The Great Attractor (and our 10th Anniversary)

Dear Friend and Reader:

Are you enjoying getting toasted, warped and pushed by all this edgy Sagittarius energy? The Sun is not only conjunct Mars in Sagg, which would be more than enough to give you a dark tan indoors on a cloudy day. Both are at this moment magnifying the most potent source of electromagnetic radiation in the known universe, the Great Attractor. There may have been a time when we were oblivious to this kind of energy, but not anymore. We have opened up to the point where you can’t drown this out no matter how much whipped cream you squirt on your karma macchiato.

Planet Waves
The Milky Way at center, surrounded by galaxies, clusters and superclusters — and the Great Attractor, at lower right. Photo from Wikimedia Commons. Click image for larger version — really cool.

Philip Sedgwick, the first to delineate the astrology of the Great Attractor, noted that people with the point prominent have lives that impact the world in ways they often cannot see, far beyond their perception. He also noted a polarizing effect; people with it strongly placed (for example aspecting Chiron, the Sun or an ascendant) will evoke strong, opinionated responses from others, a typically Sagittarian trait, but amplified significantly. I have noticed that the people who don’t like them or what they stand for cannot do much about that fact; they can bark and growl but that’s about it. The Great Attractor puts reprisal out of reach and in a sense encourages cooperation. These are, however, subtle effects compared to when our planet and other planets align with the thing and its effects rain down on our consciousness, like they are doing now.

[This astrology is developing as the Big Three US automakers head to Washington DC to negotiate bailout loans, suggesting that this particular meeting has bigger implications than we may be noticing. The Sagittarian theme of the conjunction suggests that today’s hearing in Washington is a global event rather than merely a national one. Also in the news, security is at an all-time high in India as the government received warnings of another imminent terrorist attack there.]

Defined as a gravity anomaly in intergalactic space, The Great Attractor is as dense as thousands of Milky Ways. It is the biggest thing known to science. If you are wondering about the strange sense of time compression this time of year, the Great Attractor is our prime suspect. Consider this: how long ago was Thanksgiving? Hmmm, it was a week ago. How long does it feel like? To me, about two to three weeks, back in the good old days. How long ago was the US election? It was one month ago yesterday. To me it feels like it was about four months ago; or was it last year? Objects in the mirror are closer than they appear.

The GA is located at 14 degrees of Sagittarius, one degree from the midpoint of that sign. If we could see it, from our viewpoint it would be on the level of the galactic spiral arms, though 200 million light years beyond them. The clouds and dust of our own galaxy make it difficult to study. We know that it broadcasts across every spectrum except the visible ones. Its gravity is so powerful that it’s drawing toward it a million galaxies, including our own, at the rate of about 24 million miles a day. Astronomers know this because the light of all these galaxies, clusters and superclusters shifts toward the red side of the spectrum, pulled in the direction of the Great Attractor. In other words, they are all moving away from us, toward it; and we are getting vacuumed along by this strange gravitational force.

One of the facts of physical existence is being in constant motion. First of all, we run around like idiots. Then, the Earth is turning; it is orbiting the Sun. The Sun is orbiting the Galactic Core once every 250 million or so years. Our galaxy is being pulled in the direction of this huge, dark, ominous hunk of whatever the heck the Attractor is, along with all these other galaxies. Think of this when you’re stuck in traffic and you’ll feel better.

Einstein demonstrated that gravity bends space-time. A black hole, an ordinary star, a planet, and I would presume even a teacup, warps the fabric of space and time (which are functionally one thing, the space-time continuum). As Mars, the Sun and Earth (with Mercury right nearby) align with the Great Attractor and all its incredible gravity, we are in a very real sense passing through a time warp.

The psychological result might be that when you go to bed you feel like you had five cups of coffee, but in reality the last one you had was at 8 o’clock that morning. You might feel fried; events breaking off from the whole and going their own way; or the sense of people and events polarizing (taking sides, or hunkering down in their position). We might sense that everything is about to go out of control. Who knows, it may be. There can be various shades of domination/submission in our relationships, pushed to cartoon-like proportions. Oh wait, this sounds like life as usual. Just turn up the volume to 11.

