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Eric Francis Astrology Q&A
Archive for Friday 12th November 2004

Astrology Secrets Revealed: Eric Francis Answers Your Questions
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Dear Readers Around the Galaxy:
I woke up this morning dreaming that I had met John Kerry. He came into the bookstore where I hang out, Shakespeare & Company, across the street from Notre Dame. Everyone sang "Happy Birthday" when he walked in.

Upstairs he had a bedroom (people live in this bookstore by the way -- if you're a writer, you can stay in central Paris for free), and I had a few minutes with him one-on-one as he cleared out the room after the campaign, gathering the last of his things. I didn't hesitate to walk up to him and say hello.

I thanked him for putting on such a strong campaign, and then said, "You know, this is not an easy time to be running for president. We're exactly between two paradigms." A paradigm is a reality-framework. However, I was not even sure what I meant by the comment myself.

"The old paradigm hasn't quite given up and the new one isn't in place strongly enough to work with so easily."

As I woke up and cleared my head, I realized that knew exactly what I was saying. The world is in the midst of a major shift in phases of history right now. Nothing is entirely predictable or dependable; we are in a position where we have to learn to adapt and adapt well. From this standpoint is that it looks like pure chaos. But there is some order and reason to the process; I believe there is something we can trust happening, despite all appearances.

The thing that disturbs me the most about what I've been seeing come through my inbox and feeling in talking to people around me is the fear. There is the fear on the part of people who are waging their various campaigns of hate and rage; and there is the fear on the part of those of us who are concerned about the world. If you are one of those people who truly feels for the planet and her people, I know that this is a time when there can be an overwhelming sense of responsibility and a great deal of sadness. We know how much of what we see happening is unnecessary.

There was a time not long ago when dealing with fear was a good spiritual exercise so that you could feel better. These days, it's a survival tool, and it may turn out to be the most important collective survival tool we have. I recognize that we have a lot to be scared and angry about these days. But there are only two things you can really do to make it better. One is to be as open with the people around you as you can. The second is to love as much as you can from wherever you are.

More than "getting over fear," we need to love. And I think we need to not be so shy about love, hiding it away in little boxes and paper bags. It would be a really good thing if we could express our affection for people more openly, and not have that freak us out, too.

Just love. It's safe. It's the only safety.

Stay tuned for the Scorpio New Moon. I'll have details in my blog on the homepage at

Oh -- here's something new -- an astrology newsletter for parents. Please check it out at and tell me what you think.

Here are responses to some of your letters the past week or two. Thanks for tuning into, thanks for all your excellent and loving mail, and thanks for visiting over at Planet Waves.

Dear Eric
What is the significance of a grand trine/kite in a composite chart? I am unable to find anything on this subject. Can you help?

Sylvie Mauviel

Dear Sylvie
With this question, you are well into chart interpretation territory, rather than "simple question, simple answer" territory. There are so many different things that can occur in astrology that they could not all be covered in books. So, what we do is learn to interpret from the unique chart.

However, upon reflection, I can offer a suggestion: the point of the kite is the planet where you can go for information about how to get out of an endless loop you're in with your partner.

A composite chart is a combination of both charts (which are merged, using mathematics) and it's read in the same way as a normal natal chart.

For those who want a refresher on grand trines and kites, see the edition of two weeks ago when I went over a double grand air trine and the kite pattern associated with it; a chart was included. But to sum up, a grand trine offers a great deal in the way of harmony, talent and reward; but it can create cyclical patterns that are difficult to get out of. So the point of the kite -- a planet that's located exactly between two points of the trine -- is the place to look for information about how to get free of the cycle.

Study everything by house and sign placement, and house rulership! The house that the kite planet rules (based on the sign located on the cusp) will tell you a lot about the subject matter it represents.

Dear Eric
I have ordered Jonathan's chart for couples. It was mostly right on, which surprised me, but thank you. I was just curious, can astrologers tell if someone is homosexual by doing their birth chart? Thank you for your time.


