Planet Waves Weekly | By Eric Francis
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For Friday, September 26, 2003 | Version 2.2
A Book About Women
Dear Friend and Client:
With Mercury and Mars coming back online after their rather tumultuous, tedious and not-so-funny summer retrogrades, with Mars having blown past our reality and come close enough to get a good look at (it still is, if you can abscond a telescope), and with the Equinox and the Libra new moon in our pockets, the way is now cleared for the Harmonic Concordance.
As previously mentioned in this space, the Concordance is a total eclipse of the Moon on the evening of Nov. 8 in U.S. time zones and early the morning of Sunday, Nov. 9 in the UK and Europe (where it may well be visible). In Australia and New Zealand, it occurs in the early afternoon of Nov. 9. I'll post the chart in this space soon -- check back of you're curious.
Background is here: http://www.astrosite.com/__EricFrancis.htm
Sixty lifetimes ago, I arranged with Zeus to have this event fall on a weekend so it would be convenient for people who wanted to mark its occurrence with rituals and gatherings. What do we do with this event? First, I suggest we plan it as a holiday. The whole weekend. Small or large; a holiday for one or two, or for several or many. Bring the kids or arrange for child care (or some of both), in case your revelries or mystical investigations might not be kid-appropriate. In any event I suggest creating an event to establish an anchor point in space and time in advance, tell people about it, invite them to show up, and let the energy begin to coalesce. Choose people with whom you feel close affinity, and with sufficiently few present to have a real conversation.
Ritual in any form is best done with a mixture of clear intentions, minimal expectations, respect and curiosity. There must always be a "let's see what happens" element, since in reality you never know what's going to happen. A sense of humor and a few drums avoids recreating church. I recommend open fire if at all possible, wholesome food and modest libations, if you go for the intoxicating variety. Let whatever you do be something new. We have after all never experienced this event before. Ritual acknowledges that the moment you are in is a new moment and thus is a moment of being in the moment: allegedly extremely spiritual.
This event is an eclipse, and eclipses come with navigational alerts, one and all. That is, they are times of accelerated shifts in energy; they are points-of-no-return, and often progress evermore rapidly as they approach.
I first heard about the Harmonic Concordance from retired Planet Waves writer, chandler and Spanish explorer Christopher Grosso, who called me up one day while house sitting for an astrologer named Johnny Mirehiel. That was years ago. There was an astrological chart on the wall, framed. Chris gave me the data and asked me what it meant. I cast the chart and vaguely remember the conversation. Mirehiel was, in a sense, the discoverer of the chart and gave it its name, which is reminiscent of the Harmonic Convergence of August 1987.
Harmonic means integrated in nature, also suggesting a whole-number relationship between two tones. A concordance is an agreement or accord. It's also a kind of book that lists every contextual occurrence of a word of a book or author (i.e., the Bible or Shakespeare) -- an extremely detailed and complete index that takes years to compile. It seems to be an excellent word to describe this chart, which is on one level all about agreement. Let's keep in mind that concordance and in context are closely related ideas.
We have a reminder from Mirehiel's descriptive word for this chart to keep a focus on context -- where different things fit into their environment. In this article, the first of several more on the Concordance, I'm going to cover two themes, the two grand trines, and a strange conjunction between a planet, an asteroid and a new object beyond Pluto called a Plutino.
Theme One: The Grand Trines
The Harmonic Concordance is an eclipse of the Moon in the sign Taurus. That means there's a full moon with the Sun in Scorpio and the Moon in the opposite sign, Taurus. Every full moon consists of the Moon opposing the Sun. This particular full moon is an exact alignment near the lunar nodes, which generally happens twice a year; the nodes make it an eclipse. This particular eclipse is different than most others because there are major planets trine both the Sun and the Moon on either side, creating two grand trines. This, in turn, creates a six-pointed star or Star of David.
