Sunday, May 31, 2009

"Tackling" Astrology?

I'd decided not to post today - then I stumbled upon this.

"What is the best way of tackling astrology", on the Richard Wiseman blog. I arrived there quite by accident.

Why on earth should anyone have to "tackle" astrology? Astronomers and science-oriented skeptics have such arrogance!

A very brief extract from a BBC Radio 5 interview has been embedded on the blog. This doesn't give a very good impression of the astrologer's viewpoint, however. Wiseman keeps badgering her to say which astrological study she relies on to uphold her views. I reckon she should have responded that there has yet been no proper all-encompassing study of the subject in a way that computer technology would now afford. It's a pity that those who are so keen to deride astrology don't put their energy into conducting a wide study of the subject, in cooperation with those who understand it fully and using all available technology.

I haven't heard the whole interview, but the comments on this blog attracted, then repelled me.

The blogger, of course, is singing to a choir of lemming-like commenters. There is one comment from a Richard King (5.27pm on 28 May 2009)which warmed my rapidly freezing heart.

A brief extract
I was not wildly impressed with either side in the interview. Anything other than a dialogue with at least a degree of understanding and mutual respect for alternative views and ways seems rather pointless.
What is the best way of tackling astrology? That depends what is meant by tackling. If it is understanding and investigating, including “scientifically”, then discuss it with people who understand the subject. Similarly, any astrologers who wish to engage with science should discuss the matter with people who understand science.
The problem is that there are, obviously(?), huge differences in levels of understanding and capability on both sides

And from his closing paragraphs, a view which is very close to my own:
On the basis of my knowledge and experience, there is less to astrology than some proponents claim and more than mainstream science claims; though the general tenet of it fits with some rather high level science.

Thank you Mr. King!

Saturday, May 30, 2009


Brian May, Roger Taylor and their band, Queen, were in entertainment news headlines following an appearance in the American Idol finale show, when they backed the two finalists, Kris Allen and Adam Lambert on "We Are The Champions".

Brian May, Wikipedia tells us, is a musician and astrophysicist - two words you don't often see in the same sentence! He's entitled to add Ph.D and CBE after his name. (CBE = Commander of the Order of the British Empire - for "services to the music industry" - an honor bestowed on him by Queen Elizabeth II in 2005.)

As an astrophysicist, I seriously doubt that May would have anything good to say about astrology. Never mind!

Adam Lambert has been likened to Freddie Mercury by viewers old enough to remember the lead singer and his soaring voice from Queen's heyday. The unexpected appearance of Brian May and Roger Taylor with Queen on American Idol triggered the rumor mill to start its grinding......"has Adam been offered a job with them?"

Rolling Stone carried an article, it now seems to be missing from their website, but from which several other sites still carry this extract, from an interview with Brian May:

After Adam Lambert's killer performance with QUEEN on Wednesday night's season finale of "American Idol", rumors flew that he had already been offered a job singing with the band. That's slightly premature, according to the band's guitarist, Brian May. “Amongst all that furor, there wasn't really a quiet moment to talk," May tells Rolling Stone in an e-mail interview. "But [drummer Roger Taylor] and I are definitely hoping to have a meaningful conversation with him at some point. It's not like we, as QUEEN, would rush into coalescing with another singer just like that. It isn't that easy. But I'd certainly like to work with Adam. That is one amazing instrument he has there."

Whether or not any collaboration of Adam and Queen comes to pass, it's an interesting exercise to look at the charts of Brian May, Roger Taylor and Adam Lambert, to see whether there are any helpful links indicating likelihood of compatibility on a professional level.

There is still some doubt about Adam's time of birth. He confirmed his place of birth in interview on a TV show this week. He was born in Indianapolis, not San Diego (where he grew up) or Los Angeles (where he lives now). So my earlier charts for Adam are a wee bit skewed, though not as far as they present planets in signs - those remain the same. There's also the matter of relocation to consider. He said that he grew up in San Diego, and has lived in California ever since. What's involved with time of birth and relocation are houses and angles only - not planets in signs.

Adam has said on his Face Book page that he has Libra rising. I'm going with that for the moment, and using an estimated degree. What we don't know is whether he had a reliable source for this information. He's a bright guy, said to be interested in astrology himself - I have confidence that he will have checked it out. This, then, is his natal chart, updated with the information so far available. I'm doubtful about him having Cancer at midheaven though. My relocation tool uses equal houses; I can't manipulate a time of birth with Gemini at midheaven as well as Libra rising - though that would seem to be an ideal combination. No doubt all will become clear in time. Any extra information from readers will be gratefully welcomed !

Brian May was born in Hampton. London, UK on 19 July 1947 (no time known, 12noon used below).

