The Ultimate Opportunity to Get Unstuck

Dear Friend and Reader:

LATELY I HAVE been hearing a lot of the word stuck. This feels positively strange to say, but there seems to be a trend of admitting you’re not going anywhere in life, or like you feel like you’re not going anywhere. Every other email I get from a reader is about how stuck they feel. I guess all these years of voting Republican and having lattes for lunch are finally starting to catch up with us.

Illustration by Danielle Voirin.

This is not the ever-popular “Bugger off, I’m proud to be stuck” energy; it is not the eminently distinguished “Who, me? Stuck?” posture, either. This is, “Wow, I’m like really stuck. I want to be an artist, but the only thing I’ve used a pencil for in the past six years is to scratch inside my ear. I’ve had these paints in my closet since 1998, and the lids are stuck. Even the gas cap on my Ford Explorer is stuck. I hate my job and my bed feels like fly paper.”

Eclipses, which are coming soon, tend to move stuck energy, stuck people and stuck things. That is to say, they move it (that is, us) whether we like it or not, and it’s actually possible to have a lot of fun during this time of acceleration and adventure.

While it’s far better not to be stuck when they show up, sometimes that’s not an option. The beauty of eclipses is that now we know when they’re going to happen. Back in the day, for example during B.C., an astrologer could get in a lot of trouble for predicting one incorrectly, or missing it altogether. Now at least we can look at the ephemeris and plan years in advance for when not to be stuck. There is an amazing eclipse on March 29, 2025 and I have no plans whatsoever of being stuck then.

There are closer ones on the horizon, such as Aug. 1 and 16. These soon-arriving eclipses involve Leo and Aquarius, two signs of the zodiac that astrologers categorize as fixed signs. The other two fixed signs are Taurus and Scorpio. These signs tend to contain energy, they tend to stabilize things and sometimes make life a little too stable. Fixed-sign people have to take special precautions to keep things loose. Whoopee Cushions work well. As Debbi Kempton-Smith says of people born with the Taurus Moon, if you want them to come over for dinner, send a car, and promise them a baked potato when they arrive. You need to bribe them.

The whole stuck phenomenon, combined with eclipses across the Leo-Aquarius axis, reminds me of some information about the Age of Aquarius that I may have neglected to mention. I must be getting set in my ways; usually I tell you way more than you want to know. One theory of the Age of Aquarius, an original, passed along to me from Dave Roell at the Astrology Center of America, is that it began around 1920. According to this theory, we know the Age of Pisces ended because art no longer needed to be beautiful for the sake of beauty; it could be conceptual and the aesthetics came second, if at all. It was the idea that counted. This shift in values was a kind of cultural marker that we had entered a “new age,” and that age happened to be ruled by a fixed sign and that sign involves ideas.

Solar Eclipse by Luc Viatour.

Where beauty is presented, it is usually intended for another purpose (such as advertising); again, a conceptual association rather than aesthetic. Music in the official New Age genre is sort of beautiful, but it has a purpose — helping you feel allegedly spiritual. If you ask me, most current music is pretty darned ugly, especially when a car stereo on the street is vibrating the North American tectonic plate. Books have largely become utilitarian devices, not objects of artistic creation. You look at a statue and you wonder, “What the heck is that thing? And what is it made of?” That is how I feel about a lot of books and websites.

(There are other theories of when the Age of Aquarius begins, including a scientific one more closely linked to the precession of the equinoxes. This says it doesn’t start for several hundred more years. The Broadway tune says it begins when the Moon is in the 7th house, which happens for two or three hours every day. Let’s take these other theories up another time, perhaps when the Sun is in Aquarius.)

One of the properties of Aquarius is the fixation of patterns. Every sign has its ups and downs, and each person born under a particular sign borrows a diversity of those properties (never really all of them). Aquarius is extremely good at establishing mental patterns. This is double edged. The patterns are fixed, but sometimes a pattern of perpetual change establishes itself, and that is one of the distinctions of Aquarian energy, particularly on the public or cultural level. So we can get trapped in change, which feels extremely stuck, particularly if that change is primarily about form and not about content: new inventions conveying the same message as the old ones, just costing more money.

A fine example of this is the way that technology (very Aquarian) has taken over our lives, particularly the people who check email 275 times a day. We just have to get the new iPod or the latest BlackBerry. When the new one comes out, we wonder how we can possibly live without it. Then when we have it, it kind of feels just like the old one. Except that you wonder how you could have ever used such a weird old relic like your prior BlackBerry…and the pace of this kind of change accelerates, but it’s fixed.

