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Love, Lust, Compersion -- and Aquarius Birthdays

Love, Lust, Compersion -- and Aquarius Birthdays
Hannah from the Book of Blue. Photo by Eric Francis.
Dear Friend and Reader:

OUR MIDWEEK edition contains two articles, my birthday letter for our Acurious or is it Aqueerious friends; and an article by on this week's astrology Judith Gayle. Before we get to those, here is a brief update on the Love, Lust and Jealousy report, which I've renamed Love, Lust and Compersion. Compersion, for those not familiar with the idea, is where you get when you get free of jealousy. It's not about going numb or not feeling, but rather diving in and feeling everything there is to feel.

What started as an essay with a horoscope now has a table of contents. Here it is, approximately:

    - It's Not About Sex, It's About Self
    - Jealousy: Locked-In Syndrome
    - Too Hot: Another Theory of Jealousy
    - Compersion: A Missing Concept
    - The Role of Guilt
    - Masturbation as the Key to Compersion
    - The Problem of the 8th House
    - Chiron in Aquarius
    - Horoscope for all the Signs

This project, having become slightly more ambitious than I was planning, is going to take a little longer than I was planning. I will either issue it in two parts, or send the whole thing together some time before Feb. 14. It will be worth the wait, and provide you with some real ideas to pull back the pink curtains of romance and explore both relationship and relationship to yourself.

Thank you to the MANY people who have signed up for this special edition of Planet Waves. If this description piques your interest, you may sign up for it at this link.

Now, for Aquarius birthdays, below. Birthday messages are issued once a month for the Sun's current sign. In them, I do some of my most careful analysis of current transits -- they are useful even if you're not born under that particular sign. They are also useful if you have that particular sign rising -- in this case, Aquarius rising. I am not so sure about the Moon, but it's worth considering.

