I’m looking and I’m dreaming for the first time
And I’m inside and I’m outside at the same time
And everything is real
Do I like the way I feel?
— David Byrne
Dear Friend and Reader:
Sunday night (early Monday in some time zones), the Moon will form an opposition to the early Libra Sun. This is the Aries Full Moon, though it’s also a total lunar eclipse. This promises to be a memorable event, if only for its spectacular beauty if you get a look at it where skies are clear, and also for the ripple effect that it’s likely to have when read as an astrological factor.
There’s something in astrology known as the Aries Point. It’s the first degree of the zodiac, also the location of the Sun on the vernal equinox. Its technical name is the sidereal vernal point, or SVP. It’s the point of reckoning between the sidereal zodiac used in Vedic astrology and the tropical zodiac used in our astrology.
Though it’s not a thing, the Aries Point acts with the strength of a planet and, for astrologers who do predictive work, it’s a dependable tool. Young astrologers learning to feel and decipher the energies of different points are in for a jolt the first time they experience this non-thing express itself with the influence of Uranus, Chiron or Pluto.
My own key phrases for the Aries Point include “the personal is political” (borrowed from Carol Hanisch of the feminist collective Redstockings) and “the intersection of the individual with the collective.” It reminds me of the David Byrne lines, “When the world crashes into my living room / Television made me what I am.”
Events that affect millions of people in a personal way are often associated with the Aries Point. One way to think of this critter is as a repeating station or distribution node for ideas. Often people with a strong Aries Point placement in their charts like to get the word out, or they’re good at it even if they didn’t intend to be that way. The things they say and do can have unusual resonance with the culture around them. Some are just extremely sensitive to outer influences.
Mercury is newly retrograde; that started one week ago. I think most people have probably adapted to the new energy, which takes a bit of settling in. Note that Mercury will retrograde back to the first degree of Libra, exactly opposite the Aries Point. Mercury stationing direct on Oct. 9 is, therefore, an Aries Point event.
In case you haven’t figured it out, we live in a kind of age of the Aries Point. Among other developments, the Internet has made it possible to whisper something intimate and have it heard around the world. The notion that someone can write a 140-character tweet and have it make national news turns the idea of “mass media” on its ear. Looked at from the other direction, just about everyone is carrying a news ticker in their pocket, which doubles as a publishing tool on which they can make an announcement to everyone on the planet while riding the D train.
People who “don’t follow the news” are often plugged into the headlines with each waking hour; people not involved in documentary production can spot something, upload 20 seconds of video and suddenly find themselves world famous (for about 15 minutes — Andy Warhol was spot on with that little quip).
The Internet is one factor influencing the Aries Point, particularly with the advent of the all-in-one media studio in a little box (the smart phone). Other elements of the environment that ramp up Aries Point influence include a planet (Earth, that is) twice as crowded as when most of us were born; the effects of climate change becoming palpable on a daily basis; and governments that don’t do their job, creating havoc in the lives of millions of people as a result.
In this mix of influences, politicians have learned how to do nothing put press people’s buttons. It’s never been easier to get people so riled up about so little. One factor associated with Aries is glamour. In the Aries Point age, the world is a fashion show.
As for how this works in a natal chart or an event chart: what exactly is a strong placement? The Aries Point’s influence is not limited to one degree. Though it’s not possible to measure exactly, events in the first half of Aries can carry the effect. In addition, the locations opposite or square the Aries Point count — the early degrees of Cancer, Libra and Capricorn. The Aries Point connects to all of the cardinal points; that is, the early degrees of all the cardinal signs.
Just to be complete, it’s worth mentioning that by the miracle of mathematics, profoundly influential in astrology, areas of the zodiac with a numerical resonance to those degrees also count. Midpoints between the cardinal signs — the centers of the fixed signs Taurus, Leo, Scorpio and Aquarius (all of which are clustered with festivals, feasts and holidays collected over the millennia) are Aries Point hotspots.
Our eclipse Sunday takes place across 4+ degrees of Aries and Libra. It happens close to the lunar nodes, which are at about 1 degree of Aries and Libra, and it’s a total eclipse, giving it some extra emphasis. So what we get is a full-on Aries Point event that stands up to just about any chart I’ve ever seen.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that there will be some kind of event that shakes the world. Nothing in astrology is 100% dependable — many forces are at work and there is plenty we don’t know. But this chart describes something both unusual and vibrant, something valid to describe as individual-meets-collective.
My own preference in doing astrology is to keep things close to the personal level, where we have some influence. While the current trend is to take everything personally, that often means everything except for what is truly personal — what is actually connected to inner changes, to awareness and to the one thing that bonds us, relationships. This chart is rich, particularly on the topic of relationships.
I don’t think it’s productive to break down the ways that our culture sets us up for failed relationships. All you need to do is set down fairy tales for a few minutes and look at your own life and the lives of your friends. There are indeed some people who are happy in their relationships; who have found a balance of self-focus and other-focus that works in a healthy way. But they are in an extreme minority, so far as I can tell.
It seems like most relationships more resemble the constant replay of family and cultural karma. We all know how often people marry representations of their parents. We are witness to how many seem to practice every last thing besides the unconditional love written about in the last thousand or so spiritual tomes devoted to relationships.
For this eclipse, the Sun is conjunct Juno. The Moon is conjunct Vesta. Said another way, we are seeing a close Vesta-Juno opposition that’s being activated by the Full Moon eclipse.
Juno describes many of the worst values in relationships — scorekeeping, jealousy, possessiveness and unexpressed emotional needs, to name a few. Vesta takes the opposite approach: it has a self-sacrificing quality, and a concept of self that is devoted to some larger purpose. Vesta holds open the space of sexuality for its own sake, or said another way, sexuality for every purpose except as a commodity in relationships. Vesta covers topics such as sex for service, tantric practice and sexual healing.
For its part, Juno can have activist tendencies, as if it’s on a struggle for social justice. Here, we see this manifesting on the most personal level — in early Libra. In its highest light this manifests as true social consciousness. At its least functional Juno can take a position of activism in personal relationships; that is, when you use another person as a target of direct action: I’m gonna get justice from you.
The Full Moon can have the property of popping a deadlock or pushing an impasse to resolution — or a breakup. It’s easy to see how this might work — imagine the tension between the Sun and the Moon, with the Earth (you, that is) exactly between them. Something has to give; the question is what, and how? With an eclipse involved, more people are brought in, and there exist a diversity of wildcard factors that are not present for a typical Full Moon.
One manifestation of this eclipse visible for all to see is the debacle unfolding in Asheville, North Carolina. That’s the still-unfolding episode where two owners of a popular coffee shop were exposed as guys who had sex with women they don’t respect, and then wrote or podcasted about it on the Internet. Asheville and much of the Internet have erupted in yet another seeming revolt against misogyny.
The misogynist (woman-hating) viewpoint is currently embodied in this thing we’re all just hearing about for the first time, called Red Pill culture. Simply put, this is a social environment where men are encouraged to view women negatively, primarily as sex objects, who must be kept in their place.
Someone in Asheville, in a Facebook dialog, just asked me how they might engage with Red Pill culture.
I responded: “What if I said, ‘I want to live in peace, so I’ll start a dialog with neo-Nazis’?” This is something I learned in therapy when I was as an investigative reporter. The goal is not to change Monsanto or to change my father. Documenting facts and educating the public in a constructive way is something entirely different.
The men to engage with are the ones who like women, and who are hungry for a real conversation — the ones who feel alienated, who are not assholes, who just want love and touch and companionship. In all of these uproars, the emphasis tends to be entirely on what we want to stop and not on what we might cultivate or create. Once again the aggressive people are rewarded with attention.
Men who are kind and who support women are almost always forgotten in these discussions, and many of them take on the burdens of the misdeeds of others. They are typically not rewarded or sanctioned by society and, sadly, very often lack for the attention of women because they’re just not aggressive enough in a world where little other than aggression is rewarded. It would be a beautiful world where women were kind and responsive to the soft-spoken shy types, and even reached out to them. There is an actual reason why men resort to aggression. We have seen it revealed by the Waking Life guys, who have admitted their extreme insecurities and social failures. That does not excuse anything — but it begs for a deeper look at this problem.
If you want a real “protest” I suggest a potluck where people can meet and make friends. Where house rules say it’s OK (especially for the women) to walk up to people they don’t know and say hello. In our glorious age of the internet, the skill of how to have a conversation is being lost — and all of the prevention and all of the cultivating something positive that we’re talking about must eventually go there. There is no civility, no respect, no consent, without an honest conversation.
Somewhere we might have a roleplay of how that might look. How do you say hello, and — as Dr. Eric Berne so wisely asked — what do you say after you say hello?
Planet Waves Monthly Horoscopes for October 2015 #1068 | By Eric Francis
Aries (March 20-April 19) — You certainly have plenty to do and you’re motivated to get it done. What’s essential is that you bring your imagination to your work rather than just your time, effort and focus. There’s a purpose to what you’re doing, and the way to keep in contact with that purpose is to allow in the creative element all the time. This may run contrary to what colleagues and coworkers are doing; they seem to have ideas of their own, and they may seem obsessed with something that misses the mark. Therefore, you’re the person who must interject the element of that special something that keeps the project meaningful. Be subtle about this. There are ways to add the magic elixir that are not quite obvious, though you do have the advantage of understanding the original purpose of whatever you’re doing. That said, and collaborations aside for a moment, this can be an incredibly productive and, moreover, creative month for you. Make sure you leave yourself enough time and space to focus on your own individual priorities, both professional and creative. Don’t let work commitments siphon off all your energy, ideas and motivation; make sure you take a little something home every night after work, and that you focus on your own priorities. That means projects, but it also means people — especially after Mercury stations direct on the 9th.
Taurus (April 19-May 20) — Regarding your work-related endeavors, make sure you include the most important element: yourself. You seem to be involved in a project that leaves out some essential element of your talent. Only you can incorporate that; it’s the essence of professionalism in a field where you care about what you’re doing. It’s not up to bosses, editors, directors or colleagues to make that happen. Only you can show up with that one ingredient that only you can bring. Alternately, it may be that you’re seeking to add this element to your life and work, and now is an excellent time to do that — especially if you’re interested in getting paid for your creativity. Seen one way, your charts tell the story of ‘professionalizing’ your innate talents. Most people take the opposite approach — they sell out on what they really want to do, and put all their energy into what they think will support them financially. You cannot and must not compromise here, but that runs in two directions. The first is making sure that you consider what you love the most as a viable job. The other is making sure that you bring your most authentic creativity into whatever you do, as a day-to-day discipline. That means putting love, care and real ideas into whatever you touch. Purpose is inherent in who you are, and it can be inherent in everything that you do.
Gemini (May 20-June 21) — If you’re looking for that brilliant idea that’s going to ring the bell, you’re heading in the right direction (though it may not seem that way). Proceed with mindfulness and take the approach of doing things one step at a time. Be meticulous. Do not skip steps, especially involving communication with collaborators. If you find something that needs fixing, get to it now, so that it’s not there to distract or delay you in the future. You may not believe it now, but you’re working toward something that’s on a larger scale than you’re accustomed to. You are doing something that has the ability to resonate with others, and you may have been working toward this for a long time. It may be a new project, or it may be an existing one (dating back up to 18 months or so) whose time has come. I suggest you experiment with both existing and new projects and see what resonates. That’s the concept to work with — resonance. This same astrology may involve a relationship, and if it does, the resonance I’m talking about is specifically creative-erotic. I am not saying romantic. I’m not saying soulmate. I’m not saying hookup. I’m saying that rare morph of adventurous, nourishing pleasure that is available to you just about everywhere and with more people than you might imagine. Though few will admit it, this is the good stuff. Really good.
Cancer (June 21-July 22) — The developing theme of your charts is about writing, which is great if you consider yourself a writer. Under that scenario, the next year of your life can be a bonanza of collecting on long-delayed ideas, stories you’ve been brewing, or projects that have needed that extra burst of energy or resources to make them happen. I would remind you that there is a confidence issue you’re working with — and it’s one that you’re finally in a position to work out. Seen one way, I’m talking about having faith in yourself. But there is a practical element involved. Confidence is the elusive state of mind where you align your motivation, your abilities and a specific idea that you want to express. The keyword is specific. Specific as opposed to generic, vague, foggy or uncertain. Work with focus and precision on the idea, or element of an idea, that you’re developing. Give it time and patience. Work with the past and not against it. I would remind you that, though you may not fancy yourself a writer or even an idea person, the digital environment has swallowed us all like high tide at the Bay of Fundy. We walk, breathe and swim in a universe of ideas, of words, of images and of communication. To be a massage therapist you must be your own publicist. Ride with that tide.
Leo (July 22-Aug. 23) — You have the opportunity over the next two months to reorganize and align your finances with your true purpose in life. This is sometimes called integrity. I would second that motion. Along the way to doing this, the details matter — and they matter quite a bit. If you pretend they’re not a factor or skip them over, you will get results in the short term but undermine yourself in the long run. What you now have is the potential to establish yourself financially as a well-rooted perennial plant, more like a tree and less like a marigold. As you do this, it’s essential that you be mindful of self-limiting ideas and habits. It’s true that you’re a Leo and that your planet is really the star at the center of the solar system. But you have a way of thinking in miniature. Miniature works just fine as long as it’s intended as a test, or as a scale model of something larger. So think in terms of scale, and how you might develop an idea into something that reaches farther and wider than you’re accustomed to working. One priority over the next year is going to be improving your income, and you seem strongly inclined to do this on the ‘right livelihood’ approach to existence. This is possible, though it takes a combination of intelligence, actual thought, courage and action.
Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22) — Jupiter is now in your sign — joined by Venus and Mars. You have every reason to feel good about yourself, though it would seem that in recent weeks you’ve either had your doubts, or you’ve committed to letting go of them. What exactly is this about? One thing to keep an eye on is your concern about others disrupting your life, or the power of their personality dominating you. This can have a way of making you feel like less than who and what you are, which in turn can have a way of making you doubt yourself or your value in someone’s eyes. Here is the thing: the force of others’ personalities will be an increasing factor in your life for the foreseeable future. You will need to respond consciously — and you have options. The most important one is to learn how to engage people who intimidate you in conversation. I recognize that society is being swallowed by utter panic at the mere thought of going off-script, though this is an art you must master. Once you get good at engaging these high-energy personalities in a dialog, they will cease to be scary. The other bit is being comfortable with people who express desire for you. You have many options for how to respond; though among them, fear is neither useful, helpful nor empowering. Many better choices exist.
Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23) — One theme of the past couple of years that is worth considering is the way in which you’ve had to dismantle your ideas about relationships. Most people cling to their relational concepts with little or no thought; many circumstances have conspired to make that nearly impossible for you. The absence of predictability has compelled you to stay in the moment, seemingly as a matter of survival. We are all under enormous pressure to conform to rules of relating that few people have actually thought through and that most people violate. What’s vital is that you honor your actual tendencies in relationships. Not what you think you should do, or what others told you that you should do, but what you actually want and how you actually feel. If you’re paying attention you will see that this is an evolving set of values, and in truth every relationship is the result of an energy pattern you make with another person. Which brings us to a deeper question — your relationship to yourself. It’s now vital that you remember that how you treat yourself matters. It sets the tone for the rest of your life. There are facets of this understanding that have come with difficult lessons, ones that it’s not necessary to repeat, if you would remember them. They point to something much better — the joy of being your own person.
Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22) — Messages coming from your solar chart suggest you’re being called on some bold adventures. Yet you may be feeling some tension between your desire to create something beautiful and your fear of being judged or seen through, or the feeling that you’re faking something. The only way to get beyond that kind of paradox is to take a chance on yourself. At a certain point you will need to decide that who you are is beyond judgment and reproach, which is another way of saying that you’re not worried what people think about you or what you do. But you cannot have it both ways; you can’t transcend judgment and also respond to people as if they’re your parents. Therefore, if you’re going to create something, or feel something, you would need to give yourself enough space to feel and think and be, without stepping in as your own critic before you’re even finished. An example of this would be choosing not to do something because you know it won’t come out well. The way to take another path is to allow yourself to be guided by your own curiosity, without concerning yourself in advance with what you will find. Rather, take each discovery as it comes, and consider what it teaches you; consider its particular pleasure or invitation to something deeper. The art studio and the gallery are different things with different purposes.
Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22) — Saturn is now in your sign, which in a word is about maturity. As you experience the effects, the benefits and the challenges of this transit (which will last until late 2017), remember something — the world is in a crisis of maturity. Perhaps in the past too much was made of the requirement to grow up and be an adult. Today too little is made of it. Particularly in the United States, and to a growing extent in other countries, we are encouraged to stay immature and to overlook anything that requires serious thought or self-reflection. This is a self-serving scenario — like frat boys encouraging one another to drink, the better to pretend it’s not a problem. There are ways in which Saturn will seem to limit you, to hamper your freedom and to rein in your choices. This will help you factor out what is not necessary. There is an essential benefit to the efficiency and focus that you will gain under this transit. The one truly valuable gift you can give yourself is to be your own authority. It may not seem so thrilling today, but in the end you will be grateful that you’ve stepped up to the honor of taking responsibility for your own choices, your own necessities, your own idea of who you are and what you want to become. If you let that guide you, you will do brilliantly. Remember: Saturn always gives more than it takes away.
Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20) — Consider the concept of inner freedom — that is, the freedom to be honest about who you are and what you feel within the space of your own thoughts. This is typically the first freedom sacrificed to control-devices such as shame and guilt. Often these sacrifices are passed down the generations like some precious inheritance, only to leave people bound and hampered and barely able to move around the world. Saturn moving into Sagittarius, your solar 12th house, describes a phase of your life when you can and indeed must reclaim your inner freedom. By this I mean freedom from dysfunctional beliefs, denial, religiosity, guilt and false ideas of purity. I also mean freedom to think and feel what you want within the sanctity of your own mind, undaunted by the many expectations that have been put upon you, and that you’ve often internalized. I reckon that in learning to give yourself the freedom to actually be yourself, you will hold sacred the freedom of others to be themselves. In encountering such a profound inner confrontation, I reckon you will observe that the meeting places between different people are small, and delicate, and deserve to be honored. As you learn to honor your own distinction, your own difference from others, you will honor their difference from you and, in the process, finally recognize how much you have in common.
Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) — There is a place for you in the world. There’s a place for everyone who wants one. The reason why is that the world is constantly changing, if for no other reason than people die and are born every day. What seems to remain consistent are the patterns of society, but even those change, if ever so slowly. Your role is to establish patterns that are consistent with your ideas and your approach to life, recognizing the imminent necessities of our moment — and to do this in the public forum known as the culture. As you proceed, there are two things to be mindful of. One is that the most essential patterns to observe and work with are in your own mind. The mind truly is a microcosm of family, of society and of the global condition, all of which are in upheaval now. Second is that rather than innovating something new, you’re more likely to be updating something traditional, something well-established or time-honored. You are taking something that has already existed and modifying it for a new context. Originality is not an actual value, since nearly everything is derivative. Yet the retrieval of something functional, something that works, in a new context, is original enough for anyone whose goal is to get the job done rather than to make a splash. There is work to do. Do it well, and work joyfully.
Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) — You have recently passed through one phase of an initiation, which had the effect of demonstrating your commitment to the truth. I don’t mean The Truth in some mystical sense, but rather your commitment to what you know. This initiation will last for a while, and proceed as you take on ever-greater challenges in the world. I suggest you consciously embrace and love every minute, day, week and month of it. As a Pisces you tend to take things on faith. This, however, creates some famously skeptical people, who are in reaction. I suggest you view the faith versus fact issue as an equation where both sides will eventually balance. If something is valid and authentic, it will probably stand up both to a test of faith and also to an examination of the data. Probably, but not definitely. There are times when a set of facts will point to an absurd conclusion, and times when faith will bear out a point of view that is otherwise not supported by known reality. You must therefore be gentle and avoid coming to quick conclusions. The beauty of your sign is that it grants the ability to be circumspect, which means to look around the whole circle of existence. Keep an open mind, and pay attention to what both your senses and your intuition tell you. In general, pay attention.