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New York, Friday, June 22, 2007

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New Orleans Flood.  
After the Deluge

WHAT IF three years ago, I had predicted that a swath of Asia would be wiped out by an earthquake and tsunami, with more than 229,866 lost or missing, and countless lives disrupted?

What if I predicted that a paltry $7 billion in humanitarian aid would be donated, by all the governments and all the people of the world? Then this would be followed eight months later by two hurricanes that would flood much of the American Southeast, including New Orleans, damage from which would still not be repaired two years later.

Included in that prediction could have been that the occupation of Iraq would go into an endless downward spiral of death and violence, with no sign of the occupied nation stabilizing. In response to this, Bush's approval rating would sink to the 30% range, and the American public would finally dump the Republican House of Representatives and Senate. Yet the new Democrat-controlled Congress would soon after write a blank military spending check to the administration, proving that they are Republicrats after all.

I did not predict these things (the closest I came was to look at history and suggest that we would probably have a lot of serious dam breaks starting in the summer of 2005). But they would have been reasonable forecasts, given the astrology. This includes the once-per-35-year opposition of Saturn and Neptune, which made its third and final pass on June 25. Personally, I try to avoid predictions of catastrophe, preferring to give the human family the time and space to make up its mind about what it wants to do with its brief moment on the planet. I view all astrology as an opportunity for change, and I am open to being pleasantly surprised by the possibilities for difficult aspects that are not necessarily considered by predictive astrologers, who typically display little ingenuity.

Saturn opposite Neptune is one of the more difficult aspects that come along, and there were many predictions of disaster. It involves Neptune, whose energy is dreamy, watery, foggy, delusional, creative and idealistic, being opposed by Saturn, whose energy is typically experienced as structured, solid, heavy and often as a limit or a boundary. Basically, it is a solid, realistic thing and a big pool of water and imagination meeting face to face, with our world in between. If you want to visualize this, imagine it like the Full Moon, with the Sun to one side and the Moon to the other (an opposition); only replace the Sun and Moon with two vastly larger planets. In an earlier Chronogram/Planet Waves article, I described this as "the unbearable tension of water."

An opposition is the peak of a cycle, or maximum polarity between two planets. It is a culmination, though this is not often logically expressed by history in a way that relates to the beginning of the cycle, the conjunction. The most recent conjunction of Saturn and Neptune occurred in 1989. It was actually an extremely rare triple conjunction between Saturn, Uranus and Neptune (since at the time there was a rare conjunction between the latter two planets, which were then joined by Saturn).

Saturn and Neptune together in a conjunction (or any other aspect related to 90 degrees, such as a square) can come with a feeling of structures dissolving, and there being no solid ground to stand on. Uranus is a planet whose energy is most often described as revolutionary, electricity in the form of lightning, and forward thinking in the style of Prometheus. So we had a kind of splash-bang-shock-crumble era in history back then. In the immediate aftershocks of that conjunction, the world witnessed with all due astonishment the fall of the Soviet Union and the Berlin Wall. But it also marked the rise of capitalism in Eastern Europe and in China, the kind of freedom that is not about free people but really about so-called "free markets" and, moreover, gloriously free multinational companies.

This revolution has now come to full maturity. As I am writing this, an e-mail just came from a reader, describing how China has taken over nearly all vitamin production in the US market, as well as many other drugs. This is merely an example of our moment in history, related to the pet-food contamination several months ago because the same thing can happen with vitamins. The article begins:
SHIJIAZHUANG, China - If you pop a vitamin C tablet in your mouth, it's a good bet it came from China. Indeed, many of the world's vitamins are now made in China. In less than a decade, China has captured 90 percent of the US market for vitamin C, driving almost everyone else out of business.
Though it looked like the "end of Communism" was occurring in the late 1980s and early 1990s, what we were seeing was a capitalist revolution that, nearly two decades on, seems to know no bounds.