Yours & truly,
Eric Francis

All Of You Here: Aquarius Birthday Letter for 2008

Dear Aquarian Cousin,
AS I BEGIN your 2008 birthday message, the Sun is exactly conjunct Chiron, at the precise midpoint of your birth sign. Here is what the chart looks like. At the moment, I'm playing The Doors first record, simply, "The Doors." I've been playing that one a lot lately. Besides grooving to this mind-melding set of compositions and performances, I keep thinking of the impact that this music must have had when it came out -- the energy of it.
All Of You Here: Aquarius Birthday Letter for 2008
Krakow, Poland. Photo by Eric Francis.
The world had never heard or felt anything quite like this. It was still 1967, not exactly a quaint time, yet the moment when the psychedelic revolution was just starting to peak. You put that phonograph needle on a record for the first time, and you find out what it means to break on through to the other side.
Your astrology is developing in two prominent layers at the moment. Both are significant; what I will describe as the outermost layer is not what you could call superficial, but rather integral. That is the astonishing alignment currently developing in Aquarius, featuring the Sun conjunct Chiron, Mercury retrograde and many other factors.
Activity in the sign your Sun occupies is about the process of you consciously becoming a person; that is to say, of developing your personhood. A fancy way to say this is personality integration, and those are the words that come to mind.
A Sun-Chiron conjunction asks the biggest questions about your existence, and makes some of the most meaningful promises. Aquarian reality almost always comes with some sense of being a misfit, an outcast, a leader or some unique specimen of the human race. Sometimes you alternate between feeling all of these in a given day. Sun-Chiron has a way of amping up the energy at the same time prompting you to wonder if you have enough of the stuff to get by.
It is another version of the question, "Am I incredibly special, or am I the walking wounded?"
There is a deeper question, however. Every person on the planet has some sense of being injured. You could say that there is a kind of "incarnational injury" that some define (or capitalize on) as a sense of separation; of guilt or shame; or the fear to express oneself. The Church in its wisdom discovered it, and in its marketing wisdom calls it "original sin" -- from which it alone can save you. Marketing culture has its own version of the problem and the solution (you need this product to feel alive) and politics has its version (the candidate will set you free).
The incarnational injury on its deepest level goes something like this: Did we have a choice coming to the Earth? Do we really want these people as parents? Did they want us? How did they feel about the sex they had, which created us? How do we feel about it? To the extent you can take these questions to the level where you can feel them, the closer you can come to being conscious the gifts they hold for you. If you can do this, you can draw the strength and indeed the power they have to offer, which is stored up like an internal psychic battery. Whether we like it or not, this issue exists somewhere in our energy fields (and I assure you, we did experience that approach to our own creation consciously, even if we do not remember).
It is true that some people mysteriously elude this whole trip of feeling wrong all their lives, but not so many of us. I have not met any perfect people having the perfect journey on Earth, and I'm inclined to feel a little sorry for anyone who lacks sufficient struggle to learn from. What the rest of us are left with is a choice: will we build strength and talent around our sense of difference or incompleteness, or will we slowly have our spirits dismantled? Will we become decent parents, artists, leaders or original people of some kind, or will the bastards grind us down?
Unfortunately, for most people the determination of which way we go is established pretty young. There are people who rise above being a victim and it seems like that's what they've always done, and there are those who decide that is their only option. You are now having this issue focused in your consciousness in laser-like fashion. You get to ask again, and if you never asked the first time, you get to do that. The decision is upon you, no matter how old or how young you are.
On a deeper level, are we willing to confront the shadow material that comes up when we ask real questions? Shadow is the stuff that people routinely avoid; glaze over; shut down; go into denial about. It is the pain that we experience, and moreover, its results. Shadow is everything we hide away from the light, as a more or less conscious act. Without turning shadow material into God, it is possible to have a healthy, progressive relationship with it, in a sense burning what we denied previously as fuel for growth.
This whole discussion is about Chiron, by the way. I suggest, if you are into asking, you consider a holistic approach: of inquiring about your right to express your energy in all the important facets of life -- your work, your friendships, your relationships and your sexuality as it exists apart from our relationships. But once you get to the question of your sexuality, you're going to arrive in Nessus territory. Nessus is another Centaur (like Chiron) which is also in your sign for the long-haul. This point can be where sex turns ugly, where we approach the subjects that we just don't want to talk about: betrayal, disease, fear, unworthiness. I have a suggestion -- get good at talking about them. Forget whether you're willing, forget your inhibitions or shame, and go for expert. Willing doesn't matter when you don't have a choice, and I don't think you do.
You can make a long plan and work your way there, arriving when you're approximately 66; or you can start there and use the power of working toward core sexual material as being the thing that helps you unravel all the questions which are, in truth, subsidiary. We all know our sexuality is the most important, core idea of who we are (which has an odd way of being emphasized and becoming a more persistent problem when we deny it). Notably, where the life force meets shadow in a conscious way, we find the single most potent source of sexual and creative energy. Nearly all the greatest art and the hottest fetishes come out of this zone.
For those who feel that the world is not ready to cooperate with them, or ready to hear their message or accept who they are, consider this. We tend to see and experience the world through the density layer that we are at personally. In many respects, how we experience ourselves creates the world that we experience, seeming to be around us. Certainly, it determines the world we are open to. This is why it's so crucial to adjust your state of mind first, and if you want to be accepted, to practice radical self-acceptance.
Your charts at the moment, though, have an unusual condition, which is that as you find out who you are, and then express who you are and then get feedback, you will accelerate the process significantly. Mercury retrograde is certainly pushing you to think deep, and to fly directly into the wind of your own major currents of thought.
The point is, you have the jet power to assert yourself into the culture as an individual with all your ideas intact, exploring as you go. All you need to do is get yourself free from the idea that you cannot do so. And the best way to do that is to do it.
All of this is, if you recall, the primary layer. There is a great deal going on in Capricorn as well, and this astrology has a profound effect on you. Capricorn is your 12th solar house, and it represents the vast unknown. I will attach my current delineation of this house below, but don't try to parse all that data at once. I'll focus it for you here. To begin with, you have Pluto in this house now. Here is the image I can offer. Imagine  that your unconscious -- the part of your mind that you access when you dream -- is divided into many small cells or spaces.
You have the ability to compartmentalize your feelings on the deepest level. Pluto is going to help you open up those spaces and feel all that you have not been feeling; and dream all that you have not quite been dreaming.
All through the transitional year of Pluto in Capricorn (it will shuttle back and forth one last time this year, before entering Capricorn to stay in the autumn), Jupiter is in your 12th house, sweetening the deal. And Venus is currently there too -- a fact that you take with you for the next four seasons because it's true at the time of your birthday.
Pluto is saying be brave about the unknown. But moreover, it's saying make peace that within you there is indeed a vast unknown. It may seem too large or strange to approach safely; you may fear that you're going to be swallowed whole. You cannot be swallowed by yourself, and you have no reason to fear yourself. Still, you will make the most of this transit the more you allow yourself to confront, or be confronted by, all that you have shunned about yourself in the past.
Since, in Chiron style, so much of this discussion has been about sex and sexuality, I will add one idea. Vedic astrology notes that the 12th house is the house of the pleasures of the bed. This is true because it's the place where we can lay down our defenses. The feeling of the 12th at its best is that of a lucid dream where all the rules of the world are suspended and we can do anything we want. Before we get there, though, we need to get through the layers of the ego, sometimes many times over -- fear, pride, guilt, shame, jealousy -- and slowly we wear through them until there is nothing but a thin layer of a self-structure and we really are free. But one truly direct way to enter the space is through not sex per se, but erotic consciousness. The full emotional, psychic, spiritual and physical awareness of what it means to be a sexual being, created specifically by sex.
If the 12th is the house of overwhelming things too enormous to be seen, this is perhaps the most overwhelming of them all -- and the one you are being consciously courted to embrace, accept, enjoy and endure for all it's worth. You have an unusual license to make your fantasies real; to experiment with things you would have never dared experiment with before; and to begin dissolving the fears that kept you from doing so in the past. Just remember, let the fear speak first; give it a voice; let it know that you have heard it, and that you are responding, but not holding it as a god.
You were made for this; you can already go anywhere in your mind. Now, try for mind, body and spirit. Remember, this is not about sex -- it is about EXISTENCE.
The 12th House from this delineation of the houses.
Not such a simple house; it's the end of the story or the time before the beginning. The great unknown. Blissing out, blessing out, the space of meditation, but more often in our age, paranoia and fear -- the kind that tricks you late at night. In Vedic astrology, the 12th represents the pleasures of the bed -- sex with the kind of pleasure or spiritual merging that you can't really describe (as contrasted with the 8th, a more urgent, emotional surrender to the power of another). Things too large to comprehend, including massive institutions like the government, hospitals, prisons. Movies and illusions. The house of dreams, as in the kind we have when we're sleeping (the dreams we remember tend to occur when the Sun is transiting this house); the abyss; the ocean of experience; the total surrender of identity, sometimes associated with death. Its other associations are things like deep space, identity beyond definitions, one's relationship with God, existence and nonexistence.

