Astrology About You and Your Vision

Dear Friends Around the World:

Rune spread for Capricorn, with ancient Egyptian pottery fragment. All photos in the first two articles were taken by Eric Francis.

I would like to take a moment and tell you what I’ve done.

Much of this issue will be about Vision Quest; I also have a monthly horoscope for you, a link to my weekly horoscope and a piece on February’s planetary movements.

Vision Quest marks my 17th year doing annual readings for the signs. When you do something every year for so long, it’s necessary to move it forward and keep it fresh.

This set of readings is a combination of classical astrology, modern astrology, rune reading, artifact reading, music and visual art. I take a wide view of ‘spiritual’ and growth, and approach the questions and themes of the astrology many ways, all of them aesthetically pleasing.

Most astrology is about astrology. This is astrology that’s about you. I make sure you understand why I’m saying what I am saying. People new to astrology will be able to follow along, while astrology students will learn my basic ideas about how to interpret.

I cover long-term transits, including the resolution of Uranus square Pluto; how to use a challenging transit, Saturn square Neptune, which I would sum up in one word as synthesis; the Uranus-Eris conjunction (not getting much airplay); and Mars retrograde in Sagittarius and Scorpio.

Rune spread for Leo, with modern artifact — Berol pencils.

Themes of leadership, ethics and dealing with the onslaught of negativity our times are handing us feature prominently.

I offer strong guidance and solid ideas about how to stay on mission. Everything is centered around personal growth, individual responsibility and, most of all, participating in life meaningfully.

I offer my first detailed teachings on the subject of tantra in some of the readings, which you might think of as a holistic guide to relating. This weaves into the Mars retrograde experience in Scorpio and Sagittarius that takes place this spring and summer.

My use of audio readings and written readings is designed to give you multiple viewpoints, and explain things in different ways. I want to speak to all sides of the brain — rational, intuitive, creative and instinctual. Different people learn different ways. The written pieces are delivered as web pages and as PDFs; the audio pieces are currently in a player that works on most devices, and will be available as downloads — if not immediately then in a few days.

Vision Quest includes some 50 musical compositions (five or six per sign, with a few of the shorter ‘ornament’ pieces repeated), all composed by me and the Brothers Daniel. We’ve been meeting every Saturday afternoon since October. These are widely diverse compositions, from drum dialogs to longer, meditative pieces using synthesizer, guitar, piano and percussion sets.

Project paperwork for Vision Quest, all 12 signs — all the charts, notes, annotated printouts and rune photos.

They have names like Star Mountain, Magic Carpet, Sunrise, Better Instinct and We Love You Carlos.

The rune and artifact readings are presented in magnificent photos, which are offered in high-resolution so that you can print them and use them as altar pieces, or in your diary. I also include the astrology chart I’ve used for each sign.

This year, I’ve taken a full-spectrum approach to this annual. As usual, we have an excellent selection of articles by other writers.

We expect to have this all up and finished on the website early Saturday afternoon; we will need the day Friday to put on the finishing touches.

Thank you for participating.

With love,

Detail of a carved decor on the Lakshmana Temple in Khajuraho. Photo by Jean-Pierre Dalbera / CC

Warming up to Mars Retrograde 

February brings many new developments, with the first week arriving with revelations of an inner and emotional nature. Amidst the chaos and madness of the world, it will help to stay in tune with your inner movements, and not put it off till next Sunday or the Sunday after.

Mercury retrograde is now over. Both 2015 and 2016 began with particularly challenging retrogrades of Mercury, which seem to be getting more complicated as the seasons run away. My impression is that because our lives are ever more enmeshed in Mercury-ruled devices, when we get Mercury retrograde we get a lot of it these days.

HH Dagchen Rinpoche closes the Hevajra Mandala of colored sand after the highest yoga tantra empowerment at Tharlam Monastery of Tibetan Buddhism in Kathmandu, Nepal. Photo by Wonderlane / CC

The way we live today would be enough to make the head of a computer engineer from 1990 spin off its axis. We are surrounded by computing devices, storage devices, communication devices, networks and applications, and all of these are associated with Mercury. So Mercury retrograde makes a bigger wave through a wider, deeper pool in which we are all treading water.

Mercury retrograde takes a little time to work out. What is called the ‘echo phase’ ends Feb. 14, after which Mercury enters new territory for the first time since Dec. 19. This reads as a moment to get your strategy for living in order, though there is a little pun on Valentine’s Day.

Mars, the planet of desire and action, is now in Scorpio, the sign of hormones, emotions and deep transformations. Soon after Valentine’s Day, Mars slips into the degrees where it will be retrograde this spring and summer. So we are in the first steps of preparation for what promises to be a genuinely important phase of astrology.

Mars will make its way across the rest of Scorpio and enter Sagittarius in early March, where it will station retrograde. Said simply, Mars retrograde involves Sagittarius, the sign of spirituality and religion; and Scorpio, the sign of desire, hormones and sex.

