What is Revealed: Venus Conjunct the Sun

Dear Friend and Reader:

The astrology of the moment is the Sun’s interior conjunction with Venus. This is the midpoint of the Venus retrograde process (please see SKY section below), when Venus passes exactly between the Earth and the Sun. Venus stations direct on Jan. 31.

Last crescent of Venus photographed by Shahrin Ahmad on Jan. 2, 2014, in Sri Damansara, Malaysia.

Venus retrogrades don’t tend to cause the commotion that Mercury retrogrades cause, though I consider them significant events in part because any inner planet retrograde brings interesting revelations, and also because Venus is retrograde the least of all the planets, just a shade over 7% of the time. That is, Venus is retrograde for six weeks out of every 18 months.

On Saturday we will experience the first interior conjunction of Venus and the Sun since the infamous transit of Venus in June 2012. That was a conjunction so exact that, weather permitting, you could actually see Venus seem to walk across the surface of the Sun. And it was so rare that a transit of Venus will not repeat until 2117.

Even without a transit, I consider the conjunction significant, since it’s a major moment in the Sun-Venus cycle. Adding emphasis, this one takes place at 22 degrees of Capricorn, making aspects to numerous other points, including Saturn, dwarf planet Eris, asteroids Vesta, Ceres, Tantalus and centaur Pholus. It will be interesting to see what this brings out into the open, since it makes contact with so many other hotspots in the sky.

Sun-Venus in Capricorn will be exactly sextile Saturn, the ruler of Capricorn, which reflects the relatively calm, stable influence of this Venus retrograde. As I mentioned once before, we have not had a Venus retrograde exclusively in Capricorn since the winter of 1802-1803.

Since then, till now, when Venus stations retrograde in Aquarius, it dips back into Capricorn. This time, however, the retrograde starts and ends in Capricorn, for the first time since the administration of Pres. Thomas Jefferson.

Meanwhile, solar flares earlier in the week resulted in this storm warning from the federal government: “NOAA forecasters estimate a 90% chance of geomagnetic storms on Jan. 9th when a CME is expected to hit Earth’s magnetic field. The speed of the solar wind around Earth could spike to 700 km/s (1.6 million mph) shortly after the impact, sharply compressing Earth’s magnetosphere. High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras.”

We have been watching Sun spots and solar flares for a while, and I have not noticed any specific kinds of events or tendencies associated with them. However, given the rest of what we know about astrology, I think it’s unlikely that they could have no effect whatsoever.

In The News: A Little is Not So Bad

One trend I’ve noticed this week is a series of articles on the Internet claiming that the dangers of radiation leaking from Fukushima are minimal or nonexistent. We find out which environmental experts would feel confident swimming along the Japanese coastline or chow down a family-sized boat of yellowtail sashimi. The articles seek to debunk another meme, which I first noticed in late December, describing how the situation is actually a lot worse than we’re being told.

This was the explosion at Unit 3 on March 14, 2011, which blew apart the building and injured 11 people. There is some speculation that the pattern of smoke looks more like a mushroom cloud than a hydrogen gas explosion.

In November, purported removal of spent fuel assemblies from the severely damaged Unit 4 structure began, and then news of that process went quiet, lending itself to all kinds of speculation.

In December and early January, there were numerous citizen reports of increased radiation levels in the United States [this link provides a summary], as well as confirmed reports of another bout of steam leaking from the plutonium-contaminated wreckage of Unit 3 (see ECO section).

Additional releases from Unit 3 are troubling because it’s the one reactor at Fukushima Daiichi that was known to contain MOX or mixed oxide fuel, which means that it has plutonium. This is the most lethal radioactive substance in common usage, the element invented to create the hydrogen bomb. Among the reasons plutonium is being used in commercial nuclear reactors is to get rid of the excess so that it’s not used by terrorists to make nuclear bombs. But the resulting nuclear waste is just as toxic.

Dr. Helen Caldicott has said that even a millionth of a gram (a microgram) of plutonium embedded in someone’s lung can cause lung cancer. So you don’t want to mess with any of this stuff, it should be nowhere near people and it should not even exist. But it does, and it’s become something of a trend to use plutonium in commercial nuclear reactors.

