Have a Weird Weekend

Have a Weird Weekend!

YOU KNOW THAT OLD SONG about the Moon being in the 7th house and Jupiter aligning with Mars? Well, we pretty much get the opposite of that this weekend — or at least that’s what the planets are doing on their face.

Mercury is about to retrograde into a square aspect with Mars, from Leo to Taurus. This is not groovy astrology, but it’s provocative, intense and potentially quite creative. But it’s also got a dig-your-heels-in quality, in its lower vibrations.

In fact, can you spell “ornery”? This is the kind of astrology under which people are inclined to project their conflicts onto others. In other words, what starts as an inner disagreement can be acted out on the world (i.e., on friends and loved ones), which gets everyone nowhere fast.

Making matters slightly ever more interesting, Mercury is transiting through an excruciatingly slow, tense angle to Uranus, which should bring out the genius, know-it-all or bumbling moron in everyone, while making it unusually difficult to tell who is who.

On a more somber note, the Sun is still at opposition to Neptune. Ceres in Scorpio (about to be joined by the Moon, at press time) is making a T-square, astrology significant of Cindy Sheehan, 48, mother of Army Spec. Casey Sheehan, 24, who was killed in action in Iraq last year. Cindy has set up camp near President Bush’s ranch in Crawford, Texas, demanding a meeting with the great man himself, and is being joined by peace activists from around the country, some of whom are on a hunger strike.

Sheehan wants an explanation for why her son was killed in Iraq, and is also insisting that Bush stop using her son’s death, and those of other American troops, as an excuse to justify additional killing. This was the great rationale of the Vietnam War: one bomb was used to justify the next. As my friend Ron once wrote to me, “They never ran out of rationales. They only ran out of money.”

For many, the 2,000 dead American soldiers and 13,000 wounded are as good of an excuse to keep fighting as they are to question the whole mess. But they are not based on the same values.

Sheehan, with her soft-spoken manner, her warm, weathered expression and tactful PR skills — and her heart-rending story of loss of a young son — has the power to put the face of credibility on the peace movement. Whether or not the corporate television media (the only one that seems to prove you’ve hit the big-time), bloggers from here to Shanghai, and the wire services, are sending this story around the world. All of this is happening while the astrology is tense and intense and growing more so.

Tensions between the truth faction and the deception faction surrounding the Iraqi crisis could reach a high mark now, depending on how cool Bush himself stays, and how cool the cops assigned to the job stay. Currently, Bush is holed up in his ranch, refusing to meet with Sheehan, whom he refers to as “Mom.” He must be on the side of the protestors. If he invited her in for a cup of coffee, all the excitement would end.

Crawford this weekend is the scene of a meeting of Bush’s top advisors and economic team — so attention is already focused on the ranch, where according to Maureen Dowd of The New York Times, Bush has spent 20% of his presidency. So there’s a lot of media buzzing around with the flies, looking for something to do.

Meanwhile, those reporting from Crawford politely refer to it has having the approximate atmosphere of hell, with sweltering heat alternating with what one witness described as ground-shaking thunderstorms that dump four inches of rain in a few hours.

Both politically and personally, we’re in for some interesting and fast-changing weather.

Given the first of two Mercury-to-Mars squares now in progress (the first is exact Saturday, and the second is exact Friday, Aug. 26), the Mercury Storm (as of Aug. 11, Mercury’s daily motion has dipped to under half a degree per day, which will remain true through Aug. 20), the mental plane is unusually erratic, even for our bristly, prickly time in psychiatric history.

Imagine Mercury picking up the simultaneous influences of Leo (its current location), the retrograde, the Mars square and the Uranus quincunx, which is flooding in the Pisces energy from a weird angle. Wear your bump cap, remember that water conducts electricity and don’t forget that most accidents happen in the home.

And before you send anyone a super pissed off email about nothing, perhaps send it to your “drafts” folder and think about it for a few days. The person you were about to scorch may have been planning to visit you with a box of chocolates and bonus check.

Yes, don’t just play it cool — be cool. If you have to use an excuse, try professionalism, being the better person, loving Jesus, acting like Buddha, acknowledging the suffering of the world, or remembering that a lot of people have bigger problems than you — whatever it takes.

Planet Waves Horoscope by Eric Francis
Friday, Aug. 12, 2005 — # 571

Happy Birthday Leo!

When my mother was little, the Smokey the Bear campaign was introduced by the National Forest Service. It reminded everyone, “Only You Can Prevent Forest Fires.” But as a little girl living in Brooklyn, she said that she had no idea how she could actually do that.

Given the wide variety of tensions in your solar return charts this year — most of them internal, and most of them affecting you on the psychological level — you will need to learn how to prevent forest fires, even if you live in a city. Smokey (born Aug. 9, 1944) was Leo, and so are you. What you have going for you is stability, but what you need to remember is that sometimes being too rigid or inflexible creates the spark that can light up the woods.

The way you can prevent forest fires, and for that matter, house fires, is to stay flexible, keep your temper, and allow your opinions some room to change. In fact, a lot of room to change. Because Mercury is in your sign, this predominantly points to your opinions about yourself. Leo is the sign of generosity and glowing self-esteem, but when this goes to the shadow side (as may be induced by a retrograde) the results can be extremely stressful for yourself and everyone around you.

The retrograde movement of Mercury, and two squares to Mars, suggest strongly that there’s a backwards aspect to your thinking that will be challenged by a more common-sense aspect of your psyche. The past is not a safe place; it does not exist at all, except as a concept and as a set of influences that affect you in this moment. To the extent that it does exist, it can be quite dangerous to your peace of mind, because usually what we carry is trauma, and untrue information about the world.

The productive part about the tense retrograde of Mercury is that you can use any conflict that surfaces in your life as a map to what you have to heal, particularly in ways that relate to your past. You can also look at your choice of words, and the way you apply language, as a good indicator of what you can bring to the light of understanding. How do you treat yourself? What do you say to yourself?

Just because you’re a strong, capable and in many ways extraordinary person does not mean that you’re not affected in some rather ordinary ways by your history and the cruel environments that most children grow up in. We take those environments in, and we take them on. Then, we may convince ourselves they were perfectly rosy. The phenomenon of inner voices affects every person on the planet, and you would do well to understand and assess just where those inner voices you carry around come from.

The problem is that these inner voices they are quite realistic, and are rarely understood for what they are — or for whom they speak, which ranges from the child within who needs attention NOW, the parents who sought to control that child, or the inner parts of the psyche who were put in charge of keeping control. Yes, it’s nice to have a rich inner life, but we don’t need to drag around our whole family as part of the process.

In looking at and living within the world for the coming year and indeed the next few years, it may be increasingly difficult for you to assess who is telling the truth and who is giving you a line. It may be challenging to distinguish true ethics from a religious television show. This holds true in all forms of relationships and partnerships; and truth be told, there will be, in the end, a high price for believing what is not true. But you will need to have faith in something, and you will thus need to discern. One way you can do that is by a slow, careful process of mental assessment. Despite all that’s going on for you, you’re a dedicated optimist. But now your optimism needs a strategy.

You can use methods, from writing to therapy to art, to map out the contents of your beliefs and your perceptions. Once you are tracking yourself, you can go back to what you’ve established previously and assess whether you have reason to change your mind about something.

You can tap into deep (as in ancient) traditions, and use these as frames of reference for your various reality checks. But the most vital thing you can do is to express your actual ideas in a daring way and see what happens. Notice who and what gathers around you. Listen to what people say. See how far your ideas go, who comes to assist you, and who tries to rain on your parade.

Remember, it is art that makes the artist, and art is a form of human communication on the most basic level. Both the creation AND the expression provide you a means of testing who you are, a means of stretching your reality, and most important, a way of actually seeing the way in which you interact with the rest of the planet. While your current self-critical and less-than-trusting phase may leave you feeling like doing anything but putting yourself on the line, and while a variety of mental blocks may get in your way, you really have the perfect opportunity to learn and grow.

You’ll likely notice that relationships based on progress and activity are the ones that work the best. Small achievements mean a lot. Along this vein, be careful not to sacrifice your dreams while you work toward eliminating the examples of wishful thinking in your life. The idea is to discern between false hope and true idealism. Arriving at the truth of any matter this important takes time, but it can be done.

It’s often a process of assessing what hurts us and what helps us, in the long run. If you can be honest with yourself about these two factors, much else will come into focus, and you’ll be able to make your decisions with greater clarity. Remember that there is no rush, and that you will learn all you need to learn in time. And meanwhile, you have a lot to be thankful for — remember what it is.

Aries (March 20-April 19)
You appear to be on a quest for something or someone you lost in childhood. As long as this is a creative endeavor, you’re fine, and won’t get yourself trapped in nostalgia. In other words, keep the experience new rather than believing you’re really going to find something old. The past is over, but there are interesting artifacts, memories and you do have quite a few ideas waiting to be rediscovered. The difference now is that you have the focus and maturity to do something with them.

Taurus (April 19-May 20)
You need to guard against the infiltration of a potentially negative past influence into your life. If you take your option to remain conscious from the first moment you notice something is up, you’ll be on a lot firmer ground. The trick, if there is one, will be to continually establish what is true for you. Your personal truth changes, which is part of the challenge of living truly, but if you track the changes, you will see a pattern and you’ll be able to make practical changes in due time. The only real danger you face is denial, so pay attention.

Gemini (May 20-June 21)
You may feel you’re coming up against a limit, and in many ways this is true — it’s just not the limit you think. Rather, what you need to work with is your definition of progress, in which you typically come out on the short end of the deal. A new influence is pushing you forward. So what if it’s necessity and not pleasure? Anything that motivates you to move forward in life deserves to be made friends with. So if it’s the bottom line that’s moving you, then let it be that. The point is, move, make your decisions, and get yourself where you need to be. Clear thinking goes a long way at this point.

Cancer (June 21-July 22)
Developments of the past week are coming to fruition now, and you still have time to correct any miscalculations you may have made. You would do well to stop dealing with estimating the profitability of certain ventures and instead have faith that in the long run, your efforts will get the results that they deserve. In the short run, if you can factor fear out of the equation, you will see that your needs are actually quite comfortably met. It’s just that you’ve spent so much time dealing with the idea of sacrifice, it can be hard to give it up. While it’s just an idea, such are particularly meaningful for you right now.

Leo (July 22-Aug. 23)
Life is not really so confusing, particularly if you let the confusion sit for a little while and get a sense of what’s going on inside it. A good few things are sorting themselves out right now, but what’s somehow clicked into place is a more clear idea of who you are. This is partly Saturn at work; you seem to have many reasons to affirm your own maturity, capability and stability. But what you’ve got working to your advantage most of all is your ability to change your mind when you’re presented with new information. But then, decisions are one sign of true inner confidence — no matter how else you may feel at the time.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22)
The pressure you feel is in your mind, but that’s a pretty important place in the life of a Virgo. Still, you may want to go down the checklist of what’s expected of you and what you expect of yourself; be mindful of any hostilities, minor or otherwise, that are still lingering around; and really account for any influences that might be coming from the outside. Then, what is left can be assigned to some inner psychological factor, which you can begin to work out at your own pace. The simple way to say this is that just because you’re worried doesn’t mean there’s something to worry about. You, however, seem to need proof.

Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23)
There are certain things you don’t know at this point which you feel by all rights you should know. Yet you probably know them already and are just in one of those phases where you feel you’re not ready. That’s not a big deal because you’ll be ready in a few days, by which time you’ll understand that there really is no huge decision you have to make and the person you feel you could not trust is actually about the most trustworthy there is. Have I left anything out? Let’s see. Ah, there’s the bit about making sure your father approves of your every move. Yet that’s such a glaringly obvious fallacy that a mushroom could see it.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22)
Play your cards slowly, one at a time, where a developing professional situation is concerned. You may have no sense that you will ever live up to your potential, or that you will ever receive the recognition that you’ve obviously earned, but don’t let that distract you from keeping your mind on each development as it unfolds. I can tell you that you’re working with too much of one kind of information and not enough of another. Also, a recent encounter that seems to have riled you up emotionally has taken its toll on your objectivity, and you need to see things in balance, for what they are — and see them that way now.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22)
Pay particular attention to long-distance or international correspondences this week, and make sure nobody has their wires crossed. Focus on the details and make sure that each time you make a decision or take an action, you know precisely what you’re doing. Much is at stake, and at the same time, the opportunity for success is rather astonishing. Where you stand is at the beginning of a process of personal development that will take you through the next two major phases of your life. What you accomplish now is only practice, but practice makes perfect.

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20)
You must go toward someone rather than expect them to make the trip all the way to you. Partly, they are not quite capable of crossing the personal distance between you, and partly, they are intimidated by your accomplishments and status in the world. It’s your job to play that down, and to coexist on the most egalitarian terms you can arrange. The person you’re dealing with is involved in a critical life decision, and you’re serving as an influence — but you may not exactly be involved in the outcome, and they may go their own way. I suggest you just keep an open mind and see what develops.

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19)
Give someone close to you time to sort things out. They don’t know their own mind, and as a result you are unlikely to either. But soon enough they will have a clue, and when they do, I think you’ll be the first to find out. But don’t pressure them and while you’re at it, don’t pressure yourself, as you have more than enough on your mind. I suggest you spend your time observing both your own responses to the world and the behavior of others. That will prove to be an entirely productive activity, and you won’t have to break a sweat. Since people are likely to temporarily be at their utmost weird, you should be thrilled.

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20)
You must continue to ride out the changes at work, and make the best of them. They’re not quite over, but by now you can see the pattern and you have an idea of what you need to do in order to find your true place in the world. In essence, you must approach matters of work and responsibility with confidence and energy, and remember that in truth, nobody ever does anything alone. And while you may feel that in many ways you’re on your own or living some kind of solo mission, I suggest that you stick close with your team, and if you don’t have a team, start making calls. The projects that you’re about to take on will benefit from collaboration, and collaboration is an art form in itself.

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