Yet this is just a small part of the picture of our current existence. Let's look a little more closely at the Saturn-Neptune opposition and see what we can discern. The slower moving planet is Neptune. It entered Aquarius Jan. 29, 1998, and will remain until Feb. 4, 2012.

Scanning back in time to 1978, let's check in with an astrologer named Myrna Lofthus in the book A Spiritual Approach to Astrology, who was making some predictions about who would be born during this era, tipping her hand as to the anticipated quality of the time. She gives the keywords "inspirational" and "strong humanitarian ideals."

She goes on, describing the birth of "kindly, gentle individuals who will seek to blend philosophical, political and social ideals into one doctrine." It is difficult not to snicker and think of Karl Rove's or Paul Wolfowitz's pretty face. Of course, these people were not born with this astrology, though they are doing their part to embody it in an entirely different way than Ms. Lofthus predicted in her book. She was apparently falling under the Prozac-like effects of Neptune in Aquarius at the time of her writing, suppressing the shadow side of the transit.

And what would that be? Does anybody remember that article from the ominous autumn of 2004 by Ron Suskind in The New York Times Magazine, called "Faith, Certainty and the Presidency of George W. Bush"? This includes the famous quote where a Bush administration aide accused the author of being ''in what we call the reality-based community.''

The article continued:
[These are] people who ''believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.'' I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. ''That's not the way the world really works anymore,'' he continued. ''We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors...and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.''
In other words, this Bush aide admitted that they are not living in what we think of as the real world. They are making up "reality" as they go along. From this it is clear why can afford to be so generous when it comes to screwing up what we think of as the world: they are not actually here. This article came out just prior to Bush's being "re-elected" in November 2004, and we can see the effect that it had: at least 49% of the participating public voted for Bush; hence, he won.

This is the essence of Neptune in Aquarius, or at least one essence. We can look back to the imaginary, alleged "high crimes and misdemeanors" that got Bill Clinton impeached in December 1998, less than one year into the transit. Is there anyone who does not look back on Monica Lewinsky with abject astonishment? Oh, some people are still mad at Al Gore for being Clinton's obviously sexually immoral vice president, by association.

I am sorry I never have anything nice to say about our Prozac Nation moment, what Gore Vidal called the United States of Amnesia, under this 14-year phase of Neptune in Aquarius. (Neptune is in Aquarius for 14 years of its 165 year orbit.) There must be something, of course. It's a great time if you're a true believer, smoking the hookah of fundamentalist religion, and if you really just adore the Greenpeace sticker on your Hummer. I think that my iPod Nano, in which I can tote around 100 CDs and a stereo in my passport case, is a good Neptune in Aquarius kind of thing. But I am fully aware this is not reality.
I guess the good thing about Neptune in Aquarius is that you can't fool all the people all the time. But you can certainly fool all of them most of the time.

Now enter Saturn in Leo, the other half of the opposition. Saturn is in Leo for just over two years of its 29-year orbit, so its movement is much faster than that of Neptune. Saturn in Leo is eminently practical: during this transit, many of the great inventions of the modern world have been created or patented, from moving pictures to recorded music and the transistor. Microsoft got its start under the last Saturn in Leo. It bears the seed of arrogance, persistence and self-centeredness that makes success in a capitalist marketplace possible. (People born with Saturn in Leo have lately been getting another side of the transit, a humbling and grounding experience in the form of their Saturn returns.)

