A boy from Honduras is shown being taken into custody by US Border Patrol agents near the US-Mexico Border near Mission, Texas, June 12, 2018. Photo by John Moore

Caring in Action: the Cancer Eclipse

By Amanda Painter

Dear Friend and Reader:

Eric wrote at the beginning of the week about today’s Sun-Chiron square, and the collective healing needed to our inner masculine/yang sides. Then I looked at the chart for the July 2 Cancer New Moon and solar eclipse, and started thinking about the daily assaults on our empathy and capacity to care that are being made by the daily news.

Demonstrators gather to protest against the separation of immigrant families at the border in Austin, Texas, on June 14,  2018. Photo by Amanda Voisard / Statesman.com via AP

Demonstrators gather to protest against the separation of immigrant families at the border in Austin, Texas, on June 14, 2018. A year later, things are no better. Photo by Amanda Voisard / Statesman.com via AP

And it all cascaded together in my perception of what amounts to the ongoing psychological and physical torture of immigrant children separated from their families and being held in detention at the U.S. border. I’ll get to the astrology in a moment.

I’ve been seeing a lot about this in my Facebook feed and my email inbox. The strongest recurring theme, however, is an overwhelming sense of paralysis: not knowing what we can do; wondering ‘why isn’t anyone organizing a mass protest?’; asking ‘who is organizing something I can join with?’; feeling completely at a loss regarding which actions will help and which might actually make things worse.

Do we call on lawmakers to give Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) more money to care for these children properly (or is it CBP — Customs and Border Protection)? Or do we insist on their funding being cut so the detention program must stop? Do we give to the nonprofit lawyers’ groups who have been working on these kids’ cases for months now, or do we organize a massive bus caravan? What would a caravan of protesters do there, anyway: stage a sit-in, or try to storm the facility and risk getting shot?

Last week, the Associated Press reported that at least 250 migrant infants, children and teenagers have been locked up for nearly a month without adequate food, water or sanitation at a Border Patrol station in Clint, Texas, near the city of El Paso.

As Democracy Now’s Amy Goodman reported on Monday, “One local lawyer said a sick 2-year-old boy was being treated by three girls between the ages of 10 and 15, because no one else was helping him. Attorney Holly Cooper said, quote, ‘In my 22 years of doing visits with children in detention I have never heard of this level of inhumanity.'”

I highly recommend reading the transcript at that link of Goodman’s interview with Warren Binford, a lawyer who interviewed children detained at the Clint, Texas, facility, and a law professor at Willamette University. We need to know what is happening — in our names, with our tax dollars.

The AP report came the same week the Trump administration argued in federal court that the government is not required to provide toothbrushes, soap or beds to children detained at the border, and as other reports found similarly squalid conditions at a number of immigration jails. Think about that: claiming no responsibility to provide soap or beds to children in your official care.

For a hot minute, it looked like the shock of the reports was achieving some action: later on Monday, around 300 children were removed from the Clint, Texas, facility. Yet by Wednesday, as I was writing this, the Department of Homeland Security stated it had moved 100 migrant children back to that same facility, claiming it is “no longer overcrowded.”

The overcrowding is only part of the problem. There’s also how closed off from inspection and scrutiny most of these detention centers are. There’s the fact that many children being detained may in fact have adult family members in the U.S., but they do not have their contact information. And as Human Rights Watch senior researcher Clara Long explained on Democracy Now!, many of these children are either pre-verbal toddlers or have no idea that phone calls to their family members might even be possible.

As Long and Nicole Austin-Hillery, Executive Director of the US program at Human Rights Watch, explained in an Op-Ed piece on CNN Tuesday, “Children should spend no more than a few hours in short-term border jails to be processed and US-law limits their detention under typical circumstances to 72 hours.”

McAllen, Texas Detention Center for Immigrant Children. Just think: this is one of the detention centers that has released photos, not the facility in Clint, TX. Photo by the Center for Border Protection.

McAllen, Texas, Detention Center for Immigrant Children. Just think: this is not even the facility in Clint, TX, being described by Human Rights Watch. Photo by the Center for Border Protection.

