Planet Waves
New York, Jan. 25, 2018 | View as Webpage | Pre-order 2018 Annual Reading
Planet Waves
Communion by Lucinda Abra.
Take a Step Back

Dear Friend and Reader:

It's taken me a while to figure out what's really going on with the #MeToo movement, at least so far as I can tell. I don't accept as valid what I don't understand, or what I see serious problems with. I might, when I gain an understanding, and see past the problems.

The #MeToo movement has been chaotic, and there are some issues, which I'll get into in a moment. Finally, about five drafts into this article and after consulting many women in my life, I spoke with an old friend named Megan O'Connor, who was well on her way to being a midwife when I knew her as a journalism colleague 20 years ago.

Planet Waves
Jan. 20, Santa Cruz, CA. Photo by Elizabeth Good.
Sometimes I need things put into language a kid can understand. She heard my frustration sorting out the issues, and said in her calm and nonjudgmental style: Think of it this way. The #MeToo movement has one purpose: to reveal the extent of sexual harassment in the workplace. If I didn't expect much more than that, I would have it in context. That was all I needed to hear.

Workplace sexual harassment and sexual assault are real problems -- so real that we're discovering they're apparently the norm.

#MeToo is intended as a pushback against that, calling attention to the issue and demanding change. As Ruth Bader Ginsberg said, it's about time.

Yet this is no guarantee of solving the problem. But it may be a start. Real activism is always messy. And sometimes it's necessary to break some rules and smash things to get the attention of people in power.

Let's see how events proceed from here -- for example, if we can do anything about an admitted sexual abuser that a majority of white women helped elect president. We might be witnessing a correction, not just of abusive conduct, but also to complicity with that conduct.

There's been one other important effect, which is a realtime experiment with what happens when society bursts into a discussion about shadow sexual issues. We can study ourselves, our friends, the public and the press for information.

And in other news, at press time, The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists moved the Doomsday Clock, a metaphor for humankind's proximity to global nuclear annihilation, ahead by 30 seconds on Thursday. It is now set at two minutes to midnight. The group says this is the "closest to the symbolic point of annihilation that the clock has been since 1953 at the height of the Cold War."

Scandals Are Not About Healing

My concern with #MeToo began right before activist Tarana Burke's political slogan was taken over by what I'm calling #Me2.0, the internet version. My concern began the moment Harvey Weinstein was taken down. That was quite a scandal. We don't know most of it, either.

While it was satisfying to see such a monster tumble, scandal is never life-affirming. Rather, its effect is to repress sexual and loving feelings, spreading into our intimate relationships, contaminating healthy erotic desire and sowing mistrust. This is no way to run a free society; in fact, scandals are a good way to destroy one. This struck me as a bad omen, particularly if we remember that "the end is written in the beginning."

Scandals terrify people, and most are already terrified. Ask any teenage boy who's afraid to ask a girl on a date, fearing he will be deemed a sexual predator. That is a form of tyranny.

Planet Waves
Jan. 20, Santa Cruz, CA. Photo by Elizabeth Good.
Second, I, like many, am concerned this movement is often claimed for women only, sometimes aggressively. The purpose of #MeToo is supposedly ending sexism. Do we think we're going to do that with more sexism? Many men and boys are routinely sexually abused, which we know among other places from the billions paid by the Roman Catholic Church in recent decades to settle lawsuits.

The sex abuse situation in prisons is ugly, and most prisoners are men of color who don't belong there. But what happens in prisons is easy to ignore, and is almost always is ignored. And does anyone remember Jerry Sandusky and company? These are very unlikely to be "isolated incidents."

Solving the sexual assault problem for half the population -- to the extent that's even true -- is not solving it at all, particularly since most perpetrators were once victims. More young boys than you care to imagine are inappropriately touched by supposed caregivers and others charged with responsibility for them -- both male and female. In a best case scenario, even "mild" abuse experienced as a child can make it difficult for people to establish trust in others later in life.

I am being told that to equate the abuse that girls and women experience with what boys and men experience is "false equivalency." I am not quite up to understanding that. If you can explain it in terms a kid can understand, I would appreciate your thoughts.

After much reflection, my suspicion of any viewpont that discounts or ignores the maltreatment of boys and men is that it's silently based on the gender stereotype that they should "man up and take it."

And I dread to think there is any motive of giving men and boys "a taste of their own medicine."

Three-Part Disharmony

There seem to be three main aspects to the #MeToo trend. One has been celebrities taking out other celebrities, outing their alleged sexual misconduct, which leads to an epic fall from grace. The reported misconduct often turns out to be disgusting and persistent, and somehow it went unchallenged for years or decades. We don't seem too curious about who all the enablers were, or what H.R. had in its files.

In the especially horrific case of Dr. Larry Nassar, the investigative reporter in me wants to see every page of the personnel files of the U.S. Olympic gymnastics team. Who exactly knew what, and when did they know it? On what basis were key decisions made? How exactly did this go on for a generation, with so many people of power and influence watching? What, exactly, did parents know, and what did they do? [See related article by Amanda Painter.]

Other times, the alleged violation is immature, inconsiderate but comparatively harmless behavior.

The second is that some women who don't have a public profile are finding the courage and voice to express their previous experiences of workplace sexual harassment, and how they feel about it. This has expanded into coming out about other forms of abuse, ranging from catcalls to date rape to issues within the family. One thing we're learning is that, for many people, the entire sexual environment is one they associate with transgression and violation.

