Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Peace Pipe ~ Longfellow ~ Memorial Day

In the USA it's Memorial Weekend. Memorial Day itself, the last Monday of May, is traditionally set aside for honouring American servicemembers. Originally known as Decoration Day, it commemorates U.S. citizens who died while on military service.

I shall forever feel grateful to, and honour the memory of, American servicemen who came to the aid of Britain during World War 2. Beyond that, I'm ambivalent about the military. I hope and wish for peace, so there would no longer be a need for the cull of human life, brothers and sisters snuffing out the light of each other - for what? The greed for power of their masters. In that vein, an extract from The Peace Pipe from Longfellow's Song of Hiawatha:. (See below for Longfellow's natal chart etc.)

And they stood there on the meadow,
With their weapons and their war-gear,
Painted like the leaves of Autumn,
Painted like the sky of morning,
Wildly glaring at each other;
In their faces stem defiance,
In their hearts the feuds of ages,
The hereditary hatred,
The ancestral thirst of vengeance.
Gitche Manito, the mighty,
The creator of the nations,
Looked upon them with compassion,
With paternal love and pity;
Looked upon their wrath and wrangling
But as quarrels among children,
But as feuds and fights of children!
Over them he stretched his right hand,
To subdue their stubborn natures,
To allay their thirst and fever,
By the shadow of his right hand;
Spake to them with voice majestic
As the sound of far-off waters,
Falling into deep abysses,
Warning, chiding, spake in this wise :
"O my children! my poor children!
Listen to the words of wisdom,
Listen to the words of warning,
From the lips of the Great Spirit,
From the Master of Life, who made you!
"I have given you lands to hunt in,
I have given you streams to fish in,
I have given you bear and bison,
I have given you roe and reindeer,
I have given you brant and beaver,
Filled the marshes full of wild-fowl,
Filled the rivers full of fishes:
Why then are you not contented?
Why then will you hunt each other?
"I am weary of your quarrels,
Weary of your wars and bloodshed,
Weary of your prayers for vengeance,
Of your wranglings and dissensions;
All your strength is in your union,
All your danger is in discord;
Therefore be at peace henceforward,
And as brothers live together.
"I will send a Prophet to you,
A Deliverer of the nations,
Who shall guide you and shall teach you,
Who shall toil and suffer with you.
If you listen to his counsels,
You will multiply and prosper;
If his warnings pass unheeded,
You will fade away and perish!
"Bathe now in the stream before you,
Wash the war-paint from your faces,
Wash the blood-stains from your fingers,
Bury your war-clubs and your weapons,
Break the red stone from this quarry,
Mould and make it into Peace-Pipes,
Take the reeds that grow beside you,
Deck them with your brightest feathers,
Smoke the calumet together,
And as brothers live henceforward!"

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow commanded, in his heyday, in America and Britain the fame and celebrity we these days accord to rock stars. His poetry is now looked upon by some as unfashionable, not by me. It's easy to read, and to understand. Accessible is, I think, the term used in literary circles. Fashionable, as applied to poetry, usually means a good helping of affectation, the result proving to be unintelligible to the average reader.

Longfellow's epic poem The Song of Hiawatha has long been a favourite of mine. Its rhythm is hypnotic.

Born in Portland, Maine on 27 February 1807, Longfellow's ancestors hailed from Yorkshire, England (my own native county).

(12 noon chart used as no time of birth known)

An appropriate natal chart for a poet. The element of Water dominates. Sun Mercury Pluto and Venus all in Pisces, and trining Uranus, Saturn and Moon in Scorpio. (Moon's degree unknown for lack of birth time).

On-line biographies indicate that Longfellow was a gentle person, but from a young age ambitious for fame as a writer. His Scorpio planets would have been the driving force, I guess, whilst those 4 Pisces planets fired his imagination and vision.

Jupiter at 00 Aquarius squares Aquarius's ruler Uranus at 00 Scorpio. Mars in Virgo opposes the stellium of Pisces planets. These are challenging aspects in a chart which would otherwise have seemed serene. Some events in his life may mirror these challenges. Longfellow married twice. His first wife died following a miscarriage, his second wife died as a result of her clothing catching fire. No doubt the melancholy which seeps through some of his poems stems from these sad events.

Walt Whitman is reported to have said, after Longfellow's death:
"He comes as the poet of melancholy, courtesy, deference--poet of all sympathetic gentleness--and universal poet of women and young people. I should have to think long if I were ask'd to name the man who has done more and in more valuable directions, for America."


James Higham said...

What are you doing on this day?

Twilight said...

James Higham ~~ We tend to ignore holiday weekends, and leave all the road space and action to those for whom holiday weekends are their only chance of a break.

So it's "just another (un)manic Monday" for us. :-)

Gian Paul said...

Being allergic to anything military (to the point that I almost went to jail in Switzerland for manifesting my convictions), I also appreciate Longfellows poem.

However, some time after I had finally managed to get out of the army, a business friend, British and head of the Geneva subsidiary of one of the English major merchant banks asked me if I would make the horoscope of his new-born son. (He already had 3 daughters then).

The child had, I remember, Mars conjunct his Midheaven in Sagittarius. I told the parents when delivering my interpretation, that probably their son might get involved with the military some day, and would be quite successful.

They were amazed. The reason being that the father's family since time immemorial was always providing officers (and some of high rank, they said) to the British army.

So, like the military or not, destiny seams to have and always probably will reserve a place for them. Lets hope in diminishing fashion...

Twilight said...

Gian Paul ~~~ Glad you're another "peacenik", GP.

Yes, Mars is ensconced in our bloodline whether we like it or not - how strongly it figures in our individual blueprints is key to how warror-like we might become.

Maybe one day some warrior will accidentally "nuke" Mars - then what? A race of benign humankind would emerge? Probably not - Pluto would be waiting in the wings. ;-)

Wisewebwoman said...

I'm also a fan, T, my favourite being:
And I have walked that trail.

Twilight said...

WWW ~~~ I'm not as familiar with that one as with "Song of Hiawatha" - will take a look - sounds like a sad, sad story though.