Friday, April 29, 2011


Blog on hold for a few days.
Tomorrow will be our 7th Wedding Anniversary. 7th is the Copper Anniversary. We won't be buying any coppery gifts for each other but, with a following wind, we might get to see some copper coloured scenery on this celebratory trip.

'Bye for now!

Thursday, April 28, 2011


Snippet from an episode of TV documentary "The Universe"
Narrator: Even as you peacefully watch TV, whole other invisible worlds could be raging all around you.
Michio Kaku: These parallel universes are in your living room. This means that in your living room, there are dinosaurs. You can't hear them, you can't see the dinosaurs that are rampaging throughout your living room, but they're there.
Narrator: The quantum principle that creates many versions of each person can also create entire universes.

Michio Kaku: The universe, at one point, was actually smaller than an electron. If that's true, and if electrons are described by being many places at the same time in parallel states, this means that the universe also exists in parallel states, you inevitably get parallel universes. There's no choice

Full piece at:

We watched a VHS tape of a 1999 Australian movie: Me Myself I recently.
It's really just a bit of fanciful fluff, I guess, but enjoyable. What drew me to the storyline was the alternate/parallel universe theme. That theme is used at its most simplistic level in the movie, with no real explanation of the hows or whys.

Plot in a nutshell: thirty-something woman, a serious journalist, unmarried, bored or disgusted by the men she meets, living in chaotic near-squalor feels despondent enought to want to commit suicide by standing in a bath of water with hairdryer in hand. Just as she switches it on a thunderstorm erupts and the power is cut off.

Shortly after, while crossing the street she is hit by a car whose driver is....herself. She is confronted by yet another version of herself as she recovers. This version of her is married with three children. Married to the boyfriend the original version of her turned down over 13 years ago.

The storyline follows the original journalist gal who is shunted into the life and lifestyle of her alternative version (and vice-versa, we find out later on).

It's not hard to imagine, without further help, the often funny, sometimes serious difficulties the gal encounters in her strange, alternate lifestyle with husband and children.

Two minor things I noted:
1) That scene with the hairdryer and the bath - I've seen something like that in a movie before. Mel Gibson, in a movie called What Women Want, - after the electric shock he was able to hear women's thoughts.
2) The only person to realise that his new Mom was not his usual Mom was the youngest child - little boy aged 3-ish. The family dog, usually first to "smell a rat" in movies, seemed quite happy to accept this alternate version of his human food-handler.

The theme of parallel universe(s) has been thrown around quite a bit in movie-land and TV drama. Sliding Doors, Twice Upon a Yesterday, The Family Man are a few of many such movies. Current TV series Fringe is a good example of it handled on a slightly more scientific level, with some whys and hows thrown in - albeit fictional ones.

A thought occurs: would astrology still be valid if ever science proved that alternate universes do in fact exist - and there are indeed numerous versions of "us" living the astrological cycles but in different ways?

I don't see why astrology couldn't be equally valid. As long as different versions of "us" were born at exactly the same point in time, living through the same planetary cycles (if time existed!)

There are already many ways the contents of a natal chart can be interpreted. A simple example, taken from the story of the movie above: the woman as an unmarried serious journalist wasn't happy, felt unfulfilled yet needed her freedom. Her counterpart, married for 13 years, husband and family of three intact, writing fluff pieces for a woman's magazine was, we find later, not happy either. She was having an affair, fed up with her own life pattern. Similar feelings, different causes.

I see no reason why astrology, its cycles and alignments, wouldn't be valid in parallel-land. We'd all be under the same sky..... or would we? That is the question to which there is no answer. Knew I'd find one!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Thoughts on Walking Away (not astro-related)

A recent post at Vanilla Rose's blog reminded me about a short story by fantasy/science fiction writer Ursula Le Guin: Those Who Walk Away From Omelas.

It's one of those clever allegorical tales, superficially simple but with layers of depth and open to a variety of interpretations depending upon a reader's experience and insight.

If a passing reader is unfamiliar with the full version, do please go read it at the link below. It's not very long but will stay with you for a long time - I promise!

Full text of the short story is at

A nutshell version:

In the city of Omelas, everything is beautiful and wonderful - everyone is happy, except for one small child, locked in a cellar. The child can never be shown the smallest shred of love or compassion. These are the terms on which the people of Omelas are happy, and they are non-negotiable. In order for their state of grace to continue, the child must continue to suffer. In return, once in their lifetimes, the people of Omelas must go down into the cellar and see the child who is suffering so that the observers can continue to live their happy lifestyles. Most of them enjoy the lives they lead all the more as a result of it, because they understand the sacrifice that has been made so that they can do so. Occasionally, however, someone comes out of that cellar leaves Omelas forever.

We can relate the message of the story to numerous real-life issues. There's no solution offered by its author, no judgment either. All is left to the reader.

There's a Christian angle to the story - if one relates to that angle. The child can be seen as a Christ figure, making it possible for the city to live joyfully because of the child's sacrifice.

