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Eric Francis Astrology Q&A
April 14th 2006

Astrology Secrets Revealed: Eric Francis Answers Your Questions
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Libra Full Moon

Dear Friends Around the World:

WHEN the Moon visits the sign opposite the Sun, the Full Moon is never far away. And that's where we are now -- with the lunation happening at 5:40 pm Thursday London time, Thursday afternoon in the eastern United States and in the morning in the western states. The Full Moon is overnight Thursday to Friday in Oz.

Though the Moon is basically a big rock and the Sun is a star many millions of times its size, the two have proportionally similar degrees of expression in the personality, from our viewpoint on Earth.

It's an odd phenomenon, when you think about it, symbolized by the visual illusion of both bodies being about the same diameter from where we watch. The Moon serves as a counterbalance to many other celestial influences; it sets a steady rhythm and helps stabilize our lives; and astrologically, it works like a projection screen on which we shine the movie of the personality and its story.

That screen is a veil, concealing another level of reality, indeed, many levels. The Full Moon is one of those times when the veil is thin, and when we can see and even reach beyond it for a new level of understanding, or enter a new dimension of experience.

While this is not an eclipse itself, the Sun and Moon are currently occupying the signs of the lunar nodes, so there is the impression or image of a lunar eclipse without there really being one. The implied message is accelerated change, but more to the point, resolving something that has been building for a long time.

In a sense, this Full Moon is the culmination of the journey of the lunar nodes through Aries and Libra, which began when the mean lunar nodes entered the Aries/Libra axis on Nov. 30, 2004. The nodes leave Aries/Libra on June 20, 2006 (when they enter Pisces/Virgo), so the current Full Moon is the last lunation involving the nodes on the Aries/Libra axis for this go round -- and it completes a significant chapter in the story of your life, as well as those born under the sign Libra (where the nodes are concerned, the Moon and the ascendant count as well).

The peculiar, indeed, unique thing about the nodes is that unlike any other planet or point, their average motion is always backwards. They might creep forward for a day or two, but then they'll go backwards for three or four days and the effect is that they sweep through a sign in reverse. So they entered Aries/Libra (as usual) at the end of the sign, and have worked their way toward the Aries Point, which they will be growing closer to throughout the Northern Hemisphere spring. So, whatever it may mean for you or for all of us, we are swiftly heading for a conjunction between the Aries Point and the North Node, which occurs about once every 18 years.

The other unique thing about the nodes is that eclipses follow them around. Where you see the nodes in any chart, that is the approximate scene of a recent or approaching eclipse. When a group of eclipses goes by, that often ushers in a phase of unprecedented growth, progress and change. They can represent anything from disturbing experiences to those moments when we leap out and seize the opportunity to live. They can represent experiences over which we have no control, but which we learn to use as opportunities for decision.

I see this Full Moon as calling for a moment of review of the events and developments of our lives since the autumn of 2004. That was around the time of the Bush/Cheney election, which was not experienced by many people as a particularly easy time. The things that needed to be worked out seemed insurmountable -- but somehow we made real progress.

There is still most of a season left to this process, as the nodes work their way back through the end of Aries and Libra. The most useful and important developments may yet be ahead of us, as the North Node crosses the Aries Point.

This combination brings together two of the most sensitive points in the horoscope, and two of the most compelling. And -- I am sure that it's telling a story that we don't quite know of yet. But for us as individuals and for our society, we know it involves the time frame of November 2004 through late spring 2006.

Of note this week as well: Mercury is now making a square to Pluto and the Galactic Core, which completes the Mercury retrograde that began here more than a month ago. Soon, Mercury will be covering new territory.

Second, Mars is about to change signs. This is not usually such a big deal but, because of the fairly recent Mars retrograde in Taurus, Mars is still moving slowly. And, speaking of the Aries Point, Mars is about to enter Cancer and thus make an exact square to the Aries Point; it is about to square the lunar nodes, which are currently right there; and it's about to make a conjunction to the degree of the June 21, 2001 total solar eclipse that ushered in the 'post 9/11 world' as it was the eclipse that predicted the Sept. 11 incident and its aftermath.

Given the involvement of the nodes, the Aries Point, Mars and that old eclipse, we may well wonder what is up. Cause it ain't nothin'.

In this week's edition I am looking mainly at one question; two shorter ones follow. Remember that Astrology Secrets Revealed is sponsored by your subscriptions Planet Waves Weekly. And you can check into Planet Waves any day for the new photo or the daily blog. Catch you next week.

Yours & truly,

ERIC FRANCIS
Paris


The Quentin File

Dear Eric

I could use your particular expertise with the intersection of psychiatry and astrology.

