Bread chain of cafes was trying eat on just $4.50 per day.

Ron Shaich, who earns about $3 million a year and previously founded Au Bon Pain, joined 26 members of Congress in taking the SNAP Challenge. The SNAP Challenge is part of Hunger Action Month, which strives to spread awareness of the challenges encountered by the 49 million Americans who rely on food stamps to feed their families.

Shaich was been blogging about his experience. In his post for Day #5 of the challenge, he shares some of the real-life stories he has received from people who rely on SNAP, reminding readers that his participation “was not meant to trivialize anyone else’s experience or claim that this week of temperance depicts an authentic representation of food insecurity. … Rather, my intent with this challenge is to learn and, more importantly, to use my position to build awareness about the realities of food insecurity in America.”

Over the course of the week, Shaich has run up against common realities such as having to forego nutritious food for carb-heavy items that fill him up but leave him feeling sick, and obsessing over whether his remaining food will be enough.

Fittingly, the SNAP challenge and the House vote happened as Vesta (sacrifice) is moving into a conjunction with Ceres (grain, agriculture, our relationship with food) in Virgo (service).

Shaich and his colleagues get to return to food security at the end of the week; tens of millions of Americans are not so lucky, and after yesterday’s vote, millions more elderly, children and veterans could join them. For ideas on what you can do to raise awareness around food insecurity, visit www.hungeractionmonth.org.
Planet Waves

Pope Chastises Church for Obsession with Dogma

Coming two months after his now-famous remark about homosexuality — “Who am I to judge?” — Pope Francis surprised the world and shocked his followers by saying the church is “obsessed” with abortion, gay marriage and contraception, and has chosen to keep silent on those issues.

Planet Waves
Pope Francis waving goodbye to Vatican hysteria over abortion and homosexuals. Ok, not really — it’s a shot form his inauguration day. Close enough. Photo: Gregorio Borgia/AP.

In an interview released Thursday with a Vatican-approved Italian Jesuit journal, the pope criticized the church for prioritizing moral and dogmatic doctrines ahead of love and service to the poor and marginalized. He cited the church as a “home for all,” a clear break with the views of his predecessors Popes John Paul II and Benedict.

“We have to find a new balance,” the pope said, “otherwise even the moral edifice of the church is likely to fall like a house of cards, losing the freshness and fragrance of the Gospel.”

The pope’s views are likely to have repercussions among conservative Catholic clergy, who have repeatedly attacked abortion, homosexuality and gay marriage. However, liberal Catholics and those who have fallen away from the church may view his remarks more hopefully, as this commenter on a New York Times article said:

“Our pope is making clear to all who missed the lesson in Sunday school and seminary: the central, unique, onlyiest, singular, wonderful, mystical, fantasmogorical definitional characteristic of a Catholic Christian is LOVE. Love is how they will know us; salvation not condemnation; spirit of the law (love), rather than letter of the law, rendering unto God what is God’s and to Obama what is Obama’s; and never, but never, casting the first stone … Francis says we lost the fragrance of the gospel — well it’s springtime in the church and I can smell the flowers again.”
Planet Waves

Bring Your Parents to Work Day?

Increasingly, U.S. companies are turning ‘bring your child to work day’ upside down, involving parents in corporate social events, intern receptions and even hiring interviews, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Planet Waves
“When you support a muscle or tendon for a long period of time and never let it perform its intended function, it will atrophy. The same applies with [young adult] children.” Ben On at UpstartHR.com.

“It’s become best practice,” says Michael Van Grinsven, field-growth and development director at the Milwaukee-based Northwestern Mutual, where some managers send notes to parents when interns have reached sales goals. They’ll even invite parents to interviews and visit them at home.

Parental involvement in employment is much more common in other countries, but in the United States, it looks like an outgrowth of the ‘helicopter parent’ trend: Baby Boomers who have an unusually strong hand in steering their ‘Millennial generation’ children through college.

Young adults born between 1981 and the early 2000s stay in much closer contact with their parents than previous recent generations, partly a result of the Internet and cell phones. But are there deeper social factors at play? And what does it do to a culture when individuation into full adulthood is delayed later and later?

Psychologist Jan Seward, a Planet Waves contributor, notes that in the U.S., we have “no constructive model of aging — how to grow old gracefully, be honored for the wisdom one has accumulated, and how to step aside so the younger generation can assume their natural place in the developmental hierarchy, and you find parents who simply cannot let go of their parental role and children increasingly infantilized and failing to launch.”

Businesses claim to be concerned with making sure there is enough ‘fresh talent’ — a sentiment that rings hollow given numerous reports of the difficulty college grads face in finding employment in their chosen fields.

“Corporations have always engaged in social engineering, creating new definitions of family and community to suit their financial ends — think suburbia, or soccer Moms,” continues Seward. “In this case, even the classification of ‘Millennial’ is as much an advertising construct as it is a sociological reality. In the case of Bring Your Parents to Work Day, I believe it’s an example of leveraging the social realities of family loyalty and filial guilt to maintain the corporate goals of employee loyalty and building a new customer base — all those proud parents — at the same time.”
Planet Waves

A ‘Pound of Flesh’ for Peace of Mind:

Unnecessary Double Mastectomies on the Rise in Younger Women

Awareness about breast cancer has increased exponentially in recent years; everyone knows what a pink ribbon means, and you can buy everything from a pink spatula to pink versions of your favorite NFL team’s gear to show your support of awareness and research for a cure. But has ‘awareness’ crossed the line into ‘fear’?

Planet Waves
They’re ‘breasts’, not ‘ta-tas’ — and fear won’t save them.

Research published online in the Annals of Internal Medicine suggests that “fear, not facts, may be driving young women diagnosed with cancer in one breast to remove them both, despite medical evidence that says it likely won’t improve survival.”

The research further indicates that, “women younger than 40 who opted for a second mastectomy of a healthy breast did so to reduce the perceived risk of another cancer — even when they knew better,” with 95 percent of them citing the desire for “peace of mind” as the motivating factor.

More than 120 women under 40 with breast cancer in one breast who chose to have a double mastectomy were surveyed, according to a Reuters article.

CBS News reports on its website that “94 percent of the women … said they believed removing the healthy breast would give them a better chance at overall survival.” Sadly, nearly all of the respondents had “overestimated their actual risk of getting cancer in the other breast,” according to the researchers. Only slightly more than half of the women reported that their doctors had discussed reasons not to have the additional surgery, which has nearly quadrupled in frequency since the 1990s.

“The apparent discordance between patient perceptions and realistic expectations provides a teachable opportunity for physicians treating newly diagnosed patients with breast cancer,” write Pamela R. Portschy, MD, and Todd M. Tuttle, MD, MS, in an accompanying editorial.

Cancer is terrifying to most people, and navigating the risks and benefits of treatment options is bewildering and uncertain enough even if fear isn’t running the show. Why are we more afraid of cancer than we are of needlessly amputating parts of ourselves?
Planet Waves

Colorado Floods Compound Fracking Damage

Receding Colorado floodwaters are revealing flooded fracking (hydraulic fracturing) sites, toppled condensate tanks, floating tanks leaking unknown fluid and scattered debris from drilling operations. One pipeline near Greeley in Weld County is broken and leaking. The Weld and Boulder County area is one of the most densely fracked in the U.S. — and now perhaps the most contaminated.

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Condensate tank storing toxic waste from drilling operations displaced by flooding in Colorado. The toxicity of the liquids is largely unknown because they have been exempted from federal environmental laws. Photo: Carl Ericson / Ecowatch.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is urging everyone in Colorado to avoid contact with the water, warning it could contain sewage or chemicals washed away from flooded homes, businesses or industry.

“If people must be in contact with floodwaters, they should wash frequently with warm water and soap,” said CDPHE Spokesman Mark Salley.

All of the major oil and gas companies have shut down their wells. However, open pits and ruptured gas lines are of greatest concern because waste flushed out of pits cannot be seen easily and ruptured gas lines can explode. In Weld County alone, there are 3,200 permits for open pits, according to The Denver Post.

Reports differ on the number of open pits, which can hold about 200 to 400 barrels of liquid (8,400 to 16,800 gallons). Todd Hartman, spokesman at the Colorado Department of Natural Resources, said it was rare for open pits to be used in that part of the state and that most flowback water was placed in closed tanks.

“We are assessing the impact to open pits, including building a count of how many pits may have been affected,” Hartman said.

If you think you’ve seen a leaking fracking site due to flooding, report it to the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission here.
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John Grade’s interactive weather-art installation, “Capacitor,” (minus participants) translates microscopic elements of weather into a 20-foot-tall experience of light, shape and shadow. Image: video still.

