Planet Waves Monthly – November 2008

Dear Friend and Reader: 

WELCOME TO SCORPIO and the time of Days of the Dead. We are in that strange and beautiful extended moment when the worlds — our current, seemingly alive one, and the ‘after’ one — merge into one place, at least slightly. Scorpio is a sign that relates many complex emotions, most of which we people would rather not admit: fear lacking a name or a concept, jealousy unbecoming of love, yearning unbecoming of a lady.

Heather Fae at Old Tongore Cemetery, October 2008. Photo by Eric Francis for Book of Blue.

November is a month of extraordinary events — in the world and in astrology — beginning with the opposition of Saturn and Uranus on the 4th, on Election Day. This rare aspect has not happened since the mid-1960s (notably, in Pisces and Virgo that time as well, but with Uranus in Virgo and Saturn in Pisces — opposite what is happening now). As I mentioned last time and as warrants mentioning again, when Saturn opposes an outer planet, a new chapter of history begins.

The one that begins now takes us directly into the 2012 phase; we could say that as of November 2008, the 2012 era has begun. The entry of Pluto into Capricorn late in the month is the true harbinger of this — another message of sweeping changes to society and of making our relationship to the “big world” personal, practical and driven by necessity more than by belief. November’s Full Moon is on the 13th in Taurus, opposite Mars. Once again, earth energy, value and values are evoked powerfully, by the Moon-Mars contact via Taurus. The Sagittarius New Moon is on the 27th (the day after Pluto enters Capricorn to stay), with the Moon and Sun conjunct Mercury, Mars and this thing probably you may not have heard of called Pholus (a centaur planet). Once we see the far-reaching results of this particular New Moon (one lunar month from now), you’ll likely want to find Pholus in your natal chart, if he hasn’t already found you.

Speaking of the New Moon, today (Oct. 28, 2008) is the Scorpio New Moon. It is closely conjunct three minor planets: Ceto (also called Cetus or Cetea), a sea monster; Echeclus, a centaur/comet; and Deucalion, the Greek equivalent of Noah. Ceto is described as  “the personification of the dangers of the sea, unknown terrors and bizarre creatures.” It’s also the root of the word cetations, which include dolphins and whales. I’m not going to take this literally as a comet signifying flooding and monsters (or Flipper), but rather a surge of awareness and the fear that awareness will bring consciousness of what we don’t want to know. That is one of the risks of waking up and paying attention, isn’t it? And one of the most viable arguments against erotic awakening? In Scorpio, we have plenty of material just under the surface. It is the sign of “how we really feel about people, despite ourselves.” The truth is often deeper than we want to know, more passionate than we care to admit, and more complex than we can explain in a text message.

Eric Francis

Aries (March 20-April 19)
Achievement has not come easily for you in recent years, though having extremely idealistic goals certainly has. The polarity between the two states of being has at times been painful to stretch yourself across. You have surely made an effort, and you have been patient; this has taught you something crucial, which is temperance. You have wracked your spirit on many debates over the ethics of your choices, and have often tried to live as if you were spiritual rather than simply real. Deep in there you have questioned whether you are a good enough person to deserve success. Has it occurred to you that so much that you’ve been trying to work out was not your own personal material but rather the legacy of the parent who tried to cast their shadow over you? That shadow seemed like light; it was veiled in terms like ‘growth’ and ‘mystical’ and even ‘cosmic’, or maybe it just seemed like normal circumstance. It may have simply been someone’s religious trip that was endured by someone in a time before you lived; God knows there are plenty of them in our DNA. The message of Pluto’s entry into Capricorn is that it’s time for you to define accomplishment on your own terms. You set your own objectives and you determine the extent to which you need to go to make something happen in the world. Yet the more compelling point is this. Success is not doing what is expected of you. Often it is about specifically giving up those expectations, and taking up the responsibility and the privilege of independence.

Curtain in the sex district of Paris. Photo by Eric Francis.

Taurus (April 19-May 20)
Many of my recent columns have guided you to seek understanding of what you believe and why — and to see the power of those beliefs to influence your existence. The most enduring mental constructions in our society would appear to be things like guilt, sacrifice and an obsession with scarcity. It would not be stretching things to say these ideas tend to form the foundation of our thought structure as a culture and as individuals. This in turn would help explain why we are so obsessed with having more, and with dramas of right and wrong. Now imagine all of this is like a rigid structure that holds back your potential, your energy, your talent and most of all your ability to define your existence on the basis of love and not loss. You may already know this, and what may all-but-terrify you is the notion that if your belief structures are challenged or destroyed, your existence will somehow collapse. How many times have you had this feeling, this lurking sense that you are somehow held up by whatever you believe, which makes it precious — even if it’s not true, even if it’s hurting you or limiting your potential? As you begin to experience something new, remember this imagery. Feel the energy pouring out of the spaces where it was contained by your own false notions about life.

