Astrology Secrets Revealed: Eric Francis Answers Your Questions
Send your question to firstname.lastname@example.org
Click here to read Eric's current Q&As
You can visit Eric's fascinating web page at http://planetwaves.info/
Around the World in 71 Days and 14 Hours|
Dear Intrepid Readers:
While in other news the world is quietly going mad, Ellen MacArthur, a 28-year-old amateur sailor born in Derbyshire, England, completed an around-the-world journey in just over 71 days and 14 hours. She sailed solo from the English Channel down around Antarctica and back, arriving without fanfare Monday night at 10:29 pm Greenwich Mean Time. French authorities said she could not light flares or be greeted by other boats because the area is a busy shipping lane. The party happened the next morning, as she was met closer to shore by a little fleet of fans and supporters and escorted home to Falmouth Harbor.
Last week I mentioned that there was an awesome lineup developing in Aquarius. When Ellen reached the finish line, that alignment was at its peak: we were in the last 24 hours of the lunar cycle, just before the Aquarius New Moon, impressive enough by itself. There were also two close conjunctions in Aquarius, Moon conjunct Venus (the closest and next immediate event) and Mercury conjunct Neptune.
"For the current days," I wrote, "the emphasis is on Venus, which just arrived in Aquarius. This is a different kind of feminine energy than we're used to. Her emphasis is on the intellect rather than on the emotions; she is a master of science, but able to maintain a state of equality with her peers; her idea of love is a lot more free and liberated than what we're generally accustomed to in our society, and she can be an important teacher." In another article somewhere, I mentioned Venus in Aquarius as the female avatar, a description I read in the 'Mountain Astrologer' magazine a few years ago.
All together, I could not think of better words to describe Ellen MacArthur except Hot Damn.
Among the most impressive Aquarian themes of Ellen's journey were the team of people -- Team Ellen -- who are actually her tribe and family of choice. In a truly Aquarian way, they connected to her via technology, communicating with her and even monitoring her sleep patterns via satellite. And around the world, the family of supporters and admirers who kept track of her astonishing journey spread the network wider. She received more than 60,000 emails during her journey, which were automatically posted to her site and which she could download while aboard her ship.
Imagine how important this kind of human contact is while you're floating around Antarctica.
Let's take a look at the chart for her arrival home Monday night.
With charts for truly extraordinary events, we often learn more from the chart than we can say about it; at other times, striking symbolism emerges that is so apropos of the moment we are handed something like proof of astrology's ability to see the quality of a moment as easily as a camera records the image of a tree in daylight.
It's always nice to say hello to the ascendant first. Libra is rising. We have, for sure, witnessed a feat of balance, initiative and energy -- as well protection and luck, represented by Jupiter about to rise over the horizon. Very nice. A little planet has risen a few minutes before our chart is cast -- Pallas Athene. She is the ultimate diplomat, warrior, strategist and protector. So there is quite a bit of protection suggested in this chart. One would need protection, to sail 27,000 miles through all kinds of weather all alone. And it certainly required strategy.
The main focus of energy is from the 4th to the 5th houses; notice the cluster that includes Chiron (little green key, in Capricorn, lowest planet), followed by the Moon, Venus, Mercury, Neptune and the Sun and Juno (in Aquarius), and Uranus (in Pisces, a surprising, inventive and inspired event, on the water). Because the ascendant of the chart is Libra, we can use whole-sign houses and count all of Aquarius for the 5th house -- a daring, risky and creative undertaking (5th house), expressed by a group of people (Aquarius).
I am particularly fond of the Mercury-Neptune conjunction -- you could read that as 'news from the sea'. If you're trying to figure out the meaning of Mercury, you can always substitute the words 'message from' or 'news about' and see how that works. At the same time, all the Aquarius references vibrate with technology. This woman was not sailing around in a barrel; it was a glorious example of scientific artistry. Mercury, Neptune and Aquarius make a nice image of her sleek little sailing ship and its nervous system quickly skating along the surface of the water.
The closest -- that is, the very next -- planetary aspect in the chart is the Moon conjunct Venus. Here, we have a picture of the leading actor, Ellen MacArthur. This is obvious intuitively, but when we suss out the technicalities, the image works out nicely. Usually, the ruler of the ascendant of the chart is the planet that symbolizes the question, the main event and in this case, the person who is the subject of the chart. Because the ascendant is Libra, that would be Venus in Aquarius.
