Planet Waves | Taurus Thunder by Eric Francis - printable


Taurus Thunder
Astrology and the Art of Rebellion, Part One

Planet Waves for May 2000 | By Eric Francis

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You could say with reasonable accuracy that astrology is the study of relationships. Yes, it's about relationships between planets, signs and houses, and certainly, it covers encounters and exchanges between people. But most important, it's the study of the relationships within ourselves through which we become whole people. Astrology tells the story of how we get to that place of wholeness. Right now, there is unfolding quite a wild chapter in that tale.

This month, in these very days, each of us on the planet is experiencing a grand conjunction in the sign Taurus. It is a physical event that works regardless of the details of one's individual astrological chart. A grand conjunction is a lot of planets all piled up on top of one another, almost like a string of beads in space, straight on top of our heads; but these are rather large beads.

At its heart is a conjunction between Jupiter, the largest known planet (about 1,300 times the size of the Earth) and Saturn (about 900 times bigger than the Earth). The Jupiter-Saturn conjunction occurs once every 20 years, very predictably at the turns of the even decades: for example, the most recent ones happened in 1900, 1920, 1940, 1960 and 1980. But this time, the Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, and Mars are involved in the mix, which covers all the ancient planets. And there's a new planet, one rather akin to a rocket engine, a new "centaur" planet called 1994TA joining the fun, along with a special dark and mysterious point ignored by most astrologers, called Admetus.

What we have is a collection of all the traditional planets, the more familiar energies like Venus and Jupiter, and then some strange ones. All the centaurs (of which Chiron is one) act like accelerators and intensifiers. They focus power and thought. Admetus, which is not an actual physical planet but a slow-moving point, is about resistance and stagnation. It is about all the changes we now want to make, but won't. It's about all our stuck values that we want to change, but refuse to. It's about the desire for freedom but being too lazy to make it happen. Put it all together and you can get a lot of conflict or a lot of power.

My colleague Martha Lang Wescott, in a phone call last night, summed it up as an astrological earthquake. It is, she said, deep, wide, and simultaneously full of intense pressure and hard-headed resistance. Looked at another way, the conjunction is a thundering entrance into a new era in personal and collective history. Jupiter-Saturn usually is, as you can tell from a quick survey of the years in which it happened. It would, in short, be wise to view this time in your life as an opportunity; and to consciously ask yourself how you want to cash in one huge wildcard chance to be free.

But specifically, what does it all mean? Well, what are you going through at the moment? The astrology of an era or of an especially charged-up moment is directly reflected in our personal experiences. It is true that we're trained to ignore cosmic realities, to keep our nose to the ground and work like slaves to pay the bills. It is true that we have created every imaginable diversion to discovering who we are, and yet somehow hope against hope that in the midst of our maze, we will make some amazing self-discovery. It is also rather true that deep within, we often fear that if we digress one inch from being "well-behaved people," some version of God, be it the God of Abraham or your student loan holder, will strike you dead.

I recognize that these are especially intense times we're living in; many have commented that they are the most stressful in all of history, but history is a long time. Yet we've been compelled to grow more or less accustomed to surviving under what is indeed rather incredible stress, enduring growth curves, learning curves, subways, traffic jams, media overload, fear and a bizarre time warp all at once, in which weeks melt into years, and years into decades.

And then there is that other world of the current era: the world of tantalizing opportunity, of the potential for experience, travel, human contact, creativity, communication, experimentation and learning. We can, if we're awake, feel great desire moving inside ourselves, not just for the material things we struggle so hard to support, but for deeper experiences that will reveal the true nature of life and of self. And this unfulfilled desire also presents us with a form of stress.

Most of us lead lives that are very isolating from our fellow people, and alienating from ourselves. And isolating from the Earth: can you see a window from where you are now sitting? We live lives in which our real chances to explore are very limited, certainly in proportion to the field of potential.

