Dear Friend and Reader:
El Sol is now in Virgo; it made its ingress to the sixth sign of the zodiac Thursday at 7:02 pm EDT. Virgo is the mutable earth sign (the only one). Mutability is a form of changeability; earth is a form of stability. We have some tension manifesting through that contrast.
Grain field in West Branch, Iowa. Photo by Theresa Luttenegger.
Of course, the Earth is in a constant state of flux and change, especially in our era of Earth changes. We live with that tension, as we expect the climate and geography to be reasonably stable, though so often in our moment of history it’s anything but.
Virgo is the third sign of the summer up here in our part of the world; as a mutable sign, it’s the disseminating phase of the season. (Note that all the seasons end with a mutable sign — Gemini ends Northern Hemisphere spring, Virgo ends summer, Sagittarius ends autumn and Pisces ends winter.) That is part of what makes the sign mutable: it arrives in a moment of transition. Mutable signs can also express themselves as a cardinal sign or as a fixed sign — another example of their changeability.
Associated with Mercury, in the traditional ruling planet we get another image of changeability. Mercury changes directions six times a year, more than any other planet (three stations retrograde, and three stations direct). Its speed is varying constantly, and it accelerates and decelerates (in and out of its stations retrograde and direct) more quickly than any other planet.
If you look up Virgo in a dependable old text, you’ll find that it’s associated with dairy production, cornfields, granaries, malt-houses, or places where barley, wheat, peas, cheese and butter are stored. In other words, going back to the significant agricultural roots of astrology, Virgo is the sign that’s about having enough to eat. Not surprisingly, given the time of year that it occurs in the Northern Hemisphere (where our astrology was developed), Virgo is the sign of the harvest.
Virgo is also associated with libraries and studies — revealing of the scholarly traits that modern astrology books associate with this sign. Fred Gettings, in his excellent astrology dictionary, describes Virgo as a sign “deeply committed to the intellectual process.”
The eminently wise William Lilly, friend to humanity and embodiment of the Violet Ray, was the first to create an astrology text in English.
Those of us who know and love Virgos are familiar with intelligent, clever, somewhat nervous people who can never seem to do enough. And it’s difficult to figure out where you stand with them, since like the motion of their ruling planet Mercury, every day is a little different.
You can think of this as Virgo in its outer form — how it expresses itself in ways that we can observe with the senses and eat for breakfast. Then there are the deeper layers. We can find something about this in a 1951 text called Esoteric Astrology by Alice A. Bailey.
“The sign Virgo is one of the most significant in the zodiac,” Bailey writes in her introduction to this sign, “for its symbology concerns the whole goal of the evolutionary process, which is to shield, nurture and finally reveal the hidden spiritual reality. This every form veils, but the human form is equipped and fitted to manifest it in a manner different to any other expression of divinity and so make tangible and objective that for which the whole creative process was intended.”
She describes this process as being conveyed in three female figures from mythology: Eve, Isis and Mary. Each of these goddesses conceals and gestates the inner spiritual quality of humanity until it’s born in human form as Jesus, the Christ. I don’t think she means this literally as much as she is presenting a metaphor of spiritual development, and a model of the feminine being what gestates a deeper quality in humanity.
Eve “took the apple of knowledge from the serpent of matter and started the long human undertaking of experiment, experience and expression” of our journey on and with our planet. Isis “stands for this same expression down onto the emotional or astral plane.” Mary “carries the process down to the plane
or place of incarnation, the physical plane, and therefore gives birth to the Christ child.”
Many things are going on here, in the midst of the anachronism of these three figures; one of them is that Bailey is describing Virgo as an expression of the threefold goddess, which takes many other forms. Another is that she is describing Virgo as a sign that, through a series of steps, brings humanity closer to its essential spiritual nature — the one we know exists at least in theory and more probably as a spark of light within us — being born in real life, as a physical manifestation.
Alice Ann Bailey.
An idea becomes real; a potential manifests. The germ of life inside the seed of grain is protected, and when the conditions are right, it emerges and grows. That is the essence of Virgo, where we see so much in the way of intellectual expression yearning for a place to take form. To do this, it’s necessary to honor the life within what we’re doing, and the deeper life within ourselves. This takes patience and care. It requires living in service of that inner light, until it’s fully born.
Even in the most ordinary themes of Virgo we see these qualities expressed — for example, the undeniable emphasis on service that Virgo so often presents. When a person with strong Virgo in their chart is in conflict or crisis, it would be a good idea to check for the extent to which they are honoring and are in harmony with that inner life. Note: service does not necessarily mean being a nurse or a teacher. It means doing what one came here to do; it means following one’s true calling, which almost invariably serves humanity.
Notably, many people alive today have unusually powerful Virgo signatures in their charts — for example, everyone born between 1957 and 1972 has Pluto in Virgo (there will be some small exceptions on the far ends of that date range, when Pluto was transitioning between signs).
Through the core of that era Uranus was also in Virgo, as this sign was the scene of the Uranus-Pluto conjunction of 1965-1966. That conjunction has a wide orb of influence, spanning at minimum from the late 1950s to the early 1970s. And we are experiencing a manifestation of that event today, as Uranus and Pluto are now making their famous square aspect — the defining aspect of our era.
One recent manifestation of the deeper nature of Virgo came with the discovery of Chiron in 1977. While Chiron is not the ‘ruling’ planet of Virgo, there are many associations between Chiron and Virgo, and Chiron does indeed seem to have transformed our notion and experience of Virgo.
Chiron is physically a massive comet. At 160 to 180 kilometers across, it is thousands of times the size of even the largest comets we can typically see — but too far away to resolve even for most telescopes. Chiron orbits our Sun in a 51-year egg-shaped path that crosses Saturn’s orbit and goes out nearly as far as Uranus.
Education of Achilles by Jean-Baptiste Regnault. This is Chiron — mentor to many — teaching Achilles how to use bow and arrow.
The discovery of Chiron, and considerable early enthusiasm about it, raised much speculation about what sign this new planet might rule. This notion was based on an assumption that new planets rule anything at all. But by 1977, the modern planets (Uranus, Neptune and Pluto) were said to rule Aquarius, Pisces and Scorpio respectively. So when Chiron came along, astrologers were ensconced in the dubious habit of thinking that something new had to rule a sign.
While this issue is potentially debatable, Chiron certainly has a lot to say about Virgo and a close affinity for it. Chiron’s dedication to healing, service and perfecting the human experience is related to Virgo rather impeccably. Chiron always seems to be struggling to bring something from a ‘higher level’ into the physical plane.
Chiron will do whatever it needs to do, again and again, until it gets our attention. If you track your lifetime Chiron transits, you will see this in action. It is not easy integrating the energy of one level of experience into the other — anyone who has tried to bring loving vibes into their place of work might know what I’m talking about — but with persistence, it can be done. And Chiron is persistent if nothing else.
Chiron of Greek mythology was a surgeon and the primary teacher of Asclepius, the god of medicine. There is not a lot of room for error in these distinctly human fields of work. The roles of both teaching and nursing have long been associated with Virgo.
The mental obsession that Chiron can bring helps us see through Virgo in a way that’s helpful. As Barbara Hand Clow has pointed out, this obsessive quality is one of the most important links between Chiron and Virgo, something that tricksterish, often annoyingly neutral Mercury could not really explain fully. Chiron is no messenger, and he’s not neutral; he is someone with a mission, who speaks through action.
That mission has been likened to the Christ from the earliest days of astrologers interpreting Chiron, so we might speculate that Virgo has given birth to the Christ energy in the form of this new planet. Many of the early astrologers who considered the mythology of Chiron, which involves an immortal who experiences death and resurrection, have made this connection, particularly Zane Stein. But what exactly does this mean, in a world where the mythology of Jesus is twisted in ways that are used to preach intolerance, hatred and mass murder?
Smile, bitch! Betty Dodson being jabbed by her business partner and attorney-in-situ, Carlin Ross, getting her to chill out in front of the camera. Photo by Eric Francis.
It means that a) we had better start thinking of Jesus a bit more compassionately (Christians: stick to the red letters), and b) that Chiron is going to push us to become whole, authentic people, whatever it takes.
Chiron is now in Pisces, the sign opposite Virgo. It is therefore influencing everyone with planets in any mutable sign.
But it’s especially significant for those with any strong Virgo signature — such as the Sun, Moon or ascendant, and anyone born during the Pluto in Virgo era. This is a second activation point of the Uranus-Pluto conjunction of the long and deeply influential era we call the Sixties.
Speaking of goddesses, Virgo, Chiron and Uranus-Pluto, Betty Dodson turns 84 on Saturday. Betty is the patron saint of sex education here at Planet Waves. The author of the first factual book about masturbation (with a focus on women), Betty has spent the past 40+ years working and playing as a sexual revolutionary. She was one of a very few people who were willing to break the silence on all matters of sexuality, not as an expert or scientist but in her role as human being — especially on gender-queer and masturbation issues.
I think of Betty as the ultimate incarnation of Virgo, from the level of personality (her immaculate home, her impeccable attention to detail especially in her art and writing, and her somewhat fussy personality) right out to how she expresses her deepest mission, as an incarnation of the healer-initiate.
When she entered mainstream public consciousness in 1973, she was willing to go where no outspoken person had gone before: advocating female masturbation. It’s easy for us to take this for granted now, when the topic is a favorite of popular sexual cinema (i.e., ‘porn’), a bona-fide fetish and something that nearly all women do. She offered the idea that they could love that fact, and express it openly with one another and in their intimate partnerships. Her publishing debut was an August 1973 article in Ms. magazine that her editors made her rewrite more than a dozen times over two years before they finally published it.
It wasn’t always that way. Indeed, when Betty published that article in Ms. and her subsequent (associated) pamphlet, Liberating Masturbation, the topic was verboten, even disgusting and disgraceful; it was easier to get information about ancient pagan rituals, the Illuminati and the secret ingredient in Coca-Cola. You could probably could have gotten a good few doctors to agree that having the mumps was healthier for you.
One of Betty’s early drawings of female masturbation. She came to be a writer and sex educator as an outgrowth of her fine art.
For any woman who today complains that any man in her life, or men in general, are into women’s masturbation, thank your lucky stars. You don’t want to go back to the old days, when it was a criminal act of moral turpitude, a disease, an embarrassment and a betrayal of relational fidelity. (Note, some people still feel this way; I encourage you to arise from your slumber and get with it.)
To the extent that people today think that female masturbation is a beautiful thing (or that it exists at all, and is a healthy, necessary expression of sexuality), we can personally and individually thank Betty Dodson.
Trust me: this took guts, determination and intelligence. And she brought all her talent as a writer, artist and activist to the project. She took big chances and was made an outcast many times along the way.
To the best I’ve been able to research the topic, the assault on masturbation started with a 1612 book called Onania, and this work of demonic propaganda is not answered until Betty comes along and openly corrects the record and offers a new set of teachings. [You can read more about Onania in this article.]
When you look up “sex-positive feminism” in Wikipedia, you find out that, “also known as pro-sex feminism, sex-radical feminism, or sexually liberal feminism, [it] is a movement that began in the early 1980s that centers on the idea that sexual freedom is an essential component of women’s freedom.”
Betty was opening up the topic long before the 1980s. During second-wave feminism of the 1960s and 1970s, sex was not a welcome topic or point of serious consideration; feminism was generally an intellelctual political movement, and the main role of sex within politics is scandal.
A collection of Betty Dodson videos, all now available on DVD.
It was rare at that time to associate masturbation with liberation or personal growth, but consider how logical it would have been: if feminism is about liberating women from the bonds of and dependency on men, a significant part of that dependency involves sex.
The fact that young women can have access to information about masturbation potentially saves them from all kinds of sexual mishaps early in their erotic maturity.
For all it attempted, pretended and succeeded to do, the sexual revolution overlooked masturbation — except for lil’ ol’ Betty Dodson, who had a marvelous way of keeping the message coming.
Today sex-positive feminism is an established movement (even if it’s something of a boutique item most places) and an essential part of what’s called third-wave feminism — the “not your mother’s variety” of feminism. To the extent that we can have a genius sex educator like Laci Green offer us the Freaky Labia video, we have Betty Dodson to thank for going there first. Most young sex educators have heard of Betty but don’t necessarily know the vacuum of ignorance that she was speaking into and how far we’ve come since she first did so.
Betty is also aware of how far we have to go — and how much backsliding into propagated ignorance and fear has happened under the American Taliban in recent years. We have yet to fully assess the damage caused by three decades of abstinence indoctrination, obsession with premature marriage and prosecuting minors for having sex with one another.
Betty’s chart is the essence of Virgo: with Virgo Sun and Neptune in the ascendant, and Chiron on the North Node, she is born of pure determination and devotion to her mission. It’s not easy to be a sex education pioneer in a society that is devoted to guilt, shame and exploitation — and it’s taken the kind of spiritual strength indicated by this placement to help her get there.
Sun-Neptune rising gives her the chart signature of a documentary filmmaker; she has made many such films. Even though most of her other films feature many scenes of individual and group female masturbation, my favorite work by Dodson is called “Her Life of Sex and Art,” which is now available free on YouTube.
Sample of Betty’s 1973 article in Ms. Magazine, published 40 years ago this week.
One thing that jumps out of Betty’s chart is that she was born during the Uranus-Pluto square of the early 1930s. She was born in 1929 but that was well within range of the square — she has Uranus in Aries and Pluto in Cancer. We are now experiencing a Uranus-Pluto square once again, only this time Uranus is in Aries and Pluto is in Capricorn. Uranus and Pluto together bring out revolutionary tendencies, and Betty surely qualifies.
In a similar light, she’s having her Uranus return — the planet with an 84-year orbit has returned to its natal position in her chart, having completed one full cycle in her lifetime of stirring the pot, speaking truth to power and inventing the notion of legitimate female orgasm.
There are many gems in her chart (most of them involving asteroids), but the crown jewel is Chiron conjunct the North Node in Taurus in the 9th house. This combines the physicality and self-focus of Taurus with the healing mission and pointed determination of Chiron, coupled with a global spiritual calling of the 9th house.
It is worth mentioning that she took aim at the religiously indoctrinated body shame that pervades all of modern Western culture to some degree or another (usually deeply) — an expression of Chiron in the religiously-oriented 9th house as well, with the added determination and momentum of the North Node — a deeply karmic mission.
One last thing. This week, Chelsea Manning, formerly Bradley, came out as transgender. This goes out over the wire services, we look at the story and think: gee, that’s interesting. And some people think: that’s fantastic. Even the FOX News dwellers know that her decision to choose her gender is part of the fabric of life. Can you imagine this happening 10 years ago, much less 40 years ago?
Betty was one of the first people to openly advocate gender-queer, long before there was any culturally accepted notion of such a thing. Chelsea, if by some miracle you’re reading, Betty is proud of you and is grateful for what you’ve taught us and who you are.
So are all of us at Planet Waves.
Chelsea Manning: Revolutionary and Sex Revolutionary
Let the Akashic Records reflect that the week Private First Class Chelsea Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison for revealing information about war crimes, she came out as transgender. As much as this must come as a relief to Manning and something interesting for the rest of us to ponder, it is especially galling to homophobic and/or closeted military brass and politicians who find Manning’s existence offensive enough as it is.
For those not aware, the first we heard from Pfc. Manning was the Collateral Murder video. She leaked encrypted helicopter cockpit video of an attack on civilians, including children and journalists, in Baghdad. It is a disturbing video but I think it’s essential viewing. Manning leaked the video to Julian Assange, who said it took him months to decrypt frame by frame.
Army Pfc. Bradley Manning, now Chelsea, in Fort Meade.
After revealing this video and hundreds of thousands of classified documents, focusing the attention of the press for months on atrocities of war that it would have never dared write about, Manning comes out as a woman? She is a revolutionary by at least two different definitions of that word. This is illustrated in her astrology. I only have time to touch on it briefly today, but I want to mention it while Chelsea is on our minds.
For any Monday morning quarterbacks of national security trying to decide whether it was really OK for Manning to spill the whole database while Ed Snowden only revealed select documents, I would remind us all that what Manning told us about was how many civilians are being massacred in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars — lives for which we are responsible; military action which we have personally financed with weekly deductions from our paychecks known as federal income taxes.
Everyone in the military and government and hopefully anyone who has taken a social studies class has heard of the Nuremberg principles. These were a set of guidelines developed after the Nazi atrocities of the 1930s and 1940s that inform anyone who may be concerned that it’s a crime to murder people, even if someone told you to do it, even if you’re a soldier and even if you’re a president or other head of state.
The most famous is Principle IV: “The fact that a person acted pursuant to order of his Government or of a superior does not relieve him from responsibility under international law, provided a moral choice was in fact possible to him.”
In other words, if you’ve committed an atrocity of war, you cannot offer as a defense that you were just following orders. However, since all soldiers are trained to follow orders (including on pain of execution), this requires the invocation of conscience. Soldiers, generals and heads of state are required by law to think about what they are doing and take personal responsibility for it.
Principle VI states specifically what must not be done: “Murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation and other inhumane acts done against any civilian population, or persecutions on political, racial, or religious grounds, when such acts are done or such persecutions are carried on in execution of or in connection with any crime against peace or any war crime.”
Whatever someone thinks they think about a private first class revealing a trove of “classified” documents to the public, we have a right to know about war crimes committed in our names. We have a right to know about the antics, schemes and contrivances of our ambassadors.
Natal chart of Chelsea Manning (noon chart, no time available).
We have a right to know that thousands of civilians are being murdered on the excuse of “national security.” We have a right to know what our government is doing, if we want to have any pretense of living in a free society. I assure you that when a government is keeping secrets, it’s to conceal its own acts of evil, not to protect us from anything.
Manning has been sentenced to 35 years in prison for revealing information to journalists that we are entitled to know — and that we and our elected leaders are responsible for acting on. The distressing thing about the WikiLeaks revelations is that they demand that all of us act on our consciences, particularly the people sworn to uphold the Constitution — of which Manning is one. Note, as an approved treaty, the Nuremberg principles are part of our national body of law.
Let’s take a quick look at how that appears in her chart. Manning has a cluster of energy focused on the Galactic Center — at about 26 degrees of Sagittarius. What makes contact with the Galactic Core can have an overwhelming effect on society, but one that will be difficult to see until it fully manifests. (Think: social engineer Robert Moses, who was born with the Sun and other planets there and till now was my Galactic Core poster child.)
In Manning’s chart, this cluster around the Galactic Core consists mainly of three points: the Sun, Saturn and Uranus. The Sun is the vital force and expressive identity. Saturn is the principle of discipline and structure; Uranus is the principle of disruption, invention and revolution. Manning has equal devotion to both. In her chart they are all working together. She also has Mercury there — she was born to serve as a messenger of something on what you can think of as a galactic scale.
This whole arrangement is opposite Chiron — another galactic messenger and agent of change (see above article). This opposition may be the aspect most impossible to ignore. There is no way that Manning was going to let this all slide by without doing something. I think in her case that would have been a fate worse than a life sentence. And to make matters about 100 times more compelling, all of this is square the lunar nodes — this is what she came to the planet to do in this lifetime.
Manning has another exceptional conjunction — that of the Moon, Mars and Pluto in Scorpio. This is raw transformational power that she holds in her body. It’s also the expression of what I would call the pure warrior — and in this case, that involved calling out her superiors, all of them, for all they had done the past decade or more. Manning is immune to the usual bullshit that generals, politicians and the people who believe in them eat for all three meals, and convince themselves is wholesome.
It is not, we know it and Chelsea Manning helped make sure we need not have any doubts about it.
Sun in Virgo: Harness Your Creativity in Service
The Sun entered Virgo yesterday (Thursday) at 7:02 pm EDT. This mutable earth sign is the last sign of Northern Hemisphere summer; Leo was the peak, and now the season begins to loosen its hold. For those of us who find winter to be long and dark, late summer’s warmth can have a touch of melancholy — even as we revel in the Earth’s incredible bounty of fruits and vegetables.
William Lilly, the 17th-century astrologer who wrote the
first English-language astrological text, associated Virgo with the places where food is preserved. Ruled by Mercury, Virgo is also about food for the mind. If you know any Virgos, you may have noticed that their minds are always active — and that without ways to focus that mental energy, they can start to run themselves in circles.
Young corn plant; photo by Amanda Painter.
Happy Virgos are those who have ways to use their minds — indeed, their entire beings — in the service of others. There appears to be something inherently spiritual, transcendent of ego and dedicated to world service that is apparent in who many Virgos are and what they represent.
When the Sun is in Virgo, the rest of us can tap into this call to service a little more deeply than usual — if we’re willing. The idea of ‘the highest good for all concerned’ becomes less of an abstract thought and more of a tangible, practical thing, though you still have to invoke some extra mindfulness if it’s not your usual wavelength.
Part of the trick is to stay focused on the ‘helping others’ part and not get drawn into any tendencies to feel guilty about not doing more. Don’t stop yourself before even getting started by judging your ideas. The shadow side of Virgo can be a form of pickiness manifesting as criticism of others and of oneself.
When the Sun enters Virgo, it will conjoin a hypothetical point called Transpluto. (View full chart here.) Transpluto seems to be about a narrow opening. This could be useful in terms of focusing your mind and motivation on service, though it does underscore the need to be aware of the instant you start to get pulled into harsh self-criticism or a too-narrow view of what counts as ‘helping’. That serves no one.
Opposite the Sun in early Virgo is Neptune in early Pisces. Neptune was there last year, too, when we published this wisdom on the Planet Waves blog:
“At its best, Sun opposite Neptune can provide a kind of push-pull dynamic that spurs very imaginative, creative achievements. Sun opposite Neptune can feel like an extra mystical Full Moon. However, this aspect is also known for its propensity for delusion, projecting one’s own emotional ‘stuff’ onto a partner, and subsequent disillusionment.
“It is key to use the creative, dreamy, idealistic power of Neptune in Pisces in service of some sort of artistic process. If you can use your creativity for some larger purpose in some way, all the better — you’ll be enlisting the power of the Virgo Sun in this opposition.”
The Sun conjunct Transpluto and opposite Neptune is about focusing your awareness of yourself and how you put your creativity out into the world. In itself, using your creativity is a kind of service. It helps to be grounded (Virgo is an earth sign), clear some space (mental and physical), and have a plan with steps that you follow. Mercury-ruled Virgo also says: remember to communicate.
Self-criticism is a dream-killer — as is isolation, even of the mental variety. Neptune in Pisces opposite the Virgo Sun urges more fluidity in creative contact with others; it’s the collective dream (the human condition) that we’re all ultimately serving, after all.
– written by Amanda Painter
Army Private Chelsea Manning — until Thursday known as Bradley Manning — was sentenced to 35 years in prison this week for the release of 700,000 governmental cables and videos to WikiLeaks. Although much less than the maximum possible sentence of 90 years, it is much longer than any sentence given to governmental officials who have leaked information before now — a clear message meant to cow other would-be whistleblowers.
Chelsea Manning, in her previous identity as Bradley Manning.
The documents Manning sent to WikiLeaks for release included video evidence of civilian murders by U.S. military personnel. Leaked diplomatic cables revealed the U.S. government’s support of the corrupt regime in Tunisia — helping to spark the 2011 uprisings across the Middle East, and domestically with the Occupy movement.
Manning has requested a pardon from President Obama. Defense attorney David Coombs read a statement from his client in which Manning acknowledged that, “If you deny my request for a pardon, I will serve my time knowing that sometimes you have to pay a heavy price to live in a free society.”
Part of the price Manning has been paying all along has been living life in a gender that has never felt right. Early on Thursday, she released a statement thanking supporters and announcing her decision to change her name to Chelsea and transition her gender:
“As I transition into this next phase of my life, I want everyone to know the real me. I am Chelsea Manning. I am a female. Given the way that I feel, and have felt since childhood, I want to begin hormone therapy as soon as possible. I hope that you will support me in this transition.”
Manning will begin serving her sentence in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. Under current guidelines, she could be released on parole after seven years, inclusive of time served in detention — which was deemed to have been “cruel, inhumane and degrading” by the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture. Manning’s defense team is appealing to the U.S. Army Court of Criminal Appeals in relation to this sentence and also for due process violations during the trial.
The Other Side of the Factory Farm Nightmare
CAFOs (concentrated animal feeding operations) — also known as factory farms — have long been known for their heinous confinement of animals. Yet those conditions comprise only one-half of their suffering. A new book reveals the horrific physical ailments now known to be caused by the animals’ GMO-based corn and soy feed, especially those containing glyphosate.
Leah Dunham, the daughter of Dr. Art Dunham, an Iowa veterinarian who has treated farm animals for several decades and believes GMOs are directly responsible for damaging them, recently wrote America’s Two-Headed Pig. Drawing on her father’s clinical notes and the work of plant pathologists and other scientists, Dunham describes what a glyphosate-tainted, GMO diet does to farm animals.
And those conditions — digestive disorders, damaged organs, infertility, weak immune systems, skeletal deformities, chronic depression — are the same found in humans who eat GMO food.
“This has been an age during which too many human beings treated animals and children like guinea pigs, feeding them genetically modified, chemically coated, antibiotic resistant experiments, despite the overwhelming evidence that these foods are serious risk factors for illness and disease,” she writes.
Fukushima ‘Containment’ Spinning Out of Hand
The Japanese government and TEPCO, the utility that oversees the ailing Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, is finally admitting what most of us have suspected for two years — that the severity of radioactive leakage and the complexity of the cleanup appears beyond their capacity to handle.
TEPCO announced last week it is preparing to remove in November 400 tons of highly radioactive spent fuel from Reactor No. 4, a dangerous operation that has only been simulated on a computer, never attempted at a nuclear power plant.
Officials and experts from local towns inspect a coastal embankment where contaminated water is leaking near Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant Units 1 and 2 of Tokyo Electric Power Co., in Okuma, Fukushima prefecture, Japan. AP.
More than 1,300 spent fuel rod assemblies packed tightly together need to be removed from the reactor building, which is vulnerable to collapse in another large earthquake. The assemblies contain radiation equivalent to 14,000 times the amount released in the atomic bomb attack on Hiroshima 68 years ago.
“They are going to have difficulty in removing a significant number of the rods,” said Arnie Gundersen, a veteran U.S. nuclear engineer and director of Fairewinds Energy Education, who used to build fuel assemblies.
Of more immediate concern, on Tuesday TEPCO said about 300 tons of water contaminated with high levels of radiation have leaked from a storage tank into the ground. It is reportedly the worst leak to date from the tanks.
In light of this, Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority is about to declare a toxic water leak at the Fukushima nuclear plant a level 3 “serious incident” on the International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale, pending confirmation from the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency.
It is the country’s gravest warning since the massive 2011 earthquake and tsunami that sent three reactors into meltdown.
Mycle Schneider, an independent consultant who has previously advised the French and German governments and who is lead author for the World Nuclear Industry status reports, said the situation is dire.
He said water is leaking out all over the site and there are no accurate figures for radiation levels.
“The quantities of water they are dealing with are absolutely gigantic,” he said in a BBC article. “What is worse is the water leakage everywhere else — not just from the tanks. It is leaking out from the basements, it is leaking out from the cracks all over the place. Nobody can measure that.
“It is much worse than we have been led to believe, much worse.”
Planet Waves will be covering the developments at Fukushima in depth in an upcoming edition.
Mystery Chemical Attack Hits Rebel-Controlled Damascus Area
A pre-dawn poison gas attack in a rebel-held suburb of Damascus, Syria, killed hundreds of civilians on Wednesday, with neither the rebels nor the Syrian government admitting responsibility. Western powers are demanding that U.N. chemical weapons experts, in a hotel just a few miles from the scene, be given immediate access to it.
A girl with cheeks painted in the colors of Syria’s flag takes part in a protest in front of the U.N. building in New York on Wednesday. Photo: Reuters/Adrees Latif.
President Bashar al-Assad’s opponents gave death tolls from 500 to well over 1,000 and said more bodies were being found, according to a Reuters report.
France and Britain are calling for a forceful foreign response, while Russia and the United States appear more cautious.
After months of negotiating with Assad’s government to let inspectors into Syria, a U.N. team arrived in Damascus four days ago. They are to check on the presence, but not the sources, of chemical weapons that are alleged to have been released in three specific, small incidents several months ago, the Reuters article said.
The rebels have little confidence in the U.N. team’s mission.
“We’re being exterminated with poison gas while they drink their coffee and sit inside their hotels,” said activist Bara Abdelrahman.
“We are asking for this team to go directly, with complete freedom … to the site of the crimes which took place yesterday,” George Sabra, a prominent member of the umbrella opposition’s National Coalition, told Reuters.
The Syrian government has not responded publicly to the request for access.
Few Airport Rights for Miranda — or Anyone
David Miranda, Brazilian partner of Guardian UK reporter Glenn Greenwald, was detained for nine hours in London’s Heathrow airport over the weekend. Greenwald is the reporter through whom Edward Snowden has leaked information about the U.S. and U.K. governments’ extensive surveillance of civilian communications.
David Miranda (right) with partner Glenn Greenwald, in the Rio de Janeiro airport on Monday. Photo: Reuters.
Under schedule 7 of the U.K.’s Terrorism Act 2000, people may be detained for up to nine hours without arrest in an airport for questioning about suspected terrorism. Most such detentions last less than one hour.
According to Miranda, his computer, cell phone and other devices were confiscated. Six agents asked him about everything except terrorism — with a focus on what “Guardian journalists were doing on the NSA stories.”
The governmental bullying extended into The Guardian‘s home offices. Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger said on Tuesday that he agreed to smash several computers containing Greenwald’s files in an effort to avoid legal action that could have halted publishing. Copies of the files exist with reporters in the U.S. and Brazil, but officials insisted on the destruction (psychological intimidation) anyway.
Earlier in the week Greenwald said he would respond by writing reports “much more aggressively than before.”
“I have lots of documents about the way the secret services operate in England,” he said.
“I think they are going to regret what they did.”
Political detention of journalists in airports — under the guise of investigating ‘terrorism’ — is becoming increasingly common, as recent Democracy Now! interviews (including with filmmaker Laura Poitras, who has been assisting Snowden and Greenwald) make chillingly clear.
“The British government’s conflation of journalism with terrorism in the case of David Miranda is problematic largely because journalism, like terrorism, is no longer performed by discrete, centralized entities,” wrote Philip Bump for The Atlantic Wire. “You post a video of police detaining a suspect to your Facebook wall, and you’re committing an act of journalism — one that authority figures may not see as subject to First — or Fourth — Amendment protections.”
Light a Spark, Burn Forever
Now showing in New York and Los Angeles (and available through video on demand, iTunes, Amazon and Google Play, with showings in other major cities coming soon) is the film Spark: A Burning Man Story. According to the film’s website:
“Rooted in principles of self-expression, self-reliance and community effort, Burning Man has grown famous for stirring ordinary people to shed their nine-to-five existence and act on their dreams.”
“Spark takes us behind the curtain with Burning Man organizers and participants, revealing a year of unprecedented challenges and growth.”
If you’ve never been to Burning Man, reviewers are calling this film “the next best thing.” That said, if you’ve ever had an urge to experience That Thing in the Desert for yourself, start planning now for next year; this year’s participant-driven experiment in temporary community with a gift-only economy and lots (and lots) of dust begins this coming Monday, Aug. 26, in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada.
Aquarius Full Moon — Age of Aquarius
In this week’s edition of Planet Waves FM, I cover both the Aquarius Full Moon (exact Tuesday, Aug. 20 at 9:44 pm EDT) and the elusive theme of the Age of Aquarius. I do so with some help from the book Esoteric Astrology; I’ve provided a few quotes from that book below, selected by Laurie Burnett. Our musical guest is the phenomenal Treetop Flyers, some boys out of England that I met at Backstage Studio Productions in Kingston. In the program I mention an article called You Are Who You Are, a Planet Waves member-area favorite that covers the precession of the equinoxes and the difference between the two zodiacs.
It will be apparent to you that a whole new field of study will open before the astrologers of the New Age and fresh light on this greatest of all sciences will be available.
Aquarius is affecting the world disciples and initiates, leading them to world service on a large scale, producing group activity and that living usefulness which is the hall-mark of the pledged disciple.
Your Monthly Horoscopes — and our Publishing Schedule Notes
Your extended monthly horoscopes for September are published below in this issue. The extended monthly horoscopes for August were published Friday, July 26; I recommend reading the previous month’s horoscopes again at the end of the month. On Tuesday, July 16, we published the Moonshine horoscopes for the Aquarius Full Moon. We published the Moonshine horoscopes for the Leo New Moon on Tuesday, Aug. 6. We published the Moonshine horoscopes for the Aquarius Full Moon on Tuesday, Aug. 20.
Please note, we normally publish the extended monthly horoscopes on the first Friday after the Sun has entered a new sign; Inner Space usually publishes the following Tuesday.
Planet Waves Monthly Horoscopes for September 2013, #963 | By Eric Francis
Aries (March 20-April 19) — One challenge of the coming weeks involves discerning self-interest from your calling or desire to support others. Ideally there would be no separation of those concepts. That we can and so often do play games that have one winner and many losers is a problem. That we tend to lack the idea of ‘the greatest good for all concerned’, or what are called win-win scenarios, is the deeper issue. It’s essential that you bear this in mind now. Your interests are not separate from the people you care about, and in truth they’re not separate from those of anyone else. Understanding this requires reaching a new level of consciousness — which you’re reaching for, capable of and where you may already be. In this scenario, it will help to know what you want, and at the same time you must also know about (and care about) the wants and needs of the people with whom you share space and time. To do that, you’ll need to ask, listen carefully and listen to what people say when they’re speaking freely. Simply put, you’re being called upon to be fair, to the point where you set aside competition in exchange for creating a mutually beneficial situation. This calls for a heightened level of honesty, first with yourself and then with others.
Taurus (April 19-May 20) — You’ve been through a lot recently — and I am sure you’d be grateful if things would cool off. Take any opportunity to slow down, remove commitments from your schedule and give yourself a chance to focus inwardly. Consider each of the past five or so episodes in your life and notice how many would have benefitted from extra introspection beforehand. Events in the early part of the month will repeat that reminder, serving as encouragement to understand yourself before you engage too deeply with others. This is the best way to keep your center and also to prevent yourself from getting into situations that are so deep you cannot see a way out or a way through. At the same time, you’re being invited to go deeper with others, or with someone in particular, and it may seem like you have to make a decisive move before too long. I would remind you of a fact often overlooked in our romance-obsessed world: your first relationship is to yourself. That statement may be the ultimate blasphemy against the prevailing relationship mythology, though it’s based on the notion that you cannot relate to anyone unless you have a self to do that relating with. Once you do that habitually, it will be clearer what to do with others.
Gemini (May 20-June 21) — You may go through a few more emotional twists and turns before you figure out how safe you are, and how much freedom you have. You could go a long way by recognizing there is not a narrow formula for emotional security. You cannot just check off the points on a punch list and be done with it. This is not a technical matter; it’s a spiritual one. It also seems that your sense of confidence in your surroundings, and a sense of belonging, arise as a result of your own ability to tune in and be present, rather than from some external factor. It would help significantly if you were less obsessed with security and instead considered the many ways you can explore life and love. If I may offer some confirmation, your astrology is saying you’re ready to do that. Yet there’s another message about being called further, into true courage, creativity and doing something that honors your passion for life. That involves taking emotional risks. Each time you heed this calling, you may be confronted with a new occasion to admit, confront and go beyond another level or type of fear. Most people would take this as an opportunity to back off, give up and go home. I don’t think you will.
Cancer (June 21-July 22) — Mars transiting the angle of your chart that addresses self-esteem is pushing you to act as if you had the confidence to do what you want. There seem to be plenty of details involved, though you have options for how you handle them. I suggest that you work your way from the big picture inward to the specifics, which is to say, in the order of priorities necessary to accomplish something. A large goal is always made of many small parts. Many small parts do not automatically add up to something meaningful. Therefore, stick to your vision, which your chart suggests you’ve been cultivating in its current form since around early 2011. Meanwhile, there’s likely to be some necessity that you encounter, one that makes you question whether all the effort you’re exerting is really worth it. You will feel better for having met this challenge or answering this question yourself, rather than giving up or getting someone else to do it for you. If this involves a financial matter, trust that you have the determination and maturity necessary to make it happen. This is not a test of your maturity — it’s an opportunity to cultivate and deepen it. It’s not about proving your creative power, but rather about putting your natural gifts to work for yourself and the world.
Leo (July 22-Aug. 23) — If you encounter something that seems immovable — a person, a situation, an emotion — it’s more like a floating object than a stationary one. It will move, if you apply energy in the right direction; but I suggest you proceed more like a tugboat than like the Titanic. But do you really need to move this thing, whatever it is? Do you need to exert so much energy? Or would it be better to organize your life around its presence for a while? What you have over the next few weeks is an opportunity to determine the size and scale of the situation, and to make an assessment of how it’s influenced you in the past. That’s really the question — what you’re going to do about something that already happened, perhaps long ago, and potentially reaching into past generations. What you’re doing that your predecessors have not done is acknowledge its existence. What you seem to be dealing with is a secret of some kind. There are at least two levels to any secret: one is figuring out that it exists, and the other is figuring out what it contains. It may seem nearly useless to know that there is some concealed information but to not know what it is. But in truth, you’re more than half the way there.
Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22) — Exerting too much control is the best way for things to go out of control. I suggest that you embrace the uncertainty factor, especially the part about not knowing the impact people will have on your life, or the influence that you will have on them. One thing is for sure — that you and someone significant will shape one another’s experience and worldview. I can also tell you that the way to make this the most positive experience possible is to focus on communication. What feels like the impulse to take charge, get a handle on things or to attempt actual control will best be sated by an exchange of ideas. That’s the whole point, anyway — and what makes this such a positive opportunity. In order to do that, you will need to develop the skill of responding rather than reacting. There are instances when you may be seized by emotions that seem to demand the latter — and the best thing you can do is pause. If something, or someone, seems like it might hurt you, I would urge you to remember that your astrology is saying that no matter how polarized a situation gets, that’s unlikely. To sum up: communicate rather than control. Respond rather than react. One last: in any exaggerated situation, keep your sense of humor.
Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23) — I’ve written before that most of the problems that people face can be traced back to self-esteem. Your current astrology says that any question, issue or emotion that you experience will come back to this same theme. This has been going on for a while, though it’s a special focus right now. I suggest you focus on who in the past has gone out of their way to make you feel less worthy of love or of any benefit or reward of life. What you’re dealing with is not an actual fact of worthiness — it’s a feeling, and that feeling did not emerge from a vacuum. Meanwhile, I suggest you be conscious of the people around you and what influence they have on you. While it’s true that on one level how you feel about yourself is your business, it’s also true that others have an influence on you, and they will at times run their own agenda. If you have to push back against that, then do it in a creative and positive way. Rather than rebel, set out to achieve something that you want to do, and give yourself credit for having done so. In the end, though, how you feel about yourself is a choice, and I would remind you that nobody is your judge and jury.
Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22) — You need to set your sights higher. When I say need, I mean it’s actually a matter of necessity: commit to something more challenging, demanding more of your personal resources, experience and talent. I see you involved in something visible, that makes a difference in the world. Yet doing something challenging means encountering challenges. They may seem like they’re worldly in nature — involving your circumstances. In truth, all the territory you’re covering is personal. You’re being called to some new and potentially unexpected form of leadership, one that you’ve known for a while you were aspiring to in theory. This month you go from theory to action. Action means taking charge, staying grounded and bringing both a dynamic, even dramatic quality to what you’re doing at the same time you call forth your deepest maturity. As you know, maturity is useless unless it’s put to good use, and this is the order of the moment. As you see the rewards of this way of doing things, I suggest you reinvest them rather than take them as profits. What you need more than anything is momentum toward a tangible goal. Part of that quality is bringing yourself fully into what you’re doing, creating and expressing — and every inner challenge you overcome will get you one step closer to that spot.
Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22) — Every time I see the charts from the point of view of Sagittarius, I want to write about sex. Maybe that has something to do with your ruling planet being in your solar 8th house — the one that represents the sex you want the most. Yet it may also represent what you fear the most, where you must encounter the most compelling aspects of relationship and where it’s possible to get lost in another person. That may indeed be your concern, and it could be valid. You may be wondering what to do: go deeper, or extricate yourself? I suggest you start with a good meditation on Be Here Now. Jupiter is also in Cancer, the sign of nourishment and comfort. This is a meaningful place to be, and I can say with some confidence that at least it’s not boring. And you’re getting more of what you need than you may recognize. In fact you could get a lot more of what you need, and share with others what you have and that they need. If relationships are about exchange, then you’re in the ideal place to do that. You have plenty to give, you have lots that’s being offered and all you need to do is be open — especially to doing that elusive thing known as receiving.
Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20) — How much are you willing to reveal about yourself, and why would you hold back at all? There seems to be some tension between what is ‘really going on’ and what you want to be known in some public context. I don’t think the paparazzi are after you, but it may feel that way. You could entertain yourself with paranoia about what might come out, though if you’re hanging out there I suggest you ask yourself what you want the world to know about you. I don’t mean what soap you use. I mean what would ordinarily be considered entirely inappropriate, presumed to be damaging to your reputation or image, and even dangerous. The flirtation is between hold back and let go. There may be a diversity of opportunities you have that you want to explore and the deciding factor may seem to be what people might think. You have some options here: one of them is to blow the doors off and be happy that they might discover anything and everything. Assuming felonies are not involved, that could work out well for you. The obsession with secrecy is one of the things that is choking not just your experience but that of many, many people, and I would count the urge to set ourselves free as a healthy impulse.
Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) — Will you depend on others to push you, or will you allow yourself to do what you want? Will you play a game of resisting, perhaps to make some point to yourself or to them, or will you say yes when yes is appropriate to say? By that I mean: you have the option to do what you want to do, without a lot of drama, and it’s enough that you want to do it and nobody else’s influence needs to matter. Yet what I see in your chart is that you may decide it’s easier to allow someone else to provide the initiative or motivation, and you come along for the ride. You have that option but it won’t be as much fun. This is akin to the difference between reading something in a book or discovering it yourself — or seeing a picture of someplace as opposed to going there personally. Which has a deeper influence on you? You will have a deeper experience of someone or something if you make the choice yourself, rather than allowing yourself to be pressured or seduced. The only question is what you want, though this is not as urgent as you think. This is about tuning into your feelings. It’s also about not being a control freak, though you would be surprised how much these two things have in common.
Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) — Emotional material will be easier to move through than you may think. You may have the fear or expectation that going deep will mean having to process or respond to something you cannot handle. Ordinarily the astrology evoking this feeling might be more challenging, but there are mitigating factors — particularly, such an impressive collection of planets currently in the water signs. That’s providing you with plenty of your most important element. Said another way, you have what you need to have the emotional, relational and sexual experiences you want. It seems more a matter of putting the ingredients together, and responding to your circumstances appropriately. One hint I can give you is to use emotional tension productively. If you have friction with someone, that is potentially a helpful indication that you have some energy with them. Take the risk, go beyond your prejudices and first impressions, and go deeper. Those prejudices might involve the residue of moralism from whatever source. This needs to be seen for what it is, which is a philosophy that will eventually determine that any human pleasure is wrong. This is more than unhelpful; it’s void on its face, and I suggest you treat it that way and move onto your mission of making contact with whoever focuses your attention in a lusty, sparky, appealing or provocative way.