Dear Friend and Reader:
The long-anticipated winter solstice of 2012 is now just weeks away. I may be one of the few people who has been considering the 2012 issue for 25 years who did not make a religion out of this event, which marks the end of the 13th baktun of the Mayan long count. I have a prediction for you: the world will not end.
I was first introduced to the 2012 idea when I was living in a spiritual community in 1986, in my first year as a professional news reporter. My year in the community — Miracle Manor in Piscataway, N.J. — ran from Sept. 1, 1986 through Aug. 31, 1987. That August was the Harmonic Convergence, a global event orchestrated by Jose Arguelles, author of The Mayan Factor.
Twenty-twelve is coming, he said, and we better get ready. By ready, I think he meant centered, focused and connected with others around the world who are setting their intensions on peace and healing.
Arguelles did not come up with all of this himself. Credit to introducing Dec. 21, 2012 into public consciousness goes to the brother act of Dennis and Terence McKenna in their 1974 book The Invisible Landscape. Yet it was Arguelles who, with some collaborators, took tangible, worldly action and helped us establish an anchor at one end of what some came to know as the 25-year span, from the Convergence to winter solstice 2012.
We are now on the exit ramp from that span, completing a cycle that has stretched on for 5,125 years, or more than 1.89 million days. It will deposit us right on the winter solstice of a year that included one of the Mayans’ favorite things ever, a transit of Venus (that was the big news back in June). There was also a transit of Venus in 2004 (the first of the pair). Whatever the implications of 2012 for you, there is another connection or turning point to be found in 2004, particularly June of that year.
The Mayans calculated this and plenty else besides without the benefit of the U.S. Naval Observatory’s ephemeris or the Cornell supercomputer. They were amazing at math and astronomy, and worked with numerous calendars simultaneously. They also dealt with a lot of the same problems we now face — climate change, war and political strife. In all likelihood they were not transported back to the Pleiades aboard the Mothership. It is probable that their civilizations were scattered and they became refugees, long before the arrival of Magellan.
From the beginning of my astrology studies, I cast the chart for the 2012 winter solstice over and over, and I could find little that was distinctive about that particular day. It’s true that every day is different and has something special; this chart does not especially stand out.
However the era we are now in was daunting to consider. Many outer planets would be changing signs in the years leading up to it (they have all done so — including Saturn, Chiron, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto). In the last years before 2012, there have been many planets discovered orbiting our Sun. Many interesting stories are being told in the sky in these years, and these very days.
Yet no matter how carefully I looked and how many new planets I brought into the chart, I could find no special ‘winter solstice alignment’. When the Sun sets that night, there will not be an eclipse or a string of planets glowing in the sky, harkening the New Age. The Sun will make no special alignment to the Galactic Center. I could not find one of those theories that checked out against the actual astronomy that was supposedly involved.
The one thing I kept noticing involved an asteroid called Juno, which was discovered in 1804. When the Sun arrives in Capricorn on Dec. 21, there will be a little planet waiting for it on the solstice point, one that most astrologers associate with marriage and jealousy. Juno, the third asteroid discovered, was named for the Roman equivalent of the goddess Hera, wife of Zeus and the queen of heaven. She was notoriously jealous and thought nothing of spreading all the emotional grief, despotism and clever revenge she could dish out.
“Well, her husband had a lot of affairs,” her apologists always say, as if that’s vindication for all the agony she wrought. Here is evidence that jealousy is rarely perceived to be the issue of the jealous person. It’s usually blamed on the person who is ‘making’ them jealous. The thing is, planets when used in astrology can develop themes that go beyond a literal reading of the mythology of the name.
Juno in a natal chart also describes potential marriage partners and tendencies around marriage, particularly the first one. A Sun-Juno conjunction in Capricorn looks like it’s describing the ‘institution of marriage’, since Capricorn addresses all things corporate in nature. This would include the institutionalization of relationships: their tendency to be rigid, to follow old rules and traditions, and to be excessively materialized (all properties of Capricorn).