Instead, the Trump administration has slowed reunification, using the children as pawns to draw out their so-called illegal immigrant family members for arrest and deportation. Some children are being detained in overcrowded cells for weeks at a time — with no sense of when they might see their families, let alone regular baths, toothbrushes, changes of clothes or properly nutritious food. The sickest get quarantined, maybe. The less sick get cared for by children barely any older than they are.

Ten- and 14-year-old kids with no relation to these toddlers are showing a greater sense of responsibility, empathy, and basic human duty than the president of the U.S. I suspect most of us would do the same thing as these detained teens if we were in the same position: we would take care of those around us who need our care, without question or hesitation. But we’re not in the detention cells with them. We’re hundreds and thousands of miles away, reading and listening and clicking on the internet. Some people are at least taking the steps of finding out which nonprofits to donate money to, or calling their Senators and Representatives. Yet it does not feel like enough.

Long and Austin-Hillery write, “Congress should take action — not by approving more money for detention — but by requiring immigration agencies to cease separating children from family members unless that’s in the interest of the child, release and reunify children as soon as possible and cease using them as bait to arrest family members.”

In other words, I see this issue as calling forth the kind of caring-warrior we could associate with the Sun in Cancer — the sign of mothers and mothering, of home, of caring for others — square Chiron in Aries: the raiser of awareness and healer in the sign of the warrior Mars, the sign of ‘I am’. If we identify as people who care, how do we express that meaningfully?

As Eric once wrote of Chiron years ago, “We know Chiron is active in our charts when we strive to make difficulty meaningful, when we seek healing rather than escape, and when we strive for awareness when in the past we desired to go to sleep.”

It is so easy to hear about such injustice to children and feel the horror, but then retreat from the pain, guilt and sense of helplessness it evokes. There are so, so many ways to return to sleep in our current moment and culture.

And yet, here comes this New Moon in Cancer, which also happens to be a total solar eclipse. Serennu.com lists the New Moon as exact at 3:16 pm EDT / 19:16:06 UTC on July 2, with the eclipse peaking a little bit after that. The Sun and Moon conjoin at 11 degrees of Cancer. (The eclipse will be visible from small parts of Chile and Argentina just before sunset. Some regions in the Pacific and in South America, including locations in Ecuador, Brazil, Uruguay, and Paraguay will see a partial solar eclipse, if weather permits.)

It’s the minor planets aligned with this event that connected it for me to the idea of realigning with how to care actively for these children who have been separated from family and detained at the U.S. border. Just one degree from the New Moon and eclipse is Kronos — one of the hypothetical Uranian points. I’ve seen it described as a kind of “super-Saturn,” related to the highest authorities, laws, governmental leaders and “the father.”

A boy from Honduras is shown being taken into custody by US Border Patrol agents near the US-Mexico Border near Mission, Texas, June 12, 2018. Photo by John Moore

A boy from Honduras is shown being taken into custody by US Border Patrol agents near the US-Mexico Border near Mission, Texas, June 12, 2018. Photo by John Moore

Remember that in myth, Kronos devoured his children in an effort to subvert a prophecy that one of them would overthrow him. I don’t think we have to look far for a modern image of a high-office authority figure symbolically devouring children in a desperate grab for power.

Opposite the Sun, Moon and Kronos, in Capricorn, are the centaur Hylonome and the asteroid Persephone. Hylonome, named for a female centaur, is sometimes associated with ‘self-inflicted’ pain or death. It calls to my mind how Trump’s supporters hide behind the self-righteous, bigoted stance that asylum-seekers are bringing the horrors of border separation and detention on their own children by trying to get in the country ‘illegally’ in the first place.

Yet Hylonome can also represent ‘the cry of the poor’. And we are finally being given a way to hear the cries of these children, even if via third party reporting. The asteroid Persephone can describe attitudes toward leaving or being taken away from home, family and the familiar. Notice these objects are not only opposite Big Daddy Kronos and the eclipse, but they’re in Capricorn: the sign associated with government and big business. Or, in the case of the U.S. and so many other countries, the big business of government.

Square the Cancer eclipse and the Capricorn objects is the asteroid Ophelia in Aries, on one side. Ophelia suggests overreaction and counterproductive reactions. I’m pointing the finger at Trump and his supporters on this one, overreacting against ‘illegals’. Though I also see a suggestion here to watch for your own counterproductive reactions — such as going numb, or getting into social media screaming matches.