Dear Lisa
I'm glad you like Jonathan's reports. I'm a long-time fan of his writing and I think he's only getting better.

There are two questions to your question: No and But.

Let's start with no.

At this point in the history of the mind's evolution, ethics and personal freedom, my take is that it's a bad idea to pre-judge somebody by their chart. This goes for homosexuality or any other subject. That being said, astrologers often find ourselves having to read charts for information. But in the tradition of the Quaker religion, I like to stick to using the chart for the purpose of "advices and queries" whenever possible rather than for making judgments; it's a long way from one to the other. And if I have to interpret and really give an opinion, I often put a disclaimer up, which I usually state on this page as the, "Astrology is a story about you" statement, so that if the story doesn't work, you have a psychological exit hatch.

Judging someone homosexual with their chart is a good example of an especially non-harmless use of astrology. I believe that it's dangerous and unethical. Why judge when you can say to a person, "What do you want?" or "Where have you been lately?"

If you are the subject of the inquiry -- I don't know, I'm just covering that base -- I am here to remind you that it's fine, beautiful and excellent for you to be who you are.

I feel strongly that astrologers need to support people in creating their life the way they want it, and moreover, in being who they really are. We can afford to give them a boost in getting over their guilt and self-doubt. We can afford to see them as good and as essentially healthy -- and as essentially free. If we're going to make assumptions, these are the ones to make.

In attempting to say that someone is gay as a fact of their chart, we deny them the freedom to choose.

As regards sexual orientation, there is, I believe, a fundamental misunderstanding in the world. People are not generally not black or white entities, they don't usually fit into strict categories, and -- big surprise -- we change. For this and many other reasons, I don't honor the strict categorization of homosexuality by dint of astrology or anything else. Plenty of 'straight' people have had many experiences with those of their own gender; plenty of lesbian or gay people have had snuggly, sexy nights with the opposite sex. Some people are lesbian for 20 years and then decide they need some time with a man. Some gay men find themselves loving a woman.

As I get older and hear what people have to say, I am coming around to the thinking that the declaration of gay or lesbian is as much about a social need and a political statement as it is a statement of actual sexual orientation. Sexual orientation is a big part of the statement, but there are many other facets. Hence, the statement by a woman, "I have sex with my best [female] friend but I'm not a lesbian." I get it.

Most people have some notion of being turned on by same-sex desires, though often it's in fantasy form only. Unfortunately, within the gay community, movable sexual orientation or bisexuality in any form has had an extremely difficult time being recognized as legitimate. And often, many heterosexuals seem less-then-comfortable knowing that a person they associate with swings both ways, and there can be prejudices against this. So the whole discussion of bisexuality is basically held down about everywhere but the Bisexual Support Group.

As for but.

There is plenty of information that astrology can give us with regards to how someone expresses their sexuality, and what difficulties they might be having.

Sexual orientation is a unique expression of an original, individual person. So is an astrology chart. There is a relationship. In other words, there are not two or three sexual orientations -- such as gay, bi and straight; there is a sexual orientation for each person on the planet, because each expresses their sexuality individually. Astrology is an excellent tool to use to explore these unique expressions, because charts are so highly individualized, and because astrology acknowledges that every person has many expressions of male and female within them, which combine, mix and match in countless different expressions. But the action word is explore, rather than assess.

Astrologers know that every person possesses Sun and Moon; Venus and Mars; their sign, and their opposite (and opposite gender) sign.

This means we all have a male side and a female side. In fact, there are many male and many female aspects of each person, which blend in some rather interesting ways. In each person these energies are working together in some form or another, and they are struggling a bit harder for expression in life. At times, they may do more resisting than cooperating. And since each person's primary sexual relationship is to him or herself, I believe that all sexual expression emerges from a core of 'same sex' relating (i.e., oneself) relating, and develops from there.

