Dear Friend and Reader:
WHEN PLANET WAVES took up its voice and its mission on the Internet in 1998, it was obvious that the world was on the brink of sweeping changes, dangerous events and truly rich potential.
Our first story involved the Cassini Space Probe
, a NASA project timed ominously with the grand cross and total solar eclipse of Aug. 11, 1999. The probe was scheduled for an Earth flyby (called a slingshot maneuver) at about 400 miles altitude bearing an ungodly 72 pounds of plutonium. When I began covering Cassini, it seemed astonishing that nobody else had caught on to the nexus of technological, environmental, ethical and astrological issues involved.
Most exciting was how turned on our readers were by this kind of journalism -- and who our readers were: a far-flung community of people on a sparsely populated Internet who arrived and loved what they were reading and seeing, wanting more. By the time our grand cross / total solar eclipse coverage reached its peak, Planet Waves had hit its stride, and articles like the Flashpoints
series were exploding off of our pages.
An earlier series of articles I wrote in 1998, published in Rob Brezsny's Televisionary Oracle
magazine, had mapped out what would become basic Planet Waves territory: coverage of the trial of an erotic photographer busted for blasphemy in Germany; a detailed astrology series on the Bill Clinton impeachment; the first edition of Options to Romance, a sex dictionary; and Astrology as the Art of Bullshit, the first piece I wrote for Rob's site. Really a full-on rant howling at the Galactic Core, "Bullshit" insisted that astrology break free of its square-brained mental habits and enter the world of art, astronomy and reality in general.
It is exciting to be in the flow of ideas that are alive in their moment, and to be reaching alive people who are looking for -- and finding -- a new approach to life.
When Planet Waves appeared on the Internet a few months later, my writing was accompanied by Via Keller's
magnificent collages and photography by Maria Henzler and Neal McDonough. We devoted ourselves to presenting astrology in a beautiful and aesthetically daring way.
We had in effect redefined astrology as an integrated aspect of existence. No longer isolated on its own bookshelf, stuck back in the New Age section, astrology was suddenly participating in all aspects of life, entitled to an informed opinion on the events of the hour, and helping our readers be aware of imminent inner and outer changes depicted by the planets. We had invented a place for astrology with full press credentials.
Keeping constant tempo, at different times daily, weekly, monthly, annually or all of the above, has been the Planet Waves horoscope. Taking a psychological and philosophical approach rather than a predictive one, the horoscope has gone from a Xeroxed sheet distributed in cafes in upstate New York to something currently read in 100 countries around the world, supported by writers, astrologers and artists in a dozen nations.
LOOKING BACK, it was impossible at the time to see how original this concept was. Indeed, it barely seemed like a concept at all -- just the thing to do. The Internet then was a hint of its future self, just as the Internet today is a hint of what is to come. We were in pioneering territory then, just as we are today. The freedom of the Internet was and still is a miracle.
Who is the ideal Planet Waves reader? Who is the person I am writing for? Someone who remembers the miracle of communication. It is someone who remembers the world as an experience of co-creation, and views reading my writing as a co-creative experience.
You are discovering that there are more possibilities to life than you had considered, and you're reading Planet Waves, among other things, to help you open the doors.
You are someone who knows that change is imminent in your own life, and somehow you feel a sense of progress radiating out all around you. You may be at a threshold of going past your previous ideas about what a "job" is. You may be discovering your devotion to your creative passion, and pushing it up your list of priorities.
You may be redefining your ideas about relationship. You are opening up to new ideas about sex, and looking for a way to express those ideas.
You may have decided that you want to be in a different place on the planet, and you have tapped into the international nature of Planet Waves. You want to participate in the world in a conscious way. You sense the political, social and technological changes that are all around you, and you want to take part actively.
You have a spiritual perspective on life, but it's what used to be called humanistic: it's about people more than anything. You view astrology as a food and not a drug: food for thought and a catalyst for transforming yourself and the world. You know that we each experience the same astrology that shapes history. We are all conditioned by the same cosmic forces; we are, therefore, directly involved, and we have the choice of how to respond.