Saturn in Leo is hot and dry, sober and authoritative, focused and concentrated on one purpose. Neptune in Aquarius is cold and wet, delusional, hyper-idealistic and falls for just about anything. Put them together face to face, and what do you get? Why, you have the perfect explanation for the paralyzed cynicism that we are living through right now.
You get a world where, if you start to think about where we are going to begin to pick up the pieces, you have to hold back tears long enough to get to Starbucks and feel better.
The issue of this opposition is integrity. That includes the integrity of the world, of our communities even though we are in denial that they exist, and our individual integrity, for which there are precious few examples and even fewer coherent definitions. It's not that people don't know the difference between right and wrong; it's more like the feeling of there being no actual difference. But we seem to have a vague, nostalgic recollection of one. Who knows, maybe we will remember. During the last Saturn-Neptune opposition, Nixon got caught up in Watergate. Today the notion of a scandal seems nostalgic.
For those who happen to be awake, what is wrong is so outrageously wrong and so vast, there seems to be no way to correct it.
The integrity issue is difficult to tune into under this aspect; it's difficult to experience it as real, or to perceive it as worth bothering with. In truth, we live with the question of whether anything is worth bothering with, unless we are obsessed by it. The people who do get it must have an extraordinary gift, and that gift is no doubt being tested right now as the psychic floodwaters of deception push, pull and tear at the structures of our minds.
An opposition aspect this powerful is difficult for relationships as well. It is like the attempt to reconcile irreconcilable differences, or the temptation to merely give up trying.
But the good news is this. We humans always learn the most in these days of attempting to stretch ourselves across diametrical contradictions. There is something profound to be gained from confronting the impossible. Indeed, there is something to learn from observing exactly who and what refuses to do so.
Praise to all who take on the lonely calling of leadership in these times; to those who make it their business to squarely face deception and self-deception, and to be overwhelmed doing so. Hail those who wake up and refuse to flounder, honoring the brevity and transience of life. I assure us all, when the floodwaters recede, you will be glad you did.

Photo by Priya Kale.
To the Bicycle Shop. Photo by Priya Kale.

Rewriting the Daddy Contract
By Judith Gayle

AS WE bubble in this potent energy of the final Saturn-Neptune opposition, the one that will, by consensus, shift our relationship to the world and redefine our reality, it's important to get a sense of the bigger picture. You've probably heard the story about the frog swimming in a pot on the stove, the fire coming to a slow boil, and Froggy not noticing the heat increasing by small increments until it's too late. Well, we're the frog and surely we've noticed and are ready for a leap -- where will be land? That's the question. We need to step back, take advantage of the emotional Cancer retrograde and stew a bit in our own juice to decide where we're going.

Way back when I learned the basics of astrology, I was told that Saturn was in cahoots with the Lords of Karma. Those were the guys that MADE you learn the lessons, slowed you down to a crawl and pounced on you with circumstances that either softened your thoughtlessness and straightened you up or pounded you into the dirt. (Well, maybe not that bad...but uncomfortable, surely; lessons learned the hard way.) Being a tail-wagging Sagittarius, I wasn't much interested in slowing down or picking up the mess I left in my wake. I was born all fire and air with a couple of water planets smack on major angles, and no Earth at all, save Cappy rising. It took a while to notice that Somebody put Saturn on my "self." (Whoever designs these things has a warped sense of humor.)

One of the early lessons I learned was not to pray for patience, of which I was sorely in need, because I would draw a situation that required I LEARN it; and my instruction was less about patience than about how Karma works. Learning patience provided me a critical life-skill, and proved to me that Saturn, even though not a "best friend," is not the enemy either -- and perhaps, at long last, it's time for a new octave of Saturnian energy. And that's where Neptune has come in, these last months.

Continued at this link...

Natural Rock Formation at Staffa Island, Scotland. Photo by Anjali Kale.
Natural Rock Formation at Staffa Island, Scotland. Photo by Anjali Kale.

