On the Horizon: Annular Solar Eclipse in Gemini, Conjunct Mercury Retrograde and Square Neptune

On Jan. 4, 2011, the Hinode satellite captured this image of an annular solar eclipse. Annular is a total eclipse with the Moon reduced in size by its increased distance from Earth. Photo by NASA/Hinode/XRT.

Dear Friend and Reader:

Monday, I was grousing around the issue of Pluto’s demotion in 2006, at which time Neptune was declared the “furthest planet from the Sun.” Apropos of Neptune, this is plainly false: there are known to be 750,000 planets orbiting our Sun, and many thousands of them, relevant to astrology, astronomy and culture, are well beyond the orbit of Neptune.

Neptune is definitely the furthest planet from the Sun, if you ignore all the others beyond it. Making this claim into “scientific truth” was merely a matter of arbitrarily defining a particular type of orbiting body as a planet that was at once politically and financially driven (astronomers, as happens in nearly all professions, engage in power plays, and some sell books).

Yet we were left with a curious state of affairs, where the symbolic (and official) definition of “the edge of reality” (the most distant planet) is concerned. Neptune is not an edge at all; it is a fog. There is no boundary.

A planet associated with delusion, deception, distorted consciousness, denial, drink, drugs, denial, dreams and a few other D words was accepted as the bottom line, by a bunch of scientists. This decision presaged the conduct of scientists and the state of culture for decades to come.

Neptune is mostly water and ice. It is 30 times the Earth-Sun distance (30 AUs) from the Sun. Pluto crosses Neptune’s path and is closer to the Sun for much of its orbit. Read NASA’s factoid page here.

Neptune is Easily Corrupted

Neptune on a good day can represent inspiration and a kind of spirituality, though this is easily corrupted (by anything from alcohol to drugs to phony preachers to advertising, all of which fall under Neptune’s astrological domain). When Neptune is a factor, what is taught is not necessarily what is true, and within Neptune-based philosophies, few people seem to care. (Read full article here.)

An authentic spiritual path, like any other endeavor where much is at stake, must concern itself with what is real — and that means conducting an investigation rather than merely believing what seems wholesome enough. One ‘belief system’ is not like another. Yet today, most people think everything is a matter of opinion. We live in times when it is suitable for people we call scientists to state the outcome of their study before they conduct the research and experiments.

Neptune is best used for the creation of music, impressionist painting, other forms of art based in beauty, appreciating nature, gazing at the ocean, and fantasy for its own sake. That is not what we usually get in the world.

According to astronomy, which is supposedly an empirical science based in mathematics and physics, all those D words are the edge of reality. In a way this is fitting. Within the awareness frame of Neptune, if you think something is true, then it must be. This saves a lot of effort, and is how society is functioning today.

The previously acknowledged furthest planet was Pluto, which in our era is understood to be about driving the growth of the soul. Pluto may be rough going at times, but at least it focuses us on actual necessity, and the bottom line when it comes to our purpose for incarnation. As Martha Lang Wescott said, Pluto transits are difficult, but we miss them when they’re gone.

A discovery in 1992, more distant than Pluto and now called Albion (formerly 1992 QB1) offers an alternate take on the bottom line of growth, one that is more voluntary than Pluto. If Pluto drives the soul by acknowledging death, Albion drives the soul’s journey by engaging sexual truth and chosen transformation.

Eclipse and Mercury Square Neptune

What is your personal commitment to truth? What are you willing to put yourself through to go in that direction? How hard are you willing to work to get to the bottom of anything? What risk are you willing to take to stand up for what you know is right?

This week we experience the first solar eclipse of 2021, and it happens in somewhat grand style. The eclipse is conjunct retrograde Mercury to within one degree — very close — and the eclipse and Mercury are all square Neptune.

This eclipse is about our relationship to truth and lies. Mercury retrograde in Gemini would be enough to evoke that theme; square Neptune is triple word score. Add an eclipse to it and we are talking about a balance upon which hangs our path to the future.

The truth is a controversial topic. Today we pretend it does not exist, or rather, that one’s personal truth takes precedence over what is proven by repeated experimentation, or what is subject to such proof. This is a toxic comfort zone.

Only people who lack commitment to their own personal truth could say that there is no such thing as an established empirical fact. This is very much the issue. And it goes further: people who tell ‘small’ lies generally cannot conceive of people telling whoppers. Also, the people who tell ‘small’ lies often do so to avoid confrontation. You cannot expect them to show up when it’s time to challenge a big lie.

The Pointed Message of Radical Honesty

A therapist by the name of Brad Blanton wrote book a while ago called Radical Honesty. As you might expect, the book’s message is pointed, and it makes most people uncomfortable.

“We all lie like hell,” Blanton writes. “It wears us out. It is the major source of all human stress. Lying kills people.”

He adds, “The kind of lying that is most deadly is withholding, or keeping back information from someone we think would be affected by it.”

Another form of lying is making excuses, such as “it will hurt his feelings.” Personally, I would rather be told, “I have a new boyfriend and don’t want to hang out with you” rather than hearing, “I am taking an online class,” “I am so busy with work,” “I’m not getting out much,” and so on — which may be true but which leave out the salient fact of the new boyfriend. And that is suffocating.

Yet this is a real crowd pleaser. It is toxic and it is the way that most people live, thinking it makes them a better person. Excuses both well-crafted and shabby usually get the job done. This saves everyone the trouble of confronting reality, of discussing uncomfortable topics, and being called out on their own lies and excuses.

Protests against the proposed invasion of Iraq in New York City on Feb. 15, 2003. These occurred throughout the world. While the protests did not stop the Iraq war, they seem to have stopped the bombing and invasion of Iran. Photo by Mario Tama.

We Need to Get Angry About Being Lied To

There was a time when people got angry about being lied to. However, I’m having a hard time remembering the last time that was. Let’s see. In 2003, the president and his whole administration were on every news program every night saying that Iraq 1) was responsible for the Sept. 11 attack and 2) was in possession of weapons of mass destruction that it was ready to use on the United States, and therefore, we should invade and bomb them.

That turned out to be a lie, and a lot of people figured it out in advance. There were protests in every major city on Feb. 15 of that year. Millions of people poured into the streets, demanding that the truth be honored.

Back in 1987, we learned that members of the administration had sold weapons to an enemy country (Iran) for use in a war against our ally (Iraq), and had then funneled the profits to a military operation (the Contras) in violation of federal law. People were angry about that and the president personally had to show his contempt (“There is bitter bile in my throat”) even though he knew all along that it was happening. Several members of his administration resigned immediately and others were convicted in criminal trials. Some served jail time.

Back in 1974, the president was forced to resign for lying. By that time he had lied about everything: the Vietnam War, the Watergate break-in and the whole web of intrigue that had turned the U.S. government into his own personal mafia. Many senators in his own political party were concerned that their constituents were angry about all that lying. They told the president they would vote to convict him at the impeachment trial, and he quit.

Nixon leaves the White House for the last time on August 9, 1974. He was forced to quit, ultimately, because he lied to the American people.

Break the Eerie Silence

I am having a hard time coming up with other examples. If you can think of any that resulted in real change, please remind me. Right now, we live in a blizzard of exasperating deception, which creates an eerie and deadly silence where the most important matters of our lives are concerned. It’s time to get pissed off, without remorse or regret. I don’t mean simmering perpetually in rage, or making anger a way of life. I mean feeling your anger, owning it and expressing it — and then doing something about it.

In the public sphere, we are smothered with deception, without remembering the thing about how if someone says something enough times, it becomes true, at least within public consciousness. This deserves some rage directed at it. That rage would make people uncomfortable, and that’s exactly what we need.

We also need to show more actual emotion about being lied to in small ways. However, most people feel too guilty about their own transgressions about truth to call out anyone else. So the first step is experiencing the power of telling the truth, and holding that as your personal standard. This involves doing something that many would find challenging: not believing lies. Every deception has at least two parties: the perpetrator, and the supposed victim who generally refuses to verify the facts.

We often hear people question when everyone else is going to wake up. I don’t now when this will happen, though it will be a good sign when people refused to be deceived. That, however, might make you uncomfortable, whether you’re the one refusing, or if you’re confronted by those who are. If so, count yourself as one blessed.

As Mark Twain said, it’s easier to fool people than to convince them they have been fooled. And if you may be swayed by the facts and you can admit you were wrong, then consider yourself twice blessed.

With love,

Eric signature

Gemini Astrology Studio is ready! Click here to purchase; audio sample below.


The Gemini Sun, Moon and rising reading is now available. This is a 76 minute reading in the Astrology Studio series. You get Eric’s astrological observations and his distinct style of motivational speaking. Includes chart, extended written description of your sign, and access to last year’s reading.

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Hello Aries Sun and rising! Click on your sign to get your 2021 annual reading.

Aries (March 20-April 19) — Have you ever had the experience of starting to feel good, and then you get nervous and feel unstable, like relaxing is inviting a disaster? If you start to get that sensation, now is the perfect time to work with it and see what’s lurking beneath it. There are a few different possibilities, including having inherited a guilt trip from various ancestors. At the root of most such emotional responses is the notion that having fun will land you in hell. You might think that’s ridiculous if you have not had a strict religious upbringing, though this influence finds its way into every cell like the pervasive toxin that it is. In Western culture, this translates approximately to: the only safe fun costs money (buying an indulgence). This is under the general heading of pleasure anxiety. You may experience this, among other places, where emotional experiences meet sexual ones. There is something else as well: your sense of belonging. This relates to family, and intimate relationships. The suggestion from Chiron in your sign is practice feeling accepted for who you are — including and especially your sexual orientation and relationship preferences. This sense of acceptance comes from you, not from others.

Self-assertive, sometimes bold, Aries is always up for an adventure. A new adventure awaits — order your affordable reading by Eric Francis today.

2021-22 Aries Astrology Studio: The Continuing Adventure of Chiron in Aries

Aries Astrology Studio 2021

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Hello Taurus Sun and rising! Click on your sign to get your 2021 annual reading.

Taurus (April 19-May 20) — Your financial situation is better than you think. However, I would still suggest a thorough overview of your spending habits, sources of income, and your assets. There is an element to financial issues that is rarely spoken of, which is getting high on the dramas that the ups, downs and other scenarios bring. What you are seeking is a steady ride, and also growth potential. To create that, you will need to be a student of your own patterns. It is arguable that Taurus is one of the most frugal signs, though you might ask yourself if this works for you, if you take it too far, and if you could do better investing a little more in yourself. The spiritual element of this equation is to work with the seemingly elusive and unknown thing about yourself that you are often chasing. There is perhaps some romance in being a mystery to yourself, but is it really true? Pay attention to your motives, by which I mean what motivates you. Notice what gets you to take action, whether that means speaking, making a decision or spending money. Become familiar with the true meaning of your yes and your no.

Calm, collected and attractive on the outside, raging like a tempest on the inside, Taurus is the blacksmith shop of the soul. Forge your path with this reading.

2021-22 Taurus Astrology Studio: How to Grow, Change, and Become

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Hello Gemini Sun and rising! Click on your sign to get your 2021 annual reading.

Gemini (May 20-June 21) — Your life is surging ahead at an unusual pace. The question is, what direction are you headed? I suggest you resist any temptation to leap in the direction of what seems like forward. You are under the simultaneous influence of an eclipse of the Sun and Mercury retrograde in your sign. Your ideas about your reality will need some time to develop, as certain previously concealed facts come to light over the next two weeks. However, you may also feel the tug of destiny or find yourself with some kind of offer that seems too interesting to turn down. In such a moment you will need to go on pure intuition, because you’re unlikely to have any factual basis on which to ground your decision. Whether you make a move or hold, what is changing is your relationship to the past and the power that history has seemed to hold over you. If you want to thread the needle, you might ask this question: what would it mean to stand in your sexual power? By that I mean, how would it feel if you were to say yes when you wanted to say yes? How would you feel if no other person or their seeming point of view could sway your choices? What if it was all up to you?

Geminis ask a heck of a lot of questions, and much of what you are curious about is yourself. Find some answers in your affordable reading by Eric Francis.

2021-22 Gemini Astrology Studio: Crux of the Mirror

Gemini Astrology Studio is ready! Click here to purchase; audio sample below.


The Gemini Sun, Moon and rising reading is now available. This is a 76 minute reading in the Astrology Studio series. You get Eric’s astrological observations and his distinct style of motivational speaking. Includes chart, extended written description of your sign, and access to last year’s reading.

Hello Cancer Sun and rising! Click on your sign to get your 2021 annual reading.

Cancer (June 21-July 22) — Study what is old. Go through the attic, the basement, the drawers, the old photos and the diaries. Clues will be forthcoming if you do. There are mysteries to be solved in looking through the trash, and surprising clues in antique shops, and dusty salvage stores (places like this, which is more chaotic than the photos make it seem) that are like museums of practical history. Get near that old stuff and handle it; feel it; smell it. Imagine where it’s been and what it meant to those who owned it in the past. Look around both for what is familiar and unfamiliar, and pay attention to your many responses. Though it may seem like an odd thing to propose, this is first-rate spiritual seeking for you, under the influence of the current astrology. The past is bubbling up with its wisdom, its cautions and its messages. You will get a sense of how much has changed, and how little as well. Feel the hopes and dreams of your predecessors, as told in both physical objects and recorded history — ledger books and albums, especially if you did not own them. The eclipse in Gemini is opening up a dimension of universal truth that has much to offer you at this time in your life.

Nurturing, loving, devoted, cuddly, milky and self-centered, Cancer has it all. You can even have instant access to your reading when you purchase today.

Bay of Fundy with the tide rolling in. Arial photo by Eric Francis.

New Readings for Cancer Sun, Moon and Rising

This year the Cancer audio reading is available with a 20-page written reading: the long-awaited An Aquarian Era. This reading takes you well into the future, featuring events involving Saturn, Chiron, Pluto and Eris.

Hello Leo Sun and rising! Click on your sign to get your 2021 annual reading.

Leo (July 22-Aug. 23) — You may choose to assert yourself publicly, which will be one way to find out if you are right or wrong. You can do a real-time experiment, say something you’re unsure of, and then watch what happens. However, I would propose that your current drives and impulses are more driven by curiosity than the need to prove something. If you stick with that drive to know and understand, you will have more fun, and not take any risks before you’re ready to do so. You are onto something real, though that this is happening during Mercury retrograde and in the presence of an eclipse tells you one thing: there is plenty that is cloaked, veiled and waiting to emerge. Therefore, the less you commit to before that happens, the better off you will be. It is almost always productive to put your energy into wanting to know more. The good thing here is that you don’t need to push, to dig, or to argue. You are personally a kind of probe into reality and all you need to do is pay attention to what your senses and your body are telling you. Take it slowly. A door is opening now, and rather than closing, it will continue to swing wider and allow in as much information as you don’t resist or judge.

Leo is THE sign of human vitality and in many respects the source of strength, light and creation. Tap into that radiant force. Get your reading by Eric Francis.

2020-21 Leo Astrology Studio: Notes on Love and Courage

Hello Virgo Sun and rising! Click on your sign to get your 2021 annual reading.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22) — You seem to have big professional plans, though now is probably not the time to act. You may feel under pressure to do so, and that should be especially encouraging of interposing a little delay in taking action. What you will benefit from doing is noticing your options and your choices, in one particular variety. Virgo is famous for pursuing two or more career paths at once. They can sometimes seem to have nothing whatsoever to do with one another. People under this influence will assure you there is no relationship between the two things they are good at and invest their lives in. However, the thing to look for are the opportunities and the openings where you can express all of your talents and all of your assets. You want to be in the place where you can be your whole self, and practice your primary spiritual exercise in this lifetime: personal integration. Mercury retrograde is encouraging you to see your abilities, talents, assets, and management skills in a whole different way. An eclipse in this same angle of your chart is saying, look for the potential that you have never seen before.

As a Virgo, it’s your role to make the world a better place: to offer, if not solace, then solutions. Find both for yourself when you purchase your reading.

2020-21 Virgo Astrology Studio: I touch the Earth. The Earth touches me.

Hello Libra Sun and rising! Click on your sign to get your 2021 annual reading.

Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23) — People are limited by their beliefs. That is to say, most of the time, we do not experience things that we do not previously deem possible. Occasionally this happens. You might call it a miracle, or it might be a true learning experience of expanding your potential through direct and unexpected experience. Yet generally, belief is the thing that stands between you and all the potential in the universe. This week, practice identifying beliefs that you want to change. Notice the limits you place on yourself, particularly in two areas: your language, and what you see as your options. Revise your choice of words to facilitate greater possibilities. Replace “impossible” with “unusual” as a small step. Substitute “rarely” or “occasionally” for “never.” This may seem like magical thinking, though what it’s doing is working with the quality of thought that sets limits on your experiences, by indirectly controlling your beliefs. This week’s solar eclipse in Gemini comes with the expressed message of why you will benefit from opening your mind, which implies noticing where you are stuck. This is good practice. Set some new habits now, and they will stick.

Aleister Crowley said that the essence of the sign Libra is the drive for justice. Tap into your essence with this reading, and bring balance to your world.

2020-21 Libra Astrology Studio: Notes to Myself

Hello Scorpio Sun and rising! Click on your sign to get your 2021 annual reading.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22) — If you have ever felt destined to accomplish great things, take that out for a ride this week. You are in a excellent place to exceed any previous potential, or idea about what might have limited you. However, there is a catch, which is you must take the bold step of seeing your destiny as being separate from that of anyone else with whom you are intimately connected. This does not mean the relationship will not last into the future. But it cannot be a contractual arrangement to limit yourself. Over and over again in the course of doing astrological counseling with clients around the world, I have seen this play out: relationships acting as contractual agreements to not grow. There are many seeming motives for this state of affairs, and they include wanting to avoid jealousy, and change seeming to threaten to the status quo of the relationship. Sometimes one person is not “allowed” to exceed the self-worth of the other. Step away from any such arrangements, beliefs, or ideas. Cease to identify with those who practice self-limiting beliefs, and stand at your full stature.

Scorpio is an odd hybrid, both a product — and an instigator — of evolution. Purchase your latest reading to delve deeper into the mystery of yourself.

2020-21 Scorpio Astrology Studio: The Scorpio File

Hello Sagittarius Sun and rising! Click on your sign to get your 2021 annual reading.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22) — It is time to come to terms with the reality of a relationship situation. This includes figuring out how you got to the place you are right now. In truth, it’s not so bad. There is still plenty of potential to the relationship, if you are willing to let go of your notions of what form it should take, or should have taken. Has it occurred to you that your expectations and projections onto the situation are getting you less than you deserve, need or desire? Has it occurred to you that there is something greater that you can allow to happen by not placing so much emphasis on your position? The past five or six weeks have arrived with many emotional highs, lows, twists and turns. Some days you seem to have everything and other days you seem to be losing everything. Neither of these is true, though it will help if you step back from the drama and start with the specific ways you know you are safe and held gently by the universe. If you want something better, it will help if you want that thing for yourself, not for yourself and someone else. Yet once you are there, where you are is yours to share.

Sagittarius, yours is the sign of the quest, the far away and far-out. Purchase your reading today and continue your adventure with the stars as your guide.

2020-21 Sagittarius Astrology Studio: Live from the Galactic Center

Hello Capricorn Sun and rising! Click on your sign to get your 2021 annual reading.

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20) — You need a whole new concept of “health” and of “wellness.” You now have the occasion to think that through, and to enact decisions you made long ago that you put off for some other time. That time has arrived, and you are in an excellent place to enact your values and your choices in real and meaningful ways. You may feel like you’re under some pressure to do so, and if so, this is coming from a deep place. You are trying to resolve a situation where your values do not seem to reconcile. You can live like that for a while, though it’s like standing at the branching of the road and trying to decide which path to take. You can stay there for a while, but not forever. It may be easier to take the path that seems familiar, though I suspect you know that the unfamiliar and more challenging route is the one you need to take. In all ways, the time has come to point yourself to the future, though first you must find yourself in the present and account for exactly where you are. How you got here matters less. Knowing your location in time, space and personal history is essential.

We depend upon Capricorn to hold things stable. But you’re not as boring as you like people to think you are. Unearth your inner revolutionary with this reading.

2021 Capricorn Astrology Studio: One Night Only Kala Sarpa Yoga

Hello Aquarius Sun and rising! Click on your sign to get your 2021 annual reading.

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) — You are in possession of considerable creative potential. The thing about tapping into it, or activating it, or expressing it, is that you can release hidden karma. For example, you finally get around to beginning a long-planned project and suddenly an obstacle arises, even several of them. And then you get distracted and have to address those situations first. Too often, the solution is to avoid doing anything that is too much fun, or which seems too free or creative. Though this connection is unproven by empirical science and rarely — if ever — written about, I suggest you work with this property if you happen to experience it in the coming week or two. You are opening a door to your manifesting power, and soon after, you may meet some resistance, an obstacle or interference. It’s crucial that you not take this personally, and allow yourself a measure of uncertainty about where it’s coming from. Sincerely attempt that much, even as a token gesture, as a test of your powers of observation and guiding your belief. You will find more influence over the flow of not just your art, your music, or your writing, but also your life.

You’re not after progress for its own sake; Aquarius is the discriminating embracer of innovation that works. Get your reading and be brilliant.

2021-22 Aquarius Astrology Studio: A Reading For Our Moment

Hello Pisces Sun and rising! Click on your sign to get your 2021 annual reading.

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) — Find reasons to appreciate where you are, both geographically and domestically, because you’re likely to be here for a while longer. If you cannot go far, take the opportunity to go deep: to see your home and your surroundings as a new place, no matter how familiar they may be. This is a poetic exercise and a pragmatic one: surprises and discoveries await you, close to where you are. I would repeat my suggestion to get a handle on your living space, in terms of cleaning, organizing and discarding or passing forward what you do not need. You might try doing some reorientation of your home: change the purpose of a room, rearrange the furnishings, move your desk to another location — anything to shake up the energy and see things from a new point of view. Pay special attention to the kitchen and bathroom, and other places that make your space distinctly personal. There will be some magic in doing this: an energy effect associated with the breaking of stuck patterns. You need this, and will benefit from it. Keep things moving. The past year has been a drag. Cut the cords and tethers.

The hidden realm is vitally important to Pisces: in a sense it is your home. Find your way back home, guided by your latest reading.

2021-22 Pisces Astrology Studio: Every Decision You Make

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