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Eric Francis Astrology Q&A
Friday 20th January 2006

Astrology Secrets Revealed: Eric Francis Answers Your Questions
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Aquarius Ingress

Dear Friend and Reader:

We're back this week with some Q and A in the Q and A column. This is our 80th edition of this project! It's my intention to re-focus the column on personal questions rather than the news, which became the major focus last year, given how much of the stuff there was.

For sure, when something big happens that I know a lot of people will be curious about, you'll read about it on this page, But for now, let's keep the questions as on the individual level as possible. This will of course be easier said than done when the Aries Point total solar eclipse shows up in late March.

First, though, let's take a quick look at the Aquarius ingress of the Sun on Friday morning:

Aquarius Ingress

Aquarius Ingress of the Sun

Aquarius is a whole different energy than we've had for the while: not only is there a sense of opening up, but Aquarius tunes us in to the technological world that is so present in our lives now. And there is an unusual sequence of events in Aquarius, including the Sun-Mercury conjunction that leads into what I'm calling the Parallel Worlds aspect: an extraordinary alignment of planets that takes place between Feb. 2 and 6 (coverage in the Planet Waves cover blog).

A few notes on this chart: The location is The Hague. Note that Venus is still retrograde, and will be until Feb. 3 (changing directions in the midst of Parallel Worlds alignment, see Planet Waves cover blog for more details). Mercury is heading for its exterior conjunction to the Sun, which will Jan. 26 in a conjunction to Chiron.

In the current chart, the Moon is on the South Node in the 9th house. This makes a sentence like "letting go of old beliefs, or the "refusal to commit either way to one's beliefs." Mars on the 5th house in Taurus is daring and passionate, and trine a lot of Capricorn planets, so the door is open.

Pluto and Pallas are rising in Sagittarius: authority, with diplomacy. Politics, with impact. A fierce protective spirit. Impact in the world of ideas.

Please tune in for details at Planet Waves. Look for the homepage for the Astrology Secrets Revealed (this Q and A) project, complete with a newly updated search engine of all questions so far.

Here are some new questions and reflections for you. Thanks for your letters -- please keep them coming.

Shadow material

Dear Eric,

I have read Jan Spiller's Spiritual Astrology, and found useful the part where she described the 'static' and 'dynamic' versions of signs and placements. That is, how one acts when one is closed-off or denies growth, versus taking the challenges and living with awareness.

Have you ever considered doing something similar? It might be useful for those who don't realize they have some inhibiting habits or for those who would like a reference for recognizing those who are 'static'. For instance, your horoscopes always point out how to be using things positively; a constructive way of giving direction. I really like that.

But in addition, might there be a 'shadow scope'? For those dealing with a difficult person, we might like tips on how to handle someone in a 'static state'. A set of horoscopes that might mention that if your difficult Aquarius, for instance, is about to have Chiron cross his natal Sun whereabouts, what might that do? The difficult person, probably, is not reading Planet Waves or Jonathan's horoscope, and won't benefit from your positive outlook. But others might carry the constructiveness if they know the 'guidebook', so to speak.

An idea.

Hugs to ya,

- - Jenn

Dear Jenn
This may be the most relevant question ever sent into this column -- and we've had some really exceptional ones. The reason I say this is because it addresses two critical issues: how newspaper astrologers handle the astrology in their columns; and how astrologers in general handle what psychologists call "shadow material."

It also speaks to the presumptions that astrologers must make about human nature, particularly in a public forum where we don't know who we're talking to, or what is going on in their lives.

For an astrologer, being able to admit and handle shadow material -- all that dark stuff that most people stuff into denial -- is what makes you worth your salt. The ability to assist others in processing it rather than turning it against them is the basis by which we might actually help someone rather than bring disaster into their lives.

With an actual client, it's a lot easier. You can sit there and listen to their story, see a personal chart with exact transits, and ask them specific questions. You can get a feeling for their patterns and the specific way they were influenced as a child, and work with both.

But every bit of astrology writing that appears in public -- including prepared reports -- must make presumptions about who is reading, including assumptions directed to their astrological signs and placements, and others that address human nature in general.

Sally Brompton (Jonathan's colleague at the Mail on Sunday) has a "Devil's Advocate" page on her Internet site, where she quotes a guy named Daniel Finkelstein's 2004 article poking fun at newspaper astrology in the London Times.

"I'm also concerned that everyone's star sign carries admiring references to their acumen and moral strength," he writes. "Why don't I ever open the paper to find: 'You are a buffoon and August will be a disaster. You may be faced with a challenge but you will weasel your way out as you always do'."

