Watching the Wheels

Dear Friend and Reader:

The other day, looking at some astrology charts, and comparing them to the front pages of major news websites, I had an odd feeling. It was the sensation that the planets are going around and around, and the news is going around and around, which came with a question: does this story ever culminate?

Is there ever even a turning point where it’s possible to say that there’s some improvement in the human condition? I reckon that many sensitive, aware people are past the point where they think all we need to do is hope and pray.

Is astrology — and life — a trip on the Mad Teacup Ride?

I started to get inside the feelings of someone who is aware of current events and, following the astrology, is waiting for a day when there’s going to be some breakthrough, some sense of relief. Considered emotionally, the state of the world is, in a word, overwhelming. That counts whether you want to do something about it, or you’re in a position where you know you can’t do anything.

Notice something vital: what we think of as news coverage gives no hint how to process the material spiritually, or how to respond any other way. I’ve long found this to be curious. What, exactly, is the purpose of “the news,” except to influence and harvest public opinion? What are we supposed to do with everything we learn? How is it possible to process all the pain and struggle we’re exposed to?

The other day, The New York Times editorial board published a commentary called The Groundhog Day War in Afghanistan, pointing out that this military action has gone on nonstop for 16 years, at a cost of $800 billion and 2,000 American lives, “Where there is still no peace, and where everything seems to be going backward.”

What editors of the Times neglected to mention is that while the war in Afghanistan does not seem to have an end, it definitely had a beginning: it was started as a direct response to the events of Sept. 11, 2001, just two months later. Remember that? It was supposed to be about bombing a few training camps, where Osama bin Laden did something or other. Now it’s a permanent institution, one that costs at least $1 million per soldier per year to sustain.

Bill Murray in Groundhog Day, a film about how life seems to repeat itself endlessly — and how to take advantage of the cycles.

Regarding Sept. 11, we’ve yet to have any real accountability, much less healing, of that incident. All we have are questions, wars and a memorial that you, too, can visit for $109, including a guided tour.

This thing now known as ISIS or ISIL, the “Islamic state,” is a result of the American and British invasion of Iraq, which action also used Sept. 11 as its absurd excuse. Today the official American policy toward ISIL is “annihilation,”meaning that a lot of civilians are being killed, and a lot of military supplies are being bought and sold.

Afghanistan is the Groundhog Day war? I’m old enough to remember Vietnam. I’m young enough to have studied it at university. This just goes on and on. At least with Vietnam, there were protests. No matter how right or wrong someone thought Vietnam was, people were responding and calling the thing what they thought it was. We had some notion that there were two sides of the story, even if one was Richard Nixon and the other was represented by Abbie Hoffman.

Today there’s dead silence about these endless wars, and often that feels like the oxygen being sucked out of existence.

These are a few among countless equally depressing, frustrating, even infuriating stories; current news of the day is that Trump is taking action to pull the United States, the biggest polluter in history, out of the Paris carbon accord. He claims that global warming is fake news, a false rumor spread by the Chinese (close second for the biggest polluter in history).

Mother polar bear and two cubs are shown in a scene from Discovery Channel’s series, Frozen Planet. Photograph by AP.

Maybe it’s just PR, but even Rex Tillerson, so recently chairman and CEO of ExxonMobil, is in favor of staying in the Paris accord. This news arrives as we learn that over the past 18 months, coral along two-thirds of the Great Barrier Reef has died — due to something called mass bleaching, which means, getting cooked by global warming.

I am what used to be called a newsman. Going back to childhood, I’ve spent much of my life trying to figure out this kind of stuff, trying to make sense of it. Day after day, I’ve become accustomed to digging in, analyzing the information, and holding people accountable. But what if you’re not that interested? What if you’re drowning not just in information but also disinformation and bad news?

And what if you know that, despite that, these developments are as important as they are infuriating?

So, I sat there with my charts out, scanning the news sites for any real developments at all, and it occurred to me again why the personal aspect of astrology is so important. It’s painful to think that we cannot change the world so much. We need all the help changing ourselves, and every possible reminder to focus on our inner lives — on growth — rather than just improving our material lives (important though that is).

