Truth Be Bold: Mercury from Scorpio to Libra

Dear Friend and Reader:

Today, the edition went out with a typo that reversed the meaning of a paragraph on which the theme of the issue rests: that of so-called “appropriateness” being an excuse for not saying how we feel or what we need. Normally, I would not resend the whole issue due to one error, but this seems to call for it.

The correct sentence reads, “If something is not really appropriate, we should be able to feel that it’s not right…” Perhaps the error highlights this rather insidious problem of guilt itself being the thing we use to assess appropriateness when guilt itself is the issue: the source of pain and confusion rather than the dependable emotional response we can use to tell right from wrong.

It is corrected below, and on the websites. Pardon the intrusion. I prefer to make the point the first time.

Have a good weekend and catch you Monday with the alt monthly horoscope.

Chelsea Bottinelli

Truth Be Bold: Mercury from Scorpio to Libra

Paris, late September afternoon. Photo by Eric Francis.

OVER THE next few weeks, Mercury is going to move from Scorpio to Libra. Planets usually go through the signs in order, not backwards; Mercury is going to be sailing upstream and flying into the wind for three weeks beginning Oct. 11 while in retrograde motion.

I explained how that happens in last week’s edition. First I have a few comments about Mercury retrogrades in general, then a couple about this particular one.

Two things I left out last week. One is courtesy of my old friend and astrology student Jonathan Cainer, who is currently standing in for my daily column at His idea (expressed a few years ago) is that things that are developed during Mercury retrograde tend to become well established and have extra sticking power.

At first I thought this was just another annoying bit of Jonathan’s unbridled Sagittarian optimism, until I considered his theory carefully and remembered my own experiences of Mercury retrograde phases, many of which involved conscious times of developing or establishing meaningful projects.

Now, it’s not like you just do something with Mercury retrograde and it just works better. Usually people have the opposite experience: you try something and it goes kablooey. But think of it this way. Mercury retrograde means Mercury covers the same degree range (i.e., the same part of the sky) three times, so there is an element of setting a pattern or laying the groundwork.

The first time, in direct motion, is called the first echo phase (previously called the shadow phase, but I have changed the name), when Mercury is in the degrees where it will soon be retrograde. Then it’s retrograde in those degrees, backtracking where it just was; then it’s direct and it covers the territory a third time (the second echo phase). Note, during the echo phases Mercury is in direct motion, appearing to move forward. When retrograde, it’s in the same degrees, appearing to move backward. This is not merely an empty illusion, as we’ve been taught to believe — it is actually quick-moving Mercury going past the slower-moving Earth, vividly reminding us of the relative nature of much seemingly directional movement.

Think of this as writing three drafts of your life story for this time. You get a practice run, then you get to review and make repairs and rethink things; then you get to do it again and apply what you learned in the first two go-rounds. If you work with these phases with intention, you will be able to establish something carefully and effectively. Everything that can go wrong perhaps will, except it will be for learning purposes and those things can usually be corrected or addressed. You see the flaws in a system or idea; new viewpoints emerge; most of all, new possibilities arise.

The first echo phase ends when the retrograde begins just before midnight Thursday, Oct. 11, eastern time (Friday morning in Europe and the UK). Then we get three weeks of review, reconsideration, maintenance and updating of the files — the retrograde. Then on Nov. 1, right in the thick of the mysterious Days of the Dead, the heart of Scorpio, Mercury stations direct and we put our plans and revisions to those plans into action.

Simple, right? Good pluck and good luck — and pay attention.

Scorpio to Libra: Truth Be Bold, and then Sensitive

Something I have noticed about Mercury stations (particularly the retrograde, but they both seem to have the property) is that the truth comes out right around the time of the station. The retrograde begins in Scorpio, trine Mars, so that is on one level the truth about sex and desire. I recognize that I am a running advertisement for talking about sex (not just doing it). Doing sex comes naturally; we are these days not entirely natural people. Talking about sex does not come naturally.

Scorpio for many people is a raw and distasteful energy. I don’t mean Scorpio people, necessarily; I mean the concept, the energy level. Both men and women are taught to disguise, conceal, minimize and subvert their passions. This occurs in different ways for different reasons. Mercury retrograde in Scorpio is reminding us that only the truth is erotic. That which is erotic has power over us — the urgent power of desire; the power to make us forget the petty rules we live by, those that serve the god of guilt and those designed to protect the insecurities of the people we may care about.

