Everything Under the Sun

Dear Friend and Reader:

On Sunday, the Moon and Sun form a conjunction in Virgo, which is the New Moon and also a partial solar eclipse. This leads into what may be the most interesting day of the year, Thursday, Sept. 17, when Mercury stations retrograde in Libra, Saturn enters Sagittarius for the next two years, and we get the one-and-only Jupiter opposite Neptune aspect for this 13-year cycle.

Family photo — this is your distant cousin. Artist’s concept of Homo naledi, a newly discovered precursor of humanity. He lived in South Africa.

Events that concentrate around eclipses are always interesting. This week anthropologists revealed the discovery of a new species of probable human ancestorHomo naledi.

Researchers learned about a cave scattered with old bones from spelunkers who discovered the spot in South Africa, about 30 miles from Johannesburg. It turned out to be a burial area for pre-humans.

News reports quote researchers as saying the newly discovered species is believed possibly to date to at least 2.5 million to 2.8 million years ago. Parts of at least 15 individuals have been recovered and are on display at the University of Wisconsin at Madison.

“Besides introducing a new member of the prehuman family,” The New York Times reported, “the discovery suggests that some early hominins intentionally deposited bodies of their dead in a remote and largely inaccessible cave chamber, a behavior previously considered limited to modern humans. Some of the scientists referred to the practice as a ritualized treatment of their dead, but by ‘ritual’ they said they meant a deliberate and repeated practice, not necessarily a kind of religious rite.”

A typhoon has caused massive flooding in Japan, frighteningly close to the Fukushima nuclear disaster scene. Photo by AP.

Speaking of anthropology and geology, News Corps — that is, Rupert Murdoch, Fox and friends — have purchased National Geographic. Not a subscription — the whole magazine, its brand and its history, converting it from a nonprofit organization to a for-profit one.

A typhoon is causing massive flooding in Japan north of Tokyo, close to the scene of the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

It has been thirty years since the Rainbow Warrior, a Greenpeace vessel, was sunk by the French Secret Service. Greenpeace photographer Fernando Pereira was killed in the incident. Although it has long been known that the French government was the perpetrator, Jean-Luc Kister — the agent who led the dive team that planted the bombs — has now come forward, apparently to clear his conscience. Don’t miss the video — it’s astonishing.

The background on why the French felt it necessary to sink the ship: its crew was about to sail on a protest mission against French nuclear testing in the South Pacific. So the French government sank their boat and killed one of their photographers.

The Rainbow Warrior, the Greenpeace vessel, after it was bombed by the French Secret Service in Auckland Harbor, 1985.

The refugee crisis in Europe seems to be worsening, mainly driven by the war in Syria. An estimated 4.1 million Syrians have fled their country.

Turkey has taken nearly half of them, Lebanon more than a million, Germany about 100,000, France and England about 7,000 each, and Canada, about 10,000. Pres. Obama said today that the United States would take 10,000 of the refugees. According to CNN, Persian Gulf countries including Saudi Arabia, the Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar and Bahrain are taking no refugees.

Six police officers involved in the death of Freddie Gray will be tried in Baltimore, rather than in a different venue. Defense lawyers for the accused claimed the charged officers would never get a fair trial. This seems to be part of a new trend of officers involved in the deaths of unarmed prisoners actually having to face some consequences.

And a Partial Solar Eclipse in Virgo

Sunday’s solar eclipse is in degree 21 of Virgo. The last solar eclipse in Virgo was a partial in September 2007.

Eclipses come with the theme of continuity. They tend to shift long-continuous patterns, and provide help setting new patterns. If you are conscious of this theme, eclipses are an excellent time to focus this process.

The photographer rites, “Aug. 11, 1999, saw a partial eclipse of the sun over southern England. In a tree-lined square in Basildon the overlapping leaves produced a pinhole effect casting images of the solar crescent onto the pavement below.”

Eclipses respond to action more than to thought. Under the influence of eclipses, the way to state your intentions is to actually do something. When you do, you might get the feeling, “Oh, this is what was missing.”

