Astrology Secrets Revealed: Eric Francis Answers Your Questions
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I am not much of a baseball fan myself these days, but the Babe Ruth chart is one to look at -- maybe after the election. I will say this, he has a lot of Venus and a lot of Moon in that chart.
The energy of the prior Full Moon in Aries exactly one month ago, and then the solar eclipse two weeks ago, were among about the maddest, wildest and woolliest -- and most effective -- solar-lunar events I've ever felt. I have been doing my best to maintain my journalistic objectivity and not get too personal (yet), as I don't want to cloud people's experiences, only maximize them -- however, the energy felt like a tidal wave. They did their job, that much I can say.
The job of eclipse is akin to what hurricanes do: flood and cleanse the land, in this case, consciousness.
Now, as I have been mentioning, there is a series of bonus eclipses coming up. By bonus eclipses, I mean a series of planetary occultations. That's when the Moon makes an exact eclipse to a planet rather than to the Sun. To see these you need a tool called Raphael's Ephemeris, which is one of the very few commercial ephemerides that mentions this kind of event. It is indicated by a little conjunction dot, filled in -- the symbol of a solar eclipse.
But here is the basic sequence:
Nov. 9 -- Moon Occult Jupiter, at 10 degrees Libra
I was talking to my buddy Rick Levine of StarIQ.com last night going over the election charts, and I told him about this. He's been an astrologer a lot longer than I have. He said, "That's really weird, right?" Um, yep. I've been following Raphael's since around 1995 -- not so long, I know -- but I've never seen anything vaguely resembling this. I would say this is a normal number of occultations for six months or so, all clustered into four days, and four days right after the election and two other eclipses.
A lot else in Libra suggests that -- with all eyes on the USA -- the nation is divided right down the middle. Something is hanging in the balance and these events are "extra factors" that may tip the balance. We find them in Libra: the sign of lawyers, the law and litigation. Are we looking at another election that's going to be decided by judges? And what of the fact that Jupiter is there?
"We shall see what we shall see."
Readers: I am blogging at least twice a day at http://planetwaves.info/ and will be closely tracking events, astrological and otherwise, associated with the election in the coming days, at times hour by hour. Please tune in!
Here are some of your questions this week.
Peace & Passion
Nine years is a long time to struggle with the kinds of issues you describe, and even four is a long time to endure repeated mental breakdowns. You are a young woman, at the peak of your strength and, by all rights, adaptable and resilient. If you have been suffering this long, I suggest it would be wise to take it seriously and make your emotional health your first priority in life. Not that you don't know that; I am just offering an endorsement.
Addressing this situation astrologically, a great deal happens in nine years. Many things change. And yet there are certain situations where the setup of the natal chart, plus the movement of one planet -- usually Pluto -- can create a long, long scenario that never seems to end, and even after the end, it can seem to go on. Generally the energy comes in peaks, which represent crisis points.
You have a setup in your natal chart involving Mars, the Moon, and Neptune in the early degrees of Pisces, Virgo and Sagittarius respectively. The Virgo Moon alone is something that I would describe as a challenging placement. The mental and emotional aspects of the nature can seem to wrestle with one another and there is often the expectation that feelings will respond to the power of thought. Worse yet, there are times when mental-override is used to get a grip on feelings, and while this is sometimes necessary, it's not a good idea to use this as the first line of defense.
Now, your Virgo Moon is complicated by Mars and Neptune, which are in a T-square pattern. I'll post your chart so you can see what I'm talking about. The Moon and Mars are opposite one another, in red, and Neptune is standing between them, in blue. I would say this is a very challenging setup and most people who have it will either slowly slip into a kind of mental chaos, or, if they are fortunate and have access to a lot of life force and good information, work very consciously at a healing process that takes them to an unusually high level of clarity and integrity. I suggest you dedicate your life to this second possibility, as the first of the two is not compatible with happiness. I don't like to define situations where the horns of the dilemma are so far apart as these, but I think for your purposes you might want to consider the possibility that there are two main roads from which you can choose.
