Friday, July 31, 2015

Arty Farty Friday ~ John French Sloan, Socialist of the Ashcan School

Around the time Uranus moved from Sagittarius to Capricorn in late 1904/early 1905 and formed an opposition to Neptune in the early degrees of Cancer, a new atmosphere was arising. Writers, journalists and artists opened their eyes to what was going on in the real world, the injustices, the strivings of ordinary people. The Muckrakers (see archived post HERE), including novelists such as Upton Sinclair heard "the call" and responded.
John French Sloan, Self portrait
John French Sloan was one of a group of New York painters, hailing from Philadephia, who also heard the same "call" and decided to give American art something of a makeover. They'd seen too many scenes depicting mythological and biblical tales, too much stodgy moralising in paint. Their aim was to depict real Americans doing real, everyday things. Critics labelled these painters with a then somewhat derogatory term, "The Ashcan School". Sloan was one of the most politically minded of this group, and demonstrated this very clearly in his secondary style of artwork: sketches for radical magazines such as The Masses.

I think the most telling piece of all in his natal chart is Venus (planet of the arts) in helpful sextile to Uranus (planet of rebellion/revolution).

 12 noon chart - click to enlarge
Sloan was born on in Lock Haven, Pennsylvania on 2 August 1871. He studied art in Philadelphia, worked as an illustrator there, and moved to New York in 1904, after he married. The couple made their home in Bohemian Greenwich Village. Many of his paintings reflect the way life was for ordinary New York folk. Vintage photographs from that era can tell us something of those times, but most are studio portraits; Sloan and his peers left us, in their paintings, some little slices of informal everyday life in the early years of 20th century.

This under 3 minute video shows just a few of Sloan's paintings. More can be seen via Google Image.

 Hat-tip HERE

In 1912 Sloan assumed the position of art editor of The Masses, a magazine with strongly socialist leanings, addressing working-class issues.

 From HERE
Around the start of World War I Sloan became disillusioned with the ability of the Socialist party to make a real difference in workers' lives. He withdrew from the Socialist party, reduced his magazine input, and ceased working for The Masses completely in 1916, following a dispute regarding the magazine's art and political content. He was always a strong supporter of women's suffrage and contributed drawings to feminist magazines, Woman Voter and Woman's Journal.

John Sloan’s drawing of a coal miner’s suicidal vengeance after the murders of his wife and children has become an icon of American labor history. It is an enduring memorial to the twenty individuals—thirteen of them women and children—who were shot at or burned to death when Colorado National Guardsmen fired upon an undefended union tent colony on April 20, 1914, in what was quickly dubbed the Ludlow Massacre. This watershed event dramatized the abuse of unregulated authority by industrialists and their agents and won widespread national support for the cause of the miners.(HERE)

 John D. Rockefeller with blood on his hands.  Workingmen’s fists try to break down the door behind him.  Bible with his initials is on the floor at his feet. (See here)

 "In Memoriam". "Here is the real triangle"  relates to  Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire in 1911 (Here)

 N.A.M. =  National Association of Manufacturers
Besides funding pro-fascists groups like the Silver Shirts, corporate America sponsored several other groups that maintained a speck of respectability. One such organization that figured prominently in spreading the propaganda was the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM). The first president of NAM was Samuel Bush, father of Prescott and grandfather of George H. W. Bush [great grandfather of George W. Bush]. Such organizations as NAM would serve as bridge groups between the rich corporate owners and the public.

 "Positively disgusting! It's an outrage to public decency to allow such exposure on the streets"

 Puzzle: Find a way to vote without helping the Dough Dough Class.
See HERE (click on image to clarify.)

The following two drawings are Sloan's illustrations for Mary Alden Hopkins,"Women March," in Collier's magazine, May 18, 1912.

 Hooray, hooray for Mother!

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Open for business.....

I got nuttin' for today - must be the heat!

But do have a look at this:

Dance of Air

Oh...and - late yesterday afternoon I saw THIS regarding lost plane MH370 (lost for some 17 months).
I've been kind of expecting something like this, been watching the pilots' "pprune" website for the last few weeks, and now they've got a thread going on MH370 again:

Open thread for anyone who has a grumble, an observation, or a few words of wisdom to share.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

What time is it? Quite possibly it's Gemini Phase of Pisces Era of the Age of Pisces.

I have wondered, from time to time, (no pun intended) whether the whole "Age of...." thing isn't just so much Taurean Excrement. Astrological Ages are calculated, not with direct reference to our tropical zodiac, but by the points at which the Sun enters each astronomical constellation at the vernal equinox, as equinoxes precess. Because the constellations are of varying size, Ages are of varying lengths. The spanner in the astrological works, to my mind has always been that delineation of constellations is a man made construct. Humans designated the shape, extent and patterns of constellations, who's to say the delineations we use are the correct way to carve up the sky? The best we can do, with any certainty, is relate events in history, throughout the world, to astrological symbolism and use that as guide. What we come up with may not be astronomically accurate, but who's to say that astronomy has the last word on this particular topic?
All that can really be said is that at some indeterminate point in the very distant past, for reasons unknown, there came the moment known to science as t = 0. We were on our way.
(Bill Bryson, A Short History of Nearly Everything, p.10)

Some detail from a book by Robert FitzGerald: Signs of the Times has helped me to see more sense in the whole astrological ages issue. Excerpts are available via the link.

Robert Fitzgerald divides astrological Ages into more accessible chunks: Eras and Phases.

At present we are in transit through the Age of Pisces. By this author's calculation the Aquarius Era of the Pisces Age ran from 1800 to 1980 - which could well account for insistence by some that we are already living in the Age of Aquarius.

Then, the author divides time into even smaller slices. 1950 to 1965 becomes the Aquarius Phase of the Aquarius Era of the Age of Pisces....that slice includes the psychedlic 1960s, often thought to be quite Aquarian in flavour - so with a double dose of Aquarius: Phase and Era, it actually fits....and always with a background of Pisces dreaminess.

1965 to 1980 = Pisces Phase of the Aquarius Era of Age of Pisces.

From 1980 to 2160 is the Pisces Era of the Age of Pisces. We are presently in the Gemini Phase: 2010 to 2025 of the Pisces Era of the Age of Pisces. How appropriate that is! What could be more Geminian than the mushrooming of communication via social media (Facebook, Twitter, old fashioned blogs like this one), and the ubiquitous cellphones and smartphones? While these are most prevalent in developed nations, there must be few parts of the globe where their influence remains unknown.

Cancer Phase of the Pisces Era of the Age of Pisces will run from 2025 to 2040. That sounds like an emotional ride and a half coming up some ten years hence, doesn't it!

For a brief rundown on all of these Eras and Phases, and comparisons with similar eras and phases throughout history, do take a look at the website, linked above.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

US Presidents - Astrological Groupings

Information at the following link will not be new to most astrologically-literate people in the USA. As the 2016 presidential electoral go-around will still leave my general election experience here in single figures, I'm not familiar with data presented - or if I have read it in the past, I've promptly forgotten all about it.

Zodiac Sign Found Most Among U.S. Presidents, by Corrine Lane.

Graphs and observations on US Presidents to date (with 4 listed exceptions) are grouped into:

Mid-heaven by sign, element, quality

Rising signs

Sun/Moon signs.

Because there's no time of birth available, as yet, for Bernie Sanders it's not possible to compare his data as regards mid-heaven and rising signs. His Virgo Sun and Aries Moon are not especially favoured, but MC and rising could balance that. I'm hoping for Cancer inclusion at rising or MC!

Hillary Clinton has Scorpio rising which isn't beneficial at all, according to this study.

Is Scorpio Rising So Scary?

Not even one U.S. president has had Scorpio rising. I have 3 theories about this. First, it may be that U.S.A. doesn’t want a sexy president. Second, Americans aren’t ready to trust a president that is so predisposed to extreme secrecy. Scorpio Rising people appear to be hiding something even when they are not. It’s been said that Scorpio Rising generates fear in others. (Scorpio’s secrecy is really just a protective instinct. It’s not anything to be afraid of.) Third, it may be that Scorpio Rising people are not at all interested in the office of U.S. President. In fact, they do not like to be put on display. They prefer to wield low-key, subliminal power. To see the zero-count for Scorpio rising, see the graph “Rising Signs of U.S. Presidents”, shown above.

Her Scorpio Sun is better placed in the graph, but Virgo mid-heaven isn't doing too well.

As for "The Donald" - his Leo ascendant (Fire) could be his undoing (one factor among many I dare say!) Final paragraph of the linked piece begins: "Earth, water, and air signs are pretty well represented in all three tallies. This favors a combination of dependable earth, compassionate water, and witty, airy intelligence. Fire signs ranked lowest among all three tallies."

Monday, July 27, 2015

Bad Apples and Moonlit Apples

I'm 'avin' a bit of a grouch again. Apples. They are unrecognisable these days. Oh, they look alright, polished and unblemished, red, gold, green - labelled with variety an' all that, but they don't taste right. Skins tough as leather, flesh tough or hard as iron, flavour - what flavour?

Does anyone else have the same problem?

Once upon a time, long ago and far away, there was a span when I just about lived on apples. I was trying to lose weight, back in my late 20s, early 30s. I loved the easily identifiable apple differences - in shape, scent, flavour, of at least a dozen different English, and some "foreign" varieties. Most were available only at certain times of the year.

