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Archive for Friday 8th July 2005

Astrology Secrets Revealed: Eric Francis Answers Your Questions
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Regarding the Terrorist Attacks in London

Dear Readers:

Thursday morning's bombings in London have sent the UK into shock. For readers outside the country, it's important to recognize that England is a densely populated island community, and as such, it has a much closer-knit emotional and psychological feeling than most other places. Events tend to have a powerful impact on the whole nation, which in a deep and meaningful way responds like a family to national tragedies.

On behalf of everyone at, I offer condolences to those who have lost loved ones, and to those who have had their lives shaken by these unwelcome developments. Most of us are experiencing some level of grief, fear and uncertainty in the wake of the news. This is natural; staying in touch with friends and loved ones will help.

It seemed appropriate to provide our readers some information about the astrology, so we're adding the chart and this introduction to the regularly prepared "Astrology Secrets Revealed" column, which follows.

If there was a warning about these events, it came in the form of the Capricorn Full Moon two weeks ago, exactly on the summer solstice -- an extraordinarily large event on a deeply sensitive part of the zodiac. This was the first of two Cap Full Moons; the second is July 21, in about two weeks, as this past Wednesday July 6 was the Cancer New Moon.

To have an exact lunation on the solstice means that the Sun and the Moon simultaneously aligned exactly on what was, in the Northern Hemisphere, a high-energy point for the Sun -- the longest day. This involves the Aries point because the four days where the Sun begins new seasons are all connected in a kind of energy circuit.

In my article on the Cap Full Moons two weeks ago, I wrote, "These early degrees of the cardinal signs (those on a cross beginning with the first degree of Aries, which is the first degree of the tropical zodiac) are hot, hot degrees lately, they have wide impact, and this grand cross makes aspects to the charts for many recent news events going back even unto the autumn of 2000."

That article, with a number of predictions, is here.

Among the "many news items," I was referring specifically to the Sept. 11 attacks, and numerous subsequent events, which were preceded by a solar eclipse on the summer solstice on June 21, 2001. The bottom line with an exact lunation on the solstice is an event that will affect many people in a far-reaching way. These old eclipses can have impact for years.

Wednesday July 6 came the New Moon in the sign Cancer exactly between the Capricorn Full Moons. It was a big day -- the day London was granted the Olympics for 2012, as well as during the G8 summit in Scotland. And this is in the midst of vastly important news in the US, including the retirement of Sandra Day O'Connor this past weekend, and many developments in the situation involving the Karl Rove / Valarie Plame spy situation that relates to how the US and the UK wound up at war with Iraq (please see for background). So this series of lunations, aspecting one of the most important Sept. 11 charts (the June 21, 2001 eclipse), are quite literally setting the world into motion.

As part of the background, we also are right on the cusp of Saturn moving into Leo and opposing Chiron -- a portent of big change (see main article below, on Saturn in Leo).

Here is the chart for Thursday's bombings. I will give it a basic look today, and continue this discussion on the Planet Waves homepage, available to everyone, on Friday.


The late Leo ascendant (see left side of chart, horizontal line) shows a well-developed situation; this event is not the result of something new. It would appear, based on that ascendant (which is just about to exceed when the chart is really useful, at about 27+ degrees) that we're at the beginning of the end of something.

The Sun, located at 15+ Cancer, is square Mars at 17+ Aries, as well as square the lunar node. Mars, notably is exactly occupying the degree of the April 8, 2005 solar eclipse, and the Sun is about to square that degree.

We have the feeling of something "going off" and because it involves two eclipses, the recent April 8 eclipse and the more distant, pre-9/11 June 21, 2001 eclipse; thus we have the image of an event with a widespread impact. And the Sun is square the nodes. The Sun square the nodes says "turning point." Note also that the Sun always represents the king or the president, so it's a turning point for our leaders. And the Sun is applying to Mars; the Sun is doing the pushing, but it's also the thing at the point of change. This could be very damaging for people now in power.

