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Archive for Friday 16th July 2004

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Hi Eric
I was just wondering if there was such a thing as a 'grand cycle' of the planets - where in X thousand years from now the planets are roughly in the same position as they are now?

Regards, Steve
Sydney, Australia

Dear Steve
A couple of years back I read in one of the major scientific journals, I don't recall which but I can dig it out for you, that based on the laws of probability, combined with the rather large size of the universe, there must be another one of you somewhere in creation. This is based on pure mathematics. The universe is simply too large for the pattern known as you not to come up again. Just think, he may be sitting on the Seine writing poetry in a café right now, in some other galaxy or maybe a few stars away from us.

That being said, I am reluctant to state that the 'grand cycle' of the planets never repeats in so many thousand or million years, even though that's an astronomically accurate statement. In pure theory, it absolutely must, even if it's nowhere near here.

Speaking in practical terms, here on our local Earth, it seems less likely. There are quite a few planets to reckon. Each one adds a variable that makes the whole possibility of an exact realignment more difficult. We see plenty of things that we've never seen before: the recent approach of Mars to the Earth in the summer of 2003; the Taurus alignment of 2000; and many others. We seem to live in an age of highly unusual occurrences. It's more a question of what's going to happen next rather than what's going to happen again.

In addition, while the planets may go round the Sun, the Sun is orbiting the galaxy in a cycle of about a quarter billion years. So even if some arbitrarily set group of planets were to realign in the same position today in 30 million years, the Sun would be in a different position relative to the stars around it. Plus, it may take more like thirty billion years for a grand pattern to repeat, and the life of our solar system is finite.

It is safe to presume, from our mortal standpoint, that everything is always in motion; that no day is like another; that at every moment, infinite variables enter the picture. (This is how it's possible to write a daily horoscope, by the way.) This is a situation that both astrology and astronomy are being compelled to deal with. By 1977, for example, there were about 2060 catalogued objects orbiting our Sun (No. 2060 was Chiron). By 2000, minor planet 20,000 Varuna had been discovered catalogued. By 2002, minor planet 50,000 Quaoar had been discovered catalogued. There are now about 250,000 known objects orbiting our Sun. This is an extremely fast rate of increase.

The acceleration is adding a factor of what Terence McKenna called "exponentially increasing randomness" to the study of either of the astro fiends, and represents a similar phenomenon in our lives, which seem to be growing exponentially more complex. Imagine if I told you as a 10 year old kid that you would be spending an hour a day deleting Spam. Of course, in another galaxy, there must be, by the laws of probability, a version of you who has entirely solved the problem of Spam. If so, please let us know how you did it.

Dear Eric
We have a 14-year-old Son who was born on the 5th September 1989 at 3:05 a.m. He was two weeks premature and weighed 3 lbs., 9 oz. For the past 4-5 years, he has changed from a lovely Son to a monster, always on a Full Moon. No one can help us. Our Doctor said if he were a girl he would put him on hormone tablets!

Is there anything in his star chart that would indicate whether this has anything to do with the Moon? We are convinced it does but no one can understand it or help us deal with it or help our Son, Stuart.

We would love to hear from you if you have any insight into this. We don't know where to turn.

Rachael and David

Dear Rachael and David
Any cop, waitress and even the local film developing guy will tell you that people respond to the Full Moon. To me it is more than interesting that half the population lives with a biological cycle that is directly related to the Moon, sometimes timed down to the day. And if one half of the population does, that makes it fairly likely that the other half does as well, even if it's less noticeable.

It's working out to be somewhat more noticeable with your son. And I realize this is a confounding situation; I can see you sitting in a doctor's office explaining it, to a blank stare. Yet the fact that you've noticed that this involves the Full Moon is helpful; it provides at least a clue.

I'm going to answer in two halves.

Part one. I suggest a holistic approach. Holistic is a gentle, somewhat slow way to solve a problem, and often living with it for a while is the recommended approach. As you've done this already, having the right mindset is important. Western medicine teaches us that we need to dive in and set things straight. Holistic medicine teaches that there is a gradual healing process -- and that something inside your son is going to heal him, even if he requires the assistance of adults around him.

