Friday, May 26, 2017

Arty Farty Friday ~ John Baldessari

Link to examples of his work via Google Image.


Fairly unusual natal chart - for one who seems to be a fairly unusual type of guy!

If it were not for Chiron and Moon's Node being included, here, there'd be no "soft" or harmonious aspects between planets in his nativity. One might suppose, then, that the owner of such a chart would be a bit of a hard-head, a tad obtuse, and not likely to suffer fools.

The over-riding T-square shows up even more plainly in Astrodatabank's image of his chart - see HERE.

His planets, apart from Saturn, are grouped in one half of the zodiac circle, between Aries and Virgo - a chart pattern known as a "bucket" or "funnel". Saturn is the handle or funnel in Mr Baldessari's case. If the majority of planets' reflections are to be translated through Saturn, then, we'd expect to find a hard-edged character, not afraid of work, not particularly worried about "fitting in", with a keen eye to business. I don't know how well that describes this artist. From his photographs I don't sense that - I sense more of a "puckish" but kindly nature - and that would be typical of a Gemini/Cancer blend, which is, indeed, present in his chart.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Wondering about an astro-culprit...

During the past few weeks I've been struggling, with assistance of our doctor, to get my high blood pressure back in check. It started to spike for no particular reason towards the end of April. New medication has taken its time to become effective, so the intermediate weeks became a wee bit stressful. Things eventually took a turn for the better. I'm hoping that the additional meds have begun to kick-in - the process takes time, it seems.

It's a little spooky to me (though likely not to any proper astrologer) that these problems were happening as transiting Uranus (ruler of my Aquarius Sun) has been conjunct my natal Moon at around 24/25 Aries for a while, and was joined for a spell by transiting Mercury. That "double-dose" might have been the astro-culprit. Mercury has been moving away for a while now, as things have improved. Coincidence? Maybe - maybe not. Uranus will hang around natal Moon for some time yet, including a retrograde phase, prolonging potential for change.

Evidence of equilibrium returning, in the circulation of blood department, inspired a re-hash of a brief piece from a few years ago:-

Something to ponder upon from Ralph Waldo Emerson, poet, essayist, and founder of the Trancendentalist movement in the USA.

He was born on 25 May 1803 at 3:15PM in Boston, Ma. His natal chart is available at Astrodatabank HERE. It's a nicely balanced natal chart element, mode and polarity-wise; it's appropriate that he sensed the equilibrium in nature, as expressed in the following extract.

From CONDUCT OF LIFE by Ralph Waldo Emerson, a collection of lectures first delivered between 1851 and 1852 reiterating Emerson's beliefs about fate, power, wealth, and worship, among other topics.
Beautiful as is the symmetry of any form, if the form can move we seek a more excellent symmetry. The interruption of equilibrium stimulates the eye to desire the restoration of symmetry, and to watch the steps through which it is attained. This is the charm of running water, sea waves, the flight of birds and the locomotion of animals. This is the theory of dancing, to recover continually in changes the lost equilibrium, not by abrupt and angular but by gradual and curving movements....This fact suggests the reason of all mistakes and offence in our own modes. It is necessary in music, when you strike a discord, to let down the ear by an intermediate note or two to the accord again: and many a good experiment, born of good sense and destined to succeed, fails only because it is offensively sudden....To this streaming or flowing belongs the beauty that all circular movement has; as the circulation of waters, the circulation of the blood, the periodical motion of planets, the annual wave of vegetation, the action and reaction of nature; and if we follow it out, this demand in our thought for an ever onward action is the argument for the immortality.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Mercurial Ponderings

I've often wondered why Mercury doesn't "rule" or govern all the Air signs - Gemini, Aquarius and Libra. The Air element is thought to be the most mentally related of the four astrological elements: Earth, Water, Fire and Air.

In an obtuse version of astrological rulerships, Saturn would rule Earth signs: Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn. Fire signs - Aries, Leo, Sagittarius - would be ruled by Mars. Water signs - Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces - by Venus. But then, what would be left for Jupiter to do? Jupiter would have to rule over-all, in true Jupiterian expansionist fashion. It would be acceptable for Sun and Moon not to have rulerships, they are different from the planets. The outer planets, Uranus Neptune and Pluto, are too far away to rule anything, they simply make themselves felt in transit.

Everything we humans do is initiated in the brain, even what seem like emotional responses, though colored by Moon and the Watery element, actually do begin in the mental realm. We ought to pay more attention to Mercury in the natal chart, in fact as much attention as is paid to Sun, Moon and ascendant. (My personal opinion).

Planet Mercury, ruler of mental processes, really does have influence over everything in human life. It travels so fast, no time to make its individual transits felt, but it very frequently touches everything in the charts of all of us. Mercury's journey around the Sun takes 88 days, whereas Saturn's takes over 29 years.

Mercury's rulership of Gemini could hardly be more fitting. Gemini is known as the consummate communicator, teacher, the all-round information collector. Mercury's rulership of Virgo initially seems to be a rather strange pairing. Strict, structure-loving Saturn would seem more compatible with perfection-seeking Virgo. However, as ruler of Virgo, another side of Mercury is reflected, a less abstract, more tangible side. Virgo seeks and usually achieves near perfection in just about anything undertaken. Gemini roves around in the world of words and ideas, gathering them together, regurgitating them, sometimes in light-weight easily accessible fashion, offering them to an enthusiastic audience. Virgo is quite capable of doing this too, but with a far greater emphasis on extreme accuracy and careful presentation - a serious, in depth, approach.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Music Monday's Story of Persistence Paying Off

Leading character in The Founder, a movie we rented on DVD last week, stated at the end of the film, when asked what was the secret of his success, as good advice for anyone looking to do likewise, said: "Persistence - persistence is what you need!" Wondering which song might echo that thought for Music Monday, passing over Taking Care of Business, I thought of Aerosmith and Steven Tyler and Dream On:

Every time when I look in the mirror
All these lines on my face getting clearer
The past is gone
It went by, like dusk to dawn
Isn't that the way
Everybody's got the dues in life to pay
I know nobody knows
Where it comes and where it goes
I know it's everybody sin
You got to lose to know how to win

Dream on
Dream on

The Founder: a bio-pic on Ray Kroc, they guy we have to thank for the spread, and spread.... and spread of those famous, but now oft despised, Golden Arches.

Michael Keaton plays the man himself, and does it with the subtlety and skill his fans have come to expect. We enjoyed the film. Perhaps Mr Kroc was dealt with in too kind a light in places, for he did leave behind him a few broken hearts - and yet, one could also see how things might have been different, if... lots of what ifs!

Ray Kroc said he owed all of his successes to his persistence - dreaming on in face of huge difficulties, he reached even further than I suspect even he had ever dreamed. I couldn't dislike him from this depiction, though had a different actor been in the leading role, I might have felt differently.

I knew Ray Kroc's story before seeing the movie, having researched and written a blog post about Kroc several years ago, and posted it more than once, in 2007 then in 2012, see here:


“I like people who level with me and speak their minds. I always say exactly what I think; it’s a trait that’s gotten me in trouble plenty of times, but I never have problems getting to sleep at night with a guilty conscience. That’s why I could never be a politician”

I never considered my dreams wasted energy; they were invariably linked to some form of action. When I dreamed about having a lemonade stand, for example, it wasn't long before I set up a lemonade stand."

-- Ray Kroc

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Tree No More

Around the house we bought in 2005 there were some b-i-ig trees. There were two Maples in the front yard, and another had been removed, we've been told, before we moved in. In the backyard were three huge Cottonwoods, a Mimosa tree and an old, gnarled fruit tree. The latter pair had to be removed early on, due to disease or nuisance value. As of last week, we now have no trees at all. One by one the lovely trees have needed to be felled, due either to disease, fungi, ice storms, or drought effects.

It was the sound of whispering Cottonwood leaves that encouraged us to buy this house - husband used to say that it reminded him of his childhood home, Cottonwoods had whispered to him there, too. The trees were old, probably, before these houses were built, they had formed part of the groups of big trees in the pasture adjoining our back fence.

