Astrology Secrets Revealed by ERIC FRANCIS

A Storm in Paradise


November 19, 2004


Dear Readers on Planets Humble and Glorious:


Well -- as reasonably expected -- a storm blew through paradise during the past seven days, as the Moon occulted one planet after the next: Jupiter, Venus, Mars and Mercury. An occultation is when the Moon passes directly over a planet, blocking it as it does so; it is a kind of eclipse. I have not contacted any of my heavy-duty research astrology colleagues about this, but I really wonder how rare such a concentration of occultations is. It amounts to about six months worth of occultations within something like 125 hours. Three were in Libra and the fourth was in Sagittarius on a powerful intergalactic point. These aspects came in the stream of turbulence created by a pair of eclipses and two prior planetary occultations last month.


Many have been feeling this personally, and the world is a different place than it was one week ago.


The most significant news was the passing of Rahman Abdel-Raouf Arafat Al-Qudwa on Thursday morning, known to the world as Yasser Arafat: terrorist to some, hero to others, and Nobel Prize winner. This will, no doubt, shuffle the deck on the balance of power in the Middle East. He died of unknown causes during the exact aspect of Moon occult Mars in the final degree of Libra, fitting astrology for the death of a warrior. There is much speculation about the cause of death, which is not being released at this time. The morning of Arafat's passing, the Moon and Mars proceeded directly into Scorpio, joining the Sun. The next day (Friday) was the Scorpio New Moon. With this lunation applying to within one degree of orb (that is, at the very end of the lunar cycle), Arafat's body arrived at Ramallah on the Gaza Strip amidst a crowd of tens of thousands of Palestinian men firing automatic weapons into the air for two hours, and was buried per Muslim law before sunset on the first day after his death.


The New Moon occurred tightly conjunct the centaur planet Hylonome, which has associations with grief and mass appeal. When research astrologers see extremely rare world events such as this combine with the prominent astrology of a relatively new planet, this is how they come to understand that planet's significance. It is a slow process, but it has its transcendent moments. That Arafat's funeral occurred in the last moments before a Scorpio New Moon is stunning enough. However, the presence of Hylonome speaks to the grief created by this seemingly endless, unbearably violent struggle between the Palestinians and the Israelis.


The same week, coincidentally amidst widespread charges of election fraud, several of George W. Bush's top cabinet members resigned, including the man considered to be the most moderate voice in the administration and the one ally to Europe, Colin Powell. The infamous Attorney General John Ashcroft also resigned. President Bush nominated Alberto R. Gonzales to replace Ashcroft, a vocal critic of the Geneva Convention treaty (which among other things, prohibits the torture of prisoners of war). Plus, Bush named long-time family loyalist, former oil executive and hard-line hawk, Condaleeza Rice to replace Powell.


France, a country whose national horoscope has many planets in Libra in line with the occultations, has been big news the past week; Arafat died here and was given state honors; and the Ivory Coast, where France has a military presence, has exploded into crisis.


I am also getting reports from Puerto Rico, a shadow colony of the United States, that there are serious problems with the recent (Nov. 2) gubernatorial election there, and that this non-state, territory of the U.S. is in the midst of serious political turmoil -- a story which is of course not making any mainstream news.


And of course there has been, directly coinciding with the occultations, the battle in Falluja, which still rages on. Alleged war crimes were video taped by an embedded camera crew of a major U.S. network.


I am beginning to think that Moon occult Mars has distinct political implications. On one occasion last year, the aspect marked to the day the death of British weapons expert David Kelly. On another, it marked, again to the day, the election of Arnold Schwarzenegger to the governorship of California.


This same astrology that is stirring the political pot has also set the personal lives of many people spinning. Emotionally intense, unpredictable, deeply unsettling and even shocking, many relationships have come under stress with this aspect. Many born under the sign Libra, who have Libra Moon or rising have experienced added stress and turbulence. But because Libra is the sign of relationships, and of balance, we are experiencing situations where that balance is being tested. Jupiter, however, is now serving as a protective and stabilizing force in Libra -- which you could say is holding some stability in balance with all the relationship issues signified by that sign, and there are many.


The Sun remains in Scorpio, and enters Sagittarius on Monday, Nov. 22. The Moon is now waxing toward a very impressive Full Moon in Gemini on Nov. 26: Sun and Moon square the unpredictable, exciting and inventive planet Uranus. The astrology of the coming weeks continues to be rebellious, shocking and challenging and, no doubt, unsettling to those who cling to security or stable patterns. Flexibility is a virtue, and living in the now gets quadruple bonus points.


Capping off an extra interesting astrological year, we have also entered a Mercury retrograde cycle. While the exact retrograde begins on Tuesday, Nov. 30 (afternoon in UK, early morning in USA), and ends early the morning of Monday, Dec. 20 (about 30 hours before the Capricorn solstice), the effects of this transit often spread out three weeks before and after the exact planetary stations. Hence, the real dates of Mercury retrograde are between Nov. 12 and Jan. 7, inclusive of any date on which Mercury occupies a degree where the retrograde occurs. In other words, on Jan. 7, the Epiphany and Christmas in some Orthodox faiths, Mercury crosses the Galactic Core and enters new territory for the first time after the retrograde. Sounds like an epiphany.


Some people are more sensitive than others to Mercury retrograde; some thrive on it; some don't even notice. In general, it reminds those paying attention of the power of Mercury in our society. This planet, the closest into the Sun, is associated with communications and communication networks; with ideas, education and thought; with the flow of money; with children; and with our sense of self. The retrograde occurs entirely in Sagittarius, and involves three conjunctions to Pluto, plus two newly discovered planets Ixion and Quaoar; as well as to something called the Great Attractor. Additionally, when Mercury stations retrograde the 30th, it will be in an exact conjunction to the core of the Milky Way galaxy. This is all very, very, very Sagittarius.


The best thing you can do is move with the energy, dance with the music, and glow with the flow of electrons. Because they will be flowing. It is a good idea to back up computers well before the exact station retrograde, and to avoid making major changes to equipment within a few days of the station. And, per astrological folklore, I have found it to be true from many experiences that it's really not a good idea to make important purchases anywhere near this cycle, unless you really, truly have to.


More details in Planet Waves Weekly. And I am also blogging daily. I was going to make a little joke and say "blogging daily through 2012" but I may want to take a break. Anyway - Planet Waves is being updated daily for now.


Here are some responses to your questions this week. Thank you for all your excellent mail. Remember that shorter questions have a greater chance of getting posted, and please write out your birth data long-style instead of using just numbers. Remember, submitting a question means that it may be used along with the birth data, using the first name only, for future publication.