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Quantum News

Dear Friend and Reader:

This is one of those weeks when the lead story -- at least here in the United States -- seems to be how the world is falling apart. The sensation of everything happening all at once is typical of the 2012 era; it's also typical of the Uranus-Pluto phase we're in; and it makes sense when you remember how many of our national leaders are obsessed with creating the apocalypse.

Planet Waves
Diagram shows how mountains above Boulder, Colorado, acted as a drainage system and flooded the valley below them.
I mean that many of these people on the right flank are obsessed with the End Times -- so obsessed they are doing their best to make it real. I will come back to that bit; it involves the potential shutdown of the federal government on Oct. 1. 

There was also another mass shooting, this time by a mentally ill former sailor who was working as a security-cleared military contractor.

Iran's leaders, responding to a letter that Pres. Obama sent last month, have stated their intention not to develop a nuclear bomb, in exchange for being able to participate in the world economy. Many people don't want to believe them -- they are, after all, the Iranians, to whom the Americans and Brits have been so vicious during the past century. Persians wanting to buy, sell and trade with the rest of the world is, I reckon, a legitimate motive for abandoning any nuclear ambitions they might have had. 

Pope Francis, in an interview released Thursday, said the Roman Catholic Church needs to end its obsession with gays, abortion and birth control. Some welcomed this as a long overdue awakening; others said it was mere public relations spin. It will serve, at least, to ratchet down the level of mania, as many Catholics really do take what the pope says as a message directly from God. We are all waiting for the pope to announce it's time for the church to end its obsession with young boys and while they're at it, allow priests to marry and have healthy sexual and emotional lives.

While some religious leaders tried to take a more moderate tone, Republicans in the House of Representatives voted to cut $39 billion in food and nutrition aid to the poor. Among other arguments: it will be good for them to have to work a little harder. Many of the recipients are children, the elderly and disabled war veterans.

Meanwhile, it's been a week of watery, emotional astrology, which may have infiltrated your dreams, kept you up at night and flushed out old memories, forgotten people and mixed emotions. Venus has been conjunct Saturn in Scorpio (that was exact Wednesday); Thursday, the Pisces Full Moon was conjunct sea-goddess Salacia; all of which combined with a grand water trine that includes Chiron and Neptune in Pisces and Jupiter in Cancer.

Planet Waves
Flood damaged road on the Colorado front range. Vermont flood experts, familiar with rebuilding after Tropical Storm Irene, are in Colorado to help with reconstruction efforts. Photo by Joe Amon.
That's a lot of water. Jupiter in Cancer for its part provides the water sign connection to the Uranus-Pluto square (the backbone of the 2012-era pattern). It joins the grand water trine described above with the grand cross in the cardinal signs (currently Mercury, Jupiter, Uranus, Pluto and Typhon -- with the Sun on its way in a matter of days). What we have right now is the whole sky working as one interconnected system.

Speaking of watery, let's focus on what's been happening in Colorado, which I have not mentioned yet; I was distracted by the smoke and mirrors of warlords threatening us with the Final Battle erupting in Syria.

While all of that was going on, and politicians were laying wreaths in commemoration of the Sept. 11 anniversary, it started raining in Colorado. During the week starting on Sept. 9, 2013, a slow-moving cold front stalled over the Rockies, clashing with warm, humid monsoonal air from the south.

With the storm system stuck in place, it kept raining, particularly along the Front Range -- the place many of us have traveled at least once, the region along the eastern edge of the Rockies, which extends from Colorado Springs up through Denver, Boulder and Fort Collins. This is the most developed and heavily populated area in Colorado.

A combination of factors, including the amount of rain in a short time (in some places, a year's worth of precipitation falling in a matter of hours), the natural geography and widespread pavement preventing proper drainage, created what are being described as some of the most intense flash floods in U.S. history. In some areas this is being described as a 1,000-year flood event.

A statistical summary only begins to sketch out the damage. Flood waters have spread across a range far longer than the 200 miles from north to south, affecting 17 counties in Colorado. But the damage has spread far to the south, including many parts of New Mexico, which is not being reported by the news.

As of press time, 172 people are unaccounted for (in Colorado alone) and six are known to have died. At least 19,000 homes were damaged, 15,000 were destroyed, 50 bridges damaged or destroyed, and miles of freight and passenger railroads damaged, washed out or submerged.

Unless you've been through a catastrophic flood, it's hard to understand what it's like. And what everyone finds out is that unlike a fire, damage that happens in the aftermath is comparable to what happened in the initial event.

Planet Waves
Happy campers -- residents (both keeping a grip on the dog) to be evacuated by helicopter from Jamestown, Colorado, after a flash flood destroyed much of the own Sept. 14. Photo by Rick Wilking.
Case in point: this region of Colorado is densely concentrated with fracking wells -- a process used in the extraction of 'natural' gas. The fracking process involves many toxic chemicals, which are often stored on-site at the wells, hundreds or thousands of which are or were recently under water. This will spread the toxins across the landscape, into rivers and streams and into homes and businesses.

There are 3,200 permits for open-air fracking chemical pits in Weld County alone, and though most are not operating, this gives you an idea of the potential scale of the problem. In short, it's impossible to contain toxins in the midst of a catastrophic flood.

Half-full tanks are floating and being torn from their anchors. Diesel and gasoline tanks are being torn loose as well, rupturing and causing oil spills into river systems. If it's possible to run a fracking operation in a way that's prepared for such an event, nobody bothered to do it.

