Neptune to Chiron: from Denial to Awareness

Dear Friend and Reader:

I’m wondering what kind of week you had. What did you experience and what did you learn the past five days? It’s been an unusually interesting sky, as Mercury and Venus (personal planets associated with emotions and senses) first made aspects to Neptune (denial, delusion) then to Chiron (painful revelation or healing impulse) and Uranus (sudden awareness, ideas, invention). The story arc of these transits is like the psyche passing through a fog of denial, then getting caught in the spotlight of instant karma, then experiencing a wave of awareness that might lead you to make a decision and act on it. This has manifested in large and personal and collective ways, but let’s start with you. (You may email me if you want to share your experiences.)

Photo by Eric Francis, Book of Blue – Paris series.

These aspects describe not only the need to wake up and grow up, but the inevitability of doing so. There is a prevailing theme of noticing what’s going on, then connecting actions with consequences — something that we humans are not especially good at. We are very good at pretending there is no connection, and then wondering whom to blame when the catastrophic results suddenly become obvious.

In what we think of as public life (while we have the luxury of thinking there’s a difference between that and anything else), we’ve just lived through a truly incredible week of the personal as political. It was so revealing of the astrology — and what I can only call our moral crisis of leadership — that I’ve prepared a little news roundup for you.

As the United States gets ready to decide who will lead us deeper into the 21st century, two more Republican presidential campaigns burst into flames. Herman Cain, the gospel-singing pizza guy, found himself all over the news as several past cases of sexual harassment were revealed by the news website Politico. First Cain made a series of bumbling denials that anything happened or that any settlement was made, and finally admitted that something had indeed happened.

When confronted on video Wednesday, he lost his cool, telling reporters to bugger off and mind their own business — churning up even more interest in the situation. We will likely be hearing from some of the women involved, all of whom were given cash settlements and signed confidentiality agreements, and for that reason could not come forward. It looks like his campaign is road pizza.

Next, Rick Perry, the sitting governor of Texas, found himself in the news when he regressed into a kind of giggling, giddy man-child speaking to a bunch of New Hampshire conservatives, apparently under the influence of some substance or a manic episode. This was not the Rick Perry of, “No, sir, I’m not worried that I executed any innocent people” fame. (More executions have happened under his administration than under any governor in American history.)

Photo by Eric Francis, Book of Blue – Paris series.

Rather, it was a Rick Perry brimming with sentimental enthusiasm about the Live Free or Die slogan on New Hampshire’s license plates, then clutching a little bottle of maple syrup wearing a sappy, Texas-sized grin. When you see the whole speech, it’s not as twisted as it seems when you excerpt it. He seems more like the religious huckster that he is, who goes over the top a few times and then ends seeming like he’s mentally unstable.

Next, here’s one you may have heard about by now as the story goes viral — the most personal of all. In Dallas, Hillary Adams, the daughter of a family court judge, posted a seven-minute video of her father viciously flogging her with a belt when she was 16 years old, while her mother looks on. Apparently she had been caught downloading potentially-pirated video games and music (her father didn’t think she should have one of those computer thingies).

Hillary, who has cerebral palsy, says she was beaten regularly and finally posted the video this week when he would not stop harassing her. Her father, Judge William Adams, now faces a police investigation and a judicial probe, and has been suspended from his duties.

“In my mind I have not done anything wrong other than discipline my child when she was caught stealing. I did lose my temper, I’ve apologized. It looks worse than it is,” Adams told Texas television station KZTV.

Hillary Adams, now 23, told television station KRIS on Wednesday her father was “making light of the situation,” adding, “I just can’t believe he would say something like he doesn’t think it’s a big deal.” The story is replete with twisted details: for example, Hillary doesn’t blame her mom for the situation because she was emotionally abused by Adams too, and has since left the marriage.

It’s like our political process itself has ended up on the set of The Jerry Springer Show. It reveals what is going on beneath the surface of so much that we see.

Isle of Tinos, Greece. Photo by Anthony Ayiomamitis.

And there is a distraction effect. Efforts to solve Greece’s rapidly escalating financial crisis fell apart this week, and the country may not be able to avoid defaulting on its loans. The government itself seems on the brink of collapse. What you may not have heard is that earlier this week, the government replaced the heads of the Navy, Army and Air Force due to the fact the armed forces were allegedly planning a coup similar to the junta which ruled Greece between 1967 and 1974.

If Greece defaults, there could be an economic ripple effect that spreads across Europe and possibly to the United States — so everyone is watching this carefully. Here, the political could become intimately personal. As one of our colleagues in Greece wrote to me Thursday, “It really is a very pathetic situation and something I would not wish on anyone.”

