Between Two Worlds

Dear Friend and Reader:

We’re about to experience the last of three closely-related eclipses — a partial solar eclipse that occurs on Friday at 4:54 am EDT. This eclipse will be in Cancer, and is the first in a cycle of eclipses that span far into the future. Centuries from now, astrologers will look back at this event for information about the times they are in, and will use Friday’s chart as a reference point. They will also be curious what was going on in our phase of history, and if they are vaguely imaginative, they’ll wonder what it felt like to be alive now.

Simplified chart for the solar eclipse Friday morning. The eclipse itself is the conjunction of the Sun and the Moon on the left side. You can tell they are conjunct because they are next to one another and have the same number value. The ‘grand cross’ (also called a ‘grand square’) is everything that meets the eclipse at right angles (traced by the purple lines making a cross, or the red lines making a square, in the center of the chart). Pluto (the red golf tee) is opposite the eclipse with a respectable three-degree orb; Uranus is at 90 degrees (the blue capital H, on top of the chart) and Saturn is the yellow lowercase H at the bottom of the chart. The cross includes many separate aspects, such as Saturn opposite Uranus, and Uranus square Pluto. Chiron and Neptune are together in Pisces on top toward the right, and Jupiter in Taurus is above and toward the left.

Astrological charts are composed of some patterns that move quickly, and some that move relatively slowly. The slow-moving patterns describe the historical context that reveals the state of society and frame the personal changes we’re living through. Simply put, the outer planets point to some of our deepest changes and where we fit into the larger changes in the world around us. If we look at the slow-moving patterns in this chart, it’s possible to see this event as a kind of bridge between two astrological eras. One era is what you might call the warmup to the long-speculated-about 2012-2015 period, and the other era is the thing itself — rather than the myth.

The main structure of the eclipse chart is arranged as a crossroads in the early cardinal signs — the early degrees of Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn. This is called a grand cross, and its position aligns it with something called the Aries Point — the first degree of the zodiac. When the Aries Point is activated, the energy rises, and a space opens up where deeply personal events share the room with sweeping changes in society. What we call individual experience stands in the same place as collective experience. Of course, it always does. Our private lives are influenced by the public realm more than we think, but when the Aries Point is cooking, the intersection is a little more obvious. We can tell because we feel the sense of urgency, the pull to get involved, and we might take the sense of a critical moment a little more personally.

I trust that readers outside the U.S. will indulge my giving examples using American culture; you can look to your own community for similar examples that will illustrate the point equally well — and if you have examples I would love to hear about them (including how you’re personally experiencing those changes or the call to action).

We have all been eyewitnesses to the effects of this astrology. Between 2007 and the present time, American society has been through a dramatic polarization. Social conservatives and the extremely wealthy have worked together to push through an agenda that both restricts personal rights and concentrates resources at the top. It is indeed one agenda that cuts off resources to the poor, runs wrangle on reproductive rights and attempts to restrict the movement of ordinary folks. This in turn is reflective of a society that’s being run on a divide and conquer theory. In the astrology, we’ve seen this as a series of oppositions between Saturn (a planet said to represent structure) and Uranus (a planet said to represent energy). With that opposition you get some hotly polarized tension. The typical narrative is of regressive versus progressive thinking. We saw one of the last acts in this drama play out in New York State when the Knights of Columbus, worried about what allegedly happened to Sodom and Gomorrah, pitted themselves against people who want to be free to choose their partners on their own terms.

Ferns grow out of a cliff behind the Sanctuary teaching space at Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, New York. Photo by Eric.

This may seem ridiculous, but it illustrates the point of how attached to the past, or an idea from the past, it’s possible to be, and how powerfully this can influence the present moment. The many dramas of this sort have paralleled the Saturn-Uranus opposition in a way that makes you wonder if life isn’t some kind of puppet theater with the planets pulling the strings. Of course, looked at honestly, this can seem like a lot of unnecessary head bashing. Perhaps it took this polarized astrology to make the issue seem obvious.

We’re now leaving behind the Saturn-Uranus opposition — Friday’s eclipse seems to be the last major event in which the aspect features prominently. Saturn is now heading for late Libra and eventually Scorpio, leaving Uranus in early Aries to do its work on the level of individual and collective awakening. Uranus is the planet of revolution and Aries is the sign where we not only hold our sense of self, but where we create it as we go. So, a long series of personal revolutions that spill over into collective progress are on their way.

