Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Talent

National news and comment is doom-laden, so a bit of fluffy, unimportant meandering to counteract the gloom. Nero did it - fiddled while Rome burned - he probably didn't understand the complications of the situation and neither do I. So.........

We've been following the final few episodes of "America's Got Talent". I love to watch ordinary people getting close to achieving their dreams of a career in the spotlights. The five finalists (all vocalists or musicians, who beat the dancers, magicians and other variety acts) will discover tomorrow night who is 2008's winner, set to walk away with a million dollars and a contract to perform in Las Vegas.

I've been unable to find birth dates for any of the final five (listed below), so individual astrology isn't possible. The chart for tomorrow night's finale might indicate what type of singer/musician the planets favour, adding a helping of luck to one contestant's talent.

The finale chart is set for 9pm New York on 1 October 2008. The chart for final performances/voting, 24 September, doesn't vary a lot from the finale chart, apart from Moon position (Leo instead of Scorpio) and the degrees of faster moving planets. I'm not certain of the venue, but planets will be in the same signs, even if New York is incorrect.



Finale Chart: Sun, Mercury and Mars all in Libra - ruled by Venus which has strong connection to music and the arts. Venus in Scorpio, along with Moon semi-sextile (mildly harmonious) to Libra Sun - a hint of Scorpionic emotion and passion the contestants will experience while waiting for the results and finding out whether dearest dreams have wings or will, for the moment anyway, die a death.

Uranus in Pisces opposes Saturn in Virgo: a contest here between older, classic style and a more contemporary approach. Jupiter in Earthy Capricorn trines Saturn in Virgo, favouring the classic style, yet Jupiter also sextiles Uranus (but a sextile aspect isn't as powerful as a trine). Chiron, the Wounded Healer is conjunct North Node of the Moon (a sensitive point in the chart) and trines Mercury (communication and mental processes), but lies irritably quincunx Saturn. I see this as representing the "wounds", of one kind or another, each finalist has spoken of - disappointments, physical wounds, emotional wounds, and the ways in which they've all soldiered on in spite of these.

The finalists, four vocalists and a duo of avant garde violin players, are as follows:

Donald Braswell: Operatic-style tenor. He's handsome and seems like a very nice guy. Also sings classic standards. Was headed for a glittering career some years ago, but when cycling, on a visit to the UK, he was hit by a car. Severe damage to his vocal chords meant that he was told he may never speak again, let alone sing. He has fought back. Voted off in earlier rounds he was voted back by viewers as "a wild card contestant" when another act dropped out. Judge Sharon Osborne, for some reason, seems to want to put the audience off him, saying he's old fashioned, or belongs "on Broadway", not on a Las Vegas stage, yet she gives fulsome praise to the next contestant whose style is quite similar. This is puzzling!


Neal E. Boyd : Another tenor. A big, big guy who easily gets emotional - tears come very readily to him. He sings operatic areras and popular songs, and has been a favourite of the judges from day one. He's good, no doubt about it, and audiences love him.


Eli Mattson: Possibly the youngest and most contemporary in style of the 4 singers. Plays piano and sings - a la Elton John, his idol. He's good, and another favourite of the judges.






Queen Emily: Diva-type vocalist - in the UK they'd say "she's a belter" - great big voice, big gal. Probably right for Las Vegas or night clubs generally.








Nuttin' But Stringz: Two brothers, who previously played in the New York subways, have invented an altogether new way to play violin and mix it with a form of rap music. Very original. Piers Morgan praises them to high heaven every week. I see them as an excellent act, but not necessarily able to hold an audience for a full 1 and a half hour show which is what this is all about. To me, all their pieces sound the same.

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

So, is there a hint in the sky as to which contestant will walk away with the prize? Not a clear indication, without having each contestant's chart to compare - but for fun I'd say that it looks as though Jupiter (the lucky planet) is more in tune with the classic style of Braswell, Boyd or Queen Emily than the more contemporary Mattson or Nuttin' But Stringz.

Bearing in mind that it's the TV audience who will pick this winner and not the three judges, and adding logic to the mix, I suspect the audience will not care as much about "what is right for Las Vegas" as to whom they feel an emotional connection. I'd guess that more women than men will vote, and likely for a male. More older than younger viewers will be interested in voting, as this programme is probably not considered "cool" by many in the younger age groups.

Neal E. Boyd has been a consistent favourite with judges and audience. I'd favour Donald Braswell, on looks, voice, and possibly stamina, over Boyd, but I'm afraid Sharon Osborne may have swayed many viewers against Braswell. I'll guess the winner will be Neal E. Boyd then. He's quite similar, coincidentally, to Paul Potts (below), the tenor who won "Britain's Got Talent" last year.


UPDATE:


YAY!!!! I guessed correctly, with the assistance of tonight's planetary line-up!
Neal E. Boyd is the winner ! The classic (Saturn) triumphed over the modern (Uranus), the trine of Jupiter proving stronger than the sextile, as expected. Eli Mattson came a very close second with just one half a % between the two finalists. (Queen Emily 5th, Donald Braswell 4th, Nuttin' But Stringz 3rd).

Monday, September 29, 2008

Bill Maher & "Religulous"

Bill Maher's new film "Religulous" is due for release this week, though how wide the release will be isn't clear. It is highly unlikely to be shown at our local cinema, but perhaps we'll be able to see it in some city not too far away. The title, Maher says, is a blend of two words - religion and ridiculous. That tells us a lot about the film's theme! From here :

"Hang on to your vestments, everyone. "Religulous," certain to be among the fall's most discussed movies, arrives Wednesday. The documentary is comedian Bill Maher's brutal takedown of what he calls "the most controversial, taboo topic ever": organized religion. The subversive film, directed by fellow comic Larry Charles ("Borat") finds Maher traveling the world to question true believers. Maher's point is that believing absolutely in dusty scripture causes more problems than it solves, and that "mankind needs to shed this skin before it can really progress." "

Bill Maher's views on organised religion are well known by those who watch his HBO weekly show, "Real Time". He's scathing about religion in general but rather than defining himself as an atheist, he says his stance is "I don't know". On this point, as on many others I'm with Bill. I have been annoyed on several occasions by the sexism/misogyny he occasionaly throws around, but even so have never missed a show.

Bill has an interesting natal chart. Born 20 January 1956 at 10.32pm in New York, NY.



Rather than trying to interpret his chart in general, I'll concentrate on what strikes me as particularly interesting about it, and on where his anti-religion streak comes from.

Interesting: so many very early and very late degrees:

Sun 00 Aquarius
Saturn 00 Sagittarius
Mars 04 Sagittarius
Neptune 00 Scorpio
Uranus 00 Leo
Moon 02 Taurus
Venus 04 Pisces
Chiron 05 Aquarius

Pluto 28 Leo
Jupiter 29 Leo

The first decanate (10 degrees) of each sign is thought to be most characteristic of the sign in question, having the sign itself as sub-ruler, whereas the second and third decanates are sub-ruled by the other two signs in the same element. This could make for a particularly clear-cut planet-in-sign interpretation in Bill's case, but because so many planets lie in early degrees there are numerous close aspects in the chart, which in turn form webs of interlinked aspect patterns. Perhaps the simplest translation is that Bill has a particularly complex personality. The most interesting aspect patterns here are the Grand Cross and the Mystic Rectangle.

