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Archive for Friday 1st October 2004

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Dear Readers
This week, I have focused on two questions rather than the usual four. The second one in particular required a bit more discussion than usual, as it deals with the current circumstances unfolding in the United States. As most of you know, I have not been particularly optimistic lately, in part because I'm as overwhelmed by the news as anyone else who is paying attention, and in part because I know too much about history for my own comfort. However, I was clicking around the Internet the other day and wound up on this really cool web page called, and I read this thought of the day on the front page:

"Many people are asking how I can possibly predict a brighter future given the worsening state of the world. Atrocities though, are nothing new. We are just becoming more aware of them now. That actually suggests more light, shining on the darkness. Millions marched against the war in Iraq. That too, was a glimmer above the horizon, suggesting a new dawn on the way. Even if our governments continue to cultivate conflict, they won't stop a more enlightened era from arriving. But by drawing curtains of deception and denial, we may just manage to shut out the light a little longer."

Frankly, I needed that! There is some solid reasoning in that bit of philosophy. Well anyway leave it to a Sagittarius.

Anyway -- longterm plans for the cosmos aside -- for the foreseeable future, we need to get used to the fact that the news is only going to get more intense, and interesting, associated with a series of eclipses and occultations through October and November -- eight in all. Any stargazers out there ever seen the like of this?

The seasons of eclipses are, ordinarily, among the most productive and progressive as well, if we use them consciously and intelligently. Add six occultations, that is, the Moon exactly eclipsing a planet, and we are looking at something quite unusual indeed. Mark your calendar; there is an eclipse of the Sun at the next New Moon, on Oct. 13 or 14 depending on your time zone, and then there is an eclipse of the Moon with the next Full Moon, on Oct. 28.

More details and developments are ongoing in Planet Waves Weekly, along with my weekly and monthly horoscopes. To subscribe, please see the link above and below this article.

Hello Eric Angel
My question to you relates to intimate relationships. In the past I have been able to commit to several relationships with men that have lasted four or years. And then I have always felt the need to leave in order to keep growing. It seems that for the past five years that the more I go into the fullness of myself, the idea of a committing to a lasting relationship with one man seems less natural. Not even authentic. I wonder if this is a convenient smoke screen I have erected to protect my wounds or an evolutionary truth that hasn't settled into a comfortable position yet. The only thing I am committed to is following this path of mine, which is unfortunately quite poorly lit at times, and unpaved too. And disappointingly only wide enough for one. What think you? Have I gone off the map? Has the ego taken over? My stats; June 25, 1968 Canberra, Australia,11.40 p.m. Many thanks to you for the torch,


Dear Angie
Lose no sleep: you're definitely off the map of our society-- or rather, off of one map and onto another. I'll come to your chart in a moment -- a personal map, by the way, that you are definitely ON. Let's start with contemplating a widely-held belief within our culture and many cultures: that people are made to couple up with one other individual and, like a pair of oxygen molecules, float around the universe as one person forever.

Some people do a pretty good job with this model. I know some happily coupled people. Most of them have to work at it, though. Others find being with one person exclusively to be seriously compromising of their growth. Stability at all costs can be very compromising of growth, and conversely, growth 'threatens' stability, or it seems to unless two people can really agree on what it means to become, together, and give one another a lot of room to be themselves. (That is called love.) Many, many people are pretending to be monogamous -- no judgments here, we do what we can, and what we must -- but let's keep the relationship discussion real. Affairs are rampant within monogamous culture.

The thing to remember is that there is no mandatory model of relating, no matter what our parents, the local priest or anyone else says. The other thing to remember is that our society -- Western society, that is, including everything from Pepsi commercials to our friends -- usually insists that we do things the normal way, and can make us feel like the universe is going to come off the rails if someone makes an original decision where their private relationship life is concerned.

Astrology has a lot to say about this. Implied in every chart is the statement that every person is a unique individual and must navigate, negotiate and create their life their original way. I call this part of the inherent wisdom of astrology. Every chart is unique. Every person is unique. And there are many ways in life to express oneself. There are 12 houses, 12 signs and many planets, and these go off in every direction.

To respond to your question directly, no, I don't think that you're making a smoke screen to protect your wounds. Rather, I think you have made a discovery about yourself. And I would add that you are a brave person to put your need and desire into words.

