What’s it All About?

And if only fools are kind, Alfie,
then I guess it’s wise to be cruel
— Burt Bacharach

WHEN I WAS living in Brussels, the seat of the European Commission (akin to the central government of Europe), I got to know some of the sex workers there. Belgium is close to the Netherlands and prostitution, though technically illegal, is practiced in the open. I learned a lot of things, among them that the best prostitutes work early in the morning, at around 7 am or earlier, because that’s when the politicians can see them. The guys leave for work early, stop in the Red Light District, straighten their ties, then head across town to serve in various capacities of government officialdom.

George and Eliot photo taken from two images, uncredited. Edit by Danielle.

Every prostitute, every astrologer and every therapist knows at least one thing in common: doing these particular jobs, you meet people in all capacities of life; of all levels of worldly power and economic status, from the destitute to those sitting on millions or billions. Some are married; some are not. To some that makes a bigger difference than to others. You learn quickly that people all have the same basic needs, the same fears, and the same problems. And suffice it to say, plenty of politicians, judges, cops, doctors, lawyers, Indian chiefs and erotic fantasy-fiction writers visit with prostitutes.

Therefore, it should not really surprise us that Eliot Spitzer, the former crusading state attorney general and soon to be former governor of New York, should want or need to consult a sex worker, or that he allegedly did so regularly. Must we act like he strangled a puppy for fun, or dined on human flesh?

Well, perhaps on forbidden fruit. There are few people in Western society more verboten than prostitutes; nobody except maybe a convicted murderer you would be less inclined to bring home to your parents and introduce by her proper profession. Forget the fact that Jesus had one seated to his right hand at the Last Supper; but we all know what happened to him.

Everyone loves a good sex scandal. It is about the only news item besides something like knocking down the World Trade Center capable of getting anyone’s attention. What is messed up beyond measure is that after five years of atrocities being committed in Iraq, in the middle of the supposed War on Terror, in the middle of a worsening economic situation and millions of homeowners being foreclosed, indeed, the day after the president vetoed a bill that would ban the CIA from committing torture against people being interrogated, someone’s activities with a call girl will seize headlines for weeks.

Tell me: if prostitution is a crime, why is a publisher profiting from it legal? How many newspapers have been sold?

Most people who take umbrage with the governor’s alleged choices claim to do so on the basis of hypocrisy. As one sworn to uphold the law, he should not break it; it would seem that he did both. (He spent much of 2004 busting prostitution businesses in New York City.) However, as attorney general, he was obliged to enforce the law; as a human being, he needs to have sex. He was in the ultimate double bind; to be, or not to be. This is often the case where people are expected to prosecute on the basis of subjective morality. We might ask where the real problem resides.

It is equally remarkable that the only time our society can have a discussion of sex is in a criminal context: rape, abuse, scandal. Make no mistake: whatever else this may be, it is a form of sexual repression — that is, repression of all forms of sex, not just the one in question.

Alone at the news stand. Photo by Danielle Voirin.

A scandal is an occasion to make sex and desire bad, disgusting and criminal; an occasion to demonstrate that all sex must have a victim, even if we don’t know quite who it was. It is an occasion to call the New York State governor a horndog, as if the editor who wrote that never used pornography to masturbate, visited a sex worker, went home with someone new from a bar or ever got horny.

What we are hearing about this week was not sex tourism or human slavery; rather, it was ordinary prostitution, which will always exist and has apparently existed for a while. If human trafficking or child prostitution is really the issue behind the issue, what were the feds doing going after call girls and their customers, or rather, the governor of New York State?

In a word, the answer is politics. Wednesday, Truthout.org re-published a Feb. 14 op-ed that Gov. Spitzer had written for the Washington Post. Interestingly — based mainly on the astrology, which we’ll come to in a moment — Spitzer went after the Bush crime family on the issue of banking and the mortgage/credit crisis. In that article, he wrote, “Even though predatory lending was becoming a national problem, the Bush administration looked the other way and did nothing to protect American homeowners. In fact, the government chose instead to align itself with the banks that were victimizing consumers.”

He continued, “In 2003, during the height of the predatory lending crisis, the OCC [Office of the Comptroller of Currency, obscure federal bank regulators] invoked a clause from the 1863 National Bank Act to issue formal opinions preempting all state predatory lending laws, thereby rendering them inoperative. The OCC also promulgated new rules that prevented states from enforcing any of their own consumer protection laws against national banks. The federal government’s actions were so egregious and so unprecedented that all 50 state attorneys general, and all 50 state banking superintendents, actively fought the new rules.”

