Sunday, November 30, 2008

"Something frowsy" you say, Mr. Morrow?

Searching for information on Enrico Caruso (for a post which I later decided to abandon), I hit on an old article in "TIME" written twenty years ago by journalist and author Lance Morrow:
"The Five-and-Dime Charms of Astrology".
He begins:
"Astrology has something frowsy about it. It comes to the door in hair curlers. It looks through the screen with squint-shrewd eyes. The caller who rang the doorbell stares in at crackpot mystery in the half-light, and senses there a kind of disreputable plausibility. The dogs on the porch get restless and slink away. A universe of surreal connections unfolds......."

I expected to feel incensed by the article, but was drawn in to read it from start to finish by the expert and entertaining writing style of Mr. Morrow.

"The American character alternates between Ahab and Starbuck -- the grandiose obsessive and the commonsense skeptic. Astrology plays to the Ahab. It offers a seeing of the unseen, and hears pitches of significance that the ear cannot detect. An elaborate counterworld whispers its order into the human mess."

You were getting a wee bit warm there Mr. Morrow!

I cannot find it in my heart to dislike Morrow in the way I dislike Richard Dawkins or Randi and his clan of skeptics. Mr. Morrow would benefit greatly from having dinner with the likes of Robert Hand, Garry Philipson, and a nap selection of our own astrology bloggers (I'll be serving the wine and listening in to the conversation!) I guarantee that Mr. Morrow would be able, next day, to write an altogether different piece on the subject of astrology. He might even feel inclined to characterize it, rather than as a squint-eyed frowsy, as something crisper, cleverer - more along the lines of Emma Peel or John Steed in "The Avengers": a smart cookie, searching for answers.

A look at Lance Morrow's natal chart could prove interesting. He was born on 21 September 1939, a War Baby like me, but born on the safe side of the Atlantic Ocean. This means he'll have that somewhat grounding Earth Grand Trine in his natal chart - the one which tends to anchor our War Baby feet firmly on Mother Earth, preventing too many flights of fancy. We have been known to hover at low altitude on occasion though!

I can't find Mr. Morrow's place of birth mentioned anywhere, the best information I have is that he was raised in Washington DC. I'm pretty sure he was born somewhere in the eastern states, so using Washington DC and 12 noon to set up a chart, will afford us some accurate and significant planetary positions.

There it is! the Grand Trine in Earth. Mr. Morrow's is more powerful than mine. His draws in Sun, Mercury and Neptune in Virgo trining Uranus and Mars in Taurus and Capricorn respectively. (My own comprises Neptune, Mercury and Uranus). Adding to the Earthy tone of Morrow's chart is Moon in Capricorn, but exact degree is uncertain without a time of birth.

It's no surprise, then, that Lance Morrow looks askance at astrology and New Agey stuff in general. The Earthy circuit provided by his Grand Trine is not conducive to the appreciation of things intangible.

Morrow's Sun, Mercury and Neptune in Virgo, one of the signs ruled by communications planet Mercury is an excellent configuration for the serious career writer that he is. His piece on astrology is not typical subject matter! The inclusion of Neptune in the Virgo cluster ensures just enough imaginative turns of phrase to engage the reader and prevent stagnation and an attack of Attention Deficit Disorder. This is exactly what drew me into reading and enjoying his linked article, in spite of its skeptical attitude.

Lance Morrow has written 14 books, the best known is probably "Evil: An Investigation", about which he chats with my fellow Brit-turned-American, Craig Ferguson, in the video below.

I shall be looking out for an opportunity to read more of this author's writing in future. His opinion of astrology leaves much to be desired, but I do admire his way with words.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Experiencing the Outers

Before I decided to write a blog I used to read and occasionally contribute to a couple of astrology message boards. I don't visit often nowadays, but happened to land on one of my old stomping grounds this week: Astronuts at Tribe. I noticed a thread which intrigues me, headed: Uranus, Neptune, Pluto: Experience the Energy. Using Youtube videos the thread's originator hopes that connecting a planetary symbol with a tone, an energy and maybe a visual will be helpful in better understanding the "energies" associated with that planet. He uses some linked YouTube video presentations to illustrate his point.

