Tag Archives: land preservation

This Land is My Land: The Story of Brook Farm CSA

Planet Waves

With the first frost approaching, Creek Iversen and a bunch of students from SUNY New Paltz about to go picking peppers on an autumn afternoon at Brook Farm. Photo by Eric Francis.

Dear Friend and Reader:

Some people have no sense of irony.

In June 2011, Mohonk Mountain House, a high-end hotel in New Paltz, NY, sold approximately 874 acres of its land to the Open Space Institute (OSI), the land preservation organization where former Mohonk Preserve board member Robert K. Anderberg is vice president and general counsel. Planet Waves readers have heard of Anderberg before — he’s the mastermind behind attempts to illegally claim large swaths of the Grandmother Land, where I take many photos, and put it into the hands of land conservancies.

This transaction is part of a much larger foothills preservation initiative by land conservation organizations that’s been in the news the past few years, the stated purpose of which is to protect land close to the Shawangunks from development. When you study the plans, however, it can start to feel like the region is being raided by land conservancies who intend to acquire every square inch they can get their hands on, by any means necessary.

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Working at Brook Farm CSA, October 2013. Photo by Eric Francis.

Almost immediately upon acquiring the land, OSI offered a lease to about 323 acres to an organization to which it’s closely related, called Glynwood Institute.

Described by Harvard University as “one of the nation’s leading sustainable agriculture and food organizations,” it does its best to present that image.

Glynwood and OSI are funded from the same pot of gold — the Wallace Foundation, created from the profits of Reader’s Digest, a favorite magazine of Middle America. Another interesting fact: OSI even owns the land where Glynwood’s headquarters is located, demonstrating OSI’s influence over Glynwood on the decisions you’re about to read about.

If you read Glynwood’s literature, you hear about how its mission is to encourage community-based agriculture. You’ll see pictures of horses pulling a plough, guided by young people, and greenhouses, and barns, and idyllic scenes of rural life the way things used to be. Their webpages and brochures are public relations masterpieces, appealing to the “back to the land” spirit of prospective donors to the organization.

Glynwood has plans to start up a number of farming incubator projects on the acreage it will be leasing from OSI (there is a rumor that this will be a 99-year lease, though I could not confirm that) all of which in theory are designed to help encourage the farmers of the future, in a controlled, almost academic environment rather than how it’s usually taught — through a form of apprenticeship.

As it turns out, there’s already a working farm on the land that Glynwood is leasing, called the Brook Farm Project. An actual organic CSA (community-supported agriculture) project, it’s been there for 10 years. After making many improvements to the land and farmhouse over the past decade, Brook Farm is a thriving community that by some miracle broke even in the 2013 growing season.

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Organic farmer Guy Jones tells Brook Farm supporters the story of how his farm was foreclosed on by Open Space Institute (OSI) when he could not make a mortgage payment after Hurricane Irene. Then they ‘flipped’ the property. Photo by Eric Francis.

In June, Brook Farm Project was informed by OSI, in the person of Robert Anderberg, that it would be shut down. Glynwood, for all its widely-advertised ideals, plans to commence its relationship to the community by kicking out an actual organic, community-supported farm run by young people — the very thing it says that it supports.

Brook Farm is a source of food for New Paltz families, a place for people interested in farming to work the land, and a place to meet others who have bonded into an extended family. Its farm stand near The Bakery in New Paltz had become a friendly summertime fixture.

A community meeting called by the Friends of the Brook Farm Project was held in October, which packed Deyo Hall with people concerned about the conduct of local land trusts and the closely related Glynwood Institute.

Among the facts that came out: Brook Farm takes up just 20 acres of the 323 acres that Glynwood will be leasing. Unless there’s some huge divergence in mission, values or purpose, one would think that the two projects could coexist in a mutually productive way. Three hundred twenty-three acres is more land than most local farmers can imagine, and is just one part of Glynwood’s land holdings.

Before I go any further, I have a question. How come every time I write an article mentioning OSI and the name Robert Anderberg, someone else is getting kicked out of their home, off of their land or being sued to have their property taken from them? Is this some coincidence, or is there a pattern?

At the Oct. 2 community meeting in support of Brook Farm, a man named Guy Jones, an organic farmer, told this story. Seven years ago, Anderberg approached Jones, saying OSI wanted a working farmer on a tract of land in Orange County that the organization was willing to sell to him.

“Farming is all we do for a living,” he said, knowing he would be the perfect tenant. But he was still skeptical. He said OSI came on like a buddy and persuaded him to take the offer — $300,000 for 110 acres, and they would hold the mortgage.

“At closing they banged me for another $100 grand plus a mandatory donation,” Jones said to the group of 75 Brook Farm supporters. Still, Jones became OSI’s poster child for organic farming, even appearing on the cover of the organization’s annual report.

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Photo by Eric Francis.

OSI sold Jones a balloon mortgage, meaning that he would make interest payments, then pay off the principal at the end of the mortgage. When the balloon payment came due two years ago, Hurricane Irene struck and Jones lost $250,000 worth of crops in the flooding.

Despite the obvious hardship, OSI would not renegotiate the mortgage, Jones explained.

“They said ‘Give us all the money or get the fuck out’. They wouldn’t even talk. I owed them the last month’s interest and I was hoping to wrap that into a new mortgage. But they foreclosed and then they sued me for the last month’s interest,” needlessly forcing him off his land at a considerable financial loss.

“Then they resold the property. They flipped it. They sold it for $400,000 cash.”

“These guys are bullies,” Jones warned the supporters of Brook Farm Project, referring to OSI. “They’re not nice people and they’re not going to negotiate. They’ve got the title and they’re just going to drive it. They don’t need to listen to anyone.”

That much is true. Brook Farm organizers say they have been left out of all the significant discussions, and that OSI and Glynwood officials have refused to attend their meetings. The heads of OSI and Glynwood did not reply to emails sent to them for comment in this article.

Creek Iversen, who runs the farm, was put under a gag order by OSI officials, which led to the resignations of three Brook Farm board members in protest — gardening columnist Lee Reich, Culinary Institute instructor Rich Vergili, and Dan Getman, a local attorney.

“Recently, the board has not functioned as a board should — by consensus or majority rule,” they wrote in a resignation letter signed by all three.

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Brook Farmers Creek Iversen and Lisa Mitten. Photo by Eric Francis.

“Each of us also wishes to dissociate ourselves from the recent joint public statement released by BFP [Brook Farm Project], OSI, and Glynwood, as well as from statements made to Creek Iversen dictating his activities apart from the work for which he was hired. Neither of these activities were authorized by the board though they purported to be issued under that authority. And they contravened the board’s instructions. We cannot be part of a board that is treated in this way.”

Those involved with Brook Farm and the organizations supporting it say that Anderberg is directly involved in calling the shots, as general counsel of Open Space Institute.

In August, Planet Waves reported on a lawsuit that exposed how Anderberg, who serves as a land-acquisition agent for Mohonk, devised a scheme to purchase land from someone who the State Supreme Court ultimately determined did not own it. After securing a false deed, Mohonk then sued the rightful owners, Karen Pardini and Michael Fink, trying to legitimize its title. The courts rejected the effort, affirming Pardini and Fink as the actual owners.

I also reported how Anderberg, representing a land conservancy, once purchased a nonexistent interest in land from a former owner, then the conservancy tried to sue Pardini and Fink to take the land. That effort, too, was rejected by the State Supreme Court, which held that Pardini and Fink could bring a fraud lawsuit against the people who had done this to them.

More recently, I reported the well-known story of Louise Haviland, who in the 1980s owned land adjacent to the Mohonk Preserve. Anderberg personally purchased her mortgage from its holder, and after he did so, took advantage of a provision allowing him to call in the note — that is, to demand that Haviland pay him back all at once.

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Last watermelon of the year at Brook Farm. Photo by Eric Francis.

When she could not do that, Anderberg brought a foreclosure action against her and her tenants, ultimately taking possession of the land and selling it to Mohonk, which is often the beneficiary of OSI transactions.

Honest land preservation involves a willing seller or donor — not someone from whom land is unwillingly taken. OSI and Mohonk supporters overlook these transgressions, arguing for how much good the organizations allegedly do protecting land from development.

Nobody is contesting that Glynwood Institute and OSI have a right to choose their own tenant. No evidence shows that any of the land transactions involved in Brook Farm have been illegal, though I have not personally studied the deed record. Many locals have noted that as land coms off the tax rolls and is placed in the hands of conservancies, residents of the towns involved end up paying their share of the tax burden. That would be reasonable if the organizations really were acting in the public interest.

The common thread is about the illusion of something versus the underlying reality. The illusion perpetuated by Mohonk and OSI is that they are good neighbors and stewards, not land-grabbers. They go out of their way to perpetuate that image. Glynwood kicking Brook Farm off the land it’s occupied for 10 years challenges the illusion that Glynwood supports community agriculture or plans to help “incubate” young farmers.

The three organizations involved — Mohonk, OSI and Glynwood — seem to be playing a shell game with accountability for this action. For example, in a series of public statements, Glenn Hoagland, the executive director of the Mohonk Preserve, assured the New Paltz community that Brook Farm Project would be left alone.

In early 2012, The Oracle student newspaper at SUNY New Paltz covered the foothills acquisition project and reported that, “Hoagland confirmed that the Brook Farm CSA will continue leasing property.”

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The last squashes of the fall harvest, too small to sell but not too small to eat. Photo by Eric Francis.

In 2011, he told The Gunk Journal, “No major changes to the use of the land are contemplated, we would opt for what we call ‘mixed use’ conservation. That would mean a combination of public use of the lands, where possible, scientific research, educational work with schools and colleges, and the continuation of the present-day sustainable farming at Brook Farm.”

He made similar reassurances at a meeting earlier this year where Mohonk was seeking approval of the New Paltz Town Board on a state grant that would help with its acquisition of the foothills land — Brook Farm would stay where it is.

The problem here is that Hoagland is not in a position to make these statements about Brook Farm. Mohonk is managing a large tract of OSI’s land, though the property that Brook Farm currently occupies will be under the control of Glynwood Institute.

Perhaps Hoagland was mistaken, or maybe his statements were designed to reassure the community that Brook Farm, something it loves and cares about, would be left alone. He has said the same thing many times, and it turns out not to be true.

At the Oct. 2 community meeting about Brook Farm, Mohonk Preserve sent the chairman of its board of directors, Ron Knapp, to represent the Preserve. (Nobody from OSI or Glynwood attended; presumably Knapp was their guy in the room.) After listening to community members vehemently express their concerns about land trusts for three hours running, he stunned the room by asking people to make donations to the Preserve so that it could raise $2 million and purchase land from OSI. That is what I said, and I saw it with my own eyes: at the end of the meeting, Knapp tried to get a little cash out of a bunch of people trying to save the CSA that he was helping crush. Had I not been there, I might not have believed it.

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Creek Iversen teaches New Paltz students the basics of food production at Brook Farm CSA. Photo by Eric Francis.

The next weekend, Brook Farm Project held a concert and festival to build public support for its plight to stay on the land. Pete Seeger was on the schedule.

Twice, Glynwood Institute officials tried to talk him out of performing at the event. Yes, they contacted the 94-year-old singer, who has stood up for every imaginable progressive cause for the past 75 years, and tried to persuade him not to support the Brook Farm Project. As I said — some people have no sense of irony.

Tom O’Dowd is a former member of the board of directors of the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, an environmental organization founded by Seeger. He wrote to Seeger on Oct. 3 and pleaded with him not to “join the unfortunate bashing of OSI, Glynwood, and Mohonk Preserve.”

The lobbying efforts didn’t work. Seeger performed as planned. Members of his organization were confused because they didn’t notice any bashing going on, just some young people trying to save their farm from green-coated agribusiness.

“I have not seen my father so pleased with an afternoon of music in a long time,” his daughter Tinya Seeger wrote to Brook Farm Project’s leadership. “The afternoon was such a relief for him. He loved seeing so many local singing young people and is enthusiastically in support of all of you.”

Many people in New Paltz and the surrounding towns feel the same way. The ball is now in Glynwood’s and OSI’s court — let’s see if they do the right thing.


Additional Research: Amy Elliott and Lizanne E. Webb.

Note to those in the Albany, NY area: I will be the keynote speaker at the Property Rights Foundation of America conference Saturday. My topic will be “Preserving Our Property Rights Against Conservationists.” This will be held at The Century House, Latham, New York. For details please see their website.


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Clove Valley Cemetery on the Grandmother Land in High Falls, NY. Photo by Eric Francis.

Scorpio in Two Directions

Monday, Mercury stationed retrograde in Scorpio, so you may have spent the past few days adjusting to the fact that the tide turned without you noticing. It’s often necessary to reset your mind and your routines after this meaningful little planet changes directions, so give yourself an opportunity to do that.

If you’ve been distracted from something, pick up where you left off. If you were in the midst of sorting out an emotional question, note that you may be seeing things from a new point of view now that Mercury is treading backwards through our zodiac, and will be doing so until Nov. 10. [Additional coverage here.]

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Chart for the Nov. 3 combined annular and total solar eclipse, set for Kingston, New York. The eclipse is conjunct retrograde Mercury, the North Node and Saturn.

Meanwhile, the Sun ingressed Scorpio early Wednesday morning EDT, making a forward trek across that sign. There will be a series of solar events the next two weeks — including a conjunction of Mercury and the Sun on Nov. 1 and a solar eclipse conjunct both Mercury and Saturn on Nov. 3.

Also on Nov. 1 is the fourth of seven events of Uranus square Pluto — the 2012-era aspect. This is the central event, the one marking the midpoint of a process that officially extends until March 2015, when we have the seventh exact square. Just to give you an idea how slow this process is, after the square, we will reach the opposition point of this cycle (Uranus opposite Pluto) in 2046.

All of this is happening at a time of year where there’s already plenty of concentrated energy and when we have that ‘thin veil’ sensation of Sun-Scorpio. That has been commemorated for millennia with holidays similar to Halloween, from Egypt to the Americas, that have celebrated the connection between the worlds of the living and the dead, honoring the ancestors and tuning in to the impending approach of Northern Hemisphere winter.

Remember, in the old days there were no guarantees of surviving winter, and many people (including children, the elderly and the infirm) did not. There was no guarantee that the food, the fuel or the candles would hold up. Nobody knew how long winter would last. We are fortunate to live in much more stable times now, but the memory is contained in our cells. Note that anyone who threatens the supply lines for basic necessities is not a friend.

Mercury, the Sun and the eclipse are part of the grand water trine that has been developing most of the year. In addition to all this Scorpio activity, the grand trine includes Jupiter in Cancer and Neptune and Chiron in Pisces.

That’s more emotional and psychic energy than we’re accustomed to, and it could be manifesting for some people as confusion or drama, or feel overwhelming. This is the time to see the patterns and do something about them, taking incremental steps and acting on what you know. If you know something and know you should take action, I suggest you ask yourself what’s motivating you.

One remedy to the emotional quality of the sky is Mars in Virgo. That’s suggesting that precise action, focusing on what needs to be done and getting it done efficiently and with some determination, will be helpful. Note that Mercury and Mars are occupying one another’s signs — Mars is the traditional ruler of Scorpio, Mercury of Virgo. The two placements are working together.

There is plenty to be done, and it needs to be done well so that you don’t have to go through the same thing three more times. Allow the Mercury retrograde process to help you work in layers, doing as much as you can, seeing what needs redoing or additional detail, and going deeper. The combination of those four factors, Mercury, Mars, Virgo and Scorpio, can produce some excellent results. There’s both cognitive intelligence and innate knowing; attention to detail and attention to the psychological angle of things.

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.


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Republican Unraveling?

“Genetic Republican” and presidential great-grandson John G. Taft published a stern editorial in The New York Times on Wednesday, saying he didn’t recognize the party of his forebears in the “bomb-throwing obstructionism” currently underway, and comparing the Tea Party to McCarthyism. Taft echoes the sentiments of a Texas judge who denounced the party’s “ideological character assassination” in an announcement of his decision to run as a Democrat.

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Drunk on power and religion, Tea Party Republicans may finally be turning off their constituents — and ‘real’ Republicans.

A CNN poll shows that the Republicans have the approval of 12% of the country’s voters, while a Washington Post poll gave them 32% and the Tea Party less than a quarter. When respondents were asked about the government shutdown tactic, roughly eight out of 10 disapproved. Dissent from old-school Republicans continues to grow, with Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah suggesting that the hard-right faction needs “rehabilitation” and openly expressing concerns about the Heritage Foundation’s influence.

In New Jersey, Democrat Cory Booker won handily over Tea Party opponent Steve Lonegan, and Democrat Terry McAuliffe stands a good chance of winning the Virginia governor’s race.

Yet inside the scream machine, the most strident promoters of right-wing hysteria kept up the battle cry: the shutdown was heroic, and Obama and the Democrats are the ones who should worry. At GOP.com, banners demanded the firing of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. Kentucky Senator Rand Paul calmly endorsed “misinformation” as a viable tactic in a speech to a group of medical students.

On Fox Noise, Bill O’Reilly accuses Democrats of outright socialism, while Karl Rove suggests that the executive branch is “in la-la land.” Sean Hannity produced a segment in which three interviewees straight-out lied about having attempted to navigate the ACA website.

What’s driving this ongoing cesspool of idiocy? People for the American Way has a list of some 800 organizations and “think tanks” busily spewing policy suggestions and stirring feces on behalf of those who, like the billionaire Koch brothers, are desperately eager to defund the social safety net, crush workers’ rights, and promote corporate profit at the expense of both the environment and the people in it. Sloganeering and a drumbeat of fear are used to convince folks in the heartland and hinterlands that when the right-wing “saves the day,” they’ll have “their America” back.

It would seem that Tea Party darling Ted Cruz is staying true to his Christian Dominionist roots — a theological construct that exhorts evangelicals to go forth and seize all the money by divine right — which dovetails nicely with the goals of the corporate empire builders.

Back on Earth, 58% of Americans support marriage equality and marijuana legalization, and as of February of this year, 54% favored developing alternative energy sources.

De-Bugging the Affordable Care Act

Experts brought on board by the Department of Health and Human Services are striving to straighten out the operational issues facing HealthCare.gov, the central portal through which Americans are expected to access the insurance marketplace established under the Affordable Care Act.

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A 2012 rally in support of the Affordable Care Act in front of the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. Photo courtesy of LaDawna Howard/Mountiewire.com.

Reports of site crashes and slow loading times have plagued the website’s soft launch, which coincided with the government shutdown of Oct. 1. What seems to be emerging is a textbook bureaucratic snafu, no doubt complicated by the intensity of the political debate surrounding the legislation that is styled “Obama’s signature accomplishment” by supporters and some odd confabulation of doomsday, slavery and Communism by right-wing pundits.

Those who have succeeded in using HealthCare.gov to create secure accounts and shop the insurance exchanges say the results aren’t bad; the subsidies offered do, in fact, create affordable healthcare choices. The Congressional Budget Office projects that by the end of 2014, about 16 million more U.S. citizens will have health insurance and that, over the next decade, the ACA will result in aslight reduction in the national deficit.

The processes of the several private contracting firms responsible for the nuts and bolts of the website and the government agency they were working with were rife with miscommunication, the site crashed during a test just hours before the rollout, and contractors apparently felt pressed for time and at the mercy of arbitrary decisions. These factors, aired during Congressional hearings on Thursday, offered ample grist for the blame mill, much of its outpouring aimed at Obama and HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

Blamers, of course, conveniently ignore the fact that the noisome tantrum being thrown by extremist opponents of the law has required both Obama and Sebelius to stay focused on trying to correct massive onslaughts of misinformation, rather than hands-on oversight of the stuff under the hood. Demands that Sebelius be fired would, if accommodated, take one of the most knowledgeable players out of the game. Republicans on the House Committee on Energy and Commerce reached out to techie-pioneer-turned-party-boy John McAfee as their vision of the Answer Man,a role he has apparently declined.

While it all gets sorted out, some Democrats are joining Republicans in advocating that enforcement of the individual mandate section of the ACA, which levies penalties against people who remain uninsured, should be delayed while the website gets fixed. An A-team of specialists has been brought in to troubleshoot the massive system, which is intended to be used by insurance seekers, insurance companies, and government employees from various agencies performing complex tasks such as income verification.

Estimates are that the website will be fully operational by the end of 2013 or early 2014.


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A Canadian Crackdown in the Fracking Clash

Indigenous Mi’kmaq protesters and Royal Canadian Mounted Police clashed on Turtle Island in New Brunswick on Oct. 17. Cars were burned and some 40 people arrested in a raid on the ongoing blockade the Mi’kmaq had established against shale gas exploration by SNW Operating Company of Texas.

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Police say at least five police vehicles were set ablaze in Rexton, New Brunswick, as RCMP began enforcing an injunction to end an ongoing demonstration against shale gas exploration Oct. 17. Photo: The Canadian Press/Andrew Vaughan.

Within a day, protests had sprung up across Canada in support of the Mi’kmaq and messages of support were pouring in from indigenous activists and environmentalists around the globe. In 2010, the government of New Brunswick opened one-seventh of the province to possible fracking, and Premier David Alward has refused calls for a referendum on the issue, in spite of (or because of) the evidence that two out of three Atlantic Canadians are against it.

Alward and Elsipogtog Chief Aaron Sock agreed on Friday to a cooling-off period, but it’s unclear whether any of this will impact the provincial government’s behavior. Indiscriminate mineral extraction and disregard for treaty rights are an unholy combination that puts the entire North American continent at risk of outcomes far more sinister than a few flaming cop cars.

In New York, Onondaga representatives paddled down the Hudson to the United Nations last summer in the company of non-native allies to win support for enforcement of the Two Row Treaty of peaceful coexistence, only to have the U.S. Supreme Court refuse a land claim suit that had been working its way through the courts since 2005. Since 1823, indigenous treaty rights have been considered subordinate to the Doctrine of Discovery, which holds that Christians may “discover,” take and use land held by non-Christians.

The Canadian government takes similar positions on the “rule of law.” Generations of frustration and the threat posed by fracking and tar sands extraction have crystallized the Idle No More protest movement, putting indigenous people and their allies on the front lines of the resistance. While international bodies like the UN have offered treaty rights proponents a sympathetic ear, national governments seem determined to keep stonewalling.


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Mountain Astrologer Article on Monsanto Available Free

Over the summer, The Mountain Astrologer published my investigative feature on the astrology of Monsanto. That article is now available free to all readers as a PDF download.

The article examines the natal chart of Monsanto — the first time this has been done in a competent and accessible manner (perhaps the first time ever). You’re invited to both read and share the PDF with others concerned about the rise of Monsanto and genetically modified organisms.

Group Says No Consensus on GMO Safety

The European Network of Scientists for Social and Environmental Responsibility on Monday strongly refuted claims of GMO safety, saying it felt “compelled to issue this statement because the claimed consensus on GMO safety does not exist. The claim that it does exist is misleading and misrepresents the currently available scientific evidence and the broad diversity of opinion among scientists on this issue.”

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The group gave several reasons in support of its position. First, recent calls by the European Union and the French government for more research to investigate the long-term health impacts of GM food consumption belie the claim that a consensus exists when it does not.

In addition, no epidemiological studies exist that investigate potential effects of GMO food consumption on human health. Since GMO foods are not labeled in North America, a major producer and consumer of GM crops, ENSSER said it is scientifically impossible to trace or study patterns of consumption and their impacts.

Due to this lack of data, claims that GMO foods are safe for human health based on the experience of North American populations have no scientific basis.

ENSSER also pointed out that claims of scientific and governmental bodies endorsing GMO safety are exaggerated or inaccurate; that there is no consensus on the environmental risks of GM crops; and international agreements show widespread recognition of risks posed by GM foods and crops.

Whether to continue or expand the use of GMO foods is too broad an issue to be based on “narrow scientific debate” and decisions need to encompass a broader range of society, the group stated. It believes that strong scientific evidence must be “obtained in a manner that is honest, ethical, rigorous, independent, transparent, and sufficiently diversified to compensate for bias.”

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From left, winners of the 2013 World Food Prize: Robert T. Fraley; Mary-Dell Chilton; and Marc Van Montagu, founder and chairman of the Institute of Plant Biotechnology Outreach at Ghent University in Belgium. Photo: WFP Foundation.

ENSSER is a non-profit association whose purpose is “the advancement of science and research for the protection of the environment, biological diversity and human health against negative impacts of new technologies and their products,” according to its website.

UPDATE: Petitions with more than 345,000 signatures admonishing the World Food Prize Foundation for awarding this year’s Prize to top executives from Monsanto and Syngenta were delivered to the Foundation’s headquarters in Iowa hours before the ceremony, the Center for Food Safety said.

Often called the “Nobel Prize of agriculture,” the Prize, in its own words, “emphasizes the importance of a nutritious and sustainable food supply for all people.” Dr. Robert T. Fraley, executive vice president and chief technology officer of Monsanto, and Dr. Mary-Dell Chilton, founder of Syngenta, were two of the three recipients.

“With this award, the World Food Prize is perpetuating the false notion that genetically engineered crops are a solution to world hunger and malnutrition. This kind of biotech propaganda obscures the huge potential of low-cost agricultural techniques that actually increase food production and alleviate hunger,” said Andrew Kimbrell, executive director for the Center for Food Safety.


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Can We Heal Our Broken Oceans?

Few understand first-hand how gravely humans have damaged the world’s oceans, and the creatures who live there. Ivan Macfadyen, a yachtsman from Newcastle, Australia, recently sailed from Australia to Japan, and then on to Hawaii and the continental U.S. His assessment of our planet’s waters?
“The ocean is broken.”

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Australian yachtsman and activist Ivan Macfadyen aboard his boat, the Funnel Web. Photo: Max Mason-Hubers.

In a recent story for the Newcastle Herald, Macfadyen describes only catching two fish while sailing for 28 days between Australia and Japan. Sailing the same route ten years ago, catching fish for dinner had been easy.

“I’ve done a lot of miles on the ocean in my life and I’m used to seeing turtles, dolphins, sharks and big flurries of feeding birds,” says Macfadyen. “But this time, for 3000 nautical miles there was nothing alive to be seen.”

The uncanny silence and apparent lack of sea life appear to have two major causes. One is huge trawlers that catch every fish they can in an area — and then toss overboard to rot everything that is not tuna. Another is tremendous quantities of trash, from plastic drink bottles to an entire factory chimney — much of it swept from land by the massive tsunami that hit Japan March 11, 2011.

“In a lot of places we couldn’t start our motor for fear of entangling the propeller in the mass of pieces of rope and cable. That’s an unheard-of situation, out in the ocean.”

As they sailed cautiously, listening to objects hitting the hull, something in the waters off the coast of Japan reacted with the paint job on that hull, fading it in an unprecedented way.

Two and a half years out, we’re only beginning to understand the magnitude of damage that tsunami set in motion — same with the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, where catches are severely reduced and tar balls continue to wash up — all on top of ‘regular’ pollution. When will we learn?

Toxic Dog and Cat Jerky Treat Alert

The Food and Drug Administration is asking pet owners and licensed veterinarians to help them track down information on why hundreds of dogs and cats have died since 2007 from eating poisonous jerky treats. About 3,600 have been sickened, and the numbers of illnesses and deaths has appeared to rise since January. The affected jerky seems to be chicken, duck, sweet potato and fruit-flavored varieties. Most seems to be made in China, however pet food manufacturers are not required by U.S. law to state the country of origin for each ingredient in their products.

For more information, see Wednesday’s blog post.


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The End of Sex? Maybe, in Japan

Japan’s under-40 population is turning away from marriage and sex by the millions, according to a report in The Guardian newspaper. It’s a trend that its media has named sekkusu shinai shokogun, or “celibacy syndrome.” If it continues, Japan’s shrinking population — now at 126 million — could fall further by one-third as soon as 2060.

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A 17th or 18th century woodblock print featured in a current exhibition at the British Museum in London depicts the good ol’ days, when the Japanese still liked sex.

Young people in Japan no longer feel duty-bound to have families; the very model of traditional marriage — breadwinning husband, stay-at-home mother — is repugnant to career-minded singles of both sexes.

Men don’t want the responsibility of a wife and family, while women know marriage and motherhood would end their careers, The Guardian reported. The World Economic Forum ranks Japan as one of the world’s worst nations for gender equality at work.

Sources for the story speculate that the 2011 earthquake, tsunami and destruction of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant left psychological scars as well, engendering feelings of futility and hopelessness.

“Both men and women say to me they don’t see the point of love. They don’t believe it can lead anywhere,” Ai Aoyama, a Tokyo sex and relationship counselor, told The Guardian. “Relationships have become too hard.”

Single Japanese people say they enjoy their unattached and nonsexual lives, seeing anything else as “too troublesome.” Japan’s Institute of Population and Social Security reports 90% of young women believe that staying single is “preferable to what they imagine marriage to be like.”

Aoyama tries to educate her clients on the importance of intimacy, whether it’s in a committed relationship or not. “It’s not healthy that people are becoming so physically disconnected from each other,” she said.


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Free Press vs. National Security: A ‘False Choice’

When governments threaten the ability of a free press to do its job by seizing reporters’ phone records, documents and names of sources, in the name of national security, it ultimately weakens them and sets up a “false choice” for its citizens.

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Gary Pruitt, president and CEO of The Associated Press, speaks about press freedom at the 69th General Assembly of the Inter American Press Association. Photo: David Zalubowski/AP.

Gary Pruitt, president and CEO of The Associated Press, made those remarks to the 69th General Assembly of the Inter American Press Association in Denver Saturday, adding that the U.S. Justice Department’s secret seizure of phone records of calls to and from AP reporters last year was one of the most blatant violations of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution the 167-year-old news cooperative has ever seen.

A free and independent press “differentiates democracy from dictatorship; separates a free society from tyranny,” he said.

In countries where journalists have fought long and hard for a free press, Pruitt said dictators can look to the U.S.’s example to justify their own media repression. The Justice Department’s actions “could not have been more tailor-made to comfort authoritarian regimes.”

Pruitt said he was encouraged by proposed Justice Department guidelines, introduced after the records seizure, that would give reporters more protections and guarantee that they will not be prosecuted for doing their jobs.

“But you can bet that we will be watching closely to make sure they are implemented and enforced,” he said.


Planet Waves

New Jersey Governor Stops Fighting Same-Sex Marriage

In the latest win for same-sex marriage, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie abandoned his fight against its legalization in his state. Christie had asked the New Jersey Supreme Court to ban same-sex marriages while he appealed the court’s earlier decision to uphold legislation that would allow gay and lesbian couples to marry. The court refused his request unanimously on Friday.

The legislation took effect at midnight Monday, and same-sex couples began wedding immediately through the night and into the early morning.

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Stewart Fishbein, left, and Peter Aupperle showed off the rings signifying their marriage at Hoboken City Hall on Monday. Photo: Bryan Thomas for The New York Times.

Christie, considered a contender for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, has maintained his stance against gay marriage despite its popularity in his home state, ostensibly because it is not popular with conservative voters in the rest of the country.

However, even while emphasizing that marriage should be between a man and a woman, Christie has also signed a bill outlawing “gay conversion therapy.”

Four months ago, after Christie had vetoed the bill allowing same-sex marriage, many activists thought he had solidly blocked their progress. According to The New York Times, however, Judge Mary C. Jacobson of State Superior Court ruled in September “that the state had to allow gay marriages to comply with the United States Supreme Court decision in June that guaranteed same-sex married couples the same federal benefits as heterosexual married couples.”

The SCOTUS decision meant that couples in civil unions in New Jersey did not have the same benefits as those in marriages, running counter to a 2006 New Jersey Supreme Court decision guaranteeing them equal protection.


Planet Waves

Planet Waves

“Ocean plastics now outweigh the amount of plankton by at least six to one. This statistic is terrifying, and fuels my artistic endeavors,” says Angela Pozzi. Photo: Henry the fish; WashedAshore.org.

From Marine Menace to Transformative Art

Oregon artist Angela Pozzi understands that the first step in curbing the destruction of our oceans is to foster individual awareness through tangible means around our use and disposal of non-biodegradable materials. It can be hard to comprehend the 3.5 million pounds of trash collected from beaches across America — in just one day — by the Ocean Conservancy’s clean-up project last year.

Believing in creating “art for life’s sake,” Pozzi (who is lead artist for WashedAshore.org) collects plastic from Oregon beaches, sorts it by color, and creates large-scale sculptures of sea creatures with it.

“I wanted it to be where people would want their picture taken next to it,” said Pozzi to Hawaii’s KITV of her giant pieces of art, while there for the Pacific Rim Marine Debris Conference. “And then they would have to tell someone what they just had their picture taken next to.”

Not only is she leading a community effort involving volunteers and school children to create more large-scale artistic ambassadors, Pozzi is available for educational consulting, curriculum development and project design if you’d like to start a similar effort in your community.


Planet Waves

Mercury retrograde, healing codependency and Gary Lucas

Link to Program

This week I am honored to have world-class rocker Gary Lucas as my musical guest, on a program that addresses themes as deep as Gary’s music and lyrics. In this edition I cover the recently-begun Mercury retrograde in Scorpio, which will be followed by the Sun ingressing Scorpio early Wednesday morning EDT.

Planet Waves
Gary Lucas as seen from backstage at Backstage Studio Productions in Kingston, New York, this past summer as part of the Kingston Film Festival. Photo by Eric Francis.

I pick up where Monday and Tuesday’s editions of Daily Astrology begin, which is the theme of opening up to your own inner truth, and addressing denial and codependency.

All this astrology in Scorpio, especially the introspective Mercury retrograde, the forthcoming solar eclipse and the presence of Saturn — all basically working as one entity — provide a compelling image of how useful and empowering it will be to look within.

As for Gary Lucas: you get a full introduction, including a look at his chart and two truly magnificent tracks, one called Evangeline, from his 2000 CD Street of Lost Brothers, and then Ride of the Valkyries from the CD Coming Clean.

I give a fascinating overview of Gary’s chart, focusing on his cluster of planets in Gemini and Cancer and how they work together to produce someone who is like an atomic fusion reactor of creative energy who looks like he can get by on an hour of sleep a night.


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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 is below in this issue. We published the extended monthly horoscope for October on Friday, Sept. 27. Inner Space for October was published Friday, Sept. 20. Moonshine for the Libra New Moon published on Tuesday, Oct. 1. We published Moonshine for the Aries Full Moon Tuesday, Oct. 15. Please note, we normally publish the extended monthly horoscope on the first Friday after the Sun has entered a new sign; Inner Space usually publishes the following Tuesday but for now it’s substituting for one Friday horoscope a month.

Planet Waves Monthly Horoscope for November 2013, standing in for weekly #972 | By Eric Francis

Aries (March 20-April 19)

Aries (March 20-April 19) — Your plans may unfold more slowly than you were expecting, as if you’re living in a parallel world where time runs at half-speed. This is not only necessary; it will be helpful. Typically you run so fast you don’t look back to reflect on where you’ve arrived. Then the movement itself becomes the thing to do for its own sake, which happens not to be for your sake. The purpose is some form of healing, rest and repair. It would be a good idea to seek out someone’s assistance, or to notice who is in your environment — most likely a professional and not a friend or relative — and willing to assist with your healing mission. One other purpose of taking work, projects and social activities slower is so that you can place your focus on what appears to be a significant transition in a personal relationship. Your astrology describes this both as a release point and as an opening; as the invocation of a limit and your ability to surpass a previous blockage. This relates directly to your healing path, and though you cannot control the outcome, you can influence it in a positive way by being attentive to your own needs and always taking responsibility for what you can do to improve the situation, starting with yourself. No matter what it may seem, ultimately your life is not about anyone but you.

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) — Driving is a metaphor for life. Notice the road conditions at all times, make sure you’re in good shape to be behind the wheel, and most important, stay in your lane. You might also want to keep track of whether you’re coming or going. I know that’s a funny old expression that few people think about, but I do mean knowing whether you’re going toward something or away from it; whether you’re approaching or avoiding, and why. The approach/avoid thing seems to involve something you’re simultaneously trying to remember and to forget. The astrological syntax translates to, “Question your mother’s logic about sex.” I think when questioning the teaching of our parents or of anyone, it helps to extend their logic and see where it would take you if you went the whole distance with it. You are likely to find that it’s not even vaguely suited to guide you through where you are in your most intimate relationships. That logic, such as it is, was shattered a long time ago, though you may still be maintaining some loyalty to it. In truth you’re at an absolutely unique crossroads in your life, and you may feel you have to make a huge decision right now. I don’t think that is true. Where there is a commitment, it has already been made. Where one is lacking, that much will be obvious.

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) — Do you feel like you’re trying to pass some kind of psychic kidney stone? Thankfully, unlike the physical body, the spiritual body has the ability to process large ‘objects’ in a way that doesn’t force them through tiny openings. Indeed, however large this thing you need to purge yourself of is, you have the ability to move it along and send it on its way. Your astrology can be illustrated with some ideas from homeopathy, a branch of medicine more people deserve to know about. When it works, homeopathy seems like magic, and compared to other forms of medicine, there’s relatively little the patient has to endure. But two things are necessary. The price of admission to homeopathic healing is admission — revealing to the practitioner what you’re experiencing, in intimate detail. That translates to revealing something to yourself, with scrupulous honesty, ongoing, never satisfied that you’re reached the bottom. The second qualification of homeopathy is the healing crisis — in releasing old pain, it must come to the surface. Going through that consciously is a necessary prerequisite to feeling good and being healthy. Honesty and awareness — perhaps the two things most lacking in our world now, and the fact that they’re missing is one of the most prevalent causes of sickness. What passes for healing is usually denial and suppression of the symptoms. You’re ready for the real 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.


Cancer (June 21- July 22)

Cancer (June 21-July 22) — Has the whole sex thing been a little weird, whether mired in karma, needlessly complex or seemingly nonexistent? You may find the topic annoying and wish it would go away, or feeling some deep need, wishing something would actually happen. Count yourself lucky if you’re experiencing this on the level of “you can’t always get what you want, but you can get what you need” — though where sex is concerned, that’s pretty boring. By sex, I mean both the experience and the relationships in which it occurs, the agreements involved and what is exchanged. Saturn has been in Scorpio, your solar 5th house, for a year, and it’s leading you to be more careful, or putting the brakes on your adventures. At the same time, Saturn points us in the direction of authentic necessity and always gives more than it takes away. You have reached a kind of crux point on whatever it is that you’re going through; events of the next few weeks are likely to come with a bold transformation, and to reveal the deeper contents of your feelings. The essence of Saturn in this area of your chart is about taking total responsibility for your sexuality and for what you exchange with others. Mercury retrograde is about finding the intersection of your fantasies and your reality. The eclipse is the catalyst that starts the reaction — and an X factor.

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 central question of this month’s solar eclipse is safety — when and where you feel grounded and confident of your environment. While this may seem to be about having a dry roof, food to eat and dependable companionship, the question quickly slips into how you feel about yourself. Self-criticism is one of the most direct pathways into feeling threatened or unpleasantly vulnerable. Often self-critique is projected onto others, which is designed to vent pressure. However, projecting it onto a relationship turns out to be just as painful. How safe you feel reflects how much you like yourself. If you feel unsafe in your environment for direct reasons you can document, that, too, may be a reflection of how you feel about yourself. Whatever may be the case, you are in a phase where you can take some giant steps toward learning about self-esteem. The planets are aligned perfectly so you may learn from the mistakes of others. We live in a time in history when the way most products are sold is to make people feel inadequate. Legions of manipulation artists are paid an ocean of money to ‘educate’ us how horrid we allegedly are, and charge us money to feel better. Often we try to con ourselves using similar means. It does not work. If you think you need a reason to feel good about yourself, I suggest you go deeper.

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) — You stand to benefit significantly from all manner of weird events that unfold over the next month or so. It may not seem that way, though I suggest the best strategy is to maintain your independence and stay out of the fray — until you notice that it’s the perfect time to make your move. The way the astrology looks, that’s going to be in the later innings; let the adventures, misadventures, games and dramas develop for a while, as you pull back and get the wide view. This is another way of saying maintain your independence, which may feel like being antisocial. What is currently passing for social among certain people you know isn’t exactly social, either — the more congenial mode (in the immortal words of the Grateful Dead) is to ‘take a step back/take another step back’. Give people space to be themselves, and give yourself space to be yourself. Perspective is everything. Observe the action from all angles. Yes, there are several ways to read the astrology indicating how personally you could take things, but you’ll feel silly if you take things personally and then discover in the end that it had nothing to do with you. Meanwhile — be optimistic. My dog-friend Jonah is a Virgo and whenever there’s any activity in the kitchen, he’s standing there wagging his tail. I would call that faithful expectancy.

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) — There is a cosmic feeling to your charts right now, as if you encounter some spiritual intervention that helps you work out an emotional knot you’ve been carrying around nearly forever. The way the picture looks, you’ve been drawn with increasing intensity to focus on a group of issues that seemed daunting and even impossible to address, not knowing how you would do it. Yet at a certain point, you seem to have suspended doubt, and then soon after that, you seem to have made a commitment to yourself. That was akin to the choice to make an investment in yourself. The thing with an investment is that it’s never a sure thing. You have to put up a lot of energy (in various forms, including emotions and money) before you get a return. Then, that return might be something entirely different than you are expecting (which seems to hold true for both business investments and for deeply personal ones). It looks like something is about to come to fruition. I will say this, however: the die is not cast. Your imagination will have an influence, though when you go there, you may experience some fear. Consider that fear a psychological response to the expression of your potential power. If you feel guilt, consider that direct evidence that you’re moving in the right direction — that of claiming your value, your personal power, your resources and your independence.

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) — Scorpio has a reputation for being the sign of jealousy. Perhaps one of the most misunderstood emotions, that goes along with Scorpio being one of the most misunderstood signs. You seem to have been grappling with jealousy lately, whether your own or that of someone else. It doesn’t matter which; you would need to address it in either case, and the same awareness is called for. Jealousy has two main components — attachment and control. That differentiates it from envy, which is about wanting what someone else has. Underneath this is a spiritual struggle that’s about to come to a head. If you find yourself feeling especially strong emotions, including the desire to control anyone in any form, pause and notice what’s going on beneath the tempest. Don’t be distracted by the surface layer or cast of characters. The real subject matter is between you and existence, or said another way, what you encounter walking that fine line between existence and non-existence. Below the drama is the sensation of how close to the edge you walk, all the time. Think of the turbulence as a fear reaction, though it’s worth questioning: what exactly are you scared of, and in the spirit of the Serenity Prayer, what exactly can you do about it? There may not be answers to these questions, but the cosmos of your psyche has some relevant information for you.

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 to be working through the whole love vs. fear thing — that there are two emotions, and that all other feelings and sensations emerge from one or the other. One does not cancel the other out or compensate for the other; there really is a choice. However, you may be getting the occasional torrent of fear that obscures the love you’re feeling. There’s a potential lure to the fear in that it’s blended with passion, potentially sexual passion. It may reach into some of your deepest, darkest desires, yet at the core is a form of anxiety. I’ve been studying this one with my spiritual teacher Elisa Novick: it’s a tricky one. The love, alternately, has a cosmic feeling to it, and may feel disembodied or impersonal; that may seem to contradict your desire to go for the physical and the embodied, though you still have that option open to you. The ‘choice between fear and love’ may manifest as the option to build on one foundation or the other. If you thought of it in those terms, the choice would be easy. You may be wondering where the fear will go, if you choose to place the home known as your soul on love. There’s a vent opening up, through which fear or any other negative emotion can be returned to the universe as unconditioned energy — liberating you in the process.

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) –You may not feel like the flavor of the month, but if you refuse to be swayed by group opinion, you’ll discover how much respect people have for you. At the same time you’ll discover a new depth of self-respect. This word — respect — means to see again. There’s a re-evaluation implied, with the result being seeing something that you hadn’t seen before. This lends some credence to the idea that respect can be earned or gained as people get to know one another, or get to know themselves. And there is the hint that it may take some time for that to happen, especially if your ruling planet Saturn is involved in the equation (which it is). Therefore, allow some time to pass, during which there may be a bit of confusion, mixed or missed messages, and a little competition for a niche. Remember, though, that your niche is all your own — the thing you do that nobody else can do; the gift you have that is yours alone, and which you may discover in the process of offering it to others. As you move through this territory, just make sure that you don’t con yourself into coming to any ‘final’ conclusions about who you are, what you do or what you have to offer. Make room for a discovery process — there’s plenty to discover.

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) — I’ve often pondered the phrase ‘authority issues’. One definition is not knowing one’s place in the order of things. The result can be attempting to act with greater influence than one has, or with far less. We see manifestations of both in our society, and the particularly toxic equation of those on a power trip acting out on those on a powerlessness trip. Noticing this dynamic may convince you that you want to get out of the game entirely. True authority begins with your relationship to yourself. It becomes real the moment you recognize that no other person can dictate that relationship, no matter how hard they try and regardless of what happened in the past. This month’s solar eclipse is a reminder to be on the lookout for what you might call ‘shadow figures’ from the past who you’ve internalized. They may boss you around and attempt to tell you who you are and how to feel about yourself. One attribute of finding your authority will be taking back your consciousness from hijacking by these inner voices. The first step in this process is recognizing that they are not you. They may seem convincing but really, if you listen carefully, you will be able to hear the difference. Then you’ll be able to feel the difference, in the form of feeling a lot better about yourself.

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) — It is amazing how the division between that which is erotic and that which is spiritual is so successfully pushed as a political agenda. Perhaps it’s even more astounding that it still works. I reckon it’ll work for as long as people feel misgivings about themselves. It will work for as long as sex and/or some form of allegedly spiritual idea are accepted as ways to gain power over people — and people are willing to give that power away. You’ve reached a point in your growth where this is simply untenable. Rather than trying to dismantle the power trip, I suggest you focus on the essentially spiritual beauty of pleasure, be it of body, of soul, of the emotions, of nature or all of the above. This is not a matter of theory — it’s about appreciating your existence and recognizing as birthrights feeling good, feeling open and being able to share yourself. It’s easy to let yourself be distracted by those preaching hellfire, including its more subtle form as guilt. Consider the extent to which, if you ever experience these things, they are an inheritance from previous generations. Those who passed them on to you lacked your knowledge, your freedom and your appreciation of life. They were more subject to superstition and had fewer resources available. Simply put, they were not you, right now, living the life you are living.

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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