Dear Friend and Reader:
This weekend is the 40th anniversary of the Woodstock Festival, which was actually held in Bethel, New York — a town whose name translates to “house of God.” We’ve always paid tribute to Woodstock at Planet Waves, and commemorated the event in some small way almost every year. The original, one and only festival, held Aug. 15, 16, 17 and 18, 1969, was one of the great watersheds of the modern human experience, defying everything that our society is supposed to be, and exemplifying what we can create if we want. I don’t mean sex, drugs and rock and roll: I mean people getting along with one another, sharing what we have and celebrating existence.
It’s a little-known historical fact that on the eve of 500,000 people gathering for what in fact became three days of peace and music, Wavy Gravy threw the I Ching and got Hexagram 13, “Fellowship Among Men.” This is “the creative, heaven” above and “the flame” below. It’s a picture of creative fire, rising from the Earth. We’ve been talking a lot about Vesta lately, and this is a beautiful manifestation of her energy: the goddess of the creative fire within, and in the world. In fact the asteroid Vesta is prominent in this chart, which I’ll get to in a moment.
This event took place in what would have been an unforgettable summer in any event: the Moon landing, the gruesome antics of the Manson family, the recording of Abbey Road, the breakup of the Beatles and many other events, all of which culminate at the Woodstock Festival on Max Yasgur’s dairy farm in sleepy old Sullivan County, a place there are usually more cows than people.
The judgment or predicted outcome when this hexagram appears is: “Fellowship among men in the open. Success. It furthers one to cross the great water. The perseverance of the superior man furthers.” Imagine how they must have felt seeing that message come out of the yarrow sticks.
One commentary reads, “True fellowship among men must be based upon a concern that is universal. It is not the private interests of the individual that create lasting fellowship among men, but rather the goals of humanity. That is why it is said that fellowship with men in the open succeeds. If unity of this kind prevails, even difficult and dangerous tasks, such as crossing the great water, can be accomplished. But in order to bring about this sort of fellowship, a persevering and enlightened leader is needed, a man with clear, convincing and inspiring aims and the strength to carry them out.”
This was prophetic, if you ask me — it tells the story of an unprecedented community event, and of a vast, unconscionable missed opportunity in the decades that followed. Yes, some people tried in the 70s. Many people were searching or alternatives. There were numerous experiments in intentional community, some of which were short lived and some of which are still in existence today. The groundbreaking work of the Humanistic therapists was incredible, and we need to start reading those books again, and organizing consciousness-raising groups. But the Woodstock Generation quickly degraded into what was popularly known at the time as the Me Generation; then came the Neoconservative movement in the 1980s and its absolute obsession with private gain and profit. Today, we are still fighting over whether people are entitled to go to the doctor.
As for a persevering and enlightened leader: we’re getting there, though none too quickly.
The Festival’s Astrology
Let’s have a look at that Woodstock chart. There are a lot of astrologers in Woodstock. People have actually written books about this chart. It’s an astrology class in a sheet of paper. You might want to read the history of the event in Wikipedia so that you have a clear, objective narrative of what happened that weekend. (The list of acts that declined, and why, is something I find eternally amusing.) Many accounts have been written and exploring them would make a fine evening on the Internet. The chart is for the moment when Richie Havens took the stage on Friday night, 5:07 pm EDT.
The chart for the Aquarian Exposition has Capricorn rising. This supports my theory that all truly revolutionary activity involves Capricorn. That’s because revolution is a tradition; and it requires structure and focus. However, let’s not forget that while the original festival was a total failure as a business, it was designed as a capitalist project, and as the decades have unfolded Woodstock Ventures, Inc. has certainly maintained this reputation impeccably. While I have bemoaned this attitude in past articles (there are some ugly stories that I will spare you here; but some are told in the third section of this article), it’s all I can do not to drop down onto one knee when I bump into Michael Lang, whose idea Woodstock was.
