Astrology Secrets Revealed by ERIC FRANCIS



August 5, 2005


Dear Friends, Earthlings and ETs:


It's been a busy couple of weeks of space news, and a busy couple of days for some astronauts orbiting the planet.


By now, I am sure that just about everyone who reads this Web page has heard about the discovery of a planet that's larger than Pluto, which has the provisional designation 2003 UB313. It's also being called Xena (properly pronounced 'Zjana').


Discoveries of new bits of stuff in space are not exactly news all by themselves, though there have been some interesting ones lately, like last year's announcement of Sedna. In all, there are about 250,000 known objects, planets, asteroids, Kuiper objects, centaurs and other kinds of minor planets orbiting our Sun. Of the ones discovered since Pluto in 1930, all are smaller than Pluto and have eluded being classified as planets or for that matter being taken seriously by astrology.


Thus, the discovery of something larger than Pluto really upsets the applecart regarding what we call a planet and what we don't. If it's bigger than Pluto, then it must be an official planet, for some reason. But that definition does not hold up to anything but a kind of emotional scrutiny, or a Sesame Street size comparison. Remember that "planet" is just a name, which means "wanderer," and it's largely an honorary -- and arbitrary -- one. In a moment I'll link you to a fine article that takes apart the whole issue to the point where it starts to look kind of funny.


And it is a cosmic joke, if you ask me.


The fact that they're having the 10th planet debate when there are more than a quarter-million planets buzzing around the Sun, that is, OUR Sun, is so over the top, I can barely type another word. But I will try. It's a perfect example of how the news is largely a big hallucination. The important thing to remember is that there is no real definition of a planet at this point, only nine things we arbitrarily call planets. The other important thing to remember is that some people love to argue about nothing at all.


What would be even funnier is if a proposal to accept asteroid Ceres and Kuiper objects Varuna and Quaoar as certified planets is accepted. Then what would happen? It would be pandemonium at the next big astrology conference, or like, the next 100 of them.


Here is a link from that tells the basic story of what is and isn't a planet; and what might be and why. UB313 was discovered by Mike Brown of Caltech in Pasadena, CA. It was found in 2003 and the orbit was confirmed right before the announcement last week. Mike was also on the observation teams that discovered Sedna, Varuna and Quaoar -- all major discoveries. The guy is charmed. I'm looking forward to the day when I meet him, and ask him to sign a baseball. He's the Babe Ruth of astronomy. He and his colleagues also pick great names.


Speaking of names, UB 313 is being called Xena.


It's my understanding that the name Xena is a faux name that the discoverers have given to the body until something called the International Astronomical Union (IAU) approves the actual name that the discovery team has proposed. Traditionally, the discoverer(s) names their finding and then the IAU certifies the name. (They need to come up with something better than "the moon" or at least insist that it be the Moon.)


Technically Xena is a type of planet called a "cubewano," which means that it must be named after a creation or resurrection deity, according to the IAU's scheme. Xena herself doesn't qualify -- so it will be interesting to see what everyone comes up with.


Mike Brown and friends caused a little fuss last year when they announced the name of another new discovery, Sedna, "prematurely" -- that is, before the name was formally certified by the IAU. Through the magic of the press release, it basically became part of history and culture and nobody was going to call it something different.


The thing about Xena is that even though it's not the official name, it has been bestowed and it will likely stick. And as people who follow astrology, we're the ones tuned into the symbolic realm; and (though some would disagree) the name us there's a symbolic value that's worth looking at.


And here's a little treasure from my inbox written by Lise LePage:


Xena is a fictional TV action hero! How lame. But also a woman warrior, a rare archetype in our world. Not even our girls in the military are giving us warrior adventures or heroism -- they're more on the victimize and be victimized tip in current psychomythology.


So who gets to decide if something is archetypal or a 'myth'? Xena is fictional, but so was Zeus. We don't have bards anymore -- we have television.


So I guess I'm thinking we need to get over it about Xena, and even make the most of her. Unfortunately, I haven't seen the show because it's just way too dumb for me. But I have a young friend named Chris who is completely blown away by her and all she does. He also loves these highbrow anime films with environmental themes and strong girl/women characters. So it heartens me to know that because Chris is one of my favorite people. I also know if the show was evilly sexist or carried a veiled fascist message, he would not be showing me Xena paraphernalia.


