Dear Friend and Reader:
We now have our first tangible result of full digital conditions: a Frankenstein monster of every vile or repressive political stance has been designated president-elect. A national Muslim registry? Really? Rounding up Mexicans?
This has been an exhausting year. It’s been agonizing enduring the attacks on women, on darker-skinned people, on Muslims, on veterans. It was enough that this got broadcast on TV and the internet month after month. Now it’s about to become national policy.
We have experienced a shock as individuals and to the collective mind.
This shock is not limited in its effects by partisan viewpoints. Everyone is feeling it, or will be, but only some people are saying what they’re experiencing and how they feel.
We all know that change is upon us. We all know it’s been a long time since anything radically shifted the trajectory of our culture.
Remember that in order to move society in one direction, something must come loose and be movable in any direction. There is no ratchet mechanism that says things must always click toward one particular side of the spectrum. There’s the relationship between the manipulators and the manipulated: this is something we must look at carefully. Anyone concerned about fake news on the internet needs to learn how to fact-check for themselves. There is only so much of your power you can give away and still have any. Figuring out what’s true is now a top-level survival skill.
The kind of shock we’re experiencing is difficult to understand if we try to perceive it through prior labels or categories, particularly political. The terms we have and try to use — liberal, conservative, Democrat, Republican, independent — are meaningless now. They are merely used to divide people.
Many other social concepts are also falling apart, everything from notions like gay, straight, career, job, married, single: they lack the seemingly clean lines they used to have. And we all know that time — the most important boundary of all — ain’t what it used to be, which means our concept and experience of time is changing.
Three References to Astrology
Let’s put an anchor down into the long-range astrology on which I’ll base the rest of my analysis. This consists of several main factors and many supporting ones. I will offer you three in this discussion. The common threads involve slow-movers Uranus, Pluto and Eris, all of which have precedents for revolution.
Fractal by Barbara Lane.
First let’s consider the Uranus-Eris conjunction. This is a ridiculously potent aspect associated with digital conditions, identity chaos and an explosion of self-discovery. The current alignment completes and also resets a cycle that began in 1927-1928, at the dawn of the broadcast era. (Think: the War of the Worlds radio broadcast of 1938 being at the beginning of the most recent cycle.)
Uranus conjunct Eris is at its peak now, and will be so through 2017, with obvious effects building, rippling and reverberating beyond the end of the decade. My research has the early rumblings of this aspect starting in 2007. You might think this is funny, but my basis chart is that of the introduction of the iPhone. That event was the water line between “there is an internet” and “we now live at the bottom of a digital ocean, please pass the oxygen.”
The most toxic effect of this aspect is that we’re being trained by our technology to be chilly little robots. We become like our tools, and our tools are now all robotic devices. The greatest potential is a wave of self-awareness rippling through the culture. On the most intimate, inward level, this is the choice we have. There is not much room for compromise between the two.
Next is Pluto in Capricorn. That’s the sensation of the foundation of society crumbling. This commenced in the summer of 2008, and coincided with the revelation of what was quaintly known then as the subprime mortgage crisis, which became the failures of the banks and the Great Recession. Pluto is only halfway through Capricorn. It enters Aquarius beginning in 2023. Between now and then, we’re likely to witness an accelerating shock to institutions, some of which will fall.
Fractal by Barbara Lane.
Last is a series of alignments that involve Pluto and Eris, which happen in 2020 and 2021. First is Saturn conjunct Pluto, then Pluto square Eris, and finally Jupiter conjunct Pluto. There are no words for this, except to say that it’s as potent as astrology gets. What we are seeing play out in politics today is merely the warm-up act.
While we’re on the astrology, here’s one last thought: The United States is now in its Pluto return. The U.S. has its natal Pluto at about 27 degrees of Capricorn. Pluto reaches that degree in February 2022, completing one full 250-year cycle. This has never happened in U.S. history. Because Pluto is in Capricorn within seven degrees of the U.S. Pluto, what we’re experiencing now, and everything I’ve described so far, can be seen as early effects of the Pluto return. This is the great and grand spiritual checkpoint for the American experiment — and we are in it now.
In this time, we decide we are one nation, one people, living on one world, or we see the effects of the fragmentation of American society in structural ways. These might include secession movements and interstate compacts designed to protect against the too-powerful federal system of government.