I have recently seen a neurologist regarding chronic neck and back pain which resulted in being diagnosed with Tourette's Syndrome and dystonia, as well as being recommended for further testing to check for aphasia, and a number of common comorbid conditions including: bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and others.

My neurologist has also suggested that it will likely be very important for me to get psychiatric counseling.

1) Do you see anything in my chart that indicates a) where this trouble comes from b) what I can do about the problem 2) Can you make any sense out of my Ceres especially a) is Ceres square Saturn/MC obsessive b) is Ceres conjunct Ascendant in Virgo obsessive c) is the combination of the two even more obsessive and 3) how do I cope with a fear of potentially mood altering medications?

Yours,
Quentin

Dear Quentin
Your letter to our page arrived with a note from Arwynne, who pre-screens questions. She said simply, "A big one." On its face, and from what you describe in your letter and in your background letter, it would surely seem that way. There is the feeling of a lot of buildup but not a lot of release. There is a sense of something overwhelming going on. But I wonder if what you're dealing with is just, basically, life; the need to understand yourself; the need to take care of yourself.

I am not here to minimize your situation, but rather to offer a sense of proportion. I am familiar with the need to have some answers about these kinds of questions, and the frustration that can build up over a long struggle. I am sure a lot of people can relate.

Your doctors describe what you've got going on in their technical terms, and recommend a psychiatrist. In essence these factors make your question a medical question, and as an astrologer I must defer to medical judgment on medical issues.

But I suggest you remember that when you go to a practitioner, you're likely to get more information about what they do than about who you are. If you invite a plumber into your house, he'll see the pipes. An interior decorator will see the windows, and an exterminator will imagine there are cockroaches behind the walls. The appraiser will see the value of the house.

If you go to a doctor, they're going to use their terms and their technologies to assess and, hopefully, help you with your situation. That is the risk you run, and that is also the source of potential benefits. I suggest you be conscious of this fact, and of the limits of whatever art or science you go to for help.

As an astrologer, I run the risk of seeing you as your planets, which I would like to do my best to avoid. As the Course in Miracles so intelligently reminds us, "symbols stand for something else." Let's see if we can get to that something else.

In my response, I will speak to you directly but I think it's important that I speak to other astrologers who may be presented with similar questions. Astrologers are presented with situations seemingly as complex as yours on a regular basis, and not much is written or taught about what to do.

An astrologer would be expected to have, at most, two or three sessions with you, and in most instances, just one. Given what you describe, this is not so many, and I [personally] would prefer to talk to you over the course of two or three years and let things unravel slowly. In the situation where you meet with an astrologer once or a little more, there is the hope, faith and expectation that we're going to get some kind of results, or at least learn something new.

And that faith is nothing to squander. How does one handle a situation with so much material and apparent complexity?

The first thing I did after looking over your letters, in particular, listening to your language, was to cast your natal chart, which looks like this:

Quentin's Natal Chart

Based on your cue, I took a look at Ceres (to the left, near the horizontal line), and the square to your 10th house Saturn that you described in your background letter. These seemed significant, but what impressed me more was the opposition between Venus and Jupiter in the very last degrees of Gemini and Sagittarius. This opposition is placed in the sensitive, prominent 4th/10th house angle.

In astrology, these are two planets that tend to be the source of comfort, often feminine comfort because they are both associated with Pisces, have strong placement in Cancer, and are generally the things that do more giving than taking. Venus is all about women and our mature relationships with them.

Planets placed in the last degrees of a sign are almost always the most dependable place to look when a client shows up with something that is either extraordinarily difficult, or which is difficult to discern. But without making up too much of a theory about these planets in your chart, I responded to you by asking for the basic circumstances surrounding three Chiron transits involving those planets. This is specifically to prevent me from reading your chart right away, and giving you a chance to speak for your chart.

Checking Chiron transits and, when appropriate, transits of other planets that are relevant to the situation, is what I've found to be the best way to unfold a chart without getting lost in too much of a mental labyrinth, astrological theory or for that matter, medical theory. Your experiences at the time of a Chiron transit reveal something of the nature of that dimension of your chart -- but moreover, about how you tend to respond when these sensitive points in your chart receive an important transit. How you respond, and how you describe your response, tells me something about you and how you live out your astrology in reality, not in theory.

The reasons I usually use Chiron for this job are 1. It usually works. 2. Chiron has an emphasis on healing. 3. Chiron's presence raises awareness, and will often come with a crisis of some kind that's custom designed to help us raise awareness. There is nothing neutral about awareness, but Chiron tends to bring up "what is so" and is for that reason very useful.

Here were the three transits I chose, with your responses:

1. July 1986 through May 1987: Chiron in Gemini crossing the 10th house cusp, making conjunctions to natal Saturn, Nessus [not displayed], the Moon and Venus; as well as squaring Ceres and opposing Jupiter.

You wrote: "That would be junior high school [also called middle school, usually grades 7 through 8 or 9, peak of adolescence]. It was rather difficult for me. Academically, I did fantastically and had straight A's across the board without even making an effort. I cannot recall ever actually doing any homework. I was able to finish all my assignments in free moments between classes, at lunch, or while waiting for the bus. Socially, I was extremely awkward. I was very small compared to the other students and suffered a lot of bullying. Fighting back was for some inexplicable reason punished more severely than bullying (this being many years before the Columbine incident) so I spent my energy on avoidance schemes. Friends were hard to come by and were limited to those who were even more awkward than I was. I had a facial tic involving my nose at that time but was mostly able to control it although it made me extremely self-conscious. I would have to say that was a period of time where I went from being very outgoing to being very shy."

2. October 1994, or the autumn of 1994: Chiron in Virgo in your natal, Ascendant, conjunct Ceres, square natal Saturn, Nessus, Moon, Venus and Jupiter.

You wrote: "College Station, TX. I had a two-year degree in accounting and plans to study to become a pilot in College Station that did not work out. I ended up joining a 'non-denominational' church that to be completely candid turned out to be a cult. That was a multi-year ordeal that started roughly December 1993 and ended when I left town with no forwarding address in 1996. The group seemed perfectly normal at first and the control mechanisms were applied slow enough to be unnoticeable. The 4th quarter of 1994 is a pretty good rough estimate of when I first began to feel uncomfortable about what was going on. I actually left the church around that time but a girl I liked persuaded me to return. Breaking free was a very painful experience that required abandoning everyone I knew outside of family and thought were my friends because they were all, although most well meaning, poison to me."

3. Nov. 2000 through Dec. 2001: Chiron in Sagittarius in the nadir, square natal Ceres, opposing Saturn, Nessus, Moon and Venus.

You wrote: "Houston, TX. I finished grad school in August 2000 and immediately found no work. That was the period after of the dot.com bust and also one of weak oil prices making employment for fresh MBAs in Houston slim. I did not know it at the time, but I was definitely suffering from some kind of depression or related syndrome. I felt extremely burned out and can provide as a keyword for my activity in the period August 2000 through March 2001 'nothing'. I sat on my butt feeling sorry for myself, surfing the Internet all night, and making an extremely lackluster job search effort. In March 2001, I decided to try temporary work just to put something on my resume and to try to see if there was anything out there I liked. Thanks to scoring well on a test for Excel and Access I got placed with a company that desperately needed help with an Access database immediately. The company happened to be the world's largest consolidator of funeral homes and cemeteries. I moved around on several projects within that company doing some really fantastic things, solving problems, saving the company literally millions of dollars, and really and truly enjoying the nature of the work I did. Despite this, I lived in fear of being released because the company was in dire financial straights. Since my work was all project oriented, I was always at risk of working myself out of a job which eventually happened in January 2003. I was unfortunately massively underpaid for those efforts but despite being 'happy' was still suffering from an undiagnosed mental condition and lacked the motivation to actually do anything about it."

Okay so: I am not going to attempt an interpretation of these transits. But what I want to point out is that when Chiron touches the angles of your chart, material comes up, and it comes on strong. What, these days, we commonly call 'issues', arise. The material that comes up during a Chiron transit provides information about what is going on underneath the natal positions. In a sense, it provides an angle of interpretation.

And there is a great deal there. I suggest you look at each of those paragraphs as a way of thinking of the angle of your chart that's involved.

Now, here is what you did not write, and what you have not mentioned in your correspondence. Except for one passing reference to family in the second transit above, nowhere do you refer to your family. Reading your letters gives the feeling that you came into the world, and exist in the world, in a kind of a void.

More than anything, that's what I hear and feel: this sense that it's you against the world -- which by the way a lot of people go through every day, including many people you see who appear to be perfectly happy. It's just a very common situation. And yet it's no less painful, because I am pretty sure that in many ways, it was true for you, and remains true today. In my view, the essence of your healing will be a combination of opening up to others, noticing they are really there, and finding a more comfortable place for yourself in the world of people.

Notice that you analyze your situation brilliantly but you don't, for example, say that you're lonely. The ability to experience, acknowledge and state a feeling are important tools for psychological and emotional wellness.

