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Kingston, NY, Friday, Feb. 1, 2008

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It's True -- Mike Brown Loves Astrologers

It's True -- Mike Brown Loves Astrologers
Photo: Mike Brown poses with Uranus, the first planet discovered by science. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.
Dear Friend and Reader:

MIKE BROWN is one of the great astronomers of our day. I say this because he and his team have made some of the most significant discoveries in recent astronomical history -- in particular, Eris and Sedna. Yet what is more, he has a gift for giving planets names that are bold, original and astutely call attention to crucial world issues. Read those links on Eris and Sedna and you'll see what I mean.
His team's 2005 discovery of Eris turned the world of planetary astronomy upside down the next year, when the International Astronomical Union (the IAU, the scientists who officially control names and categories of planets) defined the word "planet" for the first time. This was the meeting in Prague that we made such a fuss about (here is a link to one article, and another to refresh your memory, and here is the Wall Street Journal's coverage featuring yours truly).
In Small World Stories, I joked that Kirsti Melto (a minor planet astrologer you read regularly on these pages) and I feel that Mike is an astrologer but doesn't know it yet. I say this because he is connected to the archetypal world through his work as a scientist, and that work involves planets and mythological figures. He is in tune with the times -- the first job of an astrologer.
I knew he loved astrologers. As we noted in the dedication to The Spiral Door, he looked at his watch the moment he discovered Eris, because he knew astrologers would ask the time.
He even told this to The New York Times! It is difficult to overstate what a bold thing that is to say. At the very least, it reveals he's a maverick with a great sense of humor. At best, he reveals himself as someone who, in Gemini fashion, is open to both sides of the story and thus has an actual interest in the truth.
Then last weekend, he came out with the article you're about to read below. It is extraordinary because, unlike most of his colleagues, he does not immediately assume that astrologers are all a bunch of scammers. This is an unfortunate prejudice that I've encountered too often, but then astrology does its part to earn this reputation -- a topic for another article.
Mike has an interesting concept of how astrology works. He describes it as a kind of story that we follow, which he regards as a form of fiction. This s precisely how I describe it in the Planet Waves terms of service -- personally applicable mythical fiction. He prefaces his comments by saying he does not accept that the planets have "control" over our lives. In this sense, he's in accord with the majority of honest Western astrologers, whose work emphasizes choice and not fate.
He sees the common ground we share. He has an open mind, and is open to a dialog. This is rare, and if you believe in history, it is historic. Here's his essay, with my reply published below. May his words not only ring through the centuries, but also open a door to a discussion that we, as in astrologers and astronomers, need to have right now.

