Of Small Causes and Big Effects

Dear Friend and Reader:

So much is happening. Sometimes it seems like one of our newfangled days is as eventful as an old-fashioned month. Domestic and international news have been as astonishing and infuriating as ever. War and famine still profoundly afflict the human race, which seems far more inventive at creating problems than at coming up with solutions.

Wednesday morning’s eclipse of the Moon. Photo: Mike de Sisti.

Maybe that’s because it’s easier to make problems, and if the law of unintended consequences spawns solutions to difficult situations, they would only be meaningful if someone notices them, and does something with them.

Personally, the same astrology behind the many global crises we see is driving many people forward or in unexpected directions. The sensation of being overwhelmed is probably more pleasant than that of being cast aside by the flow of time, not knowing what to do or where to go — the sensation of feeling no connection to anything or to anyone. I am aware that a great many people feel this way — and that the more exciting, eventful or pivotal the times we are in, the more pronounced the feeling becomes.

At the same time, I know plenty of people who want a little relief from the onrush, because they feel that they’re experiencing too much life to really be living. Yet abundant experience is a sign of life right now, or at least a necessary consequence. The key seems to be living in some harmony with the feeling that everything is about to go out of control; the feeling that there’s so much that can go wrong.

Speaking of abundance, there is way too much meaningful news happening this week to cover any of it well; there is so much that requires a close and sensitive look, as well as background. There is also some personally relevant astrology brewing over the next few days, astrology that to my journalistic sensibilities takes precedence over the news.

Before I get into that, I want to touch briefly on an issue that has been dominating the public airwaves for a few weeks, which is the ebola outbreak in western Africa. This is the source of plenty of anxiety. We are hearing about the worst outbreak in history of one of the most deadly viruses known to science.

There is no known cure, no vaccine, and only preventing exposure can prevent the illness. Indeed, the medical profession has next to no experience with this virus; what we are seeing now is modern medicine learning the very rudiments of how to handle this problem. There have been enough outbreaks since 1976 (when the virus was discovered) to give a clue, but clearly that was not enough.

On Sept. 24, the day of the Libra New Moon, a man named Thomas Duncan, who had just traveled to Texas from Liberia, developed ebola symptoms, making him the first American patient.

Planet Waves
Photo by Eric Francis.

He went to the hospital, said he had visited Africa recently, was (rather incredibly) sent home with antibiotics, and then his symptoms worsened.

He died Wednesday, Oct. 8, shortly after the total lunar eclipse in Aries. People with whom he had contact after his symptoms emerged are now in isolation for the three weeks necessary to see if they have been exposed.

One other note. The chart for his death looks like he contracted ebola through sexual contact with an as-yet unidentified person. The notion that ebola can be sexually transmitted is obvious — and it has been left out of the discussion. However, at Thursday’s meeting of the World Bank, Tom Frieden, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said to the participants, “In my 30 years in public health, the only thing that has been like this is AIDS. We have to work now so that this is not the world’s next AIDS.”

Ebola evokes deep fears of what lurks in the primeval forest, and the still lurking mystery of the African continent, believed to be the cradle of human evolution. There are all kinds of karma, genetic material and cultural baggage associated with Africa. There is an understanding, no matter how faint, of what European colonialist powers did to African people. While few will admit this, the racism we see, particularly in the United States, is a shadow form of guilt about our country’s history.

The chart for Duncan’s death says that we are only at the beginning of this crisis, but that the issue may not be ebola itself. Rather, it’s the wider crisis of whether the American health care system is prepared for any pandemic or epidemic outbreak. Another issue is fear and how it is spread through television and the Internet, and how people respond to it.

In summary, the chart says that the whole crisis looks convincing (Libra is rising), and that the purpose, if you could call it that, is to feed something that thrives on chaos (Eris occupies the 7th house cusp). We also learn that the government will be ineffective in helping to deal with the issue; it’s up to us.

Planet Waves
Photo by Eric Francis.

