Dear Friend and Reader:
Beginning in late June, Mars will be retrograde, mostly in Aquarius. Mars retrograde is a ritual we go through for about two months every two years, and it’s always significant; always an adventure. This is particularly true in our era when the role of men and maleness is being questioned, subjected to scrutiny and, in many ways, taking a clobbering.
Everyone has Mars in their chart, so it represents the masculine principle more specifically than it does men. Therefore, the issue is maleness, which is often unfairly attributed exclusively to male-bodied people. However, it would seem, looking at the world, that maleness, or a mode of existence known in Japanese as sanuki, is taking over reality.
These days, nearly everyone is a manager, a boss, a technician, a CEO, a COO, an organizer or some sort of agenda-driver. This is a kind of epidemic. We are now all expected to “make our lives happen,” to change the world, and even to be the master of the universe: after all, we “create our own reality.” Note: this is a lot of pressure to be under, and to put one another under.
The corollary property is awa, which is a reservoir of feeling, receptivity, sensory experience and physicality. If sanuki is what asserts itself against existence and attempts to manage it, awa is what imbibes, receives, senses and gestates existence. Right now, there’s very little awa to go around, in women or in men. Women are supposed to have more than men organically; awa means womb, and men don’t have one of those. Yet sanuki is running wild in both sexes and all genders.
Most of us have been pushed out of our bodies and our senses by over-immersion in the internet. The whole notion of feeling is becoming obsolete. Who needs it, when we have ever more realistic versions of virtual reality?
What we are currently experiencing on Earth is mostly a product of electrical technology, and of urbanization, and thus of being cut off from natural cycles. It’s impressive how little discussion there is of these issues. Have you noticed how many people around you are having trouble sleeping? How are you sleeping? The probable reason for this is that microwave networks are now ubiquitous, and soak the world in invisible light that is equivalent of sleeping with the lights on. We live in a world of perpetual daytime.
Hormone Chaos in Action
As regards maleness and femaleness, there is another factor: hormonal toxins. These include many pesticides, herbicides, PCBs, chemical byproducts such as dioxin and even aspartame sweetener — all of which are ubiquitous, meaning everywhere. Whether you test breast milk or blood, you find scores of toxic compounds in most people, and some in everyone. These chemicals are all endocrine disruptors, meaning that they scramble the body’s natural hormone messages, which regulate many functions we think of as mental and psychological. Most often, these chemicals mimic estrogen, which influences both men and women.
Now we are surrounded by plastic. This had me nervous from the time I saw my first two-liter plastic soda bottle around age 10. Plasticizers such as BPA and phthalates are in nearly every bite of food. They have similar hormone disruption properties as dioxin. We piss them out faster, and also take them in with every sip of bottled water, and everything else in plastic: every wrapper, can liner and so on.
There are two ways to describe these chemicals: one is to say that they are feminizing. In men, for example, soaking in xenoestrogenic compounds (xeno meaning external, estrogenic meaning like estrogen) are a likely cause of rapidly declining sperm counts, semen volume and even penis size (if a fetus is exposed). They’re also a likely (or proven) cause of endometriosis and many cancers, including those of primary and secondary sexual organs.
Another way to describe these chemicals is as agents of hormone mayhem, though that has implications on the psychic level (mental/emotional), as well as social. Gender-bending is fantastic if that’s what you’re into. However, our continuous overdosing on hormone disruptors is a constant source of destabilization — in particular, of all the things that combine into this thing we call sex and gender, and thus our social patterns and our feelings.
So, what we think of as “the environment” is working on two major levels: chemical and energetic; and these are making it difficult to reside in-body and in our feelings. These chemicals are making it just as difficult to have any organic sense of who we are, in terms of natural sex and gender. This, in turn, spills over many different aspects of existence, since in the end, everything comes back to sex, what created us in the first place.
So, as you consider the astrological ideas I’m about to present, please also consider the background environment of confusion and chaos that our hearts, souls and attempts to exist peacefully are currently set within.
