Another Day at School

Dear Planet Waves Subscriber:

Tuesday’s chart for Pres. Obama signing the health insurance reform package settles at least one issue: what happened this week is in fact historically significant. After a century of failed proposals, speculation and hope, the U.S. has taken its first step toward all of its citizens having some form of health coverage. Many people have many issues with this law, but the page of history has turned.

On Sept. 25, 1957, nine students are escorted into Central High by the 101st Airborne, deployed by Pres. Dwight D. Eisenhower. This was in keeping with the Supreme Court decision Brown v. Board of Education. At the time, the Sun was on the Aries Point, joined by Mars and Jupiter. Photo by A. Y. Owen for Time/Life.

The at times stunning, at times embarrassing, at times agonizing partisan drama we’ve been witnessing for the past year, which continues this week (and indeed into the future), reveals the extreme polarization that has always characterized civil rights progress in the United States. Or more accurately, we’re getting another look at a vocal, angry, regressive minority whose position was best summed up a few days ago by Sarah Palin: “Don’t retreat, reload.”

My sense is that at the moment, the country is divided into four camps. The first is the one saying this legislation is the rise of fascism because it expands the government and takes away individual rights (though I cannot figure out which). This view is held by a split-off from what is politely called the Republican base, now known as the Teabagger movement. These are the conservative hippies who use terms like baby killer and faggot when speaking to an activist nun or distinguished gay congressman. This week, some of the more passionate members of this movement have taken to throwing bricks through the windows of Democratic congressional representatives; there have been at least five such incidents so far, including one with death threats against the children of a congressional representative from New York. These appear to be part of a coordinated message that includes a lot of rhetoric about firearms and the crosshairs as a visual symbol. These are not people whose motto is “the pen is mightier than the sword” or even “a stitch in time saves nine.” Many actually have guns, and they want us to know it.

This photo provided by the office of U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona, shows damage to her Tucson office, apparently in retaliation for her support of health insurance reform.

The second is a supposedly progressive faction that says this law doesn’t go nearly far enough. There is no public option, or even a Medicare buy-in for people between 55 and 65. Conservatives have taken yet another opportunity to make Democrats bargain away women’s right to abortion, which is rightfully outraging many progressives (but we might ask who let things go this far). This view holds that the new legislation is essentially a perk for the insurance companies, a sweetheart deal between Obama and big business and a rip-off of the American people. Among those with this position are various fringe elements living in progressive fantasyland, but this view also reaches into the liberal Democratic base that was instrumental in getting Obama elected. One camp for this movement is the blog FireDogLake.

Then there are those who understand this legislation in its historical context as being the most progress we’ve seen toward taking care of the American people in a couple of generations. To them it represents the beginning of a change in our national direction and one of the few things done by a congress or a president going back to the Sixties that does not involve starting a war or giving tax breaks to the rich. I’ve read that Noam Chomsky said that the mandatory health insurance provision is a necessary first step toward universal coverage.

Then there is everyone else, basically left wondering what the holy heck just happened and what it means, if anything. Many have no time to follow the details; it’s all going by in a blur, and it must be more ordinary Washington DC-styled nonsense. Many people who hate watching the news get good information from The Daily Show, so we can include a faction who has a clue or two.

Does that cover the spectrum?

I think we can learn more about our moment of history from these reactions than we can from some objective reading of the health insurance reform law. We’re seeing who’s who, what ideas are out there, and what sentiments, and we’re getting a sense of the psychic landscape going into the big astrology of the 2012 era. The insurance reform law is bringing out the underlying divisions in the population, which are likely to become more dramatic as the next couple of years unfold.

The Background: Saturn, Uranus, Pluto

It’s all in the chart for Obama signing the bill into law; we will come to that in a moment. Let’s remember that in the background to this issue are two longterm aspects involving Saturn. First is the Saturn-Uranus opposition that started precisely on Election Day 2008. This opposition describes the clash of ideologies, such as the populist versus conservative theme we’ve been seeing dramatized for the past few years. That opposition makes its next precise meeting on April 26, 2010 with the final meeting for this orbit of Saturn on July 26, 2010.

