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Abandon Hope. Start the Revolution.

Dear Friend and Reader:

I FORGOT TO mention that the local Republicans moved in downstairs from my erotic art studio. All summer long it was supposed to become a sports bar, but thankfully that didn't quite work out. About a week later, the space was rented to a bunch of people running for county office on the Republican ticket, so it became the de facto McCain/Palin headquarters for my region.

In honor of this fact, I moved my favorite nude art piece out to the display space in the front of my lobby. Now, a Belgian model named Iris greets me and my neighbors every day as we come and go from work. We all get to share in the the glory of the Goddess, beauty of nature and the majesty of the First Amendment.

That is the good news. When people ask me what I think is going to happen on Tuesday, I tell them to prepare for a fight. I get a long face from everyone. I know, we just want this to be over; politics is exhausting, it's not really fun (even though it's currently more gripping than the World Series), and many of us doubt whether it's even meaningful. Most people I know are crossing their fingers and hoping it's all going to be okay.

Personally, I think hope is a thinly veiled form of fear. Any rational assessment of our national and global situation confirms that we do indeed have a few worrisome items on the agenda (the ice caps melting, the Supreme Court slipping toward a solid conservative majority, and so on). And, as the energy heats up and certain elements of the past begin to crumble away, we have a lot of potential to create the next world.

When I bring up the problem of hope, hardly anyone gets what I'm talking about. Hope has become the big theme in this presidential campaign: a spiritual rallying cry, and permission to be positive for a change. It's the word and the feeling that's got everyone going -- one of the first that's caught on in a long time. Though it's more encouraging than the Bomb Iran campaign, I get a chill every time I hear it. I am reminded of something Joe, my therapist and mentor, once said. "If I were to put a sign above my counseling room door, it would say, 'Abandon hope, all ye who enter here'."

It took a while, but I figured out what he meant: that if we want to change ourselves, hope is going to get in the way. It tends toward passive and unconscious, when what we need in order to grow is awareness and action. Personally, I want more from life than hope: I want passion and good friends, meaningful work, art, interesting sex, good food and visiting my favorite forests -- and everyone who needs a doctor having access to one. I want a world where men and women have the same rights, and economic parity, and where kids are respected as human beings.

And I want more than hope from a political struggle. I think we're going to have to earn this one. By fight, I mean get ready to inform yourself about exactly what is about to unfold, as it happens. Get ready to not get sick of the news, or talking about the news. I mean get ready to work diligently for a couple of weeks, or maybe straight through until Jan. 20, to make sure that the right thing happens. If you consider yourself proud to be an American, get ready to do something about it. I mean get ready to actually care. Get ready to call every single person you know, going back five jobs and six boyfriends, to figure out how we can all play our part.

I mean get ready to exercise your freedom so that you enjoy it today and have it tomorrow. I mean get ready to come out and protest, and work the phones, calling and faxing your legislative representatives. I suggest you commit to doing whatever you can do, and a little more. Get ready to get involved.

I believe that our American experiment -- whatever vestige of American democracy remains -- is dangling on a fiber optic cable known as the Internet. We need to use the Internet very, very intelligently, but that is not enough. I also mean getting involved locally, in person, on the streets if necessary.

I mean prepare your mind to do the real work -- the work that happens after an important election, an election wherein we seem to be deciding the nature of American values. We all grew up being told we live in a free country. Then who the hell are these people telling me what I'm not supposed to do inside my front door, who I'm not supposed to love and what I'm not supposed to think about, read or talk about?

Hope is not going to do these things for us. It's a fabulous campaign slogan, but it's not going to fix the economy and get people into homes. It's not going to get us to rethink energy entirely, and get Joe the Plumber installing solar panels. It's not going to restore the freedoms that have been taken from us, and it's not going to stop the war or free Guantanamo. We need commitment, awareness and the willingness to devote our resources to what we value.

