Opening to Eros

Dear Friend and Reader:

Most people don’t sit around contemplating the beginnings of eras or sweeping changes to society — most of us live from day to day. As we do, we tend to have a tense relationship with change. Many of us cling to what we have and are familiar with, rather than welcoming anything new. We do this with arguably good cause: change isn’t always helpful, it’s not predictable and based on one fairly common way of thinking, it’s not under our control.

The “legendary kiss” of Alfred Eisenstaedt, celebrating the surrender of Japan at the end of World War II. One of the most famous photos in history describes the release of aggressive energy into erotic surrender, taken on a collective level. Now that we have wars that never end, there is no culture-wide release of the tension used to support the war; in the current era of history, we have to create these opportunities for ourselves.

When it comes on the collective level, it’s almost always bad news. There is no positive equivalent to 9/11 or the financial meltdown, no collective breakthroughs that balance the damage done by these large events to which we’re subjected. We’re expected to feel victimized, however, then to pay for and morally support wars that we never even ‘win’. The result is that tension and fear have a way of building without a collective point of release.

If there are equivalents to a 9/11, we don’t generally hear about them, or they get little traction. I am not just talking about the thing itself, I am talking about the publicity campaign that goes with it, the media attention, the emotional push and the way that it’s used to turn the page of history. It’s true that there have been Moon landings and Woodstocks, but if you think back through history nearly all of those are in the evermore distant past. Positive developments these days come on a smaller scale. I would love to see as much publicity given to the Seattle Erotic Art Festival as is given to a random act of war. Truly, though: how many people would find that ‘offensive’?

We could have a Good News Channel — but first item in its business plan would have to be no advertising. It would be a miracle if investors put up the money and if people signed up. Who knows, miracles happen.

Yes, there are positive developments in history — though they are usually squashed in the onslaught of fear and negativity that so many people do pay for and devote their attention to. And if not fear, consider how much attention and indeed obsession goes to HoardersThe Biggest Loser and Long Island Psychic. This is a bigger problem than it seems. Attention is diverted from real issues and situations needing creative focus, and many people in their escapism are passionately uninformed.

Your old pal Grover. This is Grover Norquist, who is waging a lifelong campaign for taxes to never go up, and he’s succeeding — for corporations and the ultra rich. Photo by Gage Skidmore / Wikimedia Commons.

Historically, this issue of balance may be outside what we choose pay attention to. Consider how something like the Fukushima nuclear meltdown happens in one day and persists forever, causing sickness, anxiety and a threat to countless future generations. Yet when was the last time you heard about a breakthrough that cleaned up the mess, or a development in energy production that made the world safer?

How many times have you heard or read the words ‘tax cut’? Yet when was the last time you personally saw your own taxes go down? With the exception of your team winning the big game (at the expense of many losers, and basically a meaningless development), it’s fair to say that collective events — as we think of the concept, and have it inflicted on us — are almost always negative or destructive.

There is a huge missing piece here, which is evidence of an imbalance on the planet that we live with every day. Even if this missing piece is only on the level of attention, that is saying a lot, because what we focus on multiplies.

We all know of people who try to make a ‘positive impact’ and the ways in which their efforts can seem futile — to the point where many others are discouraged from contributing (or use that difficulty as an excuse). This contributes to a cynical view of life. Cynicism serves many purposes. It reaffirms the habit of negative thinking and negative expectation. It’s also lazy — the ‘it’s all bad’ viewpoint lacks passion or applied intellect. It’s the sign of a lazy mind, one that orients on problems for their own sake and will not open up to solutions.

Many believe that when someone promises you life is about to get better, they’re either a religious huckster or someone trying to sell you something (same idea), and too often that’s true. When you really look closely at the interlocking political, financial and corporate interests, there seems to be no way out, no way to alter the course toward the future that we’re currently on.

The First Peak of 2012 Astrology 

Today I am here with another perspective, as we fully enter the first peak of 2012 astrology over the next few days. All of the aspects I’m about to describe are eclipse-like events, which means they function a bit like the Aries Point, merging the seemingly different personal and group levels of existence. Usually this is the kind of thing that comes at us; on some occasions we can consciously tap the energy and make it work for us.

Chart for the midpoint of the transit of Venus, set for Kingston, NY.
The ‘transit’ is a conjunction of Venus and the Sun that can be seen on the right side of the chart, below the dark line. Venus is blue and has the number 15 next to it; the Sun is the yellow circle. The occultation of Pluto by the Moon is on the left side of the chart, also right below the horizontal line. The two events are nearly simultaneous, with Venus still moving through the second half of its transit when the Moon-Pluto occultation is exact. We are now in the midst of a series of these Moon-Pluto events — the last time they happened was early in the 20th century when Pluto was in Cancer. They only happen when Pluto is crossing one of its own nodes (which are in Cancer and Capricorn), and is thus closer to the ecliptic, where the Moon can contact it.

Astrology offers us the ability to see something happening on the collective level that can influence us personally, and in which we can participate. This participation can, in turn, feed back into the collective and a creative cycle can gather momentum. We think this happens on its own — though advertisers know how to use the process.

Does it take some faith to believe this? Perhaps; though the more you actually work with astrology and study it against the movements of your life, the more clearly you can see it work, though that’s often in hindsight. One interesting way to do this is to track major events against your own diary or key biographical events.

It takes some focus and skill to work with astrological markers in the present, and use them as points of decision. The astrology is telling me that we are now, at this moment, standing at a threshold of personal and collective progress. There have been others; we can only take them one at a time. You may already be feeling this in the form of personal developments, or sensing it as a high-energy potential. Potential is the key word: we’re the ones who get to bring it into experience. This is not so mysterious as it seems. Everything starts with a drawing; you might wonder how a little sketch on a napkin manifests into a skyscraper, but that’s what can actually happen. A turn of phrase becomes a novel; one moment where the light touches the Earth a certain way becomes a film. This is the beauty of human creativity.

The central event is the transit of Venus, which takes place June 5 or 6, depending on your time zone (see related article below about viewing the transit). The momentum associated with this event has been building for a while (eight years, actually), though we crossed the first immediate release point about two weeks ago with the solar eclipse in the first degree of Gemini.

Monday, June 4 at 7:11 am EDT there is the corresponding eclipse of the Moon in Sagittarius (eclipses generally come in pairs, solar and lunar). That’s followed by the transit of Venus the next day (see worldwide viewing details below). This, in turn, is followed by an occultation of Pluto by the Moon (another eclipse-like event) less than two hours after the midpoint of the Venus transit. There are so many ways to interpret this rare cluster that you could write several books, though it’s the unusual grouping and unique combination of events that speaks to the potential hinted at by these aspects. As all eclipse-like events do, this cluster describes a shift in continuity, most of all — and this applies to every seemingly different level of human experience.

Let’s take the developments individually. The lunar eclipse describes a point of differentiation, where we can see beyond the past and beyond the shadowy levels of our psyche. An eclipse in Sagittarius is a critique of the role of religion and the way that it dominates nearly all of people’s personal cosmology. It’s an opportunity to forget everything you were told was true about God, the universe and everything, and make some observations of your own. What you were told to believedoes not matter. What you observe to be true, or aspire to, matters entirely.

The eclipse of Pluto by the Moon is about deep passion working its way through the seemingly dense layers of personality that keep us stuck in patterns, sometimes for decades or even multiple lifetimes. It’s also about acknowledgement of something we don’t usually bring to the surface and perhaps talk about, our psychic scarring and our deepest pain. Without that awareness, healing is much more complicated.

View of Pluto-Charon system from Hubble. Pluto is comprised of at least four points that we know of — including its binary partner (not a moon) Charon, as well as two smaller satellites, Nix and Hydra. They all orbit one common point. Pluto is a Kuiper Belt Object, now considered a dwarf planet, properly called (134340) Pluto.

Between the two is the transit of Venus. As I described in a recent edition, this is Venus passing so precisely between the Earth and the Sun that if you have a clear view of the Sun when it happens (and if you use viewing glasses), you will be able to see Venus orbit past the Sun with your own eyes — something that very few humans have ever seen.

Barring life-extension developments that few people would be able to afford, nobody who sees this transit of Venus will be alive to see the next one, which takes place in 2117. This points to our unique moment in history, or interval between the eras where we now stand. It’s a little like a fulcrum — when you move a telescope a few millimeters, what you see on the other end is a difference of light years. We’re the ones at the fulcrum moving that telescope, as we make decisions to do the right thing in our lives.

When you’re an astrologer you hear a lot of stories about why people cannot do the right thing, for themselves or for society as they see it. You work with who you can — with the people ready to make real choices not only to improve their situations but to get into harmony with something larger. The ones who want to often do.

Others it’s possible to help get free from various levels of being stuck, and that can go well if everyone is willing to participate. I suggest you be aware of your stories about why you ‘cannot be who you are’, and remember — they are stories, not the truth. Always remember Helen Keller.

However, it’s time to take a step forward. I am going to pass the microphone to a new friend — a psychologist and astrologer named David Tresemer. He’s the author of a book on the transit of Venus, and I interviewed him at the United Astrology Conference earlier in the week. If you listen to just one interview from the many that I did at the conference, this is the one.

So far, this is my favorite take on the transit of Venus, which I’ve been covering since 2004. After our interview, he sent me this summary of his ideas. I am going to publish it in full, then end with a brief commentary.

Here is what he’s proposing, in his own words. It is a form of creative visualization that I don’t usually write about, because it’s too easily confused with wishful or magical thinking. What David is writing about is not wishful thinking, no more than an architect sketching a bridge. Rather, this is about consciously designing our lives, something that I know many, many people want to do.

1. All of our pictures of the world are powered by energy. Giordano Bruno [1548-1600, executed as a heretic by the Vatican — ef] termed these “erotic phantasms.” Eros — passion, desire, love/hate, Venus! — motivates and energizes phantasms — pictures of this-is-just-the-way-it-is, dreams, visualizations, ideas, world-view. Rudolf Steiner, the founder of the Anthroposophic movement, described the same dynamic, though with less colorful terms. “Erotic phantasms” are not to be banished — as in “do away with all desire” — but rather exist to be recognized and worked with actively.

2. Eros/Venus will be stimulated and made turbulent by the transit of Venus on June 5/6 (the exact time is less important as we are in this rare celestial event — by anticipation — right now, and will be for some months). That restless eros will seek images to empower.

Transit of Venus, at maximum intensity, on June 8, 2004 — the first of our current pair. Photo by Anthony Ayiomamitis.

3. Marketers, especially of technological gadgets, have used and will use this undirected eros. Going-with-the-flow on your part accepts that the world will be imagined by corporate marketers.

4. You too can direct that energy of eros — can meet it — by creating pictures of the ideal for yourself and for the world — not vague woo-woo pictures but rather very specific and detailed pictures of anything that arouses your interest.

5. For example, with the situation at Fukushima still teetering on the edge of its largest explosion, you could imagine that the explosion does not happen, that heroic scientists work out how to remove the fuels to a safe place, and that all species develop a capacity to learn from and transform radioactivity. In terms of the mythic images in the Venus transit book, this means envisioning the taming of the magical fire-bird to subdue its expressions on the Earth. Be as specific as possible.

6. If you cannot formulate new pictures — if the world as you perceive it holds you in its thrall, then you can focus on the picture of how-things-are-right-now-as-you-perceive-them each night before sleeping. Look closely at the details, best without judgment, and hold the picture in your mind, for just a minute. Spiritual beings will take it up through the night and in the morning (or in a few days) they will bring you an insight about how to penetrate even the most difficult problems.

7. In any case, take this opportunity to cultivate your relationship to ideals that engage eros behind them. Those imaginations will focus your desire — the restless eros of this time — in ways that will be healthy for you and for everyone else.


That is some practical advice. I would add: leave yourself as much free time as you can for the next five days or so. Keep your schedule simple, and do some of the things you love. Most of all, keep an open mind. You may not be able to plan all that much, but if you can hold your vision and be flexible, you will be able to catch some of that Venus solar wind.

Eric Francis

Friday, June 1, 2012. Weekly Horoscope #905 | Eric’s Zodiac Sign Descriptions

Gemini Birthdays: Before and After

There are some astrological events that define life as the marker between “everything before” and “everything after.” You are at such a moment now. Tuesday’s Venus transit of the Sun stands as a borderline in your life, and you can work with that consciously now. What happened before is the past, though this is substantially true based on what comes next. You are indeed embarking on a future different from anything you’ve experienced before, accessing parts of yourself that you could not quite make contact with before. You have help from a solar eclipse in your opposite sign Sagittarius, which is allowing you to release attachments to family, security and situations in your life that are rooted in the past. A second, similar event (the occultation of Pluto by the Moon) is helping you dismantle your old concepts of ‘commitment’ and ‘relationship’ and teaching you to be guided by your soul’s intention rather than what society has dictated as proper or appropriate. Once you give yourself space to be freed of your attachments and make the decisions you need to make, you will open a conduit of nearly boundless creative energy and passion, which you can direct any way you want. It would be eminently helpful if you decide exactly what that is — subject to modification of course, though the clearer the better.

Aries (March 20-April 19) — There’s an old expression, “Free your ass and your mind will follow.” Or is that “Free your mind and your ass will follow”? Well, after years of contemplation and experimenting, I think they amount to the same thing. There is nothing that liberates the mind like saying yes to your pleasure, letting go of your shame and inhibition and giving yourself space to be human. And taken from the other direction, a free mind is likely to observe that the next logical step is the freedom to take possession of your body and feel what you want to feel. It doesn’t matter which you start with, as long as the circuit is completed. Release from constraint is a holistic experience, and there is more than one way into the experience. I would pose one question, though: release from what? For some people it will feel more like fear, for others more like guilt, for others more like shame, for others more like anger. All of these are natural emotions with limited use — and the experience starts with the desire to go beyond them into something better.

Taurus (April 19-May 20) — It is often said that the basis of love is selflove. Yet selflove is often confused with vanity, arrogance and self-obsession, and has a way of being put down as such. While many are busy doing this, the world is crumbling under the weight of the self-esteem problems that many people face, which come disguised in a thousand forms, most of which are not seen for what they are. Let’s come back to our starting point, which was selflove. This is not generally related to sex, which is presumed to come from other people — the sex we give ourselves isn’t usually regarded as ‘the real thing’. I would propose the idea that not only is masturbation real sex, it’s the basis of all sexual awareness and hence sexuality — and that it plays as meaningful a role in your relationship to yourself as sexual contact plays within any couple. Next week’s transit of Venus is pumping energy into your relationship with yourself — in its sexual aspect and many others. Explore this dynamic and you’ll discover that you can go deeper with yourself than you ever expected. Within your own inner space, you can work out anything that’s interfering with your relationships with others, and prepare yourself to go deeper than ever before.

Gemini (May 20-June 21) — No doubt you’ve noticed that the pace of your life has picked up considerably since the eclipse in your birth sign that happened nearly two weeks ago. Events as they are developing will only concentrate the flow of experience, even to the point of putting you into a kind of time-warp. Tuesday’s Venus transit of the Sun happens in your sign, which is another way of saying it has personal meaning for you unlike for anyone else. It may even be occurring within a few days of your birthday, though in any event, what develops in these very days will influence your life for many years to come. There’s something here about recognizing yourself in your whole, undivided state, at one with yourself and your desires. There’s also an eclipse of the Moon in your opposite sign Sagittarius a day before the Venus event, which suggests that you have the ability to see past your attachments to others in a realistic way. This will allow you the freedom to take on the challenges of living in a way that is unencumbered by the past — or which, at least, keeps the past in perspective as something that has already happened. Many, many exciting and unusual things are to come — all of them supported by the cosmic gift of self-awareness.

Cancer (June 21-July 22) — One of my Book of Blue model friends, an actor and artist named Heather Fae, and I made up a mantra during a photo session one day: Free Phantasy. We decreed that the realm of one’s erotic imagination is rightfully an anything-goes space. Anyone you want is subject to the whims of your imagination, as is anything you want, no matter how inappropriate or unavailable it may seem. Within the space of consciousness, we have an innate right to think and feel whatever we want. It helps if we dare to allow anyone to think or want anything they want about us. We don’t have to advertise this fact — only admit that it’s likely to happen and not waste energy resisting. When we allow the imagination to run wild, it’s inevitable that we’ll arrive places that violate various social morals or ethics. Most people spend enormous amounts of energy pulling back or censoring themselves, which in turn can lead to conflict and even paralysis and sickness. Anything goes means anything: darkness and shadow are part of our psychic experience on Earth, and can be sources of pleasure and authentic healing of a deep inner split that you no longer need — and that in truth no longer exists.

Leo (July 22-Aug. 23) — Those born under the sign Leo (including rising and Moon) are almost all people who are admired and looked up to by others. You might still feel like lil’ ol’ you, yet there is indeed something about leadership and natural respect that you have as a gift of your birth. Do you fully appreciate how influential that is? One of the most significant crises on the planet right now involves leadership, particularly on the ‘unofficial’ or social level where you’re the most adept at it. The transit of Venus is bestowing you with the gift of charisma, though there is also something about communication skills and something even more — ethics. You have the ability to put into words what is right and what is not so right. And you have the ability to demonstrate something that the world needs to see: how to live in a way that eliminates jealousy and competition as a way of life. You can do this because you’re confident in yourself, but also because you know that if humanity keeps driving its train powered by these two nearly useless emotions, we’re going to come off the tracks.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22) — You never set out to conquer the world, though you’ve always been guided by a sense of purpose. That is now being elevated to a sense of mission, which means tangible goals that you go after with passion and the presence of something that approximates destiny. If you’re not feeling that now you will be feeling it soon. I have been describing one of the key elements of this for a while: noticing what your many other previous and current projects have as a common factor — seeing the spirit and essence behind what you do, no matter what it is. There is one other factor: letting go of your attachment to place. This is one of the strongest attachments that a person can have — their home; their familiar community; their local friends; and invoking the fear of being transient and ungrounded. Often this includes the presence of their family (sibs or parents). You will benefit from unleashing your wanderlust and your ability to have anyplace on Earth be home. Even if you don’t let go of your home base, you will build your confidence and security by traveling as far and wide as you can, particularly if you don’t stay in hotels but rather visit the homes of other people.

Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23) — One (often unspoken) definition of ‘spiritual’ is asexual. This is particularly true in Christian culture, where Jesus, Joseph and Mary are all presumed to be virgins. Yet it extends into many other religious frameworks, where sex is the very thing that is suppressed in the name of holiness. Is there anyone who hasn’t noticed how weird this is? It is entirely backwards, a violation of natural cosmic law in support of imposed social organization. Yet you were created by sex, as was nearly all life on our planet. Religion then comes along, ascribes this all to God and charges fees for the privilege — then tries to inflict guilt if we appreciate nature for what it is. That, however, is what you seem to be doing. Your true nature is burning bright — the nature of your existence and of existence itself. You may feel like your beliefs (or those of your family) are being challenged, and if so, let the challenge begin. You don’t need beliefs because you have access to something direct. This may be shaking the structure of your mind, and if cracks form in the walls and ceiling, all the better for seeing the light shine through.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22) — One of the most interesting things about the way that Scorpio’s solar chart is arranged is that the sign Gemini falls on the 8th house. Let’s take those concepts one at a time. The 8th is about surrender in all its forms: death, orgasm, deep commitment, the movement of wealth between people and generations, and many kinds of situations over which we seem to have no power. It’s also the place where some of the best things in life come into our sphere of reality — and now you have a truly rare, magnificent event there. This signifies an inheritance that is not the result of death but rather the result of life itself. One expression is about feeling what a profound gift your relationships are. Yet another is actually experiencing in a direct way how meaningful you are to others. On one level you know this — and on another you waste too much time on your doubts and your insecurities. You don’t need them; they are not real, and you have a much more valuable emotional asset that is making itself known to you.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22) — You may be feeling something unusual, for you — being daunted by the presence, the talent or the passion of someone else. You’re usually the one who nobody can touch, the one people look up to and who seems to have some kind of superhuman quality. Now you get to feel what it’s like to have someone like that in your life, someone you admire profoundly and who you know is having a deep influence on the course of your life. Now is the time to let your relationships — this one, and others — feed you. You’re not in a submissive posture in these situations; indeed it is your strength that is allowing you to have the ability to be stable and secure enough to actually receive what other people are offering. This really is the key — receiving. There is not a therapist alive who will deny that people struggle with this, though if you’re aware of it, you can end that struggle now. Life is holding out some of its richest offerings to you right now, and will be for the foreseeable future. Open up and allow yourself to embrace them fearlessly.

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20) — Every time I hear the words ‘sexual healing’, I think — that’s a beautiful thing, but where would anyone go for that? We live in an era when even therapists and psychologists are terrified of having the sexual conversation with their clients, concerned that they might be sued for malpractice if something is taken the wrong way. Yet the pain that many people suffer is driven directly by their need for sexual healing, which connects to and influences the emotions on every level. If this describes you, I suggest you be open about this fact with yourself. If you can do that, you can take the next step and develop a description of your situation, so you know what your healing goals are. If you can state a problem coherently, the solution is usually right around the corner (borrowing from A Course in Miracles, “Let me recognize the problem so it can be solved.”) Remember that your sexual past goes back to the time of your conception (what I call the conception drama) and may go back even further. Be open to healing and trust that the right assistance will arrive — most of which, in truth, will come from you.

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) — Sex is an experiment. It’s a gamble and it’s a form of play though mostly it’s an experiment, which is most dependably driven by a form of love known as curiosity. From the look of where the sky aligns with your solar chart, you have plenty of that going on right now, and that may be arriving with a deep desire to jump into new experiences. Here is a question, though: to what extent do you feel free to do that? What, if anything, is presenting an obstacle? You now have the power to go over, through or around it. One way to do that is to be clear about what you want, with yourself and anyone whom it may concern. It rarely is the presence or values of others that gets in our way — it’s how we choose to handle these things, which includes whether we’re going to be slaves to our inhibitions. There is a closely-related concept to sexual experimentation, and that is art. This may be the closest cousin to sex and it feeds many of the same aspects of our psyche and has an odd way of leading to hot encounters.

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) — There is big astrology moving — some of the most amazing of our lifetimes. This weekend’s series of events is focused on the angle of your chart that addresses the theme of your home. You’re awakening to the fact that this is the source of your strength, your stability and your success in both love and work. Therefore, any investment you make in improving your home life will offer you rich rewards. Start by appreciating what you have and where you are, for its human properties and its geographic ones. Then look for the places you want to make improvements. There’s a direct connection from your safe haven inward to your deepest sense of security and outward to every area of your life, particularly the work that you do. Make sure that any new living space is perfectly suited for you to be creative, productive and prosperous. You don’t need to stretch your finances much to do this — you merely need to plan and be aware of what you really want. It might be a lot of space. It might be sunlight. It might be quiet. It might be living in the busiest part of the city. A new vision of home is about to come to you: open your heart and let it in.

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