Monday, February 28, 2011

Music Monday ~ Musical Astro-Twins: Daltrey & D'Abo; King & Byrd

Here are two sets of musical astrological twins from different generations, one set from the UK one from the USA.

From the UK:
Roger Daltrey of The Who & Mike d'Abo of Manfred Mann both born on 1 March 1944 - both have a birthday tomorrow!

Daltrey and D'Abo led broadly similar professional lives early on, though Daltrey has maintained a higher profile for longer.

Roger Daltrey CBE, singer/guitarist was one of the founding members of the British hard-rock group The Who. While Peter Townsend was at first the head man of the group, Daltrey quickly emerged as the lead singer, with a particular gift for all-stops-out "soul" interpretations. Daltrey assumed the central role of the deaf/dumb/blind pinball wizard in The Who's rock opera Tommy when the piece was adapted for film by director Ken Russell in 1975. He then portrayed a very revisionist Franz Liszt (bare-bottom scenes and all) in Ken Russell's outrageous biopic Lisztomania (1975). Roger Daltry has continued accepting occasional film roles into the 1990s, and played Judas in the 1996 production of Jesus Christ Superstar.

Mike D'Abo replaced Paul Jones as Manfred Mann's lead vocalist in 1966. The band broke up in 1969 . D'Abo went on to appear in U.S. productions of Jesus Christ Superstar and Evita, and later became a session musician, songwriter and BBC radio host. He wrote the song Handbags and Gladrags which was a big hit for the Stereophonics in the UK a few years ago.

Interesting tid-bit emerged there - both D'Abo and Daltrey appeared in Jesus Christ Superstar.

I've pulled up a chart for the date of their birth, 1 March 1944, set for London where Daltrey was born. D'Abo was born in the south of England also, so one chart, set for 12 noon, will suffice for a casual glance. We must ignore Moon position and ascendant as shown as these will be inaccurate. (According to Astrodatabank Daltrey has Gemini Moon and Scorpio rising, but I can find no time of birth for D'Abo).

These guys have a predominance of planets in Air signs, none in Earth. There's a Grand Trine in Air signs linking Uranus/Venus/Neptune. This Airy circuit links generational planets Uranus and Neptune to personal planet Venus, planet of the arts. This indicates that the guys were "wired-up" astrologically to take advantage of the generational pull from Uranus (avant garde) and Neptune (creativity) via their natal Venus in inventive Aquarius. Not surprising, then, that one of the arts became their common chosen career path.

From the USA:
B.B. King legendary blues singer and guitarist and Charlie Byrd famous guitarist specialising in Latin styles
- both born on 16 September 1925. B.B. King is still with us, still playing I think. Charlie Byrd died of lung cancer in December 1999.

B.B. King is "King of the Blues" -a legend in his own lifetime, said to be the single most important electric guitarist of the last half century. "His bent notes and staccato picking style have influenced legions of contemporary bluesmen, while his gritty and confident voice -- capable of wringing every nuance from any lyric -- provides a worthy match for his passionate playing." (More here.)

Charlie Byrd is best remembered for the work he did with Stan Getz, and for his work with Herb Ellis and Barney Kessel, as The Great Guitars. He brought to the concert guitar both a high degree of sophistication due to his classical training and a kind of down home quality that came through when he played blues and straight ahead jazz.
It was said he could play a Bach Cantata with the same ease as a Gershwin song, but he delivered each in its own unique way. (More here.)

This pair of astro-twins are of a different generation from the first pair, and are quite different in "make-up". Whereas the first pair were predominantly Airy, these two have no Air planets at all - they have Earth and Water based personalities.
Two oppositions stand out: Virgo Sun opposing Uranus in Pisces, and Jupiter in Capricorn opposing Pluto in Cancer. Two personal planets opposing/balancing two slow-moving, generational planets. How to translate that? You know, I'd like to think that it symbolically indicates a kind of timelessness in what they do, or have done. Their kind of music is timeless for sure, untramelled by gimmick-du-jour or pop charts.

These guys have a Grand Trine in Water signs, a configuration or circuit laying emphasis on emotion: easy to see how that worked out: the highly emotional blues (BB King) and sentimental and/or steamy Latin music (Byrd).

Rather than litter the blog with 4 videos, I've chosen just one: a personal favourite - Antonio Carlos Jobim's Wave played by the Charlie Byrd Trio

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Retro-Oscars, Planet-flavoured.

The Oscars.....yawn...awards show will be on TV tonight. If nominations more nearly matched my own taste the show might be worth watching. Neither The King's Speech nor Social Network, which seem to be getting the most drumming-up, are my idea of memorable movies. We saw both. Both are fact-based, more like embroidered documentaries. Colin Firth does deserve his acclaim but other than that I remain distinctly underwhelmed.

For me, it's the movies that live on in memory, sometimes for decades, that are Oscar-worthy. They should do a Retro-Oscar award show, at least 10 years after release dates.

A personal list of favourite movies, most long-gone, none ever forgotten. Several were award-winners or received nominations, in their own time too, some were overlooked.

I've added a smidgin of astrological flavour: instead of the usual categories (Best Film, Best Actor etc.) a movie for each planet and light.

Sun ~~~ Ben Hur (the best - outshines all else for me, and I have no religious beliefs!)

Moon ~~~ Prince of Tides (great emotional pull)

Mercury ~~~ Network (all about communication)

Venus ~~~ Bridges of Madison County (love)

Mars ~~~ The Victors (war)

Jupiter ~~~ Across the Universe (had to fit it in somewhere!)

Saturn ~~~ Cool Hand Luke (prison, restriction)

Uranus ~~~ 2001 A Space Odyssey (for obvious reasons)

Neptune ~~~ Man With the Golden Arm (addiction)

Pluto ~~~ From Here to Eternity (war/death)

Saturday, February 26, 2011

"A Global Moment" - Being Like Water

Pluto is becoming ever more "dug-in" to its transit of Capricorn (translation from the astrologese = destruction/transformation of power structures) we are beginning to see people of the world reacting to the new atmosphere, "being water" - seeping through rapidly forming cracks.
Be like water making its way through cracks........ Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water my friend.
~~ Brue Lee.

Because Uranus is inching daily towards its upcoming transit of Aries (translation: energetic or aggressive forces of change and the unexpected) the atmosphere is set to become more intense in coming months. I believe that Tom Engelhardt's essay at Common Dreams (HERE) describes, non-astrologically of course, exactly how those planetary transits are starting to play out. I've posted just an extract below, but heartily recommend reading the essay in full.

