Sunday, September 30, 2007

Accentuate the Positive

Pundits and many mundane astrologers have little to offer us but an ever-darkening road into the future. After some news and events of the past week another dose of audio-visual positive thinking has been needed to prevent me from slipping into the Slough of Despond, or becoming confrontational and obnoxious. Although the second option is tempting, neither would be wise. Like a star suddenly twinkling through the gloom of a cloudy night, there was one rather surprising but positive piece of news, in an article by Tom Hayden - "Northern Irish, South Africa Leaders in Secret Peace Discussion with Iraqi Parties"

"Sunni and Shi'a leaders began a potential peace process at secret meetings with leaders of the new Northern Ireland and South Africa one month, signing draft set of principles which resemble the protocols that guided the peace settlements in those two countries.

Chairing the closed meetings near Helsinki were Martin McGuinness, the former Irish Republican Army commander, lead negotiator with the British, and now Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland, and Roelf Meyer, former leader of the pro-apartheid National Party in South Africa's peace negotiations. The Irish delegation also included former IRA hunger striker Leo Green, minister Jeffrey Donaldson, former Stormont speaker Lord Alderdice, and former loyalist paramilitary leader Billy Hutchison. South African participants included ANC leaders Mac Maharaj and Rashid Ismail, key participants in the military and political negotiations in South Africa.
The Iraq delegations' names have not been released but reportedly included six Sunni and nine Shi'a who signed a statement of principles."

Martin McGuinness was, as is mentioned later in the article, looked on as "evil incarnate" by Protestants and many other British folk during the Irish troubles. I remember it well! He was born on 23 May 1950 in Derry, Northern Ireland. An early Gemini Sun with a surprisingly well-balanced chart, whose second Saturn return will occur in a year's time - perhaps this new direction of his could bring yet another new career. At present transiting Mars in Cancer is about to conjoin his natal Uranus at 3 Cancer. Let's hope this is not a bad sign - even if so, it won't last too long.

This news story clearly shows that positive can come, eventually, from negative - albeit very slowly. There are no better advisors than these men. It may take longer than we can afford to arrive at any peaceful settlement, but there is at least hope, and willingness there. Perhaps, underneath the superficial gloom of these times, hidden brightness lies, just waiting to emerge.

This week's antidote to the negative comes via a composition of Harold Arlen, with lyrics by Johnny Mercer, sung by Buddy Rich (who is better known as a drummer). All are long-gone, of course, but their work lives on and is still widely and internationally appreciated. Following the advice of Johnny Mercer back in 1944, let's try, in 2007 to "Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive"

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Saturn in Virgo Heralding New Rules -

Saturn in the early degrees of Virgo is making a showing already.

Three news items this week, from the USA, UK, and New Zealand seem to me to be Saturn in Virgo related. Some of the things astrology connects with Saturn are rules, laws, discipline, restrictions and teaching. In the zodiac sign of Virgo this strait-laced planet will feel quite at home. It's not Saturn's home sign (that's Capricorn) but it is another Earth sign, and friendly to anything connected with service, health, wellbeing, and attention to detail. So we can easily detect the connection in the following, soon to be implemented, new rules:

In the USA: "Could You Pass the New Citizenship Test?" - exam for would-be citizens re-designed for the first time since since 1986.

In the UK, a new updated and expanded version of "The Highway Code", first in 8 years.

My personal interest in the first item leads me to wonder, would it be impolite to suggest that those who administer immigration and citizenship matters in the US should take a new test of competence themselves? I'm waiting very impatiently for the Citizenship and Immigration Service to get their act together and open the packet I sent to them in July, containing my own application for US citizenship. I'd be overjoyed to take their test tomorrow ! But it looks like an extremely long wait is ahead for me, and many like me. Can you tell I'm seething with annoyance? It probably doesn't help that Saturn is at present coming up to be quincunx my natal Sun, with Tr Uranus sextile natal Uranus feeding feelings of rebellion.

I can't comment much about the UK's Highway Code. I've forgotten what it's like to sit in the passenger seat on the other side of the car and travel on the other side of the road. I don't drive, by the way. In the UK I didn't need to - plenty of public transport and sidewalks. For at least a year after I first came here I'd routinely go to the driver's side to get into the car - much to the amusement of HeWhoKnows. One thing I discovered here, which is different (I think) from driving in the UK: when an ambulance or fire fighting vehicle is approaching, or behind, one is obliged to pull over. HWK always does this even if the road is completely clear. It's a caring and courteous requirement (Saturn was probably in Virgo when someone implemented the rule!)

And - the third news item:

In New Zealand: The New Zealand police have launched a wiki open to anyone wanting to edit and make suggestions to the Police Act as part of a wider revamp. New Zealand's current Police Act is nearly 50 years old.

NZ Police Superintendent Hamish McCardle, the officer in charge of developing the new act, said the initiative had already been described as a "new frontier of democracy".

"People are calling it 'extreme democracy' and perhaps it is. It's a novel move but when it comes to the principles that go into policing, the person on the street has a good idea ... as they are a customer. They've got the best idea about how they want to be policed."

Now THAT's what I call democracy! Good for the NZ police!

Friday, September 28, 2007

Aubrey Beardsley's 19th century eroticism

Aubrey Beardley may not be a name well-known in the USA. He was an English artist/illustrator of the late 19th century. Homosexual, individualistic, original and an expert draftsman, he lived a short but probably very interesting life. He died of tuberculosis at the young age of 25. He managed to produce a large volume of illustrations for magazines and books in those few years. His work is instantly recognisable.
Born 21 August, 1872 in Brighton, England, according to Astrotheme his time of birth was 5.18pm. I'm skeptical about this, wondering where such precise information came from in a country where time of birth is not routinely recorded. Still - it might be correct, so I've used it. It gives Capricorn rising, Saturn on the ascendant, which may account for the large volume of work he managed to produce in such a short lifespan.

His Sun at 28 Leo is within a degree of the Vertex probably making that area extra sensitive to transits. On the day he died, March 16 1898, Mars was opposing his natal Sun/Vertex from 26* Aquarius.

Natal Mars and Uranus at 1 and 3 Leo tell me where his determined-to-shock originality came from. Mercury in Virgo would have endowed the attention to detail his expert draftsmanship required, being 8th house could account for the sexual content of his work. A Grand Trine in Earth involving Saturn, Mercury and Pluto, which in some people might manifest as a good dose of common sense, because the planets at the birth time given by Astrotheme occupy 8th, 12th and 3rd houses more likely manifest here as an almost obsessive concentration on sex - which I suppose IS earthy !
His bunch of Leo planets ensured he made himself felt in that late 19th century world.

Beardsley was one of those mortals most definitely "born before his time", even so, along with Oscar Wilde and a close group of like-minded friends he brought homosexuality out into the light of day - to the horror of many strait-laced individuals.

"His formally elegant style, inspired in part by Greek vase painting, in which ornamental rhythm of line combines with a perverse and wickedly satiric imagination to create unforgettable images, often hilarious, frequently erotic, and sometimes deeply moving

A highly original creator, he transformed the art of illustration and profoundly influenced artists of his own and subsequent generations.

His expert draftsmanship made his drawings particularly suitable to the technical advances in printing at the end of the nineteenth century. Perhaps most important, however, he came to maturity at a time peculiarly suited to his genius, when theories of decadence and aestheticism gave license to the expression of perverse sexuality and to fetishism of all kinds. His work is sexually frank and, occasionally, pornographic. "

( from here.).

Explore Google Image for more examples of Beardsley's work.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Venus People

It's now the turn of Libra and Taurus, the Venus people, to be compared by astrologer of the 20th century, Carl Payne Tobey. I referred to and quoted from his "Astrology Primer for the Millions", when I wrote about "Mercury's People", Gemini and Virgo. His assessments helps us to see that although there are big differences between the two signs there is, at their core, similarity flowing from their traditional ruler.

We must bear in mind that his words refer not only to those with Sun in Taurus or Libra, but anyone with natal Moon or several planets there, or with one of those signs on the ascendant. In my opinion, even if only Venus and/or Mercury are in Taurus or Libra in a natal chart, there will be quite a noticeable slice of the relevant sign contained in the personality. Also, if the ruler of one's Sun lies in one of these signs, some of Mr. Tobey's remarks will probably apply.

One thing I find puzzling is that Mr Tobey considers that Libra lacks initiative, it's mentioned in various places in this piece. Most (or all) sources tell us that the cardinal signs (including Libra) are the initiators. I kind of understand what he's saying, but there might have been a better way to express it.

So here are some details from Carl Payne Tobey's book, with a few remarks from me, in red.

Taurus and Libra are usually friendly and perhaps lethargic signs. They are strongly attracted to the opposite sex but are not particularly aggressive about it. They are more inclined to let things come to them. They prefer to attract people to themselves than run after them. Yet here we have some very romantic people. They react more than they initiate (note from me - that's odd, Libra being Cardinal sign). .......

These are not what we could call the nervous types, particularly Taurus is not. In fact it can be stoic. Neither sign is too easily aroused. They are more inclined to take things in their stride........they are much more calm than other signs. They appear more easily satisfied.

For all of this, and for all of these similarities, they are opposites in many respects.

Taurus is more material. It comes into the world to think of and deal with material things, but under certain conditions is capable of great transformations. It likes the land and likes it in big quantities.........Great wealth is often connected with this sign. These people often build up great power of one kind or another. They enjoy possessing great power, even if they never use it. Hitler was a Taurean.......we had a breakthrough of a Taurean into the metaphysical in Shakespeare. In the entertainment world Bing Crosby (note from me - the author is of a different era, so most of his examples are not very useful in today's world - I've omitted those which now seem obscure).

Taurean women, for the most part are inclined to be settled. They can get pretty attached to their homes and families. They can be steadying influences upon their husbands. They will enjoy entertaining at home, but they like good homes in which to entertain. (We have to forgive Mr Tobey for his somewhat sexist outlook, he lived in a different era from us).

Libra isn't so attached to material things above what they may need for comfort. They like nice things and appreciate quality. They would prefer to do their entertaining in a small way, with a select group of friends. They are less impressed by bigness. They don't concentrate on one thing the way a Taurean will. There is stubbornness in Taurus, but this is rare in Libra. When enthused, Taurus has a one-track mind, one object upon which it concentrates......Libra is not like that. It weighs both sides of any subject. It knows when something is off balance.

Except when the ruling planet, Venus, is in Scorpio, Libra can be a very just sign. It doesn't want to hurt anybody. There is a considerable difference in that Taurus believes in its own power even though it is a cautious sign, while Libra lacks self-confidence. You have to convince Libra how good it is. Try to tell Libra how good it is and it will appreciate it but probably won't believe it. Nevertheless the sign will feel good because you said so.

Too few Libra people develop their talents properly because of the lack of self-confidence. There is often good musical or artisitic ability which is not developed. The sign likes all flattery even if it doesn't believe it.........there is an ability to understand abstract design, with the result that Libra can become a masterful mathematician, if the fear of mathematics as a subject is overcome.

It is apt to flatter Libra to be desired sexually, and the sign can be very affectionate.

While Taurus can be sluggish until it gets started or gets up its momentum, Libra is inclined to be lazy. The women enjoy sweets (note from me - I bet the men do too!) and if contentedly married they can become compulsive eaters. Then weight becomes a problem. Doctors investigating the subject find more Libra women afflicted with obesity than any other sign. They need a new interest of some kind to make them forget food and sweets (Oh, Mr Tobey - do I detect male chauvinism?).

With Libra the kidneys can be a weak spot, while with Taurus it is the throat.

Libra doesn't usually have the staying power of Taurus. ........Neither of these signs can ordinarily be called impulsive. They don't usually take the initiative (- even though Libra is a Cardinal sign?)......Yet many of the greatest military men have been born under these signs. They are not warriors. They do not want to fight, but if somebody is going to fight, they'll be likely to withdraw until they develop or assemble sufficient strength to win. U.S. Grant was a Taurean. (From me- Eisenhower was a Libran).

It is more difficult for Taurus to break away from the hereditary factor than for Libra to do so. There is basic family loyaly in Taurus, but if Libra doesn't like its relatives, it will look elsewhere for friends to take the place of relatives. It may show more interest in strangers than Taurus.....................

Neither of these signs can be considered as aggressive, nor can we call them ambitious signs. The Taureans who are ready to push themselves almost invariably have planets in Aries also (like Hitler), while Librans who will push themselves seem to have planets in Scorpio (from me - think Dennis Kucinich). Otherwise that push isn't there. Vitality and ambition are lacking.

These are not ordinarily to be considered signs of self-interest. They will usually step aside for others. It isn't in their nature to step on other people's toes. If they don't like a person, they will stay away from that person. They won't annoy him. When they can have harmonious associations they will be very cooperative. They are slow to anger, but don't push them too far. Particularly Taurus can be extremely violent if pushed too far.

As we come to the combination of Aries and Scorpio you will see a marked difference in basic character structure. (From me: that'll be for next month!).

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Libra Dominant

We are moving now further into the zodiac sign of Libra, so here's my video picture book of well known personalities who have, according to Astrotheme, 40% or more of Libra in their astrological make-up.

Most of these are good-looking, talented individuals. There are two surprises though - the notorious ruler of the Mongol Empire, Genghis Khan, and Irma Grese, the infamous Nazi criminal. I decided they had to be included for balance - after all, Libra is symbolised by the scales. For a good, brief overview of attributes of the zodiac sign of Libra, SEE HERE

The music used in the video is "The Swan" by Saint-Saens. I chose this because the composer is among those with Libra dominant in his natal chart, and because a swan's grace mirrors that of (most) people with Libra dominant.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Music in the News - Venus/Saturn

Recently a few articles relating to music, protest songs, and/or country music have appeared almost simultaneously.

Looking at the ephemeris I see that Venus (representing music and song) is edging close to Saturn (authority, rules & government). The two planets will exactly conjoin in critical Virgo in around two weeks' time. No doubt the arguments on these topics will continue until well after that.

These are the articles:

1. Country Music Deserts George Bush, by Tim Shipman
It appears that contemporary country music artist Toby Keith and others have started speaking out against the war in Iraq.

"No one has moved further than Toby Keith and Darryl Worley, two of the biggest names in country music.
In 2002, Keith had a huge hit with Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue, which includes the lyric: “You’ll be sorry that you messed with the US of A, ’cause we’ll put a boot in your ass - it’s the American Way.”

Now, it appears that things have changed. A little late in seeing the light, pals - but better late than never, I guess.

2. "Joni Mitchell Lashes out at Catholic Church on New CD" by Roger Friedman
Joni's new CD contains a track "Shine". Lyrics include these words:

"Shine on lousy leadership
Licensed to kill
Shine on dying soldiers
In patriotic pain
Shine on mass destruction
In some God's name! "

3. "Two Musical Visions of America" by Howie Klein

Howie Klein discusses the differences between Woodie Guthrie's old song of protest, "The Land is Your Land" and the new lyrics put to "God Bless America" by the Church of God Choir from Springfield Ohio. Videos of both songs are included.

4. Loosely connected with music and authority:
"The Musicologist who wasn't allowed into the country" by Ivan Katz
- Tells of a recent debacle by Homeland Security, who have denied a British music professor entry into the USA, and sent her back to London, visa torn up. No official help forthcoming to date. Whatever happened to that much quoted "special relationship" between UK and USA, one wonders.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Al Gore, America's Lucky Charm.

I'm going to make a determined effort this week to feel more upbeat about the future, "accentuate the positive and (try to) eliminate the negative".

An article from HuffingtonPost acted as quite a tonic at the weekend. By Brent Budowsky "If Al Gore Wins the Nobel Peace Prize".

A quick look at Al Gore's natal chart (here, at Astrodatabank) tells me that transiting Uranus (planet of change) is hovering over his natal Mercury these days - could he be in the process of changing his mind about running in the presidential campaign?

Transiting Jupiter is slowly moving towards his natal Jupiter at 28 Sagittarius, they'll be exactly conjoined in mid-December, along with Pluto. The lucky planet and the planet of transformation conjoining his natal Jupiter!

Let's have....."Plenty of heart and plenty of hope!"

A brief excerpt from the article by Brent Budowsky. The author envisions the scene:

"From the moment his award is announced through his speech in December accepting the prize, Al Gore will be the most influential living American in defining the terms of our national debate.

From the immediate surge of media attention until the aftermath of Gore's acceptance speech there will be a profound surge of international and national attention to what Al Gore stands for, and what he has done.

For the first time since September 11, 2001 was hijacked as a pretext for the Iraq war, there will be a powerful, compelling and global discussion of the America that has been and should always be a genuine beacon of hope and light for the world.

At first there will be saturation coverage of the dangers to planet earth, the crisis that poses the ultimate danger comparable to, and possibly even surpassing, the threat of nuclear weapons during the Cold War.

Within hours of the Nobel announcement there would be a global statement of American ideals, American values, American traditions, and American notions that have been time honored for more than two hundred years, and placed under attack by George W. Bush and enabled by a submissive Congress unable and unwilling to stop him.

There would be a statement to Americans, and to the world, that the real America is the nation that respects and rallies the free nations of the world rather than the preemptive and arrogant power that alienates freedom's best friends everywhere."

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Astrology of Oklahoma/"Oklahoma!"

On Friday evening we saw our local amateur dramatic society's very entertaining production of Rodgers and Hammerstein's "Oklahoma!" The show is part of the state's centenary celebrations. Oklahoma, the 46th state, was one of the last territories to achieve statehood, formed from Oklahoma Territory and Indian Territory. The big "statehood day" was November 16 1907. That makes Oklahoma a Scorpio state for the purposes of astrology.

Oklahoma doesn't strike me as being very Scorpio at all. The opposite zodiac sign of earthy Taurus much better describes Oklahoma: rolling hills and prairies, wheat, corn, cattle, cotton, and oil. Wide open spaces - even today, in the 21st century, there are plenty of wide open spaces here. That's one reason I love it, in spite of it carrying that "Red State" label which I abhor. (Detail from the state flag, left.) As the famous song says:

Plen'y of air and plen'y of room,
Plen'y of room to swing a rope!
Plen'y of heart and plen'y of hope.
Oklahoma, where the wind comes sweepin' down the plain
And the wavin' wheat can sure smell sweet
When the wind comes right behind the rain.

Back to our local production of Rodgers and Hammerstein's "Oklahoma!". (Photograph by HeWhoKnows- click to enlarge.)

The movie version has always been a favourite of mine, Friday evening's stage version didn't disappoint. It was so appropriate to hear the words and songs in genuine Okie accents, actually in situ in the state itself - akin to eating "proper" Yorkshire pudding in my native English county of Yorkshire.

On the way home I got to thinking about the characters in the play and what zodiac sign best describes them.

Laurey- the female lead definitely Libra - that "love-hate" relationship she has with Curly has to be a Libran flip-flop.
Curly- hmmm, not sure. Gordon MacRae played Curly in the movie, and I loved him to distraction in my early teenage years. Although Gordon had Pisces Sun, Curly's much more Sagittarius.
Ado Annie - great character, much more interesting than Laurey I always thought, a fun and fickle Gemini.
Will Parker- wonderfully played in the movie by Gene Nelson, another of my teenage heroes - he'd be Aries I reckon (and after checking Wikipedia, it appears that Gene Nelson had Sun in Aries too!)
Aunt Eller - another great character, would be a homely mix of Taurus and Cancer.
Jud Fry- the villain of the piece,(Rod Steiger in the movie) has to be represented by Scorpio - probably with afflicted Venus and Pluto.
Ali Hakim- the peddler, an early version of the consummate salesman - Leo for sure.

There's a YouTube video featuring John Schneider from TV's "Dukes of Hazzard", and Pam Dawber from "Mork and Mindy", singing clips from some of the songs from the show - neither one is an Oklahoman, but these are nice renditions.

We know we belong to the land
And the land we belong to is grand!
And when we say
Yeeow! Ayipioeeay!
We're only sayin'
You're doin' fine,
Oklahoma O.K.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Lifting Spirits

I wonder what astrologers do when in need of a lift out of the doldrums? We ordinary mortals often reach for the chocolate, the apple pie, ice cream, or the bottle of Scotch.

I'm not insinuating that astrologers aren't ordinary mortals, of course, perish the thought! But they are in a position to know more about themselves and the future, and their future than the average woman and man on the street. So do they have an antidote for the blues?

I ask because each time I pick up a newspaper or read articles and comments on current events on-line I feel despairing, desolate and downright depressed. I don't ever remember a time in my adult life when it was worse than this, either here or when I lived in the UK. According to HeWhoKnows, it's now just about the worst he can remember in the USA too.

So what can astrology offer as a pick-me-up of the non-fattening , non-inebriating kind?

I guess the best answer from me, as a non-astrologer but a woman on the street, (if you know what I mean), with a little knowledge of the subject, would be: "Nothing stays the same for long, everything changes. Just as the planets move in regular cycles, so does life. A bad patch is followed by a good patch, and vice-versa. Some patches take longer than others to give way to the next stage - these are what we call "the bad times" and "the good times". Enjoy the latter while you can and during the former resign yourself to putting on weight and drinking more than you should".

Apple pie anyone?

There's something else capable of lifting spirits - SING! Or whistle - also known as whistling in the dark, or whistling down the wind. Speaking of which, here's an audio-visual aid I made earlier. This one always gets me "nibby nabby nooby-ing"

Friday, September 21, 2007

Modigliani's first house Mars.

Amedeo Modigliani was both sculptor and painter. I much prefer his sculptures -they have an almost African or Egyptian look.
For me, his portraits (which form the bulk of his best known work) all appear much alike. His subjects have the same elongated oval faces and long necks, they stare back at you with vacant expressions, they could easily all be related, so alike do they appear. Occasionally one can see a person in real life who resembles a Modigliani portrait, it's an odd sensation - a feeling that you've met them somewhere before.

This Italian-born artist was the stereotypical, romantic and poverty-stricken bohemian who pursued his art amid a haze of drugs, alcohol and dissolution in the Paris of the early 20th century. It has been said that he worked as wildly as he lived, in spite of his excesses in the alcohol and drugs department - not to mention his women.One biography states " It seems his whole life was a series of protests: against the bourgeois smugness of his family of businessmen, and against a society that failed to recognize and reward his talent."

He died in squalor in January 1920 at the age of 35, discovered by a neighbour. He was in the final throes of tubercular meningitis, bed strewn with bottles of alcohol and cans of sardines, his mistress Jeanne Hébuterne nursing him. She hadn't thought to call a doctor, but her devotion to her lover was so great that, two days after his death, she threw herself backwards from a fifth-floor window. She was nine months pregnant with their second child.
More information here.... and here.

Modigliani was born on 12 July 1884 in Livorno, Italy at 8.10 am (Time according to Astrotheme)

His Cancer stellium of Sun, Mercury and Venus, together with Moon in Pisces indicate an ultra-sensitive, emotional character. Pluto and Saturn in Gemini are in 10th house of career. Neptune, planet of creativity and imagination is right at midheaven, if time of birth is accurate - the midheaven angle is one of the strongest positions in the chart. Neptune can also relate to addiction. It has been said that his excesses of drugs and alcohol did not diminish "his great desire to work" - the two planets in 10th house relate to this trait. He had Neptune trine Uranus as had many of his contemporaries, but additionally Modigliani had natal Uranus and Mars within 4 degrees of each other on cusp of first/second houses. Firmicus gives the following interpretation of Mars in the first house :"makes men bold, clever, emotional; wanderers, unstable in every way;... whatever they undertake flows from their hands and their inheritance is wasted..." This was all too true for Modigliani. (See here)

On the day he died, 24 January 1920, transiting Jupiter and Neptune both retrograde, were at 14 and 10 degrees of Leo respectively, Modigliani's natal Jupiter lay at 9.51 Leo.

Thursday, September 20, 2007


Astrologer C.E.O. Carter says in his Encyclopedia of Psychological Astrology, "Patience is a Saturn virtue. If this planet is afflicted by Mars or Uranus, or indeed, if these are more prominent than Saturn, there is usually impatience. Mercury can also be considered in this respect."

I'm impatient by nature, and have always put this down to natal Moon in Aries (ruled by Mars). My natal Saturn is in Aries too, 12 degrees from Moon, this probably adds to the problem. Natal Mercury is in Saturn's home sign of Capricorn, not an impatient Mercury, but with Capricorn's ruler in Aries - who knows?

I'm needing to curb my impatience currently. To date the cheque which accompanied my application for US citizenship, sent to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service on 26 July, almost 8 weeks ago, has still not been cashed. USCIS has issued notices on-line indicating that they have what they call a "front-log" of cases. In normal circumstances cheques are cashed and applications get underway within a week to 10 days of receipt. We've now been told that it's taking up to 90 days to issue receipts due to this front-log.

It'll be interesting to see whether things start to move around the time when Venus reaches 2* Virgo again, the point at which the recent retrograde started, but I shall not hold my breath - even that is far too optimistic an expectation as things are turning out. I must also bear in mind that Mercury will turn retrograde on 12 October, almost dovetailing Venus. Nice! Citizenship in time for the 2008 presidential election is looking ever more unlikely. I'm beginning to wonder why I bothered to apply in the first place. Grumble....grumble.

A man watches his pear tree day after day, impatient for the ripening of the fruit. Let him attempt to force the process, and he may spoil both fruit and tree. But let him patiently wait, and the ripe fruit at length falls into his lap. Abraham Lincoln 1809-1865.

That was easy for you to say, Abe - you had Aquarian Sun like me, but you didn't have my impatient Moon in Aries - in fact, Moon would have been in much more patient Capricorn if you were born before noon. Your Mercury lay in Pisces, with Saturn/Neptune in Sagittarius trining Venus in Aries. That lineup delivered some amazing things, but it seems that impatience wasn't among them.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Jack Black

After watching the movie "Tenacious D- The Pick of Destiny" on HBO recently I was curious about Jack Black's astrology. The first time I saw Jack in a movie was back in the UK, where we saw "School of Rock". Neither of us had even heard of Jack Black then, and we made a point of staying through the end credits to find the name of this actor whose performance we had so much enjoyed. Since then we've seen him in several other movies, but had missed "Tenacious D" until its TV showing.

Jeffrey Kishner, in his blog "Astrology at the Movies", wrote about Jack last year (see here), with comments by another astrologer/blogger Lynn Hayes. Apparently Jack's correct birthdate is in question. Various internet sources give it as either 28 August 1969 or 7 April 1969. Quite a difference! Too different to have come about via a slip of someone's pen. I've been wondering if perhaps Jack Black might have mischievously slipped wrong information to an interviewer at some stage. In an interview (here) he says that he doesn't believe in astrology "and all that crap".

Having looked at both charts, read some articles about the actor, and watched a few YouTube interviews with Jack Black, I'd guess that 28 August 1969 is most likely to be correct. What convinces me most is Mercury conjunct Uranus in the Air (mental) sign of Libra, in the August chart. In the April chart Uranus is conjunct Jupiter. Mercury is the communication planet, and Jack Black's communicated personality is definitely zany, erratic, eccentric - very Uranus. Of course, Jupiter is the publishing planet, and the planet of exaggeration, so one could argue that this is where Jack Black's zany persona comes from, were he born 7 April. I prefer Mercury conjunct Uranus. Mercury describes the way the mind works, and JB's mind definitely has a wild and zany side, in spite of his more sober Virgo Sun.

Out of curiosity I searched to discover whether any other well known person had been born on 7 April 1969, which might have caused this birth date confusion. Ricky Watters, American football star, a running back, is the only one I could find. Four Aries planets in the 7 April chart are more in keeping with the physical energy of a football star than a comedic actor, I guess, though it's true that Aries can tend towards a child-like sense of humour.

There's a slight possibility that Jack's natal Moon could lie in Aries, were he born late in the day (after 11pm, in fact.) That could produce the physical energy we are immediately aware of when he appears on screen.

Of the Jack Black films I've seen so far, "School of Rock" remains favourite. He has said in inteview that the role of Dewey Martin he played in that film is most like his own personality. I don't think we've yet seen the best that he's capable of, but one day in the future I suspect we'll be seeing him in a ring-ding blockbuster.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

It's All in the (Vice Presidential) Game

Listening to a BBC programme on-line I made an interesting discovery. After playing a particular recording the presenter explained that the music had been written by a former Vice President of the United States. I pricked up my ears. Thoughts of the likes of Dick Cheney writing a beautiful melody boggled my mind.

Vice President Charles Gates Dawes had penned the music in 1911, it was originally known as " Melody in A Major", and became a kind of signature tune for him when he later became President Calvin Coolidge's VP.

40 years later lyricist Carl Sigman came along, added words and VP Dawes' work became the pop song "It's All In the Game". It is the only number one pop single in history written by a Vice President of the United States. Tommy Edwards sang the hit version in 1958, since then many other artists have recorded it.

You can be reminded of the song at YouTube HERE

VP Dawes must have been quite a character. He was Vice President between 1925 and 1929. According to Wikipedia:

"Dawes' Vice Presidency was one of the most disastrous on record. Soon after his election he sent an insulting letter to President Coolidge informing him that he would not be attending cabinet meetings. This is believed to be the beginning of a feud between the two which brought the Vice Presidency to its nadir for the 20th century.

Having insulted the President, he then proceeded to publicly insult the entire US Senate. The inauguration of the Vice President was held in the Senate Chamber in those days, and the VP would give an inaugural address before everyone headed on to the outside platform where the President would take the oath. Dawes made a fiery, half-hour address denouncing the rules of the Senate, the seniority system and many other things that Senators held dear.

Eveyone was so shocked at the speech that President Coolidge's own inaugural address was completely overshadowed, leaving him even angrier at Dawes than ever before."

Charles Gates Dawes was born 27 August 1865 in Marietta, Ohio. The chart above is calculated for 12 noon in absence of birth time. Sun at 4 Virgo, Mercury 22 Virgo, Mars 28 Virgo. Jupiter in Sagittarius is square his natal Mercury. We can see here the aggressive, critical and outspoken character he obviously was! Mars (aggression) conjunct Mercury(communication) in Virgo(critical), squared by Jupiter(excess) in its own sign of Sagittarius(outspoken), with Sun in critical Virgo also, and natal Moon in passionate Scorpio, though the degree is uncertain without birth time. Venus and Uranus in gentle, sensitive Cancer may indicate his musical abilities. Uranus sextiles his natal Sun - here may reside the rebel.

This tale makes some current dramas seem pretty mild. I reckon the United States could use someone like the obtuse and outspoken VP Dawes right now.

Monday, September 17, 2007

An Aquarian's Take on The Trendy Trap

Following a link from a current article in Huffington Post's "Living Now" section, I discovered a piece written by Lesley M. M. Blume last August. Ms Blume had written opining that trendiness and style, though related are not the same thing, and that trendiness is the "insidious enemy of individuality". I assume from her article that Ms Blume considers all who display indviduality also attain style. A dubious premise, I'd have thought. Anyway, she goes on to list 15 suggestions to help ensure that we do not fall into the trendy trap, but instead become stylish individuals. She adds: "And I mean trendiness (in) all aspects of our lives: in our dressing, our thinking, our topics of conversation. All of these things conspire to drown us in a sea of same-iness."

I'm not too sure whether the article was meant to be ironic, tongue-in-cheek, serious, or a mixure of all three, but as a Sun Aquarian I had to burst into peels of laughter on reading it - not a bad thing in itself.

For Sun Aquarians individualism comes as our stock-in-trade. Different? You bet! Stylish? Highly doubtful. Stylishness belongs to the bourgoisie, not the avant garde.

Cast your eye down the list of Ms Blume's suggestions on how NOT to be trendy but how to be individualistic and stylish. My comments are added in blue. I apologise to any passing readers with Leo dominant in their natal charts - you'll enjoy Ms Blume's full article (as linked) much better than mine, avert your eyes return to the top if the blog, and follow the link.

1. Find an amazing tailor and have him/her construct you a custom-made wardrobe. Amazing tailor - are you kidding - in deepest Oklahoma? Trailers (and tractors) they can do, tailors - not a chance.

2. Have an interesting, beautiful calling card made. Calling cards? Are you living in the 19th century or what?

3. Develop an interesting, lively vocabulary. OK - how about stellium, quincunx, decanates, duads, midpoints...oh, and sesquiquadrate? Betcha can't say that after 3 martinis.

4. Don't talk excessively about yourself at parties and such. Parties ? Such?

5. Give unusual gifts. Patent tractor cleaning gadgets and good chewing tobacco?

6. Concern yourself with the art of conversation. You say conversation.... I say conservation...let's call the whole thing off!

7. Concern yourself with the art of listening. Huh?

8. Wear a daring hat. Like this one that HWK is wearing? Not daring enough? Try coming near me with a dead animal on yer head, sweetie !

9. Vow not to hold a clichéd event, ever. I am particularly referring to bridal showers and bachelorette parties. I vow, I vow - but how about funerals - what's the stylish version?

10. Make eye contact. Poke 'em in the eye?

11. Once in a while, sit alone in a restaurant. HeWhoKnows won't let me, in case I attract the flies.

12. Jolt your wardrobe with an amazing period piece. A period piece like HeWhoKnows?

13. Read National Geographic Magazine I know that this sounds a tad far-fetched, but you'll be instantly fascinating afterwards. This goes along with being an artful conversationalist. You will become an expert in narwhal activities and barracuda habits, and this new expertise will most certainly set you apart.
Plus, it's so divinely Wes-Anderson-ish.
We knew that!

14. Be unjaded. OK - green doesn't suit me anyway.

15. Don't be afraid to make a bold statement. This is a cartload of pretentious you-know-what. Bold enough?

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Pluto, Capricorn and Religion

A somewhat disturbing article in our local newspaper led me to reconsider my thoughts on what Pluto's move into Capricorn might have in store during the next few decades. I had previously surmised that Pluto moving into old fashioned Capricorn, which represents established institutions such as "the church" in whatever flavour or guise, would herald a gradual transformation - but a transformation which would reduce religious fervour, and more especially seemingly inevitable religion-driven wars. However, this may have been wildly over-optimistic.

The article in question was written by one Terry Mattingly. He is a director of the Washington Journalism Center at the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities, and leader of the project to study religion and the news.

Mr. Mattingly's piece bore the title "On religion, Europe out of step with rest of world". The basic premise put forward is that because populations are declining in Europe, where there has also been a decline in religious fervour, when compared to the state of things in the USA, Latin America, parts of Asia and Africa, where birth rates are not declining, then in the future "the whole religious question is going to become even more important in terms of global affairs". Mr. Mattingly seems to relish the thought as he adds with some glee, "When it comes to weighing the role of religion in world affairs, Europeans who worry about America have to ask "Who looks strange now?" (Neener neener neener....?)

A better question for Europeans to ask, in my opinion, would be "Why haven't you caught up with us yet? Our planet is sick, part of the reason for this is over-population. Is religion going to solve this problem? And why hasn't the high percentage of American people who say that religion is very important to them (senators and representatives included) stood up and demanded that the war in Iraq where one million lives have been squandered needlessly, cease immediately?"

I'm tempted here to wonder whether it's relevant to point out that the USA is a very young country, less than 300 years old, as against Europe's long, long background of history and experience. Perhaps Europe has learned some lessons along the way, grown up as it were, evolved even! The other countries quoted by Mr. Mattingly are mainly under-developed. Countries whose populations are likely to be, in the main, under-educated, probably under-nourished and badly governed.

The article goes on to explore the question of how Europe will respond to high rates of immigration by religious believers, can Africa avoid being shaped by Christian/Islamic conflict, how will the move of more Catholics into high octane Pentcolstalism inside the Church of Rome and in Protestantism affect Latin America, Central America and finally North America ?

In a nutshell, if Mr Mattingly's ideas are anywhere near correct, Pluto's visit to Capricorn will be transformative in quite the opposite way from that for which I was hoping. There will be more, not less, religious conflict arising.

We may have to wait for The Age of Aquarius to roll in before a sufficient amount of good sense develops on this our blighted planet. That's going to be a long time coming - well into the next millennium if some astrologers are correct in their calculations. But can the planet wait that long?

I found an on-line version of the full (obviously syndicated) article HERE

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Frida Kahlo - Her Art and Her Pain

Frida Kahlo was not a happy woman, it seeps through her paintings. Heck - it yells from them! She had good reason to be unhappy. She suffered from polio as a child, then from horrific injuries as a result of a 'bus accident in her teenage years. These injuries precluded her from bearing children, as well as leaving her with painful spinal problems. She married Diego Rivera, another artist, many years her senior. Her marriage was tumultuous, with infidelity both heterosexual and lesbian. It's hardly surprising that her paintings are not filled with joy.

Frida died in 1954, she had lost one leg to gangrene, suffered pneumonia, and was in frail health. The official cause of death was given as pulmonary embolism, though some suspected that she had died from overdose that may or may not have been accidental. (Information from Wikipedia).

Frida Kahlo was born on 6 July 1907 in Coyoacan, Mexico.Time of birth is given as 8.30am at StarIQ.

Leo ascendant, Cancer Sun and Taurus Moon. Neptune lies within a degree of her Sun. Pluto and Venus are within a degree of each other in Gemini. Mars is 3 degrees from Uranus in Capricorn. Neptune/Sun opposed by Mars/Uranus, and a Pluto/Venus conjunction looks, to me, a very challenging configuration!

It was a blessing that she found some release for her pain and frustration through her surreal paintings.

Astrologer Nick Best wrote an article, a few years ago, about Frida Kahlo and the actress who played her in a movie biography, Salma Hyek. "Two Peas In a Pod or Saturn in Pisces" appears at Star IQ . Natal charts for both Frida and Salma are included, with a comparison of the two. Nick Best points out that in both charts Saturn lies at the same degree of Pisces. I noticed that the general shape of the two charts is quite similar.

Once again (as in the cases of Ed Harris/Jackson Pollock and Kirk Douglas/ Van Gogh) here's astrology linking artist and actor.

Website for more illustrations and further information on Frida Kahlo.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Virgo Sings Country.

Idly glancing down a list of "celebrities" born during Sun in Virgo times, I was struck by the number of well known names. Many Virgo Sun people will have at least one personal planet in show-bizzy Leo, which is going to help balance that somewhat serious, practical Virgoan side they are very likely to have.

I noticed at least four female country singers in the list. Three of them more or less contemporary, one from the past. I thought it would be fun to look at all four charts. (See below). Might there be a common denominator, other than Sun in Virgo? I was unable to trace times of birth, so I've had to use 12 noon charts, which is a pity. Ascendants and Moon positions could uncover more similarities.

The four singers:

Patsy Cline born 8 September 1932, Winchester, Virginia. USA.

Trisha Yearwood born 19 September 1964, Monticello, Georgia.USA.

Shania Twain born 28 August 1965, Windsor Ontario, Canada.

Faith Hill born 21 September 1967, Ridgeland, Mississippi. USA.

Well, all do have either Mercury or Venus in Leo.

The three contemporary singers' charts show a roughly funnel or bucket configuration - most planets in one half of the circle, with a planet outside the semicircle - in this case it's Saturn, the career/work planet. Even in Patsy Cline's chart Saturn lies broadly opposite most of her personal planets. Perhaps Saturn in such a configuration does add drive and determination to achieve career ambitions, with extra ability to focus on these issues. Oddly, using 12noon charts, these ladies' natal Moons all came up at 0 or 1 degree of a sign - coincidence I suppose.

All the ladies have Pluto and/or Uranus close to personal planets or Sun. The three contemporaries particularly seem to benefit from this, with Sun Pluto and Uranus all close. Here is the clue ! This, together with the Leo input, is what helped Virgo move into the limelight - and with a fair amount of pizzazz in these cases.

The fact that these 4 ladies gravitated to country music, rather than jazz or rock or opera, could have to do with Virgo. Virgo is an Earthy sign. Country is an earthy genre and Earth is being given extra emphasis here by outer planets.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


September brings with it memories of two portentous events - in September 1939 Germany invaded Poland, World War 2 followed. September(11th)2001 brought us another fateful, never to be forgotten event. This year a solar eclipse adds to the drama.

It's sad that September carries such dreadful memories.

Sorrow and scarlet leaf,
Sad thoughts and sunny weather.
Ah me, this glory and this grief
Agree not well together!

(Thomas Parsons, 1880, A Song For September)

September, so named because once upon a Roman time it was the 7th month. (Septem = 7th in Latin).The first three weeks of September fall within the tropical zodiac sign of Virgo, with just one week left for Libra.

