Saturday, June 30, 2007

The Week That Was

The Week That Was was a very wet week here in Oklahoma. On Thursday evening while watching a Democratic Debate on TV the programme was interrupted twice by local emergency services warning inhabitants of our town over and over again to "stay home, stay safe" due to many flash floods in the area. Kathryn Cassidy's blog entry on 27 June "Cosmic Clocks and more" was an interesting view of possible astrological reasons for current unusual weather, both here and in the UK.

I'm told by HeWhoKnows that the continual rainy weather we're experiencing is very unusual for this area of the USA. Heavy rain has fallen on Oklhoma City on 15 consecutive days, breaking a 70 year record. It's certainly much different, so far, from the other two summers I've spent in Oklahoma. Last year we experienced the other extreme - weeks of drought, grassfires, extra-high temperatures. Whether astrological effects, climate change, or in Oklahoma's case, the delayed effects of Native Americans' rain dances last year are to blame, I doubt we'll ever be certain.

In the UK Prime Minister Tony Blair at last made his exit, stage left. Gordon Brown stepped into the limelight, and was immediately presented with an emergency in the shape of a potential terrorist atrocity, the London car bombs. Thankfully the threat was discoverered in time (or the bombs had failed to explode, I'm not clear about this.)

Threats of one kind or another are always with us these days - from the climate or from those who wish us harm. Vigilance has to be our watchword, and gratefulness for those whose job it is to keep us informed, and to deal with these threats as they arise. Saturn's move into service oriented and caring Virgo, in a couple more months, could be helpful to these folk, who must be forever on guard.

(Photograph: Flood rescue in Oklahoma City. Associated Press, Sue Ogrocki)

Thursday, June 28, 2007


British Astrologer C.E.O.Carter had this to say about intuition in his "little green book", An Encyclopaedia of Psychological Astrology:

"In a general sense intuition, or the power of perceiving certain truths without the ordinary process of investigation and reasoning, would probably come under Uranus and Neptune, especially in connection with the 9th house."

He goes on to warn that "truths" intuitively grasped are subjective - what may be a truth to one person can be a fallacy to another. He also says "The word "intuition" is often used when "instinct" is meant, as when it is said that someone is "intuitively" disliked". He considers that heavy afflictions to Mercury, and, in religious and occult matters, to Jupiter Uranus and Neptune, will cloud intuition "the native will only reach the truth, if at all, after many mistakes".

I suspect that there are various levels of intuition, ranging from a quite rational but rapid analysis of a situation or person, based on minute details subconsciously perceived by extremely sharp observation, processed in a nanosecond - that'd be at one end of the scale. At the other end of the scale, truly psychic insights arising from exceptional, almost clairvoyant skills. Both levels, and all those inbetween, will involve Mercury, that's for sure. A strongly placed Mercury, challenged by few or no difficult aspects must surely be a basic requirement. After that, I'd say a lot depends on the sign/element placements of Sun and Moon, maybe ascendant too. Water or Air are going to be the easiest elements in which intuition can blossom well. Earth and Fire seem too direct and outwardly active. Yet the analytical skills of Virgo might be instrumental in that first level of intuition, the kind arising from minute, almost unrealised observations.

C.E.O. Carter specifies Uranus and Neptune as other significant planets involved in intuitive ability. Easy aspects between those planets and Mercury will be a definite "plus", especially if one or both lie on or near to the angles (ascendant, midheaven, descendant and nadir) or conjoining one of the Moon's nodes. These are all extra-sensitive points in the natal chart.

Chatting about this subject with HeWhoKnows brought up the comment that females are generally more intuitive than males. HWK thinks this stems from a male dislike of being thought "limp-wristed" or feminine. I pointed out that intuitive ability can be masculine too. Any sportsman in a team, or in a sport involving others can, and probably many do, gain great advantage from using intuition - perhaps they just don't call it that. HWK reckons we all have the potential within us, but some people don't accept it, and therefore fail to use it. I agree, and I believe that astrological placements and aspects are probably instrumental in such lack of acceptance. Difficult aspects, in most cases, can be worked on and overcome, but the wish to do so must be strong.

As for me, I might actually have some lower level intuition. In my natal chart Mercury is near the descendant angle, in trine to Neptune and also, widely, to Uranus. All three are in Earth signs though, had they been found in Water signs I'd probably be a psychic phenomenon! I'm not psychic, but I do sense things from people and situations, and more often than not, my intuition(or instinct), is correct.

Intuition: going your way without inquiring about the way.(Source unknown)

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

"Idiocracy" & Astrology. Mike Judge & the early degrees - again!

We watched a DVD of the movie "Idiocracy" recently. It's a Mike Judge film (remember "Beavis and Butthead"?) A satirical, somewhat twisted, illogical yet funny look at what the world (or more accurately, America) might be like when 500 years have passed . The premise is that America is becoming more and more dumbed down as years go by. The brainy intelligentsia do not breed at nearly the same rate as redneck-type yo-yos. Therefore, in time, the yo-yos will take over.

A very average military guy and a less than average gal, a hooker, from today's world, take part in an experiment to "freeze" them in suspended animation, for one year. Due to government de-funding of the experiment they are forgotten, and do not wake up until a minor disaster 500 years later rouses them to find a very changed America.

I'll avoid more detail, so as not to spoil things for passing readers who may be future viewers of the movie.

My (sometimes) logical Aquarian mind saw two gaping flaws in the plot. What about astrology, and what about the rest of the world ?

I believe that astrological "effects" would have ensured that the trend towards idiocy was balanced with intelligence. Though whether genetics would, in time, overcome astrology's intelligent traits, and whether astrological "effects" themselves could evolve, I know not. Much depends on that unknown ingredient: "how astrology works", of course. I have faith that nature would somehow have dealt with this situation long before it got as bad and silly as the film predicts.

A more clearly evident flaw, for me, was that China, or some other country, would have over-run America for sure, had it evolved into the nation of morons this film depicts.

Suspending disbelief, it's a thought provoking and laugh producing premise though - the shadow side of most other sci-fi plots. There are lots of (uneasy) laughs. We are reliably told by AJ, son of HeWhoKnows, that a second viewing will bring forth even more laughter. There's so much potential for humour in the plot's premise, that it's not possible to see it all first time around.

