Give Me Something Built to Last

Wreckage lies in the water at the scene of the freeway bridge collapse over the Mississippi River in Minneapolis. Photo Courtesy of

Dear Friend and Reader:

When that bridge collapsed in Minneapolis last week, it was more than a symbol of America’s national infrastructure crumbling — it was the real thing.

There were miracles (the school bus full of kids that didn’t explode) and there are warnings (much of the infrastructure of the United States is the same age and construction type as the I-35 bridge). There were also mistakes made. I think a few independent engineers need to go over those plans and do the numbers again. But it’s fair to say that this event is part of something significantly larger.

As an astrologer, I notice this because the Galactic Core (along with Pluto) was exactly rising at the moment the bridge tumbled as gracefully as if it had been taken out by controlled demolition. Indeed, the last thing we saw float to the ground with such devastating grace was the World Trade Center, another event wherein Pluto factored prominently.

By rising, I don’t just mean that Pluto and the GC are on the east side of the chart (the broadest technical definition) or occupying the sign rising (a commonly used definition). Rather, I mean that Pluto and the Galactic Core were focused to within one degree of the eastern horizon, a condition that exists for about five minutes a day. Remembering that Pluto is only conjunct the Galactic Core every 248 years, this chart is a little like throwing a dart from a moving train and hitting the bull’s eye.

Sagittarius is involved, painting a global message in broad strokes, as this sign always does. The core, in Sagittarius, tends to work behind the scenes but have sweeping effects. For those unfamiliar with the concept, our Sun is part of a spiral in space containing a few hundred billion stars. At the center of this spiral is a cluster of stars, held together by a supermassive black hole and broadcasting radio and X-ray signals from several point sources within or near the core.

I’ve been watching the Galactic Core in charts for almost a decade, and I find it difficult to grasp — so I would add that phrase to the top of the list of my delineations. I got a better idea working on the Spiral Door, contemplating the charts of people with the Sun in late Sagittarius, conjunct this point. [See article from Spiral Door.]

One of them was a guy named Robert Moses, a New Yorker who oversaw construction of much of that city’s infrastructure from the 1930s through the mid-20th century, and whose ideas became a worldwide phenomenon. It was Moses who, as a public official and something of a speculator, created the suburban sprawl, freeway-based model of how Americans are supposed to live. He had help from petroleum, car and tire companies (light rail systems are not nearly as profitable as selling and maintaining billions of individual automobiles), but he was the high priest who gave the model much of its shape and his divine Sagittarian blessing.

“Although he never held elected office, Moses was arguably the most powerful person in New York City government from the 1930s to the 1950s,” Wikipedia writes. “He changed shorelines, built roadways in the sky, and transformed neighborhoods forever. His decisions favoring highways over public transit helped create the modern suburbs of Long Island and influenced a generation of engineers, architects, and urban planners who spread his philosophies across the nation.”

And it was one of those very freeways inspired by this vision that slipped out of existence last week, reminding us how things that seem so solid we don’t even know we’re walking on them can fall to the ground with no notice whatsoever.

Whether you like him and what he did or not, Robert Moses had one thing that we tend to lack: a vision. For the most part, the current version of the American Dream seems to include building a waterproof, debris-proof car that can withstand a collapse like this, rather than fixing the road, or building it well originally. In other words, the whole dream is hogged up on individual needs and a culture that pumps up the value of every man for himself. In this vision, anything that takes care of us, as in all of us, was thrown out with socialism and communism. This, is, stupid.

Pluto in Sagittarius, particularly conjunct the Galactic Core, is howling for a vision, an idea, a concept of what we need. This was the same astrology that led to the Enlightenment and to the development of the U.S. Constitution, with its protections of liberty and dignity.

It may be that the vision of which I’m speaking is brewing underneath our collective disillusionment, cynicism and self-interest and waiting to burst into public awareness, if anyone will give it the 15 minutes of world fame it deserves. Jupiter is the ruler of the rising sign (Sagittarius is rising, and Jupiter rules Sagittarius), and that planet is exactly occupying the cusp of the 11th and 12th houses. It’s there — but it’s hidden, tucked into the end of the zodiac.

The Sun in the 8th house of radical transformation, legacy and shared resources is exactly trine Jupiter. Look at the degrees and minutes — it is trine to a little over half a degree (called partile, or exact within one degree). Trines work like a door opening. Trines open up the flow of energy, and when that flow opens it can really open. Both planets are in fire signs, extremely well placed. This is not a chart about a bridge falling down — it is about something else, something much more radical and promising.

