Through an Arch or Doorway

Photos of this week’s transit of Venus, taken by Anthony Ayiomamitis in Athens. Technically this is called the moment of third contact — the third time that the rim of Venus touches the rim of the Sun. Fourth contact is when the other side of Venus touches the rim of the solar disk and the transit ends. The scattered black dots are Sun spots, which are associated with ejections from the Sun. See additional photo by Anthony below in the CREATE section of this issue, illustrating our tribute to Ray Bradbury.

Dear Friend and Reader:

One thing to keep in mind about an event like the transit of Venus is that you will see most of its influence in the long run.

NASA image of the transit of Venus, as Venus makes contact with the solar disk earlier this week. This image was created from the live video feed provided by the space-based Solar Dynamics Observatory.

While many are experiencing turning points that would be appropriate for the solar and lunar eclipses that we’ve just experienced the past few weeks, it may take some time to gain the perspective necessary to see the transit of Venus for the watershed event that it is. It’s a little like passing through an arch or doorway, which leaves you at the beginning of a new phase of exploration.

That is part of using astrology well — noticing how these things work in hindsight, then using future events as visioning tools. However, another view is that we’re running out of runway when it comes to getting ourselves together, when you factor in the many larger and deeper missions, personal and collective, that we know we need to act on. More on that in a moment.

Many of our readers made the effort to see the event, seeking out university astronomy departments, science museums, friendly amateur astronomers and other places where telescopes were set up. A few used pinhole cameras and some just seemed to look up at the Sun. The subtle influences of such an event run deeper than whether you see it or not. One of the gifts of personally witnessing a rare astronomical event is a sense of perspective, by which I mean a sense of our place within the solar system, and observing personally that it’s real.

It’s one thing to see planets in the night sky where they often appear, amidst the stars. It’s another thing to see a planet in daylight, in the context of another nearby body, the Sun. Most of the time we don’t feel like we live within a solar system. Watching Venus go by, it’s difficult to miss.

Photo of transit of Venus, seen with a pinhole camera, taken “in the middle of somewhere with a group of butterfly fanatics” in China. Photographer is A. Dong, provided by Planet Waves reader Sam.

As for my own viewing experience: I felt a bit like Basho, the 17th century Japanese poet, who would walk for a month to witness the Full Moon rise over a particular temple site, only to arrive on a cloudy evening. I’ve been tracking the approach of this event carefully since 2004. Due to my travel schedule associated with UAC (last week’s astrology conference in New Orleans), I decided (with many appealing options) to conserve my energy and stay close to home.

It turned out that there was dense cloud cover over much of the Northeastern U.S., though I hear a few people in Brooklyn did get a peek when the clouds parted. Where I was, looking west over our old mountains here, we never caught a glimpse of the Sun.

From an astrology standpoint, I believe it was more meaningful to tune into the transit of Venus energetically rather than to see it, though of course, the visual always helps bring things into a real-world, physical context, rather than merely conceptual.

If you’re looking for the influences this event is having on you, remember that we’ve been talking about an event with a wide orb. This week was the focal point, though on many levels of personal and collective experience, the transit of Venus reaches into the past and the future, with this week as an epicenter. The changes that are centered now will ripple into the future, and if you’re observant you will be able to trace them back to 2004, when the first Venus transit of this pair happened. Consider what was going on in June of that month and see if you can discern the turning point, and the connection to what you’re doing, or what is happening to you, now.

If you’re observant about changes of course in your life, you may have a sense of your relationship to this astrology. It might be obvious, though I suggest you consider carefully the factors of context that actually evoke meaning. Even as you may be making certain decisions under a microscope, also use the widest possible lens to look at your life. We are still at the fulcrum of this event. While the transit itself has passed, we remain close to it, with much of the leverage that it offers.

Planet Waves reader Kristina Holmes gets a look at the transit of Venus at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

The transit of Venus is what I call a threshold event; it’s not the kind of thing that wears off. Rather, it’s a point of initiation or crossing into another phase of existence. Consciously or not, we’re rooting our changes and developments here, usually in the form of decisions. The more consciously you do that, the stronger your tap will be into the creative energy associated with the transit. If you’ve been working with the process of this transit, don’t stop! You can deepen your experience by looking at your astrology chart and figuring out where this is influencing you the most, or the point of deepest contact.

Then there are forms of inner progress that you may be feeling, and these too will take time to grow roots and establish themselves. Like nearly all forms of growth, this is often more fragile than we usually imagine. At the same time, as is the tendency in orthopedic surgery, we have to stand up and walk on the newly repaired part of ourselves to build both strength and confidence. If you have not noticed, much of what we think of as ‘growth’ and ‘healing’ and ‘spiritual training’ rarely ever leave the realm of theory — and it can take some constant encouragement to actually start taking the risks necessary to make real changes.

Conscious readiness is often a meaningful factor in taking action, though I’m sure you’ve noticed how much time you sometimes spend hesitating or waiting for something to happen. That’s a great habit to squirm out of — you have much better options.

Every facet of the current astrology is helping with that. We have just experienced a cluster of four eclipse-like events (solar and lunar eclipses, the Venus transit and the Moon’s occultation of Pluto nearly simultaneous with the transit). If you think of the cosmos as speaking with this concentration of events, this is a sign that it’s really trying to get our attention. Said another way, many cycles are going off together — like the alarm clock, the phone and the doorbell ringing at the same time.

Schwoebel family and friends watch the transit using their hands and the back door as ultraviolet filters.

While in some ways there is a revolution of consciousness going on, and gradual change is undeniably happening, you may be aware that necessity is currently outstripping progress. Much of the United States was turned into a fracking project long before most people had ever heard that word (and if nobody prevents it, Europe and China are next). Our government became a theocracy while we were distracted by our leaders bombing Islamic countries. We are living with “Christianity” as a religion of judgment, cruelty, privilege and control.

As of today, none of our cultural systems seem able to handle the changes and necessity for awareness that would get us to organize and take action on the many situations that are calling for it — and also the calling you may be feeling to get involved. We are just starting to make the connections between personal healing and planetary healing, still uncertain whether to trust that process.

We are still staring right into the sold-out political system; many courts, including the Supreme Court, stacked with reactionaries whose pretense of public service is laughable; banks functioning as little other than parasites, and the system remaining on the brink; Monsanto suing organic farmers for “patent infringement” when organic fields are contaminated by Monsanto’s toxic pollen; and the minds and emotions of most people embalmed by the images in television advertising. Speaking of, Scott Walker was able to buy about $25 million worth of that and convince Wisconsin voters that they really do want to end labor unions.

We could ask what it would take for a mass awakening to happen. The better question is what is provoking you to wake up, and what is your point of involvement? At what moment do you decide you have to live differently, reaching from what you know is your true purpose? At what point do you (or did you) commit yourself to what you truly value?

Over Brooklyn, the clouds parted for a few moments, allowing a view of the transit of Venus. Photo by George Hirschfeld.

It would help on every front were we to awaken to the concept of mutual interests. As A Course in Miracles notes, healing begins the moment you don’t see your interests as being separate from those of others.

There’s a reason so-called conservatism pushes its ‘every man for himself’ way of life — if people are competing or self-absorbed, they won’t join together against the bigger forces that are doing things to them, their children and the whole planet. There is still the illusion of competition between what works for one and what works for all. Separation and the obsession with separate interests leads to conflict and chaos. Messengers to the contrary are trying to seduce you into being an egocentric fool.

Humans are naturally tribal. We need one another, and it takes the most impressive, expensive disinformation campaign in history to get so many people to think otherwise. I suggest that you make peace with the fact that in whatever you’re doing, whatever your plans, whatever you want to accomplish, you will need the support of some kind of community — and in turn, you will be offering your efforts to something larger than yourself.

At the same time, you have to take full responsibility for your own creative spark, and not depend on others to get you going or provide you with the solution. This may seem like a paradox. It’s simply the fact that your journey starts with you and branches outward from there.

It will be relatively easy to see how this week contained a personal turning point. The collective level is a different story. In hindsight, we will be able to look back and see if this moment contained the seed of an awakening or a missed opportunity. For now, 2012 remains up for grabs.

Eric Francis

Friday, June 8, 2012. Weekly Horoscope #906 | Eric’s Zodiac Sign Descriptions

Gemini Birthdays: Living As If

If you discovered secret information that you were now aligned with your purpose or deepest calling in life, how would you live? What if that information came with the provision that you might not spontaneously feel any different, or have anything ‘happen to you’, but rather that you’re free to make your choices as if you know exactly what you’re doing? The message of your astrology is that something within you has come into focus, though you have to live this from the inside out. That requires taking a chance, because there may not be sources of outer reassurance that you’re ‘doing things right’. In fact you may be encountering resistance or doubts, and the only answer to those is to focus inwardly and remain in contact with your purpose as you make each decision. You are the one who will get to moderate between the various facets of your psyche, which may offer a diversity of opinions on the most significant issues in your life. As you do this, you will discover that those facets, and their various viewpoints, are aspects of who you are, but not YOU in the proper sense of that idea. As you gain practice with this, you will discover that actual you, which will gradually have a stronger voice in guiding the direction of your life, and finally, have the only voice. Here is a clue: in the past few days you’ve learned something significant about who this is.

Aries (March 20-April 19) — Your actions (and even your thoughts) could have unintended consequences, so I suggest you make gentle, careful moves over the next few days. Be mindful of situations where ‘one thing leads to another’, i.e., where something said under the influence of alcohol can take on an unintended life of its own. In particular, be mindful of when you’re acting on belief and when you’re acting on good information. The two will have a tendency to disguise as one another, and it’s vital that you be able to spot your biases. Subject all your suppositions to fact-checking, and be careful when you notice you’ve made up your mind before the data is in. Intuition is often trustworthy, though right now you need a few layers of intellectual safety net below you. And, notably, any seeming need to rush to a conclusion or a decision is probably a false alarm. Take the time to think.

Taurus (April 19-May 20) — Don’t try to judge your own progress. There are too many wheels in spin for you to predict where you’re going to emerge from your current adventure, or is it odyssey? Meanwhile, you can learn plenty from studying people’s reactions to you. They might be stronger than you’re accustomed to; if some people express adulation and others extreme irritation, taking the average won’t help you determine the truth — rather, experiment with not taking opinions so seriously. You could find yourself diving into situations beyond what you think of as your better judgment, perhaps inspired by someone who lacks your usual resistance to risk. You tend to overthink things, something you may find yourself bypassing these days. You can afford to live in a way that, for you, seems daring — your luck is better than you think, as long as you stay in the moment and don’t make any promises.

Gemini (May 20-June 21) — How much do you want to be influenced by someone else? Keep that question in mind; once you imbibe any influence at all, the effect could be a total and unexpected transformation. If you’re encountering someone you perceive as famous, you might want to consider your relationship to their notoriety. Does it serve as an example? Is it useful? Are you starstruck? Or are you able to set it aside entirely and meet them on mutual ground? That would be the best possible scenario, though this may require you to project yourself into the future a bit, and to imagine the person you’re striving to become. No role model is ever 100% what we want to be, and other factors indicate that you’re feeling more deeply than usual about your own goals and values. The most useful modeling you can do right now involves adapting learning methods that help you focus on what is most important to you.

Cancer (June 21-July 22) — You have many opportunities for exchange open to you. Don’t worry if at first they don’t seem like the kind of plunge into the impassioned abyss that you’ve been longing for. When you’re wading out into shallow water, remember, it can get deeper suddenly and unexpectedly — and it’s likely to do so. Yet you won’t be out of your depth as long as you stay in communication with yourself and anyone with whom you’re closely involved. Communication begins with the prefix co, which means it should go both ways. Be responsive to what your own psyche is telling you. Be responsive to your environment. And notice what the people in your environment are telegraphing as individuals and as a group. The group dynamic is the one to watch with utmost attention — there’s a lot going on there, and you’re a more significant influence than you may think.

Leo (July 22-Aug. 23) — The chances are that by the time you read this, you’ll already be moving ahead with your plan. I suggest you treat this a little like surfing or hang-gliding: a somewhat dangerous but compelling activity that utilizes forces more powerful than yourself. That’s the thing to remember and respect — what you’re doing goes beyond your own personal power. In such situations, the thing to look for is how you can influence the developments rather than take control. Your influence is real, and it can be potent; control is an illusion, and it will likely backfire. Therefore, lean in the direction you want to go. Trace the trajectory of your recent movement, and see if you can figure out what direction that indicates you’re traveling. Think in terms of your immediate, intermediate and long-term objectives. Any correct choice you make now will have the quality of supporting all three.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22) — Be careful not to take on all the troubles of the world — or to take personal responsibility for starting the revolution. Rather, allow yourself to be revolutionized, and give yourself permission to participate in the ways that work for you. What works will be what takes you out of your safe zone, particularly of your ideas. At the moment you lack the ability to isolate yourself from challenging ideas by making them abstract. Indeed, you have the ability to take everything personally. That’s why I suggest you emphasize learning and participation rather than taking on anything larger than yourself as a huge burden or mission. If you’re actually called to take action in a larger way, you will be the first to find out about it — and you’re unlikely to be alone. The salient message of your astrology is to observe, learn and engage yourself in ways that are nourishing to you, then gradually embrace your leadership role with that as its basis.

Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23) — You have room in your life, and in your mind, only for what is authentic and valid for you. You could say that this is about believing only what is true, though in support of this, I suggest you consider the possibility that ‘belief’ is not actually a value. Rather, it’s more like a substitute for one. Base your viewpoints and opinions on what you observe and can document, and make sure you question those things on a regular basis. This is less about questioning your assumptions and more about figuring out when you’re making them at all. This will help you foster radical discernment, and inspire you to dismantle your illusions — neither of which are especially popular on iTunes. Yet as you devote yourself to these things, you will meet others who are dedicated to both the truth and their personal truth — which often comes with the character trait of being able to change one’s mind.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22) — Precision is the key, particularly when you’re among friends, or in public, or projecting your thoughts into any public forum (the Internet included). I mean precision of thought, speech and action, which are directly related. What you say has impact, and it will be attributed personally to you — so be mindful of being even vaguely aggressive or critical. Instead, make a point of being helpful and constructive, pointing out what is good about the world and the works of humankind (such as your friends and colleagues). If you must point out anything wrong, save it for the calmest one-to-one discussions you can create. I suggest, however, that you do triple-diligence when it comes to collecting your facts and understanding the circumstances behind anything you perceive. Meanwhile, I truly suggest you put your energy into visioning what you want to create in your own life. That’s not about all those other people — it’s about you.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22) — You can see the potential in a certain relationship, and the benefits of liberating yourself from the attachments of your past. Yet it’s vital that you be realistic rather than idealistic, which means use what you know. If you find yourself feeling powerless, look for the ways that you’re not actually putting your knowledge to work. Meanwhile, if you’re going to be idealistic, at least know something about your ideals. Limit yourself to three of them and be specific about what they are. That’s another way of saying know what you want, then check everything you might be inclined to reach for against that list, to make sure you’re using your time and energy wisely. This will help you discern the difference between a false desire and an authentic one. Meanwhile, if any of your ideals get popped along the way, be grateful for that fact. You need solid, dependable ones, made of real substance, not the kind that are like soap bubbles.

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20) — It’s not always about sex, but usually it is — especially lately. And when that’s true, there are those moments when you have to unleash the furies. You don’t have to release them all at once, though — try letting them out of their cages one at a time, and see how that feels. Meanwhile, every time you worry about your ‘reputation’, I would propose that’s a mirage for fear of your own power. In other words, what you believe is ‘bad for your image’ (or some desire that allegedly threatens your position) may be the very thing that is good for your strength and integrity. You seem to feel like you’re visible right now, and like you have some influence in the world. This is lining up with your passion and a touch of inner chaos in a way that might threaten to unravel everything you’ve built (which seems to be trapping a lot of energy). If that’s true, then I would say keep going.

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) — Be aware any time the idea of sacrifice comes up — listen for the word, and for the notion. The concept comes in two forms. One is what you supposedly must give up, in order to have something else you want, or to appease someone in power. That’s worth questioning carefully. The other notion is to ‘make sacred’, with the image of laying it on an altar. For your purposes now, these are both false concepts, which cover over something else. If you pause and consider what that is, it will be easy enough to discover, lurking right beneath the surface. The truth is, you don’t have to make any offerings to get more of what you want from life, and the false belief that you must do so is directly interfering with your process of establishing a goal, and taking action to make it real. While you’re figuring out what you don’t need to sacrifice, I suggest you check for other points of interference as well.

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) — Monitor how you feel at all times. As you do, you may notice that you can guide your feelings. Apropos of your nature this sensation is more like the flow of water. Thematically, there is a question beneath the surface of that water — how does success feel to you? You have ideas, plans and maybe a financial goal or two, though what would it feel like to be exactly where you want to be? Once you tune into that sensation, stay in contact with it. This might come with some relief from time pressure, or economic pressure. It might be the feeling of what it would be like not to be at the edge of your tether where commitments to others are concerned. Use your imagination here and start to open up your inner space of success as viscerally and in as much detail as you can. Then keep returning your attention there, if you ever wander off. Keep coming back and experimenting with this, till the space is big enough for you to enter.

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