Dear Planet Waves Subscriber:
To celebrate Earth Day, I took Thursday morning off and went to the Grandmother Land, a place I’m friendly with that’s tucked away in the mountains of central Ulster County. My day-to-day work has me looking into glowing rectangles much of the time, they are hypnotic and I’m aware that part of my soul lives on the Internet. Grounding into the Earth discharges that energy and gradually brings me to my senses. Usually I hang out on top of the waterfall; this time I went to the lower part of the falls, got as close to the water as I could, and lay down on the cool rock. The Sun tucked in and out between the clouds.
One of the things I value about this spot is that it’s like a clock that moves only with the seasons. From year to year, the landscape is beautifully consistent; there’s nothing industrial around, it has no business purpose and at this time in history there are few visitors. In this place I can feel back to the end of the last ice age, a sensation which slows down the experience of time passing. The approximately 6,500 days since I arrived there for the first time are like a minute or two passing if you put things in the context of geological time.
I find this reassuring. Even astrology is not suited to handle such large passages of time, or at least Western astrology isn’t (Mayan astrology is much better suited for super-long timespans). Yet we do get the chance to witness changes, especially if we remember the holographic quality of astrology: the whole is contained in the parts. Movements in small cycles can signify movements in much larger ones. If you’re familiar with the concept of a fractal, consider that astrology is the original application of that concept. A fractal is like a sample of time that tells the whole story.
Chiron made an impressive show ingressing Pisces this week. Now that Chiron is moving slowly through the signs and living as an outer planet — at this point, it’s moving through the signs slower than Uranus — these sign changes are more significant. Each one comes with a revelation. I’m counting the immediate zone of the ingress as going back to the Aries New Moon last week, which coincided within a few hours with a chunk of an asteroid lighting up skies over the American Midwest. And as it happened, that was the day that Eyjafjallajokull went off for the second time in 2010. (By the way — I am equally impressed by these two events, though the meteor hardly got the attention it deserved. If you’re wondering what this might be about astrologically, think of it as a very, very precise conjunction.)
As Mercury went into storm phase (for its station-retrograde in Taurus on the 18th), we saw something that’s never happened before — air traffic across Europe and the United Kingdom was shut down. Governments and scientists were concerned that the volcanic ash would melt inside jet engines and cause them to seize up. BBC reported that by April 21, an astonishing 95,000 flights had been canceled. Anyone who has flown knows how stressed and indeed how complex the air travel system is; how slim profits are; how challenging it is to keep 100 tons of people, aluminum and titanium safely in the air. But this was not your average Mercury retrograde air travel delay. It was the revelation of something on a much greater scale, revealing something inherent about life on our planet.
Chiron was one of the first astrological factors, if not the very first (besides astrology itself) to call attention to holistic ideas and methods. It’s a whole-system factor; in other words, Chiron has local manifestations, and implications that affect everything around it and many things that seem unrelated. I once asked Rob Hand what he thought of Chiron. I wanted his opinion because he’s so focused on traditional astrology. He basically offered me an idea he got from Kim Rogers-Gallagher, that he had converted into his own language: Chiron represents the factor in any complex system that can point to a problem; and if you address the problem, the system will be efficient and stable, and if you don’t, it will collapse. (This is one really brilliant delineation of Chiron; there are others.)
As Chiron was making its move, there’s been an aspect forming in the background that highlights the story. Chiron’s orbit is between that of Saturn and Uranus, so it serves as a kind of balancing factor between those two planets. At the moment they happen to be within a fraction of a degree of opposition to one another [please see related story below], which you can look at as a confrontation or as an attempt to reconcile two entirely different visions of reality: the steadfast structure of Saturn and the raw energy of Uranus.
Currently, Chiron is working the imaginary line between Aquarius and Pisces, which resonates strongly with the whole-system concept. I say this because as the last two signs, they tend to cover large ideas, institutions and areas. Imagine that Aquarius can signify the technosphere and Pisces can represent all the world’s oceans. Big stuff; and there is a meeting place, where these two signs meet, between what we think of as ‘manmade’ and ‘natural’ systems.
Here is the thing — we tend not to think about this stuff. Chiron is like a clock hand that points to what we need to pay attention to. So here we have this marvelous image of a natural event impacting a vast dimension of technology. Think of all those airplanes sitting on the ground due to the eruption of a little tiny volcano. If we take a hypothetical average of 175 people per flight, times 95,000 flights equals more than 16 million trips canceled in just one week. This in turn points to the scale of global air travel. This event originated in one region of the world, though of course the effects ripple out through the whole air traffic system. Even if a single hub like O’Hare ices over it can wreak havoc around the system. So this touched every major air traffic center in the world.
