On Seeking Clarity, and the Quest for True Vision

Dear Friend and Reader:

In our moment of history, it’s difficult to see anything clearly — ourselves, our lives, the world, the future, even the past. We live with a feeling of being constantly on edge, or on the edge, often straining for clarity. Respecting this state of existence, my 2016 annual edition is called Vision Quest, and it’s focused on our need to go beyond clarity; my intent is to help you discover and focus a vision for your life. That’s what the planets are describing, and what I am hearing.


First, though, I have a short story for you, about the spiritual path we call astrology.

One of the first spiritual books ever given to me was Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah. Written by Richard Bach while, unbeknownst to him, Jonathan Livingston Seagull was becoming an international bestseller, this book helped put a lot of people on the spiritual path — maybe even you.

Illusions is the story of an unusual man named Donald Shimoda whom Bach met while flying around the country in his antique biplane, hopping from hayfield to hayfield out in places like Kansas. This was Bach’s version of a Vision Quest.

Shimoda, a fellow barnstorming pilot, has a book of aphorisms containing bits of wisdom for people on the journey of self-awareness. In it is the idea that “we teach what we most need to learn.”

Each autumn, wherever in the world I may be, I set out on the annual edition of Planet Waves. I prepare intimate, spiritually grounded readings for you, relating to the 12 Sun signs and rising signs.

Each annual comes with a collection of articles and art which I think of as being a record of the times in which we’re living.

Each year’s readings reflect the peculiar astrology of the moment, with its special challenges and opportunities. Each is an original journey into the unknown — something I’m now doing for the 17th time. Each of these readings is a marker in time, and all of them are available to return to.

A Time-Honored Spiritual Initiation

Vision Quest is the theme of the 2016 Planet Waves annual. A time-honored spiritual initiation, the vision quest tradition often involves a journey of some kind, always an inner journey though also an outer one.

It’s a journey with a purpose, such as returning to one’s ancestral land for the first time, the experience of being left in the wilderness for days, or traveling a long distance to a meeting with a shaman or teacher. It can also include a service project like joining the Peace Corps. In the UK, the “gap year” tradition is intended as a kind of vision quest, or threshold into adulthood.

Each sign of Vision Quest will include a rune reading or an artifact reading (see next illustration). Above are traditional runes, which I have cast for this project. They provide truly innovative astrology readings, using a divination approach that allows me to get detailed and accurate readings without the natal chart.

The intent of such a quest is to return with greater confidence and a new vision for yourself — or an entirely shifted perspective on your life.

My role with the 2016 annual is to use astrology to take you on such a journey, or at least guide you into one. These readings provide both an extended written interpretation for each sign and rising sign, as well as an extended audio reading. They are designed to stand up to careful review; they are some of my best work.

Yet as I write and record your annual readings, I am reminded of my own need to clarify and develop my personal and creative vision. This has never felt more urgent for me than it does now, so you can be sure that your readings will venture meaningfully, and boldly, into the territory that they open up. Said another way, I am here to teach what I most need to learn.

Your Journey, Reflected in the Astrology

Each year I reach so deep into the planetary aspects, patterns and movements that it feels like I’m relearning astrology for the first time. Then after months of research, I distill the information carefully. I write and record readings that bring your astrology to life; that make it accessible to you; that help you see yourself, and experience your journey, more clearly.

This year, as Saturn in Sagittarius makes a long square to Neptune, then to Chiron, we will be needing clarity. This astrology is all about the dissolving of established forms and beliefs. It will ask many more questions than it will answer, at least at first. Saturn square Neptune seems to be doing most of the asking; Saturn square Chiron seems to be providing suggestions for change.

This is an example of an artifact reading, including objects I’ve collected in my travels since becoming an astrologer. This is the divination set retrieved from my healing cave, the Chironian, after I finished my early astrology studies there. Every sign will get a rune or an artifact reading.

