Thursday, June 30, 2011

Astrologer's Words of Wisdom ~ Bernadette Brady

Some words of astrologer Bernadette Brady have remained in my memory long after reading them, in Gary Phillipson's book Astrology in the Year Zero (published 2000). This a book of interviews with astrologers and researchers into astrology, edited and compiled by Gary Phillipson.

Bernadette Brady referred to the world that rejects astrology as "Flatland"; and the fable Flatland written by Edwin Abbot provides an excellent way of thinking about this issue. In Edwin Abbot's tale, beings that exist in two dimensions (as lines, circles, squares and so on) find their world being intruded upon by three-dimensional beings. These intrusions are incomprehensible; as a sphere passes through Flatland, for instance, it appears to the inhabitants as a circle that expands, shrinks and then disappears altogether. Their ability to make sense of the world is limited by the structure their minds impose upon experience. (page 195)

Bernadette Brady M.A. is a professional consulting and teaching astrologer who lives in Bristol, UK. She holds a Master's Degree in Culture Astronomy and Astrology from Bath Spa University, UK . In September, 2006 she was honoured by the Astrological Association of Great Britain and awarded the prestigious Charles Harvey Award for "exceptional service to astrology".

A microbiologist at the time, Ms Brady came to astrology via her attempts to disprove it. There's a report of an interview with Ms Brady by Gary Phillipson at Skyscript. Her own website is HERE.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Homosexuality, Astrology, Prejudice.

The issue of identifying homosexuality in a natal chart, and the issue of homosexuality in general were mentioned, in passing, in comments here a few days ago. For any curious passing reader relevant comments are HERE.

My view is that gender cannot be identified in a natal chart, and neither can sexual preferences. To check myself - I could be wrong - I looked around the net for information and views.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: there's a mountain of rubbish out there the size of Everest!

I did come across a sensible and very detailed investigation of the topic at Astro-Revelations: Gay Astrology ?

The author's conclusion echoes my own. This is how the piece concludes after having examined written work by such luminaries as Liz Greene, Stephen Arroyo, Francis Sakoian & Louis S Acker, and several other professional astrologers ~~

In conclusion I would suggest that searching for a homosexual signature in the natal chart is a complete waste of time and quite irrelevant. This search in itself seems implicitly homophobic. There is absolutely no consensus of opinion amongst astrologers about it. The multitude of astrological signatures that have been suggested are just hearsay and are not backed up by any serious empirical evidence.

There is no evidence or authentic tradition that the hard aspects (square, opposition and sometimes conjunction ) between Mars/Venus and the outer planets are more likely to be linked to homosexuality than heterosexuality.

The fact that astrologers have suggested this link in the past speaks volumes about the prevalent ill-informed prejudices against gay and lesbian people.

Moreover, the search for an astrological signature for homosexuality presupposes that it is abnormal in some way. The fact that this search has been spectacularly unsuccessful speaks for itself. Sexual orientation like race, religion and gender cannot be detected in the chart; the chart does not judge whether a person is normal or abnormal and neither should we.

The same dynamics exist in homosexual relationships as well as heterosexual ones. The planetary energies are ultimately beyond gender and belong to us all.

Hear hear!!

What might well be identifiable in a natal chart is a predisposition to prejudices of one sort or another - prejudice against gays included. Look for narrow-mindedness, a judgmental nature, strictness, structure, regimentation = astrological Saturn and the way it relates to other personal planets.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Men, Men, Men....

At the weekend, fellow-blogger James at Nourishing Obscurity wrote a post titled: "Women - from the high to the low", commenting on some types of female he'd encountered during a working day. It's an entertaining read, if at times a tad worrying. James threw out an invitation/challenge for female bloggers to write in similar vein about males. Never one to ignore a challenge (Moon in Aries) - here I go.

As a female "of a certain age", retired from daily labour other than pounding a computer keyboard, and a bit of light housework, I don't get to encounter many stray males these days. Undeterred, and remembering that this blog's main focus is astrology, I scooted around the net a while and landed on a website called Red Zeppelin with a post headed Types of Douchebags, written, I think, by a male blogger. So, what follows is a male view of a selection of male types, when part of a clique. I found the piece fun to contemplate.

Disclaimer: I prefer to consider characteristics irrespective of gender. My view is that men and women display broadly similar characteristics, human characteristics. I'm not into the hackneyed view that "men are from Mars, women are from Venus". And, to be led by appearance alone, in the case of either gender, is superficial and apt to be seriously misleading's akin to judging a person by their Sun sign.

I'm borrowing the illustration which follows, and descriptive paragraphs from Part One of the 2009 "Douchchebag" post linked above and recommend that passing readers consult the original for Part Two and more.

I shall allocate likely zodiac signatures (NB: Not Sun signs) to each "type", in CAPITALS. Bear in mind that all men will carry more than one signature. These signatures are my own opinion, passing readers might see things differently - if so, please do comment. Bear in mind also that these characteristics could equally apply to females.

The piece begins:
There is one rule, especially for men, that is applicable in all situations: Every male that is not your friend is, for one reason or another, a douchebag. This is true 100% of the time and in order to not be considered a douchebag, you must prove your innocence.