Venus is about to be conjoined by the Moon. Notice that Cancer, the sign ruled by the Moon, is on the 10th house cusp, at the very top of the chart. The 10th is the house of achievement, reputation, status, and standing in the world. Saturn in Cancer standing there, high on top of the chart, is certainly an image of achievement on the high seas. The Moon, ruler of both the 10th and of Saturn, becomes the representative of that house, and we see that in the moment of arriving back home, it's like she's being blessed by the Moon, the lord of the 10th.
The fact that the rulers of both the ascendant and the 10th -- widely considered the most intense, important houses (also described as angular houses) -- are in a conjunction speaks to how solid of an achievement this really is.
Cancer, the Moon and Aquarius have something in common: being representatives of 'the people'. They are all populist factors, and certainly plenty of that energy is around. But there's an interesting feature in this chart, which is that Saturn and the Moon occupy one another's signs. In traditional astrology, Saturn rules Aquarius, and the Moon rules Cancer. These planets are placed in one another's signs -- a somewhat rare condition called mutual reception.
Opinions are all over the map on whether mutual reception is helpful or not, and if we're using this chart as a test, in fact, she lived through the trip, she broke the record, and when it was over, she got to dance around on her ship with a big bottle of champagne spraying all over the place and millions of friends and admirers sharing her achievement. Do we have anything to complain about? It could have worked out a lot worse -- and in truth, no better. So this is one example where we have to assume the mutual reception was helpful.
Mutual reception is handy when you have a planet that's in a sign which does not usually go along with that planet. For example, Saturn in Cancer is not considered particularly strong in some instances (it is very strong in others). However, when we apply the mutual reception, Saturn goes to the sign of its rulership, Aquarius. Also note, as the highest planet in the chart, it's granted what is called 'accidental dignity' which in this case is no joke.
If we follow the astrological rule 'mutual reception by degree' -- that is, the planets switch signs, and keep their original degree -- we wind up with a very solid Sun-Saturn conjunction in Aquarius.
Now, what does this chart tell us that we could not find out on BBC? I must take an intuitive leap. I think that this is a far greater achievement than is being recognized, and that the repercussions will go further, even though we may never see them. In the bizarre world of news (where we typically hear about these things), the priorities of life are twisted beyond recognition. So the full impact of achievements is not recognized, because it has few opportunities to be recognized.
I propose that we're going to be hearing more from Ellen MacArthur, and not just about sailing. I see her as some kind of honorary international diplomat, a true woman of the world, whose ideas may become quite valuable to the rest of us. Certainly, we can consider what she has to say now.
The world is not a particularly easy place for anyone, but most girls grow into women in the shadow of how allegedly great the great men are. When a young woman does something this astonishing, this outrageous, this 'impossible' -- the message that goes out to the girls and the women of the world is not just beautiful, it is indispensable. Trust me, I took plenty of inspiration from Ellen's achievement, but I think it counts a lot more for young girls who are growing up in a world where all they see (particularly in the media) are negative messages. Ellen went a long way to show us something else.
"I hope that through what I am doing at the moment, through be determined about the goal, can show people that things can be possible, it doesn't always go your way but it can be possible," she said at her news conference Tuesday. "That's something that I've always believed, so any way I can take that forward let's hope that that's a positive thing."
Dear Inward Journey
There are also a lot of mysteries associated with therapy: what happens in that secret room? Why is it secret? Is it just manipulation? Are people really helped, or do they just think they are? Why does it cost money? And so on.
Since therapy is personal, let's keep it personal. My first encounter with long-term therapy process began in 1992. Like most people, I showed up in serious distress. My French girlfriend Sabine had just left me, there was a dioxin disaster unfolding in my town which I was covering around the clock, my business was going bankrupt and I was in some severe emotional crisis, not to mention physically extremely run down. I was not happy, and this meant I was vulnerable. When we are vulnerable, we can easily get hurt -- so we need to be careful, if we can.
