Astrological Hurricane Season

Barred spiral galaxy NGC 1300. Photo by NASA, ESA, Hubble Heritage Team.

Dear Friend and Reader:

It’s now hurricane season, a time of year when the conditions are correct for the formation of big, cyclonic storms. Hurricanes get their energy from the ocean’s warmth, and as the oceans have increased in temperature, more energy is available. You might describe the positions of the planets this way as well: the hotter they get, the more energy is available here on Earth.

The short version of the story is that the Sun is now moving through the Uranus-Pluto square — what I call the 2012-era aspect. We are also about to experience two powerful eclipses concurrent with Mercury retrograde in Scorpio. The combined result will be a sustained phase of planetary energy that will make itself known many ways.

In one sense the whole year has led to this moment — the extended moment of autumn 2013. In reality the setup goes back a lot further; let’s see if I can bring you up to date. (If you want further background, search for an article called The Road to Xibalba in the Planet Waves archives.)

Hurricane Earl, from 2010, was a long-lived and powerful tropical cyclone which became the first major hurricane to threaten New England since Hurricane Bob in 1991. Photo: NOAA.

Around 2008, an aspect pattern started forming, which involved Pluto ingressing Capricorn. If you were following the astrology blogs at the time, it was just about the only topic going. Pluto is a slow-mover (the slowest-moving planet used by most astrologers, who will be catching up to the Kuiper Belt and Eris in their next lifetimes). Slow means influential; slow means that Pluto events last a while. Pluto means that nothing is the same after he’s come through town.

Speculation about Pluto in Capricorn goes back many years; it was perceived in advance as one of those really ominous transits, and now we are in the midst of it. Pluto in a sign helps define a whole era of time, concentrating and focusing change in the topic areas associated with the sign in question. Depending on where Pluto is in its orbit, it can take between 12 and 30 years to make it through one sign. It will be in Capricorn until 2023-2024.

The subject area of Capricorn is the structure of society. Corporations, governments, families and traditions all are covered by Capricorn.

Pluto is both creative and destructive. It brings change, and in the path of those changes there can be considerable progress. Yet the door can also open up for some serious negativity. One example was the Saturn-Pluto opposition of 2001-2002. A few astrologers predicted terrorism for this era; none that I am aware of predicted a world war lasting 12 years and counting.

The first year that Pluto touched the foothills of Capricorn, we experienced the financial collapse of 2008. I can still see the smirk on Henry Paulson’s face as he announced that the bailouts would begin, trying so hard to suppress his glee. I remember well John McCain suspending his presidential campaign, allegedly to solve the problem with his own bare hands. Financial institutions were collapsing in house-of-cards style, and the money was flowing freely.

Astrologers around the world muttered, “Pluto in Capricorn has begun.” (Banking policy spotters around the world muttered, “yep, I told you so.” They had.)

One of the momentous institutional failures at the beginning of Pluto in Capricorn was American International Group, a vast insurance company. Many banks were bailed out; many that you have not heard of went under. Photo by Neil Irwin.

In 2011, another (somewhat quicker) slow-mover — Uranus — ingressed Aries. On that very day (March 11, 2011), within hours of the ingress, a tsunami and earthquake took out a chunk of Japan, causing a huge mess at several nuclear power plants, the most famous of which was Fukushima.

Astrologers around the world muttered: “Oh shit. Uranus in Aries. And oh. Uranus square Pluto. Here we go.” Those who follow global astrology no doubt noticed the connections of both transits to the Aries Point — the first degree of Aries, where all things political intersect with all things personal.

Everyone remembers 2011, the year the Uranus-Pluto square really began: the protests that spread through the Middle East and across North Africa; the protests in Wisconsin; and then that autumn, the worldwide Occupy movement began in a private park in New York City. Real people were taking their bodies to the scene of the crime and demanding action.

And you may remember, if you haven’t suppressed it, the agony of that first month after the meltdowns in Japan, as the truth slowly came out. People who understand nuclear power know that it’s perhaps the most personal-as-political thing there is if, for instance, a little strontium-90 lodges in one’s bones.

The Uranus-Pluto square has been working its way across the signs Aries and Capricorn, and will make a total of seven contacts. The next one is on Nov. 1. It is the midpoint of the cycle — the fourth of seven events. There will be another during the next eclipse season, on April 21, 2014; and then another on Dec. 15, 2014. The last will be on March 16, 2015. Then the energy of the aspect will slowly wane, though it can do so with considerable influence, even for another five years.

Every now and then (quite a bit, lately), other planets get into the aspect pattern, and bring its properties out into the open. For example, Jupiter is now in Cancer, making what’s called a T-square with Uranus and Pluto.

Recently Venus and then Mercury passed through Libra, completing a grand cross. Challenging events associated with Mercury’s passage through the aspect were the Colorado floods and the mass shooting at the Navy Yard. When that Libra leg of the cross is filled, it can be intense. Part of that is because the grand cross is the most powerful aspect pattern. Adding to the energy is the fact that there’s a little-known slow-moving planet, similar to Pluto, already in Libra opposite Uranus and square Pluto — Typhon, the namesake of typhoons.

The Occupy Wall St. movement was a herald of the Uranus-Pluto square. Photo by Eric Francis.

The first thing that happens this autumn is that the Sun in Libra passes through the aspect structure. On Oct. 1, the Sun will square Pluto (that is deep, introspective and compelling changes that can take root on the soul level). On Oct. 3 it will make an opposition to Uranus (surprises, shocking developments, revelations, inventions), and over the next few days, a conjunction to Typhon (exact Oct. 6) (perhaps passing through the eye of the storm). On Oct. 12, the Sun will make a square to Jupiter, which tends to magnify things and also provoke decisions.

Even if these aspects were happening inisolation from each other, we would feel them. That they are happening concentrated within a few days means there is likely to be a global effect. You don’t need a crystal ball to guess what that effect might be — some lunatics in Congress are threatening to hold the United States, and by extension the world financial networks, hostage.

Their issue is that they don’t want the Affordable Care Act (also called Obamacare, invented by the rightwing Heritage Foundation, enacted by Congress, signed by the president and approved by the Supreme Court) to be any further entrenched. This autumn is the time that the health insurance exchanges open in all 50 states.

If you live in England or Canada or Sweden or someplace civilized like that, this must sound awfully weird — to threaten to push the country into default, and/or to defund and therefore shut down the government, because a small minority of legislators don’t like a law that provides health services for people. I wish I was making this up, then I could edit it and things would be different.

If that happens, we will certainly experience the Uranus-Pluto square full-on, in solar style. Note that the Sun, which is doing all the passing-through, in mundane astrology (the astrology of worldly affairs) represents the head of state. The fact that the head of state is going to have a wild ride for at least the first two weeks of October means that the whole government may be in turmoil.

Speaking of Oct. 1, that’s the day that Mercury enters what’s sometimes called shadow phase — the earliest measure of the Mercury retrograde effect beginning. The retrograde itself — the peak of the event, when Mercury appears to move in reverse longitude through the zodiac — begins on Oct. 21 and ends Nov. 10. The second shadow phase ends Nov. 27. This is definitely something to plan around. Follow the Planet Waves blog and Planet Waves FM and your member editions for ongoing details, which will be useful to keep up with.

Typhon, the most fearsome monster of Greek mythology, was so terrible that it took Zeus himself to fight him. Now a planet by this name is part of the cardinal grand cross — Typhon, Jupiter, Uranus, Pluto — and in a moment, the Sun.

This is actually pretty good timing for most purposes in the Western world, since we leave Mercury retrograde behind around Thanksgiving, and well before the end-of-the-year madness reaches its peak. However, as this happens, Venus is warming up to one of its relatively rare retrogrades (Venus is retrograde least of all the planets). That takes place Dec. 21 through Jan. 31 (not including shadow phases). I will come back to that one next month.

Right in the mix of Mercury retrograde, making things especially interesting, is a pair of eclipses. Both are impressive in their own right. All eclipses come with a sense of acceleration, concentrated experiences and the feeling that fate is in operation. Eclipses are points of no return — and these two occur in the mix of much other astrology.

As for the eclipses — the first is the Aries Full Moon, which is a penumbral lunar eclipse. The Moon will pass through the outermost edge of the Earth’s shadow on Friday, Oct. 18. One of the most interesting features of the eclipse is that the Moon will be conjunct a major new discovery, Eris (the planet that got Pluto ‘demoted’).

Then as the Moon is waning, the Sun ingresses Scorpio on Oct. 23. About 10 days later on Nov. 3, we experience the corresponding New Moon event — a part-annular, part-total eclipse that is one heck of an impressive chart.

Eclipse of the Sun in Scorpio on Nov. 3 is a combined total and annular eclipse, notably, conjunct Saturn. It also happens during Mercury retrograde in Scorpio. You can see the eclipse group of planets to the left side of the chart. They include Mercury, the North Node, the Sun, the Moon and Saturn. Juno, square the eclipse group, makes more than a cameo (potentially stealing the show), bringing in eternal themes of relationship and social justice.

The eclipse (a conjunction of the Moon and Sun) will be conjunct Mercury, the North Node and Saturn. That’s a lot of planets concentrated together, during what’s already one of the most profound times of year even when nothing special is going on.

It will be essential, in the midst of all of this, to keep your focus, to maintain emotional grounding, and to stay in balance — all of which will be easier said than done. When the astrology is acting up, a good astrologer can be helpful. Through this whole season, I plan to be working on my 2014 annual readings for all 12 signs and rising signs.

For the past few weeks I’ve been studying and casting charts for the next 12 months, and they are pretty special, even by contemporary standards. What’s interesting about the autumn of 2013 is that it closely resembles what will be happening all through 2014 — the peak year of the Uranus-Pluto square.

My annual will be called The Mars Effect. Having read this article, when I say that Mars will be passing through the Jupiter-Uranus-Pluto-Typhon configuration not once but three times, that will be meaningful — we are about to go on one heck of a ride. We are, as of this moment, embarking on what may be the most profound phase of the extended 2012 era; I would estimate this stretches from October of 2013 through August of 2014.

Confronted with this information, some astrologers will say hold on and some will say let go. I will say: stoke your vision, pay attention and look where you want to be.


Planet Waves Monthly for October 2013 #968 | By Eric Francis

Aries (March 20-April 19) — Others will have little choice but to deal with the fact that you cannot be anyone but yourself. Now, from one point of view, is it really possible ever to be anyone but yourself? Yet we all know how much faking so many people do. You’ve even done a little yourself every rare once in a while. You can count on opening your mouth and saying exactly what comes to mind, and trusting that the results will sort themselves out. I suggest you notice what you say to whom. Rather than being far flung and out of control, you’re being more precise than you may think. It just may take you some time to have respect for your own point of view, especially if you manage to send out some ripples or have a few objections sent your way. Pay attention to who says what; notice who is turned on by your outbursts of authenticity. The one thing that nobody can complain about is that you’re getting a lot done. I suggest you engage that fully, and focus an agenda of everything you want to get done for the rest of the year (assuming you’re on such a schedule) and set about doing it sooner rather than later. Get a solid start on every project; get your research and your facts together; make progress while there’s progress to be made.

Taurus (April 19-May 20) — You could set free an enormous amount of passion, of creativity, of karma — perhaps all three. This is less likely to happen following a conscious plan on your part, but is more likely to follow the path of one thing leads to another. Taurus is often described as a reserved sign, and on the surface it may seem to be that way. Yet right below your exterior is an ocean of energy; you know it and so does everyone around you. In some ways it’s amazing that you manage to keep yourself contained — though for the next few weeks, I don’t suggest you try too hard. Rather, do what you can to sense where you’re experiencing a buildup of energy. Vital force is vital force, though it takes a number of forms, and can be directed many different ways. You might think you’re experiencing anger when you’re really feeling the drive to connect. You might think you’re experiencing fear when you’re experiencing desire. If you can pay attention to the content of your feelings below the form they seem to be taking, it’ll be easier for you to use your energy productively and avoid a mishap — such as directing your emotions in a direction that might not be appropriate. You still have the power of choice, and with it the ability to access wisdom — which will become stronger the more you use it.

Gemini (May 20-June 21) — Maintain your boundaries, especially at work. You may not be able to mind your own business but it will be helpful if you give the impression that you’re doing so. Rather than asking questions, listen to what people say. You’re likely to find that people voluntarily tell you everything you need to know. All you’ll have to do is assemble the pieces, though be aware that on any matter of real significance, this could take until the second week of November. That’s when the forthcoming Mercury retrograde ends. Mercury, as the planet associated with Gemini, has personal relevance to you. Apart from the usual de rigueur stuff about making commitments or major purchases, the movements of Mercury are closely related to information coming to the surface of consciousness. Because this Mercury retrograde is in Scorpio, that relates to what is concealed below the surface. The retrograde is about going deeper, though there will be bursts of revelation both around the 21st of this month and the 11th of next month. I suggest, therefore, that you not finalize decisions, plans or even opinions about pending matters until you’re fully informed. What is brewing looks important enough to take seriously. This astrology could represent an opportunity, the solution to a problem, or an insight about a health matter. Most notably, it represents the emergence of a currently concealed option you will be happy to have available.

Cancer (June 21-July 22) — Take advantage of unusual developments in your professional life to stake out new territory. Your chart has been pointing you in the direction of new horizons for a long time. By that I don’t mean a change of career but rather the exploration of your talent. I also mean establishing yourself on a new level as a respected member of your profession, and one known and valued for what you do. This is a sensitive phase, and rather than being about guaranteed achievement, it’s a time to preserve what you’ve gained, build on your achievements, and notice the specific opportunities that are available to establish yourself. You may notice some contrast between what you’re capable of and what others are capable of — which is not an invitation to be competitive. Rather, you’re at a phase of your work where teaching and learning are emphasized strongly. Stabilize yourself and build your confidence by both working with a mentor and taking one or two people under your wing. The process of developing your own talent will be greatly enhanced by engaging with the skills, ideals and approach to life that others use. Your professional success depends less on your standing out than it does on making yourself an integral part of what you do — what you might think of as your inner reputation as opposed to your outer one. As you’ll see, the two are related.

Leo (July 22-Aug. 23) — You may think it would be wonderful if you could resolve that tension between dreaming big and wanting a perfect sense of security about the future. At the moment there is plenty of it — the bigger your vision, the less ‘safe’ and stable you may feel. Yet much as an electrical battery depends on those two polarities holding a charge, you are depending on this tension. In physics it’s called potential difference — with voltage. I suggest you work with the seeming contradiction between the way things are and the way things could be; between having your life be good enough and taking a risk to create something better. Much of this is in the realm of developing ideas that may ‘threaten’ your old ideas, or the mental patterns of the people around you. This, too, will present you with a form of tension that you can work with as a source of energy. At the same time, you seem to have no shortage of creativity and drive to move your ideas and plans forward. Here is the thing I would caution about: When you shake things up, that can come back to you as self-doubt, and in a weird way, as guilt. I suggest you proceed with the feeling that you’re entitled to express yourself as you are called to do, and to work with the formula “improvement is a form of necessary change.”

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22) — Treat joint finances and ‘permanent’ commitments with more care than usual. I don’t mean hesitancy — I mean scrutiny. Inaccuracies that slip into the mix, whether intentional (deception) or seemingly unintentional (overlooking details) or careless (skipping over due diligence) will cause problems in the future, so there is an added necessity to proceed with impeccability. With Mars soon to be in your sign that would not normally be an issue, though an opposition to Neptune is saying that your mantra needs to be ‘reality check’. Check the facts, investigate your doubts; if everything seems perfect, get another opinion; if you find a problem, solve the problem and then find two others to fix. The heart of the matter, however, is how you handle negotiations with close partners. This is especially true if you don’t know they’re negotiations. However any time there is an agreement on the table, especially if it involves money, pause, remember that you’re actually in a negotiation-commitment process, and then invoke your ‘reality check’ mantra. You need to take your time discerning the motives of the people around you. Even if your intuition gives you good information, make sure that you back it up with evidence collected from observation over time. When you’re dealing with Neptune, which you are at this time in your life, taking careful, dated notes is one of the most useful ways to stay awake.

Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23) — An eclipse in your opposite sign Aries will give you a new perspective on a relationship. It’s like a veil will be pulled back allowing you to gaze into the unknown. The underlying reality is different than the one you can see under normal circumstances. You have experienced plenty the past couple of years that you don’t fully understand, spread throughout a diversity of situations. They all have something in common, and this is what I suggest you look for when you have those momentary opportunities to peer beyond the facade of existence. What you learn will help you sort out the issue of what you seem to want versus what you seem to get. You will feel better taking even small steps in this direction; I can offer you a clue — what you (really) want is unlikely to be the standard scenario of a comedy ending in suburban marriage. You have something edgier in mind; something more creative; something with more potential. Along the way, I suggest you evaluate your experiences not on whether they add up to your fantasy but rather how you feel about yourself. Each experience you have with another person has a way of influencing your inner relationship. This has nothing to do with the storyboard of expectations — it’s all about the real chemistry that you share with others, which in turn shapes your life and your experience of living.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22) — Consider any and every change you’ve avoided making the past few years. Consider everything that’s stuck in your life, the places you experience boredom, and the ways you want to break free. Make some notes on all the promises you made with yourself about what you would be doing by the time you reached your current age. Astrological influences are gathering that may incline you to catch up on everything, all at once. I don’t recommend that as a method. Saturn is still in your sign; as much as that is reputed by astrologers to represent something that will not move, in fact Saturn never stops moving, and is your most dependable longterm influence when it comes to making real changes. Saturn’s presence is about focusing your energy and directing your passion in a way that’s directly integrated with that elusive thing known as logic. If you set out to accomplish a longterm goal, you need to be willing to take the necessary actions on the days that you don’t feel like doing it; on the days when that particular goal is not high on your priorities. This is a form of discipline that’s not inherent in your emotionally dominated sign — though I suspect it’s a personal goal for you to be able to focus on this. You now have an incentive. I’ll remind you in a month, but please don’t forget.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22) — You seem to be pursuing some recognition or success, which you’re associating with money. Is this a valid connection? What if you considered the participation-visibility aspect of your work as one idea, and the business success as another? I know that the two are often conflated — for example, fame (a form of participation, based on acclaim) is associated with fortune (financial success). They’re not the same thing, on any level. Acknowledgement for what you do, and the opportunities that open up, is its own critter. Along with this you may include the integrity you put into your work, the message, and the ways in which you grow as a result of expressing yourself. Success in business is not assured from any of this, nor is it a matter of luck. It’s a matter of careful planning, conscious decision-making, a learning process and the careful choice of partners. Looked at this way, it’s clear why scrambling up these two kinds of success ladders doesn’t work so well. No matter how well-known a person is, no matter how well respected, that does not ensure or even hint at cleverness when it comes to handling money and business arrangements. And, sadly, skill with money is often associated with lack of integrity — that is not inherently true. Take these two sides of the equation separately and you will make a lot more progress — of the kind known as maturity.

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20) — It will be a good idea to step back from the festivities, the fuss and the fireworks that develop later in the month and into early November. You’re focused on certain specific tasks right now, and you know you’re operating within the constraints of time and resources. Your astrology suggests you have enough of both, but not if you squander them on a drama that, in the end, you will discover had nothing to do with you. There are many ways to use the substantial astrology that’s rapidly approaching — astrology that will grant you visibility, the potential to meet new friends, and most of all, that will focus your sense of purpose. Therefore, start with purpose, which is similar to intent, and then rather brutally, evaluate every situation on whether you think it will advance your cause or work against it. As the next few weeks develop, this will be especially true of social situations, in which I would include parties, partying, going out and mindless diversion on the Internet. Alternately, the environment you’re in is very well suited for establishing your reputation based on real accomplishments, developing working relationships with people and carving out your special niche in the culture. Some of this is subject to serendipity and synchronicity; none of it is casual or haphazard. The temptation to be popular is more likely to work against you than it is to help. Therefore, keep your focus.

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) — You may be thinking: is this all some kind of test of character, or of my integrity? I don’t know if it’s a test, but you may be experiencing the consequences aspect of life more than you’re experiencing its promise or potential. They are all related. All consequences are results, and what they are results of is, precisely, some form of potential. This works for ‘good’ things and for ‘bad’ things. The law of cause and effect is in action all the time. The difference between a sleeping person and an awake one is consciously using causes (motives, intent, decision) to get an effect (a result of some kind). This implies becoming conscious of all the superstition that is used as a substitute for good, old-fashioned karma. You are moving into a time of increased power of manifestation — what some astrologers might call success, but I think it’s edgier than that. Your choices will get results, though those results are the product of something. You are also living with the effects of what you have created — and the astrology I’m describing will grant you extra power to make adjustments to what currently exists. This will be especially true if you develop your understanding of how things got to be the way they are. And once you arrive at that understanding, consider it a rough draft and go deeper. Cause and effect are never separate, which is an idea that could save the world.

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) — You would be amazed, if you could see the truth, the extent to which your choices today are based on beliefs that are many years or many generations old — and which are no longer applicable to the world in which we live. Some of these may masquerade as traditions, respect for the way things are done, morals, ethics and ‘fundamental values’. I suggest you put the lot of it up for evaluation. It’s impossible to question a belief unless you know you have it, so the first step is knowing what it is you think is true. Then take the next step and evaluate why you think it’s true. Question every assumption until it’s a habit, which may lead you to reject assuming anything at all. The very most important thing you can question is anything — anything and everything — taught to you by your parents. Questioning it does not make it, or them, or you, wrong — rather, it’s that once you start clearing the clutter, you will discover windows and doors, and the light and fresh air they allow into your awareness is known as a vision. I don’t mean this as a metaphor, but rather as a direct idea: what has the strongest potential is what you can actually see, and visualize, down to the details. Visualizations might ‘come to you’ or you might construct them like a draftsman makes a drawing. Either way or both — have at it.

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