Perfection is not a value

Dear Friend and Leader:

A couple of weeks ago, I got a suggestion from my inner guide to stop interpreting the Aquarius conjunction. I follow this voice carefully in my astrology writing. It’s given me plenty of information but never before suggested that I shut up. “You’ve been working on this for 14 years. Stop explaining the energy and focus on working with it,” is the message I got, basically verbatim. Fourteen years? All my roads lead here; to this desk; all words to this very sentence.

Aquarius. Photo by Eric Francis.

It was time for a break anyway, so I started canceling things (like editions of Planet Waves Radio), farming writing assignments out to my colleagues and doing other things (visiting friends, photographing new people and places, writing fiction, and so on). Finally I slept through the Gemini New Moon and realized that I had indeed disengaged myself. With the first peak of the Jupiter-Chiron-Neptune conjunction upon us, and with Mercury stationing direct on Saturday, I am here with a few additional notes.

Mercury will station direct in late Taurus, square the alignment in late Aquarius, so the two events are intimately related.

It will take Mercury about 11 days from now, slowly walking forward in Taurus, to align at precisely 90 degrees with the triple conjunction (this will be the third pass of this square, and the most precise). Mercury is the planet of mind, and vibrates closely with Aquarius all the time; Taurus is the sign of the body. The message is that we are trying to embody an idea. That is to say, it’s time to get it out of our heads, out of the abstract realm, and into the physical, sensory dimension where we can work tangibly with the changes we are making.

I have described the Aquarius alignment as one of the most meaningful conjunctions of our lifetimes. I am speaking collectively and individually. This is a big statement, particularly since (at the moment) there seems to be nothing special going on in the world unless you’re really impressed by Korea’s nuclear test or GM fleeing to China; and yes we have a Supreme Court nominee (see article below) and that is pretty important; but nothing overt (such as on TV) that would lead someone to say, “Gee whiz, what a superb moment of human evolution. What a great time to be on the planet.” Unless of course you’re looking carefully, and unless your perception sees the particular wavelengths that would resolve something so subtle. Because this aspect involves Neptune, and is in a sextile to the Galactic Core in Sagittarius, I am pretty sure it’s invisible to most people. Both Neptune and the Core have the property of disappearing into the background. But so do most big aspects — unless something horrid happens (such as Sept. 11) or unless the planets turn up the dial on sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll (the 1960s, 2012).

If we look with the long view, it’s fairly easy to see what it all adds up to, but it’s difficult to see the astrology in its moment, and that is one of the true challenges of paying attention to astrology at all. Also, one’s personal transits can send us into crisis, and I’m hearing a fair bit of that now, but we need to understand the nature of the crisis. To me this is speaking clearly about getting to a lighter density level than the one we’re conditioned to hang out on. This involves adjusting our relationship to matter/mater/mother.

Spiral Fantasy by Alfred Laing. This is a fractal-generated image; it’s a mathematical equation. A fractal is a still portrait of Chaos Theory in motion. When you hear someone say that “there are patterns in the chaos,” this is an example – and so are you.

We also need to shift our relationship to what was formerly called ‘chaos’ or ‘information overload’. One message that astrology is sending us is about embracing apparent complexity. In recent years, more than 200,000 planets have been discovered orbiting our Sun (most of them since Pholus and QB1 showed up in 1992) — so many that most don’t have names and probably never will. If astrology is a model of consciousness, this is evidence of a change in the model and what it represents, which would be you and me.

As humanity struggles to keep up with the haze of technological development, climate changes and economic changes, there is another struggle, one usually going on beneath the surface of consciousness, which is about needing our spiritual progress to keep pace with all the options we’re given. By spiritual progress I mean ethics, and I also mean awareness of, and a relationship with, a thinly veiled dimension of reality that provides us with better information than we get most other places; and by that I mean living information that will help us heal our lives and do what we came here to do.

That bit! Tell me: would it be fair to say you were born to do what you are doing today? You were born to do something, and to find out what that is it’s necessary to get beneath the appearances of life, below the surface and away from the expectations of others and pay attention to something closer to the core; and by pay attention I don’t mean a fleeting glance or a whim; I don’t mean a workshop.