I have been researching the homeopathy associated with ebola, though this is difficult to write about because I would need to explain homeopathy itself to have it be relevant. Homeopathy is a form of medicine distinct from naturopathy or herbalism. This may be easier to do in spoken word format, at least at first, and I plan to have a go at it in Tuesday’s edition of Planet Waves FM.

In short, an informal consensus in the community of homeopaths is of the view that the remedy associated with ebola is made from the venom of a pit viper snake. Currently it’s down to two possibilities — the North American timber rattlesnake, or a bothrups viper found in Martinique. There are many connections among the patterns of symptoms, though in addition, deadly snakes evoke fear on the level of a plague emerging from deep in the jungle.

There are a number of connections to magic — including the fact that in many parts of Africa, traditional medicine men, that is, shamans, are the first responders to a crisis like this. And there is the connection to war. Sierra Leone and Libera, which have had most of the cases, have in recent years been ravaged by war. This has damaged the local infrastructure and is making it much harder to deal with the problem.

Of the Astrology

We are now in the interval of time between two eclipses, during Mercury retrograde. There will be a solar eclipse the day the Sun enters Scorpio, on Oct. 23. Then Mercury will station direct Oct. 25.

Meanwhile, we are looking at two events in the next few days that are worth paying attention to. The first is Venus in Libra opposite Uranus in Aries, exact Saturday. There is an element of surprise to this aspect, though there is also a mirror. Venus and Uranus are by most accounts very different planets, though they share unusual astronomical similarities. For example, both rotate clockwise as seen from above the solar system. All other planets orbiting our Sun rotate counter-clockwise.

Planet Waves
Photo by Eric Francis.

In mythology, Aphrodite, the Greek predecessor of Venus, was created from the severed testicles of Uranus. She is part of him — in particular, a sexual part of him, and she is female.

In astrology, this is an image of the spontaneous meeting, the encounter with the unusual person, with different being erotically beautiful. It’s the astrology of very different people having surprising things in common.

Therefore, be open to those differences, be it in lifestyle, personal style, age, nationality or culture. Be open to what differences seemingly similar people have, which often emerge as surprises.

This aspect may bring surprise developments in intimate partnerships. Those can be positive if they are approached with a creative state of mind. Treat these developments with respect and a touch of reverence for what they might contain, or teach you, or where they might lead.

While Venus and Uranus are busy looking into one another as mirrors, Mars and a minor planet called Pholus are about to form a conjunction in Sagittarius. This is in full effect now, and exact early Tuesday EDT.

Mars is making its way across Sagittarius, making 17 conjunctions in the process. One of them is to Pholus, the first centaur discovered after Chiron. Chiron was discovered orbiting our Sun in 1977 and Pholus in 1992.

Pholus has a fast-acting quality. It can act so fast that whatever it represents can go out of control. Working concepts for Pholus include the runaway reaction, the small cause with a big effect, and the effects of toxins, medicines and mind-altering substances.

Where Pholus is involved in an aspect pattern, one must be cool and calm. If you think of Sagittarius as an arrow, this aspect is saying know which way you point the bow. Said another way, know your intentions, and be gentle in pursuing them. Focus the correct intention for yourself, in the correct way. It’s not really possible to urge too much caution under a Mars-Pholus conjunction, especially in a reactive, creative, high-potency sign like Sagittarius.

Planet Waves
Wednesday’s eclipse of the Moon peeks out from the mist over Bogata, Colombia. Photo by Fernando Vergara.

It’s necessary to draw on the wisdom of this sign to guide you. It’s necessary to orient on large goals and the quest for knowledge, and not be motivated by idle curiosity. There is a time and place for idle curiosity — and this is not the time. You don’t just wander around a laboratory opening up the various experiments to see how they smell. But you might ask someone with knowledge what is happening in the different vessels.

Speaking of vessels, this is a dangerous time to do much of anything in an inebriated state, particularly handling anything dangerous, toxic, or that is powered by some form of chemical or explosive fuel. You would think it needless to say, but alcohol does not mix with guns, cars, power tools, fire, chemical supplies or anything else that requires total control. Be careful with any form of sports, and even when doing ordinary things like moving on staircases or carrying boxes.

