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Mars, Pluto and Eris: Critical Moment
"World War III [will be] a guerrilla information war with no division between military and civilian participation."
— Marshall McLuhan, 1970
Dear Friend and Reader:

As we move through these unusual and even singularly strange times, there are both large markers describing our era, and seemingly small ones. Yet astrology is holographic. You can take a slice of a chart, or even the details of two houses, and get a plausible reading on the whole scenario. The story of our times is told in the seemingly large moments, and in those that are seemingly small or insignificant.

This week we are in a particularly telling stretch of astrology, as Mars makes a square to Pluto and a conjunction to Eris. Both are slow-moving planets that define eras of history. These days Pluto spends under 20 years in a sign, while Eris is in the process of crossing Aries — which began in the late 1920s and wraps up in 2048. Pluto and Eris are now dancing in a 90-degree angle that is the heart of our current astrological region, and which astrologers unfamiliar with Eris and its actions are unlikely to observe.

Who the fuck are you? For five minutes of guaranteed fun, play this video — or an hour if you play it 20 times.
Now, a fast-moving personal planet is about to make aspects to both, which is what happens when the slow movers hold an aspect for a while. Mars is slowing down to its retrograde on Sept. 9, so it's moving through this pattern meticulously. It will seem to stop right after it does so, and then repeat its movement in retrograde motion in September. Then it will turn direct in November and move through the pattern again.

For reference, the three Mars-Eris conjunctions are on August 17 (direct motion), October 4 (retrograde motion), and finally Dec. 22, 2020 (direct motion). The squares to Pluto are very close to the conjunctions to Eris, as Eris and Pluto are now functioning as one entity.

Mars, the Global Village and the Search for Self

I am soon to do eight hours of video on this topic, though I will take this opportunity to sum up my thesis of this astrology. Through the age of Eris in Aries (1926-present, through 2042), the world has been swallowed by broadcast technology. Wireless radio went from an instrument of maritime navigators to a commercial medium in this era, with many effects on society and on people as individuals. I cover this in detail on the current edition of Planet Waves FM, right at the top of the program.

When Marshall McLuhan used the term "global village," he was describing the effect of radio. The phrase was picked up by a manufacturer of modems at the dawn of the internet age, and it was apropos enough: we are really seeing the global village phenomenon on social media.

The effects of this are, among others: loss of privacy; tribalizaton of society; loss of individual identity; being pushed, lured or accidentally wandering out of body; deterioration of inner existence and inner life, to the point where some people don't know what these terms mean. There is also a literacy problem, which has currently devolved into a postmodern notion affliction of "there is no such thing as truth."

Photo by Eric Francis — Book of Blue, Brussels.
This has happened under the aegis of Eris in Aries, a vast and beautiful astrological topic that I unravel somewhat in this series of articles.

Now Mars is in the Mix

Now Mars is entering the mix, with its square to Pluto on Aug. 13 and its conjunction to Eris on Aug. 17.

When a close-up personal world mixes it up with far-away planets that influence long generations, the result is that the private meets the impersonal — and there will be an interesting effect.

My take is that all this digital influence we have been swimming in for the past 20 years — which is the apotheosis (so far) of electronic communication — has put many people into a position where they have no clue who they are. We see compensation for this as obsessive self-labeling, as if you can tattoo your soul onto your shoulder.

The McLuhans, I think, are astute in their observation that violence is always the quest for identity. This helps explain wars and shootings, and also the undue verbal aggression and bald hostility that the internet has bred for its entire existence.

So this will be a good week to study the theme of aggression, and also of the ways you and your cohorts express intention, aspiration and desire, and anger, all of which are expressions of Mars qualities. Think of Mars as the core energy source of human experience.

Sex and Sexuality

The McLuhans do not address the medium or environment of sex in their work; they have left that project to me. I would add that sexual exploration — the direct investigation of desire — is also a way of getting to know oneself.

Mars engaging itself with Pluto and then Eris raises all the interesting questions about sex and sexuality that we might have here in the age of disembodiment, corporate control over anything it can get, and Covid. Lately, there have been some strange advices emanating from health officials, all for our own good, such as have sex through a glory hole.

Photo by Eric Francis — Book of Blue, New York
Only an astrologer would think that was funny in the context of Mars, and of Pluto in Capricorn. However, it also betrays the truth that nothing is too stupid or absurd to prevent it being taken seriously in the current rendition of the environment.