My first reading of the story led me to relate the situation to the spoiled inhabitants of the developed western world relying on the sweat-shops and near slave situations in third world countries where so much the west has come to rely upon is produced.

That's using a wide-angle lens.

Pulling in, nearer to home, there are all kinds of injustices which echo the Omelas story - Vanilla Rose picked up one of them in her post.

Or there's the ever-present problem of poverty - in one's own country and in the world generally. There's no need for poverty - the Earth has always had sufficient resources for all its inhabitants to live comfortably - yet it hasn't worked out that way. A tiny - very very tiny - group of its inhabitants control the resouces, and wealth flowing from them. This leaves just sufficient resource for many of us to get by in relative comfort, but hardly anything for another large group who struggle to survive against growing odds: the metaphorical child in the cellar.

Solutions though?

Were those who walked away doing the right thing?

Were there no people who stayed behind and fought to develop "a better way"?

The message I took from the story: in every instance of any injustice what we should be doing is not walking away, but staying to fight. Too many of us are used to either complacently accepting injustices, especially when they seem to be to our own advantage, or walking away from them, to ease our consciences, but without even attempting to work towards changing things for the better.

Any other messages from this story?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

An astrological challenge: Candy Barr & H.H. Dalai Lama

At, among a list of famous people who share a birthday we find:
Candy Barr and The Dalai Lama (July 6, 1935)
"Let’s see those astrologers try to explain this one: The notorious stripper and exotic dancer shared her special day with the revered spiritual leader of Tibet. Yin and yang?" ......It says.

Okay - I enjoy a challenge. I'll take that one. I'm not sure whether anybody else has tried, but if so can't find evidence of it online. I have nothing to lose, so.......

Candy Barr, born Juanita Dale Slusher, for those too young (or too foreign like me) to know, was a stripper, burlesque exotic dancer, actress in a pornographic movie, and model in men's magazines.

She was born in Edna Texas, youngest of five children, sexually abused by a neighbour, ran away to Dallas at age 13, and into a prostitution/white slavery den. Married first husband when age 14. By 16 she'd starred in a pornographic movie (one of the first). She went on to be a stripper and burlesque dancer. Fell foul of the law on several occasions, often due to marijuana possession. Several unsuccessful marriages and a prison sentence decorate her biography. While in prison she began writing poetry - a book of her poems has been published, titled A Quiet Mind....Confused. At the beginning of the book, she wrote: "Loneliness is like an early frost. Let us be among the seedlings that survive . . ."
The title poem :

"Hate the world that strikes you down,
A warped lesson quickly learned.
Rebellion, a universal sound,
Nobody cares, no one's concerned.
Fatigued by unyielding strife,
Self-pity consoles the abused,
And the bludgeoning of daily life,
Leaves a gentle mind . . . confused."

She died of pneumonia while in quiet retirement in December 2005.

His Holiness Dalai Lama (born Lhamo Dondrub) is....well we all know he's as far from matching the above as any human could be:
"Tibetan supreme spiritual ruler of his country, in exile. Some six million Tibetans believe him to be the reborn soul of Buddha of Compassion, the Protector of the Land of Snows, the Holder of the White Lotus, the Mighty of Speech, Tibet's Wish-Fulfilling Gem, and Kundun-the Presence. "
His Holiness the Dalai Lama's background is widely known.) Here clipped from Astrodatabank

Born in a small village in Tibet to farmer parents, he was the fifth of seven children. When the 13th Dalai Lama died in 1933, Tibetan elders searched through the nation's children to find him in this, his 14th incarnation. When the search party reached his parent's mud and stone house in Taktser in 1937, the toddler passed a series of tests: He named the monk leading the search, and he picked out several objects that had belonged to his predecessor.

The young boy was proclaimed the Dalai Lama and installed on the Lion Throne in the thousand-room palace in Lhasa, Tibet's holy city. A regent ruled Tibet until the boy was old enough to assume his destined role. Though he was given a thorough spiritual education, he was nonetheless a kid, and played a kid's tricks and games, sometimes getting into trouble and scolded. He insists that he has no regrets about a lost childhood. "The important thing is that men should have a purpose in life," he says. "It should be something useful, something good."

The country was invaded by Chinese communists in 1950 and three years ahead of schedule, the 15-year-old boy was given political and religious authority under difficult circumstances. The Chinese claimed they came to "liberate" Tibet from the "poison of imperialism and religion." In 1959, when Chinese forces drew close to Lhasa, threatening his life, His Holiness, accompanied by a few close advisors and family members, fled to India on 3/31/1959.

First, a few general observations.

Think on this: had the gender of these two individuals been reversed their lives would have run along VERY different lines.

Dalai Lama would most certainly not have been Dalai Lama if born a girl. Who knows which way life would have forced her to proceed, what she would have needed to do to make her way ? And had Candy Barr been born male, he might have escaped childhood abuse, managed to obtain a reasonable level of education, and....become a preacher in one of Texas's many churches, writing numerous books for the spiritual development of his flock.

Gender - a giant hurdle, to be added to the vast geographical and cultural differences into which the two babes were born. How similar would we expect their lives to be?

To my mind astrology, via the natal chart, presents just a "shape" an outline, which could be filled in numerous different ways, within the confines of that "shape".

Time of birth is a crucial element in the natal chart.

Astrodatabank offers 4:00 AM for Candy Barr with an AA rating ("birth certificate in hand") so we can rely on that one, within a few minutes anyway.

The Dalai Lama's birth time has been the subject of some deliberation. Astrodatabank has given 4:38 AM an A rating, which some commenters consider is undeserved. Still, Astrodatabank is pretty strict, has its reasons, the A rating would not have been given without cause - that time is reliable enough for me. My software will not give me the village where he was born, as stated by Astrodatabank, so I've found the nearest co-ordinates to the birth place they give.

I've taken place of birth for Candy Barr from Astrodatabank: Edna, Texas.

Okay. Any minor discrepancy in exact place, or exact time of birth will not seriously affect what needs to be looked at.

First thing to consider is how different were the earthly situations into which they emerged. These were, of course, as different as they possibly could be, as were their early experiences: sexual abuse in one case, reverenetial adoration in the other.

Patterns drawn by planetary transits, especially those of slow-moving outer planets affect individuals with similar birth charts in similar ways, which though similar at core may seem wildly different as they manifest.

I see the shadow of a similarity in the two patterns of life here. Candy Barr, an abused child, fled from her home to an equally unfortunate life style. Dalai Lama was forced, by an invading enemy nation, to leave his home country and live out his life in exile. Both individuals must share some kind of inner strength to have overcome their challenges.

Time of birth is the only significant difference in these charts. Dalai Lama has Cancer rising, with Cancer Sun and Pluto in first house of self. Candy Barr had Gemini rising with Cancer Sun (just) in first house along with Gemini Mercury. Rising sign is said to be the lens through which an individual is seen by the world -and through which she/he sees the world. There are wide differences between Cancer rising and Gemini rising. Cancer = gentle, caring, nurturing, quiet. Gemini = social butterfly, bubbly, quick-witted, short attention span. So Candy Barr had this one astrological difference from Dalai Lama: the overlay of Gemini to modify her gentle Cancer Sun.

A Grand Trine in Water signs in both charts links Cancer Sun/Pisces Saturn/Scorpio Jupiter. I see this as representing emotional strength - something which, odd as it may seem, they surely share.

During the period between 1959 and 1960 when transiting Saturn was opposing their natal Cancer Suns both these individuals experienced traumatic times: Dalai Lama had to flee from his homeland of Tibet into India. Around the same time Candy Barr was imprisoned: "After being incarcerated for over three years, Barr was paroled from Goree women's unit on April 1, 1963" (Wikipedia).

Both have Moon (inner self) and Neptune (creativity) conjoined in Virgo. Virgo is ruled by Mercury planet of communication. Barr wrote a book of poems while in prison; His Holiness has written at least 72 books while in exile.

Both individuals are known to the world by names other than the names given to them as children. I'm not sure whether this might relate to Moon conjunct Neptune - Neptune connects to illusion, after all.

Summing up:

Candy Barr found her way from a childhood of abuse by trading on sensuality. His Holiness the Dalai Lama, with his position abused, though in a different way, continues to walk the path of spirituality. Are these two qualities, sensuality and spirituality so very different? Are they not two notes of the same chord? Do they perhaps both arise from that Grand Trine in Water signs?


(Teaching Joan Collins how to strip).

Any other ideas from passing readers on these two charts will be gratefully received.


Monday, April 25, 2011

Music Monday ~ Astrology in Song

There aren't too many songs with a hint of astrology in the lyrics - I know of a handful:

Weird Al Yankovic with That's Your Horoscope for Today.

As it happens, Weird Al doesn't have many astrological weirdness credentials - at least, not the usual Uranus/Aquarius thing. Born 23 October 1959, Lynwood, CA. Sun 29 Libra conjunct Mars at 1 Scorpio and Neptune at 6 Scorpio. But... Neptune can be pretty weird I guess.

Horoscope performed by Chely Wright, written by her and Brad Paisley.

Born Under a Bad Sign written by famous blues guitarist Albert King, performed here by Koko Taylor ("Queen of the Blues") and acclaimed guitarist Buddy Guy.

and ( kind of): Cycles sung by Sinatra written by Gayle Caldwell.

Not astrology exactly - any excuse for more Sinatra! Lost in the Stars (below) is from a musical, with lyrics by Maxwell Anderson and music by Kurt Weill, based on the novel Cry, The Beloved Country (1948) by Alan Paton.

Lovely song!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

THAT Wedding, Those Royals, Lawrence O'Donnell and RJ's Rant

A long-time blog buddy of mine, R.J. Adams of Sparrow Chat, needed to let off steam this week (and rightly so) about some remarks of MSNBC's talking head Lawrence O'Donnell on coverage in the US media of Prince William's wedding, due to take place in Britain shortly. I'm not a fan of the royals myself, nor am I a fan of weddings in general, obscene waste of money in most cases, I reckon! Both of my own were absolute shoestring affairs. So I have not followed any royal wedding story, and am not even sure of the wedding date. Even though I'm no royalist myself, and could care less about their weddings and other doings, I draw the line at the kind of things O'Donnell said - and said with such clear venom!

During the 1970s I'd guess that O'Donnell (right) was one of the Americans (and there were many) cheering on the IRA as they bombed English cities and Northern Irish towns, killing and maiming innocent the name of....what? A 200-year old grudge.

Here's a link to RJ's wonderful rant:

In case the video doesn't run in the UK or countries other than the USA (sometimes vids are blocked) here's a quick rundown of what O'Donnell said:
O'Donnell started out by sarcastically noting that on April 29th, "nothing more important will be occurring that day in this country or the world than a wedding in England." He then reminded his audience that America came into existence by actually overthrowing the British, and accused the American media of being way too friendly to our allies across the Atlantic.

"It's a good thing our television networks weren't covering our Revolutionary War because they obviously would have been on the side of the British."
That might seem a little harsh, but O'Donnell was just getting warmed up. Here is the rest of his rant, in it's entirety.

"The British crown has spilt more blood around the world and caused more oppression and suffering in the world than any other regime still standing. If your people were among the tortured or the starved or the murdered or the oppressed victims of the crown, then you may not be so welcoming of the British Royal Family in your home, even on your television screen.

If you are the forgiving sort, the type that doesn't hold a grudge for
hundreds of years or decades, depending on when violence was last visited upon your people in the name of the British crown, perhaps you can look at the current crowd of hapless, harmless royals as something other than an indelible bloody stain on your people's history.

If you are good natured and light of heart, perhaps you could see in them the most noble status they could ever achieve, a joke. We all need a laugh, and if the British crown can give the world a laugh after having delivered centuries of pain, then some of us will take that laugh. In the meantime, let's hope the British media continues to make the mistake that the American media's weak-kneed fawning over the Royals represents all of us in the colonies and how we feel about the Royal wedding."

Another link to the video at MSNBC's site

A look at O'Donnell's natal chart, data from Astrodatabank:

Sun and Mercury in Scorpio - that fits his venomous attitude well - Scorpio's dark side: venom and inability to forgive, a classic Scorpio trait.

Moon in Aquarius ought to know better! Here though Moon is opposed by Pluto in Leo, and Pluto is ruler of Scorpio, so Aquarian humanitarian ideals (O'Donnell professes to being a socialist by the way) are infected - or balanced - by Pluto and its connection to Scorpio as his natal Sun's ruler.

He has Libra rising, if time of birth is accurate. I'm quite surprised that he was this outspoken, in public, on these matters. Libra rising would usually bring forth a more tactful attitude.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Arty Farty Friday ~ Constable and Turner

As this Arty Farty Friday is also Earth Day, I'm featuring two artists whose work honours the Earth (and the sea). Constable and Turner, two famous names, recognisable by anyone with even a passing interest in art. John Constable and Joseph Mallord William Turner, born just over a year apart in the second half of the 18th century. Two very different characters, their professional rivalry became a thing of legend.

I'm always surprised to learn of intense rivalry between artists - but I guess I shouldn't be. Artists are only human. It seems that rivalry between painters has gone on since man first picked up a paintbrush. Leonardo da Vinci versus Michelangelo, Matisse versus Picasso - well-documented examples of highly competitive rivals. 16th-century goldsmith and sculptor Benvenuto Cellini even stabbed a competitor to death .

As for Constable and Turner, their styles differed more than their subject matter. Both were originally landscape artists, though Turner preferred sea scapes later on. Constable's style remained fairly constantly realist, with only occasional whispers of impressionism, while Turner's style developed from realism to out and out impressionism, to abstract. Rivalry was mutually felt, by all accounts, but from detail available it would appear that Turner was the more egotistical of the pair, at least in professional life, and I'd guess that he was more of a driving force in the rivalry.

Their personal lives reflect their innate differences too.

Constable (self portrait, 1806, left) was born in 1776 in rural Suffolk, in the south-east of England. He was son of a prosperous miller, came to art as a profession later in life than his rival, after working in his father's milling business, but always with an abiding interest in art and some early coaching from a local amateur artist. He never moved far from the south of England, where he found more than enough beautiful scenery and cloud-dappled skies to satisfy him. According to his first biographer, Constable was known in the neighbourhood as the "handsome miller", being "tall and well formed … with a fresh complexion, and fine dark eyes". Most of what is known about Constable’s personality comes from his letters. These show an emotional and affectionate man who was also capable of sarcasm and over-sensitivity. He married late, aged 40, in 1816, fathered seven children. His wife sadly died from tuberculosis in 1828, leaving Constable devastated. He died aged 61.

Turner (portrait as a young man, 1799, left) was born in 1775 in London, son of a barber and wigmaker. His mother was a seriously disturbed woman who had to be sent to an asylum and eventually went mad. He was into painting from a young age, and by the age of 27 was a Royal Academician. In contrast to Constable's staid lifestyle Turner travelled in Britain and Europe, had a wealthy patron and friend in the third Earl of Egremont. Both as man and artist though he was withdrawn and secretive, much about him was hidden. There are theories that he was dyslexic, for he is said to have been, at times "inarticulate to the point of incomprehensibility".

Turner never married, but fathered two children with a mistress. He died aged 76, and, according to Wikipedia, "in the house of his mistress Sophia Caroline Booth in Cheyne Walk, Chelsea on 19 December 1851. He is said to have uttered the last words "The sun is God" before dying..... Depiction of light in his paintings was always his "signature".



"There is no record of Turner's actual date of birth, which was sometime between late April and early May of 1775. The artist himself chose April 23 as the best candidate, possibly because it is also St. George's Day (patron saint of England, among many other places and organizations) and the birthday of William Shakespeare."

All we know for sure is that he was born in London, baptised on 14th May 1775.

John Constable was born on 11 June 1776 in East Bergholt (8 miles from Ipswich), Suffolk, England's not possible to compare the natal charts of the two artists in any depth. Even so, simply considering their two Sun signs, Gemini for Constable and Taurus for Turner - using his choice of 23 April - seems somewhat off the mark for Turner. He seems to have been unlike a staid, conservative Taurus-type. Constable seems far more of a Taurus-type in fact....but he wasn't.

I wonder whether 19 April might be nearer the mark for Turner, putting Sun in Aries. I think it would! That would leave a rather long gap to 14 May - the baptism - but not impossibly long I guess. A little research told me that towards the end of the 18th century baptism was increasingly postponed due to the changing economic, social and religious atmospheres.

There seems little point in posting a chart for a date "chosen" by Turner for his own patriotic reasons, or one I might think appropriate. I've taken a quick look at charts for 23 April, 20 April, 19 April and 7 May. Most have at least Mercury in Aries (tendency to be mentally competitive) Sun in Taurus (except for 19 April) ruled by Venus planet of the arts, is often found in the charts of artists.

Without an accurate birth date it's all pure guesswork, though one thing the dates around that particular period in 1775 have in common is Neptune and Pluto in trine (Virgo/Capricorn) further trined to one of the personal planets in or close to Taurus. This makes up an Earthy Grand Trine linking creativity (Neptune), secretiveness, darkness (Pluto) and one of the personal planets. Secretiveness has been covered, above - the darkness could reflect Turner's early unhappy youth - his mother's madness, and the death of his young sister.

John Constable's chart is easier to assess. Astrotheme offers a time of birth giving Aries rising, but Astrodatabank gives none. I've shown a 12 noon chart which is sufficient for a quick look.

Hmmm. 4 planets in Gemini - not exactly what I'd have expected to see. Gemini doesn't represent the staid stay-around-home mindset we are led to believe was Constable's. But balancing that Airy Gemini potential social butterfly image we have Mercury and Jupiter in home-loving, family-loving Cancer. In Constable's case it looks as though Cancerian traits beat down Geminian traits!

Constable had a similar Neptune/Pluto trine to the one in Turner's likely chart, but Constable's doesn't link cleanly to an Earthy personal planet - only loosely to Venus in early Gemini. So though it's still technically a Grand Trine, it's not quite as direct as Turner's, but still links Neptune's creativity and Venus's art with Pluto's potentially dark side - perhaps reflecting Constable's devastating early loss of his wife ?

Examples of their paintings:


The Cornfield (For US viewers - corn in Britain = wheat, not sweetcorn as in USA)

The White Horse

Dedham Mill

Salisbury Cathedral

Ive added these two, even though they don't translate to screen well, because they are Constable's paintings of the birthplace of my paternal grandfather, Stoke-by-Nayland, Suffolk. I've never been there.


Arundel Castle with Rainbow

Fall of the Tees, Yorkshire

The Decline of the Carthaginian Empire

The Fighting Temeraire

Calais Pier


Thursday, April 21, 2011


As Sun moves into the sign of Taurus I'm struck, once again, how wave-like is the order and "feel" of the 12 zodiac signs. How very different is each from its neighbour on either side. How each seems to be making up for its predecessor's failings yet providing ground for more diversity from its successor. Take Taurus for instance: preceded by impulsive, impatient Aries, Taurus slows things down, steadies the mind, plants feet firmly on the ground, unlikely to move at all unless some improvement or other is in the offing. Aries was ruled by energetic, war-hungry Mars, Taurus by gentle, arty Venus. On the other side of Taurus, in a few weeks' time will come Gemini - and off we'll go again extracting our feet from the mud of Earth, floating away on a new, Airy, wave driven by Mercury the great communicator - feet off the ground, eager to see and hear all that's current, ready for change however it might arise.

Take any sign at all and try the same exercise. It always works. The waves flow on.

Back to Taurus.

A snippet from astrologer Ingrid Lind's little book, Astrology and Commonsense
(NOTE: where "his/he" is used, in the 21st century we'd always say he/she or his/her......wouldn't we?)

It can be said of most of the signs that to have too much of them is a bad thing. Too much Taurus, for instance, gives the native a stolid, immovable, stick-in-the-mud quality. Nevertheless, it is like the flour in the cake: without it there would be no cake. Possessiveness and conservatism are Taurean keywords and if Aries is the primitive cave-man Taurus is the one who finds his piece of land and enters into the joys of ownership...........While Aries rushes about, Taurus sits and enjoys the fruit of his labours, with leisure to discover the music in nature, which he echoes in song. He is a man of peace and likes all the creature comforts he has created for himself. He will not pick a quarrel; but if he is finally aroused to anger it will be quite terrifying in its intensity.

From Alan Oken's Complete Astrology (1980) a few Taurus-related tid-bits:

The following are those nations, cities and peoples whose vibrations are very closely allied with the Sign of the Bull:
Ireland, Switzerland (known as the center of international banking), Poland, Cyprus, Persia, Crete.
Dublin, Mantua, Leipsig, Lucerne. The ancient Egyptians and the Druids.

Ancient Egypt was a country very much under the influence of the Bull and its polar opposite, Scorpio......Bull worship was a very significant aspect of the Egyptian religious cults......Osiris was often depicted as a man with a bull's head and living bulls were regularly selected by the priests to represent this god on Earth...........Some of the symbols used in the cult of Osiris the Bull remain with us today. If you look at the back of a one-dollar bill, for example, you will see an eye (symbol of Osiris) above a pyramid on a field of green (colour of the Earth).

We find many other references to the Bull throughout ancient history. Over 4000 years ago in Akkadia, Taurus was called the "Bull of Light" or Te Te. This double name refers to the two important groups of stars in its body i.e. the Pleiades and the Hyades. The Assyrians called their second astrological month A-aru or the "Directing Bull". The Chaldeans, who were great astrologer-astronomers, used the symbol of the winged bull-king very extensively in their architecture.

There are archived posts on zodiac sign Taurus and "my Taureans" - easily accessed by clicking on "Taurus" in the Label Cloud in the sidebar.

Photographs for passing Taurus-types: rather good bull sculptures we happened upon on our drive to Austin, Texas. First stood in the middle of nowhere, a field by the side of a deserted road, part of a Sculpture Ranch somewhere nearby, the other stood in a field close to Throckmorton Tx. (From husband's camera.)


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Political Preference - Brain Differences? Astrology in there anywhere?

Humans seem to be naturally polarized politically, most remain entrenched in their views for a lifetime. Some research has been carried out.

Liberal? Conservative? Your brains are different, study finds , an article by by Andrew Duffy, at Vancouver Sun begins:

Liberals and Conservatives may have differences that go well beyond their opinions about what constitutes contempt of Parliament.

A British study suggests there are anatomical differences between the brains of opponents on the left and right of the political spectrum.

The study, published in the online edition of Current Biology, found people who identified themselves as liberal tended to have larger anterior cingulate cortexes, a region of the brain that monitors uncertainty and conflict. Those who identified themselves as conservative had larger amygdalas, a region that processes emotions related to fear.

Researchers say the physical differences reflect the nature of voters: Liberals tend to be more comfortable with uncertainty, conservatives are more sensitive to fear.

"Previously, some psychological traits were known to be predictive of an individual's political orientation," said Dr. Ryota Kanai of University College London. "Our study now links such personality traits with specific brain structure."
I began to wonder how this might pan out astrologically. Further light research brought me to a pdf file from Dept of Political science, University of Iowa Fear Dispositions and their Relationship to Political Preferences

Clip from pdf (click on it to see a bigger version)

So, where might we find correlation in astrology to this idea that fear drives conservatism?

Saturn and how it is positioned in one's natal chart, appears to be significant in the potential for conservatism. Coincidentally Saturn connects to fear as well.

For instance - just one example:

A person with Sun conjunct Saturn - part of the interpretation at Cafe Astrology says:

..... Generally, they come across as somewhat skeptical and pessimistic, cautious, and slightly reserved. There is a distinct streak of the conservative in these people. Some are rigid and strict, expecting others to live up to their high standards. However, most people with this aspect are simply very aware that life has its limitations.

More about the connection of Saturn with fear is set out in a piece by Beth Turnage, Saturn and Fear at Astrology Explored.

A little mythological background on Saturn
Saturn was the God Kronos, father of Zeus, who was known for devouring his offspring soon after being born. He did this because he feared that they would surpass him. But Zeus, who was protected by his mother, returned to face his father, and Kronos’ fears were realized through death. Similarly, if we clamp down on what we fear the most, eventually it destroy us. Saturn has been depicted as the punishing father, but also as the Grim Reaper, who cuts life short. Mortality is the ultimate restriction, and as Father Time, he is the wise one that inspires urgency in our quest to fulfill our life mission.

In light of all of the above I'm wondering whether at some future date an enlightened statistician might include some astrological data in their researches on such topics as this. Assistance from a professional astrologer would be essential of course. When pigs fly......

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Mercury Retrograde Delivers.....again!

Mercury Retrograde caught me in its web once again. I say once again because on its last retro spin in December 2010 it caught me in a very similar fashion....with a nasty trojan infestation on my desktop computer. Different trojan this time, but same frustration. (Click on Mercury Retrograde in the Label Cloud to read about the last episode).

The infester this time was a little blighter known as XP AntiVirus 2011. There are several alternative titles for this trojan, depending on operating system etc. All start by trying to scare the computer user into clicking on pop-ups notifying that the computer is badly infected and in a dangerous state then pressing them to buy their software to repair the damage....all fake of course. An array of different notices pop up all over the place, programs are shut down, broswer cannot be used, nor can any software normally used for detecting malware. If I logged off, then on again the fake notices filled the screen in rapid succession.

This happened late on Sunday afternoon. We hauled out the laptop to search for solutions. After 2 hours and several attempts to clear the problem I gave it up, assuming I'd have to shell out another $90 for an online remote techie to rescue me again. However, couldn't sleep that night so got up and read every piece of advice I could find, and every forum relating to this trojan. It appears there has been a spate of infestations recently and even the best virus software has been unable to stop the nasties in many cases.

Solutions range from some rather complex tinkering in the registry - highly dangerous for a klutz like me, or paying an afore-mentioned online techie. The only other alternative apart from trecking to the town's only computer shop and leaving the machine there for who knows how long, or throwing the machine into the garbage, was trying to download some anti-spyware software, using the infected computer in safe mode. I decided to try that - nothing ventured etc.

All went well, surprisingly, as long as I ignored and X'd off the ubiquitous scary notices threatening everything but he apocalypse, these popped up even in safe mode. I installed the software, ran a scan and it found about 7 trojan thingies, along with the usual batch of cookies. Then the fun started.

Before I could remove the malware items I had to pay the piper - Spyware Doctor $29.99. I managed to access Paypal from safe mode and had almost finished the transaction when a spate of the flippin' fake notices blocked out the screen. Couldn't tell if payment had gone through or not. Checked my Paypal account and emails via the laptop - it seemed as though payment had gone through. But where was my licence key? Not in the email receipt. Waited for a further email but none came.

Another long search to find out how to get my $29.99 key! Had to do it via the laptop and PC Tools (Daddy of Spyware Doctor)Help website, then write the yards long key down on paper.

Where to put it though - couldn't find a place, and some tabs wouldn't open. I suspected the malware was blocking me again.

Back to PC Tools and an online support chat screen. Ten minutes of explaining, and a simple remedy had me deleting the nasties and geting out of safe mode at last.

I ran my Malwarebytes software after updating it, and found 4 more nasties. Then I noticed that my Microsoft automatic updates were turned off. Went to remedy that but found I was unable to do so.

Ran yet another full scan using the new Spyware Doctor. No joy.

More research but nothing was suggested that I dared to try. Realising that at least one tentacle of the infestation remained I was afriad it might - as my husband put it "phone home" and bring down all hell on my computer again - so back to the $90 online tech. Sigh. At least now he could access my desktop, which would have been impossible earlier in the day, before my own efforts.

He repaired the infection in an hour or so, and left me with a long-running de-frag tool in full flight, another couple of hours later and things were left as normal as they'll ever be on my Delly.

Next Mercury Retrograde will find me as far away from the computer as I can manage!

In case it might help anyone else who surfs the net a lot, and as a reminder for me, some hints to help avoid thees kinds of nasties. Found it online - somewhere.
When you encounter one of these fake virus pop-ups while browsing, immediately do the following:

-Do not touch any browser window to close it or browse further.
-Immediately press Ctrl-Alt-Del and bring up Task Manager and forcibly end all instances of iexplore.exe, if using Internet Explorer, or the executable for your browser for any other web browser.
-Go to Start/Shut Down and restart the PC without touching any browser windows.
-If you used task manager to close browser instances, reboot the machine.
-Then go to Control Panel/Internet Options and delete all temporary Internet Files and cookies. If you are using an alternate web browser, open the browser settings to do the same - delete the local cached files and cookies.
-Perform a full scan.

The above steps should prevent the infection from taking hold.

Saturday, April 16, 2011


The quote from novelist George Orwell in the sidebar links to this re-airing of my 2008 post. His words are often quoted these days in strings of comments at political websites. His vision of the future may not ever materialise just as he described it in "1984", but his writings certainly instilled a long-lasting dread in the minds of readers. We see much in today's political scenarios that, if not exactly Orwellian - is surely headed in that direction.

George Orwell (real name Eric Blair) was born on 25 June 1903 in Motahari, Bihar, India, taken to live in England when one year old. (Natal chart and some astrology later in this post).

At Live Science this article: Study: George Orwell's Illnesses Influenced '1984' provides some insight into the darkness of his subjects:

"He suffered multiple bouts of bronchitis and other respiratory ailments, Ross writes. As a young man, Orwell had several episodes of bacterial pneumonia, and also contracted dengue fever while in Burma. He was a heavy smoker, and he suffered fits of coughing from a condition called bronchiectasis.

In 1938, Orwell went to a sanatorium because he was coughing up blood. He was eventually diagnosed with tuberculosis..............Eight years later, depressed by his wife’s death, Orwell moved to a windy and damp Scottish island. His health worsened significantly just as he was working on the first draft of "1984," Ross reports. Fever, weight loss, and night sweats sent him to the hospital, where he underwent “collapse therapy,” a treatment designed to close the dangerous cavities that form in the chests of tuberculosis patients.

Relying on Orwell's own descriptions of the treatment, Ross says it "may have influenced the depiction of the tortures of Winston Smith in the Ministry of Love" in "1984.""

Confirmation from the man himself:
"Orwell himself told his friends that 1984 would have been less gloomy had he not been so ill—it was a very dark, disturbing, and pessimistic work," Ross said. Orwell's illnesses "made him a better and more empathetic writer, in that his sense of human suffering made his writing more universal."
"1984" wasn't meant as prophecy. I suppose that having experienced the Spanish Civil War and World War2, the idea of totalitarianism was an unwelcome spectre in the minds of many people, and was played upon by this novel. Orwell once said:
The Spanish war and other events in 1936-37 turned the scale and thereafter I knew where I stood. Every line of serious work that I have written since 1936 has been written, directly or indirectly, against totalitarianism and for democratic socialism, as I understand it.
Had he been aiming at prophecy, a more appropriate title might have been "2024". Perceptive minds have been noting warning signs of what I'll call 1984-ness in the USA during recent years.

Orwell was taken to England when one year old, was educated there and spent much of his life in the British Isles. So re-location would have had a bearing on where the angles of his chart were placed, in addition to the birth-time question which has already muddied the water in that respect.

Time of birth, according to Astrodatabank, was 11.30am, though with a DD rating (dirty data) so it is not reliable. I've used it anyway, in the absence of any alternative. If time of birth isn't correct, the ascending sign/degree will be incorrect, as well as Moon's exact position.

If I'd been given this chart without knowing to whom it belonged I might have guessed that the owner was a writer of some kind - journalist or novelist - he was both at various stages of his career: Virgo ascending, if time of birth is correct, and Mercury in Gemini are both good indicators of someone adept with the pen, or in today's world, the keyboard.

Sun conjunct Neptune (creativity) and Moon in Cancer (if time of birth was other than 11:30 AM Moon could be either in late Gemini, or a little further into Cancer). Lots of scope for a fertile imagination and creativity there, either way. Cancer is usually seen as a rather gentle, passive sign. I'd have guessed Orwell's writing might reflect that: historical dramas, mild romantic sagas - something along those lines. How wrong I'd have been!

Sun conjunct Neptune has a darker side too though. Creativity is the bright side of Neptune, the potential for addiction is one of Neptune's darker sides, especially when the planet is closely aligned with a personal planet - and you don't get more personal than natal Sun. Orwell was a lifelong heavy smoker = addiction. As noted in the quotes which follow, his smoking may have caused his untimely demise. His ill health may also have been one factor in the draw to darkness in his subject matter.

There's a Grand Trine in air signs (3 linked 120 degree aspects) in Orwell's chart. Air connects to intellect, ideas, communication. Mars in Libra, Saturn in Aquarius and Mercury in Gemini are connected in this "circuit", providing an excellent harmonious link-up of skills for any writer, sign-wise. However, the planets involved with Mercury in the Grand Trine: Mars and Saturn, are both traditionally labelled "malefics" (potentially negative in some way). This might reflect an attraction to subject matter less than uplifting - Orwell's dystopian novels "1984" and "Animal Farm" for instance. Had that Grand Trine linked, for example, Venus, Jupiter and Mercury, we might have on our bookshelves some Orwellian visions of a wonderful future filled with art, philosophy and beauty. Just a thought!

From "1984", and with today's mainstream media in mind:
"Don't you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought?… —Book 1 chapter 5.

"At any given moment there is an orthodoxy, a body of ideas of which it is assumed that all right-thinking people will accept without question. It is not exactly forbidden to say this, that or the other, but it is "not done" to say it... Anyone who challenges the prevailing orthodoxy finds himself silenced with surprising effectiveness. A genuinely unfashionable opinion is almost never given a fair hearing, either in the popular press or in the high-brow periodicals".
~~Introduction to Animal Farm. 1945.'

A final quote from "1984"
"It was curious to think that the sky was the same for everybody, in Eurasia or Eastasia as well as here. And the people under the sky were also very much the same--everywhere, all over the world, hundreds or thousands of millions of people just like this, people ignorant of one another's existence, held apart by walls of hatred and lies, and yet almost exactly the same--people who had never learned to think but were storing up in their hearts and bellies and muscles the power that would one day overturn the world." —Book 1 chapter 10.