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Planet Waves
Roy Scheider and Jessica Lange in All That Jazz.
In the Shadow of Venus
"Accept no compromise in which death plays a part."
-- A Course in Miracles (Manual for Teachers)
Dear Friend and Reader:

Venus stations retrograde in Scorpio on Friday afternoon. Scorpio is where Venus is what you might call uncomfortable, in the sign opposite one that she rules (Taurus); in a sign ruled by Mars; yet also in a feminine sign associated with surrender, transformation, death and sexuality.

Scorpio is the home of all things unmentionable at the Thanksgiving dinner table. What Venus represents in this place of the zodiac is a discussion not found in most places in the world except for where high tantric teaching is welcome, and there are not many. However, it sometimes finds its way into popular culture as death showing up as a woman, and an unnamed phobia of women that is found in many cultures, including our own.

Planet Waves
One version of the Sri Yantra, a tantric mandala. The symbolism is all life and all of existence, including time and space, emerging from the feminine. One of the objectives of tantric practice is to turn awareness toward the source of existence, rather than our usual position of having our backs to it.
Within the tantric frame of reference, woman is the giver of life and therefore the one who takes it away. What we think of as the sacred feminine is the pool from which life emerges, and therefore into which it yields itself. Yet consider the daunting responsibility that would come with accepting this. And consider the potential for the abuse of power if it is denied, not kept in full awareness, or expressed in an unloving or toxic form.

Such is the root of our social and political woes. Imagine if every discussion of the role, power, and place of women began with the statement, "All life emerges from the female body. All of our mothers gave up something in order for us to live."

Yet this is unacknowledged; it's the biggest open secret in the world. And as something that is not admitted, not recognized, not ritualized, and surely not celebrated, it is part of the repressed world of what Jung called shadow material.

Into the Realm of Shadows

With any retrograde planet, we find our way to the shadow realm: what is forgotten, lurking in the recesses of the past (personal, ancestral and collective); what is not openly spoken of; what is expressed in a way that is 'unacceptable' or inappropriate; what is misunderstood; and what is consciously repressed.

In a natal chart, retrograde planets can represent a form of mastery that must be recovered, though it might seem problematic or a dubious gift until it's claimed fully and reabsorbed into the psyche.

With all of these possibilities, we are into some deep territory when Venus is retrograde in Scorpio. There is so much that women are not told, or intentionally deceived about, so much spoken in whispers, particularly the most basic facts of biology. In our era, those are not so much points of concealed knowledge as of intentionally propagated ignorance, or what is avoided because of its seemingly uncomfortable or embarrassing nature.

I have said before that in my perspective, the essence of female power is biological. We think of it as being social or political, though I think that to have some connection to reality, and any effective expression, the connection must go deeper.

Planet Waves
Painting by Alex Gray.
No matter what social revolts, revolutions, reforms, Supreme Court decisions or constitutional amendments may occur, we will still live in a world where women gestate all of us.

There are, of course, possible technological alternatives to that. In Marge Piercy's Woman on the Edge of Time, women and men are equal, and babies are made in gestation factories. Is that a world you would want to live in?

Were we to imagine an alternative universe where women did not have the all-powerful role of woman as giver of life, where would that lead us? Were we to have a society where all responsibility for nursing and raising children were equally divided, how would life be?

More realistically (and more immediately available), how would it feel to fully acknowledge the existential fact of woman as creator? To never take it for granted? How would it feel to be in deeper contact with the biological fact of the uterus -- the first home we all occupied?

It would seem, at this time in history, that most of the basic facts of the female reproductive system have been vanquished to the land of shadows. During my sex education class at John Dewey High School, we were all versed in the many phases of the menstrual cycle. Is this taught today? Raise your hand if you recognize the term corpus luteum.

We have also pushed female desire into the realm of shadows. If you listen to the current discussion in feminist circles, it would seem that only men are interested in sex, to the point where any might steal it at any time -- and that, in theory, is the only way that sex will ever happen. There is a distortion involved here.

