Astrology Secrets Revealed by ERIC FRANCIS

Photo above: Lions have always been a symbol of vitality, protection and power. Above, they guard the Sacred Lake, birthplace of the twins Apollo and Artemis (gods of the Sun and Moon), on the island of Delos in Greece. Note that this week, England, "the Lion," was awarded 2012 the Olympic Games.



Saturn, Leo, History and Herstory


July 8, 2005 (with chart and photo)


Still round the corner there may wait

A new road or a secret gate,

And though I oft have passed them by,

A day will come at last when I

Shall take the hidden paths that run

West of the Moon, East of the Sun.

--J.R.R Tolkien, attributed to Bilbo Baggins


Dear Readers


We have, naturally, been inundated with your Saturn in Leo questions; nobody has been shy about this topic. And in response, we've got a Saturn in Leo column for you this week.


Saturn enters Leo on July 16 and remains in this sign through Sept. 2, 2007. It has been in Cancer since June 2003. Saturn takes about 29 years to go around the Sun and through all the signs. The last time it changed signs from Cancer to Leo was between the summer of 1975 and the spring of 1976. In the current changeover, there is no retrograde back to Cancer; it goes into Leo and remains there through the end of its run in that sign.


Cancer and Leo hold the most basic energies of the zodiac, those represented by the Moon and the Sun. They represent the two kinds of natural light (the light of intuition and the light of consciousness, respectively, illuminating the night and the day); they represent the worlds of feeling (Cancer, the Moon) and individuality and creativity (Leo, the Sun). They are mother and father. They are Yin and Yang. Where they meet, we get the worlds of dawn and dusk, where night and day merge. And Saturn, who ranks as one of the planetary masters of our local universe, the lord of manifestation, the mother of matter and the chronicler of time, is working that line right now.


In the process, something is going to shift. A lot is going to shift. Saturn enters the sign of daylight. As a corrupt New York City official once said to me just before a big scandal broke, "Sunlight is the best disinfectant."


Sign changes of planets are usually worth writing about, particularly the big ones, or the slow ones. Despite many discoveries of planets in recent centuries and decades, Saturn still rates as a particularly significant influence in astrology. This is in part due to all the subject matter of Saturn being on top of the list of what we need to master in our lifetimes (for instance, I feel that the most basic concept of Saturn is self-mastery, and seizing responsibility for our lives back from our parents and surrogate parents).


This astrological emphasis is partly due to the status Saturn held for all of eternity up till 1781 as the most distant planet from the Sun. Most people could see no themes more important. Yes, every now and again, a Galileo, a DaVinci or a Sappho comes along and sees past all the nonsense. But not usually, and they're lucky to survive.


Then one day, science arrived (in the form of Uranus) and said, "What you see is not necessarily what you get," and as many other planets were discovered, the vast cosmos -- and the inner cosmos -- began to unfold.


Saturn holds a kind of dividing line between what you could call the normal world and the cosmic world. Of course, it's all cosmic and it's all normal. But perception means a lot, what we call our experience means a lot, and Saturn works like psychic membrane that seems to separate our personal worlds from the strange developments of history and consciousness. It's an imaginary line, of course, but it seems to be there, and we can feel it when it's breached.


Think of how freaked out people used to get when a little comet came in from the outer cosmos and pierced the veil. Comets were the first outer planets, and in truth began the scant practice of astrology reading the signs of trans-Saturnian worlds. And when they came inside that Saturnian boundary and appeared it was generally a sign of weird times -- though Western astrology itself has no specific tradition of using comets as omens. Western astrology doesn't typicaly like all that weird stuff outside of Saturn's realm. I think this has a lot to do with the reluctance of many astrologers to go too deep into Chiron.


Meanwhile, people don't change so fast, humanity doesn't change so fast, and society goes even slower. So in many respects, Saturn is still the bottom line. With Chiron, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto available, it's true that we have plenty else to think about, or at least some new perspectives to consider. But Saturn is the edge that most people need to work with; the limit that we need to work right out to the edge of, so that when the time is right, and when the soul whispers, we can go beyond.


Saturn holds a kind of supreme place among the planets (amongst astrologers, anyway), and Leo a supreme place among the signs. The lion is the symbol of vitality, power, dominance and strength, and it shows up all over the world (so far as I've seen the world), roaring outside libraries, guarding government buildings, purring here and there, and poised to strike at the Sacred Lake where Artemis and Apollo were born. Saturn represents a structural or organizing principle for this energy. It can seem to limit things, or to contain vitality, but really it's focusing that solar power and helping it manifest.


