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Eric Francis Astrology Q&A
Archive for Friday 22nd October 2004

Astrology Secrets Revealed: Eric Francis Answers Your Questions
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Dear Readers
Once again we are a week away from an eclipse. This time it's a total lunar eclipse in Taurus. Eclipses are generally points of acceleration and often of crisis. They are like astrological bottle necks for which nothing slows down; instead, the temperature and rate of flow goes up as everything seems pushed a little more forcefully through experience and thought.

They are good times to take things a step at a time, and to anticipate that you and everyone around you will be experiencing added emotional intensity. It's best to defuse dramas before they get too big, and to beware of possible pitfalls in communication that can have unnecessary repercussions.

When the Moon is eclipsed in Taurus, that means that the Sun must be in the sign Scorpio, something that begins Saturday. For those curious, I'm including the chart of Saturday's Scorpio ingress of the Sun. Since so much emphasis is being placed on the race for the White House, I've set the chart for Washington, DC. The Sun changing signs is the very next big change we go through, and this is a great opportunity to feel astrology in action. See if you can notice the tone and color of life shift with the change to Scorpio time.

Many astrologers find charts for the ingress of the Sun into a new sign quite helpful as a navigation tool, and I often use them to write my horoscopes (monthly or otherwise). Below is the chart for the Scorpio Ingress of the Sun. And here is a legend to help you sort out the little hieroglyphics.


First, notice the Sun is in orange at the lower right side of the chart. It's just inside the 5th house. To count the houses, you start with the horizontal line on the left; the slice of pie just below that line is the 1st house. Then to identify the house number, begin with the first, and count anti-clockwise. The outermost ring gives the locations of the house cusps, within the astrological signs. Like a planet, the beginning of a house has a location in space. That location is stated by its sign position. This chart is 2 degrees of Cancer and 20 minutes rising (which is the 1st house cusp). The 2nd house begins at 26 degrees of Cancer and 1 minute. And so on around the wheel. (The second question today deals with the differences between signs and houses, so this is a preview, and you can use this chart for reference).

We know this is a chart that's approaching an eclipse because the Sun is right near the south node. That's the little horse shoe next to the Sun, slightly to the right. Remember, any time you see the Sun near either of the horse shoes, that means there is an eclipse in the vicinity. This holds true for natal charts as well! If you see the Sun near a node, stop and mutter the word, 'eclipse'. Then you can study that chart as well.

In this particular chart, I see a lot of contact between the ascendant in early Cancer, with the south node and the Sun, both of which are in early Scorpio. Look at that trine to the ascendant! You can tell it's a trine because water-to-water (Cancer to Scorpio) is usually a trine, and if the degree number is close, it's definitely a trine (in this case, the early degrees of those signs).

The nodes and the ascendant are working very well together. There is energy MOVING in this chart, and a lot more is about to move, in the form of the eclipse a few days later. Let's see what develops; it is likely to have some far-reaching consequences. Yet it will likely be more interesting than a prediction can see in advance.

The lunar eclipse takes place at 3:04 a.m. London time on Thursday Oct. 28. For reference, that translates to 10:04 p.m. Wednesday night on the east coast.

Here are a few comments on questions from recent emails.

Dear Eric
I wish to quit smoking. It is a 30-year habit and one which I have been unsuccessful in the past in putting behind me. My birth date is March 24, 1959 and I was born at 9:15 am in Columbus, Ohio. Is there a better time to begin for success this time?

Sincere thanks!

Dear Sarah
It's never too late to quit smoking, and now is a great time, so congratulations on stating your desire out loud where several hundred thousand people can send you loving and supportive vibes. People click on this web page every minute who want to quit smoking, a choice I whole-heartedly support, because there is no singe more important thing you can do for your health or quality of life on this planet, none that I can think of anyway. So you have good company.

Addictions are complicated. But many people have managed to quit. You might want to find out how they did it. I suggest you ask some of your friends or colleagues what they learned from quitting smoking. I am sure that you will hear some interesting stories. I thought I would run this past Jonathan, who is a careful observer of himself and of life, and see if he had something to add to the discussion. "No matter how righteous you feel from giving up one vice," he said, "there's always another bad habit left to break."

