Dear Friend and Reader:
Planets are concentrating in the water signs. At the moment we have Mercury (still retrograde till July 20) and Jupiter (plus the Sun) in Cancer, Saturn in Scorpio, and Chiron plus Neptune in Pisces. There’s an odd point called the Black Moon Lilith in Cancer, along with the North Node of the Moon in Scorpio.
Water wall at Gurney’s Inn, Montauk. Photo by Eric Francis.
And that’s not all — later in the year, the next solar eclipse is going to be in Scorpio, as will the next Mercury retrograde.
This is a very watery extended moment; it’s truly unusual to have this much in the water signs, and nothing like it has happened for many years. I cannot think of a time since becoming an astrologer when so many slow-moving planets have been in the water signs at the same time.
Starting Saturday, we can add Mars in Cancer to the collection. This adds some substantial heat, energy and emotion (energy in motion) to the grand water trine; it’s a factor likely to make the aspect pattern a much more noticeable presence.
Mars will emphasize the other water planets; they will provide a resonance field for Mars to have its effects. In the sign Cancer, we embark immediately on questions of whether we feel safe or secure. True, those have been present to some extent with Mercury and Jupiter in Cancer, but Mars really pushes the question.
We do a lot of what we do supposedly to make ourselves feel safer. Yet no matter how many locks you have on your door, passwords on your computer, Net Nannies guarding your children from the dangers of the Internet, air bags, organic food, extra insurance and floating airline seats, do we really feel any safer?
Photo by Eric Francis.
Mars is going to stir the pot on the question of whether you feel safe. This is a complicated question in our time of history, with the planet rigged with nuclear bombs, pesticides sprayed on our foods and continual reminders that the economy is a house of cards held up mainly by credit. The question of safety is really an interior one; it’s a matter between you and yourself.
The theme of relationships comes into the picture. In December, Mars enters Libra, and through much of 2014, Mars will be retrograde in that sign — focusing many questions on how we relate to others and whether we feel safe with them. Between now and August, Mars will be making a square to the degrees in Libra where the retrograde will happen — so we will get a preview.
Mars will make a series of aspects this summer, starting Saturday, that are similar to what we will experience when Mars is in Libra. The main difference is that now, we get to take the questions in the most personal way; with Mars in Libra they will manifest in interpersonal or relational ways.
This will be a time to do the inner work to sort out your deeper questions about what makes you feel safe and what threatens you. It’s an excellent time to notice all the ways you do things to feel safer that really get you nowhere — and the approaches to feeling secure that you don’t usually opt for.
This includes whom you choose to relate to, whom you choose to live with, and why.
Simply stated, you will notice things under this transit; small details will emerge in larger form; subtle fears will rise up and show you what they are. In my reading of the charts, these include the fear of being sincere, and not knowing what to do when others are sincere.
But if you stop and think about it, it’s not such a difficult question.
Silent Summer: More Mass Bee Deaths Due to Pesticides
Within weeks of the discovery of up to 50,000 dead bees in an Oregon parking lot, a Nova Scotia newspaper has run a story about one beekeeper’s ongoing losses to his hives in Elmwood, Ontario, Canada. Dave Schuit, who lost up to 37 million bees in 2012 alone, is among those pointing a finger at neonicotinoids — a class of chemical insecticides used on corn.
David Schuit shows some of the many dead bees in one of his bee yards. Photo: Torstar news service.
In the Oregon bee die-off, dozens of dead ladybugs, bumblebees and honeybees were found below linden trees that had been mistakenly sprayed with the pesticide Safari. Safari, made by Valent Professional Products, contains one of the types of neonicotinoids recently banned by the European Union.
The Ontario bee deaths appear to be a consequence of the planting of corn. Neonicotinoid pesticides are used to coat corn seed, and then they are planted with ‘air seeders’, which allows the dust to travel through the air.
Since 2004, the pesticide has been used on nearly all corn crops, according to the Grain Farmers of Ontario.