Saturn in Leo in Recent History


Among the more useful ways to evaluate a planet's transit is by looking at history. Saturn in Leo has a lot to say about the history of women as well.


Many of the questions we've been receiving include some form of, "What does Saturn in Leo mean to me?" I'd like to start out today with some of what we've come up with as far as Saturn passing through a sign and how this works on humanity and society. Then we can work on how we're going to respond as individuals. You can think of this as working from the general to the specific -- deductive logic, which is quite dependable.


Remembering that Saturn is a "transpersonal" planet -- that is, one that stands at the divide between a person and the wider world -- its effect on history has a lot to do with its effect on people. That effect may be symbolic and it may be what we think of as real, but the effect is there. People make the world what it is, but more often we find ourselves in positions of having to respond to the world rather than shaping the world. The feeling-tone of what we experience as the world, and our response to it, are likely to develop significantly under the influence of Saturn in Leo, and we will change and develop as a result.


But Saturn in Leo is not a passive energy. To the contrary. And for many, there will be opportunities, depending on where Cancer and Leo occupy your chart, to express yourself in ways you've long held back.


In preparing today's report, we have not done any kind of thorough search of history or researched back to Mesopotamian times or the Dead Sea Scrolls, but we've visited the last few cycles of Saturn in Leo and looked for obvious threads and trends. (Thanks to Michele Perrin on the Planet Waves staff for much of the historical research, and to Pam Purdy for helping evaluate the ideas.)


One thing to remember is that each time Saturn passes through Leo, the outer planets (Chiron through Pluto) are in different configurations. So each Saturn in Leo is different based on those factors.


The forthcoming Saturn in Leo phase has at least two distinctions involving the outer planets: the first is that it begins next week with an exact opposition to Chiron and Nessus in Aquarius; the second is that it peaks in August 2006 through June 2007 with a series of oppositions to Neptune in Aquarius (the astrological opiate of the masses). This is a big distinction, because the Saturn-Neptune cycle is one of history's most important clocks to watch. It is, in essence, about the tense relationship between reality and fantasy; between concrete knowledge and what we take on faith; between the tangible world and the imagination.


Looking at history, it became clear that Saturn in Cancer has a feeling of being a somewhat chaotic, emotionally driven time, in which fear is more apt to have an influence than creativity. It's also a time when security or lack thereof is a theme, as you might expect. It's more than a bit restrained, and seems to be more inwardly directed than outwardly.


Saturn in Leo tends to be more idealistic; more assertive; more stuff seems to actually happen; generally, there are obvious breakthroughs and it seems to be a time of cleaning up the chaos created during Saturn in Cancer. On one level, order is restored because a new order of leadership is established. Of course, Saturn in Leo has its own variety of chaos created by its fiery tendencies. Of themselves, planets in fire signs don't tend to feel anything BUT themselves -- other factors in the chart must add the dimension of sensitivity. Ideals don't all come true, and not everything created by passionate or creative innovation lasts. But as you'll see, some very important things developed during Saturn in Leo do last.


The 1887-1889 Cycle


Looking at the Saturn in Leo cycle for summer 1887 through fall 1889, we find a hot one: George Eastman patented the camera that uses roll film. Cameras used to take pictures one at a time, using a big plate, operated by a guy with a blanket over his head. They did not fit in your pocket and had no USB port -- honest.


"With the slogan, 'you press the button, we do the rest', George Eastman put the first simple camera into the hands of a world of consumers in 1888. In so doing, he made a cumbersome and complicated process easy to use and accessible to nearly everyone," the Kodak web page states today.


Also from the AV department, the gramophone (an early phonograph, pre-podcasting) was invented. Not only that, the first recorded motion picture was made in Leeds, England; it was two seconds long. Previews, popcorn and pornos soon followed. These are little bursts of "technology for fun" breakthroughs, all in 1888.


Speaking of fun, poet T.S. [the world ends "not with a bang, but a whimper"] Eliot was born in 1888. So too were playwright Eugene O'Neill, detective novelist Raymond Chandler, political theorist Harpo Marx, screenwriter Anita Loos ("Gentlemen Prefer Blonds"), and Maurice Chevalier.


Chevalier, a French musical comedy star, unknowingly summing up a Saturn in Leo feeling quite nicely, once said, "A comfortable old age is the reward of a well-spent youth. Instead of its bringing sad and melancholy prospects of decay, it would give us hopes of eternal youth in a better world."