Astrologically, how does this look? I've started with the chart for Colorado's admission into the Union, which happened Aug. 1, 1876. Among other features, Colorado's chart has a grand water trine involving Venus, Jupiter, the North Node, Saturn and Eris. So we're starting with a lot of water in a state dominated by mountains (not much room for water).

In addition, Colorado has four points in Leo -- Mercury, the Sun, Mars and Uranus. For some reason I don't understand, I've noticed that historically, Leo can be associated with very serious floods. (William Lilly even mentions this in his 1647 text, Christian Astrology.) And through all that, Leo was taking some serious transits.

For example, Saturn is now square Colorado's Leo cluster; as the rain began, Mars was conjunct the Leo cluster; the lunar nodes are involved (square the Leo cluster). So the core of Colorado's chart is under transits that indicate, at least, some form of crisis. Few would intuitively associate Leo with flooding, but astrology symbols are not always intuitive.

Planet Waves
Perfect use for military equipment -- National Guard helicopter and crew at Boulder Municipal Airport assist people they'd rescued from one of the mountain towns. Photo by Mark Leffingwell.
When you do progressions of the Colorado chart, you find out that the Moon is conjunct Mercury in Capricorn, in a close square to the Aries Point -- the place where individual events coincide with collective events. Progressions are a way of advancing the natal chart based on a time formula (most commonly, one day of movement per year of time). That means that Colorado was, for whatever reason, destined to be big news this month.

Had I seen this all, could I have predicted floods? I don't think so, but I now have clues what to look for in the future. There's also the question of what good it would do, apart from astrology being an interesting parlor game; you cannot base public policy or emergency plans on what an astrologer says. But several people have written to me asking for an analysis.

I think we have to keep this in the context of larger weirdness in weather patterns. Many have noted that it may be too late to slow down or stop carbon emissions. If that is true, then we better get up to date on Plan B, which is really fantastic emergency and rebuilding plans. Heck, many of the bridges that were washed out needed to be replaced anyway. Maybe this is how we'll get about the task of maintaining our society.

And Another Military Mass Shooting

The guys who hired Aaron Alexis as a Navy contractor now say they would not have given him a job if they knew about his little problems -- shooting out someone's tires with a .45; firing a gun through the floor of his apartment into his downstairs neighbor's apartment; his problematic disciplinary record in the Navy; and the fact that he was hearing voices and experiencing people sending vibes through the walls of his hotel rooms. Just before Monday's shooting, he called the police reporting that people were beaming microwaves at him in his hotel room.

Planet Waves
American flags surrounding the Washington Monument fly at half-staff as ordered by Pres. Obama early on Sept. 17, 2013 following the Washington Navy Yard shooting. Photo by J. Scott Applewhite.
Since he was indeed hired and did get security clearance, he was able to walk into Building 197 in Washington D.C.’s famous old Navy Yard -- the operational headquarters of the United States Navy -- and kill 12 people and injure many others, before the SWAT teams he engaged in a fire fight were able to kill him.

As longtime Planet Waves reader Beverly Spicer summed up on my Facebook page, "This is what happens in a society waging long-term/permanent war in multiple theaters, treating all active duty and vets as disposable, militarizing the home front, and heaving ranting, raving news anchors, pundits, Hollywood fear and loathing at the population 24/7 as standard policy, while regarding the solution to all PTSD and emotional problems as pharmaceutical. It is the new paradigm. And it justifies the ever-growing, albeit ineffective, security/industrial apparatus."

By my count, this is the third mass shooting involving the military. The first was the Virginia Tech incident in April 2007, wherein 32 people were killed. This happened on a campus directly involved with the military establishment [Planet Waves coverage here.]

The second was the Fort Hood shooting in November 2007, wherein 13 were killed. [Planet Waves coverage here.] In Vietnam one of the signs of the time was fragging -- shooting one's superior officer. Mass shootings at military institutions are an equally disturbing trend.

The chart for this incident reveals that Mercury was involved in the Uranus-Pluto square: it had just made its square to Pluto and was exactly opposite Uranus -- exact to a tiny fraction of a degree. Mercury was rising, and volatile Uranus was setting -- to about one degree of exactitude -- when Alexis started shooting at 8:18 am. Mercury was exactly, precisely conjunct Typhon at that moment -- and it was rising.

Planet Waves
Bishops Gerald Seabrooks, right, and Willie Billips stand in front of the home of Cathleen Alexis, mother of Washington Navy Yard gunman Aaron Alexis. She said she does not know why her son did what he did, and she will never be able to ask him. The bishops are part of a Brooklyn clergy-NYPD task force. Photo by Scott Wenig.
This was a blowing off of steam, it was a message, and it was a warning. I've spent a lot of time the past few weeks with the 2014 charts. Starting in December, Mars will be in Libra, joining forces with the cardinal grand cross (Jupiter, Uranus, Pluto and Typhon).

Because there will be a long Mars retrograde early next year, Mars will aspect all of those planets three times, first direct, then retrograde, then direct. The peak of this happens April 23, when Mars aligns exactly with Jupiter, Uranus, Pluto and Typhon.

If little Mercury getting involved can symbolize this kind of shooting, Mars has a lot more potential to be destructive. This topic is on my list of top three astrological events for the remainder of 2013, and I will be devoting the whole 2014 annual to the topic -- it will be called The Mars Effect.

There will indeed be a focus on the military, domestic and international militarism, the gun issue and the one thing they all have in common, which is how we relate to one another (in many respects, a Libra factor).