Grand Trine the First is in the earthy signs. The Moon is in Taurus; Jupiter is in Virgo; Chiron is in Capricorn. Each of the earthy elements is occupied by a planet, and these planets are in close contact, making respectably close trines to one another. Trines are aspects that everyone pretty much agrees are represent harmonic flow of energy and ease of movement. They are a little like Jupiter; they tend to be lucky and bestow talent. They come with the warning: use it or lose it. They demand integrity, but are easy to ignore. They can express themselves a variety of ways. The chart for Sept. 11, 2001, to give a somewhat grim example, was dominated by a very exact trine; it was a lucky day for whoever pulled the attack off and anyone who benefited, and it was an unlucky day for most everyone else. We need to watch for that double effect with trines.
Grand Trine the Second. Sun is in Scorpio. Mars is in Pisces. Saturn is in Cancer. These planets are all within a few degrees of one another, all occupying similar positions in their respective watery signs. That's called a grand water trine. There are some other unique properties of this trine. For example, Mars leaves the degree range where it had been retrograde for so long (the shadow phase) just before the eclipse. It's kind of like a newborn Mars in many respects, deeply cleansed by the waters of Pisces and full of Piscean energy.
The earth and water elements are said by the ancient astrologers to be the feminine elements. They represent Yin energy. What we have with two grand trines in the feminine signs is a concordance or agreement in that dimension of reality. It's as if each of the feminine signs is in dialog with each of the others. Yet a sign is a field of reality or experience. It can't really say or do much -- it just modifies the effects of a planet, and creates a field of reality from which to draw. These two triangles form a very nifty Star of David formation.
Planets do the talking. The planets involved in the Star of David are Moon, Sun, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn and Chiron. Note that all but one are represented by male figures -- the Moon, which is eclipsed. She is eclipsed in one of her own signs, Taurus (the little crescent in the Taurus glyph represents either the horns of a cow, or the crescent Moon). Both Taurus and the Moon represent awareness of necessities. They provide our nourishment. And in the midst of this, the Moon disappears. Are we being reminded of something? Is something about that Moon transforming?
One possibility for we have here is the image of a lot of men empathizing with the experience of women, and perhaps with the experience of one woman -- the Moon, eclipsed in Taurus. Who is she? What is she going through? For whom does she provide? And what is the nature of the discussion with the men by whom she is surrounded?
Theme Two: Venus, Vesta and Ixion
On the minor planet theme, there is a triple conjunction that shows up as exceedingly interesting. It is not directly involved in either of the grand trines; it is placed early in the fire sign Sagittarius. (This conjunction is square both Mars in Pisces and Jupiter in Virgo, which provides some information I'll consider in a moment.) Let's look at the conjunction carefully.
The three planets involved in the conjunction (which is a very close conjunction, exact to within the same degree) are Venus, Vesta and Ixion. Venus is one of the ancient planets. She is the ruler of Taurus, where the Moon is being eclipsed. We're familiar with the themes of Venus: love, sexuality (in the amorous and sensual senses of the word), beauty, our valuables, our values and our wealth. In Sagittarius she strives for independence and, for some reason is not especially feminine. Venus is a universal significator for women; that is, in any chart, it can represent a woman or feelings toward women. She represents something different than the Moon. The Moon is to Venus as Mother is to Lover. We do, however, often confuse the two roles much of the time.
Vesta, the second planet in the conjunction, was the fourth minor planet (an asteroid) ever discovered, which happened in 1807. She pertains to the "goddess of the hearth," of Vestal Virgins fame. And flame; these Virgins, who are priestesses, tend a fire 'round the clock. Vesta has traditionally been taken by astrologers to represent issues like using work as a substitute for relationships, the transfer of sexual energy into art and projects, and learning how not to take things so personally. All these themes hold for Vesta, but they seem to cleverly disguise the attribute of the feminine which, making a personal sacrifice to do so, uses her sexual or creative fire for the healing of others. There are many themes of selflessness and service associated with Vesta and this is one of them.