It is possible that we will go to bed Tuesday night confident of who has won this election, and with the [actual] losers conceding defeat. Based on two things -- astrology and history -- I have my reasons to urge caution and to psych us all up to not just hope the right thing happens, but to make sure the right thing happens. Just like we didn't do the past two elections, when the [actual] losers took office.

No matter what happens Tuesday, I don't think that this somehow concludes the project of reclaiming our country from the Cro-Magnons and Neanderthals who are currently in charge. The Bushistas are not simply going to hand over the keys to the White House and the secret codes to the nuclear arsenal. They came in with a constitutional struggle and to me that means they are likely to go out with one.

I am all for Barack Obama. I don't think he is Che Guevara, but that's not what we need, nor what we can tolerate. We need to be guided back toward the center of the road, rather than off of Dead Man's Curve. I have not cast a ballot since 1992, and I'm going to vote on Tuesday, with bells on.

Then I plan to spend the day documenting the election locally; and, working with our blogging team and the media resources currently in my hands, doing my little part as a journalist and editor with everything I've got, for as long as it takes.

And if things go fabulously on Tuesday, I am committed to my vote marking the beginning of a long era wherein we gradually set things right; wherein our country becomes a world leader in creating a new economy, a leader in developing and implementing environmental technology, and a leader in the involvement of people in the political process. That means us.

In the spirit of the Declaration of Independence, I propose that we pledge our lives, our fortunes and our credit ratings to making sure the right thing happens.

The Election Astrology: Two Layers of Reality

IN THE BACKDROP of the election astrology is Pluto changing signs to Capricorn. It happens less than three weeks later and this ushers in the 2012 (and post-2012) era, lasting until 2023-2024. When Pluto changes signs, the event marks a distinct, easily recognizable phase of history. Pluto in Sagittarius has come with a time of rapid expansion, and domination by religious ideology. It's been an era (1995-2008) wherein the theme has been all things global: from "globalism" to world beat music to the awareness that we face many problems affecting us as one world.

Planet Waves
Pluto's the antiplanet at the edge of reality. Shown with its binary partner Charon, and its two moons, Hydra and Nix. Hubble photo is from 2006.
Pluto entering Capricorn has two distinct flavors. One is the demolition of "the system" as we know it. And it is about an opportunity to start over, to construct a viable economy from the wreckage of the old one, and to take up our prerogative as mature adults who live our lives consciously, thinking of the future.

Pluto dancing on the Capricorn cusp is a harbinger of enormous change -- whatever that change might be. Pluto ingressing Capricorn means that Pluto squares the Aries Point, which personalizes the news and draws us as individuals into the transpersonal world: the big world, the world we don't think we're part of and that we don't understand.

When the Aries Point gets involved, suddenly it's all so personal -- and then, in the next two years, Saturn and Uranus get into the act (entering Aries and Libra, conjoining and opposing the Aries Point, respectively). This will form what I'll be calling a cardinal T-square, which takes shape in this order: Pluto arriving in Capricorn (later this month), Saturn arriving in Libra (in one year) and Uranus arriving in Aries (March 2011).

These speak of enormous changes to society and, not coincidentally, a lengthy social upheaval of some kind, the like of which we have not seen since the Sixties -- but this is a lot bigger (because the Aries Point is involved). I'll come back to the slow movers in a moment, which are the foundational layer of the chart.

But I'm a little ahead of the story with these details. Closer to the present moment, it is the fast-moving planets that are troublesome on Election Day, and they constitute a layer of reality, or maybe surreality. If you are Karl Rove, I forbid you from reading this.

First, Mars is square Neptune. This is a great aspect for smoking a joint, turning up Pink Floyd and spending a fun night at home with your sweetie. It's fabulous if you're taking pictures and want to have a demented poetic breakthrough. If we're talking politics, it's dangerous and deceptive. The aspect is exact at 3:54 am Eastern Daylight Time and is exact through the day. It's associated with a feeling of psychic instability, a sense of threat, and a "whatever it takes" attitude by those who are on the less stable side of the psychological spectrum.

