Solar Fire, Electric Fire, Cosmic Fire

Dear Friend and Reader:

In her influential 1951 book Esoteric Astrology, Alice A. Bailey describes several kinds of fire — and looking at the current charts, we have them all happening right now. You can probably feel the vibes.

This is an actual photo, not a cover of a science fiction novel. Two parhelia, the technical term for sundogs, flank the Sun above Stockholm, Sweden. Sundogs form when water freezes in the upper atmosphere, and the flat, six-sided ice crystals float down with their faces parallel to the ground. During sunrise or sunset, each crystal can act like a miniature lens, refracting the light into our view. Photo by Peter Rosen.

Solar Fire comes to mind as the Sun approaches the sign Aries. Here in the Northern Hemisphere, spring is stirring restlessly to life. The relentless snowstorms have eased off, and the Sun is showing his face every now and then. It’s always amazing how quickly autumn turns back into spring. Equinox is when night equals day all around the world, and the Sun enters the first fire sign. Symbolically, Solar Fire is about the full experience of life and the expression of the soul. Bailey describes it as the path of discipleship.

We are now in a phase of increasing solar activity. We’ve been experiencing coronal mass ejections and our electrical systems are particularly vulnerable to bursts of energy from the Sun. I think this is the message that even people who would have never considered doing so consider themselves to be spiritual disciples, which means above all entering on a path of discipline.

As for Electric Fire, Bailey describes this as the individual person identifying with the monad — the spiritual source of everything. We see this illustrated in the image of Uranus about to enter Aries. We get the fire from the sign involved and the sensation of ‘electric’ from the planet involved. Uranus in Aries is about self-awareness and individual awakening, but thanks to this odd energy vortex called the Aries Point — the first degree of Aries — there is a node that affects nearly everyone. It’s where the individual and collective realms intersect. As was said in the 1970s, ‘the personal is political’. When one person wakes up, it’s easier for other people to wake up — and pretty soon it becomes a culture-wide wave of energy.

Uranus is working its way into a square aspect with Pluto in Capricorn. Uranus square Pluto is the heart of 2012 astrology. This aspect is the essence of revolutionary astrology, and if you can’t tell from glancing at the newspaper, the revolutionary spirit is coming back to the world. We experienced similar astrology in the mid-1960s, which woke up not only political activism but also brought surges forward in music, science, technology of all kinds, art and literature.

There was also a fairly massive confrontation — when the people rise up, there is usually something to rise up against. Most of that rising up is more like arising, awakening, and throwing off the long slumber of consensus reality. Uranus in Aries will guide many people into personal awakenings. I am sure it will come as excellent news to many that waking up is the central theme of our new decade.

Dark filament of the Sun. Dark structures like this one, made of cooler plasma suspended above the hotter, brighter plasma of a solar active region, are unstable and erupt often. When they do so, the dark filaments look bright against the background of space. Photo from NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day.

Bailey also offers a concept of Fire by Friction. This is basically what the human who is aware only on the personality level experiences. We have some of that in Saturn in Libra. This is about relationships being tested by necessity or duress, people making choices or taking actions that reveal who they really are to their partners, and feeling the need to get real as the effects of not being real.

In addition to being a manifestation of conflict, Fire by Friction can be extremely pleasant, and is often the very thing we seek out in sexual dynamics. If we do, it’s just a good idea to know what it is and a little about how it works, what some of the results might be — and what else is available.

Last idea: Cosmic Fire. That is illustrated by Chiron in Pisces. Chiron is a fiery energy, full of intention, determination and warriorship. This is a fairly new planet, discovered in 1977, that is the harbinger of the holistic age. For those who love a spiritual or healing approach to astrology, Chiron is your planet.

When we mix Chiron with Pisces, we experience the cosmic energy of that sign becoming focused in a way that we can actually use. Chiron will be in Pisces for the next eight years, so it’s going to become an essential ingredient in our lives. That Cosmic Fire gives us the power to burn off the fog of denial, and it suggests that we can consciously value truth as an option to intentional deception.