This is a global moment unlike any in memory, perhaps in history. Yes, comparisons can be made to the wave of people power that swept Eastern Europe as the Soviet Union collapsed in 1989-91. For those with longer memories, perhaps 1968 might come to mind, that abortive moment when, in the United States, France, Germany, Japan, Mexico, Brazil, and elsewhere, including Eastern Europe, masses of people mysteriously inspired by each other took to the streets of global cities to proclaim that change was on the way.

For those searching the history books, perhaps you’ve focused on the year 1848 when, in a time that also mixed economic gloom with novel means of disseminating the news, the winds of freedom seemed briefly to sweep across Europe. And, of course, if enough regimes fall and the turmoil goes deep enough, there’s always 1776, the American Revolution, or 1789, the French one, to consider. Both shook up the world for decades after.

But here’s the truth of it: you have to strain to fit this Middle Eastern moment into any previous paradigm, even as -- from Wisconsin to China -- it already threatens to break out of the Arab world and spread like a fever across the planet. Never in memory have so many unjust or simply despicable rulers felt quite so nervous -- or possibly quite so helpless (despite being armed to the teeth) -- in the presence of unarmed humanity. And there has to be joy and hope in that alone.

Even now, without understanding what it is we face, watching staggering numbers of people, many young and dissatisfied, take to the streets in Morocco, Mauritania, Djibouti, Oman, Algeria, Jordan, Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Yemen, and Libya, not to mention Bahrain, Tunisia, and Egypt, would be inspirational. Watching them face security forces using batons, tear gas, rubber bullets, and in all too many cases, real bullets (in Libya, even helicopters and planes) and somehow grow stronger is little short of unbelievable. Seeing Arabs demanding something we were convinced was the birthright and property of the West, of the United States in particular, has to send a shiver down anyone’s spine.

The nature of this potentially world-shaking phenomenon remains unknown and probably, at this point, unknowable. Are freedom and democracy about to break out all over? And if so, what will that turn out to mean? If not, what exactly are we seeing? What light bulb was it that so unexpectedly turned on in millions of Twittered and Facebooked brains -- and why now? our world?
Why now? Cycles, and cycles within cycles - astrological cycles that is.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Arty Farty Friday Fashion ~ Kate & Laura Mulleavy and Rodarte

Fashion fascinates. It can also irritate, amuse and puzzle (how do they walk in some of those ugly shoes?)

I regularly flip quickly through a couple of fashion-themed websites, not because I'm anything of a fashionista, far from it! It's the arty but graceful side of fashion that interests me, whenever it surfaces - it doesn't always. Sometimes high fashion is just plain silly.

Photographs of styles for Fall 2011 (more below) designed by two sisters, Kate and Laura Mulleavy, whose fashion label is Rodarte, attracted my eye. The collection is said to evoke visions of The Great Plains of America, the prairies, the colours of nature. So romantic, so beautiful, so what I'd love to wear - in my dreams. I became curious to learn more about these young women.

Kate and Laura Mulleavy were born in Oakland, California, in 1979 and 1980. Later the family moved to Pasadena Ca.

"Both girls gravitated to Berkeley for college: “I knew I wanted to be a designer,” Kate says, “but at the same time, I was interested in literature, art, and so many other things.” She studied art history, Laura majored in English literature, and the closest they came to a fashion curriculum was a botched costume-design class in the theater department (which they promptly dropped when they were told to design a scullery maid’s outfit). "
(More here).

Their mother, an artist, encouraged their latent talent for sketching and taught them how to sew - and amazingly that is all the training they received for their chosen profession. The now very successful label Rodarte was named for their mother's maiden surname.

Sisters Kate and Laura Mulleavy came from Pasadena, California, to New York in the spring of 2005 with nothing more than a few dresses and coats stuffed in their suitcase. A week after arriving, they had shown their collection, tagged Rodarte after their mother's maiden name, to almost every major fashion editor and upscale retail buyer. What got them through the door? Tenacity and talent. The Mulleavys labor over every detail of their meticulous, romantic dresses. They pile on soft flutters of pinked chiffon and intricate hand-stitching as well as other old-world techniques that call to mind couture. Still a relatively new label, Rodarte has scored the Mulleavys the 2008 CFDA Swarovski Emerging Womenswear Designer award, the 2008 Swiss Textiles Award (See here.)

I'm interested to see their natal charts. These are set for 12 noon as times of birth are unknown.

Kate Mulleavy (left in photograph above) born 11 February 1979, Oakland Ca.
Laura Mulleavy born 21 August 1980, Oakland Ca.

Hmmm. Not exactly what I'd have expected! Kate with an Aquarius stellium (cluster of planets close together) and Laura with a Virgo stellium. Aquarius and Virgo are not usually thought to be particularly compatible, Air and Earth seldom mix well and can cause a dust storm! My husband's two daughters, though older than the Mulleavys, had Virgo v. Aquarius dust-storm problems in their younger days, I understand. It appears, though, that the Mulleavy sisters work well together. Their natal Moons are not involved in the two stelliums - here's a clue to their ability to blend, perhaps.

Kate's natal Moon would be somewhere in Leo whatever her birth time. Laura's could be in either Taurus or, if born at or after 8 PM Moon would have been in Gemini. An Airy Gemini Moon would blend beautifully with Kate's Aquarius stellium. I wonder if this is the key to it all?

Kate's Venus in Capricorn is in harmonious trine to her sister's Virgo Sun/Mercury - that's another point of compatibility - a blend of practical common sense, and business sense (Capricorn) too.

Appropriately enough, the words "meticulous" (Virgo) and "avant garde" (Aquarius) are common in reports of their work. The mix of ideas (Aquarius) and attention to detail (Virgo) is an excellent combination for fashion designers - in theory - but in real life might pose challenges requiring mutual tolerance.

More from Rodarte for Fall 2011.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Disappearing/Re-appearing Dispatch

Passing readers may have noticed that the Astro Dispatch "widget" which carried links to the day's output by astrology bloggers has disappeared from my sidebar and from many other astrology blogs. Elsa, who initiated and has administered the service for four years, now needs to call a halt.

Elsa explains that the amount of traffic currently generated has been crashing the Dispatch site along with her own personal blog - the two share a server. She has tried to work around the problem, but finds there's no solution. "We have simply outgrown our server and so have to pay for a dedicated server in order to keep the widget running - this would cost $150 per month". Elsa tells us that discussions are ongoing to find a solution, but she doesn't seem optimistic.

Elsa's words:
People have suggested I charge people to be on this site because it sends traffic that would be very costly to buy via google but frankly, I don’t want to do it. I won’t want an accounting job, basically.......

