Monday, May 21, 2018

Movie Monday ~ "Canvas" & "Digging for China"

I searched for a couple of movies to watch one evening last week when I wasn't feeling 100%. Couldn't countenance a lot of gun fire, violence or heaving bare buttocks. We decided to try these two, and were not disappointed. Both are available on Amazon Prime.

There's similarity in the two movies' themes, in that a main character in each has mental disabilities. Even if you don't fancy the storylines, the movies are well worth seeing if purely to watch superb performances by Marcia Gaye Harden, in "Canvas", and Kevin Bacon in "Digging to China".

Marcia Gaye Harden's character, in "Canvas", is schizophrenic. Kevin Bacon's character in "digging to China son of an aging mother, was born "blue" and now retains the mental capacity of a child.

"Canvas" was one of the most compelling films that I have ever seen. Young Devon Gearhardt was enthralling, focusing the audience as we watch him grow through a very difficult time. Joe Pantoliano and Marcia Gay Harden are equally transcendent, as this movie shines from start to finish. The cinematography and score stood out as especially interesting technical elements.

In this story of a family with a schizophrenic mother, all the actors perform beautifully. I hope everyone gets a chance to see this film, and I highly recommend it. It is a story of tragic brilliance while being both uplifting and informative. A must-see, for certain.
-mrfantasticF4. (From IMDb User Reviews)

 The film becomes even more poignant when one realises it is based on a true story:
“Canvas,” Joseph Greco’s drama about schizophrenia, is obviously a labor of love. In his director’s note Mr. Greco writes, “I grew up watching my mother battle schizophrenia, and those harrowing memories had a profound impact on me.” He adds that a screenwriting professor once told him, “Write what you know.” That advice has resulted in a movie that rings emotionally true, despite structural contrivances and dim, washed-out color.

"Digging to China"

10-year-old Harriet dreams of leaving her home, where she doesn't feel she's needed by her mother and sister Gwen. When her mother dies in a car accident, she really starts to make plans for leaving and she finally does so together with her childlike (mentally ill) friend Ricky. Written by Anonymous at IMDb

Harriet, a ten-year old girl, lives together with her big sister and her alcoholic mother out in the countryside. The family runs a motel. Harriet is different from the others, as she owns a great creativity and has nobody to play with. Her infinite world exists only in her mind. One day, Ricky comes along. He is a grown-up, but intellectually disabled son of an elderly lady. Soon, Harriet and Ricky share their experiences of life from a different point of view and become close friends. But his mother still plans to give Ricky away into professional care in a home, because she won't live forever to be there for him.
—Julian Reisch, IDMb User Reviews.

"Digging to China" is an unpretentious little movie. No great moral lessons are promoted here. It plays out within the limited area of a small resort motel, an old barn, the surrounding woods and streams, an elementary school, the connecting highways, a deserted caboose, and a school bus - with brief side trips to a cemetery and a hospital. No profound messages are involved; it doesn't probe the depths of the human condition. It's merely the story of the friendship between ten-year-old Harriet, a bright, imaginative loner, and Ricky, a man with special learning and behavioral handicaps. The relationship grows as each faces a major emotional life adjustment.

For a little movie, Digging to China is loaded with fantastic, deeply affecting, unforgetable images.
- G Kearns, IMDb User Reviews.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Friday, Saturday & Sundae - There's an Art to being a Chef ~ Helene Darroze

A female chef under the microscope this week - not only a female chef, but one who actually carries out her profession according to its job description. So many in the food industry nowadays have migrated to presenting TV shows, writing cookbooks and otherwise doing celebritous (new word) things. I prefer to feature chefs who cater to the public in restaurants or hotels. If they write the odd book, that's fine, if they appear on TV once in a while, that's fine too, but the main thrust of their career must be catering to the public, not becoming a celebrity.

With that in mind, I had a hard job finding a female chef whose birth data is available. I found one eventually: Helene Darroze. The name might not be familiar to you or I, unless a passing reader lives within a very high income bracket. This lady, well known in France for her Paris restaurant, in 2008 crossed the English Channel to open another in London, at the extremely swish Connaught Hotel.