You know, September, as a month, here in the northern hemisphere, doesn't strike me as being a typically Virgoan time, or for that matter Libran. Yes, I know that in mythology Virgo holds a sheaf of corn, and in most places September is harvest time, but September is also when the leaves fall from the trees, and life starts winding down. September is not a neat Virgoan month. Leaves pile up all over the place then chilly winds blow them messily around. If anything, Virgo describes the work of clearing up the leaves, I guess.

September is when the kids go back to start a new school term. The boys, in Britain anyway, play soccer and rugby again, after a summer of playing tennis and cricket. They often get themselves very muddy in the process - how Virgo is that?

One of Frank Sinatra's loveliest offerings, "September Song"....."And it's a long long time from May to December, and the days grow short when they reach September....." describes our life's September, our autumn/fall. On the back of the old LP cover to the Sinatra album "September Of My Years", writer Stan Cornyn says:

"...............September can be an attitude or an age or a wistful reality. For this man it is a time of love. A time to sing. A thousand days hath September"

My goodness those liner note writers were good! It's a big loss that cds don't have the space for their purple prose.

Sinatra in his songs, though a Sun Sagittarian, remains in essence a September man. Often melancholy, whether for the dying of the year, or for a love, a memory, a feeling - yet with hope always for Septembers still to come. And that, for me, is the true essence of September.

A YouTube presentation of Sinatra and John Denver singing "September Song" together - a rare and lovely combination. John Denver didn't live to see the September of his own years, and that is so very sad.

Monday, September 10, 2007

The Challenger Astronauts

On January 28, 1986 America was shocked by the destruction of the space shuttle Challenger, and the death of its seven crew members. See Wikipedia entry.

After I bought my astrology software last year one of the first exercises I did was to study the charts of the astronauts who died in the Challenger disaster. I had recently decided to use the subject for a blog entry. I noticed that Out The Comet's Ass blog carried an interesting article about astronauts on 6 September - "12 Men Who Walked on the Moon". Anyway, here's what I found:

What I was looking for, when I studied the seven charts, was any link to eclipses.
The closest 1985 eclipses were:
Lunar 5 Scorpio/ Taurus (28 Oct 1985)
Solar 20 Scorp/Taurus (12 Nov 1985).

First, here's the chart for the time of the explosion: 28 January 1986, 11.38AM at Cape Canaveral, Florida. Pluto was just 3 degrees from the Moon's South Node, and 2 degrees from the lunar eclipse point of the previous October.

There do seem to be links to the eclipse pattern in several of these charts. Also,
in 6 of the 7 charts there is some emphasis on the solstice axis (Cancer/Capricorn) either natally or natal + transit. I am not sure how relevant this is to the subject in hand, if at all. It may be connected to fixed stars in Cancer. Several of the charts have Procyon/ Sirius prominent.

Commander F.R."Dick" Scobee born 19 May 1939 Cle Elum, Washington.

Michael Smith born 30 April 1945, Beaufort, North Carolina.

Judith Resnick born 5 April 1949, Akron, Ohio.

Ronald McNair born 21 October 1950, Lake City, South Carolina.

Gregory Jarvis born 24 August 1944, Detroit, Michigan.

Christina McAuliffe born 2 September 1948, Boston, Mass.

Ellison Onizuka born 24 June 1946, Kona, Hawaii.

In the absence of birth times, 12 noon charts are used.

SCOBEE: Tr Pluto was exactly conjunct his North Node @ 7 Scorpio, which is close to the eclipse point of 5 Scorpio. There is a cluster of planets around Oct. and Nov. eclipse areas (Mercury 8 Taurus, Venus & Saturn 29 and 25 Aries, Sun 27 Taurus, Uranus 18 Taurus. In his natal chart the Cancer/Capricorn axis is emphasised by Pluto opposing Mars.

SMITH: Tr Pluto @ 7 Scorpio opposed his natal Sun at 9 Taurus - in the area of the Oct '85. eclipse.
Tr Neptune at 4 Capricorn opposed natal Saturn at 6 Cancer (Cancer/Capricorn axis).

RESNICK: Tr North Node at 4 Taurus was within 8 degrees of her Natal N.Node at 26 Aries in the( wider) area of the eclipse.
Tr Neptune at 4 Capricorn opposed her natal Moon at 5 Cancer - but depends on exact birth time (Cancer/Cap axis).

McNAIR: His Sun is at 27.44 Libra - a little wide to connect with 5 Scorpio eclipse, but close. Natal Saturn is conjunct his Virgo-Pisces nodal axis.
Tr Neptune at 4 Capricorn opposes his natal Uranus at 9 Cancer (Cancer/Capricorn axis).

JARVIS: His natal Moon at 12 noon was at 4.55 Scorpio- any significant conjunction depends on exact birth time of birth, of course (eclipse at 5 Scorpio/Taurus) there's a chance Moon could have been fairly close though. His natal nodal axis is Cancer/Capricorn.

McAULIFFE: Tr North Node was at 4 Taurus, her natal North Node was at 7 Taurus (eclipse area), and was also opposed by Tr Pluto at 7 Scorpio.

ONISUKA: His natal Moon was at 3.56 Taurus at 12 noon. There's a chance here, again that it was fairly close to the Oct.'85 eclipse at 5 Tauurs/Scorpio, depending on time of birth, also may have been opposed by tr Pluto at 7 Scorpio.
His natal Sun at 2.46 Cancer was opposite tr Neptune at 4.35 Cancer (Cancer/Cap axis)

The shuttle Challenger flight STS-51L crew members who died January 28, 1986. In the back row, from left, mission specialist Ellison S. Onizuka, Teacher in Space Participant Sharon Christa McAuliffe, Payload Specialist Greg Jarvis and Mission specialist Judy Resnik. In the front row, from left, Pilot Mike Smith, Commander Dick Scobee, and Mission specialist Ron McNair.