Aspects between Saturn and Pluto, as we are experiencing now, can come with a conservative backlash against progress, which we are seeing in the rise of the Teabager movement and may witness in other events this year. But in the background is the Uranus-Pluto square, which brings a cycle of revolution and liberation, coming to a peak in 2012, that is gradually dawning.

Then there is the ongoing Saturn-Pluto square, which is typically a conservative backlash — part of the cycle of contraction and reactionary political movement that fires up every time Saturn and Pluto get together in a conjunction, square or opposition. This has been going on since late 2009 (though we could feel it for a good while before the first exact aspect). The last time this cycle was active was during the summer of 2001, just a few weeks before Sept. 11.

And in the deep background is an aspect that says 2012 like nothing else — Uranus square Pluto, part of the cycle of revolution. These two planets make the first of seven exact squares on June 24, 2012, but once again, we can feel it happening now — it is the inevitable change that we sense coming, and have plenty of evidence is real.

These aspects between Saturn, Uranus and Pluto form the cardinal T-square of 2010-2011, which is shaping up to be a stress test for the United States (and its economy) and which will leave the world a different place once it’s over.

It is unusual to have so much happening at once, but that’s the theme of these years going into 2012 — everything, all at once. I’ve left out a few juicy aspects, to avoid the distraction (one of them is Jupiter conjunct Uranus in Aries, coming June 8, covered elsewhere, and which I will come back to).

So, that’s the background. Let’s zero in on the moment Obama signed the insurance reform bill into law Tuesday morning, because it’s a really cool chart.

The Crosshairs: Cardinal Grand Cross

I’ll start by using an extremely simplified version, with just four planets: Moon, Sun, Saturn and Pluto. Note how this setup resembles a crosshairs, which is an emblem of the struggle to get rid of health reform. This setup is so precise that it seems fragile, yet it’s a potent alignment that will stand up to the test of history. To see what I’m talking about, I will ask you to look at the numbers next to the planets I mention. This is not math; it’s using numbers as symbols.

This chart reveals what is called a “grand cross” or “grand square” at the exact moment the health insurance reform law is signed by Obama. Note the similarity to a crosshairs that has become the visual icon for the Teabagger movement. The planets involved are directly aligned with the  Aries Point — the early degrees of Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn. In the full chart, other factors are visible, such as Jupiter in Pisces on the midheaven, as well as aspects between Saturn, Uranus and Pluto that define our era in history. For full chart with caption, check this link.

If you’ve been reading Planet Waves for at least a week, you’ve heard me mention the Aries Point at least six times. This is the term for the Sun’s position on the first day of Northern Hemisphere spring, which is 00 Aries. The position works like a planet, and is activated when any other planet is there. The House of Representatives was in its final debate as the Sun itself passed this degree Saturday into Sunday, making an exact opposition to Saturn in early Libra.

Then the vote was taken Sunday night with the Sun and Saturn precisely aligned with one another and the Aries Point.

The Aries Point reaches to the other cardinal signs Cancer, Libra and Capricorn, and let’s say that it covers the early (first 10) degrees of each of those four signs. The term ‘Aries Point’ can be extended to the early degrees of any of the cardinal signs. But we’re going to be a lot more precise than that.

I sum up the effect of the Aries Point as “the personal is political,” a phrase I spirited from Carol Hanisch of the 1970s radical feminist group Redstockings. When you have activity around these degrees — and we do right now, lots of it — we get historical events that demonstrate that there is no private life that is not determined by some larger public life, and vice versa: what happens in the public sphere is the result of the private values that people inflict on others. We get big stuff like Sept. 11, the Asian tsunami and the passage of health insurance reform — and many other distinct events.

In this chart, all four angles of the cardinal cross are covered by major planets: the Moon, the Sun, Saturn and Pluto. This is called a grand cross, aligned from four directions with the Aries Point. Plus it’s aligned with the horizon (the dark horizontal lines on the left and right sides of the chart). On the far left of the chart, we see that 02 Cancer 56′ is rising. This is also called the ascendant. It moves one degree (large number) every four minutes — fast. The small numbers tick past extremely quickly.

