Eclipses of October

Three Scorpios. Photo by Eric Francis / Blue Studio.

Dear Friend and Reader:

Astrological events love to come in clusters. Watching the sky for a while, you can get the feeling you do when you’re waiting for a city bus — why can’t they spread out and come every 15 minutes instead of four busses showing up at the same time?

Well, a lot of busses arrive in October, all within a very short time. Actually, we got a good start this week, with the Libra New Moon happening two days after the equinox. As you know, those last days of summer were like being propelled through a funnel. Now we are into autumn and I have some news for you about what the sky is offering.

First, we have the third and final Mercury retrograde of the year. This begins on Saturday, Oct. 4 at 1:02 pm EDT (17:02 UTC). It lasts through Saturday, Oct. 25 at 3:16 pm EDT (19:16 UTC). This is going to be an exciting Mercury retrograde, particularly right at the end — I’ll come back to that in a moment.

For Sale or Lease. Photo by Eric Francis / Blue Studio.

Mercury stations retrograde in early Scorpio. It then backtracks into Libra, covering half of that sign, and then stations direct. One thing that jumps out right away is that in traditional astrology, Scorpio is ruled by Mars and Libra is ruled by Venus. If you read old astrology texts, you find out that Mercury is gender-neutral.

So we have a Mercury retrograde event that is likely to commence a new discussion of gender identity. This is an aspect of life that is fraught with controversy, because so much of the pain people are in is mistakenly associated with feelings about being either male or female. There is this thing called gender rage, which is anger projected at all members of the opposite sex, or any anger that is related to sex and gender.

Mercury will be making a series of visits to Libra and Scorpio, which looks to me like a shifting perspective — that is, Mercury taking on the feelings of maleness and femaleness in a series of sign changes. This could deliver the one thing we need the most in gender discussions, which is seeing and feeling life from the opposite (or seemingly opposite) perspective.

As happened during the last Mercury retrograde about four months ago, Mercury makes a series of trine aspects to a meaningful newly discovered planet called Nessus, which is about accountability. Yet Nessus also contains plenty of data about healing gender issues and resolving old injuries, such as from past abuse situations. When Nessus shows up, it points to the problem and it points to the solution. For that to work, it’s necessary to keep the main concept of Nessus in mind, which is accountability — that is, the person who is actually going to deal with the situation.

Nessus reveals the futility of blame, including self-blame. At the same time the theme of Nessus suggests that accountability is essential; and that there must be someone willing to deal — and that someone had best be you. The story will vary from person to person, though with Mercury and Nessus involved there is the underlying theme of speaking the unspeakable or saying what has not been said, especially if it feels impossible to say.

Photo by Eric Francis / Blue Studio.

Mercury transitioning back and forth from Scorpio to Libra emphasizes the theme of taking what cannot be easily expressed (Scorpio) and presenting it in a relational way (Libra).

During the Mercury retrograde, there are two eclipses. The first of these is a total lunar eclipse in Aries, exact early the morning of Wednesday, Oct. 8.

In fact it happens right at the midpoint of Aries, which you can think of as a hotspot in the zodiac. It’s also closely conjunct Uranus, which is another hotspot. The eclipse activates a grand fire trine that includes Jupiter in Leo and Mars and Pholus in Sagittarius.

As a South Node eclipse in Aries, this event relates to the process of giving up some identity construct that you’ve been living with for a while — perhaps a very long time, and replacing it with something bold and original.

You will have plenty of support doing that, which will be accessed through consciously embracing the process of letting go of whatever that old personality construct may be, such as an outdated sense of purpose.

Both Mars and the presence of activity in Aries are in the aspect pattern. One possible collective manifestation of this could be some revelation about the militancy of humanity and of our time in history. As many have pointed out, this tendency affects people down to the level of our innermost thoughts, and is worth observing and questioning.

The second eclipse is even more interesting. It is conjunct Venus and is a story all its own — related to many other stories. The eclipse happens just after the Sun has ingressed Scorpio on Oct. 23. By this I mean that the Sun enters Scorpio at 7:57 am EDT, the Moon and Venus enter Scorpio nearly simultaneously at about 5 pm EDT, and a solar eclipse conjunct Venus happens just before 6 pm.