We are also going to experience Uranus conjunct Eris. A new factor in astrology, Eris has had very little written about it compared to many other major discoveries, yet it has so much to offer [you may download my PDF about Eris here].

I’ve watched the movements of Eris every day, in every chart, since we knew of it as Xena the Warrior Princess (its provisional nickname).

Uranus conjunct Eris may be explosive, coming with seemingly impossible shifts in our culture — though also in one’s personal sense of self, of being, of existence. This extremely rare and potentially difficult to handle aspect extends into 2017 — and I will provide information right up to the last event.

Saturn square Neptune is about the dissolving of authoritarian and patriarchal forms. Yet we also know that something must replace them. If we don’t want authority, we must take over as our own inner leader.

We’re also still in the aftermath of Uranus square Pluto. Did this aspect promise so much and yet deliver so little? I will look at what potential remains in what I have called the 2012-era aspect pattern, what opportunities still remain and what learning we can collect on.

In addition, I use a full complement of minor planets — asteroids, centaurs and other new discoveries, keeping the information clear and relevant.

I have the privilege of a friendship with Andrew McLuhan, grandson of Marshall McLuhan, one of my favorite cultural icons (who was an English professor and philosopher). We were discussing how to present ideas for Vision Quest, and he wrote something that I must quote. The McLuhans all have a touch of the mystical to them, though I have introduced the family to astrology.

Planet Waves Astrology: The Rock in the River

“Your astrology readings are, in a real sense, timeless,” Andrew said. “You don’t resort to fads and trends. The value of your astrology is that it’s a rock in the river. You can never step in the same river twice, but a good rock will carry you over and back every time.”

In this edition we are returning to the use of primal instruments. Shown above are a djembe (right) and a doumbek (left). We are also using odd instruments like mason jars along with occasional electric instruments.

One of my clients, someone who gets the annual every year, is an 83-year-old professional astrologer named Ann Cortese. She puts it this way:

“I never cease to be amazed at how many times, during my birthday year, I refer back to the annual edition of my birth sign report that you offer. It is amazing to me, that no matter what time of the birthday year I refer back to it, it has something to offer. To me it has become not only an annual upcoming preview of one’s year ahead, but a continual informative year-long reference guide.”

Ordering information for Vision Quest, the 2016 annual edition, is below, in a separate item. It explains the pricing structure, which favors those who pre-order early.

I do have a request for you: we’ve received many comments from our readers about the amount of email we send. Part of why we have to send email is that people defer purchasing till they’ve been reminded several times. We are up against bulk mail blockers and people’s frustration with email.

In order to keep down the amount of email we have to send, I would request that you please order as soon as you know you’re interested. That will be very helpful to everyone, saving much repetitive work and interruption, and you will get the best price.

From Sound Quest to Vision Quest

For those who purchase all 12 signs, I have a special gift to offer you, and mean special when I say it. I’ve begun Vision Quest with a kind of Sound Quest: a series of musical compositions done with my musical mentor Daniel Sternstein and his collaborator from another project, Dan Grimsland.

We have been creating a series of ambient compositions, many featuring slow, primal drumming (mostly on djembe and congas), flowing, watery bass lines and sublime synthesizer pieces. Those who purchase all 12 signs will receive access to a full download of the compositions as soon as it’s done.

As for your readings, I expect to have them ready for you by the first week of January.

Thank you for your participation in the Planet Waves annual reading tradition. Thank you for bringing your own vision quest to Planet Waves, and for joining us on our bold adventure.

With love and gratitude,

PS — The best way to find out what Vision Quest has to offer is to check out the 2015 annual, which you can do at no cost, in its entirety. My personal goal is to go deeper every year, tuning into the moment as intimately as possible, never losing sight of the world around us. Here is a summary of the Planet Waves annual edition’s history, which dates back to 1999.

