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Kingston, NY, Friday, Feb. 12, 2010

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Ripple: Chiron, Neptune and the Aquarius New Moon

Dear Planet Waves Subscriber:

We are now in the deeps of the Chiron-Neptune conjunction, about to come spiraling out the other side. I trust that by now you're at least familiar with this event, if only from noticing how weird things are. The thing is, we're distracted by the fantasy world that surrounds all the strangeness: the Neptune overdrive. Is there any dimension of this aspect that doesn't involve a 3G connection? Can you sell any product, from chewing gum to a car, without promising access to a different dimension?

There's something distinctly nonphysical about Neptune in Aquarius. I am stopping short of saying spiritual -- it could go there but doesn't always. It's the morph of psychic and electronic that has become so enmeshed with our lives. Even if we've never used a WiFi connection, we're surrounded by them, and they affect us. In theory this aspect should also be arriving with plenty of awareness-raising experiences, on a fairly wide-scale level. Maybe the awareness is happening and we're just not aware of it. Neptune is involved after all, and those kinds of mental loops are possible. However after a while this amounts to texting while driving.

Neptune in Aquarius describes our plasma cloud, pocket-video wonderland of contradiction. It's a world in which something might be true, or it might not, and the difference is thought of as entertainment, mild frustration, or as playing a video game: that is, unless some reality sets in and one becomes the news.

Yet at the same time, there's something in this aspect about coming out of denial, becoming aware of our environment and in particular our mental environment. We live surrounded by all this stuff and all these images and we pretend it has no actual influence on our consciousness or social relationships. Chiron is pointing to the truth, though in the style of this energy it may be inconvenient or uncomfortable.

Think of Chiron as focusing light through the misty fog that has shrouded our world in delusion, illusion and denial since right around the faux impeachment of Bill Clinton. Not that the fog started there, but we reached that moment when all our own headlights were showing us was their own reflection. Then years later Chiron arrives with all of his, um, magic -- like the alarm clock on my cell phone that vibrates at 7:30 every morning, even after I turn the feature off. Yet for those waiting for 'everyone to wake up', remember that the planets impel, they don't compel, and when they do anything close to compel, it's usually through a crisis and not the rapture.

Chiron and Neptune get together next on the autumn equinox of 2094. Many people as yet unborn will be in their 70s and early 80s when this song comes around again on the guitar (in early Virgo, by the way, in case you're planning for it).

Plus, a Side Order of the Aquarius New Moon

Adding a touch of the spectacular, on Saturday we have the Aquarius New Moon occurring one degree from this conjunction. So begins the Chinese Year of the Tiger. We had tiger years in 1998, 1986, 1974, 1962, 1950, 1938, 1926 and 1914. The tiger is associated with prowess and awe, and there are said to be only 3,200 left on the planet, down from 100,000 a century ago. One writer has proposed that the mythology of the Chinese zodiac has contributed to what makes them so appealing to hunt.

Lunar events such as the New Moon tend to precipitate the energy of slower-moving patterns, and once again this lunation qualifies. The Sun and Moon are gathering for a sendoff to the conjunction. And as the Sun and Moon light up the inner sky with their mix of yang and yin energies, what do we see? With any luck, the incredible potential for choice, for movement, and in particular, to direct our awareness anywhere we want.

Yet looking around, it's clear that we're alive in a moment of extreme polarization, and for many, deep and even unspeakable personal fear. Looking at what we're up against at this time in history, I see a world society in crisis and many people struggling to adjust. Though many deny this fact, others are aware that our postindustrial, postmodern, post-rational civilization is approaching a critical turning point. This may be something in the physical environment, and it's clearly something in the psychic/psychological environment: in truth it's about where the two intersect, but we keep missing the point; we keep projecting it outside ourselves.

For a long time we called this Y2K, but that was too soon. The lights stayed on. Then we started calling it Sept. 11, but that didn't get us anywhere except Afghanistan and Iraq. (Notably, Sarah Palin has advised Obama to bomb Iran if he wants his approval rating to go up. She's not just beautiful; she's Christian.) Now we're calling it 2012, lacking any practical sense of what that might mean. So far this week, nobody has asked me if the world is going to end in two years; but I think they just forgot.

