Dear Friend and Reader:
Where were we?
Which page of history, exactly? Except for emailing grandma from the computer in your pocket and cars that talk to us (but still run on gas), we could be alive in any century or decade you like.
One minute it feels like ancient Greece, then it’s Rome, then suddenly we’re back in the Crusades. Blink and it’s the Renaissance (in the style of Machiavelli), then it’s Revolutionary days (in the style of fundamentalist Teabaggers). Turn around and it feels eerily like Germany in the 1930s. Blink your eyes and it’s the McCarthy era (you can get blacklisted for thinking people should be able to go to the doctor), or Vietnam, minus the protests. Then suddenly all at once, we’re in Atlantis.
Maybe Pluto in Capricorn (the sign of history) is burning a hole through the layers of time and we are seeing history flash by before our eyes. Or was there something in the punch? Or is there some kind of conspiracy to keep everything good and stupid while humanity faces one of its most critical moments? Aren’t we embarrassed to imagine what people in the future will think of us after we’re all dead?
Anyway, I have been promising an impressive frenzy of politics = personal as Saturn and Pluto make their square aspect in these very days, aligned with the Aries Point. But let’s see if we can go from prediction to understanding to the hints of a solution.
Let’s start with one-sentence delineations of the two planets involved. Saturn is the authority principle, which provides structure, limitations, boundaries and a framework of reality. Pluto is the evolutionary principle, which includes hormonal reality, deep passion, the crisis of personal growth and the journey to soul consciousness. So we have one concept which is largely externalized as government, parents, rules and laws, meeting up with another concept that is usually so deep in the shadows of the psyche that we tend to deny it. When Saturn and Pluto engage one another, the adventure erupts.
Here is how Rick Tarnas, who studied the cycle going back about 2,000 years, put it in his book Cosmos and Psyche: “The successive quadrature alignments of the Saturn-Pluto cycle coincided with especially challenging historical periods marked by a pervasive quality of intense contraction: eras of international crisis and conflict, empowerment of reactionary forces and totalitarian impulses, organized violence and oppression, all sometimes marked by lasting traumatic effects. An atmosphere of gravity tension tended to accompany these three-to-four-year periods, as did a widespread sense of epochal closure: ‘the end of an era’, ‘the end of innocence’, the destruction of an earlier mode of life that in retrospect may seem to have been marked by widespread indulgence, decadence, naivete, denial and inflation.”
The current Saturn-Pluto square (exact for the first time this past Sunday, though we’ve been under its spell for a while) is part of this cycle, which works in phases just like the Sun and Moon: new, quarter, full, quarter, new. That’s what Rick means by quadrature. The whole cycle takes about 35 years. If you live to 70, you live through it twice. You see a lot of destructive change. Any two planets relative to one another work in a cycle like this. Saturn-Pluto is a big one. It involves lots of reactionary fear. That fear, in the style of Pluto, is often hormonal in nature.
The conjunction of this cycle happened in 1982-83 (which was the setup for our current national political landscape early in the Reagan administration — in particular, the merging of the Fundamentalist Christian and Republican movements into something that for a while we were calling Neocon). When Reagan took office, one of the first things he did was install abstinence-only sex indoctrination, in effect banning proper sex education from the schools. This was the era of say no to everything and the origin of “stay a virgin till heterosexual marriage” as a federally funded national policy. In the last weeks of the Reagan administration, a set of federal regulations were adopted which attempted to curtail the previously broad allowances on sexual speech.
The first square in this cycle was in 1993 (when Bill was president but Newt was king) and we started to figure out what had happened. We were beginning to tox out on the cocktail of religion and politics, similar to the one gripping Afghanistan and Iran. As the cycle peaked just before the 2001-2002 opposition, we had the impeachment of Bill Clinton. Keyword: sex. [Worth mentioning here that the Saturn-Neptune cycle, another potent one, was at a square phase at the time of the impeachment, which opened the way for the kind of deception we were flooded with at that time.]
Then came the opposition of Saturn and Pluto — the full peak of the energy. That one was interesting, do you remember? Cheney/Bush take office with wide platform planks of the anti-abortion variety. The summer that Sept. 11 happened, the big issue was stem cell research, which involves fetuses. Sept. 11 meant perpetual war; which meant an extra $12 billion a month going to the war machine. There was Enron, Worldcom and a vast, well-documented forgotten scandal about how Bush knew about Sept. 11 in advance.