The beauty of it was that this was a natural event. I’m willing to blame the Asian tsunami on oil drilling and the big hurricanes that got New Orleans on weather control, climate change and/or something unnatural busting open the levee. Maybe I’m not being suspicious enough but a volcano going off in Iceland seems as natural as a dandelion.
Somewhat less natural was the lawsuit filed Friday against Goldman Sachs, which was involved in another whole-system issue — the global economic meltdown of late 2008. The federal government is saying that this massive investment bank, which has many of its former executives involved in the American economy in positions of public power, created false companies that were designed to fail; this way, their clients could make money by betting that their stock would go down. Given the scale of what happened in ’08 and ’09 and that the Fed committed more than $3 trillion in resources toward the bailout, this evidence that the meltdown was based on fraud is damning. I associate this with both Chiron changing signs and the “truth comes out” attribute of Mercury stationing.
Let’s flash back to when Chiron entered Capricorn on Dec. 11, 2001, nine days after Enron filed bankruptcy. That was just the opening move of a game that would go on straight through the entire transit through Capricorn. Chiron went through the halls of power with a giant lancet and popped government and corporate abscesses: Enron came crashing down, as did its accounting firm Arthur Andersen; Worldcom collapsed; there was a massive round of Catholic sex scandals. By May 2002, it came out that Bush knew about 9/11 in advance, and that no airliner had crashed at the Pentagon. (I am from time to time contacted by relatives and friends of those on that flight. I believe that it ended up on the Kentucky-West Virginia border.) As the transit progressed, the Bush administration used Sept. 11 to start two wars. They lied about not being able to find bin Laden; and they lied about weapons of mass destruction. Administration officials outed their own spy in revenge for somebody accusing them of lying. Scooter Libby and Karl Rove covered it up; Libby was convicted. After enduring a stolen election in 2000, we had another one ripped off by stealing Ohio in 2004 — confirmed by many independent reports…and so on, and on. Uber-lobbyist Jack Abramoff was snagged under Chiron in Capricorn for bribing a long list of congressmen and is now in jail. And, like, we barely got the message.
Events at the beginning of the Chiron in Capricorn era foreshadowed the rest of the decade. Every problem that came out in the initial months of Chiron in Capricorn revealed something that would eventually be revealed as a vast problem — and notably a problem we could have solved, if anyone had the combination of commitment and awareness. Instead, we turned away, we pretended there wasn’t really an issue, and the problems got deeper. My sense at the time, in the early 2000s, was that we were getting a clue what we would be dealing with as Pluto transited Chiron (which it is doing now), only in miniature; we could solve it then, or we would have to work it out on a much greater scale under the influence of Pluto.
Chiron in Pisces is revealing a new dimension of awareness, or rather, pointing out what we need to be aware of. My take is that Chiron in Pisces is homing in on two things: one is natural systems, that is, what preexisted industrialism, and where these intersect with our technological systems. The other is what we think of as spirituality, and by that I mean we’re being pointed to a void of awareness of how our beliefs influence our reality; how interconnected we all are; and how dependent we are on the environment in which we live.
Chiron making a sign change has many personal implications, affecting many generations, and these themes deserve focus; we have some time to go over that subject matter, and I trust that the most helpful ideas will be born in conversations with those in the new wave of Chiron transits. Let’s keep that in mind for next week.
Yours & truly,
Sunday, April 25 Mercury in Taurus will retrograde into a square with Mars in Leo. This is the second of three squares — the first was April 5 (Mercury direct), the second is Sunday (Mercury retrograde) and the third will be June 11 (Mercury direct). This is an aspect that requires careful handling, and could lead to significant errors in judgment if we’re not careful. I would suggest that it needs to be handled like a psychological bomb. The mix of fixed signs, personal planets and retrograde Mercury is the perfect setup for misunderstanding, overreaction and projection of inner guilt as outer blame.
Notably, the same day, the Moon passes through a very close opposition between Saturn and Uranus (that event is exact Monday), which brings a raft load of personal emotions, needs and ideas (Moon in Virgo) into a much larger cultural process developing between distant planets. So let’s just say that the heat is on this weekend, and it would be an excellent time to stand back from situations that push your buttons and figure out how to make constructive use of the planetary setup.