Were I faced with your situation, knowing what I know, I would contact a classical homeopath. I say this recognizing that not everyone believes in homeopathy or can see the sense it, but I also say this as a student of homeopathy and as someone whom this art has helped a great deal. To me this seems like a gentle approach that would lead you to the office of a practitioner who is able to look at the problem in its many layers, including your son's personal story, his emotional makeup, his family situation, our stressful time in history, and others. Homeopaths are the original practitioners who deal with the mind-body connection and who are quite good at handling psychic and energetic themes as well. If you contact my office I will recommend someone in your area.

I also suggest finding someone for your child to talk to, outside the family. I would recommend a therapist who takes a minimalist approach and who would not give your child drugs. This must be someone who your son likes, gets along with and feels comfortable with. More than anything he needs to be given an opportunity to work things out for himself, in his own time. And, if you can afford it, I suggest that this be a prolonged process that lasts six months to two years, if it's going well. It can under the best conditions take months for a person to trust a therapist enough to open up a bit.

Looking at his chart, it is very likely that your child is struggling with emotional frustration. He has not only the Sun in Virgo, but Mars in Virgo as well, and this feels to me like trapped energy or fire that is struggling to burst out but is getting hung up in his mind. Then the Full Moon comes along and the tide of energy rises.

As well, he is a deep, deep young man. With both the Moon and Pluto in Scorpio, it is difficult to fathom the depths of his heart or the intensity of his feelings -- including loneliness. He is not easy to reach; this you know; yet the only way to reach a difficult to reach person is gently. He has some intense feelings brewing in there and he may, at times, not want to be disturbed. And yes that Scorpio Moon and Pluto in Scorpio have a distinct hormonal feeling, but again I don't recommend any drugs -- I shudder at the thought. (Homeopathy is a non-drug approach that takes much more into account.)

It is possible that he has experienced the early onset of puberty. In any event, he's at that age now, where a great deal changes and manhood kicks into high gear. I think you need to be open and honest with him about the changes that his body and feelings are going through, and let him know he's okay with you whatever he feels and whoever he is.

Kids all need deep reassurance, consistency and love. They need to know they are okay the way they are. They need to feel this, and often they need to be told. In any case, I suggest that this not be made into a 'big deal' because it is only likely to multiply if so. This is just life; this is his life; how he is treated by the adults around him now will say a lot about how he's treated in the future.

I wish you the best.

Hi Eric
I am a Piscean, born on 18th March 1971. I have been with my partner (a Tauran) since I was 19 years old, we have been together for 14 years in total but married only for 4 years. Things have gone pear shaped and I am back at home living with my mum after being away from home since I was 21. I don't really know what went wrong within my relationship except I do feel I am a typical Piscean where I put him on a pedestal and completely before myself in all matters (even moving to Northern Ireland) and giving up my friends and family and job to go there to try and make him happy. I self-sacrificed all the way. Obviously my lesson in this is to not ever do that again: not to put someone else before me all the time.

I note from your horoscopes that Pisces has Uranus and Venus/Jupiter in their sign at present which presents a lot of change. Can you let me know if this change is for the better as I do not seem to be able to move on and I feel adrift at the moment.

Thank you for reading this e-mail and I hope you get a chance to reply.

Dear Jane
It was Piscean George Harrison who said that "all things must pass." Fourteen years is a long time for a relationship in a world where so much moves so fast, and where there is so much pressure on people to change and grow.

Yet it would seem that this relationship was supported by your putting your own growth and change second to that of your partner; and this will only last so long. Now you get to embark on a new phase of your life.

After so many years of one basic pattern, it is natural and healthy to have a time of re-orientation when a relationship changes. I would propose that it would be about right for that reorientation to last a year or two. And, without the structure of your relationship around you, and all its commitments and expectations, I could certainly empathize with your life feeling very much adrift during that time.

This is the time not to rush yourself; this is the time to feel your process unfold naturally and give yourself some space to be yourself and discover who that is.

As for the astrology, Uranus is definitely in Pisces and this is shaking things up for all fish people. Even though you are born at the end of Pisces and Uranus is at the beginning, this will still hold true, since an entire sign can easily be activated by such a huge transit. There are other points in your chart that are picking up the disruptive, inventive, creative and electrifying energy of Uranus as well.