 It's True -- Mike Brown Loves Astrologers
Three pictures that shook the solar system. Discovery images of the dwarf planet Eris, which led astronomers to reorganize their concept of the solar system in the summer of 2006. The three images were taken 1-1/2 hours apart on the night of Oct. 21, 2003. Eris can be seen very slowly moving across the sky over the course of three hours. Photos by Mike Brown.
It's True -- Mike Brown Loves Astrologers
Professor of Planetary Astronomy
Caltech University
PLEASE DON'T tell any of my fellow astronomers, but I love astrologers. Really I do.
Don't get me wrong. I have absolutely no belief whatsoever in the proposition that the positions of planets or stars or moons or anything else that is moving across the sky has or ever has had any sort of control over your life, your actions, or your choices. Zero. Really.
So if I don't believe in what I must assume would have to be considered a central precept of astrology, how can I possibly claim to love the practitioners? Let me count the ways.
Astrologers care about the sky and the positions of the stars and the moon. I care about the sky and the positions of the stars and the moon. Astrologers try to understand patterns in the orbits and motions of the planets and determine their meaning. I try to understand patterns in the orbits and motions of the planets and determine their meaning. In a broad sense, we do many of the same things; it's just that our methods are different.
Astrology and astronomy are brothers with roots deeper than just the first five letters. Until perhaps the Enlightenment they were inseparable. Copernicus, who made one of the greatest conceptual leaps in human history, pulling the earth out of the center of the universe and replacing it with the sun, was a dedicated astrologer, calculating astrological charts with as much fervor as trying to understand the paths of the planets. It's not hard to understand why he would feel that some connection should be there. I don' t think anyone can watch the rhythms and pulses of the movements of the planets and sun and moon and not somehow get a gut feeling that there is somehow meaning in all of that beauty, precision, and symmetry.
But from their common upbringing, the brothers split in adulthood. They each retained their common interest in the sky, but with thoroughly different ways of looking at it. Astronomy moved to the purely objective realm of descriptive and predictive reality. It moved to science. And a wondrous science it is. I can go outside tonight and look up to see the bright glowing star Betelgeuse, the red orb in the upper corner of constellation Orion, and then I can tell you a pretty good version of the entire story of its birth in a cloud of gas and dust, its long existence as a smaller and cooler star with hydrogen atoms fusing together in the deep interior, and its recent expansion to form ball of gas the size of the orbit of Mars. That we have been able to determine this story at all, simply from looking at the feeble light from these little points in the sky, is as improbable as it is incredible. When I see Betelgeuse at night and stop to think these thoughts I am left in awe.
It's True -- Mike Brown Loves Astrologers
Artists concept of the view from Eris with Dysnomia in the background, looking back towards the distant Sun. Credit: Robert Hurt (IPAC).
So what can astrology offer that can even come close to matching? It can't tell me anything, I don't think, about my history or my future or my personality or my pitfalls. Or about anyone else's. Isn't it therefore worthless, or even potentially dangerous? I don't think so. Astrology is the brother who kept the fascination with the sky but rather than growing an interest in science kept its interest in humanity. Scientific astronomy, for all of its awe-inspiring, mind expanding, and just simply amazing discoveries, leaves people and their consciousness out of the picture. Astronomy involves people looking up at the heavens, but the heavens are never looking back. Astrology, in contrast, never removed that connection between the sky and the people.
But but but, you protest, there is no connection between the sky and the people. The heavens do not, in fact, look back. And, while you are scientifically correct, you are culturally incorrect. You are thinking literally, but you need to think literarily. Good astrology can be like good literature. Good literature builds a world that is not the real world but teaches us more about ourselves than we would ever learn by simply staring in the mirror. No real King Lear ever had a trio of daughters to split his kingdom amongst, nor wandered insane on the heath, but do we disdain Shakespeare for writing about it? No, we read, and we think about children and parents, we think about truth and loyalty, and scheming, and we learn more about ourselves and our world. We're left enriched by stories that are not true.
Again, I have to plead: don't get me wrong. I'm certainly not saying that all astrology is equivalent to Shakespeare, but neither is all of the rest of the fiction writing out there. The in-flight magazine that I currently have in front of me has both a short story and an astrology page. I would rate them equal quality examples of their genres.
Here's a snippet of my in-flight horoscope (I'm a Gemini, perhaps explaining my ability to accept the dual nature of astronomy/astrology) for the month of January:
As your attention is consumed by an array of projects, you may spread yourself too thin. Remember to stop and take a breath, if for no other reason than to garner some perspective.
OK. I don't need an astrologer to tell me that, but it's hard not to read it and, why, yes, stop and take a breath and garner a little perspective. It's not such a bad idea.
A quick perusal of the short story, a few pages earlier, gives a remarkably similar take home message, spread out, instead, over about three pages. After reading both of these I am now convinced: I think I will stop and garner some perspective, at least if I can finish a few of these other projects first.
So where are the Shakespeares of astrology? I will admit to not knowing if they exist at all. My astrological reading is only passive; occasionally someone will send me something and in a spare moment I will pick it up and I just might find it a bit intriguing. Here, for example, are some thoughts about Eris by Henry Seltzer, writing in The Mountain Astrologer:
The astrology of Eris seems to be related to the no-holds-barred fight for continued existence that is fundamental in all natural processes, and to taking a stand for what one believes, even if violence is involved. As the sister of Mars, the God of War, Eris willingly sought the battle. There is a side of nature that is quite harsh, a struggle for survival; this struggle is an essential part of the human condition as well, for we are still half animal. Nature can be viewed in a rosy light, as it was in the hippie era of the Sixties, Bambi innocently drinking from a little stream. But underlying this beauty is the possibility of sudden death at any moment, since all of nature's children need to eat. Eris is related to this principle of violence as a natural component of existence and to the concept of the female warrior that embodies it, especially the feminist struggle for rights in a patriarchal society.
As a general discussion of the national psyche circa late 2007 this passage is not at all bad. It covers the war in Iraq, global warming, and the Hillary Clinton candidacy all in the discussion of one name. It certainly does not require literal belief that the naming of an object in the sky is the actual cause of any of the things discussed.
But what is the point of astrology if you chose to read it figuratively rather than literally? Again, you could ask the same question of King Lear. You could ask the same question of the Bible. And you wouldn't. To ask it is to miss the point entirely.
Here's a question you should ask though: why tolerate the existence of astrology, with the danger that people might actually take it literally, with the danger that it might confuse and distort science, with the fear that real cause and effect will become confused, when real literature abounds? Why read pithy but relatively generic snippets of advice and pretend they are somehow connected to a particular constellation along the zodiac? Why read more extended essays purporting to be an in-depth analysis of how a recently discovered ball of rock and ice far from the earth affects all of humanity? The answer? There is no reason. I personally prefer my literature to be of higher quality, to make me think and feel more. Feel free to follow my lead. But if you do chose to read it, read it for the reason that I can't help but love it. Astrology is not just figurative literature about humanity. Astrology cares about the sky. The astrologers who occasionally correspond with me love to hear about new solar system discoveries, figure out orbital relationships and patterns, and speculate about what else might be out there and how everything fits together. I do all of these things, too. I then take these thoughts and move on to think literally about their scientific implications. The astrologers take these thoughts and move on to think figuratively about what these mean for humans. But we, astronomers and astrologers, start in the same spot, with an intense interest in the sky. To me, that matters.
Astronomy and astrology are brothers. Brothers don't always do the same things or make the same choices. But when they maintain their initial ties to where they came from, their connection cannot help but stay strong. What is not to love?
My Reply to Mike Brown

