Friday, October 31, 2008

"Are We Human or Are We Dancer?"

It's many Moons since I was taken by a popular song. This one crept up on me. We first heard it earlier this month on "Saturday Night Live" - "Human", by The Killers, a band we'd never heard of. After listening for a while, we both commented on the silliness of the lyrics.
(See end of post for lyrics and YouTube recording).

I noticed the song played a couple of times recently during my morning dose of the BBC. It's a catchy tune, better appreciated via radio than watched on TV. Yesterday, just as I finished my post featuring a tarot reading, I switched to the BBC and that song was playing. This time I really listened to the words. Two hours later I'd scoured the web, learned about Hunter S. Thompson, and encountered a wide variety of opinions on the meaning of those enigmatic lyrics.

It appears that Brandon Flowers, vocalist and keyboard player of the band has stated in an interview that the line "are we human, or are we dancer?" is a reference to a remark once made by the late Hunter S. Thompson, an ascerbic journalist famed for "telling it like it is", often in offensive terms. He had commented that America is nowadays raising a "generation of dancers". Thompson committed suicide in 2005.

Aside from The Killers' new song, Hunter S. Thompson is a fascinating subject, about whose astrology I'd have written, but found that it had already been done by D.K. Brainard at "Pure Plutonium: Hunter S. Thompson Says Goodbye".

Because that fabled "veil between worlds" is thin at Halloween, I fancifully imagine that perhaps Mr. Thompson's thoughts are being propelled to us clearly at this time for a reason. We are close an election in the USA, an election pivotal to the future of both this country, and by extension, the world. When considering whether to vote or not, it might behove us to ask ourselves, "Are we human or are we dancer?"

Concentrating on the lyrics of the song, I started to search for clues to their meaning. A long thread of comments at Popwatch Blog following "Does the Killers' 'Human' have the silliest lyrics of the week? by Simon Vozick-Levinson provided food for thought. Comments covered whether the song says "denser" or "dancer" (it's the latter); whether dancer should be plural (no - because the word is used as an adjective, as though it's a different species, as in "are we human or are we canine".)

There are analyses of the lyrics as a whole. One writer saw them as relating to the end of a love affair after a phone call. Another to the birth of a person's first offspring - a bit of a stretch, I thought! The meaning of "human" versus "dancer" is cloudy. Is it preferable (or wise) to be one or t'other? All depends on individual interpretation.

My own version of the tale the lyrics tell is this: as Brandon Flowers has said the inspiration came from Hunter S. Thompson's words, possibly the whole song is a dedication to him and the way he ended his own life (he shot himself in the head, suffering from several chronic illnesses). The "platform of surrender", cutting the cord (of life), "Wave goodbye, say farewell, you've gotta let me go".... reading the lyrics this way, the intention seems obvious to me.

Intertwined in the story told by the lyrics is that question we might benefit from asking ourselves: "are we human or are we dancer?" Personally I take it as asking whether we are taking notice of what's going on around us, or are we oblivious, wrapped up in our own fantasy world, allowing others to manipulate us, and the real world?

It's the first time for decades that I've thought as much about the lyrics of a pop (or any other) song. I guess Hunter S. Thompson would be pleased if he could see the thought and controversy seeded by a throw-away remark of his.



I did my best to notice, when the call came down the line
Up to the platform of surrender, I was brought but I was kind
But sometimes I get nervous when I see an open door
Close your eyes clear your heart, cut the cord

Are we human, or are we dancer
My sign is vital my hands are cold
And I'm on my knees looking for the answer
Are we human, or are we dancer

Pay my respects to grace and virture, send my condolences to good
Give my regards to soul and romance, they always did the best they could
And so long to devotion you taught me everything I know
Wave good bye wish me well, you've gotta let me go

Are we human, or are we dancer
My sign is vital my hands are cold
And I'm on my knees looking for the answer
Are we human, or are we dancer

Will your system be alright?
When you dream of home tonight
There is no message we're receiving
Let me know, is your heart still beating?

Are we human, or are we dancer
My sign is vital my hands are cold
And I'm on my knees looking for the answer
Are we human, or are we dancer
You've gotta let me know

Are we human, or are we dancer
My sign is vital my hands are cold
And I'm on my knees looking for the answer
Are we human, or are we dancer
You've gotta let me know

Are we human, or are we dancer
Are we human, or are we dancer

Thursday, October 30, 2008

A Last Tarot Reading Before the Election

Coming up to Halloween, a time when it's said the veil between two worlds - ours and that beyond - becomes thin, and dissolves, I decided to try one more tarot reading asking my usual question "What do I need to know about the general election?" Perhaps, if there is a world beyond, a little help will be forthcoming at this time! My previous reading seemed a little inconclusive, but indicated that difficulties would be overcome. The final card of that reading (and the illustration on it) indicated a journey, which with hindsight could connect to Senator Obama's journey over water to visit his sick grandmother, something of which we were totally unaware at the time of that reading. I should have been braver and said "there will be a journey over water undertaken" - but it didn't seem to be relevant. I have to learn to trust the cards more!

Immediately I got out of bed this morning I shuffled the deck, cut it, and drew three cards. They appeared in the following order:

3 of Wands
10 of Coins
The Fool

Once again, I feel amazed that three cards from a deck of 78 can be so appropriate to the matter at hand.

The most important card here is The Fool, a card of the Major Arcana. It is in the position usually attributed to "the future" or "the outcome". The other two, minor arcana cards are the lead up, from past and present, or the background atmosphere.

Three of Wands signifies a time of watching and waiting to discover whether ideas and enterprises will bear fruit - literally from the illustration, waiting for the ships to come in.




10 of Coins denotes wealth and family. The culmination of an enterprise, which has brough success. The illustration shows a couple, their child and elderly relative, and a house, earned or inherited wealth. In this context perhaps the house is a literal house - The White House.



The Fool - The first card of the tarot's major arcana. Astrologically connected to Aries. The start of a cycle. There is an aura of innocent optimism here, that whatever lies ahead, all will be well. There's a feel of inexperience, or a willful ignoring of dangers to come, and blind faith that these can and will be overcome. The illustration tells a story quite clearly. The figure trips along his path happily, unaware of the precipice before him, the dog scampering beside him barks a warning, but the figure remains unperturbed, head thrown back, in confidence that nothing can harm his golden vision. There has to be a certain amount of ego here, and an unwillingness to heed warning signs, yet the overall feel of this card is exciting, optimistic, a new beginning.

I can see only a President Obama from this last card. It doesn't fit John McCain in any way at all. The new president will face many precipices, we must have faith, as he does, that all will be well, as we set out on the journey with him. That must be the message, I can see no other.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Wednesday "Why?" - Algol

This week's "Wednesday Why?" seeks the reason fixed star Algol has the reputation of being "the most evil star in the heavens".

Astronomers have known since the 17th century that Algol is a binary star rotating with a companion which regularly partially eclipses it, causing the star to appear to blink. Was it this appearance of instability, the unusual blinking motion, which brought about Algol's bad reputation? That doesn't seem logical. Ancient astrologers could well have attached an interpretation of instability and volatility to the star due to its appearance, but evil? I doubt it.