Planet Waves
The Time Warp from a production of the Rocky Horror Show by the Castaway Players, Kingston, New York. Photo by Eric Francis.

Just 12 degrees away on the zodiac wheel, also in Sagittarius, is the Galactic Core, the center of the Milky Way (our home galaxy). We know about this point because Pluto has just finished conjoining it, which lasted from 2006 through 2008.

Compared to the Great Attractor, the Galactic Core (at a mere 26,000 light years distance) is so close as to be comparable to the neighborhood deli. This is true even as we know that our Sun is nowhere near the center of the galaxy; we are out on one of the remote arms of the Milky Way, though firmly held by its gravity. I think that our relative distance from the core is partly accountable for that close to the edge, God-forsaken feeling that so often exists on our planet. The core itself To me it feels like a homing signal, where we are drawn toward our deepest faith and sense of unspoken protection — if we bother to notice it’s there.

During Sagittarius time, the Sun (obviously, visible only during the day) aligns first with the Great Attractor (which is happening now) and then the Galactic Core (in about 12 days). The familiar cloudy smear of our galaxy is not visible in the night sky, as it is during the summer months. Rather, the current night sky looking out toward Gemini offers a view into the deeps of intergalactic space.

I always find it interesting and reassuring that long before these points were discovered in the 20th century, Sagittarius was considered the sign associated with all things distant, with spiritual matters and with events and ideas that exist on a vast scale.

Sagittarius calls for perspective. Even as all these fireworks are going off, Pluto has grounded itself in Capricorn, calling our attention to necessity. Precisely contrary to the infinite expansion mentality of Pluto in Sagittarius, the official recession was announced this week just after Pluto went into the sign usually associated with things being contained, such as growth; to wit, Capricorn. A recession means the economy shrinking rather than increasing. The news gives us the impression that every single person will be unemployed in a matter of days, but obviously the economy keeps functioning. It’s just that, as we are seeing, there is going to be a lot of restructuring going on. This will be a special recession in that everyone is needing to rethink how they do business and (in true Capricorn style) survive. I recognize that there are a lot of doom and gloom predictions out there and that the people predicting a total collapse are certain that they are correct. However, it works out that the future is unwritten, and no matter what the trends may say, we need to consciously seek a future that is different than the past.

Planet Waves
Sparkled army man. By Andrea LaHue.

During those last days, indeed on the very last day of Pluto in Sagittarius, Bombay (Mumbai) was taken under siege by terrorists who were demanding, among other things, that the entire nation of India, consisting of more than a billion people, “become Muslim.” I could say a lot about this, but the thing I want to point out is the extent to which there is a misunderstanding of how belief works.

You don’t point a gun at someone (such as a nation) and say, “You must believe this,” and then actually have them convert their faith. While you might think that this is the reasoning process of insane terrorists with grenades, this kind of thinking is pretty much par for the course in the history of the Western world, and has been made a major revival over the course of Pluto in Sagittarius. In particular, this is true in the United States, which became a theocracy run by men bearing false witness to Jesus Christ. For the most part, we went along with the game, to wit, nearly everyone fell for Iraq.

We fall for a lot of belief bullshit. We pile a lot of beliefs onto this whole strange space odyssey we are on, out on the edge of a galaxy getting vacuumed down a vortex 200 million light years away with very little solid information about how we got here. The mystery is held in Sagittarius, and so too is the shadow baggage that becomes religion, indoctrination and phony worldviews that are enforced at the point of a machine gun.

Yet the vision factor of Sagittarius is what we need to preserve as Pluto makes its way across Capricorn. As the structures of the world are taken apart, we need to put them back together with a plan; or at least a plan for how we are going to relate to the scheme of things. As I have suggested many times, we are about to witness and participate in change on a scale we never imagined possible — but we need to start imagining.

The Sagittarius-Capricorn line is the place where we work that border between the vision and the reality of something.

The Planet Waves 10th Anniversary

As it turns out, the natal Sun of Planet Waves (the Internet project, rather than the corporation) is situated right on this line where Sagittarius meets Capricorn, and Pluto has been working its transformational magic across our Sun as we reach our 10th anniversary. That would be on Sunday, Dec. 21, 2008. On that day, Planet Waves will have been on the air a full decade, or 3,650 days.