Beginning around 1995 -- nine years ago -- Pluto got into this T-square. It did so when it entered Sagittarius and immediately squared your Pisces Mars. That would have seen you at about the age of 22, adapting to the pressures of young adulthood, and at the same time, pushed in some powerful, hormonal ways to express yourself creatively, sexually and (in a Piscean way, which means encompassing the first two modes), spiritually. Note: the world is not generally so kind to people who express or even experience their sexual and creative needs. And you may not have even thought of what you were experiencing in these terms; it may have felt merely like emotional and psychological stress. But pushed you were, and the intensity built as Pluto squared your Moon during the next two years and then began a long conjunction to your natal Neptune. Can you see how one planet can make an aspect to a group of planets nearly simultaneously? When we have an aspect structure in the chart, particularly one that involves squares and oppositions, this can be very intense. Because these planets are spread out by five degrees (Mars at around 2 Pisces and Neptune at around 6+ Sagittarius), and because Pluto moves rather slowly, the degree spread can drag out the effects of the transit. This is what happened to you.
Each of these transits can be taken separately and understood for what it is. Pluto opposite Mars can dredge up big power struggles. Pluto square the Moon can create deep isolation, emotional struggle, serious issues around mum, and much else. Emotionally, Pluto square the Moon by transit can feel like being pushed into a corner emotionally, and give you the feeling that no matter what your needs will never be met.
I would like to specifically address the what happens when Pluto goes over natal Neptune, speaking to everyone. This transit happens to everyone in our era at around the age of 24 years old and can last two years. This is not a transit like the Saturn return that has happened to everyone at the age of 29 since long before Atlantis was a cute little fishing village. Rather, this is a process specific to young people (such as yourself) born in the second half of the 20th century.
I have seen this to be a genuinely challenging transit, and is part-and-parcel of the extreme challenges, changes, disappointments and growth of the early 20s. It's unfortunate that people in this age range don't generally come to astrology (astrology is sought out most often by people in their 40 and 50s, when they finally get sick of their problems).
Transiting Pluto conjunct natal Neptune has a toxic feeling. It can drag up a lot of material from the deep unconscious. Things that truly defy all comprehension and which nobody seems to understand occur. At its best, this has a deepening effect; it compels us to go beyond the world of reason and sensory data and seek out a deep inner source. But unfortunately this is not really the way of our culture. All people of a similar age group go through this at the same time, and so it seems like 'everyone is in the same space'. Older adults don't get it. Either they went through the transit too young and too long ago to relate; or they are so wrapped up in the world of responsibilities that they can't relate to something so nebulous and chaotic.
Neptune is involved, so the effects are more or less hidden from plain view. I have seen this transit knock down young people with things like infections (I had three cases of food poisoning in this era of my life). Since the 1960s, this has been an age range associated with a lot of drug experimentation, plenty of cigarettes and alcohol, birth control pills, poor nutrition, and endeavors into sex and romance, all supported by precious little spiritual guidance -- and the cumulative results can be shattering. At the same time, this is the era of realizing one is 'not so young' and that life demands a lot of responsibilities from us.
I feel that if anyone makes it to the other side of this transit with their ideals intact, some semblance of their youthful health and their emotions in a reasonably stable state, they are very fortunate and doing quite well.
In your case, Pluto was not only aspecting your Neptune; it had recently opposed Mars and squared your Moon. It is fair to say that things gradually went from bad to worse and any ability you had to control your mind and feelings dissolved or was burned to dust. And my sense is that something very common to Pluto transits occurred: you never really recovered. When Pluto has gone past such a sensitive aspect structure in the natal chart, astrologers need to check for post-traumatic stress. Many Pluto transits never seem to end, as a result of this.
But they do begin. And for you this one began around Christmas 1995. Not coincidentally, this is the time frame you describe, and it comes with other challenging transits, in particular, a Saturn-square-Saturn aspect (transiting Saturn in Pisces square natal Saturn in Gemini) and Chiron crossing your Libra ascendant.
