Thursday, May 31, 2007

Omar Khayyam

I'm not sure what prompted me to think about Omar Khayyam this week. I must have read the translated version of his poetry hundreds of times throughout my life, yet I knew nothing about the man, other than that he well understood that of which he wrote - life! His message, in a nutshell, is that we should enjoy our life, it's all there is and all there will ever be.
Who needs a library full of self-help books, a gaggle of gurus, or anything other than a pocket sized copy of The Rubaiyat?

The true birth date of Omar Khayyam remained in question until 1941 when it was ascertained via a horoscope which accompanied one of the earliest biographical notices of him, but had been ignored by scholars, possibly due to ignorance of astrology.

Omar Khayyam was born at sunrise on 18 May 1048 in Neyashibur ( Nishapur), Iran (then Persia). Astrotheme gives the birth time as 4.18am (seems a little early), and places Sun in very early Gemini, as does my own software. Astrodienst puts Sun in Taurus (26*). the variation is probably linked with calendrical changes or precession, but which is correct? Blogger, Ali Mostofi at "Astrology of Current Affairs" had something to say about the Iranian calendar, but I'm not confident that I understand enough to see how Omar's birth chart would be affected.



Above is the Astrodienst version ( Gregorian calendar),4.18am birth time.
Below is the Atrotheme version, same data.




Wow! Those beautiful Air Trines, and the sextiles. The consummate intellectual and communicator, probably close to genius. Whichever chart is correct the main factors remain. An early Gemini Sun and Gemini Moon simply add to the Air show! Either way, the chart pattern is a "funnel" with its focus on inventive Uranus in Air sign Libra.

Omar Khayyam was mathematician, astronomer,(astrologer?), philospher and poet!

Donn A. Allen says
"He was known in his own time as a sage, scholar, Hakim (wise man) who had mastered virtually all branches of knowledge of his time – astronomy, astrology, mathematics, medicine, physics, philosophy, religion, jurisprudence - am I leaving anything out? He was a pioneer of free expression, deplored hypocrisy, most certainly was not a drunkard or libertine, and is reported to have had a truly astounding memory!"

I guess Omar Khayyam's Taurus Sun (or ascendant, if Sun was in Gemini), ruled by artistic Venus led this consummate academic into the realms of poetry now and then, leaving us a great legacy.

Most famous of his poetry, in the west, is the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, as interpreted by Edward FitzGerald. Some say that this version owes a lot to FitzGerald's imagination - but surely the gist of it must be contained in Omar Khayyam's words?

A few favourite and well known quatrains, in no particular order -

Here with a Loaf of Bread beneath the Bough,
A Flask of Wine, a Book of Verse---and Thou
Beside me singing in the Wilderness---
And Wilderness is Paradise enow.

*********

Ah, my Beloved, fill the Cup that clears
TO-DAY of past Regrets and future Fears---
To-morrow?---Why, To-morrow I may be
Myself with Yesterday's Sev'n Thousand Years.

*******

'Tis all a Chequer-board of Nights and Days
Where Destiny with Men for Pieces plays:
Hither and thither moves, and mates, and slays,
And one by one back in the Closet lays.

********

The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.

********

Ah Love! could thou and I with Fate conspire
To grasp this sorry Scheme of Things entire,
Would not we shatter it to bits---and then
Re-mould it nearer to the Heart's Desire!


(Photograph: A statue of Omar Khayyam in Laleh Park, Tehran)

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

RELOCATION.

Relocation astrology is based on the theory that if one moves to live permanently in a location reasonably far away from place of birth, the "template" of house cusps in the natal chart swings around independently of the planetary positions. The angles: ascendant, midheaven, and opposite points will therefore lie at different points on the chart, accentuating areas of personality or opportunity which, until relocation, had been less prominent. The degree and sign position of planets remain exactly as natal. Nowadays it's easy enough to obtain a relocation chart using personal astrology software, or from Astrodienst.

Using my own case as an example: I moved almost 5000 miles from the UK to Oklahoma, which lies in the middle of the USA.

When relocated, my natal Cancer ascendant falls on 22.32 Aquarius (natal Sun is also in Aquarius, but at 6.47).

The move has placed natal 8th house Sun into 12th house, put Jupiter instead of Pluto in first house.

Jupiter in Pisces used to lie close to midheaven, 6.36 Sagittarius is now at MC, with Mars, right at the end of Scorpio, the closest planet.


I'm still the same old me. My natal Cancer ascendant is a part of my personality, it always will be, wherever I am living. My Cancerian characteristics didn't disappear when I arrived in Oklahoma.

Most of my relocation chart is compatible with natal positions, important planets remain emphasised but in a different way. I didn't choose the new location - one could say that it was thrust upon me. Perhaps I was lucky! It didn't feel quite that way at 5.30am this morning when the tornado siren sounded and we had to leap from bed and stay on alert !

Has having a new sign on the ascendant and midheaven changed anything? In theory having the same sign rising which contains natal Sun ought to emphasise the qualities of that sign. Have I become "more Aquarian"? Maybe - a little bit. I'm more vocal than I used to be about politics, global warming, etc. - stuff which affects humanity at large. My relocated 12th house Sun, if one chooses to believe it, has a rather doleful reputation...confinement, hidden enemies, self-undoing, loss....la-di-da! I choose not to believe that old fashioned stuff. The world has moved on from the times when astrologers first came to those conclusions. It has been said that 12th house Sun is often found in the charts of writers. They spend much time alone, writing (not confined, mind you). That fits my present situation!

So, I can see arguments both ways regarding relocation astrology -"the jury's out". It's something to watch in future. Transiting Neptune is currently on my relocated ascendant. Another crazy ride with Neptune, if I get one, will be sure proof that my relocated chart does work!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Sun Scorpio artist Jack Vettriano

Some critics of art, literature, film...whatever, can be a pain in the butt, so entranced by their own egos are they. For many ordinary folk their opinions are irrelevant. A case in point: Jack Vettriano, Scottish artist derided by art critics, beloved by the public. One of his paintings sold for over $1 million, all command hundreds of thousands of dollars, not to mention sales of prints, cards and posters by the truckload.

Jack Vettriano was born on 17 November 1951 in Fife, Scotland. Sun in Scorpio, Moon in Cancer (exact degree uncertain), Venus, Saturn and Neptune in Libra, Jupiter opposing Venus from Aries. Mercury in Sagittarius. Any astrologer who studied Vettriano's paintings would not be surprised to find that the Sun was in Scorpio when he was born.

A quote from the man himself -
"The greater glory of art doesn't come into it, he confirms. "That's not why I paint," he said. "It's wall decoration for me, I don't regard it as this big meaningful thing. My subjects are men and women getting off, that's all. Mind you, some people don't think sex is serious, but I happen to think it's terribly serious."

