Wednesday, October 31, 2007

"Across the Universe" - the astrology

Yesterday we visited a cinema in a neighbouring city to see "Across the Universe". I've wanted to see this movie ever since a trailer at our local cinema whetted my appetite months ago (mentioned HERE).

I'd like to think that the release of the film at this point in history might herald a resurgence of that spirit which coloured the 1960s. My wishful thinking that the Beatles' wonderful music may, in the manner of a snake charmer, raise awareness and a spirit of rebellion and determination to right wrongs once again stayed withme long after the movie ended. Maybe it is wishful thinking. Maybe not.

The film, "Across the Universe", is an unusual kind of film. A musical, a love story, a chronicle - but much more than that. I found it affecting and memorable. The story will appeal to British and American audiences alike. The screenplay was written by Dick Clement and Ian LaFrenais, brilliant authors of numerous British TV comedy series, both of whom are old enough to remember those legendary days of hippydom.

First, a look at the astrology of those hippy years of the 1960s, with Skip Stone from his "Hippies A to Z"

"Beginning in October, 1965 we witnessed a rare, powerful conjunction of Uranus and Pluto (it happens about once every 200 years or so). Uranus represents the urge to be free. It brings sudden changes usually by destroying the old to make room for the new. It replaces outdated attitudes with new, more constructive ones.

Pluto forces us to transform and regenerate. It takes that which is sick, no longer of value and either destroys it or transmutes it via healing and cleansing into something useful and positive. When the two planets are conjunct (aligned together) their energy intensifies and focuses. Since the aspect occurred in the sign of Virgo, this means the focus was analytical, and critical with an emphasis on communication and service to others. The whole astrological scenario was extremely conducive to revolutionary ideas and activities, if not outright revolution.

Indeed revolution was on the agenda, and might've happened, if not for another very profound astrological event that occurred in September 1966. This was a sextile (60*) of Uranus (again) and Neptune. This is another positive aspect that represented an unusual combination of powerful energies at work during the period. Again we have the need for freedom combined with sudden destruction of the old ways (Uranus), but this time creating new opportunities (sextile) for spiritual growth, artistic creativity, and idealism (Neptune).

Neptune is symbolic of the higher form of love. With Neptune in Scorpio, the sign of powerful emotions, enormous latent energy, and strong sense of purpose, it's no wonder there was an explosion of creativity and new ideas in the Arts and Music, as well as spiritual, sexual and chemical experimentation.

These astrological events, because they involve the outer planets, occur over a long period of time, affect a large number of people, influence social structures and can bring about great changes that take many years to manifest. They also affect generations in different ways since our natal (birth) astrology differs (particularly the outer planets). Whereas one generation may be open to the changes, another might be highly reactionary, as was the case in the 1960s. Even though young people in the '60s had virtually no power (the voting age was still 21), our in-your-face, extremely vocal radicalism and the violent conservative backlash only served to underline the hypocrisies, outdated attitudes and serious failings of the system."

Now - back to the present and near future -

In the mid-1960s Uranus and Pluto were both in Virgo. Next year Pluto will be back in an Earth sign, Capricorn, and Saturn will still be in an Earth sign, Virgo - 2 slow movers in Earth, not the same two, as in the 60s though, but still an Earthy emphasis. Uranus and Neptune in mutual reception in Aquarius and Pisces will form a semi-sextile aspect, July to September 2008, just before the US presidential election. Is there a very faint echo of the 1960s contained in this aspect? The semi-sextile is bound to be be less harmonious than the sextile they experienced then, it might well be be more of a summer of challenge than a summer of love.

Astrologer Maritha Pottenger here has this to say about semi-sextile aspects (30 degrees between)

"This aspect is also often ignored. It is “minor,” but significant if close (within one degree). Astrologers differ on meaning. Some will call it a harmony aspect; others a conflict aspect. It can operate both ways. As in any aspect, the most important element is the planets involved: are they naturally harmonious (sextile, trine one another) or naturally ambivalent, in conflict (square, quincunx, opposite one another in terms of the signs they rule)?.......I read the semi-sextile as a potential strength (mild) in terms of us being able to integrate the two planets, houses and signs involved, thinking especially in terms of carrying further with the later ones what was begun or established with the earlier houses and signs.......................From air to water,(as in Aquarius to Pisces)we move from intellectual insight to depth understanding. We perceive not just consciously but also unconsciously. We function intuitively as well as rationally."

I don't for a moment think we shall ever again see anything comparable to the hippy movement, but we might see a pale reflection of it. A movement with updated focus and followers who strain to see deeper than surface considerations. Use of new technology to assist in understanding things as yet unaccepted by the mainstream, which might help and heal us, and the ills we have inflicted upon our planet home by greed and wars.

PS:I highly recommend "Across the Universe" the movie!

"Sounds of laughter shades of life are ringing
Through my opened ears inciting and inviting me
Limitless undying Love which shines around me like a
million suns, It calls me on and on
Across the universe
Jai guru deva, om."

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Pluto Dominant

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Monday, October 29, 2007


Patriotism, astrologer C.E.O. Carter told us, in his Enclyclopedia of Psychological Astrology, is "a Cancerian trait and most patriots have this sign prominent". I'm not sure that works for me - I have natal Cancer rising, but don't consider myself patriotic - except in regard to the Earth.

He goes on to say "But many who are so called, and who perhaps have even performed deeds of great value to their country, have been actuated by such motives as duty (Saturn), resistance to aggression (Mars) or love of freedom (Jupiter or Uranus). Astrology enables true patriotism to be detected, and at the same time, although few national horoscopes are obtainable, it may usually be judged that a person who has many planets strong in a certain sign will do well for himself when in a country ruled by that sign, and, in turn, may benefit the country."

A variety of astrological charts are used by astrologers to represent the birth of the USA, rising signs differ, but I think that the Sun always lies in the sign of Cancer. I'm not a fan of astrological charts for countries. I feel that a chart set up for an inanimate entity describes a moment in time - nothing more, a moment whose "imprint" has no flesh and blood upon which to imprint itself (except of course upon babies born at that precise moment). I'm not a professional astrologer though, and am probably wrong. Assuming that I am wrong, if the USA's Sun sign is Cancer, and C.E.O Carter was right about the sign of Cancer being related to patriotism, then it's hardly surprising that the USA has always inspired its citizens with great patriotism.

What worries me a lot, as an alien here, is that a good proportion of people in the USA can see no wrong in their country. They see this as patriotism. There's also, thankfully, a growing group of more enlightened folk who see things as they actually are, accept that there are faults, and work towards change and progress. In my book, these are the true patriots.

Last week, at a local concert, a singer (well known country star) performed a self-penned song of praise for America and Americans, written after he'd felt outrage about a news article seen while doing a gig in the north-east. The article in question had criticised current conditions in the USA, and the US administration. At the end of the song the whole audience stood and cheered. If that song had been in protest about the war in Iraq, or likely bombing of Iran by the US, or about the poor in this country who have no social welfare safety net, or the children and families without access to health care.......or about what we are doing to the planet....or.....well, you get my drift....I'd have been on my feet cheering louder than anybody. It wasn't. I sat with my head bowed, feeling deeply disturbed.

When "America the Beautiful" was sung though, earlier the same evening, I had applauded along with everyone else, because the land is amazingly beautiful, it would be hard not to fall in love with certain parts of it.

C.E.O. Carter's assessment of patriotism may have been correct for his own time, and for his own country (Britain). We now live in different times, are considering a different country, with different needs. I'd say the astrological signature for patriotism nowadays would have to include some good Mercury and/or Virgo aspects to enable clear, critical thinking, and a little bit of forward-looking Uranus/Aquarius to enable us as citizens of the world, rather than of any particular country.

