Planet Waves | Annual for 2001 by Eric Francis


"Aroura" by Jan Safar, courtesy of Astronomy Picture of the Day

Under a Changing Sky

Planet Waves Annual for 2001 | By Eric Francis

We're all normal and we want our freedom.
-- Arthur Lee ("Forever Changes," 1967)

For the Faithful

We need look no further than the sky to perceive the astrology behind all of the wild changes, dramas and historical events unfolding in the world. Take a look; the Jupiter-Saturn conjunction is there for all to see, high above us, night after night. This is, among other things, the astrology under which Jesus was born, World War II started, presidents Kennedy and Reagan were elected, and the personal computer was released to the marketplace. While there are other invisible factors at play and at work, the timing of current events is indicated by this once-per-20-year throbbing and upheaval in our local universe. History is turning its page, but this year we begin a whole new volume.

I don't suggest that we blame the antics of crooked politicians or, for that matter, our personal compelling needs to grow and change, on a couple of planets going by, even if they happen to comprise more than 2,200 times the size of the Earth, and exert enough gravity on the mighty Sun to shake and pull it in its orbit. I merely suggest that we understand the historical process, and personal history, in the context of a language and time-plotting tool that is referenced by astronomical movements.

While astrology is known for its attempts to predict events, something else is happening in our era which has never happened before. Advances in observation technology and increased efforts by scientists are leading to the discovery of many new planets orbiting our Sun every year. Planets are literally appearing in the sky and hence in the charts of astrologers -- or at least those who are paying attention. If astrology is a model of human reality, this means we are changing, and changing fast, and that we don't really know ourselves. It may seem impossible that we can ever keep up, but I assure you that it's far more difficuclt to pretend that none of it is happening.

With this, I offer you a few notes on my explorations of the charts for 2001.

ARIES (March 21-April 19)
There's no way anyone besides you can account for what's really influencing or motivating you to make and remake certain key decisions in the coming four seasons, though it's obvious that you will brook neither interference nor persuasion from outside yourself. This is a rare time in which you will be given the opportunity to solidify your deepest convictions. I caution you against being different for its own sake, since even your most ordinary choices, perception of your basic necessities and what you simply know to be true about the world may seem so strange to others as to defy any rational explanation. Yet we who are paying attention will know from both your inner movements and outer expressions that your systems of belief are maturing, that your knowledge is deepening and that your commitment to change is becoming tangible. Certain projects, perhaps those most dear to you, may seem to be beset by delays, but what appear as delays from our viewpoint on Earth are often really timing factors, when viewed from another perspective. While it's clear that in the not-so-distant future you will have rather extraordinary opportunities to make your mark on the world, you must make those moves from a space of deep knowingness, understanding and inner preparation; hence it's crucial that you use your time for these purposes, and not take long detours. If you are able to do this, you'll soon be holding the impossible in your hand.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20)
Taurans are famous for maintaining strict silence, then blazing out with the truth like one of those solar flares that have been shaking up people, things, and the historical process lately. However, I suggest you continue picking up the pace of the awareness-action-awareness rhythm, especially regarding what you keep silent to yourself in an effort to sidestep acting on your knowledge. You can now see how foolish were the compromises you tried to make with yourself not so long ago, though I imagine you've learned that there can be no deals in which the false is wedded to the true to make one less so. Now, having defined what you might call your inner limits, the time has arrived to give your outer ones a mighty push. You really must, in the coming seasons, accomplish at least some of what you want, not to impress anyone else, but rather to feed your hungry soul. Also, a word on relationships. Humanity is a spontaneous manifestation in the universe. Attempts to explain it in moral, karmic or even evolutionary terms are doomed to be challenged by others, and thus reduced to relative truth. The same can be said of love. The highest and most noble goal we can bring into love is to present ourselves as we really are now, or, in your case, who you are really becoming now. Do this, and you will breathe easier, and make sweeter love.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20)
If I had to call the theme of your life for the next twelve months and far beyond, it would be, "The promises you make to yourself, and that you keep." If amazing things have not happened to you in terms of career, personal achievements or gaining knowledge and maturity, it is not for lack of deserving, or lack of effort. It's about timing and readiness and what seems to be the necessary lapse required for the manifestation of vision into what we call reality. I would suggest that readiness, for you, involves seeing things and especially people as concrete reality, and working with both in real terms of what you do for them and what they do for you. When we struggle with love and work, we tend to invent this third thing called "spirituality," which -- to you -- is an abstraction. There is no metaphysical force beyond your own power of commitment and appreciation of life that will bring the world you want into reality. There is no need to pray to anyone but you, remembering that angels protect us all the time. Your task is not so much to reach higher, but rather to go deeper; not to find something new, but to stay true to what you already know is real. There will be many temptations to change your mind over the next 12 months. And there will be one great opportunity to remember what you really want and need, and to continue making progress toward making it real, no matter how far off, impossible or beyond what you think you deserve it may seem.