Mars, on the North Node, is right in the 9th house cusp, suggesting a foreign enemy combatant. But -- because Scorpio rules the 4th house of home and security (Scorpio) -- we have an image of a domestic enemy as well, but cloaked in secrecy because it's associated with Scorpio.

The late degree Cancer Moon also speaks of a well-developed situation. However, because the Moon is at new phase, there is the sense of something just begun. It's as if one cycle is completing and another is beginning at the same time. But they are two different cycles.

What does the Moon represent? In this chart, it has a double or even triple meaning. First, it's the ruler of the 12th house (because Cancer is on the 12th house cusp, so the Moon rules that house). As such, it represents the "secret enemy" who is depicted by the 12th, and all the secrets of the 12th. But the Moon always represents the people themselves, that is, the general public; and it always has a lot to do with the question at hand.

Saturn's position exactly on the cusp of the house of secrets is very strange. It's as if Saturn is standing there guarding a lot of secrets. We've seen enough of those secrets leak in recent weeks (think: Downing Street Memo) to know what else might be in there.

And that Saturn is about to come under the spotlight. The Moon is about to make a conjunction to Saturn, sitting on the 12th house cusp. Note what is in the 12th proper: Mercury conjunct Venus in Leo. That looks like a lot of money, or like money is a hidden issue. Or that the hidden issue is "worth a lot," whether financially or spiritually. Note that the Venus and Mercury, representing the secrets or the money, are in Leo; note that the Sun, which rules Leo, squares Mars, the foreign combatant. We get a picture of whose money or wealth is at stake, and what is being fought over.

There is much else in this chart. It is rather shockingly apropos of the event itself and of the connection to history; the question is, how will the public respond? How will we experience that Moon conjunction to Saturn? Moon-Saturn-Cancer looks like heavy emotional fear, which would be by far the worst way to respond, in the long run because fear makes us susceptible to believing what is not true.

This chart, with its confusion between domestic and foreign, between friend and enemy, fear and security, and with its strange sense of secrecy, is very reminiscent of the Sept. 11, 2001 chart. But the difference is that the 7/7 chart has the sense of an imminent confrontation, and we, the people are a lot more involved. I'll have more to say on Planet Waves Friday.

Please stay tuned.

Yours truly,

Eric Francis
Paris, France


Photo above: Lions have always been a symbol of vitality, protection and power. Above, they guard the Sacred Lake, birthplace of the twins Apollo and Artemis (gods of the Sun and Moon), on the island of Delos in Greece. Note that this week, England, "the Lion," was awarded 2012 the Olympic Games.

Saturn, Leo, History and Herstory

    Still round the corner there may wait
    A new road or a secret gate,
    And though I oft have passed them by,
    A day will come at last when I
    Shall take the hidden paths that run
    West of the Moon, East of the Sun.

    J.R.R Tolkien, attributed to Bilbo Baggins

Dear Readers

We have, naturally, been inundated with your Saturn in Leo questions; nobody has been shy about this topic. And in response, we've got a Saturn in Leo column for you this week.

Saturn enters Leo on July 16 and remains in this sign through Sept. 2, 2007. It has been in Cancer since June 2003. Saturn takes about 29 years to go around the Sun and through all the signs. The last time it changed signs from Cancer to Leo was between the summer of 1975 and the spring of 1976. In the current changeover, there is no retrograde back to Cancer; it goes into Leo and remains there through the end of its run in that sign.

Cancer and Leo hold the most basic energies of the zodiac, those represented by the Moon and the Sun. They represent the two kinds of natural light (the light of intuition and the light of consciousness, respectively, illuminating the night and the day); they represent the worlds of feeling (Cancer, the Moon) and individuality and creativity (Leo, the Sun). They are mother and father. They are Yin and Yang. Where they meet, we get the worlds of dawn and dusk, where night and day merge. And Saturn, who ranks as one of the planetary masters of our local universe, the lord of manifestation, the mother of matter and the chronicler of time, is working that line right now.

In the process, something is going to shift. A lot is going to shift. Saturn enters the sign of daylight. As a corrupt New York City official once said to me just before a big scandal broke, "Sunlight is the best disinfectant."