I hear yourself saying that you must make your own way in life, without a primary partner. Presumably, though, you're going to need companionship, and you're going to want sex. If these are true, then you face the journey of negotiating your arrangement with each person you know. In a sense, every relationship becomes negotiable, boundaries become movable, and definitions like friend and lover can begin to blur. This is part of the unpaved path of which you speak.

As for the chart: in the space I have, I'll focus on two aspects. The first is that you have late Pisces in the ascendant (the next-to-last degree), in which we do a lot of self-creating. Right there, you have Chiron in early Aries rising. The late degrees of Pisces rising last about 15 minutes, while Chiron in Aries went on for about eight years. That one placement has shaped an entire generation. It is about a nearly endless quest for self-identity. It is the search for meaning in the words I Am. The previous, slightly older generation of Chiron in Pisces defines its search for self in much more collective terms: there is a cosmic quest, a search for faith, the need to participate in the planetary awakening. Chiron in Aries, which defined what some historians have termed the Me Generation, is far more individualistic. And you embody this generational placement very personally.

You with me so far? I thought so.

When it's lived out well, Chiron in Aries will find itself at any cost. But this process of finding oneself can be very complicated and it's not particularly well supported by the world, except in the abundant opportunities available on the planet to bang into people and things. Then, every now and then, a door opens; a key turns; a teacher or partner arrives; a miracle happens. Chiron in Aries has that bit of 'dragon luck' when it counts the most. Meanwhile, Chiron rising (which can occur when Chiron is in any sign -- this part is based solely on the birth time), will struggle with the right to exist, or the question of existence until it comes round right. When lived out as an injury, Chiron in Aries will negate its own existence, or will live like the struggle to find oneself can never end and never be resolved. So there's a choice involved in the placement; or perhaps a choice at every opportunity that exists where one may either stand fully in his or her own life, or make a compromise and give up part of their soul.

I think from your letter it's clear what direction you are taking this choice.

Second, equally interesting, if not more so. People who don't follow the language of astrology, let the words evoke something if you can: your 4th house of security and emotional wellbeing is a very interesting place. In it dwells a tight cluster of planets: Moon, Mars, Sun, and Venus. The Moon is in the end of Gemini, so close to the end that you have to divide the zodiac into about 10,000 slices to measure it accurately. It is dangling quite literally in the last minutes of its transit through Gemini, and moved into Cancer before you left the delivery room. Interesting, yes? Then, immediately following that, is a cluster of the Sun, which is the primary planet of identity, grouped with Mars and Venus, the planets that represent gender polarity, duality, sex and the two big ways that one can express desire: actively or receptively.

All of this is placed in the most emotional house, the 4th. The implication is that you embody a quest for security at the same time you live on a razor's edge of security.

Because the Moon is so close to the end of Gemini and the Sun so close to the beginning of Cancer, your are born in the last moments of a lunar cycle, and the New Moon that happened about six hours after you were born was with the Sun close to the solstice, the beginning of summer. This tells me that the story of THE END is told in your relationship with security; there is something about letting go of false security or that sense of clinging, and plunging into the real thing.

Security about what? About your own existence; about defining your existence; about expressing the truth of who you are with a kind of urgency that would scare the wits out of most people. And it seems to me that this describes your desire to be an independent person, and the sole person to whom you answer.

One last thing: you're not the only person going through this. People from every generation alive on the planet today, and many before, and many many many today, are working with and at times wresting with these questions. You are not alone, and working toward your independence does not mean you need to be. But as you say, you are striking forth in the wilderness. Bring some good tools. Get to know the natives. Keep a diary.

Dear Eric
So recently, it was the anniversary of 9/11, and some of your current writings on the probability of a new war has made me terrified and sad (this is not your fault of course). My own astrology and personal drama is of no worldly concern, so I'll leave that stuff out because right now I have a pressing and dire need for a few answers. I'm a Canadian girl and citizen, so I feel awkward criticizing the leaders and policies of a country that is not my home. But I feel I have to ask about the heavy, dark, spiraling energy that is surrounding my southern neighbor. What is it about the U.S that is failing right now? Is Canada going to be spared from all of the chaos spewing around from all directions? I feel like the coming election is like a life and death situation for all people in the world right now, because with the momentum building behind Bush, another four years with him on his throne could be frankly catastrophic. I am praying, a lot, for the people of this country, and I hold the United States in high regard, but I get nervous even thinking about how close it is to us. Please help shed some light on a dark subject and maybe show me something that I haven't been able to see. Thank you, truly,


Dear Seeker
Let's look at this on several levels before diving into the United States chart. The July 4, 1776 chart is the one used by most astrologers (known as the Sibley chart, for the Declaration of Independence). Astrology is always important to take in context. As the next few weeks progress, maybe reader questions will give me the opportunity to address the election and inauguration charts, which are rather interesting.

