Earth Stations Retrograde

Dear Friend and Reader:

We’re now in that special moment: two planets stationing retrograde, two eclipses are on the way and Jupiter is making conjunctions. The first-ever Capricorn solstice conjunct Pluto is about to happen, in a square to Saturn. The Sun is now conjunct the Galactic Core. Everything really is happening at once. Many astrologers have observed that the gods have a demented sense of humor. Welcome to it.

Aerial photograph showing a section of sea ice. The lighter blue areas are melt ponds and the darkest areas are open water, both have a lower albedo than the white sea ice. The melting ice contributes to ice-albedo feedback: a loop wherein the more ice that melts, the more solar heat is absorbed, and the more ice melts. Photo: Wikipedia.

In the past few issues I’ve covered the personal implications of these aspects [if you need a refresher, here is one article and here is another]. Today let’s check in with the world we live on, in and with. As promised, the political is personal this week: for example, the UN climate conference in Copenhagen. It’s come down to the crunch just as Mercury is stationing in Capricorn, which suggests that there’s not going to be a final agreement at this conference. There are so many interests competing on this issue, and so many different countries and continents involved, that given the state of human nature, one could surmise that no agreement is really possible.

Clearly we are witnessing one of the first real opportunities for these factions, tribes, regions, environmentalists, fundamentalist industrialists, scientists, pseudocrats, ideologues and random freaks to come together and overcome their belief in their separate interests. They may not be getting too far, but heck, at least a bunch of them showed up for the meeting. We may yet look upon these as the good old days, when everyone got along.

It all seems incredibly messy to us. Maybe that’s because it is. We have a fine example of one of those “impossible situations” described by A Course in Miracles. What we’re seeing is certainly an interesting experiment in what can happen on a planet when there’s some dim recognition that survival of many species, including our own, is threatened. This would have made a fabulous scifi action story fifty years ago; today it’s all over the newspapers.

Imagine how this looks on a karmic level, in the long history of humanity on our world. Place it in the context of what we are doing here in the first place; make up your own story what that’s about. Imagine if you could see onto the dimension where many individuals with different levels of growth and widely varying beliefs in separate interests are attempting to hash out a resolution. Imagine the people who know that they’re on the wrong side of the issue, but are too sold out to change their official view. Imagine those who are are there to present a controversial viewpoint, struggling to get any attention at all, knowing they are performing an evolutionary function.

And then there’s us, here at the foot of Olympus, either listening to what’s happening, or not. How many people really care? How many of us really know we have an actual interest in the outcome of this unprecedented global meeting?

Astrologically, there are two pictures: the local one — the imminent station retrograde of Mars and Mercury (which could scuttle the conversation, in the short run); and the big-sky dynamic of the cardinal cross T-square: the 2012 formation that is now taking shape. This involves Saturn and Pluto in early Libra and Capricorn (making a square), and the coming conjunction of Jupiter and Uranus on the Aries Point. You could not ask for better astrology to tell us that something affecting the whole world is on the docket. It’s going to be there for a while. The current t-square melts in to the full-on square between Uranus and Pluto, which is exact for the first time in 2012 and lasts through 2015 — making an incredible seven exact squares. But note: even though it doesn’t officially start for two years, we are in this dynamic now.

Let’s first consider a late-breaking report on the deal that’s being debated: how much do world leaders agree to allow the average temperature on the planet to rise? Will it be 2 degrees centigrade, or 3? The UK Guardian reported yesterday that the emissions cuts offered so far at the Copenhagen climate change summit would still lead to global temperatures rising by an average of 3C, according to a confidential UN analysis obtained by The Guardian [please see chart analysis of the document below].

“With the talks entering the final 24 hours on a knife-edge, the emergence of the document seriously undermines the statements by governments that they are aiming to limit emissions to a level ensuring no more than a 2C temperature rise over the next century, and indicates that the last day of negotiations will be extremely challenging,” The Guardian reported.

“A rise of 3C would mean up to 170 million more people suffering severe coastal floods and 550 million more at risk of hunger, according to the Stern economic review of climate change for the UK government — as well as leaving up to 50% of species facing extinction. Even a rise of 2C would lead to a sharp decline in tropical crop yields, more flooding and droughts.”