Sign changes of planets are usually worth writing about, particularly the big ones, or the slow ones. Despite many discoveries of planets in recent centuries and decades, Saturn still rates as a particularly significant influence in astrology. This is in part due to all the subject matter of Saturn being on top of the list of what we need to master in our lifetimes (for instance, I feel that the most basic concept of Saturn is self-mastery, and seizing responsibility for our lives back from our parents and surrogate parents).

This astrological emphasis is partly due to the status Saturn held for all of eternity up till 1781 as the most distant planet from the Sun. Most people could see no themes more important. Yes, every now and again, a Galileo, a DaVinci or a Sappho comes along and sees past all the nonsense. But not usually, and they're lucky to survive.

Then one day, science arrived (in the form of Uranus) and said, "What you see is not necessarily what you get," and as many other planets were discovered, the vast cosmos -- and the inner cosmos -- began to unfold.

Saturn holds a kind of dividing line between what you could call the normal world and the cosmic world. Of course, it's all cosmic and it's all normal. But perception means a lot, what we call our experience means a lot, and Saturn works like psychic membrane that seems to separate our personal worlds from the strange developments of history and consciousness. It's an imaginary line, of course, but it seems to be there, and we can feel it when it's breached.

Think of how freaked out people used to get when a little comet came in from the outer cosmos and pierced the veil. Comets were the first outer planets, and in truth began the scant practice of astrology reading the signs of trans-Saturnian worlds. And when they came inside that Saturnian boundary and appeared it was generally a sign of weird times -- though Western astrology itself has no specific tradition of using comets as omens. Western astrology doesn't typicaly like all that weird stuff outside of Saturn's realm. I think this has a lot to do with the reluctance of many astrologers to go too deep into Chiron.

Meanwhile, people don't change so fast, humanity doesn't change so fast, and society goes even slower. So in many respects, Saturn is still the bottom line. With Chiron, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto available, it's true that we have plenty else to think about, or at least some new perspectives to consider. But Saturn is the edge that most people need to work with; the limit that we need to work right out to the edge of, so that when the time is right, and when the soul whispers, we can go beyond.

Saturn holds a kind of supreme place among the planets (amongst astrologers, anyway), and Leo a supreme place among the signs. The lion is the symbol of vitality, power, dominance and strength, and it shows up all over the world (so far as I've seen the world), roaring outside libraries, guarding government buildings, purring here and there, and poised to strike at the Sacred Lake where Artemis and Apollo were born. Saturn represents a structural or organizing principle for this energy. It can seem to limit things, or to contain vitality, but really it's focusing that solar power and helping it manifest.

Saturn in Leo in Recent History

Among the more useful ways to evaluate a planet's transit is by looking at history. Saturn in Leo has a lot to say about the history of women as well.

Many of the questions we've been receiving include some form of, "What does Saturn in Leo mean to me?" I'd like to start out today with some of what we've come up with as far as Saturn passing through a sign and how this works on humanity and society. Then we can work on how we're going to respond as individuals. You can think of this as working from the general to the specific -- deductive logic, which is quite dependable.

Remembering that Saturn is a "transpersonal" planet -- that is, one that stands at the divide between a person and the wider world -- its effect on history has a lot to do with its effect on people. That effect may be symbolic and it may be what we think of as real, but the effect is there. People make the world what it is, but more often we find ourselves in positions of having to respond to the world rather than shaping the world. The feeling-tone of what we experience as the world, and our response to it, are likely to develop significantly under the influence of Saturn in Leo, and we will change and develop as a result.

But Saturn in Leo is not a passive energy. To the contrary. And for many, there will be opportunities, depending on where Cancer and Leo occupy your chart, to express yourself in ways you've long held back.

In preparing today's report, we have not done any kind of thorough search of history or researched back to Mesopotamian times or the Dead Sea Scrolls, but we've visited the last few cycles of Saturn in Leo and looked for obvious threads and trends. (Thanks to Michele Perrin on the Planet Waves staff for much of the historical research, and to Pam Purdy for helping evaluate the ideas.)

