Beyond the Flake Factor: Sun Conjunct Eris

Photo by Lanvi Nguyen

There is a “why bother?” attitude in the air, which is about depression. This condition is not merely about a disease that nobody actually has; it is about us: who we are and whether we value existence.

Dear Friend and Reader:

This past Sunday’s Aries New Moon occurred close to Eris, followed by a conjunction of the Sun to Eris through Tuesday. Eris tells us all we need to know about our moment and the longer phase of history through which we are living: about its challenges, its pressures and its special kind of psychic stress.

I’ve been tracking Eris since early 2006, well before it was named in August of that year, and wrote the first short book about it that winter. In that work, I described Eris as representing the faceting and fragmenting of self, in part under digital conditions, and prior to that, under electrical conditions (radio, electric light, telephone and television).

Eris describes ‘postmodern’ reality, where we think there is no such thing as the truth and the notions of coherence and continuity can seem suspicious.

The holistic principle seems like a scam. Natural immunity seems to many like a conspiracy theory made up to hurt beloved corporations. There is no common sense; what shrieks the loudest is the most trustworthy. Power trumps intelligence.

This has only gotten worse as we’ve experienced one Eris transit after the next: Uranus conjunct Eris (the insanity leading to Trump getting elected); first Saturn, then Pluto, then Jupiter, square Eris (the each-obsessed pandemic of panic); and now the Sun, Venus, Mars and Jupiter aspecting Eris (covid ‘vaccine’ as the new Hula Hoop).

Illustration by Eric Francis.

The Diffusion of Identity

Imagine Sun conjunct Eris (exact Tuesday) as the diffusion of identity, like light shining into a revolving disco ball. It sure looks cool, but what do you really have? Can you focus on something? Anything recognizably you? Does it come as a relief to lack any need for consistency? Have we forgotten what it is to be together, within ourselves, and among ourselves?

Consider that the alleged presence of “covid 19,” and society’s absurd over-reaction to it, has given many people an opportunity to flake out and/or give up. But not everyone: we are finding out who is really alive.

Yet for many, there is a “why bother?” attitude in the air, which is a form of depression. This condition is not merely about a disease that nobody actually has; check with your local health department and ask them a few real questions (as one of my readers, you surely know enough to do so).

I have noticed the unraveling of personal responsibility and commitment under “covid 19” conditions, as if all the rules of accountability are suddenly suspended. The internet has long been a place where people could cancel one another. It is seemingly now fair for anyone to say or do anything, to demand anything, to judge anyone or to treat anyone unfairly — all based on one excuse, spoken or not.

These are the basic elements of respect that hold society together. It’s about us and our mental state: who we are and whether we value or even recognize our existence as something relevant, meaningful or having any context at all.

Digital art by Eric Francis.

The Dissolution of the Past

Many spiritual paths talk about letting go of the past. Yet this is only safe on Earth if you have a point of reference in the present that is not merely terrifying. Letting go of the past is fantastic if you are in a creative state of mind. It’s unhelpful if you’re trying to learn something. My father, a retired communications professor, used to say to his students, “I know you’re not going to remember this because I said it five minutes ago.”

The kids would not know what he meant. The old folks in the back of the room, auditing the class, would chuckle.

In the book One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, there is a story line where the entire town gets a kind of amnesia. The local tarot card reader, instead of predicting people’s futures, is called upon to tell them what happened to them in the past.

When you read it, this seems perfectly ironic. Instead of getting their fortune told, people are asking, “What did I do yesterday?”

(I thought this was particularly funny since it happens to be one of my approaches to astrology — helping people reconstitute their past and come up with a better interpretation of events. I specialize in claiming missed lessons and making holographic corrections to personal history.)

While there are certainly benefits to letting go of elements of the past, learning is not one of them. However, coexisting with what we call the past requires continuous and ongoing re-evaluation.

Photo by Eric Francis.

Continuity as Necessary for Growth

It may seem cool to have every day be something entirely new; Groundhog Day is a fine illustration of mental torture. Yet to learn about oneself calls for some continuity. Transformation is rarely radical and most who feel stuck are not as stuck as they think.

What is the appropriate time to let go of the past? When is it really possible? I would say when the essence is taken, the message received, the lesson learned. Sometimes you get the feeling that people think of it like washing the sink. But someone would have to remember how to do that.

