The Wheel, Weekend Astrology, Horoscope

The Wheel

THIS weekend’s top story is Mercury stationing direct in Cancer. Despite its reputation for being lunar, maternal, watery, emotional and moving sideways, Cancer is an assertive, even aggressive archetype, with claws. We may account this to the strength and protective spirit necessary for mothering/parenting, or Cancer’s association with Aries (both share places on the cardinal cross of the heavens).

Whatever may be the case, cousins, it’s been a weird three weeks. The world’s sense of security is certainly under siege to the point where burying your head in the sand is starting to seem like good common sense — at least you’re grounded and laying low.

However, stuck is not a good place to be at the moment, because so much change is in motion. So many of what we consider to be stable beliefs and perceptions are about to shift or yield to something else — something most people know but cannot see. On one level, the atmosphere of denial has been whipped up to a fervor by recent world events, while at the same time denial has never seemed more pointless. Feeling out into the etheric landscapes, I sense two things: a mix of grief and the aversion to pain; and a crisis slowly unfolding with regard to one of the great issues of our day: awareness.

The wheel is turning, and the wheel of Mercury is about to reverse directions within the next 24 hours. Mercury will resume direct motion and cover, for the third time, the same territory it’s been working since around June 18, just before the solstice/Cancer ingress of the Sun. Mercury can represent the individual mind, while Cancer is one of the key archetypes for mass consciousness; that is, a kind of psychic ocean where there’s often a void of individual awareness. We’re all like little Mercury swimming back and forth in this particular stretch of water.

Does it feel like we’re going over the same lessons, experiences and ideas again and again? Does life, or the world, feel like an emotional bog? Is there an exaggerated sense of clinging to safety, tradition and nostalgia? Is there a point of reality that we’re being encouraged to acknowledge? Are we becoming more species-conscious?

Mercury stationing, however, is just a factor, I am reluctant to say a small one, but there is a larger one, which is the approaching of Saturn to its first exact opposition with Neptune in 35 years. Occurring August 30, is the setup for a huge global drama of some kind, typical of Saturn encountering an outer planet in such a direct aspect.

Solstice Redux

Let’s review recent history for a moment, however. Solstice (summer in the northern hemisphere, winter in the south) arrived with an intense planetary setup, link included below. It was the latest in a long and getting longer series of Aries Point configurations. In this case, the setup connected the Mars-Saturn conjunction in Leo, to Pluto in Sagittarius on the Galactic Core. The aspect between [Mars/Saturn] and [Pluto/GC] was a sesquisquare (also called a sesquiquadrate) — a trigger.

[Mars/Saturn] in [Leo = individuality] triggered [Pluto/GC] in [Sagittarius = collective spirituality and international culture].

Plus, the Sun reached its solstice position in an exact square to the true lunar nodes, with the North Node positioned exactly on the Aries Point, at just a few arc minutes of Aries. This represents a cosmic turning point of potentially epic proportions. This was an extraordinarily rare occurrence in a year when both solar eclipses occur unusually close to the Aries Point (March 29 at 9 Aries, and Sept. 22 at 30 Virgo). The imagery is of large events that affect many people, as well as individuals feeling the contact points with the social processes.

These social movements seem to happen around us but are intimately linked to process, movement and growth within.

Scanning over a news timeline for the past five weeks, going back to around solstice and Mercury entering the shadow phase (advance) of its retrograde, the single most stunning domestic issue that I see is the devotion of US politicians to rolling back the clock on female reproductive rights. Developments regarding this issue seem small, but the astrology says otherwise.

Using embryonic stem cells for medical research was deemed murder by the White House (a clear warning shot on Roe vs. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision which affirms a woman’s right to abortion). The good news is that Congress approved the research, but then Bush vetoed. But revealing its other colors, this week the Senate overwhelmingly passed legislation making it a federal crime for anyone to assist a young woman crossing state lines to obtain an abortion. At the moment, abortion is legal in all 50 of the United States, Washington DC and Puerto Rico. So why should assisting someone getting an abortion be a crime? Perhaps the fathers of the land know something that we do not. I can tell, because I don’t hear a peep.

I know, we are tired and really don’t have any fight left in us. We are the inheritors of conflict and world wars. Those in power are so obviously sold out that nothing seems worth the effort. But I think it’s time to start discussing this with our daughters and other young women, be they friends or relatives. And with boys, who need to know.

