Skunk Medicine and the Cap Full Moon

Baby king snake in a plastic Circle K beverage cup, Sedona, AZ. Photo by Eric Francis.

Dear Friend and Reader:

Today marks the official end to my sabbatical. Thank you for a month off from weekly horoscopes, clients and those long essays. This was my first break from the weekly horoscope in five years, and I am happy to be back, with a new perspective on things.

Thank you to the Planet Waves editorial team for stepping up to the challenge, getting organized and putting out a series of excellent editions. Thank you to one reader in particular whose generosity made it possible for me to take this breather, and thank you to a close friend in Sedona for her company, sanctuary and some wildlife adventures. The snake above is a baby king snake that got into the house right around my last night there. We didn’t know what it was; it looks a lot like a coral snake, which can be deadly even as a baby. Just a few days after the black widow spider adventure, we captured this guy and got him to a safe place outside.

While I was off, I was able to free up enough energy to put some work into healing a shoulder injury that occurred late last year, which was my main inspiration for needing a change of pace. Injuries, as we all find out sooner or later, are a “healing journey” or just a serious trip — this one has taken me to a number of different practitioners, from osteopathy to Rolfing and a lot of massage therapy. In the process, I’ve learned a bit about my scapula and a lot about how important shoulders are.

With some extra time to think and dream, I started work on a new thread of environmental writing that I’ll be unveiling in a few weeks, once Mercury is nice and direct. The last week of my sabbat or sabbatical I spent in New Paltz, working with students and community members on those dioxin-contaminated dorms I keep telling you about. Astonishing as it is, it would seem that, with considerable help from the local community, I have been able to get some movement in the New York State Department of Health on at least considering re-testing the dorms.

On Friday, a meeting occurred at the SUNY New Paltz campus with twenty people present, which I did not attend: student leaders, members of the Ulster County Legislature, the Ulster County commissioner of health and his former assistant, several people from the state DOH, and many administrators from the campus.

There is still substantial resistance; most of these people steadfastly refuse to do proper safety testing. But I’ve been getting some coaching from a guy named Ward Stone, who is the New York State Wildlife Pathologist. Ward assisted me in 1993 and 1994 taking samples and proving that the vents in Gage Hall were in fact contaminated.

Eric with baby skunk at the New York State Wildlife Resources Center in Delmar, NY.

I spent much of the day Monday with Ward at his lab near Albany figuring out what to do, and I’ll have more to say later in the summer as this story develops. I made some new friends while I was there, in the form of three orphaned baby skunks that were brought in by one of Ward’s friends.

I am one of the world’s great lovers of skunks. (People either get it or they don’t. I don’t think skunks are an acquired taste.) When one of your animal guides shows up physically, that’s what you would call a sign. This was my first intimate meeting with Skunk, a medicine I’ve worked with consciously since around 1997. Of course, our animal spirits help us long before we know it.

Skunk is the energy of guidance by scent, and protection by scent. Skunk is the energy of you know you like someone if you like their scent, both psychic and physical. Many animals work this way (you can often find me nose to nose with dogs, sniffing them out) but Skunk is the embodiment. It adds the dimension of avoidance and attraction.

Skunks are given a wide berth; nobody wants to mess with them, unless they completely lack a sense of smell or all intelligence. When you “skunk” someone, you are absolutely real with them; if they still like you, then you’ve got the right person. If they avoid you, the medicine worked to protect you.

They are mellow, they’re not aggressive, they’re intelligent, and they’re excellent scavengers who eat just about anything they can find, but I don’t believe they ever hunt. They have just one predator (besides of course humans), so when you work with Skunk you need to invoke the opposite energy as well, the Great Horned Owl. And I have put the Great Horned in charge of keeping an eye on the Health Department and the SUNY administration for me.

I would like to remind everyone that this is a big astrological weekend. There are two main events: the Capricorn Full Moon and Venus passing through the Saturn-Neptune opposition. I covered this in advance, extensively, two weeks ago in a “special edition” that I felt was necessary — please take a look if you’re still not quite sure what is happening in the planets right now.

This astrology is intense (as in tense, dynamic, and full of surprises), but it’s also interesting. Think of the Saturn-Neptune opposition as the energy of materialism (Saturn in Leo) opposing the energy of spirit, God or humanistic idealism (Neptune in Aquarius) with the Earth in the middle trying to mediate the two. We are now being joined by Venus, the spirit of love, value, and creativity.

The Full Moon on Saturday is close enough to the Aries Point to be a cosmic trigger. It would appear that something will develop, precipitate, change or evolve for us both personally and collectively — pay attention to what. Pay attention in general, and take those careful steps boldly, or those bold steps carefully. Remember that the “news” is not the news — it’s a TV program, just like a soap opera. If you want the truth, you have to go find it for yourself.

Catch you next week.

Many blessings,
Eric Francis

Grandmother land. Photo by Eric Francis.




Weekly Horoscope for Friday, June 29, 2007, #669 – By ERIC FRANCIS

Aries (March 20-April 19)
You seem to understand how vital it is that you push through your resistance, but you may want to give it a name. You may also want to sort out what is bothering you from what was bothering your mother and the women in your family. Problems can be inherited, which is strange, given that there is no logical relationship between a loss that someone suffered fifty years ago and a struggle we’re facing now. This is more likely to be the case if you find yourself putting emphasis on improving your financial situation, but it’s not quite working. The issue only seems to be about money — but it’s really nothing of the kind.

Taurus (April 19-May 20)
You have a lot to offer. You also want a lot, and I would dare say you have many unfulfilled needs. You may be feeling your desire far more intensely than the gifts you have for the people you care about the most deeply. Perhaps ask yourself why one must be at the expense of the other. What is it that you really need, and what is it that you have to offer? Is it even vaguely possible that there’s a shortage of whatever that thing is? You may be feeling a sense of lack or loss on the emotional level, but I suggest you shift the discussion from need or desire to whether you feel safe. I assure you, this is the main issue, indeed, the only one worth bothering with.

Gemini (May 20-June 21)
Mercury retrograde in Cancer is putting you through an intense phase of scrutinizing yourself, and you may be remembering many feelings, events and injuries that you would much sooner forget. You will forget by remembering, recognizing and acknowledging what you went through. You don’t have to go through it again, as long as you’re not keeping secrets from yourself. The deepest hidden treasures will come in the form of feelings and instincts rather than some form of intelligent data. You may also be surprised how far back in the past these memories go.

Cancer (June 21-July 22)
A stunning Full Moon in your opposite sign Capricorn is like a mirror being held up to your soul. Having Capricorn as your relationship house is not easy: your affairs often tend toward responsibility rather than fun, and structure rather than freedom. The Sun and Moon stretching into opposition bring the gift of releasing you from a long period of deadlock in your life, which is to say that you will shift from being jammed into a corner to having a choice in the most sensitive matters of feeling. Yet as much as this is about leaving the past behind, Mercury retrograde in your sign is encouraging you to remember so much that you’ve been through in the past. Remember, so that you have compassion for yourself, and know a good thing when you see one.

Leo (July 22-Aug. 23)
You may not have words for what you are feeling, but there can be no doubt that you’re feeling it. Using astrology, I’ll try to translate into language. You’re finally noticing how your sense of limitation and obsession with personal discipline is bearing gifts. At this point it’s difficult to resolve the two — the sense that you must conserve at every opportunity, and the feeling that you have very nearly everything to share. It’s difficult to find a place of balance or relaxation between two such seemingly different polarities, and the overwhelming sense that you are on a mission at which you must succeed is not putting you in the mood to be frivolous, whether with your words, your feelings or your cash. Frivolous, though, is different than generous.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22)
The less you say, the more clearly you will get your message across. You won’t need to maintain this uncharacteristic silence for long, though while you do, you will be focusing your ideas and choosing the words to precisely convey your feelings. What you may not quite get is just how many people you need to reach, or anyway, want to reach, with one particular idea that is close to the core of who you are in this lifetime. You were much closer to that core as a child, and events of the next few days will bring you right back to that center-point of awareness, honesty and desire. Don’t be fooled by what you perceive as your needs, or for that matter, what you seem to lack. Stick to desire, and you’ll see you can have what you want.

Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23)
Now you can finally feel the foundation beneath your feet. It’s less like a concrete thing that a house sits on and more like a mountain that has thrust itself up from the ground, giving you a most unusual perspective in life. If anything is preventing you from seeing where you fit into the scheme of things, it’s a lack of trust where certain key associations are involved. Yet you recently learned that even your fears are unlikely to come true, and that what you fear the most is unlikely ever to occur. In the coming days, you need to pluck up some courage, open your heart, and trust the people who surround you. It is true they have significant influence in at least one meaningful aspect of your life, but this is a role you are about to take on for yourself.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22)
Mars in your opposite sign Taurus is likely to be confronting you with the illusion of all that is wrong in one particular relationship. What you may not be seeing is how much you have in common with a person close to you. Don’t make the mistake of assuming your hurts are deeper, or that your sadness is somehow more meaningful. If you do this, you will deny yourself the best reward of partnership, which is strength greater than the sum of the parts. Anyway, if you stop worrying, you may notice that a partner or loved one is doing their part, possibly at great personal expense, to help you achieve some of your most cherished goals. When you notice, please express your gratitude, and take the example of generosity.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22)
You may feel like you’re drifting ever further from a breakthrough that seemed all but guaranteed just a couple of months ago. Nothing is guaranteed, yet you can go a long way toward it by claiming what is yours by practicing the faith for which your sign is so renowned. You may at this point be running that faith in reverse, fearing that your darkest assumptions carry some validity. I suggest that if you’re in this space, even a little bit, that you snap out of it. This weekend’s stunning Full Moon will remind you that you are a wealthy person, both spiritually and economically. Yet the more vital information will be how much of that spiritual wealth is still buried in the ground, waiting to be brought up to the surface of your life.

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20)
This week’s Full Moon in your birth sign may signal how far you have to go, but I suggest you take the cue as to how far you have come. It’s true, it feels like you’re rowing your boat upstream with a small paddle, but at least you have the boat, and the oars. In truth, you’ve become accustomed to things being one way for so long, you may not even be able to visualize them any other way. Yet a lot is about to change; mainly, you will notice that the little island you’ve been living on is really an oasis of protection from the world’s many storms. It’s true, you’ve been rained on, but the farm is still standing. Actually, I am understating the case: you’ve done a lot better than this.

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19)
Gradually, maybe imperceptibly to you, you’re getting through to someone; the influence of your life has changed their life irrevocably. They, in turn, have provided the most effective mirror in which you’ve ever looked at yourself and your life, and this has taught you something about how to be more honest, clearer-headed and a few shades humbler in the face of real information. In some ways this relationship seems like a mix of oil and water. Better metaphors would be the meeting of the ocean and the shore; thunderheads and the air that carries them; or any elements that seem to be unlikely companions but which, when combined, shape the world into new constituents.

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20)
You can thank the gods that Pisces is a water sign: when pushed, pulled or struck, you tend to slip through the hands of those who would do so. People have finally figured out that it’s best to float along on you, seemingly moving on the surface, but really being carried by the whole current of your being. Water, too, often works its changes and experiences its progress gradually, usually beyond the ability of people to perceive, even yourself. It’s too soon after the end of one era and the beginning of a new one to size up what you’ve accomplished, what life has taught you, or to fully evaluate the status of your relationships. Hindsight will be your friend and teacher, but remember that the future is before you, awaiting your steps and your choices.

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