Planet Waves

Little did I know at the time, but Planet Waves turned out to be very much about grounding a vision. We are preparing some retrospective materials for the next couple of weeks, which will give you a sense of how our mission was conceived and has developed. During this time, I will be passing the horoscope to Genevieve Salerno through the end of the year, so that I can lay low and finish the Next World Stories horoscopes. These are my extended-length annual astrology analyses that cover all the signs.

Given the prodigious astrology of 2009-2012, I am sure you can appreciate the depth at which I want to do these, and the quality I am putting into them. By now you may already know the main events: Pluto entering Capricorn; the Jupiter-Neptune-Chiron conjunction; Saturn entering Libra and squaring Pluto; and the continuing discovery of Eris in Aries.

We are adding new extra features every day, including a tarot spread generator, and a full-length monograph (short book) on Eris that I did for the 2007 annual, called Facets and Fragments of Self. This is included for all those who participate in Next World Stories.

Now I have to write the horoscope that appears below, and then gather myself for a short trip this weekend. I’ve been summoned to our nation’s capital to teach investigative reporting to gay and lesbian bloggers, an opportunity I would never miss.

Stay tuned.

Yours & truly,
Eric Francis


Claiming Our Own Unique Holiday
By Judith Gayle | Political Waves

ON THE DAY after Thanksgiving, what is called Black Friday to indicate a turning point in corporate profit, stores opened at dawn and before to welcome bargain hunters. This happens every year, yet this season it brought with it a dark side.

Planet Waves
A swarm of bees. Photo by Robert Durell.

A young man in Long Island, a Wal-Mart greeter, was trampled by hundreds of anxious customers in an attempt to get to discounted goods double-quick. They pushed the front door off of its frame and mowed down anything in front of them. The 34-year-old part-time clerk died at the scene — few people are reported to have quit shopping, and cameras caught some of them laughing.

This feels like swarming behavior to me; in pursuit of stuff, we can become a singularly destructive force — like locusts descending on a fertile field, consuming everything in sight. While I don’t discount the psychology of this horror, I’m wondering how much our current financial insecurity factors into this. Maybe we have more of an edge, this year. Yesterday, the nation was finally informed that it was in a recession (as if we didn’t already know); statistics show we’ve been in one for almost a full year.

I don’t get a paper in the Pea Patch. Here in Southern CA, the paper arrives, slim enough, but is fleshed out with pounds of fliers and ads. They’re irresistible. I have to look, then I pine for a while. It’s no wonder we’re all made crazy by this season. The stuff — shiny, inviting, appealing, cheap — is everywhere. But ultimately, in dicey times, it’s not cheap enough.


Next World Stories, the 2009 annual from Planet Waves, is coming on Jan. 3, 2009. Click here to learn more.


Gods (and Goddesses) be Praised: Minor Planets for Mac

At long last, Time Cycles Research, the main developer of astrology software for Mac, has added new points to its programs. This is the first revision to include new points since the software came out in the early 1990s. The revision includes Centaurs, Eris, the oscillating lunar apogee (sometimes called Lilith and not to be confused with the asteroid by the same name) and the nearly obsolete Transpluto. Time Cycles also now displays the Vertex, a point left over from the conversion of three-dimensional space into a two-dimensional chart and considered by many astrologers to be significant.

Planet Waves
Birthchart 6. By Andrea LaHue.

Charts for Time Cycles popular Io Edition program have long included Chiron and the first four asteroids, Ceres, Pallas, Vesta and Juno. The software set now includes two additional centaurs, Pholus (discovered 1992) and Nessus (discovered 1993). Also included is the oscillating apogee, a standard feature in all European charts, which is a point based on the Moon’s presumed closest distance to the Earth. Two options are given, true and mean.

Transpluto is a hypothetical point that was somewhat popular in the 1970s, then used infrequently in the 1980s and 1990s, and finally fell out of common use in the United States and England as Chiron and actual planets beyond Pluto were discovered. We have never mentioned it in Planet Waves.

