Sea Changes and Blue Notes

Dear Friend and Reader:

We are in the midst of some truly special astrology: this week, four of the traditional planets change signs. Venus ingressed Virgo on Wednesday. Mercury and Saturn ingress Scorpio together today. Mars ingresses Sagittarius tomorrow.

Freight ship heads around the south end of Vashon Island on Puget Sound. Riding high on the water, this ship is probably heading toward the Pacific, back to Asia empty of cargo. Photo by Eric Francis.

This is pretty unusual, to have four of the seven traditional planets (or half of the modern set of official planets) change signs within a five-day phase. In a year that’s been characterized by inner planets staying in their signs for a long time (that’s one of the ways to consider an inner planet retrograde, of which there have been many in 2012), now suddenly all of them are moving together.

Synchronous with the inner planets changing signs is Saturn making its move from Libra to Scorpio. The outermost (and therefore slowest-moving) traditional planet, Saturn, takes about 10 seasons to go through a sign, and like other slow-movers, its sign placement has a way of coloring and shaping the psychic environment in which we live during that mini-era. Saturn transits influence everyone, and I know that a good few people are nervous about this one; this article may help alleviate some of your concerns, if you are, and Saturn in Scorpio is a topic I plan to return to many times.

Each of these sign changes is interesting in its own right, satisfying to consider if you appreciate the way that astrology describes the world and how we feel about it, or how it describes you and how you feel about yourself. Astrology presents us with a picture of existence and how we perceive it. Remember that when astrology describes a problem, it also points us toward an answer or at least a workable response.

What these sign changes all have in common is that when the planets enter their new signs, they all make aspects to Neptune in Pisces. When Venus entered Virgo earlier this week, it made an opposition to Neptune. Mercury and Saturn entering Scorpio make trines to Neptune. And Mars ingressing Sagittarius makes a square to Neptune.

This means we’re in a moment of sea changes. Planets changing signs means that the times around us are changing, and doing so rather suddenly. Synchronously, they describe inner movements (what you might experience as growth). Our feelings are moving as well; Mercury, Venus and Mars represent experiences that are ‘close to home’ in consciousness, and describe our most palpable emotional and mental experiences. Those are changing, too; how you feel being in your body and in your senses may shift noticeably as these planets make their moves.

Yet there is something else going on with Neptune in the scenario — a connection to something much larger, more collective, something that colors the whole background of experience in a way that is ubiquitous: it’s everywhere and therefore can seem invisible. When planets make new contacts with Neptune, the figure-ground contrast can change, and it’s often possible to see what we couldn’t see before.

Listening to the Planets

That’s a visual metaphor; let’s use one based on sound. Think of Neptune as a kind of resonator. It will vibrate to the pitch of whatever aspects it. Venus in Virgo opposite Neptune in Pisces carries tension — but if you could hear it, it would sound dissonant. Venus is associated with Pisces. The old-timey, toga-wearing astrologers from the days of yore tell us that Venus is in its ‘fall’ in Virgo. It may struggle to be itself, or alternately, it may utilize that sense of discomfort and become unusually strong. Venus in Virgo, for example, could express itself (in a way unlike its typical nature, but drawing on Virgo) as intellectual passion.

View of Quartermaster Harbor from Burton, WA. Photo by Eric Francis.

When we put it in opposition to Neptune, that’s another story. The opposition is the most dissonant aspect. It’s a 180-degree relationship between two points, and it’s a little like dividing a musical scale exactly in half. Though it happens fairly often in astrology, it’s an interval you rarely hear in music (there is one notable exception).

The interval is the relationship between C and F sharp, which is painful to listen to. C to F is a fourth; you hear that all the time in all forms of Western popular music. If you were at a concert listening to a composition based on C to F sharp, you would probably be out in the lobby, and fast. We’ve experienced some of that dissonance this week, though where aspects are concerned, the challenging ones often provide excellent leverage for progress and creativity. They can be frustrating, though it’s necessary to tap the energy source beneath the frustration to get anything done.