Mars: Assertion, Aggression and Discovering Who You Are
In astrology, Mars is associated with asserting oneself. It’s the planet that rules Aries, the first sign of the zodiac, and the sign linked to the statement, “I am.” Everything about Mars comes back to this one idea.
Mars is also associated with desire and aggression, and is, of course, named for the Roman god of war. So Mars is associated with (or, in astrological terms, ‘rules’) the spectrum of experiences from desire, to sexual desire, to wanting a new car, to pushing yourself into others, to aggressively making demands; and its range extends to all-out war, murder and mayhem. These things exist along one spectrum. And since we all have Mars, we all exist somewhere — or various places, at various times — along this spectrum.
Marshall McLuhan, in his 1968 book War and Peace in the Global Village, proposed a reason why violence is so pervasive in our society: it’s an attempt to find out who we are. The less we know who we are, the more violence there is, and that’s where we are today. On the most basic level, ‘violence’ means asserting yourself against your environment, no matter how meekly; typically you will encounter resistance.
The daily scrapes in life, the normal abrasions and collisions and bumps and grinds that we have with others, are among the most important ways we find out who we are — and for most, the only way. It may be painful at times, but it’s how we discover our nature and our boundaries. People who spend their lives avoiding conflict tend to live in a dark world where their true essence remains a mystery to themselves, and such people often lack any sense of their boundaries.
McLuhan’s theory strings together all the attributes of Mars, which begins with “I am” and runs the spectrum from desire to assertion to aggression to violence to warfare, and returns back to “I am.”
I have a corollary to McLuhan’s theory: were we able to express sexuality in a more wholesome and full-spectrum way, we might have another means of self-discovery. So while we live in this environment of violence and aggression everywhere we turn, and the world on the constant brink of war, we might consider if this is not made much worse by the suppression of natural sexuality.
Herein lies the problem: in our society, Mars and all it represents are projected onto men. Men are assumed to be the only beings that possess desire or aggression; somehow Mars was allegedly not around for the births of four billion women the past century. So if Mars is involved, men are blamed.
Aquarius: The Patterns of Society
Thanks to the musical Hair, we think of Aquarius as being about peace, love and understanding. No offense to Aquarians, though this is wholly a work of fiction, not based on a true story. Aquarius is the sign of social patterns, and of energy patterns in general.
The social pattern thing we are accustomed to understanding by way of the idea that Aquarius is the sign of groups. The thing about groups is that they have rules, and they have configurations, and to some extent, a person must sacrifice their individuality to be part of one. That is the law of the tribe. Tribes don’t brook much in the way of individuality. In fact, it can be downright horrid, as we all know, and throw people to the wolves for even meekly asserting who they are.
Aquarius also is involved in the patterns of nature, which include electrical patterns: that would be, for example, the electrical grid, the internet, and the 3G and 4G networks that we live within.
In our time of history, very nearly every relationship, every transaction, every creative act, every quantum of communication, is conveyed electronically, to some extent. So we have to fit our biological, emotional and creative beings within the prevailing electronic patterns — and the result is a form of tyranny.
One effect of the group on the individual is to “tribalize” him or her, now more than ever before. Another is to rip our insides out, exposing the most intimate contents of our lives, to be seen and consumed by the rest of the tribe. There is no privacy in the electronic world.
The electrical realm also polarizes everything. The internet is an ocean of zeros and ones: of binary code. If “the medium is the message,” the message of the medium of the internet is to cast everything as black or white, us or them, right or wrong. Everything exists in polarized opposition to something else, and no gray areas are possible, since in binary terms, gray is an illusion (so too is color).
That is the world we currently live in, unless of course you count the actual human dimension of compromise and understanding, which only exists off of the internet, and not so many places at that.
When Mars Stands Out
When we say Mars is retrograde, that’s another way of saying it’s close to the Earth. Retrograde motion is an illusion of backwards motion created by the Earth, which moves faster than Mars, overtaking Mars as it passes by. The Earth is going faster, so Mars seems to be going backwards.
