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Lots of Squares, and Notes on Lesson 5

Dear Friend and Reader:

Currently we are within range of many square aspects. Monday is the first quarter Moon, which is a square in the Moon-Sun cycle. Additionally on Monday, Venus in Gemini is square Neptune in Pisces; Mercury in Cancer is square Mars in Aries; and in a few days, Mars in Aries is square Pallas Athene in Capricorn.

All of these involve planets close to the immediate human sensory and emotional experience. It's easy to see and feel what is unfolding, including a new wave of protests across the country (this time against what's been going on in Portland, Oregon: federal tactical police, without insignia and driving unmarked vans, in the style of Vladimir Putin's military, arresting protesters).

The slow-moving Mercury-Mars square describes the anger and the direct action (Mercury is still slow and powerful after the recent retrograde). Similarly slow-moving Venus square Neptune is describing a degree of emotional deception and self-deception, where the "sides" of the issue are blurred: a Gemini placement under the thrall of Neptune.

And Mars square Pallas Athene describes rage, frustration and action cast in the style of politics: the action of Mars on eminently political Pallas in Capricorn. The government is currently more involved in our lives than most of us ever remember, whether we're talking about health policy, economic policy or how protests are being handled.

Americana. Photo by Eric Francis.
I Am Never Upset for the Reason I Think

This is a stressful combination of aspects, which likely describes the kinds of upset that many are experiencing at the moment. Squares describe internal tension, and Mercury, Venus and Mars make it personal. Many astrologers have noted the added influence when faster-moving and slower-moving planets are combined, which is what we currently have happening.

This will continue as both Mercury and Mars continue to act on the extraordinarily potent alignment in late Capricorn (Pluto, Jupiter and Saturn).

When I was considering what this describes when you put it all together, it started to sound like Lesson 5 from A Course in Miracles: "I am never upset for the reason I think."

This is a foundational lesson in healing. In order to solve a problem, one must see it for what it is. In order to see something for what it is, the many shades of what it's not need to be recognized and set aside.

The purpose of this lesson is to teach the student that all seeming forms of mental and emotional disturbance are the result of a deeper, underlying condition of the psyche.

One of the themes of the Course is to help the students see when differentiation matters and when it does not matter: that is, to notice when seemingly different things are the same, and to notice when there is a real distinction.

Usually, you can tell from the effects. Anything that is personally upsetting has the effect of disturbing one's peace of mind, and shares a common root. Healing occurs on the level of the root, not by treating the effect or seeming symptom. From the other side of the equation, similarity is viewed in terms of purpose. Later in the work, this is described in a few words, difficult to forget: "What has the same purpose is the same."

"I brought my guitar to the dinner table." Photo by Eric Francis.
A Rapidly Rising Fear Level

Throughout much of the planet, but particularly in the United States these days, there exists a rapidly rising level of fear. If we take the teaching of Lesson 5, we can treat any seeming source of fear as the same thing.

Of course, one common response to this is that it matters whether the source of fear is "real" or not. The Course presents a different logic: to use an old phrase, this is the distinction without a difference. If something upsets you, it upsets you, and the solution is going to be found on a deeper level than the surface manifestation.

Further, even if the source of the fear is "real," that is the very thing that calls for spiritual intervention; the thing that is coming up to be addressed and seen for what it is. It turns out, though, that the most challenging sources of fear are the ones that are illusions: made up, imagined, fake, etc.

It is dangerous to try to talk people out of their fears. This is the kind of situation where the rescuer can become the victim (as so often happens -- thank you Melanie Reinhart for explaining that to me oh so long ago).

So unless you are specifically called upon, it's better to leave people to their fears. If someone indicates that they are afraid or worried or panicked, and interested in healing this, you may intervene at their request if you feel called to do so.

Begin With Yourself

However, the place to begin is with yourself. From a wellness standpoint, constant fear is a toxic agent. It weakens and sickens the mind and body, which are facets of the same thing. I get the sense that many people are trying to address their fear by convincing themselves it's justified. Borrowing a bit from Zen, this is like trying to smooth out the surface of water with a canoe paddle.

