Libra New Moon — Opposite Eris

Dear Friend and Reader:

Amidst much other astrology that’s about to send the world spinning even more than it is, on Monday we have the Libra New Moon. That’s the annual conjunction of the Moon and Sun in Libra, though this is no ordinary New Moon: it’s exactly opposite a planet — Eris, the planet that in 2006 rearranged astronomy and led to the supposed ‘demotion’ of Pluto.

Malala Yousafzai is in critical condition after being shot by a Taliban gunman in Pakistan on Tuesday. Photo: BBC.

Libra is an unusual sign, having two rather different planets associated with it: Venus (its ruler) and Saturn (which is exalted there). Libra at its best is a perfect morph of both: the attractiveness, emotional affinity and creativity of Venus, melded with the structure, firmness and resolve of Saturn. If as some say Libra struggles to make decisions, these are the two sides of the equation that it might be worth considering, and integrating.

This New Moon is face to face with Eris (illustrated in the chart below). Discovered in 2005 and named in 2006, Eris is an object approximately the size of Pluto, but with an orbit more than twice as long — and also extremely elongated, meaning that at certain points in history, Eris moves so slowly that it can spend more than a century in one sign, which it’s doing now, in Aries.

Eris is the most distant known planet from the Sun at the moment. Due to its highly elliptical orbit, Eris is even further away than Sedna, despite Sedna’s orbital cycle being about 20 times longer than that of Eris.

Named for the Greek goddess of discord and chaos, Eris often does have this quality when you study it in news charts. It can also represent the sly move, subterfuge and the covert long-term plan for domination. Its motto in such cases is “by any means necessary,” regardless of whether the goal itself is necessary.

In personal charts, Eris seems to be about the factor of identity chaos that we’re experiencing here in the postmodern world (that’s to say, the modern world, with the rug pulled out from underneath logic). We spend a lot of time wondering who we are these days, going through identity crises, transforming ourselves and collecting business cards for the various things we might identify as. We’ve all met the person who is the bank vice president, the Reiki master, the doll clothing designer and the house organizer. That’s a reminder that Eris is in Aries.

Libra New Moon opposite Eris. The Moon and Sun, comprising the New Moon, are toward the right side of the chart, and Eris, in red, is toward the lower left side. All three points have the number 22, which means they are in an exact alignment. When there’s an event such as a New Moon that makes contact with a newly discovered point, we learn something about how that point expresses itself. Also shown is Mars square Chiron (see SKY section for more about that).

Off in the other direction, the Moon and Sun making a conjunction in Libra is the picture of the perfect little relationship, the one everyone says they want; the one that allegedly helps us resolve the whole question of who we are. There’s an idealistic quality, there’s the sensation of balance, the Moon and the Sun are together — and because Libra is involved, it does something that we expect relationships to do: it looks good from the outside.

Yet there’s the added factor in this chart: the New Moon is opposite Eris in Aries, as in exact to the degree, putting these two concepts into a confrontation. Remember that Eris is a relatively new addition to astrology, so it’s necessary to be open minded.

In an article in the current issue of The Mountain Astrologer, I describe the process of figuring out what new planets mean. I give numerous examples of what I call “proving moments” — events where the newly discovered point is involved in something like a New Moon or a Full Moon, especially when there is an unusually tight alignment (two degrees or less, for example). When this happens, it’s possible to witness the expression of the deeper nature of the newly discovered point (and by newly, I mean within the past 20 years or so) reveal itself. [If you’re curious about one example, consider that the Fukushima nuclear disaster happened one week after a New Moon conjunct a little planet called Borasisi.]

We are about to have just such a proving moment with Eris. What we witness over the next few days will be expressive on some level of what Eris is about. In fact what we’ve been witnessing over the past week is offering some insight, though if you recall from Tuesday’s edition, an asteroid called Psyche has been very active as well, lending itself to an atmosphere of healing crisis in personal relationships, deep self-doubts and the quest for authentic faith in ourselves and one another. I thought that the Sun-Psyche conjunction would be potent though I was surprised to see just how much crisis came along with it.