Cancer Birthdays, 2007: The Year of the Self-Portrait
DEEP INSIDE, all questions come back to relationships. Yet at this point, you know that relationships are about your alignment with yourself, your existence and your past. All of these things add up to how you yourself, and much of what shows up in the astrology for the coming four seasons relates to the power of images. Rob Brezsny, the Cancerian horoscope writer, once said that "images are dangerous," and he knew what he was talking about. But what is dangerous is also powerful, and what has the power to harm also has the gift of healing, if it's used correctly.
What kind of images am I talking about? Well, all three kinds: the image you have of yourself; the images you make of others; and literally, photographic and video images, which can become an excellent therapeutic tool for you as you embark on the next stage of your inner growth, relationships and creative development.
Self-image is one of the most difficult things to see, because it's difficult to jump far enough out of our own awareness to perceive ourselves accurately. When we look in mirrors, including the mirror of our relationships, we're often looking into a reverse image. Likewise, the images we hold of others are often difficult to see, because we think we're seeing people as they actually are -- not as we would have them be. There is a fine line here, and it's always more productive to start with how you see yourself, then assess how this changes your view of the world and the people with whom you coexist.
To change how you see yourself, you must first know how you do in fact see yourself; you would need to know what you're changing in order to do it effectively. That information is coming from many sources, some of them reliable and some of them not so reliable. You must be your own most dependable source.
I would suggest that you quite literally portray yourself in a series of photographs, perhaps daily or weekly. Look at these things, get a sense of how you change from picture to picture and from one moment to the next, and when you're ready, show them to people. I would also suggest that you embark on some form of autobiographical writing, telling your story so that you get a different perspective on your story: indeed, so you find out it's not who you are. Who you are is, in truth, unwritten.
The pages of your book of life will seem all the more blank when you recognize and accept that you owe nobody being who they think you should be. The flavor of your charts this year is distinctly Aquarian, suggesting that individuality, nonconformism and intellectual freedom are the sharpest knives in your drawer.

Continued at this link...

Summer's Guide to Light the Way

  Sunrise at Stonehenge.
Sunrise at Stonehenge.
THE SUN has just crossed over zero degrees Cancer. It is now officially summer and Planet Waves has produced a guide to light your way through this season, called The Northern Solstice Report. This twelve-page PDF file was created by a team of some of the Planet Waves astrologers including Deirdre Tanton and Paloma Todd; Eric Francis wrote the introduction. The Northern Solstice Report has already garnered some enthusiastic feedback. Here is what several readers have written back to us:

"Nice to have help staying open these days." -- Lorrie, USA

"Beautiful images and none of the hackneyed phrases one finds so often in astrology." -- Sandra, USA

"Perhaps this report in particular has given me more spine tingles than usual, but I just have to say that I continue to be really moved by the content of Planet Waves' work, the insight and the emancipatory feelings that I get from learning about the configurations and aspects of energy happening in the sky, directly influencing and permeating my life." -- Cam, Australia

Planet Waves
This is Planet Waves Monthly for July 2007. It is standing in for Planet Waves Weekly number 668 by Eric Francis. The Friday weekly horoscope will resume on Friday, June 29 with number 669. Note to readers, there are now only two (instead of four) monthly horoscopes. On alternate Mondays we will continue to run archive selections from the vast Planet Waves database.

