Astrology Secrets Revealed by ERIC FRANCIS

The Australian Awareness Project


January 28, 2005


Dear Eric:

I'm a Cancerian and you open your forecast with an awfully conceited statement, "With Saturn in your birth sign and most of the world in the deep darkness of winter."


OK, let's just assume for a moment that the tropics and polar caps have winters and summers like the more temperate areas of the world. Then I think it would be fair to say that only half the world can be in deep darkness of winter at the moment, and you've sidelined the other half as, well, 'other', as not the half you're interested in talking to. MOST is a pretty big grab on the world's geography.


As I sit here in sweltering humidity literally watching my vegetables run to seed in the late summer heat, I'm really hoping your next forecast might think about the experiences of all peoples of a sign, not just those you can see out your window.






Dear Ann,

Fair crack of the whip! I have no desire to have a blue with the entire Southern Hemisphere. Many of our readers are in Europe, England and in the States, where we're all freezing our butts off, envying your warm garden. Don't worry! She'll be right mate!


Yes, Australia exists. As does a whole hemisphere we're rarely allowed to hear from in the north. I'm aware that a lot of people, particularly in massive, wealthy countries where all funding to geography programs has been cut to fund national security, have no idea what or where Australia is. For them, we offer our quick "How to Find Australia" checklist, and note that it's a large country with tons of deserts and beaches that occupies an entire continent. Important things to know about Australia:


- South of the equator; go to East Timor and turn left - North of Antarctica - Surrounded by water - Sinks drain in the opposite direction than in Los Angeles - Unmistakable sounds of kangaroos conversing in the distance can be heard from your suburban living room. - Extremely advanced aviation technology. Australians have a knack for inventing useful gadgets for airplanes and airports.


In my astrological writings lately -- particularly since beginning this column and getting tons of mail from Oz -- I've been doing my best to rework my writing style to accommodate the Southern Hemisphere. Has anyone noticed? For example, in both this column and over at Planet Waves, we now refer to the 'Aries equinox' instead of the 'spring equinox' and the 'Capricorn solstice' instead of the 'winter solstice'. This is rewriting many hundreds of years of astrological tradition, something I don't undertake lightly, and which I don't think should be demanded lightly, either.


But this seems to be worth the effort and consideration, because a lot of people down under practice the esoteric arts. In part thanks to your letter, we'll now begin mentioning times of events like the Full Moon in the Sydney time zone as well, along with Greenwich time and North America (Eastern and Pacific time). Hopefully this will not be too cumbersome, but we're aware that we're writing to the English-speaking world and not just one country.


All these are the easy part of the adjustment. I'm aware that there is a rather large and outspoken metaphysical community in Australia. I hear from a friend who works at Chiara College, a metaphysical and healing academy in Sydney, that even people from California (normally thought of as the metaphysical capital of the universe) seek out their programs, not finding anything comparable in the States or England.


However, as we will see, there are some interesting metaphysical and spiritual issues that come up by importing the practice of astrology, which as we know it is a Northern Hemisphere art form, into the Southern Hemisphere. In fact it raises the whole basis and reality of our astrology to question.


These questions are related to the fact that the seasons run in the opposite pattern in the Southern Hemisphere as they do in the Northern. Yet much of the astrology we use is based on the passage of the seasons as we up here in the North know them. In other words, many of the sign characteristics are based on the quality of the weather and the sunlight, and the resulting festivals and celebrations, at the specific time of year when the sign is happening.


For example, in December and January in the Northern Hemisphere, it's dark and wintry outside, and Capricorns are generally described in astrology books as introspective, intense people who don't necessarily strike you as being outwardly warm. That's because all their light is contained inside, and you find out how warm they are once you get to know them. Like things that survive in winter, they are durable and excellent at enduring hardship. And astrologers need to check in with Capricorns on their emotions, because they can be prone to depression -- like many people are in winter.


The darkness of Capricorn time (in the north) is why traditions up here (including Christmas and Hanukah) bring lots of lights and candles to light up our homes and communities.


Another example is that Scorpio is usually referred to as the sign of death and transformation. This is, in part, associated with the changing of the seasons around Scorpio time, when -- at least in the northern climes -- the life around us goes into hiding. There is the unmistakable sense of imminent transformation and surrender at this time of year. And we perceive Scorpios as embodying this particular type of transformation.