Protestors attempt to break through a police line outside the Bella Center in Copenhagen. The protests are focused on calling attention to the neglect of global warming by business and government. Photo from; photographer not credited.

So this difference between a rise of 2 degrees and 3 degrees seems to be the point of the whole conversation. I guess 4 degrees would be worse and some prudent people are calling for 1.5 so we have a safety margin. I learned a new word tonight, gigatons. That is a measure of carbon release into the atmosphere. Unfortunately a gigaton is too big to fit in my pocket, like a gigabyte picture card.

Some people are coming forward with less-than-savory ‘solutions’ to the problem. In the Beyond Nuclear Bulletinof Dec. 16, the editors reported on the attempt by U.S. senators Kerry, Lieberman, Graham to insert nuclear power expansion into the Copenhagen climate negotiations. Development of American commercial nuclear power plants has been all but on hold since the Three Mile Island partial reactor core meltdown of 1979. The Chernobyl meltdown of 1986 gave another reason to stop nuclear power, but clearly this didn’t stop or even slow France, which currently gets 80% of its commercial electricity from nuclear fission plants.

According to the statement issued by the senators, “Additional nuclear power is an essential component of our strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. We strongly support incentives for renewable energy sources such as wind and solar, but successful legislation must also recognize the important role for clean nuclear power in our low-emissions future.”

Clean nuclear power? That’s like “clean dioxin.” You can only make it less toxic with words. They may as well say wholesome, fresh nuclear power or perfectly safe meltdown.

In a comment, the editors of Beyond Nuclear Bulletin replied: “Atomic power cannot solve the climate crisis. First, it costs too much and takes too long to deploy. In addition, in over 50 years, it has failed to solve its ‘insurmountable risks’: nuclear weapons proliferation, the danger of catastrophic radioactivity releases due to accident or attack, the unsolved problem of what to do with forever deadly radioactive wastes, as well as the ‘routine’ toxic and radioactive releases at each stage of the uranium fuel chain.”

Even my father, who has done time as a nuclear industry public relations consultant, admits that they have no clue what to do with the radioactive waste. How exactly do you mark a container or dump full of something that will kill people in 5,000 years? Can you read Sumerian tablets? Even in our current era we build housing developments on top of toxic waste dumps knowing perfectly well what they are.

The Hubert Lamb Building, University of East Anglia, where the Climatic Research Unit is based. Photo: Wikipedia.

Meanwhile, the recent hacking of emails on climate change breathed new life into the position of climate change skeptics. The emails, taken from a climate change laboratory in East Anglia, England, were hacked from a server somewhere in Turkey on Nov. 17. On first read, they seemed to indicate that certain scientists were only pretending that global temperatures were increasing.

As a hobby publicist myself, I love the timing of this — just one month before the Copenhagen conference, just enough time for the issue to be the perfect red herring. Even Sarah Palin is at her pulpit (somewhere) reminding us how those ecology nuts are full of it, we knew it all along, blah blah blah.

According to Sign of the Times (, even Roger Pielke, a professor of environmental studies at the University of Colorado, said, “Human-caused climate change is real, and I’m a strong advocate for action. But I’m also a strong advocate for integrity in science.”

He added, “These emails open up the possibility that big scientific questions we’ve regarded as settled may need another look. They reveal that some of these scientists saw themselves not as neutral investigators but as warriors engaged in battle with the so-called skeptics. They have lost a lot of credibility and as far as their being leading spokespeople on this issue of huge public importance, there is no going back.”

However, the Associated Press reported this week that it studied 1,073 of the stolen emails and concluded, “emails stolen from climate scientists show they stonewalled skeptics and discussed hiding data — but the messages don’t support claims that the science of global warming was faked.”

AP said that five of its reporters each read about one million words of e-mail text and in a Dec. 12 article said, “In the past three weeks since the emails were posted, longtime opponents of mainstream climate science have repeatedly quoted excerpts of about a dozen emails. Republican congressmen and former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin have called for either independent investigations, a delay in U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulation of greenhouse gases or outright boycotts of the Copenhagen international climate talks. They cited a ‘culture of corruption’ that the emails appeared to show.

