Dear Friend and Reader:
As I write today’s issue, the Gemini Sun is moving into an exact square with Chiron, still in full effect Friday, and this has been stirring up a lot of hot air and tales of wounded men. Through today and into the weekend, the Sun then aspects Pluto (a quincunx from Gemini to Capricorn) and through the holiday weekend makes a trine to Saturn. That’s a lot of contact between the Sun and outer planets, nearly all of which are concentrated at the beginnings of astrological signs.
While that tumultuous Saturn-Pluto square seemed to be behind us, it’s still within just five degrees of orb — just fine to have a strong effect. Saturn is getting ready to station direct, so it’s all charged up with piss and vinegar (and Libra-styled, impeccably dressed).
It’s been another week of sex scandals coming out into the open; and it’s been another week of environmental disasters. The world didn’t end last Saturday. Followers of ‘prophet’ Harold Camping, who had predicted the Rapture for 6 pm on May 21, were disappointed — but I just don’t get why. Wednesday, there were 80 tornadoes in the United States, including a massive one that came through Joplin, Missouri; 232 are missing, and the death toll is uncertain.
This comes on top of the most massive floods since the 1920s (much of the Mississippi River Valley is still underwater), which came on the heels of another week of ultra-high-powered tornadoes, including the one that ripped through Tuscaloosa, Alabama. These, by the way, are not any ordinary tornadoes that might take out part of a block or one side of the street. They are part of massive storm cells that defy comprehension, leveling entire neighborhoods. I personally doubt these are natural events. As I deduced in an article earlier this year called Here at the Edge of the World, these could well be manipulated events using nearly century-old technology created by Nikola Tesla.
There is some video going around featuring one of Wednesday’s tornadoes shredding a tractor-trailer as it speeds down the highway. To see the video you would not believe anything (such as a germ) survived, but the driver landed someplace with just a fractured shoulder and lived to tell the story, albeit a bit stoically.
As rescuers arrived in Joplin to find what one described as a “smoky, barren wasteland,” Eric Cantor, the leader of the Republicans in the House of Representatives, said that disaster relief funds could be approved for Joplin only if another item were cut from the federal budget, so as not to add to the federal budget deficit — this, as people search the ruins for their loved ones. The same people, I might add, whose taxes pay Eric Cantor and his colleagues.
This is a little like making sure your phone bill is paid up before you dial 911 to report a fire. They never say that when they bomb somebody. “Yes, general, you can have these cruise missiles, as long as we cut from the aircraft carrier budget.” (You know how there are those people who make your cat hunch down, bristle and make that weird, low growl when they come within 100 feet? That’s how I get when I see Eric Cantor. Out of curiosity, I checked his chart the other day, and it’s every bit as pleasant as breaking glass. Perhaps I’ll do an edition titled, “Just What Exactly is an Asshole?” Aaah yes, my brother and fellow child of God.)
Meanwhile, Congress is getting ready to cut the tornado forecasting budget, which could reduce by half the accuracy of those predictions — which by the way save a lot of lives because the few minutes of warning provided by the tracking system helps many people get to a safe place before their home is splintered.
In other news, straight from the Sun square Chiron files, Ratko Mladic, the former Bosnian Serb general accused of ordering the massacre of 8,000 Muslim men and boys at Srebrenica in 1995, was arrested this week after a 16-year hunt.
And in the midst of this, we still have time for appreciating sex scandals. Let’s see, John Edwards, the charming guy who was a presidential contender in 2004 and 2008, may be facing charges for using campaign funds to bribe people to keep hush about an extramarital affair. Arnold Schwarzenegger kept a relationship and child with a household employee secret from his wife (and the American people) for 10 years. Newt Gingrich is all over the news with his $250,000 line of credit at Tiffany’s; a true man of the people. Dominique Strauss-Kahn, former head of the International Monetary Fund, is free (under house arrest) on a $6 million bail package after allegedly raping a woman who came to clean his hotel suite [we have been covering this on the Planet Waves blog].
