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Friday, May 30, 2003

Hey kids. In lieu of the daily, here is my latest weekly edition, complete with the weekly horoscope. If you're not a subscriber, this is what you're missing every week. There is some fun stuff on the eclipse if you scroll down a bit. Links to the eclipse charts are here and here. Some hyperlinks in the text are not activated. Regular blogs resume Sunday night. Have a fine weekend.

PS, no way.

Planet Waves Weekly by Eric Francis

Planet Waves offers syndicated monthly, weekly and daily horoscopes to the editorial community. Planet Waves Weekly is $49 per year (or $4.95 per month) for individuals, published 48 times per year. To subscribe, visit: http://www.ericfrancis.com/Paypal/orderlist.html

Copyright © 2003 all rights reserved, without prejudice, by Planet Waves Digital Media.


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For Friday, May 30, 2003 | Version 1.3

Astrology et Beyond

Dear Fellow Elf, Human, Hobbit or Dwarf:

This past weekend was the 20th Northwest Astrological Conference, held just outside Seattle. NorWAC, as it's called, is one of many astrology conventions held each year around the world, gatherings of professionals, students and amateurs created mainly so that people can exchange ideas. NorWAC is unique in that it's largely a regional conference, but one that draws many of the brightest astrological minds in the country in part because so many of them happen to live in the Pacific Northwest. Look on the schedule of any other astrology conference and you're likely to see at least a few people from Washington and Oregon. And the NorWAC faculty, for its part, often includes presenters from across the states, Europe, the UK and Australia.

NorWAC is sponsored by
Astrology Et Al Books, the Seattle bookseller whose owners, the Nalbandian family, have succeeded in founding the first accredited astrological college in U.S. history, Kepler College. These people are troopers. In a world where astrology usually lacks the credibility even to be discredited, Kepler is able to grant bachelor's and master's degrees to students who have acquired what can truly be described as a liberal arts education, but with a focus on astrology and its closest relative subjects. But this is an article about NorWAC; Kepler is for another issue.

NorWAC is structured mainly as an educational event. It's held in a pretty nice hotel utilizing five conference rooms where classes are taught, plus a trade show and book store. A thousand or so titles are transplanted from Astrology Et Al under the stewardship of Greg Nalbandian, and a variety of software vendors, professional organizations and people doing astrology-related crafts make up the trade show. I put my hands on, and took home, a copy of Evangeline Adams' book Astrology: Your Place Among the Stars, published in 1930 and rare to find. I also discovered that Rob Hand had written a little monograph on whole sign houses -- very useful for astrology columnists because that's the house system we use, and it's the oldest one in existence.

I'm not that big on conferences or sitting in classrooms (I usually go a little buggy in about 10 minutes), but I attended a few excellent lectures that I even managed to sit all the way through. Lynn Bell, a Paris-based astrologer I encountered for the first time, did something really unusual at the after-dinner plenary talk Friday evening: she gave a coherent discussion on Pisces and Neptune. Both usually defy any attempt at rational thought, but she pulled it off, exploring the mythological cycle of watery gods and tracking astrological thought through their different expressions back to Oceanus, all the while flowing like a waterfall behind the lectern. Oceanus predates both Poseidon and Neptune, and was represented as a huge snake that encircled the globe who had 3,000 children (the Okeanides) in the forms of rivers, lakes, streams and so forth. Lynn proposed that what we think of archetypally as Neptune is really a reincarnation of Oceanus. She did a pretty good job of conveying a positive attitude about Saturn's journey across Cancer, which begins next week and lasts about 29 months. It was probably inclusion of Saturn that anchored the talk into cognitive reality; Saturn always helps that way, especially when Neptune is around.

Then there was Phil Sedgwick's presentation on the newest discoveries beyond Pluto. Phil is the community's most trusted source of this kind of information. It's partly because he's been doing it a long time, partly because he can think creatively, and partly because be brings true psychological balance to his astrology. I took notes on the backs of Phil's flyers (thanks for the paper!) and had trouble keeping up with the flow of data (his class would have done well with a double session). The most interesting thing I learned is that under a tentative plan to change some astronomical definitions, Ceres, now classified as an asteroid (discovered in 1801 and comprising 25% of the total mass of the inner asteroid belt), as well as Varuna, Ixion and Quaoar (objects beyond Pluto all discovered or named since 2000), may soon be reclassified as actual, official planets. Which means that the people who currently think they are 'just asteroids' or 'just little dirt-encrusted frozen farts with fancy names' that don't require attention might get the idea that they have to pay attention to them, on the say-so of scientists who could of course not care less about astrology.

I really hope this happens. Not that it would make any difference in my life; these critters go into every chart I look at. The fun part will be listening to the clamorous discussions while everyone else figures out what to do with four new (= different) planets, particularly people who have no idea that there even is a Varuna, Ixion or Quaoar (or for that matter Ceres, who is the namesake of cereal, and who feeds us). Plus, Phil said that an additional four Centaurs are about to be named (they're not really planets, just grimy ice cubes, which I'll get to soon enough in this essay series). New named Centaurs are always fun. But then I'm a Pisces and I like to make sure that my charts a) defy rationality at all times and b) can only be read by me. If anyone likes, I will devote an issue to these new worlds beyond Pluto soon.

Then there was a lecture by Demetra George, who qualifies (along with a whole crop of NorWAC presenters) as internationally famous, on the astrology of the Helenistic era in Greece, that is, approximately 150 years on either side of the birth of Jesus. I learned something shocking, which is that Helenistic astrology is the source of our modern astrology, as well as both Vedic and Arab astrologies, which reinterpreted Helenistic principles and came up with pretty original systems of their own. But it all came through Alexandria, that Grand Central Station of modern thought (which was in Egypt). Demetra, however, is hardly famous for Helenistic astrology. She's one of the very original asteroid babes, but was slowly converted to the ways of ancient astrology by Robert Schmidt, one of the founders of Project Hindsight (who was not at the conference; he was obviously at home buried in Chiron books and coffee cups).

Hindsight is the rather amazing effort to translate really old Greek, Latin and Pig Latin texts into English and I guess Pig English. Demetra walked us through the basic astrological system of that era (seven planets, whole-sign houses, plenty of rules to follow), and then did the birth chart of Jackie Onasis from the viewpoint of her marriages to JFK and Aristotle O. Quite amazing in just 75 minutes. Demetra has always racked up high points for clarity, focus and the patience for doing things like entertaining my zillion and a half questions.

In the last presentation of the weekend, Rob Hand, currently my favorite astrological presenter, told the story of how he went back to graduate school, and what he found out his first year. What he found out is that academia has changed. He is attending a huge Catholic university in Washington D.C. and is researching astrological texts. He said that because grad students are running out of subjects to write about, academic departments have squiggled out of their box and are much more open to 'new' subjects like astrology. Rob is in his sixties, but you can't quite figure out if he's the philosopher king or a little kid. I don't think he's lost one iota of his enthusiasm for astrology in all of the 40-something years he's been at it; he's probably more excited now than he was in the 1970s -- he knows more. When Rob talks, you get the feeling that there are beams beneath the floor, a dry roof over the building and ideas that make a difference entering your mind.

There were probably fifteen other presenters. I hardly heard a bad review.

Astrology conferences are important. Yes, they are a kettle of utter psychic chaos, but they take astrologers out of their all-too-common isolation and throw them into the same hotel for a few days where they can all cross-pollinate, multi-agitate, entertain and slightly aggravate one another. This is really important. Astrologers tend to be a bit bookish and wear crooked eyeglasses. Conferences make sure everyone crawls out of their hole, gets a hot bath, clean clothes and down to dinner on time to talk about the day's exciting discoveries.

The programming weakness with NorWAC, in my view, was the lack of representation by the non-astrological position. This may sound a little weird -- astrology conferences are about learning astrology. But astrologers do a lot more than astrology with their clients and even their friends. I thought being a newspaper reporter had me working as the 'expert of the day' in any specialty you could name. Astrology (to be effective, in my opinion) requires a lot of training in fields outside of its own, it's just that some modern-day conference organizers have not figured that out yet.

At the end of the festivities, my take was that there needed to be a more holistic approach to the subject. There was very little about people and what they experience. Very little about people and what to do when they are sitting in our consulting rooms struggling with something deeply personal, when it's really quite inappropriate to talk to them about the position of their Saturn. I would love to see a Brad Blanton (Radical Honesty) or Neale Walsh (Conversations with God) speak at an astrology conference.

I even found someone who agreed with me, one of NorWAC's longtime keynote presenters, Diana Stone of Vancouver, Washington, who I interviewed Thursday night.

"I'd like to see the bounds of how astrology approaches healing and counseling expanded," Diana said in an interview. "More teaching from the astrologers with experience that we don't have to just look to the field of astrology."

"I'm saying in my classes that we refer to doctors, lawyers and massage therapists. Why would we be reluctant to go to some of these other areas, such as holistic healing? If we're going to go to another plateau of having astrology be effective, we're going to need to have a lot different counseling skills than we've had. An expanded awareness of the whole area of healing."

I saw part of a lecture last year in which Diana encouraged astrologers to spend 45 minutes of a one-hour session listening to their clients and asking them questions -- if necessary. I thought I was the only astrologer who did this. She insisted that you can't really help a person unless you know what's going on with them. Gutsy in the current astrological climate for sure.