Sunday morning Jan. 27, Mike wrote to me and asked if I liked his essay. I initially wrote a response in 10 minutes before an early-morning photo session. Here is my refined response, which I have edited a bit for detail, clarity and point of view.

Mir or rather Mr. Mike Brown!
Kirsti Melto sent your essay to me last night, as excited as a little kid. First of all, I am moved that you took up the subject. You admit astrology exists and that you have heard of it, etc. :-))
I love your essay -- for many reasons, including the fact that (like Phaedrus, in the Dialogs of Socrates) you get the discussion going.
It's True -- Mike Brown Loves Astrologers
Constellation Pisces image created with XEphem Software.
Is it not ridiculous that science does not at least credit astrologers with providing continuity, and with beginning the search in the days LOOONGGG before the existence of science? Science was born of the Enlightenment, just a few hundred years ago. Astrology is thousands of years old. Many names used by science were bestowed in ancient days by astrology. Let's be friends!
I had planned a reply, at least in concept. Here is a sketch.
Both astronomy and astrology are intellectual maps of consciousness. It matters not that most astrologers skip the telescope and the science of it (minor planet astrologers though tend to know as much about the science as many astronomers, I have noticed).
The GESTALT of it all is that we are both responding to the times in which we are alive. We agree on one thing in exactly the same language: that to astrologers, the planets and their symbols (whether the name or the orbital elements) METAPHORS. They are not usually viewed as a "cause" -- certainly not with something like Quaoar. In our official definition of astrology, Planet Waves describes it as a kind of personally applicable mythical fiction.
What we have in common is the search for truth and meaning -- and the sky.
Vis a vis the quality of astrological literature -- that depends entirely on the writer, Mike. I regret that there are not too many good astrology writers, which tends to inform the world that we are all typing rather than typing, to borrow from Truman Capote. The astrology you get is as good as the astrologer you get. It is not easy to convey the complexity of an astrological chart into clear writing. It takes dedication. Because many so-called astrologers are bottom trawlers feeding on human misery, not the quest for knowledge, it's not really necessary to go too deep into the ideas in order to get the attention necessary to maintain a business.
The search for meaning extends through recorded history. The sky -- the greatest mystery we can actually look at and see with our eyes -- is going to be the first place most people with any sensitivity begin that search. And there, astrologers and astronomers are not brothers, but twins. Or, as one of your readers posted to your website, "Instead of looking at the two as brothers, I prefer to see astrology as the very old mother that gave birth to scientific astronomy only two or three hundred years ago."
For my part, I wish that astrology would pay more attention to what you and your colleagues are doing (it's still lagging terribly), and fall in love with the science and history of these planets. I for one am deeply moved to be alive, and to be an astrologer, in this incredible time of discovery.
The dance along the artery
The circulation of the lymph
Are figured in the drift of stars
Ascend to summer in the tree
We move above the moving tree
In light upon the figured leaf
And hear upon the sodden floor
Below, the boarhound and the boar
Pursue their pattern as before
But reconciled among the stars.
-- T. S. Eliot
Burnt Norton from Four Quartets

Yours & truly
Eric Francis

P.S. I was up in Woodstock the other night talking to some guys, herbalists and scholar types, young and fiery, and one of them said -- this whole thing of looking at the stars so carefully was started for navigational purposes, by mariners. Woooosh! I felt like I understood all at once, and I can't believe I forgot that bit of history/lore! It was a practical thing. They had to get from place to place, and the stars were there, and they noticed the planets drifting among them like actors on the cosmic stage.

Then, with time on their hands and because everyone loves a good story, they started seeing dramas in the stars, and the myths of the zodiac were born...as facets of human consciousness, within the pool of psychic and intellectual creation. This is one of the gifts we inherit from antiquity.

Science came a long thousands of years later and "made sense" of what they were seeing, deconstructing it in the process. To our discussion, science brings the rational meaning, the facts, and theories; and astrology brings, or starts the discussion off, with the philosophy, the story, the process of getting from one place to another, in our ships or in our minds.

Louie, Louie or Huey?

It's True -- Mike Brown Loves Astrologers
Sinclair Lewis. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.
IN LAST Friday's edition, we incorrectly attributed a purported quotation of Sinclair Lewis to C.S. Lewis. The quote was "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross." This is widely attributed to Sinclair and often incorrectly attributed to C.S. Hence, it got past both Eric Francis and a fact checker, and the error was pointed out by a reader.

C.S. Lewis, or Clive Staples Lewis (1892-1963) was a writer and a scholar. Known for his work on Medieval literature and Christian apologetics, he is most commonly remembered today for his series The Chronicles of Narnia.

Sinclair Lewis (1885-1951) was a playwright, novelist and short story writer.  He was the first American to be awarded the Nobel Prize for literature, back in 1930. This was bestowed, "For his vigorous and graphic art of description and his ability to create, with wit and humor, new types of characters."

However, when you look, it is interesting what you find out. While doing some further research into the quotation, we came to understand that the originality of the statement is disputed, as is its very existence. Wikipedia's editors have searched Sinclair Lewis' writing and cannot find any reference to it at all, and no references in quotations before 2005. He died in 1951.

Some suggest that Sinclair borrowed and elaborated the statement from Huey Long (1893-1935), a Louisiana governor and U.S. Senator (contemporary of Sinclair) who said, "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the American flag." This seems to be the most feasible explanation, assuming Sinclair said anything of the sort at all.

And as if trying to figure out who actually ever said this isn't enough to make your head spin, we came across at least ten websites that are currently attributing the quote to Presidential hopeful, Ron Paul. Variants of this quote are attributed to many people. Perhaps we need to end the discussion of who said it and consider whether it's true, and also consider what that has to do with E-ZPass.

Annular Solar Eclipse of Feb. 7, 2008
By Kirsti Melto and Eric Francis | Lunations

New Moon in Aquarius -- February 7, 2008, 03:44:27 UT.
New Moon in Aquarius -- February 7, 2008, 03:44:27 UT. Chart by Solar Fire.