Lynn Koiner writes of Transpluto, “Used constructively, self-criticism and the perpetual alert for imperfections can motivate the individual to continually strive to do better, to achieve a standard of excellence and to make improvements where needed for the betterment of all. If a child has one experience of approval from a perfectionist parent, this will be carried over into adulthood as a pattern for finding contentment. The more experiences of approval from the perfectionist parent, the more contentment the individual will find in life.” Lynn’s full, well-documented delineation can be found at this link.

Two years after its naming and designation as a dwarf planet, Eris has been included. It’s always a good idea to invite her to the party. The only problem is that the glyph used is very similar to the European glyph for Uranus retrograde, a downward pointing Mars. Henry Seltzer, the owner of Time Passages software company, proposed this glyph at the 2008 United Astrology Conference and collected a number of signatures in favor of it. In a phone call Thursday, he said that his design was based mainly on practical considerations, and that it was a “provisional” glyph and that he would be open to a discussion among the minor planet specialists to solicit their opinion on this and other options. [He asked me to convene that discussion. If you would like to participate, please contact me at]

Time Cycles is still considerably behind Astrolabe, the producer of Solar Fire, which allows for more than 50 asteroids, trans-Neptunian objects, the hypothetical Uranian points, and several Centaurs. In case you need them, all of those points and manymore excellent features are available free at

For Time Cycles, the inclusion of these points is great news for Mac users and the first major step forward for the software maker, which produces elegant charts, easy-to-use features and comes with an excellent database of famous charts. You can reach them at

Eric Francis


Close Conjunction: Scientists find Canadian asteroid debris
It is extremely rare for an asteroid to hit the Earth these days, though there is often much talk about it, but one entered the atmosphere just in the last days of Pluto in Sagittarius. Canadian scientists say they have located debris from a 10-ton asteroid that exploded in the skies over Canada’s Prairie provinces last month [see very cool video here].

Dr. Alan Hildebrand and graduate student Ellen Milley found several fragments late Thursday near the Alberta-Saskatchewan border.

They are searching for what they say could be thousands of fragments strewn over a 20-square-kilometer (seven-square-mile) area near the Battle River. Residents of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta were delighted by the huge fireball that lit up the night sky on Nov. 20, which was fortunately smaller than the one that wiped out the dinosaurs just as the Great Pyramid was being built.

Because it hit the ground before astronomers recorded its existence, it has not been named, it has no glyph, and it is not listed in the Serennu minor planet database. We have hastily convened a naming committee, which overnight decided it would be called “the asteroid that hit near the Alberta-Saskatchewan border” and its glyph will be Mars pointing toward the left.


Planet Waves
Weekly Horoscope for Friday, December 5, 2008, #743 – By ERIC FRANCIS


Aries (March 20-April 19)
Let this weekend’s emotional turbulence serve to wake up your imagination. At first you may find that it’s waking up your shadowy, dreamy paranoia and emotional insecurities. If you don’t cower from your own shadow and follow those feelings past the veil, you are likely to discover something much more creative and vivid is going on back there. Our deepest pleasure is often hidden behind a veil of embarrassment. Our boldest ideas often arrive with a fanfare of psychological crisis. Keep your focus inward and write down some of the strange things you come up with. One or two of them will turn out out to be brilliant.

Taurus (April 19-May 20)
You may feel like something imminent is going to happen, or be walking around terrified that you’re about to die. You may be worried that you’re going to be swallowed by a partnership situation, or that the arrangement you have with another person is somehow larger than you are — too large to handle, too intense, too direct. All these feelings add up to a bold invitation to break out of your cage. You have recently discovered some old beliefs that you know are absolutely obsolete. What you have yet to discover is just where new beliefs come from.

Gemini (May 20-June 21)
You typically live with the sense that others have more power than you do, but for the past week or so you’ve been learning a lot about how to stand up to people and in a sense, how to speak their language. You accomplish everything else in your life with language; the discovery that direct communication can solve nearly every problem has occurred to you many times. It’s just that you now have the guts to do something about it, perhaps because you see no other option than to enter a dialog. This is not a situation you can get out of easily; perhaps see what happens when you get into it.