Roger Taylor was born 26 July 1949 in Dersingham, Norfolk, UK (no time known -12 noon used below).

Here are a few astrological connections:
Adam's Sun and Mercury in Aquarius are in scratchy quincunx aspect to Brian's Mercury/Venus in Cancer, and oppose his Moon/Saturn/Pluto in Leo. But Adam's Moon in Aries trines Brian's Leo planets - so I'd say that the two have a good chance of understanding one another on some levels while there are some differences of approach and attitude on others. If Adam's midheaven is, indeed, in Cancer, this would be another "plus", linking to Brian's natal Cancer planets.

Both Brian and Adam have Jupiter in Scorpio - both passionate and determined, often to excess.

Brian's Sun in Cancer opposes Adam's Venus in Capricorn - underlining, again, certain differences in their approach.

Roger Taylor's Jupiter in Capricorn is conjunct Adam's Venus at the same degree - a nice link there.

Adam's Aries Moon is in trine with Roger's Leo Sun - another good link.

Further than this I will not venture. From the remarks of both Adam and Brian May, it appears likely that at least one or two collaborations might figure in future plans. While I doubt that the guys would ever be bosom buddies, their natal Moons and/or Suns do lie in harmonious trine, so there'll be enough understanding to overcome any differences reflected by planetary oppositions - which, in any case could provide some useful dynamic energy.

Thinking about Brian May, one memory springs immediately to mind: his rendition of Britain's National amthem, "God Save the Queen" played on the ramparts of Buckingham Palace on the occasion of Queen Elizabeth II's Golden Jubilee (50 years reign) in 2002 - here it is:

Friday, May 29, 2009

VIGGO MORTENSEN ~ Arty Farty Friday's Celebrity Artist

Viggo Mortensen. I knew the face, but for some reason hadn't linked it with the name. I had a vague idea at the back of my mind that the name belonged to a soccer player, back in the UK.

Viggo Mortensen has appeared in dozens of movies, some of the best known: Lord of the Rings, Hidalgo, Appaloosa, Carlito's Way - full list here

Research easily unearthed a slew of fansites for this movie actor, whose creativity spills over into painting, photography, poetry and music. Asked, as part of a TIME magazine article, which of these artistic pursuits was his favorite, he replied

"I don't really separate them. To be an artist, you don't have to compose music or paint or be in the movies or write books. It's just a way of living. It has to do with paying attention, remembering, filtering what you see and answering back, participating in life."

I was pleased to discover that Viggo supported Dennis Kucinich in the US primaries of 2008. Would that more liberals had lent Kucinich their support! I'll never, ever understand why they didn't. But that's another story.

Viggo Mortensen's natal chart could offer some clues as to the source of his prodigious artistry. Born in Manhattan, New York on 20 October 1958 (Wikipedia says 1952, but that seems to be a lone voice, Astrodatabank states 1958, but no time of day.) This chart is set for 1958 and 12 noon.

Libra is ruled by Venus, planet of the arts, and here Venus is comfortably at home in Libra, along with Viggo's natal Sun. Personality-wise, he's likely to be both charmer and diplomat. Venus is also conjunct North node of the Moon - an ultra senstive point in a natal chart, which I believe further emphasises the influence of planets close to it. His artistic Venus is in very good shape!

Nextdoor, in passionate, insightful Scorpio is a stellium (trio of planets very close together) Neptune (planet of imagination, dreams); Mercury (planet of communication); and Jupiter, benign planet which rules, among other things, publication and excess.

This 2-sign bunching of planets, I think, is the main source of his multi-faceted artistry, in addition Saturn at 21 Sagittarius is in exact trine (harmonious) to Venus at 21 Libra. Saturn represents hard work and discipline, and here is allied to the arts.

His natal Moon will be somewhere between 3 and 15 Aquarius (we can't know the exact position without a time of birth). This, I suspect, is the source of his leftward political leanings, and more likely than not Moon will be opposing Uranus (ruler of Aquarius) in Leo, symbolic of a keyed up nervous system - a restless soul. Could this, perhaps be his driver?

I'm posting a few examples of his work, along with some links to the best sites I've found where Viggo's art, photography, poetry, and his career in general can be explored.



SELF PORTRAIT April 99-02.



This one is excellent! ~

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Embarrassment of Riches

That's what I have this week - an embarrassment of riches! Wisewebwoman has given me
an International Reach-Out Award, and astrologer Julie Demboski has given me a Lemonade Award.

It's always with sincere pleasure that I receive these - I look on them, as much as anything, as in real life receiving a hug or a wink from a friend - a sort of "Keep on truckin' - you're doing great, mate!" I'm a bit vain, but not vain enough to think for one minute that I fill the requirements laid down for either of these awards, or for any of those in my sidebar. When I look at them though, I do get a nice warm feeling.