Now look at the position of the Sun, at the top of the chart: 02 Aries 55′. The Sun is square the ascendant precisely as Obama signs this law — to one arc minute of precision (1/60th of a degree). This is ridiculously precise; so exact that it’s impossible to plan. This is a symbol of appropriateness and exactitude, and the Sun (the king) in the 10th house (executive power) represents the president himself, who is acting with precision.

Students enter Little Rock Central High School in Sept. 1957, escorted by the 101st Airborne.

Next, take a look at the Moon, which is rising (the left is the east side of the chart). The Moon at 05 Cancer 32′ is opposite Pluto at 05 Capricorn 22′. This opposition is exact to 10 arc minutes. Said simply, there is an exact Moon-Pluto opposition in this chart. The Moon represents several parts of the story. One is that it represents the question itself: the new law itself.

The Moon in any public chart represents the public. And the public, whichever sector you like, is being compelled to deal with the inevitable force of change.

That Moon-Pluto alignment is powerful, transformative and it also represents a threat. We could look at that threat several ways: that of imminent change or inevitable progress (Pluto in Cap) or the threat of death-obsessed people who want to hold back progress. (When you do astrology you have to get used to the fact that the same symbol can represent opposite concepts.) In any case, whatever public you’re thinking of, there is some pressure here, but there is also precision in that aspect. The precision is accentuated because the Moon is rising and Pluto is setting at the moment this bill becomes law. If you’re wondering why people are so emotional and freaked out, it’s because this particular issue has come to stand for all that they are attached to about their country.

We have one last planet to consider in this chart, which is Saturn. Because it’s part of the aspect pattern, Saturn is talking to the Moon, the Sun and to Pluto. Saturn is the structure itself; ‘the system’ or the ‘order of reality’, and notably it is 1) in a sign where it’s strong, Libra; and 2) it is retrograde, suggesting that (at the moment) we are really not talking about a wild ride of progress with this law but something traditional and common sense. However, this grand cross is a setup for many, many transits over the next couple of years. Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Pluto are going to transit this structure many times over the next two years, and that means a lot of changes — and changes in attitude.

The Supreme Court’s decision in Brown v. Board of Education integrated the schools. Here, the first day of desegregation, on Sept. 8, 1954, at Fort Myer Elementary School in Fort Myer, VA. The moral of this photo is that what was unconscionable or impossible yesterday is commonplace today. Yet the second moral is that we still have many steps to take to break down the entrenched racism of our political system. Photo: Bettman Archive/Corbis.

Part of tradition and common sense involve adaptation and evolution. Part of the reason for the tribe is to take care of members of the tribe.

There’s just one problem with that — not everyone agrees that certain people are part of their tribe, or rightfully part of the nation. The racial issue has been ripping at the integrity of the United States of America since the first days. It’s enshrined in the Constitution as the three-fifths compromise, which says (in a tactful way) that a Negro slave shall be counted as three-fifths of a person.

I don’t think there is any question that the issue underlying the divisive politics of the health insurance reform law involves enfranchising people with less money and darker skin into the health care system. I would go so far as to say that we are looking at blatant racism, beneath the scrim of alleged budgetary concerns and political ideology. The kind of progress we are seeing, small though it may be, is a direct threat to the vision held by some of a male-dominated, tax-free white Amurika.

Mars, the Sun and Jupiter (center left) show up on the Aries Point, just in time for the 101st Airborne to arrive in Little Rock to enforce school segregation.

Let’s take a trip back along the Aries Point to a day in September 1957. At the right there is a sample of a chart that includes a collection of planets in Libra aspecting the Aries Point: Mars, the Sun and Jupiter.

The background is that two years earlier, a unanimous Supreme Court decision called Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka held that separate school facilities for black and white students were inherently unequal and therefore unconstitutional. This paved the way for school desegregation throughout the United States. Yes, as recently as the late 1950s, black and white students attended different schools.

Interestingly, Topeka’s middle schools had been integrated since 1941, and its high school since its founding in 1871. But the elementary schools were not integrated, and this was the basis of the lawsuit that ended up before the Supreme Court. Apparently, it wasn’t that big of a deal in Topeka when the decision came through.

