Planet Waves Weekly | By Eric Francis
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For Friday, June 27th, 2003 | Version 1.1

Living with Chiron

Dear Earthling:

In this edition I'd like to introduce in greater detail my approach to working with astrology and astrology charts. This method involves using Chiron transits as a guide to the chart. It does not require reading a chart; rather, the chart is worked with in such a way that it reveals its own meaning and messages. It can be done by one person working on his or her own chart, or by two people, with one being the astrologer and the other being the client.

The advantages of this method are:

1. You need to know very little about astrology for it to work. What you are drawing on are your human skills such as compassion, awareness and understanding. If you're doing the process alone, it makes an interesting biographical journaling exercise.

2. The person you're working with -- yourself or someone else -- is revealed to be more important than their chart. This is an important perspective to keep as you embark upon your experience of studying astrology. Charts are important; but life is about people and relationships between people.

3. You don't have to tell a person about perself, make predictions or analyze the chart. Most information you will be working with comes from the person you're working with.

4. There is nothing to memorize, only observe.

5. Responsibility for what happens in a session is distributed more or less evenly between the astrologer and the client. The client and astrologer come closer to sharing equal responsibility for understanding a chart and the life processes associated with it. But the astrologer is in the position of setting the tone and holding the space open for the client, which are important responsibilities.

6. Over time, this process will teach you astrology very effectively while at the same time you may actually help a few people gain some clarity.

7. The process is organic. Rather than being based on a doctrine, it's based on the actual experience of life. The natural correspondences between astrology and life become very apparent.

Disadvantages to this method:

1. Nobody believes it works until they try it for a while, which is relatively few people. A while means ten to one hundred charts. Most astrologers will succumb to the temptation to "give a reading" and "find out what the chart means" rather than patiently observe the chart and the client's process of BEING with their chart.

2. Unless you're paying close attention, this exercise may seem pointless from an astrological perspective. Certain people may tell you that they "didn't get a reading," which in most cases will be true at first, anyway. It does seem more like "therapy." But what is therapy?

3. You will not get advice about what color bikini to wear.

4. It might actually work. Real issues are likely to come up and thus come up for healing and growth.

Why Chiron? This is the most common question I'm asked when I propose using this method. My experience is that Chiron can function as a neutral energy that brings out the inner dynamics of the chart as it makes aspects to the chart. As we see these dynamics, we begin to understand ourselves and our astrology in a much more clear way. Raising awareness leads to the awareness of choices, which is always helpful.

Taken from a technical standpoint, Chiron represents the process of integration of the two most difficult to mix expressions of existence: matter and energy. Astrologically, Chiron functions as the integration process of Saturn and Uranus, probably the two most challenging energies we deal with on a routine, everyday basis. Everywhere we turn, there is a structure; and everywhere we turn, there is a need to express or repress energy.

We are finally beginning to understand the relationship between matter and energy. We are beginning to understand that "it's all energy" except for the fact that we appear to be dressed in the garb of physical material. We are beginning to understand that energy expresses itself through another kind of energy called matter. Looked at one way, Chiron's role is to mediate this whole process. Chiron helps us integrate, thus, to build integrity.

If Chiron has a doctrine, it is that healing is associated with the raising of awareness. It may be that raising awareness leads to healing, it may be that it works the other way, and it may work both ways. But there is an association.

Chiron's presence in astrology tells us something about ourselves. The mere fact of its existence points to very specific changes that the human family is going through now.

I would propose to the presence of a new kind of energy requires an entirely new way of looking at astrology. Borrowing from T.S. Eliot's essay Tradition and the Individual Talent, every new poem changes all of literature. Every new planet that is discovered changes all of astrology. The discovery of Chiron opened a whole new volume in the history of astrology.

Taken from a historical standpoint, Chiron arrived in our awareness (i.e., was discovered) at the height of something called the human potential movement. Before there were twenty different pills promising to solve every single psychological problem, there were pioneering individuals coming up with ideas for human processes that worked within human relationships that were designed to help us grow and be more clear. Chiron, discovered in 1977, is a social artifact of that era. It brought something to astrology that had very clearly been missing, which was the idea that astrology is a process of becoming conscious, and conscious of relationships in particular.