The problem — and it’s a big one — with this dimension of consciousness is that it denies something called the ego. By ego I don’t just mean the arrogant guy in a suit and aviator sunglasses who thinks a movie should be made about him, despite how boring his life really is. I mean the complex of fear-based concepts that creates a notion of ‘self’ which wants to run the universe on its own frightening terms. This is an identity that is usually experienced as some combination of competitive, jealous, controlling, negative and unwilling to yield to collective needs, or for that matter, authentic personal needs.

The ego eats fear to thrive, and creates fear as waste; it’s a kind of breeder-reactor. Television news is one of its favorite foods. It occupies itself with games, such as “How much does it cost?” or “Look what I can get away with,” or “I’m only trying to help you.” (Google Transactional Analysis for more info. Or get one of the best books ever written, Games People Play.)

Or how about, “I’m not going to be with anyone till I’ve healed all of my issues and I find the perfect partner.”

The original title for Woodstock was “Aquarian Exposition.” That is indeed Jerry Garcia on
the left; Jimi to the right; Janis below;
Grace lower right.

Then there is the community game. I am starting to cringe every time I hear an expression like “LGBT community” or “Facebook community.” There are a lot of imaginary groups that exist in the midst of Neptune in Aquarius, such as the Fair Trade coffee drinking community. And there is a profound need to get together; to align our vision and our ideals in a way that is not as simple as getting on an Internet group. Part of why so many people are so lonely right now (a Neptune function) is that most of us don’t know how to get together any more; how to share a goal or an idea and work toward it.

Something else is possible; many other things are. When we’re introduced to a perspective on the world that offers us not only freedom from these patterns but also the gift of abundance; an opportunity to participate; and an unusual level of awareness, this fear-based pattern can (and usually does) go into revolt mode (illness, addiction, rage, guilt, self-sabotage). Or it can try to put the biocomputer into sleep mode (unavailable, wandering, lost, delayed, bored, depressed, frustrated). One very common reaction is simply fear, with nothing special to back it up; just ongoing fear of the unknown or unfamiliar.

And yes, self-aggrandizement and arrogance are some of its most fun toys. More lately, dwelling on integrity is one of the most popular games we play, which can almost always be identified by the inability to laugh at oneself. Too much integrity is not healthy. The Golden Gate Bridge sways in the breeze.

Sex, for its part, has profound power both as a tool for awakening and for going deeper into sleep. But there is a paradox, which is that it’s very difficult to awaken without tangible sexual awareness; applied awareness. The reason sex is such a powerful ally for either seeming side in this struggle is that it’s so deeply connected to one’s biocomputer, existing in a constant dialog with our DNA and wanting to express one of humanity’s prime directives: creativity.

The Elusive and the Theoretical

Speaking of DNA, let’s pretend that Chiron hadn’t been discovered and all we knew about right now was the conjunction of Jupiter and Neptune. Jupiter expands and Neptune both envisions and dissolves. In Aquarius, this would be about idealism and ideas, involving some social phenomenon. We might be thinking of things like progress, a social vision, and so on, all of which was directed by ‘God’ showing up in the form of Jupiter and Neptune, two very divine kinds of planets. Near the last Jupiter-Neptune conjunction in Aquarius, in 1843, in The United States Magazine and Democratic Review, John L. O’Sullivan wrote of “the fulfillment of our manifest destiny to overspread the continent allotted by Providence.” That is, expansion of the United States westward. In order to do this we had to have a vision and slaughter a lot of Native Americans and Buffalo, and I do mean a lot. Under this conjunction in Aquarius there was an expedition to explore the Rocky Mountains, and a large migration of humanity westward across Turtle Island.

Last week, scientists found this crude computing device, believed to be about 12.000 years old, in the back of the Lascaux Cave in southern France.

The problem with a conjunction of Jupiter and Neptune (particularly in Aquarius) is that it can be delusional and in denial of the future consequences of the very future it seeks to colonize. For our part, we are still blazing into our technological future. I am absolutely impressed by cell phone addiction. People, er, young women come to my studio and their cell phones get more calls than Jonathan Cainer gets. (I’ve had to enact a remove the battery rule, and if that doesn’t work I will leave a bucket of water near the door.) I am astonished how many 14-year-olds have iPhones, which give one access to the global library known as the Internet. And if you tell someone under age 30 that George Washington and Abe Lincoln were great friends, they are likely to believe you.