Yet, when the chips are down, nobody comes strolling into a therapist's office on a sunny Saturday afternoon, shoes polished, walking stick in hand, feeling on top of the world. We show up because we need help, and usually we need that help right now. The urgency is often pressed because we delay so long, and some kind of crisis explodes and we feel we have no choice. These are actually good moments. As an astrologer who's worked with clients for 10 years, I can tell you that people in crisis are easier to work with because they are more open and honest with themselves. It's that simple.
Joseph Trusso, the therapist I selected, worked out of a home office in Woodstock, New York. He still does. I had no idea of his background the day I appeared, but when I asked, he provided me with a copy of his CV to go over. I was recommended to him by the guy my girlfriend was sleeping with, John Godsey, something of a full-on Woodstock legend. I trusted John's opinion because he seemed to understand me, I needed help, and I sought that help out. Joe met a few of my minimum qualifications. For one thing he didn't have a Ph.D. There are some brilliant therapists with doctorates out there -- but at that point in my life, I wanted someone who had as little academic training as possible; that was my preference. At the time Joe was also an educational consultant, and his hobbies are gem cutting and piano. I wanted someone who was well-rounded and who had as few ideas as possible about the right way to live.
In the first session, Joe impressed me as real, down to Earth and compassionate. What you would call a solid human being. He was intelligent in an introverted way -- deep down Taurus, with an Aquarius Moon (I was not an astrologer at the time, I had not the vaguest interest; but we both have the same Moon placement -- as did my second therapist and, not coincidentally, my father). I also knew the word 'trusso' was Italian for a kind of inheritance. I definitely inherited something profound from Joe.
Joe had a no-bullshit air about him, which was a natural characteristic. I later learned this was also a carefully developed quality of his therapeutic tradition (the Gestalt movement, where being direct is a virtue), and also of the time in which he came of age as a teacher and professional (the 70s, when as a matter of basic ethics, people made a sincere effort to be themselves and help others do the same).
He also had a humane feeling that came across a number of ways. I was quite the financially stressed out writer at the time, and he was willing to work with me for a reduced fee. In the first session, he sat and listened to me go on about my problems and my life story for 90 minutes. In the end, we talked about one thing in that session: the power of good-bye.
"Goodness be with you," he said it means.
And, after saying that particular good bye to Sabine, about three sessions later, I was back with her on an Amtrak to Flagstaff, Arizona, then to San Francisco for the first time, having decided that my life was more important than my journalism, and leaving the dioxin disaster behind (I would come back to that, soon enough). San Francisco is a good place to figure out you're alive, and so is the Grand Canyon.
When I returned six weeks later, we continued our work, which went on until the day of the total solar eclipse in August 1999. Somehow, I managed to take off the entire first spring and summer, and spent the time with Sabine in a cabin up on the mountain in New Paltz, in an unusual relationship with another woman named Michelle. All the while, I faithfully went to therapy, learning to think about, speak about and reflect carefully on what I was experiencing learning. I learned that the things I wanted out of life were not so strange; that many had come before me; that many of my questions had been thought through by others, and that those ideas could help me; and that there was a way to think about myself that was entirely positive.
Over the years I had many reflections on just what I was doing in therapy, and at that phase, I was being oriented to the process of living consciously, and learning that I had the power to make decisions. At other times, it seemed more like being mentored. At other times, it was basic mental health triage. Therapy is a process that teaches us life is a process, and slowly we get into a more conscious rhythm. Then one day, we discover we have fewer problems, and the ones we do have are manageable.
This is not a purely theoretical exercise. I accomplished what I did in therapy mainly not in the therapy room, but in the context of living a little more boldly, and seeing what came up in the process. I spent a lot of time in forests with the women in my life. (One time a Boy Scout troop found us.) It was an amazing summer, like a huge burden had been lifted off of me -- perhaps the burden of the ignorance of who I was and what I felt. When it was over, I dove into solving the environmental disaster at New Paltz with the strength to begin taking on corporations and big governments.
Joe's only advice was, "Make it work for you." Joe also proved to be a treasury of resources; that is one very important service that a good therapist provides. Early on, he mentioned an article called 'Jealousy and the Abyss'. I asked him for a copy; it changed my life. I offer it to you.