I often think of some early lyrics of Bono: “I can’t change the world, but I can change the world in me.” One thing I’ve noticed, from personal experience and from listening to my clients, is that making personal changes can seem as overwhelming as changing the world. Isn’t that interesting? That growth on an inner, individual level, can feel as daunting as changing a nation or altering the course of history.

The newspaper horoscope is the most granular, microscopic method of reading astrology, yet careful use of the aspects can provide a significant advantage in life. Photo is from Thursday’s NY Daily News.

How is that possible? Well, consider that it’s the same mind doing the thinking. The same mind that perceives the world perceives the world in you — and that would seem to be the most significant place to work.

One of the things astrology does best is to describe the dynamics of your inner environment.

For the past few months, I’ve been involved in an unusual project, which is writing a daily horoscope for a major metropolitan newspaper. Since beginning my astrological studies, I’ve followed the planets closely, though never quite like this. Day after day, I’m looking for the leverage points that will help you facilitate inner change. Seven days a week, I read the chart 12 different ways, which is a real exercise in perspective.

I recognize that most people face what feel like nonstop emotional, psychological and physical obstacles. Some of these come from others, and many come from within us, whatever their origins. And astrology, in the right hands, can help work through those obstacles and, sometimes, address them at their source.

While I’ve been doing this granular-level interpretation — 50 words, 12 signs, every day — I did another project, taking a somewhat opposite approach to the astrology. That is INVOLUTION, the 2017 spring and summer video reading.

For this kind of project, covering a longer timeframe than a single day, and with more space to work (half an hour per sign, with the visual aid of the chart, rather than 50 words), it’s necessary to take a wide-angle approach to the astrology.

Charts used in the research and recording of INVOLUTION. Each sign and rising sign gets its own, called a solar chart. This method works better than most people suspect, if the astrologer trusts their chart.

The longer readings depend on placing yourself into the context of your lifespan. I look at aspects that just happen once, or which might only repeat every few decades (or even less often).

With this much space to work, I can describe the landscape of your life. I can describe the energetic environment of society, and then help you find the meeting points between them. They actually do exist.

Yet there are two qualities these readings have that I think stand above the others. One is motivation. Ultimately, I’m a motivational speaker. My job as I see it is to get you excited about your life, and your prospects, and your ideas, and your capacity for love.

Another is confirmation. While I bring in a good few “new” ideas, I set out to confirm what you already know. If you’ve chosen a certain path or are working on something you’re pretty sure about but not entirely sure, I’m here to tell you that you can trust yourself.

Writing this reminds me of the moment when I knew I had to be an astrologer. I was sitting on the little brick wall in front of a place called Gage Hall, watching parents move their students into a building that I knew was contaminated with PCBs and dioxin-like compounds. I had done everything I could to expose the truth of that contamination — and nobody seemed to care. Then one kid’s mother accused me of doing the whole thing — a years-long investigation — for kicks. Not because there was a real problem.

At that moment, it occurred to me that there was something psychological going on. I knew that I needed to devote most of my work to the inner world of human growth rather than the outer world.

Today, we’re in a different place. We’re confronted, ongoing, by a global crisis that we cannot ignore, but that for many reasons, we must put at the backs of our minds. Many of us see the connections between the inner and the outer. And many of us know something else: that as part of solving the world crisis, we must attend to our inner state. The way we’re going to solve the global crisis is that we’re going to outgrow it.

With love,

Short Monthly Horoscope for June 2017, #1154 | By Eric Francis

Aries (March 20-April 19) — Keep small matters small. That will mean resisting the temptation to blow things out of proportion, which is likely to happen if you’re feeling insecure in a relationship. Your insecurity is coming from you, not from anyone else. The good news there is that you’re the one who can do something about it. The first thing in that category is to tell the truth. The second is to stand back from what you know is false: simply refuse to accept it. This is a solid step toward feeling at home in your own life, and inside your own four walls.

Taurus (April 19-May 20) — You’ve finally got your confidence back, after spending so much time wondering where it went. Well, ‘it’ didn’t go anywhere — by my reading, you had some questions to answer that required you find your true self and your true voice. Consider where you were back in February and compare that to where you are today. Particularly on the issue of growth, something has changed. Suddenly it’s not some difficult or arduous task. It’s easy and becoming easier, which is exactly what happens if you don’t resist change, and don’t resist the positive ways people offer you their love and support.