A Change in Perspective
We are experiencing change, shock and disorientation on an accelerated scale, as described by world events and the astrology you just read about. But there’s a weird dissonance: most people’s lives are, at this time, moving along more or less normally. Of course, “normally” means verging on insane — the pace, keeping up with communications, money being worth less, a strange social environment, and yes, the pace of existence seeming to leave no time to breathe.
There is a split here; we see and feel the shocks and yet wonder where the change is for us personally. This is a central question. I think that much of the change we’re seeing has its epicenter in consciousness, not in the world.
In order to keep our sanity, we’ll need to begin describing ideas and events in more descriptive terms rather than labeling them. The ongoing crumbling of context is making it increasingly important that we have new ways to tell the story of our lives.
Fractal by Barbara Lane.
This will involve a reorientation of perception. What we need to study is the environment more than dwelling on specific people, problems and events.
“The environment” means your surroundings, technology that’s in your hands and in the background, the backstory and all else that is normally invisible or that you don’t typically notice. Now that we’ve had our minds, hearts, souls, careers and appointment calendars thrust onto the astral plane of the internet, it’s time to use discernment and notice what normally goes unseen in the world around us.
You are part of that background — that which you look through and do not normally see. Your mind, which synthesizes all you experience, tends to be a transparent device. You seem to see through it, more than you actually see it — yet the opposite is true. You take in the sensory data and then assemble it into the reality you experience. This is why your state of mind is the single most important factor in this whole discussion. It’s also the most transparent factor because you rarely see the thing itself; you experience the results. Your mind colors and shapes everything you think you feel and see.
Digital technology has pushed our minds outside ourselves, or that’s the illusion. Sense organs, our memory structure, our nervous systems, all are now projected outside ourselves, contained on computing devices. We often remember things by looking them up on a computer. We see the world through cameras and hear it through microphones. This is unnerving; one result is the need to cut off from so much input. That extend/cut-off cycle is the digital haze, the sleepwalking through life, that’s so reflective of our moment.
When this happens, particularly in younger people who lack the prior reference points and contexts, one result is extreme destabilization. There is literally nothing to cling to, no dependable harbors or moorings, nothing that does not change with disquieting speed, and everything is subject to being pushed to extremes.
Tell Your Own Story, Your Way
Without old-fashioned concepts to fit your experiences into, you need your own way of telling your story, in a way you can relate to others. You must take over the narrative of your life. This will help you navigate your experiences of yourself, your relationships and your community. More than anything, having an accurate, workable description of your life will help you navigate your purpose. That is to say, navigating your way through time in a meaningful way.
Fractal by Barbara Lane.
One thing I hear about a lot in my role as an astrologer is a struggle with meaning. Not everyone is blessed with an inner compass pointing them in a dependable direction. Most of the landmarks that one uses as navigational references are also endangered species.
American culture had relatively few rites of passage to begin with: high school graduation, first car, college graduation, embark on career, get married, have children, and so on. These still exist, but in ways that are less significant or even insignificant for more and more people. The idea of a job is getting difficult to grasp (another influence of the internet). Note to the new administration: the jobs have not gone to Mexico or China. The jobs have gone to robots.
The environment we’re in makes it difficult to see where we’ve been, where we are and where we might go. To do this will take seeing yourself in the context of your environment, which means really, truly paying attention to the invisible background. More than anything, that means your interior reality.
It’s getting difficult to describe this elusive thing, interior reality, in an environment where it’s been blown inside out. There was a time not long ago when nearly all communications had a reasonable chance of being private. When you would mail someone a letter, it was not copied over on 10 different servers. When you made a phone call, all but actual targets of investigations could be sure that nobody in the government or the phone company recorded it.
Young people today who have grown up going through security checkpoints on the way into high school, having bag and locker searches, and being declared psychiatric cases based on poems written in their diaries have no concept of privacy. Many young people have been subjected to stop-and-frisk tactics of the police on public streets. Most do not remember a time before this happened. Privacy means you can walk down the street or get on a subway train and not be searched.
Fractal by Barbara Lane.
The loss of privacy translates into not just a loss of interior space but also a loss of the idea that it might exist. Then add the internet, the use of which has trained everyone to blow their minds inside out, sharing every personal thought and private detail as if it’s breaking news.
While we’ve been busy doing this, the magicians of marketing have colonized our minds with their branding, their jingles and most of all, with their concept of who you should be. This has been going on for a long time, though most advertising now has nothing to do with the product and is all about the life you should be living, who you’re supposed to be and what you’re supposed to want.
You might think of all of this as “invisible background,” if only because it’s so prevalent that it’s nearly impossible to see.
We Need to Reclaim Inner Space
My perspective is that the present chaos of the world — and our seeming inability to rein it in — involves the collapse of interior boundaries. This is the effect of something, which I’ve described in the preceding paragraphs. It’s not getting any easier. Those influences are only growing more frantic as they compete for our attention, loyalty and money.
Fractal by Barbara Lane.
The need to cultivate inner space has never been more important. As in never, ever. How to do that would be the subject of an excellent article series or book; and speaking of books, reading them is an excellent way to start. Devoting yourself to art, music and writing is also deeply helpful at cultivating inner space.
And then there is sex, the most maligned, co-opted and misunderstood subject in all of existence. Connecting with sexuality has the power to save our souls like few things. The fact that it’s so maligned and misunderstood requires careful handling. It calls for having real information. We also need to develop the language to communicate with one another about our inner reality as we discover it. That transaction — sexual self-discovery combined with learning to relate those experiences to others — can provide some of the best direction you’ve ever had in your life. You can gain access to your “original instructions” and begin to get a more tangible understanding of how to be of use.
With the chaos factor being what it is, we need to explore and master every tool we have available. This takes time, commitment and patience. In a world with few boundaries, you need a code you can live by. Just keep it flexible.
Cenk Uygur of The Young Turks offers his description of what might happen under a Donald Trump presidency. The projection is based on Trump’s craving for power, his status as a serial bungler, and as someone who has no boundaries. I would consider this a modest prediction, in that it will probably unfold sooner. He makes the point that the administration is likely to put its energy into where there’s money. What he does not mention is that the struggle for power and factionalization among those now in charge will get in the way. Still, Uygur is a balanced thinker, and he makes some excellent points in this seven-minute video.
Planet Waves (ISSN 1933-9135) is published each Tuesday and Thursday evening in Kingston, New York, by Planet Waves, Inc. Core community membership: $197/year. Editor and Publisher: Eric Francis Coppolino. Web Developer: Anatoly Ryzhenko. Special Project Designer: Lizanne Webb. Finance: Jonathan McCarthy. Astrology Editor: Amanda Painter. Astrology Fact Checker: Len Wallick. Copy Editor and Fact Checker: Jessica Keet. Eric’s Assistant: Gale Jazylo. Client Services: Amy Elliott. Media Consultant: Andrew Ellis Marshall McLuhan. Music Director: Daniel Sternstein. Additional Research, Writing and Opinions: Amy Jacobs, Cindy Ragusa and Carol van Strum.
Desire, Dreaming, Scheming and Action
By Amanda Painter
How are you doing? It’s been quite a week, and I’ve been hearing from friends and colleagues who are in various forms and stages of grieving, activating, creating, planning, worrying, escaping and engaging in deep self-care.
The Sun is moving through its last few days of Scorpio; it will enter Sagittarius on Monday. Between now and then, the astrology appears to be indicating a few forms of action and awareness.
Monday’s Taurus Full Moon rising over the islands of Casco Bay off Portland, Maine. Photo by Amanda Painter.
For example, today the dwarf planet Ceres retrogrades into a conjunction with Eris (with Uranus nearby). Eris has been in a long conjunction with Uranus this year, an aspect that illustrates the upsets, bizarre developments and general chaos we’ve seen around us — particularly in the political realm.
If you have not shut down your Facebook and Twitter accounts and tossed your TV to try and escape, see if you can spot any trends in the news around the theme of revisiting what we thought would feed us, but did not. And be on the lookout for anyone resembling a modern-day goddess or mother figure willing to enter the chaos to try and put it right. (This is not to say you should wait for a goddess to save things; you simply might see the astrology manifesting in such a figure. Looking for and cultivating your own inner Ceres is where the real work lies.)
On a more internal and psychological level, if you’re feeling at all like last week’s election dismisses, demeans or discounts any part of your identity (especially any facet of your feminine side), consider seeking out ways to nourish that part of yourself. Given that the conjunction is in Aries, some form of action or expression of desire and motivation could be very empowering.
By Amanda Painter
With Mercury in Sagittarius in a square to Neptune in Pisces, dreaming and optimism seems to be the name of the game. Possibly along with some misunderstanding, yet perhaps with awareness of some “subtler aspects of the world,” as astrologer Robert Hand puts it.
