Tuesday, September 19, 2017

"No Man is an................"

From a book titled Pools of Lodging for the Moon by David K. Reynolds, PhD, a modern parable. I used this some seven years ago; recent inundations in Houston, Florida, the Islands and India brought it to mind again. Now I read that another severe hurricane threatens Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, before they've even had a chance to recover from the last one.

A repeat airing:
Water World

Once upon a fragile time people lived on the surface of a huge body of water. They walked on a thin film that covered the water's great depths. Sometimes the surface tension weakened in spots and someone began to sink. Those around the sinking person risked breaching the surface tension in order to rescue him or her. It was the custom. Such self-sacrifice was necessary in that world. When the rescuers were in danger they, too, could expect help.

Sometimes the tear in the surface film spread, there were whole chains of people lending a hand to their fellows. In that risky world it was good to know that supporting hands were ready to help when needed.

Nearby, another group of people lived on a small island. They were proud that each of them walked by the individual's own strength with no help or support from others. In other ways they were a very bright people. Yet because of their pride they were confined to their island. And they knew a chilly loneliness that their water-borne cousins never felt.

One of the part-truths in American culture is the part-myth of the self-made individual. That notion has both stimulated us and limited us. The other side of that truth is that we are all dependent on others for our successes and for our moment-by-moment existence.

My politically slanted brain read that tale as an analogy for socialism and conservatism/capitalism. Others might read it differently...if so it would be interesting to hear about it.

Comments from 2010 - summarised:
Astrology Unboxed/Fabienne said:
I saw it more in terms of religion. Catholics versus Protestants. Catholics putting more emphasis on the family, group and individuality is subordinated to the needs of the family, society and state. for example, it is still common for a women to live with her parents until she gets married even tough she has a career and could afford to live by herself.
On the other hand, protestants put emphasis on individual rights and children need to be independent as soon as possible. For example, if you are 18, you have to leave the house.
Having had the experience of both types of society emphasis, I can see the benefits from both. Although I must say that the emphasis on group does seems to provide more support, warmth and gregariousness. Individual rights, from my experience, leaves a bitter taste in your mouth. Great for developing your individuality and assertiveness. Not so great for companionship.

Gian Paul responded...Astrology Unboxed/Fabienne: In an ideal, harmonious world family should be what you say, no matter of what religion. The cradle which prepares for empathy, love and understanding. But these days, considering the great number of divorced parents, tough educational curriculum (money, money) and general impossibility to believe in "authorities", young people must feel quite lost to whatever wind or fashion/fad is blowing.

Twilight said...Gian Paul ~ Agreed, it's a different world. Family and culture has changed a lot in the last 3 decades. I think that, in the USA for example, there was more feeling of the first Water World example of wanting everyone to have assistance when needed than there is now....FDR's way was getting there, but the path got lost somewhere.

R J Adams said...I agree with you, Twilight, though on reading the piece my mind immediately saw America as the island:
"They were proud that each of them walked by the individual's own strength with no help or support from others. In other ways they were a very bright people. Yet because of their pride they were confined to their island. And they knew a chilly loneliness that their water-borne cousins never felt."

Most Americans never leave their 'island', unless it's to vacation in Mexico or Canada. Much of the rest of the world is united, but because of its pride, America stands alone; an 'island', indeed.

Twilight said...RJ Adams ~~~ Yes, that is what the author had in mind too, according to his last lines - that the USA is akin to an island society, in spite of its size. The book was published in 1989 by the way. Politically, the US has never been a haven of social reform for long, there have been a few tries to get onto that road, or into a more Water World scenario, but always eventually attempts have been diverted....by assassination, persuasion, bribery, whatever.

Wisewebwoman said ...No (wo)man is an island indeed. What a marvellous book, T, you discover such interesting titles! Any more nuggets in this?

Twilight replied... There are more, yes. Maybe I'll return to it sometime - don't want to get into bother re copyright though. I think it'll be okay to use a couple of examples, as this is a not-for-profit blog.

Wisewebwoman, in 2010, quoted from John Donne - I thank them both for today's post title.

