Photo by Lanvi Nguyen.
As the Worm Turns
Dear Friend and Reader:
Despite this week's harrowing news about the spread of the "novel" coronavirus, and the dire projections of what is about to happen, and the stock market's nearly 30% (so far) plunge from this year’s peak, I propose that this is a good time to look at the potential benefits of the situation.
So let's just mark the moment. All it took for world financial markets to first stagnate, then crash, was a disease outbreak in China, and a few cases in the United States? It's that fragile? It's that driven by psychology, meaning fear?
This is the product of the venerated capitalist god of greed. That is impressive. We’re told that this fantastic system works the best of all. Turns out, it lacks the resiliency to handle something as basic as sick days, or taking care of the sick.
For a moment I'm going to speak mainly to Americans, who tend to have a worldview different from other Western countries. One other thought before I continue: the more we do now to avert this crisis, the less drastic the final results. There is a lot we can do, in terms of prevention, on every level. The question is, will we?
OK, now for my message to Americans.
For many, many decades, the United States has lived as if it could do no wrong, and worse, as if the wrong that it did would never have an effect. Though the "trickle down" theory of economics has proven to be a mere political talking point, the attitude of our corporate leaders has certainly trickled down to a large segment of the population -- the ones who will believe anything that makes them feel good, no matter who may get hurt.
War after war, with environmental catastrophe mounting season by season, there seems to be little will to take care of our problems. Nobody was ever elected to Congress on a platform of 'raise taxes and be responsible'. There is this little problem of wanting everything for nothing -- such as the functioning of society itself.
We do not generally view society’s role as taking care of others. Our notion of society does not involve a community ethos. It has involved a spirit of what I can only call greed and immodesty that I know is beneath the true ethics of many who aspire to it. Many who partake in so-called conservative politics are in fact caring and charitable people.
The little kid in me wonders about this, somewhat painfully: why do good people go along with such plainly evil ideas, such as denying people access to medical care? Or thinking all Mexicans are criminals? Or thinking it's OK for the president to manipulate elections and cavort with sworn enemies of our country? Why do people vote against their own interests?
What is this love affair with billionaires, while so many are homeless and hungry? What is the love affair with believing blatant lies? Lies so obvious a child could spot them?
Photo by Lanvi Nguyen.
This is an Opportunity
In the course of about one month, we have watched the world change irrevocably. Whatever that past environment was, it's over. We are now waking up to the new territory we're in, which will require the rearrangement of our way of life, our values and our choices.
Coronavirus is a before and after moment that will shape society for the rest of our lifetimes -- any society that it touches, though I think particularly the United States, as we've become a culture that is rigid and set in our ways. Now that is about to change, as every way we are set in will be shifted, a little, a lot, or entirely.
The events of one decade after the next have happened to "other people." They have been local or regional events: hurricanes, wildfires, mass shootings, earthquakes, floods, tornadoes. Each time they have happened, for most Americans, they've happened over there
. Now, coronavirus is happening right here, or somewhere close and coming closer. To put it bluntly, we all know people who will get sick, and some who will die.
That is new territory. It's territory where we're going to need to take care of ourselves and one another. It's a new zone of history where we will be forced to think about what is truly important. We will need to distinguish a want from a need from a preference from something utterly irrelevant.
We will need to learn how to cooperate, and how to organize our communities. We will need to learn how to make conscious decisions together, and stick to them: as families, as schools, as companies, as friends, as small groups of associates.
Whatever else happens, many, many people will do this -- including most of you reading, who tend to lean a little more into self-care and self-awareness than the average gremlin. To whatever degree possible, every last person must learn how to take better care of themselves -- for everyone's sake. That means staying cleaner, healthier, better fed, better hydrated. And my take is, this will be one result of what we are going through now.
This is a wakeup call. For example, what would you do if you had 30 days to live? That's the situation many people are about to face. It's a good question, too.
Photo by Lanvi Nguyen.
An In-Body Experience
Here's another way to think of it. The impact of the internet has been to drive us out of body. This started with telegraph, radio and telephone, though we're now a century and five orders of magnitude beyond that.
We are now, collectively, having an in-body experience, of dealing with an actual problem on the physical plane of reality. We are being forced to think about what we touch and the air that we breathe.
The central problem we are existing with now is how many people think that life is all a fantasy, a kind of virtual or enhanced "reality." You may not walk around thinking, "I'm not really here," but you've been carefully conditioned to not really be here.
I understand that from the standpoint of metaphysics this is "all an illusion," or "all part of the great maya." Though for that matter, not everyone who takes LSD or ayahuasca is an enlightened master.
If you read me at all, you've probably read this quote at least three times, maybe 10, by the late Eric McLuhan, son of the even later Marshall:
"The body is everywhere [everywhere you take it] assaulted by all of our new media, a state which has resulted in deep disorientation of intellect and destabilization of culture throughout the world. In the age of disembodied communication, the meaning and significance and experience of the body is utterly transformed and distorted."
To repeat the operative phrase, "the meaning and significance and experience of the body is utterly transformed and distorted." We are now experiencing this problem, and trying to address it, in the context of utter transformation and distortion.
Photo by Lanvi Nguyen.
Traveling at Electric Speeds
Earlier this month, Eric's son (and my McLuhan study pal) Andrew sent me another quotation of his father that completes the idea. Remember, he's talking about all of us. Try this on:
"At electric speeds, we, not messages, are sent. It is an old observation that on the phone or on the air you are in more than one place at a time, minus the physical body that you once used to define identity. The cybernaut abandons his body and physical identity and self (including gender) whenever he embarks on each trek into cyberspace. The conditions for disorientation are complete: out of body, out of time, out of space."
(Note, when I first entered the internet in the 1990s, I could feel this palpably -- like I was in some weightless dimension, and it was great fun. Gradually that gave way to the feeling being "normal.")
By this metric, you can count on quite a few people thinking none of this whole virus thing is real enough to be concerned about. Heck, Fox "News" commentators can claim that this is all a hoax to manipulate the stock market and make Trump seem like he's not doing such a good job
Oh really, Mr. Smith. Have these space aliens been visiting you for long?
That is what I would call "total distortion." That is what I would call "out of body, out of time and out of space."
On Wednesday, Dr. Anthony Fauci, who heads the infectious diseases section of the NIH, was testifying before Congress. Trump summoned him to the White House during his testimony, i.e., shut him down. He was telling our elected reps we have a problem on our hands that we need to address. Trump cut the mic and dropped the curtain. Total distortion.
Now, Congress itself may be banned from meeting, in order to protect senators and representatives from exposure. Several were exposed at that conservative fest the other day; one of them, U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, the guy who wore the gas mask as a joke, flew with Trump on Air Force One and got a ride in The Beast (his armored limo). These are vehicles that travel through ordinary time and space at ordinary speeds. He is now under self-quarantine. We can only imagine the decontamination efforts undertaken in the presidential vehicles after he left. Heck, the Secret Service driver could get infected. [At press time,we learned that Gaetz tested negative for the virus.]
One last thought. Both Biden and Sanders canceled campaign rallies on Tuesday, and will debate next week without an audience -- to protect the public. Trump's rallies will continue, or that is the plan. The problem is that those who are out of body can have an impact on those who are thoughtfully addressing the physical plane of existence.
Photo by Lanvi Nguyen.
One Last Thought: The Fear Factor
As you may know, I'm a fan of homeopathy. Were I not an astrologer, I would be a homeopath. So I guess I'm a little more than a fan. Here is what I can tell you, from having looked into this over the years. All of the homeopathic remedies associated with flu-like respiratory illnesses involve fear.
Homeopathic remedies address physical symptoms, though all have notes about the associated mental symptoms. They read like this, just as an example: "Melancholy with timidity, fear. Anxious and pale, with cold sweat. Irritable, cross, infuriated by least annoyance."
It might seem obvious to connect an illness that feels like suffocating to fear, though it deserves consideration. The kinds of fear connected to flu-like respiratory infections include anticipation anxiety, paralyzing fear, waking up in terror of death, we're all gonna die, fear of going out, fear of germs, and so on.
The remedy that would resolve or prevent H1N1 of 1917-1918 was called Gelsemium, which is about paralyzing fear
and anticipation anxiety
. It saved a lot of lives -- if someone was fortunate enough to be treated by a homeopath prior to being given aspirin by a conventional doctor. (This especially pertained to ships returning from World War I at the peak of the crisis. Some had homeopaths as the ship's physician and some did not. The ones that did not fared very poorly. The ones that did fared very well.)
Many have commented that the real pandemic is fear. I agree that is the more serious problem, because fear itself is so distracting from rational thought and conduct. It is also the thing driving markets down, which will do some serious damage to the economy. So on the good days those traders are driven by greed. On the bad days, they are driven by terror, resulting in a massive selloff. Mind you, this is all happening in cyberspace, with repercussions on the physical plane.
So -- as the worm turns, as society changes, we have some choices to make, nearly all of which involve our relationship to our bodies: whether and how we take care of them; how we feel living in them; the ultimate value we place on them.
I understand that "the body is not everything."
However, while we are here, it remains the temple of the soul.
PS -- Here is a song that I often play when the going gets rough: "Before the Deluge" by Jackson Browne
. It carries a firm caution: good intentions are not enough.
Photo by Lanvi Nguyen.
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 & Publisher: Eric F. Coppolino. Web Developer: Anatoly Ryzhenko. Associate Editor: Amy Elliott. Assistant Editor: Joshua Halinen. Client Services: Victoria Emory. Illustrator: Lanvi Nguyen. Finance: Andrew Slater. Archivist: Morgan Francis. Technical Assistants: Emily Thing, Cate Ryzhenko. Proofreading: Jessica Keet. Media Consultant: Andrew McLuhan. Music Director: Daniel Sternstein. Bass and Drums: Daniel Grimsland. Additional Music: Zeljko. Additional Research, Writing and Opinions: Samuel Dean, Yuko Katori, Amanda Painter, Cindy Tice Ragusa and Carol van Strum.
Dear Friend and Reader:
We have begun a special news feed for information about the coronavirus situation
. Our contacts and network of newswatchers around the world have been sending us so much information, we have created a forum to share it.
This hand-selected feed (no robots!) will include the best information we get related to public health, and to holistic health. This is a free service but paid for by our Core Community members
Here is the news feed on the new website
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And please help sponsor this kind of excellent work by joining our Core Community
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Thursday, Friday and Weekend Outlook | By Eric Francis
Greetings cousins. Wednesday's turbulent astrology featured the Moon square Jupiter, Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn, and the day was a correspondingly wild ride. The Moon enters Scorpio at 5:28 am EDT on Thursday [please adjust for your time zone].
This will resonate more harmoniously with all the planets in Capricorn and Pisces. It's more thoughtful and reflective than all the cardinal sign stuff we experienced beginning Tuesday.
We are in for some intriguing news or experience Thursday as the Moon opposes Uranus and then Venus starting around noon EDT. This is not the day to propose marriage, but it would be excellent for some creative or erotic adventure.
Tune into the inwardly centered vibe of Moon trine Neptune into late Friday. The Moon's run through Scorpio ends with a sextile to a very, very late degree Saturn.
The Moon enters Sagittarius at 7:09 am EDT Saturday. This changes the vibe considerably, and with a more optimistic outlook, though potentially driven by a bit of necessary denial. Be cautious when the Moon squares Neptune on Sunday.
By cautious, I mean doing things like making decisions, or thinking you're making them, with alcohol in your system. It's a good weekend to practice some moderation where substances are concerned.
Planet Waves TV is Back!
Many times I have quoted Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche: "We do indeed live in an age of decadence, but the dharma is not decadent. The dharma is the same as it always has been." Despite the challenges of our time, you can focus on your purpose, which is related to the World Purpose. You can step into your calling as one who came to our planet to make a positive difference. This is integral to your healing path, your personal mission and the necessities of the world. In this new video reading, about work and relationships, we will use the astrological markers of our moment to point the way, and clear the way. Pre-order all 12 signs of THE DHARMA here
With so much happening, I'm having fun doing short editions of Planet Waves TV
. There are several new ones — including one on Mercury retrograde and one on the coronavirus.
These little clips are a good way to get acquainted with me and my work, and to refer Planet Waves to others. Please click on "subscribe"
and "like" these videos so we get a little more ranking on YouTube, which has recently tightened its grip on the little guys.
You can reach our channel via the direct shortcut PlanetWaves.TV.
Thanks for tuning in!
Planet Waves FM
Full Moon, Mercury Direct, and responding to coronavirus
I begin this week's edition of Planet Waves FM with an outline of the current astrology. That includes the Virgo Full Moon and Mercury's station direct, which both took place on Monday night.
I then move on to a discussion of how holistic care requires exploring and learning about entirely new territory of health and wellness. And right now, it's just about all we've got.
Note that new programs tend to go up late Saturday night and are located on the Planet Waves FM tab on the new website
. Archived programs going back years are located on the Planet Waves FM website
Coronavirus. By Jen Sorensen.
An Aquarian Era
Update on RESPECT 2021+ Written Readings
Dear Friend and Reader:
The written RESPECT readings -- called An Aquarian Era -- covering 2021-2023 are underway. I've now published the first three readings, and more are coming soon.
This letter is for current customers of the annual, for new customers, and for people who have invested in the past. It includes a delivery notice, and also a price increase notice
As you know, the Planet Waves annual is a truly unusual astrology offering, providing detailed, soulful, relevant readings.
I have done these every year since 1999. Each edition builds on the prior ones. Every year, I re-learn and re-explain astrology.
On the typically vapid, superstitious astrology internet, these readings stand out as works of literature, directly relevant to you
There is nothing else available even vaguely resembling this series of readings.
Most internet astrology readings are assembled by robots. They have no cohesion, and offer exceedingly little sense of the person creating them. Many are uncredited; you have no idea what you're getting. Yet many people take them on board unfiltered, allowing them to influence their perceptions and choices.
Monthly Horoscopes and Publishing Schedule Notes
Your extended monthly horoscope for March
was published on Saturday, Feb. 29, and is repeated below in this issue. We published your extended monthly horoscope for February
on Thursday, Jan. 30. Please note: we normally publish the extended monthly horoscope after the Sun has entered a new sign.
Editors' note: Eric will be back Sunday night with your weekly horoscope. In the meantime, you can read our Daily Astrology posts, or check out the Intelligent Archive and Oracle.
The Journey of You and Chiron | A New Reading by Eric Francis
Anyone who has encountered it is curious about Chiron. Planet Waves provides one of the few dependable online sources of information on this unusual planet. For the 10th anniversary Astrology Studio reading, I will be covering Chiron in Aries — a momentous event for all those born under this sign, and of high interest to everyone else. Pre-order this reading here for the best price.
Astrology Studio for Pisces | A New Reading by Eric Francis
This is a momentous time in collective history, and a turning point in your life. As the year develops, most of the movement -- including Pisces' ruling planet Jupiter, and the Jupiter-Saturn conjunction -- will be pointing into Aquarius, the most sensitive and innermost angle of your chart. I also cover the retrogrades of Venus and Mars, and the forthcoming Jupiter-Pluto conjunction in your friendship sign Capricorn. Mostly, I help you orient on your profound journey, and offer guidance how to harmonize with the world at this unusual time. Get instant access to this reading here
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