Not all Vettriano's work oozes sexiness, but even when it doesn't, there's an air of mystery and "film noir" feel to it. Pluto, Scorpio's modern ruler is widely trine Mercury, which may add to the artist's penchant for the sexy and mysterious. All very Scorpio! Yet some pieces also indicate an artist who is sensitive to the intricacies of relationship - Cancer Moon at work? Almost every painting calls forth some kind of emotional response. The three planets in Libra, ruled by artistic Venus probably account for his innate skills. He's a self-taught artist who started by copying figures from art manuals, and has been hauled over the coals for it ever since. He has, over time, developed his own identifiable "trade marks" - beaches, umbrellas, people dressed in formal clothing, and male/female interaction.

For me, Vettriano falls into the same category as Norman Rockwell and Edward Hopper -all act as mirrors, reflecting small slices of life, though each from a different perspective. In order to be successful in this kind of illustrative art there needs to be insight and compassion, experience and understanding as well as drawing and painting skills. The combination of these qualities is rare, and I believe such artists deserve more appreciation from critics.
(Paintings from top (right to left) "The Singing Butler". "Devotion". "A Very Married Woman". "In Thoughts of You". "The Billy Boys". "Embracing". "Her Secret Life"."The Letter".)

More HERE, and via Google Image.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Daughtry+ Jupiter = Success

Chris Daughtry, the rocker who came fourth in American Idol in 2006, is currently doing rather better than the singer who won the title, Taylor Hicks. Chris and his band "Daughtry" have an album entitled "Home", in the charts. The title song was written by Chris himself and has become the band's second top 5 single, according to Wikipedia.

Chris was born 26 December 1979 in Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina. Capricorn Sun, with Neptune and Mercury conjoined in Sagittarius - an excellent start for a singer/songwriter! Business sense and common sense from Capricorn, wide ranging imagination and the ability to communicate it from Mercury/ Neptune in Sagittarius.

Mars, Saturn and Jupiter all lie in sensible, work oriented Virgo. I wouldn't expect Chris to go the way of some rockers - he'll be too disciplined to need re-hab, I'd guess. Venus in Aquarius and Moon probably in Aries add a touch of something a little more adventurous to his personality. He'll always be sensible, but never boring!

I'm not surprised he has been doing so well. Transiting Jupiter has, until quite recently been conjunct his natal Neptune/Mercury at 19/20 Sagittarius. Jupiter will be back for another visit in the autumn too, so even more success is likely for Chris and his band.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

MEMORIAL





No astrology, only memories on this Memorial Day Weekend.

Although I'm not American, I too owe a debt of gratitude to the American servicemen who, during my early childhood in World War 2, came to the aid of Britain. Many fell in action, and the majority of those who were fortunate enough to return home will by now have passed on. Without their assistance to our own brave military men in those dark days, it's hard to know how Britain could have survived.

The above illustration, by Norman Rockwell, is dedicated to them all. It was originally issued for Thanksgiving 1943, but it's equally apt this weekend.

That was then, though. This is now. In the current situation:
"Honour the dead, heal the wounded, bring the troops home."

***********************************************

Also, in remembering my own loved ones, I think of some lines from a Tina Turner song :"Something Beautiful Remains"

We're living in world, stars and dust
Between heaven 'n all that surrounds us
We're travellers here, spirits passing through
And the love we give, is all that will endure
Hey now, what we had is gone
But I still remember you
Just like a rose after the rain
Something beautiful remains


Tears will leave no stains
Time will ease the pain
For every life that fades
Something beautiful remains

Saturday, May 26, 2007

THE WEEK THAT WAS


It's been a somewhat slow news week generally, so a little padding may be needed!

Al Gore's book "The Assault on Reason" was published. Blogger Dave Johnson attended a book signing, see his report HERE. He says, amongst other things:

"He (Al Gore) was supposed to talk for a short time, take questions and sign books, but he just got going an gave one of the most inspired, intelligent and I think historically important articulations of the current threat to the American experiment and our democracy that I have heard. He was just on fire".

Yes, I guess he must be, with transiting Pluto sparking his natal Jupiter at 28 Sagittarius!

Michelle Kraus says:
"Al Gore is the cool guy now. He is really smart. He speaks the truth. He still uses big words and has even bigger ideas. He talks about the information eco-system! He references the Age of Enlightenment and he has a dream and a vision for this country."

I've said it before, and I'll keep on saying it until all hope is gone: "Please....Run, Al....Run!!!"

To hear Paul Kaplan singing his song "Run Al, Run!" (Click twice on arrow in centre of screen)


**********************************************

American Idol ground to a halt at last. Capricorn Sun beat Cancer Sun, but both Jordin and Blake have achieved a head start towards lucrative careers.The finale on Wednesday night more than made up for some past lacklustre shows. It was good to see and hear Tony Bennett, Gladys Knight and Smokey Robinson - all still in good voice. We thoroughly enjoyed Wednesday's show.

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On Thursday evening a new experience of American life awaited me. We attended my husband's grandson's Graduation ceremony at the local High School. I'm not sure what goes on in British schools nowadays, but in my day we had nothing quite like this. It was interesting for me, and emotional for the families involved. More on this from my husband's blog "Thinks Happen"

Two pieces of music played during the evening took me aback. As the 220 graduates filed into the auditorium we heard the orchestra play Elgar's Pomp and Circumstance March, known to almost every Brit as "Land of Hope and Glory". It's almost a secondary national anthem! This is always played with great gusto and flag-waving at the Last Night of the Proms in London. (A series of orchestral concerts held each year in the Royal Albert Hall). I felt a little disoriented for a few moments. Later, when the students sang their School Song (see photograph) there was another surprise - it was sung to the tune of "Men of Harlech"(which some folk think of as a secondary national anthem for Wales). Still - both are good tunes, and do not belong exclusively to us Brits!


Watching the students seated together on the stage, listening to their peers deliver speeches, I wondered what kind of world it will be when these kids reach the age of say, 40. Around the year 2030 Pluto will have reached Aquarius, and Uranus will be in Gemini - a good combination both in the element of Air. Neptune will have reached Aries by then. So the 3 outer planets will be quite harmoniously placed in Air and Fire signs. I cannot start to imagine what may have happened in the time between now and 2030, but I have to believe that by the time these young people reach maturity the world will be a wiser, and a better place.

****************************************

On Monday morning, at the crack of dawn, I waited in the local hospital while HeWhoKnows underwent a routine "Uranian" examination. The fun part occurred when I was ushered in to help him wake from his sedation. After attempting to rouse him, I was treated to such pearls of wisdom as the mumbled "Are we there yet?", "What's my new name, then?" I asked what he would like his new name to be, and was told "Gene Autry", this followed by "Wanna fool around?" His eyes remained tightly closed, speech very slurred. I suspect he was visiting Neptune.

Speaking of Neptune - I realised this week that in my relocated chart, to which I pay scant attention, transiting Neptune is currently stationed exactly on my relocated ascendant.

Neptune! Yes. I remember you! You visited my Sun a few years ago and set my world askew for months. Perhaps now I'll have a chance to find out whether relocation charts actually "work" - I'll be watching!

