Dear Friend and Reader:
If ever there was a week during the past nine years and 11 months to wonder what is happening in the United States charts, this would be the week. The debt ceiling hostage game that ended less than two weeks ago led to a reduction of the U.S. credit rating, which in turn set off a week of madness on world stock exchanges. The United States lost 30 of its most elite troops in Afghanistan on Saturday, including members of the Navy SEAL team that we were told assassinated Osama bin Laden in May (not the same guys, just members of the same group). And a slate of Republican candidates are vying for the presidential nomination, each one more driven by apocalyptic religious values than the next.
The probable Republican nominee, Rick Perry of Texas, held a revival meeting at Reliant Stadium in Houston last weekend, wherein he prayed for guidance about things like fixing the federal deficit. This might be meaningful — prayer often is — but it’s worth noting how many of his guests that day were rapture Christians (properly called dispensationalists) obsessed not with the God of love but rather with the end of the world. This segment from The Rachel Maddow Show explains that they are all part of one religious movement, which has vowed to take over the United States government for the purposes of hastening the end of the world. I know this sounds like science fiction, but it is neither scientific nor fictional.
Meanwhile, the Republican campaigns this year, while temporarily backing away from openly banning being gay or female, are focused on the issue of slashing what they call ‘entitlements’ — that is, the Social Security and Medicare payments of people who have paid into the system their whole working lives. Personally I remember being paid $2.90 an hour to work the deli counter at Foodtown, and seeing FICA deducted from my paycheck. I am sure you have a similar memory. Somehow making sure that nobody collects is going to save the country from the fantasy of ‘socialism’. But we seem to be suffering from a kind of antisocialism, and I think I have figured out where it’s coming from in the astrology.
Last week I introduced an alternate chart for the United States, called Scorpionic America. Most astrologers use a chart for the signing of the Declaration of Independence, called the Sibly chart. Scorpionic America is the chart for the Articles of Confederation, which were signed and sent to the colonies for ratification in 1777. Due to a technical error, I got the time of the chart wrong; I set the zone for local time in Pennsylvania, instead of Greenwich Mean Time. The Moon and planets are all in the same signs; changing the time in this chart mainly changes the ascendant and house positions. I read a chart with Gemini rising. Cast for GMT, the chart has Aquarius rising.
Once I saw that, I remembered my prior work (in the 1990s, mostly covering the impeachment of Bill Clinton for Rob Brezsny’s website) with the Aquarius rising chart. But that Gemini ascendant, with Uranus right there stirring up everything, all the time, describes a fickle country with no stable sense of identity. Uranus in Gemini rising reveals a mentally obsessed nation, over-identified with its concept of technology, that cannot decide whether it’s a Mac or a PC. That placement also describes a country obsessed with driving itself forward, while negating or destroying the past.
What’s interesting is how the ‘wrong’ chart provides a picture of the United States that’s so accurate as to be disturbing — for example, that Capricorn 8th house, illustrating money and sex as a power trip, and an unaddressed obsession with death. The current Pluto transits to the 8th house of that chart describe our system of values crumbling, and the flourishing of an ‘end of the world’ mentality that is in something of a heyday right now.
But it’s not the ‘right’ chart. This has happened to nearly every astrologer: they cast a chart based on incorrect data, yet the chart provides useful information. The phenomenon of when the wrong chart works was documented by British astrologer Geoffrey Cornelius in his landmark 1994 book The Moment of Astrology. He uses examples of the wrong chart providing good results (in particular, analyzing the birth time discrepancy of Diana, Princess of Wales). In his view this demonstrates that astrology is a divinatory art. It’s closer to tarot cards than it is to scientifically documentable causation.
It’s a little spooky when the wrong chart gives a strong, accurate reading, and we also get a kind of reality check. It’s weird enough that we’re expecting any results at all following the orbits of little balls of ice, tracing imaginary lines in space and telling stories of long forgotten gods and goddesses.
