Today’s edition of Planet Waves is a milestone: ten years since I began the project. The first edition of this column was published on May 1, 1995 in a newspaper called Free Time in Poughkeepsie, New York, covering the first two weeks of May. If you had told me then that a decade later, I would be sitting in a Paris café putting another edition together, I might have actually believed you. Once I knew that was my agenda, going into astrology felt right from the first moment.
I was introduced to astrology in 1987 by somebody named Flo Higgins, but pretty much tuned it out (when I could) until four years later, when I discovered the daily horoscope in The New York Post. That got my attention. Up till that point, I thought horoscopes were silly and astrology was too complicated to be of much use. It did, however, feel quite poetic, and the planets had a majestic and mysterious quality which many have noticed.
I had worked with runes, tarot cards and A Course in Miracles. But this horoscope in the Post showing up in my life all of a sudden — hmm. It was sensible, shrewd, and serious. The writer made astute observations at very specific moments (some call this ‘accuracy’). He had a voice, like he was right there talking to you. His name was Patric Walker (hi Patric!!).
I followed his column for two years, through the twists and turns of my investigative reporting career. Then, on my birthday in 1994, after the third day of depositions in my federal civil rights lawsuit against the great State of New York, I walked into Esoterica Books in New Paltz and bought something called an ephemeris — a thick blue book that tells you where the planets are. I had just one motivation: I had to figure out how Patric Walker did it. Ambitious? Well, at the time I was very good at figuring out how corporations and governments lied. The other side of the coin was figuring out how Patric told the truth.
This was in the years I spent poring through documents dug from the files of Monsanto, Westinghouse and General Electric, and from the State of New York’s files. I had, by that time, proven that New York State was poisoning students with dioxin and PCBs in its dormitories (Bliss, Capen, Gage and Scudder halls at SUNY New Paltz) — at the same time administrators were telling students that everything was fine, as they continue to do to this day. The state retaliated by banning me from the campus. An excellent lawyer named Allan Sussman, and a federal district court judge, the Hon. Con Cholakis, straightened that little problem out. The state issued an official apology and paid me $20,000 for violating my civil rights. Mike Winerip of The New York Times did the story.
Cool and exciting as all that was, astrology was infinitely more interesting, and so night after night, I would analyze Patric’s columns, learning the basic moves, the basic language, and how to spin the aspects in the most positive way. About a year later, I began my own column in Free Time. I’ll be sending the first column in a separate mailing shortly.
If I were to roll the credits on the past decade, acknowledging every person who has helped me, it would be a wonderfully long list. First, I offer a bow to Joseph Trusso, who helped me begin the process of learning how to be myself, and how to relate to others as that person. I’m still learning today, and it’s not always easy. But it’s necessary, and that is the basic theme of Planet Waves.
I gratefully and joyfully thank and acknowledge the people around me today, whose love, friendship, support, constant work and wisdom ensure that you and I are in touch. They helped me bring Planet Waves from a quirky one-guy operation to a real publishing company. They are the answer to the riddle: how do you move to Europe? You may know their names: Chelsea Bottinelli, Tracy Delaney and Pam Purdy. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Along the way, many astrologers helped me. Three really, truly, really helped me learn astrology: Laurie Burnett, David R. Roell and David Arner. Talk about getting lucky right away. Laurie knew something about Pluto. The Davids made sure I had a foundation in traditional astrology. Two astrologers taught me about Chiron: Melanie Reinhart and Barbara Hand Clow. Melanie and Robert von Heeren introduced me to the other centaur planets. This is how it works. Astrology is an unbroken chain of tradition that goes back thousands of years, preserving something beautiful and true about the world in which we live, and the people who we are: a tradition that keeps us tuned to ourselves, to one another, and to the Divine Spirit of Earth and sky. Then, astrologers and others who indulge in folklore, storytelling and healing practice, pass the information on.
Several of my colleagues made sure that you know who I am — ensuring that I have a wide audience.
Rob Brezsny began by publishing an article I wrote called “Astrology As the Art of Bullshit,” a blazing rant that, incredibly, appeared on page one of RealAstrology.com for nearly a year. Then, he ran my 12 article series (with a focus on the presidential impeachment) in which I really developed the Planet Waves style, writing mostly from Germany in the summer of 1998. Thank you Rob, and for the zillions of client referrals, and for arranging my first weekly horoscope gig in The Colorado Daily.
Rick Levine and Jeff Jawer put my work on page one of StarIQ.com many times, inviting me to write about all kinds of subjects near to my heart. I wrote articles; they wrote checks. Rick, Jeff: thank you. I am still working with the material I developed working with you (case in point, next week’s Beltane article).