Okay, enough theory.

What you need to know to work this way is how to read the ephemeris. You can read the ephemeris well enough to do this process if you recognize the symbols for the basic planets and signs, and can follow a planet's movement day by day. You need to be able to find your own natal chart in the ephemeris, which is about as difficult as reading a bus schedule.

Then you need to be able to track the movement of any planet -- in this case, Chiron -- around the chart.

You need to be able to listen with compassion. Part of doing so means being sympathetic without being empathetic -- that is, feeling without taking on what the other person is saying. I already used the worlds "holding space" -- and this is the astrologer's primary responsibility in the course of any work with a client. Astrological process is not about what the astrologers says, it's about something the astrologer does: allow the client to be just who they are. If there is another role to play (such as offer a viewpoint), that will become apparent soon enough, and that role will be founded on the astrologer experiencing the client for who they are.

Okay -- enough theory again.

The process involves listening to the client's life circumstances during approximately five Chiron transits. Five is enough for one session; this will last about an hour to an hour and a half. A transit is when a moving planet does something to the natal chart. If Chiron goes over the ascendant, that counts for a transit; Chiron making a square to its natal position counts as a transit.

In factoring the timing, there are two considerations. One is which transits should you use? The second is how wide of a window should you allow for the effects of the transits?

I suggest that, first, you ask about something that seems interesting to you. The client might have six planets stuffed into early Taurus, so Chiron's conjunction (in 1977 or 1978) or opposition (in 1997) to those planets might be very helpful to ask about.

Other transits that work dependably are Chiron's transits to its own natal position (the square, opposition, second square and return) are usually really worth working with. These transits each tell a little more of the story of what the natal position is about. This information does not necessarily leap out at you; everything you learn about the person and the chart needs to take some time to settle.

Chiron's transits to the natal angles (the ascendent, descendent, and the 4th and 10th house cusps) can be very instructive as to what those angles represent in the client's life.

Conjunctions by Chiron the sun and moon are usually very informative, at which times it's helpful to ask about the client's relationship to their parents.

As for how wide of a window to use. Chiron will make an exact aspect to a planet for a week or two. If you study the ephemeris, you'll notice that Chiron tends to make contact several times to most points, because of retrogrades. If Chiron is crossing someone's ascendant, for example, it will usually go back and forth several times. Often this process will stretch over three seasons with a couple of apparently intense moments, when for example Chiron stationed exactly on the ascendant.

When you want to check a single date, I suggest you inquire about the entire season, i.e., spring 1999. When you want to check several associated dates, use the season of each, and the whole range of the process (spring 1999, summer 2000 and fall 2000, hence, spring 1999 through fall 2000). People tend to remember seasons more than they remember dates or months. Seasons have a feeling to them that is often lost; May and June feel similar, but "spring 2000" might be very distinct.

How you phrase your probe is important. Try not to make it sound like you're looking for some great cataclysm or disaster (which most people presume). Explain, at the outset, that you're going to offer a season or time frame and you just want to check the basic circumstances of their life at that time. Go gently; hang loose; don't worry about whether what you hear "fits the picture" or not. Just listen, take notes, and respond appropriately -- with curiosity, compassion and interest.

Often people will go off on tangents while telling the circumstances of a season. What they say on these tangents can be very helpful. Pay attention and take notes as to the dates of when things happen. Interrupt for clarification, occasionally, if you need to.

What you are doing with this process is a kind of probe. When you probe, what you find is not up to you. What comes back is what comes back. It's all useful -- guaranteed. Work with the information you get, without expectation of what it should be. This is particularly important because as you do chart after chart, you will begin to see patterns. Then one day the events of a person's life at the time of a transit will have nothing in common with the last 15 people whose charts you worked with.

