Planet Waves

New York, May 5, 2015 | Trouble Viewing as Email?

Back from the Edge and Into the Future

Dear Friend and Reader:

I want to thank you for your tremendous outpouring of support in response to last Tuesday's letter. I am sleeping better at night. I am breathing easier. After Saturday's class, I took the weekend off. 

Many, many contributions and new memberships came in, along with ideas for how we can improve our situation. The resounding message that came through is that not having Planet Waves is not an option -- and it's beautiful how many people are willing to stand up for that. I have a vision and I am inviting you to meet that vision with energy, passion and a sense of adventure.

Planet Waves
Sunday/Monday's Scorpio Full Moon at a distance of 393,000 km from Earth. Selene, as he calls her, was photographed by Anthony Ayiomamitis, our astronomy photographer, as seen from Athens.
Over the past week I've heard from people following my work back from the days of Mystic Gardens on America Online UK -- and from every phase of Planet Waves since then. (By cosmic coincidence, May 1 was the 20th anniversary of the Planet Waves horoscope.)

As a result of your generous help, we are a safe distance from the edge, though close enough to be reminded that it's there; close enough to follow the edge carefully.

We still have the question of how to work with our business model in the long run -- which we're eager to engage consciously, with you. 

How we grow and develop Planet Waves is not strictly a business question (that would be easy). Rather, it's about how we align our values and ethics with the process of doing business (that is more complex). I know this is a question many of my readers can relate to, because I hear from you and work with you regularly on this very topic.

We are all doing this in a time of profound change; of psychic turmoil; of a pace of life so fast, everything often seems like a blur. We are alive in the midst of the 'digital revolution' -- an event so all-encompassing that it shapes every bit of consciousness, self-concept and the way society is organized. Yet few are engaging this whole theme in a bold way. I think that astrology, with its many levels of potential and circular approach to existence, is the perfect tool. 

As I view it, the role of Planet Waves is to make some sense of all of the movement, change and potential within and around us. I use astrology as a tool for figuring out which way is up, in the midst of total vertigo. I measure and contemplate time, in an era when time is running out of control.

Planet Waves
Here on Earth, the Grandmother Land in High Falls, NY, is a point of grounding for my work with Planet Waves. Astrology is not about outer space. It's about understanding our existence on the planet.
Our job, as I see it, is to offer some coherent ideas about what we can do with our lives; about how we can make sane choices when everything seems upside-down, impossible to predict and where there are so few places to find a moment of shelter.

Planet Waves is an unusual kind of publishing organization. We are willing work in three main subject areas simultaneously, topics which are usually split apart for a diversity of reasons -- mainly, the need to sharpen one's 'brand' to a fine point, and not to turn off potential customers. 

Those would be astrology, politics and sexuality / relationships. I define astrology as the study of existence within the living cosmos; and a reading of the signs and symbols along the path of evolution. By its inherent nature, astrology embraces every subject on Earth. It is the first truly holistic art.

I define politics as a study in how society is run. I view sexuality and relationships as a dialog in how humans relate to one another when they bring their feelings and their bodies along for the ride. We have this conversation openly and honestly in a time when most organizations -- whether focused on spirituality or the news -- simply refuse to allow the topic airtime.

The reason these topics are taboo, so far as I can tell, is because of how urgent they are right now; because there is so much personal pain that people are carrying, and few dare go near them. The taboo persists because of how many people are curious about them in a way that's howling out, it's about time. They are all connected to ethics on the deepest level, that of individual agency -- of informed choice. 

Yet to supposedly be 'safe', an astrology website is not supposed to discuss sexuality openly. To be 'safe', a political website is not supposed to mention astrology, because hey, what's next -- UFOs and crop circles? A sexuality website, to be taken seriously, is not supposed to venture into anything resembling metaphysics, and to keep as neutral a view on politics as possible.

Planet Waves
Dancing trees, on the Grandmother Land. Photo by Eric Francis.
These seemingly separate areas are the very territory we cover -- as one thing. Splitting them apart, as so many do, is a kind of rhetorical trick designed not to offend anyone.

You might be amazed how much of editorial presentation and marketing are all about dancing around who might be offended by the least little thing (especially advertisers). You would be appalled at the extent to which marketers and network execs assume you cannot think for yourself. 

We take this a step further. We explore what I think are the most important aspects of life in context, in an integrated way.

I recently had a conversation with a spiritual teacher who was of the view that politics has nothing to do with spirituality. 

My response was that the affairs of the world, and how we run society, need to manifest as the direct result of one's spirituality, or what use is it? Why study 'the right thing' without being prepared to do 'the right thing' when it actually matters?

Planet Waves takes spirituality out of a theoretical context and places it in a real-world context. One of the ways we do this is to frame world events and astrology within one another. We handle questions like: what does it mean that this thing happened at this particular time? What cycle is this part of? And what does it have to do with you and the life you're living? 

To me it seems like wholly new territory -- which I consider appropriate because we, all of us here, and our society, are in entirely new territory. We need new ways to speak honestly about what we're experiencing; that calls for new ways to see the world. The old ways are getting, well, really old, and they're not helping us solve our problems. 

Planet Waves
Mohonk Preserve as seen from the Grandmother Land.
New ways of thinking are uncomfortable, untested, and require conscious experimentation. Experimentation implies the potential for failure. It also implies the necessity for change. I think that's a positive -- stagnation is not healthy. These days, to remain alive, one must evolve.

One last thing. 

About being free of advertising, except for our own good work.

That's another way of saying that all of our funding comes from our subscribers and customers (the vast majority in transactions under $20).

I have two main objections to advertising, which is to say, two reasons I love being sponsored directly by you. First, most advertising is painful to look at, to listen to and to feel. I don't want to see it packed around my work or anything else I love. I don't want a blaring propaganda video for mayonnaise to pop up when I'm reading my Sally Brompton horoscope (but lately that's what happens). Much advertising is insulting and plays to stereotypes that we really need to leave behind. 

The second part has to do with accountability. When you see an advertisement for a pill, and you learn that the pill causes brain bleeding, or suppresses the immune system to the point of facilitating cancer, who exactly is responsible? The advertiser, or the organization that sold the ad space? Or both?

Planet Waves
Jonah Kelly Francis along the stream on the Grandmother Land.
The only things that are promoted on Planet Waves are those for which I am willing to take personal accountability. I stand behind my own work. I know what goes into it. I know what I say and write in my readings. In offering them to you, I am sharing them with you -- with heart-felt confidence, and an understanding that you might really be listening to what I'm saying. Therefore, I must be mindful and I do my best.

I feel the same way about our writers: only people I trust implicitly write for Planet Waves. I know who they are. I love them and I trust them with your heart and soul. 

Every stitch of what we publish is related to every other; and that, in turn, extends into the world -- a world we, at least, are daring enough or fool enough to look at and try to make some sense out of. This is an experiment -- that's the only reasonable approach.

You make this possible. You alone are the reason that the work you read is not subject to censorship by advertisers, by network executives or by shareholders. Your personal integrity is the basis of our integrity. Together we are able to affirm and support one another in these strange, demanding, dangerous, beautiful times.

For that I thank you.

With love,

PS -- Just a reminder -- I am interested in meeting you. This will be easy if you live in the Northeast within driving distance. I would be happy to do a group breakfast or dinner meeting with my clients and/or readers in Kingston, Ithaca, Boston, New York City or Long Island. I am also available for classes and presentations.