Then one interesting day when I was living on Vashon Island, Jonathan Cainer did something kind of shocking — he emailed me from his daughter’s Yahoo! account and invited me to stand in for his horoscope in a London tabloid called The Daily Mirror. I’ve now done around 30 stand-ins for Jonathan in both the Mirror and the Daily Mail. This is called hitting the big-time; it’s called fun. But this merely scratches the surface of the ways Jonathan, and many people on his staff, have helped out.
So there you have it. A lot of people are involved in this little newsletter and a couple of web pages. Life is a network. Community is a great web. Consciousness is tantra: the web of life. Every person I’ve named here is committed to doing their part in holding the world together in our challenging, dangerous, beautiful time in history.
Then there’s you and me. I get up every morning, clear my head, and start writing. This has been my grounding, my sanity, my main healing process, and my way of standing on equal footing with the world. You, my readers, clients, subscribers, and friends, make sure that my work is appreciated, and that I have enough money to live as a writer, doing the work that I do, which allows me to keep the commitments I have made. Thank you for that.
Happy Birthday, Taurus
With an eclipse of the Moon your opposite sign Scorpio just a week behind you, this year points to some important theme of what you are leaving behind in your relationship tendencies. That is the general idea; how you apply it is up to you, and there are quite a few possibilities. And it would be difficult to overstate the case of just how good your life can become, if you keep your focus on this moment now, who you are now, and what you want now.
Let’s make no mistake about one thing. Most of what we call relating in this world involves the past. Old dramas are lived out again and again; new people are treated as if they were old ones; the voices of past partners, parents and other influential people can infiltrate our entire experience of the present, and all the people in it.
But more to the point, we often try (because we were taught) to relate to people in the present as if we were the person we were in the past.
Therefore, there are few more encouraging heavenly signs than those which give us permission to let it all go — or which suggest strongly that the process is well under way. The eclipse behind you means that something significant, a change or reorientation of some kind, is in fact behind you, that is, in the past. That the eclipse occurred in Scorpio means it’s about your relationships; and that it involves the Moon (one of your most important planetary rulers) means that some aspect of yourself is what, specifically, has changed. Not the relationship. Not the other person. You. You are what has gone through a shift from which you simply — thankfully — cannot return.
I suggest, then, that you set your eyes on the present — not the past. Not the past. Now. That means the people around you now, and those you are now encountering; the new places you are going; and the new things you are doing. It means new habits and most vitally, a new relationship to who you are, and how that person relates to others. The Moon is the planet that deals with patterns. Whatever you have been through represents the end of specific patterns that you may have carried since childhood.
Because growth is rarely automatic, you may be called upon to consciously, personally uphold these changes. It is too easy to revert to past patterns, particularly for a personality type as solid and as strong as you. Taurus is arguably in the top two most traditional signs (Capricorn being the other, in different ways).
In essence, you are being called upon to divest yourself of something, someone or certain situations. Divestiture is not a partial. It means you have taken something back, and taken possession and control of it. That something is yourself, and while this process may continue for some time, now is the focal point. Now is the turning point. Feel, and you will feel what it’s really like to hold yourself.
Planet Waves by Eric Francis
April 29, 2005
Happy Birthday, Taurus!
There comes a point in everyone’s career when they can no longer do it alone. You
are at that point, but you may not know it. The truth is that extremely few people who accomplish anything noteworthy with their lives, or anything that impacts others in a positive way, does it alone. You are particularly well suited to aspire to your highest goals with the assistance of others, but to a great extent have also been cutting your teeth independently. I think that the developments of this year will teach you to be more open to the influences of others.
Aries (March 20-April 19)
Mars is about to change signs from Aquarius to Pisces. This will bring your dreams that much closer to you, make them that much more real, and give you all the more energy to pursue them. It is likely that over the past few weeks you’ve been unusually honest with yourself about your ideals, but your ideals don’t get you far enough in life. You have something deeper, more emotional and more passionate that you are pursuing. This has nothing to do with your ideas about life, but rather, your deepest, most cellular reality. Listen to your heart, your soul and your body.
Taurus (April 19-May 20)
Lately there have been a variety of news articles published about something called ‘polyamory’ — a way of loving in which people have out of the closet, meaningful relationships with more than one person. In my experience, the key to successful polyamory is bringing together our best ideas about what we think of as friends, and what we think of as lovers. It could more accurately be called ‘passionate friendship’ or ‘organic eroticism’. And in a most organic way, you may be feeling hints of these things now. Yet no matter how you love, remember that honesty is integrity. And we cannot really have love; we can only share it.
