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Eric Francis Astrology Q&A
Archive for Friday 17th September 2004

Astrology Secrets Revealed: Eric Francis Answers Your Questions
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Dear Readers
We are now closing in on the Libra Equinox. This week's Virgo New Moon was an intense one, was it not? But this is just the beginning of a very interesting, exciting and challenging ride that comes as the Sun and many other planets (particularly Jupiter) begin to transit into Libra starting Sept. 22nd. While I'll be covering this in detail in Planet Waves, the most interesting thing about early Libra is that there is a cluster of black holes there that is, if you ask me, responsible for all the intensity of this sign.

This week I take a number of questions about astrology and at the end, a question about a serious personal matter sent in by a reader. Thank you for your ongoing questions and for being with me in this exciting dialog about astrology and life.

Remember that the latest information about the planetary movements, the personal and global issues they instigate, and my weekly and monthly horoscopes, are all available by subscribing to Planet Waves Weekly at

Catch you next week, when autumn begins up here in the northern hemisphere. Down under, it's time for spring. Everywhere, it's time for change and progress.

Here are some responses to your comments and questions this week.

Dear Eric
I feel as if the hurricanes plaguing the US have come to live with me here in Greece. I was born on 26 November 1973 at 4:20 am in Wolverhampton, UK. Many areas of my life seem to be in flux at present although I thought that my Saturn return had long gone. My relationship, which is very positive, is also facing challenges and family opposition (he is 4 October 1979, 2:20 am Athens, Greece). While both of us would prefer a stable home life. Do you see that in the stars? Due to past abuse issues I have often be attracted to unstable relationship situations, but it seems that that is changing.


Dear Lilith
I would daresay that hurricanes are in the neighborhood, with Pluto going over your Sagittarius Moon again and again during the past 12+ months. Not only that, you have enough Sagittarius to lift a 747 vertically, with the Sun conjunct Neptune in that sign, along with the North Node. Talk about a natural born mystic! Ah but as you know, when you have your spirit attuned to the more subtle dimensions and the world and all its values seem utterly pointless, life can be especially challenging.

All this Sagittarius means you've been getting Pluto in one form or another going back to the mid-1990s. Then in 1999, that is, on Y2K New Year's Eve, there was the fairly rare conjunction of Chiron and Pluto. That may have seemed like a big crisis, but I assure you it was the beginning of something extraordinarily important in your life. It was very likely the time that you really began to understand how important your values are to you, and probably began to understand them in an entirely new way. Pluto seems to purify us and Chiron wants us to express who we are through direct experience.

Speaking of purify, Pluto has made a series of conjunctions to your Moon. In the technical sense, this transit is over and you should be able to feel the pressure coming off during the next few months. The thing with Pluto transits is you have to be mindful of some 'post traumatic stress' where they are concerned -- but I have no doubt that this one taught you to hold your own and in many ways compelled you to really get a feeling for what makes you feel both safe and unsafe in the world.

But the most important thing it's likely to have done is stripped a lot of power away from your mother and the emotional patterns she engrained in you. This was Pluto conjunct the Moon. A similar process is likely to have happened with your father with Pluto conjunct the Sun some years ago.

By this time, Lilith, you should have a very firm sense of who you are (to the extent that Sun-Neptune can be firm, of course) but you are likely to know very well on an intuitive level.

But firm is what you must be. Either the people in your life understand your values, or they don't. I recognize that families can put a lot of pressure on relationships, though there comes a time when relatives must be told to mind their own beeswax so you can mind yours. Take a close look at your 9th house. That represents the hidden psychological legacy of one of your parents, and that person has some noteworthy religious hang-ups.

These are not yours. Let's not allow any priests to tell the monks of a different order that their cosmology is all wrong. They can have their church, and you can have your monastery. And if you don't think Christmas is fun, you don't have to play that game. I write these words realizing I'm writing to someone in Greece, in the old world. But, Lilith, the galaxy is big enough for everyone, including you, and the man you love.

Dear Eric
I am by no means an astrologer, I just like to research and investigate and see how the universe relates to mankind and our destiny. I'm fascinated by Neptune's minimal appearance in Scorpio at GQ time, though. And I can't help but feel that there is a specific reason why, a spiritual reason why. It made me think...

1) Neptune is a water planet, and Scorpio is a water sign. Is that not a good match?

2) What would be the astrological meaning/effect if Neptune was in Scorpio, in a grand quintile?

3) Further to my first question, would Neptune's 'downside' qualities, be too much for Scorpio's downside moments? (Weird question, I know.)

Curious about Neptune

Dear Curious
I am not sure what you mean by GQ time. However, like all planets, Neptune's orbit is an ellipse. So its 164.8 year orbit is not going to be exactly even throughout, but it's a vastly large, stable planet and there is not going to be much difference from sign to sign. Pluto, to give another example, can take 12 years to go through a sign in the current era, while it will take 20 years in other eras -- a big difference when you figure people experience the Pluto square Pluto aspect now at about age 35, and experienced at 60 years old in previous generations!

Whether something is a watery planet in a water sign is one measure of whether it's a good match. But in fact, whether good or bad, we have to live with and learn from the energy of the planet in that era of history. Neptune was in Scorpio from about 1956 through about 1970. I think that the rise in drug use during that time should tell you something about the placement. Have you read much writing by the Beat Generation authors, such as Allen Ginsberg or Jack Kerouac? These people were coming into widespread popularity during the Neptune in Scorpio years and they took more drugs than most of us can conceive of, and their writing was heavily influenced by drugs. As were their readers.

This was also the time of the supposed sexual revolution, and that was based on a drug called the birth control pill, which came out in 1960. The illusion of the drug-based sexual revolution was sex without responsibility, which is not very revolutionary in my opinion. But at least we began to consider new ideas about sex, and practice them, which is the only way to make progress, even if that progress has some chaos mixed in with it.

Meanwhile, the drug-based sexual revolution was mixed up with a lot of inner emotional data that was being influenced, shaped, alchemized, clouded and distorted by a wide variety of drugs, particularly quite a lot of LSD as the mid-60s kicked in. So it is little wonder that so many in this generation are using drugs as a means of feeling better when they are angry or sad, and as a substitute for dealing with the intensity and pressures of the world -- and the requirements of their own growth.

As for the aspect question you raise. Generally, quintiles are aspects of flow and creativity. They move energy and seek their own organizational structure, which is very much in harmony with Neptune and its energy patterns when they express themselves in healthy ways -- and creativity is about the very best way to express that energy. Neptune is very much the deacon of inspiration and transcendence when he's tuned and playing in harmony with the chart.

As for Neptune's downside qualities -- which I've touched on a bit here -- I go over all of Neptune's qualities in detail in my Neptune in Aquarius Rant, below:

Here is something on Neptune in Aquarius:

And here is some interesting stuff contrasting Neptune and Pluto as the "edges" of the solar system:

Hi Eric
I recently read your column and your advice to the gal who was very upset with her life. Although her chart is different from mine, it seemed you were speaking to me, especially the way she grew up in a combative household. I am very impressed at the depth in which you go to answer questions. My life has been in shambles since the day I was born.

I have been contemplating suicide since 1999. There has not been a day gone by that I have not cried my eyes out and felt completely alone. You told this young woman that 'time' was on her side and to be thankful for that. Time though, is not on my side since I am staring 50 in the face. The only thing I seem to have going for me is the fact that I look very young for my age, 15 to 20 years younger, and I am fairly nice looking. This can be a problem as well because people seem to hate you for it. I have been back in hell for the past year now. I was on a spiritual quest and in meditation told the universe that I might be ready to fall in love and would like to try it. But I fell very hard for a person half my age. I had no choices in this. I work with this person and almost quit the job because of it. It was mutual until the Venus retrograde bit a few months ago.

I grew up with a crazy mother, the middle of three girls. We all have our problems but mine are the most serious. No matter what area of life, career, education, parenthood, relationships, I have always been a loser. I can't accept this and as an Aries I have always had the ability to bounce back and try again but this time in my life I can't find the spark. It's gone. I am ready to give up. The patterns in my life have been set it seems and I am very depressed and really ready to get out of life altogether because I am just so tired of defeat.