One thing to remember is that each time Saturn passes through Leo, the outer planets (Chiron through Pluto) are in different configurations. So each Saturn in Leo is different based on those factors.

The forthcoming Saturn in Leo phase has at least two distinctions involving the outer planets: the first is that it begins next week with an exact opposition to Chiron and Nessus in Aquarius; the second is that it peaks in August 2006 through June 2007 with a series of oppositions to Neptune in Aquarius (the astrological opiate of the masses). This is a big distinction, because the Saturn-Neptune cycle is one of history's most important clocks to watch. It is, in essence, about the tense relationship between reality and fantasy; between concrete knowledge and what we take on faith; between the tangible world and the imagination.

Looking at history, it became clear that Saturn in Cancer has a feeling of being a somewhat chaotic, emotionally driven time, in which fear is more apt to have an influence than creativity. It's also a time when security or lack thereof is a theme, as you might expect. It's more than a bit restrained, and seems to be more inwardly directed than outwardly.

Saturn in Leo tends to be more idealistic; more assertive; more stuff seems to actually happen; generally, there are obvious breakthroughs and it seems to be a time of cleaning up the chaos created during Saturn in Cancer. On one level, order is restored because a new order of leadership is established. Of course, Saturn in Leo has its own variety of chaos created by its fiery tendencies. Of themselves, planets in fire signs don't tend to feel anything BUT themselves -- other factors in the chart must add the dimension of sensitivity. Ideals don't all come true, and not everything created by passionate or creative innovation lasts. But as you'll see, some very important things developed during Saturn in Leo do last.

The 1887-1889 Cycle

Looking at the Saturn in Leo cycle for summer 1887 through fall 1889, we find a hot one: George Eastman patented the camera that uses roll film. Cameras used to take pictures one at a time, using a big plate, operated by a guy with a blanket over his head. They did not fit in your pocket and had no USB port -- honest.

"With the slogan, 'you press the button, we do the rest', George Eastman put the first simple camera into the hands of a world of consumers in 1888. In so doing, he made a cumbersome and complicated process easy to use and accessible to nearly everyone," the Kodak web page states today.

Also from the AV department, the gramophone (an early phonograph, pre-podcasting) was invented. Not only that, the first recorded motion picture was made in Leeds, England; it was two seconds long. Previews, popcorn and pornos soon followed. These are little bursts of "technology for fun" breakthroughs, all in 1888.

Speaking of fun, poet T.S. [the world ends "not with a bang, but a whimper"] Eliot was born in 1888. So too were playwright Eugene O'Neill, detective novelist Raymond Chandler, political theorist Harpo Marx, screenwriter Anita Loos ("Gentlemen Prefer Blonds"), and Maurice Chevalier.

Chevalier, a French musical comedy star, unknowingly summing up a Saturn in Leo feeling quite nicely, once said, "A comfortable old age is the reward of a well-spent youth. Instead of its bringing sad and melancholy prospects of decay, it would give us hopes of eternal youth in a better world."

Along similar lines, T.S. Eliot (whose Sun was in Libra) once wrote, "Thou hast nor youth nor age / But as it were an after dinner sleep / Dreaming of both."

In 1889, the groundwork for the Microsoft monopoly was laid when Washington State was admitted to the United States. So were North and South Dakota, and Montana. There was a land rush in Oklahoma. Go figure.

The Wall Street Journal was published for the first time. I know they have the image of being a stuffy newspaper with no comics page, but it's consistently the best written rag in the business, with an actual sense of humor. Plus, they don't pretend to be objective; they cover business from the viewpoint of business. Leo-styled, you know what you're buying. They should print my horoscopes.

Eiffel's Tower opened amidst much bellyaching and prolonged, agonized whining from the French about how ugly it was, but today we all know better, and the little statues and key rings hold up the economy. The South Fork Dam collapsed in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, killing 2,200 people. Engineering clearly has its ups and downs. A year earlier, Le Washington Monument opened. Isn't that interesting? Two of the modern world's most recognizable landmarks were opened during Saturn in Leo, and (so far as we can tell) both were the tallest in the world at the time of their opening.