I wish America could see itself as part of the wider world instead of a large self-contained world of its own - best of all worlds, which can do no wrong. The plea "God Bless America", to my ears is all wrong! "God Bless the World" is the way forward now, the only way, in fact. If the sensation or emotion we call patriotism were to be be re-jigged, re-aligned to encompass the planet and all its peoples, we might see a flicker of hope for the future of this sad old world.

"The love of one's country is a splendid thing. But why should love stop at the border?" (Pablo Casals)

Blogger descends from soapbox.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Musical Yods, a Funnel, and rising hackles.

Concerts are like buses - you wait for ages, then two come along at once. Two concerts came along to our local theatre this week. Yipeee - a couple of nights out! Thursday's was a very enjoyable performance by a cappella group, Marcoux Corner. Their website is HERE - they'll serenade you with "Moondance" as you visit. We enjoyed their show a lot.

The four lads, Brent, Dave, Josh and Kevin hail originally from Minnesota and North Dakota. The group's wonderful harmonies led me to wonder whether there might be any astrological harmonies between them. Number One Daughter of HeWhoKnows kindly voluteered to ask the lads for their birth dates on my behalf.

(Left to right Dave, Josh, Brent and Kevin. Note the matching ties and sneakers, green, blue, pink and grey!)

I am not going to disclose the actual birth data here, it doesn't already appear on-line anywhere, but I've looked carefully at a 12 noon chart for each of them. Three of the four singers were born within a period of 6 months, so naturally the outer planet placements are very similar for them. The fourth member of the group is seven years younger.

In the charts of all four guys I was fascinated to find a Yod formation - two planets in close sextile(60 degrees between) both inconjunct(150 degrees between) a third planet, forming a kind of arrow. Astrologer Bob Marks describes such a formation HERE.

The sextiles in the four charts are formed by two slow-moving generational planets Pluto and Neptune, in Libra and Sagittarius respectively. For the youngest member of the group, Dave, this is stretched a little for Pluto is right at the end of Libra and Neptune has just moved on to 00 Capricorn - still a sextile aspect. There will, of course, be millions of people in this age group with the same sextile, the significance here is in the planet(s) at the pointy end of the Yod. These turn out to be personal, faster-moving, planets, definitely NOT the same for all members of the generation.

In each of the charts the Yod's arrow point is aimed at planet(s) in Taurus, which is one of the signs ruled by Venus, planet of music. Pluto, one of the generational planets forming the base of the Yod is in Libra, which is the other sign ruled by Venus.

The arrows point as follows:

Brent - to Mercury in Taurus
Dave - to Venus in Taurus and/or Sun at 2* Gemini
Josh - to Jupiter in Taurus
Kevin - to Mercury and Sun in Taurus

Interesting! As Bob Marks says - "an emphasis on one particular area of the life..... this focus frequently seems driven, compelling." And here the focus is on Taurus probably the most musical of all the 12 signs.

The opening act for Marcoux Corner on Thursday evening was Greg Klyma, described at his website as:

"Witty, down-home troubadour" (Austin Chronicle) -"Rust Belt Vagabond Greg Klyma is a character - a folk troubadour with a rock 'n' roll heart. He's played that character into his well-worn dreadnought acoustic guitar and A-frame mandolin. He's stomped it onto the soles of his shoes." For the better part of the last decade, Greg Klyma has toured the country as a solo acoustic act"

Greg happily gave his birth data to HeWhoKnows, including exact time of birth - he has obviously been asked for this before! He's a Sun Capricorn with 3 planets in Sagittarius, two in Scorpio, and Moon and Saturn in Taurus. His chart is one of those funnel shaped configurations, with most planets grouped in one area with "funnel"planet(s) opposite. In Greg's case most planets are at the top of his chart, not surprising for a guy who spends so much of his life on stage. The funnel planets are Moon and Saturn in Taurus (ruled by Venus, planet of music). Very appropriate - representing the outpouring of his musical energies. He's constantly on the road, so his 3 planets in Sagittarius(the astrological vagabond) are working well! Greg's songs and stories are witty, and his gentle, often self-deprecating humor is endearing.

Greg sings to welcome visitors on his MySpace page, then carries on with another song - a rather Sagittarian one, I reckon -

"You want the end of the rainbow? That rainbow doesn't touch down here. If you can't find something to believe in here, start looking in another town"


Friday's concert was billed as "Country Jazz Fusion". The Gatlin Brothers, led by Larry Gatlin, "fused" with a big band/orchestra of students from nearby Cameron University.

I swore off country music a while ago due to the political leaning which is often embraced by artists and fans of this genre in the USA. However, at the word "jazz", HWK pricked up his ears, he knew from previous shows that the Cameron University band is good stuff - so off we went. For me, it didn't work. The Gatlin brothers took over, the band hardly got a look in. And Larry Gatlin's last "flag waving" song got my hackles well and truly rising, I was the only member of the large audience not on my feet. I think I feel a soapbox coming on, it'll probably surface tomorrow.... and I'm most definitely sworn off country music.

Saturday, October 27, 2007


As we're currently travelling through the astrological terrain of Scorpio, and secrets are stock-in-trade of this zodiac sign, it's a good time to take a look at Post Secret, an ongoing "community art project" founded by Frank Warren.

From Wikipedia
"The simple concept of the project was that completely anonymous people decorate a postcard and portray a secret that they had never previously revealed. No restrictions were (or are) made on the content of the secret; only that it must be completely truthful and must never have been spoken before."

People with a lot of Scorpio in their natal charts are said to be secretive by nature, so I somehow doubt that many of them would wish to partake of Post Secret's opportunity. Keeping secrets is unlikely to present them with a psychological problem. Other folk, with little or no Scorpio in their nature, might well feel guilty or burdened by their secrets, and for them Post Secret may well provide a welcome outlet. I'll decline the offer myself - I reckon a secret is a secret is a secret!

If you haven't already stumbled upon Post Secret, this YouTube video shows some examples of contributors' postcards. There's also a Post Secret blog and a book.

In an interview with the originator of Post Secret, Frank Warren at How to Change the World blog the last question the interviewer asked was:

"What have you learned from all this?"

Answer: "We all carry a secret that would break your heart if you just knew what it was. And if we could remember that there might be more understanding and peace in the world."

A nice thought, but I'm not convinced that personal secrets are the cause of many of the ills in this world.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Mars People

Aries and Scorpio, as seen by American astrologer of the 20th century, Carl Payne Tobey in his book "Astrology Primer for the Millions". His assessments show us the similarities and differences between two zodiac signs ruled by the same planet. His views on "Venus People" and "Mercury's People" were covered here previously - now, we meet Mars people.

Mr.Tobey's comments about Aries and Scorpio can be applied not only to Sun Aries or Sun Scorpio people, but to anyone with emphasis in these signs (e.g. a cluster of planets, or Moon, ascendant or ruler of natal Sun in one of the signs.) He considered that both signs have relationship with Mars and Pluto, but he states in this book that Mars rules Scorpio while Pluto rules Aries - which is the reverse of what I've read elewhere. Pluto ruling Aries doesn't sound quite right to me...but what do I know? Anyway, traditionally Mars was ruler of both signs.

(I have not copied the author's exact words throughout, simply to cut down on typing finger fatigue, and I've omitted any remarks about personalities who are no longer in the public eye.)

Both signs are aggressive, impulsive, but executive. Alike, but different.

Scorpio tends towards family or group loyalty whilst Aries is more of an individualist, independent and daring. Both have drive but Scorpio's is emotional in source, Aries drive is vital, from the spirit. Aries initiates, Scorpio reacts. Aries burns, Scorpio boils.

Aries is the natural pioneer, able to survive alone if necessary. Business pioneers are often found to have Aries strong in their charts, and many Taureans who are pioneers are often found to have a cluster of natal Aries planets.

Scorpio believes in working as a team. Wary of the stranger considering him a potential enemy, suspicious and alert for possibility of betrayal. Scorpio expects loyalty and is badly hurt if let down by others.

