All Roads Lead to Scorpio

Dear Friend and Reader:

Next week we have one of the most interesting astrological days I’ve ever seen. On the morning of Thursday, Oct. 23, the Moon, Venus and the Sun are in Libra. By that evening, all three have moved into Scorpio, and then there will be an eclipse of the Sun conjunct Venus.

Photo by Eric Francis.

This is what I call a proving moment — an opportunity to see astrology display its properties in real time, in real life. What will change that day? What that is hidden will reveal itself? By proving I don’t mean ‘proof positive’. I mean a demonstration of what is possible. There are actually a few of those moments in the neighborhood right now.

Libra and Scorpio present a vivid contrast of energies. That is a characteristic of adjoining signs — they change element, as well as type of sign (Libra is cardinal; Scorpio is fixed). In many ways adjoining signs are more opposite than opposite signs. Libra is an air sign, ruled by Venus. Scorpio is a water sign, ruled by Mars.

With three planets crossing that imaginary line, followed by a solar eclipse, that’s a lot of momentum moving in the direction of Scorpio. This will help shift the discussion, I think it will precipitate events, and I think it will describe a psychological pattern that we’ll be living with for a while.

Let’s track events leading up to that transition. Today, Mercury is conjunct the Sun. Classical astrology calls this the inferior conjunction. I call it the interior conjunction because 1) it’s not inferior, it is equal to any other conjunction; and 2) Mercury is passing exactly between the Earth and the Sun, which describes it being interior to the solar system and symbolically, to human experience. The retrograde itself is saying look within.

The Mercury-Sun conjunction is the midpoint, or halfway point, of Mercury retrograde. Mercury will station direct Oct. 25.

At the moment, Mercury, the Sun and Venus are in a close opposition to Eris — the Pluto-like object discovered orbiting the Sun in January 2005. Technically, Eris is one of the first three dwarf planets ever designated, the others being Ceres and Pluto. Eris was the discovery that compelled astronomers to define the term planet. It was the first wide-scale, public acknowledgment of the existence of minor planets.

Photo by Eric Francis.

Eris is a very slow mover, on a trip through Aries that lasts more than a century. Eris describes our era in history perfectly — a time of global chaos, with a militaristic emphasis, reflected in inner confusion.

It also speaks of social upheaval, and rearranging the known social order, though this can and at times has worked in constructive ways. In some respects Eris is akin to a hyper-potent Uranus. (Notably, Uranus and Eris are close to a conjunction, which will be exact in 2016-2017. I consider this a major subject area and will be returning to it shortly. If this rare conjunction is exact in less than two years, we are under its influence today.)

Eris has many properties, too many to get into here. If you’re curious, you can read some social history of second-wave feminism (symbolized by the Chiron-Eris conjunction of the early 1970s) in a Planet Waves article called Dancing With Discord. Eris active in the sky can arrive with feminist breakthroughs. During the era of the most recent Uranus-Eris conjunction in Aries (1927-1928), women won the right to vote in many countries, including the United States.

With the Sun and two inner planets opposite Eris, it’s time to observe this factor, though I also think time to proceed with care and caution. Chaos is contagious, and for many people it’s a political and economic commodity. Stand back and observe, and most of all, observe yourself. With retrograde Mercury in Libra, there is the caution that gossip, rumors and loose lips in any form can be especially destructive.

Friday, Oct. 17, there is an unusual manifestation of this pattern — a conjunction of Mercury and Venus, exactly opposite Eris. It’s unusual to have two inner planets and an outer planet align to within one degree; that precision contains a message.

It also reflects something of the constantly shifting mental and emotional landscape that defines our moment. The message may include an idea about how to get an accurate or at least useful perspective on how to handle the ongoing stress of existence, and of the necessity to make changes.

Photo by Eric Francis.

That, at least, is a description of the emotional and mental state of those of us in the West. Throughout many parts of the world, existence is descending into utter chaos that is showing no signs of being brought under control.

Notably, one of the strongest patterns in the sky right now is a grand fire trine, which may be another way of saying fire burning out of control. All the fire signs have significant activity — Uranus, the South Node and Eris in Aries; the Moon and Jupiter in an exact conjunction in Leo tomorrow; and the Mars-Pholus-Ixion alignment in Sagittarius that has been a point of both focus and aggravation for the past few weeks.

Mars is not done with its trip through Sagittarius. Its most significant moment is yet to come — when Mars aligns with the Galactic Core on Oct. 22. Here we have Mars, the god of war, aligning with what is, in my view, the most potent spiritual homing signal in the sky.

It would be lovely if this could signal an end to war. I think that one possibility is some admission, however vague, that war is a serious problem. It hurts and impoverishes people, burns up the natural environment, enriches those with evil intentions; it destroys infrastructure needed (for example) in an epidemic and it stands as our worst global infection; our worst global blight. Yet we still glorify it in movie after movie, and in endless video games whose theme is destruction.

All of these astrological events (for example, the Eris alignments) happen with the Sun still in Libra. Then we experience the unusual day of Oct. 23, in a strange, volatile time of history — with wars raging in Iraq and Syria, and the Ukraine; with Gaza lying in ruins; and with a deadly outbreak of ebola happening in Africa. Ebola poses less of a physical threat to Americans and Europeans and more of a psychic threat (a vast energy waste of fear) and also a warning.

It’s a warning about what our health system is not presently capable of handling. What we have seen happen with the entire ebola situation in the U.S. is a case of Murphy’s Third Law: If anything can go wrong it will, from the initial botched intake of Thomas Duncan, to the lack of any protocols at all, to the CDC allowing a nurse who had attended him to get on an airplane with a fever.

Photo by Eric Francis.

In a society like the U.S., ebola is containable — if all the hard-learned lessons and their accompanying rules are followed. There are other pathogens that are far less forgiving; far more virulent. We are all, as in all of us, going to need to learn about this and learn what to do when faced with a situation. (Washing hands regularly with soap and water, not smearing on some hand sanitizer, would be a fantastic start.)

In the United States, we are in the last days of a federal election where control of the Senate hangs in the balance. That is to say that there are races so close as to be a statistical tie. In the United States, the Senate is crucial because it approves all judicial nominations. In my opinion that comes down to one issue — the reproductive rights of women.

The Supreme Court has already cashed in and allowed corporations unlimited influence in elections, in the form of money as free speech. The Voter Act was gutted last year, which has sold out the rights of African Americans and other minorities, who are always the focus of voter suppression.

What we now have is Roe v. Wade hanging by a thread. This is not merely about the right to abortion; it’s about the right of women to have control over their bodies [if this topic interests you, please see my article A Fine Line: Roe v. Wade].

As I have said many times and will say again, if abortion is illegal then every miscarriage becomes a potential murder scene. That is to say, in some places, if a pregnancy ends naturally, which happens frequently, there are prosecutors who would indeed put the woman on trial for the crime of abortion, which we are being told over and over again is murder.

There was one encouraging development this week — the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday blocked a Texas federal appeals court from shutting down numerous abortion clinics in that state. The most encouraging part was that Justice Anthony Kennedy and Chief Justice John Roberts joined the majority in allowing the clinics to stay open while the case is litigated.

So-called social conservatives are also closing in on the right to birth control, as evidenced in many decisions, most particularly the absurd Hobby Lobby decision, which in effect granted corporations the right to religious freedom.

Perhaps the most meaningful question we can ask is: how do we survive and preserve our humanity through these times? Exactly how strong do we have to be, to meet the challenges of our own lives and also to take up the community causes — name any one? If all of this leaves you with a heavy feeling, wishing you could crawl back into bed, you’re not alone.

Photo by Eric Francis.

I think we all must find our ways to be strong, for ourselves and for one another. And we must do this in a time when we are already worn down by so much negativity, by the constant assault on humanity and our humanity.

I do not, however, think that the answer lies in tuning out the problems. Denial is merely palliative, and allows the problems to rage on and the grief to go unaddressed. It may seem convenient to ignore something, or to say you cannot pay attention because it’s too difficult, though that process consumes considerable energy.

There’s another position of just celebrate how wonderful life is, and remember that none of that other stuff really affects you (unless, of course, it does).

It’s essential to celebrate the beauty of life every day and every hour if you can, and if you remember — that is why we are here. But now we have another responsibility, another task at hand, which may be celebrating the beauty of taking charge of our situation — the beauty of growing up. Denying that, pretending nothing but individual happiness matters, is a popular stance — and to me seems palliative and narcissistic. It seems like what got us into this mess; and as everyone who has been through a flood, a forest fire, a drought or any similar situation knows, we actually do live in the world.

