Sunset over St. Louis, Libra Sun, 2002. Photo by Richard Walker

Oh, Two

The Year in Review
December 2002 Horoscopes

Planet Waves by Eric Francis

There are many ways of reckoning the year. For a few different cultures, the Sun's cycle is said to turn over in November, after Samhain (near the Day of the Dead, when the veils between the worlds are said to be the thinnest) and by some accounts in late November. For example, in the Celtic system (largely identified with the Pagan loremasters of the Scottish and Irish cultures, perhaps originating in Russia) the current Elder Tree month is the time to prepare for the next year. The day after the 'Elder Moon' is a day that belongs to no month (falling this year on Nov. 26), a solemn day known as the Feast of Potential or the Secret of the Unhewn Stone.

The annual horoscope cycle begins at the Vernal Equinox, the first day of Spring in the northern hemisphere, when the Sun enters the sign Aries (this is midnight sidereal time, a system in which the year is mathematically divided into '24 hours'). For the Chinese and other Asian cultures, the year begins on the first New Moon after the first Full Moon after the Winter Solstice. In Western culture, we begin the year near the Winter Solstice (or Summer Solstice in the southern hemisphere). The Roman year used to begin in the Spring, but Julius or somebody moved it up to Jan. 1 for a reason I knew but is currently eluding my brain and Google (same difference); the reason something bureaucratic or egotistical, same difference. (I did find this, however.)

In any event, our calendar year ends and recycles fairly soon and I'm pretty happy with the arrangement that this event arrives with the Sun near its solstice point and beginning its southward slide along the horizon. It seems like a natural enough turning point for the four seasons, and as such, I offer my year-in-review horoscope. -- e.f.

The 2003 Annual Horoscope is scheduled for posting around Dec. 11. The expanded version is available on CD -- check in at this link. And if you haven't subscribed to the weekly horoscope newsletter, here's your chance!

Also -- prospective clients wishing to be on the waiting list for Eric's astrology work next year may do so simply by emailing