Eris, for its part, can describe (or seem to precipitate) a breakdown of the known order of things (in philosophy this is sometimes called postmodernism — a well-established trait of Eris).

In this photograph released by the Pakistani government on Oct. 9, 2012, Pakistani army doctors give treatment to injured Malala Yousafzai, 14, at an army hospital. She remains in critical condition and has been given a 70% chance of surviving.

Among the salient events in the news that describe a kind of morbid social disintegration was the Taliban in Pakistan attempting to murder a 14-year-old school girl named Malala Yousafzai. She got international attention when at age 11 she began writing a diary for the BBC.

She had openly stated her desire to be a doctor, and then once she had figured out the significance of social issues in her country and the world, a political leader (stating that she wanted to help solve the problems of Pakistan). She did something dangerous, which was advocate for the rights of girls to get an education and have a career.

In one entry from 2009, she wrote, “I felt hurt on opening my wardrobe and seeing my uniform, school bag and geometry box. Boys’ schools are opening tomorrow. But the Taliban have banned girls’ education.”

On Tuesday, a Taliban gunman boarded her school bus, asked for her by name, and shot her in the head and the throat. She is now in critical condition after surgeons removed a bullet from near her spine, still unconscious and breathing with the assistance of a respirator. The Taliban has reportedly issued a series of statements trying to justify its actions on the grounds that she’s spreading secular thought, and has vowed to kill her if she recovers. Her father’s life is also under threat, since he has encouraged her to be outspoken and pursue her dreams.

In other news, Turkey has been bombing Syria this week, in retaliation for shells from the conflict inside Syria landing on the Turkish side of the border. And Turkey on Wednesday intercepted a passenger airliner that it claimed had illegal cargo, heightening tension between the two countries. Some cargo was removed and the jet was allowed to take off again several hours later. We need to monitor each and every one of these situations as Mars makes its way across Sagittarius (international factors) and many sensitive points now located there.

Steroids and More Steroids

In the United States, as of Thursday, 138 people have come down with meningitis after receiving injections of contaminated steroids produced by a specialized pharmacy (called a compounding pharmacy) in Massachusetts.

It’s all about muscles, even for a vice presidential candidate. This is one photo in a series of Paul Ryan that was released by Time magazine this week.

The federal Centers for Disease Control blamed nurses and dirty needles for the outbreak — in five states simultaneously — in an obvious attempt to protect the drug maker. Outbreaks of the rare, potentially deadly illness have now been reported in 11 states. These steroids were used mainly to relieve pain and inflammation.

Speaking of steroids, then there’s the other kind. The Lance Armstrong doping scandal has removed whatever credibility bicycle racing had left. Armstrong was recently stripped of his seven Tour de France titles for using drugs that made him bigger, stronger and faster. But apparently he pushed the whole U.S. team into involvement with the conspiracy.

The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) this week released 1,000 pages of testimony establishing that the American pro-cycling team, sponsored by the U.S. Postal Service, ran a vast scheme to cheat with multiple team members using drugs, over an extended period of time.

According to a statement released this week by the USADA, the file “includes sworn testimony from 26 people, including 15 riders with knowledge of the U.S. Postal Service Team (USPS Team) and its participants’ doping activities. The evidence also includes direct documentary evidence including financial payments, emails, scientific data and laboratory test results that further prove the use, possession and distribution of performance-enhancing drugs by Lance Armstrong and confirm the disappointing truth about the deceptive activities of the USPS Team, a team that received tens of millions of American taxpayer dollars in funding.”

An article in Thursday’s editions of The New York Times described in lurid detail how Armstrong was the central organizer of the American team’s doping practices, and bullied other athletes, including the top cyclists of their generation, to participate. The Times reported:

Kristin Armstrong, Armstrong’s former wife, handed out cortisone tablets wrapped tightly in foil to the team at the 1998 world championships.

Riders were given water bottles containing EPO as if they were boxed lunches. Jonathan Vaughters said the bottles were carefully labeled for them: “Jonathan — 5×2” meant five vials of 2,000 international units each of EPO were tucked inside. Once when Vaughters was in Armstrong’s room borrowing his laptop, Armstrong injected himself with EPO and said, now “that you are doing EPO too, you can’t go write a book about it.”