The star is part of the constellation Perseus, and Algol, also known as Caput Algol, is said to be a skyborne representation of the severed head of Medusa which Perseus carried. The Gorgon Medusa had serpents for hair, huge teeth, protruding tongue and a face so grotesque that all who gazed upon it were turned to stone, from fright. The star's name is a contraction of Ra's al Ghul - the Demon's Head. It is known as Lilith by the Hebrews, and Tseih She by the Chinese - translation: piled up corpses.

Presently Algol lies at 26 Taurus in the tropical zodiac.

I wonder why this constellation was connected to Perseus in the first place, and why was Algol thought to represent the Gorgon's head? Which came first, giving the star a name based on observation of unfortunate events which happened when it aspected planets, or a connecting of star-dots in the heavens with the resulting pattern suggesting to astronomers, as in a Rorschach test, a man carrying something. "That'll be Persus, then", the astronomer/astrologer types would have decreed, "we'd best watch out for trouble when that star comes close to a planet, he had troubles, and he's carrying one of them - look, it's the star that blinks!"

Has the star's evil reputation been found to have any basis in fact? Results, applying that test, have been patchy at best. We'd have experienced far more disasters, communal and personal, throughout history, if Algol worked as a constant, infallible trigger for the descent of doom. From the articles linked below, and many others on-line, it's clear that Algol has indeed been party to some of the world's great disasters, as well as some highly unfortunate occurrences in the lives of certain individuals. Over many centuries though, and given the span of a population of billions of humans with this fixed star prominent in their nativities, I suspect that occasions when Algol lives up to its reputation are few and far between.

Modern astrologers have sought to attach a less drastic meaning to Algol, some connect it to energies of "the feminine" (presumably a link to Medusa's powers), others prefer a much diluted version of the somewhat paranoid traditional interpretation. The latter group surmises that anyone with Algol conjunct natal Sun or other personal planet is likely to be intense, perhaps prone to violence if provoked, and passionate in all enterprises (similar to Scorpio traits).

I haven't been able to convince myself, either way, about this winking blinking star. Perhaps that in itself could offer as good an interpretation as any: Algol's energies do have potential to be unfortunate (blink)..... but these energies often remain negligible or non-existent.

For more detail on Algol see Nick Kolelrstrom's article at Skyscript "The Horror-Scope of Algol"
And a piece at Astrology on the Web, by Ian Thurnwald, "The Cycle of Uranus and Algol in 2002"

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

An Aquarian's New Clothes

Revelations of costs involved in Governor Sarah Palin's makeover, carried out to match her new status as Republican VP candidate, came as quite a surprise: $150,000 on clothes, and over $4,000 on makeup and hair consultants. That's a lot of dosh to women who function outside of the champagne and caviar belt. Even the $5,000 spent on new clothes, makeup and hair styling for women featured in TV's "What Not to Wear" will seem frugal now! Even more surprising to yours truly is that Gov. Palin would go along with this nonsense - it doesn't fit her quintuple Aquarian blueprint.

I'm a singular Aquarian myself, with Sun alone in the sign of the Water Bearer. I have no idea what it would be like to walk a mile in the moccasins (or Manolo Blahniks) of a five-times Aquarian like Sarah Palin. Even so, I'm shocked that she would allow staffers of the Republican National Committee to dictate to her how she should dress.

Astrologer Alex Miller-Mignone describes her thus, at Daykeeper Journal:

" .....a maverick reformer, a woman of the people, concerned with the public weal; rebellious, an individualistic, free spirit who isn’t afraid of making waves in a just cause. The conjunction of Saturn with the Sun indicates her conservative, possibly reactionary, nature, and Mars here tends to fight its battles in career and with a high public profile. Forceful and dynamic as only Sun/Mars can be, Sun/Saturn also means that Palin is easily seen as a leader or Chief Executive. Palin is a force to be reckoned with, whatever happens in November."

Free spirit, individualistic ? What went wrong? Even my own singular Aquarian Sun would not allow anyone to tell me how to dress. Not ever! It pains me even to go to the hairdresser once in 6 weeks to tint the grey, and I can't wait to get home to re-do the "do". Nobody, and I do mean nobody, could ever dictate to me on matters of appearance!

Yesterday Gov. Palin told a crowd at one of her rallies that she is "back in her own clothes", and as for those others "they were there, so I put 'em on". Really? Hadn't she spoken with staffers about sizes etc ? Hadn't she been a willing party to the attempt to perform an Eliza Doolittle on her ?

In my book, a quintuple Aquarian would have demonstrated her individualistic nature by demanding to wear whatever she felt like, even if the preference were to be buckskins and moonboots. A "woman of the people" does not wear obscenely expensive jackets the cost of which would keep an average family in food and gas for a month or more. Such outfits are more fitting for a Leo lady. Perhaps Palin has Leo rising, which could account for the anomaly.

In my view Sarah Palin lets the Aquarian side down on several levels. Most importantly in her politics! She supports the conservative, capitalist status quo! This is against all Aquarian ideals. Her Sun conjunct Saturn is muddying clear Aquarian air, and blocking the true maverick buried somewhere in her soul. Perhaps it was starting to peep through in the pic below? There she looks more like "a woman of the people".


Monday, October 27, 2008

Dylan Thomas, Son of Scorpio.

Welsh poet Dylan Thomas was born on this day, 27 October, in the year 1914 in Swansea, Wales, UK. Astrotheme has his time of birth listed as 8.56pm.

His natal planets were a blend of Scorpio and Aquarius, in challenging square, an uneasy mix! If the birth time is accurate, ultra-sensitive Cancer would be his rising sign, the lens through which he viewed, and was viewed by, the world at large. Pluto, his Scorpio Sun's ruler, in Cancer, exactly conjunct Saturn, and in trine to his Sun reflects the poet's darkly emotional style, which often verges on the neurotic, a style difficult to describe and appreciate unless the reader has some similarity of nature. There's an undercurrent of despair, sometimes anger running through many of his poems. That anger comes courtesy of Mercury (writing and mental processes) conjunct Mars (anger, energy) in Scorpio (passionate emotion).

Neptune at 00 Leo opposite Uranus in Aquarius was an aspect between slow-moving outer planets shared by a whole age group. The dynamic pull between creativity, imagination and an avant garde style, unusual for the times, is recognisable in many of his generation. This opposition of unruly Uranus and addictive Neptune is also in square, challenging aspect to his natal Sun, his history of alcohol abuse may connect here, also to the lack of grounding Earth planets in his natal chart.



In tribute to Dylan Thomas, on his birthday, I've chosen a poem I particularly like, one which has less of his dark uneasiness.

In The Beginning

In the beginning was the three-pointed star,
One smile of light across the empty face,
One bough of bone across the rooting air,
The substance forked that marrowed the first sun,
And, burning ciphers on the round of space,
Heaven and hell mixed as they spun.

In the beginning was the pale signature,
Three-syllabled and starry as the smile,
And after came the imprints on the water,
Stamp of the minted face upon the moon;
The blood that touched the crosstree and the grail
Touched the first cloud and left a sign.