Now, I am sitting on a train typing to you, I can't see you and we cannot talk; but if we were talking and had the benefit of three or four conversations to work with, I would want to hear in rather complete detail what was going on at that time in your life, what your choices were and how you handled them, and what was going on with your family. There was a transition involved. Your parents very likely had some part in the discussion or events, because Saturn and the Moon are so prominent in the story. You were being compelled to take shape as an independent person, perhaps before you felt ready, or before you had the resources -- and the T-square suggests that, because of your mother's emotional and psychological condition, you had some resources lacking that would normally have come from her.
Fast forward nine years. Pluto has just finished a long, long opposition to your Gemini Saturn. This ended within the past 12 weeks or so, and is the last in this long series of Pluto transits. It could be that you are out of the woods, but a lot of this has to do with how you handle your well-being and how you deal with the recovery process from these intense, even excruciating events.
The other thing that goes back nine years is the eclipse cycle. The eclipse cycle is an 18 year cycle and it therefore completes half its process in nine years; you have your Sun, Venus and Mercury in Taurus and the eclipses have just passed through Taurus and Scorpio, just as they were doing at the time the story you are relating begins.
So this makes another argument for the pressure being off. Yet your well-being is in your hands. Even if the wake-up calls, breakdowns and overt pain ease, abate or stop, I suggest that you take your healing as the first order of business every day of your life. And, though I say this in some form with almost every response on this page, you need to understand your parents, especially your mother. You cannot take for granted that 'this is the way she is' because that's not going to get you the traction you need to get past your own issues. You need to understand her, her history, her parents, her responses and her view of the world -- if you ever want to get past it.
PS, Regarding Uranus in the ascendant. This is God's little gift to you, guaranteeing that you will always seek freedom. You will never be able to live conventionally. You also have a highly agitating effect on people in a sense compel them to be themselves just by your presence. I think it can be associated with a kind of instability, but only if you try to make stability your most important goal.
You also have Pluto in your 12th house. Jeff Green has suggested in his book Pluto: Evolutionary Journey of the Soul that this is the Pluto that makes us live life at the brink of a cliff. Do we stand there wondering what to do, do we jump, or do we pull back from the edge and live as safely as possible? I am sure you know something of this situation.
Dear Eric (the most peace-loving person I know):
Peace, Love and Joy to you, Christine
I know well about the chaos you describe surrounding eclipses, even when they are not visible. I'm not sure the chaos itself is the positive (or rather pleasant) part of the experience, though some people tend to thrive on it. Rather, going through an eclipse consciously can be rewarding because it frees us from the past, opens up a new region of the future, and presents us with challenges from which we learn a lot and hopefully take that knowledge to heart. Eclipses can feel like spiritual initiations -- intense phases of testing and concentrated experience that take us to new levels of reality.
It's possible to do a lot of speculation about why solar eclipses, or any eclipses, have such a profound effect on people, and I think that in the end, the reason will remain veiled in some mystery. It may be that physics will hand us information some day and give a tangible 'why'. But all lunar events (such as New Moons, Full Moons and even Quarter Moons) have a significant and noticeable effect on people; in the event of an eclipse, we get far more exact alignment. The degree of contact is greater. In the case of a solar eclipse, the shadow of the Moon actually makes a path across the Earth (whereas with a normal New Moon, that shadow is cast somewhere in space and nobody sees it).
But looking for astrological clues, there is with every eclipse the involvement of the lunar nodes. If you go back in the archives of this project you'll find a fairly long article on the nodes -- I think it was in the Sept. 10 edition. I have often pondered whether it is the nodes that give eclipses their power, or eclipses that give the nodes their power. The two however seem to work closely together. One clue is that the nodes are always influential, and become especially so when the Sun and Moon align around them (at eclipse time).
When working with them, I experience the nodes like a kind of a time tunnel, like a jet of rapidly moving air -- only it's a flood of space-time -- that blows through consciousness and experience. That is the sense of time being compressed, karma accelerating and general chaos. When the Sun and Moon line up with the nodes (which they must for an eclipse to occur), we get caught in the draft and the whole process of resolving karma, releasing the past, seeking purpose and finding our true direction accelerates; hence the intensity and the fuss. Also the break of continuity that eclipses represent is more than most people can handle. Eclipses represent phases of division where the past and the future become very different than one another -- if we let them, and sometimes, no matter how much we resist. It's best to work with the energy rather than fight it and use eclipses as times to make important changes.
