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In the Wings: Taurus Full Moon
Dear Planet Waves Reader:

Last week I described the rare alignment in Sagittarius, consisting of many kinds of planets. That was the one conjunct the Great Attractor with all the political themes. It's still happening. So far there have been a lot of quirky news stories this week, from Charles Rangle running wrangle to the one about getting X-ray photographed naked or groped by the TSA as a condition of flying [funny CNN video here].

Planet Waves
The interior of the Auditorium Building in Chicago built in 1887. The rectangular frame around the stage is the proscenium 'arch'. This weekend's Full Moon is waiting in the wings. Photo by J.W. Taylor, from the Library of Congress Historic American Buildings Survey via Wikiedia.
The Sun is about to join this grouping, though before that happens there is a Full Moon across the last degrees of Taurus and Scorpio on Sunday (the Taurus Full Moon). About 90 minutes later, the Moon ingresses Gemini and about 17 hours later the Sun enters Sagittarius. This sequence of events has the feeling of something coming out of the background. It's as if the Moon-Sun opposition happens in the wings off to the side of the stage, just out of sight -- then suddenly it becomes obvious what's going on. Solar-Lunar aspects (such as the New or Full Moon) have a way of precipitating what's going on in the rest of the sky, especially if they are nearby, and this definitely is.

Thursday, Venus stationed direct in Libra, adding to the feeling of an energy release of some kind -- and potentially keeping our focus on individual priorities, since Venus stationing direct (and what it represents) will have a way of taking center stage in our consciousness. During the retrograde here in the States, we went through, or were dragged through, the midterm election cycle, which was based on abuse of personal values. The wealth of our nation, what's left of it anyway, is being looted by people with five houses and 10 cars who used the United States as a tax shelter, and we're supposed to be worried about Mexicans.

You can only do this to people if they're angry and confused, and the American public would definitely qualify now. The people who are bent on believing lies are confused because they're having a hard time homing in on the truth, and it seems so much has been taken away. Many who are committed to truth are confused because most of them believe they're powerless to do anything. Lately I've been noticing the extent to which people will go to argue for their weaknesses, and if we do, sure enough that's what we get.

Let's take a look at the chart. Notice how the Sun and Moon (obvious glyphs, they actually look like what they represent) are way at the end of their signs; you can tell because they have the number 29 next to them. That's as high as it gets; there is no 30. So we have an event on the edge of Taurus and Scorpio. That last degree is sometimes called anaretic. That implies a life and death kind of struggle; it can be a struggle for transformation, growth or survival. Whatever it represents is described by a quality on the brink. And what both Taurus and Scorpio represent are values. Taurus is about personal values; Scorpio is about what we share in a common ground with others. There is an encounter described by the opposition, but it's more of a confrontation than a meeting, and it's like that confrontation is happening at the edge of a cliff.

The next thing to look at is what other planets make contact with the event. There are a good few planets in the setup with degree values in the high 20s -- and they are all part of the energy pattern. The first thing I notice is the Chiron-Neptune conjunction in late Aquarius.

Planet Waves
Chart for the Taurus Full Moon on Sunday, set for the location of the astrologer. This chart gives Neptune and Chiron in the Aquarius ascendant. The Sun is the yellow circle at the top of the chart; the Moon is the gray crescent below. They are in the very last degrees of their signs, suggesting a fast-changing turn of events. The Sun enters Sagittarius on Sunday and the Moon enters Gemini about 90 minutes after the exact full aspect.
The Moon-Sun opposition (that is, the Full Moon) makes a square to this long-standing aspect that is one of the defining features of our era. Chiron and Neptune are both slow movers and they don't get together very often. The last conjunction was in 1945, just as the troops were coming home from World War II. Prior to that was 1879-1880 (shortly after the Civil War) and before that, 1799 -- in the early days of the United States, when the ink was still wet on the Constitution.

This conjunction is in Aquarius. I've described this a number of times, but it's worth one more go since it's in the spotlight now, on this little chart and in actual reality.

I have long viewed Neptune in Aquarius as a decade of public delusion. Politics is often a game based on deception and manipulation, and this reached some soaring heights with the Monica Lewinsky scandal that led to a period of unmitigated greed and psychic chaos. Think of the events that followed -- the Nasdaq crash (the burst of the dot-com bubble), the mysterious election when Al Gore won, Bush took office and all that happened was a movie got made about it. Then there was Sept. 11 and not one but two Vietnams got started on pretenses you might believe if you drank a quart of cough syrup -- and for the most part everyone fell for it. On and on it went. During this phase, the Internet went from being a technological advance to a mass public dream -- well illustrated by Neptune in Aquarius.