Expressing anger is very likely to backfire under this astrology. It would be best to give yourself a few days and cool off, especially with the solar system still vibrating with this week’s lunar eclipse conjunct Uranus.

All of that said, the Mars-Pholus conjunction will be brilliant for the exploration of ideas, art, music and anything of a cross-cultural nature — such as food, theater or dance. I can imagine that this will be a fine time for unusual (and unusually hot) sexual encounters.

If there ever was astrology that says give people space to be themselves, this weekend’s astrology is it. Look, listen and learn — that is the path to new and beautiful places.


Planet Waves (ISSN 1933-9135) is published each Tuesday morning and Thursday afternoon in Kingston, New York by Planet Waves, Inc. Annual basic subscription rate: $99/year. Core community membership: $199/year. Editor and Publisher: Eric Francis Coppolino. Business Manager: Chelsea Bottinelli. Web Developer: Anatoly Ryzhenko. Astrology Editor: Amanda Painter. Copy Editor: Jessica Keet. Research, Writing and Editing: Planet Waves is produced by a team consisting of Fe Bongolan, Brendan Merritt, Amy Elliott, Judith Gayle, Kelly Janes, Amanda Moreno, Casey Smith, Carol van Strum, Len Wallick, Lizanne Webb and Chad Woodward.


Planet Waves

This Week’s Environmental News From Planet Waves

For the past few months, Planet Waves has spun off the news briefs section into its own newsletter, called Planet Waves Monsanto Eco. It is written by our interns and staff writers, and co-written and edited by Amanda Painter. By the way, we are looking for a simple, snazzy title for this newsletter, so if you have an idea, please send it to us.

This week’s edition covers such diverse topics as: Crest announcing it will phase out plastic microbeads in its toothpastes; public comment being reopened on a proposal to hold electromagnetic war games in Olympic National Forest; more trouble at the Hanford nuclear site; a leaked document from the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP); fewer abortion clinics connected to the lowest ratings for women’s and children’s health; and why the 2 degrees Celsius limit on global warming matters.

You can read this week’s full edition here, and sign up here to receive Monsanto Eco every Tuesday.


Planet Waves

Planet Waves

C’mon — you know you’d rather boogie than wait! Image: video still.

Get Ready to Dance

By Amanda Painter

Mercury retrograde sometimes means that getting from Point A to Point B does not quite go as planned. Trying to rush through delays and detours, combined with lapses in attention, can cause accidents. In August, Smart Cars (a maker of electric vehicles produced by Mercedes-Benz) posted a YouTube video of a pedestrian crosswalk light that makes waiting for the signal not only safer, but fun.

The company writes, “We believe that smart ideas can turn the city into a better place. Like a dancing traffic light that makes people wait and watch rather than walk through the red light.”

Offered the opportunity to dance inside a small room outfitted with a camera that translates movements, in real time, into a dancing figure on the crosswalk light, most people were happy to play — and wait for the safer time to cross the street. And other pedestrians waiting to cross got a kick out of watching the sign. In fact, 81% more people waited for the signal to walk.

Given that this weekend’s Venus-Uranus opposition suggests you take a break from the norm in your relationships, why not take a ‘dance break’ if unexpected developments come with some tension? It’s not a long-term solution, but it might help you pause long enough to move ahead with greater ease and better focus. Maybe even with a smile on your face.


Planet Waves

Planet Waves


Total Lunar Eclipse in Aries — And What All These Crazy News Stories Have in Common

In this week’s edition of Planet Waves FM, I look at the chart for the total lunar eclipse that happened Wednesday morning.  This eclipse was conjunct Uranus, the planet of revolution, invention, surprises and — in Aries — of technological glamour. The eclipse is a cardinal grand cross reminiscent of what we experienced between January and late April. The difference is that now, the Cancer leg of the cross is covered not by Jupiter but by Cyllarus, a centaur
planet, which removes the buffer (of Jupiter) and spices up the militancy and element of surprise.
Planet Waves

Your Monthly Horoscopes — and our Publishing Schedule Notes

We published your extended monthly horoscopes for October Thursday, Sept. 25. Your extended monthly horoscopes for September published Friday, Aug. 28. We also published your Inner Space horoscope for October Tuesday, Sept. 30. Moonshine horoscopes for the Aries Full Moon published Tuesday, Oct. 7.Please note, we normally publish the extended monthly horoscope on the first Friday after the Sun has entered a new sign.