With that thought in mind, I hope others, who maybe don't much care for blog awards as a rule, will accept these from me in the same spirit - a hug or a wink. No obligation implied - all simply offered with sincere admiration.

Because there are two to deal with, to avoid this post dragging down-page for yards, I'm going to link to other sites where the blogger, with Virgo-like dedication has laid out the requirements etc. in full. I'm not at all Virgo-like.

The International Reach Out Award (Bloggers Building Bridges) is detailed in a blog called An Aerial Armadillo.
As Wisewebwoman puts it, in a nutshell: bloggers who reach out across boundaries with their sparkling honesty and truth.

For the International Reach Out Award~~

Crow's Feet, where blogger Michelle has close links with South Africa.

Astrotabletalk Dhamaruci links the UK and USA in his erudite assessments of politics and general topics.

And two astrologers who have that universal appeal with no boundaries:

A Day in an Astrologer's Life (Jacqueline Bigar)

Julie Demboski's Astrology(PS: this award isn't a tit-for-tat, Julie, I'd already decided before I saw that award you left for me!)

The Lemonade Award
for bloggers who show a positive attitude, gratitude, and a willingness to share their ideas, support and online friendship. In other words, people who can make lemonade if they get lemons. The award is described in full at Nadine Fawell's blog.

Rules state that I should nominate at least 7 blogs for this award, but because I have to deal with two separate awards today, I'm cutting myself some slack and doing 4 for each award. Roolz are made to be broken!

The Lemonade Award to the following, who all easily fit the above description - and then some! ~~~

Elsa Elsa
Robert Phoenix
Sign in Ink

PS My attempts to leave a note about this for Jared at Sign in Ink keep being aborted - don't know why. Would any kind blogger who can get in let him know please? Thanks.

In addition, I'm going to give honorary awards (avoiding nepotism) to my husband in both categories, International Reach Out, and Lemonade for Lost Gallery and Thinks Happen.
He is truly eligible for both awards, for aside from the work and skill he puts into his blogs (especially Lost Gallery) he reached across the boundary of the Atlantic and caught yours truly - - following on from which, he proceeded to make lemonade out of lemony ol' me ;-) So there ya go, Anyjazz!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The First Vanderbilt Tycoon - Good, Bad or Ugly?

Today, 27 May, was the birthday of one of the USA's first "robber barons", Cornelius Vanderbilt. Was he a figure to be admired for his rise from ill-educated obscurity to one of the richest men in the USA ? Or should we, on closer inspection, despise him for his money-grabbing, power-hungry attitudes? His example is probably what spawned the kind of corporate mess into which the USA has currently degenerated, and dragged the rest of the world's economy with it.

Cornelius Vanderbilt built his fortune with a loan of $100 from his mother. He began his illustrious career buying a barge, finished it, via ferries, steamboats and railways, as transportation magnate. He has been called America's "first tycoon", and nicknamed "The Commodore".

From an article about his life (here)

"The contrast between heroism and meanness is constantly baffling in the study of his long career. The man who was willing to kindle a small civil war in Nicaragua against such unprincipled adventurers as the shippers Cornelius Garrison and Charles Morgan and the wild Central American political fanatic William Walker; the man who, after age 70, had the foresight and energy to alter his main interest from steamships to railroads, build the empire of the New York Central lines, and put together the largest fortune in the world; the man who could bust a corrupt city council and a vicious state legislature by his genius at cornering stock, was also the man who knew better than any other how to buy judges and lawmakers and how to shove off on the public the cheapest and tawdriest services to enhance his profits."
"Yet to many in his era — long before the FTC, SEC, OSHA, and myriad other regulating bodies helped make business as it was commonly conducted on the Zeitgeist of the Commodore unthinkable today — Cornelius Vanderbilt, warts and all, was a hero....."

Vanderbilt dabbled in the occult. He consulted mediums.
"Like millions of Americans of his time, the Commodore was a believer in occult practices and enlisted the help of mediums to contact departed family members. Following his wife Sophia's death in 1868, according to Stasz, Cornelius became involved with the Chaflin sisters, two mediums who claimed to be able to materialize ectoplasm. Victoria was said to have been clairvoyant from the age of three; Tennessee, the younger, had once been billed as "the Wonder Child" in a traveling medicine show.
"Tennessee, with her petite, overripe plumpness...tempted men with her flamboyant gaiety and proclivity to stand very close to them during a conversation, closer than a lady should," wrote Stasz. "Adding to that forwardness were her quick hands, which would emphasize a phrase by patting or caressing a gentleman with most pleasing results."

