Talking Backwards

Dear Friend and Reader:

YESTERDAY, CONGRESSIONAL LEADERS, the White House and the two presidential candidates agreed to an additional $700 billion rescue of the nation’s financial system in the wake of last week’s Wall Street meltdown. By last night, the agreement had unraveled, spurred by a revolt in the Republican caucus of the House of Representatives. This potentially gives John McCain his chance to boycott tonight’s presidential debate, which he promised to do if the agreement was not complete. I don’t think that will happen; if McCain doesn’t show up, it will be tantamount to forfeiting the election itself — but you never know. I personally don’t think the guy even wants to be president.

The key players: From left, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, President George W. Bush, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Christopher Cox, last Friday. (Monsivais/AP).

In classic form, Mercury had stationed retrograde in Libra Wednesday morning, sending the five-cent apple cart flying. This is about the worst possible astrology to be hashing out a major business arrangement, and rendering it nearly worthless if it’s ever pulled together. Anyone with a shred of astrological experience with Mercury retrograde knows that, at the least, things you do under this influence generally don’t work out quite as planned. Most astrologers would advise that you hold off buying a clock radio, much less investing in nearly a trillion dollars of worth of bad mortgages and other rotten debt from some of the world’s most irresponsible companies.

[Overnight, the federal government quietly seized Washington Mutual and sold its mortgage assets to J.P. Morgan Chase for $2 billion, in what is being described as the biggest bank failure in United States history.]

Obviously, we cannot attribute this all to Mercury retrograde, though it is tempting. What we are seeing are the early effects of Pluto in Capricorn and the opposition of Saturn and Uranus. I’ll cover these in greater detail in a moment.

Even if some version of the $700 billion deal goes through, it’s not accurate to say that the economy is being bailed out, since the value of the banks’ worthless assets is somewhere in the vicinity of $40 to $60 trillion — nobody really knows quite how much because they have been resold so many times, and many of the assets are overseas. The bailout money would be borrowed by the federal government, adding to the nearly $10 trillion national debt, and for that to happen, somebody (usually a foreign nation) needs to purchase Treasury Bills. We already sell those like mad — I’ve read over and over that China buys $2 billion worth every day. (T-Bills currently yield investors 1.420%, as opposed to 1.710% a week ago and 3.820% a year ago, so they are becoming decidedly unappealing investments.)

Many people with knowledge of economics are concerned about the collapse or radical devaluation of the U.S. dollar as a result of all this money we are printing, backed against not gold or silver but against an eternally mounting debt. This would have repercussions on the price of oil and thus on everything else. The dollar is used as what is called a reserve currency, meaning that many governments invest in dollars, and it’s used as the basis of the price of oil (90% of all global reserves are in the US dollar and the euro). With Pluto entering Capricorn and Saturn about to oppose Uranus, something of that scale is plausible because both involve two archetypes of structure: Capricorn and Saturn. Adding Uranus, with its “coming out of the blue” feeling has that quality of things changing unexpectedly overnight.

Because a Mercury retrograde was involved in both the meltdown and the ongoing attempted rescue plan, we will know more — a lot more, but obviously not everything — when Mercury stations direct on Oct. 15, or perhaps a day before. That’s when we will experience an Aries Full Moon conjunct the new planet Eris — the goddess of chaos, among other things. It will mark one month since news that Lehman Brothers and Merrill Lynch went up in smoke, also on a Full Moon.

Remember dimple chads? That mess took place under the influence of Mercury retrograde in Libra, similar to what we are having now. Wire photo.

I wonder whether we notice is that a crime is being committed. Maybe if the executive branch had been legitimately elected in 2000, it would feel a greater sense of responsibility for the public trust, and a greater sense of ownership of our nation’s wealth. Yet they know that we, the people, let them get away with having stolen two elections, and with starting an illegal $10 billion-per-month war; and that on some level many people feel we deserve this kind of economic catastrophe. This sense of lurking public guilt that is being used against us is a fitting image of Neptune in Aquarius, which has been in effect since 1998.

No matter how grim the situation, the irony of Mercury so blatantly dancing around the scene is impossible to miss.