I will say that another way. On the morning of Thursday, Oct. 23 we wake up with the Moon, Venus and the Sun all in Libra. By early evening they are all in Scorpio and align in an eclipse of the Sun. So that is a lot of change concentrated within a few hours.

With Scorpio the theme of sex is again emphasized, particularly with the presence of Venus. Yet there is an odd counterpoint to the sex theme, which is Pallas Athene in Scorpio, very close to the eclipse. Pallas Athene is one of those planets that says “sexless.” It says it in a few ways. Athena was born from her father’s head, without sex. She is a woman dressed in a suit of armor, which connotes a concealed or unavailable femininity.

One of the keynotes of Pallas Athene is a voluntary giving up of womanly sexuality and other trappings of femininity to serve another purpose. Yet that purpose may indeed be sex, because there are plenty of conventional gender attributes that get in the way of honest sexual relating, be it physical or in conversation.

Photo by Eric Francis / Blue Studio.

Pallas Athene also represents strategy. This is an interesting subtopic of sex, which sometimes seems to call for total surrender to spontaneous creation, and at other times can call for (or even require) a conscious strategy.

One’s sexual strategy might be as mundane as pregnancy prevention or safer sex (too sophisticated for a great many people) to figuring out how to get the sex you want, including with the specific person you want.

Strategy can be thought of as any conscious adaptation, such as deciding you have a fetish and finding the community that will help you fulfill that desire.

Most therapists would probably say that the concept of strategy is something to leave outside the door of our relationships, because they would associate it with having a closed heart, or not taking a ‘come what may’ attitude. To those who place any value on sexual freedom, which I would define as embracing the conscious freedom to choose what you want, ongoing, we are in an era of history where some form of strategy is a necessity if you want to make contact with others.

There’s one last idea I can relate among this rather rich aspect pattern, made more interesting by a point with the inflections of Pallas Athene. You could say that Pallas represents politicization of whatever it makes contact with. This can work many ways, though in Scorpio, we have the idea of sex turned into a political issue. With Venus in the mix, we have women’s sexuality turned into a political issue. And with an eclipse, it could be big. I say this knowing we are in an era of the female body being turned into a political instrument, or worse, a battleground.

Notably, this eclipse is happening in the final stretch of a general election cycle. It’s a midterm election, though extremely crucial, because if the Senate becomes Republican, we can pretty much kiss goodbye the appointment of any pro-choice judges in the last two years of Obama’s presidency. All federal judicial appointments must be approved by the Senate. However, this aspect looks like it portrays some kind of immediate crisis, and we’ve had no shortage of those lately. Whatever it is could easily tip the election in key districts.

But the problem as I see it is much more deeply soaked into the emotions of our society — for example, the expectation that it’s somehow normal, useful or productive to turn the female body into a battleground, or worse, some kind of political territory to be conquered.

Photo by Eric Francis / Blue Studio.

In responding to any such attack, it’s possible to get drawn into the argument in a way where no matter what you say, you lose. Many different factions use sex or ideas about sex as a weapon, some under the guise of conservatism and some under the guise of progressivism. Both are equally repugnant.

What is lost in the discussion is that any expression of sex as power, or use of sex as an organizing platform, usually obscures the more fundamental right to experience pleasure.

The right to choice — that is, to choose to use contraception and the right to abortion on demand, are all about a woman’s right to be sexual for her own sake, and to mitigate the consequences of sex. Taking away any such rights are an attack on emotional autonomy.

The Scorpio eclipse happens just before Mercury stations direct. The eclipse is the evening of Thursday, Oct. 23 (21:56 UTC) and Mercury stations direct less than two days later. The eclipse occurs during what is called the Mercury storm, in what may be the most turbulent moment of that phase, in the days and hours right before Mercury changes directions. This suggests that any sinister political plot could backfire. The Sun, Venus and Pallas Athene align in an exact conjunction between the 24th and the 26th, which also implies an extended moment of clarity.

One last thought: Both of these eclipses make exact aspects to the chart for Pres. Obama’s speech last month, the one announcing another permanent war on terrorists. Obama made that presentation to the American people on the eve of the 9/11 anniversary — yet another exploitation of that incident, despite it being 13 years and no domestic terrorist attacks after the fact.

