Where are the strong, and who are the trusted?

Hobo Supermans by Tim Davis. See larger version here.

Dear Friend and Reader:

Last week the new edition of Chronogram came in. That’s the regional magazine I’ve written for every month since early 1996. Chronogram always has excellent covers which by design are unconnected to any specific article. But they are often timely comments. With one glance my jaw dropped: the artist had summed up the state of the nation in one image.

It’s called Hobo Supermans. The artist is Tim Davis.

What’s happening in this picture? It looks like the Supermans have given up. They’re homeless and unemployed. There are two of them, which is odd. And they’ve lit their fire on the train tracks, seemingly oblivious to the fact that a train could come careening at any moment. Maybe they think they can stop it with their bare hands when it does, which it will, sooner or later.

Since they’re obviously just regular guys in costumes, that probably won’t work too well.

Superman, drawn by Alex Ross; conceived in 1933 by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster.

I’ve always thought the Superman concept was truly strange; which is to say, the character and also people’s enduring obsession with it. This extends to all superheroes, who are aspects of the same archetype, though Superman is the central character.

He’s the idea that someone is going to come from the sky and save us, which is so old the expression is in Latin: Deus Ex Machina. Basically, he’s God in superhuman form, and somehow people find this reassuring. The concept is the American equivalent to some Nazi notion of the perfect man.

By 1938, when Superman first went into print, the German race (as some thought of it at the time) was busy trying to purify itself with the help of gas chambers and crematoria.

Now, in 2016, the guys shown in the photo have thrown it in. They’re despondent, worn out and bored, even though there’s plenty of work to do. They’re not God — they are us. They’re our phony presidential candidates. They’re one answer to Elvis Costello’s question, “Where are the strong, and who are the trusted?”

I understand the anger and alienation that has led many people to think that Superman has secured the Republican nomination.

He’s going to save the economy and seal the borders and get rid of the pesky Mexican criminals and work with the blacks who love him so much and clean up all the corruption in Washington and punish all those lying journalists and give us some fabulous health care and destroy Isis and we’ll all get a bottle of fancy wine every week and the best pastries and turn the White House, and your house, into New Versailles.

We, too, will be able to shoot anyone on Fifth Avenue and cherish women more than anyone, more than anyone. Believe me. Believe me.

He knows people are pissed off or they wouldn’t fall for this bullshit, so he plays into their anger and their ignorance. I saw a Trump campaign attack ad last night promising to go after everyone who contributed to the corrupt Clinton Foundation — which failed to mention that Trump himself donated and exploited the Clintons. That’s just what you do.

He has offended and alienated everyone, but like my father says to his students, “I know you’re not going to remember this because I said it five minutes ago.”

Planet Waves
Nazi Superman, whose Kryptonite was Jewish people. His motto: “Without being strangled by the Jew, we will build a magnificent new National Socialist paradise.”

I understand the rage behind all of this, just like I get the anger of a child who wants adult privileges and has not earned them. So just leave the gun loaded and in reach. You paid for that gun and you have it by right, so why not?

Most Americans think that working hard entitles us to everything, and that having rights is a waiver from responsibility. Look where it’s getting us.

The missing piece is the personal one. It’s the part about the significant work of becoming human. We have human bodies and human DNA and all that, but actually evolving into one’s humanity is about the work of self-awareness and growth. This is challenging for people who admit that neither exist.

It’s about questioning one’s assumptions, which requires becoming aware of them. There’s also something about discernment: doing the work of deciding what is true and what is false; of deciding what is in accord with one’s values, which means knowing what they are.

Experiencing one’s inner being, what some call spirituality, is perilous. Introspection takes courage, because you don’t know what you’ll find. The modern substitute is religiosity: that is, being a holy roller of some stripe or another. Seeking within yourself is a lot harder than deciding that abortion is wrong and thinking that makes one a superior person who has God’s favor. Most of what religion encourages people to do is to play God and avoid the issue of death. In the United States, that means Jesus as Superman.

