Thursday, November 26, 2015


I continue to look on Thanksgiving as a simple harvest festival, rather than pretending to celebrate something connected with a group of people whose attitudes I consider odious. I'll feel thankful for all that Mother Nature offers us, every day, in spite of our careless mistreatment of her.

The Puritans who travelled, under great difficulty, to these shores from my own old homeland, England, were not a set of people I'd feel comfortable with. I pity the Native tribes who first encountered them. The English Puritans were religious fundamentalists of the worst sort. They disagreed with the rituals of the Church of England , and were victims of bigotry themselves, in their own homeland. But as abuse begets abuse, so bigotry begets bigotry, and they became, if possible even worse bigots than their abusers.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Fixed Stars in Zodiac Sign Sagittarius

Continuing the series of monthly posts on Fixed Stars in each tropical zodiac sign, a look at the list for Sagittarius.

Data comes from Astroweb (HERE), showing star positions in 1900 in the left-hand column and in 2000 on the right.

Astrological interpretations for some of those stars, if found to be tightly conjunct a natal personal planet, or important point, are available online. A good, all-encompassing website to investigate for this is Constellation of Words.

 Hat-tip here for graphic

The ecliptic, apparent path of the Sun, shown as a faint dotted red line in the image above, is a circular "track" around the celestial sphere; the zodiacal belt is a region circling the celestial sphere. The circle of the ecliptic passes through the middle of the zodiacal belt. It can seem a tad confusing that some stars in our tropical zodiac sign Sagittarius are actually within the constellation of Scorpio. Modern Tropical astrological divisions of the ecliptic into 12 equal segments throws up this peculiarity. It's best, for me, just to accept it, the alternative being a move into sidereal astrology, and that would confuse the grey matter terribly!

I mentioned the Scorpio/Sagittarius confusion because the brightest star from the Sagittarius list, the one I'll scribble on about, Antares, is actually located in the constellation of Scorpio - right at the Scorpion's heart in fact! The Sagittarius Archer's arrow (and star Alnasi) points directly at Antares, and heart of the Scorpion.

Antares is a giant red star, famous as being one of the four Royal Stars of Persia(see my archived post HERE). In ancient Egypt and Greece temples were erected in ways to coincide with the star's cycles. It's thought that the star's name comes from the term Anti-Ares, i.e. similar to, or rival of Ares/Mars, possibly due to its red colour or the fact that Mars was traditionally the ruler of Scorpio.

From Skyscript
[Antares] A Royal star, likened to the influence of Mars and Jupiter, Antares offers extremes of success, good fortune, danger and malevolence. It clearly indicates the potential for great power, but where this is simply 'power of will' without integrity or wisdom, it carries the threat of ruination. Lilly warns that it can indicate a rash, head-strong person who is destructive to himself by his own obstinacy. The direction of the luminaries to this star usually indicates great honour and advancement, but always there is a warning not to fall victim to its ruthless energies. Of the Sun directed to this star Lilly writes:

It discerns many honours, if the native be careful, and be not deceived by soldiers. It doth many times produce a burning fever, or some violent act, and prejudice the right eye.

I enjoyed this relevant piece by astrologer Boots Hart at astroPPM

My single natal planet in Sagittarius is Venus at 20 degrees, conjunct Atria and Ras AlHague. What has Constellation of Words website to tell me?
Nothing for Atria: No myths or astrological interpretations are linked to these stars because Triangulum Australis was not visible to the ancients in the northern hemisphere.

For Ras Alhague ("a sapphire star on the head of the Snake Charmer" in constellation Ophiuchus) --- With Venus: Quick mind, well educated, cautious, secretive, suspicious. [Robson*, p.193.]

Anyone else have links to the Sagittarius stars?

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Any Answers?

Last week commenter "Audrey" posed a question under a 2010 post titled
Jupiter's Children (Sagittarius and Pisces).
Her question:

Sun in Pisces, Sagittarius rising is a very Jupiter ruled combination, right? How do others view a person with this combination and what are people's first impression upon meeting someone with these placements?
Anyone care to kick in with an answer?

Monday, November 23, 2015

Music Monday ~ Welcoming the Travellin' Centaur

Sun moves into Sagittarius today for a month.