We really need to do some soul searching about how this came to be, how it's persisted so long, and how we're going to actually solve the problem. The Women's Lib movement of the 1970s stopped far short of structural change. Lacking actual power, and seeking employment opportunities above all else, many women went from one form of subservience to another.

I recently asked my readers if they had experienced, or knew of, any positive results from #MeToo -- results in the real world; not on the internet, and not involving famous people. There seemed to be some.

Planet Waves
Jan. 20, Santa Cruz, CA. Photo by Elizabeth Good.
One of my readers wrote, "The 'me too' movement has had a most definite cleansing effect on me. Since then, I have now been able to work on my feelings and self-judgments about 'being weak' with [a man in my life]. Have also decided I am 'not a slut or a whore' or any other nonsense. I had NO IDEA of the stored up hurt and shame I had in me all of these years."

Someone else wrote, "My manager, in a face-to-face meeting, asked me if any of his actions have ever made me feel uncomfortable in any way. They hadn't, and I appreciated his proactive approach, though I doubt that I would have felt comfortable sharing with him that they had, in the event that they had. It's a challenging issue to deal with regardless of how well-intentioned someone may be."

Hmm, that sounds like more of the same thing that got us here. Does someone need to tell women -- even now -- that nobody gives you a voice? You already have one, and you either use it, or you don't use it.

Then there's the third kind of response: concern from women about larger issues.

One reader in the UK responded for herself and her friends, "This #MeToo thing is making us all very uncomfortable. Of course it's emotionally satisfying in many cases to see long-term sexually abusive predators like Weinstein get called out and pulled down, but one thing we've noticed (and worry about) is that 1/ most of the pushback when it has been there by Weinstein and other men has been against accusers who are women of color; 2/ there's been false equivalence between making a pass/minor groping and violent abuse or sustained harassment; 3/ it's untrue that somehow everything will be ok if the film industry, senate, whatever, is 'purified' without structural change; 4/ the possibility of 'kicking 'em in the balls' (direct self-defense) has been absent; 5/ the daily, sustained abuse of women at the lower end of the pay scale, especially women working in hotels or more private domestic settings, or by the state in prisons/detention centers, has been completely out of the discussion; 6/ structural solutions like universal basic income, which would give every woman more power to refuse, have been completely out of the discussion. Last but certainly not least, we're also worried about the compete lack of any process to determine whether a claimed incident happened or not."

She concluded, "We've all seen others or actually been accused ourselves of being 'rape apologists' when we've tried to help abusive men stop abusing before this, and now are worried that if we try to have a more nuanced discussion in public about #MeToo that we'll be accused of 'rape apology' all over again." [emphasis added].

Tale of the Author of A Handmaid's Tale

Margaret Atwood, author of A Handmaid's Tale, which is taken as the morality story of our day, wrote recently in the Globe and Mail about times in history when "the usual rules of evidence are bypassed." Many have pointed out that the men who have been taken out in the #MeToo trend have been "guilty because accused," and that this is not a useful legal or moral standard.

Atwood has a special place in the history of the women's movement, as one of its most articulate and inspiring authors, and also as someone who has been repeatedly accused of being a bad feminist.

Planet Waves
Jan. 20, Santa Cruz, CA. Photo by Elizabeth Good.
"Such things are always done in the name of ushering in a better world, "Atwood wrote of tactics used during a crisis or in the name of revolution. "Sometimes they do usher one in, for a time anyway. Sometimes they are used as an excuse for new forms of oppression.

"As for vigilante justice -- condemnation without a trial -- it begins as a response to a lack of justice -- either the system is corrupt, as in prerevolutionary France, or there isn't one, as in the Wild West -- so people take things into their own hands.

"But understandable and temporary vigilante justice can morph into a culturally solidified lynch-mob habit, in which the available mode of justice is thrown out the window, and extralegal power structures are put into place and maintained. The Cosa Nostra [the Mafia], for instance, began as a resistance to political tyranny."

She got in trouble with internet feminists for writing that.

Frail as Victorian Housewives?

Writing earlier this year in The New York Times, Daphne Merkin published an op-ed called, "Publicly, we say #MeToo. Privately, We Have Misgivings."

She wrote, "Perhaps even more troubling is that we seem to be returning to a victimology paradigm for young women, in particular, in which they are perceived to be -- and perceive themselves to be -- as frail as Victorian housewives."

She continued: "What happened to women's agency? That's what I find myself wondering as I hear story after story of adult women who helplessly acquiesce to sexual demands. I find it especially curious given that a majority of women I know have been in situations in which men have come on to them -- at work or otherwise. They have routinely said, 'I'm not interested' or 'Get your hands off me right now'. And they've taken the risk that comes with it.

Planet Waves
Jan. 20, Santa Cruz, CA. Photo by Elizabeth Good.
"The fact that such unwelcome advances persist, and often in the office, is, yes, evidence of sexism and the abusive power of the patriarchy. But I don't believe that scattershot, life-destroying denunciations are the way to upend it. In our current climate, to be accused is to be convicted. Due process is nowhere to be found."

Among many other excellent points, she asks, "And what exactly are men being accused of? What is the difference between harassment and assault and 'inappropriate conduct'? There is a disturbing lack of clarity about the terms being thrown around and a lack of distinction regarding what the spectrum of objectionable behavior really is."

If this is some foreshadowing of the "the future is female," no thanks -- I'll stick to patriarchy. At least there, one has a right to face and question one's accuser.

