The Great Wave
“THE QUESTION that we take to the jury of astrology is more than a philosophical ‘what is the meaning of this?’ inquiry. We have, in a sense, a criminal investigation on our hands. Were the actions of mankind involved in causing this event?” Full report at:
Dude of the Year
I nominate William Rivers Pitt, editor and lead guitarist of http://truthout.org, as Planet Waves dude of the year, an honor we have bestowed annually since 1741. Will Pitt has shown his steadfast devotion to the cause of accurate, cards-up, no bullshit, write-till-you-drop journalism; and to ingenious, low-budget, highly effective public service work through his daily web project, which gathers up the days’ most relevant news stories and archives them. His own essays, published several times a week, cut to the core of the issues he touches. He is afraid of neither lies nor truth. He manages to write bestselling books at the same time, and I hear is (or at least was) a high school writing teacher. He covered the Democratic and Republican national conventions personally, blogging and doing daily video reports, with full press credentials inside the conventions and on the streets at the protests. He likes to quote the bartender at the Boston pub where he seems to eat a lot of meatloaf. We also credit him for being adorable and friendly, and for his excellent and somehow reassuring nightly audio reports. William Rivers Pitt, you’re an inspiration, a gentleman, a scholar and a subversive from the heart and to the bones. PW
To the awesome team at PlanetWaves.net, the people whose love, assistance, generosity and kindness get me through each day. And to the fine team at Cainer.com for all their help and support, and to Maestro himself. And to all my readers everywhere. I get up every day and do it for you.
Report from the Aquasphere
“SITTING ON A HILL, in the dark, as far away from city lights as possible, you can look into the night sky and see endlessly. No matter how far you look, though, you cannot see another water planet. No computerized sky probe, with the finest lenses and cameras, has seen one, either. Our imaginations and spiritual quests insist that other realms exist and it does seem improbable that our blue Earth is indeed the only water world in creation. Yet, right now, today, Earth is the only known location of water.”
So began the Planet Waves assessment of 2004, in the words of Jeanne Treadway. Our world as we know it is made of water, as are our bodies. With two planets diving into water signs in recent seasons — Uranus in Pisces and Saturn in Cancer — news of water was bound to get our attention. It did.
Emotionally, spiritually and physically, this was a difficult year for many people. The Venus transit and associated retrograde, the eclipses of the autumn, the presidential election in the US, the Venus-Mars conjunction in Scorpio, and the recent extremely potent Mercury retrograde in Sagittarius all contributed to these conditions. Few people will feel any regrets about sticking their 2004 date books on the closet shelf. In the many responses I received from readers inquiring about what these past four seasons — a few people said they would be burning theirs. But not everyone. Here are some comments from our highly diverse group of Planet Waves readers. Thank you for your compassionate and conscious thoughts and reflections. Those whose comments were not used may be seeing them elsewhere. Every single email was excellent and quotable.
I want to thank Planet Waves readers for not looking away.
Some of them were dreamers
And some of them were fools
Who were making plans and thinking of the future
With the energy of the innocent
They were gathering the tools
They would need to make their journey back to nature
While the sand slipped through the opening
And their hands reached for the golden ring
With their hearts they turned to each other’s heart for refuge
In the troubled years that came before the deluge.
— Jackson Browne
“My own story is that while I was going through an intense healing phase, my son was being trained to be deployed to Iraq. He was seized through the back door of a unit that was not being deployed. He was transferred to another unit in Hawaii, then to El Paso. He’s from Tennessee. He was all for it at first, saying how they were going over the help people. He had a rude awakening. After being in training for two months, he starting having severe panic attacks. They wanted to put him on Xanax and send him back to duty. He refused!!! He is now on medical leave and has the paperwork in process to get out all together.”
“Personally, we continue to muddle through, trying to be thankful for the things we do have, even though our financial struggle becomes more dire each week. After everything but rent, food and transportation is stricken from the budget, being forced to cut back even more as we have been really hinders our ability to do much productive work, or even maintain a healthy diet. as bad as things are, we still know personally so many people who are in even worse situations than us. More extreme poverty, more serious illness, court battles, death.”
“I am getting closer and closer to the reality of retirement and I have begun to think for the first time that it may not be possible and that I may need to be working until I die. I used to joke about it when I was very young but now that I am over 45…it makes me tired. I so do not want to work until I am 85. I do not mind painting until 100 but please no more working 12 hour days and commuting three hours.”
“My old friend Susan died reading in bed at 47 of sepsis brought on from the flu. Susan was a wife, mother, teacher, and a friend of incomparable humor. She was the only person in the world who could make me wear blue chiffon, which I gladly did in her wedding. She always had an uncommon gift for working with special-needs children, and she and her husband R. adopted their son, C., whose conditions range from cerebral palsy to deafness. He’s now 14, bright, funny, and a charmer like his mom. (Not long before she died, he told her that it was his personal opinion that Osama Bin Laden was in hiding with JonBenet Ramsey.) The special-needs children she taught at school literally wove a ring of love at her funeral.”
“I was active in the anti-war movement from the mid-sixties. I was active in the civil rights movement from an even earlier age. I am telling you this because I am no longer a pacifist by conviction, due to my study of history. I voted for George Bush. I believe in this war.”
“For me, the biggest collective event this year was the re-election of George W. Bush. The event itself had elements of mystery, drama, tragedy and all the rest — and was certainly felt around the world. But for me, the most remarkable aspect of this event was the response. True, it was almost undetectable at first and is still largely undetectable unless one has direct access to real people. But I’ve been feeling a powerful emotional response ever since — from friends and family to bloggers, newsletter writers, and even the odd media personality. The sense I get is that people are getting geared up for something — what they don’t know, but something…Leading me to believe that we will be feeling the aftershocks of this event and the awakening it inspired for a long time to come.”
“Just when people think they have some control over their lives (money, medicine, power) nature has shown us that we have very little. I keep thinking about the world pre-19th century and in ancient times, when people would have had no understanding of this kind of event and would have tried to make sense of it via religion and sacrifices. The biggest lesson from this has to be that we cannot take anything for granted and that a long life isn’t guaranteed (you go on a luxury holiday and expect to come back). The other lesson is that we are a worldwide community and this has affected us all. The stories about everyone helping each other are humbling.”
“It seems as if the heavens are very angry too because of the incomprehensible horror of the earthquake, although I realize that this is an unsophisticated interpretation of events.”
“Denial seems to be a keyword for 2004. I told people for months the election would be close but that Bush would win. To me it seemed very clear. People were so far in denial that Red state people couldn’t see they were trusting a liar, and Blue state people couldn’t see how many Red state people were under the wool. There is a lot of denial about the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq as well. Maybe this is an American only phenomenon though.”
“Those silent, overwhelmingly sensitive beings who cringe; suffer severe indigestion — teeth, worn down to the gum with permanent gritting — with living in this world of mass materialism, callousness and unloving desire…they are the gnostics who have become almost incapable of expressing the shock that is eating into their ability to be at peace with themselves…but for once someone actually wants to know.”
“The discovery of Sedna, the NASA photo of ‘The Eye of God’, peace marches around world, photos of blood cells (which along with photos of water crystals, show changes with prayer, thought, music, intent, etc).”
“I was nauseated over how the Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal has been progressively dismissed in media coverage since late spring. I am numbly aware at how everyone involved at the top still proceed as if they knew nothing. And worse yet, I am not surprised. Perhaps that’s the price of cognitive dissonance. Your ability to swallow bullshit has reached such a high tolerance threshold that you marvel at the amount of crap that you have eaten, instead of looking at the shit itself. And to think just five years ago we impeached a president over an illicit affair.”
“What is interesting also is that the Guardian today had a couple of articles talking about ‘how can religions explain an earthquake’. It pointed out that when 9/11 occurred it was (or so Hugy Young, a Catholic, argued) easy to say that God was zapping selfish capitalists; and likewise with the hurricanes on the East coast of the US, Cayman etc. which hit a lot of wealthy as well as very poor people. But the main thesis of the article is exactly what we know — that it is difficult for us mortals to understand why these things occur and the fact is that nature has no respect for wealth, status, religion — the earthquake has claimed the lives of all religions and types, as did the hurricanes and 9/11 too. And so Nature is a great leveler — and I think perhaps that is a real message that I have got from 2004 — that it is high time people stopped saying they were ‘right’ or ‘better’ than someone else either because of their status, culture, nationality, or their religion.”
“Tsunamis come and go, and so will this planet at some point. But many feel that life in its deepest sense — consciousness itself — will endure. It may find expression in new forms and cross as yet unknown Life Bridges, but that is for the future. As for now, we can rejoice in the display of life in the play of our sister species, such as the snow petrels. These ‘pure white birds’, the novelist and environmental activist Peter Matthiessen has written, ‘are silent messengers of a planetary depth that makes us cry out, or go on voyages’. I long to know what sense impressions pass through their white heads — none, you say? Very few, perhaps? Limited to human consciousness, unable even to interpret our disturbing intuitions, say, about the trapped intelligence in the eyes of our dogs, how can we fathom the myriad intelligences of other beings?”
“What struck me the most (and there was a lot of competition for the title) was that in the aftermath of the election, when Bush & Co. decided to take full advantage of the Democratic shell shock, I fell into a deep, deep depression that felt creepily familiar. I finally figured it out: it was the same feeling I had in the first weeks after 9/11, but the horrible difference was the fact that it’s now my own government that frightens me, more than any terrorist. Here in NYC, 9/11 is still yesterday; people I know say they are feeling PTSD symptoms now, much more so than in that first year, and some portion of it is fueled by the fear/suspicion that the government didn’t do anything to stop it then, and won’t in the future — they need fresh cannon fodder in the recruitment offices, and nothing will spike those numbers like another attack…”
“As a person who has not only experienced ongoing bullying first-hand as a child, but has also had to deal with the bullying of my own three kids, I am well aware of the long-term damage done by physical, verbal, relational and sexual bullying. For the past three years I have been forced to deal with this and related issues. Massively frustrated by the lack of response and trivialization of other parents, teachers and principals. At one time or another, I have been forced to remove my kids from an unsafe environment, not conducive to learning, their school! And, been forced to remove them from other schools I had transferred them too. In desperation, having to home school them.”
“I’ve just come across an quote from a book called Nazaria, written by Benito Perez Galdos in 1895: ‘The best thing the politicians can do is pack their bags, they’ve nothing of substance to offer mankind; we’re tired of empty speeches and trite slogans, and of seeing non — entities promoted to mediocrities, mediocrities promoted to celebrities, and celebrities promoted to the status of national hero’. We humans aren’t half taking our time about sorting ourselves out, though…”
“For the past three years, I have traveled from Sydney to the mountains inland from Montpellier, France to a Tibetan Buddhist retreat centre called Lerab Ling. (http://www.lerabling.org). The sheer size and solidity of the structure was awesome. And although I had contributed in some small way to its planning, this made the reality of it no less stunning. Perhaps even more so because I knew what it cost, how difficult it had been to get French planning approvals (Dalai Lama had to meet the local mayor in the end), how hard the site was to access in this mountainous and remote terrain and the wondrous Masters (many who are now passed on) who had blessed the site over the years with their prayers and sacred images. And yet — there it was. A beachhead for enlightenment in the cradle of Western civilization, made manifest through devotion, determination and sheer audacity in the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles. I hung on to the chain link fence surrounding the building site and cried quietly as I watched Merit manifesting on the physical plane — flickering in and out of vision with the turbulence in the thick fog. I could feel the emanation of rays of wisdom and compassion — ancient experience of the Absolute — and knew that a piece of it had been successfully preserved from the madness of our times. The door into another dimension was still open and ready to receive anyone who had the calling to walk the path that Buddha mapped out over 2000 years ago. Something went very right in 2004.”
“The most incredible event of 2004? George Carlin checking into drug rehab. Just kidding. Seems there were many events that had an affect on us. Actually, there is one thing that stands out for me. I rarely watch TV, but but when I do it’s the PBS show Globe Trekker. The episode on a few days ago was “Ultimate India” with footage of the Andaman Island. It was explained how these islands are protected. Access to the islands is restricted in hopes of protecting and preserving the tribal people living there, some living the same way they did since the beginning of humankind. I still remember the old video shown of a tribe living untouched by modern society. Later I learned that one tribe, the Sentinelese, were last contacted in 1992. It was impressive to see those who were working so hard to preserve the tribe’s ways of life, to protect them from the rest of the world. Now reports are that no one knows if any of the tribes survived the tsunamis. The possibility of anyone surviving on these small islands is not good. While the devastation to everyone affected by this disaster is heartbreaking, the thought that something preserved so long, with such great information as to where we all came from, can be taken away so quickly. People worked so hard to preserve, and in a moment it was lost. For me, it only challenges me to make the most of the time I have.”
