Tag Archives: apocalypse

The Mayans, Juno and the Abyss

Dear Friend and Reader:

It’s time for yet another visit with the chart for 12/21/12 before the event itself. Well, maybe ‘event’ is too strong of a word, though this seems to be the conclusion of a 5,125-year span of history that began on Aug. 11, 3113 BCE, day one of the first baktun of the Mayan long count.

Planet Waves
Ruins of an ancient Mayan city called Altun Ha, 30 miles north of Belize City. Mayan people first occupied Altun Ha around 200 BC, with the majority of construction occurring from 200 to 900 AD.

Long means pretty long. The big day concludes a span of 5,125.37 years, or exactly 1,872,000 days. On Friday, at the Capricorn solstice, the long count reaches day This will conclude the passage of 13 baktuns, or phases of 144,000 days (each lasting about 394 years).

Is this the end of the Mayan calendar, or do we proceed into the 14th baktun (assuming, that is, that time continues at all)? That’s something of a mystery. Logic would say we move onto baktun 14, but the Mayans were in love with 13, which factors prominently into their spiritually oriented short-count calendar that is still used as a kind of ‘astrological’ reference today. The 5,125 year span of time indicated is one-fifth of a precessional cycle (that is, the full cycle of ‘astrological ages’). The long and short counts were among many calendars innovated by the Mayans, which also included a civil calendar. Unlike our calendars, theirs could handle long spans of time neatly and with precision.

They managed to land the ‘end date’ of the long count on the winter solstice, thousands of years in advance. That is pretty impressive, don’t you think? They were really into daykeeping, and they were good at it. And I am sure they would be impressed at all the fuss we are making today — or that anyone even knows or cares at this late date in history.

The Mayan long count is unique in that it vastly predates the coalescing of the civilization around 1800 BCE, and extends well past its (possibly very) sudden decline beginning around 800 to 900 CE. These are people who obviously took a long view of history, though those who created the calendar are not around to ask about their intent about whether there should be a 14th baktun. (For those curious about the technical aspects of the Mayan long count, see this article by Bruce Scofield.)

Considered the most advanced Mesoamerican civilization (meso meaning middle — it was located at the juncture of North and South America), the classical-era Mayans are known for their advanced writing, mathematics, architecture, urban life and long-distance trade. Eventually, they also suffered from political strife, warfare, corruption and the effects of climate change. Like us, they were humans living on Earth. No one theory explains the decline of the civilization, and aspects of it lasted well into the 17th century. [If you’re interested in the decline of classical Mayan civilization, here is an interesting Wikipedia article.]

Geographically, the civilization extended from what is now southern Mexico into Guatemala and Belize, and into northern El Salvador and Honduras. The Mayan people did not disappear; as their civilization declined, there was a diaspora, and their descendants still live throughout the region where the civilization existed, and far beyond.

Planet Waves
Dr. Strangelove, played by Peter Sellers, explains to Pres. Merkin Muffley, also played by Peter Sellers, why the Doomsday Machine cannot be disarmed; the thing would be useless if it could.

Though there are no specific predictions, hints, clues or suggestions from Mayan culture that the world will ‘end’ a week from today, some people are on edge. There have been many predictions of the end of the world, and this is the latest among them, even though no such references exist from the culture that created the calendar. There is, however, the lurking feeling that maybe these mysterious old Mayan mathematician-shamans knew something that we did not.

Actually, we have a problem that they didn’t have, which is the belief in the Christian apocalypse — that is, the notion that our loving, compassionate God will destroy the world. This has been an obsession of the Christians since the beginning of their history. Their myth anthology ends with the Book of Revelation, featuring a protracted scene of devastation of the world, encrypted with all manner of mystical references, portents, forebodings and symbols — the Four Horsemen, the Seven Seals and the Scarlet Whore of Babylon (my date for next Friday night), to name a few.

Study of Revelation has given rise to such great literary works as The First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstruous Regiment of Women by John Knox, published in 1558. He was objecting to female sovereigns running countries and thus ruling over men (among them Queen Mary of England), reasoning, “For who can denie but it repugneth to nature, that the blind shal be appointed to leade and conduct such as do see?”

The Apocalypse in Your Undies

The word apocalypse means unveiling, as in the unveiling of the woman’s genitals on the wedding night. Translated into Christian terminology, it became understood as the gospel of God murdering everyone and calling their souls home. As Planet Waves contributor Astrodem commented this week, apocalyptic thinking “has a long and illustrious association with antisemitism, misogyny, racism, homophobia, fundamentalism, capitalism and imperialism.”

In other words, it’s not our friend. He continued, “Also, if apocalypse is fundamentally a sexual construct, then everything Wilhelm Reich said about suppressed sexuality and mystical longings fully applies. Think of our modern concept of apocalypse as a kind of mega anti-orgasm.”

Planet Waves
The apocalypse has a diversity of sexual connotations, originating in Greek as the revelation of what was concealed (presumably the vulva on wedding night), extending into the Scarlet Whore of Babylon, one of its supposed heralds.

The reference to Reich is about the use of sexual repression to drive the individual emotional need for living under dictatorship. Reich demonstrated that the mystical longing created by suppressed orgasm is harvested by the political system and used against us. This is why the church and so many other political institutions preach a doctrine of abstinence from sex, which was a theme of Christianity from the earliest days (including trying to convince women to stop having sex with their husbands).

The notion of The End is so deeply encrypted into Western thinking that we have succeeded in developing the capacity to make it real, in the form of a world rigged with hydrogen bombs — that is, the apparatus of wargasm.

We must note, however, that even the end of human civilization as we know it would not be The End. Even people who believe in The End know that; I was reading Prepper News the other night, and found the instructions for how to make a rabbit trap, just in case the supermarket isn’t open, or is out of hamburger. (“Most people fear the moment when disaster strikes and most people are not prepared for the moment it does,” its editors write. So you better stock up on on Bunny Helper.)