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Friday, May 25, 2007

ARTY-FARTY FRIDAY #5



(Click on image for larger version)

I saw this painting, by HeWhoKnows, before any of his other artwork. I liked it at once, and it turned out that it's his own favourite too. It has always hung somewhere in his home, while most of his other handiwork remained hidden in a closet (until I arrived!) He tells me it was originally a charcoal sketch which he later enhanced. It was a drawing he'd made following his first sight of the musician in an old TV series called "Route 66". Coleman Hawkins played a bit part in one episode, and a youthful HWK was so thrilled at catching a glimpse of one of his idols that he felt inspired to draw him.

Coleman Hawkins was a jazz musician of the early to mid- 20th century. He was responsible for bringing the saxophone into mainstream jazz.

Born 21 November 1904 in St.Joseph, Missouri. Hawkins had Venus, the musical planet at 3* Capricorn, with Uranus, planet of innovation at 28 Sagittarius, forming what I think is known as an "out of sign conjunction", because they are very close, but lie in different zodiac signs. It seems appropriate, then, that he should have been the musician(Venus) who brought a new(Uranus) element into the jazz scene, added to this, Saturn lies in Aquarius, the innovative sign.

The liner notes for one of his albums begin:

"Coleman Hawkins? Man, he invented the tenor sax!" It is hard to disagree: Hawkins was the first man to solo on tenor, the first to record in the bop style, and the first to record unaccompanied on the instrument, with "Picasso" in 1948. Thoroughly grounded in the fundamentals (he supposedly could play any song in any key), Hawkins played with a facility previously unseen in the tenor, and with a drive which many musicians copied. He is largely responsible for making tenor the main solo voice of the saxophone family."

British photographer David Redfern's photographs of jazz mucisians, including Coleman Hawkins, were used in a 1995 issue of postage stamps in the USA.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Life and Astrology After 60

Casting around the internet for inspiration, I noticed a some queries about astrology, posed last year on what appears to have been a discussion forum. (alt.astrology.moderated)

One question caught my eye: "Is astrology a moot point after 60?" There's a further query in the thread: "Is life basically over by the second Saturn Return?"

A brief discussion follows on whether transits become less effective, and whether outer planet transits might be the only things worth watching during "senior" years.

I found the questions strange. Why should the application of astrology change at age 60, or at any age ? Why would life be over after Saturn Return #2? A page turns and a new chapter begins, the book doesn't end - it gets more interesting. Mine did. My husband's did. My parents' did. For many people the second Saturn Return heralds retirement from a lifetime of work - FREEDOM!! Life basically over? For goodness sake - it's just beginning!

Something I read yesterday backs up my opinion. Paul McCartney has a new album coming out, reviewed by R.J. Eskow, it's called "Memory Almost Full". Mr. Eskow says, among other things:

"The musical vitality of this album is life-affirming in what are often dark days. Paul has lost none of his gifts at aged 65. That should prove inspirational to legions of depressed boomers who think their lives are all but over."

Regarding transits - in my own, very personal view, transits of the outer planets, including Saturn and Jupiter, are the only ones to which it's worth paying rapt attention, whatever one's age. Even then, it's best if the attention doesn't become rapt enough to make one paranoid. Even the most ardent fan of astrology should repeat, once a day, "Astrology is not 100% accurate". (When it is accurate though, it's breathtaking!)
(Illustration = Tree of Life by Gustav Klimt)

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

If Time Were The Essence of Travellin'

I love to travel. Venus in Sagittarius and 9th house Jupiter, near midheaven may describe this part of my nature.

I enjoy the actual process of travelling, by every means other than by water. Travel by water brings out the coward in me! I've yet to work out where this phobia appears in my chart. The other important part of travel's adventure is in trying to identify and experience the "essence" of places or cities visited. The essence usually lies in the past, I find. Perhaps my natal Cancer ascendant has something to do with this. The zodiac sign of Cancer is connected with an interest in history and the past.

I spent some time in Rome, Italy in the early 1960s (photo on right). I used to wish frequently that I could turn back time; not all the way back to the days of the Roman Empire, but far enough to allow me to experience the Eternal City without so many tourists and so much traffic. A decade or so before my visits, only very wealthy travellers had access to Rome. I imagined with envy what it must have been like to wander the ancient sites and sights, free of horrendous traffic, noise and fumes. I used to frequent cobbled back streets, away from tourist areas. Occasionally I'd feel that I did catch a glimpse and a feel of how it used to be. I'm luckier than most, though. At least I saw the city before worse pollution and even heavier traffic took its toll.

If only we could, in a Time Travel Bubble, visit fabled destinations at a personal choice in time! Of course, not everyone's choice would be the same. But for now that's the stuff of science fiction stories

Here, in Oklahoma and nearby Texas, as we drive through tiny, semi- abandoned townships, I wish to be able to see them as they used to be. I close my eyes and see horse drawn buggies in a muddy street, hear the sound of a piano from an old saloon. And on the open prairie, I'll see, in my mind's eye, a huge herd of cattle being driven by dusty cowboys for hundreds of miles, or a wagon train slowly and painfully making its way, with courageous pioneers travelling far, hoping to find a better life.


I've never been to New Orleans, another fabled city. Hurricane Katrina may have temporarily diminished the city's ability to shine, but I feel sure it will bounce back. I guess the best period for time travel to "The Big Easy" would be almost any time in the 20th century, until Katrina hit. HeWhoKnows tells me that he visited the city during the 1980s. He reckons the best time for New Orleans is "whenever you're there". I think I understand.

Another famous, or in this case infamous, city I've been lucky enough to visit is Tangier, in Morocco, North Africa. I won a two-week vacation for two in the city - a competition prize - back in 1974. That was during one of my Jupiter Returns !

Tangier's heyday, was, I suppose, the years surrounding World War 2. Think Humphrey Bogart in "Casablanca".
Protected by a Time Travel Bubble, that would be my optimum time for re-visiting Tangier.

In 1974 the streets were filled with children begging from tourists - a sad sight. The kids were happy enough though. One of my favourite memories of my late partner is of him finding a real soccer ball in a shop, buying it and presenting it to Mohammed (with me in the photo), one of the little boys who insisted following us around. From our hotel window, we'd watch Mohammed, proud as a king, leading his pals down to the beach each morning to play soccer, carrying that ball.

For many Americans London is a favourite destination. I'm not a fan of "the great metrollups" as a friend of mine used to call Britain's capital city. I can understand why Americans flock there though.

I spent a few weeks working in London's Bloomsbury area in the early 1990s. That tickled my imagination a little, as I recall. Bloomsbury is an area of elegant formal squares with trees, greenery, Georgian and Victorian architecture. From the early 1900s, it was the home ground of the Bloomsbury Set, bohemians, artists, writers, including Virginia Woolf, E.M. Forster, T.S. Eliot, Lytton Strachey.
Those two decades of the 20th century must have been a fascinating time in Bloomsbury. That's when Pluto was in Gemini - very appropriate. Oh for that Time Travel Bubble!

If a Time Travel Bubble could move forward as well as backward, and we travelled to the year 2207, would we encounter someone wishing for the opportunity to visit -------- in 2007, before..........happened? (Fill in the blanks) Now there's a thought!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

What?....Not to wear?

I occasionally watch the American TV version of "What Not To Wear". The two presenters, Clinton and Stacy, are considerably more entertaining than their UK counterparts, the dreaded Trinny and Susannah.

I always wonder how long the fashion experts' advice will stick, once the $5000-worth of new classy gear has been outworn by the subject of each show. Will the hapless object of our scrutiny revert once more to their earlier random ways, which, in any case, are probably more in keeping with their astrology, and true self.

While these shows are entertaining, and I'm interested in what the experts consider "a good look" for their client, I can't help feeling that it's all wrong to tell someone what to wear. How we dress, style our hair, makeup our face (or not), is an integral part of our "being". Changing the way a person looks, to fit someone else's idea, seems to me like taking a pink rose and painting it purple with orange dots. "But", you might say, "the subjects were never rose-like to begin with". Perhaps not - but each is unique. Unique is beautiful.

Sure enough, a new hairstyle can change one's appearance, perhaps compensate for a high forehead or oversized nose. Why should everyone appear to be in possession of standard-sized features? Good looks and good taste are in the eye and opinion of the beholder, the most important beholder, in my opinion, is oneself.

Perhaps my own astrology is showing here: Aquarius Sun/Aries Moon. American astrologer of the mid-20th century, Grant Lewi, credits this combination with possessing "utter independence". That's possibly the kindest part of the interpretation in his book "Heaven Knows What". I swear that he'd been frightened by an Aquarius/Aries at an early age and never got over it!

As I see it, a young woman whose wardrobe is made up of sparkly tee shirts, big clumpy boots, and gaudy floral skirts may not appear to dress in the best possible taste, but she is expressing something of herself. Another woman might prefer to dress in sombre greys, black and navy blue, with a lot of formal tailoring. Again, she's expressing a part of her personality (no prizes for guessing which planet and/or signs are strong in her natal chart). The experts would probably encourage her to wear lighter, brighter hues, in an altogether softer more feminine style - I'd wager that within a year she'd be back back with the grey, black and navy!

Something else too - by dressing as "who we aren't", the likelihood of attracting inompatible lovers, friends, and employers may be very high. The messages we'd be giving out would be false.

We are what we are, and I reckon the beauty is in accepting it.

Monday, May 21, 2007

"A funny ol' world....."

I was moved by an article written by one of my favourite journalists, Christopher Cooper, for The Wiscasset Newspaper. The piece is entitled "As Some Warn Victory, Some Downfall" - which is a line from Bob Dylan's song " It's Alright Ma (I'm only bleeding)". Mr Cooper writes exactly what I'd like to be able to write.

A short extract:
"Anybody who likes this war should sign on to it. Send his or her son and daughter. Send the Pentagon a generous check toward the cost. Support the troops? Go die in the desert so they don’t have to. Yellow ribbons tied to a power pole or a string of made in China toy flags along a bridge rail don’t do the job five long years into the butchery.

I wish I thought electing Democrats these days made much difference. I wish I thought the anguish ninety or a hundred families feel every month when they see a brace of officers coming up their front walks bearing that unspeakably terrible salutation could somehow seep into each of our hearts and make us turn off the ball game or the car race or walk out of the Spiderman sequel and demand that somebody, anybody, either party, do the right thing. Right now."

Christopher Cooper's article led me, via its title, to read again some Bob Dylan lyrics of the 1960s. Many still seem very relevant today, they were written in the 1960s when Uranus conjoined or lay very close to Pluto. The sentiments expressed may become even more relevant when the Uranus/Pluto squares arrive in 2011.

In a review of Mike Marqusee's book, "Chimes of Freedom: The Politics of Bob Dylan's Art", in 2002, Stefan Schindler of La Salle University wrote:

"What is especially fresh about Marqusee's book is its astonishing relevance. It's a journey into the smoldering fissures that still inform our collective psyche: globalized, militarized, terror-edged, led by lunatics. Marqusee makes exactly the right point when he suggests that "the sixties might someday come to seem merely an early skirmish in a conflict whose real dimensions we have yet to grasp." As William Faulkner said: "The past is not dead. It's not even past."

Bob Dylan's lyrics are in stark contrast to the mawkish sentimentality of some country music offerings of today (as mentioned in Saturday's blog post). Dylan's own politics have been the subject of argument among his fans. It may well be that he is not quite as "lefty" nor totally anti-war as these lyrics suggest. It doesn't matter. We each see in them what we want to see. Good poetry and lyrics can be chameleon-like, capable of appreciation in many ways, on different levels.

Perhaps, as we draw nearer to those Uranus/Pluto aspects, more Dylan-esque lyric writers will arrive on the scene, I hope so.

From MASTERS OF WAR
Come you masters of war
You that build all the guns
You that build the death planes
You that build the big bombs
You that hide behind walls
You that hide behind desks
I just want you to know
I can see through your masks

You that never done nothin'
But build to destroy
You play with my world
Like it's your little toy
You put a gun in my hand
And you hide from my eyes
And you turn and run farther
When the fast bullets fly

From IT'S ALRIGHT MA (I'm only bleeding)
As some warn victory, some downfall
Private reasons great or small
Can be seen in the eyes of those that call
To make all that should be killed to crawl
While others say don't hate nothing at all
Except hatred.

Disillusioned words like bullets bark
As human gods aim for their mark
Made everything from toy guns that spark
To flesh-colored Christs that glow in the dark
It's easy to see without looking too far
That not much
Is really sacred.

While preachers preach of evil fates
Teachers teach that knowledge waits
Can lead to hundred-dollar plates
Goodness hides behind its gates
But even the president of the United States
Sometimes must have
To stand naked.

From SONG TO WOODY
I'm out here a thousand miles from my home,
Walkin' a road other men have gone down.
I'm seein' your world of people and things,
Your paupers and peasants and princes and kings.

Hey, hey Woody Guthrie, I wrote you a song
'Bout a funny ol' world that's a-comin' along.
Seems sick an' it's hungry, it's tired an' it's torn,
It looks like it's a-dyin' an' it's hardly been born.

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I'll be spending several hours in the waiting room of our local hospital this morning, riding shotgun for HeWhoKnows while he has a routine "procedure". No reason at all to worry, it's one of those Uranian (wink) procedures which American doctors seem very keen on. The appointment HWK was given - 6.15am - was a little sadistic .....yawn. I think the tee shirt he's wearing (right) fits in well with this blog entry.
Image at top of post from Be the Change USA

Sunday, May 20, 2007

IMMIGRATION

I guess there will be fur and feathers flying this week in the debate on the US Senate's immigration bill.

Where does astrology come in to it? See "Astrological Law and Order" - at the Starcats site, there's a comprehensive rundown of how mundane astrology connects to various strands of law. Immigration law could encompass almost all the planets and signs in one way or another - as, indeed, does life. Saturn and Capricorn are probably the most involved in present problems.

"Saturn creates the necessary order, structure, form and functions to mitigate the chaotic factors inherent in the negotiations of group enterprises. Saturn is associated with institutions representing the legal system, civil service, and all restraining/restricting forces in society. Saturn is rules, procedures, and guidelines. Saturn is associated with the administration of justice and has its affilations with police (law enforcement) and also the regimentation of military life and discipline. The attitude of a nation toward law, order, taboos, old practices, the old guard in politics, etc., are also associated with Saturn."

What in astrology represents immigration? Sagittarius and Jupiter I guess, for they are connected with travel and expansion, also, in some ways, with law. Saturn is in trine with Jupiter just now, both in dynamic fire signs, Leo and Sagittarius - Jupiter being strong in its own sign. It's an appropriate time for the problem of illegal immigration to come under a spotlight.

This is such a complex matter, grown more complex over time because successive US administrations have failed to competently address it. At least 12 million illegal immigrants are present in the USA we are told. Can you imagine 12 million people standing side by side? I can't. The problem is huge, the difficulty in solving the problem will, inevitably, be enormous.

I've been a legal immigrant in the US since 2004. In a couple of months I'll be eligible to apply for US citizenship, a process which will probably take from 6 months to a year (if I'm lucky). The path I had to follow in order to live here legally with my American husband was time consuming, convoluted, expensive and frustrating. It's an administrative quagmire.

I reckon that what is being proposed at present is reasonable in theory - how practical it would turn out to be, in action, is another matter. The administrative underpinnings of the current plan may well be too complex to be practical, at least without years of preparation, years in which the illegal population could increase by several more millions!

This editorial from The Washington Post is one of the most logical I've read so far.

It's sad that our world cannot be an open world, with no barriers. The human race isn't yet wise enough to deal with a scenario like that. I doubt that it ever will be.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

THE WEEK THAT WAS

A few recent news stories seem to fit with the week's inconjunct (quincunx) aspect between Uranus and Saturn. There was a 150* angle between Uranus at 18* Pisces and Saturn at 18* Leo. This between two planets which represent, in a nutshell, the old and the new, in two signs which have little or no understanding, one for the other.

From 17 May an example of the old and the new coming into conflict:

"In a striking reach across party lines, the White House and key lawmakers agreed Thursday on a sweeping immigration plan to grant legal status to millions of people in the country unlawfully.......
........Almost instantly, the plan brought vehement criticism from both sides of the immigration issue, including liberals who called it unfair and unworkable and conservatives who branded it an overly permissive "amnesty." "

Also on 17 May 2007 the first gay marriages took place in the state of Massachusetts
A new attitude(Uranus) replacing the old (Saturn)? And not before time! I hope that more states follow suit before too long. Yet, on the other side of the coin:
NEW YORK - MAY 18-"Pope Benedict XVI, US President George W. Bush and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad have undermined human rights by actively promoting prejudice against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, Human Rights Watch said today in its annual "hall of shame" to mark the International Day Against Homophobia. "


Mark Levine wrote an article this week about Bono's expressions of anger that the G-8 countries have not come close to meeting the pledges for increased aid to Africa made at the Gleneagles Summit two years ago. Even those with the best of intentions of changing old ways need to "raise their game". As Mark Levine says in the last paragraph of his article"

"..........And that we -- Bono, Gore, and all of us fortunate enough to be living in the advanced industrialized countries -- are the main beneficiaries of this system. Only if people see them really risking something to fight a battle that most people fear is impossible to win, will they get off their ass and join the fight. It's time for Bono to get off the stage and hit the barricades, and for the rest of us to follow him."

Another celebrity was also feeling grumpy - I read that Bob Geldorf had criticised Al Gore for arranging the Live Earth concerts due to take place this summer, saying: "But why is (Gore) actually organizing them? To make us aware of the greenhouse effect? Everybody's known about that problem for years. We are all (expletive) conscious of global warming." I beg to differ with Bob Geldorf. He should come to live in middle America for a while. "Everybody" does not (expletive) know there's a problem.

Mars moving into Aries and forming a trine to my natal Pluto may have raised my blood pressure on Tuesday evening as we watched part of the Academy of Country Music Awards on TV. My liking for country music is fading fast. Living in the USA has opened my eyes to a part of the country scene I'd been unaware of from my old vantage point in the UK. There's an attitude among many country stars and fans which I find disturbing.

During Tuesday's show, Tim McGraw sang a song dedicated to America's fallen heroes, presumably in Iraq, but arguably in any conflict.
An excerpt from the lyrics:
"You’re reading this, my mama’s sittin there Look’s like I only got a one way ticket over here I sure wish I could give you one more kiss War was just a game we played when we were kids Well I’m layin down my gun and hanging up my boots I’m up here with God and we’re both watching over you

So lay me down In that open field out on the edge of town And know my soul Is where my mama always prayed that it would go And if you’re reading this I’m already home."


Whilst I can see that songs like this might be a comfort to family and friends of those who have died, and I hesitate to criticise, I do wish more country singers would follow the example of the Dixie Chicks and protest strongly about that DAMNED war, rather than seeming to mawkishly accept and wallow in it.

At the CMT awards a few weeks ago ( how many awards shows does country music need?) host Jeff Foxworthy called out to the audience that, though others may look on country music fans as rednecks, "We get up and go to work. We get up and go church. We get up and go to war!!" Yes, the first two are fine. The last one isn't something to brag about these days, in my humble opinion. I'd best leave it there.

At least two unexpected (Uranus) events occured this week: Jerry Falwell, TV evangelist died, aged 73, and Melinda Doolittle was voted off American Idol. Those two news item do not sit comfortably together. I was more saddened by the latter than the former. In Melinda's case, I suspect viewers, confident that she'd sail through to the final, failed to vote in sufficient numbers to ensure that she did so. As far as Mr Falwell is concened, I have no respect for anyone who twists a valuable message of love and compassion to further his own ends - as far as I can see, that's all Mr Falwell ever sought to do.

Not a comfortable news week!

Friday, May 18, 2007

ARTY-FARTY FRIDAY #4

(Click on picture for larger version)

The picture is a mystery and a fantasy, so in one way it's Neptunian. It's all about buildings and structure though, so in another way it's Saturnian. Saturn and Neptune have lately moved out of exact opposition, maybe now is an appropriate time to display my acquisition.

I found this large (36"x28"), nicely framed print last year, in a junk-cum-antique shop in a nearby town. It was marked "Unique print, frame and mat alone are worth the asking price". True enough. The print has been tastefully framed and triple matted by someone, who at some time obviously loved and valued this picture, as I do now.

When I first saw the picture I was immediately attracted by the light in the window of the building in the foreground, the architecture of the doorway and windows reminded me of a building where I once worked. But the entire fantasy cityscape is a mystery. I've been unable to find any information as to its artist or source. It's a good quality print, or so I'm told by HeWhoKnows, magnifying glass in hand. I've wondered if it might originally have been part of an even larger illustration, it can give that impression.

Those hilly structures are reminiscent of Italian hill towns, but there is no hint of vegetation or trees in the picture, and there are just too many buildings to fit that theory. The architecture is definitely European though, but not British. The picture reminds me of some of Escher's early work which did depict Italian landscapes. At right is the first lithograph ever made by M.C. Escher -"Goriano Sicoli, Abruzzi" (1929). Image from Herakleidon Those illustrations were, as far as I know, in black and white, or accasionally black with some other colour. I doubt that our picture is a print of an early Escher illustration, but I'd say that the artist was influenced by Escher.

Perhaps the picture illustrated the artist's idea of a city of the future, or a place from another dimension ? Whenever I gaze at it I always come back to the lighted room in the foremost building - perhaps someone in there was dreaming.......

If any passing reader recognises the picture or the style, or can add any information at all, I'd be delighted to hear from them.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

New Prime Minister for Britain

I've been away from Britain, my native land, long enough to feel estranged from the politics there, but I understand that Tony Blair's imminent departure may mean that Gordon Brown will be Britain's next prime minister. I've read all of Dharmaruci's blogs on the subject at Astrotabletalk, and feel uneasy, to say the least, about Gordon Brown as PM. He and Tony Blair transformed the Labour Party into what they term "New Labour" - something it was never, ever meant to be. In my view it's now a watered down version of conservatism - it has been said that the swing to the right was needed in order for Labour to win elections. That's a little scary - and sad.

Left-wing Labour MP John McDonnell will attempt to gain sufficient support to run against Brown for leadership of the party. That is good news! I much prefer the look of McDonnell's natal chart. Born 8 September 1951 in Liverpool, he has Sun, Mercury and Venus in work and service oriented Virgo - Sun sextiles Uranus in Cancer. Jupiter in Aries trines Mars in Leo. His Moon would have been in Sagittarius, whatever his birthtime, and may possibly form aspects with Pluto and Mars. To me that chart describes someone with a good balance of practical common sense and dynamic go-getting. Saturn, strongly placed in Libra where it is traditionally "exalted", and semi-sextile natal Mercury represents tact and diplomacy, keen sense of justice and fairness - an excellent placement for a politician. Gordon Brown, born earlier the same year shares similar planetary placements for Saturn and the outer planets. The significant differences, I'd say, are placements of Mars and Jupiter. These are trined in Fire signs in McDonnell's chart, but in Brown's they both lie in Pisces, with his Sun and Venus - too much! I think this could result in a kind of blinkered outlook, lacking perspective.

There's more information in an excellent blog post about John McDonnell at The Nether-World by Davide Simonetti.

It seems doubtful at present that John McDonnell could oust Gordon Brown, but you never can tell!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Fonda Ruled!

We saw the movie "Georgia Rule" at the weekend. It had gathered some very poor reviews, but we guessed it would be preferable to anything showing on TV. It wasn't as bad as I expected, in fact I enjoyed it.

The movie did, at times, resemble one of those comic strip type soap operas, with unbelieveable, two dimensional characters engaged in too many highly unlikely coincidences and silly situations, in quck succession.

Another blogger featured in Astrology News (Moonlightbecomesme) mentioned this movie yesterday, but for some reason my computer hung up each time I tried to read that blog - so I apologise if I've covered any similar ground.

Jane Fonda, Felicity Huffman and Lindsay Lohan were the three leads. A film featuring at least one woman "of a certain age" who is not portrayed with one foot in the grave, is always a treat. Jane Fonda looks great at 70! Her resemblance to her father, Henry, seems to increase with the years. This news article "She's Always Known How To Get Our Attention" about Jane's antics with Stephen Colbert, during a promotional interview for the film, indicates that she's still as feisty as ever!

Rather than dissecting the astrology of the three leading actresses, which has probably been done already, I decided to consider the imaginary astrology of Georgia, played by Jane Fonda - hopefully without giving away too much of the plot.

Georgia is a grandmother who lives in small town Idaho, and maintains a strict code of rules for herself and for others. She is not strait-laced in every way, but sufficiently so to alienate her daughter.

Georgia's Sun could be in Virgo or Capricorn - she insisted that her wayward grandaughter should work rather than laze around during her sojourn in small town Idaho. Capricorns tend to age well, so I'll go for Sun and Venus in Capricorn, with Mercury in Aquarius - she had a rather rebellious streak, especially in her mode of communications (she told her grandaughter to "go f... yourself" and set about another character's expensive car with a baseball bat). Mars may well be at home in Aries, then !

Jupiter in Virgo could underline her excessively strict, somewhat anal, attitudes. Saturn near the ascendant would be a good placement, adding emphasis to her love of rules and strict work ethic. For her rising sign - maybe Taurus - stubborn, a little bit earthy, lover of small town life.

Generational planets would be more or less as Jane Fonda's own - Uranus in Taurus(near Georgia's ascendant, close to Saturn), Neptune in Virgo along with Jupiter, and Pluto right at the end of Cancer, with perhaps the Moon, strong in its own Sign, lending a touch of well-hidden softness to the character.

Whereas several reviews stated that Lindsay Lohan was, more or less, playing herself in this movie, the same could hardly be said of Jane Fonda !

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Bettie Page, icon and anomaly.

Ever since my husband wrote a brief blog about Betty Page on her 84th birthday I've been a little curious about her. No doubt her fame did reach Britain, but I was unaware of it. On Sunday night my curiosity was satisfied - HBO showed a film called "The Notorious Bettie Page" a biography of this photographic model and pin-up icon of the 1950s. The "notorious" element was Bettie's willingness to pose in photographs of women administering "discipline". Only females appeared in these photographs - which seemed to satisfy fetishists then. Now, the photographs seem almost comical. As cameras improved, and photography grew in popularity, pinup photographers replaced pinup artists such as Vargas and Petty (already blogged HERE)



Bettie was born on 22 April 1923, some sources say in Nashville, others say in Jackson, Tennessee. There are some 100 miles between them, but for a "stand well back" look at her 12 noon chart it doesn't really matter. Astrotheme has her birthtime at 3am, giving Pisces rising and Uranus on the ascendant, Moon conjunct Pluto in Cancer. That's all very appropriate, and for me, a little too appropriate. I suspect a little judicious "rectification" has gone on. I'll stick with 12 noon.


Natal Sun is at 1*Taurus, ruled by Venus, planet of beauty - of course! Mercury is also in Taurus at 16*. I notice there are several planets in the middle degrees of signs - not sure what, if anything this might signify. There's a nice Grand Trine in Water signs involving Jupiter, Uranus and Pluto, the Moon might be involved too, but without a time of birth we can't be sure. This easy flowing configuration of planets in Water signs might well have endowed Bettie with an innate understanding of how to appeal to the emotions of the opposite sex, especially those of her own generation many of whom who would have revolutionary Uranus and sexy Pluto in trine too. Jupiter in trine with these two generational planets in Bettie's chart could have assisted in "publishing" her many charms to a wide audience.

The opposition of Mercury in common sense Taurus to Jupiter in sexy Scorpio accounts for the anomaly of her provocative and titillating poses, as against her basically innocent, fun loving joie de vivre and lack of any "nastiness". The antagonistic squares from imaginative Neptune to sexy Jupiter in Scorpio, and common sense Mercury in Taurus, may also be involved in this anomaly, and in Bettie's decision to abandon her career at its height.

Mars in Gemini and Saturn in Libra, two mentally oriented Air signs, lie a little too widely apart to form a trine. Bettie was a very intelligent girl, held a BA degree from Peabody College, became disillusioned after four years at a teachers' college and started to capitalize on her looks, entering beauty contests. I guess the rest is history. I wonder if, had those two Airy planets been in closer trine, she might have proceeded to use her brain, rather than her body in an academic career ? But that would have denied millions of males the joy of gazing upon pictures of their idol.

Bettie Page was definitely a template for some of today's idols, e.g. Madonna. She was in the avant garde of independent females who abandoned the kitchen sink and cosy image of how a woman should behave. No more waiting obediently at the door as husband returned from work calling "Hi honey, I'm home". I admire her, not only for her good looks, but for her spirit, and for her good sense in abandoning her fame at just the right time to ensure iconic status in the minds of her adoring audience.

In a letter handwritten by Bettie, as preface to the book "Bettie Page, the Life of a Pin-up Legend" by Karen Essex and James L. Swanson, she says:

"I was not trying to be shocking, or to be a pioneer. I wasn't trying to change society, or to be ahead of my time.
I didn't think of myself as liberated, and I don't believe I did anything important. I was just myself. I didn't know any other way to be, or any other way to live. If my photographs speak to you, then I am happy. If I am remembered today, it is because you, the reader, see something in me that I never saw in myself"

Monday, May 14, 2007

They still haven't got the message!

It appears the US administration has still not got the message about global warming - are they deaf, dumb and blind? The Bush administration still seeks to water down proposals to be put forward at next month's G8 summit.

Al Gore ! America needs you! But even more urgently, the planet needs you! Please!!! You must have realised by now that no other current presidential candidate has the foresight or determination to do what's needed.

Al Gore currently has transiting, restrictive Saturn sitting on natal Mars (18* Leo) - possibly putting the brakes on any thought he may have of running in the 2008 election. When Saturn trundles on to 22* Leo at the end of June and into July, that planet will harmoniously sextile Gore's natal revolutionary, idealistic and ingenious Uranus at 22* Gemini, hopefully prodding him into "putting his money where his mouth is".

Transiting Jupiter, now appearing to move backwards, away from his vertex - will be conjoining it again in late October. I think the vertex is an especially sensitive point in the natal chart. Perhaps this fall may be the time for any fateful decision. Al Gore's vertex is in the same degree as my own natal Venus - maybe this is why I feel so strongly about him and his message.

There's little doubt that Mr Gore will have a very busy summer. He has a new book to be published later this month, with attendant tours and appearances. Entitled The Assault on Reason, it's said to be "A visionary analysis of how the politics of fear, secrecy, cronyism, and blind faith has combined with the degration of the public sphere to create an environment dangerously hostile to reason". Later, in July, Live Earth concerts in worldwide venues will take up much of his time. I guess it's easy to see why any announcement of a presidential run might over-egg the pudding just now, yet it could be vastly more important for the planet, and all of us, than any book or concert.

Al Gore has a Sun/Neptune cardinal opposition in his natal chart - Sun 10.55 Aries, Neptune 11.39 Libra. In "Planets in Aspect" published 1974, Robert Pelletier says about this aspect (among other things which seem irrelevant in this case)
"You are afraid of challenges because you doubt your own capabilities. When threatened you tend to back off and allow others to benefit from opportunities that you saw as obstacles........." AND
"Direct your goals towards fulfilling some important social responsibility."

In a post last June, almost a year ago, around the time "An Inconvenient Truth" hit movie screens, astrologer Mary Plumb said

"Many astrologers over the years have noted the dignity inherent in Gore’s Aries Sun in mutual reception (and trine) to his Mars in Leo. May that warrior-like nature help keep us moving towards a better future of passion and activism for the earth."

Almost a year later, I add my voice, and my hopes to Mary's, and add this quotation from a respected American statesman of the past:

"We travel together, passengers on a little spaceship, dependent on it's vulnerable reserves of air and soil, all committed, for our safety, to it's security and peace. Preserved from annihilation only by the care, the work and the love we give our fragile craft."
Adlai E. Stevenson

Run, Al...run!!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

COSMIC FORCES

"Do Cosmic Forces Control life on Earth?"
I found that this article provided much food for thought. If those scientists are right, then isn't this a pinprick of light at the end of an astrological tunnel? Of course, even if the theory were correct, it would not automatically validate astrological doctrine. It could be a starting point though.

The fine detail of astrology will, in my humble opinion, never be capable of proof. I often feel that much of astrology is superfluous anyway - the product of centuries of attempts to unravel a mystery. It's all we have, and we pick and choose from it the bits that make sense to us personally. I just know that astrology is a natural phenomenon, which man will be able to fully understand, one day in the far distant future (should the human race survive long enough). Until then we shall muddle along as best we can with the tools available.

The last paragraph of the article states

If future studies confirm the galaxy-biodiversity link, it would force scientists to broaden their ideas about what can influence life on Earth. “Maybe it’s not just the climate and the tectonic events on Earth,” Lieberman said. “Maybe we have to start thinking more about the extraterrestrial environment as well.”

Amen to that!

Saturday, May 12, 2007

THE WEEK THAT WAS

During the past week, when we were away, I didn't follow news stories as avidly as usual. On several occasions I was reminded by well-meaning Americans that Queen Elizabeth II was visiting the USA. I am no fan of the royal family though, so those kind reminders fell upon stony ground.

In the absence of world news then, some thoughts on our trip. No astrology this time, except to say that in "Aquarius Papers", astrologer Robert Wilkinson's site, I found a list of zodiac signs for the founding of each North American state (Sun, Moon and ruler of Sun).
We drove through:

Oklahoma - Sun Scorpio, Moon Aries, Mars in Aquarius
Missouri - Sun Leo, Moon Capricorn, Sun in Leo
Illinois - Sun Sagittarius, Moon Aquarius, Jupiter in Capricorn
Indiana - Sun Sagittarius, Moon Virgo, Jupiter in Gemini
Ohio - Sun in Pisces, Moon Gemini, Jupiter in Libra
Kentucky - Sun in Gemini, Moon in Libra, Mercury in Taurus

I'm not at all sure about states having "signs", I believe astrology works in flesh and blood, not in concrete and clay - but what do I know !? Oklahoma's Moon matches my own and the ruler of its Sun is in my own Sun sign. My natal Mars is in Oklahoma's Sun sign too! Perhaps Okie-land and I have more in common than I'd realised!

