Astrology Secrets Revealed: Eric Francis Answers Your Questions
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I have no idea what that means, but it sounds pretty darned cool.
What is this galactic core? What does it feel like as you approach the center and the stars grow more densely compacted -- eventually becoming so concentrated that on any planet near one of those central stars, the night sky would be so lit up that you would need starglasses and stellar tan lotion at night? What kinds of record stores do they have there, and do they accept Visa? How does your sense of reality change, how does time feel, and how does one's soul vibrate with the approach to the core? Can ice cream remain solid long enough to eat? We can only wonder.
For those who may ponder such things -- and it is an obvious question -- the Sabian degree symbol for the 27th degree of Sagittarius is "A sculptor at his work. The ability to project one's vision upon and to give form to materials." Think of it: the galaxy as a sculpture.
From what I have gathered in five minutes of deeply devoted research, the Earth/Sun system is almost 25,000 light years distant from the core. (Once you've moved outward from the bulge, the spiral of the galaxy is kind of flat, so we can consider it as being on one plane.) That means it would take you 25,000 years moving at the speed of light, from where you sit right now, to reach the center. Fortunately, moving at that speed, time would slow down to nearly nothing, and you would probably have time to get there alive. Still, I suggest you pack a fairly large lunch and get the biggest iPod.
The radius of our galaxy, that is, the distance from the core to the outside of the spirals, is about 60,000 light years -- so we're located nearly halfway out, positioned between two of the spiral arms. We are, basically, located on a side street, out in a remote and undeveloped suburb. No wonder it gets lonely here. The next house (Alpha Centauri) is four light years away. Linked here is an illustration that gives you a good bird's eye view of the setup, including the ring of a billion stars (kind of like Saturn has rings) that surrounds the outer rim of the galaxy.
The spiral of our galaxy is in motion, and our Sun orbits the core. It takes more than 200 million years for the Sun to make one trip around the core. I once got a sense with a tangible example of how long that is. In the underground healing temple (really, an abandoned cement mine) where I did much of my early astrological study, called the Chironian, the ceiling was made of fossilized sea floor that had been flipped upside down by geologic movement. One can see and touch this ancient seabed, which has fossils of all kinds of weird critters from which we evolved, is a quarter billion years old -- somewhat older than one galactic year. And to think, most of that was ground up and made into a highway earlier in the century.
For those who equate astrology with spiritual process and experience, the galaxy, its mysteries and its energies are a source of deep inspiration. Think about it long enough and you too will start writing books about your previous lifetimes. The image of a spiral appears throughout nature, in seashells and other natural formations. It has long been considered a symbol of infinity.
The reality of this infinity projects itself through the tropical zodiac sign Sagittarius, where the galactic core is physically located and the time when many freaky people who know no limits are born. There, the ancients saw the image of a centaur, who guards the path to the galaxy, or perhaps who invites us to take our awareness there. It was not until much later on, November 1977, that the first centaur planet, Chiron, was discovered.
The Sun aligns with the core every year around Dec. 17-19, just before the winter solstice (summer solstice in Oz). Imagine looking at the Sun and seeing the spiral arms of the Milky Way extend outward from the Sun on a steep inclination, far out to the left and the right. (We have all seen the Milky Way in summer, which is a long cloudy streak across the clear night sky. This time of year, that streak is behind the Sun.) We could speculate about the meaning of this annual passage, or we can take the ride and experience what if feels like to go past this point in space as the next two weeks approach, since that's precisely what we will be doing. With the Mercury station happening so close to this point, there should (one would hope) be something obvious to anyone paying attention besides the latest cabinet member to resign from the White House.
Some scholars feel that the galactic core was an important point of reckoning for the ancient Mayan people, who held it as a center of the universe. The Mayans were able to work with much longer periods of time than our modern astrology can handle. The mathematicians and astronomers -- who were also their daykeepers or astrologers -- designed the Mayan calendrical systems. They apparently timed the conclusion of the 13th baktun in 2012 (culminating a count of 5,125 years or about 1.8 million days) with a rare precessional alignment with this point in space.