We usually exist within a kind of tightly-strung framework from which it's very difficult to escape; our beliefs are more or less crystallized, and that framework is precisely a grid of beliefs about life. Most of us, to some extent or to a great extent, feel trapped, often in some combination of our own mental patterns, in economic situations, in careers we don't want, in time and/or energy crunches, in personal relationships, in family situations and commitments, in ideas about who we are supposed to be, or under the weight of the past. You could say that "the weight of the past" sums up very neatly all the other patterns that I listed before it. And we also feel trapped in the desires we cannot fulfill -- like the desire to read books, for example, or to cook your own dinner, or to get across town and see an art exhibit, or to finally get to Ireland. Rarely is there time, and for those who have time, rarely is there money.

I don't mean to speak for everyone here. There is a significant "claim back your life" movement afoot, and I've met some very impressive members of that unofficial movement. I love the stories of people who travel the world for nothing, who acquire junky old sail boats and fix them up and live on them, or who hitch rides on private jets. But I also know that I speak for many people who are somehow living outside their own reality, and who truly, desperately want to get back into who they are, or discover who they can be.

There is one last factor of the current times to consider, and to my knowledge, it is a condition never before faced by humans, and I've never read about it anywhere. Each of us who can read is aware that there is an "ecological crisis" on the planet, words that barely reveal the depth of the situation. Some people (such as businessmen) call this progress, and for sure, some people are too ignorant to notice, and for sure, others know perfectly well what is happening and do not care because they are too angry or in too much individual pain to worry about collective events. Others are kind of thrilled at the prospect.

But consider this, if you want to get a sense of the real spirit of our times: we either think or know we live on a dying planet. We know that if corporate growth continues at the current rate of "progress," and if mass-consumerism spreads to China, Russia and South America (though this may not even matter), and if the population keeps growing at its current rate, we will pollute ourselves to death; we will shatter the ozone to the point where it cannot protect our skin, we will warm the planet and flood the densely inhabited coastal regions, we will poison the water and the air to the point where it's not safe to drink or breathe, and it barely is today. And we know there is no turning back from each successive step in this direction. We know this perfectly well, and most of us -- that is, about 99% of us -- do nothing about it.

Could it be that the very rush of life, the sense of fleeting time in the Western world, is merely the feeling of time running out?


But is not time always running out? Life, as we know it, is a temporary experience. The opportunities that arrive are temporary opportunities. Yet the paralysis and fear that we feel seem to be fairly permanent, and well-supported by collective values: peer pressure not to care, not to grow, not to be free, and to be scared but helpless.

Now, as for that earthquake I mentioned above, the one that is happening right now. The immediate view, from a technical standpoint, is that, first, we have a lot of planets in Taurus. Stubborn, practical, sensuous, immobile, erotic, lusty, comfortable, cum-hither Taurus is getting blasted, floated, restructured, and filled with planets. Conventional astrology gives you keywords like "I Possess" for Taurus, but the greatest possession is that which we have in and of ourselves, and that which, as a result, we have to offer the culture. Perhaps the greatest maturing that a modern person can go through is the recognition that we really do have a gift for everyone else, the awareness that we are "worth something" in the best sense of the words.

But most of us are fairly stubborn about taking that step, internally and externally. We "can't believe" that we're really worth or worthy of anything. This stubbornness takes the form of procrastination, laziness, fear and so on, but you could sum it up as being stuck.

There is an exercise from a school of thought called Neurolinguistic Programming that involves studying five steps of inner being, and it's called "Stuck to Clear." The steps are: Stuck, Missing Something, Confused, Curious, and Clear (as in Alert). The wisdom of this path teaches that, typically, we run a maze of Stuck, Missing Something and Confused. Why? Because we never get to curiosity. Why? The highest state of curiosity is sexual curiosity. And we have had our sexual curiosity crushed by the morals of our culture. Then we associate all other curiosity with sexual curiosity, which, by association, is bad, so we avoid it. Thus, we can rarely count on our curiosity to get us out of the patterns that we are in, which it would do just fine, if we let it. What, after all, is going on in Alaska? I think I'll find out. What are the people like in Barcelona? I think I'll meet them. Who IS that woman? I think I'll say hello. Now, Taurus is pretty sexual. Trust me, I have Venus there. So my two words of wisdom for the big conjunction: Get Curious.

Don't worry, it's easy.

Okay, sort of easy. Women will need to do something a little on the aggressive side, like for example, risk their reputation and say hello, or ask guys out, or make offers, perhaps even to women; and to openly admit to loving passion; and most of all, to explore yourselves. Men will need to give up their fear of rejection, justified as it may be, and move consciously (curiously) in the direction of the people they find the very most attractive -- and no compromises here. And it would serve men very well to explore themselves, to get into their own inner sexual curiosities. Men will need to stop being terrified of the sexuality of other men. I don't mean "go queer," I just mean easy on the homophobia, please. Have you ever wondered what is so sexy about women? Could it be simply that they find it easy to experience other women emotionally and physically? That they are, more often than not, capable of not rejecting themselves by rejecting their own gender?

In this spirit (as in spiritual), I suggest everyone keep a sexual dream/fantasy/desire diary, and let it get really hot in there, and then let your curiosity shall we say spill over to the rest of life.

The inevitable consequence of this will be growth and change. Taurus is not just the lair of Venus. It is also the blacksmith shop of her consort, Vulcan. The great British occultist Alice A. Bailey points out that Taurus is the furnace of the soul, where we are melted and shaped and reformed into the new people we are becoming. The way we grow is by getting to know ourselves, becoming ourselves, and then relating as a Self to another Self (rather than the romantic model, which is "be half-a-self and look for another half-a-self"). And the whole process of of being a self is fueled by curiosity. So Please Get Curious. And then let being curious get you hot to be real.

Now, a lot of the action of the spring's events takes place in Aquarius, which is 90 degrees off of Taurus. This is called a square. Aquarius is the sign of group consciousness; of being an individual within a group; and of visioning the future. If the events in Taurus are not enough to say that something wild is happening now, then consider that the Taurus alignment squares two powerful outer planets, Neptune and Uranus. In last month's column ( I described how these two huge planets, currently in their rare, once-every 171-years conjunction, have reshaped our culture in the past 10 years. The associations are a range of events from the fall of the Eastern Block countries to the spread of the Internet to the vast array of esoteric, spiritual, religious, shamanic, and occult teachings that are now available and widely in practice. In a sense, reality is up for grabs.

Uranus likes to topple things, especially evil things (Nixon was an example). Uranus is about awareness, and it detests boredom and slumber. Jupiter conjoined to Saturn likes to start things anew. As these dimensions make contact, there are certain to be vast, far-reaching effects in our culture as a result. We will see events we've never seen before, and learn things we did not imagine were possible. But on a personal level, you have a chance to stage a total revolt against that which you are no longer happy with, against that in which you are stuck, and in favor of your own inner motivations, your growth, and your own most deeply-held desires -- especially if they are about your desires to discover and share the best of what you have to offer, and to participate in planetary healing and community celebration.

With Taurus and Aquarius set up like they now are, something that doesn't want to move, moves. We will feel it. We will know it internally and by what we are witnessing. Incidentally, the events of last summer, around that famous Aug. 11 grand cross/total solar eclipse, helped break apart the old reality to make room for what is now getting ready to come through.

True rebellion is the art of becoming who you are. It is about refusing to lie about who you are, what you see and what you feel. That takes clarity and a little guts. Astrology, first and most vividly, is the study of inner relationships -- those workings-out from which we go from being bored, stuck people feeling like we live on the sidelines of life, to those who are actively participating, growing and learning. And this is the greatest revolution of all: the birth of yourself.

It's no longer a small handful of people who are instigating progress. Many people are now in possession of information, techniques and motivation to facilitate world change, and despite the staggering odds against turning things around, we must remain life-affirming and ignore the forces of greed, death and devastation. The desire and necessity for growth is now spreading in epidemic proportions. We have seen enough abuse of power and neglect of people. We have suffered and waited and been bored and delayed, frustrated, lonely and isolated, long enough.

The planets are gathering their forces. Let it roll for all it's all it's worth. And once again I remind you that whatever you choose, and choose you must, remembering that from here, we are going forward and there's no coming back.++

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May Horoscope | Main Contents | How To Be Your Own Lover | Call it Home

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