It's not a great idea to give someone the feeling that they are doing their life wrong because their experience doesn't match up with other people you've worked with; you really need to take a detached attitude, a little like a sociologist, and not lead your subject.

Sometimes you'll offer a time frame and the person will say, "Oh, boy." Other times you'll offer a time frame and the person will say that "nothing happened."

If a person gives the first kind of response, just listen to the story. Pay attention to what they are saying and how they are saying it -- these are equally important.

If a person gives the second kind of response, suggesting that a time in their life was eventless, ask where they were living at that time -- literally, their address. The address will usually evoke memories, circumstances, feelings, situations, people, places, pets and long-forgotten scenarios. Follow the associations.

When you reach a natural breaking point in the discussion, then move on to the next transit. It's not necessary to go in order; you can jump around, go backwards or go forwards through time.

Why are we doing this? Well, it becomes apparent as time goes on.

I call this process "intake." The idea comes from the intake that classical homeopaths use to get a sense of what's up with their patients. I use the one described above or some derivative (there are a number of other methods for doing this, which can be mixed and matched) as the first of two or three sessions with most new clients. My purpose is to ascertain the quality of relationship between a person and their chart. It also tells you something about how sensitive to Chiron someone is, and the ways in which they are sensitive, which can be very useful information.

If you take a relaxed approach and don't push the river, you may notice that there the collected transit events tell one story; there is a theme, a plot, a message. There is often a trajectory. That story may take a week or two to percolate out of the unconscious, for the unconscious to assemble. But it can be very surprising and helpful to see.

Working with another person, I suggest you not go for longer than 90 minutes, which is pushing it in terms of mental and emotional fatigue for either party. That will limit you to approximately three to six transit events. Plan a second session as a follow-up a week or two later. If you are a practicing astrologer and want to read the chart, go for it, and notice how much better your reading is having done an intake session. If you're an astrological student, just continue the discussion and research the chart on your own. You will soon have some very intelligent astrological feedback to offer your friend or client.

If you're working along as a journaling project, then you can work more systematically, keeping a chronology with a log of the transits.

As you do this, with yourself or with an astrology subject, you will begin to notice things. What you do with what you notice is another question entirely. ++

A Few Afterthoughts

I've just done this intake process with a friend and have some additional comments. Of course, you're going to need to take notes. You might note the chart near the location of where Chiron was at the time of the transit; you might make a note on a separate piece of paper: Chiron conjunct moon -- moved to Milwaukee at age 7.

When asking about early childhood phases, remember to ask what was happening with parents and siblings. Gentle follow-up questions seem to work well, for example, if someone says their dad traveled a lot and left mom and the kids home, it seems reasonable to ask how they felt about that, and how they thought their mom felt about that.

Notice how people react to what they are saying. Are their gestures, facial expressions and tones of voice consistent with the content of what they are describing?

Many people who describe their childhood will tell you about various forms of abuse, including psychological, physical and sexual. They don't always recognize it as such, however. At this stage in your work with them, telling them what you think is less important than listening to what they think. It's fair to ask how someone feels a particular incident shaped their development.

Last, an important part of intake is to ask a person where they're at in their life right now. You can either start the session with this, or work up to it.

Okay -- one final idea. Sometimes a person will begin describing a time in their life that's particularly important to them even though you have not provided a date. In which case, just listen; they're telling you exactly what you need. Check the astrology later.

The other way to do this process is to ask a person to describe a few turning points in their life and then look up the transits. Most of the time, you will need to blend the two processes a bit, since, as you will discover, people really love and need to talk about their life process in the presence of a person who cares and is sensitive.


Chiron placements, as well as all other planets, most asteroids, and all named Centaurs and TNOs, is available at

Nessus, Hylonome and the Sixties

(Reprinted from the Sept. 27, 2002 edition.)

