Monday, March 31, 2008

Home Again

I'm back in the saddle again after a very pleasant trip to Taos, New Mexico. Astrologically, the only thing I have to report from the trip is that, sadly, we were there a few days too early for a workshop held by author of "Cosmos and Psyche", Richard Tarnas. The workshop, titled "Planets and the Birth Imprint", will take place on 6 April. It appears to be somewhat connected to "The Birth Imprint" theme for the 8th Annual HDP Symposium (Association of Human Design Practitioners), being held in Taos 3 to 6 April. The announcement says "He (Richard Tarnas) is an inspiring speaker and uses great music to experientially evoke the energies of planetary archetypes." Sounds interesting. Not for the first time I was in the right place at the wrong time - astrology-wise.

Even in the lovely town of Taos we couldn't escape politics:



And we walked around a lot leading to this:



Nice mural:



Around the galleries, both in Taos and in small outlying villages, the variety and volume of local creativity and talent is truly amazing. As I said to one artist/gallery owner, "I don't often wish to be rich - only when I see work like this." Some artwork is priced in tens of thousands of dollars. We did wonder just who buys at such prices, in the current financial climate. Luckily it's all free - as eye candy.

(Photos by the husband)

Monday, March 24, 2008

New Clothes

The people of the USA will, later this year, decide into whose safe keeping they will entrust the country, and possibly the world, for the next four years. Will it be a Sun Leo, Sun Scorpio or Sun Virgo?

In basic Sun sign terms, I guess the Scorpion could sting both Virgin and Lion to death, but that's not the whole story. In reality all three contenders have a dangerous side, and wear the non-existent clothes of tempting promises. It's all in the wonderful but often dirty game of politics, so it's wise to remember that we ought never to get too many stars in our eyes.





I'm leaving this homemade video compilation here, while we head off tomorrow morning to New Mexico for a few days, as a cure for cabin fever and a late celebration of my husband's birthday.

'Bye for now!

As the lyrics say, in a different context, but still apt enough here:

"We refused to admit that we wore this disguise
Every inch of us growing
Like Pinocchio's nose
As we walked around in the emperor's new clothes

We flew by our wits and by the seat of our pants
In the state of illusion
In the nation of chance"


(It's as non-partison as I could manage.)


Sunday, March 23, 2008

Sign of a Quote

Hand-picked quotes which accidentally reflect, sometimes tongue-in-cheek, the flavor of each zodiac sign:


ARIES
What reason would grope for in vain, spontaneous impulse ofttimes achieves at a stroke, with light and pleasureful guidance.
--Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

TAURUS
I am firm. You are obstinate. He is a pig-headed fool.
--Katherine Whitehorn

GEMINI
Good communication is as stimulating as black coffee, and just as hard to sleep after.
--Anne Morrow Lindbergh

CANCER
They say it is better to be poor and happy than rich and miserable, but how about a compromise like moderately rich and just moody?
--Princess Diana

LEO
The nice thing about being a celebrity is that when you bore people, they think it's their fault.
-- Henry Kissinger

VIRGO
Anyone nit-picking enough to write a letter of correction to an editor doubtless deserves the error that provoked it.
--Alvin Toffler

LIBRA
Equal opportunity means everyone will have a fair chance at being incompetent.
-- Laurence J. Peter

SCORPIO
Be still when you have nothing to say; when genuine passion moves you, say what you've got to say, and say it hot.
--D. H. Lawrence

SAGITTARIUS
A pessimist is a man who has been compelled to live with an optimist.
-- Elbert Hubbard

CAPRICORN
The gambling known as business looks with austere disfavor upon the business known as gambling.
-- Ambrose Bierce

AQUARIUS
The difficult and risky task of meeting and mastering the new, whether it be the settlement of new lands or the initiation of new ways of life,is not undertaken by the vanguard of society but by its rear. It is the misfits, failures, fugitives, outcasts and their like who are among the first to grapple with the new.
--Eric Hoffer

PISCES
The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science. He to whom the emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause and stand wrapped in awe, is as good as dead; his eyes are closed.
--Albert Einstein

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Aries and Mars Dominant

Astrotheme's extensive lists of dominant Planets and dominant Signs in the natal charts of famous people offer some interesting insights. These lists are different from the usual "celebrities who are Librans, or Aquarians, or whatever" types of lists, based purely on birthdays and Sun signs.

The Sun has just moved into the zodiac sign of Aries, so I've compiled a list of the best-known names of folk with Aries or Mars (ruler of Aries) dominant in their natal charts. Those in the lists below have from 80% to 40% of the zodiac sign, or 30% to 20% of the planet in their personality, so potentially offer a clear representation of the Aries/Mars type.

Keywords are a good way to briefly describe the heavily Aries/Mars personality, the good, the bad and the ugly of this, the first sign of the zodiac. From Manly P. Hall's "Astrological Keywords": courageous, enthusiastic, energetic, proud, excitable, impulsive, hasty, quick tempered. Executive, enterprising, pioneering, confident, independent, aggressive, competitive, dictatorial. From me, married to an Aries Sun person, and myself with Moon and Saturn in Aries: spontaneous, humorous, not complicated or deeply mysterious - what you see is what you get.

In previous months I've used a video compilation with photographs of the individiuals listed, this time I decided to list the names and add a video from YouTube featuring two of the individuals named here.

Of the Aries dominant people, for me, Steve McQueen personified Aries in his role in "The Great Escape". His one-time wife, Ali MacGraw, is in the same list with Mars, Aries' ruling planet dominant in her chart. I loved watching Steve in any movie he made. In the Music section, Gordon Macrae was another, very early, heart-throb of mine. And in the Art section - William Morris is an all-time favourite artist/designer. I put it down to my Aries Moon!

ARIES and MARS Dominant


ACTORS

Aries Dominant
Anthony Perkins
John Gielgud
Chico Marx
Angelina Jolie
Ali MacGraw (+Mars dom)
Patricia Arquette
Omar Sharif
Max von Sydow
Steve McQueen
Jon Voight
James Woods
Gordon Macrae (+ Mars dom)

Mars Dominant
Heather Locklear
Richard Burton
Lloyd Bridges
Mia Farrow

MUSIC
Aries Dominant
Lene Lovich (+ Mars dom)
Carl Perkins
Tiny Tim
John D. Loudermilk(+ Mars Dom)
Celine Dion
Johannes Brahms
Loretta Lynn
Gordon Macrae (+ Mars dom)

Mars Dominant
David Crosby (Crosby Stills & Nash)
Helen Reddy
Barbra Streisand

WRITERS
Aries Dominant
Emile Zola
Algernon Swinburne

Mars Dominant
Alex Haley

ASTROLOGY
Aries Dominant
Adze Mixxe (+Mars dom)

Mars Dominant
Philip Sedgwick

ART

Aries Dominant
William Morris
Mars Dominant
Grandma Moses

MIXED BAG
Aries Dominant
Rolf Harris

Mars Dominant
Mike Todd
Albert Einstein
David Beckham
Billy Graham
Christian Dior

Here, in a video from YouTube, two for the price of one - Barbra Streisand (Mars dominant) and Celine Dion(Aries dominant) singing "Tell Him"

Friday, March 21, 2008

Divisions

Astrology, in particular Sun Sign astrology, is continually criticised for categorising people as 12 "types". Those who have delved deeper into astrological discipline know that these 12 "types" are not even the tip of the iceberg, they're the shadow on top of the ocean where an iceberg lies beneath.

