The Personal is Personal: Nessus in Aquarius

Dear Friend and Reader:

I propose that we need to ponder how and why Rick Santorum is doing so well in the Republican primaries. This week he tied Mitt Romney in Michigan, the state where Romney’s dad was one of the most venerated governors. Romney got a few more votes; Santorum won exactly half the delegates. He did so spending one-sixth the money that Romney spent, working with far less experience, a much smaller organization and a perfectly vicious message.

John F. Kennedy, the first and only Catholic president, wanted to guard against merging state and religious interests, consistent with the Bill of Rights and the main text of the U.S. Constitution.

Though it’s couched in moral and religious terms, the message amounts to: women and their reproductive capacities are the property of men and all sex is the property of the church-state.

In case you don’t know the name, Rick Santorum is the former senator from Pennsylvania who has equated same-sex marriage with men and dogs getting it on, and with pedophilia and with three men getting married. He has been at the head of the class on the ban birth control message, importing the position of the Holy See into Republican politics verbatim. Earlier this week he took on John F. Kennedy, the only Catholic president, who in the 1960 campaign emphasized his intention to honor separation of church and state. Many had falsely assumed that his first loyalty would be to the Pope — or used that idea to discredit him knowing it wasn’t true. And apparently Santorum is worried that JFK might be on the Democratic ticket in November.

“I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute, where no Catholic prelate would tell the president (should he be Catholic) how to act, and no Protestant minister would tell his parishioners for whom to vote,” Kennedy said in a speech at the Greater Houston Ministerial Association in September 1960. Santorum this week told the nation that Kennedy’s position “makes me want to throw up.”

Can you say American Taliban?

This comes in the context of many other related developments. Four different states are currently considering requiring vaginal ultrasounds prior to a woman getting an abortion. That is to say, the patient (or the government) would be required to pay for an unnecessary procedure requiring penetration prior to exercising a constitutional right. Abortion is just as much a constitutional right as is going to church, per the Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade.

Their commercials talk about smaller, less invasive government, which may just mean that it fits into smaller places.

Many states in recent years have introduced or adopted a diversity of laws designed to reduce access to abortion. If you’re an abortion doctor in Kansas, you stand a good chance of being shot.

And lately, taking this a few steps further, the anti-birth control movement has been big news. Anti-abortion activists know that the Supreme Court decision underlying Roe v. Wade is a previous decision involving birth control — the 1965 Griswold v. Connecticut decision. Yet the Supreme Court is not the current focus — the health insurance system is. On Thursday, the Senate defeated Sen. Roy Blunt’s (R-Missouri) proposed amendment that would have allowed employers to decline to cover health benefits that conflict with their purported religious beliefs. This too was being done in the form of “religious freedom” — honoring my religious beliefs, I will deny you yours. While not always connected to religion, similar issues are gaining ground in other countries as well. For example, obstetricians in Western Australia last week called for fetal homicide laws that give a fetus legal rights to be used to criminally prosecute moms and midwives if a baby dies after a home birth.

The immediate history of this stance in modern American politics goes back to 1981, when Ronald Reagan and the Heritage Foundation successfully got the first Abstinence Only indoctrination program through congress. This was back when the whole “say no” thing got going and, in the wake of the 1970s, sexual purity campaigns became a standard part of American politics. Not only would they succeed in getting real sex education thrown out of many schools, and abstinence programs put in place abroad as a requirement of foreign aid, authentic discussion of sex would have a difficult time finding a home. And now we have a presidential candidate who embodies this message.

Rick Santorum at the bully pulpit.

While we’re pondering why Santorum is doing so well — he won the Iowa caucus, as well as the Colorado and Minnesota primaries, tied in Michigan and has had solid support in every other primary this year — we might want to consider that the whole religion thing is a ruse.

For one thing, he’s an impressive liar, claiming that “people of faith have no role in the public square” when we all know that the “conservative base” (of fundamentalist Christians) is leading the Republican party and all of national politics ever further to the right: toward a politics of so-called morality, fear and control.

Sex is often the vehicle that’s used to do this, since so many people have so much unresolved material, so much guilt about sex and so much shame about what was done to them as children. A Rick Santorum would have no hook into the psyche of any person or the public consciousness unless there were a pre-existing weakness. He is a kind of opportunistic infection that seems to be taking hold in a weakened, low-vitality body politic that’s terrified of freedom. Is there any other way that a Rick Santorum could be taken seriously? Said another way, he’s the reflection of all of the unresolved baggage that’s being dragged around in American culture.

He’s only running in the Republican primary race so far, but if he gets the nomination that puts him one stolen election away from the presidency. Remember, Mercury goes retrograde right in the middle of Election Day 2012. The only other time that’s happened in American history was Election Day 2000, when Al Gore won and George W. Bush took office.

It’s Not Normal — It’s Weird

One thing about all this anti-sex, anti-women rhetoric is that to most people, it doesn’t seem that strange. It may seem wrong, it may seem unjust, but the truth is, it’s really, truly, weird. It’s weird from a human perspective. Women exist and are more than half the population. Aside from having a shorter average height than men, there would seem to be no reason for a bias. And sex is a normal biological function, essential to emotional health and to the basic happiness of many people. It might seem to have a place in national politics, but what place, when you consider the ice caps melting, peak oil, various global economies teetering on the brink of collapse, world hunger, children in sweatshops who made nearly every stitch of your clothing, nuclear meltdowns and numerous wars being fought or threatened? Why is sex an issue at all?

Pro-life van parked outside of the women’s clinic that was bombed by Eric Rudolph in the mid-90s. Don’t try to wrap your head around why anyone who claims to be “pro-life” would bomb people. Photo by David Walker from Wikipedia.

The reason that attacking sex doesn’t seem weird is because the attack matches the misgivings that so many people already have — misgivings that are the toxic residue of previous attacks that go back through the ages. It’s possible to have the current ‘discussion’ because nearly every other discussion has been banned or shamed out of existence. This has done nothing but add to the sexual pain that so many people are in, many of whom have no idea they have an option, much less any ideas what those options might be. With rare exceptions, even many therapists are embarrassed to have real conversations about sex. This is a weakened state; it undermines us from the core outward. Passion in every form is compromised: creativity, political will, relating to one another free from paranoia and many other ways. With this comes the idea that “sex is not so important,” and that the only real pleasure from sex comes when you’re “in love” — which negates the exploratory and experimental kind of sex that helps people figure out who they are.

Sad to say that in my experience as an astrologer and participant in the world, few people have any clue where to turn even if they figure out they want to heal and grow past this insanity. And few people are willing to look at the ways that sexual injury, repression and general misgiving compromise every other aspect of their lives. The sexual energy has to go somewhere (we all have plenty of it, no matter what we might think), and where it goes if not into creative play is into neurosis and other forms of mental imbalance, mental illness and personality armor. If you’re wondering about Rick Santorum’s power source, it’s sexual energy per se. It’s part of why he’s so obsessed with the topic and cannot stop talking or thinking about it, and it’s why so many people are willing to listen.

I looked at his chart a few weeks ago in an edition of Planet Waves FM. If a chart could be dripping with emotional infection, his wins the prize. Charts have little meaning outside the context of a life — and the two conform to one another.

Nessus and the Anti-Sixties

You’ve probably read something about the current aspect that’s in the background of everything right now — the Uranus-Pluto square. This aspect is an outgrowth of the Uranus-Pluto conjunction of 1965-1966, and it’s the one I’ve suggested will make the Sixties look like a walk in the park. Uranus and Pluto are both slow-movers. They get together only rarely, especially in the heavy-hitting quadrature aspects — the right-angle ones (conjunction, square, opposition).

Uranus square Pluto on June 24, 2012. Nessus is in light blue, at the midpoint. Uranus, the blue H, is a rebellious influence, and is conjunct one of the more influential asteroids that day — Pallas Athene, which can represent a political leader or attorney involved in the situation.

We’ve been living with the warmup to the Uranus-Pluto square for a couple of years, and we haven’t even had the first exact contact yet — that’s in June, and the last of seven is in early 2015. The first undeniable signs that it was taking effect were Arab Spring, the Wisconsin rebellion and the Occupy movement, which all commenced within a few months.

To sum up, Pluto in Capricorn is gradually re-shaping the institutions of the world, causing some to collapse and others to become obsolete. Uranus in Aries is stirring up the quest for self-actualization and self-awareness. But it’s also the energy behind a kind of militant narcissism that we see in many of these anti-sex, anti-women operatives.

In many ways we’re still in an anti-Sixties time. Instead of people stating their desire for women’s rights (for example) we have an open movement to deny them. Instead of a quest for sexual liberation, we have an active movement to convince us that sex is wrong. This is part of a much wider social control campaign of which peoples’ misgivings about sex is the hook, the place where it’s easy to snag people, many of whom have fallen for the lie that they’re sinners and that there’s something wrong with their natural desires.

Where do we find this in the astrology? The chart above gives us a clue. It’s the chart for the Uranus-Pluto square. I’ve left four planets in the display. Pluto is the red one at the top. Uranus is the large blue glyph at the left. There’s a pale blue one about halfway between the two, which is Nessus. This is a centaur planet (in the same group as Chiron), which was discovered in 1993.

Nessus has themes that include the results of action, such as karma biting someone on the ass. Melanie Reinhart has noted that it’s the place where the buck stops. It often comes tinged with the darker sexual themes: sex where consent is in question, sex involving disease vectors, revenge and betrayal. Stepping outside of sexual themes, Nessus can represent an environment of psychological abuse, or a tendency to get caught in psychological abuse patterns. Chiron and Neptune recently left Aquarius and entered Pisces. That has left behind one last slow-mover — Nessus. In Aquarius, Nessus is involved in a group dynamic. Aquarian group dynamics include organizations, informal social networks and anything that considers itself elite.

Anti-choice students, some of the most impassioned activists of our day, at the 2004 March for Life. Photo from Wikipedia.

All year, Nessus is close to what’s called the midpoint of Uranus and Pluto. It splits the distance between the two better-known planets, revealing something underneath their dynamic. If the Uranus-Pluto square represents tension (it does) then the midpoint is the place where we can look for how to resolve that tension, or what the deeper issue might be. That deeper issue seems to be a form of sexual abuse projected into a group environment (Aquarius) with the help of the media, including the Internet.

Here, we have an image of the negativity being broadcast into the environment with its special obsession around sex. The dynamic is so beautifully illustrative of Nessus in Aquarius that it affirms 15 years of research into this small, little-known planet. You could say that those people who identify with Nessus are having their revolutionary impulses spurred, regressive though they may be.

If we need confirmation of this, in Rick Santorum’s natal chart, there is a conjunction of the Moon and Chiron right there in Aquarius. Some of his deepest personal wounding, particularly around women, is right there. And this is square his natal Nessus in Taurus. So he’s getting both transiting Nessus and Uranus-Pluto at full strength. On one level he’s in tune with the times; on another, his deepest unresolved material is coming up and finding a home in the political discourse.

Among the places that you can turn for sane discussion of sex is the website of Betty Dodson. Betty and her creative partner, Carlin Ross, provide an example of what an authentic, friendly sexual conversation sounds like.

Yet he is merely a spokesperson for a perspective. He’s an extreme example of what can happen, indeed what in fact happens, when personal abuse issues are left untended and unresolved: one can easily become an abuser. Sociopaths often wear the uniform of a superhero, and clearly Santorum is Superman to his devotees. To anyone who is biologically and emotionally functional, he’s the ‘small government’ guy who wants to get between your legs with his ultrasound probe, get between you and your doctor, and ultimately between you and yourself.

Here’s the thing to remember: As the Uranus-Pluto aspect takes hold, everything will hinge on whether we can really address the issues of Nessus at the midpoint. In true centaur style, they will keep coming up for healing again and again until we see them for what they are — and address them directly, meaningfully and beyond their superficial expressions. Nessus in Aquarius is raising some deep issues and to get to the bottom, we’re going to need to go just a little deeper.

I was curious about this placement of Nessus at the midpoint of Uranus and Pluto, so I called up a minor planet specialist who also has a pulse on midpoints — Martha Lang-Wescott. Regarding Nessus and related bodies (in the centaur group), she said: “If you’re not willing to see yourself, these points can scare the pants off of you.”

Her take on Uranus square Pluto with Nessus involved is that, “It sounds like this unbidden empty narcissism surging from the depths of Pluto and all of its psychological scars. People can get distracted by the twinkles and the erratic behavior of Uranus and overlook Pluto,” which addresses deeper material and and is a more urgently necessary agent of growth. That erratic behavior includes the conduct of various political movements that want, in effect, to ban women from being people and who are creating a huge distraction in the process.

As such, she believes that it’s serving to mask a whole layer of awareness. “There is the show and the excitement of Uranus [in Aries], and then there’s this underbelly of the concealed drives of Pluto [in Capricorn], such as greed. Uranus presents as the perfect distraction — all this technology stuff — when Pluto is often acting invisibly. There’s also the attraction to the dangerous element of Pluto charisma. Nessus accents that quality of Pluto.”

She said that one theme of the Uranus-Pluto square is about “how power can be exerted using technology. At what point do people scream about that? Or are they so distracted that they’re willing to relinquish power and control over their lives? At first I thought, that nut [Santorum] doesn’t have a chance. But that he has a chance makes me scared for my country.”

Taking This Personally

For anyone interested in healing, there’s a valid question about what to do about this personally. I would note that from the start, questions of healing are headed directly for some of our most personal struggles around sex, including our phobias about how our ‘friends’ and other groups (including family) would respond if they knew the truth about our sexuality. I’ve said before that heterosexuals are some of the biggest closet cases, terrified of revealing their secrets for fear of excommunication. Lesbian and gay people have crossed this bridge a long time ago, recognizing that they were neither safe nor sane in the closet. Bisexual and transgender people are starting to figure it out.

Keith Haring illustrates coming out of the closet. It’s not just for gay people anymore.

Starting with Aquarius, there are at least two ways to look at the social environment. One is the way that it influences us. What choices do we make on the assumption of how others will judge us? That includes fear that the police are going to kick in the door; the fear that someone is spying on your Internet habits; the fear of getting fired because you have a certain sexual desire or tendency; and anything where the group dynamics of religion come into play.

If you actually start to notice how you’re responding to your own thoughts and feelings, you might begin to observe the relationship between you and all those expectations and presumptions.

The other side of Nessus in Aquarius is how you influence others around you with your actions and your choices. It’s your role in the dynamic, particularly as you make the commitment to healing. People will have a response to you, and your presence will shift the social dynamic around you. The response may not be positive. Women in particular, in my experience, are rarely supportive of one another’s forays into erotic freedom, no matter how meek. One sexually free woman can lower the price of marriage for a whole group of them.

Men tend to be much more supportive of one another’s experimentation — as long as it’s within the approved sexual orientation of the group. One man among others coming out as bisexual (for example) can make the rest feel threatened and stir up their homophobia (which means their sexual shadow material).

If you take a step out of your particular closet, that means announcing your existence in some way, which is an experiment. When you do, you’ll find out how your friends actually feel — and you may need to respond in some way as a result. It can be challenging indeed to find a group of friends who are supportive of your actual sexual and relational desires, and you may need to go it alone for a while. That’s more than enough to keep most people in the closet, wishing they could do something about their desires but terrified to take action in any form. And it’s also a pretty big excuse not to take any risks, particularly the risk of actually being yourself. After a while, though, the walls of that closet are likely to feel like they’re closing in.

As I’ve been reporting the past few weeks, Neptune has recently joined Chiron in Pisces, which is activating some of the most rich erotic territory of the zodiac. Neptune is feeding our dreams and fantasy lives, and providing plenty of inspiration for art and photography. Chiron is accentuating both curiosity and a craving for experience, and the awareness that experience is essential on the path to healing. Chiron in Pisces might point to any of a wide diversity of things you haven’t tried yet but have long wanted to. At a certain point, fantasy is not going to be enough.

Eric Francis

Friday, March 2, 2012. Weekly Horoscope #893. | Eric’s Zodiac Sign Descriptions 

Aries (March 20-April 19) — Mercury has just entered your sign, which illustrates a kind of awakening to something that should have been obvious. Yet you may soon decide that it wasn’t so obvious after all, or that what you have to give up is worth more than what you might have gained by making a decision. Other factors in your chart indicate that you may be more obsessed by hesitation than by the prospect of action. Yet no sooner will that become obvious than you become seized by the desire to be spontaneously, impetuously and boldly decisive, and do things that you might regret. I suggest you pause and consider what you actually want to do. While you’re doing this, give the concept of ‘sacrifice’ a good once-over. That does seem to be the sticking point. While you’re reflecting, I suggest you consider why you’re devoted to whatever you feel devoted to. Does it nourish you back in some way, or are you devoted for its own sake? Once you’ve sorted out these themes, it will be easier to make clear decisions.

Taurus (April 19-May 20) — Maybe it’s my positive experience with Gestalt therapy speaking, but the notion of ‘unconscious’ has always seemed suspect to me. ‘I did that unconsciously’ or ‘that person has an unconscious motive’ sound more like denying consciousness than anything else. There does seem to be a level of information that at times percolates into the one to which we’re normally accustomed, such as remembering a dream that reveals something interesting. I suggest, however, that you’re fully responsible for knowing your motives and your goals, and that if there is any question or issue, it’s going to have a manifestation, for example, as some form of conflict or frustration. Another clue that something might be going on ‘beneath the surface’ is that you find yourself rationalizing, that is, making excuses for why something is a certain way, rather than investigating how it got to be that way. Yet none of this is beyond your ability to perceive it. Your mind is a light; I suggest you look directly at what it illuminates.

Gemini (May 20-June 21) — You can safely let the tensions of the week go. It seems like people around you were feeling a bit revved up and expressive at the same time, and their reactions may have left you feeling some shade of insecure. Or rather, they may have affirmed certain pre-existing insecurities you’ve been experiencing, which in turn date back to old material. It’s strange when something someone says in the middle of your adult workday relates to some feeling you had when you were five years old, but it happens. There’s a significant relationship between what you have experienced in the past and what you’re experiencing today, though it’s here for a reason — so you can work it out and get yourself free from any snags that have persistently held you back. I will give you one clue from your chart — you don’t need to be popular to be successful. But you don’t need to be unpopular either. It would help immensely if you feel good in your skin.

Cancer (June 21-July 22) — Be on the lookout for news about your professional life for the next few days and indeed the next few weeks. You’re in an extended phase of developing both your career aspirations and your reputation. And now the immediate astrology is making contact with the longterm astrology and there is a synergistic effect developing. I have a few suggestions for how to make the most of this. One is consider your goals a work in progress. Second, focus on what you’re the most devoted to. That may mean what you do the most of (that’s one way to tell what you’re the most devoted to) or it may mean shifting your priorities a little so that you give some of your energy to something you want to do or create, and be persistent about that for a while. This may be something you gave up at a certain point in the past, and now want to reconnect with or devote yourself to. I suggest you consider some of your most persistent desires and make sure that they are getting some of the energy they deserve. Keep the flame alive; add the fuel a little at a time, and tend the fire around the clock.

Leo (July 22-Aug. 23) — There’s no need to wrangle over a money issue. Your fiscal conservatism is at its most committed right now, to the point where I suggest you do what you can to avoid paranoia about money. At the same time, the values of others may seem extravagant lately when in fact they match your own values a lot more than you might recognize. I suggest you let key partners or loved ones have an influence on you that you can use to balance out any concerns you may have. However, this all goes deeper than money. You’re in an exceptionally beautiful moment to work out and let go of certain judgments about yourself that have contributed to some unhappiness in the past. These include various shades of being imperfect or not good enough. If you’re going to embark on a self-improvement campaign, you might start with cutting yourself some slack so you have actual space to make the changes that matter to you the most. You’re correct that impeccability is a meaningful agenda item, though how you get there matters.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22) — People love you even when you don’t feel at your best. The only thing that really changes is your ability to receive love. Therefore, practice receiving. I know that it’s easy to make the argument that many people in our culture (and others) practice a self-centered and superficial approach to life. But what’s really going on at the core of that? I recognize that many people feel unworthy of love, but when you peel that back even just one layer, what’s in there? I would propose there’s something about the ability to receive. Yes, that’s directly related to one’s sense of worthiness. Though we might seem to be in chicken-and-egg territory here, I believe that when we’re cut off from emotional nutrients earlier in life, we might decide it’s our ‘fault’, whether that comes from child-logic or from having no other probable explanation available. Being open to receive from others who are happy to give to you would teach you something about how to treat yourself — and the time is right. As in right now.

Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23) — This is a complex time in your life and in particular, your relationships, though I would remind you that you’re the one in control. I say this because, sooner or later, everything you accept into your life comes down to a decision, and while you will definitely arrive at a series of decision points, I suggest you take them up on the soon side. That is to say, don’t wait until you think that something has gone too far. Run every circumstance through the filter of your actual boundaries whenever that situation arises, and make your adjustments incrementally rather than all at once, at the ‘end’. The key to avoiding being stressed out is never letting anything get too far. This will require you to stand up for yourself, which I assure you won’t tarnish your image as a reasonable person. To the contrary, certain people in your environment will feel reassured that you’re asserting yourself and your needs when you actually need to.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22) — I suggest you not push the health campaign, workout routines or dieting right now. What you need is balance. At the moment there’s no escaping the amount of work you have, but at least you’re into projects that you can use to bring out the best in you. At the moment to balance that you need the right amount of the right food, and just enough physical activity to let off any mental or physical tension you may be carrying. However, I suggest you not stretch too far in that direction; the pull will be too much for now. Rather, listen to the signs that your body is sending you; pay attention to the foods it’s asking you to eat and make sure that your physical space is clean and orderly. That will save a lot of energy and help your efficiency. I also suggest that you invest plenty of energy getting the opinions of others — and that you not take too much credit for what you get done. Point out the contributions of everyone else. Work in a spirit of service, and thank everyone for their shared effort and influence.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22) — The time is nigh for you to let go of your old ideas about your personhood — or anyone’s — being associated with relationship status. That’s the relic of another era, and for the most part it’s only served to the detriment of humanity. Relationship status is used for many purposes, ranging from ‘acceptability’ to certain communities to the appearance of decency, no matter what someone really does. It’s a way of signaling social status (married to the ‘right’ person) and as various dog whistles for unavailability, availability for surreptitious activity, and most of all, an acceptable form of relationship to our parents — no matter how many times they got divorced. This all amounts to a sham. You are acceptable for who you are, not for your status or who you’re with. The thing is, these programs run so deep they verge on impossible to see and unappealing to question. Sooner or later you will figure out that you are you and that your life is an experiment, and that’s likely to be sooner than you think.

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20) — Your feelings are loaded — and loaded with information. Over the next few weeks you may be making many discoveries, potentially involving a range of subjects including your family, your father’s family, certain misunderstood events of the past, your local community and your current living environment. I suggest, however, that you pause before you make any decisions based on any of that information. At this stage, once you decide something, you’re likely to discover something else that shifts or even radically alters your viewpoint. No information is final at this stage, and you have so much left to learn that I suggest you consider it an ongoing process that will last a while. I don’t know if you’re excited about any of this yet, but you’re in a dimension where one discovery will lead to another, and eventually you’ll be hooked on the process of learning and the experience of your perception changing. We both know you have a craving for history and the truth of what went on in the past; you now have access to one of the most interesting attics of your life, so take your time exploring.

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) — You have more power in someone’s life than you may think. Forget what the press release says, or how big of a shadow someone casts in your mind. Imagine you really do have influence. You have the power to say yes or no. You have the ability to grant or deny access. Indeed, you have the ability to take up space that might actually belong to someone else — physical space, or emotional. Are you feeling generous, or are you responding some other way? What is motivating you to act a certain way? The relationships are more involved than they may seem. There are several levels to what you’re feeling, and you may not be aware of some of them. Bear in mind that your choice to act a certain way may create a blind spot that prevents you from seeing the real effects of your choices or emotional posture. The deeper question I suggest you ask is, how do you want the situation to work out? Then act accordingly.

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) — Check any door you think is locked; it may be open and you may be able to walk right in. You may be welcome where you thought you were not, and with certain individuals you may have previously thought had no interest. However rather than trying to decide what anyone else wants, what matters the most is what you want. I suggest you make some decisions about that because those openings will work for you in any event — so you may as well go from your own inner guidance. In our moment of time, however, you could make an operetta called, “But What Do I Want?” mocking at least half the human race. It would have all kinds of song and dance numbers and the running joke would be that everyone really does know what they want, but they keep forgetting or they’re afraid to say anything about it or too paralyzed to take action. I suggest you stop making excuses and get clear with yourself, and start making some decisions.

Leave a Comment