You have concern for the world, and possess an active humanitarian spirit that is pushing you into action a little at a time, or a lot at a time. You may feel the idea that the world itself is participating in a larger life or larger plan, something nearly ineffable yet described and made accessible through astrology.
You share our vision of an astrology that includes constantly considering new planetary discoveries and galactic points with -- most importantly -- an integrated perspective that sees and uses the work as an active part of life, not as a side topic, game or debatable point.
|Steve Bergstein, civil rights attorney and author of Psychsound, a Planet Waves blog that focuses on constitutional law and its impact on you. At left is Steve's wife Susie. Photo from February 2007 in New Paltz, New York by Eric Francis.
PLANET WAVES provides a space to express that participation, to learn, and to connect with people around the world. It is usually very difficult to get involved with anything that already exists because most organizations are resistant to the changes that the involvement of new people necessitates. Planet Waves thrives on those changes and is a different environment from day to day and hour to hour.
Our writers have extraordinary freedom to express their views, and to create their worldview as they go. Their subject matter ranges from politics with a spiritual bent, to civil rights law, to technical astrology.
We provide a media outlet where you are involved in every article. Our journalism philosophy is that everything we publish should be relevant to the lives of our readers, no matter what world events may be involved. Nothing is too large to be personally relevant, or too small to be globally relevant. We are an Aries Point phenomenon: The Personal is Political
Visual art, photography in particular, is an ever stronger aspect of our mission. We present photographs that depict peaceful expressions of existence in places around the world, a kind of photojournal of ordinary life. One of our photo guidelines is that we keep a human presence on the cover through most of the week, reminding us all of the living soul of humanity.
OUR BUSINESS model is that we are subscriber-supported. That is not a new idea, but it is a critical one in a time when our most important vote is with our dollars, our pounds or our euros. In our era when hidden interests and agendas control nearly everything you see, hear and touch, we are devising a way to keep the quest for truth alive.
You, the person reading, are how we are able to build our vision, and as a result, your own. It is satisfying to know that your continued involvement is making something possible, indeed, bringing it into existence day by day.
When we began offering subscriptions to our weekly astrology news service in 2002, we had a response so strong that within two weeks, Planet Waves and I had paid off all the bills on our shared desk.
From that point, each subscription was treated as an investment in the structure and content of the magazine. Each person who arrived and got involved brought to life a small piece of the vision, and these pieces have added up to the vast mosaic that Planet Waves is today. Project by project, idea by idea, year by year, we have built and renovated and recreated Planet Waves.
There are many reasons that we don't solicit or accept advertising, but the single most important one is that ethically, we want to be responsible to nobody but you. We don't need advertisers when we have our readers. We want you to know that our editorial vision is shaped by our creativity and not a business agenda
. In a world where nothing is really pure, this seems like the most honest way not just to run a magazine, but also to build a business and support a creative ethos.
Our contributors are mostly people who began as readers. There are a few exceptions -- but for the most part, we could not do what we do without the untold hours of volunteer time and talent that are contributed each year in every aspect of what we do. As publisher, I continue to volunteer many hours a week and contribute every spare dollar I have to building Planet Waves.
It is in this spirit that I am inviting you to get involved in sharing this mission, indeed, in taking up a piece of it spiritually and investing some of your life force energy. I am inviting you to support our work financially, as a subscriber or as an investor. If you are a subscriber already, I am inviting you to get someone else on board by purchasing a subscription for them.
Give your inspiration a voice and a purpose. Your subscriptions build a vision that you can see and experience every day, and that reaches out with positive impact on an untold number of people both directly and indirectly.
In this life, if we are conscious, we all face the question of what to do with our precious time and energy -- and it's a great thing to take up with full awareness. We face the question of how to best apply our creativity, our freedom and our technology.
But most significant is that we face the question of how to build the future -- that is, how to build the future right now. We invite you to join us in that experiment. Here is how you can do that
If you are already a subscriber, supporter or contributor to our projects, thank you. We want you to know that you provide an essential part of the formula for our existence. Remember: you are counting on our foresight and open-minded way of looking at the world, and we are counting on yours.
Very truly yours,
Eric Francis Coppolino
Publisher, Planet Waves, Inc.