I will interpret this, a bit, if I may. Improving our lives is a process. Life is a process. Astrology has a lot to say about processes, because it deals with cycles.

It seems that your relationship with cigarettes goes a bit about one full Saturn cycle, which is about 29 years. (If you're into astrology and somebody blurts out, mumbles or sings anything in approximate range of 30 years, your mind should respond: 'Saturn'.) So you are having this discussion just after the Saturn return of having started smoking. That's interesting. The Saturn return is a point of maturity and restructuring. I wonder, in that case, what was going on at the beginning of the cycle. That would be around the age of 15, or perhaps even 12 (around when Saturn crossed your Gemini ascendant for the first time).

Checking additional transits for when you started smoking, it seems you were under quite a bit of pressure. (Pluto was opposing your Sun, for example.) I think there might be a real benefit in going back to the beginning and taking a look at what your life was about; what expectations you had, what needs you had identified; and what you were dealing with at the time. There was certainly a lot of pressure to be self-sufficient; you may have been dealing with a sense of alienation.

Whatever the case, I would view the themes of your life when you started smoking as being perfectly relevant to your desire to stop smoking now. Addictions almost always function as a cover story for something else, and we need to get to what that something else is. This is one reason why they are so difficult to get out of. If we treat the addiction without looking at, and working with, the rest of the story, then 'quitting' is like trying to smooth out the surface of water with a canoe paddle.

If we were working together on a client-basis, I would also (based on certain chart factors) want to hear the most detailed possible account of your mother's pregnancy with you, and of the first six months of your life. I know you don't remember, but I would ask you to collect facts from relatives, make a list of everything you know, no matter how seemingly trivial, and have a good idea of who was around you and how they treated you.

There appears to have been quite a lot of emotional stress. Without getting into too many details, I can tell this because of the position of your Venus and your Moon. I think you are carrying around old grief that comes through your mum and other women in your family. This is likely to be a situation of 'not seeing the forest for the trees'. It is something that's so 'natural' that you barely notice it.

Smoking is a deeply emotional habit. There are all kinds of feelings and hidden feelings associated with it. Generally, people are quite angry at themselves for smoking, and I have never seen the idea proposed that the real addiction is to this self-directed anger. In homeopathy, the remedy tabacum (made from tobacco) is used to treat constriction of the heart. No wonder that cigarette smoke attacks the heart.

Smoking is often a cover for childhood grief. The habit can quite literally be rooted in this grief, and your chart speaks of this strongly. Of course, it's much more acceptable to walk around and say, 'I'm quitting smoking, everyone' than it is to say, 'My mother suffered some terrible loss as a young woman, which leads me to be in all kinds of fear that I don't understand, so I deal with it in these ways that don't work, one of which is smoking'.

In the physical and psychic sense, I view smoking as a holistic issue. It affects every organ and system in the body. It threatens the existence of the body in its current form (alive). And it has many connections on the emotion-spirit level. When dealing with such a situation, I suggest you think of it in terms of a whole system solution. You could look at quitting smoking as something you would do independently of everything else, or you could look at it as something that is part of an overall improvement in how you take care of yourself and a change in perception of how you think of yourself.

It's one thing to say 'I'm going to stop hurting myself'. It's another thing entirely to begin to help yourself in every possible way, and to orient on that as a purpose. Which is of course the real issue anyway.

Quitting smoking is ceasing to do something. If, at the same time, you put your energy into making three positive changes (or concrete improvements) in your life, along with this one subtractive change (quitting), you might find that you have better success. This will keep the focus positive. For example (you may already be onto these things, so they are just examples), you could learn about better nutrition and make improvements to the quality of the food you eat -- including its aesthetic quality. You could decide to have a more sensual experience of life, for example, more touch. You could pay attention to your social needs with greater emphasis, and start building the right companionship, or being around the people you love more.

There is of course the issue of how many of our friends smoke. Since coming to the UK Europe, I hardly know anyone who does not smoke cigarettes, and I find this truly distressing. This might be a good opportunity to seek out some non-smoking friends, as 'people, places and things' can trigger a return to old habits.