However, what I’ve seen when going through a ‘wrong chart’ scenario is that even when it works startlingly well, the ‘right chart’ provides additional information and always has a surprise. As I mentioned, when you look at the chart drawn from ‘accurate’ data (remember that all of the national charts for the United States have speculative or reconstructed times), the chart comes out with Aquarius rising. The identity of the United States with Aquarius rising is Uncle Sam, that friendly personification of the government who wants you to join him — fighting wars.
Nessus Crossing the USA Ascendant
Specifically, the chart comes out with 22+ degrees Aquarius rising — and at the moment, there happens to be a minor planet right there, one that keeps coming up in charts over and over this year: Nessus. It’s transiting (i.e., going over) the Scorpionic America ascendant, a temporary (albeit very slow-moving) presence that is now dominating the identity of the United States.
Nessus is a Chiron-like centaur planet — a small, potent thing with an erratic orbit, taking about 122 years to go around our Sun. All the centaurs have keywords such as healing process, focus, intensity and awareness. Nessus addresses the issue of consequences. It’s about the cycle of karma, what in Western thought translates loosely to the law of cause and effect. With Nessus, that cause and effect can relate to the themes of revenge, toxins and potentially inappropriate sexual behavior. This is a theme dominating sex-obsessed American politics, which seems to posit that all sex and discussion of sex is inappropriate. The logical outcome of this whole discussion — check my work, but this is what I have observed — is that women should have no right to control their bodies or their reproductive process. The gay question forces the issue into the paradigm of mental illness but of existential crisis. (For some evidence of this, watch this music video while it’s still available on You Tube, but I caution you, it’s distressing.)
Nessus has a distinct feeling tone to it, perhaps best described by Alice Miller in her books about multigenerational abuse patterns. Aquarius is a sign that speaks about patterns, often social, mental and psychological ones. And now the energy of Nessus is dominating the identity of the United States. We are not only seeing the mean streak of the United States emerge in a new way, it’s being sold to us again and again as the coolest thing ever. For example, people who paid in to Social Security their whole lives are being blamed for bankrupting the government — by collecting benefits with which they’re barely able to buy food.
There is currently a war being waged on women’s reproductive rights, which means women’s rights in general. There is a war being waged on public employee labor unions, and we’re being told that it’s somehow a good thing to reverse a century of progress of workers getting organized and having some collective bargaining power with the government. I could go on.
On one level this seems like a kind of drawing out of a toxic substance. But like most toxins it seems to be making the patient a little woozy. I’m noticing a lot of people waking up to how ugly the political situation is, and how much it’s influencing life, mainly because it’s suddenly being thrust into everyone’s face. If you’re in this situation, this may not be an easy moment for you. Fortunately you’re waking up at a time when many others are doing so, and when there are resources available to help you get informed and direct your energy constructively.
Capricorn Moves From the 8th to the 11th
In the version of Scorpionic America that I came up with for last week’s issue, I pointed out that Capricorn is in the 8th house, a region of the chart dealing with matters of power, money, death and sex. This resonates with what the United States is going through, particularly repeated crashes of various financial systems at the same time there is a mania for suppressing and controlling all forms of sexuality. That sounds a lot like a Pluto-8th house transit taken on an unconscious level, and it describes the obsession with power at all costs in current Washington politics that would make the Nixon administration envious.
With the time revised to the original, that Capricorn material goes to the 11th house. The 11th is usually a much happier house than the 8th — the house of hopes and dreams. It’s also the house of one’s social group, as well as public benefit. I think of the 11th house as being about all of us here. With a cluster of Mars, the South Node and Eris there, the United States wears its hopes and dreams like a crown of thorns. And we can see a distinct paranoia of socialism. In the odd, modern version of that paranoia, we don’t want to help, but we expect to benefit from others — which is shown if you take a look at Jupiter in this chart.
