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Archive for Friday 19th August 2005

Astrology Secrets Revealed: Eric Francis Answers Your Questions
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Air Travel in Transformation

A soul in tension that's learning to fly
Condition grounded but determined to try
Can't keep my eyes from the circling skies
Tongue-tied and twisted just an earth-bound misfit, I

-- Dave Gilmour, Pink Floyd

Dear Readers:

Computers were not the only thing crashing during the past few weeks of Mercury retrograde. There were an astonishing five crashes of passenger jets, as well as a series of near misses involving the Space Shuttle. And after anticipating this past Shuttle flight for more than two years, the program itself was put on hold by NASA until the fuel tank foam problem can be solved -- if it's even possible to solve it.

All of this happened right in the wake of Saturn going into Leo. We learned from the Saturn in Leo research (please see archives) that this transit can unleash floods and dam bursts; this short timeline gives just such an idea, when it comes to burst problems with commercial planes.

Each of these incidents has its own charts, but aviation itself is charted by the 12-second, 120-feet flight of Orville Wright the morning of Thursday, Dec. 17, 1903 in North Carolina. In all likelihood, the Wrights' were the first public flights; as you can read in this Wikipedia entry, there were likely successes by other inventors in 1901 and 1902.

Here is the chart for Kitty Hawk, which sounds like somebody's flying cat, or a really cool totem animal:

Kitty Hawk chart

For those of us who board airliners expecting the vegetarian meal and aisle seat we ticked on the Internet a month earlier, it is difficult to fathom the intensity, the drive, the mental power, the determination and the sheer guts it took mankind to get off the ground. And think -- two bicycle repair guys got the credit, and their father said they couldn't do it. Don't always believe what your father says is not possible.

Each of us shares a little of that courage and determination when we board an airplane, and we take a little risk, too.

The chart for the Wright Brothers' flight tells us as much about astrology as it does about aviation. The very prominent signs are Sagittarius (including the Sun and Moon) -- this sign representing long distance travel, visionary achievements, and as a result of this chart, flight itself; and Aquarius rising -- inventions, revolutionary developments, innovations, and standing apart. Astrologers learn and confirm these qualities of human existence from historic charts, but the basic archetypes were established long ago and have been written about for centuries.

In the Kitty Hawk chart, Aquarius and Sagittarius are joined together by the presence of Uranus, the modern ruler of Aquarius, conjunct the Sun in Sagittarius.

And herein lies the issue, or the situation, with aviation these days: Pluto, the planet of evolution and transformation, is making its way over the Sun and Uranus in the Kitty Hawk chart. Note the respective positions of the two bodies, at 24+ and 25+ Sagittarius. For those wondering about the power of the Galactic Core, located close to 27 degrees of Sagittarius, we see the impact of this one flight reflected in how widespread, and how important, air travel is today.

The first exact contact between Pluto and the Kitty Hawk Sun was in February 2005, earlier this year, with a Pluto station just two arc minutes from the Sun's position. The process has begun, and we're about to witness a major transformation for the world of flight. Note that the maiden flight of the massive A380 (the largest-ever airliner) was with Pluto exactly on the Kitty Hawk chart's Sun -- please see the April 29 edition of Astrology Secrets Revealed.

Times of change are always challenging, and some people (usually technological pioneers of some kind) always get hurt. But those dedicated to their technology, to service, and for that matter, to making money, will heed the signs of the times. I believe entire airline industry is going to be on the lookout for problems now, because in truth, nobody can afford a crash. Airlines tend to run on very narrow profit margins. And it takes a long time for an airline to recover its reputation after such an incident.

I don't mean to say that we're going to get through the transit of Pluto over the Sun-Uranus conjunction during the next year without additional problems, but I am confident that there will be plenty of lessons learned. And by the time we truly get to the other side of this transit in late 2006, there may be more changes than we ever imagined could come over an industry, or a technology, in such a short time.

What is really amazing is how few problems there are overall in the commercial airline industry, given the number of flights and the number of things that can go wrong. There can be hundreds of thousands of flights over periods of time when there are no crashes at all.

In terms of the astrology, there always needs to be more than one factor to have an effect. During this past month, there have been multiple transits to the Kitty Hawk chart: Mars in Taurus opposing the Venus/Pallas conjunction; Saturn in Leo opposing Kitty's Mars in Aquarius; and the warming up of the Saturn opposition to this chart, now underway; and Jupiter in the 8th house, which seems to be offering more protection than anything else.

Personally, my response is going to be flying larger airlines that have a good safety record, that are committed to progress, and that keep serving meals. If an airline can't afford pretzels, coffee and a little pasta for its passengers, what else can't it afford?

Here are some more of your questions this week. Each week we'll be awarding a copy of the 2006 Raphael's Ephemeris, sent from the Astrology Shop in London. to the most interesting question we receive. And four times a year, we'll be awarding the full-century Aureas ephemeris to the best question of the season. So please keep your questions coming. See you over at Planet Waves. And hey, thanks for all your sweet letters the week I was standing in. And to those who responded to the indexing project, thank you for writing and thanks for your patience -- it's been busy times around here; feel free to drop me a reminder that you're still interested. I would really appreciate that.

My Grand-daughter's Challenged Chart

Dear Eric,

My little granddaughter has just come into this world on August 5, 2005.

She has Sun, Moon, Mercury and Saturn in Leo. She has Mars in Taurus and Uranus in Aquarius. I don't know her rising sign.

My question is with the planets in Leo, squared by Mars in Taurus and Uranus in Aquarius, isn't this a hefty chart and will this cause much difficulty and challenge in her life, or make her truly stronger?

-- Ibmelba

Dear Ibmelba,
You're not the first person to wonder this way about the chart of a child close to you, and you're not the last. But I don't encourage the activity, whether by amateurs or professionals.

I suggest that reading the charts of children be limited to identifying special needs, not making predictions about their fate, or how challenging their lives will be.

There are two issues. The first is that the whole chart needs to be considered in the context of the life that the child is living. It is dangerous and pointless to assume that any chart is a "bad" chart. And if a chart is identified as difficult or challenging, those challenges need to be identified as they manifest in life, and addressed, if they can be.

The second issue is: there are limits to how we can use a chart to predict the course of a person's life. This is because so much depends on how a person uses the energy that is available to them, which includes the experiences that occur in their lives. While everything can be seen, sooner or later, in the chart, there are many more variables that need to be considered, and one of those variables is how a person responds to life.

Before looking at the chart, I must add these two more points that are vital to the understanding of astrology. What some people perceive as difficult charts are often the horoscopes of people who rise to the occasion and become individuals of exceptional character. In any event, challenging aspects (also known as squares and oppositions) are essential to the building of character, and for getting us out of stuck situations.

And there is always balance in every chart. There are placements and aspects that indicate every possible expression of energy, if we know how to look for them.

Besides all of which, it's a drag to welcome a kid into the world with the message, "Your life is going to be so hard," or even, "How hard is it going to be?" Even under the best circumstances, this is a challenging planet to live on. There is pretty much nonstop growth to deal with. You and everyone around this child need to provide as much support, encouragement and healthy structure for a new human being to have the emotional resources and life skills to survive and thrive.

Besides ALL of which, it is often quite difficult for a grandparent to intervene into the process of a child being raised. I think that the best thing a grandparent can do is be a source of love for the child; and try to keep the parents focused on solving their emotional problems. This, the grandparent can do best by solving their own problems. The chart of a child always indicates the childhood environment at the time of birth. If you're curious about the meaning of her chart, look at her household; at how she is treated and how others around her manage their lives and their relationships.

Ibmelba's-Granddaughter chart

I have no worries about this kid, personally. Anyone with Scorpio rising and Leo Sun and Moon is a powerhouse. And this child is intuitive and aware -- probably more aware than the adults around her. But kids are sensitive, and the first two years are critical times for the environment to be gentle, loving, attentive and fully supportive.

Looking at the chart technically for a moment, Mars in early Taurus is in a close square to Saturn -- but it's past the exact square. As such, I feel it represents not a new challenge, but rather the resolution of an old one. Similarly, the Sun, Mercury and the Moon are all past their exact squares to Mars.

There is considerable support in this chart shown by the exact conjunction of Mercury and the Sun, which are sextile Jupiter (as well as the asteroid Pallas and the South Node). This is an aspect that offers protection, past wisdom, and a sense of being a kind of spiritual adept on a level that will very likely exceed the parents. I think this child will surprise you with how much she knows about life, once she starts talking.

In a similar way, the placement of Neptune is very telling: trine the Jupiter-Pallas-Node arrangement and opposite the Sun. I think you're going to be surprised at how well she can navigate the emotional waters that surround her, and how disarming she will be when others approach her with anything but love. She will adapt, and I can see that she does have a good bit in her environment to adapt to (most of which is not spoken about, however).

There appears to be a bit of unresolved grief and unexpressed resentment in the family atmosphere. I think she will be able to handle it and work it out herself, but of course in a perfect world, as I have said, the people older than the child would make a real effort to get healthy so that they could create a healthy environment. How often does this happen?

This is a chart where any physical condition she may experience needs to be understood in the context of the underlying emotions in her environment. If she is physically healthy, then things are going well around her. If not, look at what is going on around her.

She is a surprisingly resilient child. You cannot argue with the power of the Sun and Moon in Leo, and the incredible strength of Scorpio rising. I think this chart makes a good case for her rising above whatever she needs to rise above, defining herself as she pleases, and making her way in the world. But all kids need our help, our love, and our attention, and as her grandmother, you have it in your power to give her that.

So -- I suggest you put her chart away, and just be there for her.

How Can Astrologersí Already Interpret Xena's Meaning?

Hi Eric,

About Xena...I have nothing against the warrior woman, quite the opposite -- I quite liked the series. In fact, Xena is no bigger fiction of our imagination than the Greek gods in their time. They all depict the different sides of human nature and they all have a lesson to teach. Xena is a strong, independent woman who kicks ass (but in a nice way) and looks great. She even has a stage name that might suit a porn star. (No offense, Miss Lawless.)

What I do not seem to understand is that all of a sudden, I see information in horoscopes related to Xena's behaviour and how that will affect us. How on earth can astrologers, at this moment, predict what kind of influence she will have on our behaviour??? She has only come into the picture! It's like taking a pill and then deciding what it will cure.

I'm apprehensive about the name the next discovered planet, asteroid or whatever will get. What if they call it 'Mickey Mouse', 'Chanel' or heaven forbid, 'George B'. First we would all go loony, then we would spend all our money on clothes and I don't even want to think about that last option...

Kind regards,

Dear Cleopatra,
You get the Raphael's Ephemeris this week. Please email my office and we'll get it right out to you.

I share your concern that the process of defining the "meaning" of new planets is going too fast, and that the response to Xena has been a little ridiculous. I speak as a guy who loves both roller coasters and deciphering new planetary discoveries. All most people know about Xena at this point -- including most astrologers -- is the name, and it's (allegedly) just a temporary name until the International Astronomical Union (IAU) approves the real one.

The process of understanding a new planet takes a lot of patience, much research, and working with a great many clients and events. Eventually, after a time, a pattern may emerge, and the planet may begin to yield some of its meaning or message, and show up in a way that is helpful to clients. By helpful, I mean point the way out of their struggles.

Astrologers who work out new plants carefully rely on a number of different factors. In my experience, they are:

1. The discovery chart of the new planet; there may be several, including the naming and the announcement. I would trust the discovery chart the most, which these days is the date and time stamped on the photographic plate that led to the discovery.

2. The shape, size and position of the new planet's orbit, including which other known orbits the new planet crosses.

3. The name of the planet (once approved) and the mythology associated with that name. The mythology must be worked with in a subtle way, and the mythos translated to logos -- that is, there is a creative or intuitive leap taken when the literal myth is translated into some kind of factor influencing human behavior, experience or perception.

4. Historical eras and turning points that become apparent with sign changes and major aspects of the new planet, which can be checked over the centuries.

5. Placement of the planet in charts of clients whose natal horoscopes are well known to astrologers. The same can be done to some extent for famous people, but in truth we know relatively little about them. We know more about their achievements, which can be quite telling.

6. Careful tracking of events in the lives of clients when the new planet makes aspects by transit, in the past or the present, to the natal chart.

7. Observing the planet's position in the charts for major historical and news events.

8. The contemporary culture at the time of the discovery. This can be quite difficult to see because few people can actually identify what is going on now, and that more than anything is driven by what we want to think is happening. However, some of these factors will be included in the discovery chart.

I don't think too much of this has happened during the past month.

However, the new planet fad was bound to catch on some time. When presented with actual, unprecedented major discoveries in 1930 (Pluto) and 1977 (Chiron), the astrological community was slow to respond, even reticent and at times full of ridicule. As late as the mid 1970s, Raphael's Ephemeris was not listing the daily position of Pluto. Today, it entirely omits Chiron, which has finally been listed in most other ephemeredes.

Regarding Pluto, the first book about this planet in English did not occur for nearly half a century after the discovery, in the mid 1980s.

The majority of astrologers may not like or understand Chiron, but it would appear that it is here to stay.

For two decades, astrologers argued that the jury was still out on Chiron, fearing they would be laughed out of the astrology conference if they acknowledged it might be meaningful. It was considered freaky and New Agey. One famous astrologer said to me [paraphrasing slightly], "When Chiron was present in a transit pattern, something intense was going on, but I couldn't tell you what it meant." This astrologer once presented me with guidelines for delineating Chiron that would have disqualified Mars and Saturn as planets.

But the other reaction, to lurch into an interpretation, is even more troublesome. At least people going slowly have time to think and observe.

Skip ahead to 2005. There are now a quarter million known bodies orbiting our Sun. Little of it matters, except to the most esoterically attuned astrologers who specialize in these bits and bobs of solar system artifacts -- and those who are truly intuitive and come up with original interpretation material that is both creative and relevant; and it does happen. But this is based on the skill of the astrologer as much as the planet itself. But skepticism prevails.

The, finally, someone discovers something bigger than Pluto, so of course, it must mean something; after all, it's bigger than something that used to mean nothing. I have received emails telling me that Xena is the Planet of the Gods (this is the Ramtha theory), Planet X (the name Xena is a clever pun in that regard), and the web pages positing the truth are bubbling up out of the ethers. The discussion that it took half a century for astrology to wrap its head around Pluto is something I have not heard lately.

And the whole notion that there might be a "new planet" (I speak of the discovery of Uranus in 1781) is still quite new and interesting.

We certainly do live in a time when people really need something meaningful to grasp onto. Perhaps the fuss should be directed at the planet Chaos.

Astrology Essentials: Intercepted Signs/Houses

Dear Eric,

I have been told I have Pisces rising intercepted by Aries. So my question is: What does this mean? It is frustrating because my printout of the signs, planets and houses does not show Aries or Libra! It shows my Ascendant as Pisces and Taurus as my 2nd house. Where is Aries? Also the other side of my chart shows Virgo as my 7th house and Scorpio as my eighth, where is Libra and what houses do they occupy? I hope you can fill in the blanks for me, so I can begin to learn more about my chart.


Dear RaeCarol,
The fact that Aries and Libra "disappear" into your chart is exactly what is meant by the interception.

Every house cusp goes through a sign. But often, not every sign has a house cusp. This is an interception. I don't know why this word was chosen. It does not seem to have any association with grabbing a football from mid-air.

While signs are all equal measures of 30 degrees, houses are of differing sizes, ranging from about 15 degrees to about 75 degrees (depending on when and where a person was born, and what house system the astrologer uses). In your case, Aries is part of the 1st house, and Libra is part of the 7th. But your chart has no house cusps intersecting Aries or Libra.

House cusps give expression to the energy of a sign. While a sign is a more general principle, a house is a more specific action on Earth. It is a place we live, and act out the story of our lives. Remember: a sign is a more general energy; a house is a specific expression. So when a sign lacks a house cusp, it may not have a particularly easy way to express itself. It's still working under the surface, but it may not be able to express itself easily.

Note that like many things in astrology, interceptions affect an entire polarity (two opposite signs, and two opposite houses), and to read the chart thoroughly, that polarity needs to be addressed in its entirety.

I scan each chart for interceptions as a matter of basic study, and I find very few with no interceptions. So to start with, it's a common property. But it's somewhat mysterious, and interpreting it presents a fun interpretation puzzle in the chart.

Most astrologers who note the phenomenon indicate the intercepted sign with brackets around the outside of the wheel, showing the edges of the sign, as contained within the house. This illustrates how the intercepted sign exists like a separate room within the larger house.

Think of the house cusp as a door into a sign. If a sign is intercepted within a house, there is no door leading to that sign. It can function like a sealed room within the house. There may be planets in there, but they can represent hidden properties that are more difficult to find or to express. The contents of the sealed room become very significant because astrology is almost always about raising what is less apparent to visibility and awareness.

Let's look at your 7th house, the house of relationships, as an example. Notice that while Virgo is on the 7th house cusp, no planets appear in Virgo; but several appear in Libra. One way to interpret this is to look for the ways in which you approach your relationships Virgo style, but the real emphasis is Libra. The four planets in that house certainly play a major role in the way you relate to others, but you're less likely to have access to that material in a conscious way, until you open the door to Libra.

The four planets are Neptune (which is retrograde), plus Chiron, Jupiter and the asteroid Juno, which is about marriage and marriage partners. Do you ever get the feeling that the real properties you seek in other people are locked away in a room that you cannot get into? This set of planets has a long history that's vital to your understanding of that house. One way to check for clues is to tell the story of 1994-1995, when Chiron passed by that region of your chart.

This grouping of Libra planets could have something to do with certain real properties or mental qualities of yourself being locked away in a room: in the form of being Pisces rising (always a bit confining), with Aries intercepted in the 1st house. Aries plays a significant role in your 1st (your identity!) house, but you're less likely to actually identify with it because there is no house cusp to give that sign easy expression.

Now, let's try a move that will give some proposed ideas about what this means for you. Typically, the ruler of the 1st house and the ruler of the 7th house say something about the relationship pattern -- what relationships feel like for you. That is, the two planets ruling those houses may or may not be in aspect, they will each have certain properties, and so on, and these (potentially) illustrate something about your life.

In your chart, there are two sets of 1st and 7th house rulers: the rulers of Pisces (1st) and Virgo (7th); and the rulers of Aries and Libra.

Pisces and Virgo each have two sets of ruling planets. They are Jupiter and Neptune in the case of Pisces; and Mercury and Chiron in the case of Virgo. If you study the relationships between these planets, you will begin to notice things. For example, one planet representing you, as Pisces rising, (Neptune), is square a planet representing your potential partners, or your ideas about them (Mercury, your 7th cusp ruler). Mercury square Neptune has to work for honesty, integrity, and honesty with yourself. It comes, but not always so easily, and the ways in which there are deceptions can be quite hidden and annoying. There can be a Polyanna view of life. Is there some way in which you play the role of idealist in your relationships (Jupiter or Neptune intercepted in Libra), but others play the role of practical realist (Mercury in Capricorn)? Are there struggles along these lines? Is there something else this pattern says to you? Remember -- the chart is made of symbols, and symbols stand for something else, specifically, aspects of your experience. If they show up in the chart, look for them in your life.

Note that both rulers of your Pisces ascendant, the house of SELF -- Jupiter and Neptune -- appear in the 7th house, the house of OTHER. Further they are intercepted in Libra. Isn't that interesting? The planets representing YOU appear hidden in the house of the OTHER. The suggestion is that you have a very strong but hidden identification with the other and which may express itself as a kind of projection, wishful thinking, vicarious expression of yourself, or highly idealized idea of what relationships should be. In any event, if we use the rulers of Pisces and Virgo, we get all kinds of ambiguities, potential for confusion and slippery thinking.

Setting aside whether what I am saying is vaguely relevant to you, the real person (it may not be!), can you see how I'm going about using the chart as an interpretive tool? You can test what I say against your own experience, or make your own images with the chart.

Let's look at the second set of rulers, Aries, your intercepted 1st ruler, and Venus, your intercepted 2nd ruler. In the same way, we're going to take the planets associated with Aries and Libra and see where they express themselves in the chart.

These new rulers present a whole different picture -- entirely different. Notice that Mars, the (intercepted sign) ruler of your 1st house, is in the 5th house, conjunct Saturn in Cancer. That is interesting, all by itself. It gives a whole other picture of you as one less interested in partnership and more interested in creativity, and willing to work hard for it.

The ruler of Libra (your intercepted 7th house ruler), Venus, is in the 11th house, conjunct the Sun. The two are in a direct relationship (opposite). Both are closely conjunct other planets.

But if you look carefully, you will see Venus and Mars are in an extremely close opposition: Mars at 22 Cancer 13 and Venus at 22 Capricorn 05. They are separated by seven minutes of arc!

If I may, I'm going to propose a theory about how you relate to others. It's just a theory and I'm just an aspiring fiction writer, so consider it a made up story if you like.

You know it's your role to be assertive in your relationships (Mars rules Aries and you are identified with Mars). But you are cautious to the point of being reticent. I can tell because Mars is a bit insecure in Cancer, its retrograde meaning it's a little repressed or turned inward on itself, and Saturn is in the 5th house, which tells me you may shy away from taking real emotional risks, mainly because you were taught to as a child (Mars retrograde indicating a past issue). There was probably a time when you were very eager to take risks, but I would guess you got shut down (this is a subject for astrological counseling, the real work).

Venus in Capricorn conjunct the Sun, in the 11th house, is the sign of a strong leader. However, you continually appear to look to others to fulfill this role -- when you're the one who really needs to be doing the leading.

When you don't lead, you tend to retreat into your dreams and ideals, and I would imagine this is when things get difficult for you: as in less than honest, foggy boundaries, and other questions of power, communication and the definition of identity. There are many aspects to this chart that beg the question, "Who is me and who is thee?"

The resolution to this chart, if you ask me, is to live out those Venus and Mars placements in a real way. Look for relationships where the sex roles are clear. They may be innovative, but they will be vivid and definable. Sex roles, including actual sex roles where sex itself is concerned, are the light that will lead you out of the mists of your Pisces rising. In this aspect of life, you may be taking on roles of emotional leadership in rather unladylike ways. So be it. If anyone asks, tell them it's in your chart, or you figured it out from a lot of trial and error -- most likely true.

Which leads to the last theme I'll raise with interceptions, and this is a good generic interpretation that will get you pretty far. You can do all the work of analyzing rulerships like I've done above, and it always helps to look at the planets that rule houses and see what they are saying. But this abbreviated method I'm about to propose will provide you with a great clue for handling interceptions. I discovered it early in my astrological work, with a little help from Barbara Hand Clow.

When you encounter an interception, write down or ask the client to write down a list of things under the heading, "My Greatest Failures." Make it a good long list, or a meaningful one, or a painful one.

Then, when the list is done, cross out the title and write, "My Greatest Successes."

Then look at the themes of the interception, using a technique like I've walked you through above. How does it relate? You'll be surprised.

Catch you next week, and see you over at Planet Waves. New readers to this column will find my near-daily blog, much writing about astrology and a really cool photo gallery with many pictures from Europe and North America.

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Planet Waves Weekly is the only place online to get the weekly horoscope of Eric Francis, both emailed and posted to the Web each Friday. The Friday mailing comes with a weekly birthday report. Plus, there is a Monday mailing of a bonus horoscope. Keep up with Eric's essays on astrological developments, chart reading techniques, Tarot cards, and world affairs. Experience Eric's unique perspective as an astrologer-investigative reporter. Read more than two yeas of archives of essays and horoscopes. Planet Waves Weekly is about to add a daily astrology feature that will describe how to make the most of the energy of the day. And all subscribers get free access to Bridge to the Core, the 2005 annual pages. We invite you to look around and become one of many satisfied readers of Eric's daring and innovative astrology journal.

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