Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Air Age to Digital Age

In my old volume, The Best of the Illustrated National Astrological Journal 1933-4, picked up in an antique store some years ago, there's a rather odd article by Augusta Foss Heindel, wife of Max Heindel occultist, astrologer and mystic. The piece is titled: "Air Age Tests Human Heart....Noted Astro-diagnostician sees changes in heart due to Aquarian Age influence"

1933 - Aquarian Age? I think not. By some astrologers' calculations we are still, even in 2014, nowhere near the Age of Aquarius, even though that label does fit the current Age - as we see it, not as proper calculation would define it. Maybe people have been willing on the Age of Aquarius since an astrologer first came up with the concept.

Still, laying aside argument about astrological Ages, here are a few excerpts from what the author proposed:
She began:
We are entering an "air" age! On every side we see evidence of this fact. Several years ago an advertising man of Colorado coined the term "air-minded"; daring men conquered oceans with airplanes; millions of dollars flooded into the industry of aeronautics; air mail, air passengers and even air freight were discussed by everyone................It is evident that the public has definitely "accepted" aviation and is building toward an "air" future.
The author goes on to explain why this should be....
We know that the earth itself advances in direct relation to the precession of the equinoxes. And we are now entering into the airy, electrical and etheric sign Aquarius, During this age men must conquer the air and ethers which surround the earth.

That brings me to a point bearing upon man himself. To conquer the air, man's physical body must undergo some changes. Just as Lemurian and early Atlantean men had to develop lungs in order to breathe the clearer atmosphere, so must man now develop organs which will enable him to fulfill the divine plan.

There are two organs undergoing this evolutionary change, the eyes and the heart. The eyes must adjust themselves to become responsive to a higher octave of vision, and the heart must develop "cross stripes" or muscles which will be more easily controlled by mental process. It is interesting to note that eye and heart tests are the outstanding tests in the physical examinations of airplane pilots..................Eye and heart trouble are prevalent now because of these changes which are taking place.........greater number of people, especially young people (are) wearing glasses........The development which is taking place in these two organs has become more perceptible since the planet Neptune transited the heart sign Leo, which occurs only once every 168 years, September 1914 marked the beginning of this transit and since that time heart ailments have increased tremendously.......................
She continues about astrological diagnosis in health care generally.

While I took most of what the author had written with a hefty pinch of salt, I did begin trying to relate her ideas to today's world. Do we need some modification physically to cope with our digital age/ technologial age/virtual age/social-networking age?

Leo rules the heart, according to astrological lore; Mrs Heindel's words were written during a Neptune transit of Leo. Neptune currently, in 2014, transits Pisces, sign of its own rulership. I see no connection to the digital age. A better connection would be Neptune's Aquarius transit, 1998 - 2012. We'd entered the computer age in general some decades earlier than that, but personal computer use and the internet took off on a far wider scale during that time span. Anatomically Aquarius relates to the shins and ankles, and, via its traditional ruler Saturn, to the bones, teeth, joints and skeletal structure.
I cannot see the same kind of connection Mrs Heindel made between the heart, Leo and the "air age". Current human physicality in need of development to better match our digital age would be in the brain's realm, which is ruled by Mercury, whose home signs are Gemini and Virgo. Currently no planet transits, but Saturn, traditional ruler of Aquarius, has transited both signs since 2000: 2001-3 for Gemini and 2007-9 for Virgo.

Are we humans in for some evolutionary modification, mentally, to cope with this digital age? Did humans really need heart and eye strengthening in order to deal with the "air age", which of course went on to develop into "the space age"? Flyers managed well enough with basic aircraft, but once speed barriers were broken, and space travel became a possibility, from there on, I guess only the strongest were chosen to take part. So...perhaps following a similar pattern, to date in the digital age's early stages, we've coped well enough with new technology, but coming decades could prove that we shall not be able to cope with anything more complex without a touch of evolutionary physical modification.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Mystical Mountaineer, Maurice Wilson ~ Another English Eccentric.

In Friday's post the subject was an English eccentric - here's another one!

On 21 April in 1898 was born Maurice Wilson, to the owner of a Yorkshire woollen mill and his wife in Bradford, England. I doubt that his family, early on, appreciated what an extraordinary individual this child of theirs would become!

In the beginning his life followed a fairly normal pattern. In the Great War (1914-1918), he served and rose through the ranks to become a Captain. He fought at Passchendaele, won the Military Cross, sustained a permanent arm injury from machine gun fire. When the war ended he travelled to New Zealand, worked on a sheep farm and later ran a ladies’ clothing store. On the boat back to England he met a group of yogis, became interested in their disciplines. Back home, when he contracted tuberculosis he cured himself by fasting and prayer.

Nothing too eccentric so far? But wait.....

Maurice read newspaper articles about British expeditions aiming to climb Mount Everest, and was inspired. He resolved to climb the then unconquered mountain himself! He decided that he was divinely inspired and had "a job to do".

Maurice had no climbing experience whatsoever, but he dreamed up a plan. He'd buy a small plane, fly to Tibet, then crash the plane as high on the mountain's side as he could, then... walk to the summit. Easy peasy! He bought a Gypsy Moth, named it "Ever Wrest", took some flying lessons, obtained his pilot's licence after two attempts, then crashed his plane near home and had a flying ban slapped on him by the Air Ministry. As for climbing skills, his training comprised of hiking in the Welsh Hills -among baby mountains of Snowdonia - never mind all that stuff about about crampons and the essential skills required for highest mountain climbing!

Amazingly enough, Maurice managed to fly to India. He flew via Cairo, Bahrain and Persia, with only a simple map of coastlines to guide him. On arrival, "Ever Wrest", and presumably Maurice, were promptly impounded by the British Government of India.

In May 1933 newspaper headlines back home declared: "Everest Airman Missing". They were unaware of his arrest and temporary detainment. It seems that he spent many months in Darjeeling with Indian mystics who taught him more about Yogism and "subordinating the body to the will of the spirit until he could live for days without food, and endure cold and hardship sufficient to kill an ordinary man.”

Maurice Wilson eventually began his attempt to climb Everest accompanied by three guides for the 300 mile trek to the foot of the mountain, after which he was to climb solo.

Reports were that the last sighting of Wilson had been as he set out alone up a glacier, equipped with a tent, three loaves, two tins of oatmeal, a camera, and a Union Jack. His body and diary were found by a British expedition 21,000 feet up on the East Rongbuk Glacier on 9 July 1934. His last diary entry of 31 May 1934 was: "Off again, gorgeous day." His body was buried in a crevasse, a cairn marks the spot.

Rumour had it, perhaps based on his New Zealand sojourn running a ladies' clothing store, that when his body was found, he was wearing female underwear, and had women's clothes in his pack. A Chinese expedition in 1960 found a woman’s dress shoe around the same location. That gossip might have simply been some hack's headline-seeking attempt - but who knows when considering a guy like Maurice Wilson?



Maurice Wilson born on April 21, 1898, in Bradford, United Kingdom.
Chart is set for 12 noon, no time of birth is known. Moon position and ascendant not accurate as shown.

As in the case of Edward James, Friday's English eccentric, I'm concentrating mainly on astrological source of Wilson's eccentricity. Epicentre? I see it as the Yod formed by Uranus (eccentricity) at 2 Sagittarius (excess); and Jupiter (excess) at 2 Libra; and Sun (core self) at 1 Taurus. A Yod is made up of 2 sextiled planets forming the base of a long slim triangle, via two quincunx aspects; planet at apex of the formation being the "business end" to channel reflections of the two sextiled planets. That seems to speak for itself, doesn't it?

His determination to fly a plane long distance, with next to no experience and only basic skills; similarly his determination to climb the planet's highest peak with no experience or skills both reflect excessive daring, verging on the lunatic, driven by an ultra stubborn pigheaded nature. The cluster of planets in Fixed Taurus underlines this! His apparent draw to matters mystical can be traced to Jupiter's inclusion in the Yod described above.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Music Monday's Sheepish Segue

The sheep counting mentioned in my previous post segues nicely into Parilia - it's another of those many and varied ancient Roman festivals. The Parilia was a rural custom performed annually on April 21. Its purpose was the cleansing of sheep and shepherds, in acknowledgment of Roman deity Pales, a deity of uncertain gender, patron of shepherds and sheep. From Wikipedia:
"The pastoral structure of the festival is carried out by the shepherd himself. After the sheep pen had been decorated with green branches and a wreath draped on the gate, the remainder of the ceremony took place in sequence. At the first sign of daylight, the shepherd would purify the sheep: by sweeping the pen and then constructing a bonfire of straw, olive branches, laurel, and sulfur. The noises produced by this burning combination were interpreted as a beneficial omen. The shepherd would jump through this flame, dragging his sheep along with him. Offerings of millet, cakes, and milk were then presented before Pales, marking the second segment of the ceremony. After these offerings, the shepherd would wet his hands with dew, face the east, and repeat a prayer four times. Such prayers requested Pales’s assistance in freeing the shepherd and the flock from evils brought about by accidental wrongdoings (e.g. trespassing on sacred grounds and removing water from a sacred water source). The final portion of the rural festival made use of the beverage burranica, a combination of milk and sapa (boiled wine). After consumption of this beverage, the shepherd would leap through the fire three times, bringing an end to the ceremony......"

As it's Music Monday, some sheep-related music is called for. How about Johann Sebastian Bach's Cantata number 208 aka Sheep May Safely Graze ? Here is Eugene Ormandy's orchestral version in a video with some lovely photographs of....guess what...

There's a choral version HERE, and some notes about the origin of the Cantata at a blog HERE.
English translation of the lyrics =
Sheep may safely graze and pasture
Where a shepherd guards them well.
So the nation ruled in wisdom
Knows and shares the many blessings
Which both peace and plenty bring.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Tithera Mithera.....?

Best to be topical! Thinking of Easter and the run up to it, into my head popped a rhyme I used to repeat, long ago and far way near the north-eastern coast of England:
Tid, Mid, Miserai (or Misere)
Carlin, Palm, and Paste egg day.

Reciting it as a child, gobbledegook-wise, I didn't care what it meant, I just wanted to get at those chocolate Easter eggs! I later grasped that it had something to do with the Sundays of Lent, and customs attached.

Carlin(g)s are black peas, eaten on Passion Sunday, On Palm Sunday sometimes dried palm leaves were handed to members of church congregations, and Paste eggs (possibly a corruption of Pasch) eggs were what all the kids eagerly anticipated.

As for the mysterious first line of the rhyme, there are two explanations:
'Tid' was the second Sunday in Lent, when, it seems, the Te Deum was sung/chanted in church; Mid could refer to a hymn 'Mi Deus', sung on the third Sunday of Lent; Miserai/misere might be the psalm 'Miserere Mei', sung on the fourth. But there's also a very slight possibility, because the purpose of the rhyme was to count Sundays before Easter, that Tid, Mid was a variation of an ancient Celtic-based method/ language once used in the north of England for counting sheep. Exact spelling varies with dialects of northern England, but one, two three, four, five = yan, tan, tithera, mithera, pip. Tithera, mithera could equal tid mid? I'm not confident about this, it doesn't really fit snugly. Interesting though. It has been noted that even in parts of the US the old sheep-counting method is not not unknown, possibly brought across the Atlantic by early immigrants.

The full ancient sheep-counting method went like this, with spelling variations.
(My grandmother and neighbours of her generation always pronounced "one" as "yan", by the way.)


The sheep were counted up to twenty, the shepherd then closed one finger and repeated the count until all his fingers of one hand were down = a hundred sheep. Next he would close a finger on his other hand and begin anew. So up to 500 sheep could be counted using this method.

Regarding the mysterious custom of eating black carlin peas during Lent: there's no religious significance, but the tradition is said to be linked to the civil war of 1644. Royalist Newcastle in the north-east of England was under siege from the Scots. People were dying of starvation. The story goes that, either a French ship docked in Newcastle with a cargo of Maple Peas which were distributed to the people out of charity; or that a French ship was wrecked off the coast near Newcastle and containers of peas were washed ashore, much to the relief of starving inhabitants. Either way, a custom was born! Carlin peas are soaked overnight in water, boiled well then fried in butter and served with vinegar and bread and butter. My East Yorkshire grandmother used to prepare carlins that way, each year around Easter time.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Arty Farty Friday ~ Edward James and His Folly, Las Pozas.

Commenter "mike" alerted me to today's Arty Farty Friday subject - thanks mike!
Edward James and his creation in Las Pozas, Mexico.

My goodness, though, this guy was such an amazing character, where to begin, there's so much!?
For any passing reader with just under an hour to spare, this video is excellent, and features the man himself:

For passing readers in more of a hurry: I'll begin at the end, at Las Pozas and work backwards.

Las Pozas was Edward James' folly. In England it's not unusual to find follies, they're smallish ornamental structures such as a tower, sculptured column, or a fancy quirky gazebo, they're always in the middle of nowhere, constructed by wealthy landowners or members of the aristocracy, and for reasons best known to themselves. Follies. Los Pozas was a folly of huge proportion, a peculiar but beautiful sculpture garden covering acres of Mexican jungle where Edward James had originally intended to breed orchids, but after unexpected frost killed off his plants, he began creating his wonderful folly.

A few examples - for more just type Las Pozas into Google Image search box, or at YouTube (if you can stand the adverts now almost universally inserted before content!)

Edward James was the epitome of an eccentric Englishman. Born in 1907 into a wealthy family background. His grandfather, an American millionaire had married a mining heiress, before the couple moved to England. One of their sons was Edward James' father, who married an English gal said to have been the illegitimate daughter of Edward VII, she became Edward James' mother.
James went to Eton, and Oxford University but was unhappy in both environments, despite his wealth and privilege. He wandered into the then London literary high society of Sitwells, Mitfords and Cunards, Noel Coward and John Betjeman, of Agustus John and Randolph Churchill. James was said to have been charming, lively and a good raconteur, ridiculously generous on occasion, with periods of introversion.

 Hat-tip Mondoblogo
He wrote poetry and some novels, became friends with avant-garde artists of the day, such as Dali and Magritte. He appears in one of Magritte's well-known paintings:

 Not to be Reproduced (La reproduction interdite, 1937)  by  Belgian surrealist René Magritte.  It was commissioned by poet and Magritte patron Edward James and considered to be a portrait of James .

Quinky-dink sidelight - in a DVD set of a past TV series, Eli Stone we're watching currently, during the opening credits what seems like a loose version of this painting is shown. We recognised it as a nod to Magritte's painting, but had no idea of the painting's connection to Edward James - until I began preparing this post.

He met and married dancer Tilly Losch. The marriage was doomed. Tilly sued for separation, charging homosexuality among other things. James countersued, accusing her of adultery with Prince Serge Obolensky. Back then, this was not something a gentleman did. James moved to Europe. Polite society had shunned him. In 1939, with war brewing, he moved to the USA. In Taos, New Mexico, he lived among a community of artists there including D H Lawrence and his wife, Frieda.

Throughout his life he gave money freely to all manner of painters and writers; he built clinics for poor nuns, bought houses in Hollywood and Malibu, land in Mexico, and supported an assortment of freeloaders. In the late 1940s James eventually found his dream situation in the Mexican jungle. There he adopted a local family and set about building a “stairway to imagination”, as he once put it, in plant and stone. He himself lived in a tiny apartment, a bedroom, living room and porch on two stories. On one wall he scrawled in pencil his poem "This Shell": "My house grows like the chambered nautilus...." His huge and incredibly valuable collection of artworks, his lands in England , America and Mexico, houses from California to Scotland all abandoned for a tiny "doll's tree house where a man could hide".

He died in 1984 after a stroke, while on a return visit to Europe. In 1964, Edward James had conveyed his family mansion, West Dean, art collection and Estate to The Edward James Foundation, a charitable educational trust. The creation of such a trust averted the fragmentation that death duties would have dictated and allowed the materialisation of Edward's vision: creating a community where the Estate supports a college dedicated to the arts and crafts. In 1971, Edward James's vision became a reality when the gates of his family Estate were opened under the auspices of West Dean College. (See HERE).

(General information sources HERE and HERE)


Born on 16 August 1907 in the south of England, probably at his family's mansion, West Dean, near Chichester, Sussex.

For brevity's sake I'm looking only for indications of eccentricity in the natal chart of Edward James. It's set for 12 noon as birth time isn't known. Moon would have been somewhere in Scorpio though, whatever time he came into the world.

Eccentricity in astrology is usually reflected by the position of Uranus; here Uranus conjoins Mars in Capricorn, the duo is opposed by Neptune (imagination, creativity) in Cancer. That, I'd say, was the "epicentre" of James' eccentricity. The three intensely personal planets (Sun, Mercury, Venus) in dramatic Leo, though not harmoniously situated in relation to Uranus, had to have input into the way his eccentricity would manifest. What could be more dramatic and theatrical in nature (pure Leo) than his beautiful jungle follies?

Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Other Side of April

Around mid-month each April, as years pass, I'm reminded that, as well as April showers, April violets, April in Paris, April has often brought more than the usual ration of loss and suffering. I'll not repeat the list again, but instead link to it in my 2010 post:

This year, April has been living up to that title already. There was yesterday's news of 300 people missing after a South Korean ferry had sunk; the Kansas City shootings of the weekend; 22 injured in knife attack at a Regional High School last week; and the ongoing still fruitless search for missing Malaysian Airlines plane with its 239 occupants, lost since 8 March......

I've pondered before on whether there might be any astrological indication as to why this mid-April period so often brings tragedy, misfortune and suffering one way or another. I hadn't, until now, bothered to investigate the Fixed Stars around this mid-April/Aries area of the zodiac. There's a Fixed Star called Baten Kaitos with negative attributes, and relation to Saturn, which could be seen as a likely suspect, it's found at around 21 Aries:

 From Terry Nazon's website

This year, additionally, we have that pesky Cardinal Grand Cross involved too. Let's hope fervently that there will be no further examples to add to the list for April 2014.

Sweet April-time
O cruel April-time!
Year after year returning,
with a brow Of promise,
and red lips with longing paled,
And backward-hidden hands that clutch the joys
Of vanished springs, like flowers.
(By Dinah Maria Mulock - pseudonym Mrs. Craik.)