The 11th house has two special meanings in the chart of a country. One meaning is that it’s the house of the government’s money. As the house that comes right after the 10th house, that money comes from the public. That public would include corporations (especially with Capricorn involved), and many of them don’t want to pay taxes — and get away with not doing so.
With Mars in that house, particularly on the South Node (obsession, past karma), we see an image of how much conflict this country has on the issue of taxes, particularly now with Pluto running through that house (which will be happening until a little past the end of 2023).
The second meaning involves the 11th as self in context of a group. The 11th is the role of the nation within the world community. It describes how we’re perceived. It’s an important house in the chart of a nation that used to control the economy of the world, and that still does control the world militarily, so much as that is possible.
Bombing another country in the name of freedom — something that the United States does regularly — is a demented version of this house. Whipping up ‘freedom fighters’ in Central America, motley bands of CIA-backed rebels who bombed schools, churches and farming cooperatives during the 1970s, is another. I would describe that Capricorn cluster as cynical.
There used to be a term tossed around — Pax Americana. This refes to the peace established after the end of World War II in 1945. The term refers to the military and economic dominance of the United States in relation to other nations. It’s a derivation of Pax Romana of the Roman empire, the Pax Britannica of the British Empire and the Pax Mongolica of the Mongol Empire. I have always thought of it meaning, “We will carpet bomb you into peace.” If you’re one of those people for whom this policy of endless the bombing of others in the name of loving kindness never made sense, good for you.
This is a cynical way for a country to be. It’s time we started calling all of these wars out for what they are: crimes against humanity, for world domination and for the incalculable profit of the companies that supply the military with everything from weapons to food.
Full Moon in Aquarius
Now, this degree of Aquarius shows up just in time for a Full Moon this weekend. As we described in Tuesday’s edition, that Full Moon happens in Aquarius, closely conjunct Nessus — and conjunct the ascendant of Scorpionic America. So this degree is really in the spotlight. Indeed, the United States is in the global spotlight, and everyone is starting to figure out that something a little strange is going on. But I’m not sure many people know where, based on certain historical factors, this could all be heading if we don’t sober up and get involved.
I think if there is one thing suggested by a Full Moon in the Aquarius ascendant of this chart, it’s an eruption of public opinion — or at least public awareness. To me that Moon suggests we can taste the bitterness of who we have become as a country, an experience that just might influence some people to choose to be something else.
The question isn’t limited to public identity — it’s a personal matter with the Moon so closely involved. I suggest that’s the level we take it on — personally. National identity is a matter of pride for many people who have benefitted from what their country has to offer, or who appreciate their freedom. It’s also a matter of false pride for many who are willing to turn the other way on the conduct of their government.
We are entering a time of no illusions, when we must see our world for what it is, even if that means a revolution of consciousness. It’s time to see our culture and our society for what they are, even if that means we have to feel like hypocrites while we figure out what to do about it. This awareness will be thrust upon some; others will choose to change their perception consciously; for others it will be a gradual awakening. True, there are always some who remain asleep, or rather, who pretend to sleep. I doubt that’s your agenda; it does not serve your growth.
I would note, however, that hypocrisy plays an important role in the dominant political framework. The whole thing seems to be addicted to hypocrisy. The rage at ‘socialism’ seems to be rooted in fear about how we might all be equal — that a bank executive and his family might have more in common with an ‘illegal’ Mexican immigrant family than he thinks. There are actually people who experience this as terrifying.
Awakening often involves waking up in the middle of a paradox. How we can adjust to this new state of awakened consciousness, and what we might do with our awareness, are questions I want to leave open for now. Meanwhile, I suggest you tune in for a wave of consciousness as this Full Moon peaks Saturday. And follow the Planet Waves daily series this week — we’re about to enter another very unusual spell of astrology, which we’ll be covering day by day.
