Unveiling the Soul Inside the Form

Collage 1960s by Richard White, 2003. For a larger rendering and to see more of Richard’s work.

Dear Friend and Reader:

ECLIPSES are suspenseful, and this one seems to be particularly so. There is often a sense of uncertainty and a point of no return. It’s often very difficult to see what is on the other side of the mountains. Remember that the patterns we live in these very days and weeks are the ones that will follow us, for good or ill, to the next set of eclipses in about six months. Be as conscious as you can; do what you love; talk to who you love; make actual choices.

If you have chosen amiss, choose once again. Remember the words: CANCEL/CLEAR, CANCEL/CLEAR, CANCEL/CLEAR can be applied (spoken out loud, with feeling) to any decision, thought or action that you don’t want, which in turn will help you make room for what you do want. Be aware of your errors, and request that they be corrected. Be aware of your options, and what they mean to you. Be aware of what is right for you, and take the opportunity to choose it if you dare. This is not the time to coast blithely through life; it is the time to make decisions, particularly about what you value.

Besides personal inquiries and the lives of many people I know being in some state of wild flux, I have had a few letters asking me if I expect more false-flag terrorism in the United States, particularly around Sep. 15. In making such an assessment, it’s critical to sort out the emotions associated with an eclipse and the fear associated with a potential disruption of life, versus the intuition and science required to make an astrological call about such a thing. There is indeed significant activity in the progressed chart for Sept. 11, 2001 (in particular, a New Moon in Virgo, right near Tuesday’s eclipse), but my sense is that we are more likely to see such a thing in late 2008 than this year.

Remember, we are currently getting our minds tossed about by a variety of factors: among them the mysterious and rippling effects of last week’s lunar eclipse in Pisces; Venus stationing direct in Leo over the next 24 hours; Saturn ingressing Virgo earlier this week; and finally, a partial eclipse of the Sun opposite Uranus on Sep. 11. That last detail is interesting; Uranus is the unpredictability factor — Uranus always adds that piece to the equation.

For its part, Sep. 11 was identified as “The Day of Dramatic Choice” in one of my favorite esoteric books, The Secret Language of Birthdays, by Goldschneider and Elffers. (This book was actually ghostwritten by a longtime Planet Waves subscriber.)

The lives of those born this day “pivot around certain vital and dramatic decisions that may be thrust upon them when they are still quite young, perhaps before their 16th year,” she writes. They meet “repeated, often unexpected crossroads” that can appear in their path when their lives seem to be going normally.

Here we have a new image of what happened in the United States on Sep. 11. How would the 21st century have developed had we not gathered all our resources toward an unnecessary war and immersed ourselves in a universe of murderous lies? What if we had chosen differently?

Well, it’s a good question, and I am sure there are many more like it that we all face as individuals, seemingly on a much smaller scale — and we face them right now. This is another form of the question, “What values influence our choices?” For example, are we driven by love or ambition? Do we want more stuff, more achievement, a better world, or deeper community and companionship?

I recognize that there are people who have answered these questions and made up their minds that they want the better world, the community and the love — and still struggle to find them. I would say keep questioning your values, keep observing the choices you make, and keep reaching out to people with all the trust you can muster. There is no way we are going to have these finer things in life, that is, an actual better world, without some sense of risk, and some sense of giving up what we do not want and need.

Plus, we need to be mindful that the lives we currently lead have stripped many people of their (our) ability to communicate meaningfully and coexist peacefully with others. Any time we seek a life that is more creative, loving or spiritual (your choice of concepts) we must deal with the level of form that traps the deeper energies — and do the work of creating the new forms that allow us to express the truth. We who live in Western marketing culture expect the world to function automatically; we expect everything delivered to our door, with a full guarantee and therefore no actual risk taken.

Saturn in Virgo

Meanwhile, back to local news: we can consider the Virgo eclipse and the Venus station direct as fireworks surrounding the more meaningful event, Saturn in Virgo. For the past five years, we have lived with Saturn in Cancer (confrontation with insecurity in the guise of “security”) and Saturn in Leo (the breaking of structures and the establishment of new patterns and ideas). Neither of these signs is easy for us when Saturn is there. Sorting of truth from falsehood is too often driven by the emotions and not the mind or intuition.

Saturn in Virgo is associated with deep thought, intelligence, science and reform. You could call it the authority of actual intelligence. But let’s look more deeply. All the symbols of astrology conceal a deeper level that addresses much longer-term issues than we normally think of. It is precisely this kind of phenomenon that Saturn in Virgo cultivates.

Alice A. Bailey writes in Esoteric Astrology that Virgo is the “soul life, as sensed in [humanity, in its] gestation period.” Virgo is like the seed pod that conceals the soul before it’s aware that it is a soul. I recognize that “soul” is a controversial term, so we could call it the real person inside all the games, fears and self-images. Saturn works to bring out the truth, so that puts us on an inevitable path with something deeper within ourselves.

In Hebrew mythology, Virgo is Eve, the woman who takes a bite of the apple of knowledge, which was given to her by a serpent. In Egyptian mythology, she is Isis, the Black Madonna, who takes this quest for knowledge and understanding to the more esoteric levels (such as the astral level), where we begin to encounter polarity and the shadow side of knowledge in a direct way. Isis is also one of the direct descendents of the Earth Mother tradition.

In Christian mythology, Virgo represents Mary, the cosmic woman who gestates and gives birth to the Christ. The Christ is the unifying principle or values system (not specifically Jesus or his many mythological prototypes) that guides us to sanity. Christ means king or annointed one. We do indeed live in the time without a king, which typically represents a time of spiritual and intellectual chaos. Yet we also live in times when an internal guiding principle is difficult to identify as a phenomenon we can share. It will be the role of Saturn in Virgo to help bring that out, though Saturn often represents a struggle.

Saturn often represents a struggle because typically, we refuse to take sufficient authority in our own lives to master this energy. As I write, I keep resisting describing some of my recent experiences outside Gage Hall here in New Paltz — one of the dioxin-contaminated dorms. But this time I will yield. Whenever I’m out there, most recently taking photos and then earlier this week doing an interview for public television, I take time to talk to students who live there. Most of them are women, so I focus the discussion on reproductive issues, such as toxins passed on to their future children, and more immediate concerns like endometriosis.

Most people simply do not care. So what exactly is there to reach to within someone, in order to have a real conversation? It is not really possible to convince someone to care about themselves; that would be the starting point, rather than the endpoint. What you would be conversing with is someone’s ability to take charge of their life in some small but significant way. We who don’t live in Gage Hall face similar situations with many personal and global issues at this time, and Saturn in Virgo represents the squeeze. How much pressure will it take to manifest our actual intelligence and make actual decisions? What will it take to get us to look at the data and assess it meaningfully?

Saturn is generally considered the lord of time; things involving Saturn typically take time, and we are warned to be patient. But Saturn making a move also brings immediate changes, and can represent a change of mind or of outer circumstances. When we add a solar eclipse to this (about a week after the ingress), we have the image of things moving quickly before they slow down. We have the image of a confrontation with truth, both inner and outer.

Saturn Transits: Conjunctions to Outer Planets

Between 1956 and 1972, Pluto was in Virgo. Between late 1961 and 1969, Uranus was in Virgo. Between 1960 and early 1969, Chiron was in Pisces. (These dates do NOT factor for retrogrades into the prior or succeeding sign, so if you are born at one of the far ends of the transit, please check an ephemeris.)

On Oct. 9, 1965; April 4, 1966; and June 20, 1966, Uranus and Pluto were exactly conjunct in Pluto, representing the peak of both planets’ transit in Virgo. This was the astrology of revolution, evolution and liberation that we experienced in the 1960s, which is typical of any era when Uranus and Pluto get together.

Over the next 30 months or so, Saturn in Virgo will make aspects to ‘Uranus, Pluto, the conjunction, as well as oppositions to natal Chiron in Pisces, in all charts with these placements. In other words, all the hottest 1960s astrology is set off by Saturn in Virgo — including Saturn itself, which opposed Pluto during this era (for a prototype chart showing the whole configuration, look at April 23, 1965 at 2:56 pm EDT).

To me, the Uranus-Pluto configuration represents a massive well of untapped energy, innovation, creativity and intelligence. Many keep wondering what it will take to wake up this generation, most of which thinks it’s trapped in a cubicle. The “service” aspect of Virgo and Pisces is so strong that often, it entirely overshadows the innovative aspect.

The aforementioned ghostwriter, who is also an astute astrologer, wrote to me recently and suggested that the generation of Pluto in Virgo might wind up being the “good Nazis” of our era: people who are loyal to a fault, but don’t ask what they are loyal to. We were taught by our predecessors that living under the conditions of the Great Depression was intolerable; we were taught by the next generation that we must take care of ourselves at all costs; we have learned, as a result, that the “best” way to live is to take up our places as cogs in the machine, but only nominally asking just what that machine is for.

We tend to live “spirituality” as a passive act — often refusing to make our spiritual values into social or political values; perhaps more often, but not often enough, making them into creative values. In other words, we tend very strongly not to put intelligence into action. If we heard more from this generation, we would have less the impression of living in apathetic or conservative times, and more the sense of living in times when there was actual discussion and controversy about issues that matter to all of us, most particularly the Earth herself.

Saturn in Virgo is going to push the issue. Through mid-to-late 2008, Saturn will make its first pass over the Uranus-Pluto conjunction point in mid-Virgo. The Saturn retrograde from Dec. 31, 2008 through May 2009 will cross the points a second time, and then the Saturn station direct in May 2009 will cross the conjunction points again. These are merely the peaks of the cycle.

The Virgo-Pisces astrology of the 1960s, which millions of us walk around with, could be described as the soul within the form of existence. Virgo is the protective matter that covers and gestates the fragile essence of truth; yet the added presence of Saturn in the equation will do its part to bring out the inner reality, if we are willing to get out of our heads to cooperate in real life. Saturn in Virgo is saying, it is time: time to get real, time to use our minds, time to look at the world we live in, and time to vision the world we want — and set about building it.

Yours and truly,
Eric Francis

Partial Solar Eclipse of Tuesday, Sep. 11, 2007

By Eric Francis and Kirsti Melto | Lunations

New Moon in Virgo — Sep. 11, 2007, 12:44 UT. Chart by Solar Fire.

THE NEW MOON of September occurs at 18+ degrees Virgo. This is a partial solar eclipse on the South Node of the Moon. The focus is in Virgo at the moment, as earlier this month, on Sept. 2, Saturn entered Virgo for the first time in about 27 years. In addition, the current Venus retrograde began in Virgo, and Venus stations direct in Leo Sept. 8 — just three days shy of the eclipse.

Sue Tompkins says in The Contemporary Astrologer’s Handbook about Moon in Virgo: “Strong on humility and gentleness, above all this is a helpful, kindly Moon and also one packed with common sense.” About the sign of Virgo in general she writes: “Like Gemini, the other Mercury-ruled sign, Virgo wants information but, whereas Gemini is inclusive in orientation in that it gathers all information, Virgo is more exclusive: it only wants information if it is useful. Thus, Virgo has a gift for discrimination and prioritizing. There is a capacity for selection, an ability to sift — criticism and analysis are key Virgo skills.”

Yet with Virgo, we must remember at all times the profoundly self-critical factor that is often paralyzing. Sun or Moon in Virgo can get a lot done as long as it stops thinking and takes some kind of action. With Uranus directly opposite the eclipse, this seems within the realm of possibility, though the result may be a little shocking.

The Sun and the Moon are in conjunction with two small worlds: a trans-Neptunian minor planet called Logos and a main belt asteroid called Atlantis. The Sun is also parallel with Logos, enhancing the power of the conjunction. If two bodies share the same degree of declination, that is, they are at the same distance from the celestial equator (either north or south of the celestial equator), they are said to be parallel. The conjunction of Logos means language, a form of technology. Atlantis represents the use and abuse of technology, and the effects of small things on big systems. Atlantis is a culture that in our mythology fell from grade as a result of the abuse of its technology. Uranus is also about technology, invention and breakthrough.

This eclipse seems to include a commentary on technology and our relationship to it.

Logos, a Cubewano (a type of outer planet beyond Pluto) is a binary Kuiper belt object with an orbital period about 307 years. “A binary planet” is a pair of worlds that are similar in mass and orbit one another. Each orbits the other around a gravitational balance point that is between the two — a location called the center of mass, or the barycenter. The pair may have born like twins, or may be produced by collisions, where a single body is split in two. Binary minor planets are a relatively recent discovery. It is not unusual that TNOs have binary companions, and more are being discovered all the time. Logos was discovered in 1997 and its binary companion Zoe in 2001. The naming of Logos took place in 2006.

In English, the word “logos” is the root of “log” (as in record) and of “logic.” Logic is a special area of philosophy and it has many branches. Logic is the essence of critical thinking, which is not necessarily anything critical in negative sense of the word. Critical thinking is the ability to think clearly and rationally. It enables one to analyze, evaluate, and restructure one’s thinking. Fair-minded critical thinking requires intellectual humility, empathy, integrity, courage and other intellectual traits – mostly these are characteristics of Virgo. Critical thinking without these traits may result in clever, but manipulative thought serving unethical purposes.

Psychologist Carl Jung used the term “logos” for the masculine principle of rationality.

Traditionally, logic has been seen as a branch of philosophy. In ancient times the motivation for the study of logic was to learn to distinguish good from bad arguments and to become more effective in argument. In later times formal logic has been studied in the context of mathematics. The development of formal logic and its implementation in computing machinery is the foundation of computer science. Computers can also be used as tools for logicians.

Logic is essential for a scientist. Albert Einstein (theory of relativity) had Logos in the 10th conjunct his Pisces Sun. Charles H. Townes (who developed the the principle of the maser and laser) had Logos in Taurus in the 10th square the Sun. Henri Becquerel (one of the discoverers of radioactivity) had Logos in the 10th in Aquarius conjunct his Moon, Johannes Kepler (creator of the three laws of planetary motion) had Logos in wide conjunction with his Jupiter-Pluto conjunction in Pisces. Thomas Alva Edison’s (developer of the light bulb) Logos was conjunct his Mercury and Sun in Aquarius in the 4th. (The source for the birth data of these scientists is Nick Kollerstrom & Mike O’Neill, Eureka Effect.) In this light I think it is quite safe to assume that one keyword for Logos really is “logic” — and maybe also that because of it Logos probably is quite comfortable in Virgo. But inventions also depend on breakthrough, an energy that is delivered in the current eclipse by the presence of Uranus in Pisces.

Could there possibly be a better chart examples of Logos than the chart of sir Frederic Calland Williams, the developer of the “Manchester Baby” — the world’s first machine that had all the components now classically regarded as characteristic of the basic computer — and the chart of the first computer program? The source for the chart of the first computer program is Nick Kollerstrom, The Metal – Planet Relationship. The “Baby” successfully executed its first program on June 21, 1948.

F.C. Williams later said of the first successful run: “A program was laboriously inserted and the start switch pressed. Immediately the spots on the display tube entered a mad dance. In early trials it was a dance of death leading to no useful result, and what was even worse, without yielding any clue as to what was wrong. But one day it stopped, and there, shining brightly in the expected place, was the expected answer. It was a moment to remember. This was in June 1948, and nothing was ever the same again.”

F. C. Williams was knighted in 1976 for his work as an electrical engineer and electronics innovator.

These both charts are also lunation charts, as the chart of the first computer program is an exact Full Moon chart and Williams’s natal chart is a New Moon chart. There is a Jupiter-Logos opposition in both charts!

Williams’s Sun-Moon conjunction (New Moon) sextiles his Logos and his Uranus squares his natal Logos. His Mercury-Pluto conjunction (and the midpoint of his Mercury and Pluto) is opposite the Galactic Core.

Virgo is rising in the first computer program’s chart. Logos is the most elevated planet of the chart. Logos is conjunct the Sun and Uranus. Mercury is also in wide conjunction with the Sun, Uranus and Logos. Uranus opposes the Galactic Core. Uranus = Sun/Logos. Uranus/Logos midpoint of this chart is at 24 Gemini 20, which is in exact conjunction with Williams’s Mercury at 24 Gemini 41.

Heraclitus (ca. 535 – 475 BCE) established the term “logos” in Western philosophy. His main doctrine was the unity of opposites. He thought that all things are composed of opposites, and because the opposites are at strife with one another, all things are in constant change. The change is governed by logos, a principle of order. He also claimed that everything originates out of the logos. One of his statements is: “Men do not know how that which is drawn in different directions harmonises with itself. The harmonious structure of the world depends upon opposite tension like that of the bow and the lyre.

Zoe, the binary companion of cubewano Logos (not its moon, but the planet that it orbits with) could represent the Sophia aspect — the wisdom aspect.

“For the Gnostic Christians, the Sophia was a central element in their cosmological understanding of the Universe. A Feminine figure, analogous to the human soul but also simultaneously one of the Feminine aspects of God and the Bride of Christ, she is considered to have fallen from grace in some way, in so doing creating or helping to create the material world. For the Gnostics, the drama of the redemption of the Sophia through Christ or the Logos is the central drama of the universe. The Sophia resides in all of us as the Divine Spark.”




Weekly Horoscope for Friday, September 7, 2007, #679 – By ERIC FRANCIS

Aries (March 20-April 19)
Key decisions on the work front are upon you faster than you anticipated. Use the coming few weeks to help establish the pattern you want to carry with you. This is a moment of discontinuity, and while you may not exactly be welcoming that, you can use the current changes as a way of breaking free of the psychological ruts that have held you to a particular course of action for longer than you care to admit. Now you must choose consciously and carefully what you do with each day, because those choices will establish the physical and mental pattern of your life for the foreseeable future. Anything or anyone that attempts to provoke you to do what you don’t really want to do is merely an opportunity to hold to your new direction — and to ask yourself again if it’s what you really want.

Taurus (April 19-May 20)
You are not known for taking extraordinary risks all that often, but now you seem prepared to take an enormous chance. You’ve probably noticed by now that certain past decisions were based more closely on a past vision of yourself than a vision of the person you are rapidly becoming. The question now is whether you will persist in living out circumstances that point you toward an outmoded identity, or you will reach into the unknown and, consequently, make many necessary adjustments to your life. Clearly, you were counting on certain developments to take a lot longer than they have, but it seems that once you stuck one toe in the water, you were suddenly sailing on the high seas. That’s what can happen when you let yourself dream a little.

Gemini (May 20-June 21)
You now have the example of someone close to you; they are demonstrating there are other ways to make decisions than the ones you typically employ. Yes, it’s necessary to try several options, or to alternate between two of them; yet it’s possible to give each option longer than you are accustomed to doing. At the moment you are deliberating over the data you’ve accumulated, and you’re headed for a development that is likely to tip the scales. I would caution you, however, that you want to do everything in your power to ensure that you can take full credit for what you decide. If you are provoked by someone else, and then react suddenly, you may in the end be left with the feeling it wasn’t really you who made this crucial choice. Therefore, take it slow.

Cancer (June 21-July 22)
The ideas you have are, on one level, your own property, but they are worthless unless you share them. No, “have” is not quite the right word; they pass through you, with a purpose. Share does not necessarily mean give away, it just means that you don’t need to covet them. The inspiration that others have so generously offered at many points in your life has spurred you forward, and you now have a chance — indeed, many chances — to pass that energy on. You will profit by your choice to do so, yet the greater reward will be the opportunity to do more with your talents than you have ever imagined, if you will confront your fears honestly and give yourself over to the experience.

Leo (July 22-Aug. 23)
Part of living in tune with oneself (something that, by the way, is not something that Westerners are particularly good at) is letting go of your mental patterns, ideas and beliefs that work against you. This makes room for adopting and putting energy into the ones that support you and advance your purpose. This is a moment of clarity. You may have the idea that you can take your time doing these things, and it is true that generally it takes a lifetime or more. Yet at the moment, a diversity of factors are conspiring to make sure you are living, loving and loving life from a place that is close to your roots. What other people believe, and the ways they may deceive themselves, matters much less than that place where your feet make contact with the solid ground of your soul. Remember, all wealth comes from the Earth.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22)
Saturn transiting one’s birth sign (which began for you Sep. 2 and extends through 2010) rates among the more meaningful events in our astrological story. You are, by chance or circumstance, being compelled to see the whole horizon of your life. Maturity has never been something you resisted, but now the challenge is to consolidate the gains and lessons of the past few years and, moreover, to take your own goals seriously. Others can do that for you, but in the end you are the only person whose respect can propel you forward on your cosmic journey. With so much emphasis on your professional life, I would remind you of this: you have two distinct missions. You must recognize them as clearly as a mother recognizes identical twins as different people, but never forget what they have in common.

Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23)
The 12th house of astrology addresses things that are too large to conceive of. Do we walk down the street conscious of the fact that we are in a galaxy? Can we even conceive of being part of a city or country? Do we have any idea how many people our individual choices may affect, or how many people we are not conscious of are pushing us to do things that are entirely out of accord with our inner truth? An eclipse of the Sun in this sensitive angle of your solar chart will pull back the veils on all the ways you are intimately connected to the world, and open a dimension of yourself you generally cannot see. You tend to get trapped in certain details of that dimension; what you really see are the distortions created by your beliefs. Something else is about to happen.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22)
Close partners seem to be taking their sweet time coming to certain decisions, an effect that has spilled into your professional and personal spheres of life. You can trust one thing, which is that someone you care about is not intentionally dragging his or her feet; rather, they are assessing the patterns of their life and searching for a new source of energy to help them on their quest for their personal identity. You are clearly not accustomed to these kinds of struggles; it’s usually a lot easier for you to make up your mind than it is for the people you associate with. Not everyone possesses Scorpionic intuition. Stand back, though, and give the situation some time — at least a week.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22)
Next week’s eclipse of the Sun promises to open a door where your highest ideals or mission in life is involved. You are entering a phase where you have the Midas touch, and can use your power to make the world a better place. Because you live in the world, your life will become a better place, but you don’t really need to think about yourself. On that dimension, you are strong, indeed, superlative. What you are being called upon to take up is leadership, and to lead effectively, you must lead by example. It often seems that the only way to get the truth across is by words, but take it from a writer: words only get you so far. Existence is much more potent.

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20)
Carl Jung remarked that most religion is the substitute for religious experience. While your birth sign tends to be associated with established dogma and strict rules, you as an individual possess a direct connection to the deep and distant past that at least allows you to see ideological bullshit for what it is. The next step is embracing your direct perception of what you know is true as your personal truth. Forget the seeming conflict and divided loyalty that preoccupies most people capable of thinking. Once you decide something is false, throw it away. Once you observe something is true, live out the experience and see whether it is actually true. “Belief” has no place in this discussion, except as an impediment.

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19)
A significant block to your progress seems to have melted into the ground. It took long enough, I am sure you agree. In the new environment you occupy, there are new rules of the game. One is that commitments and agreements need to be established in writing. Even if something is a long-standing pattern from the past, set it down in words, because those words and the process of creating them will teach you something about the commitments you are involved in. What you are seeking is the potential for change and refinement, and to write a good second draft, you need at least some form of a first draft. That is the point of ink and paper, precisely to encourage you to begin the process of revisioning and evolution.

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20)
You may feel under pressure, or worse, like someone is putting you under pressure. I can assure you that what you are feeling is but a shadow of what someone close to you is experiencing, for reasons that, on one level, have nothing to do with you. Yet on another level, they have everything to do with who you are and the influence you have on your environment. Uranus in your birth sign has you cast in the role of the person who pushes everyone to be free by the mere fact of your existence. You could walk around with a bag over your head doing nothing more innovative than playing checkers and people would still get that odd, nervous feeling that you’re pushing them to deal with their hang-ups and get on with their lives. They may not like it today; tomorrow is another story.

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