Dear Friend and Reader:
One of the highlights of the rather eventful Northern Solstice chart (set for Friday, June 21, 2019, when the Sun enters the tropical sign Cancer) is Vesta conjunct Uranus.
Vesta was the fourth-discovered asteroid, spotted in 1807. It’s the brightest asteroid, and was named for the goddess attended by the keepers of the sacred hearth of ancient Rome — the city fires that were never supposed to go out.
The Chironian, Rosendale, NY. Photo by Eric Francis / Book of Blue.
There was a long pause after the discovery of Vesta. It was not for another 38 years that the fifth asteroid, Astraea, was discovered, one year before the discovery of Neptune in 1846. During those 38 years, it was thought that there were only four asteroids (there are probably millions in the main belt between Mars and Jupiter, depending on how small you count).
The first four asteroids were regarded as planets from their discoveries between 1801 and 1807, and were reclassified as asteroids during the 1850s.
Vesta has been one of my areas of focus through my astrological life. When I write or talk about Vesta, I get an unusual response from my readers — a true resonance. I have my own take on this asteroid, who was named for the Roman goddess of the hearth, the home and the family. She was one of the 12 “Dii,” or supreme deities of the Roman pantheon.
Vesta’s myth is probably the source of the “virgin birth” story spirited by the Christian movement. The Vestal order, consisting of its famous sexually chaste priestesses (the Vestal Virgins), was absorbed by the church in the 4th century CE.
For some historical orientation, the Ancient History Encyclopedia tells us:
The Roman writer Plutarch (45-120 CE) notes, “Some are of the opinion that these vestals had no other business than the preservation of [the sacred] fire; but others conceive that they were keepers of other divine secrets, concealed from all but themselves.” Their duties required them to remain chaste and male clergy were not allowed to participate in the rites concerning Vesta and the Vestales. The Collegia of the Vestales, according to ancient writers such as Livy, was instituted during the reign of the second (possibly mythical) Roman king Numa Pompilius (717-673 BCE) and remained a sigificant part of Roman life until 394 CE when the Christian emperor Theodosius I decreed against pagan rituals, had the sacred fire put out, and dissolved the Vestales.
The Vestals were present at every important state function in Rome. They stood silently, holding space. Philosophers and emperors, including Cicero, revered them as central points of integrity for the empire, without whom Rome would surely fail. That occurred 10 years after the end of the Vestal order.
Aside, I’ve done two chart key readings today, and both clients had Vesta conjunct Uranus — an aspect that happens just once every three or four years, and which is happening now.
My Delineation of Vesta
The typical delineation of Vesta involves attitudes around work. Martha Lang Wescott says Vesta is about “projects instead of people” — the use of work that may be associated with the avoidance of intimacy.
Ritual fire in the Chironian. Photo by Eric Francis / Book of Blue.
Other perspectives include devotion to one’s work, devotion in general, and being self-sacrificing. Vesta shows up frequently in the charts of things like mass shootings, where people are sacrificed.
Some delineations point to long periods of time without sexual relationships, which is a reference to the chaste quality of the Vestal order. All of this is true in the spirit of the Blind Men and the Elephant. Each delineation contains an element of reality, though there is a larger picture.
What I noticed in my clients with prominent Vesta was a relationship pattern that did not fit the usual expectations of society.
By prominent Vesta placement, I mean on an angle (such as rising or setting), conjunct the Moon or Sun, conjunct a personal planet such as Mercury, Venus or Mars, or part of an outstanding aspect pattern in the chart. Usually, it’s the conjunctions that bring Vesta into focus.
By “unusual relationship pattern” I mean those whose intimate relationships defy the conventions of society. This includes being single for long periods of time, deciding relationships are not really worth the effort, or having relationships that do not develop in the expected way — though there would seem to be a deeper purpose to these conditions. That is the thing.
Many with prominent Vesta serve as the person who prepares their partners for the next relationship — often the best one of their lives. The Vesta person is a kind of teacher and point of orientation, holding space for a partner, and then the partner moves on, and starts a family with someone else.