Will astrologers stick to the 'original text' when they start to work with Xena -- only materials in Xena's actual made-up history can be considered? Or will we move beyond Xena to the woman warrior archetype in general? The Xena story makes about as much sense as most myths and they certainly go out of their way to cloak her in mythic images and people -- Hercules, Zeus, Julius Caesar...I'm sure there's plenty there.


It occurs to me suddenly that this is the perfect time for the woman warrior to emerge. She's Greek, ideals of fairness and democracy are at stake. She's female and strong -- women are in something like their 6000th year of servitude on this planet. She's sexy. Sex has taken a major beating in the last god knows how many years or so. So perhaps her influence could be restorative as well as destructive, taking out the outworn and troublesome and helping us get back all the stuff that's been taken away.


Maybe Xena says: women must take the lead, men can't do what needs to be done. I like that idea -- almost all the women I know are goddesses in waiting. Then again, most of the men I know would love to be noble and strong and wise and good. Being called a Greek god is still a compliment, but we think we have to aspire to their virtues, not be them. And we all want to be helpful. Listen to the remarks of people who do great things -- I just wanted to help, I just wanted to do my part. So Xena, a superhero from the 10th planet.


 Here's an article from Mike Brown's home page ( on the definition of a planet. Keep your sense of humor on. It's written seriously, but you can tell he's having a lot of fun.


Also, it's been an interesting week for the astronauts of the Space Shuttle. This first flight since the Columbia burned up in February 2003 is the Murphy's Law flight, or is it Mercury's Law. First, during the launch some more foam fell off the fuel tank and nearly clocked the ship, which is what killed seven people last time. Then there was some fabric found dangling from the hull (NASA needs a good Italian tailor), which was removed in a high-drama spacewalk on Wednesday. Now there is an issue with a heat-resistant layer bulging off the bottom of the ship.


I mean, 25 is old for a car. This is a space ship. NASA should at least get a decent used one with under 100,000 miles from somebody else, if they can't afford a new one.


I am sure that many are waiting with baited breaths and prayers to get these astronauts back down from orbit and safely on the ground. In last week's edition, I took a look at the launch chart, and stand by my proposal that they will get back alive and in good shape.


Astrologically, though problem a problem I see is that regarding the chart for the first Shuttle launch in 1981, Pluto is now transiting over the launch chart's 9th house Neptune in Sagittarius. Pluto transiting to Neptune is the end of illusions; and the 9th in Sagittarius has a lot to do with the theme of flight. The Shuttle program is clearly on borrowed time. I hope they call it quits before they lose another crew and orbiter.


Michele, who helps put together this column, sent me this in an email the other day, commenting on the tenor of the news.


"On CNN, it’s like a movie -- very Saturn in Leo -- but do you notice how the FEAR factor has just slipped away? I am sure if this were a year ago, the media would be reporting this as 'doomed' astronauts, etc. things are just so much more under control -- grace under pressure."


The same can be said for the crew and passengers of the Airbus that skidded off the runway in Toronto. But that's another chart.


Notes to Readers


I'm in London this week, so I'll be taking a two-week break from reader questions. What we're doing instead this week is a "best of" compilation. When I return, we'll be moving to a shorter answer format.


While I'm in London town, I'll be conducting a workshop about working with Chiron on Sunday, August 7 from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. It also happens that this is at the time of the Midsummer holiday, called Lughnasadh or Lammas -- the first harvest or second planting, so we get an important High Sabbat at the same time, tantamount to Beltane or Samhain. This is one of the cross-quarter days because in the Northern hemisphere, it's halfway between a solstice and an equinox.


So bring some food -- it will probably turn to a celebration.


The theme of the workshop is the use of Chiron in astrological process work. It will be part talk, part demonstration. If you're interested, please drop me an email at -- a special address that both Chelsea and I can check Friday and Saturday, and we'll get back to you. Thanks!


And thanks to Michelle and Rachael for pulling together the Best Of edition.


One other bit. I am looking for someone with a talent for indexing, who can help index the entire "Astrology Secrets Revealed" column. If you feel you're that person, please drop a note to the email address above. Thank you!!!


Catch you over at Planet Waves.