In the beginning was the mounting fire
That set alight the weathers from a spark,
A three-eyed, red-eyed spark, blunt as a flower,
Life rose and spouted from the rolling seas,
Burst in the roots, pumped from the earth and rock
The secret oils that drive the grass.

In the beginning was the word, the word
That from the solid bases of the light
Abstracted all the letters of the void;
And from the cloudy bases of the breath
The word flowed up, translating to the heart
First characters of birth and death.

In the beginning was the secret brain.
The brain was celled and soldered in the thought
Before the pitch was forking to a sun;
Before the veins were shaking in their sieve,
Blood shot and scattered to the winds of light
The ribbed original of love.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Voting Signs

If the signs of the zodiac were personified, and were to vote in an election, how would each proceed to make choices? The following are not intended to relate to a person's Sun sign especially, but if a passing reader can recognise themself in any of the descriptions, or in a combination of them, it's an indication of the sign's(s') energies coming through loud and clear.

ARIES....Likely to choose early and vote early - knows what's what well ahead of time.

TAURUS.... Choice made after taking into consideration which candidate offers most safeguards and likelihood of improvement for savings and material possessions.

GEMINI.... Available choices discussed at length with friends and relatives, likely to change mind at least once in the process.

CANCER....Main consideration: a candidate to whom the family could relate on a personal level, appreciates a candidate with old fashioned family values.

LEO....It takes one to know one - surveys the candidates first and foremost for signs of a true leader and chooses accordingly.

VIRGO......Has carefully researched voting records and history of each candidate before making a choice.

LIBRA....The consummate swing voter - has difficulty in discarding either candidate, can see points in favour of both.

SCORPIO....relies strongly on intuition, once voting direction is chosen, is unlikely to budge.

SAGITTARIUS.... imagines the best, most optimistic future scenario and votes for the candidate with policies which offer a possibility of bringing it to reality.

CAPRICORN....Similar to Taurus, and with an eye on how choice will affect business matters.

AQUARIUS....Choice made based on which candidate is more forward-looking and likely to best serve the needs of ordinary people.

PISCES....Had a dream on the eve of the election and votes accordingly.

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

And.... a passing reader might wish to take a couple of minutes to watch this brief video. As the friend who passed it on to us remarked, "You don't see something like this every day!" These are not your usual political activist celebrities, though they will probably be familiar faces to most in the United States.


See more Ron Howard videos at Funny or Die

Saturday, October 25, 2008

And so to Scorpio....

We slid into the zodiac sign of Scorpio while I wasn't looking! It doesn't seem more than two minutes since we leapt into Libra.

A few Scorpio keywords: passionate, perceptive, resourceful, possessive, psychological, secretive, determined, probing, focused, erotic. And I've noticed that astrologers and psychics often have a good helping of Scorpio in their natal charts. As well as the more commonly used scorpion as symbol, there's an alternative, oft forgotten - the eagle. These two symbols reflect the sign's positive and negative sides.

What can I say about my own experience of Scorpio? The sign holds a certain fascination for me, but I haven't been closely connected with many of its natives. I have known a couple of Scorpio Suns who went off and married two other Scorpio Suns. In both cases I rather unwisely used one of my favourite old cliches: "Well...it'll save spoiling another couple!" The friendships were short-lived and a little uneasy.

I find the best way for me to appreciate Scorpio traits is remotely, via reading their work or being part of their audience. The writing style of Carl Sagan, Dennis Kucinich's speeches, kd lang's singing, all attract me and all have Scorpio strong in their natal charts. Their passion seeps through. Politcians with strong Scorpio traits inspire my trust - Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden spring to mind.

I have one or two Scorpio credentials myself: natal Mars in one of its traditional domiciles, Scorpio. Scorpio's modern ruler, Pluto in my natal first house, and Sun in 8th house, a Scorpio domain. North Node of the Moon in Scorpio. Those are mere accessories, they don't reflect clearly in my personality - or at least not in a way I can identify from my vantage point - inside. I think, though, that they might assist in my appreciation of others demonstrating characteristics of the sign.

Scorpio in art brings to mind the work of Sun Scorpios Jack Vettriano and Georgia O'Keefe. They demonstrated the sign's sexy and erotic nature in different ways, he by using obvious images, she by a more subliminal approach.
Examples:

Jack Vettriano's "Round Midnight"

‘My paintings are about things I have done and things I wish I could do. They are about a bunch of sad, unhappy people who are driven by lust’ (Jack Vettriano)



"Georgia O'Keefe's work is known to often contain a vaginal motif. What is interesting, however, is the use of color and design in her work. The usage of color would normally indicate that the work was floral, and (this) painting does look like a flower. O'Keefe creates an image of the female form that is both erotic and sensual, without degrading or demeaning the female form as a whole."
See here




And.... of course, there's Picasso, another Sun Scorpio artist:

Friday, October 24, 2008

Overwhelmed? Blame Neptune!

At Current Astro Weather yesterday I read the following as part of a current celestial forecast for us all - it's still the same for today:

"Neptune void in Aquarius
Trends are unclear. Not everything is known, there is much to suspect. The fabric of reality seems to be ripped asunder. Faith in leadership is low. Social and economic conditions are unstable and subject to devaluations. The future looks uncertain and no one is taking any chances. Beliefs about reality are challenged. Some feel overwhelmed, even flooded, literally and figuratively."

("void" in astrology, or "void of course", means that a planet is in a kind of aspect vacuum with no major aspects from/to other planets at the time).


The last sentence(highlighted), mirrors what I had been reading a few minutes earlier at Huffington Post, in an article by Larry David:
"Waiting for Nov. 4th". A fast-lengthening string of comments from readers echoed his feelings.

Mr. David wrote with a certain amount of humour, but painful sincerity. His article begins:

"I can't take much more of this. Two weeks to go, and I'm at the end of my rope. I can't work. I can eat, but mostly standing up. I'm anxious all the time and taking it out on my ex-wife, which, ironically, I'm finding enjoyable. This is like waiting for the results of a biopsy. Actually, it's worse. Biopsies only take a few days, maybe a week at the most, and if the biopsy comes back positive, there's still a potential cure. With this, there's no cure. The result is final. Like death.
Five times a day I'll still say to someone, "I don't know what I'm going to do if McCain wins." Of course, the reality is I'm probably not going to do anything. What can I do? I'm not going to kill myself. ................."


Yesterday morning comments totalled around 1200. A few examples:


(The Opus)definitely cant focus on my job. this election is the BIG ONE. if it goes to McCain, it's the end of the world as we know it . we all know this. im freakin out. i wish someone could tranquilize me until 9am on 11/4 VOTE , PEOPLE ! !!!!!!!!!! your very lives may depend on it !!!


(skinjobferg)Oh, Larry.......I could not agree more. I'm online checking polls so often I'm forgetting to eat. I hear phrases like "the race is tightening" or "Bradley effect" and I'm overtaken by nausea, diarrhea, and sometimes both. I see McCain half-convulsing ragefully (not to mention dishonestly) behind a podium and the sharp abdominal pains begin. All-in-all, this election must come to an end soon if I'm ever to return to a reasonable facsimile of digestive health!

