Whole Earth Review

by Eric Francis

Earthrise as seen from Apollo 8.

Dear Friends, Far and Near:

TODAY'S EDITION is long and pretty serious. But the main themes explored here seem to deserve some coverage, not just a dash of pop psychology: Mars retrograde, the Libra solar eclipse, and developments in the Presidential Inauguration chart. Research on some aspects goes back more than a year, and I've had a lot of help pulling this piece together. Yet no article like this ever feels complete or like it hits the mark exactly. I trust, at least, that we will have some ideas to consider and that we can keep the discussion going. Cause once again we've got some things to talk about, here beside the rising tide.

A lot is happening now, and the planets are moving briskly. We are in for a very strange few weeks -- weeks that may perhaps work out to be amongst the strangest and most progressive we've yet to witness. If you're reading this article and are in a trance state, get ready to wake up. We are clearly entering "rub two brain cells together" territory.

In actual fact, our society is out of balance and we all know it. And everything that is out of balance eventually finds its way back. This is never a convenient process, and often it is quite challenging. But it's also the very definition of adventure. While we are considering the upcoming astrology and the related worldly events, and while we're considering climate change, and while many are filling their tanks with $3 per gallon gas to drive to $6 per hour jobs, we might want to consider for a moment what this thing called capitalism has taken from us -- and how we might get it back.

Mainly, it is a system that is good to some people but leaves much of the world to "survive" on less than $2 per day.

Next, it has taken our future, and that of our children. We live in a world of convenience, and then every time we eat and breathe, we absorb the toxins created by industrial society. I have read in Rachel's Health & Environment that if the petrochemical industry were to actually process its toxic wastes correctly, that would consume all the profits of the industry. So it makes its profits by pouring its pollution into the environment; the oil business steals its rather substantial profits from the fragile Earth.

It would appear that, for reasons unrelated to not wanting to be poisoned this way, we are the generation that begins to make the change to something different. And that appears to be happening right about now.

One of the most egregious crimes is stealing community. I call this my Laundromat theory; it's a bit simplistic, but illustrates the point. Because in so many places in the industrialized world, everyone has their own washing machine, most people don't get to meet one another at the Laundromat. One washing machine can serve many people, who have many common interests. We don't each need one (or two or three); this is costly on the human and on the material levels. People keep buying new ones and throwing out the old ones even when they still work. And they don't get to meet their neighbors. There are many, many examples like this of what capitalism has taken from us, personally and collectively -- and it's all territory we can claim back.

I have my current favorite example of what else is possible if you can focus and create it, which kind of demonstrates how much of what else we live with is NOT necessary. Consider Craig's List. Craig's List supports a huge, free classified service that helps millions of people in some 150 cities around the world. There are no outside ads. How could it possibly work? The entire worldwide service is supported by the Web site selling under-market resume listings in just three cities. CL charges 1/12th the fee of Monster.com ($25 as compared to $395), their traffic is far higher, and then they convey the proceeds from the resume listings into a huge service that helps millions of people around the world for free. The Craig's List staff gets paid -- and those people know how to program.

There are many, many possibilities of how we can run the world this way -- if we want to, or if we need to. And as we go through the changes of this year and the next few years, we will have opportunities to do some really idealistic things that save resources, combine our ideas, and give us the opportunity to GET TOGETHER, cooperate and create something new that many of us have always dreamed of. Humans are not particularly good at living their dreams, but we are very good at adapting to our needs. So we can welcome necessity as a means of helping us get closer to our ideals and our visions, and at the same time gradually give up the things that hurt us, and hurt the planet.

The thing is this. We are accustomed to looking to leaders for leadership. We have very weird ideas about what leadership is (swagger around, look tough). But what happens when we realize they have none to offer, that they have gone mad long ago, stolen the treasury, and that we're on our own? We will have to get out of our parent-child relationships and relate to one another as ADULTS. We will have to learn how to take care of ourselves and one another for real. This is not as easy as it seems, because for the most part, we relate to authority like powerless, abused little children. So we've got a steep learning curve ahead, and a lot of that learning is on the personal emotional and psychological levels.

Astrology Overview

Okay, the astrology. As you read, please keep your choices in mind, and remember, astrology is a form of mythical fiction. I will do my best in each instance to present positive alternatives and constructive choices. If you have others, please send them my way.

We're becoming familiar with the basic moves, at least by name. On Oct. 1 (Saturday), Mars stations retrograde in Taurus. Then on Oct. 3, there is an eclipse of the Sun in Libra. The next day, Chiron stations direct in Capricorn -- its last station in Capricorn; next (a bit later in the year) comes Chiron in Aquarius straight through to mid-2010 -- but we are now unequivocally headed that way.

The Libra solar eclipse is followed by an eclipse of Mercury by the Moon (Wednesday the 4th), then a Mercury-Jupiter conjunction (Thursday the 5th), then by a partial eclipse of the Moon in Aries two weeks later (Oct. 17). All of this is both contributing to and happening in the midst of an astonishing degree of Aries Point astrology: astrology that says the personal is political and vice versa. In other words, the Aries Point says there is some way in which we are all in the story, not just watching it on TV.

By all indications, it will be impossible not to notice that something a little odd and a bit unique is unfolding, as the gasping, staggering dinosaur petroleum superstate government itself begins to act out the drama now unfolding in the planets. This large reptilian creature (vaguely resembling the 4,500 pound alligator recently plucked from the streets of New Orleans, but larger, not as cute and not nearly as intelligent), will take center stage and do the Watusi.

There will seem to be many political issues arising -- but the real issue is global finance. The issue is not merely the price of black gold, which is at the heart of everything. It has to do with the relationship between the United States and its creditors, from whom the US of A is borrowing at the current rate (from what I have read) of about $2 billion a day. This story is, in part, told in the January 20, 2005 inaugural chart, covered lower down in this article, because it's an 8th house chart -- the house of shared finance -- with Mars and Pluto in Sagittarius in the 8th.

As always, there appear to be two spheres of reality to consider: how this affects the world collectively, and how this affects us personally. Yet this division, which is entirely conceptual and based on something described in many spiritual traditions as "the separation," is what is now costing us the prosperity and indeed the life of our planet.

The splitting of interests between private and public is precisely what allows certain individuals to take advantage of both, preying on our fears and, in a great many places, on hunger or the fear of hunger.  This puts us right into "us and them" consciousness -- a condition that is easily exploited by others with an agenda we may not perceive because we're too busy getting into us and them.

With Mars retrograde in Taurus, this may be pushed to the point where it actually becomes obvious what's going on. And as a result, we may decide we don't want it; or at least a few more people will get a clue. Then, those who see another possibility get to make a new choice. They will, in effect, by the leaders in conscience. It really is about time we get on with seeing life as a win-win game.


Mars: Neo Retro Movement

Let's think in terms of the astrological imagery involved. Mars and Taurus are both astrological symbols associated with desire. Put Mars retrograde, turn that desire inward, and there can be a reticence, resistance and selfishness. But this is akin to a phase of growth, a phase of history, or a temporarily aggravated condition. But we do have to deal with it while it's happening, or rather, we can.

How often is Mars retrograde in Taurus? A few times per century. Follow along.

In all, Mars is retrograde approximately once every two years, for about 10 weeks. Overall, it is retrograde 9.44% of the time, not including shadow phases (phases where it is moving direct in the degrees where the immediate retrograde occurs; i.e., right before and right after the retrograde).

But Mars retrogrades are not evenly distributed through the signs. For example, during the past 2,005 years, Mars has stationed retrograde in Aquarius 47 times. It has stationed retrograde in Leo 112 times -- more than double than in its opposite sign. Fiery Mars has a definite affinity for fiery Leo, spending more time in that sign than any other.

Taurus retrogrades of Mars fall right around the middle of the statistical spread -- Mars has stationed retrograde in this sign just 70 times during the past two millennia .

We are not talking about something that happens particularly often. But here is an interesting fact. Searching the past 2,005 years, there is only one previous instance of Mars going retrograde and direct within 1 degree of this year's positions. It was in 1311. This was the year of the Council of Vienne, where the Papal support for the Knights Templar was withdrawn. The job of the Knights Templar was to defend territory against "hostile Muslim neighbors." It seems the Pope pulled out of his own Iraq war.

Boy, the more things change, the more they stay the same. Christians and Muslims have been killing each other since long before 1311?

This time around, Mars will be retrograde exclusively in Taurus from Oct. 1 or 2 (depending on your time zone) through Dec. 11. The shadow phase spans from August 12, 2005 through Feb. 5, 2006. The total duration of Mars in Taurus spans from July 28, 2005 through Feb. 18, 2006 -- this longest one is really the effective window of the retrograde, where historical developments are concerned, despite the actual retrograde and the shadow phase being much shorter.

Consider that Mars, which takes two Earth years to orbit the Sun, spends about six months in one sign (the sign where it's retrograde) and then the other 18 months in the other 11 signs. Its movement is a little like a slingshot. When Mars is retrograde, the slingshot is gaining momentum.

Mars, Commerce and Oil

There is no actual reason why desire needs to be experienced as mutually incompatible, indeed, as mutually exclusive. Sex is a great example. When two people want sex, they can give it to one another, and both come out ahead. This works as long as a) both desire it and b) neither becomes greedy or controlling, i.e., everyone has an honest agenda. Then the game changes. Unfortunately, this happens fairly often; separate interests take over.

In a similar way, the very basis of community, and of commerce, is that we all have mutual needs. We all have to eat, and our entire society, to the extent that it works, is based on cooperation. But some people have more energy than others (in many forms); some have greater advantages; some are shrewder, and use that to an advantage beyond meeting their actual needs, or those of the people around them. As Karl Marx (the distant cousin of Groucho) pointed out a while ago, when everything turns into a commodity, things get weird.

It is precisely this issue of commodities and resources that we need to monitor closely during (and particularly after) the Mars retrograde phase. Taurus is about the wealth that comes from the Earth. Mars retrograde is, in the lowest level, about hoarding it, or the results of doing so.

Scanning through the past three centuries of history [summarized in a related article by Arwynne O'Neill], there are two recent historical facts that stand out of the Mars retrograde in the Taurus files. Both involve oil, which is a global commodity that affects everyone from Brighton to Beijing. I have mentioned both before, but they are worth repeating.

On December 23, 1973, immediately following a Mars retrograde in Taurus, OPEC doubled the price of crude oil, leading into the "energy crisis" of the mid-70s. We are now seeing another doubling of oil prices, though because of the new global, noncentralized and highly franchised nature of politics, the increase is anonymous and cannot be blamed on any one entity. Hurricanes with names are being blamed, but an oil industry newsletter published in August was already predicting the highest prices in history for this autumn before Katrina was a twinkle in the eye of Typhon.

Next example, a good one: immediately after the (very next) Mars retrograde in Taurus, occurring in 1990-1991, and in the midst of a solar eclipse (in Capricorn), President George H.W. Bush, smelling the astrology like an ork sniffs for elves, began the bombing of Iraq, a war that had a lot to do with oil in particular and energy geopolitics in general. In fact, the so-called Gulf War was known at the time as the War for Oil. When I researched the three weeks leading to the invasion of Kuwait by Iraq some years ago, all the relevant articles in The New York Times appeared in the business section, and involved the price of oil.

This transit is also historically associated with what you might call "fire in the Earth" movements (a fitting image of Mars in Taurus), including powerful storms, volcanic activity and earthquakes. Combine this with the levee-break effect of Saturn in Leo, and we are riding the crest of a lot of energetic movement -- depending on how much gas you need to live. But at this point in history, we can chalk these things up to a kind of cosmic, ecological alarm clock.

At the end of the day, what is happening with oil politics will compel us to conserve resources instead of using them as fast as possible at the highest price possible, to use alternative forms of energy, and to live more simply.

Pass the Bread Please

But here is a big issue that I have not heard mentioned in the news, and I have been listening carefully. That is the association between food and petroleum. Food is a very Taurus issue. The very image of Taurus is a cow, which is related to dairy, meat and agriculture. It is the domestication of nature; which is the basis of society.

The modern image should be a barrel of oil. We eat petroleum, because it's used in pesticides, as fertilizer, and to provide fuel for the entire agricultural business. We pump a lot of oil into the ground to get the food out of the ground. Then the food is wrapped in oil (plastic), shipped thousands of mile with oil (by truck) and cooked with oil (not Wesson -- I mean the electricity used by the stove). Nobody knows quite how much oil is left in the ground, but by most indications (Planet Waves research project ongoing), it is less than we are being told. Oil shortages will mean food shortages -- unless we do something rather fast and clever to unlink the two issues.

Something clever like what? Conservation?

Hmmmm. That would be clever.

Or lots of organic farming, maybe? Exactly. Less meat for the carnivores? This would have a great effect, we could feed the rest of the world if we ate a little less meat here in the Western hemisphere, and it seems like there will be little choice, given that most of the world's grain is fed to cows who, in an extremely inefficient process of programmed waste, shrink tons of the stuff into a few hamburgers. Cows are supposed to eat grass, anyway, which is a renewable resource and does not need petroleum fertilizers to grow.

On the more individual level, there is plenty to consider. Because Mars stays in one sign for so long, this places great emphasis on whatever house Taurus is placed in your chart. This is a time to do inner work (the retrograde being associated with inner), to investigate the past (retrogrades point to the past) and perhaps to experiment acting in ways opposite you normally would (as the direction of movement is reversed).

But all these retrograde-type effects aside, this is the time to direct your emphasis, energy and awareness to that house where the Mars retrograde occurs. Look at your chart, and the aspects Mars makes, for more information.

Libra Eclipse: The Professor Peers Over his Glasses, Again

On Monday, timed closely with the station retrograde of Mars, is an annular solar eclipse in Libra. An annular is an eclipse that would be a total eclipse, because the alignment is precise -- but the Moon is too far from the Earth, making it appear a little smaller and allowing more of the Sun's light into the picture. There is a ring of fire all around the Sun during an annular eclipse.

Melanie Reinhart calls an annular an "almost eclipse." I would say it's an eclipse where The Light Shines Through. There is a sense of drama, of awareness, and more than anything, of contrast. These are also the eclipses of the future. As the Moon orbits the Earth, it gradually spins further away from the Earth, and thus gets smaller. As a result, as the millennia unfold, we will have fewer total eclipses and more annular ones. Eventually, there will be no eclipses at all. So, we are now in the Age of Eclipses -- they are a phenomenon of our current era in astronomical history.

The Sabian symbol (degree by degree image, according to Dane Rudhyar) of Monday morning's eclipse in Libra [10+ Libra] is, "A professor peering over his glasses." The mind of intelligence and experience is watching. There is a kind of cosmic authority figure invoked; somebody who knows, and who is paying attention. The professor, a teacher , is peering . He is looking at something so obvious he doesn't need his glasses to see it; he's not reading the fine print.

Eclipses are always interesting. If nothing else in astrology gets your attention, an eclipse will. The pace of personal change picks up, and the news always starts rolling like thunder. [More about handling eclipses personally in this week's Astrology Secrets Revealed on Cainer.com.]

But Monday's eclipse does something strange, harkening back to a dark period and unresolved injustice in American history in the fall of 1986. That is, on Oct. 3, 1986, exactly 19 years ago, there was a kind of identical twin of Monday's eclipse. It was exact to within three arc minutes of the one we're about to have.

A lot happened in 1986; for example there was the explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in the Ukraine, which was a frightening, worldwide awakening. Indeed, it may have been the very awakening to the fact that we all live on one planet, as radiation from Chernobyl reached every continent.

Some will recall that the autumn of 1986 arrived with the Iran-Contra scandal, wherein the current U.S. president's father, George H.W. Bush, was involved as the sitting vice president and de facto president (Reagan, by this point, was in bad shape from Alzheimer's disease, and Bush was the real g-man anyway). The crimes of the first Bush administration came out, specifically, war crimes (the White House doing arms dealing behind the backs of congress, diverting the profits to an illegal CIA army in Nicaragua).

There were criminal indictments and convictions of important men in the Bush-Reagan administration. There were many resignations. There was Ollie North, giving us "the good, the bad, and the ugly." There were the famous undies he bought for his sexytary Fawn Hall (where is Fawn Hall these days?). Some of these big bug guys were sentenced to prison. Something called the "shadow government" was revealed for all to see, in Congressional hearings on national TV.

But what most people don't know, and what history has not exactly acknowledged, is that the Iran-Contra scandal was -- in its earliest incarnation -- the means by which the Bush-Reagan ticket used the Iranian hostages to steal the 1980 election from Jimmy Carter.

The "Iran" part of Iran-Contra was the Bush administration, seven years later, paying back the Iranians for holding the American hostages through the election (thus stealing Carter's chances of victory), payback made with the sale of weapons for Iran's war against Iraq. Iraq, at this point, was the official ally of the United States; Iran was the official enemy; the Bushies were dealing with the enemy (once again).

Monday's solar eclipse is located at 10 degrees of Libra and 18 arc minutes. The Oct. 3, 1986 eclipse was at 10 degrees of Libra and 15 arc minutes. This is an impressive, direct, even impossibly close alignment of three arc minutes -- and it is big news. How big? Well, how big would you like it? Let's add a detail. In the 1986 version of this eclipse, Mercury was in the last degree of Libra -- its exact location on Stolen Election Night 2000. So there is a little echo of that event to consider this week. I am not trying to compete with FromTheWilderness.com for the most elaborate conspiracy theory ever -- I'm just reading the charts, man.

The current position of Chiron in late Capricorn, which stations direct on Oct. 1, is making an exact conjunction to the position of Mars in the Oct. 3, 1986 chart. That Mars, in turn, is conjunct the Chiron position in the Bush 2005 inaugural chart. So several charts align with precision: the Monday's eclipse, the 2005 inauguration, the stolen election, and the 1986 eclipse.

The Progressed Inauguration Chart

These facts alone might not be enough to predict a shakeup in the Bush administration, or perhaps something larger still. But when you add details from astrology of the inauguration, you get a much more detailed picture, and certain key timing factors come out. I began this discussion in Chronogram magazine more than a year ago, where I described "the Inauguration chart from hell."

In brief, if you begin with the chart for the Inauguration and use something called "secondary progressions" to advance the chart in time, Oct. 30, 2005 turns up as a key turning point. So this makes a window of activity between Oct. 3 and Oct. 30, but October is itself a kind of beginning of a phase that goes through the end of the year and beyond.

Essentially, we are looking at the possibility of a confrontation over resources, banking, big business and the credit that supports the economy. The theme is international finance. I say this because the planets from the inauguration involved are Mars and Pluto in Sagittarius in the 8th house. Mars and Pluto look angry in that chart. But they are not your average enemies or assassins. They are international financiers .

The Inauguration chart's progressed Moon in Gemini makes an exact opposition to the Inauguration's natal Mars on Oct. 30, and then continues on to oppose Pluto almost immediately thereafter, a little more than a month later.

The stage is set for a high-suspense global drama centered in the White House. While the antagonists are international, not domestic (Chinese? Arabs? Anonymous?), there will be some unusual splits appearing on the domestic scene, and the public -- represented by the Moon -- will feel what is happening. The public will wake up, and new divisions will appear (Gemini Moon = public in two big camps, more polarized than ever). Meantime, my sense is this thing we now think of as "the Republicans" will soon be two or three different distinct entities, and they will be divided over fiscal policy. There will be a great deal of other political stuff flying around. And it will be interesting -- but it's not the real issue. The real issue is global finance and how it affects us as individuals. This may or may not make the news. The official line is that the economy is "resilient" and there is lots of crude oil.

In several prior articles, I've described this as the phase of time wherein the press gets wise to what is happening, and what has been happening, in the administration. I'm going to stick to that perspective. The media itself goes through a rather late in life transformation (that progressed Gemini Moon meets Mars/Pluto in Sagittarius), or rather continues to transform, where its purpose is redirected, focused and -- most notably -- where journalists perceive the ways in which they have been lied to and taken advantage of. There is nothing more ornery than a journalist who figures out he or she has been lied to be people they once trusted.

It's important to remember with eclipses, there is always an element of surprise, and we have to watch for it. But the real thing to look for is the element of justice. That is the quality to hold out for. That is what to demand, to work for, and to devote yourself to. ++

-- Astrological data analysis in Solar Fire 5, and historical research, by Tracy Delaney. Historical analysis of Mars retrograde by Arwynne O'Neill. Oil research by Sara Thornton. Please look for related stories by Arwynne on the history of Mars retrograde.

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