As in astrology, so in polls and politics. One would think that counting votes would be a simple matter. 1,000 votes for candidate A, 2,000 for candidate B, 3,000 for candidate C. But no, political pollsters and pundits then segregate voters and their mode of voting in various ways. Male/female, blue collar male/"educated" male ( - cheek!! Why are blue collar people considered uneducated?). White males/black males. White "educated"/white blue collar. Black "educated"/ black blue collar. Same for Hispanic male/female, and for all females. Age groups: under 25, over 40, over 50, over 60 - and on...... along with any possible permutation of all of the above factors. Religion also has to be added to these investigation exercises in the USA -Roman Catholic, Baptist, Evangelist, Black Churches, and all the other denominations. They don't bother with atheists and agnostics - I wonder why?

So really, political polling analysis and astrology have a lot in common. Astrologers must juggle with Sun, Moon ascendant sign, all the planets, points, fixed stars, asteroids, centaurs, nodes.....and more, mixing, blending, analysing, weighing strengths, and synthesising. In most cases, I have to say that astrologers come up with better, more accurate results than the pollsters and pundits ever manage to do.

Leading on from that, a thought from the BBC's Washington correspondent Matt Frei (here)

"When it comes to race, religion and even class, America, the great melting pot, is still an archipelago of hundreds of tribes living largely separate lives in their own communities.
Perhaps it is one of the luxuries of space in a vast country. Perhaps it is proof of prejudice. It certainly undermines real efforts to understand each other, to mingle, to melt in the same pot. "


For all the stated wishes of those on high, or those who aspire to be on high, integration ain't happening in much of the country. There are Black Churches, Black beauty contests, Black TV shows, Black Nationalists, Black Panthers, Black Pride. Comparable White categories could be identified for some of those. In a perfect world, which this is never going to be, there would be no such segregation, only integration - always.

I don't see Senator Obama being "the one" to start bringing full integration about, sorry to say. For this onlooker, at this point, it's nothing but the wishful thinking of his fans. Either it's not the right time, or it's not the right person. I believe the latter. Perhaps Barack Obama is a forerunner (as John the Baptist was a forerunner "preparing the way"). Another, true, uniter may appear in coming years. That's my personal hope.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

My Zodiac with Wings

This is something I dreamed up some time ago, after spending a lot of time watching the many birds who visit our backyard in Oklahoma. I noticed that they seem to have distinctive personalities, and tried to relate them to the 12 zodiac signs. The photographs included were all taken by my husband, mainly in our backyard.

I have posted this before, back in January 2007, but with spring is springing higher with each day here, I decided to give it another airing.

"The spring is sprung, the grass is riz - I wonder where the birdies is?"

They're here!

ARIES
The Red-bellied Woodpecker - quick and decisive in his movements, quite impulsive in his choiceof materials on which to "drum".He will drum on a metal gutter for the sheer enjoyment of hearing the noise sounds -music to his ears , or perhaps a mating call? His scarlet head and pinkish tummy match the fiery element of Aries.


TAURUS The chubby American Robin is typical Taurus. He stays close to the earth, walking around on the grass or soil, digging for food, of which he consumes a large amount. This bird is different from the little English Robin. Early settlers named him because of his Robin-like habits and his russet-coloured chest. He is actually one of the Thrush family.

GEMINI
The Goldfinch displays many typically Geminian traits. These tiny birds are very sociable, move around in flocks, descending upon birdfeeders en-masse. They are
quick, fluttery, twittery, and appear unafraid of other birds 3-times their size. Golden and mercurial!


CANCER The Mourning Dove represents the gentle nature of Cancer.
Her rather sad cooing call seems typically Cancerian. She looks dignified and a little old-fashioned when compared with more exuberant cousins. She doesn’t often mix with other birds, appearing shyly aloof.


LEO
Who would argue against the Cardinal being designated Leo ? With his flashy scarlet feathers, almost fluorescent, and his regal bearing he stands out from the crowd - however big the crowd. Eyes are irresistibly drawn to him. He is devoted to
his mate (evidence of his fixed Leonine nature), they usually appear together. Lady Cardinal is more soberly dressed in a variable light brown, but still attractive - her beak is a nice shade of lipstick pink!

VIRGO
The Junco displays many of Virgo’s virtues. Sleek
and neat, no flashy plumage here. The Junco, like the robin,
stays on the ground to feed - evidence of his earthy nature. These tidy little birds are quiet and industrious, finding all the food they need for themselves and their young. They never cause squabbles mix quietly with whatever other birds are around. One might at first consider them boring, but with patient observation their admirable traits become clear.

LIBRA The Mocking Bird represents Libra. This classy bird, quietly but elegantly dressed in subtle shades of grey, white and black, with brilliant white stripe appearing on each wing when in flight. Sings beautiful songs sometimes throughout the night. The song is repeated 4 times, then he/she changes its mind (typically Libran) and starts a different ditty - repeating 4 times then changing again!

SCORPIO
Traditionally the Eagle is one of the two symbols of Scorpio, but eagles do not frequent backyards - something less rare can carry the Scorpio banner. The American Crow is much maligned and misunderstood, like some Scorpio-heavy humans. He is, in fact, quite majestic, highly intelligent and very resilient. Humans have slaughtered many of his kind, but still they flourish. His glossy black feathers are mirror-bright as he strides around in the grass.

SAGITTARIUS
The wise old Owl would have been appropriate, but since the writer has yet to see one locally, another side of Sagittarius is represented - the rover. The Brown-headed Cowbird fits the bill - often looked on as something of a vagabond or prairie tramp. They don't build nests, but deposit eggs in nests built by other birds - having no use for a home of their own! These birds once followed buffalo and cattle through the plains .

CAPRICORN
The third Earth sign is represented by the lovely Eastern Meadowlark, who is actually not a Lark, but related to the Starling. The Meadowlark has very similar feeding habits to the American Robin - walking around in fields and open spaces looking for insects, grubs, worms etc. From the back he's a stripey grey and rather uninteresting, but when he turns, the sight of his brilliant yellow breast comes as a surprise, and, like the sense of fun often present in Capricorn humans - it brings a smile to the observer.

AQUARIUS
Looking now for the oddball of Birdland ! The Blue Jay. Some people love him, others hate him because he doesn’t conform to their views of how a bird should act or look. He is stunning in his bright blue plumage with random markings of black and white, and a rakish top-knot. His call is either Crow-like (he is cousin to that bird) or a beautiful bell-like sound when he wishes to impress. These birds are curious and intelligent, like their cousin the Crow, not usually inclined to mix. They can appear at times to be imperious or bossy, and are certainly unique.

PISCES I'm nominating this group of juvenile Eastern Bluebirds to represent Pisces, they used to visit our birdbath regularly last summer - they loved the water like good Neptunians!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Church, State, Astrology

Sagittarius is the zodiac sign said to be connected with religion, politics and philosophy. It's more than a little unfortunate that religion and politics couldn't have been clearly separated by ancient astrologers who set the "rules". I guess in those days things were different.

"The Church", as an institution, is ruled by Capricorn. Laws, a large part of politics, are represented by Saturn, ruler of Capricorn. I suppose the mental or philosophical aspect of religion and politics could be said to be somewhat connected, but I still wish there had been a clearer separation.

As we're seeing in recent news stories, religion and politics in real life are poor bedfellows. Many countries, the USA included, have ruled that there should be clear separation between church and state.

AUTHOR: John Fitzgerald Kennedy (1917–63) QUOTATION: "I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute"

What happened?

In the last few days we've been treated to sight of videos showing Reverend Jeremiah Wright speaking out, in church, against Hillary Clinton. Irrespective of his views as to whether the USA is entitled to his God's blessing or damnation, and his obvious hatred for the white race, his remarks appertaining to politics were, in my view definitely out of bounds.

