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Archive for Friday 30th July 2004

Astrology Secrets Revealed: Eric Francis Answers Your Questions
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Dear Eric
I have recently decided to quit my job and move very far away from my ancestral home. The decision is based more on intuition, and a fascination with travel and the unknown, than anything very rational or concrete. I sometimes worry that I'm making a mistake. I have heard that there is an area of astrology that specializes in drawing up charts that point out to you where on the planet it is most beneficial for you to be -- whether romantically, materially, or spiritually -- during a particular period of time. Almost like the place where destiny is meant to take you, if you would only listen! Is this true? And if it is, how does it work? My birthday is on the 1st of April 1979, at 1:00 PM in Cairo, Egypt. Thanks!


Dear Ichtrine
First, congratulations. A little apprehension is natural when you're making a real change in your life, and a very healthy sign. Also, intuition has nothing to do with reason, and usually knows all the better. The only way to learn is to actually embark on the unknown, so I support you in your desire for adventure and in particular for your desire to venture far from your ancestral home.

There is something called Astro*Carto*Graphy that was developed by the late Jim Lewis back in the 70s. Since then, many other commercial astrology programs (for example, Solar Fire for PC and Io Edition for Mac) have begun to offer extremely refined mapping features.

They all do basically the same thing, which is show you where on the world's surface your natal planets would intersect with what are called the angles in your chart -- the ascendant, descendant, IC and MC. The resulting chart is a world map which serves as a graph; the lines look like sine waves. Some astrologers can read where these lines, which emphasize certain aspects of your chart by making them "angular." In other words, in certain places, were you to have been born there at the same moment as your natal chart states, these planets would appear in your 1st, 4th, 7th or 10th houses -- called the angular houses -- the strongest ones, and the ones that manifest fastest and most directly. It is actually a lot simpler than it sounds by the way.

You don't need to have a mapping program to do this, though there are advantages to using them. You can simply change the location of the chart, making sure that you leave the birth time and time zone alone. The time is not what changes; only the place is. You were born in Cairo so let's say you cast your chart (for example) in Chicago and your program asks you if you want to use Central Time, say NO. Remember, the birth time and time zone stays the same (preserving the original GMT of birth) but the place changes. This is your relocated chart for that particular place. And it relates directly to these maps that astrology programs create; experiment and you will see what I am talking about.

It's well worth the money to get the map. In the UK I suggest you call the Astrology Shop in Covent Garden, which can print your chart on the spot, and please tell Barry I said hi.

Now for the real question: do these charts work? That is always the question.

After looking at relocations of myself and my clients for 10 years, I think they have something important to offer. I was not a believer for a long time. Then I began traveling, and have lived a number of different places around the world long enough to feel the emphasis in locational astrology. There are palpable differences in locations that seem to be associated with astrology, and these are worth exploring. If you are curious, you can experiment by selecting two or three of the more interesting places that your chart points to and visiting them. And stay as long as you can in each place; two weeks if possible. This is the only way to tell.

As a Greek pharmacist once said to me, "No place is paradise," but I feel strongly that we can find our place in the world if we look for it, feel for it and listen to what our bodies and experiences tell us. Quite literally, go to a place and see what happens to you there. Then compare that with what the chart has to say.

I would not, however, be so eager to use the word "destiny" associated with this or any other astrological method. Destiny is something we usually see in hindsight. But I would definitely be inclined to experiment. Travel is good for the soul and since we now have the opportunity to live or at least visit just about any place we want in the world, this is a privilege worth using.

Now, in terms of acquiring interpretations of locational charts not involving a visit to a place, a few words of caution. The first bit comes from my mentor Dave Roell, which is that if you are going to work with a locational astrologer, make sure you've got someone who has personally lived and traveled in many parts of the world. Astrology is as much a matter of experience as it is of study. In addition, cultures vary wildly, and the cultural factor is critical; the astrologer must be able to handle this aspect of the locational reading. You go to have a culture you like immensely on a line that is particularly difficult and it just doesn't work; you can have a fairly ordinary place with some good lines (or even no lines) that you just happen to like and things happen there for you. Ideally, you can find someplace you like with some sweet astrology to it.

The second bit is a personal observation. If you order a computer prepared report that comes with a little booklet, or if you buy the cities report, please take the interpretations with a grain of salt. They are in my opinion entirely too definitive for anyone's good. They leave very little room for personal interpretation, very little space for personal experience, and some are decidedly negative in their slant. If something sounds negative, that has more to do with the writer than anything.

Safe & sane travels to you.

I have a fairly simple question, is it possible that specific planets can be involved with afflictions? I'm a Scorpio with eyes consistently for Cancers. Is this just a crazy coincidence? Or is there really something there?


Dear Jen
It's neither crazy nor a coincidence if you ask me. There are all kinds of interesting relating patterns involving astrology. You can find them in families, amongst your lovers, and within your circle of friends. My father and both of the important therapists in my life all have Aquarius moons. My mother and many important women in my life have Capricorn moons. These kinds of patterns point to various dimensions of the reality of astrology, and to interesting soul patterns we need to work out.

If you are drawn to Cancer Sun people, I suggest you get to know your chart and see where that magnetism is. You are likely to have the Sun, Moon or an important angle -- the rising or setting sign, or one of your lunar nodes -- in Cancer that could be serving as a point of attraction. As well, if one of your parents has something strong in Cancer, there could be a resonance there as well.

Or you could just be drawn to these sensitive, cuddly types of people. Cuddle away!

Hello Eric
I am expecting twins very soon and (for medical reasons) will have a planned Caesarian. At the moment, this will take place on 29th July but there is every possibility I can change the date. This puts me in a quandary - it seems somehow wrong to attempt to calculate when would be the best time for their birth, but I also feel I should not just ignore this aspect. Do you have any thoughts about this? Any comments much appreciated.

Dear Jo
By now you're likely to have given birth to your twins, so this response is a bit more academic than it will be practical. But in terms of choosing the natal chart of one's children, you raise an ethical issue of epic proportions. Can we really pick the best chart? But does it make any sense to have the person who schedules the operating room make the decision arbitrarily?

It would seem silly to be aware of astrology and not consult the art if you are doing something so important as a Caesarian birth. But were I your astrologer, I would be a lot less inclined to cast the astrology as a custom birth chart and much more inclined to make sure that we had the best possible chart for the surgery itself. The two would be unlikely to conflict. But I think that surgery is something calling for careful examination of planetary influences along with careful exploration of the reasons for the procedure. This has been one of the time-honored uses of astrology going back to the beginning. Sometimes it is even possible to get the hospital to play along with the game.

Were I your astrologer, I also would advise whole-heartedly that you seek the counsel of two different midwives to get non-medical (Wise Woman tradition) opinions on the presumed necessity of the c-section. Most c-sections are in fact unnecessary and are done for a variety of reasons other than medical ones. Because the delivery could take place in a hospital birthing room, there could be a surgical team standing by close at hand in the event that the c-section became necessary. And there are times when it surely is indicated.

I wish you the best, and a speedy recovery.

I don't have a specific question I just wondered when my Saturn return was, and what it means. My D.O.B - 10/06/75, 4.20am, & I was born in Winchester, UK. Hope you are well.

Dear Gaz
Technically, the Saturn return is the completion of one full orbit of the planet Saturn from the time of your birth. Like other planetary returns (Chiron return, Jupiter return, etc.) the planet in question literally returns to where it was when you were born. In the case of Saturn, this takes place at about 29 years old. While the event can be reduced down to anywhere from one to five exact or nearly exact passes, actually, the Saturn return is a process that stretches out for several years.

Generally, major life transits -- and this is one of the critical ones -- are growth processes that have phases and which call on us to make changes, and then settle down from those changes. Rarely do they seem like distinct events, though in hindsight it's possible to point to several that perhaps seemed not so obvious at the time. Because Saturn is typically about structure and the process of building, these changes often involve changes to employment, major relationships, where we live and so on. The Saturn return is the completion of one Saturn cycle: the cycle of creation and maturity. At the return, a new cycle begins, and this feeling can be very distinct and extremely positive -- even if it's a bit of a temporary struggle.

The Saturn return can seem to stretch out for three additional reasons.

Reason one is that at about age 27, there is an event in the progressed horoscope that signals the early beginning of the Saturn return -- the progressed lunar return. This is another topic entirely but suffice it to say for now that the progressed lunar return is the warmup act for the Saturn return process and gets things going.

Reason two is that many people have other planets clustered around their natal Saturn (you do not). As transiting Saturn makes conjunctions, squares or oppositions to those planets, they will begin to get Saturn-return like effects before and after Saturn's conjunction to itself, which I'll get to in a moment.

Reason three is that many people who experience the Saturn return astrologically don't actually do the work of the transit, or embrace the experience fully. As a result, it can seem to go on and on, and sometimes it never ends; that is; people into their mid to late 30s and beyond are still going through the transit over and over in their inner worlds, never really settling down from it, or coming out of it. The simple question is: have we made the changes we need to make at this time? If yes, the process will be lot easier.

And here we get into the personal growth dimension of this transit, which is of truly significant importance in the world we live in. Our world teaches us to be everything other than a mature adult. It teaches us everything other than to make decisions for ourselves. It teaches us to be dependent on others in unhealthy ways and rarely ever encourages us to seek our actual freedom, as lovers or as creators.

The Saturn return above all else says grow up and be fully human. Make the changes you need to make; deal with reality as you perceive it; live your life, because it is your life.

To answer your question directly, given your birth data of Oct. 6, 1975, you have Saturn at one degree Leo and 33 minutes. Hence, the ingress of Saturn to Leo in July 2005 is technically the beginning of your Saturn return. However, you are rather likely to already be under its influences now -- but the transit reaches your chart full strength in about one year. Saturn will pass your natal degree just one time and make no retrograde back to the exact natal position.

If I were your personal astrologer, and I am for a moment, I'd be telling you that your Saturn return is now. Get out the blue prints of your life; take a look at the foundations of your relationships; remember what you really want to be doing in life. You've got a lot of help on the way if you want to make it happen.

Hello Eric
I've got a once in a life-time transit, Pluto square Sun starting at the end of this year and I was wondering if you could tell me how best to handle/cope with the transformative energy of this aspect. My birth details are 15 March 1956 at 9.20 pm in Manchester England
Michele, London

Dear Michele
Once in a lifetime sums up both the transit and the best attitude you can have toward it. To me those sound like words of respect. You also mention transformative: that's a good keyword for Pluto (and it works quite well for any outer planet starting with Saturn and beyond, but Pluto is the King of Transformation).

Pluto transits are intense, but the Sun can take any transit in stride. Yes, there is something of an "ultimate transformation" or rebirth feeling about this whole process; the Sun represents the self at its highest expression in the outer world. Pluto works on deep level to bring out the inner nature of just about anything; to peel back the layers; to push us to being real. So it's like you're being re-created on a deep level and then that inner re-creation will eventually come forth. To be sure, there are ways you will feel like an entirely new person when this transit has passed.

From the look of your chart, Pluto square the Sun would appear to involve two very specific aspects of your life: being a mother, and your professional aspirations. I can tell this because you have Leo on the 10th house cusp, which is thus ruled by the Sun. The 10th house addresses both of these themes, and when the Sun gets a transit it's always going to have some relationship to your profession and the fact that you are a parent (which I confirmed, if readers are wondering how I know this).

In looking at a Pluto transit, it's good to check out how Pluto works in the natal chart. You possess one of the most strikingly creative, even amazing Pluto aspects there is: Pluto conjunct Jupiter. This is one of those "natural born mystic" placements, and this is confirmed by numerous other planets in your chart -- particularly natal Neptune in your ascendant and Uranus in your 9th house.

Note that you have natal Pluto/Jupiter in a strong, harmonious aspect to your ascendant. This translates to one word: opportunity. And it means that the world in which you currently find yourself is likely to go right along with the changes that you need to make. You can actually count on the people who love you to provide resources and support.

If I had to take a wild guess, it would be that you're heading for a phase of major development in your career. It feels like something you've been thinking about for along time wants to be expressed. It may be that the demands of motherhood have forced you to put certain aspirations on hold and, if so, you are getting to a time in life where you will have more freedom. I'm wondering whether you've had an extremely unique experience of being a parent that is calling for some kind of book to be written. I say this in part because Pluto is now working its way into your 3rd house of writing, and no matter how you slice that transit, it comes out with words and ideas being of utmost importance.

I say this for one additional reason, and it involves the "asteroid" (really, full planet) Ceres. Ceres is in your 5th house, conjunct your Mercury. Both placements speak to your experience of your children and of mothering (Ceres is often about mothers and the struggles they endure, and Mercury is about children, as is the 5th house). There has some kind of very intense experience of mothering here, something that has profoundly influenced the way you view the entire world. Given the Pisces placements of Ceres and Mercury, I would say you've given yourself to this with true selflessness and an attitude of deep devotion. Now, this placement can work for you as a creative gift: something I am sure you have thought of before.

Pluto transits are mercifully slow. Most people would say they take too long, but we don't want these changes to come at us all at once. So Pluto doses them out gradually in non-toxic levels. You still have quite a few months before this process reaches full intensity and, when it does, the best way to handle Pluto, like so much else, is one day at a time. That works well because each day of your life is once in a lifetime.

Dear Readers
Thanks for your excellent questions and feedback about this column, and thank you Jonathan for such a fine and adventurous web page that is visited by people from every planet in the solar system.

Readers may be interested to know that I publish a twice-weekly astrology newsletter that is issued each Monday and Friday. It includes a Friday weekly horoscope, a bonus Monday horoscope, a weekly birthday report, and two essays (of differing lengths) each week. This is an utterly insane amount of high-quality astrology information, plus horoscopes that do not disappoint. This service is fully guaranteed, and you can forward it to your friends as well (it arrives by both email and is posted to a password-protected web page).

My essays range in topic from in-depth stuff about Chiron and other planets, to major transits of every shade and stripe, to world political issues (taking a distinctly pro-peace, personal growth approach to the subject), to essays about relationships, and much else. If you subscribe, you get access to a two-year archive of essays and horoscopes that contains a vast database of excellent work.

This service is reasonably priced (particularly with the pound so strong these days) and delivered with love by the awesome Planet Waves team.

For more information, have a look at or call +(206) 463-7827 during Eastern business hours. Canadian and Australian dollars are accepted at par for new subscribers!

See you next week, where I'll be writing from Amsterdam.

Yours truly,

Eric Francis

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