The Grand Cross, which I've outlined heavily in blue, includes four square aspects and two oppositions. Astrologers see this type of configuration as indicating stressful, tense energy which needs a clear focus if it is to be constructive. In Bill's case the Grand Square is in Fixed signs: focus will be inflexible, opinions not open to persuasion. I've recently noticed this type of configuration in the charts of a couple of other ascerbic well-known personalities - Keith Olbermann and Randi Rhodes. All three of these critcal observers focus on the political scene. Aviator Amy Johnson's chart contained this pattern too - her focus was on feats of flying, in her time unusual for a female. These people seem more driven than the average person, almost as though they house a hidden looped dynamo.

The Mystic Rectangle, which I've outlined in purple, isn't actually mystical. The configuration combines helpful and tense aspects (2 trines, 2 sextiles and 2 oppositions). This feature of Bill's chart may act as a partial antidote to the Grand Cross, bringing in a softer more adaptable side, especially as some of the aspects are "out of sign" - which means that early aspects of one sign link to late aspects of the previous sign, combining two elements/modes. Eg. Pluto/Jupiter in late Leo (Fixed Fire) trines Moon in early Taurus (Earth), a degree or two more would put the Leo planets in Earthy Mutable Virgo, indicating the potential for a rather more adaptable attitude than indicated by the Grand Cross.

His quick wit and ready ability to see the funny side of most things probably help Bill to deal with many of the stresses of his lifestyle. Mercury, the communication planet isn't closely tied into any aspect or pattern, it lies at 12 Aquarius (in the second decanate of Aquarius, sub-ruled by Mutable Gemini). Symbolically here Mercury acts as "an observer" of the tangled web of aspects - rather as Bill himself observes the tangled web of the world's political and religious scene.

So....back to "Religulous", and Bill's antipathy for organised religion.

In astrology Sagittarius and Jupiter connect to religion. In Bill's chart Jupiter, planet of religion, conjoins Pluto in Leo. Pluto is an outer planet, not usually significant in a personal chart unless closely tied to a personal planet, which, here, it is! Pluto energy is challenging and transformative, often in an initially negative way. Jupiter's religious flavour is being seriously challenged and modified by Pluto in this chart. The conjunction forms a part of the Mystic Rectangle rather than the Grand Cross though, and links to a few softer aspects, bringing a somewhat enigmatic feel to Bill's personality.

Two conjoined personal planets, Saturn and Mars, lie in Sagittarius the sign of religion. These two planets are traditionally thought of as malefic, they can add an awkwardly negative energy. Here, there's a conglomeration of linked challenging and helpful aspects. Sagittarius's religious flavour colours Saturn the old fashioned structurer and blends it with Mars the aggresive fighter. The two planets lie in helpful trine aspect to Uranus (the avant garde) ruler of Bill's natal Sun, which also links into the Grand Cross configuration. A tangled web, and it's not surprising that conflict on the matter of religion is evident in Bill's life.

In a nutshell, I see this web of linked but very different aspects in his chart as indicating that Bill Maher, though sharply critical of organised religion, still retains certain doubts. His humour softens and warms the harshness of his judgement, and this is always going to be his saving grace. For every challenging aspect in his chart, there's a harmonious one - which doesn't happen very often. Many viewers of his programme, myself included, have forgiven Bill much in the past. It's possible to sense an underlying kindness and softness beneath his overtly critical and prickly nature. Even so, not all will forgive him this time. Those who hold very fixed views on religion themselves are likely to be sorely offended by "Religulous" in spite of its humour, should they venture to watch it.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Paul Newman. R.I.P.

(Second post today).
I've just read that we've lost Paul Newman. One of those rare movie actors who never once, in his five decade long career, disappointed his fans, never shocked us, only ever delighted us. His male beauty was legendary in his heyday, yet he never seemed in any way egotistical. He became a social activist, proponent of actors' rights and a philanthropist. He died with Uranus, his Aquarian Sun's ruler, retrograded to within a degree of its natal position. Uranus had touched the same point (19 Pisces) back in the spring, before its apparent retrograde movement began, perhaps when his illness started to become intense.

His death brought a lump to my throat.

Paul died at age 83, a long, productive and I'm sure happy life, with his beloved Joanne Woodward, to whom the thoughts and condolences of his legions of fans, including myself, must now fly.

I think I've seen all of Paul's movies, all so good it's hard to pick a favourite. A scene from "Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid", with co-star Robert Redford always makes me smile. The two stars leap into the unknown here - Paul has now leapt, in real life, into the unknown, and out of suffering.



Paul's natal chart is available at Astrodatabank here.

"Hair" - Astrological coincidences?

From a list of events which have occurred on 27 September through the years, I noticed that the stage musical "Hair" opened its London run on 27 September 1968. There had been a total solar eclipse five days before, at 29 Virgo. During the eclipse, and the period between the eclipse and the show's opening, Uranus (ruler of Aquarius) lay at 29 Virgo the degree hit by the eclipse. As the show's best known song is "Age of Aquarius", and its message overall is very Aquarian/Uranian, it's a remarkable coincidence.

The dates of the show's US off-Broadway premiere and its debut on Broadway show other interesting coincidences, or astrological pointers:

Off-Broadway premiere: 17 October 1967 - There was a lunar eclipse the next day, (@ 24 Aries.)

Broadway opening: 29 April 1968 - There was a line-up of planets around the 25 degree mark in several signs: Venus 24.43 Aries. Mars 23.12 Taurus. Jupiter 25.54 Leo. Uranus 25.34 Virgo. Neptune 25.37 Scorpio. Which means that Venus & Jupiter were in harmonious trine - could be translated as a lucky time for the publication of loving musical messages (which does describe "Hair".) Mars, Uranus and Neptune were in either trine or sextile, helpfully blending imagination and energy into the Uranian message put out by the show. Of course, as well as harmonious trines, some of these planets also formed challenging squares, Mars/Jupiter for example, representing the controversy the show brought forth in some circles.

"The musical's profanity, its depiction of the use of illegal drugs, its treatment of sexuality, its irreverence for the American flag, and its nude scene caused much comment and controversy"

Wikipedia entry here.

I've seen only the movie version of "Hair", which I think was a much modified and sanitized version. Available YouTube videos of stage versions aren't very good quality, so instead I've chosen a clip from the beginning of the movie, featuring 'that' song.


Friday, September 26, 2008

USA Character Chart

I'm periodically drawn to look at Astrodatabank's collection of the various charts used to represent the USA. Most astrologers seem to prefer those set for 4 July 1776, Independence Day. These have a variety of ascendants depending on rectifiction by the astrologers, using important events in the country's history to pinpoint a rising sign.

As I usually say on this topic, I'm not completely convinced about the logic behind such charts, or any chart representing an inanimate entity. If there is going to be a chart to represent a country though, it ought to reflect the "feel" of the country in question, even if placements don't coincide exactly with historically important events. I'm finding, in astrology generally, that though some trends can be foreseen, accuracy in actual prediction of events is patchy. The outer planets, including Saturn, are the most reliable when trying to foresee trends, but even these are fallible. Many factors, including charts of involved individuals, other countries, companies or groups need to be brought into focus also, leaving a very tangled web and confused scenario. Predictions made from one perspective only are going to be hit and miss at best.