Sen. John Ensign resigned his senate seat earlier in the month after bribing people to keep quiet about one of his affairs; his case has been turned over to federal prosecutors. Ensign is the guy who said in favor of the Federal Marriage Amendment, “Marriage is the cornerstone on which our society was founded. For those who say that the Constitution is so sacred that we cannot or should not adopt the Federal Marriage Amendment, I would simply point out that marriage, and the sanctity of that institution, predates the American Constitution and the founding of our nation.”
This all sounds very Sun square Chiron — the wounded male/father figure, whose injuries are displayed in public. Sun-Chiron contacts call to attention the plight of men. The plight of men is not understood by our culture. I say that boldly. The emotional and spiritual progress of men is also not acknowledged in our culture. And notably, we don’t generally display alleged female adulterers and ogle over them these days, only the men. We can still watch this parade of alleged nogoodniks and think that this has something to do with all men. It does not, but we at least have more fantastic reasons never to take moral advice from a politician.
To understand the plight of men, you either have to be observant, or read books. If you hold judgments against men or think they are at some special advantage in society, I suggest you read a book calledStiffed: The Betrayal of the American Man by Susan Faludi. She portrays just what happened to your father during the 20th century. And if you think you hate men, or if you think they are inherently untrustworthy, I suggest you read a book called Iron John: A Book About Men by Robert Bly. Far from inherently being cocky power-mongers, we learn from these books that men deal with many of the same insults and injuries inflicted on women, sometimes much worse, with relatively little in the way of refuge offered by women. The men who do abuse power are products of the environments that not only reward but necessitate that abuse. It is a kind of conditioned last resort.
When we look at a sex scandal, though, I would remind you we’re looking at two things. One is the private life of a human being, distorted by the media; the other is our response to that private life when it’s paraded across television screens everywhere. We may get the impression that the underlying theme of all these sex scandals is how men in power abuse that power. I believe the underlying theme is that we have a morbid association with sex. Indeed, it goes far beyond that; sex scandals are about an obsession with death. That’s partly why we watch them on the same TV programs where they talk about wars and holocausts.
Understanding this deeply conditioned obsession is what you might call a spiritual step. It stems from a worldview that existence is divided into good and evil, and that sex is on the evil side. This is an idea that has its roots in Orthodox Christianity and manifests in nearly every sect of that religion; the Christians have always been particularly hateful toward sex, while fascinated by it at the same time. Yet this is an idea with a complex history that has roots in deeper (all but forgotten, but still influential) Persian religious views.
An author named Wayland Young, one of my favorites of all time, explains in Eros Denied how there are mainly four items on the list of things that perpetuate sexual repression, and by that he means the free expression of love and pleasure. It is at first painful to recognize the ways in which we assume sex to be inherently evil, wrong, sinful, dangerous and deceitful — not as an interpretation but based on what we think of as an inherent fact. It takes both an examination of history and some deep self-reflection to see this, but the result will help set you free, in case you’re interested in that. We can learn a lot from our fascination with scandal.
So, those four modes of sexual repression. They are: accident, absence, scandal and suicide — and the first three are merely substitutes for the last one. Basically, every so-called love story we read or see in a movie is infused with one or more of these obstacles to love, and from that we decide that the nature of love is morbid and that death rules over it at all times. This is an option. There are other views of love, but they are not the romantic view, that is, the one certified by the Church of Rome. Romantic love is love associated with death, death usually manifests as accident or suicide; absence manifests as death or its potential in warfare; scandal is often punished by death, or is considered a fate worse than death. Remember that scandal thrives in an environment of loneliness and repression, and is direct evidence of these things.
Young explains something we are familiar with: the church always tells us that it’s more important to love God than to love one another. Yet to most people God is entirely abstract and our fellow mortals are what are real to us. Further, Jesus and others taught that to love one another is to love God. Still, love is considered evil (that is to say, potentially scandalous) because it might lead to sex. If we love one another, we anticipate often the worst and we expect punishment or betrayal. And we don’t count the cost of these fears, much less challenge their validity. Young explains that we don’t need to follow church dogma to imbibe these views; we merely need to be entertained — in particular by romance, of which he describes European literature as “one big example.”