These are two examples:
"Hillary Clinton ain't never been called "nigger"", he yelled at his congregation. His remarks about the Clintons having "done" black people as Bill "did" Monica Lewinsky - the Reverend swinging his hips in imitation of the sexual act (forgive me for not quoting exactly but I cannot bring myself to watch the hate-filled videos again.)

What place did those remarks have in church?

I do not single out Reverend Wright for criticism. There have been many other, and many white ministers in the USA and elsewhere who are equally culpable. Some are known to have spoken out against gays and abortion, and have tried to encourage their congregation to vote in a particular direction. None of this should have any place in churches.

Politics should be all about the efficient running of a country. Religion, or indeed lack of it, has no place whatsoever in politics.

In at least one of the political debates shown on TV this US primary season the candidates were quizzed about their faith. Why? Surely this is purely personal. Their professional abilities and records are all that should concern the public, in my not very humble (on this topic) opinion.

Please, can some erudite astrologer separate religion and politics in the zodiac, and drag these matters into the 21st century?

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Golda Meir

A few women throughout history have broken that legendary glass ceiling and progressed onward and upward to eventually lead their countries, Golda Meir was one of these. She became Prime Minister of Israel 39 years ago yesterday, 17 March 1969.

Golda was born in Kiev, Ukraine and emigrated in childhood with her parents to the USA where she was educated. In 1917 she moved to live in Palestine, after Britain had declared its support for a Jewish homeland there. She and her husband lived on a kibbutz. Continuing with extracts from here

"There, despite her fear of chickens, she became an expert on raising poultry. Soon, she was representing the kibbutz at meetings of the Histadrut, Israel’s General Federation of Labor.

While now an Israeli, Golda’s early years in America shaped her thinking and her career –not to mention her spoken Hebrew --which was filled with English-sounding pronunciations—and helped lay the groundwork for her rapid rise in Israeli politics. In 1928, Golda was offered a job with Histadrut’s Council of Women Workers, which she accepted....... A charismatic speaker, she rapidly became a spokeswoman for Histadrut and later the world Zionist Organization and the Jewish Agency, and was particularly effective raising funds from Americans.

When Golda was elected to the Knesset in 1949, David Ben Gurion appointed her Minister of Labor. In 1956, he promoted her to Foreign Minister, the second highest cabinet post. Renouncing the pomp associated with diplomacy, according to Pogrebin, Meir "entertained foreign dignitaries in her kitchen, in an apron, serving them her homemade pastry along with a stern lecture on Israel’s security." Diagnosed with lymphoma, Golda retired from government service in 1966 but three years later she was persuaded by the Labor Party to come out of retirement to serve as Prime Minister.

In the early 1970’s, polls revealed that Golda was the most respected woman in America, despite the fact that she was no longer an American. Nevertheless, Golda’s stint as national leader ended sadly when Israel suffered heavy losses in the Yom Kippur War of 1973. Blamed for Israel’s military unpreparedness, Meir resigned in June of 1974. In the years before her death in 1978, Golda earned the status and affection accorded an elder stateswoman. Golda Meir now ranks as one of the great female heads of state in modern history."


Golda Meir born 3 May 1898 in Kiev, Ukraine (12 noon chart used as no time of birth is known)



This chart has not reproduced well - for clarification: Sun & Mercury in Taurus. Mars in Aries. Neptune, Pluto and Venus in Gemini. Jupiter (and maybe the Moon) in Libra, Uranus and Saturn in Sagittarius. Moon's Nodes and Vertex/anti-Vertex in Cancer/Capricorn.

Without a time of birth, what's to be seen in the chart is fairly limited, but what I see first is the Mystic Rectangle formed by trines, sextiles and oppositions (I've marked it on the chart), closely integrating at least four planets. Jupiter, Venus, Mars and Uranus, with Saturn and perhaps the Moon near enough to be included too. These planets are in Air and Fire signs, bringing a predominantly masculine/positive polarity strongly into focus.
A good explanation of the Mystic Rectangle configuration can be found here

There's a nice combination of signs emphasised in Golda's chart - Sagittarius, Libra and Gemini bring diplomacy, fairness, philosophical outlook and good communication skills. Mars in its own sign of Aries brings determination, energy and strength. The Sun and Mercury within three degrees of each other in earthy, sensible but stubborn Taurus came to mind as I read this in above extracts :"Meir entertained foreign dignitaries in her kitchen, in an apron, serving them her homemade pastry along with a stern lecture on Israel’s security"

Taurus Sun/Mercury are quincunx (150 degrees) Saturn in Sagittarius, which indicates some internal conflict between incompatible elements, perhaps reflected in Golda's concentration on her poltical work rather than home and family, which may have resulted in the failure of her marriage in 1945. She once said hereself:"At work, you think of the children you've left at home. At home, you think of the work you've left unfinished. Such a struggle is unleashed within yourself, your heart is rent."

There's a very brief soundclip of Golda Meir speaking of her hopes for the future HERE

A few more quotes from this great lady:

With regard to President Richard Nixon, with whom she is pictured here
"As President Nixon says, presidents can do almost anything, and President Nixon has done many things that nobody would have thought of doing"



"To be or not to be is not a question of compromise. Either you be or you don't be."

AND - "Don't be humble, you're not that great.”
(But she was both!)

Monday, March 17, 2008

Journalese for the astro-climate

I approached the subject of journalists' trendy words and expressions in a post last month (A Handily Wonkish Rant). Since then several more buzz-filled words and expressions have tickled my fancy. I've Googled for true definitions. Leaving it to assumption or guesswork can lead to long-term misunderstanding, and embarrassing egg-on-the-face moments in friendly conversation.

My own Mercury in Capricorn reflects a somewhat strait-laced approach to words and language in general. Current planetary transits show Mercury presently residing in Pisces (ruled by Neptune) representing dreams, imagination illusion, delusion. Mercury, at present, is just opposite Saturn in Virgo, indicating a see-saw effect between dreamy imagination and stone-cold nitpicking reality. So, does my latest bundle of journalese fit today's astrological climate ?

"Thrown under the bus": ~~Made a scapegoat, put out of favor

"Playbook": [In political context]~~ Plan of action, scheme or set of strategies. Modus operandi

"Swiftboated": ~~ Made subject of a smear campaign, or character assassination

"Okey-doke": [slang]~~ As well as being an extension of "okay" it also means a con-trick or swindle, a deception, someone who has been tricked/swindled/deceived.

These words and expressions are being flung around freely in reports of the US presidential primaries. They do fit the current astrological configuration. Either exactly or loosely, all have a tinge of underhandedness, trickery or deception about them. We should remember that Mercury is also represented traditionally as a trickster as well as a communicator, so when this fast-moving planet is found in Pisces, perhaps that particular side of its nature can more easily be detected.

When Mercury moves on into Aries, I'll watch for a new crop of journalese.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

"Master of Makebelieve"

Maxfield Parrish was briefly mentioned in my post relating to the Golden Age of Illustration. He deserves something more.

Parrish, originally set out to become an architect, changed direction, and became one of America's best loved artists. He has been called "Master of Makebelieve", and having looked at some of his work on-line it's easy to see why. Many of his pieces remind me slightly of the paintings of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood in Britain in the 19th century. Their work is rather more sensual, but I felt certain he was influenced by them, and this was confirmed in a brief biography here

"(Parrish)was particularly drawn to such contemporary English artists as the Pre-Raphaelites, Rossetti, and Lord Leighton. Parrish took an immediate interest in Leighton's art, his lifestyle, and this shaped Parrish's artistic vision, and most certainly contributed to the creation of his curious blend of naturalism, fantasy and romanticism."

The painting below is one of Lord Leighton's.