It's really good to hear from you, and give your babes a hug from me (sitting writing this on a train in Roosendaal, Holland, the namesake of Rosendale, NY, where I had my first astrology office back in 1994, and right near where we saw that eclipse!). The train actually backed up and went to Roosendaal just as I was writing this paragraph -- or I never would have noticed that. Gawd, synchronicity is such a trip. Hello to everyone in the Hudson Valley who has found Jonathan's page through Chronogram magazine, where my column originates. http://chronogram.com/
I think this takes place in the spring of 1995, in the first months of my astrological practice. I was living in Rosendale, about 75 miles north of New York City, which used to be a mining town. Out the door of my apartment/office was a hillside and along this hillside was a mile-long cliffside into which were dug hundreds of mine shafts.
So one day, right before the New Moon, I went hiking up there with my friend Nikki, one of many mysterious Virgo women in my life. We began wandering around the mine area looking for a place to hang out for the exact moment of the New Moon. We found one and descended a little way into this mining area, arriving about 15 minutes before the exact lunation. And we just sat there quietly.
Then something really interesting happened. There was a kind of dimensional opening as the New Moon passed. For one thing it felt like we were the only two people on Earth, which is not such a difficult feeling to have inside a mine. But there was a whole assortment of visual and psychic effects as well. It was almost as if we were looking at one another through a kind of watery light that seemed to make everything ripple a little (this was not an eclipse and it was pretty shadowy there, but light enough to see one another). I would describe the feeling as being in a psychic echo chamber, only it was subtle.
Neither of us were on any kind of drugs, or alcohol, by the way. We were just very close to the Earth during a lunar event.
We were both aware of what was happening, but didn't say anything. We just stayed with the feeling and then, as the lunation passed, the dimensional door seemed to close, gently but steadily. I had read about this kind of effect in Barbara Hand Clow's book on Chiron, but I didn't think it would be so palpable. But there it was. I am sure it had something to do with being in the Earth like that and with the chemistry I had with Nikki, but it happened.
So, next thing, I walked up the side of the mine, which felt more like a cave, and took a look around. And there, in the next mine over, was the most magnificent space, what looked like it was designed to be a temple and altar. It was kind of a perch or shelf about 30 feet into the Earth; it had a fire pit; and to the left and the right, there were openings leading to a vast underground chamber. For the next year, this became the place I would do the Earth-centered part of learning astrology, making fire, having ceremonies, drumming, camping out and exploring the ancient mines. I became very good at working with open fire down there, and, sitting in that space, could explore the feelings of the fire and earth elements, connect with their elemental spirits, and actually learn about nature from nature.
All these mine spaces are actually made of quarter-billion year fossilized old sea-floor. The fossil record is just looking right at you because the sea floor turned over and became the ceiling of the temple, which came down pretty low in some places so you could look at it and touch it. The rock is called dolomite. If you bake it, grind it up and mix it with water, it becomes cement so smooth and so hard you have to use dynamite to get rid of it. The stuff is still built into the foundations of the federal Capital Building's wings, where the House and Senate meet; into Kennedy Airport; the Brooklyn Bridge; and into thousands of buildings in the New York area and many other places. I was particularly fascinated by the connection of this land to the wings of the Capital, where congress meets to make laws. We did quite a lot of drumming good vibes into that mine, assuming there was a vibratory connection to everyplace that rock wound up.
All the while, I was fully aware that I was doing the Earth-grounded part of my training, that is, of tuning into the most dense layers of reality here and becoming closely aligned with the vibration of the Earth, its spirit, its smells and its feelings. The Chironian, as this space became known, was the scene of many New Moon, Full Moon, Solstice and Equinox celebrations, as well as a huge celebration and ritual the night of the Mars-Chiron conjunction in Virgo on July 7, 1995. It also served as a divination chamber, where a set of hand-made runes given to me by a client were kept (they are now kept elsewhere). We also had notable experiences with animals showing up there at highly symbolic moments, which in physical form and real life introduced me to the idea of a 'totem' with no prior book knowledge.