Today (Friday), Mercury and Saturn ingress Scorpio together. I’ve noticed that when there’s a big planetary sign change (Saturn counts for big), there is often another planet accompanying it. In this scenario, Mercury fleets right past Saturn, dives into Scorpio and then, 10 hours later, Saturn takes the plunge. This is suggesting that we need to be attentive to messages (Mercury-related) about the forthcoming Saturn in Scorpio experience. It’s also a good time to set your agenda, if you have a sense of what this transit might be about for you.

Saturn and Mercury meet Neptune as a trine — first degree of Scorpio to the first degree of Pisces. That feels harmonious and easy to listen to; it has an ear-candy feeling. The relationship is like C to G, which is a basic folksy kind of sound. It’s helpful that Neptune is there to resonate with these two planets ingressing Scorpio; they pick up the Pisces flavor, which tends to soften Scorpio, helps it drop some of its possessiveness (which can influence both money and love) and control stuff, and offers access to a wider, more full-spectrum sensation of existence.

This is an opening. One of the biggest problems we have on Earth is the jealousy / control / possessiveness complex, which keeps many, many people trapped on a petty level of existence, isolated from their goals, their dreams and true intimacy. We will inevitably get to address this with Saturn in Scorpio, one way or another (most likely, many ways). Jealousy would not be such a problem, were not so many people so attached to it; so deeply devoted to how much they think they can control the universe with their emotions. Indeed, this transit will be all about the nuances of sexual and emotional control — and expression.

View of Quartermaster Harbor at daybreak, with radio towers on nearby Maury Island (where Planet Waves, Inc. was first incorporated). The two islands are connected by an isthmus. Photo by Eric Francis.

Along this journey, the first thing that happens is that Saturn in Scorpio meets up with Neptune and gets to dissolve some of those jealous tendencies. This is more the gentle melting, and the opportunity to let go, rather than getting anything ripped or wrenched away. I say opportunity rather than enforced changes; it’s available and it will be easy enough to pass over. If you’re interested in taking up this opportunity, listen right now, because Mercury is running vanguard of Saturn and at this moment is in a direct dialog with Neptune, describing the opportunities that you have, and giving you information about what to do with them. (Also note the three dates of the exact Saturn-Neptune trine are Oct. 10, then June 11 and July 19, 2013.)

One opportunity of Saturn in Scorpio is to stabilize our emotions. Borrowing a phrase from Patric Walker, to many this will feel like enforced growth. By one energetic analysis of the world right now, yang (masculine) energy is out of balance and pushing things too hard. We hear this all the time: the patriarchy is out of control. Rarely, though, do we consider the ways that yin (feminine) energy is also out of balance, mainly by being overly reactive, emotive, unstable and unpredictable. How much of what goes on in the world is caused, or fostered, by this kind of instability? How much energy is lost due to the inability to keep to an agenda from day to day? Saturn in Scorpio will actually help stabilize both sides of the equation (yin and yang, in men and women).

The last of this week’s sign changes is Mars ingressing Sagittarius. That happens Saturday. Mars is exiting a sign of which it’s the traditional ruler (Scorpio, a fixed water sign) and entering a new and very different field of experience (Sagittarius, a mutable fire sign). What I haven’t said in this article and which applies to any of these sign changes is that adjoining signs (in this case Scorpio to Sagittarius) describe some of the most palpable contrasts of astrology. Mars going from deep, emotional Scorpio into open, fiery, fast-changing Sagittarius is a big shift in energy.

It’s magnified by Mars in Sagittarius making a square to Neptune in Pisces. The Mars square Neptune aspect is often about pushing boundaries, losing emotional control and over-indulgence in anything Neptune (drink, drugs, deception, illusions) rather than the moderation that allows these things to serve us in a creative way. Mars square Neptune can be self-destructive — though that is mitigated significantly if you’re conscious of what is going on within you and around you.

View of Quartermaster Harbor at daybreak, as seen from Burton (on Vashon Island, WA). Photo by Eric Francis.

The square aspect (90 degrees) is like a minor third (C to D sharp) in music (looked at another way, it describes the relative minor). Either way, it’s dissonant in a pleasant way. Minor chords also have that melancholy feeling, though when used sparingly they are poignant and also relieve us of the ear-candy, folksy feeling of intervals like a major 5th (C to G). They help us acknowledge the sadness that makes happiness more meaningful.

