Monthly for January 2008

The anti-planet at the edge of reality. This is the Pluto/Charon system photographed from Hubble. The system consists of four bodies (Pluto, Charon, Nyx and Hydra) orbiting a common barycenter — a point in space external to all four. None is a “moon” in the ordinary sense. Pluto is now considered a Dwarf Planet, along with Eris and Ceres


Dear Friend and Reader:

TWO THOUSAND EIGHT is a year of an unusual transition: Pluto will begin its move from Sagittarius to Capricorn. Pluto is one of those bottom-line planets. It sets the theme for the rest of what we experience, spreading out so wide that it colors the entire landscape’s existence. With Pluto in Sagittarius between 1995 and 2007, we had many opportunities to focus our vision, and we may have done so with obsessive intensity. It may have been what some call a spiritual vision, of growth, enlightenment or a better world.

Indeed, the Pluto in Sagittarius phase became and remains a time of all things global, from world beat music to international cuisine restaurants; from ‘free’ trade agreements to the anti-globalization movements and the fair trade movement; and finally, global war on terror. Anyone with the power to do so kept making the pie higher. Capricorn is a more practical sign, the sign of structuring physical reality. Where Sagittarius meets Capricorn is the place where we begin the process of converting our ideals into tangible creations. This bodes in many different directions, because among other things, Capricorn is the sign of corporations, and for the past decade we have seen multinational firms put out a vision for what a fabulous place the world would be if they owned the whole place, down to the last little clam at the bottom of the deepest sea.

On an individual level, we need to take the visions we have held for ourselves personally, and for the world, and put them into action. We may feel that the world is an illusion and/or is not really subject to change — but Pluto is the harbinger of progress. This power that is about to be turned loose on the known cosmos basically has no moral predisposition. It does the job we give it, yet to give it any job at all, we must take an actual risk, and dare to bear full responsibility for our choices. In the January 2008 edition of Planet Waves, I will look at the meaning of Pluto and Capricorn, and many other factors, for each of the 12 signs.

Aries (March 20-April 19)
RECENTLY, IT SEEMS you had the truth handed to you. What did you do with it? Do you still have it? While many on this planet complain that the truth is not knowable, or is a kind of fictional philosophical concept and not a provable reality, the problem involves how we respond once we encounter it. This peculiar function of the mind, known as denial, makes sure that we are usually out of contact with our most vital knowledge. You can afford no such luxury at this point. The reason for this is that you are gathering too much power to cut yourself off from your personal truth, or any other truth. Much of the past decade has taken you on a prolonged journey where you have seen many strange things, encountered a world bigger than you ever imagined, and endured several difficult tests of your mettle. You have wrestled with your conscience (and, likely, that of someone else). At times, you have prevailed in these tests of integrity and at other times, events have seemed to crush your preconceived ideas. You are now in a well-deserved phase of reconsidering what you have been through, and the decisions you make through the winter will be absolutely essential in determining your life path for an entire long phase of your life. So tell me, now that you know this, can you afford to play any games with what you know? I don’t think so, particularly not since all the forces of the universe are conspiring to focus your power. The whole problem with power in this world is that it does not care much for the difference between right and wrong. Most people in a position to conduct themselves this way — and to some extent, that includes anyone privileged enough to be reading this horoscope — have granted themselves an exemption from karma. You have no such luxury now, and neither do you want it. You have responsibilities that are much more worthwhile.

Taurus (April 19-May 20)
YOU MAY NOT see it now, but your current priority is on survival when what you need to be doing is experimenting with defining yourself openly — very openly. There is no viable meeting between exploring your identity and creative expression in the community, and concealing yourself or struggling to survive. Curiosity is not possible in a state of desperation or of hiding — and while you may or may not feel desperate, you have an exaggerated sense of what is happening to you and what can go wrong. This is little more than fear of the unknown, except what is supposedly so unknown is something about you, and that is a kind of paradox. Can you really not know something about yourself? Well, you can think it’s possible, and if so, you can set up a smokescreen between you and your self-awareness. Yet even given that basic factor, you have at least two choices: delve in bravely and with a sense of exploring (which means, yourself and the world) or pull away and hide inside your shell. You may ask what ‘the world’ has to do with this, but if astrology means anything, your process of self-definition is intimately mingled with the society you inhabit; with the people you share creative energy amongst; with your mission in life, as you define it; and most of all, with the patterns that dominate your life. To get anywhere, you need to define those patterns yourself, and to do that, you need to witness the current ones for what they are. One of your greatest liabilities is that you are a creature of habit. If you are going to develop one dependable fixed pattern, let it be that of constantly changing your fixed patterns. That you did something a certain way yesterday is no reason to do it that way today. Face it: today is a lot more interesting than yesterday was, and tomorrow holds potential you can barely dream of now, but would do well to dare.

