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Archive for April 28th 2006

Astrology Secrets Revealed: Eric Francis Answers Your Questions
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Beltane New Moon
by Eric Francis

Dear Readers Around the World:

We have just experienced the Taurus New Moon yesterday (Thursday), which this year is the beginning of the season of Beltane. Beltane is the celebration of abundance, which casts away Old Man Winter and welcomes the Green Man of spring. It is a passionate moment and this week it definitely feels like there's something in the air.

In some seasons, the Beltane season is called The May, and is not just a Mayday celebration but a festival that goes through the whole month. Depending on where you are in the world, this weekend or next there may be a Beltane celebration somewhere nearby, you never know. Check the Internet, look on the health food store bulletin board, or call up your friendly neighborhood witch.

Here's an article from a couple of years back I prepared on this holiday.

Check in at Planet Waves for more Beltane coverage as well as our rather incredible series from this week on why men and women are afraid of one another. That will be under the daily blog on the homepage.

And now, three Astrology Secrets Revealed questions -- and at the end, a question I'm posting for our readers to respond to.

Rock on,
Eric Francis

Mars and Havoc on Romance?

Dear Eric
I'm writing to ask a question, which is how does the topic of the genders fearing one another relate to the astrology we are experiencing right now? Are the movements of Mars and Psyche causing widespread romantic catastrophe? What is going on?

Cheers and best wishes
(your correspondent wishes to remain anonymous)

Dear Anonymous Correspondent:
This is, of course, all strictly a matter of opinion, but I'll give you a few. First of all, spring is most definitely in the air, up here in the Northern Hemisphere.

Though the Sun is in Taurus, Aries has been the dominant energy for some weeks, and something called the Aries Point is still being aspected by Mars in Cancer. Mercury has made a conjunction to the lunar nodes, and Mars has squared them -- and these push the issue of personal evolution. We are still under the influences of an Aries total solar eclipse. Venus is heading into this sign fairly soon.

In a word: individuation. The energy pushing us to be who we are has been torrential. And this is one of the paradoxes of relationships in our current world: how can we possibly put so much emphasis on being a self-aware individual and still relate to another?

The answer is we need to relate to an individual as another individual -- and this is easier said than done. Relationships as we are conditioned to have them involve surrendering vast inner territory to the common space of the relationship. Most people, having never claimed that space for themselves, don't exactly miss it, but when they suddenly wake up to needing their inner resources, needing to claim some territory, needing to access their self-awareness for themselves, that can be disruptive to relationships that have depended on that inner space.

You could make a similar metaphor about identity. Often people find their identity through a relationship, or come to experience themselves as the 'self' who is in the relationship. When a new experience of personhood comes to the surface; when we feel compelled to change, grow and become who we really are, that can create instability.

Psyche, which you mention, has recently made an opposition to the Galactic Core. I will leave you with one last metaphor, spiritual rather than humanistic. What if a lot of people in relationships begin to respond to a calling to their true purpose, both in the context of their personal relationships and in the larger lives they are leading?

There are three possibilities. One, both partners in the relationship start to vibrate with the information or calling that's coming through, and share the experience. The second is that they live with a lot of tension. The third is that they grow apart, gradually losing awareness of one another's realities.

You could say this emphasizes the issue of purpose. We live in a time that extols the value of relationship for its own sake, as if it were its own purpose. And often that works fine. But at other times, other purposes, necessities and callings emerge. People respond to influences that cause them to rethink the purpose of their lives differently. And then the purpose of relationships basically has to change, because they are so integral to life.

That's my theory, anyway.

Highly sexual?

Dear Eric
I have Mars in Capricorn right next to (three degrees away from) Venus in Aquarius in my 5th house. My old astrologer friend told me that is why I am so highly sexual. Was she right, is that a common conjunction in charts of people that are highly sexual?


Dear Care:
If you want to find about someone's sexual nature, usually you can look in the 5th house or the 8th house. Both are relationship houses, though they are quite different in their nature. But when you see someone with either a strong 5th or a strong 8th, particularly involving Venus and/or Mars, you can get a clue that the person has what you call a highly sexual nature.