There are many interesting questions surrounding sexual orientation, and sexual expression that can be taken to the chart, such as: what might be blocking someone from expressing themselves emotionally, sexually, or romantically? What were the early conditions? To what extent do they identify with either of their parents? What are the sexual role models pointed to in the chart, and what is the relationship to these? I suggest that any information be collected using both the chart and the client, with the client leading the way in the discussion and the chart applied very gently, as a guide to inquiry or a reflecting pool.

I also suggest that astrology students and professional astrologers get familiar with some of what has been written about sexuality since the 1970s, as a means of untangling their own prejudice, learning the range of what is normal, and illuminating a little of the ignorance of our society. There are many good books and web pages. Most of them are not in the astrology section.

I also suggest that astrologers work through any hesitation or embarrassment they may have about discussing sexual subject matter openly (which takes practice). Many of us carry judgments about sex, everyone has some guilt and shame to process, and we need to let to those go as well. And most of all, I suggest we accept, embrace and offer the idea of sexuality as a healthy and natural expression of life. Down the street of Western thought, in the science, psychiatry, psychology, religion and moralism departments, sex and sexuality are often considered taboo, icky, sinful, or embarrassing subjects more fit to be ignored than embraced honestly.

We owe the world more -- a lot more.

As astrologers, we're practicing a holistic art -- that is, astrology by its nature covers all of existence. Let's give a big Bronx cheer for being open-minded and honoring the experiences, needs and desires of everyone -- including our own.

Thank you for asking, Lisa.

Hi Eric
I have a question that has been bothering me for a while, and when I read your comments on someone else's chart a while ago it made me want to ask you. What you said was that it is very common to find the same theme repeated over and over in a chart, and in my chart the theme seems to be that any progress has to come through giving relationships with other people (Sun, Mars and Mercury in the 7th house and north node in Taurus). Sometimes I feel taken advantage of; and then I get angry with myself and others for not relying on myself more (south node in Scorpio). It drives me crazy to think that it's always going to be like this, but how can I break the cycle?

Love and peace
born 8th June 1966 at 8:01 pm in Hatherleigh, UK


Dear Sonia
Cycles are broken through a combination of raising awareness, making decisions, and assessing where you're at. The process takes patience, and if you've been struggling with one type of pattern for a long time, I am a believer in getting help from a qualified, caring, down-to-earth therapist.

Today, however, let's do a little astrology. That often counts for raising awareness.

We've got your chart above to work with, so we can do this out loud. Yes, the partnership angles of your chart contain some interesting themes as regards giving and receiving in relationships. But there is something else that's worth looking at first, which is Mars in Gemini on the 7th house cusp.

The 7th house is the basic angle of partnership; it is directly opposite the ascendant, so the 1st/7th polarity is basically "me/you" or "self/other."

Mars is the planet in red on the right side of the chart, above the horizontal line; that line is the 7th house cusp, also called the descendent (because when something gets near it, it is setting or descending, as is Mars in your chart). That Mars is in the 7th house. That's about as full-on and in-our-face as Mars can get. It is also in Gemini, which is often a confrontational sign because it's so clearly dualistic (twins, two of something relating to itself, or relating in a self-other pattern). Mars in Gemini has a lot of fight to it. If this falls in the 7th house, you're likely to experience that as coming from outside yourself.

Is it fair to say that your relationships tend to be confrontational? The thing to watch with the 7th house is that it has a bit of the tendency: "We don't see things as they are; we see them as we are."

Is it fair to say that sometimes you feel that confrontation coming from you, and sometimes from others, but that it tends to show up fairly consistently?

Whatever you could say about such a Mars placement in the chart of an adult, however, we need to remember that every natal chart was once the chart of a child, and represented the life of a child. And if I were to be presented this chart by a parent and asked what it meant for their wee one, "I would say: It means you (mom or dad) better be very kind to this kid, and stand up for them when other people get in their face."

I am going to guess that this was not quite the way things went when you were little.

