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Parallel Worlds: An Introduction
From the Planet Waves 2006 Annual Horoscope Pages

Parallel Worlds

Illustration by Deirdre Tanton

Dear Readers Around the World:

WE HAVE JUST lived through the year that was a decade. It was a 14-month year, from Nov. 2, 2004 through December 2005, with enough changes and developments to fill the average era in world history, and no sign of the momentum slowing down. It is precisely this kind of acceleration of the historical process -- whether "natural" or "manipulated," though the distinction is becoming moot -- that will be the keynote over the next decade, particularly in the few short years approaching 2012.

As for 2006, we are entering a time-space when community skills, healing abilities and spiritual orientation will count for more than anything, and when we will have increasing opportunities to put these resources to work. As I have said before, many people have been training and developing their talents for decades. Now is the time to answer the calling.

First, let's do a news wrap-up that will be followed by a 2005 astrology roundup. Then we will take a look at the major events of 2006.

Among the better-known events of 2005 (remembering that amidst so much news, many stories and issues are ignored or forgotten, or never see the light of day -- particularly the good news), the 14 month year encompassed the second stolen presidential election, the Asian tsunami disaster, a series of hurricanes that were devastating to the southeastern US as well as Mexico, Central America and parts of South America, and an earthquake centered in the Kashmir area between India and Pakistan. Because the Kashmir earthquake was the last disaster, it's doing the worst in terms of fundraising efforts. Funds are badly needed.

As a result of the hurricanes, there have been some wild fluctuations in the price of crude oil, heating oil and car petrol, which have had various repercussions around the world market. Then, oddly, there was a massive fire at a fuel depot near London, burning up millions of gallons. Not surprisingly, one of those repercussions of the price increases was that multinational oil companies did quite well in 2005, raking in billions of dollars in profits even during the third quarter, which allegedly devastated their refineries.

Speaking of oil -- it was another devastating and chaotic year in Iraq, with the violence at a long plateau. There were several elections held, but as the Founding Fathers of the United States told us, there is no democracy in time of war and strife. Democracy is a condition of peace. The number of killed American service men and women exceeded 2,000, and George Bush admitted that the number of Iraqis killed was near 30,000 -- a far cry from the 100,000 estimated by The Lancet British medical journal more than a year ago. What is the oil connection? Continued chaos in Iraq, one of the world's oil-richest countries, is keeping production down and thus helping keep the price higher.

There was good news, if you can call it that.

The peace movement got a name and a face -- that of a mother named Cindy Sheehan, who has come to symbolize the grief surrounding the Iraq war.

In the midst of all the madness, the chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney, a guy named Scooter Libby, was indicted for crimes relating to the outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame. This incident was associated with the Bush administration's deception about Iraq's alleged, nonexistent nuclear program, which was exposed by Plame's husband, former ambassador, Joseph Wilson.

Something called the Downing Street Memo came to the surface, which alerted the world to the fact that the UK government was aware of what tricks the Bush administration was up to, and worked to create plausible reasons to justify its involvement in the invasion and occupation of Iraq.

One of the biggest creeps in Congress, (former) House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, was indicted for crimes related to fundraising activities and was forced to resign. And former Republican fundraiser Jack Abramoff was indicted for crimes associated with his political activities as well as ripping off Indian casino clients and bribing political leaders. It looks like he's going to take down quite a few congressmen with him, people who accepted his bribes. Well the Republicans did promise to clean up City Hall.

And, perhaps the best news of all, we woke up to the reality of the Earth. This is a real "whatever it takes" kind of situation. When nobody was really looking, 2005 turned out to be the year that climate change went from an imagined, allegedly controversial possibility, to something that we -- everyone, people and governments -- has to deal with.