Last of our trees to go was the third Cottonwood, it stood near to our shed and house; it had, over time, listed even nearer towards the shed and house, dangerously so, as well as being close to the house next door. It was riddled with some problem which caused it to begin shedding its leaves soon after they blossomed. We hated to lose our last tree, had tried to save it by special treatments, but were unable to do so. The house roof had long benefited from the tree's shade, cutting down heat from the worst of summer's sun. In the end, in the midst of tornado season, there was nothing for it but the felling.

The job took several days, with a necessary break due to windy or wet weather. Now the tree has gone, its stump carefully ground down.

We've just bought two Redbud trees for the front yard, the tree farm guy will plant them for us, probably on Monday, weather permitting. We planted a Crepe Myrtle bush in the backyard, some years ago, almost lost that due to ice and/or drought, but it has, eventually survived. We also planted a very pretty Smoke Tree in the front yard, but it succumbed to an ice storm. On the plus side, a Mimosa tree has grown up just outside of our back fence, we've watched it grow from a tiny seedling bush; in just a few years it has reached the phone/cable lines above - it's likely spawn of the Mimosa tree once living in our yard.

A handful of photos of the recent "tree job" - a job not for the faint-hearted I reckon!

Friday, May 19, 2017

Arty Farty Friday ~ Goya's Ghosts

I haven't ever blogged about famous Spanish painter, Francisco de Goya, I but last week we saw a movie with Goya as a pivotal character. A loose, mainly fictionalised story of one part of the painter's life is told in Goya's Ghosts - now available on Netflix.

Goya's Ghosts, a 2006/7 film, was co-written and directed by Milos Forman (famous for One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and Amadeus, among other movies.) Natalie Portman, Javier Bardem, Stellan Skarsgård and Randy Quaid are main characters. The film's story centres, not entirely on Goya's artistry, though that is a facet in the storyline; at the story's heart is the utter cruel inhumanity and injustice of The Spanish Inquisition (that thing that nobody expected!) Wink.

A local beauty, played by Natalie Portman, frequent model used by Goya, is one day hauled in front of church dignitaries to answer for the reason she refused to eat pork, part of the menu at a local tavern. She responds that she doesn't like pork's taste - a reply that meets with little acceptance. She is taken away for torture and ends up incarcerated in filthy, horrible conditions for the next 15 years, on the pretext that she adheres to Judaism. She descends into madness, for reasons I'll not reveal.

The film's main baddie, apart from leading church dignitaries who tortured and incarcerated the girl, is a priest called Lorenzo - a 24 carat hypocrite if ever there was one. I'll not spoil the tale any further.

We enjoyed the film, it's a quality production with excellent acting by all.
Interesting piece about Goya's Ghosts, at Time Magazine, by Richard Schickel.

In Milos Forman's film (which he co-wrote with Jean-Claude Carriere, the great French screenwriter, perhaps most famous for his collaborations with Luis Bunuel) Goya's escapist politics is another sign of his modernism. The great artists of the 20th Century sympathized with "progressive" causes, but rarely played a heroic role in them. But the entire film is less an exercise in historicism (though the portrait of the painter is accurate enough, as is the depiction of historical events, the story is pure fiction) than it is an elaborate analogy with our own times. This is quite understandable — Forman lost his parents to the Nazi concentration camps and came of age in Communist-ruled Czechoslovakia, and he has long needed to address the issues that shaped his life in a movie. .............
In his last paragraph he writes
What I found myself thinking about, curiously enough, was Les Miserables. Whether you steal some bread or casually decline a slice of pork, in certain situations terrible consequences can ensue from such seeming inconsequences — not to mention a narrative of epic proportions.
Yes, I also thought about the first part of Ben Hur - the accidental fall of a tile sent Judah Ben Hur to the galleys.


Francisco de Goya. Self portrait.

For any passing astrology fan, Goya's natal chart is at Astrodatabank, HERE. As well as painting portraits, in later life he produced some much darker stuff, no doubt echoes of The Inquisition, as well as depicting the horrors of war.

For a look at some of his work, a good place to begin is Google Image, HERE.