Speaking on the individual level, this conjunction is the culmination of the “I’m very nearly perfect because I do yoga” phase of social history, a close cousin of, “I’m going to be the best me I can be.” This high horse is finally starting to be seen as the merry-go-round that it is; being spiritual in the theoretical sense offers little in the way of practical advantage unless you get along with your neighbors, including the ones that want to get your clothes off. Despite years of spiritual practice, a vast ocean of people feel like they have nothing to offer the world; no clue what they want to do; and are at war with themselves, their partners and their whole concept of relationship. Sexual attraction still sends a significant portion of the population in to panic mode. It ain’t the freakin’ Sixties any more.

This crisis exists in thought only, having nothing to do with who we are or what is possible.

I could see Jupiter-Neptune in Aquarius, on one level, being about a notion of where we think we’re supposed to be that we are not: how much progress we’re supposed to have made, what we wanted to do that never happened, and so on. There is the sense of how the future is supposed to be happening now, but we can’t quite dial it in, largely because Jupiter and Neptune can be so elusive and Aquarius can be so theoretical. The whole thing has this feeling of how spiritual it’s supposed to be, if only I could catch it in my butterfly net.

Apropos of Aquarius, let’s consider one last idea before we move onto Chiron’s involvement here. This is one of the most contradictory signs of the lot; it’s about freedom, innovation and individuality on one side of the calculus, and it’s about conformity and rigid, boxy thinking on the other. The mental patterns of Aquarius are not easily seen or addressed, partly because they are so intimately involved in awareness itself. Meanwhile, Neptune in this sign has been working to dissolve those patterns. Part of what we have experienced is a pattern involved with Neptune itself, in its lower vibrations: much of our society’s activity manifesting as a socially acceptable (Aquarius) psychoactive substance (Neptune). You can probably name ten of them without even trying too hard. Some are digital; some are other things.

I really wonder how many train carloads of mood stabilizers have been manufactured since 1998 — you know, how many miles it would stretch. But I don’t wonder why we think we need them: if we were really to keep pace with all this progress, we wouldn’t be the same person two days in a row, and that pressure can certainly be painful. Looked at one way, the world gives us plenty to be depressed, anxious and uptight about. Whether it’s true, and how you respond, are another story.

Chiron: Grounding in Experience and Reality

There have been 12 conjunctions of Jupiter and Neptune since 1843, just before the discovery of Neptune (see article below). That conjunction, as mentioned, was in Aquarius. So the current conjunction references the discovery of Uranus in 1846; we just experienced the Neptune return of Neptune’s discovery. Out of all these Jupiter-Neptune conjunctions, Chiron was present for just one of them, the one in 1945, in Libra, weeks after World War II ended. The success of the Western world and Japan in the postwar years offers both encouragement and a warning.

Photo by Eric Francis.

Chiron’s presence in this conjunction changes everything. For those who are trying to grasp what Chiron is and how it works, think of it as a utility that 1) helps us raise awareness, and therefore facilitates healing; and 2) makes the energy of the outer planets available to us in a tangible form.

This second property, worth its own article, was sketched out briefly by Barbara Hand Clow. It’s easy to understand in a conjunction with either Jupiter or Neptune. Jupiter (not really an outer planet, but still obscure enough to get partial credit) is like a vast database of ideas and possibilities, usually associated with world culture, knowledge, spirituality, or religion. Chiron contacting Jupiter helps us dial in specific ideas and apply them. Chiron is almost always about going from the general to the specific; from the theory to the experience. Therefore Chiron to Jupiter is about the application of an idea to your life or to the world. It’s about direct participation in society, especially in Aquarius. And it’s about the crisis of what we don’t know. You could say that the conjunction of Chiron to Jupiter translates to know want you don’t know, then find out if you can — and do something about it.

Looked at another way, Chiron conjunct Jupiter is the perfect expression of think globally (Jupiter) and act locally (Chiron).