Enough News Wrap-up; Now for the Astrology
What was behind all this in the stars? Astrologically, 2005 was a transitional year between two significantly different energetic landscapes. The main developments included:

The Discovery of the 10th Planet. As a minor planet specialist, I am aware that there are more than 250,000 known bodies orbiting the Sun. But confirmation of the discovery of "Xena" -- the supposedly temporary name of the first-ever discovered planet larger than Pluto -- stands out as the most unusual astronomical or astrological event of the year. Officially known as 2003 UB313, its orbit at maximum extends nearly 100 times the distance from the Earth to the Sun. It takes 560 years to orbit the Sun once (more than double Pluto). The discovery photo was made on Oct. 21, 2003, but it was reanalyzed on Jan. 5, 2005 and the announcement of the discovery was made July 29, 2005. The discoverers were Brown, Trujillo, and Rabinowitz. A Moon was discovered Sept. 10, 2005. Now when you hear yet again that there are "nine planets," you, too, can have evidence of something, I am not sure what. Please don't say there are "nine planets" if you're a science teacher.

Ingress of Saturn into Leo in mid-July. In my articles about this change, in the Astrology Secrets Revealed archives, I documented that Saturn in Leo (which lasts for about three years out of every 29) is associated with the phenomenon of dams and levees bursting. One article on Saturn in Leo was called, "When the Molasses Levee Breaks," because once in Boston a long time ago, even a huge vat of molasses burst, making a flash flood of sugar syrup in the streets. Within weeks of Saturn changing signs in 2005, we were faced with one of the most famous, if not the most famous, levee breaks in world history.

Chiron changing signs from Capricorn to Aquarius. Chiron in Capricorn was the essence of the "post 9/11 world," beginning within days of the infamous Enron bankruptcy in late 2001. On the collective level, Capricorn is the sign of corporations, governments, laws and structures of all kinds. And we have certainly had our fill of news from these entities, ranging from the "Bush Knew" scandals (which, it still amazes me, are considered no big deal, but then, that is a measure of the cynicism of the world); to the accounting scandals; to the astonishing culture of pedophilia exposed in the Roman Catholic Church.

Chiron in Aquarius shifts the awareness from institution to community, from the power structure to the group structure, and from our identity as subjects to participants. We have seen this develop with the slow awakening of a peace movement, and the use of the Internet as "the people's media," among other developments. There will be many more examples. Here's a pretty good one from the last cycle. Half a century ago, within weeks of the prior transit from Cap to Aquarius, Alan Ginsberg organized the first garage poetry readings in San Francisco that became the Beat Generation literary movement. Then through the late 1950s, we saw the uprising of a national Civil Rights movement in the United States, and many examples of the dawning of collective consciousness -- though at the time, it looked mainly like change and turmoil that was frightening to many. Both the Rosa Parks incident and the Ginsberg's poetry reading happened with Chiron in early Aquarius.

Two other Centaur planets changed signs. For those who follow astrology, the Centaur planets are today what Neptune, Uranus and Pluto were in previous decades: something new, interesting, provocative and, as well, something we don't collectively understand within the astrology community. Those Centaurs are Pholus (small cause, big effect) moving into Sagittarius, and Nessus (the buck stops here) moving into Aquarius, along with Chiron. They all dipped into their new signs early in the year, went back into the old signs midyear, and finally took up full-time residence one by one in the autumn. Chiron in Aquarius will be with us through 2011, and the other two transits (those of Pholus in Sagittarius and Nessus in Aquarius) will last considerably longer.

Mars retrograde in Taurus. The exact retrograde spanned three months from mid-October through mid-December. Mars was in Taurus for several months on either side (and remains there till early February 2006). Like Saturn in Leo, this is a once-per three decade kind of event, and not surprisingly, it's associated with the kinds of things we've seen in the second half of 2005 -- natural disasters such as earthquakes, storms, volcanic activity, fluctuations in the price of oil, and politics of a stormy, fiery nature.

Aries Point activity, including a Full Moon in the first degree of Capricorn (exactly square the Aries Point, covered both in Planet Waves and Astrology Secrets Revealed). This Full Moon lit up the degree of the total solar eclipse immediately preceding the Sept. 11 scenario. This was followed by a second Capricorn Full Moon, closely preceding Hurricane Katrina. Aries Point activity comes with the theme, "The Personal is Political," and is often associated with events that affect many people. The two examples mentioned here -- the Sept. 11 scenario and Hurricane Katrina -- are illustrative, though rather large manifestations of this theme. We are in something of an Aries Point era, which is directly associated with the 2012 phenomenon (which, for its part, is focused on the first degree of Capricorn).