We have another candidate who is coming off more like the average American, the working soccer mom, despite her having held high office and earning hundreds of millions of dollars a year, from selling books or brokering her political influence. Her Superwoman status is conferred by all that she’s concealing about herself. One way or another, we’re about to find out what the Clinton Foundation is and what it’s really done.

By the standards of those with old money, she’s still a working stiff and scavenger, but by our standards, she’s an aristocrat, fully qualified by having killed a lot — and I do mean a lot — of people.

The anger that those supporting Trump feel is, in my view, a reaction to the disparity between what Clinton is presenting and what she’s known to have been involved in. They know there’s something off about her. It’s just that the rebellion is the kind that would get you called out by your Boy Scout leader as inappropriate and immature.

Planet Waves
Beneath much of the Arctic resides vast stores of greenhouse gases, locked up for millennia. As the ice melts, it’s being released, speeding up global warming exponentially — a fact often left out of the news.

I understand the impulse to rebel and to fall for the rhetoric of a supposed rebel. This is where discernment would come in. It takes some maturity to realize both candidates are a form of Trojan horse.

Anyone who is partisan in this election is unlikely to be looking at their own candidate honestly, or for that matter, themselves. Clinton and Trump are part of the same corporatist system. They work the same mechanisms in many of the same ways. Both have made it work rather well — for them.

How you evaluate them psychologically would depend either on your gut instinct or your knowledge of psychology. It may also involve your perception of your parents.

The United States and the world have a lot of problems right now. None of them are being addressed. Methane is bubbling up from the Arctic slush, lower Manhattan was recently flooded, refugees from American-sponsored wars are inundating the globe, and the planet is floating in space like a Roundup-tainted soap bubble of debt.

Politically, we are holding an election with the infected wounds of many past traumas left unattended. We still live like maggots on the rotting corpse of slavery — the plantation kind, or the iPhone factory kind. In fact our whole style of life would be impossible if not for slavery.

We live oblivious to the genocide of the First People who inhabited the land we live on, which continues to this day at Standing Rock.

Planet Waves
The last moments of a legitimate American presidency.

Regarding the presidency, the JFK murder is an unresolved source of psychological torment, proof that any president who takes a real stand will end up on an autopsy table.

Martin Luther King’s pool of blood is a reminder of what happens when a social message starts to come across, and it derailed the actual post-Civil War reconstruction. Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia were in no way repented for. The long attack on American peace activists is barely acknowledged. Watergate was never honestly addressed on the moral level, or the structural level of the president having too much power. Most people still think it was a two-bit burglary, as its apologists still describe it.

The misunderstood events of Sept. 11, 2001, are bleeding out our life force, and the false wars it was used to propagate are only getting worse. The United States has been at war in and around Iraq for 26 years — nearly three times longer than the seemingly endless Vietnam War and six times longer than we were involved in World War II. I’m 52 years old; that’s half my lifetime.

But those global problems are made of individual problems. By that I mean our personal, private problems, which add up to our collective social problems. How we deal with one is how we’re likely to deal with the other. There is a reason people refuse to see or refuse to challenge these situations, and that’s because they’re in pain and carrying forms of the same infections internally.

If you’re still suffering from the abuse inflicted on you as a child, it’s nearly impossible to rise above that self-image and psychic state and challenge the political system. If your parents still run your life, as internal archetypes or as actual overlords, you’re not situated to challenge authority in any other form. If you don’t get along with your partners, you’re not in a position to be advancing the cause of world peace and probably will not even care.

Planet Waves
Members of the Anishinabek Nation sing as they enter the Standing Rock Sioux tribe’s protest encampment. Water protectors have come under repeated attack by North Dakota authorities. Photo by Alyssa Schukar. See larger image with article here. Full coverage at Democracy Now.

All this emphasis that’s placed on the presidential election is, borrowing from Wilhelm Reich, about isolation, alienation, spiritual poverty, craving for authority, fear of responsibility, mystical longing, sexual misery, and neurotically impotent rebelliousness.

