Tag Archives: Chiron in Pisces

Flowing with the Currents and Lighting the Fire

By Amanda Painter

With the Sun now in Pisces as of this past weekend, winter starts to loosen its grip and we begin the approach to spring (even if the weather doesn’t play along consistently). Right now we have a concentration of planets in Pisces, the last sign of the zodiac; yet it won’t be long before the sky’s emphasis begins shifting again, from deep water to the fire of Aries.

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Regeneration, Healing and the Scorpio New Moon

By Amanda Painter

There is plenty else going on in the world besides the calling out of sexual harassment and assault that needs our attention and energy. Yet, this is a huge topic at the moment — for good reason, given how much pain it has caused to so many people. If you’re finding yourself constantly triggered and exhausted, know that you are not alone, and it’s okay to take care of yourself and to seek help.

In the moment before regeneration; photo by Amanda Painter.

In the moment before regeneration; photo by Amanda Painter.

With a New Moon in Scorpio on Saturday, exact at 6:42 am EST (11:42 UTC), it seems the cosmos is asking us to consider where we go from here.

Hopefully the current spotlight on the lopsided sexual power dynamic has gotten you thinking — I mean really thinking — about the many layers of this issue in our culture; about how we got here and what your own role has been; and, perhaps most importantly, how to move forward into healing individually and collectively.

That’s a lot to take on. You might find that you can handle some facets of the conversation but not others. Or you might find yourself at one end of the healing process (for example, just beginning to identify how you’ve been hurt, or how you’ve hurt others), and it might seem impossible to envision getting to a place where you’ll feel better and can stand more fully in your life.

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Threefold Goddess in a Field of Grain

Dear Friend and Reader:

El Sol is now in Virgo; it made its ingress to the sixth sign of the zodiac Thursday at 7:02 pm EDT. Virgo is the mutable earth sign (the only one). Mutability is a form of changeability; earth is a form of stability. We have some tension manifesting through that contrast.

Planet Waves
Grain field in West Branch, Iowa. Photo by Theresa Luttenegger.

Of course, the Earth is in a constant state of flux and change, especially in our era of Earth changes. We live with that tension, as we expect the climate and geography to be reasonably stable, though so often in our moment of history it’s anything but.

Virgo is the third sign of the summer up here in our part of the world; as a mutable sign, it’s the disseminating phase of the season. (Note that all the seasons end with a mutable sign — Gemini ends Northern Hemisphere spring, Virgo ends summer, Sagittarius ends autumn and Pisces ends winter.) That is part of what makes the sign mutable: it arrives in a moment of transition. Mutable signs can also express themselves as a cardinal sign or as a fixed sign — another example of their changeability.

Associated with Mercury, in the traditional ruling planet we get another image of changeability. Mercury changes directions six times a year, more than any other planet (three stations retrograde, and three stations direct). Its speed is varying constantly, and it accelerates and decelerates (in and out of its stations retrograde and direct) more quickly than any other planet.

If you look up Virgo in a dependable old text, you’ll find that it’s associated with dairy production, cornfields, granaries, malt-houses, or places where barley, wheat, peas, cheese and butter are stored. In other words, going back to the significant agricultural roots of astrology, Virgo is the sign that’s about having enough to eat. Not surprisingly, given the time of year that it occurs in the Northern Hemisphere (where our astrology was developed), Virgo is the sign of the harvest.

Virgo is also associated with libraries and studies — revealing of the scholarly traits that modern astrology books associate with this sign. Fred Gettings, in his excellent astrology dictionary, describes Virgo as a sign “deeply committed to the intellectual process.”

Planet Waves
The eminently wise William Lilly, friend to humanity and embodiment of the Violet Ray, was the first to create an astrology text in English.

Those of us who know and love Virgos are familiar with intelligent, clever, somewhat nervous people who can never seem to do enough. And it’s difficult to figure out where you stand with them, since like the motion of their ruling planet Mercury, every day is a little different.

You can think of this as Virgo in its outer form — how it expresses itself in ways that we can observe with the senses and eat for breakfast. Then there are the deeper layers. We can find something about this in a 1951 text called Esoteric Astrology by Alice A. Bailey.

“The sign Virgo is one of the most significant in the zodiac,” Bailey writes in her introduction to this sign, “for its symbology concerns the whole goal of the evolutionary process, which is to shield, nurture and finally reveal the hidden spiritual reality. This every form veils, but the human form is equipped and fitted to manifest it in a manner different to any other expression of divinity and so make tangible and objective that for which the whole creative process was intended.”

She describes this process as being conveyed in three female figures from mythology: Eve, Isis and Mary. Each of these goddesses conceals and gestates the inner spiritual quality of humanity until it’s born in human form as Jesus, the Christ. I don’t think she means this literally as much as she is presenting a metaphor of spiritual development, and a model of the feminine being what gestates a deeper quality in humanity.

Eve “took the apple of knowledge from the serpent of matter and started the long human undertaking of experiment, experience and expression” of our journey on and with our planet. Isis “stands for this same expression down onto the emotional or astral plane.” Mary “carries the process down to the plane
or place of incarnation, the physical plane, and therefore gives birth to the Christ child.”

Many things are going on here, in the midst of the anachronism of these three figures; one of them is that Bailey is describing Virgo as an expression of the threefold goddess, which takes many other forms. Another is that she is describing Virgo as a sign that, through a series of steps, brings humanity closer to its essential spiritual nature — the one we know exists at least in theory and more probably as a spark of light within us — being born in real life, as a physical manifestation.

Planet Waves
Alice Ann Bailey.

An idea becomes real; a potential manifests. The germ of life inside the seed of grain is protected, and when the conditions are right, it emerges and grows. That is the essence of Virgo, where we see so much in the way of intellectual expression yearning for a place to take form. To do this, it’s necessary to honor the life within what we’re doing, and the deeper life within ourselves. This takes patience and care. It requires living in service of that inner light, until it’s fully born.

Even in the most ordinary themes of Virgo we see these qualities expressed — for example, the undeniable emphasis on service that Virgo so often presents. When a person with strong Virgo in their chart is in conflict or crisis, it would be a good idea to check for the extent to which they are honoring and are in harmony with that inner life. Note: service does not necessarily mean being a nurse or a teacher. It means doing what one came here to do; it means following one’s true calling, which almost invariably serves humanity.

Notably, many people alive today have unusually powerful Virgo signatures in their charts — for example, everyone born between 1957 and 1972 has Pluto in Virgo (there will be some small exceptions on the far ends of that date range, when Pluto was transitioning between signs).

Through the core of that era Uranus was also in Virgo, as this sign was the scene of the Uranus-Pluto conjunction of 1965-1966. That conjunction has a wide orb of influence, spanning at minimum from the late 1950s to the early 1970s. And we are experiencing a manifestation of that event today, as Uranus and Pluto are now making their famous square aspect — the defining aspect of our era.

One recent manifestation of the deeper nature of Virgo came with the discovery of Chiron in 1977. While Chiron is not the ‘ruling’ planet of Virgo, there are many associations between Chiron and Virgo, and Chiron does indeed seem to have transformed our notion and experience of Virgo.

Chiron is physically a massive comet. At 160 to 180 kilometers across, it is thousands of times the size of even the largest comets we can typically see — but too far away to resolve even for most telescopes. Chiron orbits our Sun in a 51-year egg-shaped path that crosses Saturn’s orbit and goes out nearly as far as Uranus.

Planet Waves
Education of Achilles by Jean-Baptiste Regnault. This is Chiron — mentor to many — teaching Achilles how to use bow and arrow.

The discovery of Chiron, and considerable early enthusiasm about it, raised much speculation about what sign this new planet might rule. This notion was based on an assumption that new planets rule anything at all. But by 1977, the modern planets (Uranus, Neptune and Pluto) were said to rule Aquarius, Pisces and Scorpio respectively. So when Chiron came along, astrologers were ensconced in the dubious habit of thinking that something new had to rule a sign.

While this issue is potentially debatable, Chiron certainly has a lot to say about Virgo and a close affinity for it. Chiron’s dedication to healing, service and perfecting the human experience is related to Virgo rather impeccably. Chiron always seems to be struggling to bring something from a ‘higher level’ into the physical plane.

Chiron will do whatever it needs to do, again and again, until it gets our attention. If you track your lifetime Chiron transits, you will see this in action. It is not easy integrating the energy of one level of experience into the other — anyone who has tried to bring loving vibes into their place of work might know what I’m talking about — but with persistence, it can be done. And Chiron is persistent if nothing else.

Chiron of Greek mythology was a surgeon and the primary teacher of Asclepius, the god of medicine. There is not a lot of room for error in these distinctly human fields of work. The roles of both teaching and nursing have long been associated with Virgo.

The mental obsession that Chiron can bring helps us see through Virgo in a way that’s helpful. As Barbara Hand Clow has pointed out, this obsessive quality is one of the most important links between Chiron and Virgo, something that tricksterish, often annoyingly neutral Mercury could not really explain fully. Chiron is no messenger, and he’s not neutral; he is someone with a mission, who speaks through action.

That mission has been likened to the Christ from the earliest days of astrologers interpreting Chiron, so we might speculate that Virgo has given birth to the Christ energy in the form of this new planet. Many of the early astrologers who considered the mythology of Chiron, which involves an immortal who experiences death and resurrection, have made this connection, particularly Zane Stein. But what exactly does this mean, in a world where the mythology of Jesus is twisted in ways that are used to preach intolerance, hatred and mass murder?

Planet Waves
Smile, bitch! Betty Dodson being jabbed by her business partner and attorney-in-situ, Carlin Ross, getting her to chill out in front of the camera. Photo by Eric Francis.

It means that a) we had better start thinking of Jesus a bit more compassionately (Christians: stick to the red letters), and b) that Chiron is going to push us to become whole, authentic people, whatever it takes.

Chiron is now in Pisces, the sign opposite Virgo. It is therefore influencing everyone with planets in any mutable sign.

But it’s especially significant for those with any strong Virgo signature — such as the Sun, Moon or ascendant, and anyone born during the Pluto in Virgo era. This is a second activation point of the Uranus-Pluto conjunction of the long and deeply influential era we call the Sixties.

Speaking of goddesses, Virgo, Chiron and Uranus-Pluto, Betty Dodson turns 84 on Saturday. Betty is the patron saint of sex education here at Planet Waves. The author of the first factual book about masturbation (with a focus on women), Betty has spent the past 40+ years working and playing as a sexual revolutionary. She was one of a very few people who were willing to break the silence on all matters of sexuality, not as an expert or scientist but in her role as human being — especially on gender-queer and masturbation issues.

I think of Betty as the ultimate incarnation of Virgo, from the level of personality (her immaculate home, her impeccable attention to detail especially in her art and writing, and her somewhat fussy personality) right out to how she expresses her deepest mission, as an incarnation of the healer-initiate.

When she entered mainstream public consciousness in 1973, she was willing to go where no outspoken person had gone before: advocating female masturbation. It’s easy for us to take this for granted now, when the topic is a favorite of popular sexual cinema (i.e., ‘porn’), a bona-fide fetish and something that nearly all women do. She offered the idea that they could love that fact, and express it openly with one another and in their intimate partnerships. Her publishing debut was an August 1973 article in Ms. magazine that her editors made her rewrite more than a dozen times over two years before they finally published it.

It wasn’t always that way. Indeed, when Betty published that article in Ms. and her subsequent (associated) pamphlet, Liberating Masturbation, the topic was verboten, even disgusting and disgraceful; it was easier to get information about ancient pagan rituals, the Illuminati and the secret ingredient in Coca-Cola. You could probably could have gotten a good few doctors to agree that having the mumps was healthier for you.

Planet Waves
One of Betty’s early drawings of female masturbation. She came to be a writer and sex educator as an outgrowth of her fine art.

For any woman who today complains that any man in her life, or men in general, are into women’s masturbation, thank your lucky stars. You don’t want to go back to the old days, when it was a criminal act of moral turpitude, a disease, an embarrassment and a betrayal of relational fidelity. (Note, some people still feel this way; I encourage you to arise from your slumber and get with it.)

To the extent that people today think that female masturbation is a beautiful thing (or that it exists at all, and is a healthy, necessary expression of sexuality), we can personally and individually thank Betty Dodson.
Trust me: this took guts, determination and intelligence. And she brought all her talent as a writer, artist and activist to the project. She took big chances and was made an outcast many times along the way.

To the best I’ve been able to research the topic, the assault on masturbation started with a 1612 book called Onania, and this work of demonic propaganda is not answered until Betty comes along and openly corrects the record and offers a new set of teachings. [You can read more about Onania in this article.]

When you look up “sex-positive feminism” in Wikipedia, you find out that, “also known as pro-sex feminism, sex-radical feminism, or sexually liberal feminism, [it] is a movement that began in the early 1980s that centers on the idea that sexual freedom is an essential component of women’s freedom.”

Betty was opening up the topic long before the 1980s. During second-wave feminism of the 1960s and 1970s, sex was not a welcome topic or point of serious consideration; feminism was generally an intellelctual political movement, and the main role of sex within politics is scandal.

Planet Waves
A collection of Betty Dodson videos, all now available on DVD.

It was rare at that time to associate masturbation with liberation or personal growth, but consider how logical it would have been: if feminism is about liberating women from the bonds of and dependency on men, a significant part of that dependency involves sex.

The fact that young women can have access to information about masturbation potentially saves them from all kinds of sexual mishaps early in their erotic maturity.

For all it attempted, pretended and succeeded to do, the sexual revolution overlooked masturbation — except for lil’ ol’ Betty Dodson, who had a marvelous way of keeping the message coming.

Today sex-positive feminism is an established movement (even if it’s something of a boutique item most places) and an essential part of what’s called third-wave feminism — the “not your mother’s variety” of feminism. To the extent that we can have a genius sex educator like Laci Green offer us the Freaky Labia video, we have Betty Dodson to thank for going there first. Most young sex educators have heard of Betty but don’t necessarily know the vacuum of ignorance that she was speaking into and how far we’ve come since she first did so.

Betty is also aware of how far we have to go — and how much backsliding into propagated ignorance and fear has happened under the American Taliban in recent years. We have yet to fully assess the damage caused by three decades of abstinence indoctrination, obsession with premature marriage and prosecuting minors for having sex with one another.

Betty’s chart is the essence of Virgo: with Virgo Sun and Neptune in the ascendant, and Chiron on the North Node, she is born of pure determination and devotion to her mission. It’s not easy to be a sex education pioneer in a society that is devoted to guilt, shame and exploitation — and it’s taken the kind of spiritual strength indicated by this placement to help her get there.

Sun-Neptune rising gives her the chart signature of a documentary filmmaker; she has made many such films. Even though most of her other films feature many scenes of individual and group female masturbation, my favorite work by Dodson is called “Her Life of Sex and Art,” which is now available free on YouTube.

Planet Waves
Sample of Betty’s 1973 article in Ms. Magazine, published 40 years ago this week.

One thing that jumps out of Betty’s chart is that she was born during the Uranus-Pluto square of the early 1930s. She was born in 1929 but that was well within range of the square — she has Uranus in Aries and Pluto in Cancer. We are now experiencing a Uranus-Pluto square once again, only this time Uranus is in Aries and Pluto is in Capricorn. Uranus and Pluto together bring out revolutionary tendencies, and Betty surely qualifies.

In a similar light, she’s having her Uranus return — the planet with an 84-year orbit has returned to its natal position in her chart, having completed one full cycle in her lifetime of stirring the pot, speaking truth to power and inventing the notion of legitimate female orgasm.

There are many gems in her chart (most of them involving asteroids), but the crown jewel is Chiron conjunct the North Node in Taurus in the 9th house. This combines the physicality and self-focus of Taurus with the healing mission and pointed determination of Chiron, coupled with a global spiritual calling of the 9th house.

It is worth mentioning that she took aim at the religiously indoctrinated body shame that pervades all of modern Western culture to some degree or another (usually deeply) — an expression of Chiron in the religiously-oriented 9th house as well, with the added determination and momentum of the North Node — a deeply karmic mission.

One last thing. This week, Chelsea Manning, formerly Bradley, came out as transgender. This goes out over the wire services, we look at the story and think: gee, that’s interesting. And some people think: that’s fantastic. Even the FOX News dwellers know that her decision to choose her gender is part of the fabric of life. Can you imagine this happening 10 years ago, much less 40 years ago?

Betty was one of the first people to openly advocate gender-queer, long before there was any culturally accepted notion of such a thing. Chelsea, if by some miracle you’re reading, Betty is proud of you and is grateful for what you’ve taught us and who you are.

So are all of us at Planet Waves.



Chelsea Manning: Revolutionary and Sex Revolutionary

Let the Akashic Records reflect that the week Private First Class Chelsea Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison for revealing information about war crimes, she came out as transgender. As much as this must come as a relief to Manning and something interesting for the rest of us to ponder, it is especially galling to homophobic and/or closeted military brass and politicians who find Manning’s existence offensive enough as it is.

For those not aware, the first we heard from Pfc. Manning was the Collateral Murder video. She leaked encrypted helicopter cockpit video of an attack on civilians, including children and journalists, in Baghdad. It is a disturbing video but I think it’s essential viewing. Manning leaked the video to Julian Assange, who said it took him months to decrypt frame by frame.

Planet Waves
Army Pfc. Bradley Manning, now Chelsea, in Fort Meade.

After revealing this video and hundreds of thousands of classified documents, focusing the attention of the press for months on atrocities of war that it would have never dared write about, Manning comes out as a woman? She is a revolutionary by at least two different definitions of that word. This is illustrated in her astrology. I only have time to touch on it briefly today, but I want to mention it while Chelsea is on our minds.

For any Monday morning quarterbacks of national security trying to decide whether it was really OK for Manning to spill the whole database while Ed Snowden only revealed select documents, I would remind us all that what Manning told us about was how many civilians are being massacred in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars — lives for which we are responsible; military action which we have personally financed with weekly deductions from our paychecks known as federal income taxes.

Everyone in the military and government and hopefully anyone who has taken a social studies class has heard of the Nuremberg principles. These were a set of guidelines developed after the Nazi atrocities of the 1930s and 1940s that inform anyone who may be concerned that it’s a crime to murder people, even if someone told you to do it, even if you’re a soldier and even if you’re a president or other head of state.

The most famous is Principle IV: “The fact that a person acted pursuant to order of his Government or of a superior does not relieve him from responsibility under international law, provided a moral choice was in fact possible to him.”

In other words, if you’ve committed an atrocity of war, you cannot offer as a defense that you were just following orders. However, since all soldiers are trained to follow orders (including on pain of execution), this requires the invocation of conscience. Soldiers, generals and heads of state are required by law to think about what they are doing and take personal responsibility for it.

Principle VI states specifically what must not be done: “Murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation and other inhumane acts done against any civilian population, or persecutions on political, racial, or religious grounds, when such acts are done or such persecutions are carried on in execution of or in connection with any crime against peace or any war crime.”

Whatever someone thinks they think about a private first class revealing a trove of “classified” documents to the public, we have a right to know about war crimes committed in our names. We have a right to know about the antics, schemes and contrivances of our ambassadors.

Planet Waves
Natal chart of Chelsea Manning (noon chart, no time available).

We have a right to know that thousands of civilians are being murdered on the excuse of “national security.” We have a right to know what our government is doing, if we want to have any pretense of living in a free society. I assure you that when a government is keeping secrets, it’s to conceal its own acts of evil, not to protect us from anything.

Manning has been sentenced to 35 years in prison for revealing information to journalists that we are entitled to know — and that we and our elected leaders are responsible for acting on. The distressing thing about the WikiLeaks revelations is that they demand that all of us act on our consciences, particularly the people sworn to uphold the Constitution — of which Manning is one. Note, as an approved treaty, the Nuremberg principles are part of our national body of law.

Let’s take a quick look at how that appears in her chart. Manning has a cluster of energy focused on the Galactic Center — at about 26 degrees of Sagittarius. What makes contact with the Galactic Core can have an overwhelming effect on society, but one that will be difficult to see until it fully manifests. (Think: social engineer Robert Moses, who was born with the Sun and other planets there and till now was my Galactic Core poster child.)

In Manning’s chart, this cluster around the Galactic Core consists mainly of three points: the Sun, Saturn and Uranus. The Sun is the vital force and expressive identity. Saturn is the principle of discipline and structure; Uranus is the principle of disruption, invention and revolution. Manning has equal devotion to both. In her chart they are all working together. She also has Mercury there — she was born to serve as a messenger of something on what you can think of as a galactic scale.

This whole arrangement is opposite Chiron — another galactic messenger and agent of change (see above article). This opposition may be the aspect most impossible to ignore. There is no way that Manning was going to let this all slide by without doing something. I think in her case that would have been a fate worse than a life sentence. And to make matters about 100 times more compelling, all of this is square the lunar nodes — this is what she came to the planet to do in this lifetime.

Manning has another exceptional conjunction — that of the Moon, Mars and Pluto in Scorpio. This is raw transformational power that she holds in her body. It’s also the expression of what I would call the pure warrior — and in this case, that involved calling out her superiors, all of them, for all they had done the past decade or more. Manning is immune to the usual bullshit that generals, politicians and the people who believe in them eat for all three meals, and convince themselves is wholesome.

It is not, we know it and Chelsea Manning helped make sure we need not have any doubts about it.

Planet Waves

Sun in Virgo: Harness Your Creativity in Service

The Sun entered Virgo yesterday (Thursday) at 7:02 pm EDT. This mutable earth sign is the last sign of Northern Hemisphere summer; Leo was the peak, and now the season begins to loosen its hold. For those of us who find winter to be long and dark, late summer’s warmth can have a touch of melancholy — even as we revel in the Earth’s incredible bounty of fruits and vegetables.

William Lilly, the 17th-century astrologer who wrote the
first English-language astrological text, associated Virgo with the places where food is preserved. Ruled by Mercury, Virgo is also about food for the mind. If you know any Virgos, you may have noticed that their minds are always active — and that without ways to focus that mental energy, they can start to run themselves in circles.

Planet Waves
Young corn plant; photo by Amanda Painter.

Happy Virgos are those who have ways to use their minds — indeed, their entire beings — in the service of others. There appears to be something inherently spiritual, transcendent of ego and dedicated to world service that is apparent in who many Virgos are and what they represent.

When the Sun is in Virgo, the rest of us can tap into this call to service a little more deeply than usual — if we’re willing. The idea of ‘the highest good for all concerned’ becomes less of an abstract thought and more of a tangible, practical thing, though you still have to invoke some extra mindfulness if it’s not your usual wavelength.

Part of the trick is to stay focused on the ‘helping others’ part and not get drawn into any tendencies to feel guilty about not doing more. Don’t stop yourself before even getting started by judging your ideas. The shadow side of Virgo can be a form of pickiness manifesting as criticism of others and of oneself.

When the Sun enters Virgo, it will conjoin a hypothetical point called Transpluto. (View full chart here.) Transpluto seems to be about a narrow opening. This could be useful in terms of focusing your mind and motivation on service, though it does underscore the need to be aware of the instant you start to get pulled into harsh self-criticism or a too-narrow view of what counts as ‘helping’. That serves no one.

Opposite the Sun in early Virgo is Neptune in early Pisces. Neptune was there last year, too, when we published this wisdom on the Planet Waves blog:

“At its best, Sun opposite Neptune can provide a kind of push-pull dynamic that spurs very imaginative, creative achievements. Sun opposite Neptune can feel like an extra mystical Full Moon. However, this aspect is also known for its propensity for delusion, projecting one’s own emotional ‘stuff’ onto a partner, and subsequent disillusionment.

“It is key to use the creative, dreamy, idealistic power of Neptune in Pisces in service of some sort of artistic process. If you can use your creativity for some larger purpose in some way, all the better — you’ll be enlisting the power of the Virgo Sun in this opposition.”

The Sun conjunct Transpluto and opposite Neptune is about focusing your awareness of yourself and how you put your creativity out into the world. In itself, using your creativity is a kind of service. It helps to be grounded (Virgo is an earth sign), clear some space (mental and physical), and have a plan with steps that you follow. Mercury-ruled Virgo also says: remember to communicate.

Self-criticism is a dream-killer — as is isolation, even of the mental variety. Neptune in Pisces opposite the Virgo Sun urges more fluidity in creative contact with others; it’s the collective dream (the human condition) that we’re all ultimately serving, after all.

— written by Amanda Painter
Planet Waves

Manning Sentenced to 35 Years, Announces Gender Transition

Army Private Chelsea Manning — until Thursday known as Bradley Manning — was sentenced to 35 years in prison this week for the release of 700,000 governmental cables and videos to WikiLeaks. Although much less than the maximum possible sentence of 90 years, it is much longer than any sentence given to governmental officials who have leaked information before now — a clear message meant to cow other would-be whistleblowers.

Planet Waves
Chelsea Manning, in her previous identity as Bradley Manning.

The documents Manning sent to WikiLeaks for release included video evidence of civilian murders by U.S. military personnel. Leaked diplomatic cables revealed the U.S. government’s support of the corrupt regime in Tunisia — helping to spark the 2011 uprisings across the Middle East, and domestically with the Occupy movement.

Manning has requested a pardon from President Obama. Defense attorney David Coombs read a statement from his client in which Manning acknowledged that, “If you deny my request for a pardon, I will serve my time knowing that sometimes you have to pay a heavy price to live in a free society.”

Part of the price Manning has been paying all along has been living life in a gender that has never felt right. Early on Thursday, she released a statement thanking supporters and announcing her decision to change her name to Chelsea and transition her gender:

“As I transition into this next phase of my life, I want everyone to know the real me. I am Chelsea Manning. I am a female. Given the way that I feel, and have felt since childhood, I want to begin hormone therapy as soon as possible. I hope that you will support me in this transition.”

Manning will begin serving her sentence in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. Under current guidelines, she could be released on parole after seven years, inclusive of time served in detention — which was deemed to have been “cruel, inhumane and degrading” by the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture. Manning’s defense team is appealing to the U.S. Army Court of Criminal Appeals in relation to this sentence and also for due process violations during the trial.


Planet Waves

The Other Side of the Factory Farm Nightmare

CAFOs (concentrated animal feeding operations) — also known as factory farms — have long been known for their heinous confinement of animals. Yet those conditions comprise only one-half of their suffering. A new book reveals the horrific physical ailments now known to be caused by the animals’ GMO-based corn and soy feed, especially those containing glyphosate.

Planet Waves

Leah Dunham, the daughter of Dr. Art Dunham, an Iowa veterinarian who has treated farm animals for several decades and believes GMOs are directly responsible for damaging them, recently wrote America’s Two-Headed Pig. Drawing on her father’s clinical notes and the work of plant pathologists and other scientists, Dunham describes what a glyphosate-tainted, GMO diet does to farm animals.

And those conditions — digestive disorders, damaged organs, infertility, weak immune systems, skeletal deformities, chronic depression — are the same found in humans who eat GMO food.

“This has been an age during which too many human beings treated animals and children like guinea pigs, feeding them genetically modified, chemically coated, antibiotic resistant experiments, despite the overwhelming evidence that these foods are serious risk factors for illness and disease,” she writes.


Planet Waves

Fukushima ‘Containment’ Spinning Out of Hand

The Japanese government and TEPCO, the utility that oversees the ailing Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, is finally admitting what most of us have suspected for two years — that the severity of radioactive leakage and the complexity of the cleanup appears beyond their capacity to handle.

TEPCO announced last week it is preparing to remove in November 400 tons of highly radioactive spent fuel from Reactor No. 4, a dangerous operation that has only been simulated on a computer, never attempted at a nuclear power plant.

Planet Waves
Officials and experts from local towns inspect a coastal embankment where contaminated water is leaking near Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant Units 1 and 2 of Tokyo Electric Power Co., in Okuma, Fukushima prefecture, Japan. AP.

More than 1,300 spent fuel rod assemblies packed tightly together need to be removed from the reactor building, which is vulnerable to collapse in another large earthquake. The assemblies contain radiation equivalent to 14,000 times the amount released in the atomic bomb attack on Hiroshima 68 years ago.

“They are going to have difficulty in removing a significant number of the rods,” said Arnie Gundersen, a veteran U.S. nuclear engineer and director of Fairewinds Energy Education, who used to build fuel assemblies.

Of more immediate concern, on Tuesday TEPCO said about 300 tons of water contaminated with high levels of radiation have leaked from a storage tank into the ground. It is reportedly the worst leak to date from the tanks.

In light of this, Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority is about to declare a toxic water leak at the Fukushima nuclear plant a level 3 “serious incident” on the International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale, pending confirmation from the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency.

It is the country’s gravest warning since the massive 2011 earthquake and tsunami that sent three reactors into meltdown.

Mycle Schneider, an independent consultant who has previously advised the French and German governments and who is lead author for the World Nuclear Industry status reports, said the situation is dire.

He said water is leaking out all over the site and there are no accurate figures for radiation levels.

“The quantities of water they are dealing with are absolutely gigantic,” he said in a BBC article. “What is worse is the water leakage everywhere else — not just from the tanks. It is leaking out from the basements, it is leaking out from the cracks all over the place. Nobody can measure that.

“It is much worse than we have been led to believe, much worse.”

Planet Waves will be covering the developments at Fukushima in depth in an upcoming edition.


Planet Waves

Mystery Chemical Attack Hits Rebel-Controlled Damascus Area

A pre-dawn poison gas attack in a rebel-held suburb of Damascus, Syria, killed hundreds of civilians on Wednesday, with neither the rebels nor the Syrian government admitting responsibility. Western powers are demanding that U.N. chemical weapons experts, in a hotel just a few miles from the scene, be given immediate access to it.

Planet Waves
A girl with cheeks painted in the colors of Syria’s flag takes part in a protest in front of the U.N. building in New York on Wednesday. Photo: Reuters/Adrees Latif.

President Bashar al-Assad’s opponents gave death tolls from 500 to well over 1,000 and said more bodies were being found, according to a Reuters report.

France and Britain are calling for a forceful foreign response, while Russia and the United States appear more cautious.

After months of negotiating with Assad’s government to let inspectors into Syria, a U.N. team arrived in Damascus four days ago. They are to check on the presence, but not the sources, of chemical weapons that are alleged to have been released in three specific, small incidents several months ago, the Reuters article said.

The rebels have little confidence in the U.N. team’s mission.

“We’re being exterminated with poison gas while they drink their coffee and sit inside their hotels,” said activist Bara Abdelrahman.

“We are asking for this team to go directly, with complete freedom … to the site of the crimes which took place yesterday,” George Sabra, a prominent member of the umbrella opposition’s National Coalition, told Reuters.

The Syrian government has not responded publicly to the request for access.


Planet Waves

Few Airport Rights for Miranda — or Anyone

David Miranda, Brazilian partner of Guardian UK reporter Glenn Greenwald, was detained for nine hours in London’s Heathrow airport over the weekend. Greenwald is the reporter through whom Edward Snowden has leaked information about the U.S. and U.K. governments’ extensive surveillance of civilian communications.

Planet Waves
David Miranda (right) with partner Glenn Greenwald, in the Rio de Janeiro airport on Monday. Photo: Reuters.

Under schedule 7 of the U.K.’s Terrorism Act 2000, people may be detained for up to nine hours without arrest in an airport for questioning about suspected terrorism. Most such detentions last less than one hour.

According to Miranda, his computer, cell phone and other devices were confiscated. Six agents asked him about everything except terrorism — with a focus on what “Guardian journalists were doing on the NSA stories.”

The governmental bullying extended into The Guardian‘s home offices. Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger said on Tuesday that he agreed to smash several computers containing Greenwald’s files in an effort to avoid legal action that could have halted publishing. Copies of the files exist with reporters in the U.S. and Brazil, but officials insisted on the destruction (psychological intimidation) anyway.

Earlier in the week Greenwald said he would respond by writing reports “much more aggressively than before.”

“I have lots of documents about the way the secret services operate in England,” he said.

“I think they are going to regret what they did.”

Political detention of journalists in airports — under the guise of investigating ‘terrorism’ — is becoming increasingly common, as recent Democracy Now! interviews (including with filmmaker Laura Poitras, who has been assisting Snowden and Greenwald) make chillingly clear.

“The British government’s conflation of journalism with terrorism in the case of David Miranda is problematic largely because journalism, like terrorism, is no longer performed by discrete, centralized entities,” wrote Philip Bump for The Atlantic Wire. “You post a video of police detaining a suspect to your Facebook wall, and you’re committing an act of journalism — one that authority figures may not see as subject to First — or Fourth — Amendment protections.”


Planet Waves

Planet Waves

Why would anyone go to the middle of nowhere, in searing heat by day and desert cold by night, often thwarted by alkaline dust storms and surrounded by tens of thousands of crazy artists shooting flames, playing thumping music, burning things and dancing about 24/7 in costumes (or nothing at all)? Well… why not? Video still from the trailer for “Spark: A Burning Man Story.”

Light a Spark, Burn Forever

Now showing in New York and Los Angeles (and available through video on demand, iTunes, Amazon and Google Play, with showings in other major cities coming soon) is the film Spark: A Burning Man Story. According to the film’s website:

“Rooted in principles of self-expression, self-reliance and community effort, Burning Man has grown famous for stirring ordinary people to shed their nine-to-five existence and act on their dreams.”

“Spark takes us behind the curtain with Burning Man organizers and participants, revealing a year of unprecedented challenges and growth.”

If you’ve never been to Burning Man, reviewers are calling this film “the next best thing.” That said, if you’ve ever had an urge to experience That Thing in the Desert for yourself, start planning now for next year; this year’s participant-driven experiment in temporary community with a gift-only economy and lots (and lots) of dust begins this coming Monday, Aug. 26, in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada.


Planet Waves

Aquarius Full Moon — Age of Aquarius

In this week’s edition of Planet Waves FM, I cover both the Aquarius Full Moon (exact Tuesday, Aug. 20 at 9:44 pm EDT) and the elusive theme of the Age of Aquarius. I do so with some help from the book Esoteric Astrology; I’ve provided a few quotes from that book below, selected by Laurie Burnett. Our musical guest is the phenomenal Treetop Flyers, some boys out of England that I met at Backstage Studio Productions in Kingston. In the program I mention an article called You Are Who You Are, a Planet Waves member-area favorite that covers the precession of the equinoxes and the difference between the two zodiacs.

pg. 395

It will be apparent to you that a whole new field of study will open before the astrologers of the New Age and fresh light on this greatest of all sciences will be available.

pg. 485

Aquarius is affecting the world disciples and initiates, leading them to world service on a large scale, producing group activity and that living usefulness which is the hall-mark of the pledged disciple.


Planet Waves

Your Monthly Horoscopes — and our Publishing Schedule Notes

Your extended monthly horoscopes for September are published below in this issue. The extended monthly horoscopes for August were published Friday, July 26; I recommend reading the previous month’s horoscopes again at the end of the month. On Tuesday, July 16, we published the Moonshine horoscopes for the Aquarius Full Moon. We published the Moonshine horoscopes for the Leo New Moon on Tuesday, Aug. 6. We published the Moonshine horoscopes for the Aquarius Full Moon on Tuesday, Aug. 20.
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.

Planet Waves Monthly Horoscopes for September 2013, #963 | By Eric Francis

Aries (March 20-April 19)

Aries (March 20-April 19) — One challenge of the coming weeks involves discerning self-interest from your calling or desire to support others. Ideally there would be no separation of those concepts. That we can and so often do play games that have one winner and many losers is a problem. That we tend to lack the idea of ‘the greatest good for all concerned’, or what are called win-win scenarios, is the deeper issue. It’s essential that you bear this in mind now. Your interests are not separate from the people you care about, and in truth they’re not separate from those of anyone else. Understanding this requires reaching a new level of consciousness — which you’re reaching for, capable of and where you may already be. In this scenario, it will help to know what you want, and at the same time you must also know about (and care about) the wants and needs of the people with whom you share space and time. To do that, you’ll need to ask, listen carefully and listen to what people say when they’re speaking freely. Simply put, you’re being called upon to be fair, to the point where you set aside competition in exchange for creating a mutually beneficial situation. This calls for a heightened level of honesty, first with yourself and then with others.


Taurus (April 19- May 20)

Taurus (April 19-May 20) — You’ve been through a lot recently — and I am sure you’d be grateful if things would cool off. Take any opportunity to slow down, remove commitments from your schedule and give yourself a chance to focus inwardly. Consider each of the past five or so episodes in your life and notice how many would have benefitted from extra introspection beforehand. Events in the early part of the month will repeat that reminder, serving as encouragement to understand yourself before you engage too deeply with others. This is the best way to keep your center and also to prevent yourself from getting into situations that are so deep you cannot see a way out or a way through. At the same time, you’re being invited to go deeper with others, or with someone in particular, and it may seem like you have to make a decisive move before too long. I would remind you of a fact often overlooked in our romance-obsessed world: your first relationship is to yourself. That statement may be the ultimate blasphemy against the prevailing relationship mythology, though it’s based on the notion that you cannot relate to anyone unless you have a self to do that relating with. Once you do that habitually, it will be clearer what to do with others.


Gemini (May 20- June 21)

Gemini (May 20-June 21) — You may go through a few more emotional twists and turns before you figure out how safe you are, and how much freedom you have. You could go a long way by recognizing there is not a narrow formula for emotional security. You cannot just check off the points on a punch list and be done with it. This is not a technical matter; it’s a spiritual one. It also seems that your sense of confidence in your surroundings, and a sense of belonging, arise as a result of your own ability to tune in and be present, rather than from some external factor. It would help significantly if you were less obsessed with security and instead considered the many ways you can explore life and love. If I may offer some confirmation, your astrology is saying you’re ready to do that. Yet there’s another message about being called further, into true courage, creativity and doing something that honors your passion for life. That involves taking emotional risks. Each time you heed this calling, you may be confronted with a new occasion to admit, confront and go beyond another level or type of fear. Most people would take this as an opportunity to back off, give up and go home. I don’t think you will.


Cancer (June 21- July 22)

Cancer (June 21-July 22) — Mars transiting the angle of your chart that addresses self-esteem is pushing you to act as if you had the confidence to do what you want. There seem to be plenty of details involved, though you have options for how you handle them. I suggest that you work your way from the big picture inward to the specifics, which is to say, in the order of priorities necessary to accomplish something. A large goal is always made of many small parts. Many small parts do not automatically add up to something meaningful. Therefore, stick to your vision, which your chart suggests you’ve been cultivating in its current form since around early 2011. Meanwhile, there’s likely to be some necessity that you encounter, one that makes you question whether all the effort you’re exerting is really worth it. You will feel better for having met this challenge or answering this question yourself, rather than giving up or getting someone else to do it for you. If this involves a financial matter, trust that you have the determination and maturity necessary to make it happen. This is not a test of your maturity — it’s an opportunity to cultivate and deepen it. It’s not about proving your creative power, but rather about putting your natural gifts to work for yourself and the world.


Leo (July 22- Aug. 23)

Leo (July 22-Aug. 23) — If you encounter something that seems immovable — a person, a situation, an emotion — it’s more like a floating object than a stationary one. It will move, if you apply energy in the right direction; but I suggest you proceed more like a tugboat than like the Titanic. But do you really need to move this thing, whatever it is? Do you need to exert so much energy? Or would it be better to organize your life around its presence for a while? What you have over the next few weeks is an opportunity to determine the size and scale of the situation, and to make an assessment of how it’s influenced you in the past. That’s really the question — what you’re going to do about something that already happened, perhaps long ago, and potentially reaching into past generations. What you’re doing that your predecessors have not done is acknowledge its existence. What you seem to be dealing with is a secret of some kind. There are at least two levels to any secret: one is figuring out that it exists, and the other is figuring out what it contains. It may seem nearly useless to know that there is some concealed information but to not know what it is. But in truth, you’re more than half the way there.


Virgo (Aug. 23- Sep. 22)

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22) — Exerting too much control is the best way for things to go out of control. I suggest that you embrace the uncertainty factor, especially the part about not knowing the impact people will have on your life, or the influence that you will have on them. One thing is for sure — that you and someone significant will shape one another’s experience and worldview. I can also tell you that the way to make this the most positive experience possible is to focus on communication. What feels like the impulse to take charge, get a handle on things or to attempt actual control will best be sated by an exchange of ideas. That’s the whole point, anyway — and what makes this such a positive opportunity. In order to do that, you will need to develop the skill of responding rather than reacting. There are instances when you may be seized by emotions that seem to demand the latter — and the best thing you can do is pause. If something, or someone, seems like it might hurt you, I would urge you to remember that your astrology is saying that no matter how polarized a situation gets, that’s unlikely. To sum up: communicate rather than control. Respond rather than react. One last: in any exaggerated situation, keep your sense of humor.


Libra (Sep. 22 - Oct. 23)

Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23) — I’ve written before that most of the problems that people face can be traced back to self-esteem. Your current astrology says that any question, issue or emotion that you experience will come back to this same theme. This has been going on for a while, though it’s a special focus right now. I suggest you focus on who in the past has gone out of their way to make you feel less worthy of love or of any benefit or reward of life. What you’re dealing with is not an actual fact of worthiness — it’s a feeling, and that feeling did not emerge from a vacuum. Meanwhile, I suggest you be conscious of the people around you and what influence they have on you. While it’s true that on one level how you feel about yourself is your business, it’s also true that others have an influence on you, and they will at times run their own agenda. If you have to push back against that, then do it in a creative and positive way. Rather than rebel, set out to achieve something that you want to do, and give yourself credit for having done so. In the end, though, how you feel about yourself is a choice, and I would remind you that nobody is your judge and jury.


Scorpio (Oct. 23- Nov. 22)

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22) — You need to set your sights higher. When I say need, I mean it’s actually a matter of necessity: commit to something more challenging, demanding more of your personal resources, experience and talent. I see you involved in something visible, that makes a difference in the world. Yet doing something challenging means encountering challenges. They may seem like they’re worldly in nature — involving your circumstances. In truth, all the territory you’re covering is personal. You’re being called to some new and potentially unexpected form of leadership, one that you’ve known for a while you were aspiring to in theory. This month you go from theory to action. Action means taking charge, staying grounded and bringing both a dynamic, even dramatic quality to what you’re doing at the same time you call forth your deepest maturity. As you know, maturity is useless unless it’s put to good use, and this is the order of the moment. As you see the rewards of this way of doing things, I suggest you reinvest them rather than take them as profits. What you need more than anything is momentum toward a tangible goal. Part of that quality is bringing yourself fully into what you’re doing, creating and expressing — and every inner challenge you overcome will get you one step closer to that spot.


Sagittarius (Nov. 22 - Dec. 22)

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22) — Every time I see the charts from the point of view of Sagittarius, I want to write about sex. Maybe that has something to do with your ruling planet being in your solar 8th house — the one that represents the sex you want the most. Yet it may also represent what you fear the most, where you must encounter the most compelling aspects of relationship and where it’s possible to get lost in another person. That may indeed be your concern, and it could be valid. You may be wondering what to do: go deeper, or extricate yourself? I suggest you start with a good meditation on Be Here Now. Jupiter is also in Cancer, the sign of nourishment and comfort. This is a meaningful place to be, and I can say with some confidence that at least it’s not boring. And you’re getting more of what you need than you may recognize. In fact you could get a lot more of what you need, and share with others what you have and that they need. If relationships are about exchange, then you’re in the ideal place to do that. You have plenty to give, you have lots that’s being offered and all you need to do is be open — especially to doing that elusive thing known as receiving.


Capricorn (Dec. 22- Jan. 20)

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20) — How much are you willing to reveal about yourself, and why would you hold back at all? There seems to be some tension between what is ‘really going on’ and what you want to be known in some public context. I don’t think the paparazzi are after you, but it may feel that way. You could entertain yourself with paranoia about what might come out, though if you’re hanging out there I suggest you ask yourself what you want the world to know about you. I don’t mean what soap you use. I mean what would ordinarily be considered entirely inappropriate, presumed to be damaging to your reputation or image, and even dangerous. The flirtation is between hold back and let go. There may be a diversity of opportunities you have that you want to explore and the deciding factor may seem to be what people might think. You have some options here: one of them is to blow the doors off and be happy that they might discover anything and everything. Assuming felonies are not involved, that could work out well for you. The obsession with secrecy is one of the things that is choking not just your experience but that of many, many people, and I would count the urge to set ourselves free as a healthy impulse.


Aquarius (Jan. 20- Feb. 19)

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) — Will you depend on others to push you, or will you allow yourself to do what you want? Will you play a game of resisting, perhaps to make some point to yourself or to them, or will you say yes when yes is appropriate to say? By that I mean: you have the option to do what you want to do, without a lot of drama, and it’s enough that you want to do it and nobody else’s influence needs to matter. Yet what I see in your chart is that you may decide it’s easier to allow someone else to provide the initiative or motivation, and you come along for the ride. You have that option but it won’t be as much fun. This is akin to the difference between reading something in a book or discovering it yourself — or seeing a picture of someplace as opposed to going there personally. Which has a deeper influence on you? You will have a deeper experience of someone or something if you make the choice yourself, rather than allowing yourself to be pressured or seduced. The only question is what you want, though this is not as urgent as you think. This is about tuning into your feelings. It’s also about not being a control freak, though you would be surprised how much these two things have in common.


Pisces (Feb. 19- March 20)

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) — Emotional material will be easier to move through than you may think. You may have the fear or expectation that going deep will mean having to process or respond to something you cannot handle. Ordinarily the astrology evoking this feeling might be more challenging, but there are mitigating factors — particularly, such an impressive collection of planets currently in the water signs. That’s providing you with plenty of your most important element. Said another way, you have what you need to have the emotional, relational and sexual experiences you want. It seems more a matter of putting the ingredients together, and responding to your circumstances appropriately. One hint I can give you is to use emotional tension productively. If you have friction with someone, that is potentially a helpful indication that you have some energy with them. Take the risk, go beyond your prejudices and first impressions, and go deeper. Those prejudices might involve the residue of moralism from whatever source. This needs to be seen for what it is, which is a philosophy that will eventually determine that any human pleasure is wrong. This is more than unhelpful; it’s void on its face, and I suggest you treat it that way and move onto your mission of making contact with whoever focuses your attention in a lusty, sparky, appealing or provocative way.


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Of Uranus, Pluto and Fragile Revolutions

Dear Friend and Reader:

The developments of Arab Spring and the Uranus-Pluto square that precipitated it have taken another violent turn this week, as the Egyptian military killed more than 600 protesters and injured thousands in a crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood. As we go to press, many sources are reporting that the standoffs may be escalating and that there is more bloodshed expected.

Planet Waves
The New York Times from Thursday, Aug. 15, 2013. Children of the future will be curious what a newspaper looked like. Photo by Eric.

Egypt’s armed forces invaded two protest camps in Cairo early Wednesday morning, firing teargas and assault rifles into the Occupy-like villages that were created in support of ousted President Mohammed Morsi, who was forced from power in early July.

In addition, the military attacked mosques and churches, while protesters retaliated by burning down government buildings with Molotov cocktails.

Morsi became president after the Arab Spring protests of 2011 in what have been described as the first free elections in Egypt’s long history. After a year and three days in office, a combination of massive protests and military action forced Morsi from power six weeks ago in what was essentially a publicly supported military coup. That the U.S. government has been reluctant to call it that seems to involve Pres. Obama not wanting to lose what little influence he has with the Egyptian military.

As soon has he says the word “coup” he must cut aid to Egypt, which would also mean cutting off communication with its military leaders. Zbigniew Brzezinski, who served as national security advisor under Pres. Carter, said that Obama is also attempting to hedge his bets on who will get into power. He said it was more likely that the military would eventually settle down and be open to discussions than the Muslim Brotherhood would be.

Since Morsi was ousted on July 3, his supporters, organized by a political party called the Muslim Brotherhood, have held demonstrations and set up two camps in Cairo and in many other cities. The military moved against the camps across the country simultaneously. NBC News reported that the death toll was higher outside of Cairo than it was within the capital.

Planet Waves
Egyptians walk among the burned remains of the Rabaah al-Adawiya mosque in Cairo, Egypt, August 15, 2013.

One reason why this is an unexpected and particularly tragic development is that the Egyptian military has, until now, shown significant restraint through many long phases of citizen protests and government transitions, and had the reputation of being on the side of the people. In many tense situations they seemed to demonstrate impeccable restraint; as Egypt has gone through its gyrations they seemed to be the most dependable and even-handed element of the equation.

But this seems to have been an illusion — the Egyptian military has long existed as a self-serving entity, out only for its own interests. For example, PBS reported from Cairo last year that, “Most analysts and retired officers here say that the military’s increasingly brutal show of force foreshadows the fact that it is not likely to give up executive power easily in large part because it seeks to hold on to its sprawling economic interests — that stretch from industry to hotels to supermarkets and huge real estate portfolios.”

Now the military has created a state of domestic warfare, and quite possibly precipitated a full-on civil war. It’s worth stating that pro-Morsi protesters were aware that sooner or later, if they did not negotiate, they would be attacked. They may have been the ones with the plan, even if the government seemed to lack one. But that would only work if the Islamic Brotherhood is offered wide-scale the public sympathy that it anticipated following the massacre.

Uranus, Pluto and Jupiter

In the background of all current world events is a long-standing aspect called the Uranus-Pluto square. This consists of Uranus in Aries square Pluto in Capricorn. Both are slow-moving planets, and their cycle lasts well over a century.

Planet Waves
Time that the attack on protesters began, according to a report in Wednesday’s New York Times. Other sources are putting it at “first light,” which is imprecise and hours earlier. View glyph legend here.

Uranus and Pluto formed a conjunction in 1965-66, which like all aspects between these two planets has effects that fan out for a decade or more. In many ways we are still living with the effects of cultural and political events that took place during that era. Yet some of the most productive gains under a Uranus-Pluto aspect are also the most fragile. The spirit that initially supported them can be difficult or impossible to sustain for long.

Slow-moving aspects like this can lurk in the background, influencing both the historical process and our individual lives invisibly. Then when faster-moving planets enter the aspect pattern, we have clear experiences that make the effect obvious.

Currently, Jupiter in Cancer is square Uranus in Aries and opposite Pluto in Capricorn. (One way I describe this kind of pattern is to say that the planet is “moving through the Uranus-Pluto square.” I give another example in the SKY column, below. Venus has just ingressed Libra and we’re about to have a grand cross pattern involving Venus, Jupiter, Uranus and Pluto.)

Jupiter, Uranus and Pluto in the Egypt massacre chart are in what is called a T-square — planets at three points of a square. Wherever it manifests, this can represent a high-tension situation that is aching for resolution. The involvement of Jupiter in Cancer implies something that will come home. Home can be wherever an event happens, but I am concerned that there will be an emotional impact of this event that has a chilling effect on protests everywhere.

It will be interesting to see what happens as Venus in Libra completes the grand cross during the next couple of weeks. Venus, the fastest-moving planet in the mix, could become a target — or it could be a catalyst that invokes the love of justice.

Two Other Aspect Patterns

Another aspect pattern in the chart is Mars in late Cancer square Eris in late Aries. The aspect is approaching its exact alignment, which happens Friday. Applying aspects have a sensation of imminence or pressure that is seeking a point of release.

Planet Waves
Headless quartzite statue of King Amenesse in the Hypostyle Hall in the Temple of Karnak in Luxor. Photo by Sarite Sanders.

Mars and Eris can both have violent tendencies, though Mars usually works through direct aggression and Eris through what is sometimes called ‘passive’ aggression. That really means covert operations or a sneak attack of some kind. We saw both of these at work in the attacks on the Muslim Brotherhood protest camps.

The last aspect pattern involves the ascendant and its ruler, Mercury. The chart has Virgo rising, making Mercury one of the chart rulers. Mercury is in Leo, making a square to the lunar nodes.

Anything square the nodes describes the nature of the turning point, or the tipping point. Mercury in Leo can have an adolescent or petulant quality. The government seemed, at least, to understand that unless stopped, such protests could gather momentum. Yet there were obviously more mature ways that the government could have addressed what it perceived as the threat of the Muslim Brotherhood protests.

Mercury is making contact with many planets: it’s semi-sextile Jupiter, trine Uranus, quincunx Pluto, loosely square Saturn and quincunx Chiron. And as mentioned it’s square the nodes, tying all those points into one complex pattern that is still in the process of unfolding.

A report in Thursday’s New York Times suggested that the assault on the protesters was not fully thought through by the government. I’ve been going back and forth on whether I think it was or was not. By this, I mean that I am questioning whether the effect — whatever comes next — was indeed planned and intentional. The square of Mercury to the nodes to me describes an incomplete deliberation process. It doesn’t really make sense to turn Muslims into martyrs, particularly if there are a lot of them around.

Yet there are other elements in the chart that suggest a deep degree of secrecy or conspiracy, and hint at a story that we will not know the truth of for at least one year (that’s my reading of the Sun, Vesta and Ceres in Leo and in the 12th house). There is a lot happening that we cannot see, and that 12th in many ways seems to contain the true motive of the action.

Planet Waves
Pyramid of Khafre, on the Giza Plateau on the edge of Cairo, with the Sphinx in the foreground. Photo by Sarite Sanders.

Chiron in Pisces for its part is right on the descendant. It’s setting — that is, on the 7th house cusp — exactly at the moment of the incident. I am having some difficulty putting this into words, but Chiron in Pisces is such a bold statement of empathy and compassion, a reminder that this whole scenario was not necessary.

Chiron in Pisces is also one of the most vivid illustrations of the interconnectedness of all things. It is suggesting that in true quantum style, every factor influences every other factor. Chiron in Pisces is a picture of holographic reality — and it boldly stands out in this chart. As I’ve mentioned before, Chiron was in Pisces through the Uranus-Pluto conjunction of the mid-1960s, and I believe that’s what provided the populist, inclusive, peace-and-love vibe of the era.

We need it now more than ever, given that the Uranus-Pluto square is in the cardinal signs Aries and Capricorn, which are considerably more assertive than where the Sixties conjunction took place — in Virgo.

As we continue to move through the Uranus-Pluto square, we need to wake up and remember this fact. We need to remember that all effects have causes and all actions have consequences, many of them ‘unexpected’ but still predictable if we pause and reflect for a moment.

Having studied the Uranus-Pluto cycle with some respect, I also know that whatever good emerges — the awakenings, the revolutions (whether of politics or of awareness) — it is all extremely fragile. They will need continual love and focus long after this aspect has passed, if we want to make any progress at all — if there’s to be any potential to rise up out of the darkness that is threatening to swallow the world.



Planet Waves

Venus in Libra: Where I Belong I’m Right

The Beatles song “Fixing a Hole” comes to mind with this weekend’s astrology.

As you may know, we’re in the era of a world transit — the Uranus-Pluto square. That’s a long-term event, with effects that will span from 2010 to 2020 plus or minus a few years: a big one. Uranus is in Aries; Pluto is in Capricorn.

Planet Waves
Grand cross in the cardinal signs, which comes into full focus on Aug. 24. View a chart with all the planets. View glyph legend here.

This year, Jupiter joined the mix. It’s in Cancer, square Uranus and opposite Pluto. That’s a pattern called a T-square: three legs of a square are filled, in this case along the all-powerful cardinal cross — the signs that start the seasons. The cardinal signs represent dauntless initiative and connect with the “personal is political” Aries Point.

Yet this setup has had an empty spot, in Libra. This has felt like something was missing or out of balance. Especially with Libra being the missing leg of the cross, the whole theme of balance itself can describe the missing element.

That is, until now. Venus arrives in Libra on Friday, Aug. 16 at 11:37 am. Not only will there be the presence in Libra of a major planet, it’s also the ruling planet of the sign. Just the mention of the words “Venus in Libra” is enough to make any astrologer’s heart sing. It’s a beautiful placement, but a powerful one too, which is a good thing. Venus will need that strength to stand up to the many tasks ahead.

It starts its journey with an opposition to the Aries Point. That alone is news, and it could really be news — any time a particularly strong planet makes contact with the Aries Point we might see a distinct effect in the world, and I am sure some astrologers are speculating that the demise of New York City’s absurd “stop and frisk” policy sounds rather perfectly Venus in Libra.

But this story lasts a while. And I haven’t said what it’s a story about — except that it involves multifaceted Venus (affection, attraction, love, sex, creativity, attraction of pleasure and wealth) and a series of encounters with deep planets. Venus is in formidable company on the cardinal cross, and it will be making aspects to each of the planets already there. Venus is passing through the Uranus-Pluto square with the presence of Jupiter, which is also passing through the Uranus-Pluto square.

Here’s why that’s notable: The Uranus-Pluto square has a way of staying in the background, coloring the whole experience of existing within society in these years of our lives. Like all environments, it can be difficult to discern (ref: Marshall McLuhan: the environment is invisible, including what he called the media environment).

When another planet comes along and enters the aspect structure, as Jupiter has been doing, or as Venus is about to do, we can feel the background pattern more palpably because there is some contrast. In the case of Venus, there is an emotionally grounded, visceral, sensory presence that is calling attention to the slower-moving pattern.

Planet Waves
Moss grows on Lot 1 of the Grandmother Land. Photo by Eric.

Venus is one of the most useful planets, perhaps second only to Chiron. It bestows gifts, talents and practical abilities on every level; next to Chiron it’s probably the most multifaceted planet, and unlike Chiron it doesn’t come with an edgy feeling.

Venus is giving us an opportunity to engage fully with the Uranus-Pluto square on every level. If you know your chart, consider where Libra is, and that will give you a clue about the most accessible ways for this to manifest. Said another way, Venus is giving us an opportunity to live and fully participate in these times in which we’re alive.

We need no thought of the future or the past right now: we’ve arrived at the destination, at the crossroads, and at one of the most interesting parts of the journey all at the same time.

In terms of specific details, in case you’re curious, here is the schedule of Venus aspects, which represent hotspots in the cycle. Remember, though, that this ride begins the moment that Venus ingresses Libra.

Venus ingresses Libra; opposite Aries Point on Aug. 16

Venus quincunx Neptune on Aug. 19

Venus square Pluto on Aug. 24

Venus opposite Uranus and quincunx Chiron on Aug. 26

Venus square Jupiter on Aug. 27

Venus ingresses Scorpio on Sept. 11

Venus (in Scorpio) square Mars (in Leo) on Sept. 28


Planet Waves

Federal Judge Blocks Stop and Frisk as Racist

Monday’s decision by federal judge Shira A. Scheindlin on the New York City Police Department’s controversial stop-and-frisk policy was a major blow to Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has made it a cornerstone of his crime-fighting policy over the past decade. [Note, Eric covers this in detail in the current edition of Planet Waves FM.]

Judge Scheindlin said the NYPD resorted to a “policy of indirect racial profiling” as it increased the number of stops in minority communities.

Planet Waves
The Rev. Al Sharpton, center, walks with demonstrators June 17, 2012, during a silent march to end the “stop-and-frisk” program in New York City. Photo by Seth Wenig / Associated Press.

In her 195-page decision, she concluded that the stops, which soared to almost 200,000 per quarter in 2011 and began to decline last year, violated the Fourth Amendment, which protects against unreasonable searches and seizures by the government, as well as the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause.

In a new poll by The New York Times, New Yorkers are divided about whether the stop-and-frisk practice is acceptable or excessive. But as the judge said, the only issue before her is whether the policy was legal — not whether it was considered an effective police tool. And she pointed out that the resentment in the communities where it was practiced most was evidence that it was an intrusion on constitutional rights.

Yet the ruling rings true to many men of color, as expressed in this reader comment that appeared in response to a New York Times article:

I cried reading Scheindlin’s decision. 

It is the first time in a long time I have read anything so officious that so clearly validates my experience, born and raised as a Black male living in New York City.

The affect that being watched due to my skin color has had upon me can barely be described. It is so deleterious, so pernicious, so violating, so omnipresent.

It is no wonder more Black men do not go mad from the constant surveillance and suspicion — the presumption that, since you exist, you are a criminal.

Sometimes the profiling is by the police. Other examples are as well known: the white woman who shirks when all I am about to do is nod hello; the cab driver speeding past my hail; the store owner’s omnipresent stare.

On some days, the weight of it all forces me to a place where I WANT to become Ralph Ellison’s “Invisible Man,” for it seems I am forever noticed, for the wrong reason. Today is not one of those days.

I wish I could go to Judge Scheindlin and in earnest embrace her. Not just for me, but for some I know who never made it. The history of injustices never reversed forced tears to well inside me when I read her decision that made visible my pain.

I am not to be profiled by the police, or anyone, as so much scum to be washed down the drain. I am Black, male and, today, unbowed by the caricature of a hooligan too often hoisted upon me.

Today, I am nothing more than, nothing less, than human. With rights.

Thank you, Judge Scheindlin.

— Tony Glover, New York


Planet Waves

New Law Boosts Potential for Voter Suppression

In a move that has sparked lawsuits from civil rights activists, North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory (R) signed a bill Monday requiring photo identification at the polls, along with gutting measures that would ensure minorities and others have a fair chance to vote.

Planet Waves
Participants in an NAACP-led march in Raleigh, North Carolina, earlier this year weighed in against voter suppression. Photo by Sue Sturgis and used by the Institute for Southern Studies in their index of North Carolina voter statistics.

The bill will require voters to show photo identification — a driver’s license, passport, veteran’s ID, tribal card — beginning in the 2016 elections. The bill reduces early voting by one week, eliminates same-day registration, ends pre-registration for 16- and 17-year-olds and a student civics program, kills an annual state-sponsored voter registration drive and lessens the amount of public reporting required for so-called dark money groups, also known as 501(c)(4)s, according to an article in the Huffington Post.

The ACLU of North Carolina and a coalition of other groups filed a lawsuit against the bill, charging that it violates the Constitution’s equal protection clause and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The North Carolina NAACP and Advancement Project followed shortly after, filing another lawsuit.

The bill has the potential to reduce turnout for key Democratic constituencies — minorities, the elderly and students. It’s the latest in a string of conservative legislation signed into law in the state, such as new restrictions for abortion clinics (attached to a motorcycle safety bill), which Planet Waves reported on here.


Planet Waves

Seed Law Reform Sows Controversy in Argentina

A heated debate is brewing in Argentina over reform of the country’s seed laws, which pit those concerned about native seed and land preservation against the onslaught of Monsanto’s monoculture and GMO technology.

More than a year ago, the agriculture ministry said it would present a bill to overhaul a 1973 law on seeds that has been modified several times since the 1990s to accommodate the expansion of monoculture and genetically modified seeds. Two drafts have been drawn up, but a bill has not been introduced.

Planet Waves
A protester standing outside the Monsanto headquarters in Buenos Aires, Argentina, telling Monsanto to get out of Latin America during this year’s March Against Monsanto protests on May 25. Photo: Martin Zabala/Xinhua/Global Times.

The proposed reform is criticized by social and rural organizations and scientists that see it as an attempt to restrict farmers from saving or selling their own seeds for further planting.

In Argentina, the world’s third-largest producer of soy, around 98 percent of the crop is Monsanto’s Roundup Ready soy, which is resistant to the company’s own glyphosate herbicide. GM soy is now Argentina’s chief export.

In addition, 80 percent of the maize grown in Argentina is transgenic.

Monsanto plans to build a new plant to produce GM maize seed in the central Argentine province of Cordoba in 2014, which will produce 60,000 tons of seed a year. Protests erupted in Cordoba last May during the March on Monsanto against this plant and the company’s presence in the province. An Argentinian survey revealed that 58 percent of the population does not want Monsanto in their area.

Carlos Carballo, professor of food sovereignty in the Agronomy Faculty of the University of Buenos Aires, said the expansion of GM seeds threatens the diversity of native seeds that are adapted to the soil and climate conditions of each region.

“Seeds aren’t merchandise; they are part of humanity’s heritage,” Carballo said.
Planet Waves

BP Sues U.S. Government for New Contracts After Gulf Oil Spill

BP, one of the companies that in 2010 was responsible for the Gulf of Mexico oil spill — among the greatest environmental disasters in U.S. history — and that pled guilty to manslaughter

in the deaths of 11 workers on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, believes it should be allowed to bid on new federal government contracts.

Planet Waves
BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil well explosion in 2010 killed 11 workers and caused the biggest offshore spill in U.S. history, the ecological effects of which are ongoing. Photo: Reuters.

The company on Monday sought an injunction that would lift the November 2012 order by the Environmental Protection Agency suspending the company from such contracts.

The Houston Chronicle reported that BP said in court papers filed in Houston federal court that the EPA’s decision to suspend the company from such contracts and its continued enforcement of that order is arbitrary, capricious and “an abuse of discretion.”

BP in November 2012 also pled guilty for lying to Congress about the size of the spill from its broken well, which spewed more than 200 million gallons of oil into the water and onto the shores of Gulf states. A New Orleans federal judge in January accepted BP’s guilty plea, which also included the company paying a record $4 billion in penalties.

In a related case, Halliburton Energy Services, BP’s cement contractor on the Macondo well at the Deepwater Horizon rig, is set to plead guilty at a federal hearing on Sept. 19 to one count of destroying evidence after the oil spill in a deal with the Justice Department.

Halliburton also has agreed to pay the statutory maximum fine of $200,000, to be on probation for
three years and to cooperate with the government’s criminal investigation. It will not face criminal charges.
Planet Waves

Snowden: Reporters and Sources Must Use Encrypted Email

In a portrait of documentary film maker Laura Poitras this week in the The New York Times, Peter Maass included his recent, encrypted interview with Edward Snowden, for whom Poitras served as intermediary. An award-winning filmmaker in the process of creating a trilogy about post-9/11 U.S. policy, it was Poitras who filmed the now famous interview between her collaborator, Glenn Greenwald, and Snowden in Hong Kong, last spring.

Planet Waves
Documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras in Berlin. Photo by Olaf Blecker for The New York Times.

Snowden initially reached out to Greenwald, but Poitras, herself a long time target of surveillance and expert in utilizing the encryption tools Snowden insisted upon, first established communication with him, after Greenwald did not respond to Snowden’s request and instructions for encrypted correspondence. Here is a sample of the interview:

Peter Maass: Why did you seek out Laura and Glenn, rather than journalists from major American news outlets (N.Y.T., W.P., W.S.J. etc.)? In particular, why Laura, a documentary filmmaker?

Edward Snowden: After 9/11, many of the most important news outlets in America abdicated their role as a check to power — the journalistic responsibility to challenge the excesses of government — for fear of being seen as unpatriotic and punished in the market during a period of heightened nationalism. From a business perspective, this was the obvious strategy, but what benefited the institutions ended up costing the public dearly. The major outlets are still only beginning to recover from this cold period.

Laura and Glenn are among the few who reported fearlessly on controversial topics throughout this period, even in the face of withering personal criticism, and resulted in Laura specifically becoming targeted by the very programs involved in the recent disclosures. She had demonstrated the courage, personal experience and skill needed to handle what is probably the most dangerous assignment any journalist can be given — reporting on the secret misdeeds of the most powerful government in the world — making her an obvious choice.”

At one point during Maass’ interview, Snowden said he was “surprised to realize that there were people in news organizations who didn’t recognize any unencrypted message sent over the Internet is being delivered to every intelligence service in the world. In the wake of this year’s disclosures, it should be clear that unencrypted journalist-source communication is unforgivably reckless.”
Planet Waves

Planet Waves

Canadian musician and “ukulele-based motivational speaker” James Hill teasing the audience with a few recognizable bars of hip hop on the “chronically underestimated” ukulele.

When is a ukulele not a ukulele? When it is played with chopsticks by James Hill — in which case, it becomes an amazing hip hop sound machine. Hill, who has performed around the world (including with the Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra in New Zealand this past March), is a bit of a ukulele ambassador. Hill’s website is full of dates for performances and workshops, including his roving ukulele teacher certification program (most recently in Taipei and coming to Thailand next year). He’s a quirky yet impressive testament to the power of elementary school music programs.
Planet Waves

Talking About Jealousy — Mercury Opposite Juno

In this week’s edition of Planet Waves FM, I take off on the themes associated with Mercury in Leo opposite Juno in Aquarius — in particular, questioning our presumptions about relationships, jealousy and possessiveness.

Planet Waves

Juno in Aquarius represents intense social pressures to conform to cultural relationship norms. Aquarius can be as oppressive as it is freedom-seeking; with Juno that quality can be more dominant. Mercury in Leo represents the childlike desire to be an alive individual with your own ideas — coming right up against the past.

I also take a look at the Stop-and-Frisk decision. Our musical guest is Bujak, the ensemble created by Jeff Bujak featuring Jen Dulong.

Blue Studio Sessions:

How to Talk about Sex

The Planet Waves FM Blue Studio Sessions are back. Begun last autumn, this series of recordings is about the honest discussion of sex.

In tonight’s edition, Diva Carla Sanders and I talk about how to have conversations about sex, whether about pregnancy, STIs, or figuring out what kind of sex is appropriate to the relationship or encounter that you’re having. We talk about all the reasons not to have the conversation, how awkward it can be, and how to make it easier. This is the first conversation in a series. I believe it’s suitable and indeed essential material for young adults trying to make sense out of the sexual and relational landscape.

I make reference to several sex education webpages that you may find helpful. One is Scarleteen. Another is Everyday Feminism, which is not about sex ed per se but includes some good articles. I also recommend Solotouch because reading reader stories will give you a clue how diverse sexual experience and fantasy are. Read Solo for a while and you’ll figure out that you’re right in range of perfectly normal, no matter how weird you may think you are.

Older editions of Blue Studio Sessions are located here.


Planet Waves

Your Monthly Horoscopes — and our Publishing Schedule Notes

The extended monthly horoscopes for August were published Friday, July 26. Inner Space for August was published Friday, Aug. 2. On Tuesday, July 16, we published the Moonshine horoscopes for the Aquarius Full Moon. We published the Moonshine horoscopes for the Leo New Moon on Tuesday, Aug. 6. We will publish the Moonshine horoscopes for the Aquarius Full Moon Tuesday Aug. 20. 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.

Planet Waves

Weekly Horoscope for Friday, Aug. 16, 2013, #962 | By Eric Francis

Aries (March 20-April 19)

Aries (March 20-April 19) — You are not as insecure as you think. But the question lately seems to be how to stop rattling your own cage, then reacting as if someone else is doing it. There is a friendly influence in your life at the moment, someone genuinely attracted to you and also sensitive to who you are. I suggest you treat this situation gently, with a spirit of appreciation and curiosity. It would be easy to look at these charts and advise you to tone yourself down — I am not saying that, however. What I am saying is pay attention to who this person is, how they feel and how they arrived where they are today. There’s part of your story being told by whoever this is, which is one reason why I suggest you listen carefully. The other reason is that opening your ears is the easiest way to open your heart, and if your heart is open, the people around you will feel more welcome, which is good for everyone.

Wondering about how astrology is influencing your life now? Eric has prepared a written and recorded reading for you that tells the story. You can get all 12 signs of LISTEN, your 2013 reading, for the special reduced price of only $29.95. LISTEN gives you a detailed reading, available immediately, covering work, relationships, personal growth and creativity.
Taurus (April 19- May 20)

Taurus (April 19-May 20) — You seem to be leaning on a mountain, hoping it will move. You are the one who needs to move or allow yourself to be moved, though it may seem as if everything will come unraveled if you do. Actually, this is an excellent time for you to address certain emotional subject matter you’ve avoided or forgotten about. The current conditions of the sky make this an ideal time to take some bold initiative on your healing process, particularly involving two vital subject areas: one is relationships. You seem ready to confront some dark idea you have in the approximate area of ‘need’ — being needy, others being needy, or so on (that one word being one of the worst contemporary insults). Second is work. It’s time for you to confront one particular fear associated with your talent in any form, and demonstrate that the fear or insecurity you experience points directly to a source of energy that you must take over and make your own.

Wondering about how astrology is influencing your life now? Eric has prepared a written and recorded reading for you that tells the story. You can get all 12 signs of LISTEN, your 2013 reading, for the special reduced price of only $29.95. LISTEN gives you a detailed reading, available immediately, covering work, relationships, personal growth and creativity.
Gemini (May 20- June 21)

Gemini (May 20-June 21) — The topic you’re avoiding may be easier to write about. I was reminded of this in a conversation with a mom about how her daughter prefers to text to her about certain subject matter she would never speak out loud. There are certain circumstances when a face-to-face conversation is imperative. Writing allows a certain emotional distance, the ability to revise your ideas and to get your thoughts in order. It’s possible to take yourself through the evolution of your ideas as you go through a revision process. That in turn could make it easier to speak about something when the time comes. Now, here is the problem with writing: Unlike the spoken word, it lasts a while. It’s there for others to see. It might outlive you. It’s the record of what you think and know at a given time. As such, it serves as a form of your conscience. You might change your mind, but there would be less denying where you came from on the way to where you’re going. You might find this quality helpful right now, since these things matter.

Wondering about how astrology is influencing your life now? Eric has prepared a written and recorded reading for you that tells the story. You can get all 12 signs of LISTEN, your 2013 reading, for the special reduced price of only $29.95. LISTEN gives you a detailed reading, available immediately, covering work, relationships, personal growth and creativity.
Cancer (June 21- July 22)

Cancer (June 21-July 22) — Mars in your sign is acting like an irritant leading you to get a thicker skin and develop some resistance to the insults and injuries doled out so generously by the world. One potential problem with Mars in your sign (Cancer, in particular) — as you’ve no doubt noticed — is that it can come with a measure of defensiveness. Yet you can learn a lot from studying your responses to people and situations. These include what happens when you encounter authority, be it your own or that of someone else. You’re also in an extended moment of working out the specifics of whether and how you trust women. But there’s a bigger theme. To me, your charts look like a story of getting repeated shocks into understanding that your use of power must not be self-serving. It’s necessary to look after your own interests sufficiently to do what you have to do — but that’s different. Now more than ever, your credo must be: Serving the greatest good for all concerned.

Wondering about how astrology is influencing your life now? Eric has prepared a written and recorded reading for you that tells the story. You can get all 12 signs of LISTEN, your 2013 reading, for the special reduced price of only $29.95. LISTEN gives you a detailed reading, available immediately, covering work, relationships, personal growth and creativity.

Planet Waves

Leo readers: your birthday report is ready! You can read a little more about your 2013-2014 birthday reading here — or go straight to this page  to order instant access. That’s an hour of astrology plus a tarot reading by Eric Francis for only $29.95.

Leo (July 22- Aug. 23)

Leo (July 22-Aug. 23) — What is the secret you’re clinging to that you don’t want to reveal? It’s not as bad as you think. It may not even be your material that’s troubling you — it could be that of a relative who influenced you (such as with their ideas about marriage or the rules you supposedly have to follow in relationships). Those rules, guidelines or expectations have reached a practical limit. That limit can be a building block as effectively as it can be a limit. So the choice is yours, though clearly, some of the responsibility resides with a partner as well. One thing you may be coming up against is that person’s history of abuse. For a long time (since around 2005) they’ve been on a path of working that into a more evolved place, and it’s at the point where a spiritual solution is on the verge of possible. Still, there is one level of programming that seems to be taking its sweet time, and there are days you may have the feeling that it’s intractable. That, too, is not as bad as you think.

Wondering about how astrology is influencing your life now? Eric has prepared a written and recorded reading for you that tells the story. You can get all 12 signs of LISTEN, your 2013 reading, for the special reduced price of only $29.95. LISTEN gives you a detailed reading, available immediately, covering work, relationships, personal growth and creativity.
Virgo (Aug. 23- Sep. 22)

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22) — It may seem impossible for you to describe your situation, though you’ll have clues coming in the form of your physical and mental health. The feelings, symptoms and conditions you may be experiencing relate directly to the material you’re trying to process. You do look a bit like the boa constrictor trying to digest an elephant. I would offer that whatever psychic material you’re working through is not entirely your own, or not yours at all. I don’t say this as a means of absolving your responsibility for dealing with it in some way. Rather, I offer this idea because it might provide you with the incentive to come up with a new strategy for how to do so, with this additional information. The fact that you’re the one facing the scenario gives you the choice for how to do so. You have figured out at least once, probably at least three times, that denial is not the answer — though it remains an appealing temptation. Events of the next few days will demonstrate clearly that there are much better options.

Wondering about how astrology is influencing your life now? Eric has prepared a written and recorded reading for you that tells the story. You can get all 12 signs of LISTEN, your 2013 reading, for the special reduced price of only $29.95. LISTEN gives you a detailed reading, available immediately, covering work, relationships, personal growth and creativity.
Libra (Sep. 22 - Oct. 23)

Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23) — There are challenges that come with being oneself. While many influences tell us how wonderful it is to be authentic and in your integrity and all of that, few reveal what a pain in the ass it can be. If you’re ever wondering why authenticity is not more popular, that’s my theory — it’s not easy, and it comes at a cost. It is, however, considerably more convenient to be open and clear with the world voluntarily than it is to be so under some form of duress. I suggest you practice, which is to say, make a practice of full disclosure, and willingness to have the whole conversation. To do this, you’ll have to be willing to give up some aspect of your image, or self-image; the grit of reality and the polish of public relations do not mix well. The practice will serve you well. Over the next few weeks you will find yourself in situations compelling you to be increasingly real, with yourself and with others. It would be excellent if you were to emphasize that point as a matter of choice before you have to.

Wondering about how astrology is influencing your life now? Eric has prepared a written and recorded reading for you that tells the story. You can get all 12 signs of LISTEN, your 2013 reading, for the special reduced price of only $29.95. LISTEN gives you a detailed reading, available immediately, covering work, relationships, personal growth and creativity.
Scorpio (Oct. 23- Nov. 22)

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22) — There is no pre-existing belief system that just fits a person. Even if someone claims there is, it’s likely that they are making custom modifications, additions and/or granting themselves exceptions to the rules. This doesn’t mean that the world is ruled by anarchy, though it’s a common phobia that “without all these rigid laws and policies (most of them grounded in religion) the world would descend into chaos.” Actually, we could use a little more chaos rather than a little less. Most of the pain the world is in right now is due to an excess of order rather than of flexibility. You can afford to be less dogmatic and more creative about the ideas you depend on to run your life. The more pressure you put yourself under to believe something, or to comply with the beliefs of others, the more chaos you will create. I would remind you that ideas about sex and religion are a dangerous blend, and both have a way of being invisible. I suggest you open your eyes.

Wondering about how astrology is influencing your life now? Eric has prepared a written and recorded reading for you that tells the story. You can get all 12 signs of LISTEN, your 2013 reading, for the special reduced price of only $29.95. LISTEN gives you a detailed reading, available immediately, covering work, relationships, personal growth and creativity.
Sagittarius (Nov. 22 - Dec. 22)

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22) — If your desire nature or ability for exchanging love with others keeps getting caught in your security issues, you now have a welcome moment of relief. But you won’t be able to experience it until you dare to say or do something that you could not bring yourself to do in the past. What I’m suggesting is that you return to the scene of a boundary that you could not cross and see how it feels to be there and to consider going over it. This is better than being picked up and carried, or met at the gate by someone willing to hold your hand. The difference is that you get to be the one making the decisions, and you get to have the satisfaction of taking the risk successfully. This is a good time to question what you’re so worried about. I would propose that you’re more irked by the possibility of good things happening than you are about bad things.

Wondering about how astrology is influencing your life now? Eric has prepared a written and recorded reading for you that tells the story. You can get all 12 signs of LISTEN, your 2013 reading, for the special reduced price of only $29.95. LISTEN gives you a detailed reading, available immediately, covering work, relationships, personal growth and creativity.
Capricorn (Dec. 22- Jan. 20)

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20) — Shadows may keep arising in your relationships — the feelings and perceptions you don’t want to be there but that somehow persist. This may be the thing that’s driving you to try to get control over that which ultimately cannot be controlled. As this goes on, you might discover that it gets harder to have a grip on your emotions or the feelings of others. I suggest that you engage directly with whatever you think is the thing you want to avoid the most. You may fear that you’re smaller than whatever it is you’re worried about, but you won’t know until you meet it in a conscious way. This doesn’t need to be a confrontation; it would be wise of you to approach from the edges and work your way into the subject matter gently but with some resolve. Remember that shadow is not a thing in itself; it’s the absence of light. The strongest light in the universe is that of awareness.

Wondering about how astrology is influencing your life now? Eric has prepared a written and recorded reading for you that tells the story. You can get all 12 signs of LISTEN, your 2013 reading, for the special reduced price of only $29.95. LISTEN gives you a detailed reading, available immediately, covering work, relationships, personal growth and creativity.
Aquarius (Jan. 20- Feb. 19)

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) — You may feel like someone is trying to reveal the deepest flaws in your fears or sense of betrayal. Part of this sensation is an internal phenomenon. Something inside you, some set of conditions or the results of past experiences, is becoming undeniable, and you may feel like everyone else can see and feel your thoughts. This, in turn, could have you feeling a bit paranoid or edgy. When someone actually can perceive your situation clearly, that is likely to arrive with a sensation of strength, being willing to rise to a challenge, or as noticing someone is an example that you want to take on. You still may feel a bit nervous at the prospect. Yet that’s a different experience than the paranoia that your weaknesses will be revealed and taken advantage of. At this stage of your life, I would propose that you be honest about the issues you’re addressing, as well as their histories. You will feel better and safer for being known than for trying to conceal your reality.

Wondering about how astrology is influencing your life now? Eric has prepared a written and recorded reading for you that tells the story. You can get all 12 signs of LISTEN, your 2013 reading, for the special reduced price of only $29.95. LISTEN gives you a detailed reading, available immediately, covering work, relationships, personal growth and creativity.
Pisces (Feb. 19- March 20)

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) — Given the choice between focusing your energy on healing or pleasure, I suggest you opt for pleasure. It’s just as healing as anything else, especially now. Given the choice between taking on more responsibility or expressing yourself creatively, I suggest you go for passion rather than duty. Given the choice between taking care of yourself or others, take care of yourself first. Your sense of passion is, at least at the moment, closely tuned to or synchronized with the deeper levels of necessity than what you will encounter in the work-a-day world. You may need to guide yourself into that frame of reference, however, making a series of choices until you find an easy opening. This may take some gentle persistence but it’s easier than solving the Rubik’s Cube with your eyes open. In fact you are incredibly perceptive at the moment, and if you look through both your normal sense and your Piscean ‘extra’ senses, and have a good idea of what you want, you are very likely to find whatever that is.

Wondering about how astrology is influencing your life now? Eric has prepared a written and recorded reading for you that tells the story. You can get all 12 signs of LISTEN, your 2013 reading, for the special reduced price of only $29.95. LISTEN gives you a detailed reading, available immediately, covering work, relationships, personal growth and creativity.

The Royal Scam

Dear Friend and Reader:

It’s been a surreal or perhaps even dadaist week in the news and in astrology. Starting with the sky, there are currently six planets, the Sun and some asteroids in Pisces right now, with one of the highlights being retrograde Mercury. This is astrology that is bending notes, blending colors and warping so-called reality into interesting shapes.

Planet Waves
The Lockheed Martin F-35 airplane.

Chiron and Neptune are the longterm visitors in Pisces, representing the spiritual quest of our extended moment in history. Currently they are joined by the Sun, Mercury, Venus and Mars. The seventh point in the alignment is the eminently Piscean Borasisi (a planet slightly beyond Pluto, which I last covered in early 2011). Borasisi is about questions of belief, and how believing something, for most practical purposes, makes it true. Borasisi is also about the lies that makeus feel good.

There’s rich creative potential in this setup, and it’s pretty sexy too — Venus is the planet of personal love and admiration, conjunct Neptune, the planet of universal love. These days, lust is meaningful and fantasies have a good chance of becoming real, if you put some creative energy into them. Venus-Neptune can come with an idealistic streak, and perhaps some unrealistic ideas — though with all this Pisces going on, the implausible could be right within reach. In many ways, the rules are suspended — though you won’t know that until you try to do something unusual.

Meanwhile, Mercury retrograde can be providing access to the past, helping you retrieve some gems you may have left behind or forgotten about. This is a great time to re-energize old projects and desires; I’m sure there are plenty of ideas (or people) you were hot for but which got lost in the tides of time. The tide has turned and some interesting stuff is going to be washing up on the beach.
Mercury retrograde could also serve to prod a kind of spiritual review, soul-search or deep personal inquiry — something that our government leaders could do with a little more of here in the United States.

There’s so much in the news this week that was so strange, that I can only give a few samples. Thursday, JosephRatzinger boarded a helicopter and flew away from the Vatican, the first pope to resign in six centuries.

Planet Waves
Joseph Ratzinger, or Pope Benedict XVI, says goodbye to the faithful in his last noon prayer from his studio overlooking St. Peter’s Square on Sunday. Vatican photo.

(So much for conspiracy rumors that he would not be leaving the Vatican’s walls, lest he be arrested.) Soon we’ll get to see who will lead the scandal-plagued church deeper into the 21st century. For a very interesting, well-worth-listening-to perspective on that, check out this edition of Fresh Air.

Wednesday during oral arguments in the Supreme Court on the Voting Rights Act of 1965, Justice Antonin Scalia described voting as a “racial entitlement,” which sent a gasp throughout the packed, lotus-flower-adorned courtroom.

The Civil Rights Act was and is about undoing the insidious scheme of racist laws and customs once known as Jim Crow. Everyone knows the problem still exists. We all saw the antics in many states during the past four or five election cycles, with all the voter purges and other games designed to block minority voters.

Antonin is a reactionary drama queen and seems to live for the pleasure of people thinking he’s a certified asshole. (Note, Scalia is a March 11 Pisces with his Sun right in the mix of the current alignment.) Many are speculating that key provisions of the nation’s most revered civil rights law, which monitors voting laws in several southern states, will be struck down. This, in an era when minority voting rights are constantly being threatened by new games on the state level.

Meanwhile, at the same moment right across town under the Statuary Hall of the Capitol building, Pres. Obama and others were dedicating a statue of civil rights activist Rosa Parks. How could both of these things be happening at same time and place? The current astrology is not lending itself to rationalism or logic.

A group of prominent conservatives, meanwhile, signed a legal petition (technically called an amicus brief) supporting the right of lesbian and gay couples to marry, on ‘family values’ grounds. This was filed in the case on Proposition 8, which is before the Supreme Court in its current term. Later in the week, Pres. Obama issued a statement saying that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional because it denies people equal protection under the law.

Planet Waves
Japanese police, wearing radiation suits search for victims inside the evacuation zone, established for the 20 km radius around the Fukushima nuclear reactors. Photo: David Guttenfelder.

In the social contract in the U.S., all citizens are supposed to have equal rights — such as the right to get married. (We’ll really be making progress when tax rates for single people are the same as those for married people.)

Meanwhile, the House of Representatives actually passed the Violence Against Women Act, expanding it to include lesbian, gay and transgender people under its programs. It’s actually an anti-domestic violence law.

The expanded Senate version of the bill, approved by the House Thursday, had been held up by a number of opponents for whom such a thing is not politically expedient. Now that the 2012 election is over, Republicans let it go through — though 138 representatives voted against it, many of them doing so proudly and to make a point. Apparently they have not outgrown the “No Girls Allowed” phase of pre-adolescence.

The nuclear Pinocchios at the World Health Organization this week said that anysickness caused by Fukushima is so minimal it will get lost in the statistics. Three nuclear power plants can explode and melt down, and dump highly radioactive materials into the land, groundwater, sea and oceans, and nothing bad will happen.

“The additional risk is quite small and will probably be hidden by the noise of other (cancer) risks like people’s lifestyle choices and statistical fluctuations,” said Richard Wakeford of the University of Manchester, one of the authors of the WHO report. “It’s more important not to start smoking than having been in Fukushima.”

In other words: nuclear meltdowns are good for you.

And topping off an interesting week, Miss Teen Delaware — Melissa King, age 18 — had to turn in her sash and crown after a sexy video of her went viral. Can you blame her? She thought it would be interesting and needed the money.

The Budget Doomsday Machine

Oh — there is one other story. On Thursday afternoon, the Senate failed to get the necessary votes to pass a resolution to stop mandatory budget cuts — called sequestration — from taking effect at midnight Friday.

Sequestration is a kind of ‘mutually assured budgetary destruction’ that was set into automatic motion nearly two years ago. The difference between this Doomsday Machine and the one in Dr. Strangelove is that Congress can turn the thing off if it wants to. Apparently, it does not. The whole episode is feeding the sick nihilism of people who are supposed to be stewards of government but claim they want to make it small enough to drown it in a bathtub.

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Matt Taibbi, one of my favorite writers, put it this way: “If you can get past how horrifying it is, the looming ‘sequestration cuts’ crisis is fascinating. It’s like watching a bunch of gambling addicts play craps by throwing dice into a four-dimensional wormhole.”

Our congressional representatives are playing with the lives of many millions of their constituents, who don’t draw lavish salaries or have free healthcare and staffs and offices and cars all paid for by the government, while they endanger the livelihood of people eking out a living. Meanwhile, many of us donate 40% of our wages to support their insanity. Sometimes when I am driving down the NYS Thruway, a very nice Interstate that my grandparents’ generation paid to build, I wonder what I get for my federal taxes — because I am paying by the mile to drive down that road.

Taibbi continues, “There are so many variables that neither side can possibly know the true outcome of a failure to make a deal — which means the only certainty is that what we’re watching is irresponsibility on an epic scale, wherein both of our major political parties seem to prefer government by random outcome over one managed by sensible compromise.”

This plan started back in April 2011, during the infamous debt ceiling battle, wherein congressional Republicans held the country hostage on threat of defaulting on our debt service to those who hold paper on the U.S. Note, this was not about new spending but about what Congress had already spent, in effect, being able to make our credit card payments.

Ransom was the Budget Control Act of 2011, which in theory would reduce federal spending by $1.2 trillion over the next 10 years, unless another budget reduction deal could be struck. This is all based on the premise that Washington has a “spending problem” (words that no doubt flowered from the dark mind of Republican meme-maker Frank Luntz, who also gave us “death tax” and “climate change”). Spending problem means “we’re not going to raise taxes on the wealthy oligarchs who run the economy.”

The deadline was midnight, Friday, March 1, at which time $85 billion in pre-planed and how ‘automatic’ federal spending cuts would take effect. While the current cuts are a relatively small percentage of the federal budget, they could amount to 750,000 layoffs and furloughs, taking money out of the economy and threatening the fragile recovery. Evidence that this is just a ridiculous drama is that a few years ago, the Fed came up with that much money to bail out Citigroup in one day.

Planet Waves
Dr. Strange — Speaker of the House, John Boehner, holds a news conference on the looming sequester in Washington, D.C. on Feb. 25, 2013. Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call via Rolling Stone.

On Thursday, senators wanting to stop the mandatory cuts got a majority of 51 votes (all of them Democrats), but that’s not enough to get through the Senate, where the minority rules and everything takes 60 votes to pass.

That, of course, is just one kind of self-created booby trap that is constantly subverting progress and reason; according to the Constitution, in the Senate 51 votes is supposed to do the job. Then, what did Congress do next? It went home! They left! They walked out on America, come what may.

Sequestration was predicated on the idea that budget cuts were across the board, including to the military — and that Republicans would never want to be accused of weakening national security (or harming the business of their defense contractor campaign donors). But that didn’t work, and at the stroke of midnight, the cuts started to go into effect.

We’re being told that losing this $85 billion in federal spending is going to affect everyone in every state and county in the United States, with some areas (especially those with concentrated military industry) hit especially hard.

Yet many are suggesting that sequestration is another scam, just like the debt ceiling battle and the fiscal cliff. The point of the scam — a Shock Doctrine game of living from crisis to crisis — is to cut social programs (Medicaid and Social Security) while using the hostage crisis to make sure that taxes are not increased on the super-wealthy. There does seem to be a lie in the chart, indicated mainly by Venus conjunct Neptune.

This might be a nice aspect in personal astrology, though in the chart for an important national event — especially one about economics — it can indicate some form of fraud or deception.

That would be par for the course, when every one of these fake crises is designed to make the rich richer. If everyone paid their fair share — that is, if people like Mitt Romney and Warren Buffett paid a higher percentage in taxes than their secretaries do, and if major corporations paid their fair share of taxes, we would not be in our current condition.

The Little Airplane That Couldn’t

Without getting into the specifics of sequestration, let’s look at one federal program, to give ourselves the advantage of a sense of scale. That’s the F-35 fighter jet, a project that started in the 1990s and which is planned to be the all-purpose airplane.

Planet Waves
Test flight of F-35B. Photo from Lockheed Martin.

Let’s see, it’s supposed to serve the Air Force, the Navy and the Marines. It’s the plane that can land vertically, like a helicopter, land on a carrier or on a short runway. It’s supposed to replace all of its predecessors, such as the workhorse F-16 and many other airplanes. It’s designed to be good for ground attack, reconnaissance and air defense missions. The United Kingdom, Italy, Netherlands, Australia, Canada, Norway, Denmark, and Turkey are part of the development program; Israel, Singapore and Japan may also equip their air services with the F-35.

Each unit goes for about a quarter billion dollars. The whole program is expected to cost the U.S. taxpayers $1.7 trillion — that is, before interest on the money borrowed to pay for it is compounded. The U.S. government claims the plane will cost $20,000 per flight hour in maintenance costs, plus gas and tolls. More realistic estimates have that cost at closer to $50,000 per hour. The U.S. plans to buy 2,443 of them.

The plane has just one problem.

It’s not safe to fly. In fact at the moment, it does not fly. The whole test fleet was grounded last week after routine inspection revealed cracks in engine turbine blades. If a turbine blade shatters in flight, the engine explodes and the airplane crashes.

Did I say one problem? Well, actually, it has a seemingly endless litany of problems, including an airframe that’s unlikely to last the lifetime of the plane; an eject system that has never been tested and which may not work; a fuel dump system that poses a fire hazard; a weight problem; thermal problems that include failure to keep the pilot and controls cool enough; the problem of a standard feature that damages the aircraft; software development that is behind schedule; critical functions have yet to be tested; and there are concerns about what will happen when the plane is struck by lightning.

Planet Waves
Tom Toles of the Washington Post on sequestration.

The program seems to be good for one thing: pouring an ocean of money into the hands of Lockheed Martin, its manufacturer.

That $1.7 trillion budget for the F-35 is 200 times the cost of the $85 billion sequestration that went into effect Friday morning — before interest. When you compound the interest that our children and grandchildren will pay, it’s likely to be at least 50% higher.

And the plane does not fly. Looking at the chart for the contract being awarded and the first test flight, it looks like it’s going to have problems for a long, long time and may even be scrapped.

So what are we really doing in a country that cannot pay for teachers and firefighters and to keep its bridges maintained, where many children cannot concentrate in school because they’re too hungry — but we have money to finance the F-35?

Kinda makes a person wonder.


PS, If you’re on Facebook (we know that some of you despise the thing) would you please ‘like’ the new Planet Waves company page? There are excellent discussions, frequent news updates and generally a fun experience of microblogging.


Planet Waves

More Pisces Than You Think

We know there’s a lot of Pisces the sky right now, including the Sun, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Chiron and Neptune — though there are quite a few minor planets there as well. Let’s take a quick look at the better-known planets and then tune into the small ones.

Planet Waves
False-color photo of Mercury, as mapped by the NASA MESSENGER probe. The color variation signifies the varying composition of rocks on Mercury’s surface. Watch video here. Photo: NASA.

Venus has just made a conjunction to Neptune, beginning a new cycle between those two planets. This is the blend of tangible, worldly love and what you might think of as cosmic or mystical love. The two go well together, and while not lending themselves to realism, they can make your wildest ideals seem practical.

The Sun has just completed a conjunction to Chirion in Pisces, which took place in the midst of our Very Strange Week of politics; that was exact the day that Justice Scalia declared voting a racial entitlement and the statue of Rosa Parks was dedicated right down the street. Reality does not make as much sense as we think it should.

Chiron for its part is about to take a square aspect from Jupiter, the traditional ruler of Pisces. This has the flavor of activism to it; it’s fighting the good fight for the good cause, whatever you think that might be. We’re seeing some evidence of this in the now-heightened debate over gun control.

Then we have Sauer conjunct Chiron. To me that is saying: plot the orbit of justice, and follow the trajectory. Aim yourself in the direction of things going right. Stack the deck in your own favor, and if you know about this idea, in favor of the greatest good for all concerned.

While both sides are coming on pretty strong, clearly in Chiron style the underdogs — those without the guns — are going to win this round, and I believe the momentum will persist. This is due to Chiron-Jupiter; it’s also due to the Uranus-Pluto square, and I would remind everyone that the Newtown incident, which spurred the current phase of the discussion, happened during the last week of the Mayan 13th baktun.

Planet Waves
Calculations by Serennu.com.

Meanwhile, Mercury is retrograde, and will form its interior conjunction to the Sun on Monday, March 4. That is Mercury passing exactly between the Earth and Sun. It’a also the midway point of Mercury retrograde; the cycle is halfway over (Mercury stations direct on March 17).

What’s interesting about this conjunction is that it takes place conjunct a relatively newly discovered planet named Borasisi. Named for one of the gods in the Kurt Vonnegut novel Cat’s Cradle, Borasisi is about the relationship between truth, lies, belief and what we perceive as real. In a sense, it says, “reality is what you make it.”

Notably, the novel and the planet have an association to the nuclear lies of one company, General Electric, though this can be extrapolated to include the entire nuclear dilemma. With a powerful conjunction taking place exactly conjunct Borasisi, be ready for some news out of the nuclear industry (as if being told, again, that Fukushima was not really toxic and that Hanford is leaking were not enough). The event could be covered up quickly, or it could represent an intellectual development (such as new data) that is buried by the press.

There are a few other bits in Pisces as well — the full list is included in the chart to the right. Among the interesting aspects are Mars conjunct Heracles (as heroic as it gets, though in Pisces, you might not want credit), Amor conjunct Photographica and Salacia (great for creating sexy photos and for using photography to see someone differently) and Hygiea, which is reminding us that some Pisces are more obsessed with health, purity and neatness than many Virgos, which is not saying much at all.


Planet Waves

Senate Delays Brennan Vote; Hagel Sworn In

The Senate Intelligence Committee delayed its vote for the second time on the confirmation of nominee John Brennan to be director of the CIA.

Senator Rand Paul vowed to stall the vote until legal memos justifying the Obama administration’s assassination program, which Brennan has overseen, are released.

“We’re talking about someone eating at a cafe in Boston or in New York, and a Hellfire missile comes raining in on them,” the senator said. “There should be an easy answer from the administration on this. They should say, ‘Absolutely no, we will not kill Americans in America without an accusation, a trial and a jury.'”

The committee is expected to vote on Brennan next week.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is having an easier time of it. He was sworn in on Wednesday, one day after his confirmation was approved, despite Republican complaints about his readiness for the job.

Republicans Sign Brief Supporting Gay Marriage

Top advisers to former president George W. Bush, four former governors, two members of Congress and other prominent Republicans signed a legal brief earlier this week supporting gay people’s constitutional right to marry, directly challenging Speaker John A. Boehner’s position.

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It will be submitted to the Supreme Court in support of a suit to strike down Proposition 8, a California ballot initiative outlawing same-sex marriage. The Obama administration is urging the court to overturn the gay marriage ban.

Tom Goldstein, publisher of Scotusblog, a website that analyzes Supreme Court cases, said the amicus filing “has the potential to break through and make a real difference.”

He added, “The person who is going to decide this case, if it’s going to be close, is going to be a conservative justice who respects traditional marriage but nonetheless is sympathetic to the claims that this is just another form of hatred. If you’re trying to persuade someone like that, you can’t persuade them from the perspective of gay rights advocacy.”

Of course, this is the whole point — the law is supposed to be blind to that kind of thing, applying an even standard.

VAWA Passed, Bill Goes to Obama for Signature

The GOP version of the Violence Against Women Act failed Thursday to win a majority after almost 90 minutes of debate. The House then voted 286-138 to pass the Senate version, with 87 Republicans joining all 199 Democrats to provide majority support.

This Senate bill includes expanded protections for gay women, Native Americans and female immigrants, absent in the Republican proposal.

A majority of Senate Republicans backed the act, along with every woman senator regardless of party, noted House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of California.

“It’s really hard to explain why, what eyes the Republicans are looking through, that they do not see the folly of their ways in the legislation they are proposing,” Pelosi said.


Planet Waves

The Venus, Neptune and Chiron in Pisces Sessions

The movie The Sessions — which just won Independent Spirit Awards for Helen Hunt (best supporting actress) and John Hawkes (best male lead) and garnered nominations from the Oscars, the Golden Globes and the Screen Actors Guild — is tailor-made for attention while Venus is conjunct Neptune and about to conjoin Chiron in Pisces.

Planet Waves
Helen Hunt and John Hawkes in The Sessions.

Venus-Neptune, at its best, is about elevating erotic love to the level of universal, divine compassion (its shadow expression cautions against illusions and expectations in love). Add Chiron, and we get the theme of allowing ourselves to receive sexual healing. The Sessions tells the real-life story of poet Mark O’Brien, paralyzed from the neck down due to polio, who hired a sex surrogate to lose his virginity.

The movie has spurred an informative post on Betty Dodson’s blog, written by former professional sex surrogate Stephanie Wadell, explaining how real-life sexual surrogacy compares to its depiction in the movie.

Wadell notes that, “the movie only shows the value of surrogate partner work for a severely disabled person. The majority of surrogate partner body therapy includes clients who have numerous sexual and social problems.”

She goes on to describe her work with socially inhibited Silicon Valley tech whizzes during the dot com boom, and one of her favorite clients: a 50-year-old man who had never experienced sexual intimacy with a woman. They spent many sessions just helping him learn to communicate feelings, and then practiced dating — beginning with actually unpacking trash bags of his belongings to set up his bedroom as a welcoming space.

Sexual surrogacy caught on for a short time in the 1970s, after Masters and Johnson introduced the idea as an adjunct to conventional therapy. Unfortunately, despite high success rates, the combination of complicated legal issues plus tremendous criticism from both the far Right and feminist organizations led to tighter and tighter restrictions on the field. By the time Wadell was practicing from 1987-1997, there were only 12 certified sex surrogates in the entire U.S. — leaving this modality of healing to that ‘oldest profession’ that operates in red light, not red tape.


Planet Waves

News from a Piscean Planet: Nuclear Leaks and Deep-Sea Wonder

The Hanford Nuclear Reservation, a nuclear weapons production and storage facility in southeastern Washington State known to have leaked more than 1 million gallons of nuclear waste into the desert soil over the years, has sprung a new breach.

Planet Waves
Nuclear reactors line the riverbank at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation along the Columbia River in January 1960. (Photo courtesy of the Department of Energy).

The current radioactive leak was detected coming from a 1940s-vintage radioactive sludge storage tank. The tank was originally designed to store nuclear waste for only 20 years. The Department of Energy announced this most recent discovery on Feb. 15.

The Hanford site has been plagued since 1989 by schemes to manage its nuclear waste that have faltered due to excessive cost, poor contractor performance and plain lack of credibility. The current plan to seal waste in glass-forming material is already delayed beyond 2019 due to spiraling costs.

Radioactive plumes are moving through groundwater toward the Columbia River. The Columbia borders 50 miles of the Hanford site, at times coming within seven miles of the tanks.

Meanwhile, in deep ocean waters on the other side of the continent, plumes of a different sort are stunning scientists. A U.K. team in the Caribbean Ocean have discovered the deepest thermal vents on record, releasing water that is among the hottest on the planet at 401 degrees Celsius (or about 754 Fahrenheit; the surrounding water is only about 4C, or 39F).

The scientists, using a remotely operated vehicle in the Cayman Trough, happened upon a previously unknown trough almost 5,000 meters (about three miles) deep. The water — pushing out from the seabed under incredible pressure — looks rather like black smoke. And yet despite the incredible heat, pressure and lack of sunlight, the area hosts curious, specially adapted forms of sea life including translucent, apparently blind shrimp with special organs to detect super-heated water.

“The beauty of working in the deep oceans is that you’re always stumbling over things that are completely new,” said Dr. Jon Copley of the National Oceanography Centre. “It’s teaching us how little we know and for a few minutes it’s not about the science, it’s about the wonder of the planet, something that’s been hidden for so long.”

Rather like current Mercury-retrograde explorations of our own inner Piscean depths. When Mercury stations direct, it will be time to apply what we’ve learned — though sooner rather than later would be better in the case of nuclear waste.


Planet Waves

To Sleep, Perchance to Dream… And to Be Photographed

With all the planets in Pisces, the skies are emphasizing inner vision and creative expression, dream exploration, erotic love, deep emotions and the permeability of shared consciousness. As if on cue to coincide with the conjunction of Venus with Neptune in Pisces (which was exact Thursday), Huffington Post ran a story this week on photographer Paul Schneggenburger’s surreal project titled The Sleep of the Beloved.

“What happens to lovers as they are sleeping? Is it a sleeping just next to each other, each on his own, or is there a sharing of certain places or emotions?” asks Schneggenburger. “Is there a conjunction with the other, with one’s self?”

Schneggenburger captures six-hour-long exposures of couples (sometimes with their toddlers) as they sleep. The resulting ephemeral, black and white images resemble mythical multi-headed, multi-limbed creatures. How does the intricate, unconscious dance of physically intertwining and separating compare with our inner dreamtime wanderings?

Volunteers for The Sleep of the Beloved slumber from midnight to 6:00 am after Schneggenburger sets up candles and camera in his studio — and the project is ongoing. If you’re planning travel to Vienna, you can contact him to see about becoming his next photo subject with your beloved.


Planet Waves

Lots and Lots of Pisces

This week I have an exciting edition of Planet Waves FM for you, covering the ongoing, rapidly developing astrology in Pisces. This includes the Sun, retrograde Mercury, Venus and Mars in Pisces, along with slow-movers Chiron and Neptune.

Planet Waves
Photo by Johanna.

This is a truly unusual alignment — looking for anything as interesting in Pisces I had to go back to around 1967 to find something this cool.

After I cover the astrology — and play a song by the Florida-based band Pilotwave — I take a gander through the news, including looking at the chart for sequestration (that is, mandatory budget cuts that are going into effect March 1 — today). I manage to skip the pope leaving office and look at the petition by a number of prominent Republicans who are supporting the right of lesbian and gay people to marry.

I read from and comment on an article in The New York Timeshere is that article. I had to leave out a lot of stories, though this week’s newspapers read more like something out of fiction than the real world — such is Mercury retrograde and a bunch of other planets in Pisces.


Planet Waves

Your Monthly Horoscopes — and our Publishing Schedule Notes

The March monthly extended horoscopes were published Friday, Feb. 22. The February monthly horoscope was published Friday, Jan. 25 — I recommend reviewing the monthly horoscope at the end of the month. Inner Space for March was published Tuesday, Feb. 26. Note that the longer monthly horoscope is being incorporated into the Friday issue after the Sun has entered a new sign; a new Inner Space is still emailed on the following Tuesday. We published the Moonshine Horoscope for the Virgo Full Moon on Tuesday, Feb. 19. We will be publishing the Pisces New Moon Moonshine horoscope Tuesday, March 5.


Planet Waves

Pisces Birthdays: The Living Reef

Aquarius (Jan. 20- Feb. 19)

Pisces is a school of fish right now. Your sign is your environment — there are likely to be a lot of interesting people around you. If there are not, make a conscious decision to open up and they are likely to arrive. Said another way, you have your options open, and because this is your solar return time, you will for at least the coming four seasons. Your life can become like a coral reef that hosts many different forms of life, many different kinds of people. Diversity is key, so make sure that you make your decisions accordingly. There is one reminder coming through — you are bigger than your relationships. Most people and many Pisces live as if they are smaller than, or submissive to, their relationships and their partners. Now is the time to adjust that scale. You are the owner of your existence, or at least you are its steward. You have a life, and in that life, there are other people. You are the focal point of your own world. If you remember that, you’ll be able to maintain a sense of scale and proportion. Remember, too, that the people who are drawn to you will make themselves known. They will demonstrate their care and respect. They will come in a spirit of exchange. You have plenty to offer them, and they have plenty to offer you, which sets the potential for an authentic sharing — do not settle for anything less.

Hello Pisces and Pisces rising — your birthday reading is ready to go. It’s two sessions of astrology covering all of the current wild astrology in your sign, a tarot reading and an extended sign description, plus charts and photos of the spread. All this is yours for just $19.95, money-back guarantee if you don’t love it.

Weekly Horoscope for Friday, March 1, 2013 #940 | By Eric Francis

Aries (March 20-April 19)

Aries (March 20-April 19) — You may feel like you’re living in two worlds — one where you have to get everything right, and another where there are no rules. Actually the only rules you have to follow are the ones you’ve agreed to, and even those are probably negotiable. Check carefully for any sensation of being trapped, hemmed in or hidden away, and if you discover something, see if you can get a handle on why you feel that way. What seems to be happening is that you’re being drawn into a dimension of yourself that’s either unfamiliar or that has never been so present. This may have you feeling like you’re going to slip off a ledge and tumble into an inner abyss. Well, kind of — what’s happening is that your imagination is firing up. Think of it as an inner life, an inner dimension, that has all its own customs. The more you try to pretend it’s not there, the more chaotic you’ll feel. The more you focus your energy inward, the more you will tap a rich well of imagination.

Order your 2013 reading from Eric Francis now, in LISTEN, the 2013 annual edition of Planet Waves. As a subscriber you can still get all 12 signs for the price of three. This is a detailed written and audio reading that you will love. You can also purchase signs one at a time (including audio and written, prior to our splitting those two products).


Taurus (April 19- May 20)

Taurus (April 19-May 20) — One way to let go of old or stuck patterns is to meet new people, experience them and learn from them. Think of it as a kind of creative and emotional cross-pollination. There seem to be plenty of people and scenes available right now — your social universe really is a universe, though to find it you’ll need to get out of your house. This one isn’t on the Internet; it’s the one you can meet with all of your senses. One element of the astrological pattern is the ability to experiment with who you are, to shape-shift and test out different self-portrayals. You might do that with clothing, makeup or character, but really this is about psychic posture: how it feels to be you, which is unusually flexible right now. One other thing — notice the role that people you already know have in your life, including those you’ve lost contact with and also those you’ve been in contact with all along. You can have a whole new conversation.

Order your 2013 reading from Eric Francis now, in LISTEN, the 2013 annual edition of Planet Waves. As a subscriber you can still get all 12 signs for the price of three. This is a detailed written and audio reading that you will love. You can also purchase signs one at a time (including audio and written, prior to our splitting those two products).


Gemini (May 20- June 21)

Gemini (May 20-June 21) — Please apply your imagination to your career. Do not look for a job. Do not re-do your resume. Use your incredibly beautiful imagination and consider the possibilities. Now is not the time to consider the flaws in your plan, your limits or any practical matters — it’s the time to unfold your idea of your potential. It’s also the time to consider the power and value of the experience you’ve already gained. Said another way, I suggest you take an inventory of what you know, what you’ve done and your talents. Then, think of them in different combinations and see if that sparks any ideas. As you do that, try to remember what you want to do. You may think that’s easy to recall, though I am proposing that you’re going to remember something you’ve forgotten. What were you doing and thinking in March 2010, February 2011 or February 2012? I suggest you go through your notebooks, email, diary and photo library and sift through them like you’re panning for gold.

Order your 2013 reading from Eric Francis now, in LISTEN, the 2013 annual edition of Planet Waves. As a subscriber you can still get all 12 signs for the price of three. This is a detailed written and audio reading that you will love. You can also purchase signs one at a time (including audio and written, prior to our splitting those two products).


Cancer (June 21- July 22)

Cancer (June 21-July 22) — It is unfortunate that our ideas about birth, sex, the cosmos, consciousness and death have all been taken over by religion. I don’t mean influenced — I mean taken over, as in bought the bank, raided, invaded and infiltrated. It seems like you’re on a quest to set yourself free of these things, though it would help to know what you’re setting yourself free from. Don’t invest too much energy in that, however — just know that it’s something that has co-opted everything, or has tried to, and that your actual reality is about something entirely different. You may experience some discomfort as you stretch past your previous boundaries, a little like shimmying under barbed wire and getting scuffed up in the process. You may feel like someone is going to challenge or persecute you. You might feel guilty, as if you’re doing something wrong by opening up to your potential. If so, keep going — you’re moving in the direction of freedom of conscience, passion and love.

Order your 2013 reading from Eric Francis now, in LISTEN, the 2013 annual edition of Planet Waves. As a subscriber you can still get all 12 signs for the price of three. This is a detailed written and audio reading that you will love. You can also purchase signs one at a time (including audio and written, prior to our splitting those two products).


Leo (July 22- Aug. 23)

Leo (July 22-Aug. 23) — This is the time to focus on money. No matter how spiritual, innocent, pure of heart, loving in your intentions, motivated by authentic creativity and truly generous you are, work what you’re doing until it creates the profits that are coming your way. All your other attributes are what is feeding your energy and your potential — not subtracting, or presenting any moral issues. There is (mainly fed by one reference in the Bible) an alleged prohibition on doing anything ‘good’ for money, which leads directly to a world where a lot of people think the only thing they can do is something detrimental, hurtful or exploitative. You are currently in the midst of some form of abundance; you have plenty to offer, and to share. There are many productive exchanges going on in your life, and what you’re involved with — or can choose to become involved with — is there to create benefit for everyone, including financial gain for you. PS, this is not a matter of ‘luck’.

Order your 2013 reading from Eric Francis now, in LISTEN, the 2013 annual edition of Planet Waves. As a subscriber you can still get all 12 signs for the price of three. This is a detailed written and audio reading that you will love. You can also purchase signs one at a time (including audio and written, prior to our splitting those two products).


Virgo (Aug. 23- Sep. 22)

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22) — You seem to be trying to sort out your relationships, though have you considered that this is a great time to be lost in the midst of them? By that I mean that they don’t need to make sense, they don’t need to stay the same and you don’t need to adhere to any one person or concept of what a relationship is. I know how nervous living this way can make some people feel — like they have no boundaries. The thing is, most people’s rules (which are like pretend boundaries) are so rigid that sooner or later they end up frustrated (or drunk) and throw them away and wing it. So while you’re exploring, be mindful of how you feel. Speaking of alcohol, have some ideas about what decisions you’ll make when this stuff is in the environment or in your body. Know where you are and what you’re doing there. Make sure you say yes when you mean yes, no when you mean no, and maybe when you need some time to think about it (those are the most useful boundaries anyone can have).

Order your 2013 reading from Eric Francis now, in LISTEN, the 2013 annual edition of Planet Waves. As a subscriber you can still get all 12 signs for the price of three. This is a detailed written and audio reading that you will love. You can also purchase signs one at a time (including audio and written, prior to our splitting those two products).


Libra (Sep. 22 - Oct. 23)

Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23) — There are two approaches available to you: competitive or inclusive. Said this way, the choice seems obvious, though every influence in our society is about turning relationships into a zero-sum game. That means a game with many losers and just one winner. The game you want is one where everyone wins. One thing to remember is that there is plenty of you to go around: plenty of love, empathy and appreciation of diversity. You don’t have to ‘commit’ yourself to anyone or anything the way that you were told you had to in the past. The person you need to be committed to is yourself and your own cause, meaning: know your wants and needs. Know what values are guiding you. What I suggest is that you let your imagination guide you, and see who harmonizes with you. Remind yourself how much you have to offer, and you will also remember why it makes sense that others would have so much to offer you. If you bump up against some limit on your self-esteem, climb over it, walk around it or keep going.

Order your 2013 reading from Eric Francis now, in LISTEN, the 2013 annual edition of Planet Waves. As a subscriber you can still get all 12 signs for the price of three. This is a detailed written and audio reading that you will love. You can also purchase signs one at a time (including audio and written, prior to our splitting those two products).


Scorpio (Oct. 23- Nov. 22)

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22) — By almost every indication this will be one of the most interesting times in your erotic life — a big statement, when made in the company of Scorpio. Pisces, your solar house of art, sex, pleasure and taking risks, is swimming with planets right now, including Venus and Mars. I am sure you want to indulge yourself and really have some fun. Yet there seems to be something that’s holding you back, some hesitancy or misgiving. You may feel like your head is getting in the way of your heart. This is worth pausing over and considering what’s up. Do you have a commitment to someone else, whether in reality or in your own private thoughts? Do you feel guilty, as if you’re taking something away from someone else? Just because you feel that way doesn’t make it true, though there does seem to be something you need to disconnect from, rooted in the past — and there is nothing stopping you from doing so. The truth is you cannot love or make love at some abstract time in the future — these are pleasures reserved for those who are able to focus on the present. So call yourself into moment you’re actually in, and enjoy your life.

Order your 2013 reading from Eric Francis now, in LISTEN, the 2013 annual edition of Planet Waves. As a subscriber you can still get all 12 signs for the price of three. This is a detailed written and audio reading that you will love. You can also purchase signs one at a time (including audio and written, prior to our splitting those two products).


Sagittarius (Nov. 22 - Dec. 22)

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22) — I suggest you project all of your confidence into the relationship of your choice. Your life is not as complex as it seems; you’re merely allowing yourself to feel all the things that usually don’t influence you. The astrology is so strong that denial or pretending won’t work; it’s time to actually acknowledge how you feel. I suggest you do this regardless of the rules, or what you think anyone else might have to say about it. The message of the planets is that your life is your life; you and your time are not the property of someone else. That includes anyone in your family who, whether currently or in the past, has (or had) something to say about who you relate to and how. You may not think this a factor, but I suggest you investigate further. One of the issues involved seems to be that someone put into your mind the fear of going deep — the fear of emotional bonding, whether directly or indirectly — through their words or actions. You have a different idea about life, and a different plan for yourself.

Order your 2013 reading from Eric Francis now, in LISTEN, the 2013 annual edition of Planet Waves. As a subscriber you can still get all 12 signs for the price of three. This is a detailed written and audio reading that you will love. You can also purchase signs one at a time (including audio and written, prior to our splitting those two products).


Capricorn (Dec. 22- Jan. 20)

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20) — There’s no one correct answer to any of the questions you’re asking yourself, and no one right thing for you to be doing. I suggest therefore that you do what you feel good doing, to the extent that you can. I recognize you may have certain time constraints (such as work) but that’s unlikely to go 24 hours a day. With as much time as you have available, do what you feel good doing. This includes anything from the movies you feel like seeing to the books you feel like reading to the places you want to visit. Live like it’s your life, and like you’re free to move about, think and experience what you want. As you start to do this, you might notice some odd little reservations you have, as if you’re doing the wrong thing by making your own choices. It’s worth taking a moment to marvel at how that could possibly be — which can serve to enhance your resolve to fully take advantage of the bold but simple fact that you’re alive.

Order your 2013 reading from Eric Francis now, in LISTEN, the 2013 annual edition of Planet Waves. As a subscriber you can still get all 12 signs for the price of three. This is a detailed written and audio reading that you will love. You can also purchase signs one at a time (including audio and written, prior to our splitting those two products).


Planet Waves

Note to Aquarius and Aquarius rising readers: Your birthday reading is ready. I cover entirely new territory from what I did in LISTEN, the 2013 annual edition. I review the ways in which Aquarius itself has been changing and evolving. I describe your process of discovering your sense of mission; of opening up your inner life; and relationships based on creative exploration first and ‘commitment’ second. It’s two sessions of astrology plus tarot, with an extended description of your sign — and access to last year’s reading so that you can verify my accuracy. You can get instant access here.

Aquarius (Jan. 20- Feb. 19)

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) — By one measure, everything comes down to self-esteem. I feel like I keep mentioning this for you, and given what’s developing in your chart, it’s worth another look. In fact, this is likely to be an ongoing spiritual project for the next few years, though you have a great opportunity to make some unusual progress right now. The only thing that could get in the way of feeling good about yourself is an incorrect idea, or a self-deception of some kind. Belief, and in particular, your beliefs about you, have a way of dictating your whole reality. You don’t need to worry about what is true — only what is false. Therefore, I suggest you go on a search for ideas or concepts that are in some way self-deceptive; for lies about yourself that you’ve believed; and for thoughts that are based on being in any way ‘less than’. If you recognize what is not true, what is true will be obvious, as will what to do about it.

Order your 2013 reading from Eric Francis now, in LISTEN, the 2013 annual edition of Planet Waves. As a subscriber you can still get all 12 signs for the price of three. This is a detailed written and audio reading that you will love. You can also purchase signs one at a time (including audio and written, prior to our splitting those two products).


Planet Waves

Hello Pisces! So many planets in Pisces means this is a brilliant moment for you, and your 2013 birthday reading looks at this astrology carefully. Chiron, the planet of healing, Neptune, planet of inspiration, and Mercury retrograde are all included. You now have the ability to develop a gift for business and financial success, if you focus your creative talents and work cooperatively with others — and I explain how to do that effectively. This reading is two 40-minute sessions of astrology, a tarot reading and an extended written description of your astrological sign. I’ve also included access to last year’s reading so you can review the past 12 months and check my accuracy. Here is a link to that affordably priced reading — which is like an extended, personal meditation on your life. You will love it — promise.

Pisces (Feb. 19- March 20)

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) — At the moment, under a sky with seven planets gathered in your sign, you have a remarkable ability to be seen for who you are. You also have the potential to demonstrate to others the aspects of your personality that you want to emphasize and be known for. However, I would suggest just one thing, in several different forms. Don’t try to convince anyone of anything. Nor is this the time to pursue anyone. Those who have an interest in you will come to you. Those who like and appreciate you will let you know. It may be possible to sell yourself to someone, or to be persuasive in some way. But it’s not necessary and I believe will ultimately work against your best interests. The people you want to connect with are those who are already committed, who see you as you want to be seen, and who value you for who you are. Focusing on anyone else will distract your attention and you may miss the very best that life has to offer you — and it’s definitely offering.

Order your 2013 reading from Eric Francis now, in LISTEN, the 2013 annual edition of Planet Waves. As a subscriber you can still get all 12 signs for the price of three. This is a detailed written and audio reading that you will love. You can also purchase signs one at a time (including audio and written, prior to our splitting those two products).


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Mercury Retrograde, Full Moon and Biophilia

Dear Friend and Reader:

The sky is focused on Pisces these days, with some significant natural features in the landscape approaching. As a reminder, this is no ordinary Pisces time — currently the Sun, Mercury, Mars, Chiron and Neptune are collected there. And Venus is on the way.

It does happen from time to time that quick-moving inner planets collect in Pisces or any other sign; what we now have is a mix of inner planets and two slow-movers — those would be Chiron and Neptune. These are still relatively recent arrivals, and as the sensory, visceral, emotional inner planets move through Pisces, they accentuate the slow-movers’ presence.

Planet Waves
Clearly Jupiter, which rules the sign
Pisces, was invented by a Pisces. Here, the Great Red Spot and other features in the planet’s southern hemisphere are revealed by Voyager 1. Contrary to popular belief, Jupiter is actually denser than Saturn.

You could say this is a moment of recognizing when the ordinary has a touch of the cosmic to it, the multidimensional, the unusual. There is so much happening in Pisces that you may feel a little overwhelmed by the emotional bath, the psychic input and how absorbent you are. When in doubt, take a hot Epsom salt (or sea salt) bath.

Saturday, Mercury turns to retrograde motion in Pisces. Mercury retrogrades happen three times a year, and they occupy a span of about three weeks or about eight weeks, depending on how you measure (I tend to take the long measure for most purposes).

This particular one is suggesting strongly to allow information to come to the surface before you make major decisions or take action. It is organized in many layers, and there will be a long series of revelations over the next six weeks or so.

This is the first of three Mercury retrogrades in the water signs this year.
I covered these in an earlier article called Water Sign Theater. The fact that all three retrogrades of Mercury happen in water signs is just one aspect of the emphasis on water in the charts for 2013, the Year of the Water Snake. This seems designed to teach us something about bringing our thoughts into harmony with our feelings, and to learn how to distinguish them.

Most people need to learn how to do both: to harmonize and to differentiate. It’s rare that intellect and instinct align; it is often that emotions cloud over the process of reason. In these seasons, and particularly over the next few weeks, we get to sort that out.

Mercury then turns direct on March 17, a few days before equinox, though the retrograde process will still be working itself out until April 6, when Mercury leaves the degrees where it was previously retrograde and enters new territory.

Virgo Full Moon is Monday

We also are sailing into a Full Moon on Monday, Feb. 25. This is the Virgo Full Moon, with the Sun in Pisces and the Moon in Virgo (at the Full Moon, the Moon and the Sun are always in opposite signs; that’s why it’s the Full Moon). This one is loaded — the Moon and Sun are both square Jupiter, the ruler of Pisces.

Planet Waves
Chart section for the Virgo Full Moon (full chart here) showing planets in Capricorn, Aquarius, Pisces and Aries. The Moon is exactly opposite the Sun. Notice Mercury about to retrograde into a conjunction with Mars, and Venus about to change signs. See glyph legend here.

That’s a lot of collected energy, looking for a place to go. It may manifest as the sense that I have to do something; I have to put this energy somewhere. Given the many factors involved, the key will be to consciously devote that energy to some constructive, creative and life-affirming purpose. It will be easy to slip, such as to emphasize something that does not help you.

One thing to be aware of is that retrograde Mercury is about to form a conjunction to Mars. Mars-Mercury is ‘fast thinking’ and ‘pointed words’ — and the retrograde cautions a careful check-in before letting the arrow fly.

Checking in means considering whether you really want to communicate what you’re about to say, or whether you’re saying it because it feels good. This is about considering the consequences before you speak or publish something.

In this chart, Venus is conjunct the centaur Nessus, which has taken many conjunctions in recent weeks (the exact conjunction is Saturday, though it is still well within range Monday). This is the last of them for a while, and it may be the most potent. To me this looks like Venus encountering the fixed ideas of our society that have shaped the lives of women — including the fixed ideas that women may hold about themselves. These might be the internalized fixed ideas of participating in a society that seems to be biased against them, which suddenly manifest in some tangible, physical or emotional form.

To me this chart overall represents a situation (or many situations) that have to be dealt with; a decision that must be made. It’s a highly aware kind of squeeze point. The thing to remember is that you’re likely to have an option that you’re not noticing. If you feel cornered or like all the pressure is on you, look for the opportunity for a win-win that is lurking just off to the side of your thoughts. It’s a clever solution that utilizes existing resources, and it IS available.

The presence of Jupiter can act as a magnifying influence. That can be a distortion; the planets seem to be saying: keep your perspective. Remember to see the bigger scenario and to maintain a sense of scale and proportion.

Looking Ahead at March

Venus ingresses Pisces on Feb. 25. It makes a conjunction to Neptune on Feb. 28 and a conjunction to Chiron on March 5. Venus-Chiron, especially in Pisces, to me is about biophilia. This concept suggests that there is an instinctive bond between human beings and other living systems, which one might think is obvious — except for how most humans act, as if they are separate from nature.

Planet Waves
Coxing Kill on the Grandmother Land in Ulster County, NY. Photo by Eric Francis.

Sociologist and living systems philosopher Edward O. Wilson introduced and popularized the hypothesis in his 1984 book, Biophilia. He defines the idea as “the urge to affiliate with other forms of life.” He also describes it as “the innate tendency to focus on life and lifelike process” — the affinity for life. Venus-Chiron can also point out the ways we have denied this simple fact of existence. In other words, you might find yourself noticing the pain of separation from nature and the longing to make contact.

In Pisces, this might be a deep and full-spectrum feeling. You may experience it on the cosmic level, for example as the yearning for a feminine experience of existence or of divinity. I’ll come back to the idea of biophilia when this aspect is closer.

The Pisces New Moon is March 11. This is another very exciting chart with plenty of tension coming from Pisces planets making squares to Jupiter, the ruler of Pisces. The New Moon shifts the tension within, instead of encouraging outward projection (as the Full Moon seems to do).

In this chart all but two of the traditional seven “lights in the sky” — the planets of antiquity — are gathered in Pisces, with the exceptions being Jupiter and Saturn; and these latter two are included in the aspect structure. Many planets in the Pisces group square Jupiter and trine Saturn.

My impression is that this is a deeply introspective chart. Many factors call us inward: Mercury retrograde in Pisces being one of them; Mercury square Jupiter for another; and that retrograde Mercury in a long conjunction to Neptune. Yet there is also the feeling of going in deep and expressing something that you feel profoundly.

Planet Waves
Critter poses for a photo on the Grandmother Land in Ulster County, NY. Photo by Eric Francis.

Mars ingresses Aries on March 12, crossing the ‘personal is political’ Aries Point — the dependable conjunction of the individual and the collective. Mercury stations direct on March 17, and the Sun ingresses Aries at the vernal equinox on March 20.

The movement of Mars through Aries will be noticeable, particularly because this highly energetic planet will be making a conjunction to Uranus on March 22, followed by a square to Pluto four days later. Late March is likely to be one of those contentious times in world events, when it seems like everything is happening all at once.

As these events unfold, there remain many planets in Pisces — urging a realistic perspective on what’s happening in the world. Mercury, newly in direct motion, will be making many conjunctions and other aspects through this whole phase. And it seems to be asking the question: what have we learned from the past?


PS, If you’re on Facebook (we know that some of you despise the thing) would you please ‘like’ the new Planet Waves company page? There are excellent discussions, frequent news updates and generally a fun experience of microblogging.


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Sequestration: Pholus, Eris and the Big Casino

Things are remarkably calm given that the latest game of fiscal chicken is down to its last week. On Friday, March 1, automatic budget cuts approved by Congress in 2011 take effect. This is called “sequestration.” It’s basically the next installment in the debt ceiling / credit rating hostage crisis that we have been living through. In case you’re super-duper curious, here is the New York Times FAQ on the topic.

Because Congress has not done certain things it said it would do, sequestration (which means “withholding money,” like when they lock a jury into a hotel, only different) would begin with cutting $85 billion to domestic and military programs starting one week from today.

Planet Waves
This is the chart for when the current sequestration law takes effect. The 4th house (which is really the 5th by whole sign houses) is pretty interesting — it’s like a combination of trying to get one’s financial house in order while being a compulsive gambler. Tune into Tuesday’s Planet Waves FM for more. Here is a glyph key.

That’s part of $1 trillion in spending cuts over the next decade — equivalent of about five months of federal tax revenue. Yes, that is what I said — the current fuss is over saving approximately five months’ of revenue over the next 10 years, beginning with $85 billion in cuts that take effect in March.

One reason this is stupid is because it takes effect in the middle of the year. The Times reported, “The cuts would equal roughly 5 percent of nonmilitary programs and 8 percent of defense programs. Because they would hit almost halfway through the fiscal year, the White House Office of Management and Budget estimates the true impact for the final seven months to be closer to 9 percent for nondefense programs and 13 percent for defense programs.”

Layoffs and furloughs affecting hundreds of thousands of federal employes and those of government contractors would begin immediately. That will put additional strain on federal unemployment resources as well as local assistance programs.

So, what of this game of economic suicide? You know, mixing pills, alcohol and playing with the stove during the fragile economic recovery? Since I don’t have my Nobel Prize in economics, I must resort to astrology. Here is how I would sum it up. This chart is a combination of trying to get one’s financial house in order while being a compulsive gambler.

I’ve cast the chart for midnight Friday, set for Washington, D.C. There is a lot here. I will do more in the new Planet Waves FM on Tuesday. But here are the basics. The chart has Scorpio rising. That’s good for some kinky edge play. (I wish these guys would stick to sex clubs with that stuff.)

Saturn and the North Node are in the 12th house — there is some baggage that’s being dragged along, and the suits you see on TV, looking like charming midwestern ministers, are more frightened than they are letting on.

The Moon would be void of course (technically, it is) except that it’s making aspects to three minor planets — it just opposed Eris; it is at that moment sextiling Pholus; then it squares our old friend Juno; then it trines Nessus. Then it changes signs and enters Scorpio, where a new story begins. So we have some centaur action, not shocking given the conduct of the politicians involved. And little Miss “state your needs” Juno is in the picture. Clearly, she is not doing so, but she may yet.

Mars is the ruling planet of the Scorpio ascendant, and it’s in Pisces, in the 5th whole sign house — the house of games. Venus is in Pisces, conjunct Neptune. Mercury is retrograde. Looking at this chart, I am left wondering: who profits from this gambling racket?

What is the big lie involved? Looking at that part of fortune in the 8th, this looks like a lucky day for someone.


Planet Waves

Monsanto and the War on Nature

The Supreme Court on Tuesday heard arguments in the case of Monsanto v. Vernon Hugh Bowman. Bowman was originally sued for patent infringement by Monsanto.

In 1999, Bowman purchased Monsanto’s costly Roundup-resistant soybean seeds directly from the company for his first planting of the season. For using these seeds, he had to pay a “Technology Fee” and sign a “Technology Agreement” prohibiting him from saving and replanting seeds.

For his second planting — to circumvent paying the fee again — he purchased soybeans cheaply from a grain elevator, and obtained a mixture of many different types of soybeans, some of which are the genetically modified Monsanto products. Soybeans are themselves seeds, and he planted them, an action which Monsanto claimed in its lawsuit against him violated its patent.

In 2006, Monsanto investigated Bowman, and the farmer cooperated, telling Monsanto that he thought what he had done was legal. Monsanto sued him in 2007.

The case first went to a federal district court, and then to a federal appeals court. Bowman lost both times. The court awarded Monsanto $84,456.20, according to media reports. Bowman appealed and the case is before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Bowman’s lawyer, Mark Walters, argued Tuesday before the court that a patent holder “exhausts” his rights after selling the product, according to a Los Angeles Times article. Patent exhaustion means that after an initial authorized sale of a patented item, the patent owner has no more patent rights to that item.

The justices, in the discussion — not a decision — refuted that argument, saying the patent also applies to successive generations of seeds, not just the first crop.

The case is being closely watched by universities, researchers, biotech companies and software firms, who are concerned that a finding for Bowman would leave the door open to losing patent rights for their own inventions. It appears that the justices are siding with Monsanto.

So is the Obama administration. It urged the Supreme Court not to hear the case because of the implications on research regarding DNA molecules, nanotechnology and other self-replicating technologies.

Melissa Sherry, a lawyer representing the United States, said, “The exhaustion doctrine has nothing to do with this case.” Otherwise, a company’s 20-year patent protection would expire after “one and only one sale.”

And the presence of Justice Clarence Thomas on the bench doesn’t hurt Monsanto’s fortunes, either. Thomas was a high-level attorney for the company from 1976 to 1979.

Thomas was head of the company’s regulatory affairs legal counsel in 1976, when Monsanto was closely involved with Industrial Bio-Test Laboratory, a testing lab that produced fraudulent studies in support of registrations for Monsanto, certifying that chemicals that caused cancer were perfectly safe.

Despite this conflict of interest, Thomas has never recused himself from any case involving Monsanto, including those involving Agent Orange, and including this one.

— additional reporting by Carol Van Strum


Planet Waves

Women Making America

We would like to recommend Makers: Women Who Make America, a PBS feature premiering on Tuesday, Feb. 26 (check local listings for airtime; view the trailer at that link). The special program details how the women’s movement of the 1960s and ’70s not only shaped the U.S., but amounted to the most sweeping, world-affecting social movement in American history.

The presentation features friend of Planet Waves, sex educator Betty Dodson. This is tremendous recognition for someone who has spent her life as a sex educator, teaching women to orgasm. Others featured in the presentation include Oprah Winfrey, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Judy Blume, Gloria Steinem and other household names. This is highly unusual recognition for a pro-sex and gender-queer activist, particularly to be put on par with some of the most successful women of our lifetimes.

Planet Waves
Betty Dodson, photo by Eric.

Makers also includes women who opposed the equal rights movement, such as Phyllis Schlafly — women who considered it to be an attack on motherhood and family. In fact, one of the activists notes that in waking up American women, feminists also “woke up the Moral Majority.” That backlash has worked to shape the America we’re living in today as well.

At least one daughter of an activist profiled notes that her mother never really detailed the nuances of the struggle to balance career and family. How much does ‘having it all’ (career, family, hobbies, sex) get trotted out as simply being ‘what a woman does now’ — just like getting married, having kids and baking cakes did 50 years ago?

How much do today’s young women understand what their mothers went through — and how tenuous certain advancements may be (consider the current war on women’s health care and abortion access)?

The ‘next generation’ of American women featured in the trailer point out that while they won access to the work force (beyond making great secretaries), women’s lives still are not balanced. Working a full-time job while also doing all the laundry and buying most of the groceries is not an even split of household responsibilities with a spouse. But in addition to male spouses being willing to take on more at home, women have to be willing to let them.

If you cannot catch the premiere on PBS on Sunday (or if you live outside of the U.S.), note that the DVD is for sale. If you’re part of a women’s group, lead a Girl Scout troop, teach history or women’s studies classes in high school or college, or simply have daughters or nieces, this is an incredible tool to keep the next generation moving women forward — and understanding why it matters.


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Lessons from Poly: Social Science is Catching Up

Can engaging in polyamorous relationships actually be good for you? Obviously that’s a personal question dependant on many factors, and poly is not for everyone. But social scientists engaging in new research on the topic are finding that polyamorous relationships offer some real benefits well beyond ‘sex with more people’ — including tools and approaches that can be used by those who prefer monogamy.

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In fact, given the way that poly situations challenge people to think more consciously about commitment, jealousy, love and communication, the recent traction poly is getting in the mainstream media could actually work to help people improve relationships of all kinds.

“People in these relationships really communicate. They communicate to death,” said Bjarne Holmes, a psychologist at Champlain College in Vermont, in a LiveScience.com article. Holmes added that people in poly situations are potentially doing many things that people in monogamous relationships could adopt. Many skills, such as how to negotiate boundaries, are completely transferable.

It might not be news to some, but this field of study is challenging traditional psychological research in such areas as how jealousy works.

“It turns out that, hey, people are not reacting with jealousy when their partner is flirting with someone else,” Holmes said of his study of jealousy in poly situations. “Good science tests theories and predictions … you need to see if it holds up even in extreme situations.”

Since the study of consensual non-monogamy in its many forms is still a fairly new field, there is not a lot of hard data, but researchers are beginning to catch up. In fact, last weekend the first International Academic Polyamory Conference was held in Berkeley, Calif. It may just be a matter of time until poly makes it big — or at least garners more respect.


Planet Waves

If You Cell Your Sole, Be Careful When Answering

As one British reader of Planet Waves put it, “It’s Sun in Pisces, so talk to your foot.” Pisces may rule the feet, but clearly practicality does not rule quirky U.K. design company Designworks.

Planet Waves
Designer Sean Miles of Designworks answers a call on his silver Welly. Image: video still

The BBC recently featured a video clip about their prototype shoe phones. It’s not a new idea — the late-’60s American TV show Get Smart, a spoof on the secret agent genre, featured one for protagonist Maxwell Smart. Designworks’ current rendition is fully functional, and intended to be ecological and fun (even if not terribly convenient):

“As an experiment in wearable tech, and to highlight the possibilities of recycling old mobile phones in an imaginative way, designer Sean Miles of Designworks was approached by O2 Recycling to integrate mobile phones into shoes,” according to the BBC. The wingtip Oxfords and Nike sneakers are one thing; but the stiletto phone actually looks a little dangerous — especially during a Mercury retrograde.


Planet Waves

In an Octopus’s Garden…

With so many planets in Pisces, it’s almost as if the world is underwater and we’re sprouting gills and fins for a brief time. Underwater photographer Jason Isley has gone one step further, creating tableaux with miniature figurines and live sea creatures in the wild.

“The entire series follows a surreal theme of humans living underwater once the planet is completely flooded and of course miniature in size! At first there is resistance from the marine creatures but once the soldiers fight back there is peace and all live in harmony.”

You can view the fun, humorous series at Jason’s Flickr stream. Be sure to check out the most recent images: a series calling attention to underwater pollution featuring miniature public works and HAZMAT crews taking on common debris left by real humans — and startling facts about the trash. (Did you know it takes a cigarette filter 15 years to decompose?)


Planet Waves

Planet Waves

Britt Arnesen, getting ready to take her show on the road.

Of Meteors and Religion

In this week’s edition of Planet Waves FM, I look at the symbols associated with the meteor striking Russia, the asteroid flyby, lightning striking St. Peter’s Basilica twice and the Roman earthquake — all in the aftermath of the pope’s resignation.

My main theme seems to be: what do we do with what we’ve been learning about the atrocities of the Roman Catholic church? How do we assess the damage and where do we begin the healing process?

I also go over the upcoming confluence of astrology: the Sun conjunct Neptune in Pisces, Mercury stationing retrograde in Pisces and the Virgo Full Moon square Jupiter. In true Mercury retrograde (in Pisces) fashion I have a few extra details to include — though I do cover the basic territory at the top of the program.

Our musical guest is Britt Arnesen, a recording artist originating in Alaska and now living in Montana. She is a force of nature, a magnificent singer, a talented guitar and banjo player and a great writer. Yes, Ms. Arnesen has it all, and she spent today in the recording studio working on her new CD.

You can find her on the Internet here, at her 907Britt website.

Here is her Facebook page.

One thing I neglected to do is read the meteor strike chart. That was silly; here is the rather striking chart. This whole pope deal has been all about the centaurs Pholus and Nessus.
Well, they are ALL OVER this chart — Pholus as the highest planet, and Nessus rising in a conjunction with the Sun.

Planet Waves

Meteorite strikes Siberia last Friday morning.

Planet Waves

Here is a dash-cam photo showing a time stamp just as the meteor entered the lower atmosphere. The Sun had not yet risen, even though it was 9:20 am local time. That part of Russia is in a weird time zone and is permanently on daylight savings time. So it’s six hours ahead of GMT/UTC.


Planet Waves

Your Monthly Horoscopes — and our Publishing Schedule Notes

The March monthly extended horoscopes are published below in this issue. The February monthly horoscope was published Friday, Jan. 25. Inner Space for February was published Tuesday, Jan. 29; the March Inner Space will be published Tuesday, Feb. 26. We published the Moonshine Horoscope for the Virgo Full Moon on Tuesday, Feb. 19.

Pisces Birthdays: Within, Without

Aquarius (Jan. 20- Feb. 19)

There are two simultaneous trends in your solar chart right now. Many factors are guiding you within, including Mercury retrograde and a diversity of planets square your ruling planet Jupiter. This is prompting some soul searching, as well as reaching within for your best ideas and the motives that connect to them. It will be the connection of these two things that keeps you ‘in gear’ and driving forward, making progress through the year. Yet the Full Moon is seeking some form of expression in the world, and the concentration of planets in your sign is making you into a kind of magnet. So there may be tension between inner and outer reality, though as I suggested rather emphatically in LISTEN, the imperative is for you to honor your introverted, introspective side — the one where you make contact with the you nobody else knows. This is the inner space where you’re in alignment with yourself and the sources of your ideas and energy. I am not suggesting that you become a recluse — indeed, getting out a bit more will be a lot of fun and more interesting than usual, since you’re more visible than usual. I am saying honor your inner self and you will feel stronger and be much happier.

Note to Pisces and Pisces rising readers: Your birthday reading will now be ready Monday, if all goes well. We are offering it for pre-sale and will tell you when it’s done.

Planet Waves Monthly Horoscope for March 2013 (standing in for Planet Waves Weekly #939) | By Eric Francis

Aries (March 20-April 19)

Aries (March 20-April 19) — Confidence is everything on this planet — if you want to do things, that is. I know there is wisdom in insecurity (borrowing an idea from Alan Watts), and that humility is a necessary ingredient of trust and truly being human. Yet these things must feed confidence rather than erode it. At a certain point, you must take action, and that works best from a place of faith and trust in yourself. I am not talking about swagger, but rather a hunch that you’re doing the right thing by trying, rather than knowing that there will be a perfect outcome. Making peace with the uncertain outcome is a big part of the confidence or trust that I’m describing. You have many reasons for that trust, but it’s time to go beyond any form of rationalizing or mentally establishing your validity. Connect with the feeling of substance within you. I reckon that sensation will be pretty strong, perhaps stronger than ever, if you allow yourself to tune in. Don’t distract yourself with appearances, particularly with any form of glamour. There’s an old expression — don’t let your confidence come from your feet. The place you want it to come from is your heart, and it will, if that is where you focus. Feel the fullness of your soul, the richness of your imagination and the hyper-charged sense of potential. Then get ready to take your first step on a journey that’s likely to lead you in an entirely new direction.

Order your 2013 reading from Eric Francis now, in LISTEN, the 2013 annual edition of Planet Waves. As a subscriber you can still get all 12 signs for the price of three. This is a detailed written and audio reading that you will love. You can also purchase signs one at a time (including audio and written, prior to our splitting those two products).


Taurus (April 19- May 20)

Taurus (April 19-May 20) — You have more friends than you imagine, and ‘friend’ is not a word I like to use casually. I mean that many people are available to you, they are looking out for your interests, and they like and respect you. I suggest you tune into that ocean of goodwill and give yourself permission to participate in a more direct way. You also have more dreams and desires than you may imagine, though considering them may have the effect of escorting you out of what you have previously thought of as your comfort zone. The current astrology is an invitation to come out of just that zone, and to find not a fixed point of stability. You’re being invited to move, to dance, to encounter something different every time you tune into your senses. The idea ‘psychic mobility’ comes to mind. Yet you could easily be overwhelmed by the kaleidoscopic possibilities. In the midst of them all is one particularly interesting undercurrent that is drawing you into your deepest desires. All the other stuff still exists — then there is your awareness of the one idea, experience or person that you want the most. It might manifest as an attraction, a curiosity or some kind of introspective journey that does not involve an activity or another person. Yet ultimately, your life is not about ‘the world’ or your friends or your potentials — it’s about how you experience them, and choose from among them. Now that you have options, you can set priorities and have a lot of fun.

Order your 2013 reading from Eric Francis now, in LISTEN, the 2013 annual edition of Planet Waves. As a subscriber you can still get all 12 signs for the price of three. This is a detailed written and audio reading that you will love. You can also purchase signs one at a time (including audio and written, prior to our splitting those two products).


Gemini (May 20- June 21)

Gemini (May 20-June 21) — This could be one of the most interesting moments in your ‘professional life’, though you might want to drop the first word in that phrase if you want to understand it more clearly. I know that there is plenty of counseling to ‘keep your work and your life separate’ and about ‘how you should not mix business and pleasure’ and most of all to keep your work and personal relationships separate. These ideas might work for some people who are not really living, and who are not desiring a life wherein they express their true existence in their daily activities. I’ve been listening for a while and what I hear is most people yearning, craving, sometimes positively mad to spend their time doing something meaningful, creative, productive and loving. That is exactly what is calling you now. I suggest you start modestly. Do not think in terms of an end destination — that’s the old method, the one that almost always goes stagnant. As you may know, Mercury will be retrograde the first half of the month. And it will be retrograde in the house associated with your professional activities and reputation. I can sum that up briefly: you’re here to do your thing in your way — which may be different from the way you thought of in the past and certainly different from what others have expected of you. Therefore, if you feel inclined to do things differently, to follow an intuition and to go against the grain, that is the way to go.

Order your 2013 reading from Eric Francis now, in LISTEN, the 2013 annual edition of Planet Waves. As a subscriber you can still get all 12 signs for the price of three. This is a detailed written and audio reading that you will love. You can also purchase signs one at a time (including audio and written, prior to our splitting those two products).


Cancer (June 21- July 22)

Cancer (June 21-July 22) — More is going on behind the scenes than you may recognize, and you may be feeling this as anxiety, potential or a mixture of both. Your charts have a sense of mystery to them, of something that is soon to emerge — and it will, soon enough, and when it does you will be ready for the changes. I suggest you refrain from making too many plans. If you’re going to address the future, stick to a very few of the most meaningful things you want to do or create, including some travel plans around which I suggest you organize your time. Get clear where you want to go and why you want to go there, organize your ideas about time around them, and then start to put your plans into action after the Sun changes signs to Aries later in the month. A few long-distance trips you take this year can have a profound influence on your perspective. If possible, try to include one trip overseas or to a country other than where you live now. Travel is the kind of experience for which there is no substitute. Nothing can show you what a journey can: immersing yourself in a foreign culture, seeing people and places you’ve never seen before, and looking back at your life from that point of view. Meanwhile, consider the places you’ve always wanted to go, and develop your short list of potential destinations. The chances are you know exactly where you would go, if you could go anywhere.

Order your 2013 reading from Eric Francis now, in LISTEN, the 2013 annual edition of Planet Waves. As a subscriber you can still get all 12 signs for the price of three. This is a detailed written and audio reading that you will love. You can also purchase signs one at a time (including audio and written, prior to our splitting those two products).


Leo (July 22- Aug. 23)

Leo (July 22-Aug. 23) — You’re fully invested in what you are doing — and if not, now is the time to give yourself that freedom. This is about depth, and it’s about connecting with others who have a similar sense of mission or similar vision. You’re being invited into a collaboration or ‘conspiracy’ of some kind, and it will be most pleasurable if you bring your full attention and true willingness. Indeed, your whole life may be vibrating with this feeling right now. This is very much a matter of relationship; most of life is, though when people join for a purpose, that can be especially meaningful and beautiful. Unlike most people, you don’t need to worry about losing yourself in your relationships, at least not now; your sense of who you are is too strong for that. I would remind you how this fear can and does keep many people from doing what they feel called to do, which is the fear of ‘getting lost’ in that very thing. Make contact with when this may have influenced you in the past, when you were far less steady on your feet. Free from that anxiety, the collaboration you take part in may have a ‘it’s time to change the world’ feeling to it. Remember, that’s exactly what you’re doing, even if in subtle ways. What you believe may challenge what others believe, though I would remind you that you’re not alone in your passion. And what others may think of you is far less meaningful than what you know to be true.

Order your 2013 reading from Eric Francis now, in LISTEN, the 2013 annual edition of Planet Waves. As a subscriber you can still get all 12 signs for the price of three. This is a detailed written and audio reading that you will love. You can also purchase signs one at a time (including audio and written, prior to our splitting those two products).


Virgo (Aug. 23- Sep. 22)

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22) — You could easily be overwhelmed by the astrology that seems to be making you the focus of attention, or drawing others to you as if you’re some kind of human attractor beam. You might feel an urge to resist or rebel against this, preferring instead to maintain your sanctity. I would encourage you to do nothing of the kind, but instead to pass through this creatively rich territory willingly, absorbing the nutrients, the experiences and the diversity of the people around you. Indulging in the pleasure of people and of life is often a matter of trust as much as it is of willingness. Many miss out on numerous one-time opportunities due to their unexamined fear, which can be mistakenly thought of as ‘not being ready’. It’s true that you often prefer to keep a lower profile and have your life be less chaotic than you think it would be were you to open yourself fully to existence. I suggest, however, that you ask yourself sincerely whether this policy has served you well. Now is the time to advance rather than retreat. It’s the time to relate, even though you always have the option of being a hermit. You may worry that some aspect of your purity will be compromised by doing this, which is exactly the point. You are creatively fertile, and some potent creative forces are willing to fertilize with you. When that happens, something new will be born — something in you and in the world.

Order your 2013 reading from Eric Francis now, in LISTEN, the 2013 annual edition of Planet Waves. As a subscriber you can still get all 12 signs for the price of three. This is a detailed written and audio reading that you will love. You can also purchase signs one at a time (including audio and written, prior to our splitting those two products).


Libra (Sep. 22 - Oct. 23)

Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23) — You’re the one who brings people together. Though you may not recognize this, many see you in a kind of authority role. You tend to be so soft-spoken or at least careful that this fact might surprise you. Yet you’re a stabilizing force for those around you. This is a special kind of leadership. It involves respecting what is becoming known as healing process, and availability for service. This is different from being ‘self sacrificing’. Indeed it is everything but a sacrifice; mutual gift would be a better description. Yet at times this can be demanding, and it’s necessary to maintain your equilibrium. This is not the same as a perfect balance; Equilibrium is about staying in contact with who you are, even when you cannot fully express those aspects of yourself. That means staying in communication with yourself, monitoring your feelings and being aware of your own needs. I would strongly suggest you take care of yourself, by which I don’t mean long, luxurious spa treatments but rather making sure you get enough rest when possible, eat actual food and maintain your physical space. Make sure you devote some time to other interests at least every couple of days. This is all in service of something larger. You are being called upon to fulfill some truly profound aspect of your purpose, and there’s really no way to tell where it will lead you, except to say deeper into yourself. I would offer one thought, courtesy of A Course in Miracles: everyone teaches, and teaches all the time.

Order your 2013 reading from Eric Francis now, in LISTEN, the 2013 annual edition of Planet Waves. As a subscriber you can still get all 12 signs for the price of three. This is a detailed written and audio reading that you will love. You can also purchase signs one at a time (including audio and written, prior to our splitting those two products).


Scorpio (Oct. 23- Nov. 22)

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22) — What are you worried about? I mean what exactly? Make a list; spell it out. Nobody has to see this list. Include not just your worst nightmares but also what you might think of as personal anxiety, such as about how you’re perceived by the world. Next, what do you want to experience or create? I don’t mean accomplish — I mean dive into for its own sake, to celebrate the beauty of existence? Make a list of those things as well. Question one, which list is longer? Question two, do your fears have any connection at all to why you’re hesitating on certain, or all, of your desires? There seems to be some tension between your anxiety and your creativity, though it’s not exactly rational. The issue seems to be bound up in your self-image — what will people think of you if they know you did or wanted to do this or that really fun thing? I would go so far as to say that most of your actually debilitating fears are connected to how you think people will perceive you, if they only knew. In my philosophy of art and growth, that’s exactly where to pitch your tent — in the spot where you fear others would be most likely to look at you askance. You don’t know if they will, and if they do, it’s most likely because you’re the one who will dare. Yet here’s a clue: there really isn’t a ‘they’. This is all about you.

Order your 2013 reading from Eric Francis now, in LISTEN, the 2013 annual edition of Planet Waves. As a subscriber you can still get all 12 signs for the price of three. This is a detailed written and audio reading that you will love. You can also purchase signs one at a time (including audio and written, prior to our splitting those two products).


Sagittarius (Nov. 22 - Dec. 22)

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22) — To what extent are you allowing your relationships to be dictated or even influenced by your family? This includes your early childhood situation, as well as what these people seem to believe is right for you. One manifestation could be the ‘relationship for security’ equation, which might translate to the one who has money, or the nice appearance, but which has nothing to do with what you actually want. I suggest you sort out your own need for feeling safe from your need or desire to be in relationships to others. Having the right company can help you feel more grounded, though it’s better if that is not the one thing you depend on for a sense of feeling safe or belonging on the planet. Meanwhile, there is this potential matter of how you relate to the expectations of others, and what you perceive as their expectations (whether ‘positive’ or ‘negative’). This situation will summon you to awaken to emotionally-rooted values that guide your life. You may get your buttons pushed, and if you do, I suggest you stop and listen to what is coming up for you, and notice who was involved. The purpose of all this seems to be to get you to pay attention to what you really want, and to claim what is right for you. You are under no obligation to relive anyone else’s past, or your own for that matter. This can be a significant challenge, though it’s one to face boldly if you want to have happy and healthy relationships.

Order your 2013 reading from Eric Francis now, in LISTEN, the 2013 annual edition of Planet Waves. As a subscriber you can still get all 12 signs for the price of three. This is a detailed written and audio reading that you will love. You can also purchase signs one at a time (including audio and written, prior to our splitting those two products).


Capricorn (Dec. 22- Jan. 20)

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20) — I suggest you investigate the ways you may be blocking people from participating in your life. I’ll give a few potential examples. One might be alcohol. This is a substance that starts off social and has a way of ending up isolating people. Another is a sense of inferiority or not being able to stand up to the perceived power or authority of others. Another is not being able to state your needs, or feeling like for some reason you cannot do so. This, in turn, may involve suppressed anger or a self-esteem struggle. Usually we think that expressing anger or refraining from ‘bothering’ others with our needs is enhancing contact. Yet I think that an authentic exchange on the level of necessity is much better for enhancing contact. Honesty has a benefit all its own — it’s the substance of intimacy. If you state an honest need or desire and notice how someone responds, you find out where you stand with them, which is information that will benefit you. I suggest you notice when you find yourself thinking that you would rather not know where you stand with someone, which could fall under the general heading of denial. There is a way out of insecurity, emotional struggle and what is commonly called lack of self-esteem — and that begins with acknowledging what is so. When you do that, you can open up to a whole new level of contact. As someone once wrote, “only the truth is erotic.”

Order your 2013 reading from Eric Francis now, in LISTEN, the 2013 annual edition of Planet Waves. As a subscriber you can still get all 12 signs for the price of three. This is a detailed written and audio reading that you will love. You can also purchase signs one at a time (including audio and written, prior to our splitting those two products).


Planet Waves

Note to Aquarius and Aquarius rising readers: Your birthday reading is ready. I cover entirely new territory from what I did in LISTEN, the 2013 annual edition. I review the ways in which Aquarius itself has been changing and evolving. I describe your process of discovering your sense of mission; of opening up your inner life; and relationships based on creative exploration first and ‘commitment’ second. It’s two sessions of astrology plus tarot, with an extended description of your sign coming soon — and access to last year’s reading so that you can verify my accuracy. You can get instant access here.

Aquarius (Jan. 20- Feb. 19)

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) — You’re going through a process of exploring your depths and your shadow side, all as part of a search for something within yourself. It looks almost as if you’re searching for self-respect in spite of something, some feeling or idea to the contrary. Yet is this really an approach that you have to take? At a certain point, you must accept and claim your own assets, despite any doubts about yourself that you may have. You will use what you have going for you, despite whatever you might think you lack. While this is not strictly a matter of self-esteem, a habit of doubting or even questioning yourself can in fact block your awareness of your gifts. This is really a choice of whether to focus your awareness on a sense of loss or doubt, or on the incredible wealth you have access to within yourself. If you’re not aware of that wealth, let me be the first to tell you it’s there, and it’s available. You have access to resources — creative, emotional, financial and many other kinds. Some may belong to others, some may belong to you, some are collective resources. The most precious among them is your ability to feel your worth on a planet where so much is not valued, where so much is plundered and where everything seems to be running out. Having a lot in a time of scarcity could be intimidating, you might want to check in and see if that thought form is influencing you in any way.

Order your 2013 reading from Eric Francis now, in LISTEN, the 2013 annual edition of Planet Waves. As a subscriber you can still get all 12 signs for the price of three. This is a detailed written and audio reading that you will love. You can also purchase signs one at a time (including audio and written, prior to our splitting those two products).


Planet Waves

Hello Pisces! Your 2013 birthday reading is almost ready. I plan to have it done Monday, in time for the Full Moon. We are making the report available for pre-order now. If you purchase early, we will let you know the moment it’s ready. Here is the link. Thank you! — Eric Francis

Pisces (Feb. 19- March 20)

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) — You’re a magnet for attention right now, and you may have a feeling of confidence that is truly unusual for you. It’s fair to say that you have the power to create yourself into anything that you want, as long as you can envision it in some tangible form. So I suggest you practice that vision, amidst much other activity surrounding you and within yourself. Regardless of who may be drawn your way, and how strongly you may feel about others, I would encourage you to practice the yoga that your primary relationship is with yourself. This will facilitate a kind of strength and stability that will make it much easier to keep your relationships with others in context, and to actually be present for the people you care about so much. Which leads to a nice way to sum up the theme: your life right now is not about being occupied or busy or involved; your life is about being present, as much as you can, all the time, if you can. You have some truly stunning opportunities and shall we say potential that is becoming ripe and ready. When you make contact with that potential, you will unfold in ways you might have known were possible but may have never suspected were actually real. On occasion of which, I will leave you with a few words of Antoine de Saint-Exupery: “Love does not consist of gazing at each other, but in looking together in the same direction.”

Order your 2013 reading from Eric Francis now, in LISTEN, the 2013 annual edition of Planet Waves. As a subscriber you can still get all 12 signs for the price of three. This is a detailed written and audio reading that you will love. You can also purchase signs one at a time (including audio and written, prior to our splitting those two products).


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Water Sign Theater

Planet Waves

Daybreak in the path of annularity, in Valencia, Spain, looking southeasterly at the Mediterranean Sea — about an hour or two before a solar eclipse on Oct. 6, 2005. Photo by Eric Francis.

Dear Friend and Reader:

What is it about 2013 that makes its astrology distinctive? In a word, water. That means a year of exploring the nuances of, and the existence of, emotion, empathy and intuition. If you’ve ever wanted to take up photography, painting, music or filmmaking, now is the perfect time.

The Asian year of the Water Snake begins in a few weeks, which accents the Western astrology perfectly (more on that closer to the event). Over the past few years, there has been a gradual accumulation of planets in water signs, calling attention to corresponding issues with actual water on our planet. I’ll come back to those — let’s start with the feeling realm, which is where we benefit most from water placements.

Planet Waves
Mostly harmless, non-poisonous water snakes waiting in the wings for their cue — or rather, cuddling in a rock formation along the Coxing Kill on the Grandmother Land in Ulster County, NY. Photo by Eric.

To those with strong water sign charts (for example, Sun, Moon or rising sign in one of the water signs Cancer, Scorpio or Pisces), the world feels a little more like home when there are planets in those signs. There is space and a kind of invitation to open up the emotional spectrum, and to feel ourselves, one another and existence itself.

Everyone else benefits too. Our society is made of earth, wind and fire; water is the scarce element. Every now and then, an architect throws in a little fountain. We ignore water until Lower Manhattan is reclaimed by New York Harbor.

Meanwhile we are constantly interacting with material objects, electricity, data, money, ideas, concepts, paper, metal and machines that burn fuel flying across the sky and speeding across the countryside. How much time do we spend with water? Let’s see, 10 minutes in the shower, 10 minutes doing the dishes and an extra 15 minutes chatting by the water cooler. Water is the missing element in most of our lives. We live in a kind of desert.

My old friend Be’jamin once said the world is divided between those who drink water and those who do not. Those who do are in the minority. Note, Diet Pepsi is not water, it is hazardous waste. Smart Water is neither. That said, it’s gratifying to see so many people starting to tote around non-BPA-type jugs of water wherever they go (if you’re one of those people, you might want to read up on the non-BPA controversy). Plastic bottles don’t just pollute the world; they inject your body with a kind of chemical called phthalates — basically, toxic hormones used in the formation of plastic that are pissed out in a few weeks but are constantly refreshed because there’s always more plastic to eat from.

The thing that really needs to be refreshed is water itself. Because the planet is a closed system, we have to do our best to add water to ourselves, detox and contain the contamination when we can. And, of course, make a lot less of it.

Rising Tide, 2010 to Present

Over recent years, planets have been moving into water signs. As happens with water, the tide rises slowly and steadily. It’s now about to come to a crest. But let’s take the story back a few years.

In 2010, Chiron began its ingress to Pisces, which started things off. That is Chiron for you — leading the way. (Well, Uranus had been in Pisces for six years prior, but that wasn’t very watery; it was like a hot tub with a short circuit).

Planet Waves
Fishing boat reflected in Montauk Harbor. Photo by Eric.

Just prior to that was the Jupiter-Chiron-Neptune series of conjunctions in Aquarius, which got us used to the concept of water. Jupiter’s year in Pisces (early ’10 through early ’11) plus Chiron changing signs offered some contact with the reality.

The very day that Chiron ingressed Pisces for the first time, the Deepwater Horizon oil platform exploded. We watched for 90 agonizing days as crude oil gushed into the Gulf of Mexico. Chiron will be in Pisces through 2018-2019, and is a constant reminder to take care of the oceans, lakes and rivers. However, it’s never really clear how to do this, since the problem comes from industry. Fighting industry, its lawyers and its scamming environmental consultants is never easy, but we all have to participate in the old heave-ho that will be necessary to set things right. Every product choice, indignant phone call to customer relations and public meeting in your community counts, as does doing what you can personally.

Neptune, a watery blue planet named for the god of oceans (and earthquakes) began its ingress into Pisces in 2011, completing that ingress in early 2012. Many people waited patiently day by day for that one, especially those with Pisces Sun or Pisces rising charts. Rockie Gardiner, in one of the most touching Sun sign horoscopes I’ve ever read, described Neptune in Aquarius for Pisces people as a journey so long you might not believe it would ever end, or have any sense of scale that might lead to a feeling of progress.

Meanwhile, Uranus left Pisces with a bang in March 2011. I mean several bangs, starting with an earthquake and tsunami followed by multiple reactors in the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station exploding and melting down, and then spilling unknown, though vast, quantities of radiation into the air, the ocean and the groundwater.

It’s fair to say that the combination of Uranus in Pisces and Neptune in Aquarius was not good for water: through these transits, hydraulic fracturing became all the rage. This is a process of gas extraction that consumes millions of gallons of water per gas well, and leaves the Earth and groundwater contaminated with many toxic chemicals — all to do what solar or wind energy could do more cheaply and cleanly.

In October 2012, Saturn ingressed Scorpio for the first time since the early 1980s. This is providing some stability to the planets in Pisces. Chiron and Neptune give us more water and more awareness of the feeling level of existence. Saturn is here to help keep that yin energy in balance, and also help dredge out the territory deep at the bottom of things. I think of Scorpio (fixed water) as representing underground deposits of water, fossilized seas, inland brackish or high-pH lakes, riverbeds, bogs and shipping channels.

Planet Waves
Montauk, NY. Photo by Eric.

In human consciousness, the Saturn in Scorpio factor brings up the theme of emotional maturity. Oh, that thing! It’s about learning to have some modicum of boundaries around our feelings, some sense of containment. We are said to live in a society where yang energy is out of balance — our aggressive, competitive and warlike society.

Just as strong a case can be made that we struggle with emotional stability and maturity. That people are not encouraged to grow up is a problem. That there are so many constantly refreshing sources of instability is an even worse situation. One of these is the persistent habit of manipulation, which if you ask me is an act of interpersonal warfare. Saturn in Scorpio is a reminder to cool down this factor; to mind your beeswax and not use secrecy as a way to concentrate power (really, that’s it’s only purpose).

Saturn in Scorpio is the territory where sex meets the emotions — the hormone drive, hormonal cycles, the deep emotional need to connect sexually in a way that’s not merely physical, and any time we exchange or merge DNA. Saturn in Scorpio is here to help us dredge out these channels. They are so cluttered with emotional discharge it’s amazing anyone knows what they feel.

There is big problem with ignorance around sexually transmitted infections, which is a form of passing around karma through sex. Saturn is saying: wise up, grow up and get a grip.

We also face a significant problem of hormone pollution. Everything you consume that has touched plastic (including cans, which are plastic-lined), and many, many other products, contain hormonally active chemicals. Then there are untold millions of people consuming hormone birth control and discharging it into the public waterways.

In many areas of the United States and other countries, there are just nine short steps between what you flush down the toilet and what comes out of your kitchen faucet. (Four of the steps are for sewage processing into effluent that’s ‘clean’ enough to discharge into a river; there is the brief time in the river; and there are the four steps to turning river water into ‘clean’ drinking water.)

The sewage per se is the last thing we need to worry about; the problem is the contaminants, such as the drugs and in many places, PCBs at the bottom of riverbeds. PCBs are a form of liquid plastic that was used through most of the 20th century and which still finds its way into nearly everything [for too much information, see my PCB website]. They are hormonally active chemicals, like every pesticide, dioxin and most heavy metals.

Personal story — I was recently looking at a house for sale in a nearby town; my friend reminded me that the town drew its drinking water from the Hudson River, which is the nation’s largest Superfund site thanks to GE’s ongoing PCB discharges. I called the town; there are indeed PCBs in the municipal water. There is no safe level. To find this kind of information out, you have to know what you’re doing. I did not buy the house, though one of my trusted PCB mentors explained how to get the chemical out of the water, if I wanted to.

Planet Waves
Fountain in lobby of the Museum of Erotic Art, Paris. Photo by Eric.

I often wonder about the effects of all of this hormone pollution on our behavior and the ways in which we interrelate, which are so dependent on hormones and pheromones. I wonder about how much of the gender anarchy that’s so popular now is fueled by toxins on the parts-per-billion level. For years I have been proposing that there is a behavior problem with these contaminants.

Now, that turns out to have some validity. A recent retrospective of prior studies associates reduced lead rates with lower rates of violent crime. The researchers looked at every other social or economic explanation for the trends they could think of — and it turns out that lead is the probable culprit in unexplained, wide-scale violent behavior.

We can only wonder what the thousands of other chemicals are contributing to planetary insanity, as well as the political madness that is swallowing all common sense and reason. [Please see ECO section below for more information.]

One vision I would offer for Saturn in Scorpio is coming to terms with this issue, both as an environmental pollutant and as an emotional pollutant. How many people do you know who suffer from some endocrine disorder? Common ones include endometriosis, diabetes, thyroid problems, pituitary disorders and obesity (often undiagnosed as a hormonal issue).

Saturn in Scorpio is calling for awareness — and for a kind of purge. Do you know the sources of hormone pollution in your diet? Do you consider things like high fructose corn syrup as one of them? What about the hormones present in milk and meat? It’s time to get a grip on these issues.

One other not-so-minor point: Scorpio is associated with jealousy and possessiveness, and all the dramas that often ensue from there. Of all emotions, I think jealousy is the one that (suitably) people are the most covetous of; it’s treated like an entitlement. I would say more people feel entitled to be jealous than feel entitled to be happy. This is not serving anyone’s creative, constructive or loving purpose.

Saturn in Scorpio is going to push the issue, which has a first cousin — the truth about the sex we want, the sex we actually get and our whole history. Most of this is left out of the relationship discussion, which is convenient until it is not so convenient at all.

Clip and Save — More Water in 2013

That’s just the background! In mid-2013, Jupiter joins Saturn, Chiron and Neptune in the water signs, as it ingresses Cancer. By July and August, there’s an impressive lineup in Cancer, which brings the water issue to the most personal level. That’s the dimension of home, nourishment and the choice whether to nurture ourselves and those around us.

Planet Waves
Fountain at Place Monge, Paris. Photo by Eric.

Cancer is about the most tangible level of actual human feelings. Yes it has the intuitive dimension, but really it’s where feelings come home to the gut level, the bosom and maternal instinct. I would propose that this is about a reconsideration of how and whether we take care of ourselves, our families and those we say we love.

What is the balance of giving and receiving in your life? What are your motives to share, or to express your needs? Can you discern a need from a desire?

Mercury ingresses Cancer on May 31, where it stays through Aug. 8 (more on that in a moment). Through nearly all of the month of June, Venus is in Cancer.

Meanwhile, Jupiter ingresses Cancer on June 25, a few days after the Sun does. It’s there for about one year. This is the faster-acting piece of the grand trine — Jupiter spends just a year in Cancer; and when it shows up it will be accompanied by several other quick-movers passing through this sign.

Mars enters Cancer on July 13, where it stays through Aug. 27. So through Northern Hemisphere spring and summer, there will be a rather impressive grand trine in the water signs, involving the following planets: Mercury, Venus, Mars and Jupiter (all buzzing around in Cancer) as well as Saturn, Chiron and Neptune. If you count times when the Sun and Moon are in water signs, all of the traditional planets will be part of that grand trine for part of the year.

There’s one more fun thing to consider: every time Mercury is retrograde, it will be in a water sign. Indeed, during the retrograde phase it will not leave the water sign it’s in — that is, it doesn’t dip into the neighboring sign.

The Mercury retrograde beginning Feb. 23 is exclusively in Pisces (Venus, Mars, Neptune, Chiron and the Sun will also be there). The one beginning June 26 will be exclusively in Cancer. It will be joined by the Sun, Mars, Vesta and Jupiter. The one beginning Oct. 21 will be exclusively in Scorpio, joined by the Sun, Saturn and the North Node.

Planet Waves
Flooded cement mines in Marbletown, NY. Photo by Eric.

Okay, that’s a lot of water. This is coming from someone with about 10 water placements in my natal chart, depending on what you count, and it still feels like a lot of water. The meta theme here is that it’s time to connect with the truth that we are beings made of water, with feelings attuned to water, which flow like water.

We need to nourish our bodies with water, and take care of the Earth’s limited supply of fresh water. And it’s time to imbibe those forms of watery creative expression, and tune into the ‘psychic’ or intuitive realm — which will be coming through more distinctly (that’s a topic deserving of another article). Water is the medium of intuition. Imagine that all water resonates with all other water. There are no secrets and no point trying to keep them. Sooner or later, anyone aspiring to a more spiritually grounded life figures this out.

There is one last event that I’ll mention and cover in detail later in the year: the solar eclipse of Nov. 3, 2013 in Scorpio. This eclipse is the full activation of the grand water trine — and notably, it happens concurrently with a grand earth trine. In a sense the whole year, and all of its steadily increasing water energy, is focused on this event.

Think of it as an enforced moment of reckoning (the eclipse is conjunct Saturn; that’s the enforced part). This will be preceded by many opportunities to voluntarily come to terms with how we feel — beginning with the fact that we feel. This is the kind of thing it’s necessary to remind people of in 2013. This is not the time to hold back, it’s the time to express and explore the deep element.


Planet Waves

Dear Annual Edition Customers:

This is my last weekend writing the 2013 annual. As of today, it looks like I will wrap up Sunday night and we will have your readings to you Monday night.

These readings include written reports about 3,500 words long (10 pages single spaced) as well as two 40-minute audio readings per sign. They work for your Sun sign and rising sign (I highly recommend getting both, or all 12, as you really get a more complete picture the more you read and listen to).

Subscribers still may purchase all 12 for the price of three; or you can purchase the signs individually for $19.95. Each of these signs takes me about 10 hours to complete, and my research goes back to July. That’s a lot of astrology for twenty bucks. You will love it, but do let me know if you do.



Planet Waves

Today (Friday) at 2:43 pm EST is the Capricorn New Moon. That’s the alignment of the Sun and Moon in Capricorn and the start of a new lunar month. Capricorn is a reminder that the Sun is still square a tropic by the same name, and that here in the Northern Hemisphere we’re in deep winter.

Planet Waves
The Moon, with the limb of Earth near the bottom transitioning into the orange-colored troposphere, the lowest and most dense portion of the Earth’s atmosphere. Photo by the Expedition 28 crew aboard the International Space Station / NASA.

Today’s New Moon is intriguing because its closest aspect is to a newly discovered planet, Eris, the one that got Pluto ‘demoted’ back in 2006. The aspect is a square — maximum tension. It’s as if there’s some energy lurking behind this New Moon, as if something is trying to burst out and crack through the world like an egg.

Mercury is in the picture; that’s a suggestion to think consciously about what you’re experiencing and to communicate it directly. However, with Eris in the picture, you might be inclined to push that a bit hard — so do your best to apply a little diplomacy.

In addition to this tension, there’s some wistfulness in the air. This New Moon is conjunct an asteroid called Requiem. There may be some longing for what might have been, what was lost or what went unexpressed. It may be possible to let that go; events or developments over the next few days may conspire to help you do that.

This New Moon has the sensation of an ending and a beginning. I think it needs to be handled carefully, in emotional terms as well as practical. Take it slow, and I suggest you let things develop for a while before taking action. There is plenty going on behind the scenes, and some of it starts to emerge Friday and into the weekend.

If things seem to get out of hand, that is, if there’s chaos or crazy making in the environment, I do suggest that you step back and observe, till you actually understand what’s going on.

One reason to slow down and process is that Venus, newly in Capricorn, is square Uranus in Aries (exact Jan. 12 at 11:12 pm EST). Venus square Uranus can bring surprises: surprising magnetism (which may or may not be reliable) and also sudden emotional upsets in relationships. In general, Venus in Capricorn offers a sense of strength and patience for working through fear and jealousy in love.

Planet Waves
Simplified chart section showing the Capricorn New Moon (Sun and Moon conjunct), joined by Mercury nearby (green glyph with horns). Pluto (red golf tee) and Juno are conjunct in Cap; Venus (blue ‘female’ symbol) is square Uranus (blue ‘H’) in Aries. Eris (red oval with an arrow) in Aries is square the Sun and Moon.

That will be the end of this equation to work if a relationship experiences some volatility this weekend. Squares call us to take action, true; but it’s also a form of action to devote yourself to getting a handle on your emotions and stabilizing them before reacting out of hand. Think of it as a ‘time out’ for your heart, one that keeps you in touch with the foundations of a relationship even if momentary decisions, words or actions feel inflammatory.

With Juno also in Capricorn and conjunct Pluto (exact Monday), the area of relationships is feeling some pressure from both sides of the Uranus-Pluto square. Note when the issue of jealousy arises in your relationships, and how you react to it.

What we think of as marriage (represented by Juno) is supposed to do something, which it does not do: provide a framework for commitment. So what is your framework for commitment? What actual agreements do you make, and why? What expectations do you have on marriage and marriage-like relationships? Are you living your parents’ or grandparents’ ideas of relationship more than your own? This happens a lot and I do mean a lot. How many people get married because it will make their parents and their grandparents feel better?

Do you know any examples of healthy, creative relationships personally? How many people can you name that have the kind of relationship you want — people you know intimately?

All of this and more is up for consideration now. Venus square Uranus can provide the spark for change, but it may take a deeper level of emotional maturity and stability to use that spark constructively, rather than destructively. Juno conjunct Pluto is laying out the blueprints for where the renovations to the ‘house of marriage’ are most needed — but getting caught up in a jealous pique won’t contribute to efficient work. If you’re going to rebuild a relationship with all this energy in Capricorn, you need to be able to see the past for what it is and let it go — just take the time to measure twice before you pick up your saw.


Planet Waves

FBI, DHS Were Spying on Occupy Movement

Gee whiz, it turns out that the FBI and Homeland Security have been monitoring the Occupy movement all along, treating it as a terrorist threat. Are you shocked? This little revelation also demonstrates that the government felt that the movement might actually be effective — otherwise they would have no reason to mess with it.

Planet Waves
National security threat: the Fox News guy with the cardboard mic and camera dressed up like Michael Moore was one of my favorite features at Occupy. He was a threat to the government, which spent money spying on him. Photo by Beth Bagner.

Yes, the “mic check” thing, the guy pretending to be Fox News with his cardboard TV camera, the free library, the kids camped out in the park — that’s the new Osama bin Laden.

This is an old story. Malcolm X warned his followers that in any political meeting, as many as one in three people in the room could be an agent. That seemed ridiculous until the FBI’s COINTELPRO program was exposed a decade later.

That was the federal program designed to disrupt and destroy the activist movements of the Sixties.
Or as stated in the more poetic language of the FBI, the goal was to “expose, disrupt, misdirect, discredit, or otherwise neutralize” the activities of these movements and their leaders. This was done through a variety of tactics, including infiltrating the most private relationships of movement leaders.

Hardly any young (or even old) activists know this copiously documented story. They don’t know how to protect themselves from surveillance or disruption, or what forms those things might take. Most people don’t believe it’s really possible, despite the many similar stories that have come out during the past 10 years (for example, the NSA and CIA capturing all phone calls and Internet communications of private citizens).

Author and activist Chris Hedges has been reporting on this issue. In a recent column on Truthdig, he tells how Shannon McLeish, a Floridian who is active in the Occupy movement — and perhaps hundreds of thousands like her — are being monitored at peaceful protests by federal agents and police, who record personal information about them. She discovered references to herself by the FBI on documents recently obtained by the Partnership for the Civil Defense Fund.

Planet Waves
Yes, waking up is a threat to the government. DHS and the FBI want you to press the snooze button. Photo by Beth Bagner.

“These documents show that the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security are treating protests against the corporate and banking structure of America as potential criminal and terrorist activity. These documents also show these federal agencies functioning as a de facto intelligence arm of Wall Street and Corporate America,” said Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, executive director of the PCJF, quoted by Hedges.

Hedges believes intrusions such as these against law-abiding citizens “are part of the plan to make us fearful, compliant and disempowered. They mark, I suspect, a government attempt to end peaceful mass protests by responding with repression to the grievances of Americans.” He continues, “We are much farther down that road [to corporate fascism] than many of us care to admit.”

What exactly does this mean? It means that you’re less likely to participate in a protest of any kind, fearing that you might be spied on. It’s your right to do so; the Constitution explicitly states that the right to protest shall not be abridged by the government — which means the framers of the Constitution understood that such protest was necessary. The right wing lunatic fringe is correct: the government is waging war on the people.

I researched the chart of the Occupy movement to see where we could find this. It’s right there for anyone to see. The 8th house is the one that deals with your ordinary kinds of secrets (money, power, sex and so on). That house has Gemini on the cusp. Mercury, the ruler of Gemini, can be found right in the 10th house of government.

But this also works the other way. The Occupy movement was exposing corporate secrets, particularly those about the influence of money, and using that as a means to gather some power over the corporate system.

The moral of the story is that to be an activist, you have to be well-informed, brave and intelligent. You have to be willing to be spied on, and you need to be able to deal with it and to notice when it’s happening. If you know someone involved in activism, buy them this book about COINTELPRO. Remember, the Internet raises the stakes considerably, but this is the government we’re talking about. They are not geniuses of innovation. They just have that combination of a budget, the hunger for power and no conscience.


Planet Waves

Don’t Miss This!
Lead Levels Associated with Violent Crime

First, let’s claim a victory — by whatever miracle, the United States banned lead in gasoline and most industrial products. I don’t know the story, but common sense and science prevailed. Second, a new retrospective has been published that associates peaks of lead pollution with peaks in violent crime.

Planet Waves
The perfect metal; the perfect poison.

The retrospective looks at several countries and many cities and has concluded that violent crime peaks 20 years after lead levels peak — suggesting strongly that exposure to lead as an infant leads to violent criminal behavior. This is not merely one study; it’s a review of many studies, their results and their methods, which attempts to disprove the results but ultimately finds them to be true.

I’ve been ranting for years about the potential behavioral and emotional effects of environmental pollutants. I even got an article in The Ecologist about how hormonally active PCB and dioxin levels were messing with sexual instincts, behaviors and even anatomy.

As the world goes increasingly insane, we need to question the role that the brew of supertoxins in which we are soaking is playing in that. The political crisis, the economic crisis, the inability of countless millions of people to get a grip on their lives or to have any workable boundaries: all of this can be influenced by hormone pollution.

This new retrospective says, we need to look closer — and remember, lead WAS banned from most uses in the United States. There is no longer lead paint (in homes and businesses), plaster or gasoline. Now it’s time for a chlorine ban. Repeat, now it’s time to get rid of chlorine. That one move will solve a lot of our problems.


Planet Waves

Planet Waves

Overlay of the Kepler star field against a photo of the Milky Way. The Kepler spacecraft is focused on an area bordered by two of the brightest stars in the sky: Vega, which is part of Lyra (the harp) and Deneb, which is part of Cygnus (the swan). Together with Altair (in the constellation Aquila, the eagle) these stars form the summer triangle. Image: NASA.

What Are Those Stars Saying?

Listen up, and listen closely: this webpage for NASA’s Kepler mission to look for habitable planets around stars other than our Sun is not that exciting to look at, admittedly. But it offers a chance to hear the sounds of distant stars.

More accurately, the page features links to sound files that are the “sonification of light curves” of some of the 100,000 stars being observed by the Kepler spacecraft. According to NASA, “The light curves contain certain frequencies of brightness variation that are akin to sound waves, but the frequencies are not audible to the human ear.”

In the sonification process, those frequencies are scaled to a range that we can hear. Get out your headphones, and check out the funky sounds made by stars ‘winking’ at us as a sister-planet passes by.


Planet Waves

Cap New Moon, Old Dick Nixon

In this week’s edition of Planet Waves FM, I go over the Capricorn New Moon chart as well as commemorate the 100th birthday of Richard M. Nixon. If you’d like to see Nixon’s chart, here’s the page in Astrodatabank.


Planet Waves

Your Monthly Horoscopes — and our Publishing Schedule Notes

The January monthly horoscope was published Friday, Dec. 21. Inner Space for January was published Friday, Dec. 28. The December Moonshine Horoscope was published Tuesday, Dec. 18. I recommend reviewing the monthly horoscope at the end of the month. Please note that the longer monthly horoscope is being incorporated into the Friday issue after the Sun has entered a new sign; a new Inner Space is still emailed on the following Tuesday.


Planet Waves

Weekly Horoscope for Friday, Jan. 11, 2013 #933 | By Eric Francis

Capricorn Birthdays This Week (for Cap rising as well)

A New Moon in your birth sign this week is a reminder that it’s time to leave the past behind, though you may still be processing some sadness or regrets about things that have happened before — including in the distant past. Rather than pressuring yourself to feel or not to feel a certain way, I suggest you stay with yourself and inquire within about what it will take to be ready to move on. Be open to what comes back; take the steps that you get in reply to your inner query. Meanwhile, you really do seem to be ready to take a leap forward, and this is all about confidence. That is the thing to study, to observe and most of all to practice. I know that confidence can seem like some kind of innate gift that’s bestowed only on the rare few. It’s like any other skill; it can be broken down into steps, understood in a clear way and most of all, improved through a course of repeated, realtime experiments. After a while you will see your faith in yourself was much stronger than you imagined. So you may as well take advantage of that now. NOTE — there will be a Capricorn birthday report, substantially different from LISTEN, the annual reading. It will take me another week or so to record that. — efc

Aries (March 20-April 19)

Aries (March 20-April 19) — Remember to mind your politics. You are in rare form in many other ways — unafraid to stand out, bold about expressing your ideas and willing to take charge. Yet what you need is to employ your political skill. That means politeness, following basic policy and applying a little polish to your presentation. You are in a visible position of leadership, though I suggest you focus your efforts on fostering cooperation. You will have to take some initiative but if you remember to do all those things beginning with ‘pol’ you will find that your charm and positive attitude get you further than letting anyone know who is boss. One other not-so-subtle point — be aware of emotions like envy, jealousy and the desire for control. Leave that to other people and be aware that these emotions are in the environment. What they all have in common is a competitive edge; that is the thing to identify in any form that it arrives, to let go of and to find viable options for.

Order your 2013 reading from Eric Francis now, in LISTEN, the 2013 annual edition of Planet Waves. As a subscriber you can still get all 12 signs for the price of three. This is a detailed written and audio reading that you will love. You can also purchase signs one at a time (including audio and written, prior to our splitting those two products).


Taurus (April 19- May 20)

Taurus (April 19-May 20) — What we think of as marriage is a religious concept. Then by some miracle it ended up a civil instrument, influencing taxes and under the jurisdiction of the state courts. I am aware that there are ways of thinking of partnership and even marriage unrelated to any of these venerated institutions. I would ask what role any have in the exchange of human emotions or organizing a household. You’re in a phase of questioning many other values that have percolated through to you via religion, though you may never have recognized them as such. It is time. They all have one thing in common: controlling behavior and concentrating wealth in the hands of the church, in both cases using guilt as the lever. The matter can be reduced to one short inquiry: what would you do in a world where guilt held no value? Would you need in some way to be reined in? Or would you conduct yourself ethically anyway, and still have a good time?

Order your 2013 reading from Eric Francis now, in LISTEN, the 2013 annual edition of Planet Waves. As a subscriber you can still get all 12 signs for the price of three. This is a detailed written and audio reading that you will love. You can also purchase signs one at a time (including audio and written, prior to our splitting those two products).


Gemini (May 20- June 21)

Gemini (May 20-June 21) — Now is the time to renegotiate certain contracts and agreements that no longer serve their purpose. Therefore, I suggest you go over every agreement that you’re currently subject to, assess its reason for existing and see if that reason is being fulfilled. Some of these may be pretty old, you may have forgotten others, and some, you may not even be aware you’re subject to. Here is a clue: is something or someone ‘driving you crazy’? Is there a source of chaos in your life? Something putting pressure on you that you seem unable to get out of? See if you can trace this back to some kind of commitment or agreement that you made. Go back to the moment of that transaction and look at the exact language, whether in writing or what you recall having said. Research or remember what was said to you, in terms of what promises were made. Did you hold up your end of the bargain? What about the other person or organization? Once you have that information, you will have plenty to work with. The concept of a relationship is taken too seriously, and the reality of a relationship not seriously enough.

Order your 2013 reading from Eric Francis now, in LISTEN, the 2013 annual edition of Planet Waves. As a subscriber you can still get all 12 signs for the price of three. This is a detailed written and audio reading that you will love. You can also purchase signs one at a time (including audio and written, prior to our splitting those two products).


Cancer (June 21- July 22)

Cancer (June 21-July 22) — You are in extraordinarily rich relationship territory; your bonds with others are deepening and the potential exists for one particular person to join you in entering unusually deep caverns within yourself. I suggest, however, that you embrace these developments with a spirit of welcoming change rather than courting permanence. It’s not that the people you encounter now will not last; to the contrary, one or more may prove to be around for quite a while. I suggest that you stay in the present and keep the energy moving, allowing the elements in the environment to form new compounds, and the sensations in your body to lead to a new depth of emotional sharing and contact. Your concept of a partner or lover is changing, as is your desire for language to describe the experience and to share your feelings with others. These are matters more practical than mystical, particularly the language piece. Listen carefully, say what you mean and get your conversation partner to propose what they think you mean. Certainty of understanding is rare; you can come close now.

Order your 2013 reading from Eric Francis now, in LISTEN, the 2013 annual edition of Planet Waves. As a subscriber you can still get all 12 signs for the price of three. This is a detailed written and audio reading that you will love. You can also purchase signs one at a time (including audio and written, prior to our splitting those two products).


Leo (July 22- Aug. 23)

Leo (July 22-Aug. 23) — It’s time for some deeply ingrained patterns to change, particularly involving the work you do. You have a leverage point right now; key elements of the system within which you operate are at maximum stress. As designed, the system cannot take the pressure it’s being subjected to. But don’t wait for things to ‘get better’ to make the changes that you need to make; the whole point is to redesign things to accommodate — or better yet, eliminate — the kinds of tension that you’ve been experiencing lately. Several factors are involved, including communication, how resources are allocated and understanding the nature of commitment as it exists within your environment. Speaking personally, you have to get out of two modes: one is “this is how it’s going to be because this is how it always was” and “we need a rigid structure or set of rules to solve this problem.” In truth what you need is flexibility — on everyone’s part, though you’re in the leadership role when it comes to setting that particular example.

Order your 2013 reading from Eric Francis now, in LISTEN, the 2013 annual edition of Planet Waves. As a subscriber you can still get all 12 signs for the price of three. This is a detailed written and audio reading that you will love. You can also purchase signs one at a time (including audio and written, prior to our splitting those two products).

Planet Waves



Virgo (Aug. 23- Sep. 22)

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22) — Loosen up a little and you will be a lot happier. You need a more playful outlook; I think naughty is the word. I suggest you stop asking if you’re ‘in integrity’ and realize there is only so much that can go wrong, under your present plan; the world will not end if you have more fun. Yet you may have to consciously set aside attachment to the fun you didn’t get to have, that you opted out of or that ended way too early. I know it’s difficult not to have some feelings for what you sincerely regret, though it’s likely to get in the way of what you can experience now — and there is plenty being offered to you. What all those opportunities for fun have in common is the need to take some kind of chance. I don’t mean walking along the ledge of a skyscraper, though it may feel that way sometimes; I mean an emotional risk, such as entering a vulnerable situation where you have the potential to get hurt. Yes, it could happen, but it’s less likely if you’re conscious of your environment. It’s the vulnerability that will allow in the sense of contact and pleasure.

Order your 2013 reading from Eric Francis now, in LISTEN, the 2013 annual edition of Planet Waves. As a subscriber you can still get all 12 signs for the price of three. This is a detailed written and audio reading that you will love. You can also purchase signs one at a time (including audio and written, prior to our splitting those two products).


Libra (Sep. 22 - Oct. 23)

Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23) — I suggest you stay close to home the next week or so, close to a place where you can pull in and retreat. You seem to be processing some unusually deep feelings, though they’re coming through with the approximate ease that water moves through the bedrock of an aquifer: dependably, though slowly, requiring time and patience. The material includes a review of your as-yet unmet emotional and relational needs; there is something about the past that’s holding you close and about which you may have some regrets, including regrets about how you treated someone when you were feeling neglected. At the same time, you may notice that your curiosity is going in new directions. You may think that it’s your brain acting up, though I would propose that this is an actual physical inquisitiveness that is calling you to explore. You may not feel ready now, though if you’re patient with yourself and don’t try to escape from the past, you’ll discover renewed freedom to try some truly interesting experiences.

Order your 2013 reading from Eric Francis now, in LISTEN, the 2013 annual edition of Planet Waves. As a subscriber you can still get all 12 signs for the price of three. This is a detailed written and audio reading that you will love. You can also purchase signs one at a time (including audio and written, prior to our splitting those two products).


Scorpio (Oct. 23- Nov. 22)

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22) — Something is much simpler than it seems. But to see that, you must think it through for yourself and not be swayed by the opinions of others. I suggest that you skip the part about analyzing everyone’s motives and see what the situation looks like in its most elemental form. If you had to script it into a play for shadow puppets, how would it look and sound? Who would the characters be? I think, probably, it would look like some family scene that you decided you were tired of long ago. You seem to perceive yourself as an irritant in a group environment, as the one who stands out or is different, and a) gets hassled for such and b) always feels like you’re the one who might have to go, so that everyone can settle down. That’s the scenario to let go of; it’s no longer true and seems to be entirely a replay of old tapes. In reality, under the current astrology you seem to be the one wanting to be the adult in the room, which is a good thing — as long as you recognize the difference between adult and parent.

Order your 2013 reading from Eric Francis now, in LISTEN, the 2013 annual edition of Planet Waves. As a subscriber you can still get all 12 signs for the price of three. This is a detailed written and audio reading that you will love. You can also purchase signs one at a time (including audio and written, prior to our splitting those two products).


Sagittarius (Nov. 22 - Dec. 22)

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22) — You may feel under pressure to make some big decisions, particularly of a financial nature. I suggest, however, that you wait until the end of the month (when Jupiter stations direct) before finalizing anything, particularly involving an investment or banking matter. You have more to learn about where partners or significant others are coming from, and what you learn will influence your decision. Meanwhile, it would help if you turned your sense of pressure into a sense of opportunity: in this case, you need to restructure your affairs in some way, which will have a benefit over time. There is an intimate connection between money and the structures that surround it, which takes many forms (including relationships). I suggest you make a commitment to have no guilt about doing what you need to do in order to make your affairs run more smoothly. And, though I will mention it again, take the next few weeks and see if you can deduce what close partners or associates really have on their mind.

Order your 2013 reading from Eric Francis now, in LISTEN, the 2013 annual edition of Planet Waves. As a subscriber you can still get all 12 signs for the price of three. This is a detailed written and audio reading that you will love. You can also purchase signs one at a time (including audio and written, prior to our splitting those two products).


Capricorn (Dec. 22- Jan. 20)

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20) — Accept the past in its current form and recognize that there is little you can do to change it, or to mitigate its effects. Yet if you take an attitude of ‘let it be’, you may find that more peace of mind comes to you than you could ever have if you try to rewrite history, pretend certain things didn’t happen or get stuck on your regrets. If you allow it to be so, the past will start to make sense in a way you had not considered before. You stand at a new moment in your life, though you will recognize this in a more palpable way if you embrace what is present for you now, and notice that you have many new options for how to live. This calls for shifting your perspective, along two orientations. One is your relationship to attachment. It’s no longer possible for you to be stuck in the way things were in the past, or to use epoxy and jealousy to graft yourself onto anyone. Second is your relationship to stating your basic emotional needs. Resolve to speak up and state them clearly, in language that another mortal can understand without the help of a detective.

Order your 2013 reading from Eric Francis now, in LISTEN, the 2013 annual edition of Planet Waves. As a subscriber you can still get all 12 signs for the price of three. This is a detailed written and audio reading that you will love. You can also purchase signs one at a time (including audio and written, prior to our splitting those two products).


Aquarius (Jan. 20- Feb. 19)

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) — Your mission is to foster cooperation without worrying about your popularity, and without going out of your way to make enemies. In other words, the people around you are not going to work together so well because they like you so much; and they are not going to work together because they hate you so much. They’re going to do it because it’s the right thing to do and because everyone’s life will be easier. Therefore, you have to be gentle in your approach to leadership, and recognize that you have a real measure of authority before you ever open your mouth. However, I suggest you tune into certain facts of the underlying psychology — both your own and that of the circumstances around you. It seems to be driving everything, and you may be the only person in the environment who has the ability to perceive what’s going on, including being able to suss out the sexual politics that are involved and are, as usual, significantly influential.

Order your 2013 reading from Eric Francis now, in LISTEN, the 2013 annual edition of Planet Waves. As a subscriber you can still get all 12 signs for the price of three. This is a detailed written and audio reading that you will love. You can also purchase signs one at a time (including audio and written, prior to our splitting those two products).


Pisces (Feb. 19- March 20)

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) — You may or may not consider yourself ‘marriage material’ though I would propose (pardon the pun) that this is an excellent few weeks to explore your partnership potential. You have your own ideas about what a relationship is, and you may think that few others share those ideas. There are people in your circle of friends who are starting to catch up with you; these may include former partners and those you know through some aspect of work. Anyway, my point is: for the next month, experiment with the idea that your ideas about relationships are right for you and that other people have been learning from your example. There is a kind of collective transformation in progress right now, and it’s likely to manifest in your life as opportunities for contact that you thought were unlikely or impossible before. The challenge for you will be to leave behind the pain of what has not worked; any past struggle with rejection; and any prejudices you still may hold about what other people think about how you live. There is a lot that others have not been saying. Love, listen and learn.

Order your 2013 reading from Eric Francis now, in LISTEN, the 2013 annual edition of Planet Waves. As a subscriber you can still get all 12 signs for the price of three. This is a detailed written and audio reading that you will love. You can also purchase signs one at a time (including audio and written, prior to our splitting those two products).


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Welcome to Virgo (and Your Monthly Horoscope)

Dear Friend and Reader:

Wednesday afternoon, the Sun ingressed Virgo, beginning the third and last month of the season. This is always true of the mutable signs, Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius and Pisces. At the end of each of those signs, the Sun begins a new season. Virgo is an earth sign, ruled by Mercury. Though many people are taking time off from work this time of year, the mental quality of Virgo is a great time to accomplish challenging tasks that require a high level of focus.

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Photo by Eric Francis for Book of Blue.

In German, the word for Virgo is Jungrfrau, meaning young woman — that’s a bit more literal and easier to understand than our word, which implies virginity. However as you’ll read, there is something of a mystery embedded in this sign.

I’ve said this a few times, though it’s worth another reminder: for the first time all year, the inner planets (Mercury, Venus and Mars) are in direct motion, and none of them are about to station retrograde. While our complex lives never quite facilitate the simplicity we dream of, it helps at least in the midst of complexity to have the inner planets moving forward, and eclipses out of the way as well (the next Mercury retrograde, and the next eclipses, take place in November, both of which will directly affect the U.S. presidential elections — more about this soon).

While it may be tempting to relax after the turbulence of the past seven months, I suggest you strike a balance between easing off and easing into some real accomplishments. Set your agenda carefully, and make sure you include your most significant goals.

Meanwhile, the Sun is opposing Neptune. That was exact earlier today, but we’ve been feeling it all week and it’s in full effect through the weekend. While the Virgo Sun is mentally focused, its meeting with Neptune in Pisces is calling for some imagination. It may also be inviting you to indulge in many of the things for which Neptune is famous: things that change your consciousness, art, music, cinema and intense fantasy. The Sun opposite Neptune can feel like a mystical kind of Full Moon, though more inspiring than agitated.

Just remember to keep a grip. When there’s a lot of Neptune in the picture, there’s a necessity for maintaining your integrity (tell the truth, drive sober, and don’t finalize important decisions till the aspect passes). This aspect has an idealistic streak, which will tend to overlook the details; give the details time to come into focus.

That will happen soon enough, as the Sun gradually slips into an opposition with Chiron in Pisces. That is exact on Aug. 30, and is a turning point in the tone for the Sun’s transit through Virgo. That’s how Chiron almost always works; it’s a moment of clarity.

Chiron (relatively new to its visit to Pisces, a sign it occupies for about eight years of every 51) has a strong association with Virgo (not exactly rulership, but rather in traditional terms, something that feels more like exaltation or natural resonance). Chiron is about a kind of hyper-awareness, and in Pisces, it represents a focused spiritual vigilance.

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Photo by Eric Francis for Book of Blue.

Sun opposite Chiron asks two questions: one is, what is the mode of expression of that vigilance? The Sun is about expression, illumination, creativity and a measure of glory in what we’ve accomplished. Chiron is holding up a powerful mirror to the Sun. Do you feel like you’re adequately expressing yourself? Do you want to go deeper into what you’re doing, expressing yourself from closer to your core?

What arises around the time of this opposition will help you see how you can do that, though beware that you may have to confront a sense of inadequacy as you do. Think of Sun opposite Chiron as the acupuncture needle that guides you to direct your energy with more focus and purpose. What I’m saying is that this will be easier and more pleasant if you maintain your awareness through the Sun-Neptune part of the trip, and don’t zone out into denial — to which Chiron invariably serves as an antidote.

As for Virgo itself.

In traditional astrology, it’s ruled by another planet — Mercury, which is always worth considering when we’re mulling over the meaning of this sign. Fred Gettings, in his excellent astrology dictionary, describes Virgo as a sign “deeply committed to the intellectual process.” Those of us who know and love Virgos are familiar with intelligent, clever, somewhat nervous people who can never seem to do enough. But this is not mental activity for its own buzz; there appears to be something inherently spiritual, transcendent of ego and dedicated to world service that is apparent in who many Virgos are and what they represent.

Virgos had best put these qualities to good use. They have a lot of energy to burn and have an inherent need to be of genuine assistance to the world. When they are fulfilling this role, they are generally quite happy and involved; when not, they can become annoying, particularly to themselves. Many astrologers feel that the keywords of Virgo are I Serve, and many born under this sign know exactly what they’re talking about.

Alice A. Bailey, in her 1951 book Esoteric Astrology, addresses some of what may be going on beneath this impulse. (Note, if you buy this book and try to read it and can’t figure it out, please write to me; it’s also worth a short ‘reader’s guide’ kind of article on how to work with it.)

“The sign Virgo is one of the most significant in the zodiac,” she writes in her introduction to this sign, “for its symbology concerns the whole goal of the evolutionary process, which is to shield, nurture and finally reveal the hidden spiritual reality. This every form veils, but the human form is equipped and fitted to manifest it in a manner different to any other expression of divinity and so make tangible and objective that for which the whole creative process was intended.”

I think the first sentence of that statement is pretty easy to grasp, but I had to read the second one a few times. Remember, she is writing from an esoteric or occult viewpoint, which takes the view that the physical world is like drapery hung over the inner life. One could just as easily reason that all of nature, including human nature, is the living expression of divinity at every moment.

Planet Waves
Photo by Eric Francis for Book of Blue.

She is saying, essentially, that every form in nature veils the inner life of spirit; that the soul is hidden within what we see every day. But there is something in the human form (represented by Virgo) that is in a position to make divinity tangible in a way unique in all the world (or universe), and which is the intent of the entire evolutionary process. This notion rates the human experience as the most important on the planet (debatable, and also a position held by some religions), but maybe if we took that seriously, we would be kinder to other living things and the planet herself. Humans really are in the position of noblesse oblige. Many humans claim that we’re special; certainly, much has been given to us. The concept suggests that “noble ancestry constrains to honorable behavior; privilege entails to responsibility.”

Next, she adds a bit of interesting, ancient data, which we don’t have any conventional way to verify. “The word Virgo itself is a descendant of and corruption of the ancient Atlantean root name which was applied to the mother principle in those far-off times. This Virgin was the founder of the matriarchy which then dominated civilization and to which various myths and legends bear evidence and which have come down to us concerning Lilith, the last Virgin Goddess of Atlantean times.”

In other words, the sign Virgo represents the feminine principle of divinity in its entirety. We might think of that as the spirit that animates mater-mother-matter, our entire earthly life, our bodies, and all we do and create within the material plane.

Bailey also associates Virgo with Mary, “who carries the [evolutionary] process down to the plane or place of incarnation, the physical plane, and there gives birth to the Christ child.” She adds that “Virgo is, therefore, the opposite pole of spirit and stands for the relation of these two after they have been brought together.”

In other words, Virgo represents the physical embodiment of spirit; the form into which the soul incarnates.

Everyone has Virgo somewhere in their chart, and thus, working in their lives. I would offer the idea that the urge or impulse to bring the divine force into our lives tangibly, as healing and service, that each of us encounters where Virgo is in our charts is the impulse to give birth to something intended to heal the world.

Let’s see where that takes us this month.



Planet Waves

Photo by Eric Francis / Book of Blue Studio.

Midyear Career / Financial Report Rings the Bell

Dear Friend and Reader:

I’ve been doing 12-sign audio reports for a couple of years, and we’ve never had one that’s had the kind of response the 2012 Midyear Report is getting. This is the first with a specific theme: I cover the relationship between employment, financial security and calling. This is the issue that I have been hearing about the most, and I am starting to receive many requests for private business and career consulting. It’s a perfect use of astrology to help people focus on their true calling, their true service and their creative passion.

Planet Waves

In this particular reading, I work with the possibility that you might be considering a career change, looking for work, or venturing into starting your own business. They are all related, and I study those relationships. I look carefully at the Uranus-Pluto square, the sign change of Saturn and many other key transits now, and present my findings in not just clear but motivating language and energy.

This reading is indeed a motivational talk, but one keyed carefully to your current astrology.

The report includes all 12 signs, so you can explore your professional life from several angles. The readings (recommended for your Sun, rising sign and career house) are each 45 minutes long. Response has been incredible. These readings felt strong and solid coming through, though I never expected a reader to say: “It touched me so deeply. Even thinking of it right now, after some time has passed, I have tears. I look forward to the info moving through me for many days to come.”

Another wrote, “I listened to the Virgo report last night; so astute, so in depth. Thank you, Eric. Always amazed at how closely your interpretations fit my life, as though you were writing for me personally.”

And another: “I just listened to the midyear report for my Sun sign only. In all the years I have been getting your reports (9 years or so) I have never heard one so right on! Thank you! I feel as though a huge weight has been lifted off my mind.”

This kind of response is truly an honor to receive.

You can order the 2012 Midyear Report at this link. Please let me know how it works for you.



Planet Waves

Uranus square Pluto: Whose Revolution, Exactly?

This week as the Sun ingressed Virgo, the sign of the goddess, the Republican party outdid itself, putting into the national platform the statement that it supports a constitutional amendment banning abortion — basically, a ‘right to life’ amendment. Its candidates for president and vice president support this position.

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We know where this can go: Margaret Atwood wrote about it in her novel The Handmaid’s Tale. It’s the story of a theocracy taking over the United States, which turns all pregnancy into a government-controlled commodity. In it, Handmaids are fertile women whose sole function is to bear children for the ruling elite. They dress in a red habit, and are produced by re-educating fertile women who have broken the gender and social laws. Owing to the need for fertile Handmaids, the government gradually increases the number of gender-crimes.

Also this week, U.S. Rep. Todd Akin of Missouri, the Republican candidate for senator from that state, claimed that pregnancy from rape is “really rare” because “if it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.” His statement caused an uproar that has spread internationally.

It’s led even the most zealous members of his party to try to distance themselves from him, demanding that he drop out of the race, though he refused to, and a key withdrawal deadline passed this week. As we might expect, Akin is not going to pull out.

According to his reasoning, abortion even in the case of rape is not necessary, and should not be a legal right. What he meant by “legitimate rape” is actually “forced rape,” which is redundant. This, as opposed to a false claim of rape, or some other form of rape, all of which are deconstructed in this searing article that appeared Tuesday on Jezebel.com. Anyone who has to say “forced rape” understands neither rape nor sex.

Most contemporary abortion opponents, at least the ones participating in politics, believe that women should be legally compelled to carry to term a child conceived by rape or incest. This is another way of saying that women would have no control over who impregnates them or whose child they give birth to. Many believe that even if the mother’s life is threatened, there should not be an exception.

The way these views get traction is because most people do oppose abortion, as a personal option, and in principle — and most people understand that circumstances sometimes compel many people to go against their views and make a difficult choice. You might call that the mature approach to the issue, and one that leaves room for personal choice and values that we cannot foresee or that are deeply individual.

Republicans had to push back against Akin’s statement, trying to get him to quit his senate race; he refused to, allowing a critical deadline to pass on Tuesday. The problem here was that most of the people pushing back agree with Akin; they just don’t put it in such clear terms. Looked at one way, Akin is outing his colleagues, and their attempts to distance themselves are a big charade.

Let’s briefly key this into the current astrology and see how it describes this development. We’re in the midst of Uranus square Pluto, which spans from 2012 to 2015 with a wide margin on either side. This is revolutionary astrology, characterized by the square’s placement close to the personal-is-political Aries Point — an imaginary cross in the heavens that spans the first degrees of Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn.

Uranus in Aries can be militant and egocentric; Pluto in Capricorn is about fundamental changes to the structure of society. It is arriving with some collapse, some reform and a wild sense of uncertainty. Pluto in Capricorn also opens up the scars of the past: of family patterns and political oppression. Of all the signs, Capricorn is the one that most clearly describes legacy material, and Pluto is going deep into this territory.

Planet Waves
Birth scene from a 2003 opera version of The Handmaid’s Tale, produced by the English National Opera. Sam Meier, in her article for Policy Mic, notes its alarming resonance with Akin’s statements and the war on women by the American Taliban.

Uranus square Pluto is revolutionary, though we need to ask: whose revolution? Whose vision for society will be implemented? At the moment, the rear guard — the people who are doing everything they can to reverse a century of political and social gains by women — are the ones who seem to be taking control. Said another way, women are the latest focus of a power-grab, with intensity similar to what we saw directed at terrorists after the Sept. 11 incident.

Whether people who understand what’s going on — and in particular, women who understand what’s going on — rise to the occasion and address the real issues, remains to be seen. This is an intelligence test for women, and not just in the United States, because these views are spreading. But for now, it’s a kind of political IQ for American women.

Part of why this whole infection can flourish is because so many people have been denied real sex education, and instead have been subjected to Abstinence Only indoctrination. This is the program of religious zealots who are now taking advantage of the ignorance they have propagated.

It’s telling that the issues of rape and abortion have been conflated into one viewpoint that seems to support rape and not merely oppose abortion, but to criminalize pregnancy. Consider that if abortion is made illegal, then the termination of any pregnancy — no matter how it happens — becomes a potential crime scene. Virginia already tried to pass a law making it a crime for a woman not to report a miscarriage, presumably because it might have been an abortion.

This week, one of my readers wrote to me: “I live in a state in Mexico (Guanajuato) where there are women in prison because they have either aborted or miscarried and were unable to prove that it was through natural causes. In Mexican Spanish (at least), the word for an abortion and a miscarriage is the same, abortar. You have to clarify natural causes through the words espontáneo or no provocado.”

In the past, I have said that Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that makes abortion a constitutional right (which is related closely to the right to use contraception), is the closest thing we have to an Equal Rights Amendment.

However, lately my views have evolved. I now believe it’s the only thing between women and the possibility of being prosecuted for murder if they have a miscarriage, or choose to abort a pregnancy, even one caused by a rapist. That would be revolutionary indeed — but I don’t think it’s your kind of revolution.


Planet Waves

Planet Waves monthly horoscopes provide a broader perspective that surveys the themes of the coming month and often, the weeks that follow. The September Monthly horoscope is below in this issue. Inner Space for August was published Tuesday, July 31. The new Inner Space (a short, concise monthly) will appear Tuesday, Sept. 4. The August Moonshine Horoscope was published Friday, Aug. 17. Please note that the longer monthly horoscope (what you have below) is being incorporated into the Friday issue after the Sun has entered a new sign; Inner Space still publishes on Tuesdays.


Planet Waves

Planet Waves Monthly Horoscopes for September 2012 | Eric’s Zodiac Sign Descriptions
Virgo Birthdays This Week

For those with a birthday in the vicinity, it’s going to be helpful to keep your relationships in perspective this year. You may have an inclination to be idealistic, though it could be so subtle that you don’t even notice it. One key to happiness is going to be finding a balance between expressing how you want things to be, and noticing how they actually are. You may be inclined to overlook certain issues, though those issues will resolve themselves more easily if you pay attention and keep the discussion going. Note carefully the influence of alcohol and other substances on your emotional environment. Moderation is key, as is understanding the way that substances might cloud your judgment. There are, in truth, no secrets that you can keep from yourself, and there are certain facts that are pressing for acknowledgment. I believe you’ll be much happier when you keep them closer to the surface, which will facilitate healing and keep denial to a minimum. Note to Virgos: I am nearly done with your birthday astrology and tarot reading, which focuses on relationships — and which I plan to have ready Monday. The reading will also work for people with Virgo rising.

Aries (March 20-April 19)

Aries (March 20-April 19) — There are people who insist that the best sex happens after a huge fight with one’s partner, and this is one description of your charts right now. We could however apply it to many areas of your life, and many different kinds of partnerships. The way the astrology is describing it, your MO seems to be resist until you decide to submit. While this is helping maintain your reputation of someone who is not afraid to stand up to authority (in whatever form it may take), I don’t think it’s helping your peace of mind. If you’re looking for some dependable success and/or a stable situation in a relationship, it would help if you expressed yourself in a way that invites collaboration. I’m aware of the sensation of giving up one’s individuality to do that. However, I would propose that it’s the best way to find your identity. Your astrology is configured in such a way that you are extremely, boldly and assertively yourself, and then in equal measure (on a half-moment’s notice) you’re able to have your identity disappear into a relationship. You can consider your rebellious moments as attempts to define your identity within a partnership. This would be a lot simpler if you didn’t view this process as standing up to authority but rather an experience of meeting another person on level ground. The boring part of this is that it’s not as dramatic or brimming with pathos. The sensation is more like a conversation across a table, which can go anywhere you mutually decide.

Hello Aries — Eric has written a new description for your sign that you have access to from this link (no password needed).

Taurus (April 19- May 20)

Taurus (April 19-May 20) — You are seeking freedom, and it looks like you encounter the same obstacle over and over again. This is an attribute of your character, as it’s currently set up. Something has suddenly shifted over the past few weeks, where you’re aware of this obstacle in a new way, and more determined than ever to let it go. What you’re doing in these weeks of your life can serve as a foundation or entry point to the process. You have the potential to see and understand the issue in a new way. This will prove to be helpful if you remember what you’re learning. Unraveling whatever block, interference or past injury you’re working with may take a while — figure about 18 months from now, if you stay with yourself. What you’re working with goes back longer than you may recognize. To work it out in so short of a time will be a miracle, and your willingness is essential to that happening. I suggest one thing. What you think the problem is may be incorrect. What you think the solution is may not actually be the one. It’s essential that you consider your situation as a moving dynamic, and that you consider yourself a work in progress. I would share with you some lines of the poet T. S. Eliot, who understood a lot about the human condition. He wrote: “I have heard the key / Turn in the door once and turn once only / We think of the key, each in his prison / Thinking of the key, each confirms a prison.”

Hello Taurus — Eric has written a new description for your sign that you have access to from this link (no password needed). If you would like to hear your Taurus birthday reading, please visit this link.

Gemini (May 20- June 21)

Gemini (May 20-June 21) — You may have a tendency to be overly reactive with partners, loved ones or colleagues this month — and the closer you are to the person, the more reactive you might be. Lurking underneath this is an expectation that people will be like you, or perceive the world as you do. And there is something else with how powerfully you can identify with people close to you, and how self-conscious that can make you feel when the identification no longer works. Underneath all of this is something about identifying with your mom, and part of the reason there is some struggle here is that you’re not her. Yet there is some bond that I suggest you look at; that may be how you respond to her sense of loss that you’re now an adult, or how she responded to you in the years when you were becoming an adult. I suggest you ask yourself an honest question: did she resist your becoming an adult? Did she strive to delay any aspect of your maturity? If so, I suggest you get inside this dynamic and understand how it still may be controlling your life. One angle to look at is the expectations you have on partners. Another is how you respond to drugs or alcohol in your environment. And there’s one last: do you ever feel like you’re concealing an iron fist inside a velvet glove? It may work for some things, though it’s not that helpful where intimacy is concerned. And there is another approach.

Hello Gemini — Eric has written a new description for your sign that you have access to from this link (no password needed). Your Gemini birthday reading is ready! Click here for an hour of astrology plus a tarot reading by Eric.

Cancer (June 21- July 22)

Cancer (June 21-July 22) — You’re figuring out that you need more room for yourself — both outer space and inner space. You may think it’s taken you a while to understand this, but really, not as long as you might imagine — and you’re really ready. Over the next couple of months, your creative aspirations are going to take a step forward. This strongly implies you’re getting serious about desires that may have only seemed like fancy ideas in the past. If you’re feeling like you have to rearrange your home or office, or get into something bigger, that’s probably a real signal. Then there is the more elusive concept of inner space. That’s another way of saying: is there room in your life for you? If there is not, it’s time to start making some adjustments. This will begin with your positive priorities — not what you need to cut. I suggest you focus on getting clear what you want to do, and what your space needs will be. Then start clearing things out of the way. This will help you focus your efforts. If you start by clearing out your time, you may not quite know what to do first. So I suggest you set your agenda and then make room for what you know you want to do. The upsurge in your creative energy will have a way of displacing what’s not necessary, what’s redundant and what’s no longer serving you. Meanwhile, if you’re feeling cramped, consider that a good sign — evidence that you’re about to molt, as crabs must often do, though this is a big one.

Hello Cancer — Eric has written a new description for your sign that you have access to from this link (no password needed). Your Cancer birthday reading is ready! It includes more than an hour of astrology plus a tarot reading, and has been wildly popular (also great for Cancer rising people). Use this link to order.

Leo (July 22- Aug. 23)

Leo (July 22-Aug. 23) — Your mind is getting bigger, and it’s likely that your physical space will soon need to accommodate your growth. This may not happen tomorrow, though if you’re feeling antsy or restless, consider whether your home environment actually accommodates who you have become in recent years. Yet there is also something here about outgrowing certain long-held emotional tendencies that have shaped your psyche. As a child, this may have led you to a kind of submissiveness that you seem ready to let go of. That letting go may come with the feeling of getting a grip on your emotions, taking charge of your space, and recognizing that you’re the only person who can make sure that you’re not manipulated by others. What may be useful for you to know is that the way that’s most likely to happen is when others pick up on your passion and use that against you. With Mars becoming more active in your chart for the next couple of months, you may be able to observe how this happens — and figure out what you can do about it. While you’re considering ways you can make more space, along the same theme, I suggest you create emotional space for yourself. Space translates to time and peace of mind, though in the event that you move locations, make sure that some part of that structure belongs to you and you alone. Create a sanctuary that’s free from the influences and ideas of others, and this will become a living metaphor for your emotions.

Hello Leo — Eric has written a new description for your sign that you have access to from this link (no password needed). See below for a description of your 2012-2013 birthday reading, which is available now.


Planet Waves

Hello Leo and Leo Rising! I’ve finished your 2012-2013 birthday reading. This is composed of two 35-minute astrology sessions, plus a combined tarot and astrology reading. It covers all of the major astrology happening now — with an emphasis on recovering a childhood dream. I also cover the influence on your relationships, your home environment and your finances. Astrologically this includes Mercury retrograde in your sign, the Leo New Moon, the Uranus-Pluto square, Saturn in Scorpio and more — all in clear, easy to follow terms. This report is designed for those born with the Sun in Leo but is equally applicable for Leo rising. Visit this page to get access.


Virgo (Aug. 23- Sep. 22)

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22) — During the past few years, you’ve learned a lot about what’s the most meaningful to you — and a lot about what you do with your money. The lessons and learning have come in many forms and have covered many topics, including the value that you place on relationships. Yet if you’ve been even vaguely responsive to some powerful astrology, the main thing you’ve gained is a new level of self-respect. You may not walk around every day humming about how good you feel about yourself, though you have built a foundation, and you’re standing on it. Think of that foundation as a conscious relationship to yourself. You may be noticing how many people around you seem to be standing on nothing at all, and who seem to lack any conscious relationship to who they are. If you’ve learned nothing else in the recent years, it’s that you must engage with yourself consciously, and that this inner encounter is the foundation of all your other relationships. It’s not merely the floor you walk on; it’s what holds up the floor. You’re embarking on a time in your life when your outer-world encounters with others are deeper, more provocative and call on you to possess actual maturity. Not everyone has the integrity that you have, and not everyone is interested. Others are in a learning process, and some will be profound teachers. When in doubt, come back to yourself, and remember that everything stems from the value that you place on your own life.

Hello Virgo — Eric will have your birthday report next week. He’s also written a new description for your sign that you have access to from this link.

Libra (Sep. 22 - Oct. 23)

Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23) — Saturn is getting ready to make its exit from your sign. It’s been there since right around Halloween 2009, and its arrival may have been attended by all kinds of fanfare. Saturn’s exit is a time for a review not only of that two- to three-year phase of your life; it’s time for a life review, centered on the theme of coming to terms with yourself. If you’re familiar with astrology, Saturn in one’s own sign is a little like the Saturn return: it’s a get-serious point, and an opportunity to leverage yourself to a new point of maturity. The way the world is currently configured, that’s always a miracle; and it’s rarely easy. We’re conditioned regularly to deny who we are, and to pretend we’re someone else. As for maturity, many places that concept seems to be a museum piece. To the extent you’ve progressed along these lines, count yourself fortunate — though first I suggest you take stock of everything that’s happened since this transit began. When Saturn changes signs to Scorpio in October, the theme shifts to self-esteem — another astounding deficit in our society, and where you will encounter a phase of enforced growth. These processes are always easier if you understand yourself and your agenda, and have a sense of what you need to accomplish. It’s always a bit more than you think — though today I would remind you that in the past few years you’ve come a lot further than you may believe.

Hello Libra — Eric has written a new description for your sign that you have access to from this link (no password needed).

Scorpio (Oct. 23- Nov. 22)

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22) — Be mindful of your tendency to expect disaster in matters of the heart. Nothing else would serve to create that more dependably than negative expectations. This works differently from superstition or ordinary paranoia. For example, the fear that your house might burn down is not particularly incendiary. You can check your extension cords, the stove and candles. But similar fears projected onto a relationship can have a profound effect on the emotional dynamic. Your fear will tend to increase as passion, interest and vulnerability become more real to you. This is a situation calling for mindfulness, and for honesty. Yet the one thing that is not called for is control, which will only stoke your fears. And nihilism — expectation that all is for naught, so what’s the point anyway — is a form of attempted control (mainly, of your own emotions). Your fear level will drop as you set yourself free to have the experience. If someone in your life means a lot to you, be willing to go where the situation takes you. Be willing to share yourself in a way that’s more generous than you might ordinarily, and by share, I mean generosity without expectation. Withholding is yet another form of attempted control that will serve only to strip you of your influence. I would remind you of this: we tend to love who and what we take care of. When you subtract that from the equation, you’re trying to limit your own vulnerability, which is like trying to have sex in a Tyvek suit.

Hello Scorpio — Eric has written a new description for your sign that you have access to from this link (no password needed).

Sagittarius (Nov. 22 - Dec. 22)

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22) — You may notice that people around you are especially reactive to what you say and do — as if it takes exceedingly little to set them off. Even stranger, you may notice that their reactions bear no resemblance to anything you said, or anything you consciously think or feel. So what’s going on? Well, often intense reactions are both powered and assigned their theme by the one having the reaction. You might serve as a catalyst and then as a projection screen, though it will be helpful if you keep an arm’s length on anything people close to you are experiencing, without disavowing your responsibility. It’s as if you’re in an extended training program of learning how not to take things personally, while remaining accountable. As a Sagittarius you’re supposed to be aloof. Yet you get as emotionally invested as anyone else, and you’re in particularly deep these days. You might also be wondering why it is that certain people respond or react to you the way that they do, if for no other reason than promoting peace and harmony in your life. This is a great time for an inquiry into your ethics and your boundaries, and that would start as an inner journey — and your ancestors are involved. I suggest you investigate the different sides of your family as individual projects, going back as many generations as you can. You may think you’re the union of all these different clans, though their influences tend to operate a lot more independently of one another than you may think.

Hello Sagittarius — Eric has written a new description for your sign that you have access to from this link (no password needed).

Capricorn (Dec. 22- Jan. 20)

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20) — Just in time for the equinox, Uranus makes its second of seven squares to Pluto in your sign. Translated into plain English, this is about getting a fire lit under your ass. The sensation may be like a restless emotional stirring that you just have to act on. However, I suggest you concentrate your energy and not make any moves in a lurch. Saturn, your ruling planet, is getting ready to make one of its relatively rare changes of sign; it ingresses Scorpio in October. You may want to make some decisions now, before that happens — the kind of moves that will shape your life and help you create your future.
Yet while Saturn is in Libra, you’re still working through unfinished business, and you’re still getting a sense of what you want. So I suggest you take this bit of astrological experience I am sharing to heart: wait until Saturn changes signs before making any significant structural changes in your life. Focus on completion, and on getting clear about what agenda you want to create for the next two-and-a-half years. You have considerable potential to develop your income — particularly from business-related activities. You’re likely to see a return on what you’ve worked so hard on during the past few years. Remember that your single most valuable asset is your reputation. Your second most valuable asset is your adaptability. And your passion not just for what you’re doing but for who you are is a close third place.

Hello Capricorn — Eric has written a new description for your sign that you have access to from this link (no password needed).

Aquarius (Jan. 20- Feb. 19)

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) — You’re getting ready for some big professional moves — or depending on how you think astrology works, the universe is preparing to unveil some of its plans. As this experience unfolds, I suggest you place a high value on the role of collaboration. There is a prevailing view (seen in many political ads these days) that the only way to succeed is to ‘go it alone’ and succeed by the grit of your teeth. In fact, you always succeed by collaboration. This is more or less true for everyone, though it’s especially meaningful for you. As you engage in these collaborations, you have to walk a number of fine lines. Control is a theme, whether it refers to you seeking power over others or they seeking power over you. The other side of this is learning to engage energy in a meaningful and creative way, no matter who is the boss or who ultimately controls the resources. Then there is the question of who sets the agenda. Given certain facts of your chart, this has to be a transparent process, where the agenda — that is, the goals, and the values that inform them — are considered something of a sacred text. Most significant is that you have to be you in your partnerships. So make sure that as you enter into new ventures, there is room for who you are and who you’re becoming, and that you choose collaborators that you actually admire for their ethics and sensitivity, as well as for their achievements.

Hello Aquarius — Eric has written a new description for your sign that you have access to from this link (no password needed).

Pisces (Feb. 19- March 20)

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) — Who exactly is in your life, why are they there and what do you exchange with them? These have become significant questions the past few years that Saturn has been in Libra. You’ve had little choice other than to look at them closely, and do the growth work necessary to get some actual answers. You may have been through a long phase of paring down who you think of as a friend. You may have decided at some point that it would make a lot of sense to consider carefully who you engage with sexually, because so much happens in those encounters. Now as Saturn gets ready to ingress Scorpio, you’re about to begin a new phase of your life — and your relationship to yourself. I suggest you take this month as a review phase, and write a summary of your important relationships and what you’ve learned from them. This review could go back to mid-2009, when Saturn first ingressed Libra, or you could go back to 2007, when Saturn entered your relationship sign Virgo. I trust you’ve figured out that you have a responsibility to yourself that you must be vigilant about all the time. If you don’t rate that need as a priority higher than your responsibility to others, you will be of little help to yourself or anyone else. It is high time that you stopped allowing your tendency to share to be used against you, and interrupt the flow of situations where your loss is someone else’s gain. Existing on mutual terms is eminently possible, if you focus on that goal.

Hello Pisces — Eric has written a new description for your sign that you have access to from this link (no password needed).