Some humans would survive even nuclear holocaust, along with “a republic of insects and grass,” in the words of Jonathan Schell in The Fate of the Earth, his appeal for nuclear disarmament. Life would go on, for those who survive — the name of the tune any day of any century on Earth.

The apocalypse is an idea, a fixation and most of all, a projection. It’s the result of something in consciousness, seen as an event in the world. Festering over the apocalypse is a cop-out. It would be a too-convenient way to get out of the problems we have created for ourselves on Earth, or have participated in creating, or have so far refused to help solve. And it’s a big waste of our potential, which of course is challenging to tap and develop.

As for the desire to solve those problems — I am listening carefully. I don’t hear much opposition to permanent war, nuclear power (a far more serious problem than nuclear bombs, because all we need is an earthquake, a power outage or solar flare to set things off) or fossil fuels. Hydraulic fracturing is gradually taking over the United States, extracting natural gas and contaminating our precious few freshwater aquifers with benzine and other vicious toxins. In many cities, the residents already drink their own piss, in the form of sewage recycled into tap water.

If I stretch my ears, I do hear some grumbling about genetically modified foods, though nothing in comparison to the problem. Fully one-third of American farmland has been cultivated with GMO crops, so we are at the point where genetic contamination is ubiquitous (that is, everywhere). These crops are often designed to withstand greater applications of pesticides, so they are more contaminated with weed and insect killers; some of them are, in themselves, registered insecticides that we eat for dinner.

Planet Waves
The ultimate fallout shelter — the Svlabard Global Seed Vault, near the Arctic Circle. It works like a safe deposit box for countries who want to store seeds, free of charge, and is adorned with art, as are all large public buildings in Norway. Photo by Mari Tefre.

Meanwhile, we have no idea what is happening to the genotoxic waste being created by the process of developing these crops, which cannot be tested for by any watchdog group, since we don’t know what it is.

Fear of the apocalypse is related to the world ‘ending’ all at once (powered, whether we like the idea or not, by suppressed orgasm). What’s actually happening is a slow, painful decline of the biological integrity of the planet and its natural systems, including our bodies. Earlier this year I commemorated the 50th anniversary of Silent Spring by Rachel Carson, which was our first warning of things to come. Things have not gotten better since.

Dealing with these issues is overwhelming and inconvenient. There is plenty we can do to mitigate the damage personally, and to contribute to a longterm solution. Eating organic food (which is better for us, and helps organic farmers) is more expensive than eating from the processed food trough. This is particularly challenging for low- and middle-income people under the current economic strain. For those with more money, they might have to shift their priorities a little.

Most people are too busy working to survive, maintaining their lifestyles or entertaining themselves to death to have time to contribute to larger solutions. We do need to look carefully at how many of these circumstances are distractions from engaging the challenges at hand — which I would propose would likely lead to more fulfilling lives. In other words, I don’t think we’re happier for avoiding the problems we face, individually or collectively. I think that most of our pain, frustration and dysfunction are the result of trying to avoid them, and then encoutering the resulting depression and despair.

A Personal View of 12/21/12

Unlike most of my colleagues who have been discussing 2012, including various philosophers, futurists and literary speculators, I have taken a personal view on the topic. We don’t really understand what this date means in the Mayan context (except that from what I know, they celebrated the ends of eras) and they did not understand ours, since it didn’t yet exist.

Planet Waves
The rapture, illustrated by a Christian website. Everyone goes to heaven at once. In some versions, they go there naked.

My own motto has been “2012 is up for grabs.” I have avoided both the end-time approach to change as well as the ‘everyone will become spontaneously enlightened’ approach (you know, the one about the shift into 5D). The spontaneous enlightenment perspective also denies the growth factor, as well as avoiding our need to address what’s holding us back. It’s similar to the Christian apocalypse in that it does not rely upon individual intent or cooperation. It’s the same thing, in that it’s involuntary and imposed upon us.

We can shift contexts from the Mayan date to Dec. 21, 2012 by casting the Western astrology of that date and reading the chart. When we do, we see the prominence of many factors that were discovered by modern science starting in the 19th century. The one that stands out most boldly involves relationships. When the Sun arrives on the solstice point, there are two asteroids waiting for it there, (3) Juno and (81) Terpsichore. These help us call the tune of the chart.

Juno is considered a ‘major’ asteroid, the third of the big four that were first discovered between 1801 and 1807 — Ceres, Pallas, Juno and Vesta. It was named for Juno, the chief Roman goddess, who was the wife of Jupiter. In modern astrology, Juno is often associated with marriage, but also with jealousy and control (sometimes viewed as the patron saint of the cult of monogamy). I am aware of the debate over how Juno has been mischaracterized and slandered by mythology and our interpretation of it, though she is in fact a creature of mythology and its interpretation.

I’ve suggested that the Sun conjunct Juno in the first degree of Capricorn on 12/21/12 is about marrying ourselves before we try to marry someone else. The problem with this is that most of us would be marrying a bitch or a bastard. The lack of appeal is obvious. We present ourselves as nice people. Yet many, many peoples’ relationships with themselves are characterized by a seemingly endless litany of negative self-chatter, vicious self-critique and colored by various shades of ‘I wish I had’, ‘I wish I hadn’t’ and ‘I will eventually’.

Planet Waves
This is an image going around in the Internet illustrating the difference between GMO corn vs. the real thing. We cannot verify that it’s real, but perhaps it makes the point better than saying that Bt corn is an insecticide, which ruptures the stomach of any insect that eats it, which causes organ failure in rats and and which has been found in the blood of pregnant women.

We could say that it’s genetic, radioactive or toxic pollution that’s killing the Earth. We could say that it’s a corrupt political system, or the takeover of the planet by corporations. I propose that it’s our stressed-out, unforgiving relationships with ourselves. These in turn tie into all manner of family karma, which is typically full of all kinds of abuse.

This in turn results in the projection of our inner dynamics and the family system onto our partners and the whole society, as well as our obvious paralysis when it comes to doing something about whatever we perceive needs help.

In other words, do we not take action against GMO and nuclear power because we don’t have time — or is it because we’re too terrified to do so, fearing we’re going to be cast off? As for warfare, if we cannot get along with ourselves, how exactly can we get along with others? Note, Martha Lang-Wescott associates Juno with devotion to social justice causes, which checks out.

Juno’s Discovery Chart

For those who may be thinking that Juno has been given a raw deal in this discussion, let’s visit the discovery chart (that is, the astrology on the day that Juno was discovered) and see what we’re really looking at when we use this point. As I noted in a major feature on the minor planets in The Mountain Astrologer earlier this year, the discovery chart is a helpful tool for delineating a planetary discovery. The mythical figure and all its baggage is one thing; the chart is a more objective device. The discoverer, Karl L. Harding, did not know he was discovering Juno. He was discovering an object in space one night in September 1804.

Juno was discovered close to the Aries Point, retrograde at 3 degrees of Aries [see discovery charts here]. Its closeness to the Aries Point is reminding us that with Juno, we’re standing at an intersection of the individual and the collective — this emphasizes the significance of this point as an astrological factor with wide impact.

At the time, the cardinal points (which all have this personal/collective property) were loaded with planets in this chart, and these help us understand the meaning of the new discovery. For example, Juno in Aries is in a close square to Mars in Cancer, and opposite a Mercury-Saturn conjunction in Libra. Juno square Mars is angry. Juno opposed by Mercury and Saturn is that frustrated person encountering someone who wants to reason and compromise — that’s even more frustrating.

These aspects present a genuinely difficult situation. I am being polite when I say this; it feels infuriating. The fire of Aries is retrograde, that is, it’s internalized and struggles to express itself. The ruling planet of a sign that a new planet is discovered in tells us a lot about that planet. Being square the Aries ruler, Mars in Cancer, is about internalized emotionally based anger and frustration (involving pent-up feelings, desires and volition). Mars in Cancer can also be passionate, but in this chart, it’s trapped in a kind of construct that is difficult to escape.

Planet Waves
Smoke rises from Unit No. 3 of the stricken Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant after the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

Juno is in a conjunction to Vulkanus, a hypothetical planet that is about power. “If a sentence has the word mighty or powerful in it, the planetary signature will have Vulkanus in it,” Arlene Kramer writes of this point. So all of that frustrated retrograde Aries energy is subject to a case of megalomania — it can be very, very bossy, a known attribute of Juno. It’s also conjunct Quaoar, which is about family patterns and creation myths. This is part of a pattern of the family constellation. Whatever Juno is results from longterm family conditioning and has ‘always been that way’.

Juno is also in an opposition to Mercury and Saturn, which are in Libra. To Juno, this opposition feels like a limit on emoting, a fixed boundary wherein the rules are set by someone who is allegedly being too reasonable. The opposition is relational, but it’s also about projection. This is the sense of being inside a container when inside a relationship, and within that container, there are strict rules of what is appropriate and what is not. Saturn is the strongest planet in this chart, and it opposes Juno, or rather, Juno opposes Saturn. In this opposition, Juno meets not just his or her partner but an inner attribute that he/she does not like.

Just outside of that boundary is the asteroid Sappho (whose glyph is a double Venus). Sappho represents fellowship among people, and it also represents what Adrienne Rich described as the lesbian continuum, that is, the ways that women relate to one another that approximate intimate partnerships but take many other forms, some sexual, some not.

Relating on that continuum is outside the container of Saturn in this chart, suggesting that while inside the appropriateness construct of Mercury-Saturn, conditioned by the emotional frustrations of Mars in Cancer, there can be a real struggle to relate to others of the same sex in an intimate way. This goes in all directions. It’s an illustration of women mistrusting other women, and also of how same-sex friends can be as much of a perceived threat to an intimate partner as opposite sex friends can be. (In the discovery chart, Venus is in Leo on the South Node, describing a sense of entitlement, including the right to possess another person.)

Planet Waves
Simplified chart for the discovery of Juno, showing the grand cross. Juno is to the left, close to the first degree of Aries (where we see that the personal is political). Mars is below; Saturn and Mercury are to the right, and Chiron is above. More detailed charts here.

Finally, Juno is square Chiron, which is the fourth leg of a grand cross. There is healing in the picture, but really there is a sense of injury from the authoritarianism of Saturn and Capricorn. Chiron in this sign is in survivalist mode. This can be easily triggered by a diversity of factors, both personal and collective (since it stands at that intersection). We would do well to see where, exactly, that seemingly imposed authority is coming from.

Chiron is joined by two other points in Capricorn — Panacea and Icarus. The implication is that Juno seeks peak experiences of healing that will solve everything, i.e., if we go to couples counseling, everything will work out fine, or if I fix you, everything will be fine.

Chiron is opposite Mars. This is a clue how to work with Juno, which can include reverse psychology instead of trying to reason and compromise. Mars should say something to her like, “So I guess sex between you and me is out of the question?” This leaves an opening for her to say, “Maybe not! I’ll be the judge of that.” Note, if you are susceptible to reverse psychology, you probably have a mixed up relationship with yourself and are subject to manipulation.

To sum up, this thing called Juno, which astrologers think describes marriage and marriage relationships as we know them (and can represent both women and men), has a hard time expressing its most basic needs. Communication is a chore, even to the point of seeming impossible. Juno demands that tactics be used, instead of straightforward communication. There is constant emotional frustration, deeply engrained by the family constellation. Sound familiar? If we associate Juno with jealousy and control in relationships, we might go deeper and look at the rage and frustration that lurks beneath it, retrograde in Aries.

The message of this chart is: deal with the rage and frustration. Stop pretending it’s about someone else. Learn to communicate your feelings and your desires, and recognize that not doing so has consequences.
When we can do this, then the more constructive attributes of Juno emerge, including a sane approach to relationships that is based on devotion rather than demands. But we all know how long it can take to get there, and we know that many of our relatives never did. So this is a full-scale transformation project if there ever was one.

As for The End of the World

Now, if we remember that all of this material is rolled up in a little ball, waiting for the Sun to arrive in the first degree of Capricorn on the fabled, mythologized day 12/21/12, we have some real information. Whether we take Juno as representing an inner relationship, or how our inner relationship extends into interpersonal relationships, we need to focus here.

Now, what has this got to do with the end of the world?

Planet Waves
This one has been going around for a while, but it’s still funny — and it may be true.

Two things. In his article Jealousy and the Abyss, William Pennell Rock explains the relationship between the emotion of jealousy and the fear of death, or what he calls the abyss. Most people identify so closely with their relationships (or their desire for a relationship) that the notion of losing the connection comes with the feeling of imminent doom. Said another way, the sensation that the relationship might end is the same as the feeling that life will end, or one’s ego will die.

This is not just some spiritual theory — it’s a description of the actual sensation of jealousy, which is experienced as doomsday, with all of the elegance of the gag reflex. Jealousy is like a glove, and inside the glove is the hand of death, sticking its finger down your throat. In a sense, it’s a mockery of the fear of death, which is why we give it so much power.

Rock suggests that we embrace jealousy as our teacher. He’s saying that if a jealous episode is turned into a control drama, we are missing the opportunity to learn about ourselves, and to learn about the nature of love as surrender. When we turn love into control, we basically kill it, and part of ourselves along with it. This is the constellation of issues that we have on the agenda when it comes to learning about jealousy.

I would take Rock’s theory one step further, something that he doesn’t address in this article. I believe there is an erotic pull to what we think of as jealousy — that is, we can be passionate about embracing our lover as a whole person, with all their desires and feelings included. If we want to go beyond the gag/control reflex of jealousy, that’s the thing we have to do; it’s the only sane or loving response. It’s easier if we recognize this passion as an expression of legitimate sexual desire for, and embrace of, someone we love. This can be expressed many ways (monogamously or not), though the essence is embracing the beloved
as a whole person, complete with all their feelings, even the ones that might threaten you.

If we consider that this whole arrangement of feelings is described by Juno, we get a message from Terpsichore so directly involved in the solstice event — it’s the muse of dance. We have to move with this in order to address it. It’s not enough to stand still or be stuck.

Planet Waves
All civilizations rise and then fall. It’s difficult to imagine ours in ruins a thousand years from now, though that may be because it’s not as well-constructed as this temple. Called Lamanai in Belize, it was occupied as early as the 16th c. BCE, and the Mayans continued to inhabit it into the 17 c. CE. Photo by Jeanne and Ray Burnham.

There’s one last connection to The End. In the solstice chart, asteroid Atlantis is on the Aries Point. It’s the earliest point in the whole zodiac that day. Atlantis, the myth of the ‘lost civilization’ — the one that killed itself due to its lack of ethics about its technology — is one of the most pervasive archetypes in our consciousness. That is to say, the planet representing our deepest collective fear of The End is sitting on the collective/individual intersection in the first degree of Aries, square Juno, Terpsichore and the Sun.

Our Juno crisis is speaking directly to our sensation of an impending apocalypse, and I believe, driving it forward. This suggests that the relationship crisis, and in particular our struggle with an inner relationship, is directly involved with our fears about the imminent demise of our society and our planet. This is an image of our obsession with do-or-die moments, imminent deadlines for enlightenment, the idea that ‘I must die married’, or the notion of the Wargasm at the End of Time: suicidal cultural narcissism.

When that doesn’t happen next week, we’ll still be faced with the same basic agenda for planetary healing, which starts with our emotions, and learning to be true to ourselves — and extends outward from there.


Additional research: Tracy Delaney, Maggie Kelly, Alex Miller, Dale O’Brien and Bruce Scofield.




Planet Waves

About That Yod Pattern in the 12/21/12 Chart

People are starting to figure out that there is no special “2012 alignment” in the sense of something lining up with the Great Pyramid or the Galactic Center on Dec. 21. I am however starting to get inquiries about the yod pattern that’s in the solstice chart, which is illustrated here, highlighting only the planets in this discussion.

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The yod is that triangle pointing at Jupiter. It consists of Saturn in Scorpio (yellow glyph, above left) and Pluto in Capricorn (red glyph lower left) making a sextile, which is then met by Jupiter at a 150-degree angle to both of them. Not shown is the hypothetical planet Poseidon, which is very close to Saturn in Scorpio.

Most astrologers consider yods (of which there are several other exotic varieties — this is the garden variety) to be powerful aspects. Let’s give them the benefit of the doubt. I will note that they are not especially rare; they happen a lot and you can find one on many charts. But this is a pretty hefty one, made stronger by the fact that Saturn and Pluto occupy one another’s signs of rulership. I covered this in last week’s edition.

The Saturn-Pluto aspect is all about getting clear about sex, sexual abuse, the confusion of power and desire and the use of sex as a source of power over other people. We are used to being confused about all of these issues, and using sexual power as a kind of entitlement. After all, if it’s the only power you have, then why not use it? There are good reasons not to, including the fact that if you go to the power side of the spectrum, you go away from the pleasure side of the spectrum.

If you apply an ancient rule to modern astrology, Saturn and Pluto are in what’s called mutual reception — they are in one another’s signs, and can therefore switch places. This is a reminder that we have options, and that we can change perspectives. Most of our problems come from the idea that we don’t have any options and cannot change our perspective. If we could see that, we could do something about it, but the problem stems from being stuck in one’s viewpoint.

Planet Waves
Synthesis by Eric Francis – Blue Studio, New York.

Given that the focus of the 12/21/12 chart is relationships, and in particular, the role of frustrated but power-obsessed Juno in our relationships, this aspect gives us a key to work with. In a yod pattern, the planet at the end is sometimes thought to resolve the issue described by the aspect structure. That points us to Jupiter, which is retrograde in Gemini. Jupiter is in its sign of detriment, opposite one of the signs that it traditionally rules.

Jupiter in this position is telling itself stories. These stories are past tapes (retrograde). They also don’t add up to anything that makes coherent sense, but we keep telling them to ourselves. There are two sides to the story (a Gemini factor) but we may only be seeing one of them, or one at a time, and not reconciling both sides of the issue.

Saturn and Pluto are saying go deep. That is to say, go deeper, then go deeper again. If you’re not willing to share your reality with someone you say is a partner, then it’s not an honest relationship, or at least not a useful one, except to preserve the false version of events that you’re repeating. The idea is not to tell yourself new or better stories, but to see these stories for what they are, when it actually helps to do so.

Jupiter is opposite Venus, which arrives in Sagittarius Saturday. This provides a clear, alternate point of view, perhaps in the form of a friend or exemplar who has already been through what you’re going through. You may feel like you’re in this by yourself, but I assure you that you’re not. Many other people face the kinds of issues that you do, and they are willing to share their wisdom. Your role is to get out of your head; get out of your thought loops; stop the argument; and honor the process of growth and healing.

This is not theoretical; it is real — and the best thing you can do is find examples of sanity that you can use as your reference points. One way you will recognize them is that no topic is off limits. And sex is not a moral issue, it’s a practical and cosmic one.

There is one last aspect in this chart that I will cover separately — Mercury in Sagittarius opposite Vesta in Gemini. Check next Tuesday’s edition of Planet Waves FM for that. I will also discuss the yod pattern further.


Planet Waves

And Now a Little Good News:

We may be at the edge of the fiscal cliff, but on Sunday scores of same-sex couples in Washington State took a different plunge on the first day they were legally allowed to marry. Colorado has enacted its new law allowing the recreational use of marijuana one month ahead of schedule; Washington State enacted a similar law on Thursday.

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Sen.-elect Elizabeth Warren, tapped to serve on the Senate Banking Committee. Photo: Wikimedia/Twp.

So far, those are two items from the fabled Election Day Mercury retrograde station that look like they are holding fast. Sources report Santa has been advised to avoid cookies and brownies left out in those states on Dec. 24.

In another positive post-Mercury retrograde, Election Day development, Massachusetts Democratic Senator-elect Elizabeth Warren, who won an impressive victory over Republican incumbent Scott Brown, has been selected to join the Senate Banking Committee when she is sworn in with the new Congress next month.

Best known for launching the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau under President Obama, Warren’s bid to join the Senate, and subsequently the Banking Committee, was heavily opposed by Wall Street lobbyists.

“Perhaps most important, the Senate committee seat gives Warren an even more influential bully pulpit than if she had ended up as director of the consumer watchdog bureau. Now she’s in a position to enact legislation,” noted David Lazarus, writing for the L.A. Times.


Planet Waves

Doing Right by King

Planet Waves
Photo by the National Park Service.

Mercury leaves its echo (or shadow) phase today in Sagittarius, sign of beliefs, higher ideals and justice, and this week brought a perfect illustration of the corrective sense that can come with Mercury moving on. A truncated quotation by Martin Luther King, Jr. on his memorial in Washington, D.C., is being removed.

The quotation on the monument, “I was a drum major for justice, peace and righteousness,” removes crucial phrasing that, according to poet Maya Angelou, indicated King’s humble acceptance of this view of himself by others.

King actually said, “If you want to say that I was a drum major, say that I was a drum major for justice. Say that I was a drum major for peace. I was a drum major for righteousness. And all of the other shallow things will not matter.” He spoke the words in a 1968 sermon at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia.

Angelou asserted that the rephrasing made King sound arrogant. Artist Lei Yixin, who sculpted the monument, said removal was the best way to ensure the structural integrity of the memorial, rather than trying to fix it, according to the National Park Service.


Planet Waves

Is the Digital Age Transforming Intimacy?

Everyone knows about ‘generation gaps’, but there is one growing in the realm of sex. ‘Digital natives’ — young people who have never known a world without the Internet — are exhibiting less and less interest in real-life sex (especially young men) and serious/committed intimate relationships (both young men and women).

Planet Waves
When does more contact equal less intimacy?

The median number of daily texts sent by teens is about 60; texts are a way to be ‘in contact’ yet distant, and they’re just one indicator of the aversion to actual intimacy that seems to be growing in many populations, but especially in those under 30 years old.

“In fact, a rapidly growing percentage of digital natives report literally being disinterested, even turned off by ‘in the flesh’ sex,” writes Robert Weiss, on Huffington Post.

Studies are showing increasing numbers of young men are seeking out the company of other guys and the fantasy worlds provided by online games, movies and porn over real-life social interaction.
Even for young women in college, a ‘serious relationship’ is more often viewed as a threat to future school and career goals like an unintended pregnancy was decades ago. ‘Hookup culture’ appears to be an unlikely bastion of ‘feminist’ independence — and yet, young people of both genders are actually having less sex than prior generations.

Is this something young people are likely to grow out of? Or are current younger generations being ‘hard wired’ not to have the tools to engage in, sustain and grow with face-to-face intimate bonds? Serious intimate and sexual relationships can certainly be challenging. But we also learn to grow in relationship, and we are tactile beings with a creative drive that expresses itself biologically.

Alexandra Katehakis, also writing for Huffington Post, outlines three meditations aimed at achieving greater emotional/spiritual intimacy through daily acts of sexual mindfulness. The meditations are offered by The Center for Healthy Sex, which has a focus on treating sexual addiction — the opposite issue from the one written about by Weiss, yet also a barrier to intimacy.

The first meditation offered last week focuses on eelings of betrayal and their release to open up relational space. The second is an exercise in celibacy to gain sexual perspective, akin to fasting to gain perspective on how your body responds to what you eat. The third is a way to cultivate a sense of abundant, fulfilling sexual energy and identity regardless of whether you are engaging in any sexual acts.


Planet Waves

Snow Turtles on the Wing

Environmentalists on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, were able to fly 35 endangered sea turtles to rehab facilities in warmer climes, with a little help from a regularly scheduled Coast Guard training flight a week ago. The Loggerhead and Kemp’s Ridley turtles had gotten stuck in the crook of Cape Cod’s ‘arm’ when they instinctually tried to swim south for the winter, not realizing they had to go north first and then east to get out of the bay.

Planet Waves
A Loggerhead sea turtle flies through the sea. Photo: Wikipedia.

In past years, environmentalists have been able to use a network of private plane owners from Long Island to Maine to shuttle a few stranded turtles south as they fly to Florida for vacation. This year, however, a record 150-plus turtles, mostly young, got stuck in the bay.

Since they are reptiles, turtles easily develop hypothermia in the colder water and become malnourished. They get wrapped in blankets and boxed up for flight only after the rescue facility at the New England Aquarium deems them healthy enough to travel.

“It’s exciting. We’re getting ready for the ‘snow turtles,’ as I like to call them,” said Nadine Slimak at the Mote Marine Lab in Sarasota, whose animal hospital took three 30- to 70-pound Loggerheads. Staffers there named them “Cindy,” “Lou” and “Stu” — after characters in Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch Who Stole Christmas. The rest of the turtles are being distributed to five different facilities in Florida.


Planet Waves

Fiscal Cliff Proving Hard to Climb

Talks in Washington about averting the so-called fiscal cliff (it’s more like a slippery slope of tax rate negotiations) continue with no real breakthroughs. If none are forthcoming, the American government will become subject to the Budget Control Act of 2011 at the end of this year.

At stake is whether or not your taxes go up — a more pressing issue than the Mayan calendar for most people. Remember those tax cuts for the super rich that were supposed to expire at the end of 2010, that were extended and that Obama allowed to be extended for two years? That’s a big part of the story, as are automatic budget cuts that come into play as part of a prior deal.

Planet Waves
The economy and the climate are related, but only taxes seem to get anyone’s attention. Larger version of this cartoon here.

The Budget Control Act comprises automatic spending cuts to many government programs (including Medicare and defense) and expiring tax cuts (such as last year’s temporary payroll tax cuts and the so-called ‘Bush tax cuts’ for the wealthy, mentioned above). Taxes supporting Obama’s health care plan, among other things, will begin.

U.S. lawmakers are in a deadlock drama, with a lot of help from the Tea Party caucus. (Remember that Tea is really TEA, “taxed enough already.”) They could let the current scheduled policies take effect in January, which would likely plunge the country back into a recession (though not immediately, Wile E. Coyote-style).
The other extreme would be to cancel all or some of the spending cuts and tax increases, adding to the deficit and making a Euro-style financial crisis likely.

Or, they could choose some middle path, dealing with budget issues in a more limited way and with less dramatic potential for economic growth.

“In the five weeks since we’ve signaled our willingness to forge an agreement with the president, he has never put forth a plan that meets these standards. And frankly, that’s why we don’t have an agreement today,” said House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) this week, who is outright lying.

“The obstacle, thus far, has been the adamant [Republican] refusal to accept the proposition that rates have to go up for the top 2 percent and that rates must continue to stay where they are so that there is no tax hike on 98 percent of the American people,” countered Jay Carney, the White House press secretary.

Last week Boehner said he understands the rich will be providing extra revenue, but wants to do so without raising tax rates, which amounts to a blowjob for his mega-rich corporate sponsors. Boehner is the real thing — the guy who once gave out campaign donation checks from cigarette companies on the House floor.

The issue is more complicated than that, and is not being helped by the fact that a new Congress will not be sworn in until Jan. 3 — after the deadline.

For a more thorough explanation, visit this page on About.com.


Planet Waves

Planet Waves
“Most people get used to being away from home but I find it hard. It’s your fear that keeps you alive here.” Photo of Private Chris MacGregor, 24, by Lalage Snow.

It’s All in the Eyes

The website My Modern Met features a haunting photo essay titled We Are The Not Dead by photographer Lalage Snow. Each image is a triptych of photos taken of a British soldier before, during and after his tour of duty in Iraq or Afghanistan. Quotations by the men and women for each phase of time accompany the images.

“It was a very personal project and stemmed from having embedded with the military on and off for four years in Iraq and Afghanistan and bearing witness to how many young men return as shadows of their former selves and, in many cases, with deep, psychological scars,” said Snow. “As the body count of British servicemen killed or wounded rose and the political ramifications of the British army’s presence in Afghanistan became increasingly convoluted, more and more soldiers felt like they didn’t have a voice, or at least, weren’t being listened to. We Are The Not Dead is an attempt at giving the brave young men and women the chance to explain how it really is.”


Planet Waves

Sagittarius New Moon & The End

Here’s the new edition of Planet Waves FM. In this edition, I cover the Sagittarius New Moon chart (which was 3:41 am EST Thursday), as well as continuing the discussion of The End of the World. If you’re looking for Renee Blue O’Connell, here is her homepage.


Planet Waves

Your Monthly Horoscopes — and our Publishing Schedule Notes

The December monthly horoscope was published Friday, Nov. 23. Inner Space for December was published Tuesday, Nov. 27. I recommend reviewing the monthly horoscope at the end of the month. The January monthly horoscope will be published Friday, Dec. 21; after that, we are taking a break from subscriber issues to work on the 2013 annual edition. The next full edition of Planet Waves after the solstice will be Friday, Jan. 11. The November Moonshine Horoscope was published Tuesday, Nov. 20. Please note that the longer monthly horoscope is being incorporated into the Friday issue after the Sun has entered a new sign; Inner Space still publishes on Tuesdays.


Planet Waves

Weekly Horoscope for Friday, Dec. 14, 2012 #930 | By Eric Francis

Sagittarius Birthdays This Week

Your birthday falls in the very last days of the Mayan long count. Are you impressed? You should be. While I don’t believe that mass-scale spontaneous enlightenment is likely this week, it’s eminently possible for you. You have both Mercury and Venus in your sign, which suggests that you’re feeling good about yourself and have resources available. What are you going to do with them? Don’t be deterred by the notion that relationship partners don’t seem to be ‘ready’ or on your level. Focus on your own healing, growth and happiness. Focus on the mission that you have chosen in this lifetime, which is the thing that you want to do the most. As you develop yourself, and do your best to maintain communication with others about your growth process rather than theirs, you will see that they will seem to come on board. But this starts with you; consider what you’re seeing in the world around you as a reflection of your own thoughts and ideas. The most significant thing you can bring to the process is devotion: to yourself, to life, and to the people that you love.


Aries (March 20-April 19)

Aries (March 20-April 19) — You have seen the ways that working with precision and high focus benefit you. Now the focus is on ethics. This is a bigger problem, because in our current version of the world, good work is sometimes rewarded, while honesty is not. But you’ve reached the point where you no longer have a choice in the matter. Looking at your charts, one could say you’re under too much scrutiny to involve yourself in any kind of monkey business. This matters a lot less than your conscience, though it may be that the spotlight you’re under is making you feel like you had better pay attention to your image. Go deeper. Consider the influence of your actions, your choices and your point of view. It’s much more significant than you may think, and people are picking up on a lot more than your appearance. It is your thought process that counts the most now; how you work out the logic of right and wrong. It’s clear that you have big ambitions. Make sure you get where you’re going with sincerity, kindness and respect.


Taurus (April 19- May 20)

Taurus (April 19-May 20) — You have expanded your horizons many ways this year. How do you feel, compared to where you were at this time in 2011? Your charts suggest that most of this expansion has involved changing your relationship to what you think is possible. You’re not done with this. The next phase of the process is what you think is possible — without connecting it to an intimate relationship. While your sign is notorious for its themes of attachment and possessiveness, you’re starting to figure out the way that this rigs the whole game of life against you. Your view of love, of relationships and yes, of money, is more global than you may imagine. If you emphasize your broad and portable perspective rather than camping out in any one point of view, you increase the odds of success and happiness exponentially. Measure potential based on what you have never done rather than what you have tried to do. Think of the world as comprising all the places you have not been, rather than the ones you know well.


Gemini (May 20- June 21)

Gemini (May 20-June 21) — You’re starting to see the light about a relationship or partnership situation that’s been a persistent mystery. You’ve figured out this situation in layers. Yet how exactly did you miss the obvious for so long? You’re in a good position to figure that out as well; this is the piece that’s 100% about you rather than being about anyone else. It involves your need for security, which has a way of leading you into situations wherein you don’t exactly end up being so safe. The safe place is not a situation; rather, when you find it, you will discover that it’s your inner orientation. This seems difficult or even impossible for many people to learn, though every factor in your chart is pointing to precisely this fact. Once you understand what projection is, it will be easier to see how your confidence or sense of belonging outside yourself not only distracts you from where that confidence really resides; you also miss opportunities to share with others as a result of making them into something they are not. This is no longer necessary.


Cancer (June 21- July 22)

Cancer (June 21-July 22) — You have taken considerable territory in your professional life this year, and even if you don’t feel that way, I assure you that the space is open. The key is balancing being different, innovative and iconoclastic with sufficient grounding that you can count on yourself to get the job done well. Yet there is also something here about recognizing the power that you perceive others to have, and in particular, their power over you. Simply put, most of the time, they have that power because you think they do. The most important thing you can do to ensure your longterm success and happiness is see all the ways in which the world really is built on level ground. I know this can take some careful looking, though mainly it requires maturity. Emphasize the human dimension. All these people around you have one thing in common — they are people. This is the reason they are approachable; it’s why you can get over your habit of being intimidated by talent, reputation or power. You may not have the same potential as everyone you meet, but they can remind you that you have your own potential.


Leo (July 22- Aug. 23)

Leo (July 22-Aug. 23) — The creative process is calling on you to take a chance and change the world. That’s what creativity does, and it’s what sex does. Or looked at another way, these aspects of life are about creating new worlds. Clearly it requires a measure of what some would call arrogance to do this. James Joyce associated being a novelist with playing God, because you control the whole universe of the story. Yet there is another perspective, preferred by many writers (including J.R.R. Tolkien) — what is created starts to take on a life of its own. Either of these situations calls on a high degree of ethics in the creative process. While it’s necessary to take risks, it’s also necessary to observe the law of unintended consequences. This is the responsibility piece of creativity, and while it’s necessary to pay close attention to this factor, you also know that there is only so far you can take it. You must use care and intention through the process, then at a certain point, you have to let the flaming arrow fly.