Meanwhile, Pres. Obama is in France at the moment, at a meeting of the G20 group of nations that has this issue on its agenda. Democracy Now! noted that Monday, Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou angered many European leaders by announcing his support for a popular referendum — allowing the Greek people to decide if they want to accept the conditions of the $179 billion European Union bailout. Papandreou is now facing calls from within his party to resign after days of increasing criticism from European leaders.

The Greek debt scandal has also pitted U.S. banking interests against France, Germany and other European powers. “The Americans are putting immense pressure on Europe, saying, ‘We will wreck your economy, if you don’t wreck Greece’s economy,'” says economic analyst Michael Hudson. President Obama is “basically telling Europe, ‘Don’t go the democratic route. Support Wall Street’.” Clearly the irony of Obama’s position while the Occupy protests are still taking place in cities around the United States is not lost on many.

The Common Thread

The common thread of these events is power-based relationships, and personal responsibility (or the total lack thereof). There is something here about where the public trust intersects with deeply personal values. Presidential candidates are included in the ‘power relationship’ category by default, as they want to be the presumed ruler of the nation. And we are seeing this for the power trip that it is. What we’re witnessing are not individual cases of abdicated responsibility but rather the death of a model of leadership that is disconnected from any ethics at all.

Graffitti mural in Battery Steele, Peaks Island, ME. Photo by Amanda.

Herman Cain, like many people, managed to turn sex (or rather the idea of sex) into a power trip. By the time it comes down to four (and counting) accusations and at least three different women receiving cash settlements to settle sexual harassment charges, obviously this is a way of life. This person wants to be president, with access to nuclear weapons? That’s also a power relationship, to the whole world. Why, exactly, does he want to be president?

Rick Perry, the executioner, also wants access to those nuclear bombs. He’s a Dominionist, which means he feels it’s his duty to accelerate the end of the world, on behalf of God. But he’s delusional and he can’t hold his shit together, even at a public event with the television cameras on. It’s all about the power and glory. What I see in these presidential campaigns is people trying on the ‘I am the president’ trip with no sense of what that might mean to the people they’re supposed to serve. It’s like something has become hollowed out and feels like it’s going to collapse on itself. But I don’t think this is going on exclusively ‘up top’. We see many examples of how it manifests in more humble places, and to some extent we all enable the dysfunction in other people who live from power trip to power trip — until we don’t any more.

As for Judge Adams: all judges spend their days rearranging the private lives of others, more or less arbitrarily. They hold themselves above the law, and few mechanisms exist to keep them in control. If not for YouTube, we likely never would have found out about this situation. Everyone is shocked that a family court judge would beat the daylights out of his daughter. But that’s merely an extension of the same power he holds over everyone who comes through his courtroom. I’ve met very few people who have the guts to call out a judge on their illegal or immoral conduct.

Economically, we are facing a similar betrayal on a vast, even incomprehensible scale. We may not have seen the worst of it yet. It is no longer the paranoid who are predicting another collapse of the banks and a massive tsunami of defaults. It’s the people who know the most about economics. Part of the betrayal is on the part of the people with the most power, and part is on account of those with the very least. By that I mean that our economic woes are in part due to predatory lending, and the rest is due to people who could not resist their own greed and signed up for loans they could not afford. Meanwhile, countries and massive corporations have been busy doing the same thing. In this economic crisis, the conduct of governments, corporations and many private individuals has been nearly identical — and I rarely ever hear about that.

Everywhere we look around us, we see the aggressive use of power. The question is, how is this playing out in our own lives? Most individuals are more in the position to squander their power and creativity than abuse it, but opportunities to do both abound. The question is, what part of the problem are you willing to take responsibility for, and what are you going to do about it?

The Next Alignment

I ask because the same story is continuing in a different form. Mercury and Venus are now making an unusually long, exact conjunction that is moving through Sagittarius. Looked at one way, this aspect is brimming with idealism and potential. It’s a kind of astrology about having the best intentions.

Mercury and Venus (toward the right) in a long, near-exact conjunction. The two planets are moving at about the same speed for a while, but they don’t ever align precisely for this cycle. (Mercury, usually the faster planet, goes retrograde before catching up with Venus.) They form a conjunction in June 2012, which takes place in Gemini. Points above left are Pholus and the North Node.

Yet Mars in Leo is making a long opposition to Neptune, and soon it will make an opposition to Chiron. Like Mercury and Venus have just done with their squares to Neptune and Chiron, Mars is going make an opposition to Neptune first and then, when it changes signs, to Chiron. So we get the same sequence of denial/delusion with a subsequent feeling of radical awakening.

