Planet Waves

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The Washington Post: An American Story

Dear Friend and Reader:

Just hours before the Leo New Moon, the owners of The Washington Post announced that they had sold the paper to Jeff Bezos, the billionaire founder of

While everyone said they were shocked, The Post had been struggling, and seeking a buyer, for a while. Nobody could be that surprised that the money to buy the paper came from the industry that has all but swallowed print media -- the Internet.

Planet Waves
The historical development that The Washington Post helped create -- the resignation of Richard Nixon, after 18 months of relentless coverage of Watergate by Woodward and Bernstein.
The Post, founded in 1877, went through a succession of owners before it was purchased at a bankruptcy auction in 1933 by financier Eugene Meyer during the Great Depression.

Meyer had served as chairman of the Federal Reserve from 1930-1933, and then served as the first president of the World Bank Group -- that is, the World Bank. So the 80-year history of Meyer-Graham control of the paper begins with an investment by someone who could legitimately be called part of the global elite.

What is interesting is that the paper became one of the liberal bastions of American journalism, and was sometimes referred to as "Pravda on the Potomac." FBI big boss J. Edgar Hoover said he never read the thing, because it reminded him of Worker's World, a socialist newspaper.

Meyer restored the paper to vitality and served as its publisher until 1946, when he was appointed as president of the World Bank. He passed the reins to his son-in-law, Philip Graham. He was a striking and charismatic figure inside the Beltway, and a successful businessman, expanding the newspaper's holdings vastly. And he was a symbol of the new young elite of the early 1960s, the Camelot era.

As he grew older, however, Graham developed mental illness. In her memoir, his widow Katharine Graham said that her husband drank heavily and lapsed into periods of depression, and also suffered severe manic episodes. He was in and out of mental hospitals. During one hospital stay in August 1963, he convinced his doctors to let him take a break. He went home and shot himself with a .28-gauge shotgun.

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Katharine Graham, member of the global elite who did not act like one. Photo courtesy of The Washington Post.
His suicide cast a pall over the capital that was still looming like storm clouds on the day that John F. Kennedy was shot just three months later. Two of Washington's most dynamic socialites were dead.

Katharine Graham was not an extrovert or anyone with the inherent desire to lead a company, much less be in a position of national authority. But she overcame her anxieties and, with trust in the paper's editors, she led the newspaper through its most important phase in the early 1970s.

She had the guts to incur the wrath of Richard Nixon, and published the Pentagon Papers in 1971 -- the leaked documents proving that the Vietnam War was constructed on false pretenses by the U.S. government. The New York Times was the first to publish articles based on the Pentagon Papers, but The Post's coverage was considered just as meaningful.

Nixon sued both The Times and The Post, attempting to block publication of articles about the leaked documents -- in advance, known as prior restraint -- but in neither case would the courts allow the censorship to take place. The judge who got The Post's case refused to sign an injunction.

The Times' case made it to the Supreme Court, where Justice Hugo Black famously wrote, "Only a free and unrestrained press can effectively expose deception in government. And paramount among the responsibilities of a free press is the duty to prevent any part of the government from deceiving the people and sending them off to distant lands to die of foreign fevers and foreign shot and shell."

Planet Waves
From left to right, Bob Woodward, Carl Bernstein and their editor, Ben Bradlee, in The Washington Post's newsroom.
If The Times outshined the Post on its coverage of the Pentagon Papers, the Post more than made up for it in its coverage of the Watergate scandal. Though the story is credited to Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, as well as executive editor Benjamin Bradlee, it was Katharine Graham who, behind the scenes, made sure that the story stayed in the paper. It's easy for the top leadership of a company to balk at something like going after such a powerful figure as Nixon, but she had the courage to go forward.

John Mitchell, Nixon's attorney general, famously warned Bernstein that "Katie Graham's gonna get her tit caught in a big fat wringer if that's published." In the end, of course, it was Nixon's tit that got caught in the wringer of reality.

While we are on the topic of Watergate, it's worth adding one point. This was not the story of a "second rate burglary," as Nixon apologists still like to say. The arrests for the break-in unraveled a vast conspiracy starting in the brain of Richard Nixon, extending into the FBI, the IRS, and the manipulation of the 1972 Democratic primary and the general election. It was a web of evil so wide, few would think it safe to believe it was real, much less to do something about it.

To me, the story of The Washington Post as we know it is the story of an American family going through what so many families go through, which is dealing with human reality in the midst of running a very challenging business. But when I think of The Post I think of Katharine Graham's steadfastness and courage in leading the newspaper through many, many dangerous moments, and having the guts to do what few publishers would do today. She did this rising above the grief of losing her beloved husband to suicide, one of the most painful scenarios that a survivor can go through.