My observation is that the culture's obsession with transgression and consent is in part associated with a scrim thrown over female desire, which is no longer supposed to exist. In the contemporary school of gender studies, in theory anyway, no woman is interested in sex, or at least not with men; it is her job only to resist the supposedly uncontrolled, animalistic male desire nature. While clearly not true, we hear this by implication over and over again. In this environment, asking a woman on a date can be construed as sexual predation; yet there is no discussion, that I have heard, of appropriate etiquette; of what conduct would be considered wholesome and welcome.

We all know that female desire exists, though when something is denied or pushed below the surface, for whatever reason, it enters the realm of shadows. And when something is relegated to the shadow-realm, it tends to grow angry and revolt in toxic ways.

What if we were to have a full airing-out of the truth of female desire, what it feels like, how we feel about it, and how we relate to it? And what if we were to discover the true range of what men really want? We might find many more meeting places, if only as a result of being real with one another.

The Question of Self-Esteem

Planet Waves
Photo from Book of Blue, New York sessions, by Eric Francis.
Venus is an important indicator of self-esteem. In Scorpio, we place this into the context of a relationship and the sharing of resources. Often, self-esteem is measured in terms of our perceived value to others.

The fundamental question here is how you feel about yourself. What is the value you place on your existence? I mean this as much in the deep dark of night when you might be alone, as during the day when you are actively serving a purpose, or some other time when you may have company.

What do you believe is the source of your value? The environment of Scorpio could cast this question many ways: economic value, intellectual value, emotional value, sexual value, companionship value -- or something much closer to the core of who you are.

I've suggested before that self-esteem is the single most important issue we face as individuals, and which aggregates into a collective situation that is holding back the progress of all of society. Imagine if we could all feel better about ourselves, love ourselves more, and be in close harmony with the fact of our existence.

Yet what kind of a process would it take to get us there? Right now, we're all under constant pressure to suppress our self-doubts, as much as to hide our true light under a bushel.

Betty Dodson: Out of the Shadows

In the midst of Second Wave feminism, circa 1970, a Kansas-born artist named Betty Dodson emerged as the prophetess of masturbation. She proposed to all of us that your most important relationship is to yourself, including your most meaningful and necessary sexual relationship. All other relationships emerge from this primal (as in primary) territory of self-to-self relating. My take is that this was the single most revolutionary concept of the sexual revolution (and perhaps the only one).

Planet Waves
Page from the Kinsey Report on female sexuality. This was revolutionary in several respects. First, from the standpoint of a scientist, he informs the world that female masturbation is normal and harmless. He also heralds the truth that women orgasm from masturbation 95% of the time. He also suggests that the psychological problems in relationships may be what makes it difficult for women to experience sexual satisfaction -- not some kind of "Freudian" issue.
I translate it to: without self-acceptance, can we really accept others? Without selflove, can we truly love others?

Today we live in a world that is obsessed with partnering and marriage. Millennials are making the divorce rate plunge. The only gay and lesbian issues of our era have been the right to marry and the right to serve in the military. TV is overrun with ads for, eHarmony, OurTime, and countless other services promising the ultimate romance. There is a cultural obsession with finding "the one."

On the other end of the spectrum is hookup culture, exemplified in Tinder and Grindr. My observation is that these are offering forms of sex that are essentially substituting for meaningful masturbation, which is a subject we don't hear much about.

Masturbation, as a topic in our culture, has been pushed into the shadows as a synonym for porn. In that sense, it could hardly be experienced as a path to self-awareness, self-relating or self-awakening. There is a projection screen involved.

I was looking through my copy of the Kinsey Report on female sexuality. For whatever statistics are worth, I learned that even in 1953, women reported that they experienced orgasm from masturbation 95% of the time -- more than any other form of sex.