On the other side of the wheel, in Libra, are two more asteroids: Eros (joie de vivre, what turns you on, life force) and Iris (the messenger of the gods, and the message itself). I am heartened that they are in the sign of justice; that a passionate message stands in balance to the potential to overreact in unproductive ways.

More than that, I am looking for myself — and for everyone reading this — to be that message. To find the key to whatever it is that seems to have locked so many of us collectively into a surprising level of inaction and overwhelm. I hate to admit it, but I feel like I fit that description lately.

I know I’m supposed to talk about how the two weeks between eclipses (there will be a partial lunar eclipse in Capricorn July 16-17) is a powerful pattern-setting time to reorient on doing the things we love best; which is another way of describing what we’re on the planet to do: purpose is whatever makes us come alive. But ‘dharma’ can also be described as “acting as if to hold the world together.” I can think of a lot of ways this world, and the people in it, could be held. I’d like to do more of it.

P.S. Please check back later in the day — I plan to post some links in the comments for ways people can get involved and be heard on this issue.

8 thoughts on “Caring in Action: the Cancer Eclipse

  1. Carol Villanova

    For many months I heard a cry of a crisis at the border the news said over and over it was a manufacturer crisis. I spend half the year in Scottsdale Az. believe me the people are flowing over that border. I think Congress needs to get off its ass for once and work on the problem of immigration once and for all. Stop with the politics already.

  2. Kelly Grace Smith

    Thank you Amanda, wise as always. I just published an article on my LinkedIn account this morning about this; I have been writing a series of articles about what “spirituality” really means and how it impacts everything from our economy…to our humanity.

    As a life coach for 20+ years, specifically in the area of transpersonal coaching and spirituality, what I know from both personal experience – and working with dozens of men and women over the years – is that without our humanity…we possess nothing.

    Anyone who knows me will freely attest, I don’t shy away from the truth, I don’t turn away from reality…to an annoying degree sometimes. And the fact that it is now common place for kindergarteners to be practiced at emergency procedures in the case of a shooting in their own school…is shocking. What is happening at our southern border – not only to children, but to adults – is inhumane and a national disgrace.

    There is no amount of money, scientific or technological advancement, or even spiritual enlightenment that will have any meaning or value to us as individuals, to our families, our society, or to the way of life we have taken for granted…without our humanity; without our humanity in action.

    The things we are spending the greatest share of our time, energy and attention on – media, marketing, money, advertising, and technology – will be essentially worthless if we lose our connection to our humanity…if we stop taking actions to protect our humanity. If we stop caring for – not caring “about” – our fellow human beings.

    As my dear friend, a woman who works diligently at a local Samaritan center said to me yesterday, when the photo of the drowned immigrant father and his daughter was ricocheting around the world, “There should be a million of us down there right now helping.”

    At the very least, there should be so many of us calling, texting, tweeting, and emailing our Congressional, Senate, and state-wide representatives…that the communication lines are blowing up and the websites are crashing like dominoes.

    At the very least.

    We, who have so much, possess the power to do so much for those who have so little and face such enormous life and survival challenges…this is the truth and reality that most folks have the hardest time acknowledging, and then transmuting into the tangible energy to act.

  3. Amanda Painter Post author

    Ok, resource/action item post #1:

    “There’s a lot of information here and indecision is stressful. Please don’t look at this long list and go, “Nope! Too much! Can’t do it.” Once you pick one specific action and commit to it, that feeling of overwhelm will lessen significantly.

    “Start with the first item on this list and ask yourself honestly if you can do it. If the answer is no, proceed to the next one. Don’t spend energy on feeling guilty you can’t do more. Keep reading and asking yourself until the answer is yes, and then do that thing. Your contribution is valuable. It is literally impossible for you to fix this on your own, which means each of us, as individual people, have to offer our piece collectively in order for change to happen. Don’t let fear stop you from contributing. “


  4. Amanda Painter Post author

    And this was organized by my friend March Michaud Franck. If you’ve been reading PW for a few years, you may recall her series of blog posts that she wrote while volunteering with Syrian refugees on a Greek island 2 or 3 years ago.