However, an eclipse in Virgo is strongly evocative of mental patterns. You might say that you can reach a level of thought that strongly influences your behavior, and reach a level of action that helps you re-pattern your thoughts. The idea is to do this with full consciousness.

If you can, clear your schedule this weekend and do what feels right, what you know is right, because it’s what you want. If this weekend is not available, you might investigate why; and then you can use the two weeks between Sunday’s New Moon eclipse and the Full Moon eclipse of Sept. 27 to shift where you’re focusing your energy.

I will develop the themes of that event as it approaches over the next two weeks; however, it seems to describe the theme of sex in marriage, or the lack thereof.

This is a topic that you can barely hear discussed over the din of how wonderful marriage is, though I am aware of its existence. Marriage is often thought of as guaranteed sex; however, it’s more complex than that. I will give the lunar eclipse chart a little more thought and I am sure I’ll have additional comments to add, including how to decipher and work with such a scenario. Let’s stick to reading Sunday’s solar eclipse chart.

The Moon-Sun conjunction is opposite Chiron. Now that Chiron is gaining some acceptance (if not actual understanding), this is getting some attention. Chiron is focusing something specific for you; it’s as if some idea or concept floating around in Pisces is being concentrated by Chiron and funneled through the eclipse. Right now the Pisces realm is rich with imagination, and thankfully this eclipse opposite Chiron is bringing it down to Earth.

Chart for the partial solar eclipse in Virgo, displayed with an artificial ascendant of 00 Aries rising. Note that the South Node is right there, on the Aries Point. The eclipse is to the right side of the chart, just below the horizon line. The Sun is gold and the Moon is gray.

However, there’s an extra planet behind Chiron that does not show up in most charts — and that is Borasisi. The last time we had a lunation this close to Borasisi was in March 2011.

My impression is that this planet is about the environmental crisis. On one level it’s about the relationship between belief and the reality that we create for ourselves, based on belief.

The whole ‘truth versus belief’ controversy is one of the most toxic realms of consciousness — featuring ideas such as: there is no such thing as the truth; and something is true if you believe it.

It’s where denial sets in; it’s where convenience is the thing that moderates action rather than necessity or integrity.

Now an eclipse opposite Chiron and Borasisi is pushing this issue. You might say that it’s an alert to consider whether it’s really productive to flirt with all those little lies. We also have an invitation to observe what, exactly, the barrier between the truth and living your truth really is. Living one’s truth is not necessarily convenient and it’s not guaranteed to work better than deception and denial. But what you get is the knowledge that you really are doing what is right for you. That, in turn, saves a lot of energy and opens up possibilities that would not exist otherwise.

Sept. 17 — A Study in Boundaries

Speaking of what I will call the crisis of illusions, Jupiter and Neptune are working toward an opposition, exact once only on Sept. 17. This, too, happens on the Virgo-Pisces axis. You might think of Jupiter opposite Neptune as the opportunity to believe anything. It’s just that if you choose to believe something that’s not true, you’re in for a bout with disillusionment.

Edited Sept. 13 New Moon chart showing items along the Virgo-Pisces axis. Chiron is the orange key to the left side of the chart; Borasisi is not shown, but is conjunct Chiron. Mercury is in green above the horizon on the right side. Saturn, the most elevated planet on the right, is about to change signs. Along with much else, that happens next Thursday.

So the pre-emptive response here is to check your facts. Seek some grounding in an objective test of some kind. This is personal integrity taken personally: what do you accept into your mind as true?

On the same day, Saturn will be ingressing Sagittarius to stay for two years. Saturn will be making a long square to Neptune, an event that represents the new energy climate in the years after the Uranus-Pluto square. The driven quality of that square (2011-2015) will give way to the uncertainty and questioning of Saturn square Neptune. Though Saturn ingresses Sagittarius on the 17th, the first exact square between it and Neptune is in late November, with two others happening next year.

The cosmic picture is really pushing this issue of what’s real and what is not. Because we live in a time when so many viewpoints are available, it’s easy to come to the conclusion that nothing is really true.