Young people are unlikely to know the history of the struggle to legalize abortion, and what it would mean to lose that option. (Basically, it would mean a lot of illegal abortions being performed for a very high price.) The way things are going, by the time people are geared up for this particular battle, the story will be over. We will wake up one morning and there will be no such concept as reproductive rights. The clock is turning back so fast the hands are a blur.

This situation presents a perfect opportunity for activism that does not require marching in the streets: talk to your children about what is happening, and what it means. If reproductive rights and other aspects of feminism were important to you when you were younger, consider the possibility that they might be important to your daughters or nieces today — who most likely have less awareness of the information, because political awareness is not part of normal youth culture as it was in the 1970s and to some extent in the 1980s.

The only problem with discussing reproductive rights with young people is that it involves discussing sex. The Fundamentalist Nutrasweet reality pump has succeeded in turning even the mere mention of sexuality with one’s children into something verging on incest or abuse. In this atmosphere, it must be a daring experience to talk to your kids about sex (please, let me know about your experiences doing so). But consider, for a moment, the existential wound: the creative act of making new human life is a subject all but banned from discussion with those who are created — kids themselves. Take back this territory while you still remember it exists.

Good Morning World

The anesthesia side of Neptune in Aquarius seems to be working beautifully. You just zone out and hope everything is going to be fine. If you speak up and complain, you’re violating Spiritual Correctness by “spreading negativity.” I would propose that taking opium daily would lead to a more realistic perspective.

The marketing side of Neptune Aquarius is awfully impressive as well, particularly when it comes to marketing violence, sugar and meds. There is a spiritual side as well, theoretically positive, but I don’t know about how well that’s working yet. These days I do receive occasional “action alert” type emails from some of my spiritual movement friends whose hands were previously too clean to touch politics. Maybe that’s an indicator of something. An increasing number of people seem to notice that Fox News hates humanity. That counts for something.

If nothing else, Saturn in Leo opposing Neptune in Aquarius promises a confrontation or encounter with reality, and as these two planets align exactly over the next five weeks, we can expect to see and feel additional evidence of that contact.

The current astrology is a turbulent moment of reorientation. We are in a place where, it’s fair to say, we don’t know where the road leads. A lot of where it leads has to do with the beginning of the cycle. Recall that at the time of the Saturn-Neptune conjunction in 1989, we witnessed the fall of communism and had an opportunity to reinvest billions of military dollars formerly supporting the Cold War into social programs, and building the infrastructure of the economy.

It worked for a while. The turning point coincided with Bill Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky. We are seeing precisely the opposite trend move so fast it’s difficult to identify as it blazes past. What started as the modern world’s one chance to disarm itself has been turned into the biggest arms buildup and eruption of military force in memory.

Personally Speaking: Saturn-Neptune

As a psychological process, the Saturn-Neptune opposition is the place where individual consciousness meets the mass dream. Many souls are drowned in that place; many will yet learn to swim. For everyone who cannot yet identify, claim and exist within their true personhood because “nobody else is doing so,” we have the archetype of directly experiencing individuality, self awareness, authority for oneself. However, in contrast with most spiritual paths, which seem to teach a kind of narcissism in that they exalt the individual over the collective, Saturn is a creature of Aquarius — and Aquarius is about all of us here.

Saturn in Leo places some form of collective awareness within the individual — usually, an inner censor, authority figure, authoritarian, superego, or conscience. Saturn in Leo is saying we need to get hold of this process consciously, and take over as our own boss so everyone else is not doing it to us.

Saturn in Leo is inherently about our relationship and responsiveness to collective process (i.e., what we think of as the big world) as an individual. This is not about feeling good or being unique, but rather about identifying oneself and acknowledging one’s existence to the point where meaningful participation in the world is possible.

In a sense, Saturn in Leo puts a boundary on the notion of the “self” and strives to have us identify who that self is. The suggestion, as well, is to take back the parental archetype from everyplace we invest or project it — mainly, our own parents and governmental authority. Yet the emphasis is on meaning. Most of us do plenty of things we realize are meaningless, but that is the very opposite of being an individual.

To crave meaning, some will definitely need to experience a new depth of meaninglessness in a truly conscious way. It may feel like a total void, or like yearning and hunger for life. Part of what Saturn in Leo represents is a block to, or stranglehold on, natural vitality — and the necessity (Saturn) to make contact with that vitality again. So feeling the emptiness, numbness or lethargy are the first point of contact, a spark or a flashpoint — perhaps visualized as hot Chiron in cool, volatile, gaseous Aquarius. But the spark is within, the spark that leads to the awareness that “I am actually alive and can make decisions.”

Many of us experience a sense of guilt about being alive, whether that grabs hold of sex, artistic expression, meaningful work, spontaneity or the ability to take risks. If Saturn is pointing out just how repressed we are, it’s only for the purpose of discovering our desire to be alive, recognizing our vitality for what it is, and claiming the right to exist.

Somehow I sense that those people able to do this are far more likely to stand up for justice. True inner awareness is an invitation to join humanity, not stay neutral or stand against. The Wheel is most definitely turning. That’s the sense of disorientation, motion and vertigo: which way is up? Or more to the point, which way is in?

Weekend Astrology

LUNA works her way across Virgo, opposing Uranus in Pisces Friday and squaring Pluto in Sagittarius Saturday. While Uranus and Pluto are too many degrees apart for most to describe their aspect as a square, the Moon will indeed oppose one and square the other in the space of 24 hours.

Mars is working across Virgo toward a similar double transit, though much slower. On Aug. 13 — within some hours of when Mercury enters new territory after the current retrograde — Mars opposes Uranus. On Aug. 30, one day before the Saturn-Neptune opposition, Mars squares Pluto and immediately conjoins the South Node. Back to Mars in Virgo in a moment.

For this weekend, we have the tangible enough Moon coming through the territory. Overnight Friday to Saturday, indeed, just as Mercury stations, the Moon exactly opposes Uranus in mid-Pisces. This is one to consider. Uranus is the archetype of freedom and rebellion. It is Prometheus unbound. Pisces is the realm of fantasy, creativity, dreams, pleasure and karma. What is Uranus in this sign about?

I get the feeling it’s extremely liberating where fantasy is concerned. We can imagine anywhere we want, with anyone we want. We can be free in our dreams. However, Neptune is in Aquarius, and this is a condition called mutual reception between the two planets. It seems to be the image of being trapped in one’s fantasies. Electronic media, from games to TV to film, pull us into this realm; why do something when you can see the movie? Why go anywhere when you can search the Web?

But the lack of physical expression, in reasonable proportion to all the fantasy, is frustrating. Moon in Virgo opposing Uranus should bring this to awareness. But Mars is also in Virgo, stirring up desire and frustration. Most of the blocks to physical expression are mental blocks. Virgo represents the nexus of the physical and the mental. So, we have all these hot, free fantasies with Uranus in Pisces, but innumerable mental blocks to actually sharing with others.

Mars in Virgo also seems to represent the shadow of desire, particularly toward women (who are represented as the sign of the Goddess) — which is repulsion. The overwhelming direction of male desire seems to be toward younger women. How, then, do older women who are waking up to their sexual desires, conceive of themselves as desirable? It’s going to take some learning, and working through any possible repulsion or the projection of repulsion onto prospective partners. But mostly, desire itself needs to be embraced and given space to exist.

Yet affirming desire directly also means affirming the existence of aggression, including the desire to aggress and to be aggressed. Whether there is something violent about sex, or whether that’s an idea put in our heads, one way or the other it’s going to need to come to the surface. Where and how?

One way or another, the conversations have to happen. The space to relate our experiences, needs and thoughts honestly needs to be created, and only we have the power to do so. There is hardly any place to “just go and be yourself.” The rules make nearly any discussion of sex and desire taboo. Guilt and shame themselves prevent the discussion of guilt and shame.

But there is something of a flashpoint arriving, as Mars works its way across Virgo, making conjunctions to the Pluto-Uranus conjunctions of everyone born in the Sixties, and then making an exact opposition to Uranus in Pisces. That is some energy being released, setting itself — and you — free. It’s both immediate and generational.

But more than anything, Mars is demanding more than words and dreams: it’s time for action.

Planet Waves Weekly by Eric Francis
Friday, July 28, 2006, #621

Happy Birthday Leo!

THIS week’s New Moon so close to your birthday is signaling a powerful time of renewal for you, after so many months of clearing the past out of your life. You who are born this week have been living through Saturn in Leo, making a conjunction to your natal Sun, for a year. This has been a time of reckoning, clearing the past and most of all, getting to know yourself as something of an empty vessel.

The New Moon in Leo is an invitation to fill that cup, pitcher or ball of light with whatever you want. Saturn almost always represents an exchange, and while you may have made sacrifices, and come to terms with the past. Circumstances have pushed you to exist as yourself in a new way. There has been a lot of give and take in the process, many exchanges with others, and potentially many activities involving sorting out what is fair — and working for it.

Perhaps the most interesting theme is the way in which you are establishing equity both in the context of an individual relationship and, going back somewhat further, in the context of a group relationship. The individual one can be about a close partner or close friend; the group context can be about family, your friends, or the group of people with whom you are employed.

In both circumstances, the message, the metaphor, is the same: working out a definition of yourself where you establish and preserve your integrity, as well as create a workable way of relating to others that never omits the fact that you…are you.

Now, I recognize that this may sound awfully hilarious, particularly when written from a Pisces (famous for not getting this particular lesson) to a Leo, famous for holding that boundary of self. But with Leo, one of the most common delusions is that you’ve somehow neglected your duty. The sense of responsibility with this sign is so strong that even a normal human conscience can feel like there has been some neglect even when there has been none.

With Saturn in your sign, it’s essential that you keep your sense of responsibility in perspective. And other factors suggest that making sure everyone understands what needs to be done, in the big picture, would be vitally helpful. You can do a lot for the world by doing, but you can get even more accomplished by facilitating action among the many highly energetic people in your life who have something to offer the cause.

What cause? Well, life, however you choose to define it: raising the family, keeping the workflow moving, keeping the neighborhood safe, starting a theater company or impeaching Dick Cheney. Whatever you like. Saturn in your sign is evidence that you are taking inner leadership with yourself and thus creating a situation where it will be easier for others to identify.

I suggest that if you view this as a burden, figure out a way to get past that, since it’s pretty much inevitable that people are going to be offering you more respect and attention as you master the Saturn principle. And while your realistic attitude may not make you the flavor of the month every month, anyone who is looking knows that the long-run is what counts the most. So, don’t worry if you encounter some resistance on the road to taking over your life and having that energy spread out from you in all directions.

To say you’re doing this would be an understatement. The recent Mars-Saturn conjunction in your sign was a genuine turning point for you. It would seem as if you overcame some huge inner hurdle or point of frustration. I don’t doubt that it was challenging, but I also don’t doubt that you’re feeling a lot better about an emotional situation that was giving you plenty of grief. Some would say you “got over yourself” and others would say you felt what you were feeling so directly that you pushed down some barrier and walked right over it.

There was some revelation about your ability to influence, indeed, to shape, your reality. There was some clue that you can be a little pushy if you have to, and the sense that preference does indeed trump responsibility at certain key times.

But there is something significant and immediate you are waiting to learn or discover, which will confirm that you are on the right path. The challenge may involve a confrontation with the beliefs of others. In some lives, this will play out as high drama; but I suggest you take it on a much lower pitch than that. The issue is not what it seems; it’s far subtler; it involves a place you once held in the world that you are now identifying others as holding, and if you can see yourself in others and perhaps give them a few clues for how to see themselves in you, you’ll figure out that everyone is pretty much on the same page.

What page is that? It’s our life, and we get to create it.

Aries (March 20-April 19)
You’ve probably not been feeling secure enough to express yourself the way you want to. I doubt you can find any reason for this, indeed, you may have many reasons on the list of why you should feel perfectly confident. But your mind has been playing tricks on you for some time, undermining your confidence, while all at once your responsibilities have increased dramatically. Your motivation has too — and Mercury changing directions this week in a highly sensitive angle of your solar chart will not only answer your questions and restore your self-assurance. You’ll feel your sense of mission come back to life.

Taurus (April 19-May 20)
In recent days, aspects have shifted in the direction of personal expression — from some kind of creative impulse, to the desire to plunge into a romantic affair. I would suggest, though, that you abandon all your drive to perfection and rather take as long a ride on this energy as you can. Work directly from your core, rather than seeking any kind of outer effect in the world. This will not only be the most satisfying path you can take, it will be the clearest path to an outcome that you want but for whatever reason at this point cannot yet see.

Gemini (May 20-June 21)
You have endured enough of a situation that rubs you the wrong way, and has gone on long past your point of patience. If you can bear in mind what is important to you, rather than what is irritating you, you’ll see the situation align itself in a way that can be resolved. Meanwhile, I suggest you give anyone in question the benefit of the doubt. I say this not because anyone is particularly angelic, but rather because the whole story is about to clarify itself in a way you’re unlikely to be expecting. Once you can see your options, particularly as regards a troubling financial question, you’ll feel a lot more confident.

Cancer (June 21-July 22)
Tap into the energy of a New Moon in your house of resources and self-esteem, which should more than compensate for all the recent stress you’ve been under. Yet it will come as a great relief when Mercury changes to direct motion in your sign this week. Until then, proceed with the utmost patience. Certain matters that today seem unduly complicated will work themselves out, but only if you’re able to stand back and let them do so. Get out of your own way; when you feel that urge to do something, or do everything, find a reason to do nothing.

Leo (July 22-Aug. 23)
You now need to focus on the details, though it may not be entirely clear what they are for a few more days. Still, the picture is beginning to come into focus, and you may feel a need to start making a list of tasks that need to get done. I strongly suggest you wait till Mercury has stationed direct before you plunge headlong into any task that seems daunting or overwhelming. Even then I suggest you take gradual and calculated steps, because it won’t be until Mercury returns to your sign on the 11th of August that you will have the whole landscape in sight. You need as much perspective as possible, but this is one thing you cannot rush.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22)
Mars has arrived in your sign, and this is pushing you to take charge. The thing is, you don’t want to micromanage anyone, including yourself. Instead, hang loose and let your vibes do the talking. Know your agenda, and work from the general to the specific. Then, based on a general idea, start with one task that fits the larger plan, and see how that goes. If you can spend more time observing and less time making specific demands, you will come up with some extraordinarily efficient ways to get your work done, and make your mark on the world.

Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23)
Professional matters continue to take center stage and to dominate your concerns, but the quality of the energy is about to shift rather suddenly. An unforeseen development will be responsible for most of that. Delays and complications now have the ability to work themselves out, though you need to stay close to the people involved and make sure you get where they’re coming from. This is more important than making sure they understand you, because the more you sense their thought process and agenda, the more you’ll be able to tailor your words and ideas to what they are ready and willing to do.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22)
At this juncture in your life, you need to assess what you want to be doing, and make sure you make at least three decisions to get there. I’m talking about the biggest, grandest goals you have, the ones that seem to exaggerate your role in the world. Rare is it that we can accomplish any of these quickly. But this week you can make substantial progress by making three actual decisions that get you closer to your vision. They may be large, they may be small; the important thing is that they be tangible. Beware, as you do so, of any need for approval that comes up. It’s a stumbling block you can step right over.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22)
You need to set your sights on one long-term goal. One, not two. Recent circumstances have not permitted this luxury, and lately people seem confused or reluctant to offer their help or opinion. Gradually, that is changing, and in particular someone close to you has sorted their feelings to the point where they will soon know which way is up and what, in truth, is best for them. This will allow a true meeting of both hearts and minds, but when that time comes, make sure you know your single most important agenda item, and have the words to express it clearly.

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20)
What, exactly, has been complicating communication so much? Well, perhaps it’s been too many words overall, too much emphasis on the past, too many old issues coming up without being given names, and in general, someone in your life feeling overwhelmed by their own emotions. By the end of the week, this will all mysteriously work itself out, so there is no point complaining. Overall, the astrology of the week emphasizes listening rather than speaking, and feeling rather than thinking. The world is in rough condition right now, but you are on fairly strong footing. So please share your compassion willingly.

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19)
People finally seem willing to offer you as much energy as they’ve been demanding, which should come as a welcome change. But you need to be the one who keeps track of the details, and who makes sure that developments are productive and based on real needs and goals. It’s all too easy for people to get mixed up in busy-work that actually goes nowhere, or bogged down in details that don’t support the big picture. Let your mind, rather than your mouth, lead the way.

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20)
Slowly, gradually and steadily, you are getting your way. Water always does. At long last, you’re able to work with the stated goals and needs of others, which will save you a substantial amount of energy. It’s fair enough advice at this time to suggest you avoid engaging anyone until you know where you really stand with them. Their position will inevitably seem more complicated at the beginning of the discussion than at the end, so therefore it’s a discussion worth having. Meanwhile, Mars entering your opposite sign Virgo will ensure that you have a choice in any partnership matter — as long as you open your eyes and see it standing there in front of you.

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