One such assurance of safety was repeated by the noted American astrologer Rob Brezsny, in his newsletter this week. I am in a dialog with Rob about this; here is my most recent reply, which I am posting as an open letter. Rob’s horoscope column appears in about 130 newspapers and he has correspondingly high web traffic.

An Open Letter to Rob Brezsny

Why You Should Be Concerned About Fukushima Radiation 

Hi Rob,

In your newsletter this week, you said, “The scaremongering about Fukushima is grossly overblown,” and provide a link to this site, in which the author assures us that it’s OK to eat fish from the Pacific Ocean as long as they’re not from Japan, and declares that radiation reaching the West Coast “will not be dangerous.”

Radiation map of the continental United States from December 2013, showing increased levels toward the western U.S., closer to Japan. The data is from the Nuclear Emergency Tracking Center, a private organization that aggregates government data.

The author states almost gleefully, “I certainly feel safe eating sustainable seafood from the Pacific and so should you.”

My problem with your statement is that as far as the public is concerned, you’re saying don’t worry, and you’re not asking any questions at all. “Grossly overblown” does not even suggest you believe there might be a potential question.

Why are you eager to spread the word that Fukushima is safe, or safe until proven dangerous? The problem does not have to be imminent disaster and the threat of relocation. Fukushima will proceed as a slow-motion crisis as the radiation gradually diffuses from the wreckage to the rest of the environment, concentrating in living creatures and working its way up the food chain. We have been covering this since the beginning — it’s a very serious situation, and it’s not getting any better.

There is no safe level of radiation exposure. Additionally, not everyone similarly situated gets the same exposure from an incident. Someone who eats one contaminated fish is going to have a problem, whereas someone who does not eat that fish won’t have that particular problem. But there is no way to predict who will and who will not eat that one fish. Every fish is not being tested.

“Don’t eat fish from Japan” is ridiculous advice. Everyone who eats sushi eats fish from Japan, and it’s obvious that some fish from Japan will be improperly classified and sold as non-Japanese product.

Vegetarians are not immune. Many edible plants collect and concentrate radiation. This creates direct exposure and it moves up the food chain, ending up in dairy products and elsewhere.

Image from Russian Television International report on concerns about contaminated fish getting into the food supply.

Not everyone’s body responds to exposure the same way. Some people, such as immune-compromised people, and cancer patients on chemotherapy, are much more vulnerable. Children and small animals are more vulnerable.

Further, we all have a body burden of artificial radiation, from X-rays, radiotherapy, nuclear bomb testing that exposed the entire U.S. population, contaminated food from those tests that was distributed to the population, leaks from nuclear reactors, microwave ovens, irradiated foods, cellular telephones and cell towers.

The entire West Coast is receiving radiation from the Manhattan Project dumps at Hanford, WA (via water table contamination), which then goes into the Columbia River and is transported to the Pacific and carried up and down the coast by currents.

So we already have a lot of radiation we’re dealing with; let’s not forget increases in UV radiation exposure from ozone depletion. Therefore, whatever we get from Fukushima is adding to an already serious problem. Since when does adding any more make it OK?

Since when, with the cancer rate hovering at around 50%?

I do not need to present any evidence of any specific danger to be ‘right’. I don’t have to find a thousand contaminated fish or even one of them. My role is to educate people about the precautionary principle: what do you believe, and what do you do, in the face of missing or incomplete information, especially when there is a known point source, a known contamination crisis?

Ordinary X-rays add to our total body burden of radiation. Each dose adds to what is already there.

I am pointing out that the blanket conclusions or assurances of safety cannot be right. And this is what the nuclear industry and its proponents always do. The exposure is always the equivalent of a dental X-ray.

Blanket assurances don’t stand up when there is a known deadly substance present, combined with insufficient data, a data blackout, a propaganda stream, conflicting data or facts plainly indicating a problem — such as the established fact of all Pacific tuna being contaminated.

In any environmental incidents I’ve ever covered or heard of, from Love Canal to 9/11 to Three Mile Island to SUNY New Paltz, the goal of officialdom is to minimize the perception of danger.

