Galactic Lunar Eclipse — and Your Monthly Stars

Because the plane of our galaxy is clouded by dust that obscures our line of sight, we need to use non-visual techniques to glimpse what is at the center of the galaxy — in this case infrared. You can see the original with a full explanation on this link at APOD. Credit: Hubble: NASA, ESA, & D. Q. Wang (U. Mass, Amherst); Spitzer: NASA, JPL, & S. Stolovy (SSC/Caltech).

Dear Friend and Reader:

At the heart of the Western zodiac are the signs Cancer and Leo — which are not ruled by planets, but rather by the Moon and the Sun, respectively. In the Northern Hemisphere (where our Babylonian/Greek astrology was invented), those are the warmest months of the year, the richest part of the growing season and most places, a brief interval when we can draw some warmth from the outside, like a lizard sunning himself on a rock.

Antique dishes of some sort, photographed at a dinner party at the home of renowned antique dealers Ivan and Gustav. Photo by Eric.

The Sun arrives in Cancer, the sign of the Moon, on June 21, which is the summer solstice in the Northern Hemisphere and the winter solstice in the Southern Hemisphere.

Before I describe that chart, let’s go over a few events in the early part of the month.

There will be a partial solar eclipse in Gemini on June 1 (and, oddly, another partial solar eclipse in Cancer on July 1).

The biggest news of June is that Jupiter enters Taurus on Saturday, June 4, where it will be for a full year, uninterrupted by any retrogrades. Jupiter in Taurus puts it in a Venus-ruled sign, and that is good for everyone. It’s a little like a year-long conjunction of Jupiter and Venus. Does that sound delightful? These are the two planets known for giving gifts, and Taurus represents appreciating what we already have.

Taurus is also the sign of honoring what is most important to us, that is, where we may find information about our true values. This happens by experience, not just by studying astrology — so pay attention to what you experience. If you’re curious you can look up what planets you have in that sign and see what they tell you. Jupiter will have the effect of expanding (which is growth), magnifying (so you can see, for healing), bestowing knowledge (a bit of the Sagittarius aspect of Jupiter) or adding a soothing balm (the pleasure aspect of Jupiter, associated with Pisces) to whatever you already have in Taurus.

On June 12, the Sun is conjunct Mercury. This is about letting go of old ideas that don’t work. How exactly do you do that? Know what they are, to begin with. Be aware what doesn’t work for you. Then gradually train yourself to go in some other direction. For example, if you’re fed up with not trusting yourself, be aware of that, then guide yourself in the direction of taking small steps where you can experiment with self-trust.

On June 15, we have a total lunar eclipse in Sagittarius, conjunct the Galactic Center. I’m sure it’s going to look beautiful wherever you can see it (which will be far from the United States, since it happens here during the day), though the chart conveys some beautiful ideas. Here is one: We are all familiar with how the human ego throws a veil over the deeper dimensions of knowledge. That’s why we (think we) have to go after all this spiritual teaching and seek experience and knowledge.

We cannot see our own galaxy from this perspective, but we can see others like it. What you’re looking at here is a spiral galaxy known to earthlings as NGC 6384. It’s located about 80 million light-years away in the direction of the constellation Ophiuchus. At that distance, NGC 6384 spans an estimated 150,000 light-years, but this close-up of the galaxy’s central region is about 70,000 light-years wide — much wider than our own little island in space. The brighter stars are local critters in our own galaxy. This image was created by a collaboration between NASA, the Hubble team and the European Space Agency and appeared on APOD earlier this year.

Think of the Moon as that ego structure which, by the way, is rooted in what we think of as our emotions more than anyplace else. Emotions have a way of overriding the mind. A lunar eclipse is like drawing back the veil of the Moon and revealing what is behind it. And in this case that would be the Galactic Core — the very core of our galaxy of 300 billion stars. All these stars, of which our Sun is one, are glued together by the gravity of a supermassive black hole. We are out on a back road in a rural corner of the galaxy. As a traveler approaches the core, the concentration of stars gets brighter. On the surface of any planet located near the core, it’s as light at night as it is during the day.

The Galactic Core is our homing signal. Astrologically, it’s the closest thing I can think of as ‘God’ in the astrological chart: the homing signal of the soul. It has a direction and a location in space, and in a little while the clumsy veil of the ego is going to be drawn back and will reveal some of what’s going on back there.

Okay, as for solstice: the Sun enters the sign of the Moon, and a new season begins. Whenever the Sun changes signs, and especially when there is a change of season, it plugs into a power source and there is a surge of energy, movement, progress, and (as we’ve seen through the past year or two) a global crisis. Are you familiar with all the outer planet sign changes I’ve been obsessing over lately? That’s what’s behind this emphatic energy shift when the Sun makes a move.