Yet does this aspect cut it as the ‘2012 alignment’? The thing is, that’s what’s in the chart. Not only is it in the chart, it’s right at the winter solstice point, the focus of this whole business we have been describing as the [Northern Hemisphere] winter solstice of 2012. Even speaking as a minor planet specialist, I kept looking at the chart, seeing that Sun-Juno conjunction, and thinking, well, that can’t really be important enough to be the 2012 alignment.
It was one of those weird astrological games of hide and seek. I would look at the chart, see the Sun aligned with Juno, and then keep looking for something that seemed to be more important. Then I would come back to Sun-Juno and wonder what it was about.
It wasn’t till weeks before the event itself that I actually questioned whether that really is the central message of this momentous time in world history — something about marriage, or at least something about Juno.
Well, as it turns out, relationships are one of the most significant issues of our moment of history. Marriage remains a central goal of many people, as well as one of the biggest sources of profit for lawyers. Marriage itself is at a historic turning point. Same-sex couples can now marry in many places, even in the puritanical United States. This is an evolution not just in the history of our particular culture but also since the time of the Old Testament, when a man lying down with a man meant that he had to be stoned (now in Colorado and Washington, he can be).
Ideas about new relationship models are starting to percolate into our various communities, and have been covered by nearly every major print or Internet media outlet. Anyone who looks can find good information. Some people are starting to get the news that they have options. Others are starting to figure it out. Some figured it out a long time ago. This is still almost always ‘controversial’, though the seeds of progress have been planted.
Here in the U.S., we’ve finally backed off of the Defense of Marriage Act, a ridiculous concept. The whole issue is about to get to the Supreme Court. Europe is already on board with this; we are at a significant turning point in world history where the fact of relationship diversity is being admitted.
One thing about the first degree of Capricorn — the winter solstice point — is that it relates to all of the other cardinal points, one of which is the first degree of Aries. The whole cardinal cross resonates with the Aries Point, which has the theme ‘the personal is political’.
Fifty or one hundred or five hundred years ago, who would have predicted that marriage and personal relationships would be one of the most contentious issues at this time in history? Who would have imagined that we who live in the capital of the free would be fighting for the right to have a relationship with the person we love, or trying to explain the obvious?
Yet we’re not talking about Juno by herself here; the Sun is in the picture, and it is the Sun’s movement that completes the 5,125-year cycle. In astrology, the Sun is one of the most vivid symbols for self. A Sun-Juno conjunction so prominent in the chart can be read as a kind of alchemical union with oneself.
This is the thing that our relationship-obsessed culture so often overlooks: that a relationship to oneself is the basis of all of the bonds and associations we form with others. It seems like just about all the time, every other relationship topic gets the attention, the books and the courses. There is still significant misgiving about the topic of self-relating. At least in the U.S., we have a taboo on the topic, concerned that it will be conflated with vanity, narcissism or being egotistical.
A great many relationships are about a narcissistic infatuation with ‘the other’ rather than recognition of the other. It’s possible to fall in love with oneself through another. It’s possible to fall in love with love. None of these options help us get our basic needs for contact met; they dry up quickly. And there is still what seems like a vast, orchestrated game to avoid intimacy and vulnerability.
This is one reason why our relationships are in such crisis. There are many other drains on intimacy, including the time shortage and an attention deficit, but if yourconsciousness is not centered in yourself as self-awareness, and if you are unable to recognize the value of someone you care about, that does not bode well for clear relating.
So to me, Sun + Juno on the Aries Point on this momentous day suggests that we really do need to get right with ourselves before we can be right with anyone else. That, or we need to go into our relationships honestly admitting that we’re also working out an inner relationship, and leave the bond with the other flexible enough to accommodate some self discovery.
Sadly, we are taught to do precisely the opposite in our intimate bonds. In order to preserve a relationship, it’s considered reasonable to subvert one’s own process of growth and change — or that’s what often seems to happen. The relationship is elevated to supreme status, and the life quest of the individuals involved seems to become its disciple.
The 12/21/12 chart — and the current relationship crisis — is suggesting we take the opposite approach. It’s time to ask honestly if our relationship structures, including our concepts of relationship, actually serve our growth. Are they flexible enough to allow the space necessary for the people in them to continue their process of being individuals? Or do the people in highly structured relationships gradually individuate in spite of them?