Bottom line - I *cannot* check the feeds without crashing the site(s). The upgrade is non-negotiable at this point and I simply can’t afford it. We need $150 a month to run this site - each month every month and there is no one to pay it.

The need for Elsa, and for those helping her, to dedicate time and effort has grown and grown until the thing has become untenable, financially and physically. While we are sorry to see the end of Astro Dispatch we understand and echo her feelings that the situation is unacceptable on all fronts.

All astrology bloggers, myself included, owe a debt of gratitude to Elsa. Her dedication has helped our blogs to become established and to grow. I recall at the outset that she said "a rising tide lifts all boats" - and it did, but now the tide has surged too high.

Thank you Elsa!!!!!

I, and I'm sure the other astrology bloggers in my list of links in the sidebar - under the heading "Trines"- will continue blogging, until we run out of steam. Even so, it still seems like the end of an era.

Uranus, often considered to rule astrology, will shortly move to Aries from Pisces, where it has been transiting since 2004. So an astrological era is ending too. And a new one begins, perhaps bringing in with it some new ideas.

"We're back up. We found a technical fix. :)the widget is broken though... that is hosted off site."

Not sure about the widget, for now, - but clicking on "Astro Dispatch" in the "Trines" links in the sidebar will lead to a list of today's astrology blog posts.

Widget back up - seems to be working!

Uranus = expect the unexpected!!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


The Sun is now in the sector of the zodiac we call Pisces. I'm going to follow the syle of last month and present astrologer Ingrid Lind's view of this sign, as set out in her little book Astrology & Commonsense. It has been out of print for a long time, and it'd be a pity if her words were to be lost, for she often had a fresh take on things.

As before, and in the spirit of Ingrid Lind's writing elsewhere, I think we sould read any reference to "Piscean" as "Pisces-type". There are people whose natal Sun isn't in Pisces who display many (even all in some cases) characteristics of Pisces, due to some heavy emphasis on the sign in their natal charts
PISCES (from the book as shown):
Quality: Mutable
Element: Water
Ruler Jupiter. (Modern Ruler: Neptune)

Like Aquarius, there is some confusion about rulership as Neptune has much in common with this sensitive Water sign. But for my part, and this a purely personal opinion, I find that Jupiter fits in too well to be discarded. There is a kindly warmth and a generous, philanthropic urge about Pisceans that could not spring from anything so nebulous as Neptune. The last of the emotional Water signs, we find none of the conflict that there is in Scorpio where emotions are ruled by Mars (passion) and where fixity adds to the difficulties. In Pisces water combines easily with mutability, for it is the nature of water to conform to the shape that contains it; Pisceans are the most adaptable of people. They like to be with someone stronger (a vessel as it were, to contain them) and they give in to others' wishes, not from servility but because they are naturally generous and amenable. Pisces is known as the actor Sign because of the ease with which Pisceans put on another personality. Where Aquarius has the positive urge to help humanity in a detached spirit, Pisces, impressionable and emotional, has kindly sympathy and readily sacrifices self-interest.

The evolved Piscean is patient, sympathetic and broad-minded; but it is obvious that such qualities can be put to good use or into sloppy sentiment or spineless dissipation.

In these brief descriptions I have tried to show how each Sign corresponds with a set of qualities and corresponding faults. If we are predominantly a gentle Piscean and nothin else in our chart introduces, for example, a Martian streak of aggression, then we can be sure that our reactions will fall largely within the limits of the basic character of the strongest Sign. For instance, if roused to anger the Piscean would show quite a different face from the Scorpion. His Jupiterian dignity would be aroused and he would make it quite clear that he was displeased; but there would be no instinct to hit out or wound, which would be the recourse of one strongly ruled by Mars.

Piscean Qualities
Patience, sympathy, philanthropy, self-sacrifice, sensitivity, gentleness, adaptability and talent for acting, dignity, tolerance.

Piscean Faults
Weakness, sentiment, playing the martyr, peevishness, deceit, hypocrisy, dissipation.

Personal experience of Pisces: I have Jupiter in Pisces exactly semi-sextile to Sun (it probably "softens" Aquarius a bit - no bad thing?) My husband has Mercury & Saturn in late Pisces conjunct Sun at 1 Aries. A lot of what was written by Ms Lind rings true for my husband - apart from "patient" and maybe "tolerant" - he's as impatient as the next Sun Aries person - and, on a bad day, about as intolerant too. He is very adaptable, moreso than I am. He took to life in the UK much more easily than I took to life in the USA!

A while ago I began researching my family history, and was able to obtain a birth certificate for my paternal grandfather, around whose origins there had always been some mystery. The mystery remains as to who was his father, however. But I now know I had a Sun in Pisces grandfather, born in Suffolk on 9 March 1882. He had Sun and Venus in Pisces, Mercury in Aquarius and a clutch of planets in Taurus. My Dad, and at least two of his siblings, and several of my cousins from that side of the family have Aquarius Sun - probably inherited from Grandad's Mercury! Grandad's youngest son, my Uncle Laurie, had Sun in Pisces, like his father as it turns out; he became a ship's captain (ocean liners), very appropriate for Pisces!

Below: At Uncle Laurie's wedding: Grandad with his 5 sons (he had 5 daughters too). Grandad second from right; my Dad second from left, Laurie third from left.

My Sun Piscean Grandad wasn't easy to get to know - a man of very few words. If my researches have uncovered accurate information, he'd had a very hard childhood. Born out of wedlock, his mother seems to have been disowned by her family. Mother and child were listed as living in a workhouse for some years. My grandad, when of age, left the south of England, walked up to Yorkshire (200+ miles) and found work as a shepherd in East Yorkshire. He met and married my Grandmother, served in World War 1, and after became a postman until retirement.

He used to take me to the movies once or twice a week when I was around 8 or 9. He was a great film fan, as was I. Other things I remember about Grandad: his hobby of mending old broken clocks, and his fascination with auctions (probably looking for more old broken clocks!) There was an auction room in our street, he'd attend the regular sales and bring us all manner of oddities, boxes of old books (which I loved to investigate), bits of furniture, which I'd use to furnish my "little house" in an old air raid shelter.....and so on. I wish I'd been able to get to know him better, later, but we lost touch after I moved away, and he died when I was around 19

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Wisconsin Governor: Scott Walker

I'm interested to see the natal chart of Scott Walker (not the singer - been there done that: here), but Scott Walker the Republican Governor of Wisconsin. His attempt to strip many state workers of their collective bargaining rights has brought about massive peaceful protest and become national and international news during the past week. He won the office of Governor in last year's general election - on his birthday, November 2, defeating the Democratic candidate 52% to 46%.

