Dear Friend and Reader:
A few times I got to hang out with one of my now-departed neighbors in the Hudson Valley, legendary music agent Alfred Schweitzman. His client list reads like the roster of our most beloved crop of Ulster County rock stars (including The Band and Todd Rundgren) among many others. He used to give the best New Year’s Eve parties and we once smoked the peace pipe in his cherry-paneled office.
“All wealth comes from the Earth,” he would say. He was very wealthy and he liked to say it often, as if making the point made the idea stronger in his consciousness. When I first met him I was pretty new at astrology, though I knew enough to know how much sense this idea makes. It’s something I’ve considered many times and that’s the theme of this time of year — the season of Beltane.
The structure of the old religion, the calendar, made sense — without a lot of religiosity packed around what people did at different times of year. There was a time for every purpose, a concept we’ve nearly forgotten exists. For example, Samhain (pronounced sah-wen) establishes a relationship with death and the ancestors, and this tends to run through many cultures as a conscious focus around the time of Halloween, the final harvest.
Nature and its cycles are the basis of what we think of as organic, and in the spring, the world is coming back to life after the long winter. The festival to celebrate that is Beltane, traditionally celebrated May 1.
There is some debate about whether this is really the peak of spring or the start of summer (in the social rather than technical sense). The first week of May is the halfway point between the vernal equinox and the summer solstice (in the Northern Hemisphere).
The word Beltane originates from an old language called Lowland Scottish (the culture from which the holiday seems to originate), and earlier, from Gaelic, with a probable literal meaning of “blazing fire” or “to shine, flash, burn.” And that is exactly what the planets are doing right now.
For most purposes, I count Beltane as May 5, the day the Sun passes over the midpoint between equinox and solstice, though I give it a wide berth. The Sun reaches the Taurus midpoint this year at 4:18 am EDT on Sunday, May 5. Taurus is a passionate sign, and at the moment it’s on fire, and it’s gleaming. Present in Taurus are Mercury, Venus, Mars, the Sun, the South Node, and asteroid Pallas Athene. That’s quite a collection of energies. The Moon will be in Pisces at that time, in harmony with Venus-ruled Taurus.
To emphasize the point, Beltane is followed up by an eclipse of the Sun on May 9, and surrounded by two lunar eclipses — this is a moment of change and potentially beautiful progress. Eclipses are points of no return. Aim your mind and your intentions and you can be transported closer to your desires.
That all said, here’s my metaphysical summary of Beltane. All wealth comes from the Earth, and the Earth is our Goddess. Beltane is the time to honor the Earth and to love the Goddess, and one happy way to do this is through sexual exchange that’s consciously a celebration of life. I know that all sex is in theory a celebration of life, but for many people it doesn’t feel that way, and this idea might be something new. Indeed, the corruption of sex is inextricable from our corruption of the planet and our obsession with money.
Beltane is the time to make love in a conscious way, experiencing the pleasure of existence and honoring the planet we live on, and honoring women. This in turn is a way of expressing gratitude for the abundance that comes from the Earth (all the resources we need for physical life are generously provided by Gaia) and women (who are the vehicle through which physical life is gestated). If possible, make love outside, close to the Earth or on the Earth, for that extra experience of direct contact.
However you choose to celebrate this moment, whether by yourself or with others, allow yourself to be the vehicle through which the Goddess expresses herself. This can work no matter what your gender or sexual orientation.
Whatever you do, this is a great time of year to offer a big THANK YOU to the planet and the cycles of nature that gestate, birth and support our lives.
Weekly Horoscope for Friday, May 3, 2013 #948 | By Eric Francis
Aries (March 20-April 19) — The theme of next week’s eclipse is self-understanding, though I mean this in the most practical way. You need a system for governing your life that takes into account what is actually meaningful to you. That means listening to the things you’ve promised yourself you were going to do over and over again. One thing that would be helpful is to evaluate that list and see what is still valid for you. Eliminate everything that’s no longer part of your actual agenda, so that you can free up energy, bandwidth and priority space for everything that is. I would suggest going forward that you be vigilant about putting your priorities into action. For this, you will need a plan that has emphasis on three phases: initiation, follow-through and completion. Stretch your perspective beyond the ‘get started’ phase and into the ones that take more dedication. This can be the time in your life when you get past the inertia that has bogged you down in the past. That’s another way of saying: this can be a time when you learn to express your true potential.
Taurus (April 19-May 20) — You’re standing within one of those momentous transition points in your life, though you may not be feeling the full beauty of that now. Sometimes they’re difficult to see when you’re right in the midst of things. That said, momentous is not what it’s cracked up to be; this is also a time when the seemingly smaller or subtler decisions you make, and the things you learn about yourself, will be tools that you can use for the rest of your life. I suggest you investigate the ways in which you seek to protect yourself. What are you protecting yourself from, and who exactly was it that informed you of some potential danger? A defensive streak in your solar chart may be masking an aggressive aspect of yourself that gets veiled by your compelling exterior. Since you probably don’t want to take any aggression out on others, you may take it out on yourself. If you can see this cycle in motion, and pause it even for one moment, you can make a discovery that enhances your life profoundly. For clues, study your relationship with your father.
Gemini (May 20-June 21) — Slow down and think deep. For you they are the same thing. Gemini can be brilliant (rather than just bright and witty) when it thinks slowly. In your case that might mean considering something once a day over the course of a week or two, instead of making a snap decision. As you do this, you may decide that there are things you ‘already know’ without having any special way to know them. If that turns out to be true, then use the think-about-it-every-day method to consider whether that something is in fact true and if it is, what specifically that would mean for you. Anyway, I suggest you take a gradual and meticulous approach to deciding what is really true for you. As you make that evaluation repeatedly, you will notice that you’re making adaptations and changes as the days go on, and those would be interesting to keep track of. What new facts are leading you to come to a different observation? What changing feelings? Keep this up for a week and you will make a rather significant discovery about yourself.
Cancer (June 21-July 22) — What do you want to be known for? Now would be a great time to make that known to others. I suggest you do that in the form of being who you are more boldly, and doing what you do with more confidence. Despite the sometimes conservative descriptions of what makes a Cancerian tick, and how you prefer to stay home and all that, you’re in a time when that happens not to be true — if it ever was. You are not merely safe being seen as someone a little eccentric, who is willing to take the risk of being thought of as a little weird; your success depends on taking advantage of this. It’s the fear of seeming different that prevents many people from doing something different; and I assure you that anything really worth doing in the long run will draw its value from being original. So you have a pass on that particular social concern, and now you can ask yourself for real: what do you want to be known for? The chances are you’re already pretty good at it.
Leo (July 22-Aug. 23) — There’s the image of stewardship in your chart — as in ‘steward of the land’. Not its owner, possibly its occupant, definitely one who facilitates, who keeps a watchful eye, and who will act in a protective capacity when necessary. What’s the land of which I’m speaking? It probably involves some professional activity where your leadership is now being called upon and also recognized as essential. You’re an old hand at what I will call the spiritual piece: putting your faith (in the deepest sense of that word) to work in a way that few people can. This is what comes across to others, and what you can depend on. You can speak in the most practical terms about the most mundane kinds of affairs, and you will seem to be offering life-giving truths. Meanwhile, count on the fact that you’re a social and professional magnet — for talent, collaborators, and potentially for investors in whatever you’re doing that you invest your faith in. State your goals and build cooperation — the most precious thing on Earth.
Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22) — Be patient and you won’t have to be patient for long. It may seem like you’ve been waiting forever for something tangible to materialize relating to a long-desired goal; and the tangibility factor is exactly what’s in the process of developing right now. What’s going to help you the most is focusing on that thing that seems to be the most intangible to many — faith in yourself. This may be a point of conflict for you right now; you may think you have a mixed record of accomplishing what you set out to accomplish, though I suggest you not dwell on that. What matters the most is that you learn from what you consider your successes and your supposed failures, because the information that you synthesize from both sides of that equation is what will help you the most. One of the reasons this thing called failure is so important is that it’s evidence of taking risks. Those experiments can produce plenty of information, and no matter what the supposed topic, it’s applicable to anything else you may do.
Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23) — It’s time to make a list of all the decisions you’re holding off on committing to fully. Evaluate that list and you will get an accurate picture of where your life is at. One image that’s coming through your chart is that of withholding approval from yourself. You simply have to be your own most devoted cheerleader, though that’s not possible if you’re in conflict with yourself. It’s an even bigger problem if you project that inner conflict onto relationships with others. Your life will be altogether easier and happier if you embrace that fact that your feelings come from you. If others have a role in your life that you don’t like, it’s also up to you to make decisions in response to that fact. Looked at one way, your life is a study in power relationships, as events of the past few days seem to have dramatized. You want to live out your own values, and yet at the same time it’s so easy for you to get caught in the values of others. In light of this, the skill to develop and emphasize is not peacemaking but rather the nuts and bolts of negotiation.
Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22) — People around you seem to have a plan. You need to know what it is, because from the look of your charts, you’re somehow involved. I suggest you take hold of the situation and declare yourself in or out where certain situations are concerned. There are a number of reasons you don’t want others to do this for you, most of them involving your own integrity. But it’s more than that; if you step up and make a firm commitment one way or the other, that will have the effect of precipitating results, whatever you happen to choose. The fact that you know you actually did commit yourself, not knowing the outcome, will give you a greater sense of investment in whatever develops, and that seems to be precisely the thing you need to help you guide your life. I would ask you to ask yourself one other question. What are you holding on to, and by that, I mean what from the past are you reluctant to let go of? Since we’re talking about the past, it’s more likely to be a feeling than a physical situation.
Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22) — If something irritates you, remove it from your environment. The problem with environments is that they tend to be invisible; the contrast that we need to notice things fades into the background. So you may need to use unusual methods to determine what’s irritating you, one of which will be your dreams. Remember that in dreams there are no stock interpretations, and every element of the dream represents you. Tell yourself any dream you have from the viewpoint of one of the objects or people in the scenario and it will make more sense. Meanwhile, I suggest you hang out with people who can offer you a reflection of yourself, or challenge your perspective in a way that helps you, rather than those who expect you to be a certain way. Clarity is what will help you feel better, in a deep way rather than a fleeting one. In this world, clarity is something that we must work for patiently, though anyone who’s arrived there will tell you it’s worth the effort.
Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20) — Sex is not a secret and your sexuality is not a secret. I recognize that most people think this is the very thing that must be kept the most under wraps — which is one reason I think that people whose sexual initiation involves a coming-out process make so many so nervous. The question to ask yourself is what exactly would you not want known about you, and why wouldn’t you want it known? There are a number of possible responses to that question, though sooner or later, any person who comes to terms with their sexuality addresses the issue of shame. One misunderstanding about shame, like many other environmental pollutants, is that it’s been there all along. That’s not true. At a certain point it is injected into society and at some point in the life of nearly every person, it’s inflicted on them. Shame is like a binding or glue that attaches us to many other problems. Once shame is acknowledged and addressed, many other things can begin to resolve themselves.
Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) — It seems like every season or every year, you are encountering some new call to leadership. Said another way, life is calling on you to take more responsibility and to associate yourself with a purpose that comes from deep within you. Yet at the moment, you seem to be facing a diversity of challenges that are interfering with that. I say ‘seem to be’ because the emotional and personal situations in your life are calling on you to shore up your foundations. You are being pushed to question every assumption you have about what it means to be ‘safe’ and ‘secure’, and many assumptions from the past are coming up for question as well. Looked at one way, you are being called to build your life on a focused sense of purpose. But there is something that may go deeper, which is a grounded sense of your own existence. It may be that part of how you cultivate that is to take on challenges bigger than you thought you could handle; then logic would say that your ability to meet those challenges was based on something real.
Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) — Your intuition will guide you perfectly right now, and to feel that working you may need to tune into a different level than your sentient mind. That may be a challenge because there’s so much keeping you alert, thinking and driven to be productive. You can keep doing all of that, though I suggest that you give yourself space to be reflective. One reason to stay close to home for the next few days is that it’s probably the most interesting and indeed exciting place to be. Do what you can to keep parts of your days open so that your receptive mind is available to pick up the abundant information that’s coming your way. If you’re feeling restless, one way to express that is to write. All the planets currently gathered in Taurus are in your 3rd solar house of writing and communications. I know that for many this is a delightfully busy time of year. If you give yourself time alone, it will also be a beautifully productive time, including benefits in growth, guiding your life and deepening your understanding of yourself.