For a detailed review of the film, see HERE.

Mike Judge, writer, producer, director of "Idiocracy" was born 17 October 1962 in Guayaquil, Ecuador. No birth time is available. He has Sun and Mercury in Libra, Moon certainly in Gemini, but degree is uncertain, Saturn in Aquarius. Mars in Leo. Jupiter in Pisces.

What immediately drew my eye was that there are several planets in the early degrees of their signs.

Mercury 6* Libra, Mars 2* Leo, Jupiter 3* Pisces, Saturn 4* Aquarius. Also Moon's nodes @ 4 Leo/Aquarius.

Some time ago I wrote a blog entry about a few well-known cartoonists. I mentioned that I'd noticed the early degrees of zodiac signs to be prevalent in their charts. (SEE HERE). Mike Judge is a kind of cartoonist too, he's doing a similar thing, using a different medium. Am I onto something? Perhaps not, but it's intriguing to see this phenomenon pop up once again.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Keeping Austin Weird

We're back from our brief trip to Austin, Texas.

I'm not keen on zodiac signs for countries and cities, but if Austin had to have one, I reckon it ought to be Aquarius. "Keep Austin Weird", the slogan of the Independent Traders' Association in the city, says it all! Austin seems to me to be one of the most weirdly sane cities I've seen so far, apart from its traffic - which IS craziness !

In the short time we spent in Austin, my husband's daughter and granddaughter guided us to what they, as long time Austinites, look on as the essence of their city. We didn't see glitzy malls or upscale stores - that is not the real Austin, although, as state capital, it doubtless has plenty to offer in that department if that's what rings your bells.

Threadgill's, the cafe where Janice Joplin and many other now famous stars used to sing regularly, was the venue for our first lunch. The food was excellent - lots of vegetable dishes, a rarity in Texas !

Hot and humid weather at the weekend made frequent visits into "dark bars" to replenish fluids a necessity. That's our story, and we're sticking to it! It was a nice change to be able to go into a real pub again, I hadn't set foot in one since I left England!

We walked the length of "Congress", beloved haunt of Austinites (South Congress Avenue), and investigated its selection of weird and wonderful independent boutiques and stores. The dome of the Texas State Capitol can be seen at the far end of the avenue, but that was the nearest we got to it! Congress is the Texas version of London's Carnaby Street, as it used to be in the 1960s. There was a great atmosphere, with happy crowds of people enjoying their weekend. Unpretentious, unaffected, just happy.

Sitting out a heavy shower of rain at the Continental Club (another Austin institution), we had a couple of drinks and listened to some good live music (proper country, not yer modern rubbish). The Continental Club is one of the original venues for live music in Austin. Many who are now some of the world's biggest stars have sung there over the years. It's not fancy - not glitzy, just very basic, down-home Texas style.

The one big drawback about Austin was the horrendous traffic. If anyone from Britain reads this - Austin is Spaghetti Junction in Birmingham (UK) times 50 ! The real Austinites hate it too. Daughter of HeWhoKnows bemoaned sadly the fact that the city has changed a lot from what it used to be some years ago. That's progress, I guess, but Austin's still managing to remain pretty cool, and lots of fun, in spite of it all.

(All photos by HeWhoKnows (or me) except the Threadgill's sign - that's from Austin Pages by mertmh)

Monday, June 25, 2007


"You're being paranoid!" - An accusation bandied around a lot these days. I often wonder whether the meaning of the word "paranoid" has evolved, as have so many others in the English language. It now appears to have a much-modified meaning for folks outside of the medical profession. The word paranoia derives from the Greek para(outside)+ nous(mind). Literally, being out of one's mind.

True paranoia is a very serious mental disturbance, which is now described in medical circles as "delusional disorder." Wikipedia defines it as "a disturbed thought process characterized by excessive anxiety or fear, often to the point of irrantionality and delusion. Paranoid thinking typically includes persecutory beliefs concerning a perceived threat."

What we lay people term "paranoia", in general conversation, I'll call "paranoia-lite". Most of us have a little of it hidden away somewhere in our make-up, it's part of the human condition. Thinking that another person doesn't like us, suspecting their motives, questioning whether an acquaintance is sincere, "on the level" or up to no good. Wondering if one's significant other was ever unfaithful, or will be. Suspecting that someone had an ulterior motive for a kindly act they performed. Such feelings, and others like them, can arise unbidden from deep inside us, no external evidence necessary.

Astrologers say that the zodiac sign of Scorpio is usually prominent in natal charts of those who experience paranoia, so, I guess to a lesser extent this applies to paranoia-lite. Neptune, Saturn and Pluto are also thought to be involved via difficult aspects, 8th house too, due to its connection with Pluto/Scorpio.

Hmmmm - well, I can put my hand up to Sun in 8th house, Pluto in 1st house and Mars in Scorpio. I don't suffer often from paranoia-lite, but I have recognised its symptoms in myself on occasion, and I often sense it in others.

It seems to me that, in general terms, those with Water signs prominent are probably more inclined to suffer from paranoia-lite than those where Earth, Fire and Air predominate. When faced with a situation in which paranoia-lite could arise, people with Fire prominent in their charts would fight back in some way, Earthy ones would find a practical solution, and Air people would be likely to apply analysis and logic to the situation. The Watery ones, who work from deep emotional triggers, could suffer the most intense reaction from a nasty dose of paranoia-lite.

Here are links to a couple of articles by astrologers on the topic of paranoia.

Anyara Essays

The Dimensions of Paranoia by Noel Tyl

and on a lighter note, from Anyara Aphorisms
I like the Aquarian version:
A paranoid is someone who knows a little of what's going on. (William S. Burroughs)

I'll drink to that!

(Photograph courtesy of Bradford University and )

Friday, June 22, 2007


To keep the blog rolling along while we're away, here's another bit of my arty-farty handiwork. I've decided to try to compile videos representing each of the planets. Not in an astrological way, exactly, but in a way that means something to me, and hopefully to others.

This attempt represents, and is a tribute to, planet EARTH.

Or for a bigger version in Windows Media Player - click this link:

The Light the Stars Make

Wayne Dodd, whose poem "The Light the Stars Make" is featured, is Distinguished Professor of English at Ohio State University, as well as being poet, editor and author.

Almost all the photographs used in the video were taken by my husband, aka HeWhoKnows, on the coast of Yorkshire, England; and in the Rocky Mountains National Park, Colorado. HWK also helped me to blend the music (Enya's "Waterfall") and narration by Wayne Dodd.
(More of Wayne Dodd reading his poetry HERE)

Thursday, June 21, 2007


Solstice greetings to everyone, from Waco, Texas. And hello to summer!

Over fish and chips at Denny's last night, I mentioned to HeWhoKnows that it was Solstice eve. He wondered what we should do in honour of the sunrise.

"Dance naked across the old suspension bridge, perhaps?" He suggested.

"You can, I'll watch, the 'skeeters are just waiting for a banquet of my tender flesh".

He chickened out, of course.

We had set off later than planned yesterday, in order to stay behind a band of severe storms. Dawdling via quieter roads, avoiding the Interstate as much as possible, we decided to stay over at Waco, have a look around, and see the famous old suspension bridge over the Brazos River. The bridge was completed in 1870. In its day it was a great achievement, and enabled enormous herds of cattle to cross the wide river safely during cattle drives. A newer bridge now stands nearby to carry traffic, the old, wooden floored, bridge is for pedstrians only.

The Brazos River is "well up", flowing too fast for the ducks, and covering picnic tables etc, after storms and unusually heavy rain - for Texas.

Nowadays, sadly, Waco is mostly remembered for a dreadful massacre in 1993, involving members of a religious sect. More than 80 people, including 21 childen died.

Next stop Austin, ust 75 miles down the road.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

On the road again....

We're off to Austin in deepest Texas for a day or two, to see the younger daughter and granddaughter of HeWhoKnows.

If Mercury retrograde doesn't intervene, and we find a decent motel with internet connection, I have a couple of drafts to post via laptop. If old Merc the Quirk kicks in though, all may be silent here for a few days.

Mercury Retrograde was on top form on the evening of Father's Day. We went for an evening meal - 3 fathers with spouses and some offspring. Two grandsons left early in their Dad's Thunderbird and were smacked by two young girls in a Mustang who jumped the red lights (not paying attention). Nobody hurt, thankfully. Car needs a little intensive care though - owner not impressed!

(Photograph: car of the future?)

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Mad Dogs and Englishmen

Four English men who pop up on TV in the USA quite often, Hugh Laurie, Piers Morgan, Simon Cowell and Christopher Hitchens always manage to annoy me. This is a little surprising, you'd think I'd be glad to see a fellow-countryman on the box from time to time.

Simon Cowell annoys just about everybody, so I'm not unusual in that. Hugh Laurie appears nice enough when interviewed, I think it's really his dreadful "House" character, with phoney American accent, who irritates me.

That leaves Piers Morgan (left) and Christopher Hitchens(right). Piers Morgan takes the Simon Cowell role in a silly talent show called "America Has Talent". I remember him better as the editor of a tabloid newspaper in the UK some years ago. What gives him the credentials to judge "talent" is a mystery to me. Christopher Hitchens is an author, journalist and critic, his most recent book is entitled "God is not Great". Both men display such an air of superiority, pomposity and general "Me, Me, Me-ness" that I want to throw something at the TV screen. Perhaps astrology can supply an answer for my antipathy towards these two characters. They both have natal Sun in Aries.

I usually get on well with Aries Sun, Moon or, in whatever guise. I'm married to one, and have had several Aries Sun friendships throughout life. I'm a great fan of Al Gore, and I like David Letterman, both Sun Aries people. My own natal Moon and Saturn lend me some insight and experience of Aries-ness.

A quick look at the two natal charts tells me that Piers Morgan has Sun, Mercury and Venus all in Aries. There's an exact opposition from Saturn in Pisces to Uranus, Mars and Pluto in Virgo. Mars and Uranus also inconjunct his Sun.

Christopher Hitchens has Sun, Mercury Venus and Mars all in Aries, between 17 and 23 degrees, with Neptune in Libra opposing Mars. It's possible the Moon could also be opposing the bundle of Aries planets from Libra too, depending on time of birth.

The high concentration of Aries, together with uncomfortable opposition and inconjunct aspects probably accounts for what I notice in these men when they appear on TV.

Maybe, also, the fact that they're English puts a magnifying glass over their Aries planets. Star IQ tells us:
"Lilly(ancient astrologer)wrote: "Aries we know hath been acknowledged by all Astrologers to be the ascendant of England, and the English in their manners subject to the Condition of that Signe, and Mars is Lord of the signe"

Heavy doses of Aries energy can prove too much of a good thing. It might be significant that both these men have a planet very close to my own natal Moon (24.40 Aries). Piers Morgan's Mercury is at 23.13 Aries. Christopher Hitchens' Sun is at 23.11 Aries, Mercury 23.20 Aries and Venus 22.17 Aries.

So it's not simply an Aries overload I'm experiencing. It lends a new perspective to the expression "they get on my nerves", for in this case, "they get on my Moon"!
Perhaps what proves annoying in them, also annoys me about myself. Moi?

For them I have a remedy - the "off" switch. Me - I have to live with!

(Piers Morgan 30 March 1965, Newick, E.Sussex, UK. Photo
Christopher Hitchens 13 April 1949, Portsmouth, Hampshire, UK. Photo Washington

Monday, June 18, 2007

Bruce Willis

Bruce Willis has always been a favourite star of mine, ever since "Moonlighting", the TV series which made him famous many Moons ago.

When he started making his tough guy "Die Hard" movies I couldn't understand it. I was disappointed. I always realised, even before I knew enough astrology to make a judgement, that if anything he's the exact opposite of the character he portrays in "Die Hard".

Astrologer Jeff Jawer has written a profile here.

I can't disagree with anything Jeff Jawer has written. I'd add that the reason Bruce Willis crossed from light comedy to tough guy stuff may have been merely $$$$. There was a bandwagon of tough guy movies rolling in, and he jumped onto it. I haven't forgiven him yet! I wish he'd stuck with his strength: charismatic humour and coolness - qualities much rarer than tough guy abilities.

The fairly loose Grand Trine in Water, taking in his Sun, Uranus/Jupiter and Saturn truly could have overcome that opposition between Saturn and Mars. But Saturn is in House 2, looking after worldly possessions and his money, so professional necessity came first.

Quote from USA
"Willis makes no apologies for his frequent turns in mindless, violent action pics. Those movies, he says, afford him the opportunity to "work on [low-budget] films I have a passion for," such as his new movie.
And while he isn't ready to forsake action movies, Willis does believe in taking stock of one's life choices on a daily basis. "I've lost a couple of friends in freak accidents," he explains. "It makes you realize how fragile life is, how quickly it can be taken away. I think about my death at least once a day. I say to myself, 'Am I living my life? Am I enjoying my life today?' Because this is not a rehearsal. This is it

Hazarding a guess, I'd say that given a choice, where making money didn't come into it, Bruce would prefer lighter roles, and those rather more weird sci-fi ones he's done, such as 'Sixth Sense', 'Fifth Element', 'Twelve Monkeys', which play to his Aquarian Moon.

Here's a video from YouTube which displays something of the Bruce I like best:

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Father's Day

Both here in the USA and in the UK, it's Father's Day.

My own Dad died in 1992, but I think about him often. I was always told that we were a lot alike. He and I both had Aquarian Sun, Mercury Capricorn and Saturn Aries - I must have inherited his placements!

His favourite poem was "If" by Rudyard Kipling. He gave me a wall plaque containing the poem when I was young.

Kipling, by the way, had Sun and Jupiter conjoined in Capricorn, with a Sagittarius stellium (Mercury Venus and Mars closely conjoined in Sagittarius) - very wise and philosophical, that's clearly evident in his poem.

Here's the poem "IF", and here's Dad, with Mum and me.
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: 'Hold on!'

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
' Or walk with Kings - nor lose the common touch,
if neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son!

Saturday, June 16, 2007


So, it's Mercury retrograde time.....again. I'd been studiously trying to ignore it. I've found that often nothing untoward happens at these times, but occasionally the TV has gone haywire, or my mind has become more fuzzy than usual, or I've been nervous about a trip and avoided booking it (probably saved some money in the process).

This time, without even thinking about Mercury retrograde, I ordered a treadmill on-line. We've been telling each other, HeWhoKnows and I, that we need to walk more. We're not overweight, but we are getting lazy. In England I walked a lot, just about everywhere in fact. I didn't have a car during the last five years I lived there. That would be unthinkable here with no public transport, no sidewalks. Oklahoma is, for most of the year, either too hot outside, too cold or too full of biting bugs (who love me to distraction).

So we decided on a treadmill.

It struck me after the order had been placed that I could have chosen better timing. Mercury retrograde? - "Oh....bah humbug", I muttered.

Thursday, delivery day brought a problem. Late afternoon, we received a call from the truck driver to say that he was in a big semi truck, and it seemed to him that he would have difficulty navigating the road in the area on the edge of town where we live. He would be unable to turn the truck around, he said. There's only one way out - the way in.

"Do you have a pick-up truck so's you can meet me at the end of the road?" (It's almost a given in these parts to have a pick-up truck!)


HeWhoKnows then started wondering aloud if his son could assist. I imperiously shut him up.

"This company undertook to deliver goods to our property, they made no enquiries as to access. It's their responsibility to get it here, not ours."

We called the despatch office, who called the trucker, who, apparently was told to "deal with it".

After some while the enormous semi truck appeared - reversing ! The trucker had driven in reverse all the way from the main road to the front of our house. No small feat!

A "retrograde" delivery if ever I saw one! Not your usual Mercury retrograde example, but a rather nice one, I thought.

The truck driver wasn't bad tempered about it all - he was a sweetie. HeWhoKnows advises me that truckers are a breed unto themselves. They need to be placid, yet always alert and quick thinking. Road rage is a complete no-no when driving those monsters. Bless 'em all!

Now, all we have to do is get the 200lb treadmill to where we need it. That'll be a trick and a half!

Friday, June 15, 2007

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Edward Hopper - his astrology reflected in his art

I always enjoy looking at the charts of artists. Their style often so clearly reflects their astrology. This isn't surprising - art, or good art at least, has to be the outward expression of inner feeling.

American artist Edward Hopper is a good example of the above. Above is possibly his most famous painting "Nighthawks".

Born 22 July 1882, Nyack, New York. No birth time available - chart for 12 noon.

Much of Hopper's artwork reveals two things - a feeling of loneliness and isolation, and the stability of a home.
He loved to paint houses - homes. He also liked to portray the isolation which can come from big city life. In some of his paintings there's also a hint of love of the sea - yachts, lighthouses.

His natal Sun and Mercury in Cancer probably reflect his very obvious attraction to houses and homes, together with an ever present lonelienss.The sign of Cancer is well known as being the "homely" sign of the zodiac, and Cancerian qualities also include shyness and withdrawal ( a crab disappearing into its shell). His liking for the sea may also stem from this Cancerian influence.

Saturn and Neptune in Taurus with Venus, Mars and Uranus in Virgo make his chart quite Earthy - another hint as to why he was so attracted to portraying houses, homes, buildings, almost always something stable and reliable.

Pluto and Jupiter are in Gemini. Moon is certain to be somehwere in Libra whatever the time of birth. These placements provide some Airy lightness to his personality. Pluto in Gemini brought forth so many great communicators, both verbally and pictorially - Hopper is certainly one of these.
Lloyd Goodrich wrote of him:
"No artist has painted a more revealing portrait of twentieth-century America. But he was not merely an objective realist. His art was charged with strong personal emotion, with a deep attachment to our familiar everyday world, in all its ugliness, banality, and beauty."

This video offers many glimpses of his work, along with some relevant comments, and nice background music by Benny Goodman.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Magical mysteries

I have never had a one-to-one consultation with an astrologer, in person. I've just never been in the right place at the right time, and astrologers have been thin on the ground in places where I've lived. I've visited tarot readers on a few occasions over the years, and had my hand read by fortune tellers. I've experimented by attending spritualist meetings, even dabbled in magic. These mysteries have intrigued me for as long as I can remember - 8th house Sun at work, perhaps.

The search for evidence and answers though has often been disappointing. Astrology has been by far the most consistent in providing me with evidence that "something is going on", especially since I've been able to use astrology software and learn some of the finer points.

Many people consider that astrology is in the same category as fortune telling, tarot, magic and mediums. I don't. I have found plenty of evidence to satisfy me that astrology "works" a lot of the time. Any evidence in other areas of mystery though, has been scant, to say the least. There have been a few scattered incidents over the years, just sufficient that I can't quite close the door, and my mind, on the idea that "there is something".

A tarot reader (who must also have been a medium), in Devonshire, UK, once told me that someone was speaking to her, and that he had a peculiar way of using the expression "it was real" in his conversation (meaning it was very good). I immediately recognised this person. He wasn't anyone close, simply an acquaintance, but his idiosyncratic way of using the word "real" always used to amuse me. He had died in a car accident some years before. I hadn't even thought about this person for years, but was very surprised to recognise him immediately from the reader's description.

Many years ago, I persuaded my late partner to come along to a spirtualist meeting with me. The speaker there pointed to him during the meeting and said "Do you know Peter, wearing RAF uniform?" He gasped "Yes". "Well, he is saluting you", the speaker said. I knew already that my late partner had had a close friend called Peter, in his youth, during WW2,in the Royal Airforce. Their plane was shot down over France and they escaped together. Sadly, Peter's wife had been unfaithful while he was away in the forces, and he commited suicide just after the war ended.

Many Moons ago, when I was still a young teenager, a fortune-teller told my mother that I would marry someone "from over the sea" and end my days abroad. That wouldn't sound too unusual nowadays, but in the 1950s before air travel was common and computers unheard of, it was extraordinary! Anyway, the prediction was vindicated three times - the second time wasn't a marriage, but a 33 year relationship. # 1 husband from Italy. # 2 from Northern Ireland. # 3 - HeWhoKnows - American! And here I am, ending my days (hopefully not too quickly) abroad. I'm pretty sure that this wasn't what's known as "a self-fulfilling prophecy" - although I did have ideas of retiring to Spain. I never could have envisioned what actually happened!

A fortune teller told me, back around 1973, that there would be 3 men in my life. I was already aware of two - an ex-husband and a current partner. This prediction worried me for a long time. I took it as a sign that I'd somehow lose my partner. I did, but not for another 30 years! Then # 3 appeared - HWK.

I can find no logical explanation for any of these instances. Sometimes I've assumed that mind-reading may be involved when mediums or readers come up with their pronouncements. In most of the examples I've mentioned, this seems highly unlikely.

Having experimented, I'm no longer as keen to seek information about the future from others. Astrology offers more than enough insight, with perhaps the odd peek at my own tarot cards. It's not much use trying to convince someone else, bent on trying to see into the future, that many methods can prove disappointing, not very useful, sometimes cause stress, and can be expensive. Seekers will seek. Having sought, I'd guess that many will eventually come to the same conclusions as me.

Strange co-incidences such as those I've mentioned may be manifestations of some magical mystery, but the mystery is far beyond anything we are at present capable of understanding. The temptation to put a, perhaps mistaken, label on these experiences could well lead to them doing more harm than good.

(Illustration "Prediction" from

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The Impossible Dream ?

Neptune Cafe, astrologer Michael O'Reilly's website carries good information for folks like me, interested in American politics. There's a section on presidential astrology which approaches the subject in a way which particularly appeals to me. There is a complete list of all America's past presidents with natal placements of Sun, Moon and Mars for each.

After studying the information there, I could even be convinced about the US national chart. I'm not keen on the idea of astrological charts for countries, but what do I know? Mr. O'Reilly points out the number of US presidents with aspects which would relate to a US chart with Scorpio on the ascendant (rather than Gemini, which is, I understand, the other option.) There's a rundown on the "top tier" candidates for 2008.

Sadly, Dennis Kucinich isn't included in the "top tier". That's not surprising, he's mostly being ignored by the media.

I'd like to point out though, that applying a similar yardstick to that used by Mr. O'Reilly, Dennis Kucinich has some positive indications. Natal Mars in Scorpio, is only about 1* away from the estimated US Scorpio ascendant. Natal Uranus in Gemini is trine the stated US Moon at 25 Aquarius.

There's plenty of time for a dark horse to emerge in this race. In any case, top tier or not, the voice of Dennis Kucinich is badly needed, both in America and in the world - it's a beacon of light.

From a campaign meeting last weekend the Las Vegas Review Journal reported that:

Kucinich told the audience that his campaign was gaining steam beneath the radar.

"What's happening is that in the last two debates, people have had a chance to see what I'm presenting to the American people, and it's quite different than what's being offered by others," he said. "We have to believe in peace again, and in order to get to peace, we have to have the courage to believe it's possible."

Kucinich said telecommunication has made the world smaller, while the Human Genome Project has shown "we're made of the same stuff." "All this evidence of oneness, of connectedness, it's not reflected in our politics," he said.

Kucinich, who began his political career on the Cleveland City Council nearly 40 years ago and served two terms as mayor of that city, called for abolishing nuclear weapons and creating a single-payer, government-run universal health care system.

All the other Democratic candidates, he noted, are unwilling to propose health care plans that don't continue "subsidizing the insurance companies."

"How can you want to be president of the United States and not want to challenge these entrenched industries?" he asked. "How can you even say that?"

Even if it should turn out that the majority of American people are not yet ready for Kucinich's message of peace and justice for all, intuition tells me that he's sowing seeds in the minds of young people - seeds which will grow in the coming decade.

A prediction: one day, in the not too distant future, America will have a president who will sound exactly like Dennis Kucinich - it may even be Dennis Kucinich. His theme song:

To dream the impossible dream
To fight the unbeatable foe
To bear with unbearable sorrow
To run where the brave dare not go

To right the unrightable wrong
To love pure and chaste from afar
To try when your arms are too weary
To reach the unreachable star

This is my quest
To follow that star
No matter how hopeless
No matter how far

To fight for the right
Without question or pause
To be willing to march into Hell
For a heavenly cause

And I know if I'll only be true
To this glorious quest
That my heart will lie peaceful and calm
When I'm laid to my rest

And the world will be better for this
That one man, scorned and covered with scars
Still strove with his last ounce of courage
To reach the unreachable star.

Lyrics by Joe Darion, from "Man of La Mancha")

Monday, June 11, 2007

Saturn and Relationships

Astrologer Dena L. Moore's article about the role of Saturn in Relationship astrology is an interesting read. It's 5 years old, but none the worse for that.

She says (among other things):

"In synastry, Saturnian contacts are often viewed negatively if there is a square (90 degrees), opposition (180 degrees), or conjunction ( 0 degrees) involved. It is often stated that the Saturn person has a restricting or limiting influence on the other person’s involved planet. This is true to an extent but it should be understood that Saturn is the vulnerable one in this situation. He is trying to hide his pain, his weaknesses from his partner and does this with a self-protecting mechanism of domination and ‘parental’ guidance. The very part of the other person Saturn is trying to restructure is simply an unconscious projection on his part--it is a part of the Saturnian personality that he recognizes but can’t consciously associate with himself.

A positive Saturnian contact such as the trine (120 degrees) and the sextile (60 degrees) is easier to work with in the relationship because Saturn and the other planet have more of an understanding between them. Although Saturn can still be unconscious in these circumstances, chances are the Saturnian person has had some prior experience with a Saturnian connection in another relationship and thus has a more conscious knowledge of his Saturnian placement and is working more successfully with the energy. In the new relationship with the positive Saturn connection, the Saturnian is helping build up the structural personality of the current partner. This is a situation of growth for both partners as the Saturnian is learning to share his prior experiences in a teaching position while the other partner is developing the planet in question.

Without the strength and support of a significant Saturn contact, it is fairly difficult to think in terms of long-term possibility in a relationship. This planet is a powerhouse that is often avoided in synastry because the implications are, on the surface, unpleasant. After all, we really don’t like to hear the truth about our relationships or ourselves."

So how does this work in relation to myself and HeWhoKnows? I see that my natal Saturn at 12.55 Aries trines his Moon at 13.35 Leo, and his Saturn at 26.3 Pisces trines my Mars at 28.54 Scorpio. Maybe we're OK for the long haul then - each teaching and learning a few lessons on the journey. We've both been through the relationship grinder more than once and have a goodly store of lessons to share with each other. I guess that's how HWK got his nickname!

I looked at my parents' charts too. They managed 55 years of often turbulent but always loving and faithful relationship. My mother's natal Saturn conjoined Dad's Neptune in Cancer. The clincher in their charts, I think, was the fact that Mum's natal Uranus was only 6* away from Dad's Aquarius Sun, and sextiled his Saturn in Aries.

I wouldn't go as far as Dena Moore in saying that long term possibilities may be dubious in the absence of Saturn contact though. Other aspects may supply a strengthening effect powerful enough to overcome lack of strong communal aspects from the celestial teacher. We ought not to forget that external factors such as environment, education, background etc. carry just as much weight, in my view, as astrological ones in any kind of relationship. I always view any astrological theory like this as a possibility, something to think about and watch for, rather than a rule that's written in stone.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

A poem

Every Angle and Curl (A Mystery)By astrologer Dena L. Moore

Peel back the parchment,
See the scratches there?
Indecipherable markings, symbols yet to be read,
Sigils solidly coded, overlooked,
Powerful in their secrecy…

So you’re a scholar,
Heavenly gifted to teach and learn -
Tell me then, what do you see?
Can you interpret the glyphs, will you
Tell me what they say?

Trace the heavy ink,
Feel the intricacy of the design
Wrapping and twisting, slanting left then right,
Calling to me, teasing me with
Every angle and curl…a pattern

Encoded so no one, no one
(not even you)
Will be able to offer a solution…
Angels may fall, Astrologers may rise,
But the symbols will remain a mystery,

Buried treasure clinging to sheepskin,
Urging me on, offering a glimpse I cannot understand,
Tempting me to my studies, pushing me forward
Helplessly -
Time - that cruel master,
Fate - that insidious friend.

Dena L Moore
June 4, 2006

(Illustration: "Reverie" by John Bolton)

Saturday, June 09, 2007


Two minor news items brought a quizzical smile to this blogger's face in the past week. Sometimes it does seem that we live in a world not altogether unlike Terry Pratchett's fantasy Discworld.

""This is the last meeting I will have had with him as prime minister. It's a nostalgic moment for me," Bush told reporters, standing beside Blair after bilateral talks at the gathering of the world's top powers in Germany.
"I'm sorry it's come to be, but that's what happens in life. We'll move on," he added.
Blair is set to stand down on June 27 after a decade in office, the final years of which have been marked by a close alliance with Bush that has angered many in his Labour Party.
Bush and Blair have enjoyed an extraordinary personal chemistry, frequently joking with each other.

A Taurean Sun (Blair, 6 May) and a Cancer Sun (Bush, 6 July) cookbook-wise would almost always gel together. According to Robert Camp's "Love Cards", which is based on an ancient system which I don't understand, but which seems to work - at least in the matter of relationship compatability - Bush is a King of Diamonds and Blair is 9 of Diamonds. They do have a good compatability rating, #6. A relationship "you could live with long term".

An excellent plan would be for Bush and Blair to wander off into the wide blue yonder together (not forgetting to take Dick Cheyney and Gordon Brown with them!)

A quote from one of Terry Pratchett's books fits nicely here:

His philosophy was a mixture of three famous schools -- the Cynics, the Stoics and the Epicureans -- and summed up all three of them in his famous phrase, "You can't trust any bugger further than you can throw him, and there's nothing you can do about it, so let's have a drink."
--Dydactylos the philosopher (Terry Pratchett in his book "Small Gods")


"A billboard for a salon and medical spa, promoting cosmetic procedures and featuring a woman wearing little more than an off-the-shoulder top, has outraged some Glenview residents who say it sends the wrong message.

"I was shocked," said Regina Thibeau. "
I was offended as a woman, angered as a mother and embarrassed as a resident of Glenview."
"It doesn't represent us as people whose beauty emanates from within," Thibeau said. "I'm a mother, a wife, a member of the PTA, and this is an affront to everything I work for and try to instill in my children."

Cathe Russe, a mother of four girls, stands behind Ibgui's right to put up the billboard, but she does not like its message.

"It demonstrates that there's a set of values they support that are the antithesis of my values," Russe said. "
I would love to see it removed."

The 10-foot-by-36-foot sign along Willow Road near Patriot Boulevard depicts a model lying on the beach with lines pointing to "problem" areas on her body, such as facial lines and wrinkles, and corresponding "solutions," including Botox. "

"Instead, people would take pains to tell her that beauty was only skin-deep, as if a man ever fell for an attractive pair of kidneys".(Terry Pratchett, "Maskerade")

"She sighed again. She was familiar with the syndrome. They said they wanted a soulmate and helpmeet but sooner or later the list would include a skin like silk and a chest fit for a herd of cows." --(Terry Pratchett, "Jingo")

I reckon that a wiser approach by these Moms would be to say to their little sweeties, pointing to the offending billboard, "It's life Jemima, but not as we know it!" After all, by the time the kiddiwinkies are at a stage where wrinkles and botox become an issue, the billboards will likely be advertising "Full Face Transplants". Won't THAT be fun!?

Friday, June 08, 2007


This one is pure Uranus! (Click on image for larger version)

It hangs in our covered-in back porch room, in full view through glass doors, as I type. It doesn't really blend in anywhere in the house, yet I couldn't resist it when I saw it at an art festival in a nearby town. I regret that I've lost the name of the person whose work it is. He specialises in these black and white, intricate illustrations.

For some reason, possibly the shape of the spaceman's nose(?), and all the tubes and twiddly bits, it brought to mind that famous carved slab found at the ancient Mayan site in Palenque, Mexico. Some folk fancifully say that this depicts an ancient space traveller.

And a music video to accompany it! Oooooooh!!!
(Click twice on the arrow)

Thursday, June 07, 2007

POKER ALICE - and her dubious birth data.

Colourful and courageous real-life characters flourished in what we now call "the Wild West". Most would make great subjects for an astrology blog entry, but variable and unreliable data makes things pretty difficult. There was little in the way of record keeping in those wild old days, and what did exist would have been so rough and ready, that it's of little use in "proper" astrology.

Take, for instance the case of Poker Alice, a female gambling legend of old frontier days.

Sources on the internet give her birth data variously as
17 February 1851, Sudbury, England, 17 February 1853, Devonshire, England ( those years and places are interchangeable). Another writer states that sources indicate Alice was born in 1853 in Virginia, USA to Irish immigrants, and that she was wont to give out inaccurate information about herself. Perhaps, if the last theory is correct, and Alice was born in the USA, she may have felt that spreading the story that she was born in England would enhance her image in the gambling circles she frequented. Who knows?

Whether she originated in England or not, it appears that Alice Ivers accompanied her family at some point in early life to Colorado where she later married a mining engineer, Frank Duffield, a poker player who taught Alice her skills. She was an intelligent lass and soon got the hang of things. She was probably good looking enough to turn the heads of male poker players too! Frank was killed in a mining accident, and Alice took up a career on the poker and faro tables of the west. New Mexico, Arizona, Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas and South Dakota saw her skills demonstrated at the tables. In New Mexico, she broke the bank at one of the saloons, and the dealer was forced to close the game. Alice took over and played all night and left with a tidy profit. She moved to Deadwood, South Dakota, and became a local legend. Alice's winnings at the table are fabled to have reached as much as $6,000 in one night. Alice once claimed that she had won more than $250,000 gambling over the years and that she never once cheated. Both of these claims are probably true. Poker Alice didn't have to cheat. She knew how to count.

Alice married a card dealer and house painter named Warren Tubbs in the 1890s - they had 7 children. Tubbs died in 1910, Alice eventually married again, but very briefly, her third husband George Huckert died in 1913. She went on to open a brothel, and during a skirmish there accidentally killed a man with a stray rifle shot. She was arrested but later released. Many arrests for drunkenness and keeping a disorderly house followed in subsequent years. Her days of glamour and success waned in later life. She died following a gall bladder operation on 27 February 1930.
Story in more detail

So, having gleaned something of Alice's personality, I've looked at the various birth charts to decide which, if any, makes the most sense. I reckon the differences in place of birth are secondary to the year of birth. 1851 or 1853? Whichever date is correct the constant factors are Sun, Mercury, Mars and sometimes Venus, all in Aquarius.

In 1851 Pluto and Uranus lay in Aries, along with Saturn, but by 1853 all three had moved on into Taurus.

The Moon in the 1853 Virginia chart would almost certainly be in Gemini, whatever the birth time. I like that - it blends well with those Aquarian planets and would emphasise a quick, clever mind. Although, in the 1851 chart the Moon would very probably lie in Virgo, also ruled by Mercury which could have given Alice the eye and ability to remember detail - she'd need that for success at the poker tables. Hmmmmm.

I like Pluto Uranus and Saturn in Aries (1851), better than Taurus (1853). Alice had to have a lightning quick mind, and brilliant memory for counting the cards in poker, somehow that fits Saturn in Aries better than in Taurus. Yet one report states that during the time she was raising her 7 children, she and her husband homesteaded a ranch, and it is said that she was never happier than during those years, away from the gambling tables - a hint of Taurus there? So, really, the chart for either year could be seen as a reasonable fit.

The common factor, 3 or 4 personal planets in quirky, independent Aquarius is the key. How different Alice was from most of her contemporaries, what a rebel from the norm! What a novel way she found to use her quick, incisive Aquarian mind! There's no doubt at all that Alice "followed a different drummer".

Poker Alice died on 27 February 1930 after a gall bladder operation. On that date, using the 1853 Virginia chart, transiting Saturn would have trined natal Saturn. Jupiter, then in Gemini, could well have been close to her natal Moon. I've read that Jupiter often figures in charts of a death.

I'll put my money on the theory that Poker Alice was born in Virginia 17 February 1853, and that she decided to spread tales of her English origins in an attempt to intrigue others at the poker tables. A bit of early PR work!
Photograph courtesy of South Dakota State Historical Society.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Politics and Religion

I've dutifully watched both political debates televised this week. HeWhoKnows warned that I'd find it annoying, but I do need to learn all I can about the system, in preparation for my citizenship application. This will, eventually, include a civics test. I should have listened to HWK. After the debates on Sunday and Tuesday, with a variety of commentary inbetween, I find myself feeling angry, sad and confused, by turns.

I so wish I didn't care!

Perhaps this sensitivity I'm experiencing just now is connected with transits to my natal chart this week. Transiting Mars has been 2* away from natal Saturn, transiting Moon 2* from natal Sun yesterday, transiting Neptune conjoins relocated ascendant, and transiting Venus conjoined natal Pluto. Something there is pulling my strings!

Only one candidate from the total of 18 got full marks from me. I could find no criticism of Dennis Kucinich. I'm sad that he continues to be largely ignored by the media and the public. He seems too far ahead of his time, for most of America. He's a politician of the future.

Something I'm finding puzzling and a little worrying is the emphasis on religion in politics here. Apparently Clinton, Obama and Edwards were questioned on Monday at something called The Sojourners Forum. Their religious beliefs and practices came under scrutiny.

What has candidates' religious belief, or indeed lack of it, got to do with politics and ability to run the country? You might as well be guided by the colour of someone's eyes, or whether they wear briefs, boxers or neither. There's an excellent example of how religion and politics play out together in the White House now.

Surely, religion (or lack of it) is a purely personal and intimate matter. It's very easy to establish whether a particular candidate would be likely to act in a way compatible with one's own views by reading, examining their record, listening to their proposals and views expressed in public debates. When people feel the need for additional detail, regarding the candidates' religious beliefs and practices, it smacks to me of bigotry and discrimination.

I understand that freedom of religion is one of America's most treasured rights. I can't see, at present, how this squares with the emphasis on just one religion - Christianity. If I were an American citizen of a faith other than Christianity, an agnostic or atheist, I'd be feeling very much an outsider, which doesn't seem to me to be in the spirit of the Bill of Rights.

Last night's Republican debate did nothing to ease my mind. Candidates made a point of referring to their faith. Admittedly, some of this, though not all, was in reply to questions posed by presenter or audience. What seemed most ironic to this onlooker was the lack of compassion apparent in many of their responses to questions about Iraq, immigration and health care. Something doesn't quite fit!

Among politicians the esteem of religion is profitable; the principles of it are troublesome. (Benjamin Whichcote)

I have judged others' religions by their lives, for it is from our lives and not our words that our religions must be read (Thomas Jefferson)

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Stranger on the Shore

Comedian Steven Wright once said "There's a fine line between fishing and just standing on the shore like an idiot."
I often feel like the idiot, just standing on the shore, in comparison with the professional astrologers in the blogosphere.

I gaze around, watch the fish jump, wonder at their lithe beauty, as the sun glints on their scales. I study the water as it ripples along, hear its soft gurgle, trail my hand in its cool wetness, but do I do anything practical with it? Nope! Well, apart from my interminable scribbling fits, that is.

But I do appreciate the wonder of it all. And I feel comfortably idiotic out here on the shoreline!

Monday, June 04, 2007

Retro recycling

Pluto, Neptune, and Jupiter are now appearing to move backward, or as astrologers say, "retrograde", Uranus will join them later this month. Recycling has been on my mind lately. Perhaps that planetary motion has something to do with it.

Recycling used to be a way of life back in England. Local authorities provided separate garbage bins for our newspapers. Centres for collection of other items, such as glass and aluminium cans, were plentiful in most neighbourhoods. Here in Oklahoma it's a different story. There are few facilities to encourage recycling, and these are getting fewer by the week. Every 3 months or so we've been ferrying our collection of newspapers and cans the 35 miles to a recycling collection centre in a neighbouring city. I read this week that the big military base in that city, whose staff used to collect recycling materials from several centres, has been prevented, by Department of Defense financial constraints, from continuing these collections (except for those from a single bin in one area of the city).

Why am I surprised? The current U.S. administration seems interested only in destruction. Corporations are interested only in retail gluttony. Private enterprise, which could surely make a profit from recycling, finds it easier to do so in other ways. Our own city authorities appear to have no interest at all in recycling, in spite of requests.

There are other ways to re-cycle though. Charity shops, junk shops, "antique" shops, e-bay, garage and yard sales, all offer opportunities to by-pass the retail juggernaut. We visit Goodwill shops regularly, most of my shirts come from there. With a little patient searching it's possible to find some better quality items than are on sale in the shops in this town.

I have a growing collection of what I call "trash art" - that's yet another way of re-cycling. Pieces of driftwood, an old bicycle chain, a vintage car horn, the cover of some old sheet music, and my Aquarius symbol made from scrap copper by AJ.( son of HWK) . It's fun searching for these, and good knowing that the few dollars they cost are not going into the pockets of greed obsessed corporations.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

It was the third of June....


It was the third of June, another sleepy, dusty Delta day
I was out choppin' cotton and my brother was balin' hay
And at dinner time we stopped and walked back to the house to eat
And Mama hollered out the back door "y'all remember to wipe your feet"
And then she said "I got some news this mornin' from Choctaw Ridge"
"Today Billy Joe MacAllister jumped off the Tallahatchie Bridge"

"Ode to Billy(or Billie?)Joe" was written and sung by Bobbie Gentry in 1967.

Bobbie Gentry: born 27 July 1944 in Chickasaw County, Mississippi.
Sun, Pluto, Venus and Mercury all in Leo. A great show-bizzy line-up of planets. She has/had a very Leo mane of hair!
Jupiter and Mars in Virgo. Saturn in Cancer, Moon in either Libra or Scorpio.

The only quote from Bobbie Gentry I've been able to find is:
"Euphemism is a euphemism for lying". Hmmm - I'd say that her two analytical, critical Virgo planets are showing there!