Virgo (Aug. 23- Sep. 22)

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22) — Mercury, your primary planet, has finally left the degree where it began its retrograde dance for the past two months. This is leading you directly to a moment of emotional clarity. For the next few weeks, you have the opportunity to see how, exactly, it works out that you feel under emotional siege so much of the time. Much of why this happens involves the persistent effects of certain seemingly long-gone situations, which are not actually so gone. They exist within you and within the realm of karma. It would be incorrect to call this an illusion, since the effects are real, though when you finally see through it you will realize that it had a kind of unreal quality. You have to look directly at it, with a measure of detachment, and actually feel how old this struggle is, and how far back it goes. If you plan to be visiting any relatives (particularly on your father’s side of the family), you have the perfect opportunity for study. Note how easy it is to get dragged into the negativity. Once you learn to stay out, many doors will open.


Libra (Sep. 22 - Oct. 23)

Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23) — I suggest you take every opportunity to get out of your head. You are immersed in a world of ideas; some are friendly, some are creative, and some represent the darker shades of existence. ‘In your head’ means thinking and thinking with no sense of resolution. ‘Out of your head’ can mean a few things — one is out into the world, the 3D world of experience. It can also mean into some form of expression, which would be both exciting and therapeutic, and lead to other adventures. There is a lot to be said for the imagination. Arm-chair travel is a real thing. But to have some fine, exotic experiences, you actually don’t need to go far. In fact, some of what you want is coming in your direction even as you are heading toward it. There is a meeting place, and it’s not necessarily that far from where you’re sitting right now. Meanwhile, to the extent that you are using your mind, do so in a creative way. Use pictures. Use words. Use sound. Your mind contains the deep pool known as your imagination — a truly beautiful thing.


Scorpio (Oct. 23- Nov. 22)

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22) — No matter how complex you are, or what you’ve been through, you’re in an excellent position to have true companionship. This may come in the form of new friends or openings with long-standing friends and/or lovers. You have the option to open nearly any conversation with anyone, and by that, I mean the discussion of real subject matter. There is only one little condition, which is that you be willing to be forthright and vulnerable. Your sincerity is the elixir that opens up the portals to a deeper place. Your willingness to investigate and question your values is what makes it safe for others to do so. And you do have questions, as far as I can see — questions about what is really important to you; questions about why you’re alive; questions about the nature of existence. It’s usually easy to gloss these questions over; it’s easy, most of the time, to pretend they don’t exist. But not now. The questions are there, they run deep, and you will benefit from going deep with others into their true nature; into your true nature.


Sagittarius (Nov. 22 - Dec. 22)

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22) — An extraordinary New Moon in your birth sign on Dec. 13 is pushing you to express yourself, your whole self and nothing but yourself. This is often a risky venture on our planet, where we like to think that most of the people who tell the truth end up martyrs. I am not merely suggesting you tell the truth or lead the people or lay out a philosophy that could benefit many, based on the challenges you have faced so bravely. I am suggesting that you live your truth without compromise. Now, doing that also means living the truth of the aspects of yourself that you may not like, or that compromise your peace of mind. It includes being real about the history that led you to where you are today. Being real, however, does not mean acting out. It more suggests acting on — which can include opening yourself up to the healing and contact that you need. Sometimes it’s the darkness in us that can lead to a sense of isolation; and fact one of your life now is that no longer needs to be true. And if it ever did, it no longer matters today.


Capricorn (Dec. 22- Jan. 20)

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20) — One theme of the astrology the past few months has been about inner reality vs. outer. In a world dominated by appearances, it’s easy to forget that there is an inner reality, though you’re unlikely to be missing that fact now. The question seems to be not what you want to bring forth into the world, but how exactly you’re going to do it. Your inner space is churning with passion and pathos; with questions about your past, and an urgent desire to enter the moment you are in now. Crossing over this barrier can seem like finding your way through an invisible portal, or making your way into a parallel universe. It’s really not so difficult; ordinary circumstances will draw you out of that veiled world. Bring your feelings into your daily experience. Remember at 10 am that you’re the same person who had those thoughts, feelings and desires at 6 am when you were dreaming. Remember that you’re never separate from yourself; you are yourself.


Aquarius (Jan. 20- Feb. 19)

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) — If it’s true that Aquarius has a socially crusading nature, part of that is about the placement of Sagittarius in your chart — on the 11th house of your vision and your relationship to the public. This suggests a spiritual orientation within the world, and what is very likely to be a form of aspiration to grow and expand. Yet to what extent do you feel authentic in this? Do you ever get nervous when you’re seen as being ‘more spiritual’ than you feel? I would suggest that having your doubts is healthy, because you know that so much of what seems holy is such unmitigated hogwash, suds, grime and all. What makes spiritual real is its ability to manifest in relationships. A calling focuses itself as an inner alignment, which then must extend into social existence in order to have an influence. You may not feel ready to extend yourself this way; in truth you may feel less ready than you did a year ago. I would propose that these are healthy sensations, if you’re feeling them. None of this indicates actual lack of preparation, or lack of clear intention, only the willingness to reality check.


Pisces (Feb. 19- March 20)

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) — You’re at one of the most meaningful professional turning points in recent decades, assuming you’re old enough to have been plying your trade for that long. What’s developing now is reminiscent of what was happening in 1995, or 2001/2002. This is a standout moment when you faced real challenges, yet you had the passion and motivation to recognize them as opportunities. You have come a long way since then, and what I suggest you remember is how much you’re working with in the way of personal resources. You are finally starting to take full possession of who you are, which means having access to those inner resources. Opportunity you experience now is different from what it was in the past; so too is the elusive concept of potential. Both of these notions are only meaningful if we apply them to existence, and this seems to be what you’re doing. You may think this is taking a while; in truth, it has already taken a while, and you’re at the point of contact, action and expression now. Be patient and choose carefully your approach to every situation you find yourself in.


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