The ancients associated Scorpio with sex and it is a strong feature in the Scorpio individual, but can also be associated with a guilt complex (Scorpio ministers Billy Sunday and Billy Graham preaching against sin).

Scorpio produces excellent executives, loyal and inspiring loyalty, able to be secretive when secrecy is called for.

Both Scorpio and Aries are accident prone. Aries often sustains injuries to the head, Scorpio seems to undergo more surgery than average.

Will power is a strong feature of Aries people. They are capable of fighting off great physical pain, and even disease by strength of will.

Aries intends to be master of its own destiny. Unlike Taurus/Libra(Venus People) it does not wait for opportunity too come along, it goes after it.

Both these signs are always active, nothing lethargic about them. Aries tends to live in the present and future, Scorpio in the present and past, but both emphasise the NOW.

A characteristic difference between Aries and Scorpio is that Scorpio cannot hide its feelings, being too emotional for that. Aries can - completely - it is too proud to let others know it needs then and can always find a way of going it alone if necessary.

Aries strength comes from inside, Scorpio draws strength from others, in some cases to the extent of becoming a psychic vampire.

Aries finds it easy to break away from its heredity, Scorpio is the reverse. Aries is likely to marry into a different race or religion, Scorpio more likely to marry someone who resembles a member of their own family.

Most of what Mr Tobey has to say about the individual signs is much the same as other astrologers have said (many times). What I like about these comparisons is the way a fundmental similarity can be seen, shining through the differences - something I hadn't appreciated before. Mars people are fundamentally different from Venus and Mercury people, but fundamentally similar to each other.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Soapbox Time

Lots of things tempt me to drag out a personal soapbox and leap upon it, here's the latest.

Mike Gravel, Alaska's former senator, currently a Democratic presidential candidate, is being excluded from the TV debate sponsored by NBC, scheduled for 30 October. He has written about it HERE.

NBC have, apparently laid out criteria which Mr Gravel does not meet, he tells about it thus:

"When my staff called NBC directly to find out why I was now barred from attending, Chuck Todd, NBC news' political director, told us that there were three criteria we did not meet, namely that I had not campaigned in New Hampshire and/or Iowa at least 14 times in the past year, that I was not polling at 5% and that I hadn't raised $1 million.

Since I announced my candidacy for the Democratic Nomination for President of the United States on April 17, 2006, I have certainly traveled to New Hampshire and Iowa at least 14 times. And, according to a recent CNN poll, I am tied with Joe Biden, Dennis Kucinich and Chris Dodd.

NBC claims I haven't raised enough money to qualify. I'm proud of the fact that I don't collect millions from special interests........ By stifling my voice on the basis of fundraising dollars, NBC is reinforcing the power of money over our national political discussion and our freedom.

But why has NBC suddenly come up with "requirements" designed to exclude me from the debate?"

As I see it this is another attempt by the mainstream media to force feed its audience with what THEY want them to hear and see, for corporate reasons.

Mike Gravel has not received a fraction of the exposure of the MSMs chosen big 3 - Clinton, Obama and Edwards, yet his voice is one I intuitively trust, along with that of Dennis Kucinich. These two men are the real deal, there aren't many like this in politics, either here or in Britain - they deserve to be treasured.

Another very telling point from Mr Gravel's article :

"The fact that NBC is owned by General Electric, one of the world's leading military contractors, is frightening and certainly smacks of censorship directed at the most outspoken critic of the influence that the military-industrial complex holds over this great nation. In the past decade, GE has benefited financially from the global war on terrorism and currently holds almost $2 billion in military contracts"

The Satya Center ran an excellent article in July "Mike Gravel: Still Principled After All These Years", which reminds us that

" During the 1960s, he was often in the news as one of Congress’s fiercest opponents of the Vietnam War. In his most famous act, Gravel helped make public the Pentagon Papers by carrying them into the Senate in two suitcases and reading them into the record - for a time, with tears streaming down his face".

Here's his 12 noon chart (birth time unknown).

Sun in steadfast Taurus, with three planets in Gemini, lightening the Earthiness, giving him wings and a flair for communication. Mars conjunct Uranus in Aries represents the determined fighter for people's rights. Saturn (rules and laws), purely Saturnian in its own sign of Capricorn, widely trines and blends with his Taurus Sun. Mr Gravel's Moon at 12noon was in Sagittarius - a birth before 6am would take it back to Scorpio - it's hard to say which is more likely - he has the passion for a cause which says Scorpio, but he also displays the bluntness of Sagittarius - I'd go for Sagittarius on balance.

Transiting Mars, now around 8* Cancer is coming up to opposition with Mr Gravel's natal Saturn - perhaps indicating the current struggle.

America may never see a President Gravel, but as long as his voice is allowed to be heard, then the country has an opportunity to hear truths which will be forthcoming from few others.

There's an on-line petition - if you feel as I do about this, please click-on over there and sign.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Neptune on TV

There's a distinctly Neptunian flavour to TV, in the USA, this fall. Neptune in Aquarius is working well.

Among the shows on offer are Lisa Williams: Life Among the Dead and Psychic Challenge. Also, coming up this week Phenomenon with Uri Geller.

We've watched Lisa Williams' show a few times, and two episodes of "Psychic Challenge". We'll no doubt sample "Phenomenon" this week.

This type of show is always interesting, but usually there's a little cynicism to contend with, Chez Twilight. Lisa Williams, on the face of it, is amazing, but HeWhoKnows wonders aloud whether she and/or a team of researchers could easily find out all or most of the information she manages to come up with for her clients.

"Psychic Challenge" is fascinating and enjoyable. I suppose it could be open to manipulation, but somehow I doubt it - hard editing maybe, but no more.

Last week, in a kind of cross-over, Lisa Williams took part in an experiment on "Psychic Challenge". She, seated behind a wall, was the celebrity whose identity the 4 psychic contestants were challenged to guess. They were told only that the person behind the wall was "a celebrity". One of the contestants expressed a feeling that there may be a link with astrology, but later Lisa Williams said that she is not interested in astrology - "not into it". No reason why she should be, but I found it rather surprising that she was so definite about it, with apparently no curiosity about the subject at all.

I try to remain open-minded about the whole psychic scene. I much prefer the type of experiments carried out in "Psychic Challenge" to the "communicating with the dead" department. Whether a medium is actually communicating with loved ones who have died is, for me, a moot point - the medium could be just as easily reading the client's own mind/heart, without even realising it - that's something I find much easier to accept.

We're looking forward to "Phenomenon" this week, it'll complete a Neptunian hat-trick.

There's no doubt in my mind that "something is going on" in psychic phenomena - something over and above the norm. As in astrology, nobody can know for certain what that "something" is. It is though, for sure, typically Neptunian!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Neil Diamond

I don't see Neil Diamond as a typical example of Sun Aquarius - not that there could ever be a typical example of such a maverick sign. He's an early Sun Aquarian, 24 January 1941, New York City, 11.04 pm according to Khaldea

Neil's a very Earthy Aquarian. 3 planets in Taurus, Moon and Venus in Capricorn, Neptune in Virgo. Airy Libra ascendant, which blends well with his Aquarius Sun. No planet in Water, but Cancer at midheaven.

In interview Neil has described himself as "a meat and potatoes kind of guy". That's not Aquarius - that's Earth.

He is said to be shy when off stage. This must be why, over the years, he has stayed in the background of show-biz razzamatazz. He gives few interviews. Yet on-stage he sparkles just like his name.

A few diamond-bright (groan) clues to his personality: first from a Larry King interview in 2003:

DIAMOND: -- the performing is -- you know, it's all about noise and being extroverted, which I'm not an extroverted kind of person, but that's evidently part of my personality and...
KING: You're basically shy, right? I presume -- you don't do a lot of interviews.
DIAMOND: No. Very few.
KING: You don't like talking about yourself a lot, right?
DIAMOND: Don't like talking about myself. And you know, the music should say everything and the performance should say everything and...
KING: So let's say you're introverted. You're shy. What happens on stage?
DIAMOND: Well, that's... KING: You're the last one to have a shy act.
DIAMOND: That's a different person. That's not me. That's that other guy up there."