"We don't have enough teachers teaching how to deal with people. The emphasis is always on the technical side because there are not very many astrologers who have counseling skills. It is an absolutely specific skill."

Diana has been around for a while, and though scientists say she's getting a little older every year, she arrives at NorWAC quite a bit younger. "Years ago in astrology there was more focus on counseling than there is now. We've gotten into all these new systems. Vedic is coming in and the Helenistic is coming in." And of course all the new planets. But still very little discussion of what actually happens between an astrologer and a client in a session that's not based on planetary theory, but rather on experience.

"I remember going to conferences where they bring someone in who's willing to do it, and an astrologer would do the counseling" in front of an audience of astrologers who needed to learn the skill. She said that at the time there were many Ph.D. psychologists and other trained academics involved in the academic community, a trend which seems to have seen better days.

As a grad student, Diana learned techniques from psychology, psychiatry, Gestalt therapy and Transactional Analysis, all of which she applies in her work, along with shamanic healing techniques that go beyond the psychological or mental levels.

"Counseling is a skill that can be broken down. It's not a woo-woo skill. There are principles involved. You can learn it," she said.

It may seem like this is a relatively easy problem to remedy -- just assign a few speakers to address these issues. But in truth there is the much larger situation of the dominant astrological worldview. We could ask: is astrology about people, or is it about things?


Next week we'll check out an upcoming astrology conference in Oregon that is based on an entirely different model than NorWAC, where anyone can attend and be a presenter.

For tapes of NorWAC talks, go to http://www.astrologyetal.com/ and call the shop. Tapes are inexpensive and a great way to be exposed to different ideas in astrology. You could pretty much pick out of a hat and find something interesting, but a list is available from the store.

Friday's Solar Eclipse: The Quintiles



Tonight's annular solar eclipse in Gemini has an interesting angle -- a few interesting angles, actually, called quintiles. Pay attention if your birthday is in the neighborhood. Quintiles are 72-degree aspects that are based on dividing the astrological wheel in five, rather than by a multiple of 2, 3 or 4. They are considered 'minor' aspects by most astrologers but are by no means so. They were developed not by the ancients, but rather by a distinctly modern guy named Kepler, who lived in Germany a few centuries ago. I once visited his last home in Germany and wrote a postcard at his writing desk.

This eclipse has a lot of quintiles in the aspect pattern. Rick Levine, a true Keplerphile, once told me that quintiles are more like Mozart and less like Beethoven. In other words, they are not about technical perfection; they are about going with the flow. Rick has also described them as the soul of the chart -- what seems to be more of the feminine spirit rather than the masculine spirit of the mind of the chart (which might be described in the sextiles, or points of a six-pointed star).

In the chart I'm looking at, sent to the Vision List by Carol Burkhart, it appears that just about every planet is joined to another planet by a quintile or a biquintile (144 degree aspect that works much like a quintile). But at the core is a five-pointed star including Pluto, Vesta, the Vertex, Mercury and Uranus. That's an interesting mix, bringing together (for one thing) Uranus and Pluto, who are highly effective at stirring up ideas and revolutions.

The five-pointed star is a really interesting critter. I just finished an awesome book (recommended by Rick, obviously in part for its excellent explanation of the pentagram) that explained that this symbol, which you see all the time dangling from the necks and suspended on the tee shirts of various species of Pagans, is wholly natural. When Venus makes its retrograde every 18 months, it does so in a pattern that creates a pentagram in the heavens over the course of four years. Hence, the pentagram is the primary symbol of the goddess (Venus).

The eclipse has many other noteworthy points. There is a very nice grand earth trine between Mercury and Venus in Taurus, Chariklo in Virgo and Chiron in Caprirocn. The Jupiter-Neptune opposition is just about perfected, from Leo to Aquarius. And Saturn is on the tippy brink of Gemini, just one-half degree from Cancer.

In any case, the tension, excitement and sense of liberation or crisis that an eclipse can bring is now at its peak, and will be through the weekend.

Weekly Webcast

Next week's webcast will be Thursday, June 5 at about 8:45 a.m. PST or 11:45 a.m. EST, I do a live webcast at http://www.voiceofvashon.org/ hosted by Susan McCabe. We sometimes run late. This is an island where the only thing that runs on a schedule is the ferry system, and it's usually late.

Planet Waves by Eric Francis

Birthdays This Week

You may be wondering with a little extra zeal what the future holds. You may even be wondering what the present holds. With an eclipse of the sun so close to your birthday, you have options. Usually the first threshold to exercising options is considering life in some context other than the past; the past certainly does have a way of boxing us in. With Saturn soon to leave your sign, you're sure to find yourself in a lot less boxes than any time during the past three years.

An eclipse of the sun is an exact conjunction of the sun and moon near your natal sun. Remember the keywords for eclipses: acceleration, break in continuity, transformation, point of no return. But we can add to that, in the case of a birthday, inner reconciliation, balancing of opposites, and forgetting about who you thought you were.

Just for fun, let's look at what
Sally Brompton, one of the masters of the modern horoscope, has to say about May 30 birthdays. I'm writing about the whole week, but the focus is today's chart. She writes:

Your circumstances will change dramatically over the coming 12 months, but don't be alarmed because they will change for the better more often than not -- and even when they do change in ways you are not happy with, in the long run you will realize everything happened for the good. Whether you can believe it or not, your life is unfolding according to a prearranged plan.

Note her careful choice of themes in 67 words: mainly change, and a sense that the changes are fated or guided. That's the vibe of an eclipse, spot on. Part of the reason she can assure people that things will turn out well is because Jupiter, the 'greater benefic', is in a sextile aspect to the eclipse, in Leo, your third solar house, which is about your immediate circumstances and mental state. A Jupiter sextile is protective, if anything in this world is. You're in a good neighborhood right now, you have friends and resources, and you have every reason to count amongst your blessings the gift of sanity and wisdom. That wisdom will get you pretty far.

She can be so reassuring because Jupiter is in an exact opposition (quite rare) to Neptune, which is in your 9th solar house, like a guardian angel or your higher self watching over you. But that guardian angel does not shout or throw dishes across the kitchen to get your attention. Neptune speaks through the intuition. There is the not-so-subtle implication of a spiritual calling and the need to actually do something about it in a tangible way.

With a grand quintile in this chart (see above) you could easily rely on the idea of Jack Kerouac that says 'first thought best thought'. There is no need to revise what you've done in the past, just do something new and fun in the future.

In relationships, you need to be clear about the agendas that people bring to you. Be especially careful giving people second chances. One chance should be quite enough. Please resist any urge to reform others. Aspects suggest that the real quest is an inner challenge that will take you far above what you might incline in the worldly chaos of relationship challenges. This year, anyway, your primary relationship is with yourself. Everyone else will get to play second fiddle and wait an extra week for a date.

Aries (March 20-April 19)
There's a growing emphasis on the details of social relationships, and at this stage of your history that translates to communication. I doubt you're experiencing the temptation to resort to trivial banter, but it's worth saying that when you open your mouth to speak, preferably in person, talk about something that really matters to you. Anything goes, as long as you care. Your astrological inbox also contains a message that says 'call a brother or sister' and catch up on important changes in his or her life. Your perspective on how strange the world is these days will provide some welcome reassurance. Not everyone has your sense of humor, or your guts.

Taurus (April 19-May 20)
How to deal with, think about, plan for and manage money are enormous themes at our point in space and time. Generally we think in terms of income rather than of working with what we have -- and you do have quite a bit to work with. Everything you've considered in the past few months deserves a second look, from bank balances to the tools of your trade. I'm suggesting a kind of inventory and assessment of whether your resources are the most wisely directed. Remember, it's your power, and you have every right to arrange your affairs your own way. From the look of your solar chart, each decision will pay you well.

Gemini (May 20-June 21)
Today's eclipse of the sun in your birth sign signals an important milestone in your life. We might say you're entering the Great Milestone Temple Complex of 2003, a year which in retrospect you'll see that your vision and experience of reality awakened and met the new century. It's obvious enough that you're starting to have somewhat more vivid dreams of the life you want, in these last moments of sleep. These are not ordinary dreams, they are templates and models for the world you're about to create. At such times, it may seem frustrating to envision or desire what seems impossible or out of reach. But please don't fall for that trap.

Cancer (June 21-July 22)
In a few days, Saturn returns to your sign for the first time in nearly 30 years, or perhaps the first time in your life. This begins the Saturn return of anyone born between Sept. 1973 and June 1976. For you, this is a similar period of raising self-awareness and your sense of mission. You'll soon experience an unusual call to participate in the affairs of the world and to take a more adult role in your life and relationships. That's never easy in a culture that constantly pushes us to think not so much like children but rather like spoiled brats. Rise to the occasion. Make the commitment now. You'll be glad you did: Saturn's gifts come from no other source.

Leo (July 22-Aug 23)
A professional situation that's been twisting, turning, roiling and slowly unkinking itself is now quite ready for some new action or initiative. Remember, you're not flying on your devotion to toil alone. Rather, your reputation should do at least half the work right now. Be on the lookout for an unusual opportunity that comes from a well-known friend at some kind of social engagement, too. Nothing in the world is quite as it seems right now, there are at least two sides to every side of the story, and people who you once knew as one way or one thing yesterday will be quite another kind of bug today. That's the fun part.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22)
News from on high should come as no shock, but its effects will may irk anyone who's taking your role in a project for granted. Let the world rattle; you are well-supplied and well adapted to take advantage of a series of developments that emerge in the coming days and weeks. You're finally learning to think of yourself as more rather than as less, and as having something to offer in the way of wisdom rather than one who often feels like need things explained to you. The overriding lesson of the current era is be glad for the food on the table and the opportunity to do good work. Anything more is potentially greed or a control drama.

Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23)
Your patience has been a virtue, and you'll soon see the benefits of your strategy of allowing who and what you need to come to you rather than going to he, she or it. The attractive force, used well, is far more practical than the aggressive force, it requires less energy and offers the opportunity to choose from among options. Once you sort out the hype from the false advertising from the simple truth, you'll see that you actually do have several very attractive choices that will bring you a lot closer to what you seek. Remember, choosing means deciding what you want the most, not just deciding what wants you the most.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22)
The most common problem with the leading brand of relationship is that it's potentially so isolating. Any situation that requires you to shut others out of your life is probably not in your best interests right now. Think of relationship as a community or culture of its own. Culture thrives on diversity and a sense of open and free exchange of ideas. These are deeply-held values in your life, though the fears of certain people in the past have held you back. You are in an excellent situation now to open up a new discussion, a new vision, and a new reality where love can have a chance to be itself and share its beauty.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22 - Dec. 22)
You seem to be going through stretches of mental chaos and bubbling uncertainty, which suddenly open up to expanses of vast and wide possibility. The two processes are related. If you can stay close to your fears, that is, remain aware of them and keep a flow of language open on the subject, you may notice that even your most negative thoughts are informed by the necessity to be larger than structures of the past have ever allowed you to be. It can be a costly mistake when we allow someone's definition of us to limit who we are. It's not your style and we're all human. But a certain lock to a certain gate has finally been broken. Don't let fear prevent you from checking.

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20)
Saturn is about to slide into Cancer, your opposite sign for nearly three years. This will completely rearrange your methods of relationship. You're about to embark on a long experiment of creating structure and integrity in your most intimate partnerships. The over-riding lesson of Saturn is patience, and you may be put in situations where you have to wait what seems like a long time for what you want. But any delay is not for naught. Desire itself is a subject to which you owe a visit; too often it turns out that you don't want what you thought you wanted, but then in a little more time you want it again and can't have it. It's more efficient to watch and wait for a while.

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19)
In the book Esoteric Astrology, Alice Bailey goes to some length to explain the difference between instinct and intuition. Apparently it does require some clarification for many people, and you're about to see why. Instinct, as a survival function, has a way of pointing us to a certain level of reality. Intuition is what you might call a higher faculty of the mind, allowing us to think in terms of possibilities with subtle differences, or guiding us in very specific ways toward certain good outcomes. Currently there are more than a few voices in your mind vying for your attention. Take some effort and sort them out and you'll see you're being presented with very different options, and means for attaining them.

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20)
In case you haven't noticed, you've been given a lot more freedom in the past few months than you have at any time in the recent past. Your fears, as well, are a lot more workable and productive energies, less paralyzing and more inspiring to make changes. In a few days, Saturn enters your fellow water sign Cancer, which adds a new dimension to this puzzle. For several years you have done little other than clear some land and build a foundation. Now it's time to build a house -- or perhaps a house boat. These may be some of the most productive years of your life so far. Keep that Pisces dream machine going.

Are Newspaper Horoscopes Bullshit?

all that dress of dust, that veil of darkened railroad skin, that smog of cheek, that eyelid of black mis'ry, that sooty hand or phallus or protuberance of artificial worse-than-dirt -- industrial -- modern -- all that civilization spotting your crazy golden crown --

— ginsberg

Thursday, May 29, 2003

Hey wow, I spaced the daily for two whole days! I was worried about restarting the daily with Mercury retrograde. It was all going smoothly as long as Mercury was retrograde.

Here is the new Planet Waves essay and June monthly horoscope, a little in advance. A full workup in the June issue is due soon, but I'm probably going to post it after the eclipse. Watch for a hot new collection of essays by the Planet Waves writers at the What's New page around Sunday night.

And with any luck I'll have more wonderful nonsense about this week's solar eclipse.

The Pisces Point

There was a time not long ago when astrology was used for three main purposes: prediction, the answering of specific questions (called horary astrology), and to select the best times to do things (called electional astrology). In our culture, through the course of the 20th century, astrology was given a few other jobs.

One was to look at the natal chart and provide advice on a wide variety of domestic and professional subjects. Rather than telling the king about a good time to go to war, natal astrology was used more generally (and, this was new, used by the common folk rather than just by royalty) to help them choose careers and spouses, and to select good times to have children. As the 20th century progressed, this developed into a more complex method of personality analysis, which then became a fairly sophisticated tool for psychology or, in some cases, home psychic surgery.

Soon after, with the help of the human potential and new age movements, astrology began to go past its groovy image and be thought of as something distinctly spiritual, as a tool for measuring or cultivating personal growth, and for aligning with what some Native American traditions call one's original instructions. The growing use of Pluto and Chiron by astrologers has helped this processes enormously, since both planets address themes of the soul's growth mission on Earth and the healing of deep wounds.

Now for the next step: astrology as a visioning process. What happens when an astrologer discusses a chart or the current transits with a client? Well, for one thing, both are agreeing on a vision. This is, I am certain, one reason why so many astrological predictions come true; two people join their all-powerful minds and set the vision in motion. Why call this prediction when we can call it just what it is: the creative process?

Now is a great time to apply this theory. The astrology of spring, summer and fall 2003 is something very different than we've experienced any time recently, and it's going to get more different as these three seasons unfold. In the immortal words of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson, "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." So let's have a look and see what we can vision.

First, a brief recap of the recent past, in five words or less. Most of what we experienced between mid-2001 and earlier this year was the infamous Saturn-Pluto opposition. I described this as the immovable object meets the unstoppable force. What did we see? Among other things, the fall of the World Trade Center, the conquering of Afghanistan and the recent military coup and colonization of Iraq. And America whether you realize it or not, with our new Homeland Security Dept., the Patriot Act, the Total Information Awareness project (headed by Reagan-era felon John Poindexter) and its security alert system, is something of a different country than the one you grew up in.

The Saturn-Pluto era doesn't really end; it was a doorway. On this side of the time threshold, we've experienced another significant opposition. As of June 1, Jupiter (in Leo) is about to make the last exact pass of its somewhat rare (every 14 years) opposition to Neptune (in Aquarius). These two giants are now face-to-face like the sun and moon at the full moon, with Earth rotating between them like a chicken on a rotisserie. Jupiter and Neptune are both 'rulers' of Pisces, and Jupiter has a leading role in the affairs of Sagittarius as well. Most people consider these two of the more spiritually oriented signs. If anything has the mitigated global disaster with we've been flirting in recent months, we can look to this aspect.

Pisces is the hot spot of the astrology for the rest of the year, which highlights the theme of visioning and the clearing of karma. Pisces is the last sign. It's the place where all our socks ultimately go, and where the most mysterious themes can be found (some would say that distinction should be Scorpio, but Pisces is so secretive and mysterious that few people know how strange it really is).

Here is the scenario. In March, the slow-moving planet Uranus made its way into Pisces for the first time since the (roaring or spiritually bereft, depending on who you ask) 1920s. This is such big news that anyone remotely following astrology is aware that it's happened. Transits of Uranus through any sign are deeply influential in helping define an era, and this one continues for the next seven years. How much can this change the world? Well, consider that at the beginning of the Uranus in Aquarius era, the Internet was something that some people had heard of. Now it's something that just about everyone in Western culture depends on every day.

In Pisces, the Uranian shift will be much more internal, like a vast Internet opening up inside us and among us. How is that for a vision? Please, hold the spam. I don't need Magic Mala or Lifetime Yoga Mat ads coming in while I'm meditating. Those of us working on spiritual paths know that all minds are joined all the time. Uranus in Pisces is going to do quite a lot to revolutionize that. Pisces, when expressed on shall we say the lower levels of its potential, also has a lot to do with anything beginning with a D (my teacher David told me this): drugs, drink, delusion, denial, defensiveness and dependency. America has been saying no to drugs for 20 years, and meanwhile, just about everyone has been taking more and more drugs (predominantly antidepressants, but I doubt [another good Pisces word] that any category of drug sales has gone down in 20 years). Sounds like denial.

Uranus has the power to shock us out of that haze. Some say this planet should have been named for Prometheus, since all the metaphors we actually call "Uranian" are actually Promethian: sudden flashes of insight, revolution, playing with the divine fire, profound foresight, inventiveness, and an utterly rebellious spirit, even against the gods themselves. This is frightening energy for most people. If religion (as Jung suggested) is the substitute for religious experience, then all things Uranian are one big reason why religion is so popular. It's entirely predictable. It's safe. It's easy. And usually quite boring.

We normally think of Pisces as being rather passive. Yet there is nothing passive about Pisces these days. As if Uranus were not enough, Mars enters Pisces on June 17, just before the summer solstice. So in the solstice chart, there is a very close (one-time-only) Mars-Uranus conjunction, with Mars now moving slow and steady because it's about to make a long retrograde in that sign. The exact retrograde dates are July 29 thru Sept. 27). In all, Mars will remain in Pisces for six full months (one quarter of its entire orbit!), including the phases before, during and after the retrograde. Mars, which doubles as the sign on the door to the Men's Room, is the quintessential Yang energy. Its glyph is a picture of a cock and balls. It rules Aries, but it has a distinctly watery and transformational side as the co-ruler of Scorpio (along with Pluto).

