Dear Friend and Reader:
A wave of energy currently moving through Scorpio is likely to bring your most private thoughts to the surface of your awareness. You will discover them yourself first, then the next step is likely to be the need or the inspiration to tell others. I would regard this as a healthy impulse, but it needs to be handled carefully. In the current days there is the profound, immediate potential for healing deeply hidden pain and injury, though you need to make the time and space for the conversations to happen in a meaningful way. The risk of healing is vulnerability.
Musicians at Burning Man ritual. Photo by Eric Francis.
Here's how the astrology looks. A setup involving the Sun, Mercury, Jupiter and a small, meaningful centaur planet called Nessus has been developing all week, and peaks over the weekend. Planets in Scorpio (Sun, Mercury) are encountering planets in Aquarius (Nessus, Jupiter), and this is stirring the psychic/emotional pot. There's a level of conflict involved, as Scorpio thrives on a private kind of vibe and Aquarius thrives on an open one.
There is also the need for harmony: we all have all the signs working in all of our charts, and one effective way to work with astrology is to foster cooperation between all the energies and seemingly conflicting influences. This kinds of emotional struggles may be inconvenient, yet they have a way of building character.
The aspects involved are squares, including the currently forming Saturn square Pluto. We're all getting the same basic message, which is to be honest with ourselves as a first step in being honest with others. Sexual secrets and their underlying emotional reality (such as those involved in Scorpio) are among of the biggest problems we face as individuals, as participants in relationships, and as a society. Just like a relatively small injury can result in a systemic infection, a small secret can fester, spread its poison and eventually take over one's life, or as the case may be, a culture. That is the Aquarius factor.
This week, Maine became the 31st state where the voters denied same-sex couples the right to marry. Maine's legislature had passed a law allowing same-sex marriage, and then it was put on the ballot as Question 1. By a spread of about six percentage points (53% to 47%), voters repealed the same-sex marriage provision.
I have probably used the phrase "the personal is political" more than any other in Planet Waves, which is the key phrase I attribute to an astrological phenomenon known as the Aries Point. This is focused on the point in the zodiac where Pisces (the most collective sign) meets Aries (the most individual sign).
Dancer at Burning Man ritual. Photo by Eric Francis.
The Aries Point is the cosmic repeating station where the most private material becomes the most public, and where people's most private emotional baggage creates public policy. The Aries Point touches the first degrees of all the cardinal signs (including Cancer, Libra and Capricorn) and has four additional hot spots in the zodiac, activated when something significant happens at the midpoint of the fixed signs -- and that's going on right now, in the conversation between Scorpio and Aquarius.
If I had to call one basic theme for 2012, this would be it. The Aries Point is all over these charts, which began when Pluto entered Capricorn earlier this year. Whatever you may hear about 2012, from the most paranoid sources or the most enlightened, is rooted in this theme.
The phrase "the personal is political" is often credited to the radical feminist group Redstockings, though it really comes from a 1969 paper written by Carol Hanisch -- an influential thinker in that group. Commenting on feminist meetings of the era, Hanisch wrote, "One of the first things we discover in these groups is that personal problems are political problems. There are no personal solutions at this time. There is only collective action for a collective solution."
I believe that this viewpoint has a dangerous blind spot, and if you ask me it was one of the deepest flaws in the feminist thinking of the era. All collectives are made up of individuals. Individuals contribute ideas; they take leadership; they have lives and karma they are working out; they both influence and respond to the events that surround them. The personal level of reality cannot only not be omitted; it's influential on every other aspect of existence.
Each individual must take care of his or her own personal material. This is because there is nobody else to do it for us. Our individual material will ripple out into a larger environment, influencing the people around us. Even if there is apparent progress in the collective world, it will disappear like smoke unless individuals take the process of change on board and mind their own growth and healing process.
Dancers at Burning Man ritual. Photo by Eric Francis.
You might call this politics from the inside out, which is a form of individual progress that adds up to collective progress -- or as the case may be, its opposite. This is the crucial intersection of individual growth and collective progress. It's the golden chord.
The same-sex marriage issue makes a good example of how this works, or doesn't work. It's a deeply personal matter, and we might even ask why it's being subjected to public debate. Many would say that because all individuals in the United States have the right to equal protection under the law, we all have the same basic rights. We could not deny someone a driver's license on the basis of their sexual orientation; how can we deny a marriage license? Well, the reason is because the marriage issue is so personal; and by that, it involves regulating what people do in their living rooms and their bedrooms.
The pro and con sides of this issue are not even vaguely equivalents; they each have different concepts operating at their core.
Someone in favor of the state allowing same-sex people to marry is affirming that people can make their private choices, which they would make anyway. This is the Scorpio angle. There is an affirmation that the collective (such as the state) needs to get out of the way of individual choices that don't actually harm others. This is the Aquarius angle. It can go both ways -- Aquarius is the sign we associate with freedom, but it also contains the psychological pattern of tyranny.
A mature person recognizes that same-sex couples are still going to have live-in relationships and live as married couples no matter what any referendum says. Self-awareness is implied in the pro-same-sex marriage position. One understands, "I believe that people are inherently free," or at least that it's not their right to interfere with the private activities of others.
Compassion is also implied: we all know that this is about deeply personal stuff, like visiting one's partner in the hospital, inheritance rights, and the right to be viewed by society as equally as human as your neighbors.
Burning Man Center Camp. Photo by Eric Francis.
Someone against same-sex marriage is attempting to use the government to dictate what other people can do, neither having a direct part in the matter, nor facing the results. There's the presumption that one's subjective morality
should be applied to someone else, because their private conduct somehow offends someone's private morality. We don't admit out loud how detached from reality this viewpoint really is, probably because it's so commonplace.
Spokespeople for the anti-same-sex marriage position love to get on TV and tell us about how they are not against gay people, per se. They just don't want them riding in the front of the bus, where relationships are considered legitimate. If we remember that this movement is funded and energized by many of the same people who teach "abstinence only until heterosexual marriage," the truth is more obvious; in religious terms, marriage is a "sex license." While this will not prevent them from having sex, demented religious minds might think that at least it will keep them out of heaven.
The closest the anti-same-sex marriage position comes to being self-aware involves admitting the fear that someone might have to explain it to his or her children. Now, do we gloss this one over, or do we talk it out?
Self-awareness never seems to reach the level of someone opposed to same-sex marriage being able to say, "I'm embarrassed by this, and it's coming from deep inside. I wonder what that's about," or, "I'm ardently in favor only of traditional marriage, but that seems homophobic. Maybe this says something about me."
On an issue this personal, we could do with some personal reflection, especially from those attempting to block the freedom of others to live their private lives; when they themselves do what they want. This is an example of how one's private pain, denial and lack of awareness (the personal) can affect many people (the political).
Now, this conversation is a bit abstract, in the sense that we rarely actually feel the ways in which our personal views add up to some massive collective movement; and that is the first thing to meditate on. The way we feel, what we say to our neighbors, what we teach our children and our students, all of it ripples out into the culture, through time and space. All of it affirms what we want to be true about the world, and reinforces our own perception of reality.
Burning Man, aisle between Center Camp and the Man. Photo by Eric Francis.
Yet I think most of us are guarding a blind spot: we don't see how influenced we are by seemingly collective ideas that are really the views of a very few people, amplified by the media. It's easy for you to see how I am influencing your thoughts with these ideas; you voluntarily choose to read my writing, and you can actually write to me if you want to and you'll likely be treated to a dialog if you do. But when you turn on the television and you're subjected to a barrage of ideas of people you have no reason to trust, who you can never challenge or engage with, that can and does cause a lot of problems. And if you don't know their agenda, now we're really talking dangerous.
In our era of history, sex has become the primary political battleground. This is in two main areas. The first is in the attempt at enforcement of gender identity norms. There is inherent hypocrisy here: who is to say what's normal? I don't think there is anyone who feels that their deepest erotic desires are a little weird, but we either accept ourselves, or spread the conflict outward.
The second is the tendency of making more and more forms of sexual communication into crimes. For example, laws that were designed to protect children from sexual exploitation are now being used to prosecute them (such as when teenagers send naked pictures of themselves on their iPhone cameras).
And though it may be difficult to see, you become the battleground: your feelings, your body, your relationships. One of the ways all this public debate over supposed right and wrong in personal, relational matters affects us is to make us afraid to reveal our personal truths.
And that is the theme of the astrology over the next few days. The pattern of the planets, as I see it, suggests: be aware if you have fear of revealing your personal truth. If you're talking to a partner or prospective partner, you can say, "I'm afraid if I say this you will leave me."
This is probably the root of most of our fears. It's an old story, and I do mean that it goes back to the beginning of our lives. We don't have to drag it around forever. Remember, those truths that seem the most difficult to reveal are often rewarded by the deepest liberation.
Yours & truly,
By Judith Gayle | Political Waves
Time flies. A year ago, the majority in this nation voted for a change in leadership. Not counting the two months in which Obama influenced but did not lead this country, we are about ten months into his tenure, and as promised, everything has, indeed, changed. George W. Bush breathed a sigh of relief as he handed over the presidency, eager to get away from the crushing responsibility that he botched so badly and the ticking international and financial time bombs he left behind. He speaks now, occasionally but repeatedly, about the joys of picking up dog poop. My mind reels with dark bits of snark whenever I hear this, but the inclination is overwhelmed by sheer gratitude that he's engaged in something so harmless. George was the perfect foil for the corporate coup that has brought the nation to her knees and, according to new polls, somewhat less than 20% of the nation misses him terribly. I'm amazed it's that many.
We had a handful of prominent elections this week and their result reflects the anger and anxiety across the land. The Huffington Post declared it a Republican sweep. Since this was Rightwing territory at stake, I'm hardly surprised, and both the nature of the political dialogue and the lethargy of the Left mark this turning. Those who won the day were mindful of the paranoid Tea Bagger theories proposed by operatives like Glenn Beck and Michelle Bachman, which is a distressing indicator that our political discourse has gone haywire in a big way and that for some of us, reality is not in play. A moderate Republican candidate was so offended by the radical rhetoric aimed her way that she dropped out and endorsed her Democratic opponent. As to turnout from the Left, improvement to their lives has been slow coming and their hopes dampened by myriad delays and political snafus. They stayed home in droves, which is the equivalent of voting against their own best interests. Sadly, I can guarantee them that things will not get better under Republican leadership; the GOP knows how to campaign, but history proves that they have very little talent at -- and only the barest interest in -- governing.
Still, change is sweeping us along and those who interpret it for us are the least likely to appreciate its ramifications. The media keeps us informed of all the juicy insider tidbits and feuds which grab ratings for them but are the equivalent of lolling the day away watching soap operas. We've got big fish to fry, yet we're easily distracted and led to focus on the minnows, to find the one we fancy most and root for it as if politics was a minnow roil, a reminder of why these little fish are called 'bait.' We're still focused on win/lose for the few instead of win/win for the whole of us, which means that we're in for a continuing period of lose/lose. There are days I want Wolf Blitzer's head on a stick and would gladly put my foot though the screen when I inadvertently click over into FOX News to catch a glimpse of the ever-doltish Beck or a smug O'Reilly. Yet playing small is the wrong focus entirely, Beloved. We're like the squirrels here in the Pea Patch, so busy trying to push a nut up the tree that we don't see the turkey vultures circling overhead.
Words are tricky things. They have power ("We hold these truths to be self-evident…"), but they are also mutable. There's a brilliant example of this currently in the cereal aisle of your local grocery store, where several products of the Kellogg's company boldly proclaim on the front of the packaging that each "helps support your child's IMMUNITY."
Yet these cereals aren't ones built on whole grains, or bran, or shredded wheat. Nope, they're built on krispies – as in Rice Krispies, Cocoa Krispies, and Frosted Krispies. This is the latest trend of marketing ordinary packaged items as health foods.
The claim is based on the fact that Kellogg's has increased the amount of synthetic vitamins they spray onto the cereals, bringing the dosage up to 25% of the recommended daily allowance. But, as The Early Show
on CBS reported this week, these are still sugar-packed kids' cereals, chock full o' high fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated oils. In our view, these two ingredients are the junk food dividing line.
The claim of enhanced immunity raised red flags all over the place, among not only parents and nutritionists but the government of San Francisco (where everyone is eligible for government health insurance), which has asked for evidence backing up that claim.
The Early Show
sought such proof, too, and got this statement from Kellogg's: "These nutrients have been identified by the Institute of Medicine and other studies as playing an important role in the body's immune system. Therefore, we believe the claim ... is supported by reliable and competent scientific evidence."
There again you see the power of words, this time as exercised by a public relations professional. The company essentially admitted they've done no empirical testing on the immunity claim, though not in so many words.
While experts interviewed by The Early Show
expressed serious misgivings and general disapproval of the claim, over at NaturalNews.com
the tone trended towards outright scorn.
"Cocoa Krispies isn't even real food, if you ask me. It's a nutrient-deficient, highly processed, sugar-laden source of empty calories. To claim it 'supports IMMUNITY' is so far-fetched that you'd have to be living in some alternate universe to even think about believing it," wrote Mike Adams.
Cereal manufacturers (not to mention fast food restaurants) have long proclaimed their fare to be "part of a balanced diet." However, there you get into that language trap again. "Diet" is, perhaps, the most misused word in Western popular culture. That's because it has primarily come to mean "weight-loss program." Someone generally only says "I'm on a diet" if they're following a specific regimen, simple or complex, to lose weight.
But we're all on diets, even if it's Kit-Kats and cucumbers. What you eat is your diet. And more and more often, what you eat is processed and packaged food (which, the BBC reports
, could increase the risk of depression).
And that is about the worst thing for one's immune system since DDT.
It's an election week for many places in the country, and that means a return to those belabored favorite terms of the punditocracy: Red States and Blue States.
Photo of Microscopic rock forms indicating past signs of water, taken by Opportunity.
Well, this week the planet Mars offers a chance to see the Red/Blue divide on a planetary scale, accomplished with the complete absence of politicians.
Our friends at SpaceWeather.com
have an interesting item about Mars, which is lining up for a close fly-by of Earth in January, known to astrology fans as Mars retrograde in Leo. This is giving backyard astronomers with adequate telescopes a chance to see what appears to be the Red Planet blushing blue, as illustrated by a photo taken by Joel Warren of Amarillo, Texas.
What you see in the photo is the northern polar ice cap on Mars, visible as a blue swatch atop the ruddy planet. There's water ice in there, although it's often under a layer of carbon dioxide frost
(i.e., dry ice).
You know, it occurs that there may be an astronomical solution to the generally intolerable lack of civility in politics. After all, we have a Red Planet and a Blue Planet. Could it be as simple as Red Staters getting a vacation on Mars and leaving the Blue Staters on Earth? Or maybe vice versa, to allow each to experience a home world of the opposite chromatic character?
Or maybe the politicians need a trip to Mars, before they finish trashing the Earth.
The debate on how and why the Earth's global climate is being altered by mankind's actions is still stewing along, despite years of study that has built a body of work giving great support to the thesis. However, stiff opposition remains in many corners – including among many religious people.
However, that's been changing in recent years. The Creation Care
movement among some evangelical and mainstream protestant religions, for example, which seeks to address issues such as species extinction and deforestation.
Well, the effort to recruit religions for the fight against climate change was recently stepped up with the "Many Heavens, One Earth"
meeting held this week at Windsor Castle in England. Sponsored by the United Nations, it brought together religious leaders from around the world to discuss how they can help reduce the human impact on the environment.
And they're not just talking about an Earth Day sermon, either, reports the Dot Earth blog of The New York Times
For example, according to Olav Kjorven, a U.N. assistant secretary general, religions operate more than half the schools on the planet. That means small additions to the curricula in those schools could have a huge impact in raising awareness about planetary stewardship.
Many religions also have vast repositories of wealth, Kjorven said, giving them the ability to leverage their capital investments to advance "environmental and social benefits."
Some religious activities also have a direct impact on environmental issues. Take, for instance, Islam's annual pilgrimage to Mecca, the hajj – millions of people travel from around the globe to Saudi Arabia, where their impact is measurable in the strain on natural resources (food and water) and environmental services (waste disposal, energy use). Efforts are underway to determine how to reduce the environmental impact of the hajj, and Muslim environmentalists have also begun organizing in groups such as ecoSikh
, which hopes to educate the faithful on how the Quran calls for them to care for creation.
"The environmental agenda has always had an anchor in science, facts and data, Kjorven told The New York Times
. "For decades, several faiths were looking the other way [regarding the environment] even though in their traditions, when you go further back in Scriptures, have a lot to say in terms of caring for creation. There are segments of the evangelical movement that certainly are still not interested, but by and large religions are becoming a major voice, and you can hear them in a powerful way in Windsor."
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Weekly Horoscope for Friday, November 6, 2009, #791 - BY ERIC FRANCIS
(March 20-April 19)
Pain is contagious. So is pleasure; so is awareness; so is love, though pain seems to be the more durable commodity. That is the problem. Your role now is to be the steward of pleasure and communication. The truth about erotic reality nowadays is that someone has to hold that role in nearly any situation. Someone must also consciously hold the space of it being okay to talk about sexual health. Be aware of the role that the past may be playing in any conversation, and guide things gently into the present (where we can actually make decisions). Move the energy from the emotional level to the verbal. This will guide the flow of the conversation from the experience of an overwhelmed child to that of adults who are alert and responsible enough to exchange love and pleasure. It's more fun that way.
(April 19- May 20)
Someone you care about has something on his or her mind. It likely mirrors unresolved subject matter that you possess; many people in relationships have similar histories, though they don't always know it. I suggest you listen carefully and do your best to find the common ground you share. I can describe the issue: it involves lacking the sense of approval by community or family for one's 'too much' (that is, high energy) kind of nature. You could say it's the fear of being scary, of being perceived as 'too intense' or 'too deep'. Yet deep in those subtle or resounding fears is something you're both trying to work out. It involves psychological social conditioning to be less than, or the message that we are inherently wrong; this in turn creates a disturbance, and that is up for working out now.
(May 20- June 21)
You're being called to bring your awareness to a deeper level than you're usually comfortable doing. You know your limits; you know what makes you want to run. (I initially typed 'fun' and there's a connection: what you think is the most fun is often what makes you want to run.) Have you paused to notice why it is that you panic? I have a clue. There's an empty spot you feel inside, and going deep reminds you that it's there. What exactly is this about, and why do you struggle with it? You'll need to go further into your own depths to figure that out. Energetically, you like to breathe air. It's not in your nature to breathe water, and that's what this may seem like. Be mindful of that moment right before you fear you're about to drown in your own emotions.
(June 21- July 22)
We've reached the point, at least in American society, where sex must become synonymous with sexual healing. Food must become synonymous with emotional healing and the work we do needs to be considered integral to creative healing. All three are related; they all emerge from the ways in which we have been pushed into giving up our passions and in truth, giving up on ourselves. The sense of injury that you may be encountering relates to a collective wound. You feel it as personal; in truth, it describes everyone around you. The other open secret is that we constantly fall prey to the same collective pain that we think of as personal, and as a result we're scared to talk about what's bothering us, much less actually address it. Let's deal with that shame.
(July 22- Aug. 23)
Many times, you have reflected to yourself on the swamp of madness that you've crawled out of, to take up life on the dry land of sanity. Your past and that of your family hold many secrets. Not all of them are pretty, and if you ask me, those are the most significant ones. They're the facts that have been padded and cloaked in denial, in mythology and in contradiction, while secretly running our lives. They are the hurts of the past that those close to us have refused to acknowledge. You don't need to make that mistake, and therefore have the power to put history to work for you rather than have it work against you. History is an interpretation. The facade of that interpretation is cracking, and borrowing from Moses, the truth will indeed be what sets you free.
(Aug. 23- Sep. 22)
Your rationality is like a small boat on an ocean where the waves are threatening to turn you to fish food. But what exactly are you being tossed around in? Your most useful psychological asset is so deeply intuitive, your reasoning process is like a decoration next to it. The problem is that too often, you don't trust yourself. You typically need to pile on the rationales before you'll let yourself have faith in an idea or a perception. Is that really necessary? Remember, nobody is looking over your shoulder. It's true, some daunting authority figures have tried to have an unfair influence over you in the past, but you've been saying over and over that you're through doing what they told you to do. At the moment, reason and intuition point to two different outcomes. Which will you accept as valid?
(Sep. 22 - Oct. 23)
You may feel like your life is aimlessly drifting toward somewhere you don't recognize. Look another way and you're heading directly toward a specific goal or perhaps an inevitability. Yet this particular direction you're approaching is the kind of inevitability known as a choice. Said another way, a choice is an option, and the one you're about to encounter offers you a mighty specific possibility. It's also a potential so subtle you could miss it. More than anything, this is a choice you're being offered to make about yourself. Deeply personal in nature, it's likely to percolate to your awareness in a moment when you feel you have lost all sense of who you are; a sly instant when you may recognize that all your past perceptions about yourself no longer influence who you are.
(Oct. 23- Nov. 22)
Saturn entering Libra represents an enormous sea change for you. Certain elements of your nature make you one of the most inherently introspective signs of the 12. Yet Saturn, now in your 12th solar house, is drawing you toward a dimension of inner seclusion that is different than anything you've experienced lately. And that is putting pressure on you to change your mind about certain long-held beliefs; to alter your environment; and to come to terms with everything about you that nobody else knows. However, you may recognize that your inner secret world cannot stay that way for long. The overriding theme of your current transits is that in order to regain your sanity, you need to be more transparent. In the end, you will discover that it was not what you were concealing that was causing your struggle, but the mere fact that you concealed it.
(Nov. 22 - Dec. 22)
Earlier in the year, the theme was how wide open your horizons were. Now, the theme seems to be narrowing down the possibilities, perhaps so restrictive that you seem to have lost all sense of your potential. This will not last long. In a short time, you will figure out that your emotional wellbeing is the factor that most significantly influences your wider sense of perspective. There's something here, as well, about your state of mind. You have been struggling for a long time with the assumption that you had an injury inflicted on you as a child. What I suggest is that you focus on what this injury has taught you, and what opportunities you've been given that would have been impossible without that struggle. Now, as an adult, you have the ability to choose to draw on strength that is yours alone.
(Dec. 22- Jan. 20)
You perceive yourself as being easy to see through. In fact, you are difficult to read. Even your most ordinary behaviors can have an aura of mystery about them. Whether you care about how this influences people, at least it's information you might want to work with. But then, you're often a mystery to yourself, and I don't need to tell you how frustrating this can be. It's fair to say that your process of understanding yourself is just beginning. Pluto in your sign is here to open up your psyche in a way that will reveal yourself to you. The challenge of this kind of experience is reconciling the aspects of yourself that seem to contradict one another. I would propose that this is the actual work of growth: of building authentic integrity.
(Jan. 20- Feb. 19)
Neptune and Chiron have resumed direct motion in your sign. A few weeks ago, Jupiter resumed direct motion. If you recall, there was a triple conjunction of these planets earlier in the year. Now it's about to repeat -- only as three separate events. Let's focus on the next one up: Jupiter conjunct Chiron. This relatively rare conjunction will enable you to focus your power of perception like you never have before. It's truly a gem of astrology, which will grant you the gift of seeing what you have in common with the world; and to witness the validity of your own idealism. Yet there is something your psyche is trying to master, as a prerequisite, which is the ability to allow, without judgment. This allowing we could call truly objective knowledge. Once you get there, there's another step to take. And what you know now is radically different than anything you've known in the past. What you are called upon to do will likewise be different.
(Feb. 19- March 20)
It's as if you're living two lives. They have little in common with one another. One exists in the world of your imagination. One exists in a more tangible form. Yet for a Pisces, the imagination is tangible and the external world can have all the properties of a dream. Indeed, in your consciousness, dreams often have more credulity than what most call 'reality'. Now, this distinction is not as simple as a parallel between dreams and reality; it's two parallel dimensions, side by side. Occasionally you get an opportunity to bring facets of one into the other. That's what is happening now, and what will be happening over the next few weeks. Focus on and develop what seems to be in your private world, to the point where it takes on vivid reality. Then, begin to transpose it in words, or pictures, or any form that may be revealed to more than one other person.