The Fulcrum, the Venturi and the Cycle of Fire

Dear Friend and Reader:

We’re now in the final weeks before the total solar eclipse of Aug. 21, 2017. For those who are uncertain of whether astrology has any validity, this is a good time to pay attention. Eclipses are one of the very best laboratory-of-life ways to observe astrology. You would just need to associate what you notice with the eclipses.

“Eclipse” by Via Keller, the original Planet Waves artist.

A solar eclipse is an exact alignment of the Moon and the Sun, at the New Moon. Usually at the New Moon, the Moon will pass a little above or below the Sun, from our viewpoint on Earth. There is a shadow cast, but it extends into space, and we don’t see it. When a solar eclipse happens, the Moon’s shadow is cast on the Earth.

It may sound like superstition to “believe” that this might “mean” something, though I suggest going beyond both belief and meaning, and observing what’s actually happening. See if you notice the acceleration effect of an eclipse, even set amidst our light-speed world. Notice the sense of unusual pressure that people are not readily admitting to. Feel the sensation that change is imminent. Notice the strange events that are not easily explained.

One distinction of this eclipse is that the shadow is cast not just on Earth but also directly over the United States, touching both coasts and peaking over Missouri. This has never happened in American history; neither have many other things we’re seeing happen, or have witnessed the past two years. The path of totality extends from south of Portland, Oregon, to Charleston, South Carolina. The rest of the country on either side of the path of totality will experience a partial solar eclipse.

Another factor making this eclipse a distinctly American event is that it comes within one degree of the ascendant of Donald Trump’s natal chart. This is extremely unlikely, but it’s happening. Any eclipse in Leo (the sign of royalty) would raise concerns about the president or the king of a nation. Align an eclipse directly with the well-timed chart of the president-who-would-be-king, and you know something is up. Neither he nor his presidency will be the same on the other side of this event, yet it is we who must deal with the results of that.

Incidentally, for those astrologers who did not predict that Donald Trump would be president, this eclipse would have been a clue that he would, and that it would turn out exceedingly strange. What we are not really doing, though, is seeing Trump as a product of his environment. When Mick Jagger said that “after all, it was you and me” who killed the Kennedys, this is the effect he was talking about.

If this eclipse draws a straight line between the entire United States and the personal chart of the president, we are being asked to make the connection. We will make it, one way or another. The president/king, in this context, is a symbol of the country he leads. I know that this is difficult to accept, Russian infiltration and all.

The Phenomenon of Eclipses

To start, it’s worth mentioning that traditional astrology does not take a happy view of eclipses. They represent breaks or shifts in continuity, which is not often seen as a positive thing. Many people tend to prefer the devil they know, and still think that solving a problem is, in itself, a problem.

Since psychology has become the main substance of astrology, we see eclipses differently: as necessary pressure-relief points, or points of transition.

Animation of the eclipse making landfall on the Oregon coast. There are some stunning animations of the event,.

The full effect of eclipses lasts for years. They stand as before-and-after moments that define watersheds in history, or at least tell us where to find them. Eclipses in Leo are particularly significant, given that the Sun, which is eclipsed, is darkened for a moment in its own sign.

We get a clue from William Lilly, who wrote back in 1647 (I am paraphrasing) that if it’s been a while since there was a solar eclipse in Leo, and it hasn’t rained for a while, expect a lot of rain. If it’s been raining a lot, it’s likely to dry up. He’s saying there’s a shift in not just the weather but the weather pattern; which is literal as well as a metaphor. Take that to mean that eclipses shift patterns, and they help us form new ones. They are vital to the process of growth and progress; from a symbolic standpoint, for many people — such as those on dense levels of awareness — there would be little movement without the kinds of movement that eclipses typically bring.

Let’s move on to a general description of eclipses, which I wrote in 1999. This was anticipating another historic eclipse in Leo, which you may remember: the grand cross and total solar eclipse of Aug. 11, 1999. That was the one coinciding with the Cassini Space Probe flying past the Earth on its way to Saturn, loaded with 72 pounds of weapons-grade plutonium. We survived; now NASA plans to plunge the probe and all its radiation into Saturn.

Here’s what I said about eclipses back then:

Eclipses are astrology we can’t deny. If there is a conjunction between Saturn and Uranus, it’s invisible to the unaided eye, and while many people may experience changes, only astrologers and their merry bands of readers and students know what’s happening. Yet when the Sun vanishes, you can be sure that normal activity will come to a stop.

Our busy world will pause, and everyone, from herbicide activists nestled in the hills of Oregon to rock stars in Nashville, will stand in the silent shadow of the cosmic order with the astonishment of small children coursing in their hearts.

Image of a partial lunar eclipse; there will be one of these in Aquarius on Aug. 7. Photo by Anthony Ayiomamitis.

This doesn’t happen often, and you can imagine the awesome power of so many people embraced in a kind of simultaneous, captive meditation as everything around them momentarily ceases to be normal. Call it a reality lapse, only it’s one into which the real reality can flow very easily.

In terms of their astrological meaning, eclipses of the Sun follow this image of collective awareness and radical break of continuity. Whether you can see the eclipse does not matter; part of the miracle of astrology is it works anyway. As many of us are discovering personally, eclipses are expanded moments of often uncontrollable, unpredictable change. They also bring the civilization and its communities together, usually through important collective events and the media.

Eclipses are evolutionary gateways, which is another way of saying that when they show up, we do a lot of growing in a short time. Delays are compensated. Old accounts can be wiped clean. While each is unique, eclipses often feel like being shot through a funnel of space-time, and we emerge somewhere different than where we entered. The key to making the best use of them is to move with the energy, not cling to anything or anyone too tightly, and to stay open.

The Fulcrum

Let’s consider a few other metaphors for eclipses, which I can offer after an additional 17 years of contemplation. I think of an eclipse as a fulcrum point – something on which everything pivots, such as a lever. Perhaps the best example is a telescope. If you move the telescope just a little at the fulcrum, you will shift your field of view many light years on the other end.

That’s how to think of an eclipse: as a moment where you can shift your orientation just a little right now, and point yourself toward a vastly different destination as time unfolds. This is, of course, a model based on a linear concept of time. Eclipses, which align at least one dimension of time and several dimensions of space, take us well beyond the linear, which only increases the fulcrum value.

The fulcrum of a telescope (in this case, a radio telescope) is its position on Earth, at the very base. If you move the telescope a millimeter at the fulcrum, you move its line of sight light years. Pictured is the Very Large Array, located in central New Mexico on the Plains of San Agustin.

So this is a good time to observe where your life is headed, and which way you want to turn. If you’re not planning to do what you’re doing “forever,” what do you want to do? If you’re not planning to be with the person you’re with “forever,” what are you planning? If you’re not going to be here (wherever here is) “forever,” where are you planning to be?

Imagine that there is a future and that it includes you. Let yourself believe, for a moment, that everything is not going to crash down on your head before you have a chance to live a little.

In what direction would you point yourself? Imagine you’re paddling a canoe and you’re heading for the rapids. You want to point your boat directly down the rapids, rather than going through sideways. I am talking about growth as well as about activity. What problems have you persistently encountered? Can you see yourself healing them?

You may only need a small adjustment to point yourself in a direction that, today, may seem like a remote destination, whether improbable or impossible. How you orient yourself as we go through this event is crucial. It’s more important than flocking to the path of totality and looking at the thing through a Mylar visor.

We are about to experience a very, very exact — and improbable — alignment. What are you going to do with it? As Dr. Eleanor Arroway’s father said to her as a child, in the film Contact, “Small moves, Ellie. Small moves.”

The Venturi Effect

In physics, there’s something called the Venturi effect, which is one of my favorite metaphors for eclipses. The Venturi effect is the reduction in fluid pressure that results when a fluid flows through a constricted section (or choke) of a pipe. The Venturi effect is named after Giovanni Battista Venturi (1746–1822), an Italian physicist.

Illustration of the Venturi Effect, showing an acceleration of a fluid as it moves through a constriction in a tube or pipe. The illustration is misleading, in that on the other end of the Venturi, the fluid will remain volatilized. This is how a carburetor works — and it’s also one way that eclipses feel, like a rapid acceleration of events, a narrow opening and increased volatility. Animation by Thierry Dugnolle.

Said another way, when you run a fluid through a pipe that constricts, it rapidly turns to a gas. This is how a carburetor works — that thing that used to be in cars, which turned liquid gasoline to a vapor usable as fuel. Part of what happens is an acceleration effect, and a reduction of density, and an increase in volatility. Those are all metaphors for eclipses.

We’re about to experience an extraordinarily potent increase in the velocity of events. That will come with a sensation of chaos, and of events running out of control. Remember that this is also about you; there may be a point where you just have to surrender to events.

The Grand Fire Trine

One last metaphor, directly from the chart. The famous Leo eclipse of 1999 was part of a grand cross aspect — planets aligned in a rather exact square, with the Moon and Sun at one corner. Grand trines are interesting aspects, in that they can act invisibly or below the level of perception. Unlike a grand cross, they are not “self-activating.” Like the 120-degree trine aspect, you have to work it; they are “use it or lose it” aspects.

Chart for the Aug. 21 total solar eclipse, showing placements in the fire signs. At top right is the eclipse, conjunct Mars, in Leo; lower right is the Uranus-Eris conjunction, in Aries, still in full force; and to the left are Saturn and Pholus in Sagittarius. Also in Sagittarius are the Galactic Core and several other meaningful but smaller points that are not included in a commercial astrology chart.

The eclipse of Aug. 21 is part of a grand trine, which covers the fire signs Aries (the Uranus-Eris conjunction), Leo (the Moon and Sun), and Sagittarius (the Galactic Core / black hole / cosmic portal at the center of the Milky Way; plus centaur planet Pholus — rapid reactions, out-of-control reactions, catalysts, small cause/big effect; and Quaoar — personal creation myth, cosmic identity, family patterns).

At the Sagittarius end, Saturn is not far from the action, and will soon become a much more prominent figure in the astrology.

So what does this tell us? Grand trines have a distinctive property: momentum. Once things get going in a certain direction, it’s not so easy to shift. That’s why it’s essential to work the ‘fulcrum’ quality as early in the process as possible. All these fire planets point to a kind of cycle of fire, which can be destructive if not managed carefully.

With a grand trine, you can look to certain points in the chart for what might serve as an exit from the cycle, or put the brakes on it. We have two possibilities: Jupiter in Libra, which would be justice; or the South Node in Aquarius, which would be the power of reasoning. Both of these factors describe things in exceedingly short supply right now. You will need to supply them yourself.

With love,

Planet Waves Monthly Horoscope for August 2017, #1160 | By Eric Francis Coppolino

Aries (March 20-April 19) — Life is creative. Most people never figure that out. Some people do, and they often become artists, musicians, dancers, jewelers, writers or some other form of aesthetic contributor — they just can’t help themselves. Yet the creative function is not really about art; it’s about existence. Plenty of cab drivers, hedge fund managers, house moms, crochet masters and printing press operators figure it out too. This month’s rare, magnificent total solar eclipse in Leo occurs on the line in your chart where your creative source meets your daily devotion to service, work and healing. The personal message of the eclipse is to make the connection between these two seemingly different aspects of life. It happens right in that sweet spot where inspiration meets action meets daily devotion. There’s something deeper here, as well. The healing source is the creative source. They are the same thing, applied in slightly different ways. To work this potent zone, whether you think of it as describing astrology or existence, takes a conscious decision. Once you do that, you will tap into a seemingly endless well of energy. Explore that for a while and you will discover, further, that you can direct ‘creative chaos’ in refined, specific and purposeful ways. This is all good practice for Saturn moving in your favor later in the year. Your level of responsibility will increase considerably, and you must bring all of your talent to bear on whatever you do.

Taurus (April 19-May 20) — There is, in your solar chart, a brittle line between your need for security and your desire for unpredictable experience. I say brittle because your idea of security is pretty bold; you tend to feel safe on the planet, and you possess a rare kind of confidence. Yet it’s easy to lose track of that, because another side of your nature is averse to taking risks. Part of this relates to your somewhat infamous tendency to overthink things, and to talk yourself out of what you want. So, in many ways, you’re like a Porsche being driven around a parking lot. You need to get yourself on the open road; and for that to happen, it will help if you lure yourself with visions of the great mountain ranges of Montana, the ancient forests of California, or sunset over the Pacific Ocean. Said another way, you don’t need to justify your desire for experience with a theory, or the need for a certain level of expertise, experience or freedom from other commitments. You don’t need an academic degree of certification. Rather, you must feel your curiosity burning like an itch that won’t go away. Feel your urgent need to change the world building tension like an earthquake that’s about to happen. Feel your desire for sex like something that would occur on a cool, moist forest floor rather than in a pristine bed.

Gemini (May 20-June 21) — Yours is the sign associated with verbal mastery. That’s partly a Mercury thing — the god of mind and alchemy rules your sign. It’s also because Leo covers the 3rd house of your chart, the one about communication themes. This is a bold, hot sign associated with your ability to speak and write. Yet a careful critique of Gemini will often reveal that you don’t usually go to your true intellectual depth. You are too often content with a basic analysis, or something that sounds good, and/or is true enough. The total solar eclipse later this month, which takes place in Leo, your 3rd solar house of thought and messages, is calling you to your full depth. Eclipses often accelerate processes; this one will slow down your mental metabolism and encourage you to be more reflective. You are being summoned to engage all of your mental gears and get to the bottom of things. At the same time, you must alternate that with a wide-angle approach, and see everything you know in the context of everything else you know. This applies to whatever you may be working on. There’s a special message about comprehending the impact that your family had on your intellectual development. You may still be trapped in their estimation of you, which is limited by their own intelligence and perception. It’s time to set yourself free.

Cancer (June 21-July 22) — You are in the process of becoming a financial ninja. See if you can set aside all the mysticism associated with money, and the emotional baggage. Set aside the fact that it’s the only thing too many people seem to care about. Pause on the notion that people think money absolves all sin, solves all problems and grants only happiness. This is about the practical matter of ensuring that your life and your creative activities are properly funded. But there is something deeper. One of the most profound struggles of the human race, particularly here in the rather wealthy Western world, is the crisis of connecting one’s personal values, innate assets, and the ability to eat food, keep a dry roof over your head, and support your family. We simply assume it’s only vaguely possible that someone will be able to live on their talents; or, said another way, actually do what they came to the Earth to do. For you, the root of this is to respect your own gifts. That does not mean being proud, boastful or even ambitious. It does mean understanding that you possess something you came here to share. Your part in this begins in that respect, which comes as part of a conscious maturity process. To that, you would add connecting daily discipline to your sense of purpose. That’s not about hope; it’s about action.

Leo (July 22-Aug. 23) — Once again, one of the outstanding astrological events of our lifetimes occurs in your sign. That would be the Great American Eclipse of Aug. 21, 2017. There’s a precedent for this: the total solar eclipse of Aug. 11, 1999. Consider what you were doing that summer, and what you were doing for the next three or so years. When you think of 1999 as a ‘before and after’ moment, what do you get? You are now standing at the threshold of another such moment. What you’ve lived through the past several years is the ‘before’; the moment you’re in is like a dimensional gate; and the future is unwritten. Take the time and the care to point your life in the direction that you want to go. This need not take longer than a few moments, though deep meditation and grounded decisions usually require more investment of thought. Remove the no-longer-valid priorities from your agenda; decide what no longer serves you. Then, search your soul and remind yourself what you simply must do. Be exceedingly honest with yourself about this, and don’t be distracted by whether you think something is or is not possible. You might know what this agenda is without even thinking about it. Use the power of your mind and point your existence in that direction. Then, steady as she goes.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22) — You rarely reveal your true power. It’s a mystery why; I think you’re afraid of getting in trouble. Yet you would benefit greatly from questioning and challenging the structure of authority that you’ve set up in your mind, and which you seem convinced reflects actual reality. Your fear of what might go wrong, were you to assert yourself, contains a deeper anxiety about challenging authority. Yet anything of any merit that happens in the world, anything that changes something, or that has the unmistakable vibration of the life force, is not about avoiding challenge or friction. To the contrary, anything that’s actually relevant in some way must break the mold of what came before it, and that’s the story of your life right now. The Aug. 21 total solar eclipse will encourage or even push you to let yourself out of your self-imposed container. The effects of this event will come on gradually over the next few months, with a concentration at the end of the year when Saturn, entering Capricorn, moves in your favor. Then it will be obvious that commitment moves providence and that fortune favors the bold. Yet till then, nobody is shackling you to your caution, or to your fear of rattling the surrogate mothers, fathers, ministers and school deans who populate the world. You are larger, braver and more intelligent than them all. Trust that.

Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23) — There are moments when your potential feels like pretty balloons floating in the air, and there are those times it feels as if you’re in four-wheel drive. You have traction now; you have ideas about what you want to do; and you have an unusually strong sense of who you are. Yet you may also feel locked into something that you don’t see a way out of — or you may live with this feeling silently, below the level of full awareness. So let’s start with that: in what ways are you stuck in a pattern, and in what ways does that prevent you from living the way you want, or doing what you want? It’s rare that people abandon what they are doing to pursue something else. It’s more often true that, step by step, we convert aspects of our lives to a new purpose. You might cut off cable TV so you have more time to practice music, cultivate a talent or learn a skill. You might clear out a room that’s under-utilized and devote it to a new purpose. You might spend less idle time with friends, and instead choose to associate with people who share a common purpose and commitment. In sum, you must make every moment, every hour and every day count for its full value. Time is your most precious resource.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22) — Long ago, my father explained to me that there are basically two kinds of power: formal and informal. Formal power is the manager of a baseball team. Informal power is the most popular player, adored by the fans and the press. The laws of a country represent formal power; its customs are informal power. You are working with both kinds of influence at the moment, and it’s crucial that you distinguish the two — and that you know which to use in what situation. Most of the time, informal power is what runs the world. Custom trumps law almost every time. You may be out of step with these informal kinds of influences. For one thing, you’re too self-critical, needlessly so, and this interferes with the notion that people might like you enough to play on your team. Of course people tend to like you, and they tend to respect you innately; but it’s hard to take this in if you are in a nearly constant state of self-judgment. One thing that will help is if you catch yourself whenever you think that the past is the present. It may be, until you interrupt that pattern, and get yourself into this moment, and fully inhabit this time of your life. Your opinions, fears, judgments and hang-ups are all products of the past. Forget it! You can only be alive now.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22) — One of the most challenging aspects of maturity, success or bold achievement is clearing the psychological baggage of others out of the way. Most of the problems we deal with in life are not our own. They belong to our parents and other ancestors, and must be treated as such, if they are to be addressed efficiently. That, in turn, frees up the bandwidth to take care of your actual karma, and to fulfill your actual agenda. With the total solar eclipse later this month, you get an opportunity to purge your consciousness of some inherited problems, most likely ones imposed on you by your dominant parent (and potentially other persons who had power over you as a child). In order to take advantage of this, you must not be afraid of ‘betraying’ any of these people. You must be willing to stand apart. This is about nothing less than claiming your birthright and, in a sense, your destiny. There’s always a delicate transaction when authority and influence are seized from one generation by the next, in each individual life; and for you that time has come. Set yourself free from the fears of your parents and your grandparents. Cut the cords, cut the apron strings, let the dead be gone and commit to living your life on your terms. If this isn’t scary, you’re not doing it right.

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20) — From the wisdom of traditional tantra, we know that spiritual growth isn’t real unless it incorporates and accepts sexual awareness and experience. We know that sexual experience verges on meaningless if it does not invest itself in existential awareness and love, which is the actual meaning of ‘spiritual’. You often struggle to claim yourself back from the sexual situations in which you become involved. Often, money gets mingled up in them, your sense of self-worth and identity gets invested, and it’s just too complicated. Fear of these scenarios prevents you from actually getting to know people, since typically these associations seem to be all or nothing. Yet you don’t commit to having three of someone’s children by smiling at them. A dinner invitation is not a marriage proposal. And you’re a whole person, never half of a relationship. A total eclipse in the angle of your chart that describes all of these issues will feel like a birth from one reality to the next. You may experience yourself passing through a narrow passageway, which may have the feeling of giving something up. Make the trip willingly. It will take some time for the dust to settle; by the time Saturn arrives in your sign later in the year, you will know that you are safely in a new reality and a new experience of your existence.

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) — It’s time to break the tension of your relationships. To this end, letting go of expectations will be helpful; it’s the source of much stress, and of difficulty getting close to others. Another source involves how you may perceive yourself as a ‘public person’ and a somewhat opposite experience of yourself as a private person. You seem much more rigid than you actually are, though it’s unclear why you don’t take a more relaxed attitude toward the world, and give yourself and everyone else space to be themselves. Then there’s the matter of commitment. Do you really think you can choose what you commit to and what you don’t? Or have you observed that there’s a larger pattern involved, and that your involvements select you just as much as you select them? The total solar eclipse of Aug. 21 is an invitation to be absolutely true to your relationships. It’s bidding you to have the utmost respect for the karma that you share with others. What you want to do is work that karma out and move on to better things, rather than get more deeply mired in it. Therefore, say what you need to say to people. Listen to what they say to you. Honor the bonds you share with them, and honor your need to be independent as well. Both are true at once and are equally valid.

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) — Every relationship is a collaboration. That’s helpful, since relationships need a purpose, if they are to be happy. Almost any purpose will serve, though it must be sincere. In the coming seasons, people from your past are likely to re-enter your life. Sometimes this will be for the purpose of completion. Sometimes it will be for continuation. A simple exchange of thoughts may complete the conversation; sometimes more time and thought will be required. This will precede moving forward, which will be on entirely new terms. It’s essential that you see people from your past as they are today, rather than as they were in years before. Sometimes there will be a profound difference, and other times it will be subtle. As for the collaborative nature, you set the purpose mutually, based on a full palette of possibilities: your shared mission, assisting with one another’s missions, financial gain, sexual bonding or selfless service — to name a few. What this all implies is a wholly conscious approach to relating, rather than what usually happens on our planet. This kind of focused intention is, perhaps, uncomfortable to some people, and you may need to lead the way gently. One of the most important things you can size up, with everyone you meet or encounter from the past, is what their agenda is. What do they claim their purpose is, and what do they actually do? What about you?



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