Scott Walker was born on 2 November 1967 in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Chart set for noon - time of birth unavailable.

I wasn't surprised to find a clutch of planets in Scorpio. An overdose of this passionate and determined sign in one's natal chart is going to manifest pretty noticeably, one way or another. Sun/Mercury, Neptune and Moon (whatever his birth time) all in Scorpio. And another clutch of planets in meticulous, critical Virgo: Jupiter & Pluto/Venus/Uranus - the last three conjoined. That little lot together is a heck of a combination, could be close on deadly - uncomfortable at best! Wish I knew where the angles fell in his chart, but without time of birth that remains a mystery.

A bit more detail: Sun/Mercury in Scorpio flanked by two helpful sextile aspects - one to Mars at 7 Capricorn, the other to Jupiter at 2 Virgo - there's nothing there to lighten that Scorpio intensity - in fact these sextiles from Mars (energy, aggression) and Jupiter (excess) could add to it!

A Yod (Finger of Fate) in Walker's chart is interesting. It links the sextile between Jupter and Sun/Mercury to Saturn in Aries via two quincunx (150*) aspects.
Saturn, planet of limitation & laws, being at the apex of the Yod acts as conduit for the combined characteristics of the sextiled planets. Being translated this = Excessively intense passionate opinion manifesting via the rule of law & restriction.

Even more interesting, in view of the Yod, is that Jupiter in its current transit, is astrologically conjoining Walker's natal Saturn, even as I type, bringing even more emphasis to the configuration. Uranus, planet of change and the unexpected, will come within a couple of degrees of Walker's natal Saturn in late spring this year. How this will manifest is anybody's guess.

I shall watch and learn! "Interesting" times ahead!

Anyone who harbours anti-union feelings, and I know that many otherwise reasonable people do, and anyone who considers that Governor Walker is doing the right thing would do well to think on these words:

“Although it is true that only about 20 percent of American workers are in unions, that 20 percent sets the standards across the board in salaries, benefits and working conditions. If you are making a decent salary in a non-union company, you owe that to the unions. One thing that corporations do not do is give out money out of the goodness of their hearts.” ~ Molly Ivins.

"........It’s crucial to understand what the regressive initiative that our brothers and sisters in Wisconsin are right now fighting is really all about, and how that fits into the context of our era. This is just the latest, and nearly the last, in a succession of efforts in America over the last three decades to move money from the hands of non-elites to those of oligarchs. Make no mistake, that program constitutes essentially the sum total of American politics at its core over the last generation. All else is a sideshow or, more likely and more ominously, an intentional diversion, just as a skilled magician is careful to give your eye something else to focus on as he moves the ball from under the cup........"
From an excellent essay at by Prof. David Michael Green

Monday, February 21, 2011

Music Monday ~ Taste in Music ~ Astro-indications?

Typing the words "musical taste personality" into a Google search box will bring up countless articles, blogs, surveys, questionnaires and statistics on the topic of whether personality defines a person's musical taste - or vice versa. There's material dating from 2003 to 2010, with information in a variety of depths and complexity. The conclusion: apparently it does.

The following, chosen mainly for its brevity, comes from Psychology Today in 2003, written by Colin Allen: The Sound of Personality

Does music preference really predict character traits? It may be an indicator of personality traits, according to new research published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. The study pinpoints musical tastes with respective attributes.

A person's album collection may actually say quite a lot about him. It may be an indicator of personality traits, according to new research published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. The study pinpoints musical tastes with respective attributes.
"Music preferences are a manifestation of our personality," says lead author Peter J. Rentfrow, a psychology graduate student at University of Texas in Austin. He found that, when it comes to personality traits, there are four major groups.
(I've inserted numbers)

1.People who enjoy blues, jazz, classical and folk are more likely to be creative, open to new experiences and enjoy abstract ideas. They often lean politically to the left.

2.Rentfrow found those who liked pop, country and religious music tend to be more extroverted, trusting of others and hard working. They are often more practical and lean politically to the right

People who prefer alternative music, rock and heavy metal are inclined to be physically active and adventurous.

4. Dance and hip-hop fans are apt to be more outgoing, athletic and agreeable, yet they were also more likely to view themselves as being physically attractive.

In the study, Rentfrow and colleagues surveyed 3,500 students, examining their musical tastes, along with their self-perceptions and mental acuity. He suggests that taste in music develops according to personality traits
If musical taste and personality are linked, and personality and astrology are linked, then astrology and musical taste must be linked....or is that fallacy of composition or division...or some other obscure form of faulty reasoning ? Never mind!

Trying to link taste in music to astrological indications in a natal chart would have to be a "suck-it-and-see" type of experiment. There are so many astrological ways musical taste could manifest. For instance, the "four major groups" indicated in the above piece might be seen to relate to the four astrological elements, and their predominance (or not) in a person's natal chart might indicate what type of music that person would likely prefer. Doesn't Group #1 sound spookily akin to the Air signs (Gemini/Libra/Aquarius)? And Group #2 to Earth and Water. #3 and #4 to Fire?

No person is ever likely to fit exactly into one group - these or any other contrived groups. We're all made up of a highly complex mix. My husband, for instance, a lifelong avid jazz fan, has no Air (Group #1) astrologically, but has a "splash" chart (planets spread around the circle) indicating a wide span of taste. He has often been heard to say that in spite of his preference for jazz "there's no music I do not enjoy". So... chart pattern may also be a consideration here.

Then there's the matter of individual planets. The position of Venus, planet of the arts, in sign and house has to be significant.

Identifying musical taste from a natal chart is not going to be straightforward - or 100% reliable - nothing in astrology ever is.

Digging further I found this at McGill Reporter ( Volume 39: 2006-2007):
Question: Why do we like some music and not others.

By: Daniel Levitin, Associate Professor, Department of Psychology and the McGill Program in Behavioural Neuroscience, holds the Bell Chair in the Psychology of Electronic Communication.

Our musical tastes begin to form in the womb. By 12 weeks, the fetus has a completely functioning auditory system and is able to hear music through the amniotic fluid (it sounds something like listening under water). One-year olds show clear preferences for music that they heard in utero. Until roughly the age of eight, children absorb whatever music they hear, during the time when the brain is working hard to make billions of new connections.