I would propose that it’s time to throw away our petty rules (those self-defeating neuroses inherited from our parents), then honor desire, smash the idol of guilt and stop protecting anybody’s insecurities. Anybody’s at all, particularly our own. To be able to challenge the insecurities of others, you need to find your own confidence, and to do that, you need to experiment with revealing your own secrets. You must be the one to take the bold step first, of speaking what you feel and stating clearly what you need.

While you’re deciding the appropriateness factor, remember that everything is inappropriate these days. Therefore who the fuck cares about the stated rules of appropriateness? If something is not really appropriate, we should be able to feel that it’s not right; but guilt makes it difficult to feel what is actually right or wrong; so when something feels wrong we need to check if it’s not the guilt that is feeling wrong.

There is a degree of imbalance involved in speaking one’s truth. To do it, you need to temporarily forget the impact that it will have, and let fly. More to the point, you need to recognize not only that people around you are capable of independent thought and of making their own decisions, but also that you must honor their right to do so by being open, honest and real.

Then you need to trust: trust that somebody still will want to have sex with you (they may or may not); trust that you’ll have a roof over your head (you will, but it may be the same roof or a different one); trust that you’re not going to get sued for divorce (the truth is disarming, or it can be used against you); trust that you won’t get a black eye (but that will reveal something); trust that your life will get better (it will, if you guide it that way); trust that the truth has a power of its own, the power of God/Goddess itself, the power of existence, and that when you affirm your own existence, you will begin to find your freedom.

The Scorpio phase may be hot, psychological, intense, too sexy for words, too wrenching to want to consider, liberating, transformative: it may be anything but balanced, but it can be imbalanced in that liberating way.

By the time Mercury reaches Libra, that is the time to think “relationally” and seek a new kind of balance. The extra time that Mercury is in Libra, from Oct. 24 through Nov. 11, is a time to work out your real feelings and desires in the context of your relationship. The weeks leading into that are the time to be direct and honest and to step away from caring what happens next.

The Oct. 17 Alignment

On Oct. 17 there is an extremely interesting alignment. Here is the chart. And here is a simplified version of the chart so you can see the aspect structure there. (Forget that you can’t read a chart — just look and use this key to the planets if you don’t know which is which.)

On this day, Mercury retrogrades into an exact trine with Mars. Mercury is in Scorpio, which is one of Mars’ signs. So that is a contact point — it’s called a “reception.” It magnifies the power of both planets. Then, Venus is in the mix. Note, all things that are in exact aspect have a number 7 next to them. This is how you see some aspects: all things that have the same number, or close to the same number, are in aspect. There are other aspects as well, but those are the basic ones.

Notice that the Moon has just entered Capricorn. You can see that because its number is 0. But within a few hours, the Moon will oppose Mars, trine Venus, and sextile Mercury, setting off this aspect structure. So you get a combination of planetary aspects and then a “trigger” aspect by the Moon.

Venus and Saturn are in a close conjunction; so Saturn is involved, and the nodes of the Moon (the horseshoes, which tell you where an eclipse will eventually happen) are also involved — that brings in more people, and increases the depth of the events or the discussion.

We could speculate endlessly about this aspect structure, but I’ll refrain from doing so. For now, let’s just call Oct. 17 International Truth Be Bold Day. And remember: truth starts with telling yourself the truth.

New Moon in Libra — October 11, 2007, 05:01 UT.

By Kirsti Melto and Eric Francis | Lunations

New Moon in Libra — October 11, 2007, 05:01 UT. Chart by Solar Fire.

THE NEXT Sun-Moon conjunction or New Moon occurs at 17+ degrees Libra on Oct. 11. The chart is, perhaps, challenging as the Sun, Venus and Mars are in signs where they are said to be in their “fall.” Fall is one of the ancient dignities. Dignities are part of a much more complex system that is all but forgotten now, and greatly misunderstood. It is a system of weighting how strong a planet is in its sign.

There are several kinds of rulership in astrology. The most common one we know about; for example, if you’re a Libra, your planet, Venus, is said to be the ruler of your sign. But if you’re a Pisces, your sign is also associated with Venus because Venus is exalted in Pisces. Exalted is like being a visiting king in a friendly nation; you are treated with dignity. But planets that are in signs opposite to their exaltation are said to be in their fall. When planets are in their exaltation they are usually able to express their nature to the best advantage, and when they are in their fall their influence is said (by the ancient astrologers) to be imprisoned. Using the energy of the sign requires some work.