I guess I could be thought of as an "apple fancier" in those days. I'd haunt local greengrocer's shops or the Saturday Market looking for a specific variety. But then came supermarkets and things went rapidly downhill on the apple front. I'd still occasionally find a decent French Golden Delicious. South African Goldens were good too, but I boycotted them for a long time, due to the political situation there. Cox's Orange Pippins, possibly England's most popular apple, were still around, but flavour had gradually deteriorated, when not from local orchards. Macintosh Reds would appear once a year, and I'd buy lots of those - great scent they have, or had.

Since arriving in this fair land I could count on one hand the times I've tasted a decent apple, don't think I'd even use all fingers! The problem could be due to the area in which we live. Maybe good apples are still available elsewhere in the USA, nearer to where they are grown. Those arriving in our supermarket have probably been messed with at seed stage, sprayed within an inch of their lives, stored in cool storage, trundled across thousands of miles, before arriving for inspection of shoppers in south-western Oklahoma.


A poem kept trickling though my head earlier and prompted this post. It's a poem a work friend taught me many years ago. We'd start reciting it any time things (or people) on the job began to get tetchy, for some reason it acted as a release valve; before we reached the end of the first verse we'd be falling about laughing.

The poem was written by British poet John Drinkwater (born 1 June 1882).

Moonlit Apples

At the top of the house the apples are laid in rows,
And the skylight lets the moonlight in, and those
Apples are deep-sea apples of green. There goes
A cloud on the moon in the autumn night.

A mouse in the wainscot scratches, and scratches,
and then
There is no sound at the top of the house of men
Or mice; and the cloud is blown, and the moon again
Dapples the apples with deep-sea light.

They are lying in rows there, under the gloomy beams;
On the sagging floor; they gather the silver streams
Out of the moon, those moonlit apples of dreams,
And quiet is the steep stair under.

In the corridors under there is nothing but sleep.
And stiller than ever on orchard boughs they keep
Tryst with the moon, and deep is the silence, deep
On moon-washed apples of wonder.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Rosemary & Memory

 (Hyssopus officinalis LINN.)
History ~ The Ancients were well acquainted with the shrub, which had a reputation for strengthening the memory. On this account it became the emblem of fidelity for lovers. It holds a special position among herbs from the symbolism attached to it. Not only was it used at weddings, but also at funerals, for decking churches and banqueting halls at festivals, as incense in religious ceremonies, and in magical spells. At weddings, it was entwined in the wreath worn by the bride, being first dipped into scented water....Together with an orange stuck with cloves it was given as a New Year's gift - allusions to this custom are to be found in Ben Jonson's plays.

Here's an interesting article. It's yet another vindication of a piece of folk medicine. I've long been curious as to how these medicines were first discovered by our early ancestors. Was it trial and error, or had they access to some ancient, now lost, advice, and if so, from whom did it come?

"What does rosemary do to your brain?"

"In folk medicine, rosemary has been associated for centuries with having a good memory. But is it worth investigating whether it really has any powers, asks Dr Chris Van Tulleken."
...Prof Mark Moss at Northumbria University. His team is running an experiment to test whether rosemary essential oil could benefit future memory.....

Here's how the experiment worked. The team at Northumbria recruited 60 older volunteers to test the effects of not only rosemary oil but also lavender oil. They then tested these volunteers in a room infused with either rosemary essential oil, lavender essential oil or no aroma. Participants were told they were there to test a vitamin water drink. Any comments about the aromas were passed off as irrelevant and "left over from the previous group to use the room".

The volunteers... then took a test which was designed to test their prospective memory. It's a clever test with many layers so you never quite know what's being tested............(see full article for detail)

What Mark's team found was remarkable. The volunteers in the room with the rosemary infusion did statistically significantly better than those in the control room but lavender caused a significant decrease in performance. Lavender is traditionally associated with sleep and sedation.

Was the lavender sending our volunteers to sleep and decreasing their performance? How could vaporised essential oils possibly have this effect?

It turns out that there are compounds in rosemary oil that may be responsible for changes in memory performance. One of them is called 1,8-cineole - as well as smelling wonderful (if you like that sort of thing) it may act in the same way as the drugs licensed to treat dementia, causing an increase in a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine.

These compounds do this by preventing the breakdown of the neurotransmitter by an enzyme. And this is highly plausible - inhalation is one of the best ways of getting drugs into the brain. When you eat a drug it may be broken down in the liver which processes everything absorbed by the gut, but with inhalation small molecules can pass into the bloodstream and from there to the brain without being broken down by the liver.

As further confirmation Mark and his team analysed blood samples and found traces of the chemicals in rosemary oil in the blood.

Ve-ery int-eresting!