In truth, this whole Covid drama is going to radically alter many preexisting sexual scripts, and it's also going to enhance the one about how the only safe sex is the kind you don't really have — which is virtual.

Yet Mars, Pluto and Eris in combination seems to be like a quest for embodiment: for the real thing, the necessary thing, the one that is actually expressive of human experience, need, and desire. Eventually, if not sooner, all of this completely safe virtual sex and relating is either going to drive people mad, or back into their bodies (in the way that a condition in the environment can suddenly reverse itself if the conditions are right).

The world in all its political "correctness" has yet to address the sometimes aggressive nature of the best sex. Yes, this is aggressive in a loving or at least cooperative context. Sex is also competitive, for many, and it can be so even in the most playful contexts.

So, while the world is busy trying to find itself through violence and aggression, or turn itself into an archetype on the internet, we might set up a little camp off to the side where we can explore our feelings and give desire and its emotional content a push. This is something that we would need to consciously grant ourselves and others permission to do. You would be surprised how simple encouragement makes it much easier to explore without guilt marring or sticking to the experience.

The square from Mars to Pluto suggests this is something best worked out with oneself first, and others later. That is in the nature of the square. The one thing a square must do, though, is express itself. Choose your vehicle.

Sex changes everything, and sex with yourself changes you.

With love,
Planet Waves (ISSN 1933-9135) is published each Sunday and Thursday evening in Kingston, New York, Planet Waves, Inc. Core Community membership: $197/year. Editor & Publisher: Eric F. Coppolino. Web Developer: Anatoly Ryzhenko. News Editor: Spencer Stevens. Assistant Editor: Joshua Halinen. Client Services: Amy Elliott and Victoria Emory. Illustrator: Lanvi Nguyen. Senior Finance Minister, First Cavalry of the Local Economy: Andrew Slater. Archivist: Morgan Francis. Technical Assistants: Cate Ryzhenko, Emily Thing. Proofreading: Jessica Keet. Media Consultant: Andrew McLuhan. Music Director: Daniel Sternstein. Bass and Drums: Daniel Grimsland. Additional Music: Zeljko. Additional Research, Writing and Opinions: Rachel Chaput, Loreen Costa, Robin Dann, Yuko Katori, Kirsti Melto, Cindy Tice Ragusa, Abby Rohrer, and Carol van Strum.
The Story of I AM — Mars Retrograde in Aries

Dear Friend and Reader:

For a little while I was on the line about doing an autumn reading. Then one day I woke up and said to myself: Mars retrograde? Are you kidding? There is no way we're sitting out that one.

So — there shall be an autumn video reading, released in late August, called The Story of I AM.

Mars retrograde in Aries is the final transition, the emotional, psychological and experiential bridge, to the last event of 2020: Jupiter conjunct Saturn in Aquarius. Mars retrograde represents the work of individuation and of self-actualization that will make the group experience in Aquarius more relevant and more easily workable.

Borrowing a line from Lou Reed, "Self-knowledge is a dangerous thing — the freedom of who you are." Dangerous perhaps to a way of life that involves allowing yourself to disappear and be insignificant. Mars retrograde in Aries invites boldness and embodiment and the exploration of your will.

We are pleased to announce the pre-order for this reading, for all 12 signs. You will want to see more than one; you may share them with the people close to you. These will provide some excellent serialized video therapy that will take you through the autumn season and into the 2021 annual edition.

You may pre-order here. Delivery will be in late August, which could be Aug. 31, or it could be sooner.

Thank you for your business and for trusting me as your astrologer.

With love,
PS — You may order by phone at (845) 481-5616. I answer personally when I can. Otherwise, someone will get back to you soon.

Monthly Horoscopes and Publishing Schedule Notes

Your extended monthly horoscope for August was published on Monday, August 3. We published your extended monthly horoscope for July on Thursday, July 2. Please note: we normally publish the extended monthly horoscope after the Sun has entered a new sign.
Planet Waves
Monday Morning Horoscope #240 for August 10, 2020 | By Eric Francis Coppolino

The Journey of You and Chiron | A New Reading by Eric Francis

Anyone who has encountered it is curious about Chiron. Planet Waves provides one of the few dependable online sources of information on this unusual planet. For the 10th anniversary Astrology Studio reading, I will be covering Chiron in Aries — a momentous event for all those born under this sign, and of high interest to everyone else. Get instant access to this reading here.