And what might that be? First, be careful with kids. They may seem belligerent and stubborn, and they will need patience, love and friendship. For adults, this astrology looks great for inner process: a retreat of some kind, a moment of reflection on life, an assessment of the restructuring that is going on in our private lives and in the world around us. We have a lot to learn about how to navigate our own psychology, what to do with past hurts and how to move forward without the constant fear that we’re going to offend someone by what amounts to breathing. Sunday will be an interesting epicenter.
By Judith Gayle | Political Waves
We’re an angry nation. All the polls say so. In the earlier part of the century it was apparent that when the public finally shook off its lethargy and discovered the gravity of its situation, there would be repercussions. Progressives already had eight years of anger under their belt. The anger escalated with each new assault: yellowcake uranium, Shock and Awe, the Patriot Act, FISA intelligence gathering, Abu Ghraib and torture, radical conservative Justices John Roberts and Sam Alito. We spoke of taking the country back, loosening the militaristic and corporatist grip the government had on our lives and futures. When Bush won a second term, I fretted that the Neocon meme would be coded into our consciousness to taint a generation. Lefties worried that the public seemed dazed and compliant. A new word made its way into blogs and articles: sheeple.
After eight years of anger, the resolve to change the nation’s direction came too late to avoid the systemic meltdown that Bush handed over to the new president. Suddenly, from the seemingly content void on the right, arose the sounds of anger. Disproportionate waves of disdain and hatred — toward the government, toward the liberals and especially toward Barack Obama — filled the airwaves. Calling themselves a populist uprising, Tea Baggers now gather to express how angry they are. One might almost think they have much in common with progressives. The basic tenets of populism that pit little folks against the ruling elite should resonate with all of us.
Baggers ooze with hostility for those who corrupt the Constitution and take advantage of the average citizen. They speak passionately about being “we, the people,” but their commonalities with the average citizen end there. They are far less concerned about corporate power than about governmental redistribution of wealth. They are far less disturbed by militarism than by personal tax obligation. They’re vehement about their constitutional right to bear weapons but indifferent to judicial activism that gives corporations the rights of personhood. The explanation is simple. They’re not populists; they’re well-off conservatives in sheeple’s clothing.
Polls indicate that Tea Party activists do not fit the demographic that we think of as working class: 20 percent have incomes in excess of $100,000 and 37 percent hold college or graduate degrees. Followers of this ‘populist uprising’ are also doing quite well: 55 percent of supporters enjoy incomes of $50,000 or more and only 19 percent earn less than $30,000. When it was announced that 95 percent of Americans paid lower taxes this year while almost half paid nothing at all, Tea Baggers raged that low-lifes and lay-abouts received handouts from the government again. Grover Norquist — who famously articulated the conservative intention to whittle government “down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub” — gave Baggers their rallying cry at a D.C. gathering on Tax Day: “Leave our earnings alone!”
Those on the right who make such pronouncements ‘for the people,’ speak primarily for themselves. Senator John Kyle told FOX News that the GOP would fight any nominee “who might stick up for the little guy,” a position he called “overly ideological.” To conservatives, the ‘little guy’ means those whose income is too small to tax, those who collect benefits from the government — including Social Security and Medicare, although they don’t shout this from the rooftops, fearing backlash — and all who are not white, male, straight or Christian. The Baggers are, in fact, products of the very elitist ruling class that they pretend to attack. They were never prepared for Obama to win, and they can thank their own overconfident propaganda machine for that unhappy November surprise.
We are caught at cross-purposes in this nation. The majority want to return the country to a saner trajectory. The minority refuse to take responsibility for the policies devised in their own think tanks and foisted upon the public by their own politicians. The Party of No opposes insurance reform and extensions of unemployment assistance, and fights financial reform, immigration reform and a Supreme Court nomination. How can average Republicans support positions that are so at odds with their own best interests?
When a nation is struggling, when the people are hurting, some look for a common enemy — and some manufacture one. The GOP uses FOX and hate radio to spread a sense of victimization and bolster anger. Even the mildest of their audience are radicalized by the constant din of propaganda. In FoxWorld, Obama is not an American citizen and therefore never eligible under the Constitution to be president; ergo, the entirety of this government is fraudulent. In FoxWorld, all liberals are welfare recipients who pick the pockets of decent, hardworking Americans. In FoxWorld, fear always trumps rationality. This is the road the Baggers’ bus is taking, the only road heading in the Republican direction. The cooler heads in the GOP, the moderates and conservative intellectuals, have thrown up their hands and left the bus.