Mom and child walk in the shadow of Three Mile Island, which had a partial meltdown in 1979. Photo by Martha Cooper.

“That is not what the AP found. There were signs of trying to present the data as convincingly as possible,” but not of fabricating data.

One of the most intriguing properties that I’ve seen over and over again with Mercury stationing (either direction, retrograde or direct) is that lies do not stand up well to the aspect. The station seems to present that other way of looking at things, the shift in perspective or the direct revelation of the truth, that makes it abundantly clear what is actually true. [As an aside, 22 million Bush-era White House emails previously believed to have been lost or deleted were dug out of White House servers last week.]

I wonder what people who are climate change skeptics really think they stand for. Are they suggesting that we continue the industrial-scale consumption of the Earth, with all its many other problems — such as toxic pollutants and the ravaging of natural habitats? Are they in denial, trying to hide from their own responsibility for a problem they are helping create?

One of the skeptic theories is that there are natural fluctuations in the Earth’s temperature, some of them similar to what we are seeing today. But as I explained to one reader in an e-mail tonight, just because it was a natural phenomenon in the past does not present the logical conclusion that it’s natural today. We have something that they didn’t have back then: massive industry and the burning of carbon fuel. And obviously we have a lot more at stake: a much greater population, much of it concentrated on the coasts.

Anyway — I thought you might want this Copenhagen update. I know you have a lot going on, and planets are on the move.

For those who are curious, in the next two short articles, I’ll take a look at the charts for the Climategate e-mail hacking incident and the secret report obtained by The Guardian.

See you Tuesday with the January monthly horoscope.

Yours & truly,
Eric Francis

With Love from Turkey: A Thousand Emails Hacked

And just what does the chart for breaking into an obscure, high-security university computer and stealing the private emails of climate scientists look like? Here you have it. The location of the hacking was somewhere in Turkey; so I used the capital city. The server where they were taken from is in Norwich, England. I am counting the crime scene as the location of the perpetrator and not the victims. That was my first intuition and then I ran it past my colleague and longtime astrology mentor David Arner, who agreed that’s a good way to think about it. It is possible that the IP address in Turkey was used as a sock puppet (a false identity) for hackers working elsewhere; after all they are hackers. But it’s the best information we have. The time is stated in Eastern Standard Time, per the data source, which is attributed to this discussion.

The chart is Pisces rising, so you can be sure that Jupiter and Neptune will describe key themes. This turns out to be true.

The Moon, the Sun and Mercury — immediate significators for the incident — are in the 9th house, and the Moon and Mercury are in a close conjunction in Sagittarius (ruled by Jupiter). This speaks to the international nature of the incident, its academic setting and the fact that a global issue is involved (all of these are 9th house themes). The Scorpio Sun in the 9th adds a feeling of espionage, and the ease of the theft.

The Moon is separating from its conjunction to Mercury, so that’s the “thing that just happened.” Moon and Mercury are in aspect to the Saturn-Pluto square, the bigger thing that’s really happening — the world is changing. The Moon’s very next aspect is to the Black Moon Lilith, a strange hypothetical point associated with the Moon’s orbit. It’s dark and mysterious and while not inherently evil, it can stand in for less-than-wholesome motives; and for anything that is elusive or difficult to pin down. This is worth its own article. The Black Moon is one of the strangest behaving points I know of.

Notice that the big conjunction in Aquarius (technology) is like that hidden e-mail database that got hacked into. It’s located in the 12th house, which is a good representation of the data cloud, trade secrets and scientific secrets.

The Moon in this chart tells the story. Straightaway, the Moon makes a conjunction to Pholus, which is like the release of the emails. Pholus is about things or events that can’t be contained; that get let out of the bottle like a genie and then don’t go back in. It’s also about a small cause and a big effect.

The Sagittarius Moon goes on to make a series of aspects to the Aquarius grouping, as the whole story blows into an international sensation. In that larger-than-life 12th house way, in full Sagittarian flavor, the whole conversation basically ran wild. The Moon then made a square to Uranus — a disruption of some kind, namely to the Copenhagen proceedings — and then makes its last aspect to a major point or planet to Neptune: the lie is undone.