Treading this path with Mars is a little more dangerous because unlike Mercury and Venus, Mars is a sharp, hot and potentially flammable object. Opposite Neptune, we have a warning about going out of bounds, taking too much for granted or pushing an issue or a lie of some kind. There is a caution about emotional violence, psychic attack and severely compromised judgment. Because Aquarius is involved, this could involve some form of group denial or delusion (that would be nothing new, but as the astrology develops we can see a distinct event approaching — just in time for many local elections in the United States).

With Mars-Neptune aspects, the theme of motives needs to be investigated carefully, especially where any form of violence, force or power-over is involved. Deception needs to be considered an example of all three.

You might think of it this way. When power itself becomes the goal, that is dangerous territory. If you keep asking yourself about your motives, that is the time to call a timeout. Fortunately, there is a built-in boundary in the current planetary setup: as Mars opposes Neptune, the Sun makes a square to Vesta.

Vesta defines space, and will help focus the terms of the discussion. If you take action from the place of true and sincere devotion, you’re on solid ground.

Eric Francis

Friday, Nov. 4, 2011. Weekly Horoscope #881. | Eric’s Zodiac Sign Descriptions

Aries (March 20-April 19) — Resist the temptation to be dishonest, which also means stand up to anyone who is less than forthright. Most people resist straight talk because they expect to be punished for it. As for why we don’t call people out on their deception: there are two big reasons for that. One is the fear of being seen as a liar. Second is to keep the peace, or rather, what passes for peace. There are other mucky, cloudy excuses for denial, ranging from social lubrication to the camouflage that a little deception offers. But this is not the time for that. Now is the time to look at the fog, admitting that it exists. It’s time to apply every available form of perception to your situation. Be sure you cross-check and don’t rely on any one source of information. Mostly, it’s time to be true to yourself. You may have to face a relationship issue that you’ve wanted to address for a long time. Get used to that idea — the time is nigh.

Taurus (April 19-May 20) — You’ve finally gone past a point of a deep personal crisis — and now the real work begins. Just as when there’s a fire, a flood or an earthquake, the first response process is different from the long-term repair, the same is true for personal matters. You have discovered the places where your integrity is compromised. You have learned the ways in which you need to be more honest with yourself. You have probably figured out that it’s not only ‘okay’ but necessary to use what you know. And now you can apply these discoveries to your daily experience of life. There is no special time for growth and healing. If these words have any meaning at all, they are things we do all the time, even in our sleep — just like breathing. Many have noted that we’re a culture of shallow breathers, which describes our spiritual condition. Therefore, when in doubt, take a few deep breaths.

Gemini (May 20-June 21) — Your relationships don’t exist outside of you. There is no ‘third party’ known as the ‘relationship itself’, though at the moment it may seem that way. The risk in perceiving the relationship as a kind of corporate entity is dissociating yourself from a direct experience. It also dissociates you from the direct experience within someone close to you. I suggest you ask what’s happening on their end of the universe and listen carefully. This goes for anyone who would fit the definition of partner or close friend. You might even check in with those you consider your adversary or enemy. Those, too, are ‘special relationships’ that offer us plenty, and can sometimes be even more fruitful than the things we describe as relationships based on love. The question to keep in mind throughout your inquiry process is, ‘what does this say about me?’ I don’t mean this in the sense of a judgment, but rather a reflection.

Cancer (June 21-July 22) — Scorpio is your house of playful sex, and the Sun is still there — but since last week, two other planets have ventured from Scorpio into Sagittarius. This puts the emphasis onto two themes: one is on what some call spirituality. Another is what some call healing. Typically, sex is considered as ‘unspiritual’ as you can get, and what we think of as healing usually exempts sex from the conversation. You may be figuring out that not only are these areas of life related, but for you they are the same thing. You might want to investigate the mental constructions that would tell you otherwise. Or, you can experiment with the idea that they are one and the same. This would involve coming out of denial, though it seems that you’ve recently had an experience that helped you do just that. Let’s start the process with desire. For the next week, try being scrupulously honest about what you want. Forget about why you might want an experience. Consider judgment and guilt forms of dishonesty, and keep going.