The shrill, sick irony of this scenario is that we've purged ourselves of a bunch of creepy entertainers and alleged newscasters, the Olympic gymnastics team doctor and a bunch of other people whose behavior was well known, sometimes for decades. But someone who bragged about committing sexual assault received a majority of white women's votes, and is still in power. That deserves a reckoning.

It was a profound relief that the anti-workplace-harassment movement joined forces with the nationwide protests by women on Jan. 20 and 21. I have read that protest leaders then headed to Las Vegas to organize voter registration in swing states ahead of the 2018 congressional elections. That is called linking the issues.

It should be clear to men that it's time to take a step back and evaluate our ideas about who and what women are, and how to approach women in social and professional situations. It should also be clear that we all need to arrive at a mutually acceptable concept of respect, which can only come through a dialog.

Planet Waves
Jan. 20, Santa Cruz, CA. Photo by Elizabeth Good.
Hashtags, protests and taking out individual accusers is not structural change -- and, moreover, not about personal healing. Those things are much deeper.

Anyone who has experienced sexual transgression and is still in pain needs to speak up where it matters, and get help. The first place that must happen is within their intimate relationships. Anyone who cannot share their history with their partner is not in a safe place.

A trend on the internet is not about actual healing, and does not rise to the level of claiming power. Power is not a mood or a feeling. It's a state of being focused in the present, where a situation can be sized up, and necessary decisions made. Power is about commitment. It's about working together, toward tangible, productive goals, including working with one's presumed adversaries.

In my theory of the universe, women, as the source of life, are the teachers. Whether one is right, wrong, or somewhere between, teaching happens by example. If men are being presumed to be in some way ignorant or in need of correction, it will presumably be women who do the teaching -- and that will not happen with their words. It will be conveyed by women demonstrating what they believe is correct, through their actions.

Yours & truly,

Planet Waves (ISSN 1933-9135) is published each Sunday and Thursday evening in Kingston, New York, Planet Waves, Inc. Core Community membership: $197/year. Editor and Publisher: Eric Francis Coppolino. Web Developer: Anatoly Ryzhenko. Astrology Editor: Amanda Painter. Client Services: Amy Elliott. Eric's Assistant: Ellen Dockery. Astrology Fact Checker: Len Wallick. Copy Editor and Fact Checker: Jessica Keet. Media Consultant: Andrew Ellis Marshall McLuhan. Music Director: Daniel Sternstein. Bass and Drums: Daniel Grimsland. Additional Research, Writing and Opinions: Amy Jacobs, Cindy Ragusa and Carol van Strum.
Planet Waves
Some of the many women gymnastics team members and student athletes from Michigan State University abused by Dr. Larry Nassar. Graphic: NY Times.
Sentencing Dr. Nessus

By Amanda Painter

Larry Nassar, the former team doctor for the U.S. Olympic gymnastics team, USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University (MSU), was sentenced on Wednesday to 40-175 years in prison for serial sexual assault. Although he was only convicted on seven counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct after finally pleading guilty in November, approximately 160 women have provided victims' impact statements (like this one) to the court over the last week.

Action against Nassar pre-dates the "Weinstein effect" and the current "MeToo" movement, though undoubtedly the current social environment has lent courage to many of his victims who've spoken out at his trial, and lent additional credence to their testimony. USA Gymnastics says they cut ties with Nassar in 2015 in response to "athletes' concerns," and the FBI began questioning him in September 2016.

Planet Waves
Judge Rosemarie Aquilina looks past an attorney at Larry Nassar (far right) during his sentencing hearing in Lansing, Michigan, on Jan. 16. Photo by Brendan McDermid / Reuters.
The first athlete to speak publicly and press charges against him was Rachael Denhollander in 2016. She has since been joined by Olympic gold medalists McKayla Maroney, Aly Raisman, Simone Biles and many, many others.

Yet complaints about sexual abuse by Nassar date back to the 1990s. According to Michigan Live:

"In the late 1990s, a teenage gymnast, an MSU softball player and an MSU long-distance runner claim they complained to MSU coaches and/or athletic trainers about Nassar's intravaginal treatments, according to lawsuits. In each case, the women claim they were told that Nassar was a renowned doctor and knew what he was doing, the lawsuits say. Three alleged victims say they brought concerns to MSU gymnastics coach Kathie Klages as early as 1997. Klages retired Feb. 14, 2017, after being suspended by the university. However, MSU spokesman Jason Cody has said there is no record of MSU receiving any complaint involving Nassar before 2014."

There's record of a 2004 complaint made to police in Michigan's Meridian Township by a teenage athlete treated by Nassar at MSU's sport-medicine clinic; that complaint was dropped or dismissed by authorities. And according to a court document in Ingham County, Michigan, the 12-year-old daughter of a family friend allegedly told her parents and a counselor of being sexually abused by Nassar. Again, according to Michigan Live, "The court document says the counselor called a meeting between Nassar and the girls' parents in which Nassar denied the abuse and the girl's parents forced her to recant."

Other examples of adults failing to see red flags or flat-out disbelieving children and teenage girls abound in Larry Nassar's history. Certainly one contributing factor is the blurring effect of the Olympic Dream: families go all-in when a teenager is pursuing Olympic greatness; it takes an incredible amount of money, dedication, time, support and focus.

Nassar also reportedly groomed his victims and their families quite well, just like Catholic priests who've committed sexual abuse. It's the same playbook: use status and the innate trust people place in certain professions, win over parents and other adults with friendliness and generosity, and they are often much less likely to believe kids.