The thread's originator is one of two or three professional astrologers who generously spend some of their time on the forum teaching and enlightening its readers. Most regulars know the person behind the nickname - see here.

It's interesting to look at the examples the astrologer provides, which are mainly visual rather than musical. Travelling further down the thread of comments, suggestions from forum members tend to be more musical than visual.

I gave this a little thought myself, concentrating on popular music. I don't know where to start looking for purely visual presentations, nor am I sufficiently familiar with classical music to pick out something appropriate in that genre. There are probably thousands of better examples than mine to be found, but as the astrologer pointed out, this can only be subjective, depending on how each person perceives these planetary "energies". So.....

NEPTUNE's dreamy, foggy illusion-laden imagination immediately suggests Enya to me. I compiled a video illustrating Neptunian connections for this blog last year using Enya's "Angels" as background music, so I shall stick with that piece. (my own video is here).
A YouTube presentation of Enya's "Angels"

URANUS - hmmmm. Zany, rebellious, inventive, unexpected, change......
The Beatles' "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" video at YouTube has the right look and "feel".

PLUTO - Intensity, secrets, transformation, sex, death......
Not yer usual ingredients for a catchy popular song!
A Garth Brooks' song and video, "The Thunder Rolls", has the atmosphere though.

Any suggestions? Even passing readers without much knowledge of astrology might consider the exercise, using just the keywords I've included as guides.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Arty Farty Friday ~ Two Sagittarian Artists

Before we run away with the idea that Sagittarius is all happy-clappy sunbeamy optimism, a look at two artists' lives and stars could give us pause. The two artists: Edvard Munch and Toulouse Lautrec.

Almost everyone, art lover or not, recognises Edvard Munch's painting "The Scream" (left). Perhaps because it strikes a chord in the hearts of us all - a feeling we recognise. His other works are less known. Many of them uncover the story of an artist filled with despair. Munch was born on 12 December 1863. What happened to the Sagittarian joie de vivre?
'My art is rooted in a single reflection: why am I not as others are? Why was there a curse on my cradle? Why did I come into the world without any choice? My art gives meaning to my life'.
His mother died from TB when he was five years old, and by his 14th year he had to watch his sister, his elder by a year, die from the same disease. Early paintings reflect his tortured recollections of these events. His anxiety related to women in general seems to have continued until, in his mid-forties he suffered a despressive illness which kept him in a Danish sanatorium for eight months. On recovery, he began painting more ordinary subject matter, and said that he had foresworn alcohol and women, for both had contributed to his depressive state.

Toulouse Lautrec another Sun Sagittarian artist, born 24 November 1864, also led a less than joy filled life. He was born into an aristocratic French family, but suffered physical defects which sprang from interbreeding. His bones were weak, and his growth stunted.
"The family soon realized something was wrong with the clever, audacious Henri: he was undersized, weak, and frequently ill. Then when he was twelve he broke his left thighbone by simply standing up from the sofa. The injury took months to heal, and just as he was starting to get better, he broke his other leg.

Toulouse-Lautrec would never be the same. His legs essentially quit growing. The rest of his body continued to develop--he had a full-size torso, large head, oversized hands, and bony wrists, all perched precariously on skinny, stumpy legs. For the rest of his life, wherever he went he was sure to hear the laughter of children and see the pointed fingers of men and women mocking his odd dwarf-like appearance."

Lautrec dealt with his problems differently from Munch. He leaned on Sagittarian love of excess.

What astrological factors appear to be significant in each artist's chart? Women are a common denominator in both their art and their lives, but perceived and treated quite differently. For Munch, due to his early trauma, women appear to have been a source of anguish, whereas Lautrec regarded them with understanding, friendship and as a source of joy. Position of Moon (the feminine) in each chart might be significant to this difference in attitude - Munch's Moon in serious Capricorn ruled by Saturn, Lautrec's in easy going Libra, ruled by Venus.

Edvard Munch - natal chart, unknown time of birth, so set for 12 noon. Ascendant and exact degree of Moon not accurate, but Moon would have been somewhere in Capricorn whatever the birth time.