In fact, in a counseling situation, this chart would suggest strongly that there's a need to talk about childhood situations, the condition of your household, and every other factor that could have an influence on emotional stability in the first years of life. I would do this in the form of gentle inquiries, asking about early memories, getting a sense of the history of the parents' marriage, and a general description of the home. I would want to know a little about your parents' lives growing up. You would be amazed what that can reveal. Then, I would look for similarities between that early home and the current situation in which you find yourself.

I can see the need for this discussion based on a placement in the chart, at the very bottom: the Saturn-Chiron conjunction in Pisces. Saturn is the yellow thing that looks sort of like a 4, and Chiron is the orange key next to it; and they are near the pink Pisces symbol.

Now is a good time for a discussion of this particular aspect, which carried through the mid-1960s and is the cosmic symbol of much of what happened in that era -- particularly the generation gap that divided the young from the old in the United States, England, France and many other countries. This generation gap appeared between the young adults and their older parents; it also occurred between young parents and their young children; and to an extent, it divided peers who identified with the younger or the older generations. In actual fact, it was brutal, and it was often violent -- be it emotionally or physically.

You have this aspect placed in the very part of your chart that deals with your heritage, your family and your early background. While the whole chart is experienced in childhood, there are aspects of the chart that speak directly to those conditions so that the astrologer has a sense of what he or she is dealing with. The 4th is a very good place to get a sense of the emotional conditions of childhood, particularly as they carry forth into the adult life. And I would say that there was likely to have been an unusual degree of alienation in your home. While that is helpful information, we really need to know a lot more about what was going on there so that we can relate it to the situation you find yourself in as regards your relationships today.

And these relationships were not "all bad" -- hardly anything ever is -- and in many respects, they were rather beneficial. But it does not surprise me to learn that you feel like you need to be more independent rather than interdependent because you were likely to have been pushed to an unusual degree of self-sufficiency at way too early of an age.

The second thing that I notice is that you have the Sun in the 7th house as well. The Sun is that yellow circle with a dot in the middle. This is a placement that emphasizes a primary psychological orientation on relationships. In other words, with such a strong placement in the 7th house (along with Mars) it is possible to live with an idea that relationship is the most important -- or only -- thing that there is in life. And this gets more interesting yet.

If we follow the wheel around a little higher, there is a conjunction of Mercury and Jupiter on your 8th house cusp. The 8th is another crucial relationship house. It is the house of debts and credits; it is the house where we either lose ourselves, or find benefits of another person. It goes deeper into the story of relationship than does the 7th house. It talks more explicitly about what is exchanged, including what is exchanged on the hidden levels; what money is exchanged; and what sexual energy is exchanged.

The VERY most interesting quality of this Mercury-Jupiter aspect that I see is that it involves two planets that rule opposite signs -- Sagittarius (the ruler of your ascendant, the "self" angle) and Mercury (the ruler of your descendent or 7th house, your "other"). So these seemingly opposite planets are functioning as one idea, and they are functioning exactly where you're going to seek deep communion in relationships.

If we look at Juno on the north node in the 6th house, we could surmise that you're going to seek most of your healing through encountering others in relationship. So yes we get the same story over and over again.

The short of it is that it's difficult for you to think of yourself as existing outside of a relationship. That being true, the question really becomes one of what is exchanged within that relationship; and what the boundaries are within that relationship. And this is going to take a good deal of self-investigation -- which, based on other factors, I assume you've been doing. It is difficult not to take your chart for granted, but that's pretty much what you have to do: know your chart, your self, your history and your current life so well that you can see it all operating vividly and take every possible opportunity to make a decision about who you are -- not who you are to someone else, but who you are to you.

Hi Eric
After reading your October horoscopes, I felt somewhat compelled to write to you. I'm an Aquarian, born 24th January, 1971 at 10:12 a.m. in Aberdeen, Scotland. I have been something of a nomad these last few years, having done some extensive traveling abroad mainly in Asia and New Zealand. During these times and since my return to Scotland in April last year, I have been looking to change careers, as I have come to realize that I am very ill-suited to the career path I have been on since leaving university. However, after many months and what has now become years of contemplation and soul searching, I still find myself unsure as to which direction to go next. I believe I have a better sense of self now than I have had at any point in the past but am still finding it hard to translate that self-knowledge into a sustainable and rewarding career within today's modern workplace. Despite this, I feel that I am now on the brink of making a breakthrough on a question that has vexed me now for far too long! Taking into account the now current 9th house activity in Aquarius (as well as the other current astrological happenings -- eclipses, etc.) and my own birth date, I'd be very grateful for any insight / advice you might be able to offer me.

Warmest Regards
Restless Wanderer

Dear R.W.
You present one of the most common questions I hear: What should I do with my life?

This is one of the reasons why free will is so annoying. If I were a Vedic astrologer, I could take a look at your chart and say, "It is your destiny to take care of small animals" and I would have earned my salt. But that's not what most western astrologers do, and I have actually found that very little I say to friends who say they have no direction that actually makes a difference to them. Or so it seems.

As for clients, I just ask them to explain themselves until their sense of direction becomes obvious.

Yet in the end, even if someone were to feel a calling, they would need to surrender to it, and embark on it not knowing where it was apt to lead them. That's the part that makes most people uneasy. And while it may seem simple: one makes a choice and does what one wants, I don't think it's so simple, really. That's because any choice one makes seems to foreclose so many other possibilities, and that can be daunting. So one must be at peace with that. I am often told, "Oh, it's so great, you do what you love." And I say, well it feels a lot more like, "I love what I do."

For people who are either successful, or who love to take the ride and play the game of life, the mystery and adventure are the part that's the most fun. Working the process of change, in real life and not in theory, can be a great adventure. But no matter what one does, there are times when the best work is not the least bit rewarding, or does not feel that way. There are days when it's incredibly rewarding and absolutely right. But we still need to work each day regardless of which kind of day it is.

Now, as for your chart, which I have not seen yet. I'm going to give you a reading of career indicators. This will be a somewhat traditional look at your chart, but remember that astrology in this context is a work of utter fiction. So even if I jump up on the table and start ranting, "YOU ABSOLUTELY FREAKING MUST BEGIN WRITING CHILDRENS' BOOKS RIGHT NOW," trust me, I'm making it all up, because you are not your chart, and I don't know you.

Having said that, I'll cast your chart, here's a little reading.

[Thirty second pause.]

Okay, here's what happened.

I entered your data and calculated the chart. Then I asked the display function to draw me a basic wheel. And what I got was a chart with NO planets -- not one -- and just the south node in Leo in the 6th house.

Hmmmmmm. This qualifies as extremely interesting.

Just two (2) prior times in my career of casting 6.4 godzillion charts did this software ever come up with something utterly original like this. (But when it's happened, it's been good -- for example, one time, on the way to Crete with Barbara Hand Clow, I cast a horary chart asking about the trip, and got a display wherein every planet and point came out in the first degree of Aries -- the Aries point -- an exact, to the degree conjunction of about 20 things, which of course was a figment of the computer's imagination -- so I printed the chart and wrote an article called "In the Beginning.") I am one of these people who believes in the "When The Wrong Chart Works" school of astrology.

So let's consider the metaphor presented in this funny chart.

I would not be so inclined to read this strange horoscope were not the image of the south node in the 6th house in Leo so absolutely glaringly brilliantly a response to your inquiry. It would be nice if astrology programs always said, "Um, here's a good place for you to start this investigation." But they don't; usually the astrologer has to take an intuitive sniff.

The 6th house is about the work we do. The south node is where and how we get stuck; the past; the old pattern; what we lean on; what we're already good at.

