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Beneath the Guns and Politics, Gender Rage

Dear Friend and Reader:

In the wake of the shootings in Tucson nearly one week ago, the focus of the discussion is on the political causes and implications of the incident. There are many, though what's also clear is that there are issues below the issue, such as the deep frustration, rage and mistrust that would lead to a nationwide spike in sales of Glock 9mm pistols this week -- the same kind used by suspect Jared Lee Loughner.

Planet Waves
Vigil outside the congressional offices of Gabrielle Giffords, who was severely injured in a mass shooting Saturday morning. Photo: Chris Carlson / The Associated Press.
I understand there are legitimate uses for guns. I have a friend who lives alone in a cabin in the hills of Oregon; I'm happy she has a loaded rifle on hand. Her usual weapon of choice is lighting firecrackers to frighten off bears who come around at night to steal the apples from her tree (I've never personally seen this, but I would love to). Every July 4, she stocks up for the rest of the year.

However, many people who are obsessed with guns feel frustrated and powerless. For them, possessing a gun provides a sense of power. This may have narratives attached to it, ranging from fantasies of vigilante justice to thinking you could defend yourself against an intruder if necessary. There is some psychology here. The fantasy of defending oneself against an intruder requires the notion of someone against whom to defend. Until it actually manifests (which it does not, usually), that is a projection of power and aggression onto an imaginary other, which in the fantasy puts one in the position of powerlessness (without the weapon), and thus justifies the weapon. Most of these people need therapy, not target practice.

Estimates of how many American households have weapons and participate in these delusions range from a third to one-half. Meanwhile, plenty of Americans really do have fantasies of defending themselves against the rogue United States government. That is amusing.

The gun thing typically seems designed to fulfill some gaping emotional inadequacy. I speak from some experience. All of my immediate male relatives had or have handguns. In addition to being possessed by a good bit of paranoia, all are or were some combination of emotionally, creatively or sexually frustrated, which manifests as feeling deeply powerless. The gun is compensatory. Meanwhile, many of these powerless-feeling people who have firearms are just itching to use them, with little thought of the consequences. My grandfather intentionally shot himself with one of his.

Planet Waves
Those killed in Saturday's massacre in Tucson, from top left: Christina Taylor Green, Dorothy Morris, Judge John Roll, Gabe Zimmerman, Dorwin Stoddard and Phyllis Schneck (Photos provided by families, distributed by AP).
As the conversation around the Tucson shootings develops, there certainly seems to be a hopeless loop of projection, attack and fear. A lot of us see an opportunity for healing, and others see an opportunity to foster even more aggressive mania. At times the whole scene seems to be descending into a nightmare scenario. And there is plenty else going on in the world to raise concern -- the worst flooding in Australia's history in Brisbane, more mysterious wildlife deaths and the occasional news bulletin about the ice caps melting. Many people you would not suspect (including plenty in national politics) are believers in the End Times and/or the Apocalypse. They project their fear of individual death onto the collective; they imagine the death of the whole world.

However, there is something beneath the surface of this mess, indicated in the charts for Saturday's shooting. What's being proffered as a political conflict has another dimension. Let's start with the event chart, which I will address briefly before getting into the two more illustrative charts -- those of U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, and her would-be assassin, Jared Lee Loughner.

Of necessity, since this is a chart interpretation, I'll be using more astrological references than usual. I will include an astrology lesson. Try to follow along. There is a discussion area with this article in case you have questions.

Event: Arizona Shooting

Anything with a time and place can get a chart. This chart is for a single incident, but it's also a collective event that has relevance for a whole country and in many ways, the world. The energy of this event has rippled out; the chart is relevant to the degree the event is relevant, and I would say a good bit more.

Planet Waves
Chart for shooting in Tucson, AZ on Jan. 8. Note that the Moon in Pisces is the planet closest to the ascendant, and the bright green glyph for Pholus is the most elevated, close to the government angle or 10th house. See detail below. Together, these provide a lot of space for paranoid fantasies about government, that might be fed by many other factors. Obviously, the government is doing bad things. The question is, what do we do about it? Time source is Pima Country Sheriff's office.
Jared Loughner arrived at the "Congress on Your Corner" meeting and opened fire at 10:10 am on Saturday, Jan. 8. The time is obtained from a sheriff's press conference I heard, and there is not a conflicting time given anywhere (most media say "just after 10 am").

I want to point out two things right away, made noteworthy by the planetary placements and the degrees involved. First look on the left side of the wheel.

