Wednesday, February 20, 2019

30 Degrees of Separation - The Semi-Sextile

There's little I can write about in astrology that I haven't written about before, at least once during my many years of blogging. While preparing a weekend post, I began scribbling about the semi-sextile, referred to a piece by astrologer Donna Cunningham....then took a quick look back at my archived posts. Lo and behold - I'd written about this in the past - in 2014. Ah well, waste not want not. I shall simply link to the old post and include under the link the additional words I'd already written before discovering my earlier work. The old post has some interesting comments attached too, by the way.

In a Minor Key - The semi-sextile (2014)


Something I read at Quora had me perusing my own natal chart - I do so rarely these days. I then clicked around Google quickly and happened upon a piece by Donna Cunningham.

From Is the semi-sextile a good aspect or a bad one?
by Donna Cunningham.

Snips -
Have you read or been taught much about the semi-sextile? I’m guessing that you haven’t—in most astrology writings, it tends to get shrugged off as a minor aspect after a half-hearted sentence or two of description. It’s a 30° aspect, plus or minus 2-3°. For instance, a planet in Aries may form a semi-sextile to a planet at approximately the same degree of either of the two adjacent signs, Pisces or Taurus...........

.........The good traits of one of the signs can usually offset the less than wonderful traits of the other, especially if we learn to use them consciously. I have several in my chart, and they tend to pull me back off the ledge when I’m about to bungee dive into the worst qualities of the signs involved
I'm most aware of one prominent semi-sextile in my own natal chart: Sun at 6+Aquarius/Jupiter at 6+ Pisces. I like that one. Aquarius chases after logic, while Pisces chases imagination and dreams - the effort expended in maintaining a balance of the two helps make life interesting and satisfying.

I hadn't, until now, taken as much notice of two other semi-sextiles in my chart. Saturn and Uranus are semi-sextile within a degree, in Aries and Taurus respectively. Those are my Aquarius Sun's ruling planets (traditional and modern), and that semi-sextile does echo the feel of the Aquarius/Pisces semi-sextile: in a "stop-go" kind of way - Aries is spontaneous and quick, Taurus is traditional and steady. A feasible balance needs to be maintained, and it's not too difficult to do.

The third semi-sextile in my chart is between Mercury and Venus in Capricorn and Sagittarius respectively- not quite 2 degrees of difference in the semi-sextile. Again, here's that same flavour coming through "steady and careful as she goes" from Capricorn, but "get on the road now and go as far and fast as possible" from Sagittarius!

So, I've discovered what is a recognisable trait in my personality - recognisable to me anyway, only I know for sure what goes on within. There are three pieces of evidence of this trait in my chart. Knock-out fall-down fights of opposites are not a feature of these semi-sextiles, but gentle tussles between two subtly different sides of me, neither being too far beyond the pale to be blended together. One side wins sometimes, but the other side has been known to win equally often too.

For any stray passing reader with an interest in astrology and their natal chart to hand - take a look for any close semi-sextiles and discover how they fit in your own case. I'll finish today in the same way I ended my 2014 post:
"As always, personal experience is key to knowing how it (or anything) works for you."

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Stupid Idioms - with Ian Lang

What’s the stupidest idiom in the entire English language?

That was a question posed at Quora last week. Ian Lang, no stranger on this blog, has given me his blanket permission to use his writings here, contributed as follows:

Ian Lang, Leading Technician answered:
Oh, there’s lots of them. Down at the Idiomatic Phrase Testing Range (IPTR), we’re regularly trying these out.

No. 1 : What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger:

So we did an experiment. We got six large men and had them lift anvils.All of them could manage it. Then we shot two through the left knee, two through the right knee, and two through both knees. All six survived, but not one could succesfully lift an anvil any longer.

No. 2: It’s not rocket science:

We got a bunch of chemists working on solid propulsion systems and introduced them to a bunch of engineers working on rapid reaction guidance systems and told them to deploy a satellite by Friday teatime or they’d be next lifting anvils (see above). It appears it was indeed rocket science that happened thereafter.

No. 3: Time flies when you’re having fun:

We took a group of students from the local university and synchronised their watches to an atomic clock. The we got them totally pissed, fed them some marijuana, and played American soft rock at them for five hours. When we checked their watches, they were still in synchronisation. We didn’t make them lift any anvils. We feared that the work involved in lifting anvils might kill them and that would be a bit of a sticky wicket when explaining to their tutors.

