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Kingston, NY, Friday, May 28, 2010

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Sea Changes
Dear Friend and Reader:

We are certainly in an Atlantian moment.

Coming to terms with the Gulf of Mexico, an arm of the Atlantic Ocean, named for the mythical Lost Continent that sank because its people could not control their technology, is in part about recognizing the immediate effect of this runaway chemical spill.

Planet Waves
The Gulf Stream originates in the Gulf of Mexico, travels up the East Coast and across the Atlantic, where it warms the climate of Western Europe and the British Isles.
For the rest of our lives, the magnificent Gulf Coast, which I was blessed to see just once (from the sea wall at Galveston), will be a hazardous waste dump and wildlife charnel ground. The sight of haz-mat workers and people wearing respirators is the new image of the once-thriving region of the world. It's become so toxic that as of Wednesday the EPA has called back all of the fishing boats that were participating in the nascent cleanup because workers are starting to get sick with dizziness, chest pains, nausea -- classical symptoms of an acute toxic exposure. CNN video yesterday, produced by Anderson Cooper, was eerily reminiscent of descriptions of DDT-sprayed forests by Rachel Carson in Silent Spring. The wildlife sanctuaries, they said, were dead quiet.

Barring an actual divine intervention-styled miracle [if you're a lightworker, or if you're in with some friendly space brothers, please get busy], it's only a matter of time before the sludge gets into the Loop Current and then the Gulf Stream. We could be seeing this oil on the beaches of Key West, of Maine and the coasts of England and Western Europe and as far away as West Africa. Consider this description of the Gulf Stream, from Wikipedia:

"The Gulf Stream, together with its northern extension towards Europe, the North Atlantic Drift, is a powerful, warm, and swift Atlantic ocean current that originates in the Gulf of Mexico, exits through the Strait of Florida, and follows the eastern coastlines of the United States and Newfoundland before crossing the Atlantic Ocean. The process of western intensification causes the Gulf Stream to be a northward accelerating current offshore the east coast of North America. At about [40°0′N latitude] it splits in two, with the northern stream crossing to northern Europe and the southern stream recirculating off West Africa. The Gulf Stream influences the climate of the east coast of North America from Florida to Newfoundland, and the west coast of Europe."

In other words, the Gulf of Mexico was about the worst place on the planet this could happen, as the source of one of the world's master currents.

So, as we move into the most exciting astrology of our generation so far, the Jupiter-Uranus conjunction on the Aries Point, we do so in the midst of a confrontation with a dimension of reality that most of us have so far avoided awareness of: the consequences of industrialism. We know that the lives we lead damage the planet, though usually it happens more slowly than we're seeing now; indeed, slowly enough to ignore. This is true for many people to whom it happens literally in their backyard. And I would dare say, we know how little we give back.

Planet Waves
This view of Atlantic Ocean currents shows an even more complex set of possibilities as to where the oil spewing from a single well in the Gulf of Mexico can travel. Oceans are not stagnant ponds; they are dynamic systems, and what happens in any ocean can affect what happens in any other.
Yet another confrontation involves witnessing how the technology we trust so well can run out of control in a moment. The blanket assurances of safety we are given are almost always lies. This is difficult because we want to be told that it's safe. In my long reporting career as an environmental journalist, I've watched people practically beg to be lied to, then gamble their lives, and those of their children, on that lie. I have watched once-honest people, confronted with a difficult truth, morph into liars, and flee into becoming participants in the coverup.

The psychology is complex. Once a student editor refused to print my articles about a toxic situation involving PCBs on his campus. He said he was afraid he would go to hell if he published my articles (he was Catholic). The next time I saw him, he was working as PR man for General Electric, specifically on the issue of the PCBs they had dumped in the Hudson River.

If we want to know why this kind of stuff happens, we need look no further than moments when we have a choice to accept truth or deception, and then contribute our power one way or the other. Often there is the equation, "If I accept this truth, what else do I have to accept?"

Though it may be difficult to see, we are all in such a moment now: every one of us who is aware of this tragedy, every one of us who cares, everyone who wishes it would go away. The spectrum of personal responsibility and individual potential responses ranges from how we allocate our energy (Americans use twice the energy of our European counterparts, for the same or lower quality of life) to the choices we make for where to spend our money. We choose when we participate with the corporate and government entities that surround us. They are quite fond of telling us how safe it all is, and how much we need them, and we choose when we believe them.