WE ARE in the middle of a transition to a new area of space, time and history. Pluto, the planet of transcendence and evolution, is newly arrived in Capricorn, one of the cardinal signs. Pluto's movements mark the long eras in astrology, and Pluto will shuttle back into Sagittarius for one more stay midyear, before returning to Capricorn for good in the autumn. Mercury has recently stationed retrograde, and earlier this week, Mars stationed direct in Gemini.

Pluto, for its part, is currently tightly square the Aries Point, the first degree of Aries. Whenever the Aries Point is involved in an astrological setup, the news tends to have a personal feel to it, and events tend to affect a lot of people. For evidence of this, we need look no further than the primary elections in the United States, all of which are coming to a head in the next week or so. The Capricorn connection is that governments, corporations and anything that hangs onto tradition (such as large institutions like the Church of Rome) are subject to profound changes, restructuring and other forms of transformation in the coming years, in an era that has its roots in the current moment.

Highlighting this transition is the Aquarius New Moon of Thursday, Feb. 7, which is a potent annular solar eclipse. Potent means that the eclipse is conjunct many planets. Chiron, Nessus, Mercury retrograde, Neptune and asteroids Lilith, Bacchus and Vesta, have all accumulated in Aquarius and are in direct alignment with this event, which brings in many themes, all of which are bound by the signs Aquarius. Of note, the solar eclipse takes place at the peak of Mercury retrograde, the interior conjunction of the Sun and Mercury which is exactly less than ten hours before the eclipse.

Of Wolves and Groundhogs
By Judith Gayle | Political Waves

Of Wolves and Groundhogs
Photo by Danielle Voirin.
THE CHILDREN of planet earth are subject to many systems that hold sway over their daily lives -- some of them, like government, tribe and family, are localized.

Others are broader still, like environment, physical science and, we assert, astrology. Some are ancient and powerful and have been largely forgotten.

With the constant and amazing astrology of these last months (and the months ahead) creating a slipstream of change and turmoil, we find ourselves poised on a couple of powerful eclipses -- and this weekend, we enter the period Wiccans and people of the old religion call Imbolc.  Imbolc, occurring February 2 - 6, is a midpoint between winter solstice and spring equinox (in the Northern Hemisphere) -- it's a cross-quarter of the solar wheel. It calls for the blessing of the seeds, and the awareness of new life, still unseen, springing from within.

It's one of our ancient turning points, a shift in awareness away from the dormancy of winter and into anticipation of the birthing that spring brings us. Many consider it a sacred doorway of energy, and the Wiccans hold that the quarter-points are even more potent than the Cardinal points of Equinox or Solstice, the Druids referencing them as Major High Days and celebrations. The Catholic church adopted this date for its celebration of Candlemas, a commemoration of the purification of Mary after giving birth, as well as the presentation of Jesus in the temple forty days after his birth. It signifies both an ending and a beginning.

In the secular world, this same time frame brings us Groundhog Day. We will discover how long winter will remain with us based on the comings and goings of a pudgy rat-type mammal with buck teeth. While that seems somewhat absurd to me, given that we are no longer witness to a natural and undisturbed world as were our forefathers, it makes me smile to think of Bill Murray clutching a chattering groundhog (in the movie Groundhog Day) and speeding toward a cliff, telling it not to "drive angry." That movie fascinates me, anyway, it is wise well beyond its gag lines. In fact, it's a portrait of human enlightenment in slow motion. There comes a moment in the long looping days of the anti-hero in which he understands that contributing to the happiness and well being of others is the way in which he will find his own. He turns his attention to changing himself instead of manipulating those around him, and finds that his world has changed for the better. It even delivers him a "happy ending."

