Planet Waves | By Eric Francis | Monthly for October 1999



"Current," by Via, 1999 | Studio Psycherotica

Time on the Fly
Based on the introduction to "Flashpoints: The Continuation of Burning Man."
October horoscopes are below. This version includes additional information about
the Chiron-Pluto conjunction on Dec. 30 and 31, 1999.

By Eric Francis
Planet Waves Digital Media. Copyright ©1999, all rights reserved.

<><>For all practical purposes, we are in the last months and weeks of the second millennium. Isn't it thrilling? Geeks will remind you that since there was no Year Zero the millennium does not end until midnight of the last day of 2000, a year which is actually the capstone, the final gleaming jewel, gracing our glorious Twentieth Century of social reform, great literature, UFO encounters and the invention of something called "ecocide."
<><>Yet time is arbitrary. It's been many decades since Einstein proved you could stretch or squish space and time like a bugger, and about a stadium full of physicists have upheld his eloquent Theories of Relativity, which we ignore.
<><>To further complicate matters of time measurement, Jesus was probably born in the year 3 BC (Before Christ, go figure), meaning that we all missed the real turn of the millennium, which was on New Year's Eve of 1996. Do you remember what you were doing that evening? I don't have a clue.
<><>Plus, there are only about skatey-eight other calendrical systems in existence. In Japan, for instance, it's currently the Year 11, since that's how long ago the Emperor was seated. Meanwhile, in the Islamic calendar, Jan. 1, 2000 falls in 1420. In the Hebrew calendar, it falls in 5760. In the Persian calendar, it's 1378. And in the Discordian calendar, it's the Year of Our Lady of Discord 3166.
<><>But here in America, we're always looking for a thrill, and all those numbers turning over like an odometer is really exciting to watch. Combined with the Y2K computer situation threatening loss of electrical power, food distribution and AOL Instant Messages, plus a rather interesting astrological setup in the very last moments of 1999, it appears as though we're boldly marching into the future right now, like it or not, at this very moment, even as you read these words.
<><>There is a clue about the nature of our times that can be found in the Y2K chart, for Dec. 31, 1999. The clue is the conjunction between Chiron and Pluto, two of the more important minor planets discovered in our century.
<><>Pluto, sighted in 1930, was the elusive Planet X. Pluto represents what some people have seen is a kind of brink of sanity, and the borderline of reason. Issues of control, death, sexuality, jealousy, rage, and, as it turns out, human evolution or transformation are all included. Pluto is the namesake of "plutonium," which is very, very toxic. Hence, it is a symbol not just of death and transformation, but also of the collective crisis of environmental poisons, which we largely ignore, and additionally, the global/individual healing process we will need to go through to purify our relationship with the Earth. In other words, in order to deal with the ecological crisis, we will need to grow up and pay attention and make difficult choices, all of which will serve to evolve our species.
<><>For the past four years, Pluto has been in the sign Sagittarius, and this coincides with the contemporary themes of multiculturalism and varieties of the New Age that include popularized shamanism and "spiritual sexuality." However, Pluto (the Roman lord of the Underworld) represents a hidden process, and usually operates subconsciously, out of awareness, and it is clear that people often don't want to deal with the collective shadow this planet represents, or, for that matter, the human potential. I find it interesting that it was nearly 40 years after Pluto's discovery that the first coherent information was published about it, and it was ignored for decades by leading publishers of astronomical tables used by astrologers.
<><>A few holocausts, a couple of world wars, a cold war, three or four arms races, several dozen covert special interest wars and one long notable global environmental catastrophe after the discovery and subsequent banishment of Pluto from our minds, a cool thing happened. An astronomer named Charles Kowal observed something else, something different, an object dancing around the Sun in an eccentric orbit between Saturn and Uranus. It became known as Chiron. Several astrologers did amazing early research on Chiron, casting it into charts of their clients and interviewing hundreds people about their experiences when this planet was active in their lives.
<><>They discovered that Chiron represents building bridges, between different concepts, different kinds of energy, and different cultures. One example is that through the discovery of Chiron, astronomers and astrologers have begun to work together on some important issues. Another is that people who are gifted in the Chiron department tend to serve as bridges between different realms of reality, for example, medical practitioners who are also healers. Chiron is the namesake of the art of chiropractic, which involves healing with the hands. And this art may go back directly to the mythological Chiron, who was the great surgeon and healer of Greek mythology. In one modern Chiropractic text I saw recently, there was an illustration of an engraving of "Asclepian Manipulation," or early Chiropractic, being demonstrated by Asclepius, the Greek god of medicine. He was a student of Chiron.
<><>The planet Chiron was named after the figure from the Greek myths, and is often is very strong in the charts of people who are just plain different or talented in unusual ways, and wherever Chiron is placed, there will often be unusual gifts and unusual difficulties present in the life.
<><>More important, Chiron represents awareness. Any time you are experiencing the effects of Chiron, paying attention is the key to making the most of the events and tapping the healing power of this energy.
<><>As of the Libra Equinox late last month, Chiron joined Pluto in Sagittarius, a visit Chiron makes for four years out of its fifty year cycle. To me this suggests that the subversive, hidden or unconscious processes represented by Pluto's ongoing transit through this sign will become much more conscious. We will have opportunities to take a much broader view of the world and world affairs, and it won't be just for luxury; until we consciously go beyond divisions of nation and religion, or science and spirit, or male and female, we will not have the personal or cultural resources necessary to heal the environmental crisis that threatens all of us.
<><>In the final days of 1999, as the millennium turns, Chiron and Pluto form their extremely rare conjunction, conjoining their forces, precisely on Dec. 30 and 31. The deep, hidden underverse of Pluto, representing all things shadow, all things strange and taboo and especially sexual -- remember this, because, collectively, sexuality is presently a realm of potent contamination -- combines with the Chirotic experience of blazing awareness, healing and revelation.
<><>In the language of the stars, these two crucial messengers discovered in the 20th Century, whose teachings we are just learning to accept and understand and validate as processes in our lives, we are likely to become aware of something undeniable, to wake up to something that we don't want to see, but that we must see, and we will have to deal with it, as Pluto suggests, as a life-or-death matter.
<><>What is the nature of this conscious (Chiron) evolutionary process (Pluto)?
<><>This is a great time to start looking, because whatever that something is, it's here. So pay attention, and, if you feel so inclined, begin consciously surveying life in these astonishing times of our culture to which we're now bearing witness. There is a lot to see, and a lot to learn.>>

