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First Week of Virgo, a Season of Her Own

Dear Friend and Reader:

This was my week to cool off from completing BALANCE, the 2016 midyear reading. Even with as much astrology as I do, it's a full-on experience to devote so much energy to each sign and rising sign, and then to go through the whole wheel in the space of two weeks. 

Planet Waves
Speaking of the Goddess, Alexandra Weishaupt, incarnating as the Fire Queen, at her wedding on Saturday, Aug. 20, 2016. Photo by Eric Francis.
I do my research over the months, get into the groove, and begin the signs. Pisces mysteriously approaches and then I'm propelled out of the project, soaked from an astrological fever. What I do is to shapeshift into each of the signs and fully inhabit it, and tell your story from the inside.

The result is a set of twelve 30-minute video sign readings that are organized in sign-pairs: Aries and Libra, Taurus and Scorpio, and so on. I have several options for what pattern you can choose to read all 12 signs.

For this reading, I explore the sign-pairs as energy systems featuring the polarity of one's opposite sign -- by the way, an idea integral to understanding astrology.

BALANCE condenses the developments you've been reading about for the past five months (since the spring reading covering Mars retrograde), including the end result of retrograde Mars, Uranus conjunct Eris, the Saturn-Neptune square and other events -- each of which stands out as an archetypal flame of our times.

The readings are available as an all-12 package (so you can listen to your rising sign, Moon sign and opposite sign) or as individual signs. We are including last year's vastly under-rated Astrology for Artists (the Jupiter in Virgo midyear reading) with each purchase.

Monthly Horoscope and Other Updates

This week's edition features the extended monthly horoscope, which covers Mercury retrograde, two eclipses and Jupiter ingressing Libra. Last week's lead article, The Great Reveal, is the lead designed to go with these horoscopes (for example, in the print edition). That covers all of the technical details in a friendly narrative.

Planet Waves
Chart pairs from BALANCE adorn my wall. You can see all the charts here in this video presentation. I prefer to use hand-drawn rather than computer-generated charts for your readings.
In the current Planet Waves FM, I open up the airwaves to the natural phenomenon that is Virgo. The edition includes an extended reading from Alice A. Bailey's chapter on Virgo from Esoteric Astrology

In the next section I read from Philip Rawson's excellent essay on tantra, focusing on how this ancient art is essentially a form of female worship and goddess worship, which dovetails right into Bailey's ideas on Virgo.

My musical guest is The Tragically Hip, who performed what many think is their last concert this past Saturday night.

I know not everyone reading has tuned into Planet Waves FM. Each week, I offer a two-hour program featuring teachings on the current astrology, the history of astrology, excellent music and sometimes guests. 

This year we began Planet Waves TV as a weekly feature (I consider the 10 or so shows from 2015 to be pilot editions).

I took this past week off (12 extra videos put me close to the limit!) though the most recent one has racked up 6,000 views. After squirming and resisting and diligently studying Marshall McLuhan's ideas, I am now in love with video.

For this week's essay, I leave you with one of my favorites, about Virgo, called "Threefold Goddess in a Field of Grain.” If these ideas resonate with you, please dial in the Alice Bailey reading from Planet Waves FM. Virgo is not just for Virgos. It's a sign that holds the key to life, to understanding the Earth and to harmonizing with being a woman, or being friends with them.

With love,

Threefold Goddess in a Field of Grain

Dear Friend and Reader:

Virgo is the mutable earth sign (the only one). Mutability is a form of changeability; earth is a form of stability. We have some tension manifesting through that contrast.

Planet Waves
Grain field in West Branch, Iowa. Photo by Theresa Luttenegger.
Of course, the Earth is in a constant state of flux and change, especially in our era of Earth changes. We live with that tension, as we expect the climate and geography to be reasonably stable, though so often in our moment of history it's anything but.

Virgo is the third sign of the summer up here in our part of the world; as a mutable sign, it's the disseminating phase of the season. (Note that all the seasons end with a mutable sign -- Gemini ends Northern Hemisphere spring, Virgo ends summer, Sagittarius ends autumn and Pisces ends winter.) That is part of what makes the sign mutable: it arrives in a moment of transition. Mutable signs can also express themselves as a cardinal sign or as a fixed sign -- another example of their changeability.

Associated with Mercury, in the traditional ruling planet we get another image of changeability. Mercury changes directions six times a year, more than any other planet (three stations retrograde, and three stations direct). Its speed is varying constantly, and it accelerates and decelerates (in and out of its stations retrograde and direct) more quickly than any other planet.

If you look up Virgo in a dependable old text, you'll find that it's associated with dairy production, cornfields, granaries, malt-houses, or places where barley, wheat, peas, cheese and butter are stored. In other words, going back to the significant agricultural roots of astrology, Virgo is the sign that's about having enough to eat. Not surprisingly, given the time of year that it occurs in the Northern Hemisphere (where our astrology was developed), Virgo is the sign of the harvest.