For someone who does not understand this pattern, it can be frustrating. Why me? Why don’t I ever get that kind of relationship? The potential is there, and then their partner moves on. There is no context for seeing this as productive in our society. A therapist might ask why you do this.
Our whole society is obsessed with pair bonding, or what A Course in Miracles calls the Special Relationship. This paradigm goes unquestioned. It is probable that more than half of the people in our society are not made for this, but are forced into it by their families, or pushed into it by the social expectations of their friends.
People with a prominent Vesta cannot abide this, and as a result, their relationship lives can seem like a failure. Yet this is the sign of an opportunity missed.
Going Toward Embarrassment
When we think of Tantra, we usually think of partner sex. That is a misunderstanding. Tantra is not specifically about sex. It is a cosmology that uses sex as its central metaphor. This is a little like astrology using the solar system as its primary metaphor, though astrology is a study in existence.
Ritual fire in the Chironian. Photo by Eric Francis / Book of Blue.
Tantra has many manifestations, two of which are the Red Path and the White Path. The Red Path, or left path, directly involves partnered relationships. This is the path that uses the relationship as a mirror. Contrary to New Age (neotantric) theory, these relationships were not specifically monogamous.
The concept of Tantra is to unravel all of the rules of society, which are like the mortar that holds the bricks together. That binding is made of embarrassment, guilt and shame. These are the primary methods of social control.
They are, of course, a veil thrown over fear; the implicit statement is, if you don’t follow these rules, then something bad will happen. That fear must be confronted. This can be a subtle move, and you’re likely to get some kind of energy effect or response when you go through the veil. It’s a rather direct way to shift your orientation to existence.
This is why, in my formal training, I was taught that the first principle of Tantra is to go toward the embarrassment rather than to avoid it. Avoiding embarrassment leaves it in place, unquestioned, where it tends to rule the environment, and the emotions of the person. Going toward it reveals that the embarrassment is a veil that conceals the deeper pleasures and deeper truths — the feeling of being alive rather than avoiding life.
It may seem daring to follow embarrassment toward whatever it conceals, yet once you have experienced the rewards of doing so, it becomes a much more appealing experience. And as you become less capable of or susceptible to emotions along the shame spectrum, you will miss having that particular fuel to burn. However, that will take a while, as there always seems to be layer of self-negating emotion to ignite into the fire of liberation.
The White Path of Tantra
Then there is the White Path of Tantra, which I observe is represented by Vesta. This is the solo path, the one that is focused on self rather than on the partner. It’s not that White Path aspirants do not have sexual relationships with others based on a rule. They might, they might not. The difference is in how those relationships are oriented, with self rather than other at the center of the equation.
This is akin to Copernicus discovering that the Sun is in the center of the solar system, rather than the Earth. It places the center where it belongs, with the aspirant and their experience of life. On this path, jealousy has a different meaning: it cannot control relationships. It must be taken as a teacher.
Onyx as Vestal Virgin. Photo by Eric Francis / Book of Blue.
On the White Path, masturbation is sex as much as any form of partner sex is. This practice shifts the understanding of both sex and masturbation. Masturbation can be something experienced and explored alone, with a partner, or with a group. Masturbation can be witnessed, assisted, and taught as a skill. It can have a place in any relationship where the people involved are open to exploring.
Such exploration most assuredly involves the confrontation of embarrassment, guilt and shame. The kernel of these emotions is usually held at the center of one’s masturbation, the first and earliest sex, and the first to be shamed. This kind of existential guilt has been the source of profound conflict for many people over many centuries. Such may be the root of most sexual conflict, which is not conflict at all: it’s really about alienation from self.
Vesta conjunct Uranus is a revolutionary aspect. The time has come to question sexual conventions and expectations, which so often lead to dark, unloving places. In the spirit of Uranus, every person has their individual sexual orientation and “identity” — which means their distinct journey. It is possible to share your journey with someone else, though only in a certain transient sense of the idea.
In other words, you may be accompanied, though your way of relating to others and your way of relating to yourself, and your sexuality, are yours alone. All of your relationships begin and end with you.
You, not someone else, tends your sacred flame.
You are the one who holds open the sacred space of self.