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Girl reads news of the Moon landing in The Washington Post in 1969. Viral image.
Her family's ownership had its roots in the elite governing powers of the country and indeed the world, but she did not act that way. She did what she thought was right, at potentially enormous peril to herself, her company and her fortune.

Now the paper has been purchased by Jeff Bezos, one of the wealthiest men on Earth. He was someone who had a vision of what the Internet could be. He pitched the idea for to the hedge fund where he was working, and when they passed on the idea, he quit and started the company himself.

In founding Amazon, Bezos took advantage of a new ruling that said that companies did not have to charge sales tax in states where they did not have a physical presence. He turned an online bookstore into an online shopping mall and eventually into one of the most powerful data management companies in the world.

It's also one that is involved with the shadow U.S. government. The company was recently awarded a $600 million contract to build a secure cloud storage facility for the CIA. ­It was Amazon, if you recall, had kicked WikiLeaks off of its servers when Julian Assange was a focus in the news -- it's now clear where Bezos' real loyalty was.

Amazon has the same spotty record as just about any other multinational company. One glaring example of its treatment of workers comes out of a facility in Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania.

The Morning Call newspaper reported in 2011, "Workers said they were forced to endure brutal heat inside the sprawling warehouse and were pushed to work at a pace many could not sustain. Employees were frequently reprimanded regarding their productivity and threatened with termination, workers said."

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"Will you wilt under criticism, or will you follow your convictions? Will you bluff it out when you're wrong, or will you apologize?" Bezos speaks to Princeton's class of 2010. Photo:
Instead of putting air conditioning in the facility, "During summer heat waves, Amazon arranged to have paramedics parked in ambulances outside, ready to treat any workers who dehydrated or suffered other forms of heat stress," continuing, "An emergency room doctor in June called federal regulators to report an 'unsafe environment' after he treated several Amazon warehouse workers for heat-related problems. The doctor's report was echoed by warehouse workers who also complained to regulators, including a security guard who reported seeing pregnant employees suffering in the heat."

We don't really know what Bezos' plans for the newspaper are; we do know that he predicted the end of printed newspapers within 20 years, except maybe a few specimens for select clients of posh hotels -- kind of like the endangered species dinner. It doesn't look like The Washington Post is going to be Pravda on the Potomac. But that is just an educated guess.

The astrology of The Post, of Bezos and of the transaction is worth a look. I plan to go over the charts in Tuesday's edition of Planet Waves FM.


Additional research: Sarah Victoria Emory. For an interesting discussion of the advertising-based model of newspapers in the context of The Post's sale to Bezos, visit this page on Planet Waves FM and check the entry by Ezra Klein.

This week's news briefs were written and researched by Alison Beth Levy, Amanda Painter, Susan Scheck, Carol van Strum and your friendly neighborhood news editor, Eric Francis. Fact checking support by Jessica Keet, Alex Miller, Len Wallick and our Thursday night Fact Checker list. If you want to help with that project, please write to me.

Planet Waves
Getting Serious: Mercury square Saturn

Mercury has been working its way through late Cancer, still settling down from its recent retrograde. A lot came out in the wash when Mercury stationed direct on July 20, as if deeper layers of emotional and mental reality suddenly opened up in a downpour.
This has been driven by more going on in the water signs than we've seen in years: Jupiter, Pallas, Mars, Saturn, the North Node, Neptune and Chiron are all in water signs (as was Mercury until yesterday), and many of these factors are slow-movers.
Planet Waves
Chart for Mercury square Saturn (be flexible, and act your age), which happens to fall on the anniversary of a famous total solar eclipse -- the grand cross and total solar eclipse of 1999. We still have two articles about that event -- Thinking of You on Judgment Day and Flashpoints: The Continuation of Burning Man (a 1999 diary).
Water can be a challenging element in our over-dry society on our drying-out planet. It's the constant challenge to feel, a challenge that nearly every factor in our society guides us to evade. As part of that evasion, we are pushed to remain immature and distracted, and to keep our true opinions to ourselves.
Mercury has been in Cancer since May 31. That's a long time for fast-moving Mercury to be in one sign, especially a water sign; in the water signs, Mercury can lack objectivity and the ability to perceive multiple viewpoints (Pisces may be an exception).
Mercury in Cancer can be self-absorbed and subjective, and come with the sense that one's own feelings are what should (or do) dominate existence. Interest in the feelings of others can be compromised, if it's there at all.
On Thursday, Mercury changed signs to Leo. I think we're feeling that shift, especially since we've lived with Mercury in one sign for 10 weeks, through its full retrograde cycle. Remember, this is the year that Mercury is spending more than half its time in water signs, due to its retrogrades in Pisces, Cancer and Scorpio.
Mercury in Leo can be the bright idea, but it also comes with its own cautions, which include some of that subjectivity and also pride in one's knowledge. That can include thinking you know when you're actually not so sure. Note that our culture is based on the "fake it till you make it" intellectual model rather than the "beginner's mind" model.
While Leo has a fixed quality and can get stuck in a viewpoint, it has the advantage of an association with children and childhood, meaning there's a touch of that beginner's mind quality available. But it may not be so easy to access if it's hidden inside a petulant or adolescent quality. That can take many forms, from bullying to an obsession with entertainment. The solar quality of Leo is pushing Mercury to grow up and not be so proud or opinionated.
Planet Waves
What don't you think you should talk about? Photo by Eric Francis, 2006, St. Gilles, Belgium.
Fortunately, there's a kind of check-stop included in the astrology: over the weekend, Mercury makes a square to Saturn. That is a moment of 'grow up and get serious' -- which I would count as the bogeyman of modern society. For all our talk about authenticity, nothing clears the room faster than someone getting real. Squares are not popular aspects, but they may be the most useful. They are leverage points, and potential moments of awakening, when something relevant happens.
What Mercury is running into is a square to Saturn in Scorpio. With this placement, there's always the question of the role of what is unsaid, taboo or presumed to be in the realm of secrecy. If you're stumbling over something, consider the possibility that it might be something you're not saying, whether because you're unwilling or afraid to say it -- or because it runs into the values or objections of an adult from your past, who is still influencing you today.
That is a large category of topics, especially where Scorpio (the sign of sex, evolution, transformation and death) is concerned. If you're in a dialog and you don't know what it's about, or if it seems to get stuck, consider all of the things that you were told must remain unsaid, and the cost you pay for not speaking up.
Sometimes it seems to make sense that these topics be veiled in an impenetrable taboo. The question to ask, I would propose, is why.