I have (to my amusement) been ridiculed for my idea that masturbation is the most feminist form of sex. I once got into a lively conversation with the storied radical feminist Carol Hanisch, of Redstockings fame (author of the phrase, "The personal is political") when I proposed this idea. And I have had my share of discussions with Vagina Monologues aficionadas, who don't seem to like my theory that masturbation is the opposite of rape. What I mean by that is, particularly for men, self-sex involves fully taking possession of all of their feelings, addressing them inwardly, and not projecting them onto women.

I would propose that self-sexuality in all forms has, in our time, been relegated to the realm of shadow Venus. And it's going to be something we need to reclaim if we want to take possession of our sexual consciousness and begin to unravel the web our society seems to be caught in.

One important aspect of this is that masturbation remains the seat of sexual guilt; it's like the dustbin where we sweep all of our reticence, ambivalence, body shame and -- yes -- desire. I have pondered for years why exactly there is a taboo around masturbation. The best I can come up with is that it's the only form of entirely non-reproductive, pleasure-centered, absolutely free, obligation-free and psychically free (you can imagine anyone and anything you want) form of sexuality. As such, it's a threat to the marriage economy.

Planet Waves
This is a sample page from the first edition of Betty Dodson's essay that became the bestseller Sex for One. You can read the full essay here.
It's also a pathway to emotional and creative freedom. Imagine how difficult it would be to manipulate and control people who were orgasmic -- a topic developed in the early 20th century by Dr. Wilhelm Reich.

Selfsex is the place where you can have no inhibitions and no consequences, such as pregnancy, divorce, STIs: it is entirely sex for its own sake. And if you admit to it, you admit to much else. That, and there is a world of nuance within the self-to-self relationship that I think we could all benefit from airing out in some form of open discussion. We might, for example, discover the vast common ground on which all sexes, genders and sexual orientations stand.

The Road to Androgyny

In The Left Hand of Darkness, Ursula Le Guin creates a fictional world where most people are ambisexual -- they can manifest as either sex when the time comes to reproduce. The author intended this as an experiment in subtracting from society all the usual issues of gender and seeing what was left.

How would you feel if, suddenly, everyone was androgynous and there was no polarity between the sexes? That's not quite the world we live in, though it would seem that many forces are pushing things in that direction.

This includes existing in an environment of endocrine disrupting chemicals, which tend to feminize men (reduced sperm counts, reduced penis size, testicular atrophy) and sicken women (endometriosis, breast cancer, ovarian cancer).

These chemicals are in every scrap of plastic, every bite of food and every breath of air, down to straws and stirrers. There are many ubiquitous (omnipresent) factors in our physical environment that are scrambling all of our natural hormonal and even sensory signals.

Several years ago, a study published in the journal Human Reproduction determined that there is a correlation between hormonal contraceptive use and interference with sense of smell, which is important in navigating the sexual realm and choosing appropriate sex partners. The same study noted that libido level is determined in both sexes by the presence of free testosterone, the presumably male sex hormone.

Because most of these endocrine-disrupting chemicals are "feminizing," they interfere with testosterone and may be messing with the desire nature of every person on the planet. Given the statistics on sexless marriages, the apparent global reduction of desire may not just be about stress; it could be a biological situation influenced by synthetic chemicals.

Scorpio and Death

Scorpio is the sign of both reproduction and mortality. It is now understood by evolutionary biologists that sexual reproduction and individual mortality are rooted in the same genetic scripting. In other words, species that reproduce sexually also die. You might say that sex is the reward for mortality. I cover that field in this article. We cannot really consider anything involving Scorpio without considering that it's the realm of both sex and death.

In esoteric studies, the concept of death is synonymous with the concept of change. We could also count sex as one of the most important agents of change in all of human experience. This genetic association with change and mortality might power all of the primal fear and negativity associated with sexuality.

Planet Waves
In the 1940s, Aleister Crowley and Lady Frieda Harris designed their Death card, which depicts the double helix of DNA and humanity traveling down the spiral. The image of "death" is depicted in black, not the usual white you would expect to see used to illustrate a skeleton. The deck was finally published in 1968, 20+ years after its completion.
Without change, progress is impossible, and the resistance to change, progress and the mere consideration of death are the same thing.