The thing we need to watch carefully is that the Moon and Mercury both change signs on Election Day. If we count the election chart as 12:01 am in the traditional first community to vote -- Dixville Notch, New Hampshire -- the Moon is applying in a sextile to Mars in Scorpio and a square to Eris in Aries. So, at the commencement of the official Election Day, the Moon is NOT void of course. But its aspects to Mars and Eris (occurring nearly simultaneously) are its last until it enters Aquarius that evening. For the rest of the day, the Moon drifts through late Capricorn without making aspects to major planets (that is the modern definition of void of course).

Mercury, for its part, starts the day in the exact degree where it was for the infamous "election" of 2000: the last degree of Libra, in fact at the very end of the very last degree of Libra. That was a pretty tricky day because Mercury was stationing direct, and it did so about five minutes before the polls closed in Florida. Imagine this: Mercury (the planet of media, communication and anything countable such as money and votes) changed directions in the sign of the scales just as the polls were closing. Hence we had a situation where things dangled "in the balance" and we didn't know the winner for a month, and oddly enough the winner had fewer votes.

That was then. On Election Day 2008, Mercury makes a sextile to Pluto in very late Sagittarius (edgy, dangerous, uncertain) as it passes over the exact position of the 2000 election. There is no astrologer whose mind is not boggled by this fact, even if they've been in business 35 years. It's one of those ridiculous synchronicities that you just don't get used to. Then Mercury enters Scorpio precisely at noon Eastern Daylight Time. Most people would not say "good news" with Mercury entering Scorpio, all charged up with the energy of Pluto. It has a dark and conspiratorial feeling. Mercury's first exact aspect is a sextile to Ceres (the former asteroid, now dwarf planet).

At 8:01 pm Eastern Daylight Time, the Moon enters Aquarius and squares Mercury in Scorpio. This aspect is exact for about two hours. So whatever Mercury changing signs tells us, there is a public response indicated by the Moon in Aquarius.

At 9:30 pm EDT, most districts on the East Cost close the polls and the media games really begin.

Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Pluto: the Slow Movers

BENEATH THIS FLURRY of activity is a kind of base level of planetary activity, involving the slow movers. Pluto is lurking right behind the Aries Point (anything that conjoins the first degree of Aries, Cancer, Libra or Capricorn is said to be 'on' the Aries Point), in its last moments in Sagittarius. It won't get to Capricorn for three weeks. Keep that thought on hold, because Nov. 26 (Pluto ingressing Cap) and Nov. 27 (the Sagittarius New Moon) represents a major turning point in the story.

Planet Waves
The three largest planets, Jupiter, Saturn and Uranus, form a close to exact alignment on Election Day.
Another astonishing exact aspect on Election Day is Saturn opposite Uranus. This hasn't happened since January 1967. Interestingly, the last time it also involved Virgo and Pisces, but that time Uranus was in Virgo and Saturn was in Pisces. So in this aspect we have a meeting of Uranus (revolutionary, inventor, surprise factors) opposite Saturn (stability, structure, the past, the government). It is tempting to try to assign one of these planets to Obama and the other to McCain, but a case could be made for either. In any event, it's a lot of energy of old versus new, populist versus conservative, and so on.

Jupiter in Capricorn is trine Saturn in Virgo. The aspect perfects on Nov. 21, but it's alive and happening on Nov. 4. Together, these three largest planets form the backbone of the chart: or what feels like a stable strata of bedrock that, despite being super charged with change, represents a dependable process of change.

The period after a presidential election and before the inauguration contains several sub-periods, wherein votes are certified, the Electoral College meets and votes, and Congress certifies the vote of the electors. The Constitution uses the words "president-elect" and "vice president-elect" without defining them. In other words, it's not clear what the lines of succession are during some of those sub-phases, in the event (for example) that the president-elect dies.