On another level, Vesta is about the emerging erotic consciousness and the reclaiming of the whore aspect of feminine sexuality. We are usually given a three-fold image of feminine development in our culture: maiden, mother and crone. In sequence, the whore aspect stands in for the mother aspect. It is the other expression that mature feminine erotic energy can take besides reproduction: the conscious embracing of sexuality for the purpose of sexuality. This is, quite simply, an issue that is banned from public discussion in any meaningful way. We have sex symbols who are flashed around, but we don't, as a culture, have many forums for real consideration of mature female sexuality outside of specific subcultures. It can be extreme. Many, many women have told me that their mothers neglected to mention to them something so basic as menstruation.
We might ask: are there only two peak expressions of feminine energy, mothering and sexuality? No, but both open the door to creative expression in very different ways, and we certainly see more of what happens with one than the other. Often creative, procreative and erotic energy are harvested and stolen (from both sexes) for other purposes before they can express themselves organically, a theme which Vesta will often portray compellingly.
Vesta in another expression represents the subculture which includes those who consider themselves sexworkers. Sexworkers are for the most part women who know they play a vital role as both healers and in compensating for a shortage in sexual supply that leaves many men emotionally hungry and out-of-balance (and thus takes a toll on women). Vesta, freed from compulsively playing roles, takes us beyond the morality of sex and leaves us holding the reality of sex. She also represents what can happen when sexuality is not properly initiated, claimed or reclaimed. Often it is associated with guilt and shame, with compulsory sexual service, and the aftermath sexual abuse. Such abuse often results in women taking the role of "slut," which is an outcast role.
The third planet in this setup is Ixion. This is an entirely new planet to astrology, discovered in 2001.
A planet beyond Pluto, Ixion (a Plutino) is named for a mythologized former king, a descendent of the god Ares (sometimes called Mars) and, notably, the first human to commit murder. Would-be rapist of the gods (in particular, Hera, whom he unsuccessfully tried to attack after Jupiter offered to help rehabilitate him from his act of killing another man), he is squanderer of second chances. He is the forefather of all Centaurs save one -- Chiron, who descends from Kronos. Ixion suggests "what we are all capable of" and points to the common thread among all forms of violence, be it physical or emotional. Ixion is the pattern or psychological construction which says we cannot change our inherent nature no matter what the consequences or punishment. We can perhaps change, but Ixion represents the idea that we cannot. He relates to the collective memory of original sin (murder, not sex) and how this is recalled, perhaps subtly, in any experience of desire, transformation or passion.
In this chart we are offered two images of women. One is the eclipsed Taurus moon. The other is Venus (ruler of Taurus) conjunct Ixion and Vesta -- what you might describe as woman's role as perpetual victim of servitude, unpaid and unappreciated slave, and sex object. It is worth stating out loud that it is not merely men who have cast women into this role; mothers teach daughters the "proper" way to be. Sisters and friends enforce harsh codes of conduct which prevent their peers from exploring their curiosity. And yes, many fathers, husbands, bosses and male sexual partners have an agenda that includes exploiting and abusing women. Many fathers are as terrified of their daughter's blossoming sexuality as are their mothers.
In such a climate of fear, it is not surprising that many women choose roles in which they are abused, perhaps because they know nothing else, or perhaps because they are tricked and terrified into silence.
The Venus-Vesta-Ixion conjunction occurs in Sagittarius, which is the sign of the priesthood. Are we being called to awaken to a certain condition of "spiritual teaching" that perpetuates these roles as well -- church or mosque doctrine that calls on women to ignore their deeper intuitive knowledge in favor of dogma? While the Men of War rape and pillage, and bomb children, so many women stand mute and helpless. One can only be a victim so long before becoming a perpetrator.
Eclipses represent breaks in continuity. An eclipse in (the fixed sign) Taurus can certainly represent a change in a stuck or stubborn values system, or the beginnings of such a shift, values which include women's self-perception, their role in the community, their role with one another, and their experience of men. There is a little message tagged into this chart (some degrees later in Sagittarius, near the galactic core) in the form of an exact conjunction between Sappho (the first Lesbian poet) and Pluto (an evolutionary or soul imperative). I read this as a message for women to consider their soul's calling to be closer to one another. It is an offering to honor, respect and experience one another's sexuality as a valid expression of life force, into which young women need to be properly initiated -- not banished or shamed away from.
Let's consider one last factor. The symbol for the degree where all Venus, Vesta and Ixion align is the 8th degree of Sagittarius, which says, "Within the Earth, new elements are being forged." ++
Planet Waves by Eric Francis
Birthdays This Week | If it feels like your birthday write-up, it is.
What is true for you is true for many. You are allowed to say "We" with no remorse.
Are you really torn between two situations, two people, two lives, two entirely different states of mind? If so, how different are they, really? And do they not have one thing in common, specifically, YOU? I thought so. Remember that in the midst of all of this, you are at home, you are in the flow of your intelligence and beauty, and you know the truth about yourself. What else is it possible to do with the truth except for live it, unless you want it to be just another inert idea. There is a difference between truth and hope, and this is your moment to explain it with your actions.
Meantime, you need to do something with the fact that your oppressors seem to be falling from their towers even as you watch. You have done so much of the feeling, so much of the yearning and have at least been the one to call for a state of reality to enter the picture of the life you share. But have you noticed that the people whose only notion of power is control have death in their hearts and not love? You cannot change that. But you can go your own way and honor your life by living and breathing into every moment.
No, this is not an especially emotionally stable time. Yes, it is sometimes frightening to feel your power. Feeling who you are inside is a lot different than feeling your potential. Potential is for wimps. Reaching to the hot core of your heart, daring to be inconsistent, risking pain for the sake of celebration, pleasure and love -- these actions wrest creativity from the hands of darkness and pour it into the light. Freedom is the freedom to fail.
Aries (March 20-April 19)
When young Tarot practitioners tell me they feel uncomfortable accepting money for doing something that's supposed to help people, I ask whether they think the only thing they should get paid for is hurting and cheating people. You're at the breakthrough point of where your spiritual gift meets your ability to put your imagination to work supporting yourself, but here's an extra clue. What if success is not about 'selling yourself' but rather, about participating in the culture? You are a legitimate member of society no matter how strange you think you are. You've gathered a lot of energy in the past two months; now its time to put it to work.
Taurus (April 19-May 20)
A measure of rare and supreme intelligence should allow you to see the qualities and issues of your current dilemma -- quite enough to show the path to freedom, and also to point out the ways in which you are, for the moment, trapped by complex circumstances. But to the extent you see what is holding you back, you can work your way through it. The worst traps and prisons are the ones we don't know we're in. It may be a tough call determining who is your ally in this matter. It is unlikely to be an unresponsive party, or a severely wounded one. More likely, it's someone invisible, in the deep background.
Gemini (May 20-June 21)
Both domestic issues and your career crisis begin to come unstuck this week, but it would be unwise to apply any unnecessary pressure to the situation. We are very much at a 'let it work out' stage in the astrological history of the year. The order of operation needs to begin at home, then extend outward. For once, you may find that your feelings actually respond to getting them in order, as does your material life. Every time you're tempted to take a shortcut, stop there and do the job the right way. In the process of organizing yourself you are likely to stumble on a creative or professional breakthrough. Read every scrap.
Cancer (June 21-July 22)
Your life will respond very well to gestures of housecleaning, improving or rearranging your home, and any concrete gesture to yourself that increases your security. That includes anything at all to beautify your environment and adapt to the changing season, because if one thing is true for Cancer, it is that an aesthetically pleasing environment is one that reminds you that you belong on the planet . Even if you do nothing in the material world to shape or craft your life this week, knowing what makes you feel safe will help you feel safe. In truth, it is less about the locks on your door and more about the fire in your heart.