Healing and growth, which are related, both require using the past as a reference point, whether you need to forgive, outgrow or resolve those events. Awareness of what you experienced and how you feel is usually necessary.

Continuity of self is also necessary, which can take one of two forms: developing some consistency of personality so that you can stick to your healing agenda; or cultivating the inner witness, which is the unchanging element of yourself that is aware of the other facets and can maintain awareness of the process, or can see the whole despite the faceting or fragmentation that is being resolved.

Growth calls for getting the work done, which implies understanding that there is an incremental process. Even if the healing comes as the result of a spontaneous miracle, that, too, requires awareness and often preparation that can take a while.

Empty Mirror by Eric Francis.

The Answer to Toxic Chaos

I don’t think we are involved in this radical lack of continuity as an original, voluntary or organic act, or seeking astrologically what Eris presents. It has been thrust upon us involuntarily and is more about toxic chaos than anything else.

There is such a thing as healthy chaos; that is essential to creativity. To have its effect, continuity cannot be perfect. There have to be places where changes or mutations to your patterns can slip in, and that is the creative experiment. But on balance, the result comes mostly from continuity and partly from leaving the door to your potential open a little.

Speaking in the words of Transactional Analysis, you need to be mostly adult, with a conscious relationship to your child. The child is who may suggest doing something fun, and the adult is the one capable of making sure there’s enough time and money, and getting everyone home safely.

Now more than ever is the time to attend to business, take care of one another, and act as if to hold the world together. This takes presence and commitment from day to day. Do not fall for the electrically induced amnesia, the social pressure to give up your autonomy and self-presence, or surrendering your sense of personal truth to an advertising campaign.

As one in the position to offer ideas in the midst of this imposed chaos, I suggest mostly doing what is necessary before you do what you want most days, and some doing what you want before doing what is necessary. There is no exact formula except for experimentation and noting the results. And that is the role of the witness, who is essentially the same from day to day.

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Photo by Lanvi Nguyen

Sun Conjunct Eris and the Computer as LSD

It is rare in the history of astrology that we know about a new planet — that we know of its existence, much less have a concept of what it’s about. Today the Sun is conjunct Eris, first seen in 2004, officially discovered in 2005, and named in 2006.

Eric Francis

In January 2007, working with Cosmos and Psyche author Richard Tarnas (who gave me a personal class on postmodernism, which I did not understand), I published the first monograph about it — before any other astrologer had a clue.

I even made the front page of The Wall Street Journal (not my best interview).

At its essence, Eris is about what’s happened to us as a result of overexposure to digital technology. The change has been gradual, like insanity slowly setting in over a period of several decades.

To some it has barely been noticeable — they don’t think about these things, they have no basis for comparison, or they have no recollection of how life was before our psyches were shattered by all of this technology. Not just shattered: all AI devices are based on robotics. A robot is not a tin can rumbling around; it is a series of instructions. And when we immerse ourselves in robotics all day, we become like robots. And if you are human, that is pretty damned weird.

Let’s put it this way. If your cat started acting like a robot, you would think there was something seriously wrong. But if you act like one, well, you’re just behaving like everyone else, and there is nobody to notice.

Robots do not all look like tin cans with tractor wheels. You are reading this article on one now. Will Robinson and his electric companion on Lost In Space.

The way I remember things, civil society was doing pretty good until 2007, when the “smart” phone came out and soon after, everyone was walking around with a computer in their pocket. (There were other problems, like hardly anyone noticing the problems with 9/11, which worked great as CGI but not under the laws of physics.)

It’s not merely that those imbibing it were obsessed by it — then total dependency was pushed on us. Today, this extends to being expected to present vaccine and testing records for a disease that nobody has.

Back in the 1960s, the world’s first media philosopher, Marshall McLuhan, said that the computer was LSD for the businessman. This was at a time when everyone — kids, politicians, professors, everyone — was tripping out on a VERY powerful hallucinogenic drug. As a consultant in the computing field (for IBM among others) he noticed that the technology was having a similar effect on the kinds of square businessmen who would never even think of dropping acid.

(And today they’re actively invoking that comparison: there’s a new smartphone app that “claims to make you trip like you’re on LSD.“)

Now all of society is on this drug. We are living in a dream plane — the digital astral plane, where all the rules of physical reality are suspended, and where we never come down, because there is no ground (of consciousness) to come down to.

As I said on my program Friday night, we are all tripping balls.


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Aries Astrology Studio 2021

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Hello Aries Sun and rising! Click on your sign to get your 2021 annual reading.

Aries (March 20-April 19) — The Sun conjunct Eris in your sign is calling for discussion with yourself about your understanding of who you are. You may experience something that perks you up or shocks you to awareness. Or it may dawn on you that you are not such an alien as you think — from yourself or from others. It is the nature of the ego to feel alienated and to experience itself as separate. Here, we find the difference between your true nature and how you feel much of the time. Most people are concerned how they are perceived by others, rather than how they perceive themselves. In fact self-perception, whether accurate or not, is so powerful as to bend all of seeming reality around it, and totally dominate your perception. Therefore, your self-awareness is the most important factor of any that might affect your spiritual state. By one measure, your self-awareness is all there is, because it will take over your perception of the state of your environment and indeed your beliefs about all of existence. Thankfully, once you engage this idea, you have your options wide open.

Self-assertive, sometimes bold, Aries is always up for an adventure. A new adventure awaits — preorder your affordable reading by Eric Francis today.

2021-22 Aries Astrology Studio: The Continuing Adventure of Chiron in Aries

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Hello Taurus Sun and rising! Click on your sign to get your 2021 annual reading.

Taurus (April 19-May 20) — Venus returns to your sign later this week, which will feel good after getting lightly toasted, slightly burned, or scorched in Aries the past month. (That said, the action continues in Aries and may have a similar effect; see reading above.) While Taurus has a strong self-focus, your ruling planet Venus exploring this sign (an adventure I’ll continue to chronicle the next few weeks) is more about what you have to offer than what you need or want. Venus in Aries can have a gimme, gimme quality to it, until it is tamed. Venus in Taurus is abundant and generous. You have every reason to be positive about who you are and what you have to offer, and to share as you wish. This is not about what you get back or even the benefits you perceive others receiving. Rather, it is an exercise in figuring out how much you have, which you cannot know until you actually share in a bold way. We live in a society where plenty of people think it’s a big deal to acknowledge someone’s presence, or smile at them if you feel good. So this is pretty radical, in the scheme of things.

Calm, collected and attractive on the outside, raging like a tempest on the inside, Taurus is the blacksmith shop of the soul. Forge your path with this reading.

2020-21 Taurus Astrology Studio: The Taurus Guide to Radical Transformation

Hello Gemini Sun and rising! Click on your sign to get your 2021 annual reading.

Gemini (May 20-June 21) — A toxic fog has lifted from your life, and you can now be honest with yourself about what you want and what you need. You always seem to go in two directions with this, and sometimes you’re able to have both, or reconcile the two. Mostly what happens, though, is you really do know what you want, and then you either second guess yourself three or four times, or allow someone to talk you out of it. That is less likely to happen now that Mars has come out of its square to Neptune. This may feel like waking up from a dream, or a bender, not quite knowing where you are. It is essential that you get your bearings in physical reality, and sort out your priorities. Mars square Neptune is serious business and it can indicate a measure of self-deception or self-unhelpful tendencies. Saturn is urging you to be clear in your beliefs and your commitments, and to hold yourself to a high level of accountability: the real thing.

Geminis ask a heck of a lot of questions, and much of what you are curious about is yourself. Find some answers in your affordable reading by Eric Francis.

2020-21 Gemini Astrology Studio: The Sacred Space of Self

Hello Cancer Sun and rising! Click on your sign to get your 2021 annual reading.

Cancer (June 21-July 22) — One of my top-three favorite fortune cookies said, “Be resolutely who you are. Be humbly who you aspire to be.” I could not say it any more succinctly, though I can offer some suggestions from your astrology. One is to study the patterns of commitment and cooperation in your life. Notice who comes through and who does not. The position of Saturn in your chart is demanding that you go reconcile every single account in your life and see what it contains. That means every relationship, whether business or personal; every financial account, no matter how small (or how large). “Who you are” and “who you aspire to be” are both lived realities; living them involves many small details. There are many people in the picture, and there need to be significantly fewer. And those people need to be the ones willing to invest in the “who you are” and “who you aspire to be” aspects of your life, as that is so critical right now. The world around you may be in a state of dumping responsibilities and commitments, but that is not your karma.

Nurturing, loving, devoted, cuddly, milky and self-centered, Cancer has it all. You can even have instant access to your reading when you purchase today.

2020-21 Cancer Astrology Studio: I Feel, Therefore I Am

Hello Leo Sun and rising! Click on your sign to get your 2021 annual reading.

Leo (July 22-Aug. 23) — Your frame of reality is different from those around you. You are different from those around you. You know this, though it’s easy to ignore, seemingly for some greater purpose (not usually your own). And at the moment, you are under near-total pressure to zip your mouth and pretend to be like everyone else. But that is not going to work so well; it never has, and you may reach a boiling point this week as the Sun is encountering Eris. The first thing not to lose sleep over is that you are your own person with your own values. This leaves you plenty of room to engage with the world, though this must happen on mutually agreeable terms (a concept that is being lost in our era when the theme of everything is domination). Part of the problem is that all of existence seems to stand on shifting ground. This translates into your life as a sense of uncertainty about who you are, which in turn makes it easier for people to tell you. It doesn’t help that you’re likely to think this can’t possibly happen.

Leo is THE sign of human vitality and in many respects the source of strength, light and creation. How’s this for a bright idea: get your reading by Eric Francis!

2020-21 Leo Astrology Studio: Notes on Love and Courage

Hello Virgo Sun and rising! Click on your sign to get your 2021 annual reading.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22) — You may have noticed the fog suddenly clear in certain partnership or domestic situations. This may have felt like figuring out why you were so angry. The setup was such that you may not have even noticed your anger until the situation shifted and you suddenly snapped to attention. The fog I am describing may have been toxic, or anesthetic, or both; whatever it was obscured your perceptions and skewed your emotional response. Now you need to figure out where you stand with certain individuals you’re close to, and what you’re going to do about it. There may seem to be “two sides of the story,” though that is largely a trap. What matters is where the facts point, not the interpretation of events, or any other form of opinion. So begin with the facts: that which is quantifiable in numbers, trackable on a chronology, and written in words. You need to look directly at what cannot be denied or easily refuted. The next step is to figure out how things got to be that way. Then, figure out what to do.

As a Virgo, it’s your role to make the world a better place: to offer, if not solace, then solutions. Find both for yourself when you purchase your reading.

2020-21 Virgo Astrology Studio: I touch the Earth. The Earth touches me.

Hello Libra Sun and rising! Click on your sign to get your 2021 annual reading.

Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23) — Be mindful that someone may be attempting to scramble your mind over the next few days, which may date back to this past weekend or even longer. You will recognize this behavior and the intent behind it based on how you feel when it happens. It may not seem obvious otherwise. It’s human nature to doubt one’s feelings and one’s perceptions, the more so if someone is intentionally influencing you to do so. So play back any conversations carefully, and study the cycles of your life going back at minimum to 2018. There has been something, some factor or deeper truth about your existence, trying to get your attention. Are you noticing, or does it seem like the same or similar thing repeating for some mysterious reason? It’s time to get the message. It is time to stop any and all cooperation with those who would in some way disrupt your efforts. It’s best to not assume someone doing this does not know what they’re doing. It’s best to not assume anything.

Aleister Crowley said that the essence of the sign Libra is the drive for justice. Tap into your essence with this reading, and bring balance to your world.

2020-21 Libra Astrology Studio: Notes to Myself

Hello Scorpio Sun and rising! Click on your sign to get your 2021 annual reading.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22) — Please remember the important conversations you’ve had in the past few weeks, and make sure you retract anything you regret saying. You may have a way of glossing over your memories, or they may have faded into an alternate dimension off to the side. It will serve your integrity and that of your relationships to remember, and account for your words and actions. The challenge here is how easy it will be to rationalize any of this, to make excuses, or to slough it off. But this will not serve anyone, least of all you. You consider yourself a trustworthy person, and for your own sanity you must make sure that is true. The way you do that is by paying attention to what you say, and in what context you say it. Notice situations when you seem to have two versions of reality, or of yourself, that you present as needed. This is a focal point of healing for you. There’s just one of you. You have one face, one voice, and one reality. When you notice yourself splitting, come to a full stop and ask why.

Scorpio is an odd hybrid, both a product — and an instigator — of evolution. Purchase your latest reading to delve deeper into the mystery of yourself.

2020-21 Scorpio Astrology Studio: The Scorpio File

Hello Sagittarius Sun and rising! Click on your sign to get your 2021 annual reading.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22) — You have a cooperation factor available to you right now like few times before — use it well. The people you need are right around you, not off in some remote location or hidden away on the back corridors of Fiver (the cheap freelance service). However, this is as much about supporting and coordinating your efforts with others as it is about anything else. The grand design is right where you are, and likely to involve people you already know and care about. It is more practical than anything. This is about holding the world together in specific ways that you are skilled enough to handle, though we are not talking about ‘the planet’ or the ‘big world’ but more like your immediate circle of trading partners, collaborators or fellow business people. Choose a very few specific ones — two, maybe three — and focus on approaches that you are good at and can do efficiently. In the process, be ready with your own punch list of things you need to accomplish, and pay attention for those who possess both that skill set and also the personal integrity to assist you — and really help.

Sagittarius, yours is the sign of the quest, the far away and far-out. Purchase your reading today and continue your adventure with the stars as your guide.

2020-21 Sagittarius Astrology Studio: Live from the Galactic Center

Hello Capricorn Sun and rising! Click on your sign to get your 2021 annual reading.

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20) — You may finally relax a little when Venus enters your fellow Earth sign Taurus on Wednesday. Many people in our civilization are feeling on edge right now. We have been subjected to a year of nonstop adrenal exhaustion. Those who are truly talented may be able to kick back and have some fun, though to others these days, this looks as safe as juggling chainsaws. After all, relaxing a little does nothing but invite danger, or so the freaked out would believe. You are in the beginning of a long phase of learning to trust existence. You might consider everything you do, think and feel as taking you one way or another: to trust, or not to trust. That you are still subject to shock attacks (of how bad it can all be) is an opportunity: you can use those as opportunities to practice riding the bicycle of having some faith in existence. You must do your part, and it begins and ends there. In between, you will have many opportunities to learn and to unlearn.

We depend upon Capricorn to hold things stable. But you’re not as boring as you like people to think you are. Unearth your inner revolutionary with this reading.

2021 Capricorn Astrology Studio: One Night Only Kala Sarpa Yoga

Hello Aquarius Sun and rising! Click on your sign to get your 2021 annual reading.

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) — The secret to success for your sign, Sun or rising, is to know the limits on your knowledge. Since you identify so strongly with your ideas, this can be a real challenge. But ideas are not facts, and facts are not fact patterns, and none of this is a substitute for contextual awareness of history. Keep that word close to you at all times: context. What may be a profound truth in one reality frame can be a destructive lie in another. So you must always know what framework you are in, including what locale, what your time references are, and most significantly, who you are within that context. For example, a powerful CEO in one context is merely a passenger on an airplane in another, lacking any authority whatsoever. The same is true with information and knowledge. It is all about context. If you discover yourself in a situation where you don’t know anything and are in a sense intellectually defenseless, admit that right away. This at least will give you some accurate bearings, and you can begin finding your way from there.

You’re not after progress for its own sake; Aquarius is the discriminating embracer of innovation that works. Get your reading and be brilliant.

2021-22 Aquarius Astrology Studio: A Reading For Our Moment

Pisces Astrology Studio 2021

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Hello Pisces Sun and rising! Click on your sign to get your 2021 annual reading.

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) — Truth is not a thing. It is never attained. From our point of view on this plane of existence, truth is more like a direction that pulls the needle of your internal compass. The first thing to do is to feel that tug and align yourself with the feeling. But who uses compasses anymore? Most people use GPS. They want a series of tangible steps to get to their destination, and to arrive without doing too much work or thinking too hard. This deprives people of the pleasure, and moreover, the skill of figuring things out for yourself, and of honing your sense of direction. This is, at the moment, about the truth of who you are. That is not a specific destination, though you possess within yourself a kind of spiritual north and an inner sense that holds to it. You may travel in some other direction to get to your destination, though this is always relative to spiritual north. None of this dictates your path, or where you want to go. It’s only a method of orientation so that you know which way you are headed at any time.

The hidden realm is vitally important to Pisces: in a sense it is your home. Find your way back home, guided by your latest reading.

2021-22 Pisces Astrology Studio: Every Decision You Make

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