One of the stranger tendencies of Saturn in Leo is the high rate of dam break disasters that occur during this transit, such as the 1889 disaster above. In 1948, a dam break in Oregon left tens of thousands homeless; in the years 1975-77 there were three major dam tragedies in China, Idaho and Georgia. The strangest in history was the burst of not water, but molasses, that swept through Boston in January 1919 -- see below.

Susan B. Anthony ("failure is impossible") organized a congress for women's rights in the United States. And Jack the Ripper got his start in this cycle -- the world's first serial killer, in London's East End. He captured the world's dramatic imagination in numerous plays, books, articles, etc. Though there were four official suspects and many unofficial ones, nobody was formally charged or caught. Scotland Yard was at this time entrusted with the world's first investigation of a serial killing.

"They may have failed, but they failed honourably, having made every effort and inquiry in their power to free London of the unknown terror," writes the web page.

The 1916-1919 Cycle

Woodrow Wilson was elected president of the United States in 1916, having much to do with his idea for the League of Nations, which became the United Nations. The notion that the countries of the world could act together to take care of themselves and one another in a peaceful way was quite an idealistic one. It still is.

The same year, Jeanette Rankin was elected the first female congressional representative, from Montana.

World War I was underway, as was the lesser-known Hellenic Holocaust. Turkey's government was determined to finish off the Greeks, as they had nearly done to the Armenians.

World War I was touted as the "war to end all wars." It was really the "war that began all wars" or "the war that continued till now." Any time a politician says they're waging war for peace, run the other way. America got involved in 1917, with the Sun in Aries. Four European dynasties, the Habsburgs, the Romanovs, the Ottomans and the Hohenzollerns, who had roots of power back to the days of the Crusades, all fell during or after the war. Saturn in Leo has a serious feeling of the changing of the guard.

Conscription (the draft) began. It was a paranoid time. The Espionage Act, the Alien Act and the Sedition Act were used in prosecutions that would be considered constitutionally unacceptable in the United States even in wake of the 9/11 attacks.

Communism was established in Russia after the overthrow of the tsar. The Russian Revolution began. The House of Windsor was established in England, to get rid of the German name "House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha." (This reminds me of my friend's Italian family in New York where one day the father came home and said at the dinner table, "From now on, our last name is Feinstein.")

We also see an interesting trend of small nations either forming or gaining independence under Saturn in Leo. For a while, anyway, it's good times for the underdog. Finland, Yugoslavia and the Ukraine gained their independence, to give three examples from '17, and there was British support for a Jewish state in Palestine. That became a reality exactly one Saturn cycle later.

Also in 1917, women got the vote in the Netherlands. Mata Hari, the famous Dutch-born exotic dancer, was executed by the French government for espionage, for allegedly spying for the Germans. The income tax and the draft come to Canada (five years after the U.S. created a permanent income tax).

In 1918, the "Stars and Stripes" military newspaper was founded. More countries become independent: Lithuania, Estonia, Belarus, Poland, Iceland, Latvia, Georgia, Czechoslovakia; and Armenia was founded as a nation, after the failed genocide of the Turks. The tsar and his family were executed. General Motors acquired Chevrolet. The Flying Corps was created, and the Post Office established Air Mail, but using ponies. (Just kidding, they must have used airplanes.)

There was voting reform in Sweden and the first woman was elected to the House of Commons in England -- Arabella Susan Lawrence.

There was the Paris Peace Conference, on the occasion of which Wilson became the first president to travel to Europe while in office. There was the Spanish Flu epidemic and 25 million died around the world. Homeopaths had a nearly 100% cure rate, but by this time, homeopathy was in steep decline and traditional doctors (called allopaths or antipaths) treated their flu patients with aspirin, which killed them quickly. Homeopaths could cure their patients (using the remedy gelsemium) only if they had not been given aspirin.