I'm wondering now, if, or how Brexit might eventually affect Ms Darroze's work - London/Paris.

Ms Darroze is exactly the kind of chef I'm looking for. She will divide her time between London and Paris, while still caring for her young child, adopted in Vietnam. She has said that it's important for her to be in the kitchen of the restaurant where her name is, so that it is not just "a brand name on the door."

Helene Darroze's father and grandfather were both chefs. She says that she was practically "born in the kitchen". She was actually born on 23 February 1967 in Mont de Marson, Landes, in the south-western area of France. I found her data on a French page of Wikipedia. My schoolgirl French isn't up to translating much of the rest of the page, but this chef's arrival in London last year spawned a slew of newspaper articles. These have afforded some nice detail about this lady.
(Sources linked at end of post.)

Her natal chart, set for 12 noon, in the absence of a time of birth.

Here's a quite different flavour of personality from last week's chef - Escoffier.

There is one clear similarity to Escoffier's chart here though - the opposition of Uranus and Pluto to the cluster of personal planets around their natal Suns. I called this Escoffier's "engine room" in my post. Here's a mini version of his chart.

Helene Darroze obviously has oodles of energy, to keep up a London/Paris commute on a regular basis, as well as being a single mother.

A chef, she has said, "cooks with heart, with personality. A dish is part of ourselves so the way I will cook will be very different from the way Tom Aiken or Gordon Ramsay cook."

I'd say that as well as being something of a human dynamo, Ms Darroze has a soft and intuitive heart coming from her 4 Pisces planets. Her Moon would be in Leo whatever time of birth, and this Leo-ness at her inner core enables her to take center stage in her kitchens. She doesn't "lord it" over her staff as some famous male chefs are said to do though. She calls her staff her "collaborators" and insists on being called "Helene" rather than"chef". This is coming from the emotional intelligence born of Pisces.

There's a Grand Trine in Water signs in her chart. It links Saturn/Venus in Pisces to Jupiter in Cancer and Neptune in Scorpio. The presence of both Venus and Neptune in this Watery, emotional circuit underlines her artistry and creativity, while Saturn draws in a well-integrated work ethic. Her energy, as well as being reflected in the opposition already mentioned, is further emphasised by natal Mars (the energy planet) in harmonious trine to her Sun.

I think that hers could also easily be the natal chart of an artist or musician. This is where environment and background make a difference. Ms Darroze happened to be born into a family of chefs, her artistry was thus focused towards food, from an early age.

This lady sounds so very different from some celebrity chefs who hit our TV screens. I'm glad!

'Oh, you know, I'm just like anyone else,' says Darroze waving her hand dismissively. She blithely ignores the TV crew and perches on a grey-blue armchair, sitting on the edge of the seat like an attentive schoolgirl. She does not look remotely like the sort of steely, ambitious figure one might expect. She has a ready smile and a delightfully easy manner, recalling those friendly patronnes you find occasionally serving double measures of pastis from behind village bars in rural France. Compact and short, she has cropped peroxide-blonde hair and twinkly eyes. She is sweetly pretty, but I get the impression that such trifles do not especially concern her. Her face is bare of make-up, the grey cardigan she is wearing has a hole in one arm that keeps threatening to unravel each time she moves and she wears little jewellery apart from an enormous gold crucifix that dangles almost all the way down to her navel.





Tuesday, May 15, 2018

OUIJA - More Woo-Woo

What lies behind the purpose of a Ouija Board is definitive "woo". Contacting spirits of the dead links to lots of other woo-ish bits and pieces: ghosts, past lives, divination, prodigies....and on, and on.

Having never used the device myself, I can't vouch for its efficacy or otherwise. My delving into woo stops short at astrology and tarot now (that is if they are labelled as such), and they sometime are), I only do what I'm drawn to do. When younger I did experiment with spiritualism by attending a few spiritualist meetings and churches, but didn't continue along that route. I'm not a complete skeptic when it comes to Ouija, just a curious bystander who has never been drawn to experiment.

In its current style the Ouija Board originated in the late 19th century, in the USA. It was, however, an extension of a much older tradition of contacting spirits of the dead. Such tradition has reportedly been traced back to China, centuries before the birth of Confucius (circa 550 B.C.E.). Fu Chi or Fuji, an accepted form of Chinese spirit writing, is what's known in the west as automatic writing. Spirits were thought to guide a pen or stick, in sand or on paper, to form letters or glyphs. Some have tried to make a link from Ouija Boards to ancient Greece, and Pythagorus, but that idea seems to have been discredited.

We can safely say that it was an upsurge in spiritualism and theosophy in late 19th century USA that led to the spread of "talking boards". There's some evidence, though disputed, that a Maryland cabinet/ coffin maker, E.C. Reiche (or Reichie?) , designed and constructed the first board that came to be known by the name Ouija. He is said to have sold the rights of manufacture to Charles Kennard; the first patent was filed in 1890. These days rights to The Ouija Board are held by Parker Brothers who acquired them in 1960 - just in time for a New Age/hippie era?

The Ouija Board has acquired some particularly bad press, notably after the 1973 movie The Exorcist which many wrongly thought was based on a true story. Ouija has long been labelled a "tool of the devil" by certain factions. It's certainly a tool, but a tool for what purpose is up to its user. You can use a hammer in constructing a useful piece of furniture - or you could use it to kill or maim another living creature. Intent is key. Having said that, I don't consider it wise for young people to dabble in Ouija Board use. While I do not believe in demons or anything akin to demons, we don't know whether impressionable minds, fed these days more than ever with tales of horror, violence, war, vampires, and such could conjure up something harmful via their own consciousness. If Ouija Boards and similar methods of divination work on any level at all, we have still to discover how. Until this is known, it's best to tread lightly.

How to link astrology to a post on Ouija isn't clear. The businessmen who initiated bulk manufacture and sale of the boards were interested mainly, or only, in profit. I doubt they had any serious interest in the spread of occult learning or experience. Perhaps E.C. Reiche, if his part in Ouija's history is true, was the most likely of them all to have had a true interest in the occult.

Searching for birth data on E.C. Reiche I found it on this site. Born 27 December 1831, died 6 January 1899.

Curiosity led me to look at a natal chart, using as location the town in which he lived (probably born there): Chestertown, Maryland, chart set for 12 noon. How appropriate it'd be if he actually had been born around noon! Pluto, planet of the occult and hidden things, secrets, darkness, etc. sits on the ascendant angle - the strongest point in a natal chart. But chances are he wasn't born around noon.

Anyway, I still see this chart as a good fit for a craftsman who had an interest in occult matters. His Sun was in Capricorn, which I think of as a craftsman/businessman sign. Neptune conjunct Mercury also in Capricorn: creativity, illusion and/or psychic ability married with his planet of communication. Uranus is unadulterated in its home sign, Aquarius along with Jupiter, adding a good helping of inventive talent to the mix.

From New World Encyclopedia:
Whether one believes that the Ouija contacts spirits or is merely a vehicle to probe one's own subconscious, there are psychological risks to using the board. During Ouija sessions, it is common to receive vulgar or vile messages, as well as messages that tap into the users' fear of death. These messages can be highly disturbing to some, no matter what their source, and have the potential to exacerbate any existing mental disturbances. It is well advised that those with emotional or psychological disturbances refrain from the use of the Ouija.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Music Monday ~ Bobby Darin - some things I didn't know.

Today would have been Bobby Darin's birthday. He was born on
14 May, 1936

Bobby Darin was reared by his maternal grandmother, who he believed was his mother. Darin's birth mother, Vanina Juliette "Nina" Cassotto (born November 30, 1917), became pregnant with him in the summer of 1935 when she was 17. Presumably because of the scandalous nature of out-of-wedlock pregnancies in that era, Nina and her mother hatched a plan to pass her baby off as Nina's younger brother. Years later, when Nina finally told Darin the truth about his upbringing, she refused to reveal the identity of his biological father, and kept the secret to her death in 1983. Darin's maternal grandfather, Saverio Antonio "Big Sam Curly" Cassotto (born January 26, 1882), was of Italian descent and a would-be mobster who died in prison from pneumonia a year before Darin's birth. His maternal grandmother, Vivian Fern Walden (also born in 1882), who called herself Polly, was of English ancestry and a vaudeville singer. From his birth, Darin always believed Nina to be his older sister and Polly his mother. But in 1968, when he was 32, Nina told Darin the truth, reportedly devastating him.

By the time he was a teenager, Darin could play several instruments, including piano, drums, and guitar. He later added harmonica and xylophone.

Darin in his later years was politically active. He travelled with Robert F. Kennedy and worked on the politician's 1968 presidential campaign. He was with Kennedy the day he traveled to Los Angeles on June 4, 1968, for the California primary, and was at the Ambassador Hotel later that night when Kennedy was assassinated. This event, combined with learning about his true parentage, had a deep effect on Darin, who spent most of the next year living in seclusion in a trailer near Big Sur.

Darin was a frail child suffered several bouts of rheumatic fever which seriously weakened his heart. He died after a heart operation in December 1973, at age 37.

Information from Wikipedia

A sad life indeed, yet his music didn't hint at any of his troubles. In this first video he displays his talents as not only a vocalist, but an entertainer, with a sense of humour.

And 9 months before his death:

Friday, May 11, 2018

Friday, Saturday & Sundae ~ There's an Art to Being a Chef

Once upon a time I decided it might be interesting to investigate the astrology of famous chefs. Here's one, a chef who is world-famous, king of all the chefs:
Georges-Auguste Escoffier.

Before starting to write, I asked myself what I'd expect to find prominent in the charts of those whose life's work is to prepare and present food. My first thought was of the element Earth, and the zodiac sign Taurus in particular. My second thought was that preparing food is a nurturing activity - nurturing others - the zodiac sign of Cancer relates to this. Beyond those factors, any successful individual, in whatever sphere they choose to operate, will need drive and energy. Any occupation involving the mass preparation and serving of food is demanding, make no mistake about that! Presentation of food is very important, so an artistic eye would be helpful. When you get right down to it, preparation of food is artistry in itself. Individual chart factors will be determined by any sidelines a chef might engage in: writing, for instance, would entail some strong Mercurial input.

Born 28 October 1846 at 10am in Villeneuve-Loubet, France (Astrodatabank). My software doesn't have that city as an option, but Nice is at almost exactly the same latitude/longitude, so I've used it.

Well - was I wrong, or was I wrong? No Taurus, no Cancer planets. We do have an artistic streak via Venus/Mars in Libra (ruled by Venus, planet of the arts), and this at 10th house, the area of career. What we have here is a very Airy chart, in spite of the fact that natal Sun and Mercury lie in Watery, intense and passionate Scorpio.

There's a nice Grand Trine in Air linking the Libra planets to Jupiter in Gemini and the three planets in Aquarius. This reflects a high degree of natural intelligence, an intellectual nature.

Sagittarius was rising as Escoffier came into the world, and right opposite, on the descendant is Jupiter (Sagittarius' ruler) in Gemini. Sagittarius and Jupiter relate to excess, exaggeration, publication, and travel and are generally a benign influence. There's a link to the enjoyment of good food here, and a definite link to writing about food, which Escoffier did in several well-known volumes.

What about Aquarius though - how does that relate to the work of a chef? This particular chef was known for inventing new dishes (Peach Melba, we all know) and re-organising the way restaurant kitchens were run. There is the Aquarius influence! His philanthropic endeavours as mentioned in the quote below reflect another side of Aquarius, and of course, his benign Sagittarius ascendant.
Three of Escoffier's most noted career achievements are revolutionizing and modernizing the menu, the art of cooking and the organization of the professional kitchen. Escoffier simplified the menu as it had been, writing the dishes down in the order in which they would be served (Service à la Russe). He also developed the first à la Carte menu.

He simplified the art of cooking by getting rid of ostentatious food displays and elaborate garnishes and by reducing the number of courses served. He also emphasized the use of seasonal foods and lighter sauces. Escoffier also simplified professional kitchen organization, as he integrated it into a single unit from its previously individualized sections that operated autonomously and often created great wasted and duplication of labor.

Throughout his career, Escoffier wrote a number of books, many of which continue to be considered important today. Some of his best-known works include Le Guide Culinaire (1903), Le Livre des Menus (1912) and Ma Cuisine (1934).

As well as making changes in the culinary world, Escoffier undertook several philanthropic endeavors including the organization of programs to feed the hungry and programs to financially assist retired chefs.
(See here)

The dynamic tension, the engine room of Escoffier's nature, comes mainly from the oppositions Aries to Libra, Uranus opposes Mars, Pluto opposes Venus. Both Uranus and Pluto represent the urge for change and transformation - which is exactly what Escoffier achieved in his kitchens.

Something I've learned from this experiment already: Earth isn't a necessary ingredient in the natal chart of a chef - Escoffier's contains no planets in Earth signs.

Tuesday, May 08, 2018

Akashic Records an' All That

I haven't yet written a blog post about the Akashic Records, though the subject did come up in comments after my July 2010 post about past lives, part of a series about that mysterious something known by some as "woo-woo". That post began:
"This topic takes us waist deep into tangled woo country. In common with most other woo-type subjects, it offers opportunities for fascinating journeys into mysterious and mist-ridden mental landscapes. Nobody can possibly know for sure whether human beings have the capacity to recall a past life, whether their consciousness existed before this current sojourn here on Earth. Even those people who have experienced vivid flashes of deja vu, or under hypnosis have been able to reveal minute details of another lifetime, cannot be absolutely certain that what they experience is proof of past life - or something else."
At the end of the post, which looked into the old Bridey Murphy story of a past life remembered, commenter and friend Gian-Paul, living in Brazil, added interesting comments mentioning the Akashic Records, details later.

Wikipedia tells us that:
In theosophy and anthroposophy, the Akashic records are a compendium of all human events, thoughts, words, emotions, and intent ever to have occurred in the past, present, or future. They are believed by theosophists to be encoded in a non-physical plane of existence known as the etheric plane. There are anecdotal accounts but no scientific evidence for existence of the Akashic records.

At an old favourite website of mine, Library of Halexandria (link in sidebar) I found this:
In the vast majority of Life Readings given by [Edgar] Cayce, his source of information was ostensibly the Akashic Records. The Akashic Records, according to seers and others familiar with their alleged existence, are the indelible impressions on the fabric of the universe of everything that has ever happened. A channel may refer to this cosmic memory as a vast, non-molecular library, complete with a full understanding of each and every event in the universal record. In this respect, the Akashic Records may be likened to Carl Jung’s Collective Unconscious, or Rupert Sheldrake’s Morphogenetic Fields. In all cases, these collection of all memories, not only exist, but are accessible by anyone capable of properly tuning their mind-receiver. (These records may also be available even though one is not consciously aware that they are tuning in!)

Cayce’s normal mode was to simply visit the Akashic Records, as if going to the local library. In this way, he could answer virtually any question that might be posed to him. At the same time, there were occasions when Cayce was apparently not speaking in the first person, but was in fact channeling another entity. While Cayce never attempted this feat of performing as a channel or medium, there were apparently occasions when other entities did spontaneously speak through him. One notable example was John of the Revelation.

Edgar Cayce simply cannot be dismissed out of hand. There is simply too much credibility to justify a wholesale rejection. On the other hand, there is no a priori reason to accept all of his readings at their face value......

Yep - we're deep into woo-woo country here! My mind goes to a scene in the movie "Interstellar". Towards the end of the film, the astronaut, having navigated a wormhole, discovers what's described as a tesseract, a seemingly never-ending grid from which any segment of time and experience can be accessed - a kind of library of records, in fact. Was that a modern version of the Akashic Records - I wonder?

Anyway, here's what Gian-Paul had commented in 2010:
Reincarnation/past lives: I have given this quite some thought. In some kind of flash, one day when I was reading about Edgar Cayce, it struck me that what the Hindus call "akashic records" may help get to the truth. Such records, I thought, must not necessarily be restricted to the past. If destiny is pre-ordained, they may as well already contain the future, or the present. Cayce may have had the ability to see exactly that, the present state of health and, if it was an illness, it's future evolution and cure for it.

Consequently the same records (misleading term as records refer to the past only), could be accessible to a person like your Virginia [the real life Bridey Murphy], even if they had nothing to do with her own past - and also and foremost - if reincarnation does not exist at all. The person having such a vision, or a "déjà-vu" impression, may be able, quite unconsciously, to tap into the "akashic record" of SOMEBODY ELSE, but believe it was him or herself.

If my theory is true, it would explain why in haunted places the same ghost appears to different people. The defunct who died (usually of a violent death), left some "readable" psychic imprints at that place and some people visiting are subsequently able to read them. One can even wonder if the Monster of Loch Ness had not actually existed and the reported sightings were not readings by some more sensitive people of the "psychometric records" left by the monster in a possibly very distant past?
My reply:
The theory appeals to me. There's no way of proving such "records" exist, but it'd explain so much that is mysterious if they did.
I wonder if the ability to tap into the "records" (supposing they exist) would be shown in a natal chart. One would not necessarily need classic psychic skills, perhaps, though these could assist in deliberate attempts to access th "records".
Involuntary/accidental access could depend upon a quirk related to natal Mercury or some rare combination of factors in a chart.
I think that access to the type of psycho-records I mentioned is a "reserved domain". Must be. Imagine if modern science (and money-money behind) got hold of that. Nothing would be safe anymore. Manipulation would turn extreme.


Yes, of course. It makes sense that if some "repository" such as the akashic records (or something similar with a title more in line with today's chaos theory, string theory and what have you) would be in a place practically inaccessible to the human brain - except maybe by accident.

Wisewebwoman added:
Of course, T, there is also "cellular memory" and I have a fascination and done some research on this topic myself.
Our forbears leave us other than our funny noses ;^)
I've had some experience with this myself.
I had read (with some scepticism admittedly) the story of Bridie [Murphy].
I didn't see the movie but must at some point.
Interesting case study.
Yes, good point, WWW - cellular memory. That's something else to keep in mind as a possible explanation for some instances of past life recall, and even instances of child prodigy too I suppose.


Wondering about "reservoirs of inspiration": where do composers, writers, inventors get their stuff?

Have some experience with inventions, made recently my third one. And truly I have no idea how these ideas come about. Quite a few inventions have happened at the same time in different places over the past. And are well documented. Is there an overall "Plan" permitting the release of ideas which will influence evolution? By asking, I guess, I have answered.

Astrologically and subjectively in my case, the last invention (about oil - spills) came when Neptune started transiting my natal Mars in Aquarius. Uranus/Jupiter also were entering my sun - sign, Aries.

Have to look up the transits of the first 2 inventions. But the point is not my personal history here, it's that if inventions, compositions, songs, fashion (s) come about, there appears to be some coordination, to say the least.

What you describe is yet another mysterious phenomenon.
It almost seems that there is a pattern going on. Similar developments throughout history, arising in different parts of the world when, back in early times, there was little or no means of communication.

Life (and astrology) is built upon patterns (mathematical?) So maybe we shouldn't be surprised about this pattern as life and consciousness evolved, and discoveries were made. Astrologers do usually link Aquarius and/or Uranus to invention and inventors. Perhaps there's something in the brain chemistry of those with the sign or planet in certain positions or configurations astrologically, that enables the native to unconsciously "dip" into the pool of information which could be an offshoot of those Akashic records mentioned above.

Last thought: Good - I hope this is true!