Aries (March 20-April 19) — You must be clever with money this week, and take advantage of any opportunities that come your way. Such are most likely to arrive with a little shakeup in your plans. This is often the moment of invention or breakthrough: something you were not anticipating, which may even be annoying, though it presents an opportunity to make a decision. It is in that moment of interruption when you can intervene with an idea. However, it's critical that you proceed in a gentle, persistent and nonviolent way — yet without suppressing your feelings. You may feel some powerful emotions moving through you, and the thing not — as in n-o-t — to do is to take them out on yourself. Don't take this pressure out on others either. You need pressure vents, creative outlets and quite possibly sexual outlets. If you feel inclined to use 'power' in some way, try another concept: leverage. Exert yourself less, not more; the right tool will help you get the job done, including the right spiritual or psychological tool. You have many..

Photo by Lanvi Nguyen.
You can now get instant access to your 2020-21 Taurus Astrology Studio here for just $44. This reading focuses on a professional breakthrough toward the end of the year, and preparing you for this development. Venus retrograde in the spring is preparation. Mars retrograde in the autumn is preparation.

Ultimately this is a spiritual development, yet in reality we are talking about aligning your purpose with action, with a calling, and with an opportunity. Elements of the reading go out to a series of power steps in 2021. Read more.

Taurus (April 19-May 20) — It's time to exceed what you think of as your limits. This is a central topic for Taurus Sun and rising, and to some extent Moon: a set of constructs that in essence serve to bind you to the past. Mostly this happens through your belief structure, though you have in recent years, and particularly this year, had many experiences that demonstrate many of your beliefs are no longer applicable. Several of your past experiences that would serve to uphold those beliefs have been replaced by new experiences. Vis-a-vis the whole concept of belief, I would offer two things. They make it difficult to actually think. They are like training wheels on a bicycle, which are good at first (maybe), though you cannot go far. They also serve as insulation to protect the believer against any idea that would shake their reality structure. Yet your whole chart is about nothing except moving, shaking and quaking. Uranus in your birth sign is not taking any bullshit. Neither should you.

Your 2020-21 Gemini Astrology Studio, The Sacred Space of Self, is now available for instant access. The reading covers Venus retrograde in your sign, Vesta in your sign, Saturn in Aquarius, and the momentous astrology at the end of the year.Thank you for your business and your trust.

Gemini (May 20-June 21) — The more complex any situation may be in your life, the more you must speak with the determination to be understood. That will likely require understatement, which in turn requires a degree of emotional detachment. That may be difficult with Venus moving through one of the most sensitive signs, though you might invest that energy into cleaning the refrigerator, wiping down the window sills and making sure there is food on the stove for everyone who comes into your home. You can also use the nearly clairvoyant sensitivity offered by Venus in Cancer to detect when people are overreacting, and to know when they are responding appropriately. Your personal ruling planet Mercury is now in Leo. This bestows the golden tongue, so you are under excellent stars for speaking and writing. Just remember that the skill you need most right now is listening. You will need to do that in manual mode: pause, take a breath and get to the bottom of what people are trying to say to you.

Your 2020-21 Cancer Astrology Studio is available for instant access. This year, the time of Cancer began with an eclipse on the solstice, as well as Mercury retrograde in your sign. This is astrology that points to you in a personal way, describing a transition you may not feel ready to make but have been preparing for over long years. Chiron in Aries is also a prominent factor, pointing to some pioneering developments in your professional life. I cover these aspects, and much more.

Cancer (June 21-July 22) — Venus has embarked on an unusual path through your sign, as it will make many aspects in the coming weeks to points in the other cardinal signs — Aries, Libra and Capricorn. This in turn puts you into a state of enhanced contact with your environment, with sensory data and other information coming in from all directions. The place to hold your locus of attention is within yourself. If you can stay emotionally centered, you can accomplish anything and you will be able to help those around you who need you. There is an art to this, and a measure of dignity is called for as the prerequisite. To be effective, you must take care of yourself, which means the necessary food, water, and rest, and getting outside into the light of day and the dark of night. And you need appropriate companionship of peers with whom you are not directly involved in some process of assisting, people with whom you may be open and speak from the heart.