In other words, this was very likely a setup. New York lawyer Scott Horton describes convincingly in Harper’s Magazine how the Spitzer scenario fits a pattern of Democrats getting busted under a Republican administration; and how the law that federal investigators moved under the White-Slave Traffic Act of 1910. He writes, “The statute itself is highly disreputable, and most of the high-profile cases brought under it were politically motivated and grossly abusive.”

Here is the article — it’s pretty stunning.

Now that I have vented some spleen, what does the astrology have to say about this?

Let’s consider the issues, in total: Sex, money, power, and control over people’s lives. The element of death is brought in because this involves life and death struggles to the finish; the cover-up of war crimes; and (to give one example) potential threats to the life of Ashley Alexandra Dupre, the call-girl involved. She deserves a security detail if she wants one.

Where you find all that material is, conveniently, in one place: 8th house of astrology. Let’s take a look at the chart for Monday’s news conference, where the issue first came out. The chart is actually cast for time the news conference was planned — the actual presentation, lasting about a minute, happened somewhat later. There is a well-known “stated time phenomenon” in astrology, such as using the time printed on a wedding invitation rather than the moment the couple said “I do.” In the stated time, one announces one’s intentions, and that is a dependable way to access the astrology.

Here is the chart, below and on its own page so you can look at it side by side with the text.

To begin with, the chart has Cancer in the ascendant, an echo of the Thema Mundi: the “chart of the world” from classical antiquity. I will not elaborate on this point except to say this is evidence that we are looking at a truly global chart — if you’re curious about this topic have a look later at that article.

This chart has an extremely impressive cluster of planets in the 8th house. There are days when astrology is like a child spontaneously blurting out the truth, and this is one of them. The 8th house is the house of secrets; a lot are spilling into the airwaves right now. Remember that more than anything, the 8th is the house of money. True, it is the deepest sexual house; but more often, it is associated with transacting large sums of cash, with banking, debts, taxes and the “resources of other people.”

Do you see the planet that looks like a little key? That would be Chiron, located at the beginning of the 8th. Chiron is a place of hyper-focus in a chart, and also a place of potential injury and then the gathering of power and healing. There can be a long-term struggle any time you see Chiron somewhere, and we will invariably seek healing there, by hook or by crook. Chiron will often point you to the real issue behind the whole chart. And indeed that issue is in the 8th house.

Because the Earth is always turning like a roulette wheel, in any chart, a house can be associated with any sign, and in this chart the 8th is connected to Aquarius — the sign of “all of us here.”

To put it mildly, Chiron in Aquarius in the 8th house is the personal manifestation of a collective sexual wound. And that wound involves hypocrisy, which has driven our culture into hyper sexual overdrive. Not the hypocrisy of Spitzer being, at one point, the avenger of the sex trade and then seeking some comfort or relief there; rather, the extremely comfortable hypocrisy of the way that sex, sexual power and the entire sexual discussion are transacted throughout American and British society: as if sex were not something that we all want, need or engage in; as if sex were not the thing that created us.

My first impression of seeing Chiron in the 8th house was that we might find Eliot Spitzer dangling by his throat in a broom closet of the Governor’s Mansion: it is also a sign of his personal anguish, at being accused of something that every living person in some way experiences.

The 8th house is also the house of marriage, that institution where money and sex are transacted lawfully and with church sanction. Indeed, the 8th house is all about the money transacted in sexual and familial relationships, be it by dowry, inheritance or the wife who rang up $10,000 on my dad’s American Express card.

Where Aquarius is concerned, we have the symbol of collective resources; the wealth of the people. Not the penny-ante fee paid to a call girl, but rather more like the entire treasury. (It is interesting that this happens to be the same house as rules prostitution; many of us feel like whores for sacrificing so much of our personal wealth to the government, or our precious time to corporate jobs.)

Let’s zero in on that house for a moment. It’s the one below and to the right.

It’s crowded in there. Not shown in early Aquarius is Nessus, the Centaur planet associated with the return of karma and potentially inappropriate sex. After Chiron is Neptune. Neptune in Aquarius in the 8th house represents a variety of things: all of those sexual lies we tell, crave and make mandatory; the way that sex is presented as a fantasy-fest in the media; and as the difficult to avoid denial factor associated with Neptune.

Oddly, Neptune also shows up as a spiritualizing influence. Though the New York Post and even the New York Times are frothing at the mouth, I have heard a number of very compassionate responses from the “man on the street.” Everyone with at least three brain cells and a shred of ethics knows that if you point the finger here, you’re a rank hypocrite. Neptune represents drugs, and hypocrisy qualifies as such. I believe that many people are addicted to the stuff.

Next we have curious little Mercury, which just left the echo phase (also called shadow phase) the very day before this news conference. All winter so far, Mercury has been dancing around in Aquarius, churning things up and setting the stage for this revelation.

Next we have Venus. I would propose that she represents Ms. Dupre, the governor’s well-paid companion, but placed in Aquarius precisely on the North Node of the Moon, she represents every woman. Seeing a planet conjunct the node, I just leapt up from my chair to get my Sabian symbols book off the shelf. The Sabians provide an image for every degree of the horoscope, like a big tarot deck in the sky. The image of that degree is a tree cut down and cut up to ensure a supply of wood for the winter, i.e., a natural resource. A woman living and pursuing her musical career off of her sexuality means she is living off of a natural resource, one that she was given from birth. To a greater or lesser extent, such as dressing sexy, being sexy, dating the “right” people, having sex with them, marrying into money, or using marriage as a business device, nearly all women participate in this custom.

Venus in this sign and house points to the complexities of this situation, and of sexual relationships. Prostitution, particularly on this level, is not “renting out an organ out for 10 minutes,” as two supposedly esteemed authors ignorantly, viciously claimed today in The New York Times. Yes, there are prostitutes who are enslaved and are treated very badly, just like there are women at every level of society.

Several years ago I had a close friend who was a high-end call girl in New York City, same basic gig as Ashley Dupre. She told me once that she deserved her $450 an hour because she was, at once, a business consultant, conversationalist, therapist and sex partner to the men she served. She had to do all of this in a detached enough way to be emotionally safe, but be close enough to be sincere. She had to apply an extremely high level of intelligence and refinement to her work. [Here is an article she wrote for Planet Waves eight years ago.] I could tell you a lot of stories about what prostitutes give to their clients, four out of five which have nothing to do with sex, per se. This is the picture of Venus in Aquarius.

Photo by Tyler Hicks for the New York Times.

Aquarius for its part is ruled by two planets: Saturn (from ancient astrology) and Uranus (from modern astrology). They have interesting placements. Ancient first. Saturn is in the 2nd house, the house of none other than personal resources; though so closely linked to the 8th in this chart, it is like Saturn represents the bankers hiding out in their cash, running the whole show secretly from behind the scenes; retrograde, clinging to old, stodgy values.

Uranus, the other planet of Aquarius, is conjunct the Sun in the 9th house — spirituality, and Pisces styled, this is the spirituality of both indulgence and the cosmic imagination.

The 9th house, also standing for worldly wisdom, education and the law itself, is also graced by Vesta. Vesta is the Goddess manifesting as fire. That fire is the sacred inner fire that every woman and every man possesses — the fire of creativity, art and of reproductive power.

In a chart, she is one manifestation of the temple priestess, at once renowned for her chastity and also “kept for a special purpose” — the sexual and reproductive needs of the Hierarchy. Isn’t that interesting? There is a tradition in many cultures of a special class of prostitutes, for example geishas, who are kept specifically for men of power.

In myth and in truth, Vesta’s attendants — the Vestal Virgins — had the job of tending the sacred flame, the flame of all life, all creation, of warmth and of safety: the flame that means you are in a civilized place, not thrust out in the wilds. Vesta’s message is that sexuality is a spiritual function.

Vesta in Pisces is a fitting image of Ashley Alexandra Dupre, whose sweet face and true vocation, music (not to mention her newfound international reputation) are well described by this placement.

We must go through the 8th house of death and transformation to find ourselves in the 9th house of enlightened ideas. This chart is very much a journey from the 8th into the 9th, and something truly positive may come from all of this — though besides a debate about prostitution and an apparently decent guy about to take office, we have yet to see what.

And where, you may ask, do we find the governor? Mr. Spitzer would be represented by the ruler of the 10th house. The 10th is the house of the king, the president, the CEO, representing rank and achievement. Aries is on the 10th house, so we look for Mars to see where Mr. Spitzer is at.

We find him in the 12th house — another place of secrecy, contradiction, and denial; in the sign Cancer — the sign of family. This is a man with a lot of secrets. The 12th is also the house of the pleasures of the bed, and in the sign Cancer, we can be sure that what he was seeking with Ashley Dupre were the comforts of home.