I have taken responsibility for maintaining the Chironian since finding it nearly nine years ago and will usually make a visit when I'm in the Hudson Valley. The stone fire pit, left by my predecessors at the site and which I loved to work on and repair, is a thing to behold.
I think you get the message. This ritual and experiential aspect of astrology is, I think, one of its most important dimensions. This part of the work does not involve mental interpretation, but rather direct experience of an event. We are rather accustomed to translating everything astrological into words, and I do plenty of it, for sure. Yet aspects are events in space and time, and they can be experienced and accessed directly. This puts the data directly into the body, where it belongs, and where it can be accessed when you're looking at symbols or interpreting a chart.
And it brings astrology back to the Earth, where it belongs. It recalls a time when astrologers provided a technical aspect of the priesthood, assisting in the timing of Earth-based rituals at certain times of year. Usually, speaking of Celtic times and places, these rituals were held in physical spaces where there was considerable symbolic energy integrated; Avebury Henge west of London comes to mind (a 5,000 year old stone circle which takes about an hour to get to from the city, and can be done in a day trip). These symbols can become friends, acquaintances and allies.
Building a direct relationship with the Earth and its elements, and living astrology through ritual and experience of aspects, makes it a lot easier to experience 'symbols' as intelligent entities who provide the actual source of information or, at least, grounding, when we are working on a chart or reading a spread. It takes astrology out of the abstract and helps us to live and breathe it as a natural and fully integrated part of life. This includes experiencing and marking in time the passage of the seasons, the high sabbats at the Cross Quarter days, and the phases of the Moon.
Especially for adults -- and especially for kids -- this is a fine place to begin the study of Earth worship that is the firm ground on which astrology stands, the fire that infuses it with passion, the air which it breathes, and the water that grants the compassion to make it a safe and sane way of life.
One of the more typical modes that a square puts people into is a kind of inner dialog that can be very intense. A square can cause a person to take one viewpoint, then leap across the sky to the other viewpoint; and then leap back; and slowly there is an integration process that take shape and the viewpoints or perspectives kind of even out after much life experience. Squares mellow out; they fade like blue jeans and become more natural parts of our psychic makeup.
Trines work another way. Instead of being like an argument, they are a discussion where two people have very similar points of view. A conversation with someone with whom you share a similar viewpoint can be nice, but it's hard to get new information out of it. The contrast or friction that would create the new energy must come from somewhere. It could come from one person having more experience or from one having a lot of curiosity, but in any case there needs to be a conscious choice to work or learn.
Under transit, similar things happen. If a planet comes along and makes a conjunction to one side of a trine, it's making a relatively fluid aspect to the other side of the trine, and things can be a lot more mellow than with a square -- or at least there will be options for the release of pressure. They don't generally have that self-activating quality. The ease of trines is precisely their most challenging issue. Most trines consist of two planets in the same element; for example, Pluto in Sagittarius trine Mars in Leo. The two have an affinity and will often be in harmony. Consider the apparent and utterly bizarre fact of life on Earth which suggests that harmony doesn't get you very far. (This may explain why just about everywhere you go, you find another battlefield here.)
People say squares are difficult aspects. I say trines are just as difficult in a different way. They require manual operation and quite a bit of foot power. You have to reach over to both sides of the trine (or in your case, involving grand trines, all three) and access the energies; integrate them consciously even though they may seem pretty integrated already, and consciously apply the resources to your life circumstances.
You must provide the discipline with a trine. It does not do it for you. If you do manage to apply the discipline you will develop rapidly. But that's the challenge.
Another of my teachers, David Arner of Port Ewen, New York (from whom I learned much of my technical astrology, and horary, and who still teaches), gave me a good lecture on trines one day, particularly grand trines, which I remember distinctly. He said, basically, that grand trines can act like whirlpools. It is easy to get drawn into their energies and find yourself in patterns you did not necessarily plan to be in and thus cannot get out so easily.
Two things are necessary: being aware of this process (astrology rewards awareness no matter how you slice it) and knowing how to use it; and knowing how to get out of it when you're involved and don't want to be.