Born 27 May 1794 in Staten Island, New York, at (accoridng to Astrotheme) 10am. I'm using this birth time, but have no great confidence in its validity - it seems rather convenient, and is probably arrived at by rectification, but it'll suffice as an illustration.

Sun and Venus in Gemini, Mercury conjunct Saturn and Moon in Taurus. This cluster tells a good proportion of Vanderbilt's story! Gemini - place of his Sun (self), rules transportation, and, being an Air sign links to mental acuity - both of which are reflected in this tale of a tycoon. Mercury, ruler of Gemini, also links to transportation, and located in Taurus connects to possessions. Mercury is conjunct Saturn (work, business & engineering) as well as to the Moon, the inner life of this man. It's all there!

If this time of birth is to be believed, Leo was rising as Vanderbilt was born - Leo, the sign of the leader, it would put the Sun and three Taruus planets in 10th house of career and public image.

What about his interest in the occult though? Where's that? Perhaps in the sextile (harmonious link) between Neptune and Jupiter at 1 Scorpio and 1 Capricorn? Scorpio and Neptune have links to the occult, Jupiter's ancient ruler was Neptune.

There's more to the story of his association with mediums than meets the eye though.

Victoria Woodhull and her younger sister, Tennie C., on the other hand, had found a way to acquire accurate and very valuable information. Working as part-time prostitutes and spiritualists in New York City, they befriended actresses and other sex workers. (New York had an estimated 20,000 sex workers and 600 brothels). These women relayed back to the sisters insider information about business deals of their influential clients. The sisters were very experienced in blackmailing their "respectible" clients. They had grown up in a family of con artists and quack medical healers. Their father Buck Clafin had incested Tennie C. and beat her into accepting her role as a prostitute to support the Clafin family. Victoria escaped her family through marriage: first to a drunk physician and later to Colonel Blood, a demoralized war veteran.

Tennie C. eventually leaves the Clafin gang, and she joins Victoria, the Colonel, and their children in New York. Shortly after arriving, the sisters made a bee-line over to the mansion of Cornelius Vanderbilt. Vanderbilt was a former ferry boat captain who cleverly amassed a fortune in shipping and later railroads. He was also a rapacious, old skinflint, who put his wife in an insane asylum while he sexually harassed every parlor maid and governess in his employ.
Tennie C. virtually moved into Vanderbilt's residence, and she started treating his enlarged prostate condition with . . . "magnetic healing." (Here)

Good, bad or ugly? With hindsight it all looks pretty ugly. But for ordinary people living in the USA back then, Vanderbilt's transportation industry provided what was badly needed. Perhaps we shouldn't be too hard on him.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

RUSSELL CROWE & RIDLEY SCOTT, fiery collaborators.

After I posted about the association of Tom Hanks and Ron Howard (here), commenter Laura was kind enough to suggest I look at some other combinations of actor/director. So, actor Russell Crowe and director Ridley Scott now come under scrutiny. These two have collaborated in movies such as "Gladiator", "A Good Year", "Body of Lies", "American Gangster", and one reportedly due for release next year, "Nottingham" - a re-working of the Robin Hood legend.

Russell Crowe was born on 7 April 1964 in New Zealand (Astrodatabank says in Strathmore Park, Wikipedia says Wellington - my software doesn't offer Strathmore Park, so I used Wellington). Nobody offers a birth time, so the chart illustrated is set for 12 noon. Crowe's Moon will be somewhere between 1 and 13 Aquarius, depending on time of birth.

Ridley Scott was born on 30 November 1937 in South Shields, UK - again, no time of birth, but his Moon will be in Scorpio, between 5 and 17 degrees.

The two men have natal Suns in Fire signs (Aries and Sagittarius). The Sun's element is often a reliable yardstick for general compatibility. Tom Hanks and Ron Howard shared softer, Watery Suns; Crowe and Scott are a Fiery pair.

Both charts are quite well balanced, with no one element or quality strongly dominating or completely absent. Crowe's Mars, Sun and Jupiter all in impetuous, occasionally aggressive Aries, manifest in his reported temperamental outbursts, pounced on with glee by gossip writers. Scott's natal philosophical, generally good-humored Sagittarius Sun, strong in its conjunction with North node of Moon, along with Mercury, form a worthy counter to Crowe's impulsive moods.

Their natal Moons are not in harmonious signs. Crowe's in cool, Airy Aquarius and Scott's in passionate Watery Scorpio: both fixed and stubborn signs, square to each other in the zodiac, challenging. Who would be likely to emerge better from a disagreement between these two? I'd bank on Ridley Scott, whose more mature, philosophical Sagittarian input allied with passionate and determined Scorpio Moon, would likely beat impetuous Aries/Aquarius to the (metaphorical) punch, but only after some interesting jabs had taken place.

More important than their occasional upsets is their understanding and appreciation of each other's style.

Ridley Scott says he likes to "move fast" - Crowe's Aries bits will love that. Aries is impatience personified!

"He'll complain about things always for the right reasons, which are always the script; he doesn't have a problem with my process. He loves the fact that I move really fast and know exactly what I'm going to do."
Scott claims that, as a director, he can walk into a room without having prepared and still know "exactly what to do within four minutes". He says, "I can just go, 'Okay, I know I can do that'. And they seem to buy it. With someone like Russell, he's the best, so he doesn't want more than that."
(See here)

Scott's Mars at 13 Aquarius and Crowe's Moon somewhere between 1 and 13 Aquarius could well be near conjunction - we cannot be sure without accurate time of birth. Both have this spot of Aquarius in their natures, which will add to their ability to understand one another.

They are from different generations, but Virgo features in both charts generationally via the slow-moving, outer planets: Neptune in Virgo for Scott, Uranus/Pluto in Virgo for Crowe. There's a streak of Virgo perfectionism running through both men.

Ridley, has Russell mellowed at all since Gladiator?
SCOTT Not really. He's still feisty —
CROWE [Cutting in] When the situation demands it.
SCOTT Russell expects people to be ready, and I expect people to be ready, and if they're not, they sometimes get an ear-bashing.
CROWE The other half of that story is that I have to work out the moods and needs of the guy I'm working for as well. In any creative relationship, that's valid. And if you're a creative person, most of the time it's effortless. We both have on certain days a take-no-prisoners approach when we really believe in something. But that's f---ing valid, and I respond to Ridley's passion, and Ridley responds to mine. We're really lucky.
(See here)

Monday, May 25, 2009

COOL ~ Part 2

Back on 5 and 6 May I was considering coolness. Didn't come to any world-shattering conclusion on the matter, but came up with the questionable theory that those zodiac signs most likely not to give a hoot about opinions of others are most likely to add a soupcon of cool to one's natal chart: Aries, Scorpio, Virgo, Capricorn. I emphasise that these are not Sun signs - just zodiac signs, and part of any and all natal charts. It's when they are highlighted that the cool may seep through.

That's my story, and I'm stickin' to it.

Dean Sluyter offers his opinions on the topic of cool in an article at Huffington Post: "It's Official - Nobody's Cool". He reasons that because it is now revealed that Jack Kerouac, previously thought to be the embodiment of cool, was obsessed with fantasy baseball, he must be stripped of that legendary aura.

"Mr. Cool, the guy who started it all, was a geek. And if Kerouac's not cool, nobody's cool. What a relief! We can just relax and be ourselves. (That would be ... cool?)

Of course, Kerouac didn't really start it all. He got the cool thing from jazz musicians, hanging around the 52nd Street nightclubs during his brief stint as a benched football player at Columbia, transforming the laid-back-even-when-frantic rhythm of bebop -- the beat -- into Beat Generation prose, writing lovely poetic tributes to Charlie Parker's Buddha-eyes.

If anyone started it, it was Prez, Lester Young, half a generation before Parker. Somehow lightening and purifying the gutbucket sound of the tenor sax till it sang like an alto, Prez used that cooled-out voice to slice through the overheated busyness of early jazz, unhurriedly hanging behind the beat or somehow mysteriously hovering above it, in an ever-cool, rarefied realm not touchable by the mundane world of 4/4. And just incidentally, Prez appears to have been the first person to wear sunglasses as a cool fashion statement; he may even have coined the word "cool" as a term of approval."

(Butting in here with an strological note: Lester Young (27 August 1909) had Sun/Mercury/Jupiter in Virgo; Moon/Uranus in Capricorn. I rest my case, as stated above. (It was gettin' heavy!)

Interesting word, actually. In physics, that which is cool is that which exhibits less random molecular activity -- that which is more settled. Maybe real cool, the essence of cool, is inner cool, settled awareness, buddha mind, the nirvanic state.

In that case, we can amend our statement. Nobody's cool but those who have stopped shaking and stirring this jar of muddy water called the mind long enough so that the mud can settle and the water's natural clarity can shine forth. ....................."

My husband (avid jazz fan) agrees that the idea of coolness, in the sense I'm writing about, must have originated in music. Early jazz was thought to be "hot" ("The Hot Club of France" for instance). Then along came some now legendary musicians with a new, less frantic, cooler, very confdient style, and lowered the temperature.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Wearing the Colors

We've had a new visitor to our backyard bird feeders during the last few weeks - a Painted Bunting.

