A Case of Denial

Dear Friend and Reader:

My original theme for the week was to explore how the economic ‘downturn’ will help people find their roots. Without so many distractions of success and money to chase and houses to flip, we have a chance to do what’s important to us; to scale back the pace of our lives and this obsessive overscheduled busy-ness and recreational spending, and apply our creative and financial resources to what matters.

Leonard, a school teacher and minister from a Scandinavian country, is seen here teaching a Holocaust class at Auschwitz II – Birkenau concentration camp in Poland, where more than a million European people are estimated to have died. In a very straightforward way, he is explaining to these students that they are in front of the ruins of gas chamber/crematorium 2, how the process worked and what the implications are. The structure was dynamited as the Nazi officers retreated in 1944. Photo by Eric Francis.

The current planetary setup reflects a moment of true revelation. The triple conjunction in Aquarius is about an emerging new social pattern as well as we as individuals figuring out how to redefine and expand our personal civilization, and figure out how to merge it with the larger dance of society. I’ve described earlier how I believe we are opening up a communal psychic field where we can meet and exchange energy, as well as ground ideas into visible reality and explore there as well.

Chiron conjunct Neptune is about coming out of both individual and collective denial, clearing the haze and acting on the potential we have now (Jupiter in Aquarius, too). This takes some money, but not as much as poured into the kinds of crap that have been obsessively, incessantly indulged in during the years of the housing bubble. I view the current reshuffling of society as an opportunity to do a lot with very little, and moreover to focus on what we actually need and want to be doing rather than mindlessly running on a cappuccino treadmill.

Then, someone showed up at the Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC on Wednesday and tried to shoot the whole day down. He was stopped by a security officer who did his job and gave his life, apparently preventing yet another episode of mass murder-suicide.

This is the third political shooting in the past few weeks, all of them surrounding Mercury stationing direct in Taurus and making a square to the Aquarius triple conjunction. The shootings involved the assassination of an abortion doctor; a shooting at a military recruitment station; and now a purported Holocaust denier opening fire at the Holocaust Museum. This is a pattern. Each of these killings, despite being sold to us as isolated incidents, reflects an agenda and a set of values. Each represents something much larger than itself.

In the dialog that preceded writing this article, I was hashing out with my fellow editors how to approach the news of the week. One of them, Savas Abadsidis, suggested that the pattern of shootings is reflective of deep unrest, malcontent, frustration and rage that is taking root in the midst of an economic crisis with so many other injustices being perpetuated at the same time: billions going to banks but people sick and starving; GM and Chrysler fleeing abroad; wars raging on in Iraq and Afghanistan; state after state passing constitutional amendments against gay and lesbian people getting married; and so on.

Photo by Eric Francis.

Meanwhile there are a lot of people angry that a black man is president, that gay and lesbian people have any rights at all and that women still have the right to chose whether they want to have an abortion or not.

“I think there’s a growing unrest and it dovetails with what you told me is happening in the fall,” Savas wrote.

Good observation. Savas is not an astrologer but he was recalling a conversation about the forthcoming Saturn-Pluto square that has its first exact pass on November 15, followed by two additional passes on Jan. 31 and Aug. 21, 2010. Saturn is a solid structure and Pluto represents a force for change, progress and transcending the past. So the square between them is a change of form; and it would be inner form. It’s like a collectivized inner process of radical readjustment that spreads on a wide scale. It’s also potentially reactionary astrology that, on the collective level, feels like the other shoe dropping on the election of Barack Obama, and (more to the point) the progressive uprising that led to it. Whose shoe is it going to be? I think that the people who put Obama in owe it to everyone to hold him to his promises.

The Saturn-Pluto dynamic usually invokes some kind of conservative backlash. Summing up the current setup, we had a Saturn-Pluto opposition in the summer of 2001, just five weeks before the Sept. 11 incident that set the vibe of the next eight years and in many ways is still running our lives. There were a couple of predictions of terrorism and one prediction, by Papa Smurf astrologer Rob Hand, that we would have a war with Afghanistan. Nobody predicted that the events of the summer of 2001 would lead to the attempted establishment of a police state. No astrologer that I know of predicted the PATRIOT Act.

I don’t know what the November astrology is about, exactly, but if I were the White House astrologer I would be advising that security be turned up and that the president’s travel schedule be minimized for at least the last two months of the year and well past January.