Planet Waves
Weekly Horoscope for Friday, February 1, 2008, #699 - By ERIC FRANCIS

Aries (March 20-April 19)
Pluto has begun its journey across your 10th house (Capricorn), so now is the time to commence the career discussion with yourself. Few people understand the impact they have, or can have, on the world around them. The 10th is usually experienced as authority others have over us, rather than the authorship we have of our lives. Pluto in this house is the power we have the opportunity to use justly, or not. Few astrologers see Pluto as a planet of opportunity -- though I do. The thing is, the opportunities are unusual, and they require us to make real changes and to risk using our energy in the world such that we have an actual influence. And this means standing out. In theory, you should have no problem doing this, except for an itty bitty wee little confidence issue you may be facing. Here is a clue: don't look to others for encouragement. Keep that one all to yourself.
Taurus (April 19-May 20)
Keep your perspective wide. Keep your plans loose. Climb (take the stairs) onto a high building and get a perspective of your environment. Focus your inner work on taking down the barriers that divide you from yourself -- there is a lot you don't know, and a lot of energy trapped inside this vicious thing called "belief." Most of these involve ideas you have about the world, and what you want to do in it. You have an odd relationship to the past. Some days you may think, if it hasn't been done before, it can't be done now. Other days you think, if it's been done before, why bother? And yes, in that case you may question if you're capable of anything original. I assure you, what you do already is original. If you don't see it that way, you're not looking from the right perspective. Try again, then close your eyes and look in the other direction.
Gemini (May 20-June 21)
What you wanted yesterday may not be what you want tomorrow. Get ready to do one of those incalculable Gemini 180-degree turnarounds, and then a couple more. This first one will help you resolve any concerns you have about having recently made the wrong choice about someone, something or yourself. Then in about two weeks, when Mercury stations direct, you will get some information as regards to the place you need to be, as in the geography of your life. But this is more about social and ideological geography. Where you need to be is where people both understand you, and where they are sufficiently strange to be interesting, creative and most significantly, not stuck. While you're at it, every morning get on your knees and pray: "Thank God that I am so easily bored."
(June 21-July 22)
I've never read anywhere that Cancerians are wheelers and dealers, but you do know how to get the job done, whatever job it may be. That being said, your ideas about money are as socialist as anyone's. You live on a planet where it makes sense to take care of people. The angle of your chart involving shared resources, investments and business deals is in exceptionally rare form. You are learning a lot, and getting your sea legs on the stormy waters of the modern economy. You know there are no guarantees. It's funny -- you don't seem to be fazed. Even if you're a little fazed, don't worry about it -- keep being creative, approach people directly, and be mindful of the timing. I suggest progress with discussions and research only through March 1, and not sealing any deal till the Sun enters Aries March 20. Take your time now -- you will save it later.
Leo (July 22-Aug. 23)
You may feel the inevitability of a certain change without knowing what that change is. Keep close tabs on the people who are important to you -- your awareness can lead to an influence that proves to be extremely helpful. You know things that other people do not. You are not intimidated by people in the ways that most people are. And you have the ability to keep everyone's interests in mind at once. However, you are going to need to seek information as an active decision, rather than expecting it to come to you. It will come to you, if you take the first step and look for it. Or rather, listen for it. I then suggest you make a choice to not wait around and decide whether to act on certain information. Time is of the essence, and while speaking carries a distinct risk, keeping silent carries an even bigger one.
Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22)
Pluto has finally crossed over the creativity angle of your solar chart. As any artists in the reading audience already know, creative talent is not something that happens to you, or at least not as an adult. It is less like being swept away by inspiration and more like getting minerals out of the ground and processing them into something useful. In other words, art is more about industry than it is about creativity. You need both, and all of the great industrialists brought with them an element of passion that we who use their inventions so casually would be wise to remember. If you are feeling a drive to go deeper into your talents, your inspiration and your sexual cravings, be prepared to do so methodically, and in the long haul. Be willing to do the boring part, and the juicy part will be that much more fun.
Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23)
Are you feeling safe on the planet yet? Have you made it your goal? You need to learn from your successes. But remember, safety is a feeling, not a thing. You cannot possess it; you may only experience it. Often, we need to process our worst insecurities before we can let go into a sense of serenity. The past couple of months may have been a time of wrestling with your worst fears in a kind of subconscious psychological battle of evermore. Now that Pluto has ventured into Capricorn, you are free to discover that all your fears were really for nothing; you are free to express your determination to be an emotionally grounded person; you are free to feel like you belong in your own home, and I suggest you experiment with feeling safe inside your four walls. I assure you: that is available, as is a great deal more. The time has never been better to improve your living environment, in ways basic or radical.

