Planet Waves

New York, Jan. 30, 2017 | View as Webpage | Pre-order Your 2017 Reading

Mercury Conjunct Pluto, Refugees and Airport Protests

Dear Friend and Reader:

Good Monday morning to you. 

Sunday, Mercury formed a conjunction to Pluto in Capricorn. Two months ago, prior to Mercury retrograde, I suggested that the most obvious symbolism in the retrograde process involved a near-conjunction between the two points. Then Mercury backed off, and crossed back in to Sagittarius, where it made a near-conjunction to the Galactic Core, and then went direct.

Planet Waves
Protest at JFK Airport on Saturday. Photo: Rolling Stone.
I suggested that when Mercury finally left its shadow phase, which it did this past Friday, and actually made that conjunction to Pluto, we would get a little squeak.

I described it on-air as buyer's remorse, and in print as a moment of "what was everyone thinking?" which would manifest about nine days after the inauguration.

The symbolism is obvious: Mercury-Pluto looks like a rude awakening, at least in a mundane chart. Something would become obvious. Indeed it did.

On Friday, Donald Trump issued an executive order -- one of many his first week in office -- calling for a permanent ban on people entering the U.S. from Syria, and a 120-day ban and "extreme vetting" of anyone traveling from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen. Though Trump said that this was not a "Muslim ban," he said his move was intended to keep "radical Islamic terrorists out of the United States of America. We don't want them here." 

He added that he did not want to admit to the country the kinds of threats that our soldiers were fighting overseas, including -- get this -- those who practice religious persecution or sexism.

The ban included people with approved visas, students, a visiting medical researcher with Harvard as his destination, American military contractors, children and permanent residents of the United States. It ignored the fact that Iraq is our ally in the war against the Islamic "state."

Many noted that the refugee ban was issued on Holocaust Rememberance Day, something that would tickle readers of Breitbart News.

Planet Waves
Protests on the West Coast took place in San Francisco (shown above), Los Angeles and Seattle-Tacoma airports, as well as in Denver and elsewhere.
Perhaps the move was best summed up by Pope Francis, who said, "It is hypocritical to call oneself a Christian and send away a refugee," adding, "Jesus taught us who the good Christian is in the parable of the good Samaritan."

The ban, however, did not include countries where Trump does business.

Public response was refreshingly swift and strong. By the end of the weekend, the administration was walking back parts of the ban, teaching activists that protests actually work. Highly energetic demonstrations rapidly emerged in airports around the country, starting at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York City, where several travelers were detained. As protests mounted, so too did lawsuits. By Saturday night, a federal court judge in Brooklyn reversed parts of the ban, as did federal judges in several other jurisdictions.

The executive order came under fire from prominent Democrats and Republicans, who pointed out that religious liberty is a bedrock of American society. The New York State Attorney General demanded a list of those detained. Sunday night, sixteen state attorneys general issued a collective statement calling the ban "unconstitutional, unamerican and unlawful."

Even Dick Cheney spoke out against the policy. "I think this whole notion that somehow we can just say no more Muslims, just ban a whole religion, goes against everything we stand for and believe in. I mean, religious freedom has been a very important part of our history and where we came from," Cheney said on a Monday appearance on the the Greg Hewett radio show. "A lot of people, my ancestors got here, because they were Puritans."

Part of the problem is that Trump is claiming to solve a problem that does not exist. There have been no terrorist attacks on U.S. soil by foreign nationals from the banned countries since 1975. 

Planet Waves
Though the executive order raises 9/11 in its introduction, countries from which 16 of the 20 alleged 9/11 attackers came, Saudi Arabia and UAE, were not included in the ban. In both the US and the UK, all recent shootings and terrorist incidents have been perpetrated by domestic actors.

Political grandstanding is one thing, though this is the kind that can send the world out of balance. Diplomatic gestures reverberate through the global community, which is in a delicate state at the moment. However, I reckon they are braced for the new normal, despite none of this being normal. It's not helping that Trump commented last week how the U.S. should have kept the oil in Iraq and that maybe we would have a second chance.

Domestically, it's turning out that Trump is the best thing to ever happen to the progressive moment. Last Saturday, Jan. 21, millions of women across the country and around the world marched for equality, with the biggest protests in DC and New York City. Then a week into his presidency, Trump provoked his first constitutional crisis -- the numerous court decisions will have to be sorted out -- and sparked another wave of enthusiastic protest at airports from coast to coast.

I'll be back with more in Planet Waves FM on Tuesday. Your horoscope below is based on that Mercury-Pluto conjunction chart, with other factors included. 

With love,

PS -- I'm done writing The Book of Your Life. The projet is now in the hands of our editorial team. I'll have a letter later in the morning describing the project, now that it's finished. We should have it in your hands within a day or so. Thank you for your patience. -- efc

The Elephant in the Room: Mercury Finally Meets Pluto

Dear Friend and Reader:

We're now in the year of the Rooster, following Friday's Aquarius New Moon. We're also approaching the middle of the Northern Hemisphere winter, otherwise known as Imbolc.

Planet Waves
One of a number of elephant art exhibits displayed in London in the summer of 2010. Photo by Andrew Wilkinson.
One of the traditional Celtic or Pagan cross-quarter days, Imbolc -- also called "Midwinter" -- literally means "in the belly."

If you're feeling surrounded by darkness, remember that seasonally speaking, we're in a period of gestation: halfway between the solstice and the Aries equinox. We are gradually working free of something.

As is Mercury, now clear of its shadow phase. And yesterday afternoon EST it finally formed the conjunction to Pluto that was a gnat's whisker away back on Dec. 19, during the station retrograde. The fulfillment of anything so long in coming is always something of a relief, in clearing away uncertainty. Mercury as an archetype has a lot more precision than, say, Neptune; but his tricksterish nature can obfuscate reality equally well sometimes.

The elaborate dance around Pluto last month created an air of inexactness, leaving the result an open question. This question is now receiving an emphatic answer.

The astronomical object named for Pluto is a relatively small body, but its impact is massive. Given the chance, Mercury will hedge and fudge and mess about. Pluto, in the words of Terry Pratchett, can't be having with that sort of thing. Pluto is lifting the veil and exposing the truth -- taking the elephant in the room and waving it in our faces until we pay attention.

This form of challenge is nearly always discomfiting, sometimes disturbing; but it offers the chance to resolve whatever issue is highlighted. It's up to you now to acknowledge what has been revealed, process the information and consider your response.

We live, as the well-known curse puts it, in interesting times. Something has altered irrevocably; yet with some intervention and effort, we can mould that change into a substantive and lasting improvement.

With best wishes,
Planet Waves
Amy Elliott

Imbolc: In the Belly of the Stars
by Eric Francis

February arrives at the depth of winter in most of the Northern Hemisphere, when we live in the shadow of cold, rain and snow. Within February's first few days lies one of the four high holidays -- or sabbats -- of the pagan calendar, called Imbolc in Celtic times. One of the four "cross-quarter days," its corresponding holidays are Beltane (or May Day, May 1), Lammas (also called second planting in agricultural communities, August 1) and Samhain (also called Halloween, October 31).

Imbolc, also called "Midwinter," literally means "in the belly," and at this time we are deep in the belly of winter, held in gestation for the coming spring at the Vernal Equinox around March 21. Imbolc is like the first movements of the fetus preparing for birth. Its precise timing is when the Sun crosses the middle degree of Aquarius, the symbolism of which we will visit in a moment.

Planet Waves
Groundhog Day

In the modern world, we associate early February with Groundhog Day, which hardly gives a clue to the importance this holiday held not long ago.

For most people, the day passes unnoticed, except for a photo in the local paper of a cute little critter in Pennsylvania who has wiggled out of his hole for a breath of fresh air, just like he does every other day. His stirring to life in midwinter is symbolic; ground hogs don't hibernate. The media, oddly enough, are practicing the old tradition of weather divination; all of the cross-quarter holidays are associated with some form of augury or communing with the spirit world.

Imbolc, Agriculture and Aquarius

Astrologers know that Imbolc falls with the Sun at the midpoint of the sign Aquarius, the Water Bearer, who lives today as the astrological symbol of rebellion and eccentricity. As with Imbolc, there are always at least two versions of the story with Aquarius. Is it an air sign or a water sign? (It's an air sign with water themes and imagery.) Is it ruled by, or associated with Saturn or Uranus? (Traditionally Saturn rules it, but in modern astrology most astrologers use Uranus.) Do those wavy lines represent air or water? (All waves are waves of energy.) Is the Water Bearer a male figure or female? (Probably male, but usually represented female.)

The constellation Aquarius, known to be among the oldest named configurations of stars, stands, according to Catherine Tenant, "with his foot on the head of the great Southern fish, into whose mouth his waters pour." She traces the god Aquarius back to Babylon, noting that he rules over a huge area of the sky where are gathered the Southern fish, the dolphin, the zodiac fishes (Pisces), the mighty River Eridanus (the River of Night) and Cetus the sea monster. These ancient waters and their primal creatures were "seen as the source of life, through which the Sun passed during the rainy season."

In the hands of Aquarius, says Tenant, is the Norma Nilotica, the stick used to measure the waters of the Nile River, an important indicator of agricultural success, and hence of survival. In these same rainy days of winter, half-a-world away, the Celts were busy with agricultural matters of their own: doing the earliest preparations for planting in coming spring. A feast marked the waning of winter. Germans in Europe and Indians in the New World were taking stock of how much remained of their winter rations. The ability to manage their food supply was critical to their survival through the remaining weeks of cold.

From Pagan to Catholic

Imbolc was such a powerful holiday for the Celts that the Catholics seem to have piled meaning after meaning on it either to fully co-opt the event, or to obscure the truth. Imbolc coincides with the Catholic holiday Candlemas. Though in early February the days were growing noticeably longer, this was still a dark time, and candles were the only means of lighting the long nights. If there were enough candles, a celebration of light was held, with each window of a house being lit on this night. Candles also held religious value, and this was traditionally the time that the priests of the church took stock of their supply and cleansed their altars. The candle association reaches over to Ireland, where at this time people celebrated a feast in honor of the goddess Brigit (later St. Brigit), a hearth deity whose realm included the fires of purification.

Scholars of church lore know this is also the Feast of the Purification of Mary, held 40 days after the birth of Jesus. This was the Christian interpretation of Mary observing the Jewish tradition of returning to sanctuary and being purified in the Mikvah. Mikvah is the origin of the Christian practice of baptism. The cleansing waters of baptism may also be linked to the Water Bearer symbol of Aquarius.

"Prophesy and purification are the recurrent and symbolic themes of the midwinter festivals," writes Donna Henes in her book Celestially Auspicious Occasions. "The concept of prophesy is drawn from the foresight and faith that spring, in all its verdant glory, is on its predictable way, even amid the hard, white winter. Purification suggests careful preparations for its coming."

When the Sun is crossing Aquarius, most of our time is still shrouded in darkness, and we remain, for a while, in the belly of the stars of night. We might be tempted to look to the meanings of Aquarius to help understand this fascinating convergence of holidays and themes, but it seems rather more appropriate to apply mystical and agricultural folklore back to Aquarius, reminding ourselves that its waters bring purification and moisten the land for the first growths of spring. And to keep in mind that we really are in the belly of the stars, gestated, born and living in a mysterious cosmos.
Planet Waves

Beyond the Internet: Your Future is Real
The Book of Your Life 2017 Readings

Dear Friend and Reader:

This has been a challenging year. Everyone is feeling it. We all need a break.

Change is catching up with us fast -- with each of us as individuals, and with the grand experiment of modern society: that is, of freedom and of responsibility.

Astrology describes this beautifully -- for those who are interested. Astrology is big enough to encompass anything, particularly if contemporary methods and planets are used. Best of all, astrology reaches into who you are as a person, and helps you see your options.

Planet Waves
iMac selfie of me in Blue Studio, my creative shop.
What led to the strange phenomenon of the election of 2016 -- whether you're horrified or think the outcome was just fabulous -- is still developing rapidly.

Using a past era as a comparison: were this the 1960s, we would be in December 1965. So much seems to have happened; very nearly everything has yet to happen.

Where are you positioned as these radical transformations take hold? You have things you want to do with your life. You want to keep your peace of mind and deepen your inner relationship. You want to do your bit to take care of the world -- the world that the young people in your life will inherit from us.

I'm right here with you. My goal is to prepare you for the passage of time, so that you can make the most of your life.

Each year (going back to 1999), I write an annual extended reading for all 12 Sun, Moon and rising signs. This year, that reading will be called The Book of Your Life (or What The Astrologer Said). Unlike past years, this will be exclusively in writing; I am striving for simplicity and clarity.

The readings will be delivered as webpages and also as printable PDFs that you can read away from your computer or device, if you want.

To these extended, chapter-length readings, I bring the best of my spiritual training, all that I've learned as a consultant, and a couple of decades of writing about astrology. I bring my writing skills and my sense of perspective.

The result is an unusually solid, clear-headed and dependable set of astrology readings. I see you as the best, most complete, most balanced person you can be. I reach for the light and am unafraid of handling shadow material in a creative way.

Most of my readers use this work to foster their personal growth and healing. Some depend on my readings for confirmation of what you already know. Some use them as an aid to help you envision your future. Others use them as a means of understanding your life, counting on the objectivity that astrology can offer.


Your Monthly Horoscopes -- and our Publishing Schedule Notes

Your extended monthly horoscope for February was published on Thursday, Jan. 26. We published your extended monthly horoscope for January on Thursday, Dec. 22. We published your Moonshine horoscope for the Capricorn New Moon on Thursday, Dec. 29. Your Moonshine horoscope for the Cancer Full Moon published Thursday, Jan. 12. Please note: we normally publish the extended monthly horoscope on the first Friday after the Sun has entered a new sign.


Monday Morning Horoscope for Jan. 30, 2017 | By Eric Francis Coppolino
Aries (March 20-April 19) -- Mars, the Aries planet, has moved into your sign for the first time in two years, and it's time to pluck up your confidence. This is not a matter of faking it till you make it; rather, it's time to embrace the reality of your own courage. What stands between you and who you are? What stands between you and what you want to do? I suggest you check two places. One is your concept of authority: for example, if you think something will happen to you if you are real. Another involves the relationship between religion and sex. Yes, this one is a little like chasing roaches; however, the evidence would be found in guilt about what you want, or any form of approach/avoid behavior. Have you ever wondered about these things? Do you ever have the sense that someone is watching you, in your most intimate moments? If so, that suggests you need to claim your right to exist. That's confidence.

Taurus (April 19-May 20) -- Keep your cool, especially in group situations. You must be the spiritual presence; the one who demonstrates devotion to the best of your ability. One of the themes of this year is your individual presence: how you relate to the collectives you're part of, and how they relate to you. As part of this, you have a chance to look closely at the idea of service. Notice the lines of support between you and the people around you. Notice whether you offer help, and whether it's offered back to you. Note when it's missing and see if you can get a sense of how that happens. This is advanced spiritual work, because you're in an advanced phase of learning. You might think of life this way: you are a gift to the world, and the world is a gift to you. That implies an exchange -- and in that exchange you get to express your true creativity.

Gemini (May 20-June 21) -- If you haven't figured out how to gain back an advantage in places where you seemed to keep coming out behind, review the events and conversations of the past few days carefully. You'll figure out where your power went and how to get it back. This applies particularly to situations where sex and money have been turned into instruments of authority of some kind. You might need to do something radical, like move on entirely. You might need to consistently speak your mind, which means from your deepest truth, not leaving anything out. Those two options might be related. Whatever may be the situation, you seem to have learned that in certain matters, there is no room for compromise. Your integrity is more important than making anyone else happy, or playing anyone else's game on their terms. You can avoid these situations by telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

Cancer (June 21-July 22) -- Aim your sights on some achievement that's meaningful to you. Pick one; the one that you've wanted to do the most for the longest, or the new idea that you're passionate about. Then stick with it. That's the key: follow through. First, though, notice what you've already been persistent about, but which has been simmering on the back burner. Choose something you're committed to: that your mind and body come back to on a regular basis, but which is calling for completion. Let this beginning be the commencement of resolving something, or bringing it to fruition. This will take some muscle, some time and some love, and there will be significant rewards for you, both personally and professionally. Cancer is usually viewed as a laid-back sign. But you know you can give it your full thrust when you want to -- and now is the time.

Leo (July 22-Aug. 23) -- You must set your own agenda. Right now, you run the risk of letting your choices be made or influenced by the people around you. Stop and ask yourself what you want, and why. Be honest about this. There are likely aspects of life that you've set aside for the benefit of others, perhaps as a result of relationship or family responsibilities. That's not going to work forever. At a certain point you need to establish a pattern of your life in which you are fully included, and that grants you some independence. Remember that many of the patterns holding you down are in your mind. They are part of your own psychological conditioning, and that's more difficult to change than any relationship structure. That's because your relationship structures are based on your own thinking. If you're wondering what's going on or what to do, that's the place to start.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22) -- The main thing missing from sex is talking about it. People do it; they avoid it; sex shapes and drives their lives in many ways. The one thing that rarely happens is a genuine conversation. That, I would propose, is the thing you need. Three factors tend to stop people. One is the lack of words, and experience using them. The second is embarrassment. The third is the potential consequences. For example, were you to say what you really want and really feel, you might fear getting a reaction that you don't want to deal with from someone. I would propose, however, that the thing binding you into your current and somewhat complicated situation is simply your need to speak up, in plain talk, about what you've done, what you want, and how you feel. It's time for Radical Honesty (which, by the way, is a book written by a Virgo author).

Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23) -- Mars has entered your opposite sign, and it's time to get a clear policy on how you respond to people who are attracted to you. Guess what? They are! Multiple people. If you take offense at that, or if there is some 'eww' factor, you're clearly not having enough fun. If you feel disempowered people approach you, then you were already disempowered. If someone is being aggressive, you might try standing up to them and setting a boundary. The single boundary you most need is one that you can possess: a clear yes, and a clear no. Getting there takes spiritual work. It takes some soul searching. Stating a clear yes, or a clear no, means being honest with yourself. If this makes you squirm a little, you know you're on the trail. Keep pursuing that line of thought, and keep squirming. You will reach the point of breakthrough where the truth is what sets you free.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22) -- When you focus your mind, you focus your power. Power means strength; that comes from your ability to concentrate. We live in scatterbrained times. It's almost as if ADD is a requirement for getting anything done. You must do better: you must focus, and put your ideas into words. The reason this might make someone nervous is that the moment you do this, you enter a new realm of commitment. In other words, saying what you truly believe means committing to that idea. That, in turn, means you can be held to it. You're likely to have some thoughts that you're just aching to get out, to express and to make real. If you're feeling a bit edgy, or anxious, that's natural enough -- though let it embolden you. As Jim Morrison said, the time to hesitate is through.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22) -- Mars has come storming into your house of art, play and passion, after many weeks in your house of insecurity. Venus is about to follow suit. You can now stop worrying about what might go wrong, and do your usual thing of taking action and expecting things to go brilliantly. You're being invited to take chances in art, in romance and in adventure. You may have to lead the way for others who are reluctant; don't let them stop you (you rarely ever do). You will have plenty of company soon enough. Mars changing signs represents a genuine vibrational shift for you; and if you stay alert and notice this change, you'll also discover there are many other people already on the level of awareness where you want to be. Feel your own creative passion, and notice who around you is awake and aware.

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20) -- You're about to figure out what you're angry about. It's funny how something can irritate or grate on you, and you don't even know what it is. Then when you do, you have the choice to act, or suppress your feelings. There's not much territory between. In or out are the options. However, it's not healthy to turn anger or resentment onto yourself. While it's not exactly peace-loving to turn your anger outward onto loved ones, even if they are the ones who provoked you, turning it inward results in guilt and sickness. You don't need to rage out at anyone. Going to the gym would be helpful -- your present state of mind demands some physical expression. The chances are that something in your present environment is referencing, and triggering, something in the past. Ask yourself what this is about. Listen to yourself. Say what you need to say, and do what you need to do. You can.

Trusting Your Power of Choice
"I suggest you proceed with trust in whatever you're doing, that you've chosen to do. Choice is an essential element here. To the extent that you may feel trapped in the world, the power of decision is your one remaining freedom, and it's the only one you need. You may notice that many people around you are in the state they're in, precisely out of a refusal to actually make their own decisions."
-- Eric Francis in the 2016 Aquarius annual reading
Dear Friend and Reader:

If you have an Aquarius Sun, Moon or rising sign, you know that it's associated with 'group consciousness'. But a group is made up of individuals, all making their own decisions as they relate to one another.

Planet Waves

In two segments of audio astrology and a tarot reading using the Voyager Tarot by James Wanless, Eric will guide you through the major themes and subtler points of your next 12 months in your 2017 Aquarius Birthday Reading. Your reading also includes an extended description of your sign.

This understanding seems to be even more crucial now than it has been in recent years. If you recognize that, you might want to consider celebrating the Aquarius New Moon this Friday by recommitting to your power of choice perhaps by pre-ordering your 2017 Aquarius Birthday Reading to help you focus your trajectory.

In two segments of audio astrology (at least 30 minutes each) and a tarot reading using the Voyager Tarot by James Wanless, Eric will guide you through the major themes and subtler points of your next 12 months.
"Your reports are always so comprehensive and illuminating. Thank you for your wisdom and insight."
-- Rochelle Leal
You'll be able to use this audio intensive to explore choices around you self-esteem, your sexuality and relationships, your career, your spiritual health and healing, and more.

Secure the lowest discount price Planet Waves offers (only $19.97) by pre-ordering your 2017 Aquarius Birthday Reading here, and proceed with trust in your deepest choices.

Yours & truly,

Amanda Painter
Planet Waves Astrology Editor

P.S. Your audio Birthday Reading makes a perfect compliment to the written readings of the 2017 annual edition -- in fact, Eric approaches the two types of readings very differently -- and it makes an amazing gift.

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) -- You seem to have passed a psychic kidney stone. By that I mean that your 'unconscious' mind, the one that blazes to life when you dream, has been working out a puzzle or a problem. This may have been irritating you in ways that you have not put words to yet. They will come gradually, as you make the connections. What you're feeling is likely to speak in subtle sensation before you're able to translate it into words. If you want to get the meaning or the lesson of what you're processing, tune into those feelings. Yet as with a dream, you need to honor the internal logic of what you're feeling, which may have nothing to do with your seemingly waking life. And what is more interesting, this whole experience may be about working out the karma of a grandparent or ancestor. In any event, some part of you wants to crack open and let your juices flow out. Bring your full emotions and your voice to the occasion.

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) -- It's time to take charge of your money. This is, in many ways, a matter of confidence: controlling your cash flow, and focusing your energy on increasing your income. You have what it takes: talent, initiative and discipline. And you have these things in ways that you've never had them before. Take advantage of this moment. Your chart is bursting with opportunity, though it's calling for your leadership and your investment in yourself. You have the strength of mind to stop making excuses and to stop drowning in insecurity and uncertainty. Work with the idea that if you need something, you already have it or you can acquire it easily. Most of all, make yourself useful. Put your creative prowess to actual, tangible, pragmatic use. Look around at the world. There's plenty that needs to be done, and you have a skill or talent to match any purpose. Choose what suits you the best.

Planet Waves

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