Planet Waves Contents | Horoscopes Home Page | Cosmic Confidential


Planet Waves Sign by Sign for October 1999
Dates with the signs are approximate, because our calendar is not directly linked to celestial events. If you are born on the cusp, check with an astrologer or a chart service to find out what sign your Sun is really in. It's also a great idea to know your Moon and Rising signs.

By Eric Francis

Copyright ©1999 by Planet Waves Digital Media, all rights reserved.

ARIES (March 21-April 19)
Mirroring is one of those things we have come to accept as normal in our relationships. The fact that people reflect back to us what we on some level are has been accorded the status of a miracle of healing. The nature of this experience deserves some closer study at this point. Consider how good the mind is at projecting. Something the eyes "see," from words printed on a page to a vision in the distance, can take on the shape, form or meaning that our minds contain at that moment. A paper bag can look like a struggling child. A newspaper headline can be read to mean something totally bizarre three or four times, and then the real words appear. The eyes may see and the ears may hear, but the mind controls perception. In much the same way, we rarely give people an opportunity to be themselves because we are often so full of ideas about who they are, and we rarely get an opportunity to be ourselves because everyone is so full of ideas about who we are. Introjecting is another concept to add to the equation: people tend to see us a certain way, based on their experience or prejudice, and we can tend to become that way. A series of truly rare opportunities are coming your direction which will afford you chances to let you be you and whomever be whomever, for certain and for real. You may be shocked, but you won't be surprised.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20)
Many horoscope signs are concerned with the nature of dualism, for example, the twins of Gemini representing two aspects of one person, perhaps signifying the body-soul relationship. The dualism of Taurus has been spoken of as the "horns of the dilemma," signifying the deeply-rooted contradictions and difficult choices that characterize your often tumultuous inner life. If you've been paying attention, you're picking up on the fact that there's a crucial purpose to what some would see merely as pointless philosophical struggle, and what others would see as life's tests. I'm content with neither of those viewpoints, and I propose you not settle for them, either. It is clear that you are moving inward through layers of yourself, sometimes with what seems like terrifying speed and at other times, barely fast enough. This is a journey toward something within you, some seed idea or core concept that has, in truth, guided your whole life so far. As you proceed inward, you may feel compelled to cast off aspects of yourself, to confront seeming "flaws" in your nature, and to endure what seem like personal losses. This will be easier if you remember that these are merely layers of yourself you no longer need, and that what seem to be sacrifices will move you faster toward embodying your untouched and invulnerable inner spirit.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20)
I wrote in a recent article that Gemini is one of the most sexual signs of the zodiac. We all have Gemini somewhere in our charts, and many readers not born in late May or early to mid-June will have their Moon or rising sign in Gemini, or other important planets which will bestow the energetic qualities of this sign in some important aspects of life. Humans are, of course, highly sexual by nature, and Gemini is one of the human signs (not represented by an animal). My assessment was based on two points: the highly polarized, dualistic and at times divided nature of the sign of the twins, and the intensely curious quality of its natives -- and there is an obvious relationship. We want to know what this mysterious *other* is all about. We want to search in others for what we may or may not possess within ourselves, and many people are searching for their "missing twin." We have a profound need, as well, to break the barriers of isolation and reveal ourselves to someone close. And from the most cosmic perspective, the whole notion that we can seem divided from one another, and then seek unity, is rather amazing and erotic, and, I am certain, a curiously human experience. For all of this, you are now in a rare and brilliant season.

