Saturday, September 24, 2016

Charting the USA

Astrodatabank has a collection of the various charts used by astrologers to represent the USA. Most popular online astrologers prefer those set for 4 July 1776, Independence Day. These have different ascendants depending on rectification, using important events in the country's history to pinpoint a rising sign.

I'm not completely convinced about the validity of such charts, or of any chart representing an inanimate entity. If there is going to be a chart to represent a country though, it ought to reflect the "feel" of the country in question, even if placements don't coincide exactly with historically important events. So, concentrating only on national characteristics, what outstanding and necessary features would I look for in a chart for the USA?

1. First: Aquarius and/or Uranus ought to be emphasised. The birth of the USA was an Aquarian/Uranian event. The establishment of the Republic is sometimes referred to as "The Great Experiment" - an effort to provide government of the people, by the people, for the people. Whether or not it has worked out as planned, it was a very Aquarian/Uranian vision and proposition. From days of the early pioneers, people of the USA have displayed a determination to create change (Uranus) of one kind or another in their own lives or the lives of others, not always for the good, it has to be said! Aquarius and Uranus are not necessarily forces for good.

2. Sagittarius/Jupiter should have fairly prominent placing. Excess, over-indulgence, "bigness", exaggeration, hyperbole are all recognisable in the overall character of this country, to me as a relative outsider, anyway. Mustn't forget religion, which is also the province of Jupiter/Sagittarius. Many of the original settlers were fleeing their own countries to find religious freedom; religion has been, and still is, for good or ill, an important part of this nation's character.

3. Leo ought to feature in the chart. Leo leads, and the USA thinks of itself as "world leader".

4. Mars should feature: military might, and the will to fight, has been present from the Revolutionary War which spawned the USA, to current debacles in the Middle East, with many between.

All the 4 July 1776 charts have, to my mind, too much emphasis on Cancer (their Sun's position). The same applies to the 2 July chart, which I'd considered a reasonable choice in the past. I really don't see the USA's character in any way Cancerian.

The Signing of the Constitution chart has Sun in Virgo, also inappropriate for the USA, in my view.

The best match I've found is the David Solte 1777 chart:
"David Solte's Presentation of the U.S. chart, data given in San Diego Astrological Society "The Uranian," May 1993, time rectified. He used the minutes of the Continental Congress to narrow down the passage of the Articles of Confederation to a few hours between 11:00 am and 2:00 pm on Nov. 15, 1777, when they were meeting in York, PA. Solte then rectified the chart to 12:46 pm Local Mean Time for the date and time when the Articles of Confederation became effective. The Declaration of Independence had declared that America was a separate entity from Great Britain, but it was not until the Confederation was established that the U.S. became a group of states united under one government.
Quite a few astrologers find that this chart works well for following the fortunes of the US government and the nation as a whole."

(Chart copied from Astrodatabank).

Sun in Scorpio: not ideal, but I can see how passionate, emotional and paranoid stubbornly Fixed Scorpionic traits could fit the USA's national character; passionate about the national flag, staunch patriotism, religion, the "American Dream", American exceptionalism, etc. One of Scorpio's symbols is the Eagle, a much revered USA national symbol. This chart has Aquarius rising. Uranus in Gemini trines and blends with the Aquarius ascendant. Jupiter in Leo, the leader's sign, lies on the descendant angle, a strong chart position, with Sagittarius near midheaven. A cardinal opposition (Cancer/Capricorn) between Mars and North Node of the Moon, a sensitive chart point could show a hint of the nation's propensity to fight at the drop of a hat; Mars in Capricorn sextiles Mercury/Saturn in Scorpio, indication of endurance and the will to work (or fight) hard when required.

No single chart exactly fits my own opinion of a national personality chart for the USA. David Solte's 1777 chart comes near.
[Edited version of a 2008 post]

Friday, September 23, 2016

Arty Farty Friday Guest Post

Guest Post by "JD" who lives in the UK.
Thank you for this JD!


I first saw this painting two or three years ago. It is hanging in The Laing Art Gallery in Newcastle [UK]. The reproductions of it on the net are poor and do not reflect the subtlety of the colours nor the depth nor the mysterious shadowy details upper left. The paint is very thickly applied over most of the surface, especially the whites of the dress which seem to have been almost plastered onto the surface.

A very interesting picture, very visceral and with layers of unknown meanings within it. When I then walked forward to read the label, I was rather surprised to see the name Lizzie Rowe. Surprised because I had previously seen some of her paintings in The Biscuit Factory and they did not engage me at all. I was more impressed by other paintings by Paul Harvey (one of The Stuckists) on display in the same show.

