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Tales from Topographic Oceans
Planet Waves
As the Gulf of Mexico oil spill approaches the Breton National Wildlife Refuge, at least 2,000 pairs of brown pelicans are nesting on islands in the refuge. Although their nests are generally located far enough from the shoreline to avoid direct contamination from the oil slick, the pelicans can become covered in oil if they dive into slick-covered waters to catch fish. Photo: Bill Stripling/Audubon. Related videos here.
Dear Planet Waves Subscriber:

It's ominous to me that the explosion aboard the BP/Transocean/Mitsubishi oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico happened within hours of Chiron entering Pisces on April 20. Chiron, a planet that has a knack for revealing the weakness in a system, ingressed Pisces at about 1:31 am CDT; by 10 PM the oil rig was in flames and 210,000 gallons a day of crude was leaking into the gulf. A survivor said in an interview that the workers had about five minutes to evacuate.

Two days later the burning rig sank, taking 700,000 gallons of diesel fuel with it, leaving a snarled tangle of metal over the wellhead on the sea floor a mile down. All work that happens from this point on will be done by robotic submarines, working in the dark, in the midst of a gushing flow of crude oil.

Many frightening questions remain unanswered, and many are not being asked by the cosmetic journalism that is covering this story, or rather covering it up: for example, how much oil can we dump into one ocean and not threaten life in the rest of them? How little does it take to disrupt the ecosystems of the Earth and make our one and only planet unsuitable for life?

As Jonathan Schell said in The Fate of the Earth, we don't have another planet to experiment on, so we don't want to take too many chances. But we are taking many. I never thought I would be writing an obituary for the Gulf of Mexico. With this event, the world as we know it has changed irrevocably. It is on the level of an undersea Chernobyl -- the 24th anniversary of which passed on April 27, as this event was in its early days. The impact of that event, too, has been grossly minimized: a new book has come out presenting evidence that the death toll was not 4,000 but closer to one million. The 'story of the environment' -- any story, and all of them added up -- looks one way when it's told by industry or government, and another way when it's looked at honestly.

Meanwhile, if anybody knows how the explosion, which likely involved natural gas found in oil wells, actually happened, nobody is saying. There is speculation that it was an accident, that it was terrorism or that it was sabotage. It may have been the result of shoddy work by Halliburton and I read one report that said BP understated the depth of the well, therefore misrepresenting the pressures that would be involved. What we do know was that Halliburton was in the process of capping the well around the time the incident occurred; that has become a discussion point. What does the astrology say about all of this? In the second half of this article, I will look at the chart for the incident.

Drilling for Oil in a Mine Field

First I have news: a Planet Waves investigation has revealed that the entire vicinity of the explosion was a widespread debris field for unexploded ordnance that was dumped as ships were returning to port from various wars. Some 31 million pounds of unexploded ordnance was dumped into oceans and seas, much of it near United States coastlines -- with many such areas in the Gulf of Mexico. While some are indicated on maps, many are not -- and things under open water tend to drift over the years and decades.

Planet Waves
The issue of unexploded ordnance doesn't affect only the Gulf of Mexico -- it is a worldwide problem. Here is a photo of a possible G-Series WWII German ground mine resting in 157 feet of water, adjacent to a pipeline in the North Sea. Photo from Samuel-Herbert PDF.
The U.S. Government's Minerals Management Service (MMS) warned oil companies who leased blocks of land about the hazard, in one document saying, "The U.S. Air Force has released an indeterminable amount of unexploded ordnance throughout Eglin Water Test Areas. The exact location of the unexploded ordnance is unknown, and lessees are advised that all lease blocks included in this sale within these water test areas should be considered potentially hazardous to drilling and platform and pipeline placement."

The issue was the subject of at least one discussion at an oil industry Offshore Technology Conference held three years ago last week. Lynn Samuel and John Herbert presented a talk on imaging systems that are used to identify where the unexploded bombs and torpedoes are located. In their paper, they wrote, "Two of the latest directives from the Minerals Management Service indicate a growing concern about Unexploded Ordnance (UXO) located in close proximity to deepwater exploration and development sites within the Gulf of Mexico."