I also recommend that people going through significant life changes pay a visit to the homeopath. Homeopathy is a whole-system, non-toxic approach to healing. Homeopathy is deeply concerned with getting to the energetic roots of situations, and reaching these roots can bring on a lot of awareness, personal growth, and attention to health generally. There is someone named Ardianna Holman who works in London. She is young and very bright and has a true calling to the work. Perhaps she can help you as well. You can contact her here:

Dear Eric
I want to hear about the correspondence between houses and signs. People say the 1st house is like Aries and the 2nd house is like Taurus and so on. But it seems more complicated than that. And why are there both houses and signs? And what is the difference, anyway?

Drexcel of California

Dear Drexcel
I am so glad you asked. This is one of my favorite subjects, because it reveals so much about the whole nature of astrology.

When an astrologer looks at a natal chart, the wheel they have in front of them is actually two wheels, both divided into 12, but laid over one another. [See chart example, above.] This is a good metaphor for astrology's tendency to work simultaneously on multiple levels of reality, and to create as many variables as possible. If there are 12 signs and 12 houses, your Moon can be in any of 144 conditions based on these two facts alone.

The signs are 12 equal slices of the sky, of 'What's your sign?' fame. The signs point to actual directions in space that you could get into a flying saucer and visit, which very loosely correspond to the constellations -- actual groupings of stars that are near where the Sun makes its apparent path through the sky as the Earth orbits it. For about 30 days each year, the Sun is in each of these signs. And the rest of the planets also move through the signs. Some go quickly; the Moon goes through a sign in under three days. Some go slowly; Pluto takes 12 to 20 years to go through a sign; Uranus takes about seven years; and so on.

Hold that thought.

The wheel you actually see consists of the houses. This wheel also has 12 slices, each of which get spokes; these are the lines you see drawn into the chart. Astrological charts do not generally draw lines where the signs change. If you want to know what SIGN a planet is in, you look at the symbol next to the planet, which tells you the planet's address. If you want to know what HOUSE its in, you see what slice of the wheel it falls in.

The houses represent the view of the heavens as seen from Earth. The signs represent the actual directions in space that you would be looking at.

The Earth is spinning, hence the Sun seems to 'rise' each morning, as the Sun passes over the horizon (the 1st house cusp) and into the 12th house. It rises along with the sign it is in, and the wheel keeps turning. So to say that a planet is in a particular house is to say that it has that particular relationship to the horizon. Let's keep using the Sun as an example. When the Sun is in the 12th house, it has just risen; when it's in the 11th house, it's mid-morning; when it's in the 10th house, it's approaching noon. The 10th house is always up no matter what time of day it is; the 12th is always to the east; the 7th is always to the west. They are the directions as related to the horizon. They always stay more or less the same.

The Sun (to give an easy example of a planet) can be in any sign when it's in a given house. The Sun's house placement (high in the sky, etc.) tells you the time of day, and is in fact based on the time of day. Somebody born in late February just before noon will have the Sun in Pisces in the 10th house, high in the sky. Somebody born in late December just after sunrise will have the Capricorn Sun in the 12th house, exactly to the east.

The time of year tells you the Sun's sign. The time of day tells you the Sun's house. With the Sun, it's easy to figure out in your head. With the Moon and the other planets, it's nearly impossible, but the same basic ideas of interpretation apply. Any planet will fall in a sign (based on its cycle around the Sun) and a house (based strictly on the time of day). This is why the date AND time of birth are so important.

The sign a planet is located in tells the relationship between that planet and the larger cosmos; it is the energy coming through. The house tells about how that energy is expressing itself on the Earth. Houses are strictly a local affair. As a result they are much more personal and expressive, here on Earth. This is the key to understanding the difference between a sign and a house, in interpretation. Signs represent a feeling of cosmic energy. Houses represent the way and lace that the energy is generally expressed.

A planet generally represents a person or thing. Its sign placement modifies the quality of the person or thing. Its house placement, finally, tells us exactly where the whole business is happening. Here is an example. The young red dog (Mars) acted frisky (in Aries) in the vet's waiting room (6th house).

Many people assume that a sign and its corresponding house have the same properties, that is, that the 12th house is just like Pisces. Other people, usually ones who get a headache when they think, like to toss in the corresponding planet. Pisces is just like the 12th house is just like Neptune. It's not that simple, and you cheat yourself out of enjoying the subtle aspects of astrology if you call that astrological thought; it is not. If it were that simple, we would all just hang out on Neptune and watch movies and not bother studying astrology carefully. And there is a good reason we have planets, signs and houses working together, that reason being that we often come to astrology seeking very specific information and these three elements provide it.