Pluto is still in early Capricorn; Chiron and Neptune are in early Pisces. For the past couple of years, every time the Sun changes seasons, we get a surge of Pluto energy (an evolutionary impulse), and this is an illustration of why our lives and the world have seemed so wildly out of control.

Now — thankfully — we have two elements in Pisces. When the Sun enters Cancer on June 21, it will make a trine to both Chiron and Neptune, opening a flow of feelings, water, healing energy and imagination. We will still get an encounter with Pluto for several days in late June, but this, at least, will be about experiencing the need for growth in the context of what is possible. In personal development, as in art, architecture and ranching, it’s helpful to have a vision, and together with the Sun, Chiron and Neptune in water signs, that vision will come to any who ask for it.

Details about these aspects will be covered on our new Daily Astrology Feature. See you there!

Eric Francis

Planet Waves Monthly Horoscope for June 2011

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

Aries (March 20-April 19) — You may notice that your life becomes rather quiet all of a sudden. By that, I mean your circumstances are settling, and so is your state of mind. What seemed so urgent just a few weeks or months ago is now more a matter of reflection, and this is the time to reflect. There is a life lesson here: life runs a little like the tides (though somewhat less predictably), with peaks of intensity that don’t necessarily require you to make big changes. The urgency appears to have involved your pressing need for independence in the context of a situation that was keeping you hemmed in. The urgency has passed; the specific situation has not. However, you may notice that it starts to seem less intractable as the month progresses. Despite these changes, the same basic question remains: does this circumstance support your long-term growth? You now have a more mature task at hand, which is to evaluate that question when you’re not feeling like you’re on fire and have to run outside. The question is just as important today as it ever was. It’s just as crucial that you make up your mind, and come to terms with your environment, whether it’s a personal relationship, a career situation or both. You have some big goals. You want to increase your presence in the world. And you want room around you to love the way that you love. Remember your goals, every single day.

Taurus (April 19-May 20) — This month something rare and beautiful happens: Jupiter enters your birth sign, where it will remain continuously for more than a year. While Jupiter sometimes has issues of raising image over substance, this is not true in Taurus. As you know, a year is short. You are not usually so keen on making changes to the way you live. Yet Jupiter is inviting you to expand, to make improvements, and to enter a direct relationship with this elusive thing known as fortune. Were there ever a time to begin thinking in abundance consciousness, that would be now. Begin that by counting your blessings. You have many that you don’t usually consider: yes, start with the dry roof and the sandwich in your hand, but quickly move on from there to subtler points like your intelligence, your curiosity and your gift for language. Of all the resources you have, your ability to express yourself is one of the most significant. And for as persistent as you are at sticking to one way of doing things, you can, at a moment’s notice, go into flexible mode, and adopt an alternative point of view — one you had in your vest all along. I suggest you beware of the fear that you will be seen as inconsistent for changing your opinion. This is not a matter of your public image — which by the way is doing just fine. This is a matter of maximizing your happiness.

Gemini (May 20-June 21) — There is no fence around the parts of yourself that you need to protect; there is no instruction manual to point out your weaknesses. There is no automatic way to tell truth from lies. Yet you can do all of these things. When you think of the concept of boundaries, substitute the concept ‘discernment’. Your perception is the first gateway to authenticity and right action, and if you use it, you will get better at it. You have a gift for seeing the unseen, so the first step is deciding to trust yourself. That’s the foundation of all success, self-confidence and trust in others. No matter what else you may be doing, you must trust your choices, your intelligence and your abilities. All of that translates into a sound relationship with yourself. I’ve found that most people struggle with trusting their own judgment — and getting out of that is like escaping from a trap that was set for us long ago. You can make authentic progress doing this now. The first step is entering a conscious dialog with your fear — not avoiding or denying it. Another involves knowing the difference between wishful thinking and having faith in yourself or in a situation. And part involves not projecting your own good intentions onto others who are not so benefic as yourself. You don’t need to obsess over how evil some people are; you merely need to recognize them and deal with them appropriately — which usually means staying out of their way.

Cancer (June 21-July 22) — One of the things that is never mentioned about your sign is your relationship to dualism: that is, to the property of both psyche and of physical existence that seems to be in a conscious dance of pair-bonding, hemispheres of the globe, two sides of the coin, two sides to the issue, or the unquestioned belief in good versus evil. In many ways humanity is based on this whole notion, yet most of the time, it’s somehow cleverly hidden. It’s hidden, that is, until it’s not. The relationship between separation within and the experience of separation in the world is complex, and there seem to be no easy solutions to the problem. Indeed, we count on being separate from others as a way of experiencing them directly. Yet as you begin to see your hidden inner divisions, and make a conscious effort to heal them, something about your perception of the world will change. While ‘healing’ for most people implies discomfort, the kind of healing I’m talking about is self-reconciliation. That can be pleasurable, as you reveal to yourself aspects of yourself that deeply want to be exposed, unlocked and set free. It’s not the same pleasure as a chocolate parfait. This is a more transgressive kind of exploration, which can lead the way to some interesting relational experiences as your inner relationship opens up. Given the long-term picture of your astrology, what you learn this month will provide useful information for how to guide your life in the future.