There are seven categories of douchebag: Judgey, One-Upper, Punchy, Aww (not represented in the illustration), Pity, Planner, and Wannabe. None any better or worse than another and most people are a combination of two or more. To figure out what type of douchebag you are, think of a situation where you are amongst a group of your friends and you meet a new person. Each clique typically has (and needs) at least one of every type. I digress.

Judgey: Also known as Silent Judgey, the Judgey does not offer much in the way of conversation except for minimal small-talk. The role of the Judgey is to draw conclusions of the new person based on secret criteria that only they know. Usually the criteria are all things that the Judgey is either good at, or knows a lot about. For example, a Judgey might silently write me off as an idiot because I ended the last sentence with the word "about". They, of course, would never tell me this but only, later, share this with other Judgies.

One-Upper: The goal of the one-upper is not necessarily to finish your story with "...oh yeah, well one time I caught a fish that was twice that size" but rather to dominate a conversation with better, more exciting topics. One-uppers will steer conversations towards themselves and things they like and are always dismissive of anything you might have to say. (LEO - ARIES - GEMINI)

Punchy: Punchy does not punch per se but is frequently oblivious to what they're saying and is not hesitant about being combative. They usually mistake the Judgey's silence for approval. Punchies can be obnoxious but also irritating in their need to be the center of attention at all times. (ARIES - SCORPIO - LEO)

Pity: Pities talk about themselves constantly and not in the way as the One-Upper or Punchy. Pities are always complaining about things they can readily control and don't expecting you to agree that their lives suck and will never get better. People that are constantly complaining about how busy they are, are Pities. As an evening progresses, the Pity can evolve into arguably the most annoying type of douchebag. (CANCER - PISCES)

Planner: Planners are typically the most friendly but need to have things their way. When you disagree with them they exhibit signs of Judgey or Punchy depending on their personality.

Wannabe: The Wannabe is usually the friend of a single group member and not widely accepted by the whole group. They do not exhibit any particular personality traits but they're always there. The Wannabe is usually down for any suggestion because it means they have friends but will never make a suggestion to do anything because they do not carry enough clout in the douchebag unit.

: The Aww category is reserved for people for whom the group is ambivalent. No one ever says, "Oh awesome, John is here" nor do they ever say "Oh god, John is here". For the most part Awws are just kind of there. If they were nicer they'd be exonerated from the douchebag list but they never are.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Music Monday ~ Untapped Talent: Landau Eugene Murphy

As well as being an American Idol junkie I'm a sucker for any kind of talent show, more especially any musical input. Ever since old radio days of my childhood, when I loved to listen to The Carroll Levis Discovery Show, back in England I've been hooked. When TV came along it spawned a whole range of goodies for me: Opportunity Knocks; New Faces; Search for a Star; Stars in Their Eyes; Popstars/Pop Idol/The X Factor; Fame Academy to name a few.

Maybe a skilled astrologer could pinpoint the source of this enthusiasm in my natal chart - I suspect it's linked to Jupiter in Pisces semi-sextile my Sun in Aquarius. But that's getting away from the reason I started on this tack.

Over the years I've waxed cynical about the way audiences are increasingly manipulated by shows' producers, but even knowing this, when an unexpected, totally untapped singing talent suddenly hits the screen I'm gobsmacked and hooked all over again.

On Wednesday evening last week, on America's Got Talent we had one of those gobsmacking moments similar to the one British audiences experienced a couple of years ago when Susan Boyle sang.

A 36-year old from West Virginia, gum-chewing guy with dreadlocks and an engaging smile, who has been washing cars for the past 10 years, never auditioned before, or sung before an audience came on stage and sang. I guarantee that he'll never wash another car, unless its his own !

As a longtime Sinatra fan I was a pushover, of course. But it was more than his Sinatra-like voice that attracted me - it was his whole demeanour. I'll bet he's a great guy, that was the feeling I got. I wish I knew his date of birth. Maybe it'll surface. If a passing reader knows it, do, please comment.

The Voice, another musical talent show on American TV at present is proving to be entertaining - though the contestants' talents are not exactly "untapped". The four who have battled through to next week's final are on a different level, they have past experience under their belts, already in the semi-pro category, looking for a big break. It's all good, but we don't feel gobsmacked, just appreciative of hearing some seriously talented singers who are new to us.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Social Security In Danger

The Koch Brothers (notes on their astrology appear in archived post are now plotting and aiding the dismemberment of Social Security in the USA.

As someone who was able to retire at age 60 with a UK civil service pension and a state pension from the UK at age 65, I appreciate how fortunate I am. I realise how dreadfully unfair it would be, especially to people now in their late 40s to mid-fifties who have dutifully paid their taxes throughout working life, to now be confronted with this possibility on their horizons.

With every week that passes I become more disillusioned with this nation - a beautiful, beautiful land, kindly, friendly people, with evil, corrupt and greedy corporatist scoundrels in charge. The people have allowed it to descend as low as this though, over several decades. They need to wake up - and quickly!

In case non-US readers are unclear, Social Security in the US is a federal government programme, funded through dedicated payroll taxes, to provide retirement and disability insurance, unemployment benefits and other social programs.