The stage is also set for some kind of new fracture in the economic system to emerge. Whatever may be the case, this square takes place very close to the Aries Point, involving the directly related first degrees of Libra and Capricorn. This tells us that the matter affects a widespread public; and that individuals may feel the events privately, or that there will be a sense of ‘we’re in this together’. This is not true of every news event. This aspect represents the first significant test of the Pluto in Capricorn era, into which we transitioned during 2008 and are taking up fully in 2009. What emerges at that time reveals something that was already there, or rather, is already here.

Photo by Eric Francis.

Though Saturn square Pluto part one occurs in November shortly after Saturn enters Libra, we’re standing in the dynamic right now, which also involves a number of factors I went over last week. Summing up the current setup, Saturn and Uranus are at opposition, meaning that these two radically different energies are opposing one another. Then Saturn changes signs and moves into a square with Pluto; then Uranus changes signs to Aries, gradually moving into a square with Pluto.

This adds up to a long T-square of Saturn, Uranus and Pluto, all taking place along the cardinal points — the Aries Point. This is a wild mix of revolutionary and oppressive energies that we will be working out clear through 2012.

Let’s take a look at the chart for the shooting at the Holocaust Museum, by a Holocaust denier. Before going there, I would point out that initially while not exactly mainstream, Holocaust denial is a kind of intellectual cult that has some momentum, and that momentum is troubling. It is an actual viewpoint, argued intellectually, not merely someone casually saying that something that many people saw and documented didn’t happen.

There are many historical and psychological reasons for this kind of denial, and while we may assign Holocaust denial to the crackpot files, the sentiments underneath it are pervasive enough to be concerned about. We may not want to think that there is an issue, but that in itself is a form of denial. The way the Holocaust happened and was allowed to happen involved denial, including the denial of an agenda. If it happens again, the same basic mental ploys will be put to work.

This conversation will necessarily involve looking at some technical points of a chart. I will interpret, leaving my margin notes in the conversation. I’m only going to use very close or ongoing aspects, so I will leave out the conversation of degrees.

The chart initially highlights three astrological events, mainly; these are compound events, involving several factors each. I’ll take them one at a time.

The first is that Saturn in Virgo is rising and Uranus in Pisces is in the descendent — putting the Saturn-Uranus dynamic (pluralism versus fundamentalism; progressive thinking versus neoconservative thinking) into the spotlight. You may recall that this aspect was exact for the first time on the very day that Barack Obama was elected. It represents the split that, sometimes quietly and sometimes not, currently has our nation by the throat. And finally it’s an opportunity for reconciliation and integration. Astrology is the kind of thing where you play the aspects on the level of your own enlightenment.

Next, Mercury is in Taurus, having just finished its square to the triple conjunction in Aquarius. This is the event that basically drove many people to the brink of their sanity during the past couple of weeks. Mercury has extra power because this particular chart has Virgo rising; Mercury is therefore the ruler of the ascendant, always one of the most influential planets in a chart. At the time the shooter opened fire, Mercury (the planet of the mind, and which also represents the shooter in this chart) had just completed its chaotic, confusing and disruptive square to these three powerful planets exactly aligned in Aquarius. So we see the shooter’s state of mind represented here. What is interesting is that Mercury has already squared the conjunction at the time of the shooting, indicating a reference to the past; the denial of something in the past.

Mercury turns up in the 9th house of religion. He translates to someone who is stuck in his supposedly religious values, in delusion and denial (square Neptune), feeling like he has a broken mind (square Chiron) and exaggerating big time (square Jupiter).

I have said before that the triple conjunction in Aquarius represents something progressive and that Mercury in Taurus represents entrenched values, which have just had a run-in with progress. This is happening on many levels in our society right now. We are not going to go sailing blithely into a wonderful future; we have a lot of extremely confused people to contend with, people whose main attachment is to a past that they are basically hallucinating about. If you ask me, one of the crucial spiritual issues of our time is what to do with so many people who are so outraged about the supposed injustice of others having rights or simply living their lives freely.

Finally, the Moon in Capricorn has just completed a square to Eris, the planet that caused the reorganization of the solar system in 2006, including the change in category for Pluto and Ceres to a new concept, a dwarf planet. The Moon in Capricorn is a good image of conservative, structured or traditional thinking; and it has just made a square to Eris, in the 8th house of death. The Moon has already squared Eris, again referencing the past. Again, conservative values have been put through a kind of reality check and the result is extreme confusion.