PS — I’ve written a special solstice horoscope, included below.
Cancer Solstice Calling
By Amanda Painter
On Friday, at 11:54 am EDT / 15:54:07 UTC, the Sun enters Cancer for the solstice: the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. It’s one of the year’s four major, seasonal turning points, by which ancient cultures once organized their practical lives and their understanding of the cosmos. Most modern cultures have become rather detached from this rhythm — thanks to things like electric lights and other industrial and agricultural innovations obviating our complete dependence on seasonal shifts; along with what we’ve gained in that, there have surely also been losses.
Children seeking asylum dance to music after lunch Wednesday at the Portland (Maine) Expo. Photo by Derek Davis / Portland Press Herald.
Astrologically, the Sun entering Cancer also signals us to be aware of the Aries Point: those first degrees of Aries — extended to the other cardinal signs (Cancer, Libra and Capricorn) — that describe events and issues where the political and personal weave together.
It is worth noticing whether the first few days of solar Cancer display an intensification of events in the news that strongly impact you personally, or whether you feel like issues you’ve been grappling with in private suddenly are reflected in the news.
The recent attacks on the oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman — and the subsequent rumblings about a U.S. war with Iran — have a more direct correlation with the recent contact between Mars in Cancer and the Saturn-Pluto conjunction in Capricorn. Yet we need to watch for how Aries Point activity could describe the ways this issue may become very personal for many people.
Mercury and Mars now in a tight square to Eris in Aries suggest that the chaos factor and potential for emotional manipulation of the populace by governmental actions (and especially subterfuge) could increase. I’m not predicting this will be the case, and I hope it won’t be; I do think it’s wise to be on the lookout.
In terms of what minor objects the Sun will come into direct contact with when it arrives in the first degree of Cancer, the closest are a conjunction to the asteroid Urania in the first degree of Cancer, and an opposition to the Uranian point Cupido in the first degree of Capricorn. (Though the Gemini Sun has already been resonating with these objects as it approaches.) I’ll say this again, since it could easily be confusing: Cupido is a hypothetical ‘Uranian’ point, but Urania is an asteroid with actual mass.
Help From Astrology When You Need It Most
Individual Signs, Personal Reassurance
Dear Friend and Reader:
To be alive in our moment is to live constantly at the edge of uncertainty. My role as an astrologer is to bring you closer to your sense of purpose, and to help you find your way through the maze of space and time.
When you finish listening to an astrology reading, the idea is to feel better about yourself, and that is how I work. [See video preview here.]
Still of Eric Francis doing one of the Call the Astrologer readings.
Last week, I completed a set of 12 readings for all of the signs and rising signs — Call the Astrologer. These readings are now available for individual signs and rising signs.
This is astrology made easy, without losing any depth. You will find your reading to be helpful, reassuring and clarifying of your purpose. You will feel better about yourself.
All 12 signs are still available at a reduced rate. You may share these readings with friends and loved ones. My purpose is to bring the very best of professional astrology to you at a small fraction of the cost — to put professional astrology within reach.
Please let me know how your reading helped you, and get in touch if you have any questions. Thank you for your business, and for trusting me as your astrologer.
PS — Buy two signs and get a third for free. Once you’ve completed your purchase, write to us at email@example.com to get your third sign, which you may give to someone else as a gift.
And Then: *Crickets*
By Amanda Painter
Although the seasons are reversed in the Southern Hemisphere, in the Northern Hemisphere summer begins tomorrow: heralded by the Sun entering the sign Cancer. It is the day of longest light and shortest night. If, like me, you’ve experienced a largely cool and overcast spring, it may feel way too soon to see the balance of day and night begin to reverse itself.
In any case, with summer and warm evenings come cricket songs. Composer Jim Wilson recorded the sound of crickets several years ago and then slowed down the recording; he then layered the slo-mo track over the regular-speed recording. The result bears an uncanny resemblance to human voices with nature in the background.
“I discovered that when I slowed down this recording to various levels, this simple familiar sound began to morph into something very mystic and complex…almost human.”