The authors explain the history: "From 1946 through 1970, military ordnance was dumped in the Gulf of Mexico by the U.S. armed forces, and it was the primary disposal site for the excess munitions originating from a number of large ordnance houses in the Southeastern United States. That ordnance included, but was not limited to, projectiles, bombs and chemical ordnance.

"As [the oil] industry continues to progress into deeper and deeper water, it will continue to encounter the world's munitions dumping grounds, charted and uncharted. Because records were poorly kept and navigation was not as precise as it is today, ordnance has and will be encountered outside known munitions dumping grounds. Many of these munitions may be either armed or in such an unstable condition that a minor influence could detonate them." Notably, the authors say that dumping was banned in the mid-Sixties, but it continued for six more years until 1970. The implication is that those old bombs could be anywhere, because after the ban it's unlikely that any rules were followed, or that any records were kept.

Planet Waves
Stacked WWII 1,000-pound bombs. They came in 250, 500 and 1,000 pound sizes. Many excess bombs were dumped overboard from ships returning to port, in all more than 31 million pounds of them.
Just in case you're wondering how I figured this out, it started over the weekend, when I was looking for the location of the oil drilling platform that burned down. I didn't want to use a shore point for the coordinates. So I started looking around the Internet and came up with a map published by a government agency called NOAA (the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), which was published in Wikipedia. This map specifically mentions ordnance dumping grounds. I re-published the document to Planet Waves, referencing the underwater bomb dump sites. Meanwhile, Tracy Delaney, my collaborator in Wales, came up with the coordinates from documents associated with the government lease of the oil field to BP, and with the location confirmed, we had a good chart.

A few days later, Planet Waves editor Carol van Strum was reading our main blog [Daily Astrology & Adventure], found the map and my mention of the explosives, and went ballistic. Carol has a knack for locating obscure government and corporate documents, and started to turn up the gems I've quoted above. As of Thursday, no other media have picked up the story: BP was digging for oil in the middle of a mine field. Madame Arcati, whose blog is read furiously by the U.K. tabloids and U.S. media folk, posted a link to the story. One of our readers re-posted it to a Daily Show discussion forum. But so far nobody has called or emailed.

This does not solve the current problem, of course. And it is a very, very serious problem. We are not being told the extent of the issue; the situation is unprecedented. Nobody knows how much oil is down there, surfacing at the rate of at least a million gallons every five days (If the current estimates are honest, that's one Exxon Valdez worth every six weeks, till it is stopped). There are numerous wildlife sanctuaries in the area, put in place in the day of Teddy Roosevelt. Yet if unchecked, this spill could far exceed the relative containment of the Gulf of Mexico. We are in hurricane season, which could frustrate cleanup efforts and make all those pathetic little yellow oil booms more pointless than they are now. The sad truth is, once the oil is in the water, it's in the water. Estimates of how much motor oil can contaminate a million gallons of sea water are as low as one quart -- per million gallons of water. So with a million gallons of oil going into the gulf every five days, how long before the entire thing is contaminated? In truth it may already be.

Meanwhile, the Gold Man was at it again. It was widely reported yesterday that Fabio Tourre of Goldman Sachs, whose face we saw last week, bet on such a disaster -- the spirit of enterprise here in the land of 2012. "One oil rig goes down and we're going to be rolling in dough," Mr. Tourre wrote in one email. "Suck it, fishies and birdies!" This sums up America's attitude succinctly: the environment is always put second to money and jobs; the two are always pitted against one another. I watched Thursday's impressive Mercury retrograde stock market roller coaster all afternoon on CNBC, and there was not one mention of the oil spill.
Atlantis, Sphinx, Arachne: Can We Handle Our Technology?