    We need coordinated action NOW and here is something we can all do today. For those who aren’t aware of what is going on, PLEASE take a moment to educate yourself. Children are dying at the hands of the US government. Complacency and ignorance are not options. #pleasesharewidely


    Eight advocacy groups have released this policy platform in advance of the presidential debates. Let’s email them all about taking it to the next level and hosting a joint conference for all candidates at a kids’ detention center. You may have seen the post with this original idea that went viral. The author is a genius. I just turned it into an email you can paste to the press contacts of all eight orgs, who are clearly motivated, connected, and have the resources and incentive to do it. Let’s seize this momentum and make sure they know this great idea.


    United we dream: https://unitedwedream.org/about/contact/press-inquiry/



    Center for popular democracy: cpd@populardemocracy.org

    Sunrise movement: press@sunrisemovement.org

    Working families: https://workingfamilies.org/press-inquiries/; (718) 222-3796

    Bend the Arc Jewish Action:
    https://www.bendthearc.us/contact_us AND elliot.levy@berlinrosen.com; (786) 200-4244

    Women’s March: https://womensmarch.com/contact


    Thank you for proposing your “Free to move, Free to stay” platform.

    Here is an idea to take it to the next level:


    A plea to host a joint press conference with all 24 candidates in front of the Clint, TX detention center where children are being held and abused.
    We call on all candidates to deliver powerful messages to the press, calling for an end to the USA’s concentration camps.


    We need you to use your platform to stand as a united front against family separations and incarcerations
    No more lip service and declarations of outrage—we need you to show up and advocate for what is right.
    This is true leadership in action.


    Working jointly with your communications teams, event coordinators, and presidential candidates’ staff, you can divide and conquer. It’s a big ask but surely you know it’s worth the effort.
    Logistics for this event could be challenging but not impossible. If there is a will to save these children and put an end to American concentration camps, there is a way. Please heed this call.


    If you’re an advocate, you get to be part of a publicity event that could put an end to the atrocities at the border.
    If you’re an organization, you get publicity for being a joint host
    If you’re a presidential candidate you get to make a difference even before being elected! Working together for the greater good is presumably why you are running. Please use your leadership and platform for this greater good.
    For everyone, the optics are unbeatable and will make history.

    Thank you for considering.

    ALSO – Call ALL your Senators and Reps in every day in every state so they know the masses are mobilized and demand action. You can find their numbers here:

    US Senate directory: https://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm

    US House of Representatives directory: https://www.house.gov/representatives

    1. Amanda Painter Post author

      In case you’re curious, this is the original post that spurred Marcy’s email blitz idea above:

      Debbie Seagraves
      June 24 at 8:52 AM

      Here is what I want:
      I want all 24 Democratic candidates for President to convene a joint press conference outside the worst of the facilities where toddlers are being held in their own filth with no blankets, no beds, no soap, no showers. I want all the candidates, with no exceptions, to demand the doors be opened. I want them to demand a tour.

      I would like the candidates to show up with people from the Red Cross, Doctors Without Borders and UNICEF. I want the candidates to personally render aid to the children — on camera. At the very least, I want it on camera when officials refuse entry to a federal facility by senators, congress people, governors and the national press. I want to see the guards showing their guns to block them.

      I want this planned carefully. I want it publicized before, during and after. I want Fox News shamed into being there, then I want Fox News shamed into showing it. I want the candidates to agree to stand together, unified, and be prepared to stay for hours. I want them to only grant interviews in teams and I want them to keep on topic. I want no self promoting words from anyone. I want them to allow their actions to speak.

      I want the DNC to set up everything necessary for a rally — refreshments, stands, shelter — and make sure this event is open to the public and well publicized beforehand. I want to see everyone unified in naming this part of the USA’s new Concentration Camp system. No equivocating. I don’t want any more lip service to outrage — I want us to SEE the outrage in such a way that anyone who is turning a blind eye to the outrage can no longer deny its existence.

      The logistics for this would be hard, but you cannot convince me it cannot be done, if there really is a will to save these children, there is a way.

      Would that be blatantly using children for political props? Maybe, but it would definitely be an attempt to rescue children who are already being used as political props.

      I want someone to do something for those babies. Now.

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