Planet Waves

Weekly Horoscope for Thursday, Oct. 9, 2014, #1019 | By Eric Francis

Aries (March 20-April 19)

Aries (March 20-April 19) — A little desire goes a long way. The stuff is more powerful than you may know, which means that right now you must direct it with precision. Use focus, and proceed gently, aware of the law of unintended consequences. Said another way, you must do something that is rather un-Aries-like, and consider a diversity of possible implications of getting what you want. It would be preferable, I think, to focus on what is motivating you. That form of contemplation is precisely the opposite of acting on impulse. Rather, I am suggesting that you act based on self-understanding and a real assessment of your situation. It will be easy to forego this. It will be easy to just plunge in, or to make a choice and set off a series of consequences that you cannot control. Therefore, use control while you have it, which is mostly in the form of awareness prior to making any decision.

Taurus (April 19- May 20)

Taurus (April 19-May 20) — Listen to what others say, even it sounds like crazy ranting and raving. There is good information mingled in there, and as much as you learn about someone else, you will learn about yourself. There is information coming about how words may not necessary be true, or even reflective of a true opinion. Fortunately, words are not deeds — not exactly. There is a buffer between one and the other, and you may find that you need to take advantage of that zone where potential is not entirely manifest. The lesson seems to be that motives are rarely 100% pure. Sometimes they conflict; sometimes they contradict one another entirely. And yet there will be a decision made, there will be action taken, and there will be results. The more closely you listen, and use what you know, more likely you are to experience results in line with what serves everyone involved.

Gemini (May 20- June 21)

Gemini (May 20-June 21) — Negotiate and compromise. Use compromise as part of your negotiation strategy. There are many points to the conversation, most of which you are flexible on. There are others that are essential to you. Know what those are, and if you must trade or bargain, start with the points that may mean less to you and mean more to someone else. I recognize this is not exactly a heart-centered approach, yet neither is a breakdown in communication or its consequences. At the moment, I would say that strategy reflective of authentic respect is the heart-centered way to proceed, because it will keep the conversation open and quite possibly focused on getting everyone’s needs met. Sometimes this kind of happy accident occurs on its own, and sometimes it’s the result of focused intention; in the current astrological climate, the more precise the better.

Cancer (June 21- July 22)

Cancer (June 21-July 22) — The recent eclipse of the Moon in Aries opened up many possibilities for you, though you may not see it that way. I suggest you take a look, and allow the next few weeks to take their course. If you think in the language of creativity and curiosity rather than achievement or success, everything will make more sense — and be easier. Said another way, most people set the goal of ‘how to succeed’. I suggest setting the goal of ‘how to do this in the most beautiful way’, which is likely to mean bold, simple and inventive. You don’t need to worry about being different. You already are different, and everyone knows that. If you’re looking to make an impression, explore until you find a direct way to reach others in a manner that speaks to their needs, desires and dreams. Logic is not the answer to the riddle you may be facing; the solution is some form of emotional and creative contact.

There was an error in last week’s Cancer horoscope. Please see the corrected horoscope here. Apologies for any inconvenience or mystery and thanks to Sam for pointing out the error. — efc

Leo (July 22- Aug. 23)

Leo (July 22-Aug. 23) — Learn to speak clearly in language that expresses your emotional needs and you will find that people treat you more fairly. This may be a setup, stacking the deck in your own favor. It may also bring on a shift of perspective. If you are feeling like someone is out to cheat you, cheat on you or take something from you, step back and slow down. You may be looking right at someone’s supposed motives, though if they seem sinister or complicated, consider that there is a simpler way to solve the puzzle. Ask yourself one question — where does accountability fit the picture? For yourself first, and for them second? By accountability I don’t mean blame, I mean individuals willing to take responsibility for what is so, and having the strength to make necessary adjustments. This is a two-part process.