This is a heck of a lot of Pisces power all at once. Pisces is about the imagination, inspiration, art, music and the deepest levels of erotic expression (that's why we need all those drugs -- to tune out the best reasons we came to play on Earth). Now let's add one last factor to the brew, the serious touch, the guardrail and the near-guarantee that we're going to get some results as a result of all this hot, electrifying astrology. Saturn has been in Gemini for the past thirty months or so. On June 11, it will migrate into Cancer, another water sign (all the signs of one element work closely together like one energy field). So, after quite a few years of having no slow-moving planets in the watery signs, we're now experiencing some major events that will potentially do something exceedingly rare in the age of free-floating information packets: ground us in our emotions.

Looked at another way, Saturn in Cancer will help us ground the burning visions of Pisces in something real, in a structured reality, like a business, a gallery, a studio, a workshop or a project with a distinct goal. If there is one key to success, the stars say it's experimentation. I was going to say innovation, but the two are very closely related. To experiment means to be guided by experience. That opens the way to originality. It also opens the way to the unexpected, and the unexpected is just what's coming when so much Uranus lights up the world.

June Monthly Horoscope (by e)

Aries (March 20-April 19)
You are evolving into a different relationship to your local environment, a process which likely became apparent through a series of interactions or transactions that unfolded last month. The effect has been twofold. First, you know more about the place you call home. Second, you are able to work with that information and take advantage of fluctuation and change rather than be sent into a tailspin by it. Any increase in value means a change in value. Thus, any change can potentially be worked into a mode of development. You may think you live in a small world, but large and small are often meaningless terms in the holographic universe. The people you connect with in your home and local world connect you to people everywhere, and I don't just mean in the symbolic sense.

Taurus (April 19-May 20)
Why do you see what you see? What do the images that appear in your vision tell you about yourself? Now is a good time to ask, because your foundations are as strong as they've ever been in this lifetime, and it's safe to invoke the more challenging spiritual and psychological questions. Here is another one. What do the life events of the people around you tell you about yourself? There has been no shortage of movement, shift, change and high drama in the lives of certain close partners. No one is in your life by accident. I am not saying they are there by fate; rather, they're there by the results of an energetic equation. Every equation has two sides, and ultimately they must balance.

Gemini (May 20-June 21)
This is the big month that Saturn leaves your sign. Perhaps you've viewed this transit as a curse, because it's forced you to come to terms with certain distinct limits in your life. But limits work at least two ways, one of which is to set minimums. If you'll look honestly at your life over the past three years, I think you'll see that the lowest possibilities you're willing to accept have been pushed somewhat upwards. That means that your highest potentials have been raised as well. The main job of Saturn is to help us learn the metes and bounds by which we define our existence. Discovering where the edge is has bestowed a greater gift than you may recognize, though that's just a matter of time.

Cancer (June 21-July 22)
Cancer's symbol is that of a crab in its shell, a strong but flexible structure containing and protecting the delicate life within. Crabs are arthropods, the single most successful form of life on World Earth, which can be found everywhere from the depths of the ocean to the highest mountain peaks which support life. Saturn's presence in your sign for the next 29 moons offers you more of what you are naturally: the qualities of a person who seeks security amidst the innumerable changes of the world, and who very likely finds it. But for starters, there's one more really vital element. Saturn, the planetary ruler of your opposite sign, will grants you a most unusual asset of being able to fully identify with the experiences of the people most important to you. Whether you are in a life partnership or seeking one, you may consider this a truly positive omen.

Leo (July 22-Aug 23)
Recent turns of events have completely recast your role within your social existence, though the rest of the Sun's transit through Gemini (through June 21) will tell that story. Any true creative must balance their outer life with their inner life as sources of strength. Often when we have one, we want the other, but in reality, when we are experiencing one, we can see the other so much more clearly from that vantage point. No matter how many friends are around you or how they may perceive you, you are aware of something far deeper and more cosmic about yourself, and this is the mysterious other side of you that so few get to see. Only you know what truly motivates you because only you can experience it directly. But the people who gather around you can feel it emanating from you quite clearly.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22)
Perhaps it's seemed challenging sorting out truth from lies in your relationships lately, but how much of that is about the people you're associating with, and how much is about the world we live in? Or, closer to home, what does it take to penetrate the lies about sex, love and companionship that we were told by our parents? I say told, but what I mean is that we learned from example and osmosis. Too often we were told one thing and shown another, or we saw one thing acted out and felt another vibed to us. But what was (and is) usually conveyed is an invisible split. That is what's being revealed to you now, what you are revolting against, and what has always daunted you about others. But freedom is in sight, or rather, insight. Look, and you will see.

Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23)
The particular beginning at which you find yourself is about accepting a degree of what, on one level, feels like worldly responsibility. But in truth it's about your personal responsibility to be part of the world in a new way, one in which your full capacities are expressed in a new kind of relationship. With the transit of Saturn across your solar midheaven, there is a shift happening in the inner axis of power in your life. You are not becoming king of the world, but you can no longer afford to treat yourself, or allow yourself to be treated, like you're in second place, or like you are not fully responsible for your reputation. Take that responsibility. A reputation is an investment, and it takes both awareness and work. But this point, it just happens to be a very good bet.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22)
Life is happens in practice, not in theory. That's always true, but fortunately so now, because theoretically your plans are impractical or too large, you may lack the faith to carry out your intentions, and you're likely to think that you can't see past your front yard in terms of all you need to know to make things happen. Now, as for practice. There really is no holding you back. The creative impulse is he strongest force in nature; without it, the human family would a) not have endured the past 50,000 years of wilderness survival training that is life on Earth and b) we would not be so obsessed with making films, books, magazines, paintings, buildings, love affairs and families. Yes, you are taking a rather daunting risk, no, you can't do anything about your impulse to do so, and thus, you might as well leap with both feet and see where you land.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22 - Dec. 22)
"Another man's soul is darkness," a Russian proverb reminds us, words that may speak to the current era of your relationships in some way. If it's not as hopeless as our Russian forebears would have us think, my sense is that you're never quite able to look at someone and see just one person. You may see different facets that don't quite add up, or you may see two distinct sides that you're able to reconcile. But more likely, you see who you once were, before you had done so much work integrating yourself. Remember, though, that when you look in a mirror, you see a reverse image -- you see what no one else sees. And you don't get to see what everyone else sees, or, for that matter, feel what they feel. But the light of the soul goes beyond perception and emotion.

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20)
It takes a lot of patience for us all to get along with one another. In order for getting along to actually work, two people who are coexisting with one another must possess a steadfast dedication to finding common ground and building their relationships from that space. When one falters, hesitates or gets lost in their own maze, it's pretty much up to the other to hold that space of community, that is, if the relationship is going to persist and find its next dimension. What happens next represents an opportunity for you to put to work all that you've learned from certain deep struggles that have occupied you for the past 18 or so months. Beyond that, you are being given an opportunity to demonstrate your loyalty to someone that you have held in your heart, despite your own adversity. But more than anything, you're being given an opportunity to be fair.

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19)
Aquarius is the very den of astrological contradiction. An air sign with a reference to water and ruled by a pretty earthy, structured planet (Saturn), your sign is also co-ruled by the lord of revolution, the Promethian planet Uranus. But slowly, everything under the sun is coming into tune. Uranus and Saturn are meeting in water signs, revealing an extended time of ease with yourself, and an accentuation of the substance of who you are rather than the form: the water and not the vessel. Aquarians often endure long periods of denial of what for others are pretty basic needs. Through the summer and well beyond, the stage is being set for at least one of your most precious desires to be put within arm's reach. From there, you will need to extend yourself and draw in the embrace.

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20)
In recent months, the world has been getting the feel of Pisces Power. Jupiter and Neptune have been face to face in their rare opposition aspect. Uranus slid into the Piscean Sea in March, the seventh centaur, Pelion, has just been named while in your region of space and asteroids are showing up in force. Next, Mars enters Pisces and the mighty Saturn enters your fellow water sign Cancer. Trust me, you can handle this. It's as though you've been building a fabulous boat in a very dry spell of years, and now there's suddenly some deep and daring water to sail in. But now the law of the sea prevails. Don't leave home without a compass, please. Learn to listen to the wind, and watch for changes in the weather. Check your batteries. If you get an intuitive message, no second guessing.

Tuesday, May 27, 2003

Good morning. I'm back from my break, at the Northwest Astrological Conference in Seattle for the past few days. It was a fun gathering -- but the most interesting thing that happened was stopping on the way there at a Barnes & Noble and getting a book called The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown. This book was suggested as an absolute must-read by a friend who seemed to be a reliable source for the recommendation. He told me nothing about it. I'll tell you that if you're interested in goddess religion or tarot, you're going to put a lot of pieces together with this work -- not just pieces in the world, but inside yourself.

We are now three days from an annular solar eclipse, what you might call the perfect union of the sun and moon in the sign of the twins.