Venus, however, is in Gemini, and Jupiter is in Virgo. That does not discount them as factors in your equation. But to me the most interesting fact you've stated is that your relationship lasted 14 years. That is exactly one-half of a Saturn cycle. Saturn is all about the structures that we live with, survive with, and create for protection. When Saturn reaches the halfway point in any cycle (or the return, at 28-29 years) there is a natural restructuring that often occurs.

Since you were in this relationship at the time of your Saturn return around 2000-2001, I would count your current experience as a late Saturn return: the most important maturing point in the lives of young adults. Meanwhile, before all those Saturn structures take shape in the outer world, you have some inner exploration to do, getting to know yourself out of the context of a relationship you've been in a long time. Take your time and find out who you are.

I have a question about general chart interpretation. I was looking at my chart wheel and noticed that I have several houses that don't have any planets in them (4,5,7,8,11,12). How does an empty house affect a person's chart and what does it mean for those houses in general?

Dear Nan
This is a really common question. Charts come in many 'standard patterns' and I believe that Marc Edmund Jones has written quite a bit about some of the more common ones.

Now, you're saying you have empty houses, but really what you could say is that you have concentrations in certain houses.

In general, in my own experience, charts where there are concentrations of planets in specific houses make for interesting people with strong focal points of interest and activity. The drawback is that when a transit comes along, you can get a lot of very concentrated action, even over a long period of time. Let's say you have five planets in Virgo; Pluto in Sagittarius would do a lot with those planets over a period of years and life would be pretty intense. Look for how this might work in your chart.

Now, in terms of how to work with an empty house. Remember that while a house may be empty, there is always a sign on the cusp. The longer I practice astrology, the more important I see these house cusps as being, setting the theme for the house. Someone with Aries on the 5th house cusp is going to live quite differently than someone with Capricorn on the 5th, they will have distinctly different experiences from childhood, and so on. This is regardless of what planet may fall IN the house, which will modify the story.

Let's say you're trying to interpret your 7th house, which you describe as empty. The first thing to do is to look at what sign is on the cusp of the 7th (the descendent) and find out what the planetary rulers are. For the sake of discussion, let's say it's Pisces. Pisces has two planets associated with it: Jupiter and Neptune. Those planets exist somewhere in the chart, and wherever they fall, they will tell you something about how you process your 7th house (partnerships and relationships).

The house, sign and aspects of Jupiter will fill in this story, as will the house, sign and aspects of Neptune. This is actual chart interpretation, taken another layer deeper than just looking at what planet is in a house or sign.

It is well worth considering the relationship between the planet or planets that rules your rising sign, and the planet or planets that rule your descendent. What kind of aspects are they making? This will give you some clues about how you tend to seek and experience relationships.

One last point. When you begin to add planets to the chart, you will find that no house is really empty. By add planets, I mean getting your chart cast with extra points such as asteroids, centaur planets and what are called TNOs -- planets beyond Neptune or transneptunian objects. Yes, these planets take some time to understand, there are few decent books, and few astrologers who are capable of reading them creatively. However, I feel that it is both worth the effort, as well as one of the privileges of being a modern astrologer.

I suggest you start with the four major asteroids, and Chiron. Adding five points to the chart, all of which are very well developed by astrology and should be easy to suss out the basic meaning of, will provide you with much food for thought. If those turn you on, you can go further.

I recommend two books for exploring minor planets, which most astrology programs will calculate, and which you can find free at The first book is Mechanics of the Future by Martha Lang Wescott, which covers asteroids, as well as Saturn, Chiron and the Centaurs: To the Edge and Beyond by Melanie Reinhart. Both are fairly easy to get from any bookseller that specializes in astrology books.

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Last Tango in London; Next Salsa in Paris
Eric Francis is soon wrapping up his stay in London and heading for Paris. He willl be available for in-person sessions in London through July 12, 2004. This is also the July cut-off for telephone consultations from the U.S. and abroad.
Eric will then be available for sessions in Paris beginning July 23, 2004 for one week through July 31, 2004. Telephone sessions from abroad will resume some time in early August.
Those interested in my astrology group in Paris may call my UK cell phone this week at 07837 718 756. I will post Paris contact data here shortly. Or call my US office during Eastern business hours at (206) 463-7827.
For more information, please write to
or call (206) 463-7827 (U.S. number, during Eastern business hours).

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