Sculpture Lets Visitors Walk Inside the Weather

We all know the saying, “Art imitates life.” A new kinetic sculpture aiming to catch the vagaries of the weather could be described as art imitating astrology, as so many weather effects and global events are being described by watery planetary placements right now.

John Grade’s “Capacitor” is a huge illuminated honeycomb of flashspun high-density polyethylene fabric, light-emitting diodes and wood, connecting to weather sensors on the roof of the John Michael Kohler Arts Center in Wisconsin. It reflects changes in heat, wind, temperature and luminosity, with LED lights embedded in the honeycomb becoming brighter or dimmer depending on weather patterns.

“I was interested in gauging something that was going on with the weather and bringing it into the gallery so that people could experience it viscerally and on a different time scale,” Grade explains in this video.
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 Salacia, Pisces Full Moon and a Red Flag Incident

In this week’s edition of Planet Waves FM, I cover Thursday’s Pisces Full Moon, which was conjunct the relatively new planet Salacia. Named for the consort of Neptune and a goddess of the Sea, I think it’s pretty special to have a Full Moon in Pisces conjunct this point — though it’s been difficult to predict what it might mean. That’s why I call these ‘proving moments’, wherein a planet’s properties emerge.

In the second half of the program I cover the Building 197 incident — Monday’s shooting at the Navy Yard in Washington, DC (see chart). First a clarification: the suspect, Aaron Alexis, didn’t have top secret clearance — he merely had security clearance. But the irony is still there — he had security clearance despite a history of arrests, firearms incidents and a ridiculously spotty career in the Navy. What is the meaning of security?

You can see his chart here. I also look briefly at the chart of the NRA.

Here is my initial writeup on the Building 197 incident. Here is a commentary on the emotional onslaught of the news that I wrote Monday night, called Missing the Obvious.

Our musical guest tonight is Vajra, who performed this week at Backstage Studio in uptown Kingston, NY.
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Your Monthly Horoscopes — and our Publishing Schedule Notes

Inner Space for October is published below in this issue; we will publish the extended monthly for October next Friday. We published the extended monthly horoscopes for September on Friday, Aug. 23; Inner Space horoscopes for September published Friday, Aug. 30. The Moonshine horoscopes for the Virgo New Moon were published Tuesday, Sept. 3. We published the Moonshine horoscopes for the Pisces Full Moon Tuesday, Sept. 16. 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.
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Inner Space Horoscope for October 2013 #967 | By Eric Francis
Mercury goes retrograde in Scorpio on Oct. 21 and stations direct Nov. 10. This is the third and last Mercury retrograde of the year, all of which take place exclusively in water signs. This promises to be a particularly interesting phase in part owing to the fact that it takes place in Scorpio (rarely ever boring) and also because there are two eclipses in the neighborhood. The first is a penumbral eclipse of the Moon in Aries on Oct. 18 (the Aries Full Moon), followed by an annular total eclipse of the Sun in Scorpio on Nov. 3 (the Scorpio New Moon). This combination of two eclipses and a Mercury retrograde is strongly implying that it would be best to get ahead on large projects, and to be conscious what details you leave for the end of the year. This phase will also be a proving moment for commitments, which you may discover either deepen or go away.

Aries (March 20-April 19)

Aries (March 20-April 19) — You will need to micromanage your joint financial affairs. This would include everything from shared bank accounts to shared bills to mutually held investments. I suggest you read everything twice and take notes about all conversations that involve plans or commitments. If there are contracts or major purchases involved, analyze the situation and determine how quickly you really need to move — for now, the slower the better. If a proposed arrangement or deal of some kind encounters delays, use them wisely, and in any event, make sure you feel absolutely confident before signing. If you have questions, make sure you ask them. The subtle point of this astrology involves your most intimate partnerships, and it’s not financial but rather emotional. The general heading is commitment; disagreements over money are quite potentially symbolic of something else that needs to be addressed.

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) — Life is an ongoing conversation, and it always seems to morph into something new. For the next couple of months, however, you may not be able to agree with anyone about too much, particularly about how they feel. Yet in one key situation it’s necessary to have a minimal mutual understanding. Take those words one at a time: minimal, mutual and understanding. To you that might feel like you have to submit to someone else’s will, which you seem to both crave and resist the most. I suggest skipping that procedure and instead understand why it’s necessary to have basic ground rules, and that once those are established you follow them to the letter. Let that be like the bannister that guides you through the dark. Let that agreement be the place where you are certain you’re not compromising your own values, but rather giving and receiving something of value.

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) — If you’re feeling averse to doctors, I don’t blame you — these days they are more like lawyers than they are like nurses. I suggest you take any medical advice or information as a point of view rather than as it’s usually taken, as gospel truth. Get as many perspectives on any issue as you can. As a Gemini, one of the most significant things you can do to take care of your health is to take care of your lungs. If your lungs are healthy, and if you treat them well, you’re much more likely to experience good health overall. That also means giving yourself room to breathe, which also means room to feel. Notice if you feel cramped in and do something about it. Ultimately breath is one of the most significant connections to your inner nature: spirit, inspire and respire all come from the same root concept.

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) — Get underneath your sex/romance situation — there is plenty going on below the surface that you will benefit from knowing. One layer you’ll encounter is a pattern that seems to be stuck in place from the past. This may involve other peoples’ values that you’ve taken on. They might belong to your parents, prior partners, or social norms to which you think you’re supposed to conform. You may notice that most humans rarely ever break through this layer — and that is all about supposedly honoring authority. To be free enough to experience your own feelings, you will need to challenge whatever authority you seem to have internalized. The bravery involved is not about that challenge; rather, it’s about what you will feel and experience when you get beyond it.

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) — The Sun in Libra means new and interesting adventures in which you’re directly involved rather than a spectator. We live in a world of watchers and exhibitionists; direct participation is becoming a thing of the past, though clearly you have a different path ahead. The main difference between watching and participating is that experience changes one who takes part directly in it. There is a risk involved, and the risk leaves one open to something new. If you’re wondering whether you’re actually part of the scene instead of just looking at it: ask yourself if you’re taking a chance (greater than the price of a ticket). Ask yourself how an experience might change you. Notice whether you must open your mind in order to understand or process what comes your way. Get ready for a stretch.

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) — The Sun’s trek through your sign was certainly more than most people were expecting, and you may have been through more than you were planning. One theme from your birthday season continues — that your relationships are dependent on how you feel about yourself, but cannot properly be the motive for getting clear about your inner reality. That’s a work in progress — by which I mean both. It will be more helpful to your growth and happiness to emphasize relationships that are on level ground (friends, colleagues, creative partners) rather than the ones that involve submission, power and influence. After a while these will seem like two different games with different purposes. At this point in your life, the thing commonly called ‘romance’ may be a diversion — and fortunately, there are much better alternatives.

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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Attention Libras (and those with Libra rising or Moon): To get the best price on your 2013 birthday reading by Eric Francis, pre-order now here. Pre-ordering gets you $10 off the published price, and we’ll email the access info to you as soon as it is ready.

Libra (Sep. 22 - Oct. 23)

Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23) — The Sun’s movement through your sign into late October will provide a feeling of completion that has either been missing, or passing by in fleeting experiences. Since the Sun is in Libra for just 30 out of 365 days of the year, there are two ways to make the most of this experience. One is to refuse to take it for granted — count the opportunities you have now as rare, if not once in a lifetime. The second is to allow what happens over the next few weeks to reveal what is possible when you engage fully with your life, with the world and with the events that are developing in this moment. You’ve been waiting for this moment for a long time, though there is no longer a need to wait, or to consider every possibility for what might go wrong. Control is a non-issue — what you have is better: the ability to make decisions on the spot and get an immediate result of some kind.

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) — It’s time to bring some of your true feelings to light. You seem to be in a phase of deciding that you feel what you feel, and it’s none of anyone else’s business. The problem with this line of reasoning is that eventually, you’ll feel like your feelings are none of your business either. So bring those unusual, dark shades to the surface, and see how they look when they get a taste of sunshine and oxygen. The colors will change because the elements of your feelings will react to awareness. I’ll say this another way, in case I’m being too poetic: you may think you feel one way, but once you start to express yourself, you’ll begin to make discoveries about what’s really going on. That in turn will allow you to evolve into new emotional and intellectual experiences, direct rather than theoretical or abstract.

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 seem like you’re about to burst, and it’s about time. You’ve been ready to crack your shell for many seasons, though the sensation has been like one of those days where it’s always threatening rain, and the thunder is rumbling, but the sky never lets go. There are precipitating factors in your environment that may bring on a spiritual love explosion; what looks for all the world like a kind of mystical ecstasy experience with no drugs necessary. As for bursting, what you may know is that once you start loving you don’t ever stop. The question is why you would want to. And that is a good question to ask, if you need to — though that would not be about justifying holding back but rather reminding yourself that you’re free to plunge into whatever (or whoever) is inviting you in.

