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Mars Station Direct: What Just Happened?

Dear Friend and Reader:
What the heck just happened with that Mars retrograde and its station direct yesterday?
No doubt you've been trying to notice what you feel, paying especially close attention to what you have and have not wanted to do; maybe you've checked back over your journal entries between mid-April and now. But have you reviewed the big news stories since April 17 to see what themes emerge?
Planet Waves
Series of images digitally stacked so that all of the star images coincide, but you can see the path of Mars during a previous retrograde in 2009. Photo by Tunc Tezel/APOD.
Although you, personally, might not be directly impacted by a given incident, the 'big stuff' that fills the media still shapes our shared awareness of the world, and of our place in it. The micro and the macro often reflect each other.
Events of just the last two-and-a-half weeks alone are enough to make one feel like we've witnessed a few lifetimes fly by: the Orlando shooting at Pulse nightclub; the murder of British Labour MP Jo Cox; Representative John Lewis (D-Georgia) leading a sit-in on the floor of the House of Representatives to demand gun control laws; the UK's vote to leave the European Union; a "once in a thousand years" flood in West Virginia; the US Supreme Court striking down parts of a severely restrictive abortion law; the attack by gunmen with explosives on the Istanbul, Turkey, airport.
I'm serious: all of those things (and more) happened just in the last 17 days or so. It's enough to give one vertigo. Which, I suppose is a fitting metaphor: feeling as if you (or the world) is spinning or falling, even though you are standing still. Just like Mars is currently, from our perspective.
Speaking of our perspective, I want to mention that the planet Mars does not actually move backwards (none of the planets do). It is a trick of perspective, having to do with Earth 'lapping' Mars. That is, Earth -- having an orbit that is closer to the Sun and therefore faster than that of Mars -- just passed between Mars and the Sun. As we go by, passing as closely as we routinely can, it makes Mars look like it's moving backwards.
Eric mentioned to me today, "Toward the beginning [of the retrograde] I mentioned that Mars retrograde is not Mars doing something to Earth; rather it's Earth passing between Mars and the Sun. So it kind of has the wrong name." He added, "It's like we got a close-in look."
Okay, so: we got a close-in look. But what did we see?
Planet Waves
Artist's conception of vertigo.
With the help of my Planet Waves colleagues, I've posted a timeline of major news highlights between mid-April and yesterday, which you can read here. Believe it or not, there were stories that got weeded out; so much happens on this planet each day, and thanks to the internet we know about far more of it than we ever used to.
A few additional events from earlier in the list of retrograde highlights include: the Fort McMurray wildfire in Alberta, Canada, with Mars still in fire sign Sagittarius; Mercury transiting the face of the Sun on May 9; Donald Trump accumulating enough delegates to secure the Republican Party nomination for President; Comedian John Oliver buying and then forgiving $15 million in US medical debt to about 9,000 people; Emily Doe’s court statement going viral after a California judge sentenced her rapist, Stanford swimmer Brock Turner, to only a few months of jail time; Hillary Clinton attaining enough delegates to become the presumptive Democratic nominee for President; and the deaths of Prince, Jonathan Cainer, Father Daniel Berrigan and Muhammad Ali.
That's a lot to try and connect comprehensively. Eric commented that, given that the station direct was in Scorpio, he was surprised there were hardly any sex- or gender-related stories; mostly it has been guns, guns, guns.
Yet, I'd say that what stands out for me as one of the two biggest stories with the most powerful call to action (along with the Brexit vote by the UK to leave the EU, related to tension about refugees) is the Orlando shooting in the gay nightclub.
Yes, that had to do with guns, and we're seeing tremendous energy focused on the issue of gun control now. Yes, it had an element of 'foreigner fear' or the 'fear of other', since the shooter seems to have been radicalized by Islamic fundamentalists, and many people have jumped on that angle. But as Eric pointed out when he first read the event chart, the astrology suggests that Omar Mateen's mental health was strongly influenced by his own sexuality having been turned in on itself by religion.
Planet Waves
Your handy-dandy diagram explaining how the Mars retrograde effect works, in LGBQT rainbow colors, no less.
If that does not describe a shadow incarnation of Mars 'turning' in Sagittarius and then running up against some core, hidden truth in Scorpio, I don't know what does. It is heartbreaking that, for Mateen, there seemed to be no other way to reconcile and integrate these facets of himself besides violently projecting his fear of himself, and rage toward himself, onto others.  
There are so many other ways a person could deal with uncomfortable discoveries about themselves; but those options seem to work best in a social or relational context where honesty about desire is not only accepted, but valued and honored. In the West, that is true culturally only to a degree. Depending on the subculture(s) you live in -- geographic, religious, economic, creative, etc. -- honesty about desire may be more or (much) less valued.
There is something about several of the major events of this retrograde, but especially of the Orlando shooting, that has really brought home the connection between desire and violence. We know of major religions that teach that expressing or indulging desire, especially sexual, is some form of 'violence' against yourself, against your soul, against God.
Yet what we keep seeing in the news, over and over, is that the opposite is true: it is suppression of desire (and this goes for creative ambition as well as sexuality) that leads to violence. That 'violence' may express itself in the form of depression, which can be anger at early caregivers turned in on oneself; it may express itself as physical harm done to oneself or another; or as the news shows us, in extreme cases that violence gets very tangibly directed at others -- at the mirror images of our repressed shadow sides; the scapegoats.
Still, much of what I've just written is not terribly new in the realms of psychology, astrology and spiritual healing. The question still remains: what has this specific Mars retrograde shown us?
Again, I am grateful to my Planet Waves collaborators; this week, coming straight from participating in a weeklong Fringe theater festival, my biggest clue about Mars being stationary in a water sign has been the distinct difficulty in being able to focus and motivate myself. The word that keeps coming to mind for me is "floaty." But Amy Elliott, Lizanne Webb and Fe Bongolan, along with Eric, have come to the rescue.
Planet Waves
The Onion nails Mars stationing direct in Scorpio.
Regarding Trump's presumptive nomination in particular (though we can consider Clinton here, too), Eric mentioned that one theme to keep in view is that "things 'secured' under Mars Rx will get a rethink -- and/or the rethink would be helpful."
That insight may prove especially helpful to you on a personal level, as well, as you move through the post-retrograde shadow phase. Don't let it throw you: it's all part of an ongoing process.

Yes, Scorpio is a fixed sign, but Mars will leave it again soon enough (Aug. 2). No need for you to camp out anywhere, if rethinking something is called for. It doesn't necessarily mean you were wrong; you're evolving, possibly in response to new information or stimuli you did not have before.
Lizanne Webb remarked about the Mars Rx news, "My thought was that things we thought 'were the norm' or 'took for granted' we were suddenly REMINDED could shift from the norm unexpectedly. Things on normal expected paths were suddenly derailed or 'pulled off the path.' Our illusions of normal and what was constant were shaken up. We were taught not to assume!"
Some of Liz's additional comments:
"Trump an actual nominee? How the heck [did] that happen?"
"Democrats in Congress ... staging a friggin' sit-in?? Chris Murphy? OMG ... the Dems are finally showing some guts. You mean they are finally going to stand up to the bullies (Republicans)?"
"The UK leaving the EU? Did we all just assume the UK would vote smarter than that? Could elections really be lost due to dumb voters? Yep!"
"The black & white understanding of a 'men's room' and a 'ladies' room' ... no more. We learned that our world is not just Black & White and that the many colors in between must be accommodated."

Regarding Emily Doe's letter to, and Judge Persky's sentencing of, Brock Turner: "A rape victim CAN totally shame her rapist. And that was after learning that a judge COULD totally abandon justice. Both fall into the category of norms we came to assume, that got shaken up."

Planet Waves
But aren't we all "more than meets the eye" in some way?
In fact, just today the Pentagon upended another 'norm': Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter removed one of the final barriers to military service by lifting the Pentagon's ban on transgender people serving openly in the armed forces.

Personally, I'd like to see fewer people serving in the military overall (and fewer -- or no -- wars). But if having the top level of US military command decide to allow openly transgendered people to serve does not say 'Mars stationing direct in Scorpio', I'm not sure what does.
Being shaken from the complacency of 'the norm' is one way to put it. Amy Elliott described it as "the revelation of that which is hidden -- and as Eric might say, the environment becoming visible."
In fact, Eric has long associated Mercury stationing direct as a moment when 'the truth is revealed'. So it stands to reason that Mars would precipitate a similar phenomenon with its station direct (especially in secret-loving Scorpio), though the flavor or content of the revelation might be a little different.
Amy continued:
"By this I don't just mean hidden desires or shadow psychology, etc., both of which are natural ingredients of Scorpio -- but stories (many with long shadows) that reveal usually concealed aspects of the way the world works and the way humans work. It'd be similar to looking at the source code of a webpage, which tells you effectively how the page is done. We're looking through a glitch in the matrix, so to speak, that Mars is opening.
"For example, the migrant crisis is directly caused by Western wars in the Middle East. The uncomfortable presence of dead Syrian refugees in the news explains a lot about wealthy countries protecting their borders with racism and xenophobia. Brexit would seem to be another shelf in that particular cabinet. We would seem to be having an epidemic of 'I'm all right Jack' syndrome.
"We've already discussed how the US presidential candidates are sort of archetypes of the public, which reveals a lot about the public. Ditto the gun control protests from Democrats, showing the flaws in the current setup of Congress. Not to mention the absurdity of a civilised nation bearing so many tragedies for a cause that's right in their fucking faces and the politicians refuse to see it because of the NRA.
"I'd include in this the discoveries in astrophysics, as well as the Mercury transit. There were also some notable archaeological finds, including the possible tomb of Aristotle.
"And then there's the Panama Papers, helpfully exposing the complete mechanism by which rich people stay rich and get richer."
Planet Waves
Peeling back the layers of the matrix, seeing the environment as it really is. Image: still from the film The Matrix.
[Ed. note: the Panama Papers leak occurred April 3, during the first 'echo' phase, but revelations from the documents continued to occur throughout Mars retrograde.]

As Eric noted in an email reply, this second 'echo' or 'shadow' phase, with Mars now in direct motion, may have more of this phenomenon of layers being peeled back. And Mars transitioning again from late Scorpio into Sagittarius on Aug. 2 will also be something to watch.
We'll have more to say in future issues about the aspects Mars will make as it leaves the current echo phase in August and begins to cover new ground in Sagittarius. For now, keep your eyes open, keep your mind on those larger themes -- and keep tracking your emotions and desires. You'll know what you want to do if you're willing to let yourself know.
Yours & truly,

Amanda Painter

Additional research: Amy Elliott, Fe Bongolan and Lizanne Webb

Planet Waves (ISSN 1933-9135) is published each Tuesday and Thursday evening in Kingston, New York, by Planet Waves, Inc. Core community membership: $197/year. Editor and Publisher: Eric Francis Coppolino. Web Developer: Anatoly Ryzhenko. Designer: Lizanne Webb. Finance: Victoria Pomante. Astrology Editor: Amanda Painter. Astrology Fact Checker: Len Wallick. Copy Editor and Fact Checker: Jessica Keet. Outreach Co-ordinator: Victoria Bodge. Client Services: Amy Elliott. Media Consultant: Andrew Marshall McLuhan. Research, Writing and Editing: In addition to those listed above, Planet Waves is produced by a team consisting of Fe Bongolan, Judith Gayle, Kelly Janes, Amanda Moreno and Carol van Strum.


Planet Waves
Screen shot from Michael Monroe's video of Bach's Crab Canon shows both melodies at once (one dark, one shaded), while the crabs help you follow along with both.
Forwards, Backwards and Sideways -- All At Once

By Amanda Painter
With the Sun in Cancer and Mars having just stationed direct (switched apparent motion) in fellow water sign Scorpio, there was really only one choice for today's Create installment: this fun video of Johann Sebastian Bach's Crab Canon, suggested by Amy Elliott.
The title seems to compare crabs' way of walking sideways with the visual of a musician's hands playing a piano or harpsichord, as well as the way the piece requires the musician to switch the melodies being played by each hand.
As one comment on the YouTube page explains, "The right hand plays one melody, the left hand another and in the middle the hands switch melodies. So the right hand plays what the left hand played and the left hand plays what the right hand played but starting from the middle. So it's a kind of palindrome too."
This particular recording of the piece, uploaded by Michael Monroe with adorable little crab graphics scuttling along the sheet music, was "recorded so that the audio can be played backwards (just like the Beatles used to do!) and still sound exactly the same." Although, apparently it is not a recording of a ‘real' or analog instrument being played by a left and right hand, but rather "the original recording was of a single synth organ playing the top part -- that was then audio-reversed and added to the original to create the first performance you hear," according to Monroe.


This Week on Planet Waves FM
Mars Retrograde Redux: How Are You Doing?

Dear Friend and Reader:

While Eric is on his Mars-station-direct retreat, I invite you to listen again to the Planet Waves FM program from April 12 [play episode here], which aired less than a week before Mars stationed retrograde in Sagittarius. Mars will finally station direct in Scorpio tomorrow, June 29, at 7:38 pm EDT (23:38 UTC). Astrology rarely asks itself if it got things 'right'. So, how did we do?

Planet Waves
Mars rover Curiosity takes a low-angle self-portrait on Aug. 5, 2015. What would your Mars station direct self-portrait look like? Photo by NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS.
In the first segment of the program, Eric discusses what look like the central questions of this particular Mars retrograde. Mars can be summed up by the statement, "I want."

Retrograde, that statement becomes, "What do I want?" which in turn leads to "Why do I want it?"

The current Mars retrograde began with the more theoretical philosophy of what is right and wrong regarding desire (in Sagittarius), and then plunged into the biological impulses, curiosity and taboo of desire (in Mars-ruled Scorpio). How do you feel? Is it desire or fear? What is motivating your desires?

So please give this program a listen and let us know: did Eric get it right? Send in your Mars retrograde score to

This re-broadcast of Planet Waves FM also features some early thoughts about the Uranus-Eris conjunction of June 9 (which occurred in another Mars-ruled sign, Aries). In the second segment, there's an interview with Dr. James Engell, a professor at Harvard University. He wrote a scathing critique of educational priorities under capitalism, and how the profit motive as a focus is detrimental to how education works.

If you'd like to chart your recent course with additional Planet Waves coverage from this season, you can scroll through an index here of Mars-retrograde related writing, Planet Waves FM and Planet Waves TV episodes. For quick access, here is last week's Planet Waves FM, from June 21, in which Eric covers this week's Mars station.

Yours & truly,

Amanda Painter
Planet Waves Astrology Editor

Everything You Need to Know about Mars Direct

In this week's edition of Planet Waves TV [play video here] Eric Francis looks at the whole story of Mars retrograde, back to Jan. 3, 2016, when the process started. Then he reviews all the major themes of this event: where sex meets religion, how to figure out what you want, and most of all, the power of curiosity. If you’re looking for the 2016 spring reading that covers Mars retrograde for each sign, that link is here. Please subscribe to our YouTube channel.

Brexit Vote: U.K. Bails on EU -- Planet Waves TV Special Edition

We live in the age of the identity crisis run wild. In this special edition of Planet Waves TV, Eric Francis checks into the charts of the United Kingdom voting to leave the European Union. Strange but true: On the day that the modern United Kingdom was formed (Jan. 1, 1801) , a planet was discovered, named Ceres, and it factors prominently into the reading. In the video, I mention an article -- Uranus, Eris and the Riddle of the Internet. Here's a direct link.

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True, at first glance, the Planet Waves Boutique holds all of Eric's customer-favorite sign readings, broader-topic readings and class recordings. But what it really holds is potential:
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TRANSFORM fear, confusion, inner and outer conflict, anger, guilt, feeling stuck, lack of self-worth and undirected energy into starting points for productive growth and healing.
DEVELOP trust in your intuition, instincts and choices on a day-to-day basis.
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INSPIRE yourself to keep learning, to remain curious and to share your gifts with others.
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Your Monthly Horoscopes -- and our Publishing Schedule Notes

Your extended monthly horoscope for July was published Thursday, June 23. We published your extended monthly horoscope for June on Thursday, May 26. We published your Moonshine horoscope for the second Sagittarius Full Moon, by Len Wallick, on Thursday, June 16. Please note: we normally publish the extended monthly horoscope on the first Friday after the Sun has entered a new sign.

Planet Waves
New Moon Moonshine Horoscope for June 30, 2016, #1106 | by Len Wallick
Aries (March 20-April 19) -- As always, your greatest asset is your self-confidence. Remember that one constant, and any winds of change you might encounter will only serve to lift you up and propel you forward. Speaking of changes, you may want to consider making some of your own. Specifically, the universe appears to be offering you the dual gifts of ample room to change your mind and sound reason for a change of heart. While the world may not always be fair, you can at least always be fair to yourself. Therefore, take everything that comes with the next month or two as fuel for your fire and grist for your mill. There is no obligation for you to be or live to the satisfaction of others if it means being dissatisfied with yourself. -- by Len Wallick. For your Eric Francis horoscope this week, please see this link.

Taurus (April 19-May 20) -- Comfort is available to you. There is no disputing that. In fact, there are only two questions you need answer regarding the solace that seems to be accruing for you since the recent solstice. First, you should make it your business to determine what forms of ease or indulgence would best suit you. It should go without saying that you need to support, rather than undermine, your overall health in the pursuit of pleasure. Even so, it would do you no harm to constantly remind yourself that, first, you should do yourself no harm. The second question is where the best quality of respite and relief is to be found. At least initially, you probably need not look any farther than your own bed and bath. -- by Len Wallick. For your Eric Francis horoscope this week, please see this link.

Gemini (May 20-June 21) -- Among the great forms of wisdom demonstrated by little babies is how to own. It's a simple matter of taking things in hand and putting them into the mouth. While infants do indeed require adult supervision to assure their safety until they learn the necessary discretion about what to grasp for and what to eat, there is no question that kids are born with the right idea of how to participate in the world. Hence, you already have (and have always had) all that you now need to take your own part in the world to a new and more adult level. First, take possession of all that you have ever done or experienced. Then, get your mouth into the action -- not to eat, but instead to declare who and what you are with justified pride. -- by Len Wallick. For your Eric Francis horoscope this week, please see this link.

Photo by Tyson V. Rininger.
I recommend your readings to anyone thinking about purchasing. You guide but also ask the listener to engage with their lives. Humans don't just get transformation for free and you are very precise in telling us where to look.
-- Shelley Stearns, long-time reader and Cancerian.

The audio segments of the 2016-17 Cancer Birthday Reading are now available for immediate access (video segments are slated to be ready next week!). In this reading, Eric works from an understanding of the challenges many Cancerians are facing: time crunch, struggle with directions and an unstable world. Then he turns that around and looks at the opportunities.

This illumination kit is sure to help you foster your sense of identity, clarity and aspiration in an environment of confusion. With this reading, you will be able to stride forward confidently, with a true understanding of who you are. Order your 2016-17 birthday reading today, and find out how to make the most of your solar year.

Cancer (June 21-July 22) -- What the world most needs now is precisely what you presently have a superior ability to offer: love. Before you can deliver on the promise of being an emissary of love, however, you must first minister to yourself. Begin with your physical wellbeing. For the next couple months, take a little extra time each day to care for your body. Make a special effort to do what it takes so that it's evident you feel comfortable and confident as you are. There is no need for you to go to great expense or adorn yourself in any way. You will simply want those beholding your countenance to be impressed by how well you take care of yourself. It is by making just such a favorable impression that you will convince others that you have love enough to care for them, and will be generous in giving it when and where your care is welcomed. -- by Len Wallick. For your Eric Francis horoscope this week, please see this link.

Leo (July 22-Aug. 23) -- Be as generous with yourself as you have been with others, and the weeks to come will be more rewarding. While it may indeed be time to acquire a few possessions you have been putting off, the most valuable gifts you can give yourself now would probably be experiences. Specifically, do what you can to get yourself out of your residence and workplace and into your local unexplored world. Look to take in whatever your community has to offer as regards to art and performance; the idea is to expand your sense of both home and self beyond familiar walls. As you avail yourself of your outer environs, keep your eyes open. Look for places you might want to return to -- not just to take them in, but also to take part. -- by Len Wallick. For your Eric Francis horoscope this week, please see this link.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22) -- If you have not already done so, consider bringing some additional people into your life. It is not so much that the friends and family you now have are not enough in either quantity or quality. It's more about either desires or opportunities you might have to increase your power and extend your influence in the world. Therefore, be discerning. Make it your business to go beyond simply increasing your social circle. Rather, look to employ, recruit or otherwise enjoin specific others who can help you to address any needs you have that are not currently being met. On some level you probably already know what those needs are. If so, the next step is simply allowing yourself to have, hold and fulfill them. -- by Len Wallick. For your Eric Francis horoscope this week, please see this link.

Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23) -- Stopping to think may seem like a luxury for you right now. Nonetheless, if you can spare yourself even one day away from your busy schedule to do nothing but think in a leisurely and unstructured manner, you will almost certainly be able to address at least one necessity: catching up with yourself. Think of it as going out on a date with somebody you haven't seen for a while. Start with an unhurried cup of coffee or tea at some quiet, intimate place. Follow your refreshment up with a slow, rambling walk in a park or pleasant neighborhood. Then seek some distraction, such as offered by a movie or museum. Finally, see yourself home safely, and go to bed early enough to dream long and well about that special person you just got to know again. -- by Len Wallick. For your Eric Francis horoscope this week, please see this link.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22) -- One especially cogent aphorism repeated in many social contexts is that there is a time and place for everything. It's a bit of conventional wisdom that seems to have been forgotten by many in our often-unconventional times. You, however, are among the few who have most likely retained a deep and abiding understanding of how nearly any given practice, behavior or activity can not only be permissible, but appropriate if the where and when are right. It's not because you are old-fashioned, either. Indeed, it seems that time and culture have gone and come around to make you among the most modern of people precisely because you have the capacity to teach the rest of us how discretion, properly employed, serves to define -- not confine -- a life well lived. -- by Len Wallick. For your Eric Francis horoscope this week, please see this link.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22) -- In all probability, you have recently had occasion to reflect on how much you and your life have changed since this time last year. If so, the most important thing is to appreciate those changes. It is likely that you now have a better idea than ever before of who you are. That alone is reason for gratitude. Your recently-acquired knowledge of self will, in turn, soon serve to provide the starting point for a new cycle in your personal evolution. For the time being, however, you have a few things to finish up and a lot more simply to enjoy. While some due diligence is still very much part of the order for your everyday, don't let what you have to do dull your enjoyment when you get the chance to do as you please. -- by Len Wallick. For your Eric Francis horoscope this week, please see this link.

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20) -- It appears you have gotten better at making good choices as compared to just a few years ago. Assuming that's true for you, the next thing you might want to work on to improve the quality of your life is making yourself more happy more often without resorting to bad choices. That's especially the case when it comes to getting your intimate needs met in a relationship. When all is said and done, being alive is the necessary requisite to everything else; you should remember that good choices start with what keeps you among the living. Other than that, however, don't make things too complicated. If you know what sort of relationship makes you happy, focus on making it happen. If you don't know what would make you happy, focus on finding out. -- by Len Wallick. For your Eric Francis horoscope this week, please see this link.

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) -- You may have heard it said that you are what you eat. There is a great deal of truth to that statement. Yet, the fact remains that diet is not everything. Lots and lots of people manage to be good and kind, creative and beautiful in spite of habitually consuming mass quantities of donuts, candy, cola and such. Similarly, the world has seen a lot of cruel and offensive people who are that way in spite of very healthy eating habits. Ultimately, what comes out of your mouth is at least as important as what you put into it. While your good health does obviously rely on good nutrition, your food does not define you nearly as much as what you say and how you say it, along with what you do and how you do it. -- by Len Wallick. For your Eric Francis horoscope this week, please see this link.

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) -- Are you having fun yet? Whether you know it or not, the Sun, Moon and planets recently have been moving to maximize the chances of making whatever forms of whoopee you like best. Whether you care or not, that trend will continue for at least a fortnight and possibly even two months more. If you want to get some good, healthy jollies in this year, now is the prime time to do it. This does not mean that the rest of the year will be dreary -- other forms of felicity will soon be coming over the horizon for you. If, however, you do relish the opportunity to get out and get it on with frantic frivolity (especially in the company of a friend or friends similarly inclined) the next couple of weeks practically have your name on them. -- by Len Wallick. For your Eric Francis horoscope this week, please see this link.

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