Astrology Secrets Revealed by ERIC FRANCIS



March 11, 2005 (with ephemeris sample and chart)


Dear Readers & Friends,


Today is the 11th anniversary of the day that I walked into Esoterica Books in New Paltz, New York and walked out with a copy of the Rosicrucian Ephemeris for the 20th Century and a deck of the Thoth Tarot by Aleister Crowley and Lady Frieda Harris. That was my birthday in the midst of my Saturn return.


Since this is a column about revealing astrology secrets, perhaps the story is apropos of the moment. Those were two main tools I used attempting to crack the code on a particular horoscope column that was running in The New York Post. The third was Alan Leo's astrology dictionary. Common sense suggests that if you want to learn a craft, learn the words that describe the work, so I followed that idea.


In essence, astrology is about secrets, because very few people make it accessible. There are a lot of reasons for this, but the net effect is that, most of the time, a kind of veil is thrown over the whole subject matter. Many attempts to explain things make them more complicated, as astrology must be communicated in spirit, as a feeling, and not just as technique or ideology. And in part, the veil exists within the mind of each person who approaches the subject, because we're not trained to look behind the puppet theatre of life. So by insisting on looking just at the puppets and not the strings and the paints and the puppeteer and his apprentice working up a good sweat in five different voices, we tend to miss the real show.


The winter that I bought that ephemeris, I was ass-deep, no, way over my head and treading water, in investigating Monsanto, General Electric and Westinghouse, plus various government agencies that had conspired to poison a lot of people with PCBs and dioxins. Think: thousands of pages of internal corporate documents from the 1940s, 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s, kind of like a golden oldies station. Think: 10 full rewrites of each piece, and lawyers reading over the articles before they were published. So this notion of looking behind the veil was becoming natural, and though the subject was grim, it was interesting and there was a sense of justice around the work. And if you're looking for sensible, loving people, go meet some dioxin activists. Plus, newspapers and magazines were actually publishing what I wrote, which investigative reporters need more than money. My friends Chris and Jerry bought me a heck of a lot of dinners at the Wildflower Café that winter, going over lots of details and possibilities over brown rice and vegetables. I had a girlfriend named Hilary who had a touch of a sinister mind and a great sense of humor, and I bounced everything of her, too. Which was a good thing, because the subject matter was extremely heavy and it was difficult to find a shred of optimism.


That, I found in astrology.


So this was the backdrop of my plunging into an ephemeris for the first time. And while you don't need to be an investigative reporter to learn astrology, you need to bring some of that spirit of determination. You must need to know like you need to breathe -- otherwise, particularly with astrology, you just don't find out, and it may never make any real sense. And you have to be patient. You start by collecting the pieces one at a time, then one day you stick two together and you might get that feeling of AH! -- contact. So that's how that aspect works. Just keep at it and, I assure you, you'll get there. If you really want to.


In case you're wondering what the ephemeris looks like, here is a sample. It's from Raphael's Ephemeris, which, if you have even modest aspirations toward being an astrologer, you'll invest a five quid and get yourself a copy of:


Don't worry -- it looks a lot more complicated than it is. Using the book can be explained in half an hour -- maybe a good column topic.


Rapheal's is an annual edition, not a full century; after many, many decades in print, they have still not come out with a full-century edition, though I hear they pray about it often. (If you want a really nice full-century one, get the Aureas Ephemeris, from France. It's by far the best full-century ephemeris in print. You can get it at the Astrology Shop in London -- and you can get Raphael's there, too.) The ephemeris is more important than any chart, including your own. It contains all the astrology information you need to navigate through the most important moment -- NOW. Any newspaper astrologer could write an entire year of horoscope columns based on what's contained in that 48-page booklet, and many do. It contains so much information that it often seems like the best you can do is stick a spoon under the waterfall, but that's a good start.


As for the Tarot. The Major Arcana contains illustrations of all 12 signs and most of the major planetary energies. They present the images in the form of a little story of personal transformation. This story takes you on the 'Fool's Errand' from the Magician or Magus to the World or the Universe (depending on your deck, but it amounts to the same thing). These pictures will become very helpful in giving a sense of tangible substance to the ideas you're getting through the astrology. Pictures almost always help with processes of conceptualization.


The Minor Arcana combines the energies of the planets and the signs. Particularly in the Thoth Tarot, there is a lot of astrology information given in the Minor Arcana; each card as an aspect on it. Plus, you get a working sense of the elements -- Earth, Air, Fire and Water, because these make up the main structure of the Tarot.


But working with the cards assists with something else. It teaches you the feeling of reaching into the unknown and coming out with something that makes sense right now. Cards teach you about synchronicity in a direct, physical, tangible way. Then you get to practice, and practice feeling the connections between the unconscious mind, the hidden dimension, and the events and affairs of the world. You get to reach into seeming nothingness, and come out with something -- often, something quite personally meaningful, and with the sound of Spirit whispering to you. If you want to be an astrologer, that's the sound you need to hear -- the thread of light at the heart of it all.


Here is the chart for the Pisces New Moon, which was earlier today.


And here are a few of your questions this week -- please keep them coming; we really love to hear from you. Catch you soon over at Planet Waves.