Now let's consider some differences between signs and their corresponding houses. In general, you could say that the sign contains the root idea of the house, but the house expresses and develops it.

Let's use Aries, the 1st sign, and the 1st house, as an example. In the Northern Hemisphere, where the astrology we use was developed, the Sun's first day in Aries is the first day of Spring. This is the root idea: initiation and birth. Aries contains the energy of beginnings, but this energy exists in potential only. It needs to find expression in the tangible world.

The 1st house is where that self-expression happens. It takes the idea of Aries into practical reality. This is always the difference between a sign and a house. You could say that the sign is the blue print and the house is, well, the house. So whereas Aries can represent the energy of beginnings and the idea of the beginning of the self, examining the 1st house (which can have any sign involved) tells us how we actually make that expression. If you happen to be Gemini rising, you're likely to define your existence through communication.

Conversely, if you have Aries on the 6th house, you're likely to bring a lot of that initiation power (Aries) into your work (6th). Signs modify things and among the things they modify and explain are houses.

Let's try another example: contrasting the 12th sign Pisces, and the 12th house. We know that Pisces is about 'illusions' and 'fantasy'. And we know that it's natives can be imaginative people. Many of these people (Pisces types, with the Sun or important points in Pisces) would love to work in the movie industry, and we often find them there. The corresponding 12th house would be the movie theatre itself. Very down to Earth. This metaphor works quite literally. When you sit in a movie theatre, you gaze at a screen that is suspended just above the Earth's horizon -- exactly where a planet is when it's in the 12th house. It may be an action film (Aries involved in the 12th house for example) but it's still a film (12th house).

Let's try one last example. The 10th sign, Capricorn, contains a lot of energy of ambition; it's an organized energy, it's a cardinal sign (a little like Aries, it likes to initiate things) and it's grounded, earthy and has a material quality. Take this notion to the 10th house, which develops the idea into official power, reputation, and professional inclinations -- in reality. One can have any sign on the 10th house cusp, and that is the energy we will most naturally seek to develop into that house. I happen to have Pisces, so I need a very imaginative career (some would say astrology is totally a hallucination, and as a Pisces I retort: the world is a big hallucination, now let's go out for a good bottle of wine amongst colleagues).

Dear Eric
Your answers are always elaborate and in depth, so I am curious what unique perspective you are going to bring to this question that I have often pondered myself. I am female. I have a tight (and difficult) conjunction of Sun, Mars and Pluto in Libra in my 5th house. I say it is difficult not only because astrology books say it is so, but because I have often sensed its influence behind things that have happened to me throughout my life. This aspect has its benefits, such as a very high (almost 'male' in nature, although I am heterosexual) sex drive, also a resilience in crisis moments. But it is also seriously blocking my self-expression. I have always had the image in my mind, of someone holding my head under water so I can't breathe. That person, of course, is my own self. I am not openly self-destructive, but have this uncanny habit of sabotaging myself at the most inopportune moments. I can also go from smiling and polite to explosive in one sec. How do I control and use the energies of this conjunction? P.S. My 5th house also 'carries' my Mercury-Uranus conjunction.

Best wishes
Wood Tiger

Dear Wood Tiger
Aren't you happy you were born the year of the Wood Tiger, and not the Fire Tiger? I am very pleased, personally; this way, if I don't do a good job with this response, I'll live to tell the story! But Wood Tiger will get you through the day just fine; nobody can stop you, but you. On this note.

Self-sabotage is an interesting notion. I have seen it in existence; I've felt it in myself; we all have, I am sure. But I find it a truly curious notion, enough so to question on its face.

Let's start with a little gestalt therapy technique: WHO DID THIS TO YOU? Let's blame somebody. It's fun. It's easy. It's cheap. It's not very 'spiritual', but piss on that, for now. It can be very effective.