Details, Details: Quibbling Over One Degree Centigrade

Would you notice if your house was one degree centigrade warmer or cooler? Actually, you probably would. It makes an even bigger deal on the planet because each degree increase in average global temperature means that so many more miles of coastline are flooded by melting ice and therefore rising sea levels.

The Guardian newspaper has revealed the existence of a confidential document which says that world leaders currently meeting in Copenhagen are only using 3C increase as a target — not 2C.

“The analysis seriously undermines the statements by governments that they are aiming to limit emissions to a level ensuring no more than a 2C temperature rise over the next century, and indicates that the last 24 hours of negotiations will be extremely challenging,” the newspaper said.

“A rise of 3C would mean up to 170 million more people suffering severe coastal floods and 550 million more at risk of hunger, according to the Stern economic review of climate change for the UK government — as well as leaving up to 50% of species facing extinction. Even a rise of 2C would lead to a sharp decline in tropical crop yields, more flooding and droughts.”

And what would this chart look like?

The first thing that stands out is that Mars is in the 12th house — the house of the “hidden enemy.” Someone is hiding something; that’s what the article is about. Mars rules the 8th house, of secrets and of money. Mars is about heat. They seem to be hiding heat. And it seems to be for the sake of…money. It appears they are hiding a good bit besides.

Again the Moon turns up in Sagittarius; we’re close to the one month anniversary of the emails being hacked. The Moon is conjunct Venus less than a day before the exact New Moon. The Moon and other significant points are in the 4th house — the house of home; ecology is the study of the Earth. One thing about the Earth is it’s getting hot, and there’s certainly a lot of fire in there with all that Sagittarius. Moon to Venus gives another clue that something about money is going on. Once again the Moon is going to sweep past a series of aspects to the Aquarius alignment.

We don’t know the end of this story; the document was just leaked. But we shall see what we shall see.




Weekly Horoscope for Friday, December 18, 2009, #797 – BY ERIC FRANCIS 

Nessus in Aquarius: Do You Trust Your Tribute?

Dear Friend and Reader:

Last week, we looked at the triple conjunction of Jupiter, Chiron and Neptune in Aquarius, which has been playing to audiences all year. Because this involves Chiron and Neptune, it’s potentially subtle astrology — we are not usually accustomed to dealing with these energies except in their most difficult forms. One of the challenges presented in particular by Chiron making its rare conjunction to Neptune is confronting the lies we are told, the lies we believe and the lies we tell ourselves. This aspect portends spiritual work of the first order. The problem is that most of our psychic operating system is based on denial.

The problem is that once a person comes out of denial on one theme or issue, that can lead to a cascade effect of wanting to live for the truth. Facing that potential, the psyche can have a reflexive reaction and heap on even more denial, fearing that admitting anything at all will lead to the need for sweeping or even catastrophic changes. This is an ego game: an indulgence of fear and avoidance when what we need is to take a breath and explain the situation to ourselves as it is; as best we can. Then at least we have a tangible situation to address. This could be in any aspect of life, though in Aquarius, it will be where social expectations are involved: the things we have to do to fit in; the cost of individuality; and the crisis involved in crossing the line from conformist to individual.

There is a fourth planet involved in what keeps being described as a triple conjunction — and that planet is Nessus. This was the third Centaur planet ever discovered. Everyone considering astrology needs to know about the first three, at least. The first was Chiron (discovered in 1977). The second is Pholus (discovered in 1992 and currently in Sagittarius). The third is Nessus (discovered in 1993 and currently in mid-Aquarius).

One could explain Nessus in terms of injuries associated with violated boundaries, and these are often sexual boundaries. If you take away the story and look at the effects of Nessus in a structural way, it can be applied to any situation where the return of karma shows up. Something has consequences, and someone has to take responsibility. Melanie Reinhart gives the key phrase, “The buck stops here.”