Virgo is also associated with libraries and studies -- revealing of the scholarly traits that modern astrology books associate with this sign. Fred Gettings, in his excellent astrology dictionary, describes Virgo as a sign "deeply committed to the intellectual process."

Planet Waves
The eminently wise William Lilly, friend to humanity and embodiment of the Violet Ray, was the first to create an astrology text in English.
Those of us who know and love Virgos are familiar with intelligent, clever, somewhat nervous people who can never seem to do enough. And it's difficult to figure out where you stand with them, since like the motion of their ruling planet Mercury, every day is a little different.

You can think of this as Virgo in its outer form -- how it expresses itself in ways that we can observe with the senses and eat for breakfast. Then there are the deeper layers. We can find something about this in a 1951 text called Esoteric Astrology by Alice A. Bailey.

"The sign Virgo is one of the most significant in the zodiac," Bailey writes in her introduction to this sign, "for its symbology concerns the whole goal of the evolutionary process, which is to shield, nurture and finally reveal the hidden spiritual reality. This every form veils, but the human form is equipped and fitted to manifest it in a manner different to any other expression of divinity and so make tangible and objective that for which the whole creative process was intended."

She describes this process as being conveyed in three female figures from mythology: Eve, Isis and Mary. Each of these goddesses conceals and gestates the inner spiritual quality of humanity until it's born in human form as Jesus, the Christ. I don't think she means this literally as much as she is presenting a metaphor of spiritual development, and a model of the feminine being what gestates a deeper quality in humanity.

Eve "took the apple of knowledge from the serpent of matter and started the long human undertaking of experiment, experience and expression" of our journey on and with our planet. Isis "stands for this same expression down onto the emotional or astral plane." Mary "carries the process down to the plane or place of incarnation, the physical plane, and therefore gives birth to the Christ child."

Many things are going on here, in the midst of the anachronism of these three figures; one of them is that Bailey is describing Virgo as an expression of the threefold goddess, which takes many other forms. Another is that she is describing Virgo as a sign that, through a series of steps, brings humanity closer to its essential spiritual nature -- the one we know exists at least in theory and more probably as a spark of light within us -- being born in real life, as a physical manifestation.

Planet Waves
Alice Ann Bailey.
An idea becomes real; a potential manifests. The germ of life inside the seed of grain is protected, and when the conditions are right, it emerges and grows. That is the essence of Virgo, where we see so much in the way of intellectual expression yearning for a place to take form. To do this, it's necessary to honor the life within what we're doing, and the deeper life within ourselves. This takes patience and care. It requires living in service of that inner light, until it's fully born.

Even in the most ordinary themes of Virgo we see these qualities expressed -- for example, the undeniable emphasis on service that Virgo so often presents. When a person with strong Virgo in their chart is in conflict or crisis, it would be a good idea to check for the extent to which they are honoring and are in harmony with that inner life. Note: service does not necessarily mean being a nurse or a teacher. It means doing what one came here to do; it means following one's true calling, which almost invariably serves humanity.

Notably, many people alive today have unusually powerful Virgo signatures in their charts -- for example, everyone born between 1957 and 1972 has Pluto in Virgo (there will be some small exceptions on the far ends of that date range, when Pluto was transitioning between signs).

Through the core of that era Uranus was also in Virgo, as this sign was the scene of the Uranus-Pluto conjunction of 1965-1966. That conjunction has a wide orb of influence, spanning at minimum from the late 1950s to the early 1970s. And we are experiencing a manifestation of that event today, as Uranus and Pluto are now making their famous square aspect -- the defining aspect of our era.

One recent manifestation of the deeper nature of Virgo came with the discovery of Chiron in 1977. While Chiron is not the 'ruling' planet of Virgo, there are many associations between Chiron and Virgo, and Chiron does indeed seem to have transformed our notion and experience of Virgo.

Chiron is physically a massive comet. At 160 to 180 kilometers across, it is thousands of times the size of even the largest comets we can typically see -- but too far away to resolve even for most telescopes. Chiron orbits our Sun in a 51-year egg-shaped path that crosses Saturn's orbit and goes out nearly as far as Uranus.

Planet Waves
Education of Achilles by Jean-Baptiste Regnault. This is Chiron -- mentor to many -- teaching Achilles how to use bow and arrow.
The discovery of Chiron, and considerable early enthusiasm about it, raised much speculation about what sign this new planet might rule. This notion was based on an assumption that new planets rule anything at all. But by 1977, the modern planets (Uranus, Neptune and Pluto) were said to rule Aquarius, Pisces and Scorpio respectively. So when Chiron came along, astrologers were ensconced in the dubious habit of thinking that something new had to rule a sign.

