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.


R J Adams said...

Well, at least it doesn't come ringing the doorbell, clutching a Bible, and demanding to know if you've been saved.


Twilight said...

True enough, RJ. Of course, it doesn't need to ask - it knows already. ;-)

anthonynorth said...

This is it. Anyone can respect anyone with a different opinion if it is done with manners and without ridicule.
There are many who should remember this. But I guess they're just too septic (should there be a 'c' there) to realise.

Twilight said...

AN ~~~ Yes indeedy!
"They all laughed at Christopher Columbus when he said the world was round....They all laughed when Edison recorded sound....."