We'd spotted one only once before, 3 years ago after a storm - he'd probably been blown of course on the wind. This one, though, must have set up camp somewhere nearby because he's been visiting us several times a day.

Isn't he gorgeous?

A thought came to me as I watched him yesterday: wouldn't it be fun if we humans carried our astrological color patterns, for all to see, as the Painted Bunting carries his colors? That'd make life even more interesting. There'd be university courses and a gazillion books, teaching students how to recognise the various astrological strands and patterns in our colors.

A bit of trivia - The Painting Bunting's Latin name, used by ornithologists, is Passerina Ciris. The Greek myth of Scylla who turned into the bird keiris, inspired the name Ciris.

The Scylla referred to isn't the mythological female sea monster of the same name, but the daughter of Nīsus, king of Megara, which was besieged by Minos of Crete. Nisus was inviolable and the city safe as long as a red or purple lock among his white hair remained intact. Scylla cut it off and thus killed him in order to deliver the city to the besiegers, either out of love for Minos or because she had been bribed. Minos was horrified at the deed and drowned her (or she drowned herself). Nisus was turned into an osprey and Scylla into a sea-bird (ciris), ever pursued with hatred by her father. (See here)

(Photograph taken by my husband).

Saturday, May 23, 2009


Symbolism seems to be following me around just now, I'm coming across mentions of it every whichway I turn. Synchronicity is at work!

Yesterday, an article by John Hammelton, "The Power of the Symbol" appeared in Astro Dispatch. This dealt with symbolism in astrology.

On Thursday evening we saw the movie "Angels & Demons" in which Tom Hanks plays symbologist Robert Langdon. The movie's theme dealt with ancient religious symbology.

A comment made in an American Idol blog (mjsbigblog) by the writer of another blog: "The Fat Lady Sings" dealt with cultural symbology. I realise that not everyone was as invested in American Idol as I and many others in the USA, but the point made by this writer is significant, whether you watched American Idol or not. The comment impressed me so much, I'm copying it in full, below.

In a strange way the cultural symbolism The Fat Lady Sings talks about links both the astrological and religious symbology, to which my attention was recently drawn.

The comment, copied here, written by The Fat Lady sings:

"After a great deal of thought on the subject - there’s something I’d really like to say about what the symbolism of an Adam (Lambert) win would have been. Symbols bear great societal importance. We rely on them as a species to convey connectivity; how we think and feel. Words become unnecessary. Communication with a glance. We are visual creatures after all. Adam represented the outré – society’s margins – a place he’d occupied most of his young life. He was the fat kid in school – into the arts. Oddball, unusual – definitely not mainstream. He was castigated for it – as all who march to that different drummer often are. Just watch his graduation video. There he is – that incredible voice soaring to heaven – and when the camera pans across the stage or into the audience – you see his classmates talking behind their hands, pointing and snickering. Adam was a joke.

So here he is, 10 years later – a fabulous creature of his own design. That glorious voice honed to perfection. He was ready. But America was still in high school, still snickering behind their hands. Elect the gay kid class president? Not on your life! But more than that – more than rejecting someone so beautiful he made your heart ache – underlying the rejection was a truck load of fear. Why? Because Adam was a symbol; a great rainbow flag announcing America had changed. If Adam Lambert had won American Idol in spite of being gay and Jewish – then others who existed on society’s margins might try and step forward into the light as well. And we’d be forced to reckon with them – to take them seriously. That’s why this was important – why it went beyond one supremely talented performer. Adam Lambert would have won for all the disenfranchised. There’s your symbol. America’s first openly gay Idol.

And Adam’s win would have been a legitimate one – not manufactured as some kind of comfit or an appeasement to silence loud voices. The man’s madly talented – a true superstar. Now I’m not saying Kris Allen isn’t talented, or that under other circumstances (such as an Adamless Idol) wouldn’t deserve the win. He is; truly - he just doesn’t compare to Adam. No one on that stage did. Adam was and is in a class by himself. So his not winning (despite all that talent), points to other things – especially when you look at all the fear-driven hysteria of the last few days. I’m not saying Bill O’Reilly’s hit piece was solely responsible; but when you couple it with all the other anti-gay, heavily political folderol that accompanied it – a pattern emerges. I live in the south. In my area - some local DJ’s exhorted listeners to not vote for the gay guy. Seriously. They didn’t even mention Kris by name – just hated on Adam. Ever since his ‘Ring of Fire’ performance – Adam has been regularly dissed on local radio. From what I’ve heard – a few local churches spoke out against him as well. Danny Gokey’s pastor wasn’t the only preacher to bring religion into the mix. As many people voted against Adam as for Kris.

