Interpretation Notes for
"The Year You Don't Forget

Winter Solstice 1998

By Eric Francis

"As I have said, this isn't the first time your civilization has been at this brink. I want to repeat this, because it is vital that you hear this. Once before on your planet, the technology you developed was far greater than your ability to use it responsibly. You are approaching the same point in human history again. It is vitally important that you understand this. Your present technology is threatening to outstrip your ability to use it wisely. Your society is on the verge of becoming a product of your technology rather than your technology being a product of your society. When a society becomes a product of its own technology, it destroys itself."

-- Conversations with God, Book Three


I take a minimalist approach to astrology, using it as little as possible. Fortunately, a little goes a long way. I think life is a better teacher, and I am more interested in using experiences to explain the stars than the other way around. And plenty is happening down here; you don't need an astrologer to tell you that. If you want a good reading on world karma, just read any issue of The New York Times like it was a Tarot spread and determine for yourself in what general direction collective events are pointing.

However, there is always astrology, and it is a fine evolutionary tool when used consciously and carefully; for anyone who is interested, I am sharing some of what went into my astrological thinking for the 1999 year-ahead horoscopes. I want to thank Maria Henzler for doing a lot of the technical astrology and working with me to understand these ominous 1999 charts.

The Solar Houses

First a few general notes on how newspaper horoscopes work.

The night after I finished the article, I dreamed that I was moving through the planetary alignment and viewing it from each of 12 angles, and describing the same thing a little differently from the perspective of each of the signs. This is essentially how sun-sign astrology works ­ one chart, many perspectives ­ and it's a rather unique gift of astrology to allow us to enter this multiple- perspective viewpoint so easily. You can get a sample of it by reading all 12 signs, and imagining that each of them relates to a different aspect of your life.

Your own sun sign will relate to your sense of personal identity. The very next one (which you could call your "second house," or properly, your "second solar house") will relate to your values and valuables; the next (your third house) to your local environment, your mental processes, your siblings and certain aspects of your past. This is the solar houses system, and it works quite well. Say for example you have a Capricorn sun. That would make Capricorn your first house, Aquarius your second house, Pisces your third house, then up to Aries for your fourth house, Taurus your fifth house and so on. Your own Sun sign is always your first solar house; the very next is always the second, and so on. Newspaper horoscopes are written using this system, and many aspects of advanced astrology depend upon it.

Here is a key to the basic meaning of the houses. Note that there are some interesting groupings of themes associated with some of the houses.

First -- Personal identity. The main story of your life. This is your soul's journey, what you could call The Continuing Story of I Am.

Second -- What you value, including your body, your most deeply-held principles, your money, your talents, your home and so on. In terms of sex, the theme is masturbation.

Third -- your local environment. Your mental processes, writing, local travel, your immediate surroundings and your siblings.

Fourth -- Your emotional environment; the conditions inside your home; the past as it relates to your emotional processes NOW; the influences of your parents.

Fifth -- Creation, romance, children, adventure. It's a fun place, and relates to fun activities. In terms of sex, the theme is daring passion.

Sixth -- Your work and work relationships. Your place of work. Your sense of the present and the "here and now." Traditionally, your health as well, particularly your mental health, since the 6th is such a powerful indicator of psychological processes.

Seventh -- This is your opposite sign. If you're an Aries, it's Libra. If you're a Leo, it's Aquarius. Hence, it represents relationships and partnerships, including marriage. It represents that which we project onto the world. It also represents the lower court system, in case you have any cases brewing.

Eighth ­ Surrender, release, death, transformation. Sexually, it represents orgasm, the total release into the void. Related themes include jealousy and the endings of relationships, as well as the surrender to deeper levels of relationships.

Ninth -- Travel, international cultures, ideas, higher education, the higher courts, the higher intellectual arts. Astrology tends to hang out there a lot.

Tenth -- Reputation, power, government, corporations. The 10th represents your highest aspiration and your most cherished goals.

Eleventh -- The larger community. It is the house of "All of us here." The expression of your gifts to the culture. Your material and social rewards of your actual career.

Twelfth -- The unknown. The house of dreams; the abyss; the ocean of experience. Its associations are things like deep space, identity beyond definitions, the relationship with God. That kind of thing.

If you know your actual rising sign, of course, your rising sign horoscope can be very relevant, and if you know your Moon sign, that will help you get more out of good newspaper horoscopes as well. If you want to know and learn how to work with these two factors ­ and many others ­ I suggest you have a personal horoscope reading.

People who are born close to the cusp of two signs need to have their chart cast professionally to determine their actual sign. This can be done by the Astrology Center of America.


Planetary Factors

My sign-by-sign interpretation is based on the planetary sign changes of 1999, inner-planet retrogrades, as well as on the Aug. 11, 1999 total solar eclipse and grand cross. I looked at the major planets, several asteroids, three Centaur planets (Chiron, Nessus and Pholus), the Transneptunian "hypothetical planets," and I also studied several locations of the eclipse. What I have done in the horoscope is to provide my highest path of action given the astrological and planetary circumstances indicated. In my weekly horoscopes through the year, I will work toward this end as well.

This eclipse is THE major astrological event as we approach the turn of the millennium, and is highly symbolic of both historical breakthrough and personal evolution. While the millennium changing is itself a kind of artificial symbol, we have packed a lot of energy around the change of eras, yet we're not sure quite where we're going. I don't see the world ending quite yet, though very dramatic developments are possible. In an case, change, thank God, appears inevitable. Wee Little People tend to panic at the uttering of the word "change." I don't suggest you freak out or lose your cool, just take life a little more seriously and hang a little looser at the same time.