I was hoping, as a last resort you might be able to tell me what if any hope is in my chart. I am no stranger to astrology, but no expert. My entire life is hell, financial and personal, even though I have always tried so awfully hard to make my life worthwhile. I have cried every day for years and I can't seem to find any hope anymore. Please try to answer me? Please? Writing to you is a last resort. I have tried counselling, only for them to tell me how great I am and to keep plugging away but I think the answer lies in my chart. What do you see? Please help.

Giving Up

Dear Giving Up
On behalf of everyone at, I want to offer you the biggest hug in the galaxy. None of us are any stranger to hard times, and we're very happy to be here for you.

And thank you for having the guts to write in with such a difficult question.

First let's talk about suicide. Generally there are two approaches taken to this subject by the helping community. One is to take it literally and deal with any statements made on the subject directly and as an actual threat. In that case, there are usually a few questions that come up first: by what means would you be considering taking your life, and do you have those means available right now? Have you ever attempted? And has a close relative ever taken their life?

Second approach is to use suicide as a metaphor, principally one for the desire for change. In many fields, such as dream interpretation, mythology and others, death is a metaphor for change and transformation. So the idea of suicide is a powerful metaphor for wanting to change yourself. And for sure, change is in order.

Certainly, it seems logical enough that anyone considering ending their life would also consider making any necessary change that might improve their life, but this is not always the case. Still, the idea of death is powerful and can be very helpful tool in any growth process. It is, after all, a fate we all share. And each real change we make can have the feeling of 'ego death' attached to it. Yet what happens sometimes is that, other avenues being closed down, the psyche holds onto death as the only metaphor for change that there is. Of course many others are possible and we need to open those up. But for many people, the notion of self-given death is the one way they can think of to become someone new, even though they have no intention of actually hurting themselves.

You must decide, either on your own, or with help, which of the above categories you fit into. If you need it, here is a link to all the international suicide hotlines:

There's another dimension that in some respects combines the two perspectives, described by astrologer and depth-psychologist Melanie Reinhart. "Suicide is often a spiritual crisis," she wrote to me last week, when I asked her to share her insights on this difficult subject. "Killing oneself is the ego refusing to let go as spiritual awareness arises, and trying to continue being in control. The aggression in suicide impulses is obvious, but often isn't the bottom line. The terror felt when we are challenged to let go deeply is beyond anything we normally experience or can handle. Aggression is easier because we play with feeling 'powerful'. ('I can even kill myself')."

You say you have no (other) options besides writing to this page, and it's very good that you have this one open to you. Yet when people are deeply despairing or psychologically ill, or know they are in crisis, the option generally taken is some form of therapeutic, psychiatric or psychological care. Each is useful, and generally what we get when we get a benefit is contact with a loving person. But these are options you must pursue on your own if you want the benefits. And I am aware, from your statement, that you have some misgivings about therapy. Many people do. And many people get over them and find the healing they need within a therapeutic environment. I highly recommend, as someone who has been there, that you set aside your misgivings and get yourself the assistance you need.

I recognize that the state of mind of having no options is very overbearing. And to exercise any power at all, you need to be able to look over that canyon wall.

The notion that you would end your life suggests that you might at least be willing to try something else besides despair. The problem is that any something else you might try would you require you to entertain the idea that you are in command of your life, or at least influencing the flow of events; and then you would need to work, and perhaps struggle, over a long time to deal with your problems and claim back your life. Then your life would be your own, and at the same time, it would be your responsibility. And that, unfortunately, is extremely unappealing to a lot of people. Also, it might not work. That is not so appealing.

I can see just from the structure of your question that you have a worldview that casts you as a victim. Would you agree? I get many questions that take this essential position. Usually, they are a bit more subtle. For example, any form of the question, "When will things get better?" is essentially the posture of a victim. On the other hand, the question, "What can I do to make my life better?" or "What are the current aspects here to teach me?" or "How can I turn these problems into opportunities?" are entirely more workable because at least they put the person into a relationship with their process of their life; with growth and change and awareness.

