Jupiter, Pluto & Signs of the Times

Official publicity photo of “filmmaker” Ousala (FD) Aleem.

Dear Friend and Reader:

EVERY MORNING I faithfully go down to Peter B’s Deli and read the Sally Brompton horoscope in the New York Post. It’s better than nearly any astrology book you can buy. Sally B. runs seven days a week, 365 days a year (just like Peter B). I could get it online, but it’s not as much fun as flipping through the scruffy pages of the Post to find an actual newspaper horoscope. Occasionally, despite myself, I notice the existence of the Daily News, and Tuesday, the very day of the Jupiter-Pluto-Galactic Core conjunction, I saw an article about a guy named Ousala (FD) Aleem down in Brooklyn who videotapes crimes being committed, and then sells them on DVD for $26.98, including shipping. It’s a hot holiday item this year.

“Criminals Gone Wild,” the thing is called. Now, there are some fun elements to this — fun, that is, for everyone except the people getting mugged, beaten or carjacked at gunpoint. One is that the felons call him in advance before they commit a crime. It’s not enough to make a good living as a robber; you’re nobody these days if your heroic deed isn’t caught on video (Marshall McLuhan the late, great Canadian media philosopher, was talking about this in the Sixties). Aleem’s business plan calls for no G-rated stuff — it has to be edgy, or nobody buys it. The funniest part was the article referred to Aleem about six times as a “filmmaker,” and used his official publicity photo (maybe he will win Cannes next).

What would Marshall McLuhan think? Photo from Wikipedia.

And I thought: there are times when you shove a thermometer up the butt of America and come out with the real temperature. In this particular case, you pull the thermometer out and the mercury is frozen. Now, this is not what you might expect from a rare conjunction of Jupiter, Pluto and the Galactic Core that could induce spontaneous enlightenment in the entire population — but I will say that the article itself qualifies as enlightening. You really do learn something. [Check this link for late-breaking news — NYPD is allegedly investigating Aleem for fraud. The whole thing may be fake.]

Jupiter, Pluto and the Galactic Core have completed their extremely rare conjunction. We learned a lot the past few days, and much of it (in true Jupiter style) has involved law and justice. In Pluto style, many people will be involved. The worst news of the week is that Greenland is melting very fast, at record speed in fact. The best news of the week was that New Jersey has banned its death penalty — the first state to do so in the “new era” of the capital punishment that began in 1976. I’ll get to both in a moment.

In looking at the news for signs of the times, we need to remember that there is a lot we don’t know about that’s happened in the past week that will come out later. Astrologers need to be cautious about this. While we were busy celebrating the Harmonic Concordance in 2003, to give a grim example, members of the Military Police in Baghdad who were supposed to be guarding Iraqi prisoners were busy sexually abusing them at the Abu Ghraib prison. It took a long time for that to come out.

Certain events are hidden from view, and some planets are hidden from most astrologers. Some of these planets fill in important details, and these often include small, newly discovered planets. “Felons Gone Wild” is 15 minutes of world fame in the style of Chiron conjunct Nessus in Aquarius. Aquarius is the sign of the electronic media.

Chiron and Nessus are Centaur planets, and these are like magnifying glasses for the good, the bad and the fugly. In Aquarius, where we have been experiencing this culture-defining conjunction for about two years, these two reveal our cultural injuries, weaknesses, perversions and blind spots. The conjunction could also bring us together, and some ways that is working. Note that the only activism these days is on the Internet. The only freedom of expression is on the Internet. The only place most people find sex is on the Internet. The Centaurs also reveal how twisted the media environment is; how it bends our minds; and how we project our shadow there, search for it there, need desperately to find it there.

Can we focus on this picture? Can we even see it? Newspaper reporting that “Accelerating Ice Melt Alarms Scientists.” Photo by Eric Francis.

The next day I pried myself away from my desk and took my new camera out for a walk. I went into DiBella’s pizzeria (don’t worry, not for pizza) and saw this newspaper sitting on one of the tables. The headline reads, “Accelerating Ice Melt Alarms Scientists.” And MSNBC reported, “Record ice melt seen on Greenland in 2007: Expert: Equivalent to layer of water half-mile deep covering Washington, D.C.

According to MSNBC, “The melting has increased by about 30 percent for west Greenland from 1979 to 2006, with record melt years in 1987, 1991, 1998, 2002, 2005 and 2007, said Steffen, director of the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences at Colorado University. He added that air temperatures on the Greenland ice sheet have increased by about 7 degrees Fahrenheit since 1991.”