One more topic for this week: the potential shutdown of the federal government on Sept. 30. It seems like a lot of the Tea Party Republicans elected in 2012 came to Washington with the intent of messing shit up. The racial undertones are undeniable; they seem to hate Obama so much they won't even cooperate in starting a war. That must have hurt.

We've seen a few of these standoffs before; one resulted in the bond rating for the United States being lowered by one of the ratings agencies, with all kinds of global repercussions. The game that certain elements among the Republicans are playing is: hold the country hostage to get something they want.

Here is how CNN put it in an article Thursday. I will interject my commentary in italics.

Planet Waves
John Boehner, clearly an extra-biological entity of some kind (i.e., an alien) is being held hostage by other aliens. AP photo.
CNN writes: House GOP leaders announced their intention Wednesday to pass a bill this week that would only keep the government running after September 30 if President Barack Obama's health care reform law is fully defunded.

This is a law that was invented by the right-wing Heritage Foundation, passed by Democrat-controlled Congress, signed by the president and approved by the Supreme Court. It is, so far, the only thing that Obama has really accomplished. The House of Representatives has voted between 40 and 50 times to defund Obamacare, knowing that such a provision won't ever make it through the Senate or be signed by Obama.

CNN: The decision sets up a high-stakes game of political chicken over the next 12 days, as Democrats have repeatedly rejected any attempt to undo the president's signature legislative achievement.

This is a hostage crisis, which is a form of terrorism. It's also hijacking the political process -- a threat to shut down the government unless one law is repealed.

CNN: "We're going to continue to do everything we can to repeal the president's failed health care law," said House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio. "The law is a train wreck."

I wish I knew what he was talking about; I think he's hallucinating. So far we have not heard about any significant negative repercussions of this law; if they exist, it would be nice if he would tell us what they are. I think Boehner is projecting: he and his caucus are the train wreck.

CNN: "We aim to put a stop to Obamacare before it costs one more job or raises a family's out-of-pocket expenses one more dollar," said House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Virginia.

Mr. Lean Hungry needs to specify what he's talking about, lest we accuse of him of lying. He's offering no specifics; no accounting; no person unemployed by the Affordable Health Care act. He seems to be referring to his own actions and intentions.

Planet Waves
Eric Cantor, the genetically modified House Majority Leader, is in favor of shutting down the government if it will stop Obama's Affordable Care Act, in his hallucinations. AP photo.
I would be less nervous about this if the astrology starting Oct. 1 was not quite so challenging. I won't state it as dramatically here as I might say it to my friends; but putting it gently, it's a gradually building maelstrom, meaning a gigantic whirlpool or spiral vortex.

The Sun is about to ingress Libra, and in doing so, mount the cardinal cross (just like Venus and Mercury just did, and just like Mars will do next year). From Libra, it will make a square to Pluto, an opposition to Uranus, a conjunction to Typhon and a square to Jupiter -- all between Oct. 1 and Oct. 12.

Then Mercury stations retrograde, in the midst of which we have two eclipses, one in late October and one in early November.

We're in a phase of 'one thing leads to another', in rapid developing style, starting Oct. 1 and well into January -- by which time Mars is fully involved with the cardinal cross as well. And, just as this starts to peak, we have some wacko sociopaths huffing the shoe polish of power threatening to shut down the government, deprive the people of the benefit of their taxes already paid, put the government into default and shock financial markets around the world.

Yes, this is bigger than each of us, but it's not bigger than all of us. Is the answer really to do nothing and hope for the best? I don't think so.


Flooding of the Front Range: A Chronology

Rain began soaking Colorado's Front Range area on Monday, Sept. 9 and didn't let up. The Front Range is a range of the Southern Rockies that extends from Wyoming into Colorado. "Front Range" is also how Coloradans describe the urban corridor in the foothills just to the east of the mountains, an area that includes both Denver and Boulder and is the most densely populated part of the state.

Some minor flooding was first reported on Wednesday, Sept. 11, near Cascade. The Manitou River was high, as were many creeks in an area called the Waldo Canyon Fire Scar. The Manitou Springs emergency siren sounded twice on the morning of Sept. 11, and the El Paso County Sheriff's Office was making warning calls to Manitou Springs businesses and residents, telling them to be prepared. "Monsoon moisture" was flooding into Colorado from the south. By 5 pm on Wednesday, many flood watches had turned to warnings along the Front Range.


This week's news briefs were written and researched by Amanda Painter, Susan Scheck, Carol van Strum and your friendly neighborhood news editor, Eric Francis.

Planet Waves
Get Ready for the Mighty Equinox

With much astrology behind us, we have plenty ahead of us: the next event on the horizon is the Libra equinox. With this event, exact Sept. 22 at 4:44 pm EDT, the Sun is midway between the solstices, and rumor has it that day and night are of equal length all over the world.

Planet Waves
The Pisces Full Moon over Casco Bay in Portland, Maine. Photo by Amanda Painter.
This makes the equinox a unifying event: regardless of climate, geography or culture, there is some natural feature that we have in common, at least temporarily.

Libra is also about finding a point of balance, which I suggest you take advantage of while it lasts. Pretty soon the Sun begins making aspects to all those other planets on the cardinal cross, with the peak intensity being between Oct. 1 and 12. 

Yet even beginning immediately, we're likely to see things, as in world events, heat up -- even more than they already have. Libra is part of the cardinal cross, along with Aries, Cancer and Capricorn. The first degree of Libra is an extension of the Aries Point (the first degree of Aries) -- where the individual and the collective intersect; that is a fact of life in our era of history. This can be overwhelming, it can be interesting and it can feel like a call to action.