And Mercury retrograde in Libra has an interesting context for our phase of history. At a dramatic moment during one notable Mercury retrograde in Libra, the guy who got the least votes was elected president. The real theft was not the White House, but the idea of a democracy. The people who got the fewest votes were counting on the fact that there would not be a revolt, setting a dangerous precedent. I remember as a kid learning that it is possible to get fewer votes and win the electoral vote. And I thought, no candidate who was for the good of the country would ever lose and take office, and the public would never stand for it. I was wrong, and I still can’t quite get over it.

The current crime-in-progress involves what would happen to the $700 billion, and it certainly involves desperate maneuvering by the McCain camp to recover lost ground as Election Day rapidly approaches. The Republican presidential campaign seems to be having commitment issues. Remember its response to a hurricane was to cancel the Republican National Convention, and its response to an economic crisis was to suspend its own campaign and to try to stop tonight’s debate. This is a troubling pattern because it suggests that we can throw away “business as usual” in an attempt to deal with a crisis. Many have been considering the possibility of Bush declaring an economic emergency and suspending the elections.

None of this would be possible were the McCain/Palin ticket actually viable in the face of a public that is finally paying attention. As I mentioned at the end of last week’s article, Chiron in Aquarius is gradually creeping up on Neptune in Aquarius, and the conjunction will be exact for the first time May 29, 2009. But it is having its sobering effects now.

Sarah Palin, who gave the campaign a significant boost a few weeks ago when her pretty face surfaced, has now become a serious liability: it’s become a joke that campaign handlers barely let her talk to reporters. If tonight’s debate is canceled, that could in turn cancel the one scheduled vice presidential debate, because Friday’s presidential debate would likely be assigned the slot. My sense is that all costs, they are trying to avoid putting Palin, a neophyte, up against Joe Biden, an attorney with decades of experience in politics.

McCain, rushing back to Washington to single-handedly solve the economic crisis, pauses to get his make-up done and have a chat with Katie Couric, after cancelling a live appearance on David Letterman.

McCain, for his part, would not appear on the David Letterman show Wednesday — calling the host personally and stating that he couldn’t make it because he was allegedly rushing back to Washington. Then he signed up for a last minute interview with Katie Couric. In a truly great TV moment, “Letterman interrupted his interview with Keith Olbermann (who had filled in as a substitute guest for McCain) to show the audience a live shot on the internal CBS News feed of a makeup artist putting the finishing touches on McCain while he waited to talk to Couric,” as the LA Times put it.

Wednesday (which means Mercury’s day), the night of the station retrograde, was a big TV night: Bush went on national television insisting that we all support the rescue plan otherwise the economy would tank, though his own party was responsible for the plan unraveling; and Bill Clinton appeared on Larry King Live and told us everything was going to be fine no matter who takes office in January.

LAST WEEK we left off coverage of the financial market meltdown with mention of an unusual aspect due to occur in late May 2009: the conjunction of Jupiter, Chiron and Neptune in Aquarius. If Neptune in Aquarius represents a public that has been drugged on denial, debt and television, and Chiron represents the painful awareness that is dawning on the mess, the conjunction represents a stunning moment of truth. Add Jupiter to the mix and you have something large, international and which hints at how many people are involved. Jupiter generally helps a situation out, but we have to be prepared for how that help might come in seeing how big our problem is.

Though this conjunction occurs in about six months, we are starting to see its effects now, as evidenced by the intensity of political discourse and the widespread skepticism of the bailout plan. The natives are getting restless. Yes, there are many people committed to believing lies, and political discussion on the street can sound like supermarket employees trying to talk about the finer points of thermonuclear physics. But awareness is gradually rising. Many people are beginning to feel not only that the Wall Street bailout is a ripoff, but that capitalism is a ripoff — such as the CEOs of failed banks getting away with tens of millions of dollars worth of severance packages while company employees watch their retirement funds evaporate.

The Aquarius conjunction is one of three era-defining events that happens through 2009. Era defining means that even one such event can entirely color the feeling tone and developments of a significant period of time, sometimes even a whole generation. Three events of this potency occurring so close together is unusual, and we will witness the unusual results. The other two are the ingress of Pluto in to Capricorn, and the opposition of Saturn and Uranus. From this point, we are fully under the influence of 2012 astrology, which involves slow-moving planets changing signs and forming alignment that is taking shape right now.