Leo (July 22-Aug. 23) — Hugh Prather once wrote that it takes ego to see ego. I would add, it takes ego to miss the point entirely. Your human journey needs a container, and for most people that container is this thing we refer to as ‘I’ or ‘me’. But it doesn’t stop there; we then take that ‘I’ or ‘me’ and seek affirmation of our existence in our experiences of other people. At the moment, some of those may feel a little strange: such as, the more you assert yourself, the less of a response you get. Or you act one way and you get a response that makes no sense at all. Here is the thing astrology reveals that you may not have a pulse on yet — there is a whole level of response that you cannot see but soon will. In part this involves the filter you’re looking through, and in part it involves the way someone is cloaking who they really are. Changing either one would go a long way toward clearing up the scene.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22) — The heart of the matter is emotional, but that means something different to you than it means to nearly anyone else. To be valid, something has to make sense to you — and there’s a good chance that you’re finally getting some clarity that is starting to feel like ‘making sense’. I would propose that this particular issue is going to make sense in a slightly different way every day for the next week or so. Give yourself the space to come to a different revelation that’s related to the prior one but still contains a unique idea. The key is to feel the idea and its implications. Try it on with your physical body and your emotions. Translate your discovery into words and decide how you like them. Consider what action you would take if that day’s possibility were actually true. Then, move onto the next one — with no special concern about where you’re going to end up.

Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23) — You recently came to terms with something, and this has had a liberating effect on you. You’re more of a free spirit than your astrology has enabled you to be the past couple of years, and you seem to have turned a corner that has come with the feeling of desiring freedom. At the same time you have greater clarity what it is — and from the way the planets are lining up, that has something to do with your ability to express yourself in words. For a while you may have felt beyond any hope of a cohesive idea, much less being able to express it tangibly. Why that has changed may be something of a mystery — perhaps something that stabilized your tendency to go from one emotional rush to the next. You may have noticed the pain you caused someone, or that some experience caused you — and the result is liberation that comes with acknowledging that simple truth.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22) — It’s your birthday season, and I have a few messages for you. One is that this is going to be a good year for money, if you prioritize integrity above all else. That means being true to yourself, and to the people in your life. You will have opportunities to do anything and everything but be honest, and which only emphasize the point. In the old days when I used to train professional tarot card readers, I heard several of them say, ‘But I can’t charge money to help people’. And I would say, ‘Well what do you want to do, charge money to hurt them?’ This defines the first half of the integrity issue. The other half is not kidding yourself about the concepts ‘hurt’ and ‘help’. If you sell your soul, you cannot buy it back. You have to get it back some other way — but it’s far better to keep it in the first place.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22) — Two planets have just entered your sign — Venus and Mercury. The real-life version of that story may be an encounter or event that jolted you into a new level of discovery of who you are. It may have come through your dreams the past week or so, and in that dreamy way you may have forgotten what it was. Yet it’s had an influence on you. It feels like you unexpectedly resolved some old emotional pain. One clue about that pain is that it’s connected not only to your father but to some pattern involving his whole side of the family. You don’t necessarily need to analyze this, but it might help if you understood the connection. Your father had injuries and was subjected to influences that he did not understand. For a while that was the story of your life — and now a new story is finally beginning.

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20) — Leadership is about having your act together. Using that as a standard, just about everyone in political authority today, and mostly everyone in corporate authority today, would need to be described using a different term than ‘leader’. One story that your charts are telling is that you’re making the connection between emotional integration and your success in the world. By emotional integration, I mean getting the different parts of yourself to have the same conversation, and recognizing that they are aspects of the same whole entity — you. It’s not possible to divide your character (for example, trying to be honest with some people and dishonest with others). It’s useless to be constantly at odds with yourself. Insecurity of any kind simply must become a thing of the past. As you take action on these ideas, you will take yourself more seriously, and so will the people around you.

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) — You’re involved in an extended process of cleaning up some relationship issues, which may involve an actual encounter, several different experiences or your long-term patterns with others. This has less to do with those others and more directly with you. You are collecting the parts of yourself that you’ve scattered or invested in others, and which you are now claiming as your own. Think of this as a form of soul retrieval, or as a spiritual growth experience — it’s both. In either case, there is a special focus on the hidden psychological legacy of your mother. Repeat those words to yourself a few times. Note that such a thing even exists and that it influences you profoundly. Most of the unprocessed material of parents is passed directly to children — and we all know there is plenty. You’ve been in possession of the tools you need for a while; you’re now getting a handle on how to use them.

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) — The time has come to be known for what you are best at, for what you want to be known for and most of all, for who you are. To some extent, your actions speak for you; your reputation precedes you. But you’re the one who has to provide the point of crystallization for an idea, and take the steps to assert yourself. While this takes energy, knowledge and the desire to succeed, most of what you need now is trust. That means trust in yourself, in what you’re offering and that the right people will respond in the ways that are in harmony with your process. Trust also means acting without hesitation or delay. Assert yourself, assert your message, and push beyond the containers that have held you in the past. Then be prepared to do this for a while, until you get either the results you want, or something better that you were not expecting — and could not have expected.

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