If that is true, we are extremely close to that alignment today, as the seven years between now and 2012 is a tiny fraction of 5,125 years in the whole cycle. This could help us account for how mad the world is going, in the face of the quickening spiritual vibrations associated with the 2012 shift. Unfortunately, it seems that as the pace of growth and evolution of certain people increases, there is a corresponding increase in fear, hostility and greed in certain others. It seems like approximately half the species understands that this hostility and greed threaten our collective survival; and the other half is so consumed by fear that it won't acknowledge that simple fact.
The question is: what will it take to get us past this critical point of evolution? What does it take for any one person to take a step beyond their own personal concerns, and begin to think on the level of planetary awareness -- and then act on that level? What did it take, or what would it take, for you?
Please write to me and tell me what you think.
Here are a few reflections on your questions this week.
Also, maybe we're reminding you to keep doing what you're doing; to overthrow one more tyrant in your life.
Most probably, you are dancing to the beat of your own drummer. People are genuinely quite individual in the way they respond to transits. Some are ahead, some are behind, others have responses that are precisely to the day of the event -- and some, curiously, don't even notice.
They are all within range of normal; it is important to know your way of responding to your transits, and work with that.
Not to jump the gun, yet I'm so concerned about my stepdaughter, who was born [data withheld]. She has been diagnosed with 'dead spots' by the schoolteachers, school counselors and school psychologist in her learning abilities. When helping her to study, she'll be unable to grasp a concept that is not complex at all. For example, to borrow a whole number when subtracting mixed numbers (whole numbers and fractions), that one translates into a fraction (e.g. 5/5, 8/8 or whatever depending on the denominator). We worked on this concept for two hours (including a couple of 15 minute breaks). We drew charts, tried catchy phrases, singalongs, inductive and deductive logic and analogies -- puppy dog stories… the lot. She still couldn't understand it. I was exhausted and totally clueless why nothing would stick. A brick wall was hit on every single problem (do you sense some frustration?). She's 12 and just starting to go through all the hormonal stuff with middle school, her moon time, first boyfriend and all of that... so that may be part of the static. (Wouldn't you rather be talking to your friend on the phone than subtracting fractions??!) Yet she really wasn't doing that well in school before, either -- now they've upped the antie, so to speak (no child left behind, don't ya know). So I wonder if there's a genuine learning disability or if she's a really, really, really good actress! Is there something in her chart that evidences a learning disability? If so, do you see what might be of benefit? Any input is greatly appreciated.
Before I go on, I need to acknowledge a prejudice: when a child has a problem, look around the child first. When we face any situation in life, we must consider the whole environment. When there is a 'learning disability' look at what the young person is attempting to be taught and how; under what conditions; and why they would even be bothered to learn it in the first place. Look at what is happening at home. I cannot put into words how thoroughly unimpressed I am that your stepdaughter cannot grasp (for example) fractions. If I may be so bold, who gives the shake of a rat's tail about fractions? Why should she care? To impress a bunch of adults, in order to preserve a shred of her self-esteem?
I can suggest a reason: she gets more attention when she does not know fractions than when she does know them, and she NEEDS attention. You sitting there teaching her and singing about denominators is very reassuring. She may be afraid you're going to leave the moment she grasps the idea. This is just a theory. Please don't use it against her.
Let's put her natal up on the screen, and consider its messages extra gently, because this is a child's chart. Please send her love and kindness as you look and read along.
The first thing I notice is that her Moon is in the last degree of Libra. I can assure you of one thing: most of what she has difficulty with is what we would call emotional rather than mental. In particular, that Moon suggests that she does not feel safe, as far as I can tell from here. I would not feel so safe with that Moon -- and there does not need to be a danger! We are talking about feelings. You say you are her stepmother, and whatever happened, or more likely is happening, with her biological mother is a likely source of frustration and difficulty for her, as well as a sense of grief and loss. She wants her mom.
The situation around her biological mother must be handled very gently, because it is truly her most sensitive spot, and the material of that relationship will affect all of her relationships, lifelong.
When the Moon is far out at the end of a sign (pictured in red, in the 2nd house counting wedges anti-clockwise from the one below the left-hand horizontal line), it can be very difficult. It's kind of like a Moon without a mission or sense of grounding; it's like she's drifting, or coasting on momentum, and can't really direct herself as easily as some other people can. The Moon in her chart has nothing solid to push against or cling to. The Moon in any chart represents the sense of safety, our ideas about security (or lack thereof), our feeling body and the feelings in our body, the expectations that were put onto us as a child, and -- most vitally -- something crucial about mom.
Her Moon is getting a lot of transits right now -- that is, other planets pushing against it, walking over it, or meeting it face-on. Saturn in Cancer is hanging around the neighborhood, making a loose but slowly-building square to her Moon, which is pushing her to mature and grow up, a feeling that I assure you is not comfortable on one level, but may be very reassuring on another. This will come to a peak of energy over the summer when Saturn changes signs to Leo, which it does without retreating back into Cancer; it is a one-shot deal). Saturn squaring her Moon in the most positive sense will give her a sense of structure and help her get a feel for what is expected of her -- and with any luck, give her the gumption to come through. This summer is a big time of maturing for her. You will learn a few things during this transit and I suggest you pay close attention and remember what they are. But you're not there yet. Other transits are much closer or have already begun.
As well, there are two planets currently making a conjunction to one another in late Capricorn that are likely to be involved in her current situation: these are Chiron and Nessus. Both of these can have a lot to do with growth process, the psychology and dynamics of families, psychological impact of treatment in the household, and the sense of injury that we must rise above. She seems to have plenty of this lately.
I think it's critical that she be given a structured place where she can express her feelings safely, and with absolute dependability, over a long period of time. I would suggest that if you can find a compassionate, gentle therapist who she truly likes, one or two visits a week -- rain or shine -- would be very helpful. She needs this! This is for the purpose of creating a safe, dependable space where she can express herself and not be judged; not offend anyone; and get a sense of what she is feeling. I suggest a private therapist, not someone in school, where they seem to lack any sensitivity to her and use words like 'dead spots'.
Let's go to the level of mind. Notice that her natal Mercury is retrograde (the little Rx next to the planet tells us this). Mercury is in the 8th house, counting again from the first wedge beneath the left-hand horizon. Mercury retrograde in Aries is the image of a highly original thinker who is tuned her psychic radio to an entirely different wavelength than the rest of us. Put this in the 8th house, the deepest and most complex house of the lot, and we can be sure she has ideas about life that, could she express them, you would find very surprising, mature and a bit strange. But due to family circumstances and certain facts about her caregivers either being challenged by her depth and innovation, or through not 'getting her', she has had to turn off this important aspect of who she is. The retrograde suggests, essentially, that she is dumbing herself down, perhaps for the reasons proposed above, perhaps so that people don't get miffed at her. I don't think she is doing this consciously; rather, my sense is that it's a strategy that seems to work, and that she has her mind on much deeper things as a kind of retreat to a deeper and hopefully safe space.
The next thing I suggest you be aware of is the intensity with which the changes in our society are impacting her. Take a look at her 5th house, beginning with wedge beneath the left-hand horizontal line and counting anti-clockwise around the wheel. She has Capricorn on the 5th house and in that house there is a very close conjunction of Uranus (in green) and Neptune (in blue). This conjunction, involving two slow-moving planets, marked the beginning of the end of the world as we know it. This coincides with her birth. All those rigid constructions of government, ideology and social roles (represented by Capricorn) began to collapse right along with the USSR and the Berlin Wall. Imagine how challenging it must be for her to navigate this world given that her childhood, and indeed, her whole life, has been marked by such intensity of change. There is no tradition to which she can really cling.
She is, as well, picking up on all the insecurities and fears of the adults around her (Pisces on the 7th, the exactly horizontal right-hand line) and wants little more than to make the world a better, softer and more secure place. She is also likely to be some kind of an artist, and needs all the chances for creative expression that she can get -- where nobody tells her what to do.
Last story for now. Notice her 6th house. The 6th is the house of intelligence, service, work and one place we look for information about mental integration and the processing of ideas. She has Aquarius in this house. Aquarius is smart like nobody's business; it is inventive and can see the future; Aquarius can solve the problems of the future today. (The potential only drawback to such a gift is when somebody with strong Aquarius has nothing special in the chart to indicate, independently, that they possess emotional intelligence, but she has quite a bit to support her sensitivity and the wisdom of her feelings -- principally such a prominent Venus, and her south node in Cancer.) As long as a person can experience their feelings, and she can though they may confuse her considerably, Aquarius is a very useful angle in any chart.