Personal planets are bunched into four signs, Libra to Capricorn. The outer planets are opposite, in Aries to Gemini. Symbolically this comes across as "Munch against the rest of the world". His Sun and Mercury in Sagittarius sit uncomfortably next to three Scorpio planets. These two signs are not good companions, wherein might lie much of the source of his anxious discomfort. Sagittarius prefers to be jovial, happy-go-lucky, while Scorpio leans toward paranoia and secret obsession. Sunny Sagittarian vibes are symbolically drowned.

Munch's steady Capricorn Moon must have afforded some grounding, and possibly came into its own in his later years, as he recovered from a serious bout of depression.

South Node of the Moon, a sensitive point in the chart, is in Taurus and conjunct malefic Fixed Star Algol. North Node is conjunct Mars, in its own sign, Scorpio, there's extra emphasis on this angry planet. Anger and depression are closely linked. The nodal axis, with Algol at one end and Mars at the other indicates, to me, a pair of negative triggers for planets passing over the nodes in transit.

Some extracts from a biography at, here, with added illustration of relevant paintings, provide a little insight into Munch's dis-ease:

"Munch perceived sex as an ineluctable destiny, and few of his works represent Woman (capitalized as usual) in a favorable light."
"In Puberty a skinny young girl meditates, sitting naked on her bed beneath the threatening form of her own shadow, while in The Voice a young woman, alone in the woods, attends to some inner whisper; these are the most sensitive representations of woman in Munch's work.In another iconic image, the Madonna (right), of which he painted various versions between 1893 and 1902, overtly offers her ecstatic sexuality and yet remains inaccessible. Why inaccessible? A lithographic version suggests the answer: around the frame which encloses the seductress the straggling spermatozoa wriggle in vain while, in the lower left-hand corner, a pathetic homunculus, a wizened and ageless wide-eyed fetus, lifts its supplicant gaze toward the goddess."

"Munch's lithograph verges on irony, to which he was not averse. Even so, modifying the well-known phrase, we may wish to suggest that 'irony is the courtesy of despair'. Munch's art represents women in the light of trauma.

Seduction itself is a source of anxiety; satisfaction brings remorse (Ashes, left), and jealousy and separation are experienced as terrifying and depressing events."


Toulouse Lautrec

Astrotheme has his time of birth at 6am, putting his three Sagittarius planets (Sun, Jupiter in its own sign, and Mercury) into first house of self, reflecting that life of excess he is reported to have led in the fleshpots of turn of century France. There's a Grand Cross in his chart formed by square aspects and oppositions (see small diagram) - here is much of the challenge in his life story. There's an additional opposition between Mercury and Mars - more tension and energy, here linked to communication/painting style, which is certainly bold in colour and content. His Scorpio ascendant clearly connects to the eroticisim surrounding his lifestyle. Lautrec lived fast and died young, at 36.

He is described by David Sweetmen in his book "Explosive Acts":

"Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec is known as the disfigured and dangerously self-destructive artist who recorded prolifically the louche world of sexy night-club dancers, lounging whores, and drunken bohemian merriment. Both in his life and art, he is thought to embody the climate of inebriated hilarity and excess of the fin de siecle. But as David Sweetman,
the noted biographer of Vincent van Gogh and Paul Gauguin, shows in this definitive work, there was another Toulouse-Lautrec, a committed and concerned man who moved in a secret community of anarchist revolutionaries, whose work betrayed a deep concern for human suffering, an artist who etched his sympathy for fallen women and lesbians into his portraits, and who remained loyal to the disgraced Oscar Wilde when the poet was abandoned and reviled by most."

He certainly lived up to Sagittarius's reputation for excess!

"Over time, all the hard living started to take its toll. Friends watched as walking became more and more difficult; in time, he could only go a few steps without stopping to rest and catch his breath-although he always came up with some excuse, such as a pretty girl to ogle. He probably had syphilis, which reached pandemic levels in the brothels, but it was the alcohol that was really killing him. For more than a decade, Toulouse-Lautrec happily drank his friends under the table and then arrived at the print shop cold sober. But in the late 1890s, his productivity dropped sharply with the artist often too drunk to work. When raging paranoia set in and he started shooting at the walls to kill giant imaginary spiders, his family finally stepped in and had him confined to a mental institution.

He dried out quickly, and in less than three months he was released."

A lesson to be learned from all of the above, if any passing reader has managed to stay with me thus far, is to remember that there is a heck of a lot more to a person than their Sun sign. We're wise not to forget, also, that there's a lot more to a person than their astrology.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thanksgiving Saturn-Uranus Style

Searching for an illustration without the ubiquitous turkey led me to discover this New Yorker cover for Thanksgiving 2006, by illustrator, comic book artist and cartoonist, Chris Ware. I like his spare, crisp style and subtle colours. I like the spirit of this illustration and I found in it an echo of the current Saturn-Uranus opposition - tradition versus modernity. I was amused to find, when I looked at his date of birth and set up a 12 noon natal chart for him, that he has a Saturn-Uranus opposition natally, with Saturn at 5 Aries and Uranus at 29 Virgo - not in opposite signs, but well within orb - or limit of what is mathematically accepted as an opposition.

His sparse style reflects Sun/Mercury in restrictive, structured Capricorn - and his mode of operation also includes the old and the new. Wikipedia tells us:

"Although his precise, geometrical layouts may appear to some to be computer-generated, in fact Ware works almost exclusively with "old-fashioned" drawing tools such as paper and pencil, rulers and T-squares. He does, however, sometimes use photocopies and transparencies, and employs a computer to color his strips."

We're invited to spend Thanksgiving with my husband's eldest daughter, family and friends, and I'm pretty sure we'll resemble the first illustration rather than the second one - reflecting traditional Saturn rather than ultra-modern change-driven Uranus. Saturn does have a good side, after all!

..... to all in the USA tomorrow, whichever style of Thanksgiving you prefer, and happy ordinary tomorrow to everybody else!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Alan Colmes to Move On. (Told ya!)

It's interesting that Alan Colmes is about to leave his 12-year position as co-host with Sean Hannity each weeknight on Fox News Channel's "Hannity & Colmes". This happens just as Saturn transits his cluster of Virgo planets and he approaches a second Saturn Return.

Alan reported the news on his blog Liberaland yesterday. A prediction I tentatively made back in January has materialised

In a post on new year's Day 2008 ("Which One's The Conservative?") I wrote:

"I've had a second Saturn Return, too, and Alan has one due around the time of the November election - I'd be surprised if something that happens around that time doesn't change his career in some way, and mark the start of a new life chapter."

(The above is a chart set for 12 noon in the absence of a birth time, so ascendant sign not accurate though all planetary positions apart from Moon are as shown)

Transiting Saturn is at 20 degrees of Virgo at present, sitting between Alan's natal Mercury, Venus and Saturn, heading for the Saturn Return which won't be exact until late next summer, due to a retrograde period, January to May, then it begins to move direct again. That retro period could well coincide with the time when Alan is preparing his new ventures.

It's time for another chorus of my oft repeated refrain (with apologies to Bob Dylan) "Something is happening here, but we don't know what it we Mr. Jones?" As I intend to keep on saying, ad nauseam: this stuff works!!

Monday, November 24, 2008


As the Sun moves into each sign of the zodiac I make a point of thinking about people I've known who either typify that sign or fly in the face of tradition and remain mavericks to their Sun sign. We've just moved into Sagittarius. This is the sign of the eternal optimist, a sunny, happy-go-lucky individual given to excess of one kind or another, who will philosophise or take off travellin' at the drop of a hat, and can occasionally be found with foot in mouth, due to a tendency to be blunt.

This is a favourite sign of mine, yet Sun Sagittarians I've known well can be counted on less than the fingers of one hand - on one finger, in fact! Maybe for some reason our paths just don't cross, or maybe it is that although I like Sagittarians, the feeling's not mutual and I don't appeal to them. I think I did appeal to this one though:

My mother's sister, my Aunt Lil' (Lilian) was a Sun Sagittarian, with Venus conjunct Sun. Perhaps I inherited my own Venus in Sag. from her. In her youth she had the Sagittarian draw towards adventure, left home as a teenager to join the ATS ( women's army) in World War2. She met and married a man in the forces who hailed from her hometown. Curiously, for reasons I never understood, the marriage wasn't accepted happily by either set of parents. Though a rocky union, it did last until "death did them part" in the late 1990s.