“For the last handful of years I have been watching, with awe and puzzlement, the lack of collective American judgment. What will it take to wake America up, I wonder. I understand the conventional reasons America is a asleep at the wheel — everything from media control, the educational system, too much visual stimulation via TV, movies, etc. — yet, it seems deeper. I am, for instance, at a loss to adequately explain to myself the confusion the average American has over what is torture, how has the powers to be managed to get so many to vote against their own interests, and, where is this administration’s ‘Deep Throat’? There has to be one who knows too much and could come forward, but why hasn’t it happened?”
“On the last lunar eclipse, as the Moon turned dark red, I was turning to go back into the house, and talking to my son. I was at his house in his back yard, as I could not see the eclipse from my yard. As I glanced one more time at the eclipse, I heard a million voices that since the beginning of time have been raised, echoing back from the Moon, with the word: ‘Peace’. As I was recoiling in shock from that echo, I heard from way beyond the Moon a gorgeous chorus of voices singing, ‘Rejoice’. I looked at my son in shock, and he was staring at the Moon, totally engrossed. I asked him if he had heard anything, and he just raised his eyebrows, smiled, and walked in the house. I didn’t tell him what I had heard, and he just started talking about his wife getting home from her meeting. Since then, I have been fascinated by the way the volunteers came out to watch the presidential voting to make sure it was honest, and how in the State of Washington, we had a tremendous amount of volunteers for the recount. History in the making.” PW
Happy Birthday, Capricorn!
As winter’s child, you are one of the most soulful and inwardly seeking people in the zodiac family. Thus, the gains, accomplishments and potentials you desire in the world are going to be born from one factor only: your ability to open up to them inside yourself. It has been said many times that anything is possible; but so many people accomplish so little of what they know is their true potential.
Yes, anything is possible, but only if you embrace that you, personally, can be or become anyone you need to be. To say any “thing” is possible is really a mistake, because life and its events are not things, they are experiences, expressions and visions made real.
Recently, a deadlock of stand-off of some kind was broken. What seemed to be a problem without a solution, or a situation without a purpose, suddenly budged, and your personal landscape changed as a result. It became obvious that you were not in the weak position that you thought you were, but rather were holding together the center of the situation. Apart from the great relief you gained, what lessons have you learned about how to handle people you perceive as powerful? I hope, to stand in your truth and in nothing else.
In the course of the next year, Saturn, your ruling planet, will change signs to Leo. This will take some pressure off of your intimate relationships, and leave you wondering what is really left. You will see, I think, that quite a bit is left. It is all a matter of negotiating your dealings and affairs with people in a way that fully recognizes your inner worth. While the pressures may have seemed to be external, I assure you that the most pressing of them has been your at times extremely soggy sense of who you are, or why people need you in their lives.
When the light dawns on this aspect of your being, I have a feeling you’ll be shocked at what you were missing; at how what you thought were your worst failings were your greatest successes; and at how what you were sure were liabilities turned out to be assets. And it is only when you can see yourself for who you are that you will be able to encounter others in relationships as a whole, free and loving person.
Planet Waves Horoscope
by ERIC FRANCIS
for Dec. 31, 2004, #539
Aries (March 20-April 19)
The rest of the world may be celebrating the holidays, but for you this is one of the most productive and ambitious times of year. Successful people know how to balance work and play, and know there are rewards for doing so. Recently, you’ve been finding a new depth of inspiration not just to do well in life, but to aspire to your highest mission. To do this, you must venture beyond your existing life and the people in it. Now is the time to appreciate them for who they are, because you’re on an express train that will take you far from where you are today.
Taurus (April 19-May 20)
You may find yourself in tune with why you’ve always known sex needs to be a spiritual endeavor: there’s no other possibility. Too much is exchanged between people for the presence of the soul to be ignored in any experience of pleasure or surrender. At the moment, the planets are stirring up a new depth of fire in your heart, and it’s an emotion that has a potent mix of love, of lust and of God. Poets throughout the ages have reflected on this experience. Now you have the chance to experience it directly, though it may be difficult to communicate with others by any means other than wordless passion.
Gemini (May 20-June 21)
Mercury, the planetary love of your life, is moving at full-speed after the recent retrograde, and you’re likely to find yourself feeling considerably more grounded than any time in recent weeks. The question is, grounded in what? An idea? Your strongest and most vital energy? Or is it a measure of peace with how fast life changes? Once you can get it into your heart and soul that (for the moment anyway) nothing is consistent except that stiff wind blowing through the cosmos, you’ll adapt to the environment a lot easier. And you’ll notice you’re not alone.
Cancer (June 21-July 22)
You will need to keep working through certain health concerns you may have at the moment, which are always bigger in your fears than they are in reality. You’re at a point where your spiritual health far exceeds your physical health in importance, and where the two are not just related, but inseparable. You are definitely getting messages, and they may be coming in the form of ideas about your body. In fact the source and origin is on a deeper, more intuitive level; it’s only fear that confuses your perceptions. Get your signals straight and you will feel a lot better.
Leo (July 22-Aug. 23)
Once again, you’re likely to be feeling the radiance and power of your creativity — and have the sense that no risk is too big for what you want to accomplish, and that the concerns of others must come second. Yet it would be wise to direct some of your energy in the direction of solving practical problems and keeping your work functioning smoothly. It’s really a matter of putting first things first; if the necessities are covered and your life is running more or less smoothly, then you’ll have plenty of energy to dream your dreams, which are in fact cluing you in to something quite magnificent about yourself.
Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22)
It seems that the more you deny your emotional life, the more it’s going to make its presence known. At the same time, you’re not the type to get mixed up in sentiments of an ordinary nature. It looks like you currently feel something inside yourself that is so vast and far-reaching that you are basically daunted by the possibilities. Is it possible to be intimidated by yourself? I would say yes, that’s your particular version of insecure. Yet I assure you, you have no reason to feel that way, if only you will take a step back from yourself and see how safe and solid your life truly is.
Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23)
By whatever miracle, you now have the worldly footing or stability to pursue some of your more out-there ideas, and out-there is exactly what they are. I don’t suggest you let that fact deter you. You are offering a well-developed perspective that nobody else around you has, and you have the ability to present yourself in a way that’s both clear and appealing. You also have the energy and motivation to devote to certain projects that have been languishing for months. So get with your program.
Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22)
Difficult financial circumstances that have irritated or plagued you for a while are resolving themselves, which goes to prove that the solution is never as complicated as the problem. It would appear, however, that in this particular case, wanting to work things out was the last ingredient necessary to get the situation under control. You know that at a certain point you really do need to assert your rights or at least your point of view; but that people are not usually willing to hear it until a lot of unnecessary energy has been expended.
Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22)
Developments in situations of a contractual nature have been far from satisfactory this year, but you cannot debate the point that you’ve made progress. It would be wise of you to observe just how the things that have worked the best have found their success. Certain people or organizations have extremely complicated psychology and verge on insecure, unstable, or immature. Your job is to make them feel like they have exactly what they need, while at the same time doing exactly what you want. Mainly, those in a position of power in your life need to be treated like children, not parents; then they will feel better.
Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20)
You’re now writing one of the most interesting chapters ever in The Hidden Life of a Capricorn. Few people would ever accuse you of being a person who has all kinds of wild, unrealistic dreams about what you want to do with your life, but if so they have not talked to you lately. I suggest that you keep your plans and ambitions under your hat. This is partly to preserve their integrity, and partly because they are very much works in progress, and you are the only one who should be involved at this early stage. When it’s time to involve others, you will know.
Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19)
Who do people think you are? I assure you, it’s not who you think you are, and their images of you are not the same as the ones you have of yourself. The chances are you are held in much higher esteem than you hold yourself, though developments that surround social functions, group projects and anything of a spiritual nature are all but destined to let your true self shine — shine, that is, in your own eyes. You take far less freedom than you really have in the world, and part of that freedom means expressing yourself and your vision for the world and feeling how much people genuinely appreciate you.
Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20)
No matter how innovative or daring your professional ambitions, I suggest you keep one extra plan going that aspires to an even greater level of success. It would be intelligent to think in terms of orders of magnitude, that is, improvement not counted as going from one to two, but rather from one to 100. Widen your field of inquiry. Think internationally. Learn something from the impact you have. Most of what you’ve done since Pluto entered your house of career and reputation in 1995 has been to clear the way for the great things to come, some of which are due right about now. So turn up the gas.