While American culture has been moving steadily left for more than thirty years, American politics have been slipping to the right. The Supreme Court, a branch of government with enormous influence over our lives, has become more conservative with each nomination since FDR left power. A good example of this slow erosion is the career of retiring Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens. According to Dan Froomkin, “Stevens’s unblinking devotion to human rights, civil rights, and the rights of the little guy have led him to be widely seen as the Last Great Liberal Justice.” He is also the last of the moderate Republicans nominated by Poppy Bush. Liberal stalwart David Souter, recently replaced by Sonia Sotomayor, was another. Our judiciary has shifted so far to the right that the great liberal justices of our time are actually conservatives.
What we need is to spark a new version of liberal populism. We have learned a great deal in the last decade, and we’ve prepared ourselves on many levels to meet the challenges of the next. The shifting astrology provides us with a fresh perspective, specifically the move of Chiron into Pisces that can bring a wave of spiritual awareness into the mix. The ’empathy’ that Obama called for in the Sotomayor nomination is imperative to combat the waves of fear we’re being fed by those who are locked into selfish human expression.
These are not just troubled times, they’re troubling in ways we may be too exhausted to recognize. When so renowned a political observer as Noam Chomsky thinks we’re at a trigger point, I pay attention. He argues that we must attend history very carefully if we are to bring fresh skills and awareness to our current problems. Fear and denial make us reactionary and rash. We must recognize them in ourselves, even as we condemn them in our adversaries. As we wrestle for the soul of the nation, we may not know the future, but we can surely intuit the difference between life affirming national policy and exploitation. We must hold that line for those who will awaken in the coming months and years. The best way to predict the future is to create it.
Weekly Horoscope for Friday, April 23, 2010, #813 – BY ERIC FRANCIS
You seem to be in a tight spot financially, though I suggest you check your facts and figures. If anything there is some kind of an error, though it may take you a few days to get to the bottom of it. Till then I suggest that you not panic, get angry or even lose sleep over it, but rather collect information and possibly seek the advice of someone who knows more than you about these things. Their opinion will prove to be enlightening, if not declarative. The main thing you need to beware of is your mind getting caught in its own concern and negativity and thus suspending itself from constructive thought. Rather than not doing something, I suggest you explore ways to direct any anger, frustration or supposedly too-hot motivation in creative ways; look for them and you won’t need to look far.
Have you considered that your lack of confidence is not authentic? I’m not saying you’re faking, rather that you have more reasons to be confident than you give yourself credit for, and more than enough experience to remind you what you’re capable of. So why exactly would you doubt yourself? If this points to something from the past, you’re about to get significant insight into its origins. Meanwhile, I have an idea for an art therapy project that might give you a visual image; your solar chart at the moment says seeing is believing. Using a webcam or a digital camera, photograph yourself when you’re feeling insecure. Who do you look like? Then photograph yourself when you’re feeling solid, strong and determined. Who do you look like then? As for a journaling project: going back as far as you can remember, what is your association between marriage and money?
You run the risk of papering over a complex situation by not saying anything about it. This won’t resolve matters, or even do much to keep the peace, though you need to start by being clear with what’s bothering you; you may be masking this even from yourself. Check your motives here; you seem to be closely identified with your role in a relationship that rather precisely contradicts your deeper values. That motive could provide you with a basis for handling the situation with denial. Hence the most obvious issue may be the most difficult to see. Your chart suggests that, if you focus your attention, and make a series of plain statements to yourself about the basic facts and then use what you learn, you will discover a workable solution to the issue in a fairly short time.
Beware of your tendency to get weighted down by the past. Being as emotionally driven as you are, you’re not the type to easily let go, but your solar chart suggests that you are in an extended phase of purging self-concepts that no longer serve you. With that, you are free to drop the emotional trappings connected with those concepts, whatever they might be. At the moment, it looks like your past self is having some issues with mental frustration that can be translated into tangible action. Your past orientation on relationships tends to emphasize structure, permanence and predictability; you now have the option to focus on immediacy and being real in the moment. Yet beyond any specific expressions is the fact itself — that you have spent more time looking back than you have looking forward. Despite any lingering uncertainty, it is safe to face the future boldly.
You will get a lot done this weekend, if you do things one at a time. If you get confused or find yourself slipping, go back to single-tasking. While I’m doling out easy advice, someone who offers help may not end up being that helpful and may indeed create a distraction. But someone who you seek for assistance is likely to be very helpful, generous and thoughtful. The distinction is significant — you are the one who initiates seeking assistance when you need it, this way you can be sure of the motives involved. Meanwhile, beware of using any methods that have failed repeatedly in the past. They may seem worth one more try, but the way your chart is set up at the moment, what has not worked before is not likely to work now. However, discovering a new technique is likely to boost your confidence, and set you on a quest to develop new inventions.
You seem uncertain who or what to believe in, and you’re taking this out on yourself. That is not helping your judgment any, and it’s distracting you from the first thing you need to remember, which is if you need to believe in anyone, that someone is yourself. This is particularly true if you have recently set about the goal of turning over a new leaf in your intimate relationships. It may be easier than ever to see yourself in someone else, or for them to see themselves in you — and as a result you might get caught in a haze of projection and reflections of reflections. I suggest you reduce all of this down to one fairly simple question: what are you looking for? Not who, but what? One thing I can tell you is that possibilities are open now that were secluded well below the horizon years or even months ago.
You may think you’re obsessing over sex or going from one emotional high to the next, and who knows what the people around you think. What I see in your solar chart is that you’re craving pleasure and healing in a way that suits your desire nature well, and that you’re actually making contact with a side of your nature you haven’t been able to reach any other way. The main risk is that of attachment to someone who is not exactly who you think they are; so while you’re exploring, make sure you leave room for the story to take any number of turns — and give yourself room to explore. Said another way, what you’re doing is diving into your experience rather than creating something designed to be ‘permanent’. If there is something stable that you’re building, it’s your relationship to yourself. This is true, no matter who you’re with — remember.
If someone throws you a curve, catch it and toss it to the side — don’t throw it back. The moment someone pushes your buttons, questions your authority, or if you find a relationship situation interfering with work, step back — and keep your cool. No matter how persistent or insistent the provocateur may seem, they have no clue what they’re really thinking, they are motivated by aggression and it looks like the whole situation is designed for sport. You have more important things on your mind than to be someone’s goal post or punching bag. And, of note, there are people around you who are willing to assist you and cooperate with you on some of your most meaningful goals. Therefore, invest your energy in people who are supportive and withdraw it immediately from anyone you discover is playing any form of trickster.
You sense something big is coming on — a revelation in the true sense; a creative burst; the opportunity to have an experience you’ve wanted for a long time. That moment has not quite arrived, but it’s inevitable. Meanwhile, this would be an excellent moment to reflect on how restless you’ve been for how long. You’ve spent much of your energy in recent years adapting to your own emotional instability, and that constant adaptation has eaten up a lot of energy. You’ve been encountering a series of stabilizing forces that have given you a chance to relax and put some of your resources into more creative endeavors, and I suggest you keep up with that process. You face a risk that you can head off early on, which is the potential to respond defensively to an opportunity from which you will only benefit.
About your mother. You’re finally getting around to confronting her narrow and judgmental side with some fresh ideas about your life. One of the things you learn as an astrologer is that people’s parents can dog them for as long as the planets keep spinning around the Sun — until we intervene and do so boldly. But it’s not enough to say no. That was her issue. It’s not enough to change your mind as if what came before didn’t matter. It’s not enough to reduce everything down to the details and prove that it’s irrelevant. What is necessary is to say yes with every cell in your body, to experiment with ideas that nobody you know would ever consider, and most of all, to feel yourself until you figure out that you’re alive. If the next few weeks are filled with tension, let it be that of seducing yourself into authentic liberation.
Imagine you’re standing between two mirrors. You want to see the front of you and the back of you at the same time. But you’re in the way, no matter how you do it, and you’re starting to get frustrated. What would happen if you got out of the way and allowed the mirrors to reflect one another? That would open up a seemingly infinite space, into which you could see in two distinct directions. Now, observe that this is all a metaphor. The ‘body’ is your ego consciousness; your sense of ‘I’. The mirrors may be two philosophies, two situations, two people, or most likely of all, your ongoing confrontation between the past and the future. If you get out of the way, they can have an authentic dialog. You’ll be able to make subtle adjustments and see their perspectives accurately. You’ll be able to feel your way down the two time tunnels, and sense which is the most authentically you.
How does it feel to have Chiron in your sign? This is a brief visit — we get 90 days, until the full eight-year stint begins in early 2011. Here is my take: Chiron has that crisis/critical point thing that it’s so famous for, and the game is to deal with everything immediately as it arises. Chiron focuses awareness; your job is to be alert to that ‘on the air’ light, notice what you’re noticing, and address it immediately. That will clear the water waves and the airwaves for new information, new experiences and a new sense of purpose. Chiron in your sign concentrates attention on you, and (as a transiting factor, rather than a natal factor) accelerates the pace of manifestation. Therefore, stay alert to what you want, and embrace it with love and pleasure when it arrives. And please remember this: suddenly others may perceive you as a force to be reckoned with. You’re not used to this; and I don’t suggest you get used to it either. Be judicious.