So Adam’s loss is devastating for a multiplicity of reasons. He really deserved that win. Not just for his fans – but because it would have stood for something. In a way - Adam represented anyone who felt disenfranchised. That’s added an extra layer of unhappiness over the whole thing. He lost for reasons other than singing. I cannot tell you how sad that makes me feel. And please understand I am not intending to diminish Kris in any way. As I said before - any other year his talent would have been formidable. But Adam’s special. He really is all that and a bag of chips. Why did other issues have to contaminate the voting? Such a pity……"

The astrological significance here, I see as coming from the USA's natal Sun in Cancer (born on 4 July). The zodiac sign of Cancer symbolises nurturing, homely, motherly instincts - all apple pie and sentimental cuddles. Is it surprising that the majority of those people in the USA who enjoy American Idol would prefer a singer who offers Kris Allen's safe, sentimental, non-controversial kind of music? Or that of 3rd runner-up Danny Gokey in similar vein?(I suspect that Danny's former voters flocked to Kris at the final). This strongly Cancerian symbolism is part of the homeland, part of the environment. Kris has Sun in Cancer and Danny has Sun in Taurus, so it follows that both are much more nearly in tune with US symbolism than Adam, his Aquarius Sun, and left-field but mesmerising style. Aquarius in the zodiacal circle is quincunx Cancer, symbolically that is a scratchy, irritable aspect - exactly the effect Adam seems to have had on a sizeable proportion of US voters.

So there is astrological symbolism here. Religious symbolism in this context could be seen as relating to the conservative religious-right's anti-Adam attitudes which could also have featured in Tuesday night's voting.

Adam Lambert will find more universal acceptance outside of the USA, away from its pervading Cancerian atmosphere - in other words he'll be an international star. Recalling my own words from a post dated 31 March 2009:
"Whether he'll be 2009's American Idol, I will not guess. I will guess, though, that Adam Lambert will be a familiar name by the time Uranus enters Aries, and transits near his natal Moon in around 2 to 3 years'time."
I'd now amend "familiar" to "internationally famous", and make that a prediction.

Many thanks to The Fat Lady Sings blog for the use of your eloquent comment.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Arty Farty Friday ~ Celebrity Art


In the past, I've twice started to write about William S. Burroughs, but abandoned the task because I found him uninspiring. It's hard to devote time and effort to an uninspiring subject. This, my third try, may or may not amount to something! Burroughs was one of three writers from what's become known as The Beat Generation, Jack Kerouac and Alan Ginsberg were others of this ilk.

It might help to start with his natal chart.

Born 5 February 1914 in St. Louis, Missouri at 7.40am (Astrodatabank)

Wowee!! 5 planets and ascendant in Aquarius (including Aquarius' ruler, Uranus); 3 planets in Gemini, two in Cancer. So much Air (Aquarius and Gemini) cannot be good for a body - or a mind! Here's another instance of "too much of a good thing". I've seen it before, but never quite as extreme an example as this. Too much Air blows away anything of substance, literally and metaphorically.

This guy had potential to spare, yet he squandered it. It seems to me almost as though he was born drugged and drunk - from the overdose of Air in his chart. Oh, the literary elite coo over his books with exaggerated praise. Does the average reader, though, see anything praiseworthy, or just a case of the emperor and his new clothes?

From Astrodatabank (linked above)
"Searching for identity, Burroughs moved to New York when he was in his early 30’s, where he joined the city’s gangster underworld. Buying stolen goods and drugs, he intentionally became a heroin addict in the early ’40s after initially experimenting with morphine. In 1943, he met Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg, two writers who later became principal figures in the "Beat" movement. The three became close friends, and Kerouac once described Burroughs as "tall, 6' 1", strange, inscrutable because ordinary looking, like a shy bank clerk with a patrician thin-lipped cold blue-lipped face." They were impressed by his obvious intelligence and worldly cynicism, and were interested in his underworld experimentation.

A strong emphasis on personal freedom is evident in his life and his writing, and he moved to East Texas, joined by Herbert Huncke and Joan Vollmer Adams, where he became a farmer, growing oranges, cotton and marijuana. The threesome lived in squalor on the farm, addled by the drugs they took. Burroughs’ life during that period was later used as fodder for Kerouac’s book "On the Road." "

William S. Burroughs is best known for his very avant garde, nay, peculiar novels, such as "Naked Lunch". That, by the way, was the last major book to be the subject of prosecution for obscenity in the United States.

Bearing in mind his writing style, it comes as no surprise to find that his art is similarly abstract and fairly unintelligible to the average looker on.