You can now get instant access to your 2020-21 Leo Astrology Studio, Notes on Love and Courage. The two giants of the solar system meet up at the end of this year in your opposite sign Aquarius. Eric explores what this seminal conjunction means for you, and much more. Get your copy here for just $44.

Leo (July 22-Aug. 23) — If you are wondering what to do with your hours, your days, or your life, the question is: in what way are you being called upon to serve? This is not so much about what you want to do but rather the way you feel summoned to take a particular role. The value of preference is way overstated. Many people of great accomplishment followed a calling rather than "did what they loved." What you may discover when you do that is that you grow to love your calling in a way you never loved anything else. Many people are teetering on this brink at the moment — including a good few who feel fortunate to have had their employment survive this ongoing social and economic tsunami. For anyone whose livelihood has been disrupted, seize the opportunity to make the long-overdue adjustments you've wanted to make. Streamline your life, work cooperatively with others, and listen to your calling: listen with your ears and your whiskers and smell the air.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22) — Prepare for a horoscope about sex. One, two, three, here goes: Your self-discovery process is going into overdrive as Mars moves through Aries, the sign for you of orgasm and surrender, and something of your core identity. One of the most basic personality structures of Virgo involves losing yourself in another person, and then waking up and finding yourself. This has worked one way through most of your life, and due to Chiron's presence in Aries, it is now working another way: mostly, that you are skipping the "losing yourself" part of the process and going direct to discovery. Mars is making contact with Pluto in Capricorn. A decade of this has compelled you in that way only Pluto can do to admit, confront and overcome your inhibitions. You still have a few more of those to work with, though you're at the stage where cracking through them can be fun and pleasurable in a courageous way. Follow your curiosity with passion and intrigue. As is said in the Pathwork, sexual curiosity is its most life-affirming form.

Pre-order your full 2020-21 Virgo reading by Eric here.

Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23) — Above all else, you want fairness in a world where it rarely seems to be forthcoming. You want to be able to take action where you see others abusing their power or their influence. How you handle such situations is critical. You are likely to run into a few of them this week, and you need to proceed with the care and caution of the bomb squad. Remember that a K9 trained in explosives or even drug detection does not bark; they sit down next to the suspicious package to signal their handler. Merely barking can set off the device, so the loudest sound will be sniffing and paw pads. Your most vital asset is your ability to see a situation for what it is, and map it out carefully. Assuming you are called to assist, you will be able to find the one thing that deactivates a potentially explosive situation with as little intervention as possible. This could, for example, include engaging someone in a conversation long enough to get them to reconsider their choices, not by using persuasion but rather a delay or distraction. Small moves mean a lot.

Pre-order your full 2020-21 Libra reading by Eric here.

You may have instant access to your 2019-20 Scorpio Astrology Studio. This reading addresses the current jolt to your relationships, as well as the profound thought transformation you're going through. I consider some deep matters of self-identity and where that meets personal healing. Astrology Studio comes with a bonus recording, "Self and Society," which looks at the astrology describing the busy intersection of the individual and collective. Order your copy here.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22) — The ancient and modern rulers of your sign are forming a square aspect right now — Mars in Aries square Pluto in Capricorn. If you study this aspect in books, it will be like reading the treatment to a David Lynch psychological thriller with a touch of horror film and a protagonist who gets so swept away with their passions so as to have no self-control (and so on; you can keep making up psychodramas for entertainment). For you this week, the translation is to be impeccable with your words, right down to rewriting something six times to get it down to as few words as possible. Be extremely cautious at work. While it's unlike you to refrain from speaking your mind, you might want to hold off. If you really need to say something, choose one person in a position of more direct authority and mention it calmly and get an acknowledgment. You might take the approach of the canine I describe in the Libra horoscope. Do not bark. Do not growl. Just get the attention of someone who can do something.