We might add addiction to being entertained and expecting everyone to do everything for us, uncompensated.

The problem is that this is a normal state of mind, and state of affairs. And in that normal state we are subject to the kind of political infection we’re now experiencing — and paralyzed to do anything about it. This paralysis deserves a closer look. It’s often called many other things, it’s excused and it’s rarely acknowledged for what it is.

It may seem like we’re too damned busy to take care of ourselves, much less the world, but I don’t believe it. I’ve worked with too many people in their 20s through their 60s whose lives are still run by some phantom of their parents, even if their parents are now bones in a crypt.

Using denial as a means of dealing with all of this is like paying off debts with credit cards. And one might ask: what are we gonna do? What can we do?

Maybe we can have an honest conversation.

Or go back to watching Game of Thrones. I hear there’s gonna be a hot new rape scene in the next episode.

Sin cera,


Additional coverage of 2016 election by Eric Francis

Of God, Country and Internet — June 9

Donald Trump’s Astrology — Aug. 4

Hillary Clinton’s Astrology — Aug. 11

How the Hell is This Even Happening? — Sept. 29

Here Beside the Rising Tide — Oct. 14

Planet Waves (ISSN 1933-9135) is published each Tuesday and Thursday evening in Kingston, New York, by Planet Waves, Inc. Core community membership: $197/year. Editor and Publisher: Eric Francis Coppolino. Web Developer: Anatoly Ryzhenko. Designer: Lizanne Webb. Finance: Jonathan McCarthy. Astrology Editor: Amanda Painter. Astrology Fact Checker: Len Wallick. Copy Editor and Fact Checker: Jessica Keet. Eric’s Assistant: Gale Jazylo. Client Services: Amy Elliott. Media Consultant: Andrew Ellis Marshall McLuhan. Music Director: Daniel Sternstein. Additional Research, Writing and Opinions: Amy Jacobs, Cindy Ragusa and Carol van Strum.

Planet Waves


Look Under the Lid, Let Out the Surprise

By Amanda Painter

If you have any puzzles, mysteries or proposals on your plate today, you should be in the perfect frame of mind to dig deep, investigate and scrutinize it until you are satisfied. But what if that puzzle or mystery is something about yourself — specifically something regarding certain of your beliefs?

Planet Waves
Illuminated box at the 2016 Sacred and Profane Festival, Peaks Island, Maine. Participants had to figure out what would prompt the silent, masked box-holders to open the lid wider, rather than close the lid and withdraw. Photo by Amanda Painter.

The astrology looks good for cracking that nut, too, though it may happen in unexpected ways, or could come with some emotional release.

And given how high emotions are running already this election season, and the way so many people are doubling-down on what they believe to be ‘true’ — regardless of facts, context or their own past stances on similar issues — don’t be surprised if your next political conversation is a catalyst for that release.

Not everyone is comfortable with intense or highly focused self-expression, however, including their own…or especially their own. If that sounds like you, I’d definitely encourage you to see the process as one of exploration and even relief or liberation, rather than as any kind of threat to whatever neat, tidy package you’ve constructed for your self-image. We’re all works of progress, remember. No shame in that.

In fact, when you allow yourself to be moved and ‘let it out’ (whatever ‘it’ may be for you), you begin to get clearer on your deeper values. Those moments are practically arrows that point you to your core bottom line, your ethics, your essential humanity. True, sometimes those arrows also point to shadow material, baggage or sore spots that still need some TLC, understanding, unpacking and illumination. Again, nothing wrong with that — it’s all part of healing and growing. Those triggers can be incredible teachers when we’re able to hold space for them.

Continue reading →


Planet Waves

“Gerald really doesn’t have any hobbies…please re-elect Gerald. PLEASE.” Charlyn Daugherty’s plaintive call to action, to save her sanity. Image: video still. Link to video.

What Is Possible — and What We Must Understand

By Amanda Painter

This time of year, I am beyond grateful that I do not own a television: on the rare times I happen to see a political ad, I think I can feel a part of my soul dying. Or at least, screaming. The vast majority of political ads are a form of toxic waste.

As presented in the media, politics is a form of superhuman magic. In reality, it’s largely a technical exercise: budgets, regulations, complaints, paperwork, dealing with constituents and noisy trucks.

It’s rare that a candidate is honest about the real work of politics, instead presenting themselves as saviors. In doing so, they tend to focus on issues that get people fired up in order to manipulate them.

Enter Gerald Daugherty: an actual county commissioner in Travis County, Texas, seeking re-election. I had to Google whether his ad was for a real candidate or just a parody — the dead-pan looks of desperation from Daugherty’s wife, as she suffers through his interminable monologues around the house about transportation policy, are the stuff Saturday Night Live dreams are made of.

Do yourself a favor and watch it. Then, as another reminder about why races beyond the one for President matter, check out this spot produced by Joss Whedon’s PAC (yes, that’s right, the guy who created cult-faves “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Firefly,” among other gems).

Even decent Presidents can be rendered significantly ineffectual if Congress is stuffed full of radical stonewallers who take government hostage at every chance with the equivalent of a legislative temper-tantrum — as we’ve seen in recent years. As Whedon’s brilliant cast demonstrates, a private company could not function with, and would not tolerate, an employee who pulled the equivalent stunts.

Most of us won’t have the opportunity to vote for Gerald on Nov. 8, but most of us can choose not to send the toddlers back to Congress.


This Week on Planet Waves FM
The Nature of the Beast

Dear Friend and Listener:

Do you have a feeling that something strange is lurking behind all the mudslinging in the presidential election? I thought so.

Planet Waves
Artist, Scorpio and proto-human Bjork.

In this week’s Planet Waves FM [play episode here], I peel back the layers of what that might be. In Scorpio fashion, I look for what’s hidden and concealed; what the candidates or the commentators are not talking about.

We also visit the protest at Standing Rock, about the Dakota Access Pipeline, with some help from Democracy Now! I explain the purpose of protests, as explained to me by Michael Frisch, one of my American Studies professors at SUNY Buffalo.

To go with this program, I’ve selected the one and only Bjork, who has her Sun, Moon and rising sign in Scorpio. View her chart here.

I reference the first-ever publication by WikiLeaks, video of an incident that took place in Iraq in 2007.

Thanks for tuning in. And thank you to our subscribers, members, customers and my clients, who make this program possible every week. If you would like to sign up, please do so here. I’m offering Planet Waves journals or astrology self-study kits for people who sign up or renew early.

With love,


Your Monthly Horoscopes — and our Publishing Schedule Notes

Your extended monthly horoscope for November was published on Thursday, Oct. 27. We published your extended monthly horoscope for October on Thursday, Sept. 22. We published the Moonshine horoscope for the Libra New Moon, by Len Wallick, on Thursday, Sept. 29. Your Moonshine horoscope for the Aries Full Moon was published Thursday, Oct. 13. Please note: we normally publish the extended monthly horoscope on the first Friday after the Sun has entered a new sign.

Moonshine Horoscope for Scorpio New Moon #1124 | By Len Wallick

Aries (March 20-April 19) — Know thyself, especially in comparison to who and what you were at this time last year. If you are pretty much the same person you were 12 months ago — if your needs are being met and your life is going smoothly — you are in a position to demand substantial reward for risking any change to your good thing. If your personal evolution has been substantial enough to make change your primary need at this time, consider thinking differently. Instead of risk versus reward, think in terms of renegotiating any previously incurred contracts, responsibilities or obligations to do right by both your new self and your old relationships. — By Len Wallick. For your Eric Francis horoscope this week, please see this link.


Taurus (April 19-May 20) — It would appear as though collaborations and artistic endeavors have long been a door through which new individuals have periodically entered your life. Now, it would seem to be that time again. This time around, any personality coming through that door could very well be the type of person you would not have considered working with in the past. The extent to which such an individual strikes you differently now will probably be a measure of how much your ongoing creative activities have in turn re-created you. Therefore, look twice where you would have previously looked away in order to better see yourself. — By Len Wallick. For your Eric Francis horoscope this week, please see this link.


Gemini (May 20-June 21) — If it is at all possible, take at least one day to be all by yourself sometime soon. It’s time to get reacquainted with who you are when separated from work and relationships. Let your special day alone be unstructured. Be rather than do. The possibilities are endless. Whether you stay inside or go outside does not matter so much, so long as you break routine. You could follow up on something that has been intriguing you — something you have not had time to investigate — so long as you do it on your own. Another viable alternative is to be utterly un-ambitious and simply remember how to enjoy your own company once again. — By Len Wallick. For your Eric Francis horoscope this week, please see this link.


Cancer (June 21-July 22) — Even if being a caretaker is second nature for you, it’s likely that you have a first nature that needs to be taken care of as well. Think of yourself as having roots — unseen but vital parts of yourself from which you derive both stability and nourishment. Then think about what you could do to water and fertilize those roots. In all likelihood, that’s what you should be giving yourself permission to do more of now. It could be as simple as getting more comfortable with touching yourself intimately. If auto-erotica is something you have neglected or avoided, now is a good time to take a chance on taking better care of that need. — By Len Wallick. For your Eric Francis horoscope this week, please see this link.


Leo (July 22-Aug. 23) — You could do far worse than make an effort to discover a new purpose about now. That’s especially true if anything happens to free up some of your time and energy over the next month or so. The nature of this new reason to be will depend on who you are, but there are some guidelines you can follow to find it. First off, think less about satisfying others and more about what it would take to satisfy yourself. Next, be open to having at least two purposes — perhaps one for the short term and one for the long term. Finally, start looking where you already are, but don’t be afraid of relocating (at least temporarily) if that’s what it takes to find your new, true cause. — By Len Wallick. For your Eric Francis horoscope this week, please see this link.


Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22) — Don’t be frustrated if others seem shortsighted. Be kind. Not everybody can see as far as you do right now. Also, be humble. Your foresight could very well be paired along with an inability to detect what’s directly under or in front of your nose. As a matter of fact, now might be a good time to team up with somebody who can gently show you what you are missing, even as you carefully reveal to them what is coming. Ideally, this teammate would be somebody you have known for a long time, and with whom you have already developed strong bonds. If somebody who fits that description comes to mind, consider starting a conversation that begins with you pointing out that two heads are better than one. — By Len Wallick. For your Eric Francis horoscope this week, please see this link.


Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23) — Whatever you initiated at the beginning of October is almost certainly not coming to a close for you now. It is more likely that you have reached a point where you either need to step up or step back as regards to seeing things through to a conclusion. Before you do so, be aware that the process of finishing what you started could take as much as a year, and could result in your being a changed person. In all likelihood that change would be for the better, resulting in at least some of the balance you have sought in your life. First, however, you must answer an important question: do you really, truly want to change? If the answer is yes, take charge. If the answer is no, delegate the responsibility for closure to assure the best outcome for all concerned. — By Len Wallick. For your Eric Francis horoscope this week, please see this link.

Planet Waves

2016-17 Scorpio Birthday Reading
Discover Your Inner Hidden Gem

The true calling card of Scorpio is its transformative ability: to bring shadow to the light, integrate it, and alchemize it into an expression of much higher vibration: creativity, passion, fearlessness, courage and the ability to heal deep wounds. That’s a gem of a superpower when you learn how to use it well.

In a world that desperately needs these life-affirming qualities, your 2016-17 Scorpio Birthday Reading will help you to zero in on your gifts — including personal power tools masquerading as ‘difficulties’.

“I re-listened a few times for the deeper nuance and messaging — a good thing because I discovered so many ‘hidden gems’ throughout the reading! This was definitely a worthwhile investment in money and time. Thank you!”

— Dee McCrorey

You can still secure the best price we offer, for yourself or as a gift — $19.97 for two segments of audio astrology and a video tarot reading, all of which you can experience as many times as you like. But the price will be increasing soon, and then will increase again when the audio segments publish (the tarot video will be released a little later, but is included in your purchase).

