Pass the 7-Up (or Why We Need Real Sex Education)

TWENTY-FIVE years ago, when I was a high school senior, I was sitting in my room and my mother walked in with a newspaper clipping from The New York Times about a new disease called GRID. This was, I read in our family’s newspaper of record, a disease that was impacting gay men. A few weeks later, she came in with a second article on the same subject. It was a while before the name was changed to AIDS, or that any heterosexuals figured out they might have a stake in the issue.

Eric Francis

My mother, Camille, was the source of most of my sex education, at least the face-to-face part, covering the technical issues. This had started some years earlier.

Her theory was it was easier to talk about sex to little kids than to teenagers, so the discussions must have started when I was about 10 and when my brother was about 7. She was at the time an ESL teacher — English as a second language — teaching English to people from Haiti and Puerto Rico. At the time, during the supposedly wild and irresponsible 1970s, educational programs funded by New York City included basic information about birth control and prevention of sexually transmitted diseases.

When she told me the stories of grown women in her class (i.e., even older than her) thinking a 7-Up douche after sex could prevent pregnancy (apparently a rumor in the times before Snopes), I got it on the spot that you just had to teach this stuff. My brother and I got a kick out of the story, too. We had 7-Up in the refrigerator. It now had an erotic connotation.

One night after dinner, she dumped the contents of an envelope onto the kitchen table, revealing all kinds of little gadgets: diaphragms and various IUDs, condoms and tubes full of spermicide and little pamphlets. After that night, I was probably the only kid except my brother for 75 miles around who could tell you the difference between a Copper 7 and a Lippes Loop. (Both are intra-uterine devices. The Copper 7 was later the subject of a serious medical scandal and subsequent lawsuit, because it sterilized a lot of women.)

To her credit, there was no moral message whatsoever: she assumed that her sons would be sexually active, and the obvious choice for her as a parent was to make sure we began that journey from the standpoint of awareness and not ignorance, making choices about family planning instead of playing in the casino of life. She did not want any unplanned grandchildren, either.

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As Time Goes By

By Len Wallick

“Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine.”
- Humphrey Bogart – from the motion picture ‘Casablanca’

Yesterday’s blog set the theme. The daily, ephemeral aspects and transits are informing us as we proceed through the co-incidence of two continuous, long-term astrological phenomena.

One of the continuums is the current eclipse cycle. Eclipses tend to take place in pairs. One at the Full Moon, called a lunar eclipse, so called because Earth is in between, blocking the light of the Sun, turning the bright silver orb a dusky red. The other half of the pair takes place at the New Moon. It is the solar eclipse. This time Luna is the pickle in the middle. It will more or less block the Sun from our view. There are about two weeks in between. It can be said to be a space and time out of space-time. Events go in one side and come out in a very different form in a very different place on the other. Hence it can be said to be a continuum.

The other continuous phenomena is the years-long cardinal t-square. A dance of Pluto, Saturn, Uranus and Jupiter crossing back and forth over the first degrees of the cardinal signs Capricorn, Libra and Aries, respectively.

The intersection of the two continuums was quite literal last weekend when the opposition of the Sun and Moon superimposed on the t-square, transforming it into a grand cardinal cross. Although the Moon has moved on, the Sun’s current placement means the grand cardinal cross is still functional even as you read this.

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Astrology Today: The Oracle for Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Today’s Oracle takes us back to the Scorpio monthly of January 9, 2007

The Oracle.

In my ideal cosmos of astrology, no Scorpio would ever have to work for money. You would, instead, be the master of manifestation; the people in the world who teach us all that there is infinite abundance, and that all we need to do is ask with our hearts and we shall receive, as we need. I trust you have this gift, and that you know you have it perfectly well. But Scorpio is the sign of commerce and trade, and of all forms of business arrangements that involve using the resources of others. You are, in a sense, bound into relationships that must, by their nature, become enterprises, and through these, everyone thrives. This is why integrity is so important to you; it represents the many threads that hold together these journeys of coexistence and survival. We so often forget that trade and commerce, for all their injustices, are what on many levels hold the world together and encourage people to act on their common sense. What if you could combine these two extraordinary properties, that is, your ability to divinely manifest, and your extraordinary gift for mustering up cooperation and a sense of community? I would say that if any year was the year, this is it. Set the example, Scorpio. Show us how it’s done.

(The Daily Oracle is a random selection from one of 10,000 Eric Francis horoscopes. New horoscopes by Eric are published weekly plus twice a month in Planet Waves Astrology News and Planet Waves Light. The Oracle itself is a divination tool available to subscribers to either of these services.)

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‘A sense of coming home’

Editor’s Note: We’ve been asking our clients for feedback about the professional services we publish, and your responses have created the opportunity for an exciting dialog.

Hi Eric –
I found you on Jonathon Cainer’s site years ago, I don’t remember how long ago, whenever you were first a guest I suspect. I felt immediately a sense of coming home with you and your team.

Your writing and your caring attention, kindness and presence which is so strong in each of your thoughts and words brings me to another place where I feel a sense of “I am alright just the way I am.” I have a few friends who allow me that; I think to find it online is awesome… thank you!

For me, I feel as if I am a member of your family, growing up and learning along side you all. No matter what the time of day it is, if I need a little boost or a word of wisdom I can always find it in your pages, whether it’s the Friday editions or the daily astrology, and for that you have my heartfelt thanks and gratitude. That’s of course in addition to the amazingly accurate horoscopes and all the other wonderful writing you do.

So there! That’s what I think :)

lovelovelove,
Lucinda from Burlington

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Eric Francis, Tuesday evening in New York City

Cousins & Fellow Travelers,

I will be speaking in New York City on Tuesday night, on the topic of relationships: specifically, about the similarities between monogamy and polyamory. The talk is sponsored by Open Love New York. The talk is based on my recent article, The One and the Many.

It’s from 7 pm to 9 pm on Tuesday, June 29. The location is Roy Arias Studios, Times Square Arts Center Building, 300 West 43rd Street at 8th Ave, room 500 A on the 5th floor.

Take any subway to Times Square or Port Authority.

Admission is $10 at the door or $8 for Open Love NY members with member bracelet.

Note, this is going to be a personal kind of event in a small venue. If you’ve wanted to meet me for a while, this is a good chance, and there will be some social time afterward. So to all my soon-to-be friends in Brooklyn (or Manhattan), see you there.

– Eric Francis

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One Day in the Internet Age

Friends, Cousins, Readers:

This morning, an email appeared on my desk saying that Planet Waves got an honorable mention as one of the best astrology websites on the Internet. This is the third time in a month or so that we’ve made one of these lists. I would not be here alone — I have the whole Planet Waves staff to thank for their unique contributions.

The source of the review is Free Horoscopes Astrology (dot-com), apparently our top hit-referrer. We keep getting listed as one of the best astrology sites out there, but this one was truly interesting: we were given an ‘honorable mention’ because we don’t offer free horoscopes. Now, since the reviewing site is called “Free Horoscopes Astrology,” this is a little like the time that I read a poem at a slam in Germany and got a kind of honorable mention because I was speaking English. But this is better.

The reviewers are saying that of all the top astrology sites on the Internet, we’re the only one that requires a subscription fee for the horoscopes — and people even pay it. All the ‘better’ sites give away their work and people pony up a few dollars for ours. In a capitalist system, according to my sense of irony, that says we are the honorary #1 site. Not that I’m competitive or anything.

We are doing this on an Internet where people still expect things to be free. Most don’t pause to wonder how they’re supposed to get there.

About eight years ago, when the Net was still pretty young, I realized that people valued my horoscopes and if I wanted to be in business, I needed to add a subscription fee. I did — and a big pile of bills on my desk disappeared that week. And I was able to hire Chelsea about a month later, and start growing my business as a business. As an astrologer who counsels a lot of artists, actors, recording artists and healers, this the biggest issue out there: how to be a business. That’s what we are: a cool one, a friendly one, but a business indeed. This ain’t my hobby and you get what you pay for. This, we guarantee.

Now for that review –
Eric Francis
Planet Waves Founder & Editor

PS, when they listed the ‘eclectic interests’ of Planet Waves, they forgot to mention everything that I’ve had to say about sex and relationships over the years.

Honorable Mention – Planet Waves by Eric Francis

We find ourselves scratching our head as to how one of the top three astrologers in the world and a terrific website like Planet Waves by Eric Francis didn’t make our top ten best astrology website list. He is after all, one of our very favorite astrologers on the web. Try as we could, though, in spite of the outstanding quality of Eric’s writing and his commitment to bettering the world, we simply couldn’t place him based upon the scarcity of free horoscopes available on his website. We realize that Eric’s writing is both prolific and important. His interests are eclectic, spanning world news and photography, art and philosophy as well as astrology, and we are deeply aware of the contribution that Planet Waves makes. The articles and photographs are so good and the monthly horoscope forecasts are both outstanding and free. Had there been a free weekly reading, we would certainly have placed Planet Waves in our top 10 astrology sites on the web. We just couldn’t do that because others are providing so much high quality free astrology on a daily or weekly basis and the focus of our site is on free horoscopes and astrology forecasts. Still, Eric Francis deserves honorable mention as one of the best astrologers we’ve ever seen. He is truly a renaissance man and Planet Waves by Eric Francis is one of the best sites on the internet, period.

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From Here to Posterity

By Len Wallick

This last weekend featured what can fairly be described thus far as the aspect of the century: a partial lunar eclipse that was temporally current and spatially aligned with a grand cardinal cross. Hopefully you found some sort of reward in the time. If you are reading this you can at least say you survived to tell the tale.

After such a weekend it may be well advised to step back and look at the big astrological picture of where we are and what’s coming up. Contrary to what one might expect, there is no let-down. The ramping up continues in the form of what might be called two intersecting continuums. The shorter-lived aspects of today and this week inform the process.

We are now in the two-week period between this last weekend’s partial lunar eclipse and the total solar eclipse on July 11 in the sign of Cancer. We are also in the multi-year period of the cardinal t -square. Those are the two continuums and they compliment each other.

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Astrology Today: The Oracle for Monday, June 28, 2010

Today’s Oracle takes us back to the Aries weekly of Dec. 1, 2006

The Oracle.

There is a practical side to everything, including personal growth. You have been learning so much lately, but this week’s Full Moon says that the time has come to apply what you have learned. This is the time to think globally and act locally. Surely you can think of one action you can take to improve the world outside your front door. Family Focus: A long journey seems to be in the stars.

(The Daily Oracle is a random selection from one of 10,000 Eric Francis horoscopes. New horoscopes by Eric are published weekly plus twice a month in Planet Waves Astrology News and Planet Waves Light. The Oracle itself is a divination tool available to subscribers to either of these services.)

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Fire, Air, Water… and Grounding

May 6, 2010, the old Jordan Meats building burns at the corner of Middle and India Streets, Portland, Maine. Photo by Amanda.

I was sitting at home at my desk the day of this photo, working online for Planet Waves. Or, rather, I was trying to work and not succeeding very well. I had just gotten off the phone with my aunt who was dying. She was going through her final stages of cancer, close to the time my father was doing the same one year ago. I had visited her in February; this phone call on a sunny day in May was our goodbye, and we both knew it. I had made a point to tell her that I loved her and would miss her; she said the same to me.

I got off the phone and found myself a bit lost at sea, emotionally. I stared at the computer screen wondering how to focus enough to get even a little work done, but I realized this sea was more of a swamp: a bit murky in its vagueness; not quite the sharp point of loss, but rather its soft, current-less anticipation; one foot sinking deeper in as I tried to pull out the other. It occurred to me I also wasn’t trying very hard and wasn’t terribly interested in doing so. I wanted to feel justified in just sitting there, feeling, without a thought to any “processing.”

Suddenly I noticed my computer telling me my internet connection was lost, which made no sense till I picked up on the lack of music from the radio and then the beeping of my landline: the power had gone out.

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The Eclipse Interzone

Yesterday we experienced a partial eclipse of the Moon in Capricorn. We’re now in a two week phase from Full Moon to the next eclipse at the New Moon that’s like an isolated bubble of time. These happen about every five-and-a-half months, usually with a cluster of two (or sometimes three) eclipses. The last time was in the midst of the holiday season, in the middle of what I described as the winter whirl [note, this link takes you to premium content].

This two week phase is a time when all of the properties of the eclipses are the easiest to work with: pattern setting, break in continuity from the past, and a sense of decisions having bigger influence than we’re accustomed to.

Yesterday’s eclipse occurred in the 7th house of the Thema Mundi [note, this link takes you to premium content]. The Thema Mundi is the ‘chart of the world’ used as a teaching tool by the Hellenistic Greeks, which is a key to the system of astrology. So an eclipse in Capricorn, being in the 7th house, is about relationships. To me this eclipse is about letting go of the ‘old version’ of ourselves that is caught in any relationship and preventing us from growing.

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You Are Invited to a Quiet Place To Reflect and Consider Your Life.

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