My husband's younger son was our guide and entertaining companion during a long weekend in Columbus, Ohio. He has lived in the city for many years and loves it. He describes Columbus as "a small town boy's big city, with enough culture to satisfy, and enough traffic to challenge but not quite enough to kill".



We visited several sections of the city, each with its own distinctive style: German Village, which originated with the establishment of a German brewery. A Victorian quarter with architecture very reminiscent of many northern English cities. Downtown with its skyscrapers, and some outlying shopping malls filled with what HWK jnr. describes as "retail gluttony".

An unexpected pleasure for me was exploring The Thurber House in Columbus - boyhood home of one of my (already blogged) heroes, James Thurber. My fingers could not stop from caressing his old typewriter keys, in spite of the warning "Do Not Touch".


An opportunity to hear some live jazz in a surprising venue pleased both HWK snr. and jnr. A Methodist church advertised 'Jazz Vespers'on Sunday, featuring the Mark Flugge Quartet. It turned out that the quartert includes saxophonist and music professor Dr. Michael Cox who was a college friend of HWK jnr. It seemed strange for such a non-religious trio as we three to attend church, but as my husband remarked " If church was always like this, I might reconsider". We had surmised that the quartet might play jazzy versions of sacred music - we were wrong. We were treated to "A Tribute to Stan Getz", with "Night and Day", "Girl from Ipanema", "Desafinado" and other favourites, easily appreciated by a jazz dummy like me. The Pastor thoughtfully combined the music with readings from Psalm 150:
"Praise Him with the sounding of the trumpet, praise Him with the harp and lyre,
praise Him with tambourine and dancing, praise Him with the strings and flute......".
We didn't quite get to the tambourine and dancing though!

One enormous difference between Columbus and our home area in Oklahoma was the food. We had several wonderful meals in Columbus. Oklahoma has culinary graffiti, Ohio has culinary masterpieces, even in modest and unpretentious cafes!

On Monday the drive home began, via a different route in an effort to avoid the storms and floods reported to be affecting parts of mid-America. I was able to add yet another to my list of "have-seen" states. Kentucky - a very green, beautiful and peaceful state, not unlike Ireland I guess. We stopped for a snack at an Irish restaurant and bar in a tiny township called La Grange. The food was absolutely delicious! I'd have loved to sample every item on the menu!

A little further down the road, near Kentucky's border with Missouri at Wickliffe, we found an archeological site and exhibit in an area where the Moundbuilders - Mississippians - had lived over a thousand years ago.

What happened to the Mound Builders of Wickliffe? For centuries, the Native Americans built and maintained elaborate sacred earthen mounds in western Kentucky near the place where the Ohio and Mississippi rivers meet. Mound Builders lived across much of North America, but were concentrated in the Mississippi and Ohio valleys. Everywhere they settled, they built earthen plateaus.But suddenly, in the 1300s, the Mound Builders who lived in what is now Wickliffe, the county seat of Ballard County, just vanished.

The Moundbuilders' constructions, as described in the exhibit, seemed to me to be like a much more primitive verson of the Mayans' pyramids. Perhaps the two peoples were related aeons ago. The Mississippians are certainly the ancestors of almost all Native American tribes.


On reaching the north-eastern edge of Oklahoma on Thursday we decided to stay, rather than drive on for several more hours, to reach the south-west of the state. Overnighting in Bartlesville, threw up another surprise. The only skyscraper designed by Frank Lloyd Wright is situated there. Bartlesville is a medium sized town, "built on oil". Frank Lloyd Wright, renowned American architect and designer was commissioned by a company who manufactured oil pipelines in the 1950s to design and build "The Price Tower", it was later taken over by Phillips - another oil giant. There's an opulent mansion owned by the Phillips family in town, but we hadn't enough time to explore further.

We ran into just one storm in Oklahoma, in the middle of nowhere. All we could do was stop on the roadside and hope that a tornado didn't appear and force us out of the car to lie down down in a muddy ditch! But the storm passed uneventfully, and it was "Home again, home again, jiggety jig!" But not before slipping into another dimension here:
Ceres was closer than I'd realised!


Finishing on a starry note - a copy of a James Thurber drawing which appeared on a wall in the office area of the Thurber House. The original large pencil drawing, somewhat tattered, is framed and hangs in an upstairs room, its title is "STARS"
(Photographs by HeWhoKnows snr. -they may enlarge if clicked upon)

Friday, May 11, 2007

ARTY-FARTY FRIDAY #3

Arty-farty Friday #3


We're back !

I'm sitting facing this Friday's Arty-farty subject. It's an oil painting by none other than HeWhoKnows(aka my husband). He painted it sometime in the early 1960s and called it "The Powers Trial". (A larger view should be available by clicking on the picture).

When I first noticed this painting it was stored in a closet with a pile of others a young HWK had done many years ago. I liked it immediately and brought it out to hang on the wall. I had no knowledge of the subject matter, I simply liked the shapes and colours. I later discovered that the main figure represents Francis Gary Powers, the U.2 pilot shot down while flying over Soviet Union airspace on May 1, 1960, sparking one of the greatest international crises of the Cold War. HWK said that for some reason the trial of Powers affected him deeply, and this painting was more of a doodle about it. He just started drawing shapes on canvas one day and ended up sketching directly with oil colour.

I'm not sure the detail will show clearly on computer screen, but the scales of justice appear in the centre, some heads of observers in the background, representing the eyes of the world upon the proceedings, and a small depiction of Powers' wife in the lower left square. The figure to the left represents an attorney.

Gary Powers was born on 17 August 1929 in Jenkins, Kentucky. On the date Powers was shot down, 1 May 1960, his natal Pluto at 18* Cancer was being opposed by transiting Saturn at 18* Capricorn - such an opposition between two powerful planets might well be significant here. Saturn represents the law, limitation, and possibly imprisonment. Pluto, I think, is connected with espionage - it's the modern ruler of Scorpio, which is said to represent among other things, secrets and spying.

When Powers returned to the U.S.A. (as part of an East/West spy-swap) he was criticised for not ensuring that the revolutionary plane was destroyed, or killing himself with a suicide pin or pill, Powers was cold-shouldered by his former employers at the CIA. He died in 1977 at the age of 47 when a television news helicopter he was piloting crashed in Los Angeles. On May 1, 2000, U.S. officials presented Powers' family with his posthumously awarded Prisoner-of-War Medal, the Distinguished Flying Cross and the National Defense Service Medal.
Info. from http://www.answers.com/topic/francis-gary-powers