Dear Friend and Reader:
Astrology may be the most objective means of studying the world, since it’s inherently meaningless. Every experiment needs a control of some kind, and astrology, removed as it is from any known law of cause and effect, provides the perfect null value.
The charts and other tools used by astrologers provide information about the timing of celestial events, but no information whatsoever about their relevance to mundane life, with the exception of information about the seasons changing (good for farming) and the lunar phases (good for hunting and for farming).
We bring all the meaning astrology has, through our stories, myths, observations, speculation and the ability to “read” a chart, which is a different form of reading from reading a book. It’s still a form of literacy, though it uses entirely different capacities of the mind. So in this sense, astrology is also the most subjective means of studying the world. We see what we see, and assign meaning as a willful act.
Keeping that in mind, I’m here today to evaluate what has happened in the wake of the Great American Eclipse of Aug. 21, 2017. This was the first eclipse in U.S. history to move from coast to coast, and where totality was over the American continent itself rather than over the ocean. In a video presentation that came out shortly before the event, astrologer Dale O’Brien gave the history of eclipses that have cast shadows over the United States, and described the timing of what happened in the months after they occurred (a Google search for “Eclipse Paths” and the author’s name will get you to the right video).
To sum up Dale’s excellent research and presentation, there are always cascades of history-changing events after eclipses touch our country. However, they usually take slightly longer to manifest, around a month to six months.
If you study old astrology textbooks, eclipses (like comets) have a terrible reputation, and are usually associated with pestilences and disasters. Leo eclipses in particular are associated with extreme weather patterns, and Leo itself is associated with flooding events. (Hurricane Floyd, the first of what I would call the global warming hurricanes to arrive in the Northeast, happened right after an unusual Leo total solar eclipse. Hurricanes Rita and Katrina happened shortly after Saturn entered Leo in 2005.)
It’s fair to say that this eclipse appears to have unleashed the furies. In just one month, the United States has experienced four overlapping record-breaking hurricanes, whether we’re talking about destruction, wind intensity, flooding or nifty tricks like making landfall three times. The infrastructure of entire islands was wiped off the map. Vast swaths of Florida and Texas were flooded, rearranged or otherwise destroyed. As of this writing, all of Puerto Rico is sitting in the dark, without electricity or sewerage service.
Then there are the earthquakes in Mexico, with some rippling into the United States. Mexico is, in effect, part of the U.S., as our histories and populations are so intimately intertwined.
During the post-eclipse phase, the Dreamers — young children who came to the United States as children, mostly from points south — have become a political football. As of this writing, rescuers are digging a tunnel under a collapsed school in an effort to rescue trapped students.
Then there’s North Korea. During one of the epicenters of eclipse activity, during the Sept. 3 through 5 phase, North Korea allegedly tested a hydrogen bomb — a monumental event in global history. Any country getting the H-bomb is a monumental event, and there has not been one in a while.
This began the latest round of Trump threatening nuclear war, which culminated with his recent speech at the United Nations, threatening to totally destroy the country if it did not cooperate. We don’t really know what North Korea is offering because we are not privy to the communications.
Additionally, Pres. Trump has repeatedly been threatening to pull out of the nuclear deal that Pres. Obama made with Iran, risking yet another escalation and more rigging of the world with atomic bombs. Trump seems not to understand the notion of deterrence. If you recall, around this time last year, he asked American generals why we didn’t use atomic bombs more often.
Finally, the investigation into Russia’s manipulation of the election, the Trump campaign’s collusion with the Russians, and (as of late September), potential crimes committed personally by the president has ramped up over the past six weeks. The efforts of Bob Mueller, the special counsel, seem like they will inevitably precipitate a constitutional crisis of some kind. Whether this involves the impeachment of the president, or criminal charges against him and members of his administration, we will once again have our minds taken off of the important business at hand: stewarding the nation and the world in a critical time of transition.
Remember that the eclipse occurred within one degree of the ascendant of the president. That makes it distinctly personal to him. Events of mid-August through early September are a permanent feature in his life.
So, we had an unprecedented eclipse, followed my many unprecedented events. The new normal is total insanity. As I’ve mentioned in previous columns, the United States is about to have its Pluto return — an entirely new event associated with the 250-year orbit of the anti-planet formally designated minor planet (134340) Pluto. We will study this more carefully in future editions, though with the Great American Eclipse, it’s my opinion as an astrologer that the U.S. Pluto return has officially begun.
In the U.S. natal chart, Pluto is in Capricorn. And today, Pluto is also in Capricorn, where it’s been since 2008. The combination of the unstoppable force of Pluto with the solid, structured energy of Capricorn has been more or less constant chaos, economic upheaval, political turmoil and social collision. It would seem to be working well for the plutocrats who run the country, though cancer has lots of fun right up until it kills its host organism.
Saturn, at the Center of the Cyclone
Astrological events rarely involve just one planet. Directly involved in the U.S. Pluto return is the planet Saturn, which will ingress Capricorn on Dec. 20. This is significant for many reasons, though it heralds the Saturn-Pluto conjunction in Capricorn that takes place on Jan. 12, 2020. This will be the one and only Saturn-Pluto conjunction until 2053.
Before Saturn reaches Capricorn, it will make a conjunction to the Galactic Core, which is located in very late Sagittarius. The Galactic Core, not well-studied, valued or understood by mainstream astrology, is the center of our spiral island in space.
At that center is a supermassive black hole, and even astrologers studied in the reading of deep space points seem to view it as such. However, it’s the center of our cosmic home within the vast expanses of space. I consider it a spiritual homing signal, or point of orientation.
It’s the perfect and fitting symbol for Sagittarius, which is the sign of the exotic and the remote. Somewhat humorously, it was discovered in 1932 when Bell Telephone engineers were trying to sort out the source of a hissing sound they heard coming over brand new transatlantic telephone wires they were testing out. The discovery is officially credited to a scientist named Karl Jansky, who was working for Ma Bell, now AT&T. I imagine that hearing his name arrives with a little burst of love and respect in every astrophysicist.
What we think of as the occult usually runs centuries ahead of science. Long before this discovery, astrologers were onto the “long distance,” “foreign,” and “overseas” symbols of Sagittarius, and what the heck, Sagittarius delivered. This sign is also associated with many things spiritual, and figuring out that our galaxy has a central point would qualify as such, in my view.
Saturn conjunct the Galactic Center, exact on Nov. 24, 2017, is the culmination of the three-year Saturn in Sagittarius journey, which dates back to late 2014. While inherently meaningless to scientists, speaking as an astrologer, I would propose that this event is about the practical application of spirituality.
Saturn gives concrete expression to whatever it may touch. Most spirituality is abstract, to the point of having nothing to do with actual human affairs. It’s often a collection of ideals and dogmas, featuring people undergoing all kinds of special training supposedly to become better people, which mostly happens inside their heads. Or worse, “better person” translates to better than you. Saturn’s presence in Sagittarius is reminding us that action is the fruit of knowledge. What would be the point otherwise?
The optimism of Sagittarius is indeed tempered by the real-world concerns of Saturn, though at some point, the two must engage one another, and we are approaching a peak moment for that. Once Saturn ingresses Capricorn, the emphasis will be almost entirely on the practical, and will likely be followed by continued escalation of political crisis. How we respond to that crisis must be informed by something other than desperation or greed.
Saturn’s conjunction to the Galactic Core is calling for people to focus a vision of the future. We have plenty of problems to solve; indeed it would seem we have little other than problems, and loads of technology. It will be easier to apply our technology in a sane way if we have a vision for the future. By we, I don’t mean world oligarchs and plutocrats; I mean us.
Each of us who aspires to make the world a better place.
Each of us who does not cling to Every Man for Himself.
Everyone not obsessed by “My country, right or wrong.”
Each of us who has invested in learning about ourselves, in personal growth, in healing, and in learning healing technology.
Each of us who recognizes that dogma of any kind blocks or obscures the truth.
Each of us who seeks sincere understanding.
Each of us who does not see their own needs as apart from those of their fellow people.
Saturn demands commitment. It may be the most important agent of change in astrology, because it is regarded as the lord of time, with which any and all change is involved. Taking Saturn at its most enlightened, time must be engaged as an ally if we are to use it well. Instead, it’s more often wasted or weaponized.
Spirituality Must Be About Actual Kindness
Saturn sets limits. If most spirituality is a head-trip, much of religion is used as an excuse to foster separation or blatant cruelty. You could poke a stick into any phase of history going back a few millennia and jab some facet of history where lots of people were killing other people in the name of God.
Today, we live with seemingly opposing religious camps — the more — shall we say — pumped up versions of Islam, on the one hand, and Dominionist or Evangelical Christianity, on the other, competing for who gets to end the world. At least they have that much in common.
Can we get over this? Does everything have to come down to a question of power? To be even vaguely meaningful, anything deemed spiritual must be about kindness and helping others. The self-help and individual growth element is essential, though this can be fully integrated with serving.
As A Course in Miracles says explicitly, we are healed as we allow God (however we may think of that) to teach us how to heal. Or as that particular daily lesson goes, “When I am healed, I am not healed alone.”
Once Saturn clears the Galactic Core, it soon arrives at the first degree of Capricorn, which is one of the energy nodes of this thing called the Aries Point. That’s this spot in astrology and in consciousness where the individual meets the collective; where the personal and political are seen to influence one another directly. Not long after, on April 17, Chiron arrives in the first degree of Aries — the Aries Point itself.
If astrology means anything at all — and remember, it may not — the universe seems destined to teach us that we are not separate, and that we are not alone.
Planet Waves Monthly Horoscope for October 2017, #1168 | By Eric Francis
Aries (March 20-April 19) — Uranus in your sign the past seven years has pushed, pulled, stretched and tweaked who you are. The energy of this transit has been so revved and at times stressful that you’ve had few chances to appreciate some of the more revolutionary qualities that it’s bestowed on you. This month, however, you get a point of contact and a moment of truth. Someone, something, or the world itself, meets you on your own level, and reflects back what you’ve attained or become. The missing experience that you acquire will reveal something of your true potential, which can happen when what you have to offer is met consciously by a circumstance where you’re actually received. You might wonder how you can set your life up to create more of these experiences, or have it be this way all the time. That is indeed the quest, and because you’ll engage this desire as a conscious mission, you have something to aspire to. Meanwhile, you may be getting the message that you don’t have to push yourself, or anyone else, quite as hard as you have in the past. You have an influence. People notice you, though they don’t always know how to respond, and it will help if you find ways to make it easier for them. It will help if you show your appreciation ongoing for anyone who even vaguely recognizes who you are.
Taurus (April 19-May 20) — You are evolving from one of the most creative times in recent memory to one of the most productive. The key to being dependably prolific is constantly shifting your routines. It’s easy and indeed a kind of temptation to respond to the chaos of the world by locking down work patterns, and personal habits, and enforcing them with rigor. However, you need space to maneuver, and the flexibility to do what you need to do when the time and place are appropriate. One benefit of this will be the ongoing exercise of inventing approaches to your work that are adapted to your latest situation. As a Taurus, you like things predictable, stable and easy to follow. Yet this has a way of trapping your energy, and keeping you caught in mental ruts that run opposite to what is actually productive. You need some element of waking up every day and wondering what you both want and need to do. That may come down to the freedom to continually adjust your approach, if the tasks themselves are committed in advance. Through a process of experimentation, you will discover new methods of efficiency, or at least keep your mind fresh and alert from the need to rethink things. What you do calls for a creative approach, which always comprises approximately equal parts discipline and originality.
Gemini (May 20-June 21) — You may feel like the world is not ready for what you have to offer. But is the world ever ready for something new, or does it automatically despise everything from the Eiffel Tower to chocolate ice cream, until those things suddenly emerge as wildly popular? You have all the talent and discipline you need. You’re riding a creative wave, as planets gather in Libra, your gloriously alive 5th house of art, fun and risks. The thing you need to work is the theatrical angle: that is, the showmanship to captivate your audience. To do that, focus your talent for telling a good story, remembering that even documentaries have a touch of fiction to them. Conjure your public image using your mercurial skill of relating to others. Remember that public recognition and financial reward for your work are two different things, and negotiate each side of that equation on its own terms. The only recognition you need at the moment is from partners, clients and financial backers. Your most important success is the satisfaction of knowing that you do what you do for its own sake, rather than for any reward in the future. One litmus test is whether you would do it for no money. That’s not the goal, of course; but it’s an indicator of whether you’re doing something that’s truly in harmony with who you are.
Cancer (June 21-July 22) — You’re moving into a position of leadership with your tribe or family. The way you’re doing this is by exercising your prerogative to do what you want to do, and need to do, regardless of what others may think. The practical effect is to guide others to do the same thing, by essentially granting them permission to freely be themselves. One might think that this would lead to a kind of anarchy, though it’s more likely to release potential as you and the people around you discover new ways to relate and co-create. Another part of your role is to lead the successful aspects of these experiments into more formalized arrangements. If the emphasis of motivation is on desire rather than necessity, you’ll have an idea who really wants to be there. This is especially vital for you, as both Mercury and Jupiter will soon move into the most passionate and adventurous angle of your solar chart, Scorpio. You will be drawn in the direction that is right for you, even as seemingly more practical concerns try to get your attention. Keep leaning into the direction of what actually matters to you rather than apparent necessity. You will still pay your bills. If you do only what is practical, you’ll still pay the bills, though at considerable expense to your soul. Thankfully, you can cross that off your list of things to ponder.
Leo (July 22-Aug. 23) — Your solar chart is all about the theme of what happens close to home. Your community is calling you to invest your energy. Your home is the place to meet people, to share food, and to live your life. And it’s the center of your spiritual life, your personal sanctuary. The world is struggling with whole notion of ‘local’; and for many people, their home is no longer the central place in their life. Often it would seem there is not one, save for one’s workplace, and that’s not usually a cozy place where people would voluntarily hang out after hours. This same astrology parallels an emotional and spiritual picture that’s calling for you to take some space to yourself and orient on your inner life. One way this appears in your chart is that Jupiter will soon enter Scorpio, which is your 4th house of your inner life and sense of security. This also covers your home and private spaces. Jupiter’s presence here is about making home, and almost always indicates a time of improvement and investment in your home. Mercury will enter Scorpio around the same time, giving this a personal, immediate and less abstract feeling. There are problems and emotional states that you can address much more effectively simply by being in your home, and doing everything you can to ensure that it’s a place where you feel welcome.
Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22) — Since late summer, planets have been streaking through your sign; which often indicates the feeling of being driven, an increase in activity and commitments and, for you, a restless and nervous buzz. This culminates with something that is fulfilling and which arrives with a sense of completion and contact: a conjunction of Venus and Mars on Oct. 5. This is a rare sign of balance in a world that seems to be going increasingly off its rails, hinges and beams on a daily basis. While relationship matters still have your attention, and may be leaving you questioning your investment of energy, they no longer have the ability to throw you off balance like they have so many times during this long phase of your life. The essence of this development is integrating the male and female aspects of your psyche. You no longer need to seek either one of these things outside of yourself. The more you integrate them inwardly, the more stable you will feel, and the less power over you people will seem to possess. There remain questions involving joint finances, though you’re in an unusually good position to attain a new level of independence. Rather than being lured out of being grounded and centered within yourself, notice the connection between your emotional life and your economic life; and don’t let anyone convince you that you need them more than you need yourself.
Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23) — For the past 12 months, Jupiter has been in your sign, revealing the many possibilities of your life. You may have also experienced certain problems or issues being magnified, though now at least you can see in detail what they are, and what you might do about them. In the first of many new developments influencing you during the coming 12 months, Jupiter enters your neighboring sign Scorpio, which means that it’s time to invest in yourself, your goals and your vision for your life. It’s a message that self-esteem is the basis of all success in the world, in your relationships with others, and in your sense of belonging on the planet. This is the first of many upcoming changes directly influencing your sign. To name two others: later this year, Saturn enters Capricorn, one of the most important transits that you can experience, representing an extended phase of shoring up your foundations, cleaning your roots and resolving long-enduring problems. Then Chiron enters your house of relationships, where it will stay for about nine years. This will emphasize healing processes within partnerships of all kinds. The upshot of these transits is that — whether immediately or over the long haul — you will be transforming all of the most significant facets of your existence. Your awareness will be called where it truly matters. You will learn to stand on your own, which is the prerequisite for freedom.
Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22) — What is the net result of your efforts? When you consider all you do, and who you do it for, and with, and because of, and you study what actually happens after all is said and done, what’s the outcome? Here in the 21st century, that’s the thing to think about. For you, it’s essential to recognize the extent to which you’re not only personally invested in your work, but also the degree to which it’s a source of your identity. The results of your efforts are in truth the results of your life. Your solar chart suggests you’re moving up in the world, or that advancement is on the agenda, which applies not just to your work but to you personally. Yet this is centered on your professional activities, which, by the way, are described by fire signs Aries and Leo. Making things ‘all about you’ is the source of your river of power, though it’s not the delta. Hence, testing the results is essential to your personal progress, which is connected to what you do for the world. When Jupiter ingresses your sign later this month, you will be transported to a wider world of more important priorities. You will be called upon to consider, use and apply the spiritual teaching you’ve imbibed over the years. You will be called upon to be a bigger person.
Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22) — After nearly three years of Saturn in your sign, you’re finally starting to get some results. Well, that’s Saturn for you; though in the scheme of things, a thousand days is a short time to develop anything that truly makes a difference. You have arrived at a moment of both contact and commitment. You’re at a turning point, where you first need to evaluate your progress since this time of year in 2014 (which I know feels like forever ago). This has been a deeply formative time for you, during which you’ve had to reckon your desires with your abilities. If this is working correctly, you’ve pushed yourself, worked with discipline, and had a long encounter with your seeming limitations. If you’ve experienced losses, you’ve also received the gain of a deeper connection with your aspirations and your capacity to get things done. The remaining three months of this year represent one of the most significant transitions of your lifetime so far. Saturn in your sign will make a series of conjunctions to slow-moving (though not widely discussed) planets in your sign, and a conjunction to the Galactic Core. You are engaging the practical side of spirituality: putting your devotion to good use, embracing the concept of service, and living the truth that one of your core purposes is acting as if to hold the world together.
Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20) — Alice A. Bailey, in her essential 1951 book Esoteric Astrology, describes Capricorn as representing “the life of the divine deeply embedded in substance.” We are learning to relate to this through recognizing that mountains are alive and have consciousness; that crystals are our friends and allies; and that the Earth itself, so long considered blind, deaf and inert, is fully aware of our presence. For many years, Pluto has been gradually working its way through your sign, which has felt like a plough turning over the ground, getting it ready for the planting of new seeds. Those seeds are now being sown, particularly where professional matters are concerned. You’ve been through a series of events over the summer that have compelled you to see beyond the details and minor points of existence, and to focus your mind on the longer story of your life. You are being called, at once, to take life more seriously, and to feed and encourage the childlike nature that is the true essence of your sign. Capricorn is considered the sign of climbing, and even of ruthless competition. This is a distortion and a misunderstanding. Your work is relational more than anything. Your first responsibility is to people and not to institutions. As such, you must be motivated by the love of what you do and those whom you serve, rather than by the love of success.
Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) — To be meaningful, this thing we call spirituality must have a use. It cannot merely be an abstract, academic or esoteric thing, as it so often is. Its correct use would include a sane approach to handling conflict, and the use of wisdom rather than force. This is a tall order, I know, on a planet where most people concern themselves either with survival, or greed. For you, the spiritual life is designed to manifest primarily in your relationships. While the point might be made that this applies to everyone (it does), the emphasis for Aquarius is to make sure you don’t forget, and convince yourself you’ll find enlightenment way in the back of a dusty book on Freemasonry. The relational nature of your spiritual path comes into focus this month, as planets collect in Libra. This is an invitation to see, feel and experience the purpose of your relationships, which is non-negotiable. Anytime there’s some sort of haggling going on, or competition, or scorekeeping, you can be sure that you’ve drifted from your purpose. Part of whatever ‘spiritual’ might imply involves being supportive of the people you care about and their total environment. Spiritual also implies a measure of balance, though that must be assessed over the long run rather than the immediate sense. Your role is to be helpful. Eliminate the question, “What’s in it for me?” That is from another cosmos.
Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) — This month, Jupiter, the first Pisces planet, changes signs and ingresses Scorpio, a water sign with a special resonance to yours. At the same time, Saturn begins the final phase of its three-year run through Sagittarius, the angle of your chart associated with responsibility, accountability, reputation and success (see Sagittarius for details). Whether your life is going brilliantly or you’re struggling, persist at what you’re doing, and remember the goals that you set out for yourself back at whatever you consider the beginning of this phase of your life. Saturn making a conjunction to the Galactic Core is so rich with purpose, it’s difficult to understand, much less explain, but you could say it’s about grounding the essential elements of the divine plan in your life, and in the world around you, at this time. This transit, unlike any other that happens for the next 29 years, could be described as the embodiment of “action is the fruit of knowledge.” Said another way (borrowing from the Grateful Dead), your role is to shed light and not to master. Yet you must focus your energy, and the strength of your will, and view time as your ally rather than as your enemy. As for Jupiter in Scorpio, there could hardly be a happier transit for any Pisces who knows that a fully conscious approach to sex is the path to love, wisdom and healing.