Gemini (May 20-June 21)
For those born under the sign Gemini or Gemini rising, the years 1994 through 2008 (Pluto in Sagittarius) mark a crucial phase in your lifelong journey of learning about relationships, of deepening them and of exploring their impact on your life, for better or for worse. I’m going to take an educated guess and say that what you’ve learned is how not to be intimidated by the people you care about, and for that matter, by those who mean somewhat less to you. You have learned to stand on your own, and to meet the intensity that others offer you with flexibility and an open mind. You have learned to allow others the very influence on your life you’ve always said you wanted. All of us on Earth face the question of how to experience “the other” — that which is different than us, opposite from our viewpoint, unusual, incomprehensible; that which we desire, need or want, but overall that which is other. And in our world so often defined by dualism, that is, by the clash and dance of opposites, this can be harrowing. Yet we deeply need these influences. What you have learned, I trust, is to use them for your growth and betterment rather than for drama or as part of a victim trip. As Pluto makes its way into Capricorn, the angle of the conversation changes, and you will need every skill you’ve learned.

Cancer (June 21-July 22)
Love hides in narrow corners and strange places, or at least that’s where you seem to look for it. Perhaps this is because all the ordinary places you seek, you find people whose beliefs are so conventional it’s a marvel they have any room to think or breathe, much less to grow. And it is a wonder, at times, that you can stay awake around them for 15 minutes. You’ve struggled with believing nothing else is possible; and with the impulse to lower your standards or deny your own desires. At times you’ve resigned yourself to transcend the need for intimacy. There is a reason for these things, and I believe it involves the structure of human consciousness: a façade we call the ego; which obscures this ocean of chaos we call the unconscious; which in turn conceals the existence of the soul. We tend, all of us at times though some more than others, to acknowledge only the show that’s on the stage rather than the production behind the scenes. As one who is soaked in your own feelings, it’s impossible for you to deny that you have an inner life. A new era of your relationships is beginning, and one quality that may surprise you is how others will seek you as a guide to their own inner quest, and in the process you will help many. As for your own satisfaction, choose from among those who are aware of and truly interested in your own inner journey.

Paige. Photo for Eric Francis.

Leo (July 22-Aug. 23)
Much of what I know about Leo, I know from homeopathy — specifically, from the remedy aurum metallicum, or pure gold. Most of the rest comes from having working relationships with Leos, wherein I have learned that there exists something of a gold standard, and one that is described in the properties of the remedy aurum. It is not quite about perfectionism but rather about giving all you have as a matter of common sense. You do something, you do it well. You commit to something, you come through. It’s a more practical approach than trying to be perfect. People other than Leos have these values, but few take it to heart so deeply, with such pride and with the capacity to feel so poignantly any sense of failure. Apropos of Pluto ingressing Capricorn, your solar 6th house, you need to pace yourself; to balance effort, recovery and recreation; and most important, to let your mind carry the weight of your process more than your body. This is a transit about refining your method, purpose and message of something vital in this world — service. The key to these years of your life is about restructuring your world such that it supports your goals. You may already be onto this one, but the time has come to put your plan into action. You know what is possible. You believe in yourself. And you trust your own strength. Focus your intention and the rest will come.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22)
Your obsession with balance and seeing all sides of an issue are precisely what prevents you from doing your most fulfilling work. It is one thing to be thorough, to be precise, and to strive for a justifiable opinion. Yet there is nothing ‘balanced’ about something that excels or innovates; it stands out and apart from the rest of creation, it is visible to others as such, and in the process, you become visible. As a result, you become vulnerable. In the extended phase of life you are embarking on, your creative power emerges specifically from an inner tenderness, one that is born of enduring an inner journey the likes of which few people get to experience. There is a reason so few of us agree (or allow ourselves) to develop our creative potential, indeed, our human potential; or strive to recover the aspects of ourselves lost in childhood. To do either requires letting go of defenses and releasing cumbersome ego structures and comes with the feeling of taking an extreme chance. Most people on our planet are terrified what would happen if they started to let go of their preconceived notions about life, or of themselves. Most will take only slightly greater chances than their parents did. Your karma is different. You are on a different path, and you are taking the first steps right now.

Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23)
Most people, no matter how old, are ruled by their families. Just listen to them long enough and you will see what I mean. It’s not that they are told or forbidden what to do directly, though disturbingly often this is true even for some adults. Rather, we often live with the sense that if we do something we truly want, we will be met with the displeasure or disappointment of a parent, a spouse or some shadowy authority figure standing in their place. On a deeper level, you — like most people — seem to drag around an idea of what is safe and secure that is based on some ancestral notion. I have news for you today. The moving force of your soul is about to impact these ancient artifacts of history, and it’s not going to stop any time soon. With passion, with gusto and with a sense of evolutionary urgency, you are claiming the right to define safety, security and necessity for yourself. You can and must define your life in terms more meaningful than survival, yet without ever losing the capacity to survive. The time has come to go beyond an emotionally Spartan existence and take inner authority. This is not so much about controlling your feelings as it is about consciously removing your inherited blocks to feeling them at all. And this, in case nobody has written it before, is where freedom begins.

 (Oct. 23-Nov. 22)
You are a deep and thoughtful person, but it’s rather incredible the extent to which your entire reasoning process is based on doubt. You usually arrive at the truth by reduction; by determining, through a long process, what is not true; and then what is left must therefore be true. It is now time to reverse that process: to seek the core of the matter as a conscious act. You may feel like you’re going on a hunt for a unicorn. That is, you may doubt, at the outset, whether what you are seeking really exists. This is one place where your doubt is not going to serve you; now you either need faith or determination. As has so often been said, the truth you are seeking is within yourself. You have spent much of your existence, and I mean from early childhood on, encountering very old ideas, and you still love tradition. Yet any tradition that is alive, changes. That is the whole point: it is an evolutionary process. This works for you on several levels, one or more of which may apply. The first is your sense of community. The second is your sense of family. The last is your talent for some form of expression of an idea. Think of it this way. You go to the library basement, where everything is kept that nobody has bothered with since AOL was invented. You find there is another basement. You go down there, and you start writing, and you come up with something actually original — and you never stop.

Sign spoofing United States’ “friendly” attitude at a museum exhibition on American culture in Utrecht, Netherlands, 2007. Photo by Eric Francis.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22)
You may feel like you’re finally being set free of something: a spell, an obsession, or a seemingly endless phase of your life that has driven you to some incredible highs and lows. You have in these years learned to apply intention, force and awareness through an extraordinarily long process of trial and error. You have figured out the necessity to focus your mind rather than to think in generalities. And you’ve learned to let some seemingly ‘other’ strength come through you, a strength that turns out to have been truly your own. That, in a nutshell, was Pluto in Sagittarius. I am sure you’ve also observed that you can do significant damage if you’re not careful, and can in those rare, transcendent moments, get actual results that exceeded your talent or expectations. The result of this extraordinarily long process is that you’ve figured out that you exist. You have noticed that you have impact, that people are compelled by your presence, and that they actually care about you. Remember the sense of community and interpersonal contact as your life begins to take on profound tones of self-sufficiency. I don’t mean to say you’re an island; rather, I feel you’re learning to be autonomous in the sense that what is important to you is about embodying your principles, even if it supposedly involves a sacrifice. The chances are, it will not — or not of anything you will miss.

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20)
What you are struggling with is an internal phenomenon. It may simply be the awareness that you need to wake up, but you’re not sure you want to. You may feel, urgently, that it’s time to let go of a vast number of preconceived ideas about life, all of which prevent you from doing one thing — feeling the truth of your feelings from the core of your existence, without needing to pretend you don’t care about something else. The extended phase of your life you’re entering is about becoming someone other than the person you were supposed to be. Who exactly is that person? I can give you one clue; it is a person who feels far less isolated than the person that you’ve come to know yourself as. Indeed, you may not realize the extent to which this isolation has been a factor of your life, but it has been a necessary one, one that has given you deep spiritual grounding. Count back 15 years. Think of your ideas about God or Goddess, your personal cosmology; consider your values about death and what you have discovered about the essential nature of your own soul. Now imagine that what you learned in that time is actually true. And imagine that the person you have become during these years is the one who can express yourself in the world as if it were true; not as a question but as an underlying reality of existence.

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19)
I am gradually coming to observe that Aquarius is the sign of the most profound contradictions faced by humanity. In the archetypal sense, Aquarius stands for futurism, liberty and the power of invention. Then it stands for the crystallization of patterns that make progress all but impossible. Where there is tyranny or revolt, Aquarius is in the picture. For an individual, the essential remedy to the contradiction is being aware of one’s shadow nature: that is, having a conscious relationship to your deepest fears. If you don’t, you can run into problems, and by that I mean descend into control issues, profound loneliness and a sense that you’re too complex to ever actually feel good. Recent years of your life (2005 to present) have had you under the influence of Chiron; this has focused your personality intensely, and has left you feeling an obsession with growth, healing and awareness. The longer story is Neptune: a personal drama over truth, integrity and a significant controversy over where you begin and where the world ends. Pluto is now moving into the sector of your chart where you keep your darkest secrets, and you need to be deeply honest with yourself about them. This is a confrontation you cannot avoid, and if you do so with an open heart, it will bear nourishing fruit.

Tori and Kai, photo by Eric Francis.

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20)
I don’t think there’s a Pisces alive who wonders whether there’s a place for him or her in this world. You are soft and, if you haven’t noticed, the primary construction materials on this planet are concrete, steel and some odd idea that the past must overshadow the future. Your most important long-term transit has been Uranus in your sign. This is making you burst with the desire to make your unique mark on the world, to shape the world in some new way that embraces imagination and personal freedom. Pluto in Capricorn will give you some extra potency to shape not just belief, but material reality. This is a skill that few people have — most just go along with the program. You are moving into a position to insist that the program go along with you, or better yet, to establish your own place in the world. Certainly, the fear of being different will no longer hold you down. You have abundant energy and you are well into taking the step of being your own best friend. Even if you have tried to have a particular form of impact a hundred times, try again. If you have attempted to get an idea off the ground each of the past 10 years, try again. If you have been seeking a place in society where you get to keep your integrity, look for it now, and don’t be surprised when it opens up.

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