We seem to do a lot of growing through the process of forming and then cracking bonds with others, rather than creating flexible, sustainable associations that recognize who and what a person is, and allow for that ‘who and what’ to evolve naturally.
In part because I have a dialog with the public on relationship themes, I know that the discussion of evolving our relationship models is controversial. The seat of the controversy seems to be the unwillingness to confront jealousy, a theme deeply connected to Juno. This in turn reflects some deep insecurities that it’s simply not fashionable to confront, nor is it easy without a brave heart and some social support.
One thing that nearly everyone who tries to make their relationship more flexible comes up against is the crisis of what their friends might think. Juno is obsessed with playing a social role, relative to another. This indicates that our tendencies in relationships tend to be driven by a conformist obsession with what we pretend is the only socially acceptable way to relate. Yet another odd delineation of Juno involves the quest for social justice. The relationship issue is one that’s subject to activism and a bit of eduction.
And everyone knows that people will do what they do, regardless of the rules. As we’ve been approaching the end of the Mayan cycle, one of the last big stories in the news was an extramarital love affair by someone considered a great war general. Everyone knows that perhaps half the time, the supposedly monogamous marriage is a kind of public relations position.
In my reading of the 2012 chart, this group of themes emerges as the culminating spiritual quest of our era. It’s time to guide our obsession with relationship toward an actual union within, which is to say, healing the many schisms that we take for granted.
As we commit openly to making peace with ourselves, we can form relationships that nourish and respect this most basic journey of existence. Then as we allow our curiosity to be set free, we can explore the infinite mystery of the other, from a grounded place of loving (which means accepting and appreciating) ourselves.
Here on the eve of the winter solstice of 2012, I envision a world where our relationships are built more of mutual support than of jealousy or competition.
More sympathy and less control.
More appreciation and less guilt.
More devotion and less obligation. More fidelity and less obsession with monogamy.
Where living sincerely takes the place of worshipping at the altar of our insecurities.
A world where we encourage curiosity and set aside expectation. A world where a creative approach to loving is embraced, and where there is less emphasis on ‘doing what we’re supposed to do’.
A world where we see the pain that deception causes, and recognize that only the truth is erotic.
Planet Waves Monthly Horoscope for December | By Eric Francis
Standing in for Weekly Horoscope #927
Sagittarius Birthdays This Week
What you don’t know can hurt you, and what you do know can empower you. This is not the year to have “Ignorance is Bliss” as your personal motto. This is a time in your life when questioning assumptions, particularly about yourself, will advance your growth more than anything. You seem to be standing in a blind spot, particularly when it comes to understanding your own creative power. You may feel like your vital force, or at least your good judgment, is being weakened by something. Please notice if this is true, and don’t take it for granted. Make sure you know what’s going on within your home and with your own family. There is just as much wake-up energy in your charts, though the sequence of events looks like you drift off and are then called to awareness by some inconvenient factor. If you push or even accentuate the awareness part, you will reduce the inconvenience factor. Meanwhile, note if anything has been trying to get your attention over and over. It could range from a physical symptom to something troubling your conscience; from a creative desire to a kind of spiritual mission; it may involve how you relate to your physical space or people in your household. Be mindful of any patterns. The sooner you notice them, the better.
Aries (March 20-April 19) — Being weird is not enough. Having no fear of being perceived as weird is essential. This will help insulate you from any misguided impulse to sacrifice your individuality or conform to what some authority figure wants you to be, and I assure you that the temptation will be there. Yet experiencing the tension between ‘rebellious’ and ‘conformist’ is not enough to guide you, on its own. You must do something subtler, which is trust that your self-guidance is more effective than anything any ‘leader’ could provide. Worship of authority is one of the most common forms of the mommy/daddy drama that adults, by definition, have resolved and put behind them. Getting clear about these things will allow you to step into the bold place of being an actual creative person, rather than an iconoclast. Of course, one persistent icon does need to be taken off of the altar, and that is your self-image. Remember that actual self is stronger, more influential and more beautiful than any mockery of it could be. Therefore, avoid glamour, fashionable trends of belief or doing anything for the sake of appearances. If you can do this, you will guide yourself deeper into the confidence that you are the only leadership you need. To many this will seem like a dangerous place, and it just may be. I suggest you equip yourself with a few more tools. The most important one is honesty, by which I mean the willingness to know yourself, and call something what it is.