Mostly our sessions went like this: I would talk about what I was doing; he would listen. Then he would say something that would change my perspective a little, or get me to look at what I was actually saying, or to feel what I was feeling in my body while I was talking. Do this for a while, and it's possible to make some real progress. Slowly, I began to trust him deeply, and that trust paid off, as our work set me on a rather energetic and productive adventure in life, slowly leaving behind the baggage of my past.
Gradually, but truly, I began to replace the cynical and disapproving inner voices of my parents with someone consistent, clear and positive. This did not happen overnight. I had to adopt Joe as a kind of honorary parent and trust that he would do a better job providing an example than my biological parents. And all of this for $50 per week. Oh, $50 I was willing to spend before I paid the bills.
Now, what does all of this say about choosing a therapist? If you have some idea of what the process is, it's not so mysterious.
It helps to get lucky. I think that it's good to have a reference from someone, but you don't really need that. Newspapers, the Internet, health food store bulletin boards, are all points of contact. Then you choose someone based on intuition or something they write or say, and you show up and see how it feels. When you meet the person, feel free to boldly ask them what qualifies them to do the work they do. Ask them if they like it. Ask them anything you damn please. Listen to what they say.
Then notice how you feel. Is the person straightforward? Can you feel who they are? Do they seem to recognize you? Those are good signs. Bad signs are they seem condescending and don't respond when you ask them about it, they don't seem to like their work, they are scared of you, and so on. It's helpful to have an inherent sense of respect for the person from the beginning, something that is just there with no real reason for being there.
I had one of my best therapy experiences with someone in Seattle, whose name I got out of an ad in 'The Stranger' newspaper. Her name was Joan. I worked with her for about five sessions in early 2004, when I decided that one of my last remaining unaddressed issues was having been abandoned by my biological mother, something that was beginning to have an obvious and debilitating effect on my relationships with women. Joan specialized in this particular issue, according to her ad, though she was advertising for female clients. I called up, and discovered she also worked with men. I made an appointment and showed up. This was my first experience of a female therapist. She was a traditionally trained psychologist -- a resource I made good use of and deeply appreciated. There was a good partition between her psychological training and her actual personality; they had not fused into one. Joan, too, was down to Earth, clear and loving. And very, very helpful because, like any good therapist, she could look through my struggle and relate to the healthy part of me directly.
If you're seeking therapy, the most important thing you can do is just choose someone, show up and see how it goes. You'll know in one or two sessions if the experience is going to work. Then, reassess in a couple of months -- looking mainly at your own life, not just the sessions.
When do you need therapy? I would say that if you have trouble getting through most days emotionally; or if you're unhappy more than half the time, it's a very good idea. However, when we are at turning points, therapy helps us live them more consciously.
Now as for money. Yes, therapy costs money. So you do the best you can, remembering that if you don't buy the things you don't need you'll have more cash for the things you do need. Therapy must be a priority if it's going to work. It can quickly become the purpose of your life, and it's a pretty good purpose to have.
If you can afford once a month, then go once a month. If you can afford weekly, go weekly. If you can afford less, go less. But definitely give it as good of a start as you can, and bring the money issue up right away, because that's a very wholesome use of therapy -- figuring out how to get your needs met. I don't recommend doing trades; it's good for creating bad boundaries. If you need free work, ask; some therapists have pro bono sessions available. However, if you prioritize the work, you will see you have the resources, and that the therapy helps you be more resourceful. And many have noticed that the lack of resources is usually just an excuse not to get the help you need.
One last point. Therapy work is different than astrology, that difference mainly being that astrology happens in one or two sessions while therapy is generally a weekly process. Most astrologers don't think they are qualified to work with people in the long-run; others don't want to. Therapists are prepared to work with people for a while.
The other difference is that the chart is generally used as an 'external' factor, denoting events and characteristics, and therapy is generally directed more inwardly as a discovery process (my feeling is that this is how astrology needs to work). However, for people who are in long-term process, knowing something about your chart can be very helpful; for those who do their chart a lot, dropping this filter and going right for the core, your soul, can be genuinely refreshing and clarifying.
People in the New York area who would like to get in touch with Joe Trusso can contact my office. We'll put you in touch.
Chiron in Aquarius Conjunct Natal Sun
For those with strong Aquarius signatures in their chart, an intense, impassioned series of turning points lie ahead, because all that already charged-up Aquarian energy is going to be unleashed in your life and in the lives of people around you.
