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Wake Up and Smell the Smoke

Wake Up and Smell the Smoke
Burning Man. Photo by Gabe Kirchheimer, 2007, all rights reserved.
OUR STORY begins with something really weird: a thread connecting the first California fire this week, the Asian tsunami, whatever happened on Sept. 11, 2001 and the stolen presidential election on Nov. 7, 2000.

Conspiracy theory? No, just astrology. Remember, astrology is based on astronomical facts: specific times and places that provide precise global and planetary positions based on the U.S. Naval Observatory's calculations. Science establishes the basic data coming from any chart; each one is unique, and each of these event's charts was spectacular in its own way. Interpretation is another story.

Charts for current events often contain what appear to be specific references to events in the past. You can look at a chart for one event, see its signature, and then all of a sudden you're peering through a window into an event from history. The patterns are made of specific, highly unlikely coincidences between the charts. They don't necessarily say anything definitive, they just give a feeling of déjà vu.

Looking at the chart for this week's first California fire -- the Ranch Fire, which burned untold thousands of acres in a national forest on the Los Angeles/Ventura county line -- is like watching the past seven years flash before your eyes.

Seven difficult years they have been, blotched by many significant disasters, abuse of executive and military power, environmental neglect and vicious political treachery. If astrology links them together, that would make a shred of sense; they're already joined by being defining events of our time of history, and all possess a relationship to climate change and its counterpart, petroleum.

It's just a little odd looking at a chart for a fire breaking out in a forest one Saturday night, and seeing an airplane hitting a skyscraper. But they both smell like smoke. These days it seems when America is not drowning, it's burning.


ONE THING all of these events have in common is that they made for excellent television, news stories that riveted millions of viewers and overshadowed so much else that was going on. We see this in the chart as the image of the Moon in Aquarius conjunct Neptune. That's the American public (the Aquarius Moon) in a media/drug/denial trance (Neptune in Aquarius). It's also a warning that we're being lied to. Any time you see a prominent Neptune in a chart for a public event, an astrologer is on notice that lies are probably being told, that there is a cover story, an illusion or a distraction.

What does that point to? Perhaps it's cynical to think that somebody started these fires for political or economic gain, or to distract the American public -- but it's not that hard to start a fire in a dry forest on a windy night.

Why would someone do that? Hmmm, well, if the Republicans are nice to California in its dire hour of need, maybe much else will be forgotten. The White House has a grand opportunity to do a public relations makeover on Hurricane Katrina and Mike Brown. Let's see if it works. So far, so good: Qualcomm Stadium looked a lot nicer with its jugglers and Salvation Army cadets in pressed white shirts than the scenes of people dying in their wheelchairs at the Superdome.

A lot of money is soon to be heading west; this chart's money house (the 2nd) has Cancer on the cusp, the Moon is conjunct Neptune, and that suggests that the central deception specifically involves money. We are about to have a housing boom in a state that was, as of last week, spiraling into a housing bust. A thousand one-million-dollar homes equals a billion dollars -- good for any economy, and a lot more will move than that. Where it ends up is another story.

There are in fact reports of arson and active arson investigations underway in connection with several of the California wildfires, but the Moon conjunct Neptune goes as far as saying the whole story we're being told is, well, a smoke screen. To me it all hit home when the fire coverage was interrupted Thursday morning with a brief news flash about the United States imposing sanctions on Iran. Sanctions are the modern equivalent of a military blockade, which is a direct act of war. Let's bookmark that discussion for a moment; we have covered it in Planet Waves before.

There are connections to three other events to consider.

Where do we see Sept. 11 show up in the Ranch Fire chart, in a compelling way? In the ascendant degree. There are 360 possible degrees that can be rising; each one rises for three to five minutes every 24 hours. So the specific degree rising is significant in any chart. The Ranch Fire has the 29th degree of Gemini rising. The problem with this degree is that we see it too often in connection with two notable disasters.

This degree was the exact position of the Moon in the chart for the Sept. 11, 2001 incident. The 9/11 chart is the granddaddy of all conspiracy charts, with references to the 'government' and the 'terrorists' changing places like square dancers doing the do-si-do as Dick Cheney plays the fiddle.

Four years later, the Moon was in precisely the same position one morning when an earthquake set off tsunamis that killed hundreds of thousands of people, flooded whole countries, rearranged shorelines and erased tribes from the map. The Moon occupies the same degree for two hours every month. A 31-day month lasts for 744 hours. So the odds are one in 372 that the Moon will be in any one degree for any single event, but it's a lot less likely that they will occupy the same degree for two events, particularly of this magnitude. However, to appreciate this particular coincidence, you need to split a single degree into 10 parts; that is how close the alignment of the 9/11 Moon and the tsumani Moon was.

