Dear Friend and Reader:
This latest shooting by police of an unarmed black youth set off weeks of riots in a city about the size of Kingston, located in St. Louis County. Local and state police, as well as the National Guard, were called in, though as the days progressed, the situation escalated and many times went out of control. Media reports described peaceful protests by day, and then riots by night. The night-time protests were described by authorities as perpetrated by people who didn’t really care about Brown’s death — which seems an attempt to pretend that the anger of those protesters was unjustified.
Brown’s death is being seen as part of a pattern of unarmed men of color, mostly teenagers, killed by police. Among the deaths we’ve actually heard of are Eric Garner, age 43, Staten Island, 2014 (the guy who sold loose cigarettes, killed in a chokehold); Kimani Gray, age 16, Brooklyn, 2013; Kendrec Mcdade, age 19, Pasadena, 2012; Ervin Jefferson, age 18, Atlanta, 2012 (shot by a security guard); Ramarley Graham, age 18, Bronx, 2012; and Victor Steen, age 17, Pensacola, 2009. This doesn’t count Trayvon Martin, who was killed by wannabe cop George Zimmerman.
The well of rage that Brown’s death taps into is related to this pattern, though the shootings are just the most visible attribute. It also includes the stop-and-frisk policy of the NYPD that went on throughout the Bloomberg administration, the noted phenomenon of being pulled over for driving while black, and many other circumstances. According to the NAACP, one in three African American men can expect to serve prison time.
In an article published earlier this week, Rob Urie of Counterpunch laid the scenario out in stark terms. “Had the murder been an isolated incident it would be tragic. But the death of Mike Brown was a political assassination. The systematic nature in which youth of color are harassed, intimidated, incarcerated and assassinated perpetuates the historic repression of American blacks and browns from the barbaric founding of the U.S. in slavery and genocide to supposed resolution with the Civil Rights movement. This is to state that any of these murders might be considered individually but the aggregation paints a clear picture of systematic racial repression.”
It takes some awareness of history, and some sensitivity, to know that what we’re seeing in Ferguson is part of a very old pattern. Dred Scott, the former slave whose name is attached to one of the most infamous Supreme Court decisions in history, is buried just a few miles away from Ferguson.
In that 1857 decision, Chief Justice Roger Taney declared African Americans “beings of an inferior order, and altogether unfit to associate with the white race, either in social or political relations, and so far inferior that they had no rights which the white man was bound to respect.”
Astrologically, the scenario in Ferguson is set before the backdrop of the Uranus-Pluto square. Because it involves the signs Aries and Capricorn, it’s in the scenario for the government to be demonstrating its militancy. This is the astrology that defines our time in history, in a way similar to how the Saturn-Pluto opposition of 2001 and 2002 defined the 9/11 era. Pluto is a small planet that works on a large scale.
In his 2006 book Cosmos and Psyche, historian Richard Tarnas (author of The Passion of the Western Mind) documents the Uranus-Pluto cycle as a time of revolt and revolution, with stops at many infamous eras in history. The last big stop was the conjunction of 1965-1966. What we think of as The Sixties was a reflection of, or a product of, the Uranus-Pluto conjunction in Virgo, an aspect that had a ripple effect back to the 1950s and well into the 1970s; that’s how these aspects work.
Now nearly 50 years later we’re at the square, the equivalent of the first quarter phase, which is exact between 2012 and 2015. We saw the first undeniable manifestations of this with Arab Spring, the Wisconsin labor protests and the Occupy movement, all of which took place in 2011. The Occupy movement was snuffed out, Wisconsin was crushed and Arab Spring did not turn out so well.
Since then it’s been pretty quiet, though people have had plenty to protest. In fact, I would describe the past few years as having an eerie calm, given the astrology. The longer it’s gone on, the weirder it’s seemed to me. By silence I don’t mean the world — the world seems to be spinning off its axis right now.
It’s the human response to all this mayhem and injustice that I’ve been listening for. Each time an incident would increase the pressure on individuals and on society, I kept waiting for the echo, the response or the point of release, and again and again, there was nothing. Then Ferguson happened.
When I cast the chart for Michael Brown’s death, I thought I would see the Uranus-Pluto square come up front and center — mainly due to the aftermath. Instead, the aspect is in the background of the chart, hidden away, as if lurking behind the scenes. I took that to be an illustration of the tension behind the protests and riots.