Planet Waves
Rachael Denhollander listens at Dr. Larry Nassar's sentencing hearing. She was the 156th and final survivor to speak at his sentencing. A practising attorney, she pressed charges after another woman did so anonymously. Video of her impact statement here. Photo by Jeff Kowalsky.
But then there's also the greed factor: administrators at MSU, USA Gymnastics, and the Olympic committee have tremendous financial incentive not to believe that anything like this could possibly be happening under their watch.

That the income they earn on the backs of female teenage gymnasts might be anything but clean and deserved is likely a taboo topic. There's an established history of such problems in amateur athletics, particularly on the university level.

Although we do not have a birth time for Nassar, Eric has cast a noon chart for him; you can see that and some preliminary discussion on Eric's Facebook page. With a noon chart it is important to remember that you have to ignore the houses and angles: without an accurate birth time, we can't know what houses the signs and planets fall into. But you can still get tremendous information from planets' aspects to each other and the signs they occupy.

Speaking broadly: Jupiter roughly square Nassar's Cancer Moon and North Node seems to have imparted a "pseudo-parent-guru archetype; he’s easily able to convey trust, nurturing, knowledge and leadership" according to one comment under the chart. A T-square between Venus in Leo, Saturn and Pholus in Aquarius, and Neptune and the Black Moon Lilith in Scorpio speaks to some self-delusion around sex, issues with love, and some kind of runaway-authority complex in elite groups.

Nassar also has Nessus -- the primary centaur about sexual transgressions, patterns of abuse, and 'stopping the buck' -- in Gemini. Making tight aspects to it along the mutable-sign cross are several objects that speak of power and the overreach of power. One that really caught my eye is Tantalus in Sagittarius, which is opposite Nassar's Nessus in Gemini. From Wikipedia:

"Most famously, Tantalus offered up his son, Pelops, as a sacrifice. He cut Pelops up, boiled him, and served him up in a banquet for the gods. The gods became aware of the gruesome nature of the menu, so they did not touch the offering; only Demeter, distraught by the loss of her daughter, Persephone, absentmindedly ate part of the boy's shoulder."

If that is not a perfect metaphor to describe Nassar's crimes, the situation of other people in power who kept their distance, and the "absentminded" feeding off of sacrificed children, I don't know what is.
Planet Waves

The Art of Becoming: Introduction to Chiron

Dear Friend and Reader:

Eric has recorded a new episode of Planet Waves TV [click to play], in which he outlines the basics on Chiron.

This is the first of two Chiron videos for The Art of Becoming, which we've made available to everyone. Eric gives the history of Chiron, and several delineations. It's an excellent introduction to the first-discovered centaur planet, and as usual is packed with interesting information.

The second video on Chiron, in which Eric will discuss its transits and its forthcoming move into Aries, will be ready soon. If you pre-order all 12 signs of The Art of Becoming, this will include all three of our planned videos, along with chapter-length readings for each sign.

Eric is working hard to complete The Art of Becoming as soon as possible, and is nearly halfway through the written readings. This is the first time he's produced an annual edition while also maintaining a daily horoscope. However, he is not skimming on length or quality. When this work is published, it will contain the full richness of Eric's wisdom and long experience.

We strongly recommend getting the whole reading; not only will this give you access to your Sun, Moon and rising signs, but you can share the reading with your household. You may pre-order all 12 signs here, or choose your individual signs here.

With best wishes,
Planet Waves
Amy Elliott
Sky
Mars in Sagittarius — and a Few Other Adjustments

By Amanda Painter

You know that feeling when you've been incredibly busy, or very focused on a project, and then those activities wind down but you feel momentarily adrift, or not sure where to channel your energy next? But then, almost as soon as you've thought that, the next thing comes along to keep your energy level up and engaged?

Planet Waves
Photo by Amanda Painter.
That might be one way to think of Mars entering Sagittarius tomorrow, just six days after centaur planet Pholus left that sign.

Mars leaves Scorpio, a sign it rules, and brings its fiery energy to fiery Sagittarius at 7:56 am EST on Friday (12:56 UTC).

The influence of Pholus in Sagg was something we kind of got used to for many years. In terms of the 'runaway reaction' Pholus signifies, we've witnessed it in the way the world seems to be spinning out of control. Long before Trump as president, before Uranus made its signature aspects to Pluto and Eris, we had Pholus adding some rocket fuel to life -- in a segment of the zodiac that can already feel a little 'out there'.

Mars will only be moving through Sagittarius for a couple of months. Mars also tends to be felt as a much more personal and internally palpable energy compared to Pholus. So you might be more aware of the ways you desire physical activity, some sort of freedom or adventure, or to improve the social order.

In that way, even though the energy of Mars might be more noticeable than Pholus was in Sagittarius, you may also feel better able to channel it. Rather than feeling driven, you get to do some driving.

Read more...
Create
Planet Waves
Community members in one French town participate in pasting their portraits on several decrepit buildings in a field -- photographed, filmed and facilitated by Agnes Varda and JR in Faces Places.
Any Media Can Be Social, If You Use It That Way

By Amanda Painter

With the Sun and Venus in Aquarius, we get the theme of friendship, social groups and humanity; with Mars about to enter Sagittarius, we get an image of someone actively traveling and talking to others, guided by idealism. Combine those themes (and a few others), and we get an astrological snapshot of the documentary Faces Places.