But this is real chaos, on the most vital level — what you allow into your mind; what you grant reality to. Immediate aspects such as Jupiter opposite Neptune, and Chiron/Borasisi in the eclipse pattern, are making this available now. But Saturn square Neptune describes a longterm process of coming to terms with what you might describe as reality.

Until very recently, the idea that the mind and the body had any actual relationship was considered strange. Now it’s being accepted by many people who are putting the idea to use. Photo of Vera by Eric.

I think of this as the ultimate boundary. It will come into play when considering any other issue, on any other level; the ability to discern what is true for you is the most important skill you can develop on this plane of reality. That would be followed by a close second, the ability to act on what you determine to be true or not.

Virgo-Pisces describes the mind-body nexus as well. It would seem from this arrangement that anything that influences one influences the other, though in ways that are not readily noticeable. The most obvious example is how food affects state of mind and emotions.

Another example is how past traumas, both physical and emotional, affect your state of being now. If there is some issue about which you need to repeatedly say, “I’ve dealt with that,” you might want to check in again and see if you need to come to any more realizations, or make any more decisions.

Finally, Mercury stations retrograde in Libra. This raises the theme of communication in relationships. Mercury stationing retrograde or direct has the theme of the truth coming out. In Libra, this is relational.

Withholding one’s personal reality in relationships is one of the worst causes of stress; it feeds self-loathing and blocks intimacy. It eats confidence because it reinforces the message that it’s not OK to be who you are.

I would propose that it most certainly is excellent that you are who you are. But I would also propose that it takes courage. Most people wait until they are forced by circumstances seemingly out of their control to speak up for themselves, or to be themselves even in modest ways.

I think you’ll feel a lot better if you come to the task willingly, even if you don’t think you’re ready.


Weekly Horoscope for Thursday, Sept. 10, 2015 #1066 | By Eric Francis

Aries (March 20-April 19) — On our planet, it’s a helpful idea to keep busy with something productive that serves the greatest good for all concerned. If you have something of that nature that you love to do, and want to do more of it, then do more of it now — now, as in right now and over the next few days and weeks. Make an impression on yourself. Set a pattern, in your mind, in your schedule and in your energy field. While you’re doing this, the solar eclipse of Sept. 13 describes the perfect opportunity to strike a balance between productivity and self-care. Part of the pattern you can establish is doing both, with each not at the expense of the other. Yet the deeper value is service, which is a concept not well understood in our profit-driven culture. I am not suggesting there’s any issue with living well. I am suggesting that within your personal cosmic order, you will feel better if that’s connected to daily activity that enhances the lives of the people you come into contact with. One measure of whether this is working for you is the accumulation and sharing of knowledge. If you’re learning and teaching, you’re on the right path.

Taurus (April 19-May 20) — This weekend’s solar eclipse is encouraging you to try a whole new thing creatively, by which I mean exploring in some direction you’ve never gone before. It’s true that your current endeavors will be expanding over the next year, though there’s a kind of leavening or catalyst that you will activate by doing something actually new for you. By new, I would include a passion that you gave up long ago, or have wanted to do for a long time. What you want is the feeling of unfamiliarity. You want something that shifts the continuity of your self-creative process. There is something here about sex as well. Anyone who has read more than 100 words of my writing knows I’m an advocate for developing a conscious, nourishing sexuality. For you, there are two elements that now come into focus. One of them is receiving. Open up to that. Another is a sense of experimentation — the willingness to try what is unusual, interesting and perhaps a little challenging to your sense of order and control. This, too, is a kind of leavening or catalyst for many things; many new horizons.

Gemini (May 20-June 21) — You seem to be torn between craving security and knowing that you must take chances. The two concepts do not necessarily conflict. They could, of course — though let’s consider the ways they support one another. The reason someone would dare to do something unusual would be to build a better life. One reason one would want to have some grounding (known in our culture, over-simplistically, as security) would be to live a little more adventurously. The kind of grounding that you stand to gain over the next few weeks will be the product of your not clinging to a concept of what is supposedly safe. What you may notice is that what gave you the feeling of security yesterday no longer matters tomorrow. What made you nervous yesterday may suddenly emerge as the thing you need to do, in order to feel at home on the planet. You might take that as your mantra — feeling at home here on Earth. What offers you that feeling? If you think in terms of feeling at home rather than ‘safe’ or ‘secure’ you will see and be aware of much more tangible options to choose from.

Cancer (June 21-July 22) — The written word — it was and remains vital for the advance of humanity and of society, and it is vital for you, your happiness, your growth and your evolutionary journey. It always has been, though now this comes into focus with new meaning, even urgency. In exploring your ideas in writing, you will discover how much you have to say. You will enter a new world of ideas that transports you beyond the reality that you now know. This will help guide you into a new existence. I suggest you describe your reality, describe what you want, and describe who you are and who you want to be. You can say what you need to say to anyone — this would be an excellent time. The feeling you’re looking for is the sensation that both writing, and sharing your writing, bring you to a point of no return. When you get near that sensation of ‘oh my god I can’t believe I’m saying this’, you know you’re heading the right way — so keep writing. I suggest you not appease yourself with the idea that nobody has to see your words. Rather, take the opposite approach — in sharing my personal truth, I make it real.

Leo (July 22-Aug. 23) — Venus has returned to direct motion in your sign, to some great relief. Yet you may now be feeling the urgency of moving forward with your plans. I suggest you do this not swiftly or urgently, but persistently. Part of what you’re doing is establishing yourself as someone with knowledge and credibility. Yet deeper than that are the personal impressions people have of you as someone with empathy, someone who is available, and someone who respects commitment. This is more meaningful than establishing, for example, your expertise. You might also focus on demonstrating that you’re an accountable person, which means you take responsibility for what you do and what you say. We live in a time when this whole concept is under siege in some places. Yet there are those who are holding strong, and they are the people you want to associate with. You are, slowly and gradually, making your way to a new level of involvement with the world. This will happen stitch by stitch, from promise made to promise kept.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22) — Your relationships exist because you exist. It is therefore a physical — and you might say metaphysical — impossibility to put your relationships before yourself. You are what’s doing the relating; your presence is what constitutes the existence of a relationship to anyone to whom you’re connected. Therefore, I suggest you pay attention and strive above all to feel your own presence in the world. It may seem ridiculous to suggest that anyone would face a question about whether they exist. Perhaps, though one would then have to account for all the people who act like they’re not really there; who act like they’re not present in their own life. The solar eclipse in your sign on Sept. 13 is calling on you to stand fully in your own world, your senses, your choices and most of all your potential. Claim the power of decision for yourself, and recognize that anything you’ve chosen in the past, you can choose again for it to have substance and validity from one day to the next. That same idea suggests you can in fact opt out of whatever you want to.

Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23) — You may be feeling as if you have to make some major change in your life, though I think this mostly involves the message you deliver to the world. That message is more than words, though those include the words that describe your idea of who you are. And it is this I suggest you consider carefully. There’s a strong element of considering who you are not that’s brewing in your astrology now. That’s good as far as it goes — though ultimately you cannot describe yourself by process of elimination, such as, “I’m not all those other things! Now you know who I am.” What you’re seeking is some affirmative statement of your reality. When you succeed at making one or more such affirmative statements, you’re likely to get a strong response of some kind. Notice how you, in turn, respond to that; note how you interpret it; and what you choose to do next. There’s enormous tension in our culture between wanting desperately to be seen, and terror of being seen. This includes physical beauty but I think it describes one’s emotional or intellectual being even more intensely. I suggest you study that seeming conflict in yourself and see what you discover.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22) — You seem to be making up your mind about who you are. Remember this is not a final decision. Neither is making up your mind about who you are not. You are subject to change, as is everyone else, and the world around you. Once you remember that, any decisions you’re making will not seem like such a big deal. There is one possible exception, however, which is allowing others to define you. How would that happen? It would start with your own uncertainty, leading to little panic attacks. If you combine that with some idea that others need to see you as perfect, that’s the recipe for being defined by them. The only remedy for this is to assert yourself, as you are, as imperfect as you may (or may not) see yourself. Perfection is not a value. What is a value is that your learning process, your journey of self-development and self-creation, involves an active dynamic with the world around you. By this I mean that the many interactions you have with others are not predictable; and that you must be the mediator of those exchanges. You decide what things mean, and mean about you, which hints at one thing — the need to be practical above all else.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22) — Planets and unusual events are moving in the direction of your 10th house — that of achievement, reputation and accountability. First among these markers is Jupiter, your guiding planet, making a one-year visit to your 10th house. That means you can, and would be wise to, identify with your highest potential. You can identify with that quality of being known as a person of accomplishment and integrity. With that comes the responsibility for what you do, and taking success as a matter of duty. In other words, for you being brilliant and shining out into the world are not matters of glory as much as they are getting the job done well. I know this is not the way of the world these days. I know that the money-for-nothing era has metastasized into pure madness. You, however, are still in the era of late nights perfecting your task, and being known for being prepared, for being grounded and intelligent, and for persisting. Last night I flipped on the TV to PBS and caught a few minutes of American Masters on Jimi Hendrix, your brother Sagittarian. One of his associates said, “He was an amazing guitarist but he worked for it. You would never see him without a guitar in his hands.”

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20) — Saturn, the Capricorn planet, does seem to be taking forever to cross that very last degree of Scorpio. Seen symbolically, this is like hesitation before some vast journey to an unknown destination. Saturn is standing on the edge of a state of mind, of a phase of your growth, of an emotional condition characterized by one thing — uncertainty. The thing is that you still have a strong connection to false certainty, including the idea that you can control certain things clearly not under your domain. Once Saturn changes signs, all pretend notions of control might vanish, or you will have the chance to let them go. You would do this for no other reason than the fact that they are useless to you. The new element you’re entering is lighter than all of this. Yet if the rays of light are brighter, the shadows are darker, though at least you can see the contrast between them. This is not so easy with Saturn in Scorpio, where everything seems to be some shade of blue, black or gray. You need contrast now; you will benefit from it and thrive on it.

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) — I am sure you could use some relief from the many responsibilities that have been placed on your shoulders the past three years, and the ones that you’ve taken on as a matter of choice. You did this because it was the thing to do, and I reckon that it actually was. In my reading of the charts, that condition is shifting. Your concept of responsibility is shifting, as is the pressure to achieve and perform. Now you have the option of doing, of living, of exploring, for its own sake. The thing to remember is that you’re someone with an emotionally-rooted sense of duty. I know there’s a psychological dimension and a powerful social one, I would just note that the anchor of your sense of responsibility is in your feeling-body. And this has been emphasized profoundly the past two years, with much else going on at the same time. If I had to sum up the sign change of Saturn for you, it’s about engaging your potential in a new way — what you can do rather than what you must do. What you want rather than what you need. This certainly comes with its own challenges, though I think you’ll like them better.

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) — Give partners, loved ones and lovers room to move around. They may seem more certain than they are, and are likely to reconsider things they were certain of a week or three or six weeks ago. Get accustomed to being in a changing environment where all your relationships are concerned. Just to give a few examples, Jupiter is now in your opposite sign, which for you is an invitation to contact. There’s about to be a solar eclipse, which is another way of saying movement and change, with the potential for progress. Venus and Mars are working toward a conjunction in your opposite sign. The message I’m seeing in these patterns is for you to be open to the many possibilities, which means pay attention to your whole environment. Rather than just focusing on your life and what you want, notice the wider world for as many hours a day as you can. Notice what is changing; notice what people are saying; notice the ways in which others are becoming flexible enough to relate to the world in a way that’s a bit closer to what you recognize and can abide. It’s true that you’re the protagonist of your own story; we are each the hero in our own dream. Spread out your mind and embrace the full horizon, the background, the unusual way the light falls on the Earth these days.

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