On Thursday Mars made an exact conjunction to Chiron, bringing two fiery energies together, and raising the awareness of both. This had some interesting manifestations in the world — as you may have noticed. I’ll cover a few of them in the next article.

God does not need to be an abstraction; God is existence. Chiron is about conscious awareness. Pisces is calling on us to notice the many beautiful facets of existence that we usually miss, and to notice the ways we can thrive on the power of love.

Yours & truly,
Eric Francis

Mars conjunct Chiron in Pisces

Dear Friend and Reader:

There is an aspect happening right now. Tell me if you can feel it: Mars conjunct Chiron in Pisces. I don’t know if there’s any unusual suspense in the air or it’s just my imagination — but it seems to be going around. This is an aspect that involves awareness of and healing the male side of the psyche, and one’s experience of oneself as a man. In a girl or woman it’s also identified with her experience and perception of men. In an astonishing, to-the-day manifestation of this aspect, Pres. Obama on Thursday instructed the federal government to stop defending the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, opening the way for federal recognition of same-sex marriage.

Photo in Krakow, Poland by Eric Francis.

Like just about everything that involves Chiron in Pisces, this is happening for the first time since the late 1960s. In case you’re following the other aspect I’ve been writing about that has a potent ’60s resonance, that is Uranus square Pluto; that is reminiscent of the Uranus-Pluto conjunction that happened to occur in the mid-1960s. Synchronously, that was the most recent time Chiron was in Pisces. So two longterm events are developing right now that have a direct line of energy back to approximately 1960 to 1968.

As for the current aspect, Mars conjunct Chiron: Both of these are warrior energies. Both are yang or male energies. They are set in a vibrational field (a sign) that is distinctly yin or female in nature — Pisces. Note that this conjunction can happen in any sign, though its location will be determined by where slower-moving Chiron is located. Just a few weeks ago Chiron entered Pisces to stay for the next eight years.

Even without Chiron’s influence, Mars is a challenged planet in our era, that is, in the modern world. Men are genetically prepared to be hunters and defenders of the brood, and instead they’re frequently turned into either office workers, or people who are paid to commit various forms of injustice. There is very little defending the brood that happens and there is nearly no hunting; one can purchase a sausage and egg sandwich. The wars that our brilliantly trained fighters are sent to do are the bidding of corporations in mercenary wars. Indeed, the war in Iraq started under a Mars-Chiron conjunction in Aquarius, which I wrote about at the time.

Here in the United States, we have a lot of guns, and a lot of gun deaths. I would call that some frustrated Mars energy. Apart from the deaths there is an obsession with possessing and carrying firearms. This year we’ve seen one glaring example of this problem with the mass shootings in Tucson in early January. Yet sadly this kind of incident has become something that happens on a fairly routine basis.

Meanwhile, wholly organic sexual desire is gradually being criminalized. We have a very, very serious rape problem in the world, and we have an even more serious problem with the extent to which that perpetuates distrust of the men who would never do such a thing. Still, sex is constantly conflated with violence, and pornography is the least of it. The most pervasive images come right on prime time cable television and in feature movies. Yet healthy desire can be treated like the bomb squad ought to be called in.

Mars conjunct Chiron set for Kingston, NY.

Many get this scenario projected at them with various forms of “men are pigs” and “all men want is sex,” accusations which always involve some form of self-denial on the part of the person making the accusation. All projections have an element of denial, which masks the real issues underneath. For example, anyone who says “men are pigs” has a level of gender ragethey’re not addressing.

I could go on with examples of how Mars is under stress in our society, even without the influence of Chiron. We could talk about what happens to most desire: it’s turned to shopping. When we bring in Chiron, we start to focus the issues. Mars in aspect to Chiron can add an injured quality, and also begins to resolve the wounding by making it conscious and available for healing.