Astrology walks a fine line here, but not so fine. Good astrology will take the position that "This is what you are doing and these are the probable effects." Or, "You need to persist and trust your life." Or, "Have you thought of it this way?" None of these are about being a victim.

I have no doubt your early childhood experiences taught you that that victim was your proper or only acceptable role. And these are patterns that can be very challenging to get out of, because they are encoded in the brain and other parts of the body, as well as the genetic code, thought patterns and emotions. But children are essentially powerless to make changes in their world, or to size up their own minds. You are no longer a child, but you have the emotional posture of a child with the complexities, pressures and pain of an adult. That can be very complicated. It is no longer possible merely to scream and be rescued, which is a totally reasonable expectation of a child who gets herself into some kind of trouble. But you can ask for help in specific, reasonable ways from people who have a role in your life. And you can do a lot to help yourself.

It is also likely that, as a child, you were abandoned in some way when you truly needed help; it is probable that the adults around you did not respond to your needs; and, that you feel, understandably, that world would never give you a chance, or even a little break. That was all likely to have been reinforced by many past experiences and, like a sprained ankle, these became subject to repeated re-injury and increasing weakness.

Attempting suicide is a messy way to ask for help, but it will work. Unfortunately, one possible result is that you can wind up with a lot less power over your life than you even have now, depending on what doctor, judge or social worker winds up with your case. At best, you would wind up with a stigma, a mark that you are a certain kind of person. That is, of course, assuming you survive.

I recognize that life's pressures seem unbearable. Yet somehow, mysteriously, you got this far. You are alive today, so you must have something going for you. You can sit and write out an email, you have the motivation to send it to me, and you have the motivation to scan the Internet for rays of hope. My old therapist Joe tells his clients a little story, which is that if he were to hang one sign above the door to his counselling room, it would say, "Abandon hope all ye who enter here."

That's right.

Hope is, for the most part, pointless. Sure, you can hope that it was a cup of sugar rather than salt that you put into that cake, but that's as far as I'd go. Hope is a very poor substitute for faith. Faith is an active principle; hope is like a drug that does not heal, only pushes the symptoms under the surface where they cannot remind us we have a problem. Just saying this cannot give you faith in yourself, or faith in a higher power, but I can suggest that you give up looking for hope, because the adage "seek and ye shall find" really is true. Seek hope and that's what you'll find. And hope is not going to get you anywhere except hoping. You can seek faith; you can seek understanding; you can seek strength. You can seek help. And you are very likely to find those things. But help will be meaningless unless you have faith in those who help you.

As someone who feels a viable option may be taking their death -- rather than their life -- into their own hands, I need tell you this, which you already know. Life is a big responsibility. Life is full of complexities, people we have to watch out for, disappointments, circumstances and problems that demand our attention, and it seems even at its best to be an endless growth curve. And then, once we've lived, we die. That is the price we must pay for getting to be here, to be able to see, feel and live, and to experience ourselves and one another.

What more do you want? Are you willing to work on yourself in order to get it? As someone who has seen many people through much growth, I can tell you it's well worth the effort.

Meanwhile, if you ever seriously get the feeling that you want to hurt yourself, if you find yourself contemplating a method of doing so, or if you get as far as having some means of doing so readily available, please call one of those hotlines, or get yourself into the office of the nearest therapist, even if it's a massage therapist -- which would actually be a great idea anyway. I think you'll be very glad you did.

Thanks again for writing.

Postscript from Melanie: I would perhaps recommend the work of Stephen Levine on suicide.... his tapes called 'When a Shadow Crosses the Heart'. They are amazing, and also his work is often a spiritual doorway for those who are ready to walk through it. He has many books in print, and I use them as a fallback resource for clients who are ready to work themselves. Especially if they've had bad experiences with therapists or authority figures in spiritual work.

PS from Eric Francis: I realize I have not done a reading of your astrology here, but in the spirit of Saturn, first things first. If you feel like you have a handle on what I'm getting at here, then we can talk about your astrology in detail a later discussion.

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