“Although there may be a pesticide more toxic to honeybees, I am not aware of one,” said Greg Hunt, a Purdue University entomologist who has studied how honey bees are exposed to the chemicals in Indiana. He explained to the Truro Daily News that exposure to four billionths of a gram will have a 50 percent chance of killing a bee, according to a 2011 study. Terrible odds if you’re a bee — or depend on the crops they pollinate.
This is an old story. If you want to know how old, read our coverage of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring that we published last year.
The Fox Guarding the Beehive?
Colony collapse disorder is a complex problem that has been decimating honeybee populations for years now, threatening our ability to grow food and the very balance of this planet’s ecosystem. One contributor to the bees’ decline is a parasite that feeds on the blood of bee larvae, called the Varroa mite.
And who is dubiously coming to the rescue? Monsanto.
Scientists are looking into the possibility of using RNA molecules as a way of targeting the mites — the ones that could be causing the colony deaths — at the genetic level.
“It is a natural process in plants and animals that normally defends against viruses and potentially dangerous bits of DNA that move within genomes,” according to an article in the MIT Technology Review. Theoretically, RNA molecules could also be developed in a lab and inserted into organisms like the Varroa mite, via sugar water eaten by bees.
This is thought to be preferable to pesticides for two reasons: one, mites and bees are very close branches of the animal tree, so what kills mites will often kill bees. Two, there is concern that with so few pesticides targeting mites, resistance could build very quickly.
Speaking of toxic resistance, Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide contains neonicotinoids, a class of chemicals proven to kill bees and suspected as the culprit in many recent mass bee die-offs around the world.
So aren’t Monsanto’s efforts here a little like trusting the fox to guard the henhouse? Greg Heck, a researcher at Monsanto, unwittingly laid out the economic gain at stake: “The specificity and precision of topical RNA interference could be used for other agricultural tricks, including perhaps making weeds once again sensitive to a Monsanto herbicide that they have developed resistance to.”
Gee, you don’t say. It is uncertain at this time whether regulators will allow the gene-silencing technique.
The Generic Pharmaceuticals Catch-22
In an unsettling ruling that pits federal regulations against state law, the U.S. Supreme Court decided against the $21 million jury verdict awarded to a New Hampshire woman who suffered burn-like wounds over 60 percent of her body and is now legally blind after taking the generic version of a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug as directed.
Karen Bartlett, whose lawsuit was just overturned, also suffered lung and esophageal damage and spent months in a medically induced coma. Photo: Cheryl Senter/New York Times.
Mutual Pharmaceutical Co., Inc. v. Bartlett sets a precedent limiting the ability for people to sue manufacturers of generic drugs that concerns many advocacy groups.
Karen Bartlett took sulindac, the generic version of Clinoril, to relieve shoulder pain. Her side effects are quite rare, but known: a form of Stevens-Johnson Syndrome, or SJS/TEN. But since Clinoril has been approved as safe by the FDA, the makers of sulindac were able to successfully argue that they were simply selling an identical version of the same drug, and therefore were not at fault.
“The manufacturer challenged the award, arguing that it was impossible for it to simultaneously avoid liability under New Hampshire law and comply with the FDA’s design and labeling requirements,” wrote Tejinder Singh on SCOTUSblog. The Supreme Court agreed in its majority decision.
This potentially leaves users of generic drugs with a legal grievance little to stand on in court.
“The decision expands the range of claims from which generic drug manufacturers are immune from liability, and in doing that, they go further along this road of creating an industry that has no accountability to consumers and responsibility for its products,” said Allison Zieve, director of the litigation group at Public Citizen, a public-interest organization.
Texas, North Carolina and Wisconsin: The Fight for Women’s Health
Just two short weeks after Texas state senator Wendy Davis successfully filibustered for nearly 11 hours to block passage of harsh anti-abortion measures, the bill — which would ban abortion at 20 weeks post-fertilization, hinder access to the pill form of abortion and shut down nearly all of the state’s abortion clinics — is now heading back to the Texas senate. Governor Rick Perry had revived it by declaring a special legislative session.
Sarah Slamen about to be dragged off by Texas state troopers on Monday, after being interrupted by Republican Senate committee chair Jane Nelson. Image: video still.