He spent his later years in Kansas and there developed a strange painting technique, creating abstract compositions by placing spray paint cans in front of, and some distance from, blank canvasses, and then shooting at the paint cans with a shot gun. Some of these creations were shown in a New York City gallery in the early 1990s.
From an interview HERE
Burroughs: When I am painting, I see with my hands. When you write, you can’t help but see what is right in front of you. This is not true with painting — your hands do all sorts of things. For example, I read a book called Bad Medicine by C.Q. Yarbro, and in it someone had overdosed on anticoagulants, so that blood was coming out of his nose, through his skin, everywhere. And the drug was disguised in orange juice, because it had an acidic taste. Well, in one of my paintings, you can see the guy drinking the orange juice, which is odd because I wasn’t necessarily thinking about that at the time. In other words, what I am doing is automatic painting.

Ellis: When did you recognize it?

Burroughs: As soon as I painted it, I looked at it and said, this is that scene. I have had several experiences like that, recognizing events in my paintings after they have been completed.

Ellis: Do you think symbols come out of your unconscious mind onto the paper through your hands?

Burroughs: I would never use the term “unconscious,” because if it were completely unconscious, no one would be aware of it. Usually it is partially conscious.

Compare Jane Seymour's art (here, last Friday). She also has Sun in Aquarius, by the way. The two characters could well be from different galaxies.

Thursday, May 21, 2009


The Sun has now moved into Gemini.

I'd best get this remark out of the way first: there really is no such thing as "A Gemini". Gemini is simply one of 12 zodiac signs. Just as the mouth is one of x number of components in a human being, and each individual uses it in their own unique way, Gemini is one of 12 ingredents in a person's astrological makeup, and each individual uses it in their own unique way. Sometimes the sign of Gemini in a natal chart is in sunlight, sometimes in shadow, sometimes it's diluted, sometimes condensed, but always present.

Gemini represents our communicative abilities, how, and to what extent we choose to reach out to one another, verbally, orally, and to a lesser extent, physically. Those with this sign of the zodiac prominent in their natal charts (their personal astrological blueprints) are easily identifiable, even when the observer knows little about astrology.

If you know someone who has a ridiculously large circle of acquaintances and friends, talks a lot, loves networking, writing, chatting, has a wide range of interests and knowledge, it's a certainty that Gemini figures heavily in their astrology. I know a classic example of such a one - my husband's son-in-law. Just this week in his newspaper column he began as follows:

"One of the interesting things about being a Gemini is that we never have a problem having someone to talk to. Because it’s the nature of Gemini to see both sides of issues, even if we’re marooned on an uninhabited Pacific atoll, we can have lively conversations — with ourselves.
Psychiatric types might call this trait “schizophrenia,” but head shrinkers have to label everything; Gemini just calls it normal.
Why, just the other night, after arriving home late from putting out an edition of the ........I was having the following chat with myself:............"

Such folk will not necessarily have their Sun, or even ascendant and/or Moon in Gemini - but they could well have such a line-up. Conversely, a person who does have Sun in Gemini could be shy or quietly anti-social, possibly an instance of the sign of the twins being over-shadowed at birth by a slew of personal planets in neighbouring Cancer. Or perhaps a case of the natal planets being so widely spread around the zodiac circle that Gemini Sun is simply part of the chorus line, noticed only occasionally.

I don't have any Gemini planet in my own natal chart; coincidentally, neither does my husband. Gemini is still a part of us both, it's qualities are just not emphasised in our natures.

Mercury, planet of communication, and ruler of Gemini, is also a part of everybody's natal chart. Its position is relevant to our mode of communication, whether Gemini is emphasised by planet(s), position, or not.

My natal Mercury in Capricorn is quite close to the descendant angle (opposite the ascendant) which gives it a wee bit of extra strength, but not enough to overcome a shy Cancer ascendant. So I'm not a chatty social butterfly by nature, but do enjoy writing - a more solitary form of communication for the naturally shy. My husband's Mercury is in Pisces, conjuct Saturn, which tends to damp down his Aries Sun, Leo Moon and ascendant considerably. He's no social butterfly either, but he too enjoys writing; come to think of it though, he can talk the hind leg off a donkey when he feels it appropriate - usually when we're watching something on TV, upon which I particularly want to concentrate! (wink)

I admire the qualities of Gemini, usually get on well with people who have a hefty dose of them in their personalities. In some ways these people are my opposites in nature. It's said that opposites attract.

Astrology puts Gemini with Aquarius and Libra as the "Air" signs: the mentally oriented group. To some extent people with their Suns or Moons in Air signs do seem able to connect easily - initially - irrespective of the rest of their natal charts. It sometimes seems to me almost as though a subliminal signal is sent out.