Planet Waves
Rounding Out the Boundaries
The Land Preservation Projects of Bob Anderberg

By Eric Francis Coppolino

When Mohonk Preserve wants to expand its land holdings, they often depend on the services of a man named Robert K. Anderberg, a former trustee of the Preserve and currently general counsel of the Open Space Institute (OSI). [The Preserve recently lost another case involving an attempted land acquisition; see related story from Planet Waves last week.]

Anderberg's land acquisition playbook includes purchasing the mortgage out from under a neighbor and foreclosing on them, setting up front companies to do transactions, buying land from someone who doesn't own it, claiming land by adverse possession (squatter's rights) and setting the Preserve's neighbors up for costly litigation, sometimes pitting them against one another.

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Waterfall at Smitty's Dude Ranch. Photo by Eric Francis.
There are many examples of this over the years where Anderberg acted as land acquisition agent for Mohonk Preserve. Several of them focus on one particular property formerly called Smitty's Dude Ranch.

Once owned by Wilbur Smith, it was a mecca for hippies and nature lovers, who would turn out in droves every weekend and hang out naked by the stream. But by the mid-1980s, Smith was in foreclosure and was facing the potential auctioning off of his land. The end of an era was drawing near. Mohonk wanted the land and was watching carefully.

When I interviewed Smith for Woodstock Times, he told me that at the time, he was exhausted from repeated attempts by the Mohonk Preserve to take his property or prevent him from using it. He didn't have the money or the skills to defend himself, so he sold the ranch to Karen Pardini and Michael Fink, his old friends who were frequent visitors to Smitty's. Ultimately they saved him from foreclosure and made sure that he got at least some money from the sale of his property rather than none at all.

In 1985, while Smith was still owner, Seward Weber, the new executive director of Mohonk Preserve, filed his last quarterly report of the year. "A major challenge and opportunity faces the Preserve in that the first and second mortgage holders on Smitty's Ranch plan to foreclose on that property about the middle of December," Weber wrote to his board of trustees.

"Bob Anderberg is studying ways the MP might obtain this land which I am sure everyone realizes is of critical importance to us since it is contiguous, large (over 200 acres) and contains the most attractive stretch of the Coxing Kill including a waterfall," he wrote.


Planet Waves
The Lukewarm Cold War, Snowden and the NSA

As expected, Pres. Obama canceled his planned September one-on-one talks with Russian president Vladimir Putin Wednesday, citing "a lack of progress" with Russia on several issues as the reason. The White House statement also noted Russia's move granting asylum to Edward Snowden as an additional factor.
Obama still plans to attend the G20 Summit in St. Petersburg next month. He will be there, but it will be one of those diplomatically tense situations -- he's going to skip visiting Moscow entirely, for example.
Planet Waves
"There is no spying on Americans." President Barack Obama talks with Jay Leno on "The Tonight Show."
Earlier in the week on NBC's "The Tonight Show," Obama told host Jay Leno, "We put in some additional safeguards [on existing surveillance programs] to make sure that there's federal court oversight, as well as congressional oversight, that there is no spying on Americans. You know, we don't have a domestic spying program. What we do have are some mechanisms where we can track a phone number or an email address that we know is connected to some sort of terrorist threat."
The president's comments seem to fly in the face of the latest revelations about the National Security Agency's extensive domestic surveillance program. The New York Times reported this week that the NSA is not only monitoring people who communicate with foreign targets, but also those who merely cite information linked to foreign targets.
The NSA is "temporarily copying and then sifting through the contents of what is apparently most emails and other text-based communications that cross the border," according to The Times. The source for the article, an unnamed senior intelligence official, says the communications are scanned for keywords and other red flags. Those that appear benign are then deleted in a process that takes seconds.
The Times article puts the focus back where it belongs: on the government's surveillance programs, not on the escalating pissing contest between the U.S. and Russia.
"This isn't about Russia. The fight isn't in Russia," said Lon Snowden, father of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, to Reuters. "The fight is right here. OK? The fight is about these programs, OK, that undermine, infringe upon, violate our constitutional rights."

Planet Waves
Sandstone Retreat Memoir Soon to be Available

Barbara Williamson, co-founder with her late husband John of the Sandstone Foundation for Community Systems Research, is writing a memoir of their years together and of Sandstone and the revolutionary community it formed. Sandstone was located in Topanga Canyon, California, from 1969 to 1972, and was a clothing-optional, open sexuality resort.

On her website, Barbara writes that Sandstone was "founded with a singular purpose of reducing population growth. As founders we received most of the media attention. Fortunately, it was almost exclusively focused on Sandstone Retreat, the most visible aspect of our activities. However, all were concerned with sexuality, culture, population growth and the future."

Planet Waves
Photo courtesy of the Sandstone Foundation.
She continues:

"Sandstone's uniqueness was in our use of experiential learning processes to help people loosen the many dysfunctional cultural demands placed upon them. This was akin to removing the chains from their bondage, allowing their social behavior to expand more towards mutual cooperation and pleasure instead of competition and the painful 'confinement of self' assured by government-backed religious teachings.

"It allowed mature people to use this setting to test and choose new values for themselves virtually free from 'conventional' cultural and architectural influence."

Deborah Taj Anapol, Ph.D., who is writing the forward to the memoir, shared her thoughts about Sandstone in her Love Without Limits newsletter:
"Although the press generally tried to portray Sandstone as a swing club and the humanistic psychology 'mainstream' tried to distance itself (much as they would later do with polyamory), the late John Williamson was heavily influenced by Wilhelm Reich and like Reich (and myself), had far bigger aspirations than expanding the availability of recreational sex.  

"Many strange and wonderful scenes have emerged worldwide in the forty years since Sandstone closed its doors, but none have duplicated its unique blend of residential sexually open community in an upscale natural setting, celebrity guests, and consciousness-expanding activities."

Planet Waves
The Poisoning of Paradise

The state of Hawai'i is famous for its stunning natural beauty -- but you probably did not know that it's also the "genetic engineering experimental capital of the world," according to the environmental organization Hawai'i Seed, with thousands of acres held by the Big Six biotech companies: Monsanto, Dow, Syngenta, BASF, Pioneer and Bayer.

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You can learn more at
Kauai in particular is the locus of this testing, where five companies are using 99% of Restricted Use Pesticides (RUPs), said Gary Hooser of the Kauai County Council. "The GMO companies apply approximately 18 tons of over 22 different types of highly restricted chemicals every year to their fields all over our island. These chemicals have warning labels that sometimes exceed 100 pages and many are banned in Europe and elsewhere in the world."

Earlier in the year, Hooser introduced Bill 2491, to require mandatory disclosure of pesticide and GMO use by the biotech companies -- which deny their use -- and require a buffer zone around schools, hospitals and other sensitive areas. Other provisions include prohibition of open-air testing of experimental pesticides and experimental GMOs, and establishing a temporary moratorium on new GMO operations pending the results of an environmental impact statement and development of a permitting system.

"The heart of Bill 2491 is the 'right to know.' Kauai's people have the right to know what pesticides are being used in very large quantities and what experimental pesticides and experimental genetically modified organisms are being used in our county," Hooser said.

The biotechs are fighting back, promising a legal battle if the bill passes as written, and citizens of the island are divided, with some concerned how this bill will affect small farmers. In light of this, on Monday the council's Economic Development Committee deferred Bill 2491 to Sept. 9 to wait for an opinion from the attorney general.

"Bill 2491 in its approach is devastating and fracturing our island -- it's unraveling the fabric of our community," said local resident Susan Tai Kaneko, a former educator and community-building specialist who works for Syngenta.

"People are insulting and verbally attacking one another, even threatening bodily harm and death," she said.

Planet Waves
Too Late to Stop Radioactive Water Seepage at Fukushima?

Radioactive water is leaking into the sea from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, despite its operator's attempts to stop the flow. Tepco has tried plugs, walls and pumps; the latest attempt was a sunken barrier that the company started a month ago and was scheduled to complete this week. Yet Tepco said late last week that rising levels of contaminated groundwater may already be spilling over the barrier.

Planet Waves
Tanks of radiation-contaminated water at the Fukushima Daiichi plant in Japan, in a file photo released by Kyodo March 1, 2013. Photo: Reuters/Kyodo/files.
"The battle to completely contain radioactivity to the site of one of the world's worst nuclear accidents may be a losing one," according to a Wall Street Journal article on Tuesday. The Japanese government ordered the economy ministry to help with the containment the next day.

The government will provide support and money for a sunken wall -- potentially made of ice -- completely encircling the crippled reactors to keep groundwater out.

"Building a sealing wall of this magnitude has never been done before," said chief cabinet spokesman Yoshihide Suga, at a Wednesday morning news conference. "In order to get this done, the country will have to step forward and lend a hand." Suga said the economy ministry is compiling a budget request now.

Japanese regulators have criticized Tepco for its lack of transparency regarding the radioactive leaks. Last Friday, a newly created task force at Japan's nuclear regulator held its first meeting aimed at increasing the government's role in the flawed cleanup process.

Planet Waves
Sexual Stability or Sexual Novelty?

There's a surge of writing lately aiming to get us to consider female desire and libido with fresh eyes -- and a fresh mind. The latest, an article on MacLean's titled The Female Libido and the Two-Year Itch by Anne Kingston, acknowledges several recent books together with thoughts by leading researchers on female desire.
Planet Waves
Anya; photo by Eric Francis/Blue Studio.
"Sometimes I wonder whether [low female desire] isn't so much about libido as it is about boredom," says psychologist Lori Brotto of the University of British Columbia, another utterly brilliant proposal by a psychologist. (Lori, are you bored?)
Ken Wallen, a psychologist and neuroendocrinologist at Emerson University, concurs: "The idea that monogamy serves the natural sexuality of women may not be accurate."

Kingston adds, "Bergner also cites an Australian study of women over age 40 that correlated low female desire to the length of time a woman had been with her partner, not hormonal changes. Once those women were with new partners, libido returned."
These researchers may simply be catching up to what many women know, but often deny: that one trigger of their desire is being desired -- and the comfort of long-term relationships can dull the sense that their partners desire them. Also, women get turned on by far more than they've been conditioned by society to admit.
Psychologist Meredith Chivers at Queen's University in Kingston, Ont., is trying to get to the core (literally) of the issue. Writes Kingston, "Her research, which uses a plethysmograph, a miniature bulb and light sensor placed in the vagina, suggests women's desire is as omnivorous as men's; they're equally aroused by a range of pornography and are far more responsive to stories involving strangers than long-time lovers. Yet when asked to rate their arousal, women downplay it, particularly when the stimuli aren't socially acceptable."
At least one researcher believes that this new focus on female sexuality, with its different social lens, could pave the way for "a revolution among women in the next generation."

Planet Waves
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The Indiegogo campaign for SPLiT, a feature film in the making about one woman's descent into the myth of Inanna, ends at midnight tonight (Friday, Aug. 9). At its core, the film is about, "figuring out how to really love someone. Both loving someone else and learning how to love all the parts of yourself, even the things you'd rather hide or lock away," according to director Deborah Kampmeier. Image: video still.
Voicing Women's Stories, Filming Inanna

Director Deborah Kampmeier is in the final hours of an Indiegogo campaign for her feature film, SPLiT, which is partly filmed. The film centers on the experience of a young actress cast in an experimental theater production of the myth of Inanna's descent into the underworld. The deeper the actress gets into the role, the more trouble she has in distinguishing between the play, her 'real life' relationships and the turmoil of her inner life.
"Being in the process of making my third film in a trilogy of stories exploring the silencing of women's voices and dreams, I've come to realize not only how hard it is to get our voices heard, but how essential it is," writes Kampmeier. "I have had the privilege of receiving emails and letters from women all over the country who have seen my films and thanked me for telling their stories. It gives me courage and strength to keep pushing forward."
As you watch the trailer, keep an eye out for the snakes. They belong to 21st century snake priestess and friend of Planet Waves, Serpentessa.

Planet Waves

Mohonk Preserve Investigation: Behind The Story

In this special supplemental edition of Planet Waves FM, I tell some of the story behind the story of the Mohonk Preserve land grab investigation. You may read the original article here.

Eric Francis and Diva Carla: The Vesta New Moon

In this unusually bold conversation, Eric Francis and Diva Carla talk about the implications of the Leo New Moon conjunct Vesta. We cover the theme of Vesta as the sexual healer and the keeper of the sacred inner flame, consider the deeper implications of masturbation, and look closely at the New Moon’s square to asteroid Psyche in Scorpio.

Planet Waves

Your Monthly Horoscopes -- and our Publishing Schedule Notes

The extended monthly horoscopes for August were published Friday, July 26. Inner Space for August was published Friday, Aug. 2. On Tuesday, July 16, we published the Moonshine horoscopes for the Aquarius Full Moon. We published the Moonshine horoscopes for the Leo New Moon on Tuesday, Aug. 6. Please note, we normally publish the extended monthly horoscopes on the first Friday after the Sun has entered a new sign; Inner Space usually publishes the following Tuesday.

Planet Waves

Weekly Horoscope for Friday, Aug. 9, 2013, #961| By Eric Francis

Aries (March 20-April 19)
Aries (March 20-April 19) -- If you have the sensation that you're slowly working your way toward some emotional edge, but you don't know where it is, I would say that's about right. The larger experience is that you keep reaching one challenge, passing over or through it, and then another, and you may be wondering when you are going to reach the actual brink. It may involve your sense of safety, your patience, your tolerance of a domestic situation, or some factor that's been making you angry. Beneath all of these various experiences or feelings is something much deeper, which is the desire to cut loose. By that I mean, really cut loose and be as wild and as passionate as you feel inside. The story of our society is the story of keeping that particular set of desires in check. It works, for a while, but it has a lot of frustrating and negative effects. One of them is that you might feel like an animal with a wild streak who is on a chain or in a cage, and you want more than anything to break free. If so, congratulations -- and keep going.
Wondering about how astrology is influencing your life now? Eric has prepared a written and recorded reading for you that tells the story. You can get all 12 signs of LISTEN, your 2013 reading, for the special reduced price of only $29.95. LISTEN gives you a detailed reading, available immediately, covering work, relationships, personal growth and creativity.

Taurus (April 19- May 20)
Taurus (April 19-May 20) -- You seem to be coming apart and putting yourself back together on a daily basis. I would offer a hint that there is one piece to the puzzle that you're missing, and you might want to focus on finding that before you do another disassemble/reassemble. Or said another way, stop and consider what the missing piece might be. I can offer you a couple of clues. It seems to involve a love affair, described by your ruling planet Venus transiting your solar 5th house. That in turn describes a situation where you long for a sense of purity and may be taking out your frustrations on yourself in the form of perfectionism. You may have the sense of being on your own; where there was so recently a sense of contact and movement, there may be the sensation of nothing left to reach for. I am sure you'll be glad to hear that this is a temporary experience. You're working out the results of a stage of growth, and within a week or so, a whole new field of reality opens up. Till then, take it easy on yourself.
Wondering about how astrology is influencing your life now? Eric has prepared a written and recorded reading for you that tells the story. You can get all 12 signs of LISTEN, your 2013 reading, for the special reduced price of only $29.95. LISTEN gives you a detailed reading, available immediately, covering work, relationships, personal growth and creativity.

Gemini (May 20- June 21)
Gemini (May 20-June 21) -- You may feel like you're getting out of the water after having soaked too long, going up onto the beach and having the urge to go back into the water. You may feel restless, with the sense of being hemmed in to some confine you cannot see but you can feel. What is that space? It looks like the necessity to be mature, or to collect yourself and not be so scattered. Astrologically these translate to getting clear on how you feel about yourself. To that end, I suggest you clearly identify the various questions you may have, and the conditions you may be placing on having a peaceful relationship with yourself. This is not about assembling the parts as much as it is about asking yourself the right question. If you find yourself playing with your mind as if it's a puzzle or a set of Tinker Toys, I suggest you pause and reflect. This thing I'm calling the right question will arrive with the feeling of inner leverage and give you the sensation that you can maneuver in the world.
Wondering about how astrology is influencing your life now? Eric has prepared a written and recorded reading for you that tells the story. You can get all 12 signs of LISTEN, your 2013 reading, for the special reduced price of only $29.95. LISTEN gives you a detailed reading, available immediately, covering work, relationships, personal growth and creativity.

Cancer (June 21- July 22)
Cancer (June 21-July 22) -- There seems to be a pattern that's been in your life for months. You may not be able to discern whether it's an emotional pattern or a mental one; in truth it's at the place where the two realities meet -- what you may think of as the mind-body nexus. Current planetary movements are helping you shift the dynamic, whatever it may be, but there are ways that you can help the process along. One way is by increasing your physical activity. Don't sit at your desk for long; get up at least twice an hour and move around. Get outside. Remember the sport you used to love the most and try some of that again. (Speaking as a Cancer rising, I have a date with the local batting range soon.) Seemingly on another frequency entirely but not really, invest some energy into writing. By that I mean bold written expression. Do your best to skip over the 'form' thing and go right for the gutsy core of what you want to express, in all its pathos, passion and curiosity.
Wondering about how astrology is influencing your life now? Eric has prepared a written and recorded reading for you that tells the story. You can get all 12 signs of LISTEN, your 2013 reading, for the special reduced price of only $29.95. LISTEN gives you a detailed reading, available immediately, covering work, relationships, personal growth and creativity.

Planet Waves

Leo readers: your birthday report is ready! You can read a little more about your 2013-2014 birthday reading here -- or go straight to this page to take advantage of the $19.95 pre-order price. That's a savings of $10 on an hour of astrology plus a tarot reading by Eric Francis. Note: the price will increase Saturday, August 10 (tomorrow).

Leo (July 22- Aug. 23)
Leo (July 22-Aug. 23) -- Mercury has just ingressed your sign, which may be arriving with the sensation of the lights coming on after a long trek through the dark. Or described another way, you may have the feeling that a trove of knowledge that you've earned and accumulated is finally catching up to your awareness, kind of like you knew it all, and now you're discovering that you did. You will need this knowledge in the coming days. If you find yourself facing a challenge, particularly one centered on your household or family, the key is to remember what you know. Another key is to remember that you have not just allies but supporters -- you just need to recognize who is and who is not one of those. If you're a woman, I suggest you notice the mother-daughter dynamics in your environment, including in your own family and those of others. If you're a man, tune into this dimension in the women who are around you. This seems to be at the heart of the matter, and the core theme is learning to be flexible -- more flexible than mom.
Wondering about how astrology is influencing your life now? Eric has prepared a written and recorded reading for you that tells the story. You can get all 12 signs of LISTEN, your 2013 reading, for the special reduced price of only $29.95. LISTEN gives you a detailed reading, available immediately, covering work, relationships, personal growth and creativity.

Virgo (Aug. 23- Sep. 22)
Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22) -- I suggest you proceed with caution, for example, as if you're piloting a boat and you're unsure how deep the water is. Slow down and stay close to the center of the channel. Put someone up on the bow to keep watch, because there might be random objects floating in the water. The most significant thing you must pay attention to is your own state of mind. Make sure that you do what requires alertness (driving a car, juggling chain saws, getting acquainted with a new person) with full attention. If you notice that your attention is lapsing, take a pause, a nap, a walk or get a good night's sleep. One advantage you have is that information will be coming to you from non-ordinary sources, including what seem like psychic impressions, dreams and synchronicities. To sum up, you have a need for more awareness, and you also have more kinds of awareness to draw upon. As you do this, you may run into something, an idea, experience or obstacle that seems to violate your intuition. I strongly suggest that you not override what your 'extra' senses are telling you. But at that point, stop and collect evidence.
Wondering about how astrology is influencing your life now? Eric has prepared a written and recorded reading for you that tells the story. You can get all 12 signs of LISTEN, your 2013 reading, for the special reduced price of only $29.95. LISTEN gives you a detailed reading, available immediately, covering work, relationships, personal growth and creativity.

Libra (Sep. 22 - Oct. 23)
Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23) -- You seem to be lost in the sauce of your own life. It's as if you have gone missing from yourself, or as if you've replaced your presence in your own life with an idea about who you are. It's kind of like you've invented yourself into an avatar, though it's a pretty convincing one. That process may get a little jolt over the next few days, and you'll be awakened into the reality that something more is possible. It may be that someone tries to get your attention with an action or a statement. It may be that you encounter a person or experience that compels you to bring more of yourself into the exchange. You may decide spontaneously to wake up from a slumber of self-denial. Whatever form the reality check takes, I would count it as a positive development and good practice. Venus, your ruling planet, is heading for your sign. Currently it's in Virgo and arrives in Libra on Aug. 16. That begins a whole new phase of life experience -- one that will require you to be fully present in your own reality every day, all the time.
Wondering about how astrology is influencing your life now? Eric has prepared a written and recorded reading for you that tells the story. You can get all 12 signs of LISTEN, your 2013 reading, for the special reduced price of only $29.95. LISTEN gives you a detailed reading, available immediately, covering work, relationships, personal growth and creativity.

