Fire on the Mountain

Long distance runner, what you standing there for?
— The Grateful Dead

Dear Friend and Reader:

Though the Sun is still in Libra, along with Mercury, the North Node and Juno, there is some unusual activity going on one sign away in Virgo. I’ve kept the focus on Libra themes during the Sun’s transit and recent Mercury retrograde there, though I’ve got some information from Virgo for you today.

Four years ago this month, and one of my favorite news photos I’ve ever taken — Occupy Wall Street mass protest in Times Square takes place as the news ticker reads, “Occupy Wall Street Movement Goes Worldwide.”

Before I go there, I have one other bit to add, about the lunar nodes in Aries/Libra. These mysterious things in the chart, which seem like the last thing an astrology student understands, are making a rare visit to the Aries Point.

For a few more days for this 18-year cycle, the South Node is in the first degree of Aries, and the North Node is in the first degree of Libra.

This aligns the personal-as-political or individual-as-cultural property that both the nodes and the Aries Point often display. You might say that it puts our whole mini-era of history into a kind of resonator, which makes it easier to hear what we’re saying to ourselves and to one another. In other words, to hear the message that we are sending to ourselves and to one another, all that’s necessary is to listen — and this is especially easy now, since the message is so clear.

Now for all that Virgo.

As you may be aware, back in August, Jupiter ingressed Virgo for a one-year visit. Venus and Mars have been in a series of conjunctions through the year (one in Aries, and another in Leo), and they are now both in Virgo. They are about to form conjunctions first with Jupiter (Mars conjunct Jupiter on Saturday, and Venus conjunct Jupiter on Oct. 25) then with one another (the third conjunction between Venus and Mars is Nov. 2).

That’s a lot of conjunctions in Virgo within a short time, involving planets that are real to us, planets we don’t need telescopes to see or any special theory to feel. That alone is interesting, particularly when you remember that there have been two prior Venus-Mars conjunctions recently; this is all part of a developing story. Of course, that’s the nature of astrology: the perpetual work in progress.

The Beatles in 1964, posing on the a BBC set. Photo: BBC Archives.

Pluto was in Virgo from 1957 through 1972 (minus a little time on each far end of that range); Uranus was in Virgo from 1962 through 1968. The result was something called the Uranus-Pluto conjunction. There were three exact contacts, from 1965 through mid-1966.

If you’re wondering how The Beatles went from “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” to “I am The Walrus” in such a short time, think: Uranus-Pluto.

As an exact astrology event, the conjunctions were short-lived, spanning just nine months. But they were the concentrated epicenter of an energy wave that resounded in all directions, and with which we are still living today.

By today I mean in contemporary times, though because there is so much unusual activity in Virgo right now, the Uranus and Pluto placements in the charts of millions of people are now being activated. This is called a transit — what happens if you’re born with a planet in a particular place, and then at some future time, something comes along and makes an aspect to it.

The 1960s were an unusual time. It wasn’t exactly a unique era — the Uranus-Pluto cycle tends to stir the pot, and there have been several similar eras throughout the centuries. Yet that particular conjunction happening in its own way, at that time, created something really wild.

Richard Tarnas in his monograph Prometheus the Awakener described “the rebellion against established structures of all kinds, the intense intellectual adventurousness of the era, the radical consciousness and transformation, the titanic technological advances into the space age [and] the general atmosphere of revolution on all fronts.” He correctly notes the stunning, simultaneous advances in every technological, artistic and intellectual field, along with truly unusual social conditions.

Psychedelic-era Beatles, 1968. By the way, from left to right: Leo, Libra, Gemini, Pisces. One fixed, one cardinal, two very versatile mutables.

There was also a counter-revolution, which took the form of the political murders of Malcolm X, John F. Kennedy, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy.

As I described in the article series Born in the Sixties, those who lived through this era got to express this astrology for a phase of time. Those who were born with this astrology take it with them through their whole lives.

Regarding how this theory has played out, there’s probably a book in that. Certainly in the realm of technology it had sweeping manifestations. Though Steve Jobs and Bill Gates were from the prior wave of births (what we now call the Baby Boomers or people with Pluto in Leo), the first generation of software engineers who designed the Internet were of Uranus-Pluto in Virgo vintage. There was a certain idealism there, for a while driven by more than money.

Malicious social engineering of various kinds has been aimed at every aspect of the progress society made in the 1960s. I recognize that not everyone considers what happened in those years to be progress; to some extent that’s a matter of viewpoint. Regardless, most of the gains made were either unraveled, destroyed, reversed or co-opted.

The assassinations of Malcolm, King, the Kennedy brothers (and others, including John Lennon a bit later) sent a terrifying message that one immediately risked one’s life to take leadership for progressive causes, or to speak out at all. It’s no wonder that we don’t have vocal progressive or liberal leaders in our era and have not had them for a long time. It’s not that people are not interested; there’s just so progressive you can be, without being afraid you’ll get shot, or having it actually happen.