So, concentrating only on national characteristics, what outstanding and necessary features would I look for in a chart of this nation?

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

2. Sagittarius/Jupiter should also have fairly prominent placing. Excess, over-indulgence, "bigness" and exaggeration are easily recognisable in the overall character of this country. Not forgetting religion, also the province of Jupiter/Sagittarius. Many of the original settlers were fleeing their own countries to find religious freedom; religion has been, and still is, for good or ill, an important part of the nation's character.

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

4. Mars should feature: military might, and the will to fight, has been present from the Revolutionary War which spawned the USA, to the present-day debacle in Iraq.

5. There should be a clear opposition aspect somewhere in the chart to represent the sharp dichotomy of public opinion which arises frequently on issues. I see this as a distinct feature of the USA's national character. It sometimes seems, to me, as though there are two distinctly different countries here.

Conclusion: All the 4 July 1776 charts have too much emphasis on Cancer (Sun) for my liking, the same applies to the 2 July (Armistead chart) which I'd previously considered a good choice. I don't see the character of the USA as in any way Cancerian. The Sun is one of the main representative factors in any chart, so, for me, none of these properly represents the character of the USA.

The above exclusions narrow my field considerably!

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

The nearest match I can find is the David Solte 1777 chart:

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



(Copied from Astrodatabank, linked above).

Here we have Sun in Scorpio - not ideal, but I can see how passionate and stubbornly Fixed Scorpionic traits could fit the USA's national character - the majority seem very passionate about their flag, their patriotism, their religion, their "American Dream". One of Scorpio's symbols is the Eagle, a much revered USA national symbol. This chart has an Aquarian ascendant, so fits my stated requirement. Uranus in Gemini trines and blends with the Aquarius ascendant - that's even better! Jupiter in Leo, the leader's sign, lies on the descendant angle, a strong position, with Sagittarius at midheaven, possibly the strongest position in the chart. There's a cardinal opposition (Cancer/Capricorn) between Mars and North Node of the Moon, a sensitive point, providing dichotomy, as well the required Mars connection. There's a second opposition, between Venus and Chiron, the Wounded Healer, further underlining the nation's propensity to split in two.

No existing chart exactly fits my personal view of a USA national personality, David Solte's 1777 chart comes near. Interestingly, a blend of Leo, Aquarius and Scorpio is what the nation stands to get get from an Obama/Biden ticket in the General election this year.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Astro Dispatch & The Rest of It.

No astrology here today, but there's a wide selection of posts and articles available from the widget in my sidebar "Astro Dispatch", which is the latest product of Elsa (Elsa Elsa blog) and her colleagues, to replace the seemingly defunct "Top Ten Astrology News" widget.

For general interest reading, I've posted a description and photographs of our recent road trip at my other blog "THE REST OF IT".

More astro-blogging tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Politix Mix - Sullivan, Klein, Palin.

We arrived home from our drive-about yesterday evening, managed to catch a repeat of Bill Maher's TV show, "Real Time" which we'd missed on Friday night. My stomach started to churn when I saw that one of his guests was Andrew Sullivan. I wrote scathingly about him at "Andrew Sullivan - Is Aries Moon to blame?" This time though I found a point of agreement with him, in spite of my hurling a few expletives early on. The panel got to discussing Sarah Palin. Mr Sullivan and I at last agreed. Our Aries Moons were in total accord on this subject - he even used the same word I've used to describe McCain's VP pick - "irresponsible". Mr Sullivan was royally pissed about Palin, became very, very emphatic - even Bill Maher looked a bit stunned at Sullivan's dramatic turn.

Another of Bill Maher's guests was Naomi Klein - a very astute, impressive lady. She and Sullivan had quite a set-to early on, on the subject of capitalism, but, when the subject turned to Palin they reached agreement.

I was keen to see Naomi Klein's natal chart, but have been unable find her time of birth. A 12 noon version must suffice, this will give a partial picture, minus ascending sign, and exact Moon position.

Born 8 May 1970 in Montreal, Canada.



Sun/Mercury conjoined and Saturn all in Fixed Earth Taurus. Mars and Venus conjoined in Mutable Air Gemini, Moon also in Gemini unless she was born 11pm or later. So all personal planets except Jupiter are in Taurus or Gemini. Two very different signs. Jupiter is in Libra, and could easily be in trine with Gemini Moon, depending on time of birth, adding strength to her Airy side.

The most significant aspect between personal and outer planets is Uranus in Libra trine (harmonious) the Venus/Mars conjunction in Gemini, but Uranus is also in irritable quincunx to Saturn in Taurus. More reflections of the dual nature, shown in her Taurus/Gemini line-up.

What does all that mean? I'd say, in a nutshell, it indicates a person with very definite and down to earth views (Taurus), with the ability to communicate these in entertaining fashion and with fluency(Gemini), unafraid to be controversial (Uranus trine Venus/Mars), and perhaps a feeling of inner irritability about the conflict between status quo and the avant garde (Saturn/Uranus quincunx).

Ms Klein is a successful and controversial author: her three titles so far -"No Logo, No Space, No Choice, No Jobs". "Fences and Windows: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the Globalization Debate." "The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism." I feel certain there will be many more books to come, in similar vein.

Back to the rapidly becoming boring subject of Sarah Palin. As we were driving around during the past few days we spotted two stickers in the back window of the same truck which declared "Palin 08!" and "I'm voting McCain To Get Sarah Palin". Sigh. We were in northern Oklahoma at the time. I peeked at the occupant as we passed the truck, expecting to see a female - no - two burly looking males! We did see several "Obama-Biden" garden signs in New Mexico though, and a lone "Obama 08" sticker as we drove home through mid-Oklahoma. Gotta get me one of those!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Superwomen # 2 (+ update)

Update~~ We're away for a few days, on drive-about in SW Colorado. Blogger was experiencing problems when we left home, so unable to post this then... no internet access 'til now. Probably the blog'll hibernate until sometime next week. In the meantime.......

Two very different women, one from each side of the Atlantic. Both driven to travel in the same direction - upwards - into the air! Two true trailblazers, beacons for all women.

Amy Johnson from England, Amelia Earhart from the USA.

Amy Johnson was born in Hull, England on 1 July 1903, and lived there until she attended Sheffield University in 1923 to read for a BA (Bachelor of Arts degree). After graduating, she moved on to work as a secretary to a London solicitor where she also became interested in flying. She took her first flight lesson at the London Aeroplane Club in 1928, but with little encouragement. True, it took her twice as long as most (men) to complete her training. However, she proved to many that her aviator abilities were phenomenal, and her hobby soon became an all-consuming determination, not simply to make a career in aviation, but to succeed in some project which would demonstrate to the world that women could be as competent as men in a hitherto male dominated field. Months after receiving her pilot's license, she became the first British woman to qualify as a ground engineer.

That was just one of many female firsts. Johnson began her love for long-distance flying with a 19 day and 8,600-mile flight on May 24, 1930. That flight marked her as the first woman to fly solo from England to Australia.