In 1919, there was a failed communist revolution in Berlin. Prohibition was adopted in the United States and would last until 1933. This was a big boon for the mafia. So in a sense, the modern American mafia was born with Saturn in Leo, because suddenly it had a big racket it could run -- moonshine.

The Irish government was founded, the League of Nations was born, the USSR occupied the Ukraine and the first Miss America pageant was held. There was a war between Poland and the Soviet Union, and the Grand Canyon received national park status. Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity was confirmed. Women in the United States were granted the right to vote. Men still tried to tell them who to vote for.

Aviation continued to be big news. There was the first nonstop transatlantic flight by Alcock and Brown. The first blimp crossed the Atlantic nonstop.

The treaty of Versailles ended World War I.

The Bauhaus art movement was formed, and Mussolini founded his fascist government in Italy. The Italians would eventually kill their dictator. Too much of a ba thing. Bauhaus, on the other hand, would become the most influential movement in art and architecture (fortunately, modern architects are getting some of their sensibility back).

The wave of molasses swept through Boston, killing 21.

The what? Thinking my research department was staying up too late, I checked this one out carefully. When things go wrong in Boston, things go strange. Even, which hardly believes anything, rates this as "true." They write:

    "As slow as molasses in January." There was one memorable exception to that truism. And it was a deadly one.

    Forty minutes past noon on 15 January 1919, a giant wave of molasses raced through Boston. The unseasonably warm temperature (46 degrees) was the final stress needed to cause a gigantic, filled-to-capacity tank to burst. 2,320,000 gallons (14,000 tons) of molasses swept through the streets, causing death and destruction.

    Eyewitness reports tell of a "30-foot wall of goo" that smashed buildings and tossed horses, wagons and pool tables about as if they were nothing. Twenty-one people were killed by the brown tidal wave, and 150 more were injured. The chaos and destruction were amplified -- and rescue efforts were hampered -- by the stickiness of the molasses. Those persons attempting to aid others all too often found themselves mired fast in the goo.

I checked the chart for this. Wouldn't you? Saturn is in Leo, fitting the unusual "dam burst" signature.

Pluto, Jupiter and the Moon are in Cancer. Too much of a goo thing. Note the 2nd house is where we find much of the action in this chart. Molasses, or half-refined sugar, is an important commodity and worth a lot of money. From the psychological perspective, we can infer from the 2nd house Pluto that the owners of the factory were making up for their insecurity and self-esteem crisis by stockpiling the molasses (represented by Jupiter in Cancer). Either that, or there was a glut on the market.


The Later Cycles

Isn't it all starting to make perfect sense? Just think what astrologers of the future will be writing about us. Just wait.

Next week, I'll continue with thrilling news from the next two cycles of Saturn in Leo, 1946-1948 and 1976-1978, which get even more interesting and are genuinely rich times in history. We'll visit the wake of World War II, the founding of Israel, and the McCarthy Era; we'll meet the Test Tube Baby, the Space Shuttle, Son of Sam, the energy crisis, and the Iranian hostage crisis that led directly to the election of Reagan-Bush

But so far I would sum Saturn in Leo up with a few lines from the Grateful Dead, written by Robert Hunter, sung passionately by Leo Jerry Garcia:

Long distance runner what you standing there for?
Get up, get off, get out of the door...

Here are a few of your questions for the week -- only one of which covers Saturn in Leo directly -- I can't write anymore today and this column is due with the editors! More on the people of Saturn in Leo on Planet Waves Weekly, unless I write about Karl Rove -- I haven't decided yet.

Note: here is my introduction to Saturn in Leo from this page three weeks ago. This has the ingress chart, a Saturn sign-change table and other information too.

And I'm continuing to blog daily at, tracking the very interesting political developments of late. Thanks for being such happy subscribers -- see you there!

NOTE TO READERS: I'll be in London August 4-8 doing in-person astrology sessions, and teaching a class on Chiron Sunday evening, Aug. 3, 2005. If you're interested in either, please write to

Saturn for Sun Leo People

Dear Eric,

Over the years I've heard a lot about one's Saturn return.