Pluto has been in Sagittarius since 1994/95, after a long spell in Scorpio through the 80s and early 90s. Through 2008, Pluto is making a transition into Capricorn. Pluto changing signs is always a massive sea-change for our society and in world history.

The Pluto in Sagittarius era, now in its last gasp, was defined by expansion, globalism and fundamentalism. The three are closely related through politics. Though religion has always been the main political force driving the Middle East, it rose to global prominence in the 1990s, as did religiously-based politics in the United States — and the two sides, the Muslims and the fundamentalist Christians, define themselves and justify their existence each by fighting the other side. We have seen some of the results of that; for example, a war in Iraq justified mainly on the grounds of religious hatred.

The fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, with Saturn, Uranus and Neptune conjunct in Capricorn. We are seeing this astrology come to fruition now, with the addition of Pluto in Capricorn.

Pluto shifting into Capricorn (it was there briefly from Jan. 26-June 14, 2008, then enters Capricorn for good on Nov. 27) is having an obvious effect involving the restructuring of society on a very high, and deep, level. If you told most people a year ago that Bush would be on television saying the economy was about to collapse, nobody except a well-informed conspiracy nut would have believed you. Now it seems like another extra-specially ordinary day of news. “If money isn’t loosened up, this sucker could go down,” President Bush said Thursday evening, referring to the economy — or maybe he meant the American people.

We could make up a lot of dystopian stories about this Pluto in Capricorn, but one thing is clear: the Military-Industrial-Banking Complex will never be the same again. We will become less dependant on dinosaur corporations that were originally designed not to take care of us, but to make a profit. This transit speaks of vast, sweeping and irreversible changes on a scale that we cannot really imagine now, though at the moment we are catching a little glimpse.

One interesting thing about Capricorn is that it’s a cardinal sign. When a planet enters Capricorn, it makes a square to the Aries Point (the first degree of Aries), fully activating the energy of that odd little thing; the energy tends to create public events that reach deeply into our private lives. For this and many other reasons, the Aries Point is going to be extremely active from now well through the 2012 era. (Jumping ahead of the story a bit, Saturn enters Libra in November 2009 making a square to Pluto; and then Uranus enters Aries in May of 2010. The three will form an extremely powerful cardinal T-square right on the Aries Point. For background on the Aries Point, please see this article.)

The other extremely significant transit we are building up to is the opposition of Saturn (the planet of structure and the past) and Uranus (the planet of revolution, disruption and the future). In a stunning display of cosmic irony, Saturn opposite Uranus is exact for the first of five times on Election Day 2008. A cycle of Saturn-Uranus oppositions comes along once every two generations. We saw one for the last time in 1965-67 at the peak of the Sixties. The current cluster will unfold over two years, through late 2010.

This transit and the associated cardinal T-square deserve a full article looking closely at their effects — past and present — but we can sum them up here as a kind of shock to, and revolt against, the power structure. The first exact opposition on Election Day is a kind of warm-up, but the timing is poetically elegant. As the aspect develops, it moves from relatively placid Virgo-Pisces into high-action, fast moving Aries-Libra.

The Sept. 11 false flag attacks occurred under the influence of Saturn opposite Pluto, coming just one month after the first exact alignment. Photo courtesy of the United States Army.

In recent history, Saturn has opposed an outer planet twice; we remember them well, though we may not associate world events with the aspects. The first was in the summer of 2001, when Saturn opposed Pluto. We witnessed a false flag terrorist attack on the United States, then a major revision of world politics and a turning point in global history.

The second was the summer of 2005, when Saturn opposed Neptune. Those were the great hurricanes Rita and Katrina, which revealed how ill-prepared we are for a national emergency and how much can go wrong how fast. Now Saturn is about to oppose a deeply contradictory energy, Uranus, creating a situation of maximum tension between the two planets.

Once again, we can gain an understanding from history. In the early 1990s, there was a triple conjunction of Saturn, Uranus and Neptune in Capricorn, the sign of government. One day there was the USSR and the Soviet bloc and the evil empire; the next day these things no longer existed. Astrology reminds us that real change is inevitable no matter how impossible it may seem. Saturn opposing Uranus is the story of what began in the early 1990s coming to full fruition; indeed, coming home.