You refer to your medical situation, as well, in a similar way: like it materialized out of nowhere and exists in a void. Your ideas about healing it all involve the future and what you might do, or analysis with the hope that this will bring understanding. You seem to discuss the immediate present in terms of what you might do -- but these remedies don't involve working with the past, at least as you've described things.

You don't mention the impact of your family or early childhood on what might be troubling you. You seem to not be aware, or don't say, that you're potentially carrying a lot of ancestral baggage that you can in fact put down. You're obviously a person who reads; you've surely encountered this kind of idea, that the family of origin has an impact on a child and in turn on the adult that child becomes. Astrologically, part of the reason this lack of mention is so curious is because of how much intensity and activity there is in your 10th house, and the way this relates to your 4th house -- that Jupiter down there, opposing your 10th house Venus.

Both of these houses involve the family, and when they have planets, the situations are nearly impossible to miss. Indeed, they are among the very most crucial family houses there are, though the ones immediately before the 4th and the 10th (the 3rd and the 9th) can also be very revealing where family is concerned.

Saturn, the Moon and the 10th, prominent in your chart, house all point to mother. You don't mention her. You do mention women. Mom is an important woman, indeed, she is the first woman, who you were once part of, and it's a very good idea to keep her on the table when you're considering women in general.

I would imagine that making some contact with her experiences, and your experiences of her, would be a vital part of your healing process. But this of course will involve both parents, and many other relatives. Indeed, your story is the continuation of a long family history and I suggest that you create a family tree, starting with your mom's side of the family, and see what you learn from that experience -- which I imagine could take a few months or even a couple of seasons.

Family is extraordinarily important in your life. Here is a clue. In one of the Chiron transits you describe, you found yourself in a cult situation. I'm going to propose here that that's an image of your early family life. While you give no early family history, the cult situation did not emerge from a vacuum. It did not just materialize; and this does not happen to everyone. There is a history to all such events. If you scan back through the principal players in that scenario, can you assign them roles of family members? Who, in particular, was your mother, and what role did she play? Who was your father, and who were the other people?

I mention mother for another reason, which is Ceres, and as you mentioned, how close to the ascendant it is. Ceres is said to be an asteroid, but this was not true at the time of her discovery. She is a planet, as complex as any planet. We may, for social reasons or under pressure from our parents, deny the roles of parents in our lives -- but when we look at the chart and planets show up, that is a clue.

The ascendant is what you identify with and how you assign meaning to your existence, and the experience with the cult occurred with Chiron in your ascendant, pointing to some of what is there. Ceres is about mothers and children. It's also about nurturing and nourishment. Significantly, it's also about the grief of our mothers and how this impacts us as children and as adults. In your background letter, you say that Ceres is "one area of my chart that has given me absolute fits."

The medical or emotional situation you describe sounds a lot like fits, even if they are on the small side (a long struggle, facial ticks and a lot of prolonged upper body tension).

There is something here for you. There is something in all of this about coming into the awareness of your body, your basic feelings, and your basic nourishment needs -- and how all of these relate to your mother's experience. You need to define these things in a way that you can actually address them and work with them -- not in the abstract. Not in ways you can hide behind.

Your chart is overwhelmed with mutable sign energy -- particularly Gemini, Virgo and Sagittarius. These are mental signs. There is also quite a lot of 'push energy' in your chart, that is, assertive energy, and it's so mentally oriented, and you seem to push yourself mentally without relating to the somatic, or physical-emotional, level of existence. How about that part of life?

In terms of what you can do for yourself. I am surprised that therapy is, or seems to be, a new idea for you. I recognize that for many, seeking counseling of some kind is seen as the ultimate defeat, the final loss of autonomy, and I think this is a sad thought.

I would propose that seeing a therapist is a good idea. Personally, I am not so sure about what a psychiatrist would do -- you know that better than me -- though I suggest that, in addition, you seek out a well trained and experienced therapist to talk to once or twice a week for a while -- with the strong suggestion that you give the process at least two years even if you're getting no apparent results. In the United States, therapists with Hakomi therapy in their background usually have a clear, workable sense of the mind-body relationship, and this is a relationship you will benefit greatly from exploring.

Then there is food. With Ceres in your ascendant, in Virgo, "you are what you eat" and "food will be thy medicine." I suggest that in as gentle a manner as possible, you guide yourself toward better food choices: less sugar, less caffeine, more raw food, more balance in general. Eat things that make you feel good, after you've finished eating them. Food could be a big piece of the puzzle, though you will need to experiment and give it a season or two.

I also suggest you tell your life story as a story about food: who made it for you, what you liked and didn't like about it as a child, and through your life, the attitude it was given to you with, and all the beliefs about what food meant and whether there would be enough. Write a history about what food has meant at different times and what you ate at those different times.