I've had a lot to say about being born in the 1960s this year [2002, in my Born in the Sixties Series], which I covered in a three-part (plus sidebars) series through the summer (with help from David Arner, Denice Taylor, and others -- please see What's New at Planet Waves for the links). Those of us who were born with Uranus and Pluto in Virgo came into the world in a time of incredible, often extremely painful change, and for some, celebration. In writing these essays I could never escape the feeling that I was missing the main point. Of course this is a big subject. The 1960s are a complicated time in history and those who were plunged in headlong are still sorting out the mess, the revelations, the loss of brain cells, and the drug convictions. The rest of us are wrapping our minds around the music and dealing with the legacy.

And of course, there is the comparison to now, which is in many ways intuitive, but things are changing very, very fast and I'm not sure we're really aware of how it feels because it's happening right under our feet, in front of our eyes and between our ears. Now, just like then. What we're experiencing now we think of as normal. It is not normal.

In 1977, Chiron was discovered, and found to have been involved with the whole Sixties experience (it was opposite both Uranus and Pluto for a long time), thus bringing in the Pisces or mystic element in a powerful way. In the 1990s, two additional centaur planets, Nessus (1993) and Hylonome (1995, pronounced hy-la-na-me) were discovered, and these were in a long conjunction with one another in early Gemini from the mid-1950s through the mid-1960s. So quite literally hundreds of millions of people are born with one aspect in their charts.

It is difficult to delineate centaurs in a few sentences, much less aspects between them. They represent complex processes and can express themselves in highly individualistic ways from person to person or year to year. Each of them describes a forgotten, neglected or disavowed process of the soul's life that is coming back to awareness and expression today in what some call the ego's consciousness. Often these are activated by some kind of trauma or injury that makes them an inescapable ingredient of life. This lends more than meaning to the ills we have suffered; it makes them our best friends and most powerful resources. Yet as we learn about them, they may confront us all the more clearly with their existence, and as a result, with our own existence. It is up to us to make the conscious shift in reality from pain and loss to healing and power.

It's reasonable to say, as a beginning statement and based on my experience working with these planets for a while, that Nessus addresses the theme of abuse, both psychological and sexual. Hylonome addresses the theme of grief and the healing of grief. Seeing that the two planets existed in a conjunction though these pivotal years suggested to me that there might be another theme to the Sixties that required a closer look. I became interested in how this expressed itself in people's lives and began studying it carefully in the charts of my clients and friends, and in my own chart.

Nessus speaks of two kinds of abuse: one, the insidious kind that doesn't seem like it later on. The other, the kind that was obviously so. Both are about the same thing, and yet in the not-so-obvious kind, there is the problem of not really having a sense of the scale of what happened. Abuse and neglect suffered unconsciously are that much further out of the reach of healing. Bringing them to awareness is often the last thing we want. Dealing consciously with abuse means dealing consciously with the fact of an abuser. In the case of a loved family member, or a family situation that will be challenged or totally disrupted by the fact that we were harmed by them, or by the revelation of a secret that has been guarded for generations, it's natural to be extremely reluctant to proceed, even if we really need to. Family politics can push us down and make the task seem daunting and even stupid. Especially if that abuse or neglect was just a "product of the times." Of course, often, it was much, much more.

The Sixties were, no doubt, challenging for adults who had to deal with the fact that the order was rapidly aging, as Dylan told them. But we, as children of that era, had to deal with the ability or inability of our parents to process that change. We got to respond to their guilt, exuberance or abject fear about being cut free from whatever came before. We had to deal with their reactions to the fact of constant war, and also cold war (which means the growing threat of nuclear annihilation, said to be worse today now that the world is destabilized). In many cases, children were confronted with the advent of sudden freedom seized by or thrust upon their parents, which freedom often included sexual experimentation and drugs that were not generally handled so responsibly, and the consequences of those actions. The enormous frustrations of adults are almost always taken out on children, or at least experienced by them. When adults are unconscious, children pay the price. When adults abuse themselves or one another, children suffer. When they can't handle their experience, children feel it.