One effect of this is that around the time of a retrograde (for about six months, actually), Mars spends a lot of time in a narrow band of the zodiac, in this case, very late Capricorn and early Aquarius. Each in its own way represents the structure of society, whether physical or bureaucratic in the case of Capricorn, or energetic and social in the case of Aquarius.
Retrograde in Aquarius, Mars will be going against the grain of society’s prevailing norms and accepted rules. It will be an interesting time for the sex, gender and consent conversation we are having. Yet there are questions that are likely to be overlooked, beginning with: whose property is Mars? To whom does it belong? In the healthiest psychological sense, Mars is about volition. Volition is the faculty or power of using one’s will. Anyone who disowns Mars disowns their own will; what is sometimes called agency: the ability to make decisions for yourself. If Mars is about men, then men are the only people who have volition and agency.
Mars is also about desire. Who owns desire? If Mars is projected onto men, which it is nearly all of the time, then that is a decision by society that men alone possess and are responsible for desire. Does that sound like a good idea? Note that conflict over desire usually manifests as guilt. Who owns that stuff? Can we ascribe guilt to a narrow section of the marketplace, or is it a ubiquitous emotion?
Finally, there’s one last Mars bit that I have not mentioned yet: rage. We have an anger problem in society right now. If you look right at it, or even catch a glimpse, it can be deeply unsettling. Most individuals mask their anger in sadness, depression or complacency. Below the surface, it has a tendency to become even more toxic, and mixed in with most anger is the contents of a well tapping into something emerging from a deep and old place.
That energy has to go somewhere. The question is, where? Where is it appropriate to acknowledge, to process or to release? How do we process that in a constructive and creative way? Do you ever get the feeling that you just don’t know?
So do I.
Yours & truly,
Chiron in Aries: The Challenge of Individuating
Dear Friend and Reader:
Chiron is now in Aries, for the first time since 1977. This is about the quest for individuality in the most deeply personal way: the cultivation and growth of your soul. There are challenges associated with doing this, which I plan to address eloquently and in a way that you will find reassuring and helpful.
Eric Francis at his video desk, in Kingston, NY.
Chiron in Aries is good news for those who love learning about themselves, growing and living in a way that is fully committed to who you are. Following up on The Art of Becoming 2018 annual edition, I’m honored to offer you The Sacred Space of Self spring reading.
The Sacred Space of Self will come in the form of 12 video presentations, each approximately half an hour in length. These readings will apply to Sun sign, Moon sign and rising sign. They are offered as a package, and will interlink with and support one another.
One topic I will focus on is the special challenge of growing and evolving when you’re involved in an intimate relationship — and your partner is not growing as fast as you are, or does not want to.
The Sacred Space of Self will cover Chiron’s transition into Aries over the next nine months. I will also look back at Chiron in Pisces, which began in 2010. I will give a detailed reading of Mars retrograde in Aquarius (June 26-Aug. 27). And I will introduce Uranus entering Taurus. (NOTE: In the Midyear Reading over the summer, I’ll further develop Uranus in Taurus, and give a detailed reading of Venus retrograde in Scorpio.)
Delivery is projected for the month of May. Given the complexity of the project, there’s no way to give a better estimate, but May (as early as possible) seems doable.
Pricing Policy: Please Read Carefully
First, this is one purchase per household. You may share with your significant other and relatives. This reading will contain useful information for both adults and children.
Planet Waves products are introduced at the lowest price, and then we increase gradually. We are introducing all 12 signs of The Sacred Space of Self for $66, which is $5.50 per sign. Soon after, we will increase to $77, then $88, and then, right before publication, $99. Once we publish, the final price will be $111. If you want the best bargain (nearly half price), please purchase early!
Please order early if you would like the current best price. You will then get a delivery confirmation email, which would be good to print and keep in a safe place.
Thank you for your business, and for trusting me as your astrologer.