As the Sun passes through the Jupiter-Uranus-Pluto-Typhon configuration, the energy will ramp up in degrees or leaps to the next order of magnitude. It'll be essential, then, that you focus on the individual side of the Aries Point equation.

This is not about shutting out the world, but rather recognizing that in order to participate in anything real at the hectic pace of contemporary life, it's necessary to have some inner focus, and some authentic space for your most intimate relationships. This needs to be a conscious act now more than ever.

The equinox chart includes several planets in aspect to a highly energetic centaur planet called Pholus. Mercury is sextile this point; Mars is trine it; and Jupiter is quincunx it. Pholus is feeding energy into all those other planets, though the main thing that Pholus demands is intent. Beware of idle curiosity, decisions made under the influence of alcohol and drugs, or anything done under the influence of alcohol and drugs for that matter.

It's necessary to honor Bacchus and all of the other gods and goddesses; where Pholus is in the picture, it's necessary to raise your standards of judgment.

As you will read in a fully developed article in next Friday's edition, we have a heck of an autumn and winter coming up, leading into a most unusual year of astrology ahead. Think of the next few weeks as a practice run.

Planet Waves

We are happy to offer once again one of our most popular products: the Planet Waves All-Access Pass for 2014. The All-Access Pass is for members who want access to everything we offer in a calendar year. In recent years our product line has grown considerably, and the response from our All-Access subscribers has been overwhelmingly positive. You can read about everything that's included with an All-Access pass here. For those who can't get enough Planet Waves astrology, it's an unbeatable value. Plus, if you order now, we'll include the rest of the readings that come out in 2013, and you'll save $100.

Planet Waves
Iranian President Promises, ‘No Nukes!'

Iran's new president, Hassan Rouhani, made a shocker of a declaration Wednesday when he told NBC News correspondent Ann Curry that Iran will "never develop nuclear weapons under any circumstances, and that he has ‘full authority' to make a deal with the West."

In the interview he tells Curry Iran has never tried to build a nuclear weapon. Instead, he explained, "We solely are looking for peaceful nuclear technology."

Planet Waves
Ann Curry of NBC goes all 'fan girl' and snaps a photo of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. Photo: Lance Lundstrom / NBC News.
"Can you say that Iran will not build a nuclear weapon under any circumstances whatsoever?" Curry asked.

"The answer to this question is quite obvious," Rouhani responded. "We have time and again said that under no circumstances would we seek any weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons, nor will we ever."

Curry conducted the first U.S. interview with Rouhani, ahead of his inaugural trip to address the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday.

Iran has been attempting to reverse its belligerent image in the West, carefully backing away from the reputation gained from former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's wild rhetoric.

"Rouhani's speech is expected to be the main event in nearly a week of interviews, think tank talks and other appearances meant to showcase a newly moderate, approachable face of the Iranian government," said an article in Thursday's Washington Post.

U.S. officials have been encouraged by the about-face, including the public discussion of Iran's disputed nuclear program. Yet history clearly indicates an abundance of caution is in order, something the Obama administration acknowledges.

"Rouhani's comments are very positive, but everything needs to be put to the test, and we'll see where we go," Secretary of State John F. Kerry said Thursday.

Planet Waves
Fighting the Injustice of Food Insecurity

Republicans in the House of Representatives voted Thursday to cut the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, also known as food stamps), by 5.2 percent ($40 billion over 10 years). That would pull up to 6 million Americans off of food assistance, since, as House Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions, R-Texas, said, "There are still jobs in America." The measure now goes to the Senate.
Planet Waves
Ron Shaich, CEO and founder of Panera Bread (and Panera Cares, full-menu cafes without prices designed to feed the hungry with dignity) on day #2 of the SNAP Challenge.
While the very partisan vote was occurring, the founder and CEO of the Panera Bread chain of cafes was trying eat on just $4.50 per day.
Ron Shaich, who earns about $3 million a year and previously founded Au Bon Pain, joined 26 members of Congress in taking the SNAP Challenge. The SNAP Challenge is part of Hunger Action Month, which strives to spread awareness of the challenges encountered by the 49 million Americans who rely on food stamps to feed their families.
Shaich was been blogging about his experience. In his post for Day #5 of the challenge, he shares some of the real-life stories he has received from people who rely on SNAP, reminding readers that his participation "was not meant to trivialize anyone else's experience or claim that this week of temperance depicts an authentic representation of food insecurity. … Rather, my intent with this challenge is to learn and, more importantly, to use my position to build awareness about the realities of food insecurity in America."
Over the course of the week, Shaich has run up against common realities such as having to forego nutritious food for carb-heavy items that fill him up but leave him feeling sick, and obsessing over whether his remaining food will be enough.
Fittingly, the SNAP challenge and the House vote happened as Vesta (sacrifice) is moving into a conjunction with Ceres (grain, agriculture, our relationship with food) in Virgo (service).
Shaich and his colleagues get to return to food security at the end of the week; tens of millions of Americans are not so lucky, and after yesterday's vote, millions more elderly, children and veterans could join them. For ideas on what you can do to raise awareness around food insecurity, visit

Planet Waves
Pope Chastises Church for Obsession with Dogma

Coming two months after his now-famous remark about homosexuality -- "Who am I to judge?" -- Pope Francis surprised the world and shocked his followers by saying the church is "obsessed" with abortion, gay marriage and contraception, and has chosen to keep silent on those issues.