I knew Aunt Lil' best during the early years of my life and the later years of hers, but inbetween we didn't cross paths often. She and my mother had one of those strange sisterly love/hate relationships, which made for long periods of estrangement, with a few affectionate interludes, mainly in their later years. Oddly, my two cousins, Aunt Lil's son and daughter, seem to have the same love/hate relationship going on as their mother and aunt did. Sometimes I'm glad I was an only child- it does at least avoid that kind of heartache.

Aunt Lil's Sagittarius-ness showed in her warmth and sense of fun, but it could often be drowned out by two personal planets in intense Scorpio: Mercury and Jupiter. I never did receive her negative side, because I think she loved me quite a bit. She often said I reminded her of herself! Others in the small towns where she spent all her years often saw her as a little eccentric - probably a reflection of her natal Mars in Aquarius. A Grand Trine in Water signs linked Uranus, Pluto and Jupiter natally. She did suffer, as she used to describe it, "with nerves", throughout her life. Now I can see that her warm Saggitarius Fire was in constant battle with Scorpio and that Watery circuit of the Grand Trine. Stereotypical Sagittarius she was not, yet its qualities shone through, especially in later life. Aunt Lil' died at Christmas, 2005, when thankfully her son and some of her grandkids were around her, but sadly I was 5,000 miles away.

Though my experience of this sign, apart from my own Venus in Sagittarius has been scanty, I do appreciate, from afar, some natives of the sign. The incomparable Frank Sinatra, and Tina Turner. The late lamented comedian, Bill Hicks. Author Bill Bryson. Writer/cartoonist James Thurber, and astrologer Jonathan Cainer populate my personal roll-call of long-time Sagittarius favourites.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Astrology Without Frightening the Horses

In a seventy year old astrology book I found in a used book store recently: "Home Astrology" written by the father of British newspaper astrology columns, R.H. Naylor, I notice that the author studiously avoided using any astrological terms or jargon. His book was intended for a readership with no former exposure to the subject, so he had obviously decided to tread very delicately.

In the author's preface he writes that he is afraid
"that much that is set down herein will arouse the criticism of astrological purists and pundits. Such a symptom surely shows that all is well with the world, for when astrological experts agree, human nature will have changed, and astrology will have become orthodox! For myself, I find the "general reader", who comes within the first class (with little or no knowledge of astrology) a peculiarly kindly and interested soul. He is extraordinarily generous in his appreciation of one's small efforts and does not hesitate to write giving an amiable exchange of opinions and suggestions....I have written this book for them."
Sweet! But that was before "the astro-skeptic in the street" grew sharp claws.

In this extract, scanned directly from the book, he describes what he terms the "magnetism" of people born during each astrological month (from 21st to 21st). He doesn't mention zodiac signs, probably hoping for the tolerance of readers who might otherwise have fought shy of "all that mumbo-jumbo"!


Saturday, November 22, 2008

Sprinkles from The Week that Was

It's good to learn that Ben Affleck is using his celebrity to draw attention to the horrendous conditions in the Eastern Congo, Central Africa. (Here)
His natal chart is available at Astrodatabank (Here).

Much written about Ben's astrology up to now has centered on his relationships. This other side of his personality is far more interesting to me. Take a look at the chart, linked above. His ascendant in Cancer with Venus just a degree away reflects a compassionate, kindly nature. But look at the aspects all pointing towards Chiron (looks like a 'k' sitting on an 'o'). Chiron represents The Wounded Healer in astrology. Its astrological label varies, not a planet, bigger than an asteroid, not really a comet. Its orbit lies between Saturn and Uranus, many astrologers see it as playing a significant part in natal charts. Five aspect lines are heading for Chiron, straight as an arrow in Ben's chart! That is astro symbolism - right before your eyes. Ben is doing what he can to raise awareness and give rise to some healing. Good on him!

This week's episode of TV's "The Mentalist", with the delectable Simon Baker, afforded me a "neener- neener- neener" to those skeptics who gloated, at the start of the series, that at last TV has given the finger to programmes boosting the validity of psychic abilities. This week's episode featured a lady psychic who shocks the mentalist to his core with some information only he could know. I still predict that he will, in the end, accept his own true psychic abilities. He is currently in denial because he feels he caused the death of his wife and daughter. ( My earlier post about this show, here.)

With Pluto inching towards Capricorn and a slow transformation of many of the ways of life we now take for granted, it seems that a small corner of the distressed motor industry is catching up, at last. The Tesla Car looks good, said to perform well, though possibly not the one you need for long road trips. One big snag for impecunious mortals like us - the price, said to be around $98,000. Come on guys! Please! At that price we'd have to live in it!

Rumors shimmied around blogland all this week as to the possibility of President Elect Obama picking Senator Hillary Clinton as his Secreatry of State. Gripes and grumbles from one camp, elation and calls of "it's about time" from the other. Looking back to a tarot reading I tried in June (here)
I wrote:

"As I tell myself, all the time, "it ain't over 'til it's over". And whatever happens next, Senator Hillary Clinton is not going to walk away, head bowed, disappointed."

I hope this happens, it's been a long time coming. Gossip is that he has offered, she will accept, and an official announcement will follow "after Thanksgiving".

Friday, November 21, 2008


At Chez Twilight we have to be dragged kicking and screaming into the contemporary music scene. Saturday Night Live is just about the only time we experience music younger than vintage 1970s.

The latest artist to attract my attention, after a showing on SNL is Duffy. It was good to discover that she's from the UK - from Wales, actually. Most Americans are not aware that Wales is "The Land of Song", and just about all Welsh people can sing, and sing well. Duffy also writes her own songs which is a big, big plus. She already seems to be making a name on this side of the Atlantic, which is no small feat. Even Robbie Williams, so popular in the UK, didn't do too well on this side of the pond.

I suspect that Duffy is going to be one of the big stars of the next decade. Her voice is instantly recognisable, and she has a unique style. Watching her on SNL, for some reason I kept thinking of those pin-up illustrations from the mid 20th century. Oddly, at times, she even brought to mind the legendary Betty Boop - her gestures, poses, and the outfit she was wearing at the time all added to the image.

Anyway, let's have a look at Duffy's natal chart. No birth time available, so a 12 noon chart must suffice to show where personal and outer planets lay as she was born. We can't know her rising sign or exact Moon position, but Moon would have been somewhere in Aries unless she was born in the last few minutes of 23 June.

Born 23 June 1984 in Bangor, Wales, UK.

Hmmmm - here's a "see-saw" pattern chart.

Sun, Mercury and Venus form a tight stellium (cluster of planets) in Cancer, Moon somewhere in Aries, with the rest of the planets on the other side of the chart between Libra and Capricorn. Oppositions thrown up by this pattern possibly indicate a bit of an anomaly - in this context, someone who seeks success but also feels a need to fly from it. Three of the most personal planets in delicate, sensitive Cancer indicate to me that there's going to be an occasional need to withdraw from the pop-star circus. Her tough Aries Moon will stiffen her resolve to stick at her chosen career though. Mars and Saturn conjoined in Scorpio widely trine her Cancer planets and add a sexy and tough edge to emotionally sensitive Cancerian traits. Jupiter, from Capricorn, opposes the Cancer stellium and provides the kind of energy needed to do good business through publishing her undoubted talents.

Transiting Pluto will be opposing Duffy's Cancer stellium towards the end of next year and in early 2010. This isn't a bad transit for her, it'll provide further dynamic energy, but two things might emerge during that period - a power struggle of some kind, perhaps regarding record deals or management, and/or some health problems caused by stress and overwork. This seems even more likely as her career blossoms further. Wikipedia tells us:
"In September of 2008, Duffy mentioned that she was "on the borderline of a nervous breakdown" because of the pressure that fame has brought her. She also said that she had considered becoming a recluse, but eventually decided against the idea for the sake of her fans. Although acknowledging that most people do mean well, she finds it "scary" when people recognise her in the street, and has been fearful of her image possibly changing the person she truly is."
I do hope that her Cancerian instincts to withdraw occasionally from the dazzling spotlight and frazzling publicity will, in future, be heeded and acted upon during what are likely to be even more stressful times to come.

Here's part of her SNL performance:

Thursday, November 20, 2008

12 Inconsequential Things

"Inconsequential things that men don't really care to know, become essential things that women find so appropo"... I'm warbling that rather sexist song "Girl Talk" as I type........