All Things Varuna. This newly discovered, slow-moving planet (discovered in 2000) is in Cancer, and was recently the subject of a conjunction from Saturn. Varuna was the supreme creation deity at one point in ancient [pre-Vedic, i.e., very old] history, and is now a water god, presiding over rivers, lakes, oceans and contracts. Among Varuna's themes is the punishment of liars and those who ignore or violate agreements and oaths. Through 2003 and 2004, this conjunction was making aspects to one of the main USA charts, as well as that of George Bush. In spring 2005, there was an exact New Moon conjunct Varuna.

Looking Ahead
So what's next? Well, remembering that 2005 was largely a setup for what is coming in 2006, here is the rundown. Charts for most of these events are located in the chart resource on Parallel Worlds (already posted and available to everyone).

When you consider these aspects, get a feel for the visual qualities; what you know about the planets involved; and what the description says to you intuitively. I am interested in your impressions! Please send them to

Remember: astrology is often what we make of it. It is a creative tool, not a description of fate. I encourage you to see the potential in these aspects; to take them on the highest level; and to imagine them working in your life in the most productive, creative and positive way.

Chiron conjunct Nessus in Aquarius. In 2006 we will experience the second of two exact passes of this aspect, and a third, which is a near miss. The first exact pass was May 13, 2005. The second will be Jan. 10, 2006. The third (the near miss) is Oct. 10, 2006. This is an aspect that will be igniting the Aquarius energy of what you might call "awareness to the people," setting a pattern that will last for many years. Aquarius is about communities, the culture, the Internet, group responsibilities and group agreements. It is about the politics of the tribe and where the individual fits in. We all bear wounds involving fitting in, and are under a lot of pressure to do so. With Centaur activity raking up residence in Aquarius, now is the time to address them by name, and to go beyond them.

With many turning point events like this, the choice of what do and where to go is often a choice of what level you want to park your awareness on. There is often a level of chaos and discord, and another level above the battleground. To be at home on this level, it's necessary to focus on your most clear sense of self that sees itself in more or less equal relationship to others.

The Parallel Worlds Alignment. In the first week of February, around the time of the Pagan holiday Imbolc (Midwinter holiday), there will be an unusual alignment between the Sun, Mercury, Venus, Jupiter, Neptune, and Pluto. It involves aspects by longitude (what sign the planets are in, exact by degree) and by declination (their distance north or south of the celestial equator). Hence, there are both aspects and parallels among this group of planets; what some would call a super aspect, which is one form of a cosmic trigger. As with Chiron conjunct Nessus, there is strongly implied the choice of where to put our consciousness; the choice of what we want to be aware of.

In the weeks leading up to this, the astrology is a bit turbulent, and may come with some unusual unrest both individually and in the world. The question is inherent in the setup: where do we focus our energy?

Pluto Crossing the Galactic Core. Though this is not exact until the last week of 2006, there is an exceptionally close alignment between Pluto and the Galactic Core (in late Sagittarius) during the first week of spring. Specifically, Pluto stations retrograde at 26 degrees Sagittarius and 45 arc minutes, just 10 arc minutes (one-sixth of a degree) from the Galactic Core. Pluto will be within one degree of the core from February through mid-May, for most of that time sitting stationary.

But the station itself is March 20. This comes simultaneously with a total solar eclipse on the Aries Point (see below), as well as the progressions in the Presidential Inauguration chart going off (part two -- part one was the last week of October, see below). This group of events, clustered together, will be the stunning sequel of what brought us the Scooter Libby indictment, only I think it's reasonable to expect something a little more satisfying. Pluto on the Galactic Core will be humanity's biggest push in a long, long while in the direction of, well, being humanitarian.

