The Mars Effect

Planet Waves

View of the first Kingston New Year’s Eve street party, moments before the stroke of midnight on Dec. 31, 2012, as seen from the window of Blue Studio on North Front Street. Photo by Eric Francis.

Note to Readers: This article will soon appear in Chronogram, a regional magazine where I live. Rather than cut the local color and doing a different version, I decided to leave it in. If you happen to be in Kingston for this event, and you’re looking for me, check in at the counter at Dominick’s Cafe or at the bar at BSP Lounge. — efc

Dear Friend and Reader:

When the lighted ball drops over Uptown Kingston on New Year’s Eve, the astrology of 2014 will be in place and waiting for the first standout astrological feature of the new year: the Capricorn New Moon on Jan. 1.

Let’s start with the party and then go to the astrology. This will be the second annual New Year’s street festival held in Uptown. The first time out was a beautiful event, a true success, not needing to make any allowances for being the first time out. Between the efforts of local entrepreneur Maria Phillipis (owner of Boitsen’s restaurant, who organized the outside party), Teri Rosin and her brilliant crew at Backstage Studio Productions (a/k/a BSP Lounge, which handled entertainment) and many business owners who helped out, the festivities came off flawlessly. Okay well, most of the bars ran out of liquor by about 1 am, but I think that problem has been solved.

Planet Waves
Photo by Eric Francis.

This year the theme will be an old-time formal soiree. Whether you come in full dress or come as you are, you will see many of your friends and neighbors dressed in their very finest, most creative outfits, designed once again to evoke an early 20th-century aesthetic. I am not especially into fashion, though I thought this was a lot of fun.

The shoes to the right were one my more vivid memories of the evening, aided by having a photograph of them and their lovely model.

Cafes, bars, some restaurants and BSP will all be open extra late. There will be parking in the lower municipal lot off of Schwenk Drive, though you might want to make a reservation for dinner someplace and come out a little early. Please designate a driver and plan a safe route home, off the beaten path if you can, in advance. Please pay attention to the weather and don’t forget to monitor the plans of any teenagers for whom you are responsible.

From what I can reckon, this is an outdoor New Year’s Eve party that’s exactly opposite what you would get at Times Square in Manhattan. You will know people, the crowd is a modest size (measured in the hundreds, not the tens of thousands), there will be places (with bathrooms, even) to hang out indoors and you will be close to home. You can enjoy the festivities and even sit down if you want to.

The Capricorn New Moon — and the Cross

Unlike most years, the astrology of the next year of our lives begins exactly on Jan. 1. It’s unusual for the civil calendar to align exactly with the astrological ephemeris, though this alignment is a message for us about 2014.

Planet Waves
Beth Bagner and Josie Coppolino. Photo by Eric Francis.

On New Year’s Day is the Capricorn New Moon. This event is a hologram containing the story of the next few seasons, because it aligns with the long-standing 2012-era aspect, the Uranus-Pluto square. This is generational astrology that is influencing very nearly everything, ranging from global events to the most intimate affairs of your private life.

The New Moon is part of a grand cross in the cardinal signs Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn. These may be the four highest-energy signs.

The Uranus-Pluto square (which I’ve been writing about in Chronogram at least since May 2009, to give you an idea of its significance) involves two slow-moving planets, and most of the time it disappears into the environment. A square is two planets arranged in a 90-degree meeting — one of the highest-tension aspects there is. We get it as the sensation of ‘everything, all at once’, in the form of weeks so concentrated they feel like a month of activity happened; months that go by so fast they feel like eight or nine days; and the sensation that there is simply no way to get control.

Those who are not fully on the ride may feel like life is blowing by them, like they are left on the shore as a rushing stream of events goes by. Those who are on the ride may be feeling like they’ve never participated so fully in so much experience. Those who are hesitating may have no concept how to get involved, or how to have an impact, or how even to make contact with those who are doing so. Pay attention and you will find your opening. Don’t judge your role — just live it out.

Uranus and Pluto together are like a mix of revolution and evolution. They can spur incredible upheavals. Yet they can also be subtle, dropping back from awareness and acting more like an invisible part of the environment, but influencing everything nonetheless. They have a long arc of influence, arriving in standout phases of history that most people don’t notice until they’re over.

Planet Waves
Eileen. Photo by Eric Francis.

Remember that Uranus and Pluto can only be seen with special equipment, such as telescopes or space probes. In a sense we have to go to them. Astrologically, that property means they represent a non-ordinary state of consciousness.

When other planets come into the alignment — especially the more visceral bodies closer to the Earth — they tend to bring the Uranus-Pluto aspect into the foreground, as if they’re giving the aspect some tangible substance to work with. The ordinary and the non-ordinary fuse together and create something new: original ideas; previously unseen points of view; experiences that shape and change our lives; events that transform our culture.

There is always a mix of creative and destructive in these aspects; and there is often a choice what side of that equation to choose.

All of this shows up in the Capricorn New Moon chart, and that particular astrological pattern develops through the first week of the year, gradually ramping up the energy, preparing us for the coming four seasons. The New Moon is symbolic of new beginnings and is the turnover of the basic heartbeat of both nature and astrology. On New Year’s Day this is a clue that we’re actually about to encounter something different.