But first, let's open our eyes to psychology, which has shed a lot of light on the human condition in the past century, light we cannot see with our eyelids down. Level one of the problem you mention: freedom is scary. Or at least it is to many people. Fear is also scary, and we're getting a lot of fear dumped on us, but freedom is scarier. Fear and freedom are antithetical. Freedom is an Aquarian concept and Aquarius -- prominent in both U.S. charts -- is ruled in the first instance by Saturn. We must earn whatever Saturn bestows; it's never just handed over. Nobody gives it us freedom. It is the product of maturity. Maturity involves a lot of overcoming fear.

No matter what form of government we live under, we must earn freedom at every turn, and often fight for it even though it's 'guaranteed'. This is earning of freedom, by the way, the essence of astrology, psychology or any form of self-empowerment. We then must take responsibility for the privileges and power that freedom bestows, particularly the freedom to choose. Any person who works with the psychological or spiritual processes of other people becomes witness to the goings-on of this in about three seconds. For many people, this is too big of a burden, so it seems to me that many are willing to give up their freedom in order to be relieved of the burden of actually owning their lives and their destiny, both national and individual. Note that while freedom can't be given, it can be taken away, it can be abused, and it can be given up. If you ask me, that's what's going on the United States. On one level, anyway.

Next level: rampant, constant, relentless fear is intentionally being used against people. It is coming through the broadcast media, which no longer serves to inform but only to spread a message of panic and marketing. Fear weakens us energetically and physically. Fear creates vulnerability and leads people to make decisions they would not normally make, and live their lives in ways that they would not normally live. Of course, we blame this vulnerability on the supposed object of the fear rather than the subjective experience of fear. Then all we want is relief, which few realize will come in the form of turning off the TV. Then relief is usually offered in the form of external manipulation (i.e., greater airport security). So we allegedly get it in the form of fewer rights, more government presence, and thus more fear. That reminds us how vulnerable we are; and the spiral continues. If anyone wants to understand how this works, read A Course In Miracles or any book based on it. Check out Lesson 135 in the workbook, "If I defend myself I am attacked." Lesson 137 is pretty good, too.

Another problem is that an addict's mentality is seizing the nation, and here I can add a direct astrological reference: Neptune in Aquarius is very prominent in the U.S. chart. This is about mass addiction and its effects finally coming to the surface. I covered it previously in this link, by the way). Addiction to fear, television, religion, mood stabilizers, alcohol, sugar, tobacco, cannabis, food, cocaine and numerous other drugs are all rampant, indeed, considered perfectly normal. I also believe that sexual repression is an addiction, and this in turn is responsible for the overwhelming dependence on pornography that has seized the Western world in recent decades. Remember that the Latin root of addict is the same as dictator -- dictatum. The basic concept is control.

Consistent with addiction pattern, everyone else's drug of choice is a real drug; one's own is just a harmless diversion or what it takes to get us through the day. The result: "An amoral addict's mentality -- fixation on one's entitlement and invincibility and indifference to right/wrong and human suffering ," as one reader recently put it, is what's happening in the U.S. now. This has happened before at notable times in recent world history.

Next, speaking of Neptune in Aquarius, it is still taboo to discuss the political and social developments in the States; the taboo is under the guise of being unpatriotic, supporting the terrorists if you don't go along with the plan, and so on. That brings us to level four, political. As my authority, my reality check, I'm going to quote James Madison, the 4th U.S. president and the author of the Constitution. Listen up; he's smart.

"It is a universal truth that the loss of liberty at home is to be charged to the provisions against danger, real or pretended, from abroad," he wrote more than 200 years ago. Universal truth! Hmm. Maybe we're missing something. To make sure we got it, he explained it a different way. "The means of defense against foreign danger historically have become the instruments of tyranny at home."