See that crescent shaped thing that looks like the Moon? That's the Moon. The slightly heavier horizontal line right above the Moon is the ascendant (sometimes called rising sign; the line gives its exact location within the sign). The Moon is exactly rising. Indeed it is rising to one arc minute (1/60th of a degree!) -- look at those numbers. Moon is 7 degrees 6 minutes; ascendant is 7 degrees 5 minutes. The ascendant moves very fast; this conjunction is truly remarkable. The ascendant represents the primary issue of the chart, and with the Moon in Pisces, it's emotional and spiritual. There is also the potential for all the delusion and instability that can come with a powerfully-placed Pisces Moon. The Pisces Moon rising gives the chart the feeling of a world apart; a separate sphere of fantasy.

Second. Look at the dark almost-vertical line. That's called the meridian. Follow that right to the top of the chart, or the midheaven. There's a bright green thing up there, which is a little planet -- that's Pholus. This is a Chiron-like body that was the second-ever discovered centaur planet. In this chart, it's the top item -- right in the beginning of the 10th house (to the left of the bold line). This is the government angle, in a chart where one theme is the government. Pholus is about things that are released without the ability to put them back, such as a release of pressure. Its key phrase is "small cause, big effect."

Planet Waves
Detail from midheaven of the chart for the shooting. The government angle is mobbed with planets. Pholus, mentioned elsewhere, is the bright green glyph at the top of the chart (called the midheaven). The bright pink planet is Vesta, which indicates a sacrifice. Mercury is the next one to the left, conjunct the Galactic Core and overwhelmed. Then there are three points in Capricorn -- the North Node, Pluto and Pallas, which together are a dark omen for politics. Pholus in Sagittarius on the midheaven has a 'drunk with power' feeling. Pholus is in a conjunction with several points not shown here. They include Quaoar, which is about family patterns; Ixion, which says 'anyone is capable of anything'; and the Great Attractor, an intergalactic point that blows up the scale of everything it touches.
We definitely had a release of pressure apparently directed toward the government in this incident, and there is no putting it back. Pholus has references to alcohol, and its placement up there is also about being drunk with power. Both Jared Loughner and the federal government, particularly Congress, can be described this way. Indeed, new members who arrive in Washington are quickly indoctrinated in a fraternity-like atmosphere of doing flaming shots of power, and this parallels the dysfunctions of alcoholism we see displayed all the time in the shenanigans of Congress.

Yet the problem indicated by the chart, with the Pisces Moon square this powerfully placed Pholus, is that as far as this event is concerned, the whole thing is dunked, steeped and fully soaked in delusion. Delusion is an inability to discern what is real from what is not. And it means that one problem can masquerade for another.

In a murder chart, one of the first things to look for is the motive. Because the 8th is the house of the cause of death, that's where we look for the motive. The Moon is in the 1st house, so count eight houses, anticlockwise, to arrive at the 8th. The sign Libra and the planet Saturn are involved.

The 8th is about surrender, the power of 'the other' and it contains illustrations of and ideas about orgasm. Saturn represents a blockage. Saturn in Libra suggests the blockage comes as part of a relational issue, not merely a sexual one. This is a sexually frustrated chart. To me this represents the world-famous sexual frustrations of the American people, a country which terrorizes its children with abstinence indoctrination, telling them that if they have sex they will be like a chewed up and spit out piece of candy. In public school programs across the nation, sex is equated with immorality, disease and lack of desirability.

Dr. Wilhelm Reich, one of the most brilliant psychological and political theorists of the 20th century, suggested that mass sexual repression in a society is harvested by the political system. The bottled-up passion and frustration (generally, contained by implanted moral impulses) are converted into the feeling of mystical longing. (This is why so many desperately horny people spend so much time voraciously reading books about spirituality).

Libra is associated with Venus. Venus appears in Sagittarius -- that's a nice illustration of sexuality (Venus) converted into a mystical longing (Sagittarius). This is in the 9th house of spirituality (top of the chart, right side). But Sagittarius is also the 10th sign from the ascendant -- so it counts again as the 10th house -- the government. Sexual repression has become mystical longing, which has in turn converted again to an uncontainable burst of rage at the government (Pholus).

Truly, I think we need to come to terms with Dr. Reich's idea that sexual repression is converted by the psyche into mystical longing, which is then acted out politically -- usually, as he puts it, in the obsession with a charismatic leader. We tend to be proud of our sexual repression in the United States; we worship virgins and prosecute the king for having a tryst. We need to understand that our obsession with sexual purity has many consequences, both personal and political.

I recognize that Jared Loughner is mentally ill. Dr. Reich associated most psychosis with frustrated sexual energy running wild in the psyche. But if I may, here is an obvious question. Do you think he would have been more or less likely to have done this, had he been in a fulfilling sexual relationship? When you're 22, you have a lot of sexual energy to vent. It has to go somewhere.