Any planet in Aquarius is going to bring up tribal themes. Since humans no longer live in tribes, we have to look to families, social groups, companies and anything asking for our loyalty. Nessus is calling on the carpet all the ways in which we are betrayed by those groups. What do you have to do in order to fit in, and in what ways to you voluntarily betray yourself by doing so? As for the ‘rules’ of the group, to what extent are people expected to violate their most private interests in order to be allowed to participate? We all know we have to play conformist games. But there comes a time when they turn out to be extremely toxic, and only feed energy to the most insecure people among us, who try to set the rules for the rest.

Yours & truly,
Eric Francis

Aries (March 20-April 19)
I’ve often thought that all matters spiritual would be easier to understand if we remove the word ‘spiritual’ from the language. Everything we think of in this ‘category’ needs to be thought of as normal rather than as something distinct and special; then we will get it. That would include having a broad mental horizon, honoring ethics, being honest, treating people as equals and the world as one place, and living in the spirit of love. As I’ve grown older, I’ve rethought my position on this; the qualities covered under my concept of spiritual need to be identified and honored as such. They need a place and as you know, that place is everywhere; it’s not church. Your charts this week suggest a return to the heart and soul of your faith. In that case we might well ask why you are concerned about anything else.

Taurus (April 19- May 20)
You have many admirable gifts and attributes; the one you consistently forget to reach for is leadership. Even going back 15 years and up to the present day, you’ve been called on to take a stand for what is right, and to help organize the efforts of others. Part of why this is so frustrating to you is that while you can accept people in their imperfections, it’s another thing to be responsible for their conduct, or to depend on the undependable. True enough. The solution is a new concept of leadership, based on mutually supportive relationships. You can think of these relationships as involving sacred contracts, where everyone involved gets the purpose of the gig, and responsibility and the burden of dealing with human flaws are fairly distributed. You are creating or renewing some of those sacred contracts these very days.

Gemini (May 20- June 21)
It’s often difficult for you to stand up to your relationships because you see so much that’s outside you as larger and more influential than yourself. If we remember that the Galactic Core is in your opposite sign (which signifies relationships), it’s possible to adjust the scale and remember that nothing in our world is quite that monumental. You now have a point of emotional access to a situation or circumstance that once seemed daunting. That’s all it takes — a little common ground; the feeling of being recognized; the emotional sensation of trust, whereas before there was just an idea. If as the weeks and months progress you lose your sense of scale, remember this feeling. Connect with the reality that people are people. We’re all in this together, no matter what anyone thinks or tries to convince us.

Cancer (June 21- July 22)
Are you grateful for your health? The planet is in crisis about this right now, and it’s not just about how to pay for doctors. Between the faltering global immune system, poor nutrition and the constant overdose of stress, I suggest you practice a yoga path of appreciating even the most modest experiences of wellbeing: such as making your own food and walking under your own power. Yet it’s also time to reconsider what exactly we mean when we say healthy. There is something in there about staying connected to your source; to your inner core, which is always alive and always thriving even if we don’t quite express it in the world, or feel it in our emotions. This source can be tapped into when we need it. It takes practice, but you happen to be in an excellent position to learn (or relearn) the basics.

Leo (July 22- Aug. 23)
Your potential is opening up in unexpected ways. You’re never one to fear how amazing you can be, though you have a way of getting stuck on one level. Then you forget you’re there. You’re suddenly rising to a new occasion or accepting a mission that stretches your talent. This has been developing for a while, but now the sense of a calling is undeniable. You seem to have made a decision about how you see the world, or perhaps learned something from an important relationship. This has helped you redefine yourself; perhaps an analogy would help. Imagine someone who didn’t feel that beautiful caught a glimpse of herself in a mirror, in a certain light or from an angle that provided a new perspective; and that momentary glance changed her self-image forever. But this is not about how you look; it’s about who you are.

Virgo (Aug. 23- Sep. 22)
Remember your relationship to the world. Not to the ‘little world’ of activity around you, but the very world. The whole story, the drama of our time in history, and the planet Herself: the planet that’s your home. Why you have such a deep sense of the Earth and her reality is not just about Virgo being an earthy sign. It’s about the placement of Sagittarius in your 4th solar house: your roots, your safety and your grounding. In one system of astrology, Sagittarius is the sign associated with the Earth. This week’s New Moon is an invitation to celebrate your home; which as you know is part of a much greater whole. I suggest you take some time this weekend and celebrate the fact of your belonging, your involvement and your sense of authentic contact — rare among humans — with the planet you belong to.