Virgo (Aug. 23- Sep. 22)

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22) — Defiance is not a substitute for personality, nor could you consider it a sign of strong character. It might feel that way, and if it does, you must raise your standards. You are in one of the most emotionally reactive moments in years, a strong comment given how much you’ve been through in that time, and how provoked you’ve so often been. Mindfulness is therefore essential. Once you are in reaction, you cannot impose mindfulness on yourself; by that point it’s possible only to vent (which is not another word for ‘process’). You need to maintain your awareness of your mental and emotional state long before you get there, and I would count resistance, stubbornness or defiance as warning signs that something deeper is going on. In a world where everything and everyone seems to be vying for your attention, it’s not easy to take total responsibility for what you feel, though that would be a helpful intention to set.

Libra Birthday Reading Just Published

Dear Friend and Reader:

Eric has just published an extended reading for anyone with Libra Sun, Moon or rising: one of the most affordable, useful and excellent gifts you can give your favorite Libra.

You may order the full reading here.

The Libra reading looks with fresh eyes at relationship questions (Uranus in Aries), and the healing and personal mastery theme of Chiron in Pisces. Also, Pluto in Capricorn is teaching you to redesign your security base, your notion of home, and indeed your whole concept of safety, grounding and belonging.

Eric also looks carefully at the question of efficiency in relationship. And because there is so much intriguing activity in Scorpio, he focuses the theme of money and financial self-sufficiency.

This reading comprises two astrology segments of about half an hour each, plus a tarot reading. It’s playable on any kind of computer or mobile device (smartphone, iPad, etc.).

Eric’s birthday readings also include a live question and reply forum where you can ask Eric questions directly, (date TBA, and archived for those who cannot make it).

If you’ve been seeking a way to create better balance in your life, look no further than the Libra birthday reading.


Chelsea Bottinelli


Libra (Sep. 22 - Oct. 23)

Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23) — You may be waiting for the other shoe to drop, though I suggest you not waste your time waiting. It’s up to you to take conscious steps in the direction that you want to go, which may involve taking a new route or deciding on a new destination from the one you were considering yesterday. Between sticking to one course for decades, and changing one’s mind every 15 minutes (the two most popular options, it seems) is the reality that change happens. You are in the process of encountering a series of influences that are shaping the course of your life. Note carefully whether you’re resisting these changes, and in the alternate, whether they seem to be taking you by surprise, happening totally outside of your control.

Scorpio (Oct. 23- Nov. 22)

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22) — Mars, the planet traditionally associated with your sign, is conjunct something called Pholus this weekend (exact Tuesday, Oct. 14). Mars is the planet of action, self-assertion, desire and at times, aggression. The best key phrase for Pholus I’ve encountered is ‘small cause, big effect’. It’s also associated with runaway reactions and unintended consequences, which can sometimes go on for years. This meeting is happening in Sagittarius, a fire sign best represented by the flaming arrow. The cosmic message is twofold. One is, pay attention to what you do, what actions you take, and how you direct your desire. The other side is that a little (of anything) can go a long way. You do not need a lot of anything, be it effort, intention, desire or any form of ‘push energy’, to get a result. Apply your intention and your willpower with extreme care.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22 - Dec. 22)

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22) — Take it easy — and I do mean super easy. Be cool. I don’t mean act cool, I mean keep your emotional temperature chill and pay attention to each decision you make, no matter how small. Any subtle intention, even admitting your inner desire honestly, can change the course of your life. This is not the time to flirt with loss of control, or with imprecision. The thing is, you may not recognize when you’re doing so. Therefore, be especially careful with idle curiosity, where drugs or alcohol are involved, or in any moment where you’re star-struck by another person. On the creative and constructive side, you have in your hands a truly unusual moment to make actual decisions that point your life in the direction that you want to go. Just remember the concept of a fulcrum. If you point your arrow one fraction of an inch to the left or to the right, you could miss your mark by a yard, or a mile.