During committee hearing testimony on Monday, hundreds of people from both sides spoke including Katie Heim, who read a poem beginning, “If my vagina was a gun, you would stand for its rights.”
Also vocal was Sarah Slamen, who was hauled away by state troopers as she spoke.
Slamen thanked the Texas legislature for radicalizing hundreds of thousands of women and told one state rep, who’s an ophthalmologist, “We can give you all the children with chlamydia and herpes in their eyes, since we don’t have sex ed in the state.”
The Texas house passed the bill on Wednesday, sending it back to the state senate.
Meanwhile in North Carolina, more than 60 people were arrested at the 10th weekly “Moral Monday” demonstrations. Many wore pink t-shirts, protesting a series of anti-choice restrictions quietly passed by the state senate last week without a public hearing, attached to an unrelated bill.
The restrictions require that abortion clinics meet the standards of ambulatory surgical centers, effectively closing all but one abortion provider in North Carolina. Republicans in the state house attached similar anti-abortion provisions to a bill about motorcycle safety, prompting one state rep. to tweet, “New abortion bill being heard in the committee I am on. The public didn’t know. I didn’t even know.”
On the bright side, Democracy Now! also reported this week that, “A federal judge has temporarily blocked part of a new law signed by Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker that would require abortion providers to obtain admitting privileges at nearby hospitals.” Admitting privileges can be nearly impossible for abortion providers to obtain.
A snapshot of one Planet Waves staffer’s ages on three planets — and no, we’re not giving you any hints!
One for the Ages (or All Ages!)
When you were a kid, were you ever in a hurry to get to your next ‘special’ birthday? Now that you’re an adult, do you sometimes wish you could wind back the clock? Ever fantasize about visiting other planets?
The Exploratorium has created a neat page where you can put in your birth data and see how old you’d be on the nine major planets (yes, they’re letting Pluto stay on the list). Due to differences in rotation and revolution, the number of days in your age may vary wildly from the number of years old you are.
Even More Getting Real: Fritz Perls and Lilith
In this week’s edition of Planet Waves FM, I interview Chani Nicholas, a San Francisco-based astrologer and scholar. However, before we go there, I give a tribute to Fritz Perls, co-founder of Gestalt therapy whose 120th birthday was July 8.
Here is Tracy Delaney’s explanation of the astronomy behind the Black Moon Lilith, which are points associated with the somewhat erratic and unstable orbit of the Moon.
Our musical guest is Sloan Wainwright. I play two of her older songs — you can listen to her new CD on her homepage.
Here’s your link to become a member of Planet Waves FM.
One reader commented on the Cancer birthday reading:
“Just listened to my Cancer horoscope — best money I’ve ever spent… As always, I’m knocked for six by your extraordinary gift, your love and care — and this time there was an added sense of joy because we’re moving into a different era and leaving the hardships of these years behind, but taking with us the determination and resources that have been built up over this time. I LOVE your take on Mercury retrograde and the shamanic-type journey — makes so much sense and helps me open up to a pretty emotionally testing time right now. You describe so perfectly what I’ve been through and show me the wonderful things that are on their way, and already a sea change has taken place in my life, though it’s still not easy.”
Your Monthly Horoscopes — and our Publishing Schedule Notes
The extended monthly horoscopes for July were published Friday, June 21. We published Inner Space for July on Friday, June 28. We published the Moonshine horoscopes for the Cancer New Moon Tuesday, July 2. On Tuesday, July 15, we will publish the Moonshine horoscopes for the Aquarius Full Moon. Please note, we normally publish the extended monthly horoscopes on the first Friday after the Sun has entered a new sign; Inner Space usually publishes the following Tuesday.
Aries (March 20-April 19) — Find the courage and you can accomplish anything. It’s one thing to be headstrong, determined or pushy. It’s another to be brave. Unless you’re familiar with bravery, the distinction may seem like just words, though it’s not — there is a heartfelt confidence in courage; there is the trust that you’ll be able to meet your challenges and not be deterred by your hang-ups. As you discover this space within yourself, you’ll begin to pick up momentum and gather strength from what may seem like invisible sources within you. If there’s a sexual element to this, it’s about a craving to explore in physical reality what you might not even be able to speak about under ordinary circumstances. Your fantasies may lead the way; the courage aspect involves giving yourself permission to go new places with your body and your emotions, with authentic curiosity where this may lead you.