Well, I had to think about this for a while. And in doing so, I reflected back on the past 10 years of horoscopes I've written, where I made just that same presumption of acumen and moral strength. Trust me: I know what petty, manipulative dorks people can be; I know well how sheepish they often are; I watch them betray their friends, tell their 'white lies', hoist the flag of unmitigated hypocrisy and delay making the basic honest decisions that will help themselves; and in doing so, ultimately take the role of their own worst enemy.

And as a personal astrologer, I've been around countless times when they have finally decided it was time to pick up the pieces of their lives; to do what is right for themselves; to speak their personal truth, and concede that love is more important than money; or to decide that sex really does matter, even when they are 54. I have contact with the aspect of the human spirit that really does want to live truly, make positive decisions and get out of bad scenes; the part that wants to be real and paint and write and stand up to abusive partners or mean politicians. Many times I have heard the voice of the person who really cares, and the regret for not caring in the past. I know there is an aspect of every person, very close to the core, that wants to live passionately and be daring and free.

This is the aspect of human nature that I've decided to speak to -- and, as a result, strive to reach in people. Human beings have a tendency (not 100%, but a tendency) to respond on the level at which you're speaking to them. For the most part, if you treat people as if they are intelligent, they will respond intelligently. Sometimes it takes a while for people to respond; sometimes they never do; sometimes it's only possible to have an effect in a small way.

In addressing readers this way, it's not my intention to overlook the shadow side of nature, or how difficult the world is. I am keenly aware of both facts. For me, this is where the real soul work of writing a horoscope column enters the scene. I feel it's my job to look at the whole planetary picture, to see the dark and the light, and then solve or at least simplify the equation: and then address the better angel of human nature.

Presumably, this is who we are hoping will respond. Surely it's who I intend to respond to -- and from what I have seen, it's true.

In addressing the issue of relationships, I pass this ethos onto my readers. But my firm position is to treat the self -- that is, the self of the reader -- as being of primary importance, and the other -- the reader's partner or love interest -- as being of secondary importance. Without self-awareness and the prerogative to make decisions, what else actually matters? And how can we betray ourselves and be of service to others?

Part of the crisis on the planet is that we don't often have a dependable source of thought forms that allow us to conceive of our problems in a way they can be solved; we don't often have an encouraging voice to help us keep going, and make our lives into what we want; we barely feel that anybody understands.

Horoscope writers do have the opportunity to take this role, but speaking for myself, this is the philosophy that guides my columns.

Selling Miracles?

Dear Eric:

I would like your opinion on something, if possible. You say that now is a good time to start doing healing, but I seem to be coming up against major obstacles, mainly in relation to the methods of advertising and gaining a paying clientele.

I'm not a miracle worker, but I have had some good results in the past.

Working ethically is not a problem; it's the whole question of selling or convincing someone that, not only is what I'm offering valid, but that they need it.

Do they need it? The focus of my healing is on spiritual development, rather than just recovery from whatever. I think we all need spiritual development, but is it morally, or even practically, right to try to convince others that they do?

To me, it is a need, but to others it may be an accessory. What do you think? If you notice a slight tone of desperation about this, you're absolutely right! I have come to the conclusion that there isn't anything else I can do, and stay on the right side of sane at the same time! Maybe that's not true, but it really feels like it to me. I would really appreciate your honest opinion, though. I would give you my date of birth, if that would help, but I don't want to bother you too much. I sent it to you ages ago, but I'm not sure if you got it. I'm also wrestling with my independent/free spirit at the moment, so whatever...

I don't know what you're going to make of this, but anyway...

Best wishes


Dear E.T.:

Welcome to the dilemmas of the Earth! This is an exceptional question and one that many people face, particularly those who are working in service as healers or helpers. Your question could easily be the subject of a book, and maybe a book has been written on it.

The short answer to your question may be the best. If you put yourself out in the world willing to offer help, and if you sincerely set out to assist others, you will have people lining up at your door. If you open up to receiving a fee for your work, people will be happy to pay you. All that is required is sincerity and being open to receiving.

In terms of doing one-on-one work such as you are talking about, there is no convincing involved. Make yourself available, make sure you grease the door hinges, align your heart with serving Spirit, and the people who need you will find you.

Open up to receiving support for your work, and the funds will come in. People will want to pay you; they will expect to pay you, and they will be grateful; they do need to see that you value your work, and they will value your work. I trust that you will find this an excellent "spiritual lesson." The key with a healing or helping practice is to establish a positive symbiosis; a plus-plus environment; win-win; you know, the way things are supposed to be and the way we're hopefully working with such devotion to re-create the world.

If you're having difficulty with money, I suggest you take this issue on as your own material, and do so promptly. This is in part true because so much of what people come to helpers and healers for is, specifically, survival-related stuff. In the end, it does not matter whether you're a musician, artist, writer, dancer or stockbroker. It is generally possible to make your living doing what you're good at, and what you want to do, and this is part of what you establish in doing precisely that.