Wilson titled the piece God’s Chorus of Crickets, and has made it available on CD; you can also hear it via Soundcloud here. (And if you’re super-curious, read the Snopes page exploring various versions of the piece.)
If it’s too rainy and chilly (or just the wrong season) where you are to enjoy your local cricket song, this may be an acceptable temporary substitute. May you enjoy a blessed solstice.
Week Off From Planet Waves FM
Dear Friend and Reader,
Eric took a break from Planet Waves FM this week, in part to prepare to teach the second half of his Key Life Transits class, which he taught live on Monday evening.
Eric’s classes are always fun, friendly and informative. Here is a sample of the first 15 minutes of Part 1. Students get access to a fully stocked resource page, which will contain permanently available recordings of both sessions. You may sign up here for those recordings and resources.
If you’ve not yet heard the show from last week, which covers the major astrology of our time — Mars opposing Saturn and Pluto — we recommend it. You may listen to that here. You might also like to revisit the May 19 edition, featuring an interview with Juror #4 in a landmark victory against Monsanto.
Eric plans to return next week with a brand new episode. Thank you for tuning in. We remain supported by your generosity and loyalty to our business. Every contribution counts; here’s how to sign on.
With best wishes,
Cosmic Realignment With Yourself:
A Reading About the Eclipses in Cancer and Capricorn
Dear Planet Waves Reader:
Eclipses were the first topic that got my attention in astrology. Even before discovering Pluto and Chiron, I figured out that these unusually precise alignments of the Sun and Moon described the contours of the psychic landscape — and I made a point of studying them, learning from them, experiencing them and writing about them.
Eclipses are challenging — and they are amazing. It would be all too easy in today’s overwhelming environment — especially if you feel like you’re struggling — to be fearful of these events. After all, the ancients did not regard them favorably. Yet now we understand how engaging with eclipses through awareness and intentional action can be a key way to harness their potential for our personal growth and wellbeing.
They are multidimensional events that connect the solar, lunar and nodal cycles. The lunar nodes are directly involved — the nodes and eclipses are best understood as one thing. And now the lunar nodes are making their way through Cancer and Capricorn. We’re about to have the first eclipse pair in these signs since 2009.
Soon, I’ll be releasing Astrology Studio for Cancer. This will be an in-depth professional astrology reading in two parts.
First is the Cancer birthday reading, a solid, one-hour assessment of your astrology. By assessment, I mean creative ideas, problem solving and strategy for work, home and personal matters. I view the eclipses as a moment of realignment — a rare opportunity to bring together mind, emotions, body and spirit.
I am the world master of the solar chart — giving me the ability to read astrology and make it personally relevant without the natal chart. This comes from decades of reading for clients, while writing my advanced horoscope columns. Transits speak to me in ways they speak to few other astrologers — maybe because I’m listening, and have the ability to translate into language you will understand and benefit from.
Treat yourself to professional astrology today. This reading is for Cancer, Cancer rising, Cancer Moon, and will serve those with strong Capricorn signatures in their chart.
In-person or telephone consultation is $555. See details here.
Included: The 2019-2020 Eclipse Reading
For those who order during the pre-order phase or while the Sun is in Cancer, your reading will include the 2019-2020 Eclipse Reading. This will look at eclipse patterns out through late 2020, the full duration of Cancer/Capricorn eclipses.
The reading will explain and educate you about why eclipses are so powerful, and track the eclipse pattern as it moves through the current Capricorn configuration. This is an easy to follow, one-hour reading that will prepare you for energy movements for the next two years.
This reading is for everyone, and it will add special depth to your understanding of astrology for those born in the signs Cancer and Capricorn.
Thank you for being a Planet Waves customer, and for trusting me as your astrologer.
PS — You may purchase by phone by calling (206) 567-4455. Leave a message and someone will return your call as soon as possible. Please tell us your time zone!
PPS — This reading is included for Backstage Pass holders. Upgrade here!
Monthly Horoscopes and Publishing Schedule Notes
We published your extended monthly horoscope for June on Thursday, May 30. Your extended monthly horoscope for May was published on Thursday, April 25. Please note: we normally publish the extended monthly horoscope after the Sun has entered a new sign.