We saw a trine this shocking in the Sept. 11 chart, also involving the ascendant: Mercury in Libra (exactly in the ascendant) was partile trine Saturn in Gemini. As we witnessed, that event opened the floodgates to a lot besides itself, a great deal more than was necessary and much that you were probably not quite expecting.

If nothing else, this chart tells us that we have, at least for now, the resources to do what we need to do and indeed what we want to do, if we will only allow ourselves to change and decide what that might be. Money without a clear vision is dangerous stuff: it usually goes to finance murder in one form or another. Once that starts to happen, we can end up just like we have, with a country that is gradually turning into something on a spiritual level resembling the Ninth Ward of New Orleans.

A rescue worker prepares to search a submerged vehicle after the Interstate 35W bridge over the Mississippi River collapsed Wednesday. Photo Courtesy New York Times.

We have a little self-esteem problem, suggested by Chiron and Neptune in the 2nd house. The 2nd is the house of one’s own resources, and how one feels about oneself. Chiron in this house is about a painful injury to how we feel about ourselves, and in Aquarius, that is a collective phenomenon. Who among your friends is willing to speak on behalf of the national shame that most people refuse to own, admit or even acknowledge the possibility of?

Neptune here is like the remnant of the American Dream, recently torn ragged by Saturn’s opposition transit (Saturn opposite Neptune). The 2nd house is how we feel about ourselves, and how we feel is, at the moment, hurt and anaesthetized. But the injury inflicted by Chiron always works to raise awareness. What Chiron in Aquarius is searching for is a place where an individual can connect to the collective.

This is not possible, however, without an individual seeing and experiencing himself as such. If we wonder why people have such a hard time getting together, let’s consider the possibility that what we really have is a crisis of individuality; once again we’ve come back to times where it’s usually considered bad to stand out of the crowd. Chiron here is saying we don’t really have a choice; we need to distinguish ourselves, or have it done for us by being cast out.

Looking at the Moon, we see a promising sign. She’s in Pisces, making an exact conjunction to an asteroid (Pallas Athene). Pallas is about protection (the guardian of Athens), wisdom and most of all, having a strategy. Pallas Athene is nothing if not forward thinking and intelligent. She is conjunct her consort Uranus. I read Uranus as Prometheus; he and Athene did some good work together and are currently in a long conjunction. Uranus is the inventor, the revolutionary, the liberator. Both Uranus and Pallas Athene are retrograde, meaning the energy is contained, and being directed inwardly.

In Pisces and on the 3rd house cusp, we can feel that vision brewing, but we may not have words for it. Whatever that idea may be, and however it may elude language or clear concept, it goes a lot further than inspecting rivets and welds all across our great nation and hoping this doesn’t happen again. We can also be sure that it’s going to start locally: the 3rd house is always local, immediate and accessible. Our idea for a new world will invariably start with a vision for local community.

We are now in the peak of the Pluto-Galactic Core conjunction. This is the warm-up to, and transition into, the long anticipated and somewhat dreaded experience of Pluto in Capricorn. Pluto in Capricorn has, on the one hand, the feeling of Shiva the Destroyer. It is better to have a vision for what you want long before the thing you currently inhabit, in this case the structure of a society, meets its end. What we want is change, not finality, and the way we feed that is by allowing ourselves to be bold enough to imagine the world to come.

Take that personally, if you like: sooner or later, you’re going to have to, and you may want to ask what exactly you’re waiting for. Is it for the world to end, or for the world to begin? What if you’re the one who gets to decide?

Yours & truly,
Eric Francis

August New Moon

By Kirsti Melto with Eric Francis | Lunations

New Moon in Leo — August 12, 2007, 23:02:28 UT. Chart by Solar Fire.

THE LEO NEW MOON occurs at 19+ degrees Leo. The sign of Leo is currently a full house of planets and asteroids, which will make way for the two luminaries.

Sun and the Moon are in close conjunction with centaur planet Okyrhoe — named for the daughter of Chiron and Chariklo. She is definitely the “daughter of the centaurs,” and has the shortest orbital period of any of them (24 years). When a lunation is closely conjunct a planet, we pick up the themes of that planet.

Mark Andrew Holmes, one of the more astute observers of new planets, writes, “In Greek mythology, Okyrhoe (in Greek, ‘swift running’ or ‘fast flowing’) was the daughter of Chiron and Chariklo. A prophet, she was changed into a mare by the gods as punishment for revealing their plans to humankind. Astrologically, Okyrhoe seems to indicate being criticized or attacked, being able to cope with attacks or unpopularity, ability to stand up for one’s beliefs or principles.”