Planet Waves
Pope Francis waving goodbye to Vatican hysteria over abortion and homosexuals. Ok, not really -- it's a shot form his inauguration day. Close enough. Photo: Gregorio Borgia/AP.
In an interview released Thursday with a Vatican-approved Italian Jesuit journal, the pope criticized the church for prioritizing moral and dogmatic doctrines ahead of love and service to the poor and marginalized. He cited the church as a "home for all," a clear break with the views of his predecessors Popes John Paul II and Benedict.

"We have to find a new balance," the pope said, "otherwise even the moral edifice of the church is likely to fall like a house of cards, losing the freshness and fragrance of the Gospel."

The pope's views are likely to have repercussions among conservative Catholic clergy, who have repeatedly attacked abortion, homosexuality and gay marriage. However, liberal Catholics and those who have fallen away from the church may view his remarks more hopefully, as this commenter on a New York Times article said:

"Our pope is making clear to all who missed the lesson in Sunday school and seminary: the central, unique, onlyiest, singular, wonderful, mystical, fantasmogorical definitional characteristic of a Catholic Christian is LOVE. Love is how they will know us; salvation not condemnation; spirit of the law (love), rather than letter of the law, rendering unto God what is God's and to Obama what is Obama's; and never, but never, casting the first stone … Francis says we lost the fragrance of the gospel -- well it's springtime in the church and I can smell the flowers again."

Planet Waves
Bring Your Parents to Work Day?

Increasingly, U.S. companies are turning 'bring your child to work day' upside down, involving parents in corporate social events, intern receptions and even hiring interviews, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Planet Waves
"When you support a muscle or tendon for a long period of time and never let it perform its intended function, it will atrophy. The same applies with [young adult] children." Ben On at
"It's become best practice," says Michael Van Grinsven, field-growth and development director at the Milwaukee-based Northwestern Mutual, where some managers send notes to parents when interns have reached sales goals. They'll even invite parents to interviews and visit them at home.
Parental involvement in employment is much more common in other countries, but in the United States, it looks like an outgrowth of the 'helicopter parent' trend: Baby Boomers who have an unusually strong hand in steering their 'Millennial generation' children through college.
Young adults born between 1981 and the early 2000s stay in much closer contact with their parents than previous recent generations, partly a result of the Internet and cell phones. But are there deeper social factors at play? And what does it do to a culture when individuation into full adulthood is delayed later and later?
Psychologist Jan Seward, a Planet Waves contributor, notes that in the U.S., we have "no constructive model of aging -- how to grow old gracefully, be honored for the wisdom one has accumulated, and how to step aside so the younger generation can assume their natural place in the developmental hierarchy, and you find parents who simply cannot let go of their parental role and children increasingly infantilized and failing to launch."

Businesses claim to be concerned with making sure there is enough 'fresh talent' -- a sentiment that rings hollow given numerous reports of the difficulty college grads face in finding employment in their chosen fields.
"Corporations have always engaged in social engineering, creating new definitions of family and community to suit their financial ends -- think suburbia, or soccer Moms," continues Seward. "In this case, even the classification of 'Millennial' is as much an advertising construct as it is a sociological reality. In the case of Bring Your Parents to Work Day, I believe it's an example of leveraging the social realities of family loyalty and filial guilt to maintain the corporate goals of employee loyalty and building a new customer base -- all those proud parents -- at the same time."

Planet Waves
A 'Pound of Flesh' for Peace of Mind:
Unnecessary Double Mastectomies on the Rise in Younger Women

Awareness about breast cancer has increased exponentially in recent years; everyone knows what a pink ribbon means, and you can buy everything from a pink spatula to pink versions of your favorite NFL team's gear to show your support of awareness and research for a cure. But has 'awareness' crossed the line into 'fear'?
Planet Waves
They're 'breasts', not 'ta-tas' -- and fear won't save them.
Research published online in the Annals of Internal Medicine suggests that "fear, not facts, may be driving young women diagnosed with cancer in one breast to remove them both, despite medical evidence that says it likely won't improve survival."
The research further indicates that, "women younger than 40 who opted for a second mastectomy of a healthy breast did so to reduce the perceived risk of another cancer -- even when they knew better," with 95 percent of them citing the desire for "peace of mind" as the motivating factor.
More than 120 women under 40 with breast cancer in one breast who chose to have a double mastectomy were surveyed, according to a Reuters article.
CBS News reports on its website that "94 percent of the women ... said they believed removing the healthy breast would give them a better chance at overall survival." Sadly, nearly all of the respondents had "overestimated their actual risk of getting cancer in the other breast," according to the researchers. Only slightly more than half of the women reported that their doctors had discussed reasons not to have the additional surgery, which has nearly quadrupled in frequency since the 1990s.
"The apparent discordance between patient perceptions and realistic expectations provides a teachable opportunity for physicians treating newly diagnosed patients with breast cancer," write Pamela R. Portschy, MD, and Todd M. Tuttle, MD, MS, in an accompanying editorial.
Cancer is terrifying to most people, and navigating the risks and benefits of treatment options is bewildering and uncertain enough even if fear isn't running the show. Why are we more afraid of cancer than we are of needlessly amputating parts of ourselves?

Planet Waves
Colorado Floods Compound Fracking Damage

Receding Colorado floodwaters are revealing flooded fracking (hydraulic fracturing) sites, toppled condensate tanks, floating tanks leaking unknown fluid and scattered debris from drilling operations. One pipeline near Greeley in Weld County is broken and leaking. The Weld and Boulder County area is one of the most densely fracked in the U.S. -- and now perhaps the most contaminated.

Planet Waves
Condensate tank storing toxic waste from drilling operations displaced by flooding in Colorado. The toxicity of the liquids is largely unknown because they have been exempted from federal environmental laws. Photo: Carl Ericson / Ecowatch.
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is urging everyone in Colorado to avoid contact with the water, warning it could contain sewage or chemicals washed away from flooded homes, businesses or industry.

"If people must be in contact with floodwaters, they should wash frequently with warm water and soap," said CDPHE Spokesman Mark Salley.

All of the major oil and gas companies have shut down their wells. However, open pits and ruptured gas lines are of greatest concern because waste flushed out of pits cannot be seen easily and ruptured gas lines can explode. In Weld County alone, there are 3,200 permits for open pits, according to The Denver Post.

Reports differ on the number of open pits, which can hold about 200 to 400 barrels of liquid (8,400 to 16,800 gallons). Todd Hartman, spokesman at the Colorado Department of Natural Resources, said it was rare for open pits to be used in that part of the state and that most flowback water was placed in closed tanks.

"We are assessing the impact to open pits, including building a count of how many pits may have been affected," Hartman said.

If you think you’ve seen a leaking fracking site due to flooding, report it to the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission here.

Planet Waves
Planet Waves
John Grade's interactive weather-art installation, "Capacitor," (minus participants) translates microscopic elements of weather into a 20-foot-tall experience of light, shape and shadow. Image: video still.
Sculpture Lets Visitors Walk Inside the Weather

We all know the saying, "Art imitates life." A new kinetic sculpture aiming to catch the vagaries of the weather could be described as art imitating astrology, as so many weather effects and global events are being described by watery planetary placements right now.

John Grade's "Capacitor" is a huge illuminated honeycomb of flashspun high-density polyethylene fabric, light-emitting diodes and wood, connecting to weather sensors on the roof of the John Michael Kohler Arts Center in Wisconsin. It reflects changes in heat, wind, temperature and luminosity, with LED lights embedded in the honeycomb becoming brighter or dimmer depending on weather patterns.

"I was interested in gauging something that was going on with the weather and bringing it into the gallery so that people could experience it viscerally and on a different time scale," Grade explains in this video.

Planet Waves

Salacia, Pisces Full Moon and a Red Flag Incident

In this week's edition of Planet Waves FM
, I cover Thursday’s Pisces Full Moon, which was conjunct the relatively new planet Salacia. Named for the consort of Neptune and a goddess of the Sea, I think it's pretty special to have a Full Moon in Pisces conjunct this point -- though it's been difficult to predict what it might mean. That's why I call these 'proving moments', wherein a planet's properties emerge.

In the second half of the program I cover the Building 197 incident -- Monday's shooting at the Navy Yard in Washington, DC (see chart). First a clarification: the suspect, Aaron Alexis, didn't have top secret clearance -- he merely had security clearance. But the irony is still there -- he had security clearance despite a history of arrests, firearms incidents and a ridiculously spotty career in the Navy. What is the meaning of security?

You can see his chart here. I also look briefly at the chart of the NRA.

Here is my initial writeup on the Building 197 incident. Here is a commentary on the emotional onslaught of the news that I wrote Monday night, called Missing the Obvious.

Our musical guest tonight is Vajra, who performed this week at Backstage Studio in uptown Kingston, NY.

Planet Waves

Your Monthly Horoscopes -- and our Publishing Schedule Notes

Inner Space for October is published below in this issue; we will publish the extended monthly for October next Friday. We published the extended monthly horoscopes for September on Friday, Aug. 23; Inner Space horoscopes for September published Friday, Aug. 30. The Moonshine horoscopes for the Virgo New Moon were published Tuesday, Sept. 3. We published the Moonshine horoscopes for the Pisces Full Moon Tuesday, Sept. 16. Please note, we normally publish the extended monthly horoscopes on the first Friday after the Sun has entered a new sign; Inner Space usually publishes the following Tuesday.

Planet Waves

Inner Space Horoscope for October 2013 #967 | By Eric Francis

Mercury goes retrograde in Scorpio on Oct. 21 and stations direct Nov. 10. This is the third and last Mercury retrograde of the year, all of which take place exclusively in water signs. This promises to be a particularly interesting phase in part owing to the fact that it takes place in Scorpio (rarely ever boring) and also because there are two eclipses in the neighborhood. The first is a penumbral eclipse of the Moon in Aries on Oct. 18 (the Aries Full Moon), followed by an annular total eclipse of the Sun in Scorpio on Nov. 3 (the Scorpio New Moon). This combination of two eclipses and a Mercury retrograde is strongly implying that it would be best to get ahead on large projects, and to be conscious what details you leave for the end of the year. This phase will also be a proving moment for commitments, which you may discover either deepen or go away.

Aries (March 20-April 19)
Aries (March 20-April 19) -- You will need to micromanage your joint financial affairs. This would include everything from shared bank accounts to shared bills to mutually held investments. I suggest you read everything twice and take notes about all conversations that involve plans or commitments. If there are contracts or major purchases involved, analyze the situation and determine how quickly you really need to move -- for now, the slower the better. If a proposed arrangement or deal of some kind encounters delays, use them wisely, and in any event, make sure you feel absolutely confident before signing. If you have questions, make sure you ask them. The subtle point of this astrology involves your most intimate partnerships, and it's not financial but rather emotional. The general heading is commitment; disagreements over money are quite potentially symbolic of something else that needs to be addressed.
Wondering about how astrology is influencing your life now? Eric has prepared a written and recorded reading for you that tells the story. You can get all 12 signs of LISTEN, your 2013 reading, for the special reduced price of only $29.95. LISTEN gives you a detailed reading, available immediately, covering work, relationships, personal growth and creativity.