Natal Charts of Loughner and Giffords

To see the full natal charts of both individuals, check this link and they will open in a new window. For a glyph legend, please check this link.

One thing about this whole event is that it's dominated by the centaur planets. This is a group of small bodies that started to appear with the discovery of Chiron in 1977. The second discovery was Pholus, in 1992 (mentioned above). The third was Nessus, discovered in 1993. The bold links take you to articles about them I wrote for Small World Stories, the 2008 annual edition. Centaurs represent an edgy kind of energy that feels vulnerable, is associated with deep emotions, experiences of wounding and healing, and psychic qualities with which most people are distinctly uncomfortable.

Planet Waves
Here is Loughner's Sun-Moon configuration up close. His Moon (grey crescent) is conjunct Black Moon Lilith (dark blue crescent) and the South Node (orange horseshoe), giving him the feeling that women are oppressive and unfathomable. Nessus is bright blue, conjunct the Sun. This warns of potential sexual or psychological abuse, and dark feelings toward his father. Vesta is the bright pink planet. His Mercury is at 14+ Libra, the exact degree that was rising in the chart for the Sept. 11, 2001 incident. The two events are connected by a number of factors. To see the full natal charts of both individuals, check this link and they will open in a new window. For a glyph legend, please check this link.
Let's look at Loughner's first -- starting with a sample of the chart, the part with his Sun and Moon. Notice that he has a lot of planets and points concentrated in Virgo. Note the yellow circle with the dot -- that is the Sun. Loughner has a planet closely conjunct the Sun -- the light blue glyph, which represents centaur Nessus.

Perhaps the edgiest of all the centaurs, Nessus is about the cycle of karma. Stories involving Nessus come full circle. It's all about cause and effect, boomerang style. The karma might not be instant, but it's dependable. With Nessus there are implications of potentially inappropriate sexual contact, and often it's an indication of sexual abuse coupled with psychological abuse. Sun-Nessus can represent a deeply wounded expressive principle, a father with some serious issues, and a compromise placed on one's male side. When there is a centaur present like this, we have the option to turn the injury into an experience of healing and authentic power, or to act it out in toxic ways over and over again our whole lives.

Let's consider the rest of the grouping. See the three points with the numbers 13 and 14 next to them? That is a very close conjunction. Those are (from right to left) the Black Moon Lilith, the Moon and the South Node. These all involve lunar energy; they represent how he experiences his mother, his core or child personality, and how he relates to women in general. He has dark visions of who women are; he experiences them as oppressive, dark, mysterious in a way that seems incomprehensible. Because this is on the South Node, it involves his own past life history, and speaks about his treatment of or by women, or a recent past life as a woman that is influencing him now. He is dragging this around like a large trunk full of emotional baggage, and he projects it outward as a truly sinister vision. The closer he gets to a woman, the more he will distrust her. I am sure he's never had a close female friend. It's very possible he's never had sex because his distrust of women runs so deep.

Meanwhile, he is running male biology through a deeply feminine sign -- Virgo. This is difficult. The Virgo presence is emphasized by the fact that he was born the day of a solar eclipse in Virgo, conjunct Nessus. He often feels female, but profoundly distrusts anything feminine. The eclipse blows this into monstrous proportions. I promise you that no matter what his family's press release says, they understand exactly why this happened.

Planet Waves
Sun conjunct Nessus in the chart of Gabrielle Giffords. Loughner has the same aspect in his chart. Both have them in mutable signs -- their natal Sun-Nessus aspects are square one another. That creates a similar energy in both charts but a tense relationship between the people involved. To see the full natal charts of both individuals, check this link and they will open in a new window. For a glyph legend, please check this link.
Loughner has two other points worth considering, not shown in the small graphic. One is Chiron in early Cancer, indicating more injury to his feminine side, obviously unaddressed, and under constant transits lately from the cardinal cross T-square that you read about here nearly every week last year.

Last, he has Venus in Leo. He has another vision of his feminine side, and of women, that is proud, and sees itself as a queen (Venus conjunct Juno). So on the one hand he has this dark emotional-level experience of women and his own feminine side; then he aggrandizes them beyond any hope of recognition, and the Juno conjunction indicates that part of his aggrandizement is a sense that women are inherently controlling (this is a Juno factor; she and her Greek counterpart Hera were the supreme bitch of mythology).

Now here is a section of Gabrielle Giffords' chart -- the part with her Sun. It's obviously simpler than Loughner's, but notice what she has as well -- a Sun-Nessus conjunction. Not only that, her Sun-Nessus conjunction is square Loughner's to within a degree or two -- both are in the mid-mutable signs, indicating a square. This is a relationship -- any aspect is a relationship -- and it's a right angle; a tense one.

When I was a young astrology student, one of my teachers, David Arner, told me about a study done where astrologers were given anonymous pairs of charts for murderer and victim. They could not discern who was who with any consistency. With their common Sun-Nessus conjunctions, we have the first of several striking similarities between the charts of Giffords and Loughner.

Let's look at one other. It is even more remarkable. It involves a nearly identical configuration in both charts that involves Mars, Chiron and Eris.

Planet Waves
Section of Loughner's natal chart with his Mars-Chiron-Eris pattern. Notice the Mars-Eris conjunction on the lower part of the chart; this is square Chiron in Cancer, above. This configuration creates some gender-based insecurities. Mars is retrograde, which suggests he has a hard time bringing out his male nature. The presence of Eris describes a feeling of competition with women, and Chiron in Cancer further describes his struggle with his mother and with trusting women (see Moon in Virgo for more information). It also makes him deeply sensitive to his environment. To see the full natal charts of both individuals, check this link and they will open in a new window. For a glyph legend, please check this link.
By way of introduction, all three of these are involved with warfare. Mars, of course, is the god of war. He represents energy, desire, passion and aggression. Chiron was a mentor to the great warrior-heroes of ancient Greece -- among them Heracles and Jason. Chiron taught battlefield medicine, archery and other skills of war. Eris, the brother of Mars, was more the type to operate through subterfuge.

As an astrological factor, Chiron is about raising awareness, the healing journey, injury that focuses healing and growth, 'shamanic' wounding, warrior emphasis and mentorship. Chiron typically has a crisis around its placement, which will either be associated with a gathering of strength and power when it's processed consciously, or create a spiral down effect with a descent into futility when it is ignored.

Eris is about the postmodern identity crisis -- the idea that we have no idea who we are, and need three business cards to describe what we do; the ability to shapeshift or take many forms; the provocation of chaos, initiated from the inside out (inner chaos that can spread to the environment); the castaway woman; a disowned feminine side in men, and an alienated feminine side in women. Remember that when Eris was named in 2006, she upset the known order of the solar system, unseated Pluto as a planet and helped create the class of 'dwarf planets'.

In the charts of both Loughner and Giffords, these three points are in a similar aspect in the same place in both charts.

In Loughner's chart, to the above and to the right, Mars is conjunct Eris. It's a slightly wide conjunction -- but it's in full effect. This is in Aries, and it feels angry, aggressive and like he cannot focus his masculine energy. Mars in Aries can lack confidence, and make up for it by doing macho things to help create the aura or sensation of masculinity. Mars is retrograde, which tends to create pent up energy and inflame the insecurity associated with a tense Mars placement. The square of Mars to Chiron can have a sense of being blocked -- unless someone works to consciously integrate the square, in which case it will become a building block of integrity. Clearly this is a setup prone to outbursts of aggression.

As I mentioned before, he has Chiron in Cancer -- and it's square Mars. Mars square Chiron has two basic levels. One is that it can block the action of Mars, creating deep frustration (which will seize the emotions, via Cancer); or (if you work with rather than against it) it can represent a mighty building block in the psyche, and a foundation for true integrity. With Eris present, there will have to be a lot of integration work done to weave the sense of a fractured psyche that Eris often represents.

Planet Waves
Mars-Chiron-Eris configuration in the chart of Gabrielle Giffords. The three are arranged in a similar pattern as in the chart of Loughner, however, the positions of Mars and Chirion are reversed. Giffords has her Mars conjunct Loughner's Chiron, and vice versa. Chiron triggers Mars in the other's chart. Eris is a factor suggesting a struggle with identity, which can be overcome through conscious personality integration; or can result in a psyche that is fragmented and in chaos. If that chaos persists, it can be projected outward into the environment. To see the full natal charts of both individuals, check this link and they will open in a new window. For a glyph legend, please check this link.
Now let's look at Giffords' chart. She has a Chiron-Eris conjunction. I covered this aspect in an earlier article called Dancing With Discord. This was active at the time of the feminist revival through the early 1970s -- it's the 'Women's Lib' aspect. We have Chiron activating the energy of Eris and funneling it in a warrior-like way, with the potential for both wounding and healing. The feminism of that era did a lot of both, though it did in fact get some constructive results.

Now let's look at how the two charts connect. Loughner has his Mars conjunct Giffords' Chiron. Giffords has her Mars conjunct Loughner's Chiron. So they have the same square, in the same position, only with the sign placements reversed. You could say they provoke one another's male sides, with Giffords' Mars in Cancer conjunct the extremely sensitive Chiron in Loughner's chart (which stirs up his sense of being hurt by women, starting with his mother).

And Loughner's Mars in Aries is conjunct Giffords' Chiron. He projects his rage and hurt at her head -- in Aries. He strikes her on the left side of the brain -- the logic/reasoning side associated with masculine consciousness.

Eris moves so slowly that it's in Aries in the configuration in both charts. In the life of Giffords, she is able to overcome society's many handicaps on women and aspire to a position of authentic influence. In the life of Loughner, where it is unaddressed and unutilized, it manifests as fragmentation and chaos. Eris is a new factor in astrology -- but not in our consciousness. For many years, as technology and industrialization have persisted, we have dealt with the fragmentation that Eris represents, and the need to perceive ourselves as a unified whole. Working with Eris we can assemble the pieces.

Attempting to Assassinate his Inner Woman

These aspects point to many similarities and an energetic relationship between Loughner and Giffords. They also suggest to me that Loughner was attacking a representation of his own inner woman. At the same time he lived with deep distrust and probably open hatred for women, he also envied and admired Giffords, whom he saw as a kindred spirit and representation of his own potential. In his own way, he was in love with her, and through her wanted to love the feminine in himself -- though hating both.

To me this was primarily an act of gender rage, not motivated by authentic political feelings. In a sense it was rape with a bullet, but also a form of inner suicide projected outward. He turned to a gun to fill a hole left by his emotional inadequacies and sexual needs. The pressure of denying his own self became too much -- he felt he had to project it outward. Much like jealousy works, when one cannot control something, or own it, one strives to kill it. Jealousy is a form of spiritual murder, and this is an extreme example.

So far as I can tell, this was not a political assassination attempt. It's clear enough that Loughner didn't really understand politics, but he was certainly pulled and twisted by his struggle with his own masculinity, and tormented by the mystery of his inner feminine, along with his significant emotional confusion. This inner battle left him feeling paralyzed, much like many women are paralyzed by their own inner struggle to have any sense of their power in a world that seems to keep taking it away.

Giffords for her part was doing a great job expressing her power in a male-dominated world. She managed to rise above this struggle and find her way to a place of strength and equality. She was also a beautiful (and unavailable) woman with whom Loughner was obsessed, apparently for more than three years. Her very existence made him feel insecure, and he did not avail himself of, or have available, any mode of healing that insecurity. I believe he lacked the emotional capacity to long for her companionship or sexual attention, at the same time he was enraged by their absence.

None of this is new or novel, but here we have a fairly clear example of how sexual themes, including gender, gender bias and the need to make contact with both polarities to live a sane and balanced life, can manifest in a way that is violent and projected into the political sphere. And all of this describes what is perhaps the most significant aspect of the emotional healing process on which we need to embark -- our sexual nature, which needs to be acknowledged, made contact with and allowed to express itself.

The people who foster sexual repression as part of school programs know that their actions have political implications. I would imagine they were not quite expecting this.

Make no mistake -- what I'm describing is a collective sexual injury that, more or less, we all possess but don't necessarily own consciously. It will cause more problems the longer it's left untended and dressed as a moral issue, infecting one generation after the next. And it can be a source of profound social progress if we can make some basic admissions about ourselves and commit to a healing process. Part of that involves embracing our internal opposite gender polarity and therefore embracing ourselves as a whole person.

We will all be happier, if we can do that.

Yours & truly,
Eric Francis
Additional research: Christine Farber, Amanda Painter


Attention All Astronomers -- The World is Flat

I wish I could put out a press release announcing that the world is flat, and send astronomers scrambling -- to return the favor for when an astronomer sends out a press release announcing that your zodiac sign is wrong. That's what happened this week when the following went viral faster than the dude who got rich dancing around like a dork in 34 countries:
Planet Waves
The tropical zodiac is in the inner wheel, the sidereal zodiac is in the outer wheel. Notice how they are 'out of alignment' by about one whole sign -- to be exact, 23 degrees. This is due to precessional movement, which shifts the two zodiacs by one degree every 70 years.
Either this is a joke or Parke Kunkle is truly ignorant of his own science. It's probably a bit of both.

There are two zodiacs in common use. Kunkle is describing what is called the sidereal zodiac: the backdrop of the stars. It's not the zodiac used by most Western astrologers; it's the one used by Vedic astrologers, the kind in India, and a few in our part of the world. The two zodiacs are offset by about 23 degrees. I'll explain why in a moment.

Here in the West, we use a zodiac that follows the seasons. It's called the tropical zodiac. It's based on the position of the Sun's rays and the tropics -- that's why it's called tropical. There is another one, based on the positions of the stars. It's called the sidereal zodiac. If Kunkle doesn't know this, it's like a race car driver not understanding the concept of a tire. If so, he also doesn't understand a long list of other concepts that must make it very difficult for him to do his work. Well, that's what grad students are for. Notably, the sidereal zodiac is a feature in all astrology software.

In the Western or tropical zodiac, the Sun enters the tropical sign Aries the day of the vernal equinox each March. That's the day that the Sun's rays meet the equator directly overhead -- the first day of spring in the Northern Hemisphere. (In the prior draft and in the audio I said 'at a right angle'. Same idea.) The Sun enters the tropical sign Cancer when the Sun's rays square the Tropic of Cancer -- the first day of summer in the Northern Hemisphere, or summer solstice. The Sun enters Libra when the Sun's rays square the equator again in September. The Sun enters Capricorn when the Sun's rays square the Tropic of Capricorn each December, which is the first day of winter in the Northern Hemisphere (the seasons are reversed in the Southern Hemisphere).

You then take those four cardinal points and divide them equally and you have the 12 signs of the tropical horoscope. There are no 'extra signs' added -- the tropical zodiac is a division of the 360-degree wheel of the year into 12 equal slices of 30 degrees. This is not rocket science -- but it is science.

Planet Waves
Look! It's already there!
As mentioned, the Western zodiac begins the day of the vernal equinox. The position of the Sun that day is called the Aries Point -- or the Sidereal Vernal Point. If you read Planet Waves, you read about the Aries Point nearly every week. It's extremely sensitive. The position of the Sidereal Vernal Point or Aries Point moves gradually as the Earth wobbles on its axis. Currently, the SVP is at 5 degrees Pisces on the sidereal zodiac. Hence, the tropical sign Aries begins in the sidereal sign Pisces. And as the Earth wobbles, the SVP is moving backwards toward Aquarius -- hence "the Age of Aquarius." About 2,000 years ago, the tropical signs aligned with the sidereal signs. Now they have precessed backwards by about 23 degrees. And for that matter, so has Christmas.

We don't adjust Christmas one day every 70 years but sure enough, eventually, Dec. 25 will fall in the middle of Northern Hemisphere summer, with no help from global warming.

So, hear ye, hear ye! Vedic astrologers use the the sidereal zodiac, and most Western astrologers use the tropical zodiac. They have different purposes, and different philosophies. Both zodiacs work. Most Western astrologers are familiar with their sidereal chart -- it tells a different story, and can reveal deeper tendencies you may have noticed but not named. I'm a Pisces in tropical astrology but an Aquarius in sidereal astrology. If you're curious, cast your sidereal chart and see where the planets show up.

As for Ophiuchus. This is an old hoax. Historically, Ophiuchus has never been listed as a constellation in the sidereal zodiac. It is a constellation out there, but it's off the ecliptic (that is, it's not along the path of the Sun through the sky). I've read that Ptolemy mentions it in his literature as an off-zodiac constellation, meaning that the Sun never travels through it. In any event, there are some two dozen constellations that touch the ecliptic; but the sidereal zodiac uses just 12 of them.

The origin of the hoax is a sci-fi author named John Sladek -- a satire writer who died in 2000. Sladek liked to prank astrology, and he has a whole novel about a fictitious 13th sign based on Ophiuchus he called Arachne that was "suppressed by the scientific community." The Ophiuchus hoax first made its rounds in the late 1990s and pops up again like those emails from the guy in Nigeria who wants you to send him your bank account number so he can transfer $15 million your way.



Planet Waves
Weekly Horoscope for Friday, January 14, 2011, #846 - BY ERIC FRANCIS

Aries (March 20-April 19)
Aries (March 20-April 19) -- Your solar chart is describing some kind of career opportunity. But you may not recognize it as such. That is often the case -- and people who have some of the greatest successes have their 'first interview' in a train station or a supermarket. The classified ad that led to my first professional journalism job was in a random page of a newspaper that someone left on a table. The particular opportunity beckoning you may feel like 'something you would never do', or in the alternate, something you thought you gave up and would never go back to. I suggest you not pay too much heed to these concerns and simply find out what is available. Ask questions, listen to the answers, and then proceed with confidence -- even if you feel a slight aura of uncertainty. That's just a reminder that the unknown is a place of enormous potential.

To pre-order Light Bridge, your full-length 2011 reading including written and audio segments for Aries, please go to this link.

Taurus (April 19- May 20)
Taurus (April 19-May 20) -- This is a gutsy, stellar moment for you professionally, but to dial that in, you may feel like you're going against the grain of something -- the 'right way' of doing things, the prevailing opinion of the crowd, or your own typically reserved way of relating to the world. The one thing I suggest you remember is how much preparation you have. You are not a neophyte, though you may have the feeling of stretching your talent as far as it will go -- that's the place you want to be. That's exactly how you stretch across the inner divide into new territory. What may be unsettling to you is the sense of your own dark emotions moving around -- desire, passion, anger, need -- and these may seem to blow back at you, or reverberate within you. This is what you might call a distortion of the ego, perceiving itself. Relax -- how you feel in your moments of doubt is not how you're perceived by others.

To pre-order Light Bridge, your full-length 2011 reading including written and audio segments for Taurus, please go to this link.

Gemini (May 20- June 21)
Gemini (May 20-June 21) -- Some things are considered normal in relationships that detract from the passion we crave -- among them keeping score, keeping tabs, and manipulation that is born of jealousy. Also you don't have to marry every person with whom you have sex. Okay, now that we have those concerns out of the way, you are being invited into some deep erotic territory. Usually, deep means you go in with your feelings, your body and your mind. At the moment your mind is leading the way. That means curiosity, ideas, memory, fantasy -- and the craving for a distinct kind of erotic surrender that is truly holistic. Indeed, I could use a stronger word to catch the real essence of the sensation, which is submission. Yes, it's taboo. Yes, you think about this a lot. Now those thoughts are more compelling than ever. Use your head -- and have the fun you want.

To pre-order Light Bridge, your full-length 2011 reading including written and audio segments for Gemini, please go to this link.

Cancer (June 21- July 22)
Cancer (June 21-July 22) -- Is it possible to leave drama in relationships behind? It surely is -- if both people are committed to doing so; it helps a lot if they want something else. Most drama is control dramas.. Control and love have nothing to do with one another, not in a healthy environment anyway. Most of the control drama comes from attempting to fit our relationships into forms they simply cannot take -- you would never keep a kitten in a jar. You've known this for a while, and it looks like you've cleared out a small but meaningful place where you are free to be yourself in your relationships. You haven't fully occupied that space yet, but now you've got some ideas. You're being drawn into what may seem like an empty room. It's slightly daunting and very inspiring. And it's your own space. Put down your things, open the windows and stretch out a little.

To pre-order Light Bridge, your full-length 2011 reading including written and audio segments for Cancer, please go to this link.

Leo (July 22- Aug. 23)
Leo (July 22-Aug. 23) -- The activity of the past few months has taken a toll on your health, though not a serious one. I suggest you make adjustments to your diet, back off on work for the weekend and perhaps visit a chiropractor. I say that because your bones are the seat of your health. I know that Leo is about the heart, and I wonder why I haven't read in an astrology textbook that it's essential that you pay attention to your bone structure, posture and spine as the core of your wellbeing. Now, I'm suggesting that you chill with the work routines a bit, but there are some compelling projects that are calling you back. I have an idea, which is to invest a fraction of the energy into working out the solution or calculating the next few steps in the creation process. If you do this, you may just tap into a streak of genius that is usually a bit elusive.

To pre-order Light Bridge, your full-length 2011 reading including written and audio segments for Leo, please go to this link.

Virgo (Aug. 23- Sep. 22)
Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22) -- You now can take back something that was taken from you as a child. I see you making a kind of surprise ambush on the issue, getting hold of it fast, and taking it back to your own camp. This is not your preferred method of deliberative, methodical growth; you might feel you're doing something out of character, just as if you contemplated stealing something from a store. The thing is, this is yours; you cannot steal it. And the fact that you feel like you might be doing so is revealing. Actually if you tap into the deeper layers here you can access a whole world of emotions, possibly laced with religious views, that involve all that you had to give up for the sake of your family. As an adult you can now make careful note that it didn't really do them any good, and remind yourself that you deserve full access to the contents of your soul.

To pre-order Light Bridge, your full-length 2011 reading including written and audio segments for Virgo, please go to this link.

Libra (Sep. 22 - Oct. 23)
Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23) -- You're at a tipping point in your relationship to technology. Part of that involves reaching a threshold of knowledge or mastery over the subject. It's no longer a cumbersome thing that you struggle to understand; you see its use. This is allowing you to peacefully take the whole subject area on board and internalize it, in a way similar to how a musician internalizes his instrument. The other thing that's becoming clear is your memory of a time before technology dominated relationships. You seem committed to making sure that you hold that memory dear, and do your best to keep living in a slightly old-fashioned way. That suits your nature well. And perhaps I don't need to remind you, but when you feel safe and grounded you're at your most adventurous and playful -- and it looks like you're feeling pretty frisky in there.

To pre-order Light Bridge, your full-length 2011 reading including written and audio segments for Libra, please go to this link.

Scorpio (Oct. 23- Nov. 22)
Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22) -- Beneath all the mental activity is a situation that pertains directly to the way that your mother's emotions weigh on your ability to feel like you're at home on the planet. Manipulation between mothers and daughters is a tricky subject, and few like to talk about it -- but I suggest you be aware of the whole topic, because it seems destined to make itself known. You can, if you want, heal this situation, but I can tell you it's more likely to feel like a violent outburst than it is like a trip on a healing table. The violent aspect is not literal but rather the result of a mental effect where your anger and your thoughts reverberate in your mind. Do your best to keep things on the level of emotion rather than thoughts. If you're thinking in circles, go deeper and feel -- you'll set yourself free and make contact with the way you've felt confined in the past. And that, simply, is the compulsion to push your feelings up to your mind. You're now putting them back where they belong.

To pre-order Light Bridge, your full-length 2011 reading including written and audio segments for Scorpio, please go to this link.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22 - Dec. 22)
Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22) -- There's an idea floating around that 'spirituality' is about love and light, and that things like fear, rage, grief and other forms of shadow material are somehow inappropriate. Of course, in other quarters, life is dominated by these dark emotions and it's understandable why someone seeking peace of mind might think it's a good idea to avoid them. However, light and dark ideas and emotions both call for awareness. I don't mean, as some suggest, that the two need to be 'balanced out'. And I'm not suggesting we need to do one gesture of evil for every creative gesture. I mean that in your inner world there is an incredible diversity of emotion and sensation, and that in order to draw the full power of your creativity -- clearly, your most important goal -- you need to contact all of your feelings, or rather, you need unfettered access. Therefore, I suggest you be repelled by no part of who you are, no thought, no idea, however strange. Being real with yourself is the first and most significant step to authentic honesty, and that is the heart and soul of art.

To pre-order Light Bridge, your full-length 2011 reading including written and audio segments for Sagittarius, please go to this link.

Capricorn (Dec. 22- Jan. 20)
Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20) -- That edgy feeling may come and go for the next week or so. I suggest you ride it out consciously each time, and see what you learn as you walk along the inner precipice of your mind. There are really two things going on. One is that your psyche is processing out old tendencies and patterns that you don't need any more. As you notice these patterns they may frustrate you; give them up on the spot, and choose something else. The other thing happening is that you're pushing into entirely new psychic territory, which may feel at once enticing, uncomfortable and adventurous. Any time you sense the unknown or unfamiliar within yourself, reach in that direction. Do your best to translate it into words, even if they feel imprecise. You will get much closer to the point than you think -- and leave yourself a trail back to the places within yourself you've visited.

To pre-order Light Bridge, your full-length 2011 reading including written and audio segments for Capricorn, please go to this link.

Aquarius (Jan. 20- Feb. 19)
Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) -- With Mars entering your sign this weekend, you're likely to feel like it's time to be on your own and do your very own thing. You've spent a lot of time inquiring, pondering, inwardly seeking and healing; this is a precious moment of reaching for independence, and grasping it firmly. Just make sure you don't push at the same time you reach. You may feel a fairly potent urge to bust out. Your mind may be sending the message that you've waited too long and suddenly it's now or never. Actually, it's just Mars, which is giving you some of that impulse power to which you don't normally have access. It's Mars, reminding you what you want the most. Many people will wait patiently for this kind of sensation to pass, hoping it will go away. I suggest you act on it, gently and persistently, but promptly enough that it matters.

To pre-order Light Bridge, your full-length 2011 reading including written and audio segments for Aquarius, please go to this link.

Pisces (Feb. 19- March 20)
Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) -- You don't need to put up with jealousy, neither in yourself nor in others. By that I mean it's not necessary. Instead, I suggest you proceed directly to understanding and addressing the insecurity that jealousy conceals, and factor this into your understanding of the human condition. Make feeling good about yourself your primary life goal, and take constructive action based on that idea. Do what supports your goals and what you love; reach for your deeper resources. If you do this, you're likely to encounter people who follow accordingly. There is nothing in your chart to suggest that you need to be striving for conventional relationships. Rather, where others are concerned, the bold emphasis is on community and egalitarian friendship. Do it now, do it in a big way and remember -- you're always your own person.

To pre-order Light Bridge, your full-length 2011 reading including written and audio segments for Pisces, please go to this link.
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Eric Francis, the founder and editor of Planet Waves, is an astrologer and investigative journalist. He was working in his first job as a municipal newspaper reporter when he discovered that his editor also owned an astrology bookstore. This began a long relationship between astrology and journalism, which has taken Eric through the pages of many newspapers as a horoscope writer, including the Daily Mail and the Daily Mirror plus numerous other venues. Today, Eric covers global turning point events through the lens of astrology. He is a specialist in newly-discovered planets.

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