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Kingston, NY, Friday, Feb. 26, 2010

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Readers -- I'm doing audio blogging from the NCGR conference in Cambridge, Mass. I know this potentially sounds boring, but it's not -- it's me turned loose on the international astrology cabal with a digital recorder. So tune in at PlanetWaves.FM.

Mars Direct and the Virgo Full Moon

Dear Planet Waves Reader:

We're near the end of a long, challenging Mars retrograde; the exact station-direct is March 10. This has been in the background all winter, slowly working its mysterious effects: most of them emotional.

Planet Waves
Lakshmi Girl in the Chironian, Rosendale, New York. Photo by Eric Francis / Book of Blue.
Now that we're at the dregs of the retrograde, the sensation ranges from not being able to get anything done, to determination to accomplish exactly what you need (which may or may not be working -- time will tell). This Mars event has the odd feeling of Mercury retrograde; I thought I was dreaming and then other astrologers started to point out the same thing.

When the process unhooks, we're likely to make a series of discoveries, and there will be plenty of room for more mistakes. Therefore, in the weeks after the retrograde, proceed with caution, especially where making commitments and acting on your desires are involved.

In psychological terms, you may be feeling frustration over direction, initiative and/or desire. This is a struggle with expressing the vital force, as described by retrograde Mars (expression, initiative) in Leo (the sign of the vital force). Humans tend to have a hard time with this anyway; what do we want, and what are we 'supposed to' do? More to the point lately, who are we 'supposed to' be? Who exactly is doing the supposing?

Contemplating this is often a job handed to astrology: astrologers are always being asked to 'tell me about me'. For sure, there are things that astrologers can tell their clients that are helpful, though once involved, it's crucial to do one's best to help people in their process of self-discovery, rather than get in the way. I would reckon that astrology has done both in equal measures, at best.

The old, old question of fate versus free will is still getting dragged into astrology (and existence) in the form of this issue about who we are 'supposed to be'. We've lived too many lifetimes to play this game, and I do mean thousands. No matter what, the answer to that always comes from inside. Even if some external circumstance led one in the direction of a discovery, the awareness is internal, as is the choice to act on it.

Planet Waves
Ceremonial fire in the Chironian fireplace, Rosendale, New York. Photo by Eric Francis.
Mars retrograde is pulling volition into the pit of the psyche (or finding it there, where it originates), where it belongs, and reminding us that to know what we want we must make contact with who we are. Who you are is true no matter what anyone says, thinks, feels or wants; and if you have someone in your life who you think is determining who you are, there is just one way that is possible.

Mars stationing direct in the first degree of Leo is all about desire, motivation and identity -- and the place in awareness where the three meet.

Raising this theme sometimes feels like teaching people who are numb from the neck down how to dance. So many influences have convinced us we don't know who we are or what we want that most people have actually forgotten that it's possible. But Mars retrograde is pushing the issue to an extreme.

Mars is going to sit in the same degree of Leo for an astonishing 22 days -- the very first degree -- between Feb 28 and March 22. I say astonishing not because of the duration (that is always true) but because of the vortex-like quality of that degree.

Mars won't exactly be at a halt (when you plot them on a graph, planetary stations with the exception of Eris appear to be instantaneous). But Mars will be moving slowly and shall we say in a way that is significant of precisely the kind of struggle that defines our time in the human story: our control drama with passion, even the simplest-feeling sensation.

With or without Mars, the first degree of Leo is a hot spot in the zodiac; add Mars retrograde drawing to a close and turning around in this degree and we get a potentially dangerous surge of biopsychic energy.

Planet Waves
Invasion of Earth. 1962 Topps Mars Attacks: a science fiction trading card.
Yesterday I was in a full-day workshop with Rick Tarnas, author of Cosmos and Psyche, on the comic genius archetype. One of his subjects was John Cleese of the Monty Python troupe, who is a specialist in sexual humor in a way that only a Brit could be capable of. I looked around; the view was like a room full of ladies who had just sucked on lemon slices, dutifully taking notes.

When we look back at this time in history, we're going to get nauseous at how noncommittal, uptight, shut down and glazed over we were. I have finally started to laugh at the letters that come in that begin, "I'm no prude, but --"

We're about to experience a series of energy surges, all of them involving Mars and Aries. To those who are shut down, they may feel like a case of apoplexy, and may be equally dangerous. If you're at war with your energy rising, with change, with passion, with creative flow or with sexual feelings and ideas, and then if they suddenly gush out of the ground of your being, that could be frightening. If you're resisting, I suggest you ask yourself why; what you think you're protecting, or what you're gaining. There is probably an answer; you may decide it's an excuse.

I've described many times the ways in which this spring is an extraordinary moment. It's the first full blossoming of 2012 energy, and everyone is wondering what that mystery is about. This is a little like explaining the Sixties to someone in 1962. There was a vibe in the air some places, Bob Dylan had left Hibbing for New York, and whether people recognized it or not, everything was about to change really fast. We have that vibe in the air right now, and it may be the inspiration for the conservative backlash. Many people missed the Sixties because they were so scared of the changes and the potential.

Remember that Mars stationing direct ties directly into the Jupiter-Uranus conjunction in the first degree of Aries on June 8. The connection is that all this Mars energy transposes into an event in Aries, ruled by Mars, just a little while later. We have some ground to cover before we get there: currently Venus, Jupiter and Uranus are in Pisces. This is an invitation to visualize what it would be like to be free; to visualize what you want; to imagine what it would be like to be solid in yourself, and your 'sense of self'.

Once these planets move into the fire signs (particularly Jupiter and Uranus, moving into Aries), the pace of movement will pick up dramatically, with time and progress taking a surge forward. This includes progress for people who don't necessarily define progress the same way you do. Just the other day, Mr. Beck was describing the 'progressive' as a sickness. Aries can be militant, hard-headed and crude; but this conjunction is an invitation to brilliance, enlightenment, awareness and a sense of liberty.

Whichever way it tends, we will experience a radicalizing energy that wants to blow the dust (and whatever else) out of the corners of our reality and acquaint us with the light of awareness.

Coming Right Up: the Virgo Full Moon

Sunday morning in the US, evening in the UK and Europe, is the Virgo Full Moon. That means the Moon in Virgo and the Sun in Pisces meet at an exact opposition. At that moment the Sun is conjunct Jupiter -- this is a gorgeous chart, brimming with watery energy, fresh and alive with airy energy, grounded by Pluto in Capricorn and containing potent fiery energy in the small planets (Eris, Pholus, Ceres and Vesta). This event is the first full expression of Jupiter in Pisces energy.

Planet Waves
Virgo Full Moon opposite Jupiter in Pisces.
There's something special about each of the personal planets. Mercury is aligned with the Chiron-Neptune conjunction in Aquarius. Venus is about to make a conjunction to Uranus. Mars is in the process of stationing direct. Ceres, both a dwarf planet and a personal planet, is aligned with the Galactic Core, incarnating in her role as cosmic mother.

When you combine inner or personal planets with outer or cultural/generational planets, the effect is to personalize the energy. We go to the gods or the gods come to us (depending on your perspective, or the circumstances) but the effect is that the extraordinary can show up -- it's no longer just a theory or a concept; things that seemed impossible in the past manifest in the present.

Vesta, a kind of high priestess of sexuality, is doing something I've not mentioned yet -- she's in a long conjunction with a hypothetical point called Transpluto. (Transpluto 'exists' but only in mathematics and on paper, and more to the point, in the minds of astrologers who use it.) Without delineating both points (I've written lots about Vesta, easy to Google), this is referencing a specific area of sexual healing, which will help you identify and heal a particular aspect of your erotic consciousness or identity.

I've been testing Transpluto for well over a year. This is the thing that brings the narrow focus and the suggestion that you are looking for something precise that you want, need or will benefit from. Vesta is the servant of the creative fire, the core fire of existence that is inherently creative, erotic and aware. Vesta's devotional energy is a reminder that if we want this flame to burn cleanly, we need to focus on that desire as a daily and even hourly activity. This is going on at the far end of Leo, while Mars stationing (also significant of a specific healing of desire) is at the early end. The gift of anything Leo is self-knowledge.

I have an idea what this theme or issue may be. It involves releasing the pain of secrecy and concealment. It's not just you. Nearly everyone is keeping sexual secrets that are very much constraining their life force and making them feel like some kind of fugitive. We all know on the deepest level that it's our birthright to be free, to give ourselves, to share ourselves and most of all to be authentically who we are.

Take comfort in the fact that minds are joined. Everyone knows everything about you that is relevant to them, or they will soon know it. There is no point wrapping yourself in anything but light. Remember, love brings up everything unlike itself, so if that light casts a shadow, look at it, remember you saw it, and let yourself go.

Peace & passion,
Eric Francis

We Have Met The Enemy
By Judith Gayle | Political Waves

I suppose the winter of 2010 will be one of those talked about in future years. The amount of cold and snow, rain and frost has set records nationwide, making it feel like one of the longest winter seasons in memory. It's only February, of course, and there's plenty more to come. As well, the public is withering under a kind of winter mentality right now, gloomy and dug in, awaiting the next onslaught of actual storm or political sturm, whichever comes first. Here's the question: are we hunkered down in our discontented winter because politics is finally personal, as we've reluctantly recognized the social disparities that drive our daily existence and our anxiety? Or is all this transitory, due to ease itself when spring comes, lifting our spirits with sunshine and new growth? I think the answer is both, but perhaps not in equal proportions.

Spring will certainly bring relief from utility bills that require one to choose between food or heat, to emergency services our local communities can no longer afford. Spring may encourage us to grow some of the fresh food that we find too pricey to buy, or perhaps frequent the local farmers' market looking for a deal. As Michelle Obama addresses the childhood obesity issues we've long ignored, I hope she takes into consideration the expense of eating well. For the price of a bunch of broccoli and a bag of apples, food stamps can purchase a couple of frozen pizzas, a supersized bag of chips and the generic version of several Twinkies. If we're trying to stretch a meal, junk is considerably more elastic. Yes, spring will put a little bounce in our step, but where will we be bouncing to, I wonder? Maybe we'll be bouncing in place, wondering when the internal winter gloom that comes with anxious times is finally going to leave us.

Politics has become personal if you find yourself under- or unemployed, if you need government assistance to feed your family, if you have no health insurance or discover that your rates have gone up by 39%. It's personal if your mortgage is 'underwater,' your job funding threatened or your credit cards maxed with 30% interest rates. It's personal if you need more than one hand to count the friends and family in dire straits, discovering yourself helpless to assist them. Politics is also local. 48 states currently count themselves in crisis. The Red states are determined to cut vital services rather than go after the tax base that enjoys the benefit of Bush's business entitlements. Those who would turn off street lights, close libraries, underfund court systems and slash childhood health, education and nutrition programs rather than tap the wealthy are known as "deficit peacocks."

Planet Waves
Weekly Horoscope for Friday, February 26, 2010, #806 - BY ERIC FRANCIS

Aries (March 20-April 19)
You're discovering what a lusty personality you have. In fact, it's more like a lusty soul, craving existence. You have no special need to determine that your passion for life is somehow inappropriate: it's no more so than breathing. Once you get judgment out of the way, the only remaining question is how to manifest your desires from the psychic realm to the physical realm. I suggest that you stay close to your feelings and learn to saturate your emotional vibration with the feeling of who and what you desire. Build up your charge like a battery (or more technically a capacitor). Allow the energy you carry to be a clear image of the feeling and the desire of what you want. Craving is good, but embrace the pleasure of consciously allowing yourself to want; then we shall see what happens.

Taurus (April 19- May 20)
You're moving into transcendent territory regarding the work that you do. I keep talking about this; maybe it's because so many of my Taurus friends live with perennial career struggle. However, this is the time to come to the realizations that make the commitment to who you are and what you want to do seem natural. Beware that in our monoculture, we believe that there's just one thing, which can lead to a search for 'the one'. As far as I can tell, what you are going for is a quality of devotion to existence, as expressed through creative activity and service. Read that three times. The objective is a quality of devotion. To existence. As expressed. Through creative activity and service. I am familiar with life on your planet, and I know how weird that seems -- till you get into it.

Gemini (May 20- June 21)
There are times when those twins inside you get together and get it on, and you're in one of those moments. By that token, the Taurus horoscope would apply to you word for word, though what we need to add is the faith factor. This is an internal consciousness which generally cannot be spoken or described in words, but which is experienced as a sense of moving from your center. Any external spiritual practice, from lighting a candle to meeting a guru, is designed to bring awareness inward to your center point. Please remember this. You contain who you are, and therefore you contain what you seek. Move from the interior of your awareness outward. That is to say, focus on yourself and your feelings and let this experience spread outward into the world around you.

Cancer (June 21- July 22)
There are rewards for clarifying agreements, plugging holes, and remaining independent of group dynamics. These will be significant; give it a little time. Lately you may seem to be taking three steps back for every step you take forward. This won't last much longer, though you need to take the forward steps consciously. Your sign is ruled by the Moon, which is about to be full in Virgo: that's a surge of mental energy, which may be destabilizing. Therefore, you must balance the cyclical nature of the Moon with the stability of Saturn, so that you can take advantage of both inspiration and discipline; or rather, so that your creative power can take advantage of the structure that will contain your ideas and your sensations. I can sum up Saturn's message for you in two words: stay grounded.

Leo (July 22- Aug. 23)
These weeks of Mars retrograde in your sign have not been easy. You seem to have something new to get clear about every day; you seem to have to work out some new wrinkle in your psyche every hour or two. Your energy may be all over the place and you may have some adrenal exhaustion. Mars retrograde is the picture of resistance; there are many ways to address that, though at this point the best way would be to not resist that particular quality. I am more concerned about what happens when Mars stations direct on March 10, which I would sum up as: take things gradually and consciously and slowly as you resume your forward motion. You may feel inclined to bounce right into action, and I would say, a subtle shift of momentum is more than enough.

Virgo (Aug. 23- Sep. 22)
Virgo is one of the easiest signs, or energies, to stress out; it can also handle a high volume of activity, though it helps a lot if the energy is turned down. The computer I'm now working on quite literally would have occupied a warehouse 50 years ago, with less processing power and less memory but consuming far more energy. I can now carry it in a nifty shoulder bag, and it runs on a battery. Think of yourself as this next epoch of technology: the energy-efficient, compact unit. There will be times during the next few days that you'll need to turn down the energy input; turn down the volume; keep earplugs in your pocket and use them anyplace it gets too noisy. Likewise, the results of your thought process may be subtle, solutions that work because they have leverage rather than drama.

Planet Waves

Libra (Sep. 22 - Oct. 23)
Do you think of yourself as an idea person? Probably, but you may not be too confident about it. Your idea process is subtle, and maybe in the long run better if you don't fly that as a flag. However, you are very much in the role of idea person right now, and for quite a while to come. I hope it doesn't add too much pressure to say that people are depending on you, particularly where you work. Ideas can be original, and they can be original applications of old concepts; an idea can be as simple and as effective as putting flowers in a vase. Remember that you have this perceptive ability, and you are a likely source of resolving something that others perceive as difficult, or cannot perceive at all. Seeing any problem accurately is at least halfway to solving it.

Scorpio (Oct. 23- Nov. 22)
It's not that you're working without a goal; more likely, you're looking in the wrong direction -- toward the past. I say this recognizing that Scorpio's tendency to be set in old patterns of thought is pretty amazing, given that yours is the sign of transformation and evolution. What you are transforming is precisely your mental process. You may get nervous every time you step out of your cautious mental framework. But let's put it this way: Google, as clever and effective as it is, was built on a simple old idea: cross-referencing, applied to a new environment. Think of your conservative mind as a foundation from which you can take a certain leap of faith. You invest a lot of time thinking, without necessarily recognizing that the result of thought is an idea that allows you to save months or years of labor. This is a lot easier than you make it.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22 - Dec. 22)
You may be concerned that your relatively new stable environment is going to suddenly be disrupted. That's always a risk when you reach a place of stability, however there are a few kinds of instability: one is disruption, which while often helpful in the end, can be difficult; yet worse is the expectation of a potential problem. The other kind of instability involves moving toward an emotional or creative breakthrough, which results specifically in freedom. Anticipation of this kind of change can be equally destabilizing, and it's often considered a reason to avoid passion or inspiration. I suggest you live with the tension for a while and discover what you have on the way without torturing yourself with negative expectation. Various supportive factors say you're perfectly safe; you can even leave the house, if you want.

Capricorn (Dec. 22- Jan. 20)
For a while, you get to do the pushing -- or rather, you now need to. Certain factors that had you at the edge of your limits have eased off, and you're left to your own strength, ingenuity and willingness to make progress. This is a test of how strong and how determined you've become, and you may be surprised at the outcome. You may feel like you're burrowing through your own emotional body, passing through layer after layer of mixed feelings. You may feel like your progress is obstructed by the weight and substance of the past, but in reality this is a mirage. You may believe that the perfect partner is going to show up to help you, however, certain people you care about have plenty else on their minds. So now you get to give it a go, seemingly without support. That's the place to start: simply be willing to take your first steps as an independent agent.

Aquarius (Jan. 20- Feb. 19)
It's amazing how useful mild irritation can be, if you put it to work. The kind of irritation you've been accustomed to lately is the type that's difficult to do anything about because it's been so difficult to pin down. You now may be noticing how a communication breakdown in a relationship is limiting your other possibilities; and further, that it's about more than communication. Relating implies that there's something to relate and that's the factor that someone close to you may be finding in short supply. It's not you: you have plenty to offer. Ask yourself where offering your creative energy results in the most palpable exchange. An exchange is a cycle with momentum, not merely passing something back and forth. Be sensitive to where momentum is building and where it's dissipating and you will know exactly what to do.

Pisces (Feb. 19- March 20)
You pave the road to the future with your feelings today. You may well ask how you're supposed to do that: how exactly you can do that. The method is emphasizing the positive: what works for you, what you recognize as helpful, what provides you with benefits that nourish you and the people around you. At the moment this is a matter of emphasis: you will see what you focus on. What you focus on will magnify. Therefore, the art of seeing, of noticing, and of responding to what your sensory and emotional data provide, is vital now. Yet there's also a higher level: the level of holding a vision. You know what you want. I suggest you be bold enough to articulate this to yourself, and listen to what you're saying; and from there, to take action and do something about it.

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