Leo (July 22-Aug. 23) — You may be feeling like long-resolved fears are suddenly being stirred up: stuff like whether you really fit in, whether you feel authentic and whether it’s even safe to be authentic. These are some of the enormous paradoxes of the social world that we all have to live with. The important thing is that you not try to compensate for any insecurity, or cover it up, or pretend it’s not there. Face the issue directly. Remember, it’s not ‘all you’, but you’re the one in the driver’s seat on resolving the theme of where you belong in society, including what friends you want or need, or determining who you call a friend. One thing that’s clear is that your social environment is changing, and elements are dissolving. In astrology this is about the same house as your highest wishes. By that I don’t mean your goals, but one step beyond your goals. I mean your dreams. One thing that gets in the way of what we want now is letting go of what we wanted in the past, but which no longer serves us. So do a little inventory. Make sure you include taking off the list things that you have attained or become, and keep your focus on what you want in the future. One reason you depend on a measure of over-focus on certain objectives is that your true desires have a tendency to change so fast. Part of letting go of the fast means reassessing your desires quickly. The ones that matter most will come up again and again — that’s how you’ll know they’re real.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22) — A few times the past year, your astrology has hinted at the theme of ancestral material. This is a concept so elusive that few people even have any reference to understand it. We’re sometimes aware of the influence our parents had on us, but rarely do we consider what is passed down, say, through 10 or 100 generations. I suggest you mull over this possibility, remembering that while DNA is shuffled, there are threads that lead directly to events, people and circumstances of the past. Some of them are passed to the present moment with startling precision, usually as thought forms — and one of them may be lurking around you right now. It won’t be that hard to find: it’s the thing about which you feel the most stuck, the thing you keep tripping over. While it’s a good idea to check both your mother’s and your father’s lineage here, and to look at relationship patterns of your ancestors, I suggest you bark up your mom’s side of the family tree. It’s the thing she didn’t talk about that is likely to be the thing that’s hanging you up. Because she didn’t talk about it, it had a quality of not existing, but it did, and though unspoken, the thought form was conveyed to you. A few words come to mind to describe it: covetous, possessive, narrow, proud and stuck. That might translate to a child as, “Am I wrong for existing?” Perhaps not that exactly, but something like it.

Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23) — Don’t negotiate too much. In fact, I would say don’t negotiate at all, especially over what is already yours. The people around you want the same things you do; some, or one, is just a little less comfortable with the notion than you are. This may be difficult for you to conceive of, since it’s perfectly desirable to you. If you negotiate, remember that you’re actually participating in someone else’s inner working-out process. It’s better to leave that to them. And it would be great if you remember that you have what this person wants; their issue is that they are likely to be struggling with that desire. Usually we look to others to get us through these things, and we end up getting used as projection screens where others work out their issues. This is precisely what I’m suggesting you step out of the way of. You know that there’s no reason for conflict. You are not in doubt about whether what you, or anyone else, desires is ‘good’ or ‘legitimate’. I would say that you’re looking for a meeting place where you can share with other willing people. So start with the willing others and then get into the sharing. Whether someone feels willing or ready is really their business. Soon enough anyone with any doubts will figure out that desire is healthy, especially the desire to make contact with others. The conflict is a ruse, and when that ends, something else will be revealed.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22) — We’re familiar with the concept of relationship as mirror. What about mirror as relationship? Part of why mirror as relationship is uncomfortable for many involves areas of gender that are distinctly taboo. Most of us openly crave being mirrored by the opposite gender. That is supposedly normal, but devoting one’s life to ‘the other’ can have a way of eschewing a fundamental encounter with self. Within this drama, many crave being mirrored by someone of the same gender, though in a different person. An aspect of the pleasure of this, in part, is that it brings us a little closer to ourselves. Another is that it sets us free of so much conditioning that relationship has to be heterosexual — a struggle that many who are out as queer still have to address on a daily basis. I know I’m writing about this in a horoscope, but we’re talking about sensitive inner territory here, and it’s usually thrown behind all kinds of veils. For example, how many people who have bisexual desires dare to write them in their diary, fearing that someone will find them when they die? While we cannot remove the taboo on erotic or relational matters, it is possible to enter the taboo and explore it, which is to say, explore yourself. For the moment, you may consider the whole matter of gender and sexual identity to be entirely flexible. Everything is optional. Every option is open. It’s all good, the better for getting your feelings into the open where you can figure that out directly.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22) — Jupiter busts a move this month — heading into Taurus for a 13-month visit. Jupiter in Taurus has a nice feeling, introducing some open-ended potential to the solid nature of Taurus, and grounding the fleeting energy of Sagittarius in something solid. The theme of this transit is wellbeing. I like the Spanish word better: bienestar. Think of Jupiter as your star of wellbeing; your bienestar. Here’s a quick rundown of what you might do with that. There are habits you want to break; Jupiter will give you attractive alternatives that don’t skimp on the pleasure. There are habits you want to form, and you want them to be good for you. One key element is shifting work from something you have to do to something that is nourishing. Though commitment may be involved, the most significant step is being in an environment where you can develop your talents. That’s the thing to aim for and that’s the thing that’s likely to happen if you do. Put another way, you need room to expand. Sagittarius is all about space: having your space, taking your space, and for that matter all the weird things that exist in outer space. Sagittarius is about knowledge. Go places where your knowledge is valued, and where you get to experience it specifically as an asset. These things are habits, as are the opposite tendencies, which I will not list here. Start a little at a time, for example, by knowing when your environment is welcoming of you and acknowledging that.