The close opposition between Pluto in Leo and Sun in Aquarius in his natal chart may indicate two sides to his personality. Many Sun Aquarians of around his age (myself included) have this aspect between Sun and Pluto. Neil's is a much tighter opposition than my own though, and his natal Pluto in Leo is in 10th house - "on the public stage", with Sun at the base of the chart, in 4th - in "the home".

And this from a Rolling Stone article:

"Safety is a priority for Diamond, who has worked with much the same staff in the same L.A. offices for thirty years. Tiny frog figurines, some of them strumming guitars, decorate available surfaces, and the bathroom walls are covered with needlepoint sayings (over the toilet, inexplicably: HOME IS WHERE THE HEART IS)".

How Taurus is that!? Or maybe Sun in 4th? It ain't Aquarius!

Also this, from an interview with Neil at Guardian Unlimited :-

"He doesn't sound happy, in person or on the turntable.

'That's what I am. I'm one of those guys who can't get rid of that melancholia.'

Where does it come from, this melancholia?

'I don't know. I was born that way'. "

Hmm - I don't know either! Moon and Venus in Capricorn, perhaps. They happen to be semi-sextile Sun and Mercury in Aquarius. Or is it that Sun/Pluto opposition again, I wonder?

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Bloggers Anonymous...Hi, I'm Twilight.....

I've been "tagged" by blogging friend Michelle from Crow's Feet to contribute to a meme "Why do you blog?", originated by Mel at Monday Morning Power.
Mel categorises reasons for blogging under the headings listed below. All could be equally relevant to specialised astrology blogging. He suggests ranking the categories on a scale of 0 to 10. I had to smile when I realised that all rate a 10 for me with the exception of money, which is a 0. All or nothing pretty well sums up my personality, I guess, it must be my Aries Moon and Mars in Scorpio. I tittered again after leaving my score on the site, Mel replied to the effect that my score probably means I'm a passionate type of person - that goes with the astrological territory!

Full explanation of the categories is given on Mel's blog.


I intended to relate those to astrology, but tied myself in knots in the process, so decided to leave it alone!

This is my own brief description of why I blog, which is also tacked on at the end of the list below and will be added to the list on the originator's site.

Hi...I'm Twilight, my blog is called Learning Curve on the Ecliptic I write about astrology. I know that some people look on astrology as silly supersition, I have reason to believe otherwise. Two main reasons for blogging: I enjoy writing, and while continuing to learn, I like sharing my discoveries on how astrology relates to art, music, politics, movies, TV, current affairs, and my own experiences. I often compile a related video with music to include in my blog. My representative blog entry: the American political scene is at the front of my mind just now, so a link to this recent post Holding on for a Hero, my video compilation included.

I'm not going to do any tagging , but the meme is open to anyone to join. SEE HERE
I'll copy the details, and list of blogs so far entered :

**Start Copy Here**
We have a voice;
We must be heard;
Therefore we blog;
Now spread the word!

This meme is based on a recent post that was conducted asking the question “Why do you Blog?” and the rewrite “Why do you Blog? - Reworked.” The purpose of this meme is to tell our tales by spreading the reasons that we blog to as many sites as possible. We get to explain ourselves, direct traffic to our site and highlight our most important, most representative or most relevant post in an SEO favorable format. This will be a positive experience for everyone who wants to get involved. This will enable you to create a short advertisement for your site that will be spread across the blogesphere; a growing directory of blogs.This is an open meme. You do not have to be tagged to join in. All you have to do is follow the rules.Please let me know when you have added your site by leaving a comment on “Complete List” with a link to your post. This will insure an up-to-date list, giving you even greater distribution. You then have the option of copying the growing list back to your site.


Create an inventive post title
Write a brief introduction to the meme.
Copy from “**Start Copy Here**” through “**End Copy Here**”Paste into your post
At the end of the “*list*”, before “**End copy here**”, please add your name, site name (with link), a very brief description (2-3 sentences) of why you blog, and your most important, most representative, or most relevant post (with link.)
Tag at least 5 others to participate.
Leave a comment and a link to your post on “Complete List”*List*

My name is Mel and I am the Author of Attitude, the Ultimate Power, aka Monday Morning Power. I blog because I am passionate about happiness and living in the moment. I want to spread the concept that we are in control of our own lives and can choose how we act and react. My site is focused on the Pursuit, Capture, Care and Feeding of a Positive Mental Attitude. One of my most representative posts is “Happiness Vs. Human Nature.

I am Max and I offer weekly articles on MAX. Why do I blog? I do it because I want to share my thoughts with you guys. I present a new and interesting way of transmitting philosophical thoughts: funny, engaging and intriguing! My funniest, yet intriguing, post is "Don't you just love People?"

I am the Great and Powerful Baba Doodlius. My 100% factual blog The Thoughts and Sayings Of Baba Doodlius is intended to educate all of you curious readers about the Truth behind the Great Secrets of the Universe. I have the Truth! Can you handle the Truth? For a sample of my powers of enlightenment, read my Revelation of the terrible secret of Bigfoot, aka Don't get stepped on.

My name is Amelia and I am the Author of Amel's Realm. I blog because I need to voice everything in my world so that I won't explode. My site is all about thoughts, experiences, fears, problems, misadventures, hopes, and dreams of an introverted tropical girl in a foreign land (Finland). One of my most representative posts is On Trust and Relationship.

I am Geoff of and I blog for reasons as diverse and as fickle as my moods. Mostly I blog because I'm firmly convinced I've figured a few things out and that the world will benefit from my experience the same way I've benefited from others' experiences. One post that I feel captures my emotional involvement and my ire (but not my humor as much) is Decision time.

My name is Judy and I am the Author of ~~Sugar Queen's Dream~~. I blog because it's cheap therapy and I have something to say. I feel my most powerful post is called “The Myths of Smoking......

My name is Sindi and I have written a blog entitled Life is a roller coaster!. My blog is based on the ups and downs of everyday life. I started blogging because I was going through some hard times and I wanted to meet new people to talk to. I like to write and was hoping people might enjoy reading what I have to say. I think the most inspiring post I have written to date is We Effect So Many.

People call me the Midgetmanofsteel (although I’m neither a midget, nor made of steel). I am the sole author the blog Mental Poo: a mostly true and humorous account of things that have happened to me, are happening to me, or are just filling my head and taking up valuable space where images of women should be. You can get a sneak peek into my mess of a brain by reading “Raisins are People” – a true account of my son’s first field trip.

My name is Sandee and I have a blog called Comedy Plus. My blog is just for fun, and I started it to poke fun about everyday life. My reason for blogging is to have fun and meet new friends. I have done both beyond my wildest dreams. I have posted lots of jokes, but when ask what my favorite joke is, I always pick Anger Management

My name is Lynda. I blog to as a way to expose my writings and to spread my knowledge on the subject of love. My primary blog (I have 15) is lynda's loft. My favorite piece would be I LOVE..... I have over 300 original poems and posts dealing with the wonderful and painful world of love. I love love!

My name Adrian, although most of you probably know me as the Mighty Genie King. I am the author First Time Dad. I started blogging as a way to document my growing up pains as my wife and I raise our daughter. I hope that one day my daughter will be able to look at this and get an idea what life was like "back then". Now I blog about everything but the main focus is still the same! One of my favorite posts is Goodnight Sweetheart! Hello Basil! Eh...Who's Basil...

Hello, my name is Ann and I'm the author of A Nice Place in the Sun. I blog because I care about people and want to make them happy. My site is focused on humorous, inspiring, and nostalgic posts about life, children, and memories. My most representative post, or the post where I'm most myself is "The Craziest Experience Of My Life."