This is what's known in blogland as a "meme", and this one is a me - me - me meme, its object: to make a list of things about oneself. I lifted it from The Other Side of Sixty, and further back along the meme chain, was Conor. Conor chipped in with 200 things about himself, Wisewebwoman reduced her list to 30, I'm going to restrict myself to 12, because we're in a recession, and we ought to practice parsimony, but in any case.... and here comes #13: I'm a wee bit shy!

I've tried to give my 12 a flavour of the 12 zodiac signs, keyword for each is highlighted. ~~

1. I walk quickly, companions have been known to complain bitterly! (Aries)

2. I once lost all my possessions in a fire. (Taurus)

3. I'm not good at speaking to groups. At work, I once embarrassingly completely dried up when giving a report to a committee. I'm better one-to-one. And it's more fun. (Gemini)

4. Sensitivity & sentimentality on legs - that's me! Insect bites, pollen and some cosmetics bring out the itches and tingles. Parades, chick flicks and a multitude of other stuff start me blubbing..(Cancer)

5. Once, after an evening of celebratory drinking I elected to sing "Something Stupid" with a professional entertainer who did tributes to Sinatra. My performance was indisputably - something very stupid! (Leo)

6. Health-wise, I was born with only one side of the thyroid gland developed. The existing side enlarged, as luck would have it. Oh -- and I absolutely hate going to the doctor, for anything !(Virgo)

7. I've had three marriages/long-term relationships, all with men of different nationalities from myself: Italian, Northern Irish, American. (Libra)

8. I've tried, experimentally to work a magic spell. Nothing happened. Some years ago I asked a mystical magician for help with a problem - it worked (I think!). (Scorpio)

9. I'm disenchanted with organised religion, but still like hymns and carols with good tunes, and my favourite movie is and will always be "Ben Hur". (Sagittarius)

10. I like lawyers - somebody has to! (Capricorn)

11. The most unexpected thing I've ever done: during a period when alone and lonely I chatted to guys, via the wondrous technology of the internet, in a way I would never, ever, ever chat to anybody in real life. (Aquarius)

12. I'm afaid of looking down into deep, still water, as in swimming pools, yet love the rolling sea - but from the shore. (Pisces)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Wednesday's "Why?" ~ Elements and Stuff

The building blocks of astrology: the elements - Earth, Water, Fire, Air, and the modes or qualities: Cardinal, Fixed and Mutable, were bequeathed to Western astrology by the Greeks via their illustrious philosophers. The elements, by the way, equate to what modern physics has identified as the four states of matter - building blocks of the Universe: solid, liquid, gas and plasma.

Less serious modern-day wits have other ideas. Author Terry Pratchett has a character in one of his books stipulating that the universe depends for its operation on the balance of four forces which can be identified as "charm, persuasion, uncertainty and bloody-mindedness.” While comedian Dave Barry has it on good authority that "the four building blocks of the universe are fire, water, gravel and vinyl."

Jokes aside, without a basic understanding of how the elements relate to each other, it'd be impossible to "get" astrology. The four elements, each modified by one of the three modes/qualities are the the root of all interpretations.

The circle we use to depict the sky in astrology is split into 12 equal segments, each allocated to an element, modified by a mode (eg. Aries = Cardinal Fire, Taurus = Fixed Earth...) It's possible, with an understanding of each element and mode, to produce a basic interpretation of a chart using only these concepts, ignoring labels placed on signs by ancient astrologers.

The elements and modes progress around the zodiac circle, alternating in regular succession, forming wave-like patterns. If spread out in line the patterns looks like this ~ please excuse the awful diagram! F=Fire. E=Earth. W=Water. A=Air.....C=Cardinal. Fx=Fixed. M=Mutable. Wave above line =Elements. Wave below = Modes. To avoid more confusion I've ignored a third quality - Polarity (positive/negative or masculine/feminine), which would form another wave, alternating between signs, starting at Positive = Aries.

Why? Did those Greeks, long ago, grasp, intuit, or have access to some lost knowledge which led to this particular way of laying out the zodiac? More questions than answers - as usual!

The elements and modes are factors amid a plethora of astrological principles and methods, which remain completely reliable and consistent. They never let you down. As I see it, something somehow connected to these will, one day, explain (partially) why astrology works.

From a book "The Night Sky" by Richard Grossinger, I found a paragraph which may or may not have any relevance in this context, but it caught my eye as I searched for information.