Robert Greenwald this week at Common Dreams wrote that the Koch Brothers have spent millions funding opinion-forming propaganda to undermine this vital public service : See HERE
Documents and interviews unearthed in recent months by Brave New Foundation researchers illustrate a $28.4m Koch business that has manufactured 297 commentaries, 200 reports, 56 studies and six books distorting social security's effectiveness and purpose. Together, the publications reveal a vast cottage industry comprised of Koch brothers' spokespeople, front groups, thinktanks, academics and elected officials, which has built a self-sustaining echo chamber to transform fringe ideas into popular mainstream public policy arguments.

"The Koch brothers job is to do everything they can to dismember government in general," Senator Bernie Sanders says in this video. "If you can destroy social security, you will have gone a long way forward in that effort."

Friday, June 24, 2011

SCI-FI FRI ~ Nuclear Hurricane & Absolon

Two common ingredients of science fiction movies came up in a couple of DVDs we watched recently: robots taking over, working against human interest; and corporations taking over and.... working against human interest. Both were "B"-ish movies at best, probably made for TV, low budget jobs but still interesting: Nuclear Hurricane and Absolon.

In Nuclear Hurricane (2007) a computer called STACI, with a sweet-cum-bitchy female voice has been allowed complete control of a nuclear plant situated on a remote island - location undisclosed. The cooling system becomes a problem just as the father of all hurricanes is headed straight towards the island and the plant. As the hurricane gets stronger, and with the nuclear core in serious danger of meltdown, time is not on its side, nor it appears is STACI. HAL of 2001 a Space Odyssey and GERTY of Moon have nothing on STACI when it comes to malevolent intent!

I picked up the DVD in a rental store for two reasons: the thought of life imitating art (cf. Fukushima), and the fact that Jack Scalia plays a leading part. OOOhhh - I remember Jack Scalia from TV's Dallas in the old days. Loved him. He was one of Sue Ellen's many love interests (see below).

I note that he was born on 10 November 1950 -Sun in Scorpio. Dang those Scorpio males, they do have some kind of hypnotic magnetism, arising from either looks or writing style: Carl Sagan, Richard Grossinger, to name a couple of others mentioned in past posts. As it turned out I didn't even recognise Jack until the last 20 minutes of the movie, I'd been waiting for the Dallas version to miraculously appear (silly me!) He has aged and widened quite a bit. Once recognised, though, the twinkle in his eyes and the kindly aura I fell for was still there.

Nuclear Hurricane held our interest - that's as much praise as I can muster. The storyline is fairly predictable for anyone familiar with the genre. For Jack Scalia fans of yesteryear though, it's good to see him again.

Absolon (2003) is yet another post-apocalyptic tale. Embarrassingly for the author it's set in 2010. A deadly virus has emerged and killed off at least half of the planet’s population. A scientist created a drug known as Absolon. The drug nullifies symptoms of the viral disease, enabling users to continue to live, but they must keep taking the drug - and guess who owns the drug: an evil corporation! They obtain even more power and domination than we yet see in real life (but we shouldn't hold our breaths). However, the same scientist also created a complete cure which would wipe out the disease forever. He is killed....surprise surprise. Guess by whom!

Lead actor is Christopher Lambert, female interest Kelly Brook. We didn't recognise Lambert, but we both remarked on his rather strange demeanour and accent. We decided he must be an unknown actor from somewhere in Europe. He's American-born it turns out, but of French parentage. His father was a United Nations diplomat assigned to Switzerland. Christopher was educated at private boarding schools in Geneva and at the Paris Conservatoire. In his glory days, the 1980s and 90s, he was as co-star of Highlander and its sequels. He also played Tarzan in the Greystoke movie.

From information gleaned online it appears that Lambert is myopic and cannot wear contact lenses. This means that when playing a role that doesn't allow him to wear eyeglasses he can't see much on set - which well explains that rather odd demeanour of his when not wearing the tinted shades.

I picked up a junk store VCR tape of Highlander the other day, it's a film I didn't see back in the day. It'll be interesting to note how Christopher Lambert rolled in his heyday.

He was born 29 March 1957 in Great Neck New York with Sun, Mercury, Venus in Aries, close to midheaven; Moon in Pisces; and (according to Astrodatabank) Cancer rising. Moon in Pisces and Uranus (in Leo) in first house of self go some way to explaining his draw to the fantasy/sci-fi genre. He was well-cast as The Highlander, a tale depicting the climax of an ages-old battle between immortal warriors, through interwoven past and present day storylines. Triple Aries at midheaven - immortal warrior? Yes siree-bob!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

JOHN HUNTSMAN, Presidential Candidate

Had John Huntsman entered the presidential race as an Independent rather than a Republican I might have thought seriously of giving him my vote. He looks, to me, like the best of a bad lot (and that includes the incumbent president!)

As I wrote in an earlier post featuring Michele Bachmann, the presidential election really comes down to which personality one prefers as a figurehead, a brand, a logo, for the nation. Whoever wins, the true power, behind the presidential throne, will not change. Call it what you like - Oligarchy, Plutocracy, Corporatocracy - the US isn't a true democracy any longer.

With Huntsman running as an Independent many disaffected Democrats might have considered voting for Huntsman, if he talked a good game. Anyway, that's not happening....if wishes were horses beggars would ride!