CANCER (June 21-July 22)
Several bright contemporary thinkers have pointed out that, if you want to sum up all the insanity, pain and devastation of Western (i.e., American) society, look to the simple fact that we're not into aesthetics -- that is, the conscious appreciation and creation of beauty. We make things sleek, perfect, modern, efficient, sexy, cute, boring, hip, idealized, stylized, futuristic, artificial or downright disgusting, but beauty is something we neither celebrate nor encourage. Neither do we seem to understand it so very well, and nor do we seem to care. In fact, we tend, as a culture, toward resentment and dislike for what is naturally aesthetic or delightful. But we are a suffering culture, and I agree with this whole theory: we are suffering, primarily, from ugliness. You are especially susceptible to these currents of mass thought, and are more highly sensitive to your environment than usual. I suggest that creating, exploring, and expressing beauty in all that you do, especially where you live, become your full-time occupation. There is the general spirit of beauty to consider, and beauty as the guide to your personal sense of value. There is beauty as a devotion to the Divine, and beauty in attending to the simple aspects of life with care and awareness. And there is beauty as revolution, not a change in "the system," but the freeing of the mind.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22)
Experience is the keyword, now and for the foreseeable future. Humans are so often creatures of possibility, even the precocious ones such as yourself. We have all kinds of dreams and desires and ideas, harbor all kinds of sexual fantasies, and cultivate life goals and needs to take risks, but we have dozens, hundreds, thousands of ways to convince ourselves that we just can't do that. But you are entering a phase of life in which the genuinely daring exploration of experience is going to be a very good teacher to you, and the further dabbling in plans and sorting of priorities can be equally detrimental. The spotlight is on the fifth house of your solar chart, and it's being shined by Chiron, which has recently entered Sagittarius. The fifth house encompasses romance, gambling, investing, daring activities like skiing and bungee jumping, and is inclusive of art and other forms of creativity. Its sexual tendencies are toward things that would stretch you a bit, pull open your possibilities and couple you with unexpected people. Art embraces every aspect of the house, since artists are people who live on a dare, paint all day even if the bills have to get paid, often live in a risky way, see the world like children, and give birth to ideas. Artists often have fun in their work, lovers are anarchists, and kids know that the only way to succeed is to dare. Chiron says: go for it.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sep. 22)
Ecology is the science of ecosystems. Ecosystems can be what we think of as natural, like a forest or a lake where all life is interdependent, or they can be what we think of as artificial or created, such as an economy. But for a person participating in the system, the dynamics are the same in either case: figuring out where you fit in, what your role is, and where you can locate yourself for maximum symbiosis -- that is, what is called a "plus-plus" relationship that benefits everyone involved. Presently, the Earth economies are at war with the natural ecosystems, because the relationships are distinctly consumerist, or plus-minus, as we pump resources out of the Earth, use them for a moment and pile them in a dump. We allegedly benefit while everything and everyone else suffers and is depleted. Because the profit motive is involved, we are convinced this is the way to maximum wealth, but there is tremendous energy created when people and their economies align with natural systems. While the western world is a long way from this, it seems that you are positioned for a moment of perfect flourishing with minimum impact. As this takes effect, you may feel like it's a rare moment, and in the scheme of things it's true. So use your deep sensitivity to vision and experiment with ways of being, teaching and learning along the way, and demonstrating that prosperity is quite possible at the same time as promoting your own health and environmental balance. Or, simply put: Do what feels natural, for this alone will work.