Vision Quest Pricing and Purchasing Information

This short article will answer nearly all of your questions. We are beginning the pre-sale tonight with all 12 signs offered as a package. The reason to get all 12 signs is so you can read your Sun, Moon and rising sign, as well as those of the people you are closest to.

Chart for the autumn equinox of 2016. Planet Waves readings are one of the few places anywhere you can find thoughtful, coherent information about the minor planets and asteroids.

Expected delivery is the first week of January. That can change; I prefer to work well and deliver solid work.

The final sale price will be $127 for all 12 signs, as soon as the readings are published. During the pre-order phase, the price will be considerably lower. Because you’re one of our valued customers, we’re making available to you a special offer of $77, equivalent to $6.41 per sign. This offer will last until Friday, Nov. 20.

This includes all of the audio and extended written readings, the articles and artwork, and a download of the full set of musical compositions that go with Vision Quest. You may pre-order that here now.

For 2016 Backstage Pass and 2015 All-Access Pass Holders

If you hold a Backstage Pass or an All-Access Pass, we will send you separately your discount product code that reflects your membership level. Please check your email for that Friday. We will send it a couple of times. This price will increase to $77 in a week and we will hold it at that price until publication; if you order before Nov. 20, you can get it for $57.

Galaxy Pass holders have Vision Quest included with their membership.

Individual signs will go on sale in several weeks, beginning at $24.95 per sign. For the price of just three signs you can get all 12 — and you will want them.

Thank you for your business. Planet Waves is 100% sponsored by your memberships and reading purchases.

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Listen: Your 2013 Annual Horoscope by Eric Francis

“I’m definitely ordering the 2013 horoscope – all the others have provided me with great information and support.”

“I just love the truth and empathy that comes through in every word.”

Dear Planet Waves Reader:

When was the last time you had a moment to stop and think about your life and where you’re headed — a moment to listen to yourself? A moment to sort through the static, and focus inwardly?

web_sample-page-2013-Annual-ListenIf it’s been a while, I’m not surprised. Nobody seems to have time to listen anymore, to ourselves or to one another. You may sense that this is a big moment in your life, at the same time it feels like the wave of history is about to crash over our heads — though there seems so little we can actually do about it.

The mental and emotional environments, both inner and outer, are more chaotic than they’ve ever been, and I am sure you’re feeling the strain. It’s that sensation of there being no quiet place, nobody who really understands, nobody who has time to listen to you.

I’ve been listening to your astrology, which, as I use it, is a way into your emotional and mental worlds. I’ve created a reading for you that provides a sanctuary for you to be introspective. It’s called “Listen,” and it’s my 2013 annual reading for your sign or rising sign. Yet listen is more than a reading. It’s an environment, a space to open up, a space to both discover yourself and make peace with your journey.

In your reading, I offer an extended audio meditation, in the form of an in-depth description of your astrology and what it is saying. And I’ve crafted a written interpretation that focuses the most useful themes: your mental and emotional peace of mind, your relationships, your creative life and work, and financial themes.

The result is space to seek self-understanding, a space where you can relax and be yourself for a while, and come away not only with useful guidance but also self-guidance. These readings will be ready in January, after the holidays, though you can pre-order now.

Right below this letter are samples of my audio presentations. Each comes with original music, composed and selected by Renee Blue O’Connell. Your 2012 reading also includes access to articles by the Planet Waves writers that focus on growth, relationships, astrology and spiritual awareness.


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Mercury Retrograde Election Day: Astrology is No Excuse

By Eric Francis

Something happens this year that’s never happened before in American history: Mercury stations retrograde on the day of a presidential election.

Everyone who follows astrology has heard the term “Mercury retrograde” — the astrological manifestation of Murphy’s Law. This is an approximately three-week spell, happening three times a year, wherein Mercury appears to move backwards through the zodiac. It’s a visual illusion, a little like the train next to yours appearing to move backwards because it’s moving more slowly.