Using a chart with about 24 planets and points, the only ones that turn up in Aquarius are the Part of Fortune, Ceres and Pholus. If you had cast the chart at the time, you would have been unlikely to see any of them. The Part of Fortune was cast using a different, incorrect formula, only revised recently. Ceres was largely ignored at the time, and Pholus would not be discovered for another 23 years.
It would have been more accurate to describe this as a Virgo/Libra Expo. The main item in Virgo is Pluto, which had been there since the late 1950s and which set the tone of the Sixties; the Moon is applying to Pluto in a one-degree conjunction, emphasizing the point. It had been just three years since the Uranus-Pluto conjunction — that incredible spark plug, which fires next in 2012 with the beginning of seven consecutive Uranus-Pluto squares over a few years.
It’s always fascinated me that the Moon-Pluto conjunction is sitting on the South Node (called Ketu), which suggests that there is something coming up from the distant past; that this is the product of a very long history. This is located in the 9th house, the one about all things spiritual, exotic and invoking the Higher Self. As a filter, Virgo provides the energy of service, awareness and ideas.
By 1969, however, big planets were transitioning into Libra, which brings in the vibe of beauty, balance and harmony. Many of the best and most beloved rock stars, from John Lennon to Elton John to Thom Yorke, have strong Libra placements. There was a big conjunction in Libra that summer: Jupiter conjunct Uranus, which in a word is about fellowship and in another word about art. This took place in the early degrees of Libra, opposite the Aries Point, which as you’ve read here 100 times is about the intersection of the personal and the political; the zone of the zodiac where events take on vast meaning that resonates personally in a deep way with a broad population. Indeed, there has never been a single concert with greater cultural impact. Nothing that I can think of has even come close. I know from having been a writer for Woodstock Times that the word “Woodstock” is one of the world’s most recognizable brands.
As for the Aries Point, who do we find right there except Mr. Chiron, who would not be discovered for another eight years; and a few degrees away, Eris, who would not be recognized until 2006. So when you look at news footage of the festival, consider that the four most energetically weighted signs were Aries, Virgo, Libra and Capricorn.
There’s just one last thing: Venus conjunct Vesta in Cancer. This is the story of people passionately caring for and about one another. This is not an act. These are in my view the two most significant representations of the Goddess. It’s about sex offered freely as a gesture of love, service and healing — values we could learn a lot from today. Venus-Vesta-Cancer fires up the devotional ray of consciousness, and the sense of making home wherever you are; of loving the one you’re with.
Let’s go to an actuality — a fun quote from the history of the concert as told by the Wikipedia editors:
As the only reporter at Woodstock for the first 36 hours or so, Barnard Collier of The New York Times was almost continually pressed by his editors in New York to make the story about the immense traffic jams, the less-than-sanitary conditions, the rampant drug use, the lack of “proper policing”, and the presumed dangerousness of so many young people congregating.
Collier recalls: “Every major Times editor up to and including executive editor James Reston insisted that the tenor of the story must be a social catastrophe in the making. It was difficult to persuade them that the relative lack of serious mischief and the fascinating cooperation, caring and politeness among so many people was the significant point. I had to resort to refusing to write the story unless it reflected to a great extent my on-the-scene conviction that ‘peace’ and ‘love’ was the actual emphasis, not the preconceived opinions of Manhattan-bound editors.
After many acrimonious telephone exchanges, the editors agreed to publish the story as I saw it, and although the nuts-and-bolts matters of gridlock and minor lawbreaking were put close to the lead of the stories, the real flavor of the gathering was permitted to get across. After the first day’s Times story appeared on page 1, the event was widely recognized for the amazing and beautiful accident it was.”
So, cousins — all hail Woodstock and Fellowship Among Humanity.
As for this weekend’s noteworthy astrology…
From Planet Waves Daily
The Sun is now opposed to the triple conjunction of Jupiter, Chiron and Neptune. Though the first exact opposition (Sun to Jupiter) takes place today Friday. The Sun (currently standing at 22+ Leo) has been approaching the Aquarius stellium all week — (a cluster of planets or points not including the Sun or Moon), which is spread between 22+ Aquarius and 25+ Aquarius. All three points are currently retrograde; they feel like they’re charging their batteries for the inevitable excitement of this autumn. It will be interesting to see what happens as they station direct.
For those curious, Jupiter stations on Oct. 13, Chiron stations on Oct. 31 and Neptune stations on Nov. 5.
The Sun is currently advancing at 57 arc minutes per day, just shy of a degree — about as slowly as it goes, with the Earth and Sun currently near maximum distance (Earth reached aphelion July 4).
For those trying to work this out as astronomy, remember that it’s the Earth that’s moving, not the Sun; looking at the solar position, we are tracking the Sun’s apparent position from the viewpoint of Earth. What we have is our planet suspended between the Sun and these three planets. It’s a lot like a Full Moon, only it’s not the Sun and Moon that are involved but rather the Sun and Jupiter, Chiron and Neptune.
Chiron, a massive comet, is an entirely different kind of critter than Jupiter or Neptune. Jupiter is in the ‘gas giant’ category and Neptune is in the ‘ice giant’ category. It is a lot, a lot, of water. Jupiter is the largest known object in our solar system, at about 1,300 times the size of Earth and more than double (2.5 times) the mass of all the other planets in the solar system combined (this does not include the Sun). It has 63 known moons. Jupiter is so large that its orbit causes the Sun to oscillate. In other words, its gravity pulls the Sun in a measurable wobble. Neptune for its part is 17 times the mass of the Earth.
So the Earth is sitting between the Sun and a massive amount of gravity coming from Jupiter and Neptune; and Chiron, something microscopic by comparison, but which can focus awareness and precipitate events like nothing else I’ve ever seen. Chiron and many other ‘minor’ points inform those who are looking that size/mass doesn’t mean everything. However, it means something, and we have plenty of it working on us now.
The planets in their courses are offering us a reminder to be aware of a sense of exaggeration. Sun-Jupiter comes with the sense of large forces at work in our lives; this is a feeling or an idea, which might take many forms or pass relatively eventlessly. Yet feelings are events, and can precipitate events, so we need to be as careful and as conscious as possible as these days progress and we move through the exact alignment. Neptune tells us to check and re-check whether we are perceiving things honestly. There is a dreamy quality, and it can be difficult to pin down one’s personal truth with Neptune in an opposition. With Neptune you really have to give it time — but there can be a subtle sense of revelation that is pretty amazing to feel.
There is a touch of irony here in that the world is calling on us to possess emotional balance and a measure of control above all else, but the current pace of life gives us few opportunities to do anything of the kind. This is told in the astrology and it’s told many other ways.
Working in the background of the current, more obvious dynamic are many other alignments that are well within the historical range to be having an effect, and those are what we are more likely to be feeling but not giving a name to. For example, we still have several additional alignments of Saturn and Uranus to experience. The next is in about one month, on Sept. 15 (recall that the first of the series was on the day Barack Obama was elected president). Saturn is also about to leave Virgo and square Pluto, for the first of a sequence of Saturn-Pluto alignments.
This is a lot, I know. It seems like a never-ending sequence of events, which in fact astrology is; but the intensity of all of this combined verges on the ridiculous, and we are only warming up to the exact alignments that focus on June through December 2012 and then go on from there.
I originally began this diary by saying, I feel like I need to get my awareness to a level beyond the astrology, an idea which is good advice any day; we need to be taking our real instructions from core self, which is unlikely to be fazed by any of the turbulence, changes or developments indicated in the astrology. I would propose, however, that it’s always a good idea to be aware of one’s environment, and astrology definitely counts for that. To me this kind of psychic weather calls for leadership: many of you have been preparing for these events over many years. It’s time to step out and take your role, thus allowing those who have been holding your place to move onto other points of focus that they are ready for.
I’ve just checked over the asteroids and noticed that in the midst of all of this is one called Terpsichore, the muse of dance. I would take this one symbolically and literally. So let the music play…
Yours & truly,
Tai Chi Can Help Diabetics, Study Shows
There was a time when the phrase “ancient Chinese secret” was a pop culture phenomenon. Calgon soap even used it in a television commercial back in the 1970s.
As you can see, the phrase was more of a punch line than anything else. But let’s be frank: The Chinese culture is ancient, and over the centuries it has uncovered many methods and practices that, while not exactly secret, remain mysterious to Western cultures.
Today, modern science is confirming the benefits of many types of Eastern medicine and practices. The latest news is this: Performing tai chi chuan exercises can benefit people with type 2 diabetesaccording to a study published in the June edition of The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.
Researchers Rhayun Song, Sukhee Ahn, Beverly L. Roberts, Eun Ok Lee, and You Hern Ahn spent six months studying a group of 99 Korean diabetics who were practicing tai chi. According to the summary of their report, “the adherent group had greater decline in fasting glucose… than the non-adherers.” The practitioners also performed more self-care activities and had better quality of life, social functioning, mental health and vitality, they reported.
While only the summary is available at the Journal’s web page, a full copy of the report can be purchased here.
Titan’s Plains to be Named from Dune Books
Frank Herbert’s science fiction masterpiece Dune and its sequels hold a special place in the canon of that literary genre — and now they’ll hold a special place in the Solar System.
As noted by SFScope.com, a science-fiction news site, the plains on Titan — the largest moon of Saturn and the only yet found with a dense atmosphere — will be named for planets in the Dune series of books.
Each plain will be identified with the name of a planet from the series, followed by the Latin word for plain, planitia. The first such to be named is Chusuk Planitia.
So, who made this decision? Two groups: The United States Geological Survey’s Astrogeology Science Center and the International Astronomical Union. Links to the list of Titan planitia names and the Titan images showing named features in the Gazetteer of Planetary Nomenclature can be found here.
Dune, published in 1965, portrays the personal and political struggle of the Atreides family on the desert planet Arrakis. It is the best-selling hardcover science fiction novel of all time. Frank Herbert, who died in 1986, wrote five sequels in the Dune saga. The series subsequently continued through the work of his son, Brian Herbert, and science fiction author Kevin J. Anderson.
Middle Ground on Science vs. Religion?
A thoughtful opinion piece in the Los Angeles Times by Chris Mooney and Sheril Kirshenbaum does a good job at pointing out the struggle between religious believers and adherents of science isn’t only being waged by conservative Christian organizations. Some nonbelievers are also lobbing rounds at those who seek to hold to the middle ground and say that religion and science are, at many levels, compatible.
Mooney and Kirshenbaum, authors of the book Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens Our Future, highlight some of the prominent atheist writers and scientists who are lambasting scientific organizations that espouse a third way: The American Association for the Advancement of Science, the National Academy of Sciences, and the National Center for Science Education, in particular.
The arguments of the nonbelievers — sometimes styled as the “New Atheists” — boil down to essentially the same claim as that of their religious opposites: Science and faith are incompatible. Yet the authors of the editorial find a very clear downside to either group achieving dominance in this long-running argument.
“It all might sound like a petty internecine squabble, but the stakes are very high,” write Mooney and Kirshenbaum. “The United States does not boast a very healthy relationship between its scientific community and its citizenry. The statistics on public scientific illiteracy are notorious — and they’re at their worst on contentious, politicized issues such as climate change and the teaching of evolution. About 46% of Americans in polls agree with this stunning statement: ‘God created human beings pretty much in their present form at one time within the last 10,000 years or so.'”
Because the New Atheists and the scientific organizations have the same goal — increasing scientific literacy in America — it seems ironic that they find themselves at odds with one another. And the editorial’s authors find a great way to highlight this irony: Calling upon Charles Darwin’s own words.
“It turns out that late in life, when an atheist author asked permission to dedicate a book to Darwin, the great scientist wrote back his apologies and declined. For as Darwin put it, ‘Though I am a strong advocate for free thought on all subjects, yet it appears to me (whether rightly or wrongly) that direct arguments against Christianity and theism produce hardly any effect on the public; and freedom of thought is best promoted by the gradual illumination of men’s minds, which follows from the advance of science.'”