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20) — Please don’t let jealousy get in the way. There is always a better guitarist, a prettier model, someone who has been painting longer than you, someone who you perceive as having more freedom. What I suggest you emphasize is the willingness to dare. It’s not as daring as you may think. It’s actually fun; not the riding your bike with no hands kind of fun, but the seductive and satisfying kind of fun. As you expand into this territory, you’re likely to meet your own resistance. That provides you with another opportunity to work through it, or play through it, and go further. Then if you meet your own resistance again, you’ll know what to do. This resistance may come in the form of what you feel it’s okay to tell others about what you desire. Notice these little crises directly, and pay attention to what they tell you about your current state of mind. Note, neither your state of mind nor your values are fixed. They are flexible, mobile, free — they are something you can explore and experiment with. Incidentally, the transit I’m describing is Jupiter ingressing Taurus, which is your house of creativity and pleasure and your solar 5th house. Jupiter loves the 5th house. It can bring a streak of luck, though I suggest you not squander it in games of chance but rather in your human encounters. You need these, and you dearly want to be free of the religion of jealousy that the world tries to convince us is mandatory. The only way to get there is to go there.

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) — It’s not easy being an Aquarius. Half the time you feel like you’re from the future, living in a world where next to nothing makes sense. There are plenty of other moments when you feel like you have to hide how smart you are, because most people just don’t want to know what you know. They have that whole ‘don’t make me think’ thing and they may not recognize the expression on your face when you look at them wondering what their problem is. Okay, so much for them. What you are about to embark on is a rather long phase of being comfortable in your knowledge. In a sense, you’re going to be living in your knowledge, and like it there. One way this might manifest is not being so annoyed by how little people want to know, and another way is being happy that you not only know so much, you’re even curious to know more. Right now it’s less important what you do with your vast inner library and more important that you tend to it, keep it clear and somewhat organized and most of all, recognize its value to your existence. Knowledge is a living thing, like a plant. It needs to be loved, watered, pruned, and it needs the right amount of light. You, as a human, need company; the place you call home is the place to welcome those who recognize your intelligence for what it is, which is to say, who recognize you for who you are.

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) — I know I’m a writer and this is probably the best horoscope that (as a Pisces) I could write for myself. I also know how many people dearly, deeply want to express themselves in writing and just cannot, for whatever reason, bring themselves to do it. Jupiter changing signs this month is very, very good for writing. It’s even better for ideas. Much of that goodness will come in the form of recognizing the pleasure of the exchange between ideas and their expression. The thing to focus on is the pleasure and sensuality of your intellectual process. Many writers of yore, and I do suppose a few writers of today, imbibe alcohol as part of the writing process specifically to loosen up and experience that sensuality. While I don’t accept or strive for purity in any form, let’s use alcohol as a metaphor for inspiration. Jupiter is associated with comfort, so work in a comfortable space. It’s associated with imagery, so explore that, in the form of images you love and images that you create. Jupiter is associated with anything international, so bring that into the scene. Jupiter is associated with indulgence, so be sure to indulge what you really, truly want to write, and if you don’t know dive into an experiment and have fun doing it. One last: Jupiter is associated with big libraries. Some time in the next few weeks, get yourself to one of those, so you start this transit off right. And as for wine, all hail the great god Dionysus.

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