Now, what would the chart for such a thing look like? Well, here it is. I am not finding this to be a particularly easy chart to interpret, in this form; so I will describe the main features, and then move onto a level where things seem a little more obvious. The chart has Sagittarius rising, suggesting a global event. The Moon is in Cancer in the 8th house of a life or death crisis. Cancer is the sign of home; which is eco -- ecology and economy are studies of home. The Moon's last aspect, involving what I will call a 'major point', was a simultaneous square to Eris and trine to Jupiter -- big chaos. The presence of Eris is disturbing, suggesting subterfuge and an agenda -- particularly in a square aspect. The exact trine to Jupiter is like a big flow of energy, or in this case, oil (which is a form of energy).

Planet Waves
Chart for BP rig explosion on April 20, 2010. Note, I just revised this chart from the one I originally published, to apply the day/night rule for the Part of Fortune, which puts it on the MC -- the corporate and government angle. This raises the question: how do these entities benefit from the events represented by the chart?
The Moon is in the 8th house and it rules the 8th house -- death, crisis, and the resources of others. The South Node is there, suggesting an old story of the abuse of power.
Capricorn is on the 2nd house cusp (money, wealth, resources). There is currently a long conjunction in Capricorn: Ceres conjunct Pluto. These planets are about one degree from one another and will be conjunct all year. Retrograde in Capricorn, they suggest a cheap and miserly quality, lending credence to how the shoddy work of Halliburton may have contributed. There is the suggestion here of the exploitation of the Earth's resources: Earth being Ceres and Capricorn, and exploitation being Pluto.

On the midheaven of the chart -- the corporate and government angle --  we have Virgo. Virgo points us to Mercury, which is retrograde in Taurus (this is because Mercury rules Virgo, so the two are connected). The retrograde suggests many possibilities, none of them honest.

Now let's look at some minor planets. This situation reeks of an asteroid called Atlantis. The modern mythology of Atlantis is a technologically advanced situation that lacked the ethical capacity to handle its own technology. The "lost continent" of Atlantis is an old theme. It's first mentioned in the dialogs of Plato.

In its modern form, the society that self-destructs is a mirror of our own. There is a reference to this in Conversations with God by Neale Donald Walsch. Whoever you think 'God' may be in this conversation, the description is precisely what I think of when I consider the Atlantis factor. It's about ethics, on the one hand, and becoming the products of our technology, on the other. [Note, I used this quote a couple of years ago in The Atlantis Factor.]

"As I have said, this isn't the first time your civilization has been at this brink," God says. "I want to repeat this, because it is vital that you hear this. Once before on your planet, the technology you developed was far greater than your ability to use it responsibly. You are approaching the same point in human history again. It is vitally important that you understand this. Your present technology is threatening to outstrip your ability to use it wisely. Your society is on the verge of becoming a product of your technology rather than your technology being a product of your society. When a society becomes a product of its own technology, it destroys itself."

Kronos 4 Cancer 25'
Ceres 4 Capricorn 27
Pluto-Charon Rx 5 Capricorn 22
Nemesis 5 Cancer 37'
Pelion 7 Aries 12'
Arachne 7 Aries 32'
Sphinx 8 Cancer 19'
Atlantis 8 Cancer 24'
Industria 8 Aries 37'
Karma 9 Capricorn 14'
Niobe 9 Cancer 34'
Now let's cast Atlantis into the chart. I found the position using the ephemeris at Serennu.com. I sorted so that it would arrange the planets in a 90-degree configuration: that is to say, it would find Atlantis, and anything nearby making a conjunction, square or opposition. These are the points most likely to be working together with Atlantis. Here is what the sort looks like. Note that the degrees of all of these minor planets are aligned with what I am calling the 2012 alignment -- the cardinal T-square -- that stretches from right about now through well past 2012. This alignment will be standing in the early cardinal signs like a some UXO submerged beneath the sea floor.

Atlantis appears in a conjunction: with the asteroid Sphinx. Both are in Cancer, a water sign. So we have the issue of technology connected with the asteroid Sphinx -- a kind of eternal mystery. Sphinx is something that we're unlikely to get to the bottom of, or that is so old the truth is lost. The Great Sphinx in Egypt is much older than we are being told -- there is water damage and there are repairs dating from the Old Kingdom, when the thing was supposedly brand new.