Taurus (April 19-May 20) — It’s easy to turn relationships into a religion. It’s also easy to group with others based on a structured belief system. Having the two in the same place is a hazard to your growth. Intimate relationships do not need to be grounded in materialized form, in ideology or in commitments that extend far into the unforeseeable future. If humanity is to proceed in a way that could vaguely be called progressive, enlightened or honoring of human potential, relationships need to be a flexible meeting of individuals who support one another in getting to understand themselves. Please don’t underestimate the extent to which relationships as we’re taught to think of them are designed to undermine that very process. The problem you may face is that stepping into actual individuality is so daunting. The reasons for this go back as far as the first person who declared himself king, and demanded the loyalty of others; they extend into the present day, when most people fully expect to be punished for authenticity. I don’t think that either of these are the real issue. For you, it’s about diving into the unknown, and by that, I mean consciously entering the space within yourself where you actually don’t know who you are, and where nothing can substitute. If you can embrace what you don’t know about yourself, you may catch a glimpse of how much you have to discover, and what beauty the mere willingness to meet yourself would release into the world.
Gemini (May 20-June 21) — Actively cultivate your vision, both for your own life and for the world. Then hold that vision gently, and take a conscious step every day in the direction of expressing it. To do this, it will be necessary to look beyond what you think of as the potential in your current relationships. Whether you think of that potential as limited or extraordinary, whether your relationships are inspiring or distracting, there is something more that you have access to. At times this thing I’m calling a vision feels so subtle you can barely bring yourself to admit that it exists, much less to accept that you can manifest it. Other times you may engage directly in the controversy and sense of difference that seizes the world. And at yet other times you can feel the actual power contained in your vision, including the subtlety and the controversy. They are all part of the same thing. What I am saying, though, is that to bring this in fully, you need to look beyond the parameters of your current relationship involvements, whether personal or professional, friendly or hostile. Those relationships may, at some point, factor into what you do, and they may provide you with suggestions about what you want or don’t want. To attain your potential, you must be willing to take leadership, and for a while, that may mean accepting being misunderstood, or perceived as a threat to the security that others usually enjoy in your presence.
Cancer (June 21-July 22) — The world is your mirror. It is therefore the place to extend any compassion or appreciation that you have discovered on your journey to wholeness. Selflove emerges from your center, though if it’s to be meaningful — indeed, if it exists at all — it will extend beyond you into the gentle embrace of the people around you. One indication that you’re doing this is that you find yourself treating people on equal terms. The usual hierarchies and pecking orders of life give way to the understanding that we are all on the same journey, that we all contribute to one another’s lives, that we all reflect one another. While I am not suggesting that there is absolute equality among all of your relationships, they are a lot less different from one another than you may imagine. And the one thing they all have in common is you. In this way, the compassion that you offer to yourself extends out to others the moment that you feel it — unless you feel threatened and choose to hold back. I suggest you notice if you’re doing that, because when you hold onto defensiveness, attachment, fear or guilt in ‘someone else’, you’re really holding onto it within yourself. They want to be free from their pain, and want to be close to others, just as much as you do. For anyone to feel secure in this world is as meaningful as your own need to. If you think you take risks, consider that others may take even greater risks. If you want the privilege of vulnerability, extend your hand. Take off your glove first.