A Mental Confrontation

Looking at the vicious dysfunction in Washington [see Rachel Maddow video below], the further takeover of society by corporations whose lawyers sit on the U.S. Supreme Court, and an economy not being very economical, we have a clue what 2012 might be about. Instead of working to solve world problems, many of our supposed leaders are merely fighting for personal interest (i.e., for reelection, and various self-serving ideology campaigns), as well as striving to take away any meager benefit that an individual might get from being part of our society besides the privilege of shopping at Wal Mart. Heck, why bother doing anything for us? We're a captive audience.

Planet Waves
Associate Justice Clarence Thomas served as an attorney for Monsanto in the 1970s, at the peak of the company's atrocities involving dioxin and PCBs. Official Supreme Court photo.
Then we're up against ourselves: our own need to grow, seemingly against all these odds, and with not enough time; and our resistance, and our lack of skills to adapt to an environment changing so fast it would make an astronaut nauseous. We've been subjected to numerous shutdown campaigns and often many find themselves in states of anxiety and even panic. After being deskilled, numbed out and trained to say no to sex, work in cubicles and to eat plastic food, we wonder why it's hard to get in a good mood and wage revolution. And time keeps going faster. I propose at least half a day be inserted between Monday and Tuesday to help us stay on top of things.

Finally, we're coping with having limited relationship skills, including leadership skills, in a time when we need them dearly. Some say it's men, some say it's women, bisexuals know it's both. There are a lot of people for whom this whole communication thing, relationship as awareness and growth, focus on the purpose of existence, is as ordinary as a UFO landing in their backyard. The little critter comes out chirping and, well it must be meaningful.

Or it's like those Miller Lite commercials where the guy keeps choosing the beer over the gorgeous girl. Have you seen those? In one, he cannot say the word 'love' to her no matter how many times he tries, but straight away he can tell the hottie cocktail waitress he would love another beer.

What is frightening is how intractable all of this seems; how immutable human consciousness seems. Yet we all know that it's anything but immutable; that we really can, and do, make decisions, learn and influence one another.

Two or Three Degrees of Separation

Lately I've been dipping into a book called Connected, which tells the story of human networks -- that is, the ones that existed long before facebook, though including modern social tools. The authors describe the plasma-like way that influence spreads through our immediate society, out to about three degrees of separation. That is to say, my words influence you, your friends, and the friends of your friends -- and then beyond that point, my influence supposedly falls off.

Planet Waves
An example of the diagram of a social network. Energy and influence move through these networks with surprising dexterity, influencing everything from diet to health habits to mental state.
This is true of all of us, though some people serve as particularly influential nodal points.

The authors, Nicholas Christakis and James Fowler, illustrate the plasma-like environment of consciousness that serves as a vector not just for 'information' but also for becoming healthy or unwell, for one's body weight going up or down, whether one smokes or not, finding love, raising political awareness and just about any other experience we think of as self-directed and personal. In other words, not just germs are contagious; feelings and actions are as well.

Consider Neptune in Aquarius and you have a nice picture of this. Indeed, Neptune (the planet of dreams, fantasies, imagination and delusion), in Aquarius (the interwoven digital system and the waves of life/light/sound that travel there) says so much about the times we live in and how permeable and interconnected we all are.

One fairly obvious potential here is for individuals within a culture to influence many people around them, for example, to come out and vote, to see a social injustice for what it is, or to work for a better life. The authors assume that everyone influences about 20 direct connections: such as family members, coworkers and friends. Given that other works, such as Bowling Alone, suggest that most Americans don't really have too many friends, this may be a generous figure -- though deep intimacy may not be necessary for someone to act as a vector.

So let's assume the number of people we each influence is more like 10. This still suggests that, directly or through our social network, we each influence about 10,000 people. With the spread of online social networking, we may influence far more. This figure only includes actual social vectors among people familiar with one another, not nonphysical vectors that travel on the subtle planes of existence. We know that plenty of information, sensation and interaction travel through the dreamtime. Under the influence of Chiron-Neptune we can assume that energy and ideas are doing so with unusual potency right now -- but let's leave the current discussion mostly within a realm where documentation is possible.