One thing to know about Chiron in Aquarius is that it will take more than twice as long as Chiron in Capricorn. Chiron in Capricorn will tally up at about three-and-a-half years. Chiron in Aquarius will come out to about seven years. So the effects will be more spread out, and they will affect smaller groups of people more intensely for longer times. By this, I mean that if you are born during the first four or five days of Aquarius, you're going to experience the most direct and personal effects sooner -- this spring. Then in late 2005 and through 2006, the first eight or 10 days will be under the influence of the transit. The same holds true for ascendants and Aquarius moons.
This process will creep along for seven years, by the end of which we will be living on a different kind of planet. Chiron in Aquarius is likely to bring out the Uranian side of Chiron. Many have noted that Chiron has a vibration similar to a mix of two very different energies, Uranus and Saturn. The Uranian aspect is a quicker vibration, bringing sudden and intense developments, transformations, crises and healing, both individual and planetary.
However, one thing it's important to remember is that this transit has not happened yet. It is certainly possible to speculate, and to look at history. (The last phase of Chiron in Aquarius occurred in the late 1950s and ended the day after John F. Kennedy was inaugurated in 1961!) While the 50s are often viewed as a 'conservative' time, what was really going on was that the world was slowly waking up under the vibration of this energy. The United States Supreme Court, under Chief Justice Earl Warren, was beginning to take the lead in a series of civil rights decisions. There was a very active civil rights movement heating up in the North and the South of the United States.
If you read the poetry of the Beat Generation or the books of Jack Kerouac, you will get a taste of Chiron in Aquarius. There was a deeply restless 'search for oneself' going on among these writers, who were also finding their group identity. This is Aquarius -- the place where the individual identity meets the group identity. You will see that they were highly experimental, iconoclastic, and daring. They had trouble keeping their minds in order. They were devoted to their creativity. They did quite a lot of drugs to help the process of unleashing all that repression. They were VERY curious about sex -- this is a deeply Aquarian kind of trait. I think Chiron in Aquarius is going to pull the cork on that issue pretty soon.
This all being said, it's not quite possible -- and not quite fair -- to predict too carefully what will happen to Aquarian individuals under this transit. I will be writing about it in the horoscope for a long time, week by week and day by day. I suggest that it starts with your interpretation and experience of Aquarius in your chart as you live it out now, and have through your life. Usually, people with the Sun there have more than one object in Aquarius -- and I can tell you that people born in the 50s and 60s have quite a bit in the way of Centaurs and other new, far out stuff in Aquarius that will be getting illuminated by the long visit of Chiron.
The important thing to remember about Chiron is that the name of the game is awareness. Yes, it can seem like changes and transformation come on like gangbusters. But it's a lot easier when you remember that everything that happens in life is an opportunity to raise your awareness; to see things differently; to see yourself differently. It's also a good time to remember that we are not alone.
The Jupiter Effect
Jupiter is sometimes a puzzling energy. It can seem to arrive with waves of unusual good luck; then, it can seem like it's a lot of blustery promise with no results. On the luck side, you can't complain when Jupiter delivers an opportunity, a slot machine jackpot, or a chance to escape from danger. On the bluster side, you need to see Jupiter as a presence that will support your own efforts. Basically, when you have Jupiter to work with, then you need to bring the Saturn so you get the most from both.
What do I mean? I know I've used this metaphor before, but it's worth using a third time too, and I don't know who made it up, but it's a good one. You can think of Jupiter and Saturn as the two hands of God. Imagine you are a clay pot on the potter's wheel. Jupiter is the hand inside the pot that pushes outward. Saturn is the hand outside the pot that contains the expansion and provides support and structure to hold the pot up.
Too often we think of Jupiter as 'good' and Saturn as 'bad' without realizing that they are two halves of the same process. Rare is it that just one planet is at work in a chart at a given time, and given that you seem to be having Jupiter issues, we might want to look at what is going on with Saturn in your chart. I say this, by the way, having never seen your chart -- and now I'm looking at it -- and it's pretty darned interesting.
Here it is.