Leo (July 22-Aug. 23) — Nobody in this world should be excluded from healing, and in the end, nobody is. Yet you may need to balance your desire to include everyone with the understanding that some resist, some go kicking and screaming, and others have another agenda entirely. The most significant theme to focus on is your own healing agenda; if you’ve ever wondered when the perfect time would come to do this, you’re standing right in it, right now. Here are some themes as I see them: how do you handle your need to belong to the world around you? (Some options are: conforming, collaborating, communicating or coveting.) How do you relate to the past? (Some options are: destroy it, reinterpret it, regret it or learn from it.) How do you handle your obsessions? (Some options are: self-control, hyper-focus on your immediate environment, or eating your brain alive with anxiety.) How do you handle your violent tendencies? (Some options are: take them out on yourself, collect weapons, play sports, argue with everyone.) Most significantly, what is your concept of relationship? Does it include or exclude others? Are you basing your conduct on a commitment to freedom, or retreating into jealousy? The implication of your chart is that relationships are the most significant focus of your healing process right now, which will, sooner or later, include providing both an example and a safe space for others. In this regard you are far more influential than you may suspect.
Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22) — If you are hesitating, make sure that it’s not to avoid provoking the insecurities of someone else. There are many reasons to pause, reflect and to use your power judiciously, though one of them is not acting out a childhood fear that someone more powerful than you will be scared by your potential. I have a suggestion. Try on the world from two points of view. In the first, imagine that everyone around you is threatened by your existence. Make no exceptions — imagine that every response or reaction is the result of a threat that someone else feels, and it’s all about you. In the second, imagine that nobody is threatened, that everyone embraces you, and that anyone’s apparent response or reaction to you is all about who they are and has nothing to do with you. Practice this for a little while and the difference will start to become stark. I suggest you develop sensitivity to when you’re trying to compensate for what you think are someone else’s potential reactions to you. Notice when you cut yourself off and therefore don’t give yourself a chance to get anywhere near full expression. Notice when this whole dynamic is influencing your decisions. There is another way to be — though it calls for a mix of self-awareness and bravery. If at any time you feel yourself compromised, add one or better yet both of these ingredients, and see how this shifts things. Note, there is an efficient way to access both in one gesture: curiosity.
Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23) — Are you feeling confident, or afraid that the ground is going to drop out beneath you? Is it time to embrace the people in your life, or are you making more excuses to keep them at arm’s length? What you’re going through is certainly deep, and it’s stirring up some old questions, some fear and many of your old reasons to keep people at a distance. That said, I don’t think there is a time when we’re actually ‘ready’ to be close to others. Rather, I would say there may be a time when we understand that everyone is a work in progress. Part of that progress is the willingness to accept your insecurities, not as a permanent part of who you are but rather something you experience. To accept your insecurities implies revealing them in intimate situations, which in turn implies giving people power over you. Here’s the problem with this point of view: if you see your life as a power dynamic, you’re living in the world of politics rather than human emotions. Part of your Libra karma is to understand what one professor at my university called ‘the politics of love’, which includes the politics of your early-childhood environment. That may have been a rigid world, based more on expectations than on compassion. You have the awareness and determination to see the implications of the past on your life today, and to work them out. I would ask: what’s that inside your velvet glove? Is it an iron fist, or a warm, loving hand?
Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22) — The time has arrived to distinguish you from your ideas about yourself. You may not be the first kid on the block to succeed at this, so don’t expect a keg party in your honor. Yet what is likely to happen is that by experiencing yourself differently, you will see the world differently. This is most of the issue, right? The willingness to see, to envision and to experience the world as different (particularly, as different from the one that our parents imposed on us)? Yet to embark on this requires consciously embracing instability, uncertainty and the unknown — not the flavors of the month these days. Both your ‘ideas about yourself’ and ‘yourself’ are powerful concepts, though they are different kinds of concepts and need to be distinguished from one another. For some, this is about sorting out the appearance of something from the underlying reality — the press release from the contentious meeting where it was written, and where much else was said. For others, this is about distinguishing where you are now from where you want to be in the future. And for others, this is a question about how the past weighs on you, and may drag you back to a time and place that no longer exists. All of this would be much easier, were you willing to take the risk of rejection. That implies having little to no influence on what people think of you. Then, you could be honest with yourself, and proceed on that basis alone.
Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22) — If there is nothing holding you back, then what is holding you back? At this point, it’s likely to be the feeling that you’re not on solid or stable ground with yourself. So I would ask, can you get accustomed to the fact that the Earth is moving? Can you accept that as a fundamental truth of existence? (The Earth really is moving beneath you, literally and metaphorically.) Many factors in your astrology suggest that there is no certainty, and that nobody can hand it to you. Yet this also means that you are standing in a rare, and beautiful, opportunity to embrace the potential contained in an actual review of what you think, what you feel and what you value the most. In other words, questions are more valuable than answers, in part because they lead you to an open-ended place. If your phase of questioning is to end before you embark on your experiment, that’s a little like buying a set of paints, putting them in the closet and waiting for them to dry out before you make a painting. The uncertainty you feel is an experience of your potential — as is any self-doubt, or anger at yourself, at your past, or for that matter anger at your parents. You seem to be pulled between the desire for total, radical independence at the same time you’re aware that every aspect of your life contains subtle or overt interdependencies with the rest of existence. This is less of a paradox than it seems.
Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20) — “Become the change you want to see in the world” may be getting old as a slogan, but not as the thing to do. The 2012 phenomenon — day 220.127.116.11.0 of the Mayan calendar (marking the completion of a 5,125-year cycle of time) — happens when the Sun ingresses your birth sign in December. What is the message, to you personally? It’s a resounding cry for social justice, which can only be answered in the embodiment of leadership by example. It’s the only kind that works, whether intentional or not, and whether the example is of corruption, truth or love. Therefore, be conscious of the example you provide. Be conscious of the alignment of your words and of your actions. What you say, what you do and who you are has an impact on the world. You may not feel that way, yet. One thing that will help you notice your influence is to pause in trying to live up to what you think others would have you be. You do not need to be anything but who you are. In our particular world, the fact that this may not be acceptable to some people is evidence that you’re doing what is right, and popularity may be a sign that you’re wasting your time. Express your passion for justice by being just. Include people rather than exclude them. Make nobody conform to your point of view. Offer your empathy and consciously, vocally refrain from trying to control anyone — especially yourself.
Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) — I would suggest you take a less somber and more celebratory approach to life, to sex and to work. Remember — you’re not in this alone. That would be your worst fear, and thankfully it’s not vaguely possible. Yet something equally daunting is. In order to work with, bond with and grow with others, you must be willing to do these things with yourself. At first, deep self-embrace can feel like reaching for someone’s hand in the darkness. Yet imagine this hand in the darkness is grasping for you, though you cannot see where it is, or be sure that it’s there. It’s far easier to reach for someone else, but less meaningful until you’ve embraced your fear not of being alone but rather that you might not show up for yourself. The nice thing is that unlike in an interpersonal relationship, you get to decide what you’re going to do; you have all the influence and you make all of the decisions. When you get to the place where you’re entirely certain that you’re going to meet yourself, and know that you will never abandon yourself, that gives you a lot more freedom in everything you do, particularly in your relationships with others. The world has this one backwards, as the usual logic runs, “I will show up for myself when someone shows up for me.” By now you’ve seen the futility of this — and you’ve tasted the essence of nourishing yourself, which is your prerogative every moment of this life and beyond.
Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) — You have come a long way to get where you are. It’s taken you a long time and impeccable patience, and for years you’ve sorted through your mind with the approximate feeling of sifting through a box of pottery shards. You are finally starting to get a sense of your wholeness — and the strength that this offers you. One gift of wholeness is the benefit of being able to see the world from many points of view. Your psychic mobility is your best asset, and it’s in full bloom right now. Don’t worry if those who lodge themselves in one point of view find this disorienting. In this moment of history, nobody can really afford to be rigid, or convinced of their rightness. And you cannot afford to have the idea that there is no truth, or that the truth can never be known. As you shift from viewpoint to viewpoint, observe the world and notice what changes, and what the different perspectives have in common. After a while, I think you will start to see the obvious, and then you will be able to express it in a way that entices others to embark on their own healing process as a matter of free will. Any fool can spot differences; it takes a perceptive person to notice common ground. You may wonder, however, why others don’t see it. The answer is because they have not looked. In truth there is so little we don’t know — about our problems, or about our solutions.