Arachne is making a very close square to this conjunction; that is about a story that's woven. Anything aspecting Arachne can be associated with a conspiracy or web of intrigue. For example, if you have Venus conjunct Arachne in your natal chart, your love affairs may all have plots like a spy thriller. So we have that feeling here. Arachne is in a conjunction with Industria, which stands in for all things of an industrial nature, and we are clearly in that territory. The third planet in the conjunction is Pelion, a centaur (named for a mountain) about aspiration and also about the land itself; the land is the scene of the industrial conspiracy. And Atlantis/Arachne/Pelion is opposed by the asteroid Karma. Do we need to know more?

There are a few other bits. The Ceres-Pluto conjunction is right there; as is asteroid Nemesis, whose name says enough for our purposes. Finally, we have Niobe. That's the story about being so proud of your creations that you forget everything else.

So, we have some hints of terrorism or sabotage in this chart. We have hints of a miserly approach to business, which is about greed and a profit motive. We have a good bit of hubris. And we have the karma of the industrialized world showing up, along with our agonizing failure to have the ethics and morality to handle our technology without destroying our planet. In 2006, BP moved about $265 billion worth of product, making a profit of about $22 billion. But I ask: what exactly makes the oil under the surface of the Earth private property? Why isn't it the property of the people of the planet? How did a profit motive get involved? These and other questions -- many others -- are the ones we need to be asking now.

Yours & truly,
Eric Francis

Catching Up To Good Sense
| Political Waves

Perhaps the Mercury retrograde has defined the last few weeks of frustration for me, although more likely that's the hook I hang my hat on because it's convenient. But blaming the Winged Messenger for systemic troubles would be like the lazy thinking that got us into this global emergency. As outlined here at Planet Waves, a potent brew of shifting planetary influence asks us to take responsibility for our actions, but we're lethargic. We're gripped with a sense of unease and confusion because what used to work efficiently has failed us, and as yet we're unable to pin down the cause or solution. Every snarl in circumstance or communication seems to produce new complications as fast as we try to untangle them. Nothing is simple and straightforward anymore. It feels as though humankind has gone fumble-fingered, trying to do brain surgery with a butter knife.

Planet Waves
The Gulf Of Mexico is experiencing the worst disaster since Katrina and the world's worst oil spill since the Exxon Valdez incident. Photo: Gather.com
An obvious illustration would be the man-made disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. With some 42,000 gallons of oil erupting daily from the wreckage of the Deepwater Horizon rig, local, state and national agencies have joined volunteers attempting to minimize the impact of the spill on the fragile coastlines of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida. California Governor Schwarzenegger has changed his mind about drilling off his coast now, seemingly aware for the first time of the potential hazard. As we're learning in the Gulf, the risk of drilling off the Pacific should have the approval of citizens in the entire region, including Canada and Mexico. Oil does not stay put. It crosses borders with the currents and tides.

Apparently missing the larger point, we focus primarily on how to stop a destruction of what we can see and utilize for our pleasure and profit. Those who are concerned about the ocean itself, for example, are out-shouted by those whose primary worry is for the loss of the seafood industry and drilling possibilities in Gulf waters. What about the ocean floor, that great undiscovered frontier about which we know so little? Capitalism to the rescue. It seems we are testing a new substance to break up the oil slick that threatens birds and sea creatures fouled by the surface oil. Essentially, this disaster has become a proving ground for a new mix of chemicals called 'dispersants' that keep the oil balls suspended in the water, to be consumed by bacteria that will eventually pass toxins up the food chain. The dispersants have not yet been approved for general use.

Planet Waves
Weekly Horoscope for Friday, May 7, 2010, #815 - BY ERIC FRANCIS

Aries (March 20-April 19)
Hold off on financial decisions till late next week, preferably after Mercury has stationed direct on Tuesday and the Taurus New Moon on Thursday. Those events represent information coming to the surface, and you will need that information to make wholesome decisions. One thing that's clear is that you're burning with creativity, ideas and determination; all those things are positives and certainly befitting your reputation as an Aries. What you need is data. The other thing you need is insight into yourself, and this too is available, thanks to Chiron's recent ingress to Pisces. The more you know about yourself, the more your values will shift toward what you're aspiring to rather than where you've been in the past. Think of entering unknown inner territory as your portal to the future. As such, it's the best way to liberate yourself from past entanglements.

Aries Birthday Audio by Eric Francis is available. Check this link for more information.
Taurus (April 19- May 20)
Two key events take place in your sign during the next seven days: Mercury retrograde ends, and a New Moon. One interesting thing about the forthcoming Mercury station direct is that it happens close to the degree where Chiron was discovered in your sign, not so long ago, in 1977. The suggestion here is that you're dealing with awareness of a tension point or long-term struggle; with something trying to get your attention; and most significantly, with a key that can unlock your potential. This key comes through a revelation of the mind first -- that being Mercury. Something you've been attempting to work through nearly forever is ready to give way. Though you may have all the information and ingredients you need, you're the one who gets to enact the future. You do this by letting go of the old belief and taking action based on the new one. It really is that simple; and the momentum is carrying you precisely in that direction.

Taurus Birthday Audio by Eric Francis is available. Check this link for more information.
Gemini (May 20- June 21)
So, is it possible to keep a secret from yourself? That would be called denial. If you feel under some kind of mental pressure, if something seems to be bugging you, if you're feeling restless and you don't know why -- you might investigate whether you're keeping something from yourself. That bit of information, be it a feeling, an opinion or a need, is doing everything to make itself known. But it has no life apart from you: you're the one trying to get your own attention. That would mean you already know and, to some degree, you've embodied the information. I suggest you review what a spouse or close partner told you a few days ago; they seem to actually have a clue, and you would be well advised to consider the wisdom of their opinion. Of course, you already know what is true, and you might want to investigate your reasons for imagining that it's not.

Cancer (June 21- July 22)
We spend a lot of time trying to create a public image, and for the most part it is time wasted. People will have the opinion of us that they have, and that opinion says as much (or more) about their own values than it does about anything else. If you want to project an image, here are some suggestions: do it by making decisions that are in accord with what you hold dear and true. Demonstrate that you can change your mind. Show that you're dedicated to being fair and negotiable about money -- and that includes fair and negotiable with yourself. For those who depend on their talents rather than their labor to make a living, you are in a position to create a better deal for yourself, and that will be based on how you feel about yourself. In fact, how you feel about yourself is the very thing that projects your public image the most vividly -- so feel good.

Leo (July 22- Aug. 23)
Make sure there's such a thing as good enough; make sure you take good opportunities when you see them. True, you can always hold out for something better, but then one pretty good choice can lead to another. You're not usually the type to sit on your hands, but I see a moment of hesitation. And, for sure, take that moment. Feel the cosmos move around you. Then as the next week progresses, notice how options and possibilities open up, and notice how they match your inner potential. That's the thing to feel out, to notice and to act on: a match between what is available and what you experience inwardly. In order to see that you may need to change your mind, adjust a goal, or allow these things to unfold; you may feel some resistance, but once you let go of that, your personal effort will be minimal.

Virgo (Aug. 23- Sep. 22)
Not enough is said about the power of belief. We all know that just because you believe something doesn't make it true; but what we don't quite acknowledge is that it makes it true for us, in terms of how we respond and what information we allow in. Lowbrow religion takes advantage of this property of human nature; healthy spirituality is based on noticing and ultimately choosing our beliefs. You tend to have fixed beliefs, and a fixed idea of what is possible. At times you really struggle with this, particularly when you find yourself trapped believing things that you know are not true. Yet it's frustrating to be caught in that zone of not being able to change what you believe. Right now you have some leverage to help you with this issue. You don't need to strain, but I do suggest you feel the tension and the discomfort vividly -- in part so you'll notice, palpably, when you change your mind and feel that much better.