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) — Part of really being yourself involves enduring some unpopularity. This is a fact that is left out of the ‘be yourself’ discussion — or relegated to the fine print. Some of enduring unpopularity involves figuring out how little so many people know, and, sadly, how dull they really are. If you find yourself anyplace you don’t fit in, consider the possibility that you’re too interesting. That leaves you with another challenge, which is finding someplace that actually intrigues you. The fastest way to get there seems to be entertaining yourself rather than going on a search. The kind of interesting people you want are the ones who don’t need too much affirmation of how cool they are; whose minds are creative enough to skip the whole social level of awesomeness but who can have fun with it when they want to. That describes you pretty well these days.

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) — Use your charm as you untangle your latest leadership challenge. I can promise that this will not be your last such challenge of the year — there are more coming, and they get more interesting — and the whole journey will call on you to employ the highest and deepest levels of your intelligence. Yet more significantly, you will need a dependable way to get people working together. Sometimes it’s necessary to use your power and/or authority, but it’s energy consuming, and there is often collateral damage. Being charming and a bit seductive is a way of getting people to do what they want to do anyway. I would remind you that as the next few weeks develop, circumstances, motives and rationales involved in your work (and other) responsibilities will be too complicated to explain to everyone around you. That won’t be necessary, as long as you know what you have to do.

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) — Notice that your long-term vision is coming into focus. Events and circumstances of the past year have conspired to enforce this — with many reminders that you simply cannot ignore the concept of the future and what you want to create with it. That means focusing ideas and making tangible decisions now, such that you are taking solid, measurable steps toward what you’re envisioning. Over the next two months this process will accelerate rapidly: both the information and the points of decision are going to be coming in faster, and you may be enacting your plans long before you thought you would. Keep your mind in order; use your resources wisely, which means being ready to use them when necessary. Remember that you are the only person who can be a visionary of your own life. Notice who supports you in that, and collaborate with them.

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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Trayvon Martin and the Uranus-Pluto Square

Dear Friend and Reader:

If you’re one of those people who dares to watch the news, you know this has been a momentous and swiftly-moving week. Health care reform made it to the Supreme Court for three days of hearings, and the shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin has burst into public consciousness for the trial-by-media of the century — these, among many other stories that are giving our era its science fiction feeling.

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While everyone was looking the other way, James Cameron went to the bottom of the Pacific Ocean. Shown here with his Deepsea Challenger, he’s the first person to reach the Mariana Trench since 1960 — and the first person to get a good look at the territory. Photo: National Geographic.

Trayvon’s story has developed by the hour, with one strange twist after the next. Mercury retrograde in Pisces is one of the key aspects in this story, with all its confusion, denial and leaks to the press. That reaches a turning point soon enough, when Mercury stations direct on Wednesday.

Along the longer arc of world history, though, the most astonishing event got the least attention: James Cameron making it to the bottom of the Mariana Trench, the deepest known spot in all of the world’s oceans. In the firestorm surrounding Trayvon Martin, news of this achievement has been all but lost. Cameron, who directed Titanic, returned Monday from his 35,756-foot (6.77-mile deep) dive to a place 50 times bigger than the Grand Canyon.

In a video we’ve linked to, he said it resembled another world, far from anything we’re familiar with. Many have commented that we know more about outer space than we do about the oceans on our own planet. Only one prior manned expedition has reached this spot, in 1960. [Read more at PC Magazine and on Huffington Post.]

Cameron’s 12-ton craft, which he and his team designed personally (they didn’t rent it from National) is a giant underwater movie camera, with LED ighting arrays and the ability to shoot in 3D; we will soon have the opportunity to take the trip with him, at least visually. Notably, this will be a true life adventure film wherein nobody is shot, shoots someone else, wrecks 30 cars or bursts into flames. Let’s hope anyone is interested.

The public nervous system known as ‘the news’ skipping over Cameron’s dive is the perfect metaphor for how few people want to go deep — though clearly some do. For those scanning the world for events described by Chiron and Neptune in Pisces, here we have the perfect image of that aspect. Yet the flashy, fiery, contentious events get most of the attention. This is a good illustration of how the elements fire and water work differently. Fire happens up at the surface, where everyone can see it. The water is below the surface, where few people want to go, or even dream of what’s down there.

Speaking of going deep — poet Adrienne Rich, often quoted in these pages, died Tuesday at age 82. Her most famous poem is called Diving Into the Wreck, which uses a story of her exploring a shipwreck alone as a metaphor for making discoveries about her gender identity.

This is just a small sample of what’s been happening; there has been plenty of astrology pushing things along. Over the past few days, the Sun passed through the Uranus-Pluto square — on Sunday, the Sun was conjunct Uranus, and Thursday it was square Pluto. Think of this as one event, setting off the energy of the square — which came close on the heels of the Aries New Moon and vernal equinox last week, sparking off what will be one of the most interesting seasons in anyone’s memory. At the heart of the astrology is the Uranus-Pluto square.

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Adrienne Rich (1929-2012) was one of the first poetic and intellectual voices of the modern women’s movement. Considered a radical by some and a minimalist by others, she always spoke in a clear and empathic voice, even when expressing collective rage. Photo by Neal Boenzi / The New York Times.

Both Uranus and Pluto are close to this mysterious thing called the Aries Point — the first degree of the zodiac, which serves as an amplifier of consciousness, a breach in the false divider between what we sort into private and public spheres of experience. It was in a class about Adrienne that my professor, Carol Smith, discussed the notion of the personal/political intersection, which was a cornerstone of Rich’s work. The way she put it, there is no private life that is not influenced by some larger public life.

Uranus is still in a fairly close conjunction to the Aries Point and will be for a while; Pluto is early enough in Capricorn to be square the Aries Point. Suitably, as the Aries Sun passed through the square, two critical and seemingly unrelated events came to a head this week: a law that would make medical services more affordable and available to all Americans (just like in every other advanced country), and a racial battle that is more reminiscent of the 1950s than it is of today.

Even as the major aspects (for example, Uranus square Pluto) strive to push us forward and help us confront modern problems, we’re being reminded of what remains unresolved from our collective past. While Trayvon Martin may seem insignificant to some and an overblown story to others, racial karma is one of the most significant issues we face on the planet, though in truth the next layer down involves the economic problems we face: the distribution of resources that fuel racial crises and are at the root of many ethnicity-based wars and genocides.

What exactly was George Zimmerman worried that Trayvon Martin was doing? Well, stealing, of course. Stealing what? What else? White people’s stuff.

Let’s not forget the elemental equation that informs so much of what we think of as politics: lighter-skinned guy thinks darker-skinned guy is trying to take the stuff of lighter-skinned guys. Sadly, this sounds more reductionist than it is. You can look at almost any national issue through this filter and suddenly it makes more sense.

For example, one of the reasons that so many conservatives object to expanded health services for everyone involves resentment that darker people might get some of what the lighter people “worked so hard” for. This is the basic formula for how economics translates into racial issues. However, this is a divide and conquer tactic, which is designed to pit the very wealthy against the very poor. If you want a quick history lesson, check out the lyrics to the Bob Dylan song Only A Pawn In Their Game.

The Castle Doctrine

Note: Here is the discussion page for this issue.

Our discussion of Trayvon Martin starts with the Castle Doctrine. When I heard this term I thought I might have missed an important Supreme Court ruling, but it turns out to be a concept from an English law book published in 1628. The concept is, “An Englishman’s home is his castle,” which means you have the right to kill someone who comes into your house to harm you or, more probably, to steal some of your stuff.

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“Stand Your Ground” laws are also known as “Make My Day” laws, a reference to justifiable homicide, quoted from the “Dirty Harry” films of the 1980s. These laws are derived from the Castle Doctrine, which says you have a right to defend yourself in your own home.

This was imported with the colonists to the New World, where it became, “A man’s home is his castle.” A castle, remember, is a place where aristocrats live, and the intruder is presumed to be a poor person. The Castle Doctrine was translated from Common Law (that is, ancient English case law) into American statutes in the form of laws that allow people to shoot intruders in their homes with impunity. Currently, about 17 states have some version of a Castle Doctrine law, otherwise known as “no duty to retreat at home.”

Six states and DC have “duty to retreat” provisions, which means that you have to make an attempt to get out of harm’s way before you use deadly force against an intruder inside your home. If you are cornered and cannot retreat, then you have the right to use deadly force.