In Faces Places, 89-year old Agnes Varda, once a leading figure of French New Wave cinema, and acclaimed 33-year-old French photographer and muralist JR team up for a delightfully unlikely road movie. Co-directed by Varda and JR, the film follows them across the French countryside as they meet locals, ask about their stories, and take massive-scale portraits of them -- photographs they then paste on the sides of crumbling barns, trains, houses and other unlikely places.

As Varda and JR invite their new friends to encounter their shared humanity in a new way, they deepen their own friendship through the collaboration.

"JR is fulfilling my greatest desire, says Varda at one point. "To meet new faces and photograph them, so they don't fall down the holes of my memory."

Instagram, Facebook and Twitter can't hold a candle to JR and Varda's project: a truly social media.
Create
This week on Planet Waves FM
Our American Astrology, and PWFM Takes to the Airwaves

Dear Friend and Listener:

First, thank you for your responses to helping fund Planet Waves FM. Chiron Return, the nascent nonprofit organization that publishes the program, will be taking over studio expenses at The Place of the Way, and gradually we will increase our budget to cover more programming costs.

The beautiful thing is: the station is built, our studios are complete, and we do many interesting things with our space. Planet Waves FM is something rare and beautiful in the world. I know from your letters how you feel about tuning in every Tuesday evening. Thank you for making a one-time or monthly contribution. Even $1 a month helps.



This week's program [play episode here] is the premiere of Planet Waves AM / FM on Radio Kingston. This is a program similar to what you're used to, though it was recorded live on local radio here in Kingston, NY, on Sunday night.

Planet Waves
Eric in the Radio Kingston studio. Photo by Adam Alberts.
In this edition, I cover the chart for the weekend-long government shutdown, which was a fantastic little Uranus-Eris conjunction event.

I take much of the program and explain that alignment, as well as the underlying reality of the internet that this aspect represents. I then go on from there.

The last segment is a tribute to the second annual Women's March, and a commentary to men about backing off putting women under so much pressure. I think that the first appropriate response by sensitive men is to take a step back.

Of course, the sensitive men are likely to already be doing this, so please share this segment with anyone you know who may not be so friendly, or anyone you think will benefit.

This week's music is by Vision Quest, the Planet Waves in-house ensemble. I figured: new program, on the open airwaves -- let's use our own music. If you're interested in more, tune in to our Soundcloud page, or our live stream on Mixlr.

There is plenty more -- and more to come.

Thank you again for participating, for listening and for your generous support of our work.

With love,
Kasia Urbaniak: You Met Her Here First

The New York Times and New York Magazine have both featured Kasia Urbaniak, whom you first met on Planet Waves FM last summer.

Kasia is a women's empowerment trainer who skips the abstractions and uses a riding crop in her work. She teaches women how to have a clear yes and a clear no, teaching them the psychology of power, and how to remove their own inner blocks to their power.

From New York Magazine:

"Who has had unwanted sex?" Urbaniak asks the room. Nearly all the hands shoot up. "Yeah, see, what the fuck?" She says, shaking her head. "Annnndddd... Who has sucked a cock so you could get out of having sex?" she continues.

Planet Waves
Kasia Urbaniak.
Most hands in the room dart back up, and a welcome ribbon of laughter ripples through the crowd. We could use a little levity. Urbaniak is a formidable presence, and when she first strode in, wearing thigh-high stiletto boots and a long black skirt with a slit, you could feel the room collectively hush.

Though Urbaniak hasn't worked as a dominatrix full-time in years, she certainly still looks the part, and the philosophy, lingo, and general sense of playful eroticism that pervades everything the Academy does are all straight from the dungeon. Candelabras and dramatic bouquets of lilies are the de facto stage set; students are referred to as "mistresses" and in workshops sometimes dress in corsets and bondage gear; while teaching, Urbaniak wields a riding crop.

"You!" blurted out one young woman excitedly when Kasia asks why she's here. There is a definite cult of personality thing going on between Urbaniak and many of her students, which is part of the appeal of the Academy. But her personal charisma (and the S&M vibe) serves as a gateway, not a crutch.


Listen to Eric's first interview with Kasia here. You can read the New York Times interview here. We congratulate Kasia on her success.
Scopes
Monthly Horoscopes and Publishing Schedule Notes

We’ve published your extended monthly horoscopes for February below in this issue. Your extended monthly horoscopes for January were published on Thursday, Dec. 21. Please note: we normally publish the extended monthly horoscope on the first Friday after the Sun has entered a new sign.
Planet Waves Monthly Horoscope for February 2018, #1186 | By Eric Francis
Aries
Aries (March 20-April 19) -- You're working yourself to the edge of your comfort zone, which is exactly the place you will benefit from being. While you're there, you can question a whole diversity of social expectations, starting with jealousy and competition in relationships, especially friendships. Navigating the social aspects of life is directly connected to your work-related aspirations, though it's worth understanding that there are two different spheres of influence with two sets of rules. Those of the social world are usually informal and not structured on an organizational chart. Influence is gained though affinity and charm. In the professional sphere, influence is (in theory, anyway) structured and orderly. However, in our current time, this is reversed: formal structures are crumbling and losing their effectiveness, while informal influence, tribal organization and affinity are gaining momentum (part of a very long trend). If you remember the properties of both spheres, you'll be able to work deftly within them -- just know where you are and what rules you're playing under at all times. Remember that custom usually trumps law, and the informal social guidelines typically win out over formal power structure. Among your friends, you can take the risk of opening communication; especially if you want to make a change. You have the gift of being an initiator, and you're persuasive enough to make a difference. For your Eric Francis horoscope this week, please see this link.
Eric is working busily on the 2018 Planet Waves annual edition, The Art of Becoming, which we expect to publish within the next two weeks. Don't forget to watch his introductory video. You may pre-order all 12 signs here (recommended) or choose your individual signs here.
Taurus
Taurus (April 19-May 20) -- Suddenly it may seem that everyone is figuring out what you already know. Get over any disappointment that it took them so long, and step into your leadership role, the same one you've been cultivating for a while. As part of this process, you've got some unlearning to do, which mostly involves unraveling thought patterns and seeing beyond the rules of society that people take for granted. Cultivate a keen sense of what works and what does not; of who works for what purpose, and who works well together with specific other people toward a concrete goal. You may be getting the message that the more flexible your thought patterns, the easier all this is. Relax your social expectations of what is proper and what is not, and give people space to experiment with their ideas. See if you can notice the feelings that exist underneath them, and address the feelings first. Then gently apply reason and logic, first to your own thought process as a kind of demonstration. Another dimension of leadership involves the back-room deal. This is not as sinister as it may seem, at least in your situation. It's about a small group of committed people deciding that something is necessary, and taking the steps to make it happen; then consulting others and building support. Revise your plans where necessary. For your Eric Francis horoscope this week, please see this link.
Eric is working busily on the 2018 Planet Waves annual edition, The Art of Becoming, which we expect to publish within the next two weeks. Don't forget to watch his introductory video. You may pre-order all 12 signs here (recommended) or choose your individual signs here.
Gemini
Gemini (May 20-June 21) --It's time to ease yourself out of survival mode. This can seem like a far-fetched notion when so many people are feeling so pushed to the edge. You can take not just solace but encouragement from the degree to which you've managed to get by (or do pretty well for yourself) all this time. While we hear reports of the glowing, growing economy and the stock market that knows no limits, fear, despair and a sense of injustice are soaked into nearly everything. To relax, you'll be going against the prevailing feeling of our society, which calls for strength and faith. Your solar chart describes this as faith in humanity, though that can inform your greater trust in something more transcendent. You can tune into the "greater purpose" of all that you see going on, which will help you see beyond the struggle. Survival mode is a state of mind. It's time to up your game. You need a definition of what it means to thrive. You don't face the same kinds of threats or hardships that you adapted to when you were younger. It's challenging, for whatever reason, to look at yourself and the world around you and to see both as they are today. Notice your friends. Notice your resources. Notice all the important work that needs to be done. For your Eric Francis horoscope this week, please see this link.
Eric is working busily on the 2018 Planet Waves annual edition, The Art of Becoming, which we expect to publish within the next two weeks. Don't forget to watch his introductory video. You may pre-order all 12 signs here (recommended) or choose your individual signs here.
Cancer
Cancer (June 21-July 22) -- At the moment, many factors are working collaboratively to shift your orientation on relationships. Certain influences are of the slow-but-steady variety; others are going increase the speed and reactivity of your environment. Certain things that took a long time in the past might happen quickly now. Other factors that previously moved fast will cool off and slow down. Two items are involved. One is the recent arrival of Saturn in your opposite sign, which describes a quest for stability. Don't be content with the near miss or the close encounter. You want contact. This is not usually possible to create at will, though you can create conditions that will predispose it to happen. Work with structures, such as your time, your physical space, and where you choose to commit yourself. Saturn will help you thoughtfully make changes, and help you clear old baggage and inappropriate situations out of the way. The other factor is Pholus, a small, meaningful (and relatively new) discovery, from 1992, which is an accelerant. Under the influence of Pholus, seemingly small elements can have unusually potent effects. You can use this as a tool, and you must also guard against it. Be careful not to dismiss anyone or anything as meaningless. Take a moment and size that up consciously. Subtle factors can be profound. Watch and listen carefully. For your Eric Francis horoscope this week, please see this link.
Eric is working busily on the 2018 Planet Waves annual edition, The Art of Becoming, which we expect to publish within the next two weeks. Don't forget to watch his introductory video. You may pre-order all 12 signs here (recommended) or choose your individual signs here.
Leo
Leo (July 22-Aug. 23) -- Two eclipses are on the horizon that influence your sign, and will do so for many months. These relate back to the astrology of last summer, and all the events that it precipitated. The first is a lunar eclipse in your sign on Jan. 31. The second is a partial solar eclipse in your opposite sign Aquarius on Feb. 15. Combined, these two events are a balancing process that will help you reorient your existence after an unusually eventful, even tumultuous six months since midsummer. You will probably experience another rapid series of events, after which you'll get a chance to settle down. The emphasis, initially, is on your relationships. You're making a transition from primarily one-on-one encounters to circumstances where the group or family is the more significant level of reality. This is especially true where both work- and health-related matters are concerned. You'll be happier and healthier if you organize support around you, and accept that support without making much of a fuss. For the foreseeable future, the theme of your chart is taking better care of yourself. You are a taskmaster; and, in that, efficiency and collaboration are now essential. The other prevailing message from your chart is food. There are things you should be eating, and other things that you should not be eating. Figure out the difference. For your Eric Francis horoscope this week, please see this link.