Planet Waves

Libra (Sep. 22 - Oct. 23)
Why do we have relationships? Borrowing from The Eagles, some dance to remember, and some dance to forget. Some get together to change and grow; some get together to hunker down and stay stuck. As this season progresses, a theme develops, which is that your relationships, partnerships and encounters with the world are all about not just change, but revolution. You have new people to meet, and new places to meet them. They all have something to teach you. One skill you can master now is identifying the shared territory that makes a relationship real. Almost always, this is about what values you have in common with a person. You both might be musicians, painters or have a love of dancing, but it's the value that you put on those 'things' that establishes the connection point. You don't even need to search for that; all you need to do is look. It's either there or it's not.

Scorpio (Oct. 23- Nov. 22)
Notice if others define themselves based on what they are not. This is a defensive reaction to existence. Notice, as well, when people shift their orientation and begin to assert their presence based on who and what they are. The words you're listening for are specifically I am. While you're at it, practice those words yourself. Notice how you feel when you claim whatever it is that you are. You may be making this claim in the face of a relationship or partnership that seems to obscure your awareness or sense of presence in your own life. Remember, this is not the only option; if you keep saying I am, you may notice that someone (or more) close by responds Yes, you are. That's who you want to spend your time with; that's the kind of environmental support you need, as you prepare to become yourself on an unprecedented level.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22 - Dec. 22)
Focus on a money question that has persisted for a while. Get your facts together; gather all the information you can get. Don't be satisfied that you have enough. Then, begin the process of analyzing it. Get help from someone you trust who is not emotionally involved in the issue or puzzle. Keep working the data. It may take about a week, though if you persist and give it at least that long, you will learn not only what you need to know now; you will have enough information to plan your next phase of an enterprise. Pluto in Capricorn is here to remind you that you have vastly greater financial potential than you ever imagined, and it's here to remind you that money flows toward structure: so work with structure. Ceres in Capricorn is here to say that all wealth comes from the Earth. You may wonder how that applies to you, but if it applies to anyone, you're it.

Capricorn (Dec. 22- Jan. 20)
You are changing so fast it makes you queasy sometimes. It's true that you're accustomed to directing most of your energy inwardly; it may feel like that is the case now, and I would not be surprised if you counted this as a particularly frustrated moment of expressing yourself, your ideas, or your passion. If this is true, it's not a meaningless struggle, and by that I mean you are making progress toward a goal you may not understand, but which exists. Remember that expression is a translation process. Something moves from an inner idea or impulse, and seeks to find existence in the outer world in the nearest possible form appropriate to its purpose. At the moment you are experimenting with both the idea itself, and the best possible form with which to express it. Give this love and patience and you will see that in this instance, content and form are one and the same.

Aquarius (Jan. 20- Feb. 19)
If you have experienced delays or setbacks on matters of profession or reputation the past few weeks, get ready to let go of them. You are likely to decide that the delays worked for you, and that you learned more than you could have any other way. The crucial point at this stage of your growth is that you constantly draw the equations between power and ethics; between success and vision; between influence and purpose. To be driven by humanitarian causes, as you so clearly are, is to say that you are aware of your values, and that you honor them with every breath you take. I know that you've been inclined to scrutinize yourself in recent years, and that you have started looking closely again. You've reached the phase of ethics where you can trust yourself to make decisions, and then go back and review what you've done. At this moment, trust is the key component of ethics -- not the other way around.

Aquarius birthday audio is coming soon -- thanks for all the emails!

Pisces (Feb. 19- March 20)
Let's pretend you're a rock band. That sounds like fun. One moment you're playing in a small venue: focused on what you're doing, with peole you love. You and your bandmates have devoted themselves to countless hours of practice. You're connecting with one another, with the music and with the audience; humble as the room is, you're actually getting to be a musician. Then, a moment later (it seems) you're standing on the stage of a sports arena, playing the same music, with the same people, only a much larger audience. What is different? I mean, what is really different? Are you any better a musician? Do you perform better in a larger space, reaching more people, with all that energy? Are you nervous and more concerned about potentially messing up? Here's what I suggest: you treat them as exactly the same thing. They are, because they have the same purpose. They are, because you are the same person.

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

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