For this reason, the developments of Nov. 26-27 (Pluto ingressing Capricorn and the Sagittarius New Moon) are potentially troubling. And the events of Dec. 27-28 (the Capricorn New Moon and Mars conjunct Pluto in Capricorn) are equally troubling; the nation is vulnerable on both of these dates, while the old government is in transition to the new one. In other words, no matter how good it looks, it's not over until the new president is inaugurated at noon on Jan. 20.

I will come to that chart another time -- but the Moon is again void of course, and Mercury is retrograde. So, when I say get used to a lot of news, I mean it. The inauguration chart is not particularly stable, but it's also a chart that says unlikely things are possible.

Closer to home, the expected results could change several times during Election Day itself. Not everyone in the media and politics is "reality based." When powerful people are hallucinating wildly, there is a lot that can go wrong -- and it is up to conscious, aware, spiritually grounded people to hold the world to its course; to make choices; to offer our energy to the historical process in the most modest ways.

An Improbable Scenario

I BELIEVE that elections can be stolen, and that these days it's pretty easy to do so. Obama needs a very solid win to prevent that possibility entirely, and a lot of ugly issues have not surfaced yet -- for example, the race issue or how many people are going to vote for McCain just because they expect him to appoint Supreme Court judges who will dump Roe vs. Wade. This will tighten the results. There are a lot of people who simply cannot bring themselves to vote for a black man.

Under one scenario, Obama obviously wins but the election is stolen from him. In that case, he would become an extremely popular leader, one with enormous power and also one who is extremely vulnerable. Many McCain supporters would likely support Obama if he clearly won but the election were stolen from him.

He would be unlikely to go down without a fight: he is not a Gore or a Kerry. Neither of these men had the motivation or the massive scale admiration that Obama has (far to the contrary), nor did they have the sense of destiny following them. And after eight years of Dick Cheney and George Bush, the grapes of wrath have fermented.

Underneath Obama's promise of hope is deep concern for the world, and the desire to move into the future in a way that embraces our potential rather than getting hung up on the many errors of our recent past. There is the sense that change would not be a cool thing or something that the government gives us, but a cosmic fact of what is inevitable for our world, and for us as individuals. And just under the surface is the recognition that we ourselves have to change with the world, and on behalf of the world -- but also because it's time to be less scared, less wounded and evolve into the future embracing humanity, and our own humanity. It is time.

We will keep you informed as developments unfold -- please stay tuned to our main blog at PlanetWaves.net.

Yours & truly,
Eric Francis

By Judith Gayle | Political Waves

SURE-FOOTED. THAT'S how one pundit described Obama's campaign this last week, comparing it to the erratic, shifting soap opera that the McCain/Palin run has become. That word resonated a little a-ha moment in my astrologer's heart; gave me a cosmic assurance that we're right where we need to be.

Last week I gave a nod to retreating Pluto in Sagittarius; the Centaur gave us the best and worst of it, hooves ripping up the ground while the aspiring aim of his arrow never wavered from the transcendence shining high above him. Now we are poised on Pluto in Capricorn; enter the patient, deliberate and, yes, sure-footed Goat. Talk about grounding, and not a moment too soon.

One of the benefits of studying astrology is that it gives us a sense of the holographic nature of the universe. We go in circles, repeating patterns, discovering the sameness of everything and charting our shifting response. Another word for this, I presume, would be experience. It is our experience that shapes us and, hopefully, builds our character and informs our decisions.

Chiron has finally gone direct; we have reviewed the holograms of our past, personally and politically, since May. When Chiron joined Neptune on the North Node, representing the future, it activated the opposition to the South Node; the collective representation of what holds us back. It has been a dreadful review, awakening beasts we'd hoped were long dead, and raising the specter of violence, racism and even assassination. As Chiron moves ahead, are we ready, now, to release the past and step into something new?

Look for 2009 Annual Edition Announcement Saturday!

Planet Waves
Attention Readers! Check your inbox Saturday for an announcement of Next World Stories, the 11th annual edition of Planet Waves. Including the 2009 year ahead horoscopes and many more features, we are offering Next World Stories at a substantial discount to current subscribers. But the discount is for a limited time only. In the next sales offer, the signs will be sold separately for slightly less than we are offering all 12 signs now. That email will arrive tomorrow with the subject header, "Next World Stories."

Planet Waves
Weekly Horoscope for Friday, October 31, 2008, #738 - By ERIC FRANCIS

Aries (March 20-April 19)
There is a matter of integrity at stake. If anything, it's bigger than you think, and what happens over the next few days could set the pattern of your life for several months. You seem to see yourself in a situation where you stand only to gain. You recently crossed a particular hurdle that you felt liberated you from a mental block that was keeping you at arm's length from your own strength. The problem is you're in a larger situation that you may not be perceiving for what it is. Go back one step, to that hurdle you cleared, and you'll get a clearer look. You have to ask yourself honestly if you won or lost in that transaction; if you compromised yourself, or claimed back part of yourself. That will be the harbinger of things to come -- unless you decide otherwise.

Taurus (April 19-May 20)
There are plenty of moments in each day when you seem to be at the mercy of forces beyond your control. Looking at yourself through one eye, you have an image as free both in terms of what you believe and what you can do. Looking with the other eye, you seem to be so deeply invested in someone or something (including an idea about your own life) that freedom equates to little more than choosing what hymn you will sing at Sunday services. It would be too easy to look out at the world and see how hurt or stuck everyone else is. True, on this planet, it's not so difficult to find scared, injured and struggling people. It would make more sense to reckon your concept of independence with its corresponding reality or lack thereof.

Gemini (May 20-June 21)
An ongoing situation is now calling upon you to throw away science, reason and most of the facts, and proceed based on intuition. This is a way of letting go of your preconceptions and allowing some new information to enter your awareness from a source you cannot readily identify. The source, obviously, is you, and rather than pointing to something mystical (which you might be inclined to think), what you are really learning about is a testament to the complexity and beauty of the human mind. Here is the catch: the information you come up with intuitively may seem counter-intuitive; that is, it may appear to violate common sense. Yet on some level it will fit the situation or at least summon you to give it a go. This is clearly one example of you won't know until you try. You cannot test it in theory.

Cancer (June 21-July 22)
Creativity in the psychological or human sense of the word is the result of honesty; be honest and you're likely to be rewarded by a creative and erotic deluge. You are certainly feeling passionate; the question is whether you can materialize it into anything. This is the watery kind of feeling, not the fiery kind: it's longer lasting, deeper and seeks connection more than it seeks to conquer or consume. You may be in a situation where you reach out to someone else and they seem not to be available. If that is the case, seek elsewhere: for example, someone who specifically feels he or she has something to offer. Here is a clue -- they won't be wearing a hat with flashing lights.

Leo (July 22-Aug. 23)
Tune into the emotional satisfaction of what you're doing and you'll feel a lot better about it. Leos have to beware of their own dedication to service. You have high initiative, and you realize that working for your community (in whatever form that takes) is inherently good karma. That has a limit, however, and you need (I would propose) to figure out how to spread your responsibilities among more people. You're blessed with charm and credibility, which are running high at the moment. People want to help you; your idea that helping the world is good for everyone is pretty compelling. There will come a time in the not-too-distant future that you can focus on actual, upwardly mobile goals. For now, enjoy the feeling of having your feet on the ground.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22)
You added up all the facts and figures, and they pretty much reckon with what you knew. Now you have a whole new idea, and I suggest you give it a chance. Once you're in motion, revision is the key to success. The key is to get moving, with that essential sequence of idea to action to review to the next action. I would remind you not to let any obstacles get in the way: not the ones you can see, and not the ones you can't quite see but which feel like you're trying to go swimming with your clothes on, or go skiing with roller skates. You've just crossed one particularly challenging barrier, and it turned out to be a kind of mental block. The one that might have you at the moment is subtler. You will need to convince yourself that it's real; before you unconsciously resort to extreme measures, pause and think.

Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23)
With much of the world reeling in financial crisis, you may wonder why you alone should be thinking of improving your fortunes or thinking in terms of the future. The planets say it is time to consider the idea and the reality of progress, though that is not necessarily a popular thought in a time when the word money is associated mainly with fear and not with potential. What is being emphasized now is how resourceful you are; how much energy you have; and how much you have to share with the world. You need to strike a balance between treating the planet as if it were a charity case and using every opportunity to profit. Know what your needs are and know what your goals are. Keep both of them conscious and you will see a variety of places where the two agendas match efficiently.

(Oct. 23-Nov. 22)
You are currently under the influence of someone who has put survival as the first priority agenda item. You have other plans, other ideas, other desires. And you clearly have your doubts, though the past few days have taken you pretty far in resolving the most serious of them. I suggest you see the survivalist agenda for what it is: a hedge against creativity and emotional freedom. Someone may be casting you as a freewheeling risk-taker when in fact you are willing to express your vital energy and live. That involves taking chances; one of them is 'failure', though some people see that as a permanent state and others see it as something you learn from, a transient thing, or an opportunity. In case you need reminding, the failure to try is failure. And at this stage of human history, any sincere attempt to grow can be regarded as success.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22)
This is no time for fear, and while you may be using your abundant sense of mystery as a reason for concern about something -- you're not sure what -- I suggest you take this process to the light. No matter how good life is, there are always reasons to be scared; after all, you could be the first person in recorded history to be hit by a meteorite. The chances are much higher that you will be the next person to invent something with the influence of the electric light bulb. It is true that you stand on the cusp of the unknown, but the possibilities are skewed a lot further in one direction than another; and you are the single most important influence in determining the trend, rather than being subject to it.

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20)
It's a matter of a few weeks before Pluto enters your sign to stay through 2023-24. By the time Pluto leaves Capricorn, the long-awaited 2012 will be in history textbooks (rather than New Age books), Barack Obama will be back teaching constitutional law and the physical world will be entirely reinvented. You have experienced the first ripples of this transit as a growth surge, funded by the release of power that comes from letting go of ancient personality structures. This is only at the beginning. And while we are talking about a transit that lasts more than 16 years, some of the most profound developments come at the beginning -- that is, at the end of this year. You can do yourself an enormous favor and start sorting out what is important to you and what is not. This includes, above all else, your goals.

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19)
You have taken your process of mind control about as far as it's going to go, and sooner or later you will realize that -- to quote one of my Aquarius friends -- the only thing left to do is let go. I think you thought you were doing that all along, but I guess you can decide when the time actually comes. You can't really let go when your experience is predominantly mental, and you certainly can't let go when you are, unconsciously, under the control of another person. Also, waiting for someone else to let go is different than doing it yourself -- no matter what you've figured out about that particular issue. The fates will make their moves, it is true, and part of taking up your role as a conscious part of the Godhead is making yours. Note, there are many other options in the universe.

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20)
Hold steady and keep your eyes focused ahead, but relax your body and look to the left and to the right. You're close to a moment of clarity that will point to an obvious decision. You've felt this one coming for a while, and while it's been making you nervous, you know you need to put your awareness to work and do what is right for you. Remember this: you're at a true juncture, but it's the beginning of something, not the end. I mean this literally, not conceptually; you are entering a process of rearranging your life that will happen in workable, useful steps that actually get you from one place to an entirely new place. The moves may not seem enormous at the time, but with the hindsight of a year or two you will see that you have crossed a continent, an ocean or the bridge to another lifetime.

Look for 2009 Annual Edition Announcement Saturday!

Planet Waves
Attention Readers! Check your inbox Saturday for an announcement of Next World Stories, the 11th annual edition of Planet Waves. Including the 2009 year ahead horoscopes and many more features, we are offering Next World Stories at a substantial discount to current subscribers. But the discount is for a limited time only. In the next sales offer, the signs will be sold separately for slightly less than we are offering all 12 signs now. That email will arrive tomorrow with the subject header, "Next World Stories."

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