Astrology Secrets Revealed by ERIC FRANCIS

Feeling Alone and Very Low


September 17, 2004


Hi Eric:

I recently read your column and your advice to the gal who was very upset with her life. Although her chart is different from mine, it seemed you were speaking to me, especially the way she grew up in a combative household. I am very impressed at the depth in which you go to answer questions. My life has been in shambles since the day I was born.


I have been contemplating suicide since 1999. There has not been a day gone by that I have not cried my eyes out and felt completely alone. You told this young woman that 'time' was on her side and to be thankful for that. Time though, is not on my side since I am staring 50 in the face. The only thing I seem to have going for me is the fact that I look very young for my age, 15 to 20 years younger, and I am fairly nice looking. This can be a problem as well because people seem to hate you for it. I have been back in hell for the past year now. I was on a spiritual quest and in meditation told the universe that I might be ready to fall in love and would like to try it. But I fell very hard for a person half my age. I had no choices in this. I work with this person and almost quit the job because of it. It was mutual until the Venus retrograde bit a few months ago.


I grew up with a crazy mother, the middle of three girls. We all have our problems but mine are the most serious. No matter what area of life, career, education, parenthood, relationships, I have always been a loser. I can't accept this and as an Aries I have always had the ability to bounce back and try again but this time in my life I can't find the spark. It's gone. I am ready to give up. The patterns in my life have been set it seems and I am very depressed and really ready to get out of life altogether because I am just so tired of defeat.


I was hoping, as a last resort you might be able to tell me what if any hope is in my chart. I am no stranger to astrology, but no expert. My entire life is hell, financial and personal, even though I have always tried so awfully hard to make my life worthwhile. I have cried every day for years and I can't seem to find any hope anymore. Please try to answer me? Please? Writing to you is a last resort. I have tried counselling, only for them to tell me how great I am and to keep plugging away but I think the answer lies in my chart. What do you see? Please help.



Giving Up



Dear Giving Up,

On behalf of everyone at, I want to offer you the biggest hug in the galaxy. None of us are any stranger to hard times, and we're very happy to be here for you.


And thank you for having the guts to write in with such a difficult question.


First let's talk about suicide. Generally there are two approaches taken to this subject by the helping community. One is to take it literally and deal with any statements made on the subject directly and as an actual threat. In that case, there are usually a few questions that come up first: by what means would you be considering taking your life, and do you have those means available right now? Have you ever attempted? And has a close relative ever taken their life?


Second approach is to use suicide as a metaphor, principally one for the desire for change. In many fields, such as dream interpretation, mythology and others, death is a metaphor for change and transformation. So the idea of suicide is a powerful metaphor for wanting to change yourself. And for sure, change is in order.

Certainly, it seems logical enough that anyone considering ending their life would also consider making any necessary change that might improve their life, but this is not always the case. Still, the idea of death is powerful and can be very helpful tool in any growth process. It is, after all, a fate we all share. And each real change we make can have the feeling of 'ego death' attached to it. Yet what happens sometimes is that, other avenues being closed down, the psyche holds onto death as the only metaphor for change that there is. Of course many others are possible and we need to open those up. But for many people, the notion of self-given death is the one way they can think of to become someone new, even though they have no intention of actually hurting themselves.


You must decide, either on your own, or with help, which of the above categories you fit into. If you need it, here is a link to all the international suicide hotlines:


There's another dimension that in some respects combines the two perspectives, described by astrologer and depth-psychologist Melanie Reinhart. "Suicide is often a spiritual crisis," she wrote to me last week, when I asked her to share her insights on this difficult subject. "Killing oneself is the ego refusing to let go as spiritual awareness arises, and trying to continue being in control. The aggression in suicide impulses is obvious, but often isn't the bottom line. The terror felt when we are challenged to let go deeply is beyond anything we normally experience or can handle. Aggression is easier because we play with feeling 'powerful'. ('I can even kill myself')."


You say you have no (other) options besides writing to this page, and it's very good that you have this one open to you. Yet when people are deeply despairing or psychologically ill, or know they are in crisis, the option generally taken is some form of therapeutic, psychiatric or psychological care. Each is useful, and generally what we get when we get a benefit is contact with a loving person. But these are options you must pursue on your own if you want the benefits. And I am aware, from your statement, that you have some misgivings about therapy. Many people do. And many people get over them and find the healing they need within a therapeutic environment. I highly recommend, as someone who has been there, that you set aside your misgivings and get yourself the assistance you need.


I recognize that the state of mind of having no options is very overbearing. And to exercise any power at all, you need to be able to look over that canyon wall.