Mars square Neptune will be adding some poignancy to the feeling of life, though due to its tendency to overindulge, it needs to be handled carefully. It’s a little like a spiritual dilemma. It reminds me of that moment in the life of Siddhartha, when he wakes up to how spiritually vapid all of his overindulgence is — which prompts him to notice that there must be something deeper. Therefore, even a ‘negative’ experience can push us in a positive direction, just like a minor chord can emphasize the positive feeling of a chord progression by adding some darker contrast and an interesting flavor. In practical terms, this aspect is about¬†considering the ethics of how we use desire and personal power. Denial and desire are a dangerous combination; be mindful of that.

Now we’re getting all of these at once, and Neptune is involved. Neptune can be subtle; it can disappear, or blend into the environment and go unnoticed. This is your opportunity to notice your environment in all of its contrasting facets: inner, outer, subtle, obvious (and harmonious and dissonant tones) and the place where all of these blend (within you). Part of why we have so many ‘environmental issues’ is we fail to notice the environment. In normal consciousness (as the philosopher Marshall McLuhan pointed out) the environment tends to be invisible.

In this picture, you’re the resonator that’s being vibrated by all of the planetary transits. To feel that vibration, and sense the changes, you will need to access some non-ordinary states of awareness — and notice where you are and how you feel. Given the current transits, that should be pretty easy if you pause, observe and take in what you’re experiencing. Then, remember what you noticed, and use that information.

Look through your eyes rather than with them. Remember that denial can slip in right at the point when we’re about to put knowledge to practical use.

Why Mitt Romney Seemed to Win the Debate

Pretty much everyone agrees that Mitt Romney ‘won’ the debate Wednesday night, though he won the way he usually does — by aggression, lying and cheating. I consider Obama to be a fairly typical politician, and also someone who has taken to aiding and abetting war criminals (the topic of an upcoming article, so please hold your arrows until I explain this carefully) though not quite a thug on the scale of Romney.

Ferry dock at Tahlequah, on Vashon Island. Photo by Eric.

Without going into the content of the debates, I can point out a few things about the astrology of Wednesday evening, using the sign changes I’ve just described. It’s worth noting that the chart for the first debate has Eris in Aries exactly rising, to the degree, which to me looked like it would be an ambush (and it was).

The debate happened shortly after Venus entered Virgo, opposing Neptune (C to F sharp, dissonance). Mitt Romney may be the most dissonant, as in acoustically and energetically ugly, human entity I’ve ever observed. To my ear he is even worse than Dick Cheney, who is at least in tune with how ugly he is, and can carry it off. On Wednesday night, we had Mitt Romney doing his dissonant performance under an equally dissonant aspect. He was in tune with his moment, and few people noticed how off-pitch he is.

Obama on the other hand, who usually has pretty good pitch, sounded weak, defensive and out of tune. He seemed off balance from the first moments of the debate, and never found a groove.

There is one example of when you’ll hear C to F sharp — it’s called a blue note. A guitarist often bends a note by half a step (think of Mark Knopfler making the guitar ‘cry or sing’). This sounds beautiful when you hear it for a moment, taking you by surprise, like biting into a grain of spice in an exotic dish. You just don’t want that all the time, though it happens to be what Romney plays (all the time). He’s the guy who cannot even agree with himself from one day to another, and who is constantly adapting (in his dark Pisces way) to what he thinks everyone around him wants him to be.

For the next debate, everything changes. Mercury and Saturn will be in Scorpio, resonating with Neptune. The human environment around him will be more in harmony, the water signs will be in tune with one another, and he will be the one who seems off-pitch. In fact, to those who are sensitive, it may be that we notice that the whole discussion is off-pitch. In other words, these debates cover topics that are irrelevant, even in the context of politics.