Sagittarius - what's not to like!?

 Sagittarius by Erté

This is a favourite sign of mine, not least because it's a travellin' sign and I've always had itchy feet, blamed on natal Venus in Sagittarius.

A favourite song or two to welcome in the travellin' Centaur:






Saturday, November 21, 2015

Self-indulgent Saturday-Sunday #3

This third episode covers around 12 years between 1955 & 1967, following my leaving Bridlington High School (previous posts are at #1 and #2 ).
 Posing! c.1955
I coulda stayed in school for two more years, coulda then gone to university or teacher training college - coulda but didn't wanna. I wanted to earn money, see life, learn from experience, get away from regimentation, exploit my independence.

A youthful dream was to be a newspaper reporter, but living where we did, that was a forlorn hope. Second choice, and one with more chance of success: work in a library aiming to become a fully fledged librarian. I was interviewed at our County Library in Beverley, some 14 miles from home, but was unsuccessful, mainly due to my lack of work experience - my GCE academic exam qualifications well exceeded what was required. That interview did lead to another opening, and one almost tailor made for me at that time : general assistant to the County Archivist, in the County Record Office, also in Beverley. It turned out to be a fascinating job which I grew to love.

I travelled to Beverley from home by train, 5 and a half days a week. I'd been learning to type and trying to learn shorthand in evening classes and spare time for a few months. My new job wasn't simply as a typist though, that was a side-requirement. The County Archivist, Mr H. had established the County Record Office a few years earlier and was still deep in process of persuading local gentry and minor aristocracy, of which there was a goodly number in East Yorkshire, to deposit their family archives in the Record Office for safe keeping, and to be catalogued and used for research by historians and genealogists.

Mr H. was a delightful guy, I wish I had a photograph of him to share, but any I owned were lost in what I call the Great Fire of 1996. I can find no photo of him online, but did unearth a list of reference numbers to archive documents since transferred from the Beverley Record Office to the History Centre of Hull University. I noticed, with glee, that all those in second half of the list - those with prefix double D ("DD..") were those I helped to sort, catalogue, index etc. so many years ago. (See here).

Mr H's powers of persuasion worked well, our three large strongrooms soon filled with lots of valuable materials - stuff crying out for investigation and interpretation. The documents, on receipt, were often absolutely filthy, having been stored in dusty attics, or dank, musty cellars, for centuries. Our first job was to clean and sort, then Mr H. would draft entries for detailed catalogues which I would type, then stamp and number the documents, store them carefully in specially-made labelled boxes, then index and cross-index a large card index system (steam version of Google!) After the first year or so I was allowed to actually catalogue many of the later documents myself.

We had visitors to the office daily, asking to see particular documents, some were staff from County Hall - we stored all the County Council's ancient and modern records too, relating to education, highways and bridges, council meeting minutes, court records, etc etc etc. Quite frequent also were visits from out of town students, historians, and the occasional person looking for family history clues. It was part of my job to locate required documents and either log them out (modern council records) or pass them over to the researcher who would study them in an outer office.

In preparing this post I searched online for a photograph of the Record Office building, which stood next door to County Hall. To my dismay I find it has been demosished and a fancy new "Treasure House" replaces it. The old building was a single story affair, with pillared doorway (looked a bit Grecian). A corner of it can be seen on the far left in the photo of County Hall below.

The new structure is shown in an article HERE, A Diamond Anniversary for the East Riding Archives and Local Studies Service which also tells that:
There is a display in the Treasure House featuring photographs of some of the buildings the archives have been stored in and some of the staff who have helped build the service up over the years.
I doubt my photograph was there, don't recall ever having had photograph taken at work, maybe I was named as one of the early staff, there were so few of us: Mr H + one general assistant; I was that one for two separate periods of 3 years: 1955-8 and 1967-70.

After 3 happy years in the County Record Office, in 1958 my itchy feet began to tingle. I loved and respected Mr H, he'd taught me such a lot, not only about history and local history, but about poetry and politics and ....well life in general beyond what I'd experienced in my own family circle. Even so, East Yorkshire was somewhat isolated, I wanted more, began to feel trapped. Once those itchy feet began to tingle something had to give.