Then there is the issue of religion. Madison also told us, "The purpose of separation of church and state is to keep forever from these shores the ceaseless strife that has soaked the soil of Europe with blood for centuries."

The U.S. is currently experiencing the effects of an intentional fusion of fundamentalist religion and government that began in the early 1980s. Unlike any other country except an Islamic fundamentalist regime, God is being invoked at every occasion and ascribed to every purpose, and being put to work full time as a god of war. Churches are widely being used as political devices. Note the pending Oct. 5th release of a video called George W. Bush: Faith in the White House, 300,000 copies of which will be distributed to churches in the U.S., according to today's New York Times This blend of religion and politics is a very dangerous mix, because government and running society call for cool rationalism and religion calls for blind faith and often evokes mindless passion. Blind faith and mindless passion are bad ways to run a country. It leads to the current "Vote for me or face Armageddon" mentality that we are experiencing.

Here, we are solidly in Pluto in Sagittarius country, a transit that goes from about 1995 through about 2008. This transit, as we have seen, is about the rise of ideology, and it was predicted by more astrologers than you could jam into Madison Square Garden. Pluto focuses the ideological nature o f Sagittarius in to a kind of social warhead, and it is whipping up all kinds of obsession in people, institutions and groups. One of those is with patriotism, which is based on fear and a sense of threat. Patriotism and religion are very closely related. Note how the U.S. flag is being worn by politicians as a religious icon. Bush and Cheney are the first president and vice president to wear little flag pins to remind us how patriotic they are. They probably wear them to bed, pinned to their Kevlar pajamas.

All of this is very bad for freedom -- both for allowing the external conditions whereby it is possible (peace and tranquility in society) and the internal, psychological ones where it is possible (maturity).

The founding fathers were very concerned about freedom on a cultural level. Said Madison, "We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties." He added, "I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations." I know there are people who would prefer that I was quoting Abbey Hoffman so that the ideas could be easily dismissed, but alas, I am not.

Last history lesson for today, Madison explained: "The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, self-appointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny."

U.S. National Horoscopes

Countries have many charts. Countries are big and they live a long time, and they go through many changes. As is often the case, it's difficult to pinpoint the inception of the United States; when you research it, even the date July 4 is controversial, despite being enshrined in national mythology. However, two charts stand out, in my opinion, the first of which is below. It's also very worthwhile checking the chart for the latest coronation of the king, which for the U.S. is the inauguration chart. I will mention this briefly.

The Sibley Chart

The Sibley Chart

This was the first chart ever published for the United States, and it's set for July 4, 1776 at 5:10 pm LMT in Philadelphia. It's based on the contemporary notes of an astrologer alive at the time. The Sibley chart has 12 and half degrees of Sagittarius rising, and hence, 12 and a half degrees Gemini on the 7th house. The ascendant/descendent angle is usually the most sensitive line in any chart. (There are exceptions, but not many, and the ascendant is always highly sensitive no matter what else is going on.)

Does everyone remember that in the summer of 2001, we experienced the Saturn-Pluto opposition across Gemini and Sagittarius? This is an aspect that happens once every 35 years or so. The last time it happened was in the mid-Sixties, right in the thick of the biggest social uprising in modern U.S. history, as well as many other countries. Generally, this aspect translates to "shit happens." I've written a heck of a lot about it elsewhere (please see Google), and so has a fine astrologer named Rick Levine, but generally it's associated with major upheavals in society, crusades, plagues and so on. This is true no matter how far back you take it, even long before the discovery of Pluto in 1930.

Mostly it's associated with change. Obviously, each generation is going to reinterpret the aspect differently, and Pluto will be in a different sign each time it happens. So the tone and flavor are going to change; this time around, we got it with Pluto in Sagittarius (remember what you read about that, above). And the opposition just so happened to occupy the U.S. ascendant and descendent to the degree. That is ominous. Even without the involvement of the U.S. ascendant it's ominous enough, but make the aspect so personal and so direct in its impact and you get an image of big changes in a society.

Next, note that position of the Sun in this chart is at 13 degrees of Cancer and 19 minutes. It's the orange circle with the dot in it, toward the upper right side of the chart. Note all those other planets in Cancer, too. We all know that Saturn has been in Cancer since the summer of 2003. Chiron has been in Capricorn since shortly after Sept. 11. During the past year or so, there has been a Saturn-Chiron opposition going back and forth over the U.S. Sun. Notice the changes you're seeing in the news and you've got an idea of the influence of this aspect.