The eclipses of October make aspects to two extremely sensitive points in the chart for Obama’s speech, and I’m concerned that we could see another significant escalation of the war in the Middle East, which is now beginning to involve many more parties than in the past.

I have not mentioned that Mars is in Sagittarius, and will be making many aspects to sensitive objects in that sign through the month of October, prior to changing signs into Capricorn on October 26. Mars in Sagittarius illustrates the new military era we appear to have just entered, which looks like a phase of international mayhem in the Middle East. I know it seems perfectly futile to resist such movements, which are being orchestrated by many forces that are out of sight, though it would be wise to remember who will be left with responsibility for the future, and left with the bill.

In other words, what we don’t object to now we must live with later.

If Mars in Sagittarius says anything, it says think of the future. There is such a thing as the future, and it’s our most valuable collective resources — definitely something to consider.

I mean it. The future. We usually live like there isn’t one. But why?


Planet Waves Monthly Horoscopes for October 2014, #1017 | By Eric Francis

Aries (March 20-April 19) — Events this month will be surprising and most of all you will surprise yourself with what you are capable of. You are likely to accomplish things you never imagined possible, which relates to emerging as someone you never quite thought you were. This will require more than ‘being real’, though in the most essential sense of that idea, it’s exactly what you will be doing. Yet this is more like being real in the way that you never thought possible. You seem to have gathered the idea that if you are bold and stand out, that will ultimately have an alienating effect on the people around you. You have the potential to discover an approach to life where asserting yourself fits a social pattern that helps you and everyone else. I will give you a clue how this works. Note the tendency for people, government agencies and countries to resort to aggression as the first resort rather than the last. The cosmic law of your chart says that you can do anything about which you can speak openly with others. Establish communication first and act second. Maintain a dialog. Make sure that you speak and listen in more or less equal proportion. And more than anything, don’t try to hide who you are. Assume that you are immediately recognized for who you are, and be that person all the time.

Taurus (April 19-May 20) — There’s no limit to what you don’t know about yourself, which you notice every now and then. This makes some people nervous, and it makes some people into artists, writers, musicians and philosophers. Those born under the sign Taurus live with a special version of what I would call the Persistent Mystery of Self. It can have a way of driving you, whether forward or in circles, though the impulse is not always so conscious. This month two eclipses influence your chart in profound ways. The first, on Oct. 8, seems designed to relieve internal pressure that has been bottling up for a while. This could manifest as a revelation about yourself, as a personal crisis or both — you can be less attached to the form it takes if you know why it’s happening. The effect will be to help you settle down emotionally and feel better in your skin, perhaps after a little storm. The next eclipse, on Oct. 23, takes place on your relationship angle. You may experience a similar phase of transition in an intimate partnership, though this is designed to bring you closer. Remember that many people don’t want to be closer to others, for whatever reason. It’s always helpful to know thyself, then encounter the other, and that is the arrangement. You do seem committed to your current path. Keep your faith.

Gemini (May 20-June 21) — You may be facing a persistent question about the role of sex in your relationships. Cultural mythology on this subject would make any anthropologist’s head spin. We could at least begin by saying that sex plays an important role even in ‘non-sexual’ relationships, for countless reasons, but at least one that you can relate to: People are curious about one another. And there are lots of people who turn you on. But there are no provisions for that in The Rules, and denial is no longer going to work for you. The thing to remember all the time is that you are a biological entity first, and a socially conditioned entity second. So let your biology and your curiosity speak. Notice who is noticing you — these days, plenty of people are –and maybe experiment with that being OK. You don’t need to make excuses for why you supposedly don’t care, especially if you actually do care. There is a zone in life and in your chart where healing and sex meet and blend, and for several different reasons, that zone is under focus right now. Any emotional, psychological or spiritual question deserves a thoughtful review of how your sexual feelings, experiences and values influence that matter. This of course all points directly to your relationships with others, and the question of how real you can be, which is another way of saying how honest.