Your Astrology Studio reading for Sagittarius Sun or rising sign covers Jupiter's conjunction to the Galactic Core, a review of Jupiter in Sagittarius and a preview of forthcoming Jupiter in Capricorn. I focus on the Saturn-Pluto conjunction and many other exciting facets of your astrology. My readings are easygoing and easy to follow, and address real-life matters of life, work and relationships.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22) — However you may define your growth and your evolutionary process, what you are actually doing in these days of your life is establishing your priorities. You may have had some prior experience of thinking you knew what your priorities were, then some event, incident or discovery wakes you up and you begin to make decisions. So to be clear, I am not talking about priorities in the theoretical sense but rather in the sense of what you prioritize for action, and then act upon. You are going through a process of aligning with yourself, and catching up with the growth you've experienced, and then bringing that forward into what motivates your choices. This is more like shooting pool than it is like attending a meditation workshop. You line up your best shot and you take action. This is based on a larger game plan, and you need to be aware of every level as you make any one decision. There may remain some still-unfolding critical situations in your life, though you know enough now to act in a way that honors the future tangibly, and that sets you up for success.

If you have a Capricorn Sun, rising sign or Moon and could use some insights about the challenges and opportunities life is sending your way, order the 2020 Capricorn Astrology Studio by Eric Francis Coppolino. Some of the most era-defining astrology has been centered on your sign in recent years, and that includes the biggest current astrological events. It also makes an amazing gift for loved ones.

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20) — Study your emotional motives carefully before you make any decisions this week. You may feel driven by the urgency of certain situations, particularly related to family or your household. These may relate to your sense of security or stability, whether emotional or connected to a tangible circumstance. I say this knowing much of the world has been thrown into an unprecedented degree of economic chaos, which means being confronted by food and shelter security issues for the first time. Whatever you may have going on for you on the level of emotional challenge, or interpersonal challenge, or actual economic crisis, your most important tool is grounding in who you are. For Capricorn, it is helpful to sort out your sense of identity and of being as something distinct from your family's expectations — or what you think of as their expectations. This can take guts and you may need to cut through a few layers of guilt.

Your 2020-21 Aquarius Astrology Studio is available for instant access. This coming winter, your sign hosts a major conjunction: Jupiter conjunct Saturn, the traditional ruler of Aquarius. That event is exact on Dec. 21, 2020. Eric also covers Saturn moving into your sign from Capricorn during the year, in this not-to-be-missed reading. Order your copy here.

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) — The most important activity in your chart remains behind a kind of veil; it's taking place in Capricorn, the sign before yours. Yet over the next few weeks, the way to track your progress in this invisible realm will involve monitoring two things: the state of your health, and how you feel about work. These are often indicators of how a person is doing, and for you they are particularly important, as a life calling and also over the next few weeks as Venus moves through Cancer. Because so much is going on behind the scenes, you need indicators of where you stand with yourself. So pay attention to your daily activity and how you feel about it: does time seem to move quickly or slowly? Are you interested and invested in what you're doing? Observe yourself closely and be especially honest. As for your health: how do you feel when you wake up in the morning? How do you feel at sunset, and how do you feel before you go to bed? Take careful notes. These are important factors pointing you to the future.

Astrology Studio for Pisces | A New Reading by Eric Francis

This is a momentous time in collective history, and a turning point in your life. As the year develops, most of the movement — including Pisces' ruling planet Jupiter, and the Jupiter-Saturn conjunction — will be pointing into Aquarius, the most sensitive and innermost angle of your chart. I will also cover the retrogrades of Venus and Mars, and the forthcoming Jupiter-Pluto conjunction in your friendship sign Capricorn. Mostly, I will help you orient on your profound journey, and offer guidance how to harmonize with the world at this unusual time. Get instant access to this reading here.

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) — As you discover what it means to live in a much wider world, you are also discovering what it means to be living in a rapidly and radically changing world. This may seem chaotic, though I suggest you stay close to the changes and close to the action, as proximate as you can get, and take nothing for granted. Make your own observations. Maintain a dialog with as many people as you can, and pay attention to what you learn. A combination of three factors: world conditions, the state of your immediate community, and your personal growth, are aligning in a rare form. You do not need to fear the changes that are happening, so long as you are aware of them and participating in them consciously. Some facets of your situation are pushing you to your limits, which it's time to exceed. As a Pisces, one thing you have going for you is the possibility for a very wide view of existence. Yes, it's possible to squander this in petty affairs. There, I cannot help you. If you keep a broad view of yourself and your environment, and track your own movement through this unusual maze society is in, you will find yourself in a position of rare advantage.

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