The fact that you would choose to improve your life, to make a difficult decision or to wake up from a long spell of personal despair can and likely will have significant influence on the human environment that surrounds you. And by the same principle, the environment with which you surround yourself has a significant influence on the ease or difficulty of your improving your own existence.

Exponential Potential for Change

While these findings may not seem revolutionary, they point to a growing cultural understanding that people influence one another, and moreover, that we may do so on an exponential level. This provides some excellent motivation to live in such a way that you want to propagate in the world.

From a therapeutic standpoint, there is one potential problem I see: people choosing to change specifically because they might influence others. Yet the motivation may not matter, as long as the change and growth are sincere.

We are now experiencing the peak energy of Chiron conjunct Neptune. Chiron's primary role is to raise awareness, almost always with the intention of healing oneself. Often it is awareness alone that sets the energy of change and progress in motion. Reminded of this, we have some great motivation to pay attention, and take to heart such ideas as, "When I am healed, I am not healed alone," or, "Become the change you want to see."

Yours & truly,
Eric Francis
Updates daily at Planet Waves and Cosmic Confidential Diary.

Rachel Maddow on the myth of bipartisanship
Rachel Maddow on the myth of bipartisanship
Rachel Maddow on MSNBC Tuesday night. This is not a video pane, it's a screen shot. The link to start the video is in the blog post below.

I just turned on the TV and caught this impressive bit of the Rachel Maddow program. Among the things that count for something special happening for the first time under the Chiron-Neptune conjunction, or a slight expansion on that, seeing the light, here we have a great example. I understand the element of fraud in the alleged Democratic/Republican dichotomy (both 'sides' are sold out to the same banks and corporations), but at other times this split was at least minimally functional. At the moment, the nature of the game has changed. Rachel has mapped it out nicely in this piece from her Tuesday night broadcast, which is about 10 minutes long and may give you a case of ageda (tha's Sicilian for nervous stomach) -- as well it should.

I don't know Rachel personally, though she provided me with her chart data. One thing I can tell you from watching her is that this is someone who is not just a journalist; it is clear (to me) that she went or goes to therapy and takes the process seriously. You can actually see her growth process in motion, in the way she shapes her ideas and in her conception of maturity. Her birthday is April 1 and I will do her chart for you (and for her) closer to that date.

Slip-Slidin' Away
Model in a white gown is closed in upon by robotic spray guns which seem to maul her with black and yellow paint as she spins deliriously. This was created by Lee Alexander McQueen. Video is available here.

Lee Alexander McQueen, Innovative Fashion Designer, Dies at 40

Lee McQueen, one of the world's most innovative, creatively independent fashion designers, was found dead in his London home Thursday morning. British press is reporting that he committed suicide about one week after his mother's passing.

Planet Waves
McQueen was born under the Jupiter-Uranus conjunction of 1969 that created many iconic events. This chart is rated by Astrodatabank as "C" which means use caution when applying this information. The data is published but its original source is not known, and the datum is unverified. In my opinion it is an accurate image of the subject.
Like much else that happened in Lee's birth year of 1969 (Woodstock, the Moon landing, the Manson murders), McQueen was iconoclastic and yet became an icon. His designs were favorites of such stars as Sarah Jessica Parker, Lady GaGa, Rihanna, Bjork and Cheryl Cole. 

McQueen was a Pisces Sun, Moon and Mercury: deeply sensitive, intuitive, receptive, feminine and creative. His body was found hours before Venus ingressed Pisces.

Despite his sensitivity, other factors suggest not just the ability to tolerate controversy but a passion for it, even though it took its toll on him. An avid explorer of the dark side, if his life was an exploration of the edge, it was an inner edge that he subsequently expressed in his work.

The Times of London said in his obituary Thursday night: "His tastes were eclectic. He had an apparently effortless ability to move between the low culture of the 'bumster' trouser, via outrageous confections which envisaged women metamorphosing into reptiles, to essays in haute couture that pointed to his early apprenticeship in pattern cutting, and demonstrated that when he wanted to, Alexander McQueen could drape the female form with consummate art and grace."