Cancer (June 21-July 22) — You’ll get more done if you work collectively rather than individually. You might forget this just when you need it most — so I suggest you remember just at that moment. Let any struggle that lasts for more than an hour be a reminder to get the help of other people who may know more than you, have greater resources or more patience and experience for a particular task. Don’t worry if you have to pay them; that is what money is for, though you’re likely to find assistance that can be done as seva (selfless service) or in-kind (you help them later). In any event, the thing to do is ask rather than pretending to be a lone wolf, or thinking you have to go it alone. Once you do, a whole world will open up — a world of passion and creativity, and one where taking certain kinds of risks makes sense and is the thing to do. It will help if you express your goals in a way that appeals to the idea of serving everyone. It’s true that this goes against the prevailing ethos of our time: every man for himself, helping others is pointless, and everything must be done for personal profit. The steps you take this month will guide you and the people around you to a higher level of awareness and more meaningful involvement with the world.

Leo (July 22-Aug. 23) — Most people are constrained by what they believe is possible, or rather, what they believe is impossible. Over the next few weeks, all of that is about to go pop. Things you never imagined in the realm of possibility will emerge as something you can do right now. Embrace the idea that in truth, anything is possible. You don’t even need to ‘believe’ it, or see how you could get there. You must only get out of your own way, and refrain from trying to convince yourself that something cannot be done. Along those lines, it would help if you elected not to subject yourself to the influences of anyone who is telling you what is not possible, particularly if you know they are coming from the place of their own injury. This can be challenging, since so many people think they have a vested interest in convincing others what cannot be done, or protecting them from the possibility that their dreams won’t come true. Be mindful of this and learn to recognize this viewpoint when you hear it. Your world is opening up. Your horizons of space and time are widening. Your sense of who you are is arising before your eyes. You need not debate this with yourself; rather, step into the future with calm confidence and you will see that you’re standing on solid ground.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22) — You may be more emotional than you’ve felt in years, wondering just how everything you were sure you had worked out is suddenly reminding you of its existence. While it’s true that some of what you’re feeling is a calling to deeper healing, other experiences are more like reviewing an extremely vivid book of the history of your life. Even though you have made immense progress resolving the past, and doing what my Virgo friend Paloma calls “cleaning the tree” of your family of origin, it’s necessary that you stay close to your roots. This is because your roots are your connection to the Earth, and therefore your connection to your own strength. But as you know, this connection takes you deeper than any ordinary concept of the ground, and shifts your awareness to what you might call the cosmic ground of existence. All of your experiences have served to deepen your ability to feel, and to make contact with what many other people would consider to be entirely extraordinary. Therefore, treat all of your experiences and all of your inner feedback with respect and even a bit of reverence. As this phase of your journey continues, it will grow deeper the more conscious you are. It’s heading very steadily in the direction of a discovery of yourself, about the true nature of the past, and your deepest origins.

Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23) — Stay close to your roots. Stay close to the person you have always been — the one you have come to trust. You often forget that this being resides right inside you, below your various circumstances, ideas about yourself and most of all, your relationship scenarios. One particular bond could become volatile and unstable; this will compel you to locate and to stand on your foundations. Yet you might want to consider the ways in which not doing so has contributed to that instability. You are at the point where losing contact with your self-respect can result in a nearly immediate shakeup in your life. The remedy, then, is not to ‘fix’ the relationship but rather to move closer to your core. This will have the effect of putting you in a calmer state of mind, and helping you see that there is nothing to fight about; there is no real controversy. Still, you may imagine that others want to dominate you, and that the only way to prevent that is for you to dominate them. I suggest you try a different approach, which is taking a wholly positive, constructive view of the situation. Your battle cry needs to be something like, ‘How can I make the most of this?’ or ‘What can I offer this situation?’ Your ability to do so is a dependable and immediate metric of your self-worth.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22) — You may be wondering when things are going to change; you may start to think you’re going backwards rather than making progress. You may seem to lose sight of an important goal, or some crucial idea that you’ve been developing. Fear not. The astrology of the next few weeks is certainly mysterious and will leave plenty of people guessing. Yet as those weeks unfold, you will discover that something is brewing under the surface, and that something is likely to manifest on the day that the Sun ingresses your sign, which is Oct. 23. Now, this leaves a question of what to do if you find yourself in a zero-gravity space, or feeling like you’re unable to think clearly. Your chart says that you will get maximum value from getting lost in your work. Proceed with what you are doing, with full devotion, authentic passion and a healthy dose of curiosity. Imagine that you have no need to think about what’s coming next, nor any desire to do so. Keep yourself focused on the task at hand, which over the next two weeks is likely to get more interesting and take on a value of its own; that is, to be interesting for its own sake. You could call this art or science in its most essential and sincere form, which is the setup for an inevitable breakthrough.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22) — Mars is transiting your sign all month long, and it’s making 17 conjunctions to everything from asteroids to centaur planets to the Galactic Core. Translated into English, you more resemble some kind of superhuman mutant than your average person. You may be feeling your strength more profoundly, as well as your doubts and your seeming imperfections. I assure you, however, that what you’re experiencing is distinctly human. You’re being called, or perhaps compelled, to notice a process that has been underway for years. You usually get some sense of this around the time of your birthday. Now you’re seeing and feeling something that may be vaguely familiar, but which you’ve never quite perceived acutely. One manifestation of this journey has been an inability to focus a clear definition of who you are, a clear sense of identity. You cannot even fake it, which I would say is a beautiful thing. You may, however, feel like as you experience each one of these seemingly different facets of who you are, you’ll be looking for some logic or some unifying theme. That would be you. The dreamer is never separate from the dream, no matter how many forms it takes. The perceiver is never separate from perception. The artist is never separate from their art. Follow this thread and you will emerge in a space where this is so obvious that it’s funny.