Now, it's very interesting that Mr. Bush is born on July 7, so his natal Sun is a mere three degrees away from the Sibley chart Sun. That means that transits to his Sun, an important planet particularly in the chart of the king, are similar to those of the U.S. national experience. Isn't that wonderful? So, Bush has personally been experiencing a Saturn-Chiron opposition on his Sun. And he has been feeling it.

But let's add one last planet, a new planet, to the equation. That planet is Varuna. Varuna is a planet beyond Pluto. We know something about the influence of Pluto, so that should give us some clues about this newcomer. Varuna, a major discovery made in 2000, is on the short list of three extra planets to be added to the official list of "nine planets" which would become 12. The other two are Ceres, the first asteroid, and Quaoar, discovered in 2002. They all bear impressive numbers in the minor planet catalogue: Ceres is number 1, Varuna is number 20,000 and Quaoar is number 50,000.

Because it's only been around for four years, one cannot speak decisively about Varuna, but we have clues. For one thing, he is about equalization, which can mean demotion, or leveling the playing field. This would hold true for the United States as well as for the presiding president. We also know that Varuna of ancient pre-Vedic mythology is reputed to have punished liars severely. Very severely. It is clear that as a result of all of what we're witnessing, the United States is becoming a different country and it's being perceived as a different country by the world community. America is an idealistic nation. But other people are not so idealistic about it as it might dream. And Varuna has yet to have its full impact on the chart of Mr. Bush. That comes next.

One last note about the Sibley chart. As of today, the progressed Sun in this chart changes signs ON THE DAY of the U.S. election, Nov. 2. The progressed Sun changes signs once every 30 years. It has done so approximately seven times in U.S. history. To think that it changes signs on the very day of this rather important election is one of those really freaky things that makes people want to devote their lives to astrology.

Personally, I see this as a very encouraging sign. Aquarius is about crystallized patterns. The way to work with Aqauarian energy is to MAKE patterns; we do it anyway, but when we take it consciously, we get something original. Pisces is about undoing those patterns. While this generally does not happen overnight, at the moment, we are at the very, very, itsy, bitsy, teentsie, weentsie, nanoscopic end of the progressed Sun in Aquarius phase of U.S. history -- these ends of phases can be VERY strange times (as we are seeing). And very unstable, uncomfortable, and so on. And when the progressed Sun changes signs, much else changes, and it can change fast. There is a genuine shift of climate, feeling, and the sense of the future opening up rather than the past dominating. And people who are unaware of the change can really be caught by surprise.

It is true that Pisces often presents a lot of problems, particularly when it's experienced on the level of denial, addiction and obsession. And it's really too early and too close to call this game; we have a lot to see about how the U.S. handles being a progressed Pisces. But there is, as I have been saying, big news coming. But for it to mean anything, we have to take it personally and conduct ourselves in such a way as we want the world to be: that is, we have to see politics as being something inside ourselves.

One last note, the inauguration chart from 2001. This chart is set for Jan. 20, 2001 at 12:01 p.m., Washington, DC. Fortunately for all of us, the inauguration takes place at a constitutionally fixed moment. Otherwise sneaky people could choose their charts, but one thing that's clear is that if the administration in Washington has an astrologer, he's sabotaging them with his rotten charts. Still, even though nobody special picked the inaugural chart from 2001, it's a harrowing, grisly bit of astrology.

The president, for one thing, was sworn in as Mars was setting. Not good. Bill Clinton's inaugural chart has some very similar features. Though it's taken time to express itself, there is going to be considerable adversity for the chief if this presidency continues. We are seeing this on the level of the Iraqi resistance, but we will also see it at home in the form of some extremely direct opposition to what is happening. My take is that it's going to come from some of the president's closest allies, just as Nixon was finally undone by Republicans who had a clue and gave a damn about their country. Sometimes enough is enough, and sometimes it takes a lot of work to clean up the mess. So get out the mop.

Follow the astrology of the election as it relates to you personally in Planet Waves Weekly. You can subscribe by going to

Eric Francis is available for private consultations in Paris. You can reach him through his U.S. office at + (206) 463-7827 during Eastern business hours.

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