The New Moon pattern consists of the Moon and the Sun in Capricorn closely conjunct Mercury and Pluto. This has a touch of the ominous, and has the power to call awareness to a profound depth — the kind of thing that most humans usually avoid. Of itself, the Capricorn group is a call to question the nature of the familial, corporate and governmental structures that strive to control our lives and our every thought.

Mercury combined with Pluto is so penetrating that it holds the potential to go deeper into this issue than ever before. It’s not enough to challenge corporate entities by staging protests. It’s necessary to address their internalized, miniature versions that inhabit our families, our intimate relationships and our inner lives.

Planet Waves
Photo by Eric Francis.

Opposite the Capricorn New Moon group is Jupiter in Cancer. The largest planet and its 67 natural satellites are holding emotional ground and providing a kind of counterweight, facilitating some stability while these questions come up. Jupiter places an emphasis on home and awareness of how important it is, something that many tend to forget. Practice being grateful for your dry roof every time you notice it’s there.

Jupiter in its position in this chart also feels like it’s gathering emotional intelligence, which will be a point of orientation through whatever changes these aspects represent, and which will emerge in a new way later in the year when Jupiter makes its way into Leo in July. That transit has the feeling of bold expression, be it musical, artistic, dramatic or the sensation that the party has begun.

While Jupiter will be retrograde (through March 6) it will mostly be in learning mode, opening up inwardly and serving as a bold reminder that while it’s sometimes okay to keep your feelings to yourself, it’s necessary to have feelings, to notice them (which means to notice yourself) and to use your experiences to help you expand inwardly.

With Jupiter in Cancer there is also the sense that some collective opinion is brewing, a kind of wide consensus on so many issues that seem to be ignored in day-to-day conversation — something that will not begin to express itself directly till late winter (when Jupiter stations direct).

Uranus, part of the Uranus-Pluto square, is in Aries. This is an exceptionally restless placement that can feel like you’re searching for identity, bursting with erratic creativity that is calling for some containment and focus, and going through potentially violent feelings. There is a drive for freedom in this placement that could be expressed through pointless, violent militancy; or it could be expressed as the kind of art created by someone truly self-inventive.

That could be a challenge to find; my take is that Uranus in Aries has most people caught in the thrall of glamour, technology and the fascination of narcissism. Emerging from that into a free space will be a revolutionary act.

Mars Retrograde in Libra: The Prime Mover

There is one sign and one extended event remaining to describe on the cardinal cross, and that is Libra. Libra will be occupied by Mars beginning Dec. 7. Mars will be retrograde between March 1 and May 19, and then finally leaves Libra and enters Scorpio on July 25. Mars spends nearly eight months of its current two-year orbit in Libra, about 11 weeks of that time retrograde.

Planet Waves
Oh, Dang. Photo by Eric Francis.

Mars retrograde seems to contain an inherent contradiction, in that Mars is action-oriented; retrograde motion is a kind of retreat, though it’s also inwardly seeking in a way that Mars generally is not.

Libra, where this will happen, is a sign ruled by Venus. So there’s another seeming contradiction here; Mars will be way out of his home territory, with a couple of compromises placed on him. Though this might be challenging if taken unconsciously, it could be helpful as well.

We will have Mars in a field of experience where Venus is much more comfortable. This could be some form of gender or gender role questioning, a role reversal, or the immersion in an experience that provides a different point of view where sex and relationships are concerned. You could see this as men being put into the roles of women and having to find their way.

We are talking about Mars, the planet of desire and the energy of ‘go get it’, and Libra, the primary sign associated with relationships. Mars (which on one level representsan individual) will be in an unusual position, which you could view several ways. One is that whatever Mars represents will be put in a position to be in a more conscious relationship to itself. The inward-seeking property of the retrograde emphasizes the point.

You could also look at this as an inquiry. “What do you want from your relationships?” is an obvious image. “Are you in the right relationship?” is another.

We humans tend to make a lot of assumptions when we relate to one another, and we tend not to ask so many questions. This transit is about asking the questions that will penetrate those assumptions.

Planet Waves
Photo by Eric Francis.

Mars retrograde in Libra goes to the level of what happens to our society, not just to us as individuals. For the Capricorn New Moon on Jan. 1, all the planets I’ve mentioned in this article so far will be in aspect to Mars — it’ll be opposed by Uranus; to one side squared by Jupiter; and to the other side squared by the Moon, Mercury, the Sun and Pluto.

These aspects are all connection points to much larger nodes, events or pre-existing patterns of change. We may see some shocking, massive events in society associated with Mars passing through the Uranus-Pluto square.

Because of the direct-retrograde-direct pattern of motion, Mars will make three sweeps through the Jupiter-Uranus-Pluto configuration: one centered in late December and the first week of January, one centered on the last week of April (with a focus on April 24, the most powerful chart of the year) and then a third the last two weeks of June. Whatever this astrology represents lasts through the first half of the year and, for a number of reasons, well beyond.