I don't recall what propelled me into the life of a live-in hotel receptionist, I really don't. Looking back, it seemed an unlikely next step. Perhaps, at age 19, it was the only way I could find to leave home but still have a place to live and be fed. I found an advert in some publication for a job in a North Yorkshire hotel office, was interviewed, and to my surprise was successful. The hotel was a lovely old coaching inn in a picturesque area close to the border of North Yorkshire and County Durham. From what I can glean online that hotel is now quite different in atmosphere from the Morritt Arms I knew back in the late 1950s. I guess it has been 21st-centurised, maybe now owned by an offshoot of some hotel corporation or other. There's a piece mentioning it HERE.

 As was

I spent the summer there, fell in love, for the very first time, but after a few months the object of my affection disappeared one night without any warning to me, or to the hotel owners or other staff members. A mystery! Owen was his name, he was working as general hotel dogsbody and hall porter, but really didn't seem to fit that role. He befriended me immediately, we "clicked" right away. His disappearance haunted me for years. Later on I learned, from his sister, that at the time he disappeared he had been AWOL from the RAF and had either been apprehended by the authorities, or had gone "on the run". I did, eventually, meet him again, just once - that'll likely be mentioned in #4.

 Married 1962, his pic gone.  With my  parents
The years following were filled with seasonal work in the offices of 10 different hotels around the UK - north, south, east and west. Checking around the internet for photographs of said hotels told me that all have changed almost beyond recognition. One has been taken over by Best Western, others have been tarted up to the eyeballs, extended, modernised. Inevitable, I guess. There were intervals, too, as cashier in a city restaurant, secretarial work in a Rolls Royce Gas Turbine factory, assistant in the Devonshire public transport accounts offices.

In 1960/1 I met first husband, married in 1962, separated in 1963. Tried again a little later - still didn't work. I ought not to speak ill of the dead (if he is ). I'll say only that it was because of him I got to experience Rome, twice, for several weeks; for that, and perhaps for introducing me to Sinatra's genius I have to thank him. He, Val, was Italian, sometime head waiter, sometime ordinary waiter, sometime gambler, philanderer....Enough said, for now. He was removed from the wedding photo (right) it came from my mother's collection, any photos of Val I had in my own collection were destroyed in the Great Fire.

Life as a hotel receptionist, more accurately in those days described as book-keeper/receptionist, because we had to keep "the books" - detailed account ledgers as well as the usual booking records. The luxury of computers to do much of the work for us was non-existent back then. It was from learning how to keep a ledger that I taught myself, through constant practice, to add very long columns of figures (L-S-D: pounds, shillings and pence) without the aid of a calculator. I can still do that, amazingly! We answered correspondence, phone enquiries, typed menus, and in some hotels I was also responsible for making up wage packets for the staff, and dealing with related tax and National Insurance issues. We worked in shifts, very early morning to mid afternoon, or mid-afternoon to late night. We were expected to wear black - navy blue might be tolerated, though not always. I could usually eat in the hotels' dining rooms, choosing from the full menu, or sometimes from a limited list. It was politic, of course, to always cultivate a pleasant relationship with the hotels' chefs - and waiters! Occasionally office staff would be asked to do a shift in one of the bars, or assist at a wedding or banquet - that was fun! Live-in staff were sometimes allocated a room in the hotel itself - top floor or at the back; occasionally there'd be a designated staff house nearby.

Before meeting first husband there had been some boyfriends. Two of the longer lasting ones were Douglas in Devon, who loved big cars (his Jaguar in photo) and dreamed great plans for the future - I hope they transpired; and Ronnie in Lancashire who loved his pint of beer and a game of soccer. Neither ticked all my boxes, but both were good friends. Dang - but I was picky, falling in love again was not easy! There were lots of short term friendships with hotel staff members. Pam, a fellow receptionist in a Lancashire hotel, who was also training as a fashion model, comes to mind. I have her to thank for teaching me how to put on makeup properly, and how to style my hair. Pam was another friend with a birthday close to mine; it's odd how that kept happening.