However, this leads to one of my favorite astrological wise cracks, passed along to me by someone quoting their astrologer, and I have no recollection of who actually told me, nor did I know the astrologer's name -- but I thought it was right on. "Everyone is a pervert," he said. "Just give me the chart and I'll show you where."

By this theory, it's all a matter of emphasis, and expression; the 5th and the 8th tend to give both. But there are distinctions.

Essentially, the 5th house seeks to experiment and play. The 8th house seeks to bond and surrender. Now, I don't have your chart so I cannot look at your 8th house and size that up. But I can speak in general. The disadvantage of the 8th house is its tendency to turn everything into a life and death control drama.

Correspondingly, the advantage of the 5th is its tendency to want to explore and share in a playful way. This does not preclude a person from bonding, but it shifts the emphasis. The 5th house is essential to work with if you want to enjoy life. It's one of the greatest sources of all kinds of pleasure, from art to adventure.

Venus and Mars wrapped around the Capricorn-Aquarius cusp are an interesting combination, suggesting, first, that your male and female natures are close to one another but distinct in their energies. Your inner female lover (Venus in Aquarius) has the ability to think clearly, to analyze and to apply intelligence to the realm of the emotions; technically Aquarius is a masculine sign. Your inner male lover is well placed in Capricorn but, interestingly, this is technically a feminine sign.

This creates tension. And it creates an ability to relate to all kinds of experience, many facets of sexual identity, and to express desire in some interesting ways -- in fact, the whole notion of "interesting" is essential to your nature of desire.

So, keep it interesting!

Thanks for your question.

Growin' Up

Dear Eric
I believe that one of the biggest challenges we face as individuals or collectively throughout life, even history, is the need to GROW UP.

Maturity is measured by how we treat our existence, our self, and those around us. When I was a child, I thought as a child. I acted like a child; now I am in my 40’s I think like an adult and act like a child. I don't smash my toys anymore, just my relationships. I wonder sometimes when our collective consciousness will GROW UP; surely the worlds are not waiting just for me! Any hope Eric? Any revelations in sight?

You see, I devoted almost 25 years of my life to spirituality, and now I seem all dried up. I have no job. For the first time in my life Eric I find myself with no direction, no answers and very little spiritual essence. I don't know what to do, what direction to head in work wise. I have recently started medication for depression; it seems to be helping, at least I don't cry so much. Just wondering if you can offer some advice or direction from what you see when you look at my chart.

I am about to experience Uranus conjunct my Chiron, and Jupiter in my south node, while Mars heads directly for my Scorpion base.

Thanx Eric,

November 5, 1964
Melbourne, Australia

Dear Christopher:
Thanks for making this brilliant point.

Back in the legendary early to mid 1970s, there was something called the Human Potential Movement, and some people figured out they could place a value on reaping the rewards of maturity. The point was not spiritual growth -- it was human growth. There used to be a more popularly held opinion that maturity was worth something, and worth working for. It was by no means universally held, but this idea had its impact all over society as people pushed one another to take greater responsibility for themselves. There exist communities and strata of society today where this is an actively held value; it's not merely in the past, and I see a lot of potential for the idea developing in the future.

Unfortunately, the prevailing condition is that we live in a society of people who for the most part refuse to take responsibility for much of anything, and who are rewarded for not doing so -- ranging from their individual choices to the direction of the world. We certainly live in an interesting time when we are sorting out the boundary between what McDonald's puts in its food, how much they serve you, how many restaurants they put in your face, and the intensity of advertisements aimed at kids under the age of 2, versus our responsibility to make sane choices about what we eat.

But even if you say, "Oh, I get it, these people are conning me and getting me addicted," that IS in fact a form of taking responsibility for yourself. Any time you become a conscious factor in the equation, you are taking responsibility for yourself and then you can spread that strength to other parts of your life, and the world around you.

This means consciously acting like something other than a small child in relationship to others. (Transactional Analysis showed us the way: there are three roles we all play, adult, parent and child. Only mature people can relate to one another as adults) It means you don't just eat what they give you. And it means doing so in a time when very few of us got what we needed when we were actual kids; and when that happens, the tendency to want to stay a kid and recover that missing something can be VERY strong.

It's always easier to give up on decisions, on challenging issues, and to revert to being obsessed by what is on the surface. It's always easier to revert to entertainment, and taking your knocks when they come. But some would say this is not as satisfying as consciously working for maturity, and for the strength to make the right decisions. It's all fun and games until you realize you're miserable, or you decide you have more important things to do in life than what your parents said you were supposed to do. I say this recognizing that there are many parents today who strive to teach their children about their right of making decisions and who teach the benefits of independence. But there are plenty of parents who just cannot be bothered at all, or who have no reality framework from which to teach. If you're a parent, I suggest you keep an inventory of what you say to your child and add up the message.

Apart from parents, there is another force working in Western society, and that is a massive movement for people to surrender their will, their rights, and their minds. The notion that we need to be 'protected' from information on a wide variety of subjects is extremely pervasive. There are people fighting and killing in Iraq today who are not old enough to legally drink a beer. Many people feel that nobody is ever supposed to find out anything about sex, even about preventing pregnancy or disease. If you do find out, you're very lucky.

These things strike me as so regressive, I barely have words to describe how sad and absurd it all is.

Let's take a look at your chart, because it's a great example of a peak Sixties chart and also gives us some clues about how transits feel. You're getting a lot of transits now, more than you would think you can handle, and this is a pretty big time in your life, arguably the biggest yet. I'll name the transits and describe them a bit -- unfortunately at this time I can't make a fancy chart that illustrates them all explicitly -- but I'll do my best to describe them.


As I have explained in other articles on the 1960s (see Born in the Sixties series), there was a clear pattern that existed from about 1963 through about 1969 and this is the Sixties chart signature. It's very easy to see in your chart. It all starts with the little red and blue planets on the left, below the horizontal line. There's also a red and blue pair above the line -- but they are part of a different discussion and I will end with a comment on your Mars.

Below the left hand horizontal line (the ascendant) are the planets Uranus, in blue, and Pluto, in red. This is the rare Uranus-Pluto conjunction that, rather explosively, defined the changes and the sense of revolution in the air that we associate with the era in which you were born. As I make a big point of in my Sixties series, when you have this conjunction 'angular' -- that is, rising, or in the 10th house (for example), it takes on added personal importance and the urge to become and express the values of astrology can be extremely strong. And in the case of Uranus and Pluto, that can mean chaotic.

Now, the Uranus Pluto conjunction did not stand alone. The Sixties signature had two other major defining points: One is that for most of the era, Chiron opposed both planets. Chiron, however, was unknown at the time of your birth, and was therefore not a conscious factor in the minds of astrologers. But it was still very much a presence in the world and in the collective mind, flooding the Sixties with a Piscean energy that came through, for example, in the beyond-incredible music that was pouring out of recording studios and concert halls. You could not have all that music without a Pisces influence.

There was another one, as well: Neptune in Scorpio, which was sextile the Uranus-Pluto conjunction and trine Chiron for a period of several years. Notice how this manifests in your chart: Uranus-Pluto is rising. Chiron (the little key) is in the 7th house (right side, above the horizontal line), opposite the Sixties conjunction. Chiron Pisces 7th is a highly, deeply, widely, genuinely ultra-sensitive position. That alone would be enough to indicate that a person is easily overwhelmed by life.

Last, you have Neptune in Scorpio, which is surrounded by the Sun, Moon and Mercury. Those are the planets in the 2nd house (notice the Sun is the yellow circle with the dot, followed by the Moon, then Neptune in blue, then Mercury in green).

It would be difficult indeed to take the astrology that touched an entire generation, rocked the world and blew a hole in reality, and make it more personal than it appears in your chart. If I were working on the phone with you I would take at least 15 minutes and give you my Sixties Rant, which always includes the recommendation to read the book Acid Dreams by Martin Lee and Bruce Schlain.

As a general rule, when the angles of a chart -- which means the 1st, 4th, 7th or 10th houses and their associated cusps -- have planets present, and the closer they are to the lines, and the more of them that are affected, the more intense the life is. You have activity in all four houses (the lunar nodes are in your 4th and 10th). With a chart like yours, it's not possible to filter out the intensity, either. If we were to take your exact chart and move the birth time by half an hour, we would have a picture of something a lot less overwhelming. In a sense, the aspects would disappear into the unconscious, and they might be brewing around as issues or potential talents you could not see and could not name.

