Friday, July 13, 2012

Cancerian Stewart Culin and The Games People Played

Born on this day in 1858 was Stewart Culin, - ethnographer (he gathered, recorded and collected physical evidence relating to worldwide human societies and culture.) Culin's focus of interest: games, art and dress, seeking similarities among cultures across the world. He became the founding curator of the Department of Ethnology at what is now the Brooklyn Museum, and was among the first curators to recognize museum installation as an art form. Described as "an adventurous and energetic ethnologist", he was also among the first to display ethnological collections as art objects, not as ethnographic specimens. His books are an important source for study of the ethnography of games. He changed focus somewhat later in life, becoming interested in costume, fashion, furniture, and other decorative art.

A brief excerpt from a very interesting post by Dr. K at An Eye onthe Culture Wars
Culin thought that studying games was important because other scholars and many collectors were certain games were only interesting because they were “primitive pastimes” that proved that “savage” cultures were inferior to more evolved Western ones. Culin thought, instead, that the study of games was essential for studying any culture because it connected everyday life with mythology and worldmaking, two activities that define cultures. Through a study of games, Culin thought he could figure out the “worldview” of a culture, its general perspectives on how the world worked, the mythic concepts that guided its thinking, and the categories it used to organize the world and keep chaos away. He published a renowned book, Games of the North American Indian, that is still highly regarded today, nearly 100 years after its publication. The connections between games, gambling, divination, worldview, and mythology constitute Culin’s greatest contribution to anthropology...........

Games in mythology are often about order and chaos. Stewart Culin felt that the games were born out of the human desire to understand, categorize, and control our world. He saw evidence of this in the existence of gaming and gambler gods in tribal origin myths....................

Stewart Culin was born 13 July 1858, in Philadelphia PA, he died in 1929. No time of birth is available, chart set for 12 noon.

Cancer Sun/Mercury as well as being noted for a highly developed sensitivity along with other assorted traits to be found among Cancerian keywords, the zodiac sign's attributes also include a love of the past and of history. This could derive from a Cancerian sense of nostalgia, a constant urge to cling to the past; or Skyscript has this to say on the matter:
The backwards gaze of the constellation is also symbolic of the Cancerian interest in the past, a trait that is emphasised by the Moon's rulership of the sign. This manifests on a personal and social level and Cancerians often have a keen interest in history, past cultures and traditions, as well as a high respect for personal history, genealogy, ancestral origins, nationalism, and a desire to preserve and protect family customs. Ruled by the Moon, Cancer relates to tribal instincts and ethnic origins, and there is often a clan-like attitude to one's own community and family structure.
That fits what we know of Stewart Culin and his chosen profession like a glove doesn't it?

He had a Water Grand Trine in his chart, linking his Cancer Sun/Mercury to Neptune (creativity) and Mars (energy). Saturn (work, discipline)though in very early Leo is part of the cluster with Sun and Mercury.

If Culin were born after noon, Moon would have been in Virgo rather than Leo, which I suspect would be a better fit. The organisational skill of a museum curator, though a near relative of stage-managing (Leo), does require a rather more detail-oriented and meticulous approach = Virgo.

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