Eric is working busily on the 2018 Planet Waves annual edition, The Art of Becoming, which we expect to publish within the next two weeks. Don't forget to watch his introductory video. You may pre-order all 12 signs here (recommended) or choose your individual signs here.
Virgo
Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22) -- Expressing your need for emotional independence could get some unexpected results. Don't let that stop you from taking the space you need, whether in your household, from your family or in an intimate relationship. The only way to understand or even document the existence of restrictions, boundaries and unspoken agreements is to test them, and to push their limits. Part of this experiment will involve understanding people's motives and agendas, which you can try to suss out. Yet you'll only be able to judge from assessing their words, their actions, and the emotional impact they have on you and others around you. Someone intimate with you may have a problem they are reluctant to discuss, which could include experiencing the effects of a situation in the distant past. This must be handled consciously, if the effects are going to be mitigated and the problem resolved. Left untended, it will get worse; if addressed in an alert and responsive way, the problem will become a gift and an important life lesson. One way to understand the situation is to consider everyone's definition of commitment. What assumptions are being made? Who has what expectations, and what are they grounded in? The overriding lesson of this situation is that all agreements must be conscious and out in the open if they are to be valid and meaningful. For your Eric Francis horoscope this week, please see this link.
Eric is working busily on the 2018 Planet Waves annual edition, The Art of Becoming, which we expect to publish within the next two weeks. Don't forget to watch his introductory video. You may pre-order all 12 signs here (recommended) or choose your individual signs here.
Libra
Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23) -- Something related to your personal healing process has reached the point where you must address it, and you'll be happy you did. Once you get into the issues, you'll discover that they're more tangible than you thought they were. The structure of the issue is "how one thing has led to another." Events developed in a circular pattern, and one thing to be aware of is where you were at the point of origin. You may think you did something to someone, when it's more likely someone did something to you. You'll need to be gentle with that, and orient yourself on accounting for ascribing responsibility rather than placing blame. The difference may seem subtle at first, though it's nothing of the kind. The emotion driving blame bears no resemblance to what is behind that of understanding responsibility. The first foggy gray area to penetrate is about whether everyone involved acted voluntarily. That may boil down to who knew what, and when. Then, figure out who had a plan, and who did not. Let's call that the "agenda issue." What were the different goals involved? If any question this month relates to a health matter, the emotional connection is essential to understand. One remedy here is for you to learn how to say, "This is how I feel," and state the facts calmly. For your Eric Francis horoscope this week, please see this link.
Eric is working busily on the 2018 Planet Waves annual edition, The Art of Becoming, which we expect to publish within the next two weeks. Don't forget to watch his introductory video. You may pre-order all 12 signs here (recommended) or choose your individual signs here.
Scorpio
Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22) -- When art and sexuality go deeper than typical everyday consciousness, one of the first things encountered is the ambiguous, shadowy aspect of existence. If you find yourself curious about what's lurking in the reeds and coves by the remote shores of your mind, you can explore those places. You may also discover that a partner is ready to go to a new depth; and, if so, you must be gentle about this. It's essential to proceed with caution where feelings, desires and ideas exist in low-contrast rather than in bold and vivid colors. Move ahead with the idea that it's not only OK but helpful to advance with curiosity and pleasure where taboo experiences are involved. Engaging with emotional contradictions consciously will take away the power they seem to hold over you, and will reveal the pleasure aspects and release the spiritual gifts they contain. This is territory you're usually well suited for, though you'll have to make a conscious choice to hold space for anyone you're intimate with. You don't need to go all the way into anyone's emotional body. Being present for whatever someone else is feeling would make an excellent start, and will remind them that there's a stable and safe place to have their experience. Think of yourself as a kind of "trip guide," and remember that you're looking into a mirror. For your Eric Francis horoscope this week, please see this link.
Eric is working busily on the 2018 Planet Waves annual edition, The Art of Becoming, which we expect to publish within the next two weeks. Don't forget to watch his introductory video. You may pre-order all 12 signs here (recommended) or choose your individual signs here.
Sagittarius
Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22) -- Your relationships may follow some unusual patterns this month. If you're wondering about what is happening and why, ask yourself what you want. That's the driving force behind everything you experience, and everyone's response to you. The challenge you face is being emotionally honest with yourself. One way to do that is to notice where you actually devote your time and energy. You will reveal your commitment by what you do, rather than what you think you want. That said, this is an excellent time to throw yourself into the work that you want and need to do. This may seem to distract you from your intimate relationships, though in reality you will do exactly what you want to do; and the chances are, what you do is what you wanted. Make sure you spend enough time with close partners to have real conversations. That will take less time than you think. Show up and participate, mainly by listening. In particular, tune in and see if you can get a sense of their idea of commitment. Then, consider the extent to which it matches your own. There's a way to cross any distance between the two viewpoints, and events will proceed at their own pace. You don't need to push anything or anyone. There's plenty of momentum that will carry you along. For your Eric Francis horoscope this week, please see this link.
Eric is working busily on the 2018 Planet Waves annual edition, The Art of Becoming, which we expect to publish within the next two weeks. Don't forget to watch his introductory video. You may pre-order all 12 signs here (recommended) or choose your individual signs here.
Capricorn
Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20) -- As the old saying goes, your chart is all new players in a whole new ballgame. Yet so many factors describing your family constellation are active in your chart, you may not notice the difference. It will be excellent if you do. One way to verify things is to push sexual boundaries. You'll notice by how people respond whether they're part of "the family in your head," or if you've expanded into new territory. Where your full-spectrum sexuality is not welcome, you probably don't want to hang out. I don't mean to suggest that you should show up to your job on the stock exchange in drag. I mean more in intimate, household and family environments. Everyone who is in some way queer understands the process of coming out as a means of claiming your identity. However, this applies to those whose sexuality is also on the straight side of the spectrum. You may be aware how much energy goes into cloaking your reality, once you discover you're doing it. If you're worried that you're going to make others insecure, drop that load. Their alleged security is not your responsibility. You are, however, responsible for being true to your own values; and you're not really the social conservative you sometimes portray yourself as being. Deep down, you're rather saucy, and take some thrill in being inappropriate. For your Eric Francis horoscope this week, please see this link.
Eric is working busily on the 2018 Planet Waves annual edition, The Art of Becoming, which we expect to publish within the next two weeks. Don't forget to watch his introductory video. You may pre-order all 12 signs here (recommended) or choose your individual signs here.