Self-destructive implies that your 'self' actually wants to 'destruct' you. I'm not buying it, cousin. Why would you want to destruct you, or your good works, or your hard-earned success? But what I am willing to consider is that, during childhood, you took on the intentions and conflict of certain people around you -- caregivers, they are called, because they are supposed to care about us -- who harbored a variety of mixed emotions, frustrations, and jealousy toward you, and the like. I'm going to guess that you internalized these and that, later in life, they appear as 'self-destructive tendencies'. [I did not invent this theory.]

If you don't remember if or when this happened, don't worry; if this happened, it likely did so before you could remember. Then once you were old enough to have experiences you could remember, they seemed perfectly normal because for as long as you could remember at the time, that's the way things were. But I can pretty much assure you of this: something was done to you, many things were, and people had really strange habits for how they treated you. And from that, I'm going to propose, you took on those ways of being and, essentially, got into the habit of making sure that things did not quite work out for you. Also, it sounds like you're dealing with some anger that was pushed into you as a kid.

Being 'self sabotaging' can be a people-pleasing habit. I'll give a verified example from my own life. When I was a young adult, my father was not so thrilled that I wanted to be a writer, despite my long-term desire and active interest. True, he was a media professor -- but that's different than being a media figure. So, in earnest, I graduated from college and got involved in the world of journalism. Before long, I had started my own publication and was getting my work into big newspapers and lots of recognition. But I didn't make money at it; that is, I could barely afford to live. My interpretation to this apparent self-destruct riddle? I was attempting to please both me and dad. I could please me by proving that my ideas were acceptable to society, including The New York Times; and I could please dad, by proving I could not be an actual success at it. I went bankrupt right after one of my greatest journalistic successes. Twisted, yes?

As for what you're struggling with. Do I think other people did this to you as an intentional act? In the first instance, I assume everything that happens on this planet is the result of intention. In the second instance, I assume it happens as a result of neglect, which contains a lot of intention. I would say, based on a careful look at your chart, that you have experienced both, going all the way back to childhood.

Remember that reading a chart is an interpretive act. I cannot speak for you. But I can look at the data you sent, use my training, and make up a story. So here is a story for you that is based on your chart.

Your Mars-Pluto conjunction that you mention in the 5th house (in Libra) does not give evidence of friendly treatment of a child. The 5th house can tell a lot about childhood (so do the 3rd, 4th and the Moon, the asteroid Child, and the planet Mercury). The 5th house mainly addresses the 'inner child' and what happens next when we get going with creativity, romance, recreation or play. Having this potent conjunction there certainly gives you drive. You are like a creative bombshell. But there is a lot of anger mixed up with this particular aspect of your creativity. And that anger came from somewhere; usually anger is flogged into people over time.

In the space I have, I want to look mainly at your Sun and Moon. They suggest that you likely grew up in a kind of severe alcoholic or substance-dependent environment (or its equivalent). It's possible that the drugs involved were not actually ethanol-containing beverages; it could be second-generation effects of alcoholics your parents experienced living in your grandparents' houses; it could have been Valium, pot, or whatever; but I smell strong alcohol vapors rising off your chart.

Let's look at the Moon. Your Moon is conjunct Neptune. That's a message. It's also on the north node, which makes it rather pronounced and gives it a sense that it's associated with your greater mission in life. Jupiter, in your 10th house of profession and one's highest goals, is square the Moon. This is in Pisces. It is also square Neptune. It would be hard to fit more Neptune, Jupiter and Pisces into this chart, unless you used a high pressure water pump.

Note that Jupiter is also square the lunar nodes. When something is square the lunar nodes, THAT is the ONE thing you need to do to make the growth process of the lunar nodes happen. That ONE thing, apparently, is be successful. But Jupiter is retrograde. The retrograde tells me that you kind of flipped off the success switch to make sure you would not threaten anyone around you as a kid. This is one good and dependable thing to check with a retrograde planet; whether the talent or gift the planet represented somehow threatened early caregivers, and was put on hold.

But if you ask me, Neptune is running this whole show. Because the Moon is involved in a conjunction with Neptune, a careful investigation of your mother is called for. I suggest you carefully catalog her attitudes toward all things Neptune: intoxicating substances, truth and deceit, her ideals, and particularly religion (as the scene is Sagittarius). I strongly suggest you figure out what kinds of prescription meds she was on when you were a kid, and before -- and why this was so. (I ask because the conjunction of Moon and Neptune is in the 6th house, implying a medical connection somewhere.)