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20) — From time to time, or all the time, you may be feeling like you’re about to explode. You must be careful with this. You are indeed experiencing some profound internal movement, which is provoking you to question and investigate every aspect of desire. If you have not recognized this yet, I suggest that you weave together the many clues that you have. If there is an issue involved, it’s how much you conceal from yourself. This is not a joke. From the look of your chart, it would be fair to say that you conceal (or try to conceal) very nearly everything from yourself, as if doing so would somehow protect you from it. But now the action of Mars, one of your special agents, is provoking every one of your desires, your instincts, your secret issues and most of all, your ambition. The thing to remember is that you cannot pick and choose. To have your power, you must confront your shadow material. To have your strength in the present, you must confront your past. To embrace your desires, you surely must confront your fears. Not doing these things has been stirring up all kinds of chaos in your heart and soul. This is putting you under a lot of unnecessary pressure, and cutting off your true strength. Set yourself free and take a good look inside that vast, extremely interesting inner space you contain.

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) — There is nothing wrong with you, though something seems to be sending you that message. From the perspective of your solar chart, this appears as a thought form, probably something you picked up in childhood and that has had a grip on you ever since. You might find more than one of these ideas, and they might be clinging together in what psychology calls a ‘complex’. Events early in the month are likely to propel you to awareness of this issue, and to propel you to escape velocity. By now you have figured out that what I’m describing is a wholly internal situation. It’s not even vaguely caused by your current relationships; rather, your relationships follow the rules that you set for them. And now is the time to revise those rules in a truly radical way. In this process, it’s essential that you use words to express yourself. I recognize that words are not perfect and cannot express anything perfectly, but what they offer is evidence of your thought process. They allow you to track the evolution of your ideas about yourself. Your ideas manifest in a way that you can review the next day, share with others, or state as a tangible vision. Words can be edited, which means revised — which means you get to re-vision yourself with each successive draft. Words are images. Words are maps. And they hold the power of healing for you.

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) — For months the theme of self-esteem and money has been dancing around the charts, and it’s about to dance its way over to Pisces. This month’s astrology describes a revolutionary turn of fortune, as if you finally make contact with your real financial power. There is an inventive quality to this, and the thing to remember about any process of invention is that it involves experimentation until you get to the breakthrough point. Therefore, don’t be discouraged by any past ‘failures’ — they were the necessary ground to tread, an initiation process, to get you to where you are today. Indeed, it would seem the only thing that could stop you is the conscious choice to give up, and fortunately there are other factors in your chart that are leading you forward with a real sense of adventure. Adventure is not a trip to Disney World. It’s this unpredictable kind of thing, with ups and downs and challenges and a sense of independence — a sense of quest, with an unknown destination — and that’s exactly where you are right now. Just remember that your financial liberation is an essential element of the story, part of which includes exploring, and reminding yourself just how radical your values really are. There is a direct relationship between that and whatever you define as success. If you want a working definition of self-esteem as the concept applies to you, there you have it.

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