Saturday, April 22, 2017

Saturday & Sundries

There's still one topic left to be represented in this week's "profiling" series, it'll be dealt with after the weekend, though a couple of these sundry items do touch on it.

From this fairly recent Guardian piece on that dratted Oxford comma:

Never let it be said that punctuation doesn’t matter.

In Maine, the much-disputed Oxford comma has helped a group of dairy drivers in a dispute with a company about overtime pay. [Detail on this at the link].

The Oxford comma is used before the words “and” or “or” in a list of three or more things. Also known as the serial comma, its aficionados say it clarifies sentences in which things are listed.

As Grammarly notes, the sentences “I love my parents, Lady Gaga and Humpty Dumpty” and “I love my parents, Lady Gaga, and Humpty Dumpty” are a little different. Without a comma, it looks like the parents in question are, in fact, Lady Gaga and Humpty Dumpty.

The Oxford comma ignites considerable passion among its proponents and opponents. In 2011, when it was wrongly reported that the Oxford comma was being dropped by the University of Oxford style guide, there was uproar.

“Who gives a fuck about an Oxford comma?” opens one Vampire Weekend song.

The Guardian style guide has the following to say about Oxford commas:

a comma before the final “and” in lists: straightforward ones (he ate ham, eggs and chips) do not need one, but sometimes it can help the reader (he ate cereal, kippers, bacon, eggs, toast and marmalade, and tea).

Sometimes it is essential: compare

I dedicate this book to my parents, Martin Amis, and JK Rowling


I dedicate this book to my parents, Martin Amis and JK Rowling

While adding tags I noted that another aspect of the comma was mentioned in a past collection of bits and pieces:

Question: "Will we use commas in the future?" Article by Matthew J.X. Malady at Slate.

Answer: One would hope so, unless civilisation crumbles to the point where no human is capable of writing, reading and constructing an intelligible sentence.

From New Yorker article How to Stay Sane as a Cartoonist in Trumpland
By David Sipress:

Two pieces of wisdom from Henry David Thoreau:

Men say they know many things
But lo!they have taken wings, -
The arts and sciences,
And a thousand appliances;
The wind that blows
Is all that any body knows.

If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Profiling the Arty Farty

Still on this week's theme, mentioned in Monday's post:
I'd not looked at my own "profile" on this blog for years. In 2006, when I opened Learning Curve on the Ecliptic, I listed my interests as: "astrology, psychic phenomena, music, politics, art, writing". This week, just for a change from random scribbling, I'm re-airing, at a rate of one topic per day, a past post - one that I feel remains relevant.

Today's topic, because it's Arty Farty Friday, has to be: art. So many artists have been investigated on Fridays, over the years, it's hard to choose just one. How about this somewhat ragged, forgotten post from way back in April, 2007?

Surrealism, Abstract Art and Astrology

Styles of art have always intrigued me, especially surrealism and abstract art, which tend to overlap. These are expressions of the unconscious mind, concepts, emotions and ideas. Some artists who embraced these styles eschewed representational art entirely, in favour of symbolism form and colour, while others retained almost photographic depiction of their subject, but set it in surreal situations.

I wondered whether any indication towards one or other of these styles might be found in the natal charts of some well known artists. Using the "stand well back" approach I concentrated on two generational planets, Uranus and Neptune, along with Saturn. Reason: Saturn represents the establishment, the status quo, and probably representational art - realism. Uranus represents the new, the avant garde, the inventive. Neptune is involved with the dreamy and imaginative. Although Uranus and Neptune are generational, I think that the way Saturn interacts with them might be significant here, in the way the artists gravitated towards two different styles of expression.

Next to each birth date below I've listed the sign positions of Uranus, Neptune and Saturn, in that order. (Harmonious and inharmonious aspects are within reasonable orb/limits.)

Salvador Dali used strange dream-like images in his pictures , yet the figures and objects he used were mainly recognisable and intricately drawn. Likewise in the case of Rene Magritte and Escher.

Dali -11 May 1904 Figueras, Spain. (Sag/Can/Aqua) - Uranus and Saturn in harmony, Neptune not.