However, the poo hit the turbines at full force elsewhere — such as in Little Rock, AR. The Little Rock school board had decided on a plan of gradual integration to begin during the school year ending in 1958. By the fall of 1957, the NAACP had registered nine black students to attend Central High, despite segregationist protests.

Arkansas Gov. Orval Faubus, a southern conservative Democrat seeking a third term, met strong opposition from his own party on his proposed compliance with the Supreme Court ruling. Several sources propose this as a motivating factor in his decision to go against his own values and block the nine black students registered to enroll — the “Little Rock Nine” — by deploying the Arkansas National Guard on Sept. 4, 1957.

That’s right. The governor used the Arkansas National Guard to block the black students from attending school. The next day, Woodrow Man, the Little Rock mayor, asked Pres. Dwight Eisenhower to send federal troops to enforce integration and protect the nine students.

Eisenhower federalized the Arkansas National Guard, taking command of all 10,000 members, taking it out of the hands of Faubus. Then on Sept. 24 he ordered the 101st Airborne Division of the Army to Little Rock, which took positions and the nine students entered school the next day. True, there were racial tensions through that year and for a while after. True, some people were outraged at these changes, and we have plenty of racists alive and breathing today. But they are like living fossils from another era in history. And for them, as for us, time and history go on.

Think of it this way. At the time of the Little Rock crisis, the thought of integrating a high school was such a big deal that both the governor and the president deployed the armed forces, which looks a little like the warm-up to civil war. Today in the same place, students of all races are educated together, and it’s just another day at school.

Yours & truly,

Additional research by Amanda Painter.


Aries Birthday Audio by Eric Francis

Dear Aries Cosmic Child (or friend of one):

It’s a new season, your birthday has arrived and I’ve created something new: Aries birthday audio. As you may be reading, the next few months bring some of the most extraordinary astrology of our lifetimes, and it’s focused on your birth sign.

Presented as an in-person astrology reading, in clear language with high-quality sound, the report goes into detail on the blossoming of self-awareness that’s all over the Aries charts this year; the evolution in your relationships; and your high-energy emphasis on your career. I have suggestions for bringing your personal life and professional life into alignment and into a space of mutual support.

The astrology section is about 45 minutes, followed by an Aries tarot reading using the Voyager deck. Use this link to get instant access and listen today — as many times as you want. It’s priced to be affordable — just $14.95.

I know when I’ve done good work — and these readings feel great. (This came out yesterday and inspiring reviews are also coming in.) But just to give you peace of mind, this reading is 100% guaranteed to be up to the quality you deserve. That said, I offer it with full confidence in the information I’ve brought through for you. Once again, here is the product description and the link to purchase. (This link will work for purchasing gifts for your Aries friend, cousin or significant other as well.)

Happy birthday and thank you for doing your metaphysical shopping at Planet Waves.

Yours & truly,


The War on Enlightenment

By Judith Gayle | Political Waves

As the court of public opinion wrestled with the prospect of mandating or subsidizing health services for all Americans in recent weeks, those who objected put on quite a show. Rush Limbaugh threatened to leave the country if such a law was passed, prompting a liberal group to begin raising money to send him to Costa Rica. A Texas House representative told a group of Tea Baggers gathered on Capitol Hill that “demons — yes, demons — have invaded the Capitol (and likely the souls of Democrats), forcing lawmakers to mislead the public about the content of the health care bill.”

The crowd took his words as their marching orders. A rowdy group walked the halls of Congress, spit on Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, called civil rights hero Rep. John Lewis a ‘nigger’ and Rep. Barney Frank a ‘faggot.’ Not to be left out, Rep. Ciro Rodriguez was branded a “wetback.” Rep. James Clyburn, third-highest ranking House member and civil rights icon, said he hadn’t witnessed such treatment since he led civil rights protests in South Carolina in the 1960s. Karl Rove has dismissed these assaults as “unsophisticated.” Indeed!