That is the nature of Chiron: to raise themes, issues and circumstances to consciousness so they can be addressed. While there is often a long struggle around situations involving Chiron, there is also the gradual focusing of power. I don’t mean the ‘sense of empowerment’ but rather the actual awareness that one can direct one’s energy and focus one’s life. In the case of Mars, that’s about focusing the will, the desire nature and shadow material involving desire.

By shadow material, I mean fear, guilt, shame, attack thoughts and any of the disturbances surrounding them. Denial, which often covers those emotions, is also shadow material and a defense against other painful emotions. One of the benefits (some would say drawbacks) of the awareness-raising property of Chiron is that it brings these things to the surface and they must be addressed in a way that is often accompanied by psychic pain. It is, however, productive pain in that it can describe the nature of what hurts, and why, and open the way for healing.

Detail of Mars conjunct Chiron, which was exact at about 4 am Thursday. Mars is the red glyph that looks like the thing on the men’s room door; the next planet over is an orange key and that is Chiron. Notice how they have the same location — 1 degree and 4 arc minutes. Notice the many other planets clustered around them, which amplifies the energy and offers other dimensions of the aspect to consider.

There are many ways an injury connected to Chiron can manifest, and often the person with the aspect will get to make some decisions about how to work with the energy. Mars-Chiron aspects, in any case, are about reconciliation with one’s desire nature. And that nature often is mired in shame, which is invoked when one outwardly expresses desire. As the shadow is processed, the underlying emotion becomes more available in a clear state.

Thursday’s aspect was the first meeting of these two planets while in Pisces. The most watery water sign brings in the emotional dimension. That’s where this is happening: it’s on the feeling level, and we all know how much shame many men have there. Pisces is an essentially feminine energy field, some say the most feminine of all. You could spin a lot of themes off of this, such as the sense of emasculation that so many men feel, and for which they feel compelled to overcompensate. We might consider the root of homophobia, which is a kind of shame around one’s feminine or passive side. This includes many potential situations and it certainly includes sexuality. Personally I think that male desire is being exhausted on the cultural mandate that men are, traditionally, the ones who must exert that desire as a conditioned response to equally conditioned female passivity.

Thursday — as I mentioned earlier — the Obama administration decided to stop defending the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act, a law which essentially prohibits the federal recognition of same sex marriages. This is a step away from the obsessive homophobia of our society, much of which is projected by men at other at men. Homophobia has many roots, one of which is fear of self, and another of which is the fear of letting go of control in sexual situations.

I think that male desire needs a chance to relax, to accept the femininity inherent within its own nature. This aspect is an invitation for everyone to give men a chance to be themselves, rather than who they are ‘supposed to be’ or ‘made out to be’. Women need to be given space to express desire outwardly, but I think closer to the point, they need to give themselves that space and take the chances they typically expect men to take. And we all need to give ourselves room to ease off of our belief in, and our obsession with, weaponry and war as the solution to anything.

Remember that thing about ‘boys don’t cry’? That’s where it starts, and after enduring so many centuries of that — then being handed a gun — we surely do have our healing journey set out for us.

Yours & truly,
Eric Francis

Planet Waves Monthly Horoscope for March 2011

Eric’s Zodiac Sign Descriptions

Aries (March 20-April 19) — This month it looks like you discover something about yourself that you knew all along and figured out on at least 100 other occasions but somehow it is suddenly real and makes perfect sense. The sensation is something akin to suddenly discovering who you are, which was the person you knew you were all along, and are somehow now miraculously remembering. Let’s not let anyone try to convince us that human consciousness is something that more resembles what we think of as a trance than the mind standing at attention. For many, the trance is like a movie, which has this odd script where every other line is, ‘I’m confused’. Confusion is often a method of denial; it literally means “mix or mingle things so as to render the elements indistinguishable.” Now the time has arrived to unconfuse yourself, which means to see yourself for who you are. You are bigger than your fears. You have more courage and perseverance than you thought you did. And your craving to be free is real. The restlessness you’re feeling is not something you want to medicate away, talk yourself out of, or pretend does not exist. It’s not merely spring fever, though that’s a good way to describe your whole life. Rather, what you’re feeling is your soul calling you to wake up to your beauty and the beauty of life, no matter how weird things currently are on the planet — and no matter how scared anyone else may be.