I would note that this institution we call "the media," particularly cable TV, the big national newspapers and your phone buzzing every time someone tweets, are trying to do this: to justify their past position by describing how things are bad, getting worse, and only due to get even worse, every day, all day.

If I may be so bold: this is not good for your peace of mind. There is another way. The place to begin is with your own inner connection; your ability to listen to your own inner teacher. You might sit calmly and ask: is there anything that I need to be concerned about? Then wait patiently for the response. It's likely to be spoken in a whisper.

With love,
Planet Waves (ISSN 1933-9135) is published each Sunday and Thursday evening in Kingston, New York, Planet Waves, Inc. Core Community membership: $197/year. Editor & Publisher: Eric F. Coppolino. Web Developer: Anatoly Ryzhenko. News Editor: Spencer Stevens. Assistant Editor: Joshua Halinen. Client Services: Amy Elliott and Victoria Emory. Illustrator: Lanvi Nguyen. Senior Finance Minister, First Cavalry of the Local Economy: Andrew Slater. Archivist: Morgan Francis. Technical Assistants: Cate Ryzhenko, Emily Thing. Proofreading: Jessica Keet. Media Consultant: Andrew McLuhan. Music Director: Daniel Sternstein. Bass and Drums: Daniel Grimsland. Additional Music: Zeljko. Additional Research, Writing and Opinions: Samuel Dean, Yuko Katori, Kirsti Melto, Cindy Tice Ragusa and Carol van Strum.

Your spiritual orientation on doing the work that's right for you: a video reading by Eric Francis

Dear Friend and Reader:

Long before our current social and economic upheaval, I was designing a reading called THE DHARMA. Initially inspired by something I read in a book on Tibetan Buddhism last year, I wanted to focus a reading on connecting with purpose. The Sanskrit word "dharma" means acting as if to hold the world together.

30th Street Guitars is one of my best examples of living dharma — acting as if to hold the world together. I describe the business in the Pisces reading.
There are not many cohesive ideas about this. Most are abstract. Therapy can sometimes help, but it's expensive, and most therapists are not creative or business consultants (a precious few are).

Then suddenly society went through all these changes, and my concept for a reading turned out to be right on time.

You may have been jolted out of your previous economic reality by the ongoing financial scenario. This has affected both salaried workers and the gig economy.

In my experience as an astrologer, I know that it often takes something like this to help people hear their calling.

THE DHARMA brings some exuberance to this process. I work with the astrology, describing the environment, looking for openings and opportunities, and offering ideas to connect you with your purpose. I am good at this because it's one of the true joys of my astrological journey. If I could do nothing but creative consulting, business planning and professional focus, I would.

This reading will help you go through the changes that are upon us, whatever their source. We are in a time of extreme flux, and so this potential is present. Society is making a big retreat, and that means there is space available for you to do what you do.

This moment will not last forever. Take advantage of it while you can.

THE DHARMA reading is available as single signs (starting at $44; $22 for each additional) and all 12 signs (for $111). Each reading is fresh and original, and complements the others. At least get your sign and rising sign. You may share with your household!

Personal consulting starts at $555.

Thank you for your trust and your business.

With love,
PS — If you need a sliding-scale option for THE DHARMA, please write to

Here are free five-minute reading samples of THE DHARMA:

Monthly Horoscopes and Publishing Schedule Notes

Your extended monthly horoscope for July was published on Thursday, July 2. We published your extended monthly horoscope for June on Thursday, May 21. Please note: we normally publish the extended monthly horoscope after the Sun has entered a new sign.
Planet Waves
Monday Morning Horoscope #239 for July 27, 2020 | By Eric Francis Coppolino

The Journey of You and Chiron | A New Reading by Eric Francis

Anyone who has encountered it is curious about Chiron. Planet Waves provides one of the few dependable online sources of information on this unusual planet. For the 10th anniversary Astrology Studio reading, I will be covering Chiron in Aries — a momentous event for all those born under this sign, and of high interest to everyone else. Get instant access to this reading here.