It is clear that we need a whole new mode of response, which allows us to take care of ourselves as we take care of others and do what we can for the wider world. We need to address the past, the present and the future, seemingly in one gesture. It would be fair to say that this is an impossible situation, one larger than we can handle. That is calling for a spiritual approach if anything is.

It’s just that God has such a bad name these days. And human intelligence is so often overlooked or undermined. I believe that we can solve these problems — with the emphasis on WE.


Weekly Horoscope for Thursday, Oct. 16, 2014, #1020 | By Eric Francis

Aries (March 20-April 19) — Something that has made no sense may come into focus all at once, and then just as fast disappear like you had not noticed. It looks like a puzzling question or discussion point where the solution or the real situation becomes obvious, complete with the little tag about how it would be a good thing to write down because you might forget. For this reason I suggest you note your observation in some way, and in particular, how you feel about it. The missing piece, if there is one, is the feeling aspect of the scenario. If you are experiencing a loss of authority over your life, you may get a glimpse of the issue. I think it’s on the level of emotional connection. For example, you may seem to disagree with someone over an idea, but really it’s on the level of feelings and sensitivity.

Taurus (April 19-May 20) — You will know when it’s your moment to enter the discussion — if at all. Until then I suggest you pause, and remain a bystander. This is a potentially volatile situation, rife with potential misunderstandings. Though it may be close to you emotionally or in proximity, it does not directly involve you at this time. The thing I suggest you avoid is getting drawn into something that is not really about you, but that could become about you if you’re not careful. This will be a situation where you must consider very carefully whether to remain absolutely silent, or to say anything — and what to say, and why. I think that of all these considerations, the thing to consider the most carefully is the why. What exactly is your investment or your interest? If you come up short, I suggest you keep your distance.

Gemini (May 20-June 21) — With any discussion of sex, clarity is essential, and it’s usually the last item on the agenda. It’s not only difficult to find the words to describe things, it’s also considered embarrassing to say those words. There’s also the fear that if there’s any real discussion of actual issues, for example, about sexual health, or the truth of what one wants or what one has done (to name two possibilities), the whole thing will be a turnoff. It’s more likely that the opposite is true. Move in the direction of what is embarrassing and you also move in the direction of what is the most daring and exciting. Embarrassment is a veil, and behind the veil there exists another universe. So say the words, describe what is in your mind, and go to another level of both clarity and fun. As someone once wrote, “Only the truth is erotic.”

Cancer (June 21-July 22) — An eclipse of the Sun is on its way, with plenty of other events between now and then. Most of what develops before the eclipse is focused in the angle of your chart associated with grounding and security. The way the scenario looks, currently events are unfolding that seem to jeopardize your sense of safety, or some stability factor involving home or family. Many planets are moving and shaking and will be for another week — and then all at once, there is a sweep of planets into Scorpio and the scenario vanishes like it did not even exist. It’s true there is one matter that needs your attention, but it’s something that you can handle, once all the noise and static is out of the way, and once you realize how strong and how stable you really are.

Leo (July 22-Aug. 23) — Be clear in what you communicate. That means read what you write before you send it, and consider what you say before you say it. The planetary setup suggests that small misunderstandings could get blown out of proportion. When you’re evaluating what you are relating to others, remember the idea of evil genius Frank Luntz: It’s not what you say, it’s what other people hear. That means consider and listen for potential interpretations of your message other than what you intend, and account for them. Understand what biases people have, and more than anything tune into where they are coming from emotionally. If you do, it will be easy to see that you must tailor your message not so much for your audience but rather for the environment that surrounds them. We live in tense times, and this is a moment of especially high anxiety. Be soothing, and work consciously to solve problems.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22) — As usual, the question of the day comes down to whether your love for yourself is conditional or not. There seems to be some new question brewing along these lines, though you may not have given it a name. Indeed you may have called it every other thing. It seems like you have every reason to approve of yourself, what you have to offer and the progress you’ve made — and you have one little gripe, grudge or disagreement with yourself. One danger you face is projecting that inner discord into a relationship. That would seem to take you off the hook, but really it would complicate matters significantly and cloud the simple fact that this all comes down to how you feel about yourself. If you are in some way disapproving, you might want to pause and ask why — and really get to the bottom of things. The chances are it was long ago, far away, and lurking around as if it still matters.

Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23) — You may be feeling, acting or speaking rather unlike yourself. The thing is, you know you’re still you. You know that nothing has really changed. It just seems like there are other voices popping up from your psyche, saying or thinking things that are out of character. I would ask though, are they really? Or have you tapped into something deeper than you usually access? Have you changed your perspective (literally, your physical or psychic point of view) enough to change your opinion? The current astrology may be subtly tricking you out of a long-held position, including the notion that you struggle to change your mind. You might think of that as the illusion of being stuck, which is merely a kind of ‘special effect’, and one that has never served you well. The ability to shift your point of view both rapidly and accurately is not just a fantastic creative gift — it’s a matter of survival.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22) — You don’t have to live with this uncertainty for long, though I suggest you make the most if it. Uncertainty is important, it’s helpful, and it gets a bad rap. I’m sure you’ve noticed how people rush faster in the direction of false certainty than they do in the direction of an honest question. I can promise you at least one thing from your astrology: If you ask honest questions, you will get real answers. They may not come immediately, and there will be enormous benefit in focusing on the mystery. A gifted therapist in my community named Joe Jastrob once said in a workshop (I am paraphrasing — it was a while ago) that it takes strength to stand in the face of the unknown, but that one simply must do it if they want to live their truth. Therefore, do not rush. Don’t jump to conclusions. Let the unknown be the unknown.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22) — There is power in chaos. It would seem that one of the only ways to get access to real energy is to turn up the entropy level. Molecules in a pot of water get increasingly chaotic in their movement as the temperature increases. Yet what the pot of water has going for it is focus. It has organization. There is a plan, which contains the chaos. For example, the heat is below the water and the two are separated by a metal container. Then it’s safe to turn up the energy and increase the chaos level. That’s about how your charts look. There is a chaos factor, and there is a precision factor. There is a plan. Follow your plan. Do not skip steps and don’t take anything for granted. You know what you’re doing but you still must follow your pre-flight checklist down to the last detail, and make every move with care and intention.

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20) — Be careful in any leadership role that you might have. This would be an excellent time to step back and play the role of the impartial chairperson, or better yet, as the observer, listener and finder of fact. Do not let on that you have changed your posture; merely pay attention, and consider carefully what you know. It will be vital that you put your data into context. Take no single fact on its own; consider it in the context of everything else you know. One other point, perhaps the most significant — I strongly suggest you not repeat anything you hear, nor that you tip your hand on any solid discoveries or observations that you make. There is the vast potential for misunderstanding, and that could compromise your reputation, your leadership position or any political advantage that you have. Mud may be flying over the next few days — stay back and keep it off your nice new suit.

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) — It might seem difficult to have any foresight right now, though I suggest you keep looking forward. Push yourself a little if you must; it is better to be focused on the future than on the past. As for what has already happened, all you need is to accept what you learned. That is the whole point. Part of that involves knowing where you stand; that is, where you are. Apart from that, the past will prove to be of little use. There is a kind of astrological hypnosis operating right now that is trying to get you to think in reverse or obsess over the past. Snap out of it. Get up to a place with a view and look out at the landscape. Once you have a perspective on the lay of the land, you will be able to sense where you stand in the flow of time. One message from the charts is clear — planning is less important than sparking up ideas, and noticing which ones excite you.

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) — Make sure you keep negotiating every arrangement in your life. Don’t let anyone think anything is a done deal, or that you are signed on forever, just becasue. In service of that, I suggest you make no longterm promises but rather be clear that everything is a work in progress. There are plans in action that you will consciously need to pause and reorganize. Take authority, stop the show and have the conversation. By now you’ve figured out that you’re the only person who can stop a runaway reaction. You are also the person who must combine the ingredients and get the chemistry right, so that the right thing materializes. There are no guarantees, though you have more influence than you think, particularly if you are willing to scrap any plans or ideas, rethink your situation and start over. People may grumble but the truth is that you are the one who is in the position of leadership. Mars in Sagittarius is reminding you of that continuously, and it’s the thing to remember.

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