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Planet Waves Monthly Horoscope - December 2009

Dear Friend and Reader:

The Saturn-Pluto square is not over; its story has really just begun. The feeling of every important issue coming to a crunch point is typical of this aspect, but so too is a wave of fear in the population that can only be addressed by individuals willing to take their minds to another level of reality.

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Thankfully, slow-movers such as Saturn and Pluto go through their cycle of an aspect in about nine months, or three seasons (this counts for personal transits as well, though the actual range of influence of any aspect is much longer). It's vital to make adjustments through gradually working out of the process, rather than getting wrenched into a new reality in one eruption. Yes, eruptions still happen, but they are usually part of a gradual pressure release -- and the sooner we initiate our changes, the better. One problem with this theory is that change often involves others, and human nature resists. Therefore, the best you can do is work on your own resistance.

And here, we have some help on the way. In December, we have two other amazing aspects, perhaps even better deserving of the description focal point: first Jupiter makes an exact conjunction to Chiron, in late Aquarius. This has been developing all year (there was a peak in the Northern Hemisphere springtime), though the Dec. 7 conjunction offers a new kind of vision -- making it easier to see the world as one world, easier to participate and best of all, giving you a way to apply the knowledge that you've worked so hard to gain in the community that surrounds you.

Then later in the month, Jupiter makes a conjunction to Neptune, which has the feeling of opening up another dimension of what you might call invisible light, just at the dark time of year when we need it the most. These experiences are worth all the more if we're open to them and recognize the change in energy when it happens. This one is subtle -- it may come in through dreams, altered-state experiences and as an unusual kind of compassion in heightened states with loved ones or groups of friends.

Remember why you've been doing all this self-improvement -- or why you want to. In my view, it's not really about being a better person; rather, that makes something else possible, which is the ability to participate with the world in a meaningful way. Chiron is excellent at grounding the wisdom and potential of Jupiter in tangible ways.

The end of the year ends on an exciting note, which will take some expert navigation skills. There are three events.

Mars stations retrograde at the winter solstice, which lasts till early March (and will be visible in the night sky; the thing that obviously looks like Mars really is). The theme of this particular Mars retrograde (which happens in Leo, opposite many Aquarius planets) is where we stand as individuals in relationship to the many people who surround us -- in particular, how we deal with the expectations of groups.

Then Mercury stations retrograde Dec. 26, which ends Jan. 15. The Mercury retrograde effect will actually start vibrating around Dec. 9 when Mercury enters what's called shadow phase.

Finally, there is an eclipse of the Moon in the sign Cancer on New Year's Eve. My advice: plan as little as possible for the holidays. If you can, stay close to home and keep things simple and cheap. The focus is inward, toward your growth, your family and how exactly you're processing all these changes.

Yours & truly,
Eric Francis

Clarification: And Who is Rick?

In Friday's edition, I made a reference to this guy Rick, who wrote this book Cosmos and Psyche. What I meant to say was that that Richard Tarnas took about 30 years to write a book called Cosmos and Psyche, which I quoted from. In this work, Rick (Pisces Sun, Aries Moon) takes the long view of astrology, tracing planetary patterns back for 2,000 years and looking at the cycles of history. Doing so, he has created one of the most innovative astrology books I've ever seen; really, there is nothing that even compares.

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What Rick establishes is not merely that astrology, human awareness and the story of humanity follow visible patterns, and are basically intertwined as one living thing; he goes further and suggests that this effect points to the need for a new way of looking at the world.

If we pause for a moment and consider how remote an aspect between two distant planets should be from anything that happens on Earth, or anywhere, the fact that those planets trace a predictable (for lack of a better word) course of history is pretty incredible. What Rick is doing is showing us that astrology is, in fact, credible. He presents astrology as an everyday miracle that most people simply don't notice; but more to the point, we need to take the step of seeing the implications of what is happening. In a word, that would be connection.

I think those of us who read Planet Waves see the implications: one of which is that we really are part of something larger than ourselves, and that something is part of us. What to do with this connection is the obvious question — and the Gestalt answer is, first, be aware that it exists.

Rick has been an excellent mentor and has at times stepped in as my personal philosophy professor. Several times recent years he has helped me clarify my thoughts on complex, difficult subjects, and took considerable time in the winter of 2007 to help me understand the concept of postmodernism, for my monograph on Eris, which is called Eris: Facets and Fragments of Self. Note that Rick does not use the newly discovered planets (he goes as far as Pluto), but was willing to lend me his mind to make sure that I had half a clue what I was talking about.

For those interested in seeing Rick speak, check the schedules of the big astrology conferences. There is a particularly cool one coming up in Boston in February -- the NCGR conference -- which I'll be telling you more about and covering at the time it happens. I am privileged to be on the faculty as well, presenting on how astrologers can apply newly discovered planets to their consulting work.

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Planet Waves Monthly Horoscope for December 2009 - By Eric Francis

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Aries (March 20-April 19)
Every person who dares to step out of their conditioning or routine and do something original goes through a crisis of whether their ideas or work will be accepted by others. The prevailing reason why people don't express themselves involves the expectation of a negative reaction; of judgment; of some kind of consequences. Yet anyone who is interested in breaking free of this needs to take the journey inward and figure out what inner obstructions are breathing life into those fears. It's convenient that this inner journey is some of the best fodder for the creative process, which is really about an inner journey. Most of the meaningful art and literature you find is more like a postcard from a deep inner space rather than being a "creative product" of any kind. Mars turning retrograde in the most creative and dynamic angle of your solar chart is saying that it's time to plunge deep into these personal fires. The key is not what you create -- it is what you learn about yourself, and in the process, document or illustrate. There is something hidden you are looking for: something about which you may have no clue. Think of it as 'hidden karma' or think of it as the pearl of great price. Remember, a journey is involved: a journey that will last for months, and whose destination is not clear.

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Taurus (April 19- May 20)
You are in the midst of a stroke of good fortune regarding what we here in the Western world call 'profession'. The question lurking beneath this theme is, what do you profess? Who do you say you are, and what is its relationship to what you do, or want to do? It's time to align your theories, your goals and your actions. It would help if you aspire to more than you think you are capable of. It would help if you accept, with total willingness, the need to inconvenience yourself in order to attain your stated objectives. When I say help, I mean truly assist you in getting out of your previous pattern. For you, any truly satisfying professional experience must be humanitarian in nature, though I propose you take a wide view of this concept; not 'doing good', but rather acting as if to hold the world together. There is an essential, even urgent ingredient involved in breaking out of your individualism and being willing to participate, and openly seek the cooperation of others. This involves accepting the extent to which you have felt that you don't fit in -- and then daring to do something about it. That is a step on the way to something greater -- what you might call locally aware global consciousness, and acting on that basis alone.

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Gemini (May 20- June 21)
Family financial arrangements may come up during the holiday season; I suggest you be prepared for the conversation, including remembering what I told you. Listen for the guilt trip and don't fall for it. You risk being convinced you're not an adult, i.e., that you have no power. You can minimize this with preventive strategies. First and most meaningful is to be absolutely on the level of your significant other. Agree what information you're willing to reveal, and why you would reveal it. Anyone seeking information from you has something to hide, and is also looking for power. While I would not advocate being deceptive, it's another matter entirely to have boundaries. Those boundaries might include outright avoiding anyone, anything or anyplace where you feel you have no business, or where your presence would detract from your own sense of integrity. I suggest you avoid alcohol entirely at any group gathering, no matter how tempting it may be as a sedative or painkiller; it is the elixir of deception, and in such a compromised state, you risk making significant errors in judgment. Stick close to the ones you truly love. One side benefit of all of this is that the sex promises to be incredible. Even if you don't have a partner, think of someone you trust.

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Cancer (June 21- July 22)
This is a moment of extraordinary developments in your relationships; there is likely to be more than one that comes into prominence. I suggest you work with an expanded definition of relationship, for example, an emotionally moving encounter with anyone you care about. I suggest you remember your ethics and forget your expectations -- particularly about what a relationship is, or what form it's supposed to take. If you've been working to change your concepts in this area of your life, the opportunities you have now are likely to be the ones where you learn the basics, or rather, apply what you have worked so hard to learn. In endeavors of love, you want to encourage the feeling that you're always at the beginning. Sincerity and simple directness will help you rise above any sense of overwhelm or the 'power of the other' that you may feel. The passion that you're experiencing is coming from you, though others close to you may be a source of encouragement or inspiration: hot is hot, and the best thing you can do is submit to the beauty of that. While you're doing this, be aware of everything that you've left behind: the history, the sense of identity, the crisis and turmoil; and if you feel yourself going in that direction, remind yourself that you have options, if you choose to explore them.

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Leo (July 22- Aug. 23)
You're one of the most skilled at this elusive thing of being yourself, this thing that so many people struggle with, or are terrified of. That's partly because you know the difference between your image and your substance. Your relationships the past four seasons have provided you with many opportunities to make that distinction -- but you're just getting cooking. The primary key to this is and has always been that you strive to use your relationships as an experience to get to know yourself. Second key is that you understand that 'self' is a spiritual concept and that as a direct consequence of this, 'relationship' is a spiritual concept -- the most basic one there is. Both of these ideas now come out of the common sense background of your life and into full focus. This could mean a new level of understanding of what you've been exploring; it could mean that it's time to return to some deeply held principles you've wandered from without intending to. Basically, the solution to any problem in a relationship, or any quest for realizing the potential of a relationship, or for creating a new experience, is to get to know yourself better. Use every experience as fodder for self-understanding and don't be afraid to take that complex reflection you see in the universe as an image of yourself.

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Virgo (Aug. 23- Sep. 22)
You spend an inordinate amount of time and energy dealing with your fear, and you must be getting sick of it. There are many processes available to work this out, though I suggest you move away from anything that resembles an analytical approach. That is only likely to make matters worse. So, too, will eliminating the alleged 'sources' of fear in your environment, or doing things to make yourself feel safer. Defensive measures will reinforce the idea that you have something to worry about. Seen through the lens of astrology, the issue looks existential in nature: you are dealing with fear based on fear of existing, and it then gets projected onto the many different facets of existence. That's why it takes up residence so many places, so many ways. Considered another way, you may be caught in a fear of being yourself rooted in a deeper concern that you either don't know who you are, questioning whether your deeper self exists. Suffice it to say, you exist and your existence goes all the way in, through an opening to a wider space of identity that we all share -- and this is the space you are now searching for. You've tried to define yourself by comparing yourself to others, though I assure you: this is how we find conflict rather than common ground.

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Libra (Sep. 22 - Oct. 23)
You would do well to ask what is the source of all the upheaval in your life. No you weren't expecting it, though somehow you were expecting it. You're in a challenging process of dealing with the past, that is, with a past so deep that you don't remember it, because most of it didn't happen to you. It happened to your ancestors, and then you inherited it. From one perspective, your astrology illustrates a sense that you are being swallowed in history, that is, overwhelmed by all that you cannot change. Looked at another way, there is an almost violent process of breaking open locked compartments of emotion, history, karma and attachment to the past. This is combined with a stern wakeup call informing you that you must come to terms with who you are and what you want out of life, in short order. Part of what you are struggling with is false pressure; this process, such as it can be defined, will take longer than you think, so therefore you can afford to go one step at a time. Yet the other part of what you're addressing is your tendency to avoid certain matters and thus have them fester. This is likely to be one of those circumstances where things seem to get worse before they get better, but in fact every step is a step toward healing.

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Scorpio (Oct. 23- Nov. 22)
You will need your best Scorpio radar to navigate your professional life for the next few months, though I can boil matters down to a few basic concepts. First, pay attention to the ways you work against your own cause. This could be by focusing on goals that are no longer valid, or basing decisions on values that you outgrew years ago. Second and more significant involves distinguishing your emotional trip from that of the people around you. Nobody would call you a conformist, but you're often under pressure to 'feel the way you're supposed to feel' rather than the way you actually feel; which is to say, be scared of what everyone else is scared of. This is your challenge in group situations: this pressure leads you to feel like you're trapped, yet if you express how you actually feel, you'll be excommunicated. Here you have a great place to start when it comes to understanding your family's influence on you. On one level things seemed friendly and open, but you lived with a measure of tyranny that you're just beginning to understand. What you learn about yourself over the next few weeks will take you a long way toward freedom. You are growing toward the understanding that what was previously defined as rebellion is not rebellion at all; it is simply being yourself. And this will change your life.

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Sagittarius (Nov. 22 - Dec. 22)
Lately I've had so much to write that I've adopted a strategy of exploring my local region, working in as many towns and cafes as I can. This keeps me in slightly unfamiliar territory, constantly needing to notice, adapt, find the best place to work, and meet new people. This month's positively incredible astrology involves your ruling planet Jupiter, and it takes place in your 3rd solar house -- Aquarius. This is the house of your local environment. In the current version of the world that means anywhere within one hour's driving distance. Have you ever had that experience of noticing some really interesting detail right outside your door, even though you've walked past it a thousand times? That's the effect that is being multiplied radically in your local environment. Therefore, get outside. Get to as many group events as you can. Meet your neighbors and take your time listening to them. Notice what you notice; write and take pictures -- both. Yes, I am assuming you have some concept you're developing, some invention or some idea for how to improve the world. True, this does not include everyone, but it includes you. The key is to think not only larger but differently than you thought yesterday. Constant change needs to become your new comfort zone. Not (if you will notice) the mental rut the world seems so thrilled to be caught in.

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Capricorn (Dec. 22- Jan. 20)
If you're feeling slammed to the max, too busy to eat or too restless to sleep, you're missing out on the best of the astrology that is shaping the world -- and which is based on events involving your sign. This is not a "busy time" in your life -- it's one of the major turning points. I can say this with no knowledge of your natal astrology; it plays second fiddle to such a potent force as Saturn square Pluto. If you have a struggle, it's being clear about your values. As my old friend Arthur Joseph Kushner used to say, you're doing "some of the right thing." The question is: are you reaching deep enough into your core and bringing out your deepest goals? You need to get yourself unbusy enough, and your mind loose enough, and out of crisis mode, to see the larger landscape of why you're doing what you're doing. The planets are offering clarity, but it's of little worth unless you pause and are receptive. Deeply inlaid patterns are involved, and all of your astrology is focused on rewriting those patterns: in getting you out of automatic mode. We tend to use auto-mode as a defense against the packed quality of our lives, but actually it's the most efficient way to waste your life, or to evade the risks involved in living from the heart.

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Aquarius (Jan. 20- Feb. 19)
Jupiter is making big moves in your sign this month, and this means long-delayed opportunities coming to fruition. Back in April, I was talking about taking your ideas to the bank. I was also talking about how you probably filled two notebooks with ideas about your own life. Now, the cosmos is responding with clear points of contact. The first is Jupiter conjunct Chiron in your sign; followed by Jupiter conjunct Neptune in your sign. The first of these is about focusing your intentions, your abilities and your understanding, in one gesture. The keyword is alchemy. Consider this a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. If you feel yourself balking because you're afraid, admit that to yourself, and then see if you can get to the root of the fear. That may be the principal benefit of the aspect. Second, the meeting with Neptune will make what is difficult seem easy; that is, you may have the sense of your commitment flowing through you. This does not happen every day; you are accustomed to far more in the way of mental resistance and rigidity. You may be inclined to relax and enjoy the moment of not feeling trapped in your mental patterns, but this is not designed as a vacation; it's designed as a moment of sufficient freedom and compassion for yourself to be able to get out of your own way.

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Pisces (Feb. 19- March 20)
"I went to a therapist once, because everything I think, it comes true. I can't explain to you the feeling." So says the Pisces waitress at the Greek diner where I'm writing this horoscope. Now, to turn this around from the passive role to the active one: rather than information coming to you, consciously envision what you want. Or as a surfer once said to me, "Look where you want to be." The idea of a conscious visioning process sounds nice, but it has two liabilities. One, we don't necessarily know the implications of what we're trying to manifest, and therefore it's better to make sure that it's directly within one's deepest values. Second, it takes you out of the passive/victim role and puts you into the role of co-creator of your life. This is not as appealing as it sounds. The reason most peoples' lives are in the condition they are in is a direct result of resistance to take up any real measure of responsibility for what they create. This is in part a function of lack of awareness; if this is intentional or convenient, it's called ignorance. As the Sun and Venus cross the powerful, energetic midheaven of your solar chart, it is essential that you take responsibility for awareness, and for making your decisions based on what you know. You have room for error -- but not to pretend that your choices don't matter.

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