While this issue is potentially debatable, Chiron certainly has a lot to say about Virgo and a close affinity for it. Chiron's dedication to healing, service and perfecting the human experience is related to Virgo rather impeccably. Chiron always seems to be struggling to bring something from a 'higher level' into the physical plane.

Chiron will do whatever it needs to do, again and again, until it gets our attention. If you track your lifetime Chiron transits, you will see this in action. It is not easy integrating the energy of one level of experience into the other -- anyone who has tried to bring loving vibes into their place of work might know what I'm talking about -- but with persistence, it can be done. And Chiron is persistent if nothing else.

Chiron of Greek mythology was a surgeon and the primary teacher of Asclepius, the god of medicine. There is not a lot of room for error in these distinctly human fields of work. The roles of both teaching and nursing have long been associated with Virgo.

The mental obsession that Chiron can bring helps us see through Virgo in a way that's helpful. As Barbara Hand Clow has pointed out, this obsessive quality is one of the most important links between Chiron and Virgo, something that tricksterish, often annoyingly neutral Mercury could not really explain fully. Chiron is no messenger, and he's not neutral; he is someone with a mission, who speaks through action.

That mission has been likened to the Christ from the earliest days of astrologers interpreting Chiron, so we might speculate that Virgo has given birth to the Christ energy in the form of this new planet. Many of the early astrologers who considered the mythology of Chiron, which involves an immortal who experiences death and resurrection, have made this connection, particularly Zane Stein. But what exactly does this mean, in a world where the mythology of Jesus is twisted in ways that are used to preach intolerance, hatred and mass murder?

Planet Waves
Smile, bitch! Betty Dodson being jabbed by her business partner and attorney-in-situ, Carlin Ross, getting her to chill out in front of the camera. Photo by Eric Francis.
It means that a) we had better start thinking of Jesus a bit more compassionately (Christians: stick to the red letters), and b) that Chiron is going to push us to become whole, authentic people, whatever it takes.

Chiron is now in Pisces, the sign opposite Virgo. It is therefore influencing everyone with planets in any mutable sign.

But it's especially significant for those with any strong Virgo signature -- such as the Sun, Moon or ascendant, and anyone born during the Pluto in Virgo era. This is a second activation point of the Uranus-Pluto conjunction of the long and deeply influential era we call the Sixties.

Speaking of goddesses, Virgo, Chiron and Uranus-Pluto, Betty Dodson turns 84 on Saturday. Betty is the patron saint of sex education here at Planet Waves. The author of the first factual book about masturbation (with a focus on women), Betty has spent the past 40+ years working and playing as a sexual revolutionary. She was one of a very few people who were willing to break the silence on all matters of sexuality, not as an expert or scientist but in her role as human being -- especially on gender-queer and masturbation issues.

I think of Betty as the ultimate incarnation of Virgo, from the level of personality (her immaculate home, her impeccable attention to detail especially in her art and writing, and her somewhat fussy personality) right out to how she expresses her deepest mission, as an incarnation of the healer-initiate.

When she entered mainstream public consciousness in 1973, she was willing to go where no outspoken person had gone before: advocating female masturbation. It's easy for us to take this for granted now, when the topic is a favorite of popular sexual cinema (i.e., 'porn'), a bona-fide fetish and something that nearly all women do. She offered the idea that they could love that fact, and express it openly with one another and in their intimate partnerships. Her publishing debut was an August 1973 article in Ms. magazine that her editors made her rewrite more than a dozen times over two years before they finally published it.

It wasn't always that way. Indeed, when Betty published that article in Ms. and her subsequent (associated) pamphlet, Liberating Masturbation, the topic was verboten, even disgusting and disgraceful; it was easier to get information about ancient pagan rituals, the Illuminati and the secret ingredient in Coca-Cola. You could probably could have gotten a good few doctors to agree that having the mumps was healthier for you.

Planet Waves
One of Betty's early drawings of female masturbation. She came to be a writer and sex educator as an outgrowth of her fine art.
For any woman who today complains that any man in her life, or men in general, are into women's masturbation, thank your lucky stars. You don't want to go back to the old days, when it was a criminal act of moral turpitude, a disease, an embarrassment and a betrayal of relational fidelity. (Note, some people still feel this way; I encourage you to arise from your slumber and get with it.)

To the extent that people today think that female masturbation is a beautiful thing (or that it exists at all, and is a healthy, necessary expression of sexuality), we can personally and individually thank Betty Dodson. Trust me: this took guts, determination and intelligence. And she brought all her talent as a writer, artist and activist to the project. She took big chances and was made an outcast many times along the way.

To the best I've been able to research the topic, the assault on masturbation started with a 1612 book called Onania, and this work of demonic propaganda is not answered until Betty comes along and openly corrects the record and offers a new set of teachings. [You can read more about Onania in this article.]

When you look up "sex-positive feminism" in Wikipedia, you find out that, "also known as pro-sex feminism, sex-radical feminism, or sexually liberal feminism, [it] is a movement that began in the early 1980s that centers on the idea that sexual freedom is an essential component of women's freedom."

Betty was opening up the topic long before the 1980s. During second-wave feminism of the 1960s and 1970s, sex was not a welcome topic or point of serious consideration; feminism was generally an intellelctual political movement, and the main role of sex within politics is scandal.

Planet Waves
A collection of Betty Dodson videos, all now available on DVD.
It was rare at that time to associate masturbation with liberation or personal growth, but consider how logical it would have been: if feminism is about liberating women from the bonds of and dependency on men, a significant part of that dependency involves sex.

The fact that young women can have access to information about masturbation potentially saves them from all kinds of sexual mishaps early in their erotic maturity.

For all it attempted, pretended and succeeded to do, the sexual revolution overlooked masturbation -- except for lil' ol' Betty Dodson, who had a marvelous way of keeping the message coming.

Today sex-positive feminism is an established movement (even if it's something of a boutique item most places) and an essential part of what's called third-wave feminism -- the "not your mother's variety" of feminism. To the extent that we can have a genius sex educator like Laci Green offer us the Freaky Labia video, we have Betty Dodson to thank for going there first. Most young sex educators have heard of Betty but don't necessarily know the vacuum of ignorance that she was speaking into and how far we've come since she first did so.

Betty is also aware of how far we have to go -- and how much backsliding into propagated ignorance and fear has happened under the American Taliban in recent years. We have yet to fully assess the damage caused by three decades of abstinence indoctrination, obsession with premature marriage and prosecuting minors for having sex with one another.

Betty's chart is the essence of Virgo: with Virgo Sun and Neptune in the ascendant, and Chiron on the North Node, she is born of pure determination and devotion to her mission. It's not easy to be a sex education pioneer in a society that is devoted to guilt, shame and exploitation -- and it's taken the kind of spiritual strength indicated by this placement to help her get there.

Sun-Neptune rising gives her the chart signature of a documentary filmmaker; she has made many such films. Even though most of her other films feature many scenes of individual and group female masturbation, my favorite work by Dodson is called "Her Life of Sex and Art," which is now available free on YouTube.

Planet Waves
Sample of Betty's 1973 article in Ms. Magazine, published 40 years ago this week.
One thing that jumps out of Betty's chart is that she was born during the Uranus-Pluto square of the early 1930s. She was born in 1929 but that was well within range of the square -- she has Uranus in Aries and Pluto in Cancer. We are now experiencing a Uranus-Pluto square once again, only this time Uranus is in Aries and Pluto is in Capricorn. Uranus and Pluto together bring out revolutionary tendencies, and Betty surely qualifies.

In a similar light, she's having her Uranus return -- the planet with an 84-year orbit has returned to its natal position in her chart, having completed one full cycle in her lifetime of stirring the pot, speaking truth to power and inventing the notion of legitimate female orgasm.

There are many gems in her chart (most of them involving asteroids), but the crown jewel is Chiron conjunct the North Node in Taurus in the 9th house. This combines the physicality and self-focus of Taurus with the healing mission and pointed determination of Chiron, coupled with a global spiritual calling of the 9th house.

It is worth mentioning that she took aim at the religiously indoctrinated body shame that pervades all of modern Western culture to some degree or another (usually deeply) -- an expression of Chiron in the religiously-oriented 9th house as well, with the added determination and momentum of the North Node -- a deeply karmic mission.

One last thing. This week, Chelsea Manning, formerly Bradley, came out as transgender. This goes out over the wire services, we look at the story and think: gee, that's interesting. And some people think: that's fantastic. Even the FOX News dwellers know that her decision to choose her gender is part of the fabric of life. Can you imagine this happening 10 years ago, much less 40 years ago?

Betty was one of the first people to openly advocate gender-queer, long before there was any culturally accepted notion of such a thing. Chelsea, if by some miracle you're reading, Betty is proud of you and is grateful for what you've taught us and who you are.

So are all of us at Planet Waves.


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


Super-Virgo: Mercury Retrograde and Eclipse Season

By Amanda Painter

We've entered the season of solar Virgo, and it has some real flair this year. The Sun entered Virgo on Monday, joining the lunar North Node, Venus, Jupiter and Mercury -- setting the stage for summer to wind down by opening up a space of unusual potential.

Planet Waves
Photo by Amanda Painter.
First, a note about some Virgo basics.

Being the sign of mutable earth and ruled by Mercury, the planet of the mind, Virgo's energy is partly about bringing ideas into the material plane.