He uses as an example the story of Dido and Aeneas, a late-17th century opera by English composer Henry Purcell, based on the epic written by Roman poet Virgil in 29-19 BC. It tells the story of the Queen of Carthage and the Trojan hero, and is described authoritatively as, “A monumental work in Baroque opera, remembered as one of Purcell’s foremost theatrical works.” In the story, Aeneas leaves Dido when he goes off to found a new kingdom, and then she kills herself.
Young asks: “Now, why do we find the story noble, and why is Purcell’s chaconne [the sung finale of the opera], in its setting, so moving? On the surface, the story is ridiculous. There was nothing in heaven or earth to stop Aeneas taking Dido when he went on to follow his destiny and found Rome. Neither was married, both were young, royal and eligible; a dynastic alliance with the old state of Carthage would have been an advantage to the new state in its formation. But no; off he goes, for no reason, Dido for no reason climbs singing onto her suicidal pyre, and we are all left in tears. Why? Why not giggles?
“Simply because there is no reason. There never is.
“In the Dido and Aeneas legend, there isn’t even a pretense of one, and that is why it moves us; because of its integrity, its refusal to compromise with likelihood. It moves us in the same way it moves us to see a skeleton. Stripped of the lively and interesting flesh, the bare bones make us gasp and say: ‘So that’s what makes us stand up’.” Stripped of all invention and incident and especially all excuse, Dido makes us gasp and say: ‘So that’s what makes our feelings stand up’. And mixed with our amazement, there is, as there is with skeletons, pity and a touch of ridicule. St. Augustine liked Dido. Pelagius did not.”
St. Augustine, of course, believed in Original Sin. The less familiar Pelagius, a Celtic monk and an accused heretic, did not. What Young is saying here is that romantic love is regarded as the only true love, and this is regarded as the only suitable format for sex. It is obsessed with death, and out of that obsession, we get many obstacles to love, and with which love is obsessed: and these are primarily accident, absence, scandal and suicide.
Just flip through the TV channels, browse a magazine rack, stroll around a bookstore or tune into the nearest opera, and this is just about all you see. We might think these things don’t influence us — but they are very nearly all that do.
Novel after novel that purports to be about love is really a story about suicide. Any story not ending in marriage (as comedies do) must be a tragedy (and then all love affairs of romantic literature are doomed). It’s as if we know no other stories; no other plot line. No wonder polyamorous people are terrified to tell people how they live. No wonder so many folks are terrified to love; we are told — and shown — over and over again that the wages of ‘sin’ is death. In essence, this morbid notion has contaminated the whole realm of human love. And a lot of us want it back.
Scandal is only a slightly milder shade of this same sickness; it’s the partially decomposed corpse of love, rather than the bare skeleton. The mere fact that we are fascinated by it, indeed, that we love it, spend money on it, expect it to happen and moreover fear it in our own lives, tells us something about our notion of love. How many people believe that sex must have a victim, and that when we make love, someone must always be betrayed? How many feel that to love is to risk ruin? It’s not that our fears lack some justification; I would question how that justification got there and what beliefs led to its existence.
And all of this — all of it — comes down to the notion of sin, which is based on the religious notion of good and evil. Then sin is always mixed up with sex and murder. We think nothing of this, and it’s so commonplace that we barely even notice; but you really do need to notice if you want to be free of it. Only through noticing can you start to wean yourself off this obsession, which includes most forms of gossip.
Next is to stop being impressed by how supposedly pure you are. Forget it; it’s not true — it’s just what the press release says. Existence is not about purity or perfection, and expecting it to be only leaves us feeling impure and imperfect. John Edwards and Arnie do not make any of us any better as people. They only make us more paranoid and mistrustful, and that does not help love at all.
