Stranger than Fiction…
The only thing currently in the neighborhood that could be stranger than fiction is an eclipse of the Moon in Scorpio. For those who may still be wondering, the past two editions have been fiction essays that were based on my April Fool’s parody, “An Open Letter to the Space Brothers.” I got some interesting comments on that article, which was essentially a satire on my own essays. Because Planet Waves may be about “any subject in the entire universe” (see our TOS document), I’ll be experimenting with other fiction formats here and there, though making sure you get your dose of astrology in the subscriber blog, the horoscope, and elsewhere. And fiction as I see it will sometimes have a lot of astrology mixed in.
As for that eclipse.
For those of us in the UK, the States and Europe, we won’t be able to see this one — only feel it. Though if my estimation is correct, it should be visible through Australia and New Zealand i.e., where it’s dark) if skies are clear. Remember, you can always see a lunar eclipse if it’s dark where you are at the time of the event, and if you can actually see the Moon. Unlike a solar eclipse, there is no ‘path of totality’ that limits the visibility areas when the Moon dims out. Eclipses of the Moon are a lot more populist in nature, and that may tell us something about them. They are like general eclipses, where as eclipses of the Sun are more precise, local or specific in their effects.
The effect of an eclipse is always to define an era of our lives. Their effect of shifting or altering continuity is legendary. They are turning points; places where the road bends, but this is based on some kind of natural geographic feature in the landscape of time. The more conscious we are about this, the better we can use them. They are also gathering points. Eclipses gather both people and energy. And in a most interesting way, they magnify it as well. My very cool astrology teacher and good friend Dave Roell would always tell me to do what I really like the day of an eclipse, because I’ll be doing more of it. Needless to say, I spent quite a few eclipses in recent years writing horoscope columns.
This particular event, positioned in early Scorpio, is the culmination of a long sequence of turbulent, super-heated astrology that has focused on the sign Aries and the Aries Point. The Aries Point is the first degree of Aries and is the place where what we call “the zodiac” (the Western zodiac, that is) is reckoned against the backdrop of the stars. It is a point where the personal is political, where our private lives intersect with the public life, and where many people are involved. Events of the past month have illustrated this beautifully.
To re-cap briefly, Mercury turned retrograde in mid-Aries the day of the Aries equinox. Mercury had already been in Aries for a while, stirring up mischief. While Mercury was blowing past the Earth (that’s what the retrograde is), Venus and the Sun made what is called their ‘exterior conjunction’ in Aries. As Venus, Mercury, the Sun and the Earth aligned, we saw another massive earthquake in Sumatra. A little while later, we had an unusual kind of solar eclipse, called a hybrid (part total, part annular), which was associated with the death and burial of Pope John Paul II, the political fiasco surrounding Terri Schiavo down in Florida, as well as the deaths of a variety of prominent individuals. Among them was Prince Rainier of Monaco, the second smallest nation in the world. Given that the Vatican is the smallest nation in the world, it’s an interesting coincidence that these two heads of state died within days of one another.
Two prominent writers also died. Saul Bellow we’ve probably heard about. Then there was Andrea Dworkin. Students of feminism and gender issues no doubt know of Dworkin, who was feared, revered, despised, admired and debated hotly on all sides of the political fence. She was the crusading anti-prostitution, anti-pornography and, say many, misandrist (opposite of misogynist) writer and speaker. Dworkin had a prominent placement of the Great Attractor (a point at 14 degrees and two arc minutes of Sagittarius), a position that Philip Sedgwick has noted tends to make people both very popular and very unpopular, and to give them far-reaching impact. She died at age 59 on April 10.
Eclipses bring people together. It is unfortunate that in this world, at this time, we tend to be brought together more by death and strife than by life and love. A look at what ‘makes news’ will make this clear. We gather around disasters in massive numbers; we say they make us feel like one. There are exceptions. But not so many. Things make news because they get our attention. Yes, we are trained — but we do follow along.