Johnson would complete other similar feats in her short life. The Royal Air Force invited her to join the Air Transport Auxiliary, ferrying aircraft from factories to air bases. It was on one of these routine flights on January 5, 1941, that Amy's plane crashed into the River Thames estuary. She drowned. A tragic, too early end to the life of Britain's most famous woman pilot.

Amy's birth chart is challenging. In Yorkshire, England, in those days, she needed to fight hard for equal treatment with men in her chosen occupation - a flier.

Her chart contains 10 square aspects, some of which combine in a Grand Square configuration. Whatever she attempted in her life was bound to present a challenge.



Her Sun in Cancer and Moon in Virgo do not immediately conjure up a woman of great determination and drive. Pluto is conjunct Mercury in Gemini in her 1st house, adding a powerful edge to her nature. Her Gemini ascendant and a Grand Air Trine, harmoniously linking planets in Gemini, Libra and Aquarius, reflect a fascination with flying. Sun and Neptune are within 5 degrees of each other in Cancer - possibly indicating a dreamer of visionary dreams, which her daring and determination brought to fruition.

On the date of Amy's death, 5 January 1941 these are what I believe to be significant factors in the charts.
Transiting North node was within 6 degrees of natal North node/ Mars.
Transiting Pluto opposed natal Sun
Transiting Neptune was conjunct natal Moon, bringing a sad and watery culmination to her earlier dreams.
Eclipses the previous autumn fell at 1 Oct (8 Libra) and 16 Oct. (22.49 Libra). Although these occurred some 3 months before her death, it seems significant that the solar eclipse at 8 Libra was within 2 degrees of her North node/Mars, and the lunar eclipse at 22.49 Libra was within 2 degrees of Amy's Vertex (24.48 Libra).



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Amelia Earhart was born in Atchison, Kansas on July 24, 1897. She became one of America's most famous aviators. After she had boarded her first plane as a passenger, she later said, "As soon as we left the ground I knew I myself had to fly!" In 1925, Amelia took a position in Boston as a novice social worker. She joined the Boston Chapter of the National Aeronautic Association, and was soon recognized as "one of the best women pilots in the United States" by the Boston Globe.

On April 27, 1926 her life was to change forever. She received a phone call from Captain H.H. Railey asking her if she would like to be the first woman to fly across the Atlantic. A week later Amelia met with George Putnam, a New York publisher, who she later married. He was in search of the perfect woman to make the Trans-Atlantic flight.

On May 20, 1932, exactly 5 years after Charles Lindbergh's flight, Amelia began the journey. Somewhat off-course, she landed in an open field near Londonderry in Northern Ireland. She asked a man there. "Where am I?".
"In Gallagher's pasture...have you come far?".
"From America", she replied.

She had broken several records on this flight: the first woman to fly the Atlantic solo and only person to fly it twice; the longest non-stop distance flown by a woman; and a record for crossing in the shortest time. Later, in 1935, Amelia began to formulate plans for an around-the-world flight. On June 1, 1937 she and her navigator Fred Noonan departed Miami, Florida on that mission. On July 2, Amelia made her last radio contact. Her plane had gone down. Her body was never found. In a letter she had written, "Please know I am quite aware of the hazards...I want to do it because I want to do it. Women must try to do things as men have tried. When they fail their failure must be but a challenge to others."

Amelia's chart seems much calmer than Amy's. Living in the USA possibly afforded better opportunity to pursue her chosen occupation. I have read that in addition to her flying, Amelia took an interest in the fashion business and designed a range of ladies' flying clothes. She is said to have been always well groomed and fashionably dressed. Leo sun with Taurus rising would likely have added some semblance of stability and appreciation of the material side of life to her obvious daredevil streak.



The stellium in Gemini (2nd house) is probably focal point in her chart, and major factor in her love of flying - though Virgo Mars conjunct Jupiter in 5th and Scorpio Uranus conjunct Saturn in 7th seem significant, if not in her flying, then in her social/romantic life.

Amelia's life did indeed "change forever" as a result of what occurred on 27 April 1926 . Bringing up the chart for that date shows transiting Saturn had reached exactly the spot Amelia's natal Saturn occupied 24 Scorpio - her Saturn return!