About My Readings
My readings are warm, personal, and presented in plain talk, not astrological jargon. When I make an astrological point, I will show you using a clear illustration. In these readings, I draw upon my experience as an astrological counselor, a workshop presenter, plus extensive therapy training, and tantric work.
More than anything, I strive to be motivational.
Over the past 24 years of doing this work, I have developed the “solar chart” method of reading more effectively than it’s ever been used before. The solar chart allows me to give readings close in detail to a personal reading, but without needing your birth data.
This allows me to bring you real astrology at a small fraction of the cost of a personal reading — and often deliver observations and insights that might not make it into a one-on-one session.
Notably, this is the time of year when I can do a few individual readings, which you can learn more about here.
Tilling the Ground
By Amanda Painter
We’re in a week marked by movement and an impulse toward something new: on Tuesday, we had the Taurus New Moon, and Uranus entered Taurus; yesterday Mars entered Aquarius, and formed a square to Uranus. Between the adjustment phase that comes with planets in new signs and the fact that we’re going to get an echo of this energy later in the year, these recent movements are worth a closer look.
Lost-pussywillows; photo by Amanda Painter.
First, think for a moment about the idea of tilling the ground when gardening. “Tilling” does not refer to harvesting the fruits of your labors; it’s not tending the plants during the growing season; and it’s not the actual seed planting that seems to start things off, either.
Tilling is what comes before all of that. It’s the preparation of the ground: preparation in the form of disrupting what had become settled, compacted, and dormant. Whether you use a horse-drawn plow, a small rototiller, an industrial-size agricultural tiller, or just a shovel and rake, this step is crucial for the planting and growth to come. Space must be made in the soil for best results in the months to come — the stabilizing roots can then reach further and draw more nutrients, allowing the rest of the plant to flourish.
Seasons of change work the same for human beings, though the process is often less ritualized and can happen any time of year. We fall into habits and routines; we get comfortable and stale; we allow limits to restrict us and lose sight that we can challenge them and push back. As a result, we often need to go through a conscious phase of disruption to make the space in which our next phase of growth can emerge and develop. You can think of it less as chaos and more like introducing a little room to reach your roots further, allowing you to branch out into the unknown.
We happen to have entered one of these phases while the Sun is in Taurus, so the timing feels particularly apt. But this phase will last much longer than the Sun’s time in this sign, and much longer than just one season.
This is because of a couple of specific planetary retrogrades. The first is Uranus, newly in Taurus, which will move back into Aries and then forward again into Taurus over the next year. Then it will stay in that sign for several years.
Personally and culturally, you can expect to witness and come up with new ideas about things like money and resources, reforms to business and the economy, and perhaps a reevaluation of values. You might find it either challenging or exhilarating to find the sweet spot between your attachment to material facets of life staying as you’ve known them, and impatience to change those conditions quickly (sometimes perhaps too quickly).
This Week on Planet Waves FM
Mars, Uranus and David Byrne
Dear Friend and Reader:
In this week’s Planet Waves FM [play episode here], I look at the chart for the Taurus New Moon, which took place at 7:48 am EDT (11:48 UTC) Tuesday, May 15. In that chart, Mars is about to enter Aquarius, where it will be retrograde most of the summer; and Uranus was getting ready to enter Taurus, something it has not done for about 84 years.
In the second half of the program, I take the discussion of selfsexuality deeper, considering the ways we can use tantric process as a means of self-reconciliation and inner healing.
Our musical guest is David Byrne, whose birthday was yesterday. There’s one more Taurus show — I think we’ll devote that to Bono, another of the amazing Taurus recording artists of our day.
Planet Waves FM is sponsored by your memberships to Chiron Return, the nonprofit corporation that supports the program. If you love and depend on Planet Waves FM, please take a moment and make a recurring or one-time contribution to Chiron Return. All donations are tax-deductible if you file US taxes.
Thank you for tuning in. If you want to correspond about Planet Waves FM or anything I talk about there, please drop me a note.