The notion that you would end your life suggests that you might at least be willing to try something else besides despair. The problem is that any something else you might try would you require you to entertain the idea that you are in command of your life, or at least influencing the flow of events; and then you would need to work, and perhaps struggle, over a long time to deal with your problems and claim back your life. Then your life would be your own, and at the same time, it would be your responsibility. And that, unfortunately, is extremely unappealing to a lot of people. Also, it might not work. That is not so appealing.


I can see just from the structure of your question that you have a worldview that casts you as a victim. Would you agree? I get many questions that take this essential position. Usually, they are a bit more subtle. For example, any form of the question, "When will things get better?" is essentially the posture of a victim. On the other hand, the question, "What can I do to make my life better?" or "What are the current aspects here to teach me?" or "How can I turn these problems into opportunities?" are entirely more workable because at least they put the person into a relationship with their process of their life; with growth and change and awareness.


Astrology walks a fine line here, but not so fine. Good astrology will take the position that "This is what you are doing and these are the probable effects." Or, "You need to persist and trust your life." Or, "Have you thought of it this way?" None of these are about being a victim.


I have no doubt your early childhood experiences taught you that that victim was your proper or only acceptable role. And these are patterns that can be very challenging to get out of, because they are encoded in the brain and other parts of the body, as well as the genetic code, thought patterns and emotions. But children are essentially powerless to make changes in their world, or to size up their own minds. You are no longer a child, but you have the emotional posture of a child with the complexities, pressures and pain of an adult. That can be very complicated. It is no longer possible merely to scream and be rescued, which is a totally reasonable expectation of a child who gets herself into some kind of trouble. But you can ask for help in specific, reasonable ways from people who have a role in your life. And you can do a lot to help yourself.


It is also likely that, as a child, you were abandoned in some way when you truly needed help; it is probable that the adults around you did not respond to your needs; and, that you feel, understandably, that world would never give you a chance, or even a little break. That was all likely to have been reinforced by many past experiences and, like a sprained ankle, these became subject to repeated re-injury and increasing weakness.


Attempting suicide is a messy way to ask for help, but it will work. Unfortunately, one possible result is that you can wind up with a lot less power over your life than you even have now, depending on what doctor, judge or social worker winds up with your case. At best, you would wind up with a stigma, a mark that you are a certain kind of person. That is, of course, assuming you survive.


I recognize that life's pressures seem unbearable. Yet somehow, mysteriously, you got this far. You are alive today, so you must have something going for you. You can sit and write out an email, you have the motivation to send it to me, and you have the motivation to scan the Internet for rays of hope. My old therapist Joe tells his clients a little story, which is that if he were to hang one sign above the door to his counselling room, it would say, "Abandon hope all ye who enter here."


That's right.


Hope is, for the most part, pointless. Sure, you can hope that it was a cup of sugar rather than salt that you put into that cake, but that's as far as I'd go. Hope is a very poor substitute for faith. Faith is an active principle; hope is like a drug that does not heal, only pushes the symptoms under the surface where they cannot remind us we have a problem. Just saying this cannot give you faith in yourself, or faith in a higher power, but I can suggest that you give up looking for hope, because the adage "seek and ye shall find" really is true. Seek hope and that's what you'll find. And hope is not going to get you anywhere except hoping. You can seek faith; you can seek understanding; you can seek strength. You can seek help. And you are very likely to find those things. But help will be meaningless unless you have faith in those who help you.


As someone who feels a viable option may be taking their death -- rather than their life -- into their own hands, I need tell you this, which you already know. Life is a big responsibility. Life is full of complexities, people we have to watch out for, disappointments, circumstances and problems that demand our attention, and it seems even at its best to be an endless growth curve. And then, once we've lived, we die. That is the price we must pay for getting to be here, to be able to see, feel and live, and to experience ourselves and one another.


What more do you want? Are you willing to work on yourself in order to get it? As someone who has seen many people through much growth, I can tell you it's well worth the effort.


Meanwhile, if you ever seriously get the feeling that you want to hurt yourself, if you find yourself contemplating a method of doing so, or if you get as far as having some means of doing so readily available, please call one of those hotlines, or get yourself into the office of the nearest therapist, even if it's a massage therapist -- which would actually be a great idea anyway. I think you'll be very glad you did.


Thanks again for writing.


Postscript from Melanie: I would perhaps recommend the work of Stephen Levine on suicide.... his tapes called 'When a Shadow Crosses the Heart'. They are amazing, and also his work is often a spiritual doorway for those who are ready to walk through it. He has many books in print, and I use them as a fallback resource for clients who are ready to work themselves. Especially if they've had bad experiences with therapists or authority figures in spiritual work.


PS from Eric Francis: I realize I have not done a reading of your astrology here, but in the spirit of Saturn, first things first. If you feel like you have a handle on what I'm getting at here, then we can talk about your astrology in detail a later discussion.