Even if you figure that signs have a lot in common with (and even contain much of the energy of) the opposite sign (in the case of Scorpio, that would be Taurus) it would be a real stretch to associate the qualities of Scorpio with springtime, or Taurus with autumn.


To give another example, the two astrological signs associated with high summer in the Northern Hemisphere, Cancer and Leo, are ruled by what are called 'the lights' -- the Moon and the Sun, respectively. This is because the days are so long in mid-summer, and in this season the northern world (where our astrological patterns were created) is experiencing and celebrating abundance and abundance of light. Note that the Sun and Moon each traditionally rule only one sign -- a comment by the ancients on the supremacy of Cancer and Leo in their belief system.


There is an enormous and beautiful body of mythology and culture based on the changing of the seasons, and on the story of the 'quarter days' (equinoxes and solstices) and the 'cross-quarter days' (Beltane, Samhain, Imbolic and Lughnasadh). These myths and their associated festivals all deal with the birth, death and rebirth (transformational cycle) of the Sun or the ego. This mythology, in turn, has found its way into the characteristics we associate with the traditional western astrological signs. We do, after all, work with the 'tropical zodiac' and that is primarily based on the passage of the seasons -- generally not, as some people believe, the stars.


Therefore, we might expect people born in Sydney in late June, when the weather darker and more introspective, to act like Capricorns.


To inquire, I contacted the eminent Australian astrologer (and novelist and journalist) Yasmin Boland with this very Q & A-like question that I'm sure I've seen come up a few times from readers: "Do you notice that there are significantly different sign characteristics in the southern hemisphere? I.e., Leos acting like Aquarians?"


She responded: "Not at all. Think of it like this ... Russell Crowe was born in the southern hemisphere and is a lusty, rambunctious and fiesty Aries who's had fisticuffs and fun all over the world. It's not like he's a fiery, up and at 'em Aries here in Australia but then turns into a charming, art-gallery visiting, peacemaking Libran as soon as he goes over the equator to the US or the UK... That's stero-typing by the Star sign a lot, but you get the idea."


She continued, "Why not? One theory -- because we are just one solar system in a massive Universe and 12,000 miles is less than a millisecond on the cosmic clock."


Yes, we all live in one world and share one solar system. We also need to remember that because Australia was settled by northerners -- Brits, the Dutch, the Spanish and so on -- that the new society imported many of its older European traditions. These include ancient Greek, Roman, Celtic, Pagan and the newer Christian traditions, which gather to make up our astrological thinking. You don't change this stuff around, or recreate millennia of tradition, by taking a trip in a sailboat. Or founding a new city in a nice climate.


The ideas of astrology are contained in something called 'archetypes' -- that is, collective, living thought-forms in a massive psychic database called the 'collective unconscious', which was discovered (in modern times) by C.G. Jung. This is not a theoretical notion; the collective unconscious is something we relate to every moment of the day, and which comes out in our dreams. It is the vast, inner human Internet, through which Tarot cards, astrology, dreams and other forms of mysticism function like computer monitors. As relocated Westerners, even several generations later, Australians still have and use direct access to Western archetypal forms.


So we're left with some insights and some questions. I feel, after writing this, that in an ever-changing world, it's wise to look for more information about how people experience astrology in the Southern Hemisphere. I also know that my own astrology is becoming more influenced by things besides the tropical zodiac -- for example, the Galactic Core, which was vitally important to the ancient Mayans, people who lived close to the Equator.


By the way, Wednesday, Jan. 26th was Australia Day. So I'll end with a little bit of history, researched by Michele Perrin.


Modern Australian history begins in 1606, when the Spanish explorer, Luis Vaez de Torres, sailed through the strait that separates Australia from Papua New Guinea. Prior to this, Australia was inhabited for approximately 70,000 years by 'Aborigines'; this is often referred to as 'pre-history' in Australian textbooks.

The Dutch touched ground soon after Torres, and Australia was finally claimed for the British in 1770 by Captain James Cook.


The American Revolutionary War put an end to the use of the American landmass as a penal colony to ease the problem of Britain's overcrowded prisons. It was the naturalist Joseph Banks, who had accompanied Cook on his voyage, who came up with the idea to use Australia as a solution to this problem.


In 1787, the first fleet containing 750 convicts, both male and female, set sail for New South Wales. The date these convicts arrived, January 26, is now proudly commemorated as 'Australia Day'.