This one statement offers insight into just how they planned to keep this under wraps. Every time I read about Armstrong’s use of steroids, I have the same question about what exactly caused Lance Armstrong to get testicular cancer. Shooting steroids is one possible explanation, since sex gland cancers are often attributed to hormone imbalances. Given his use of the drugs, it’s a miracle he was able to keep his cancer in remission. And it will be interesting to see what federal prosecutors do with this case.

In another kind of sports-related scandal, Jerry Sandusky was sentenced to 30 to 60 years in prison for being a serial rapist of young boys. This was an unofficial but apparently sanctioned part of the Penn State athletic program.

I don’t believe that this is justice being served. That is not really possible, though other criminal and civil cases are pending. Sandusky did damage to countless young people, and demonstrated how difficult it is for those under attack to get the attention of authorities when powerful people are involved in the abuse, or covering it up.

The core issue here is trust. The people who survived his antics will have a hard time trusting anyone, and survivors everywhere are getting a glimpse into how, when everyone ignores your plea or you’re afraid to come forward, it’s so easy to blame yourself for what happened.

Romney’s Hormone Chaos

One last bit from the news. Tuesday, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney told The Des Moines Register’s editorial board that “there’s no legislation with regards to abortion that I’m familiar with that would become part of my agenda.” In other words, he told an outrageous lie that he was not planning to sign any anti-abortion legislation (something that he’s promised to do, and never to do, on many different occasions).

During his 1994 race for U.S. senator from Massachusetts, Romney said he was pro-choice. Today he claims to want to overturn Roe v. Wade (which only the Supreme Court can do) and also to ban women from having access to birth control. See the full video here.

Two hours later, the Romney campaign was walking back his earlier statement. “Gov. Romney would of course support legislation aimed at providing greater protections for life.”

This is the stock in trade of his campaign: say whatever is convenient in that moment, then it’s broadcast, and then that position is reversed later that day. Even if you think that politicians are duplicitous, this is just over the top. (We’ll see how this works when I do the charts of both major candidates, probably for next week’s edition.)

Romney has in the past stated that he supports a woman’s right to choose what to do about a pregnancy (it’s hard to be a politician who is not pro-choice in Massachusetts). He then said he would sign a law banning abortion, and at other times said he would sign ‘personhood’ legislation that would ban in vitrofertilization, the IUD and hormonal birth control, and that would establish the definition of life as beginning at conception.

He has said that he believes the Supreme Court should overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision allowing women access to abortion. He’s also said he would “get rid of” Planned Parenthood.

Now for the surreal twist: Romney’s post-debate bounce in popularity came largely from single women. Greg Sargent wrote this week, “Mitt Romney beat Obama in the debate for a simple reason. Unmarried women — a critical piece of Obama’s coalition — did not hear Obama telling [them] how [he] would make their lives better. By contrast, they did hear Romney telling them he’d improve their lives.”

Planet Waves political analyst Astrodem wrote to me this week, “Multiple pollsters are confirming that almost all of the movement came from women — especially single women. As I said before, we’re going to cover a lot of ground in the campaign, but it’s ultimately going to come down to who wins the single ladies.”

I guess if you’re going to win over young women who vote, you have to create confusion about where you stand on reproductive issues — especially if you’re sworn to banning reproductive rights for women.

The problem here is that many people are confused, and sometimes I think, in love with their confusion. After all, if you’re confused, you don’t have to commit to anything; you can claim to be at the mercy of chaos. This is not what some call creative chaos; rather, it’s the chaos that’s at the root of all forms of disease.

New Moon opposite Eris as a Personal Message

Let’s consider the same planetary event using the astrology as a personal reference point, and then investigate whether it’s really so personal after all.

Idealized views of relationships conflict with the complexity of an individual’s inner world. They seem to take on a life of their own, denying that humans tend to grow and change. We need a model of relationships that accounts for this basic fact of existence.

I’ve proposed that the Moon-Sun conjunction in Libra represents an idealized view of relationships. Libra is one of the signs that most vividly describes relating to others (it’s the sign opposite Aries, which is about self-focus). What we’re seeing, though, is that prefab views on relationships are not working so well; people behave differently from how the rules say they’re supposed to. In fact the rules seem to be a cover-up of actual behavior.