Read more…

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Planet Waves FM :: Continuing Coverage from UAC

UAC Coverage from Planet Waves FM

Dear Friend and Reader:

Welcome to Planet Waves FM’s coverage of the 2012 United Astrology Conference in New Orleans, which is was held May 24 through 30. What follows is a series of interviews with conference attenders and presenters. By the time we’re done there will be about 25 of these interviews posted here as well as on a parallel site at Planet Waves FM. In effect what we’ve created is a parallel conference that is available to everyone.

Venus retrograde "flash mob" at the UAC 2012 dinner and awards, Monday, May 28 in New Orleans.

If you want to read a bit about the conference rather than listen, visit our special website devoted to UAC. That page includes my suggestions for how to do an astrology conference better — which was a topic of many conversations during the past week.

Audio production on these recordings is by Sarah Bissonnette-Adler, the theme music is by Yasa and website management by Anatoly. Note, we are starting to archive the recordings on or page at YouSendIt. They are in a second format at Planet Waves FM.

Planet Waves is a subscriber supported service. We are funded by our readers, not by advertisers, so all of the content you’re about to hear is free from commercial interruption.

We are offering this coverage of UAC 2012 to all site visitors as well as our subscribers. Reading our subscription service is an enriching experience that provides horoscopes and articles about astrology, personal growth and world events that will deepen your perspective on life. We offer not just astrology but a refreshing alternative to mainstream media, always informed by the astrological perspective. Find out more about subscribing here. You can also read a sample of our subscription magazine at this link — our recent one about Adam Yauch of the Beastie Boys (and Tibet).

We trust you’ll enjoy our coverage of the people of the 2012 United Astrology Conference. Note — there is more to come, as we finish editing my class and that of Donna Woodwell, and add several Free Speech classes. Note — if you taught a Free Speech class and can provide us a recording, we will host it here where many people can see it.


Eric Francis
Kingston, NY 12401

PS, if we did not get to you at UAC or you didn’t get to us — contact me about being a guest on Planet Waves FM in the future. And I am truly happy to make guest appearances on other podcasts. –efc

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Welcome from United Astrology Conference – Introduction from Eric Francis

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Interview with Ravi Shanker Joshula, Vedic astrologer. Ravi is an actual Vedic astrologer from India who trained for many years and who has been practicing for 20 years. He describes a non-Westernized version of Vedic astrology: in other words, the real thing.

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Ravi’s lecture —

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More interviews are below the jump!


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Planet Waves FM :: Slow Rising Smoke: Trayvon Martin

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Today’s edition of Planet Waves FM looks at the shooting of Trayvon Martin. It’s a look at the situation from several angles — political, legal and astrological.

Eric Francis, host of Planet Waves FM.

I cover the concept of the Stand Your Ground law, which is based on an earlier idea, the Castle doctrine — the one that says “a man’s home is his castle” — that is the basis of Stand Your Ground. However, it would seem that with everyone pretty much agreeing that the Stand Your Ground law does not apply in this case, from the lead investigator to the bill’s sponsor to Jeb Bush himself, clearly something is wrong.

There is one idea I left out of the discussion: the duty to retreat. That’s the alternative to Stand Your Ground. In New York, for example, you have a duty to retreat from an attacker if you can. If you’re cornered by someone who is going to do you harm, or someone you’re protecting, your first job is to get to a safe place — then you can defend yourself if necessary. The purpose of this is so that people claiming self-defense don’t automatically get a license to kill. You can read more about that at the Wikipedia page on the Castle doctrine.

I include four charts below — the event, the two main players, and the event that started off Arab Spring from late 2010, published on Planet Waves or the first time.

Additional research on this edition provided by Carol van Strum, Nikko Merrell, Amanda Painter, Fe Bongolan, Genevieve Hathaway, Adam Gainsburg and Sarah Bissonnette-Adler.

Here is your program in the old player, where you’ll find the full archives and a downloadable zip file.

Thanks for tuning in.

Eric Francis


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