LIBRA (Sep. 23-Oct. 22)
Each year around this time, I get that irresistible calling to visit a place called Middle Earth, home of the Hobbits Frodo and Bilbo Baggins, both of whom were born on the Libra Equinox. These were the cozy, mild-mannered fellows who undertook great odysseys, came face-to-face with evil and were instrumental in defeating it with their cleverness, guts, perseverance and pure luck. Libra is often mistaken for a nondescript astrological concept, natives of which are allegedly characterized by indecision and good taste in wallpaper. However, anyone holding that view would have some explaining to do when it comes to Mahatma Gandhi, Groucho Marx, Truman Capote, Bruce Springsteen, John Lennon, F. Scott Fitzgerald, William Falukner, Oscar Wilde, and, while on the subject of writers, two of the finest daily horoscope columnists to grace the tabloids, Patric Walker and his successor, Sally Brompton. One might ask what engine is behind their lives and creations, and in my view, the answer is a dedication to living on one of the most daring edges of human reality: a commitment to beauty, be it the aesthetics of justice, passion for harmony, or the righteousness of original creation. Yet the lives of Frodo and Bilbo speak more to the themes of your coming year than any of the real-life Librans I've mentioned. Prepare for a journey through the deep unknown, a pilgrimage into the heart of the unspoken mysteries, and some extremely rare life experiences just as the millennium turns that will provide you with an opportunity to fulfill one of your deepest callings of recent years: a personal story compelling enough to tell.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 22)
We learn from experience, and yours has been difficult in ways incomprehensible to the people around you for quite some time, perhaps for a decade or more. I don't mean to imply that the life of every Scorpio has positively sucked since the 1980s, only to suggest that you have dealt with unusually difficult struggles, certain situations that seemed only to take away from you, and what I could be described as unfair personal losses. More recent years have seen a definite change of tone, as if some new energy were present and making an effort to repair some of the more obvious damage, if not repay your losses. In these coming weeks, I suggest you look for the advent of a third stage in this process, a kind of release from it all. You are definitely living a life that may reflect enforced changes and many scaled down dreams, but you are left with something more important: a system of values upon which you may now begin to build the future with confidence. The difference between the building of the next three years and that of the past three years is that now, at least, the structures will start to rise above the ground. But at least you will end up living in a house with working entrances and exits, as well as drains and fresh water. Now you can start working on the view.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 23-Dec. 21)
In 1977, a planet was discovered and later named Chiron, after the first centaur, or horse-man, of Greek mythology, and the symbol of your birth sign. Chiron has become associated with healing, service, and dedication to study, and hence has had strong associations to Virgo. Now, for the first time in half a century, Chiron has entered Sagittarius to stay, where it will travel for the next four years. The implications for world affairs are excellent, suggesting awareness of global realities and the interconnectedness of all cultures. But for you, the message is nothing less than a daunting omen that your life is becoming something as strange and rare as you have long suspected it would be, compelling you to respond to a calling for which you have been waiting. The world is entering a time of unpredictable changes, and you will have many opportunities to shepherd over these processes in ways large and small; but more important, you possess the sharpness of mind, the vision and the inner awareness that will see you through the adventure ahead. And, I would add, hindsight will be one of the more welcome blessings of this new phase. Events of recent years may have seemed senseless, but in a little while it will all add up.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19)
You have spent much of the past season invested in your fear, though I suppose you learned a thing or two about its hidden nature. Much of your personal work involved making good on promises or vows you didn't even know you made, and recently I get the feeling you've been negotiating with people whom you suspected do not have your best interests at heart -- and that's always risky business. It is the nature of fear to hide in the shadows, and the nature of fear's voice to try to blot out the more subtle callings of the universe and of your soul. But please listen to yourself carefully. There are two voices speaking to you now, though for many moons it seemed there was only one. Your task is to learn to listen beyond your apprehensions and anxieties, literally, to outwait them and listen longer and more discerningly until you get the real message. In your outer life, that is, the life of what you do rather than what you feel, you are being presented with an opportunity to achieve something very different, but your decisions about this opportunity will be informed by your inner process. In other words, you are now quite susceptible to being bound by what you feel is possible, or what you feel you deserve, or to be released into some truly brilliant possibilities simply by allowing them to be real.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 19-Feb. 18)
You are faced with both necessities and opportunities to think in more global ways. I don't quite mean bigger or grander, or dare I suggest grandiose. Rather, the necessity is that you learn to think of reality in concepts that embrace more levels of the information you possess, and that consider the effects of your actions on yourself and those who trust your counsel. Though you could hardly be called narrow-minded, your tendency to think in crystallized patterns and limit yourself to specific reality constructions has a tendency shrink your possibilities. Indeed, *thought itself* appears to be the problem, and it is, I would propose, feeling that will save you at this point because there are some things you can't think about with your mind. Emotion is energy in motion. Crystals are fixed patterns that resonate very predicable ways. So what is called for is motion, and giving up what seems to be stability, but is really predictability, in exchange for something new: a new idea, a new possibility, a new place, a new view of your inner nature, or, more likely, some combination of all of them. This will not hurt you, it will help you grow in ways you'll soon greatly appreciate.