All this sounds like a lot, right? And with Neptune in Aquarius running in the background of our minds the past 10 years, giving us the narcissistic pool of materialism to gaze into, we’ve been fooled over and over again. Some day we as a society will look back on these years and realize what happened, and it will come with a sick feeling in the stomachs of school kids — unless of course the Bushistas write a bunch of textbooks portraying themselves as heroes.

It would be great if we looked around right now and admitted we’ve figured out what actually happened.

Yours & truly,
Eric Francis




Weekly Horoscope for Friday, September 26, 2008, #733 – By ERIC FRANCIS

Aries (March 20-April 19)
Someone may have just reversed their opinion on an important matter of the heart. It may even seem like a friend has turned into an enemy. The confusing point is that this person seemed so sincere just a few days ago, and now you’re left wondering your own role in the situation. I don’t suggest you go down that road — you need to at least remember that people are responsible for what they decide, and at best need to be held accountable for what they decide. What I would remind you of is that this situation is still entirely in flux. So you may want to let someone’s irrationality run its course; spend your time doing other things, gathering information and observing the menagerie of your life. Just be as patient as you can be with yourself and with the people around you. I know it won’t be easy. Do your best.

Taurus (April 19-May 20)
You may feel that a whole dimension of communication has been cut off, or like you’re lost in a situation that you don’t understand. That may be the point; what would be the use of seeking understanding if you had it already? While the current aspects may be offering you a somewhat dark mirror to gaze into, you have a portal of communication open with that reflection. Whether it’s a person, a situation or an image of yourself, be aware that it has its roots in the past, probably the distant past. And he, she or it is trying to tell you something, in essence, to reveal a secret about yourself. You may, during this unusual little spell of astrology during the next day or two, want to experiment with the messages you receive from physical mirrors, best observed in dimly lit spaces.

Gemini (May 20-June 21)
You’re obviously in the mood to take risks. Just make sure you take the right ones. For example, if you’re going on a sex spree, particularly with an ex-partner, I suggest you use what is politely called “protection.” If you are planning to take a risk in business and it seems too good to be true, find out why that is. A simple test for whether you belong anywhere you happen to be is whether you’re able to tell the truth about it — to anyone or everyone. It’s alluring and intriguing to go stealth and have backroom encounters, but it violates the spirit of creativity and integrity you’re working so effectively to develop in your life. To put it simply, the spot you’re in right now is more sensitive than you may recognize. You can resolve old karma, and you can make a lot of new karma that you’ll have to work out sooner or later. How much is enough?

Cancer (June 21-July 22)
Your domestic life is certainly in an interesting state, and you don’t necessarily understand it. Understanding may not be the best approach; working to maintain some sense of order would help, though you need to do this without fighting too hard. Let go into a state of mild to medium chaos for a few weeks, and be content if you can find your cell phone, keep fresh food in your refrigerator and meet your most important commitments. You don’t appear to be the one who is confused, though if you sense confusion in your environment, reality check and determine where it matches some inner condition that you are not facing. Remember that anything anyone tells you is subject to change, and of questionable value. Your own inner sense of orientation will guide you better than anything, though you need to go deeper than your emotions. Trust your intuition instead.

Leo (July 22-Aug. 23)
Love is never simple, and this is a problem. You contribute to the solution by affirming your responsibilities and commitments to others, usually without ever being asked. You tend to get satisfaction from giving rather than from taking. How you handle yourself in environments where people are less than noble is one of the themes of this lifetime for you. Whatever mischief others are up to will be less disruptive if people know your awareness is focused on the situation. Simply pay attention, and send signals that you are doing so. Remember that most people are motivated by things other than an inherent need to do the right thing; usually some form of self-interest wins out. Anyway, the planets are moving in such a direction that translates to “trust no rumors,” “keep your temper” and “state your truth.” On the whole, these are weeks to listen louder than you speak.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22)
After surfing the neighborhood cafes, I have finally settled down to writing this horoscope in the quiet back of a used bookstore. Suddenly it’s going easily. I realized why: I’m more comfortable in a place where there is a value on knowledge rather than consumption. Mercury retrograde in Libra represents, for you, a journey about becoming clear on what is important to you, and how it affects your life. You seem to be sorting through your passions and dispassions; your mixed feelings about yourself; your hidden pockets of anger. You are being driven on this quest by the need for self-knowledge. One of the many things we could say about Virgo is not only that her most important relationship is to herself, but rather that she has a conscious relationship to herself. I would propose that the thing you thirst for most is self-knowledge, and your life will be a lot happier place when you live this relationship out consciously.

Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23)
Mercury stations retrograde in your birth sign on Wednesday, and this is your cue to do an authenticity check in your life. You have recently made some strong commitments to the people around you. You have, it seems, made some strong declarations of who you are and what you want. You may observe that some things you said yesterday are a little less true today; but on the whole, how much less true? Don’t worry if you have to go all the way back to zero and start the conversation over. How exactly do you do this? Practice saying things like, “I spoke too soon,” “I am having reservations about what I promised,” or simply, “I made a mistake and I cannot do this.” You may, however, want to tell people that you need some time to work out and/or re-evaluate your situation. About three weeks would do.

 (Oct. 23-Nov. 22)
Fear is such a powerful force on this plane of reality. I can’t speak for other places; I know that here, most fear involves either physical aggression, or seems to be the result of some metaphysical situation we cannot describe. It is almost always the result of polarization of some kind: us vs. them; good vs. evil; dark vs. light; the assertiveness of someone who has vs. someone who does not have. Metaphysical fear works the same way and by that I mean anything spiritually dark, or which we don’t understand. I think you’re more firmly in the second condition at the moment, and I would propose that it’s not strictly your imagination at work. It may be your DNA. Whatever you’re experiencing now was handed down to you through many generations. It can rightly be called part of the human condition, and your moment has arrived to set yourself free: not by denial, but by affirmation of how you feel, and what you’re aware of.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22)
Who are your oldest friends? Where are your deepest roots in the world of people? I suggest you think this through and reconnect with some of them, either in your thoughts or in actual contact. You became the person you are with the help of many influences, and you would benefit from having those influences become fully conscious. What writers, artists and friends shaped your awareness? Who encouraged or discouraged you? Who took advantage of your weaknesses, and who devoted themselves to helping you heal them? I know I’ve asked a lot of questions here, though there were a lot of people, and there still are quite a few who influence you. You are growing to the point where you are beginning to have a significant influence on the world around you. It would be very healthy to know consciously what karma you want to pass on, and what karma you need to let go of.

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20)
You are embarking on some kind of unusual professional adventure, and while you may feel that your reputation is at stake, you have a rare moment to create a new one. Efforts in this direction may not seem to get you very far at first, but I suggest you keep working the territory. You take pride in being a practical person, though as I must have mentioned before, nothing in this world will help you succeed like bringing a sense of beauty and balance to whatever you do. I’m not suggesting you be like the kid in 4th grade who made a magnificent cover for a bad social studies report and got an A. Rather, consider not just what you say but how you say it. Consider not only what you want to accomplish, but also the style in which you want to be known for doing it. Excellence is its own reward; there will be others.

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19)
I suggest you take an opportunity to keep your affairs close to home; that is, focus on your immediate environment rather than some long-distance environment that you may be concerned with. While there is no one special concern at the moment, developments during the next few weeks will begin to emphasize the relationship between your sense of self (including your purpose), your immediate surroundings and your relationships with your neighbors. It may be that a distant situation has in effect taken over your awareness, preventing you from focusing on something of current importance. It could also be that you feel daunted by what is immediately at hand, and it’s easier to focus on something abstract. If you want to know yourself, stick to what is practical, immediate and tangible.

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20)
Everything you want to be up for renegotiation can be. Keep a list, and start the discussion when the time is right. If you haven’t noticed, the entire economy is in a state of flux. True, a lot of the cash is getting vacuumed up to the top layers of society. However, in the most immediate sense, you need to check in with every one of your relationships where there is some financial commitment and make sure that everything is as it should be. Are you getting your money’s worth? Do you want what you are paying for? Is there anyone who owes you money, who has not paid it? You need to guide your entire environment of human exchange into one that supports commitment: not just from you, but everyone, on more or less equal terms.

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