I'm a Leo -- does this mean that when Saturn enters Leo next month this is my Saturn return -- or does this occur when Saturn moves into the sign it was in when I was born?


Dear Debra

The Saturn return is when Saturn returns to the sign it was in when you were born. In other words, it involves your Saturn sign rather than your Sun sign. The word "return" is astrological jargon for when a planet, any planet, orbits back around to where it was when you were born.

We have planetary returns on a fairly regular basis. Mars returns to its natal position every two years; Mercury between one and three times a year; Jupiter every 12 years. The Sun and Moon are also said to return; these are called the "solar return" (your birthday, when the Sun is in the same position as when you were born) and the "lunar return" (and a kind of monthly mini-birthday, when the Moon is in the same position).

People have their Saturn return at the time they turn around 29 years old, since it takes Saturn about 29 years to go once around the Sun. In a recent edition of this page, I covered the basic technical details of the Saturn in Leo phase to warm up the subject. That link is here. And if you're curious about the Saturn return specifically, there's a Saturn return resource for readers of this page, which is kept on my site.

But you raise a different question, which is what's the effect of Saturn occupying your Sun sign -- that is, the sign determined by just your date of birth, and the one you check when you read the newspaper. And the answer is going to depend on what kind of astrologer you ask; there are two main categories.

One looks at the exact natal chart (an astrologer you would consult for a session) and the other (principally a newspaper astrologer, or an astrologer writing a newspaper column) looks at the planets in the sky now (because your date of birth is not known to them, and not necessary for the wide-audience work they do).

Someone doing your natal chart is most likely going to say that Saturn going over one's Sun has the most impact when the exact transit occurs. For example, if you're born on Aug. 21 of any year, you're not going to experience the exact transit of Saturn in Leo on your Sun for nearly two more years. If you're born July 24, you're going to get the transit right away. For most dates in between, we would need to check the time, but basically, anyone born the first eight days of Leo is going to experience the transit right away.

This is a truly important life transit; it happens just once every three decades and it represents a major phase of growing up, personal adjustment, getting your act together and that kind of thing, and it is in many respects kind of like a mini Saturn return because you really feel the effects of Saturn. I would sum this transit up as an opportunity to work right up to the edge of your limits. Since most people work so far from their potential, working right up to your potential can be an extremely productive time. And it peaks at the time Saturn makes its exact meeting or series of meetings with your Sun.

People writing newspaper horoscopes are pretty much all going to comment on the sign change of a major planet like Saturn as if Saturn not only affected all Leos, but affected everyone else too. You will read in many Leo horoscopes, "Saturn, now in your birth sign, means so and so." Or, "Saturn, now aspecting the sensitive area of your chart where you work with security issues, is saying you need to feel safer." (We'll track some of these comments by astrologers when the time comes, and compare their statements and ideas. They are already starting to appear, and they will make an interesting study.)

You may ask, as many people do, how both methods can be true? That is, how can the exact effect of the transit be so meaningful, as well as how can astrologers writing Sun sign columns in newspapers make statements that apply to all Leos or all people?

Think of it like the weather report. It's possible for the weather forecast to tell you it's raining (I personally believe those things except when they tell you what's already happening, such as, it's now 29 degrees.) And that fact can be accurate and meaningful for everyone.

But that does not tell you what to wear. You can take the information that it's 29 degrees and you can wear a parka and big furry boots (for Americans reading, 29 degrees is pretty warm out, getting close to human body temperature of 37 degrees). And, a meteorologist can say, "It's looking like rain, you might want to bring an umbrella."

With astrology it's possible to make rather accurate statements without knowing everything. Those accurate statements are often based on the changes of planets moving in and out of signs. And the thing about these transits is that they really do affect everyone, on some level; some people are more or less sensitive to them, and different astrologers are more or less intuitive when it comes to suggesting how a large, sweeping change affects people specifically, or their readers specifically.

Of the two, I would suggest that the people writing for a large audience are the ones we want to get it right in the first instance. A natal astrologer who has unimaginative, negative ideas about Saturn can mess up individual people; but someone writing for an audience of millions who spreads unhelpful propaganda about Saturn can perpetuate ideas in the culture that last for generations.