We are now at the waning square or last-quarter 90-degree phase of the Saturn-Pluto cycle. It’s the next big turning point, working out to be the big final exam covering everything we’ve been through during the first decade of the 21st century and indeed going back to the beginning of Reagan/Bush. Because it’s a waning square (akin to the last quarter Moon) and not an opposition (akin to the Full Moon), the aspect lacks the destructive power that we saw displayed back in the summer and autumn of 2001. Or at least so far. Fort Hood was horrendous. It was not Sept. 11 — though the two are related.
Let’s consider what has come up. Fort Hood we have covered. But now the FBI files on Maj. Hasan are coming out, as did an Army memo which says that basically the guy is a flake who didn’t really do his clinical work and who brought up religious issues with his patients. Famous quote of the week: “He demonstrates a pattern of poor judgment and a lack of professionalism.” There were other problems; and just like in 2001, the people who might have, failed to connect the dots.
Then seemingly out of nowhere, last week Khalid Sheikh Mohammed — the alleged mastermind of Sept. 11 — was dropped into the sizzling pan of television as the Honorary Terrorist who will stand trial. He has gone from his extended waterboarding vacation (reportedly 148 times) in Cuba (Guantanamo, that is) to being New York City’s biggest star. The current debate is over whether he really should be tried in open court, before a jury, as was decided this week by Eric Holder, the attorney general. One bunch is wondering whether this is showing the world we’re soft on terrorism, and another is wondering whether he can ever get a fair trial in Manhattan. Constitutional law Prof. Obama this week played Queen of Cups and declared him fit for execution before the trial.
I am thinking, the guy was brought to the brink of death so many times through simulated drowning, he must be a kind of yogi by now. Holder calls him a coward; that’s a lot of nerve. I can’t imagine he’s afraid of anything at this point, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he can levitate.
Meanwhile, the decades-old health care debate has come to full crunch; apparently this is the weekend that the circus comes to the Senate. I would humbly call your attention to how the subtext is getting more airplay than the text: a bunch of gun-toting yahoos are claiming that the government providing people with a doctor, which it currently does through Medicare, is unconstitutional and a form of tyranny. Nobody is asking if we should be listening to people who have health insurance tell everyone else they should not have medical privileges. (This may indeed be a 14th amendment case — that apple pie bit about equal protection under the law.) In high school, my AP European History teacher began the class by stating: “History is the struggle between the haves and the have-nots.”
Last week, I mentioned the abortion rights issue and its relation to the health care bill. The Stupak Amendment, which in effect banned abortion for anyone on any kind of federal subsidy (such as a welfare program), is not a joke. It’s part of a much wider strategy designed not only to gradually corral the freedom of choice without an outright reversal of Roe v. Wade, but to politicize the most private issue there is, sex. Meanwhile, what happens: war after war after war.
Which brings me to Sarah Palin. One might criticize the obsession over her book this week as a kind of mental problem in the media; I would agree, but I think it’s a mental problem that reveals a much bigger issue, perhaps the core issue.
I was asking myself last night: What is at the roots of all this political controversy we are seeing these days? If you strip off all the categories of liberal and Republican and extremist, what are the values beneath them? What is this whole game we are seeing really about? What if we were all naked, all the time?
Let’s see. First there is plain old avoidance. The world and most of its societies have some extreme problems on our hands, problems that threaten our survival. Our big systems and often our personal lives feel like they are about to implode. We retreat into either ignorance, drama or the dog and pony show of politics. Avoidance is the first cousin of denial. We have a lot to deny.
Then there is a very old tribal struggle that (as it has for a while) happens to be between those who identify as Christian, Muslim and Jewish. People are put in categories based on what side they choose and whether or not they believe that what someone else thinks is a threat really is a threat. To see the racism beneath the whole terrorism thing takes some self-reflection. The only reason that bombing Iraq is not considered terrorism is that one side was in uniform.
The naming of an enemy is crucial to the process of ego-identification. If you have an enemy, you exist. If you hate Muslims, you’re supposedly a true American, and if you don’t, you’re a traitor. If you feel guilty about war and hatred, blame God.