It's fair to say that most people avoid the topic of death, to the point of rarely if ever talking about it, thinking about it, planning for it, or seeking some true, personal understanding. Typically, the only time there are actual confrontations are when it's right in our face.

Besides that, death is usually relegated to the realm of unspeakable inner fear of the unknown. The only palliative is religion, and it's not an especially honest or helpful one. Many cultures have a yearly ritual honoring both death and the ancestors.

Cultures with nature-based religion also celebrate Beltane at the opposite time of year. This is the celebration of fertility and eroticism as a way of assuring abundance. Yet we know that nature-based religions are not looked upon favorably by this thing we call patriarchy, and it seems time to have that discussion.

Giving sex and death a home in our awareness, and in the yearly cycle of life, would be an awakening. It is my observation that a significant part of the sexual and also financial crises of our society are rooted in struggles with both.

We might come up with a thousand reasons why we are all unequal, and why some people are seemingly more powerful, though we all face the same fate, and we all live on Earth with limited time. Were we to admit that fact, we might want to have more fun while we're here.

Venus retrograde in Scorpio begins Friday. I propose that this transit will bring up more questions than it does answers, though questions are an excellent place to begin to gain an understanding of our situation. The deepest of those questions will focus on self-awareness.

In this spirit, the first things to ask about Venus retrograde involve what you have not said or not acknowledged within your closest partnerships. Perhaps make a list. The first step here would be to admit them to yourself before you bring them into a conversation.

With love,
Planet Waves (ISSN 1933-9135) is published each Sunday and Thursday evening in Kingston, New York, Planet Waves, Inc. Core Community membership: $197/year. Editor and Publisher: Eric F. Coppolino. Web Developer: Anatoly Ryzhenko. Astrology Editor: Amanda Painter. Eric's Assistant: Ellen Dockery. Client Services: Amy Elliott and Victoria Emory. Finance: Andrew Slater. Technical Assistant: Emily Thing. Copy Editor and Fact Checker: Jessica Keet. Media Consultant: Andrew McLuhan. Music Director: Daniel Sternstein. Bass and Drums: Daniel Grimsland. Additional Research, Writing and Opinions: Yuko Katori, Cindy Tice Ragusa, and Carol van Strum.
Beneath the Waves and Back: Venus Stations Retrograde

By Amanda Painter

On Friday, at 3:04 pm EDT (19:04:14 UTC), Venus stations retrograde in Scorpio. We're in one of those odd years when we get a series of 'personal planet' retrogrades in a row, sometimes overlapping each other. I think these years tend to have a distinct feel to them; I don't know about you, but a significant chunk of 2018 has felt a little bit like limbo, or like one long phase of inner processing, and it looks like that might continue almost through the end of the year.

Planet Waves
Playa Brava, Culebra, Puerto Rico. Photo by Amanda Painter.
Mercury's three yearly retrogrades is a pretty familiar pattern. But this year, Mercury's second retrograde overlapped with the summer's Mars retrograde. And then later this fall, several hours after Venus stations direct on Nov. 16, Mercury will station retrograde the same day.

I mention this not to freak out or depress anybody, but rather so you can get oriented with an eye toward continued introspection. Yes, you will have to continue taking necessary action in your life; you might be in the process of making big changes and choices; exciting opportunities could come your way, as might frustrating challenges that you'll need to address.

As I understand it, these retrogrades are not about treading water so much as they are about seeking new levels of self-understanding, or reviewing what got you where you are so you can plot an informed course forward.

Yes, there are certain precautions and guidelines -- such as avoiding unnecessary large purchases while Mercury is retrograde, or not assuming that the new lover you hook up with during a Venus retrograde is 'The One'. But that's not the same as being too afraid to do what needs to be done.