Moving on to the date of Amelia's crash 2 July 1937: these are some of the factors which I think pointed to the dramatic, and very sad events:
Transiting Mars was within 5 degrees of her natal Saturn/Uranus conjunction, and transiting Moon was in opposition.
Transiting Pluto was close to her natal Sun (5 degrees).
Transiting North node was opposite her Gemini stellium (transiting South node conjunct the stellium).
A solar eclipse had occurred on 8 June 1937, 24 days before the crash. The eclipse lasted for over 7 minutes. That solar eclipse fell at 18 Gemini. Amelia's stellium of Moon, Pluto, Venus, Neptune covers 11, 14, 17 and 21 Gemini.



~~~~~~~~~

These were two remarkable women - possibly the most remarkable of their era. What else they would have accomplished, had they lived, can hardly be guessed, but for sure they would have continued blazing trails.

Back in a few days............

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Kenneth Branagh and "Hamlet"

We recently watched a DVD of Kenneth Branagh's movie version of Shakespeare's "Hamlet", known in some circles as "the eternity version" because it contains Shakespeare's play in its entirety. It does tend to go on a bit! The movie was released in 1996, but wasn't available in DVD format until last year.

I'm not a great fan of Will Shakespeare, having been put off by the force-feeding of schooldays, long before his works had a chance of being appreciated by a young Twilight on any level. I've since become fond of some of the Bard's sonnets, but have never felt much affection for any of his plays. Perhaps, as a child of England, I ought to wash my mouth out!

It's a surprise, to me, that the plot of "Hamlet" is based on an old Scandinavian legend see here, and was not, as I'd assumed, purely a figment of Old Will Shakespeare's imagination!

Due to the acting and directing skills of Kenneth Branagh, and the star-spangled cast, I thoroughly enjoyed this version of "Hamlet".

I'll not write about Hamlet's astrology - that has already been done before in other astrology blogs:
AstroFutureTrends
Out The Comet's Ass
to name a couple.



A look at Kenneth Branagh's astrology then. Born 10 December 1960 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Astrotheme gives his birth time as 4.50pm.



This consummate actor and talented director had no family links to the profession. His father was a carpenter in Belfast. His family moved to the British mainland because of "The Troubles" - sectarian unrest between Catholics and Protestants which erupted into a very nasty period in Belfast's history, thanks to intervention of the IRA (Irish Republican Army) and, because Northern Ireland is part of the UK, the British army. At school in England young Kenneth Branagh was teased about his heavy Northern Irish accent, so set about cultivating the elegant tones we hear from him today. He decided, very early, that the acting profession was for him. His career is interestingly documented at Tiscali here.

Via The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, Royal Shakespearean Company, London's West End, movies, TV, directing - he has done it all, he portrays modern characters and those from the pen of The Bard with equal skill. He's been called "the greatest thespian of his generation". Still, I can find little to illustrate what kind of man he is. Actors who worked with him on the movie "Hamlet" speak of him fondly in the DVD's special feature section. He has the reputation of being a fun person to work with, always ready for a laugh and joke, but one who can "turn on a dime" from jovial to deadly serious and focused. In his early days he was described as "ambitious and ever-demanding, not easy to work with". I guess he mellowed, as do most of us.

Sun and Mercury in Sagittarius reflect a sunny, larger than life personality, and the "always ready for a laugh" side of his nature. Saturn and Jupiter in Capricorn, with Saturn semi-sextile Sun indicate his more serious, hardworking side, Saturn being especially potent in its own sign, Capricorn.

Natal Moon in Virgo conjoins a very sensitive point in the chart - North Node of the Moon, here's his inner perfectionist. Mars in Cancer in 1st house of self adds energy and perhaps a touch of aggression to the picture, but energy tempered by sensitivity of Cancer, which is also his rising sign. The biographer at Tiscali (linked above) called him the "Kenergiser" - a nice reflection of Mars in first house!

Venus at 00 Aquarius sextiles Mercury and adds a tendency for lateral thinking to the mix - a valuable asset to an actor/director. This is echoed by Uranus (the unexpected) in Leo trining his Sun in Sagittarius, and Neptune (imagination) in Scorpio sextile natal Moon in Virgo.

It's interesting to note that there's not a single Leo planet in Branagh's natal chart. Leo doesn't have it all its own way when it comes to life in the spotlight, a potent mix of emphasis on other signs can be just as effective as a slew of Leo planets.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Presidential Players

I suspect that more words have been written about the characters in this year's US presidential election than almost any other characters in recent history. This has to be attributed mainly to the widespread use of the internet, mushrooming of blogs, and opening up of news sites to readers' comments.

Almost everything that could be written about the astrology of the leading characters in this tragi-comedy of an election has already been written. As I cast around for a new approach I spied on my bookshelf Robert Camp's "Love Cards". The title sounds trite, and if it hadn't been recommended to me by someone on an astrology message board, years ago, I'd never have given it a second glance, and I'd have missed a lot - it's an intriguing book.

Robert Camp uses a system which originated in another book: "Sacred Symbols of the Ancients". It's based around an deck of playing cards, astrology, and some other mysterious ingredient. I don't know what that ingredient is, but the system can be eeerily accurate in assessments of character and when exploring compatibility potential.

Playing cards are fascinating enough in themselves.Wikipedia explains their symbolism, as well as their origins. The deck widely adopted in Europe many centuries ago, and still in use, is described thus:
"Popular legend holds that the composition of a deck of cards has religious, metaphysical, or astronomical significance: typical numerological elements of the explanation are that the four suits represent the four seasons, the 13 cards per suit are the 13 phases of the lunar cycle, black and red are for day and night, the 52 cards of the deck (joker excluded) symbolizes the number of weeks in a year, and finally, if the value of each card is added up — and 1 is added, which is generally explained away as being for a single joker — the result is 365, the number of days in a year. If the other joker is also added, that makes 366 days, the amount of days in a leap year."

Is it coincidental that the cards relate so closely to our calendar? If so, then it's a rather amazing coincidence. Anyway... back to "Love Cards":

The Birth Card (just the first of many categories explored in the book) is comparable to the Sun sign in astrology. "It is the card that ruled our planet on the day we were born. People born under a certain card's rulership will all share some distinguising traits..... The Birth Card is the strongest and most important symbol of who we are in this lifetime."

All that is needed to consult this system is a person's day and month of birth. Let's see what the cards have to say abut the US presidential and vice-presidential candidates. What follows is an absolute minimum, just to give a flavour, it barely scratches the surface of what can be gleaned from "Love Cards".

Sarah Palin has stolen the headlines recently so I'll start with her. Her Birth Card (11 February) is Ace of Spades. Other birthdays covered by this card are June 13, March 9, April 7, May 5, June 3, July 1. The card is called "Card of Ambition and Secrets", and in some circles is known as "The Magi Card." "Most ambitious and material-oriented card in the deck, but also the most spiritual." The book tells us that these people have a lifelong conflict between material and worldly issues and a deep pastlife spiritual heritage. A card of extremes.
Britain's Princess Diana (born 1 July) had this Birth Card, by the way.

Hillary Clinton's (26 October) Birth Card: 9 of Hearts, and Barack Obama (4 August) Birth Card: 9 Diamonds. Nines in all four suits have something in common (as do all groups of numerical or royal cards). Concerning Nines, the book tells us ,among other things, that these people are "never truly fulfilled unless they find ways to give of themselves to others. Many of them take this to the highest level and become saviours of humanity. Many great spiritual leaders and teachers have Nines as their Birth Cards. In many ways Nine is the opposite of the Ace" (see Sarah Palin, above). "Whereas the Ace needs to be selfish and self-centered, the Nine cannot. Each time the Nine tries to do things for themselves they reap untold misery and pain. It goes against the grain of their soul's essence. Nines can develop strong victim-saviour completes and all of them exhibit this to some degree.....". Sound familiar? Hillary Clinton has been said by some writers to consider herself a victim; Barack Obama is often referred to as a Messiah or saviour figure. I notice too, though, that George W. Bush's Birth Card (6 July) is 9 Diamonds, same as Obama's. Oops! "The underlying message for the 9 Diamonds person is that they arrive on the planet with a host of value-related beliefs, ideas, concepts, needs and personal attachments that must be let go of".