Next, as mentioned, is the battle between the haves and the have-nots. This can be summarized as self-interest in a kind of brutal debate with common interest, and also another form of old-fashioned enemy making. The problem in the United States is that the poor and even your average suburban types think they are rich, and then fight one another. A postal worker with eight kids can pick up a gun because he doesn’t want someone else to have heath insurance — and instead of referring him for counseling, we put him on TV. (This is true.)
Last, there is the issue of how we feel about the female body: whose is it, anyway? Why is it the female body that represents a common battleground where we agree to wage ideological (and often physical) war?
Note that the two women getting the most airplay in these Saturn-Pluto weeks are former beauty queens: Sarah Palin and Carrie Prejean. That does not mean they’re inherently unintelligent; they can speak for themselves and clarify that point. Neither would be getting the attention they are getting unless they had won the genetic lottery and their particular form of beauty is what is the most coveted and valued today. Britney Spears has more Twitter followers than Barack Obama.
These women are presented to us as some mixture of sex bait and birthing pod. But they are morally pure. Carrie Prejean is a particularly hilarious example of the sexually pure sex symbol who attempts to enforce her purported morals on others. (This is Vesta turned against herself; there was an interesting Vesta aspect this week as she changed signs into Virgo, by the way — Vesta conjunct Transpluto in the last degree of Leo.) Remember, Prejean became famous first as a sex symbol; then for her inflammatory comments about gay marriage, which got her Miss California title stripped. Apparently this is not all that got peeled off. Soon enough, she became famous for her sex tapes, which, by the way, featured her alone and I’m curious to see.)
Now she is famous for how sanctimonious she is, and is being floated as a potential congressional candidate. I wonder if she has sex, or just makes those videos. Meanwhile, she draws 100% of her power from matching an image of sexual desirability which is amplified a few orders of magnitude by her supposed unavailability. Then we say: but she’s so intelligent. What awesome values she has.
Sarah Palin is playing the same game. She presents herself as the picture of moral purity, and everyone knows she’s a Milf. This affects men and women because men are supposed to want her and women are supposed to want to be like her. The cover-up is that she’s some kind of political genius who happens to be hot; who rose from mayor to governor to vice presidential contender to culture queen 2012 hopeful. In fact she can’t even get along with her own campaign staff, and could not finish her term. I know why: it would get in the way of her book tour.
The Palin phenomenon is beyond cynical — because the whole conservative movement has built its fortunes, such as they are, on squashing sex from every conceivable direction, creating a culture so sex-starved that it’s on the brink of insanity. There is no form of sex except for married, monogamous heterosexuality that is not subject to public moral attack, prosecution or paroxysms of guilt; or death as the wages of sin. Then she emerges as the savior of those starving and thirsting and longing for mother, supposedly maternal but cold as a gun, if you ask me. She is unavailable and at the same time she flaunts her desirability. We have a few emotional blocks from seeing her purely as a sex symbol, one of which is that she’s presented as the savior of our purity and our values: the American Dream.
This phenomenon was described by Wilhelm Reich, said to be Freud’s brightest student but really quite a bit more. He proposed this in the 1930s as the basic recipe for promoting fascism. The formula is, push purity and therefore create a sexual frenzy so intense that it transforms into a mystical longing, which is then answered by a charismatic leader. Any alternative to this is derided (or prosecuted) as disgusting, reprehensible debauchery. Yet here is the catch: if you tally up all these moral issues, notice how many are focused on the female body rather than the male body.
Which leads me to mammograms. I don’t think there’s a woman as close to a computer as you are now who has not heard about the recommendation that women in their 40s not be given regular mammogram screening. This battle is a distraction from the two real issues at the core, neither of which I have heard mentioned, and which again turn the female body into a war zone. So while I’m standing here with a microphone, here’s my take.
One, do the mammograms themselves cause breast cancer, with their annual dose of radiation?
Second, what are the more pervasive causes of breast cancer? Study after study demonstrates that breast cancer is caused or fuelled by environmental toxins such as dioxins, PCBs, pesticides and numerous other chemicals, all of which mimic estrogen and other hormones. These chemicals will show up in everything you eat except maybe an organic carrot. Their manufacturers wear suits and assure us they are safe.
But I ask you: why is General Electric, one of the biggest hormone polluters, also one of the biggest manufacturers of medical imaging equipment? And what does this have in common with Sarah Palin and Carrie Prejean?