Video still of Richard M. Nixon making his resignation speech on Aug. 8, 1974. I believe that Nixon’s resignation — on the brink of impeachment and removal from office — ended the 1960s.

It’s worth recognizing just how threatened the power structures were by what happened in the 1960s. I count the beginning of the Sixties to be the assassination of JFK in 1963, and the end to be the resignation of Richard M. Nixon in 1974.

The very next year, a newly formed entity called the Trilateral Commission published a report called The Crisis of Democracy. [If you want the full text, here is the PDF.]

Yes, the Trilateral Commission actually exists, and it has an address and a published list of members. One of the first things it did after its founding by David Rockefeller in 1973 was to publish a report designed to help national and corporate leaders get a grip on the uprisings of the immediately previous era. The report is part history, part analysis and part strategy proposal — and it remains the only major publication of the commission to date.

Describing public uprising and involvement in society as a “crisis of democracy” is not friendly to the idea of public participation. Despite its position, the report offers a truly interesting analysis. Here is a sample:

“The late sixties have been a major turning point. The amount of underlying change was dramatically revealed in the political turmoil of the period, which forced a sort of moral showdown over a certain form of traditional authority. Its importance has been mistaken inasmuch as the revolt seemed to be aiming at political goals. What was at stake appears now to be moral much more than political authority — churches, schools, and cultural organizations more than political and even economic institutions.”

Cover of the 1975 Crisis of Democracy report to the Trilateral Commission.

The Trilateral authors recognized two meaningful things — one, this was not about the government but rather about progress through all institutions; and two, that the drive was moral rather than political. I would call that dangerous to those clinging to the status quo, or acting in clearly immoral ways.

This will give you an idea of the antipathy they were expressing toward those who had the nerve to dissent:

“At the present time, significant challenge comes from the intellectuals and related groups who assert their disgust with the corruption, materialism, and inefficiency of democracy and with the subservience of democratic government to ‘monopoly capitalism’.”

When you consider this was written 40 years ago it seems all the more incredible. Another thing the authors recognized is that a level of personal social freedom allowed for this freedom to rebel.

They describe “an explosion of human interaction and correlatively a tremendous increase of social pressure. The social texture of human life has become and is becoming more and more complex and its management more difficult. Dispersion, fragmentation and simple ranking have been replaced by concentration, interdependence and a complex texture.”

They conclude with this thought: “Because of the basic importance of the contemporary complex social texture, its management has a crucial importance, which raises the problem of social control over the individual.”

Remember this phrase, “the problem of social control over the individual.” If you’re wondering where the progress of the 1960s went, please consider that it was consciously erased by this meta-corporate, meta-governmental philosophy. Standing up against the war was replaced by standing up for Coca-Cola.

The Trilateral Commission is nothing more or less than an organization of government and corporate policy makers — who have the power to achieve something like massive, sweeping, free-trade agreements that subvert domestic national authority and which created a new era of slavery.

Massive protest on the mall in Washington DC, summer 1969. Mass protest is not enough, but along with much other intelligent political action, it served to end the Vietnam War. Under the influence of Uranus-Pluto in Virgo, people demanded involvement in their government.

Yet it’s chilling that they reduce this power down to the problem of social control over the individual.

Since this report was published, many policies have been put into place that obstruct and confuse individual will — for example, abstinence-only sexual indoctrination. That is the still-extant school program, begun under Pres. Reagan, designed to ruin sex for young people before they even know what it is.

So now, in these days, a lot of astrology is passing through mid-Virgo, lighting up the Uranus and Pluto placements of everyone born in the 1960s era, particularly those in the peak years of 1964 through 1967, whose placements are in the middle of that sign. At the same time, everyone in this era is close to the time of their Chiron return in Pisces, a topic I plan to come back to soon.

This is your latest chance to feel what you’re made of. This is your chance to tune into your moment of incarnation and to consider the world that you chose to enter, or happened to show up in, perhaps with some conscious, useful purpose for being here.

Your inherent, organic patterning, contained in your astrology, is deeper than any fabricated social concept or control device. To get to that level of original intention, you really must feel yourself and tune into your point of origin. Listen for those vibes.

They are speaking to you now — in an era when the world needs every awake person who can open up their eyes and greet the chaos and potential of our moment.


