Cardinal Cross, Revisited

Dear Friend and Reader:

For the past couple of years we have been living under the influence of an alignment in the cardinal signs — Pluto arriving in Capricorn in 2008, followed by Saturn and Uranus making their way into Libra and Aries. These three powerhouses have been dancing around the early cardinal cross — right around where the Sun is when it changes seasons — stirring up all kinds of mischief and adventure.

Photo by Eric Francis.

I am sure that most of us would prefer to forget the first half of 2011, with its assassination/shooting, quake, tsunami and multiple nuclear meltdowns, tornadoes, floods and fires — along with a rapid sequence of revolutions and crackdowns across North Africa and the Middle East, and political protests in Wisconsin and Ohio. Edgar Cayce would be impressed. All of these events and the ongoing political madness in the U.S. are associated with these slow-moving planets coming in and out of aspect to one another, as well as their proximity to the Aries Point. Fast refresher on that: the Aries Point is the intersection where what we think of as news becomes personal, and what we think of as personal becomes news.

When you get three planets in aspect like this (really, there are more if you include other signs — but for now I’m just considering what’s on the cardinal cross) you get a number of different cycles coming together, and that always stirs the pot. But the energy of these longstanding aspects can then be precipitated by Sun/Moon events. The first of these is the solstice, when the Sun enters Cancer on Tuesday, June 21. When you have planets grouped around the Aries Point, the change of seasons becomes a more distinctive turning point. The reason is simple: in addition to the power surge of the Sun entering a cardinal sign, it immediately begins to make aspects to lots of other planets. That is what’s about to begin with the solstice, one of the strongest power-points of the year. A solstice is not merely the change of season. It’s as if the entire cosmic dynamo changes directions, at least from our perspective here on Earth. It’s a moment filled with tension and bursting with potential.

During the Sun’s first week in Cancer it forms aspects to Neptune, Jupiter, Uranus, Chiron and Pluto. One nice thing about this phase is that the Sun will be in a water sign, so while the Sun is sparking off the other planets aligned in the T-square (Saturn, Uranus, Pluto) there will be a vent or pressure release as the Sun also aspects Neptune, Chiron and Jupiter. Said simply, a lot of energy is created, and then there is someplace for it to go. One of the problems many of us face is that when the fear or chaos level rises, we cut off from our feelings to avoid the negative emotions. We can miss the opportunity to harness the energy. These events are suggesting that the most productive, workable and moreover safest route is to feel and experience with your emotions rather than avoiding them.

For the past few weeks we’ve been seeing utterly ridiculous issues come up in the news — such as the Anthony Weiner sexting thing, which qualifies as the stupidest scandal in history. Based on the upcoming eclipse, it would seem that the news is about to take a serious turn — but the Weiner situation calls for a comment. The irony of a congressman being kicked out of office for sexting is ridiculous because Congress is a kind of sex party. The escapades, adventures and shall we say opportunities provided by the attractive, intelligent young men and women who enter the Beltway from our nation’s most prestigious universities are impressive. These interns often volunteer to do more than paperwork, and they provide something of a renewable national resource for many of our elected representatives. This is a kind of open secret in DC. The nearly 30-year-old Congressional Page Sex Scandal described in Wikipedia as a mere shadow of the astonishing reports I read day after day in The New York Times as the whole thing unfolded. So far as I could tell, any or every member could have been involved, and from what I understand, things have only become more interesting since this issue disappeared from the pages of newspapers.

On Friday, July 1, the planets on the cardinal cross (Saturn, Uranus and Pluto) will be set off by a partial eclipse of the Sun — the third eclipse in a rapid, four-week sequence spanning June 1 to July 1. What happens is that the Sun and the Moon move into an exact alignment in the one quadrant of the cardinal cross not occupied by planets. This runs considerable energy through the whole cross, and is likely to come along with a new wave of unusual news events and personal developments that call for emotional maturity and the willingness to turn rapid change into opportunity.

Anthony Ayiomamitis, creator of this image of Wednesday’s lunar eclipse, writes, “This has the Moon almost completely in Earth’s umbral shadow with the white crescent on the right limb being the final bit still in the penumbra but not in the umbra.”

Usually there is one barrier to that: fear. And the loss is obvious if you think about it: fear is generally what prevents us from making the most of our circumstances, and the result is a kind of spiral. This is intentional. I’ve mentioned the ‘shock doctrine’ concept a few times: it’s a way of making news that makes people cower, so that political and business agendas can be advanced. Basically it’s turning Pearl Harbor into Coca-Cola, a consistent, dependable product. But this would not work without being keyed into a deeper but misdirected survival instinct. This tends to work on the level of an unconscious reflex, and basically as a result we become the prisoners of our own fears. When we talk about growth, enlightenment or spiritual consciousness, what we really mean is not being held hostage by our own fear impulses. I know it seems like there is a lot that can go wrong in the world, but there always was. These fear impulses are torturing us as individuals and adding up to a big mess in society.

The July 1 eclipse is the third in a series of three eclipses — a partial solar on June 1, a total lunar on June 15, and then the partial solar of July 1. Eclipses are part of much longer cycles, and within each cluster or grouping of eclipses, each individual event is part of a different cycle. What is interesting is that the June 1 event came toward the end of a very long cycle; the June 15 one was the peak of a cycle and the July 1 eclipse is the very first in a brand-new cycle (these are called Saros cycles). Personally I didn’t know there were new Saros cycles but I’ve learned that there are, and we’re about to experience what that feels like.

To me something new is about opening up new territory, never before visited. The eclipse takes place in Cancer and arrives in grand style as part of a grand cross. Yet the sign Cancer has some special meaning in terms of personal evolution, as it’s the sign of incarnation. It’s also the sign we associate with emotional grounding, family and security. And as such an emotional sign, it would be the epicenter of the emotional healing process I’ve been describing for months now, though of course anything happening in Scorpio and Pisces would be part of that, too.

In the rest of this article, let’s consider this emotional healing theme and see how we can put that to work under the current astrology. The presence of so many planets in the water signs, and an eclipse coming in one of the water signs, suggests that the emotional level is one to focus on right now, and Chiron in Pisces points to the theme of healing.

An eclipse looming in the sign Cancer points directly to the theme of family. I would say that the basic need for emotional healing is connected with unresolved family baggage, resentment caused by failures in relationships, social struggles including a sense of feeling like an outcast that is commonplace even among ‘popular’ people, and the ongoing, sometimes subtle and sometimes overt agony of living amidst too many rules about sex. All of this points to toxic shame, a problem so pervasive we have barely begun to see it for what it is. It is difficult to see, in an environment where we’re constantly shamed and where one of the most pervasive emotions is guilt.

Astrodice offer the formula: Uranus in Virgo in the 12th house, with the latter two in a puddle next to a waterfall. There is a lot of energy, intelligence and ideas packed up in that 12th house, and it’s contained in the perfect morph of Pisces and Virgo — about to be set free by Uranus. Photo by Eric Francis.

As with fear, when we encounter toxic shame, we tend to turn off our feelings so that we don’t have to experience the pain. This is basically the trap, and it’s everywhere — with every option we have to shut down, from drinking one of those things at Starbucks that somehow combines 25 grams of sugar with a huge dose of sodium, to indulging in endless ‘entertainment’. As time goes on the pressure builds, and we see it release in destructive ways, such as people in Vancouver trashing their own city this week because their team lost the Stanley Cup. This a lot of pent up energy. I think many people feel the psychological term ‘repression’ is quaint, but pent up means repressed, and it’s not just all those drunk hockey fans that are experiencing the pain of this. Clearly they were revolting against something. The subtle question is, in what ways do you feel held down, and in what ways to you rebel, or try to? Usually this kind of rebellion is not so artful; it is the destructive use of creative energy. One of the first things we do in an emotional healing phase is figure out how to put that same energy to good use.

As planets gather in the water signs, and as we have an unusual new kind of eclipse about to happen there, the route to healing would seem to be to enter our feelings rather than avoid them. That does not just mean ‘negative’ feelings. I also mean the pleasures you want that you might deny yourself, be they emotional, aesthetic or erotic.

This doesn’t have to be a total immersion. Sometimes it’s better to approach one’s feelings from the edge, to lightly touch them and acknowledge what’s going on inside. Sometimes it works beautifully to go there with your imagination first. For many, the idea that comes with this will be something like, “I am not going to pretend any more” — whatever that pretending may entail, and for others, it might be, “I’m going to be real about this right now,” whatever that being real might entail.

Our current phase of eclipses is providing both psychological leverage to change our circumstances and restructure our lives, as well as an emotional vent for long-pent-up energy. It may seem inconvenient, but it’s really an opportunity.

Yours & truly,
Eric Francis

Capricorn Moon and Mercury on the Move

Today is Friday, June 17, 2011. The Moon, coming out of full phase, is in Capricorn all day. Capricorn is one of the most interesting signs for the Moon; though it’s considered a ‘weak’ placement in the opinion of classical astrology, many people associated with strength, integrity and authenticity (not to mention prodigious artistic talent) have this placement — as do a good few political leaders. In mundane astrology, Capricorn Moon is a time to negotiate and navigate your way through anything involving authority. It might also be a time for taking authority in ways that are politically savvy — not bossy, but rather well thought-through.

After making many aspects yesterday, the Moon has a relatively calm day as it approaches trines to Juno (relationships, accountability) and Mars (pure energy and drive). The implication of these trines is that the qualities of the other planets are available if we choose, rather than being something that confronts us demanding action (which is more how an opposition or square would be).

Mercury, newly in Cancer, is the planet on the move. It’s making some exciting aspects through the weekend and into next week, now on the cardinal cross and aspecting the T-square that I describe in the lead article above. One thing to bear in mind is that Mercury is running vanguard of the path the Sun will take after the solstice next week. Mercury is currently trine Neptune in Pisces, which is a clairvoyant aspect if there ever was one — particularly from water to water. Use your intuition, as you will need it as Mercury heads into a series of aspects involving the cardinal planets: a square to Uranus (don’t sweat the small stuff; everything contains an idea; every problem has a solution) and an opposition to Pluto (that is about a craving to go deep, though you might want to avoid people who push you places you don’t want to go). Be particularly cautious if someone knocks you off balance. Aspects for intuition are so strong right now that you will likely have early warning of who to avoid, so make sure you listen if you get a hint from the ethers, even if you have no ‘reason’ to believe it.

Under these aspects, private matters could have a way of becoming public, so make sure you say, or publish, only what you want to be read or seen by others. That said, this is a good time to open up and tell the truth to those close to you. The Moon enters Aquarius at 7:47 am EDT on Saturday.

Photo by Eric Francis.

Planet Waves
Weekly Horoscope for Friday, June 17, 2011, #864 – BY ERIC FRANCIS

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

Aries (March 20-April 19) — It may take you a while to figure out that you’re aggravated or a bit shocked by something, but make sure you don’t take anything going on at home into your work environment. That’s not a solution, however — what you’re blessed with at the moment is one of those situations where discord or strife can be turned around and developed into an opportunity for healing and growth. Some people seem to understand this concept (and potential) exists, and for others it’s not quite believable. The proof is in the experience, and you’re in a position to guide things in this direction; this would begin with openly stating your willingness to participate in that. Remember that it is participation more than ‘making’ something happen. Your willingness may not seem like much, but it’s the very key to healing. And once you’re in the flow, it’s much easier for others around you to get in the flow, often without even having to say anything. Healing always proceeds from the inside-out.