Aries (March 20-April 21)
By now you are probably getting a sense of just how much support you have on accomplishing your most cherished goals, and how deeply this process is going to change your way of being, from the inside to the out. The demand, on the other hand, appears to be the extent to which all the affairs of this world require an exchange. And while that exchange does not necessarily call for sacrifice, it's presently beckoning a more total commitment than you've ever known. But the key, at the moment, is looking closely at what you are requiring of yourself versus what is being required of you by others. The distinctions may be subtle, and they're changing. Yet what's clear is that you have what it takes to allow viable, mutually profitable transactions to happen in your life. And it's also glaringly obvious -- from these charts, anyway -- that whatever it is, it's spiritual.
Taurus (April 21-May 20)
Power is an alien feeling to the weak. Yet at this juncture, I imagine it's not an entirely alien feeling to you, because you're cultivating your strength. Generally, we are weak or strong in the context of relationships. This is a fact so obvious that it's extremely easy to miss. Relationships either strengthen or weaken us. They affirm or deny our true essence; they affirm or deny our selflove. This year concludes with a profound experience of defining yourself in the context of other people, and learning how to hold that shape, sense or guiding feeling in your awareness. You may feel dismayed at the extent to which you must define yourself within the context of others, yet that's far more important than living in the context of others and not doing so. I would be very surprised to hear, two years down the road, that the events of the past 12 months, and more accurately, the past two, did not provide you with something rare, precious and utterly necessary that you'll treasure forever.
Gemini (May 20-June 21)
I have said a number of times that the past two years have been a time of reconciling opposites, of coming to terms with yourself, and so on. But reconciling what? And coming to which terms? Let's consider the ideas authorship and authority. They are the same word in different forms. As children, we are under the authority of older and more powerful people, and they take authorship of this. They do it in conscious overt ways, and they do it in the most subtle, emotional ways imaginable. Much of it happens before we know words or think of ourselves as a self. It's through these very interchanges that the concept of self, that is, the self-concept, identity or ego, is born. The terms to which you are coming simply involve the reconciliation between who you really are, and who that imprinted image claims you are. This is the process of you taking authority, or authorship, of yourself. It's working.
Cancer (June 21-July 22)
Nothing is more powerful than your approval of yourself. Teachers, mentors, helpers, therapists friends and love partners are vitally important because we will always resonate with their view of us, and thus learn to become like their approval or, as the case may be, their lack thereof. But at the heart of this process, we are making choices about who to accept into our lives and how to interact with them. The problem is that those choices are not always conscious; to the contrary, they are often automatic. In looking back over the past four seasons of your life, I suggest you check out who those people are, how they have impacted you and what you have learned. In particular, I suggest you look closely at the personal injuries you have sustained, and see what they have given you in terms of awareness, power and a sense of your limits. Because you need to know your limits in order to exceed them.
Leo (July 22-Aug. 22)
Unless we become as little children, we can never be free from the past. This is because most of the past we are seeking to be free of unfolded when we were little children, when we were our most impressionable and our most trusting. To heal that pain, we need to rediscover those seemingly rare qualities. I wonder: how are you doing? How are the Lessons of Life impacting you, affecting you or drawing you out? Are you using them as an excuse to allow yourself deeper faith, or as a cause for alarm and the construction of new armoring? There is a rather bold statement in the end-of-year astrology, which reminds us that the so-called spiritual path for Leo is play, be it creative or recreative. Play, that is, indulging your imagination in the impossible, requires trust. Reach for it now and you'll feel it light up your heart.
Virgo (Aug. 22-Sep. 22)
The astonishing pressure that Virgos are put under to be appropriate, servile and intellectual does not necessarily represent the actual child you once were, no matter how far back into your past those character traits may seem to reach. Kids are more flexible, curious and diverse than almost any of their adult counterparts. Chiron's activity in Capricorn has presented some kind of adventure of exploring the original seed of your being, in many senses of the words. But along the way, those old apparatus of adulthood must be dismantled. And the deep emotions of one so long imprisoned by concepts and rules can tend toward rage and disquieting passion. Those feelings contain great power and enormous information, in particular, pointing toward a process of integrating the fragmented ideas of 'professional' and 'creative' that we both know go a lot better together.
Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23)
If we can say nothing else about the year you have grown into and finally grown through, it's that you're able to proceed forward with a new-found confidence in who you are. Most people struggle with a situation in which their outer choices rarely match their inner values. The passage of time and your choice to understand yourself on the deepest levels available makes such a prospect far less likely for you. Deeper is the direction of choice for the foreseeable future. What it feels like you're now completing is really a phase you have just begun, though the experiences of the past three months will provide something of a scale model of what you may be working with during the next 18 months. At least you know one thing. It's crucial that you test any choice against your deeper sentiments. And a second, that any decision you make allows you room to grow. I say three sizes.
Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22)
All the water signs (Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces) experience a special type of what is termed in current psychosocial hip-hip a boundary issue. That is because water signs live to feel, and their tendency toward feeling always goes to the psychic levels. And feeling by its nature involves experiencing the emotions of others. We may whine, as may the world: where do I begin and you end? But something has happened to you in recent months that has taken this phenomenon to a level beyond reproach, and I think it warrants the Astrology of the Year award. My sense is that you've had moments where there is no separation whatsoever between you and the people closest to you. As well, the phenomenon has worked with time: past, present and future have (again, at certain moments of clarity) soaked into one color. You may not have these powers available all the time, but I don't think you'll ever forget what you've learned.
Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22)
What happens next will provide you with a crucial measure of what you've accomplished in the past seven years. It's not a final exam, however. It is a midterm. This will likely reveal the influences of a far broader paradigm of change and the cycles of life than a single year, or even seven. We could reasonably say that the coming month will be your most accurate measure in many moons of where you stand with your total agenda for this lifetime. Also think of it as a concentration of time, when minutes count for hours and days for years. The choices you make, the observations you record and the goals you set forth will be pivotal decisions that shape your world for as long as you are here. This may sound ominous. But it's always worthy to live your life now as if your choices really matter.
Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20)
Our current year has differed from any in your life in that Chiron has begun its four-year journey across your birth sign. This represents what you might call a contact point with the primary issues of existence, which tend to be the matters that are the most often ignored in our culture. So it wouldn't surprise me if anyone lacked the least clue of what I refer to when I say that you're in an extended phase of your life when you're claiming your right to exist. I suggest you consider any struggles of the past year, and any triumphs, and the great diversity of experiences in-between, within the context of this idea. Remember that much of what we call growth simply involves growing beyond the limits our parents set upon themselves, and that have been imposed on them by antiquity. And to be free of what's not ours does in fact begin with a choice.
Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19)
Aquarius is considered to have two rulers, the traditional (Saturn) and the modern (Uranus). Both are nearing the end of a cycle through a zodiac sign; Saturn is now in late Gemini and Uranus is in late Aquarius, and both planets will change signs next year, rather rare events. The best advice that any astrologer could offer is to wrap up current business, in preparation for a whole new reality unfolding. The second best advice would be to work with both the energy of tradition and form, and the energy of innovation and invention. Indeed, you could learn a lot from your efforts of the past year to do just that, assessing your successes and your challenges. Aquarius is often viewed as an innovative energy -- the "sign of the future." But it's a fixed sign, and we both know how strong and how frustrating that fixity really can be. But the charge of the Goddess is clear: Become a master of change, for change is upon you.
Pisces (Feb. 19-Mar. 20)
Your professional life is one of the most important holograms of your total existence that there is, with one exception. The series of eclipses across your career angle (Sagittarius), culminating with a thunderous total solar eclipse on Dec. 4, has opened the way to something vastly different than you've ever known. Remember, though, that eclipses were long viewed by astrology as catastrophic blights, not growth thresholds or passageways to something better. It's likely that this struggle between an older worldview and a new one is saturating your thinking. Asteroid activity around the eclipse repeats this message: it's the story of the pain that makes us human (Psyche), versus the invention that solves the whole problem (Urania). Now for the exception. Careers are fulfilling, but what you truly need in your life is what you can see, hear, touch, taste and smell. You are a fish, and fish need water.
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Space graphic above from the Rosette Nebula in Hydrogen, Oxygen, and Sulfur.
Credit: T. A. Rector, B. Wolpa, M. Hanna.