For the moment, the petrochemical industry has us convinced that we would not be able to survive without them. This is one of their favorite lies -- because it works so well.

Last week on the Planet Waves daily page, we broke a story that opens an unpleasant dimension of reality. You've probably heard that BP is pouring tons of a chemical dispersant called Corexit into the Gulf of Mexico, in an attempt to thin out the oil spewing into Gulf waters at the rate of about a barrel per second. It's been widely reported that there are more effective, potentially less toxic products. The chemical is made by a corporate ally of BP called Nalco Holdings, whose stock jumped on the news that BP would be buying all of its available Corexit supply.

Planet Waves
A 2008 article in New Scientist described how the Gulf Stream keeps Europe warm: hot air rising off of the sea which can carry any volatile chemical with it.
Nalco, in turn, used to own a company called Industrial Bio-Test Laboratories (IBT Labs, for short). And who were they? Well, they were one of the moral lessons of our times. When you wake up in the morning and take a shower using antibactierial soap or brush your teeth with flouride toothpaste or apply sunscreen, you are using chemical ingredients -- present in nearly every packaged product -- that have been safety-tested by supposedly independent testing labs, one of which was IBT.

Through the Sixties and Seventies, IBT Labs was in the business of producing thousands of fraudulent studies 'proving' that the chemicals contained in every product in your home are safe to be used on your skin, and that of your children, and your dog; and safe for your liver and kidneys and hormones and immune system. Who was affected? In hearings called by Senator Ted Kennedy, one official wryly testified: "everyone who washes" (unless of course you use Dr. Bronner's soap).

The problem was, not a single study was valid. The history is covered in two articles posted on Planet Waves, one of which originated in Amicus Journal and the other written by me in Sierra magazine. The result was one of the longest, most hideous criminal trials in United States history, resulting in several fraud convictions. Many of the chemicals certified safe by IBT Labs are still on the market, and we have no reason to believe they are safe -- if they were, honest science would have worked fine. In one study, a chemical IBT certified as a non-carcinogen killed all of the mice with cancer.

So now we have Nalco itself, the sponsor of this lab, creating the chemical that's now being dumped into the Gulf, to deal with another chemical flooding out of the Earth uncontrollably. The two are mixing and they will have what is called a synergistic effect: they make a brew of new chemicals with unknown effects. The EPA has ordered BP to use a different chemical. BP is still using Corexit. Welcome to Atlantis.

The personal question is: when will you stop believing that these promises of safety by the chemical industry, and the petroleum industry, are honest? Why do half of us get cancer? Think about that the next time you put a flea collar on your dog, or the next time you squirt some Purell into your hands, or the next time you microwave in plastic, or the next time you swallow an oral contraceptive or have it shoved under your daughter's skin. Think about it before you let her get the Gardasil vaccine. Think about it when you put your cell phone up to your skull.

We can only hope that this event will be the one that wakes us up. As I suggest in Tuesday's edition, however, our lifetimes have been nothing more than one long sequence of events that 'should have woken us up', and we chose to stay asleep. I won't make a list; it would be too depressing.

So, what comes of this? Do we read the obituary for the Gulf of Mexico and turn the page? Do you trade in your SUV for something that gets better mileage? Do you look up the ingredients in the deodorant you use? I admit it, this is a tempting time to go back to sleep. And if you choose that, you will miss one of the greatest opportunities in the history of humanity: the one where you get to help correct our course, take responsibility for your life, and both claim your power and start to use it. For those concerned about sacrificing their individuality, so far as I can tell, to claim your personal creative gift is also to claim humanity's co-creative gift. They are the same thing, based on the same quality of thought and action.

Now, as I write, I am aware of the Law of Attraction, which says: what we focus on increases. We get more of how we already feel, till we change how we feel. That's one reason why I am focusing on empowerment through awareness, and the ability to choose, rather than any other angle. While it's clear that nearly any way you look at the Gulf of Mexico disaster, it's going to lower the vibration of the planet, we're still left with the choice for how to live. We also have the option to hold down our awareness of the issue, which is pretty much a guarantee of despair, because it's a concession to having no power.

So, where to from here?

Well, what choices do you see for yourself as we embark on the Jupiter-Uranus conjunction? Or more to the point, what do you want?