Taurus (April 19- May 20)
Taurus (April 19-May 20) -- Life is an ongoing conversation, and it always seems to morph into something new. For the next couple of months, however, you may not be able to agree with anyone about too much, particularly about how they feel. Yet in one key situation it's necessary to have a minimal mutual understanding. Take those words one at a time: minimal, mutual and understanding. To you that might feel like you have to submit to someone else's will, which you seem to both crave and resist the most. I suggest skipping that procedure and instead understand why it's necessary to have basic ground rules, and that once those are established you follow them to the letter. Let that be like the bannister that guides you through the dark. Let that agreement be the place where you are certain you're not compromising your own values, but rather giving and receiving something of value.
Wondering about how astrology is influencing your life now? Eric has prepared a written and recorded reading for you that tells the story. You can get all 12 signs of LISTEN, your 2013 reading, for the special reduced price of only $29.95. LISTEN gives you a detailed reading, available immediately, covering work, relationships, personal growth and creativity.

Gemini (May 20- June 21)
Gemini (May 20-June 21) -- If you're feeling averse to doctors, I don't blame you -- these days they are more like lawyers than they are like nurses. I suggest you take any medical advice or information as a point of view rather than as it's usually taken, as gospel truth. Get as many perspectives on any issue as you can. As a Gemini, one of the most significant things you can do to take care of your health is to take care of your lungs. If your lungs are healthy, and if you treat them well, you're much more likely to experience good health overall. That also means giving yourself room to breathe, which also means room to feel. Notice if you feel cramped in and do something about it. Ultimately breath is one of the most significant connections to your inner nature: spirit, inspire and respire all come from the same root concept.
Wondering about how astrology is influencing your life now? Eric has prepared a written and recorded reading for you that tells the story. You can get all 12 signs of LISTEN, your 2013 reading, for the special reduced price of only $29.95. LISTEN gives you a detailed reading, available immediately, covering work, relationships, personal growth and creativity.

Cancer (June 21- July 22)
Cancer (June 21-July 22) -- Get underneath your sex/romance situation -- there is plenty going on below the surface that you will benefit from knowing. One layer you'll encounter is a pattern that seems to be stuck in place from the past. This may involve other peoples' values that you've taken on. They might belong to your parents, prior partners, or social norms to which you think you're supposed to conform. You may notice that most humans rarely ever break through this layer -- and that is all about supposedly honoring authority. To be free enough to experience your own feelings, you will need to challenge whatever authority you seem to have internalized. The bravery involved is not about that challenge; rather, it's about what you will feel and experience when you get beyond it.
Wondering about how astrology is influencing your life now? Eric has prepared a written and recorded reading for you that tells the story. You can get all 12 signs of LISTEN, your 2013 reading, for the special reduced price of only $29.95. LISTEN gives you a detailed reading, available immediately, covering work, relationships, personal growth and creativity.

Leo (July 22- Aug. 23)
Leo (July 22-Aug. 23) -- The Sun in Libra means new and interesting adventures in which you're directly involved rather than a spectator. We live in a world of watchers and exhibitionists; direct participation is becoming a thing of the past, though clearly you have a different path ahead. The main difference between watching and participating is that experience changes one who takes part directly in it. There is a risk involved, and the risk leaves one open to something new. If you're wondering whether you're actually part of the scene instead of just looking at it: ask yourself if you're taking a chance (greater than the price of a ticket). Ask yourself how an experience might change you. Notice whether you must open your mind in order to understand or process what comes your way. Get ready for a stretch.
Wondering about how astrology is influencing your life now? Eric has prepared a written and recorded reading for you that tells the story. You can get all 12 signs of LISTEN, your 2013 reading, for the special reduced price of only $29.95. LISTEN gives you a detailed reading, available immediately, covering work, relationships, personal growth and creativity.

Virgo (Aug. 23- Sep. 22)
Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22) -- The Sun's trek through your sign was certainly more than most people were expecting, and you may have been through more than you were planning. One theme from your birthday season continues -- that your relationships are dependent on how you feel about yourself, but cannot properly be the motive for getting clear about your inner reality. That's a work in progress -- by which I mean both. It will be more helpful to your growth and happiness to emphasize relationships that are on level ground (friends, colleagues, creative partners) rather than the ones that involve submission, power and influence. After a while these will seem like two different games with different purposes. At this point in your life, the thing commonly called 'romance' may be a diversion -- and fortunately, there are much better alternatives.
Wondering about how astrology is influencing your life now? Eric has prepared a written and recorded reading for you that tells the story. You can get all 12 signs of LISTEN, your 2013 reading, for the special reduced price of only $29.95. LISTEN gives you a detailed reading, available immediately, covering work, relationships, personal growth and creativity.

Planet Waves

Attention Libras (and those with Libra rising or Moon): To get the best price on your 2013 birthday reading by Eric Francis, pre-order now here. Pre-ordering gets you $10 off the published price, and we'll email the access info to you as soon as it is ready.

Libra (Sep. 22 - Oct. 23)
Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23) -- The Sun's movement through your sign into late October will provide a feeling of completion that has either been missing, or passing by in fleeting experiences. Since the Sun is in Libra for just 30 out of 365 days of the year, there are two ways to make the most of this experience. One is to refuse to take it for granted -- count the opportunities you have now as rare, if not once in a lifetime. The second is to allow what happens over the next few weeks to reveal what is possible when you engage fully with your life, with the world and with the events that are developing in this moment. You've been waiting for this moment for a long time, though there is no longer a need to wait, or to consider every possibility for what might go wrong. Control is a non-issue -- what you have is better: the ability to make decisions on the spot and get an immediate result of some kind.
Wondering about how astrology is influencing your life now? Eric has prepared a written and recorded reading for you that tells the story. You can get all 12 signs of LISTEN, your 2013 reading, for the special reduced price of only $29.95. LISTEN gives you a detailed reading, available immediately, covering work, relationships, personal growth and creativity.

Scorpio (Oct. 23- Nov. 22)
Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22) -- It's time to bring some of your true feelings to light. You seem to be in a phase of deciding that you feel what you feel, and it's none of anyone else's business. The problem with this line of reasoning is that eventually, you'll feel like your feelings are none of your business either. So bring those unusual, dark shades to the surface, and see how they look when they get a taste of sunshine and oxygen. The colors will change because the elements of your feelings will react to awareness. I'll say this another way, in case I'm being too poetic: you may think you feel one way, but once you start to express yourself, you'll begin to make discoveries about what's really going on. That in turn will allow you to evolve into new emotional and intellectual experiences, direct rather than theoretical or abstract.
Wondering about how astrology is influencing your life now? Eric has prepared a written and recorded reading for you that tells the story. You can get all 12 signs of LISTEN, your 2013 reading, for the special reduced price of only $29.95. LISTEN gives you a detailed reading, available immediately, covering work, relationships, personal growth and creativity.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22 - Dec. 22)
Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22) -- You seem like you're about to burst, and it's about time. You've been ready to crack your shell for many seasons, though the sensation has been like one of those days where it's always threatening rain, and the thunder is rumbling, but the sky never lets go. There are precipitating factors in your environment that may bring on a spiritual love explosion; what looks for all the world like a kind of mystical ecstasy experience with no drugs necessary. As for bursting, what you may know is that once you start loving you don't ever stop. The question is why you would want to. And that is a good question to ask, if you need to -- though that would not be about justifying holding back but rather reminding yourself that you're free to plunge into whatever (or whoever) is inviting you in.
Wondering about how astrology is influencing your life now? Eric has prepared a written and recorded reading for you that tells the story. You can get all 12 signs of LISTEN, your 2013 reading, for the special reduced price of only $29.95. LISTEN gives you a detailed reading, available immediately, covering work, relationships, personal growth and creativity.

Capricorn (Dec. 22- Jan. 20)
Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20) -- Part of really being yourself involves enduring some unpopularity. This is a fact that is left out of the 'be yourself' discussion -- or relegated to the fine print. Some of enduring unpopularity involves figuring out how little so many people know, and, sadly, how dull they really are. If you find yourself anyplace you don't fit in, consider the possibility that you're too interesting. That leaves you with another challenge, which is finding someplace that actually intrigues you. The fastest way to get there seems to be entertaining yourself rather than going on a search. The kind of interesting people you want are the ones who don't need too much affirmation of how cool they are; whose minds are creative enough to skip the whole social level of awesomeness but who can have fun with it when they want to. That describes you pretty well these days.
Wondering about how astrology is influencing your life now? Eric has prepared a written and recorded reading for you that tells the story. You can get all 12 signs of LISTEN, your 2013 reading, for the special reduced price of only $29.95. LISTEN gives you a detailed reading, available immediately, covering work, relationships, personal growth and creativity.

Aquarius (Jan. 20- Feb. 19)
Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) -- Use your charm as you untangle your latest leadership challenge. I can promise that this will not be your last such challenge of the year -- there are more coming, and they get more interesting -- and the whole journey will call on you to employ the highest and deepest levels of your intelligence. Yet more significantly, you will need a dependable way to get people working together. Sometimes it's necessary to use your power and/or authority, but it's energy consuming, and there is often collateral damage. Being charming and a bit seductive is a way of getting people to do what they want to do anyway. I would remind you that as the next few weeks develop, circumstances, motives and rationales involved in your work (and other) responsibilities will be too complicated to explain to everyone around you. That won't be necessary, as long as you know what you have to do.
Wondering about how astrology is influencing your life now? Eric has prepared a written and recorded reading for you that tells the story. You can get all 12 signs of LISTEN, your 2013 reading, for the special reduced price of only $29.95. LISTEN gives you a detailed reading, available immediately, covering work, relationships, personal growth and creativity.

Pisces (Feb. 19- March 20)
Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) -- Notice that your long-term vision is coming into focus. Events and circumstances of the past year have conspired to enforce this -- with many reminders that you simply cannot ignore the concept of the future and what you want to create with it. That means focusing ideas and making tangible decisions now, such that you are taking solid, measurable steps toward what you're envisioning. Over the next two months this process will accelerate rapidly: both the information and the points of decision are going to be coming in faster, and you may be enacting your plans long before you thought you would. Keep your mind in order; use your resources wisely, which means being ready to use them when necessary. Remember that you are the only person who can be a visionary of your own life. Notice who supports you in that, and collaborate with them.
Wondering about how astrology is influencing your life now? Eric has prepared a written and recorded reading for you that tells the story. You can get all 12 signs of LISTEN, your 2013 reading, for the special reduced price of only $29.95. LISTEN gives you a detailed reading, available immediately, covering work, relationships, personal growth and creativity.

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