This showed up as Uranus in Aries in the 12th house, illustrating restlessness, a sense of revolt and revolution behind the veil of perception (the 12th represents that veil into the unseen). Close to Uranus is Eris, a goddess the Romans called Discordia. There is a kind of militancy with this pattern, and coming from the 12th, a lot of pressure.
All that pressure seemed to vent into the 4th house — the home base. I read that as Sun and Mercury closely trine Uranus. A trine opens up an energy flow, and all that energy seemed to be pouring into the 4th house. The chart seemed to illustrate a vast, far-reaching problem so large as to be invisible.
Then one day there was an effect; a manifestation, a flashpoint, in one location most people had never heard of; that location could be anywhere.
The chart described many other themes behind the scenes. There are several houses in the chart that show the background of the question, and all of them had activity in this chart. For example, Pluto in the 9th house describes a titanic spiritual crisis, and a struggle to evolve. The Capricorn Moon in the 9th describes the looming presence of authority, both in reality and as an emotional construct. The Moon was about to change signs and make an opposition to the Sun; Brown was killed right before the Full Moon.
There was one other noteworthy placement — Pholus in the 8th house. The 8th in a death chart is important because it describes how the person died, and the circumstances surrounding the death. Pholus is a centaur planet, similar in some ways to Chiron. But rather than the slow burn of Chiron, Pholus describes the runaway reaction. We see the illustration of a cop shooting an unarmed person six times as part of what has gone out of control, followed by out-of-control riots.
Then a reader pointed out that I had reversed AM and PM on the incident chart. Brown was actually killed a few minutes past noon on Aug. 9, not a few minutes past midnight. AM/PM errors are common in astrology, and they happen to every astrologer at least once in their career, usually a good few times.
When I pondered how I could possibly make such an error, it occurred to me that one would never expect a cop to gun down an unarmed person at high noon. That seems more like something that happens at night.
I remember copying the time from my data source, and I am a pretty good transcriber — I never want to commit publicly to the interpretation of the wrong chart. In this case, we were talking about the same basic aspect patterns. What was rearranged by the error was what houses the planets and aspects appeared in.
As errors go, this one was interesting and potentially useful for a few reasons. One is that it describes the 12 hours leading up to the incident. It was not a random time; if astrology is useful for prediction, one should be able to see the event coming 12 hours in advance, in that exact locale.
Another is that reversing the meridian, that is, switching AM and PM, can reveal the shadow chart. It’s a technique in natal astrology for getting underneath a confounding chart (it’s also used sometimes for reading for identical twins, but I don’t like this method).
The midnight chart certainly has the feeling of a psychological study of what has been driving the protests. The noon chart is a lot simpler. It describes the police state in stark terms. In some ways it’s more the chart you would expect to see; for example, the Leo group shows up not on the bottom of the chart in the 4th house (home, security) but on top of the chart in the 10th house — the house of government. The chart describes a raw display of power and bravado.
At noon, Pisces is on the 6th house cusp. The 6th is the house that rules the military. The traditional ruler of Pisces is Jupiter, which we find as the most elevated planet in the chart (in the 10th), boldly asserting its authority in Leo. The Sun is up there, as is Mercury. We are being shown, and told, who the boss is.
It’s noteworthy that in addition to a discussion of the police shooting men of color, we are having one of the only national discussions that I recall about how since the 9/11 incident the police have been transformed into a paramilitary force. Ferguson is a town of 22,000, a small place. Even much smaller towns have tank-like vehicles and SWAT teams with armored soldiers equipped with automatic weapons and chemical weapons.
Isn’t it interesting that 9/11 was supposed to be about a foreign enemy of freedom, yet American citizens were expected to give back much of their freedom as a result of that incident? We extolled cops as heroes, and now we’re dealing with what would under other circumstances be viewed as a serial murder.
James Madison was already onto this one in 1787. At the Constitutional Convention, he said: “A standing military force, with an overgrown Executive will not long be safe companions to liberty. The means of defense against foreign danger, have been always the instruments of tyranny at home.” Madison and others have pointed out that the threat of allegedly foreign danger is an easy excuse to suppress the domestic population.
I think that the standing military force in our towns is a serious problem, though I think a bigger problem is the presumption that a police officer’s shield is a license to kill. It is not.
We pay to train police officers, and one of the things we train them in is the proper use of force. Generally, that means exerting minimal necessary force in order to bring a suspect in with the least possible fuss or injury. In the words of the Department of Justice guidelines, “Police officers should use only the amount of force necessary to control an incident, effect an arrest, or protect themselves or others from harm or death.”
We seem to be adopting the principle that if a police officer feels threatened, then it’s OK to shoot first and deal with the aftermath later. We know that those feelings are not always accurate, since so many unarmed people are killed. If we are to believe the NRA, the only solution to a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. So then why exactly are so many people without guns getting killed? Maybe there are too many guns, including in the hands of the police.
We live in angry, frustrated times. People feel powerless, and I think that perception is correct. There is a lot brewing behind the scenes of Ferguson. There is a lot being revealed. The midnight chart and the noon chart of Michael Brown’s death tell different sides of the same story.
Weekly Horoscope for Friday, August 22, 2014, #1012 | By Eric Francis
Aries (March 20-April 19) — There’s no point holding on, or stuffing your feelings down, and there is no point pushing another person. There are what seem to be competing forces in your psyche right now — one is saying you must break free, or get control. Another is saying that you must devote yourself to healing. Either way, you need to vent some energy. You need to express your life force. And it’s vital that you not allow what you perceive as the constraints of a relationship to stop you from doing that. Nobody owns you, nobody can and they never will. It’s possible to convince yourself that they do, and that you don’t really have any choices, and that may be a core belief that you need to address. Equally, if you feel blocked by not having anyone to share with, it’ll help if you go beyond that perceived obstacle and get real about sharing with yourself.
Taurus (April 19-May 20) — Push could come to shove in a relationship, though I suggest you consider the possibility that none of this is about you. In other words, what is happening with a partner or love interest is all about them, and not about you. I don’t mean to imply that they don’t care, or that you don’t matter. I do mean to say that you are not really the subject of their situation, no matter what it may seem. However, because so much of relating to other humans involves projecting onto others, and introjecting what others send our way, the boundary between what is mine and what is yours can get extremely fuzzy. You can try to sort things out, or you can refer to astrology, which says: don’t take on what is not yours — and at the moment most of what you’re witnessing fits that category.
Gemini (May 20-June 21) — Don’t panic. I mean, OK, you can if you want. If you insist. If you think it would be fun. But would it? If there is a crux of your fear, it’s an especially harsh level of criticism that you may be inflicting on yourself. However, you don’t look like the original source of the data. It looks like you’re carrying around the self-inflicted emotional torture gene, and it’s acting up. While you don’t have to blame anyone, it might help to notice where this is coming from. To you it may seem as natural as holding a spoon, and it may indeed have been passed along to you from the person who also taught you how to eat. You seem to be burning up so much energy that you could make yourself unwell. I suggest you commit to expressing every drop of your energy in a positive and creative way. Don’t ask how, just do it.
Cancer (June 21-July 22) — If you’ve been experiencing some kind of emotional or sexual blockage, you may be feeling a drive to work it out and open up. If you have not identified the theme as sexual, it’s worth considering, because the astrology illustrates that vividly. It may, however, be something on a level deeper than you’re accustomed to going. That is the nature of healing — it happens in layers. We are all, as in all of us, the inheritors of the sexual pain, mistrust and frustration of the ages. For many centuries, sex has been used against the human race, as everything from a weapon of war to a tool for social control. Society’s current insistence that sex be a commodity is not much of an improvement; it’s the same old drama. Know that you’re unraveling something larger than yourself, but that at your core, you are yourself, with your feelings and your desires — and that is all you need to be.
Leo (July 22-Aug. 23) — Life is a game of truth or dare, or rather, truth and dare. When you admit the truth, you’re more likely to dare. This is an emotional level of alchemy. The reason the truth is so daring is because it demands action. The way this shows up in your chart, the first bold step is admitting how you feel. That will take a lot of pressure off of you, especially if you feel like the walls are closing in, or if you have no space to admit to your desire. It seems as if decisions made long ago, especially those related to your home life, are confining you. And that alone may be frightening. Yet it would be less frightening if you would practice some emotional flexibility. Here is a clue — that would feel like losing control. It’s not, exactly; what you would be losing is the illusion of control, and gaining access to a connection to flow and movement that allows you to actually steer your boat down the river.
Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22) — Self-critique is not the answer to everything, nor is endless mental rationalization. You are entitled to feel how you feel. It’s neither right nor wrong. If you don’t like how you feel, you have two choices — one is to understand the cause and do something about it; another is to change your mind. You can do the second without doing the first, though I would say that’s unlikely. In the end, you will just have to change your mind. The problem with the analysis of cause is that it can be biased, and in this scenario, the bias is likely to be against you. The thing to remember is that you were not born in a vacuum. You entered the world through multiple strands of DNA, into one or more pre-existing family situations, and with your own personal karma. While it’s true that things were done to you, in order to get to the next level, you will have to go beyond blame. Accountability is another thing, and that requires documentation, multiple viewpoints and a balanced analysis. Mostly it involves owning what is yours, and letting go of what is not yours.
Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23) — When people are afraid to look within themselves, usually this is associated with the darkness they expect to be there. Sometimes it seems like the whole world is in reaction to this one perceived fear — that the inner world is a kind of nightmare. But what if the opposite is true? If you feel any aversion to looking inward, consider that what you’re afraid to see is the light that’s within you. It may be that the veil of self-blame is just that, a scrim that blocks your inner view, onto which all kinds of scary imagery is projected. You may find that obstacle especially frustrating over the next few days, to the point where you’re ready to tear it down and see what’s actually on the other side. You can trust one thing, at least — there is another side, and what’s there is different from the movie projected onto the screen.
Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22) — You know you want to let go. You seem to be holding on as a matter of will, but deeper down you know that what you need to do is let go of all the resistance in your body. This is not about letting go of your commitments, or of your desire for some consistency in your life. Rather, it’s an invitation to honor the truth that life not only involves change, it is based on change. This is true for everything from the development of an individual fetus to the evolution of a species to how we will respond to the biosphere crisis. Perhaps the single most useful, most beautiful and most potent human attribute is adaptation. You don’t want to give up this power; you want to work with it as closely as you can. Change is imminent, and the truth is it can serve you very well, if you participate as its creative partner.
Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22) — You may be wondering when your luck will run out. You’re not there yet, and you have a long way to go. What I suggest you consider is when your fear will run out. You seem to have reached a limit of how much you can worry, how concerned you can be, how averse you are to taking the kinds of chances that you really want to take. It would seem that your even greater fear is allowing yourself to actually feel. This story is older than you, and it may be as old as civilization, so you don’t have to take it so personally. For sure there is a family story involved, and I suggest you note the relatives whose emotions either ran below the freezing point or never seemed to drop below the boiling point. Yet what is indeed personal is that your own need to feel is exceeding your resistance. And in one burst, you may experience anything from pain to guilt to raw desire of a kind that you are often reluctant to admit to. Start with yourself. Then consider the virtue of living out loud.
Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20) — You may find yourself in a position where you need to take an unpopular position. That may be the right thing to do. I suggest however that you consider what, exactly, you’re pushing back against. Do you really need to assert yourself against anyone or anything outside yourself, or do you just need to do your thing? It depends on what your goal is, which is partly about your circumstances. For example, in order to make a statement, you don’t need to defend your right to free speech; you just need to say what’s on your mind. That strongly implies that you have a right to do so, and you don’t need to make that extra point. It seems that you want to find your distinct place in society. Therefore, do what you must, do what you want, and don’t explain yourself until someone tries to stop you.
Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) — Others seem to repeatedly make the same mistakes, and there’s nothing you can really do about it. You cannot get control over them. What you can do is take charge of your life. But rather than do this in an abrupt or aggressive way, I suggest you take the motivation you’re feeling now and convey it into a longterm commitment. You know what you have to do. You know that ultimately you are responsible for your own existence. Even if there are outside factors influencing you, the quest of individual consciousness and volition seems to be about relating to them in a tangible way. That, in turn, requires a high level of awareness, and the willingness to stand up for yourself. Yet where that happens first is in your own life. It may involve a revolt against those who conditioned you to be submissive to them, at the expense of your own intentions. But remember — this is an inner revolution, not one conducted on the phone or in the streets.
Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) — You must have faith in yourself no matter how much your confidence annoys other people. Yet for that to work, you must maintain an unusual level of self-awareness. For many people that is tricky enough. yet there’s one more element involved. You need to observe your environment with precision, while not taking on the burdens of others, or the issues they try to lay on you. And one more. It’s essential not to project your material onto others. The way to accomplish all of this is to maintain a high level of inner focus while you maintain a circumspect view of the world around you. Account for your viewpoint, then notice how many other viewpoints there are. Don’t confuse the two. Just because you’re correct does not mean that someone else has to be wrong. Just because something appears to be true does not make you wrong. True confidence goes beyond all of that, which is why it can be such a source of aggravation to those who cannot go there. You know you can. You know it’s time. And you know that faith trumps hope any day.