Yours & truly,
Weekly Horoscope for Friday, November 20, 2009, #793 – BY ERIC FRANCIS
Dear Friend and Reader:
Through the end of the week, the Sun is making its way across the last degrees of Scorpio and will enter Sagittarius at 11:22:34 pm EST on Saturday, Nov. 21. When the Sun is at the end of a sign and not making any new aspects to major planets before entering the new sign, that is called Sun void of course. We are familiar with the Moon being void of course, which has the same basic definition. They have different feelings; among them is habit: the Moon void happens twice a week while the Sun void takes place 12 times a year. Usually it lasts a day or two; at several days, this is a long one.
The Sun void comes with the feeling of unusual things happening. It’s like an opening into the unlikely, which can be friendly if you get to take advantage of what seems like an odd chance; or it can be less than friendly if you’re not paying attention and something untoward happens to you. This is the time to make luck work for you rather than to push your luck; to see the moments that invite you to ease in. With Scorpio, this can be an opportunity to balance out the emotional or erotic economy.
As the Sun is making its transition into Sagittarius, there is a conjunction of Venus and Ceres (in a pattern where it’s annual for a few years, then skips a few years). I have been suggesting that Venus + Ceres + Scorpio is about understanding our mother’s sexual baggage. True, we don’t like to think of our mother as sexual, but to the extent you want to be sexually free, this is something I strongly suggest. Mother has secrets. We don’t know them. She had to maintain her image; she may not have wanted to share her pain; she may be too self-conscious or modest to let on what is really bothering her. The problem with this is that this becomes miasmic: multigenerational material that causes the next generation pain it does not understand.
Seek and you shall find; find and you shall facilitate your emotional healing process.
Yours & truly,
Aries (March 20-April 19)
Don’t let yesterday’s arguments affect you today. You can safely cancel the negative effects from all of last week, as long as you accept what you learned from those interactions, particularly the stressful ones. Life has been stressful, as if everything in your world meets everything else in your world on an odd angle that does not quite fit. As you try to assemble the parts, you might ask yourself what they are part of; and that something would be you. At first it’s difficult to think this way, that is, to embrace the idea that the one thing everything in your life has in common is you. It would help to give yourself one example of an inner conflict that turned into an interpersonal one. Do that two or three times and you’ll figure out how to keep things a lot more placid.
Taurus (April 19- May 20)
Your mother’s emotional pain shows up powerfully as a factor in your relationships this week, particularly her tendency to exaggerate. You seem to have internalized this habit in some form, and don’t know what to do with it. You basically have two choices: get caught in the drama, or move right in the direction of its antithesis: conscious emotional and sexual nourishment. Turning this backwards, both the pain and the exaggeration are cover stories for a reluctance to be emotionally generous. You may think you feel better when you’re not giving of yourself. Yet I suggest you be honest about this and notice how you feel when you give sincerely from your deepest well. Get the hang of this and you’ll discover this is the well from which you can nourish yourself.
Gemini (May 20- June 21)
The issue is spiritual, but what the heck does that mean? Let’s start with deeper. Let’s continue with considering what is not obvious, which will require you to do some original thinking. Let’s move on to a question of ethics, which goes beyond a rationale for why something ‘must be’ necessary. You may have the feeling that something larger is at stake; you may be experiencing a sense of deep responsibility. If that is coming through clearly, it will be a little daunting. Welcome this feeling. Pay particular attention if someone well known or famous is involved; you need to understand his or her motives, and decide consciously if you’re in alignment with them. This will not be difficult to figure out; more likely, you will be reminding yourself what you already know.
Cancer (June 21- July 22)
Not everything can be negotiated, but most things can be. Or perhaps it would be better to say: for you, not everything is negotiable, and not everything has to be. It would be wise to make sure you know what points you’re willing to compromise on and what points you’re not even willing to consider bargaining. That said, you might want to make a list of all the non-negotiables and ask yourself why exactly you feel that way. I suggest you focus your greater efforts on determining where the common ground between you and someone close to you exists. There is plenty; it’s a matter of seeing your shared space from the right perspective. This will start with ideas, and move onto resources and experiences.
Leo (July 22- Aug. 23)
With the Sun drifting through the last few degrees of Scorpio at the moment, I suggest you wait till it’s solidly in Sagittarius on Saturday night before making any major decisions, commitments or moves. That said, the drifting energy is just what you need, given how much the past few weeks have been about pushing yourself toward a limit that seems to have no definite value or location. The seemingly boundless energy you’re experiencing is in part coming from other people, and partly coming from your own determination to do it all. Allowing yourself to disengage would be helpful. This means giving yourself a day or two away from their influence. It won’t take much more than that; the main benefit will be gaining perspective you don’t know you’re lacking.