Taurus (April 19-May 20) — One interesting thing about jealousy is that it’s laid on us like a law. Through social conditioning, fear and lack of understanding, it can seem like a gag reflex that’s not subject to any conscious control. You know that’s not true, despite what some people around you may be telling you. It remains your choice to give jealousy its own meaning, which is another way of saying deciding for yourself what power it will have over you. To do that, it would help to understand the nature of jealousy. There is one theory that it’s a veiled confrontation with death, through the potential loss of a relationship. I have another theory: beneath the veil of jealousy is the hottest passion that we’re capable of experiencing — not a flirtation with surrender but a direct encounter with it. You might find it strange at first that the thing you feared the most becomes a way to what you crave the most. In a word, that is healing.
Gemini (May 20-June 21) — You may be ambivalent about what you want, though I don’t think you will be for long. Here is a clue. What you desire is not knowable by a concept in your head; you’ll gain access to it through a feeling in your body. It’s not what someone told you is important to you but rather what resonates in your blood and bones as urgent, necessary and true. You often display a strong protective urge for people close to you — that might emerge, though I suggest you direct that energy into taking care of yourself. Recognize your priorities — including the ones that have proven difficult to bring into focus, and the goals that have been difficult to manifest; choose the most important ones and take action. I think you’ll notice that you’re no longer trying to push something uphill but rather like it’s suspended in water. Take full advantage of a higher-than-usual efficiency between the energy you exert and the results that you get.
Cancer (June 21-July 22) — You may have no idea what draws other people to you, though you don’t need to understand in order for that thing to work. Indeed, it seems inevitable that it will, yet at the same time you’re likely to feel different, even like a different person. I suggest you keep your emotions closer to the surface of your awareness, be they anger, passion, love, frustration or determination. Transparency is good for you now; burying your feelings will create interference. You’re likely to be someone who was taught to take out your negative feelings on yourself. This was part of making sure you’re available as one constantly in the role of taking care of others. Let your feelings out into the open and notice what you feel. Rather than worry about what others think, observe the results that you get. You’re likely to make some unexpected (and what you might consider strange) discoveries.
Leo (July 22-Aug. 23) — You have exceptional insight into the nature of reality right now — both your own and that of other people. It may not be in your nature to volunteer information where it hasn’t been asked for, though where it has been asked for is another question. If you’re in question about this, ask yourself exactly why you know what you know, and what purpose your powers of observation might be intended to serve. If your answer is that they are for you alone, I suggest thinking a little deeper. The service aspects in your chart are especially powerful right now, and you don’t need to be the personal beneficiary of your own goodwill. Indeed, it seems appropriate that you consciously take at least some action every day that is offered for the benefit of someone else with no thought of a direct payback. If you’re hesitating, I suggest you ask yourself what you’re holding onto.
Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22) — Take some time and observe the dynamics among your friends. Your social environment is changing about as fast as you can keep up with it (probably a bit faster). It’s never been quite like this, and it is presenting you with nothing but opportunities. To see them for what they are will require thinking differently. To do that, it’ll help to see the world in a more creative way, seeing possibilities that others would overlook and most of all thinking bigger than you usually do. By bigger I don’t mean going from the 16-ounce size to the 24-ounce size; I mean by orders of magnitude. Go beyond ‘doing anything is really cool’ to seeing your limits and then seeing beyond them. I don’t think that these ideas are going to come directly from others, though you will see something in the patterns of how others relate, what they say and how their thoughts bounce off of one another.
Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23) — This is an unusual moment of achievement for you. By that I mean that despite any doubts you may have, over the next few weeks through the end of the year, you’re likely to accomplish at least three things you might have previously believed were highly unlikely or even impossible. Don’t worry about how you will get to your end goal. I suggest you not be especially concerned if you don’t even have one of those — rather, focus on your direction of travel. I suggest you take the trip one conscious, tangible step at a time. Look for modest, obvious objectives, and focus on doing what you do better rather than faster. Pacing is essential — there’s a lot of pressure from Mars about to come into play, which might feel like pushing you to pick up your speed. You will get your best results with a slow and steady pace despite any deadlines you might face. As you move through this territory, an obvious and very significant goal is likely to manifest for you, and you will know exactly what to do.
Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22) — Your traditional ruling planet Mars is about to enter Cancer, joining many other planets in the water signs. Meanwhile, the mighty Saturn in your birth sign has recently stationed direct. Between these two developments you’re likely to feel that the universe is not only more cooperative but actually shows responsiveness to your creative power. Focus on the positive, including feelings, desires and images. If you have to vent some steam or some spleen, write an angry letter to God or go to your therapist’s office and let it out there — then move on quickly. This is one of those times when what you focus on will increase, which is why I am suggesting you focus on the positive. You can do that thing where you view problems as opportunities; you may notice that it’s strangely effective. That’s not a magical result as much as it is a creative one. If you’re confronted with a problem, take the occasion to solve it on a systemic level and let it point you to a greater achievement.
Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22) — Some element of darkness, doubt or shadow will emerge with deep sexual or emotional passion. Therefore you don’t need to be surprised if and when it does — though it would help if you know how to handle yourself. Step one is don’t go into denial. Step two is don’t blame yourself or anyone, just stay with the feelings involved. Step three is remember that these feelings are flexible and therefore subject to change. The mind has a way of making what is now seem like it’s permanent — especially when it comes to emotions. Remember that the feeling body is associated with the element water. Water flows easily; it always seeks balance; it has a way of permeating anything. The only time that’s not true is when it’s frozen, which is unlikely — you’re likely to be feeling a healthy dose of heat over the next few days and I suggest you let it thaw anyplace chilly, and explore the results as you melt the stuck places in your soul.
Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20) — Mars arrives in your opposite sign Cancer on Saturday, and that’s a message to get used to people having strong feelings about you. Since we live in a time when it’s considered appropriate to panic when someone looks at us, I suggest you open up and be ready for some strong reactions to your presence. Most of them will be positive; some you might need to deflect. But energy is energy, and it’s coming your way. Timing factors indicate clearly that this influx will come into focus between now and July 27, at which time it will not wane but rather increase. This is the time to be present in your environment and the extent to which you’re a focus of interest, rather than trying to hide in your room. What could possibly lead me to think you might do that? Perhaps it’s something in your chart; perhaps it’s something about our moment, wherein confidence is at an all-time low.
Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) — You’re entering what may be the busiest month of your life so far. It will be up to you to make it one of the most productive. While you’re likely to feel the impulse to take immediate action, I suggest you take the next week or so and develop a plan, or at least a focused list of priorities. Some items on that list will lend themselves to movement now, and if you’re planning carefully you will notice that some will require preparation. And I think you will notice that one objective or goal stands high above the rest, and you are likely to know about it now. I suggest you organize yourself around your highest priorities and then work in descending order, coming back to that basic structure when in doubt. The thing to avoid is being driven by your emotions. Let them have their place — and make sure that your motto in these days of your life is ‘mind over matter’.
Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) — I can remember no time in my work as an astrologer where the planets were more favorably aligned for Pisces than they are now. It would be fair to call this a visionary moment. Your two ruling planets, Jupiter and Neptune, are in excellent shape, placed in water signs; Mars is about to ingress your sympathetic water sign Cancer. Many other factors are adding up to something truly special. There is one factor that you alone can bring, which is the courage to take risks. I could rant endlessly about our society of wimps who are afraid to make eye contact or have a conversation in person, but I will skip that. The risks I suggest you take are mostly human — stating clearly what you feel, without glossing over the important parts; engaging people you’re interested in rather than waiting for them to come to you; and giving yourself direct permission to ignore the ‘rules’ and express yourself boldly. If you can do these things for yourself, you will open the way to miracles.