At the same time, Saturn is about to finish its trip across Gemini in the next week, on June 3. Saturn will proceed in direct motion until Oct. 25, when it turns retrograde at 13 degrees of Cancer and 14 minutes. It retrogrades back to 6 Cancer and 17 minutes on March 7, 2004 and reaches across the Cancer midpoint into the following summer.

The end of Saturn in Gemini means that Saturn will be crossing the degree of the summer solstice for the one and only time in the next 29 years within weeks of the solstice. Simultaneously, a point called Kronos, what's called a hypothetical planet, is on the verge of entering Cancer as well. This is interesting because Kronos is like a "super Saturn" and the two are meeting on one of the most sensitive degrees of the zodiac.

I'll be developing these themes this week.

Anyone who would like copies of my NorWAC literature (fun stuff) you can have it free by sending an SASE, 5 x 7 inches in size with extra postage, to PO Box 2624, Vashon Island, WA 98070. Till tomorrow, - e.

Thursday, May 22, 2003

I'm heading for an assignment and won't post a blog for a few days. Thanks for checking back. If you live in Seattle and you'd like to meet, drop by the Norwac conference this weekend. Try my cell at (206) 854-3931 if you want to get in touch.

Tuesday, May 20, 2003

Hi everyone... I am busy w/ my writing schedule (and forgot to write a blog) which is going well -- setting the weekly horoscopes onto a few-week lag time so I have a little more flexibility with my schedule (i.e., life). So I'll be back with a blog this evening, probably combining Tuesday and Wednesday. Mercury retrograde ended just past nidnight Pacific time at about 3:32 am Eastern, wrapping up what for all the world felt like Venus retrograde (if you ask me, from all the old friends who blew back into my life in the past few weeks, for example Adrianna, Gail, Henry, Pennell, and others).

But the hot season of this spring's astrology is not over. Mercury is still 'storming' a bit and the sun is about to cross the North luanar node, then briefly be void-of-course prior to heading into Gemini in about 24 hours from now enroute toward a solar eclipse.*

Pay attention through this pre-eclipse stage as we wind up for an annual solar eclipse on May 30. I'll be talking more about that in tomorrow morning's weekly webcast at http://www.voiceofvashon.org, our community radio station, at 8:30 or 8:45 Pacific time, three hours later in the east. It tends to start at a little different time each week, even as late as 9, so please be patient -- we're on Island Time here (which is a little like Lesbian time combined with Little League time and Latin America time divided by the square root of Tea Time).

Oh, about that Neptune-Mercury square, Maya Dexter offers this.

Thanks for reading and for tuning in. Enjoy the ride.

*The sun void issue is debatable since Sol is partile conjunct the node at 30 Taurus and remains so till its Gemini ingress. So that could use a little reinterpretation -- I don't remember other sun sign changes with the node in the last degree of that particular sign. The sun on the node has that eclipse-like feeling to it, since sun+node=eclipse. In this case, the moon, the other necessary ingredient, has to catch up, which it does in 10 days from today. We shall see, as always, astrology is part theory, part imagination, and mostly experience. Sorry if I lost you with this footnote. It's actually not that complicated, it just sounds like it.

Monday, May 19, 2003

These are the eclipse dreams that readers sent in, from Thursday night overnight to Friday morning. Thanks everyone for contributing, and Chelsea for putting this feature together. We've left capitalization in 'modern email style.' -e

Woman from Venice Beach writes:

I dreamed a lot last night, can't remember it all but here's some:

I was walking in very familiar rural territory a couple of miles from the house I grew up in, I was trying to make my way home. I took a short cut and gradually the surroundings changed until they were unfamiliar -- I went from open terrain to trees. I was very intent on finding my way and certain I knew the direction to go when I came upon a deer who had three of her young attached to her chest almost kangaroo pouch style. She told me the way I was headed was not the way and that I'd have to take a much longer journey around an impassible mountain. I didn't believe her and looked around to see if she was right--sure enough, big phat mountain in the way.

Still stubborn, I went my own way. I came to an area with several other lost women all trying to get to the same town as I. Through much discussion and wandering near busy highways we came no closer to our goal. In the end I set out on my own again and finally realized where I was -- it was very far away from home and much farther than if I would have listened to the deer to begin with; but I was glad to know where I was.


51 year old woman from Miami writes:

I was in a very dark forest. The trees were so tall that I could not see their tops. Although it was daytime and shafts of light shone through the trees here and there, it was the darkness that set the tone. I was not afraid of it. I liked it! It was real (natural), and I felt comfortable there.

On the ground was a dusting of snow which was rippling even though there was no breeze. Suddenly, the ground began to rumble and shake. I knew it was an earthquake. Feelings of fear were mixed with sheer relief, as if this was happening just in the nick of time. It was what I'd been waiting for -- and it was why I was in the forest in the first place. (In waking life, I have no idea of why I was there or what I was waiting so urgently for.)

I watched from what felt like a safe place as some objects (which were clearly out of place in the forest) were swallowed up by a huge crack in the ground. There was a fine-bone china gilt-rimmed cup and saucer that cracked into several pieces before being eaten by the earth. Then, the ground took in shelves of books, a 4-poster bed, some test tubes, lots of old tires, dog leashes, traffic lights, and other objects that I can't remember.

Then crowds of people appeared, all making their way to the huge crack in the ground. That was where they wanted to be and they just let themselves be swallowed alive there. I didn't like what they were doing and I decided to leave. The scene quickly changed to my own apartment building in Miami where scores of people were leaving like refugees with as many of their belongings as they could cram into their vehicles. They had heard about the crack in the ground on the news, and they were all leaving for the forest. I went to my apartment and put the kettle on to make a cup of tea. I opened the cupboard to find that all my fine bone-china gilt-rimmed cups (which I don't possess in real life) were broken. I drank water instead, straight from the tap, cupped in my hands. I played music -- "Lose Yourself" by Eminem (which I had listened to earlier when I was awake. OK, I'm 51 years old and I love the honesty of Eminem's expression. So what?) The darkness slowly moved away -- and I woke up at exactly 5.24 a.m.

There are many aspects of this dream (including forest animals) that I don't remember clearly. I have my own thoughts as to what it's about, but if there are any dream experts out there, I'd be interested to hear other interpretations, especially as it relates to the eclipse. I watched it for hours last night and I do feel there is a connection.


32 year old woman from the Central Time Zone writes:

what i dreamed last night is vague, but i can describe the location. i was in a large colony or compound or estate... lots of buildings... really big old buildings with lots of rooms and doors and stairs. we were going up to the attic at one point. i can't remember the objective. maybe we were exploring. i'm not sure who i was with, but i wasn't alone. then we went to out buildings. there may have been a little conflict and violence but the place wasn't really threatening. i think it was abandoned and we were exploring. i think there were some sexy elements too, but i'm not sure what. at on point, i think i felt quite turned on. it was daylight. and we were definitely above ground. no basements or dark places -- just some shadows. there were partially blocked passageways going up to attics and on upper floors and i remember climbing around obstacles to get to places. it was fun. in the main building the upper floors opened on to an interior courtyard or atrium. we may have been looking for a place for some of us to

after waking up, i remember lying in bed and thinking that it was a new place to me. that's usual for me and the dream was fairly typical, too -- going around in a small group of people with some kind of mission. but i know some people often return to a certain dream place. i don't have many repeat locations in dreams. but i actually questioned myself about whether i had been there before.


A man from Canada writes:

I dreamed that I fell for a girl with a disproportionate ass, it was like a caricature way too big for the rest of her but I found her sweet and she had two cats. For a guy who likes picture perfect women and dislikes living with cats due to hairs it turned out to be an amazing attraction.


A 30 year old woman from Canada writes:

I was among people, like an outdoor gathering where I knew some people, but others were strangers. It wasn't crowded, more like people on their lunch break. The surroundings were city -- like, in a clean, open-concept, paved park. The backdrop was high-rise buildings. It's difficult to describe, but I noticed that people were being "sliced". All around me, people were losing limbs or being chopped in half.

Everyone started panicking and the more they moved, the more they would get chopped up. I was scared but not moving. I remember trying to stay calm so I could figure out what was causing this. Then I faintly saw something in the air and I reached up and touched it (very gently). There were hundreds of invisible razor-like things in the air. It's like they were embedded in the atmosphere. They were all different sizes, on different angles and at different heights. I was standing with a male friend, although in waking life I don't know him. He was as calm and rational about the situation as I was. As we spoke about what could possibly be the meaning behind this, and I felt a sense of revelation... Then I woke up.


A woman from the U.K. writes:

Had a very strange dream -- where I was standing in a bath or shower tray washing my legs with clean water then suddenly pinpricks of blood appeared all over my legs then became drops then rivulets running into the water and turning it bright red. I tried to call for help whilst stemming the flow when I noticed on the outside of each leg just above the ankles a hole opening then becoming gills -- like large fish gills ! I felt repulsed and terrified and unable to move.


A woman from Earth writes:

I dreamt of my soulmate. We were reunited after almost a decade -- coincidentally, in real life, he had just contacted me yesterday to see how I was doing. I've been trying to reach him for a year!! (He's been in the Air Force since out of high school and has finally gotten out for good). Anyhow, maybe timing is everything. He's back in California, I'm getting a divorce and considering moving back to California to be with my family. Who knows.


In your last readings, you asked for dreams that happened last night. Mine was interesting, almost like the closing chapter of a novel.