Then there is bodywork. Massage therapy is a real thing, and so, too, is craniosacral therapy -- a branch of bodywork that can get some impressive results. But, like working with food, these things take time and a good practitioner.

Last, you mentioned the issue of sex and mood altering drugs. You raised this as a top-level concern, and I am with you all the way. In your background letter you describe a situation where it seems the drugs you are on suppress orgasm, while relieving your pain. Yet at the same time, it sounds like the struggles you're facing are all about suppressed emotion and feelings. Mood altering drugs tend to hold things down rather than let them come to the surface. While suppression of sexual energy is considered a 'side effect' of mood altering drugs, I would propose that this side effect (experienced as a result of many other causes) is really at the root of the very issues they would seek to treat.

I suggest you think about this in terms of control. Indeed, it sounds like control plays into every facet of your experience in some way, including inordinate efforts at self-control. In your background letter, you wrote: "I want to be the most healthy me I can be but the emphasis in that sentence is on the me. As difficult and painful as all of this has been, I have made it this far with a healthy (or perhaps unhealthy!) love of myself. I do not want to change anything except for the pain and am not sure if that is going to be possible. That seems like it might become a stumbling block to therapy. You have any hints on that point?"

Quentin, healing is all about change. Growth is about change. The movement of time is about change, and so is astrology. The pain you're in is not separated from the life that you live, and the many large and small circumstances that you're invested in, and the beliefs about existence that you hold. If you want to feel better, I would propose that far from nothing changing, everything -- every last thing in your life, most particularly you -- will change. That's how you'll know you're making progress, or at least where you may get a clue that you are.

Please keep me posted as to how you're doing.


Rx Files 1: Signs and Themes

Hello Eric
I just read the birthday report for late Pisces birthdays and I got to thinking it sounds a lot like the advice I have been reading for Virgo. Are there similarities due to them being opposite signs? What are the similarities and differences? I have many Pisces in my life, sisters and a male friend. My male friend's brother, who has the same birthday as me but two years before, married a Pisces (they have since divorced). Anyways I am curious... are the changes in both signs similar at this astrological sign? I appreciate the ability to read your ideas. I am a huge J. Cainer and E. Francis fan. :-)

Thank you... Cheryl

Dear Cheryl
You've noticed something that's at once obvious and subtle about astrology: opposite signs have a lot in common, and astrologers will work with these similarities. And it's very common that people with a strong sign placement will draw a lot of the opposite sign into their lives.

However, you were also reading Pisces birthday reports during a time when the ruler of Virgo was retrograde in its opposite sign, Pisces. So that was providing plenty of room for overlapping themes, since in many respects Pisces and Virgo have been fully merged for a few months. However, these two signs can seem strikingly similar, even to the oddest details, until you get far enough below the surface to see that Pisces really is Pisces and Virgo really is Virgo.


RxFiles 2: In With the Old?

Dear Eric

I'm a Pisces and what with all the Uranus activity, I've been undergoing changes, and am happy about future change. But, I noticed recently that much of the change around me is not about something new, but about what I could call "returning to the old" -- as in, places from the past (I have recently moved back to London after 12 years away), things I used to do for a living (I've recently returned to teaching meditation after a sabbatical of several years); I'm even hearing "out of the blue" from old friends, and people with which I've been involved in the past are now calling me again. Of course, I've changed, and so my relationship with all these things has also changed, but I was wondering if there was anything in the astrology about "In With the Old"? I feel as if I am on a circular journey which, perhaps in order to take me closer, has first needed to take me further away, and if so I would like to embrace the transformations as consciously as possible. Of course this period also might turn out to be a brief "revisiting" before more changes come. Any perceptions would be most welcome. Thank you for all that you offer.

Lynsey
New Brunswick, Canada

Dear Lynsey
There are lots of ways to conceive of time. Our model that it's a tightrope that we walk along in one direction is just one model, and one that does not account for a lot of what we experience.

You also wrote your letter in the midst of a long retrograde of Mercury in Pisces, and that can come with many of these echo effects that you describe. Mercury is retrograde in any sign infrequently enough to come with some perfectly unique expressions, and often these refer back to the past, past people and past places.

But are they really the past? Or do they just look and feel a little like the past, and remind you of the past?

Now that Mercury retrograde has completely worked itself out and Mercury is in new territory, let's see how these experiences seem to you. Maybe, after all, there is something truly new.


Well ladies and gentlemen, this concludes another exciting week of Astrology Secrets Revealed! Remember, your subscriptions to Planet Waves Weekly will help the world solve all its problems, from political corruption to global warming! So subscribe today!


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