Events associated with the eclipse will seem to sneak up on us fast, seemingly "unexpectedly," though everything has been coming together for a long time. Foresight counts for a lot right now; as does expecting the unexpected; as does being open to any possibility; as does the attitude of making the shifting energies work for you. By July, we will feel the undeniable acceleration of history, and you will notice the warning signs that we missed along the way.

But hindsight will also be a valuable tool. For reference, I suggest you investigate events in three points in your life: The summer of 1987, particularly August; the summer of 1995, particularly July; and the summer of 1998. See what kind of pattern you come up with. The experiences you collected and lessons you learned during these three summers will be developed in the summer of 1999. While these prior three summers may not have contained only the most positive experiences, they were all powerful transition points. For people born in the mid-1960s, this was especially true for the summer and fall of 1994. What if you were given another such opportunity to work with? How would you do things differently? How would you use what you learned in the past? What goals would you set?

On a collective level, events around the August 1999 eclipse may help us become aware of just how precarious the Earth's environment really is; just how carefully balanced the world political and economic situations are; just how intense it is to be alive at this moment in history, and what a privilege it really is to be witness to, and participant in, these changes.

On the environmental theme, the August and September 1998 Star-Navigators go over the subject of the eclipse and its relationship to something called the Cassini Space Probe pretty thoroughly, and bring this outer-world news event into the context of personal growth. For more information about Cassini, I suggest you read The Wrong Stuff by Dr. Karl Grossman.

As I explain in the Aries horoscope, the theme of this eclipse is where collective or cultural events intersect with our personal lives, and how our personal lives can have an impact on the collective. If you are asking, "Is this going to be good or bad," you are asking the wrong question. This is an opportunity. You can use it, ignore it or abuse it, just like anything else. If you leave your life to fate, you're likely to have problems ­ especially if you feel something big coming on. If you begin to make decisions and take action, you're more likely to bring in some amazing and long-overdue changes. Pay attention. Focus on your inner world; that is where the action is.

The eclipse is across the fixed signs: Taurus, Leo, Scorpio and Aquarius. When it occurs on Aug. 11, Saturn will be in mid-Taurus, the Sun, Moon and North Node in mid-Leo, Mars will be in Scorpio and Uranus and the South Node will be in Aquarius. Note how strong these planets are; earthy Saturn is powerful in Taurus. The Sun in Leo is the ruler of Leo; Mars in Scorpio rules Scorpio; Uranus, in some astrological systems, rules Aquarius, and is clearly strong in that sign. The closer your planets are to the middle of these (or any) tropical signs, the more likely you are to experience the eclipse powerfully in that aspect of your life.

Eclipses are always culmination points; they are peak moments and powerful opportunities for change, and this one is no exception. In the fixed signs, we can say that something very stable is going through a necessary change; the words "long-overdue change" again come to mind. There are many symbols of the unchanging changing; the set-up includes an exact opposition between Mars and Saturn, both of which are squared by Uranus. That puts a lot of stress on the people and structures represented by Saturn, including the whole idea of tradition and history. You could say that history, both personal and cultural, is being rewritten.

Since eclipses mean change, and this one is in the fixed signs, I would say prepare to not be so fixed; prepare to loosen up your hold on reality and make progress in ways you can only when you let go into the flow, rather than relying so heavily on stability. Of course, we all have many planets in many different signs; everyone will go through major adjustments in some aspect of their lives under this astrology. The location of your Moon is very important; about three out of every four of us have either our Sun or Moon in one of the fixed signs, and everyone has some important planets in one of the fixed signs, so we're all in this together.

Here are some additional astrological factors we were looking at:

In the eclipse chart, there is also a T-square between Jupiter, Neptune and Mercury in the early degrees of the fixed signs. This is surely some kind of confrontation between what we would like to be true and what is actually true. Mercury opposite Neptune means beware of lies. Jupiter square Neptune is about some kind of disillusionment. And who needs illusions?

The Centaur planets Chiron, Nessus and Pholus are in the very late degrees of Scorpio, Sagittarius and Libra, respectively. At the moment of the eclipse, Nessus is conjunct the Galactic center in late Sagittarius. While Centaur experts hardly view Nessus as a positive influence (it's associated with all kinds of jealousy, betrayal and revenge), I view this as an important and very positive alignment, and a kind of return of consciousness to our Galactic awareness. To its credit, Nessus has strong themes of return and completion. It is obviously meaningful that this little world is aligned with the Galactic center.

Transneptunian points ­ a group of eight "hypothetical planets" ­ show up as strong factors in the eclipse. They are worth investigating, because where they show up, something interesting is surely happening.


Planetary sign changes include:

Saturn enters Taurus for the next two-and-a-half years. This is especially significant for the fixed signs Taurus, Leo, Scorpio and Aquarius.

Chiron enters Sagittarius, though it retrogrades back into Scorpio for a while over the summer. On New Year's Eve 1999, there is an exact conjunction between Chiron and Pluto in early Sagittarius. This is especially significant for the mutable signs Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius and Pisces.

Jupiter enters Taurus, getting into position for the Jupiter-Saturn conjunction of 2000, The Year of the Dragon.

After its current transit through Libra, Mars has a long retrograde in Scorpio in the spring. It returns to direct motion and moves into position for the eclipse.

The Mercury retrograde pattern is interesting, always crossing the cusp between fiery signs and watery signs in each of three retrogrades for 1999. Chiron will also dip back and forth between a water sign and a fire sign.

Happy charting, and I look forward to having you as a reader for the coming year.

For the moment, I remain available for personal astrological readings, which I do by telephone for clients anywhere in the world. In your reading, I can focus on the Aug. 11, 1999 total solar eclipse/grand cross aspect. Use this link for additional information.

For additional information, see:
Thinking of You on Judgment Day

or see: Scratch and Sniff: A Clue from California
On the Star-Navigator Monthly Archive

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