The Spiritual Olympics (and the Power of 8)

Dear Friend and Reader:

SINCE NOBODY HAS A CLUE what the Olympics story is going to be at this point, let’s make up a lead. One thing nearly everybody must be thinking is, Please, Lordy Lord, let’s not have terrorism screw up the games. The world has enough problems right now and for once we need something to be normal. We need this moment of world peace, a symbol of unity (those five rings are the five continents united) and an example of healthy competition rather than warfare.

The Goddess of Democracy, a 10-meter-high statue created during the Tiananmen Square pro-democracy protests of 1989.

Concern number two seems to be, pretty please, Big Old Mr. Beijing, don’t arrest all the journalists or massacre the Tibet activists and bring down everyone’s mood and look like a total asshole. For God’s sake, listen to your publicists.

While Americans tend to fixate on the rearview mirror, we don’t clean it that often. Mr. Beijing is the same country that brought us the Tiananmen Square massacre of 1989 (remember them bulldozing the Goddess of Democracy, along with a lot of people?)

I would say, therefore, that the Olympics is a participation story. True, on some level, we identify with the athletes and the lifetime-long journey that it’s taken them to get there. I mean something else. Lots of us have been through various forms of spiritual boot camp and attended 471 yoga classes and been personally blessed by the great guru and played Conversations With God backwards and forwards on our SUV’s stereo, and we supposedly know stuff and how to do stuff, such as hold things in the light.

Let’s use some of that knowledge and hold the games in the light. Think of it as doing something useful with your talent. Think of it as practice. Practice, for instance, for the Democratic National Convention later in the month (which, based on common sense and the astrology, could use more than a little light), then for the Republican National Convention (no prayer shortage there, but it’s gray and murky), then for the presidential campaign, then for the election itself, then for Inauguration Day (Jan. 20, 2009), which is right around the corner.

“Tank Man” stops the advance of a column of tanks on June 5, 1989 in Beijing. Photo by Jeff Widener (AP).

Our world is at a crux point, a crossroads. I know we tend to sleep through these things or reduce them to a television program (or in the case of stolen elections, a rerun), but they are all somewhat more than that. We are accustomed to thinking that nothing matters. One day we might be surprised to wake up and discover that it actually does.

The Olympics used to be an event of enormous social importance. They represented setting aside national differences and the world joining together for an event that celebrated human potential. True, things have not been the same since Tonya Harding. Yet I think now more than ever, we need to return to the original spirit of the games, which is giving ourselves an experience of the world we truly want: a world that is ready for peace.

In strictly worldly terms — not lightworking terms, where by definition anything is possible right now — that may be more challenging than we believe.

Eight, Eight, Eight; Eight, Eight, Eight — the Beijing 8-Ball

Normally news events send astrologers scrambling for the times of things. (The Democratic National Convention, for example, has so far not announced its opening time, and I hope they are consulting with an astrologer; any will do. More on that next week.) The time of the Olympics is easy: Friday, Aug. 8, 2008 at 8:08:08 pm. That’s a lot of 8s. While the planners were probably not thinking numerology (and the numerology does not in fact add up to 8), they seem to be saying something, or trying to. Let’s come back to the symbolism of 8 in a little while.

First let’s look at the chart. Idealistic, fun-loving, poor-me Pisces is rising, and Uranus in the 1st house suggests that Fantasy #1 is for everyone to have a gay old time. But Uranus also suggests that things may not go according to plan. Uranus is the planet of surprises, and it’s the first major planet after the ascendant. This is exciting and it could be a lot of fun, depending on your idea of fun. However, one thing that stands out is Saturn close to the descendant. More than any other factor, this sets the tone of the chart and of the event it represents.

Saturn is that yellow thing that looks like a lowercase H, floating over the horizon line on the right. Being near the line makes a planet more influential; if you’re suspended above that particular line (the descendant or 7th house cusp, which is about relationships), all the more so. Saturn in the 7th house usually indicates an obstacle or an obstruction. It can represent an opportunity to mature, and it can also feel like a parental figure holding you down, or against whom we need to rebel. (If you’re doing horary astrology and Saturn comes up there, the astrologer is encouraged to toss the chart into the dustbin and not take the question. This is called a “stricture against judgment.” But since this is the Olympics and this is the time, we don’t have that luxury, nice as it would be.)

Beijing National Stadium (nicknamed “the bird’s nest”) and Beijing National Aquatics Center (nicknamed the “Water Cube”).

Saturn in Virgo in that prominent position is the symbol of control freakishness that, in our world-wiser days, we used to associate with Red China: party bosses, humongous meetings, incompetent bureaucrats and other species of Paleolithic backward so-called thinkers. Everybody was supposed to read the Little Red Book. I think the CIA still puts you on a watch list if you utter the words “Little Red Book” at any bus stop in Kansas. That Saturn used to symbolize an army that could march over North America in 15 minutes and a bigger nuclear arsenal than Russia. There is a pall over the games, and it’s not just the smog of Beijing sullying the pristine lungs of so many fair-chested athletes; it is not the visions of so many sweatshops making stuff for The Gap; it is behemoth China itself, in all its boring, critter-eating glory.

To make things interesting, the Scorpio Moon is exactly conjunct asteroid Pandora, of Pandora’s Box fame. This suggests the mood of the people is dark and suspicious.

On the other hand, a newish planet called Borasisi is rising in Pisces. This is about believing what you want to believe and calling it true — one of the guiding philosophies of our time in history. We do thrive on denial, even as we let our suspicions fester. Chiron is splat on the North Node, which suggests (at the least) that something unique is happening; and this unique something has a direction and a life of its own. The best we can do is pray for justice, and stand up for it.

To sum up the major points, we have Uranus (rebellion, invention, disruption) in the 1st house promising that anything is possible, and Saturn in the 7th house trying to keep a clamp on what is possible, down to the last detail. This could be a troubling combination, as there is in fact rebellion brewing and therefore something to oppress. A rice paddy is not enough to stir the ire of Saturn, and here we have something more.

Mars is also in the 7th house, and this is not usually considered so encouraging; typically, it’s viewed as a fairly hostile influence. Fortunately it’s in Virgo and thinks of itself as eviler than it is. Pluto in Sagittarius is in the 10th house (up top), which is an accurate enough symbol for our visionary, capitalistic, totalitarian host to the games. And Quaoar is exactly on the midheaven — we are one big screwed-up happy family, putting up with it all.

The Helmsman, 1969. If you go carrying pictures
of Chairman Mao, you ain’t gonna make it with
anyone anyhow.

But let’s stick to fussbudget Saturn, because there is an interesting story deep in there.

I hate to bring this up, but does anyone remember Chairman Mao? Just in case you missed that episode in history (1945-1976), here is his picture as a little reminder.

Mao Zedong used to be the chairman of the Communist Party of China, which party is still in control. (The Democrats can’t quite muster up enough energy there, either.) He made China what it is today, quite literally dragging it out of the prior millennium, hosing off the opium and eventually opening up China as a buyer and seller of goods on the world market. He did this, at the end, with the help of the Nixon administration.

When Mao took over as Big Boss of the Peoples’ Republic of China on Sept. 21, 1949, Saturn was in Virgo. Here is the chart, and here are the minor planets. The data is from The Book of World Horoscopes, and I tuned it up Thursday morning with the help of Dave Roell at the Astrology Center of America, putting Mercury and Jupiter into angular houses. It is a rectification, but we know what signs all the planets are in, and the chart works pretty good. [Note, there is Oct. 1, 1949 data that is going around, which is also listed by the Book of World Horoscopes. The difference between the two charts is that to my thinking, the Oct. 1 chart is for the establishment of the façade of a seemingly legit government with laws and rules, while the Sept. 21 chart is about the more practical matter of Mao declaring he can do anything he wants, and seizing power a week earlier.]

Saturn is in Virgo in the Red China chart, and Saturn is in Virgo now. That says Saturn return, and that can signify an upheaval. This is the second Saturn return of the Peoples’ Republic, which usually goes somewhat better than the first; but countries take longer to mature than people do, so this could be considered an early Saturn return in modern Chinese history. This particular fact gives that 7th house Saturn in the Olympics chart more weight, and it has plenty to begin with. (Also note that the Moon is in Virgo as well, and transiting Saturn is sitting right at the Moon/Saturn midpoint of the Mao chart. The Chinese government is not in a good mood.)

So the question we are faced with is: is China going to be feeling its holy oats, and need to prove to the world that it’s a great big grownup and pick on the kids? Or are the geeks in command going to be smart enough to leave protesters alone? Are they gonna be cool cops, or mean cops? Are they going to be slick enough to stop the terrorism that every wannabe yokel fanatic, and the larger sinister organizations and Dick Cheney himself wishes they could pull off? We shall soon see.

But let’s do our part and keep the light around this extravaganza.

A Little Creative Numerology

Now let’s consider the numerology of 8. The number 8 is plastered all over this event, including the date and the time, and I’ll be gosh darned if it’s not in a time zone called 8E.

Huge Fuwa welcomes visitors to the Olympic Village, offering everyone good luck. Photo: Xu Jiajun/Xinhua.

Our resident numerologist, Christine DeLorey, tells us that the number 8 is about power, whether you take the high road of service or the low road of greed. China certainly raises many questions of power, with its forced slave-shops creating merchandise around the clock and its massive emphasis on military and police power.

“This worldwide focus on 8 is intensifying the 8 energy even further, to what end, who knows?” she wrote in an email to me last night. “These numerological ‘events’, as is often the case in astrology, usually have a subtle yet profound effect. In this case, it’s all about the material plane, power, money, corporations, politics. I see the 2008 Olympics, set in its background of pollution, greed, slavery and brutality, as a reflection of life on the material plane at this time.”

But in a recent article, she suggests we may be creating the awareness to change our ways.

“Denial has taken such a hold on Earth that we have had to bring ourselves to the very edge of extinction in order to realize how ignorant and misinformed we have been about so many things,” she wrote in a recent article, The Power of 8.

“8 is the most powerful energy we have when it comes to discovering the truth and taking appropriate action. The overall understanding of humanity is increasing now and…this massive shift in consciousness is occurring, visibly and measurably, one individual at a time. This is personal — and if you’re not denying, you can certainly FEEL the winds of change howling through the world right now. But this time, change really does mean change — a completely new way of life that is almost impossible for people to imagine at this stage — a way of life that enables us to evolve out of denial, to face reality no matter how dreadful it happens to be, and to find ways to reclaim our Free Will.”

This 8 factor feels like a facet of Saturn on the descendant. Saturn can be a materializing force, and it can compel us to face reality. It can represent discipline, and it can represent a desire for total control. Whatever Saturn or the number 8 represent in our current environment, we will be getting a clear look at them in the next few weeks, and we will know what we’re seeing.

We could tell today, if we wanted to. DeLorey writes, “8 is associated with money, business, competition and the incorporation of anything that is useful to it. It is widely believed that those are the principal means of gaining personal power in the world. The belief that ‘money is power’ sprang from this rather shortsighted point of view.”

For several reasons, the number 5 also comes up in the numerology. For example, the total of Aug. 8, 2008 at 8:08:08 pm comes out to a final number of five. The event takes place in the 32nd week of the calendar year, and 3 + 2 comes out to 5. In numerology and tarot, 5 is always a turning point.

“The influence of 5 brings in the potential for something sudden and unexpected, not necessarily on Aug. 8 as that is a starting point or a trigger,” she said in her email.

Chinese military. It actually has more members than the ones depicted above.

I liken 5 to the influence of Uranus in Pisces in the 1st house. It is the precipitating principle, the “sudden and unexpected” factor to which Saturn responds and shows its true colors. Of course, if China were to do something really horrendous and we were to get the idea that it’s time to boycott China, we would have to resign ourselves to purchasing Buck knives and Maglites. I think these are the last two products made in the USA.

The fact that exceedingly few products are made in our country, and that we have to borrow so heavily to spend money elsewhere, points to a situation that is extremely out of balance. Most people do not understand the problem even in the simplest terms.

“8 teaches us that power, in any form, cannot be maintained without balance, and that balance cannot hold without accurate understanding.” DeLorey continues:

Without an understanding of the vital role that balance plays in holding the world ‘together’, the 8 influence translates as greed and, to put it mildly, astounding ignorance. By its nature, greed ignores any reality that does not feed its hunger for more! Greed must also convince others to deny reality so that its power-seeking mission can continue unobstructed. Greed must control, manipulate the truth, and capitalize on anything that suits its purpose, even if it stands to destroy other aspects of life.

Power-hungry people distort the truth by making it seem they have more power than they actually have, using the emotion of fear as a weapon with which to overpower. Underdeveloped 8 energy is the energy of the bully who denies his or her enormous fear by projecting it onto others. People who are genuinely powerful rarely have to assert their power in an intimidating way.

Denial of reality has been the main cause of the great imbalance we are now waking up to on Earth, environmentally, economically, politically and in almost every other way. However, this year’s concentration of 8 energy (combined with the 2 energy of the 2000s, which signifies balance through connection, cooperation and diplomacy), is helping us to end our own denials, which will, hopefully, produce an evolutionary movement away from the edge of self-destruction, onto safer ground.

Ling Ling and Hsing Hsing, giant pandas given to the United States by China during Nixon’s 1972 visit. This was widely held as proof that China is a civilized country.

I think she is saying we have to wake up and smell the chow mein. China is all about power in the sense of un-evolved 8. They are leveraging their greed against the greed of the United States, loaning us $2 billion a day, most of which we send right back by way of purchasing their multitude of products. The Republicans used to be against this kind of thing, but remember that China as we now know it is a product of Republicanism.

When Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger opened up the modern economic history of China in 1972, which reinvented China into a trading partner rather than the Other Evil Empire, the whole idea was for the people involved to make money. China was granted the status of a legitimate business. Holding the Olympics there is the completion of the process begun by Nixon, which is granting China additional legitimacy and plenty of additional economic power. What they do with it is another question.

The Summer Olympic games used to be one of the most important psychic events in the life of our society. Time has obviously gone on, and we live in a more complex time, when we have a lot more to face in the way of so-called reality. I think it’s interesting that among the top two concerns, apart from smog, about what might disrupt the games are terrorism and state-sponsored terrorism. The good part is we can look at the hosting government and say honestly that we don’t know if it’s our friend or not. This, I would call healthy skepticism. Maybe even progress.

Let the games begin.

Yours & truly,

Eric Francis




Weekly Horoscope for Friday, August 8, 2008, #726 – By ERIC FRANCIS

Aries (March 20-April 19)
If you cannot always do the work you love, then you need to bring love to the work that you do. It’s easier than you think. Many of the problems you and your colleagues are facing relate to an approach to life that is fundamentally aggressive and competitive. What seems to have been lacking all along, and is available today, is a measure of emotional intelligence. I suggest you rethink all of the most difficult problems that you’ve been facing in recent weeks, considering how you would do things in a way that felt right rather than a way that you thought was right; or that seemed necessary. This approach may work at first, then seem to run into some resistance, though I suggest you take this as a sign of potential success. Don’t give up. Keep feeling.

Taurus (April 19-May 20)
You now have a few new reasons to go past your limits in one particular aspect of your creativity or sexual desire. You have a lot of ideas you’ve been mulling over, seemingly endlessly. Now the question is, which of those ideas feels right? What does your intuition tell you? The truth is, the right idea is likely to seem the most difficult, and the one that you seem to encounter the most resistance around. That resistance is not coming from the fact that it’s right; rather, it involves two things: one is taking a different approach; and two, your mind is still running overtime, cascading you with various mental-level fears about what can go wrong, or whether you feel you deserve to be a daring explorer rather than, well, someone who does it right.

Gemini (May 20-June 21)
Ideas require commitment. Mental commitment is not enough; you can’t just say the words to yourself. You have some excellent ideas right now and at the moment, you are working with the kind of emotional drive that could motivate you to do some great things. What I suggest is that you have a plan for when you run into obstacles, or run out of gumption. You must not let these things stop you. This is to say, persist. Convince yourself, forget that failure is possible, or forget that there is such a thing as success, and do what you are doing merely for its own sake. The whole process will teach you faith in your intelligence, and take you over that curiously modern hump of thinking that if something is not easy, it’s not worth doing.

Cancer (June 21-July 22)
I trust you’ve made some important decisions, opened up some space in your life and have seen the results. The next project involves understanding your commitments. Remember what you’ve learned the past couple of weeks about what is meaningful to you; what holds the greatest value to you. This is what must become the thing that defines the terms of your agreements with others, or that at least sets the basis of the conversation. What you have is what you exchange; you can only receive what others are willing to offer, and for that to be meaningful your part is to know what you want and need. It may seem strange to break the discussion down to these simple terms, but it’s a lot more humane than judging love on the basis of how many carats a diamond ring weighs.

Leo (July 22-Aug. 23)
The decisions you have made are about to manifest in a relationship. Here is the formula: Trade one lie for each truth you want. Have you heard of those inner-city exchange programs where you can trade a gun for $150 worth of groceries? The spiritual equivalent is what you now have available. Find something in your primary relationship, or any relationship, or each in turn, that is not true. Challenge the people around you to notice and to suggest things. Then each time you discover something, exchange it for something better — something real and alive. This may seem like a silly exercise, and you will have to be pretty good friends with someone to get them to go along with it. But this is the option you have. True, it’s always the option you have, but especially now.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22)
If you are tracking a health-related situation, it’s vital that you be on the lookout for medical misinformation. I’m not saying don’t trust your healthcare providers, but I am saying that you may know more than they do. Whether this relates to a specific issue or your general wellbeing, go over your data. Review the various versions of the story that you’ve collected over the months or years. Look for the contradictions and look for what is supported by multiple sources. More to the point, be aware of what you do not know. I can tell you that from many years experience as an investigator, the most important thing to be aware of is the column that contains the list of your missing information. If you know it’s missing, then you can find it; if you don’t know it’s missing, you will make presumptions that may turn out to be wrong.

 (Sep. 22-Oct. 23)
You may feel uneasy for reasons you don’t quite understand. You may have the sense that the details are crowding you out of your own mind, and you may sense that something is out of proportion. Anxiety is one thing, but the sense of being confined is another. If this feeling is true, you’re heading for a breakthrough. This involves overcoming some form of inner resistance that you may have decided is part of your natural landscape. This may be true, but that doesn’t mean that your craving to set yourself free isn’t real, honest and meaningful. When your resistance is at its highest is when you will need to match it with the deepest faith you’re capable of. I know this will take some effort, some deep concentration and the willingness to face a fear that you have not yet named. And it will be worth it.

 (Oct. 23-Nov. 22)
Begin to think of your changes closer to the ground. You have done plenty of aspiring in the past two weeks; you may feel you have succeeded in your quest, or perhaps you are sure you have not. You have no practical or sensible choice but to go with the changes that are in motion, and for now I suggest you look at the structure of your life, particularly the place you call home. You are likely to experience a sequence of liberating changes there. Your world is widening, and you have a need above all else to set yourself free emotionally. This is a decision. You have a need to feel included in a tribe as a direct form of recognition for your achievements. This, too, is a decision; at the current juncture, to embrace change and accept what you are being offered. It is a sign of your success.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22)
I suggest you stop worrying about how people perceive you. It’s a lie; perception is fundamentally a lie, because we so frequently bring our own story to the process of supposedly seeing the world. Therefore, I suggest you let people take responsibility for how they perceive you, and not waste your time thinking about it. You put on a good act of not caring, but we both know that you do, and we both know how difficult it has been to keep some spin control over how you appear to members of your community. You might want to consider that certain people don’t know you at all, and others misunderstand you entirely. What matters is that you at least strive to understand yourself, and never quite let yourself feel that you’ve got all the way there.

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20)
By now you have figured out that all the most important resources to which you have access are group resources. If you’re a publicist, you depend on a pre-existing media system. If you’re a lawyer, you depend on a court system that we all share. If you’re a teacher, you count on the structure of a school system that makes your work possible. Now is the time to take that observation and work it into something truly constructive. If you notice that something that once seemed to be a collective resource ends up being private property. Yet in the same moment, you may notice that something you were once certain was strictly off-limits opens up into a rather incredible well of potential resources. Share and share alike.

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19)
You are witness to someone going through a profound change; and that change involves finally accessing their potential in a direct and meaningful way. It’s amazing all the things that obscure one’s view of what they are capable of. At this point, you seem to be highly effective in your role as facilitator. You won’t necessarily be in this role forever; you have your own visions to manifest, and you have one particular project of forgetting something from the past that is soon to occupy your thoughts. The beauty of this particular form of forgetting is that if you’re truthful with yourself, it’s easier to let go of something that lacked integrity than it is to let go of something that was solid and served your deepest needs and desires.

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20)
You are someone with the gift of embracing the unknown. You are part of the unknown; you identify closely with it; and in those times when you hold a boundary and don’t presume or assume in the annoying ways that most of us are taught, you can tap into knowledge that is not generally available on the mental plane. You are in the process of discovering something about yourself, something that I trust will set you free from a particular set of fears that involve being too odd to fit in, too unacceptable to have a valued place in the world. Don’t underestimate the extent to which self-doubt can cripple your ability to exist anywhere close to your potential. It is true, you are aware that you have many reasons to fear, and yet at the same time if you listen you will hear that each of those reasons is met by the soft, still voice of reason assuring you that fear has no place in the light of truth.

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