Weekly Horoscope for Thursday, Oct. 15, 2015 #1071 | By Eric Francis
Aries (March 20-April 19) — You simply must think. There is no way around that fact. Your situation is calling on you to come up with your own ideas, and your own accurate information, which you personally verify; and to check in with many things you’ve learned up until now. The thing with thinking is that it’s not that easy, especially for people conditioned not to actually use their minds, which, sadly, is most of us. Thinking requires making some peace with the possibility of being wrong. You can reduce that possibility by thinking things through, using a few different scenarios. Remember the law of unintended consequences — which is to say, the one about how solving problems can create other problems. One last thing: here in Western Civ as now configured, our whole worldview is driven by money. What you’re involved with may be a professional task of some kind, in which case you may be wondering when payday is coming. I strongly suggest you set that aside for now, in favor of the work ethic of getting the job done well.
Taurus (April 19-May 20) — You are getting a burst of creativity at the moment, though you will still have to hop over the idea that you’re not really so special or talented and therefore don’t deserve to be doing anything so spectacular. The way to do that is not to convince yourself of your specialness but rather to remember that what we call creative work is rather ordinary, like carpentry or gardening. There’s a way to infuse those ordinary tasks with quality and life, and that’s a moment-to-moment commitment. You know that it doesn’t happen by itself. You must focus on the details, with care and devotion. So then what is the creative piece? That enters with each moment of decision. This, in turn, begins with recognizing those decision points the moment they arrive. What’s a better way to do this? What is this really about? How can I do this differently, or better, than I have before? And most of all: what is my larger purpose for doing this? The game of true art is to make that connection from moment to moment, and then get lost in your work.
Gemini (May 20-June 21) — Mercury is now direct and has loosened its grip on reality. The way this is likely to play out for you is a series of self-reinventions, clustered within a few weeks. You’re good at this. One thing you know as a Gemini is not to be too invested in form. You know that the way to keep changing gracefully is to dance to the music of the spheres. That all said, there are some significant turning points coming up; these may involve a project that’s currently underway, which seems ready to transform completely. You may be poised to take a whole new approach to something, which you might think is long overdue (but it really was not going to happen with Mercury retrograde; the coming week or two is a much better time). To me this astrology looks like you’re updating your files, casting off a bunch of old ideas, methods and commitments that have not been working, and getting yourself tuned into what works better for you right now. It’s way too easy to get stuck in the past. Experiment, experiment, experiment.
Cancer (June 21-July 22) — Potent astrological forces are saying it’s time to align with your purpose for coming to the Earth at this time. This sense of purpose has a number of facets, all of which come back to the same basic theme. That theme is how you relate to the world, which means your world — that exact place where you intersect with anything seemingly larger than yourself. Let’s start with your family. It’s up to you to define all of those relationships, and your early environment, exactly the way that works the best for you. There were helpful elements and there were difficult ones; put the whole mix to work on your behalf. Then there is this elusive thing called society — all those entities that seem to have all that power over you and your destiny. Here is a question: in what way do you serve them, and in what way do they serve you? Now is a critical time to get clear on your relationship to what I will call the world of power. Here is an even better question: can you see the parallels between the scenario involving your family of origin and the one about how you relate to those big entities and influential people? They’re not just closely related — they are the same thing.
Leo (July 22-Aug. 23) — You may be facing some important decisions around money, investments and assets over the next few days, extending into the next few weeks. I suggest you set the pace of this discussion and don’t allow yourself to be pressured. The general topic seems to be increasing your income and, as a result of that, increasing your net worth. That’s actually possible, in a way that’s unusual in contrast to where you’ve been before. Yet the process, once initiated (or refined, if you’ve already begun), will take some time and some thought. You have a series of ongoing decisions to make, and you would be wise to work with the most accurate facts, figures and other data you have. Just remember that numbers and facts are subject to interpretation, and to verification. So make sure you’re doing both. If there is a spiritual piece involved, it’s about your self-respect. I know that many people with a large net worth have very little self-worth. That’s not your karma; you will connect with one through connecting with the other. The sign involved is Virgo, which is one of the most difficult when it comes to seeing yourself for who you are and cutting yourself some slack. You must do both.
Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22) — You know more than you think, and your knowledge is worth more than you believe. This all speaks to your wider, deeper and indeed versatile potential. However, Mars in your sign may be provoking some self-judgment or anger at the way things are, or how they were not in the past. It’s essential that you not take your anger out on yourself. Make sure you have enough physical, sexual and creative activity to convert that energy into something more productive, though denying your anger is not going to help. If you’re feeling guilt, shame or embarrassment in any form, you can be sure that you’re pointing your anger inward. Sort that out first. Your mental environment is such that things will feel exaggerated, magnified and even potentially distorted. You cannot correct every warp, though you can do yourself a great favor by staying tuned in to your purpose. Do whatever you must do to come back to your core mission. If you don’t feel that strongly, go back to whatever you’re doing that is connected to purpose and knowledge and, most of all, service. If you feel a little resistance, count that as a sign you’re doing the right thing.
Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23) — Perhaps the most important theme of your solar year is the relationship between the you nobody else knows, and the you that you present to the world. You are a master at controlling your image. You can morph yourself into absolutely any form or mirage you want. That’s useful but it has a drawback, which is when you believe your own illusion of who you are. You can no longer afford that way of being. You’re now more transparent than you used to be; but more to the point, you need to integrate your inner and outer realities for your own sanity, integrity and sense of balance. Therefore, stay close to what you’re feeling. If you think you have to conceal your true sentiments for some reason, then make sure you’re entirely honest with yourself. All of this is part of a deepening process you’ve been going through for some time. It’s also part of how you will tap the energy to stand up to the world and all its demands and opportunities. This whole business of dividing yourself up, living in compartments and having different versions of yourself for different purposes is costing you a lot of time and energy.
Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22) — How much emphasis do you put on what you think people will think about you? That is, on your presumed opinion of what they will think or believe is true for you? Whether that’s one or 99 on a scale of 100, I cannot think of a worse way you can navigate through the world. I suggest you consider the notion of “what you think other people think” as having no chance for accuracy or relevance. Looked at one way, you’ve already given up your power by the time you even have that thought. Looked at another way, the implication is that you have to play to an audience of some kind rather than be yourself and trust the best will happen. It’s true that in the recent past (for example, in your the world of your grandparents) people could content themselves believing that appearances are everything (“clothes make the man,” to give one phrase). In our current version of the world, how you feel is more important than how you look. As such, I suggest you divorce your self-image from what you think people might think — if for no reason other than your perception is unlikely to be accurate.
Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22) — Saturn is in your sign, which is granting you a sense of mission and a hint that you really do have a meaningful role in the world. This comes with a higher degree of responsibility than is considered fashionable these days. You might be inclined to achieve your goals at any cost; Saturn is saying you need to think about the people around you, at least to the degree that you complete, resolve or otherwise address your commitments with them. While you are definitely the star of your show, it’s going to take plenty of support and the resources of others to get you where you want to go. Speaking of, you’re in a phase of accomplishment, and of building your reputation. Said another way, what you do — whatever you do — is unusually visible right now. You have tremendous freedom; yet, at the same time, figure that you cannot get away with anything even vaguely untoward. Therefore, be a lady or a gentleman, and remember that what some see as talent is really an offering of service and energy.
Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20) — Though you’re experiencing many things in your outer life, by which I mean things related to work, community or parenting, the more significant focus is on your inner life. One challenge here is that you cannot see your inner life using the normal senses, and there is so much happening that you can see, which is distracting. It’s also interesting and it may be exciting and gratifying in ways that you want but don’t usually get. This thing I’m describing as your inner life might feel like an abyss — such as facing your worst fears (being alone, for example, or feeling like nobody understands you). It’s not appealing to go there voluntarily. Yet it’s better, I think, than going out of necessity. The planet I’m describing is Saturn, recently arrived in this place called your 12th house. For you this is Sagittarius, suggesting that your actual spiritual quest is inward above all else. Yes, that’s true of everyone, but it’s especially true for you. In addition to being the planet associated with Capricorn, Saturn is the planet of necessity. The message is that what you need the most right now, you will find within yourself, challenging as that may be. This is an essential phase to acquire an essential skill — not a permanent state of being.
Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) — You may be wondering whether the right thing to do is to act grown up and fulfill your worldly responsibilities, or to cut loose and do whatever you want to do. Think of the responsibility thing (Saturn) as being about holding together the basic structure of your life. If you can do that, you have lots of freedom to experiment with this new role you’re developing for yourself in the world (represented by many other planets currently close to Saturn). While you have to keep a basic plan in place, you simply must experiment, with the passion of a child. Your prior ways of being are not going to work; they are obsolete in the sense that they have lost their distinction. In order to be who you are, you must be distinct — not only from your own history but also in the environment around you — and that means a continuous journey of exploration, trial and error, and invention. Think of yourself as a scientist using society as your laboratory. Or think of yourself as an artist living in a chaotic world who is developing a way to make some sense out of things, or at least respond to the madness in an appropriate way. Just remember, you are what you seek to change.
Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) — If you can step out of your Neptune-powered blind spot, you will get a glimpse of how many options you have open. First, about this blind spot: it makes it challenging to see how people perceive you. I suggest you make no attempt to change how people experience you, except to be as aware of it as you can. Remember one thing, mainly: most people are afraid and mystified. You have spent plenty of time in that state as well, and you may still lapse into it. But Chiron is also in your sign, and that means you have the option to tune in and focus. That, however, is not always experienced as friendly; in the current fog of our society, with all its thriving on denial and paying false homage to integrity, someone who is actually paying attention can seem threatening, merely for their awareness. Now, as for all these people in your environment: some may move toward you directly; others may dance around the point; still others may seem unable to make up their mind. See if you can notice the feelings under the surface, which may come across as simply as those who voluntarily make clear statements about their reality. They’re most likely to be the fun ones.

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