Just as there are "critical periods" for language acquisition, there appear to be critical periods for the acquisition of music listening. As children hear music, they develop neural systems -— schemas — to capture the structural and tonal regularities of that music. Beginning around age 10, as the brain's mission shifts toward pruning out unused neural connections, musical tastes focus around the music we're used to. At about age 12, music begins to serve a social bonding function and we use music to distinguish our social group from others: this is the kind of music people like us listen to, that music is for them. As young teens, our musical tastes are further refined by what our friends are listening to. Most of us base our adult musical tastes on what we liked when we were 12 to16. In some cases, through effort, we can expand our musical tastes as adults. But if we had relatively narrow tastes in our developing years, this is more difficult to do because we lack the appropriate schemas, or templates, with which to process and ultimately to understand new musical forms.
Each generation develops a particular pattern of musical taste, different - often wildly different - from the generation before, yet certain members of each generation will have tastes which vary from that of the majority of their peers. Classical music, and jazz have lived on in spite of rock, rap, punk, country etc.

From my own experience I'd be inclined to add another factor likely to contribute to a person's musical taste - i.e. people one happens to encounter on the journey through life. If I had never met a certain country music artist back in the late 1980s I'd know exactly nothing about country music. Instead, because I met this person, my musical taste was led along a country music path, almost exclusively, for around ten years, and this was in the UK where country music is very much a "fringe" taste. Many years later I met and married Himself - a lifelong jazz fan.

I've realised that my taste in music is evolving/expanding still. Expanding is a better word than evolving in this context. In evolution, the old is left behind as defunct, in this case the old is still cherished. My taste before I met Himself ran to Sinatra, light opera, musicals (movies and Broadway-type), Sinatra, country music, Sinatra, Neil Diamond, Sinatra, occasional pop/rock songs, Sinatra. I now find my list includes some (emphasis on some) jazz; but what seems to me to be a bigger change: I have a much better appreciation of music without lyrics. I'd always been a "lyrics freak", but recently I've begun to enjoy just the music - for its own sake. This may seem like a subtle change, of little importance - but for me the change is huge!

I don't know how much my move across the Atlantic has to do with this expansion of taste. The move shunted my astrological ascendant from Cancer to Aquarius. Now I come to think about it, that does kind of fit astrologically. Cancer relates to all that's sweet, emotional and sentimental (and to Group #2 above). Aquarius (also my Sun sign) relates to a somewhat different scene - a need to listen with the head as well as the heart perhaps (and links to Group #1 above).

So, tidying-up this rag-bag of thoughts:

Factors contributing to musical taste:

Early influence from parents, peers, education.
Personality - astrological indications.
Influence, in adulthood, from people met on life's journey.

A person's taste in music might "congeal" at any point, or it could continue to expand throughout life, the difference depending largely on personality type..... back to astrology!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

"Ironic Points of Light", W.H. Auden, Madison Wisconsin.

I shouldn't really be surprised, when reading poems, or prose, written decades and even centuries ago on certain topics: war, peace, politics - to find that very often the words continue to ring true. History has a habit of repeating itself, so they say. Mark Twain was nearer to the truth, I think, when he said "History doesn't repeat itself, at best it sometimes rhymes."

In astrology, the planets don't repeat themselves, in spite of their regular cycles. One cycle is different from the next because of the different positions of other planets, there's a subtle variation from the last go-around. As in Mark Twain's thought - astrology doesn't repeat itself - it rhymes.

Are we "rhyming" now, historically and astrologically, with events of the past?

The recent toppling of the presidents of Tunisia and Egypt by mass protests signified the re-emergence of revolutionary struggle by the working class. The conditions that created these struggles, however, are universal—mass unemployment, staggering levels of social inequality, and a political system that is completely impervious to the demands and interests of the vast majority of the population. The eruption of mass protests in Wisconsin is an initial expression of a new era of open class struggle in the country that has long functioned as the center of the world capitalist system, the United States.
These lines, the last two verses of a poem by W.H. Auden (his astrology is considered below), struck me as rhyming with current events in the Middle East and in, of all places: Madison, Wisconsin. The poem, 1 September 1939 was written more than 70 years ago, but the words in these two verses could still be seen as "rhyming" with recent events.
All I have is a voice
To undo the folded lie,
The romantic lie in the brain
Of the sensual man-in-the-street
And the lie of Authority
Whose buildings grope the sky:
There is no such thing as the State
And no one exists alone;
Hunger allows no choice
To the citizen or the police;
We must love one another or die.

Defenseless under the night
Our world in stupor lies;
Yet, dotted everywhere,
Ironic points of light
Flash out wherever the Just
Exchange their messages:
May I, composed like them
Of Eros and of dust,
Beleaguered by the same
Negation and despair,
Show an affirming flame.

Full text of poem HERE.

As we read and watch reports of what has been happening recently in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, and closer to home Madison in the state of Wisconsin, Auden's "ironic points of light" can be seen. May there soon be many more, and more still - until the whole world becomes bright with the light of hope for change.

W.H. Auden, renowned poet, born 21 February 1907 in York, England, died in Vienna, served in the Spanish civil war, but left England at the outbreak of World War 2 to live in America, became a US citizen in 1946.

"His early work was socially committed left-wing writing. He read Marx and Freud, but was also influenced by the need to conceal that he was writing about his and his friends' homosexuality, which was illegal at that time. Later, he began to turn away from Marxism towards his mother's faith, which left a mark upon his poetry" (More HERE)

A poet with three planets (Sun, Mercury, Saturn) in romantic, imaginative Pisces. He was one of the ultra- talented Pluto in Gemini generation, I bump into them regularly on this blog! His natal Sun exactly trines Jupiter in Cancer, while his Mercury Saturn conjunction is nicely sextiled by Venus conjunct Uranus in Capricorn. There's an opposition to Venus/Uranus from Neptune, but Neptune also trines Mercury/Saturn - so his chart is well integrated in Watery-Earth. Moon in Gemini (degree not known) and Mars in Sagittarius draw in a little Air and Fire.

Auden's transition from left-wing socialism to devout Christianity seems to indicate that he needed a background of structure and dogma in his life, perhaps this is indicated by Saturn (structure, rigidity) conjunct Mercury (the way his mind worked). Both are in the mutable sign of Pisces, so although he may have craved structure he was not averse to a change of dogma! It's interesting to note, too, that he has no natal planets in Fixed signs. The anomaly of volunteering to serve in the Spanish civil war, yet declining to remain in England, the country of his birth at the outbreak of World War 2 is a curiosity - another manifestation of the predominantly mutable temperament?

Friday, February 18, 2011

Arty Farty Friday ~ Celebrating The Unexpected

In rural Oklahoma, just south of the tiny town of Stratford, a couple of years ago we drove past this piece of very unexpected artwork. My husband took photographs from the best vantage point available, and later put the photograph on his Flickr stream. I posted a photograph of the piece myself at the time, it's somewhere in the archives.