Aries (March 20-April 19) — The Sun has moved into the most creative and expressive area of your chart -- Leo, your 5th solar house. Here is the thing: creative and expressive are not really the way of the world. Bored and stressed out more typically are. Yet what you are likely to find is that if you take the advantage that your astrology is giving you, you can stabilize in a place where you can have some real fun with your most inquisitive and artistic side. The key concept here is some ability to be consistent, and that is the nature of a fixed sign. If you are personally committed, all the distraction in the world cannot get you out of your zone. To the extent there is distraction described, it is really the potential for activity that you can focus in the direction you want. So step one is wanting. In my philosophy, curiosity is a form of desire, so wanting to see what you can do or how you might feel, or experimenting with what you might unexpectedly desire: these all count.

Photo by Lanvi Nguyen.
You can now get instant access to your 2020-21 Taurus Astrology Studio here for just $44. This reading focuses on a professional breakthrough toward the end of the year, and preparing you for this development. Venus retrograde in the spring is preparation. Mars retrograde in the autumn is preparation.

Ultimately this is a spiritual development, yet in reality we are talking about aligning your purpose with action, with a calling, and with an opportunity. Elements of the reading go out to a series of power steps in 2021. Read more.

Taurus (April 19-May 20) — This has been a tremendously unstable year for much of the world. While in general unpredictability has a torturous quality for you, Uranus in your sign suggests that either you like what is happening, or at least you're able to make some advantage out of it that you might not normally have. As strange as the world has been, most of the twisting and turning has come through your ideas about life rather than from life itself. This, too, may have a few potential modes of action. One is recognizing that beliefs are a poor substitute for seeking knowledge. Said simply, a belief is what you adhere to before you've gone on your quest for truth -- and at its best, that's what your current astrology is driving you toward. You are so dependent on all things familiar, from your home to your friends to what you do every day, that to go anyplace else may seem like wild, unknown country. That is where you need to be. Other factors are granting you emotional stability and a sense of security that you can draw on like a battery.

Your 2020-21 Gemini Astrology Studio, The Sacred Space of Self, is now available for instant access. The reading covers Venus retrograde in your sign, Vesta in your sign, Saturn in Aquarius, and the momentous astrology at the end of the year.Thank you for your business and your trust.

Gemini (May 20-June 21) — Mercury's recent aspects to Mars and to Chiron may have provoked you into either a crisis or a deep reevaluation of just what you're living for. That may have come through either anger or recognizing some past hurt you're carrying around: and one will have a way of substituting for the other. Underneath all of that is a recognition of how sensitive you are, how emotional, and how receptive. The world has been in assault mode lately, and feeling open might not seem to be a logical or sane approach to existence. I would propose it will serve you well at this time: that openness and vulnerability will be more liberating and less painful than any other way of being. Resistance is sometimes a necessary adaptation, though it cannot go on for long. In order to influence the flow of events, you need flexibility; and most of all, you need your senses on and available at all times. Then you need to think. There is no inevitability as long as there is a willingness to contemplate what is happening.

Your 2020-21 Cancer Astrology Studio is available for instant access. This year, the time of Cancer began with an eclipse on the solstice, as well as Mercury retrograde in your sign. This is astrology that points to you in a personal way, describing a transition you may not feel ready to make but have been preparing for over long years. Chiron in Aries is also a prominent factor, pointing to some pioneering developments in your professional life. I cover these aspects, and much more.

Cancer (June 21-July 22) — Mars is doing something unusual, which is spending six months in Aries, your career house. This is due to the Mars retrograde between Sept. 9 and Nov. 13, a time that will no doubt stir the pot of history. One thing that's fair to say about you is that you take your work personally. You must do professionally what is personally relevant to you. For some that is a tall order: all those relevant things are not usually associated with a paycheck. However, I suggest you set that requirement aside in place of something better, which is responding to a calling. There is a connection between what is happening in the world, and what you want and likely need to be doing. As chaotic as it is, the planetary condition is the perfect place for you to find your passion, your mission, your true intention in life. Yet for that to work, you will need to allow yourself to get involved. That means consumed, invested, interwoven, committed, intertwined: anything but an abstract relationship. There is work to be done, and that is good news for you.