You have Libra Sun and Libra rising, these things we find on the left side of the chart, near that number 14 (your ascendant). The section above the ascendant is your 12th house; the section below is your 1st house. As of today, Jupiter is in the 19th degree of Libra -- so Jupiter has gone over your Sun and ascendant once; it's now retrograde and about to back over your ascendant again, and then it will station and cross for a third time. So, first of all, you can be patient, because this will work out for a while.
You can look at Jupiter transiting back and forth between your 1st and 12th houses as a way of bringing something from your 12th house (the hidden psychic realm, where, as you can see, you have many planets) out into your 1st house (your tangible sense of identity). There is a translation process going on. Part of the situation is described by your 12th house Sun, by far experienced by many as the most difficult house for the Sun. The Sun is about one's glory, one's sense of existence, one's light in the world. In the 12th house, this light can be lost in a fog.
The other planets you have there create an extremely edgy situation. The Sun on the South Node, for example; this is another metaphor, like the 12th, for 'egolessness'. Not easy! Then there are Uranus and Pluto in the 12th. These are the placements that feel like you live your life at the edge of a cliff, and the question is, when are you going to jump off to see if you can fly? I am speaking of a metaphorical cliff -- the cliff of self; the brink of being or becoming who you are.
Now, here we come to the real question: are you holding back someplace? On some decision? Would 'giving up', as you say, actually mean you are making a concrete choice, while 'not giving up' and hanging in there mean that you are standing still? And consider -- when you say 'give up', what exactly do you have in mind? What is on the deeper level?
I mentioned Saturn and I'll close with that. Right now Saturn is making a transit high in your chart, across your 10th house. This is an incredible blessing, offering of a time of achievement and building. What, exactly, are you building these days? Please do ask yourself.
Last on this topic, you have Saturn in Aries in the 7th house. Admittedly this is a serious placement, and can be associated with many ways of looking at your life as a limited enterprise rather than a growth industry. But you have Saturn in Cancer making a long square to your natal Saturn in Aries, which is suggesting (to put it mildly) that you break out of your shell, your construction of reality, or whatever you feel is holding you down.
Over the course of the year, your natal Saturn will receive two big transits: first, transiting Saturn will square it for the last time. Then, in late summer, Jupiter will oppose it for the first and only time this go-round. That is a point of contact, a development -- something.
However, I truly don't suggest you sit around waiting for something to happen, or for some big half-baked, half-frozen blobs of celestial gas to make the right geometry to your chart. As Mick said, 'Get up, get out into something new / when there's nothin' moving'.
Querying Pisces, Cecilia
What does she do with someone who comes in and says, 'I'm a physicist and a poet'? Does this astrologer think that everyone thinks with just half their brain, and that if they think with one particular half, they experience the entire cosmos upside-down?
I am not sure by what logic the astrologer takes a (perceived) lateral change and 'corrects' it by turning it into a vertical inversion.
As an astrologer, this person has many opportunities to know that processing reality requires accessing all areas of the brain and the body. The natal chart in its normal state is going to have numerous metaphors for left versus right, intuitive versus logical, creative versus intellectual -- and for balancing and integrating these factors -- and we need to use them all in our right-side-up reality.
Please visit Planet Waves Parenting -- the first astrological journal for parents, at http://PlanetWavesParenting.com/
Bridge to the Core, the 2005 Planet Waves annual horoscope, has turned out to be a very nice web page: up to 1,400 words per sign in the annual forecast area; a number of articles addressing Chiron in Aquarius, Saturn in Leo, and sign changes by two other centaur planets (Pholus and Nessus); an astrological calendar for 2005; and a massive charts resource area for students of astrology or those who are just curious. I've done my most in-depth writing ever on 2012 and the astrology between now and then. There are dozens of magnificent bridge images sent in by our readers. There is writing by Planet Waves literary slugger Jeanne Treadway (who writes about walls, while I cover bridges) and a Mayan astrology report through July by daykeeper Carol Burkhart, of the Galactic Alchemy web site.
Bridge to the Core is free to all Planet Waves subscribers. To find out more, check this link. http://planetwaves.net/2005horoscope.html
Please visit my homepage at http://planetwaves.net/.
I invite you to poke around and become one of the many satisfied customers who have subscribed to my twice-weekly news and horoscope service.
Email your question to Eric email@example.com
|Click here for Jonathan Cainer's Daily Zodiac Forecasts|
All content and artwork copyright 2005. World rights reserved