(bethcoger) Thank you, david, you have expressed exactly what i am feeling. has anyone coined a name for this condition? i am watching the palin mccain interview right now and i need a strong drink. my husband will not be in the same room with me if i am watching political shows or news. before george bush i never cursed. now i do. i am nervous and worried. i get upset if i hear someone predict victory and i get upset if i hear the polls show mccain bump. if i hear good obama news i worry. if i hear bad obama news, i worry too.

(ForthePeople1)We blog, we call, we curse, we cry, we don't sleep, we over eat, or don't eat as much, we find ourselves in a maze-trance-like state, and sometimes the only thing we can do is turn off the TV and all media connections. Yet, the addiction hits again, and after a 24hour lull, someone will call, shake us out of the trance, and we are back in our nervous zone yet again. I RELATE. Counting the days, counting the hours, counting the minutes... counting... Until OBAMA wins, this election by a landslide. But the worst wait of all comes next. The wait until he is officially sworn into office. Then we will breathe good again.

And my favourite :(stepintothe light)Larry ... It's a good thing you opened up. I recognize these symptoms. Many of us have suffered the side effects of a post "PALINOSCOPY" procedure. An after effect of having a thinly narrowed view shoved violently beyond our collective colons with such force that it rushes to the brain creating a feeling of altered reality and visions of post apocalyptic America. This pan-agitation is expected to peak among the worldwide population approximately around November 5th 2008. Doctors have failed a prognosis beyond this point.
I suggest lot's of sex and Raisin Bran ... Not necessarily at the same time... unless you're into that ... which is cool too. This is America after all!!

I have to admit to suffering from a mild form of this affliction myself, and to recognising many of the symptoms described by numerous commenters. I don't like to be wishing my time away, but do look forward to the end of current uncertainty.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

"The Mentalist" & Simon Baker

We missed the pilot episode of this new TV series starring Simon Baker as Patrick Jane, a former stage psychic (but "a fake"), turned CBI investigation assistant who says he considers "there's no such thing as a psychic". He does his "magic" though intense powers of observation and perhaps a dash of intuition....we are led to believe.

After enjoying a subsequent episode, I skipped through a number of reviews of the pilot to discover Patrick Jane's back-story. It appears that his wife and small daughter were murdered as a result of a remark Jane had made on stage, some years ago, about a serial killer in the locality. After this tragedy the former fake psychic turned away from stage performance and secured a job assisting the CBI to investigate crimes.

A number of the reviews I read on-line were written by avowed skeptics. They are gleefully gloating about what they see as a TV series adopting a skeptical approach to the subject of psychics. I don't think they need be feeling quite so gleeful. I saw Patrick Jane possessing what are commonly called psychic skills, in spite of his protestations. He had used them on-stage. Because of the tragic outcome of a passing remark he now denies them, and denies that psychic ability exists at all. Yet he still uses the same talents in his new occupation. Maybe the script is cleverly constructed so that each viewer, skeptic, believer, or a mix of both (like me) can interpret the story as he/she wishes. I suspect that Jane does have psychic skills. In later episodes it wouldn't surprise me a bit if evidence emerges that there is more to it than observation and intuition - both of which, in my opinion, play an important part in what is called psychic ability anyway.

About Simon Baker: he is a very attractive guy who originated as an actor in Australian TV soap operas. He has since appeared in both movies and TV series in the USA since emigrating here in 1995. He was born on 30 July 1969 in Launceton, Tasmania. No birth time available - 12 noon chart below:



I've taken quotes from two interviews with Simon Baker (linked at foot of post), and added notes in red of what I see as astrological connections. Factors relevant here: Sun and Mercury in the show-biz sign, Leo. Moon somewhere in Aquarius (degree not certain without time of birth). Uranus conjunct Jupiter, Saturn in Taurus square Sun. Venus in Gemini quincunx Neptune in Scorpio.


"I'm not an actor because I have a need to see my name up in lights or because I want to be a multi-millionaire. (Sun in Leo square Saturn in Taurus). I do it because I've got something in me that has to come out (Mercury in Leo)....... Baker also concedes that he has to make some acting choices based on survival. "I have to balance art and commerce. I am an artist, that's who I am, and everything I do, whether it's a shit movie or whatever it is, I still try to do the best I can and express whatever. But at the same time, I have a wife and three kids and I have to support them. I'm not in a position where I can dance around all over the globe." (Venus = his artistic temperament is in irritable aspect to Neptune planet of creativity and dreams - he is not always free to do what his creative side might wish. And, here again, Saturn in Taurus grounding him to practicality, the need to support his family.

"If you look at my career, I’m not exactly good at the business of: okay, now I should do this or now I shouldn’t do that. I think that’s because I’m a little too erratic, and, depending on certain moods and how I feel at certain times, certain things appeal to me in a different way." (Moon in erratic Aquarius, and Uranus conjunct Jupiter) ...... while Baker could have taken advantage of the success of L.A. Confidential, he chose not to be lured by the prospects of fame and celebrity. "I certainly don’t crave what you have to give up for that." He says he is content to be where he is, in Hollywood’s scheme of things. "I kind of fly under the radar pretty well, and I appreciate that." Asked if it is that sense of reality that keeps him grounded, (Saturn in Taurus again) Baker says, "I don’t know, mate, I don’t analyse that so much, I possibly think so."

........it’s why I became an actor," Baker says. "It’s a way to speak to people without sitting down and having a chat with everyone. It’s a way to be able to speak to them and have people speak to themselves, try to question themselves and try to understand stuff. (Mercury in Leo)Films can be really powerful and don’t HAVE to be massive extravaganzas. They can be incredibly personal.


(Simon Baker and Robin Tunney in a scene from the series.)

http://www.femail.com.au/simon-baker-land-of-the-dead.htm
http://www.femail.com.au/simon_baker_the_guardian.htm

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

A Wednesday "Why?" - Via Combusta

I'm going to try a weekly rumage into some of the more obscure mysteries of astrology - items which cause me to wonder "Why?" My Aquarian Sun wonders "Why?" frequently!

First up: we are now travelling through the area of the zodiac known to the ancients as Via Combusta, translated from the Latin it means Burning Road or Fiery Path - an area of the zodiac thought to be generally unfortunate. But why was it so named and why the bad reputation?


Via Combusta extends from 15 degrees of Libra to 15 degrees of Scorpio - (there are some variations on this). The Sun today is at 29 degrees Libra, by the way.
Via Combusta's unfortunate connotations are referred to nowadays mainly in horary astrology. It seems logical though that whatever factors caused this area of the zodiac to be so named, must apply to astrology generally.

Why did the second half of Libra and the first half of Scorpio gather a negative reputation, particularly in connection with the Moon's passage, once a month through that area of the zodiac, and the Sun's passage along the same area once a year ?

The answer, it appears, has a lot to do with planetary "dignities". Both Sun and Moon are in their "fall" in the area of the zodiac known as Via Combusta. Planets were said to be in their "fall" when they travelled through a sign opposite to that in which their essence was strong, or "in exaltation". The most advantageous sign for any planet is its domicile or rulership, the next most advantageous, (exaltation) is in a sign which complements that planet's energies. The opposite signs to the advantageous ones are described as being in "detriment" (opposite domicile), and "fall" (opposite exaltation).