I have not met Lizzie Rowe but I know several people who have and who know her extremely well. On her web page she and others make no secret of the artist's journey from married heterosexual man (and father) to transgendered woman. Knowing the story, or most of it from those who know her, it is obvious that the change was traumatic and very difficult psychologically and this is reflected in part in her paintings. One hundred years from now such biographical details will be but a footnote of little consequence, it is the paintings themselves which are, or should be, the focus of attention.

I went back this morning to have another look at the painting just to see if it still evoked the same response in me. It does. The thickness of the paint is a very striking feature of it. The white semi-circle looks as though it has been applied directly from the tube. The record player, the TV and the ironing board on the right are more vibrant than in the reproductions and the strange ambiguity of the top left is even more mysterious than I remember. Thickly applied paint may suggest a slapdash approach but, in fact, it is very carefully done and the various details are clearly defined.

Last night I was looking through a book called "What Painting Is" by James Elkins. This is one of the best books about painting that I have ever read.

Elkins says that painting is the act of 'smearing coloured mud onto paper or linen' and that is the cold analytical definition but '... it is also liquid thought.'

That is a very profound statement. He goes on to quote the painter Frank Auerbach who wrote, "As soon as I become consciously aware of what the paint is doing my involvement with the painting is weakened. Paint is at its most eloquent when it is a by-product of some corporeal, spatial, developing imaginative concept, a creative identification with the subject."

What he is trying to say there is that painting, or any creative activity, is not a product of the conscious mind but is an unconscious process. Just like walking - learning to walk requires great concentration and much effort but the more you do it the less you need to think about how you do it.

Elkins continues the theme of the difficulty of explaining the thought processes involved in creating a painting- "Things only get harder to articulate when the religious meanings come into focus, and it begins to appear that the studio work - the labour - really is about redemption."

That may sound grandiose but art and religion are inseparable. They have been intertwined since the dawn of time. There is no religion or belief system in history that does not have its artistic expression.

Elkins uses the word 'religious' but I would suggest that 'spiritual' would be a better word. As I said above, any creative activity is an unconscious process which is what Auerbach was suggesting. The artist or the craftsman, and to a lesser extent the artisan and the tradesman, is involved in a strange synthesis of hand/eye/brain with the thing being created. It involves a physical effort in the act of creation and often produces a spiritual elation. The mundane, secular world calls that 'job satisfaction' but that is to trivialise it with its hint of smug self-gratification. It is not that at all, it is the calm or 'inner peace' which is the result of deep concentration and, as Auerbach notes, identification with the subject.

In the painting, the figure at the centre is deep in concentration in the act of gathering together the pearls from the broken string and that gives a stillness to the picture; a moment of calm between the activity depicted on the right and the strange ethereal quality coming from the top left of the picture. Others may have a different interpretation but that is my own reading of it.

With the reference to religion made by Elkins, we reach a point where the modern secular world closes its mind. It is not the done thing to discuss religion. The case is closed - there is no ghost in the machine!

But art is a perfect link between science and religion, between the secular and the spiritual. As the painter, the late Iain Carstairs says-

'Art is that endeavour in which consciousness imposes an otherwise intangible element of itself onto matter in such a way that it can be decoded by others: it is an alchemy which maths can never analyse or create.'

And the physicist Richard Feynman had this to say-

"I wanted very much to learn to draw, for a reason that I kept to myself: I wanted to convey an emotion I have about the beauty of the world. It’s difficult to describe because it’s an emotion.

"It’s analogous to the feeling one has in religion that has to do with a god that controls everything in the universe: there’s a generality aspect that you feel when you think about how things that appear so different and behave so differently are all run ‘behind the scenes’ by the same organization, the same physical laws. It’s an appreciation of the mathematical beauty of nature, of how she works inside; a realization that the phenomena we see result from the complexity of the inner workings between atoms; a feeling of how dramatic and wonderful it is.It’s a feeling of awe — of scientific awe — which I felt could be communicated through a drawing to someone who had also had that emotion. I could remind him, for a moment, of this feeling about the glories of the universe."

Art is the gateway to the world of spirit, to heaven. If you prefer a scientific explanation you could say it is the gateway to what the physicist David Bohm calls 'the implicate order' from which the material world flows and to which it returns.

"Vita brevis, ars longa."
___________________________________________
References:
http://www.lizzierowe.co.uk/Lizzie_Rowe/Reception.html

https://laingartgallery.org.uk/

http://www.thebiscuitfactory.com/

http://www.stuckism.com/

http://www.jameselkins.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=227:what-painting-is&catid=2:trade-books&Itemid=9

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Equinox !

