Dear Friend and Reader:
Decades into my project of studying the planets, I’ve figured out that the story never resolves. The cycles describe many potential points of resolution, but it rarely seems to happen. When it does, those few truly determined people are the ones who make it happen.
Studying the planets means studying people and what they do; the issue is coming from the human realm, not the astrological or the symbolic.
One of my approaches to the horoscope column and my recorded readings is to find the point of resolution. I look at the planets, and I identify the pattern and the potential courses of action. Then I describe the way through, and forward. This is always based on action that you must take — not something that will happen to you.
Often that involves some accounting for the past, or the lingering conditions of the past. These tend to serve as adhesions: situations and feelings that people are stuck to, which prevents them from going forward. My psychology training is mostly through the lineage of Fritz Perls, co-founder of Gestalt Therapy. In Gestalt process, what is unresolved from the past, serving as a stuck point, is approached as something with a purpose, that purpose usually specifically being to prevent progress.
Said another way, usually people are stuck in the past because it serves a purpose. In therapy, or in the work I am doing, the idea is to find out what that purpose is, and see if it really fits your values, needs and stated intentions.
Three Senses of the Word ‘Resolve’
Before we consider the current astrology and events in January 2020 and then December 2020, let’s consider the word “resolve.” It first appears about 500 years ago, meaning to “melt, dissolve, reduce to liquid” (kind of like we use “dissolve” today). The concept then develops into “to loosen, loose, unyoke, undo; explain; relax; set free; make void, dispel.”
Based on these ideas, it’s pretty clear that most of us are walking around with a lot of unresolved material, and are attached, yoked, stuck, or frozen solid. This tends to serve as a kind of security blanket. One’s adhesions and unresolved situations maintain orientation on the past. And in that condition, it’s nearly impossible to find the present, or find one’s way to the future.
Often it’s much worse than that. Many of the more serious adhesion junkies will try to drag down, hold back, or otherwise interfere with anything that is oriented on progress, because they think it threatens them.
This only works as a temporary expedient. Eventually the future catches up with everyone, and the consequences of the past are forced on us. That usually comes as a collapse of some kind, be it personal, transpersonal or collective. In this work, I am more concerned with the personal consequences, because we can talk about them, and do something about them.
Note: many people are looking out at the world and saying: what a damned mess. Therefore, I can’t do anything about my own life. There’s no point. Who cares anyway. I’m just going to plod along, or (in the alternate) have a good time, or (in the alternate) take advantage of whoever I can because it doesn’t matter anyway, or (in the alternate) keep getting taken advantage of.
Resolve: The Art of Determination
For those interested in resolution, most of the solution involves engaging in the first kind of resolve — melting and loosening — and is then followed up by another kind of resolve, the noun, a much newer usage: “determination, firmness or fixedness of purpose; a determination.”
One of the saddest observations I’ve made in doing this work is how dense most people not just are, but are wholly committed to being. I believe that this seeming density is yet another defense mechanism. Being thickheaded is an excellent way to insulate oneself from caring, and therefore from taking action on your own behalf. It is a form of denial. So, too, is “being overwhelmed by the world.” What people mean when they say that is that they’re letting their awareness be pulled out of their body, and as a result, feel powerless.
Heck, anyone who didn’t have all those problems would suddenly be confronted by the unknown and infinite potential. And that is supposedly “scary.” After all, if you don’t have to try, you don’t have to worry about failing.
There’s one other notion of resolve: to see clearly, as when a lens comes into focus, your eyes fix onto something. We need that too. Here is a clue: unresolved problems almost always seem worse than they are. And part of the “unresolved” element involves unacknowledged anger. That is a real hook. If you carry around your anger, it turns to resentment, which turns to depression. No pill is going to solve that problem. You actually have to work that out, if you want to feel better.
Many Cycles Renewing at Once
The current sky involves a New Moon in Virgo (a conjunction of the Moon and Sun) accompanied by Mercury, Venus, Mars and Juno. In one sense, that seems like a pileup. To most, it certainly looks like one.
Really, it’s many cycles turning over at once. Any two planets have a cycle, which is easy to see in the case of the Moon and the Sun; that is the lunar cycle. Venus and Mars also have a cycle; Mercury has its own cycles against both Venus and Mars; and they all have cycles against Juno, the slowest mover in the alignment.
The presence of Juno is especially relevant. All these personal planets are about our personal business and our feelings. Much of that personal business involves feelings for others, and relationships with others.
Juno, a symbol of our attitudes and values about relationships, has an unresolved quality to it. It often represents the bone of contention: the thing one partner holds against another partner.
There is often a bitterness and disappointment where Juno is concerned, and it’s dragging us down. Most relationships are locked in a past orientation. Most — not all, but most — represent agreements (usually tacit or unspoken) not to grow. That’s because growth “threatens” the structure of the relationship, which means the ego identities of the people in it.
This is a complex and almost invisible issue. People tend to identify so strongly with their relationships and relationship roles that anything that might change the relationship can be viewed as a threat — including their partner growing or changing.
No social movement is going to help us. In my opinion (informed by studying and living the history of many such movements, in numerous contexts), the failings of the “sexual revolution” and also of what is called “second-wave feminism” (of the late 1960s into the 1970s) was the refusal to work out new models of relationships, new forms of agreements, and better models of cooperation. In many ways, these so-called movements made matters worse, and today much of society is in a retro position, going back to older, more traditional models (in the spirit of Pluto in Capricorn).
Often, the new, hip, cool way to do things is a mockery of what our grandparents did, and had to do, for vastly different reasons that were relevant for them and not for us.
And we must be cautious of all these planets opposing Neptune in Pisces. There is a potential trap or delusion if you think you’re doing anything for the sake of a relationship. It’s the fastest way out of taking responsibility for your own life.
Chiron as Representative of Virgo
Chiron is an excellent representative of Virgo — not its “ruling planet” (I am a traditionalist there) but something that describes what Virgo represents at its best and perhaps at its worst. Chiron is now in early Aries, where it was in the late 1960s and early 1970s. And we are being confronted with many of the same situations.
Declaring one’s identity or membership in a movement is not an indicator of personal healing. It might feel good for a while, it’s nice to get with other people and identify some common interests, but the work of self-actualization is personal.
My deepest concern about the times we are living in is that there is so little emphasis on the process of personhood (a concept related to self-actualization). We live in times when we’re taught to expect everything to be easy. Becoming a whole person is not easy. The healing process takes devotion, effort and resources.
There is no simple fix for the situation most people find themselves in — though there are satisfying, workable, useful approaches. You can feel better. You can address the problems of the past, find the present and point yourself toward the future. But it is a process, and it involves developing an inner orientation that is all but forgotten today.
Showing Up For Yourself
Let’s put it this way. Therapy is not just about showing up for the session. It’s about showing up for yourself. The same can be said of any workshop or process, or horoscope column, or music lessons, or whatever.
You are the one who has to show up and keep showing up every day. And then you must guide yourself back when you seem to drift away or get distracted — if you want to feel better and have your life be better.
It’s easy to deem oneself part of the solution by taking part in something that is extrinsic and external to you. Of course, thanks to total immersion in digital technology, the notion of “external” verges on meaningless because that’s all there seems to be. And to do this, we need to rediscover inward, within, introspective, inner space.
You may not take me as much of a graffiti artist, but for years I had a tag that I put just about everywhere I went. Maybe you’ve seen it scribbled on the wall somewhere in the New York area. It said, “There is hope for humanity and you are it. Let X=X.”
Yep, the whole thing is on you: this whole project of growing into yourself, your potential, your desires, your vision for the world. You can have an impact — on yourself. There is no world, no society, no human race. Let’s start with the notion that you exist, and that’s all you know for sure.
PS — You may be wondering about the “Let X=X” part of my tag. What do you think that means? Please email me if you have an idea.
In These Times Autumn Reading by Eric Francis
Individual Signs: Astrology That’s Better Than Therapy.
Dear Friend and Reader:
You might have noticed that the world is in upheaval, which is both coming from, and feeding into, personal challenges: that out of control, crazy feeling of what the holy heck is happening and where is this all going and what am I doing? This will be the theme of my Autumn Reading, called In These Times — which I am about to begin recording.
Although I conceive of this project as a set of 12 interrelated segments, I realize that some people prefer to focus only on the one or two signs they resonate with most strongly. To accommodate that preference, I am now opening up the pre-order phase for individual signs of In These Times.
This option tends to be particularly useful if you’d like to give the reading as a gift to a friend, relative or colleague — which many of our customers do.
“Uncanny. Wow. Totally on point. So much so, I bought readings for my daughter, cousin and a friend as gifts.”
— Glinda W., on the 2019 Spring Readings
My individual sign readings are designed to be a source of motivation and inspiration: they’re about what is right with you. I talk about how to best use your resources and your abilities, and making peace with who you are and what you want.
And you can still purchase the full set of all 12 signs for $99 (final price upon publication will be $111). Costing less than half a therapy session for all 12, these readings will point you toward your source of guidance, comfort and sanity. I will take a light touch covering the intense Capricorn astrology, and the current Virgo astrology, tailored for each of the signs.
Delivery is anticipated for early September.
In These Times is included with the Backstage Pass and the Galaxy Pass. If you upgrade, it will come with your new membership. If you have one of those levels, please consider extending the reading as a gift to someone who needs it.
Thank you for your purchase, and for trusting me as your astrologer.
PS — You may place your order by phone, by calling (206) 567-4455. If someone does not answer we will call you back promptly, next day at the latest.
September Monthly Planet Waves Horoscope by Eric Francis
Aries (March 20-April 19) — Self-care is your top priority no matter how busy you may be. In fact the more you have going on, the more you need to focus on your inner needs, your basic nourishment, and giving yourself time to replenish the well. We live in an age when the theme is to exploit every resource till it’s depleted, and push every system until it breaks. That does not work in the human world, and it’s time to remind yourself that you have limits — and these must be honored. It may seem like a cliché to say that if you have your health, you have everything you need, though it’s ultimately the bottom line. You may be getting the message that your work is your top priority (all that action in Capricorn, at the top of your chart, and in Virgo, your house of activity and service). Yet this is set within the context of being a living creature that depends on food, water, rest and companionship. The world is growing more complex by the day, to the point where chaos theory is the only way to get a handle on things. That’s a fancy way of saying “pattern recognition.” To do that, your mind must be in a relaxed state. You need some empty space and available bandwidth to have an idea or to notice the solution to a problem when it comes to you. The problem is we’re forgetting about these things: relaxed state, empty space, available bandwidth. You must remember, and rediscover, if necessary.
Taurus (April 19-May 20) — It’s time for a more creative approach to everything. This calls for a combination of observation and originality: working like an inventor. Such an approach defies everything we’re pushed into being, feeling and thinking at this moment in history. Notice the way everything is being reduced to an algorithm, or a mindless routine. You are not a script, a processor or a machine, and the challenges you are confronting are distinctly human. When you open up your bottle of truth and smell it, you must be turned on. Craving, desire, curiosity, and delight in experience are the feelings to follow and to encourage. On the other side of this equation is identifying everything that qualifies as a belief. The Taurus mind has a strong tendency to get wrapped up in religiosity, whether we’re talking about politics, style, creativity or existence itself. When you notice yourself believing something, trace the idea as close to its origin as you can. Rather than assume it’s correct or true, phrase it as a question, and argue both sides of the issue. Large, sweeping concepts, principles or convictions are not flexible or adaptable enough to be of any service in your present environment. One other thought: there is the solitary aspect to creativity, and there is the relational one. You want others around who you can bounce ideas around with. Too much seriousness will not serve; a sense of play is essential.
Gemini (May 20-June 21) — You are in a time of renewal. Currently this means concluding matters that must come to an end before it’s possible for you to begin anything new. Start with the easy stuff: wrap up any nearly complete project, or divest yourself of it. This is a skill that needs to be learned, taught and practiced. I can go as far as telling you that there is such a thing as closure, and it’s not about pretending. Mostly, it’s about making a decision and sticking with it. There is also the element of understanding the nature of your commitments, and knowing when a promise is kept, a job is done, or a goal is unattainable. Then, everything that follows is based on that knowledge. There is no “going back.” This involves a conscious relationship with the passage of time, and that implies death. The current state of society and of many individual minds is to hold everything in a state of limbo, where there is neither closure nor completion. In that state of being, the vital force — the life force in any form — slowly drips away. This is the state of being when the future never seems to arrive. You can help yourself by beginning with endings. Go through your physical space and remove everything that has expired, or that is useless, in the way, or otherwise gathering dust. Continue by resolving a few matters with friends, relatives or associates that are keeping you perpetually on hold. The feeling connected with these projects will be edgy, a little daring, slightly unfamiliar.
Cancer (June 21-July 22) — You have plenty on your mind. Most of it is irrelevant, and you would be wise not to talk about it, act on it, or let it burden you. Yet in the mix of it all, there would seem to be something you want and need to express, to learn, or to master. Keep this a private matter for now. Yes, in the age of spewing everything out of one’s pocket computer/camera/phone, it’s arguable that there is no such thing as private. Find your way back to that space, or perhaps get there for the first time. It feels a little like you’re sitting in a room and nobody else but you exists. And as much as you might seek someone else for validation or even verification of your existence, you do not. Instead, using the strength of your mind and your ability to control your physical spaces, you compel your frame of reference to be internal. Older people will remember this, and it will feel good. Younger people need to learn, or be taught, or discover, what this is — and it may feel daunting, frightening, uncertain. It’s the feeling of “nobody knows I’m here but me.” There may be a kind of uncomfortable silence that you think needs to be filled. Note, I am not talking about sitting upright on a wooden floor in total silence for two weeks. You can go to a remote location in your city where nobody will find you, and write or draw in a paper notebook. You can play an instrument. You can sit in the back of a library and read a physical book. For this to work, leave all devices elsewhere.
Leo (July 22-Aug. 23) — Set your priorities in order. That means knowing what comes first: the one thing above all else. This may take some thought and deliberation; but then, you may go right to the answer (and even if you do, apply some true contemplation to make sure you’ve got it right). Once you are aware of your first agenda item, the others will fall into place. You will have a better idea what to do every day, because you have acknowledged what is the most necessary or urgent. You will have an organizing principle. There is no right answer; you must decide. We are talking about things on a higher order, not a lower one. You might make the determination based on an external deadline you must meet. It might be something that has been troubling you for a long time, which you know you have to accomplish or resolve. The challenge is that you seem to have many pressing concerns, yet they are not all equal. Something among them will stand out. You may notice a pattern: all things influencing your mental health; all things influencing your body; all matters of your diet; the way you structure your time toward any one of these particular ends. Note, based on other factors in your chart, the most important matter is likely to skew in a direction akin to what I have mentioned. The top item will go to the level of the structure of your life, and that will help determine the content and your approach. Yet you must identify what it is, and act on it.
Hello and welcome. We’ve just posted the Virgo Astrology Studio reading. This reading serves Virgo Sun, Moon and rising. It’s a beautiful, elegant audio presentation of your astrology. (Play sample above.) The reading will stand up to many playings. It’s downloadable or playable on any device, and never “expires.” I give satisfying descriptions of your astrology and how you might be experiencing it — and what opportunities I see. I craft it more as self-therapy than as a reading, but it’s definitely both. My readings are equally effective whatever Virgo factor you identify with, because I speak directly to you, from a place of understanding and empathy.
Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22) — What is happening now will be clearer once the Moon opposes the Virgo Sun in about two weeks. However, we can begin with one idea: the events and developments in your world are about you, not about someone else. A good mantra for you now would be, “It’s not about him/her/them. It’s about me.” I am not suggesting that you be “selfish” as much as I am proposing that you center your experience on your own existence, and not use others as an excuse or foil. If you hear yourself placing a relationship as a major factor in a decision you’re making, pause and reflect. If you are worried about someone else’s feelings, take a step back and look at that carefully. These are likely to be excuses you are using to subvert your own power of decision. In that condition, you cannot be true to others, or take care of their needs — and to do so might be to avoid your own important agenda. Similarly, ensure you make everything in your life work for you. If you’re doing something out of a sense of duty or responsibility, learn how to do it better as a matter of self-improvement and experience. With Neptune in your opposite sign Pisces, you must proceed with caution in all matters where relationships are concerned. It’s not easy for you to see what is real and what is not. And you can no longer invest yourself in others as an “unconscious” means of finding out who you are.
Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23) — Quite a lot is about to happen, though at the moment you might feel like you’re trapped in a bubble, or in a soundproof room where nobody can hear or see you. This is the “world apart” feeling of the 12th house, which for you is Virgo, where all of the personal planets are currently placed. You won’t be there for long, though time may seem to slow down while you are in this particular state of mind. I suggest you take advantage of your situation, and do just that: take a breath. Assess your life. It’s clear from your astrology that you feel as if your life is built on shifting foundations, or maybe in an earthquake zone. In the silence, you may be able to hear or feel where the rattling is coming from. The state of the world is affecting you particularly strongly, and directly. That means, in part, the mental and emotional condition of so many people who seem to be giving up, but who don’t know how to. From where you are, you have plenty of room to experiment. Few would even notice that’s what you’re doing. Test the boundaries of your commitments and your relationships. Experiment with how you present yourself to the world, and see how you feel — and observe whether anyone even notices. More than anything, admit to yourself how you feel and what you want. Remember those two elements, as often as you can: how you feel, and what you want. Write it on the mirror.
Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22) — What is good and what is not: do you need anyone to explain that to you? Well, you may need to explain to yourself why there is so much confusion, and why, at times, you may get confused. There is an underlying matter: if someone thinks that the ends justify the means, then anything goes. If someone thinks there are plenty of people in the world, and therefore they are expendable, then anything goes. If someone thinks the world is here to serve them, rather than there being a mutual relationship, then it’s easy to pull out the stops. Therefore, much depends on your underlying philosophy of life. Much depends on who and what you think people are: specific individuals, and humanity in general. While you are discerning person, it will be helpful if you consciously step back from being judgmental. Discrimination usually takes place in a blind spot. Therefore, make the effort to be accepting, sincere and vulnerable, in private situations, but especially in public ones. Be real with people; let your face reveal your state of mind and your emotions. Other factors in your chart suggest that you are reticent to speak, and to admit your reality to others. You may fear what someone will do with anything they learn. Yet take note that the truth always comes out. You may have some sway over how you are perceived today, though not in the long run. Simply put, you are who you are, and you only waste precious time by trying to be anyone else. Therefore, admit what is real, and be yourself at all times and in all places.
Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22) — Jupiter in your birth sign or rising sign is making its way toward Neptune in Pisces. We are all about to experience the Jupiter-Neptune square, and you are about to experience it in an especially personal way. The message of this transit is to be honest about your feelings. A domestic situation has been troubling you more than you’ve been willing to let on to yourself. The reason for your state of “self-concealment” (which translates to denial) is that admission of your most basic feelings would likely be followed by the recognition that you need to act on them. That, in turn, could entail considerable inconvenience and emotional upset. Yet this is a matter of whether you are willing to live the truth as you perceive it. The question I suggest you ask yourself is whether the situation as it stands today is helping you, and whether you can sustain it for much longer. You might also ask yourself the source of any hesitation. Ultimately, taking action on your situation and your feelings is the admission of your personal truth; the truth is not an abstract thing — it is the most compelling thing. Even so, here is the deeper question: what else is going on? What is this really about? There would seem to be some underlying layer that you may not want to get to. Yet not only has the time arrived; you are in a rare position to identify and resolve something that would otherwise be very difficult to pin down or act upon. Let one sane response lead to another.
Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20) — The clock is slowly ticking on the Saturn-Pluto conjunction in your birth sign or rising sign. Though this takes place in January, you are on notice now to take care of unfinished business as a top priority. That includes finding closure on important personal matters that have hung around for too long: unfulfilled promises, unspoken truths, unresolved conflicts, and all other matters you know are holding you back. Here is the crux of the situation: holding onto the past will keep you there. Letting go of the past is not a matter of marching on, pretending nothing happened. It is, rather, about coming to closure, so that you reclaim your life as your own — as a whole person. On one level, the effect of Saturn conjunct Pluto can be seen as destructive or disruptive. Yet it is an event of such momentous significance that this cannot be the ultimate message. You are advanced enough to know that you must clear a way for the future by actually coming to terms with the past. This conjunction signifies the power for you to do what every spiritual path claims to point toward: transcending or “breaking through” the ego, thanks to the power of your soul. Yet remember: neither your ego nor your soul is a thing. Ego is essentially a thought-form constructed mainly of denial. Soul is a growth process that you take from lifetime to lifetime. At the moment, your growth process is coming into contact with your denial; and usually, growth is the stronger element — but you can still derail that if you want. Ultimately, nothing happens without your consent. Therefore, choose wisely what you agree to and what you do not.
Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) — You may feel like your circumstances are over your head, beyond your abilities or outside your control. Now you get to test any such theories, and test your mettle as well. It is true that we seem to live in times of wrenching change, and to be experiencing events that make no sense and that we do not understand. Yet you are what is changing more than anything else. Your psychic and emotional structure is experiencing much greater tectonic forces than is society. You are being forced to confront your fears, your hidden dimension, and what may feel like your past karma (it remains to be seen whose it is, in actual fact). Within the sphere of your own consciousness, what’s happening to you counts for more than what is happening around you. Growth is rarely easy, and it tends to be experienced in the face of what feels like the inevitable. Often there must be a confrontation, if only because change is so inconvenient. Yet it is now up to you to make the most of it. Even though you may feel pushed and confronted, it is your destiny to discover your true strength, your deepest abilities and what I will reluctantly call your power. Far from some form of magic or titanic strength, that would be the power of decision. In just over a year’s time, the mighty planet Saturn returns to your birth sign (and its other sign of rulership). Lay hold of every opportunity to take charge of your affairs, know when you must accept that you cannot and (as is often misattributed to St. Francis) have the wisdom to know the difference.
Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) — Borrowing from the philosopher and playwright Seneca, when you don’t know what harbor you’re sailing for, no wind is the right wind. Ah, but when you know — and you soon will — you will see that there is a strong gust at your back, guiding and even pushing you into the future. This is about Jupiter in Sagittarius, which this month makes its last contact with Neptune in your birth sign or rising sign. This will help you resolve many lingering questions. Sagittarius represents your aspirations and your desire to accomplish meaningful things, even great ones. It’s also about your professional activities, which have been a little bogged down as of late. I was reading up on Jupiter in the first interesting astrology book I’ve come across in a long time, from way back in 1945 by the Rev. Dr. Marc Edmund Jones. He said that Jupiter is about “deeper participation in experience, as compared with the more simple continuance in existence.” You need adventure in your professional life, not a job. You need a vocation — a calling — not a career. This is just in time, as a crack is opening up in society, and you are nimble enough to go through. Pay attention to this fissure or fault line as it moves, shakes and opens up. That is your invitation and in a sense your destination. What to many others is an annoyance, an inconvenience or some form of social tragedy is your greatest resource. Yet to take advantage of this, you must participate boldly in your own life, and that of society.