Having Uranus and Pluto angular and so close to your ascendant is nothing short of explosive. You can push people just by walking into the room. You can feel just as overwhelmed. Your very being exudes change. You embody the new order -- whatever that is to you -- and to do that, you have to pretty much leave the old order behind. Given that the ascendant is where we seek a stable sense of self and a means of orienting on reality, to have these kinds of planets there can be deeply unsettling, and you have to learn to ride them like a wild horse.

Here is a little discovery I just made about your chart, however, which is why it's always good to have an astrologer with two eyes and a brain look at the thing. Everything of any major consequence points back to Scorpio. I'll make a little list; see if you can follow along.

-- Mercury, the ruler of your Virgo ascendant, is in Scorpio. Mercury is also the ruler of every planet IN Virgo, and you have several: Uranus, Pluto and the Part of Fortune. All refer back to Scorpio because that's where Mercury is.

-- The rulers of Scorpio, Mars and Pluto, are both very close to your ascendant.

-- Your 10th house cusp in Gemini, as is your North Node, is also ruled by Mercury. So the rulers of your 10th house, that is, your life mission, and your North Node (another way to say life mission) show up in Scorpio.

-- You have Pisces on the 7th house cusp, as well as Chiron, and the ruler of Pisces is Neptune and that shows up in Scorpio.

-- You have the Sun and the Moon in Scorpio.

-- Regarding the last angle, the 4th cusp, this is held by Sagittarius. That sign is ruled by Jupiter, and Jupiter makes a fine opposition to four Scorpio planets.

Basically, whether you look at this chart right side up, upside down, backwards, whether you slice it, dice it or make coleslaw out of it six different ways, everything points back to Scorpio. And you have Neptune mixed up in the whole business, which dissolves boundaries and generally plunges everything in your consciousness under the psychic water, and can have a way of raining subtle to not so subtle psychic and emotional chaos over everything.

Scorpio is indeed the sign of sex, death and transformation. If I was reading your chart when you were a young adult, I would have said: prepare for a life of nonstop change. Deal with how intense you are. Make sure you explore your sexuality. Have a conscious relationship to death. Make your drug experiences meaningful, keep them extremely rare, or avoid them altogether. Besides that kind of 'look after yourself' stuff, there is a much bigger point: you must strive to lead an integrated life.

You cannot compartmentalize. You are one person, and all the different 'departments' of life that people strive to keep separate you need to experience as one unified reality. This is not easy, because it suggests that work, healing, creativity, sexuality, spirituality, relationships and everything else are basically all ONE thing in your life.

Ah but what else is new? It's true for everyone, but you lack the ability to have the convenient excuse to divide yourself into a dozen parts. You need to deal with yourself as ONE entity with ONE life. It may seem like a contradiction to say but it would also be very healthy to develop specialties that utilize other parts of your chart and give you a chance to climb above it all. For that, I highly recommend finding out about Saturn in Aquarius. Look that one up in every book. It's your strongest placement. It's the very antithesis of all the water sign stuff that drowns you. In such a late degree, it suggests that you've got a lot of past life mastery that you can call into action in this lifetime.

Let's look at your transits, which are something of a natural wonder right now. I hope you have an idea of how intense it is to have a chart where all your planets are angular and the energy of the angles is concentrated on one sign. Now, let's add the transits:

1. You have Uranus in your 7th house, about to make a conjunction to your Chiron and opposing Uranus and Pluto.

2. Uranus is also setting off the whole Scorpio grand conjunction: it's making a trine to the Sun, Moon and Neptune and will eventually trine Mercury.

3. Neptune is square itself. That is, Neptune in Aquarius has reached the 90 degree point to where it was when you were born.

4. This is not your first Neptune square; recently it's been past your Sun and Moon.

5. Jupiter is going over your whole Scorpio grand conjunction now and for the rest of the year.

Um, that's a lot of transits and they all involved Pisces and Scorpio or its ruling planets. That can be emotionally overwhelming. How you live with these transits is you grow, you change, you do what you have to do -- but you do everything you can to live fully. Push the envelope. Take new chances. Take the biggest chance of all and be a little more real every day.

I want to leave you with a question, one which may hold something of the key to your chart. Where does your masculine energy come from? With all the planets ruling angles in Scorpio, with Virgo the Virgin rising and Pisces on the 7th house, where are you drawing your Yang energy from?

The first place to look is always Mars. Mars is in Leo, fiery enough -- but it's in the last degree, suggesting that it's out of reach or difficult to put to work. The last degrees can be extremely challenging places to have planets. Notice that Saturn is opposite Mars quite exactly, also verging on the edges of its sign, Aquarius. Saturn in Aquarius is masculine enough, too.

But can you feel the antagonism between them? Who gave you your ideas about what it meant to be a man? Who set the example? Who taught you?

It is true, you're unbelievably sensitive -- but you are indeed a man, and it's time to start enjoying and appreciating that.

A question for our readers

I came upon your site just a little bit over a year ago when I was going through the full on throes of my Saturn Return. I've since made it through fine, but its been through advisors in the astrology community, such as yourself, that I have made huge strides in understanding my own nature better and I want to thank you for that.

I was just reading your writing, dated April 24 and titled "Curiosity" which piqued my own curiosity. Anyway, you said something that really resonated with me, namely because I've been at odds with myself over that very same thing for the last several weeks now and I really just need to get some feedback from someone that knows firsthand what I am going through.

The long and the short of it is that I have come to be known as someone who in the past had a lot of "attitude" and "anger management issues". But I also have a heart of gold and am willing to be there for my friends; however, when I feel I have been unfairly treated or just not appreciated, I retreat.

To make a long story short, my friend and I had a falling out years ago. She brought me into her job and we worked together briefly (HUGE MISTAKE!!!!). It played itself out in a way where I walked away feeling pretty disappointed in my friend, in our friendship, in myself, in my judgment, in my naiveté, amongst other things.

She calls me up one day out of the blue apologizing and I can be a pretty magnanimous person when I want to be so I told her it was water under the bridge and the funny thing is, I actually meant it. So we started hanging out again but it's true that once you have seen or known something, it can never be the same again because now you are "enlightened" if you will.

I started to see the cracks in the system for the first time. I started to see how I wanted to believe that this person was my friend, even though I never made her prove herself and whenever I needed her she wasn't there for me.

Well, not too long ago -- well, last month on March 1st to be exact -- she contacted me trying to guilt trip me into thinking that we had lost touch cause I was mad at her or something. Even though it had been me trying to get in touch with her before I finally got sick of it and decided to let the friendship die. This was about two years ago and just now she reaches me trying to blame me for not writing her.

I had to once and for all put this thing to bed and I told her why I didn't want to extend my friendship to her, namely that she had proved herself to be the type of person that is capable of talking about me behind my back in a way that was meant to undermine me and what I am about, along with being able to act against me. I only want to deal with people that are capable of acting in a way that's aboveboard, and if we were to one day be friends again, she would have to act that way. If not, I wish her the best now and always.

I guess my question to you, as someone who has had to go through similar experiences or for whom the outcome was the same, is there a limit on forgiveness or are we expected to be these truly selfless and benevolent human beings that never judge and just forgive people over and over again? Or should there sometimes be friction and conflict and an assertion of boundaries with others so that they know exactly where we stand? And, is there a right way or wrong way to go about doing that?

I'm trying for the first time in my life to find a balance between being overly assertive or aggressive and risking becoming a doormat for others that may perceive my forgiveness and magnanimity with them in the past as a vulnerability in the system that can be easily exploited.

I would appreciate any feedback you may have concerning this. There aren't too many people whose opinions mean much to me, especially in the astrology world, because people can sometimes be a little kooky and perhaps a little too "nice guy" for me.

I'm not trying to become a saint. I'm just trying to get closer to becoming a decent human being, but one that can still respect herself at the end of the day! Can you help me figure out a way to swing that?

Thank you for your inspiring articles and for being one of the few astrologers that covers astrology from a political perspective as well. Not enough people are doing what you are doing and if ever there was a time for that kind of voice to be out there, certainly this is it! Godspeed on all of your future endeavors. I hope you are around for a long time to come!

Warmest Regards,
-- Eloisa in Miami ;)

Dear Eloisa:

Thanks for your thoughtful letter. I will consider it for next time, and open the floor to our readers to respond on the theme of forgiveness as well. Thanks everyone for sharing your feelings and ideas!

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