If this does not happen, generally I have found that there are beliefs about money in the way. There are many influences and sources we can look to for these beliefs; we would do well to start with what our parents had to say, and moreover, what they did. Generally, we feel a strong need to be loyal to the values our parents, many of whom warned us that we would not be able to make a living at what we wanted to do, or something that helped others, or what we do best -- so we had better be a brain surgeon or a lawyer. Trust me, this is not the person I would want to meet in the operating room or to help me with the legal system; nor would I want that attitude from someone selling me car for that matter.

Loyalty to one's parents can take many strange forms. I'll relate a personal story I hope is relevant. My father repeatedly warned me that I should not be a writer because I would never make any money. He did his best to shower his disapproval on me. However, I felt a strong calling, loved the work, had already done a great deal in high school and college, and displayed some talent and affinity. So, I went for it.

There came a point in my career where I was very well known as an investigative reporter, in New York City of all places, with the repeated acclaim of The New York Times -- but could not at that point make a living at it. With the help of my therapist, I came up with this analysis: I was attempting to be loyal to both my father and myself. Loyalty to him came in the form of not making money as a writer. Loyalty to myself came in the form of being a smashing [journalistic] success.

Strange, I know. But true. I've since changed my act.

People working as helpers and healers have to address these kinds of concerns, but then there are others more specific to our profession. One of them can be found in the Bible, or a Bible dictionary. The word is simony. Hey, it's not even coming up with a red underline in Microsoft Word. Here's a definition of simony, according to the ever-dependable Wikipedia:

"Simony is the ecclesiastical crime and personal sin of paying for offices or positions in the hierarchy of a church, named after Simon Magus, who appears in the Acts of the Apostles 8:18-24. Simon Magus offers the disciples of Jesus payment for the power to perform miracles."

Here is the full article.

How about that -- an ecclesiastical crime! And this issue goes back 2,000 years.

The basic idea is, it's against Church canon to "sell miracles" -- and so far as I can tell, much of the hesitance of modern-day helpers and healers to make a living at what they do has a direct root into this idea. What did Jesus do? We really have no way of knowing. I do not trust (most of) the content of the Bible because it's been translated and edited so many times by so many different authorities with so many different agendas. But more to the point, the Church as we know it is a vast and far-reaching business venture, as evidenced by its internal bank and a huge pile of gold over which the Swiss Guard stand watch.

The Church replaced another religion, the old religion, and the prohibition on simony basically outlawed any kind of exchange with someone who might help you, in lieu of which that compensation or fee went to the Church in various forms. And the hypocrisy was reeking, literally. In Paris, you would give your inheritance to the Church to be buried in a magic mass grave called Les Innocents. After 15 centuries, this was finally shut down as a public health nuisance. In other times, the Roman Catholic Church sold indulgences (that is, sin tickets that would absolve you of just about anything you wanted to do, which raised loads of money to fight the crusades and slaughter a lot of women, and in turn became the subject of the Protestant Reformation). It's also documented that in Germany (including being used as evidence in a modern court case), that during the Middle Ages, the Church ran brothels, the proceeds from which were used to build cathedrals.

So the Church is in no position to lay down any such law as simony.

Donna Cunningham takes up the issue of helpers and healers getting paid for our work in The Consulting Astrologer's Guidebook, which is a great little book by a dependable and clear-headed author. It's been a while since I read it, but this is basically what she said: remember that most of us who come into the healing and helping professions (including astrologers) are quite often reincarnated monastic types -- monks, priests, nuns, and so on -- who have taken vows of poverty and celibacy in prior incarnations, vows which we are still (needlessly) holding to today.

She suggests that we clearly renounce these vows so that we may proceed in the current lifetime with some measure of happiness and success. Upon reading this many years ago, I sat down at my computer and wrote a letter to His Holiness Pope John Paul II, and did just that: renounced all vows of poverty and celibacy, whether taken in this lifetime or any other. I signed the letter in earnest. Then, I put it in an envelope and stuck a stamp on it and tossed into the mail, and somewhere in the Vatican halls, some priest got a great laugh or something to think about. But it's not a joke.

Now, regarding accepting money as a writer and publisher, I have a personal value that could get in the way if I let it -- but which I do my best to spin in my favor. In my current work, which is making ideas and information available to people, I have a strong value on making as much available for free as I can. So, for example, instead of working with clients for a day, I sit and write this column. Many more people get contact with the same basic ideas; you get this column at no cost; then, a certain number of people who wind up on my Webspace subscribe to Planet Waves Weekly.

If people cannot afford to subscribe, we have a business policy of giving them discounts or comp subscriptions, an offer about which we have found our readers to be highly conscientious and gracious. We have faith that this is part of the fulfillment of our mission, and that the energy will in some way come back to us -- the sense of exchange with the environment is vital -- because we're open to receiving, and we welcome the positive exchange with our readers and the community. Indeed, the exchange is crucial for those in helping professions because it's necessary that we not be struggling economically. This sets a bad example for those who come to us with the same situation, or indeed, at all.

I will leave you with one last point. Many times in the course of my work, young practitioners have come to me and said they don't feel good about charging money to help people. To which I respond: So, you would feel better about charging money to hurt them?

Family Affairs

Dear Eric,

My daughter seems to be going through my childhood, with the same insecurities / feelings I had (sometimes even the same sentences -- that she has never heard me say in her earthly lifetime) although she has had a vastly different upbringing. I was brought up by grandparents who should have lived in Victorian times -- no love, no nothing -- big fat zero. Now, is this an imprint on the brain, passed down to mother and child? I was reading that scientists have discovered that if the mother -- and even ancestors -- went through a period of anxiety, it showed up chemically in the child's make-up. We know so little of the wonders of the brain and wouldn't that be great if we could tap into our ancestors lives through stimulation of a particular neuron, but I digress -- or is it something to do with the planets (I'm May 1958, she's June 1993). Perhaps a bit of both. I certainly know it is nothing to do with nurture!

I'm asking because I know you do the children's horoscopes, and I was wondering if any other mothers had asked a similar question.


Dear Kay

A pioneer named Dr. Stanislov Grof has discovered some unusual evidence of the phenomenon of information being passed from generation to generation in his work, described in the excellent book The Holographic Universe by Michael Talbot. But if you ask me, it's really simple: if all the information that makes a human being can be passed from one generation to the next, why shouldn't some memories get passed along as well?

Human DNA is the most astonishing computer ever conceived of. I have no doubt at all that the memories, knowledge, teaching, experiences and feelings of many prior generations are recorded in the DNA and passed from generation to generation. Where these memories fade, there is a huge pool of tribal memory behind them, a pool as big as the Atlantic Ocean.

Just because we don't see this in operation doesn't mean it's not happening. In the old days we would assume that if someone came from a family of shoemakers, they got the talent from growing up in the workshop and watching dad pound away. But it's just as possible that the information went from one generation to the next.

All kinds of interesting stories are documented with adopted children who had no contact with their bio parents, who in essence followed in their footsteps. There are many cultures that worship and respect the ancestors with deep reverence for this and many other reason. Many cultures believe and live as if the ancestors are still among us. They have plenty of evidence for this, and if we would look, so, too, would we.

Neurologists are another branch of scientists that have uncovered some unusual connections between parents and children that we might not ordinarily think of. For example, in the book A General Theory of Love, the authors discuss the effect of the fetus developing within the mother of the body and constantly being subjected to both her emotions and the vibrations of her voice. We are learning language before we are born, and we are tapping into our mother emotionally because we are part of her.

Neurologically, we remain a "hot ball of clay" for the next two years as the limbic system, the part of the brain that processes emotion and contains memory, develops. During this time we are usually in the environment of the family of origin and we are tuning our mind to their frequencies like musicians tuning up before a show. This is as close to hard wiring as we can get, which explains a lot about why the apple doesn't fall far from the tree, and why family patterns and indeed all emotional patterns seem so intractable.

Homeopathic medicine provides some clues as well. Dr. Samuel Hahnemann, its discoverer, developed the theory of miasmas, which are essentially disturbances and disease roots that are passed from one generation to the next, energetically. It's not about genes (unknown at the time) or the environment (too simple to account for the whole effect, as you are seeing) -- there is just simply an energetic transfer from parent to child, and also, within communities. So a good homeopath can, if necessary, treat the unresolved states of the parents that we may contain within us that are troubling us in some way: as psychic disturbance or physical disease.

Last, there is karma to consider. There are a lot of ways to look at this, but one way to see it is in the astrological chart. The alignments between parents' and children's charts are astonishing and, once you can see the symbols, astonishing and undeniable. The coding for this is somehow contained in the temporal order; that is, the passage of time. But the picture of the relationship between the generations is evident, as are many subtle images of the roles that the children and parents play in one another's lives.

I feel that it's essential for anyone studying astrology to look carefully at the charts of their parents, and to look at their own birth chart as a transit experience in the lives of their parents. We are an experience that happens to them, as much as they are an experience that happens to us.

Heck, we're all happening to one another all the time.

I hope that opens up the subject a little bit.

We'll take a more complex and challenging question on this subject next time.

Confidential to Joanne: If someone is not answering your emails and you have not seen him in two years, it's definitely time to move on.

CLICK HERE to email your question to Eric


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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