Sunday’s eclipse of the Moon is in the sign associated with death and sex, which is Scorpio. The Scorpio-death association is somewhat overdone and misunderstood. But it’s worth exploring a little. Scorpio is less about death, kaput style, than it is about the kind of transition that caterpillars go through when they become butterflies. One form dies and another form is born. (The Onion, on this theme, this week has Pope John Paul II turning into a big butterfly and flying away from the Vatican.) So that’s why people say Scorpio is the sign of ‘death and transformation’.
In a similar way, our erotic encounters do this to us as well. They tend to be points of no return. They compel us to change. They also tend to be associated with reproduction, another point of no return. While this reproduction is usually optional in the Western world, it’s also usually the result of some degree of unconsciousness, tuning out our feelings, and not seeing the power dynamics and choices that shape our lives. They are not always pleasant to look at, but looking GIVES us power in our relationship with seeming destiny.
I see a few themes with this eclipse, which I’ve been developing in various horoscopes and birthday reports. One is that it’s about adjusting commitments. We need to be mindful of our commitments and do our best to live them consciously. Most of the time, we are busy keeping promises we don’t even know we made. Or promises we don’t think we can get out of. Let’s put a little Mercury in Aries to work and talk to the people in our lives about what we need, or take some of that initiative, talk to ourselves, and make a decision.
Second, we have some reconciling with our own emotions to do. Many people associate emotions with drowning. I suggest we design ourselves a boat and, instead of diving fully clothed into the waters of Scorpio all the time, have a little something that separates us from direct contact with the water if we need it. The water is always there if we want to go in. The scuba gear is always available. The rest of the time, it’s manly and womanly enough to navigate on the surface.
Speaking of manly and womanly, most of the time human beings simply do not address the issue of their own sexuality. It is often beyond astonishing to me how little people know about what makes their erotic click tick, and even more strange how little many actually care. It’s good to care. You will evolve as a person, as a “spiritual entity” (call it as you wish), as a relationship partner, as an artist — whatever — if you understand your sexuality, and that often means going into unfamiliar territory. It means working a frontier of honesty where desire is concerned; and often, there is a need to address things that happened in the past — various traumas, the pain our parents passed along, and so on. And most important, there is the need to stop making pleasure sinful; and to identify and resolve something known as pleasure anxiety. An eclipse is going to push you to do a little of this whether you’re aware of it or not. I am, however, getting the feeling that quite a few people are more than ready to take this leap:that we are just tired of saying no to ourselves, and letting the doctrines of the Holy Roman Empire run our biology and emotions.
Last, an eclipse in Scorpio will always take us a little closer to the idea, the feeling, and the reality of death than we are accustomed to going. Part of why we are confronted with so much imagery of death in the Western world is we work so hard to deny it. The same, by the way, is true of our confrontations with the imagery of sex. There is a relationship.
A few years ago late one night in Seattle, I picked up a book called Sex and the Origins of Death. I am sure it’s still available. It was written by an immunologist. The book explained in clear scientific terms that at a certain point in evolutionary history, our current life form made the choice to give up physical immortality and opt for sexual reproduction. There are lots of ways to reproduce without sex (we are able to clone plants and animals, for example, and this process can happen naturally under some conditions). And physical immortality is an option in the evolutionary smorgas board. However, we in the animal kingdom wound up with sex as our procreation method. This, in turn, enabled a reshuffling of the genetic deck each time an individual of the species reproduces, which is what happens when a new baby is made. And to do this, we had to take a route that necessitated physical death.
I don’t understand the science, exactly, but I do see the message. When we students of the occult say that Scorpio is about sex, death and transformation, this is what I think we’re getting at. If you want an interesting illustration of this process, take a look at the Crowley Tarot and see Trump XIII. The story of this evolutionary process is told in one illustration that was designed in the 1940s, long before scientists had a clue. You can find this card online somewhere, or in your Tarot drawer.
Sunday’s eclipse of the Moon can, if we are willing to follow, take us deep into these mysteries, both on the psychic level and in the physical realm. From there, we can give up something about ourselves, we can find out something about the meaning of our worldly existence, and we can move in new directions that may feel a little like shuffling the psychic-genetic deck. There is the message that change is inevitable, so we might as well work with it.
Or it may feel like accepting that in the course of our physical lives, the ability to be aware of, to seek out, and to join with one another sexually is the closest thing we come to physical immortality. And that starts as an INNER process of awareness, discovery and the sorting out of truth from lies that can truly be called healing. if we’re in tune with our bodies, all our instincts will lead us in this direction.
Planet Waves by Eric Francis
April 22, 2005 – Weekly Horoscope 555
Happy Birthday Taurus
Sunday’s eclipse of the Moon falls in your 7th solar house, suggesting that a relationship is being transformed, recreated or reborn — or that it will go away entirely. The choice may or may not be yours. Certainly, many processes are in motion, and if you look, you will see that you have far more choice in most matters than you may be willing to admit. That, perhaps, is the whole message.
What is your property entirely is the way you choose to relate to the experience of relating. And whatever happens with other people in your life, or with a certain other person; whatever way that particular relationship goes; what is brewing in the cauldron is how you relate to others. How also includes a lot about why. You are in a time when it should be beautifully transparent just what your motives in relationship really are.
Consider that the Moon is exalted in Taurus. The symbol for Taurus is a circle with the crescent Moon over it. So the Moon is your symbol, and in a sense, the representative of your physical and emotional body. Now place this idea in your opposite sign, Scorpio — the sign where anything and everything transforms; where nothing stays the same for long.
The often Moon represents the past. It can represent the leftover emotions, needs and desires of childhood; it can represent patterns of our old relationships with caregivers. And it can say a lot about how we take these patterns into our adult lives and need others to fulfill them. With the Moon going out in your opposite sign, it’s as if your relationships, and more to the point, your tendencies of relationship, are being purged of the past patters that held you back to times and places that are long gone. And at that point, your psyche is like a new sheet of photographic paper, ready to be imprinted with a new pattern, image or form.
In psychological language, the message is clear: the time has come to relate to people like you’re an adult. Imagine that the Moon going out is like a veil being lifted. When that happens, what can you see behind it? When you cleanse the mirror of your relationships and look directly into it, who are you, really? Who do you need to be? Who do you want to be? Who do you really want people to be in your life?
Aries (March 20-April 19)
A certain issue of commitment has arisen, and you may have the idea that your freedom is threatened by someone who would mark your every sin in a little black book. I suggest there is another way of looking at this relationship, particularly if you are willing to be absolutely forgiving of any transgression that is happening now or has happened in the past. People have a right to seek their pleasure, and under normal circumstances you would not hesitate to let them have it. If you remember that nobody has to lose in the situation, then nobody will.
Taurus (April 19-May 20)
The Sun’s recent entry into your birth sign should go a long way toward making wishful thinking feel like a dream worth living. The problem is you may still be carrying some disillusionment from a recent situation, perhaps professional or perhaps personal, that looked like it was going exceptionally well — and then suddenly everything seemed to turn gray. Check back over your files. I assure you things did not go as badly as you may think, and in any event, there was not a total loss. Faith is nothing if it can’t rise above the basic challenges of living.
Gemini (May 20-June 21)
Your commitments to friends and associates may seem as deep as most people’s commitments to their primary partners. That may be strange to everyone else, but it should be normal enough to you. All the divisions and classifications we make in relationships deny one simple fact, that we are all people doing our best to live on the planet — and all we have is one another. Still, there are some who call out for special care and special attention, and at times that’s necessary. It takes some discipline to live the deeper truth that we are all equal beings, but it makes life a lot easier.
Cancer (June 21-July 22)
You may be getting nervous about a decision you’ve made, but remember that your astrology points clearly to a need to take a chance, a risk or speculation. Usually, we’re rewarded for doing what’s aligned with the stars, and for going a little beyond what we thought was possible. Usually it is possible, but we don’t ever get to know that until we try. Most people would argue that what they have is worth keeping and thus, risks are not worth taking. But you exist far outside the comfort zone of your peers, particularly now — and you know it.
Leo (July 22-Aug. 23)
There’s a definite charge in the air, like little lightning bolts are flying around. It is not clear from your charts just how domestic or partnership situations are working out, but it is clear that you seem to have a handle on things, and have taken charge. You do that well, but of course it’s always possible to do it a little better — that’s the mark of a true leader. People are still quite unsure how they feel about recent events, which are actually more intense than anyone is letting on. Remember, people have something resembling actual faith in you, and you deserve it.
Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22)
With the Sun and Venus now so well positioned, there’s little that can harm you, and much good that can come. But remember, no matter how clean and bright a room is, it’s always possible to close your eyes and make it dark. No matter where you are, you’ll always see the contents of your own mind first. Sunday’s eclipse of the Sun in the angle of your chart dealing with your ideas about life is calling on you to look at the world in a new way. Perhaps you need to be less emotional and more practical. Perhaps you just need to be yourself and not worry about what you think anyone else expects.
Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23)
I’m looking at your solar chart trying to figure out why things seem out of balance, and if so, in what direction. There’s a chance that the imbalance is perfect; that you are either on the receiving end of a lot of energy, or that you have access to some enormous resources that you are giving to a cause that has nothing to do with you. There may also be a truly intense and even monumental relationship in the picture, calling you to let loose some of the power in your belly. If so, I propose that it’s a situation worth developing, and that any recent strangeness is water under the bridge.
Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22)
Sunday’s lunar eclipse in your birth sign should go a long way toward making sense of what has been, to say the least, nonsensical. Like, for instance, your emotions, your thoughts, and your sense of safety. You’ve been missing something obvious, but you can’t know for sure what it is until you find it. Eclipses often arrive with the feeling that something is coming out in the wash (check your pockets first), or that you’ve rolled over a rock and found your grandfather’s treasure. That something has a lot to do with a specific security need. When you find it, give it a name, and tell someone, so you don’t forget.
Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22)
Scorpio is to Sagittarius what chocolate is to a plum. They’re both sweet, but the vibrations are entirely different. Right now, there’s quite a lot of Scorpio boiling over in your solar chart, particularly an eclipse of the Moon that’s magnifying itself beyond all proportion. It may be that nothing seems familiar, and that even people and things you know well have taken on a strange quality. You don’t have to wait long for the energy to pass, but you’d be missing a big chance if you hid yourself away. It’s not every day that a Sagittarius gets a look at their dark side, but it’s good for you, and good for everyone else, too.
Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20)
Capricorns are prone to guilt perhaps more than any sign except for Pisces. The reason is that you have such a deep connection to the past, and such an evolved sense of both history and personal responsibility. Yes, I know there are ruthless Capricorns, but I am talking about you. I suggest you take this occasion to let yourself off the hook for something. You know what it is. If there are two things, include both. Perhaps it’s the way you treated a friend, rejected an offer out of suspicion, or missed an opportunity because you doubted yourself. Let it go, and see what happens next.
Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19)
If you have to set aside a particular ambition, you’re doing it for a much greater cause. In truth, you have what you need. You’re well supported, which is to say, you have food to eat, you stand on solid ground, and you possess your sanity. If you subtract something you thought of as a cherished goal from the picture, you will very likely see that there’s something bigger, more important and more personally meaningful behind it. There is something you can discover about looking past what your parents said was right for you, or what they told you was impossible. On the other side of that is the truth.
Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20)
While Saturn remains in your sympathetic sign Cancer, you have a special advantage working for you: an unusual ability to let go of situations that you don’t need. Where Saturn is concerned, the decisions may seem difficult at the time, but in retrospect they are obvious. If you’re now making a difficult choice, you can be sure that you have an extra allocation of faith, and an odd sense of what is possible beyond what you have any reason to believe today. What are you seeking? Freedom? Success? Love? Or something that embraces that all? Now, if ever, allow what you want the most to be truly important to you.