Gemini (May 20-June 21)
THIS BUSINESS of Gemini and dualism — it’s getting old. I’m not sure who has convinced us all, particularly we the supposedly intellectual ones, that ‘the world is dualistic.’ Somebody did. Yet however many viewpoints, people or concepts of ourselves we encounter or possess, it seems to be a heck of a lot more than two. The only actual dualism that exists, as far as I can see it, is based exclusively on seeing oneself as separate from others (and that may be all it takes). True, it helps not at all that so many people insist with such passion that they are separate from us (greed is a significant influence here), that they have different interests, and most of all, that they have different ideas that typically turn out to be the lack of ideas. That being said, how you get along with yourself is a critical question at this point. You still tend to project your inner differences onto others, and lately there has been a lot to project. That, at least, provides an organizing principle; you can use this frail concept of dualism to define ‘in here’ (my own) and ‘out there’ (their stuff). If you were to do something else, you would need to plunge into your inner chaos and manage to find your voice in the midst of it. You would need to puncture the many imaginary membranes that seem to separate your interior consciousness from itself. And before long, those inner barriers will go down like Japanese paper walls. Admittedly, you may not feel inclined to admit much, and may feel pinned down by how supremely powerful others seem to be. Remember: that, too, is a projection. All these people you know and encounter and the ones who seem so remote and influential: they are part of you, just like your fingers and toes. You can do everyone a favor by treating them that way. They want to be counted as part of you as much as you need them to be so.

Cancer (June 21-July 22)
THE FUNNY THING about you is, you move in cycles, but the cycles are predictable, and you keep coming around to the same basic place of honoring your commitments. It took you a while to learn to trust yourself in this process: to mean it when you say, I’ll be back in the future to take care of this; this is what I intend to get done by this date, or whatever the commitment may entail. The breakthrough came when you discovered that your track record supported the meaning of your words, rather than the words being a promise of speculated future action. If those who doubt you knew how seriously you take your commitments, they would be compelled to question their own integrity, and rightly so. The issue with the world right now is that despite much talk about walking one’s talk, most people don’t vaguely question their integrity except for the occasional panic attack; and that does not qualify as a thoughtful review. There is a do-or-die feeling to your sense of truth and justice right now. This is less about an obligation and more about a sacred trust you have with the universe. While you don’t want to send out a press release saying that you are the arbiter of cosmic obligation, you must have figured out that you get yourself into that role all the time, and by the time five o’clock rolls around everyone has done pretty well. So, own this power and put it to work — and make sure it works for you, too. Your second breakthrough has been about defining yourself as someone who has given up their prior concept of limits. This does not happen overnight, but you are seeing that your prior ceiling made of transparent aluminum is now more like the clear sky. Once again, this is not a matter of speculation, but rather of experience. And what it boils down to is that for you, the world is a very different place.

Leo (July 22-Aug. 23)
TO THE EXTENT you can, you need to choose the course your life is taking as a conscious act. In the Western world, this is the only path to enlightenment. We are faced with options; our one remaining power is to make decisions. Believe it or not, those decisions are most often choices between what is true and what is not. Life does not always seem this simple, and I doubt it seems so simple for you right now, but that is the nature of the moment you are in. Your great lesson the next four seasons is discernment. Surely, in hindsight long after this year has passed, what was worth believing and what was not will seem obvious. In any event, you have learned something in recent years, which is that you can influence the course of your own existence. You have an edge on those who typically refuse to do this, which is that you are willing to take full responsibilities for your successes as well as your errors. This is one of a very few qualities that distinguishes a mature person. Another is the ability to make decisions based on your values. If you consider your values carefully, you will notice that you actually don’t have very many of them. You also don’t need very many of them. Yet the ability to understand yourself and make your decisions based on an authentic sense of what matters to you is one of the highest expressions of humanity. You can be sure when the values of others will seem to warp the ground you stand on, and at such times you will need to be flexible but scrupulously honest with yourself about what matters most. You will need to look at the influences of those who say they are here to help you, and see them for what they are. They may indeed be helpful; they may be something else — you are the one who will need to notice the difference.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22)
SATURN will be in your birth sign for the next two years, and everyone born under the sign Virgo will have this meaningful planet conjoin their natal Sun. This is one of the key life transits, and it can happen at any age; it is happening to you now or in the immediate future. In a personal chart, the theme is about fundamentally coming to terms with yourself. If it portends change, that change is about getting relief from nervousness and instability, and calling your life into focus. It is about having the confidence and substance to stand up to the world, which is so rare to find. Finally, this transit is about finding the ability to go deeper into yourself, your ideas and your sense of existence. These things have life on more than the level of thought or concept. Ideas are powerful, yet this transit indicates one of two things. Either you have reached a point of maturity that you have been working toward for a long time; or you are being compelled to do so whether you like it or not. To the extent you have noticed that you are fundamentally passive, Saturn will compel you to take an active role in your life and in your relationships. To the extent that you understand that authority is something we embody or we don’t grow, you will be granted enormous assistance in taking on your true role in the world. This is always what we must do with Saturn: embody it fully, if not compassionately. In doing so, we take away the authority that others seem to hold over us, whoever they may be. In ordering our lives, we liberate the energy we need to persist in our creative work and our service to the world. You are, by nature, a sober and sensible individual. You understand that life is an opportunity and a profound responsibility, only magnified by our commitments to others. Be grateful for every day of these two years that Saturn is with you.

Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23)
FEW PEOPLE truly want to face their fears. Fewer yet want to face themselves. The planets are pushing you to do both. Not only will you be a better person for it, you will feel better and live with a greater sense of connection to your own existence, and to all these people who surround you: those whose names you know and those you do not. The whole problem with your fears is that they are so detailed. This detail gives them a sense of reality that they might not otherwise have. What this season of your life is trying to teach you is that you are bigger than your anxieties and, as such, they are like pictures you draw rather than lions who can eat you. The ability to see this distinction is not learned in a day. Most people live like they are being chased down the street by a pack of wild dogs. But there are those points of breakthrough, and you are in one right now. Part of the process involves acquiring mental discipline that is not, frankly, a skill that’s rewarded and barely even noticed in our current moment of collective psychic chaos. When you express yourself in a daring way, you will take the pressure off of yourself. The hottest focus of your chart these days is on the sign Aquarius, the most creative house in your horoscope, and the place you go when you feel like a genius. This you do from time to time, but the paradox is as follows. To tap into your brilliance, that true light that comes from beyond you, you need to soak yourself in your struggle. You need to feel and live through the extent to which your revelations are the result of your pain, your sense of not belonging, and most of all, your craving for the passion that you have not yet experienced. At least in recent years, you have begun to move toward that hunger, rather than trying to satisfy yourself with a fantasy. Here is a clue. Give the darkness in you a voice that you own. Paint with the colors of your shadow. Feel the freedom in doing so, and listen to what others say to you when they respond. All in all, this is the miracle of healing.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22)
YOU HAVE LONG felt different; what you must now do is act differently. I know — you are still mulling that one over. Sometimes you take so long to think about things that you make your friends over in Taurus seem like a kid on Red Bull and rollerblades in the mall. I will concede that at the moment (early in the year) you are still working out all the negotiable points with someone close to you, and they seem to have a viewpoint that’s difficult to pin down. You may be uncertain if someone close at hand is a friend or an enemy — of themselves. If you’ve gotten that far in your observation process, you’re living up to the psychological capabilities of your sign. That is precisely the issue: whether anyone who gets close to you is on their own side. The ones who are, you can work with; the ones who are not you must consider dangerous. Now, as you sort this out, you’re going to come across a diversity of ways that you are divided against yourself, and that is indeed a great time to pause. Pause, that is, and consider this. You have been dragged over hot coals the past decade of your life trying to establish your independence, your autonomy or perhaps just a healthy self-sufficiency. Exactly what you were recovering from I cannot be sure, but God did not make you a Scorpio for nothing. Usually someone as strong as yourself is that way for a reason, and the reason can be found in early childhood. But it will show up again and again in your life. You developed the idea that you have to be sufficiently powerful (in particular, financially and spiritually) to withstand the extreme swings of loyalty that you were exposed to. Now that you have grown up and accomplished that, you are being put back into the position to cultivate mutual trust, a sense of community and a new lesson, that of interdependence. But this will all go a lot smoother if you remind yourself every moment that you must be committed to your own cause, and use that as the criteria for who you involve yourself with.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22)
YOU HAVE the property of setting things into motion; you must accept that you may never see the results of any process you start. Most of them are either invisible to perception or occur too far from the reach of your senses to register consciously. Some will bear fruit in a measure of years that exceeds the length of a human lifetime. And some, you don’t notice because you’re not doing that elusive thing known as paying attention. Yet set things into motion you do, and you do it effectively: for good, or for ill. You have always known this, but the time has arrived to live as if it were true. If you are some kind of ’cause’ in the process of cause and effect, keep the experience as conscious as possible, so that you can make choices while you have the opportunity to do so. See if you can notice the results, be they immediate or extended over time, and observe the vast constellations of forces that have come together in order to manifest anything. Look back and observe what you have inspired, facilitated or ignited and be grateful that some of it actually worked. See if you can make amends for that which did not work so well, or that which harmed anyone at all. Remember that you are only getting a small sample of what you could be seeing, but as the next four seasons progress, it will be more than enough to inform you as you make some radical revisions to your values system. There is something from the past, some old idea that you are dragging around, that is about to get torpedoed. As visionary as you are, there is an attribute of your values that could be described as antique. Now, it is true that anyone who is authentically a radical needs to have a strong footing in tradition. Yet it is also true that a tradition is not a tradition unless it is alive. The way things were done in the past is not an excuse for anything; the reason things were done in the past is an excuse for even less.