More significantly, Mars ingresses Sagittarius, and will make a square to Neptune. This will put a focus on matters of integrity. (This interval is the pleasant minor third, from C to D sharp.) In physical reality, the square can be about a clash, which is how it’s often described. The conflict surfaces if the levels of reality indicated by the two sides of the square are not addressed consciously. In this case, the collective level (Neptune in Pisces) will be aspected by the individual level (Mars in Sagittarius), drawing a contrast between the two.

It was not obvious from his performance Wednesday night that Mitt Romney is in this game exclusively for personal gain and greed, which clashes directly with collective interests. I think it will be a lot more obvious next time. As for Obama, who pretends to be an advocate of working people and those who struggle, we will be able to hear what he is not saying, rather than getting caught in what he’s pretending to say. Get ready for an election endgame with many twists and turns, and a few surprise endings.

About that Secret Meeting

One other thing. I mentioned that Mercury and Saturn move into Scorpio within 10 hours of one another — but what I didn’t say is that they formed an exact conjunction in Libra earlier this morning just before they make their move later today. The location of that conjunction stated in astrological terms was at 29 degrees Libra and 57 arc minutes — very, very close to the end of the sign (signs end at 29 degrees and 59 minutes).

Earlier today, Mercury and Saturn formed a conjunction one arc minute from the ‘stolen election’ Mercury station of 2000. The Sun in Libra is above and to the left.

When the election of 2000 was stolen by the Cheney/Bush ticket, Mercury stationed direct at 29 degrees and 56 arc minutes of Libra — just 1/60th of a degree away from where this conjunction happened earlier today.

You could say that Mercury and Saturn returned to the crime scene this week, where they seemed to hold a secret meeting — right before the election. Both of these planets blend into Libra nicely and make it difficult to notice that anything strange is going on. As I have reported in Planet Waves and elsewhere, I think there is some election fraud in progress, and the Mercury-Saturn conjunction points right to it. Simply put, this is a warning.

Pay attention — we didn’t last time. We let it happen, though to be fair, it was a real ambush and most were taken by surprise. That does not have to be the case now. There is no election fraud possible without public consent. Public consent can be tacit — that is, seeing something and just going along with it and not speaking up. Or it can be overt — pretending not to know or care, or saying that nothing you do matters anyway.

It’s long past time to speak up and act up, or to admit that you’ve given up.

Have you? I don’t think so. Just remember, we’ll get all the freedom we deserve.


Weekly Horoscope for Friday, Oct. 5, 2012 #920 | By Eric Francis


The time has arrived to let the momentum of your life carry you. I don’t mean you should drift, but rather that you can focus on guiding your life rather than propelling yourself. You have momentum; you can trust that, and you seem to have recently experienced a sudden shift in direction that may finally have you feeling that you can trust the course of your life. That said, keep making decisions, and investing your energy acting on them. You must make a conscious effort not to be guided by your fears — particularly those involving partnership or getting hurt in relationships. Fear has a way of creating the things that we’re worried about, so if you avoid worrying, you will avoid being a magnet. Rather, concern yourself with fairness and sincerity, and look for people who treat you this way as well.

Aries (March 20-April 19) — You may not be where you want to be. You may not even know quite where you are or where you’re headed. It’s almost as if some odd wind of fate has delivered you somewhere unfamiliar — literally or metaphorically — and you have to reorient continuously. Start with your immediate surroundings, getting information from those who may be more familiar with the immediate environment or with recent developments. Avoid emotional or financial survival mode, and try to see your situation as a kind of open-ended adventure. The primary theme is trust — trusting yourself, the people around you, and what seems to be a situation where you don’t understand why your options feel so limited. Actually, the only real limitation is a narrow perspective that you seem to get caught in. This may involve the feeling that a partnership matter has turned dark, though I suggest you do your best to stay optimistic and to keep the conversation going with partners and loved ones, particularly where money is concerned.

Taurus (April 19-May 20) — Your solar chart suggests that you’re taking a relationship situation more seriously while someone close to you seems to be playing fast and loose. If you can see this contrast, it will prove to be a useful learning tool. You’re at a stage in life when you really need to think things through, more than you need to talk them through. You cannot know what will work the best in a relationship when you don’t know what will work the best for you. I suggest that this is a situation that calls for about at least five parts thought for every one part conversation. You seem to know the truth; beware of how the false confidence or self-delusion of others might knock you out of center. Beware of a tendency to second-guess yourself, especially if you have a strong hunch. And be conscious of when you’re fearing the worst. It rarely happens, though in truth there’s a potent energy source in you that could just as well manifest as creativity as it does anxiety.