Leo is the sense of self, sense of adventure, and sense -- more than anything -- of your personal value and glory in the world. Leo is about gold, sunshine, daring, creativity, rewards, and individuality. Put the south node in Leo and you can be stuck on a notion of individual past glory that basically holds you down and keeps you in a state of drudgery; and in the 6th house, this occurs where your work is involved. And you can be stuck in the idea of: "What should I, that is, ME, you know, MYSELF, the Restless Wanderer, be doing with my time, for the sake of me, you know, ME?" (You did not say, "Dear Eric, how may I best serve the planetary family at this difficult time in history?")

One paradox is that the 6th is the house of service to others, and Leo is the sign of the Self. So we get a good image of either: 1) your identity is trapped in your work, or tends to become so, or 2) or of self-service, and no, not a coffee bar. Self-service as in, well, the 6th says you should be devoted to the needs of other people, animals (I was totally guessing above), and the work that must get done. But Leo is often Meo. So I see a picture of self-involved work rather than actual service. And I do suggest you forget that, because that's the old story.

The new story is being part of the cosmic family, and serving many people as part of a kind of team or orchestrated process. From the position of the south node, we can always infer that the north node: which is in Aquarius, in the 12th (they are always in opposite signs and houses).

This is astrological shorthand for: think beyond your individual needs. What, R.W., does the collective, the community, the world, need right now? How can you simply be of service to the whole?

I assure you: there are lots of ways.

But, I suggest you stop thinking about yourself and remember the world in which you live, and what this world needs, and how you can make yourself the very most useful. Because I believe that is what you really need the most.

Oh and by the way, writing children's books would be a great job for you.

Dear Eric
I enjoy your column on Jonathan Cainer's site and read your weekly emails as well (subscriber). My life work and love has been static since well before 9/11/2001. I was unemployed for two years plus. Then I got a job where I am underemployed and bored. I haven't really related to anyone since 1993 (my brother died that year) when Neptune, Uranus, Saturn and I don't know what else conjoined on my Sun. When will things pick up? I am tired of static!

1/9/1954 Des Moines, Iowa 6:49 am CST

Dear Elizabeth
Without even looking at your chart, I can tell from your year of birth that you are experiencing your Chiron return. I suggest you search through the archives of this column for material about this, as I've covered it several times. But this is the truly big news in your chart and in your life.

I strongly suggest that people having a Chiron return work with the historical trends of their Chiron transits. That is to say, I suggest you familiarize yourself with the whole Chiron transit. The Chiron return is the completion of a major cycle of life experience.

I describe Chiron time-frames exercise in detail in one of the prior articles in this space, but this studying a kind of time sequence that is based on the dates of your major Chiron transits. For each person they are different. And, you don't need to be going through a Chiron transit for this to be a very helpful process, but if you're in the midst of a Chiron transit, or approaching one, it's indispensable.

Here is a list of time frames for you to begin this process. Journal each one separately, beginning with your street address at the time of the transit. Include information about your work, friends, lovers, animal companions, health, and any life transitions that show up.

Chiron conjunct Vesta/Moon -- Spring 1964 and Fall 1964
Chiron square Chiron -- Fall 1973 and Spring 1974
Chiron in the nadir -- Spring 1976 and Fall 1976
Chiron in the descendent -- Summer, Fall 1988
Chiron opposite Chiron and many other planets -- 1989-1990
Chiron square Chiron -- Fall 1996
Chiron conjunct Saturn/Mars -- Fall 1997
Chiron in the ascendant -- January 2002
Chiron conjunct Sun -- January 2004

I suggest you take about two or three weeks and write about 200-1,000 words for each time frame on the list. Do these as separate projects. We are not looking for big traumas as much as the characteristics of your life, who you were with, what job you had, how you were feeling and so on. Some will have bigger news than others. When in doubt, start with your address. Then, when you are done, see if they tell a story or convey a theme that you can summarize in one paragraph.

The Chiron return is anything but static, and in the context of the dates above, what you are experiencing today should make a lot more sense.

Please let me know what you learn.

Eric is creating a new astrology newsletter for parents, dedicated to kids, called Planet Waves Parenting. There's a letter introducing the project at

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