Magritte (left) - 21 Nov. 1898, Lessines, Belgium. (Sag/Gem/Sag) - All in harmony.

Escher 18 June 1898, Leeuwarden, Netherlands. (Sag/Gem/Sag)- All in harmony.

Dali, Magritte and Escher are what I'd call "representational surrealists", depicting real people, creatures or objects in surreal situations. In their charts Saturn and Uranus are in harmony, perhaps giving these artists the wish, and the ability to express ideas in new ways, but without fully abandoning the traditional.

Artists such as Klee, Miro, and Mondrian used shapes, symbols, balance and colour to convey their message.

Paul Klee 18 Dec. 1879, Munchenbuchsee, Switzerland. (Virgo/Taurus/Aries) Uranus out of tune with Saturn.

Mondrian 7 March 1872, Amersfoort, Netherlands. (Can/Aries/Cap) Uranus opposes Saturn.

Miro 20 April 1893, Barcelona, Spain. (Scorpio/Gem/Lib) Uranus out of tune with Saturn

Klee, Miro and Mondrian painted in symbols, with forms and colour to get their message across - no hint of realism at all. In the natal charts of these artists Uranus and Saturn are not in harmony. The artists have moved right away from the traditional to new means of expression. There is no merging of old and new.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Profiling Psychic Phenomena

Continuing this week's theme, as mentioned in Monday's post: I'd not looked at my own "profile" on this blog for years. In 2006, when I opened Learning Curve on the Ecliptic, I listed my interests as: "astrology, psychic phenomena, music, politics, art, writing". This week, just for a change from random scribbling, I'm re-airing, at a rate of one topic per day, a past post - one that I feel remains relevant.

Today's topic: psychic phenomena, in particular, telepathy. A post from 2012.

Telepathy ~ Mary Craig Sinclair ~ Mental Radio

On our recent trip, in a junky antique store, I found a copy of one of the volumes from an old Time Life set: Mysteries of the Unknown - the volume on Psychic Powers. I couldn't resist it, marked up at a couple of dollars.

In chapter one, Beyond the Five Senses there's a section on Mary Craig Sinclair, second wife of novelist, muckraker and socialist Upton Sinclair.

Mary Craig believed she had telepathic powers, and was of the opinion that such powers could also be cultivated by others. She recommended a method of training involving intense concentration allied with relaxation. Upton Sinclair's book Mental Radio documents experiments in telepathy he carried out with his wife and presents illustrations of a few of the many sketches she had attempted to telepathically read from his mind. The Time Life volume I have contains 5 examples of those illustrations. Upton Sinclair's original sketches along with his wife's telepathically received versions are shown. The couple claimed, over time, a success rate far beyond what might have been expected by chance.

I do not wish to infringe copyright. A note at the end of the volume states that "brief passages may be quoted for reviews". I will hope that using a scan of two of the 5 sets of sketches can be classed as a quotation for review, explanation, discussion under the Fair Use guidelines.

It'd be interesting to look at Mary Craig Sinclair's natal chart. She was born on 12 February 1882 in Greenwood, Mississippi. No time of birth is available so a 12 noon chart must suffice. Rising sign will not be as shown, nor will degree of Moon, though Moon would have been in Sagittarius.

Sun and Venus in Aquarius, sign of mental acuity, with communications planet Mercury next-door in intuitive Pisces. As I wrote in a post about Sun Aquarius astrologers recently, when Aquarius planets are "assisted" by planet(s) in a Water sign, the mental acuity might take a turn towards astrology; equally, I guess, to other mysterious subjects such as telepathy.

Mary Craig's Mercury is in helpful sextile aspect to down-to-Earth Saturn, and Neptune (ruler of Pisces) in Earthy Taurus. Uranus in Virgo makes an harmonious trine aspect to Jupiter in Taurus. There's quite a strong Earthy feel to the chart, which could indicate that her mental acuity and intuition from Pisces Mercury is being "Earthed" - rather than remaining uninvestigated, unaddressed. Observers can consider, and possibly attempt to emulate Mary Craig's telepathic ability. She was keen to share information on how this might be done - again trying to "bring it down to Earth".