There's not much that is astrological to say about this, except that it is certainly an unexpected sight to encounter in the middle of nowhere - so has to be ruled by Uranus - a wee bit of Aquariana in deepest Oklahoma!

Butterfly Fingers

The photograph remained on Flickr, with a few viewer comments, then just last week the artist came forward !

I decided, with husband's permission, to post the photograph with some of the comments. (Link to actual Flickr page. )

I especially enjoy the fact that the artwork is located very close to Stratford, Oklahoma and has inspired one commenter to quote poetry....not poetry by by son of Stratford-on-Avon, Will Shakespeare - but still......

SOME COMMENTS from Flickr (anyjazz = my husband)

ed ed In the thumbnail size, I thought it was someone lying on his back with an arm raised... but I think the old tin buildings and the general lack of tidiness make this all the stronger... I wonder, as you must have, about the background...
I like it a lot..

anyjazz Thanks ed ed. Unfortunately there is no way that I can see to get in there and get a different background. It is on an old windmill that sat in the middle of a farm yard. The farm sheds are on two sides of it. There is a deep and overgown ditch just in front of me. I had walked across the road to get under the utility lines at the top but that was as far as I could go. The farm yard gate was closed. I suspect that the owner gets lots of people wanting to get on his property to find a better angle. It is striking to come upon suddenly driving on the country side. It is miles from any town.

This is fascinating. Did the owner create this? It must have cost some money to build, not to mention time. I wonder why he picked this subject?

anyjazz@cornerofthefield: I have no idea who created it. In the large version you can see the words “Welding, Machine Shop, Sand Blasting" on the side of a utility trailer on the left side of the shed. As mommypeace points out, the base is an old windmill. The rest is probably just scrap sheet metal. And a vision. And a hidden talent.
I was surprised that I can find nothing on it with Google except the photo you see here and the one from mommypeace and one on a site called That’s Weird.
There didn’t appear to be any sign of life around and I am not sure I would have approached anyone anyway. I have made it a practice to avoid disturbing these people on rural roads and small towns. I have learned through painful experience that very often these people live in rural areas and small towns because they don’t want visitors. So I will wait for someone else to turn up details.
I have no doubt that information will eventually turn up. Flickr is quite powerful and there are at least two pictures of it here now. It is in plain sight on Oklahoma highway 177 between Stratford and Sulphur, Oklahoma on the west side of the road. Of course, I didn’t pay any attention to mileage or anything technical like that.

I know who built this.
The two men are named Kevin Tyler and Robbie Lunsford. Kevin is an artist who resides in Oklahoma and this sculpture has been featured on many news shows, locally and nationally.
The sculpture has a different meaning to everyone who sees it. That was its purpose. To intrigue and enlighten....
The men who created this work of art are not looking for fame or fortune...Just to add a little beauty to the barren Oklahoma roadside.
I am proud to say that this man is the father of my child, and I pray that my son gets his talent.

Oh my. Your explanation is so touching and so informative. Thank you very much.
I will update the caption.

i am kevin tyler,....i am glad you have enjoyed my work/play,.......if you have specific questions and would like to know what "inspired this",......please ask,........i heard heard many different thoughts and have enjoyed them all,........thanks again,.......

anyjazzThanks for your offer. I am sure there will be some questions. It is excellent work.

"There didn’t appear to be any sign of life around and I am not sure I would have approached anyone anyway. I have made it a practice to avoid disturbing these people on rural roads and small towns. I have learned through painful experience that very often these people live in rural areas and small towns because they don’t want visitors. So I will wait for someone else to turn up details."
...........THAT IS GOOD STUFF!!!!!!!! IN TRUTH!, LOL,....WE ARE ACTUALLY A PRETTY FRIENDLY BUNCH OF GUYS!!!!!!!! (unless we think someone is up to somethin!, then we slam down a few shots of moonshine and grab our guns!!!!!!),............just kiddin man!!!!! i'm still laughin,............
AND A FEW MORE TIDBITS,.......I AM AN ARTIST (AMONG OTHER THINGS),....AND,...IT WAS A "FLUKE" AS WELL,................................LOL,.... ..AS FAR AS THE WHY'S AND HOW'S AND,.............IF YA "RRREEEALLLLLLLY WANNA KNOW?!?!?!?!?", (LOL),......."I'LL BE GLAD TO ANSWER ANY AND ALL QUESTIONS THAT ANY OF YOU MAY HAVE!",.........AND I WILL SOLVE THE "MYSTERY",..........thank you all very much!!!!! i'm glad that you have enjoyed IT!!!!!
................................TAKE CARE, AND "TOKSOON",......hope to hear from you,...........................

You know us city folk. We're always up to something.
Believe me your comments are welcome. We were all wondering. We're certainly pleased to meet you at last.
Could there be future postings on your Flickr stream of other if your work?

I am reminded of the Shelley poem....
I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
"My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away

Fine quote, fulvue. The best artwork is the artwork that makes one

George Dixon -A lovely shot and for me " a role man can play with nature".

anyjazz -Thanks George Dixon. That's important.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Not "Eureka!" but "That's Funny."

"The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds the most discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' but...... "That's funny."

Isaac Asimov is credited with that quotation. I wonder, will there ever be a "Hmmmm.....that's funny" moment for scientists regarding astrology?

A word appearing frequently in scientists' arguments about astrology is "artifacts". Artifacts, in the context of cognitive reasoning, are so-called fake effects (in this case astrological effects) which could have ordinary explanations. Whilst I can see how artifacts might account for some seemingly good results in pieces of astrological research, I fail to see how we can continue to be misled by them in astrology generally. Too many brilliant minds, and too many ordinary folk like me can see SOME of astrology working day by day. I check the status of my own beliefs regularly - there's a latent skeptical streak in my nature. Astrology would have been given the heave-ho by me long ago, had I sensed that there was nothing at all in it.

It seems to me that there's a parallel between discoveries about some herbal medicines and what might happen in the future in regard to astrology.

Herbs have been used as medicine, and for recreational purposes, as far back in history as it's possible to see, and almost certainly well beyond that. For example, cannabis is said to have been used in ancient middle-eastern countries, hemlock and belladonna were used as poisons in Greek and Roman times, and some believe that the holy drink of the ancient Aryans mentioned in the Vedas -- soma -- was a concoction involving ("magic"?) mushrooms.
(See here.)

The Foxglove plant had been used in folk medicines for centuries, some say as far back as the time of the Druids, before later pharmacists discovered that it contains digitalis, proven to be effective in treating some heart diseases. Similarly, the plant Feverfew, used in folk medicines, has been found to contain chemicals which do have ingredients which can produce effects observed by our ancestors, namely reducing fever or dealing with some kinds of headaches.

Whether our early ancestors came by their knowledge of the medicinal value of these plants by accident or by careful sampling, or whether specific knowledge had come to them from an unknown source, isn't recorded. We now know that there was validity in some of the ways they were using the plants. We are now able to understand the reasons why these plants proved effective, reasons which our ancestors would have been incapable of understanding or discovering.

A similar line of thought can be applied to astrology, its origins and its future. Scientists might discover one day an element as yet unknown, which we are as yet incapable of understanding. This unknown element could validate, at least in part, astrological principles.

Astrology continues, and will continue to be used because, as in the case of ancient medicines, it's not perfect, but observation and experience has shown sufficient positive results to put an indelible mark upon our memory.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Updated Steven Tyler

I was pleased to read Jon Caramanica's piece in the New York times (online), last Wednesday.
Steven Tyler Escapes From Idolatry.
Pleased because the author highlighted something that stood out for me as we watched one of the recent audition episodes. The incident involved one of Idol's often annoyingly manipulative "sob stories".

"The moment when Mr. Tyler, one of this season’s new judges, claimed the show as his own came during the third night of auditions. Chris Medina tried out with a muscular version of The Script’s “Breakeven” after telling the story of how his fiancée, Juliana Ramos, suffered a brain injury that left her in a wheelchair, able to move her left arm and little more.

After he sang, he brought Ms. Ramos in to the audition room at the judges’ behest. By any measure it was difficult to watch, testing the viewer’s urge to turn away, to wish for a speedy change of scene.

Randy Jackson and Jennifer Lopez introduced themselves to Ms. Ramos, but Mr. Tyler took charge. “Hi, girl,” he said, shaking her hand. “I just heard your fiancé sing, and he’s so good.” At this point, as she teetered back and forth, he was gripping her shoulder and staring at her comfortingly: a rock, a confidant, a seducer. “You know, because he sings to you all the time,” he said, leaning in to her, stroking her hair, kissing her warmly — all with tenderness — then whispering in her ear, “That’s why he sings so good, because he sings to you.”

It was a stellar embrace, the sort of practiced sincerity that’s one of the wages of extreme celebrity. Except that, over time, it can shake free of its dishonesty, as was the case here. In that moment Mr. Tyler was both deeply practiced and deeply humane. It made for a stunning display of kindness unusual not just for “Idol,” but for all of popular culture in matters of dealing with the severely disabled."
As I see it Mr Tyler's action sprang directly from an innate kindness, an Aries/Leo-ness. The impulsive warmth, kindliness and sense of fun have shone from him from his first appearance. Okay - if someone wants to describe his pointed stares at an auditioning gal, a quarter his age, as "leering" that's in the mind of the beholder. I look at it like this: any gal (or guy) aiming for a career in the spotlight has to be willing audiences, whether judges or the public, to stare at them - so they'd best get used to it. In any case, I see no overtly lascivious leers - only encouragement, approval, interest, or perhaps a weighing up of how the gal might have dressed herself more stylishly - or less vampishly.

Another look at Steven Tyler's chart (my earlier posts are HERE and HERE)

Lots of emphasis on Fire signs, being more pronounced because Jupiter is at home in its rulership Sagittarius and Sun and Mars are in what astrologers term "mutual recption" - which means that they are in each other's rulerships, Sun is in Aries ruled by Mars, Mars in Leo ruled by Sun....a series of celestial underlinings.

I wish we had Steven's birth time - anybody know it?

That opposition Uranus/Jupiter (the unexpected/exaggertion) is no doubt a reflection of his quirky style and signature outlandish antics on stage.

The "Yod" (Finger of Fate) is interesting too. It links Netune (creativity) and Pluto (sexy and powerful) by helpful sextile (no pun intended) to Mercury, planet of communication, by two quincunx aspects (150*). The characteristics of the to sextiled planets are said to be chanelled through the planet at the configuration's apex - Mercury (communication) in this case. Works for me!

The linked article mentions that Mr Tyler is "scheduled to release a memoir — “Does the Noise In My Head Bother You?” — this year..." More communicative skills surfacing!

I'll stick my neck out - again - and predict that there are changes in the pipeline for Steven Tyler, later this year and into 2012 as Uranus transits his Aries Sun, backtracks then transits again. Perhaps his stellar performance on American Idol will lead along previously unthought of career paths for him.

It's looking increasingly likely that Steven Tyler will be my only reason for continuing to watch Season 10. Already, at this early stage the emphasis and re-gurgitation of a set of five or six "sob stories", and "pimping" of producers' favourites is becoming wearing. Even with Nigel Lythgoe in charge, audience manipulation continues apace.

This week's episodes, aired tonight and tomorrow, feature the travesty known as "group rounds" where the remaining contestants are split into groups of 3 or 4 and left to arrange a performance, singing together. Where many young teens and twenties are gathered together, competing egos and levels of excellence rapidly oppose one another. All manner of unpleasantness often ensues. Men are separated from boys, and the gals - well, they'd better rope in their inner divas, at least for this round.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

New Planet To Play With?

We should brace ourselves for an onslaught of daft articles and commentary about the "new" planet, which may or may not exist in the outer reaches of our solar system. The body temporarily goes by the name Tyche. If confirmed, in due course the body will be re-named. Let's not rush to the assumption that naming it Tyche, who was goddess of good fortune, is of any significance. Likewise in respect of any future name it acquires.

The Mail on Line told us yesterday:

Scientists believe they may have found a new planet in the far reaches of the solar system, up to four times the mass of Jupiter.
Its orbit would be thousands of times further from the Sun than the Earth's - which could explain why it has so far remained undiscovered.

Data which could prove the existence of Tyche, a gas giant in the outer Oort Cloud, is set to be released later this year - although some believe proof has already been garnered by Nasa with its pace telescope, Wise, and is waiting to be pored over.

One commenter said:
....well this will make the astrologers seem more stupid than they already are...if that's possible!
I'd say rather that it'll make commenters seem more stupid than they already are!

Even if this body is confirmed as being within our solar system, I read somewhere that its orbit is well over 3000 years. It's hardly likely to have any astrological interpretation other than in a VERY long-term historical context.

Another report on this topic from UK's Independent newspaper.

It's very tempting to mention Nibiru - but I'm not going there - not yet! I must guard against appearing more stupid than I actually am.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Music Monday ~ Valentines by Ewan MacColl & Jimmy Nail

Something a wee bit different, Valentine-wise, for this Music Monday, 14 February ~~love songs, of course - but love songs to places. Americans have hundreds of 'em. Off the top of my head (or my husband's head):
I Left My Heart in San Francisco, Oklahoma, Chicago, New York, New York, Deep in the Heart of Texas, Moonlight in Vermont, Rocky Mountain High, America The Beautiful.....and so many others.