In this chart, the Saturn-Uranus opposition intersects with another aspect — one that’s just warming up. That’s the Uranus-Pluto square. When you think of 2012, this is the aspect to remember, and remember that it makes seven exact contacts between June 24, 2012 and March 16, 2015. (This same cycle next comes into play in 2046, when Saturn and Pluto make an opposition.) Note that the square has a wider time orb than this 2012-2015 date range. We’ve been feeling its effects for several years, and it will continue to have effects into the end of the decade. But the peak phase of this aspect is going to be interesting, a time when we see some extraordinary changes in society. By that I don’t mean the usual litany of disasters, but some unusual developments that we might have claimed were impossible right up till they happened.

The Hermitage at Omega Institute. Photo by Eric.

The long square between Uranus and Pluto is one of the threshold eras of our lifetimes. It’s the time when anything can change, and most anything will — our job is to participate, envision and adapt.

Yet this will be small comfort for those who are clinging to the past in desperate fear. It might not feel like ‘the past’ to them by the way — it might feel like the only thing they know. We’ve all got a little piece of this working somewhere, and it’s good to know about it because that bit of clinging can be the one thing that holds you back.

There will be people, potentially right near you, who fall anywhere on the range from frightened to terrified. Part of not being scared is being able to assist those who are, to the degree that it’s possible. We all make up our own agendas in life, and if someone’s agenda is to be paralyzed, there is little anyone else can do about it. It would make a lot more sense to observe your own fear dynamics and see how they create resistance within you, and what you discover you can do about this. Remember, you’re not being loyal to your parents by being scared of the same things they are.

The opposite of fear is love, and this can turn up as trust, imagination, a sense of community, a sense of your own potential or what we might get done if we cooperate. There’s the thing we need to figure out the very most: we’re all in this together. Once you’ve tuned out the ongoing propaganda campaign that we have nothing in common, it’s easy to see how much common ground we share (such as the planet itself, the air, the water, the need for companionship, and so on). The common ground in this chart is indicated by Pisces and the planets associated with it.

Fretboard of G&L Comanche. Photo by Eric.

There is a direct energy line into Pisces because the eclipse is trine Chiron and Neptune in that sign (that’s the double green line in the center going up to the right). Pisces is the sign of the imagination, representing the endless cosmic ocean of creativity we can tap into at any time. Chiron is helping us focus our minds on this wavelength; Neptune is providing a rush of fresh, new water into the ocean it rules over. Amidst this clash of the titans, the chart points the way into rich potential and actual freedom.

Yet this is freedom you have to take for yourself rather than be given. The circumstances of your life or the world may require you to make significant changes, or rather to make a conscious choice to alter the flow of your existence. Yes, some things develop in what seems like a natural way and some develop by an overt decision. And who knows: this may turn out to be easier than you think it will be.

Last, Jupiter, the other ruler of Pisces, is in Taurus. This blends the populist realm of Pisces with the individual possession realm of Taurus, enriching both. Our individual lives indeed benefit by a connection to collective resources, and we all have something to offer that will make the world a better place. The thing about Pisces in any form is that it calls for clarity. It’s necessary to be awake, honest and more than a little scrupulous, or it’s possible to slip or get lost in denial. This chart has a lot of protection against such possibilities; with the least cooperation on your part, Chiron in Pisces will keep you focused and awake as you cross this bridge into the unknown.

Remember: the water of Pisces is inherently erotic. If you’re interested in creation, creativity, celebrating the Earth or your own nature, growing, evolving, loving God or Goddess, or loving existence, that’s the one thing to bring with you; the one thing that has no substitute. If you only have one birthright here, that is the fact of being alive and creative. If this is true, it’s true down to the cellular level. Think of your passion, your pleasure and your creativity (they are closely related) as being the deepest expression of your integrity.

Yours & truly,
Eric Francis

Planet Waves Monthly Horoscope for July 2011

Revised and Updated! Click for Eric’s Zodiac Sign Descriptions

Aries (March 20-April 19) — How does it come to be that we get so over-identified with our relationships? How is it that we confuse them with who we are, and can even think we lack validity, existence or citizenship unless we are certifiably partnered? There are actually answers to those questions if we look at them sincerely. At the moment you seem to be in a situation where your inner development is exceeding the capacity of a relationship. This, in turn, may be conflicting with your tendency to identify with your situation. Now, the cosmic beauty of this is that you will get to define a boundary between you and your circumstances. Indeed, as you clarify this, you will see what you’ve been trying to do for a long time, much longer than you realize. I would remind you that our culture provides exceedingly few examples of what it means to be in a relationship as an individual. For many people, being in a relationship or a family environment is a hedge against that individuality — and I suggest you examine your family line for information about how this may be true in the people who raised you. Ultimately, your drive to grow and become far exceeds any circumstances or the limits that can be imposed by an agreement. If you are indeed growing faster than someone, or many people, around you, then this is something to admit directly, and promptly. At this stage of your life there is no time for faking it, and plenty of incentive to be real with yourself and others.

Taurus (April 19-May 20) — There are rewards for letting go of what troubled you in the past, and the things you were attached to in the past that you no longer want or need. Those rewards begin with acknowledging what is real to you, and worthwhile for you, in this moment. That will provide a way to invest yourself in your immediately available environment. You are training yourself in what nourishes you and what does not. Then of course you have a choice of what you imbibe. I recognize the matter of the past can seem extremely complicated. But if we look at its basic elements, we can see that for the most part, the past consists of unresolved feelings that give us very little. Instead of spending our lives unconsciously chasing things that we supposed might fill that gap, we can look directly at those feelings and the situations that gave rise to them. I would note that the situations are arranged in layers. It’s not as simple as linear cause and effect; when you make a discovery, be sure to keep your inquisitive mind on, rather than use a feeling of discovery as a point of conclusion. If you’re just a little persistent, and practice being self-reflective, you can find your way to a new perspective. And while you may be inclined to think of this as a new idea, I would describe it as a new emotional perspective on your own existence — literally, a feeling that describes who you are when you’re not encumbered by expectations of any kind.

Gemini (May 20-June 21) — You have long wanted to stabilize your financial situation and you now have a plan for doing so. The key is going to be sticking to that plan long enough to demonstrate to yourself that it works and is therefore worth pursuing and developing. I would remind you that most of what we learned about money we learned from people who were 1. Not that good at handling the stuff and 2. Happy to impart all kinds of emotional baggage and barbs that came along with their philosophy. Usually, there is a close relationship between being financially independent and being emotionally and psychically independent from your parents. In our society money is one of the ultimate forms of power in our own lives. It’s the freedom to stay or to go; the freedom to be who you are no matter what anyone may think. If you look at the times in your life when you had the least such freedoms, they were likely to be in your family of origin, or within relationships that emulated your family of origin. By emulated, I mean which duplicated the sense of powerlessness over your circumstances that you may have felt as a child. At this stage of your growth, ‘power’ and ‘freedom’ translate to being free from the games of others, financial and otherwise; they translate to the ability to trust your own resourcefulness, and most of all, the ability to feel what you feel without the fear of consequences.

Cancer (June 21-July 22) — The July 1 eclipse in your birth sign is about tying together many loose ends, and reminding you that despite the many stories these threads represent, your life has one theme. We tend to think of existence in categories: self-development, work, relationships, home life and so on. This is a glitch in consciousness that veils the fact that we are each one person living one life. Indeed, thinking in boxes does something more detrimental — it creates the notion that we are separate people within ourselves, dividing our character between worker, parent, individual who grows, person who aspires and so on. Many who have attempted can report on the challenge of seeing yourself as something beyond all of these concepts, and indeed recognizing yourself as something other than a concept. Yet I am intimately aware of the sense of a divided self that afflicts many humans, and which can be especially tricky and tiresome for those born under your sign or with Cancer rising. If you start to feel an inner division, I suggest you turn it into a dialog. Get the aspects of yourself conversing, and consider the viewpoints of both of them, or however many there are. You may be aware of how testy this dialog can get, and thus might want to avoid knowing too much about it. However, you’re on the verge of a major self-discovery that could go a long way toward resolving your differences with yourself. You will then discover that your differences with others were a kind of shadow.

Leo (July 22-Aug. 23) — You may have discovered that you’re more driven by your emotional nature than by your intellect. While this is true for most people (otherwise, advertising would not work as well as it does), in your life this factor can have a veil thrown over it. That veil is being pulled back by the July 1 solar eclipse in your adjoining sign Cancer. If you can see and understand this tendency, it doesn’t have to run your life. There are more creative ways to live, and the other side of that very same emotional aspect of yourself is a deeply nurturing spirit that is both generous and conscious. You can get into some conflict if you resist that quality, and you may be figuring out that you’re a lot happier when you’re offering others the best of who you are. The eclipse is focused on your 12th solar house — the part of the mind that we rarely get to see, or which disappears into the waking dream of life. The 12th is an inner environment, and the eclipse resembles an opening through which you can allow fear, negativity and attachment to the past to be flushed out of your psyche. Let it do its work. The process is not over; it will go on for months, and speed you through the many self-improvement projects you have going. On that note, I would paraphrase Abraham, an entity I started looking into while researching Leo astrology a few years ago. He suggested that the only thing worthy of discipline is feeling good. From that, everything else will follow.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22) — You’re rather sensitive to what others think of you, though it looks like you’re seeing the benefits in setting some limits to how much you let it affect you. There’s something deep here, and very likely something old. All humans and many other critters need affirmation and approval. That much we can all agree on. What we might disagree on is whether it’s a healthy impulse. I would say that it is, if we can manage to be the first place we go for that approval. Here’s why: If you seek acknowledgement outside yourself, you may be validating your doubt with greater strength than the affirmation providing nourishment. That is counterproductive. If, instead, you get into the habit of answering your own questions (primarily with yes) you will gradually discover that you exist, and that you have a right to exist. That’s what it all boils down to, kid. It’s not about winning the Grammy, the Oscar or even a ribbon at the county fair. All of these things are, at least in theory, designed to inform you that you have a right to be here and to do what you really want to do. At this stage of your life, certain primal instincts are starting to wake up and inform you just how true this is. So if you feel your passion stir, don’t go back to sleep. If you feel your curiosity get restless, go seeking clues rather than assuming you know the answer. And if you desire validation, remind yourself that not only do you belong here — you’re actually here, and you know it.

Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23) — You’re figuring out how not to overreact in relationship situations, though there seems to be a good bit available that you can overreact to. The skill of maintaining your balance no matter what others are going through — or offering you, or luring you with — is something that you seem destined to learn. As you do, remember that balance is not a static position. Rather, it’s the art of continual adjustment to your environment. This keeps life interesting and lets you perceive experiences as creative fodder. Saturn currently moving through your sign is a moment of reckoning with yourself: of discovering what it means to be fully authentic with yourself, and then as a direct result, with everyone else. This will teach you to be balanced, stable and optimistic. Saturn moving through your sign will only last a little more than one year from now, and is providing a constant reference point of your boundaries. But Uranus will be in Aries, your opposite sign, for the next seven years, stirring up your environment and offering a steady flow of interesting people and situations. There will, as a result, be plenty to test how steady you are on your pins. Remember that much of balance is flexibility, and you may want to consider embracing models of relationship that offer that above all else. It’s not just that you need freedom; you need to live in an environment where it’s considered healthy.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22) — Mars in Gemini may be making obvious certain splits in your opinion, desires or intentions that have been lurking below the boards for some time. I suggest you not hold yourself as someone of ‘low integrity’ because you have a divided opinion, or seeming inner conflict in a value, or have discovered that you might act some ways and speak other ways that seem to contradict them. We all must come to terms with dualism while we are here in the world of duality. It is ultimately the unified mind that can make this recognition and have the desire to do something about it — though that unified mind can be a challenge to dial in consistently. The more we do so, the stronger we become. As you observe the many ways there are two of anything in your life — viewpoints, people you care about, financial options, diverging ways of life — remember that the mere observation of this indicates both an advanced level of awareness and the power to do something with the information. Seeing the pattern is the first step in the healing process, assuming it’s even bothering you. In fact there are many times in life when we get to have our cake and eat it too; the either-or choices for who we are tend to be false dichotomies. By that, I mean the two viewpoints or possibilities we are presented with conceal something deeper, greater possibilities, or alternatives to the problem that take us to a higher level.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22) — The most ordinary matters are the most meaningful right now. You don’t need to worry about big goals, grand destinations or even your personal destiny. Stay focused in what you’re doing, and in particular, take care of the material aspects: focus on keeping things running more or less on time; keep your sink empty and your sheets fresh and live the life you’re living. This is a moment when the very larger and seemingly more significant things are incorporated into the seemingly most mundane. Here’s the thing, though — they always are. When you’re working at your very highest potential, what you’re doing is part of life. And as part of that, you always have a basic need to maintain yourself, take care of basic creature comforts, and be present in the moment. What you have now is a setup where focusing on your immediate environment leads you to a sense of a much larger world. This could come from, for example, being more attentive to your phone messages or email, which directly leads to an opportunity. Or the effect may be indirect: you’re feeling rested and like you’ve got a handle on your life, and this gives you a little more space to have ideas, and engage people in conversations. One over-arching message of your solar chart is enjoy what you have. Enjoy the health, the wellbeing, the opportunity to serve and create, that you have at this moment. Relax into this space and you will find it offers you lots of unexpected potential.

