Where Two or More Are Gathered, by Eric Francis

Only puny secrets need protecting. Big secrets are protected by public incredulity.”
— Marshall McLuhan

Dear Friend and Reader:

I’ve been seeing and hearing the term “conspiracy theorist” flying around, and in tonight’s letter I want to offer a few thoughts about this. The term has been coming up in the context of those who question the consensus view of the virus and pandemic.

These are showing up more and more on Facebook, YouTube, and other platforms. I am wondering what an “independent fact-checker” is, in this context. Independent of whom? And is the person refuting Montagnier also a Nobel Prize winner?

Generally, it’s used as an insult. It means something like, you’re a fool, or an idiot, or you cannot think, or you’re speculating wildly and you have no facts.

If someone is calling you a “conspiracy theorist,” implied is the notion that they are right and you are wrong; no need for any particular effort to settle the discussion factually.

There is a spiritual element to this. To be dismissive of an idea or a person or a point of view describes a relationship to existence. To learn something, it’s necessary to face the unknown. And right now, the unknown might be scary — and to seek the truth requires courage.

This is happening in a time when the cable networks and most newspapers are taking a simplistic view of what is happening, and not asking too many questions. And it’s occurring in a time when major internet platforms like YouTube (owned by Google) and Facebook are blocking content that they deem to be outside of the official consensus view.

For the first time, Facebook censored something on my timeline this week — an interview originally broadcast on French television with Luc Montagnier, the French scientist who shared the 2008 Nobel Prize in medicine for his discovery of HIV. This is another issue — blatant censorship in the name of “independent fact-checking.”

The interview actually happened, and was in fact broadcast on the French channel CNews. Montagnier is qualified to have an opinion, if anyone is, or what good is the Nobel Prize? In fact-checking terms, that means it “checks out.” Another scientist might counter his evidence or analysis, but that’s not in the purview of a Facebook “fact-checker.” They have neither the authority nor the right to settle a dispute. What Facebook is actually asserting is the position of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and it is therefore serving as a government proxy. We need to take note of that.

Censorship is not my topic today. I’m planning to take that up on my program this weekend. Today I want to comment briefly on the notion of a conspiracy theory.

The Plotting of Evil; to Breathe Together

Let’s first consider the term, which has a long history documented by someone whose work I trust, Douglas Harper, author of the Etymology Online Dictionary.

To conspire means “a plotting of evil, unlawful design; a combination of persons for an evil purpose.” The origin of the word “conspire” is to breathe together. It requires two or more people with an agenda to do so.

The House Select Committee on Assassinations concluded in 1976 that based on scientific evidence, Pres. Kennedy was probably shot by two or more assassins. The Warren Commission said it was just one lone actor, Lee Harvey Oswald. This is the “lone gunman theory.”

While the term “conspiracy theory” goes back to about 1893, used in a different context, the way we use it today is from the Kennedy assassination, where it had a specific meaning.

Either one believed that Lee Harvey Oswald shot the president as a lone actor, sponsored by or reporting to nobody but himself; or one was a “conspiracy theorist” because any other possibility required a conspiracy of two or more people.

There were two federal investigations. As it turned out, the Warren Commission determined in its 1964 report that Oswald acted alone.

The House Select Committee on Assassinations concluded in 1976 that based on scientific evidence, there was a high probability that at least two gunmen shot Kennedy and that the assassination was the result of a conspiracy. That means that two or more assassins (and many others involved in planning, financing and evading prosecution) acted in concert; they did not just happen to show up on the Grassy Knoll at the same time by coincidence.

Nobody talks much about the House Select Committee. If you don’t accept the findings of the Warren Commission, you’re allegedly a conspiracy theorist. Americans love the “lone actor” theory. It seems to be stitched into the national mythology, like the Marlboro Man. Every mass shooting is presumed to be by one of those, and to say there may be a potential connection is, correctly, a conspiracy theory. And it may not be wrong. So far as I know, nobody has investigated whether all those mass shootings have been a coordinated effort.

The term came into use again around the Sept. 11 incident. If one did not accept the Sept. 11 Commission’s finding that Osama bin Laden engaged 19 hijackers to crash airplanes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, one is a conspiracy theorist. However, the government’s own theory is a conspiracy theory. Otherwise, how else would 19 people act in a coordinated fashion?

I have a question — if 17 of the 19 hijackers were Saudi, why did we bomb Afghanistan and Iraq? There would seem to have been some kind of Saudi conspiracy. I’m not saying that there was one; I just want to know why there were so many Saudis involved in one massive plot to change everything.

When We Say Scandal, We Usually Mean Conspiracy

When we learned that Richard Nixon led a conspiracy to break into the Democratic National Committee, and had used the FBI, the CIA and the IRS to do his bidding, we call that the Watergate scandal. Actually, it was a massive conspiracy. It went right to the top of the U.S. government.

Lt. Colonel Oliver North being sworn in. He coordinated a conspiracy involving the sale of weapons to our enemy Iran, diverting the profits to the CIA-backed Contras in Nicaragua. He is perhaps better known for charging the federal government for lingerie for his secretary.

When we learned that the United States government had for a decade concealed the damage and failure of the Vietnam War, and then baldly lied to the public, we think of that as the Pentagon Papers scandal.

Actually, it was a massive conspiracy involving hundreds or possibly thousands of people who understood what was going on. It went right to the top of the U.S. government.

When we learned that the Reagan administration had illegally sold weapons to Iran and diverted the profits to the Nicaraguan CIA-backed Contra rebels, we called that the Iran-Contra scandal.

Actually it was a conspiracy that resulted in top-level resignations, prosecutions and jury convictions. Again, it went right to the top of the U.S. government.

When people accuse someone of being a “conspiracy theorist,” it’s as if they don’t admit that conspiracies are documented on a regular basis, and cause real damage. Part of why our trust in government is so shaky involves the examples I gave. But then it’s a real wonder when, on a matter of national security and health, and personal health, we trust every word they say — and many self-styled “revolutionary” types attack others for not doing so.

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Workers are seen inside the bio safety level 4 laboratory in Wuhan, Hubei province, Feb. 23, 2017. This lab actually exists, bat viruses are studied there, and the facility has been known to have safety issues. It is partly sponsored by a grant from the United States. Photo by Johannes Eisele/VCG.

A Contemporary Example

Today, to question whether 2019-nCoV came from a laboratory can usually earn the title “conspiracy theorist.” This is because it challenges the accepted narrative that the virus originated from the Huanan Wet Market. However, a study published in The Lancet, the premier British medical journal, concluded that 13 of the first 41 patients had no contact with the market or any traceable connection to the market, including the very first case reported Dec. 1.

If the virus did not come from the market, it came from somewhere else. I think that statement holds up to logical scrutiny. As Aristotle or Pythagoras or Spinoza or someone wearing a toga said, “If it’s a bird, and it’s not a robin, it must be some other kind of bird.”

Photo purportedly showing wild animal meat being sold at the Huanan wet market in Wuhan, China, where there was an early outbreak of coronavirus in late 2019. They must sell bats, right?

Where exactly is that somewhere else? It’s possible to use logic to speculate without a “conspiracy theory.” For example, it may have been an accident. It’s also possible to use logic to set up scenarios where there may have been two or more people acting in concert, with intent. Maybe there was a lab accident that was covered up. Maybe it was bioterrorism.

In fact, lab accidents happen. Accidents happen in all areas of science. So this is not a stretch. We’ve just spent the past 19 years since 9/11 freaking out over terrorism. So that’s no longer a problem?

For me, the plausibility of this line of thinking is based on one fact: that labs studying coronaviruses exist in the city of Wuhan. There are at least two of them. If the labs were in another city, there would be a problem with the lab theory. If the labs did not exist at all, there would be a problem with the lab theory. To ask and investigate whether this virus — such as it may be — came from a lab is to ask a logical question, especially if there is a lab from which it may have come.

If someone says, “It came from a lab, therefore it is the intentional action of the Illuminati,” that is a conspiracy theory. It’s not necessarily wrong, though it’s not necessarily based on known facts. You would have to investigate.

The origins of the virus are (in my opinion as a reporter) the most important facet of this story. I am enjoying reading so many people commenting that it does not matter where the virus came from; it does not change the fact that we have to deal with it. That is a strange notion. To discover the origin, we will need to discuss and investigate the possibilities.