Not surprisingly, his chart is focused on the Aries Point, indicating his astonishing level of influence in the world. Aries Point charts personalize collective issues and tend to broadcast individuals into the collective. His lunar nodes -- which have a similar property on their own -- are precisely aligned with the first degree of Aries/Libra. His south node is clustered with the Jupiter-Uranus conjunction, suggesting an incredible inheritance of talent from prior incarnations. Chiron is on his North Node, illustrating how he would inevitably use that talent in a highly individualistic way, letting nobody dictate his course.

Planet Waves
An official photo of Lee McQueen.
He was no doubt feeling the pressure of the approaching repeat of the Jupiter-Uranus conjunction in Aries, closely opposite his own, coming in early June. As well, transiting Pluto in Capricorn was pushing on all of those Aries/Libra points and planets.

McQueen was openly gay, something he is said to have known about himself from age six. He described coming out at a young age: "I was sure of myself and my sexuality and I've got nothing to hide. I went straight from my mother's womb onto the gay parade." This offers a clue to his emotional proximity to his mother, and a check of his progressed horoscope indicates that her death was indeed the influence that seems to have pushed him into deep enough despair to have lost contact with reality.

Numerous factors in his chart suggest an unusual sexuality. On first look one sees Pisces planets in the 5th house (risks, creative endeavors, sex play, pleasure and concealed karma), in true Pisces style suggesting an imagination as vividly erotic as it was artistic. Chiron in nearby Aries was continually pushing this into the realm of experience; in other words, fantasy was clearly not enough. He was obsessed by making his ideas real.

Planet Waves
Only a Pisces: one of McQueen's outrageous designs for women's shoes.
Yet his Venus-Saturn conjunction reveals a sense of being trapped in something -- perhaps a male body -- and his Nessus-Vertex conjunction in the 8th house illustrates a deep connection to the dark side, giving him a fated quality that he danced with constantly. This is someone who walked with one foot in the land of the living and one in the realm of the dead, and felt comfortable doing so.

My sense is that he viewed women as dark and unfathomable (Black Moon Lilith square the lunar nodes) and his life and fortunes seemed to hinge on this fact.

With this astrology, it would not be easy for him to maintain his stability under extreme stress, and my hunch is that when toxicology reports are available (if they are made available in England) we will, once again, see prescription drugs implicated. This is visible with his Pholus at 27+ Aquarius, right where the Moon, Sun, Chiron and Neptune will be meeting on Saturday.

As the years go by, McQueen and his ideas are likely to be elevated to the stature of high art, and he will continue to influence many generations of young designers: facts that may be of little comfort to his friends and family today, but which will no doubt be of great consolation in years to come.

Slip-Slidin' Away

Slip-Slidin' Away
By Judith Gayle | Political Waves

There's nothing so lovely as a blanket of fresh snow, especially here in the country where the landscape is naturally scarred and rutted. What seemed raw and bleak after Autumn removed the softening effect of foliage takes on a gentle, gleaming beauty as snowfall obscures all the sharp angles. When I spoke to my granddaughter this week and told her it was still snowing, she said, with little kid enthusiasm, "Lucky!" Well, yes, ok -- if you discount the heating bills, the harsh realities of cabin fever and the many navigational challenges.

Being a diminutive person, making my way through a snow drift to get the mail is a slow, cold business; I suspect a taller individual could easily step over what I'm obliged to plow through. As I worked my way out to the road yesterday, I noticed a track of exposed gravel left by a passing truck. It seemed easier going, but I no sooner put my foot on it, slick with invisible ice, than I found myself upended with a thud and a yelp. Oscar, my dear neighbor Fishing Jim's housemate and member of my extended dog-family, came running to take a deep bow in front of me, his tail wagging a plea for one of the biscuits I routinely carry in my pocket. I surrendered not one but two biscuits, got the mail and limped back to the house, carefully retracing my steps.