And that’s coming under special focus now. Eris in Aries is a factor that stirs up chaos within the psyche, the sensation that “I don’t know who I am, this is so confusing, who am I, what do I want.” One typical way to try to resolve that is to shift one’s identity into a relationship, and ‘find oneself’ there.

Yet Eris is saying that you have to be yourself, and that it’s not possible to use a relationship to substitute for that. The usual chameleon-like attempts to ‘be the person’ you think your partner wants you to be are not going to work so well under the stress of this opposition, and you may start to figure out that they’re not going to work at all, if they ever did. You might call Eris in this context “the thin line beyond which you really can’t fake.”

A person’s mind and emotions — like postmodern art — don’t necessarily make sense any way but their own. “Untitled Combine,” 1963, by Robert Rauschenberg (1925-2008).

However, when this method suddenly stops working, that can leave you feeling like you don’t know who you are — perhaps with the sensation of vertigo. That sense of not knowing can be profoundly unsettling and disorienting. Removing the false foundation can lead directly to feeling like you don’t have any foundation at all.

This is part of why, in my view, many people stay in relationships that don’t support their growth. At least they are supported on the level of ego identity, even if it comes at the expense of their independence and freedom. Notably it also saves many people from the responsibilities of independence and freedom.

Things can get really weird when one person or the other in the relationship reaches the point where they can no longer remain static. If one person’s identity is ‘founded’ on that of another person, both people can become unstable when either one of them starts to grow. Often there’s a reaction — to suppress the growth. Eventually, that’s likely to fail, and then there can be a collapse, meltdown, drama or crisis.

Many people have spent their lives going from relationship to relationship, trying to establish their stability there, yet at the expense of their growth and evolution.

And it looks like this particular pattern is what comes into focus with Monday’s Libra New Moon opposite Eris in Aries. I said earlier that this is a proving moment, when we get to observe what’s happening to us personally, and watch the world around us for information about Eris and what it represents. I’ve made a few observations here that I trust you can take into consideration and still study yourself and your environment for more information.

This is a big moment for Eris, and an ongoing big moment for the world, as we approach the Mercury retrograde election and the final weeks before 12/21/12.


Weekly Horoscope for Friday, Oct. 12, 2012 #921 | By Eric Francis

Libra Birthdays This Week: A Moment of Bold Transparency

If you have a birthday anywhere in the neighborhood of Monday’s New Moon (say, give or take four days on either side), you understand that your life is at a point of not only a new phase, but a total revision of your perspective, especially where relationships are concerned. ‘Relationship’ means the self relating to another, and that’s only possible if you know who you are. To know who you are, it helps to see through the facade you put up — and with the New Moon opposite Eris, that’s now eminently possible. Indeed, this gives you laser (I originally typed lawyer) like ability to focus on the issues and penetrate into your own bullshit and the bullshit of others. Then, you have the option to act on that power: to be real, to express your creative desires, and to collaborate with others in a new and satisfying way. Meanwhile, in this new phase of your relationships, you can expect to attract people who are stronger, and who aspire to actual integrity, but who you might feel are inaccessble. It will be worth the process of getting to know and understand them. Give it time, set your expectations aside, and don’t be deceived by appearances.

Aries (March 20-April 19) — You have unusual access to the secrets of loved ones and partners. You may simply be aware of what they’re thinking and feeling, as well as what they’re not saying. Or, certain factors may be conspiring for them to divulge long-concealed information to you. The question is what you do with that information, since it evokes the concept ‘knowledge is power’, and provides a certain basis for decisions that you didn’t have before. I suggest you keep your options open and not make any decisions that would be difficult or impossible to reverse. Trust is the thing you want. As part of that you can trust your own influence over your most intimate circumstances, including where emotions, money and creative potential are at stake. One reason to bide your time is that you’re still in the process of coming out of denial about certain facts of which you’ve been in denial, and the tables may turn soon enough, requiring you to depend on the goodwill, compassion and fairness of others. What you put out will come back to you.

Taurus (April 19-May 20) — It would appear as though someone wants to marry you, and I suggest you pause and reflect before deciding whether you want to marry them. This may be literal or figurative; the ‘marriage’ in question could be a business partnership, a spiritual partnership, the merging of an idea — or actual nuptials. One of the first things to investigate is whether everyone involved in the situation is being real with themselves, and with others involved. Check the theme of ‘availability’ from every angle you can think of. Then I suggest you account for any exaggeration on your part — whether this involves your feelings, or overlooking certain key details because you’re having so much fun. There is one other factor. While you obviously cannot respond to what you don’t know about, you can make room for the potential that you’re working with incomplete facts. Over the next week or so you’re going to learn a lot, and what emerges will be useful information.

Gemini (May 20-June 21) — You seem to be struggling to understand someone else’s point of view, in light of recent unexplainable decisions they have made which have impacted your life. I think you already know where they’re coming from, and what you’re really trying to do is make sense of what appear to be contradictions between what they’re saying and how they’re treating you. This is not a situation you have to obsess over, and you could do yourself a favor by taking what you’ve learned to heart and moving on. Sooner or later, however, you’ll have to deal with your own difficulty trusting. There are days when it seems that every time you take a chance, you face some unexpected consequences. You would be surprised how much of this situation could be addressed by initiating a personal policy of direct communication. Make clear statements, ask when you have a question, and take account of what you learn. You’re acting as if you have secrets to keep, or as if your own motives are under a veil of some kind, when this is hardly the case.

Cancer (June 21-July 22) — You would have no need to feel secure, were you not in some way feeling threatened. It’s a lot easier to figure out what will make you feel safe if you’ve addressed the nature of what you believe makes you unsafe; in fact you might decide that there’s no threat and that you need nothing at all. Reassess your situation sooner rather than later, because you’re investing a lot of energy into avoiding something that’s not actually a problem, and potentially creating a situation that could become one. Describing your solar chart another way, you seem to be obsessed with structure, as if you want to put a container around something that would otherwise be free. There is an alternative, which is to open up communication on the theme or topic that you think needs to be confined. These probably feel like opposing impulses within your psyche, and that may be causing you some conflict. Once you open up communication, first with yourself and then with anyone germane to the discussion, your sense of conflict will ease back.

Leo (July 22-Aug. 23) — You may have some idea that you think is going to wreak havoc on people’s minds, if they were to hear about it. This has another side to it: we’re starting to figure out that we live in a world where we’re being spied on. Can you imagine every time you send a text message or email that it appears on some computer screen somewhere, or is stashed away in a database for future review? In either scenario, we have to make peace with the idea that our thoughts all have a public dimension. One’s individual mind is the connection point to something more: whether it’s an individual listener, a community or ‘the public’ (whatever that means for you). I know this has the potential to make some people extremely self-conscious; others thrive on the potential that their thoughts might have a wider influence than your average gossip, and that someone actually might care. That, by the way, is a true fact.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22) — Keep your focus on your own finances and your own resources, and make sure that the confusion of others doesn’t cloud your thinking. You’re more independent than you think, or than you let on to yourself. No person is actually self-sufficient; we all depend on an exchange of resources. Yet in this particular instance, you run the risk of giving up your power to someone who may not have a plan, and who in the worst-case scenario may be a kind of crazymaker. Therefore, keep your business to yourself, focus on what you want to accomplish, and reveal facts to other people only on a need-to-know basis. You have some significant opportunity on your hands right now; you have enough of what you need, in terms of material assets, to bring your idea to life. Part of your quest is seeing that fact, and part of that is not thinking that other people are necessary for you to take your initial steps. Include others only when absolutely necessary.

Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23) — Monday’s New Moon in your birth sign indicates not just a new chapter but also a new volume in your life. Yet you seem to be ready to move forward less trusting of intimate relationships than you have been in the past. This coincides with a commitment to get to know yourself better, including plumbing down into the shadowy world of self-esteem. One thing to remember about ‘relationships’ the way they are generally arranged is that they tend to be designed to help us avoid the deeper questions involving how you feel about yourself. Relationships even become a substitute for self-esteem, but you’re long past having another person in your life just to prop you up. Yet you will pay a price for that privilege, which is focused, steadfast devotion to the cause of who you are. That will involve admitting what you feel comfortable with about yourself, and what you don’t like as much. When you feel the strength of admitting your weaknesses (beginning with yourself), you will feel a lot better being authentic in the presence of others.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22) — You may be starting to figure out how isolated you’ve felt (and for how long), now that you are getting a little relief. At least you feel some substance to your presence in the world; for too long you existed like a ghost, even at times feeling unable to take up physical space, or willing to admit that you exist. You may also be feeling a new sense of responsibility to yourself, which involves rising to a level of authenticity that you’ve been uncomfortable with for quite some time. The question is, what exactly were you hiding, whether from yourself or from anyone else? My sense from your solar charts is that you’ve been holding a certain edge to protect you from getting in too deep. This makes any emotional risk feel like putting all your chips onto the table. But unlike in a poker game, you might want to ask yourself whether you have more to lose by holding back your feelings, or by expressing them. Often the laws of spirit run contrary to the laws of the material plane — and you are in just such a situation.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22) — The sky would be the limit, if you would take off your blindfold and see that it’s there. You could run far and fast, if you would only notice that your shoelaces are tied together — and untie them. You could assert yourself and get what you want, if you would notice the way that you are clinging to what you think makes you secure, mistaking it for integrity. One thing I’ve noticed working as an astrologer is that many people are in love with what holds them back. There is a human tendency, which I don’t really understand, to value the things that ensure we’ll never aspire to be more than we are. I suggest you investigate the ways you may be doing this. This includes noticing how and when you count yourself as the underdog, and also when you believe that this puts you at some disadvantage. In reality, the primary conflict you’re in is with yourself. I suggest you own that fact and leave others out of your struggle; this way, they will be available to support you.

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20) — You need to act on a career-related matter despite your emotional reservations, and despite the fact that it might not be a perfect situation. Your own hesitancy is most of what’s getting in the way of your judgment; were you to take a more objective look at the situation, you would probably agree that it’s set up to work in your favor. There may also be someone influencing your judgment, primarily by their subtle refusal to acknowledge your influence, talent or your power over your own life. This, and you’re famous for your perfectionism where professional engagements, plans or ambitions are concerned. I suggest you set aside the notion of ‘perfect’ and substitute ‘practical’. Then ask yourself whether what you’re considering, or being offered, bears any resemblance to what you’ve said over and over again that you really want. If it does, I suggest you trust that the details will take care of themselves — and that you have a distinct advantage as the underdog in the situation.

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) — Saturn has crossed the potent midheaven of your solar chart. That’s the angle associated with your highest goals, your reputation and your career. You have Scorpio on this angle, which suggests that you tend to take a secretive approach to the territory of your work; you might focus on the power aspect of success; and rarely are you trusting of others really wanting to help you. None of this sounds particularly Aquarian, I know. What I’m describing is far from visionary, inclusive or progressive. As you know, one of your roles on the planet is to bring these advances where they did not exist before. The challenge in doing so is opening up space within yourself for them to exist, where in the past they had no place. In other words, it’s now up to you to support open dialog, act on the basis of what you want to create rather than what you want to control, and most of all, to extend a measure of trust in environments where you might have presumed that impossible. You might think you’re not strong enough to do this — yet to ascertain just how strong you are, you’ll need to experiment.

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) — There seem to be significant opportunities on the table right now; the astrology looks like some kind of investment, merger or collaboration is brewing. I have to say, this looks pretty good; yet where such arrangements are concerned, there is always the need for two things. One is to make sure that any arrangement is in alignment with your most deeply held values. Are you being true to yourself? Are you noticing any resistance? Second, it’s essential that you pay attention to the details. Certain parties in the equation may be exaggerating the facts, so I suggest you be a skeptic and not take anything on its face. Make sure that the field is level, and the way to do that is to know what you’re talking about. This is one situation where the facts are on your side. So make sure you know what you need to know. Take command, but make sure you do it in a subtle way — and in that same subtle way, make sure you persist, keep your focus and get what you want.

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