Gemini (May 20-June 21) — Your survival instincts are pretty sharp right now, but don’t outsmart yourself. You would be premature to determine that someone is acting in bad faith, but on point to admit your doubts and seek out more information, as needed. It takes a wise person to know when they don’t know, and I suggest you cultivate this skill and the easy willingness to do just that. This is particularly true when it comes to assessing the motives of others, particularly now. You’re usually pretty good at this one, though at the moment it’s as if there is a cross in communication, a mistaken impression or a blind spot. This makes it especially hazardous to presume intent right now. Listen to what people are saying to you; I mean listen to their words and consider the context and inferences. Take everyone at face value until you have a reason not to (and one potential reason would be aggression). If you don’t understand something, ask, and if you need additional details or if you require someone’s help unraveling their thought process, ask for that.

Cancer (June 21-July 22) — Sex is one of the most powerful forces on Earth, and arguably the one used most recklessly. The time has arrived — and you may have felt it coming for a long time — to keep a handle on this power, to use it in a focused and mature way, no matter what anyone else in the world may be doing. Typically people jump between extremes of purism and thoughtless indulgence. You need more than a ‘middle way’. Rather, sex and sexuality offer us the most when they are experienced as natural, integrated into life in a holistic way. When sex becomes about the transaction of power rather than the expression of creativity, you can be sure things are out of balance. The solution to this would be waking up your imagination, though also understanding the ways you might be feeling insecure that would lead you to seek power in the first place. In relationships, I suggest you go for containment rather than commitment. That’s another way of saying that instead of making promises or holding anyone to theirs, explore within a space that you consciously share.

Leo (July 22-Aug. 23) — People must do what they must do to work out their karma and their commitments to others. Plenty of it has nothing to do with you, though it can take some experience to learn how not to take any of it personally. Meanwhile, you must guide your life based on your own values, and at the moment, you know just what they are. It’s easy to get knocked off center or out of balance when others don’t show an interest in what means the most to you, though I suggest that the most direct way to making contact, and having that contact returned, is to keep your focus on what you want to be the core of your life, on what you truly value. Doing so can feel like an enormous risk — or perhaps at the moment, like an irresistible dare. I suggest, however, that if you’re going to take the chance, you not measure your success based on what others think. Measure your success based on what you think — particularly about your willingness to dare. At this phase of your life, it’s crucial that you affirm yourself, and step away from seeking the affirmation of others. Those who do offer their positive vibes of their own accord are your authentic friends.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22) — I admit to wanting to sniff nearly every Virgo I meet, so it is true that I am somewhat biased. That said, Venus has just entered your sign, and it’s in a position to make contact with many other planets. This setup has you at your most attractive right now, and whatever you may be feeling, or thinking, I assure you that people are noticing you, they are curious — and they may want more than a little sniff. Now, a few words of caution. You will miss the fun if you’re caught in self-critical mode. I assure you, few people care about or even notice what you think are your worst flaws. Second is, please don’t presume the answer is no before you’ve even engaged the question (though what, in truth, is the question?). Last: do your best to stay out of survival mode. At the moment you are a magnet for all the good things in life, though you’ll put out the sweetest vibes the more self-loving you are, and the more you let your self-love spill over into the affirmation of others. You may make them a little nervous with your beauty; leave an opening, which is to say, be friendly and smile with your eyes.

Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23) — If you find yourself facing a problem that can’t be solved, state the problem differently, until you’ve conceived of it in a way that’s more amenable to resolution. It’s true that there are very difficult problems, though what you seem to be facing is the loss of faith in yourself rather than some external situation to which you cannot adapt. Yet there are moments when it may be difficult to tell the difference. I suggest you focus on the faith aspect, understanding the ways that your perception, and your personal history, are influencing how you’re perceiving the world around you — and one person in particular. You may perceive their life one way and not understand how they might see it differently; the same is likely to be true for how they perceive you and your choices. Still, this is a situation where you fear you might get hurt, and where you can easily get caught in your worst expectations. You have learned how powerful it is to be honest with yourself — which is far more important than whether anyone is being honest with you.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22) — The question is not what others believe about you, or what you think they believe about you. As you’re figuring out, it’s what you believe about yourself. While it’s possible that you may be having your doubts about something, be mindful if you hear yourself protesting too much. Do you really have something to defend? Do you need to establish how different you are from someone else, or everyone else for that matter? One question your charts are sketching out is: how do you know when your perspective is narrow? Let’s say you feel broad-minded, though in truth you’re not quite there. How would you know that? One way would be to question nearly everything you say, think and feel, or at least subject it to some scrutiny. Ask yourself, “Is that really true?” And rather than taking the answer, notice how long it took you to come up with that answer. Assessing whether an idea or perception is valid can take a while. I suggest you hold off judgment for as long as you can, and let the information filter in.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22) — Your sign has a reputation for devil-be-damned, though in many ways you’re more cautious than you let on. You now run the risk of going to the other extreme — forgetting the cautious side of your nature entirely — and you could lose control of some important part of your life, at least temporarily, if you don’t keep a handle on your intentions, the facts, and the decisions that you make. One vulnerable spot is home structure and family, which are under some stressful aspects. The fact that you may feel lonely or isolated is not helping matters. Still, I suggest that you moderate and focus your energy rather than boldly assert or over-extend yourself. You will still be bold enough even in vigilant mode, though you’ll slow down the movie enough to make better decisions, which will mean fewer complications. There is a significant question about what is true and what is not, and I strongly suggest you keep that out in the open where you can see it and remember that it’s there.

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20) — Saturn, the planet most associated with Capricorn, changes signs this week. There is something in this move, from Libra to Scorpio, about your figuring out that you are involved in some form of collective responsibility. Even if you cannot discern something specific, I suggest you consider the wider implications of everything that you do, and of everything that happens to you. Consider the ways in which you’re influenced by the wider world in the choices you make, the feelings you experience and the values that you claim as your own. This is a time to start questioning the many ways you’ve been infiltrated, and to sort out who you truly are and what is really yours. Yet the influences of the collective, wider world are becoming more important, not less. This requires careful discernment, and really knowing when you’re thinking something and whether someone is thinking for you; when you’re coming from commitment or obligation; when your actions are self-serving or for the greatest good of all concerned — including you.

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) — “Culinary school is fun, but it doesn’t help you advance in this field at all. I feel like I paid thousands of dollars just to have fun, make good friends, hang out and cook all day.” This is a snippet of a conversation with a Facebook friend about her experience at Le Cordon Bleu. What she’s saying is true: you need to be in the kitchen, with all the heat and chaos, investing the time that it takes to learn your onions and build your reputation. To the extent you’ve already done so, you may be getting a message of encouragement or recognition this week, coupled with an opportunity of some kind. This may be a fleeting chance to advance — or investigate — your longterm goals. You may not think the opportunity is a perfect fit, though at this stage I doubt that perfection should be the goal. I propose that the best criteria would be: will I learn something useful from this experience, and contribute something positive? There is no instant success, which is the thing that for you will make success not only possible but inevitable.

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) — Be specific about what you want — whether personally or professionally — and recognize it when it shows up. I would note, however, that there’s a difference between what you want and what your fantasy is. There are also similarities; there may be many similarities. Yet there is always a translation from the idea of something to the reality, and within that translation is an experimentation process. As long as you’re experimenting, you’re on the ‘reality’ side of the experience. Then, within the experiment, there is potential for actual fantasy fulfillment. One vital key to happiness in this kind of endeavor is being open-minded and flexible. Another vital key is expressing your desire verbally. To do so is to go directly past the notion that it cannot happen, and to embrace the potential that it can. In matters of an erotic or amorous nature, most people need leadership, and you’re in a position to express just that. Be gentle, be clear, and listen just a little more than you speak — and some beautiful adventures are on the horizon.

Leave a Comment