That gradual method, as it happens, is the one being advocated by the scientific organizations.
Weekly Horoscope for Friday, August 14, 2009, #779 – BY ERIC FRANCIS
Aries (March 20-April 19)
Finally a line of energy has opened up in a frustrating or divisive situation, though you’ll need to apply yourself to work it consciously. The go-ahead is that for a moment, anyway, you no longer feel so divided against yourself. You’re also in touch with your feelings in an unusual way; you are able to make certain admissions to yourself that are otherwise much more difficult. An issue that was previously invisible is now vivid enough to see for what it is. But it doesn’t resolve itself unless you assert yourself. We could make a list a mile or two long about why you’re not supposed to do that. Here is a clue: guilt does not mean you’re wrong; it means you’re suffering from having been made wrong in the past. If you feel guilty for feeling, for having emotions or for seeking self-understanding, you can be sure that was the case. These things can only be addressed now, which fortunately is precisely what time it is.
Taurus (April 19- May 20)
If a romantic, erotic or creative situation seems to stall out, the issue is communication. Not just any communication; deeper communication, wherein you reveal something about yourself. It would help if you reveal this thing to yourself: there is something here about your fear, which seems like the very last thing you want to talk about. It is, however, the one thing standing between you and intimacy; between you and contact with your core. You would be wise to ask yourself why you are so frightened of your own creative and sexual power. Part of the reason is that you are a perfectionist about these things, which does not actually serve you. Part of the reason involves the influence of a parent, with whom you are trying to secretly bargain. There is a third factor; I leave that one to you.
Gemini (May 20- June 21)
You keep trying to think your way through a situation; you keep getting off to a good start, but then there is only so far you can go. At a certain point you will need to address the emotional material involved. And at a certain point you will need to address how you feel about it in the present, rather than how you used to feel about it. You’ll know you’re there once you drop the self-critical routine; once you stop comparing yourself to others; and once you grasp that you are using the standards of your family to assess yourself. The purpose of this time in your life is to make the break from them. The first step in this process is looking at how many thought processes loop back through their reality; their ideas; their supposed opinions about you; while we’re at it, their house, money, schedule, dog and/or cat. Stepping away from this is not as dangerous as you keep telling yourself.
Cancer (June 21- July 22)
Focus on the experience of a partner. What are they going through, in relationship to you? You will likely need to ask. What are they going through, in their own internal relationship? Aah, here is a point to consider: the primary relationship is the internal relationship, but we are all taught to notice, experience and process this relationship differently. Mostly we are taught to deny its existence or its importance, substituting instead a bunch of opinions about ourselves and about the world. You are taking a significant step in this inner relationship with yourself: for one of the few times in your life, an environmental factor is compelling you to set a boundary, to define your inner reality in a distinct way, and to make a series of admissions to yourself about what is so. Everything you say to anyone counts.
Leo (July 22- Aug. 23)
One of the most sincere things that any person can do is admit that we stand in constant relationship to the unknown. One way to look at the overload of so-called information in our society is to fill a vast, terrifying gulf of what we don’t know: for example, how long we will live, how we got here, what the rest of our lives will be like, whether we can really trust certain people, and how serious the planetary crisis is right now. As the next few days pass you will be looking straight into not just the unknown but the sense of potential that accompanies any honest encounter with the abyss. If you haven’t already unplugged the thing and put it in the closet, these would be the perfect few days to boycott television and other forms of infotainment.
Virgo (Aug. 23- Sep. 22)
You have been provoked in some way; now comes a moment of seeking understanding, and maybe even discovering that a new depth of understanding is possible. Remember that understanding is only partially mental in nature; it is primarily emotional. Yet there is a place where the two dimensions cross, and this is the place to hold your awareness: the point of integration. True understanding is not conceptual; it’s about changing, even if slightly. It feels less like ‘aha’ and more like swallowing a mouthful of food. You take that food into your body, and it digests into your blood. That is why we need to be conscious and indeed careful what ideas we take in, because we actually become and integrate those ideas, unwittingly or not. Mercury in your sign is leading you in a certain direction; trace the trajectory, so you can change it now if you choose.
Libra (Sep. 22 – Oct. 23)
You are beginning to see a certain alliance or relationship for what it is: not just a source of potential, but an ongoing process of realizing your potential. The beauty of the situation is that while those involved may feel slightly out of place, the combination of human energies is helping everyone adapt and also utilize any disadvantages as a source of strength. It’s worth reminding yourself that nobody accomplishes anything meaningful alone. The more we accomplish, the more help we have. Therefore, you will thrive in an environment of perpetuating mutual assistance. It’s worth 10 times its apparent value. Help when you can. Ask for help the moment it occurs to you. One will support the other.
Scorpio (Oct. 23- Nov. 22)
Earlier this week, Mars formed a square to Saturn and over the next few days it’s about to form a square with Uranus. Both of these aspects are helping you find a place in the world, a place where you actually belong. They may feel like jolts, but if you pay attention, you’ll notice that the first jolt snapped you into a stable position and the second jolt represents an idea that will set you ahead. The idea may feel like an accident or improbable discovery, and it’s clearly not going to fit any pre-established notion of how your life is supposed to be. Yet as the next few months unfold, I think you’ll see how the changes of the current weeks work together to guide you to a place that feels natural, necessary and most of all, real. You will know you’re there because it feels right and there are so few others who have ever arrived at a similar place before.
Sagittarius (Nov. 22 – Dec. 22)
During the course of this year, an energetic condition or state emerged in your life that seemed to pick you up and carry you. The truth is, it took you by storm, making it difficult to track the decisions you were making as you made them; and made it more difficult to assess your motives. The more recent news is that what was once an onslaught of progress is more understandable in its constituent parts. Everything is composed of elements. The ones that are influencing you are in the process of distinguishing themselves from one another, but only so that they can re-form again in new ways. In fact there are so many possible combinations that it will be very helpful to work from the goal backwards to the process of getting there. This will save time and energy and maximize the results that you want.
Capricorn (Dec. 22- Jan. 20)
We all struggle with faith. But there is something right now that is really testing yours. You keep trying to run it past your rational mind, seeking an explanation for why something feels wrong. It would be easier to admit that it’s not working, which would allow you to start developing ideas for what would be more likely to work. You are about to get one of those, but will you know it when you see it? This really is the question. Therefore, you need to look. I suggest that you not be dismissive of anything that seems too strange, or seems to contradict your constitution. Just about all important discoveries morph in perception from being outrageous to necessary to the next great thing. Therefore, I suggest you believe in what seems to be weird, if only for a day.
Aquarius (Jan. 20- Feb. 19)
There comes a point when relationships must follow your growth agenda. Until that point they seem to follow every other plan. It helps, of course, if we have a growth agenda — but you’ve reached a point where you can now take this as one of the most necessary ingredients of your life. One nice thing about maturing is that we get to know ourselves; we can get a sense of our needs, our desires and what the two have in common. We can also distinguish one problem from another, which I’m sure you’re noticing is a truly useful skill to have. All of this looks like its time has come; but you’re about to make a new discovery about yourself that will stun you into letting go of some old and useless values. However, I would say it’s as difficult to see an old value as useless as it is to accurately perceive a new one as useful.
Pisces (Feb. 19- March 20)
Freedom implies responsibility. With Saturn (boundaries) and Uranus (experiments) so closely involved with your birth sign in these seasons of your life, your existence is a process of exploring both sides of the equation. The actual field of possibilities in the world is so huge that one must eventually set a limit and make a choice in order to have any semblance of freedom. But this hardly matters, if we don’t have opportunities to explore what is possible. Recent events have been jolting you out of your reality box, in your profession as well as in your relationships. Upcoming aspects point to a revolutionary new idea. This will in a sense take you back to the beginning of a process, to an idea-creation stage. To make this work for you, you will need to refine the best of these ideas quickly and efficiently, and get back to work. Remember to explore every phase of the process fully and consciously. Remember to be aware what you are rebelling against.