Planet Waves Membership: Heart-Centered Path to Growth
Following astrology helps give you the confidence that you need to make your way in the world with autonomy and self-respect. Planet Waves gives you personal, positive and beautiful astrology that is designed to help you to a deeper understanding of yourself and your purpose. Eric brings to everything he does the full weight of over 20 years’ experience in astrology writing and consultation; along with pervasive humanity and friendliness that’s like warmth and shelter in a cold world.
We offer a number of affordable options for membership — you may find out more here, including how to sign up. If you’re already a member, please consider giving a membership as a gift. If you need additional options, please feel free to email us.
Listen to Vision Quest on Live Stream
Planet Waves has an in-house music ensemble, called Vision Quest. We have a 38-hour loop of our music, which you can listen to any time. Included are finished pieces, rehearsals, live concerts, drum grooves, and spoken word recordings. I consider it a kind of musical divination. Click in randomly at different times of day and see what you discover.
Four Winds Almanac Now Includes Daily Horoscope
Planet Waves publishes a nifty daily astrology newsletter called the Four Winds Report. Designed as a fast read arriving early in the morning, we’re now trying an experiment — we’re including the daily horoscope for everyone.
Were it not for horoscopes, I wouldn’t be an astrologer. It was the Patric Walker daily that convinced me there was actually something to astrology, and I got my basic education studying his column each day in the New York Post.
I pack a lot of energy into each sign’s 50-word write-up. Part of the value of astrology is the timing, and daily allows for precision, as well as chronicling a narrative day by day.
Your almanac also includes information about Mayan astrology (long count and short count dates), several formats of the current date (including Hebrew and Islamic), a daily birthday reading, and special discounts on products and services.
Best of all, we take no outside advertising.
Monthly Horoscopes and Publishing Schedule Notes
We published your extended monthly horoscopes for May on Thursday, April 26. Your extended monthly horoscopes for April were published Thursday, March 29. Please note: we normally publish the extended monthly horoscope on the first Thursday after the Sun has entered a new sign.
Aries (March 20-April 19) — Even the most outgoing of people needs somewhere in the world where they feel at ease, and can fully relax. Keep that in mind this week. You might be feeling exhilarated by all the shifting ground, which is in many ways advantageous. Eventually, however, you’ll want something more stable to emerge, on which you can build trust and reliance, and from which you can venture into unfamiliar worlds, knowing your base remains exactly as you left it. Spend some time inhabiting it in forthcoming days.
Taurus Birthdays 2018:
Your Reading Is Published and Available for Instant Access!
Dear Friend and Reader:
Eric recorded the 2018 Taurus Birthday Reading last weekend. Infused with the earthy, juicy richness of Beltane, your two segments of audio astrology are sure to get your solar year to an ideal start — whether you have your Sun, Moon or rising sign in Taurus.
If someone close to you was born under the sign of the bull, why not treat them to this reading as a gift?
Uranus brought its high-voltage energy to Taurus this week. Taureans like to move at their own pace; the presence of Uranus offers a reminder that when you’re the one to set that pace and instigate change on your own terms, you’re a much happier person.
Eric covers all the important points about this transit, and offers a wealth of insights, strategies and unique perspective to help you go with the flow and keep from getting stuck. You get at least an hour total of astrology (in two segments), plus access to last year’s reading and an extended description of your sign.
Happy birthday, and here’s to the unexpected gifts of Uranus!
Yours & truly,
Taurus (April 19-May 20) — No doubt you know the superstition that if you make a wish over birthday candles or unidentified comet-like objects, or whatever, you should not then communicate said wish to anyone. This possibly has its roots in a magical theory that suggests to verbalize something is to diffuse its power. Whatever the merits of that concept, you might actually be wise to do the opposite this week. Your ruler Venus’ change of sign is lending a certain charm to your words. Simply asking may well carry you far.