The 10th ruler, Mars, also rules the president of the country in question, and that 12th house Mars in Cancer bears a striking resemblance to our secretive, war-obsessed Cancerian president, George Bush. He is still lurking in the wings of the 12th house, in total denial, and at odds with all sensibility or respect for the law.

Mars, representing both Spitzer and his main adversary, is in an interesting, dangerous place: first of all, in early Cancer it is activating the Aries Point, meaning it is functioning as a collective factor, keeping with the theme of this chart. It is exactly — exactly — square Pallas Athene, the goddess of protection, law and politics. And finally, it is opposite Pluto, in this case illustrating a power struggle of titanic proportions. We have not heard the end of this yet — and more scandals of a similar nature may be in the offing. I wonder if we will ever find greater interest in sex for creation, love and pleasure.

Eric Francis




Weekly Horoscope for Friday, March 14, 2008, #705 – By ERIC FRANCIS

Aries (March 20-April 19)
A close partner or loved one seems to be going through a change you don’t entirely understand. They may be envisioning a better life but are standing in the face of some kind of obstacle. You may possess some part of the solution; you may represent a door in the wall. You can trust this situation — if you let yourself be free and follow the contours of the emotional landscape, you may find yourself on a new level of reality, and you will not be there alone. If you find yourself suggesting that someone not smash his or her head against a hard surface, remember all the frustrating times you did the same thing. Why did you live that way for so long, even when you knew you had an alternative? Someone else may have the maturity to see that you offer an option to a much more difficult way of existing. The difference between you is, they have less of an affinity for pain than you do.

Taurus (April 19-May 20)
You seem so sensitive, and the world seems so harsh. Yet you appear to be in one of those classic situations when all you need to do is walk a mile in your brother’s shoes; that is, reverse the roles. Find a way to perceive yourself from the outside, and ask yourself how you would react, given what you notice. This will greatly assist your ongoing process of claiming back any projections you have thrown in front of you. In other words, you need to own what you perceive, and determine the extent to which its source is purely internal. Once you do that, you can search for something new inside yourself and consider that as an option. The chances are that once you do, it will appear in physical form. Then you can see it, begin a dialog, and experience the emotions that come along with this.

Gemini (May 20-June 21)
Is the land around you unfamiliar? The thoughts? The ideas? Are you being plunged into your emotions more deeply than you’re accustomed to? If so, it’s all good. If not, you may want to open up an emotional, sexual or creative vent. It’s there for you; you have a lot you need to let out, and there is no time like the present to be present for your feelings. As you do this, you’re going to go through a series of transitions; you may feel like you have no grounding, no solid or tangible reality to cling to. We civilized folk tend to run from this feeling as fast as our little legs can carry us, and cling to the next thing that looks vaguely certain. That would be copping out; you need your uncertainty now. You need to not put any more lies in the way of the truth. You need, I think, to be feeling a little insecure. It will remind you of how transient and precious life is.

Cancer (June 21-July 22)
You may not feel like playing politics; more likely, you feel like playing hardball. You need to play a little of both. Be careful that you don’t suck up to the self-interest of others, however. You need to be making the case for collective interest, and to state plainly that adaptability is a virtue. It may be difficult to get people around you to agree on a strategy; start with one of your own, work it from the inside out, then look around and see who comes along with the project. Be honest about this — right now both you, the world and your personal world need the benefits of cooperation. You have obligations to people, and people have obligations to you. We may not like the concept of “obligations,” but think of them as meaningful commitments that are for everyone’s mutual benefit. This is where playing politics comes in. You need to become completely convincing on the point that what is good for everyone is good for everyone.

Leo (July 22-Aug. 23)
The past couple of weeks have compelled you to make more alterations than a busy tailor handles in a month. However, if you pay attention, you will notice that you have the world, and your world, and much besides, in precisely the position you need them. You may not see the truth of this now, but when the Sun enters your empathic fire sign Aries in just under one week, you will see for sure that your life has come into balance. You will be able to see out to the horizon, and you may even decide that the coast is clear. Meanwhile, I suggest you work with key allies and your exceptional persuasive skill to convince others to help you resolve a difficult financial issue while you have the chance to do so. This opportunity will be replaced by another, but why wait?

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22)
Every factor in your chart is teaching you self-discipline. If you are noticing that others around you are pushing you to be more focused, committed or attentive to your work, you’re more than likely skirting the internal messages to do the same thing. You may have the idea that fun is the name of the game, and that if you must back down or focus to have that fun, so be it. This would be missing the point. What you need is a holistic approach to life, wherein everything you do is of equal value. Manual is as “creative” as painting is as adventurous as cleaning the basement is as important as finding time for sex and passion. For your purposes right now, everything is the same; the discipline you must strive for is about improving everything you put your fingerprints on, and improving yourself in the process.

Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23)
Now that your home planet Venus has moved signs from Aquarius to Pisces, you may feel that you must give up on something or someone. If that’s true, what you must give up is a mental pattern or set of ideas that have crystallized themselves in your thinking, perhaps invisibly. Among them is the idea that you will be held at emotional arm’s length from the world, or that any risk you take must be purely intellectual. Notice that the people around you are taking other kinds of risks. Notice that a key partner or associate is not strictly defining what is possible today on the basis of what was possible tomorrow. True, you may be feeling particularly vulnerable now, and you may fear that people will perceive you as a bitch if you assert your independence, authority or plans. Well, maybe they will. Do what you must, take a hot bath, and sleep well.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22)
You have more support than you may imagine. You’re likely still reeling from a blow-for-blow power struggle and the residual fear, guilt or pain may be coloring your worldview. In fact, that episode is over. And since it ended, plenty has changed: people are actually being supportive (if you will notice). You have the ability to make changes that previously seemed difficult, such as moderating who and what you deem to be a friend. More than you need to adjust the actual people around you, you would benefit from redefining what, in your mind, constitutes an ally, a supporter, a compatriot. There are people right with you, right now, who are setting the example you need. Listen to what they are saying. Look at the example they are setting. Consider using the inspiration they are offering.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22)
Are you the beneficiary of your life yet, or are you still making some kind of huge investment in the future? Or are you simply obsessed with your money and power? You would be a wise person to keep your thoughts positive; keep your awareness turned up high; pay attention to the people that you meet for the next couple of weeks. There are some who will change your life, if you can step out of your internally-referenced state of mind and make contact with the wider world around you. And what, you might ask, is at the core of consciousness, the hook to this internal referencing? Well, there is a self-esteem wound trying to work its way out of your flesh like a piece of embedded glass. You may not be able to get it free overnight, but you surely would benefit from being aware of the process. Remind yourself where that bit of glass came from. It was not always there; someone put it there.

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20)
The throttle is opening. You have help: someone is devoted to prying you out of your niche, or at least opening the way for you. What you seem to fear most is offending someone on whom you’re emotionally dependent when you stretch into your enlarged, enhanced or otherwise cranked-up psychic capacity. You may well offend someone, but you cannot let that stop you. Remember, everything in the world is offensive to someone. Hell, everyone in the world is offensive to someone, and people who dare to fire up their souls and take chances tend to piss off others. So take the bitter with the sweet; someone is making a direct approach to you. He or she is appealing to your most creative side. You may not feel like you have so much to offer in this regard; you may indeed feel stuck. However, go back to your New Year’s or birthday resolution, the one about taking more chances and pushing your creative power for everything it’s worth.

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19)
Your life today is not nearly as difficult or complicated as it was one month ago. Yet as pressure and urgency continue to melt away, new layers of emotional freedom and psychological independence are making themselves known to you. No sooner does this happen than you are presented with an opportunity. Now you get to ask yourself: is this the opportunity you want? Does someone you perceive as important really want what you have to offer? Do they have something to offer you that helps you feel more naturally yourself? Or is there some other constellation of feeling? In any situation where there is an exchange, you need to ask: what is being exchanged? Specifically what is being given and what is being received? What is being offered by one or both parties that is not being received? And what is being demanded? Sort this stuff out, for real. Put it on paper, so you can see it.

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20)
Here is some news — Venus has just arrived in your sign. Just when you thought things could not get better, they are showing plenty of potential for getting a lot better. If at any point, the good things in life may seem to confront a limit, remind yourself that it’s probably a false block. The way around any obstacle, however, will involve looking to the left and the right; it will involve the cooperation of someone else; it will involve taking a chance; and it will call for you seeing the limitation as a gift. You don’t need to fall in love with the limitation, just acknowledge it, thank it and then reach in another direction. You seem to be faced with two choices: a highly structured situation that is heavily laden with the energy of the past; or a daring new situation that is calling on you to let go of the fears you so recently determined you don’t actually need. Now comes the moment of decision.

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