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20)
WE LIVE on a planet where people will kill one another for the right to kill a tree. We also live on a planet where people will give their last dollar, their only blanket or one of their kidneys to someone in need. Unfortunately, between the ordinary saints and the boring warmongers there exists a vast ocean of what you might call gray area, and I don’t mean gray matter. This is the least common denominator, which (paraphrasing The Onion) is getting lower all the time. Look around at the world and notice how many people aspire to mediocrity. Heck, you’ve even done it yourself a few times. Enter Pluto into your birth sign. This has been warming up for two years as Pluto has been crossing the Galactic Core. That particular transit (which peaked in December) has put you into contact with a deeply hidden attribute of yourself: the one that is immune from all the limits and conventions of the world; the one that connects directly to Prime Source. Now you’re aware of this it’s no longer hiding down in a cave, but rather waiting in the wings for its moment on the Great Stage of your life. This is a transit that affects every living creature. We all have approximately one calendar year of the transition until the energy takes hold through 2024. This portends many, many changes for the world, including structural changes to society and the Earth herself (Edgar Cayce was onto this a while ago). For you, it means reaching to your depths and ripping forth into the community with all your energy. It means embodying the Shiva-like attributes of Pluto: becoming the embodiment of change itself. That is to say, by changing, you will set change in motion. By allowing yourself flexibility, you will create the same around you. By being willing to question yourself to the depths of your existence, you will hold open the space for the people around you to ask the questions that they need to ask. By being fair and insisting on fairness, you will create that pattern around you.

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19)
YOUR SIGN, like you, presents one of the most complex equations in all of astrology. That makes some sense: Aquarius is the sign of humanity itself. You see how complex you are, and how complex the human race is; you must live with yourself and the rest of us; the people who live with you coexist in a conscious way with your complexity. Let’s skip for a moment the constellation of planets that has taken up long-term residence in your region of the sky. Let’s consider a bit of theory: Aquarius is ruled by two planets considered vastly different by astrology — Saturn, the planet of tradition and structure, and Uranus, the planet of revolution, innovation and upheaval. Even in ancient times before the discovery of Uranus, Aquarius was considered the sign representing places where minerals are quarried — a place where old stuff was dug out of the ground to make something new; a place where what is ancient and natural is being made into something new at the hands of human industriousness. The planets now in your sign, mainly Chiron and Neptune, are taking you to extraordinarily deep places lately. Neptune has been raising a question; it has almost been negating your existence, making you feel like you are distant from yourself or granting you relief from having an ego. Chiron, which arrived more recently, is making it painfully clear that you are indeed a product of and partner in humanity. All your faults are magnified such that you can see the hairs on their nose. The injuries you have suffered in your life seem to be with you still, and you are aware that you can always get hurt again. But for some extremely odd reason, everything you have struggled with is becoming a source of strength and wisdom. Places that were once the scene of an ache or pain are now the place where you can grasp something heavy, carry a load with unusual strength, or express yourself in a way that was, for most of your life, impossible.

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20)
IF YOU TELL yourself the truth, you can do just about anything else you want. That is the price you will have to pay in order to go to the next level or stage of your life; the price of freedom. This is a small tariff for some people, and the highest there is for others. Which is it for you? While you’re sizing that up, you can also size up the price of any other way of living, and there are several options, to be sure. Of course, the real price of the truth is that which is not true. For some people that is no price at all; for others, it would represent the collapse of their entire existence, at least psychologically. Now, as a Pisces, you need your fantasies, and you need your dreams. But you need them in moderation, like any drug or substance (including art and music) that provides a pathway beyond the rational world. Yet what you need the most, if astrology means anything, is to break the partitions that separate your visions for your life — and for the world — from your simple desire to make them happen. It’s like you typically get stuck right at the point where you can take something out into the world where it can do some good. You know what you create is worthy of attention and that it would be good for the world. You also know how hard it is to penetrate into that space where the past is not so heavy that it crushes or confines that which is new and seeking to take root and grow. Now, believe it or not (and I don’t blame you if you don’t, yet) you are about to see what kind of impact is possible, particularly where the stalwart structures of society need a little…shall we say…encouragement to update their files. Society can mean your friends, your family, your professional vision and most of all, your personal vision for how you will fit into the world. There is an extremely good reason you must be honest with yourself at every opportunity: you will be handling power that can be dangerous if you are not.

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