Taurus (April 19-May 20) — Your dream life may be going a bit wild lately. How that looks astrologically is that potent planets are either in or edging up on Aries, your solar 12th house. This is what psychologists refer to as the ‘unconscious’ or the ‘subconscious’. Jupiter, which arrived last month, is turning your hidden world into a kind of bold cinematic enterprise. Uranus, which arrives on March 11 to stay for seven years, turns it into a kind of action thriller, full of surprise twists. No matter what someone’s natal sign, Aries can act as the seat of identity. For you this comes through an area of your chart that is half veiled in the dreamtime — and that has not seen too much in the way of sustained new energy in many years. What is being stirred up is not merely your dream life, but rather your awareness of yourself on many deeper levels than you usually encounter. You’re not having a temporary visitation but rather are embarking on an ongoing encounter with your deeper self. This will only be shocking or strange if you don’t know such a thing exists. Your dreams, fantasies and artwork are drawing you deeper into yourself. So too is your social contact, particularly involving groups. You may not realize it yet, but everything has changed in your relationship to the social world, an evolution which at first will feel like a newfound gift for successfully being exactly who you are.

Gemini (May 20-June 21) — If you are making a professional move of any kind, the thing to choose among your many options is the one that you both want the most, and where you feel you may not be ready, qualified or willing to be noticed. Often, the thing people would succeed brilliantly at works out to be the very thing they avoid. On this theme, you are in one of the great moments of your life. It’s not going to go away any time soon, but neither will it last forever. You are at a beginning, which is the time to make sure that you set your priorities and your goals in a meaningful way. Those goals can and probably will change, but they provide a point of focus. Consciously working toward something is a way to concentrate your energy. You can unravel a longtime question here by directing your energy in a way that creates something positive and helpful — to you. Creative energy is potential; it has to be activated through awareness and conscious action. The transit I’m describing is Chiron embarking on its eight-year transit of your 10th solar house — the one that covers matters of achievement, reputation and direct involvement with the world. This is a society-wide issue today: a small number of people abuse power, and many others think they have none. Now is the time to claim yours.

Cancer (June 21-July 22) — You’re at this rare and glorious moment of bursting free. It may come on all at once: you get this feeling that it’s time to explode through the glass ceiling of existence and feel the sunshine, sky and fresh air all around you. This directly involves the work you do. You may be in a position where you’ve compromised your abundant freedom, individuality or creativity to the point where you want to activate the landing slide and escape with a few cold ones. However, you have better things in store for yourself. With both Jupiter (expansion, knowledge and reputation) and Uranus (invention, revolution) at the top of your chart right now, this is the time to do what you do in an original way that is as much about having fun as it is about succeeding. You could say that a sense of liberation around your work is the first way to define success. As this story unfolds over the next few years, you will have many opportunities to reinvent yourself — though I will say that some will feel so bold as to be a bit frightening, and some are going to come along and reinvent you. The world may not be ready for everything but it’s ready enough for what you have to offer, and these very months are an unusual moment for you to take space that is rightly yours, attended by what you might describe as a wild wind of fortune.

Leo (July 22-Aug. 23) — Make a list of the places you want to go, and pick the one you want to visit the very most. Choose a time, research the location, figure out the best places to stay (or find people you can stay with) and GO. One journey will lead to another, which will lead to a new concept of who you are. You may have travelled for growth and adventure in the past — you have the ‘find yourself on the road’ kind of chart. Now you’re in a ‘find yourself on the road’ time of life. If you do want to travel, there is something to be said for doing so spontaneously. When your life circumstance permits, go where you want to go. If your company reorganizes and you find yourself with your days free, put gas in the car and break out the map — in that order. The adventurous transits that take hold of your awareness have other expressions. One of the most vital is about exploring some field of knowledge that really turns you on. Visit the biggest or, alternately, the most specialized library in your area (a fantastic day trip — go alone). Consider opening your home to a guest from far away; there are programs for doing that, from student exchanges to grownup exchanges. Focusing on travel, knowledge and meeting even vaguely exotic people will remind you how young you are, why you’re alive and moreover that you’re alive.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22) — You are beginning a new adventure in your relationships. I’m going to guess you are taking that as good news. Let me explain why it’s such good news. You have long been howling to the universe for an organizing principle in your human encounters. I have this button stuck to my Sun visor that says, “Being Weird Is Not Enough,” which I am sure you could apply to many of the people you’ve met the past few years. Some of them weren’t just weird, but many gave you the feeling that there was just going to be no dependable point of contact; which in turn pushed you into some reactionary states. Many factors that seemed like permanent institutions the past several years have changed. You seem determined to maintain an identity that exists apart from your relationships — this is a huge relief. And what was an erratic energy is being replaced by a sense of focus, purpose and attention to the underlying emotional material of human contact. I suggest, though, that you be highly discerning who you connect to and how. I don’t mean resistant or defensive; I mean perceptive. Associate with people who speak your language. Listen for the purposes that motivate their choices. Pay particular attention to people who are different and good at it: mavericks as opposed to rebels. Most of all, welcome the people who honor the fact that you are an individual and respect you for devoting your life to being so.

Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23) — There are many aspects to sex, including two essential ones that are usually forgotten or pushed back beneath the water — the reproductive part, and the dark side. You like sex to be interesting, with some ideas behind it. I assure you these things, though typically avoided, certainly are. You may find the deepest core of your pleasure right in what you or others shun the most. You’re also likely to discover the things that have in the past seemed to take your most daring pleasure from you, or sour it when you get what you want. If you’re able to get as close as you are, you certainly deserve to get the rest of the way. My suggestion is that you move your emotions, fantasies and experiences into the emotional and physical material you are the most embarrassed by, or avoid the most. Embarrassment is a veil that conceals something you’ve been striving to understand. On one level it says ‘turn back’ yet experienced another way, there’s a distinct lure, and that has a purpose of both healing and pleasure. These are closely related in a culture where we always seem to be claiming back something that was taken from us following a larger agenda. There are things that you may feel or experience that you want to share with others. I suggest you do so judiciously, and initially invest in finding out what people know rather than telling them what you know.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22) — Someone close to you is going through something, which is reshaping your concept of what a partner is. Other factors in your chart are suggesting that you’re experiencing a reshaping of your own concept of what you want from relationships. Given your orientation on relationships, this is a significant change, and it’s only beginning. It may seem like you want adventure first and your partners need deep emotional healing first. Assuming that you’re involved in a relationship, I suggest you consider the personal validity, to you, of everything that your partner says they need, or everything they’ve gone through. You can also experiment with the idea that who and what you are will work for them. Meanwhile, I would call your attention to a childhood event involving someone with whom you were intimate that initially shaped your idea of ‘the other’. This may have been a first time (or very close to it) experience that made a deep emotional impression and set your expectations. There was a secondary effect, which was to establish how your being in relationship to one person shaped your relationship to your circle of friends: how you’re perceived, how you perceive yourself, and whether you think you fit in. There is complex sociology to one-on-one relationships, and this has a direct effect on your sense of emotional security and your self-esteem. When you understand this and keep it where you can see it, you will feel a lot better.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22) — I would not be surprised if you go through moments where your confidence is soaring and others where you feel absolutely uncertain about the way you seem to have chosen. The thing is that the confidence and the doubt both feel so real. You don’t know what to believe. Which is authentic? Let’s pretend for a moment that they are on an equal plane, of equivalent value. They are not, but let’s experiment. Which of the two would guide you forward, into your dreams and your desires? Obviously the confidence would. So you can live boldly with intervals of doubt, or you can cower in the shadows annoyed by some intervals of having a vision for your life. Which would you choose? Now, the truth is they are not equivalent at all. You’re living a case of ‘the brighter the light, the darker the shadow’, which is my way of telling you that you’re burning bright at the moment — and you will be for quite a while. This is a new reality for you; for many years, you internalized your power, cultivated an inner connection and often checked yourself when it came time to step boldly out. In the past 12 months that has been changing rapidly and in this very season you may be discovering there is no place to hide. You don’t need one; be grateful of a dry roof, food to eat, something to offer the world and someplace to go.