Gemini (May 20-June 21) — You’ve made some pretty good decisions recently in terms of taking charge of your life. This week you should begin to feel the benefit in terms of improved resources or self-esteem. That blessing will only be increased if you actively cultivate your sense of trust and value in yourself, your instincts and your motivations. You simply have no reason for insecurity or doubt, and especially not for guilt. The minute you start to feel any of these creeping in, treat them like guests that have outstayed their welcome.
Cancer (June 21-July 22) — Given that several planets have lately changed signs, you might understandably be wondering what on earth is going to happen next. Fortunately, Venus entering your sign Saturday indicates a moment in which you can draw a line under a certain tense episode. It might seem like everyone has been trying to claim a part of you, or to affix a label to you. It’s a good thing you’re not so easy to categorize. Love, nurture and nourish yourself in all your beautiful variegated colors, and never mind what others say.
Leo (July 22-Aug. 23) — Don’t let any uncertainty you feel regarding the state of the outside world stop you from being who you are. That especially includes your natural tendency to warmth and generosity — qualities which are needed in abundance. Keep right on leading by example. If you’re concerned that someone might be imposing on you, check in with your intuition before deciding how to act. It’s possible there’s more to the story than you realize. Be prepared to give the benefit of the doubt where you can.
Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22) — There is, as you’re no doubt aware, a sense of safety in keeping to the shadows. Potentially you feel that you operate best in the background, or blending in like a chameleon. Yet there comes a point when this no longer works, and it’s necessary to stand out, or stand up, and become fully visible. This week would appear to be that moment for you. The astrology looks to be urging you to count yourself in, and to accept that you have a place in the scheme of things that’s uniquely yours. Time to be seen.
Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23) — Your ruling planet Venus is about to enter your realm of career and ambition. If you’ve recently felt uncertain of your prospects, or not quite prominent in your workplace, now the spotlight appears to shine directly on you. Remember that what was true in the past does not automatically follow in the present and future, especially when you’re not dealing with the same people. Don’t let any doubts from former times get the better of you. You can overcome them pretty easily, and you definitely should.
Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22) — In recent days, someone in your life may have questioned or challenged specific beliefs you hold. I appreciate this can feel quite discomfiting, the more so if you felt your position to be rock-solid. However, it would seem to be part of a personal growth process that could reach a turning point in the week ahead. If you follow it through, you’re likely to wind up with a significantly broadened perspective, which can only serve you. Therefore, take courage, and seek the gift of understanding.
Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22) — If you find yourself negotiating this week for something you want, or in a position to request it, remember the difference between assertion and aggression. The latter often springs from desperation or fear. Your charts suggest that you don’t need to feel either, because you have something valuable to offer; probably in the form of a skill of some kind, or unique ideas that you alone seem to produce. Have faith in yourself, and allow this to feed into a confident and friendly demeanor.
Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20) — Your relationships are about to receive a boost of some kind — whether that involves meeting new people, extending intimacy with someone you care about, or similar. Remember that, more often than not, the first step to receiving what you desire is to ask for it. For you, that might also mean coming to terms with the fact that you can do so. Deal methodically with any guilt: it certainly does not serve you, and is pretty unlikely to be grounded in any kind of realism. Be with people who support you in loving yourself.
Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) —
The entrance of Mars into your sign commences what’s likely to be an extended period of discovering yourself through knowing what you want. This will probably play out in a variety of different ways. This week there is a spotlight on your routines and habits. What would you change up, if you could? This might be as simple as rearranging the layout of your home, or where you spend the most time. Regardless, the important thing to note is to set no limits on your imagination.
Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) — If lately you’ve felt any self-doubt or anxiety about your place in the world, Venus changing signs this Saturday should help you put these notions firmly in their place. All you need to do is maintain a firm faith in the truth of who you are, and let the light of the heavens flow through you and into your creative works without interruption. You have too much to contribute for your gifts to go unseen. Trust your inner compass: it has guided you right until now, and will surely continue to do so.
Don’t forget to take advantage of this special gift: Eric’s Daily Horoscope can arrive in your mailbox by 7 am ET, containing great astrological guidance for all 12 signs. You can sign up with our compliments, though we welcome donations.