Then Chiron showed up, and worked its way toward Neptune. This began a gradual focusing process. If you think of Neptune as a beam coming from a film projector, think of Chiron as the lens. If you think of Neptune as a fog, think of Chiron as a proper fog light that actually helps us see rather than throws glare back in our faces. We can think of Chiron and Neptune as a funnel, with Neptune as the wide end and Chiron as the narrow end. Neptune gathers the psychic data and Chiron focuses it. Better yet you can think of Neptune as the rain and Chiron as the whole funnel, which collects what would otherwise be lost.

Neptune may be the most challenging planet, mainly because we don't usually see its effects while they're happening. To do so, one really has to pay attention. It's such a part of our environment that it disappears until Chiron (or some other focusing influence) arrives and reveals the crisis -- and that's just what happened: i.e., what is currently being variously called the banking crisis, the economic crisis or the environmental crisis.

Planet Waves
Moral psychologist and University of Virginia professor Jonathan Haidt, giving a presentation for TED. You can watch the 19-minute video here. Haidt makes some excellent points -- but see if you can spot the logical flaw in his conclusion and the last few steps leading up to it.
Actually, I think Chiron is revealing that what we're in the midst of is really a crisis about what we believe and why. There is a crisis over what we perceive as truth, whether truth exists, and why people believe what they believe. This has become a field of study called moral psychology. Moral psychology asks why it is that people will vote against their own political and economic interests. It would ask why so many people eat disgusting, toxic foods. It would certainly ask why so many people in Germany pretended they 'couldn't smell' the crematoria churning out smoke a mile from their homes.

Moral psychology is a contact point between individual perceptions of the environment and sweeping public reactions. I'll offer four examples of research areas from leading thinkers in the field, adapted from the website of Jonathan Haidt, a psychology professor at the University of Virginia. These are from the description of a series of seminars that are available for listening at this link.
  • Harvard cognitive neuroscientist and philosopher Joshua D. Greene sees our biggest social problems -- war, terrorism, the destruction of the environment, etc. -- arising from our unwitting tendency to apply paleolithic moral thinking (also known as "common sense") to the complex problems of modern life. Our brains trick us into thinking that we have Moral Truth on our side when in fact we don't, and blind us to important truths that our brains were not designed to appreciate.

  • The failure of science to address questions of meaning, morality and values, notes neuroscientist Sam Harris, has become the primary justification for religious faith. In doubting our ability to address questions of meaning and morality through rational argument and scientific inquiry, we offer a mandate to religious dogmatism, superstition, and sectarian conflict. The greater the doubt, the greater the impetus to nurture divisive delusions.

  • Jonathan Haidt's research indicates that morality is a social construction which has evolved out of raw materials provided by five (or more) innate "psychological" foundations: Harm, Fairness, Ingroup, Authority and Purity. Highly educated liberals generally rely upon and endorse only the first two foundations, whereas people who are more conservative, more religious, or of lower social class usually rely upon and endorse all five foundations [see video linked with photo, above].

  • Disgust is the subject that's been keeping Cornell psychologist David Pizarro particularly busy, as it has been implicated by many as an emotion that plays a large role in many moral judgments. His lab results have shown that an increased tendency to experience disgust (as measured using the Disgust Sensitivity Scale, developed by Haidt and colleagues), is related to political orientation.
Interesting stuff, right? And it's a representation of the kind of search for clarity indicated by the Chiron-Neptune conjunction in Aquarius that this Full Moon highlights. In truth, this nascent thought process represents actual progress in thought and evolution. The moral psychologists are giving us some clarity about why people believe lies. We understand why people tell them -- conquerors predate Alexander, and Rupert Murdoch is just one of many.

The question that remains is: what do we do about it? What's the point of action? Let's leave that question open while you consider what you're doing about it in your own life.

Yours & truly,
Eric Francis
Judith Gayle's Political Waves will now appear Saturdays on Daily Astrology & Adventure -- the Planet Waves blog. She also has her own blog, called Political Waves.