But here is a theory for you. We have learned a lot about astrology from Chiron, which creates strength from seeming debilities. Chiron is often associated with a struggle that makes a person truly strong; or a debility that creates a superior ability or very focused talent. I have seen this “Chiron effect” work in many circumstances when Chiron is not directly involved; it’s just one way that humans use adversity to adapt and become much stronger.

Libra is about relationships. It is a sign seeking balance and harmony almost at any cost, and typically willing to please others. It has a dislike of confrontation and a strong need for maintaining peace and stability. But it is also motivated by justice and an egalitarian spirit. Venus, the ruler of Libra (and also Taurus), will be in Virgo for the New Moon, and it has just completed a conjunction to Saturn. A limit has been reached, but it may not be recognized. It’s like Venus is in a blind spot, unaware of where she is, and caught up in the details that would be applicable anywhere but are creating a kind of blinder to the challenges of the present.

Mars is exalted in Capricorn. This second planetary association (we all know about Saturn) is what gives Capricorn its power of initiative. Mars in Cancer would rather run than fight. It is a placement for Mars where it has difficulties in expressing anger and being direct, so that directness is going to be helpful if we can summon it without losing our temper. However, the pushy or over-emotional side of Cancer may come out, and that is a tendency to be aware of.

However, this is not a time for keeping the status quo at any cost, because Quaoar, a small world beyond Neptune which is astrologically about family patterns, is tightly conjunct Jupiter at the Great Attractor, which will magnify its effects. We will be able to see and feel the family pattern vividly. Mars in Cancer is a placement which may manifest as fighting against family and tradition, or being able to assert oneself enough to resist those tendencies. We tend to drag around family baggage, but this might be a good time to start a fair conversation and gain some healing on the subject.

The Sun and Moon are sextile Jupiter-Quaoar conjunction. The conjunction of Jupiter and Quaoar (which is pretty rare, happening every 14 years or so) will be exact the day after the New Moon, so it’s a meaningful part of this chart.

Quaoar is a kind of planet called a cubewano (que-bee-wanno). It was discovered in 2002 and named for a Native American creation deity of the Tongva people from what is now southern California. Quaoar speaks to the rhythms and choreography into which we were born, as these manifest within the family pattern going back countless generations. It points to how we dance to the music of our own creation mythology more or less unconsciously. The square from Uranus hints that we are ready for a revolution in this department. The Jupiter-Uranus square, which is the third and last in the series, is exact two days before the New Moon.

The Great Attractor is a bit mysterious, a fixed point at 14+ degrees Sagittarius. It is a kind of anti-Big Bang, a point pulling everything — including us — toward it, but nobody currently understands entirely what this point is. Both Jupiter and the Great Attractor have a tendency to make things bigger. The Great Attractor tends to polarize situations and push people one way or the other; it is associated with distinct or even extreme opinions. Jupiter conjunct this point possibly either magnifies or softens its effect.

The Sun and Moon are opposing a conjunction of 1992 QB1 (289 year orbit) — the first planet discovered beyond Pluto — and Eris (557 year orbit) — the first planet found after Pluto’s discovery in 1930 that has proved to be bigger than Pluto. This is a very rare event because of the length of the orbits. The discovery of 1992 QB1 proved the existence of the Kuiper Belt, which had remained only theoretical until then. 1992 QB1 has not yet been officially named, but Eric has proposed Radharani. 1992 QB1 may have associations with the Phoenix-like process of arising into new incarnations within our current lifetime, which often happens as a result of near-death experiences or with the experience of “ego death.”

Eris, for her part, represents that missing factor in the modern psyche; the sense that we are not quite whole, that our minds are fragmented by the onslaught of history and the pressures of modern consciousness. Indeed, Eris represents what is happening to our minds at the end of the Modern era and the dawn of the Postmodern era, when all the old rules, definitions, models and neat concepts that supposedly bolstered life are essentially lying in fragments.

Radharani in conjunction with Eris would seem to represent a factor that restores our sense of sanity in clearly insane times; that bridges us with the cosmos in a time when we have no tangible model of the cosmos.

The Sun opposes Eris on Oct. 14. In keeping with the theme of Libra, this is about our relationships. The inherent nature of a relationship is that of inviting another into our world. This means relinquishing a certain amount of control and making sure we are open to a measure of change and disruption in our life.

Asteroid Vesta is in conjunction with Pluto on the Galactic Core at 26+ degrees Sagittarius. Radharani can be compared with Vesta, which is about service to a higher power, giving oneself over, and tending the sacred hearth of sexuality and creativity. Vesta is the devotion and space-holding aspect of this energy and Radharani is the cosmic bridge aspect. Vesta is a guardian of the inner and outer space that surrounds the cosmic fire; QB1 is a guardian of the rift between the dimensions, personally bridging the contradictions of space and time with her awareness and opening the way to those who need assistance or who are not fully initiated.

The Sun and Moon are conjunct asteroid Psyche. The exact conjunction of the Sun and Psyche occurred the day before the New Moon. Psyche is the sense of the psychic wound that never heals. Often it is a wound to faith. It is where we think we are permanently damaged. WE ARE NOT! But that is the sense of where and how. Psyche works a lot like Chiron in that because we think we are damaged in some specific way (and often are), we do a lot of healing work and create a sense of power and special strength; the injury becomes its opposite. But there is often some kind of psychological legacy involved, and it can involve — among other things — guilt. So can Vesta, so we may want to focus on a theme of healing guilt at this juncture.

The Sun and Moon are square asteroid Eros at 16+ degrees Capricorn and square cubewano Varuna at 19+ degrees Cancer.

The most recently named trans-Neptunian object Borasisi (1999 RZ253) is conjunct the true node of the Moon at 6+ degrees Pisces. The naming was announced last week. Borasisi is a binary Kuiper belt object discovered in 1999. The binary companion, discovered in 2003, was named at the same time as Pabu. These names come from a fictional creation myth of a fictional religion told by Kurt Vonnegut in his novel Cat’s Cradle.

Borasisi and Pabu are personifications of the Sun and Moon, and quite interestingly this myth describes family patterns:

“… wherein Borasisi, the sun, held Pabu, the moon, in his arms, and hoped that Pabu would bear him a fiery child.

“But poor Pabu gave birth to children that were cold, that did not burn; and Borasisi threw them away in disgust. These were the planets, who circled their terrible father at a safe distance.

“Then poor Pabu herself was cast away, and she went to live with her favorite child, which was Earth. Earth was Pabu‘s favorite because it had people on it; and the people looked up at her and loved her and sympathized.”

The echo phase of Venus ends at 2+ degrees Virgo on the same day as the New Moon occurs. Venus is conjunct Saturn. We can say that Venus enters a new territory with healthy grounding.




Weekly Horoscope for Friday, October 5, 2007, #683 – By ERIC FRANCIS

Aries (March 20-April 19)
If the message is not abundantly clear, you have the power to change certain vital factors in your life, but you need to be honest with yourself to do so. Most of the world functions on denial. We are trained to deny what we feel, what we perceive and most of all, what we want. Along the way, all kinds of other goals and objectives take up residence, and they can seem real; they may even be real and they may be meaningful. But they are not necessarily the deepest layer. You are aware that there are changes you need to make; remember that to accomplish that, the first step is hiding nothing from yourself. That is your leverage. That is the guarantee of progress.

Taurus (April 19-May 20)
You must be aware that a window of opportunity is wide open. You may also be aware that it’s a window to something much larger than you’ve ever known or experienced, and that taking this opportunity will change you in ways you cannot predict. What you may not recognize is that the change is coming from inside you. This is less about someone influencing you than it is about your being open to that influence. It is less about the world acting on you than it is about you consciously participating in the world. Facing this potential, all by itself,, is shaping you emotionally; you are deciding what kind of world you want to live in, and moreover, why you would want to live there.

Gemini (May 20-June 21)
You may find it easier to get into commitments these days than to get out of them, but if that is true, you may want to ask yourself what is keeping you there. Are your attachments negative or positive? In other words, are they based on pleasure or pain? Are they based on the attributes you like about someone, or that you don’t like (what I would call negative attachments)? I prefer not to be so black and white about it, but you seem to be heading for a decision, or for an encounter with someone that will prompt you to make a decision. If you are summing up your feelings by using a scorecard, you may want to try a different method. The score as you add it up is not really the score. You have feelings, and they are speaking to you.

Cancer (June 21-July 22)
Mars has entered your birth sign, where it will remain for most of the next eight months. This is, therefore, a time in your life with a special learning agenda, which involves a combination of two aspects. One is practicing asserting yourself and your desires. The other is getting beneath the surface of your personality and exploring the inner world of your psyche. This is about discovering just what it might be that undermines your confidence, indeed, what has done so over a very long time. My presumption is that this factor is hidden from your usual perception, and also hidden by the fact that you often squash your most important goals. If you were to rearrange your agenda based on what you want and not what you were told was right, you would push yourself toward confidence, clarity and freedom.

Leo (July 22-Aug. 23)
This is one of the most creative times in recent years, because you have access to the energy of nature in a way that is rare for anyone. What you have most likely learned through the past season and into the current one is that your own version of creativity is a matter of fire, but applying the right amount of fire, at the right time, makes the difference between tempering something and incinerating it. Your creative fire is slow, steady and most of all, cosmic. You are not working with only your own energy — you have tapped into a source far beyond yourself. Let it flow.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22)
You may be focused on a financial matter with a close partner or spouse. I suggest you get the agreement, or at least the particulars, into writing. There seem to be numerous sexual and emotional overtones to the situation, and they are likely to get in the way of your clarity. Someone may feel hurt in a way that they are not acknowledging, but which will come out if the discussion is kept on sufficiently rational terms to allow for a safe space. Talking about emotional issues should not be so emotional; you have to rise above the simmering pot of water. The same is true of money. Keep it clear, and if there is baggage or unacknowledged subject matter, keep it as close to the surface as possible.

Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23)
You have an opportunity calling you, and an opportunity to be lazy and let it go past you. You are unlikely to do that; the potential you feel involves a temporary alignment of your intentions and creativity with a long-term creative process that has been developing. I trust that you see this opening for what it is; but if you feel yourself hesitating, make a note of that fact, and ask yourself why you might be doing so. I’ll give you a clue, which is that embracing your creativity means taking on the responsibility that comes with it. You need to give yourself room to fail; this will guarantee that you have plenty of room to succeed.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22)
You have by now discovered that much more was going on beneath the surface than you had imagined. But if your solar chart is any indication, there is a deeper layer, which is coming into your life through a relationship. This may be taking several forms: a professional partnership commingled with a love affair, or an unusual opportunity to get to a new level of your career. I suggest you take it further than this, paying attention to subtle or not so subtle information coming through about what you want to be doing with your precious time and energy. If you can tell yourself the truth about that, you are much more likely to follow through.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22)
It doesn’t matter what people think of you. This is one of your lifelong creeds, and it works great — except for the times when it does make a difference. These can be difficult moments because you only possess so much influence over other people, and as it turns out, no actual control. Yet you should, in theory, have more influence over whether you care about that fact. But why don’t you? It could be because you know that part of your role in this lifetime is to weave the community together, and to hold it there, and for that, you need a measure of popularity. You know you are blessed with foresight and a sense of the great picture that few others possess. Even small cracks in reality seem to divide you from your purpose. Forget how certain others may feel, and remember that you need to do what you must do.

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20)
You are about to encounter someone whose intuition, wisdom and political skills far exceed your own. She is likely to be a younger woman or older girl, whose sweetness and gentle demeanor may conceal the underlying shrewd character she possesses. What you learn from her emerges from some situation in which she betrays another side of her character and tries to please you despite her own needs to do something else. Your role is to steer her back in her own direction. Be gracious, be honest, and be firm: help her focus on herself. You may be able to assist her in doing that somehow, but don’t dwell on the situation: other more passionate relationship matters are calling for your attention, and they are doing so right now.

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19)
Others seem to be driving a hard bargain, but are just covering up the softer side of their nature. Most people substitute for passion by emoting. You potentially fit this description, and you’re intelligent enough to know that there is a third way. That way involves opening up a breathline to your soul, and drawing that energy into your heart and mind. It has been said that the heart is the smartest organ, and we all wish more people would use their heads. Yet it is the soul that is the author of experience, and the mediator of what we call karma. Your soul is gentler than any other part of you. And these days, it’s rising up like Old Faithful.

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20)
I recently talked to Flo Higgins, the woman who turned me onto astrology. Out of nowhere, she said: “Don’t get married when Uranus is in Pisces.” Everyone? This was a stupid question. “No, for Pisces,” she said, in her usual admonishing but somehow friendly way. “This is a time of surprises, and you need to be ready for anything.” (Write these dates down: Uranus has been in Pisces since early 2003 and is there today. On May 27, 2010, Uranus exits Pisces and enters Aries for the first time in about 75 years; on Aug. 13, 2010, Uranus re-enters Pisces for its last retrograde for this cycle; on March 11, 2011, Uranus re-enters Aries to stay for more than seven years.) I would say, be open to anything, including getting married.

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