This was evolved by clever lobbyists into the The Stand Your Ground laws. The controversy is swirling around this concept, which extends the concept of ‘castle’ to your car, your office, or anyplace you legitimately belong. According to Florida law (and the laws of other states with this provision), if you reasonably feel threatened, you don’t have to retreat — you can stand your ground. In the elegant language (and distorted thinking) of Guns.com, “People should not have to retreat, they should not have to run and hide and hope the bad guy will leave them alone. They should not have to live in fear of being raped, beaten, robbed or murdered because they have been told to call the police and let the crime happen.”

Currently, 16 states have some version of the Stand Your Ground law, which is being lobbied for by the NRA and guided by a conservative legislation mill called the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). We all know the NRA — all guns, all the time. ALEC is less familiar: it’s a conservatively-themed organization that writes legislation designed to be adopted by state legislatures. These organizations, rather than serving the public good, “assist politicians in developing what it considers model laws serving the economic and political aims of its members.”

Thinking like the NRA for a moment, what good is a gun if you can’t use it? If more states pass more laws that allow people to use their guns for self-defense, manufacturers will sell more guns. Notably, six of the Stand Your Ground states were part of the Confederacy — states that went to war to defend slavery. A seventh is Indiana, historically a hub of the KKK. In my view, this is a racial thing.

These laws feed the fantasies of American vigilante justice, much of which has its roots in racism. And the pile of bodies is growing higher; “justifiable” homicides have tripled since Florida adopted this law. Anyone who thinks it’s wise to keep a gun in your house should watch the film Five American Guns. But there is a huge, gaping question at the center of the Trayvon Marin case: is Stand Your Ground even vaguely applicable, or is it being used as a license to kill?

Neighborhood Watch, Sunday, Feb. 26, 2012

One body in the pile is that of Trayvon Martin, who was shot and killed by George Zimmerman one month ago while he was out taking a walk to 7-Eleven. The incident begins when Zimmerman, who was on Neighborhood Watch patrol in Sanford, Florida, a small city near Orlando, sees Trayvon (who was walking home from the store) and calls the police dispatcher on the non-emergency line.

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Family photo of Trayvon Martin and an unidentified relative.

This happens at about 7 pm — and that’s going to be the time of our chart, since that’s when the sequence of events is set in motion. This transcript is one of the few primary source documents that provide a baseline of what Zimmerman was thinking as he made his choices. It reveals his state of mind and what was motivating him.

Where there is a corpse and an accusation of murder, the motive is the thing you want to know about first. This is in the movies, and it’s also true. It takes significant motivation to kill another person.

I will re-publish the salient piece of the conversation between Zimmerman and the dispatcher. [Here is the full transcript if you want to read it.] Zimmerman starts off by saying that “we’ve had some break-ins in my area,” adding that “this guy looks like he’s up to no good, or he’s on drugs or something. It’s raining and he’s just walking around, looking about.”

Zimmerman: Yeah, now he’s coming towards me.

Dispatcher: OK.

Zimmerman: He’s got his hand in his waistband. And he’s a black male.

Dispatcher: How old would you say he looks?

Zimmerman: He’s got a button on his shirt, late teens.

Dispatcher: Late teens ok.

Zimmerman: Something’s wrong with him. Yup, he’s coming to check me out, he’s got something in his hands, I don’t know what his deal is.

Dispatcher: Just let me know if he does anything ok.

Zimmerman: How long until you get an officer over here?

Dispatcher: Yeah we’ve got someone on the way, just let me know if this guy does anything else.

Zimmerman: Okay. These assholes they always get away. When you come to the clubhouse you come straight in and make a left. Actually you would go past the clubhouse.

Dispatcher: So it’s on the lefthand side from the clubhouse?

Zimmerman: No you go in straight through the entrance and then you make a left — uh you go straight in, don’t turn, and make a left. Shit he’s running.

Dispatcher: He’s running? Which way is he running?

Zimmerman: Down towards the other entrance to the neighborhood.

Dispatcher: Which entrance is that that he’s heading towards?

Zimmerman: The back entrance — fucking [unintelligible, possibly ‘coon’]

Dispatcher: Are you following him?

Zimmerman: Yeah

Dispatcher: Ok, we don’t need you to do that.

Zimmerman: Ok.

So much for standing your ground. Trayvon runs — he runs away, that is — and then against the direct guidance of the police dispatcher, Zimmerman pursues him, stalks him, confronts and kills him. One witness said that there was the sound of crying, and after the gun fired, there was silence. Clearly those were not the anguished cries of George Zimmerman.

Transcripts are beautiful things. They reveal so much that you don’t usually hear, if you’re just listening. Nothing has happened yet — but Zimmerman is angry. Before he knows anything, he has tried and convicted Trayvon as one of the people burglarizing houses; Zimmerman believes that Trayvon, whom he does not know, is on drugs and believes that he’s about to be attacked. There is a word for this: paranoia. I don’t mean this in the sense of schizophrenic, but rather the personality disorder. Paranoid people make up scenarios that have nothing to do with reality, and then pretend they’re real — and often act them out.

Planet Waves
Shooting of Trayvon Martin. Mars rising is on the left, on the horizontal line; that line is the ascendant, and Mars is in the 12th house (above the ascendant). The 8th house is approximately at 2 o’clock toward the right side of the chart, and has many planets; this suggests that the cause of death is complicated. Yet Trayvon seems to be a hapless victim rather than someone with a prior involvement. Note: All of the charts for this issue are posted at full size on the audio page.

Now, let’s see how this looks as an astrology chart and maybe get a look behind the scenes.

First, note that this is an event that took place a month ago, back when the Sun was in early Pisces. Things in mutable signs can be slow to develop, though as the Sun approached Aries and finally crossed the Aries Point, Trayvon Martin became a household word and the story ran wild. True enough, it filled the news void left by the petering off Republican primary, but clearly this issue is touching something deep in the American psyche.

Our story begins with a chart with Virgo rising. There is a planet rising at the moment this all goes down — Mars. See it there on the left side of the chart, in red? It’s rising at the speed of the rising Sun, just above the horizon, tucked into what’s called the 12th house. It’s in the ascending sign so it has a direct manifestation, yet because it’s just slightly above the horizon, it has a veiled or invisible quality and is not fully connected to reality.

This is an odd thing about the 12th — planets in the 12th can actually be visible, but the interpretation of the house is that they are veiled. This is characteristic of the contradictory nature of the 12th; how this works deserves a whole article, but I wanted to point out the issue in case this has been bugging anyone all the years they’ve been studying astrology. (One clever interpretation is that the 12th represents the ‘waking dream’ or ‘trance consciousness’ that so many are caught in nearly all the time. I will come back to this theme.)

Mars retrograde in Virgo in the 12th is angry and paranoid. The 12th blows things out of proportion; it can represent either something that has gone missing, or a scenario in one’s imagination or dreams that takes over and becomes larger than life — and it’s often based on fear. There’s little sense of proportion or realism with the 12th, and in that rising Mars we have a picture of all the things Zimmerman is making up about Trayvon. We have a picture of Zimmerman himself.

Now let’s do something a little fancier: what house does Mars come from? That is to say, where do we find Aries, and where do we find Scorpio, the signs that are ruled by Mars? Those two places in the chart will tell us more about what Mars is doing and thinking. Look around the outside of the wheel till you find the Scorpio glyph, which is purple. That’s on the 3rd house cusp — the 3rd is the house of ‘the neighborhood’ (local activity, brethren, neighbors), and Scorpio in one elegant phrase describes it as a scene of death (a Scorpio topic).

Planet Waves
NYS Senator Eric Adams, other senators and assembly members wore hoodies to legislative sessions this week, showing their solidarity with the “I Am Trayvon” movement. Photo: NYS Senate.

We find Aries on the cusp of the 8th house — the house of death and also the transference of property. In any death chart, the contents of the 8th house, and the location of the planet associated with the sign on the cusp, are critical planets. Aries is the sign — it points to that angry, paranoid Mars rising. This chart fits the scene (always important to check that out before proceeding); that congruence argues that it’s trustworthy.

Now look at how much activity there is inside that house — there are five points in the 8th, and a sixth right outside the house (which gets a ‘close enough’ rating). That other planet is Ceres — the grieving mother. If the 8th is about the cause of death, this is a complex situation; we are talking about the motive here, since when someone is killed, the motive is the ’cause’.

Venus Conjunct Eris in Aries

There’s a conjunction glaring out of the 8th house: Venus conjunct Eris in Aries. This is chaotic, angry and self-centered; Eris is all about psychology, and her mythology is about getting revenge. This is an extremely telling aspect. See if you can follow this: the judicial system and the laws of the land are represented by the 9th house, which has Taurus on the cusp. Therefore, Venus (though located in Aries) represents law itself (and in Aries, it is a self-serving version of the law) — and it’s conjunct Eris. The cause of death is legal chaos — a bad law that basically allows for murder. Zimmerman, I believe, knew he could get away with killing Trayvon by claiming self-defense.

Planet Waves
It must really be illegal — meanwhile Bobby Rush, a democratic congressman from Illinois, was thrown out of the House chambers on Wednesday for wearing a hoodie. There is actually a rule against wearing a hood on the House floor, probably from the days when members arrived by horse and carriage.

The Moon is in this house, located in an eerie degree — the one with the Sabian symbol, “A widow at an open grave.” While this degree is often about leaving the past behind, it’s still a fitting image of the whole situation. Jupiter is there, lending a sense of scale — this is going to be big. And then there is the Black Moon Lilith, which is another dark psychological point, magnified by Jupiter — another image of a contaminated sense of justice.

Said another way, there is a lot going on in the house that stands for the nature and cause of death, and it’s all embodied in that angry, paranoid Mars rising — who represents Zimmerman. Note also the number of points: many things in the 8th can illustrate a lot of dead people (all the ones who were killed under the excuse of ‘justifiable homicide’). And finally, disgusting as this is, the 8th is about financial interests (an idea deriving from the ‘inheritance’ theme of death) — and a lot of money is at stake. The arms trade in the United States is positively huge, and any restriction on guns cuts into profits.

While that packed 8th house represents the nature and cause of death, it also represents money — that is, the money of others, shared resources and wealth of some kind. Zimmerman fancied himself a protector of his neighborhood’s value — he was patrolling for burglars. It’s a complicated house, and the planets in that house reverberate in aspects all over the chart — look at the diagram in the middle. The cluster of blue lines to the right show some of the aspects being made by 8th house planets.

Once he kills Trayvon, he knows he has a problem. Florida loves its death penalty, so he could be next. So he has to come up with a story, claiming he was really defending himself when in truth he was stalking someone. He’s an older, heavier guy with a semi-automatic gun; he’s not going to get away with this unless he claims it was self-defense. This is his only chance to walk away — and to make that claim, he has to make up some lies on the spot, and that is why his alibis are so ridiculous — getting his head slammed into the ground repeatedly, and his nose broken, and being threatened with death by an unarmed boy.

Activity in Pisces: Mercury, Sun, Chiron

Mercury is now retrograde in Pisces. You’ve heard me refer to the term ‘Mercury shadow’ or ‘Mercury echo’ before — that’s Mercury getting ready go retrograde. It does this when it enters the degrees where it will soon be retrograde — and that’s one thing that was happening the night that Trayvon was killed. In this chart, Mercury is at 23+ Pisces. When Mercury goes direct on Wednesday, it will have come all the way back to 23+ Pisces, and something is going to happen as a result. In this chart, Mercury represents Trayvon (the planet that rules the Virgo ascendant). Trayvon knows the truth.

To me this rather amazing sequence of events looks like what remains of Zimmerman’s lies coming unraveled. This is already happening fast — this week, among other things, video from inside the police station came out, with Zimmerman all fresh and perky, not looking like he was beaten within inches of his life minutes earlier, as he claims.

The question is, will the additional revelations make a difference? I think so, but it may take another week or two — starting when that Mars in Virgo goes direct. Note that it does so in an opposition to Chiron (a force for awareness and healing). Mars was retrograde at the time of the incident, and it’s proceeded retrograde into an exact opposition to Chiron, and a close opposition to Neptune (which can represent delusions and also what comes out in the wash). The paranoid fantasies and lies of that Mars are not going to withstand the opposition to Chiron, though there is still a long way to go here. I see another turning point when Mars leaves Virgo and enters Libra (making an opposition to the Aries Point) on July 3. If the injustice persists, this is when it will explode.

Planet Waves
Trayvon Martin’s father, Tracy Martin, and his mother, Sabrina Fulton, at the Union Square protest in New York City against Trayvon’s shooting death and the way that it’s being handled.

We also have collective issues. This chart has a Sun-Chiron conjunction. You can see this located below the horizon line, to the right side of the chart — the Sun is a yellow disk and Chiron is an orange key. This conjunction is square the lunar nodes, which provide a kind of spiritual guidance and sense of orientation. What is square the nodes is something that we will have to deal with one way or another, and that something is collective in nature. Sun-Chiron, as we said at the time, is about a maturing process — in particular, around maleness.

On the Planet Waves blog that week, we wrote, “We’re really great at creating warriors, who possess qualities which we then conflate with male maturity and extol as heroism. When you add Chiron to the Sun, by aspect or by transit, that hero can take a fall or be exposed as something less. Consider all the scandals involving corrupt cops and politicians previously venerated as heroes. For psychology heads, this is where the concept ‘shadow material’ comes into the picture, and the question of how we process it.”

And: “When the Sun contacts Chiron, we can make contact with our true solar nature, but often this implies something much deeper — an initiation that puts us in contact with our soul.” And this is really what we are getting here: a mass experiment on whether people are in contact with their soul. It’s also a mass experiment on how people respond to obvious injustice.

Rather than going away, I believe that this story will keep developing. That’s because it brings to the surface a festering spiritual injury that we desperately need to heal. The gun lobby and gun nuts are making a big mistake by hitching their wagon to this issue, though that may be necessary for their downfall. This is not a 2nd Amendment issue or a self-defense issue, not even close.

The core theme is the value that we put on life, no matter who is doing the killing. It’s time for a revolution on this one — and from this week’s astrology, we can see that’s connected to the Uranus-Pluto square. The Trayvon Martin murder has been tried in the media the same week that the health care reform law was tried before the Supreme Court. Both situations reveal the blood lust of a segment of American society. The same emotional wounding that would want anyone to die from their injuries because they lack health insurance is identical to the emotions behind approving of the stalking and shooting of an innocent person. The common thread is that they are likely to be poor, which often amounts to black — often but not always.

While Trayvon Martin may be revealing how far we have to go as a society, and indeed how far back we have slid, to me it represents a painful healing process. The thing that is most lacking in American society is compassion. We find compassion in individual people, but as a society we must learn to adopt empathy as a collective virtue.

Trayvon’s death is a teaching moment. The sooner we learn the lesson, the easier it will be.


Eric Francis

PS: Here is a technical hint, if you’re not so advanced in astrology but are trying to piece this together. A planet can rule one house and be in another house. For example, Venus rules Taurus (in this chart, falling on the 9th house) but it’s located in Aries (in this chart, falling on the 8th house). Or, Mars is the ruler of the 8th house (Aries) but it’s placed in Virgo, in the ascendant. It doesn’t rule Virgo — it’s just sitting there. But Mercury does rule Virgo — and since Virgo is on the 1st house, it’s the subject of the chart, hence, Mercury represents Trayvon. Post to the discussion page with your questions if you’re still confused and trying to figure this out.


Planet Waves

One Thing Leads to Another

Today is the first quarter Moon, which is when the Sun and Moon form a right angle to each other from our perspective here on Earth. In this case, that is happening from Cancer (Moon) to Aries (Sun). It’s a time to take stock of whatever you may have initiated during last week’s New Moon in Aries and gently guide it forward.

Planet Waves
Crab who lives in the East Hampton Shellfish Hatchery ‘just-for-fun’ local specimen tank. Photo by Eric.

This is a natural turning point, which will be accentuated Friday by the Moon’s conjunction to Uranus and square to Pluto. If you’re feeling any inner tension, that is the signal to get a little perspective on where it’s coming from and then use it as leverage if you have any decisions to make.

One reason to be gentle with this forward movement is that Mercury finally stations direct next week, on Wednesday, April 4. This means that Sunday into Monday begins the ‘storm’ phase of Mercury retrograde, which happens toward either end of the cycle. Those days surrounding when Mercury stations are the time to watch the most carefully.

It’s a time when potentially mixed signals — and the reactions that ensue — can be especially tricky to navigate. Mercury is in late Pisces for this station direct, so the watery storm metaphor is especially apt. Keep your ears open for intuitive messages, though you you might want to pause on taking any irreversible action on important matters prior to the station direct Wednesday morning. Action would include speaking in anger or making promises you’re not sure you can keep.

Mars slowing down to its station direct on April 13 is another reason to delay making critical decisions. After these planets station you will have more perspective. Emotions could easily interfere with your sense of perspective, so take things one slow step at a time.

Meantime, Venus ingresses Gemini Tuesday, opening up the earliest phase of its retrograde cycle. When Venus arrives in its new sign it’ll make squares to Neptune and then to Chiron — these are challenging aspects calling for a mindful approach to your feelings (as so many aspects seem to be saying lately). Venus square Neptune leans toward idealism, while Venus square Chiron can use intense pleasure (particularly sexual) as a way to cover hurt feelings.

This will work for a while, though sooner or later you’ll have to get to the bottom of things — it may as well be sooner.


Planet Waves

Dick Cheney has a Change of Heart

Feelings, nothing more than feelings…

Ok, everyone and her sister has made some snarky joke at this point about Dick Cheney’s heart transplant, and whether Dubya is up next for a new brain, and who the hell is wearing those ruby slippers, anyway — Obama? (There’s no place like hope, there’s no place like hope…) But seriously — the guy had a heart transplant with Mercury retrograde in Pisces for Pete’s sake. Is it possible to have a change of heart when they change your heart? Will he be admitting his role in the 9-11 incident and the never-ending hell that is the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq? Will he confess to helping to engineer a national security state bordering on martial law? And whose heart did he get, anyway? Often bodies reject donor organs, but we wouldn’t be surprised if this organ rejects him — or if there isn’t actual human blood to pump in there. If you’re curious about the chart for Cheney’s transplant, it’s on the Planet Waves blog.


Planet Waves

Health Care Has Its Three Days in Court

This week the U.S. Supreme Court held a three-day hearing on President Obama’s health care reform law, the Affordable Care Act. The court will now decide whether to strike down the key provision requiring most Americans to buy health insurance and determine whether the rest of the law can stand. This is one of the most prominent, ongoing examples of the personal and political intertwining in the news as the Uranus-Pluto square heats up. While the Supreme Court is debating whether the law goes too far, some wonder if it goes far enough. A decision on the matter is not expected until June; June 24 is the first exact contact of Uranus and Pluto.


Planet Waves

Close Your Eyes and Think of Wisconsin

Is Neptune in Wisconsin rather than Pisces? According to a Yahoo News story last week, Wisconsin legislator Don Pridemore suggested that “instead of leaving an abusive situation, women should try to remember the things they love about their husbands.” Pridemore remarked to a local news station, “If they can re-find those reasons and get back to why they got married in the first place it might help.” Pridemore, no surprise, is a co-sponsor of Republican state Senator Glenn Grothman’s ‘being single causes child abuse’ bill as well as a controversial voter ID bill that was ruled unconstitutional last week. Personal, political, delusional — does it really matter as long as women don’t get in the way of the men trying to lead this country? Well, yes, it does — and if you live in Wisconsin, please be sure to vote this year. If we didn’t know the astrology behind all of this, we might be even more concerned — but Uranus and Pluto don’t necessarily ‘fix things’, they just shake everything up and get our attention. The rest is up to us — that is, you.


Planet Waves

Activist Tim DeChristopher Visits The Hole

Planet Waves
Tim DeChristopher bid on a mineral lease he could not pay for, intentionally to disrupt the auction — and was given a two-year jail term. Photo by Cliff Lyon/bidder70.org.

Jailed environmental activist Tim DeChristopher was moved on March 9 into isolated confinement upon a phone call from an unknown congressman. DeChristopher, who was sentenced to two years in prison last July for having nonviolently disrupted a federal auction of oil and gas leases in 2008, had emailed a friend using the word “threat.” He was referring to threatening to return money given to his legal fund by a company that may be sending many of its jobs overseas.

That email landed him in a situation with grossly restricted access to communication and exercise. Wednesday, after calls from thousands of people to Herlong Federal Prison in California, the Bureau of Prisons office in Washington, DC and members of Congress, he was returned to his minimum-security cell after 19 days in the Special Housing Unit (SHU). DeChristopher is in a kind of limbo, since he is still under investigation — and there is no timeframe for when that process must start or end. As an enemy of ‘big oil’, he is a political prisoner; as someone who continues to act in these days, he is part of the Uranus-Pluto square in the ways we most need.


Planet Waves

Astrology in the Media and Public Relations: UAC Panel

Astrology is known for its notoriously poor handling of its media opportunities, and being subjected to repeated insults in the press. And to think that horoscope columns sell a heck of a lot of newspapers. In response to this problem, the United Astrology Conference (UAC) is sponsoring a Community Issues Workshop called “Working with the Media and Public Relations.” This takes place at 2:30 pm on Thursday, May 24, the day before the conference officially opens. The panel features Art Harris, who spent 13 years with CNN and is a two-time Emmy Award-winning investigative correspondent. He joins astrologers Eric Francis, David Railey, Donna Woodwell, Gloria Star, Chris Turner, Roy Gillett, and Jack Fertig along with Astrology News Service founder and media consultant Ed Snow. Learn about astrology’s relationship with the media. Having relied upon astrological counsel in his own life, Art challenges those that negate astrology without first investigating it.


Planet Waves

Planet Waves

Cracked.com (a pretty cool website created from the remnants of the now-defunct Cracked magazine) released a hilarious video this week, illustrating how pre-adolescent boys understand sex: a jumbled mix of anatomical words, free-association, pop-culture glamour, random ‘lady-things’, authoritarian guilt, and vestiges of childhood. The piece was created by Rachel Bloom and Jack Dolgen. Astrological notes: this was published with the Sun passing through the Uranus-Pluto square. It’s a risque piece of art dealing with a taboo subject — the sexual imagination of a kid. The point: kids may be a bit naive when it comes to sex, but they are not ‘innocent’. They are sexual like everyone else, a fact we all can remember from our own past if we pause and think about it for one second.


Planet Waves

In various places, I’ve been saying that Venus stations retrograde on May 5 — but it’s really 10 days later, on May 15, as a reader pointed out. Sorry about that! — efc


Planet Waves

This section also includes the upcoming publishing schedule! The April monthly horoscope (long edition) was published Wednesday evening, March 21. Inner Space Monthly was published Tuesday evening, March 27. We’ll publish Genevieve Hathaway’s Moonshine Horoscope on Tuesday, April 3. The next monthly horoscope by Eric will be the May edition, to be published the evening of Wednesday, April 25. There will not be a regular edition that week.


Planet Waves

Slow-Rising Smoke: Trayvon Martin

This week’s edition of Planet Waves FM looks at the shooting of Trayvon Martin. It’s a look at the situation from several angles — political, legal and astrological.

Planet Waves

I cover the concept of the Stand Your Ground law, which is based on an earlier idea, the Castle Doctrine — the one that says “a man’s home is his castle” — that is the basis of Stand Your Ground. However, it would seem that with everyone pretty much agreeing that the Stand Your Ground law does not apply in this case, from the lead investigator to the bill’s sponsor to Jeb Bush himself, clearly something is wrong.

There is one idea I left out of the discussion: the duty to retreat. That’s the alternative to Stand Your Ground. In New York, for example, you have a duty to retreat from an attacker if you can. If you’re cornered by someone who is going to do you harm, or someone you’re protecting, your first job is to get to a safe place — then you can defend yourself if necessary. The purpose of this is so that people claiming self-defense don’t automatically get a license to kill. You can read more about that at the Wikipedia page on the Castle Doctrine.

I include four charts on the Planet Waves blog — the event, the two main players, and the event that started off Arab Spring from late 2010, published on Planet Waves for the first time.

Additional research on this edition provided by Carol van Strum, Nikko Merrell, Amanda Painter, Fe Bongolan, Genevieve Hathaway, Adam Gainsburg and Sarah Bissonnette-Adler.


Planet Waves

Friday, March 30, 2012. Weekly Horoscope #897 | Eric’s Zodiac Sign Descriptions

Aries (March 20-April 19)

Aries (March 20-April 19) — What you learn about yourself over the next few days will surprise you — though there are several more layers to go. It’ll also take a few weeks to put your discoveries into action, which will happen around the time that Mars stations direct. To the extent that the past few months have felt frustrating or been complicated by setbacks, you will be reassured to know that your environments — inner and outer — are gradually shifting. Use this time to get closer to the root causes of your questions, issues and frustrations. Don’t assume you’ve reached the bottom of any issue or situation; just keep going, the more gently as each day passes. Maintaining a light touch really is one key to working out what’s happening for you. Another is a balance between what you think of as opposites: for example physical and non-physical; logic and emotional; details and impressions. Gently work both sides of whatever equation you find yourself involved with, and give yourself time to arrive in a space of clarity.

Hello Aries — I’ve just finished your birthday reading. This includes more than an hour of astrology and a tarot reading, recorded last weekend during the Sun-Uranus conjunction in your sign. My audio readings are motivational, inspiring and intimate. It comes with many features and access to last year’s reading too! Purchase here.