Gemini (May 20-June 21) — Every single factor that could help you financially is on your side right now. The only thing you have to worry about is falling for the belief that someone is holding something over you. Therefore, refuse to play any game where money is being used as leverage or a power tool. You know that the purpose of cash is to take care of yourself and the people that you love. Anyone who uses it for any other reason, such as to gain an advantage over you or someone else, is violating cosmic law. You don’t have to say that; just go about doing your business on your terms.

Cancer (June 21-July 22) — The month builds toward a spectacular New Moon in your birth sign, and you may be feeling a sense of anticipation. You don’t have to wait for anyone or anything. You know the direction you want to go with your life, particularly in your intimate relationships. Remember that your first relationship is to you, and everything else grows out of your inner orientation. With the Sun and other planets entering your sign later in the month, you’ll be reminded of this many times. You have plenty you want to accomplish, and the glass ceiling that used to be over your head has opened you to a new level of potential.

Leo (July 22-Aug. 23) — Offer yourself fully to what you’re doing. Don’t hold back, and don’t make excuses for why you should do less, or be less present. Lead with your heart, and take the opportunity to be more like a dog, and less like a cat. That means expressing your passion about everyone and everything you’re involved with. Then you will ride the positive momentum to entirely new experiences. Your solar chart describes both passion and discipline, and these are the two main ingredients in your success. Know when to set limits, and know when to blow them away as if they don’t exist or don’t matter.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22) — Come out of your cocoon and make some new friends. If you’re concerned whether people like you, try setting that question aside for a while. Be yourself and see how others respond. You’re still in what I would call the ‘interesting’ phase of your relationships, where you get mixed reactions and are not sure who you can trust. You can only find out where you stand with people when you actively experiment, and give them a chance to actually respond to you and show their true colors. The most important thing to notice is how you feel. If you feel good around someone, they feel good about you.

Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23) — This will be a spectacular summer for you professionally, but you must prepare before you set out to accomplish everything. You will be extra visible, and you’ll draw attention to your work — so you must know what you’re talking about. Do all the reading you need to do; be conversant on the human level in your areas of specialty. Be able to argue both sides of any issue; see the flaws in your own point of view. People will trust you when you can present both the point and the counterpoint, because it shows that you have an informed and balanced opinion.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22) — Where your family is concerned, you’re going to be the one who’s counted on as the voice of fairness and justice. There seem to be important matters coming to a head, and some people around you are inclined to exaggerate their emotions or use their power unfairly. You need to be the person who is grounded, who knows right from wrong, and who shows some spine when it comes to sticking up for others, particularly young people. Don’t be afraid of offending anyone. Just be real and reasonable and devoted to the truth alone.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22) — This is a passionate moment, and people feel passionately about you. That might mean sex takes you to a new dimension; there are some exciting possibilities for investment, meaning someone who invests in you. The thing to be attentive to is nourishment. Any exchange must not only taste good and be filling, but also be wholesome. For as mystical and adventurous as Sagittarius is, one of its greatest assets is finding a home in what you might call the erotic cosmos. This is a shared space where you and those you love can take care of one another.

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20) — How do you respond when people approach you with desire? Do you brush them off or neg them, or do you take the compliment? Someone else expressing desire for you places no obligation on you. Nor do you have any duty to be welcoming. These days, you’re the flavor of the month, and you might want to maintain your reputation for respect and honor even if you’re not interested in some of your potential suitors. All is not fair in war, and all is certainly not fair in love. You’re the one who must make it so.

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) — Your workspace is your healing space. Your work keeps you healthy, and this is a good time to remember that. For most people, this is far from the truth; what they consider employment is for the most part a responsibility they want to get over with as soon as possible, and be on their way. You would laugh at this, but you’re too polite. Besides, you have some friendly people around you who are just as determined to do the job well, and for its own sake. The money will flow from there.

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) — You’re in the midst of some creative and artistic explosion. The dominant feeling is the sensation of knowing how good your life can be, and loving it. You don’t need to push the river, or push anyone or anything for that matter. Focus your intentions and move with the flow of events. You’re a genuinely original person, and that originality is shining out from you at the moment. Feel good about yourself and you will attract the right people to you: those who care about you, those who appreciate you, and those with whom you can share in the artistry of life.

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