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Kingston, NY, Friday, June 11, 2010

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The Element: Water
Dear Friend and Reader:

As the week has developed, the situation in the Gulf of Mexico has reached new dimensions of dire, and the story has followed the pattern of every other chemical disaster only on a scale that few people can imagine. It's as if human greed and hubris have unleashed a pestilence of mythical proportions. The undersea well uncontrollably gushing out oil, turning the ocean to blood, is like a vision of the end of days more apropos of the Book of Revelation than The New York Times. The question is, what is the message?

Planet Waves
This is a giant isopod, one of the critters that inhabits the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico. It resembles those little bugs you find in your basement that roll up into a ball, only it's a heck of a lot bigger. They are among the things we might find -- or fear -- in the depths of our emotional subconscious.
Here is a news recap. After many failed attempts to stanch the flow of oil, BP used robots to cut the riser pipe and installed a new "top hat" to collect some of the oil. This has increased the flow substantially, and the company may actually be siphoning up less than the overall increase. Currently, that oil is being burned -- not collected -- because BP lacked the foresight to move a second tanker to the scene to hold the oil. This, despite its promise that the collected oil would be sold and the proceeds used to help wildlife. This is consistent with BP's pattern of incompetence and pathological lying.

Here, we have a key component in the spiritual piece of this issue: the constant transaction of deception that keeps these big industries alive, and which allows them to do the damage that they do. Now, we need to investigate further and look for our own role in the problem. If we're going to move past this, we need to figure out what this says about us. And I don't just mean whether we use dixie cups. I mean what it says about us as beings evolving toward higher consciousness.

A Change to the Natural World

In addition to the economic costs of this disaster, we are losing one of the world's most beautiful ecosystems, as we watch. The Gulf of Mexico is not really a gulf; it's a magnificent inland sea, similar to the Mediterranean. It is a world apart, with warm water on average less than a mile deep, and a sea floor comprised of canyons, continental shelf, reefs and many other features. Its vast wetlands -- the marshy places where land meets water, and the brackish places where river meets sea -- are breeding grounds for many of the creatures who live there. Before humans arrived, the Gulf of Mexico was an aquatic paradise, and is no doubt home to numerous living relics of other epochs of history.

Every time you hear someone talk about cleaning up the Gulf of Mexico, you can be sure they have no clue. It's one thing to shovel up sludge. That's a cosmetic cleanup. There seems to be little effort to get the oil out of the water, and most of the booms (which are barely effective) are not being tended.

Petroleum is a concentrated toxin and water is extremely sensitive. We learned from the Exxon Valdez spill that oil is toxic to fish eggs at one part per billion. That's like a quart of oil in 250 million gallons of seawater. One part per billion (ppb) translates to one drop of a toxin in 500 barrels of water, or a pinch of salt in 10 tons of potato chips. I estimate that about 100,000 barrels of oil are coming out of that well every day: about 42 gallons per second.

Let's do a little math. Let's say there are 300 drops of oil in a fluid ounce. A U.S. drop is 1/360th of an ounce. Oil is thick fluid that forms big drops, so let's underestimate a little. At 300 drops per ounce, that would mean there are 38,400 drops in a gallon. There are 1.6 million drops of oil in a 42-gallon barrel (the standard measure). The government estimates that 19,000 barrels a day are spewing into the Gulf, which I think is a ridiculously low estimate, but let's use it since it's an official estimate. That means that every day, 30.64 billion drops of oil enter the Gulf of Mexico, and each drop can render 21,000 gallons of seawater a substance toxic to fish. Even using low estimates of outflow, we may already be far past an average of one part per billion in the Gulf. Unless we distill the entire Gulf of Mexico, we cannot get that out of the water.

Planet Waves
Topographic rendering of the Gulf of Mexico, really an inland sea, which was an aquatic paradise before humans arrived.
Then there are the millions of gallons of dispersants, which are toxic in themselves and which convert the oil into plumes of benzene-laced snot. Use of the dispersants was not in BP's mishap plans, and has never been done on this scale.

The main dispersants, which are being injected underwater for the first time, are made of secret ingredients (the ingredients are proprietary) -- but to the best of my knowledge seem to consist of kerosene and propylene glycol. The latter has a property of sucking oxygen out of the water. I read that a gallon of propylene glycol in the seawater does the oxygen depletion damage of a million gallons of raw sewage. As a result, countless fish in the Gulf of Mexico are now dying of asphyxiation in oxygen-depleted waters.

