Saturday, August 31, 2013

No Excuse for War

10 Problems with the latest excuse for war - see linked pdf

Then, please go to Cannonfire and see post for 31 August:

The "Trojan" trick: You can't understand what's going on now unless you know what happened in 1986

*** To Help Prevent an Attack on Syria - please go here:

Friday, August 30, 2013

John Perkins ~ Economic Hitman Turned... Shaman (!)

I haven't read any of John Perkins' books, in fact I'd never heard of him, or them, 'til I noticed mention of his name and a book of his in a comment thread this week.

A nutshell description of John Perkins from Goodreads:
John Perkins is an activist and author. As a former chief economist at Boston strategic-consulting firm Chas. T. Main, Perkins says that he was an "economic hit man" for 10 years, helping U.S. intelligence agencies and multinational corporations cajole and blackmail foreign leaders into serving U.S. foreign policy and awarding lucrative contracts to American business.

However, after several years struggling internally over the role he was playing in crippling foreign economies, he quit his consulting job. In the 1980s Perkins founded and directed a successful independent energy company, which he subsequently sold. Since then he has been heavily involved with non-profit organizations in Ecuador and around the world. He continues this work today, in addition to his writing. One of his organizations, Dream Change, is dedicated to shifting consciousness and promoting sustainable lifestyles for the individual and global community.

From a book review
A Game as Old as Empire – The Secret World of Economic Hit Men and the Web of Global Corruption edited by Steven Hiatt~ is a follow up to Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, written by John Perkins, a former banker who destroyed the economies of many debt-ridden third world nations by converting the debt into profits for the corporate and political elite. Critics lambasted Perkins’ sole account of his actions, demanding proof that such dirty machinations actually took place. Empire is a chilling account of the abusive fraud perpetrated in the cryptic world of international finance, and the thin tightropes of legality bankers balance themselves upon.

Of his book Confessions of an Economic Hit Man John Perkins has said,"This book was written so that we may take heed and remold our story. I am certain that when enough of us become aware of how we are being exploited by the economic engine that creates an insatiable appetite for the world's resources, and results in systems that foster slavery, we will no longer tolerate it. We will reassess our role in a world where a few swim in riches and the majority drown in poverty, pollution, and violence . We will commit ourselves to navigating a course toward compassion, democracy, and social justice for all."

From a New York Times piece in 2006:
Mr. Perkins's core message is that American corporations and government agencies employ two types of operatives: "economic hit men," who bribe emerging economies, and "jackals," who may be used to overthrow or even murder heads of state in Latin America and the Middle East to serve the greater cause of American empire. During an earlier time, that message might have been mere fodder for conspiracy theorists and fringe publishers. But now, for all of Mr. Perkins's talk of fiery plane crashes and corporate intrigue, his book seems to have tapped into a larger vein of discontent and mistrust that Americans feel toward the ties that bind together corporations, large lending institutions and the government — a nexus that Mr. Perkins and others call the "corporatocracy."

At a bookstore, in 2006, the author talked about "Confessions of an Economic Hitman"...from a report HERE:
Leaning low into the microphone, Mr. Perkins affects a deep conspiratorial whisper as he sets the scene for the imagined encounter between the new president and the representative of the multinational corporate interests Mr. Morales had vilified during his campaign.

"Congratulations Mr. President," Mr. Perkins says, assuming the role of the businessman, or economic hit man, as he likes to call his previous profession. "I just want you to know that in this hand I have a couple of hundred million dollars for you and your family if you play the game our way." With the practiced timing of an expert storyteller, Mr. Perkins pauses. "And in this hand I have a gun with a bullet in case you decide to keep your campaign promises."

As the rapt crowd clucks and murmurs as if let in on an unspeakable confidence, Mr. Perkins cautions that he is speaking metaphorically. But for an audience already punch drunk on Mr. Perkins's very own tales of corporate skullduggery, his allegory — overripe though it may be — carries not only a ring of truth but also clues to a long history of unexplained endings

"And what about those crashes of J.F.K. Jr. and Paul Wellstone?" a woman in the audience asks. "They were awfully suspicious."

Yes, Mr. Perkins says with a nod, and reels off the deaths of others in airplane crashes: Gen. Omar Torrijos, the former president of Panama, in 1981; Jaime Roldos Aguilera, the president of Ecuador, also in 1981; and even Senator John G. Tower, the Republican from Texas, who perished with 22 others on a commercial flight in 1991. "We have had a lot of plane crashes," Mr. Perkins says ominously.
Ve--ery intrer-esting......

I immediately wanted to see John Perkins' natal chart for insight as to whether he's just another, though rather more qualified, conspiracy theorist or is he a "reliable witness"?

First, I should mention that Mr Perkins has also written several books on topics as far away from hitmen as could be imagined - for example, published between 1994 and 1999:
Psychonavigation: Techniques for Travel Beyond Time;
Shapeshifting: Shamanic Techniques for Global and Personal Transformation;
The World Is As You Dream It: Teachings from the Amazon and Andes.
Also, on John Perkins' own website HERE is a note about his current 7-session, over-the-phone teaching course “The Path of the Dreamshifter: A Shamanic Journey to Awaken Your Highest Creative Powers & Birth Your Soul’s Vision into Reality!”

There has to be an interesting natal chart attached to this apparently contradictory personality!

Natal chart of John Perkins - set for 12 noon as no time of birth is known. I'm looking only for parts of his chart which might account for the apparent contradictions in his nature and not attempting a full interpretation.

He was born on 28 January 1945. His birthday is the day after my own, the year is a little different, however. He has the Grand Trine involving Neptune and Uranus quite a few of his generation have, in his case it's an Air Grand Trine involving his Aquarius Sun (my own is with Mercury and is in Earth).

His Aquarius (sign of the rebel and the unexpected) Sun (self) is opposed by a Leo Moon (whatever his time of birth). Moon (inner self) would be somewhere between 6 and 19 degrees of Leo (sign of leader and lover of the spotlight), and so would qualify as being conjunct Pluto (intensity, passion, obsession, darkness) at 9 Leo unless his birth were in the last hour of so of 28 January.

His Sun/Moon opposition explains something of his nature's contrasting sides then. Cool intellectually based Aquarius Sun is opposed by a warmer Leo side which can manifest also as intense and passionate - even obsessive at times.

The Grand trine, already mentioned, links his Sun to Uranus and Neptune in an harmonious intellectually-driven circuit, reflecting his core self in harmony with both Uranus the rebel and Neptune the dreamer and the....maybe even the shaman?

I'm looking for something, apart from Moon/Pluto, likely to have drawn John Perkins, initially, into that dark world he describes in books about his time as a kind of dark "hitman" for the corporations and bankers. Capricorn? Yes, his natal Mercury conjunct Mars are there. Saturn, Capricorn's ruler could well be more prominent than it appears in a 12 noon chart. I'd surmise that it might fall near the midheaven or even more likely close to the ascendant (giving Cancer rising, which would match the intuitive and sensitive side apparent from his more metaphysical interests.) That's pure speculation though.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Lurking at World's End

Disclaimer: This post was not prompted by the situation in Syria, but by a movie we saw on HBO some days ago.

If there were certain knowledge of an imminent date and time when the world would end - not just our world, THE world - how would we spend the short time, one or two weeks, still remaining to us?

In Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, a 2012 film written and directed by Lorene Scafaria, that question arose. The movie had been shown on HBO several times recently, we purposely avoided it. I prefer dystopian dramas, husband prefers straight sci-fi, this film seemed to promise no sci-fi and even more doomy doom than the worst dystopian flick available, with a promised sprinkle of.....comedy (?). Well, we would either laugh or cry I guess!

I accidentally allowed this movie to start while searching the schedule for something else. I was drawn in. We ended up watching it. Much to my surprise I enjoyed it, in a perverse kind of way, several songs featured in the soundtrack helped....among others songs from: Walker Brothers, Beach Boys, The Hollies.

There wasn't a whole lot of comedy, a few titter-worthy one-liners, and the odd try for a touch of satire. Ms Scafaria depicted a range of reactions to the terrible news that a huge (70-mile-wide) asteroid was about to collide with Earth, all attempts to deflect or destroy it had failed. The exact time of impact was known and there was absolutely no room for doubt on this.

How would any of us react to such news? In the film, along the way, we encounter a mix of characters' reactions, some predictable, some not.

Displaying a form of denial, the urge to just carry on as usual - a cleaning lady and a police officer on highway patrol fell into this category.

Attempting one long orgy, for example at a bar/restaurant called Friendsy's where it was drinks, drugs and sex-a go-go.

Joining a riot gang to rape, pillage, burn - remembering to get it in the right order (?)

Attempting survival - in special shelter with lots of food, water, and weaponry ("the new world will need leaders!")

Seeking before-the-end baptism on a beach: joining a growing line of those wanting to be "saved".

Looting for luxuries - that one's always on the cards!

Hiring a hitman to do the job before time - it'd save waiting for the inevitable - the waiting is always the worst.

Going out on the road to find lost loves or absent family.
What would any of us do? Would our astrology, perhaps, direct our reaction? Let's surmise. Earth-prominent people might choose to go the denial route, carry on as usual in spite of everything. Water-led groups would go for emotional endings - seeking loved ones, beautiful landscapes, as much peace as possible. Fire-led groups might include the two opposites : survivalists and rioters - but the need to "do something" would be strong. Air-prominent people, hmm, I don't know; they'd probably over-think things, maybe join the survivalist types, or using what logic (and money) they had left , hire a hitman (why wait?)

What would I do? I think I'd try to carry on as usual. I do have more Fire than Earth, but neither riots nor survival appeals in those particular circumstances. Must be my Earth Grand Trine leading the way.

At the end of the late Roger Ebert's review of the film (linked at the top of the post) he added an insightful thought - his last sentence: "Isn't the dilemma of the plot the essential dilemma of life?"

Tuesday, August 27, 2013


I hesitate to utter a single word about anything connected to the Middle East - unless it's a quote from the Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám. However, Syria is starting to push other stuff off the headlines, so I felt I really should try to understand what it's all about.

Americans and Brits - more accurately their governments - have a fetish about the Middle East. There's hardly ever a 24-hour span when an atrocity of some kind isn't going down over there, there where the sun rises; inter-tribal violence is a way of life and has been for as long as I can remember, and much longer than that, I'm sure. The same could be said about parts of Africa though, but that doesn't elicit the same passions from USA and UK governments. The reason has to be that dirty three-letter word OIL, doesn't it? What else is there?

What brought events in Syria to the fore currently is the alleged use of chemical weapons by President Bashar al-Assad against the rebels (a body of mixed sects, who no doubt also fight against one another at times.) What proof is there that Assad did use chemical weapons? It seems the rebels were already being defeated anyway, where was the need?

A paragraph from Brit politician George Galloway's piece at Red Molucca:
"It is entirely implausible that the Syrian regime chose the moment of the arrival of a UN chemical weapons inspection team to launch a chemical attack on an insurgency already suffering reverse after reverse on the battlefield and steadily losing international support with each new video showing them eating the hearts of slain soldiery and sawing of the heads of Christian priests with bread knives.

In the absence of conclusive evidence one would have to believe that the Assad regime was mad as well as bad to have launched such a chemical attack at a time when it is in less danger than it has been for almost a year. I do not believe that Bashar is mad."
Remember those dire warnings that Iraq had Weapons of Mass Destruction, back in the early 2000s? Did they? Look what happened when that warning was acted upon!

“War was always here. Before man was, war waited for him. The ultimate trade awaiting its ultimate practitioner.”
~ Cormac McCarthy, Blood Meridian, or the Evening Redness in the West

Thursday 29 August 2013:
British Prime Minister David Cameron suffered a stunning defeat in the night's Parliament vote to endorse UK/US military action against Syria. Cameron's motion was defeated 285 to 272, a majority of 13 votes. Cameron said it was clear Parliament does not want action and "the government will act accordingly."

We can only hope that on this side of the pond our leader will follow suit and at the very least do nothing without Congress taking a vote on the issue.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Yip Harburg, "rebel by birth"

Leigh Donaldson, in a piece written in 2011, called him "Father of the Socially Conscious Lyric", I knew of him via the lyrics of two of his best-known songs: Brother Can You Spare a Dime and Over the Rainbow. Yip Harburg (Edgar Yipsel Harburg). He was born on New York City's Lower East Side in 1896, son of Russian-Jewish parents who were employed in a garment sweatshop. Yip worked there briefly too. He is reported to have said: “We didn’t know we were poor, we were too busy living life to the fullest.“ Leigh Donaldson, in his piece HERE wrote:
"....few appreciate his deeper dreams of democratic socialism behind so many of his lyrics and poems."

Yip Harburg In his own words:
I am a rebel by birth. ... I contest anything that is unjust, that causes suffering in humanity. My feelings about that are so strong, I don't think I could live with myself if I weren't honest.

They used to tell me
I was building a dream
with peace and glory ahead.
Why should I be standing in line
just waiting for bread?

Brother Can You Spare a Dime has long been a favourite song of mine. This is one of the best modern versions, and accompanying visuals - had me in tears. Bett Butler sings:

Another good one:

Dr John, Odetta and, again, some apt visuals:

Because of its poignant reflection of workers during the Depression who had been forgotten or misplaced, Brother Can You Spare a Dime became a jumping off point for Harburg's further success. The melody, composed by Jay Gorney is based on an old Russian lullaby.

Others have called Harburg outspoken, liberal and uncompromising but also sentimemntal, romantic and humourous.
"He was a man of strong moral and political beliefs who exhibited great tolerance toward those whose politics differed from his own. He believed in the power of lyrics and used that power to move audiences both emotionally and artistically.
Yip Harburg was a victim of the Hollywood blacklist when movie studio bosses blacklisted industry people for suspected involvement or sympathy with the American Communist Party"

He died in March 1981. A list of his best-known song titles can be seen HERE

A quick look at his natal chart then - can we spot the rebel ingredient?

No birth time is available so the chart is set for 12 noon.

I'd like to bet that he was born before 10:00 AM, which would put natal Moon in late Aquarius conjunct Mars.
That'd be a recipe for a rebel! Sun and Mercury in impulsive Aries would blend well and intensify his urge to
outspoken criticism of whatever he saw as unjust.

It's really Uranus, the rebel planet, I'm looking for here. It's in Scorpio, conjunct Saturn. It forms a Grand Trine - like the one in Abbie Hoffman's chart in yesterday's post? Not exactly, but there are similarities. In Hoffman's chart Uranus/Venus/Neptune were linked, in Harburg's it's Uranus/Venus/Jupiter, with Saturn conjunct Uranus. Harburg was getting his Jupiter pulls via this Grand Trine; Hoffman got his via his trio of personal planets in Sagittarius, including Jupiter in its home sign. Harburg's Grand Trine is in Water signs - emotional, whereas Hoffman's were in Earth - practical.

George Michael sings us out with another version of that song:

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Abbie Hoffman - He Made His Own Revolution

Among events listed at Wikipedia for 24 August, through history, is the following"

24 August 1967 – Led by Abbie Hoffman, the Youth International Party temporarily disrupts trading at the NYSE by throwing dollar bills from the viewing gallery, causing trading to cease as brokers scramble to grab them.

More about that incident from a chapter from Hoffman's autobiography. See HERE.

It reminded me of an old post of mine from early in 2010 dealing with Abbie Hoffman's natal chart, an edited version of the old post follows:

Described as flamboyant and colorful, Abbie Hoffman emerged from 1960s counterculture, prominent in demonstrations against the war in Vietnam, he founded the "Yippies" (Youth International Party). His trademarks were sharp satirical humour and a flair for organisation. These were effectively used on behalf of many causes, including civil rights, anti-war and ecology.

Snips from HERE:
At the end of the 1960s Abbot Howard "Abbie" Hoffman became an American celebrity and the wild-and-woolly face of youth activists protesting U.S. involvement in Vietnam. A graduate of Brandeis University with a Master's degree in psychology from the University of California at Berkeley, Hoffman was a co-founder of New York's "Yippie" movement, a loosely-organized anti-war group called the Youth International Party. Their 1967 anti-establishment pranks included dumping dollar bills (mostly fake) onto the floor of the New York Stock Exchange and surrounding the Pentagon in an attempt to levitate it.

After a street fight with police during the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, Hoffman and his cohorts were arrested and charged with conspiracy to incite a riot. The trial was a media sensation, and the so-called Chicago Seven (originally there were eight, including Black Panther Bobby Seale) spent more than a year mocking the court of Judge Julius J. Hoffman with shenanigans that resulted in more than 150 contempt citations. In the end it all amounted to acquittals and convictions overturned, and Hoffman became known more as the guy who wrote Steal This Book (1971) or the guy who was arrested for wearing a shirt that looked like the American flag (1968).

Hoffman was arrested in 1973 on drug charges, but he skipped bail and spent the next seven years on the lam, going by the name of Barry Freed. In the early 1980s he resurfaced and, after a little jail time, embarked on a career as an organizer, activist, author and lecturer. At the age of 52 he was found dead of what a Pennsylvania coroner called a "massive overdose" of phenobarbital. His books include Revolution for the Hell of It (1968), Woodstock Nation (1969), Soon to be a Major Motion Picture (1980) and Preserving Disorder: The Faking of the President (1988, with Jonathan Silvers).

The coroner ruled Hoffman's death a suicide, saying the amount of the overdose suggested that an accident was unlikely.

Abbie Hoffman was born in Worcester Massachusetts on 30 November 1936 at 1:30 AM (Astrodatabank).

Sun, Mercury and Jupiter in Sagittarius (Jupiter's rulership). Jupiter, planet of excess and philosophy; I guess one could say that political activism consists of expanding philosophical ideas to their limit - to excess.

Two tight oppositions: Jupiter/Moon and Saturn/Neptune reflect inner on-going conflict which may eventually have contributed to his bi-polar disorder.

Uranus, the rebel planet, not unexpectedly has a part to play here. There's a Yod (Finger of Fate) configuration linking the sextile between Sun and Mars (Mars in a strong position, close to the ascendant) via two quincunx aspects of 150 degrees to Uranus. Astrologers consider that the sextiled planets' attributes are channelled through the planet at the apex of the Yod, in this case what could be more appropriate than Uranus? Sun(self) & Mars(energy and aggression) chanelled through Uranus (rebellion/revolution).

Uranus is also part of a loose Grand Trine with Venus/Neptune forming a circuit of harmonious connection between rebellion, dreams/imagination and well, Venus? Venus can represent emotional contracts such as marriage, love affairs. Hoffman's love affair was with rebellion.

“The only way to support a revolution is to make your own.”

“Revolution is not something fixed in ideology, nor is it something fashioned to a particular decade. It is a perpetual process embedded in the human spirit.”
― Abbie Hoffman

Question: Where is our Abbie 2013-style? Is it, perhaps, Edward Snowden ?

Friday, August 23, 2013


On Monday evening we saw the movie The Butler (more correctly titled Lee Daniels' The Butler, due to some copyright debacle). The movie is another on the same wavelength as The Help and 42. The Help told the story of female African American domestic workers struggling against invidious segregation in the USA during the 1950s and 60s; 42 focused on an African American baseball player and his eventual rise to fame during a similar period. The Butler, as its title implies, shows us the view of similar times, but from the perspective of an African American butler in the White House. This film, like 42, is based on a true story, the life of Eugene Allen who served at the White House under eight US presidents from Truman to Reagan.

In the movie Forest Whitaker plays the fictional part of Cecil Gaines reflecting real life experiences of Eugene Allen (excellent performance it is too). We follow his life story from childhood on a cotton plantation, where he witnesses the murder of his father after his mother (played by Mariah Carey) is raped by the plantation overseer. Matriarch of the plantation (played by Vanessa Redgrave) takes pity on the bereft child, makes him a house servant, inducts him into the ways of house servants - along the lines of: The room should feel empty when you're in it.

After several years as house servant the young Gaines moves on, obtains work as a hotel steward, is further groomed, in the high arts of obsequiousness and attention to the smallest detail, by an old hand at the job. After some further years of polishing his skills Cecil is noticed and later head-hunted by a White House official.

The movie up to this point was done very well, I thought. It brought back memories of that wonderful mini-series Roots. I wasn't quite as impressed by the next section of the film, but was very interested to see how it unfolded.

We stagger uncertainly along with Cecil's first nervous steps in what would be an overwhelming experience for any of us, in any circumstance. One of the first things he's instructed by the head butler, and the first laugh of the movie for me and Himself:"We don't have politics in the White House". Cecil soon gets into the White House groove, his past training serves him well. We see him interact with a succession of presidents starting with Eisenhower (would you believe Robin Williams?), JFK (James Marsden who seemed way too petite for JFK - there must be actors more like him surely?) Jackie and Caroline Kennedy, LBJ (Liev Schreiber), Richard Nixon (good if cartoonish turn by John Cusack), and Reagan (interesting effort by Alan Rickman who couldn't keep that wicked twinkle from his eye), with Nancy played, to the chagrin of many commenters, by "Hanoi" Jane Fonda, I thought she seemed just right for the part, albeit maybe a tad too tall.

Along with the expected focus on highlights and lowlights of the several presidencies the film follows Cecil's home life, and regained its former quality in my eyes. He married Gloria (Oprah Winfrey -blogger muffles a groan) and has two sons, Louis (David Oyelowo ) and Charlie (Elijah Kelley). I'll not spoil the movie further for any passing reader who intends to see it by outlining the trials and tribulations linked to this part of Cecil's life. Enough to say that he faces heartache and dilemma vis–à–vis what is going on in the world outside the White House bubble in which he spends most of his waking hours. I'd best say also that, in spite of my strange intolerance for Ms Winfrey she did put in a very good performance.

The reason I wasn't as impressed with the White House section of the movie was its swing into almost cartoon mode at times. The film went from darkly serious, almost painfully so, to verging on farce. False noses, not even well-done false noses, LBJ sitting on the lavatory, JFK looking like a diminutive Tony Blair, Reagan - well...Rickman - need I say more? Now, I'm quite open to ridiculing presidents - most have deserved it at some point, but here it just seemed out of sync with the earlier tone of this movie and many of the later scenes. Cecil seemed to have genuine affection for at least some of the presidents. He wore a tie of JFK, given to him by Jackie, and the tie clip given to him by LBJ, to go to the White House to meet the new President Obama - this was after Cecil's retirement of course.

At this point I'll have a quick grumble.

As the movie ended, Cecil his family and friends were, naturally, overjoyed at the election of Barack Obama to the presidency. We watch them celebrate. At the time, in 2008, I celebrated too, I wept too. But ye gods, I'm angry now! Look what happened. Obama let them down. He let his people down. He let everyone who voted for him down.

"Enough"....I clearly remember newly elected Prez Obama saying that word. We should all echo it back to him....ENOUGH!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

False Equivalency Poser

 Mathematical symbol for in-equation
A term I notice more and more as I scan through online articles and comment threads: "false equivalency". I understand the literal meaning of those words well enough, but at times am at a loss to relate them to what I'm reading. Having dipped into a variety of explanations of the term I see that it's one of, or maybe a generic term for (?) a family of figures of speech known as logical fallacies. See Skeptical Detective for a list of these.

As a Sun Aquarian logic ought to be stock-in-trade for me, but when logic is muffled in devious political argument it's sometimes hard to extract.

A definition of false equivalence in one sentence I quite liked is:
We may define false equivalence as when when someone falsely equates an act or idea of one as being equally egregious to that of another without also considering the underlying differences which may make the comparison invalid or unfair.

False equivalences often take the form of analogies that we are expected to take a little too seriously...............
See the rest HERE
Some examples given in attempted explanations around the net leave me still confused; one of the clearest, used in several different places, is this comparison:
The burka is worn by women and covers the hair.
The nun's habit is worn by women and covers the hair.
Thus the burka and nun's habit are equal.
That's patently untrue, and quite easy to dismantle. The problem for me comes when the false equivalency is wrapped up in a thick layer of party politics.

Anyone have any clear - or unclear - thoughts on this tangled topic?

There's quite likely to be a bit of false equivalency going on in astrology, come to think of it. Far be it from me to unscrew the lid on that wee can o' beans!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

A Local Murder

My husband has this on his Thinks Happen page today:

 Click on image for bigger version
It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words. Perhaps that is true. But often a picture still doesn’t tell the entire story. Sure, here is a small memorial, growing along a main street in a residential area. You’ve seen these before. Someone died here.

He was a visiting Australian athlete, out for his afternoon run. The story so far is that he was shot by three teen age boys who “wanted to see someone die.”

Does this hit you where you live? It is less than a minute from my home.

The site of the shooting is literally just around the corner from where we live. It's a very quiet neighbourhood, right on the edge of a quiet Oklahoma town. The young man murdered was a visiting baseball player from Australia.

NBC report HERE

Report from an Australian newspaper Herald Sun HERE.

What compels young men to act out their apparent disaffection in such violent and pointless ways? According to a piece in the Huffington Post back in April at the time of the Boston Marathon tragedy: as of 2006 in the US boys accounted for 83 percent of arrests for violent crimes. By the age of 17, over a quarter of boys report having carried a handgun. In 2010, there were an estimated 756,000 gang members throughout the country.

Curmudgeonly thoughts lead me along the lines that a mandatory draft into public service of some kind is needed, to try to plant some sense into young heads. Other thoughts remind me that young men from the USA and UK, not far from the age of these youths were fighting and being killed in World War 2, in the hope that their sacrifice would bring about a better world - and this is within my lifetime. What on earth has befallen us?

We seem to be well down a slippery slope towards something I don't even want to contemplate.

"Welcome to Heathrow" or Let us enter/de-tain you!

Cannonfire, one of my regular internet stops during a daily surf-ride, yesterday mentioned a writer Juan Cole, of whom I'd until now been unaware. I shall keep an eye on Mr. Cole's blog:
Informed Comment
from now on.

The piece which caught my eye and was quoted at Cannonfire: Greenwald Partner falsely detained as Terrorist: How to Create a Dictatorship
is a brief 10-point list (How to turn a democracy into a STASI authoritarian state in 10 easy steps), and ends with this paragraph:
Presto, what looks like a democracy is really an authoritarian state ruling on its own behalf and that of 2000 corporations, databasing the activities of 312 million innocent citizens and actively helping destroy the planet while forestalling climate activism.
Grim, ain't it?

I wasn't too surprised, to read that Glenn Greenwald's partner, David Miranda had been detained by UK officials at Heathrow Airport in London under some Terrorism Act or other. The length of the detention seemed excessive though: 9 hours - reportedly the maximum allowed under law before police must release or formally make an arrest. Miranda's electronic equipment (laptop, cell phone) were confiscated before he was eventually released.

UK and USA are obviously in cahoots on the "get Edward Snowden" job, so Glenn Greenwald and anyone associated with him are going to be near the top of their lists of travellers to be detained, if for no other reason than to scare the living daylights out of others who might be considering a little whistle-blowing or leaking action. Did the authorities really think Miranda would be travelling with sensitive material so easily accessible, or that he'd be open to spilling any beans at all? Really? Really??

Monday, August 19, 2013



Wiki tells that on August 19 the people of ancient Rome and its surrounding rural area celebrated Vinalia, one of two annual wine festivals.

From Ancient history,
April 23, according to the William Smith Dictionary, on Lacus Curtius, was the urban Roman wine festival, Vinalia urbana, at which occasion wine casks were first opened and tasted, with a libation poured to Jupiter. Not just Rome, but all of Latium celebrated the 2nd wine festival, the Vinalia rustica on August 19, when the flamen dialis offered lambs to Jupiter and then opened the vintage for drinking.
I'm not much of a wine drinker myself, most of the dry varieties tend to leave me with stomach pains, red wines give me a nasty headache. A mild semi- sweet Moscato or Liebfraumilch is about my limit. Still, to stay in tune with Vinalia and Music Monday, a couple of wine songs and a quote from a favourite philosopher:

First, Days of Wine and Roses composed by Henry Mancini with lyrics by Johnny Mercer, from a 1962 film of the same name. A less well-known tidbit: the song's lyrics were derived from a poem by English poet and novelist Ernest Dowson - a tragic guy, worthy of a blog post all to himself, died aged 32 of alcoholism. His poem Vitae Summa Brevis, in turn is an echo of another man's words - from ancient Rome: "The brief sum of life forbids us the hope of enduring long" –Horace.

Vitae Summa Brevis by Ernest Dowson

They are not long, the weeping and the laughter,
Love and desire and hate:
I think they have no portion in us after
We pass the gate.

They are not long, the days of wine and roses:
Out of a misty dream
Our path emerges for a while, then closes
Within a dream.

The song, sung by the incomparable Ella:

Then there's Red Red Wine - written and sung here by Neil Diamond - the original version:

Finally, from Edward Fitzgerald's translation of of The Rubaiyat some of Omar Khayyám's words:
And much as Wine has play'd the Infidel,
And robb'd me of my Robe of Honour--Well,
I wonder often what the Vintners buy
One half so precious as the stuff they sell.

Ah, make the most of what we yet may spend,
Before we too into Dust descend;
Dust into Dust, and under Dust to lie,
Sans Wine, sans Song, sans Singer, and - sans End!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Seeking the Trails - or Who Do I Think I Am?

I began digging around in genealogy some four years ago, using my husband's subscription to I'm the end of my own particular line as it happens - a childless only child - but there are lots of cousins around, most live in England others in Canada, USA, Cyprus. Most cousins, apart from two or three, remain virtually unknown to one another.

After several months of intense research in 2009 I threw in the towel. I had discovered a lot, though not pieces of the puzzle I'd been most keen to find: a way through two brick walls (the term used in genealogy when ....I guess it's self explanatory). A few weeks ago curiosity knocked once again and I decided to re-visit, began trying to clear up some of the muddle I'd left, and to deal with electronic "hints" accumulated over the past 3 or 4 years - hundreds of 'em! is a brilliant piece of cyber-kit, complex, easy to get lost and side-tracked, yet simple enough on the surface for know-nothings like me to use. Impatience, or not being fully au fait with the website's format, led me to make some duplications, wrong turnings and messy muddles.

Disciplining myself to write a little about each line of descent individually could help me focus more intently, maybe help iron out some confusions. I'm thinking of posting an occasional essay here, probably fairly infrequently among the rest of the waffling about politics, art, astrology, movies, relating to my family history quest. I'd focus on the four lines directly related to me, one at a time, take the line back as far as I can, include scans of any relevant photographs and personal stories I have, and some background information on history of the times and places involved. The purpose would be twofold: to clarify things in my own mind and to try to put some flesh on the bare bones of it all. Straight family trees are pretty darn soulless! After completing the (probably four) essays I have it in mind to copy them to a separate blog format. I'd pass on the URL of that new blog to the only three cousins for whom I have addresses, in the hope that they will pass the information along to other relatives, while also offering me any additional detail known to them.

Someday soon I'll make a start on that. For now, here's a rather nice poem found among dusty genealogical websites, it was written by Fern Stokes Eller:


Come walk with us,
Back through the vista of the years,
Which our ancestors knew.
We seek the trails which once they trod,
To find the spots where they once dwelt.
And while we search about our hearts,
Read weathered stones,
And turn musty pages of the past,
Their spirits come alive and walk with us.
We learn of them,
Their lives, their loves, their hates.
And with their knowledge,
Learn to understand ourselves,
For each of them has given to us a past.
We owe them this -
That they shall be remembered for that gift.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Peterloo, The Guardian, the Echoes....

Noticing among Wiki's list of events for today, 16 August through the years, that it's the anniversary of the Peterloo Massacre in Manchester, England, I decided to re-post something originally posted a couple or more years ago.

I first took an interest in the Peterloo Massacre after reading one of Howard Spring's superb novels, "Fame is the Spur". I reached for the book as I was preparing this, flicked to a paragraph from a chapter where the story of the Massacre is being re-told by the novel's leading character, Hamer Shawcross. The words, now, seem to me to reflect a back and forth from 19th century Manchester to 22nd century Earth as described in the movie Elysium (see Wednesday's post), with the view from our current time wobbling somewhere inbetween:
"Ah, my fiends, that was murder most foul, but it was murder in daylight, murder aboveboard. Still - this day - in your midst - the same crime is covertly committed. Not with the sword but with subtler weapons. Want and misery are turned loose upon you as the dragoons were turned loose that shameful day. Your life is sapped from you inch by inch instead of in one clean stroke, and those who should be your shepherds, securing for you your share of the rich pastures that clothe the world - these men are keeping you in subjection to those who swig the wine of life and leave you the rinsings of the cup........."

The post:


Pondering famous examples of mass protest by ordinary people in days gone by, my thoughts turned to this from the history of the north of England city of Manchester, county of Lancashire, during the years of the Industrial Revolution: The Peterloo Massacre of 1819.

In early 19th century England only wealthy property owners were allowed to vote. Ordinary people began to feel the same anger as their cousins in the USA had felt in the previous century about taxation without representation. Manchester was one centre where the Industrial Revolution, via the cotton trade, had spawned a large population, few of whom had the right to vote. Attempts to persuade the government to broaden the right to vote had been continually resisted. The wealthy had much to lose. Memories of the French Revolution, 30 years earlier, still hovered.

On 16 August 1819 Henry Hunt, a well-known campaigner for voting reform was to speak at a meeting in Manchester. In order to avert problems those in power brought in 400 special constables, 1500 infantry 100 cavalry, Hussars and Yeomanry, and Royal horse Artillery with a 6-pounder cannon. Pretty heavy-handed considering the meeting was to be a peaceful gathering of unarmed working-class folk from Manchester and surrounding towns and villages.

A crowd of around 60,000 is reported to have gathered, including some all-female contingents dressed all in white, supporting universal suffrage for males (their own time was to come in the years that followed).

Before the speeches were properly underway, magistrates decided, at the very last minute to ban the meeting, and first sent 60 cavalry in to arrest the speakers, then more and more troops advanced as the first 60 became engulfed in the crush. Cavalry galloped into the crowd wielding sabres. At the same time the infantry, with bayonets fixed, positioned themselves at the main exits and blocked escape routes. Those who did escape were pursued through the streets.

15 or more people (sources vary) were killed and between 400 and 700 injured - trampled by horses, or cut by the wildly swinging sabres of the militia.

From the chart (above right) showing planetary positions at noon on 16 August 1819 in Manchester it's easy to see a challenging situation existed, formed by square and opposition aspects between Mars (aggression), Mercury (communication), Pluto/Saturn (death/restriction) and Uranus/Neptune (rebellion/dreams).

It has been acknowledged that Peterloo was hugely influential in ordinary people winning the right the vote, as well as leading to the rise of the Chartist Movement from which grew the Trades Unions.

Another result of the Peterloo Massacre was the foundation of a reformist newspaper: The Manchester Guardian (nowadays known simply as The Guardian - or affectionately "The Grauniad" - a nickname earned and popularised by satirical magazine Private Eye due to a history of typographical errors including the newspaper's own name .

The Manchester Guardian was founded by John Edward Taylor, a young cotton merchant, on 5 May 1821 in the wake of the Peterloo Massacre. Taylor, a reformer and religious nonconformist, aimed to produce a newspaper committed to political change and based upon truthful reporting.

The Guardian celebrated its 190th birthday in 2011. I wonder if its "natal chart" is appropriate for the birth of a reformist newspaper. Let's see:

Chart is set for 6 am on the date of the first issue of the newspaper....its birth into the world. The Manchester Guardian had Sun and Venus in down-to-earth Taurus, not perhaps the Sun sign expected, but Taurus is a very rooted sign, and its roots have become strong over more than 190 years...the newspaper certainly had had Taurus's staying power and loyalty to purpose. Those 4 planets in Aries, including the sign's ruler, Mars gave it pioneering drive and the source of aggression when called for. Moon in Gemini = communication (Gemini) with The People (Moon). With outer planets Uranus (rebellion) and Neptune (dreams, creativity) exactly and appropriately conjoined in Capricorn (business) in harmonious trine to Sun/Venus in Taurus. Uranus/Neptune was also in out-of-sign opposition to Moon, which represents something of a balancing act between the need to protest or rebel/dream of rebellion and the way to present this to The People in a responsible way.

The chart describes the birth of The Manchester Guardian well.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Elysium - Okay, but then what?

We saw Elysium at the cinema on Monday evening. The movie was mentioned in an earlier post, HERE. I'll try not to include too many spoilers, but without a few I can't say what I want to say, so if a passing reader intends to see the movie, do beware of what follows.

I didn't hate the film, but didn't love it either. Elysium had good ideas, not new - but then, what is? The film was written, co-produced and directed by Neill Blomkamp and stars Matt Damon and Jodie Foster.

The storyline, used before in a variety of ways in novels and in movies, in this instance is delivered with all the visual technological wonders now available. This isn't always an advantage, it can simply encourage producers and directors to over-egg the pudding, which is basically what happened in Elysium. The film was designed to play to the action and fight-loving blockbuster-loving filmgoers, not the quieter, more curious among us.

Squandered opportunity - that's what Elysium and its embedded allegory is.

To be fair, the subject matter, dealt with in any detail, with time for proper background and character development, with dialogue showing more depth than yer average graphic novel, would be more suitable material for a TV mini-series of some three or four 2-hour episodes. The movie had just less than 2 hours to tell its tale, so a lot had to be left to the imagination, and several gaping plot-holes had to be left, in the hope that the mayhem of fight sequences will mean that audiences' brains will become numb enough not to notice.

Without the overlong fight scenes, the last one had me looking at my watch, just wishing and willing it to end, perhaps younger filmgoers would not even bother to see Elysium, and they'd miss the allegorical warning embedded in it. As husband pointed out, perhaps this way a little of the allegory's message will stick, even overlaid as it was by all the mayhem. I hope so, but doubt it.

As an allegorical fable or parable set in Los Angeles in 2154, a tale about the haves and have-nots, it could be seen both as a mirror of what we now term the 1% versus The Rest of Us in the USA and elsewhere, or using a wider lens, the third world versus the developed world. Both views work equally well.

Matt Damon plays Max Da Costa, who is, to carry on the Greek mythology motif from the space station's name, a 22nd century Hercules figure. He's confronted by an Herculean task, initially via the motivation to save his own life after suffering massive radiation poisoning. He is aided by a techno-heavy exoskeleton suit and brain assistance (sorry if those terms aren't the correct ones!) He needs to reach the idyll that is space station Elysium, a living environment for the uber-weathy, where as part of its pseudo idyll, crime, poverty and all other nasties simply do not exist. Earth has become a devastated shell: hot, over-populated, disease-ridden, its sorry inhabitants used as slaves to supply the needs of Elysium, under the inhuman and inhumane control of robot police. On Elysium there are magical-seeming re-atomising health care pods in every home. These can heal any injury, ailment, disease in a few seconds - even a guy with his face blown off (a particularly nasty scene!)

What we aren't told, and what those curious enough among us are left wondering, is : what's going on in the rest of the USA - not to mention the rest of the world? Modern sci-fi movies often have an irritating habit of never mentioning this point, putting focus on....well it's often LA or New York or Washington....What was going on in Oklahoma and Texas and Iowa for instance (apart from people steadily being fried to a crisp?) What was happening in India, London, China, Sweden? What exactly went on in the everyday life of Elysium? Most of what we were shown involved the politcal side of the space station environment: keeping out illegals travelling from Earth in filthy battered space vehicles, trying desperately to access the health care pods to heal themselves or their children.

Jodie Foster plays an eerily Margaret Thatcher-like (but better looking) high-ranking Elysian government minister, Jessica Delacourt. She had a plan for a coup to take down the rather softer-hearted president of Elysium. She intends to use some unbelievable transfer of computer code - I never did get my head around this premise, even suspending what was left of my belief/disbelief. The unlikely method of its illegal transfer to Matt Damon's brain boggled mine a bridge or two too far.

But after it all, and after what was supposed to be a win-win for the Earth people - then what? Biggest sigh of all! What was achieved, really? The people of Earth were, in one unbelievable transfer of data, given citizenship of Elysium and the right to access the health repairing pods. How could that benefit the failing environment of planet Earth? Even more population to feed and access diminished water sources? We see some of the health repair pods being sent to Earth - or to LA, anyway. What was going on elsewhere?

Would the people on Earth, already dreadfully brutalised by the way of life they'd been forced into for decades, or even centuries, we are not told for how long - would they play nice with the expensive high-tech health repair pods? What about the brutal robot police force on Earth? Had they been re-programmed? Would the working environments on a devastated Earth magically be re-tooled, re-invigorated with union strength to oppose inhuman requirements of risking one's life via radiation poisoning in the way Max was forced to do, with no recourse?

More questions than answers!

I do not want to see a sequel, that could only prove to be even more depressing, but numerous questions do still hang over Elysium.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The Mind - Missing Ingredient?

Steven Pinker, research psychologist and professor in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at MIT and author of "Words and Rules", HERE asks :

"What is the missing ingredient — not genes, not upbringing — that shapes the mind?"

Astrologers may know the answer, but not exactly how the process works. Why not test a theory that broad astrological principles may be involved in the answer to this question? Astrologers, in cahoots with psychologists such as Professor Pinker, might discover much of value to both science and astrology .

Brief extracts:

"If genes have any effect at all, it must be total. But the data show that genes account for about only about half of the variance in personality and intelligence (25% to 75%, depending on how things are measured). That leaves around half the variance to be explained by something that is not genetic........................
...............growing up in the same home — with the same parents, books, TVs, guns, and so on — does not make children similar.

So the variation in personality and intelligence breaks down roughly as follows: genes 50%, families 0%, something else 50%. As with Bob Dylan's Mister Jones, something is happening here but we don't know what it is. (I say......"Or do we?")

Perhaps it is chance. While in the womb, the growth cone of an axon zigged rather than zagged, and the brain gels into a slightly different configuration. If so, it would have many implications that have not figured into our scientific or everyday way of thinking.................... "

And again...

David Sloan Wilson's article
"Are Liberals and Conservatives Different Species? The Answer is Yes" is an interesting read, but realising that astrology cannot command the $$$ required for an experiment such as the one he describes leaves on feeling a tad deflated. If only more scientists would open their minds, experiments like this one could be modified to take in birth data so that it could be analysed by astrologers. Dream on!

Another piece along similar lines:: Howie Klein on
The Liberal Mind vs the Conservative Mind -- Genetic?

Would we be any better off knowing the whys and wherefores of astrology though? I used to think so - passionately. I've lately grown doubtful. There are people with too much power who would be more than happy to use any tiny piece of information for their own benefit and enrichment, to the detriment of others....namely the rest of us. It'd be just another gadget in the already overflowing toolbag of the oligarchs, the 1%, the NSA, etc.etc.etc.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Music, Meditation, Pan Pipes.

A few leftover, musical, thoughts from a post earlier this month about meditation.

Music must be a helpful aid to meditation. My own restless mind will not stay still enough to meditate for more than 30 seconds, so I cannot claim a credible opinion on this, but when has that ever stopped me? I tottered around YouTube looking for inspiration. There are lots of videos promising "music for meditation", long videos of an hour or more. What would suit one person's taste could be anathema to another, what follows is simply my own opinion.

I sampled a few minutes of a couple of special meditation music vids, found them a tad synthetic sounding; experienced a similar reaction to some other New Agey offerings. What would I find soothing ? Gregorian chants sprang to mind - the wonderful echoey mystical musicality of it. Dang ! Gregorians Do the Beatles now?? What the.......? Granted there are still some traditional Gregorian chant albums around, but those I sampled didn't give me the right amount of echo - probably due to combined limited acoustics of YouTube and my computer's sound system.

How about Enya? A possibility, but from that thought my mind leaped immediately to pan pipes. Yes! Simple, natural, honest, organic (in every sense of the word - pipe organs were an evolution of the ancient pan pipes.)

Pan pipes: their history spans the continents of Earth. They appeared in various different cultures, perhaps not at exactly the same time in man-made time, but probably around the same stage of development of each culture. In the Americas, China, Europe, Africa evidence of this, one of man's earliest musical instruments has been found, stretching back for at least 6000 years. The instruments were constructed from reeds, bamboo cane, wood, clay, bone.....whatever was to hand in a particular location.

The instrument's name - or that given to it in the West, honours Greek mythological god Pan. The story goes that Pan, god of pastoral folk and their flocks, fell in love with a beautiful nymph, Syrinx. Syrinx didn't find Pan, with his cloven hooves and shaggy countenance in the least fanciable. She fled, with Pan in pursuit. When they reached a river bank with nowhere for Syrinx to escape, she became desperate. She called to the river god for aid and in response was turned into a reed. Pan, reaching out to embrace the nymph found only a bunch of reeds in his grasp. His sighs produced a strange melodic sound to echo through the reeds. To demonstrate his undying love Pan broke off some reeds and made them into a flute-like instrument, played sad melodies to his lost love, who he imagined to be embodied in the instrument he always carried.

A modern master of the Pan pipes is Romanian musician Gheorghe Zamfir. Here he plays Chopin's Etude no. 3 in E major
Opus 10 no. 3 "Tristesse".

Edgar Muenala plays "Chess"

This piece is titled only Tibetan Flute - Deep Tibetan music (1) - it's lovely, but politically slanted comments below have to be ignored!.

From Pan's Pipes, an essay by Robert Louis Stevenson from his book Virginibus Puerisque (translation "for boys and girls")
Last paragraph:
There are moments when the mind refuses to be satisfied with evolution, and demands a ruddier presentation of the sum of man's experience. Sometimes the mood is brought about by laughter at the humorous side of life, as when, abstracting ourselves from earth, we imagine people plodding on foot, or seated in ships and speedy trains, with the planet all the while whirling in the opposite direction, so that, for all their hurry, they travel back-foremost through the universe of space. Sometimes it comes by the spirit of delight, and sometimes by the spirit of terror. At least, there will always be hours when we refuse to be put off by the feint of explanation, nicknamed science; and demand instead some palpitating image of our estate, that shall represent the troubled and uncertain element in which we dwell, and satisfy reason by the means of art. Science writes of the world as if with the cold finger of a starfish; it is all true; but what is it when compared to the reality of which it discourses? Where hearts beat high in April, and death strikes, and hills totter in the earthquake, and there is a glamour over all the objects of sight, and a thrill in all noises for the ear, and Romance herself has made her dwelling among men? So we come back to the old myth, and hear the goat-footed piper making the music which is itself the charm and terror of things; and when a glen invites our visiting footsteps, fancy that Pan leads us thither with a gracious tremolo; or when our hearts quail at the thunder of the cataract, tell ourselves that he has stamped his hoof in the nigh thicket.

Saturday, August 10, 2013


Latest chapter in the Snowden-NSA story involves an encrypted email service, Lavabit, run by Ladar Levison, and reportedly used by Edward Snowden. Levison completely shut-down the service rather than participate in what he described as "crimes against the American people". See a full report in The Guardian newspaper. A second e-mail service, Silent Circle, has since also shut down.
(Hat-tip to Ganga Seva Nidhi for the photograph.)

A commenter (myguardian001) to The Guardian article wrote:
On a positive ... this protest/battle for our privacy, in the long run this will turn out to be a good thing for the cause. Everyone on this comments section already is aware of the implication of government surveillance ... it's the majority who go about their business either not caring or not worried enough that we need engaged.
There's now a further 350,000* people who (if not already concerned about government intrusion into their privacy) will be made more aware of whats going on, and hopefully a good proportion will take a more active part for change.
(Me: * meaning Lavabit's clients).

Hopefully more companies make a stand, and more people are sucked into the debate ... we can't really depend on the traditional media outlets to spread the word (seems like they've all been gagged)..................Lose some battles, win the war ... patience, it will happen ... I hope.

Me too.

"Points of light" in the courage of Edward Snowden, Bradley Manning, WikiLeaks, have come into view through the darkness, one after another, though quite slowly. The pace seems to be quickening now. I hope that soon more and more points of light will shine, to join those already shimmering and form a massive searchlight to cut through the gloom, shed light on, and expand the much-needed debate on this very important issue of our time .

Glenn Greenwald finished his piece HERE thus: "There will undoubtedly be more acts inspired by Snowden's initial choice to unravel his own life to make the world aware of what the US government has been doing in the dark."

And borrowing, again, another point made by a commenter at The Guardian
There are critical moments in history - when the mob hunted down Ceaucescu in Romania, when the Germans turned a blind eye to grim reality, when the Resistance in France took enormous risks, when each one of us gets the chance to demonstrate which side of the line we are willing to live on.
So the govt can force you to collaborate and violate the privacy of your customers thereby damaging the reputation of your business OR
if you refuse, then you can give up your business.
With regard to ordinary people, we are on notice that all our communication--phone, email, postal mail, and conversations--are now subject to govt surveillance.
Last 2 verses of a poem by W. H. Auden titled September 1 1939. I've probably quoted these before, but they continue to remain so very apt.

All I have is a voice
To undo the folded lie,
The romantic lie in the brain
Of the sensual man-in-the-street
And the lie of Authority
Whose buildings grope the sky:
There is no such thing as the State
And no one exists alone;
Hunger allows no choice
To the citizen or the police;
We must love one another or die.

Defenceless under the night
Our world in stupor lies;
Yet, dotted everywhere,
Ironic points of light
Flash out wherever the Just
Exchange their messages;

May I, composed like them
Of Eros and of dust,
Beleaguered by the same
Negation and despair,
Show an affirming flame.

Friday, August 09, 2013

Arty Farty Friday ~ Pop Revolutionaries

Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein were two of the best known names in Pop Art, a genre which emerged in the 1960s. Whether one looks on their work as true art or simply a quirk in art's lifeline, it's not easy to discount their influence. Adjectives such as radical, revolutionary, eccentric abound in articles about these artists, and their styles. We might expect to see Aquarius prominent in their charts - it isn't, there's no planet in Aquarius in either natal chart. Uranus then?

No Aquarius planets, but there are a few significant similarities.

The chart shape in both cases is a "funnel" or "bucket", with one planet out on a limb, as a "funnel" or "handle" acting, astrologers say, as conduit for the energies of the rest of the chart. In Warhol's case it's Saturn, in Lichtenstein's it's Uranus. Saturn and Uranus are traditional and modern rulers of Aquarius respectively. Something else, too - in each case the "funnel" planet is within 6 degrees of South node of the Moon - one of the sensitive points in any chart.

Both charts have Grand Trines involving Uranus. Sun/Saturn/Uranus in Fire for Warhol. Pluto/Uranus/Venus in Water for Lichtenstein.

Uranus was in Aries when Warhol was born, it trined (harmonious aspect of 120*) his Leo Sun. When Lichtenstein was born Uranus lay in Pisces and it trined(just) his Scorpio Sun. These Uranus related coincidences must surely be more than mere chance?

If a birth time for Lichtenstein were known other similarities might emerge.

EXTRACT, for full piece see here.

"Warhol revolutionized the Pop Art Movement by transforming average, everyday items such as soup cans into celebrated works of art....... His eccentric persona attracted many celebrity writers, actors and artists, and his popularity rose to cult status.

Roy Lichtenstein tried many artistic styles including abstract expressionism, the dominant art movement of the 1950s, before experimenting with budding pop art imagery, his interest in the style of cartoons motivated him to create his signature technique, which incorporates Ben-Day dots, lettering and speech balloons juxtaposed with vibrant primary colors. Lichtenstein worked exhaustively finessing his signature style through painting, printmaking and sculpture.

Many commonalities exist between Warhol and Lichtenstein. They both explored similar themes in their work including comics, advertisements, politics, portraits and nature. In particular, both Warhol and Lichtenstein used the process of printmaking, which mimicked the commercial sources of their imagery and allowed the artists to easily create multiple pieces."

I've also read that Lichtenstein and Warhol collected each other's work.