The Scots and Irish, great wanderers and exiles, are past masters at writing love songs to places, filled with longing and nostalgia. The English, not so much. But two love songs about places in England spring to mind, because these are among my all-time favourite songs: Dirty Old Town and Big River.

Dirty Old Town was written by Ewan MacColl "dangerous radical" (astrology follows) in 1957 about the city of Salford, as it was then. It's a city close to Manchester in the north of England. Big River was written and sung by Jimmy Nail about the River Tyne, and his hometown Newcastle-upon-Tyne in the north-east of England. I can't hear either of these songs without a lump in my throat and a tear or two. I'm a northern gal myself and have a soft spot for all the cities of northern England. I was born in one of 'em but nobody has written a song about Hull, as far as I know.

Dirty Old Town. The original lyrics included a reference to Salford ("I smelled the spring on the Salford wind") but "Salford" was replaced by "smoky" later, due either to pressure from Salford municipal authorities or by the numerous Irish groups and singers (eg: Dubliners, Pogues) who hi-jacked the song. Many now suppose it was written about an Irish city.

In spite of a rather bitter tinge to the lyrics, I still see it as a love song, not only to Salford but to all cities, especially northern English cities as they used to be, once upon a time - grimy from smoky factories, and with a distinctly down-trodden feel.

The old, original version of Dirty Old Town sung by Ewan MacColl and his 3rd wife Peggy Seeger (half-sister of Pete Seeger). I love the great jazzy accompaniment, quite unexpected! (Other, Irish-tinged, versions available at YouTube.)

Big River
by Jimmy Nail, who is primarily an actor with some hit UK TV series under his belt: Auf Wiedersehen, Pet, and Spender for example. He had a couple of hit singles too, and played the role of Agustín Magaldi in the movie Evita.

I've always considered that Jimmy Nail is vastly under-valued and under-used. It's a pity we don't see and hear more of him. He was born on 16 March 1954 by the way - Sun and Mercury in Watery Pisces, so appropriate that he wrote this love song to a river!

Ewan MacColl, who wrote Dirty Old Town, First Time Ever I Saw Your Face, and hundreds of folk songs, was born on 25 January 1915 in Salford, England.

MacColl was a political activist, socialist, prolific songwriter and poet with links to the theatre through his first wife Joan Littlewood. He was father of singer Kirsty MacColl who died in a tragic accident in 2000.

The UK Independentnewspaper, in 2006, reported that (HERE) that:

Ewan MacColl, the celebrated folk musician and father of singer Kirsty, was tracked by the security services for more than 20 years on the grounds he was a dangerous radical. Top-secret files released today, which date back to 1932, reveal that Special Branch even kept watch on the Manchester home that he shared with his first wife Joan Littlewood, the celebrated theatre director and actress.

The plays and concerts staged by the high-profile couple, who were both ardent members of the Communist Party, were also closely monitored in a bid to establish that the pair were spreading extremist propaganda.

The MI5 documents, now made public by the National Archives, also reveal that the BBC banned the MacColls from taking part in broadcasts because of their Communist connections.

A hero for the common man, Ewan MacColl - real name James Henry Miller - influenced generations of dramatists and performers with his protest ballads and subversive plays.

The chart is set for 12 noon. Rising sign and Moon position will not be accurate.

A clip from biographical detail written by Peggy Seeger allows us some insight into the kind of guy he was. (See here for complete piece)

There were two Ewan MacColls, the id and the ego: the man he was and the man he wanted to be: The first was all feelings, vulnerable and insecure, the boy who wanted to go unnoticed in school; who was convinced that his ears were bigger and more prominent than Dumbo's; who wrote "Nobody Knew She Was There" but could not hug his mother; who was terrified of physical violence yet who believed that real social change was impossible without it; who knew he was talented and was frightened of not doing justice to that talent and to his class; the one whose last years were tormented by a sense of failure. This persona would surface in times of inebriation (rare), stress (chiefly in his later years) and illness (periodic and finally chronic).

The second man was the thinker. He walked with a little strut, like a wee hard man, a man who always made sure that he was the centre of attention in any group; who had a unique way, at a social gathering, of homing in on and isolating anyone he wanted particularly to talk to; who needed to be an authority on every subject; who was convinced that he could write a play or song about anything (which he could); who wanted to live a middle-class life and still be considered working-class; who gave the impression, even while feeling he was a failure, that he was living a happy old age. Persona #2 was well aware of Persona #1 and kept the latter in check.

He was given to exaggeration and sometimes one doubted whether he really knew the truth about certain matters upon which he was confidently holding forth. He would learn something about a subject, then expound on that area of knowledge as if he knew all about the whole subject. This tendency to expand and decorate facts and to employ his verbal weaponry selectively could irritate both family and friends but it often benefited his songwriting.

Hearty chuckles followed as I pulled up his natal chart! Of course the man was a radical - what else could he have been with Sun in Aquarius conjunct Uranus (ruler of Aquarius)- not only that it's part of a cluster spanning 4 to 27 degrees of Aquarius: Sun/Uranus/Mercury/Jupiter. There are people born in February 1962 with globs of Aquarius planets, but they don't have Uranus in Aquarius, so do not have the same driving force towards radicalism.

In the extract above it is said that he was given to exaggeration - Jupiter planet of exaggeration (and publication) is part of the Aquarius stellium; also Venus (planet of the arts including music) in Sagittarius the Jupter ruled sign adds an extra layer of excess to the mix.

I can't help but notice how clearly Peggy Seeger's words describe this man's astrological indications. Even his "two sides" can be linked to two oppositions
:Sun/Mars opposed by Neptune and Venus opposed by Saturn. The creative vulnerable side represented by Neptune and Venus opposed respectively by the rationality of Saturn and the Aquarius planets.

It's a pity there's no birth time available. Natal Moon could be in either late Taurus or, if born at 2:00PM or later in early Gemini. His writing/communication skills lead to Gemini, but equally Venus-ruled Taurus relates to music - so it's a toss-up!

Oh, go on then...a proper love a person, for Valentine's Day -

First Time Ever I Saw Your Face - a version sung by Roberta Flack, for me it's the definitive. However, the song's composer Ewan MacColl reportedly hated this, and all other cover versions of his beautiful song. According to some sources it was written in 1957 for his long-time live-in partner (later to become his 3rd wife) Peggy Seeger, half-sister of the legendary American folk singer Pete Seeger. The Flack version is much slower, and twice as long as the original: