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On Thursday Oct 23, there will be an interesting solar return which points to new beginnings for the next year. Looks like this one will be a little unusual. Enjoy the readAll Roads Lead to Scorpio

Dear Friend and Reader:

Next week we have one of the most interesting astrological days I've ever seen. On the morning of Thursday, Oct. 23, the Moon, Venus and the Sun are in Libra. By that evening, all three have moved into Scorpio, and then there will be an eclipse of the Sun conjunct Venus.

Planet Waves
Photo by Eric Francis.
This is what I call a proving moment -- an opportunity to see astrology display its properties in real time, in real life. What will change that day? What that is hidden will reveal itself? By proving I don't mean 'proof positive'. I mean a demonstration of what is possible. There are actually a few of those moments in the neighborhood right now.

Libra and Scorpio present a vivid contrast of energies. That is a characteristic of adjoining signs -- they change element, as well as type of sign (Libra is cardinal; Scorpio is fixed). In many ways adjoining signs are more opposite than opposite signs. Libra is an air sign, ruled by Venus. Scorpio is a water sign, ruled by Mars.

With three planets crossing that imaginary line, followed by a solar eclipse, that's a lot of momentum moving in the direction of Scorpio. This will help shift the discussion, I think it will precipitate events, and I think it will describe a psychological pattern that we'll be living with for a while.

Let's track events leading up to that transition. Today, Mercury is conjunct the Sun. Classical astrology calls this the inferior conjunction. I call it the interior conjunction because 1) it's not inferior, it is equal to any other conjunction; and 2) Mercury is passing exactly between the Earth and the Sun, which describes it being interior to the solar system and symbolically, to human experience. The retrograde itself is saying look within.

The Mercury-Sun conjunction is the midpoint, or halfway point, of Mercury retrograde. Mercury will station direct Oct. 25.

At the moment, Mercury, the Sun and Venus are in a close opposition to Eris -- the Pluto-like object discovered orbiting the Sun in January 2005. Technically, Eris is one of the first three dwarf planets ever designated, the others being Ceres and Pluto. Eris was the discovery that compelled astronomers to define the term planet. It was the first wide-scale, public acknowledgment of the existence of minor planets.

Planet Waves
Photo by Eric Francis.
Eris is a very slow mover, on trip through Aries that lasts more than a century. Eris describes our era in history perfectly -- a time of global chaos, with a militaristic emphasis, reflected in inner confusion.

It also speaks of social upheaval, and rearranging the known social order, though this can and at times has worked in constructive ways. In some respects Eris is akin to a hyper-potent Uranus. (Notably, Uranus and Eris are close to a conjunction, which will be exact in 2016-2017. I consider this a major subject area and will be returning to it shortly. If this rare conjunction is exact in less than two years, we are under its influence today.)

Eris has many properties, too many to get into here. If you're curious, you can read some social history of second-wave feminism (symbolized by the Chiron-Eris conjunction of the early 1970s) in a Planet Waves article called Dancing With Discord. Eris active in the sky can arrive with feminist breakthroughs. During the era of the most recent Uranus-Eris conjunction in Aries (1927-1928), women won the right to vote in many countries, including the United States.

With the Sun and two inner planets opposite Eris, it's time to observe this factor, though I also think time to proceed with care and caution. Chaos is contagious, and for many people it's a political and economic commodity. Stand back and observe, and most of all, observe yourself. With retrograde Mercury in Libra, there is the caution that gossip, rumors and loose lips in any form can be especially destructive.

Friday, Oct. 17, there is an unusual manifestation of this pattern -- a conjunction of Mercury and Venus, exactly opposite Eris. It's unusual to have two inner planets and an outer planet align to within one degree; that precision contains a message.

It also reflects something of the constantly shifting mental and emotional landscape that defines our moment. The message may include an idea about how to get an accurate or at least useful perspective on how to handle the ongoing stress of existence, and of the necessity to make changes.

Planet Waves
Photo by Eric Francis.
That, at least, is a description of the emotional and mental state of those of us in the West. Throughout many parts of the world, existence is descending into utter chaos that is showing no signs of being brought under control.

Notably, one of the strongest patterns in the sky right now is a grand fire trine, which may be another way of saying fire burning out of control. All the fire signs have significant activity -- Uranus, the South Node and Eris in Aries; the Moon and Jupiter in an exact conjunction in Leo tomorrow; and the Mars-Pholus-Ixion alignment in Sagittarius that has been a point of both focus and aggravation for the past few weeks.

Mars is not done with its trip through Sagittarius. Its most significant moment is yet to come -- when Mars aligns with the Galactic Core on Oct. 22. Here we have Mars, the god of war, aligning with what is, in my view, the most potent spiritual homing signal in the sky.

It would be lovely if this could signal an end to war. I think that one possibility is some admission, however vague, that war is a serious problem. It hurts and impoverishes people, burns up the natural environment, enriches those with evil intentions; it destroys infrastructure needed (for example) in an epidemic and it stands as our worst global infection; our worst global blight. Yet we still glorify it in movie after movie, and in endless video games whose theme is destruction.

All of these astrological events (for example, the Eris alignments) happen with the Sun still in Libra. Then we experience the unusual day of Oct. 23, in a strange, volatile time of history -- with wars raging in Iraq and Syria, and the Ukraine; with Gaza lying in ruins; and with a deadly outbreak of ebola happening in Africa. Ebola poses less of a physical threat to Americans and Europeans and more of a psychic threat (a vast energy waste of fear) and also a warning.

It's a warning about what our health system is not presently capable of handling. What we have seen happen with the entire ebola situation in the U.S. is a case of Murphy's Third Law: If anything can go wrong it will, from the initial botched intake of Thomas Duncan, to the lack of any protocols at all, to the CDC allowing a nurse who had attended him to get on an airplane with a fever.

Planet Waves
Photo by Eric Francis.
In a society like the U.S., ebola is containable -- if all the hard-learned lessons and their accompanying rules are followed. There are other pathogens that are far less forgiving; far more virulent. We are all, as in all of us, going to need to learn about this and learn what to do when faced with a situation. (Washing hands regularly with soap and water, not smearing on some hand sanitizer, would be a fantastic start.)

In the United States, we are in the last days of a federal election where control of the Senate hangs in the balance. That is to say that there are races so close as to be a statistical tie. In the United States, the Senate is crucial because it approves all judicial nominations. In my opinion that comes down to one issue -- the reproductive rights of women.

The Supreme Court has already cashed in and allowed corporations unlimited influence in elections, in the form of money as free speech. The Voter Act was gutted last year, which has sold out the rights of African Americans and other minorities, who are always the focus of voter suppression.

What we now have is Roe v. Wade hanging by a thread. This is not merely about the right to abortion; it's about the right of women to have control over their bodies [if this topic interests you, please see my article A Fine Line: Roe v. Wade].

As I have said many times and will say again, if abortion is illegal then every miscarriage becomes a potential murder scene. That is to say, in some places, if a pregnancy ends naturally, which happens frequently, there are prosecutors who would indeed put the woman on trial for the crime of abortion, which we are being told over and over again is murder.

There was one encouraging development this week -- the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday blocking a Texas federal appeals court from shutting down numerous abortion clinics in that state. The most encouraging part was that Justice Anthony Kennedy and Chief Justice John Roberts joined the majority in allowing the clinics to stay open while the case is litigated.

So-called social conservatives are also closing in on the right to birth control, as evidenced in many decisions, most particularly the absurd Hobby Lobby decision, which in effect granted corporations the right to religious freedom.

Perhaps the most meaningful question we can ask is: how do we survive and preserve our humanity through these times? Exactly how strong do we have to be, to meet the challenges of our own lives and also to take up the community causes -- name any one? If all of this leaves you with a heavy feeling, wishing you could crawl back into bed, you're not alone.

Planet Waves
Photo by Eric Francis.
I think we all must find our ways to be strong, for ourselves and for one another. And we must do this in a time when we are already worn down by so much negativity, by the constant assault on humanity and our humanity.

I do not, however, think that the answer lies in tuning out the problems. Denial is merely palliative, and allows the problems to rage on and the grief to go unaddressed. It may seem convenient to ignore something, or to say you cannot pay attention because it's too difficult, though that process consumes considerable energy.

There's another position of just celebrate how wonderful life is, and remember that none of that other stuff really affects you (unless, of course, it does).

It's essential to celebrate the beauty of life every day and every hour if you can, and if you remember -- that is why we are here. But now we have another responsibility, another task at hand, which may be celebrating the beauty of taking charge of our situation -- the beauty of growing up. Denying that, pretending nothing but individual happiness matters, is a popular stance -- and to me seems palliative and narcissistic. It seems like what got us into this mess; and as everyone who has been through a flood, a forest fire, a drought or any similar situation knows, we actually do live in the world.

It is clear that we need a whole new mode of response, which allows us to take care of ourselves as we take care of others and do what we can for the wider world. We need to address the past, the present and the future, seemingly in one gesture. It would be fair to say that this is an impossible situation, one larger than we can handle. That is calling for a spiritual approach if anything is.

It's just that God has such a bad name these days. And human intelligence is so often overlooked or undermined. I believe that we can solve these problems -- with the emphasis on WE.


Planet Waves (ISSN 1933-9135) is published each Tuesday morning and Thursday afternoon
Posted 1:48 PM

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