No. 4: A picture is worth 1000 words:

We borrowed Botticelli’s “Birth of Venus” from the Uffizi. We painted over it with white emulsion and wrote a very accurate description of what it used to look like in exactly one thousand words. Judging by the reaction when we sent it back, the picture was worth much. much more than a thousand words. Perhaps we ought to have used Italian words instead.

For some reason, the government is considering cutting the funding to IPTR. Personally, I blame Brexit.

Monday, February 18, 2019

Music Monday ~ Magic Carpet Back to Childhhood

I didn't answer this question, posed at Quora this week in the music section:

What’s the song that takes you back to when you were a kid?

I'll answer it here instead. No need to think long nor hard: "You Are My Sunshine".
My Dad used to sing it to me. :)

As an adult, I like this version from Neil Diamond in "The Jazz Singer" movie:

Which reminds me - I want to see that movie again - must use the 'search' facility on ROKU soon!

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Two More Would-be Presidents of the USA

Another in the series of posts looking for astrological indications of change or success for would-be presidents of the USA - those who have declared their candidacy already. Two other posts in this series are HERE and HERE.

Senator Amy Klobuchar, lawyer and politician, serving as the senior United States Senator from Minnesota. A member of the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party, Minnesota's affiliate of the Democratic Party. She is running for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States in the 2020 election.

Born on May 25, 1960 (age 58 years), Plymouth, MN. No time of birth available. chart set for 12 noon, so rising sign and degree, and exact Moon position will not be not as shown.

Born on September 16, 1974 (age 44 years), San Antonio, TX. Astrodatabank has time of birth as 2.40 AM ("from memory") with an "A" rating - considered reliable.

Julian Castro is also running for the Democratic nomination. He served as the 16th United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development under President Barack Obama from 2014 to 2017, the youngest member of the Obama Cabinet. Castro served as the mayor of his native San Antonio, Texas from 2009 until he joined Obama's cabinet in 2014. He was mentioned as a possible running mate for Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential campaign

For this exercise all I am doing is taking a brief look at natal charts, not to interpret personalities, but to discover whether any significant transits of outer planets (Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto) will coincide with personal planets between now and November 2020. Such a finding would indicate change of some kind in the chart owner's life, and in this case could be an indication of, if not the presidency, then a move into a more significant position in government.

Between now and early November 2020
Uranus will traverse the last few degrees of Aries and up to 8 degrees of Taurus
Neptune: between 14 and 20 degrees of Pisces
Pluto: between 20 and 24 degrees of Capricorn
Saturn: between 11 and 27 Capricorn
Jupiter: between 11 Sagittarius and 22 Capricorn

There's a link between the two charts - Saturn at 17 degrees of Capricorn in Senator Klobuchar's case and in Castro's chart Saturn is at 17 Cancer - directly opposite Klobuchar's Saturn.

Amy Klobuchar is experiencing what astrologers call a "Saturn Return" - her second. Saturn takes around 29 years to return to the same position in our solar system as it was at time of birth, so we experience Saturn Returns roughly every 29 years, in our late 20s, late 50s and, if we make it that far, our 80s. A Saturn Return is a kind of marker often defining the end of one stage of life and beginning of another - in late 20s it marks a move into adulthood proper, with its responsibilities and challenges. In late 50s it marks a move into middle-age and sometimes a possible change of direction in one's employment, profession or public standing.

Amy Klobuchar is experiencing her second Saturn Return now, and Saturn will to-and-fro over her natal Saturn during most of 2019, but by election time, late in 2020 Saturn will have moved on, well away from her natal Saturn. Whether this early intention to bid for the presidency is Klobuchar's 2nd Saturn Return marker, we shall see. It could, eventually, lead to a change in her professional life. Jupiter (planet of expansion - and luck) will conjoin her natal Saturn at some points in 2020, an indication of a helpful atmosphere coming and going as the planet moves from direct to retrograde.

Julian Castro's natal Saturn is at the opposite point in the Saturn cycle to Amy Klobuchar's. At this point in the Saturn cycle, halfway between the move to full adulthood in late 20s, and to middle-age in late 50s, a person could well be considering and assessing how far they have come, and whether they are moving in the best direction for them - or could do better. Perhaps this is what Castro is determining with his bid for the presidency; it will give him indications as to whether or not aiming for the presidency is the best, most viable, or ideal new direction for him, depending on public reaction, and reception. As in klobuchar's case, helpful Jupiter will conjoin natal Saturn at a few points in 2020.


Senator Klobuchar could well find herself in a new and more important position after 2020. Julian Castro is a little before his time here - but perhaps by his second Saturn Return, what he experiences in this run will be of great assistance during a future presidential election.

From all the candidates I've so far investigated (links at top of post), if I had to put money on someone to win the Dem. nomination, it'd be on either Elizabeth Warren or Cory Booker (if his time of birth is accurate, that is!) Amy Klobuchar, a less well-known name nationally, could perhaps be a VP choice.

"Still they come", though, so more posts will follow as others join the throng. Republican candidates will be under the microscope later too.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Arty Farty Friday ~ WHAT IS ART?

A seemingly simple question, posed some years ago at Quora, has one of the longest threads of answers I've yet come across.

What is art?

Most responders took the question and ran with it - ran all over the place in fact, and at length! I patiently read through a majority of answers, some from as long ago as 2011, some from early 2019. I was searching for something that I felt answered the question without...erm...a certain element of "showing off" from the writer, there's a lot of that. One could almost say that defining art can be made into an artform itself!

A few answers which easily resonated with me are below, although a simple, one-line definition does it for me too:
Art is the creative expression of humanity.

Expanded by Jeffrey Colin, former Cryptolinguistic Specialist at National Security Agency (1986-1989) answered January 2019:

Anything requiring a creative element. That may not be the most popular answer to the question, but it is the most pragmatic. The level of subjectivity that so many applied to assessing what “Art” is represents a de facto arrogance. Art is ANYTHING that entails a creative component in its creation and understanding. The Universe itself is the greatest “Artist” of all.

Expanded a little more by Michelle Gaugy, Art gallery owner, author, art consultant.(Jan 2015)

"Art" does not have one definition. These three little letters are used to represent very different things at different levels of meaning.

At its shallowest level, art is entertainment - theater, movies, dance, popular music, etc., that we use to relieve ourselves of tedium and anxiety and to unite us socially.

At the next level, art is both an aesthetic expression and an experience that may provide emotive, imaginative and even spiritual responses, for those so inclined. Historically, at this level, it can also provide substantial community, or even national "glue", especially music, theater and select visual arts.

At its deepest level, art - particularly visual art and music - provides one of the few available ways we have through which we can attempt to comprehend and integrate experiences that matter very deeply to us, but that cannot be explained adequately through words - concerns such as love, faith, death, etc. (note: other ways are nature, prayer/ meditation)

Regardless of which level of art we discuss (or argue about), one thing is very clear. Art has existed as long as humans have, so it clearly "comes with the territory". Some of us make it. But all of us use it, in one way or another. Because we need it.

And, from Alex Tamkin (May 2013):
I've struggled with this question for a while, mainly because every time I come up with a definition, I keep on finding counterexamples to disprove it. The definition I've become tentatively satisfied for now is this:

Art is something created or presented with the intent to deliver an aesthetic experience.

This definition is very broad, and includes works where aesthetics is the primary motive (e.g. a painting), or is second in importance to other aims (e.g. perfume, architecture, or commercials).

This definition also emphasizes the matter of context: the same object that may not be considered art in one environment may be considered art in a museum.

Overall though, art, as well as the definition of art, is constantly changing.

While preparing this post I glanced across the room and caught sight of one of my favourite vintage store arty bargains hanging on the wall by a window, it is titled, The Creative Mind, and signed by the artist, Joyce Crowley. What better place to feature a photograph of it - again (see below)? I wrote a full blog post about it just after buying it, in 2015 - SEE HERE.

Joyce Crowley's website is - HERE. In the section titled "Bas Relief", among the group "Contemporary & Abstract", there are several pieces in similar style and colours to this one.

CLIP from website:
All skills of drawing, sculpting and painting are combined in this unique art form. The slow layering process using acrylics and sand creates a bas-relief sculpture presenting a three-dimensional illusion when side – lighted... whether bold abstract, contemporary flowing designs... The surface interest, combining sculpture and soft earth tones, is a feast for the senses. The creative designs command attention. The tactile durability and craftsmanship command respect.

The image below doesn't do the piece full justice - the sculpted texture of it isn't clear.

Thursday, February 14, 2019