Why the boundary at 15th degrees in particular though?

Astrologer Deborah Houlding surmises (HERE)

"However, when the tropical zodiac was introduced around the 6th century BC, the point of the Vernal Equinox was not firmly established but variously placed among the early degrees of Aries. Older authorities placed it at the 15th degree, so it is not beyond credibility that a symbolic association attached itself to the region that extended from the 15th degree of Libra, (opposite 15 Aries)as the area of the Sun's seasonal 'death' at the Autumn Equinox. Certainly the name of this traditionally afflicted area suggests some connection with the process of being 'hidden' and certainly, amongst the Egyptians, all things connected with absence from the visible world, (including deceased men and stars disappearing from view, either by falling beneath the western horizon or entering into helical setting), were considered to enter the dark, uncharted region of Duat."


And some more esoteric information from Lunarhouse

"Via Combusta is specifically a destructive force that can overrule positive focus. Because of this via combusta has been traditionally used by magicians for banishing, bindings, exorcisms and spells of destruction and decay. Whatever is intended or released in a positive and creative way at this time may well find manifestation through a destructive route. This is NOT a time for experimentation and amateur magick."


Broadly speaking then, when the Sun and/or Moon pass through the areas of the sky where astrology indicates their energies are weak, it's not the best time for....well, anything of great importance. On 4 November, the date of the US presidential election, the Sun will still be traversing Via Combusta - I guess the authorities could have chosen a more fortunate date. The Moon will be in Capricorn. Whilst not part of Via Combusta, Capricorn happens to be the opposite sign to the Moon's domicile, Cancer. So with Moon in its "detriment", and Sun on the Via Combusta......Cue some gloomy background music....

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

R.H. Naylor - A lucky find!

My latest acquisition: "Home Astrology", by British astrologer R.H. Naylor (1889 - 1952), who was, in 1930, the first astrologer to produce a regular astrology column in a UK national newspaper.



The book (damaged jacket shown above) was published, I guess, sometime in the 1930s or 40s (I can find no date in it, so it might be a first, and only, edition). It was published by Lippincotts of Philadelphia, printed in Britain. There's a pencil note inside, "Lippincott's File copy", and a rubber stamped warning: "File copy, not to be removed from office".

I bought the book in Archer City, County seat of Archer County, North Texas, from the used book store of famous author Larry McMurtry (Lonesome Dove, Terms of Endearment, The Last Picture Show etc.) Archer City is home to some 1,800 souls. Larry McMurtry's bookstore "Booked Up", spreads through four very large stores and houses around 400,000 books ranging from paperbacks to valuable antiques and first editions worth thousands of dollars. The four stores are not fully staffed so a notice is posted in stores # 2 to 4, to the effect that one must wander across to store #1, book(s) in hand, to pay for any purchases. How very trusting! It's said that these book stores are the life-blood of Archer City, an otherwise sleepy little Texas town.

The book I've bought is a treasure indeed, well worth the $10 it cost me. It contains a very basic explanation of natal astrology in layman's language. The book is peppered with other odds and ends of information about omens, superstitions and suchlike, material which has gone right out of fashion nowadays - it's all the more fascinating for that. I noticed, among the yards and yards of ceiling-high shelves crammed with 400,000 used books, there were only 3 volumes on the subject of astrology, from a scant few shelves of books dealing with "New Age" subjects. Perhaps Mr. McMurtry, who buys from estate sales and bulk stock from other stores, has a blindspot when it comes to astrology.

I'll return to a few tidbits from "Home Astrology" in future posts, but to be going on with, a couple of paragraphs which immediately caught my eye when opening the book at random pages:

"The cases in our museums reveal the amazing growth of what we must call Natal Astrology. Even prejudiced observers admit that the astrology of the ancients, and in later times, of the Moors, was one of the most complex things the human mind has ever evolved. To pass over such relics of complex thinking with a light sneer is merely a confession of ignorance. Einsteins's theory of relativity is a comparatively simple thing by the side of ancient theories of astrological determination."


"You and I have in our bodies an infinitely complicated electrical machine. Our brain is the battery, our nerves the wires. This machinery works what people call "the sixth sense" and is behind all so-called omens, "psychic feelings" and so forth."

Monday, October 20, 2008

Why So Afraid of Socialism?

The YouTube clip at the end of this post comes from Friday's edition of "Real Time" hosted by Bill Maher. His guests included Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, an Independent who describes himself as a democratic socialist. Glory be!! Another American politician to whom I can easily relate, and the only self-defined socialist in the US Senate. Along with the other two guests on Real Time this week, actor Ben Affleck, and multi-talented comedian Martin Short, conversation centered around socialism - the democratic type practiced in many European countries and Canada.

Socialism. The very word strikes fear in the hearts of too many Americans. However, if a politician is shrewd enough to call it Populism - then it sneaks in by the back door. Bernie Sanders is too straightford a character to mince his words in order to pander to his public.

Socialism. It's impossible to define it in a few words. Researching the internet on the subject only serves to confuse a simple mind like mine. In the smallest of nutshells, and slightly tongue-in-cheek, the "2 Cows Philosophy" defines it thus:

A SOCIALIST:
You have two cows. The government takes one and gives it to your neighbor.
A REPUBLICAN:
You have two cows. Your neighbor has none. So what?


Interestingly, the same list also defines:

A CHRISTIAN: You have two cows. You keep one and give one to your neighbor.

Compare "A Socialist" with "A Christian". It's odd, isn't it, that in a country so proud of its Christian values, socialism is derided and feared ?

Throughout the show on Friday evening Bernie Sanders' responses elicited enthusiastic cheers from the audience. Granted, it was a largely liberal audience, but the fact that a socialist's words were accepted by them so graciously was a baby step forward. In the United States socialism is more often than not equated with communism. It's a serious mistake which has been fed to the public by right-wing pundits.

A quick look at the natal chart of Bernie Sanders then. Perhaps he has the astrological patterning to make a brand of socialism palatable to Americans.

Is there some reflection of his political leanings here? Aquarius planets perhaps, or strong Uranus - both have connections with socialist thinking. Born 8 September 1941, New York NY. No birth time known, so this is a chart set for noon on his date of birth. Ascending sign and exact degree of Moon in Aries not shown.



Hmmmm....no Aquarius (unless it was the rising sign, which we can't know without a birth time). His Sun lay smack-dab in the middle of Virgo indicating a discerning and critical nature, one that can separate the wheat from the chaff with consummate ease.

Mercury (mental processes and communication) is found in an early degree of the more tactful and dipolimatic Libra, and trines Uranus at 00 Gemini - here's that socialist rebel mindset of his! And.... Saturn is conjunct Uranus, albeit in a very late degree of adjacent sign, Taurus. Saturn and Uranus are opposites in essence. Tradition versus the avant garde, the old versus the new, status quo versus change, capitalist versus socialist. Bernie Sanders has them well-blended in his personality blueprint! The signs the two planets occupy, Gemini and Taurus, could also be said to represent opposite ideas - free thinking, adaptable (Gemini) and the more traditional fixed mind-set (Taurus). He has an innate understanding of traditional values, but with a yearning to modernise and improve them to fit 21st century needs, and the unusual talent of being able to communicate on both levels. These characteristics have helped him to make his brand of socialism acceptable in Vermont, one of the first 13 states, steeped in tradition, yet willing to step into the 21st century with Senator Sanders.