Leo (July 22-Aug 23)
A taboo is a prohibition "excluding something from use, approach or mention because of its sacred and inviolable nature." In a culture where nothing is sacred, we think we have no taboos. Look around you -- take your time, too, because most taboos are very nearly invisible; the concept itself precludes their mention, after all. There are plenty of them in our world and in your world, and this is your time to take back the power they withhold from you. You will see that they exist, for the most part, in relationship agreements involving sex, money and power. Most are simply limits on your life force.
Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22)
Leadership is subtle. In truth, one leads by living, and those who follow -- that is, those who show up for your life -- are those whom you are leading. It is a much more equal endeavor than, for example, a Bush or Cheney might have us think. We are both teacher to and student of those who follow our example. But most important, a true leader must learn from herself and follow his own example. If there is any hypocrisy, it needs to be acknowledged, put on the table and offered to the healing process of which this all is part. Perhaps you have heard all of this before, but the planets speak louder than words.
Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23)
This is your season, and the current new moon in your birth sign is sending you a message to celebrate your life and your connections to the people around you. As autumn's child knows, much of life is poignant and bittersweet, and those who deny themselves the experience of authentic sadness miss the experience of true joy. Life is not so much about finding a balance but rather about letting what is be what is. If you feel like you're caught between two extremes, look directly between the two fields of experience you see as the only possibility. In that direction you're likely to meet an idea or experience that takes you far beyond mundane sadness and joy.
Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22)
I have a hunch you're still trying to get yourself out of a relationship model that has dogged you for aeons. But have you noticed the involvement of previous generations and their either merciless or secretive conditioning of your emotions to withstand discomfort? Have you tracked the ways that addiction patterns shaped your parents' and grandparents' idea of 'love'? You need a lot more creative freedom in your life and in your idea of romance. One of the most lovable things about humanity is its diversity, and one of the most lovable things about you is your ability to embrace so many different kinds of people, and kinds of love.
Sagittarius (Nov. 22 - Dec. 22)
You may be tempted to withhold the truth from yourself regarding an emotional crisis or domestic situation that has proven to be frustrating you for quite some time. The problem as it appears astrologically is that you have two distinct regions of feeling on this matter, and they may well be quite opposite one another. Emotional paradoxes are among the most unpleasant kind. But I would propose, if you've been wrestling with this for longer than you feel comfortable admitting, that you look within for where you're attempting to control the situation by controlling your feelings and you'll come up with a solution that finally allows you to breathe.
Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20)
Extraordinary circumstances in one particular relationship are summoning you to awaken to an aspect of yourself you have long doubted even exists. That aspect is a lot closer to your core essence than you may as yet recognize; the more strange or unfamiliar you feel at the moment, the greater chance you've made contact with something long-sought within yourself. You may have had your doubts about whether it was right to experience other people as a means of getting closer to yourself. Yet there are certain experiences it's only possible to share, and these are all the more precious after long periods of solitude.
Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19)
It is easier to assume nothing is important, to you or to the world, and while certain people can deceive themselves in this way, suddenly what is important to you matters more than ever. Yet still there's a little gap between who you know you are and the ability to express your core values in every facet of your life. You are likely to be presuming you need additional time to review matters before stating your case openly, or that you've been summoned back to the theoretical world for additional training and contemplation. No such thing is true. Doubt is good as far as it goes; at a certain point, daring must seize the day.
Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20)
In the end, counsels J.R.R. Tolkien in the Silmarillion, be glad that even the least of your worldly desires comes to fruition. This week Mars does something extraordinarily rare: it ends its long retrograde in the first degree of Pisces. Between now and Dec. 16, the planet of passion and desire will cross the entirety of your sign in a slow, careful and deliberate sweep across the natal Sun of every Pisces ever born. This bestows intention, energy, clarity, the quest for freedom and, more than anything, the power and focus to shape your life. The very greatest of your desires may not come to fruition in this time, but I'm holding out faith.
Planet Waves Weekly and PlanetWaves.net 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 monthly. 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.