Dear Friend and Reader:
The year seems to be ending on a positive note. Kenahorah! There are still two weeks to go, which include a rockin’ winter solstice, the Capricorn New Moon and a sign change of Saturn.
Before I get into Cuba, New York’s ban on fracking and the solstice, in case you’re not aware, tonight is the final episode of The Colbert Report on Comedy Central [airing 11:30 pm EST]. I know many in my reading audience are TV-averse, though I would recommend watching this — it’s a moment of history, and Stephen Colbert deserves the biggest sendoff he can get.
He will be leaving behind his faux-conservative persona and taking over The Late Showwhen David Letterman retires sometime in 2015.
It was Colbert, I believe, who personally turned the tide on the endless stream of glum news and the feeling of total disempowerment of the Cheney-Bush years.
That is a big statement, I know. Comedians and their extremely talented writing teams have been one of the few rays of light in these benighted times. But Colbert kind of cleaned up. He demonstrated that comedy can not only be relevant, but that in a media-dominated world, it can be a political weapon.
The scene was the 2006 White House Correspondents’ dinner, an annual ass-kissing gala between the press, the president and his men, and the Washington aristocracy. Usually, someone witty gets to make a big speech, everyone has a laugh and it’s all in good fun. Nothing is actually supposed to happen at the White House Correspondent’s Dinner — but that year something did.
There is no telling how Colbert got selected to be the keynote speaker. Then as now, it’s unimaginable — but it actually happened. Was it a mistake, or was it someone on the inside pranking the whole scene? Colbert’s program, then just six months old, was an obvious satire on conservative politics, faux news and egomaniacal TV hosts, especially of the FOX News variety.
Somehow, Colbert got to deliver a 25-minute takedown of the president, broadcast on live TV, with the president right there. Even as Bush sat on the dais in his tuxedo looking like his head was about to explode, Colbert went on and on — then he moved on to a takedown of press. Here’s a sample, from the transcript:
Over the last five years you people were so good, over tax cuts, WMD intelligence, the effect of global warming. We Americans didn’t want to know, and you had the courtesy not to try to find out. Those were good times, as far as we knew.
But, listen, let’s review the rules. Here’s how it works. The President makes decisions. He’s the decider. The press secretary announces those decisions, and you people of the press type those decisions down. Make, announce, type. Just put ’em through a spell check and go home. Get to know your family again. Make love to your wife. Write that novel you got kicking around in your head. You know, the one about the intrepid Washington reporter with the courage to stand up to the administration? You know, fiction!
Because, really, what incentive do these people have to answer your questions, after all? I mean, nothing satisfies you. Everybody asks for personnel changes. So, the White House has personnel changes. And then you write, “Oh, they’re just rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.” First of all, that is a terrible metaphor. This administration is not sinking. This administration is soaring! If anything, they’re rearranging the deck chairs on the Hindenburg!
Notably, he is still alive. He is not being held at Guantanamo. He was not rendered to Yemen. No sex scandal from 1983 mysteriously emerged in The New York Post.
I believe that from this point on, it verged on impossible for anyone with a shred of intelligence to take seriously the Bush presidency, and its flock of lemming reporters. This was a bold move on Colbert’s part.
How did he manage to pull it off? Asked about that later, he said: “I knew my material was good.” Yes, you can get away with anything in the United States if you do it well. And there’s only so much trouble you can get in for being funny, if nearly everyone is laughing.
I covered the astrology of this event in an article I wrote for The Mountain Astrologer in late 2012 — we got one of the best-ever demonstrations of what the new planet Eris (at the time, unnamed) is about: the cultural subversive. When Colbert stepped onto the stage as an invited guest, Mercury was in an exact (that day only) conjunction to Eris, and we were treated to the morph of the seditious and the trickster.
Colbert ends his nine-year run on Comedy Central Thursday night with the Sun conjunct the Galactic Core, on the eve of the solstice and with Eris, his patron saint, in rare form — in a grand fire trine with Jupiter, Ceres, Ixion and Pholus.
This is approximately the same astrology under which two rather unusual things happened this week: Pres. Obama announced Wednesday that the U.S. would be restoring normal diplomatic ties with Cuba; and within minutes of that development, New York’s Gov. Andrew Cuomo stunned the world by saying that fracking is not going to happen in New York State.
Functionally, the charts for Cuomo’s and Obama’s announcements are identical. They are synchronized within minutes, and occurred within a few hundred miles of one another.
Did anyone think it was a little odd to be maintaining a naval blockade against the USSR, 25 years after it had disappeared? This was like keeping Wakasu Island outside of Tokyo as a mortal enemy long after the Japanese surrendered at the end of World War II.
But what exactly is the restoration of “normal diplomatic ties”? What few people know is that the U.S. already has a kind of embassy in Havana, called an interests section, which will be upgraded to a full embassy.
It was there that a friend of a friend, a Canadian university professor, watched the Toronto Blue Jays win the 1993 World Series at a private party in the non-embassy with a handful of Americans (yes, in Havana, on a television set, powered by electricity). The embassy will be symbolic, not a new American presence in Havana. That said, symbols can count for a lot.
The cool new pope helped broker the deal, which included an exchange of prisoners. Cuba will be removed from the list of terrorist states. Yes, they are the kind of terrorists who sent hundreds of doctors to Haiti after it was ravaged by an earthquake.
Under a program called Cuban Medical Internationalism, the little country has 30,000 health personnel, including more than 19,000 doctors stationed around the world. According to a 2007 study, Cuba provides more medical personnel to the developing world than all the G8 countries combined. That’s Cuba acting normal. That’s what you do when you have a great education system that produces an abundance of professionals. You help people.
Cubans will now be allowed to export small amounts of tobacco and alcohol to the United States. (Moderation!) Cuban businesses will be allowed to accept American credit and debit cards, and some travel restrictions will be lifted. American tourists will still not be allowed to go there directly; they must travel through Canada, which is not such a terrible place to travel through (as long as you don’t have any naked pictures on your computer — the Canadian border patrol can slap you in cuffs for that).
Cuba has many facets of freedom that are absolutely real: the literacy rate, the free higher education system, the ridiculously high rate of skilled workers, its exemplary health care system. Yes, enough doctors to export them to 103 countries.
Not everyone is thrilled about this. This morning I nearly spit my coffee on my future collector’s item copy of The New York Times when I read this quote from Marco Rubio, the Senate’s resident genius and token child of Cuba.
“This entire policy shift announced today is based on an illusion, on a lie, the lie and the illusion that more commerce and access to money and goods will translate to political freedom for the Cuban people,” Rubio said. The Republican from Florida is the son of Cuban immigrants.
I immediately flashed back to Elian Gonzalez (the boy! the boy! who was found floating in the Atlantic surrounded by dolphins in shark-infested waters) and the main reason he was supposed to stay in the U.S., according to the “Cuban exiles” — MORE TOYS! He could go to Toys-R-Us if he was here, but not if he was in Cuba. They don’t have toy superstores yet.
Elian, his handlers said, should stay here because he deserved the American way of life. [Sound effect: Cuban exile on Miami street honks horn of Lexus whilst driving past press conference/photo op.]
The chart for Obama informing the world that Cuba is now our friend is puzzling. At first impression it makes a fabulous splash. The announcement was made at noon, and we have the Sagittarius Sun high in the chart, right at the midheaven. That is a vibrant symbol of executive leadership (Sun in the 10th), indeed, of international leadership (in Sagittarius). As such, it’s both a foray and a litmus test. How will people respond? How will the world respond? There is also a question of ideology — staking a claim on the last (and most successful) bastion of un-capitalism.
The Sun is closely conjunct the Galactic Core (that is, the center of the Milky Way galaxy, exact Thursday night), which means that this is part of something wide and vast — with broad consequences.
Here’s where it starts to get interesting. The Sun is accompanied by a cluster of minor planets and other points, all within one or two degrees, and none of which show up in your average astrology chart.
These include Pholus, Ixion, Hermes, Cupido, Sphinx and Quaoar. This is just the first clue that there is a lot going on behind the scenes. Nothing says “pope” like Sagittarius, only in this case it looks like the pope, his astrologer, the college of cardinals, a few spies, assorted diplomats, the Contras, the Sandinistas and the Hell’s Angels.
That cluster in Sagittarius is part of the grand fire trine, which brings Jupiter and Eris into the picture. Who the heck are all these people? The only person missing is Sun Myung Moon.
And hey, where did the discussion of the Senate’s report on CIA torture go? Did that even happen last week, or was I dreaming?
If you look at the chart a little closer, it starts to transform. Up with the Sun in Sagittarius are a group of planets in Capricorn. Mercury is in the first degree, sparking up the Aries Point — astrology shorthand for big-big-big and getting bigger.
Then there are Vesta, Venus and Pluto in Capricorn. This is starting to look like a sex tourism junket, or some kind of junket or some kind of business deal. Adding to that is the Moon in Scorpio in the 8th house, another sex tourism symbol of commerce, banking and trade. I’m not saying this is bad, but I am thinking I better get to Cuba before it starts to look like Ft. Lauderdale.
Yet that 8th house Scorpio Moon is dripping with passion, secrets and intrigue. Spy stuff, spy who loved me stuff, money and banking. My take is that those secrets will come spilling out within eight months, by July or so — someone please remember I said that.
One last bit. Everyone who has seen this chart has commented about the planets in the 12th house. The chart is Pisces rising, which is mysterious enough. That includes the modern ruler of Pisces, which is Neptune, to which the Moon is making a trine. There is a private hotline between secrets 8th house style and secrets 12th house style.
Then there are Chiron, Borasisi and Nessus. The 12th is like a parallel world, and there is a lot going on in there. A lot that’s cloaked from plain view, that nobody is saying, and that few can see.
There is a whole other story to this chart, a tale of intrigue that I plan to investigate personally — including on the beach with a Cuba Libre.
As for Gov. Cuomo declaring that New York State shall be free of fracking, I am not going to look a gift horse in the mouth. Yes, the chart, essentially the same chart as for the Cuba announcement, leaves some questions unanswered, though at least Cuomo is erring on the side of safety.
At the governor’s cabinet meeting yesterday, Dr. Howard Zucker, the state health commissioner, said this. “I have considered all of the data and find significant questions and risks to public health which as of yet are unanswered. I think it would be reckless to proceed in New York until more authoritative research is done. I asked myself, ‘would I let my family live in a community with fracking?’ The answer is no. I therefore cannot recommend anyone else’s family to live in such a community either.”
I’ve spent way too much time on the phone with various officials of the New York State Department of Health, usually being lied to. This is the first time I’ve ever heard one of those guys make any sense at all.
And what next?
Weekly Horoscope for Thursday, Dec. 18, 2014, #1029 | By Eric Francis
Aries (March 20-April 19) — The holidays are rapidly approaching, and most people are thinking about what fun they are going to have. I suggest you keep your focus on what you’re going to accomplish. Aspects for the next few weeks strongly favor productivity, career and achievement. You might feel some tension between these two aspects of life. I suggest you apply the concept of structure and boundaries to resolve that tension. Devote specific times to spend with friends and family, and then focus on the great strides you can make, and are indeed making, in this rare moment. Keep your focus and you can ride this energy quite a long way to some unusual success. One word of caution: alcohol will not help you right now. Keep your drinking moderate to not at all. If you are going to drink, please follow the suggestion of a politician I worked for: stay three drinks behind the crowd.
Taurus (April 19-May 20) — Keep a balance between your outer life and your inner life. This may be just a bit tricky, because there is so much happening in your internal world while the seemingly outer world is inviting you to take action in some bold way. The two are not at odds. Your relationship with the people and events around you is driven by your inner reality. To some extent this is true for everyone, but it’s especially true for you now. I suggest you focus inwardly and make sure you know your priorities. Make sure you’re at peace with yourself, which may mean finding harmony with feeling so driven and passionate. When you express that outwardly, cool it off just a little. Strive for cooperation. Set the example of working with others and distributing the workload. But be the keeper of your vision, and then relate that vision to others in a way they can clearly understand and help you develop.
Gemini (May 20-June 21) — Concern yourself with one thing only — clear agreements. Watch your tendency to be self-sacrificing, which is probably an outgrowth of feeling like you’re the less powerful person in business or joint financial situations. You may notice a tendency to respond to those in power in a rebellious way — I strongly suggest you keep a lid on that. If someone proposes something that makes no sense, ask them for clarification. If something you’re expected to do or to go along with explicitly contradicts your values, then state that in a respectful way. Remember that every person has their own customs, as does every culture. Some of them make absolutely no sense, but are harmless enough. Some are toxic. You must have the maturity to know the difference. And remember never to sign any agreement that you’re not absolutely certain you can fulfill. People sometimes put some crazy things into contracts. Read carefully. Be alert at all times.
Cancer (June 21-July 22) — Plenty is confronting you right now. Unless you find this much action to be totally thrilling, you might just want to crawl into the closet. The thing is, you’re in control. You are in command of your life. I know there’s a long list of gurus who would disagree with that statement. It is of course relative to your circumstances. Suffice it to say you have the power of decision in your hands. Everything coming at you, each thing, is an opportunity. You don’t need to accept all of them or any of them. The important thing is that you actively decide what you want, from among the options that you have. While you’re doing this, I suggest you maintain a high level of self-respect. You are worthy of any opportunity that comes your way. You have the experience and the natural talent to handle it. This is why you must choose carefully.
Leo (July 22-Aug. 23) — You may feel like you have to hold up the sky in a partnership or marriage. Your role is indeed integral to the situation, though leave the work of supporting heaven to the gods. You have plenty of ordinary human work to get done, though you would benefit by applying various techniques of coordination, cooperation and delegation. Yet you need to be the organizing principle, supplying the core intelligence that will get the job done. Think of the delegation of authority as something you give to someone, and then take back when the task is complete. As long as the task is delegated and not complete, you’re still on the hook. Hence follow-through is essential to that ‘core intelligence’ role. So too is structure, and the conscious use of time. Just don’t make the error of feeling like you’re in this alone. There is plenty of support around you; you just need to ask.
Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22) — You seem to be in a titanic struggle with your own boundaries. It’s as if some force inside you is trying to break free of every inner constraint you’ve ever lived with, and some outer shell is trying to hold you together, fearing what might happen if you really let go. This is a head-trip. The thing you’re experiencing is a self-concept; an idea about who you are rather than the actual thing you truly are. These ideas can be powerful. We live in the age of self-identification; the whole “I identify as” trip is running at full throttle, and of course, there is an ocean of difference between self-concept and self. It may be an ocean that you’re trying to protect yourself from, because if you open up, you’re going to set sail on the vast sea of experience. This will indeed reveal that any narrow self-identity cannot withstand the uncontainable truth of who you are. If you’re tempted to cling, and notice that it hurts, then feel — and experience.
Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23) — Gee, it looks like you’re expecting company. Or like you’re headed to a family reunion. Or like the family reunion is headed to you. Ok, that doesn’t exactly qualify as spot-on clairvoyance with Kwanzaa, Christmas and Hanukkah coming up, though it is a fair reading of your chart. That symbolic picture looks like a collection of every relative and ancestor you ever had is sitting at your kitchen table. Not the formal dining room — I mean stuffed into the kitchen, up against the stove, with bread in the oven. It looks like a collection of characters of wit or at least wisdom, including Uncle Ralph with his dirty jokes, cousin Martha who still after all these decades wears a mini skirt in December, and the presence of many people who have sat around that table in years past who are now memories. Even if that gathering does not come to you, then go to it — and bring someone who’s never been among your tribe before. They will notice many things invisible to you.
Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22) — “Mrs. Dalloway said she would buy the flowers herself.” “It was love at first sight.” “I have never begun a novel with more misgiving.” “In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since.” “You better not never tell nobody but God.” Every story begins with a single line, a statement of the truth as it is in that moment. No matter how complex the scenario, nor how many people are involved, nor how ordinary or strange, to tell the story, one must begin — and you surely have a story to tell. It seems to be bursting from your mind and aching to be expressed. There is so much that it may seem impossible. Yet I would encourage you to begin. You might find this better done with an older kind of writing — a pen or pencil on the page rather than an electronic device. This will foster a sense of seclusion rather than the idea that everything is public the moment you write it.
Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22) — The Sun is about to leave your sign and Saturn is about to arrive. This is like your Bar Mitzvah, only it’s the real thing. You are being reminded that you are an actual woman or man, someone who is capable of taking your destiny into your hands. That capability, that capacity or potential, is now ready to express itself through you. Be prepared to take life more seriously, which will require you to keep your sense of humor on at all times. Prepare to leave the swirling chaos of past years behind you. Get ready to draw some lines, and to work within those lines, which will help you concentrate your energy. Don’t be fooled by the idea that boundaries and timeframes are in some way limiting. For you in particular, they are the assurance of surpassing your limitations. You are someone for whom anything is possible — that is a core self-concept you possess. Now you’re about to demonstrate that it’s true.
Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20) — All of this and many other things shall be revealed. Like, in the next three days or so. I would say you’re approaching the single most interesting moment of self-discovery of your life, but you’ve had a few of those lately. Still, one builds on the next. And it helps if you’ve cleared some debris out of the way, which you have done. One of the most intriguing things about your current chart is the blend of chaste purity and unfettered lust. You may be thinking you’re having some kind of identity crisis. Like, how can both of these things be true? It’s not that they can be true; rather, it’s essential that they be true at the same time. They are opposites that support and affirm one another’s existence. They are options that you can choose from at any time, and live in for extended periods of time. The White path and the Red path are simultaneous realities and they both lead to the same place — to yourself.
Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) — Don’t let the pressure get to you. Rather, have fun with it. I know that’s easier said than done, sometimes. I know you may not like to admit that you can thrive under pressure — and you do appreciate some serenity. Now, however, is the time to flourish as the psychic barometer rises. Using some tools will help. One of them will be structuring your time. Another will be setting priorities. Another will be getting enough sleep every night. This may be the most important resource you have, because you’re going to be processing a lot of events and developments in your sleep, some of which will come through boldly. Others will come through as impressions. Then I suggest you set specific, attainable goals. Leave extra time, like a 20% fudge factor, so that you apply time structure in a way that supports you rather than in a way that overwhelms you. A deadline is not the due date — it’s a container for how much time you have to get something done, plus or minus 20%.
Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) — The theme of your charts continues to shift to the achievement and recognition areas, in a big way. In a few days, Saturn makes contact with the professional angle of your chart, your 10th house. While there is no automatic success, this at least is saying that your efforts will add up to some solid accomplishments, beginning now and over the next three years. At the same time, planets are rapidly gathering in Capricorn and on Sunday there will be a rather amazing New Moon right on the solstice. This describes your role in your community, and the important role of collaborators. What is interesting about the supposedly spacey and pleasure-seeking sign Pisces is the way that your solar chart describes your investment in organizations, culture and society. Indeed, the placement of Capricorn suggests that you’re a practical visionary, and this factor is coming through like thunder right now. Yes, there is work to do — though every day you will know that work is making a difference and adding up to something much larger than is obvious.