Statue of Hevajra and consort at Chicago Art Institute, Chicago, Illinois, USA. Photo by Wonderlane / CC

Are we talking about oil and water, or two great tastes that go great together?

I think that the blend of Mars, Scorpio and Sagittarius is an invitation to tantric study. Tantra is the approach to spirituality that includes sexuality. It’s the respectful approach to relationships that includes conscious sexuality and conscious, loving relating.

Our whole society seems to have moved light years from this viewpoint in the past 20 years. For a while it seemed we were heading in a humane direction, but many other forces are at work.

It’s going to take some focus to claim back our full humanity, which includes experiencing ourselves as whole beings, rather than divided and conquered ones.

One author who has addressed this theme with some real impact is Omega faculty member David Deida.

In his book Blue Truth, he writes, “Everything you do right now ripples outward and affects everyone. Your posture can shine your heart or transmit anxiety. Your breath can radiate love or muddy the room in depression. Your glance can awaken joy. Your words can inspire freedom. Your every act can open hearts and minds.”

You might say that Mars retrograde in Scorpio and Sagittarius is the quest for wholeness, which includes the power of desire. It is this power that drives us, and which can be our strength. Too often it’s turned against us, co-opted by marketing and turned into something toxic and violent.

Mars retrograde is the quest for honest, loving desire. That quest happens inside you. It will involve making peace with who you are and what you want. It will call on you to seek and find the blocks to the awareness of love.

Good old Aleister Crowley, whose wisdom is just being discovered in spiritual circles, has said, “Love is the law. Love under will.” That’s a good way to sum up the forthcoming Mars retrograde.


Short Monthly Horoscope for February 2016, #1085 | By Eric Francis

Aries (March 20-April 19) — Love always has conditions, and it’s easier if you understand them. To keep things simple, I suggest you have just one: that you be loved for who you are. For that to be possible, you must not only stand boldly in your truth, you need to speak up about what is most important to you. Don’t expect others to read your mind.


Taurus (April 19-May 20) — Many factors are guiding you in the direction of deeper commitment in a close partnership. You must, however, make sure that you’re ready for what you’re being offered. Be sure you don’t make promises that you’re not sure you can keep. At least for the moment, practicality must trump romantic ideals, and then truly beautiful things are possible.


Gemini (May 20-June 21) — Follow your intuition on a career matter. Listen to what you’re telling yourself. While you’re doing that, it would be wise to stay three drinks behind the crowd at any work-related event. You must be clear in your understanding of people and not second-guess your perception. Remove any silly reasons to doubt yourself and you’ll find your way to confidence.


Cancer (June 21-July 22) — You don’t need to pursue anyone; merely be aware of who is focusing on you, and initiate the conversation you want to have. Invest your energy in understanding how people feel about you. Notice how your potential opens up or seems to close down with any person you’re engaging. Keep company with people around whom you feel good about yourself.


Leo (July 22-Aug. 23) — You’re a taskmaster right now, and can get months of work done in just a few weeks. Just make sure that some of what you’re doing is devoted exclusively to the activities you want the most. Duty and responsibility are important. It’s equally vital that you have a fulfilling life. So send some of that ‘get it done’ energy your own way.


Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22) — You may feel driven to the point of obsession. This seems to be an entirely healthy impulse, though you may think that you’re going over the top. Nothing of any consequence has ever been invented during the 9-to-5 workweek. You must proceed at your own pace, in your own time, for your own motives. Then you’re bound to achieve great things.


Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23) — You will make some excellent decisions about money this month, especially if you stop and consider exactly what you’re planning. The sign of a workable choice is that it solves several problems at once and doesn’t create any new ones. So use that analysis for every option and it will soon be obvious what’s the right thing to do.


Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22) — You don’t need to exert force; gentle persuasion will get the job done. Merely be clear what you want and what you’re willing to offer. Your own confidence and presenting yourself without a shade of hesitancy will entice others to see your viewpoint, and once they do that, they’ll see how sensible it is. Explaining yourself in writing will be particularly compelling.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22) — Recent developments are leading you to take a more structured and serious approach to life, though it’s essential that you maintain your flexibility. You can afford to take everyone’s different point of view under consideration, then make up your own mind. Most excellent ideas really are a group effort, especially as they develop. Take charge of this process and you’ll get genius results.

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20) — There’s a lot you’re willing to say, and there seems to be plenty you don’t want to reveal, or don’t know how. I suggest you mind your need for privacy, though err on the side of saying too much rather than too little. People are interested in what you have to offer, and both you and they will benefit from a real conversation.


Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) — Take leadership, and do it now. Set things right from the beginning. Admit that you know more than nearly anyone else around you, and remind yourself that you have the guts to take action. If you’re clear about these things, you’ll be of true service to those around you. They will benefit from your guidance and ability to make clear decisions.


Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) — You’re now able to collect on everything you’ve been learning for so long. It’s as if all of your knowledge and experience are concentrated in one place, easy to access and ready to use. Yet you’re also connected to people in a way that you’ve never been before, as if you already know everyone you meet. Use these powers wisely.

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