In this respect, she takes after her father, Chiron, whose first keyword (given to him by an astronomer) was MAVERICK.

The New Moon is also close to the asteroids Arachne and Isis. Arachne turns up where there are conspiracies, networks of people and the stories of our lives that we weave.

When she is present, there is always a web of intrigue and an interesting story. Isis on the simplest level is about putting puzzles together (including the human puzzle), and on the more complex ones, about the “black goddess,” who we like to think does not exist, or who is not a goddess; she’s supposedly just an idol. Not only does she exist, she can reign supreme, so we have something here of the conspiracy of the goddess made available to anyone who is willing to be initiated, and the goddess intervening in any conspiracies that may be afoot.

This whole configuration in Leo opposes asteroid Achilles at 18+ degrees and Neptune at 20+ degrees Aquarius. This casts an aura of insecurity over the whole program. Achilles is about a compromised sense of one’s adequacy, particularly in women, that is most often not based in reality. It typically represents the mother’s projections onto the daughter, which are picked up by the child and end up in an adult woman feeling a sense of personal lack or limitation that is simply not true.

Neptune in this configuration says be clear in your relationships, and don’t let your own or anyone else’s sense that you are “less than” lead you to believe the same thing. You don’t have to accept the insecurities of others as your own. This picks up on the Okyrhoe/Chiron theme of being willing to stand up for your beliefs, and stand out with them. You don’t need to accept the illusion of others, about you, or about the world. This is an excellent message: you think for yourself, I’ll think for myself. You speak for yourself, I will speak for myself.

Neptune, Achilles and also Chiron are in Aquarius. This represents the crisis of groups and individuals meeting one another. It is easy to take several very smart people and have it become a very stupid group.

The Sun and Neptune are in exact contraparallel aspect (planets are in opposite declinations, which can represent two opposing or complementary viewpoints). Ceres and Sedna at 19+ and 20+ degrees Taurus form the apex of a T-square — planets at three points of a cross. So the setup is the Sun/Moon/Okyrhoe configuration in Leo; squared by Ceres and Sedna in Taurus; and opposed by Neptune and Achilles in Aquarius.

Both Ceres and Sedna talk about food and nutrition among other themes vital to our world. Ceres was the Roman goddess of harvest, agriculture and growing plants, particularly cereals. But she is also holding the energy of the grief of mothers at this time in history, because of her daughter Persephone, who was “lost” to the underworld. Really, she became the queen of the underworld. Sedna is a similar myth about a beautiful girl who is first lost to marriage, then becomes the queen of the undersea world.

This conjunction is saying go within, beneath, and toward our interior landscape or seascape. It is suggesting that we consider the nature of the personal hell that many of our children are in, and consider ways they make the most of that situation. On a global level, Sedna and Ceres are both about food, because Sedna is the goddess of the abundance of the oceans, and Ceres is about the abundance of the land.

Sun and the Moon in Leo trine Eris at 21+ degrees Aries. Here, we have a way out of the interesting psychic puzzles presented in this chart. How much of what we experience in life is really the reflection of our own fragmented minds? How willing are we to enter the crisis of that broken self-image? How much of the unfolding disaster of the world is really the product of the simple fact that we feel broken?

Is there any way to repair ourselves, except to begin to pick up the pieces? Or are we missing something else, something more useful: the underlying truth of our wholeness?




Weekly Horoscope for Friday, August 10, 2007, #675 – By ERIC FRANCIS

Aries (March 20-April 19)
You’ve been unburdened of a moral issue and have somehow set yourself free from the expectations of others. People may hold you to a higher standard than they hold themselves. This is not really a compliment; it’s one of those excusable hypocrisies that will be harmless enough as long as you don’t let anyone sit as your judge and jury, or for that matter dictate what is supposed to be fun. You need people around you who are not only forward thinking and who value their freedom, but who understand that when you put your feet on the ground, you’re being supported by the world..

Taurus (April 19-May 20)
Why is the past such a burden? Well, the past is really the only burden, or perhaps more accurately, the location of what holds us back and holds us down. You are being asked to remember something now, so that you may forget it later. Today it seems heavy, cumbersome and like your freedom is restricted by difficult circumstances. When you make up your mind that the past is over and that what you experienced there has no life other than what you give it, you may decide those circumstances that hold you back are meaningless. Freedom starts with the idea that you are free.

Gemini (May 20-June 21)
You are on fire these days, and you clearly have the answer for everything you’ve been questioning. Be prepared to make a discovery that gives you an opportunity to pause and wonder not only what you were thinking, but whether you were thinking. What appears on the radar over the next few days is likely to be more imaginative and more practical than a concept that has kept you busy for days on end. It’s not a sacrifice to give up what does not work, but it’s surely a gain to accept what does. The solution may seem less practical at first, but that effect won’t last long.