The official position is always that something is safe until proven dangerous, and that anyone talking about the dangers is an alarmist. The official position is that a little is OK and it’s fine if you only kill a few people (that’s known as risk assessment).

The popular position is usually “please, tell me it’s safe.” The precautionary principle says, you must do a worst-case analysis. However, if that were applied to nuclear power, it could not exist, because the worst case, which keeps happening, is so bad that society cannot actually deal with it.

Fukushima cannot be cleaned up; this mess will torment hundreds of generations into the future, who will never know a moment of benefit from the electric power that was generated by the plant.

You said: “Further evidence of sloppy research fed by emotion, not objective reporting: You say that Woods Hole is ‘chopping wood for the nuclear industry’. Do you have even a shred of evidence for that claim?”

In my experience, anyone who repeats knowing lies about a nuclear incident is doing the work of the nuclear industry, particularly if they bear scientific credentials. It does not matter if somewhere else they say they have their concerns; that merely creates the appearance of balance. Direct evidence of collusion is unnecessary. The fingerprints are in the point of view that supposedly objective scientists share with profit-driven, verging-on-psychotic proponents of nuclear power — that all is well. Don’t worry. I would feed that to my kid.

In 1980, then-Gov. Dick Thornburgh and Harold Denton of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission talk to the press about the Three Mile Island partial meltdown. Photo: Univ. of Pittsburgh.

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute knows better than to declare the fish and the oceans safe without even saying there are real questions. By definition that is deceptive.

On their FAQ page, they leave out issues like biomagnification, as well as migratory fish and the known extent of the plume. They are taking a position used by polluters in the ’60s and ’70s that all you need to do is water down the toxins. Then through bioconcentration, various biota gather it right back up the food chain, where we humans reside at the very top.

Any responsible scientist who wants to minimize the danger would say, “based on the data, we don’t know,” but the problem with that is there is a lot of data indicating a widespread, uncontained problem.

The ethical position when there is missing or insufficient data is to tell people that they must take the time to inform themselves, and make their own decision once admitting that there are certain variables. But we do know enough to know there is a serious problem.

The ethical position is not to declare the story overblown. Declaring a rumor overblown is one thing — but you would have to specifically debunk THAT specific rumor to do so.

Just because there were a series of Internet memes suggesting much worse dangers, some of which may have been exaggerated, does not make them wrong. They are based on something real — Unit 3 is releasing steam, as confirmed by TEPCO; Unit 3 melted down; it has MOX plutonium fuel, and a lot of old assemblies in the spent fuel pool.

You wrote: “I wonder if you think that Scientific American, National Geographic, and the National Academy of Sciences have joined Woods Hole in chopping wood and carrying water for the nuclear industry. They all have downplayed the dire doomsday prophecies circulating on Facebook, the Internet, and the Alex Jones radio show.”

This is not a case of either NAS or Alex Jones is right. That is a false dichotomy. As regards Scientific American, they have lied about dioxin before, along with many other ‘reputable’ journals repeating a series of fraudulent studies paid for by Monsanto. None of the secondary sources ever retracted their articles once the studies were proven fraudulent in later litigation.

Robots working on the first floor of the Fukushima Unit 3 reactor building, a place too contaminated for humans to go.

National Academy of Sciences is all over the map. What they say is not true just because they say it; they are an entity very close to the government and must respond to political forces, like most other large institutions. One recent case I know about is their declaring the anti-HPV Gardasil vaccine safe, when there are numerous reports of severe reactions and some deaths in young girls who got the injection. On the other hand they are realistic about climate change.

Supposedly credible sources may downplay Alex Jones but that does not make him wrong. They may downplay the increased radiation levels that citizen monitors are reporting, and the leaking steam from the MOX wreckage at Unit 3.

The thousands of tons of spent fuel on the Fukushima site present a real and ongoing threat, and if there is an expanded incident, it will be too late to prepare after the fact.

Three hundred tons of radioactive water each and every day leaking into the Pacific Ocean is not a joke. It is nothing to minimize. All that radiation goes somewhere, and it’s showing no signs of stopping.