Planet Waves

Aquarius Birthdays 2018:
Pointing Yourself in the Right Direction
"Thank you. I've been a fan for a few years and always feel nourished by every reading -- my own and others. This particular reading hit home and felt like a swoop of fresh air pointing me home. Thank you again."
-- Elaine Sonne
Dear Aquarius Sun or Aquarius Rising Reader:

Some of the most noteworthy astrological events of this year relate directly to your sign. Whether this is exciting to you or slightly intimidating, you can consider yourself fortunate: Eric will be covering the unique opportunities and challenges these events may bring you in his usual grounded, reassuring, inspiring and perspective-shifting way in your 2018 Aquarius Birthday Reading.

Planet Waves
Eric Francis.
Among the events influencing your year are both of your ruling planets in new signs: Saturn entered Capricorn -- the 'hidden area' of your chart -- in December; and Uranus moves into fellow fixed sign Taurus in May.

As your inner landscape and outer environment take on a new flavor, Eric will be guiding through it all. Also of particular note: in just less than a week we get the first of two eclipses involving your sign.

The Jan. 31 Leo Full Moon will oppose the Aquarius Sun for a lunar eclipse; then on Feb. 15, the Aquarius New Moon will also be a partial solar eclipse. Translation: your solar year is getting off to a potentially potent start, the effects of which will ripple out for months to come. Using his signature blend of astrological experience, therapy training, life coaching, and motivational speaking, Eric will cover these major changes to the sky (along with subtler points) in your upcoming reading.

When you pre-order your 2018 Aquarius Birthday Reading, you'll lock in the lowest price we offer on two segments of astrology (each at least 30 minutes long) plus a tarot reading for 2018. You can listen to this reading as many times as you like throughout the year -- to check your progress, or to receive a little extra encouragement, insight and empowerment to tackle whatever's come your way.
"I am listening to it again now, and there are so many more gems coming to me. Profound, deep and so thought provoking...inspired!"
-- Rhonda Benson
Please note that the price increases as Eric nears publication, and then increases again.

Yours & truly,

Amanda Painter

P.S. The 2018 Aquarius Birthday Reading is distinctly different from the Aquarius written reading available in the upcoming Art of Becoming annual project. It covers your key astrology in a different format and emphasis, capitalizing on Eric's more intuitive, improvisational skills. The Birthday Reading also makes a fantastic gift for a loved one!



Aquarius
Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) -- You don't need a conspiracy theory to understand your life. It's a fact that the elements of your existence have come together by design, most of which was based on your own intentions, choices and actions. All you need to do is understand that plan, and if you want a different kind of life, you need to make a different plan, followed by different choices. With eclipses now happening along your axis of the zodiac (lunar eclipse in Leo on Jan. 31, solar eclipse in Aquarius on Feb. 15), you have opportunities to make a number of significant changes. First, review what you've been saying you want to do for a long time. What have you resolved to begin, accomplish or change at least five times? That's probably an inventory of two or three goals, which are the ones to prioritize. You may have been involved in a similar process six months ago -- check back to this past August for additional details, and remember what you were striving to do. Notice how much progress you've made (probably more than you think). Spot a few things you no longer want to do, and consciously take those off your agenda, to save energy. One especially bold factor in your astrology is spending more time with other people, in person. That will make you happy. For your Eric Francis horoscope this week, please see this link.
Eric is working busily on the 2018 Planet Waves annual edition, The Art of Becoming, which we expect to publish within the next two weeks. Don't forget to watch his introductory video. You may pre-order all 12 signs here (recommended) or choose your individual signs here.
Pisces
Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) -- You are made up of all of who you are. To be yourself, you must be completely you, and draw on all of your experiences and all of your feelings, and count every need and desire as valid. Be aware of when you try to cast away or disown certain elements of your being. What you may really need to do is integrate those feelings and impulses rather than rid yourself of them. You might think of this as communicating with yourself rather than excommunicating yourself. This extends to the world around you: community is now more important than ever, both for you personally and for the world you inhabit. You can take a strong role in helping create this. What you're likely to discover along the way is that your sincerity and willingness to be vulnerable will work in your favor. This applies to business and social scenarios, which for the foreseeable future are intimately linked. Do what you can to bring warmth and understanding to your place of work, and use community events and gatherings as opportunities to engage your dharma. We are living through a time in history where life must be lived with purpose. You will know you're doing that when you connect with an underlying principle that starts to get results. This includes saying and doing things that people relate to. For your Eric Francis horoscope this week, please see this link.
Eric is working busily on the 2018 Planet Waves annual edition, The Art of Becoming, which we expect to publish within the next two weeks. Don't forget to watch his introductory video. You may pre-order all 12 signs here (recommended) or choose your individual signs here.
Planet Waves
Don't forget to take advantage of this special gift: Eric's Daily Horoscope can arrive in your mailbox by 7 am ET, containing great astrological guidance for all 12 signs. You can sign up with our compliments, though we welcome donations.

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