Technology metaphors for this process abound. Your old laptop gets creaky and you can’t take it anymore, but you don’t want to give it up because it’s so familiar and all your stuff is on it. But you finally have to, and you get a new one, and the first two months are spent establishing patterns (setting preferences, installing software, and so on). Then your pattern is enmeshed into that computer, which you identify with closely, and so on. You ride that fixed pattern as long as you can. It keeps repeating.

Crossing a bridge in Paris. Photo by Danielle Voirin.

We know that the way to play the game in the Age of Aquarius is to establish a pattern and let it take on a life of its own. That pattern becomes a thing that’s easy, even necessary, to get trapped in. We can even do this consciously; we teach ourselves a routine and typically find it very difficult to function without it. Patterns take on lives of their own, and they tend to live us as much as we live them. They nearly all involve technology, relationships or both. A couple may get into a pattern of relating, or sex, and it seems impossible to change; or a person may get into a pattern of being alone. And it can seem a huge deal to change that energy imprint; it can seem like nothing else is possible (but then of course it is).

Yet even strong fixed-sign people are getting sick of the patterns that have ruled their lives for so long: along with a lot of other people who are fairly well sick of the emotional distance, the insane rush and the lack of contact with one’s core values that have been taking over the world.

The point I am making in a roundabout (fishy) way here is that being stuck is a necessary part of the lives we live, in the age we are living; and part of that game involves jumping the tracks and getting unstuck long enough to make some changes and initiate a new pattern; and then this proceeds till the next time. Has anyone noticed this?

Then come eclipses. Eclipses represent phases of time and specific events wherein we get to shift continuity and establish new patterns. Their ability to help us do both is about equal; we can be directly taken out of long-established patterns (this is usually passive, unconscious mode); we can lay down the grid and create a new method, approach, attitude or mode of existence (this is usually active, conscious mode).

The oncoming ones happen to be in fixed signs. The solar eclipse of Aug. 1 is in Leo. In the first astrology book written in English (called Christian Astrology, published in 1647), William Lilly writes that when an eclipse of the Sun occurs in Leo, if it was rainy for a long time, there shall be a drought, and if it was dry, it will rain a lot. The prior fixed pattern will exchange itself for a new fixed pattern.

Let’s look at the human dimension, with a little help from the ideas of the Tibetan speaking through Alice A. Bailey in Esoteric Astrology. The Leo-Aquarius axis involves the way in which individuals relate to groups, which is one of the most important contact points of any social creature or any society. Leo is the sign of personal expression, which can represent itself as egotism on one end of the spectrum or as true individuality on the other.

Aquarius is the sign of collective expression, which can express itself as a kind of cultural fascism at one end of the spectrum or as freedom for individuals to both express themselves as such, and to freely relate in groups, on the other end. The structure is parallel. In a world where Leo is expressed egotistically, a culture will tend toward locked-in patterns and express mass consciousness (to wit, Nazi Germany). Where a culture allows individuals to be themselves, the social pattern will be more liberal, and the culture will tend toward group consciousness (quick, somebody name a place).

It is difficult for most people to tell the difference between the two parallel worlds, yet the difference makes all the difference in the universe. The purposes underlying the two sides of the equation are entirely at odds; the agendas are opposite. Currently, our society is attempting a long, painful transition from one to the other. Individuals who are undergoing the psychological process are moving from egotism to individuality. As this occurs, society will gradually shift from mass consciousness to group consciousness. The shift is extremely disorienting for many people, particularly where family relations are concerned.

Phases of a Total Lunar Eclipse. By Fort Photo.

We forget that the first group is the family, which is a version of the tribe — a distinctly Aquarian entity. The family is particularly brutal about allowing individuals to be themselves. All of psychology, psychiatry, therapy, astrology and humanistic process work are basically devoted to undoing the damage of the family and encouraging individuals to freely be themselves. For example, in the majority of my astrological sessions, I work with people whose ability to express themselves was hampered or damaged by what they were told by their parents. And in the process, their (that is, our) sense of self or right to exist as an individual free to make choices was damaged or disconnected from its power source.

In the current sequence of eclipses, we experience a total solar event in Leo first, suggesting that the place to start is with oneself. What stories do you tell yourself about who you are? What do you want to believe about who you are? If you are stuck, do you recognize the extent to which this is on the level of ideas, i.e., in true fixed-sign form, “in your head”? If so, what is your model of your own psyche? How do you believe you make real changes, and do you even believe you can? Activity in Leo is encouraging you to go from being unconscious or self-conscious to fully self-aware and self-reflective.

The second eclipse occurs in Aquarius. It is a partial eclipse of the Moon, representing a softening of cultural mores and an energetic space opening up in society (in small groups and large) for the acceptance of individuating people who are willing to take the space to be themselves. The eclipse of the Moon to me also represents the weakening of what I will call tribal lies — that is, the false things that your family believes about you, but which hurt you when you become subject to them.

We live in an age where we are able to have what is called family of choice — a tribe that we create and choose voluntarily. It is only we who will teach one another a new set of values, and who will ultimately approve of one another’s right to exist, and of our personal choices made to that end. It is we who will teach one another to say yes to ourselves and to life.

In Aquarius, the eclipse calls to focus two long-term processes which I will get to closer to that event: Neptune in Aquarius and Chiron in Aquarius.

Neptune represents an overwhelming influx of deception, carried mainly by television and the Internet. Chiron represents a tribal wound that many people (particularly those born in the 1950s, who are born with natal Chiron in Aquarius but in truth all of us) are inflicted with, and which we are now attempting to work out. Chiron’s movement in Aquarius appears to be an attempt to raise awareness on a collective level. It’s here to focus our attention on the nature of mass social deception, media mind control and the ways in which groups of people push down the awareness of individuals in order to preserve their own collective self-deception. I would call this the ultimate opportunity to get unstuck.

This of course puts a lot of responsibility on you, as an individual, to wake up and make up your own mind about your life.

But what else are you doing here?

Yours & truly,
Eric Francis




Weekly Horoscope for Friday, July 25, 2008, #724 – By ERIC FRANCIS

Aries (March 20-April 19)
It may seem odd that the sign where the astrological story begins — your sign — is known for its insecurity. Astrology books will tell you one thing, and many astrologers will tell you another. Given that Aries, in a sense, symbolically represents the commencement of everything, it follows that we might hesitate before setting the entire cosmos into motion with the least gesture. Or so it feels, anyway. However, borrowing a line from Jim Morrison, the time to hesitate is through. The time has come to light your own fire. You have gathered the wood, you have stacked it in neat piles, you have done your best to do everything right. You have thought about the kinds of chances you want to take, and what they mean to you. In a short time, the moment will come to strike the match.

Taurus (April 19-May 20)
Numerous laws cover the possession and use of property — probably most of them. Could this be related to the fact that everyone needs a place to live and food to eat, two things directly connected to land? The prevailing question of your chart is, what is the ground on which you are standing? Do you think you own or rent? And how does that ground feel? Is it still, or do you sense movement, vibration and energy? The “land” on which a human being is built is the material of the soul, and apart from any dwelling you may live in, this is the ground on which you stand. Despite everyone’s rules, you’re the boss. And it is indeed beginning to shake, and (like an earthquake) remind you of its existence apart from what you think of as yourself. Let it shake you to awareness of the depth and strength of who you are. Let all those old thought structures and old ideas about who you are tumble and let the truth be revealed. Your self-possessed sense of existence is your birthright.

Gemini (May 20-June 21)
I suggest you stop trying to intellectualize whether you feel safe, and just start feeling it. The more you think, the more reasons you will find that you have something to worry about. If you constantly critique yourself, you will do little other than find fault. Instead, I suggest you create yourself with your thoughts and your ideas, and meditate 24 hours a day on keeping yourself in a constructive, creative and affirmative state of mind. This will boil down to what you feel, not the concepts you use to justify what you feel. If you stop trying to justify anything, you will feel a lot better. The good news is that once you relax and allow yourself to be carried by the momentum of what you know, you will realize that you know a whole lot more. This, in turn, will enhance your sense of awareness and strength.

Cancer (June 21-July 22)
You are free. Do you know it? Or have the repeated efforts of everyone to convince you otherwise finally gotten the best of you? Even if they have, you have many reasons to embrace the potential you feel. One of the most important habits you can get into now and for the foreseeable future is having faith in yourself. You could call it believing in yourself, and that will get you by in a pinch. Faith is deeper, and it rests on certainty rather than on a question. In a sense, you need to turn every doubt into evidence that you can trust. Notice how every situation you’re faced with also brings you the resources to meet its needs and do what you not only must do, but want to do. The kinds of resources that are available are the kind that you must access directly, or you will never notice they are there.

Leo (July 22-Aug. 23)
It is true that you must be conservative with your money, while at the same time bold about acquiring more. This is not a particularly difficult trick for you, since you have the ability to put off collecting on the rewards of your labor for extended periods of time. Yet the rewards will not be long in coming if you remember that you are not changing the world, but rather that you are really changing how you feel about yourself. You are not seeking to acquire anything, but rather working to take what you already have and put it to better use. There are ways in which you must be frugal in this process, and ways you must be extravagantly generous with yourself and with others. You will know the difference, and your success will teach you how much you have and have to offer.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22)
You seem to be more in tune with what you don’t appreciate about yourself than what you love about yourself. Have you considered that this opinion is basically worthless, except for how it induces you to feel? In other words, your opinion of yourself affects only your emotional and mental state — it does not actually change reality. You tend to be in a perpetual mode of living within the limits that were set on you as a child, when in truth you could not actually be a child. Many things that should stand outside of judgment and outside of your doubts became entrenched in an overly serious approach to life that, while useful, has its practical limits. You seem ready to take a chance on something, particularly yourself — and particularly an idea about yourself that you are praying is actually true. You may win this bet; you may lose; but you will never know unless you test your potential.

Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23)
You see clearly the ways in which you take care of the world, but I don’t think you’re aware that you’re actually appreciated. Why would you be, if you so often experience fear and a sense of isolation? I suggest you pause and suss out what creates what. If you feel isolated, it will be difficult to sense the ways in which the people around you take on your nourishment and the other gifts you offer them. Deeper still is the way in which your fear, specifically, keeps you in a kind of box that limits what you think is true. So I want to remind you to look for evidence of what is true consciously, and to call your witnesses carefully. When someone thanks you, be sure to stop, accept the gratitude, and make a conscious choice to take it in. If you feel isolated, choose someone and reach out to them. People love you more than you imagine, but you will only feel this to the extent you give yourself permission to respond.

 (Oct. 23-Nov. 22)
We are all on the brink of an eclipse in Leo, and you are on the cusp of a major eclipse in your house of profession, calling and reputation. A reputation has at least two aspects — what you do to earn it, and how people perceive you despite that. You are doing plenty to make an impression on the world, and you appear to have some fairly large ideas for what will make an even bigger mark. And you seem to be getting mixed feedback from the people around you. I suggest you do less to impress anyone, and pay less attention to what anyone thinks. Does it really matter? Particularly anyone who takes an antagonistic view of you and your contributions? I assure you that it does not. What matters is that you be able to look over the heads of people shorter than you, so you can see clearly where you’re going.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22)
The Sun in Leo has done a good bit to lift your spirits, but when you realize how worthwhile your efforts have been that will do a lot more. I know you’ve had your doubts about whether you’ve been approaching a complex situation the right way; it has demanded a measure of exactitude and over-focus that you reserve only for your highest priorities. Does this really count as such? Have you invested your efforts wisely? Has this particular effort been worth this much time and resources? I think you’ll know soon enough. I would remind you that even given the validation that seems all-but-inevitable, your current idea is really just one layer in a much larger sequence of events. You are building something, and it would seem you have every intention of that something having enduring value. Remember this every day.

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20)
It’s not like you to be gushing with optimism, but a little never hurt anyone. You have reason to believe that a financial situation will work out the way you want it to, but the operative factor is whether you can keep your cool and guide the process along. Part of the cool factor involves something on the invisible level, the energy level, because fear tends to get in the way of constructive movement of energy. Mostly it is an awareness factor. The more energy you have, and the less of it is devoted to nonexistent problems, the more your life is a setup for things going well. At the moment, someone is making available to you just the cooperation you need, but you need to stop and notice, and recognize that even though they may not be pounding on your door, they are open to your approaching them for assistance.

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19)
The Sun has entered your opposite sign Leo, where an eclipse will take place in one week. This eclipse has special significance for you because it represents an opportunity to let go of an idea about yourself that you know you no longer need. New ideas have been taking root over the past few years, but in truth this process goes back about nine years, to the summer of 1999. It is fair to say that you have come exactly 180 degrees from where you were then. You can see yourself in a way that was impossible at that time, and you are willing to make changes that you would have considered impossible. One of them involves your willingness to be seen for who you are, and to love yourself as you are being noticed. It is true that Aquarius is the sign of groups, and you’re supposed to be the most social person on the planet. We both know that in truth, you usually survive by being someone who is a nearly total oddity, but who can fake being normal. You don’t need to be normal, and you don’t need to fake anything.

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20)
Some people have been driving a hard bargain lately, but fortunately you’ve been feeling good enough about yourself to stand up to the competition. It helps a lot — not a little, but a lot — to have some independence from the emotional projections of others. It helps even more to see that, for the most part, people usually end up being who we make them out to be. You happen to be in a moment where if you are direct with people, they will be direct with you. If you feel harassed or neglected, how you respond will strongly influence whether they decide you’re worth supporting and paying attention to. Therefore, concentrate on feeling good and doing everything in your power to work for your own cause. Make your stress level the first thing you adjust, preferably downward. And give the people around you every opportunity to be generous — the chances are, they will be.

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