[On a side note, if you write yourself a little essay called 'What My Life Was Like At Y2K' that will likely tell you something about the deeper nature of your Moon. There was a VERY important conjunction there during the fall of 1999 through early December 2000 that I think will be a truly valuable tool in your healing process, particularly around your mother.]

Now for the Sun. For this, we need to use some minor planets. Your Sun is the latest degree traditional planet in your chart. That is, of all the planets listed in a commercial chart, it has the highest number. If we look at extra planets, we make some important discoveries. Here is an ephemeris for you, courtesy of I have omitted your exact birth data from the display. 'Long' means 'longitude' or the position of the planet in relation to the Earth.

    Date    |   Pholus    |   Nessus    |   Nemesis   |    Hebe     |    Diana    |
            |             |             |             |             |             |
            |     LONG    |     LONG    |     LONG    |     LONG    |     LONG    |
XX Sep 1974 |  7 pi 42 Rx | 29 ge 58    | 27 vi 55    | 29 vi 55    | 16 sa 28    |

Asteroids and minor planets provide valuable clues and fill in the details. They can often tip the chart's hand, or bring it right into focus. The first two of these are a kind of planet called a centaur; the three following are traditional asteroids.

The first thing that gets my attention is that you have two extra planets closely conjunct your Sun. One is called Nemesis, and the other is called Hebe. To Nemesis, we could attach the keywords 'harsh divine justice'. God, however, is not harsh, nor is God's justice mean. But when the adults in our lives who act like gods (mom and dad, for example, who are always stand-ins for the gods) treat us unkindly, we can get the idea that God is mean. So, we are dealing with a human situation. Nemesis represents a belief that was put into you, through experience, probably by whoever is represented by the Sun in your chart (likely to be father, primarily). With Hebe in the equation, we have the abuser-victim-rescuer triangle showing up, common to households where there is unmitigated addiction (Hebe delivered the cup of wine to the gods and so is associated with codependency), and also common to lots of homes that are just normally dysfunctional. Interesting scenario, yes? You might want to identify yourself at different times in that triangle, which is officially called the Cartman Triangle (no relationship to South Park, or none intended).

Now let's look at Nessus (the third centaur planet), which tells us the bottom line. Nessus is often the planet that reveals the abuse dynamics in a chart, be they psychological or physical (including sexual); and it makes a tight square to your Sun, Nemesis, and Hebe conjunction. This tells us a LOT about the conditions of your father's early life. And about yours. There is generally a connection.

Aspects to the Sun and Moon have a tendency to 'make us who we are' or define who we are so thoroughly there seems to be no getting past it. Combine this with the fact that your South Node is rising -- that tells me that it's not so easy for you to change who you are. The way you do change is through relationships (north node in the 7th house). Because Sagittarius is the sign of your north node, this takes us back to Jupiter (see above, Jupiter square the nodes). My interpretation: you can get caught in loops. You may tend to skip steps. Thus, you must take one step at a time, consciously, and be deeply mindful in every single relationship in your life, for each contains your salvation. Make a yoga of relating. Gradually, enlist people into the process of your healing and success. Turn people to friends when they could be enemies; there are some people who really support you and you need to borrow their strength and influence. And you will note that no matter what, there are some who will never support you, and you need to let them be. Let them stand aside and don't try to convince them of anything.

Two more planets.

Pholus, the second centaur, is in early Pisces. It is conjunct Jupiter and mixed up in the whole Neptune, Moon, node aspect structure I discussed above. Pholus, not surprisingly, is a critical to decoding addiction patterns that go back several generations. It is true that when you reach a point of success (that Jupiter in the 10th) 'stuff' comes out and out and out, Pholus style -- Pholus likes to release things and could just as easily unleash the charm, strength, power and success of Jupiter in Pisces. That point of 'making it' is the very point at which you must maintain a focus on your evolution; that is, attend to your growth and not merely on how well you're doing. Success is not a destination. It grants opportunity for greater awareness, change, growth and learning. And, Pisces style, working to help the world. So, stay close to your core purpose, and work with people around you on that purpose.