Maxfield Parrish painted serenity, using glowing tones. He achieved the glow by a particular method of applying thin layers of paint and varnish one atop the other. I'd love to see some of the originals, because the computer screen, though a wondrous invention, can only give us a shadow of the real thing. It seems, even from what can be seen on-line that his paintings captured the image of light wonderfully.

Born 25 July 1870 in Philadelphia PA at 6.00pm (according to Astrotheme).



His natal chart shows a clear "funnel" configuration, with Saturn in Sagittarius at the business end. He has been referred to as "A businessman with a brush" as well as "Master of Makebelieve". Capricorn rising (ruled by Saturn) underlines his instinct for business. There's a Yod (two quincunx aspects joined by a sextile) involving sextile aspect between Pluto and Uranus with Saturn at the pointy end of the Yod formation - Saturn in focus on two counts, and his Capricorn ascendant brings in a third.

Neptune (imagination and fantasy) in Aries trines Saturn in Sagittarius and sextiles Venus. Venus Mars and Moon form a stellium, albeit that Venus is in the last degree of Gemini while Moon and Mars are in Cancer. Neptune's harmonious links are reflected in the artist's nickname "Master of Makebelieve".

Parrish's penchant for depicting androgynous figures rather than voluptuous or overtly masculine ones may be symbolised by the grouping of the Moon, Mars and Venus in his natal chart. Masculine Mars sandwiched between feminine Moon and Venus, with just a degree of so between - an androgynous mix!

It's interesting that Parrish's first painting was titled "Moonrise". His Moon at home in Cancer is one of the stronger placements in his chart. Sun at home in Leo is also strongly placed. It seems significant to me that the two celestial bodies which are givers of light, strong in his natal chart, reflect strongly in his paintings which are so universally lauded for their unusually clear depiction of.....light!

The video I've compiled from on-line illustrations of his work can only give an idea of his subject matter, not the glowing brilliance of colour and light for which Maxfield Parrish is so well known:

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Pluto's abscess

Yesterday I had decided that it was unfortunate for events to have brought into focus again some video recordings of sermons of Rev Jeremiah Wright. He is the pastor of Senator Obama's church. After further investigation I've come to the conclusion that it may, in fact, be fortunate that these matters have resurfaced.

Pluto is presently in the first degree of Capricorn. Capricorn represents institutions such as "the church". My favourite description of Pluto influence describes it as being like an abscess, bringing infection and nasty stuff to the surface, so that healing can follow, allowing clean healthy skin to form again.

There is certainly some nasty infection in the sermons of the Rev. Wright. He openly incites hatred. He is supposed to be a man of God. That being as it may, more shocking to me, much more shocking is the fact that a man with ambitions to be President of the United States would call such a preacher his friend and mentor. Senator Obama has attended his church for 20 years, Rev. Wright married Obama and his wife, baptized their children. The senator openly admits to his close association with this man.

I am not convinced by Senator Obama's words in repudiation of the Reverend's angry diatribes. When you analyse things, nothing adds up. Even if they did add up, this goes to the issue of the Senator's judgement.

I've looked at the Rev Wright's natal chart (22 September 1941, Philadelphia PA) and compared it with Senator Obama's. I felt sure that there had to be some connection to account for the closeness between these men.

Sure enough. Senator Obama's Moon at 00 Gemini is in the same degree as Wright's Uranus and a degree away from his Saturn at 28 Taurus. Obama's Venus at 8 Scorpio Wright's Neptune at 8 Scorpio.
Obama's Mars at 22 Virgo, Wright's North Node at 22 Virgo.

I'm not sufficiently well-versed to interpret synastry between the charts, but the fact that they share some degrees of the same sign means quite a lot in my book.

It's better for these matters to be aired now than later, I guess. Could this be the beginning of the end for the Senator from Illinois?

Friday, March 14, 2008

Snides of March (a rant)

CAESAR :
Who is it in the press that calls on me?
I hear a tongue, shriller than all the music,
Cry 'Caesar!' Speak; Caesar is turn'd to hear.
SOOTHSAYER:
Beware the ides of March.

(from William Shakespeare's "Julius Ceasar" Act 1 Scene 2


Pardon the "press" pun, please. The ides of March isn't until tomorrow(15th), but watching Keith Olbermann's rant, aka "Special Comment" on TV, Wednesday evening, brought to mind "a tongue, shriller than all the music". His diatribe against Senator Clinton and Geraldine Ferraro struck me as being subliminally hysterical, in a Saturn in Virgo, po-faced fashion.

Keith Olbermann doesn't do typical everyday hysteria, his Mercury and Saturn in Capricorn deny him that, but replace it with a quieter, more insidious version. We share a birthday (27 January), different year. I'd have expected a little more cool Aquarian logic from the man than we are hearing these days. Perhaps he is simply satisfying his masters at MSNBC, but he certainly seems to delight in inflaming an already sensitive situation.

I'd have thought that people who wish to see unity and healing in this country would do all they could to foster it, not fan the flames to encourage the fever. Remarks by Geraldine Ferraro, made as part of a longer speech some weeks ago, need not have been resurrected, taken out of context and magnified - not if there were any intention or thought of healing divisions in this country.

This is deliberate trouble-making. I am fast coming to the conclusion that there really is no wish to heal. "Yes we can"? No....you can't. Not without some radical changes in attitude.

Are we seeing a reflection, here on Earth, of the current celestial opposition of malefics: Mars/Pluto in cardinal Cancer/Capricorn?

Ms Ferraro's remarks may have been ill-considered, but they were hardly offensively racist, and nowhere near as offensive as Samantha Powers calling Hillary Clinton "a monster" a few days earlier. The ensuing outcry in the media has been far more shrill, in spite of Senator Clinton's apology and repudiation of Ms Ferraro's comments. Attacks against the Clinton campaign have now brought forth retaliation from some of her supporters in the form of videos. These involve one Reverend Wright, pastor of Senator Obama's church. They show the pastor, said to be Obama's mentor, making overtly racial pronouncements which are far beyond anything heard so far.

Vitriol brings forth even more vitriolic vitriol. An eye for an eye makes the.....well, we know what that makes.

Where will it end ? Perhaps with another Republican president in the USA.

Sigh.

Let's hope that as Mars moves out of range of opposition to Pluto things will calm down - sometime after the ides of March.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Astrological Guitar

Our planned visit to the local theater tonight to see classical guitarist Edgar Cruz, sparked a Google search to discover whether there could possibly be any connection between guitar and astrology. I typed those two words into the search box without much hope of a result and found: "The Spiritual Guitar Guide by David Cherubim"

I read the article with a certain amount of cynicism. Not that I think music isn't spiritual - I feel it certainly is, it feeds the senses, calms the troubled breast etc. But does the guitar have any more claim to being spiritual than, say, the piano, saxophone or flute. How does astrology come into it?

Here are a few extracts. Astrological connections are highlighted bold.

"Guitar playing is a Spiritual Art, for it is a musickal form of both Magick and Alchemy. It is a creative manipulation of the Elements of Nature and an artistic transmutation of Universal Forces through the skillful use of the hands and sound. It effects changes in both the player and the listener. With a proper understanding of both the technical and spiritual aspects of playing the Guitar, one is able to use the Guitar as an efficient instrument of the Will to create internal and external changes. The Guitar has its own Science, both conventional and unconventional in kind, and for the most part we are concerned here with the unconventional or rather spiritual and occult aspect of it all.

For the serious and dedicated Guitarist, learning to play and master the Guitar represents The Path or Way of Enlightenment of which there is no end. George Harrison once pointed out that it doesn't matter if you are the greatest Guitar player in the world, if you are not enlightened, then you should forget it.

Ultimately, playing the Guitar represents the Path to Spiritual Perfection. The Guitarist is always a Neophyte or Student on this Path.

There are seven Natural Tones or Notes in Musick and, with the five Sharps and Flats (the so-called Accidental Notes), we have Twelve Tones in all that we can play in various positions and octaves on the Electric Guitar. Both the numbers, seven and twelve, have great significance in Magick, Alchemy, Astrology, the Qabalah, Yoga, and in other Esoteric Systems and Philosophies and Religions. They are universally sacred numbers and they cover a lot of divine ground. But for now, regarding the seven Natural Tones (A, B, C, D, E, F and G), it should be noted that they correspond with the seven Colors of the Spectrum, the seven Chakras of Yoga, the seven Metals of Alchemy, and with the Sun, Moon, and the Planets Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. (The five Sharps and Flats [A#/Bb, C#/Db, D#/Eb, F#/Gb and G#/Ab] correspond with the five Elements of Fire, Water, Air, Earth, and Spirit.) Also, in all, the twelve tones correspond with the twelve Zodiacal Signs of Astrology (Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius, and Pisces) which, like the Sun, Moon and Planets, represent Spiritual Forces of Nature. Playing any of the twelve notes on the Electric Guitar, melodically or harmonically, is a musickal invocation of the mystical colors and spiritual energies of the Sun, Moon and Planets, and the Astrological and Elemental Forces of Nature."


There's more where that came from!

It's an interesting theory, for sure, but I retain some cynicism. Nevertheless, we shall wander off to the theater with all this in mind.

Here's Edgar Cruz, via YouTube, playing "Bohemian Rhapsody".

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Glass Houses

Another scandal (yawn) hit the headlines this week. New York's Governor Spitzer, allegedly hoist with his own petard, with potential to be brought down by the same kind of investigation he pioneered as a prosecutor. At least this new source of gossip deflected some attention from the popular pastime of Clinton-bashing. Those obsessed with the C-bash however have even sought to make tenuous Clinton links to the current scandal, in case the name might pick up an extra layer of dirty dust in the storm.

Scandal. What did esteemed astrologer C.E.O. Carter have to say on the subject in his "Encyclopedia of Psychological Astrology"?

Hmmmm "Scandal ...see Slander". Okay. Different aspects of the same thing, but astrologically perhaps from similar sources.

"Slander
Liability to slanderous attacks is generally shown by malefics in or afflicting the 10th house, especially an afflicted Mercury, Mars or Neptune therein. The house from which the afflictions come, or which is ruled by the afflicting planet, shows the direction of the attack.

Love of scandal, slander, and backbiting is a fault connected with Moon-Mercury afflictions, while, if Mars be involved, the trait will be more pronounced and acute. Domestic gossip is largely a result of Moon or Cancer afflictions, but the Moon will not by itself give malice or ill-nature. The most treacherous attacks will result from Neptunian or Scorpionic aspects."


Applying that theory, not to Governor Spitzer, for he is author of his own undoing, but to the American public - a sizeable proportion must carry the chart afflictions mentioned by C.E.O. Carter in the second paragraph , so enraptured are they by tales of scandal in high places.

Applying the first paragraph of Mr. Carter's theory - liability to slanderous attacks, Senator Hillary Clinton's is a good natal chart to investigate. She has been attacked mercilessly during past months by her opponents' obsessed supporters. Let's see then. (Chart available here)

If Senator Clinton's birth time were, as is widely supposed, around 8.02 am, then the 10th house is empty. Saturn 21*, Pluto 14* and Mars 14* in Leo (three planets traditionally labelled malefics) all lie in 9th house. 9th house represents, among other things publicity and politics. Mercury, right on the ascendant is at 21 Scorpio exactly square Saturn. Symbolically, critical Saturn is challenging Scorpio Mercury in the area of self, and the other two Leo planets which are conjoined at 14degrees, are also within challenging distance (7 degrees). These aspects could also be ammunition for the anti-Clinton brigade to say that Senator Clinton has tendency to cause problems via her Scorpio Mercury. However, according to C.E.O. Carter "the house from which the afflictions come show the direction of the attack." The three malefics, surely together stronger than Mercury, are in the house of politics directed to the house of self. There's a definite source of problems there, and it seem likely that trouble could move in both directions, according to circumstance and transits.

"There is so much good in the worst of us, and so much bad in the best of us, that it hardly becomes any one of us to talk about the rest of us." (Anon.)

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Morning Exercise #3: "The Astrologer"

One last exercise from the archives at Wake Up Writing

Incorporate all of the following words into an article, short story, poem or whatever comes to mind. You must use all of the words (in any order) to complete the exercise, but the context in which they are used is up to you. Think about the words for a few minutes before you start to write and see what pictures come to mind - then see if you can weave them all together into a piece of writing.

compassion
brilliance
tears
verse
net
legacy
bundle
smile
tumble
embrace



THE ASTROLOGER
(specified words highlighted bold)

A weary and impecunious astrologer whose net worth would scarcely cover one quarter of the debt outlined in the bundle of household accounts he now pushed aside, realised that only a legacy from some unknown and unlikely source could aid his predicament. He reached to his in-tray for a client's letter from the small assortment lying there.

The letter, on grey deckle edged paper, handwritten in old fashioned pen and ink, contained a few tell-tale smudges, evidence of the author's tears. The astrologer's years of experience hadn't toughened him to the point where familiarity and indifference replaced compassion. He sighed as he read, raised his eyes to watch a flurry of golden leaves tumble from a nearby tree in the stiff October breeze. The brilliance of those golden leaves further emphasised by an escaping ray of the hidden sun, offered sharp contrast against a darkening sky heavy with cloud.

He returned to his client's letter, thinking how life can resemble the scene outside his window. A dark horizon often brightened by unexpected shafts of light. A hint of a smile crept around his lips. He was remembering a verse from a song of long ago. He bent to embrace the calico cat, mewling disconsolately at his feet, before starting to study charts on behalf of his needy client.

Monday, March 10, 2008

He & She or We

A brief e-mail exchange at the weekend brought me back to a subject I've argued on more than a few times. Male and female - are they really so different? I've never subscribed to that old "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus" rubbish.

My e-mail correspondent (the husband's son-in-law)wrote:
"I do believe, however, that female and male priorities and methods differ, and that the difference is based on physiological and psychological factors that are innate."

That was in reply to my:

"Maybe I'm a feminist with a small F, though I prefer to think there's little difference between male and female when you get past the obvious dangly bits and wobbly bits. We're all just humans, fighting to be thought of as such, irrespective of gender, orientation, nationality, race, colour, ethnicity."

Trying to sort out a reply which covered my own view but didn't entirely disagree with his, I floundered around the internet for clues and happened upon this excellent article by highly respected astrologers Steven and Jodie Forrest.
"Border Wars: Male - Female".

I'll take the liberty of copying a few paragraphs from the long article, but reading it in full is highly recommended.

"Many years ago we met a man who impressed us greatly. His name was J. C. Eaglesmith. He was Native American, a holder of the Sacred Pipe, a veteran of the ordeal known as the Sun Dance. A former marine who served in combat in Vietnam, he weighed maybe 250 pounds and most of it looked like muscle. In short, when it came to masculinity, he made the average tough guy look like your grandmother's knitting.

He stood before us at a conference, talking about "male" and "female" and what those words really mean. His eyes steady, his face impassive, he addressed us in his deep baritone. "I am half woman." A moment's pause, a hint of a smile, then: "My mother was one."

We all laughed. So did J. C. But what he said was true. Physically he is a man. But that just diagrams his plumbing. Once we recognize that a human being is far more than a mass of cells and bones, we enter the realm of mystery. And in that realm no one is as simple as a beard or a breast.