No Man is an Island by John Donne (1572-1631)

No man is an island entire of itself; every man
is a piece of the continent, a part of the main;
if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe
is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as
well as any manner of thy friends or of thine
own were; any man's death diminishes me,
because I am involved in mankind.
And therefore never send to know for whom
the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Music Monday ~ Shape-wise

Looking for someone musical to feature today I came upon Benjamin Franklin White (September 20, 1800 – December 5, 1879). He was a "shape note singing master", and compiler of the shape note tune book known as The Sacred Harp. He was born near Cross Keys in Union County, South Carolina, the twelfth child of Robert and Mildred White.

Alright then...but what are shape notes?

Climbing onto my learning curve once more: Encyclopedia Britannica reveals that:
Shape-note singing, a musical practice and tradition of social singing from music books printed in shape notes. Shape notes are a variant system of Western musical notation whereby the note heads are printed in distinct shapes to indicate their scale degree and solmization syllable (fa, sol, la, etc.). Since 1801 shape notes have been associated with American sacred music, specifically with singing schools, with musical conventions, and with all-day gatherings known as “singings.” Denounced by critics as uncouth, the simplified notation has persisted in the rural South, where it continues to form the basis of strong traditions of church and community singing.

The solmization system used in shape-note singing can be traced to Guido d’Arezzo, an 11th-century Italian monk who assigned the syllables ut, re, mi, fa, sol, and la to the six-note series—or hexachord—that corresponds to what are now recognized as the first six degrees of the major scale. Use of these syllables helped singers keep track of their place within a melody, especially when sight-reading. In 16th-century England, singers discovered they could operate effectively with only four syllables (mi, fa, sol, and la). English colonists carried the four-syllable system to North America. Meanwhile, on the European continent, the hexachord was expanded to seven syllables, one for each note in the major scale (in Italy, do, re, mi, fa, sol, la, and si). The seven-syllable system ultimately prevailed during the 19th century in England and America. Shape notation has been adapted to both the four-note fasola and the seven-note doremi system.

I'm probably being extremely dense now but, immediately, I don't understand the benefit of this system. Trying again, there's more HERE.

So...well, I'm enlightened - kind of. This is an interesting and historic musical sidelight.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Saturday and Sundries

We're currently re-watching the 1970s TV mini-series Centennial, via a DVD set. I never tire of this story - often think that it was my love of Centennial, and another mini-series and novel, Lonesome Dove, which set my mind on the right track for my move across the Atlantic, and at a late stage of life. I still wake up surprised some mornings, to find myself smack-dab on the Chisholm Trail! That cattle trail is not the exact one featured in a chapter of Centennial - but it's comparable.

On this viewing of the TV adaptation of James A. Michener's epic novel - we're two-thirds through the series, as I type this - what I've noticed most is how, though passage of time has brought massive changes in lifestyle, especially in the 21st century, in deeper aspects nothing much has changed. The pattern of killing, retribution killing, then killing again, remains. Much of today's killing is done far away from the USA in the Middle East; retribution occasionally occurs here at home as well as directly, abroad. It's as though this nation, born in blood, is fated to live on in blood. There were some good men then (fictional in this case, but actual also), there are good men now, but never enough - then or now.

My 2008 archived post on Centennial is HERE.

Husband's new blog/website Cabinet Card Photographers has taken him many long hours of research work, which he has enjoyed and pronounced addictive.

Fall foliage Prediction Map -

It's interactive - could come in useful for leaf-peepers.

by Carl Sandburg

Among the mountains I wandered and saw blue haze and red crag and was amazed;

On the beach where the long push under the endless tide maneuvers, I stood silent;

Under the stars on the prairie watching the Dipper slant over the horizon’s grass, I was full of thoughts.

Great men, pageants of war and labor, soldiers and workers, mothers lifting their children—these all I touched, and felt the solemn thrill of them.

And then one day I got a true look at the Poor, millions of the Poor, patient and toiling; more patient than crags, tides, and stars; innumerable, patient as the darkness of night—and all broken, humble ruins of nations.

If an infinite number of rednecks
fired an infinite number of shotguns
at an infinite number of road signs,
they'd eventually recreate
the complete works of Shakespeare
in Braille.
Ann and the Bullet Holes
 I discovered the truth of it when on vacation, meeting  Himself, in 2003.

Wot - no astrology?
This Twitter offering, from #Rejected Horoscopes, might be good for a titter:

Friday, September 15, 2017

Arty Farty Friday ~ Jean Arp

Jean Arp or Hans Arp (16 September 1886 – 7 June 1966) was a German-French sculptor, painter, poet, and abstract artist in other media such as torn and pasted paper.

When Arp spoke in German he referred to himself as "Hans", and when he spoke in French he referred to himself as "Jean".

Excerpts from an article written by John Russell in the New York Times in 1986, to mark the centenary of Arp's birth:

As of the end of World War I, there can have been no doubt that although the name of Jean Arp was known to only a few well-informed observers he was a key figure in the European art world. His qualifications were obvious to all. In 1910 or 1911, according to his own account, he had ''begun to produce what is now called 'abstract art.' ...... In Paris in 1914, he had his portrait drawn by Modigliani and came to know Picasso, Delaunay and others. Likewise in 1914, he went to Cologne, and was recognized as a kindred spirit by Max Ernst. At the out-break of World War I, Arp was in Continued on page 29 Paris, and quite happy to remain there. But as he was German by birth, it became more and more risky for him to do so. Rather than return to Germany and be faced with military service, he made his way to Zurich, represented himself to the German consul as mentally defective and - thanks to feigned oddities of behavior - was exempted from military service. (The German consul could not believe that anyone who made the sign of the cross on seeing a portrait of Field Marshal Hindenburg could be good military material.) ..... As a founding member of the Zurich Dada group, he pioneered the acceptance of accident in art that for 50 or 60 years to come was one of the key notions of avant-garde art... He was also a pioneer of the automatic writing and drawing that were to be fundamental to surrealism in the 1920's.

And, not least, he fell in love at first sight with a young painter called Sophie Taeuber, who later became his wife. Theirs was a marriage of equals, with never a hint of rivalry. When we look at the work that they produced jointly in Zurich, we find it impossible to say who did what, so perfectly did their imaginations meet and match. With her clear, bell-like laugh, her almost magical affinity with all living creatures and her never-failing sense of wonder, she was poetry personified.

By the time that he turned 30, in 1916, Arp had developed more than one of the modalities that have been an enduring part of 20th-century art. Deliberately, he took the stressful, body-building element out of art and made it look weightless, incorporeal and full of wit. ''Life is a puzzling puff of wind,'' he once wrote, and he liked to feel that his work had that kind of aerial energy.......................

Turning to poetry, for which he had a free-flowing lyrical gift that rarely failed him, he found that a sentence taken at random from a newspaper was as compelling to him as anything in the great poetry of the past. The big fat volume of his collected poems is there to prove that this was neither a silly nor a presumptuous idea. Arp was a word man as much as an image man, and to the end of his life he was still, in a sense, the 17-year-old boy who, as he remembered it, ''had filled page after page with unusual word-combinations, invented unusable verbs from nouns, altered well-known verses and declaimed them constantly with abandon and elation, on and on as if it would never come to an end . . .''

 Pagoda Fruit

 Winged Being


 Sculpture to be Lost in the Forest

What's impossible to ignore when looking at Arp's sculptures, those shown here (and the many more to be seen via Google Image) is the lack of sharp angles. Everything is extremely smooth, rounded, curved - there's nothing harsh or jarring. So this is his sculptural "signature". His other artwork, mainly collages show the same tendency.

The shapes in his work evoke worn pebbles, buds and other natural forms. He created these sculptures using a quasi-automatic process of sanding away at a plaster model until he was satisfied with the shape. ‘I work until enough of my life has flowed into its body’, he said.

I wondered whether his "rounded with no sharp angle" signature style might, somehow, be reflected in Arp's natal chart.

Born on 16 September 1886 at 6:00 AM in Strasbourg, France. (Data from Astrodatabank.)

With Sun, Mercury, Venus and ascendant in Earthy and meticulous Virgo it's no surprise to find his urge for perfection and reflections of nature in the form of his sculptures; nor to discover that he was also "a word man as much as an image man" (Virgo is ruled by Mercury).

Arp had Jupiter and Uranus conjunct in Venus-ruled Libra. Uranus reflects his gravitation to modernity and abstract art, while Jupiter...well, when asking myself which planet I think of when considering smooth rounded shapes, first thought, for some reason, was...Jupiter.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

"Each man is 3 men" - Triple Trump

In September of 2011 I wrote a post titled "Each Man is 3 Men" - President Obama's 3 Men. For my next trick I'm going to try to apply the same treatment to our current President (hilarity could ensue!)

Opening, as before ["man" here ought to be read as "human"]: "As Fontaine says somewhere, 'Each man is three men: What he thinks he is, what others think he is and what he really is.'" Those lines are spoken by Christopher Leiningen (Charlton Heston) in the movie Naked Jungle. He purports to quote from Jean de la Fontaine, but I've been unable to pinpoint exactly where Jean de la Fontaine, a famous 17th century French poet who specialised in writing fables, actually wrote that sentence. A much later individual, Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr (1808-1890), French critic journalist and novelist is quoted as follows:
Every man has three characters - that which he exhibits, that which he has, and that which he thinks he has.
Whether Karr was inspired by Fontaine, parodied something he found within a Fontaine fable, or whether Fontaine has been wrongly credited remains a mystery (to me).

Anyway, here goes with a Triple Trump. Bear in mind, please, that I'm not stating my own opinion of "what others think, what he thinks, what actually is" - or what I glean from reading around the internet - but only what astrology has to say on the matter. If what astrology sees fits, then that's a feather in astrology's cap.

What others think he is:
I try to keep this blog fairly free of profanity and bad feeling...what others really think President Donald Trump is depends heavily on their political leanings; I'm going for a neutral astro-view. Astrologically, the "lens" through which a person is seen/and sees the world is represented by the sign and degree appearing over the horizon at time of birth. If Astrodatabank has the accurate time of birth for Donald Trump, 29.58 Leo was on the ascendant. As mentioned in my President Obama piece (he has Sun in Leo) Leo represents a person of well-developed ego, sometimes tending towards narcissism or egocentricity. Leo can also trend towards childishness, arrogance, overbearing, even, sometimes, cruel behaviour. There's an expectation and need to "be the best" at whatever's attempted, with a need for validation, and a strong urge to lead or be prominent in some sphere. There's often kindliness, warmth and general brightness in the Leo personality, and Leo's link to children/family (via the 5th house connection) can mean that his children represent, to him, an extension of himself.

What he actually is
The core of the man is represented by the sign in which Sun was found at time of birth. President Trump's natal Sun was in Gemini. Gemini is the great communicator of the zodiac, but also the archetypal Trickster. Trump's Twittering instinct - his innate urge to communicate, is part of his astrological DNA - that's just who he is and always will be. Whether he has the background and character sufficient to link his need to communicate with communicating reasonably, diplomatically and relevantly is another matter - but communicate he will! The Trickster, shadow of Geminian nature, can emerge in lying, white lies and lies of a different hue; or in ignoring normal rules and conventional behaviour. All of that, in Donald Trump, is doubly underlined, because it is blended with Uranian eccentricity, as Trump's Sun is conjunct Uranus.

What HE thinks he is
If Astrodatabank's time of birth for Donald Trump is accurate, his natal Moon (his inner self) was in Sagittarius at 21 degrees...LOL! It's conjunct my natal Venus, which could account for the fact that I cannot bring myself to hate him in the way most people on the internet hate him. He should NOT be president of the USA though - on that I do agree! Anyway, what he thinks he is: how do I determine that using astrology? Is it related to position of natal Moon? When I posted in this vein on President Obama, my old friend and commenter Gian Paul wrote:

GP: (Gian Paul)I wonder if it is the Moon placement in a person's map which "fixes" what that person him/herself believes to be. Accepting the notion that the Moon represents one's "inner self" - be that because of representing sensibility, versatility or instability or all of that, I have come to another idea of accommodating astrologically La Fontaines' No. 3 part of a person: People have mostly received an education teaching them to present their best qualities to the outside. A form of lying but highly priced these days. That being the case, we build and project an "imaginary virtous persona" based on our skills of hiding what are our week spots, defects and handicaps. This projected persona is exactly what a person is not really (Sun determining that), but wishes to show and ends up believing to be himself.
To which I responded:
I did puzzle over a similar issue myself, GP - not in exactly the same way as you are doing. I wasn't totally convinced that Moon position is the key to "who a person thinks he/she is"....but perhaps what that person thinks he/she ought to be. Which is not far from what you are proposing. It's a tricky one, isn't it? Mercury might be heavily involved in this too = the way his mind works.... I like your version...I think mine could bear a little more thought, still, though.
Trump's natal Moon in expansive fire sign Sagittarius is harmonious with his ascendant in Leo - he knows for sure, and in no uncertain terms, that he's leadership material. However, if Mercury does have any say in who he thinks he is, and because natal Mercury is in Cancer (along with Venus and Saturn) there's a snag! A big one! The biggest! Cancer is the ultra-sensitive, needy and self-protective sign of the zodiac. While feeling confident in his own leadership abilities he is always unduly sensitive to criticism, and will protect himself (and his family - Cancer also relates to the family circle) in any way he can. Whether Trump acknowledges this side of his nature to himself is questionable. The Cancerian side of his nature really fits into all three of these "Who he is" sections. In other words, the three natal planets in Cancer, in President Trump's natal chart, are the enormous buzzy fly in the Trump ointment - in my opinion.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

A Decade Later...Earth Matters!

Ten years ago, 2007, I was regularly blogging about the dangers of global warming/climate change. In April of that year I wrote:
The future seems to me the most uncertain it has been since I was a young child in Hull, England during World War 2, when that city suffered horrendous bombing. The morrow, never mind the future, was uncertain for many at that time. When I first arrived in the USA at the end of 2004, global warming was looked on as something of a joke here. I despaired. I can see, now, the enormous difference Al Gore has single-handedly made, in a short time. When "An Inconvenient Truth" first arrived in cinemas in Oklahoma, it was shown only in Oklahoma City and Tulsa. We travelled to Oklahoma City, about 75 miles away, to see it. The number of people in the theatre could have been counted on two hands, but that sparse audience rose to their feet as one at the end of the film, applauded, and uplifted my hopes.

Back then, in the run up to the 2008 presidential election I was an avid supporter of Al Gore, "Run, Al...run!!" frequently appeared in my posts, or on my sidebar. I finished the 2007 post thus:
The American government is still dragging its feet, and appears to be lagging well behind public opinion, but in 2008 that government is guaranteed to change. I hope that its successor will be strong enough to do what's needed, however unpopular it makes them. We may not get to the stage of being uncertain about the morrow in the next few years, but those who come after will have that to face, if we don't insist that something is done by world governments soon.
Ten years on, nothing has changed, in fact the situation has grown worse. The Bush and Obama administrations did nothing, or next to nothing to address climate change; anything seemingly helpful proved to be lip service only. The current administration is openly opposed to addressing climate change. The horrendous storms, floods, fires and losses of Fall 2017 could prove to be the opening act of a new and far more dangerous stage in our journey to temperate climate destruction. People of the USA have not yet vociferously demanded action on this. They loudly demand action on race and gender issues, important in their own ways of course, yet without a habitable planet on which to live, what will those issues matter? Why have there been no huge marches, sit-ins, protests on behalf of planet Earth? Where are the the "Earth Matters" Warriors?
“If your house is on fire, you don't comfort yourself with the thought that houses have been catching fire for thousands of years. You don't sit idly back and think, "Oh well, that is the way of nature." You get going, immediately. And you don't spring into action because of an idealistic notion that houses deserve to be saved. You do it because if you don't, you won't have a place to live.”
― Bill Nye