So what's unique about the chart for Venus stationing retrograde tomorrow? For one thing, Venus will change apparent direction in close conjunction with a hypothetical point called Poseidon (the Greek version of Neptune; associated with enlightenment and illumination) and with the asteroid Persephone (the goddess brought to the underworld by Pluto to be his wife, resulting in the seasons as she makes her annual journey above ground and then back down again).

Right off the bat, we have a beautiful image of the inward journey of Venus through the emotional, sexual waters of Scorpio as being one of illuminating the depths of past relationships. It's not about reliving anything; rather, it's about shining a light beneath the waves from the safety of the present. No matter what comes up for you over the next few weeks and no matter who crosses your path, it's entirely up to you how you engage with it (or not) and what you learn from it. It could be as simple as, "Oh yeah -- I remember that; thank Goddess I'm in a better place now," or even, "There was a lot that was good in that relationship; I'd like to consciously manifest some of those qualities again."

Continue reading...
Planet Waves
Listen to your preview here! More coming soon!

Aries | Taurus | Cancer | Leo | Libra | Scorpio | Capricorn | Aquarius

Dear Planet Waves Reader:

Nearly every client who comes in has questions about their intimate relationships -- any astrologer will tell you that. Over the years I've been doing this work, though, I've made an observation: astrology is terrible at predicting the outcome of relationships, but excellent as a tool for analysis.

Prediction is dicey in any event; are we creating what we predict? Yet as a method of understanding what is so, I've found astrology to be of excellent assistance, something that can help you solve puzzles and communicate with yourself more effectively.

Planet Waves
Eric Francis.
With Venus about to go retrograde, there are questions of unspoken needs, unresolved emotional material, and an invitation to be more honest with oneself. I am reading Venus retrograde in Scorpio as an invitation to look within, what you might call the ultimate spiritual gesture.

And this week, I'll be finishing a set of astrology readings designed to help you do just that. My Empathy series of readings look at the light and shadow sides of Venus. I am looking at the recent Mars retrograde, and its connection to Venus.

I also devote time in each reading to discussing Chiron's transition from Pisces to Aries, and look ahead at what that might be about.

These transits align with our unusual, somewhat tense moment of how the genders relate to one another, our culture-wide identity crisis, and the quest for some sane direction. Only my approach is personal, in the spirit of an individual reading.

The first eight signs are done; I am scheduled to wrap the rest by the time Venus goes retrograde. We are delivering signs as I complete them. You can listen to samples of those finished readings here:

Aries | Taurus | Cancer | Leo | Libra | Scorpio | Capricorn | Aquarius

This Week on Planet Waves FM
In the Nature of Healing

Dear Friend and Listener:

Planet Waves
Thom Yorke performing recently at Madison Square Garden. Photo by Eric Francis.
In this week's first segment [play episode here], I tell the story of the first few years of my work as a professional astrologer, when I was introduced to the grief of women: their experiences of transgression and personal loss, and how I learned to work with them.

In the second segment, I look at the current astrology, including Venus stationing retrograde. Then I move on to a discussion of what happened last week at the Senate Judiciary Committee, followed by a detailed reading of the chart of Thom Yorke, followed by a short Tantra Studio.

Planet Waves FM is run on a nonprofit, noncommercial basis and is supported exclusively by your generous donations. Our publisher is Chiron Return and we are part of the Pacifica Radio Network.

If you listen to this program regularly, please chip in a dollar or $10 or whatever you can afford, to help us pull this program together. Thank you to all of you who make monthly donations and for the many generous one-time gifts we've received.

It is truly my pleasure to create this space to hang out each week, with room to think, and with no commercial interruptions and no special agenda except to look honestly at the world within us and around us.

With love,
Planet Waves
"How come it took so long for you all to get a group together to see if they can help us?" Georginia Sappier-Richardson sharing her story at a TRC community visit, from the documentary Dawnland.
After the Dark, Comes the Dawn, Eventually
By Amanda Painter

In addition to the topic of sex, it's possible that the retrograde of Venus in Scorpio could bring us into contact with other questions under Scorpio's purview -- such as our relationships with death and inheritance. That could mean literal death; it could mean change; or it might mean something like the death of a culture through systematic racism -- an effect of which is the erasure of a person's heritage, their full birthright of cultural inheritance, and even their identity.

The U.S. and many other cultures have been incredibly slow to recognize the abuse and outright genocide perpetrated on indigenous peoples in the process of building society as we know it. Perhaps least recognized has been the system of removing Native children from their homes for placement in non-Native foster care and boarding homes -- situations that actively sought to erase all facets of their Native identity.

In the feature-length documentary Dawnland, filmmakers follow Native and non-Native commissioners from the nation's first government-sanctioned truth and reconciliation commission (TRC) in the United States as they gather testimony on the devastating impact of such policies on the Maliseet, Micmac, Passamaquoddy and Penobscot tribal communities. These are the Wabanaki people: the first to see the dawn's light on the eastern edge of Turtle Island.

Over two years, the camera captures the profound and difficult moments of truth telling and, perhaps, the beginning steps of healing witnessed and instigated by the TRC -- even as Wabanaki families are still being broken up by the state, as described on the Upstander Project website. The Upstander Project has also created a short documentary called First Light to begin engaging with students and teachers about what's happening with Wabanaki families in Maine, which you can access online.

Dawnland has been showing at film festivals across North America and at community screenings, and will air nationally on PBS on Nov. 5, on Independent Lens. If you are a teacher, you can sign up for a free PDF copy of Dawnland's teachers' guide here.

The more we educate ourselves about what has been done, the better equipped we will be to hold space for healing, and -- for those who are non-Native -- to take a look at our own inherited privilege in the process, and the role it plays. It would seem that the Sun in Libra and Venus retrograding through Scorpio would ask no less of us.

Listen to Vision Quest on Live Stream

Planet Waves has an in-house music ensemble, called Vision Quest. We have a 38-hour loop of our music, which you can listen to any time. Included are finished pieces, rehearsals, live concerts, drum grooves, and spoken word recordings. I consider it a kind of musical divination. Click in randomly at different times of day and see what you discover.

Our Gifts to You: A Little Something Extra

Dear Friend and Reader:

It took me a long time to figure out what kind of gift to offer for new and returning subscribers. Tee shirts seemed too complicated; you need at least six sizes to get started, and not everyone wants a shirt. Tote bags are useful but kind of boring.

So I thought: journals. I love notebooks, and just about everything I write starts scribbled down on paper. I know my readers are a little old-fashioned, so this seemed like the perfect thing.

Planet Waves
Black smaller, pink larger, embossed with the Planet Waves logo. There are a few hand painted sketchbooks left, with heavy, acid-free paper.

Then...I researched embossed journals for about six months. That's how long it took. I requested or purchased samples of the best that suppliers had, and all kinds of stuff came floating in the door. It was more challenging than I imagined to find a nice one, though finally I did.

Everything had to be right: the paper, the lines, and how the book feels in your hands.

However, the one I selected was being discontinued. I ordered as many as we could reasonably afford. We now have two main options: small black ones, and larger pink ones (these are new).

Together, they are the approximate color of Good & Plenty candy. I am one of these people who loves anything pink (sweatshirts, nail polish, headbands, a hot pink Squier guitar that I gave to Zosha a few years ago). We also have a few hand-painted notebooks left, which are acid-free sketchbooks.

You can get an embossed notebook with any monthly, quarterly or yearly membership to Planet Waves. If, by the way, there's a calling for hand-painted ones, I will make one more-or-less to your preferences (for those who sign up for a full-year Backstage Pass).

Continue reading this letter here.

Planet Waves
Eric's daily horoscope returns to the Four Winds Almanac on Sunday. Sign up free for your comprehensive guide to daily astrology, calendar, birthdays and more.

Monthly Horoscopes and Publishing Schedule Notes

We published your extended monthly horoscopes for September on Thursday, Aug. 30. Your extended monthly horoscopes for August were published on Thursday, Aug. 9. Please note: we normally publish the extended monthly horoscope after the Sun has entered a new sign; keep an eye out for your extended monthly horoscope for October early next week.
Planet Waves
Weekly Horoscope for Oct. 4, 2018, #1221 | By Amy Elliott
Aries (March 20-April 19) -- As tribal consciousness appears to take an increasing hold on our social world, it can be more tempting than ever to join in with the unthinking absolutism being presented just about everywhere. Yet the past few months have surely demonstrated that, while we might feel a heightened sense of belonging, the restrictions of such a mindset can chafe and bind; ultimately we are presented with a choice of either being a part of the group, or being ourselves. Remember what you've learned, and consider whether you really want to make that compromise. Get your full reading by Eric here.

Taurus (April 19-May 20) -- We denizens of Facebook and Instagram are encouraged by the digital environment to cultivate an image, a public persona displayed to an audience, which may have varying degrees of difference from our true thoughts and feelings. Potentially one of the themes of the forthcoming Venus retrograde for you may be understanding more closely what fundamentally constitutes who you really are, and learning how to accept certain facets of your character as qualities you need neither be ashamed of, nor hide away. Get your full reading by Eric here.

Gemini (May 20-June 21) -- Not everyone thinks of themselves as an artist, but pretty much everyone has a gift within them that they can cultivate and draw forth. It would seem you're now in a position where you can delve more fully into yours, or perhaps discover or rediscover an entirely new talent. As you do this, remember that as a human being, regardless of what you can do, you have intrinsic worth. Comparing oneself to others is always a false measure. Expressing one's uniqueness unabashedly can, by contrast, be deeply nourishing for the soul. Get your full reading by Eric here.

Cancer (June 21-July 22) -- One of the great gifts of your sign is the wellspring of passion that, when directed by you, blesses all you do with a rawness and sincerity rarely found in the modern world. This does not necessarily grant you an easier life; you might at times become frustrated with your own sensitivity. Yet the transmutation of emotional energy into a crafting tool powers our creative and developmental drives. Despite the robotic nature of the current environment, where possible, keep in touch with those deep feelings and let them inspire you. Get your full reading by Eric here.

Leo (July 22-Aug. 23) -- Being open to our vulnerability can be difficult sometimes, especially when we have aspirations to be unshakable or wholly independent. However, such a state is impossible for flesh-and-blood creatures; we need support and succor from each other, even if much of the time we can get on pretty well by ourselves. Pride and determination are great qualities, though they only go so far. Don't ever be afraid to reach out if you do need help, or to accept what is offered; listen to your body and your feelings, and be prepared to do whatever is in your best interests. Get your full reading by Eric here.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22) -- Removing creative or communicative blocks is a gradual process that requires persistence and method. It also helps if you can identify any patterns or habits that might contribute to holding you back. For example, do you consistently undervalue your abilities, or compare them unfavorably with others? Are you sometimes prone to distractions, or do you tend to push yourself too hard? Allow yourself to experiment with different techniques, and figure out whether they might help your inspiration to flow more freely and easily. Get your full reading by Eric here.

Libra Birthdays and Rising 2018-19:
Instant Access to Your 2018 Libra Astrology
"Eric's uplifting, thoughtful commentaries and imaginative cosmological worldview gave me great comfort during the depths of an extremely painful episode. He was my friend in absentia, as I am his in spirit. Thanks for all you do at Planet Waves."
-- K.S.
Dear Friend and Reader:

When the Sun entered your sign on Sept. 23 for the equinox, it was promptly heralded by a rather incredible Full Moon in Aries, your relationship sign, the next day. To honor this rather potent astrology, Eric recorded the two astrology segments of your 2018-19 Libra Astrology Studio (previously called the Libra Birthday Reading) -- and they're available for instant access.

Although he has not yet recorded the tarot portion of this audio reading, he plans to soon -- which means you have limited time to lock in the current price of $44 for the full reading (plus an extended description of your sign, and photos of the chart and tarot cards).

Some of the themes Eric has identified in your next year's astrology include being shaken loose from the priority structures of those around you (particularly regarding your relationships and finances); designating a space that's entirely your own, as defined only by you; and truly learning to live in the present, not in the past. You can hear Eric discuss these themes in this audio sample.

"I'm 'addicted' and these recordings make great educational options on a 17-hour flight!"
-- P. Hoback

Also on the agenda: some thoughts about what the retrograde of your ruling planet, Venus, has in store for you. Venus will move in apparent backwards motion from Scorpio into Libra between Oct. 5 and Nov. 16.

Remember, if you give the 2018 Libra Astrology Studio to a loved one as a gift, they'll get instant access to the two astrology sections -- and we'll send them an email when the tarot portion is ready.

Wishing you an amazing year,

Amanda Painter

P.S. Whether you have a Libra Sun, Moon or rising sign, you can get a lot out of Eric's audio readings. Listen to last year's Libra Birthday Reading as a gift to find out for yourself!

Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23) -- No sign encapsulates the symbolism of relating more than yours does. Ruled by Venus, opposite from the sign of self (Aries), your area of the zodiac is all about how we connect with others. Yet it would appear one of the themes of Venus retrograding from Scorpio into Libra is of highlighting the relationship you have with yourself, on the most profound level possible. The next few weeks could see you getting a much stronger grasp of your identity as an individual, at once part of humanity and yet distinct from everyone else, in a variety of ways. Get your full reading by Eric here.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22) -- Embrace your imperfections. We all have them; we're all the cracked pot in the well-known story, watering the flowers along the path. The crack is the same one that lets in the light from the divine realm. Can you imagine how boring it would be if everyone were already complete, invulnerable, flawless? Fortunately that's not going to happen any time soon. As soon as people try to pretend they're 'without sin', so to speak, that's when the really shadowy stuff begins to emerge. Don't fall for the bullshit; instead, be gloriously, joyfully messy. Get your full reading by Eric here.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22) -- Though you're usually the first in line to take up an adventure, the one you're on the verge of now seems to be evoking feelings of hesitancy. There might be some real uncertainty involved, at least in terms of feelings or mental constructs; and substantive risk is difficult for people these days. Yet in the more challenging kinds of uncertainty, in the places where a fundamental belief is at stake, lies a profound gift of self-knowledge and awareness of our most powerful resources -- those that sustain us in the long term. Consider the opportunities courage might offer. Get your full reading by Eric here.

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20) -- If a recent plan hasn't quite turned out how you expected, that doesn't mean you should automatically give up on your ambitions or dreams. It might be necessary to go the scenic route or consider a different strategy; in fact, the idea for that may already have crossed your mind. Remember that no experience is really wasted; in everything that befalls us, there is almost always some kind of teaching moment. Your next attempt will probably come from a place of more complete understanding, and therefore be more likely to succeed. Get your full reading by Eric here.

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) -- Looked at one way, yours is a sign of contrasts. Your ruling planets, Saturn and Uranus, in one sense represent the opposing ideas of maintaining boundaries or restrictions and breaking through them, respectively. Likewise, you're an air sign but also the water bearer. These seeming polar opposites are part of what makes you so unique. This has been quite a year for getting to know the facets of yourself that perhaps have been less prominent; you have also unearthed some previously unnoticed strengths of character. You'll discover more in these coming weeks. Get your full reading by Eric here.

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) -- With any important decisions you have on your plate right now, it would probably be useful to ensure you allow sufficient time and bandwidth to weigh up each option carefully. Where possible, try not to let pragmatic or logistical factors pressure you; rather, strive to keep in mind as a goal the highest good for everyone concerned, and a principle of abstract justice. It may be worth taking in other perspectives if only to assist you in assembling a more complete picture; it would almost certainly help you to draw on your spiritual connections and resources. Get your full reading by Eric here.

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