Directed constructively (such as in service to a higher cause or true vision, rather than over-focused on criticizing the details), there is an element of 'if you can dream it, you can do it' to Virgo. Or, perhaps more accurately, if you can plan it and organize it, it will get done -- though the dream or vision part of the equation comes through Virgo's complementary sign, Pisces, on the other side of the wheel.

Working in service of a worthy goal is an excellent expression of Virgo -- one reason why 'teacher' and 'nurse' are so often quoted as stereotypical Virgo professions. Yet in that act of working toward something, its mutable quality tends to lend flexibility rather than the dogged stubbornness of, say, Taurus. Seasonally speaking, the mutable signs are about shifting from things being fixed in place to starting something new.

With all of that in mind, here's what's approaching on the near horizon:

Continue reading →


This Week on Planet Waves FM
Our Virgo Sun and The Tragically Hip

Dear Friend and Reader:

In this week's edition of Planet Waves FM [play episode here], we pay tribute to The Tragically Hip, whose presumed final concert was watched by 11 million Canadians on Saturday night. The streets of towns and cities were deserted, the Olympics were abandoned and eyes and ears focused on Kingston, Ontario, where the band ended its tour.

Planet Waves
Gordon Edgar "Gord" Downie, lead singer of The Tragically Hip. Photo: Inside Toronto.
Though barely known in the United States, The Tragically Hip are a national treasure of Canada. Earlier this year, the band announced that Gord Downie, the lead vocalist, had been diagnosed with a brain tumor that is almost always fatal.

He had surgery and chemotherapy and when he was well enough, the band traveled across the country for what most believe will be its last tour.

In this program I also have lots and lots about Virgo. I start with the current astrology, describing the current Mars-Saturn conjunction, and the Mars-Neptune square happening later in the week, and what this translates to in thought and action.

The astrology we're under is calling for response with integrated intelligence. Mars-Saturn-Neptune brings the Saturn-Neptune square out of the background and into the fore.

Additionally, planets are collecting in Virgo as we approach two eclipses: one in Virgo and one along the Pisces-Virgo axis.

I read an extensive passage from Alice A. Bailey's chapter on Virgo in Esoteric Astrology, which regards Virgo as the oldest concept in astrology and the most important sign of the zodiac.

I end the program with a reading from Philip Rawson's book Tantra: The Indian Cult of Ecstasy, continuing my discussion of women as teachers and initiators.

Thank you to our subscribers and customers, who make Planet Waves FM and all else we do at Planet Waves possible. We are on the air and commercial free thanks to you. Please subscribe generously.

With goddess love,

PS -- If you'd like to learn more about the Hip, here are three useful articles: from VICE magazine, the New Yorker and Canadian publication Maclean's.


Planet Waves
"The world now is too dangerous and too beautiful for anything but love. I anoint your eyes so that you see god in everyone..." That is only the beginning of Dean Brian Baker's blessing of a young man in the middle of the playa in August 2015; may you feel equally blessed, and possess the full truth of that, when you listen to it yourself. Image: Brian Baker the day after returning from Burning Man.
Mars-Saturn in Sagittarius: Sex, Religion, Burning Man

By Amanda Painter

So: What did you notice with the Mars-Saturn conjunction this week? Have you stopped to think about it?
For example, maybe your beliefs (Sagittarius) about what you want and can usually do (Mars) were challenged by unforeseen restrictions (Saturn) -- especially if those restrictions put limits on physical ability or motivation. That was certainly my personal experience, but astrology can be reflected many ways.
Planet Waves
Spry Bry, flanked by Mom and Dad, watch the burn together.
As Eric wrote last week, Mars-Saturn in Sagittarius might have felt like pressure to change what you believe; something hidden (Neptune is also at play) might have been provoked into consciousness; maybe you experienced overreaction or creative change (which I also witnessed this past week).

It's possible that a collision of sex and religion got your attention; or that you've been challenged to tease out how those threads were woven into your life, and then get to work unwinding them.
In the spirit of those themes, I bring you two videos about Burning Man that capture some of these astrological themes. After all, the Man burns in just over a week in Black Rock City, Nevada.
In 2014, Burner Spry Bry decided to bring his parents -- who put him “through 13 years of Catholic School and a decade of Jesus camp” -- along with him to Burning Man. For some people, this temporary city built from scratch in the desert is an annual spiritual pilgrimage combined with sexual expression of every flavor. How do you suppose Bry's parents fared? Get a taste of their experience in this trailer, which links to the full video.
Meanwhile, Brian Baker, Dean of Trinity Cathedral in Sacramento, California, attended Burning Man last year at the invitation of his daughter. Then he spoke about his beautifully profound experience in a Sunday sermon, captured in this Vimeo video.
While Baker's Episcopalian sermon lacks any in-your-face sexuality, what it does capture is an image of how accommodating authentic faith -- that is, universal love -- can be when loosened from the rigid bonds of dogma. Somewhere around the 12:30 mark, I challenge you not to be moved by the blessing Dean Baker gave to a Burner in the middle of the desert. And then I challenge you to find your own Mars-Saturn blessings as they appear in your life.