We are a team of writers, and everyone calls us NAFA, so that would be our name. We are the proud authors of NAFASG©™ - United And Dedicated Behind You™. Blogging, to us, is a form of spreading useful information and sharing our knowledge to every part of the world in order to contribute to the betterment of our global community. The post that we feel would be representative of our blog and the global community at large is The Sociological Interaction.

Hola! This is Mariuca and I blog because writing is what makes me whole. I write about anything under the sun from life, love, friends to cats and work. I tend to write best when under pressure and my personal favourite post from Mariuca is Love in Disarray.

My name is Susan and I am the Owner of ~~Wake up America ~~, which is a political, right leaning blog. I blog because I believe we need more voices out there to separate fact from fiction, to support our troops and to high light the lack of ethics from journalists today. I feel my most powerful post is called "Are You Proud to be an American......"

"Here I am :-) My name is Mauro and I'm the author of 1 Million Love Messages ... maybe the biggest love challenge in the blogosphere. Why I blog ??? Because I believe that bloggers can make a difference in the world. That's my challenge! My favourite post it's (for sure) Adam Donkus & Lizzie's Love History."

Hi there World I am Aussie, the author of Little Aussie Cynic and I want to Breathe among others. I was recently asked:"Why Do you Blog?" this takes me back to the beginning... I started blogging in an attempt to get people thinking, using my cynical humour as a tool to make people laugh, think and at times get the blood pumping.... Each of my Blogs takes in a little peice of my varied personality but the one which discribes me best would have to be There is Always a Natural Way the latest edition to the Aussie Cynic Family...

I am Zubli Zainordin, in Total Happiness, I organize the Book Project blog and co-author Santa's Community Blog and Hall Of Fame Blog. I blog with the purpose of documenting about my self for my own reference, my future generations and friends who prefer to know me. I also share vital and valuable information entirely on total happiness. I believe in Santa Claus and I share the Spirit of Christmas within this Blog World. In addition I promote bloggers, their blogs, and invite them to share their blogging experiences, and together with Shinade, I review their blogs and award them with the Zubli and Shinade Recommended Read awards. Those who continuously show continuous blogging improvements shall be residence of the Hall Of Fame blog.

I'm Holly from Mama Pajama. I am a stay-at-home mom to my two year old son, Cameron. He is such a joy in our lives. I just stumbled across blogging after watching a television show. I wish I had found it sooner, as it has been so much fun meeting people all across the globe. It's my own place to share about my family, interests, likes, dislikes, etc. I love that I've found my own little circle of blog buddies that will read the stuff I have to mundane or silly as it might be! LOL It's fun leaving others comments, and knowing that something I post or comment just might make someone smile that day. I'm already having a hard time turning off my computer at night, so I'm hoping to keep this blogging addiction under control. My favorite post so far is Lucky Girl.

I'm Kathleen of Invisible Keepsakes.Well, I blog because if I don't, I'll go mad and get very hard to live with. I need a tableau for my creative endeavours. I write poetry. That is to say, I am a poet. I'm not a great poet; nor am I a deep poet, but I love wordplay and creating images and entertaining people with my ideas and interpretations of events and news and random topics. I've written quite a lot of poems, some have even been published, but I think the one I would have you read is Bad Dawg #7 because I feel so strongly about it.

I am Beth or Skipper - whoever you are most comfortable with, and I author My Life Starts at Forty Two. I am really trying to turn my life and myself around - and become the best me that I can. It is not always easy with family, illness, etc, but I refuse to give up. This is my journal of journey. One of the best posts that I can use to describe me is The Decision.

I am Delirious the creator of Lifeonalimb. I always wished I could have my own little newspaper and write all of the columns myself. But since I probably wouldn't make enough money to pay for the paper to publish it, I decided to go the "free route" instead. I don't think this is my best post, but probably one that most people would enjoy; death-defying Stop in, check it out, leave a comment, then go get therapy.

I am Bridget from "And Miles To Go Before We Sleep"I am a stay at home mom of five young children, ages 1-12, three of which have special needs. Two of my boys are afflicted with Autism so it is a very busy household. I started bogging because our family moves around a lot and we ar very far away from our families and this was a great was to stay in touch with them. I met so many great people through blogging and I enjoyed it so much that I now feel like it's another job (one that I enjoy). My favorite post so far has to be The Old Tree In The Middle Of The Dry Desert

My name is Winsome Gunning and I am an artist who started blogging about `The Creative Process’ and `The Power of Listening to Silence’ on Winsome Gunning Art Walk. From my own listening to silence came A New Green Earthmy personal voice for green change. About DioxinAbout Simple Ways and A Green Earth are also my voices for green change. On these two blogs I publish contemporary green news from around the world.I am the wily Blogolope, and I blog for fun and to get things off my chest and hopefully be funny. I created Blogolope because I thought it would be fun, simple as that. Blogolope to Assist Santa, Elves if a funny post. is an example of the issues about which I have felt compelled to write.

Hi, My name is Janice Ng & I'm the miracle mum from "This is a miracle". I started to blog to document the foot steps of my 2 boys : Amos & Zachary. With this blog, they are able to look back what they have been through: their joy, excitement, laughter, fighting, crying, screaming... etc when they grow up. One of my favourite post is "The loving brothers" on how the 2 brothers showed they tenderly care through a piece of strawberry cake!!

My name is Michelle of Crow's Feet . I started writing because I love words and wanted to make people feel... and think, but I soon realised that writing is about connecting. Because the more we connect to others - the more we learn about ourselves. I'm picking my post Small Miracles as representing who I am, why I blog... and why I love the internet.

Hi...I'm Twilight, my blog is called Learning Curve on the Ecliptic I write about astrology. I know that some people look on astrology as silly supersition, I have reason to believe otherwise. Two main reasons for blogging: I enjoy writing, and while continuing to learn, I like sharing my discoveries on how astrology relates to art, music, politics, movies, TV, current affairs, and my own experiences. I often compile a related video with music to include in my blog. My representative blog entry: the American political scene is at the front of my mind just now, so a link to this recent post Holding on for a Hero, my video compilation included.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Female artists, children's books, sextiles & semis

Female artists in general were thin on the ground in the 19th/early 20th century, but it isn't surprising that women would excel in the specialised genre of illustrating children, or for children - it's in their blood. The ability to visualise a children's world, what pleases them - whimsy and gentle fantasy, are likely to be stock-in-trade. There were male illustrators too, of course, but in this genre the ladies managed to find a more level playingfield. In their era, this kind of art would have presented a more proper pursuit for the lady with artistic talent who didn't wish to damage her reputation by joining those naughty bohemians, living it up(or down)in Paris.

The five female artists whose work I decided to look at were all born in the latter part of the 19th century. Their best work was in illustrating famous books for children, such as 'Alice in Wonderland', 'The Water Babies', 'The Pied Piper'. There were also, of course, the chubby cheeked kids,the pretty fairies and the constant tweeness - pleasant enough in small doses. For passing readers not familiar with the term "twee", in Britain it's used to describe anything excessively cute, dainty, delicate, whimsical, or kind of ultra- homely. I've noticed, by the way, that in the USA tweeness is quite popular.

Examples, below, of the styles of the 5 featured artists: top right Mabel Lucy Attwell.Top left: Bessie Pease Gutmann

Cicely Mary Barker

Jessie Wilcox Smith

I've featured three English artists and two from the USA.

Mabel Lucy Attwell born in London, England 4 June 1879

Cicely Mary Barker born in London, 28 June 1895

Kate Greenaway born in London 17 March 1846

Bessie Pease Gutmann born in Philadelphia PA, USA 8 April 1876

Jessie Wilcox Smith born in Philadelphia PA on 6 September 1863
(The small illustration at the beginning of this entry is by her.)

I compared the five 12 noon charts, concentrating only on positions of Venus (art), Neptune(imagination), Mercury(communication)and Jupiter(publishing), looking for any similarities.