The Sprint to 2012
Photo by Dani Voirin.
Lust, Love & Jealousy:

A Valentine's Day Astrology
Special Edition by Eric Francis

IN THIS special edition essay and horoscope covering all the signs, Eric focuses the lens of process and astrology on love, lust and jealousy.

This special edition includes clues about where to find what you're looking for -- and how to use jealousy and competition to make your love life hotter and freer, not more chaotic. You'll find ideas for you and hints about your partner or love interests, all-but-guaranteed to move energy and get the discussion going. In this first-of-its kind special edition to be delivered Feb. 7, Eric combines astrology and sex writing like only he can do. Pre-order now for just $9.99.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22)
Mars has vibrated to a halt in your extremely sensitive solar 8th house, the sign Gemini. You may be rethinking commitments, financial arrangements or, most likely, some element of desire. You are someone who wants what you want, and when you make a decision to commit to a decision, you need to give it a thousand percent. The kind of hesitation you may be feeling right now may be shaking you up, but don't let it scare you. The point of making decisions is precisely that; the point of making commitments is that you are free to do so. There are always two or more sides to every story, and you can take great comfort in knowing that you are capable of seeing all of them. Invest your energy in that, and you won't go wrong.
Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22)
Whatever is going on in a close relationship, you have your own needs to attend to, and moreover, you have the ability to detach from a tricky emotional situation. I don't suggest you detach too much, however, nor that you focus on yourself to the detriment of others. The truth is, you have plenty of what you need, be it resources or emotional contact. I suggest you put your energy into giving rather than into having or getting. You never really feel what you have until you share it, and the truth is that despite all you have, you probably still wish you had just a little more. That's a feeling you would be a lot happier without, because it cuts you off from your own sense of abundance. Give what you have, particularly to the people you say you love. Then, keep an open mind and see what happens.
Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20)
You are in a time of the most amazing blessings, though you may fear these come at a price. I can make it simple enough: the price of life is growth. If you commit to constant growth -- which means awareness, self-awareness, and being impeccably honest with yourself -- the benefits of life will rain on you. Imagine that everything that comes into your life becomes food or fuel for progress. Everything is an opportunity to raise awareness -- or to lower it. If you become aware of fear, maintain your awareness rather than stuffing the fear back down. You may not think it serves any useful purpose, but it will be the thing that propels you to a state of emotional clarity. You may also be concerned that if you state your fears out loud (such as to someone you trust) you will "make them real." I assure you, the opposite is much likelier to be true -- you will dissolve them.
(Jan. 20-Feb. 19)
With Mercury retrograde in your sign, the world is getting an infusion of the most innovative version of Aquarian energy. You are likely to be dancing to the music of the spheres that only you can hear. What you have is a positively amazing opportunity to get around your obsession with rationality and even thought itself, and take the leap to the intuitive level. You may have no idea how you're going to get there but consider the definition of the "quantum leap" from physics -- something goes from one level to another, with no time spent between. You don't go there in the sense of linear movement; you arrive where you belong. In human terms, you change, you arrive in an entirely different frame of mind, but you don't know how you got there. Relax -- you don't have to know everything, and whether you are right or not matters a lot less than you think.
Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20)
Most of the interesting activity in the sky is focused in your 12th solar house -- that deep inner world associated with all things overwhelming in size and scope, too strange for words, and deeply mysterious in a way that eludes words. The 12th is also the house of the pleasures of the bed, as they say in India. I suggest that this be your time of making your sexual fantasies real. Dare to experiment; to share your ideas; and to ask others to experience them with you. When I say "others" I am referring specifically to Aquarius being the sign involved in your 12th house. There is always a group inflection with this sign, and an emphasis on friendship rather than romance. If your pleasures tend in this direction, I suggest you let them go there. More than anything, let your imagination lead you. If you can dream something, you can create it in your life.

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