If you’re new to Eric’s readings or would like to review your past year and his accuracy, you’re invited to listen to last year’s reading here, as a gift from Planet Waves.



Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22) — Some of the issues you now face are about you. Some are not. Sorting out which is which will go a long way towards making your load feel lighter. To do so, you need time to think. Keep in mind that thinking is not the same as procrastination. Take care of any urgent situations and keep up with all that you absolutely have to get done in order to keep (and preferably increase) order in your life. Assuming you can organize your affairs to the point that you are no longer running as fast as you can to stay in the same place, you should find that you have more time to meditate at length on the subject of where others end and where you begin. — By Len Wallick. For your Eric Francis horoscope this week, please see this link.


Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22) — Assuming you are a licensed driver, now is a good time to look back and recall how it was when you were first learning how to operate an automobile. Odds are good you are now going through a similar learning curve, and dealing with its challenges will be a lot easier if you can remember how your motivations encountered your misgivings to result in your being both safe and comfortable behind the wheel. One thing you surely learned as a student driver is that fear is not helpful but deliberate caution is essential. The same is probably true for you now. Be alert, for sure. Be aware, of course. Just remember that there is no good reason to be afraid. — By Len Wallick. For your Eric Francis horoscope this week, please see this link.


Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20) — For every problem, there is a solution. If you can remember just that one fact, you can head off any frustrations before they happen. As regards to any exasperating circumstances you may now be facing, remember two additional things. First, as the late, great astrologer Rachelle “Rockie” Gardiner so often reminded her readers: “Patience is the key to heaven.” Second, you are rarely, if ever, alone with your concerns. Somewhere in your community of friends, peers and citizens there are almost certainly a number of people who share (or at least empathize with) the issues that are important to you. So long as you can make your needs known to those communities while also patiently participating in finding a remedy, contentment should ultimately be yours. — By Len Wallick. For your Eric Francis horoscope this week, please see this link.


Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) — Don’t give up on your aspirations now. Even if you have had some discouraging experiences lately, there will be at least one door opening for each one that appears to have closed until at least this time next year. In addition to being optimistic, there are at least two other things you can do to encourage yourself. First, remember that there is a difference between being stubborn and being persistent. If you can’t make that discernment right now, visualize the difference between digging in with your heels versus digging in with your toes. Let ‘less heel and more toe’ be your slogan. The second thing to keep in mind is that self-respect is contagious. Treat yourself with respect and others will not only return the favor, but also be inspired to emulate your example. — By Len Wallick. For your Eric Francis horoscope this week, please see this link.


Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) — Consider the term ‘quantum leap’. In essence, that often-used but less-often-understood phrase alludes to how electrons evidently move from one energy level to another without ever being in between. Pertinent astrological indicators imply that there is some sort of quantum leap in store for you when it comes to whatever you are trying to create or otherwise manifest at this time. But it almost certainly won’t happen by itself. You will need to participate. The good news is that your part will be simple. In essence, keep practicing consistently, and have faith that no effort will be wasted. If you can do just that, you will hasten the day when you wake up to find that you have suddenly left one metaphorical plateau behind for another one with a much nicer view. — By Len Wallick. For your Eric Francis horoscope this week, please see this link.

5 thoughts on “Where are the strong, and who are the trusted?

  1. Lizzy

    Yes, totally brilliant piece, Eric – that needed to be written. Thank you so much for this. It’s truth and insights gave me great solace, in the midst of all this hype and spin. “Or go back to watching Game of Thrones. I hear there’s gonna be a hot new rape scene in the next episode.” Ha ha! I tried watching this the other day (for the umpteenth time), to see what all the fuss was about, and there was a juicy looking sex scene playing out – and I thought, this looks good, and settled down for some fun viewing! But then the tender sexy lover slit the man’s throat from ear to ear, as he lay lovingly and trustingly up against her – and I quickly changed channels.

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