Backpedaling: Mercury Flies Upstream
By Judith Gayle | Political Waves

Backpedaling: Mercury Flies Upstream
Anacone's Inn, Buffalo, NY. Photo by Eric Francis.
WE'VE ENTERED a cool Aquarian period now, with the planets divided into two camps -- a broad stellium in Aquarius and a bunching in Capricorn. We begin the week with no less than nine conjunctions. This creates a more intense and focused energy than usual, as many of the planets are unable to work independently of one another.

Aquarius and Capricorn are compatible, linked by Saturn's steady hand, so there is no apparent friction to deal with, unless we count Mars in late Gemini moving into position to trigger Pluto by opposition. As we move into the next month, we probably should keep this particular opposition in the backs of our minds. Its expressions in the world will very likely come to the front, as it involves the Aries Point.
The approaching Mars/Pluto opposition will color our dealings and associations with others throughout the month, potentially tipping us toward temperament and aggression. There may be yelling -- try not to initiate it yourself. I'd suggest that beating inanimate objects to get your anger out is preferable to tangling with the boss or the significant other.  With Mars loosely squared to the Pisces Uranus, infamous for delivering surprises, finding a benign way to release your frustrations may well keep your mug shot out of the hall of records.
Focus instead on the sweet and sentimental Jupiter/Venus conjunction that will give us plenty of heart-shaped ideas about the perfect Valentine's dinner, date, evening. In Capricorn, our plans will be detailed and elegant, not too showy or ostentatious. Capricorn isn't wordy, so depend on cards and charms to convey how you feel. Make the conversation short -- "I love you," works very well. We humans can never hear that enough, and you might be surprised at who returns your affection.
With Capricorn, however, romance is just window dressing. Underneath the surface are many considerations about the structure of relationship, questions about commitment, and the imminent changes to these structures portended by Pluto in Capricorn.
Our current Mercury retrograde may have us dancing as fast as we can -- technology is behaving badly for many of us and plans are shifting like quicksilver. Remember to be patient with the process; it's temporary. It can also point out vulnerabilities and problem areas that would be better attended to when Mercury goes direct later in about two weeks Its proximity to Neptune can cloud the picture, but also grant access to intuition that so often eludes our rational thought process.
The other side of Mercury retrograde is ideas, ideas ideas: ones that are counter to the prevailing winds of the culture, our friendships, our own past concepts of self.
Our Solar Eclipse late February 6th (7th in the UK and Europe) will act like Dolby Surround Sound to all the altruistic Aquarian energy -- Sun, Moon, Mercury, Chiron, Nessus and Neptune -- amplify the collective sensibilities of "We, the People." Here in America today, we will be participating in a presidential nomination process called Super Tuesday, and the eclipse will follow on its heels, bringing us that retrograde Mercury, repeatedly in conjunction with Neptune as we sort through the voting results. With the many flaws in our voting system, I would suspect we'll hear about irregularities and snafu's and come away from this process without a clear winner.
The Democratic frontrunners are both fixed signs -- Obama is a Leo, Clinton is a Scorpio. The eclipse activates a stellium of fixed energy, as well. All those angles will likely leave no one interested in changing their mind, at this point, so we will probably continue our political explorations for awhile yet. The Republican frontrunners, McCain (Virgo) and Romney (Pisces) are still in flux as well. The two long- shots, Ron Paul and Mike Huckabee, are Leo and Virgo, respectively.  
The degree symbol (called the "Sabian Symbol") for this first eclipse (of the Sun) is an interesting one -- "A man's secret motives are being publicly unmasked." Is that a portent for a new flood of political insider information to hit the front page? Or is it part of the quest for authenticity? With the Aquarian collective rousing itself to analyze and reconfigure its future, that kind of information would be further grist for the mill of change. Or is it a warning for each of us? What secret motives have we not examined, what activities are we trying to cover from view, perhaps even from ourselves?
And in covering them up, what can't we see in others?
The process of coming clean with the world can be a difficult one, but it's necessary if we are to break through the stagnation of these last painful years. Risk a little -- or a lot, if you will. We're all in the same boat, we're all in an evolutionary process and the relief we're looking for comes on the other side of laying down the dense, heavy fears and preconceptions we've entertained so long, like guests who we can't get to leave. Let detached, cerebral Aquarius help you through this interesting territory. This eclipse will have far-reaching effects on us all, and launch us into the new Plutonian signature to bring on the changes we have long anticipated.

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