I hate using the words millions and billions, but there are few other ways to convey the scale of the situation, or the relative toxicity of the chemicals involved. And in truth you don't need that. You just need to imagine a dolphin with her eyes burning, or see an oil-soaked pelican, to know the truth.

Then there are the ethics issues. We're seeing how Corporate America actually conducts business. This week, for instance, we learned that BP, whose Deepwater Horizon well blew out nearly two months ago, filed fraudulent permit applications with the United States government, and that the Minerals Management Service (MMS) and other agencies approved them. The application used prefab language from another project, talking about protecting walruses, which are native to the Arctic, not the Gulf of Mexico. According to Rachel Maddow (who devoted a long segment of her program Wednesday night to this issue) the application said there was zero chance of damage to coastlines and wildlife. BP listed a University of Florida professor who had already been dead four years as a contact in case of a spill, though claiming there was no chance of a spill happening; and no chance of oil from a rig 48 miles from shore ever reaching the coastline.

If you're familiar with the history of the chemical industry, you know this is same old, same old. Nothing ever goes wrong, nothing ever will, and no matter how bad a chemical is, nothing is ever toxic. If people get sick, something else caused that. The places where the chemical spill happened are then decreed to be cleaner than other places. There is a word in the anti-chemical movement for people who get on TV and spew toxic lies: nozzleheads. That's a reference to the device that sprays pesticides into the air. We need another word for the people who believe the lies, because in this game it takes two to tango.

[Note: At press time, the Washington Post has sent out a news alert updating the estimated flow from the BP gusher. Two teams were involved. One estimate proposes that since the April 20 blowout, approximately 53.6 million to 64.3 million gallons of oil have emerged from the well. That's roughly five to six times the amount spilled in Alaskan waters in 1989 by the Exxon Valdez. The new figures, soon to be officially announced by the U.S. Geological Survey, indicate that early estimates of the flow rate by the federal government and oil giant BP were not even close to the mark. The first estimate translates to about 29,000 barrels per day. However, the second team proposed that the flow could be between 50,000 and 100,000 barrels per day.]

The Emotional Dimension

Planet Waves
Daybreak in the path of an annular eclipse, Valencia, Spain. Photo by Eric Francis.
Those of you who are into esoteric studies have no doubt started to make the connection to what this means for the element water. Water is the element of the emotions, and much else. Now toxic material from another dimension is spewing up into the pool of our feelings. If we take this as augury, we can get another kind of picture of the change that not just the Earth, but humanity, is going through. We have an image of what this says about the human condition. This information can provide some clues as to how to handle the issue from a spiritual standpoint.

In the current astrology, there are many watery references. Jupiter and Uranus were in Pisces at the time. Neptune has been getting many transits lately. This event is happening at the first Neptune return of the planet Neptune's discovery. That's to say that Neptune, named for the god of the sea, was discovered in 1846 in late Aquarius and it is now just past its discovery position today.

It is ominous that Chiron entered Pisces the very day of the blowout -- about 22 hours before the explosion aboard the rig. This is a rare event. Chiron left Pisces in the late 1960s and has not been there since. Chiron calls attention to the flaws in systems, and focuses attention on whatever it touches, in general. We know we have emotional issues in our culture. We know from the anger, frustration, confusion, fear, jealousy, resentment and depression that are so representative of our culture's emotional body. We have exceedingly few forums to process these feelings, or to even allow them into awareness. We tend to treat these issues like they don't exist, and rather than address them, we stuff them under the surface, into the unconscious. If the truth hurts too much, there's nothing like a lie to make us feel better -- and that explains why we love to be lied to so much -- why, indeed, we nearly insist upon it.

Now we have an uncontrolled toxic release from below the bottom of the sea, contaminating the realm of feelings, dreams and visions. More significantly, the sensitive, fertile meeting places where land meets water are taking the worst beating, and will take the longest to return to a position where they can sustain life. This region where land meets water is where we go for inspiration, rejuvenation and those rare moments of relaxation. And now that space, on the Earth and in our psyches, is being fouled.

Planet Waves
Flow from the waterfall on the Grandmother Land in High Falls eventually reaches the Hudson River Estuary System, where its fate is to dilute waters contaminated with PCBs by General Electric. Photo by Eric Francis.
The late Ted Andrews, author of Animal Speak, said of the element water that it's "the symbol of creation, passion and even sexuality. It is the element of all life. It is the symbol of new dimensions and new forces." In other words, water is the breeding ground of consciousness, and represents an inner frontier. If we foul that frontier with millions of barrels of oil, we are basically rendering it off limits. Or we are getting a vivid picture of the toxicity we already carry. How we are responding tells us how we respond to our own inner toxicity. Can we face the truth? Do we sink into despair? Do we give up or face the work that needs to be done?

In many ways this is a physical phenomenon. Our bodies are contaminated with the results of consuming hydrocarbons, from PCBs and dioxins that start off as oil, to the phthalates that contaminate nearly every bite of food we eat if it comes from a package. All of these chemicals are hormonally toxic. They mimic hormones and get into the reproductive cycle -- this is why they are toxic to fetuses, reduce sperm counts, cause hermaphrodism and create diseases like endometriosis. In a recent article in The Ecologist, I suggested that this is having many effects on the emotional content of our relationships. Many of our hormone signals, so vital to human communication, are bungled up. Our sense of gender identity is in chemically induced vertigo.

Totem Readings for Three Gulf of Mexico Creatures

As I witness images of struggling animals in the Gulf, I've wondered what their totem meanings are: that is, what they represent. For those not familiar with this method of 'reading' reality, taking messages from animals is a way of using the natural world as a map of consciousness. The animals all have gifts and represent different parts of our human experience. Today I wanted to scope out this information, so I looked up in Animal Speak three of the creatures who used to thrive in the Gulf of Mexico. I have a report for you. I will leave it to you to determine what message these animal guides have for humanity at this time.

Planet Waves
Pelican helps us float above the surface of the water when life's trials and tribulations get intense. Extremely buoyant, he is basically unsinkable. He is friendly and does not compete with his fellows. This one lives on Tampa Bay in Florida. Photo by Eric Francis.
Pelicans. These gorgeous, friendly and ancient shore birds were around for 37 million years before humans arrived. Andrews says that a common misconception about pelicans is that they store food in their beaks, which is not true; their stretchy bill is like a fishing net. He suggests that when the pelican shows up, we need to consider whether we are storing something that should not be stored.

Pelicans are cooperative birds. They don't compete for nesting grounds. They have a self-sacrificing quality and cannot sink. Even though it's difficult, they can take off and fly even when their feathers are laden with water. "Symbolically, this hints at being able to be buoyant and to rest on top in spite of the heaviness of life circumstances. The pelican teaches us that no matter how difficult life becomes, no matter how much you plunge -- you can pop up to the surface. The pelican holds the knowledge of how to rise above life's trials."

This spill is decimating the long-protected breeding grounds on Gulf of Mexico islands. These sanctuaries were created early in the 20th century by Teddy Roosevelt. In the mid-20th century, pelicans suffered a near-devastating blow from DDT, a hormonal toxin which rendered their egg shells too thin to contain a gestating chick. After DDT was banned, pelicans started to come back and had reached a new peak of population before the BP oil spill. Rescued pelicans are being taken to Florida, where they are safe, for now.

Turtles. We live on Turtle Island. According to Gary Snyder, this was one of the names given by the natives to North America. The earliest known turtles date from 215 million years ago. Sea turtles generally breathe air, but under dire conditions can also extract oxygen from water. They are opportunistic eaters; they eat what's available, and thus represent our relationship to opportunity.

Andrews suggests that the turtle "unites heaven and earth" and he refers to it as the Keeper of the doors: the gateway to the fairy realm. Because turtles live so long -- some live for 80 years, and their species is one of the most ancient among reptiles -- turtle is about understanding our perception of time.

"The turtle is the symbol of the primal mother," he writes. "To the Native Americans, the turtle was a symbol of Mother Earth and a reminder that she provides for all our needs" -- if we take care of her. Because all turtles lay eggs on land, they are a link between the earthy and watery realms. In one version of the cosmic story, existence rests on the back of a turtle, who stands on the back of another turtle, and it's turtles all the way down.

Because the wetlands of the Gulf are being destroyed and contaminated, the breeding grounds for turtles and many other creatures are being eviscerated from the Gulf Coast region.

Dolphins. Dolphins, too, are world-bridgers. Extremely intelligent, they are among the seafaring mammals. Like sea turtles, they live underwater and breathe air. What is interesting about dolphins is that despite their many reasons to distrust humans, they still offer us their friendship, trust and curiosity. Many divers have been saved from shark attacks by dolphins, and Elian Gonzales, the refugee boy from Cuba, was found surrounded by them. Andrews says they represent the power of breath and sound.

"Dolphins can open new creation and dimensions to a great degree. Water is essential to life, but so is breath. Many techniques for breathing exist that teach how proper use of breath can be used to induce altered states and align oneself with new dimensions of life."

He adds: "When you can align yourself with the dolphin through breathing you can have dolphin take you to all the places and times that existed before the great seas covered most of the world. Dolphin can lead you to underground caverns and the primordial beginnings of yourself."

They both communicate and navigate by sound, which he describes as "the creative life force. Sound came forth out of the womb of silence and created all things. Learning to create inner sounds so that you can create outer manifestations is part of what dolphin can teach."

This is enough to give the impression that the Gulf of Mexico is like a portal to another dimension -- one that is rapidly vanishing, as most of us merely watch.

Yours & truly,
Eric Francis

Gemini Birthday Audio: The Sky is Hot and So Are You
Dear Friend and Gemini, Gem Moon or Ascendant:

I've just finished the Gemini birthday audio for you, and man the sky is hot. We know that, but your chart and your life are positioned to make the most of the amazing astrology that we are experiencing now. This is a moment when it seems like everything is happening at once, though the main thing that's happening is that you are cultivating a new level of autonomy. That is to say, your charts suggest strongly that the highest priority in your life is to be an independent person, free of your entanglements with others so that you can release your true potential.

Planet Waves
For information about zodiac sign greeting cards, drop a note to sarah@planetwaves.net
This manifests three ways. First, I see you embarking on an overhaul of your financial plans and how you both structure and think about money. For too long you have been under the influence and indeed the power of others, and Pluto in Capricorn is helping you work out how this has been, and offering you many suggestions for how to open up to your own strength. While this plan has been in the works for a while, you're likely to feel a lot of change all at once -- and this will come with other changes in a relationship that is in a sense bound together by sex and money.

What you are really doing is dismantling the old values given to you by your parents, principally your mother, and tearing these ideas apart and opening up to a new set of ideals. You are determined to run on your own steam, and it's about time you did.

Next, you are finally finding some focus in your career. This is not easy for a Gemini, because you have Pisces in your career house: that's difficult to focus into a concrete plan of action, though Chiron in Pisces is pushing you to do just that. You'll either be feeling this as a sense of crisis or a sense of empowerment -- maybe, at times, as a mix of both. I describe in some detail how to work with Chiron energy to make the most of this rare event.

Finally, the time has arrived: your focus on your professional goals is translating into a passion about expressing yourself bravely, in original ways and without fear. This is about the Jupiter-Uranus conjunction in your 11th solar house, Aries. This is about liberating your self-expression, having a greater influence on your friends than they have on you, and being able to visualize your desires, hopes and dreams for who you want to be. Visualize, yes -- and manifest, because you finally have the discipline and focus.

You will find the details are all in this extended audio -- 60 minutes of astrology and 20 minutes of tarot using the Voyager deck -- all for just $14.99. Here is the link for instant access.

Yours & truly,
Eric Francis
PS, here is a five-minute free audio sample of this presentation.

Quicksand at the Center
| Political Waves

As the astrology of the moment shakes us to our very core, the nation dithers like a deer in the headlights. I take that as another step in our long journey toward awareness, but for those a little ahead of the curve, it's aggravating to see politics become a process in slow motion. With teeth-rattling emergencies announcing themselves on a daily basis, you might question that statement. But it isn't the worrisome events that matter -- it's what we feel about them. We feel stuck, unable to move. Our instinct tells us to run away from the shifting instability, but our feet seem firmly planted even as the ground trembles beneath us.

We have survived another Super Tuesday, with states like Arkansas, Nevada and South Carolina putting candidates in place for the November election. The Huffington Post announced the results in a giant header, reading "Establishment Wins," referring to incumbent Blanche Lincoln narrowly beating Bill Halter, a candidate supported by unions and progressives. Lincoln, you may remember, is a Blue Dog Dem from Arkansas who held us hostage in both the health care and financial reform debates. Such power comes to her via the close vote split in the Senate. Every Dem counts, even those at outer edges of their own party, which effectively describes culturally-conservative, business-cozy Blanche. So now, unless the Republicans sweep Arkansas, we're stuck with Blanche and her Blue Dog, centrist dithering.

Giant plumes of undersea gunk are on the move, poisoning whatever they touch, yet British Petroleum denies their existence. This is the global warming conundrum writ large: if you don't see it, can't touch it, it ain't real. Whom are you going to believe: the obnoxious Greenies, always crying about some outrage to plants or animals, or the big friendly corporations that give us jobs and boost our economy? Obama continues to accept responsibility, calling on experts from different disciplines in an effort to fix the spill, but for the moment, because BP has the technology, they still lead the pack as "the responsible party." I fully expect British Petroleum to declare bankruptcy at some point, cutting their losses and regrouping under another corporate entity. They will continue to dither until they get that all arranged.

Digital pictures of the flow have finally been released showing as much as 100,000 gallons of crude -- more than double the corporate estimates -- spewing daily into the Gulf and moving toward the Atlantic coast. As if this nightmare scenario were just business as usual, Gulf states have demanded that off-shore drilling continue, giving local oil workers their jobs back. Because economy trumps ecology, the Administration agreed to shallow-water permits after new safety regulations were released this week. According to Rolling Stone, Obama has taken the political calculation to appease the conservatives dedicated to drill, baby, drill. Bad timing to make a deal with this particular devil.

Look thy last on all things lovely

Planet Waves
Ewan MacColl, 1988 by Jim Maginn.
On one side of the planet, oilmen kill the Gulf; on the other, a rogue government kills passengers and hijacks ships at sea. Planes foul the atmosphere; genetically modified crops and trees invade food supplies; radionuclides leach from nuclear plants; tropical pests and diseases spread northward; pesticides and industrial poisons taint the cells of every living thing; icecaps and glaciers melt into rising seas; wells and rivers dry up; honeybees drift into extinction alongside newts and snakes.

"The evil that men do lives after them," quoth the Bard. The evil that our species does will keep killing long after we follow the honeybees into oblivion.

"We're fucked, so why bother?" one person says. "SUVs fill the roads like a dead pelican parade. We're choking the planet to death, our oil is running dry, and we kill each other to get the last of it before someone else does."

"Yup, we're fucked," agrees an octogenarian, cheerfully fighting cancer inside and corrupt government outside, with about equal likelihood of success. "We're fucked, but we don't have to bend over and take it. Be angry. Be very, very angry. Then act on it. By damn I'll go out fighting."

These two different reactions to the mounting wreckage of civilization can occur side by side in anyone who cares beyond the ostrich phases of denial. "Despair. Accept. Act," Clive Hamilton says. He explores such reactions to unpleasant facts about ourselves and our future in Requiem for a Species: why we resist the truth about climate change.

"Over the last five years, almost every advance in climate science has painted a more disturbing picture of the future," Hamilton writes. "The reluctant conclusion of the most eminent climate scientists is that the world is now on a path to a very unpleasant future and it is too late to stop it." This is the reality his book confronts head on, with unsparing bluntness.

Hamilton, professor of public ethics at Australian National University and author of Affluenza, Growth Fetish, The Freedom Paradox, and other provocative books, has written more than a requiem. His new book is a painfully embarrassing tour of human folly in the face of entirely preventable disasters -- right up to the most preventable and now unstoppable disaster of all, planetary climate change past its tipping point.

Planet Waves
Weekly Horoscope for Friday, June 11, 2010, #819 - BY ERIC FRANCIS

Weekend Astrology

Saturday is the Gemini New Moon [view astrological chart]. What is interesting about this lunation is that it occurs in an opposition to two potent galactic points in Sagittarius, indeed, close to the opposition midpoint: the Galactic Center (the core of our local galaxy) and the Great Attractor (an intergalactic point drawing millions of galaxies toward it). Here is how I perceive this setup: Gemini is about dualism. It represents the condition of the human ego that perceives itself as divided, and against oneself, one's neighbors and even one's closest partners. Sagittarius is about the experience of alchemy or resolving dualism, symbolized by the magnificent spiral of the Milky Way resident in that sign. I'm not saying that native Sagittarians are perfectly united human beings, but rather that Sagittarius is where we do a lot of the work of finding that space of inner unity, of making peace with the world and the discovery that we do indeed have a soul. Saturday's New Moon is like peering into the mirror of what is possible: seeing a seemingly far-off experience of harmony as something that's potentially available within. The Sun and the Moon -- the twins Artemis and Apollo -- come together in the sign of the twins. Feel the gentle beauty of that and allow your mind to join together with your soul.

Aries (March 20-April 19)
Either you've discovered that you're up to the task, or you're about to give up because you're so overwhelmed. You may be both at the same time. If you can embrace the opposites and bridge your mind and body across the sense of a dichotomy, you will find an excellent way of getting to the next level. None of the new things you want to do, or the new concepts of who you are, will work on your prior dimension of reality, and you now have access to this new space. From many viewpoints it seems impossible to get there. I suggest you keep looking around for the perspective from which your evolution feels not only possible but inevitable. You might start by completely, entirely and absolutely forgetting your relationships. Pretend that they're not there, or that they don't matter, and then feel for your options.

Aries Birthday Audio by Eric Francis is available. Check this link for more information.
Taurus (April 19- May 20)
You're in a titanic struggle with how your past beliefs influence your current choices. Ideally they would not do so, except for something like: "That's what I used to believe, and it doesn't work anymore, and I need some new possibilities, so let's try some on." It's equally likely that you've become obsessed with an old thought form because you're under so much influence to open up in a genuinely new way. You will know you're obsessed because everywhere you turn, you see another limit placed on your bliss. There are two sides to this tense inner polarity: the desire to break free, and the sense that you're caught. The question has finally worked its way to the surface: in what, exactly, are you trapped? You're not sitting in a cage. Obviously there is nobody with a gun to your head. Clearly you are feeling many impulses encouraging you to turn yourself loose on the world.

Taurus Birthday Audio by Eric Francis is available. Check this link for more information.
Gemini (May 20- June 21)
Let your anger or frustration influence you to make the change you want to make. You might be thinking: it's not a good idea to make a decision when I'm in a negative state of mind. Yet that 'negativity' is information. It is data, and it's something appearing in your awareness. It's feedback from your mind and emotions, and it's likely to be a comment on your environment. So you can, if you respond with awareness, easily turn this to a positive. The lurking issue is the fear that you will have to give something up; that you will need to make an emotional sacrifice of some kind, in order to make the change or the decision you're planning. I have two thoughts on that: one is, consider whether you've already made the 'sacrifice' you fear. Second, consider whether it really was a loss, or a necessary exchange -- and notice what you've gained as a result of that transaction.

Gemini Birthday Audio by Eric Francis is available. Check this link for more information.

Cancer (June 21- July 22)
Whatever you've noticed is happening or not happening in your professional life this week -- that is, sure signs of success, or the lurking question of whether you'll ever get where you're going -- you can trust that you've taken a leap forward this week. Somewhere, somehow, you've had an impact or an influence that's going to come back to you. In truth this is just the beginning; you have set in motion a sequence of events that will come back to you. If anything you are imaging the results on too small of a scale, not too large. Your intentions and your ambitions have room to far exceed nearly anything you see in your environment; the world is ready to move over and make room for you, though for this to happen, you must be willing to take that space and boldly play your unique role.

Leo (July 22- Aug. 23)
This is the moment to focus on earning your money from your true profession -- that is, the work you consider your authentic mission in life. The Gemini New Moon says it will help if you keep yourself visible, emphasize communication and take care of the details required in the acquisition of capital. You are drawing energy from two sources. One is the world around you, where your ideas, efforts and ingenuity make contact with the public. If you have found yourself sending mixed signals, now is the time to tidy up that particular broadcast. A mixed signal is any form of approach-avoid; love-hate; desire-guilt; the sense of having earned but still to not deserve. The other resource is your own capacity for work and the generation of ideas and resources. Mars in Virgo is saying: focus on the details.

Virgo (Aug. 23- Sep. 22)
After more than seven months in Leo, Mars is now in your sign, and I have a concern. People with strong Virgo signatures can be exceptionally difficult on themselves. They hold the world to a high standard, but really what they're doing is inflicting on themselves a kind of mental obsession, subtle at times, overt at others, of not being good enough. Mars will certainly provoke your desire to improve your life, but I suggest you be mindful of your tendency to tear yourself down at the same time. With this transit, you may suddenly be conscious of anxieties and anger that you had tucked away for a long time; if you feel that stuff, let it come to the surface and move through you. Meantime, a New Moon in your potent 10th solar house, Gemini, is an invitation to greater callings, and combined with Mars in your birth sign, this can stoke your ambition and passion. Just remember: keep it positive.

Planet Waves

Libra (Sep. 22 - Oct. 23)
You seem to be embracing faith in yourself after months of obsession over a relationship. I'm wondering just what you worked out with that particular partner. Did you move the issue forward and find some new common ground, or was it an exercise in reviewing the past? By this point, every relationship has the potential to exist in a new dimension of reality, and I'm wondering what it feels like to have so much provocative, creative and exciting movement acting in your life. Do you have the feeling that you're being pushed? Are others leading you forward? Is it all too much, or does the drive to recreate yourself feel good? It's true that others may have made the first move; when Saturn reaches your birth sign in a few weeks, the ball will really be in your court.

Scorpio (Oct. 23- Nov. 22)
Some spectacular astrology has taken up residence in our work-a-day 6th house (Aries). Our training to be good boys and girls starts early in our school career, when most of us spend the day being told what to do. Every activity is carefully planned, down to when we get to take a bite of food. We must ask permission to use the toilet. We are told what to think, and when to think it. After a dozen years of this conditioning, we're then expected to be creative, independent people: most of whom are sentenced to decades in a cubicle. The Jupiter-Uranus conjunction has gone off like a bomb, and I cannot imagine you having anything less than total creative freedom around your work, your ideas and your vision for what you contribute to the world. There's just one question -- do you have the discipline?

Sagittarius (Nov. 22 - Dec. 22)
Recent astrology is pushing you to be your most visionary, daring and restless, which is saying a lot. You may be wondering how you can change directions given the effort you've put into paving certain roads in your life, down to the last details. Before long, however, the issue of what you are known for, and what you do to earn your living, is going to come into alignment with the recent creative developments that have seized you with the feeling of a supernova. You may not be able to see the connection point now, but the work you've done on other projects leads directly, even flawlessly, into the next phase of your development. Your job now is to maintain awareness of the core creative element: to keep your ideas flowing and your palette moist with many colors of paint.

Capricorn (Dec. 22- Jan. 20)
The current issue is not a matter of ethics, which you have worked out previously. Rather, it's a matter of getting the job done. This, in turn, breaks into two parts: exerting your leadership behind the scenes, and making sure that you stay sufficiently free of mental stress to be able to work with others in a constructive way. I'm here to remind you that you are being looked up to not only as an effective taskmaster, but also as the person who understands the resounding lack of moral resolve that so deeply afflicts our culture. You can trust yourself. You can trust that you're having a positive influence on the people around you, at the same time you're growing inwardly in leaps and strides. It is, however, imperative that you get enough rest and spend some time every day living outside your head. Make friends with plants -- they like you too.

Aquarius (Jan. 20- Feb. 19)
You are thinking well; the time will soon arrive to think bigger. Bigger means: outside of your neighborhood, beyond your region, beyond your normal area of specialty and beyond the bounds of your country. The concepts you've been developing are good enough and they are clamoring for a wider audience. Saturn, the planet that traditionally rules your sign, is rapidly moving into position to assist with that process. It's not there yet: you are still in the phase of investigate, experiment and negotiate. But soon enough there will come a moment when action is necessary. It will come with one or both of these feelings as a cue: you've reached a limit and have to redesign a structure; or your life seems to be splitting in half and you are creating a parallel world that may exist quite a distance from your current frame of reference.

Aquarius birthday audio is coming soon -- it will have its moment.

Pisces (Feb. 19- March 20)
Focus on feeling good about yourself. We all know this may be a challenge for Pisces above all other signs, but now is your chance to get some results on this lifelong project. It is true that mixed in with many exciting developments is a kind of wild stress, and at the same time the world is watching an ocean slowly choke to death. I would encourage you to find ways to not take this global development too personally, or too emotionally, at the same time you don't hide your head in despair. You have a life independent of the despair of the world, and values that would contribute significantly to improving the world around you. At this point, your primary job is to keep a positive attitude and a mental posture of faithful expectancy. Know a good thing when you see it. You are.

Pisces Birthday Audio by Eric Francis is available. Check this link for more information.

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