Tuesday, July 28, 2015

US Presidents - Astrological Groupings

Information at the following link will not be new to most astrologically-literate people in the USA. As the 2016 presidential electoral go-around will still leave my general election experience here in single figures, I'm not familiar with data presented - or if I have read it in the past, I've promptly forgotten all about it.

Zodiac Sign Found Most Among U.S. Presidents, by Corrine Lane.

Graphs and observations on US Presidents to date (with 4 listed exceptions) are grouped into:

Mid-heaven by sign, element, quality

Rising signs

Sun/Moon signs.

Because there's no time of birth available, as yet, for Bernie Sanders it's not possible to compare his data as regards mid-heaven and rising signs. His Virgo Sun and Aries Moon are not especially favoured, but MC and rising could balance that. I'm hoping for Cancer inclusion at rising or MC!

Hillary Clinton has Scorpio rising which isn't beneficial at all, according to this study.

Is Scorpio Rising So Scary?

Not even one U.S. president has had Scorpio rising. I have 3 theories about this. First, it may be that U.S.A. doesn’t want a sexy president. Second, Americans aren’t ready to trust a president that is so predisposed to extreme secrecy. Scorpio Rising people appear to be hiding something even when they are not. It’s been said that Scorpio Rising generates fear in others. (Scorpio’s secrecy is really just a protective instinct. It’s not anything to be afraid of.) Third, it may be that Scorpio Rising people are not at all interested in the office of U.S. President. In fact, they do not like to be put on display. They prefer to wield low-key, subliminal power. To see the zero-count for Scorpio rising, see the graph “Rising Signs of U.S. Presidents”, shown above.

Her Scorpio Sun is better placed in the graph, but Virgo mid-heaven isn't doing too well.

As for "The Donald" - his Leo Sun (Fire) could be his undoing (one factor among many I dare say!) Final paragraph of the linked piece begins: "Earth, water, and air signs are pretty well represented in all three tallies. This favors a combination of dependable earth, compassionate water, and witty, airy intelligence. Fire signs ranked lowest among all three tallies."

Monday, July 27, 2015

Bad Apples and Moonlit Apples

I'm 'avin' a bit of a grouch again. Apples. They are unrecognisable these days. Oh, they look alright, polished and unblemished, red, gold, green - labelled with variety an' all that, but they don't taste right. Skins tough as leather, flesh tough or hard as iron, flavour - what flavour?

Does anyone else have the same problem?

Once upon a time, long ago and far away, there was a span when I just about lived on apples. I was trying to lose weight, back in my late 20s, early 30s. I loved the easily identifiable apple differences - in shape, scent, flavour, of at least a dozen different English, and some "foreign" varieties. Most were available only at certain times of the year.

I guess I could be thought of as an "apple fancier" in those days. I'd haunt local greengrocer's shops or the Saturday Market looking for a specific variety. But then came supermarkets and things went rapidly downhill on the apple front. I'd still occasionally find a decent French Golden Delicious. South African Goldens were good too, but I boycotted them for a long time, due to the political situation there. Cox's Orange Pippins, possibly England's most popular apple, were still around, but flavour had gradually deteriorated, when not from local orchards. Macintosh Reds would appear once a year, and I'd buy lots of those - great scent they have, or had.

Since arriving in this fair land I could count on one hand the times I've tasted a decent apple, don't think I'd even use all fingers! The problem could be due to the area in which we live. Maybe good apples are still available elsewhere in the USA, nearer to where they are grown. Those arriving in our supermarket have probably been messed with at seed stage, sprayed within an inch of their lives, stored in cool storage, trundled across thousands of miles, before arriving for inspection of shoppers in south-western Oklahoma.


A poem kept trickling though my head earlier and prompted this post. It's a poem a work friend taught me many years ago. We'd start reciting it any time things (or people) on the job began to get tetchy, for some reason it acted as a release valve; before we reached the end of the first verse we'd be falling about laughing.

The poem was written by British poet John Drinkwater (born 1 June 1882).

Moonlit Apples

At the top of the house the apples are laid in rows,
And the skylight lets the moonlight in, and those
Apples are deep-sea apples of green. There goes
A cloud on the moon in the autumn night.

A mouse in the wainscot scratches, and scratches,
and then
There is no sound at the top of the house of men
Or mice; and the cloud is blown, and the moon again
Dapples the apples with deep-sea light.

They are lying in rows there, under the gloomy beams;
On the sagging floor; they gather the silver streams
Out of the moon, those moonlit apples of dreams,
And quiet is the steep stair under.

In the corridors under there is nothing but sleep.
And stiller than ever on orchard boughs they keep
Tryst with the moon, and deep is the silence, deep
On moon-washed apples of wonder.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Rosemary & Memory

 (Hyssopus officinalis LINN.)
History ~ The Ancients were well acquainted with the shrub, which had a reputation for strengthening the memory. On this account it became the emblem of fidelity for lovers. It holds a special position among herbs from the symbolism attached to it. Not only was it used at weddings, but also at funerals, for decking churches and banqueting halls at festivals, as incense in religious ceremonies, and in magical spells. At weddings, it was entwined in the wreath worn by the bride, being first dipped into scented water....Together with an orange stuck with cloves it was given as a New Year's gift - allusions to this custom are to be found in Ben Jonson's plays.
(See Botanical.com)

Here's an interesting article. It's yet another vindication of a piece of folk medicine. I've long been curious as to how these medicines were first discovered by our early ancestors. Was it trial and error, or had they access to some ancient, now lost, advice, and if so, from whom did it come?

"What does rosemary do to your brain?"

"In folk medicine, rosemary has been associated for centuries with having a good memory. But is it worth investigating whether it really has any powers, asks Dr Chris Van Tulleken."
...Prof Mark Moss at Northumbria University. His team is running an experiment to test whether rosemary essential oil could benefit future memory.....

Here's how the experiment worked. The team at Northumbria recruited 60 older volunteers to test the effects of not only rosemary oil but also lavender oil. They then tested these volunteers in a room infused with either rosemary essential oil, lavender essential oil or no aroma. Participants were told they were there to test a vitamin water drink. Any comments about the aromas were passed off as irrelevant and "left over from the previous group to use the room".

The volunteers... then took a test which was designed to test their prospective memory. It's a clever test with many layers so you never quite know what's being tested............(see full article for detail)

What Mark's team found was remarkable. The volunteers in the room with the rosemary infusion did statistically significantly better than those in the control room but lavender caused a significant decrease in performance. Lavender is traditionally associated with sleep and sedation.

Was the lavender sending our volunteers to sleep and decreasing their performance? How could vaporised essential oils possibly have this effect?

It turns out that there are compounds in rosemary oil that may be responsible for changes in memory performance. One of them is called 1,8-cineole - as well as smelling wonderful (if you like that sort of thing) it may act in the same way as the drugs licensed to treat dementia, causing an increase in a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine.

These compounds do this by preventing the breakdown of the neurotransmitter by an enzyme. And this is highly plausible - inhalation is one of the best ways of getting drugs into the brain. When you eat a drug it may be broken down in the liver which processes everything absorbed by the gut, but with inhalation small molecules can pass into the bloodstream and from there to the brain without being broken down by the liver.

As further confirmation Mark and his team analysed blood samples and found traces of the chemicals in rosemary oil in the blood.

Ve-ery int-eresting!

Friday, July 24, 2015

Arty Farty Friday ~ Andy Goldsworthy, Sculptor, Naturalist, Photographer.

 Hat-tip HERE for photograph
In comments following an Arty Farty Friday post in June (HERE) there was mention of art using nature - transient but environmentally gentle. Brandon Anderton and Patrick Dougherty were mentioned. Here's another such artist, a Brit this time:
Andy Goldsworthy.
He has a birthday coming up on Sunday: born 26 July 1956 in Cheshire, now lives in Scotland.
He works with all manner of natural materials : ice, snow, water, wood, flowers, stones, pebbles....Many or most of his pieces are by nature transient, so to preserve a memory of his work he photographs them - at their best.
I can do no better than add parts 1 to 4 of videos showing some of his works, and occasional sight of him working on them, along with quotes of a few of his remarks.
The videos are each around 4 and a half minutes long.

If videos aren't your thing, just go to Google Image, insert this artist's name in the search box - hundreds of examples of his work are pictured there.

I won't post a natal chart, that would seem intrusive - but will just say that Mr Goldsworthy has his Leo Sun conjoining Uranus, and natal Venus in Gemini in trine to Neptune in Libra. Highly creative art arising from unexpected sources?

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Bernie Sanders and BLM

After last weekend's Netroots Nation intervention of Black Lives Matter activists during speeches by Democratic presidential candidates Martin O'Malley and Bernie Sanders, there was, it seems, a veritable onslaught of anti-Bernie stuff in the Twitter-verse, and ongoing argument, still, at some political websites.

A 20 minute video of the full segment of Senator Sanders' contribution at Netroots Nation is at the end of this post.

I, as no regular reader will be surprised to read, agreed with Bernie Sanders' responses. Some could have been made in better tone, and with a few additional points more relative to what the BLM people were shouting about. A little less discourtesy on their part and a little more tolerance on his part wouldn't have gone amiss. Still, he made the point that the issues he was speaking about: income inequality, inequality of opportunity, low wages etc. were at the root of much that is causing the wrongs felt by the African American population now.

Senator Sanders was, to my mind, taking what medical people might describe as an holistic approach - looking at the whole body of the USA, not a single symptom. In medicine this can be good or not so good, depending on circumstance. Treating a specific symptom is good, but ignoring underlying, and very serious conditions which are creating the situation is unwise and sometimes even fatal.

Police violence on African Americans is a very obvious wrong. Senator Sanders knows that it is a wrong powered by deeper factors, and unless those are dealt with there'll be no justice.

BLM activists made their point, I guess. It's odd, though, that they felt the need to make it in the place and at the time they did. I wonder from whom that idea originated? Sanders and O'Malley did show up to speak at Netroots Nation. Would it not have been more reasonable to direct some of the BLM's shoutings towards Hillary and the Republicans for not even bothering to attend, or maybe go to campaign speeches by Republicans such as Scott Walker, and try for a disruption there?

Throughout his career Bernie Sanders has been avidly pro-civil rights, that is a starting point from which to decide his attitudes. He is calling for controls on the police, the dismantling of the prison systems, full employment, free education....yet BLM, and countless on-line commenters choose to go after this candidate, attempting to discredit him?!

I feel certain that Senator Sanders' mis-step on Sunday, if it can be called that, as well as any hint of unpreparedness for hecklers, will be put right. He is a shrewd and experienced politician who has campaigned for mayoral and senate positions more than once during his long life. Yet he has never campaigned for the presidency of the USA. That has to be something entirely different, and something for which there is no possible preparation other than actually "doing it". It's a good thing Bernie began campaigning early, he has time to polish his game, and so have his advisers.

UPDATE: Sanders Calls Violent Arrest of Sandra Bland 'Totally Outrageous Police Behavior'....Recently challenged to address issues of racial injustice and police brutality more forcefully, Sanders does just that.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Pied Piping

Today is Rat Catcher's Day . Little known fact?

Rat Catcher's Day commemorates the legend of the Pied Piper of Hamelin. Two dates: June 26 and July 22 are involved. 26 June 1284 is thought to have been the actual day when, as legend tells, a mysterious piper arrived in the town of Hamelin in Germany, promising to lure away the rats then infesting the town, using his music - but for a price. The town's mayor didn't hold up his end of the bargain, the piper left but returned later to take revenge. He again played his music but this time lured away 130 of the town's children, most of whom were never seen again.

22 July 1376 is the date mentioned in a poem about the legend written by Robert Browning. It's said this date was used as poetic license, for reasons of rhyme:
...They made a decree that lawyers never
Should think their records dated duly
If, after the day of the month and year,
These words did not as well appear:
“And so long after what happened here
On the twenty-second of July,
Thirteen hundred and seventy-six;"
And the better in memory to fix
The place of the children’s last retreat,
They called it the Pied Piper’s Street......

Whether the legend has a basis in fact has been investigated over the centuries. We'll never know for sure if the piper was a metaphor, or a fact, but it seems from ancient records that a loss of many children from the town did occur at that time. An article at Ancient Origins outlines some theories, including suggestions that the children might have died from natural causes - some kind of epidemic, the piper being a metaphor/personification of Death. Or that the children were sent away by parents due to extreme poverty (sounds unlikely to me). Or
"Yet another theory speculates that the children were participants of a doomed ‘Children’s Crusade’, and might have ended up in modern day Romania, or that the departure of Hamelin's children is tied to the Ostsiedlung, in which a number of Germans left their homes to colonize Eastern Europe. One of the darker theories even proposes that the Pied Piper was actually a paedophile who crept into the town of Hamelin to abduct children during their sleep."

Robert Browning's poem - at least the first couple of verses - have lodged themselves into my memory. In High School some of us were tasked to learn and sing a choral version of the poem. We rehearsed it over and over...and over, so many times that it must have deeply engraved itself into my grey matter. It begins like this:
Hamelin Town’s in Brunswick,
By famous Hanover city;
The river Weser, deep and wide,
Washes its wall on the southern side;
A pleasanter spot you never spied;
But, when begins my ditty,
Almost five hundred years ago,
To see the townsfolk suffer so
From vermin, was a pity.

They fought the dogs and killed the cats,
And bit the babies in the cradles,
And ate the cheeses out of the vats,
And licked the soup from the cooks’ own ladle’s,
Split open the kegs of salted sprats,
Made nests inside men’s Sunday hats,
And even spoiled the women’s chats
By drowning their speaking
With shrieking and squeaking
In fifty different sharps and flats...........................

Those last two lines probably also described the sound of we schoolgirls, as we sang the ditty!