Planet Waves
Weekly Horoscope for Friday, November 19, 2010, #840 - BY ERIC FRANCIS

Aries (March 20-April 19)
I recently got into a conversation with the proprietor of a local mystical bookstore; the topic was whether poo is 'spiritual'. I was making the case that everything has a role in the universe, and you cannot subtract something from the natural world and claim that it's ungodly. Cultured people tend to keep things in their appropriate places, but we need to be careful what we close our minds to. At the moment your astrological region of spiritual -- Sagittarius, your solar 9th house -- contains just about every ingredient known to humanity, from politics (Pallas) to murder (Ixion) to the language and the Internet (Mercury) to the zealous use of alcohol (Pholus) to sexual desire and ambition (Mars). This is not the time to 'not think about chocolate cake' when you're meditating. It's the time to look at the world and grant everything equal meaning, and notice how the many pieces of the cosmos fit together to reveal the mystery of existence.

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

Taurus (April 19- May 20)
You have more talent than you reveal, including to yourself. I'm going to guess (it's an educated guess) that you may feel that if you dare put some of that talent on display, you'll be revealed as someone who's faking it half the time, but I'm here to suggest that the opposite is true. All the people whose work and accomplishments you admire were folks who got up every day and set about doing what they do, learning at every step along the way. One of those steps was offering their talent or gift to the world. You have an abundance of natural ability that's likely to far exceed your current understanding of what you're capable of. On some level you seem to fear conflict arising if you express yourself, though that would not be the case if you set aside your competitive nature and took the one chance that sooner or later everyone who actually lives has to take -- being you.

Taurus Birthday Audio by Eric Francis is available. Check this link for more information.
Gemini (May 20- June 21)
Lately you're playing the role of the beloved Lt. Uhura of the Enterprise. Her job was to find the right frequency on which to speak to any aliens in the vicinity, to persist until meaningful contact was established, and to keep the conversation cool. Don't worry if you have to be compromising, diplomatic or flexible -- those are strengths and assets that will work to your advantage. The important thing is that you understand what others are saying, and that you then guide things into the next step of making sure you're understood. This would be especially true if someone seems aggressive or single-minded. Apparently you have something they need. In the kind of interpersonal politics with which you're currently involved, it's in bounds to trade favors, to use leverage and to turn a potentially contentious situation into something useful that works for everyone. Be creative; be fair; go for what you want.

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

Cancer (June 21- July 22)
This matter you're considering that is on the verge of public and private, is something you seem to want known, and you'll feel better when it's no longer private. You will reveal things to yourself by exposing them to others; the feedback from the outer world is an essential mirror of understanding that will propel you deeper into yourself. And deeper is the way you want to go: every factor involving your relationships or intimate contacts is pulling you in that direction like a colossal magnet. Whether these are seemingly work-related contacts or seemingly personal ones, always remember that you exist in the human dimension, and that its protocols are inherently hormonal. If you're concerned about breaking rules, keep your sense of humor. If you're concerned about being too obvious, wear red, and a hat with peacock feathers.

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

Leo (July 22- Aug. 23)
The Sun bursts into your fellow fire sign Sagittarius with a spectacular Full Moon over the weekend, and then commences what promises to be a wild adventure over the next four weeks. You've already had hints about just how daring you can be. The place to draw the line is not focusing on 'safety' but rather on creative passion. That is to say, strive for the kind of fun that is inherently about you, with that being its main quality of boldness. If you do, you'll tap directly into an energy source you always seem to lust after but less often make direct contact with. The adventure of the coming weeks blurs the lines between friends and lovers, work and play, for-serious and for-pleasure. You may freely drop all pretense of needing to impress anyone or seek approval; if there's a 'lesson' involved, that's the one. Your life is for you and the people you want to share it with.

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

Virgo (Aug. 23- Sep. 22)
In a theater, the distance between onstage and offstage is a few inches on either side of the wings, but that's the difference between being part of the scene or behind it. At the moment, you're trying to do both at once, and though you often prefer to work invisibly, you seem to be craving an opportunity to step into the lights. Any hesitation that may be stopping you is not exactly your own; it seems to be the property of prior generations. Your charts this year have been an extended study in going beyond the influences of the distant past and taking your rightful place at the center of your life. You have no need -- an emotional impulse, perhaps, but not a need -- to please or satisfy your father's image of you. That fictitious struggle is the one thing that stands between you and actual self-acceptance. Embrace yourself and be known for doing so. That is freedom.