But we know one thing for sure: 13 of the earliest cases had no connection to the Huanan Wet Market in Wuhan. So therefore, something else must be true. In fact, that something else may have involved two or more people acting in concert, with nefarious intentions.

Suppressing Discussion is Not Critical Thinking

There are many facets of the story that are murky and call for further investigation. And many discussions emerging from these issues are being shot at as “conspiracy theories.” Others are being removed from publishing platforms as allegedly false.

STAT, a medical industry website, published an article this week calling for open discussion among scientists, and allowing in those who do not take the consensus view.

Dr. Dan Erickson shown in an ABC News video still. YouTube has removed his interpretation of statistics, and continues to do so. He has been attacked as a right-wing actor. Neither is a critique of his discussion points, numbers or analysis.

After taking a dig at “snake-oil cures to conspiracy theories about the origin of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes the disease,” they actually start to reason:

“A case in point involves the response to John Ioannidis, a professor of medicine at Stanford University, who was thrust into the spotlight after writing a provocative article in STAT on Covid-19. He argued in mid-March that we didn’t have enough information on the prevalence of Covid-19 and the consequences of the infection on a population basis to justify the most extreme lockdown measures which, he hypothesized, could have dangerous consequences of their own.

“We have followed the dialogue about his article from fellow academics on social media, and been concerned with personal attacks and general disparaging comments. While neither of us shares all of Ioannidis’ views on Covid-19, we both believe his voice — and those of other legitimate scientists — is important to consider, even when we ultimately disagree with some of his specific analyses or predictions.”

“At this moment of massive uncertainty, with data and analyses shifting daily, honest disagreements among academic experts with different training, scientific backgrounds, and perspectives are both unavoidable and desirable,” the authors write in their conclusion.

“Scientific consensus is important, but it isn’t uncommon when some of the most important voices turn out to be those of independent thinkers, like John Ioannidis, whose views were initially doubted. That’s not an argument for prematurely accepting his contestable views, but it is a sound argument for keeping him, and others like him, at the table.”

Now, we can theorize about the conspiracy of who might want to shut them down, and why.

With love,

PS — I will have a new horoscope for you Sunday night. I’ve posted the May monthly horoscope below in case you want to review it.

PPS — Welcome to the many new members of Planet Waves who have signed up this week, and to many others who have made a contribution without asking for anything in return. We have indeed met our April budget, thanks to your generosity. Thank you.


Planet Waves (ISSN 1933-9135) is published each Sunday and Thursday evening in Kingston, New York, Planet Waves, Inc. Core Community membership: $197/year. Editor & Publisher: Eric F. Coppolino. Web Developer: Anatoly Ryzhenko. Associate Editor: Amy Elliott. Assistant Editor: Joshua Halinen. Client Services: Victoria Emory. Illustrator: Lanvi Nguyen. Finance: Andrew Slater. Archivist: Morgan Francis. Technical Assistants: Emily Thing, Cate Ryzhenko. Proofreading: Jessica Keet. Media Consultant: Andrew McLuhan. Music Director: Daniel Sternstein. Bass and Drums: Daniel Grimsland. Additional Music: Zeljko. Additional Research, Writing and Opinions: Samuel Dean, Yuko Katori, Amanda Painter, Cindy Tice Ragusa and Carol van Strum.

The Wuhan Market Conspiracy Theory

A Story by Anna-Cristal de Lyon

A junior clerk at the Wuhan lab took a holiday 1,000 miles away, in the region where they have these special bats, in a remote region of the Yunnan province.

Batgirl. DC Comics.

While he was there, his uncle died and willed him a couple of tame ferrets. He took them for walks in the countryside, complete with harness, at sunset every evening.

He finished his holiday abruptly because the poor ferrets had a bad cold, and the local vet, at his vacation village, was incompetent. So he brought them back home with him to get care in Wuhan.

Coincidentally, he also came down with a bit of flu. As he was scared of losing his job, he nevertheless went to his office in the Wuhan P4 lab. While chatting with colleagues at the coffee machine, he explained that he was now the proud owner of a couple of ferrets, but was worried about their health, as the Wuhan vet didn’t seem to find a proper drug to heal their pneumonia.

The colleague went to talk with others in the lab, and by the end of the day, the story filtered out to the top boss, Mrs. Bat Woman, real name Ms. Shi Zhengli. Who promptly recommended the ferrets be brought to the lab, to be given a compassionate new drug, just out of the test tubes.

So he did bring them into the lab and under care of his top boss. After some days, the ferrets unfortunately did not survive. He brought them home crying. Failing a garden for a proper burial, his girlfriend suggested he sold them at the wet market. The poor young chap was not only badly sick then but inconsolable and he died of sadness shortly thereafter at the loss of his ferrets.

His girlfriend was able to tell the story on Weibo when she recovered from the bad case of flu she caught from handling the dead ferrets.


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Happy Earth Day from Lanvi
Planet Waves Monthly Horoscope for May 2020 (#1279) | By Eric Francis
Aries

Aries (March 20-April 19) — In a world of rapidly changing value and values, you must stick to what you know matters the most. Yes, it seems like everything is up for grabs, and is for sale cheap. Things like life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Matters such as the truth. The entire economy and its ability to feed people. An important element of the astrology that is driving this dizzying, free-for-all “re-evaluation” may have you doubting yourself, or struggling with your self-worth. I suggest you learn how to distance yourself from what you see going on in the world, and even how it’s affecting you, and remember your priorities. If you’re having trouble remembering them, go within yourself and figure out what they are. The challenge is that you’re easily drawn into various forms of public debates. Your opinion is being influenced by outside forces a little too much for comfort. You may not even realize this, because it’s such a deep human instinct to think along with the group. Yet you must think for yourself. You will know you’re doing this because it makes you nervous. You will feel uneasy, uncertain, and like you need validation. You may not get it; at this stage you don’t really want it. It will be better for you to feel uncertain and continue on your quest, than to have false certainty and be distracted from it. In this world, it’s not easy to stand apart from others, and it can feel like you may be treated like a nonperson if you’ve made your own decision about something. The very act of deciding, and of seeking your truth, is a testament to your humanity.

The Journey of You and Chiron | A new reading by Eric Francis, now available for instant access.

Anyone who has encountered it is curious about Chiron. Planet Waves provides one of the few dependable online sources of information on this unusual planet. For the 10th anniversary Astrology Studio reading, I cover Chiron in Aries — a momentous event for all those born under this sign, and of high interest to everyone else. Get instant access to this reading here.


Taurus

Taurus (April 19-May 20) — To seek understanding of yourself means not assuming you already have it. This may leave you feeling unstable, which is exactly the state of mind that you want to work with. Get used to change, and changing. Work with uncertainty. Right now it’s your best friend. Accordingly, your nemesis is false certainty. That said, the condition of false certainty is precisely what got the world into the troubles that it has today. It is the condition of lack of curiosity. It is about not knowing when one does not know, and assuming one does. Therefore, I suggest that you learn how to know when you don’t know, and make that your number one priority. It’s the difference between a fool and a wise person. It can even be the difference between life and death. Your astrology at the moment is fueled by two seemingly competing forces: the drive to rebel, and the drive to conform. This is likely to be the cause of considerable tension within you, and it’s likely to increase (it peaks in 2021, actually). I suggest you learn the skill of holding two opposing thoughts in your mind at the same time. Stand right between them and, as Rilke said, stretch yourself over the contradiction. That is how you gain knowledge and experience: through honestly confronting difficulty and complexity. It’s also essential that you develop the skill of admitting you were wrong about something, making the correction, and moving on — while remaining open minded. As the next 18 months unfold, you will value this more and more, if you get good at it. I mean really good.

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Gemini

Gemini (May 20-June 21) — This is the month when Venus stations retrograde in your sign. You may have the feeling that you’re being asked to give up a lot, though I suggest you think of this as an exchange. You are releasing what you don’t need in favor of something that you do. Along the way, you must refine your concept of a “need” and be able to distinguish it clearly from a “desire.” I could imagine a productive two-day workshop on this; you will have one that lasts for six weeks, from May 13 through June 26 — though in some ways it’s already begun. Here’s a way to make this Venus retrograde simpler than it might otherwise be. In some ways it comes down to one idea, which is the central organizing principle of your life. The image is the hearth at the center of a home, or the kitchen. The image is also one of tending the flame, which is the active energy within the central idea. That flame will be about your creativity. It will be about your sexuality. It will be about your relationship to yourself, and the language that you speak with yourself (all covered in this special edition of Tantra Studio). This is a language based on emotional intelligence, which is a fancy way of saying the ability to think and feel at the same time. This means, at first, thinking about your life, and feeling the nature of your existence simultaneously. You have some reckoning to do with the past. You may have some sexual healing to work on. That would be a good thing. Take your time, and promise to be real with yourself. Then, you can be real with others.

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Cancer

Cancer (June 21-July 22) — Venus retrograde takes place in your 12th solar house, Gemini. There are two houses associated with secrets, one of which is the 8th and the other of which is the 12th. For the 8th, I think of Bono’s line, “A secret is something that you tell one other person.” For the 12th house, it’s the secrets you don’t reveal to yourself. That can mean denial. It can mean what is lurking in your unconscious that bubbles out in dreams. You might remember, you might forget. Now is the time to remember, and to stay awake underwater. As Venus turns to retrograde movement in Gemini over the next few weeks, immerse yourself in that world. At first it may seem like a hall of mirrors. You may feel like you’re meeting someone new, who you discover is yourself. Proceed with a sense of adventure and intrigue. You may discover things that contradict what you’ve considered established truths. You may rediscover elements of yourself that you lost along the foggy ruins of time. All of this is leading to something. There is a purpose involved, and you are guided. You may not know what you’re looking for, yet your movements are not haphazard, though they may feel that way at times. The 12th house has a zero-gravity feeling, particularly if you’re tumbling back toward something in your past and don’t know what it is. Yet what you’re experiencing is not about the past. It’s about who you’re becoming right now, in these very days. You are coming into alignment with yourself. A long cycle of experience is coming to an end, and another is beginning. Pay attention. Make no assumptions. You will benefit from being observant and thoughtful.


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Leo

Leo (July 22-Aug. 23) — Your planets are aligning in a way that describes some unusual success or professional breakthrough. Yet you must not act as if this has happened, or as if you have any special power or privilege. Take a modest approach to all that you do. You have influence, though your success depends on finding common ground with others, and combining your influence with theirs in a creative and organized way. Emphasize the service aspect of what you’re doing, and keep the financial angle confidential among the people who actually need to know the details and the plans you’re working with. This will be fewer people than you may think, at times one or two advisors or collaborators. Not everyone in your environment is friendly, so you must proceed with caution when it comes to exposing a vulnerability of any kind, or allowing people into your confidence before they are fully vetted. As you know, that can only come from experience. Background is not enough; personality is not enough; hunches must be tested against both time and duress. Whatever you’re doing or planning has a long story-arc, and it’s vital that you not rush matters. Be diligent; know your facts; pay attention; make decisions consciously. Then let the story unfold as it will. There are large forces at work in your life, and the more you respect them, the more they will serve in your benefit. Bear in mind each day that the prevailing uncertainty, fear and confusion of the world can serve you. One way this works is that many people are extremely hesitant to act, or even consider the future or their possibilities. And in times of change, the most exciting possibilities come to the surface.

Virgo

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22) — Rather than pursuing your agenda actively, pay attention to what others are thinking, planning and doing, particularly if it looks like it affects you or the environment you live in. Neptune in your opposite sign continues to present the challenge of a distortion or blind spot. When Neptune is present, gaining accurate impressions of people and situations requires special handling. You might be inclined to assume something that’s entirely untrue, only dimly recognizing that your perceptions are based on an opinion. This will extend to your relationships, including the ones you don’t think you have. Therefore, take it slow. Listen to the words you say for clues to your thinking and perceptions. By that I mean study what words you use to describe yourself and your environment. This will, in turn, help you see what is going through your mind, and account for your expectations. The forthcoming Venus retrograde, from May 13 through June 25, may come with the feeling that you cannot trust your own goals, and lead you to question what you’ve accomplished so far. Ask the question honestly, and give yourself time to come up with your answers. It’s likely that you’re missing something important. If you question yourself sincerely, that something will make itself known to you. There is an issue here of how you state your goals, and how you think of your influence on the world. Again, notice the words you use when you’re not consciously choosing them to get an effect. They will be most revealing of your expectations and of your state of mind.

Libra

Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23) — Most people have a distorted sense of the future right now, if they have any at all. You might feel shaky if you project your trajectory forward. The good news is that you have no special need to do so. The future is not something you must search out, or seek out. It is something that will call you when the time is right. So for now you can do yourself the favor of not worrying so much about what may exist a little (or a lot) further down the road, and invest your energy in what looks like one of the most productive phases of personal inquiry of your life. There is much misunderstanding about what it means to “be spiritual” or “on a spiritual path.” The words themselves do not make it so. Some associate the concept with a peaceful feeling. I would propose that the quest for truth is what makes this elusive thing real. In your situation, that quest involves understanding your ethics, and the reasoning process that helped you get there. What do you consider your highest and worthiest goals? Do they involve food, clothing and other elements of survival, or do they involve your relationship to existence? The question you are confronting is a philosophical one. These are easily overlooked, dismissed or treated as less significant than material needs and desires. Yet you may soon decide that questions of personal meaning, and of your connections to what is larger than you, are what need to be guiding your life. Go as deep as you need to; climb as high as you must. When you hear a calling, you will need a basis to decide whether it’s right for you.

Scorpio

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22) — Be mindful that an intimate partner is experiencing something unusual and deeply personal, and which might seem to exclude you. Think of it as an introspective process that must be self-contained in a kind of personal sanctuary. Your role may be something like guarding the door, or temple servant. A core lesson someone you care about may be learning is that their first loyalty must be to themselves. You understand this; you have a different orientation on life, and one that is a bit unfathomable to others at times. You understand that you have to look out for yourself, and you understand there are times when your decisions must exclude the input or influence of others. You must now be sensitive to the truth that others have similar needs, though it may be much more difficult for them to express these without feeling guilty. Therefore, be independent, and take care of your affairs, while keeping an ear to the ground and noticing whether someone is in fact calling for you. This may challenge you in a certain way. You might feel left out, or like you don’t matter as much, which in turn could provoke your insecurities. None of this is any indication of the actual state of your relationship; those are your feelings. If you hold your own space and allow others to hold theirs, there may be unusual and beautiful points of contact. Honor each as a rare, distinctive opportunity to recognize the beauty of another person. Allow them to happen rather than making them happen, and when it’s time to move on, let go gently and move on.


Planet Waves

Many times I have quoted Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche: “We do indeed live in an age of decadence, but the dharma is not decadent. The dharma is the same as it always has been.” Despite the challenges of our time, you can focus on your purpose, which is related to the World Purpose. You can step into your calling as one who came to our planet to make a positive difference. This is integral to your healing path, your personal mission and the necessities of the world. In this new video reading, about work and relationships, we will use the astrological markers of our moment to point the way, and clear the way. Pre-order all 12 signs of THE DHARMA here.


Sagittarius

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22) — You have relevant, necessary work to do, and you now have the opportunity to focus on that. Certain factors in your intimate partnerships are likely to be giving you more time to yourself. This might have something to do with all the extra togetherness if you’re “isolating” with another person; the result could be its opposite. Anyway, be bold about the projects you want to do, and let yourself make an investment in them. That might include a financial investment, though really this is about focus, dedication and bringing your ideas into manifestation. With so little worldly activity, we might expect a wave of phenomenal songs, books, paintings, computer programs and inventions to emerge next year, all of which are happening now. I’m not so sure, though, that many people will recognize, much less take this opportunity. Be the one who does; take advantage of this utterly unique moment to connect with yourself. You don’t need to call forth deep creativity, or set that as a standard. Rather, engaging in activity is what to focus on. In other words, rather than writing a brilliant sonata, play the piano. Rather than writing something with impact, sit down each day and write. Eventually you will get the hang of ‘doing without doing’, and get lost in your work. When you see three hours go by in five minutes, you know you’re in the zone. You’re much more likely to find what you’re looking for accidentally than by seeking it consciously or drilling into yourself for it. Therefore, be present each day for your chosen activity, and let it flow through you. Avoid evaluating the results; allow each experience to build on the next.

Capricorn

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20) — The Jupiter-Pluto series of conjunctions in your sign is a helpful answer to the shock of whatever the Saturn-Pluto conjunction represented earlier in the year. You still may not feel like you have a handle on your affairs. You may sense that something positive can come out of all this change and uncertainty, though you may not see a clear path to it. This is an interval where you can set aside thinking about your destination, and instead, consider your priorities. Amidst all of the intrigue, one thing you’re doing is sorting out what is important to you from what seems to be important to everyone else. This can be a real stretch. One clue that you’re making progress is that there are moments when you feel terribly insecure, as if nobody could possibly approve of you, for all the thoughts in your head. I say progress because needing approval is one of the most noteworthy things that holds up your progress toward self-actualization. Or said another way, you can forget that your desire is for your fulfillment, and what you prefer, and who you prefer, is nobody else’s business. Yet this can feel like stepping off of a cliff; like having no ground beneath you. I suggest you come to love that feeling, because in it is the actual freedom that your soul seeks. You exist because you say you do. The love you feel is a value in itself, regardless of who may respond, or notice, or not. Yes, this represents a total reorientation from many prior phases of your existence, perhaps all of them. And you’re just getting started.

Aquarius

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) — The unusual blend of energies coming through your astrology describes this as one of the most creative and inwardly focused times of your life. These same influences are also pushing you to mature in ways that will have results you could not have foreseen but will most surely appreciate. I recognize you are being pushed, and this is not easy. Yet the movement, the pressure, the drive to become, are coming from inside you. You are experiencing the power of your own psyche moving and asserting your true being. To be who you are, you must inevitably crack through the shell of who you were, and who you thought you were. You are being compelled to drop old and outmoded ideas about yourself, not by some outer circumstance but by the power of your soul. At times this can feel like your old personality is melting, and you’re unsure what you will become, or if you will survive the process. To be sure, this is an extraordinarily sensitive time for you, with deep currents moving within the depths of your being. This is all a precursor to who you are becoming. You don’t need ideas about your existence. Rather, you need to grant yourself permission to be, and to grow, without expectation, which means, without guiding the process. Let this go on — and on. You will make peace with being in a state of near-constant flux, until suddenly one day you recognize who you are; who you have emerged as being in your new state. And while these days may be difficult, you will miss them when they are gone — yet all that is new will carry you forward without looking back.


Astrology Studio for Pisces | A New Reading by Eric Francis

This is a momentous time in collective history, and a turning point in your life. As the year develops, most of the movement — including Pisces’ ruling planet Jupiter, and the Jupiter-Saturn conjunction — will be pointing into Aquarius, the most sensitive and innermost angle of your chart. I also cover the retrogrades of Venus and Mars, and the forthcoming Jupiter-Pluto conjunction in your friendship sign Capricorn. Mostly, I help you orient on your profound journey, and offer guidance how to harmonize with the world at this unusual time. Get instant access to this reading here.


Pisces

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) — To survive or thrive these days, extreme flexibility is the thing required. So, too, is the ability to be confined, to stay close to the reservation, or even a touch of claustrophilia — the love of small places. Thankfully, these are Pisces attributes. So, too, is a naturally introspective orientation, in a society that seems clueless what such a thing is. Our current environment is one where you can do quite well for yourself, and concentrate your power. The outer elements, whether social or commercial, have stepped back, and you can feel yourself for who you are. This moment will not last forever, whether we’re talking about the cultural one or the astrological one. It is rare that the conditions of society favor Pisces. Make the most of this opportunity, which will afford you the time and space to reorient your life in a way that has been most necessary for some time. The presence of Neptune in your birth sign for many years has come with some strange effects, including challenges focusing your efforts, your ideas and your energy. Now several different factors are describing the opposite influence. You and society are changing in compatible directions. Someday this strange phase of existence will be behind us, and you will emerge into a world far more akin to your true nature. Meanwhile, set your fears aside. Do not be intimidated by those voices that strive to do so. Stand your full height, and remember, you actually inhabit not the world but the universe.

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