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20) — Someone close to you seems to have shifted their perspective of who you are. That, or you’ve shifted your perspective and you are seeing someone in a different way, a different light. There is something in your charts about you and the people in your life making emotional space for one another. You need the space to be yourself, and to some extent that exists within the awareness of others; really, it’s something that you give to yourself. At the same time, you have the ongoing opportunity to open space within yourself for the changes and movements of others; that is, to be one who allows rather than resists. Relationships are complex, typically because we try to fit complex individual lives into a format that is way too simple to leave room for anyone to have actual space to grow. You are growing; you are changing; you know this, and at times it has you pretty nervous. Imagine how confident you would be if you knew people would embrace you no matter who you become. Now imagine how confident you will be if you know you’ll embrace yourself, no matter who you become. Self-forgiveness, and self-allowing, are by far the most significant pieces of this equation. Most of what the adults around us taught us when we were little was wrong. In that same spirit, it’s true that guilt is inflicted on us in the first instance, but there is nobody who can un-inflict it except for you.

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) — It’s safe to let your curiosity be free. Indeed, this may be the only safety because it’s an aware state of mind: curiosity is engaging the world with receptivity. You may have a craving to explore the other side of a feeling, or the deeper, darker side of a creative idea. The thing with curiosity is that typically, when we’re very young, a boundary is set on it. We’re told that it’s dangerous to be curious and everyone has heard the rumor about that cat. This association with curiosity and death actually does a fairly good job of anaesthetizing the inquisitive factor of the mind. Right now that part of you is waking up, in a little tempest. As that develops you may feel like you’re going to exceed some boundary, rule or limit; that’s the thing to cross over. That’s the place where the best feelings are, and it’s a sure way to gradually lure yourself out of the boxed-in enterprise that life has become here in the 21st century. Though there are many external factors that try to push us into a kind of rigidity and then profit from it, we’re the only ones who are able to lead ourselves out. And the way we do that is by getting acquainted with the subtle conflicts, masked desires and odd ways we want to work out our inner polarities. The sensation when you get there is something akin to a blend of danger, release and pleasure. And when you feel that you’re on one of the most elemental levels of the human experience — which is the same thing as spiritual experience.

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) — Your sign is currently providing an alternative to much of the negativity of the world: the peace-loving nature of Pisces is starting to become an obvious path to many who have thrived on conflict. I suggest you open up to this yourself. Humans are pleasure-seeking creatures. Humans are creative, they love beauty and they’re inherently erotic. Therefore, you may discover that you’re the flavor of the month for a lot longer than a month. Now is the time to allow yourself to be the ultimate Piscean you’ve always wanted to be. Keep easing into the flow of life; make sure you keep the mystery of existence closely in your thoughts. Avoid people who thrive on conflict, or who are trapped in it — and remember, it’s not your job to cure them of anything. You may, at first, need to make certain discoveries on your own about what keeps you alert to beauty, feeling good and craving new experiences. As you learn from those, you will gradually attract people who are curious about your idea of fun. The coming weeks and indeed seasons of your life may feel like someone has handed you the ‘missing piece’ of your emotional psyche. Suddenly you don’t need others for your pleasure; you have yourself, and they are inclined to need you just a bit more than you’ve noticed before. Relax into this reality. You will wear it well; contentment breeds contentment, and as you value happiness, you will draw toward you people who are seeking the same thing.

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