Your Monthly Horoscopes -- and our Publishing Schedule Notes

Your extended monthly horoscope for September is published below in this issue. We published your extended monthly horoscope for August on Thursday, July 28. We published your Moonshine horoscope for the Capricorn Full Moon, by Len Wallick, on Thursday, July 14. Len’s Moonshine horoscope for the Aquarius Full Moon was published on Thursday, Aug. 18. Please note: we normally publish the extended monthly horoscope on the first Friday after the Sun has entered a new sign.

Planet Waves Monthly Horoscope for Sept. 2016, #1114 | By Eric Francis
Aries (March 20-April 19) -- If you've been wanting for company, you won't be for much longer. There is companionship in the stars, which means that you'll have a variety of possibilities available. People have a way of aiming low in their relationship choices. We've all been there, and seen it more times than we can count. You have your options open, and I suggest you leave it that way for a while. You don't have to commit to the first person who you think might be acceptable, and you don't have to compromise. Stand in your truth, and see who responds to you as the person you really are. This will take some time. And in that time, you're free to do what you want, with whom. See if you can stand back from the idea that you owe anyone your loyalty, fidelity or exclusivity for as long as you need to have some fun and to truly discover who the people around you are. Far from violating the rules of civil society, you might say you're violating the rules of low self-esteem. Over the past year or so, you've emerged as someone original with a unique mission. There are people in the world who recognize you for these qualities. Those are the people you want in your life: those who are friendly, supportive, encouraging and genuinely loving. Settle for no less. For your Eric Francis horoscope this week, please see this link.

Taurus (April 19-May 20) -- You've made an investment in the technical aspects of what you do the best. This has necessitated a long phase of using the 'beginner's mind' technique, even though you're not a beginner. Said another way, you've had to stretch your capacities, your skills and your knowledge. There have been some frustrating moments, perhaps, but along the way you knew you were doing the right thing, and you kept doing it. By all indications it looks like you've succeeded at attaining a new level of talent at something you've done reasonably well for quite a while. Now you begin a journeyman phase -- that is, of being fully qualified to do the work that you do. Along this part of your trip, understate your abilities. Never claim mastery; rather, let others claim it for you. Make sure that your workshop is as beautiful as your work. You thrive on working in a pleasing, well-outfitted environment, one that reflects your personal style. Make an investment in yourself here. Keep doing what you do with style, passion and your impeccable sense of aesthetics and you're headed for an unusual phase of professional accomplishment. Just remember that your true calling is some form of art, which in any event means doing whatever you do artfully and beautifully and letting this be the one relevant metric of success. For your Eric Francis horoscope this week, please see this link.

Gemini (May 20-June 21) -- The obsession with security that our society has developed during the past 15 years has a parallel on the human level: how is it possible to feel safe on our planet at this time? There are days when everything seems to be unraveling. We are constantly reminded of what's supposed to threaten us, from mosquitoes to the nuclear arsenal. The spiritual approach is to declare yourself the safe place. You become your own sanctuary. Yet the private dimension is one of the most menacing for many people, where their own inner voices, such as the critic or the moralist, leave them the least room to be themselves, or to feel safe. However, inner poise is what you must cultivate, and you have many opportunities to do so. One thing your astrology indicates is an inner exploration of the sources of insecurity as they are rooted in your childhood experiences. You might avoid these memories and emotions as one way of dealing with them, though I suggest you address them directly. This is the simplest way to neutralize the power they seem to hold over you. When you hear an inner critic or authority speaking, ask yourself: whose voice is this? If you can get past this layer of turbulence, you will feel safer, and you will tap into a well of wisdom and knowledge from which you will surely benefit. For your Eric Francis horoscope this week, please see this link.

Cancer (June 21-July 22) -- You certainly have plenty on your mind and your plate. That's a beautiful thing -- you're involved with your own life. Yet at times you may feel a little overwhelmed, as if your life is living you. When that happens, slow down and make some decisions; rearrange your schedule; eliminate what's not truly necessary and emphasize what is. Amidst the sheer volume of thought and activity, you may find it easy to focus on the single most significant thing you need to be doing, and there most certainly is one. Pay attention to what you're called to do the first week of the month. If you need a clue, I can give it to you in one word: writing. But what exactly? The thing you've been wanting to do very nearly forever. What if you're not a writer? There is some element of analysis and exposition, in written words, of the thing that you do the best. It might involve a business plan, a proposal, a grant, your CV or resume, or that important letter you need to write. This might involve an intimate aspect of your life, such as your journals (dust them off, in any case). There is a special role that both reading and writing have, which is the cultivation of inner, private space, and your sense of self. Ultimately, this is what you're working toward. For your Eric Francis horoscope this week, please see this link.

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Leo (July 22-Aug. 23) -- From the look of your solar chart, you've just experienced some kind of personal breakthrough that's taken you closer to being an artist, a lover or a free spirit. You've worked hard for this; you've had to face many inner demons and insecurities, and the result has been a surge of creative and sexual energy. This has helped you overcome an inner block that's been interfering with your fun and passion for a while. The thing to remember is that it's possible to revert to old ways of being. It's easy to get scared of being 'too free' or 'too powerful'. In fact, freedom feels like a dangerous state to many people, which is why humans so often revert to some form of unfree. You have to decide what you want, and what you're willing to do in order to have it. If you want to get into the flow of energy, ideas and pleasure -- that is, vital force -- I have a few suggestions from your astrology. One is to avoid moral judgments on pleasure of any kind. Another is to step back from people, whether friends, partners or colleagues, who express such judgments. Preserving and developing your newfound space to explore your potential will in part depend on cultivating relationships that support you rather than diminish you. Those relationships are available, though you must set the criteria. For your Eric Francis horoscope this week, please see this link.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22) -- You're beginning one of the most intriguing months in many seasons. A total solar eclipse in your sign, Mercury retrograde in your sign, and Jupiter leaving your sign, combine to create a unique set of circumstances. Let's take them one at a time. The eclipse is like being reborn, with all the perils and potentials thereof. Said another way, you're catching up with much growth and progress that you had either not noticed, or not added up on your karmic balance sheet. Update your files and proceed with full credit for all that you've learned. Mercury retrograde in your sign looks like what some call a searching and fearless moral inventory. Yet as a Virgo, you must remember that you tend to over-judge yourself, so I suggest you take this on the level of discovering all that is right and true and beautiful about yourself. Learn to see yourself and your life from a benevolent perspective. You have learned plenty the past year about how much you have to offer, and I suggest you make this knowledge a permanent feature in your psychological makeup. As for Jupiter leaving your sign, that means it enters Libra; and for you, that's a comment on self-esteem. This is not something that's given to you; rather, it's something that you must claim for yourself, and the time is ripe. For your Eric Francis horoscope this week, please see this link.

Virgo: A View From the Inside
"Thanks for putting your heart and soul into what you do. Without a doubt, your work and love enrich my life." -- Ellie
Dear Friend and Reader:
As a student of astrology, I know there is something to love about each of the signs; something unique and beautiful, a crucial piece of the picture. Yet I must confess that with Virgo, my rising sign, I enjoy an unusually profound connection.
Planet Waves
Our ruling planet Mercury, captured in a delightful false-color image by NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.
I'm not a Virgo Sun native, but I generally pay the most attention to Eric's readings for this sign, because they seem to resound most powerfully for me. And as someone who identifies strongly with Virgo, I can tell you this: Eric understands us through and through, and his incredibly accurate readings reflect that.

The 2016-17 Virgo Birthday Reading will appear following the total solar eclipse in Virgo. This, paired with the imminent Mercury retrograde and Jupiter leaving our sign, means the forthcoming solar year could be a big one for us. And that makes Eric's friendly and useful advice all the more important.

I heartily recommend you pre-order yourself a copy of this reading. As always, the pre-order price is the best one -- just $19.97. Truly a great bargain to secure an invaluable guide for the year ahead.

 With best wishes,
 Amy Elliott

Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23) -- The big news, of course, is that Jupiter is entering your sign this month. For reference, the most recent time that happened was way back in late September 2004, which leads me to a question: are you still facing the same old fears, or have you found your confidence? I suggest you not make any assumptions; really consider this one. Fear and confidence work in a ratio. The more confidence you have, the less you are inclined to worry about things that might trouble other people. Another theme is generosity. I've noticed something grim in the 12 years since Jupiter was last in Libra, which is that being sincerely helpful has grown ever-less fashionable -- or worse, it makes less and less sense to many people. The ethos of taking, of getting what you can, of taking advantage, seems to seep through a lot of rhetoric about integrity. You have something to gain by being generous, which is peace of mind. I would propose that you have a need to live knowing that you're doing everything that you can do for everyone you can do it for. To do this, you must go beyond what you think your capacity is. You must stretch a little, and that is what Jupiter does. You will have many opportunities this year to set small things right -- and some big ones, too. For your Eric Francis horoscope this week, please see this link.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22) -- Do you feel protected? It's time to tune into that feeling. Your sign is more given to anxiety than the astrology books say, plenty of which is social anxiety about what you think other people think about you. If you knew the sheer volume of energy you've wasted on this topic, you would be amazed. No matter how grounded and secure you are in fact, you will scramble that feeling by projecting judgment onto others. Two bits of information might help. People think about you less than you think they do. They have a lot of other people on their mind. Second, it does not matter what most people think or feel, unless they have some direct power over you, or unless you specifically care about them. This will require some sorting out. Your astrology this month is a wild tour of your civic and social world. You will see and notice a lot; you've got the power of discernment when it comes to deciding who means what to you, and why. Yet you can afford to go light on your assessments, and you can afford to notice those with whom you share goodwill. Suspicion and judgment in any form will block your perception. There are some people who really have your back. They care about you just because they do. Notice who they are. For your Eric Francis horoscope this week, please see this link.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22) -- Whatever happened in late August was in some way life-altering; which is to say, it looks like you had a moment of clarity. An innovator of therapy named Fritz Perls once said that his definition of learning is discovering that something is possible. So I would ask: what did you discover is possible? Did you challenge yourself to do something that made you push your abilities or talents? That might even include challenging someone who had undue authority in your life. You might have challenged a belief that was holding you back; and if you have not quite squared up to that yet, there's still time. You remain determined to live your life your way, beyond what's typical even for you. Take this advantage while you have it. You can proceed with the confidence that your truth is your truth, and if you don't live for that, you're not really living. This will, of some necessity, involve conflict. This doesn't need to be 'jackets-off, outside' type of conflict, but it might mean some abrasion. Little scrapes and skirmishes will help you get clear about who you are and what you want. And nearly everyone on the planet needs practice standing up for themselves. Before long you will be able to dial this back and be on friendly terms with the many people who see, and moreover feel, who you are. For your Eric Francis horoscope this week, please see this link.

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20) -- You tend to split hairs over your beliefs, as if trying to determine which are more true than others. Here is the thing: Belief is just belief. The problem is that when something so frail is assigned authority, that thing can take authority over you. For example, you might have a belief about integrity, and that can take on the stature of a god in your mind, while doing little to influence you in a positive way. Your astrology for the next few weeks is challenging you to consider this issue. What do you believe and why do you believe it? When you encounter one of these thought forms, ask yourself this question, and listen for the answer you get. Then ask again and take it deeper. You might conclude that belief per se is meaningless. It would be a compliment to call it fiction, since fiction at least involves the conscious weaving of a reality for a specific purpose. Yet it works a little like that -- the purpose often being convenience. Don't be afraid to go out of your way to find out what's actually true for you. That might include going somewhere to conduct a personal inquiry, in search of what is real. The decisions you make this month can influence not just your long-range view of your future, but also your actual destination. Keep your eyes open and shine your light into the dark. For your Eric Francis horoscope this week, please see this link.

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) -- It looks as if you're ready to go someplace exotic, or at least to travel further than you can drive. In any event, you need a change of scenery and a change of pace. This will help you see the greater possibilities that you contain. When you can feel your own potential, you have a much greater chance of making it real. And that is the very thing that is opening up for you now. If you tune in, you may feel the scale of your entire future. This might manifest as what in the Seth material is described as your 'probable selves'. You have many; many people you can be, things you can do, and places you can go. Hold that potential open as you make some important decisions this month around your finances and your career. You are starting to see the futility of certain attachments that are not furthering your cause. Before long, you're sure to notice a certain attractive power of one particular goal. It's seemed like a nice idea; though, when Venus moves in your favor later this month, you're likely to be drawn to this with passion and creative lust. You're intelligent enough to work with a clear strategy, and clever enough to know that part of that strategy must include leaving certain things to what some call luck or fate. Keep your feet loose and your wheels turning around. For your Eric Francis horoscope this week, please see this link.

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) -- This month ends a long cycle in your relationships and begins another. We might be talking about something that dates back eight to 10 years. That's quite a while, especially with time speeding along in dog years. Plenty has happened to you; and as you take a step forward, it's time for a review of what this past decade of relationships has been about. Consider the people, consider the patterns, and consider how your expectations have evolved over time. One hint I can offer you is that as time has gone on, you've made peace with what a quirky individual you are. You've figured out that your priorities are different, your values are different, and that your drive to be your individual self -- almost at all costs -- is genuinely unique. This discovery may have come gradually, or it may have come all at once (of course, after building up for a while). Now comes a kind of summation of all your progress and experience. If you feel like you're heading into unknown and uncertain territory, you're in the right place. Yet, despite some sense of intensity and living on the edge, you have every reason to be confident. I would sum it up simply in a few words: you've reached a stage of life where a real exchange is possible. That translates to: give consciously, and receive graciously. For your Eric Francis horoscope this week, please see this link.


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