It seems as though life is like that, these days. We're wading through some very heavy stuff in a landscape we're neither accustomed to nor prepared for, but we're doing the best we can. When we think we've found an easier option, one with which we're more familiar, there's every chance it will turn us upside down with bruising results. And even as we attempt to right ourselves, there's someone or something standing right there, expecting us to jump up with a smile and get on with it. So we do, limping and shaken and wondering how much damage we've sustained, how much ache tomorrow will bring. From the economy to the government gridlock to cutbacks in crucial services and the rising cost of utilities and food, we're dealing with formidable challenges. From deluge and mudslides in the West to "Snowmageddon" events in the East, we're getting a Winter tutorial in navigating the unexpected. Perhaps we should begin to expect it, and give ourselves an edge.

Falling on my behind in the snow can be dealt with because my error was in trusting my eyes rather than what I knew of cold weather and ice. My resulting bruises can be avoided next time, based on what I learned from this experience. The national situation is similar but more harrowing, due to a national epidemic of irrationality that has entwined itself in our belief systems and conversations, and made a direct beeline into the halls of Congress. Various national leaders insist that we step out on that treacherous ice again and again, and they're prepared to keep us skidding and slipping until we're all so battered and confused that we go along with them, exhausted. We need to keep our wits about us.

Planet Waves
Weekly Horoscope for Friday, February 12, 2010, #804 - BY ERIC FRANCIS
Planet Waves en Italiano

Aries (March 20-April 19)
You may be seeking wider horizons in a relationship, or feeling the approach of spring. A little vibration is good for most partnerships, which tend to get set in their ways. Yet I suggest you note what is really changing: as far as I can tell, it's your perception of yourself as a partner. You can no longer play the 'role' that was for so long, so easy for you. This may involve the discovery that a role ignores the fact that you are a work in progress. You can be a certain way as long as you think you know who you are, but once you admit that you're on a quest, then begins the adventure. I would offer a clue, which is that you're closer in your experience to a close partner than you think -- but you won't know unless you speak up.

Taurus (April 19- May 20)
I suggest you consider what factor in your environment is compelling you to adjust. There are several to which you seem to be responding, and notably you're seeing the many ways these changes will benefit you. Yet it would be helpful if you understood your motives. It appears that you're experimenting with the potential that it's easier, more fun and more productive to go with the flow than it is to resist. This is a meaningful step, though something is influencing you to try on this way of life. Certain other possibilities seem to have reached their limits, though when it comes to a professional matter whose time has finally arrived, you will need to make sure you take an extra step to actively envision what you want rather than taking a ride on pre-existing circumstances.

Gemini (May 20- June 21)
You seem to be in one of those environments where everything is in harmony -- except for one thing. You have a decision to make, with the primary choices being: decide the factor is the one thing you can't tolerate; or decide that no matter what this one other person or factor may say or do, you're determined to create this situation as you want it to be. Here's a clue I can offer: Whoever or whatever is resisting is probably not directing this personally at you. He or she has other problems, and you're getting some of the overflow. If you assume it's personal, you'll take it personally and handle things one way; if you assume that people have their issues and are entitled to them, you will handle things rather differently. It's up to you.

Cancer (June 21- July 22)
While key elements of your life are suddenly coming together, you may think that this is not the time to push your luck or take advantage of the situation. I would say to the contrary: now is the moment to give everything a stretch -- your sense of what is possible, your vision for the future, your commitments, and moreover, your deepest desires. You're still on your way to finding out what those are, and the most significant thing you can do right now is to give yourself permission to have a better life -- no matter what may be happening in the world around you. You may be wondering how or why so much is changing all at once, and if so I would suggest the answer is simple: you are finally starting to pay attention to something that's been trying to get your attention for a long time.

Leo (July 22- Aug. 23)
One of your greatest assets is your independence. You seem to be getting the hang of one of the most valuable tools on Earth: relationships based on "you figure you out, I'll figure me out." Of course, everyone can compare notes at the end of the day, but till then it's easier if everyone stays out of one another's way. Here is the thing: behind the scenes, you're having a far greater effect on the people around you than you imagine. You're the one originating the example for how to live your life your way. I know there is that old joke about herding cats, but you seem to be causing a stampede of independent-thinking and autonomous decisions. The truth is, what's good for everyone is indeed good for everyone, so keep reminding the world of that cosmic miracle.

Virgo (Aug. 23- Sep. 22)
For a long time you've been obsessed, though with little clue about what. That must be really annoying. It remains to be seen whether you'll be any happier once you know what mysterious thing has held your attention by the scruff of the neck. You might say that you're finally getting a clear perception of someone or something that's been veiled in a blind spot. The thing about blind spots is that you cannot see into them until your perspective changes. That means noticing that what you've actually been responding to is your own fear. Fear of what? Of being known and visible -- which translates to the fear of existing in a tangible and undeniable way. Don't worry, it's not just you -- this is an epidemic. You happen to be in the fortunate position of resolving the issue constructively.

Planet Waves

Libra (Sep. 22 - Oct. 23)
Sex can be complicated, but all dogs need jobs. The job I suggest you give sex is the overall improvement of your wellbeing. Truth is, erotic experience can be thought of in many ways as money, food or thought itself. It's 100% open to interpretation and choice. Clearly, you're being driven by your erotic impulses at the moment, and they may seem daunting in several ways: one for being so impersonal. Another for how many people or scenarios they may involve. Yet you are a person, so by definition whatever you feel or need is personal. Ultimately, what you seek is contact, and what you need is contact, and what will improve your life is: connecting in a way that, by your own choice, you focus on emotional grounding and nourishing communication -- as kinky as you want.

Scorpio (Oct. 23- Nov. 22)
Being misunderstood offers you a form of power: you know the truth, and they don't. Therefore, you maintain control. Yet is this really the way of life that you seek, or want to create? And doesn't it play directly into the perception that you don't do anything without an agenda? Doesn't this validate the perception that causes you so much struggle? Currently, your life is mediated by what you give, not what you need. That is to say: you're being invited to set aside your many intricate and at times insatiable emotional needs and offer some love and comfort to those around you. Once you start doing this, you'll get a look at the extent to which you've done the opposite for a long time. Among the things that actually influence you, awareness of this will become one.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22 - Dec. 22)
This is the time to sweep together all the plans, thoughts and ideas you've scattered around, and see what they add up to. In sum, they add up to a new expression of yourself, or rather, the expression of a nascent sense of yourself that is becoming strong enough to take on a life of its own. Or rather, your own. Your life is not separate from you. While you don't cause the world, you do indeed cause your version of the world, and are ready to discover that you keep creating it every time you breathe, speak or take a step. As a child, you had exceedingly little power over your environment. As an adult, you have somewhere between 49% and 99% influence over your environment. How far do you want to go?

Capricorn (Dec. 22- Jan. 20)
There's no such thing as 'once and for all', but what you learn about money over the next few days will be applicable to every financial situation you face for the rest of your life. The cosmos seems determined to inform you just how resourceful you are. When money became the only medium of exchange, we were ripped off of something inherent about who we are, what we have and the work that we do. The true value of things is hidden by their price, not revealed. By value, I mean the actual worth to you and to the world. One clue to bear in mind is that the value of whatever you do is established only by the extent to which you and others benefit simultaneously. It's not a matter of you versus anyone; your wealth, influence and prosperity are a community venture.

Aquarius (Jan. 20- Feb. 19)
It would be difficult to overstate what a visionary moment this is for you, but I'm going to understate my interpretation so you're more likely to take it on board. We know how long it takes for a human to awaken to his or her vitality, present consciousness or simple truth. Astrologers, therapists, spiritual teachers and hospice workers see people waking up in late years or last moments of their lives, grateful for having done so. You're getting to wake up long before 'the end', but the shift you're moving through is indeed an ending. I suggest you not be so eager for a new beginning. Nature really does abhor a vacuum, so you don't have to be concerned: for now I suggest you let the past drain out of your system, and focus on holding yourself open in ways you actually believed were impossible.

Pisces (Feb. 19- March 20)
You've done such a good job at hiding your dreams from yourself. Yet why would you do that? Perhaps out of the fear of all kinds of vulnerability. If you act on your dreams, you become subject to resistance, resentment, judgment -- and success. This is double edged: first you would have to face the negativity of the undead. Next, you would have to take responsibility for what happens to you. Somehow these supposed threats have lost their influence over you, or they will the moment you reach past them. Notice that the power other people seemed to have was only given to them by you. Yet there is nothing to take back. You have what you need, which is the power to make choices based on what you want: which translates to the power to be who you are.

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