Fukushima is in the path of typhoons, earthquakes and tsunamis. There are thousands of tons of uranium and plutonium fuel on site. All of the buildings are in bad shape and most could not withstand another serious quake. There is nothing stable or safe about this situation, and it’s so toxic that reporters cannot even get near it for more than an hour.

Meanwhile, Japan has passed a law making it a crime to reveal or report on ‘state secrets’, including Fukushima. And to give one example how that works in the United States, MSNBC, the closest thing to real TV news, is co-owned by GE, the company that manufactured the reactors. So we cannot trust what is in the media.

That is what we need to be talking about.

With love,

Weekly Horoscope for Friday, Jan. 10, 2014, #982 | By Eric Francis

Aries (March 20-April 19) — You have made your point; you don’t have to make it again, especially if it means in any way jeopardizing a relationship with someone who would be happier to cooperate with you than be your adversary. The theme of the next few months is that people will tend to become what you make them. You cast them into the role that you play, so it would be helpful to view the people around you in the most benevolent light. Look for opportunities to collaborate and take any chance you get to defuse potentially hostile situations and let any petty matters fizzle out. You currently live in a somewhat reactive psychic environment and it’s essential that you understand this thing known as projection — seeing things as you are, rather than as they are. Therefore, be friendly, spread good vibes and see how the universe responds to you.

Taurus (April 19-May 20) — The thing to learn is how to say yes and no, and mean what you say. Human consciousness runs on a binary system, involving affirming and denying. If you look around, you’ll notice that many, many people lack a clear yes and a clear no. I suggest you observe yourself for a few days and see how you do — are you truly clear about asserting to yourself and to others what you want and what you don’t want? Notice the emotions associated with these two basic positions, which do nothing more or less than guide you through your life. As you get clearer, you will start to have more faith in yourself. You will trust what you know with greater clarity; you will feel less confused; you will have a different sense of the future. Indeed, you will begin to believe that you actually have a future.

Gemini (May 20-June 21) — You’re about to resume thinking for yourself, after a brief hiatus of filtering your thoughts through someone else’s priorities. It’s not that their priorities are wrong or lack a basis in truth; rather, you know what is right for you and you have had more than enough input from others. At the moment you seem to be working out a set of sensitive details involving an intimate relationship or business partnership, and to do this effectively you need some detachment so that you can think more objectively. One temptation you might have is to proceed from weighting one person’s point of view too heavily to losing yourself to some form of group consciousness, and I suggest you make sure that you maintain your clarity and your independence from that as well. Stop asking people what they think; stop asking for advice or validation. You have all the information you need.

Cancer (June 21-July 22) — You can unravel a riddle in a relationship, but it seems to be doing that by itself a little more every day. Pay attention as this happens and you’ll learn a lot. There’s no sense picking a lock when the door is already open. There’s no need to make anything more complicated than it is. Yes, people sometimes reveal themselves in curious ways, and once things are sorted out, what you’re likely to discover in the end is that their motives and needs are pretty simple. I suggest therefore that you start from that premise, and not be too enamored of any seeming complexities, or of your own insecurities. You will be doing a lot of getting emotionally confident this year, and you’re going to learn this one situation at a time; you will learn to trust one person at a time, and come out discovering that you trust yourself.

Leo (July 22-Aug. 23) — You’re getting more accomplished than you may think; I know it’s difficult to discern whether you’re actually making progress, treading water, sliding backwards or some combination of the above. The phrase ‘getting more accomplished’ is a pun — you’re indeed getting better at what you do, though mastery is not always evident to the perception of the one who is developing the skill. Your astrology suggests that you’re re-learning something you had already developed long ago, or going to a new depth of cultivating a talent that you usually take for granted. Part of the story involves how you structure your time, and how you work within an organization. Go back to the roots of the story, remind yourself the total history and see what you discover.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22) — Over the next few days you will have a series of opportunities to assert your leadership and your intelligence, though the most significant thing you’ll be tapping into is your creativity. Yet the true artistry of the moment is taking an inspiration and conveying it into something practical and immediate, designed to address a current problem. I’m not talking about art for art’s sake, but rather the use of innovation for the purpose of getting something done, solving a problem or initiating a discussion. You may find yourself in the role of facilitator, and if you can focus the energy of a group, you will find that you solve the problem a lot more quickly. But you’re the one who will seed the group with the idea that it will grow and crystallize. Don’t wait for it to come from someone else. At the moment, you’re the one with the fire in your mind.

Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23) — You seem to be working out some deep insecurities, or grappling with self-doubt. Yet I would suggest that what’s really happening is that you’re letting go of some issue that’s been pestering you forever. This seems to involve whether you really need someone else to ‘make’ you feel safe and secure in the world, whether you can do it on your own, and what you need in order to do so. This is an excellent time to question the emotional influence that others have on you, or rather, that you seek and strive for. You need to know when you’re being overpowered, or giving up your power, so that you have a basis for choosing to do something else. This is likely to involve your family. Do they really help you feel safer on the planet? Do they encourage you to go beyond your self-doubts, or make you wonder when you’ll ever get around to getting over them?

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22) — You have no need to consider anyone, or any idea, a threat. It’s true that some influence is trying to undermine your thinking about something, and it’s also true that you may be frustrated trying to get anything done, hampered mainly by some challenges focusing. You can afford to slow down and think strategically. Retrace your steps and think about three or four moves ahead. But mainly, don’t let anyone undermine your confidence by offering a suggestion or an idea different than you might have come up with yourself. One of the most helpful roles others can play in your life is to do just that. If anyone seems to get under your skin, it’s likely to be because they have said something you were already thinking. While you may not have the answers right now, you definitely have access to the right questions.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22) — You may be looking right into a blind spot. That is to say, you may be looking at something and seeing nothing, or seeing in an inaccurate way. We all know about the blind spot in rearview mirrors; you think you’ve got a full view but there are hidden areas. The one I’m describing is not rearview but directly forward view. Someone may have a point of view that you’re not seeing, or that they are intentionally concealing. Someone close to you may be acting on incomplete or inaccurate information. I suggest that you suss this out gently, but with full intention. Determine what the people close to you believe and find out their motives for doing so. While you’re doing that, be aware that it’s not a good idea to follow people whose point of view you have not examined closely.

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20) — You’re getting to know yourself in a new way, and I do hope you’re interested in what you’re learning. You may be sick of the past, questioning the past and/or living in the past. Yet what you’re learning involves getting to the bottom of emotional attitudes and values that are very much a product of your conditioning, but which you have not fully evaluated your commitment to. Once you do, it will be abundantly clear what you want and what you don’t want; what is a positive influence and what is a negative influence. However, as you go about making up your mind what to do about this, beware if any guilt slips into your thinking. Guilt is evidence of control mechanisms that are leftovers from childhood. You are not betraying anyone by making up your own mind about how you feel. If anyone cares, remind yourself that your values are your business.

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) — It seems for weeks you’ve been trying to figure out how you feel about something, and you’re about to make that discovery. It’s so obvious you might be wondering how you missed it, but that seems to be a theme of your life lately. You can keep this process going and make the next week a celebration of the obvious. Part of the obvious that you may not have noticed are the relationships between many factors in your life that you previously thought of as separate. If you make up your mind that you’re beyond a growth stage where compartmentalization is helpful at all, you will embrace the connections between circumstances, people and influences. You are the one thing they have in common, and any attempt to divide ‘them’ up is really about dividing yourself; the recognition of unity in the world around you is the acceptance of your own integrity.

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) — If you need something, you know the person from whom you can get it. If you have an idea you want to manifest, you have the resources to make it happen. You’re in a moment of extraordinary manifestation power, so the most significant thing you can do is identify your needs and desires, and articulate them to yourself clearly. Your chart is making an interesting point, something I’ve learned to consider any time I remember, which is that you may already have what you think you need. So before you go seeking and striving, look in your home, close to home and among the people that you know and love the best. In many ways 2014 is a time of reclaiming; a time of receiving; and of remembering. You need less than you think and you have far more than you know.

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