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

Libra (Sep. 22 - Oct. 23)
At long last, Venus has stationed direct in your birth sign. This six-week journey has come with many questions, and instigated an inner search that has led you to one inevitable conclusion: this thing you're living is your life, or it's nothing at all. You have seen the influences that others can exert on you, and you've discovered that you're strong enough to discern your true self within so much competition by others to define who you are. You've grasped far closer to your center core than you may yet realize; you've gone deep enough into yourself to activate an authentic transformation rather than a change of appearance. You're working from sufficient strength that if you actually live out your values, in the form of experimenting with the choices that you actually want to make, you will rapidly gain strength, momentum and integrity.

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

Scorpio (Oct. 23- Nov. 22)
It's difficult to look at the chart for this weekend's Full Moon and not see some theme of self-esteem appear for any of the signs, though this is particularly true for Scorpio. You may think you're striving for 'spiritual'. You may think you're reaching for purity, for liberation from physical desire or freedom from emotional impulse. In my reading, what you actually want is to surrender to unconditional acceptance of who you are and what you want. If there is any negotiating to be done, it's going to be on your terms: which are useful because all you seek is level ground. You may be confronted by the fact that someone may not like your idea of what is true for you, despite not understanding it. I would just make one suggestion -- never negotiate for your freedom. You already have it, and negotiation only obscures that basic fact.

The Scorpio Audio Report is now done. This reading includes more than an hour of astrology and 20 minutes of tarot custom created for those with Scorpio Sun, Moon or rising. Priced at $14.95, it makes a useful and economical gift. Use this link for instant access.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22 - Dec. 22)
For weeks now, energy has been rapidly gathering in your sign, and it's not going away anytime soon. The Sun makes its entrance this weekend carried by the momentum of the Full Moon. I want to remind you that while events from this point forward may seem to move quickly and perhaps unexpectedly, you've been working with a longterm plan that has, so far, been effective at giving you what you want. If you're hesitating, please get over yourself. Keep your agenda focused and remember to go for the gems of your desires first. The one caveat described by the planets loud and clear is correct speech. You can do very nearly anything you want as long as you're polite. Sagittarius is usually perceived by we mortals as being needlessly brusque, so remember to speak from a gentle place -- and understate your case. You're plenty compelling without needing to persuade.

Capricorn (Dec. 22- Jan. 20)
Solve your problems before they become big problems. At the moment you have some profound insight into how to do not only that, but to move the pieces around the chessboard such that you're in a position of true advantage. If you've been hesitating on anything, it's this one point of playing the game to win, taking full authority or however you may want to describe it. This is an inner phenomenon, not anything you need to do in the outer world. You're at a point where you can align the thread and the needle and pull the thread through all of the many layers of yourself. They are unified by one thing, which is purpose. Authentic purpose exists on a level deeper than we tend to think of it; on a level deeper than (from what I hear) many people believe they can access -- but you can; you're right there.

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

Aquarius (Jan. 20- Feb. 19)
The next few weeks will have a distinct feature that blends ease of flow and various struggles to get to the next stage of your evolution. You can parlay one with the other; a bit of challenge keeps life interesting, and a bit of luck is always encouraging. Yet the adventure of these weeks is a relatively minor phase of what has, in truth, been an extremely long journey. This trek has taken you through yourself from a space where you may have actually verged on being clueless about what you wanted or who you were, to a place where you're now working with actual knowledge, experience and principles. The question as ever seems to be about taking action. I suggest you work backwards from a goal. Focus on what you want, and the steps to getting there will be obvious. Prepare for a surge forward around the time of your birthday, perhaps a bit sooner.

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

Pisces (Feb. 19- March 20)
The Sun crosses your career angle this weekend, where it will soon make contact with numerous other planets in that angle of your chart. This will have an activating effect, calling attention to you and what you do -- and to how well you do it. So I would ask, a little in advance: how do you feel about success? Do you consider it an adventure, or something barely worth the trouble? I suggest you make up your mind, because more than anything the planets are configured in such a way that you get what you aim for. That's to say: aim for something meaningful. There are likely to be many smaller opportunities buzzing around; there may be people who think you still have some dues to pay. Brush them off and keep your attitude positive. Right now, you're visible, and you're a magnet. Choose your opportunities. Define success your very own way.

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

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