Capricorn (Dec. 22- Jan. 20)

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20) — Pay attention to your anxiety. Listen to it, and understand what it’s saying about you and your circumstances. Your fears may be running away with you at times; at least I suggest you notice when this is happening. Many people do not; or rather, are not mindful enough to know that fear is the issue, rather than the thing they are supposedly afraid of. It would be immensely helpful if you were to sort this one out, since if there is any issue it is fear and not the thing feared. Your current astrology is carrying some potent manifestation power, so I suggest you turn your energy toward something creative. Psychic energy is inherently neutral and can be turned to something loving or something toxic by choice. Though this is often forgotten, now would be the time to remember. Remembering means making the choice to focus the power of your mind in the direction you want to go, or what you want to become. Above all else, be truthful with yourself.

Aquarius (Jan. 20- Feb. 19)

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) — You have the opportunity to make a splash, a crash or a controversy, with the potential to affect many people around you. I suggest you do none of the above, but rather allow your influence to work in ways that are understated and reserved. While you do this, you’ll need to live with the fact that there are things you don’t understand. For example, that might include not understanding why someone or something is harmful, even if you know intuitively that it is. Why does not matter as much as what your intuition is telling you. One particular aspect is suggesting that your words or actions could have an influence far beyond what you’re even aware of. The same aspect is saying that you are in a position receive information that you would otherwise be unlikely ever to find out. Yet will you know that this is happening when it comes your way? You will, if you’re paying close attention, which is the theme of the moment.

Pisces (Feb. 19- March 20)

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) — Ease back a little and let your momentum carry you. You have plenty; you have advanced more in recent weeks than you may have in recent years. Focus on what you’ve accomplished and study the ways that it’s taking you where you need to go and want to be. Focus on your agreements with others. Work from the idea that everything that could ever hang in the balance will be determined by a conscious, and fair, agreement with someone you care about, are close to, or do business with. The responsibility is on you to focus on mutual fairness, and it’s worth stating in advance that not everyone will agree with you, or at least not initially. Still, you must do what is right. To help ensure that, have a clear understanding of when decisions need to be made, and use your time gathering facts and points of view that will help you come from an informed place when the time arrives to implement your plan of action.


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3 thoughts on “Of Small Causes and Big Effects

  1. Len Wallick

    Thank you, Eric, for applying such an incredibly prescient choice of focus to get an amazingly broad application of the astrology that will be useful for just about anything that comes up during a period when just about anything CAN come up.

  2. beths

    It’s been a strange month. But Planet Waves is helping me through, as you always do! Thank you. This Mars/Pholus conjunction is opposite my natal Jupiter at 22-39 Gemini, and sextile my natal Mars/Pholus conjunction at 19 Aquarius in the 7th, which is opposite transiting Jupiter in Leo. This makes me think that the small cause big effect could have a really big effect with big and beneficial Jupiter in the mix, I’m hoping it sparks a good thing that has a big, long lasting effect. I suppose it also means that the caution with interactions with others needs to be applied doubly, and I should try and remain in an alert and aware state and be extra careful with imbibing. I think I will dive into a creative project and see what appears.

  3. cathryns

    Re Eris:
    My take on Eris is that she is an awful long way out, so she’s outcast, in a way, (c.f. BML being independent) but anyone outside a system has a much better picture of the whole of that system than anyone inside it.
    She also wants to say what she sees, but who can hear? I suspect she tests others first by ‘rolling the golden ball’. She does not cause the chaos; it’s the goddesses competing amongst themselves for the golden ball (a highly desirable because validating possession) that’s the problem, and in the myth the goddesses’ problem is vanity (and pride will go with that). I suspect the ‘golden ball’ is some kind of flattery because vanity/pride likes that.
    Hence, I suspect that what is being shown up here is the vanity of modern Medicine (which is terribly vain and terribly arrogant) against the reality (truth) of the need for clean running water, nutritious food, and a stable and secure housing and environment for the basic health of the immune system, and what happens when these are not there (the immune system needs Peace to function properly). It’s not fate out to get us, or fighting life’s awfulness, it’s a basic necessity for all Life that is simply not or insufficiently addressed, to our own detriment.
    Hope this makes sense. And PS. my Sun is conjunct Eris in the same degree, so maybe I’m biased.

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