To complete the cast, a word or two about John McCain (29August) Birth Card: 10 of Hearts, and Joe Biden (20 November) Birth Card: King of Hearts.

Re John McCain's 10 of Hearts- "To truly understand the Tens, we must also be familiar with the Aces" (see Sarah Palin above). "The Aces and 10s are very much alike." 10 of Hearts is the "Success With Groups" card: "A leader, not a follower, has much ambition and could stray off the path of truth as a result"

Joe Biden's King of Hearts - "The Loving Father Card" (Jaqueline Kennedy was also of this group). The Kings all have power, naturally! King of Hearts has power with people and personal relationships - charming and very intelligent. "It is not wise to argue with them, their keen minds can always find a response". The VP debate with Sarah Palin should prove interesting!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Saturday/Sunday Superwomen

I've decided to do an occasional weekend post about women who, in their own way, are or were "superwomen": women who have approached life feeling true equality with men, in some cases even before equality was on the agenda. Beacons.

The women I'll feature won't necessarily be household names. One from each side of the Atlantic this time: Helen Thomas, who has been suggested by my blogging colleague Wisewebwoman as a good subject for investigation; and from across the pond, Englishwoman and traveller of the 19th century, Isabella Bird. I want to take a brief look at their natal charts to try and pinpoint the source of their "super-ness".

Superwoman # 1: Helen Thomas is a reporter for the Hearst News Service, dean of the White House press corps, a White House correspondent, and King Features Syndicate columnist. Thomas has covered every President of the USA since JFK.

"To say Ms. Thomas is old school is not a shot at her age, but rather an honor. After all these years, she still believes the function of the press is to keep an eye on government, and that goes for U.S. presidents, too."

"Thomas is undoubtedly one of the last of a breed, the Tough Broad. When Rory Kennedy asks her if she ever used her sexuality to get a story, Thomas dissolves into laughter. She's also a bastion of Old Journalism -- "If your mother tells you she loves you, check it out," she quips -- a reporter who believes that the main job of the press corps is cutting the president down to size."

"Helen Thomas certainly personifies the difficulties of remaining hard-nosed with people you have to deal with every day, people you might actually like or even pity. She describes the day President Nixon opened a press conference by congratulating her on becoming the first woman to be named head of UPI's Washington bureau. She wondered how seemly it would be to follow this gracious moment with a tough question about Nixon's alleged perjury. She solved the dilemma, she says, by asking the question but feeling bad about it."
(Quotes attributed at end of post)

Born 4 August 1920 (coincidentally same day, different year, as Barack Obama) in Winchester, Kentucky. No time of birth available, so this chart is set for 12 noon. Exact position of Moon and ascendant will remain a mystery. Moon, though, must be somehwere between 00Aries and 14 Aries.



Four planets in Leo (Sun conjunct Neptune, Venus conjunct Jupiter) indicate a leader of some sort, full of self confidence. Sun conjunct Neptune is often found in the charts of artistic individuals or novelists. In this case any artistic ability isn't apparent from her public persona, her writing is factual rather than imaginative. But Neptune can also indicate a spiritual nature, which may apply here. Venus/Jupiter - charm (Venus) allows this lady to be painfully honest and critical of those people who intimidate many others. Jupiter rules publication, how appropriate that the publication planet should be part of her prominent Leo cluster in the chart of a woman so closely connected to the press.

Moon in Aries will trine (harmonious aspect) Sun, whatever birth time - bringing Fiery leader Leo and impulsive energetic Aries both clearly into play in her nature.

There's a different side to Helen Thomas, too. A Grand Trine in Water linking Mars with Pluto and Uranus links her energy from Aries (ruled by Mars) in a more sensitive and intuitive fashion to two outer planets - which could be said to signify "the collective mind" of the public. Hard as some of her criticisms may have seemed, there was always a deep and caring basis for them.

Saturn in Virgo sextiles (helpful aspect) Mars in Scorpio - here's a hard-working lady, not afraid to be critical, with Mars in its own sign of Scorpio adding passion to her beliefs and criticisms. This Mars/Saturn sextile is almost certainly part of a Yod formation, with Moon at its arrow-pint, even though her time of birth is unknown. This symbolises that her passionate criticisms and points of view are directed through the core of her inner self (Moon), underlining the fact that they are not based in partisanship, resentment or personal bitterness.

~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~

Superwoman # 2: Isabella Bird. Not a well-known name. It was unknown to me until our trip to the Colorado Rockies two years ago. This lady's travels, at the time they were undertaken, seem nothing short of amazing to 21st century minds. Born in mid-19th century England, she was not part of the feminist revolution, apart from her own personal revolution. She travelled. She travelled a lot, then she wrote about her travels in a very engaging way.

"Bird was a sickly child and spent her entire life struggling with various ailments. Much of her illness may have been psychogenic, for when she was doing exactly what she wanted she was almost never ill. Her real desire was to travel."
Australia, Hawaii, Colorado, Japan, China, Vietnam, Singapore and Malaysia all featured on her itineraries. It was her book "A Lady's Life in the Rocky Mountains" which first intoduced me to Isabella Bird. The book consists of journal letters to her sister. I mentioned Isabella and quoted some of her writing in my first ever posts on this blog, in August 2006. They are accessible via the archive links (September 2006) should anyone be interested in reading about our own travels in the Colorado Rockies.

Isabella Bird was born 15 October 1831 in Boroughbridge, Yorkshire, England, no time of birth, so exact Moon and ascendant positions are not known. Again, as in Helen Thomas's chart, four planets in one sign, but this time in Libra: Sun, Mercury Venus and Mars - four personal planets in the sign of charm and tact. These four planets are in harmonious trine with Moon, Jupiter and Uranus in Aquarius, drawing into her nature a love of freedom (Aquarius), evident in her apparent need to travel (Jupiter), as well as a feel that she was "before her time", more especially because Uranus was part of the cluster, and in its own sign, Aquarius, giving extra significance to that maverick planet.



I had expected to find some Sagittarius in this chart, but there's none. Instead there is emphasis on air signs and on Uranus in Aquarius, it's home sign. This lady was ahead of her time, no doubt about it at all.

Saturn is in Virgo again, as in the chart of Helen Thomas. Isabella's hard work came in different guise, as did her somewhat critical nature, which spiced her Libran charm. Pluto in Aries opposes three of her Libra planets - adding a harder edge to that Libran tactfulness. Her basic charm did help a lot in her meetings with a variety of odd-ball and characters she met during her travels.

It's necessary to read Isabella's book to appreciate the tremendous effort she put into her Colorado journey, both on foot and on horseback through, at that time, an uncivilised terrain in the Rocky Mountains.



"I rode up and down hills laboriously in snow-drifts, getting off often to easy my faithful Birdie by walking down ice-clad slopes, stopping constantly to feast my eyes upon that changeless glory, always seeing some new ravine, with its depths of color, or miraculous brilliancy of red, or phantasy of form."

A quote from Isabella Bird appears on this plaque in the mountains (click on photo for a larger version). "This is a view to which nothing needs to be added... This scenery satisfies my soul"



Isabella didn't hold back from criticising some of the characters she met, even her own countrymen, on occasion:

"I longed to tell Chalmers that it was he, and such as he, there or anywhere, with narrow hearts, bitter tongues, and harsh judgments, who were the true "Mrs. Grundys", dwarfing individuality, checking lawful freedom of speech, and making men "offenders for a word"."

So....two females who could be termed superwomen. Their natal charts contain different planetary configurations, but both mix charm with an underlying harder edge. Both charts show planet clusters, which bring extra focus to these individuals, the urge to apply a more than average amount of effort into what was the driving force of their lives. In both cases Mercury (communication/writing) lies in or close to a powerful group of planets, reflecting the fact that it is through their communicative skills that we have become aware of the true calibre of these two females. Neither woman relied in any way on looks or sexuality. Considering each, with hindsight, they stand out as beacons for women everywhere.