Confusion about what? Eris is on the 8th house cusp. The goddess of discord and chaos is guarding the house of death and transformation. That’s often how it works. The Moon’s aspect points to the 8th house, which to me is the house that gives away what this chart is really about. The 8th addresses issues of sex, death, money and power, which combine in various configurations to cause all kinds of pain.

This is generally true until we sort them out and take them separately, one at a time. Then we see the relationships for what they are. Eris present on the 8th cusp, in Aries, represents rather stunning confusion regarding these issues, and the confusion is primarily coming in the form of an identity crisis. In other words, the confusion is so serious that it’s causing us to be in a state of chaos about who we are.

Illustration by Colette Coughlin.

We find three other points in the 8th house: the Part of Fortune (conjunct Eris), suggesting that someone is poised to benefit from the chaos; and Venus and Mars, in Taurus, which are about to make a conjunction. I am not a Vedic astrologer, but I am aware that when Venus and Mars are close together and there is a Venus retrograde involved, this suggests a competitive situation that is a special case. It depicts the male and female principles in some harsh competition, in the house of sex, death, money and power, and the Vedic astrologers don’t like this one at all.

Feeling this chart, and looking at the big picture that it offers, rather than analyzing it, the feeling is that this is a chart about sexual pain and frustration. Venus and Mars in the Taurus 8th house of a chart is sexually provocative. But if we see them in a chart where there is a mass murder being plotted, we can be pretty sure that the underlying issue is sex, and that, I believe, is true for our culture. The crisis is so serious that many people are even afraid to talk about it, much less do something about it.

We’ve been experiencing a profound case of sex denial since the early 1980s, when the United States began a national campaign of teaching children “abstinence” instead of basic facts about their bodies. In that regard, we have a pretty serious problem, given the tens of millions of people who have been through this indoctrination. Notably, this is not really a new movement in a country that is based on puritanical values. The denial of sex is a deep root in our culture, and it’s one that invariably leads to upsurges of violence and deep, fermenting rage that fuels many other seemingly unrelated problems. And some obviously related ones: rape is a crime that involve sexual rage, usually pointed at a woman.

Though few people actually say this, two of the most divisive issues our country is grappling with — homosexual rights and abortion — both directly involve sex. They masquerade as political, but they are as personal as, well, as personal as what you do in the shower. What we don’t like to admit, indeed, what we tend to actively deny, is that there are various political factions who are very concerned about what happens when you lock the door to your apartment. And it is not an accidental agenda. There is a reason that the same people who are against birth control are also against abortion: women are supposed to be mothers. That’s what it adds up to. As for queers, well, plenty of people feel that we can’t be having sex for its own sake. But like, whose body is it?

Sexual energy is not neutral. It’s vital and it’s creative and we all possess it in abundance. It takes a lot to turn sexual energy dark, but it only requires that we let it be what it is, for it to be creative and to offer us its life.

Next week, as Venus and Mars get closer to their exact conjunction on the solstice, at the exact midpoint of Taurus, let’s take this conversation a step forward.

Yours & truly,
Eric Francis

Summer lingers on Titan

The Cassini-Huygens space probe, which for nearly five years has been reporting from Saturn’s giant Moon Titan, has provided evidence that the weather patterns on Titan are similar to Earth’s but much slower. And that means longer summers, scientists say.

This infrared image of Saturn’s Moon Titan shows a large burst of clouds in the Moon’s south polar region. Photo: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona/University of Nantes.

report from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory describes how the lingering cloud formations will mean a “warm and wetter”autumn on the Moon. One of the Cassini team members, Sebastien Rodriguez of the University of Paris Diderot, described the findings in the JPL news release.

“Titan’s clouds don’t move with the seasons exactly as we expected,”said Rodriguez. “We see lots of clouds during the summer in the southern hemisphere, and this summer weather seems to last into the early fall. It looks like Indian summer on Earth, even if the mechanisms are radically different on Titan from those on Earth. Titan may then experience a warmer and wetter early autumn than forecasted by the models.”

More information on the ongoing Cassini-Huygens mission, and the approaching spring equinox on Titan, is available at ArsTechnica.

NASA budget bill cut in House

The National Aeronautic and Space Administration would like to put astronauts back on the Moon by 2020, but a move by lawmakers to cut 16 percent from NASA’s 2010 budget could jeopardize some of the agency’s long-term plans for manned space flight.

NASA budget cuts start to bite. Collage by Joeforking.

According to SpaceNews.com, on June 4 the Commerce, Justice and Science Subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee moved to reduce the space agency’s budget, reporting that, “The $670 million cut to the 2010 manned exploration request would leave $3.21 billion, which is less than is available for the effort this year.”

The NASA Watch website breaks down the numbers in a chart that shows the current financial year budget, NASA’s proposed 2010 budget, and the subcommittee’s proposed cuts.

The budget cuts, at this point, are still only recommendations early in the appropriations process. President Obama has created a 10-person panel to review NASA’s plans for the post-Space Shuttle era, and their report could influence how lawmakers view the space agency’s spending priorities.

Before Congress takes a knife to NASA’s programs, though, its members might want to check out an intriguing little article at Universe Today, entitled “8 Ridiculous Things Bigger Than NASA’s Budget,”to get a little perspective.

Mars rumors making rounds again

Those annoying little hoaxers are back at it, it seems.

Another Martian Mystery. Credit: NASA/JPL/UA

NASA is getting the word out about a hoax e-mail that’s been proliferating lately. It claims that anyone looking out the window on August 27 will see a once-in-a-lifetime sight.

“Mars will look as large as the Full Moon,”the e-mail reads. “No one alive today will ever see this again.”

Well, truth be told, no one alive today will see it on August 27, either, or any other day.

According to a NASA press release refuting the hoax e-mail, “Only in Photoshop does Mars appear as large as a Full Moon.”The myth-busting website Snopes.com seconds this conclusion, noting that it would take a 75x telescope for Mars to look that big to a viewer.

The roots of this hoax appear to dip back to 2003, when Mars actually did come closer to Earth than any time in the past 60,000 years. But even then, NASA points out, to the naked eye it appeared to be little more than a bright, red star.

The only thing as big as the Full Moon in the night sky remains, well, the Full Moon. As noted by NASA, “To see Mars as big as a Full Moon, you’ll need a rocketship, and that may take some time.”

To which we echo the space administration’s own conclusion: Bummer!




Weekly Horoscope for Friday, June 12, 2009, #770 – BY ERIC FRANCIS

Aries (March 20-April 19)
Surf the waves of chaos; that’s how it always is, but sometimes the wind is behind you and sometimes it’s blowing you sideways. At the moment you have just the right leverage; there is a rare moment of balance in the planets, and you’re approaching the culmination of a long process of making peace with something about yourself, something you feared that many people would judge harshly. Don’t rush these next couple of weeks — savor them, live from moment to moment, and appreciate each observation of how you are not (yet) complete as a state of potential; as an opportunity for fulfillment.

Taurus (April 19- May 20)
Fear is of the essence. It’s the second most powerful force on Earth, but learning that fact takes most people a lifetime. More challenging still is the use of fear as a positive force rather than one that hobbles us. I suggest you stalk your fears rather than letting them stalk you. For too long they dominated your life: the sense of impending chaos, skating on the brink of the unfamiliar, and feeling like one half of you is real and the other half is not (but which is which?). You are now on solid ground. You’ve recently found reason to be more honest with yourself. You know that what you fear, you really desire.

Gemini (May 20- June 21)
Over the next few days a series of portals is opening up; this may manifest as a sequence of events, of ideas, of encounters with people and with an overall awakening of an attitude you’ve never quite felt before. While you’re someone who likes to take things at face value — this is one of your potential downfalls, by the way — these events will encourage you to look and feel deeper than what is obvious; to embrace the potential contained in something that may or may not be true. In other words, you’re being invited into a truly rich state of potential, with no guarantees. This is an ideal situation here on Earth.

Cancer (June 21- July 22)
You currently have astonishing power to establish your worth in the eyes of others. Make sure you get it yourself, and please don’t waste your time about it. That is: make sure you take steps to be aware of your value in your eyes; and then establish that value in the eyes of others. Though confidence is always hard-won, many actors on your stage are not only inviting you to take a step, they are demonstrating that you can do so right now. Then go into each agreement and arrangement with a bold sense of who you are, confident that you are the only one who can provide the world with that special thing you provide. If you have never had this particular thought, I think you’ll enjoy the experiment.

Leo (July 22- Aug. 23)
You’re being compelled to take a narrower approach to many of the possibilities that you see in the world. Yet the planets are offering a kind of exchange program: for everything you feel you must give up, whether to keep your focus or because you don’t have the energy, there will be a residual gain. It may be knowledge; it may be insight; it may be an opportunity better suited to match your current state of energy and commitment. This will work on the financial level; every savings you make can open up a possibility that is either free of charge or profitable. Of course, some things are well worth spending money on.

Virgo (Aug. 23- Sep. 22)
You’re about to free up a lot of mental bandwidth, and to step out of a bog that seems to have had you in its grip for many weeks on end. Beware that the acceleration could be a little disturbing; you’re not actually losing control, though you’ll need to shift your awareness to maintain your sense of balance. Let one thing lead to another: an unusual opportunity or career development comes from a combination of being willing to have less glory or ‘credit’ for a truly brilliant idea, and a deeper sense of achievement. What constitutes brilliant? Please, set a high standard and try again no matter what.

Libra (Sep. 22 – Oct. 23)
You are the third side of the triangle: the defining point that shifts a dimension; the stabilizing factor; the focal lens of a process that is grounding something very new in the world. You have the perfect psychic orientation to be in this role. It’s the kind of leadership that guides but does not direct; that maintains equilibrium between two very potent forces that have plenty in common but are also distinctly unique. I suggest you lean toward the more active side of your potential role rather than passive. Inject some of your energy into the mix. Focus on what may be the missing element: beauty.

Scorpio (Oct. 23- Nov. 22)
It’s clear that the past couple of months have presented certain difficulties communicating about a sensitive matter or whole subject area that you really need to get out into the open. Actually, the person or people you need to get an exchange going with have been working their way onto the same page, though they have not necessarily been saying much about it. Once the conversation begins, it has the potential to go some interesting places, and into some deep places. There may be some role reversal involved. There will be some transposing of words into actions and actions back into words. Be bold, and please allow yourself the space to allow any idea to become a potential reality.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22 – Dec. 22)
I trust the next few weeks will help you ease back on some of the overwhelm that has dominated your life for so long. Or at least it will ease back from you. What you need now more than anything else is focus. Learn to say no (again); learn to prioritize (again); learn to stay close to home, whenever you can. The most interesting stuff in the world is going on in your mind, not splayed out all over the planet’s surface. Also there is a healing need that I suggest you bump up on your agenda. It may involve a relationship; it may involve your sexuality; it may involve getting something crucial into balance in your body. The thing that will guide you toward that healing is specifically your senses.

Capricorn (Dec. 22- Jan. 20)
Recent planetary movements have increased your appetite for adventure, and over the next few weeks this is likely to reach a new peak. The question is: what constitutes an adventure for a Capricorn? I would propose: something new. Something you’ve never done before; going someplace — emotionally or physically — that takes you out of a familiar space. I don’t think anything is going to satisfy your curiosity or your craving for contact. You are the one who needs to make the moves; you are the one who must make it happen. Don’t wait for that magic email or SMS. Make decisions and take action. Live up to being so bold.

Aquarius (Jan. 20- Feb. 19)
There is a spirit of freedom in the air over the next week or so, but freedom is strictly something that exists in potential. You can sit around watching television or wondering what to eat; or you can make a series of choices to explore, to expand yourself, and to stretch your thinking at least far enough to get around to the other side of your inner globe. There would seem to be an aspect of who you are that is seeking a voice; that is seeking the opportunity to be heard by you. As the Sun makes a trine to the rare conjunction taking place in your sign, this is a singularly unique time to take personal territory that has eluded you for years or decades.

Pisces (Feb. 19- March 20)
Keep pursuing your vision for yourself, or rather, keep becoming it. For all the thousands of spiritual, psychological and metaphysical books written telling us how to ‘get there’, it remains true that every person must establish their own relationship to existence. What you are doing now is having effects now, but you’re also establishing an energetic pattern that will carry you forward for years to come. It may be difficult to see how this is true today, but when you look back at this time in your life even with a year or three years’ perspective, you will see the astonishing extent to which so much follows logically. Therefore: keep creating, with all you’ve got.

Leave a Comment