Humanity is realizing this, and it's knocking the stilts out from under a picture of the world that's held us in thrall for ten thousand years. "I am half woman." "I am half man." Those words represent a revolution just as profound as the discovery that the Earth is a sphere floating in the void.

Male and female. What do the terms really signify? Apart from anatomy, perhaps no one really knows. Women cry more than men, but why? Are women inherently more emotional or have they been trained that way? Men are more aggressive. Again, why? Testosterone -- or training? No one knows. Nature and nurture are inseparable. What we intrinsically are blends seamlessly with what we have been taught to imagine we are."


Astrology is referenced in this context mainly by the Sun and Moon, signifying "the masculine" and "the feminine" respectively. The Sun and Moon form a very important part of every astrological natal chart, equally important whether the chart belongs to a man or a woman.

The authors go on to say:

"Does astrology, arguably the truest mirror in humanity's possession, suggest that there are no psychic or spiritual differences between men and women? The truth is, astrology's rather mum on the subject. But it certainly implies that, whatever those differences might be, we've spent a lot of years and a lot of lives overestimating, exaggerating, and misdefining them. Every man has a Moon. Every woman has a Sun. One of the darkest skeletons in astrology's closet is the fact that astrologers were not the first to point out that awkward fact.

Still, we have that cryptic clue in the sky: the Sun and the Moon shine down on all of us, whether we start the morning with shaving cream or a choice of skirts. And if there's anything to astrology, then the Sun and the Moon resonate somehow in every one of us, unless we collude in the ancient deception.

How did this whole mess start? Let's go way, way back, long before cities, before agriculture, before the peaceful years of the Neolithic; back into the first ninety-nine percent of our species' history."


The authors go on to explain that back in the mists of time male and female were forced by circumstance to deny or, we could say delegate, their "other" side. Males because of their superior strength had to kill to eat and to survive. In the act of killing they needed to supress their compassionate feminine side, which the male, through necessity, thrust on the female. Similarly the female, hamstrung by bearing children and nurturing them, often watching them die in harsh circumstances, had to supress her anger and frustration or all humanity might have died. She thrust the responsibilty for anger and violence upon the male... "let him be the one to have enough pride and illusions of glory to rage against nature's heavy hand".

So, both son-in-law and I may be partially correct. Everyone of us is cut from the same cloth, but through evolution and force of circumstance we've been bent out of shape.

A couple more paragraphs:

"Today, many women are rediscovering the Sun. It heals them, makes them whole. They are finding their solar power: their self-reliance, their voice, their creativity, their ability to shape the myths, symbols, and future of society.
Meanwhile, men are beginning to rediscover the Moon. They too are healed and made whole as they reabsorb their own lost lunar capacity to love, to ask for help, to cry, to feel, to nurture.

That's the good news.

The bad news is that both women and men are terribly out of practice with their Suns and Moons. They don't know quite what to do with them yet. As this epochal reintegration takes place, there is a period of awkwardness. Like a blind man whose vision has been restored, the acquisition of these "new" solar and lunar functions causes both genders to spend a while bumping into things."


I'd best be polishing up my Sun then!

(Steven and Jodie Forrest's website can be found HERE)

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Ben Webster: Ballads and "The Brute"

My husband has tried, slowly, to introduce me to jazz. It's a musical genre which had never appealed to me in the slightest, while he has been smitten with it since schooldays. I've found a few pieces which I enjoy, and many which I simply cannot listen to for more than a few seconds. Saxophonist Ben Webster was one of the first artists recommended to me for easy appreciation, I took to his style easily. He played tenor saxophone, and though he often played the wham-bam-thankyou-ma'am-type jazz, from which he earned his nickname "The Brute", his interpretations of ballads were what set him apart. He said in interview:

"I like to play things that people understand, or maybe tunes that they could recognise. And so—I play for the people, just as much as for myself."

Ben Webster has been called "the supreme interpreter of ballads, (he) mastered the art of absorbing a song making it his own without violating its essence."

Listening to Webster playing "My Funny Valentine" or "Someone To Watch Over Me" with such sensitivity, one wouldn't easily guess that he could be quite violent.

"..... under(Duke) Ellington he found his own voice, moving between blustery showboating and breathy romanticism. He played with a distinctive raspy timbre, often spiking his lines with a sensuous vibrato. Webster was also known for being alternately charming or offending (the latter usually linked with his affection for the bottle). Webster stayed with Ellington for three years. He left after he was allowed to play piano with the band one night but overstayed his welcome. Ellington took offense over the incident but refused to discuss it with Webster, who responded by cutting one of the boss's best suits to bits."

"He was a large and occasionally violent man of unusual affections and bizarre impulses. He slept deeply, and had a curious habit of punching anyone who woke him, even his grandmother. In the 1950s, he lived in Los Angeles with his mother and grandmother, the two people in the world closest to him. Jim Hall, the guitarist, once described the routine of picking him up to go to a job. If Webster were asleep, his mother or grandmother would lean over him and say, "Ben, Mr. Hall is here and it's time to go to work." Then they would jump back about two feet to get out of the way. On the other hand, when the name of a dead musician he had loved came up (Tatum, say, or Fats Waller), Webster could be moved to tears. Hall remembered: "He started telling me what Tatum was like -- he loved to talk about the great ones he knew who were gone -- and the next thing I knew, he was crying."

Those brief extracts depict a talented man of sharp contrasts. He was born in Kansas City, Missouri on 27 March 1909. I can find no mention of his time of birth, so used a chart for 12 noon on his birth date.


The two factors I see as being most significant here (though there a doubtless many others) are 1) a mystic rectangle configuration (I've marked it on the chart), and 2) the mutual reception between Mars and Saturn.

A mystic rectangle configuration is made up of planets connected by trine or sextile also linked by oppositions, producing a box shape with a diagonal cross inside it. The trines and sextiles harmoniously link the planets and signs involved, the oppositions provide friction - also necessary to stop things from becoming too passive and easy-going.

TheAstrologer.com
:"Someone with a Mystic Rectangle in their chart will feel the effects of four planets working together in a strongly balanced and integrated pattern. This configuration offers the bearer a chance at inner harmony -- if the challenge of those two oppositions can be faced and dealt with consciously".

There's little doubt in my mind that this well integrated set of planets supported Ben Webster's musical talent, the very tight trine between Neptune (creativity) and Mercury(communication) being an important base for the integral pattern. Venus, the musical planet lies in Pisces not far from Mercury and although the planet is not technically part of the mystic rectangle, because Pisces ruler, Neptune is so tightly involved in the configuration, perhaps Venus could be considered an honorary inclusion.

Mutual reception (two planets placed in each other's ruling signs): Mars lies in Capricorn, the rulership of Saturn, Saturn lies in Aries, rulership of Mars. The two planets, aggressive Mars and serious Saturn combine forces in Webster's personality, and have relevance to his violent streak, more especially as Mars lies conjunct rebellious unruly Uranus and is in square (conflicting) aspect to Saturn.

(video originally added is no longer available)

Sources
http://www.downbeat.com/artists/window.asp?action=new&aid=40&aname=Ben+Webster
http://www.jazzprofessional.com/interviews/BenWebster.htm
http://www.robertfulford.com/BenWebster.html

Saturday, March 08, 2008

An Al-luring Suggestion

The primary election process here in the USA shambles along to the few remaining states waiting to vote for a Democratic party nominee. The whole process is looking ever more bizarre. I've read two or three articles by political journalists this week theorising that Al Gore might be dragged, reluctantly, into the fray.