PISCES (Feb. 19-Mar. 20)
I know that angels exist, but I don't quite believe in them. This is entirely a reflection of me rather than of reality. Regardless, it seems clear enough that you are in line for some angelic assistance in your process of getting where you are going, wherever that may be -- and it is very much your call. Destiny has a wildcard property to it these days, which means that the synchronicity factor is working behind the decisions you make. You are taking some kind of step into real visibility, and quite possibly, authority, so prepare yourself accordingly for such encounters. But power and reputation are useless without guidance to direct them, and we always exist within a context that includes many people who seem to have significant influence over our fortunes, for good or ill. Recent experiences may have only heightened your sense of boundaries and need for security, but shoring up your borders and drawing on your sharper discernment, you should be able to spot certain key individuals who are ready and willing to provide support and assistance for what everyone instinctively knows is right. You can count on them. But then there's the matter of those angels, who are not only real and present, but looking for you to open up to their miracles. Since these are love angels, money angels and career angels, I think I've just become a believer.

For the Faithful
Writing horoscopes requires using a strange combination of fact and fiction, and writing in such a way that ideas are presented clearly but also leave the possibilities open. Living with astrology, as many of you know from your exploration of the work, requires a similar combination of creativity and receptivity. We don't want to use the planets to con ourselves or our friends out of free will, but rather, to use the aspects as signposts to what is possible, to see choices that we did not know were there, and to give ourselves a little fair warning when the storm clouds are rolling in. I suggest that astrology students put two faculties of the mind first in their learning process: one is to study experience. Ask people what happened when Mars came along that week, or when Pluto crossed their ascendant that year, or when Saturn returned or Uranus opposed its natal position. Ask and listen, because you will learn more from people about their charts than you will learn from any textbook. Second is use your imagination. As you proceed, you will get some basic ideas about what the archetypes mean. But when it comes to combining six of them at once, you will need to let go of your preconceptions and let your spirit conjure images, possibilities, or scenarios. This is the magic realm where facts become a kind of living fiction, and where the ideas we invent in the mind's eye can be born into the world.++

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