Aries (March 20-April 19)
The time has come to confront a sense of loss and angst that seems to take up all the space you need for pleasure and abundance. It's as if someone took something from you, and you now have the opportunity to go on a hunt for just what that may be. It may seem inappropriate to bring any aggression to this deeply sensitive endeavor, but you must assert yourself in a way that is unusual for you. You are more accustomed to directing your energy outward rather than inward; to seeking answers surfing the usual channels of ideas and emotional sentiment. What you do over the next few weeks will feel like more of a struggle, or even an upheaval against the ways in which you tend to be set in your ways. Just remember, you are looking for a lost item of some kind, but here is a clue. It's an emotional, spiritual or sexual quality that you not only did not lose yourself, but which you were never properly given. Someone else lost it, long before you were born.
Taurus (April 19-May 20)
You seem to be hesitating, or creeping around the edges of a romantic situation or creative endeavor without entirely understanding why. You need to live through this one, but I can take an educated guess that the moral of the story will be reassessing why you are so self-critical; indeed, admitting to yourself that this is so. If you can feel this basic condition, you'll be able to understand how it is that you are so easily paralyzed when it comes time to take certain kinds of chances in life. You may be sad that this quality has cost you so many opportunities, yet the greater loss has been approaching what could be physical and emotional experience from an intellectual perspective. This quality, commonly called "being in your head," is so natural to you that you may not even notice, though I trust that at times you may be fully aware of the tendency. Yet note, it is only experience -- not analysis -- that will teach you to liberate yourself.
Gemini (May 20-June 21)
There are some places within yourself that it's not entirely comfortable to go, but you seem to be going there. There are feelings about yourself that you don't entirely like to admit, but you seem to be aware of them now. This trip is taking you back, back, back, to places you forgot long ago; to events that shaped your awareness; to the things that were said to you as a child, the impact of which was predominantly emotional. Yet your emotional reaction shaped your relationship to yourself and to existence. I recognize that in these weeks of your life, you may feel out of your element, and be struggling with deep insecurity. You may feel like you're in a struggle with your own integrity, and worse yet, you may feel like the entire future is masked from your awareness. At the moment, you don't need to see the future, or even think about it much. The way to finding the present is through the past, or what is commonly called the past.
Cancer (June 21-July 22)
Focus your intent, but do so gently. Take your time and reflect, and consider how you feel. Make sure that timing your moves is utmost on your list of priorities. You don't want to take action too soon, and you may choose to temporarily slow down your outer-world progress, tracking the current path of Mercury retrograde in your sign. If you seem to be getting nowhere, you can count on the station-direct of Mercury on July 9 to help you shift your energy in a constructive direction. Meantime, I suggest you make no attempt to judge your progress. The hitch you are looking for, so you can unhitch it, is a point along that delicate membrane where your feelings dictate what you think is possible, and where what you think is possible dictates your feelings. This thin sheet of psychic tissue is only a few cells thick. Allow the material of the past and of the present to filter through gently till you get the perfect balance, and while you're at it, drink a lot of water.
Leo (July 22-Aug. 23)
Planets are now quite active in the corner of your chart known as the 12th house, which is the sign Cancer, giving you the feeling of living in two entirely different worlds. Mercury and the Sun are quite literally illuminating the dark, like an underwater opera where the stage lights were suddenly thrown on deep in the crevices of coral reefs, caves and the wide plateaus of your inner awareness. You may notice what seems like your whole life going by before your emotions. Long-forgotten memories will have a tendency to bubble up to full awareness. You may wonder what to do with them, and the only answer to that is to be aware. What Carl Jung called "big dreams" are possible -- those revelatory journeys that show us the most poignant symbols of our lives, and reveal the myths we live by. Clearly, it is time for new stories to guide your existence, but to have them you will need to witness and release the old ones. Be gentle with everyone as you do.
Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22)
You seem to be in the process of negotiating with your idealism. What is realistic, what is possible, and what from the "impossible" category is worth attempting? There are no right answers to these questions, nor can you know in advance which of your current investments, endeavors or relationships will bear the fruit you can almost taste. You simply must persist, but it's not a persistence of logic; rather, you can guide yourself by the tides of your feelings, which at times will seem to be on the ebb and the flood simultaneously. The one thing you can do that will set you way ahead is to be completely honest with yourself about how you feel, and how you feel about the people who surround you. The chances are you will learn some things about friends and associates that you were not expecting to find out. Some of this may fall under the heading of what the world these days calls "too much information," but I assure you there is no such thing.
Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23)