As for Neptune, this is an extremely complex energy at this time in our history. It is often summed up incompletely and somewhat uselessly as the higher octave of Venus. Yes, Neptune should be about spiritual love as opposed to special love; but our obsession with fear turns Neptune famously toxic. If Venus is ‘love’ and Neptune is ‘in love’, the reality of love can and often is substituted with the illusion of in love; indeed, the obsession with being in love as opposed to simply loving. Neptune is about an aura of glamour as opposed to the earthy beauty of Venus. And it’s about the psychotic fantasy that God’s love is more important than human love, because as we know from reading the Bible, ‘God’ is a jealous SOB.

Neptune, due to the predominance of fear on our planet at this time, is associated with a lot of D words: delusion, denial, drink, drugs and deception. It’s also associated with dreams, which for too many people are more about the fearful or irrational kind than they are about holding a vision for our lives. Neptune would indeed be part of that vision, and it is, when we find it; it can represent the numinous, the miraculous, and the impossible. Geoff Cornelius calls it the daemon; the “genius or spirit” (in the words of Lilly) that is working behind the face of astrology and what we are seeking from astrology.

Neptune is also about sensing the need to go beyond fear; to embrace a dimension of awareness that is invisible to the senses. This dimension is not really documentable by normal means. It’s more of the ‘paranormal’. Neptune’s energy is usually too vague or nebulous to directly access. Chiron serves as a focusing device, like a lens, or a funnel. It gathers the energy of Neptune and puts it to some direct use. It will also shock us out of the denial represented by Neptune, calling our attention to what matters and to what it’s been more convenient to overlook.

With Jupiter and Neptune together, focused by crystal Chiron, we have a lot of power on our hands: to raise awareness, to heal, and to apply the concepts we have been learning for so long. Theoretical knowledge and self-improvement are useless unless we put them to use. What we need to be reminded of is that the goal is not perfection; there is no such thing on this plane of reality. Often our attachment is to being perfect or doing something perfectly rather than being real. In fact with Chiron one of the things we often need to deal with is the fact of incompletion or imperfection, and to proceed despite it. Chiron is about solving problems, which is always a work in progress — and which suggests that there exist problems to solve in the first place, so many that life will work a lot better if we resolve to have fun doing it.

We live in a moment of the most incredible potential. We carry technology in our pockets that would have made the Apollo mission engineers envious. We have access to information about ourselves that can help us grow, change and shape our lives. We have visions for ourselves, and we have truly incredible creative potential that we could indeed realize — if not for these annoying mental blocks; except for all this irritating, boring fear. And — if you think astrology has anything to add to the conversation, or for that matter even if you don’t — we have a brilliant alternative.

Yours & truly,
Eric Francis

Around and Around

Photo by Alfred Eisenstaedt, taken on V-J Day, 1945.

In 1843, there was a conjunction of Jupiter and Neptune in Aquarius, close to our current conjunction, which predated and in a sense predicted the 1846 discovery of Neptune (see article below). (This is also to say that Neptune recently had the Neptune return of its own discovery position.) Then the next conjunctions were as follows: 1856 in Pisces (the first technologically ‘modern’ conflict, the Crimean War, ends); 1869 in Aries (Wyoming becomes the first place in the world to give women the right to vote); 1881 in Taurus, with Saturn right there (the Sioux end the American/Indian conflict with surrender, Kansas jump starts prohibition); 1894 in Gemini (a new form of communication, moving pictures, are invented); 1907 in Cancer (American financial disaster is stopped by financiers fronting the bill); 1919-1920 in Leo (Germany was not happy, and would be back); 1932 in Virgo (as the ‘Great’ Depression was taking hold); 1945 in Libra, conjunct Chiron (just as World War II ended, appropriately enough); 1958 in Scorpio (Beat Generation, predicting a bit of sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll to come); 1971 in Sagittarius (dawn of the modern New Age); 1984 in Capricorn (that form of spirituality known as Paranoid Fundamentalist Neoconservatism); 1997 in Capricorn (more of the same); and finally 2009 in Aquarius — notably, the first in Aquarius since the discovery of Neptune in Aquarius.

Eric Francis / Melanie Andrews

Obama Nominates Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court

By Steve Bergstein | Psychsound

When Barack Obama was elected President last November, the first thing I thought about was the Supreme Court, the one branch of government that has final say on the meaning of the U.S. Constitution and federal laws. It is the Supreme Court that breathes life into the First Amendment, religious freedoms, protection against police abuses. Without a Supreme Court that cares about these values, this would be a very different country.

President Barack Obama has tapped federal appeals judge Sonia Sotomayor for the Supreme Court. AP Photo.

I don’t have any real expectation that President Obama is going to stop the war in Iraq or maintain a foreign policy that respects democracy or human rights. None of the other presidents gave a damn about these things, and the system is too corrupt for an independent president to chart a different path. But I knew that Obama would make a difference in his judicial appointments; any choices by Obama would be an improvement over George W. Bush’s Supreme Court picks.

We forget that the Constitution and federal laws can be interpreted in different ways. Two highly intelligent judges can see things differently, and even men and women of good faith can find themselves on opposite ends of the most profound legal issues of the day. This is why many Supreme Court cases are decided by a 5-4 or 6-3 vote. Few decisions are unanimous. When you consider that every case that reaches the Supreme Court originated in the lower federal and state courts, the same issue may have been chewed over two or three times by different judges as the case made its way to the Supreme Court. The law is so malleable.

For the most part, Supreme Court rulings are final. While the Court can reverse itself on the same legal issue, that will not happen right away; it takes decades for the Court to reexamine one of its precedents. If the Court says that a particular practice violates the First Amendment, then that corner of the legal system is settled for a long time.

Obama must have thought about this in appointing Sonia Sotomayor for the Supreme Court. Unlike the subliterate who occupied the Oval Office for eight years prior to Obama’s election, Obama is an extremely intelligent man who taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago Law School. It was that work experience which made Obama such an attractive presidential candidate. Few presidents really understand what the Supreme Court does and its impact on American society. Having taught in this area, Obama knows exactly how the Supreme Court works.

I would have been devastated had a Republican president been able to replace David Souter on the Supreme Court. Souter was an unknown entity in 1990 when the first President Bush appointed him to replace the great Justice William Brennan, one of the greatest champions of individual liberties who ever sat on the Court. We all worried that Souter was a conservative who would help the other right-wingers on the Court roll back the clock on civil rights. Souter turned out to be one of the best Supreme Court justices we ever had, a truly independent mind who consistently questioned untrammelled presidential war powers and stood up for free speech and other constitutional rights over the course of nearly two decades on the Court. The possibility that Souter could have been replaced by his ideological opposite would have been too much for me to bear.

As a civil rights lawyer who practices in the federal courts in the Second Circuit, where Sonia Sotomayor serves as an appellate judge, I have argued five or six cases before her over the years. As a blogger who covers the civil rights decisions of the Second Circuit of the federal courts, I am also one of the few lawyers who reads or at least scans most of the decisions coming out of that court. Obama could not have made a better choice. True, Judge Sotomayor has ruled against my clients in several cases involving First Amendment and other constitutional challenges. Those are the breaks, as much as I may have disagreed with her rulings. Any lawyer will tell you that you cannot win every case and that even fair judges can see things differently. The question is not whether she always rules for civil rights plaintiffs; the question is whether she will uphold the tradition of strong civil liberties in this country in the face of many, many forces in U.S. society that want to take us in the opposite direction. Having read her decisions on civil rights and liberties over the years, I can tell you that she will.

You will hear a lot about Judge Sotomayor over the next few weeks. Some of it true, some of it false. Some people will object to repeated references to her personal history. Sotomayor grew up in the Bronx and managed to attend Princeton University and Yale Law School despite every disadvantage a young woman from the public housing projects can be expected to endure. I’d like to see you go to Ivy League schools coming from these circumstances. This background is a plus. Too many federal judges wanted for nothing their entire lives and knew nothing about hardship.

Ugly anonymous comments about Sotomayor made their way around the Internet when her name first surfaced as a possible Supreme Court nominee. Some low-lifes said that she did not have the required intelligence. As one who has actually read her opinions, I can assure you that’s not the case. Even when she has ruled against my clients, she has done so with great intelligence and scholarship. While others correctly pointed out that Sotomayor is a tough judge on the bench — and believe me, I’ve seen that side of her — that’s exactly what I want in a Supreme Court justice. Someone who asks tough questions and tries to get to the bottom of things.

Conservatives will object that Sotomayor’s background is part of the nomination story. How can it not be part of the story? Growing up in the housing projects to a single mother is quite different from growing up in an upper middle class household in the suburbs. Interpreting the Constitution and federal laws is not a robotic exercise. Human beings make these decisions, based on our values; and we live with them. Over the last few years, I have seen the conservative majority on the Supreme Court chip away at individual liberties and overturn precedents in order to advance the conservative, authoritarian cause. This reactionary rollback has got to stop. Thank God that Obama gets to appoint a real human being to the Supreme Court. The Court will be ours again someday. By herself, Sotomayor will not tilt the balance in our direction; she’s replacing a liberal, not a conservative. But we are going to turn that ship around, and it’s going to start right now.

‘Smash and grab’ moon missions?

Say somebody wanted to ram a giant hunk of metal into your front yard, just to see what happened afterward. Not a very enticing proposal, is it?

LCROSS will accompany the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter to the Moon. Credit: NASA.

Well, that’s exactly what two space missions — NASA’s Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) and Japan’s Kaguya/Selene project — will be doing in coming years.

According to an article in Astrobiology Magazine, the LCROSS mission is set to launch June 17 and when it reaches the moon, it will hurl the spent second stage of its Atlas rocket booster into a lunar crater. Scientists expect the resulting debris plume to reach six miles in height, and various instruments (possibly including the Hubble Space Telescope) will scan it for the presence of water (in the form of ice crystals) and mineralogical information.

A companion mission, the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), will launch at the same time and place a satellite in orbit around the moon. Its instruments will be used to identify potential safe landing areas for future manned moon missions. For thumbnail sketches of upcoming NASA missions to the moon and other objects, visit this website.

The first shot at the moon’s surface, however, will be made by the Kaguya explorer of the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). The craft has been orbiting the moon since February 1, providing information to JAXA scientists, and is scheduled to impact on the surface on June 10. The debris plume will likewise be monitored and analyzed for information about the makeup of the lunar surface.

Images from JAXA’s Kaguya project, including HD video, can be found at the Selene (SELenological and Engineering Explorer) website.

Four-time astronaut tapped to head NASA

Charles F. Bolden Jr., a retired Marine Corps general who has been to space four times, including once as commander of a 1986 shuttle mission, has been named by President Barack Obama as his choice to lead the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

Major General Charles F. Bolden, Jr. Credit & Copyright: NASA.

According to an article in The New York Times, Bolden was Obama’s advisor on space policy during his transition into the presidency. He also has ties to the aerospace industry, the article reported, noting Bolden’s work “as a lobbyist for ATK, which manufactures the solid rocket boosters for the space shuttle” and having served “on the board of Gencorp Inc., whose Aerojet subsidiary has a contract to build engines for the planned astronaut capsule.” And according to The Washington Post, he “is currently the chief executive officer of JackandPanther, a Houston-based military and aerospace consulting firm.”

Times have been tough for the space agency. With the astronomical costs of space flight, the agency has struggled to justify its mission even before the recent financial crisis. However, as reported at the Huffington Post, Bolden is seen as “calming” and “well liked” at the agency, with one friend quoted as saying he will bring “balance” to the agency and help foster cooperative efforts with other nations.

It won’t hurt that he’s spent time in leadership positions at NASA; Bolden has been an assistant deputy administrator there. If confirmed, Bolden would become the agency’s first African American administrator. He would also be only the second astronaut to head up NASA since it was established 50 years ago.

Obama also named Lori Glover, who was formerly associate administrator at NASA, to be deputy administrator, second in command to Bolden.

Hubble fix highlights NASA split

The Space Shuttle Atlantis touched down safely in California on Sunday after weather cancelled the original plan to land at Cape Canaveral in Florida. But while the mission to upgrade the Hubble Space Telescope was considered a smashing success on all fronts, it has also led to debate about NASA’s long-range mission.

A Smithsonian Institution image details the future Orion spacecraft, which won’t have the space shuttle’s versatility. Photo by Eric Long.

The Washington Post reports that the senior project scientist for Hubble is raising objections over the Constellation initiative — the next generation of spacecraft that will succeed the Space Shuttle program when it is retired next year. The new craft will lack the cargo bay and robot arm of the shuttles, said David Leckrone, and that means it will be harder to service Hubble or other orbital equipment. Leckrone is to retire in October, according to the article.

That criticism was rebuffed by other officials at the space agency. The article quoted Edward Weiler, head of space science at NASA, who noted that “there’s nothing up there that’s serviceable.” He also pointed out the extreme expense of the Hubble program — some $10 billion.

Voices have emerged on both sides of the debate at NASA in the wake of Leckrone’s original comments, which were on the NASA website.

The Constellation program is designed to get men back on the moon and, eventually, to Mars. It will not feature an airplane-like design reminiscent of the familiar shuttles, but will have capsules launched by rockets, more along the lines of the Apollo and other early space programs.

By Eric Francis of Little Rock, AK




Weekly Horoscope for Friday, May 29, 2009, #768 – BY PRIYA KALE

Aries (March 20-April 19)
You’re feeling pressure like you haven’t in a while to make something happen. Something’s gotta give and you know it. Only you may fear that things will get worse rather than better. You’ve been deeply re-evaluating your involvement in a situation, you know what you want now and you know the only way to get it is to ask for it. In an important conversation this week — I would suggest you be determined yet gentle; driven but focused and speak as well as listen. You are learning an important truth which could be your ticket to wield a powerful situation to your advantage. You can have more of what you want, in terms of tangible rewards and success, once you recognize the value of what you have to offer. You don’t have to push, just plant a few seeds in the right minds and watch it all come to life.

Taurus (April 19- May 20)
With astrology the way it has been in your chart, you may have felt like watching the action play out from behind the curtain rather than in the audience or being the star of the show. You’ve been in a phase of deep soul discovery which has had you keeping a low profile, reticent to say much. But the time is coming to verbalize all you’ve learned and act on the passion stirring within you. There is a great force about to sweep through your life, sure to change your beliefs of what you thought was possible. Especially when it concerns an important partnership, you are due to discover greater depth and potential which you may not have dared acknowledge before. It will take less effort than you think, just a firm resolution to be honest with yourself and speak from a place of deep awareness. Your time in the spotlight is near, think of this as a time when your entourage gathers around to celebrate your arrival.

Gemini (May 20- June 21)
You’ve been dealing with deep personal doubts, a feeling of groping in the dark and perhaps fear that you are going to be stuck in a situation longer than you like. But you are awakening now to a profound truth that may come as a solid hunch suggesting the ground beneath your feet is laden with more potential than you first realized. This is true. But you may need to resolve the importance of one partnership or financial situation that has its hold over you. There is a painful past you need to let go of but recognize that can only come when you confront it. It may take a while to all come together but something deep within your soul is coming to life — be patient as you nurture this dream. If you can trust your own instincts regarding the worth of something, it is more than likely to open up a chest of treasures rather than Pandora’s box, revealing to you the gold mine you are standing in.

Cancer (June 21- July 22)
A conversation you have with a friend or close partner this week is likely to reveal to you an important truth or piece of information that you may have felt you lacked. You know things cannot go on the way they have been when it comes to an important situation. You’ve been asserting your power and may be revved up to solidify something. You’ve also been learning dark truths about your relationships and the need to keep a check on manipulative tendencies within yourself and another. Be aware of these but less critical and more focused on rewriting the rules in favor of the greater stability, honesty and trust. There is a practical way forward from here if you are willing to let go of the past and listen to solid advice when you hear it — it could be your ticket to freedom.

Leo (July 22- Aug. 23)
You may have been deeply contemplating a career situation, while trying to keep your passion alive for your highest ambitions. You may feel deeply divided at the moment but your willingness to look at both sides of a situation is giving you the upper hand right now. If you can be patient and think win-win, you can rework a professional situation to your advantage and bring it to life. Recognize your own power within a situation now, to reach for your highest potential and have it manifest in tangible rewards and recognition for your efforts. You may not need to use as much force as you think, just have a willingness to rewrite a few rules in your day-to-day existence. Power is something that you either use or lose. But the truly powerful know they never need to flaunt it. Use yours and use it wisely.

Virgo (Aug. 23- Sep. 22)
You’ve been patiently surveying your options and events have been pulling you out of your comfort zone to explore hidden potential. You may have been questioning yourself at this time, wondering if there is any truth to your perception of how things could be. Your persistence in going deeper in your quest for truth is soon to be rewarded. A deeply intimate or financial situation that you’ve been caught up in is soon to reveal its true worth to you. It may mean you have a change of heart or simply decide to let go of old rules that do nothing more than cage your passion in fear. Trust your highest judgement and find your voice to speak from a place of wisdom when it concerns an important situation. This is about you being true to your desires and your heart, if anything, and only what is real and solid will do.

Libra (Sep. 22 – Oct. 23)
A deeply personal or business partnership has held your attention for a while. You’ve been right to think there is something you don’t yet know. No one likes the feeling of being kept in the dark, but as the truth surfaces this week listen closely to what is being said. What you learn has the potential to change everything. A partner seems ready to go deeper and offer you the security you’ve been looking for, but on your part there is likely a darker past you need to let go of. You are rebuilding foundations and any rules based on past interactions need to be turned in favor of new ones. Emotionally and financially, the rewards for your patience, hope and clarity are about to start becoming a reality.

Scorpio (Oct. 23- Nov. 22)
You’re filled with fire and you know something that needs to give in a situation that has you feeling stuck. But the way through this seems to be an old debate that just won’t go away until you give it the attention it deserves. In an important conversation be willing to listen with an open mind to what someone is trying to say. If you do, you can bridge an important gap and come to a richer understanding of where someone is coming from and more importantly, what they mean to you. You may have to let go of the darker thoughts that threaten to control your mind, but the rewards seem to far outweigh any sacrifices you would have to make in this situation. It’s time to get real, and remember actions speak louder than words.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22 – Dec. 22)
It’s taken courage to follow your heart boldly, but it may feel like you’ve hit a wall with important negotiations. Although partners have been reticent to speak up, they have been processing information and someone breaks their silence this week. This should be a flood of relief in the right direction, showing you that you aren’t indeed crazy for the ideas you’ve been having. There have been painful realizations you’ve had to wake up to — but indeed this is a reality that opened your mind to transcendental levels of awareness. If you can pay attention to the message coming, you will see there is a way forward for you to have more of the sexual and creative satisfaction as part of your daily life. Who says you have to sacrifice personal pleasure for work? Everything you do now, let it be a conscious act of love and creation and that is what will manifest as your tangible reality.

Capricorn (Dec. 22- Jan. 20)
You may have been deeply perplexed about a situation close to your heart. It may have had you in two minds about a risk you’ve been contemplating, but feel like you don’t have enough information about. But this week brings you to a moment of truth, gearing you with enough forward momentum to take that leap. You’ve been deeply soul searching and there is more depth to you than even you realized. Be honest above all with yourself now about a reality that you can no longer deny. You can be happy and successful doing the things you love and which bring you joy, but you may have to give yourself permission first. This has always been your challenge. Right now it may feel like you are jumping off a cliff, but if you can have faith in yourself as you follow your heart you are more than likely to land in the lap of sensual pleasure and sexual, creative passion rather than any abyss you may fear.

Aquarius (Jan. 20- Feb. 19)
You’ve seen yourself mirrored and distorted in the eyes of the people around you so much lately, that it has been absolutely essential to keep clear of projections and an awareness of who you are at all times. You could NEVER just be one of the crowd. But truth is the crowd does not really want to be one of the crowd either. Your ability to keep sight of your soul even when other people are being indecisive is what keeps you ahead of the game. If you’ve been concerned regarding an important matter surrounding your home, family or security, there is important news surfacing which is likely to prove to be reassuring and bring a flood of relief. It will though require you to get over the darker fears that control you and actually take that step towards allowing yourself to feel comfortable in your own skin.

Pisces (Feb. 19- March 20)
Your awareness of yourself and a core transcendental reality of humanity has grown in leaps and bounds. But in one partnership situation it may feel as if you’ve hit a wall. Partners have been reticent to speak and it may have been hard to get a word out of them. You may fear that you are not being heard. But even if you have felt invisible, trust on a deeper level there has been a process of feeling stuff out. A partner has been listening and processing what you’ve been saying and this week you learn an important truth. In an important conversation be honest and willing to listen, there is valuable information surfacing. If you can use your imagination and put your money where your mouth is — there is a lucrative idea you have now, which could be the stepping stone to the greater vision you’ve been trying to manifest as your gift to the world.

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