Saturday, January 16, 2016

Gary Gilmore & Barbara Amiel, Baroness Black of Crossharbour : Whodathunkit?

What to write about... what to write about? Well...tomorrow, 17 January, in 1977 was the day on which murderer Gary Gilmore was executed.
U.S. 1977 U.S.A. Gary Gilmore 17th January, 1977 : Gary Gilmore, convicted in the double murder of an elderly couple, is shot to death by a firing squad in Utah. (See here)
Gilmore was the first person in the United States executed since the reinstatement of the death penalty in 1976, his story had immense cultural resonance at the time. It continues to influence the works of writers, artists and advertisers in the early 21st century.

Hat-tip Daily Mail
Could I find an angle that nobody else has approached on this?

I've mentioned the TV drama The Executioner's Song, based on Gilmore's story, in a post comparing Tommy Lee Jones (who played the part of Gilmore) and Oliver Stone (who wasn't involved)- that post is HERE.

In Rachel Monroe's interesting article about Norman Mailer's book upon which the TV drama was based she mentions that during her researches she discovered that "in folder 192.6 of the Mailer archive, I found something unexpected: A 20+ page horoscope analysis of Gilmore from astrologer/numerologist Daniel Wexler, along with Wexler's bill for $250. (That's nearly $1000 in 2015 dollars; for comparison purposes...)." Astrologers have already referenced Ms Monroe's article and, unsurprisingly, offered their own interpretations of Gilmore's natal chart.

From Rachel Monroe's article:
Gary grew up to be a leather jacketed reform school kid with a disdain for authority and a strong anti-authoritarian streak. He chugged cough syrup and took hot-wired 57 Chevys for joyrides, abandoning them when they ran out of gas. He robbed pawnshops, grocery stores, and his friends' houses. He went to prison for the first time at age 16, and didn't spend more than two years free for the rest of his life. In prison, he was trouble, too. He spat on guards and flung his food on the floor when it wasn't to his taste. He displayed a visceral, undiscriminating hatred for anyone in uniform.

Despite his rage and selfishness, though, there was something about Gary that made people want to give him another chance. The flip side of his cruelty was his sensitivity; he was a man who'd been deeply wounded by the world, and it showed. Despite his long history of criminal behavior, Gary could seem almost innocent at times. He was a talented artist, and he produced dozens of sketches of his favorite subject: sad-eyed children, "round faces with a bewildered, inviolable innocence," Mikal Gilmore writes. But then again, he drew a lot of porno scenes, too.

Scratches head.

Glancing at Gilmore's natal chart (see below), it looks seriously uncomfortable. Look at those oppositions between Scorpio and Taurus, and the slightly listing Grand Square (the red lines). We know that Gilmore's youth and family background wasn't pleasant, that has to factor in.

Hmmm. Different angle?

Another person whose life story we know, who was born on the same date, same year as Gary Gilmore? Moon and rising sign would be different, but maybe a similarity of some kind would show through - not that I'd be expecting to find another murderer you understand - astrology ain't that good!

There is another person who shares Gilmore's date of birth and, importantly, whose life is documented online: Barbara Amiel. She was born across the Atlantic, in England. She's still around: "Barbara Joan Estelle Amiel, Baroness Black of Crossharbour (born 4 December 1940) is a British journalist, writer, and socialite. She is the wife of former media baron Conrad Black". Her marriage to Black was her fifth (some sources say 4th).

From a Guardian profile: She was the scourge of the left and the darling of the right - a powerful woman lusted after by powerful men - and she snared one of the most powerful when she married Conrad Black, the Canadian media tycoon and then owner of the Telegraph group, in July 1992.

Gilmore and Amiel - there could hardly be two more dissimilar people. He an impoverished youth, no stranger to violence and petty crime, family often "on the run" from the law; in adulthood he added the murder of two people to his resumé - and for no apparent reason. She from a disrupted family background, her father committed suicide in 1956. As life progressed she educated herself, used feminine beauty and seductive sexiness to drive her life in what she saw as better directions. She became a journalist. There were multiple marriages, her last to wealthy, powerful former media baron Conrad Black. In spite of her eventual obscene wealth, as described in newspaper and magazine articles, her life was not all plain sailing. Conrad Black was disgraced and jailed for several white collar crimes. Details at this NPR website. He served prison time: sentenced to six and a half years' imprisonment. In 2011, two of the charges were overturned on appeal and he was re-sentenced to 42 months in prison on one count of mail fraud and one count of obstruction of justice. He was released on 4 May 2012 (Wikipedia) Barbara Amiel, his wife, stood by him initially, but according to this 2004 piece from The Herald Scotland
"I HAVE an extravagance that knows no bounds." Journalist, author and society queen Barbara Amiel's words have returned to haunt her. Akin to Marie Antoinette's let them eat cake, they will go down in history as a memorable show of arrogance made by a powerful woman before her cut-glass world cracked around her.

To Amiel's horror, she and husband Conrad Black, former chairman of the Telegraph Group, are accused of using the New York-based publishing company Hollinger International, which he built from scratch, as a "piggy bank" to fund their lifestyles.

Such is Lady Black's upset over her fall from grace that she has abandoned Lord Black in the US and remains 3000 miles away in their palatial Kensington home with only two butlers, three maids, domestic staff, chef and chauffeur for company.
From the same piece:
Amiel took journalists from American Vogue through her London mansion and couldn't resist showing them her eye-popping collection of designer belongings. Furs, evening gowns, casuals, gloves, belts and shoes spilled out of two rooms and an area in her private gym.

One closet contained 12 Hermes crocodile bags, with a value of more than (pounds) 50,000 and an even more valuable collection of 40 Pellegrino jewel-handled evening bags. Other shelves groaned under the weight of more than 100 pairs of Manolo Blahnik shoes costing from (pounds) 250 to (pounds) 800 a pair. She was quoted as saying she thought nothing of spending (pounds) 35,000 on a cocktail dress and showed the Vogue team a necklace worth (pounds) 100,000.
Her [earlier] private life remained eventful. In her autobiography, Confessions, she admitted having been addicted to anti-depressants and painkillers. There was also a back-street abortion aged 24, which left her unable to have children. This fact has often been used by commentators to explain her need for material objects to fill her life.

 Conrad Black and Wife Barbara Amiel -"it's Fashion" Macmillan Cancer Relief Charity Hosted by Vogue Magazine at Waddesdon Manor, Buckinghamshire. ( Dave Benett 2001)

Their natal charts:

Gary Gilmore, born 4 December 1940, McGamey, Texas at 6.30 AM (Astrodienst, AA rating)

Barbara Amiel, born 4 December 1940, Watford, UK, time unknown, chart set for 12 noon.

Reconciling these two, astrologically, entails standing well back. Crucial data is missing for Amiel - her exact Moon placement, rising sign/degree, and house positions. Her Moon though, amazingly enough, is going to be somewhere in Aquarius, to match Gilmore's. Standing back, subtle and not so subtle correspondences could be discernible in spite of these two characters' only too obvious real life differences.

Those Scorpio-Taurus oppositions, and many square aspects are common to both. In Gilmore's case Scorpio translated more as darkness and death, but for Amiel Scorpio's other attribute, sexiness, dominates. Venus-ruled Taurus in Gilmore's case is reflected in his latent artistic ability - he is said to have been keen on drawing while in prison. In Amiel's case Taurus, in its other guise manifested in her acquisitive tendencies to own luxurious clothes, jewels, homes, etc.

Those uncomfortable square aspects common to both charts manifested with extreme intensity for Gilmore, both in his youth and his adulthood. They manifested to a lesser degree for Amiel in her youth, but mainly probably related to her husband's disgrace in her adult years.

I notice that Uranus at 23.24 Taurus was a couple of degrees from "demon fixed star" Algol, so could (just) be counted as a conjunction. Uranus is a generational planet though, only of interest natally if linked to personal planet(s). Gilmore and Amiel had Algol opposing their natal Mercury, with both Uranus and Mercury squaring natal Moon (not certain in Amiel's case) forming a T-square. I'm not sure whether a Uranus/Algol conjunction in aspect to a personal planet "counts" in astrology, but if it does, then Algol's more traditional attributes manifested for Gilmore, in Amiel's case the "female passion and power" side of Algol surfaced.

Here, and always, we're dealing with astrological potential versus real-world opportunity, and the way similar charts of near astrological twins can manifest in very different ways, but with subtle resonance.


Vanilla Rose said...

I am intrigued by the suggestion that an inability to have children may lead (in someone who definitely wants to have children) to greed for material possessions.

mike said...

In Gilmore's natal chart, with a known time of birth, his Sun in first house would give him ego-plus...his light shined upon himself. The personal planets Mercury, Venus, and Mars in the twelfth house opposed by Jupiter, Saturn, and Uranus in the sixth house...Pluto T-square Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn...Moon T-square Mercury and Uranus...wowzers! His chart wreaks of the "serve or suffer" syndrome. Twelfth house is house of self-undoing and imprisonment-institutionalization. Sixth house is service to others and routine. He would have probably made a brilliant, though egotistical, brain surgeon had he been given the direction early in life...or spiritual adviser, such as priest or minister. Much was determined for this guy by his early life and family situation. Most sad. A very creative individual with much to offer, but could only take.

As for Amiel, can't say much in detail without knowing time of birth. The natal charts of Gilmore and Amiel contain an incredible amount of potential for good or ill. Lots of energy generated by the strong aspects. The T-squares generate dichotomy, such as Amiel displays with her leaning toward communism, yet love of her personal, luxury, material wealth. A journalist devoured by other journalists doing their story about HER...LOL.

I browsed the internet trying to find other people with the same birthday, but no luck. I would like to find some examples from every-day life and compare notes to these two. A strong chart, not necessarily BAD, but more toward DIFFICULT and CHALLENGING...hard lessons that can be applied to eventually benefit the holder of such a natal chart.

mike (again) said...

I checked the December, 1940, birthdays at

Richard Pryor (actor), Dec 1
Willie Brown (football), Dec 2
Jeffrey Holland (religious leader), Dec 3
Frank Wilson (gospel singer), Dec 5
Jay Leonhart (Bassist), Dec 6
James Kauffman (activist), Dec 7
Gerry Cheevers (hockey), Dec 7

The above would have Moon positions approximately between Capricorn thru Pisces...Sun 9 to 15* Sagittarius, and +/- a couple of degrees for Mercury & Venus, maybe 1* Mars.

Richard Pryor, probably the most famous in the list, had a strong career, but was side-tracked by his personal life of drug and alcohol abuse, bad physical and mental health, and a long string of ill-fated marriages. He had a late Pisces ascendant and Capricorn Moon:

Twilight said...

Vanilla Rose ~ The idea of acquiring something in compensation for some other thing one cannot have? I guess there are degrees of this and Amiel went to extremes! That's if she actually did intensely crave motherhood, which I somehow doubt. :-/

Twilight said...

mike + (again) ~ Thanks for your more "house-centric" take on this. Yes, a strong chart... and intense. I agree that it'd be interesting to find someone else with the same birthday, to compare life stories, especially someone who's a non-celeb. To get a truly interesting comparison though it'd have to be someone born on the 4th. I notice that the two in your list on either side of 4th (Dec 3 and 5) both have religious linkage - and you mentioned spiritual adviser as potential for Gilmore (had his background allowed).

This comparison shows how, without some background information on the chart owner, interpreting their natal chart with some level of accuracy can become a risky business; not because "astrology doesn't work", but because astrology is not all that is at work in a life.

mike (again) said...

Off Top - This is weird...Bernie's campaign lawyers are requesting Wiki remove logos. I wonder why?!

mike (again) said...

I didn't see the conclusion at the bottom, which was just added:

"Conclusion: The campaign has contacted the WMF and formally withdrawn the DMCA. I will be undeleting the images immediately after I save this message and notifying the 3 users who I sent notices too on their talk page. I have already notified odder and we are asking for a written version of the withdrawal (it was done initially over the phone) so that we have it formally for odder and for posting. Jalexander--WMF 23:46, 15 January 2016 (UTC)"

Twilight said...

mike (again) ~ O/T: I read that somewhere late this afternoon - very strange. I decided to take my "Bernie" circular logo off the sidebar and replace it with something I concocted myself (just in case). I've had only one "cease and desist" notice during my blogging time (and that was in respect of a shortish paragraph from the writing of a flippin' astrologer, to whose website I'd very clearly linked). So didn't want to risk another c & d letter! ;-/ I'm not sure about the other two sidebar images which carry his official name logo. I'll wait and see.
I'd bet that Bernie Sanders himself had little or nothing to do with all of this, he'll be too busy! Debate Sunday night an' all. Displaying his logos could do nothing but good for him - surely!

mike (again) said...

A very interesting essay about the astrology of power and its pathology, which fits this post, our current politics, and much more:

"I Want It All" - Power, Corruption and Lies
by John Green

mike (again) said...

Here's an LOL:

"But here's the key take-away: 2016 will be the first US Presidential Election where the outcome will be visibly influenced by telepathic broadcasts direct from the political id, with the more plugged-in candidates (cough, Donald Trump) speaking in tweets rather than TV-friendly sound-bites and making their play in real time to their audience reactions, much like the plot of a novel co-written by Neal Stephenson before he got famous. If you've wondered why Trump can say the things he says, it's because his core constituency want him to. If you want to know why Islamic State are so awful, you can find the answer in Hofstadter and Altemeyer's work—just add Islam instead of Capitalism as a guiding ideology. And if you want to know what the worst possible case outcome for the USA looks like (caveat: I think it's highly unlikely it'll go that far), now you've got the tools to figure it out for yourself. It looks kinda like Da'esh's caliphate, only with the NRA instead of religious police, Facebook instead of the Friday sermon after the call to prayer, and a surplus of unhappy zoned-out worker-consumer-units on tranquillizers."

mike (again) said...

"Six Responses to Bernie Skeptics"

Twilight said...

mike (again) ~ I've bookmarked the articles and will read tomorrow morning - thank you. I read the Robert Reich one somewhere this morning - excellent piece, and coming from him gives it credibility too!

We watched the debate tonight - it'll not change anybody's mind, I think all minds are now made up, at least among those who've been taking notice. They all did well, again. Clinton & Sanders taking pot-shots at one another from time to time. I thought Clinton got a tad bitchy at one point which didn't become her at all! Martin O'Malley give some exceptionally good answers - I'm surprised he's not polling better - maybe this debate will give him a boost, but it's too late for anything dramatic to happen for him.

Twilight said...

mike ~ John Green's article is a good one - thanks. As I read it I thought back to the posts I did some time ago about "The Real Abominables" and genocidal maniacs.
I think Pluto came up a lot there (haven't checked though.)

The link to Charlie Blog held my interest right down the long thread of comments. Commentary there is high quality, appears well-informed, and avoids getting into nastiness!

mike (again) said...

Re - Bernie...I'm more endeared to him than ever! His Bill-Clinton-as-degenerate response was classic Bernie. It was announced hours prior to the debate how he was offering and financing single-payer Medicare, and I think his plan is excellent. Don't get me wrong, I'm 100% behind Bernie, but I'm not sure that the astrology OR America is ready for someone of Bernie's high caliber. The essays by Green and Charlie, plus your Saturday and today's posts (and many other posts of yours), indicate that America is deep in psychosis. I sense that the next four years are destined to bring us to the bottom of the barrel with no way out, but up. The year 2020 is unique...the next election...the dance of Jupiter, Saturn, and Pluto all conjunct in late Capricorn. Trump and the other GOP candidates are pandering to fascist Americans and the resonance is powerful.

Re - O'Malley...I like him and I have to admit that I was prejudiced against him initially. His attempt at this point will benefit him for a future run at presidency, maybe the 2020 election, should a GOP be the 2016 victor.

Re - John Green...There were a number of decent astrological pointers in his essay, plus some outright human nature disclosures...LOL. I appreciated his comment regarding aspects in an individual's chart having a feedback response from others, ie the environment can often emphasize and enhance an aspect, bringing that aspect to fruition with little effort on the native's part.

Re - Charlie's...yes, some good reads and a tame, considerate audience, but he's known as a SciFi author, so doesn't attract the easily-inflamed-by-truth crowd. I enjoy most of his posts. His list is accessible at

Twilight said...

mike ~ Bernie, like Dennis Kucinich before him, might, after all, prove to be "too good for this place". That's a thought we should keep in mind, but it won't stop those of us who can see wheat from chaff from supporting him as long as possible - and he could still be neck and neck with Clinton for months, doing good, spreading the word - none of that ever goes to waste. His young new-to-voting supporters will remember him next time when someone else will have to take up the banner. McNally is a possible for that, and he's no doubt learning from Sanders too. Elizabeth Warren another possible for next time, is staying quiet at present, not endorsing either Clinton or Sanders - not wanting to upset either I guess. But for this time there's still plenty of hope that Sanders will be able to energise enough voters to stand by him.

The Trump story is the mirror image of Bernie's in some ways - the yin-yang - both fueled by public dislike of status quo and establishment politics, rigged game etc.
I keep thinking, if only Trump had been more lefty - what fun that would've been!

Thanks again for the introduction to the other writers. I'll keep on eye on their stuff in future. :-)