Given that Neptune casts a wide orb of influence anyway, it seems fitting today to offer a creative work that may or may not fit those themes, but which is sweetly affecting nonetheless: “The Duck,” written by Ben Loory and told by him on This American Life in 2012. The eight-minute-long tale begins with a duck falling in love with a rock (because why not?); it was first published in Loory’s short-story collection, Stories for Nighttime and Some for the Day.
This Week on Planet Waves FM
That Strange Thing About U.S. Elections
Note — At about 34 minutes or so, when describing the knowledge and power granted to U.S. presidents, I said Trump met with the president, but the name ‘Clinton’ slipped in instead of Obama. (Here is one hosting of the video I mentioned.) Trump was humbled even by his meeting with Obama, an actual president of the United States.
Dear Friend and Listener:
The strange thing about U.S. elections is that the loser can take office. And that’s what we’re now witnessing. The last time, in 2000, things didn’t go well. People were jumping off the World Trade Center just 10 months later (to escape before the towers fell).
I keep the discussion low-key but in truth, I am concerned. We’ve already lost an 18-month game of chicken, and I reckon we’ll have a few others ahead.
As for what to do about this? I go over some possibilities on the personal level, and we’ve included some potentials for political response in this edition.
My musical guest is Leonard Cohen, who died last week at age 82 after a 60-year career as a poet and recording artist.
I had intended to read his chart — other pressing subject matter got the attention. Here is the chart if you want to have a look.
Planet Waves FM is sponsored not by drug companies or alcohol or cars, but by you. If you listen regularly, or listen carefully, please get a subscription or renew your old one. You may do that here, or call us at (877) 453-8265 and we’ll take care of you on the phone.
Thanks for tuning in.
Additional research by Amy Elliott, Amanda Painter and Lizanne Webb.
Your Monthly Horoscopes — and our Publishing Schedule Notes
Your extended monthly horoscope for November was published on Thursday, Oct. 27. We published your extended monthly horoscope for October on Thursday, Sept. 22. We published the Moonshine horoscope for the Scorpio New Moon, by Len Wallick, on Thursday, Nov. 3. Your Moonshine horoscope for the Aries Full Moon was published Thursday, Oct. 13. Please note: we normally publish the extended monthly horoscope on the first Friday after the Sun has entered a new sign.
Aries (March 20-April 19) — While creative art involves a good deal more work than Hollywood filmmakers (for example) would have us believe, imagination is also fueled and restocked by occasional play. Shaking loose a bit can be remarkably advantageous to the production of eureka moments. You know this really. You also know that it’s important to have some quiet time, regardless of one’s natural level of gregariousness. All these things are like the oil that smoothes the machine and helps to keep it maintained. Try to keep some balance in your schedule. — by Amy Elliott. For your Eric Francis horoscope this week, please see this link.
Taurus (April 19-May 20) — It’s possible you’re feeling that certain of your relationships need freshening up or altering in some way; or perhaps the change is already happening, and you’re adjusting your ideas. Take all the time you feel is required. You may well have some concept of a preferred outcome; chances are, this is both sound and possible. If this involves breaking away from early programming, so much the better. Also, sincere devotion is a beautiful thing, provided that you maintain the integrity of your being and principles. Don’t lose sight of your needs. — by Amy Elliott. For your Eric Francis horoscope this week, please see this link.
Gemini (May 20-June 21) — You’re on the way to taking some positive and useful steps toward a career that really suits you. You’re almost ready to make the move; just now, you seem to be at the point of deciding what to carry with you and what to leave behind. Your famous mercurial nature aside, it seems there is some particular habit or issue of which you are unwilling to let go. It may help to consider tackling this now as an important learning experience that will assist you toward a kindlier future. Employ that quick brain of yours and persevere until you have the solution. — by Amy Elliott. For your Eric Francis horoscope this week, please see this link.
Cancer (June 21-July 22) — This is a pretty significant moment for you in terms of shaping your personal identity. You’ve probably put a lot of work into the development, and while this is likely to continue in the near future, you are starting to see the results. If you feel you need a breather, go right ahead. You know what you need to do in order to keep up the momentum. Also, someone significant could lend a useful hand just now, in the sense of additional perspective. Provided you remain in the driving seat, feel free to take them into your confidence. — by Amy Elliott. For your Eric Francis horoscope this week, please see this link.
Leo (July 22-Aug. 23) — It would seem you have a considerable opportunity to pursue pleasures, probably with someone you love. These enjoyments are likely to have a purpose — however, this does not compel you to take them so uber-seriously that you lose the actual fun. Rather, consider the fun as the foremost goal. Let it bring you naturally into a state of relaxation, or peace of mind. Your journey toward further enlightenment, though certainly a part of all this, can be seen more as the context or background than a requirement to be fulfilled consciously. You’ve got this. — by Amy Elliott. For your Eric Francis horoscope this week, please see this link.
Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22) — If you are feeling somewhat buffeted by recent events, you may be tempted to retreat into yourself, and to shut out the less kind aspects of reality. Try to resist if you can. You’ve made considerable progress developing your self-esteem and solidifying your identity; although at times you may be prone to forget just how far you’ve come, a conscious effort to keep your journey in mind should help. The person you are becoming is fertile with imaginative energy. Keep growing. You don’t necessarily need lots of impetus; just persistence. — by Amy Elliott. For your Eric Francis horoscope this week, please see this link.
Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23) — If your relationship world has experienced some upheaval, this week you might just begin to be on familiar ground once more. You seem to feel increasingly comfortable in your skin. You can exercise your natural gregariousness, and enjoy mixing with fellow humans, and still never waver in those values you hold most sacred. Recognizing all this about yourself provides the ammunition you need to reach the new heights for which you are aiming. Self-doubt is an illusion, and you easily have the power to prevent it from impeding your progress. — by Amy Elliott. For your Eric Francis horoscope this week, please see this link.
Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22) — In the process of reinventing yourself, don’t be surprised or concerned if you’re more reflective than usual. You are simply putting in the requisite thought and concentration. One thing I would suggest is that you keep in mind your remarkable intuitive abilities. That is to say, don’t try to be too logical. Your unconscious mind currently has a hotline to the Akashic librarians. Even in performing works of art, you’ll probably turn up some insight or other. I’d advise you to keep records, no matter how odd the ideas might seem. You never know when you could use them. — by Amy Elliott. For your Eric Francis horoscope this week, please see this link.
Dear Scorpio Sun, Moon or Rising: Did you know that your two audio astrology segments are ready, and your tarot reading will be forthcoming shortly (At which point the price will increase again)? You can get instant access to the 2016-17 Scorpio Birthday Reading here.
Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22) — I’m not sure what it’s like to be you just now, but I’d imagine it’s as if you’re doing a Tarot reading and keep pulling out the Major Arcana cards — that is, the big ones, with the sweeping themes. You may well be in a state of continuous surprise at just how many universes now seem to have you at the center. This is not a drill. Rest assured, however, that you have fully earned the place you hold. It doesn’t mean you get to rule by diktat — something you’d most likely be furiously uncomfortable with anyway — but it could certainly be fun. — by Amy Elliott. For your Eric Francis horoscope this week, please see this link.
Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20) — What’s that little idea you seem to have brewing in your thoughts? It might take a bit of reaching if it’s hiding in the depths; but once you’ve figured out its nature, I advise you to share it openly. Do not by any means allow a tendency to retreat into your inner space to take over. Don’t let self-doubt or fear get the better of you. What you have in mind is simply too important to remain hidden in the mists. By all means start with people you trust. Just don’t let slip this chance to make your mark on the world, and to contribute to its improvement. — by Amy Elliott. For your Eric Francis horoscope this week, please see this link.
Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) — Your career path is being bolstered by a fresh perspective, or by an outright change. You can assist this process by bringing to bear your inventiveness and inquisitiveness, both of which seem to be blessed with extra inspiration just now. Reaching your planned destination may appear tough in places, but approach each problem like a mystery that’s just waiting to be solved, one step at a time, and you’ll likely get through nicely. One more thing: in pursuing your goals, don’t forget to employ that sense of fairness for which you are rightly reputed. — by Amy Elliott. For your Eric Francis horoscope this week, please see this link.
Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) — You need to banish any idea that the tranquility or the loving interactions you long for are somehow out of reach for you. If that trope is hanging around, it’s likely due to some early imposition by someone who should have known better. Really, you know well enough that when you receive kindness or affection you can trust its authenticity. You probably have far more well-wishers than you’re aware of. Be open to that idea; be utterly sincere and candid in your treatment of others; and continue to practice your unique brand of boundless goodwill. — by Amy Elliott. For your Eric Francis horoscope this week, please see this link.