Taurus (April 19-May 20) — You have some unusual ability to focus your wisdom and intelligence. Jupiter in your sign is offering you plenty in the way of longterm gifts if you will focus your mind on what you want. This really is the issue for most Earthlings — having this clue what you want and all kinds of excuses why you shouldn’t want it or why it’s not possible. Of course as a Taurus you’re good at both. What would it take to emphasize the first part and skip the second part? The key to that riddle seems to involve what you do with guilt, and releasing your investment in that emotion. I realize that for most people this is a little like not eating sugar or salt; guilt is considered a normal emotion; a flavoring and not a toxin. But it is the glue that binds us to everything we don’t want, and I would point out that at the moment there is a lot you want and a lot that you can have, if you would only embrace your desire and receive authentically. That, basically, is the opposite of guilt.

Gemini (May 20-June 21) — Intelligence works best when it’s combined with emotional sensitivity. You have an excellent opportunity to experiment with that, and in a sense redefine what you think of as an idea. Most of the time an idea merely has to be smart; the notion of useful or worthwhile can be expanded to smart and feels good. Remember this about people you encounter, what people offer or invite you to be involved with. The distinction between ‘it sounds good’ and ‘it feels right’ is perhaps less noticeable at first than the difference between ketchup and mayo, however after a while it becomes something you cannot avoid noticing. The tricky part seems to be saying to others, ‘I don’t want to do that because it doesn’t feel right’, which could of course go against all the reasons that someone has for you to do something. What I’m talking about is described by most people as intuition — which is a body sense of right and wrong. From childhood we are taught to ignore this feeling.

Cancer (June 21-July 22) — Finally you’ve got some energy moving in your relationships. You’ve spent many months going through some kind of process of getting unstuck, which has meant clearing away the past so that you have some space in your life. One thing that’s changed is that you’re more welcoming of the energy of others in your life, even though it causes you to come out of your comfort zone. The other thing that’s evolving is your sense of equanimity, which is to say a deep kind of fairness. It’s vital to be able to take are of others without any sense of resentment; I think you’ve discovered that this really amounts to deciding who you want to share your nurturing, and recognizing that expecting something in return may work in business but it does not work in the personal sphere. Yet there is also a sense of balance that you’re coming to understand. Balance in relationships begins with emotional balance within yourself. Once you can reach that spot, sharing intense passion can become truly pleasant.

Leo (July 22-Aug. 23) — The Sun making its last moves in Gemini may be reminding you of certain factors from the distant past, including some things you would prefer to forget. You might forget the event but not the feeling associated with it; I suggest you stay focused on the feeling, which might be lurking just outside the range of your normal perception. There is something here about approval or acceptance among a group of some kind — it could be your family, it could be your friends, it could be a circumstance that reminds you of both. In case you get the idea that you’re avoiding something, I would propose that actually, you’re doing your best to immerse yourself in something deeply personally relevant, creative or daring. If you’re wondering what that is, consider the experiences that you wanted to have as a child but were not able to have. You may still be feeling a hankering to try some of that, or a lot of it. When you shift in that direction, notice the social rules that seem to hold you back. Observe whether you think you have any power over them.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22) — The next few days will be an emotionally deep time for you, and I suggest you take the opportunity to go there. Part of you may feel like it’s dying, though that is more like an emotional reaction to the deep impulse to grow and transform yourself. One thing you can count on is that this process has a life of its own; it is as alive as you are, because it’s part of you. I understand how you may be reluctant to let yourself go in this direction, or to allow yourself to even take a conscious step. Yet that consciousness and willingness are precisely what will make this experience the most valuable, even if it is inevitable. Your willingness will be met by some unusual, unforeseen support. This is likely to demonstrate how the lesson of healing is that in the end, the choice to receive it is yours alone. While others play a role, most likely by being an example of what is possible, we’re talking about something so intimate that it can only come from you to you.

Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23) — Your future self is speaking to you. Imagine who you would become if you developed your talents, your personality and your deepest level of personal evolution over a long period of time, say 10 years. Now imagine that this person exists and can speak to you, guiding you along the way to becoming this person. This might seem like a scenario out of science fiction, and indeed it may help you to visualize the process if you think of it as a story. From your perspective, your future self is a kind of fictional entity, and you seem to be the one creating the character. Yet looked at another way, we’re talking about the idea of the ‘higher self’, a kind of archetype of who you are at your most evolved, mature and content. More than anything your higher self understands your purpose for being on this planet, and you will benefit from a direct conversation with this being. Does he or she exist only in your imagination? Time and experience will reveal that.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22) — I trust you’ve discovered the benefits of opening up to others about what you think of as your most intimate details. For weeks you’ve had a desire to let something out — the truth of what (or perhaps it’s who) you truly want, and if you see an opening to speak over the next few days, I suggest you take it. One thing you would benefit from is experimenting with your environment so that you begin to get some confidence that you’re in safer territory than you might otherwise believe. This kind of confidence is gained not in theory but in practice. You are in a different environment — an entirely different one, in fact — from what you’ve ever experienced. By that I mean you have access to a softer world, one more sensitive to your feelings, and people you can trust are at least able to recognize who you are. Therefore you have no need to be any form of adversarial. The more open and trusting you are, the more open others will be. This is the chance you will have to take.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22) — You may have become so accustomed to struggle that you’ve forgotten what ease is, or that it even exists. Now is the time to remember. And once you remember, make sure you don’t forget. Write it down, draw a sketch or take a photograph that reminds you. Better yet, keep coming back to the feeling until the gesture of seeking out a space of ease comes naturally to you. One quality of your perception now is the ability to keep a bit of detachment from the emotions of others. You don’t need to fully experience or be subject to what others go through in order to appreciate it or have empathy for them. In truth what is difficult for others right now is easy for you, and you can offer support at no expense, no loss and with no drama. You may indeed doubt whether you’re actually being helpful, and I would assure you that you are. When your life is going smoothly, you are the most available to others, and to receive the gifts of others in whatever form they may come.

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20) — Look for the unusual points of contact. That is to say, ideas you might not consider, people you might not consider, courses of action that you might have avoided on a different day, and ways of approaching the situation of your life that defy your usual conventions. The people around you will be receptive to anything you propose, because they’re receptive to you personally. That receptivity also means they’re extra-sensitive, so keep that in mind, but I suggest you not attempt to cater to that sensitivity, scale down or be less intense; merely be aware. The floor is open for a real conversation of your needs and your desires. Though you’re accustomed to putting these very discussions aside for various reasons, I suggest you allow yourself the trust and faith in the people around you, and see what happens. Small, seemingly subtle acknowledgements of who you are have the potential to open doors in your relationships — leading places you never believed it possible to go.

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) — There’s a spirit of adventure in your charts: a human adventure. A line of communication is now open, and that is bridging the gap between two seemingly different or distant entities. I suggest you use this availability for contact as a way to explore both yourself and someone you care about. Seeming gaps in experience, gender or social status mean less than they might appear to. Similarity is emphasized over difference. This moment can, if you allow it to, lead the way to many other experiences. The thing is, you would need to actually take the steps, start the conversation, or reach in the direction of someone or something you truly want to experience. You might hesitate for what seems to be a mix of emotional and mental reasons, but that hesitancy is a small obstacle or an opportunity to check in with your feelings for a moment before you go forward. Yes, you may go deep, though only as deep as you want.

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) — You have a lot of ideas right now, and a lot going on — but I suggest you focus on one thing, or bring some energy to one thing, that you’ve been wanting to do for a long time. How long? How about the thing you’ve been wanting to do the longest but have not had a chance, or the energy, to do. A little focus will go a long way. It may not feel like it now, though you’re at the beginning of a useful, even highly beneficial phase of your life, and I suggest you trust that. This idea, project or experience that’s waited the longest has the element of healing, and this will become apparent as soon as you take some tangible steps toward bringing it into reality. You don’t need to travel far or work hard to get this started; you merely need to allow yourself a little space and time, enough to feel the rewards. That will provide additional motivation. One clue as to the subject is that it may involve healing your relationship to women. Certainly that will be one benefit.

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