Relationships were also failing in that era. Not that the 1950s nuclear marriage household was any great shakes. Functionally, socially, spiritually and economically, the notion if a monogamous marriage as a kind of island in the universe was a major step down from the extended family model that prevailed in both urban and rural pre-war, pre-suburban America (and Europe) during the first half of the century and way before. But all these older models of community were crumbling, and lots of the big chunks of debris were falling on the heads of children. We don't generally think of this as abuse. But it can represent or be associated with neglect so severe that it is in fact abusive.

The parents of Sixties kids were the baby boomers. Sixties (and Seventies) kids are the divorce boomers. Many of us have had to deal with the full awareness that our parents did not love one another, with the added awareness that they often couldn't so much as work together as parents. Some of us figured out that they were extremely poorly equipped to raise us. I think some children have always known this, as many clients from all age groups have reported raising their own parents; but the problem with the 1960s was that the structures that used to hold things together fairly well were vanishing: extended family, community, some semblance of tribal life.

Every man for himself often became every child for him or herself. Even in the best case scenarios, there was the fact of highly volatile, unpredictable change and the horrors of the nightly news, by which we and our parents were confronted.

Here we are now, as then, growing up in a highly unstable world in which there exist exceedingly few working models for relationships. There is no one to teach us how to do it. There is no one to show us. It's as if we're trying to figure out how to get along all over again, at once confronted (when we pay attention) with our own alienation and (quite often) the shams that were our parents' relationships to one another. And at best, the conventions which they inherited, and which we inherited in pieces are not, for the most part, working so well in our current world. And the need for stable, workable relationships has arguably never been greater.

I would say that this angle on the Sixties and the surrounding years is a clear picture of Nessus/Hylonome, and a picture of the charge or mission that we face, particularly those people who are hearing the calling to be healers, social activists or artists and writers.

Yet it's extremely difficult to have an honest conversation about any of these issues. In my own life, it generally happens in therapy process, with my astrology clients, and at the conferences at which I am a presenter. It does not happen so often in the course of routine existence, though sometimes my writing sparks a discussion and about half the time the reaction is skeptical. But it needs to happen a lot more often, and we know it. Relationships are the means by which our lives are experienced. The usual excuse that [real] discussion threatens [fake] relationships can't be left in place, if love is going to stand half a chance.

Positions of Nessus, Hylonome and Chiron

For astrology students, here is a mini-ephemeris covering four years between early 1959 and early 1963, just to offer an example of where these planets are placed during the years where they were in the tightest aspects. Note the presence of Chiron in a T-square through most of this time. In terms of definitions, "ta" is Taurus, "ge" is Gemini, and so on. Rx is retrograde. The numbers represent the degrees and minutes of longitude. There are 30 degrees in each sign. This data is from the Swiss Ephemeris, thanks to Astrodienst and the web site where I accessed the data, under the asteroids multiephemeris.

Nessus Hylonome Chiron
Jan 1959 | 22 ta 49 Rx | 22 ta 57 Rx | 20 aq 26 |
Apr 1959 | 24 ta 19 | 24 ta 8 | 26 aq 48 |
Jul 1959 | 27 ta 45 | 27 ta 3 | 26 aq 4 Rx |
Nov 1959 | 26 ta 51 Rx | 26 ta 5 Rx | 22 aq 41 |
Feb 1960 | 24 ta 59 | 24 ta 18 | 27 aq 21 |
May 1960 | 27 ta 55 | 26 ta 49 | 2 pi 14 |
Sep 1960 | 0 ge 24 Rx | 28 ta 52 Rx | 29 aq 17 Rx |
Dec 1960 | 28 ta 12 Rx | 26 ta 43 Rx | 28 aq 0 |
Mar 1961 | 27 ta 50 | 26 ta 19 | 3 pi 54 |
Jun 1961 | 1 ge 31 | 29 ta 31 | 6 pi 30 Rx |
Oct 1961 | 2 ge 29 Rx | 0 ge 9 Rx | 2 pi 29 Rx |
Jan 1962 | 29 ta 51 Rx | 27 ta 38 Rx | 3 pi 48 |
Apr 1962 | 1 ge 16 | 28 ta 53 | 9 pi 46 |
Aug 1962 | 4 ge 52 | 1 ge 58 | 9 pi 47 Rx |
Nov 1962 | 4 ge 7 Rx | 1 ge 1 Rx | 6 pi 9 Rx |
Feb 1963 | 2 ge 6 | 29 ta 8 | 9 pi 50 |