The idea aspect of astrology is vitally important, and it works on every level, whether it is your personal chart with your time of birth, or a statement a writer makes to everyone. Astrology is all about ideas. Watch for ideas that send you on bum trips, and make sure you check against other writers who bring a little more spirit, imagination and sense of humor to the work.

Let's see what people say about this. Remember to get as many opinions as possible and make up your own mind.

Sun Opposite Moon in Natal Chart

Dear Eric,

I understand that I have Sun in Virgo and Moon in Pisces. Since these are "opposite" signs, does this mean I am well rounded, or just confused? Lots of water in my chart (ascendant is Cancer) so maybe I'm just a "mud puddle"!? Please tell me what Sun and Moon in opposite signs really means. Thank you for your time and consideration.


Dear Renee,

Remember that different aspects mean different things to different people. Everyone born under the Full Moon is going to interpret and express that event differently in their lives. While there are many ways it can affect your psyche, one quality I've been tracking for a long time is how people's parents get along depending on the lunar phase they were born under.

I got curious about this when I read in one of my favorite astrology books a long time ago that people who were born under the Full Moon had parents whose relationship was tense and polarized. Rather than accepting this without checking it out first, I started listening to my clients' descriptions of how their parents got along and contrasting this with their Moon phase at birth.

What I learned is that hardly anyone's actually parents get (or got) along, regardless of where their Sun and Moon are placed. You learn all kinds of interesting things when you become an astrologer. But the position of the Sun and the Moon will reveal something about the WAY they did or didn't get along; something about the dynamics of the relationship that is copied over into the client's personality.

Then the client hast to deal with it. And that's often a lifetime growth project.

Now, you have the Sun and Moon, two of the most important things that describe a person's experience of life, at opposition. Rather than give a definite meaning, let's consider some of the ways that feels in general.

-- There is polarity between your Sun and Moon. There's a feeling of having two distinctly opposite sides of your nature, two approaches to life, or two distinct identities with this. With the Full Moon, the difference in viewpoints is clear.

-- The Full Moon is a peak of energy. It's like high tide rather than low tide. Because of this, quite a few people are born under the Full Moon, and it would be interesting to check statistics.

-- Symbolically, we can infer that this peak was somehow expressed in your parents' experience of having you come into the world.

-- The Sun in Virgo is intellectual and wants to think clearly, whereas the interior-oriented Pisces Moon is quite emotional and non-intellectual, and lives in a world of feeling. These two forces can cause a type of tension in between what one wants and what one needs.

-- Oppositions work in relationships, all relationships. This would include something about your parents, as well as something about how you relate to people.

But here's an interesting thing to consider. On our planet, we generally consider things to be opposite when they are male and female. However, at the time of the Full Moon, the Sun and Moon always occupy signs of the same gender polarity. While you could debate the wisdom of this until the oxygen ran out of the atmosphere, all the opposite signs are the same gender. Aries and Libra are "masculine" signs (despite being ruled by Venus and Mars, respectively). Taurus and Scorpio are "feminine" signs (despite also being ruled by Venus and Mars, respectively).

Isn't that interesting? Libra is a masculine sign ruled by Venus. Scorpio is a feminine sign ruled by Mars. It's very yin-yang the way the masculine and feminine energies contain and contrast with one another. Astrology works with some very subtle concepts associated with the notion of "opposite."

And as these come, Virgo and Pisces are not so opposite. They have a great deal in common: an orientation on service, a natural sense of spirituality, being hard working, being nervous and many other traits. The yin-yang of the personality are in complete opposition and therefore possess a type of true harmony. But you may have to work quite consciously to maintain that harmony, particularly by honoring both sides of your psyche. I am sure there are times when one side dominates the other and you find that you've gone out of whack.

This will often happen as the result of a relationship situation. With Cancer rising and a Pisces Moon, do you really have a sense of where you begin and where everyone else ends, particularly on an emotional level? You might want to investigate that one. That Virgo Sun of yours definitely wants the facts.

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