Huntsman's birth detail including time of birth is available at The Political Blog. He was born at 11:58 am on March 26th, 1960 in Palo Alto, California. Chart and notes on astrology follow.

First, a few factors which could help or harm Huntsman's run.

He's not too old, not too young, attractive and "looks the part".

He is a Morman

He comes from a wealthy background - father is a billionaire businessman.

Served a Morman mission in Taiwan, speaks fluent Mandarin

Worked as a White House staff assistant for Ronald Reagan, and he was appointed by George H.W. Bush as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce and later as United States Ambassador to Singapore from 1992-1993.

Served 2 terms as Governor of Utah. While maintaining a budget surplus pushed hard on a broad reform agenda, with positive results. He helped lower the state's sales tax on food, re-structured the work week for state employees and made changes to the state's health care system that sought to lower the number of uninsured. During his tenure Utah was named the "Best Managed State in America" by Pew Research Center.

President Obama appointed him US Ambassador to China in 2009.

Sun and Moon in Aries = a pioneer, an initiator, a leader, in both heart and head. He'll have energy to spare, and would not be afraid of "taking the gloves off" faced with aggressive opposition.

Venus and Mercury in gentle intuitive Pisces bring a fine balance to his "harder" Aries side - I like that!

Mars in Aquarius should represent a fighter for social reform. Whereas Republicans generally are not known for true social reform, in his case I suspect he's drawn, at least somewhat, in this direction.

Jupiter and Saturn in Capricorn clearly mark his conservatism and air of authority. Saturn in its sign of rulership is particularly clear on this.

What I especially like in this chart is a Yod (Finger of Fate) with Uranus in Leo (planet of change and the avant garde) at its apex. The Yod links sextiled planets Mercury/Venus and Saturn to Uranus via two quincunx (150 degree) aspects. Characteristics of the planet at apex are said to "flavour" blended attributes of the sextiled planets. In this case planet of change and new ideas is the channel through which are blended Huntsman's conservative/authoritative/communicative/emotional/intuitive characteristics. For those of us who long for change, here's someone to watch!

Transiting Uranus is passing through Aries at present, and already passed his natal Moon once in March, (possibly around the time he decided to make a change in his lifestyle and run as candidate?) Uranus will retrograde back over his Moon later this year and will transit his natal Sun next year and on into 2013. Evidence of change, of some kind. His campaign will be a change of lifestyle in itself, of course. Though the presence of Uranus doesn't indicate success, it does seem significant that its transit will be so close to his Sun (self).

Transiting Pluto (planet of transformation) in Capricorn will not be near Huntsman's natal Jupiter until 2016. If at first he does not succeed, there's always 2016!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Zodiac Sign Cancer, Solstice, & Edward Hopper

Reviving here paragraphs from Ingrid Lind's little book Astrology & Commonsense (1962) to discover her take on the sign ruled by the Moon ~ Cancer:

The conflict here is the busy, active cardinal quality as part of an otherwise entirely emotional, negative and intuitive nature, The signs starting from Aries are alternately positive and negative. Taurus has many negative or feminine characteristics and this is true of Cancer. Here, to carry on the picture of gradual expansion from primitivity, woman has now fulfilled herself in motherhood, Whereas in Taurus her man came first, it is now her child and her home; and her energy is expressed in the effort to protect and preserve these.

Thus, in men or women whose charts show strength in Cancer there is a pronounced love of home or family and great loyalty to these. Just as a mother instinctively knows the need of her child and senses the approach of danger, so the Cancerian is intuitive and aware of surrounding atmosphere and public feeling. During the period of gestation any woman increases in sensitvity; she protects the child in her womb and has a natural feeling of self-importance in this act of creation, Cancerian women seem to have much of these feelings as a normal part of their emotional makeup. It would possibly be taken amiss if I were to suggest that Cancerians are like permanently pregnant women; but indeed it is true that much of the hypersensitivity and tendency to take things personally is typical of this sign in men and women.

Cancerian Qualities

Cancerian Faults
Taking things too personally

Earlier posts about zodiac sign Cancer can be easily accessed via the Label Cloud in the sidebar - just click on "Cancer".

Cancer also stands at the gate of Solstice, Summer Solstice in the northern hemisphere, Winter Solstice for our southern cousins. There was a good article on Solstice in a rather unexpected place yesterday: Common Dreams. Written by James Carroll : A Solstice Approaches, Unnoticed. He begins:

ONCE, HUMANS were intimate with the cycles of nature, and never more than on the summer solstice. Vestiges of such awareness survive in White Nights and Midnight Sun festivals in far northern climes, and in neo-pagan adaptations of Midsummer celebrations, but contemporary people take little notice of the sun reaching its far point on the horizon.

We know, don't we, that there's still a coterie of astrologically aware people who keep an eye on the sky, and who are quite often ridiculed for so doing?

And he closes thus:

As our sense of the complexities of life quickened and deepened, our destructiveness of life also quickened and deepened. Through ambitions of unlimited growth, consumption, competitive manufacture, and self-expanding technology, we humans have become a mechanism of extinction. When we stopped noticing Earth, we began to destroy it.

Intimate awareness of nature and its cycles, as we saw, was an ancient mode of survival. But survival is at issue again. Noticing the length of light now, reveling in the sun’s achievement, rejoicing in Earth’s perfect balance, honoring the summer solstice — loving it: This is how we became human, and it is how we stay human.