Taurus (April 19- May 20)

Taurus (April 19-May 20) — Venus is about to enter Gemini, where it will be until August. Plenty of history is going to go by between now and then, both for you personally and for the world around you. However, at the commencement of this trip, it’s as if you pass through a series of gateways. Think of them as pressurized chambers. The first one involves coming to terms with something you were in denial of, which may clue you in to your tendency to pretend certain things don’t exist. A corresponding discovery may come in the form of learning that you prefer the very thing you were in denial of. The next one involves the way you compensate for a past hurt by an excess of some kind. If you can tamp down the excess as an experiment, you may be able to reach the deeper material. This in turn will help you shift your relationship to pleasure, in essence helping you make it a more honest pursuit for its own sake rather than for an ulterior purpose.

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 may not know why you’re feeling uneasy, though that doesn’t mean there’s a good reason for it. Still, you have little to lose by being just a little extra cautious over the next week or so. Apply that to all the usual modes of honoring the precautionary principle. If you notice a smoke detector has a low battery, put in a new one. Regard the low-energy nightlight as one of the great electrical inventions ever. Rest when you’re overtired, especially if you’re driving or doing anything potentially hazardous. These are just good habits to be in, but there’s something else offering benefit, which is being mindful of your environment. I suggest you do this as a zen-type exercise. Notice everything. Clean or put back into place everything you touch. Patch leaks and tighten up anything loose. Finish up any projects that you left for a later date. Do this for its own sake, though I assure you, you will learn more in this process than you ever learned from a book.

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) — What are you the most devoted to? You can measure partly by way of noticing what you do every day — and by what you want to do every day. Both are dependable metrics. Yet I would put the question another way as well: what are you willing to give up everything for? For what activity, mission or purpose would you trade it all in? I mean this mainly as a thought exercise: if there is indeed something that would be so amazing, so much fun, so incredible, that you would ‘sacrifice’ everything in your known life, you should know about it. Then, once you know about it, you might want to find a way to get moving on that aspect of reality without having to give up everything — just what you don’t really want. You might want to make a list of what you would gladly give up just for its own sake. I recognize the time pressures we’re all under, and how inflexible life seems to be here at the dawn of the Age of Aquarius. Yet change happens. We do create goals and sometimes we even get there. Remember that.

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’re figuring out that you have to take initiative when it comes to manifesting the life you want, and one of the ways you can do that is to make space for it. I mean actual physical space: clearing out a room or a corner of your apartment; a table dedicated to something; striking the set on a prior project and leaving it empty for something new. You can do something similar with time: leave free time for yourself rather than scheduling everything down to the tenth of an hour increment. Open space and time represent potential, and I can tell you from experience that this can be intimidating. There is that sense of facing potential that can feel like confronting an abyss. Yet it’s exactly this sense of openness, a kind of blank page in life, that you need to help you create something new for yourself. That something is waiting to meet you, as long as it has the space available, and the time. This is not something to rush. Start slowly and build a little at a time, gradually letting it take over your life.

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 2012 Spring Report by Eric Francis

Spring 2012 is the wildest season I’ve ever seen in 18 years of doing around-the-clock astrology [listen to short audio preview here]. 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.

All 12 signs are now available for $24.95. The report is getting rave reviews from people who pre-ordered, including these words from a customer named Donna: “OMG — thank you thank you thank you — just spent this morning listening to my [Spring Report] info, and am so blown away by the accuracy (and relief!) in this experience. Thanks so very much for your part in supporting this work and for showing up in the way that you do!”. Here is the link to order. Thank you, and enjoy.


Virgo (Aug. 23- Sep. 22)

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22) — Over the next two weeks, two different inner planets station direct, both of which influence you directly. The first of the two is Mercury, your ruling planet, which stations direct in Pisces — a region of your chart associated with your intimate relationships. There is an additional theme associated with agreements and contracts in those relationships, and it looks like you’ve slowly, too slowly for your taste, been working out some deep question here. Then on April 13, Mars stations direct in your birth sign. What you worked out as an idea you now get to express in action, gradually at first, then with more determination. The charts describe a picture of you building your resolve, from the inside out. You come to a deep understanding, perhaps not sure what to do about it — and then you gradually put it together. What you start now you’re likely to complete in the first week of July, when Mars finally leaves your sign. I would say there’s no rush and no excuse to waste 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.

Libra (Sep. 22 - Oct. 23)

Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23) — Venus, the planet most often associated with your sign, is about to enter Gemini, where it’s going to become a star player in this thing we’ve been calling 2012. Speaking in broad terms, you’re in a transition phase that will take you through August, and which will have a peak in early June. There are many surprise encounters along the way, enough that it would be wise to not take any dilemmas you currently may face, or that you encounter, too seriously. Just notice them for what they are. At this point you cannot see the whole picture; it’s likely that you’re not defining the problem in a way that matches reality, hence my suggestion that you wait for further information. The resolution to any issue you may be dealing with will arrive in the form of a ‘third option’ that you haven’t identified yet, and this will open up a new dimension of what you believe is possible in the future. In the time between now and then, one growth project you can involve yourself with is making a note when you discover that you possess conflicting beliefs. Those are a lot more problematic when you don’t know about them; once you spot them, they lose most of their power. Yet you might want to figure out where these differing viewpoints came from.

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) — One key theme of your life right now involves what you believe, and why you believe it. You seem to be figuring out that many people live inside a cage of their own assumptions, which you have discovered in the process of gradually escaping from such a place. Yet the process of freeing yourself is ongoing, one illusion at a time; one belief at a time. Today’s subject is glamour, or the art of appearances. Or rather, the art of false appearances, which are rooted in false beliefs. And: what are they? Have you been figuring out how they influence you? Yet there’s a much better question with a deeper answer. What is false is generally designed to conceal what is true, and what’s true is your friend. As you peer through the mists and wash away the layers of what is starting to look obviously, ridiculously untrue, you’re discovering something about yourself. It’s starting as an idea — and it’s about to evolve into a decision and ultimately into action. Yet while you’re here, I suggest you look for the motives for the cover-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.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22 - Dec. 22)

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22) — In her book Esoteric Astrology, Alice A. Bailey draws a distinction between intuition and instinct. That contrast gets clearer every time you think it through, though at first it deserves some explanation. Instincts include things like the urge to defend yourself, to avoid ‘dangerous’ neighborhoods or to hoard food. Certain levels of sexual feeling could be called instinctual, because the body is doing its thing without much guidance. Intuition, on the other hand, is a subtle incoming message. It’s something we receive, rather than something we already are. For example, if you have two possible routes you might travel, you choose one over the other because it feels right — that’s intuitive. If you’re trying to solve a complex set of problems and you have one idea that influences them all, that too could be called intuitive. AAB suggests that part of the evolutionary path is to gradually grow from being instinctual creatures to intuitive ones, and your charts suggest that’s the process that’s being accelerated for you in the coming weeks.

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) — Keep a close eye on any developing situation involving a contractual matter. Delay committing to any agreement not only till both Mercury and Mars are direct, but also until you feel like you have a true understanding of the situation and where everyone is coming from. I suggest you use the ‘know when you don’t know’ principle in place of any shade of false certainty — that may take some extra self-awareness. We humans tend to paper over when we have missing information, though just like wallpaper covering a hole in the wall, there’s an obvious weakness palpable to the touch if not the eye. As regards contracts, I suggest you make sure you actually can deliver anything you’re expected to promise — and if you cannot, say so as soon as possible. If you’re hesitating on any commitment, I suggest you investigate why — there may be a good reason, and if there is, you want to know what it is. The current astrology is perfectly arranged so that you’ll get to the bottom of any shaky situation. Proceed with the faith that you’ll be told everything you need to know.

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) — It’s not how much money you have, it’s what you do with it. You do know this. I would add a reminder that your real focus must now be on resources in total, not merely on one kind of resource that has come to take the place of God (specifically, cash). I suggest you get clear about your agenda — that is to say, figure out what it is that you’re trying to do and why you want to do it. Once you have that down, I think you’ll quickly see that any plan you create calls for a diversity of resources, which would be true no matter how much money you have available. Pay particular attention to the things that money cannot buy — such as knowledgeable, helpful people; sincerity; the availability of a contact network. Over the next few days you may also come to some realizations about recent disruptions in a situation involving intimate partners. What you learn is not the end of the discovery, though it may point you toward an understanding of how procreation, and creativity in general, can scare the pants back onto certain people.

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) — Mercury stationing direct in your birth sign next week is likely to come with some deep insights into what is motivating certain people around you. You’ll find this information useful, yet even more valuable will be what you discover about your own motives. There will be that crucial moment when you seem to have a complete understanding of where you’re coming from, only to discover that you have a parallel set of feelings, ideas and values. Which one is true? That question is based on the idea that both cannot be true at once. Yet that seems to be the very issue: you’re reconciling these two sets of seemingly contradictory values — but there is a solution set. I don’t suggest you try to reason it out, or hold yourself to a standard of strict logic. Rather, what feels right and has an elegant intuitive quality will eventually reveal its logic to you, and teach you plenty about yourself in the process.