Glenn Beck declared war on social justice, calling it a perversion of the Gospel and a “rallying cry on both the communist and the fascist front.” He urged his listeners to run screaming from the churches that preach it and “report” it to their Bishops. With social justice a basic tenet of Catholic and Protestant Christianity as well as Jewish and Muslim faiths, Beck’s attack on social justice proved to be his Rubicon.

Both liberal and conservative churches considered Beck’s stand a rejection of faith itself. His own church, The Latter Day Saints, issued a statement that social justice is essential to Mormonism. Beck countered by calling progressive Evangelical minister Jim Wallis a Marxist, and defended his stand against churches acting as “political arms” by asserting his belief in the separation of church and state. To appreciate the irony of that statement, visit Jon Stewart’s glorious send-up of Beck, showing that he uses logic as expertly as Sarah Palin uses language.

Continued at this link…


Weekly Horoscope for Friday, March 26, 2010, #809 – BY ERIC FRANCIS

In the film Waking Life, the lead character finds himself in a lucid dream, from which he keeps waking up, into another dream. Each awakening arrives with a transformation, and with a new level of awareness, but he still cannot seem to actually come to full consciousness. Along the way he encounters many interesting people and continuously seeks out new knowledge, but a mystery persists, which is the mystery of what it means to be awake. There are some psychological theories consistent with his experience, defining consciousness itself as a trance. In these days of your life, I would propose that the measure of how awake you are is indicated by what you create. True enough, not everyone is the ‘creative type’ and we’re generally motivated to consume energy rather than to offer ourselves to the world in a sincere and daring way: which underscores my point.

Aries Birthday Audio by Eric Francis is available. Check this link for more information.

Your mission seems to be assembling the scattered parts of yourself. That might look like guiding your life toward one goal, which will help, though that’s more of an external way to consider the issue. Viewed from an interior perspective, the question involves fear, in particular, the fear of not knowing who you are. I know this one is going around. I know people are developing strange coping mechanisms to deal with the uncertainty of self, though you might want to be on the lookout for two of the more common ones. The first is over-identifying with what you attach yourself to: that is, clinging. The second is by living in fantasy, or trying to. I suggest moving precisely the opposite direction: less emphasis on who or what you’re attached to, and more emphasis on seeing possibilities in yourself and experimenting with them for the sake of gaining actual experience.

You may be astounded at the lack of compassion that some people display, though I suggest you not reply in kind. It’s difficult enough to see and admit the truth of what human nature is capable of, though at the same time you need to figure out how to make your world warmer rather than colder. Warmer may include telling the truth as you perceive it, though be sure you direct your words carefully and don’t draw blood if you can avoid it. It will be adequate if you perceive certain individuals for who and what they are; that may even provide some incentive for them to evolve a bit. Remember, that you’re on a mission that involves being true to yourself and your own cause rather than correcting the ways of anyone else. Though it may seem to take forever, the best way to teach really is by example.

You’re doing everything you can to let go of past emotional patterns, though some of them seem determined to hold onto you. Or: are you just seeing and experiencing those patterns for what they are? This is a little like doing a cleanse. You start the process and all this stuff comes up on the way out. You get to experience the gunk at full-strength before you let it go. Meanwhile something else is happening, which is that you’re discovering how much turns on the thoughts you think, particularly about the goals that you have and that you act on. This level where concepts, ideas and objectives exist is where to focus your awareness during the next few days. You seem to be in the process of making a commitment to yourself about the direction of your life. This is the real thing: be honest with yourself and let the momentum of truth carry you forward.

Your long-term vision may have nothing to do with what you’re doing now; that is one potential. Or it may be a radical evolution of what you’re doing now, so totally transformed that you might never have expected that one would have emerged from the other. This is nothing other than how ideas evolve; they are living things, and they go through a series of meta-morphs into each new form. Or is it you who is changing? That is a more accurate description; your ideas, in particular, your ideas about your life, are like an effigy that you model yourself after. I suggest you experiment with some highly specific ideas about what you want to happen — the kind you think are too specific to apply to a future that has yet to manifest. Create a vision and describe it down to the subtle details, such as the weather and the pictures on the wall.