The emphasis on personal relationships rises to the level of understanding how society works — that the vastest public experiences stem from our most intimate connections with one another. The ways in which society is out of balance are reflections of the ways in which we struggle in our partnerships.

This is an invitation to do your part. Get clear about the meaning of the people in your life. Don’t take them for granted. Don’t take your relationships for granted. Listen to the people you care about, and speak in a way that encourages them to listen to you.

We need balance, though nobody is going to hand it to us. We must find it with one another. It will not be enough to pray for peace. We will need to work it out with one another, with kindness, fairness and devotion.



Planet Waves

I’ve recorded a half-hour presentation (available to everyone) about the astrology of 2014 and introducing The Mars Effect, your 2014 annual readings. This discussion, featuring music by Gary Lucas, covers the peak astrology of the 2012 era — the grand cross that is forming around the Uranus-Pluto square and that will spin the world on its finger. The grand cross is exact for the first time with the Capricorn New Moon on New Year’s Day, and for the second time April 23-24. Planet Waves members may still pre-order all 12 signs for a very friendly discount — we have extended the $69 rate through the end of today. NOTE — On Saturday, the all-12 price goes up to $79, and eventually the signs will only be sold individually. The Mars Effect, my 16th annual readings, will be delivered in January and include both written and audio interpretations for each of the signs and rising signs. My introductory audio will orient you on just how big, and how interesting, 2014 astrology is.

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


Planet Waves

That’s Not Tofurky: Sagittarius New Moon

The Sun is now in Sagittarius, heading for two of the most potent deep-space points in the sky — the Great Attractor and the Galactic Core.

In Northern Hemisphere summertime, you can see the galaxy make its streak across the night sky — during the summer, we face inward toward the Galactic Core. In the winter, the night sky has its back to the Galactic Core. Part of the chilly, isolated feeling of this season is that we face outward into intergalactic space at night.

Planet Waves
Bonfire on the Grandmother Land in High Falls, Ulster County, New York, November 2013. Photo by Eric Francis.

There’s another deep-space point, one located many thousands of light years beyond our galaxy, called the Great Attractor. That is in mid-Sagittarius. These two points give Sagittarius most of its flavor: emphasis on the spiritual, on the exotic, on the unknown, on long-distance travel and for individuals, the sensation of needing a lot of space around them.

Monday’s Sagittarius New Moon is close to the Great Attractor (it’s just four degrees away). The sensation of planets within range of the Great Attractor is polarization. Viewpoints can seem to differ wildly; both can seem right, or are arguably right. People with planets conjunct or in other strong aspects to the GA can have a polarizing effect on others. (That might be you if you’re born in mid Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius or Pisces, or have one of those signs rising.)

Others can have unusually strong feelings about these people and not understand why (and I do mean unusually strong). They may seem to walk around with a storm of controversy surrounding them — which often can be meaningless and serve no practical purpose. Therefore, if you find yourself in controversies, any time from now into early next week (when the New Moon happens) and into midweek, I suggest you not feed them. Just stand back and trust that you cannot be harmed by the opinions of others.

The Sagittarius New Moon has two points around it that may clarify the issue. It’s square Pallas in Virgo, and Chiron in Pisces. Both of these minor planets are about focusing the mind. They are doing this from different points of view.

Pallas in Virgo is calling for focus on the most precise details (supported by Mars in Virgo). These Virgo placements are asking for careful planning and making sure that your data is correct. Use power tools with full consciousness; make sure you know what you’re doing.

Chiron in Pisces is a reminder to distill the ‘big picture’ into a meaningful presentation — one way to look at that is spiritual ideas focused into a practical approach to life. The information comes not from the data (as in Virgo) but from a cosmic source, something a bit beyond the world, though for that to work, there must be action points.

Then the data side of the equation and the cosmic side of the equation need to be integrated. That may be tricky with the Great Attractor pointing out all the seeming differences, though the differences will be less meaningful (or more useful) as time goes on.

Planet Waves

Night of the Comet — ISON Emerges from Behind the Sun

For those following Comet ISON (or C/2012-S1, named for the ISON Observatory in Russia, where it was discovered, also called Comet Nevski–Novichonok after the comrades who first spotted it), ISON reached perihelion Thursday, disappearing behind the Sun for a few hours.

Its proximity to the Sun was so close — about 12% of the Earth-Sun distance — that astronomers were writing its obituary yesterday when a fragment of the object emerged from behind the Sun several hours later, seeming to be significantly smaller with a bunch of it having been cooked off.

Planet Waves
Comet ISON photographed from the ESO small-body observatory in northern Chile on Nov. 15. Read more about the photo here.

ISON was discovered more than a year ago, on Sept. 21, 2012. But it remained a fairly uneventful discovery till it started having outbursts of gas and other material on Nov. 1 and then again on Nov. 13, making it much more visible.

Many people ask about the astrology of comets, which is a speciality of its own — one that hardly anybody practices, since comets are so rare, and most people cannot remember what they had for breakfast. With comets we are in the region of ‘signs and omens’ rather than standard interpretations.

Their orbits are typically so weird (off the ecliptic, parabolic or hyperbolic), and so difficult to plot exactly, that we don’t usually have a longitude position for them and hence cannot declare them to be a creature of some zodiac sign or another.

I think of them as demarcation points in history — manifestations that say ‘this moment is meaningful now, for reasons that will be obvious now, if you look’. Notably, it was discovered in the very last days of the Mayan 13th baktun. The Western astrology chart for the discovery is somewhat unremarkable, though I have not been able to identify a discovery time, which might help clarify things.

However, there is a T-square in the chart between Venus in Leo, Mars in Scorpio and Nessus in Aquarius — a little reminder of all the Venus and Mars stuff (emotional, sexual) that underlies all of our society’s woes, including things like school shootings (and our response to them). The closest aspect in the chart is Venus in Leo trine Pholus in Sagittarius. That, actually, is really interesting, and I will let you know what it means when my astrology muses clue me in.

The comet’s discovery, its presumed loss and then its reemergence suggests that it’s a good idea to keep developing and transforming good ideas, even when all hope seems lost — they may emerge on the other side of the orbit in a new form.


Planet Waves

The Little Health Care System That Could

Despite the massive propaganda blitz designed to convince Americans that the Affordable Care Act is unworkable and disastrous, the latest poll results indicate that a majority are willing to give the federal government a chance to work the bugs out and see what develops. And it turns out that at least some of the opposition expressed to the law is not because people fear socialized medicine, but because they feel the ACA does not go far enough in that direction.

Planet Waves
“The ACA has this many new enrollees!” Health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius testifying Nov. 6 on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. Photo: AP.

The right wing is struggling to maintain its characterization of the rollout as a massive disaster, trotting out story after story about problems with the law and striving to maintain its narrative of angry physicians, crumbling hospital programs and bereft citizens — stories which have repeatedly unraveled under scrutiny.

Health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius says she anticipates that many of the website glitches will be much improved by the administration’s self-imposed deadline of Nov. 30, and that improvements already in place have resulted in a slow but steady increase in enrollments. Currently, about 200,000 people have purchased new private coverage through the site and state networks, and some 370,000 have enrolled in expanded Medicaid provided under the law.

Proponents of a single-payer health care system have pointed out that such a plan would have undoubtedly been simpler in its implementation, while opponents have gone so far as to suggest that the glitches that have occurred are part of an underlying conspiracy aimed at adding the United States to the lengthy list of countries where health care is considered a right.


Planet Waves

Iranian Peace Process: Baby Steps and Backlash

An interim agreement reached last Sunday between Iran, the five permanent members of the UN security council, Germany and the European Union keeps many of the economic sanctions against the Iranian regime in place, while allowing Iran to continue its nuclear enrichment program within certain limits. About $7 billion in sanctions will be lifted, and Iran will stop enriching uranium to 20% purity.

Planet Waves
Participants before the start of three days of closed-door nuclear talks in Geneva, Switzerland, Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2013. Photo: Salvatore Di Nolfi/Keystone/AP.

The interim agreement will be in force for six months, during which time talks will continue in hopes of further progress. It’s the first time any negotiations have taken place, much less succeeded, between the U.S. and Iran since the Islamic Revolution of 1979, in which the Western-backed Shah was deposed — unless one counts the surreptitious doings of the Reagan-era Iran/Contra affair.

The agreement has been subjected to intense criticism from Israeli and Saudi Arabian leaders as well as from conservatives in the U.S. and hard-liners in Iran. And in a somewhat cryptic statement released on Tuesday, the Iranian foreign ministry took issuewith what it sees as Washington’s spin on the agreement. As has often been said, a successful negotiation almost never results in either side getting everything they want — and it seems unlikely that the more hawkish elements on the planet will ever be satisfied by anything less than continued saber-rattling.


Planet Waves

The Artsy-Crafty Attack on Contraceptives and Women’s Rights

For years, the conservative movement has been trying to undermine the 1965 Supreme Court ruling that blocks states from making contraceptives illegal. Before that time, states could arrest even married couples for using contraceptives. But in a famous ruling, the case Griswold v. Connecticut put a stop to that.

Planet Waves
As SCOTUS decides whether Hobby Lobby, Inc. is a person, will Roe v. Wade and Griswold v. Connecticut be undermined any further? AP photos.

In 1973, the Supreme Court built on that precedent when it issued the Roe v. Wade ruling that bans states from making abortion illegal, so naturally for those wanting to ban abortion, it would make sense to undermine Roe by reversing Griswold. [Read Planet Waves’ excellent coverage of Roe v. Wade here.]

This week the Supreme Court agreed to hear two cases brought by parties objecting to being mandated under the Affordable Care Act to provide health coverage for certain women’s reproductive procedures in their employee health insurance packages. Both parties — one being the Hobby Lobby chain and the other being a wood products company owned by a Mennonite family — object to having to cover women’s fertility procedures, including contraception.

In the Hobby Lobby case, a federal appellate court ruled that the corporation is a “person” under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 and that its religious beliefs were being compromised. This has a chilling similarity to the Citizens’ United case of 2010, the latest in a series of rulings that grant personhood rights to corporations. One of the earliest and most troubling of these was the 1886 decision in Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad, which was granted corporate personhood not by the justices in the actual decision, but by Bancroft Davis, the court reporter at the time that the decision printed. Davis was a former railway executive and made sure he added a little something extra to the printed decision — and it stuck.

Planet Waves
For chart spotters, here is the chart for the Griswold ruling, which banned states from making birth control illegal. This chart came under tremendous stress from around 2000 through 2005 and it’s amazing the ruling held up — but then the anti-choice forces had not quite figured out that it was their target yet.

In agreeing to hear Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., the court will be considering another aspect of the concept of corporate “personhood” further entrenched in the Citizens’ United decision — whether corporations have freedom of religion. Yes, seriously.

The case revolves around whether Hobby Lobby may refuse to cover abortion and certain contraceptives that they believe are the equivalent of abortion in its employee health care plans.

Churches and nonprofit religious organizations are already exempt from the mandate, and the Obama administration has expressed confidence that the court will rule that for-profit corporations must abide by it. Anti-choice forces, meanwhile, are encouraged by the court’s agreeing to hear the case.

Lower courts have varied in their opinions of whether corporations are “persons” for the purposes of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, which prohibited government from burdening the free exercise of religion unless some compelling interest was at stake.

It remains to be seen what implications a ruling would have in other areas where religious principles may be in conflict with federal law, such as hiring discrimination. The contraceptive mandate has been struck down by three federal appeals courts and upheld by two others. Oral arguments are set for March, and a decision is anticipated in June.


Planet Waves

Walmart Shoppers May Encounter Picket Lines on Friday

Nationwide, there are 1,500 strikes planned at Walmarts across the country on Friday, Nov. 29, as labor advocates Organizations United for Respect at Walmart (OUR Walmart) strive to make the most of a swelling tide of public opinion in their favor.

Planet Waves
A 2012 ‘Black Thanksgiving’ Walmart strike sign in West Allis, Wisconsin, protesting the opening of stores on the holiday. Photo: Making Change at Walmart.

Walmart’s labor practices have come under increasing scrutiny as the holiday shopping season approaches. The revelation that most Walmart employees make so little that they are eligible for food stamps, along with the company’s decision to open stores on Thanksgiving, made a striking backdrop for the widely circulated story of one Walmart holding a food drive for its own needy “associates,” with donations presumably coming from other needy associates.

Meanwhile, the National Labor Relations Board just found that the company violated the rights of striking workers, and a study released this week demonstrates that Walmart could raise wages to $15 an hour without affecting prices. Presumably, the effect on the lavish lifestyle enjoyed by the heirs to the Walton fortune would also be minimal.

Smaller labor actions have been taking place leading up to the Black Friday event, with one in Los Angeles earlier this month resulting in 54 arrests. Meanwhile, corporate apologists are attempting to spin the whole thing as contrived, pointing to low participation numbers from actual Walmart employees — an argument that fails to factor in the well-documented retaliation Walmart dishes out to activist employees.


Planet Waves

Planet Waves

Reverend Billy and The Golden Toads take over a Chase Bank, singing their message of saving the planet’s diverse inhabitants from global warming at the hands of big banks and the fossil fuel industry. Photo by John Quilty / The Church of Stop Shopping.

Holiday Sing-Along With the Choir of Stop Shopping

Just in time for Black Friday, some news about New York performance activist Reverend Billy and his Choir of Stop Shopping. Reverend Billy and his group usually greet the staggering crush of shoppers seeking bargains at Macy’s department store the day after Thanksgiving, singing out their ‘gospel’ of renouncing mindless consumerism.

But Reverend Billy and Neremiah Luckett, his choir director, were arrested in September after the group’s performance in a JP Morgan Chase bank in Manhattan. In recent years the Church of Stop Shopping — a “post religious church” and “radical performance community” — have focused their attention on global warming and the big banks that finance our planet’s destruction. To bring attention to the injustice, choir members don hat-like masks of the Golden Toad, a Central American species that went extinct in the 1980s.

The Reverend and Luckett face a possible year in jail but were released on their own recognizance until the Dec. 9 trial — which falls in the middle of a string of performances at Joe’s Pub in New York. As Reverend Billy told Amy Goodman this week, “… one thing [Jesus] did teach us is, if you can’t afford a press person, get arrested quickly.”

Can I get an Earthellujah?


Planet Waves

Sun in Sagittarius, 2014 Astrology and Nuke Deal with Iran

Link to program.

In this week’s edition of Planet Waves FM, we meet the Sagittarius Sun, and get an up-close look at 2014 astrology. I also cover the astrology of Iran and the recent development of a nuclear deal endorsed that Pres. Obama has brokered. My musical guest is Jessica Montague, of the band Jake.


Planet Waves

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


Planet Waves

Your Monthly Horoscopes — and our Publishing Schedule Notes

The extended monthly horoscope for December is published below in this issue. Inner Space for November was published Friday, Nov. 1. We published Moonshine for the Taurus Full Moon Tuesday, Nov. 12. Moonshine for the Sagittarius New Moon was published Tuesday, Nov. 26. 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.


Planet Waves Monthly Horoscopes — December 2013, #977 | By Eric Francis

Aries (March 20-April 19)

Aries (March 20-April 19) — We live in a time when everything comes down to power. Every question, action taken, or choice made becomes a question of power over others, or whether an individual has the strength to stand up to it. It would be one thing if this were just the king and his men. It’s now every major corporation and countless events that unfold on the individual and intimate levels of existence. Sex becomes a question of rape. Food becomes a matter of mass poisoning. Rule One is: you do it if you can. This comes at a price, which is self-mastery. As long as the name of society’s game is domination of others, we will overlook that the essential mission of arriving on Earth in a body is to be the master of your consciousness, your choices and to the greatest extent possible, your destiny. That theme comes into focus now, and as your ruling planet Mars moves into Libra and then into aspect with the historic Uranus-Pluto square, this theme will remain in focus for the foreseeable future. It is true that many forces in your personality are leading you to feel less than stable, though that is precisely what you must learn to harvest and focus with discipline and a true commitment to self-reinvention, clarity and the ability to direct your will.

Looking for an in-depth reading for the coming year? Pre-order THE MARS EFFECT, your 2014 annual readings, for a special rate of $69 for all twelve signs. It’s a great package of audio and written readings (plus bonus articles) that gives you access to your Sun, rising and Moon signs (and those of your loved ones).


Taurus (April 19- May 20)

Taurus (April 19-May 20) — You are right in that zone where self-respect and respect for authority merge into the same thing. You have wanted and indeed needed to level the playing field of life for a long time; to experience some sense of your own presence with other talented people on a peer-to-peer level. What you are learning is that the human property that facilitates that experience comes from you. It’s your recognition of your own gifts and your own potential that allows you to recognize the talent and leadership of others as something inherently human rather than mythical or supernatural. If you perceive authority as a leadership quality, as aptitude and as a hard-won achievement, you will be more inclined to be its student and to crave cultivating those same qualities in yourself. What you’re about to experience is an opportunity to dismantle and understand the familial experiences that led you in the other direction — to mystify those who seemed powerful; to distance yourself from them; to feel anything but equal. As you identify and discard various internalized structures, especially the authority structures of your family, you will free up energy, time and space. That will come in handy as you discover not only talents but also a profound desire to make your contribution to society.

Looking for an in-depth reading for the coming year? Pre-order THE MARS EFFECT, your 2014 annual readings, for a special rate of $69 for all twelve signs. It’s a great package of audio and written readings (plus bonus articles) that gives you access to your Sun, rising and Moon signs (and those of your loved ones).


Gemini (May 20- June 21)

Gemini (May 20-June 21) — It is time for you to think bigger, which means with a long-range vision and focusing your sense of mission. This is setting a high standard in a world where 140-character messages by rank idiots make world news, but so be it. Over the next few weeks, information is likely to come through that has nothing to do with your work-a-day world, your circle of friends or any of your usual patterns of conversation. You will be getting big-picture information at the same time you experience a kind of earthquake around the values that guide your life. Go deeper, not for an hour or for a special occasion, but rather take your whole existence into the realm of active meaning. When you recognize that something you feel or think is true, or when you have an experience that changes you, start making decisions — immediately — based on what you have learned or discovered. Stop yourself from making excuses not to. It would be helpful if you were to take notes, by which I mean carry a notebook and use it, because there are some observations you will make that will evade memory. These are things you will want to remember, indeed, things for which you may have searched a lifetime.

Looking for an in-depth reading for the coming year? Pre-order THE MARS EFFECT, your 2014 annual readings, for a special rate of $69 for all twelve signs. It’s a great package of audio and written readings (plus bonus articles) that gives you access to your Sun, rising and Moon signs (and those of your loved ones).


Cancer (June 21- July 22)

Cancer (June 21-July 22) — You may notice that certain people you are intimate with are willing to go places you never imagined they would. That’s a cosmic signal that you are ready to go places that you never dreamed of, both in intimate situations and ordinary life. This is not a passing trend. You are embarking on one of the most significant phases of your life, when it comes to your ability to deepen your intimacy, your capacity for empathy and most of all, for experiencing some emotional balance in your relationships with others. While it may not be possible to insist that others know where you’re coming from at all times, you can understand yourself in the context of another person’s life, which is almost as good. A perceptive ability is opening up that is allowing you to see how others see you and to sense who you are to them. Before long you will be able to time travel with this experience, and look back over the course of your life and benefit from the awareness of how others experienced you, even when you were a child. This depth of understanding will help you adjust your emotional reality, and experience the feeling of actually belonging in the world. That you do is a true fact. To feel that way is a privilege.

Looking for an in-depth reading for the coming year? Pre-order THE MARS EFFECT, your 2014 annual readings, for a special rate of $69 for all twelve signs. It’s a great package of audio and written readings (plus bonus articles) that gives you access to your Sun, rising and Moon signs (and those of your loved ones).


Leo (July 22- Aug. 23)

Leo (July 22-Aug. 23) — You may feel like you’ve got an unusual amount of work piled on you, however the way to think of this is as approaching a truly significant achievement. There may be something you’ve wanted to accomplish for years, and you now have that potential. It will help if you get busywork out of the way, avoid running around on errands or doing everyone else’s job. That is to say, keep yourself on a routine of constantly prioritizing and reassessing your priority scheme. The point of this, if it’s not obvious, is to eliminate as many unnecessary activities as possible and direct your energy to what you know matters. If you are uncertain, knock it down the priority list and focus on what you are confident you want to do or know you must accomplish. One thing I can tell you is that by thinking things through and letting your mind do most of the work, you can spare yourself a lot of pointless effort and wasted time. I don’t mean worrying, which you’re better at than you let on. I mean thinking of your goals, desires and the circumstances of your life as puzzles you want to solve, and getting your thoughts together before you take action. A sketch on the back of an envelope may be enough.

Looking for an in-depth reading for the coming year? Pre-order THE MARS EFFECT, your 2014 annual readings, for a special rate of $69 for all twelve signs. It’s a great package of audio and written readings (plus bonus articles) that gives you access to your Sun, rising and Moon signs (and those of your loved ones).


Virgo (Aug. 23- Sep. 22)

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22) — Authentic creativity requires meltdowns, breakdowns, risks taken, the collapse of the known order and, sooner or later, total submission to the creative process. Well, not the creative process, but your process of birthing yourself into a new stage of your existence, which happens in tandem with what you create. As you go through this, you may have the sensation of betraying authority. That, in turn, could lead to the insidious feeling of guilt, intermingled with the pleasure of creation, liberation or sex, as if what you are doing is ‘so right but so wrong’. Here is a clue: It cannot be both. The right and the wrong you perceive are servants of different masters. So you need to ask yourself, who is the inner voice expressing disapproval (in the form of guilt or fear) and what is the source of the feeling that you really are expressing or exploring something meaningful? All the art in the world leads to this one theme: who has authority for the creation of your life and the expression of your life force? If it is ‘someone else’ then it would make perfect sense for you to feel bad about it. If it’s you, then it makes perfect sense for you to feel beautiful, perhaps a little shaken up, vulnerable and rather unusual.

Looking for an in-depth reading for the coming year? Pre-order THE MARS EFFECT, your 2014 annual readings, for a special rate of $69 for all twelve signs. It’s a great package of audio and written readings (plus bonus articles) that gives you access to your Sun, rising and Moon signs (and those of your loved ones).


Libra (Sep. 22 - Oct. 23)

Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23) — Events of this month can serve either as a hologram or miniature model for what you can do with yourself during the coming year or, alternately, as an example of what you do not want. There’s likely to be some mix of the two, though I am inclined to think that you are about to discover the benefits of actually asserting yourself. I suggest you do this in your own style (well, that’s always what you do) but don’t let the concept of style include any form of passivity, compromise before the conversation, or getting snagged up in your contemplation/indecision thing. The idea here is to be bold and take a chance. This is where what I will call the reverb factor comes in. When you assert yourself, you’re likely to get a little echo back, in the form of some disapproval from someone. This verges on being a universal phenomenon, and it’s a potential stumbling point for those at a new phase of experimenting with their will and influence. The problem is that it’s enough to keep most people in their shell, silencing their opinions or otherwise refusing to ruffle feathers. Yet overcoming this seems to be the whole point of your astrology this month, and the phenomenon lasts well into next summer. Start the ruffling now and you’ll get some valuable practice.

Looking for an in-depth reading for the coming year? Pre-order THE MARS EFFECT, your 2014 annual readings, for a special rate of $69 for all twelve signs. It’s a great package of audio and written readings (plus bonus articles) that gives you access to your Sun, rising and Moon signs (and those of your loved ones).


Scorpio (Oct. 23- Nov. 22)

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22) — If you over-focus on the concept of sex in one relationship, you may miss the point of the whole human sexual experiment. That point (the little arrow on the Scorpio symbol) is how every aspect of life is fundamentally creative; how creativity always requires some transformation or movement of resources (which could be called ‘destructive’ to the form that existed before); and that any form of sex, or art, or expression will unquestionably offend someone, somewhere. Therefore, that someone may be offended by some aspect of your personal expression cannot be a valid criterion for determining the appropriateness of something. Once you catch that little riff, you will become a revolutionary, particularly where the stuffy, rigid thought forms of your parents or other caregivers are concerned. Those shadow figures are unlikely ever to give you direct permission to exist. So I suggest you open your aperture, open your mind and allow experience to happen. Daring to express yourself passionately, against the rules, is the one dependable thing that will crack all the stifling patterns that have you doing the box step — not waiting for permission or approval from anyone. As Ginsberg suggested, Art recalls the memory / of [your] true existence / to whoever has forgotten / that Being is the one thing / all the universe shouts.

Looking for an in-depth reading for the coming year? Pre-order THE MARS EFFECT, your 2014 annual readings, for a special rate of $69 for all twelve signs. It’s a great package of audio and written readings (plus bonus articles) that gives you access to your Sun, rising and Moon signs (and those of your loved ones).



Sagittarius (Nov. 22 - Dec. 22)

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22) — The more you retreat, the more you’re putting yourself into position for maximum contact and action. It may seem like a paradox; however, we both know you’re determined to experience those very things, despite what appears to be a certain emotional hesitancy. When the spark meets the fuel, however, your specific frame of mind will not make a difference, except for how much fun you have when the time comes. So whatever you are doing with your emotional energy, however you feel about putting yourself forward and embracing your feelings and those of others, I suggest you count yourself as moving in the direction of what you know you want the most, whether you think you’re doing it or not. You are in a rare, beautiful position to learn the nature of trust where intimate exchanges are concerned. Part of that trust involves understanding that you have the power to opt in and also to opt out. This state of being often exists for you only in potential; only right now that potential is more like low-hanging fruit. I recognize that you don’t necessarily want to get overly caught up in someone else’s world, and in that you have options. You know that every relationship involves taking a chance. What is not said often enough is that not daring also involves a risk as well.

Looking for an in-depth reading for the coming year? Pre-order THE MARS EFFECT, your 2014 annual readings, for a special rate of $69 for all twelve signs. It’s a great package of audio and written readings (plus bonus articles) that gives you access to your Sun, rising and Moon signs (and those of your loved ones).


Capricorn (Dec. 22- Jan. 20)

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20) — You are rapidly moving toward a breakthrough. Since this is something you have initiated but cannot control, I suggest focusing on aligning your intentions with your actions, every single time you make a move. It is debatable whether control even exists. What you can be certain exists is the potential to guide your existence and your creative power one step at a time, one decision at a time, in a series of conscious steps. This is a little like rock climbing or rafting or any other noncompetitive sport. You know your goal, you have your basic approach, and then you deal with the questions and challenges of the moment in the moment you are living them. This is the most efficient — and fun — way to get to your destination. It’s also the best way, at the moment, to align your life with what you want. I am suggesting this as an alternate to control dramas, resistance, power struggles and other huge wastes of energy and focusing power. Your chart is set up for incremental progress that all of a sudden manifests as a kind of crest that feels like you suddenly overcame some huge obstacle; really, all you can ever do is look forward and take one step at a time.

Looking for an in-depth reading for the coming year? Pre-order THE MARS EFFECT, your 2014 annual readings, for a special rate of $69 for all twelve signs. It’s a great package of audio and written readings (plus bonus articles) that gives you access to your Sun, rising and Moon signs (and those of your loved ones).


Aquarius (Jan. 20- Feb. 19)

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) — Rather than project your values onto a ’cause’ or going overboard to express your devotion to a relationship, I suggest you take an even bolder step: embody what matters to you the most. We all know the human tendency to have high ideals in some abstract dimension — and those born under your sign are especially susceptible. You can apply this to any desire to become a better person, or the notion that you will accomplish something great in the future. I suggest you skip the whole ‘becoming’ thing and go right into being. This may seem like a leap, but really, it’s a kind of un-leap. Try gathering your existence, your values, your desires into the present moment and noticing how you feel, and where you are. I know you may be experiencing a powerful need to lead by example, which implies demonstrating a level of certainty. I would propose that certainty is the last thing you want now, and the last thing that’s in the stars. You are however in a moment of dancing with some rich, fertile uncertainty, which will do more to nourish you than any goal-setting or devotion to anything outside yourself. Stay with the feeling and have faith what it will give birth to, in each moment as you live it.

Looking for an in-depth reading for the coming year? Pre-order THE MARS EFFECT, your 2014 annual readings, for a special rate of $69 for all twelve signs. It’s a great package of audio and written readings (plus bonus articles) that gives you access to your Sun, rising and Moon signs (and those of your loved ones).


Pisces (Feb. 19- March 20)

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) — Remind yourself at all times, whenever you need to, that you are the one who directs the shape and flow of your life. More significantly, you provide the shape and color to the vital force that comes through you. The more you honor these ideas, the more influence you will have over your life. Yet they will not be real to you until you put them into practice, and get some experience doing so. This will necessitate a change of orientation from focusing primarily on the activity and relationships in your life, to your actual existence. Your core relationship is to yourself, though I assure you that this violates every rule of our society — this, despite the prevalence of narcissism and self-obsession, which has nothing to do with the concept of a core relationship. Narcissism is a mockery, and in truth it’s always about someone else. One of the biggest and best favors you can do for yourself this month and for the coming year is to focus your vision. Have some concept of what you want to be doing, and then refine it regularly as you process additional experiences and information. This is not merely a psychological exercise; it’s working with a manifestation principle. You can be a passive recipient of your experience, or you can vision yourself into existence.

Looking for an in-depth reading for the coming year? Pre-order THE MARS EFFECT, your 2014 annual readings, for a special rate of $69 for all twelve signs. It’s a great package of audio and written readings (plus bonus articles) that gives you access to your Sun, rising and Moon signs (and those of your loved ones).



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