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.

Chiron Files: Mercury Opposite Chiron

Dear Friend and Reader:

Last month in Chiron files we looked at Mercury retrograde in Leo and Virgo, called Tales of Mercury and Chiron. The two planets are related through an association to Virgo. We often associate Chiron with the healing process. Hermes, the Greek messenger god identified with the Roman Mercury, is mistakenly associated with healing because his staff — the caduceus — is widely used as the symbol of medicine and health care in the United States. This is a classical ‘trickster’ move.

The real symbol of health care is supposed to be the rod of Asclepius, the god of medicine who was a student of Chiron. What we get with this confusion is a mix-up between who should be the representative of medicine: Asclepius or Hermes? Nothing against Hermes, but there is a problem.

In 1932, Stuart L. Tyson wrote in The Scientific Monthly, “As god of the high-road and the marketplace Hermes was perhaps above all else the patron of commerce and the fat purse: as a corollary, he was the special protector of the traveling salesman. As spokesman for the gods, he not only brought peace on Earth (occasionally even the peace of death), but his silver-tongued eloquence could always make the worse appear the better cause.” Mercury was a kind of salesman, and he is the patron of all those big pharma reps who spend their time on the road, hawking everything from gloves to lasers.

The healing tradition of Chiron and Asclepius takes a service approach and a holistic approach, rather than a commercial approach to medicine. This is a central theme of our time in history, as the business of ‘health care’ gets more energy than we might actually offer to help a sick person get well, or better yet, to help people stay healthy. In the United States, everything about what we call ‘health care’ comes back to money, including who is allowed access to the system, and what quality care they are able to get. Many people become doctors because they want to make money — not because they have a passion for helping those who struggle. That said, practicing medicine and nursing can bring out the best in some people, but it’s still amazing how much of a role money plays.

The Mercury retrograde that we’ve just experienced began with a close, but not exact, opposition between Mercury in Virgo and Chiron in Pisces. Now that its retrograde is over, Mercury is about to re-enter Virgo and will complete its opposition to Chiron. You can think of this as a moment of contact and potential awareness.

With this aspect, we have a kind of astrological mirror between the holistic healing model of medicine and the marketplace model. One is supposedly couched in belief; those who accept it are often accused of going purely on faith and not honoring science. Chiron in Pisces is currently the symbol of alternative and preventive medicine. The Pisces energy field clouds how much alternative medicine actually knows; it also presents us with an idea that healing needs grounding on the emotional and spiritual levels in order to be effective.

The way to see an aspect is by numbers. This is not math — it’s looking up the address of the planet. Start with Mercury, which is the green symbol at the top of the chart. It’s at 2 Virgo 18. Directly opposite Mercury is an orange, key-shaped symbol for Chiron. That’s at 2 Pisces 18. They are in an exact opposition, which is the subject of this article. Just to the left of Chiron (again, at the bottom of the chart) you can see the Moon-Neptune conjunction; the Moon looks like a grey crescent and Neptune looks like a blue trident.

Mercury in Virgo, across the zodiac, represents the official medical model, couched in the garb of science. It’s supposedly all about rationality and proof and data.

I think we have it backwards. Most of what we call traditional medicine (which in truth is not so traditional) is based on a kind of mythology and is often accepted on pure faith. The doctor is supposed to have some mystical power of diagnosis, prognosis and cure, and is the one who is revered because he or she can deliver the death sentence. In my experience, what we call ‘alternative’ medicine is more directly based on applied science and ongoing investigation. For example, I would say that more people are likely to accept that antidepressants work rather than accepting that homeopathy does, but who has actually looked at the evidence, including the influence of commerce and profit?

One problem many of us are aware of is how drugs and vaccinations make people sick. While the ignorance you encounter can be appalling (such as people allowing a doctor to give their newborn infant six vaccinations in one day), some people are waking up. However, this has a way of happening too late, such as this example from Norway.

Let’s take a closer look at the chart for Mercury opposite Chiron (set for Sept. 10, 2011 at 12:29 pm EDT), and see what it tells us about the supposed controversy and what it says about us and our approach to wellness. Something is coming to completion after a long inner negotiation. Ideas are crystallizing and expressing themselves as circumstance. Wellness is at the root of all our other issues, because without this one factor we don’t have a basis for action. Wellness is about strength and integrity, and that must reach all levels to be meaningful.

One interesting aspect in the chart is that the Mercury-Chiron opposition is square Heracles. We have an idea of healing that you’re supposed to go in and do it — the heroic model. Naturopaths and homeopaths don’t go in and chop out the tumor; they spend a lot more time observing the patient. This is sometimes called the Wise Woman approach, which starts with observe, and continues to the second step of nourish. Heracles, however, is from the model of heroic medicine, rather than the holistic one. The heroic model resorts to invasive interventions right away, rather than taking the time to explore the emotional and environmental connections that would help us get at what is really bothering us.

These are some of the minor planets that are collected in the early mutable signs around the Mercury-Chiron opposition. I don’t mention all of these planets in the article, but they’re all there (the universe is serving up more planets than we can use these days). However, I do mention Heracles and Orcus. Two that I don’t mention are in early Sagittarius: Chariklo and Hidalgo. They both have something to say. Chariklo is the healing property of being with, or accompanying. Hidalgo is about rebellion against ridiculous social customs: among other things, going to the doctor to be made sick.

Another aspect that stands out in this chart is the Moon conjunct Neptune. This talks about the influence of belief on all forms of healing, and also about delusions based on false belief. Moon-Neptune also describes a drug-based way of doing things — especially psychotropic drugs. In other words, we take a feel-good approach to healing, which is not really healing at all. It might be, if the feel-good approach didn’t have so many toxic effects, and if all kinds of feeling were approached.

Both the Moon and Neptune are opposite Transpluto in Leo. This is a useful hypothetical point, representing narrowness and focus, judgment and discernment (at times harsh and negative). On the one hand we see some of the narrowness that is associated with the heroic approach. On the other hand, there is something here about seeing through deception, misdiagnosis and drugs that suppress symptoms rather than bring them out. There may be the obsession that there is ‘something wrong’ as in something specific that we can ‘fix’, when the necessity is to take a more observation-based holistic approach and really understand the issues.

There is another exact aspect, also an opposition: Venus opposite Ceres. This is about the influence of food on our health — in particular how rich foods (associated with Venus) can make us sick. Ceres is associated with grain and we’re finally starting to figure out that a carbohydrate-based diet is simply not healthy. Venus-Ceres is also a comment on our emotional patterns and their relationship to food as it influences wellness. Food as a healing agent is becoming an esoteric subject, though food really is the best medicine. Mars aspecting Ceres (it’s making a trine from Cancer to Pisces) talks about eliminating foods that aggravate. This has to be done patiently, methodically, with reasonable expectations of the results. It’s also an underlying foundation to other approaches to healing that would come through one’s relationship to food. Most of the time we know exactly what to do, but for different reasons don’t actually do it.

There is one other aspect in the chart that clarifies the situation. That is Mercury conjunct Orcus in Virgo. This is to say that Mercury is precisely conjunct a planet, which tells us a lot about what’s going on inside its thought process. Orcus is a plutino or Pluto-like thing — it has a 245-year orbit, similar to Pluto’s 251-year orbit. Orcus is an Etruscan deity that was conflated with Pluto in Roman times, so we have a god of death associated with the market-driven, Western model. Both Death and the Trickster are stalking Chiron in Pisces, as if to say, healing is too serious for your circumspect approach, no matter how grounded it may be.

Orcus is of the ‘punisher of broken oaths’ cycle of deities. Conjunct Mercury in this configuration, this is the fear of death inherent in all serious illness, and how that fear influences our approach to the market model: we will spend anything we need to, in order to evade death. It’s also about the fear of insanity inherent in any mental disturbance. Mercury-Orcus is a grotesque parody of human consciousness, a kind of shadow-ego, but one we’re using to make these supposedly life-and-death decisions.

We need to recognize that there is a crucial aspect of healing that involves the alleviation of fear, or the confronting/processing of fear. I recognize that fear is very fearful, but this is the very essence of the issue. Fear is making us sick, and it is a sickness. A Course in Miracles describes all healing as being the release from fear, but this is something so alien to us that we likely have no clue where to begin. This is where spiritual intervention can enter the picture. How do you recognize this? Well, it’s not trying to sell you anything, and it’s not making any promises. Your awareness increases, but rather than being terrorized by something, you can see that you have possibilities.

Let’s hold that thought, and come back to the theme of fear next month.

Yours lovingly,