Then, the same degree appears as the ascendant of the Ranch Fire chart, and because the specific degree of the ascendant is so meaningful (given how fast the ascendant moves), it points directly to both the tsunami and Sept. 11.

Last, we have the connection to the stolen election. The election chart for Nov. 7, 2000 (called The Day Mercury Stood Still) is impressive enough to make the Pope take up astrology. Most Americans have forgotten the [first] stolen election, except for those obsessed with their DVD of Fahrenheit 9/11 like a kid watching The Little Mermaid over and over.

We are all familiar with how tricky Mercury retrogrades are, and in particular, how unusual stations of Mercury can be. Within half an hour of the polls closing on Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2000, Mercury stationed direct after a three-week retrograde. In other words, all during election day, Mercury was sliding to a halt --in the first degree of Scorpio, then stopping at the edge of the very last degree of Libra.

Seeing this, astrologer Jim Shawvan sent out an email nine days before the election, writing, "The election may be so close in some states that it may be several days before the actual electoral college votes can be tallied with accuracy.  This could involve the counting of absentee ballots, and possible charges of fraud or irregularities in some places." He added, "As of election night, it may look very much like a Bush victory, but uncertainty may develop as the count goes on."

On Tuesday night of this week, as the wildfires were burning out of control, Mercury retrograded through the first degree of Scorpio, back into the same degree -- the last degree of Libra, harkening back to the stolen election chart. Before it did so, it formed an exact conjunction to the Sun, called a combustion. It's like all those ballots were finally set on fire and went up with 460,000 acres of California forest.

We really need to wake up and smell the smoke.


Psychsound, PW's Civil Rights Blog, Makes Big News

SO FAR Planet Waves remains the only astrology website to publish a civil rights blog -- Psychsound by Steve Bergstein. Earlier this week, Steve did an entry on a case being appealed before the 2nd Circuit of the federal courts in Manhattan, involving an Egyptian national named Abdallah Higazy. Higazy was coerced by the FBI into falsely confessing for crimes associated with the Sept. 11 attacks. He did so because they told him his family would  be tortured in Egypt if he did not. Apparently, they needed suspects.

Steve, who litigates before the 2nd Circuit but was not involved in this case, was among the first to report that the court had pulled down its published decision, then replaced it a day later with one that redacted, or removed, the FBI's particular method of getting the false confession out of Higazy.

The legal blogosphere went wild with the story, and most of the articles referred back to Psychsound, which is a combination civil rights and music blog. The story was also picked up by the one blog that inspired Planet Waves to get into the business, This Modern World by Tom Tomorrow. It was credited by the Columbia Journalism Review, and was also due to appear in the Washington Post's Friday editions.

Steve has worked with Eric Francis since 1990, when he served as legal affairs editor of Student Leader News Service while a student at the City University of New York Law School. He also writes a blog exclusively devoted to the 2nd Circuit called Wait A Second. He is a specialist in free speech cases and is considered unusually young to be an advanced civil rights litigator in the federal courts.

You can read more about him and his astrology (he's a Capricorn, of course, and born in the Sixties) at this article.



Fire In The Wind
By Judith Gayle | Political Waves

Fire In The Wind
Temecula Valley. Photo by Judith Gayle.
DEVIL WINDS. That's what Southern Californians call the Santa Anas, the hot dry winds that sweep the area every fall and winter. Typically, the Santa Anas wreak havoc on Halloween decorations, make anyone with allergies or lung issues uncomfortable, and produce the mild weather for which the state is famous.

Kids ask Santa for skateboards and bikes with full confidence that they will hit the pavement early on Christmas Day, thanks to the play of wind born in the high atmospheric pressure of the deserts meeting the lower pressure from the coast. In the frigid months, while the rest of the nation is buried under ice and snow, the Devil Winds, like a blowtorch, push hot air across the California landscape with gusts up to 100 miles per hour. With it comes the likelihood of spontaneous and/or accidental fire...and the opportunity for arson.

Los Angeles has had its driest year in a hundred, rain has been scarce these long months of 2007. The bark beetle has done its damage in the mountains, creating diseased trees, their canopies brown and dry as tinder. The broad bands of chaparral that ring the housing tracts and bedroom communities in this part of the state are like little compact charges of TNT awaiting a spark. The locals all knew it was coming, they'll all tell you that -- but we never actually expect it, do we?

In 2003, the Cedar Fire -- one of 15 separate blazes -- swept through San Diego, jumping the freeways and burning homes in what was, at the time, the largest wildfire in the state's recorded history. It left us all stunned at the swiftness, the destruction, the sheer audacity of what the elements can do. What is happening this week is considerably worse, involving seven counties, running from Santa Barbara in the north down to San Diego and the Mexican border. Twenty-two separate fires, some already joined together and others threatening to, are being driven by the Santa Ana winds and the dry, combustible landscape.