It helps a lot to allow the people around you to live their truth. We can hardly blame people for keeping secrets when we don’t let them tell us about what they really want, what they really do, or who they really care about. We cannot be honest in an environment where we fear judgment. The more you allow others to live their truth, the more free you will feel to do so. This will gradually shift your environment, and your state of mind, which are closely related.
And at a certain point we must become more fascinated by life, creation and beauty than by loss and disaster. A Course in Miracles puts it succinctly: “Accept no compromise in which death plays a part.”
Oh — and about that rapture thing. It’s not the kind of belief or activity that emotionally fulfilled or creatively driven people take part in. You would have to be pretty frustrated to take that seriously, or to push it on others. Yet that frustration, even in its subtler forms, is starting to add up to something that it would really help if we understood.
Yours & truly,
Weekend Astrology: Sun and Moon On the Move
The Moon entered Aries Thursday night at 8:36 pm EDT, promptly making a conjunction to Uranus at 4:19 am EDT Friday. That conjunction will be stirring the pot all day as the Moon makes a square to Pluto at 10:46 am EDT. So this is an emotionally intense overnight and morning, and the Moon is going to be vibrating with this energy for a while. Then at 6:10 pm EDT, the Moon opposes Saturn. I know this sounds complex. Let me see if I can make it super simple. There are three planets aligned in what is called a T-square, which is behind much of the mischief and turmoil of the world right now. And in our current stretch of time, the Moon sweeps through that T-square, knocking all three of those planets like cue ball on a pool table, stirring up all kinds of deep feelings, past and present fears, insecurities and so on.
Meanwhile, as we mentioned yesterday, The Gemini Sun is making a series of aspects as well — to Uranus, Chiron and then Pluto. This is serving up a similar kind of intensity, only of a solar nature: that is, on the level of ego, expression, pride and confidence. The Sun clears that last aspect on Saturday morning. Sun-Pluto in a quincunx (150-degree aspect) is like enforced growth and maturity. It’s less abrupt and shocking than a square, but not quite the easy opening of a trine. It represents a series of situations, most of them what you might call ‘everyday’, that compel ongoing awareness of one’s evolution. So there may be the exaggerated feeling that situations mean more than they do, or that there are ‘lessons’ involved. So ease on through this sensation and take some notes on how you feel.
This is all unusual activity for the Sun. Now, there is some relief when the Sun clears Pluto and approaches a trine to Saturn. This is like a release, and though the Sun is going to be in aspect to Saturn, there’s a sense of ease; think of the Sun and Saturn resonating from one air sign to another (Gemini to Libra). That trine will be applying all weekend, and the trine is exact Wednesday, June 1 — just a few hours before a partial solar eclipse (the Gemini New Moon). I’ll have more to say about that early next week; but I suggest you keep in mind that an eclipse is approaching, and this can come with a sense of pressure. Indeed, the next three lunations are eclipses: a partial solar on June 1, a total lunar on June 15, and another partial solar on July 1. This is to say we’re taking a little ride on an accelerated sky (as if things aren’t going fast enough at the moment). This whole sequence of events may take a little breathing into (as Len Wallick suggested Thursday). I’ll have more to say about the use and experience of eclipses in Tuesday’s edition.
Weekly Horoscope for Friday, May 27, 2011, #861 – BY ERIC FRANCIS
Aries (March 20-April 19) — Listen for the sound of the future calling you. I mean that literally — the information is going to come through your ears. It might be spoken, it might be music, it might be some sound in an urban landscape, or it might be the sound of a natural event — but keep your ears open. That would include the things you hear in dreams, and what is known as clairaudience, a kind of ultraviolet dimension of hearing that some consider a psychic phenomenon. In any event, listen. Listen until you understand what someone is saying, not what you think they’re saying — there is a difference, we all know there is a difference, and we often ignore it. The reason we ignore this feeling of not really knowing is halfway between being lazy and not caring. Repeat back what you’ve heard, and what you think you understand, till you’re sure that you really grasp it. I will pass along my one sentence of advice for young journalists, which is know when you don’t know.
Taurus (April 19-May 20) — There is a longterm visitor to your sign named Sedna, one of the strangest known objects in our solar system. These visitors that can spend decades moving through one sign tend to color our whole experience of that sign, and Sedna has the theme of nobody is ever good enough. In our world of things, that would translate to nothing is ever good enough. I am not suggesting you settle for second best, or that you suppress the hunger that is so essential to both surviving and thriving on the hotly competitive physical plane. Rather, I am suggesting that you notice how much you have, and how good your life is, rather than making endless lists of all the ways you need to improve. Yes, there are few key areas that are calling out for improvement, and you would do well to focus on them as longterm projects. Yet especially where people are concerned, notice who is around you. Notice the fact that they are taking an interest in your life. Stay open that way.
Gemini (May 20-June 21) — You seem to have the impulse to rise up against something without being entirely certain what it is. When you’re going to rebel, make sure that you know what you’re rebelling against. The deeper you look, the deeper you will see. For example, you might think you need a revolution in a relationship, which could be true at the same time you’re working through an issue that involves one of your parents, particularly your father. If someone sets an impossibly low standard, you may be holding everyone else to an impossibly high standard. If you find yourself insisting that the people around you wake up and get real, the easiest solution to that is to be real yourself and notice what happens in your environment. You might discover that you’re in the wrong place, and notice somewhere better that you can be. Don’t ‘work to reform the system from within’. Figure out what you want to do, and do it.
Cancer (June 21-July 22) — You are starting to figure out something about your career path — and the information is arriving neither too soon nor too late; this particular FedEx is right on time. For quite some time, you’ve been under what has seemed like external pressure to change and evolve. True, there have been elements of that, but you also know that outside influences have been pushing you to make long overdue changes that you might not have made otherwise. Now, the time has come to go on the offensive. You need clear goals, and that’s going to require that you have clear boundaries, particularly involving your use of time and space. And you will need to be clear with yourself that there’s a limit to how much you can let your mood influence your efforts on any given day or week. In the immediate moment, you are getting some clear sense about the direction you want your life to take. Envision that future, and begin taking the necessary steps.
Leo (July 22-Aug. 23) — There is about to be an eclipse in your 11th solar house, which for you is Gemini. This house is about fitting into your environment, and making the most of that environment. It’s also one of the most visionary houses of the 12. Because you have Gemini in this house, there always seem to be a lot of people involved with your future plans. They always seem to influence you, with their ideas and with their physical presence. Now, however, I suggest you let your own creativity dominate your agenda. You have the power to tune out what may even be an exceptionally loud or demanding influence of some kind. You have the ability to take risks that they might not be willing to take, for benefits that they might not be willing to see. Therefore, listen to yourself. Pay attention to what you know is right, and set the terms of your own existence. I think you will be pleased with the results.
Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22) — Have you figured out that the division between religion and sex is a fraud? Now would be a good time. Most people underestimate the extent to which they’ve been influenced by religion, whether it’s the pressure to get married, the notion of sin, or the idea that you must strive for the same type of family structure that your parents tried to have (whether or not they succeeded). Looked at one way, you’re at a moment where you can break away from the influences of the past, mainly by making a single decision. The characteristics of this choice are, you know it’s right, and then when you make a move, you feel daunted, guilty or otherwise frightened. This second layer — the fear/guilt layer — is the enforcement boundary that religion has installed. It’s like one of those invisible fences that keeps dogs inside a perimeter that you no longer need to activate once the dog has had a few shocks to the neck. It’s time to take off the collar, look both ways and cross the road.
Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23) — Remember that while there may be two sides to every story, there is only one version of the truth that’s going to work for you. I suggest you make that the one you know is true, rather than the one you hope is true. The one you know is true will work a lot better for you, even if you like it less; at least you have something solid you can work on and develop. One thing that may be affecting you is the expectation that something you actually recognize as the truth will turn out to be wrong, or based on deception. For a long time, it seemed, any time you took a chance on someone’s word, when it came down to practical matters of experience, facts later came out that proved you wrong. You’re now in a new phase of cultivating trust in both people and situations, but that really amounts to trust in yourself. As you learn to do that, remember to check your instincts against the available facts, and back again.
Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22) — Most — and by that I mean well over half — of humans are not monogamous, but we are all expected to be, or at least pretend. So why don’t we adjust our expectations to match reality? Aaah, that is a very good question. That question has answers, and those answers point to the need for some other adjustments of our minds to reality. Your solar chart suggests you have a number of options open. Further, I see some clues that you actually like it that way. I suggest you not get down on yourself for failing to live up to some standard of the right kind of person who wants the right kind of relationship and is capable of only that. Rather, it would come as a relief if you would embrace who you are, and who you’re attracted to. It helps to know a mental construction when you see one, such as ‘you’re supposed to be this way’. While ‘society’ may send messages, ultimately we send them to ourselves, and we’re the only ones who can stop.
Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22) — We are now in the last days of Jupiter in a fire sign, Aries. Its next home will be Taurus. Both of these are passionate signs, but they have a different pattern of how both events and creative impulses unfold. Aries wants everything, right now, but of course this rarely happens. Taurus is willing to wait so long that things sometimes never happen no matter how much we may want them. But Aries has real ideas, and Taurus is a passionate energy, capable of real persistence. For the next year, your task is to combine spontaneity with passion and persistence — the best of all worlds — and proceed steadily. Don’t worry about fast or slow; focus on steady, dependable, documentable progress. Know what you want to do at the beginning of every day, and know what you accomplished at the end of every day. The two may not always match; indeed, they may rarely match — but you will have a dependable marker of progress, and there will be many happy accidents.
Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20) — You may be feeling like your professional life is all work and very few rewards, and that is partly the result of the demanding and complex times we are living in. But you’re also at the end of a fairly long spell where you’ve had to handle many serious responsibilities, and this has taken an emotional toll on you. You also haven’t fully backed yourself away from the sensation that you live on the edge of a cliff, even though you’re a lot further from that edge than you were, say, three years ago. It’s true that anything can go wrong at any moment, but as Lou Reed said, you can’t count on the worst always happening. And frankly if you don’t act like you’re always expecting the worst, you will live with a sense of potential that starts to feel stronger than your sense of paranoia. Potential means living with a sense of what is possible in the best sense of the idea; that is closely connected to your creativity, which thrives on love and appreciation rather than on fear.
Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) — Some longterm plan that has been on hold for a while is now ready to start moving, maybe for the first time. Going back to around late 2008, this idea has been beset or delayed by factors outside of your control. Now that you’ve addressed them, however, you’re unlikely to have a sense of control; rather, that you need to gradually acquire. If you want to accomplish some of your bolder visions, your ability to be disciplined and focused needs to keep pace with your ability to come up with ideas. Remember that any initial idea usually needs to be grounded, developed and evolved over a period of time before it manifests. When it does, it will usually take a form different from the original. Therefore, having good ideas is not enough. You have to work those ideas like clay, see how they look in a new form, and then see if they make it through the kiln. This is the creative process, which is radically different than this abstract thing we call creativity.
Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) — You are starting to discover that you’re in financial territory different from what you’ve ever been in. You face many of the same issues as you have in the past, but something is different, and I have an idea what it is. You are beginning to see that your ingenuity and inventive nature are your best financial resources. For these to reveal their full value, you must access them, and use them, and depend on them, every day. For a while this will feel like you’re constantly reinventing yourself, which is actually true. Your sign is one of the most adaptable of them all, so this will be easier for you than it will be for nearly everyone else. The solutions you seek are not one-offs that instantly get you to a new place; rather, you get where you’re going one step at a time, only to discover that certain steps turn out to be quantum leaps. Get used to the fact that you cannot predict these in advance. Just let one moment of clarity or small accomplishment lead to the next, and the next.