I have especially nice memories of a pair of travelling representatives for tobacco firms who used to co-ordinate their visits to a North Devon hotel where I worked for one summer and an autumn in the mid-1960s. These two, Tony and Bill, were great buddies, witty, easy-going, well-read, and amazingly they befriended yours truly whenever they were in town. I loved 'em - quite innocently, like brothers I guess...they were both happily married. I often wonder if I was always looking for the brother(s) I never had. Another visitor, to the same hotel, a relief bank manager, Mr S. asked me out regularly for a meal during the time he was seconded to the area. He was a sweetie, middle-aged bachelor, rather old fashioned. I could've, probably should've....but I didn't. When he left, after a month or so, he sent me a huge bunch of wonderful long stemmed bronze chrysanthemums (because I'd told him how I loved the scent).

Mid 1960s, with Mum and Grandparents
It had all been a big adventure for me, hotel life became addictive for a time, even though in retrospect this period of my life was a chaotic patchwork of good, bad and indifferent experiences, lots of movement, not much real progress. Eventually the novelty and addiction wore off, it became tiresome, I began to long for stability.

By 1967, working in a non-hotel environment in Devon, living in a tiny rented apartment, I received a letter one January day, from Mr H, the County Archivist in East Yorkshire, my first boss. Mr H. and I had kept in touch by letter occasionally all through this chaotic patchwork time of my life. He told me that my successor, his assistant, was leaving, would I like to go back to my old job? I decided to take him up on his offer, it was a damp and cold January in Devon, I was lonely, and my feet had stopped itching.
To be continued....

Friday, November 20, 2015

Arty Farty-ish Friday ~ Modern Art & Logos

A change from looking at painters, their work and their natal charts today. First a very good cartoon on the topic of modern art styles. I hope Canadian cartoonist, John Atkinson whose website Wrong Hands never fails to provide me with an admiring chuckle or two, will not mind my borrowing it today (if he does, and lets me know, I shall remove it at once).

I found this piece about well-known logos (a type of art, I suppose) interesting:

10 Famous Logos That Have A Hidden Meaning

A few samples follow. Commentary under the article argues with interpretation of some logos, especially those of BMW and Apple, as outlined.

BMW = either a tribute to the company’s history in aviation, showing a propeller in motion with the blue part representing the sky, said to be due to the company’s role of building aircraft engines for the German military during World War II...alternatively (and I think far more likely) a representation of the Bavarian blue and white flag - honouring the company's original HQ in Bavaria.

Apple could = derivation from the story of Adam and Eve in the Bible - bitten apple represents the fruit from the “Tree of Knowledge”.....or Isaac Newton's fallen apple - with a bite (byte?) because without it Steve Jobs thought it looked like a cherry....or a reference to Alan Turing, one of the fathers of computing. He was prosecuted for homosexuality in 1952, and after being subjected to estrogen treatments as an alternative to prison, was found dead from a cyanide overdose in 1954 with a half-eaten apple next to him (which wasn’t tested, but is suspected of being the source of the poison). One of the early Apple logos is in rainbow colours, similar to the homosexual flag. Take your pick!

The FedEx logo is so simple yet so good, hiding in plain sight. I had to squint before I saw the arrow between the bottom half of the "E" and the left-hand side of the "X".

The article proposes: The white lines passing through give the appearance of the equal sign in the lower right corner, representing equality. I don't agree. I immediately saw this IBM logo as representing that old green and white horizontal striped computer paper of long ago. One commenter had thought the same, while most were probably too young to remember that paper. I actually once, briefly, worked for a company who manufactured it in the UK, so remember it well.

The well-known Chevrolet logo wasn't mentioned in the article linked above, but I'd already researched that one for myself, when preparing a post about Louis Chevrolet some years ago. Here's what I came up with:

The Chevy logo, now so well-known, came into being in 1913. Stories of its source have become muddled through time. Take your pick: it was copied from a wallpaper design in a Paris hotel room; it was copied from a newspaper advert for Coalettes; it was drawn on a dinner napkin in a restaurant by Durant [Buick owner William C. Durant, founder of General Motors]; or... it's a stylised version of the cross from a Swiss flag (reflecting the name Chevrolet's origins).