Solstice Greetings to all passing readers, in both hemispheres.

One of the best examples I know, of a Cancerian-type displaying his astrological credentials in his art, was American painter Edward Hopper. Born 22 July 1882, Nyack, New York. No birth time available - chart for 12 noon.

Much of Hopper's artwork reveals two things - a feeling of loneliness and isolation, and the stability of a home. He loved to paint houses - homes. He also liked to portray the isolation which can come from city life. In some of his paintings there's also more than a hint of love of the sea - yachts, lighthouses. How could the sign represented by a crab not love the sea? He also was fond of painting aspects of summer - some examples below.

Hopper's natal Sun and Mercury in Cancer reflect his very obvious attraction to houses - homes, together with an ever present feeling of isolation or withdrawal. The sign of Cancer is well known as being the "homely" sign of the zodiac, Cancerian qualities also include shyness and withdrawal (think of a crab disappearing into its shell).

Saturn and Neptune in Taurus with Venus, Mars and Uranus in Virgo bring a lot of Earthy element to his chart - another hint as to why he was so attracted to portraying houses, homes, buildings, something solid, stable and reliable.

Pluto and Jupiter in Gemini. Moon is certain to be somehwere in Libra whatever the time of birth. These placements provide Airy lightness and a nice balance in his personality.

Pluto in Gemini brought forth so many great communicators, both verbally and pictorially - Hopper is certainly one of these. Lloyd Goodrich wrote of him:
No artist has painted a more revealing portrait of twentieth-century America. But he was not merely an objective realist. His art was charged with strong personal emotion, with a deep attachment to our familiar everyday world, in all its ugliness, banality, and beauty.

His best known painting: NIGHTHAWKS

And a video for good measure, with Benny Goodman playing along ~

Monday, June 20, 2011

Music Monday ~ Happy Birthday Lionel Richie!

Today is the birthday of singer/songwriter Lionel Richie, born 20 June 1949 in Tuskegee, Alabama.

He was born right on the cusp of Gemini and Cancer, less than a full degree from the sign of the crab.

Astrologers generally don't like the thought that "cuspy" people carry the marks of both signs. Those born on the join of two signs often do though. In some cases the reason is that Mercury and/or Venus are to be found in the neighbouring sign where the Sun isn't - if you know what I mean. That can also happen when Sun is in mid or early sign, of course, but more likely to be so with Sun in the last/first degrees.

In Lionel Richie's case : Sun/Mercury/Mars are in Gemini, with Venus and Uranus in Cancer. Sun and Uranus are conjoined within a degree, so a bridge between Gemini and Cancer, for Mr Richie, is very well defined. Without a time of birth his ascendant remains a mystery, the chart is set for 12 noon. Moon would have been in mid to late Aries whatever his time of birth.

Gemini-types and Cancer-types are very different: one sociable, flexible in attitude, mentally oriented, cool, quite often drawn to writing; the other strongly emotion- driven, ultra sensitive, rather withdrawn, home-loving, sometimes shy. The blend of these characteristics is hard to imagine, but a look elsewhere in the chart can indicate where to place more weight.

Aries Moon would be more compatible with Gemini attributes, as would Neptune in Libra and Jupiter in Aquarius. In fact there's a Grand Trine circuit linking the Air signs Gemini/Libra/Aquarius, lending extra weight to the Airy Gemini side of Richie's nature, wellspring of his song-writing talent.

Saturn in Virgo helpfully sextiles the Uranus/Sun conjunction, strengthening perhaps, a shaky bridge of understanding across the Gemini-Cancer chasm.

Whether you are into the kind of emotion-driven songs Lionel Richie is famous for probably relies a lot on your own ratio of Water/Earth to Air/Fire. I tend to swing from loving 'em to feeling that "enough's enough". I wouldn't say I actually dislike his songs, and would never scoff at their (Cancerian) sentimentality as some critics delight in own natal Cancer rising sees to that!

Richie was featured in an episode of a recent TV series Who Do You Think You Are? In the series genealogy experts assisted several "celebrity" figures to trace their ancestry.

His maternal grandmother taught music at Tuskegee University. The programme's focus was on her ancestry and a surrounding mystery of her father's identity. The trail led to Nashville where Richie discovered that his great-grandfather had helped sow the seeds of the Civil Rights movement. Very sadly though, he was buried in a pauper's grave, which, not surprisingly, brought Mr Richie to tears. More here.....and here.

Lady was written for Kenny Rogers by Lionel Richie. Richie sings his own composition in the video below.

Sunday, June 19, 2011


Father's Voice
by William Stafford

"No need to get home early;
the car can see in the dark."
He wanted me to be rich
the only way we could,
easy with what we had.

And always that was his gift,
given for me ever since,
easy gift, a wind
that keeps on blowing for flowers
or birds wherever I look.

World, I am your slow guest,
one of the common things
that move in the sun and have
close, reliable friends
in the earth, in the air, in the rock.

William Stafford, an American poet born in Kansas, I love his honest-to-goodness plain style of poetry. No pretentious fluffy flights of fancy, but the ability to use words as triggers so that the reader creates their own flight. He was born on 17 January 1914, with 4 personal planets in Capricorn, between 20 and 29 degrees, and Uranus in Aquarius at 6 degrees, tagging along with the Capricorn stellium. Uranus never just tags along though! The rebel planet manifested in Mr. Stafford via his pacifist stance during World War 2.

Remembering my own dear Dad (and Mum) with love on this special day ~~

(circa 1980)

Friday, June 17, 2011

SCI-FI FRI ~ DUNE ~ Frank Herbert ~ A Wee Astro Blooper?

Dune, often referred to as the sci-fi equivalent of Lord of the Rings, inspired George Lucas's Star Wars and numerous later sci-fi books and films. Dune is set on a desert planet far, far away in a time futher into the future than I can comfortably get my head around. After watching DVDs of a TV mini-series based on Frank Herbert's 1965 novel, as well as other DVDs featuring it's sequel Children of Dune, I'm about to become a bit of a Dune junkie, am waiting eagerly for a copy of the original novel to arrive. Since drafting this post I've also watched a DVD of the critically trashed 1984 movie Dune, directed by David Lynch. Didn't enjoy it at all, and am glad I saw the TV miniseries first.

To place the events of Dune in some kind of time context, which my curiosity annoyingly demanded, I gleaned the following, from a variety of sources. At some point (possibly several hundred years from now?) the Earth had became a burnt out shell, due to either nuclear war or environmental devastation. By that time, however, humans had de-camped, conquered space and colonised many planets. Gradually, over tens of thousands of years they built up a huge interstellar empire. At some point artificial intelligence had begun to take over from humans. Wars were fought against intelligent computers and robots. Eventually many technological achievements were outlawed or destroyed. The interstellar empire is, at the time of Dune, ruled by an emperor and series of "Houses" of ruling families, something akin to the old Royal Houses of Europe. These Houses constantly conspire one against another, in eternal feud.

As Dune (TV min-series version) opens, stewardship of planet Arrakis is transferred by the Emperor from one noble House to another: from House Harkonnen to House Atreides. On Arrakis a tribe known as Fremen inhabit the harsh desert environment. Over time they (originally an exiled religious sect) have adapted their culture and way of life in order to survive. They are known for their fighting skills and ability to survive in the waterless desert. Fremen culture revolves around water conservation. Water distilled from their dead is carefully saved, they consider spitting to be an honorable greeting, and value tears as the greatest gift one can give to the dead.

When travelling outside of their base they wear "stillsuits" (left): body-enclosing suits designed to collect and recycle all the moisture the body releases, from urine, feces and sweat, to the exhalation of water vapor in the breath. The water re-cycled is held in catchpockets, available to drink through a tube.

Arrakis is of great importance to the empire being the only known source of a precious "spice" called Melange. This "spice" is a by-product of giant sandworms, and the most valuable material in the known universe. It is used for "folding time" to enable ease of space travel, and, when ingested endows prescience and longevity.

I spotted one possible astrological "blooper" in the mini-series. In the background of some indoor palace scenes (can't find a suitable photograph), in an area where a Bene Gesserit sorceress has her trappings, there's a big round window behind which you can see part of the circle of an astrological chart showing zodiac signs - OUR zodiac signs. Surely the Bene Gesserit sisterhood of magical mental-conditioning and superhuman powers would have devised a zodiac appropriate for their part of the universe? The familiar version shown wouldn't be of use on any planet other than Earth. I won't know whether this backdrop came from the TV set-designers' imaginations or from Frank Herbert's own descriptions until I've read the book. One could say, I guess, that what was displayed was a keepsake, an antique from "the Old Planet". But that old planet, original birthplace of all humans, lay so far in the distant past at the time of Dune that anything belonging to Earth or its memory, would be quite unlikely to have survived.

Backdrops and costumes blend styles borrowed from ancient Egypt, Peru, ancient Greece, medieval Europe and the Middle East. Whether these accurately reflect what Frank Herbert had in mind I wont know until I've read the book(s).... which could take some time!

As in many sci-fi/fantasy works there's an allegorical thread in Dune. Arrakis "spice" could easily be translated as oil. Arrakis, when pronounced, sounds spookily like Iraq, and the emperor's name, Shaddam Corrino IV - sounds like....well you know. Bear in mind though that the novel was published in 1965 - well before recent unpleasantnesses. A shrewd and very well-informed novelist like Frank Herbert could, perhaps, sense future developments.
“The function of science fiction is not always to predict the future but sometimes to prevent it.” ~Frank Herbert

If David Lynch couldn't fit Dune into a 2-hour movie, what chance do I have fitting the storyline into a tiny blog post? Enough to say that the epic tale develops via a mega-House feud and the emergence of a young prophet.

This is no "fluff" science fiction, it goes as deep as the reader/viewer is able to dive. It's clear that the attempts to adapt the book to either the big or small screen have only scratched the surface. Philosophical elements set around religion and its exploitation for political ends, manipulation of the gene pool, cloning, use and abuse of power and prophecy are examined. We are asked to consider, for instance whether, if we knew too much about the future that we would lose the power to make a difference. Should we ever place so much reliance on certain commodities ("spice", water..... oil) that we eventually find ourselves at the mercy of others who might wish to destroy us? Heavy stuff indeed!

There's new terminology to get to grips with - evidence of how dense is the detail in Dune.


Frank Herbert, creator of Dune and its five sequels, as well as sundry other novels, was born on 8 October 1920 in Tacoma, Washington at 7:30 AM (Astrodatabank).

Frank Herbert decided by the time he was 8 years old what he wanted to do with his life: become an author. He became a journalist first, after service in the navy, then began writing short stories, then novels, leading up to the epic Dune, with a series of sequels coming much later.

Herbert was an avid researcher. The depth, richness and scope of his imagination and creativity grew out of his reading, his curiosity and tireless questioning on many different fronts. His idea for Dune arose out of research he did for a magazine article (never published) about shifting sand dunes in the US.

.... he hung on to all his notes and ecological data, and eventually he began to play with the idea of an entire planet of sand dunes..... The end result, six years later, was a magnum opus that combined elements of religion, philosophy, politics, environmentalism, drug addiction, and evolutionary extrapolation -- all into a groundbreaking work that far surpassed anything produced in science fiction before. Dune was acknowledged as being at once a work of great literature, richly detailed, convincingly unfolded, and a work of fascinating ideas and predictions. Most significant within the latter category: his representation of the politics of trade cartels (a stunning parallel of OPEC's later significance in the late 70s), his allegorical message on the consequences of environmental shortsightedness, and his examination of the psychology of messianic movements..... (SEE HERE)

Herbert's attention to detail is easy to find in his natal chart - three planets in detail-oriented Virgo: Moon/Jupiter/Saturn. Virgo is one of two signs ruled by Mercury the writer's planet (the other being Gemini).

Mercury itself lay in Scorpio and forms part of a Grand Trine (harmonious linked circuit) in Water signs linking Mercury, Pluto and Uranus. The fact that Mercury (writing/communication)links to Uranus (futuristic) and Pluto (darkness and the unknowable) reflects well his chosen genre: science fiction.

Sun and ascendant in Airy, mentally oriented Libra link by helpful sextile to Neptune, planet of creativity, imagination and dreams. Sci-fi/fantasy ingredients are all there, and all nicely linked-in!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Astrologer's Words of Wisdom ~ Palden Jenkins & 2012

Palden Jenkins is based in the UK - if you're not familiar with the name, take a look at his bio and a few of his archived articles. A list of books written by Jenkins can be found HERE.

I'm quoting, below, from a 2002 piece of his from the website Cura : History and the Cycles of Uranus Neptune and Pluto. It's a long piece and takes a reader's close concentration, especially so due to the width of the text area. We bloggers get used to reading narrower text areas and become lazy, but it's well worth the effort to read this piece.

These words of wisdom come from the closing paragraphs of the article:
At present, many prophecy buffs look toward the year 2012 as a time of drastic change. Though end-of-the-world type anticipations might turn out to be exaggerated, there nevertheless is a Uranus-Pluto square from 2012-15. At a square, new impulses arising from a conjunction are put to the test - there is a manifestation crisis. The astrologically-logical likelihood for 2012 is that the paradigm-shift issues of the 1960s will be forced by circumstance to deliver their goods: ecological ideas, women's power and techno-globalism, to name but three bundles of issues, will probably have to handle an emergency. War, institutions and boundaries (Aries-Capricorn) are predictable front-runners for likely trouble. Knowing how things are nowadays, this aspect is likely actually to bring a hailstorm of major issues.

But the choices now are fundamental. We need to realise, for example, that war no longer resolves conflicts as once it did. This is now a pragmatic issue, not solely a moral one or the domain of lettuce-eating pacifists. In the twelve years up to this aspect, we possess the choice to make major proactive forward-steps, or to continue delaying and avoiding such challenges as long as possible. As in 1930, on the previous square, when economic and social crisis demanded drastic action, so around 2012 we tread perilous paths along which the choices we make might have enormous and rapid outcomes. Ten years after 1930 the world was at war. What will the world be like in the decade following 2012?

Since Planet Earth is a world of variety, a variety of things will undoubtedly happen. There will no doubt be both horrors and deeply moving breakthroughs, and (especially for reincarnate Mayans!) it could be the end and beginning of a new age - of some sort! However, this is a square, concerning concrete issues, and the Uranus-Pluto cycle began back in the 1960s. Perhaps the new age began back then, without our realising it, and perhaps, with visionary and bloody stuff included, the full variety is already showing itself.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Michele Bachmann & The 2012 Facade

"We cannot risk giving President Obama four more years to dismantle our nation. We must act now," Michele Bachmann said in a fundraising letter sent within an hour of her entrance to the 2012 Republican field of candidates for nomination. "That's why I've made the decision to get in this race."

Yeah, yeah yeah...underlying text: "...we can't risk President Obama dismantling our nation - WE wanna do it!"

I'm sickened by the whole political set-up in the US. It's rotten to the core.

The people who voted for Barack Obama in 2008 were clear about what they wanted, they believed in him and in what he said he'd do, if elected. They (or we, because I was fooled too) should now realise that voting for what we want, even with a fairly strong majority behind us , does not bring change.

The system is rigged.

Obama lied to the people. Little, if anything is different from the situation under G.W. Bush, the most villified president in decades. We are now in more wars than in Bush's reign. Many of Bush's advisors also advise Obama. Guantanamo is still open. Tax cuts for the wealthiest 1%. Nothing substantial has yet been done to regulate financial companies. No improvement in education. Healthcare "reform" is a thinly hidden gift to the insurance companies. Medicare and Social Security are now vulnerable, and the Prez , given a chance, is quite likely to weaken both.

In November 2012 people of the USA will be voting for "a personality", a figure-head no more than that. The same backroom manipulators will continue calling the shots.

Bearing that in mind, I'll take a quick look at the natal chart of Ms Bachmann, latest entrant to the Republican race for nomination, and try to retain some level of respect, rather than take the path of ridicule which appears to be a fairly common one.

Born 6 April 1956 in Waterloo, Iowa. Chart is set for 12 noon as time of birth ian't known.

Sun and Mercury in Aries. Moon, if born before 11 PM, in Aquarius, otherwise in Pisces. No time of birth is available, yet, so ascendant is a mystey, and exact position of Moon unknown. Still, we can glean the picture of an energetic, somewhat aggressive person, not only from her Aries planets but also from some oppositions:
Mars-Uranus; Venus-Saturn; possibly Moon-Jupiter/Pluto.

If Moon was in Aquarius - there's her pull towards a career aim of what she sees as social reform.

Mars, ruler of her Aries Sun, lay in conservative Capricorn, in square aspect to her Sun/Mercury, and as already mentioned, opposing Uranus (i.e. opposing anything that smells even vaguely modern or futuristic).

In May Alex Miller wrote a Glactic Profile of Michele Bachman, which I recommend for some deeper insights.

I'll just add that transiting Uranus, planet of change, will be in the area around Ms Bachmann's natal Sun/Mercury in 2015/16, with Saturn in trine from Sagittarius. I see that as an indication that, though her attempt this time around will likely prove unsuccessful, the 2016 election could turn out to be, for her, another kettle of fish altogether. If Barack Obama retains the presidency in 2012, it's highly likely that a Republican will succeed in 2016: pendulum swings. Ms Bachmann will have had four more years to hone her skills and grow some gravitas. What could be more newsworthy, and an attractive proposition for "the manipulators" in the backroom, than a first female president following on from the first African-American president?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Will the Real Antichrist Please Stand Up?

After another trip down the rabbit-hole that is Google, this time chasing....the Antichrist, with no idea why I felt the urge to do so, I found Mad Hatter's Tea Party in full swing. Antichrist (for brevity's sake, AC) stories properly originate in the Bible, but have been "borrowed", and made to fit circumstances appropriate to their times, by several "seers" of decades and centuries past.

A nap selection of internet nonsense follows. If a passing reader knows of other ideas or nominations, do let me know via comment.

Jean Dixon, American psychic and astrologer (1896-1981) predicted, via a vision, that the AC would be born on or around 5 February 1962 (presumably due to the extraordinary cluster of planets in Aquarius on that date). Why Aquarius gets the dubious honour of being "sign of the AC" is anybody's guess. Ms Dixon's prediction has, in recent years, spawned yet another variation on.....THAT birth certificate issue, so beloved of some anti-Obama individuals. Theory is that he's not covering up his place of birth, they say, but his actual date of birth! That'd put the cat among the astrologers would it not?

As an alternative.. they offer that Obama, while not the AC, is the fore-runner (mirror image of John the Baptist) making smooth the way for the real AC. That sounds reasonable...or as reasonable as these things get. I have to admit that in the days of Barack Obama's 2008 campaign, when crowds of adoring supporters were practically falling down before him, I did get a spooky feeling of AC in the air. I put it down to having watched a few DVDs of the Left Behind series - or maybe one over-generous glass of Scotch too many.

Another theory: because several prophecies have indicated that the AC will be born somewhere in the middle-east, with a mix of ME and Roman bloodlines, King Abdullah of Jordan, born 30 January 1962, of a British mother, gets the nod. The King's been very quiet so far, doesn't seem like yer average AC to me.

Followers of whacky Grail theories and David Icke have pointed fingers at Prince William as AC. Bloodlines, apparently. Others fancy Vladimir Putin as AC - gawd knows why.

To demonstrate how nutty all of this supposition really is I'm going to throw in another name: Eddie Izzard. I'm sure he'd have a laugh about it. He was born 7 February 1962 in Aden (now Yemen). Two boxes ticked, and... erm..I see a third.
He will have "no regard for the desire of women": He will either be asexual or homosexual
[Dan 11:37]

He will rise from obscurity…a “little horn” [Daniel 7:8]

He will speak boastfully [Daniel 7:8; Rev 13:5]

He will try to change the laws, perhaps to gain an advantage for his new kingdom and era
[Dan 7:25]

He will be worshipped by many people. [Rev. 13:8]

Seriously, my own opinion of the AC story/prophecy: I see it as allegorical. Rather than a person, the AC could represent a time. A time when the wisdom in Christ's teachings ceases to be followed, even by those who purport to act in his name. In which case, we are all ACs, because we have allowed what is happening to happen. We have allowed the powers that be to wage wars where innocent children and bystanders are murdered as routine. We have stood complacently by as our planet deteriorates, whole communities in some parts of the globe suffer daily from lack of food and water....We have....well, you know the rest.