You can now get instant access to your 2020-21 Leo Astrology Studio, Notes on Love and Courage. The two giants of the solar system meet up at the end of this year in your opposite sign Aquarius. Eric explores what this seminal conjunction means for you, and much more. Get your copy here for just $44.

Leo (July 22-Aug. 23) — For you, the best astrology of 2020 is yet to come. While everyone else is getting swirled around like a malted in the blender, you are watching from the sidelines taking notes. It will also help to take care of yourself, by which I mean the very basics of food, air, water, rest and movement. Yet you will also benefit from focusing a turning point in how you manage your health and other facets of your wellbeing. You know there are changes you need to make, and now is the time to get those into gear, and hone them into habits. Positive habits take longer to form than negative ones (which seem to grow overnight). Yet you have motivation: you understand why you need to do what you need to do, and by now you're feeling the internal drive to connect with those necessities. Take this seriously. Listen to the ways you're being called. Do what you need to do, and allocate the resources you need to make it happen: time as well as money, and mostly, mental and emotional bandwidth. Major progress is in motion and you will want to be ready.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22) — Do not let others dissuade you from your calling, or blow you off course. This is not the time to allow your desire for a romantic relationship to take priority over the work you feel called to do. This may not be a case of overt competition, or even something you can give a name to. It's more like how your idea of a partnership is shaping your idea of what is possible. It's essential that you see this for what it is. At this time in your life, you simply must prioritize your purpose, which translates to your vocational calling. We all must be a little leery that a relationship is the "pearl of great price." Usually, the price is a little too high. One essential metric for the quality of your interactions is whether they support your need to invest yourself in your work. Any that does not is probably not the right involvement for you to invest yourself in. Right now, the support needs to flow toward you, not away from you. There is a binary involved; it will be one or the other, and it's up to you to discern which is which.

Pre-order your full 2020-21 Virgo reading by Eric here.

Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23) — The thoughts you hold in your mind matter. The ideas you accept affect your life more than you may recognize. You need some extra filtration right now, so that you may discern what is relevant for you and what is not. You also need to do some work on what is valid from an objective standpoint, meaning having nothing to do with you personally. This is particularly important where matters of your health are concerned. On that topic, the single most important thing for any Libra Sun or rising to know is that your state of physical health is greatly determined by your emotional state. More than anything else, how you feel determines how you feel. Whether or not you decide to seek any sort of physical remedy, in the end, when you feel better emotionally, you feel better all over, and much of the time it has little to do with medicine. There is a connection between your state of mind and whether what you believe is true. So this calls for some effort and even more reflection. Reading books will be helpful.

Pre-order your full 2020-21 Libra reading by Eric here.

You may have instant access to your 2019-20 Scorpio Astrology Studio. This reading addresses the current jolt to your relationships, as well as the profound thought transformation you're going through. I consider some deep matters of self-identity and where that meets personal healing. Astrology Studio comes with a bonus recording, "Self and Society," which looks at the astrology describing the busy intersection of the individual and collective. Order your copy here.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22) — Art is an excellent way to process whatever you're moving through emotionally. Whatever you think of as creative process counts, though I do mean active rather than passive: making something personally, rather than consuming or experiencing something that someone else did. A little of that might be helpful, though you want your experience to be from you, about you, and centered within yourself. In 2020, that is the tricky part: this notion of 'centered within oneself' barely exists, because so much has been externalized. We tend to live so far outside of ourselves, and are in a sense never alone due to our phones tagging along with us everywhere we go, connecting us to everyone we have ever known. Give yourself some time and space offline, alone with your thoughts, your paints, your notebook and/or your musical instrument. Go someplace you have never been. You will benefit from this kind of exploration; it is the essence of inner work.

Your Astrology Studio reading for Sagittarius Sun or rising sign covers Jupiter's conjunction to the Galactic Core, a review of Jupiter in Sagittarius and a preview of forthcoming Jupiter in Capricorn. I focus on the Saturn-Pluto conjunction and many other exciting facets of your astrology. My readings are easygoing and easy to follow, and address real-life matters of life, work and relationships.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22) — Something called the South Node (or the Moon's descending node) has entered your sign and will be with you for the next 16 months or so. This is a time of deep personal clearing: of letting go of all that is no longer true about you. Sagittarius wants to expand constantly, and this is a time of pruning back, focusing, refinement, and most of all, of sorting out. Your sorting process must be conducted on one basis only: what is helpful to you, and what is not. This is the time in your life when you will learn what "helpful" and "unhelpful" mean. This goes for everything from the food you eat to who you relate to; from what you do with your time, to what you choose to own and what you choose to let go of. Remember that there is a lesson in each decision you make, and each will contribute to your total, gradually developing understanding of how you decide what is good for you.

If you have a Capricorn Sun, rising sign or Moon and could use some insights about the challenges and opportunities life is sending your way, order the 2020 Capricorn Astrology Studio by Eric Francis Coppolino. Some of the most era-defining astrology has been centered on your sign in recent years, and that includes the biggest current astrological events. It also makes an amazing gift for loved ones.

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20) — You are now at the end of a major Saturn transit -- the return of Saturn to your birth sign. This was also your official "Saturn return" if you're approaching age 30 or age 58, though the effect is similar. You either finish the transit, or you get stuck there for a while, until you do (and that is not easy). Saturn will be in your sign for just a few more months, through mid-December. Think back to what you started in late 2017. What learning process did you enter? What changes did you start to go through? In particular, what shifts began in your professional or vocational life? And finally, what about your relationship to your family? That's the big one: the one you cannot escape reckoning with. Is there some way you feel like your family is holding your identity hostage? Is there some way that you've sacrificed it to them? Now is the time to get it back.

Your 2020-21 Aquarius Astrology Studio is available for instant access. This coming winter, your sign hosts a major conjunction: Jupiter conjunct Saturn, the traditional ruler of Aquarius. That event is exact on Dec. 21, 2020. Eric also covers Saturn moving into your sign from Capricorn during the year, in this not-to-be-missed reading. Order your copy here.

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) — The notion of "psychological material" has gone the way of the eggbeater, the balsa wood airplane and synchronized swimming. However, you might want to key into the idea, and ask yourself what you're actually grappling with -- and whether you want to set a healing agenda for yourself. Jupiter, Saturn and Pluto remain in your solar 12th house, where (symbolically) we sweep all of the stuff that it's not convenient to address. It's also the attic full of stuff from the past that all humans sooner or later encounter from their karmic and ancestral lines. People used to care about this thing. I suggest it would be a very good idea for you to do so, as this alignment will not happen again while anyone currently alive is walking around on the planet. For Aquarius Sun and rising, you have a rare window into your psyche. You have an opportunity, in a sense, to travel back in time, and resolve matters with people who are long gone. Start the dialog and keep it going as long as you can. Learn as much as you can -- there is plenty.

Astrology Studio for Pisces | A New Reading by Eric Francis

This is a momentous time in collective history, and a turning point in your life. As the year develops, most of the movement — including Pisces' ruling planet Jupiter, and the Jupiter-Saturn conjunction — will be pointing into Aquarius, the most sensitive and innermost angle of your chart. I will also cover the retrogrades of Venus and Mars, and the forthcoming Jupiter-Pluto conjunction in your friendship sign Capricorn. Mostly, I will help you orient on your profound journey, and offer guidance how to harmonize with the world at this unusual time. Get instant access to this reading here.

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) — You can put the friction in your chart to good use. Usually people see minor conflict or the bump and grind of life as an annoyance. For you, it's a source of heat, light and the sparks you need to light your fire. You don't need to provoke conflict, just notice it. And then tap into the little power sources that you discover. This will only work if you have a sense of humor about it. Nearly everything is at least a little funny, and many things are a total scream. So keep the gleam in your eye as you look and listen to the world going round. See the irony in the contradictions, of which there are currently plenty. People count on your point of view, if only as a way to measure their own. Therefore, remember your influence, and offer a playful but sincere presentation of your ideas. The world is a mess right now. People are afraid of their own shadow, and you can smell the agendas from all the way down in Antarctica. Stay high above the scourge of seriousness.

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