Libra (Sep. 22 – Oct. 23)
Have you figured out that you think by divination? Most people hardly think at all, or try to use an outdated version of logic more resembling MS-DOS than an iPhone. Your mind is a crystal ball. You don’t exactly think; you allow a moment of no-mind and ‘unknowing’ — then you recognize what’s really going on. You’ve just had a big glimpse into the crystal. So much information came through that you might have forgotten the whole experience. However, it would seem that international travel plans are involved, and that you suddenly have a sense of your long-term trajectory. And there was the latest pleasant shock into some new creative or erotic territory, someplace you’ve been expecting to go for years, but are now suddenly willing to take the chance and explore with your senses and your soul.

Scorpio (Oct. 23- Nov. 22)
Do you have the feeling that you just avoided some grave danger that you only found out about after it was over? Check in with the year 1999 and see if that time in your life, or in the life of the world, has any messages for you. You seem to be going back over the territory of a relationship that happened then, which may be leading you to question some current situations in your life. True, there is common ground between the two situations — but most of that involves your memory. You’re actually standing in a hologram of where someone close to you was some 10 years ago. You’re able to feel a little of what they felt, which is delivering some surprising information. Stick with this process — it has a lot to teach you; and along the way you can be grateful for how far you’ve come since then.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22 – Dec. 22)
Feminine does not mean passive. True, most girls and women are raised to be more fearful and retreating than are most boys and men; but feminine is an alert, potent state of mind. Particularly in your relationships, the key to opening up to your receptivity is allowing yourself to flow from experience to experience. Notice who notices you. Respond if you like the vibes. Observe who is drawn in your direction and notice the first thing they say to you. Yet the real gifts will come from listening carefully to your intuition. Solutions to problems that have puzzled you for years may enter your mind, but unless you notice and actually write down what you hear, the benefits of that information will likely pass you by. This year has been all about learning to focus your mind. Now is the time to put that skill to work.

Capricorn (Dec. 22- Jan. 20)
You seem driven toward a goal without knowing what the goal is. Well, it’s about you, not a place, a thing or an accomplishment. I don’t think there’s been a time in your life when you’ve been under so much pressure to become someone you are inside. The early to mid-1990s contain a clue, but that was likely such a chaotic time in your life you don’t like to think about it so much. Yet you learned a lot, the most significant thing being that you can rise to the occasion of highly demanding situations. Growth in this particular case involves dismantling some aspect of your personality: or releasing some habit of existence that has gradually become a false reason for living. It would be nice if less were going on at the same time. Yet part of what you’re learning is how to distribute your energy effectively, and to make personal evolution part of your life experience every single day.

Aquarius (Jan. 20- Feb. 19)
For a long time it felt like you were not ready to act. Suddenly you feel overdue for action. Don’t worry about that interval between the two observations about yourself. There wasn’t actually a moment when you ‘became ready’, though you’re currently in the moment when you’re noticing. That’s the time to cast the chart or draw the runes. Recognition is the connection point. You still have the ability to drift, delay or pause; your next reminder won’t feel like the original message. You will have to summon more of your internal will rather than moving with the flow. At the moment, you have the option to let go into the circumstances and events that are shaping you and allow yourself to take a new form, precisely at the beginning of a cycle in your life. You have reasons to make a move; you have reasons to hesitate, though remember — you can delay change but not defy it.

Pisces (Feb. 19- March 20)
You’re starting to fill in the blanks on just how accessible some extraordinary success really is. Success is elusive to you because generally it demands being competitive. While you’re capable of this, it doesn’t feel good; no goal is worth feeling less than human. However, a truly human version of recognition and reward are available right now. This is partly because you’re so visible at this time of year. You’re finding it easy to be authentic lately, and someone who can provide a vital connection is actually noticing what you’re up to. Proceed every day as slowly as you can, whatever you may be doing. Emphasize what is beautiful about your work, without neglecting how much you’ve achieved. And if you’re doubting that, I suggest you make a list of how far you’ve come in how little time. This will help you remember your confidence as a conscious act of will.

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