Upton Sinclair's chart, by the way, can be viewed at Astrodatabank HERE. He had a concentration of planets (Sun/Mercury/Venus/Mars/Uranus) in Virgo the sign ruled by Mercury the communications planet. His North node of Moon is in Aquarius.

Comments from Feb. 2012
JD said...Ah, but science has come a long way since then: [updated link].

Twilight - JD ~~~ Good video trailer! Some scientific minds have opened wider since the Sinclairs' experiments, that's true enough. I like the way one of the contributors used the term "supernormal" - it's a much better description than "supernatural".

Anonymous (Gian Paul) said...Super or extra-normal perceptions exist, experience them sometimes myself. Their significance or use? Subjectively (that's most I can say) such occurrences are a wink that other dimensions are, inducing from when and how they happen to me, more or less permanently "at work". Who is not permanently aware of it are we. And that appears meant to be.

Twilight said...Gian Paul ~~I think the significance of these supernormal experiences is that they are an accidental, or involuntary, & hint that "there's more". I suppose that we, as a race, are not yet ready to discover exactly what, and how extensive, the "more" is. We need to grow up, grow wiser, and use what we already know more usefully first.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Profiling Politics

Continuing this week's theme, as mentioned in Monday's post: I'd not looked at my own "profile" on this blog for years. In 2006, when I opened Learning Curve on the Ecliptic, I listed my interests as: "astrology, psychic phenomena, music, politics, art, writing". This week, just for a change from random scribbling, I'm re-airing, at a rate of one topic per day, a past post - one that I feel remains relevant.

Today's topic: politics. A post from 2010 - comments included.

Cameth the hour ~ Eugene V. Debs

"Cometh the hour, cometh the man" - that concept appeals to me. I think it originated, though not in those exact words, in Sir Walter Scott's novel Guy Mannering. There's a wee flavour of astrology about it. It has been known to work too, not always, but on many occasions. It's as though a communal need gathers critical mass and draws to it the right man/woman to deal with a serious or dangerous situation.

In the USA one such guy, in my not so humble opinion, was Eugene Debs. “A dynamic and visionary leader of the 19th century railroad workers; preeminent spokesman for the Socialist labor tradition; beloved by those whose lives he touched.” He came along when things in the USA were getting badly out of balance with the increase in industrialisation. Workers were being exploited, poverty was rife, inequality reigned. Debs didn't make it to the presidency, in spite of running in 1900, 1904, 1908 1912 and 1920 as Socialist Party candidate.His last campaign had to be conducted from behind prison bars, while serving a 10 year sentence for opposing America's entrance into World War I and denouncing the Espionage Act (designed to silence all anti-war sentiment). He was released under under a general amnesty on Christmas Day 1921 by Warren G. Harding.

Eugene Debs' noble ideals were noted and absorbed; some things improved then, and later, because of his efforts.

The late Howard Zinn's 1999 article, Eugene V. Debs and the Idea of Socialism is a good read, I shall take the liberty of using an extract from it here.
Debs was what every socialist or anarchist or radical should be: fierce in his convictions, kind and compassionate in his personal relations. ........................
In the era of Debs, the first seventeen years of the twentieth century-until war created an opportunity to crush the movement-millions of Americans declared their adherence to the principles of socialism. Those were years of bitter labor struggles, the great walkouts of women garment workers in New York, the victorious multi-ethnic strike of textile workers in Lawrence, Massachusetts, the unbelievable courage of coal miners in Colorado, defying the power and wealth of the Rockefellers. The I.W.W. was born-revolutionary, militant, demanding "one big union" for everyone, skilled and unskilled, black and white, men and women, native-born and foreign-born.