Peel back the layers of yourself, and reveal your truth to someone close to you. You seem to be doing this on the emotional level, experimenting with feeling all kinds of unusual or intense things in the presence of others. Now you can move to the mental level and put words to your feelings. At first you may feel extra vulnerable doing this, until you figure out that you can spring off of someone’s energy, or use it as a psychic magnet, to draw out parts of yourself that you never imagined existed. This is an actual transformative process, though in the form of play. Your ideal play partner may or may not be your significant other; there may be more than one. I suggest you experiment with someone same sex, and opposite sex. You are exploring both sides of your brain.

Your relationships have been full of surprises lately, but would you have them any other way? True, you have a stable side that loves when life is steady and predictable. Then there’s the rest of your psyche, which thrives on uncertainty. There are some things you’re hearing and experiencing which come across as pleasant and daring, and others which seem harsh and strange — at first. All you need to remember is that another person’s perception of you says more about them than it does about you. The interesting part is that you will learn something about your hidden nature. Some event a few days ago tipped you off that there was something to notice, and now the words to describe it are starting to formulate.

You need to find the one mistake you keep making. It’s the same one you forget that you keep making, so it may tend to slip away. When you rediscover what it is, I suggest you write it on the wall. Or better yet, immediately go through all your current plans, appointments, clients, lovers, dates and potential lovers and dates, and look for anyplace you see the least chance you might do it again. If you stop now and conduct a thorough investigation, you’ll actually be able to avoid the next iteration of this particular mistake, and potentially break the cycle entirely. The issue is one of awareness, but it’s also about making sure you know what your goals are and then making sure that every decision you make is in support of those goals. You’ve spent months reviewing your highest aspirations and making commitments to yourself; this is about honoring those promises.

Remember, don’t be a rebel for its own sake. Your values are more evolved than this, and you need to be cautious of the element of pride. Rebellion is a tool, and at times a weapon, that I suggest you use judiciously. Pride is dangerous when it’s not mixed with a good helping of awareness. If you find yourself getting caught up in the chaos of another person’s life, check in and see if you weren’t using one of these two factors to excess. It would help if you remember that there are some things about society that make no sense, and that you cannot do anything about, except ignore them and live your life your way. As you may soon discover, doing your thing because it’s what you want usually has far more influence on your environment than does trying to change the external world.

People do things for their own reasons. If you listen to them you may not get the idea that they’re good reasons, or that the person is being honest about their motives; but that’s a basic part of encountering the thought process of others. I suggest resisting the temptation to see anyone, including yourself, as a victim of circumstance, or a victim of the influences of another person. Nobody is under anyone’s thrall; credit yourself and others with the intelligence to make their own decisions. It’s true that those around you seem particularly mysterious right now. Hold the space for that mystery and invest your energy dipping into your own inner core; you’ll find plenty there to nourish your soul, and remind yourself that you do quite well independent of the desires and motives of others.

If you’re becoming aware of the darker angels in your nature, you don’t need to worry that this is who you actually are. Awareness is the key to being free of them, rather than enslaved by them. All darkness operates through luring us into unconsciousness, and light is the light of awareness. One of the seeming paradoxes of becoming aware is acknowledging all this stuff we don’t like, or don’t want to look at, or don’t believe is true. Note that much of it is the result of damage done to us in the past, rather than who we inherently are. Fortunately, patterns created by past events are no match for the underlying strength and truth of your being. If the thing that stands between you and the pain of this material is awareness, it’s not awareness of the passive kind, but more accurately a quality of maneuvering your mind with skill and precision, particularly when you find yourself in the dark.

You’ve been locked into a particular emotional pattern for a long time, and you’re starting to become aware of this fact. You will be even more aware of it when you suddenly discover yourself free of this pattern one day and you wonder how it is that it had such a grip on you. The reason is that you believed in it; or perhaps that you still do. I suggest you invest some energy looking into the power of belief, which is one of the elements that creates the shape and tenor of the reality we see. While it seems difficult to change our beliefs, it’s even more difficult for us to have an experience that violates our beliefs; in practice it’s easier to change the belief first and have the new experience second. In case you’re wondering whether you’re capable of this, or whether certain things are possible in the world, I assure you that you have all the evidence you need.

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