You now have a chance to start over on a crucial business or professional project that you know can make a significant difference in your life, and in the lives of many others. This opportunity takes you back to the most basic elements of who you are. You need a profession where you have the actual space and time to take care of people. You cannot stretch the definition of this; working "with people" or with the public is not enough. Your role in life is to convey actual nourishment, where it is actually needed. An idea for how to do this is at hand -- indeed, many ideas. They may not have percolated to the surface of your mind yet, though you seem to be on the right track. What you learned in mid-June is still extremely relevant; the strength and assuredness you were feeling at the time of the solstice June 21 are still with you, even though you seem to go through these mad storms of total self-doubt. Your best ideas and most intuitive points of contact are like the Sun shining behind the clouds.
Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22)
It would seem that a relationship has come under intense scrutiny the past few weeks. The issue seems to be expectations. On another level, authority issues seem to be popping up every time you flip the channel. What you want to avoid is a showdown. What you're passing through with a close friend, partner or loved one is indeed a phase, and thankfully the planets keep on moving. You can view it as a test, or as an opportunity to be aware and go to another level. It may be easier for you to be aware than for them, but you'll need to work with what you've got. The other party to this equation is getting the feeling that you absolutely must, somehow, some way, go beyond your past. This is likely to be making them wonder whether what you really want to do is go beyond the relationship. Be reassuring. Speak with your words and your actions, and when in doubt, go hiking or to the movies alone -- he or she needs time to reflect, and may not know it.
Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22)
You'll discover that your faith was not misplaced -- I feel confident saying this, no matter how challenging the next week or two may be. Certainly, recent events have not exactly inspired you to walk on water, or on hot coals -- indeed, even the simplest things may feel impossible. They are not; they are just taking their sweet time at the moment. You will need to tread a fine line with a close partner during all of this, and to be particularly careful in relationships that are formative or not on totally solid ground. Someone needs space, but they also need to know that you are present and attentive. You will need to use your sixth sense; I promise you there is, on the one hand, plenty they are not saying, and on the other, plenty they would say if they had the words. The air is rife with mixed signals, so you will want to keep your signals straight, particularly your inner ones. Even if you don't know what someone else is feeling, know what you're feeling.
Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20)
Recent fireworks in a key relationship have done nothing to dampen your enthusiasm, but you need to keep careful track of your timing, and that of someone you care about. If you have not noticed, it's been a rocky time for many couples, and if you'll take a survey you'll discover that most of the people involved don't really understand what's going on. That will inspire the curious and frustrate the thickheaded: choose your side of the brain. It seems that everything that unfolds in these days of our lives potentially resembles a relational soap opera, and it will be challenging not to get caught in the psychodrama. But how exactly can you avoid this? Yes, well, how about by going on fewer dates, taking a few long trips alone and not answering the telephone after 6 pm. Of course, you don't want any part of that, so you may consider doubling your therapy schedule. Just remember, if you try to work it out in bed, do so consciously and moreover honestly -- or you'll be working it out for quite a while.
Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19)
You now have all the key pieces of your new financial strategy, and you may be wondering just when you'll get to put them to work. You've already begun to do so, mainly because the key element in your strategy, the winning one, is a two-pronged approach and you're working with both prongs. One is knowing what is important to you, and not forgetting. I mean this and I really mean it: you must maintain a carefully made list of priorities and know exactly when you're deviating one millimeter. Second is you need to balance out considering the value of planning for the future and the importance of being present in the moment. Both are essential. Foresight is key to your success and prosperity right now, the kind of specific foresight that people wish they had, and to which you have access. Part two is knowing when to apply effort and when to apply strategy. Every time you're going to apply effort, pause and ask if it's necessary; your brains currently outweigh your brawn -- by a lot, mind you.
Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20)
I've long had this literary dream of remembering as many of my erotic and romantic experiences as I could coax or dredge from my memory, telling the stories and feeling for the one thread that connects them all. I know there's karma in them there hills (and valleys and alleys), and I know there's gold, too. Current aspects present an opportunity to learn your own history, to discover the hidden truth of your erotic nature, and to explore and experiment. But most important, it's time to harmonize yourself with your sexual history. By harmonize, I mean review, consider the people involved, remember the feelings involved, and get a sense of the journey -- particularly your early journey, your very first few lovers and before that, your concepts and ideas about what a relationship would be. I would remind you that central to the Pisces idea of eroticism is nourishment. What you live through in these weeks can teach you exactly how you may give and receive that nourishment the most effectively, and pleasurably, and honestly.

CREDITS: Managing Editor: Priya Kale. Webmaster: Anatoly Ryzhenko. Proofreader and Fact checker: Sara Churchville. Horoscope Editor: Jessica Keet.

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