A Few Asteroids for Good Measure

Minor planets include the asteroids, which began to appear with the discovery of Ceres on Jan 1, 1801. I routinely use about 20 asteroids (in addition to the named Centaurs and TNOs). I'm including a few notes on the ones I feel are the most dependable. One difference in working with minor planets is that, hopefully pretty fast, you get out of the "this planet in this house means this thing" mentality. That's linear enough to make you nuts when trying to work with the major planets -- such interpretations can get you pretty far, especially with minds like Debi Kempton-Smith and Isabelle Hickey at the wheel.

But it only gets to so far. Then you need to let go of sharp definitions, rely more on suggestions, hints, themes and commentaries, and stray into the unplotted world of actual interpretation. Interpretation involves recognizing and looking at patterns. A pattern can be as simple as this asteroid is conjunct this planet; that might point to a theme. Or it can involve stringing together 10 different bodies from four houses and five signs and offering the client something very useful. In any case, here are some notes on a few of the asteroids I love and trust.

Psyche addresses the sense of deep wounding that can never heal, and how we heal that. It represents the experience and the mistaken idea that "I will never get over this." It also deals with the crisis of loss of faith in relationship. It is where we can also look for the quality of torment of the soul that makes us human.

Hidalgo deals with invisible systems of cultural lies, lies within family systems, and the process of revolting against them. This theme is one of the great points of human suffering. Hidalgo often seems to just gleam with awareness of where this scenario is rooted in our life; if a person is suffering from a big, transparent lie, look to Hidalgo for help.

Arachne deals with the conspiracies, interconnections, and networks that make up our lives, particularly our 'love lives' -- though for this planet, any web will do. It offers some clues into the web of intrigue we are living. If you listen to a person for a while, you can get an idea of how this works, then look for the planet and make connections.

Achilles deals with false confidence and false lack of confidence, particularly in women, often as inherited from mumsy. It has so often been the giveaway to the whole chart that I'm more interested in Achilles these days than I am, say, in Pluto. Often I will be listening to a woman struggling with confidence, look for Achilles in the chart, and bingo. The underlying struggle appears.

Lilith is extremely helpful because it tells you about the original woman inside the woman. It is her deeper idea of herself and, in the chart of a man, his deeper idea of what a woman is, and how he relates to her. Lilith can also represent the crisis that "being the real me" brings into the lives of both women and men. ++

Current Astrological Highlights

Sunday, June 29 is the new moon in Cancer. The new moon is conjunct Saturn/Kronos; it's trine the Mars-Uranus conjunction in Pisces; is in a lose opposition to Chiron in mid-Capricorn; and it trines Hylonome in early Scorpio.

The same day Mercury enters Cancer as well, pouring more water into the River of Night that is the current sky. By Sunday there will be six of the major planets in water signs, plus a diversity of Centaurs and asteroids concentrated in Scorpio and Pisces.

What do you do with all this water? Well, go swimming. Take a hot bath. Dance around in the rain, if you happen to be getting any. Feeling types will notice that it's a great time to feel; non-feeling types are likely to notice that they're a) out of their element and b) that might be fun.

Several times in session work this past week I encountered (for example) tarot spreads that were heavily weighted toward the airy realm -- the mental realm -- which was causing enormous frustration. Often, responding to your feelings feels like DOING NOTHING. Responding with your mind feels like DOING SOMETHING. When in doubt, do nothing. There is even a Course in Miracles lesson, "I need do nothing."

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Planet Waves by Eric Francis

Birthdays This Week

The approximately one week period covered by this birthday report is marked by the Cancer new moon, the first since Saturn entered your sign. I suggest that those with solar returns before the lunation take one approach to interpretation and those with solar returns after take another. If your birthday is Sunday, you have the rare and beautiful omen of a new moon exactly on your solar return -- good news by anyone's stretch of astrology.

Those with anniversaries before the new moon are in a closure and seeding phase. New moons work very well to help us wrap up energy, situations, events, relationships, jobs and projects. That would be a very productive purpose for your year. But these phases are also important times of seeding the new life we're going to have several seasons down the road.

Go beyond the need for justification for enjoying your life. Your life is your life, and you are certainly very influential and supportive of the lives of others. The time has arrived for you to begin to define yourself on your own terms. You will never, ever be far from willingness to embrace the problems, needs and desires of others, but you could stand to come a lot closer to your own -- and Saturn's presence in your sign this year promises that you will.

Saturn works as a pruning influence, trimming back places in life where we tend to waste energy and encouraging the growth of those where we would do well to develop, invest and become. So decisions take on greater importance; and as we are reminded by one spiritual text, every decision you make stems from what you think you are. Keep that in mind as you make your choices.

For those with birthdays on or after the new moon, you really can count this as the long-anticipated beginning that's seemed so distant yet so close for many moons. It's a time to focus on what you want, what you want to develop, and to remember to withdraw your awareness from what you no longer want to pursue or encourage. Because what you focus on will grow and grow strong.

Anyone with birthdays in this vicinity will be experiencing the effects of Saturn in Cancer. Despite its bad reputation, Saturn's influence is one of the most helpful in the pantheon. This will help you mainly in two ways. One is the ever-necessary assistance in shaping your life. You are accustomed to having limited ability to do this, as Saturn's presence in your solar 12th house over the past 30 or so months has served to isolate you and focus you on your fears, insecurities and inner process for much of that time. Saturn's presence in your sign suggests a time of decisive action.

Second is that Saturn's presence will help you integrate your relationships in an entirely new way. The astrology is simple. Saturn rules your opposite sign, Capricorn, which is very influential in your relationship life. Now you are being called upon to raise your awareness, absorb, and to a real extent, become what you want in relationship to others. What are the qualities you value the most in a partner? Those are the ones that represent your highest ideals and growth agenda for yourself.

Aries (March 20-April 19)
Territory you are now covering will become rather familiar to you over the next six months. At the moment, it appears you're not entirely sure you know where you are except to say you're clearly someplace different than you were recently. In the film Waking Life (one of the most humane films I've ever seen) a character offers a hint for discerning whether you're in a lucid dream or awake: turn a light switch on and off. If the lights stay on, you're dreaming. You might need many such reality checks during the coming seasons, but I sure would love to hear what you've learned in that time.

Taurus (April 19-May 20)
The changes that have come over one particular relationship may have you bewildered. For so long you were pushing changes in a certain direction; for so long you struggled with communication and what seemed like a karmic bog. Now you have a lot more freedom, but you're left with the daunting task of taking your dreams and ideas and putting them into action right at the very center core of your life. Rare will it be that the stars are better suited for this endeavor than right now. Deal with your doubts. It really will be worth the effort.

Gemini (May 20-June 21)
The changes you've been experiencing inwardly are now manifesting in the most tangible terms as shifts in your financial picture, a recreation of your professional life and the active practice of some kind of spiritual path. Change requires changing your ideas, but ultimately it's composed of a lot more. Change is often thought of as 'big change'. Yet size does not matter; depth and clarity do. You have both working for you at the moment, and the way to multiply the positive energy is to hold very close to you what you really value about yourself in this life. Hold close, but not clasp too hard.

Cancer (June 21-July 22)
Over the past few days and weeks, the majority of traditional planets have taken up residence in your region of inner space, which tells me that your life is beginning to fill up after what's seemed like a potentially long spell of dry and empty. Now you are faced with choices, and you're faced with a pressing need to express yourself in the most meaningful way you've known in many years. But I want to suggest something that may seem counterintuitive. Don't take that voice of responsibility too seriously. There is something within far more creative speaking to you, and it's inviting you to new and far-away adventures.

Leo (July 22-Aug 23)
Think back to the summer of 1999. This was an important time for all of us, but in your life it was a potentially frightening threshold that you knew you had to cross. Now nearly four years have passed. Where there was a great gaping hole in the universe of your soul, something else has arrived. Where there was ignorance and darkness, there is awareness and light. And, presented with a new dimension of the unseen world that's calling for exploration, you have the gift of being able to feel and see without fear. How exactly did you make this transformation? Now's a great time to ask yourself.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22)
Mars in Pisces is a signal that the energy is rising in your personal life. Meanwhile, the growing collection of planets in Cancer suggests many changes are unfolding in your social circles. The question is: does your style of relating to people differ when you're in group situations as opposed to one-on-one situations, or rather, do you become a different person? Second question is: does your current degree of relationship and social activity support your newfound calling to finally do that special something with your life? The point is: it really can, but you'll need to make at least some of the adjustments on your to-be list.

Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23)
If you were wondering when to get the ball rolling on a career move, the answer is now. In addition to pay level, a good level of challenge and something appropriate to your larger goals, you need to work somewhere you feel at home. This may seem ridiculous given how hostile most work environments are. But if you're feeling like you have to compromise on this score, then you're thinking of your work as a job rather than a profession. This is the real leap you are now needing to make. A profession means you care about what you're doing, on the inside, and that your soul is at home with the mission you accept.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22)
Life is risky business but there are certain times when taking chances pays off a lot more than others. Now is one of them. While you may be inclined to invest your daring on the professional or employment front, it is the creative risks you take now that will offer the greatest rewards, both personal and financial -- I have no doubt you know exactly what projects I'm talking about, one of which is likely to be a person. You know you're setting yourself up for success any time you find yourself in unfamiliar territory among people who consider themselves a community of spirit.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22 - Dec. 22)
Life has been a strange mix of give, take, loss and gain lately. You may not like that you don't have many real opportunities to set the terms of the discussion, particularly in personal situations. But is that really true? You have a lot to work with in terms of the long-term commitment and dedication that others are offering you. You may not actively consider that a resource, but it's one of your most precious ones now. Behind the veil of inflexibility and necessity that others may be presenting you with is a truly rare opportunity. If you don't confuse the form and the content, you'll see what I mean.

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20)
Events of the coming weekend will shed quite a bit of light on the conditions and circumstances of one relationship. True, recent developments have probably left you wondering what it's all about; whether this is an end or a beginning. Correct. It's most certainly time to meet certain challenges of commitment, determination and honesty that you know have been nagging you. But those challenges may apply strictly to yourself. Freedom is at a premium; if you cannot find it within one particular relationship, you may want to try it without. The point is that you really do have options, particularly if you think you don't.

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19)
Are you sick of the usual lame-ass self-esteem crises? I'm so happy. You need a dangerous, utterly rebellious moment of total wonder about whether you matter to yourself. I'm sure if we search back through the centuries we could find better astrological conditions for such, but probably not in your lifetime. Get as close to the edge as you can and take a look in. Push your limits; so what if you can't see the guard rail? It's there. Ask yourself any question. Turn off the lights and talk to yourself in a mirror. Burn it onto a CD and play it all night while you sleep.

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20)
Recent events have demonstrated abundantly that you can take a lot bigger chance than you thought you could and live to tell the story. You may finally be coming to terms with the fact that the keynote of Pisces is I want it all. The keynote of Mars in Pisces is dare to get it. The only way to dare is to risk. Our world is all about safe sex, safe surfing, safe relationships and safe ideas. Try as you may but I seriously doubt any of that will satisfy your craving to drink fire and breathe water. True, Mars is in Pisces for six months. Which is really not all that long.

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Planet Waves Weekly and are edited by Eric Francis, with help from Chelsea Bottinelli and the Vision List. This newsletter is $49.95 per year and published 52 times per year plus the monthly horoscope. We encourage our readers to contribute their artwork and writing to the Planet Waves project and to cultivate themselves as creative forces in the unusual and socially formative times in which we live.

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