At this early stage of autumn - we're barely through the door - the trees have yet to change into their Fall finery. Here's a link to a map of the USA set to indicate autumnal changes in foliage, week by week. So far, even the highest and most northerly regions are showing only "patchy" Fall color foliage, at best.

When we were out doing errands this week temperature was 99 degrees here, in South-west Oklahoma. Not much chance of Fall color here, for quite a while.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Motley

The 10 Best Photographs Ever Taken Without Photoshop.


World Map of Y-DNA Haplogroups and possible migration routes.



Two interesting recent pieces by British astrologer Marjorie Orr:
URANUS – bright mind, pity about the split from the body.
SATURN – laughter as well as tears.



Stronger Together
Paperback by Hillary Rodham Clinton and Tim Kaine.


DO READ the COMMENTARY (unless you are a fan of this pair). There's a very long thread of comments, growing by the hour, at time of typing this! Many "reviewers" and commenters will be Trump supporters, but I'm pretty sure there are a lot of disappointed Bernie people and third party people represented too. I detest Trump as much as the next person, but I'm so tired of having anti-Trump cartoons, articles, videos thrust before my eyes, day in, day out. There's just as much wrong, in different ways, with the other presidential candidate - she's getting no quarter from me.

Anyway, as Michael J. Keeneyon commented on the featured volume, and I feel certain he's right: The comments are better than the book.

A random trio of examples:

By Daniel B.on September 14, 2016
I was going to read this book.....I really was. But just as I got started, I found myself under sniper fire, passed out, and fell and hit my head. After that I got double vision and had to wear glasses that were so damn thick I couldn't even see to read. As if that wasn't enough, I then had an allergic reaction to something and started coughing so hard I spit out what looked like a couple of lizard's eyeballs, my limbs locked up, and I passed out and fell down again, waking up only to find out I had been diagnosed with pneumonia 2 days earlier. Somehow I managed to power through it all, but it's a good thing I was able to make a small fortune on this random small trade in the commodities market (cattle futures or some such thing) and then, miracle of all miracles, a few banks offered me a few million to just talk to their employees for a few minutes - and all that really helped out because I swear I was dead broke and couldn't figure out how I was gonna come up with the 6 bucks to pay for this book, let alone pay the $1,500 for my health insurance this month. I still want to read it, but, honestly, what difference at this point does it make? I hear it sucks anyway.

By Scott Shepard on September 18, 2016
This is easily the greatest book ever written! I laughed, I cried, it became a part of me. I’m going to buy a couple cases so that this book can be in every pew at my church! It’s almost holy in what it contains!
The book lays out a vision for our country and all its people. It’s a blueprint for building a nation that flows with milk and honey.
Hillary is our deliverer!

(OK, Brazile. I wrote what you told me to write. Will you now release my child unharmed?)
By Coug Moogon September 18, 2016
This is the sleeper hit of the 2016 election season. I liked it so much I bought 400,000 cases of it at full retail price. Putting Tim Kaine on the jacket photo doing the German salute is very subtle in its messaging as well.

A tour de force.

--Lloyd Blankfein, CEO
Goldman Sachs

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Deplorably

Anyone who nodded knowingly when Hillary Clinton made her declaration concerning a proportion of supporters of Donald Trump belonging in "a basket of deplorables" should take a look at what Paul Street had to say on Monday, at Counterpunch


Hillary Clinton’s Basket of Deplorables
Snip:
“Deplorables?” How about Madeline Albright, the noxious woman who championed the mass-murderous bombing of Serbia and told the nation on CBS News that the death of half a million Iraqi children thanks to U.S.-led “economic sanctions” was a “price worth paying” for the advance of U.S. policy goals? She is Hillary Clinton’s very good friend and was former First Lady Clinton’s choice as Bill Clinton’s second Secretary of State. She is a fierce advocate of dangerous Western aggression against nuclear Russia. Hillary has put her to work the campaign trail this and last year. She’s dreadful.

Another gone one is Henry Kissinger. “Among the war profiteers, bankers and industrialists that Mrs. Clinton counts, opportunistically or not, among her friends” .........

The author goes on to identify other members of Hillary's own deplorable basket, outlining their deplorability factors: John Podesta, Ken Salazar, Robert Rubin, Tim Kaine and her husband, William J. Clinton.

And, from Mr Street's last paragraph:
I am not so inured to the neo-fascistic evil of the Trump phenomenon and the horrific prospects of a Trump presidency that I would not at least entertain the possibility of following Reed's [Adolph Reed, Jr. ] advice to “vote for the neoliberal warmonger” HRC to block the Donald. Still, whatever I or other radical lefties (a very small part of the total U.S. electorate) do or don’t do on the Electoralist High Holy Day, Democratic politicos will have no legitimate business blaming “the left” if Trump beats the odds and triumphs over the Clintons. The main fault will lay with the Clintons and other deplorable dollar Democrats, who have opened the barn door for right-wing white-nationalist fake populism and who will have given the game away to the rightmost of the two reigning capitalist parties. It won’t be with left progressives who couldn’t bring themselves to mark a ballot for either of the reprehensible major party options in this deplorable double dumpster-fire of a presidential election.
Living in reliably Red Oklahoma, never likely to be a swing state this side of the far horizon, and bearing in mind the peculiar Electoral College system in place in the USA, I have the luxury of "voting my conscience"; yet I cannot do so because neither Jill Stein nor Bernie Sanders will appear on our Okie ballot papers, nor will the opportunity to write-in either of those names. I could choose Libertarian Gary Johnson as a protest vote against the "big two", knowing full well that he has little to no chance of winning. Extra support for Johnson, for Okies the only alternative to Clinton or Trump, might push a message through that the people of Oklahoma are angry about not having the same variety of choices people of most other states enjoy.

There will be no presidential choice I can even half-heartedly support, so simply leaving the presidential choice box empty will be my best plan. Considering the flippin' frustrations I encountered in order to become a citizen of the USA, eligible to vote, the situation itself, in Oklahoma, is deplorable!

Monday, September 19, 2016

Timely

This post might be a ham-fisted segue from the weekend's post - the one wandering around the idea of history's rhyming habit through time. So...time travel. Could it ever be possible to travel backward through those rhyming centuries, decades, years, or even just months or weeks? Novelists and film makers like to think so, scientists are less confident.

An intriguing idea, presented by Stephen King in his novel 11/22/63, featured (HERE) in my recent post is fascinating. King proposed that:
The past is obdurate.
In his novel the past had "pushed back" against the time traveller's mission to change an event, it seemed that the traveller's task was continually being made especially difficult, near to impossible. He persevered, with the best possible of intentions, yet eventual consequences proved dire.

Should someone, sometime, somehow find a way to travel back in time with the intention of changing... something, the past could well "push back" to prevent change. It makes sense to me , but my husband objected to (what he terms) "personifying the past". I responded that it doesn't really entail "personifying" the past. It's treating the past, or man-made time, as a natural entity, something akin to a gale-force wind, or like gravity, or a tornado which, if one tried, rather foolishly, to change its track, would appear to push back, physically. Intention to change something already in our timeline or time cycle - even a minor thing - could disrupt future events out of all proportion to the change made. The so-called Butterfly Effect applies.

We accidentally watched a time-travel-related film on Amazon Prime a couple of evenings ago. I say "accidentally" because Amazon had categorised its genre simply as "drama/mystery" :
I'll Follow You Down. We enjoyed the movie well enough, though it was another of those low-budget affairs, its interesting storyline could have been much enhanced with more $$$$$$$ available for sets and effects.
IMDB's nutshell synopsis:
After the disappearance of a young scientist on a business trip, his son and wife struggle to cope, only to make a bizarre discovery years later - one that may bring him home.
Expanding on that a wee bit: the scientist had discovered he could travel into the past via a wormhole he'd found a way to create. He decided to travel from the present (2016) to 1946 with the sole purpose of meeting Albert Einstein, to tell him of his discovery. He did successfully travel through time to 1946, but found that Einstein was not at home; before he could try to locate him the time traveller was mugged and killed. He, of course, never returned to his wife and family. 12 years later his wife, who had not recovered from the shock of her husband's disappearance, committed suicide. Her father, also a scientist and her son - a scientific whizz-kid, after much effort and research, found out what had happened to the boy's time travelling father. They were determined to make things right by the son travelling back to 1946, using the reconstructed research of his father, in order to stop his Dad from doing anything at all, other than travelling back at once to the present.

The son travels back, finds his father before he attempts to meet Einstein...I'll not reveal the ending.

My initial reaction was: "that story is different from the idea of the past pushing back, as in 11/22/63." But then I realised that the past had, indeed, pushed back via the murder of the time-travelling scientist, before he had opportunity to meet with Einstein. Had he succeeded in meeting with Einstein, what would have ensued in years following that meeting, due to matters discussed between the two? The future could have been majorly affected. Though the ending of the I'll follow You Down seemed to turn out as desired by all, we are not enlightened about events during the years after 1946 - in the "new" version of the time cycle. Similar patterns to those already set and experienced in the original cycle after 1946 might again emerge, via different kinds of events - the mother might fall ill and die, the son might have gone on to discover a cure for cancer...etc. Someone should write a sequel!



It's Music Monday.....Time? Bottled?