I can tell you that, from what Iíve learned doing the work I do, the people I know who struggle the most tend to have one thing in common -- they don't know what they want. Humanity, as told in the story of the planets, is in a particularly amazing moment for making that discovery. I know that in theory this must be true all the time, though this is the grand synchronicity of the moment. We are at this point among the byways of the cosmic timescape where we can awaken to ourselves through our entirely unique inner qualities described by a conjunction on the Aries Point.

And it would seem like a worthy time to awaken to a level of group consciousness that makes a significant shift in collective awareness possible. And I dare say we would benefit from both. This is the theme of our times; this is the moment when we get to be alive.

Yours & truly,
Eric Francis

No, We Can't?
| Political Waves

"Accidents happen," said Kentucky primary winner Rand Paul, defending British Petroleum's ecological holocaust in the Gulf. Son of Libertarian Senator Ron Paul, Rand took the president to task for being too tough on BP and holding them accountable for their actions. Libertarian disdain of government interference in the private sector, given our troubled times, seems too radical to garner mainstream approval. Growing demand for government intervention in the Gulf makes Paul's position on property rights -- code words for business interests -- another voice for corporate extremism. Yes, accidents happen. And so does criminal neglect.

While this is not a crisis Obama expected, neither is it his Katrina. Katrina was localized, and while allowing New Orleans to drown in apathy, racism and cronyism was shocking and immoral, the Gulf spill is about more than a city. It's about a planetary ecosystem. That's not Katrina, that's Armageddon. This isn't Obama's Waterloo, but Corporate America's. The preventable disaster was no unforeseeable accident. It was a calculated risk, a treasure hunt with no plan of action should it go badly. Even now, BP exhibits not the slightest genuine remorse for what it has unleashed. The blowout was the result of reckless endangerment.

I suspected early on that the lethargic attempts to tame this spill had everything to do with continuing to exploit the blowout rather than eliminate it. Over a month later, a frustrated Obama has reportedly snapped, "Plug the damn hole!" Perhaps such a solution is naive. Perhaps BP is in over its head. It's glaringly apparent that BP has exhausted its best engineering ideas, created roadblocks to local solutions and become not just the source of this horror but its enabler. BP refuses to share information on the extent of the spill in order to limit its liability, even as Democrats struggle to crack Republican obstruction to raising the liability cap. Growing cries for the government to seize the operation, similar to those that demanded it take control of the big banks, may be naive as well. The government is too broken to attend to this emergency, due not only to lack of technological know-how, but also to generations of corporate control.

We take pride in our democratic principles in this nation. We jealously guard our Constitution and Bill of Rights. Rule of law defines us, and we wrangle over the concept passionately, as when Bush sidestepped law requiring FISA courts and the suspension of habeas corpus. Even as new laws were being passed in Congress, Dubya issued hundreds of signing statements that eliminated his need to follow them. It's no surprise that most politicians are lawyers; they need to be, practiced at snarling what is seldom simple to begin with into a tangle of hidden safety nets known only to themselves. It isn't rule of law that runs this nation but exceptions to laws, called loopholes.


The World According to BP, Monsanto, et al
Planet Waves
The World According to Monsanto (Hardcover).
What would the Greeks do to a company whose jerry-built oil well fouled their beautiful Aegean Sea, vomiting oily death onto its shores and fish and birds and islands, for week after week?

What would the Greeks do to a government that enabled such catastrophe, accepting company bribes and favors, allowing the company to write the rules and fill in the government's inspection reports, placing company officials in key government posts to emasculate its enforcement agency?

I don't know what the Greeks would do, but I need to believe that some population somewhere on this beleaguered planet would have the balls to call a general strike, riot, shut down the city centers, and toss the bastards out -- government, corporation and all their soiled bedding -- after stripping them of every asset they had.

Some population, somewhere, but it won't be here. Not in the USA, whose population is more distressed by the final episode of Lost -- my god, how fitting! -- than about destruction of the entire south and eastern coastlines of the continent. Not in the USA, where corporate media feign astonishment at the revolving-door policies of government regulators and BP, or the faked inspection reports, or the sex, drugs and money traded wantonly for drilling permits.

Of course the astonishment is feigned. Every step of the way, BP-government collusion has been the very model of American business-as-usual: fraud, lies, corruption, wholesale bribery, coverup, anything goes in the name of profit. This is the business-as-usual that has contaminated American rivers with government-approved pesticides and industrial poisons, that has inserted government-approved gender-bending chemicals into every cell of every person and living thing on land and sea, that spews radioactive waste from crumbling, government-approved nuclear plants.



Planet Waves
Weekly Horoscope for Friday, May 28, 2010, #817 - BY ERIC FRANCIS

Aries (March 20-April 19)
Something extraordinary is happening. I'm here to remind you to notice. Uranus has entered your birth sign for the first time since it exited in 1935, very likely long before you were born. What you're experiencing qualifies as once in a lifetime, yet I say that knowing how often humans let those opportunities fly by. You will experience many direct events connected to the sudden, revolutionary and forward-thinking energy of this planet over the next seven years. The first level of experience is self-discovery. This is an odd concept, given that you walk around with your 'self' all the time, though I mean it specifically in terms of awakening to your non-ordinary level of awareness, imbibing the deeper sense of who you are. Events associated with Uranus often look like one thing initially and flourish into something else. To make the most of this, commit to one thing: sincerity.

Aries Birthday Audio by Eric Francis is available. Check this link for more information.
Taurus (April 19- May 20)
What exactly is the unknown? It takes many forms, including that which has dropped down the memory hole; that which is as yet undiscovered; that which we know about but persist in denying. At the moment, the question is: what do you do when memory surfaces, when you realize you're denying something, or when you discover something you dearly want to know? How long do you maintain awareness? This is a good time to observe your psychic patterns, and also to observe how they're changing. The stellar setup is perfect to offer you a rare glimpse of your inner world, and what indeed may feel like an unknown dimension of yourself. How long can you hold your awareness there? How does it feel to be awake, and when do you start to nod off into another dream?

Taurus Birthday Audio by Eric Francis is available. Check this link for more information.
Gemini (May 20- June 21)
If we could stop the world, peel back one layer and examine the psychic dramas that play out, we would see that many of them are driven by the dynamics between individuals and groups. We live in a society that romanticizes individuality, while making nearly all of its profits and basing all of its social rules on conformity. You have reached a time in your life where everything is changing in that dimension where your sense of who you are meets the world's expectations. For too long you have let others define you; indeed, you have at times done this at the expense of all awareness of what you really want, driven by fears you don't understand. Uranus entering Aries is urging you to break free and stretch your limits: not just of your self-concept, but of your actual existence.

Cancer (June 21- July 22)
Looked at one way, your trajectory through life is reaching a critical mass point; looked at another way, you are figuring out what you want, and that very little is in your way. You cannot be deterred by how long things have taken, or by the depth of your past doubts about yourself or what you want. One source of your doubts is the cyclical nature of your being. Finally there is a kind of magnetism or polarization away from the direction of constant change and in the direction of being able to hold a few clear goals in mind. Goal is another way of saying desire. So here is what I suggest: when you know what you want, keep it in mind, and keep guiding yourself back in that direction every time you veer even a little off course. Make this a habit and you will be unstoppable.

Leo (July 22- Aug. 23)
Most of what limits us are all the things we tell ourselves are impossible. Most of what sets us free are the ways in which we ignore the notion of possibility, or remind ourselves that we can do anything we truly want. You are particularly susceptible to this principle, and in many ways it represents the core of your identity. As A Course in Miracles put it so succinctly, every decision you make stems from what you think you are. I suggest you look closely at this 'what', and notice how it changes based on merely considering a new possibility. At the moment, many new possibilities are calling you. Yet all of them find their home in your idea of who you are, and this is the single most meaningful thing to observe. Go deeper than your role. Feel your actual existence -- it's calling you, and you are calling it.

Virgo (Aug. 23- Sep. 22)
We are all familiar with the experience of losing oneself in a relationship. You are now in quite the opposite process: of discovering yourself in the context of a relationship. You may think this is helpful, since it's truly painful to be lost in an association with another person. You may find it difficult, because understanding the basic truth of who you are can have a disruptive effect on the structure of your commitments. Often we put so much emphasis on 'who we are equals who we are in our relationships' that we have no other concept available. You now need a new concept. I would caution you that you may need to go through the experience of feeling unstable before you begin to reap the benefits, but I can assure you that those benefits are ready and willing to give themselves to you.

Planet Waves

Libra (Sep. 22 - Oct. 23)
In astrology, the 7th house is considered the house of relationships, though I extend this to our relationship to existence. To put it mildly, that relationship is evolving rapidly, and is offering you some incredible gifts. One of those gifts is innovation; a genius factor is involved. If you are experiencing this as a disruption, look for that element. If your relationship to your environment is changing, take an active role in creating the new experience. The idea is to dance with the energy; to collaborate; to co-create, rather than merely letting things happen. If your charts ever said rise to the occasion of existence, the time is right now. If they ever said work with your environment to create exactly what you want, the time is this instant.

Scorpio (Oct. 23- Nov. 22)
It's a beautiful thing that you identify so closely with your work. You may not know the extent to which this is true, relative to so many other people, who view their daily activity as a kind of abstraction from who they are. The problem with this placement, which involves the sign Aries, is that you can, at times, lose yourself in work that is not really about who you are. You actually need very little to draw you in and give you a mostly satisfying experience. That said, the molecules of your brain are shaking at about 100 times their usual rate. I suspect you have ideas for projects, for how to work more independently of a boss, and for how to embody your dream of serving humanity in a more direct and individual way. I see that many ideas are coming to you now, and I suggest you honor each as a gift and a potential.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22 - Dec. 22)
There aren't any artists in the Bible. Our Judeo-Christian society is based on this collection of books, and I find that to be an incredible literary fact. We have every other career listed: carpenter, emperor, war general, cop, prostitute, priest, rabbi, loan shark, farmer, farmer's wife, every other kind of wife, prophet, criminal, and so on and on. Heck there are even a few astrologers who make a significant appearance in the story of Jesus, and who do him justice. But to my knowledge, there is not a single artist. Now, why would that be? Is the exploration of individual creative impulse that disruptive to the patriarchy? So be it, then. I am sure this appeals to your forward-thinking nature. Just remember: when you choose to express these incredible passions that you've been experiencing, and when you dare to be innovative and create beauty and live like living is an art, these are revolutionary acts. Proceed with love and awareness and most of all, an open heart.

Capricorn (Dec. 22- Jan. 20)
The planets are aligned in a rare configuration that suggests you're living two lifetimes in one. You may feel that other lifetime appearing like a room with a mirror, where the lights are gradually being turned on. You may be pulled in two distinct directions. You may have noticed an entirely new set of goals has arisen, in parallel to the life objectives you hold so dear. I suggest you work directly with this. Open up that other life, those other desires, the mirror image of what you are doing now. One useful expression of this energy is that you are finding that you want a home life to match your responsibility-heavy work life. It is true that you're getting a little reprieve from so much that has to be done; take this excellent opportunity to feather your own nest, or to entirely reinvent the concept of what you call home.

Aquarius (Jan. 20- Feb. 19)
Uranus, a planet that modern astrologers associate with your birth sign, is making a rare sign change. This week, Uranus entered Aries for a brief visit, before returning for a seven-year stretch beginning in 2011. Of all the things in astrology that say 'your world is changing fast', this is one. We can add some powerful stuff involving Saturn and Pluto as well. What is particularly appealing about this Uranus transit is that it's all about your mental approach to life, and closer to the core, the way your state of mind influences your whole reality. Aries is a vitally important sign to you because it represents your mind -- a precious thing, to an Aquarius, and Uranus (along with Jupiter) here suggests a brilliant, excellent, passionate and moreover interesting expansion of your mental environment and thus your existence.

Aquarius birthday audio is coming soon -- it will have its moment.

Pisces (Feb. 19- March 20)
You have some excellent financial opportunities coming your way. I will say two things about them. One, they require careful thought, knowing a good idea when you see it, and the willingness to work to refine that idea so that it works in the real world. Two, what you are about to see is just a taste of what is possible: you are being given a window into your potential, and access to your potential. The gift will grow exponentially to the extent that you practice absolute authenticity of self. In other words, there is no faking it; there's no modifying who you are to meet some other purpose; and no room for denial of your true goals or desires. In matters involving money and the attraction of wealth, Pisces natives tend to do very well or very poorly; the choice is yours, based on another value entirely: self-esteem. And if ever the planets said you could figure out that trick, the time is now.

Pisces Birthday Audio by Eric Francis is available. Check this link for more information.


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