With trines, you can pretty much expect what you put energy into consciously to multiply. Therefore it becomes very important where you direct your energy. While a square is a little like your boss saying, here's a ticket, get on a plane and come to London, a trine is more like being handed a lot of cash and a few months off. Therefore, the act of choosing becomes important. In the first instance, you can make the most of your time in London, do a good job and perhaps be rewarded with another assignment; in the second, you have to make each choice consciously, accept your mistakes, learn from them and keep going.
As for getting out: this was the discussion where I learned about the kite pattern. A kite pattern is a grand trine, but with a planet at the midpoint of any two planets. In other words, pretend you have a grand fire trine, with a planet in Aries, Leo and Sagittarius. Then pretend you have a planet in Gemini, making a sextile to the Aries and Leo planets. There's the point of the kite. That's a place to go, work with or focus on in order to get out of the loop of the trine.
Let's look at your chart for some clarity.
For the benefit of our readers, the double grand trine in Melissa's chart is in the air signs. Actually, using just the four major asteroids (which I afford the full weight of planets), she has a rather astonishing ten planets in the air signs. This gets my official Gee Whiz rating. Let's list them off: Mars, South Node and Saturn in Gemini; Pluto, Vesta and Uranus in Libra; and Venus, Juno, Ceres and Mercury in Aquarius. Also, she has Aquarius on the 7th house cusp, one of the major angles of the chart.
One of the grand trines is Mars in early Gemini, trine Pluto and Vesta in early to mid Libra, trine the 7th cusp, Venus, Juno and Ceres in early-to-mid Aquarius.
Another is South Node and Saturn in late Gemini, trine Uranus in late Libra, trine mercury in late Aquarius (and also trine Jupiter in early Pisces.)
In reality, this is one gigantic grand trine because all the energies are woven together like one of those mysterious Celtic braids, over and under and then doing a nice little slip into Pisces with Jupiter there. The slip into Pisces is a big part of this chart. Jupiter on the 8th house cusp is one of the places you can go to get off the mental plane of all that air. The 7th-8th cusp is a deeply emotional, erotic and metaphysical space. This is a point of experience rather than ideology -- but beware, because Jupiter can get lost in ideas. This is suggesting that you lay all theory aside and dive into your feelings. There, you can begin to have rapid and -- from the standpoint of so much air energy -- incomprehensible change.
Next, consider Chiron. Chiron, in Aries, makes one of those kite patterns I was talking about. Chiron is in the 9th house and in Aries, there is a big quest for self-higher self and you may feel a pull to travel specifically for the purpose of finding yourself. If not, I suggest it. If you are all caught up in ideas, going far away is a good way to bring on a big shift in your understanding of yourself. Chiron is all about experience, and you will learn from experience rather than from ideas. I have a hunch, seeing this aspect, that this may be a fairly big theme of your life.
One last. Your Sun in Pisces is making a square to both your lunar nodes and to Saturn. The Sun gets added emphasis because you have Leo rising, so it's the ruler of your ascendant as well. You could easily do a whole chart reading with an astrologer about this aspect, but I'll see if I can sum it up for you. I see a good bit of caution and perhaps conservatism when it comes to diving into new realities that take you past your ideas. There can be the sense of being hemmed in, of being corralled, or trapped.
Yet you really need to get over this and use the might of this square as a way of stepping up past your fears. One of the reasons this may be challenging involves your work. On the one hand you know there is a very specific contribution you can make to society. I see this from the Saturn and South Node in the 11th house. You know that your intelligence and spiritual evolution are way WAY above average -- partly indicated by that super-late degree Mercury.
But your Capricorn Moon on the 6th house cusp can keep you involved in rather conventional and undaring work, if you don't watch it. Safe and not so interesting work. Work that has you being a little boss rather than an original thinker. Forget about that, cousin, please. And I would suggest that you get with partners who take you into realms of the unseen and unknown -- rather than into rote patterns of relationship that get very old very fast and remind you of mom.
Here's an article I did a couple of years ago on the Capricorn Moon. Maybe it will have a little something for you.
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