Continued at this link...


Full Moon in Taurus -- October 26, 2007, 04:52 UT.
By Kirsti Melto and Eric Francis | Lunations


Full Moon in Taurus -- October 26, 2007, 04:52 UT. Chart by Solar Fire.

THE FULL MOON at two-plus degrees Taurus invites us to search for our inner child and boldly to express our creativity, even if it seems a little risky. The Full Moon happens right near the Chiron discovery degree, which was three-plus degrees Taurus. This gives us awareness in the midst of the current contradictory celestial influences.

Last time we were talking about ancient dignities and the different kind of rulerships in astrology. For example, if you're a Libra, your planet, Venus, is said to be the ruler of your sign. But if you're a Pisces, your sign is also associated with Venus because Venus is exalted in Pisces. Exalted is like being a visiting king in a friendly nation; you are treated with dignity. The Moon is exalted in Taurus.

The Moon in Taurus has the focus on security, material well-being and values. In negative aspect this can lead to greediness and being perpetually stuck or stubborn. The Sabian Symbol for two-plus degrees Taurus is "Steps up to a lawn blooming with clover." The keyword is "hopefulness". The symbol is offering spiritual abundance, as the three-leaf of clover can be seen representing the Holy Trinity, or the Triple Goddess.

The Sun is in the depth sign Scorpio, conjunct Mercury, which is busy retrograding in Libra. The exact conjunction occurred on Oct. 23 in the first degree of Scorpio and Mercury retrograded back to Libra on Oct. 24. When a planet is retrograde the energy is turned inward, but the Sun in Scorpio helps the creative ideas provided by Mercury to penetrate the surface (depicted by the sting in the glyph of Scorpio).

Mercury is tightly sextile Pluto, the ruler of Scorpio. Pluto is approaching his third and last conjunction with the Galactic Core, before ingressing to Capricorn for the first time in January 2008. Pluto is right at the Galactic Core aligning with the window to the Source on Oct. 28. At the bright core of our galaxy there is a supermassive black hole and a lot of dark matter. This is a metaphor for subconscious, from which creative impulses arise. The effect is intense. We may perceive it as something which is coming from outside us but which really is within us.

Continued at this link...

Planet Waves
Subscribe! Weekly Horoscope for Friday, Oct. 26, 2007, #686 - By ERIC FRANCIS

Aries (March 20-April 19)
A partner or loved one is ready to revisit a subject you probably thought was a done deal. They too may have thought it was a done deal, but discovered they cannot resist the guiding force of the planets. You can trust that the truth will come out, and that you will both come to an agreement you can live with. But you will need to let reality develop gently, like a picture, treating everything as if it were negotiable. This is the whole point. Just about everything is negotiable, but when we treat people arbitrarily, we close our own minds to other possibilities. In particular, you need to remember that while possessiveness, jealousy and emotional attachment are like second nature to you, that does not make them natural.
 
Taurus (April 19-May 20)
You're finally coming to your senses. You're also figuring out that it's more fun to be awake than asleep. Now, don't faint if you decide to do something brilliant or innovative on the spur of the moment rather than after conducting three separate feasibility studies. The choices you make this week will have the effect of breaking a longstanding deadlock or stalemate in your life. Or rather, they will if you allow yourself to be carried forward by some strong momentum that you have personally contributed to creating with dedication, sincere effort and focus. Just get used to one fact -- taking action or making a choice is not about knowing the outcome in advance. It's mostly about enjoying the fact that you don't know the outcome, and partly about creating it.
 
Gemini (May 20-June 21)
Something has finally budged. You have, it seems, decided that a situation or involvement you so recently perceived as difficult is actually about pleasure rather than about responsibility. This is parallel to the shift from believing that you were bound by commitment rather than by choice. Yet choice is a commitment you make to yourself, and the moment of decision is very nearly upon you. It doesn't matter that you've tricked yourself into making progress by walking through the door backwards. Within one week from today, you will be marveling at how clear-headed and decisive you are. Next time, maybe you'll save some time and keep the process a lot simpler.
 
Cancer (June 21-July 22)
This week's Full Moon arrives with developments that will push you into the public eye, and will likely leave you there for a while. When you get to a spot where you're actually visible, you're poised to make a discovery that lifts you to a new level of awareness. You may not like everything you find, but even the few distasteful bits will provide clues as to the real source of your influence. Remember this. Not all risks can be calculated in advance. You cannot tell the effects of every action you take or choice you make. Once you let go and commit to being alive, your existence will have effects you don't understand, and you will take chances that seem to exceed your capacity to both give and receive. I think this will be a welcome change of pace.
 
Leo (July 22-Aug. 23)
This week's Full Moon in one of the most commanding and influential angles of your solar chart will take you to an entirely new place in life, but remember that this is happening because you feel safe, grounded and in contact with your environment. In other words, the outer effects are the result of a somewhat difficult inner process that is finally starting to get results. All the ins and outs, or rather, ups and downs the past week or so have affirmed your resolve. You are not only ready to take authority; the environment around you is 100% ready for you to have that leadership. Now, inscribe this motto over your front door: there are many ways to reach the same goal.
 
Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22)
The planets are presenting you with an option that you may soon exercise. But I suggest you wait until at least the first of the month before you do so, because you will need certain information about a financial matter that will only be available after that time. In other words, you are working with limited information today, even though there may be no shortage of frustration or hope, or the illusion of facts and data. And that, all in all, can be a dangerous combination. So, better to have more accurate information, less frustration and as little hope as possible before you make this particular move. Anyway, when the time comes, the choice will seem plainly obvious based on a plainly obvious fact that you can't quite see today, and better still, you'll feel free to make it.
 
Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23)
Pay close attention to your finances, and carefully review any transactions that have occurred during the past seven days. Make sure you know your bank balance, whether it's $1.7 million or $33. If someone has not returned an important email, start the investigation with your own spam box, then if the reply is not there, make sure you call and find out what happened. People who don't answer email either have self-esteem issues or control issues, which they are signaling to you by their refusal to respond; if that is the case, beware. But speaking of self-esteem, you seem to have reason to check up on your own. At times in your life, respecting yourself is like putting pennies in a piggy bank, and at other times, you have breakthroughs more akin to selling a nice load of stock options. These days the second variety appears to be the one.
 
Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22)
What exactly do you have faith in? If you follow that faith right to its roots, where do you find yourself? You might make more progress by studying your doubts. Doubts are usually those things that erode our confidence from the bottom up. You can make them powerful allies, because each doubt reveals some hidden belief that is working against you. And as for what it conceals: I would propose that doubts conceal areas of consciousness where we can develop ourselves, and set ourselves free. These days you have access to vast amounts of hidden information about yourself, if you are interested in knowing it. The only problem with making discoveries about who you are is that you would then feel compelled on some level to act on them.
 
Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22)
Everything you're going through now is a warm-up. I am not the kind of astrologer to keep promising that great things are going to happen in the future. Normally, I devote myself to pointing out options in the present. However, at this point in time, you seem to be making great strides letting go of something very heavy from the past, taking genuine authority in the present, and working toward something genuinely meaningful in the immediate future. As I have suggested before, this is much less about what you do or create, and much more about who you are. In other words, you are becoming someone different, and while you're at it, you're doing some fabulous unbecoming as well. Carry on, because despite the patchy fog, the very best is yet to come.
 
Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20)
You may be having a dialog with a very old plan that has come back to you in full force. It could be anything from a childhood ambition to a commitment you made years ago; it could be tuning into a past-life mission that has suddenly caught up with you in this lifetime; it could be a very long-range vision that you forgot about but suddenly remember but somehow are right on time and spot on. Keep your sense of freedom and your sense of perspective. Remember that you have choices along the way, even if you have set your intentions in motion. The final result is always different than the rough draft or the sketch. Once a concept is put into action, there are points where you can let go of certain aspects and take turns you could not have predicted or expected. A lot is changing right now: take advantage of it.
 
Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19)
The Sun is now crossing into the sector of your chart that gives you access to the resources of other people. By now, you have learned enough about yourself to have faith in your innovation, your persistence and your willingness to be afraid of no idea. You are also getting a clearer picture of who you are, which is a relief after so many years of living in the clouds and at times bumping into things you could not see. Keep your sense of yourself as you encounter the people who are showing up to help you. Don't be too impressed that they are demonstrating their willingness to help; be more impressed when they actually do so. If you're alert and confident, that will take you most of the distance from ideas to reality. The rest should be pretty easy.
 
Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20)
A close partner seems to have crawled out of their shell and is aligning with your most radical, innovative or creative side. You have been in no mood lately to go shopping for your ideas in antique shops, and most of the hobbits on this planet panic when someone comes along with something that is actually new, besides a flavor of ice cream. If they only knew how new you feel to yourself, and where this is pushing you to go -- particularly as one so committed to making your mark on the world. You will learn a lot from the positive reactions of others this week. Be humble, but not demur. Stand your full height, and speak in your real voice. People have put enough pieces of the puzzle together to actually see what you are trying to show them.

CREDITS: Associate Editor: Priya Kale. Webmaster: Anatoly Ryzhenko. Proofreader and Fact Checker: Sara Churchville. Horoscope Editor: Jessica Keet. Associate Photo Editor: Sharon Bellenger. Business Manager: Chelsea Bottinelli.

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