Scorpio (Oct. 23- Nov. 22)
Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22) -- Benjamin Franklin once wrote: "If Men are so wicked as we now see them with Religion what would they be if without it?" I meditate on this quotation often, which comes from a letter commenting on a book someone sent Franklin about why we would be better off without worship, prayer and the "guards and guides" provided by religion. He urged the writer to burn the manuscript before anyone else could see it, and told the author he was spitting into the wind and thus into his own face. While I think that old Ben was right about most things, and a generous, lusty guy, I find his point of view puzzling. For instance, didn't he notice that religion so often drives people to misery, self-doubt and inner division? He spent a lot of time in Europe and he had to know of the blood-soaked battlefields, including one in Germany where 22,000 "Christians" slaughtered one another in a single day. But hey, even Ben couldn't see everything. I suggest you look closely at all your notions of religion, of God, of Goddess, of sin, of sacrifice and of whether pleasure is appropriate in the eyes of the Universe.
Wondering about how astrology is influencing your life now? Eric has prepared a written and recorded reading for you that tells the story. You can get all 12 signs of LISTEN, your 2013 reading, for the special reduced price of only $29.95. LISTEN gives you a detailed reading, available immediately, covering work, relationships, personal growth and creativity.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22 - Dec. 22)
Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22) -- You seem to be invested in an obsession of some kind. The question, however, is whether this is a self-obsession or whether it's really about someone else. Another related question is, is this a sexual thing or isn't it? If it is, it has a curiously asexual quality, though you might want to check whether that's some kind of defense mechanism. You could also inquire with yourself if you're trying to figure out if the scenario meets the approval of someone important in your life, such as your father. That wrinkle, or some kind of father figure, may be casting a kind of weirdness over the situation. I would offer, though, that just because something is a little strange doesn't make it wrong, unnecessary or unhealthy. In fact, the slightly off-pitch flavor may be the point of interest or intrigue. While you're sorting through this, I suggest you notice any way in which you're holding back your passion, commitment or energy fearing that you might not be approved of, if you were to let go into the person and/or the feelings involved.
Wondering about how astrology is influencing your life now? Eric has prepared a written and recorded reading for you that tells the story. You can get all 12 signs of LISTEN, your 2013 reading, for the special reduced price of only $29.95. LISTEN gives you a detailed reading, available immediately, covering work, relationships, personal growth and creativity.

Capricorn (Dec. 22- Jan. 20)
Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20) -- Over the next few days, you'll need to iron out the details of a commitment that is finally showing some promise. Though you may be feeling enthusiastic about this, the details are significant. Be conscious that what seems off to a great start may arrive at an obstacle of some kind, which is your clue to get a new overview, then get busy with the subtle points. In this whole matter, your flexibility will count for a lot. Said another way, you hold a lot of power, particularly in your ability to say yes or no to just about anything. It will help to recognize when you are and are not willing to bend, compromise and look for a work-around. One potential sticking point is how you think you're perceived by your friends, the community and whatever you define as the 'public'. Is there some issue of image involved here? Are you concerned about being seen as something you're not, or revealed for something that you are? If that is a factor, it would be better if it was a conscious one, rather than a covert one.
Wondering about how astrology is influencing your life now? Eric has prepared a written and recorded reading for you that tells the story. You can get all 12 signs of LISTEN, your 2013 reading, for the special reduced price of only $29.95. LISTEN gives you a detailed reading, available immediately, covering work, relationships, personal growth and creativity.

Aquarius (Jan. 20- Feb. 19)
Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) -- Mercury is stirring up the need for a conversation about sex, or rather, many of them. There's just one little problem: sex is the one thing that everyone is an expert on, hardly anyone has read a book about and that few people have the courage (or the vocabulary) to discuss. It's commonly avoided; that's not a shock. Then there are numerous taboos thrown over the topic, as well as not just the acceptability of lying about it but also a kind of urgency to do so. This is, however, the area of existence that wants more than any other to be invited into the light of day. It's likely to be the stuck point in one or more of your partnerships, though if you follow the threads, you'll discover that may go deeper. For example, you might recognize that you simply must come to terms with this subject in its many forms. These include sex for fun, for healing, for reproduction, sexual health and, finally, the financial value you put on your favors. Everyone has a price. What is yours, and more to the point, why?
Wondering about how astrology is influencing your life now? Eric has prepared a written and recorded reading for you that tells the story. You can get all 12 signs of LISTEN, your 2013 reading, for the special reduced price of only $29.95. LISTEN gives you a detailed reading, available immediately, covering work, relationships, personal growth and creativity.

Pisces (Feb. 19- March 20)
Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) -- You may finally be able to tackle a problem that has been elusive for months on end. It would seem, from the look of your solar chart, that you already know what this is about, but that you haven't come up with the words to describe it, or the ideas to consider it tangibly. As you bring your intuitive impressions into form, you will gain power over your situation. As you develop the language to speak about it clearly, including to yourself, it will seem to hold far less power over you. If at any point you notice the thought form that what you're dealing with is something intractable, something that just won't budge, remember -- this is just an idea, it's not a reality. If you think of it as a reality, you will be unlikely to do anything about it. If you remember that it's a concept, it will seem to be much more flexible. One thing to remember is that all concepts come from the past. I suggest you figure out where this one came from, and take an inventory of the many alternative possibilities that you have.
Wondering about how astrology is influencing your life now? Eric has prepared a written and recorded reading for you that tells the story. You can get all 12 signs of LISTEN, your 2013 reading, for the special reduced price of only $29.95. LISTEN gives you a detailed reading, available immediately, covering work, relationships, personal growth and creativity.

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