In 1869, the Russian chemist Dmitri Mendeleev discovered that the chemical properties of the elements (My note: this refers to the non-astrological elements)are periodic functions of their atomic weights, i.e. of the number of protons in their nuclei. When he arranged the then-known elements in a series, he found that there were familial resemblances among elements at regular numerical intervals. For instance, carbon, silicon and tin lie in a series for which the member between silicon and tin was then apparently missing. This was later found to be germanium. Fluourine, chlorine, bromine and iodine constitute another family. Then there's a group of lithium, sodium and potassium; another of nitrogen phosphorus, arsenic and antimony; and so on. Nature contains a hidden periodic function which is basic to form and order in the world. (My note: There are "families" in astrological elements too, at regular numerical intervals - the Fire family Aries, Leo, Sagittarius, the Air family Gemini, Libra, Aquarius etc.) All the other elements are based on the simplest one, hydrogen with its single proton, which is also - we were to find out - the fuel of the stars.

Mendeleev's periodic table, and the reality that lay behind it gave a new basis for understanding the history and evolution of matter. Mathematical relationships determined the seemingly limitless display of forms in nature, from plants and animals to stars and galaxies. It was hauntingly Pythagorean, as Heisenberg would remind us.

I'm not at all sure where that took me! I'm attracted by the echo of astrological elements and modes and the way they were arranged by ancient astrologers, who had no knowledge of periodic tables and suchlike - as far as we know. One place it did take me is to a confidence that astrology is more than mere superstition. It's something rooted in the very nature of the universe. It's rough and ready, imperfect and encumbered with a range of unnecessary accessories, but beneath it all there is a gem. I can't say it better than the wonderful Carl Sagan said it..."Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known."

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Mini-rants: Generationism & Re-makes.

Mini-rant # 1: is it that journalists, authors and politicians are quite happy to define traits of generations, "Baby Boomers" is a popular example, yet decry astrology as superstition or nonsense? Any definition of traits found within a generation of people living in the same general background - in this case a developed country in the West, has to be giving a nod, albeit inadvertently, to astrology. Yes? The outer planets define generations as they move very slowly and gracefully around the zodiac. The mix they provide and how they relate to one another, and the charts of individuals is significant.

Having said that, I am bored, irritated and sick of hearing about how Generation X will do so much better than those terrible Boomers. And what a good thing they are all becoming aged, and good for naught, but they'll drain the Social Security coffers and there'll be nothing left for "us". I don't have an axe to grind here because I'm a War Baby from war-torn Britain, and answer to neither the Silent Generation nor the Boomers. I feel bad though about the adolescent schoolyard nonsense being tossed around about The Boomers. In common with every generation since the dawn of time, there are good, bad and indifferent among them, and as a generation they did stuff which has both helped and hindered, as will Generations X, Y and Z, and whoever comes after.

As most of the relevant offending writings originate in the USA, I look on it as just another way to divide the country, a nation already clearly divided by race, colour, politics, religion. As I've said before on this blog, America has in inbuilt propensity to divide itself. For goodness sake, please not another national division - generationism!

Mini-rant # 2

It'd be unthinkable to take a natal chart and play around with the outer planets.
That thought leads on to another. Why do movie-makers insist on re-making classics? I've probably whinged about this before on my blog, but it's a constant irritant! Now they've re-made "The Day the Earth Stood Still." Yes, I know all the arguments about bringing movies up to date for the younger generation. And I guess that, especially in the case of sci-fi movies, there's a case to be made because today's technology allows for surreal scenes, not available to earlier film-makers. The trouble is, with the extra bells and whistles added, the original intent of the movie can get lost. They wouldn't, I hope, try to re-do works of art such as The Mona Lisa, or the Birth of Venus, just because Photoshop offers opportunity for some interesting additions.

Why can't a young audience be educated to appreciate the original version of a movie, and the atmosphere of its time - which is actually a large part of the plot. You can't lift something out of its original setting without losing something - without losing a lot. It's rather like taking a natal chart and moving the outer planets around into different positions ! A whole different animal would emerge.

The movie medium is supposed to be filled with the cream of our creative individuals, it's a shame they so often choose to re-create rather than create.

End of rants.