Cancer (June 21-July 22)
Certain factors are leading you to question what is possible, yet others are demonstrating what is inevitable. Give your doubts a voice; their concerns will be answered. However, please don’t dwell on what could go wrong when so much is obviously going beautifully. You’ve negotiated your way through narrower openings than this one. Yet you have probably not taken resources like the ones you have available now and turned them into something that can work so well for you in the long run. Your doubts are among those resources because they will tell you what you think you lack. Then with that information, you get to discover the truth.

Leo (July 22-Aug. 23)
Your current state of affairs is not only less complicated than you think, but you are closer to a significant breakthrough than you’re letting yourself imagine. You seem to have this idea that if you hold your breath, the world won’t run out of oxygen — as if it’s all your responsibility. I propose that if you breathe, you’ll discover there’s plenty of air for everyone. As the next few days unfold in all their strange excitement, keep connecting one breath to another. Remember that life is not about who you are supposed to become, it’s about who you actually are now. At the moment, who you are is pounding on your door. Or rather, your back door. [NOTE, the Leo Birthday Report was published Monday, July 30. Here is the link.]

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22)
You can be certain of one thing, which is that you’re the only person who understands your own motives. This being the situation, please don’t mistake misunderstanding by others as an intentional refusal to get where you are coming from. Others may perceive your motives as precisely the opposite of what they actually are. If you don’t take this misunderstanding personally but rather strive to open a window on your intentions so that others may look in, you’ll have some original opportunities to gain allies who can help you advance at least one extraordinarily important professional goal.

Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23)
When you finally look directly at a situation, belief or attitude, you’ll see that it’s less scary than you think. You have before you one of those beautiful examples of where a fear becomes an opportunity. The fear involves what others may think not just about the unique ways you want to express yourself, but about how you’re already doing it. This is a story not about finding your niche, but rather about discovering that you have already found it. If you count all the ways you’ve already accomplished key aspects of your most important goals, they will seem less intimidating. And you’ll notice a few beautiful possibilities that you had not considered.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22)
If you feel like you’re using others to achieve your goals, particularly one close associate whose respect you value deeply, give yourself a break. Events will serve them as well as they are serving you. They may not be aware of this, and truly, it may not matter to them at the moment: current developments seem significant, necessary and have an enchanted quality to them. Allow your goal or objective to exist for its own sake, and trust that the results will support everyone involved. If you accept a long-term commitment from a close colleague without any hesitation, guilt or fear, this person will prove herself a vital and competent ally.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22)
You need help, and you can have that help. Don’t hesitate to seek out the assistance of someone who was extraordinarily supportive and competent in the past. Their loyalty has not changed at all, and they have their personal motives for making sure that you have the support that you need. I suggest you ask sincerely and receive graciously. What is being given is coming from a place of abundance and loyalty. Yet there is something greater at work, which is a growing sense that all goals or objectives of a certain kind are the same thing in many different disguises. What you are doing is part of a much larger plan you cannot necessarily see, but that others are already participating in.

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20)
An unlikely encounter between the old and the young, or among those who strive to jump outside of sexual stereotypes, is now occurring for you. What you have in common with your unlikely bedfellow is mutual appreciation, but also respect for tradition and necessity. Let this bond you, and let it inspire your creativity, passion and your thirst for freedom. Remember the long story that precedes this moment, and most of all, remember the debt you owe to yourself. It would appear that someone is willing to help you make up for lost time, and to reignite your curiosity about life. That curiosity is life and it is love.

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19)
You are gazing into a dream at the moment. This dream seems to have all kinds of credibility problems. Yet if you were to suspend your doubt, you would see that you have very recently collected evidence of what is possible on this order of reality. Someone, indeed, many people, are willing to meet you face to face and on the level you need despite the flaws you perceive in yourself. Yes, you may feel you lack self-confidence these days, or like any good traits you have are merely the more fortunate results of your character flaws. But you are learning confidence, and that your shortcomings were not all they were cracked up to be.

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20)
Others seem to have finally got round to showing their strong side, their passionate side, their true willingness to contribute. You may be feeling like your mind is in a tight corner, but if you persist in keeping yourself open, you will not only set yourself free, you will be able to access the energy that others are offering to you. You may not be in the mood for arguments and you certainly need to make sure you have some control over your living and working environment, but with planning and foresight, these things are easily accomplished. In truth, you will be stunned at how much else is easily accomplished if you make even the least effort sincerely.

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