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20) — What an unusual space you’re in — like you are riding on a horse made of lightning, at the same time the capacity for absolute focus has taken hold of your mind. You have more energy available and you’re able to do something with it. Yet in this space it’s essential to send yourself positive messages. The most significant will be to affirm your intelligence and the relevance of your perceptions. You may be depending on those faculties now more than you have any time recently, and you may think that there are many other ‘better minds’ who could do what you do better. Any such thought is merely a self-esteem trap. The thing to remember about your mind is that it works differently, intuitively and creatively. This is true whether you think of yourself as ‘creative’ or ‘intuitive’. When you feel the difference between you and others, specifically in terms of thought patterns, that is the most meaningful difference. You’re also able to perceive a larger world with more colors and nuances, and those around you who cannot perceive those things can lead you to doubt yourself. So, you could say that the question of this era in your life, and the central growth (or healing) focus (as you choose) is: what’s it going to take for you to trust your senses and the mind behind them? The answer that comes to mind is experience, yet the truth is, you already have plenty of that.

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) — You have the opportunity to resolve an emotional issue that has plagued you for a long time and has been getting your attention lately. I’m aware that healing processes take a long time, which is how long you’ve been at this. You’re inclined to take an analytic or goal-centered approach to healing matters, and when that doesn’t work you take a spiritual approach. The way into this one is to go directly for the feeling. Exactly how does the pain or struggle feel? The information you’re seeking is contained in the sensation of the struggle. It doesn’t translate easily into words or concepts, which is why you haven’t been able to work your analytical magic. It’s down there like an ocean current, invisible from the surface. When you notice yourself in the experience, stop whatever you’re doing and do two things: one is record the experience. Be descriptive, making notes of what prompted you, and any sensory descriptions that come to mind. The next time it happens, do it again. Then, be mindful of any associations to the past that come to mind. They may be totally irrational or delusional, to the point where they feel stupid or silly. That’s the thing you’re after. Go right to that ridiculous, senseless thing and once again, feel the feeling. Make the associations, let it all percolate, and see what you learn.

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) — On the Planet Waves website there’s this thing called the Oracle. It’s a database containing every horoscope I’ve written since 1998. When you ask a question, the Oracle randomly selects one of those horoscopes, providing answers that can be a little spooky. Just now I typed in a two-word inquiry — “integrity check” — and got back a weekly from 2003, when Uranus was entering our sign. This month, eight short years later, Uranus is on its way out. Just last month, Chiron transitioned from Aquarius, where it’s been for five years, into Pisces. Here’s what Mr. Oracle said: “I get up in the morning, sort out the reality of my existence, arrive at my desk and notice that it’s covered with Tarot cards — again. I wonder: am I concerned about the future? Well, why not. This is a very futuristic moment for Pisces. We are at the one-month mark before the first ingress of Uranus into Pisces. Uranus is one of the slow-movers; it takes about seven years to traverse a sign and thus marks an era (this was the chat room era). That Uranus is entering Pisces is one thing. That it is leaving Aquarius, your solar 12th house, is quite another. The 12th is home to all kinds of anxieties, mysterious nameless fears that make most people quite restless. Uranus is an agitator, an exciter, a revolutionary. The change from one sign to another will not be subtle. For the moment, easy does it, and read those cards with an open mind.”

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