For the past few weeks, I have been having the same type of dream. You know the one where you sign up for classes, don't attend, and then realize that you need to take the midterm but don't know a thing? Well, mine were like that but more. I'd sign up for these high level classes (differential calculus, organic chemistry -- yes, I do dream about eigenvalues!) and for the LIFE of me I couldn't remember my class schedule! Then, thinking these classes are repeats of undergrad classes, I don't attend because I know it all. Well, it turns out that I DON'T KNOW it all, and come test time, well, that's when I wake up.

Last night was different. Last night, I dreamt that I did attend the classes (OK, most of them) and did pass, but the test was REALLY easy! Five questions that had NOTHING to do with the classes but about life. In addition, I also had help with these questions if I needed it. Hence, the closing chapter of the dream novel.

So what's different? First, I am facing a MAJOR challenge at work. I have been given an assignment to write a program that I can do but need to learn more first. I know that and have accepted that. In addition, I have found out that there is a lot of help out there, I just need to swallow my ego and accept it. I definitely feel more confident. Then there was your writing about the Course in Miracles. After reading your summary, I went out and purchased the book as well as an intro book and have been hooked. Finally, I have been turning more to my Angels and feel like the help is there.


this is my dream (Sam, 21, USfucking A, female of sorts):

I dreamed that Thurston Moore from Sonic Youth was playing music for hundreds of children -- like 7, 8, 9 year olds -- who were just totally enraptured. And I was there too just kind of watching the kids, listening to the music, and dancing with some of them, and i had the sense that i was "helping" them. And then I talked to Thurston who seemed like an amazing teenager, and we sort of stood back and watched the kids and then there was more music, it was great.

this is my roommates dream as she dictates it to me (Sarah, 21, USA, female):

My boyfriend, my grandfather, and one of our cute friends (named Alison Cool) were eating dinner that I had prepared when my boyfriend and Alison got up and started chasing each other around the table and around the neighborhood in a ridiculously flirty manner. I was like, "oh you guys, you're so silly." But my grandfather was like, "hmph, that's not right." and so then I started thinking about how I felt about it, as in the running around, and I started playing with stuff on the kitchen table, and I tried to move the table, and I accidentally pushed one of the legs into a rabbit hole. The whole table fell over and everything on it fell onto the ground. I looked at my boyfriend's discarded tortellini (his favorite food to eat), and I thought "even tortellini can't keep him here." and I was sad. also, I thought in the dream that we must be in Brooklyn.


It is nighttime. I am inside an airport (?) waiting. looking out huge windows onto a beach, right on the shoreline. The sky is cloudy, you cannot see the stars. Airplanes are landing on the beach. You can see them coming because they light up the clouds from behind before they break through them. They come in rapid succession. I watch as 4 or 5 of them land in a matter of minutes. It is beautiful and fascinating to watch. I am waiting for plane number 140.

(haha -- paging Dr. Freud) ; )

Friday, May 16, 2003

Please tell us what you dreamed last night for an eclipse dream entry. Use this email address. Please say whether you want your dream to be quoted in the next Blog -- if so, it will be by first name or anonymously. Let us know your age, gender and country please.

Thursday May 15, 2003

We are in The Zone, at the threshold to the full moon door.

At this writing, here is what the sky looks like. Scorpio moon in the 9th degree of that sign, less than a day in. The moon is about to make aspects to a diversity of planets, which are positioned in the fixed signs (those would be Taurus, Leo, Scorpio and Aquarius) at about 10 thru 13 degrees of the signs. This is a grand cross aspect with the following elements: in Taurus, retrograding Mercury, which means it's advancing backwards through the degrees; about to be opposed this evening by the moon; and right in there is Jupiter in Leo at 11 degrees; and next an exact Mars-Neptune conjunction in Aquarius.

The eclipse is Thursday night in the U.S., but Luna, our light at night, our intuitive awareness and collective feeling body, is passing through the alignment of all these planets as I write, planets whose energy is focussed rather exactly, together. The moon's presence creates a sense of immediate emphasis; it is quite literally 'what we are feeling'. I am feeling pretty good, easing into it, an old Terrapin belonging my bud John is spinning in the next room, I'm right in tune with Mother Nature and happy to be explaining this to you.

So, we're taking a ride. You might say we're experiencing a collective initiation on what is called the Fixed Cross of the zodiac. Just checking in with Alice Bailey on this subject, she says that this cross is characterized by Leo, which she calls 'the most human sign of all'. In essence, there is something about our humanity that we're being given a chance to come in contact with now. She says that both the world's general population and those who are on the path of service as spiritual disciples are swimming in a bit of turmoil as a result of activity on this cross (activity on the collective soul level, having nothing to do with the placements of planets, but currently emphasized by their presence).

For teachers, she says, the state of chaos they often experience is a kind of a test. Now, God does not test us, but spiritual hierarchies with which so many of our lives are enmeshed are another story. And what is the test? It's of whether we can sign on immediately and work with Spirit, trust Spirit, and ride out the synchronicity pattern to accomplish what we need to, including learning to enjoy life.

Luna glides through this planetary crystal -- again, consistting of Mercury, Mars, Juno, Jupiter and Neptune) in the next several hours (into the night Wednesday and early morning Thursday here in Western Civ (don't ask me about down under right now) and then is lined up for an opposition to Sol, which will happen Thursday at exactly at 8:35 p.m. out Left, 11:35 p.m. out East, and 4:35 a.m. Friday over London.

I was asked this morning on a webcast one of those radio kinds of question: What does it all mean?

I thought about it and said well -- it means that we've got an opening to change the patterns of communication in conjugal partnerships.

How did I come up with that? If you add everything up and mutiply it by itself, that's one solution set to the equation. Communication because of Mercury, conjugal partnership because of Juno and Jupiter and the whole story of Taurus and Scorpio that is SO important to ALL of our relationships in this age and day, and the lifting of the veil in the sign of the Scorpion, Snake and Eagle.

I would say that a Scorpio eclipse could give us a chance to reveal ourselves in an intimate setting or relationship, allowing us to come clean with everyone we have something to say to. Tell your partner something, or a former partner, or someone close to whom it'll make a difference. I see a kind of Amnesty Intergalactic moment to reveal the inner truth. We can have a moment off from jealousy with this event, if we dare to understand why it seems to have to exist. We can let go of something negative, even up to that background uneasiness with death that comes and goes from awareness. That will shift communication dynamics of any partnership. Honesty always does. And the operative characteristic of honesty is that it doesn't have to hurt. That's when it's working its miracle.

What hurts is resisting what we need. Take it from me, I'm an expert.

Mercury is going to meet all these planets twice -- actually for a third time, s/he's been by once before, some weeks ago -- Mercury was conjunct Neptune in Aquarius on Feb. 11, and then was square Neptune in Taurus April 13 -- so there are two pieces of the current situation in terms of the events or changes of those date-zones. Then moving in direct motion for the last time will square Neptune on May 27 before heading into Gemini a few days later. So in the most immediate sense, we're talking about a six week event frame where we're at the fourth week. Not to sound too literal about this all, it's pretty quiet in space and all those planets are just waiting for us to become aware of their courses.

    [I was listening to LA Woman today, the Changeling was running through my head for days - no it was Hyacinth House - what an album. In every way as strong as their first, but with a real refinement of the dark glow that Jim could just ease right out of him. Some lines so simple: I see your hair is burning / hills are filled with fire.

    As for Jim I don't think he ever whined about how he wasn't loved and if anything he seemed to take the fact that he was for granted. So aware of consciousness. What great songs. Man. I think my favorite is Texas Radio and the Big Beat. You can hear the echo of the whole country simultaneously in that song, that silent roar of the American night.

    I remember the first time I ever heard Riders on the Storm, after the Father Bill Ayres show on WPLJ, the Sunday late night talk show on the great rock station in the Springsteen era... I was half awake. Father Bill's slow-paced call-in show was a window to the world, of social consciousness, of sensitivity in men, of so much... all those people felt so familiar, their stories were so real... and a few minutes after it ended one night, maybe I was 15, I heard that song, it just went straight into me.

    The sound of that rain, the echo of his voice like a natural force.

    I just lay there thinking What Is This ??

    Your analysis of the ____ situation is just what I was needing, a shift in perspective. Honestly I can't take the vibe, but there's a grand freaking cross right now, with the moon riding right through the storm, but it's really quite stable I think, Mercury is fleeting in that slow Taurus way, Uranus is quite content in Pisces out of the way of it all, and Mars is nice and cooled off by Neptune/Jupiter. Or blown out into a kind of nebula. Centaurs watching everything, picking up the signal. Mercury is their agent.

    Steady as she goes.]

Wednesday, May 14, 2003

Whatever else may be going on in the stars, it's Taurus time and apropos of the moment, we're in the middle of something called Masturbation Month. Planet Waves doesn't have many editorial policies, but one of them is to be a forum (greater or lesser, at different times) for information about sexuality in general and masturbation in particular. Lately I've been letting our artists do most of the talking.

Some question whether masturbation is something we need to be informed about or even discuss, much less specify a national month to honor. (It was not declared by President Bush, by the way, but it would fun to make up a story about how it was. It was in fact declared by President Reagan just before leaving office in 1989. Okay, just kidding.) The biggest clue about the importance of masturbation and open discussion of the subject is the radical position that many sects of the Christian church take on the 'issue': masturbation is forbidden, a sin and a kind of insult to God and love. Some have made the case that it's an even greater sin than fornication! Imagine that! And they tell this to kids!

