Into the Eclipse, and the Conjunction

In Najaf, Iraq, the coffins of Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis were carried through a large crowd on Saturday. Photo by Anmar Khalil / Associated Press.

Dear Friend and Reader:

What we are witnessing now in the world is typical, even predictable, of what you would expect from combining an eclipse with the most potent planetary alignment since the 1960s. You would expect the world to be on the brink of war. It was only a month after the Saturn-Pluto opposition in the summer of 2001 that the World Trade Center came down and the U.S. began its ongoing wars with Afghanistan and Iraq.

It’s also typical of what you would witness from a borderline-personality president who is up to his eyeballs in an impeachment, and desperate to shift the narrative and cling to power. Even Bill Clinton bombed someone back in the days when he was facing a Senate trial. That seemed more like lashing out.

This is all evocative of the brilliant movie Wag the Dog, where a president facing re-election in the midst of a sex scandal (the Girl Scout sitting on his lap in the Oval Office, remember?) engages a master spin doctor to fabricate a war against Albania.

However, this episode is not being shot in front of a green screen, or directed by a Hollywood producer. There is no phony refugee holding a bag of Cheetos that gets edited into her beloved cat, with whom she is fleeing.

Iranian lawmakers in Tehran chanting “Death to America” on Sunday. Photo by Mohammad Hassanzadeh/Tasnim News Agency, via Associated Press.

Assassinating the Military Leader of a Sovereign Nation

Pres. Donald Trump, without the knowledge, advice or consent of Congress or its leaders, and behind the back of most of his own administration, assassinated the military leader of a foreign nation with whom we are not at war, on the territory of another sovereign nation. There is no formal policy assessment process in the White House.

News reports are saying he was given a selection of options, and chose the most extreme. It was an open act of war against a country with whom we were not at war. In fact, under Pres. Obama, the United States and Iran were at their most peaceful, ever. Then Trump threw out the nuclear accord that Obama negotiated. And now he has killed one of their most venerated leaders, and in retaliation, as of Sunday, Iran has discarded the terms of the nuclear accord entirely.

He has made a martyr out of Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani, who is now in paradise as people pack the streets of the Middle East in mourning. Islamic society loves martyrs, in the sense that it makes them into icons of war. This is a bit different from Christianity’s love of historical martyrs; Islam loves them served fresh. Though the two religions have one thing in common: fundamentalists in both Islam and Christianity believe we are in the End Times. Worse, they feel that it is their role to hasten the process.

Iran controls access to the Persian Gulf via the Strait of Hormuz. See full map here.

Soleimani was someone who created the sprawling Iranian proxy military force throughout the region, and was the closest thing to an internationally respected leader in the area.

From the standpoint of military strategy, this move was the closest thing to suicide that Trump could have done. Nobody (in the West or in Israel) doubts that Soleimani was a terrible guy; the question is, did it make sense to murder him? Well, make sense to whom? While Russia issued a statement condemning the move, you can almost hear the champagne corks popping in Putin’s office.

Trump is not a strategist. He cannot operate an umbrella.

The Persians invented chess. They are master strategists. Unlike the U.S., their culture is intellectually advanced. And it is passionate. We are an electrically-induced pseudo-tribal culture. The Persian Empire dates to the 6th century BCE. We have not made it through our first Pluto return. The Iranians have made it through 10 of them.

Iran’s Geopolitical Advantage

Iran controls the Strait of Hormuz, that grants access to the Persian Gulf. They have operators and sleeper cells stashed away many places. American infrastructure is vulnerable. There are days when it feels like a 14-year-old can hack a nuclear power plant. This wouldn’t be difficult for their most advanced internet engineers. Many American facilities may already have malware placed on their servers.

So for Trump to wag the dog with Iran is certifiably insane. But we could have guessed this is what would happen — that he would create some massive distraction to get him out of his mess. He is also playing the old trope, “Don’t change horses in midstream,” meaning when the country is at war, don’t change leaders. We now have confirmation that he would start World War III to accomplish that.

As my friend Sam Dean pointed out yesterday, the world has plenty to deal with without the stuff that Trump creates. A massive swath of Australia is on fire, with temperatures around 104 degrees. Smoke from distant wildfires is setting off fire systems in the cities, and is polluting the air in New Zealand. This is part of a much larger climate problem — it’s just the current manifestation that we are seeing.

Donald Trump has been caught soliciting foreign powers to mess with two elections — 2016 and 2020. He seems fully invested in the Russians. Did Putin tell him to kill Gen. Soleimani?

Can we even deal with these conditions? I keep coming back to the words of Eric McLuhan:

“The body is everywhere assaulted by all of our new media, a state which has resulted in deep disorientation of intellect and destabilization of culture throughout the world. In the age of disembodied communication, the meaning and significance and experience of the body is utterly transformed and distorted.”

The Eclipse and Conjunction Are a Portal to the Future

We are now directly experiencing that transformation and distortion. And while the world has gone mad, we all have our individual lives to live, our work to do, our people and critters to take care of.

Solar grouping at the time of Friday’s lunar eclipse.

We have to maintain our existence under both the stress of world events and of the conditions that are creating them.

Though they are currently being abused by many, the eclipse and conjunction represent a portal to the future. That’s a good thing too, because we’re all headed there.

In terms of what astrological guidance I might offer, I can say this. Given that Capricorn is the focus right now, we have to do Capricorn and do it well.

That means knowing where your grounding is. You might not feel like you have any, but if so, then take your shoes off and feel the Earth.

Make contact with a few of the important people in your life. Take care of important business. Work for closure of pending matters in your life. This is not the time to begin things. It is time to work for completion and resolution.

Begin with what is most urgent. Negotiate timeframes and honor the passage of time. Honor limits. Honor your word: your promises and your truth.

We live in a moment when individual responsibility is considered something of a joke; where the big fad is to be a victim of existence. Even if you don’t consciously believe that or accept it, it has a way of seeping into consciousness.

I am not sure what is so appealing about this to so many people. It’s a very serious trap. It has the feel of what psychologist Erich Fromm called the “escape from freedom.” True freedom entails responsibility, and is the reward of being responsible.

That’s part one.

Hong Kong at slow shutter speed. Photo by Lanvi Nguyen.

As for Part 2: We Need a Vision

Part 2 is needing a vision. Part of the myopia of our times is the failure to see what is possible. Start with what is possible for you. You are probably aware of something in your life that is time-tested, and keeps coming back to you: some sense of who you are and what you want.

I don’t mean a whim or a hunch or fad described by jargon like “empowerment.” I mean something scratching and itching at your soul; something you want to live for or that you absolutely must do.

Make contact with that and stay in contact with it. Though it seems like the times we are in are only destructive, there is tremendous opportunity for expression, expansion, and self-creation.

Part of what you must do is set the conditions in your environment to support your potential — particularly your human environment. It’s vitally important at this time that you choose who you want to influence you. There are many people preaching the gospel of woundology; those who are shrieking nonstop about being victims of existence.

You don’t want to get caught up in those views, and to the extent that you are, it’s time to wake up and pay attention.

Remember: Chiron is in Aries. This is a point of self-awareness and self-actualization. These things are available all the time. Yet we are at a crux point, a fulcrum. As David Bowie said, “Small moves mean a lot.”

Especially right now.

With love,

PS — I have an extensive discussion of the Iran situation, and the surrounding astrology, on the new Planet Waves FM.

Happy Birthday, Baba!

Planet Waves (ISSN 1933-9135) is published each Sunday and Thursday evening in Kingston, New York, Planet Waves, Inc. Core Community membership: $197/year. Editor and Publisher: Eric Francis Coppolino. Web Developer: Anatoly Ryzhenko. Astrology Editor: Amanda Painter. Associate Editor: Amy Elliott. Client Services: Victoria Emory. Illustrator: Lanvi Nguyen. Finance: Andrew Slater. Technical Assistant: Emily Thing. Copy Editor and Fact Checker: Jessica Keet. Media Consultant: Andrew McLuhan. Music Director: Daniel Sternstein. Bass and Drums: Daniel Grimsland. Additional Research, Writing and Opinions: Yuko Katori, Cindy Tice Ragusa and Carol van Strum.

Respect 2020-2021 Readings Are Now Published

Dear Friend and Reader:

We’re delighted to announce that the audio segments of our brand new annual edition, RESPECT 2020-2021, are now available for instant access. You may listen to the introductory recording on our website.

Each reading includes a high-quality audio recording of approximately 90 minutes by Eric Francis, plus a PDF of all the charts used, along with other resources. You’ll also have access to An Aquarian Age, Eric’s written reading focusing on 2021, which is due out in the spring.

Here are your purchasing options:

— All 12 signs for $144 | Order here

— Individual signs starting at $44 (additional signs discounted) | Order here

— All signs of both RESPECT and our 2020 part one (extended written readings), INTELLIGENCE, for $177 | Order here

— Individual signs of INTELLIGENCE only, starting at $44 (additional signs discounted) | Order here

Thank you for your business, and for trusting us as your astrological news service.

With best wishes,
Planet Waves
P.S. If you prefer to order by phone, please call (845) 481-5616 during Eastern office hours. If we don’t pick up right away, someone will get back to you very soon.

P.P.S. You can read for your Sun, Moon and rising signs, and may share these readings with your household. Anyone interested in how astrology works will benefit from getting all 12 signs. If you need assistance, have questions or would like alternative options, please write to

Daily Birthday Readings from Planet Waves

Here are the next week’s Birthday Readings; if it’s your birthday this week, many happy returns to you. Please note you can also read these entries as daily posts on our main website.

Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020 (The Day of Recovery)

The sincerity and sanctity of your creative, inner child can serve as your guiding light this year. Even in the midst of epic changes, the more you encourage self-expression in all forms, the more this coming year can be one of personal healing and joyful release. You’re ready for deep inner-listening; ‘soul work’ that some kind of artistic exploration helps to expedite. This is your path to greater harmony that enables you to serve others, in kind.

Monday, Jan. 6, 2020 (The Day of Substantiation)

Your path of mastery this year involves finding creative satisfaction in a disciplined, methodical approach to restructuring elements of your life that are pressing for change. Your birthday chart indicates such an attitude is within your grasp. In fact, it’s the key to working through whatever frustrating static is buzzing around your mind concerning resources, or relationship matters. Methodical implies a sustainable rhythm. Pace yourself, and listen to your body. Self-care and healthy routines are integral to your success.

Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2020 (The Day of Unusual Interests)

Check back ten, twenty or even 28 years, to get perspective on what calls for resolution in your experience now. The key to navigating this powerful transition period is deliberately tapping the strong connection, evident in your birthday chart, to your emotional guidance system and intuition. Intentional focus on your physical and emotional wellbeing is equally important. The more conscious you are of what’s driving frustration or anxiety, the less stress will land on your precious body.

Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020 (The Day of the Big Bang)

You’re in the midst of one of the most powerful transformational periods of your life. To re-build essential foundations calls for a measured approach to time management, and that includes deliberate attention to healthy routines and self-care. One of your greatest tools this coming year is an enhanced ability to visualize. That’s a standout feature in your birthday chart, and a decided asset. Understand this is a long-term project, and focus your imagination with intent on what you want to create.

Thursday, Jan. 9, 2020 (The Day of Ambition)

You’re probably aware of how certain relationship histories weave into what you need to restructure in your life this year. Chances are those roots extend into even older family imprints. It may feel as if others hold more power than you do, but that is not the case. The more creatively and courageously you open those doors, and encourage emotional movement, the more you will withdraw old projections and let go of whatever has held you back. Breakthroughs are right around the corner.

Friday, Jan. 10, 2020 (The Day of the Hard Look)

This Full Moon eclipse birthday opens onto a year of big changes and profound realizations. You’re right where you need to be to release old relationship patterns that no longer support who you’ve become. Greater awareness of what has led to this transformative juncture is available to you now, and expressing that to significant others can lead to important breakthroughs. It’s imperative, however, that you recognize your subjective bias and give others the respect you would want, yourself. Compassion goes a long way now.

Saturday, Jan. 11, 2020 (The Day of Evaluation)

Use the intense emotional spectrum you’re experiencing as a guide to approaching necessary renovations in your life this year. You’ve been living with acute pressure for a long time, and cultivating the practice of self-nurturance is integral to creating your desired changes. Respect for your vulnerable, inner child will help you access the caring wisdom of the archetypal inner mother. Listen to your body’s needs and tend to them. The Earth Mother is your spirit animal this year; open to Her sustaining force.

Sunday, Jan. 12, 2020 (The Day of the Wild Call)

Today’s exact conjunction of the epoch-shifting Saturn-Pluto conjunction underscores your need to transform old forms and structures that have become a hindrance to growth. Your birthday chart describes intense mental activity; direct this toward practical solutions and communications that support them, rather than obsessing on perceived limitations. Strategic, long-term thinking is your friend this year. That includes diplomacy regarding power dynamics with others, especially where finances are concerned. In the background to all your efforts is a creative, forward-looking urge for liberation. Let that be your guiding light.

— By Victoria Emory

Monthly Horoscopes and Publishing Schedule Notes

Your extended monthly horoscope for January was published on Friday, Dec. 27. We published your extended monthly horoscope for December on Wednesday, Nov. 27. Please note: we normally publish the extended monthly horoscope after the Sun has entered a new sign.

Monday Morning Horoscope #210 for Jan. 6, 2020 | By Eric Francis Coppolino


Aries (March 20-April 19) — The energy is rather dense around you at the moment, and something seems poised to crack. Make sure it’s not you. Keep your focus as inward as possible, given the current inside-out state of the world. Concern yourself with what you feel, and with what you’re doing, rather than what anyone else might think. Focus on your priorities first, rather than what you perceive as obligations. You may need to keep drawing yourself inward over and over again, and if that is what it takes, keep at it until you find your way to your center. Tune in to the fact that your reality and how you perceive it sets the terms of what you experience. In other words, existence happens from the inside out, not the outside in. Keep it positive, and focus not just on what is possible but on what you want to create for yourself. Get your full Aries reading by Eric here.


Taurus (April 19-May 20) — You seem to be in a crisis of confidence. What, exactly, are you concerned is your weakness or flaw? It’s likely that very thing is your greatest strength, or contains its seed crystal. It’s easy to feel like you keep making the same mistakes, though we don’t know for sure if that is true. Consider the possibility that you learn at your own pace, and in your own way. You can accelerate this by understanding the patterns of your choices, particularly on the emotional level. Current astrology is offering you the potential to take some distance from your situation and consider the long view. You know who you are inside. You know what you have to offer. Learning faith in yourself is a journey, and though it can seem like a long one, it is a journey without distance to a goal that has never changed. Get your full Taurus reading by Eric here.


Gemini (May 20-June 21) — The reference point for whether you belong in any agreement is what you hold true and what you value the most. Typically, you struggle with your priorities seeming to change over time. Yet there are always certain foundational values you come back to as a reason for living. Count them all as valid. Do you love plants? Do you love good food? Are you devoted to your children? Excellent. Whatever you know exists to serve you. Then there is all that does not serve; all that is not what you want, and in particular want from your relationships. You now have a pass to change those things. Yes, it will take some deep inner work and maybe making a seeming sacrifice, but mostly it will take making a decision. In the end, giving up what you must for your personal truth is, itself, a form of benefit. Get your full Gemini reading by Eric here.


Cancer (June 21-July 22) — You may be under a lot of pressure. You may feel like there is no way out, though you have an opening. You may not see it now. It would help if you turned around and faced the other direction — in your direction, not that of all those other people or what they think. Face the future, and not the past. Embrace what you’re discovering rather than what you already know. The experience of discovering is your point of vitality, rather than the experience of being confident in your beliefs. The world is in a state of high drama right now, and you are in a state of self-discovery. This is taking place on an entirely new level than you’re accustomed to, so it may feel like the stakes are pretty high. You are, however, held by existence. You have reasons to trust, though trust is its own purpose and its own reward. Get your full Cancer reading by Eric here.


Leo (July 22-Aug. 23) — Life is full of surprises right now, and you’ve probably had enough of one persistent, longterm challenge that comes with the words “something has to give” scribbled all over it. You have help; you have assistance and resources. You might change that slogan to “something has to receive.” That would be you. Practice being open to accepting who you are and what is being offered to you. More than anything, listen to your inner voice, even if it seems obscured by static and noise. A message is on its way to you, from within you. It might come anywhere, at any time, though it’s not directly related to what you are doing at any moment. However, it helps to listen to yourself. That means taking some silent time and doing whatever it is that you know allows you to access inner space. Then, relax and notice what you hear. Get your full Leo reading by Eric here.


Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22) — You have earned your freedom, to the extent you have some. Yet no matter what you accomplish, or what talent you cultivate, or what blocks or blockades you work through, ultimately you must make a choice to accept yourself. I know it can seem difficult; there are a lot of layers to work through, and some of them are dense. There seems to be so much clutter and baggage, which you may have figured out goes back generations. The true leap comes when you decide you don’t need anyone’s approval but your own. You don’t need anyone’s affirmation but your own. There are eight or nine or however many billion people on the planet. Your life is your journey, your experience, your privilege. Say yes to yourself and you will be born into a new reality. Then keep saying it, and your challenges will take their appropriate proportion. Get your full Virgo reading by Eric here.


Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23) — For many years, your life has been headed or even driven in a certain direction. Sometimes you seem to be on the scent, or the trail. Other times you seem lost, and then you discover you’re right back on it, in another place, somehow connected to where you’ve been. You are about to have a point of orientation. You may already be feeling it. Certain relationships are keeping you focused and present; you know the world is in a volatile state, and you are wise to be treading lightly. Something — an idea, a vision, a focus, a goal — is about to manifest for you. Will you know it when it arrives? This is about seeing beyond something, or around it, rather than looking right at it. You must get some concept out of the way of your view, and then your beacon will arrive as a state of understanding. Get your full Libra reading by Eric here.


Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22) — Your ruling planet Mars has just changed signs. It’s stepped over the line from Scorpio to Sagittarius. This will ignite your passion about something and inspire you to dare, to explore and to stretch some limit. Yet you must play a long game. There are obstacles in the form of what a writer named Bob Pirsig called “gumption traps” (look that up, it’s a wonderful old word meaning many good things). As for the traps: you may find yourself encountering jealous people. You might be blown off course by a mistaken belief. You might doubt yourself, with so much brewing in your house of mental activity. Yet you must persist. Carry on. Adjust your lighting to get a better view through any fog or rain you encounter. Be content with slow progress. For you right now, the journey is the destination, so appreciate where you are and see, feel and taste the potential in every moment. Get your full Scorpio reading by Eric here.


Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22) — You are a more emotional being than you let on. When I write my Sun sign astrology book, that will be the first line of the chapter about your sign. Emotional also means attachment. You love freedom; you are driven by your independence and freedom, especially now. And yet at the same time, there is that person or feeling or memory that you hang onto. This week’s eclipse of the Moon will provide an opening through some complex set of feelings. The opening may be discovering you’re not actually as tangled up as you think. You may also decide you don’t want to get any more invested; you may change the way you think of a commitment. Be bold about this. Take some steps and exercise your liberty. Your brash quality tends to mask an obsession with how people feel about you. You can give that a rest — and you’ll be happy you did. Get your full Sagittarius reading by Eric here.


Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20) — We are now less than a week out of the Grand Conjunction in your birth sign. Come what may, you’re likely to experience a sense of relief, and release, as this aspect opens up (approximately Friday through Monday, though it could be any time now). This may feel like the pressure lets up. It involves the meeting of Saturn and Pluto. A wise and perceptive astrologer friend of mine named Martha once wrote that we miss Pluto transits when they are gone. While they may be annoying at first, once you get in the groove, they provide a potent source of motivation and power. However, while this transit is shifting, you still have the power and benefit of Pluto in your sign for a few more years. And what it seems most likely to do is to provide a point of obsession with being your own person, not who someone else would have you be. Get your full Capricorn reading by Eric here.


Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) — It’s as if an egg is hatching within you. Imagine what a chick goes through, inside of a little container for all of its existence, then one day it’s filled with the urge to peck through the shell. Do they have any idea what’s on the other side? Do you? Well, everything is. The shell is your mind; you are persistently feeling the need to crack through what contains you and enter the world. You have been contained by a thought form. It’s made of all the usual stuff — doubt, fear, guilt, and various layers of crust from the past. You’ve been in what at times has felt like a colossal struggle, either to burst out, or to endure your situation. You now have little choice but to open up to yourself. This is an inward opening at first, a giving-way of much that has kept you from contact with your inner being. Get your full Aquarius reading by Eric here.

Pisces Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) — Everyone in this world has to carve out a place in society for themselves. Depending on where you live, and what you want, it may be a small bit. And you might be content with that. You might be happy to abide your seeming limits. Or, you may aspire to something more spacious, where you make an unusual contribution — and in your particular instance, being more visible as a result. I am tempted to say, “it’s up to you,” though by now you feel your calling and your purpose. Whatever it may be, know that there is room for you, even in today’s mad world. There is a need for you and the purpose you fulfill, which are best kept as close together as possible. You are being given a rare opening, and an opportunity for achievement. Be strong in your commitment, and draw strength from it. Live uncompromisingly in your truth — and dance with it. Get your full Pisces reading by Eric here.

1 thought on “Into the Eclipse, and the Conjunction”

  1. Your take on this time where Capricorn is so emphasized and what that means for focus on an individual level is genius and ‘sanity producing’ as is the quote of Eric MacLuan you included here..very relevant . Thank you Eric. It’s made a difference for me today.

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