The clip from Friday's edition of "Real Time"


Sunday, October 19, 2008

"Choose Something Like A Star"

Robert Frost's poem "Choose Something Like A Star" will probably appeal to poetry lovers like myself, who also love astrology. The poet asks the star,"Say something to us we can learn by heart....", it's a plea I might whisper myself when contemplating an astrological chart! I'm particularly fond of the last five lines of the poem.


O Star (the fairest one in sight),
We grant your loftiness the right
To some obscurity of cloud --
It will not do to say of night,
Since dark is what brings out your light.
Some mystery becomes the proud.
But to be wholly taciturn
In your reserve is not allowed.

Say something to us we can learn
By heart and when alone repeat.
Say something! And it says "I burn."
But say with what degree of heat.
Talk Fahrenheit, talk Centigrade.
Use language we can comprehend.
Tell us what elements you blend.

It gives us strangely little aid,
But does tell something in the end.
And steadfast as Keats' Eremite,
Not even stooping from its sphere,
It asks a little of us here.
It asks of us a certain height,
So when at times the mob is swayed
To carry praise or blame too far,
We may choose something like a star
To stay our minds on and be staid.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Superwomen # 3 (a different kind).

Continuing an earlier theme (from here and here): Superwomen come in many guises, they are/were not necessarily beacons to light the way for other women, or doers of heroic deeds, some did what they did simply in order to provide for their families. Occasionally this came about in ways not "nice" for a female, ways considered scandalous in the parlours of America's eastern states. Some women discovered they had skills normally reserved for the males of their time and put them to good use. Stepping out of the norm for one's era is, in my book, the basic factor in a superwoman blueprint. Here are two women who I consider earned the title.

These two ladies didn't comply with the norm for women of their times, but each in their own way overcame male domination, without the backing of feminist groups or public opinion. Their determination arose from an inner driving force. One had a cluster of planets in Aquarius, the other a cluster in Leo. One had a clever mind, quick enough to out-think her male opponents, the other a steady hand, a good eye, and a talent for show-biz.

1. ~~~~Poker Alice, a female gambling legend of old frontier days in America.

There's confusion about Alice's year of birth (1851 or 1853) and place of birth -England or Virginia USA, to Irish parents. From whichever side of the Atlantic she originated, it appears that Alice Ivers accompanied her family at some point in early life to Colorado where she later married a mining engineer, Frank Duffield, from whom she learned to play poker. She was an intelligent lass and soon got the hang of things, probably good looking enough to turn the heads of male poker players too! Frank was killed in a mining accident, and Alice took up a career on the poker and faro tables of the west. In New Mexico, she broke the bank at one of the saloons, and the dealer was forced to close the game. She became a local legend. Alice's winnings at the table are fabled to have reached as much as $6,000 in one night. Alice once claimed that she had won more than $250,000 gambling over the years and that she never once cheated. Both of these claims are probably true. Poker Alice didn't have to cheat. She knew how to count cards.

Alice re-married, had 7 children but was left a widow again in 1910, and she marrried yet again. Her third husband died after just three years of marriage. She went on to open a brothel, and during a skirmish there accidentally killed a man with a stray rifle shot. She was arrested but later released. Many arrests for drunkenness and keeping a disorderly house followed in subsequent years. Her days of glamour and success waned in later life. She died following a gall bladder operation on 27 February 1930.
Story in more detail


For a brief look at Alice's natal chart, to acertain position of planets in signs, the year of birth is more important than the exact place of birth. 1851 or 1853? Whichever date is correct the constant factors are Sun, Mercury, Mars and possibly Venus, all in Aquarius. Quirky, independent Aquarius is the key. How different Alice was from most of her contemporaries, what a rebel from the norm! What a novel way she found to use her quick, incisive Aquarian mind! There's no doubt at all that Alice "followed a different drummer".

After looking at various aspects in the different charts (more detail in my earlier post about her here) I'd bet that Poker Alice was born in Virginia 17 February 1853, and that she decided to spread tales of her English origins in an attempt to intrigue others at the poker tables. A bit of early PR work!
Photograph courtesy of South Dakota State Historical Society.

*** *** ***


2. ~~~Annie Oakley (real name Phoebe Ann Mosey )


Annie possessed a talent unusual in women of her era - sharpshooting. Using a .22 caliber rifle at 90 feet (27 m), she was said to be able split a playing card edge-on and put five or six more holes in it before it touched the ground.

Her skill propelled her to superstardom in the USA. She took part in touring Wild West shows, exhibitions and set many records, continuing into her 60s. She also engaged in extensive, albeit quiet, philanthropy for women's rights and other causes, including the support of specific young women that she knew. After her death, at age 66, it was discovered that her entire fortune had been spent on her family and her charities.




Born 13 August 1860 (time given by Astrotheme 12.01pm) in Willowdale, Ohio.
she had four personal planets in show-bizzy Leo, with Venus in Cancer opposing Mars in Capricorn. Venus opposing Mars symbolises feminine versus masculine - her femininity and diminutive size (just 5 ft tall) taking on what was then a very masculine occupation, via show business.

In a stage musical and movie based on Annie's story there's a song, directed at her male companion, appropriate for all superwomen, through the ages. The opening lines:

"Anything you can do, I can do better
I can do anything better than you.........."


Women everywhere, other than those of the super variety, have really only ever wanted the opportunity to compete on equal terms with their male counterparts. Some women might prove to be better in their chosen field, others might not - opportunity is all !

Here, Ruthie Henshall and John Barrowman sing the song:


Friday, October 17, 2008

What would Hicks and Carlin say?

Surveying the currently erratic economic scene and hurly-burly surrounding the rapidly approaching US presidential election, I'm wondering, "What would Bill Hicks say? What would George Carlin say?" They'd have plenty of fodder for their gags, that's for sure! I wonder also, "How can anybody ever fill their shoes?".

I wrote a little about Bill Hicks and his natal chart last year : "Anger with Humour".

Any fan of Bill's with a basic knowledge of astrology will appreciate the fact that his close cluster of 4 Sagittarius planets (Sun, Mercury, Mars and Venus) are an exact fit for his angry philosophising about politics and religion.

His following quote is probably something near to what he'd be telling us, once again. I often re-read this quote - it's almost poetry!


"The world is like a ride in an amusement park. And when you choose to go on it, you think it's real because that's how powerful our minds are. And the ride goes up and down and round and round. It has thrills and chills and it's very brightly coloured and it's very loud and it's fun, for a while. Some people have been on the ride for a long time and they begin to question, is this real, or is this just a ride? And other people have remembered, and they come back to us, they say, "Hey - don't worry, don't be afraid, ever, because, this is just a ride." And we kill those people."




