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The Chart that Sold the World

Dear Friend and Reader:

I AM ONE of those people who wonders what else is going on in the news when one story dominates everything. With the ongoing economic volatility and the presidential election coming to a crest, we're missing plenty. For example, a federal judge in Lincoln, Nebraska has thrown out the lawsuit against God. Brought last year by State Sen. Ernie Chambers, the U.S. district court dismissed the case because the senator could not prove that he had served God with legal papers.

Planet Waves
A federal lawsuit against the Almighty was dropped after the court found that the defendant could not be served with legal papers. Image courtesy of the Lord's Publicist.
I wonder who you would get to be the process server, to do it right. Archangel Gabriel?

In his lawsuit, Chambers said that God had caused "widespread death, destruction and terrorization of millions upon millions of the Earth's inhabitants." I guess these would be the "acts of God" that everyone talks about, and which are included in the fine print of insurance contracts.

"The court itself acknowledges the existence of God," Chambers said Wednesday, after reading the decision. "A consequence of that acknowledgment is a recognition of God's omniscience." Therefore, logically, "Since God knows everything, God has notice of this lawsuit." Chambers has 30 days to appeal the judge's decision.

Not that banking news hasn't been interesting. Since we last met one week ago, the Bush administration (in its latest Mercury retrograde effort) shifted its strategy from purchasing the worthless assets of banks (all those bad mortgages) to buying stock in the banks themselves. Also, The New York Times reported Wednesday that the cost of the $700 billion bailout would really be more like $2.25 trillion.

The banks got some of that money this week, about a quarter of a trillion dollars. In theory, they're supposed to lend us back that money which we gave to them (funded through increasing the national debt, which we and our grandchildren will have to pay off with our taxes). Does everyone follow this Mercury retrograde shell game?

The federal government incurs debt against the public, on which we will have to pay the interest and the principal; it then injects the money into banks so that they have something to lend us and charge us interest on, after they lost the money we deposited the first time. I guess we are rendering unto Caesar that which is Caesar's.

Is it any secret that Henry Paulson, a "former" investment banker; now Secretary of the Treasury, helped out his cronies under the guise of bailing out the American economy?

Planet Waves
President Bush addresses the nation, calling for widespread panic. Details in The Onion.
I have always thought of these guys as the men who sold the world; now they are allegedly saving it. Every time I see Dick Cheney's face I hear the opening notes of that old David Bowie song. Here is the Nirvana version (the volume is a little low, so crank it up if you can: I do love this one the best; and don't miss Krist Novoselic handling that big acoustic bass guitar like a young wizard).

I just want to make sure we've all tuned into the underlying reality of what people like Bush are saying when they glibly inform us that "this sucker could go down," meaning the economy. Which he actually said a couple of weeks ago, in a cabinet meeting. He means you may not be able to buy groceries or pay rent despite working 40 or 60 or however many hours a week.

Here is what he didn't say but clearly meant, as quoted in The Onion's recent article, Bush Calls for Panic: "My fellow Americans, the time for running aimlessly through the streets while shrieking and waving our arms above our heads is now. I understand that many of you are worried about your economic future and our situation overseas, and you have every right to be. Yet there is only one thing we as a nation can do in times like these: give up all hope and devolve into a lawless, post-apocalyptic, every-man-for-himself society."

I recognize that for most people, the notion of the economy itself tanking is beyond belief; it's too outrageous to even consider. Other people have been planning for it since the 1980s or 1990s, doing things like hoarding silver quarters and gold and even paper cash, just in case the banks freeze up, like they did in Iceland (despite climate change). Those with less access to resources just plan by being paranoid and stocking up on canned tuna fish. But this is precisely what we have been threatened with: specifically, the possibility of your WaMu check card not working at Starbucks.

Planet Waves
Johnny Asia.
Is there a therapist in the house? This situation calls for psychoanalysis: the darkest vision of our collective cultural subconscious rising up to meet us on the pages of The New York Times.

This topic would fall into the category of death anxiety; that impending sense of "game over." It's been nice; I hope you enjoyed your climate controlled SUV, eating dinner so many times and all that soap and hot water. Our fabulous economy is now going to leave you on the rocks. You will be a refugee despite your MBA.

Then on the other hand, this is true: I have just been joined at my table at Dominick's Café by the one Johnny Asia, the guitar avatar and Pope About Town of the First Church of Common Sense. He has declared himself write-in candidate for Messiah on Judgment Day. "This is the best thing that could happen, if everything comes crashing down. I was made for the Apocalypse," Johnny said.

"This whole thing is unsustainable," he added. "We can no longer afford to step on the gas on the way to Disney World." Plenty of people agree. It's just that the kids want to go to Disney World.

And as for that chart...the USA chart

WE ARE IN a national crisis and it seemed like a logical time to check the national horoscope. I am sure our many readers outside the United States are curious as well. What got me there was wanting to know about the 8th house of that chart. I knew something had to be cooking. There are two well-accepted national horoscopes for the United States, and the one used by most astrologers is called the Sibley Chart, for July 4, 1776. I won't get into it here, but I used to be a skeptic of this chart and now I trust it. (The other one is called Scorpionic America, and it's the chart for the Articles of Confederation.)

In England a few years ago, while in Covent Garden, London after visiting The Astrology Shop to be exact, I was having lunch with a client who offered me her theory about where all the sex has gone. Though it's not making news, there does appear to be a sex shortage that sets in shortly after people graduate from high school.

She believed that people are weighted down with debt, which is in effect clogging up the 8th house and straining our ability to have a sexual exchange. Being a devoted student of the 8th house (my Aquarius Moon is located there, along with Vesta), I thought this was a really interesting theory.

Planet Waves
Melissa at Pere Lachaise in Paris. Photo by Eric Francis.
The 8th is the very strange house that includes sex, death and the use of other people's money: hence, debt. In other words, it's about exchange or the lack thereof; transition or lack thereof. It's the house that covers death because to those who survive, death usually involves a financial transition (an inheritance or legacy).

There are psychic connections between sex and death as well: surrender, transformation and the frequent presence of death as a third party in sexual relationships. Sex and death are also directly related in the genetic code, since mortal beings such as humans use sexual reproduction as a result of the death of individual members of the species, and vice versa; this is programmed into our DNA. In other words, in the genetic sense, sex is the privilege of death. [This point is covered in detail in the series It's Not About Sex, It's About Self.]

So, I cast the Sibley Chart today and learned a few things. I will give you the highlights of the natal and transits in a moment (particularly those involving the 8th house, which as you might expect is loaded), but I would like to start with the progressed horoscope; that is, the current progressions of the Sibley Chart.

A progressed chart moves the natal chart forward one day per year of real time. It is a scale model of time, reduced to one day per year. Transits are moving planets making aspects to the natal chart. Progressions are the natal planets themselves gradually moving forward. In progressed time, 2008 aligns with Feb. 22, 1777.

This was a fine winter's day 231 days after the Declaration of Independence was ratified; it is currently 231 years after the Declaration was ratified; this is how progressions work: holographically. [Note, correcting an error in an earlier edition, it was not signed July 4, 1776, but rather voted on that day.]

What we find is is something special: there is a Full Moon about to happen in the progressed Sibley Chart. This happens every 29 or so years. As we have seen recently, the Full Moon brings a wave of energy, a breakthrough, a breakdown or something else that precipitates from the starry firmament of the night.

Does anyone remember when I mentioned that there is a huge planetary alignment on Dec. 27, 2008 -- involving the Aries Point, the Capricorn New Moon, Mars conjunct Pluto in Capricorn and a lot of other stuff? Well wouldn't you know it, but this progressed Full Moon of the Sibley Chart is exact on Dec. 24, 2008. Progressions have a wide window of action -- one to three years. So to align these two events within three days is, well, it is ridiculous. The Full Moon occurs in the 8th house of this chart (note to astrologers, I use Q2 progressions because they correspond to sidereal time and you get accurate houses).

Progressed Sun and Moon are square progressed Uranus. The Sibley Chart is, shall we say, well sprung at the moment, just in time for some enormous shift in the story of our country. And notably it is well sprung going into a critical election. We had another interesting development in the progressed Sibley Chart on Election Day last time, in 2004: after 30 years in Aquarius, the Sun entered Pisces precisely the day that Bush was re-selected to be president. Remember that we are corresponding current realtime with dates back in 1777 to get these results -- and I agree, it is weird, unless you get the joke that the universe is holographic.

Sibley Natal and Transits: the 8th House

THE SIBLEY CHART (July 4, 1776, 5:10 pm, Philadelphia) has Sagittarius rising, a Cancer Sun and Aquarius Moon. The United States would seem like a nice enough fellow, philosophical and spiritually invested and a bit worldly (Sagg rising) with a social vision and a rational mind (Aquarius Moon conjunct Pallas Athene, the goddess of politics and wisdom) and a Cancer Sun flanked by a lot of other planets in that sign (Venus, Jupiter, Mercury).

The Sun is closely conjunct Psyche in Cancer (about a degree off). When I saw that, I thought: this explains everything. I had that moment of understanding our, well, our national psyche. We are, as a country, a little touched in the head -- in that special, distinctly American, emotionally messed-up way. It is in the 8th house.

This speaks to our twisted relationship to sex, death and nourishment. We are perverted Puritans who would rather have our children watch someone get machine gunned than sexed. If we explain about the birds and the bees to our kids, we risk being accused of child abuse. The important distinction between sex education and sexual abuse has nearly been erased by 27 years of abstinence only sex indoctrination.

Its root seems to be primarily an emotional trauma involving father, who is either dead, missing, mentally ill or whom nobody understands. His relationship to the feminine is pretty severely compromised. He lacks flexibility (Sun/Psyche square Saturn; he is a square). He has a lot of secrets; you could say a lot of karma. Most of all, that Sun, Psyche, Cancer, 8th combination talks about maleness in transition, addressing some form of affliction to its feminine nature (indicated by the sign Cancer, which appears to be mommy coddling the injured male psyche until it is a permanent child). The impact of the 8th house is a kind of emotional grounding crisis that never seems to resolve itself. It is a picture of our national insecurity -- of both men and women.

When the natal 8th house is loaded, it usually attracts things and events: money, inheritances, sexual advances and other opportunities. If you see a client with a lot of planets in the 8th house, it's safe to ask if she experienced men following her home from school, driving as she walked, offering her a ride; that, or perverts in the park.

This setup, regardless of what planets or what sign is involved, can turn someone into a magnet for forces they don't quite understand. They can be ancestral forces (the affairs of the dead usually come through the 8th and the 12th). The United States of America has killed a stunning number of people in propagation and defense of its ideology: from the Native Americans and the slaves onward. We did so in the name of claiming our Manifest Destiny: though this is the history of nearly all empires, we need to acknowledge that it's also the story of our own.

Planet Waves
Back in the day when the national debt was a paltry six trillion dollars, the national debt ticker informs us that each family's share is $70,000. The debt has since doubled. Photographer unknown.
And a packed 8th can also attract debt. Having Venus and Jupiter there suggests profound resources were and perhaps are still available; we've always known this about the United States, and now we know we're something like $12 trillion in the red (just the government!).

We have squandered our natural wealth like the 10 feet of heartland topsoil we started with. It would be fair, in this case, to call the 8th the house of selling out.

Let's come back to this house in a little while, when I cover Pluto in Capricorn, which is about to transit all those Notably, Capricorn on the 2nd house can give a stingy sense of self-esteem; penny-pinching Capricorn can withhold selflove if it's involved with the 2nd house. Eris, the dwarf planet, is placed in this house, at 8+ Capricorn, opposing all those Cancer planets. We are not just self-withholders; we are in a kind of moral chaos over self-worth.

One of the most impressive things about this chart is the ruler of that Cancer 8th house -- the late Aquarius Moon conjunct Pallas Athene. The Moon is the delegate of the 8th house, because Cancer (which the Moon rules) is on the cusp of that house. The Moon is conjunct an asteroid, which serve as modifiers, as elements that help clarify the theme. This combination of factors: Aquarius, Pallas, Moon and 3rd house, together say "head trip" and the whole head trip about sex and death from the 8th carries into the 3rd.

We have a lot of ideas about who we are, we think we need to have them (the Moon is about needs), and we think they protect us (Pallas Athene). We think our hang-ups protect us. It is true that Aquarius can have a magnanimous and egalitarian quality, but it can also be dangerously doctrinal and even tyrannical. The 3rd is the house of the mind, and Pallas has a distinctly mental, strategic quality.

What we see here is a sharp mental/emotional division, connected by a little thread (the Moon vibrates with all those Cancer planets). There is a stunning cognitive dissonance that can have us acting as murderers on the one hand and thinking of ourselves as ones who nourish at the same time.

Any time you put the Moon or Cancer into the picture, you get something cyclical working, and a measure of instability. But that instability can be entirely unconscious. We can tout ourselves as a free country and so much of what we do is strive to deny ourselves freedom. The idea of who we are (3rd house Aquarius) seems to not be aware of the emotional pain and hang-ups of who we are (8th house Cancer). I am noticing as I write that it's painful to try to hold those two vibrations at the same time.

Transits from Chiron, Neptune and Pluto

WHEN WE GET transits from Chiron, Neptune and Pluto simultaneously, we can be sure the universe means business. As it turns out, both the Cancer group and the Aquarius group are about to take significant transits from outer planets.

Planet Waves
It is a control drama. Advertisement from a Nebraska state anti-sex campaign.
Let's start with the planets in Cancer. Two of them are relatively early in that sign -- Venus and Jupiter, at 3+ and 5+ respectively. When Pluto reaches Capricorn to stay in late November, it will go out to 3+ degrees and station retrograde (in April). When Pluto stations, it stays in one degree for a long time.

This is the first direct contact between Pluto and a natal planet [traditional planet]. Transiting Pluto will oppose the natal USA Venus exact to one degree for March, April and most of May. Venus is about our national destiny and our national service: it's about what we're supposed to do as a nation. We are supposed to strive for balance, beauty and the creation of value.

We have strayed a long way from that, turning ourselves into a vast coast-to-coast shopping mall and acting out our emotional drama on the world while at the same time keeping a fixed concept of who we are.

That fixed concept, contained in the Aquarius Moon, is what changes next. It changes because the Moon/Pallas conjunction takes not two but three transits at once next spring, setting off a kind of social upheaval. Neptune finally arrives on that Moon, after a decade in Aquarius; then Chiron arrives, after four years in Aquarius; and Jupiter (which spends just a year in each sign) will come in and magnify whatever story is revealed by the two slow-movers (Neptune and Chiron).

Chiron and Neptune work in entirely different ways. Chiron tends to focus. Neptune tends to dissolve. Chiron tends to focus Neptune energy, gathering it into a laser. Because that Moon is conjunct Pallas Athene, it is deeply intertwined with our popular political concepts -- and you can be sure that we are heading for a massive political sea change. I don't see this so much as the pendulum swinging back as I see it as a radical awakening and a change of ideology.

I think it comes with the awareness that the ideology that has led us this far has failed. Let's own up to that right now. Our supposed conservatism has not conserved anything. If we don't think we're witnessing the failure of capitalism, we are lying to ourselves, which is easy enough to do with Neptune in the picture. It's not so easy to do with Chiron there. In fact, though I use the word guardedly, I would say it's impossible.

Yours & truly,
Eric Francis

Coming to a Boil
By Judith Gayle | Political Waves

MOST OF US have heard the tale of the frog swimming in the pot -- as the water ever so slowly comes to a boil, the unaware frog adjusts to the rising temperature rather than jump out, ensuring its ultimate demise. That's an excellent analogy to how we got in this financial, as well as political, position today. It should be noted that many alternative voices, including Planet Waves, have been warning about the water beginning to bubble for years.

Finance isn't my forté, so I won't attempt to dissect our current struggles with a green visor on and a single light bulb dangling over my head. I don't crunch numbers, I weave words. I think the larger picture of how we got here will suffice to show how the hand that began to turn up the heat, back in the Reagan years, knew exactly what it was doing.

When Richard Nixon decided that health care needed to be put on the for-profit track, he enthusiastically backed the newly emerged Kaiser Permanente model as an early HMO prototype and the wave of the future.

When Ronald Reagan put on his "Sunny Jim" persona and told us that regulation of business and services was holding us back from achieving a new iteration of the "shining city on a hill," we took his word for it. When George Bush first propped his cowboy boots on the desk in the Oval Office, one of his first visitors was Kenny Lay, his Enron buddy who perpetrated fraud in deregulated energy trading. Shortly after, Dick Cheney had the Big Oil boys over for a private, and still secret, chat.

Trust me, said Dick Nixon. Trust me, said Ronald Reagan. Trust me, said George Bush. Each time the conservatives asked us to trust them we did: even as their corporate agenda became clearer and more obvious. What was stealth in the 70s, a PR pitch in the 80s and picked up steam under Bill Clinton became a clear and present danger in the Bush regime.

Planet Waves
Weekly Horoscope for Friday, October 17, 2008, #736 - By ERIC FRANCIS

Aries (March 20-April 19)
Try as we may to influence them, relationships run their own course. People make progress when they are ready, they take initiative when their insecurity goes on vacation, and generally they speak when they feel they have no other choice. Someone close to you may be dangling in the balance between feeling like a lover and a sibling. You may be uncertain what to do about this. Someone else is on the radar, with whom the energy is distinctly hotter, more boldly erotic and provoking a depth of transformation that might be making you nervous. Do you go for the familiar or the daring? You've recently discovered something important about what you want from your life. This is information you can use if you want. And it applies to a lot more than this situation.

Taurus (April 19-May 20)
You prefer to take an idealistic view of life, but lately that's been difficult. You seem bogged in so many concerns, and invested in involvements with others that are not necessarily providing you the rewards that would at least make them seem worth bothering with. I share your disdain for false optimism, in the form of the lies that we tell ourselves about how things are going to get better without necessarily having to work for the gains. That being said, in order to keep a positive frame of mind, you need to decide where you're going to invest your faith. For too long you've placed it in forces that seemed more powerful than yourself. Even if they had power over you, you could at least borrow a little. This is what needs to change.

Gemini (May 20-June 21)
Now that you've made a vital connection or secured an agreement with a key individual, you are free to move forward with your plans. The missing element was a human element, but oddly enough this person was right there all along. Why didn't you notice? You may have felt like you would be playing in the wrong league. Meanwhile, you may be feeling a strong amorous or erotic pull to whoever it is; that's natural enough, since his or her actual effect is to fire up your faith in yourself and your talents. You may want to explore the relationship for a while before you dive into that particular pool. You have a lot of ideas percolating in that mind of yours, and you have many more contacts that you're about to make the next few weeks; and all of them have this same feeling of the person having been there all along.

Cancer (June 21-July 22)
Psychological hang-ups have a way of slowing down every aspect of life, of thought and of emotional progress. They eat energy and they cause us to focus our awareness in a way that denies many other (much better) possibilities. You've discovered this because you let go of one particular emotional struggle, and as a result many things shifted; they've begun moving forward. Have you connected cause and effect? It seems about time that you do. Whatever you were struggling with had several properties. One was that it had its origins in the distant past. Another is that it probably involved one of your parents. Last is you experienced it as so large in scale that it may have been invisible and seemed to occupy your entire home.

Leo (July 22-Aug. 23)
When facts emerge from behind whatever veil was hiding them, it's natural enough to wonder why you didn't notice or how you could have missed something so basic. You are poised to make a series of additional discoveries in the coming week or two that fit this same basic description, though all relate to one particular revelation you had a few weeks ago. Each of them will have turned out to be in some way familiar; you knew but you weren't aware that you knew. And the catalyst or subtle driving force guiding the discoveries will turn out to be curiosity. I think that if you take one lesson away from this recent spell of Mercury retrograde, it's that you can trust your curiosity. When it's on, you learn, and when it's off, you miss the obvious.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22)
Set yourself free one idea at a time. That is the actual method of being free; and with each idea, allow yourself to move in a way that you would not have moved before. What is critical is that you connect letting go of a snag with a corresponding action. This will provide a sense of progress, reward and help you build momentum. Remember the formula: notice a mental snag; resolve it with an idea; use the idea as a kind of license to take action; make the connection between what you think in your mind and what you do in your life. Most of the problem this world suffers from, at least here in the currently still wealthy Western world, is that we get stuck in our heads; not occasionally, not most of the time, but nearly all of the time. The moment of liberation has arrived.

Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23)
Whatever you learned over the past few days, I am sure you agree that it was not only useful but indispensable. It relates in some way to breaking up a family pattern in relationships, perhaps one that goes back more generations than you know the names of your ancestors. The sad truth of our society is that we have no sense of our own past. We think five years ago was a long time ago, and 50 years ago is unconscionably remote. What you've been working through seems to date back a lot further than that. One reason we don't look back is simply because so often, the past is so darned ugly. We don't want to be reminded of the struggles and the pain that those people endured. But it is true: until we recognize what they endured, we will have no respect for what we must endure. In truth it's not that much easier.

(Oct. 23-Nov. 22)
The deepest revelations we have about ourselves have two main purposes: one is to help us heal the deep sense of pain and longing we have felt growing up in a society that denies all of who we are. The second role is to make sure that when we express ourselves to others, we extend what we have learned in the form of not only compassion but also the recognition that people are independent of you. You have your feelings; they have their feelings. This revelation is terrifying for most, but I trust that you are discovering an authentic sense of liberation in the experience. You are, basically, freeing yourself from the inner darkness and ignorance that has made it so difficult for you to relate to others honestly and in a satisfying way. Not a day too late, but not a day too soon.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22)
You are someone who is surely known to the world as a bold explorer, one who is far less concerned than others what people think about you. However, lately you've discovered the extent to which social pressures can lead you to conform, particularly when it involves receiving the approval of someone you truly want to relate to. This is a dance we all do: how we are willing to morph ourselves, and how we expect others to morph, to meet a set of expectations that (in truth) we neither created nor were aware we were inheriting. Events of the past week have no doubt informed you that it's far easier to be yourself, and far easier to expect others to be themselves, than any other way of life. Indeed, any other way of life is impossible, which is why it hurts so much, and why it's so easy to be lonely in a room full of people, or in an intimate relationship.

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20)
Life is better when work is going well. Fulfilling work does not equal a happy life, but it's a good foundation. A sequence of unforeseen events has unfolded in your professional life the past month or so, though you've learned something important about yourself in the process -- in a sense you've discovered that you are more solid in your identity than you realized, and it's this very strength that has granted you the ability to hold a steady course amidst so many zigs, zags and twists of communication. Fortunately, people know you mean what you say, though there is something that most people don't know about you: your ability to have faith in your own ability to survive on this planet means that there are few people who can actually scare you out of your center. You've solved some pretty impressive problems, and in the process found your way that much closer to your core.

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19)
You can now retrace the territory you've crossed, inner and outer, and look at the journey of the past couple of months from a new perspective. You may discover that many of your prior observations are subject to revision based on two factors. You have the words to express things that simply felt impossible to state before; and now you know when you're speaking from your own emotional center rather than from a fragmented concept of yourself that you inherited from childhood. Simone de Beauvoir made a comment about women that is really true of all people, since to a greater or lesser degree we've all become subjugated to oppressive forces as our lives have progressed. She said that people who are busy fighting themselves have neither the strength nor inclination to take on the world, and thus find their real place in it. Here is where you've made your best progress.

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20)
It's amazing that anyone trusts anyone else, and the case could be made that very few people actually do. It helps if you want to trust; it helps more if you need to be trusted, and are willing to take the chance of authenticity to help that happen. Events of recent weeks, when so much that is so strange has happened in the world, have put you in touch with your core values in an entirely new way. It's true that you've spent a little too much time asking others to be who you know they really are. Over the past few days, you've shifted the emphasis onto insisting that you bring forth the person who you know you really are. You may wonder if this is some kind of temporary state of affairs, and for sure there are people who would rather forget themselves than remember. Now you know that you have a choice.

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