The (unspoken but obvious enough) reason for this rather stern position is that masturbation raises sexual awareness and interest, it helps us learn to feel sexual feelings consciously, and it teaches us about what we want and need. Masturbation also helps us learn a measure of self-sufficiency, which can be very helpful in a world where erotic contact (which should be the most abundant resource in the universe, given how many horny people there are) is not always available.

And why is this so bad? Well now, talk about a conspiracy theory. I won't get into it, if you don't mind.

So, introducing Solotouch.com. [Don't click yet! Keep reading!] This site, which has existed since 1997 as a forum for nonfiction stories about masturbation, is one of the most original, fun and useful Internet projects I've found in a long time. It rivals the Annotated Grateful Dead Lyrics, Sept. 11 Timelines and T.S. Eliot reading The Waste Land combined. It deserves a whole feature article, which I am scheming up.

Till recently, the site was updated monthly, seasonally or neverly. Now it's daily, maintained by a devoted webmaster (a geek's geek who has a strong sexpositive bent) on a non-profit basis. It's free, in the spirit of the old Internet that some of us fogies remember.

What you're going to read about on this site are the (usually) positive experineces of people who are letting their erotic curiosity lead the way. You will read the accounts of people of all ages: the site is not age restricted because it does not contain 'pornography' -- only written accounts of reality, which are screened by an editor. You'll read older people recalling hot, sexy things that happened to them 50 years ago. You'll read about what goes on within families, amongst roommates and between lovers and spouses, babysitters and their clients, students and teachers, co-workers on the road, students in locker rooms -- it's pretty much all there. You'll read what people experience that no one would know about unless they read the story on Solo. You'll learn a lot about both men and women, and you'll get a look at how delightfully queer lots of heterosexuals are. There's a lot more to read about than just masturbation, but the criteria for story selection is that it either have a masturbation focus, or be an experience that raises sexual awareness.

I've had the opportunity to discuss sexuality, sometimes extensively, with many of the leading teachers in the United States. I've learned far more from reading the spontaneous, anonymous stories of Solo readers, who are forming a kind of online community around one of the hottest plug-in sex toys ever invented, the Internet.

Okay, click here, see you in a few hours.

Tuesday, May 13, 2003

Horoscopes from the May 9 edition.

Taurus (April 19-May 20)
No matter how perplexing the situation you find yourself in seems, the answer is staring right at you. Astrology is largely about pattern recognition and teaches that if we look at things differently, we see the patterns they're made of differently. In any event, the solution to your problem does not require you to do something more, but rather something less. It is more about forgetting than remembering. And, in the most immediate time frame, it's about seeing one particular deception you've put a lot of energy into attempting to make real for yourself. But with an eclipse of the ever-important moon about to happen in your opposite sign, Scorpio, the spotlight is again cast on a close partnership. You would do well to question its actual role in your life.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22)
Next week's eclipse of the moon in your sign is designed to give you a direct experience of what your partners or close associates are experiencing when they relate to you. I suggest you do this without any hesitation, because in the process, you'll quite literally absorb a piece of their wisdom, awareness and self-acceptance. People have learned more than you would imagine both from going through this recent stretch of life with you, and through experiences outside your relationship to them. Whatever unfolds will require a level of true emotional bravery, but that's what it takes to cross an insurmountable barrier or take a once in a lifetime chance. The result will be to bring you a lot closer to the people around you, and given how challenging that's been in recent months, I am sure this will come as a welcome development.

Monday, May 12, 2003

Guten morgen to the Left, guten tag to the East.

With an eclipse in Scorpio just on the event horizon, it's probably a good idea to remember what a mysterious sign Scorpio is. 'Sign' is a very short word for a very complex idea, as is Scorpio: the sign of the mysteries of life and death.

In the simplest possible terms, Scorpio is astrological shorthand for genetics, sexual reproduction, conception and the secrets of what happens to life after what we call death - the best of the Great Secrets series. In a sense, Scorpio is the astrological portal beyond the veil of what we think of as existence.

An eclipse of the moon is a nice image for the lifting of a veil.

Friday, May 9, 2003

Ah yes, those eclipses that are coming. I like eclipses. Though you may read doom and gloom predictions elsewhere on the Net (fear-mongering eclipse chatter, in the words of one of my readers) let's get a real discussion going here. First the raw data: there's a total lunar eclipse at 25 degrees of Scorpio on May 15 at 8:35 p.m. PDT. If you're east of the Left Coast, you might get to see it. The eclipse will be rising as just it happens in the Pacific Zone, low in the sky in the Mountain and Central zones, and just dandy in the Eastern zone. A clear night is all you'll need, but dress warmly and bring binoculars.

This will be the first time an eclipse of any kind, solar or lunar, has happened in Scorpio for about eight years, beginning a new cycle. That is news by definition. The lunar nodes are just on the tippy edge of late Scorpio and Taurus, and where there are nodes, there are eclipses nearby. Every eight or nine years, the eclipses return to each sign, as the lunar nodal axis makes its 18-year orbit. What the nodes are is a little complicated, but they are not exactly things... they are points in space... which act like things... they are intense... on the psychic level, they help us orient ourselves in time -- in long periods of time, as in multiple lifetimes. They help us establish our purpose on Earth. They are very useful.

Let's forget about all the old stuff that old books write about eclipses; as my old boss Chef Eddie at the Beau Rivage Inn in Sheepshead Bay used to say, "Let me do all the worrying around here." (My other favorite Eddieism is, good advice for all who do the kitchen, "When you think it's done, it's done.") I'm not that worried, though. Eclipses are predictable; we can literally look in the ephemeris and predict them, thank you mathematics. So to the extent that they represent distinct shifts of energy, breaks in continuity and sometimes quite dramatic rearrangements of reality, they are also visible and workable psychic patterns, and we know when they're coming. This is why we have astrology.

I'm not suggesting that it's a great idea to mess with natural forces, or to pretend they're harmless. Far to the contrary. I'm saying we are blessed with some foresight, some experience, and the ability to see themes and spot issues. And we have the benefit of some timing ability, since astrology happens in time. Astrology is where otherwise incomprehensible cosmic forces take form, get names and play themselves out in space and time. With us in the middle of it all!

Okay, so. Eclipses function as pressure adjustment devices. They relieve pressure, they stir up energy and they offer a moment of a fully-pressed clutch so that we get a chance to change gears in life. The general energy around them, however, often feels like an acceleration of time or events; a more dramatic 'instant karma' effect; a sense that thought is amplified and manifests in material form more powerfully; and at times, a sense of increasing pressure, like we're coming up against a sealed surface. We can get pushed and pushed and suddenly we pop through and we're in another dimension of time; another region of the space known as time. Are you with me?

Eclipses represent the most palpable shifts in energy that we experience on a routine basis. They are, generally, the big interchanges where life shuffles around and changes with that feeling of going past the point of no return. They happen about every six months. Within the valley of time between eclipse zones, we get some pretty distinct patterns, which then shift a little, or a lot, when the next eclipses come. I am not being superstitious. Just follow eclipses for a while and you'll become an astrologer.

These are some general comments. Specifically, a Scorpio total lunar eclipse, particularly conjunct Centaur planet Pholus, is about an emotional release. I would say that it's an emotional release of stuff that's been passed down through your family for about three generations -- Pholus just works that way, and very dependably. Across the sky, the sun, El Soul, is in Taurus, exactly conjunct minor planet Ceres, who makes sure we eat. You have what you need. But you'll have a lot more if you share your resources, because we humans -- well, we don't survive here alone, we need one another, and if we're in community, we do really, really well.

Here's a fairly recent eclipse essay from the For the Faithful series.

Here is an old eclipse essay called One Way (Or Another) from back before the ominous 8/11/99 event.

Have a fine weekend. The stars are running hot -- Mercury, Mars, Jupiter and Neptune all line up wild and free across the fixed signs Taurus, Leo and Scorpio. Measure your drugs carefully, jot down your brilliant insights, please drive sober, and do tell the truth.

Old friends phone home!

Thursday, May 8, 2003

We may well ask what good all these planets are to astrologers, and how it's possible to read them all. In the sense that we normally think of reading a chart (your Jupiter in the 5th house in Pisces makes you lucky) it is not possible to read them all. But they work many other ways, very effectively.

In any natal chart, certain chart elements will be strongly emphasized all the time, and then through life, transits and progressions will put others into the spotlight for anywhere from a day to several years. Working with many extra points in the chart gives different qualities of energy an opportunity to speak. I might not pay careful attention to Quaoar in every chart, but if it's exactly in the degree rising, then we've got a live one. One way or another, the themes of Quaoar -- the dance of creation, and a creation myth that is based on music and dance -- will express themselves in the person's life, whether literally or in some kind of poetic metaphor.

With many extra points placed in the chart, they will also form shapes, that is, aspect structures with very tight orbs. I might cast fifty extra points into a chart and ten of them will be within two and four degrees of their respective signs, that is, in direct communication. Those aspect structures tell stories, and they respond when high-energy planets like Chiron come along and light them up.