Along similar lines, T.S. Eliot (whose Sun was in Libra) once wrote, "Thou hast nor youth nor age / But as it were an after dinner sleep / Dreaming of both."


In 1889, the groundwork for the Microsoft monopoly was laid when Washington State was admitted to the United States. So were North and South Dakota, and Montana. There was a land rush in Oklahoma. Go figure.


The Wall Street Journal was published for the first time. I know they have the image of being a stuffy newspaper with no comics page, but it's consistently the best written rag in the business, with an actual sense of humor. Plus, they don't pretend to be objective; they cover business from the viewpoint of business. Leo-styled, you know what you're buying. They should print my horoscopes.


Eiffel's Tower opened amidst much bellyaching and prolonged, agonized whining from the French about how ugly it was, but today we all know better, and the little statues and key rings hold up the economy. The South Fork Dam collapsed in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, killing 2,200 people. Engineering clearly has its ups and downs. A year earlier, Le Washington Monument opened. Isn't that interesting? Two of the modern world's most recognizable landmarks were opened during Saturn in Leo, and (so far as we can tell) both were the tallest in the world at the time of their opening.


One of the stranger tendencies of Saturn in Leo is the high rate of dam break disasters that occur during this transit, such as the 1889 disaster above. In 1948, a dam break in Oregon left tens of thousands homeless; in the years 1975-77 there were three major dam tragedies in China, Idaho and Georgia. The strangest in history was the burst of not water, but molasses, that swept through Boston in January 1919 -- see below.


Susan B. Anthony ("failure is impossible") organized a congress for women's rights in the United States. And Jack the Ripper got his start in this cycle -- the world's first serial killer, in London's East End. He captured the world's dramatic imagination in numerous plays, books, articles, etc. Though there were four official suspects and many unofficial ones, nobody was formally charged or caught. Scotland Yard was at this time entrusted with the world's first investigation of a serial killing.


"They may have failed, but they failed honourably, having made every effort and inquiry in their power to free London of the unknown terror," writes the web page.


The 1916-1919 Cycle


Woodrow Wilson was elected president of the United States in 1916, having much to do with his idea for the League of Nations, which became the United Nations. The notion that the countries of the world could act together to take care of themselves and one another in a peaceful way was quite an idealistic one. It still is.


The same year, Jeanette Rankin was elected the first female congressional representative, from Montana.


World War I was underway, as was the lesser-known Hellenic Holocaust. Turkey's government was determined to finish off the Greeks, as they had nearly done to the Armenians.


World War I was touted as the "war to end all wars." It was really the "war that began all wars" or "the war that continued till now." Any time a politician says they're waging war for peace, run the other way. America got involved in 1917, with the Sun in Aries. Four European dynasties, the Habsburgs, the Romanovs, the Ottomans and the Hohenzollerns, who had roots of power back to the days of the Crusades, all fell during or after the war. Saturn in Leo has a serious feeling of the changing of the guard.


Conscription (the draft) began. It was a paranoid time. The Espionage Act, the Alien Act and the Sedition Act were used in prosecutions that would be considered constitutionally unacceptable in the United States even in wake of the 9/11 attacks.


Communism was established in Russia after the overthrow of the tsar. The Russian Revolution began. The House of Windsor was established in England, to get rid of the German name "House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha." (This reminds me of my friend's Italian family in New York where one day the father came home and said at the dinner table, "From now on, our last name is Feinstein.")


We also see an interesting trend of small nations either forming or gaining independence under Saturn in Leo. For a while, anyway, it's good times for the underdog. Finland, Yugoslavia and the Ukraine gained their independence, to give three examples from '17, and there was British support for a Jewish state in Palestine. That became a reality exactly one Saturn cycle later.


Also in 1917, women got the vote in the Netherlands. Mata Hari, the famous Dutch-born exotic dancer, was executed by the French government for espionage, for allegedly spying for the Germans. The income tax and the draft come to Canada (five years after the U.S. created a permanent income tax).


In 1918, the "Stars and Stripes" military newspaper was founded. More countries become independent: Lithuania, Estonia, Belarus, Poland, Iceland, Latvia, Georgia, Czechoslovakia; and Armenia was founded as a nation, after the failed genocide of the Turks. The tsar and his family were executed. General Motors acquired Chevrolet. The Flying Corps was created, and the Post Office established Air Mail, but using ponies. (Just kidding, they must have used airplanes.)