CANCER (June 21-July 22)
Much of your story for the approaching seasons surrounds how you define yourself in the context of others, and how they define themselves in the context of you. You have opportunities to come to many new understandings about yourself and the world, but rather than consciously "deciding what you are," the greater gift will be about seeing, through a process of elimination, who you are not. So, don't be afraid to identify and release old ideas about yourself. Be mindful of how relationships, that is, any interactions with the people around you, hold you to old self-concepts, often so that they are not put in a position to be challenged and grow; and please notice when you do this to others. It's vital to your own progress that you see this in action, and not be afraid to redefine yourself because others may grumble, no matter how wise they may seem, or how attached to them you may be. We often live in the conceptual prison of who other people think we are. We usually told them in the first place, they got used to us, then they hold onto those ideas -- and we are trapped. This you would do well to reverse, both in how you perceive others and how others perceive you. Okay, everyone will be a little disoriented at first, but then you will feel a lot better. Those who don't honor your changes will have an opportunity to slip away and cease to be your friends. We can't toss our families; siblings may assent only grudgingly;but you may need to put your parents in their place. A firm whack on the ass should suffice, metaphorically speaking, of course.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22)
In the past two years, you were shot through the barrels of the universe. Harrowing at times, brilliant at others, there was very little you could do about it. Yet this was convenient because you were forced to surrender to your circumstances, which is a form of concrete action at a time when action counted for a lot because great energies were in motion. We now live in a new era of history. I suggest you use the current moment of relative peace to reorient yourself in space, in time and among the people in your life. Locate yourself in history and within the values systems of people who say they love you. Exactly who are you in their lives? Where do their life patterns fit your own? You need this information. Far from being propelled by raw thrust, you are now at a point where you need to plot your course and provide your own energy, and it would be wise to do this with genuine awareness. Aspects for the next four seasons promise that, finally and at long last, you can bring to fruition a long-hoped-for creative gift, and opportunities to share it with the world. Creative gifts are privileges that carry great responsibility, and the more richly we are endowed, the more we are compelled to find our own unique place in the universe so we can make our one-of-a-kind contribution. That responsibility is awareness. May these words from the colorful lines of Alan Ginsberg be your companion: "I have become another child. / I wake to see the world go wild."

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sep. 22)
Often it is said of Virgos (whether by Sun or Moon) that your primary challenge is integrating your emotions into your awareness. We encounter this fairly ancient wisdom in a time when the brain, its products of thought and, moreover, its idle preoccupation, dominate world consciousness. With each day, we are taken by technology and fear ever-further outside of our passions, awareness of our needs, and the freedom to feel authentic inner desire. These energies are perceived as fearful because they happen to us, and as a result, remind us that we're not really in control, just as taking care of our bodies reminds us that we're mortal. Paradoxically, when we feel, we are often compelled to make choices, which means taking control. In these seasons, you're likely to encounter a series of events that compel you to do just this. Though it may seem daunting, truly surrendering to your inner currents, in particular, anger and desire, will be the source of your real power. Take steps now to set the stage for progress. For one, remove from your home, as soon as possible, everyone who does not really belong there, anyone who does not support you, and anyone you don't really like. Or, remove yourself and get to a place where you're free to be, and free to feel. Your reward will be an inheritance of maturity, clarity and release from the hang-ups and petty strife that prevent you from bringing forth your greatest achievements.

LIBRA (Sep. 23-Oct. 22)
Pay close attention to your beliefs about God. You may be caught in some ambivalence between God the benefactor and God the authoritarian, but these are more than mere notions. I would propose that even in the unlikely event you are an "atheist" this holds true. Humans are as hard-wired for religion as we are for language, and there is the presence of an energy in your life that is so bold and daunting you would be wise to confuse it with divinity. Fair is it to say that the universe is predominantly a reflection of our beliefs about the universe, and you're in an important point where these beliefs are taking shape. From where you stand, it won't be long before your thought structures manifest in the material world, and your true potential is enormous. Indeed, though recent years have been characterized largely by this elusive concept of potential, you are free to step beyond it. Yet if I only said that some great success is at hand, that would steal from you what I suspect that you rightly seek, which is understanding your actual inner process of building your life. The universe is inherently creative. Even "destruction" reflects this because it too is the work of a creative process, albeit one with a different agenda than love and freedom. If you stick to these two principles, you will find yourself on a rare and unswerving path of sanity, excellence and fulfillment.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 22)
There really is no way you can control another person, except in your own mind, or by force. Likewise, neither can you be controlled, though many people suffer from the illusion that they can be. There is, furthermore, no way you can really control yourself: the best you can hope for is to live in peaceful coexistence with your will, and with the flow of reality. But that people can work together is a proven fact, and fortunately so. Collaboration continues to play a paramount role in your life, and you are entering a particular cosmic territory in which negotiation is the spirit of the era. Negotiation involves compromise, it involves offering yourself, and it involves being both honest and articulate about what you want from other people -- verbalizing what would otherwise be unspoken demands. This is possible only when you really understand your values on a fundamental level: when you are working from a baseline of what is real and important to you, so you know when to draw the line on the game of give-and-take. For you, awareness that you are neither in a weak position nor lacking for what to offer are the same thing. Focus on what you alone can contribute to the situations of your life, without using your gifts as a weapon, and you will find yourself sharing in common resources and common goals. So, let the discussion happen, remember the lager picture, and take it all one breath at a time. Life really is on your side.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 23-Dec. 21)
Do something with your anger before it does something with you. If ever in these coming seasons you find that life is more difficult than seems fair, you are simply not being constructive or creative with your passions; rather, you are just burning yourself up. I hesitate to begin with words of caution in front of what amounts to a gold-standard astrological assurance of healing your deepest wounds, flowering creatively and reinventing yourself in a succession of transformations that will leave you thanking the universe for its astonishing gifts. But this is a two-edged reality; you must do your part. For far too long, you have attempted to change inwardly while leaving in place certain highly questionable relationship situations; this is not possible. You may have attempted to figure this out or even rationalize it in terms of your father's pain, or your mother's strange ideas about love and commitment, but neither have grounded you in the immediate need you have to live your life your way. It is true that much of your plight stems from a more distant past than present surroundings might indicate. Yet still, you must respond to what is occurring now, in ways accountable in today's terms. While this reckoning and your ultimate choice to act will "confront you with reality" -- and it with you -- these confrontations will also set you free.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19)
The most pressing concern you face is seeing anyone else as being more spiritual or enlightened than yourself. No doubt you're aware of your own darkness. Yet this is a matter of perception, and your view is disproportional to the real extent of the situation. If you look within and see mostly unwholesome chaos, then look without and see a greater proportion of talent, holiness or wisdom in others, you can be sure you're confused. Yes, you are now facing certain of the less savory elements in your character (which is a sign of excellent character). Yet it's also true that you may fear this is some form of karmic reprisal -- that you "deserve what you feel," that you had childhood pains "coming to you" or that you are somehow doomed to add up to less than others. I caution you against taking this seriously, and suggest seeing it for what it is: an attack on yourself. On another level, this setup is designed to carry you further, to train your awareness on a new, less polarized level of reality. Some of the most important teaching is accomplished through contrast, and it's by seeing the world in black and white that we seek the subtleties of color and hue. When we encounter people who may serve us as teachers, mentors or givers of knowledge -- and remember, they are our gracious servants -- it's crucial that we remind ourselves consciously that we are truly equal to these people, even if we are very different. For the gifts they offer can only be received on level ground.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 19-Feb. 18)
Deep in the Aquarian psyche is a struggle between structure and freedom; tradition and innovation; between being stuck in the past and blazing into the future. These polarities exist in many complex relationships to one another and to people, the most important of which seems to that a certain quantity of structure is necessary to enable the energy of freedom to be real. Too much structure, on the other hand, is oppressive and subject to instability. These formulas will work with love, money, relationships, living arrangements, raising children and other endeavors that can be sources of both joy and struggle. Yet all of the concepts I've mentioned are set within the boundaries of this world, and it's clear that you are now under the influences of energies that seem to be from far beyond it. The journey of Uranus and Neptune through your sign suggests that you must learn to let go of many, if not all, of your old ideas, and be receptive to new information. The key idea here is receptive -- listening, feeling, and tuning into other people empathetically. Perhaps the greatest pitfall in the Aquarian psyche is a roaring independence that leads you to believe, often quite invisibly, that you are the only person in the world, which can create a variety of effects, from superiority to loneliness. Both are unnecessary; both are forms of alienation. The more honestly you strive for actual understanding and acceptance of what is real to others, in a way that goes far beyond words or concepts, the more you will be able to share with them, and receive from them.

PISCES (Feb. 19-Mar. 20)
Be not deterred by the creatures who view yearning for life, passion and creative expression as a sin or threat to their security, nor those who would resort to greed and darkness to attain their not-so-lofty goals. We Pisceans have done much, have seen more, and understand the inherent equality of souls and the transience of physical reality. We understand God, intuitively, as an inherently creative and loving force. Though we have no illusions about the darkness of this world, I doubt there's any question in your mind about why life is worth experiencing fully. Thus, we can claim the gift of freedom, and we can share it with all whom we meet. These ideas represent a level of impeccability to which it would be wise to hold yourself during the next phase of your life. You truly can afford to be affirmative about who you are, which would mean allowing yourself to build the foundations of a safe, fulfilling and productive journey through the universe. You have spent a good deal of time understanding and deconstructing what has held you back in the past, while giving others around you space and time to find their own way. These are greater virtues than you may recognize, though the rewards will speak for themselves. Yet the greatest virtue is indeed happiness. The more content you are, the greater an impact you will have, so pay attention to who and what you love, and give it all you've got*.

*... but don't forget to ask for what you need.

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Photo by Maria Henzler, Miami, spring 2000