As individual chart elements, any planet exists as a process in consciousness. Astrology students will know that Mars represents the process of expressing energy in just about any form, and that Jupiter represents the process of expanding and acquiring wisdom and knowledge. In the same way, Isis represents the process of assembling the pieces of complex puzzles. Hidalgo represents the process of breaking though systems of cultural deception.

Achilles, particularly in women, reveals a great deal about false confidence and false lack of confidence -- though not written about in any book that I know of, Achilles is one of the most useful asteroids I've ever worked with, one which is spoken about specifically by no other reference point in the chart.

The Centaurs and trans-Neptunian objects (such as Quaoar and Huya) speak to processes of soul development, aspects of the deep identity that slowly come to life as we work with them and become aware that they are talking to us. As they awaken, we integrate them into our overall sense of self and become more fully human.

Wednesday, May 7, 2003

New planets are not named every day (lately they seem to be discovered every day, however). But a second discovery, this one beyond Pluto, was recently named by the International Astronomical Union (IAU), the scientific body which coordinates, oversees and catalogs the naming of new objects in space. Huya, inspired by Egyptian mythology, is its name.

According to the Tour Egypt web site, Huya, or Yuya, was the steward of Queen Tiyi, the queen mother and wife of Amenhotep III. This minor planet will obviously be of tremendous use in doing the horoscopes of great Egyptian monarchs, should we ever run across one.

"The Egyptians saw Huya as an underworld deity and great care was taken to offer her food and water in the tombs so she would not be forgotten," Phil Sedgwick wrote recently in his Galactic Times (email Phil to get on the free mailing list). "The Yaqui Indians [of Carlos Castinada fame] have a ceremonial song in which Huya is mentioned. This song refers to the pristine forest land where the original Yaqui lived and where the enchanted deer still reside."

Huya is a Plutino, one of a number of small objects with an orbit of close to that of Pluto. Huya's catalog number is 38,628, and its provisional designation was 2000 EB173, meaning it was discovered in the year 2000 during the three-day period of the year with the code EB.

"All Plutinos have, over the long term, almost immeasurably identical orbital periods -- same as Pluto, 248 years," Jonathan Dunn wrote in a recent post to the Centaur list, where these things are discussed. "Some of them cross Neptune's orbit, some don't. All will cross Pluto's orbit." Only two other Plutinos bear names: Ixion and Radamanthus. (Spellcheck wants to call them Latinos.)

There is a second category of planets in what's known as the Kuiper Belt, called the Cubewanos. This name was neither made up by George Lucas nor by cigar manufacturers. Rather, Cubewanos are objects whose orbit resembles that of 1992 QB1, the first object discovered in the Kuiper Belt beyond the orbit of the Pluto system.

With the discovery of 1992 QB1, which has not been named for some reason that I can't get a grip on quite yet, the question about the definition of a planet emerged. So did the confirmation of the existence of the previoiusly speculated about Kuiper Belt, a vast region of space beyond Neptune which is likely home to millions of small objects, several hundred of which are known today. Pluto is the largest and first discovered resident of this region, first observed by accident at the Lowell Observatory in 1930 when astronomers were looking for another planet.

Named Cubewanos are Varuna, the first planet beyond Pluto to be dubbed something; Chaos; and my personal favorite, Quaoar, linked below and at the left. If you think you missed all these things in school, you didn't, unless you're still in school, in which case you will probably miss them.

Cubewanos are given the names of deities of ascension, resurrection and creation, and Plutinos given the names of the gods of the underworld. It's all juicy stuff for the imagination, for sure. And to think that astronomers wonder why people become astrologers.

Tuesday, May 6, 2003

Pelion, the name of the seventh named Centaur, has been announced by the International Astronomical Union (IAU). A Centaur is a kind of minor planet, similar to Chiron, which is an artifact of the early solar system. They originate in a region of space beyond Pluto called the Kuiper Belt and are pulled into orbits inside the solar system by the gravity of one of the larger planets, usually Neptune.

Pelion orbits our sun in 89.7 years, a little longer than the orbit of Uranus, which is the only major planet whose path Pelion crosses.

Discovered by D. J. Tholen, R. Whiteley, J. Bauer and H. Dahle of the University of Hawaii, Pelion was originally designated 1998 QM107, and then catalogued as minor planet 49,036. Pelion was discovered on Aug. 21, 1998 at the observatory in Manua Kea, Hawaii. Its discovery position is Aquarius 9 degrees and 59 minutes. The theme of this degree is "the need to deal with human beings as persons rather than as screens upon which one projects one's dream and ideal," according to Dane Rudhyar.

Prior to naming, minor planet specialist Philip Sedgwick suggested the theme of "balancing emotional ego as a function of professional status. Giving, nurturing and sharing to and with coworkers with extraordinary capacities." When expressed negatively, he proposes "demanding and infantile in work relationships, flaunts social status as a result of accomplishments, showcases with past laurels." Philip's ideas partly surround the fact that this Centaur makes its closest approach to the sun, or perihelion, in Capricorn. However, Centaurs are exceedingly complex planets and considerable research will be required before any definitive statements can be made about its psychological or spiritual processes.

Its current position is at about 7 degrees of Pisces, where it will be squared by a solar eclipse in Gemini later this month.

Pelion is unique among the named Centaurs in that it's not named after a mythological character, but rather a mountain peak, 1,601.9 m (5,252 ft) high, of northeast Greece in eastern Thessaly. According to Greek legend, it was the home of the Centaurs, especially Chiron. In ancient Greek, the word "is also an adjective meaning dark, dangerous, tenebrous, dreadful," acording to Isabella Orsini.

The other named Centaurs are Chiron, Pholus, Nessus, Asbolus, Chariklo and Hylonome. The first four are male figures. Chariklo, the wife of Chiron, is a nymph. Hylonome is a female Centaur. Centaurs stand out in astronomical history because several have been named at the suggestion of astrologers. It appears that the IAU has taken a step away from this policy with the naming of Pelion, a designation which was not suggested by astrologers.

Monday, May 5, 2003

The most ineresting news in the sky is a fixed grand cross, a rare enough event. I'm looking at Mars in Aquarius, creeping across the degrees because it's approaching a retrograde in Pisces over the summer. Moving at considerably less than one degree every two days, Mars is about to oppose Jupiter in Leo (recently out of a retrograde and picking up speed for its career clear across the cat). Next it will conjoin Neptune... trippy in that friday night film kind of way, hot and watery. Remember that Mercury is retrograde in Taurus and will be backing into this whole setup, as it happens, working its way thru Taurus, a fixed sign like Leo and Aqueerius, hence the whole thing encounters itself at 90 degree angles, what some nuts call Maximum Interference.

What the freak am I talking about? Well anyway, there's some energy moving. The last point of the quadrangle is Juno, queen of heaven. Make of her what you will, retrograde in Scorpio, working around the degrees of the 8/11 eclipse in 1999, that thing being its own story -- though in fact, this whole arrangement is within in range of that event (links below to the Burning Man series from 1999 will fill in the details). For reasons known only to certain spices of astrologer, our society has to contend with what I'll call the Ixion Factor. That is, the impulse to do something really weird and like, say for example, rape the Goddess. Cast that in theological terms, or as a study in the relationship between Man and Goddess. But Juno was a wise one, and placed a kind of mirage of herself behind in the form of a cloud as a decoy, and old Ix was left kinda satisfying himself in space... and you could say that a lot of us are living this mirage. Write to me if you know what I am talking about.

Venus, now in Aries, is about to change signs just after the next full moon, which is on May 15 (the five-fifteen) after dinner on the West Coast. That be a total lunar eclipse, the dark at the bright moon, perhaps we can get the idea that she's incarnating in one of her other forms: Diana, goddess of the hunt; Lilith, the original woman; Black Moon Lilith, a kind of shadow feminine; or perhaps, in disappearing as she will be doing in the sign Scorpio, as the inert and dissolving form that Alice Bailey says merely veils the presence of another planet, which veil might be lifted at that moment.

Sunday, May 4, 2003

Welcome back to Planet Waves daily edition. For those of you accustomed to my previous dailies, which were a sort of 'book of the month' club, this will be different. In this series, I'm going to keep a focus on the astrology of the day or the week rather than social or political themes. I'll do this in traditional Blog format with the newest edition on top, usually updating the night before the date given. I'll update for weekdays only and change the art about once a week (Zelinda, Zelinda, you are so amazing), and run each html page for one month, which should be easy enough to load since each entry won't have an illustration and will be relatively short, hopefully a paragraph or two. I will probably not update it when my travel schedule picks up for the summer, or we may rotate writers on the entries.

Speaking of travel, I'd like to restate my annual request for Planet Waves readers who go to Burning Man to please contact me. I would very much like to go this year, but I'm going to need to organize or connect with a possy to help me pull off the expedition, given my professional schedule and all. So if you're planning on going and would consider having me as company, please drop me a note, include your phone number and let me know how much experience you have with this event. I was telling a friend Burning Man stories last night and suddenly got very jazzed. For those who have never heard of this thing (which seems all trendy-cool, but once you're on the ground, it's as real as real can be, the art is enough to blow one's mind in an hour) you can visit the official homepage, or check out my 1999 article Flashpoints that includes a long discussion of Burning Man at the end (along with two other really cool stories). Flashpoints was one of the early articles that helped set the tone and style for Planet Waves back when the project was less than a year old (it was the fourth in the Burning Man series, about an eclipse in the summer of 1999). I still like it quite a bit.


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