And that other, sadly missed, comedian whose Gemini Moon with Mercury conjunct Uranus brough forth such ascerbic wit and wisdom - George Carlin - what would he be saying now? It would, quite possibly, be unrepeatable on a family blog! The following, all-purpose Carlin quote fits well enough though:

"When you’re born you get a ticket to the freak show. When you’re born in America, you get a front row seat."


Thursday, October 16, 2008

A Bowl of Astrology

A sudden dip in temperatures here in Oklahoma yesterday brought on a fancy for a nice steaming bowl of porage or porridge, or, as they call it here in the US, oatmeal. Synchronistically, before I'd even searched the kitchen for a packet of oatmeal I happened upon an article on the BBC News website reporting on the World Porridge Making Contest and its recent winners.

One line from the article tickled my astrology bone -
"They managed to source their own oats and all came up with very different quality of porridge. They were all varied, which is amazing considering they only have three ingredients of oats, water and salt. "


Three ingredients/elements - or, if one adds the necessary heat for cooking - four. Astrology has four elements/ingredients too: Earth, Water, Air and Fire. Porridge: Oats, Water Salt and Fire .....hmmmm!

The four astrological ingredients can combine to produce very different personalities, just as the mix and proportion of porridge ingredients produce different tastes, textures and flavours.

The porridge contest had a special section for judging more exotic porridge presentations. The winner of this section:

"Addy, a 38-year-old professional Dutch chef, made his special porridge with a mixture of marzipan and home-made ice cream with an 18-year-old Glenfiddich."


I tried to stop myself from dribbling onto the keyboard, as I pondered that combination! In astrology also, it's the addition of special ingredients to the basic mix which adds spice and interest to a personality. Neptune conjunct Sun emanating as a gifted artist or writer; or a Jupiter/Venus/Uranus stellium in Taurus - a feeling of overdoing the good stuff (as in the above special porridge recipe, perhaps ?) Combinations of ingredients, beyond the basics, are endless in both porridge-making and astrology.

Later, stirring my pan of oatmeal water and a pinch of salt, I pondered that astrology and porridge really do have much in common. Who'da thought it?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Steve Buscemi Scampers Through "Igor"



Steve Buscemi: a name I recognise as being that of an actor, but not one I know well. I suspect, not sure why, that he must be one of those "cool" actors - cultish, not exactly middle-of-the-road.






He sparked my interest when we saw the animated movie "Igor" this week. One of the main characters, a comical, cynical bunny called Scamper (right), is "voiced" by Steve Buscemi - he has all the best one-liners of the movie, and they're expertly delivered.




"Igor", by the way, is an animated movie likely to appeal more to adults than very small children. Subtle and not so subtle satirical nods to big box office animations, as well as horror movies are liberally scattered throughout. I also saw it as a comedic allegory: a country called Malaria, climate change, a ruler who aimed to keep his subjects under control through fear, a down-trodden working class, known as Igors....(remind you of anywhere?) No more detail for fear of spoiling it for future viewers. It's zany and funny, in a darkish kind of way, not in the same league as other recent animations but still enjoyable. Other characters' voices by John Cusack, John Cleese, Eddie Izzard and Jay Leno. (Trailer here).


Scanning Steve Buscemi's filmography, I noticed a few movies I recall having seen, but with no recollection of him. He must be one of those actors who disappears completely into the part he's playing. He also directs, by the way. I do, remember him as Luke in the 1989 TV mini-series "Lonesome Dove", which I've seen more times than I dare to count. He played a very unsavoury character, a genre that now seems to be his speciality - creepy, cynical individuals, unwelcome company in a back alley (or anywhere else) on a dark night. In view of this he seemed an odd choice to play Scamper, the funny bunny in "Igor". Not so odd though after I discovered that he started his on-stage career as a stand-up comedian, after four years working as a fireman.

Steve Buscemi was born 13 December 1957 in Brooklyn, New York. No time of birth known, chart below is for 12 noon, so ascendant and Moon position aren't accurate, though Moon would certainly have been in Virgo, whatever the time of birth.



Sun conjunct Saturn in Sagittarius, with Mars in Scorpio (its own sign) semi-sextiling Sun. This link between Sun, Saturn and Mars (in its purest form) reflects Steve's ability to play dark, creepy parts, adding heavy doses of cynicism with such ease. Saturn and Mars are traditionally thought of as "malefic" planets, and in this case probably at times dim somewhat the open and brightly jovial nature of his Sagittarius Sun. His Virgo Moon and Mercury in Capricorn indicate discernment, a serious mind and meticulous attention to detail, valuable assets for an actor who is also a director. Venus in Aquarius, opposed by Uranus in Leo reflects a lighter, more unconventional facet of his personality, and his comedic talent.
(Right: As Mr. Pink, in "Reservoir Dogs".
)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Help "from the other side"?

I sometimes wish that I'd experienced more elections in the USA. There's one politician in particular I'd like to have seen in action, and, if he had lived, perhaps running for the nation's highest office, President of the USA: Democratic Senator Paul Wellstone, who died in a plane crash in October 2002.



From an excellent article about Paul Wellstone by astrologer, Maya del Mar:
"Paul Wellstone, Man of the People". It starts:

"Senator Paul Wellstone’s plane crashed in northern Minnesota at 10:00 a.m. on October 25, killing him, his wife, their daughter, several campaign aides, and two pilots. He was there to attend the funeral of a co-worker, taking that time even in the midst of a hard-fought campaign. That’s how Paul Wellstone was; he really cared about people. Many saw him as their best friend."


Later in the article :
"Paul Wellstone was born on July 21, 1944 in Washington DC. His chart was dominated by Cancer Sun and Cancer planets, and Leo Moon and Leo planets. He was a quintessential Cancer-Leo, the man of the people, spreading sunshine to his audience. Someone said that the room lit up when he came into it. Leo likes its audience, and enjoys talking—witness Bill Clinton and Fidel Castro."


(In Wellstone's chart Sun and Saturn are in Cancer, Mars in Virgo and every other personal planet in Leo.)

And, poignantly:

"He died at this time of year when the veil is thinnest, and I feel him very close to the progressive movement, picking up on this crucial moment in time. Perhaps as its soul, he is more effective working on the other side."


Now, in 2008, comedian and Democrat, Al Franken is running for Paul Wellstone's old Senatorial seat in Minnesota, against present incumbent, Republican Norm Coleman. According to polls reported at Real Clear Politics HERE, Franken is leading in all but one poll.

Although I'm not sure I believe that people can "work from the other side", I do enjoy the idea that the late Paul Wellstone is indeed doing so this time around, when the country is most in need of his assistance, both locally and nationally.

From an article by Ezra Klein, written a year ago, to mark the fifth anniversary of Wellstone's death - "Remembering Paul Wellstone":

"Economic inequality, wage stagnation, and the health care crisis dominate the Democrats' domestic agenda, just as Wellstone always said they should. It's easier to be a liberal today, to be a progressive, to be proud. But there was a time when it wasn't. When liberalism in defense of peace was mocked, and moderation in service of imperialism was praised. In those days, it was hard to be a liberal. It must have been hard to be Paul Wellstone. He never showed it, though. He liked to quote Marcia Timmel. "I'm so small and the darkness is so great," she said. "We must light a candle," Wellstone would reply. He was ours. Would that he was here to enjoy the dawn. "


Indeed! Perhaps he is.