But she may not feel safe experiencing her feelings; thus, her intelligence can seem to falter.
She has Saturn and Mars here in this house and sign, which to me puts her into the highly intellectually gifted level rather than being vaguely 'disabled'. But in our world, sadly, one often masquerades as the other. One thing you need to remember about people with such strong Aquarius is that they are probably smarter than you, and you have to treat them that way, while remaining the adult in the situation. The other thing that will help you to remember is that they understand the world on their own terms, and they may not seem to grasp that which follows a mental or intellectual pattern that is different than their own. I would say that if she is not understanding something simple, try for something more elegant.
I am curious what she has to say about fractals. Fractals are images of complex mathematical patterns. They are a kind of natural mathematical phenomenon that's emerged in the past 25 years. I am curious what she has to say about them. A few are included in the link below. Please show them to her, and tell her I said hello from a Laundromat in downtown Paris.
Here is some fractal freeware that might suit her Aquarian mind a little more generously than the "four quarters make a dollar" math that she's now being pressured to learn.
The other way to look at a planet is to see how it responds under transit, such as in the time frames exercise below. I call this the wave approach, because a planet is a living, moving entity. Looked at this way, a planet is not about a single interpretation, but rather a series of responses and evolutionary changes as time goes on and as the transits come and go. A planet tells a story. And that story is the real interpretation.
This is not an easy method to work with, compared to opening a book and finding out what your planet 'means'. You have to do more work yourself; the answer you are seeking may seem vague at first; you're not going to be handed something definitive.
When working with these 'fixed' interpretations, it's necessary to take into account all the data that you can, including what the writer has to say, about both the house and sign placement, and the aspects to that planet in your chart. Then you have to put the whole thing together.
It's also very helpful to learn as much as you can about the planet itself, and the house that it is in, as apart from what these specific writers have to say about these things. The 8th is no doubt the most intense house of the zodiac; Scorpio has a resonance to this house, so the effect is probably going to be amped up; and Chiron has a way of bringing things into vivid reality in ways that are above and beyond the average planet. So one thing we can say for sure is that you're going to be dealing with a lot of 8th and Scorpio in this lifetime owing to your Chiron placement.
The question is not so much what this means, but rather how you deal with the changes, and the constant pressure to transform yourself every time you wake up, lift a finger, walk out the door or talk to another person. There is a question of how the power dynamics work in your relationships. There is a question about what sex means to you, and what is it's relationship to power. And last, there is a question about what kinds of experiences you've had that relate to death. You could write a better chapter about these themes, as they work for you, than any astrologer could -- because you have lived them and they have not.
How might you find out what those experiences are? I suggest the following exercise below.
Meanwhile, here is my Chiron Archive.
And here is an article on Scorpio and the 8th House: For the Love of Money.
The process involves making a life chronology where the selected dates are determined by certain Chiron transits. As you say, this is different for everyone, though there are some similarities based on the year of birth; but for the most part, it's a highly individualized pattern.
A Chiron transit is what happens when Chiron makes an aspect to itself, to an angle in the chart such as the ascendant, or to another planet or point (Jupiter, Venus, etc.) in the natal chart. Because this is a highly individualized time pattern, it cannot be summed up in an easy table in a book or with summary chapters that give interpretations. But the results most people get make it worth the effort.
While you could program a computer to calculate every Chiron transit from birth till the present time, that would present an overwhelming number of events. Based on experience with many clients, I can get it down to the five or ten most interesting ones. This involves some experience and choice, and I can give an example of the process in a moment using a sample chart.
The purpose of the exercise is to see your life story as told through the lens of Chiron. This, in turn, will allow you to see how your natal horoscope works in a way that is both revealing and helpful. Chiron, a small planet orbiting near Saturn that was discovered in 1977, is meaningful because it specifically addresses processes of healing, transformation and the raising of awareness. You could say all three of these are the same thing.
Unlike most other planets, Chiron's orbit is unusually egg-shaped, so its movement through the heavens (and thus, the chart) creates a time pattern that is irregular and can reveal the connecting thread between events, which, previously, seemed to have nothing to do with one another.
Once the dates are selected, I ask people to journal out each of the time frames separately. Then, once this is process (which may take a couple of weeks) is done, the whole sequence is looked at as a story and the themes, patterns and trends are explored.
Typically, the time frame on transit event will be about nine months. I suggest that each journal entry for a transit begin with your address at the time of the date in question, and the story of what happened when you were living at that address. The idea is not to look for "something big" or unusual, or a trauma; rather, it is to describe the nature and conditions of your life at that time. So start with the address.
The beauty of this exercise is that it quickly gets you past the "what does my chart mean?" level of astrology and puts you firmly in the terrain of "how does my chart work?" There is BIG difference. On the second of these, you are not depending on a book to tell you something about yourself; you are looking at your own life for information, and the information will be there.
For a variety of reasons this approach is, I believe, very productive -- but mainly because it puts astrology to work as a self-study tool without the intervention of other people's ideas about you, and without resorting to a pre-fab interpretation of the chart. In the end, you bring your own interpretation. It is also a chance to see your life from another perspective and get a feeling for how you grow. It's also a chance to watch your chart, and astrology, in action.
In the next few paragraphs, I'm going to provide you with the instructions for how to do this. For people who don't feel experienced enough, I will create a special personal consultation which involves me looking up the dates for you, followed by you completing the journaling, and me responding to what you have written. That will be at the bottom.
To look these dates up yourself, you need two basic skills: 1. One is to be able to see where planets are in your chart, by sign and degree; and 2. You need to be able to follow the ephemeris (planetary position table) well enough to know when you are having a transit. Both the natal chart and the Chiron ephemeris are free online. You can get your chart at http://astro.com and you can create a customized ephemeris at http://ephemeral.info/eph.
However, I suggest you get yourself a book-styled ephemeris that lists Chiron. There are several. One is the American Ephemeris, available just about anywhere, and the other is the Aureas Ephemeris, available only in Europe and the UK. You can get the Aurreas ephemeris in the US by ordering directly from http://Aureas.com. Because this exercise involves widely separated time frames, being able to turn a bunch of pages and jump ahead or back using a book is very helpful. If you are vaguely interested in the study of astrology, you need this skill, and you need an ephemeris; so take the leap, buy an ephemeris, you'll be glad you did -- promise.
For now, let's use http://ephemeral.info and the natal chart of Babe Ruth. Click on this link and by the miracle of the Internet, a Chiron ephemeris for Babe Ruth will appear, beginning with his birthday and covering the first 40 or so years of his life. I have set the ephemeris to give me the position of Chiron four times a year, for simplicity. It seemed to work fine; I used it myself to get the dates below. However, I suggest the ephemeris to calculate the position of Chiron once every 30 days; and remember to ask it to cover as many months as you've lived, indicated by how many lines you want the ephemeris to be. Play around with the thing and you will get it to work. The first line is your natal position. You can type in any planets you like into that field.
Okay, so you got this odd thing in front of you? Now look a the chart; you will be working back and forth between the chart and the ephemeris, cross-referencing. Notice, first of all, that The Babe has Chiron on the cusp of his 5th house. That is our starting point. It's the green planet near the bottom, in Libra. It has an address: 8 Libra and 52 minutes. That is the degree position. When using an ephemeris, you need to watch that degree, because it tells you when another planet is making an aspect. What I will offer as one sentence of interpretation is we know that Babe Ruth liked to have fun.
For this chart, I would list the following transits, which will proceed anti-clockwise:
Autumn 1896. Chiron conjunct Saturn in Scorpio. This is a childhood transit, so I would ask something about the known conditions of the home at the time, such as the parent's marriage, children in the household, the client's health, and so on. People often need to rely on stories or ask older relatives about childhood transits, which is an interesting aspect to the investigation (or healing) process. This transit is part of a time frame (extending through Autumn 1897) including Chiron conjunct Uranus (also in green), square the Sun in Aquarius, and opposite Mars in Taurus. Ruth, a powerful, talented man, was born with a mighty T-square (three planets making squares and an opposition) of Uranus, Sun and Mars. When Chiron aspects one point on this T-Square, it aspects the other. It will reach the T-square a little after it reaches Saturn. Watch the degree numbers.
Autumn 1901. Chiron square natal Chiron. Chiron's aspects to itself are the core of the process. You could do with these along, but the details give you a lot of interesting material to work with. Because Ruth is born with Chiron and the Moon in a close square, when Chiron aspects itself, it always aspects the Moon. Part of the power of aspects is that when one planet is transited, as we've seen above, the entire aspect structure is transited. In this case, notice that the ascendant and the descendent are also involved. So I would consider the Chiron square, Chiron opposite the Moon and Chiron into the 7th house to be one time frame. I would count this whole set of transits as lasting through autumn of 1902.
Spring 1908. Chiron conjunct the Sun in Aquarius. Notice that Chiron hasn't moved very far, but it's taken quite a while to get there. That's because Chiron, which began in Libra (where it moves through the signs the fastest) is now in Aquarius, where it is beginning to move at near its slowest speed (in miles, far from the Sun, but exactly aligned with it). When Chiron conjoins the Sun it will also square Uranus in Scorpio and Mars in Taurus. It is no accident that Ruth had all these squares in his chart. He was an extremely determined and driven man. I would count this transit as going through winter 1909.
Spring 1911. Chiron conjunct Venus and Mercury in Pisces. This is very close to the next one, and will be related to it. I would count this through early winter 1912.
Spring 1912. Chiron conjunct the midheaven, square Pluto and square Neptune. I would count this through winter 1913. So 1911 through 1913 are one long sequence of transits. If this happens in your chart, patiently sort out the time frame as best you can.
Spring 1920. Chiron opposite Chiron. His natal Chiron is in Libra; the transit is in Aries. I would count this through spring 1921.
Spring 1930. Chiron conjunct Mars, square the Sun and opposite Uranus. I would count this through spring 1931.
Autumn 1934. Chiron conjunct Pluto and Neptune, square the midheaven. I would count this through spring 1936. This is a long one.
Summer 1938. Chiron in the ascendant, conjunct the Moon and square itself. This is the second Chiron square, always an interesting transit. Some call it the "upper square." It is Chiron reaching the three-quarters point in the full circle.
Chiron return. This happens at about age 50-51. This is Chiron coming full circle. Most people experience the Chiron return as lasting, in actual effects, through the age of 53.
You may be wondering why I left some transits out. It's not necessary to do the entire chart. I was choosing events that seemed interesting, relevant and energized. One thing I might have included is Chiron's aspects to Jupiter, which is depicted in purple, rising, in Gemini, just above the ascendant. Jupiter is opposite the galactic core in Sagittarius, and it rules his 10th house because he has Pisces on the 10th cusp. Given that Babe Ruth was so famous we're still talking about him 110 years after he was born, the 10th ruler and Jupiter might be good things to check, but remember that you don't want to get overwhelmed with data here. In doing the first session with a client, sometimes checking three of these dates is adequate -- but for self-study and learning your chart, I would do about eight or 10.
Then, take those dates and do the journal exercise. And, if you don't get this far, at least I got some good writing exercise writing out these dates and putting this method on paper for the first time.
If someone is a good sports trivia researcher, I would love to hear how these dates square against the story of Babe Ruth's life (I just checked one chronology and saw some interesting correspondences). Also, we can do this again with an actual, live reader of this page and discuss the results of the inquiry in this space.
Okay, last aspect for this item. If you would like me to prepare a custom list of your Chiron time frames, contact my office at email@example.com and we will send you an email explaining how we can do that, and the fee involved. As part of this service, I will write a response to your time frames and spot the relevant themes. Details will come in the return email.
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I am also developing a parenting e-journal called Planet Waves Parenting. Visit that link at http://planetwavesparenting.net/
A Few Housekeeping Points
When you write a letter to me for this column, you have a much better chance of having it answered if you keep it short and succinct. Rewrite it a couple of times till you get it clear. Have a definite focus, and present it in a way that's clear and lends itself well to a response. Write in your best English and please honor the rules of punctuation and capitalization that you worked so hard to learn. And please spell out your birth data, such as Jan. 1, 1980 at 3:45 AM in Leeds, England.
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