Gemini (May 20-June 21)
In recent years, you’ve had many thoughts about your proper career and your true goals. In many ways they have likely seemed out of reach or more elaborate than you could possibly accomplish. But goals have a way of coming into reach, and complex plans have a way of becoming more simple and clear if we develop them over time. What you need is focus, and you will soon have it. This will free you from worrying about what you’re not doing and allow you to focus on what you are doing. And many of the innovative ideas you’ve had in the past year or two may come flooding back to memory.
Cancer (June 21-July 22)
Last week’s eclipse of the Moon has in many ways carried the messages and the themes that will set you free to live out the next phase of your life. From the look of things, you were carrying burdens you were unaware of, and being dragged down by certain elements of your past that you could not perceive clearly. In truth, the release has come from little other than being more honest with yourself. Feel your way through the next couple of weeks carefully, and notice whether you can make decisions that factor only the present and the future.
Leo (July 22-Aug. 23)
Keep a close eye on joint finances, tax matters and relationships where boundaries may be an issue. You need to maintain clear lines about who is responsible for what, and to a certain extent you may need to hold certain people’s feet to the fire. But they may find it necessary to hold you to certain promises. If you can get past all the smoke and fireworks, you will find that a new arrangement can be reached that will make everyone’s life a lot easier.
Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22)
You will need to play it extremely cool if you think someone is trying to pick a fight, deceive you, or upset you for no reason. I’m not ruling that out of the equation. The world is full of people who take advantage of those with a caring nature. Yet at the same time you are likely to fall prey to your own expressed emotions, which may seem to come back at you in that peculiar psychological (but really energetic) phenomenon known as projection. There’s a difference between assuming you’re right, and giving yourself the benefit of the doubt.
Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23)
Your emotions and your health are now more closely linked than ever. The best way to stay healthy is to monitor how you feel, and make sure you ease off on the throttle the moment you are not feeling just about perfect. Your inner sensibilities know that something is up long before your nose starts sniffling or something signals you in the form of an ache. At the same time, if you work to express your feelings, create art and music, and remember that life is not merely about effort, you will go a long way toward making an investment in your future happiness.
Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22)
There have been enough upsets the past month to make many wonder how safe they really are on the planet. Was it all worth it? How ever did you get yourself caught in situations where your feelings seemed to matter so little? The truth is that once you stand up for yourself, people will back off and give you some mental and emotional space; but you may not have figured that out in time for the last round. Now, you have an opportunity to take another chance of a similar nature. But this time it involves love rather than conflict. Someone will be more responsive to your affections than you think.
Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22)
Once again, certain domestic or emotional situations threaten to push you to your limits. But this is why God made you a Sagittarius. You really have no limits. But you might want to carefully choose a strategy that helps you resolve this situation rather than fly above it or go around it. If it seems to be coming on with extra intensity, that is why. While it’s imperative that you keep your temper, it’s also quite necessary that you resolve to listen to what you are feeling, and what they are feeling. Then, you’ll find out that fear has a source that can be eliminated.
Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20)
Anyone who ever said that Capricorns are the boring practical types had better put on their welding goggles if they want to hang around you. In recent months you have been coming to some new decisions about what is important to you. Now you have some ideas about what to do about it, and they are not your ordinary musings on life. To the contrary, you are in a good position to either burn a hole right through the surface of what the world thinks of as reality, or express something to the world that changes both you and it in a big way.
Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19)
Mars soon makes its ingress into your 2nd house, the house of resources, money and self-respect. In your solar chart, you happen to have Pisces here, which I mentioned recently is Planet Weird when it comes to the issue of self-esteem. Pisces doubts as much as it has faith, and that is saying quite a lot. Now with Mars on the way, you’re going to feel fueled up, ignited and popped into gear. But you had better decide now that you want a feast of love rather than an orgy of doubt. The two are like a crossroads in the woods, and they come together right in the same place — here and now. Please take the road less traveled.
Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20)
Recent eclipses of the Sun and Moon, Mercury retrograde and other factors have set many people walking on eggshells, and a few others have gone off in a panic. However, you have endured the journey of Mars through your 12th house, and have been taken on a grand tour of everything you fear the most. And you have walked right through it. Now, Mars in your sign will provide courage, imagination and most of all, reasons to live with passion. This transit will not last forever. Make the most of it, but more to the point, learn that you can live this way all the time, if you want.