The GC teaches giving up our judgments, seeing the big picture, and learning Lesson One taught by the Core: as within, so without. Or, as the Course in Miracles would put it, God/Goddess is not outside yourself. Pluto crossing this point is one of the last vital thresholds of the Pluto in Sagittarius era, which takes us back to the early 1990s when the world started to move in the undeniable direction of Jihad, be it Christian or Muslim.

Pluto on the Core will evoke all the true evolutionary material involved with the violence on the planet and the prejudices that make it inevitable. If we were to give up the judgments, the violence would have no basis of support. Warlords rely on anger, hatred and the sense of victimization to get anywhere with their ideas. But the energy of the Galactic Core is so strong as to be inaccessible to many people.

Saturn opposite Neptune. This is the aspect beginning in August, but which has been vibrating around since last summer (and which continues well into 2007) that you're most likely to read about when cruising the Internet or a commercial astrological publication. Another image of parallel realities, we have the world of structure and the world that dissolves structure meeting face to face.

It is the meeting of Saturn in Leo opposite Neptune in Aquarius. Saturn in Leo (of "when the levee breaks" fame) opposite Neptune in Aquarius ("let's get fooled again and again and again and slowly, gradually wake up") means: something comes to a head. It is a direct meeting between the solid, enterprising and proud nature of Saturn in Leo and the watery, ideologically foggy nature of Neptune in Aquarius.

There is political as well as individual information in this aspect. Mass consciousness becomes aware of something particular; there is a development -- or a series of developments. That something begins to respond to a certain degree of public pressure that has itself been caused by so much in-your-face injustice. It is compelling that the first pass of this three-part aspect occurs on the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina making landfall. With that episode, we had one of many examples of land meets sea; of idea meets reality; of some overwhelming presence inundating something that would not move; and mainly, of a turning point in history.

Neptune aspects take a long time to work out, and for that matter, even to notice -- and this will be no exception. Oppositions are the full expression of a conjunction; the opposition of 2006 was preceded by a conjunction at the time the Berlin Wall fell and with it, the Iron Curtain, the Cold War and the nuclear arms race, events which had long-lasting consequences. Whatever unfolds as a result of the opposition will be part of this same cycle of history.

Lunar Node on the Aries Point. Keeping the Aries Point theme alive, the True North Lunar Node (Rahu, or the Dragon's Head) reaches the Aries Point on June 11, though it's been in the neighborhood for a while. The Lunar Node has a wide orb in terms of longitude and timing, because it's associated with the eclipses that can fall on either side of it by some 15 degrees. Indeed, on this theme, there is a total eclipse of the Sun on March 29, 2006 at 8+ degrees Aries, a full-on Aries Point event.

Progressions in the 2005 Inauguration Chart. The chart for the inauguration of a president or the coronation of a king often serves as the chart for the nation. This would seem truly bizarre were it not so typical of astrology: the Inauguration chart reaches a critical moment within 24 hours of the March 29 total solar eclipse. Specifically, the progressed Moon in the Inauguration chart makes an exact opposition to the 8th house Pluto in that chart.

We had a test of the effectiveness of this chart and its progressions when Scooter Libby was indicted. There is actually a Mars-Pluto conjunction in this chart, separated by about five degrees. When the progressed Moon reached the exact opposition to Mars, the indictments began. We are now likely to see something much more serious with the opposition to the Moon -- and with the widespread effects you would expect from Pluto as opposed to Mars. The fact that this is coupled with an Aries Point total solar eclipse suggests a wave of widespread changes for the Bush Administration and the Unites States, particularly as pertains to monetary policy and banking.

These events, plus personal sign forecasts, will all be covered in greater detail in Parallel Worlds, which with any luck will be ready the first week of January. Please stay tuned. Catch you with a regular question and answer edition of Astrology Secrets Revealed in two weeks.

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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 on a subscriber homepage each Friday. Eric is now writing Parallel Worlds, the 2006 annual edition of Planet Waves with the year-ahead forecasts, available to all subscribers. As a subscriber, you can 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 three years of archives of essays and horoscopes. 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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