Aries (March 20-April 19) — In the end, as in the beginning, all you have is yourself. This may seem like a lonely proposition, though in truth it’s the only path to true companionship. Unless you see and recognize who you are, there is not room for others in your life, nor is there a suitable role for them to serve. You do not need self-esteem. You need to respect yourself, which means to respect the fact that you exist. That means to bear ongoing witness to the truth of your being. When you attempt to derive your value from someone else, you give away the only power you have. The temptation, indeed, the relentless pressure, to do this is not an accident; it is a setup for a society of weak and depleted people who do not recognize their own existence. In human terms, love is the recognition of freedom and individuality of one person offered to another, though you must have it to give it to anyone else.
Taurus (April 19-May 20) — Uranus in your sign is merely a reminder you are a distinct person unlike any other. Taurus has a way of being obsessed with conventionality. This is a defense mechanism. It’s an odd way of “protecting” yourself from the truth of your own distinction, and of blending in with the scenery. After all, if you reveal yourself as different, that attracts attention, potentially negative. Yet if you want to be at peace, it’s necessary that you give yourself permission to be who you are. There is a seeming risk involved, which is that you won’t be acceptable to others. Yet that’s always true — nobody is everyone’s cup of tea. The alternative is actual loneliness: your true being trapped within an image, façade or costume, unavailable to share yourself with the world. As you crack through the layers, you will emerge as yourself, and certain people will recognize you. Some already do.
Gemini (May 20-June 21) — There is no room for deception in your life, particularly emotional. Such is often sly, as if you convince yourself of something that you don’t even want to be true. Often this is about portraying an image, which is a social norm in a world where everyone is trying to be their own publicist rather than be themselves. What you present to others needs to reflect your true priorities, no matter how others may feel about it. And if your priorities do not match those of the people around you, then you need to either go it alone, or find a different scene. If you find yourself in some kind of internal argument about who you are, take a step back and consider what that is about. It’s not healthy; it’s a sign of anger, which could easily be driving you along, with you in the passenger seat. If true, that’s something to heal, not to live for, or even with.
Cancer (June 21-July 22) — Mars has been in your sign for weeks, opposing the historic aspect pattern of our era: the Saturn-Pluto conjunction. If you are holding your own, and directing the course of your life, that bodes well for the future. If you are feeling out of control, or if you are involved in conflicts that are not moving toward resolution, then you simply must get a grip on yourself. Mars is now in a position where it will make a square — the most dynamic aspect — to Eris in Aries, your house of profession and reputation. Chiron is also there, calling the focus to this vitally important area of your life and your self-expression. The actions you take over the next few days will have a powerful effect on the flow of events. Sitting still is probably not an option; yet you must act with care, wisdom and courage. Enlist one or two of the deep thinkers you know — people who are not driven by fear.
Leo (July 22-Aug. 23) — You must stand up for what is right and what is true. Look about and see all the pretense, the sloganeering, the virtue signaling, the acting as if one cares. I am talking about the opposite of that: courageously advocating for someone who is depending on support and who may be having difficulty finding it. That person may be you. Standing up for oneself is not the typical thing to do; most people are more inclined to suffer injustice and indignity than they are to say something about it. Yet you must be cautious about proceeding indignantly, or subversively. Rather, be impeccable, above boards, sincere and clear. Be moderate and present your ideas or concerns in a respectful way. There is no room for games, nor for tolerating them. Conducting yourself in this way surely involves a risk, though it’s considerably less of one than refusing to speak when that is what is called for.
Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22) — You must recognize when you’re looking into a fog or a hazy reflection, and instead, look honestly at the world around you. There is plenty going on — in the way of conflict, power struggle, and disregard for what is urgently necessary. It seems easier to stare into the haze in search of clarity, though in truth, it’s nothing but frustrating. And while it’s obvious that the world needs to change, the only place you can have any real influence over that project is with yourself. You are still in the middle of breaking through many layers of conditioning that conned you out of your rightful place as a creator, and creator of your own reality. You have the ability, the energy and the opportunity, though if you want results, you must focus on this one project, as an extension of everything that you do. You cannot be fully committed part of the time; commitment is a full-time occupation.
Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23) — The Sun crosses the midheaven of your solar chart on Friday, which is going to turn up the light, the sound and the juice. You will be more visible and seen as one whose purpose is to offer guidance and leadership. That means manifesting as the very incarnation of Libra, which means as the perfect diplomat. The world is not in a reasonable state right now, and many have the idea that civil discourse is nonexistent. Where it does not exist, you are the one to bring it. You set the tone. You set the agenda. Most of all, you set the example. While there is no guarantee of success, the more you bring yourself to whatever needs to be done, the better chance you will accomplish that very thing, or something better. Nobody is happy about the state of the world — that is, here on the humble level of the ordinary non-multi-billionaires. And we are the only ones who will make it better.
Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22) — With Mars about to square Eris — the planetary sigil of our era of history — some tremendous power is about to be unleashed. You would be wise, however, to think of this energy field in terms of the vision, the values, and the sense of purpose that you can express. To say ‘express’ means you are going to keep some spin control, and to do that, you will need to be something of a minimalist. We live in the age of the terrorist, the dominant, the overlord. We live in the age of people doing things because they can. Your best option is to do something because it’s the right thing to do. There is someone close to you who is offering you an example of how to conduct yourself. The essence is that your actions need to transcend you. Your personal emotions, your anger, your animus, your sense of lack, all need to be far away from this situation. They have no place there.
Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22) — Jupiter is in your sign, which is one of the greatest things that can happen to Sagittarius. However, you are living with the complexity of a square to Neptune, which happens only rarely, and even less frequently with your sign directly involved. So this is an odd condition, obscuring the benefits of Jupiter and making it difficult to see the way forward. Yet Neptune in Pisces represents your own emotional confusion. That, in turn, relates to some idealized notion you have, which may be linked to a domestic situation, your family, or your sense of your grounding. The short version of the message is that you need to be more practical about your affairs, and be honest with yourself about the meaning of your personal transactions. Not the perceived meaning or value, not what you wish was true, but the actual truth — and you know what it is. Dare to do the right thing for yourself.
Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20) — Mars has been the agent provocateur of your life the past few weeks, as it’s made its way across the relationship angle of your chart. Yet you have a part in every transaction. I’m not saying that if a meteorite hits you on the head, it’s your fault because you were there (as they might say in some cultures). What I am saying is your state of mind has an influence on your environment, and represents more than half of what happens in your relationships. You’re in one of those states where anger and aggression come back to you like rapid-fire boomerangs. The astrology you’re going through calls for you to be fully informed about your life (including the planetary patterns), but more than anything, you need to groom your energy and make conscious choices about how you express yourself, and to whom. This is not a time to come on strong. It’s time to lead with sincere understanding, which requires listening, patience and thought.
Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) — Your space is the place where you must be free to be yourself. There can be no compromises here; no dealing with people who in any way mistreat you within your own four walls (and if you own a business, that’s included). You’re not here to make sacrifices for anyone; rather, you either give freely of yourself, or not at all. If you find that you’re in conflict, it’s essential that you find a way to work that out honestly, if not peacefully. However, it would be wise of you to go for both, and first, that means being honest with yourself. Where a particular matter involving a sexual or romantic relationship is concerned, you are running the risk of going over the edge with some form of self-deception. And you will never get a handle on conflict with others until you truly understand the nature of the inner conflict that you are carrying around at this time.
Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) — To have what you want, you must be willing not to have it. Then, you will have the freedom to see all sides of the situation, consider other options, and recognize the will of others for what it is. At first this may feel like one of those paradoxes, such as where an airplane is in a stall, and the pilot must point it toward the ground in order to pick up enough airspeed to come out of an even more dangerous condition. Embrace the risk involved, whatever it may be. We are living under conditions when the only thing that can cut through the noise is sincerity. Not everyone is interested. Not everyone is listening. Others are more interested in drama and conflict. Yet if peace is your goal, you may feel like you’re taking a chance by saying or doing something that has the power to offend them. That’s OK. You are making space for the truth. There is such a thing.