Cancer (June 21-July 22)
After being told for 2,000 years that passion and pleasure are sinful, it’s not easy to change that belief; but you have come a long way in a short time. You’ve also rightly observed that erotic pleasure is not all sweetness and starlight; there is growth to be done, there are cobwebs in the corners and there is the extraordinarily fragile space of discovering who you are in the presence of another person who may not understand. The question I suggest you ask as you go into the space once again is why human belief seems to stray so far from what our DNA tells us is necessary, desirable and healthy.

Leo (July 22-Aug. 23)
You may be concerned that someone is about to renege on a deal, but I suggest you keep your faith and hold up your end of the bargain. For you the the entire exercise is indeed about faith, but it’s also about looking honestly at your influence over how the situation works out. And that, too, is a question of faith in the sense of being faithful to your original purpose. You have more influence than you may think. True, you don’t like to get emotionally involved, but that is largely based on a hidden fear that, sooner or later, you will need to face.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22)
Adventure is calling you, and there is a fire burning in your soul that’s hot enough to feel in your head. It’s about time. You know that if you respond to this calling, there will be no turning back — and that is the thing that’s making you hesitate. You might want to add up how much of your life you’ve spent doing just that, and if your total adds up to years rather than decades you can count yourself doing well. You may feel that you’re not quite ready for this one, though if that is true, you may want to set some criteria for just what ‘ready’ actually means to you.

Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23)
You currently seem to have ideas and the willingness to dare trying them in about equal measure. The question is why you would hesitate. My theory is that for you, ‘in theory’ is enough. And it may well be enough, but I propose that you remember that there is a difference between an idea and an experience. Most people would say that it’s daring enough to play with the concept. But this is a little like studying maps without taking the trip; making the blue prints but not building the house.

(Oct. 23-Nov. 22)
If you are on some kind of quest for money, remember just one thing: you’re here to learn how to make money in an ethical way. I recognize that this is often a handicap, but personally I think that it’s a pretty serious debility to sidestep your own values and pretend that everything is going to be fine, as so many of our comrades so often do. It comes down to the simple idea that the ends do not justify the means. The truth is that the means must justify the results. The world is making progress, and this is one form that it will take. Your common sense should be telling you this.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22)
You are coming into your own, and it’s about time. Finally you are driven not by the obsession with being someone, but rather with the realization that you are indeed someone. This is never a discovery that you can take for granted on Earth, and I don’t suggest that you do so. It may be difficult for you to feel the scale of the impact that you are having, and that you can have in the future; but you may have a clue. What you can feel is what is important to you. If you focus on that, and allow that to grow, you will at least be able to direct the course of your impact, even if you don’t quite know what it will do.

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20)
Finally, some of your potential is manifesting. But we may want to ask why this is, and I would say that the reason is because you have finally got some of your fear out of the way; and if not out of the way, you have put it on the surface of your psyche, where you can see it. When you are aware of fear, it can become a force for positive change, growth and consciousness. It is when fear lurks in the background that it is paralyzing and does the most long-term damage. You still have a long way to go, but from the look of your charts, you will get there in a relatively short time. Then the real quest can begin.

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19)
Doors are opening for you, and there are people who wish you would walk through them a lot faster than you are. You may be one of those people, and you seem intent on making sure that you are included in the fast-moving plans of the world. You know that you have to go at your own thoughtful pace. And you also know that many times, opportunity does not repeat itself. It is true that you are in the final moments of a chance to take a step toward the unknown. And while this exact situation will not repeat again, there will be many like it for several years to come. You can afford to do, or not do, what you feel is right.

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20)
There is a difference between a friend and an ally. Most of the people you count as friends are actually allies, and that is often a relationship of convenience. I suggest you sort out the people for whom it is not entirely convenient to be in your life, but who persist in being there anyway. These are the people to accompany you on the next phase of your journey. They are the ones who will not hold you to your past, but rather who will help you envision and create the future that is just starting to come into focus; that is just beginning to seem real.

Copyright © 2008 by Planet Waves, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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