They say it looks likely that Senators Clinton and Obama could eventually be so closely tied that it would fall to party elders at the Convention in August to confirm the nominee. They suggest that rather than alienate around half of all Democrats, endangering the party's chances in the General Election, an alternative plan could be to draft Al Gore as democratic nominee, theoretically uniting the party.

Bizarre !

Eight Democratic candidates set out long ago to fight for the US presidency. By process of elimination, led largely by the mainstream media, two remaining candidates were left to battle it out. In the process multi-millions of dollars have been collected and spent, thousands of hours of effort put in by the candidates and their teams, thousands of miles of travel, billions of words, written and spoken. All could be cancelled out, simply because the country's Democrats are almost equally divided in their preference of nominee. Each camp of supporters is so entrenched and bloody-minded that many of their number would prefer to see their party sink rather than vote for the nominee they didn't support. Another four years of Republican rule would likely be the outcome. Nice!

Al Gore. He was my first great hope, way back before this madness began, before Kucinich, before Edwards and long before Clinton and Obama. He chose not to put himself forward as a candidate, despite his legion of fans begging him to do so. Why then should he be a better choice than either of the very capable candidates who have worked their socks off trying to persuade Americans of their capabilities?

Bizarre!

That being as it may, I've looked at Al Gore's natal chart, and how the planets will be lining up between 25 and 28 August 2008 in Denver - the time of the Democratic Convention. I see nothing significant, other than transiting Pluto conjoining Mr. Gore's natal Jupiter, that has been so for many months, probably signifying his Nobel Prize, his Oscar, and business successes. Looking ahead a few years though, when Uranus, planet of change, has moved into Aries, and has reached Mr. Gore's natal Sun (10* Aries) in 2013, maybe..... maybe he will then be president, after the 2012 election. Here's food for the imagination! What might lead to that eventuality?

Friday, March 07, 2008

Rotten Day for Pisces

Here's another helping of "You Were Born on a Rotten Day" by Jim Critchfield and Jerry Hopkins, bravely published in 1969, surprisingly reprinted in a further four editions. As I remind myself when posting each monthly section, the book was probably one of the first ever attempts to spoof (or ridicule) astrology columns, its novelty may have accounted for its success. In our 21st century world it doesn't work too well, it's just not witty or sophisticated enough for today's readers, or so I surmise. In a successful spoof, such as the movie "Blazing Saddles", the writer had wide knowledge of the genre he was spoofing(western movies). That was patently not so in the case of this book. A good spoof works on two levels, it's superficially funny for an audience not well versed in the specific genre, and funny on a deeper level for the in-crowd who are able to pick up all the clever, and usually affectionate, references. This book doesn't really work on either level, but it is a little piece of history.

PISCES

"Pisces is the sexiest of all Birth Signs. Nothing daunts a panting Pisces. Pisces men have been known to walk 27 miles just to whisper sweet nothings in a librarian's ear. Pisces men are sweet and gentle with the opposite sex and many excel at bilking old maids and widows out of money.

Women born under this sign are also romantically inclined and have trim, lithe, well formed gums. A Pisces lady is open and sharing, especially if you buy her a beer or two.

All people of this sign are happy individuals, giggling even at traffic tickets, volcanoes, and four years of bad crops.

Society does not reap its fullest from the Pisces-born because so many slip into obscurity before they drop out of third grade. While in school, however, they do shine at dusting erasers, passing notes, and flirting with married math teachers.

If you are a Pisces, you don't have a lucky number, which serves you right, and your Lucky Star was recently arrested for making one of those movies".



And... from "A Typical Miserable Pisces Month"

3rd

"If you were born before 3pm today, go home. You're too young to be working."

18th
"Good time to do something flippant. Toss a few coins in the air."

25th
Prepare for a surprise

26th
Prepare for a disppointment

27th

Keep preparing. something's bound to happen

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Irrepressible Leo

I thought so!

From New York Times 4 March:

"Mike Huckabee’s Next Stage: Television?"
By Brian Stelter
How does “The Mike Huckabee Show” sound?
As Mr. Huckabee’s campaign plotted a concession speech on Tuesday, some analysts suggested that viewers would see the longshot Republican presidential candidate on television again very soon.
On the MSNBC program “Morning Joe,” the Republican strategist Mike Murphy predicted Mr. Huckabee would “suspend his campaign, hire excellent agents, and begin negotiations for a cable TV talk show, all within the next 10 days.”
“We’ve got a chair here he could fill,” the co-host "


"Later in the day on MSNBC, the anchor Contessa Brewer joked that the jovial Mr. Huckabee could join the cast of the VH1 pop culture show “Best Week Ever.”
“I’ve got a feeling the call’s already going out,” the “Best Week Ever” contributor Chuck Nice responded.


It would be a shame if Mr. Huckabee limited himself to a political talk show, or "religion-on-the-box" though. He'd also limit his audience, and I think he has a lot to offer that is neither political nor religious - just warm, wise, humorous and human. Still, it would be a start, once into the loop his irrepressible Leo could lead him elsewhere in TV-land.

From Learning Curve on the Ecliptic 25 February

"The man's a natural. I wish he'd give up his current career and get himself a chat show or something similar. Something far removed from religion or politics. He's entertaining, warm and charismatic, you can't learn those qualities, they come part of your astrological package. Five Leo planets form a big part of Governor Huckabee's astro-package. He has already tried two professions suitable for a quintuple-Leo personality, one more remains: show-biz! I'd bet good money that he'd be a bigger success there than he could ever be in the other two. "

From Learning Curve on the Ecliptic on 30 November 2007

"All those Leo planets must incline him towards the public stage, be it pulpit or political platform. What would he like to hear - in his wildest dream? "Lights, camera, action!" "

I wonder if anybody has noticed the likeness between Mike Huckabee and Kevin Spacey? They do share some Leo natal degrees. Spacey was born 26 July 1959, South Orange, New Jersey. His Uranus is at 15 Leo, Mike Huckabee's Jupiter is in the same Leo degree. Huckabee's Uranus is at 00 Leo, Spacey's Sun at 2 Leo. Their natal Mars are just a few degrees apart 28 Leo for Huckabee, 3 Virgo for Spacey. The likeness may be pure coincidence, but when Kevin Spacey's face flashed across the TV screen last night in a trail for a movie, I was surprised at the similarity.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Morning Exercise #2 : "Dubya & the Universal Astrologer"

I hadn't meant to post this today. As I played around with it yesterday I felt very pessimistic about Senator Clinton's chances in last night's primaries, but we saw what a real fighter can do. Well done Senator Clinton! Somehow I feel like posting this now!

My attempt at another writing exercise from Wake Up Writing , with a hint of astrology included. All the words in the list for this exercise start with W (in this part of the USA pronounced "dubya", and used as a nickname for you know who, so how could I resist?)

Using each of the following words - in any order - create a piece of fiction or non-fiction. Can you use all of the words?
Wallet
Water
Wayward
Whimsical
Wicked
Willowy
Witchcraft
Wreck
Writhe
Wry


DUBYA and the UNIVERSAL ASTROLOGER
(Specified words are highlighted bold)
Dubya approached the Gates of Heaven with a spring in his step, wry smile on his face. Happy to be free at last of the wreck his country had become under his watch. Shining gates now lay straight ahead. The gatekeeper beckoned to him to hurry along. Dubya felt for his wallet - stuffed with high value bills, fat enough to buy his way into anywhere, or so he thought.

The gatekeeper ushered Dubya into an area just inside the gates and pointed to a nearby doorway, indicating that he should enter. The door opened without pressure . A willowy figure, seated at a long silver table raised her head from a chart which lay there. "Please be seated. We must review your life sir."

"Who are you?" Dubya asked, feeling less confident now.

"I am The Universal Astrologer".

"Astrology - nothing but witchcraft!" Dubya sneered.

The figure turned her gaze directly to meet Dubya's eyes. "All things will soon be made clear".

She continued to study the chart. Two assistants now entered the room carrying between them a silver container filled with what appeared to Dubya to be water. They placed it before him.

The Universal Astrologer began to speak, her voice smooth, emotionless.

As Dubya listened, whimsical thoughts tumbled through his mind -
"What's all this crap? I must have wandered into fairyland instead of Heaven."

The narration continued, Dubya now recognised, in the words of the Universal Astrologer, the history of his life on Earth.

"Now, please look down into the liquid", she ordered.

Dubya looked, and saw reflected in the silvery surface scenes from his life, proceeding in slow succession from childhood to his wayward youth, on, and on....to his last days.

"You writhe in discomfort" said the Universal Astrologer, noting that Dubya's countenance had changed.

"Do you see how wicked was your life on Earth?"

"I do", shivering now.

"Your next incarnation will serve to pay recompense. I have drawn up a natal chart which will provide you with challenge such as the Earth has not yet seen. You have the option to meet the challenge, or sink into the depths of Hades, never to return here. Go now. Your task will be to rescue your world, prevent the seeds of chaos you left behind from blooming into total catastrophe".

Dubya found himself back, momentarily, outside the shining gates, then, in the next instant, a female child was born to an exhausted mother.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Morning Exercise #1: A Tale of Neptune

Fiction writing doesn't come naturally to me, probably due to natal Mercury in down to earth Capricorn, but I felt a need to get away from talk of elections and politics so decided to try something completely different: a little fiction writing practice. Some suggestions at Wake Up Writing got me started, what follows is my first attempt. (Warning: others may follow in due course). I've added an extra challenge: to include a little astrology.

Use all of the following 10 words in a piece of fiction or non-fiction:

Amicable
Bitten
Disgrace
Flavor
Hose
License
Neptune
Possibilities
Tangle
Vellum


THE RESULT: (specified words highlighted bold)

What was once a shrubbery was now a disgrace, an overgrown tangle of vegetation, grown to well over 6 feet tall, rotted and fresh mingling and meshing overhead, forming a multi-hued canopy.

Petra threw down the hose in disgust after watering a bed of squash, herbs and salad vegtables grown lovingly in the sun for flavor. She took a few steps into the shady tangled area, glad to move out of the scorching heat for a while, began pulling dead stalks and pushing slim branches aside. A sudden sharp pain to her ankle caused her to stop, wince and reach down thinking she'd been bitten. Instead she found her fingers wet with blood, and a sharp edge of metal protuding from the dense undergrowth.

On her knees she pushed aside the weeds to uncover what appeared to be a rusting metal cube. She lifted the object from its half buried resting place and returned through the sunlight, limping, back to the house.

Petra and her family had arrived here in the midst of an uncharacteristically severe winter, followed by a monsoon of a spring. Only now had the weather turned amicable enough for her to properly explore the rambling grounds of the historic house they had beggared themselves to own. It stood on the edge of rolling hills, far from urban sprawl and polluted air, probably the first structure to blot the virgin Texas landscape of two hundred years ago.

After attending to her damaged ankle, Petra wiped the rusty cube and investigated the possibility of a lid. If lid there was, it was either rusted shut or locked. With a nail file she prodded various ridges and indentations. After exhausting all possibilities, reaching to put the cube on a nearby table it slipped from her grasp to the floor and, magically, a lid flew open.

The contents fell, sliding a little way across the polished wood floor. A rolled piece of vellum, skidded across the oak boards, and what looked like a medallion or large coin spun, rattled and fell flat, disclosing a web of markings.

Petra retrieved the items. As she handled the cold metal and smooth parchment she shivered unaccountably. The vellum roll was secured by a piece of hempen cord which she carefully untied, wondering how long it was since hands had secured it. The vellum felt stiff, she unrolled it with care. Beautiful script covered the inner surface, with some glyphs and a few figures. The only word Petra could easily decipher was "Neptune" in illuminated letters center page. The circular metal object had been crudely engraved with glyphs, and again the word "Neptune".

From Petra's knowledge of astronomy she recalled that Neptune, the planet, was discovered in 1846, but these items and their container seemed older, by at least a hundred years, maybe more. She resolved to take the items to a local museum for advice, next time she visited the city.

Five years passed. Surveyors applied for a license to explore for oil on the land attached to Petra's house, and found evidence of large deposits.

Petra never did take the objects she had found to a museum, but she did go on to study astrology, discovering along the way that planet Neptune is said to rule oil.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Texas Decides

Our close neighbor Texas will be in the headlines tomorrow, when its population votes, at last, in the presidential primaries. The result, along with those of two other states voting tomorrow, could be decisive in who will be the Democratic nominee.

We live in the part of Oklahoma known as Texhoma, just a 30 minute drive from the Texas border at the Red River. Before I arrived in the USA, I used to say that Texas was my favourite state - from a position of complete ignorance of course. My opinion was based on nothing more than Larry McMurtry novels and the TV series "Dallas". I didn't know, then, how beautiful is Colorado or how magical New Mexico. I do now. Texas still fascinates though - if only for its sheer size. You can drive for hours and see little but scrubland and wide horizons.

So - how will the people of Texas vote in the Democratic primary? Will they favour Hillary Clinton, a voice of change with known history, or Barack Obama, also a voice of change but something of a leap into the unknown?

Texas became a state on 29 December 1845. Using that date at 12 noon and locating the chart in Texas capital, Austin, I'll compare it with a chart for 4 March 2008, same time, same place. The dual chart is shown below. Center, the chart for Texas statehood, outer circle is transit chart for 4 March 2008. (Click to enlarge).



I'm not keen on using charts for anything that's not a living breathing entity, but I'll try the idea for size on this occasion, it might offer up some symbolism at least. On the day Texas became a state the planets lay in a combination of conservative, businesslike Capricorn, forward-looking Aquarius, energetic Aries and one in earthy Taurus. In pioneering 19th century days that combination must have matched the flavour of Texas pretty well.

In the transit chart for tomorrow, 4 March 2008, Neptune has returned almost to it's statehood position at 23 Aquarius - it's now at 22 Aquarius. Neptune rules oil, which historically was one of Texas's biggest advantages! I wonder what a Neptune return might signify. Interestingly too, Neptune was discovered on 23 September 1846, nine months after Texas became a state.

In the transit chart for 4 March there are no Aries planets, but 4 in Aquarius and 2 in Capricorn. The transit planets match the Texas base personality fairly well, a blend of the old and the new, but Aries energy found the 19th century chart is replaced by a more laid-back Pisces influence.

A couple of aspects from transit chart to statehood chart stand out. Transiting Mars at 00 Cancer opposes statehood Mercury at 03 Capricorn and Sun at 07 Capricorn, and is square statehood Mars/Uranus in Aries. Perhaps that indicates a rather softer, sensitive feel to voting day Texas?

What the charts indicate to me isn't whether Senator Clinton or Senator Obama will win for the Democrats, but that overall the state is more likely now to favor Democrat over Republican.....that's a wild and unwise prediction about the state which gave us President Bush, a state totally dedicated to owning firearms, relies heavily on oil production, and is generally considered to be a cradle of conservatism.

I dare not hazard a guess about the Clinton or Obama question. Oklahoma preferred Senator Clinton in the Super Tuesday primary, will our close cousins follow its lead, or will they opt for the unknown? In their past they'd have been more inclined to take an impulsive leap in the dark (the Aries influence in the statehood chart), but on 4 March 2008, I'm not so sure.