Every now and then you see one of these “the world is melting” headlines on the front page. I flash ahead to 25 years in the future, when everyone is asking how we let it happen. Did we even know? Well, it depends on what you mean by know. We know, but we don’t want to know. I guess to get anyone’s attention, you need to be committing a felony on videotape.

Everybody’s favorite temperature. Turn up the heat in your living room and you turn up the heat in Greenland. Photo by Eric Francis.

The melting ice caps should qualify. It’s too bad the newspapers don’t connect this issue to soaring oil company profits. The crime of oil profits is that they should be being reinvested into alternative energy, to end the problem. That is not happening. The issue with Greenland melting is that the faster it melts, the faster it will melt. The white ice reflects the Sun; the darker Earth absorbs it and holds the heat, melting still more of the ice.

I try to make the connection between my thermostat and the ice caps melting. The higher I push the thermostat, the faster the ice caps melt. I am glad I work at home. This way I don’t have to heat an extra office and my car sits outside my house nearly all the time. But the connection is still hard to make. We seem to have no real options except pushing the thermostat down to 69 and that is just a temporary fix. But speaking of 69, climate change is the only thing more taboo than sex to discuss openly.

Well, the death penalty qualifies and hey, New Jersey banned its death chamber the day before the conjunction. The repeal measure skimmed through the state senate Monday with close to the bare minimum number of votes. This was the real decision on the issue — the senate was the only place there was a question whether the measure would pass, so we are taking that vote as the chart (see additional coverage by Priya Kale). This was the first time any state has formally repealed the death penalty since it was restored by the Supreme Court under the Furman v. Georgia case.

A stupid idea to begin with — a state homicide chamber (in this case, in Arizona) where both killers and the innocent are routinely executed. Photo stolen from the State of Arizona.

There have been other death penalty developments this decade, nearly all of them favoring abolition. My favorite was when Illinois then-governor George Ryan commuted 167 death penalty cases in 2003, basically shutting down the death sentence in his state. He did so after journalism students kept proving, again and again, that innocent men were on death row.

The courts are slowly figuring out that lethal injection is indeed cruel and unusual; there is no pleasant way to kill someone. The Supreme Court keeps narrowing down who can be executed. But in the modern age of capital punishment, a state has never actually repealed its death sentence till now.

“For those opposed to capital punishment, New Jersey’s repeal would represent a victory that has eluded them in the modern history of the death penalty,” The New York Times wrote in Tuesday’s editions. “Though legislatures across the country have tried to abolish capital punishment since 1976, none have succeeded. This year alone, the legislatures in Nebraska, Montana, Maryland and New Mexico have debated bills to repeal those states’ death penalties, but each measure failed, often by a slim margin.”

Lest we miss the connection between a profound change on a life and death issue regarding the law, Jupiter conjunct Pluto speaks clearly to the point. New Jersey is usually one of those bellwether conservative states.

Aqsa Parvez, left, is shown with a friend on the Facebook website. The 16-year-old clashed with her devout Muslim family over strict rules. Courtesy of TheStar.com

In somewhat less tolerant news, a young woman got the death penalty from her father when she dared to be herself. Aqsa Parvez was strangled to deathin her Mississauga, Ontario, home, according to The Toronto Star.”The 16-year-old was taken to hospital Monday morning after a man called police and said he killed his daughter. She died later that night,” the newspaper said. “Friends told reporters that Aqsa fought with her Muslim family over whether or not to wear the hijab. She often stayed overnight with friends, afraid to go home.”

“I’m disgusted by this,” said Jim, a next-door neighbor. “It’s about time people stopped telling others how to live their lives. It’s not meant to be an insult to this family. It can be said for people all over the world.

It is true, one way to deal with chaos is to attempt control. A lot of people think this is a fine solution. This kind of murder is the logical conclusion of that control, and it’s also the logical conclusion of any emotionally driven need to restrict another person. We would do well to consider them all forms of murder or assassination.

On the topic of controlling women, here are two stories from recent days. MSNBC reported that a Colorado law student is creating a measure to define fertilized human eggs as human beings. This gives new meaning to the little-known quote from Aleister Crowley, “I kill millions of children every day, and then I eat them.”

The article begins: “DENVER — A 20-year-old law student has become a cause célèbre in the anti-abortion movement for her efforts to have the state Constitution define fertilized eggs as people — a tactic spreading nationwide in bids to neutralize the Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion. The measure spearheaded by Kristi Burton would give fertilized eggs state protections of inalienable rights, justice and due process, and she needs 76,000 signatures to get it on the state ballot next November.”

Continuing on women’s rights, Raw Story reported that former Halliburton employee Jamie Leigh Jones is filing a federal lawsuit claiming she was gang-raped by employees of Halliburton in Iraq and held shipping container with a bed, then told she would be fired if she sought medical treatment.

This issue is straight from the Pluto in Capricorn files: the corporation reigning supreme. Apparently the rapists are protected by Jones’ employment contract, which Halliburton thinks has the ability to create a new legal jurisdiction.

Raw Story continues: “She signed an employment contract and there is a mandatory arbitration clause in that contract,” CNN legal analyst told Kiran Chetry on CNN’s American Morning Tuesday. “It says if there’s any dispute arising out of your employment or related to your employment, that dispute doesn’t go before a jury, doesn’t go before trial judge, goes before an arbitrator.”

It was Led Zeppelin’s first full concert in nearly three decades. Courtesy of BBC.

I assure you, this is the shape of things to come. The American Constitution only limits the power of government. It does not limit the power of corporations. In fact, the Supreme Court ruled in 1886 that corporations have the same rights as people. That would be fine, if corporations died, and could not exist in 1,000 places at once.

Speaking of corporate, Led Zep got back together, playing their first concert in nine years. For some reason, this has a touch of zeitgeist to it. Tickets for the London event cost £125 (about $250). Jason Bonham sat in on drums for his late father, John Bonham, who aspirated on his vomit after drinking an enormous quantity of liquor in 1980. This latest monumental retro event featured an explosive Sagittarius 5th house in the chart (partying, art) and a list of songs to make the antique Capricorn Moon proud. At least in London, everything old is new again.

Eric Francis




Weekly Horoscope for Friday, Dec. 14, 2007, #693 – By ERIC FRANCIS

Aries (March 20-April 19)
You seem to be drawing closer to the heart of the matter, the heart of your insecurities. At the same time, the light is burning brightly in your life, and in the coming week you have the perspective to see an entire universe of possibilities. But don’t be too distracted by them. You will experience their blessings in any case. Keep your focus inside yourself on this journey toward emotional self-penetration. Many people seeking growth and enlightenment actually defer the journey by refusing to explore on an emotional rather than a so-called spiritual level. By definition, spirit has already reached the end of the journey because in truth it never left; it is already free. The place we usually get hung up is by nameless fears that grip our feelings. Keep working there, and trust that the rest will be taken care of.

Taurus (April 19-May 20)
Venus continues to make its way across your opposite sign, Scorpio. You can take the opportunity to explore the landscape from the viewpoint of someone outside yourself, or to experience yourself as the opposite of what you normally are. Any time a planet goes through Scorpio, people who feel it get a trial by fire. Yet it’s also true that much of what we seek and admire in the world is what we describe as hot. Usually, though, it turns out to be lukewarm. I suggest that, if you want breakthroughs, revelations and a sense of setting yourself free, go toward that which is hot, a little scary, embarrassing and irresistible. You can in fact resist, but that would be squandering a rare and beautiful opportunity.

Gemini (May 20-June 21)
What do you see when you look at the world these days? What do you see when you feel the people in your life? Does it all feel out of reach, or can you see and feel yourself in the scene? Whatever you may perceive as outside yourself, be sure that you can be that if you want; indeed, right now, anything you notice you have the potential to embody immediately. While this would seem to open the way to all kinds of frightening possibilities, what you are observing is most likely to make you nervous because the potential is so incredibly rich. In order to embody the possibilities that you’re looking at, you need to see, feel and experience yourself in a completely different way: as a unified, integrated being. Simply put, to grow and evolve like you know you can, stop playing divide and conquer against yourself.

Cancer (June 21-July 22)
It is true, the stakes are getting higher. You also seem intent on looking for the dark cloud inside the silver lining, and it is perhaps a good idea to be a bit cautious when things look too bright and sunny; I have read that more car accidents happen in fair weather than bad weather. So drive your car with care and awareness, but rather than bracing for impact, I suggest putting your energy into deciding where you want to go. More harm can come from your doubts than from any other source. At the same time, you do need to have answers to your questions and reasonable certainty that people will come through with their promises. Look inside yourself for the origins of your misgivings. You did not invent them, but you do carry them, and only you can let them go. The sooner the better.

Leo (July 22-Aug. 23)
Once again you may be feeling the pull to do something daring, but you can be sure that whatever you do this weekend you will change profoundly as a result of it. The astrology is worth considering; we have yet another alignment with the Galactic Core developing in one of the most dynamic houses of your solar chart. This time, it’s the Sun and Mercury making an exact conjunction there, and then both go over Pluto and Jupiter. I think that the message will be that you have a lot to accomplish on this Earth, and now is the time to get busy. You understand better than most people that delays are an essential part of living along the strand of time. You understand that being alive gives you many responsibilities to fulfill. And you understand better than anyone that there is more to life than this.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22)
Your natural inclination is to merge what most people call work with what other people call art. The division is somewhat tragic, we both know this. You don’t find it necessary to draw a partition between doing what must be done and doing what you want to do. Virgos are almost universally considered excellent workers, and this is why. This particular facet of your character becomes an enormous asset for the next year, but that is merely a warm-up. There have at times been projects or assignments where you wished you could express yourself more fully; there are, for sure, projects that you classify as ‘creative’ that you have not been able to do, because so much other pressing business has been developing. Given the looks of your solar charts for anywhere between 12 months and 12 years, nothing is going to stop you from doing anything you please. And then: look out, world.

Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23)
The current weeks of your life may find you burning with ideas and a sense of deep connection to the human capacity for ideas. Let’s take that one slowly. So far as I can tell, what distinguishes humanity is the ability to work in abstract concepts. I really wish I could get down and commune with the honeybees or the migrating birds, and I don’t mean to commit the Gestalt sin of denying consciousness. What I am here to say is that being human means you can work with, experiment with and explore ideas and meaning in a way that does not involve an immediate need or experience. Your current ideas are a reservoir for the future, yet you need to catch them while they are happening — if you don’t, they are unlikely to be there in the future. If you have ever envied those people who keep a notebook to catch their fleeting thoughts, stop envying, invest 49 cents and start scribbling down anything that catches your attention for more than 1/45th of a second.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22)
We humans tend to make a lot of assumptions about the people we are in relationship with. We often pretend to know what they are thinking, what motivates them and what is best for them. We tend to think that because we are feeling something, we know what they are feeling. Suffice it to say, these are all dangerous paths to take, for one thing because we are usually wrong and for another, because they deny the opportunity for actual communication. You now stand at an interesting juncture. If you take a risk and open up a particular discussion before you feel ready, you will take one particular relationship to a new level, and save yourself considerable difficulty in the future. You are entitled to your secrets, but that doesn’t mean they do you any good.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22)
We are heading for yet another stunning alignment in Sagittarius over the next few days. This means yet another opportunity to apply everything you have learned in more than a decade. This perhaps seems to be a ridiculous statement to make in a weekly horoscope, but you know what I am talking about. The questions at hand actually go back more than 10 years, but I’m nipping two years off because you spent most of that time getting adjusted to a new reality and were, understandably, dealing with quite a lot. You are today, too, but you have one added benefit: you know a lot more now than you did then. The only question that exists, really, is whether you will put that knowledge to use. It is waiting for you.

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20)
I would not be surprised if you’re feeling uneasy about something, even with so much going so well. You can look back at the tests of the past few years, and I trust that you feel a sense of satisfaction for having come through so much, relatively unscathed. After such intense times, the prospect of change — be it constructive or not — can make you a little queasy. But I suggest you draw a few breaths. It is true, you’re about to be stretched in some new directions; there are some aspects of your life pattern, your personality and your ideology that are not going to exist in a few weeks, or they are going to exist in a greatly reduced form. In one way or another, it will all benefit you; of that fact, you will have evidence in just a few days.

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19)
One thing is for sure, you are burning a hole in the roof of the night. These have been long nights here up in the North Country, and the light is finally starting to shine through. You need to remember this moment and remember it well. We all need moments in actual history when our ideals not only felt real, but when they got real results. We need to experience times in our lives when we decided it was okay to have no fear, and our decision proved to be correct. We need times when we were absolutely counting on our friends — and they came through for us. Then we need to remember those moments, because we need to know in our hearts, minds and bodies, that it really is possible.

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20)
Life rarely lives up to our expectations. Those who can live with no expectations are perhaps fortunate, but there are not so many people and it’s not that much fun. You have, however, solid reason to walk with faith. A situation has been brewing in your life — perhaps your professional life, perhaps your family, or maybe something with important attributes of both — that exists on a scale larger than you can imagine. You are at this point being called to your mission, and called in a bold way. Nothing is going to stop you, but you need to be listening carefully for cues as to what to do, and you also need to suspend your attitudes about what a limited place the world is. Most of all, you must stand up and speak when the time comes.

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