Sources
http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/news/tv/la-et-helen18-2008aug18,0,1532711.story
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26254188/
http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Helen_Thomas
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isabella_Bird
....and "A Lady's Life in the Rocky Mountains" by Isabella Bird.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Awards (and something completely different.)

I thank blogging colleague Anthony North of Beyond the Blog for his beyond kind award to this blog as a "Brainy Blog". I've added the little graphic to my sidebar. I am embarrased, but also appreciative of the kind gesture. I comfort myself that in a literal sense this blog is "brainy": see brain in small header sketch, drawn by my husband.

I've never nominated any blog for any award - not because I don't rate any as deserving - all those I read regularly (and you know who you are) deserve any and all awards I could possibly find to bestow upon them.

All the astrology bloggers in my link list , and any who are missing from there, are all Brainy Blogs, in my estimation - without exception. It'd be a big job to go around them all though, so I choose not to name any blog individually. I'll just say here a simple thank you to all of them, astrological and others for the informative and entertaining, thought-provoking, and only occasionally aggravating ;-) offerings. A big thank you too, to any who regularly read my own scribblings - you also deserve an award - for bravery!

The idea for the Brainy Blog award originates at Mommy Brain Reports


"Mommy Brain Reports is on the lookout for some Brainy Sites! Do you know of any?

Perhaps they have some really interesting ideas, super cool content, or they have some incredible posts that make you really think… Maybe they are your inspiration, or they have helped you out in your quest to be an awesome blogger yourself. Are they someone you can turn to at a moment’s notice for help or advice? Maybe they’re just someone who has encouraged you to be.. well.. You!

In any case, you have to know someone who you would deem a Brainy Blogger! You should let them know how you feel!!!

THANK THEM FOR BEING BRAINY!
Think of at least 5 bloggers that you believe to be “Brainy Bloggers”
Post it on your blog for all to see! Let them know you’ve awarded them by email, twitter, etc or via a comment on their blog!
Share some linky love and link back to both the person who awarded you and back to http://www.mommybrainreports.com
Come back to the Brainy Blog Headquarters".

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT (something I could not resist)


Thursday, September 11, 2008

Nine-Eleven



"Hatred ever kills, love never dies. Such is the vast difference between the two. What is obtained by love is retained for all time. What is obtained by hatred proves a burden in reality for it increases hatred."
Mohandas K. Gandhi

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A glance at Wikipedia's list of events for 11 September through the years threw up coincidences:

On 11 September 1941 ground was broken for the construction of the Pentagon, headquarters of the United States Department of Defense.

11 September 2001 saw destruction of the western portion of the Pentagon, part of a terrorist attack which also destroyed the World Trade Center, New York.

On 11 September 2002 "Through extreme and coordinated effort, The Pentagon is rededicated after repairs are completed, exactly one year after the attack on the building".

On 11 September 1941 Saturn and Uranus were conjoined, Saturn in the last degree of Taurus, Uranus at 00 Gemini. In 2001 Saturn and Uranus were trined (14 Gemini/21 Aquarius), and in 2002 the two planets remained in closer trine: 28 Gemini/26 Aquarius. I'm unable to translate this as a clear relationship to events, but thought it interesting. This year Saturn and Uranus are opposing each other, not tightly at today's date, but within 8 degrees, in Virgo and Pisces. As has been pointed out by astrologers, the opposition will be exact on the date of the US General election. I'm wondering whether the Pentagon will somehow be in the news again during coming weeks.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

It's a Stretch!

The saga of my frozen shoulder continues. Looking at current transits, I see that Mercury, Mars and Venus in Libra are all right opposite my natal Saturn (rules the skeleton) which lies at 12.55 Aries. I guess this is symbolic of the painful "pull" I feel when trying to perform certain everyday actions. I've checked on transiting Chiron (the Wounded Healer) - at present it's around 17 Aquarius, not making aspect to anything in my chart, but by February 2009 it'll be stting on my re-located ascendant, perhaps that's when I'll start feeling improvement, especially as Jupiter will be transiting natal Sun around the same time.

I opted to give the chiropractor I initially visited a cold one (shoulder, that is) after a first appointment which depressed rather than inspired me. I'm of the belief that, contrary to what the good chiropractor implied, any kind of physical activity which is exceptionally painful cannot be doing a body much good. My opinion is confirmed at several on-line sources which state that minimal pain, if any, is the most which ought to be tolerated during stretching exercises performed to help with a frozen shoulder, otherwise further inflamation could ensue, making all the effort counter-productive.

It appears that the actual cause of this problem, in cases not brought on by injury, is a mystery to the medical profession. Most instances of frozen shoulder are self-limiting, it has been found that the majority will eventually return to near normal capability, whether the sufferer does anything to aid recovery or not. This can take up to two years, maybe more, through three phases: freezing, frozen and thawing.

After much research, and surprise at the variety of advice and remedies suggested on-line, I jotted down a list of some of the most common recommendations, and a couple of the more outlandish suggestions. I'm adding these in case any Googling wanderer with painful shoulder might find them of interest.

1. A variety of fairly gentle stretching exercises, performed regularly, on a daily basis.

2. Use of a portable ultra-sound machine or TENS electronic unit to aid massage of the affected area.

3. Trigger Spot Therapy, finding relevant trigger spots and applying pressure to ease pain.

4. Shutting oneself in a quiet room, lying down on a sofa, alone, with a music box playing (I kid you not, a music box is said to be the key to eliminating stress!)

5. Standing neck deep in a warm sea and allowing the waves to massage the body.

6. Elimination techniques for cleansing toxins taken into the body from food and the atmosphere.

7. Heat packs or ice packs applied to shoulder.

8. Acupuncture or acupressure.

9. One or two sites work on the premise that the cause is psychological rather than physical, and ask "what is frozen in your life or your attitudes?"

10. My own doctor offered a cortisone shot, which I accepted but felt no improvement. He said he could refer me to a surgeon for manipulation under anaesthesia. This sounded tempting until I investigated further and read about the possibility of a broken arm occuring during such manipulation, and the need to perform the stretching exercises afterwards anyway
.
Not for me!

I'm opting for a mix of # 1, 2, 3, and that most elusive of ingredients: patience. If I reach the point of desperation, though I might invest in a music box!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Rachel Maddow: One For The Future?

I wonder who'll be on the political scene in the USA around 10 years from now, say for the elections in 2016 and 2020? One name in the future's political headlines which wouldn't surprise me a bit would be Rachel Maddow. She's 35 now, in ten years she'll be just about the right age to run as a presidential candidate, or be chosen as VP, having perhaps done a stint in the House or Senate in intervening years.

Rachel's new TV show, which has all the hallmarks of being "the one to watch" for those keen on politics, was aired for the first time last night. She has been seen fairly regularly on MSNBC all year, doing pundit duty along with Olbermann, Matthews, Buchanan and the rest, as well as presenting a regular radio show on Air America. She strikes me as the type of person for whom US politics is crying out. She oozes confidence, speaks and debates with a no nonsense clarity, clear grasp of issues, but never loses her calm, friendly approach.

Rachel Maddow was born on 1 April 1973 in Castro Valley, California. I can find no time of birth, so here's a chart set for 12 noon. Moon position will be inaccurate, though it will be somewhere in Pisces. Ascendant must remain a mystery, in the absence of birth time.



Sun and Venus in Aries, Jupiter and Mars in Aquarius, Saturn in Gemini, Moon and Mercury in Pisces. Outer planets in Libra and Sagittarius.

Her Aries and Aquarius planets are in harmonious sextile; Saturn in Gemini also sextiles Sun/Venus in Aries and trines the Aquarius planets - more harmony!
A sweetly linked line-up, indicating a very "together" person, enthusiastic, energetic, abundant intelligence, ability to analyse, and disciplined communicative skills all work together in harmony. Moon and Mercury in Pisces reflect another side of Rachel's personality, her sensitive and comapssionate nature, via Mercury this softens her style, which otherwise might come over as cold or dictatorial, which she definitely is not!

Rachel is well known for her unstinting research and preparation, a reflection of workhorse Saturn in Gemini, and Jupter/Mars in analytical Aquarius.


"The former Rhodes scholar, with a doctorate in political science from Oxford, is writing a book about military politics in postwar America and is famous at MSNBC for bringing a scholarly rigor to her preshow research and preparation. She has been known to arrive at Rockerfeller Center from her Manhattan apartment nine hours before she is due to go on air, cloistering herself in a cubicle with an iPod as she reads and writes on the day's news.
"One of the things that separates Rachel from many people is the amount of fresh information she brings to her storytelling," said Wolff. "She really often isn't expressing an opinion as much as laying out facts that lead to the conclusion
."(See here)

Rachel has had a good professional and mentoring relationship with MSNBC colleague Keith Olbermann. Perhaps they relate well to each other because Olbermann's natal Sun at 7.01 Aquarius conjoins her natal Jupiter at 7.04 Aquarius, and is therefore also in harmonious aspect to her Aries and Gemini planets.

It'll be interesting to watch Rachel Maddow's progress from here on.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Monday Moon Miscellany

Monday! The day named for The Moon in many different cultures: European, Japanese, Hindi, Malayan, Korean; written of in poetry and lyrics, included in paintings over many centuries.




To the Moon
by Percy Bysshe Shelley

Art thou pale for weariness
Of climbing heaven, and gazing on the earth,
Wandering companionless
Among the stars that have a different birth,--
And ever changing, like a joyous eye
That finds no object worth its constancy?



There are some wonderful shots of the Moon at Art and the Zen of Design

This example, "Powerline Moon", by Tony Karp, could symbolize Moon in Aquarius, mixing the Moon with the technology of Aquarius.



The Moon will move into Aquarius later this week, but won't grow as full as shown here until in Pisces, early next week.

"The moon develops the imagination, as chemicals develop photographic images".
Sheila Ballantyne(teacher and novelist).

In ancient times the Moon was called Isis, Esses, Luna, Eleusis, and the Virgin Mere; is significant of things of a constantly changing and fluctuating character; is feminine, nocturnal, cold, moist, phlegmatic and fruitful. In mundane astrology the Moon rules (among other things) the public in general, females and liquids.
(From Llewellyn George's "Student Chart Reader of Horoscope Indications").

Astrologically, the sign in which Moon is found in a natal chart indicates the individual's inner self, the type of immediate emotional response to life's situations, external influences, the actions of others. Moon position can also be a guide to attitudes instilled in the individual by family, in childhood, indicates the kind of relationship with the mother, and women generally, also how the individual in question might respond to the public.




Above - A marble altar, preserved in the Louvre Museum in Paris, France, depicts Moon-goddess Selene accompanied by the Dioscuri, or Phosphoros (the Morning Star) and Hesperos (the Evening Star). This is Roman artwork, 2nd century CE.
Selene's great love was a handsome shepherd prince, Endymion, who was granted eternal youth and immortality by Zeus and placed in a state of eternal slumber in a cave near the peak of Lydian Mount Latmos. There his heavenly bride descended to consort with him in the night. Selene gave birth to 50 daughters! Other goddesses were associated with the Moon, in myth, but Selene is the only one represented by the Greek poets as the Moon incarnate.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

"Nothing But A Chromosome"

In an article, here, this week Gloria Steinem wrote:
"Palin shares nothing but a chromosome with Clinton" (Hillary Clinton, I hasten to add!)

That's a fair remark, given what I know of them both. Let's see whether, apart from that chromosome, the two ladies share anything astrological. Without even looking at their charts, I'd be surprised if they did. There is one basic similarity though, both have a cluster of planets in a Fixed sign, Scorpio in Clinton's case, Aquarius for Palin. Both are stubborn and determined, loyal to the causes they personally see as being just.

Here's a dual chart with Clinton at center and Palin in the outer ring. Moon position and ascendant should be disregarded because there's no settled birth time for either lady, so the positions shown here are not accurate. Click on chart for a clearer view.




There's no shared personal planet position. Clinton's Venus at 16 Scorpio and Palin's Neptune at 17 Scorpio come nearest, but thats a personal planet and an outer planet, so not really too significant.

The most significant thing I see here is the opposition between Aquarius and Leo planets. Palin's Sun/Mars/Saturn trio closely oppose Clinton's Saturn in Leo, and more widely her Pluto and Mars. Fur and feathers may fly if ever these two finish up on a platform, opposing each other. Think 2012!

Saturday, September 06, 2008

David Gilmour & "On the Turning Away"

I can't pretend to be a Pink Floyd fan, in general their style wasn't "my cup of tea". I guess I'm basically square in musical preferences. However, there is one song of theirs which I like a lot: "On the Turning Away", co-written and sung by David Gilmour.


Finding information on David Gilmour, as a person, rather than as a rock star isn't easy. Interviews concentrate mainly on his concerts and his music, rather than highlighting what kind of man he is.

There's a question mark over his year of birth too. Wikipedia and Astrotheme have it as 1946, but several other sites quote 1944. I wonder if, at some point, David wanted to appear to his fans as a little younger than his real age? I'm sure it's been done before. Or maybe the discrepancy came about from a scribbled date where the final digit could be read as a 4 or a 6.

Born 6 March, in Cambridge, England. The dual chart below shows both versions, 1946 in the center, 1944 in the outer ring. It's interesting to see what a difference two years make. There's no time of birth available, so both are set for 12 noon, which means that ascendant and Moon positions will not be accurate. (Click on image for a clearer view)


Sun in Pisces, along with either Mercury or Venus, depending on the year. Either way, that's a nice slice of imaginative, sensitive Pisces. In both charts Mars and Saturn, two powerful and often said to be challenging planets are close together. Exactly conjoined in 1944, in Gemini. Three degrees apart, in Cancer, in 1946. In what little personal information about David I've come across, from transcripts of interviews, he has said that he is shy. He's described as "a quiet man". He has admitted that, on occasion, he has felt very nervous in front of an audience, so much so that, in one film of a concert, his fingers could be seen trembling on the guitar strings! That describes emphasis on Cancer more than Gemini, so tends to favour 1946 as year of birth. As for those conjoined planets, Mars and Saturn, rather than offering challenge, I think in this case they reflect his energy - as seen in performances on stage, and resourcefulness. David has said that he is very keen to get and give value for money - that's a Saturnian trait

"We don't like to cut corners obviously. Things are very expensive and it's very easy to misdirect you money, and put an awful lot of money into something that isn't what I would call cost effective"

In the 1946 chart Mars/Saturn in Cancer trine (120*)Sun and Venus in Pisces. This is a soft Watery harmony, helping to negate any destructive tendencies from that Mars/Saturn conjunction.

Another plus for the 1946 chart is Neptune in Libra opposite Mercury (communications planet) in Aries - creativity and imagination from Neptune, with energy from Aries to bring it to the fore. As Neptune rules his Pisces Sun, this ties in well.

The song which started me on this tack? "On the Turning Away", lyrics written by David Gilmour, Pink Floyd's guitarist/vocalist, and Anthony Moore. The music reminds me of a traditional Celtic melody.

There are lots of YouTube videos of live versions of this song, but my choice is a video which, rather than showing the musicians, concentrates on the lyrics.




"On the turning away
From the pale and downtrodden
And the words they say
Which we wont understand
Dont accept that whats happening
Is just a case of others suffering
Or youll find that youre joining in
The turning away

Its a sin that somehow
Light is changing to shadow
And casting its shroud
Over all we have known
Unaware how the ranks have grown
Driven on by a heart of stone
We could find that were all alone
In the dream of the proud

On the wings of the night
As the daytime is stirring
Where the speechless unite
In a silent accord
Using words you will find are strange
And mesmerized as they light the flame
Feel the new wind of change
On the wings of the night

No more turning away
From the weak and the weary
No more turning away
From the coldness inside
Just a world that we all must share
Its not enough just to stand and stare
Is it only a dream that therell be
No more turning away?"