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Palin/Brooks Phenomenon


Whatever else she is (or isn't) Governor Sarah Plain is a phenomenon. She exploded onto the US scene, as if from nowhere, to take over headlines and media time for weeks, even during the worst financial crisis the country has seen since the Great Depression.



Is it significant that when Sarah Palin was born no less than five personal planets lay in one zodiac sign - Aquarius?



To my mind Palin's phenominal explosion into public perception compares to that of Garth Brooks, country music singer/songwriter, who experienced a similarly unexpected (Aquarius/Uranus) rise to fame on the popular and country music scene the 1990s. He became one of the two best-selling solo artists of the 20th century in the USA, Elvis being the other one. Brooks broke records for both sales and concert attendance throughout the 1990s. More at Wikipedia, here.
(Natal charts for both Sarah Palin and Garth Brooks at the end of this post).

In Garth Brooks' natal chart 6 personal planets lie in Aquarius.



Brooks did seem, like Palin, to come out of nowhere. I was an avid country music fan (living in the UK) at the time, and remember it all very well. Clint Black, another multi-Aquarian rose in the country music scene around the same time, but was somewhat overshadowed by the more showy and prolific Brooks.

I don't know whether this is coincidence or whether there is something special about having multiple personal planets in one sign, specifically in Aquarius. There were millions of other people born with large clusters of planets in Aquarius. All haven't been propelled to fame and/or notoriety, that much is obvious. But, what if those with the right talents find themselves at the right place and time, and with with the right people? Add the focus of a big cluster of planets in a zodiac sign related to humanity in general and the unexpected (as in Aquarius). The fairly unusual astrological line up might act as catalyst.

Maybe.

Possibly.

Perhaps.

GARTH BROOKS


SARAH PALIN


Sunday, October 12, 2008

Seasons and Signs

After reading a comment on yesterday's post, I scrambled through the archives looking for something I wrote a while ago which might prove relevant. The comment:
".......For some reason, all my children, and everyone I've had close relationships with (not including blood relatives) have, like me, had birthdays in the first half of the year.
Very strange."
(comment by Anthony North of Beyond the Blog.)


I failed to find what I was looking for, perhaps, after drafting it I had chickened out of posting. When putting thoughts into words, I may have been unable to rise beyond the realms of gobbledegook. It happens frequently!

This is an interesting subject to look into. A few ponderings of my own follow, and might still contain more than a hint of gobbledegook. Also, a video presentation by a "proper" astrologer, which could well be relevant to this topic.

The positions in the zodiac, and aspects between the seven planets closest to our own (Sun/Moon/Mercury/Venus/Mars/Jupiter/Saturn) are thought by astrologers to have reflection in our personality traits. These seven are known as our "personal planets", as against the "outer planets", Uranus, Neptune and Pluto which are thought to connect to generations, unless very closely linked to a personal planet, natally or in transit.


Quite often, at least six of the seven bodies (the Moon is excluded because of its faster motion) lie within one half of the zodiac circle. Mercury and Venus, for example are never further from the Sun than the space of two signs, often less than that. When personal planet emphasis is concentrated in around half of the signs of the zodiac, and especially if that half coincides with seasonal boundaries, personality traits in people born within that span could have more broad compatibility with each other than with people born in the other half of the zodiac.
I say "broad", because beyond a mix of personal planets in the same set of signs, there are other complications and considerations - rising signs and Moon position among them.

My own experience is similar to the commenter's. I do initially connect more easily with "winter/early spring types", my own personal planets range from Scorpio, through Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius & Pisces to Aries, Moon included. The experience is going to be more noticeable if one's natal Moon and/or rising sign fall into the same half of the zodiac as the personal planets.

There's a theory, discussed by astrologer Terence Guardino in his book "The Seasons of Astrology", which might link (loosely) to my own thoughts on the subject. He explains in this video:"

The Seasons of Astrology


I've often pondered that it would be possible to create a plausible, but much simpler, zodiac based on the broad concept of seasonal astrology, combined with some finer detail culled from tropical astrology. That zodiac would have fewer signs, and rely primarily on the four angles, ascendant/descendant & midheaven/nadir. But maybe that's just my Aquarius Sun trying to cause chaos!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Libra & Venus

Post removed by administrator

Friday, October 10, 2008

Shepard Smith of Fox News

Trying to limit keyboard and mouse time, in order to rest my frozen shoulder, I've been tuning in to a few late afternoon TV news programmes. I surprised myself by finding a news anchor I could tolerate, even enjoy, at of all places, Republican-leaning (leaning is really too restrained a description) Fox News. Newsman in question: Shepard ("Shep") Smith. Unlike some other Fox presenters he hasn't seemed overtly partisan, at least during the times I been watching. He's attractive, always a plus, and I find his voice has a rather addictive quality. But more than this, he seems like a genuinely nice and caring guy, with a ready sense of humour.

I've taken a look at his natal chart. No time of birth available so a 12 noon version has to suffice. This won't show an accurate rising sign or exact Moon position, but planets in signs will be accurate.



Aha! Three planets in Capricorn : Sun, Mercury and Moon (though Moon degree uncertain), and three in Aquarius : Mars, Saturn and Venus. That takes care of most personal planets, apart from Jupiter, and it lies at 12 Aries (same degree as my own Saturn - maybe that's why I've taken a liking to his style.) His basic nature then is a mix of Capricorn and Aquarius, signs traditionally ruled by Saturn, but in modern astrology Uranus has taken over rulership of Aquarius. He's what I call a Saturn Hybrid (see here). He has all the seriously conservative down to earth attitude of Capricorn, blended with Aquarius's modern outlook and a dash of quirkiness, a good blend in a newsman. It'd be really interesting to know his rising sign. I'd guess either Taurus or Libra rising (both ruled by Venus. Shepard Smith has those wide-apart eyes and attractive features often found in Venus people. He doesn't have the angular cragginess associated with Capricorn, so his looks don't come from his Sun sign.

When reporting serious or sad news items Shepard Smith's voice takes on a soft compassionate tone, calming and reassuring. It was this which first caught my attention, I think it was as he was reporting on people who refused to leave Galveston before Hurricane Ike hit. Chiron(The Wounded Healer) in compassionate Pisces opposing Uranus and Pluto in critical Virgo might have something to do with this facet of his nature.

Mercury (communications planet) in Capricorn trines Uranus and Pluto in Virgo, and squares Jupiter in Aries. More reflection of a serious and critical side often obvious when he interviews guests who continually prevaricate, but which is at times challenged by his unexpected ability to see and express the funny side of certain news stories.

I'd like to see Mr.Smith moderating a presidential debate - my wish is shared by Bob Sassone at TV Squad, who says:

"Shepard Smith (FOX News). Here's another guy who often asks the questions that viewers want answered, and asks them in the (way) we would ask them too. I also have the feeling that although he would be professional about the debate, he'd be funny and snarky too."

It's too late now to see Mr Smith hosting a debate this year, perhaps by 2012 they'll need some new faces to replace the elders we've seen doing the job this time around.

Here's Shepard Smith telling about one of his e-mail correspondents: