Thursday, July 31, 2014

Still Cycling... with ERIS

An announcement 9 years ago this week, by NASA:
July 29, 2005: "It's definitely bigger than Pluto." So says Dr. Mike Brown of the California Institute of Technology who announced today the discovery of a new planet in the outer solar system.
The planet, which hasn't been officially named yet, was found by Brown and colleagues using the Samuel Oschin Telescope at Palomar Observatory near San Diego. It is currently about 97 times farther from the sun than Earth, or 97 Astronomical Units....The planet's temporary name is 2003 UB313. A permanent name has been proposed by the discoverers to the International Astronomical Union, and they are awaiting the decision of this body before announcing the name. Stay tuned!
(See HERE)
Hat-tip Cosmos News

We now know this dwarf planet as Eris.

I wasn't a Blog Lady in 2005, but my second and third posts when I opened this blog in 2006 touched on the demotion of Pluto, which was directly related to the discovery of Eris and other outer bodies.

By 2008 onward I got around to waxing, fairly non-lyrically, about Eris on a handful of occasions. Looking back:
Eris & Sedna or Eric & Sid? (2008);
Eris Cycles (2011).
The latter garnered some good comments at the time, and more than six and a half thousand hits over the years.

I hadn't thought much about Eris lately, before noticing the anniversary of the announcement of its discovery. Eris is such a slow-moving body, its 560-year orbit makes Pluto look like a Speedy Gonzalez. The outer planet ephemeris indicates that Eris now is at 23 Aries (tropical zodiac). Looking around for additional information worth adding here, I found:

Synodic Astrology - The Path of Eris & The Eris Synodic Cycles 2003 - 2016
Harmonic Cycles of Growth in Consciousness

by Nick Anthony Fiorenza

This astrologer uses sidereal placement which has Eris in the constellation of Pisces, but this doesn't detract from the information given for those of us who use tropical zodiac placements. I hope the astrologer will not object to my using a snip from part of his long and very interesting article. This, from at the section headed
Synodic Astrology: Eris & Uranus - 1927 - 2016

A new Uranus-Eris synodic cycle begins in Dec of 2016. The last Uranus-Eris synod occurred around 1927 in early sidereal Pisces on the Vernal Point.....................................
The correlation of global events and historical transitions surrounding the 1927 Uranus-Eris synod may be ideal for astrologers to explore in order to gain more insight into the astrological nature of Eris.

A few events occurring during this time were: In Global Communications - The first transatlantic commercial telephone service was established between New York and London. There were breakthroughs in radio and television, with television's first successful long-distance broadcast. These were technological shifts severing the limits of the past (a Uranian theme), ones that would then continue throughout the synodic cycle. The new technological developments also disrupted humanity's world perception regarding possibilities in time and space, fitting to Eris' nature, just as Eris' discovery disrupted humanity's world view, ultimately to embrace additional planets in Pluto's realm and the resultant need to redefine our astronomical classification of planets (forming the Dwarf Planet category).

These were also the days of Ford's Model A; Mae West, Duke Ellington, and Ernest Hemingway. However, shortly to follow was the Great US Stock Market Crash in 1929, which led to the Great Depression (fitting to the Vernal-Point-Diphda theme). Although originating in the US, the Depression spread to Europe and all other parts of the world causing severe political disarray. This also proved opportunistic for tyrants like Hitler and Stalin. World War II followed a decade later.

Remember, Uranus and Eris move quite slowly so their active orb lasts over a long period, and a synod merely marks the start of cycle which will then unfold over time—the Uranus-Eris cycle being about 89 years.

If a comparable pattern continues then, beginning in 2016, with a new US president about to enter the White House, we can only surmise how the 1927 pattern might unfold this time around. For sure there'll be bigger and ever more unintelligible (to the lay person) technological shifts, making those in the 1927 cycle look distinctly primitive by comparison. Our world view and maybe even our universe view, will be disrupted and re-aligned in some significant way. A new version of 1927's "crash" could turn out to be climatic rather than financial - maybe even both in concert - or maybe neither but something nobody has thought of yet. We must hope against hope that the rise of more monsters in human clothing, directing the world again into darkness, will not follow the previous cycle's pattern. This need not be the case. Cycles proceed in spiral fashion, each benefiting from that immediately preceding it. Let's hope we humans shall, this time, reap the benefit of hard experience from the previous cycle.

As stated in Eris Cycles (link above) "Whatever else we might consider astrology is all about, cycles are what drive the true astrology. Eris' cycles deserve a thought or two."

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Way of Things - Cycles and Generations

Round, like a circle in a spiral
Like a wheel within a wheel.

Never ending or beginning,
On an ever spinning wheel
Like a snowball down a mountain
Or a carnaval balloon
Like a carousell that's turning
Running rings around the moon

Like a clock whose hands are sweeping
Past the minutes on it's face
And the world is like an apple
Whirling silently in space
Like the circles that you find
In the windmills of your mind

Hear Sting sing it HERE

(Warning: Long post!)

A column titled "A New Breed, But Millennials Should Be OK" by a friend and in-law, who edits one local newspaper and writes a weekly column for another, sent me scurrying down one of the internet's numerous deep rabbit-holes, as well as into my own cavern of archives.
SNIP from his column:
We who’ve lived a few decades are told we must study and understand the Millennials; we must adapt to their unique needs.

What are those needs? Experts echo the theme Millennials are selfish and irresponsible (a generalization that’s insulting to them); and the answer to nurturing Millennials is to understand them better (a solution that’s insulting to us).

Every generation of “older folks” has the prerogative to become crotchety and play the sorrowful kids-are-going-to-Hades card. But what’s different this time is that we keep getting told we have to put up with the Millennials and their generational peccadilloes.
When the whole column becomes available at the newspaper's website I'll link to it here. I'm no expert on the fads and foibles of any generation, especially the younger ones. Even on my own, War Baby generation, I could lay no claim to expertise. We're now well past our best, sadly few and far between on the net these least on that part of the net I frequent, there are some residing in corners where I refuse to wander, talking about stuff I prefer not to think about.

Any passing reader interested to see a few of my own words on generational matters: easy pickings - just click on "generations" in the cumulus that is
"Label Cloud" in the sidebar; there are several posts, 2008 on, touching on generations and generationalism.

The habit of pitching one generation against another, a game seen regularly around the internet, remains objectionable to me, another form of bigotry in fact, when taken to extremes. Stereotypes, though not without a tiny kernel of validity, can soon become toxic, like the stereotypical notions that women nag, men are henpecked, Americans are loud-mouthed egotists, Brits have bad teeth, French are cowards, Italians pinch women's bottoms...etc.etc.etc.

Vast arrays of variety exist within each generation, it's like millions of different melodies being played, but with a distinctive background "humm" going on, a "humm" peculiar and individual to each age-group - something which draws the group together, and at the same time sets them apart - yet it is only a subtle background "humm", not the melody, not the composition, not the lyrics.

Astrology understands this.

A serious study of what the generations actually do comprise is a different matter. A study either considering said "background humm", or not considering it at all, but studying how whatever the generations do comprise affects aspects of life for all of us. Even then, though, it depends which part of the world one is considering. The English speaking (or more properly English reading) internet is heavily weighted towards the USA in most things, the topic of generations follows this pattern. It's hard to find much that's specific about Britain, in this respect, though I did see a few articles on Australian generations - possibly inspired by some new book or TV programme there. How generations, say from the 18th century until now, have formed in the USA and how they have formed elsewhere in the world via background and experiences, even in the land of the USA's closest cousin, Britain, has to be so different as to possibly negate all attempts to classify. Having said that, keeping it in mind...

Studies and several books by William Strauss and Neil Howe, see Wikipedia , and Amazon are of interest.

For example, their Generations: The History of America's Future, 1584 to 2069 (1992) was described by former Vice President of the USA, Al Gore as "the most stimulating book on American history he'd ever read". He even sent a copy to each member of Congress. The book is described:
William Strauss and Neil Howe posit the history of America as a succession of generational biographies, beginning in 1584 and encompassing every-one through the children of today.Their bold theory is that each generation belongs to one of four types, and that these types repeat sequentially in a fixed pattern. The vision of Generations allows us to plot a recurring cycle in American history -- a cycle of spiritual awakenings and secular crises -- from the founding colonists through the present day and well into this millennium.
In 1997 Strauss and Howe wrote The Fourth Turning. At Amazon it was described as having been heralded by reviewers as "a brilliant, if somewhat unsettling, reassessment of where America is heading".

Snip from comment at Amazon By 'Odysseus'

The basic insight in this book is a simple one: Instead of trying to build a theory of American history (as did Arthur Schlesinger) that is based on unexplained "cycles" and "swings" from liberal to conservative and back again, why not simply look at how American generations behave as they age? When you do that, as Strauss and Howe have found, you find that American generations behave with a certain consistency throughout their lives. If their formative experiences push them in a certain direction while young, they'll continue to act in that way as they get older. That is, if you understand that history is really the process of different generations moving through time, then the swings of American history no longer look so mysterious; they appear as predictable manifestations of the fact that different generations with different life experiences have risen to the foreground.

Of course, you don't want to take all of this too sweepingly, or else it starts to seem like astrology or historical biorhythms. Generations are diverse groups, and no two people within a generation are exactly alike. But there are clear trends of generational behavior, which Strauss/Howe substantiate quite well.

Of course we wouldn't want to bring astrology into it would we? Would We? TSK!

There are some long and interesting reader reviews at Amazon links. I shall press on without going into more detail about Strauss and Howe's theory; it is set out in detail and clearly enough at Wikipedia, here. Also there's a good run-down on the topic at Hub-pages HERE.

For now, keep in mind Strauss and Howe's theorised four generational cycles:
Four generational archetypes that repeat sequentially, in rhythm with the cycle of Crises and Awakenings.
From the Wiki link:
....four generational archetypes that repeat sequentially, in rhythm with the cycle of Crises and Awakenings (High/Awakening/Unravelling/Crisis). In Generations, Strauss and Howe refer to these four archetypes as Idealist, Reactive, Civic, and Adaptive. In The Fourth Turning (1997) they update this terminology to Prophet, Nomad, Hero, and Artist. The generations in each archetype not only share a similar age-location in history, they also share some basic attitudes towards family, risk, culture and values, and civic engagement. In essence, generations shaped by similar early-life experiences develop similar collective personas and follow similar life-trajectories. To date, Strauss and Howe have identified 25 generations in Anglo-American history, each with a corresponding archetype

 Hat-tip Sacred Geometry Inc

Astrologers have long known some variation of Strauss and Howe's theories.

Searching for a book on this topic by an astrologer, I found Generational Patterns Using Astrology by Edwin Rose (2011), described at Amazon:
Generational Patterns Using Astrology will enable you to find your place in history. It will explain how your parent's generation is different than yours and even the differences between your parent's generational patterns. Once you see your generation's pattern in the flow of history, you will see what challenges we now face, and what part your generation's role is in all of it. Looking forward, you will see what years in the future will be key, and what opportunities (and difficulties) await us. If you have children, you will understand their generation and how it differs from yours.
I wasn't familiar with the author's name, but eventually found this at Dodona Books website:
Edwin Rose

The author taught and lectured on astrology for 35 years. During that time he studied how astrology influences people and history. He self published a 445 page book Planetary Music: Understanding Astrological Rhythms (1998) and has a website with astrological information and predictions that gets 300 hits a day -- it has been in continuous operation since 1996. For six years the author and his wife owned the metaphysical bookstore Guiding Star in Mill Valley (near San Francisco, CA) which has given him an appreciation of the astrological audience. He has worked as a software engineer and software manager for major corporations including Apple, Leapfrog, Cisco, and Autodesk -- most of his software career has been in animation, games, graphics, and TV. Edwin Rose died in 2010 shortly before his title Generational Patterns Using Astrology was published.
Three chapters of Mr Rose's book are available at Google Books - see HERE The last of the three is most relevant to this topic. I've taken the liberty of copying part of the chapter as a sample:

...The excerpt ends there.

Strauss and Howe's four cycles of generational archetypes: Prophet/Hero/Nomad/Artist have astrological cycles which could be seen as comparable. Edwin Rose mentioned the elemental cycle, and was comparing it as the excerpt ended. There's also a cycle on a more personal scale - related to the individual, the Saturn cycle of Saturn Returns which equate roughly to childhood/teenage/young adulthood/maturity. Cycles within cycles! The far outer planets, though, are the ones related to generational astrology. Mr Rose's book will explore their cycles.

Another book which touches on the generational theme astrologically, and one I already own, is Horoscope for the New Millennium by E. Alan Meece. I've mentioned it more than once in archived posts, and there's an excerpt from it relating to the generations at Wandering Star, HERE.

The burning question after stumbling through all of this has to be - "Well then, where are we now?"
It seems that using Strauss and Howe's theory we're in a period of Crisis, the most intense of the four periods. The last Crisis was World War 2, after which society underwent a drastic change. That was followed by a High period, with prosperity growing along with corporations and middle class contentment. An Awakening phase began in the 1960s, with the hippies, civil rights, etc. Then things began to unravel, slowly, during the 1980s, with the next turning point possibly being 9/11...and off we went into Crisis (again). Major change ought to be around the next corner (but, as the song goes "who knows where or when?")

(NOTE: This post did ramble on a bit. I'm not sure it said what I wanted it to say. The rabbit hole was dark and deep! Anyway, it'll stand for two days. At some point I'll get my head around a better and more concise version and re-air it. ).

Monday, July 28, 2014

Music Monday ~ Planetarily & Stout-heartedly

In researching my post for tomorrow I came across an author on astrology I'd not seen before:
Edwin L. (Ed) Rose. Mr Rose, who died in 2010 wrote Planetary Music: Understanding Astrological Rhythms (1998). See it at Amazon here. He also wrote the book I'll be mentioning in tomorrow's post.

An obituary is at Solstice Point, where I discovered that Mr Rose was born on 25 January 1947 in New York City - a fellow-first decan Aquarius Sun then. I'm glad I found him, but sad it had to be via his obituary. I intend to buy his books, both of which sound to be "right up my street".

Planetary music is one thing, earth-bound music, though a distant relative once or twice removed, is something we can all recognise.

Tomorrow will be the anniversary of the birth of Sigmund Romberg. I was a fan of his compositions during my early teenage, but wasn't fully aware of it at the time, the composer being overshadowed by performers, in this case, Mario Lanza and Gordon MacRae. My first two LPs (long-playing records) included music from all three of Romberg's best known compositions.

Sigmund Romberg was born July 29, 1887, in Nagykanizsa, Austria-Hungary (now Hungary). He died November 9, 1951, in New York. His compositions include several successful operettas including The Student Prince, New Moon, The Desert Song, with lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II and others.

I loved every track on both my LPs, still do in fact. A number from New Moon remains a special favourite, it unfailingly gets the blood pounding through my veins. Lyrics were written by Oscar Hammerstein II. Here it is ~

Stout Hearted Men (we're sorely in need of a few of these in Washington DC). Gorgeous Gordon's version first, then a rather unexpected version by Barbra Streisand.

Saturday, July 26, 2014


Kicking off with a (slightly edited) patch from my 2008 archive:
Collective nouns can be fun and creative. For a collection of them, see here. From that list I like these deviations from the more common herd, flock, swarm: a congress of baboons, a scold of jays, an exaltation of larks, a nuisance of cats, an ostentation of peacocks, a murder of crows, a murmuration of starlings.

Just for fun, I've chosen twelve new collective nouns - one for each zodiac sign, for descriptive use in a natal chart where a cluster (collective noun = stellium) of planets appears in one zodiac sign; alternatively these could be used by followers of Sun sign astrology, to describe a group of people who share the same Sun sign.

A rush of Aries
An affluence of Taurus
A chatter of Gemini
A nest of Cancer
A parade of Leo
An exactitude of Virgo
An arbitration of Libra
A collusion of Scorpio
A magnification of Sagittarius
An institution of Capricorn
A current of Aquarius
A mirage of Pisces

And to pull together the whole caboodle:
A cadence of zodiac signs!

Whenever we're out and about, on the road, and notice an old decaying house, husband stops to take a photograph. There are several of these in his Flickr section "Rust and Ruin". Three such photographs inspired him to write a few lines of suitably melancholy prose, which I especially admire. He's not normally a melancholy guy, but gazing on the houses in his photographs, what other reaction could there have been?

Here they are:

We Moved Away

We built our house, we made our home;
Of laughing sounds and cookie smells,
Of warming thoughts and gentle touch.
We had such lovely plans to stay.
And then,
We moved away.

Time Was.

She sat quietly a moment longer. His gaze drifted to a shadowed corner of the room.
The summer air shuffled the sounds of the day through the open window, somehow adding to the awkward density of the moment, adding to the pale silence between them.

Finally she stood, her hands dutifully smoothing the wrinkles in her skirt. “I must leave now,” she said. “I must go.” She forced a smile and turned toward him.

He continued to stare at a faded spot in the wallpaper.

In her mind she was already walking away.

Another day.

Dusty sunbeams filtered through the uneven window blinds beside his bed. He sat up and rubbed his eyes with his palms. There was a dark and heavy pain inside him. It was the loneliness he knew would grow and consume him before day’s end. He hoped again that this would be the last day, just as he had hoped yesterday and the day before and the weeks before.

As the edges of his reality warmed to the day, he told himself to think of something else; anything else. But he was already thinking of her.

The 2014 entry on The Arrow of Time is up now - if you haven't seen this from my links in previous years, take a look now - it's fascinating, and sweet.


While snooping around husband's Flickr page I noticed this vintage photograph from his collection - it reminded me immediately of a painting featured in yesterday's Arty Farty post on Maxfield Parrish:


What a clever idea for passing on important messages/lessons! I'm wondering what else, related to modern technology (and otherwise), could be passed using variations of this idea..

Final patch ~ How do you know you're shopping in Texas?

Oops!! In my love-hate affair with Texas, one of the things I love about Texans is their ability to laugh at themselves.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Arty Farty Friday ~ Maxfield Parrish

Maxfield Parrish was briefly mentioned in the post relating to the Golden Age of Illustration. He deserves something more, on the anniversary of his birthday.

Maxfield Parrish was born into an old Quaker family on July 25, 1870, in Philadelphia. Frederick was his given name; he later adopted Maxfield, a family name, as a middle name. His parents encouraged his artistic pursuits, exposing him to great literature, art, and music. His father, Stephen Parrish, was also a painter, but came from a strict Quaker upbringing where painting was considered sinful. Stephen had to resort to painting secretly in the attic. He therefore fostered his son’s painting abilities in any way that he could. The young man spent two years, 1884-6, in Europe with his parents, attended classes at Dr. Kornemann’s school in Paris; continued his education at Haverford College, followed by classes at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in the early 1890s.

Parrish became a highly successful illustrator, sought after by well-known magazines of the day. He illustrated books, calendars, covers, advertisements, painted murals, as well as producing the paintings for which he remains famous.

Parrish married Lydia Austin, an instructor at the Drexel Institute in 1895. They eventually established a permanent home in Cornish, New Hampshire. Some detail of a personal nature is mentioned in a blog, Illustration Art, Artists in Love Pt 1.

Maxfield Parrish was 33, a successful illustrator living on a grand country estate, when he first met Sue Lewin. She was a 16 year old girl from a nearby farm town hired to help Parrish and his wife care for their two young children. Because Parrish's wife would no longer pose for him, he drafted their young nanny to pose in fairy tale costumes.
Lewin soon became his muse, modeling for his most famous illustrations.
Eventually Parrish moved out of the mansion where his wife and children stayed and set up residence in his art studio so that he and Lewin could work closely together. Not long after that, Parrish's wife began taking their children away on extended trips.

I'm tempted to add a Pythonesque "nudge nudge, wink, wink" here. The rest of the tale is available at the link provided.

Parrish has been called "Master of Makebelieve" - it's easy to see why. Many of his pieces remind me slightly of the paintings of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood in Britain in the 19th century. Their work is rather more sensual, but I felt certain he was influenced by them; this was confirmed in a brief biography HERE

"(Parrish)was particularly drawn to such contemporary English artists as the Pre-Raphaelites, Rossetti, and Lord Leighton. Parrish took an immediate interest in Leighton's art, his lifestyle, and this shaped Parrish's artistic vision, and most certainly contributed to the creation of his curious blend of naturalism, fantasy and romanticism."

The painting below is one of Lord Leighton's.
Idyll (c.1880)

Parrish painted serenity, using glowing tones. He achieved a luminous glow by a particular method: applying thin layers of paint and varnish one atop the other. I'd love to see some of the originals, because the computer screen, though a wondrous accessory, will reflect only a general idea of the "feel" of the real thing. It seems, even from what can be seen on-line that his paintings did capture light wonderfully well.

He referred to himself as "a mechanic who paints." The "props" - vases, columns etc. used in his paintings - were made in his machine shop and carefully lighted before he began to paint. He was a meticulous draftsman, his work has an almost photographic quality. His technique, use of color and choice of subject matter add the touch of mythical unreality, suitable to his serene idyllic themes.

He painted until age 90, died, aged 95 in 1966. He is reported to have said:"There are countless artists whose shoes I am not worthy to polish - whose prints would not pay the printer, the question of judgment is a puzzling one." The general public knew what it liked, and relied on its own judgment - it liked Maxfield Parrish's work.

Samples of Parrish's paintings. As mentioned already, I doubt the true quality of his talent in depicting light and colour is properly evident from online images, but - these'll have to suffice for now.


 Lute Players


The Young King of the Black Isles



 Top Farm - Winter


Born 25 July 1870 in Philadelphia PA at 6.00pm (but gives this time a DD rating (unreliable). There's an alternative time mentioned, of 5.20 AM, recorded as "available in an old file" .

Or, here's the chart for a 5.20 AM birth - take your pick!

Either natal chart shows a clear "funnel" configuration, with Saturn in Sagittarius at the business end. He has been referred to as a "businessman with a brush" as well as "Master of Makebelieve". Capricorn (ruled by Saturn) rising at 6 PM underlines his instinct for business.

There's a Yod (two quincunx aspects joined by a sextile) involving the sextile between Pluto and Uranus with Saturn at the pointy end of the Yod formation - Saturn in focus on two counts, and a Capricorn ascendant would bring in a third. If born at 5.20 AM Leo would have been rising; the 5.20 AM chart puts Moon in Gemini rather than Cancer. I'm not sure which I prefer...on balance, I think I prefer the 6 PM chart, but an argument could be made for either.

Neptune (imagination and fantasy) in Aries trines Saturn in Sagittarius and sextiles Venus. Venus Mars and Moon form a stellium, albeit Venus is in the last degree of Gemini while Moon and Mars are in Cancer. Neptune's harmonious links are reflected in the artist's nickname "Master of Makebelieve".

Parrish's penchant for depicting androgynous figures rather than voluptuous feminine, or overtly masculine figures may be symbolised by the grouping of the Moon, Mars and Venus in his (6 PM version) natal chart. Masculine Mars sandwiched between feminine Moon and Venus, with just a degree or so between - an androgynous mix!

It's interesting that Parrish's first painting was titled "Moonrise". His Moon at home in Cancer (at 6 PM) would be one of the stronger placements in his chart. Sun at home in Leo is also strongly placed. It seems significant to me that the two celestial bodies which are major givers of light, strong in his natal chart, reflect clearly in his paintings always lauded for their unusually clear depiction of.....light!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

....But in battalions

When sorrows come, they come not single spies
But in battalions.

(From Shakespeare's Hamlet)

Two more plane crash tragedies - what is going on?

A Transasia Airlines ATR-72 down in Taiwan with around 50 passengers/crew lost, reportedly amid heavy rains.
(See here.)
And a plane of a Spanish/Algerian Airline now lost over Mali, en route to Algeria from Burkina Faso. The plane disappeared from radar early Thursday after heavy rains were reported, according to the plane’s owner and government officials in France and Burkina Faso. 110 crew and 6 passengers are so far unaccounted for. (See here)

It seems pointless to offer heartfelt condolences to all relatives, surviving passengers and loved ones affected in these, and the previous two major losses involving Malaysian Airlines (MH370 and MH17), nobody involved will ever read this, but I simply wish to put such thoughts into the ether in these dark, dark circumstances for so many.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

American Holidays and their Astrological Parallels

Another copy-typing marathon from my volume of The Best of the Illustrated National Astrological Journal, 1933-1935, edited by E.A. Wagner (1978).

I found this article interesting, but perhaps to people born in the USA, and who are astrology buffs, it will be "old news". It is old anyway, from the 1933 section of the volume. I discovered, by the end of the piece, that the inspiration for writing it arose from the establishment of a "President's Day" on 30 April 1933 - something which didn't survive - for clues as to why, please read on!

The American Holidays - Their Parallels to the Forty-eight Constellations of the Ancients
by Elbert Benjamine (- aka C.C. Zain)

The Ancients pictured for us, by means of forty-eight constellations, the parallels which exist between things on the earth and the influences in the sky. Each ancient constellation pictures either one of the twelve signs of the zodiac, or one of the decanates into which each sign is divided. These stellar pictures reveal not merely the physical, but also the spiritual, significance of the particular section of the heavens occupied by a planet.

To illustrate this principle, all too frequently neglected by astrological practitioners, I shall here apply it to the persistence of the strictly American holidays.

Astrologers are wont to say that if a child is born when the vibrations in the heavens, as shown by the birth-chart are different from the vibrations of the child's character, the child will not live. The same holds true of any church festival, or even of a national holiday. Unless the holiday is born, and observed, when its character is the same as the chief influence in the sky, that holiday will die; that is, be discontinued.

The chief influence in the sky, insofar as holidays and kindred things are concerned, is indicated by the sign and decanate in which the Sun is found. The significance of the particular place where the Sun is thus found is revealed by the constellation which pictures the sign, and the constellation which pictures the decanate, or ten degrees subdivision of the sign. If, for instance, any astrologer were to be asked which zodiacal sign rules the home and the homeland, he would answer the sign Cancer.
Now our Fourth of July is observed to commemorate the establishment of a homeland. And on that date the Sun is in the sign Cancer.
We do not celebrate the Fourth by prayer and thanksgiving; but by firing cannon,  exploding fire-crackers, and other pyrotechnics, both physical and vocal, calling for expostulations from the press to try to make it more safe and sane. These are all Mars expressions. And on this day the Sun has passed into the Mars decanate of Cancer.
Both the Crab which pictures Cancer, and Hydra, picturing the decanate, warrant further consideration. But, because such treatment would require a whole article, let us move forward to Labor Day.

Our Labor Day has not the same purpose, nor is it celebrated the same as May Day in Europe. It is a day commemorating the efforts of the common people. The common people are ruled by the Moon. Monday is the day of the Moon. Consequently Labor Day is observed on Monday. The first Monday in September.

Astrological usage allots the sixth house and its zodiacal correspondence, the sign Virgo, to labor, and the Sun at this time has moved into the sign Virgo.

It is the second decanate of Virgo, pictured in the sky by the constellation Hercules. Now Hercules is not renowned for reciting verse or attending Sunday school, he is famed for his great labors. The observation of a day when the Sun is in the section of the zodiac pictured by this great hero is a tribute to the tremendous importance of the work of the common people in the world's affairs.

Thanksgiving comes next in the national calendar. It is a day of prayer and feasting. the religious sign of the zodiac is Sagittarius, and its ruler, Jupiter is the religious planet. The festival is held on Thursday, the day of Jupiter, when the Sun is in the devotional sign Sagittarius.

To each sign and decanate astrologers have given a key-word denoting the most significant influence. The key-word of the first decanate of Sagittarius, where the Sun is found on this day, is Devotion. It is pictured by the constellation Lyra, the Harp, signifying praise being offered to God in music and song. It pictures the thanksgiving decanate of the zodiac.

Sagittarius is pictured as a huntsman. The turkey is American in origin, and the early settlers obtained it by hunting. Even today, in many sections, the occasion is observed by a Thanksgiving Day hunt.

Jupiter is the planet of abundance. He likes a bounteous spread, and this is the day when the table groans under the weight of sweets and viands, and is traditionally adorned by the largest American game bird. The turkey obtained in the market is slightly removed from those that still run wild.

On the twelfth of February we celebrate Lincoln's birthday. He was the great humanitarian, and the Sun is in the humanitarian sign Aquarius, pictured as a man pouring blessings from an urn upon the earth.

The Sun is in the last decanate of Aquarius, pictured by Cetus, the Whale Monster. This monster devoured the fairest youths of Greece, and fair Andromeda was chained to a rock for this vile creature to destroy. But she was rescued by Perseus. The key-word of this decanate is Repression.
Lincoln is revered not for military exploits and not for cunning. He is honored for destroying the monster of slavery. Even as Perseus slew the hideous creature and released Andromeda, so Lincoln slew the greedy institution of human slavery. He loosened the shackles and abolished one terrible type of Repression.

Washington was the founder of a nation, and its first ruler. That he had the wisdom and unselfishness to establish it as he did makes him a great character.

His birthday is observed the twenty-second of February, at the time when the Sun has entered the first decanate of the sign Pisces. Pisces is a sign of restriction, and it was these restrictions that Washington removed.

The decanate is pictured by Cepheus, the King; and Washington became the ruler of an independent country. The key-word of the decanate is Verity. It expresses the time worn thought that The Truth Shall Set you Free. The type of rulership established by Washington set a precedent, and most of the western world followed it by adopting the republican form of government.

Thus have we passed over the five main American holidays. But, perhaps, this year we have established a sixth.

April thirtieth, 1933, was observed as President's Day.

On that day the Sun passed into the second decanate of the sign Taurus. Taurus, as every astrologer knows, is associated with money. And this day was set apart to do homage to the man who is making so valiant a struggle to free his people from the afflictions of a money-mad world.

The second decanate of Taurus, where the Sun is on this day, is represented by the constellation Orion. A mighty bull is pictured in the sky, pitching down upon Orion to pin him with his horns to the earth, even as the money powers have pinioned the people in poverty for the last few years. Orion wields a great club and does battle with the Bull.

The key-word of the decanate is Struggle. And the day commemorated the struggle of our president against the powers of money greed. He uses the "big stick" quite as effectively as does Orion.

To most, the Hebrew version of this combat is more familiar than the Greek, for the Greek Orion is none other than the Hebrew Moses.

Moses came down from Mount Sinai and found his people worshiping a golden calf, representing this same greed for wealth. Even as our president has set aside many out-moded laws, so Moses was wroth and broke the tablets of the law which he had with him.

Moses did not permit this greed for gold to destroy his people. He smote the golden calf, broke it in pieces, burned it in the fire of political purification, and strewed it on the life-giving waters of a wide and sympathetic distribution.

Nor did he fail to use this bull, or calf, or wealth for some good purpose. For he made the Children of Israel all drink of its purified ashes. He distributed the wealth among all the people, nor left it in the hands of a paltry few.

And if our president, following the example of Moses, as pictured in the sky, leads his people out of the wilderness of this depression; if he smites the sacrilegious idol of Mammon, and causes wealth to be widely distributed and freely circulated, we shall have another national hero.

If he successfully follows the footsteps of the constellation in the sky which depicts this present struggle, we may be sure of a new and permanent holiday.

Hat-tip HERE

From Wikipedia
When Franklin D. Roosevelt was inaugurated March 4, 1933, the U.S. was at the nadir of the worst depression in its history. A quarter of the workforce was unemployed. Farmers were in deep trouble as prices fell by 60%. Industrial production had fallen by more than half since 1929. Two million were homeless. By the evening of March 4, 32 of the 48 states – as well as the District of Columbia – had closed their banks. The New York Federal Reserve Bank was unable to open on the 5th, as huge sums had been withdrawn by panicky customers in previous days. Beginning with his inauguration address, Roosevelt began blaming the economic crisis on bankers and financiers, the quest for profit, and the self-interest basis of capitalism....

 Wall Street's Bull sculpture

Tuesday, July 22, 2014


I found it necessary to look up a word the other day: panglossian. A writer or commenter, I forget which, described President Obama as panglossian or "a pangloss". Skipping tactfully over politics involved, and whether or not the adjective or noun was a hat that fits, I found the word comes from the satirical French novel, Candide (1759), by Voltaire.
As Dr. Pangloss, Candide's tutor and mentor explained, whatever happens, happens for the best in the best of all possible worlds (“Tout est pour le mieux dans le meilleur des mondes possibles.”)
noun: One who is optimistic regardless of the circumstances.
adjective: Blindly or unreasonably optimistic.

After Dr. Pangloss, a philosopher and tutor in Voltaire's 1759 satire Candide. Pangloss believes that, in spite of what happens -- shipwreck, earthquake, hanging, flogging, and more -- "All is for the best in the best of all possible worlds." The name is coined from Greek panglossia (talkativeness). Earliest documented use: 1794.


"Master Pangloss taught the metaphysico-theologo-cosmolonigology. He could prove to admiration that there is no effect without a cause; and, that in this best of all possible worlds, the Baron's castle was the most magnificent of all castles, and My Lady the best of all possible baronesses...

"It is demonstrable," said he, "that things cannot be otherwise than as they are; for as all things have been created for some end, they must necessarily be created for the best end. Observe, for instance, the nose is formed for spectacles, therefore we wear spectacles. The legs are visibly designed for stockings, accordingly we wear stockings. Stones were made to be hewn and to construct castles, therefore My Lord has a magnificent castle; for the greatest baron in the province ought to be the best lodged. Swine were intended to be eaten, therefore we eat pork all the year round: and they, who assert that everything is right, do not express themselves correctly; they should say that everything is best."
- Candide, Ch.1

The novel is about a series of disasters and misfortunes that befall Pangloss, Candide, and the the company that they gather, during their adventures.

The novel is a satire. It satirizes philosophy, religion, academia, the political order - basically most of the dominant institutions.
(See HERE)

It's difficult to be or to feel panglossian these days, maybe that's why the word isn't oft encountered.

A couple of other adjectives originating from literature's characters, not used much in speech, but occasionally in writings are:

Stentorian from Homer's The Iliad. Stentor was a herald in the Greek army during the Trojan Wars, and had a loud, thundering voice. His name has been bequeathed to the adjective stentorian = loud and thundering voice.

Gargantuan from Rabelais' The Life of Gargantua and of Pantagruel, a bawdy 16th century work with scatological references. Gargantua, in Rabelais' novel, is born calling for ale, and with an erection a yard long.

Hmmm. I shall be careful how I use the latter word - if I ever do use it!

On a different note there's Pickwickian
1. Marked by generosity, naivete, or innocence.
2. Not intended to be taken in a literal sense.

After Samuel Pickwick, a character in the novel Pickwick Papers (serialized 1836-1837) by Charles Dickens. Mr Pickwick is known for his simplicity and kindness. In the novel Mr. Pickwick and Mr. Blotton call each other names and it appears later that they were using the offensive words only in a Pickwickian sense and had the highest regard for each other.

Another term that arose from the book is Pickwickian syndrome, which refers to a combination of interlinked symptoms such as extreme obesity, shallow breathing, tiredness, sleepiness, etc. The character with these symptoms was not Mr. Pickwick, but Fat Joe, so the term is really coined after the book's title. The medical term for the condition is obesity-hypoventilation syndrome.

From again

Lots more examples of the same type of word, obscure and otherwise, at Wiki
List of eponymous adjectives in English

Monday, July 21, 2014

Music Monday ~ Tales of Tunnels, Fables of Fiddles

Tunnels, connecting the earth to the 'underworld' or 'Hades', can be found in Greek, Roman, and earlier myths. Passing through a cave or tunnel and arriving in a different land exist in German and Eastern European folktales. In modern times, in science fiction, we read of holes in space - space tunnels which lead to other dimensions or other galaxies, other universes.

In Britain, myths about a musician's tunnel survive in various locations around the country. In these stories a musician enters an underground passage and is followed, above ground, by people listening to his music, which suddenly stops. The musician usually has a dog with him. The man is never seen again, the dog leaves the tunnel seeming frightened. Such myths are sometimes connected to a 'barrow' (underground burial place). One such a story is linked to Binham, a working Benedictine Priory between 1091 and 1539 in Norfolk.

Information from Myths and Legends.
The Fiddler, the Alchemist and the Black Monk

Secret places hold a special fascination. History, and legend, have stories involving secret tunnels connecting different places in this world, and in other worlds.

Binham Priory was built in the 12th century in North Norfolk, it has a mysterious past, with rumours of a secret underground passage from the Priory to Little Walsingham. The tunnel is said to be the place of a haunting and a strange disappearance.

At Binham, some of the monks sold off the Priory's silver. William de Somerton, who lived in the 13th century, was one of the worst offenders. He was an alchemist , alchemy was an early form of chemistry, then considered as sorcery or magic . In his efforts to find the secret of turning base metal into gold William needed money to fund experiment. He sold off much of the Priory's gold and silver artifacts, leaving the Priory with what was, back then, a huge debt.
Concurrent to William's misdeeds and experiments, another monk, Alexander de Langley lost his mind - went mad through too much study. He was flogged, chained and imprisoned alone in a cell until he died, then buried in his chains. Shortly after this, rumours circulated describing a black monk, said to walk over ground, following the route of an underground tunnel on moonless nights. It was thought the ghost might be that of the mad prior or the alchemist sorcerer.

The tale continues:
"One day a fiddler and his dog came to the village of Walsingham and offered to explore the tunnel, solve the mystery and put to rest once and for all tales of ghostly happenings. He was a smart fellow and explained that, as he moved along the tunnel, he would play his fiddle so that the gathered crowd could hear him as he made his way along.

The fiddler entered the tunnel and for a while the villagers were able to hear the distant strains of his music and followed happily above ground. However, when the fiddler reached the site of an ancient bronze-age barrow, suddenly the music stopped. The villagers stood around, puzzled. What had happened to him? Had he fallen foul of the alchemist's evil magic? Or had he, perhaps, met the unhappy ghost of the black monk, still wrapped in his chains?

The villagers were far too scared to enter the tunnel but waited at the entrance for his return. Some hours later, out of the tunnel came the fiddler's little dog shivering, whining and clearly terrified with its tail firmly between its legs. The fiddler never reappeared.

That night, a violent storm broke out and the following morning the villagers woke to find the passage entrance had been destroyed. The little dog had vanished. Nobody knew if it had returned to the tunnel to look for its master before the storm took hold or simply run away. The brave fiddler was never heard of again. Exactly what had caused his disappearance remains a mystery, for no one ventured that way again."

The fiddle music would have sounded something like this...

Ancient dance tunes played by Barry Hall on the vielle. The vielle is a medieval fiddle, an ancestor of the modern violin. Vielles are more primitive in design than violins - they use plain gut strings and have a flat soundboard and back, rather than the arched top and back used on more modern instruments. When these instruments were popular, there was very little standardization of size, shape, number of strings, or tuning. This particular instrument has five strings, is similar in size to a viola, and was made by Ethan James (RIP) the renowned hurdy-gurdy player. More of Barry's music here.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Apish Ramblings

Ever wondered why our zodiac doesn't include an ape as avatar for one of the 12 signs? We have a ram, a bull, a crab, a lion, a centaur, a scorpion, a sea goat and fishes - stayed well away from our nearest ancestors didn't we? Maybe the twins, the virgin and the water-bearer were really apes. The scales? Oddly the only non-living non-breathing avatar, the one without Earth's malignantly infested  astrology and DNA to worry about ?

Apocalyptic and dystopian tales keep on coming. We've been treated to many stories of our ape ancestors/successors since 1968's original movie Planet of the Apes hit the screens. This year we have yet another sequel/prequel/$$$$$$quel in a long line of ape-filled films, spawned from French author Pierre Boulle's original novel, published in 1963.

From the "blurb" on the book's back cover:
It "hurtles the reader into a distant simian world where man is brute and ape intelligent, in a novel as harrowing, hypnotic, and meaningful as any of the great masterpieces of satiric literature."

"This novel is respectfully descended from Swift on one side, and Verne on the other." (The Atlantic Monthly)

"The tale enables Boulle to dissect, with delicate irony, the stupidity of established authority, the vanity of human ambition and the nature of our own society. The novel's surprise ending is singularly horrifying." (Newark News)

"Planet of the Apes is tomorrow's version of Gulliver's Travels." (Louisville Times)

Pierre Boulle (20 February 1912 – 30 January 1994) also wrote Bridge over the River Kwai (adapted, very successfully, to film too).

Apart from a wonderfully memorable scene in the original Planet of the Apes movie (when Charlton Heston finds the Statue of Liberty broken, half-submeged on the sea shore and cries "Damn you all to hell!") the films, or those I've seen, were....well, just alright enough to pass a couple of hours when at a loose end.

It appears the Statue of Liberty ending was dreamed up especially for the original movie; it did not appear in the novel. Pierre Boulle achieved a similar surprise, but in a different way.

Boulle described his novel as fantasy rather than science fiction, with a strong vein of social satire and allegory. The author is said to have used experience as a soldier and prisoner during World War 2 in depicting the relationship between apes and men.

From what I've gleaned online Boulle's novel begins differently from the original movie. The novel's story was framed as a record set out in a manuscript found in a floating bottle, in space, by a couple of wealthy space tourists. The manuscript, they discovered, was a hand-written account by one Ulysse Mérou, a Paris journalist, who tells of his visit (in the year 2500) to Alpha Orionis, a planet entirely controlled by apes.

Mérou's companions were killed, he remained marooned on the planet. After much deprivation and many adventures he escaped to his still orbiting spaceship, travelled back to Earth and Paris through many centuries of relative time. Officials are waiting to meet him; it is around 700 years after his departure. From their back views the welcoming committee appeared normal to Mérou, as they turn around - yep, you guessed: apes. On Earth evolution had slipped into reverse. A final "surprise" takes the reader back to the framing in the first chapter - the two space tourists who found the message in a bottle are revealed to be chimpanzees.

We saw the previous movie in the new Apes sequence, Rise of Planet of the Apes, a prequel to the original 1968 movie. It was a fair enough visualisation of how such a turn around might have come about. This year's Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is a continuation of that theme, we saw it this week. We enjoyed it. There are messages embedded, which I hope young people who see the film will identify and absorb. This film, more than the "Rise of..." or any of the earlier set I've seen, carries a clear lesson, and unmistakeable allegory. It's not hard to see reflections of all manner of well-known conflicts as the story unfolds: cowboys and "indians", settlers v. indigenous people, Israeli v. Palestinian, left wing v. right wing, protestant v. catholic, Christian v Muslim, capitalist v. communist... the list could go on.

The apes had been educated to live by the creed: "Ape Not Kill Ape". "I always think ape better than humans," the apes' leader, Caesar, says towards the film's conclusion as his dream of peace dies. "I see now how like them we are."

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes shows how violence and war can erupt, despite efforts to compromise, because of crafty manipulations - on both sides of a conflict. A lesson that "rotten apples", rotten humans and rotten apes (and there's always at least one) can infect a group who otherwise might have remained ambivalent and entirely disinclined towards violence. There's a feeling, by the end of the film, that tragically such conflicts, once started, have no solution, all will end in the way we know only to well from world history.

By being aware of the manipulation at source, one day things might change.
War, huh, good God y'all
What is it good for?
Absolutely nothing, say it again...........
(From song written by Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong, as sung by Edwin Starr)

Friday, July 18, 2014

Arty Farty Friday ~ Lyonel Feininger

 Lyonel Feininger, left,  and Mark Tobey
Lyonel Feininger (July 17, 1871 – January 13, 1956), German-American painter, born in New York to German-American parents who were both musicians. He set out to study music but found early on that he preferred art, which he studied in Germany and France. His paintings embrace expressionism and cubism.

Feininger began his career as a cartoonist and pioneer of the comic strip. He also composed, played piano and dabbled in photography - in his "spare time". A multi-talented individual!

I wasn't familiar with his name or his work before preparing this post. There's plenty of information on his professional progression online, but hardly anything about his personality and personal life. There might be clues in the book shown, above left. He married twice. His second wife was Jewish, which partly accounted for the couple's emigration to the USA in the 1930s, from Germany where they had settled. The Nazis labelled Feininger's paintings "degenerate" anyway, so he had at least two reasons for leaving the land where it appeared he had felt most at home, had absorbed the trends and culture of that country over several decades, and had become an early member of the famous Bauhaus school of art and architecture.

See also HERE and HERE

Examples of of his paintings:

 Gables I, Lueneberg
Jesuiten III (Jesuits III)
Segelboote (Sailing Boats)

 Time Immemorial

 Umpferstedt I

 Silver Star

Lady in Mauve

Am Strande (On the beach)

Covers from his cartooning days:

Lyonel Feininger's natal chart. has his birth data: as 17 July 1871, New York, at 06:08 the time with a "C" rating (source unknown, use with caution).

A quadruple Cancerian : Sun, Moon Uranus and Jupiter - the first 3 of those conjoined. I found nothing about Feininger's personality online, but if his nature shines through his artwork he would appear to have been a mix of light-hearted humour (his cartooning) and a detail oriented guy keen on modernity and experimentation (his cubism-like style involving human figures).

Venus, planet of the arts, lay in precise Virgo, in harmonious trine to Saturn (structure) in its home sign Capricorn, and in helpful sextile to Jupiter (expansion, humour) in Cancer. That, together with avant garde and experimental Uranus conjoining Sun and Moon just about describes his art styles.

Neptune (imagination, creativity, photography) in Aries was in square (challenging) aspect to the more emotionally-charged Cancer cluster, which gives a kind of echo to the more precise, structured Saturn-ish feel of his cubist-related work - he definitely wasn't in the business of painting fluffy, dreamy mystical scenes!

Saturn, lying opposite Jupiter, could be seen to reflect a balance of his two signature styles: humour and structure.