Weekly Horoscope for Friday, August 12, 2011, #871 – BY ERIC FRANCIS
Aries (March 20-April 19) — It’s always interesting how people who are, on their own, well-meaning and ethical, can form themselves into a group that ends up being scheming and nefarious. I suggest you make a note of anything like this happening in your social environment or any company you find yourself in, and do the Aries thing and stand away from the crowd. Note also that this may involve the collective mass psychosis of our society. You don’t need to play along with that, especially if you can see it for what it is. Take this opportunity to find your true friends: people devoted to clarity, healing and nonviolent communication. An environment that’s healthy for you is one that responds to you, and that offers a vibe that you recognize as creative and friendly. You may have to be brave and declare your independence in order to do this, and you may fear you’ll be lonely — but you won’t be for long.
Taurus (April 19-May 20) — So, about your reputation — what do you think it is, what do you want it to be, and what is your worst fear of what someone will discover about you? You might want to make peace with that being known, so that you don’t fear being seen for who you really are. I’ll say this a different way. If you fear something about you being known by others, you may translate that into the fear of being seen at all. So make peace with your fears, and then let yourself shine. I would especially encourage you to put your ideas out where people can see, hear and read them. Be bold about your philosophy of life; challenge yourself and others to think; challenge others you don’t agree with; and don’t fear being challenged. Most people cower because of their own lurking sense of guilt, usually about nothing. Throw that into the flames.
Gemini (May 20-June 21) — There is something trying to get your attention right in your local environment. I know, things rarely seem worth it if you don’t have to drive for at least an hour, but you may not need to drive anywhere to take advantage of this opportunity. You may not even notice that it is an opportunity; you will have to use your imagination. In support of making contact with whatever this thing is that I’m seeing, I suggest you spend time on your feet, walking around, visiting neighbors, friends, local businesspeople. Get to some kind of outdoor event this weekend. Don’t be afraid to drop the small talk and delve into real subject matter. Mercury is retrograde, which means invoke curiosity and ask questions. If someone puts something into your hand, look closely at it — it could be a gem of some kind.
Cancer (June 21-July 22) — Friday’s Full Moon happens in your 8th house — the house of deep exchange and sharing. It happens in the sign Aquarius, which is about groups and the reality we all agree exists. The thing is, there are several main formats of reality going around lately. Some are friendly, some are not. I suggest you look for friendly, and if you happen to land someplace else momentarily, keep going. Friendly, for you, is going to mean friendly to sex. Many are figuring out that this is possible and even healthy. You seem to have your own healing work to do around your sexual values, and how they manifest in relationships; it’s as if you’re unsure whether you trust the whole erotic thing or not. It’s certainly led plenty of people to misery, and it’s also led many people to authentic liberation. Remember: ideas are involved. This is territory where intelligence is greatly rewarded.
Leo (July 22-Aug. 23) — I have a friend whose partner is one person around her, and another person when others are involved — and the difference is not nice. You’re more the kind of person to be who you are all the time. What is the point of acting? You may have some opportunities this weekend to stand tall in your own beliefs and, more to the point, your own desire to be a benefactor to the world. Try not to be too shocked at the prevailing state of self-centered and superficial; you may be witnessing people acting out their injuries on one another. The place to draw the line is when this gets too close to you. How your direct partners and associates relate to others is indeed your business, because their conduct, and their beliefs, influence your immediate environment. Set the example of integrity, and the value of honest self-questioning.
Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22) — Looking within is one of the most fearsome things that a modern person can do. Yet at the moment, your chart is all about an introspective journey — an honest quest to discover who you are. Part of why we’re so discouraged to do this is because we fear that we’ll be as wrong as others have tried to make us out to be. But what really happens is that we take on the role of the accuser — and the only way to get out of that role is to actually investigate and to prove oneself innocent. While this exists as a superficial issue, we can carry around a lot of tension, self-doubt and low self-esteem. There is only one way out of this, which is to proceed inward — past your doubts, past your fears, past the layers of judgment, and into a dimension of yourself you may have never encountered. Yes, as you travel, you may see shadows — but that’s all they are.
Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23) — If in your immediate environment you’re noticing that the views of certain people are too narrow to give you any room at all, you can surely find someplace where they are not. I suggest you make your assessment based on where you feel like you can be entirely yourself, which means free to express any opinion, including taboo subject matter. Now, there’s something encrypted in Friday’s Full Moon chart about your relationship to your mom — and your parents’ relationship to one another, and how this in turn influenced your childhood environment. To sum up, you may have ended up in a condition where you believed that being creative was dangerous because it shook up the people who were taking care of you. It’s time to let go of that fear — and that means taking a creative risk of some kind.
Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22) — If you haven’t already figured it out, you need to keep your emotional management skills on full alert. If you don’t, certain disagreements you may be involved in could easily spiral out of control. I suggest you be very careful of your surroundings, especially if your family is involved, or some kind of household situation that you know in your heart is not healthy for you. You’re not one to walk away from a fight, but especially as the Full Moon peaks the next few days, discretion is the better part of valor. You happen to be in a phase of life when things can go amazingly well for you, if you keep your emotional energy clear and life affirming. Therefore I suggest you consciously surround yourself with positive influences, people who support you, and whose philosophy of life is in harmony with your own. I mean that starting immediately.
Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22) — Make sure you don’t take on someone else’s karma unwittingly. By karma, I mean responsibility for their conduct, or their less-than-wholesome intentions. There are lots of ways that karma is exchanged, which range from financial transactions to sex to catching cold in someone’s house. Therefore, I suggest you raise the bar on your psychic hygiene practices. Exchange energy only with people whose lives you affirm. I am aware that we’ve all been so injured by betrayal that we barely have any capacity to trust, even though we need to dearly. When trust is injured, it doesn’t go away; instead, it gets misdirected and invested in situations that don’t work out. So what you really have is an opportunity to select who you trust and why. At the basis of this whole growth process is having faith in yourself, because without that you have nothing — so please start there.
Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20) — If there is some kind of business deal imminent, I suggest you delay developments long enough to get the facts. You may think you know everything, but I would propose that you still have a few key bits of information coming to you. Overall it’s a potentially workable situation, however there is a liability that could change everything if you don’t address it. Be especially careful if you seem to be coming from a place of lack and others are coming from a place of abundance or power. It’s precisely that sense of lack where your vulnerability comes from. It’s not merely financial; attitudes about money are closely related to self-worth. Nobody is any better than you for seeming to have more — it does not make someone right, and contrary to popular belief, it’s not certification of their integrity. Therefore, I suggest you do your homework.
Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) — This weekend’s Full Moon in your birth sign will test your capacity to be objective, and to tolerate all points of view. You may also have the challenge of making peace with many of your inner viewpoints, including some of the darker ways you feel about yourself. I suggest you go through this process boldly, while at the same time doing your best to suspend the belief in judgment. It simply does not work, as a practical matter. If you’re doing an assessment (of yourself or of others), look at the actual consequences involved in any situation and make your decisions based directly on those — not, for example, on your own emotional reaction or that of anyone else. This is often a challenging lesson for many humans to learn, but if something does not matter, it does not matter. Once you understand that I suggest you quickly give up trying to convince anyone else.
Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) — Your imagination is likely to be extremely active these days, though I suggest you be conscious about this and choose what movie you run. I also suggest you get out of your head and go for direct experience. The angles of your chart that describe actual exploration of the world are getting strong aspects right now (for example, energetic planets in Cancer and Leo), and you’re certainly free to experiment in real life. Be aware that doing so can have a guilt blowback, which is a typical psychological response that anyone who finally sets him or herself free has to learn to address. You’re in one of those moments where ‘the brighter the light, the darker the shadow’. Remember that shadow is not a substance, and it’s not energy. It’s based on lack of consciousness. Therefore focus on awareness, movement, activity, on direct encounters with people — and stoke up your most creative passions.