Virgo (Aug. 23- Sep. 22)
Your mind needs a break; you need to be around water. Start with the bathtub and some sea salt. Skip the perfume: the salts will give your body the chance to discharge nervous energy. Three times within a few days ought to get you back to a baseline mental position, and provide some time to meditate on how you can simplify your life — particularly the enormous strain you seem to be under at work. If you’re riding on the high side of this astrology, your mind may be functioning like a precision machine, and you may be afraid to stop. You do need to stop long enough to cover the basics, and I do mean food, water and rest. You can push it all you want but at the end of the day, your body is the boss.
Libra (Sep. 22 – Oct. 23)
Keep a grip. That may mean letting go of your tight hold on reality, though in more ways than one it would seem that your astrology is telling you to do the opposite of what you think you need. Anyway, your thoughts are coming at a ferocious pace, though here’s a clue for how you can tell if you’re being productive: your curiosity quotient. In other words, if you’re getting a litany of ideas and conclusions and things to worry yourself with, or if you’re trying to prove you’re right about something, pause and ask questions. Your desire to know something that you don’t already know will be your best friend, and if you haven’t noticed, at the moment there sure is plenty that you don’t know.
Scorpio (Oct. 23- Nov. 22)
You may be experiencing emotions that you don’t understand. I suggest that you not make more of them than you need to; in other words, they may feel more important or meaningful than they are. This is a question of balance between intensity and meaning, something that has been a theme of your entire life. Yes, there is meaning to be found in all these feelings, but it’s not a direct consequence of their full-on sensation. It’s vital that you not attempt to nourish yourself on pain, and moreover, that you identify anyone in your life who tries to live this way so that you can help identify when and how you picked up the habit. The answers here will not be strictly based on rationality, but that will be your first foothold in what appears to be a complex situation.
Sagittarius (Nov. 22 – Dec. 22)
You may suddenly feel like you can see the world from the perspective of someone close to you, and this may be a little shocking. Not a lot, but enough to remind you that you need to spend more time shifting your perspective and reminding yourself that your viewpoint, wide as it is, has certain limitations that you can only get around with conscious methods that you embrace routinely. One thing you may notice is how exactly someone feels about you — which may surprise you, in that you weren’t thinking they held you in such high esteem. You decide that you have undue influence, but part of how you can address that is to be conscious of it and include their opinions in your decision-making process more often than you ordinarily would.
Capricorn (Dec. 22- Jan. 20)
During the past week you’ve experienced a rare aspect involving both your sign and your ruling planet, Saturn in Libra square Pluto in Capricorn. This accounts for the feeling of time running out, and the corresponding feeling that everything is more urgent than you have time for. However, the pressure is coming off, and you have made it through the most complex, delicate phase of this astrology — at least for now. Yes, you need to keep an eye on things, and make sure you’re devoting the very best of your political skills to your business and professional affairs. But I suggest you remind yourself that in times like we are living in, success could well be defined as exactly what you’re experiencing.
Aquarius (Jan. 20- Feb. 19)
Go lightly on what seems to be a big professional success; don’t brag about it, and don’t put too much on its back. Remember that the purpose of work and therefore of achievement is to help everyone have a little more of what we all need. That would include you, though the theme of exchange and of trading is all over your charts right now. One of the deepest anchor points for humanity’s darkness involves our belief in separate interests. Look at the news; look at what the people close to you gossip about; notice what you worry about: it all has its roots in the notion that we have divided interests. Consider how many people would go out of business if that turned out not to be true.
Pisces (Feb. 19- March 20)
One day at a time is not just a nice concept; it’s all a person can do. You’re still under extraordinary pressure that you haven’t given a name to, and which sometimes disappears into the background because it’s so pervasive. You’re starting to see you have options, and that each of those days is a step toward clarity. The next thing that happens is that you start to see that your experience of life makes sense. The clarity may be as subtle as the pressure is now, but like a good book, the story will gradually weave together and build momentum toward a logical point of resolution. You don’t need to push this, or push anything; for the moment, less is more — and what comes your way this weekend is likely to be precisely what you need.