Last but not least. In fact, perhaps the one that sums it all up. Asteroid Diana is right on your 7th house cusp, right on the descendent -- your relationship angle. Relating to this, were you stalked as a child? Was there a stalking energy in your household? Who protected you, if so? Did anyone? And, do you still feel stalked today? I suggest you confront this issue directly. Until you do, you'll meet every person in your life as a potential stalker. And they are not.

PS, Mercury-Uranus in the 5th? This kind of brilliance, knowledge, intelligence and passion could be very threatening to scared, shut down people. But I suggest you fire it up and blow through the resistance; shine your light through the fog and get used to the fact that people can see you.

Dear Eric
You've been going on for several essays about Libra, and I was wondering how all this affects a Libra ascendant. I've read in your column before that your horoscopes are also written for ascendants. I also have a Gemini Sun and a Gemini Moon. Things have been too weird the past month or so, and I'm really getting worn out. The emotional toll so far has almost sent me right over the edge, and I don't know how much more I can take, but having some preparation I suppose could help.

Libra Rising

Dear Libra Rising
It sounds like you need a change of pace. And it sounds like you need some support. Can you arrange either or both of those things?

An eclipse in your ascendant is certainly a lot of pressure. And when it works, it will put you in touch with something about yourself and relieve a lot of pressure. In any event, the message is big changes. Often the struggle associated with an eclipse involves trying to hold fast to old patterns when the new ones are trying to come in.

There are always many factors at work in our astrology. When I write for Libra, I tend to build in the factor of Libra rising. In consumer-type astrology, such as a Sun sign horoscope or my weekly birthday reports, the question is whether people identify more with their rising sign, or their Sun sign. This is usually based on the level of understanding of astrology.

I suggest that people get into astrology a little more rather than a little less, and if you're up to being curious about your Moon and rising signs, you've got what it takes.

And you're also getting a condensed Eclipse class. Since your letter was written a few weeks ago, it may be that things have changed considerably for you. Please let me know.

Good morning Eric
I don't really have a question. Although I've been through some very rough times (my mum died when I was 14, I tried to commit suicide at 17, got suckered into a hopeless marriage, gave birth to a beautiful daughter but she was very ill until the age of 10, got divorced. After that I had a relationship that re-instated my faith in humanity for about a year. Then it blasted me back to square 1). Still, I always managed to crawl back on top of things. Reading about people who have not that luck makes weighs me down more than I can explain in words. All that mankind developed, achieved, invented, created: it still isn't able to offer comfort and a decent emotional life to most of us.

Kind regards

Dear Cleo
Yes, we have to give these things to one another, and to ourselves.

Studying Astrology Tip of the Week

Get yourself an astrology dictionary. It is essential to know the meanings of words if you want to work within a specialized field, such as astrology. Words are POWER. If you don't know what someone is talking or writing about, the best way to find out is to figure out what their words mean. That's a good start, anyway.

My favorite ones are the Arkana Dictionary of Astrology, published by Penguin/Arkana; and an old astrology dictionary written by Alan Leo. The Arkana Dictionary is much more new and modern yet has excellent references to classical terms. What Alan Leo's has going for it is that it's old and has a lot of obsolete concepts, strange definitions and formulas that can really come in handy these days (i.e., an eclipse in such and such a sign will come with locusts). It's always good to contrast two definitions of any term when you can. But if you're going to get just one, I strongly suggest the Arkana Dictinoary. There are several others out there; there are many esoteric dictionaries; I love them.

There is also something called the Astrology Encyclopedia by James R. Lewis. There is an old edition and a new one; you may be able to pick up the old one fairly cheap used, I checked Amazon and it's under five bucks in the U.S. I really like this book. The definitions are long, the articles are interesting, it has a lot about asteroids and profiles of astrologers, plus tons of classical stuff; and before I could afford books I spent a lot of time sitting on the floor of Esoterica Books in New Paltz reading the copy I now own.

As for these dictionaries, I suggest that people in the US and Canada get their books from Dave the Astrology Center of America. (Dave just wrote me and says that both dictionaries are out of print in the U.S., but I suggest you call for suggestions and also do a used book search.) And I suggest that people in the United Kingdom get their books from Barry at The Astrology Shop in Covent Garden. Please say I sent you. Both sell books online and have great selections -- they are specialists, they special order, and will be happy to make recommendations and encourage your astrological habits.

Those links are: and

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