There was voting reform in Sweden and the first woman was elected to the House of Commons in England -- Arabella Susan Lawrence.


There was the Paris Peace Conference, on the occasion of which Wilson became the first president to travel to Europe while in office. There was the Spanish Flu epidemic and 25 million died around the world. Homeopaths had a nearly 100% cure rate, but by this time, homeopathy was in steep decline and traditional doctors (called allopaths or antipaths) treated their flu patients with aspirin, which killed them quickly. Homeopaths could cure their patients (using the remedy gelsemium) only if they had not been given aspirin.


In 1919, there was a failed communist revolution in Berlin. Prohibition was adopted in the United States and would last until 1933. This was a big boon for the mafia. So in a sense, the modern American mafia was born with Saturn in Leo, because suddenly it had a big racket it could run -- moonshine.


The Irish government was founded, the League of Nations was born, the USSR occupied the Ukraine and the first Miss America pageant was held. There was a war between Poland and the Soviet Union, and the Grand Canyon received national park status. Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity was confirmed. Women in the United States were granted the right to vote. Men still tried to tell them who to vote for.


Aviation continued to be big news. There was the first nonstop transatlantic flight by Alcock and Brown. The first blimp crossed the Atlantic nonstop.


The treaty of Versailles ended World War I.


The Bauhaus art movement was formed, and Mussolini founded his fascist government in Italy. The Italians would eventually kill their dictator. Too much of a ba thing. Bauhaus, on the other hand, would become the most influential movement in art and architecture (fortunately, modern architects are getting some of their sensibility back).


The wave of molasses swept through Boston, killing 21.


The what? Thinking my research department was staying up too late, I checked this one out carefully. When things go wrong in Boston, things go strange. Even, which hardly believes anything, rates this as "true." They write:


"As slow as molasses in January." There was one memorable exception to that truism. And it was a deadly one.


Forty minutes past noon on 15 January 1919, a giant wave of molasses raced through Boston. The unseasonably warm temperature (46 degrees) was the final stress needed to cause a gigantic, filled-to-capacity tank to burst. 2,320,000 gallons (14,000 tons) of molasses swept through the streets, causing death and destruction.


Eyewitness reports tell of a "30-foot wall of goo" that smashed buildings and tossed horses, wagons and pool tables about as if they were nothing. Twenty-one people were killed by the brown tidal wave, and 150 more were injured. The chaos and destruction were amplified -- and rescue efforts were hampered -- by the stickiness of the molasses. Those persons attempting to aid others all too often found themselves mired fast in the goo.


I checked the chart for this. Wouldn't you? Saturn is in Leo, fitting the unusual "dam burst" signature.


Pluto, Jupiter and the Moon are in Cancer. Too much of a goo thing. Note the 2nd house is where we find much of the action in this chart. Molasses, or half-refined sugar, is an important commodity and worth a lot of money. From the psychological perspective, we can infer from the 2nd house Pluto that the owners of the factory were making up for their insecurity and self-esteem crisis by stockpiling the molasses (represented by Jupiter in Cancer). Either that, or there was a glut on the market.


The Later Cycles


Isn't it all starting to make perfect sense? Just think what astrologers of the future will be writing about us. Just wait.


Next week, I'll continue with thrilling news from the next two cycles of Saturn in Leo, 1946-1948 and 1976-1978, which get even more interesting and are genuinely rich times in history. We'll visit the wake of World War II, the founding of Israel, and the McCarthy Era; we'll meet the Test Tube Baby, the Space Shuttle, Son of Sam, the energy crisis, and the Iranian hostage crisis that led directly to the election of Reagan-Bush


But so far I would sum Saturn in Leo up with a few lines from the Grateful Dead, written by Robert Hunter, sung passionately by Leo Jerry Garcia:


Long distance runner what you standing there for?

Get up, get off, get out of the door...


Here are a few of your questions for the week -- only one of which covers Saturn in Leo directly -- I can't write anymore today and this column is due with the editors! More on the people of Saturn in Leo on Planet Waves Weekly, unless I write about Karl Rove -- I haven't decided yet.


Note: here is my introduction to Saturn in Leo from this page three weeks ago. This has the ingress chart, a Saturn sign-change table and other information too.


And I'm continuing to blog daily at, tracking the very interesting political developments of late. Thanks for being such happy subscribers -- see you there!


NOTE TO READERS: I'll be in London August 4-8 doing in-person astrology sessions, and teaching a class on Chiron Sunday evening, Aug. 3, 2005. If you're interested in either, please write to