The following paragraph I found surprising, particularly the part about our state, Oklahoma. Things have changed beyond recognition here. News came yesterday of a plan by the Oklahoma Tea Party to raise a "constitutional" armed militia here to oppose the Federal government: see here:

More than a million people read Appeal to Reason and other socialist newspapers. In proportion to population, it would be as if today more than three million Americans read a socialist press. The party had 100,000 members, and 1,200 office-holders in 340 municipalities. Socialism was especially strong in the Southwest, among tenant farmers, railroad workers, coal miners, lumberjacks. Oklahoma had 12,000 dues-paying members in 1914 and more than 100 socialists in local offices.

And the following states exactly my own view (thank you Mr. Zinn, RIP)

The point of recalling all this is to remind us of the powerful appeal of the socialist idea to people alienated from the political system and aware of the growing stark disparities in income and wealth-as so many Americans are today. The word itself-"socialism"-may still carry the distortions of recent experience in bad places usurping the name. But anyone who goes around the country, or reads carefully the public opinion surveys over the past decade, can see that huge numbers of Americans agree on what should be the fundamental elements of a decent society: guaranteed food, housing, medical care for everyone; bread and butter as better guarantees of "national security" than guns and bombs; democratic control of corporate power; equal rights for all races, genders, and sexual orientations; a recognition of the rights of immigrants as the unrecognized counterparts of our parents and grandparents; the rejection of war and violence as solutions for tyranny and injustice.

There are people fearful of the word, all along the political spectrum. What is important, I think, is not the word, but a determination to hold up before a troubled public those ideas that are both bold and inviting-the more bold, the more inviting. That's what remembering Debs and the socialist idea can do for us.

Eugene V. Debs was born on 5 November 1855 in Terre Haute, Indiana. I can find no time of birth for him on-line, which I find surprising; Astrodatabank doesn't even have an entry for him.
So, a 12 noon chart must suffice. Ascendant degree/sign is unknown as is Moon's degree, though Moon would be in Virgo until 8pm and Libra afterwards.

Debs' natal Sun was in passionate, magnetic Scorpio. I've noticed that Scorpio input can often translate into personality as someone who has an exceptional ability to use words to their most mesmerising effect - Carl Sagan springs immediately to mind. Debs certainly had this very special talent.

Outer planets Pluto (ruler of his Scorpio Sun) and Uranus the rebel planet were both in Taurus and loosely opposing his Sun/Mercury. This opposition reflects a dynamic push-pull between two transformative outer planets in the rather stubborn conservative sign of Taurus against his Sun (self) and Mercury (mental processes ) in passionate, determined Scorpio. Debs, fortunately, was able to harness this dynamic to draw the best from both.

The other outer planet, Neptune (imagination, dreams, creativity) lay in its own sign, Pisces in harmony with Debs' Scorpio Sun, and forming a wide Grand Trine with the addition of Saturn in the last degree of Gemini, about to move into Watery Cancer. The near-trines here are too wide to be strong aspects however, but the planets are in harmony. Neptune and Saturn in harmony bring the stability and common sense of Saturn into the often foggy dreams of Neptunian imagination. That's good! I'd guess this Water "circuit", and the fact that Debs' had no planets in the more potentially aggressive Fire signs, accounts in part for his reputation as a gentle, kindly guy. Howard Zinn starts the article linked above thus:

We are always in need of radicals who are also lovable, and so we would do well to remember Eugene Victor Debs.....Debs was nationally famous as leader of the Socialist Party, and the poet James Whitcomb Riley wrote of him:
"As warm a heart as ever beat
Betwixt here and the Judgment Seat."
These words from Eugene Debs himself are what endear him to me:

"If you go to the city of Washington, you will find that almost all of those corporation lawyers and cowardly politicians, members of congress, and mis-representatives of the masses claim, in glowing terms, that they have risen from the ranks to places of eminence and distinction. I am very glad that I cannot make that claim for myself. I would be ashamed to admit that I had risen from the ranks. When I rise it will be with the ranks, and not from the ranks."

Back my first thought: "Cometh the hour, cometh the man" - where is such a mortal in 2010? I suspect that "the hour" is nigh!


Wisewebwoman - Thanks for the intro to this wonderful man, T. I was struck, upon reading your thoughtful post, that how little has changed from when he was around. Theocorporatocracy still rules the day and the poor are no longer merely downtrodden, they are without expectation of betterment when there are no fearless leaders like Debs to shine HOPE on their plight. Was it ever thus?

Twilight - WWW ~~~ Yes - that's what prompted me to post about Debs. Things have changed in some respects - poverty in the USA isn't as intense, working conditions aren't as dreadful, in comparison with how they were then. But still the same pattern persists and, as you say, there seems little hope of it changing for the better without the emergence of another strong, sincere leader with no ties to the corporations or religion. I think there will be someone though, in the future, not sure how far ahead. Things are not bad enough yet, the communal need hasn't reached that critical mass.

Valus - Hi, I discovered Debs today (from a Chomsky documentary), and am eating up his quotes wherever I can find them on the internet. Stumbled on your blog post here while searching for his natal chart, and love it, especially the article by Zinn. Thanks for posting this. Oh, but Debs' Saturn does not trine his Neptune or his Sun; only his Jupiter in Aquarius.

Twilight - Valus ~~~ Hi there and thanks for reading and commenting here. :-)
Debs is a political hero of mine. Erm let's the chart aspects you mention that are not as I posted....Saturn trine Neptune & Sun. I do believe the trines are there, but agree they are too wide to be strong aspects. My software lists them, but I've noticed before that this software tends to be too generous with their trines. ;-) 8 degrees is usually max, 10 in some cases. These are more than that, of course, but I guess we could say they are still in harmony. (Saturn does widely trine the two planets, out of sign, Saturn being in the last few minutes of Gemini, about to move into Cancer.)

Thanks for pointing that out - I'll look to amend somehow - possibly by adding the word "wide".

mike - Thanks for providing the link to your Debs post, Twilight...I should have known you had covered this topic! It's interesting that he was not lost in the continuance of it is 2013 and he is well remembered for his efforts. I'm intrigued by his Pluto-North Node tight conjunction...a mark that would indicate influential fate of the masses, possibly, and he has that in spades.

In your post for November 16, 2013, I linked the Wiki quote showing that the younger amongst us are much more favorable to the socialist concept. Any of our contemporaries interested in socialism will find Debs front and center of their research.

Twilight - mike ~ In the floundering boat of US politics, when feeling seasick I always go to Eugene Debs to regain my, erm, composure, when all I've wanted to do is barf. :-)
Yes, a new generation will (I hope) help turn things around, especially when a few of them get their voices. This is exactly where people like Russell Brand can help bring it on.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Profiling Astrology

As mentioned in Monday's post, I'd not looked at my own "profile" on this blog for years. In 2006, when I opened Learning Curve on the Ecliptic, I listed my interests as: "astrology, psychic phenomena, music, politics, art, writing". This week, just for a change from random scribbling, I'm re-airing, at a rate of one topic per day, a past post - one that I feel remains relevant.

Today's topic: astrology, it's an important one, it was the sole reason for this blog's creation, though in time my other interests have overtaken constant planetary ponderings. Today, I'm back-tracking all the way to August 2006 and my first post on astrology:
"Astrology - How?"

I don't know how astrology works. Nobody does. Most astrologers find some way of explaining it. Some are unacceptable, even to me. This is how I see it:

The Universe is full of energies, forces, elements of which we know very little, if anything. More and more is being discovered with every month that passes.I believe there are "energies" for want of a better word, or perhaps a better description would be "a kind of atmospheric soup", to which our human bodies react, starting with our first breath after birth into this world as a separate entity from our mothers. With that first breath we are "imprinted" (again for want of a better word) with a pattern or blueprint based on the mix of energies at that very minute, in that particular place. This imprint blends with the genetically inherited flesh and blood from which we are formed. From centuries of observation, it would appear that these "energies" are somehow connected with the planets in our solar system, and their movements around the ecliptic.

As we grow, the planets and their movements continue to have some relevance, because our imprinted circuitry is sensitive, especially as the planets move over certain areas. From my own experience, this occurs on a much lesser scale than that which popular astrologers would have us believe. The outer, slow moving planets can affect our lives to varying degrees at a few specific points in any life span...not every day, every week, or even every year. Most of the time we are free-wheeling, using our inborn blueprint, living our lives using free will, making our own mistakes, enjoying our own triumphs. Just a few times in a life the Universe steps in and a particular configuration of planets - triggers our own imprint and re-directs matters. Even then, though, it remains in our hands as to how we react to this re-direction. These especially sensitive configurations can occur cyclically.

Astrology has a long, long history, reaching back in time further even than we know. The knowledge passed down through centuries might well have become mangled, mis-translated, and politically censored from time to time - rather like the Bible. Astrologers today still use many of the terms and methods of the ancient astrologers. This very fact is off-putting to many. In ancient times people understood the un-knowable in the best way they could. They used fables, deities, archetypes, and strange symbolic glyphs to describe ideas which could not otherwise be explained. I believe that the core of astrological knowledge comes from way beyond anything we can now trace. Perhaps from another dimension, or a past civilisation which, as yet, we know nothing about?

The notion that planets, and various accurately measured points in space can affect our lives may seem unbelievable, yet there ARE patterns. Just as the planets move in regular definable cycles, there are rhythms and patterns in all our lives. There are patterns of personality which can be seen to emerge based on positions of the planets and the angles they make with one another at the time of birth There are patterns in the stages of our lives. There is a rhythm which can be traced back to the dance of our planets.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Profiling on Music Monday

I'd not looked at my own "profile" on this blog for years. It'll have needed little change since 2006 when I opened Learning Curve on the Ecliptic. I then listed my interests as: "astrology, psychic phenomena, music, politics, art, writing". This week, just for a change from random scribbling, I'm going to re-air, at a rate of one per day (maybe) a past post I consider still to be of interest on each of those topics.

As today is Music Monday I'll begin in the midst of that profiled list of interests with an old post on music. I've chosen something I didn't write myself, but used as a guest post back in 2012. Oddly, this old journal post, written by my husband, wasn't originally posted on a Monday, though does fit Music Monday's category well.

GUEST POST by "anyjazz", aka my husband:

Miss Lindeman's 4th Grade Class, 1947.

“What kind of music do you like?”
“Do you play an instrument?”
“When do you find time to play all your records?”
“What started your interest in music?”

It’s a long story.

In fourth grade Miss Lindeman told the class, “Listen and see if you can hear the horses. Listen to this and imagine a gypsy dancing. Listen for the raindrops and the storm starting.” And we did.

It probably falls back to the trite old adage: “One must listen, not just hear.” Or something like that.

Lots of people hear music without really listening for the raindrops and the call to arms. Miss Lindeman told us to listen. She taught us that there was something in addition to the melody or the words. Treasures were hidden in those sounds.

So for those of us who really listen, we hear a painting, colors and feelings. The composer gathers his thoughts or the musician speaks to us. We experience layers and textures, emotions and ideas.

Most enjoy hearing music. Some only enjoy certain areas, country, jazz, classical. The Listener likes anything musical. Anything Musical.

Many people enjoy hearing songs with words so they can identify with the singer or the story being told. But for the Listener, it is a deeper experience. A Listener hears the music and sometimes knows the brand of the guitar playing, or when a breath was taken in a solo phrase. We know how hard a clarinet is to play. We know when a jazz artist has borrowed a bit of a solo from an old scratchy record. We hear the emotion coming from a breathy saxophone solo or thrill at the coda in a violin concerto.

Some hear a classical opus and find it quite satisfying. A Listener knows when a favorite classical overture is being played by a different orchestra or maybe led by a different conductor: a note held longer here, a cymbal a bit louder there.

Miss Lindeman taught us how to listen. Thanks, Miss Lindeman.

Dad had an old 78RPM record changer perched atop the refrigerator. It couldn’t be reached by six year old hands. He played a Benny Goodman record, “Sometimes I’m Happy” and said, “Listen to the sax section.” And a six year old listened not knowing what a “sax” was, let alone the mysterious “section.”

Listening began.

Thanks, Dad.