There's a goodly amount of Taurus and/or Cancer showing - this seems appropriate to the subject matter - Cancer ruled by Moon and representing mothers, nurturing, etc. Taurus ruled by Venus - love, earthy, beauty - (and probably tweeness!)

The sextile and semi-sextile came up a lot. describes these aspects thus:

Sextile -a soft energy is generally ascribed to this aspect. Sextiles are about the easy and unencumbered flow of energy between two planets. There is a lack of tension inherent in this aspect which translates to the ability of the individual to accomplish much. Attraction is present, and self-expression is enhanced.

Semi-sextile - this Aspect is not quite as harmonious in tone as a sextile. Further, there tends to be a fated quality to this Aspect. Semi-sextiles tend to create minor tension..... unease is the result, and a sense that something should be done (or that if it were done, all would be better). This Aspect also has a karmic tie. When two planets are semi-sextiling each other, we need to know that there is a lesson (albeit a small one) to be dealt with and effectively overcome. This lesson may well come to us from our past. Lastly, with this Aspect, there is always that karmic connection. Something is out there, and while we're not quite sure what it is, we just can't seem to break away from it. Is this yet another lesson from the semi-sextile?

Sextiles between relevant planets in these charts link well to the art we're considering. Interesting that the sextile is described as "soft energy" - that does seem particularly appropriate. I'm not sure about the semi-sextiles - karmic connections? Could be! Anyway, here are the similarities:

- Venus on South Node(sensitive point in chart) sextile Mercury. Neptune sextile Jupiter

Barker - Venus and Neptune in sextile, Jupiter semi-sextile both planets. Mercury semi-sextile both Pluto and Mars

Greenaway - Venus sextile Jupiter, semi-sextile Mercury. Neptune/Saturn conjunction semi- sextile Sun

Gutmann - Venus sextile Mercury with Neptune semi-sextile both those planets. Jupiter opposes Venus, trines Mercury.

Smith - Libran stellium of Mercury, Venus and Saturn opposed by Neptune in Aries. Venus semi-sextile Sun. Jupiter also in Libra trines Uranus, semi-sextiles Mars.

More of the work of each of these artists can be explored via Google Image.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Hopes and Wishes

I have a book by astrologer Ivy M. Goldstein-Jacobson, "Here and There in Astrology". Instead of the usual printers' font, its pages are photographs of Mrs. Jacobson's actual typing. To today's eyes this looks distinctly odd in a hard-backed book. The book was first published in 1961. It contains all manner of astrological tid-bits which provide food for thought. In the Introduction the author says that the first part of the book is "designed to give the student of astrology a new, different and much simpler approach to his work with natal charts...."

Here's a sample from Part 1, starting at page 71 - "What you want and whether you get it"

Mrs Jacobson explains that with regard to a person's hopes and wishes it is to the 11th house in a natal chart we should first look - this denotes what is wanted. Whether it is achieved is shown by the planet ruling the sign on the cusp of the 11th house. "Be sure to note the distinction we make here", says Mrs. Jacobson. An intercepted sign within the 11th house will denote a secondary, less important desire, often held in abeyance due to circumstances over which the native has little control. It might also denote a future desire.

Mrs Jacobson goes on to describe how those with Fire, Air, Water and Earth signs on the cusp of 11th house will tend to hope or yearn.

(Parts of what follows are exact quotes and parts are shortened versions in my own words.)

Briefly: Fire basically wishes for spiritual things or whatever is creative or touches the heart and soul.

Earth, practical and material things, roots, future security.

Air, whatever is scientific, intellectual, these signs are diffuse having "only a light hold on what they want when they get it.....they desire to spread their knowledge, they are teachers".

sign on the cusp of the 11th - these need to satisfy their extra sensory perception through deep understanding of the mystical, whatever appeals to the imagination and emotions.

An intercepted sign adds its element characteristics.

Mrs Jacobson then tells us that the sign on the 11th cusp and that of any intercepted sign may be ruled by more than one planet. We must look to the houses where these are placed to find out in which department of life the hopes and wishes are being sought...."the more houses involved, the more diversified the desires".

The next thing to note is the relationship of such houses to the 11th house itself, square, trine, opposite, etc. this will show whether the 11th cusp ruler will "find conditions easy to handle or not, in gaining his hopes".

5th opposes 11th - your circumstances involve opposition and non-cooperation, success is difficult. An opposition represents "anything that is as far from you at birth as possible, such as marriage for example - you have to grow up before you can attain it. On the other hand an opposition is like a full moon lighting whatever is before are aware what you have to face in life. You always have to break a bond to overcome opposition.....dearest wish often comes true late in life".

4th and 6th are quincunx the 11th Circumstances have to undergo radical reorganisation before whishes can be attained. Quincunx can indicate that you may need to pay another's debts, or put out money for support, etc. ("The quincunx is basically the distance from the ascendant to the 6th and from 8th to ascendant"). Discrimination needed in deciding what it is you want the most.

3rd and 7th are trine the 11th - Happy circumstances make it easy to attain one's wishes through family or strangers, or by moving home or country ("because the original measurement of the trine falls between ascendant and 5th and 9th houses"). This is the luckiest aspect of all.

2nd and 8th are square the 11th
, putting obstacles in your way due frequently to financial circumstances. ("Squares make you go to extremes of effort since they are basically the distance between ascendant and 4th or 10th.") Obstacles may be due to family/parental factors, they being unable to provide what you need, especially in childhood.

1st and 9th sextile 11th. "Opportunities like the postman will always knock twice affording excellent chances of success through own effort or that of people you talk to, since the sextile is basically the distance from ascendant to 3rd and from 11th itself."

10th and 12th are semi-sextile to the 11th. Circumstances favour gaining some hopes and wishes, but not as easily as via the sextile. ("Semi-sextile is basically the distance between ascendant and 2nd or 12th"). You may find you have only half a chance due to past mistakes.

The 11th may be said to conjunct itself, and when the ruler of the 11th is there it means that circumstances are with you: your hopes and wishes are within easy grasp. Friends are there when needed.

There are other details, covering mutual reception, retrograde and stationary planets: interpretations for these are fairly easy to guess, but if anyone is interested I'll add them via a comment.

I've experimented, using my own chart - I have Aries on the 11th cusp natally, with Taurus intercepted in 11th house. Mars, ruler of Aries lies in 5th (opposing), Venus ruler of Taurus lies in 6th(quincunx). Yes, this method gives a reasonably accurate result, for me!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

My route to astrology

Mercury has now begun a period of apparent retrograde motion and, just for today, I'm going to back-track too, with an edited version of a posting from my early blogging days, last year. This traces my somewhat foggy road to astrology.

Astrology has played some part in my life for over 50 years, although for the greater part of that time my knowledge was sketchy at best. In my youth the astrology bandwagon had not started its roll, the spread of home computers and the internet was still a gleam in some entrepreneur's eye.

I lived in England, in a small town where the library and book shops carried nothing on astrology. I'd scour magazines, looking for articles to expand on the scanty Sun sign columns in our newspapers. I have no idea why I was drawn to the subject, it was never introduced to me by family or friend, it seemed to call to me - but then I found that I had to go hunting to find it! The answer probably lies somewhere in my natal chart, Uranus on South Node might have something to do with it, or Sun in 8th house. I know two other people born the same week as me, in the same town, and neither has the slightest interest in the stars, so it's unlikely to be related to the slower planets. The main difference I can see, without knowing their times of birth, is that Mercury trines Neptune and (widely)Uranus in my chart, but not in theirs.

In the late 1960s things began to look up. Hippies, their culture, and hope for a New Age brought astrology more into public focus. Books on the subject became more easily available. By then I'd moved from small town to big city, married and awaited divorce. I puzzled over the fact that my marriage to a Libra Sun person had failed rapidly and dismally. I read everything I could find to expand my knowledge, but nothing enabled me to move much beyond Sun signs. I was hampered by my blind-spot in mathematics, and at this point I'd never even heard the word "ephemeris", let alone seen one.

In the early 1970s with a new location, new job and new relationship, a fresh era dawned. Amongst my office colleagues, back then, were a few who shared an interest in astrology. They introduced me to Tarot, and a New Age shop where I bought cards, books and an enormous pile of back issues of "Prediction" magazine which contained lots of astrology articles. I bought my first real astrology report around this time, from an advert in one of the magazines.

Colleagues shared my interest, but still real astrology was beyond our understanding. We were like kids playing blindman's buff. My copy of Linda Goodman's "Sun Signs" did the rounds of our office a few times, and eventually disappeared. I'd started concentrating more on learning the Tarot, but then I received, as a surprise gift, a book which contained tables of planetary positions, a rudimentary ephemeris in fact. This was like oxygen to me! At last I could take a step forward. I was was able to investigate more, and several matters which had been puzzling me started, at last, to fall into place.

I've never felt drawn to the esoteric or spiritual sides of the subject, my interest has always been one of practical curiosity, backed with solid faith that "something is going on", and trying to satisfy myself as to what that "something" is, or what it might possibly be. I'm not even particularly interested in prediction for its own sake. I just like to experiment, observe and wonder.

Knowing that there was much more to astrology than Sun signs, I still carried on following those newspaper columns. They presented something regular to hold on to, until I was able reach a point from which I could progress. Real change did come eventually with the acquisition of a home computer at the end of 2001. Astrology sites, forums and message boards helped me to broaden my knowledge. Later came an even better opportunity to learn, with the purchase of astrology software and a collection of secondhand astrology books. I suddenly had the keys to a treasure trove!

It's not too surprising that there seem to be very few professional astrologers in my age group. I often feel envious of subsequent generations, who have had so much information and assistance easily available. That being as it may, because of everything I'd absorbed, knowingly and unknowingly over a period of some 50 years, learning some of the complexities has come, and is still coming, with surprising ease, and..........the rest is bloggery.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Holding On For A Hero

In spite of telling myself to forget about US politics I haven't yet managed to do so. It's in the air, part of the atmosphere, you can't surf the net, watch TV or pick up a newspaper without bumping into it. So, for a little longer I'll have to put up with Political Frustration Station. Dang! I blame my relocated Aquarius ascendant!

What the USA needs, we often remark, here at Chez Twilight, is a hero - or more accurately a heroic leader. The country is in the Slough of Despond these days. Nothing seems to raise many Americans from their gloomy outlook - even a Nobel Peace Prize for one of their own. A good proportion of them immediately seeks to discredit the recipient, list his shortcomings, and identify failings. So he's not the one. A heroic leader must be lauded by a much greater majority.

What would we look for in the astrology of such a leader? I'm tempted to say that astrology would come second - we'd first be hit between the eyes by his/her charisma. We wouldn't need to search astrological charts to find someone with potential - it would be staring us in the face. What might the chart of such a being contain though?

The classic answer would be a good dose of Leo to attract attention, but I don't think Leo alone equals charisma. Leo provides the vehicle to show it off - that's all. The rest of the ingredients must come from some magical mix of planets, signs and aspects in the natal chart which somehow connect with the communal mindset and needs of a particular time or era.

On the resume of a heroic leader in any era we'd hope to find evidence of vision (Aquarius), passion(Scorpio), discipline(Saturn), persistence (Fixed signs), good judgement and decisiveness (not sure, Cardinal signs and a combination of many factors?) He'd need to be empathetic(Water signs), a team builder(Air signs), and though an extrovert to the public(Leo), have the ability to be introspective also(12th house). Above all - top of my own list - strength and integrity(not sure how that would show - a well configured and balanced chart with appropriate planets close to the angles?)

In the current era of despondency the communal mindset here is most likely focused on truth and integrity, first and foremost. The more politically savvy amongst us could no doubt identify some of the above characteristics in one or more of the current presidential candidates. Those less interested in politics though need to be hit between the eyes before they respond, and that just isn't happening as far as I can see.

No truly obvious heroic leader stands before us now. Perhaps one might evolve from present options, given time. Or perhaps the time isn't yet ripe for one of my favourite sayings to materialise "Cometh the hour, cometh the man". Maybe the hour has not yet cometh.

Where have all the good men gone
And where are all the gods?
Where's the street-wise Hercules
To fight the rising odds?
Isn't there a white knight upon a fiery steed?
Late at night I toss and turn and dream
of what I need

I need a hero
I'm holding out for a hero 'til the end of the night
He's gotta be strong
And he's gotta be fast
And he's gotta be fresh from the fight
I need a hero
I'm holding out for a hero 'til the morning light
He's gotta be sure
And it's gotta be soon
And he's gotta be larger than life....................

(From "Holding Out For a Hero". Lyrics by Jim Steinman and Dean Pitchford)

Monday, October 15, 2007

Coulter versus Deutsch

Channel flicking on Friday night, we stumbled upon a show called "The Big Idea". The presenter, Donnie Deutsch, who I'd never seen before, was talking to someone I immediately recognised, a lanky blonde with a hard angular face - Ann Coulter.

"Eeeuuuuww - shall we watch and learn?" I asked.

"On your own head be it, don't be surprised if you blow a fuse!" muttered HeWhoKnows.

Ye gods! That is some hard case! Coulter, I mean, not HeWhoKnows.

There's a report of the interview, which must have originally been screened last Monday, HERE . Coulter's remarks about Christianity and Jewish people caused something of a stir!

Astrologer Lynn Hayes wrote an excellent review of Ann Coulter's natal chart a while ago, on her great blog Astrological Musings (HERE).

."Having digested what Lynn had to say, I decided to take a look at Donnie Deutsch's chart. I'd been impressed by the way he handled the interview. He was born on 22 November 1957, Queens, New York. No birth time known. It's interesting that his and Coulter's charts have a superficial likeness. Both charts shown are for 12 noon, they should enlarge by clicking on them.

Sun in Sagittarius in both cases, but around 4 years apart. Both have a cluster of Sagittarian planets, but Donnie Deutsch's chart does not have the hard Saturn in Capricorn (possible singleton) of Ann Coulter. His natal Saturn lies in Sagittarius with Sun, Mercury, and the Moon (though degree of Moon isn't known, it is bound to be in Sagittarius whatever the time of birth). Instead of Saturn in Capricorn Deutsch has Venus in Capricorn, semi-sextiling (and perhaps softening?) Saturn in Sagittarius.

Coulter's Aquarian Jupiter probably causes more trouble than Deutsch's diplomatic Libran Jupiter which is in wide sextile to Saturn - again, possibly softening Saturn's hard edges. Deutsch's natal Uranus is in Leo, trine Saturn, so I'd expect him to be able to blend opinions about establishment values with a few more avant garde views - he probably has the kind of personality to appreciate both. Coulter's Saturn in Capricorn has no help at all, unless her birthtime puts the Moon in semi-sextile to it, which I doubt.

I think that Ms Coulter's hard-faced public personality clearly stems from the position of Saturn. As well as giving her that very hard edge, it's probably responsible for her keen business sense - she's well aware of how to magnetise publicity for her own benefit (usually to the serious detriment of others).

Donnie Deutsch's natal Mars in Scorpio is semi-sextile Mercury/Saturn in Sagittarius. His is a sharply incisive mind and tongue. Away from the screen he can probably be a heck of a lot more biting than we are allowed to witness! Congratulations to him on remaining tactful and civilised throughout this interview.

There was great delight, Chez Twilight, when Donnie Deutsch ushered in his next guest, the much more amenable Al Gore.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Feeling Good - Nina Simone

Nina Simone was one of the great female jazz singers of mid-twentieth century. I often think how remarkable it is that the majority of good jazz singers were/are female, while most jazz musicians were/are male.

Nina Simone's chart very clearly describes what Wikipedia tells us about her personality:

"Sometimes known as the High Priestess of Soul, she paid great attention to the musical expression of emotions. Within one album or concert she could fluctuate between exuberant happiness or tragic melancholy. These fluctuations also characterized her own personality and personal life, worsened by a bipolar disorder with which she was diagnosed in the mid-sixties, but was kept secret until 2004 "

Look at those oppositions ! I've seen something very similar in another chart of someone suffering from this debilitating condition, which used to be known as manic depression. This could be something the astro-researchers ought to jump on, if they haven't already done so - it might yield good results for astrology.

Mercury in Pisces opposes Mars in Virgo (1 degree), Sun in Pisces opposes Neptune in Virgo (7 degrees) and Jupiter opposes Mercury 7 degrees), all Virgo/Pisces. Virgo is ruled by Mercury, Pisces by Neptune - both involved in these oppositions, which are mainly 1st against 7th house - self versus relationship with others.

The musical planet Venus lies in Nina's first house, in Aquarius with Saturn, also in Aquarius on her ascendant if time of birth given at Astrotheme is accurate. These placements fit well with her work as a civil rights activist.

Anyway, all of that brings me to my Wonderbra (uplifting) video for this week, and boy - do I need it!

Nina Simone sings, as only she can, "Feeling Good", and describes a state of mind we'd all like to emulate -

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Do your worst, Mercury retrograde!

Borrowing a line from Charles Dickens: "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times". Yesterday's good news about Al Gore was smartly followed by bad news about my citizenship application. News with a typically Mercury retrograde flavour emerged from a USCIS conference call, implying that I'm likely to be waiting even longer to become a US citizen than I'd expected in my worst imaginings.

The total of all applications the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service received between July/August this year was 1.2 million. 480,000 of these (my own included) are still awaiting receipt. There were 500,000 citizenship applications (like my own) among the total number. All this because they increased fees? There must be more to it. USCIS indicated that they hope to be able to receipt all by the end of October, but warn that processing delays will get worse before they get better, as frontlogs become backlogs.

Oh joy!

I sent my application more than eleven weeks ago, on 26 July, full of hope and confidence that things would roll along slowly but surely and the process would take anything between 6 months and a year. I'd be able to vote in November 2008. Wrong! If I live long enough I might be eligible to vote in the 2012 election - and I do mean might!

This is Mercury retrograde with a vengance. It followed hard on the heels of a Venus retrograde period too.

"I don't know whether to yell "I just don't care anymore, I'm outta here - when's the next plane back to the UK?" or just think...well, what does it matter, your vote wouldn't make much difference anyway, forget about politics, forget about it all. what's the use?

"San fairy Ann" - or as the French say "ca ne fait rien" - it doesn't matter. Do your worst Mercury retrograde - see if I care!

What good is a blog if you can't let off steam? I wonder what the French for that is? Quel bon est un blog si vous ne pouvez pas laisser outre de la vapeur. Ain't Babel Fish wonderful!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Come on Uranus - you can do it!

Good news! Al Gore is joint winner of the Nobel Peace Prize with the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

A full-page ad in the New York Times on Wednesday, and calls from a plethora of websites to "draft Al Gore" for the 2008 presidential campaign grow ever louder. Will he, won't he run?

A full page ad placed in the Oct. 10, 2007 edition of the New York Times by a group called is displayed for a photograph in New York. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg News

Transiting Uranus is meeting up with Al Gore's natal Mercury around now - is his mind being changed?

Come on Uranus, old pal - you can do it! Change his mind!

Paul Kaplan adds his plea via YouTube:

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Ray Kroc and McDonald's

Ideas on what to blog about often come from unexpected sources. A few days ago we were out on the road in a torrential downpour. We decided to wait it out at the nearest pull-in, which happened to be a McDonald's. This was much against the principles of HeWhoKnows who considers McDonald's food as one step away from the garbage bin. I think that's a little unfair. However, on this occasion it was "needs must", and McDonalds' coffee had to be preferable to a bumperoony in our precious car!

So it was that in a pleasant, recently refurbished McDonald's, I enjoyed a warm cinnamon roll and started to wonder how this great juggernaut of a company first started.

Ray Kroc was the man who developed the juggernaut we now know as McDonald's. He didn't invent the hamburger, nor the idea of fast food per se - what he did was market these things so brilliantly that what started as a single fast food restaurant owned by the McDonald brothers in California, finished as one of the biggest international corporations in the world.

A good on-line biography HERE starts thus:

"In 1954, a fifty-two-year-old milk-shake machine salesman saw a hamburger stand in San Bernardino, California, and envisioned a massive new industry: fast food. In what should have been his golden years, Raymond Kroc, the founder and builder of McDonald's Corporation, proved himself an industrial pioneer no less capable than Henry Ford. He revolutionized the American restaurant industry by imposing discipline on the production of hamburgers, french fries, and milk shakes. By developing a sophisticated operating and delivery system, he insured that the french fries customers bought in Topeka would be the same as the ones purchased in New York City. Such consistency made McDonald's the brand name that defined American fast food."

Here's Ray Kroc's natal chart (drawn up for 12 noon as no birth time is available). He was born on 5 October 1902 in or near Chicago. Generationally he's one of that brilliant Pluto in Gemini generation who helped in giving birth to what became known as "The American Dream". Also extracted from the link above, this snippet is intriguing:

"Kroc's father had taken four-year-old Raymond to see a phrenologist -- a practitioner of a nineteenth century "medicine" that divined insights into a person's character and capabilities from the skull's shape and size. After groping and probing the bumps on the youngster's head, the phrenologist pronounced that the child would work in the food-service industry. "

Without birth time we can't know what his 10th house of career contained - that's a pity, but I'd bet that Saturn would lie on or close to an angle. With a birth time of around 6pm Saturn would be in 10th, Sun and Venus in 6th and Aries rising - that would fit particularly well!

There's an Air Grand Trine in Ray Kroc's chart - Jupiter/Pluto/Sun, the orbs are a little wide, but I still think it's significant for an entrepreneur whose brilliance and success relies mainly on mental processes. The other chart pattern I notice is what's known as a Yod - made up of a sextile aspect and two inconjunct aspects - forming an arrow like configuration. In Kroc's case the sextile is between Pluto and Mars, with arrow point at Saturn in Capricorn. If I had to pinpoint the most significant factor in this man's chart, it would be this! Saturn in Capricorn, the businessman's planet in it's own sign, hooked up to powerful and energetic Pluto and Mars - and configuration is quite tight, probably making it more intense.

Saturn trines Venus in Virgo - here is the attention to detail which must have been so important in setting up a chain of fast food restaurants, all serving the same food prepared in the same way, so that the result is consistent and reliable. Another extract from the link mentioned above:

"Espousing the idea that "there is a science to making and serving a hamburger," Kroc endowed his beef patties with exacting specifications -- fat content: below 19 percent; weight: 1.6 ounces; diameter: 3.875 inches; onions: 1/4 ounce. Kroc even built a laboratory in suburban Chicago to devise a method for making the perfect fried potato in the late 1950s".

Mars in Leo, trining Uranus in Sagittarius provided the spark which helped an ordinary salesman with good business sense into a world-class entrepreneur. Sun in Libra trining Jupiter in Aquarius provided the tact, quick thinking and diplomacy needed to clinch deals. The deal Kroc eventually made with the McDonald brothers is legendary:

"It was not an easy time for Ray Kroc. He was suffering from diabetes and arthritis. His gall bladder and thyroid gland had already been surgically removed. But the desire to succeed burnt throughout his body. In a final act of refined salesmanship Ray Kroc managed to convince the brothers (McDonald) to sell the company to him. He asked them to name their price. The $2.7 million that Ray Kroc paid in 1961 for the McDonalds Corporation is considered to be one of the greatest acts of salesmanship of all time."
(From HERE)

The juggernaut had started to roll!