Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Southern Hemisphere Ramblings

There's a new movie out this week: "Australia", it's 2 hours 45 minutes long. We'd intended going to see it the other night but were bogged down solving a serious computer problem, so postponed our outing. It wasn't written by the great James Michener, but it sounds as though it should have been. Australia presented an ideal subject for him, but he never gave it his undivided attention, and his time ran out before he could do so. Any passing reader interested in James Michener might find my 2006 post on his astrology of interest.

In reading the transcript of an interview with Michener I came across this interesting tidbit, comparing the size of Australia and the USA and accounting for the enormous difference in the way the two developed. James Michener said:

One of the most memorable experiences of my life is talking with a great geographer who had a map of Australia and a map of the United States, here and here. And he said, "Jim, remember always that these two are exactly the same size -- bar that little bite down there which gives us a few more miles.
Distances from here to here are the same; from north to south are the same. What is the difference? I thought, "Well, we are good people and they are not, or we are educated and they are not, or we had the early pilgrims and they didn't." "No," he said, "it's the Mississippi River."

If you rip out of the United States the Mississippi River and all its tributaries, you have Australia. Beautiful coast, some rivers here, beautiful coast over here, and not a thing in the middle. And the reason it makes the difference is this: that when you have that river system -- now we are talking about the Ohio, the Tennessee, the Missouri, the Nebraska, fifty rivers -- when you pull that out, you have left a desert. And you don't have enough people to support the industries on the two coasts. You can't grow; you can't have a great airline; you can't have this; you can't have that. And the difference is in the land. And I believe that without any question.

I think that the difference between the United States and Australia is we have that fantastic river system, and they don't. And if they had it, they would be better than we are maybe because they are a tough bunch of cookies down there. I think the land is a fundamental with me"

Stories set in Australia, for me, first bring to mind Nevil Shute's "A Town Like Alice". I've always loved the book, and the movie, and even better the TV series, which was a much closer adaptation of the book than the movie had been. It had Bryan Brown too. Which brings me neatly back to "Australia". Bryan Brown, though not the leading man has quite a meaty role in the new movie "Australia".

I started looking at his natal chart. Born June 23, 1947 at 8:45 AM
in Sydney, Australia. His natal Sun is in the first degree of Cancer, ascendant in Cancer, Moon in Leo. I then realised that there's a question to which I haven't, so far, been able to find a satisfactory answer. Do people born in the southern hemisphere fit the same interpretations we use in modern tropical astrology in the northern hemisphere? Is Bryan a sensitive double Cancerian or, if the zodiac flips for the southern hemisphere, is he more of a hard-nosed, pragmatic business-driven type?

This subject of hemispheres has bamboozled me before, way back. I searched the net, without finding anything on the topic I could live with. It's a topic astrologers tend to back away from. Not surprising really - it could turn out to be a huge can of worms.

The only two theories I found, apart from the one that says there's no difference at all in astrology for the two hemispheres, propose that:
a) the zodiac should be flipped, its signs should be inverted for the southern hemisphere, making Aquarius Suns into Leo Suns, Taurus into Scorpio, Aries into Libra and so on. Or
b) the zodiac and sign interpretation should stay basically the same, retaining the qualities of the archetypes, but with subtle adjustments to account for the opposite seasons involved, north to south.

I prefer the second idea. The elements and modes remain in the same configuration in both hemispheres, the alternation of elements and modes remains exactly the same. When the Sun is in the area we call Aries, it's in Aries all over the world, therefore it's in Cardinal Fire all over the world. In the northern hemisphere we see Cardinal Fire Aries as indicating the initiator, the enthusiast, any description fitting a forward thrust of some kind. Southern hemisphere people could forge appropriate interpretations with fine tuning which fits their seasons - eg.the Cardinal Fire Aries autumn.

Astrology, in the main, originated in the northern hemisphere. Our northern minds are so used to understanding in one "dimension" only on this topic. Large groups of the population of the southern hemisphere also have northern roots - way back. It's a tricky subject, and one I ought not to meddle with!

Before I step deeper into the quagmire then, here endeth my very random ramble. I rather wish, for both my own and a passing reader's sake, that we'd gone to the movies after all, then I could've written an easy, straightforward review with, maybe, leading man Hugh Jackman's natal chart. Or maybe not, the same issue would have arisen for he was born in Australia too!


Robert Phoenix said...

Fascinating stuff as usual Twilight. of course, one cannot mention Australia and The US without the hyperlink known as Mel Gibson.

My favorite Aussie films are:

1) "Breaker Morant" One of the best anti-war films of all time.

2) "The Road Warrior" Post-armageddon, fast cars, anarchy, cool leather and sawed off shot guns. Can you say, "dude movie?"

3) "The Last Wave" Eerie, unsettling, prophetic.

4) "Walkabout" Thoughtful rumination on the differences of culture and timelessness.

5) "Muriels Wedding" Laugh out loud funny.

Twilight said...

Hi Robert~~ Yes, I was studiously avoiding mentioning Mr. Gibson.
He seems to have an aversion to Brits.....and others. Pity - 'cos he has a pretty face, and has made a few entertaining movies. Most of the Aussie contingent have pretty faces, I notice. ;-)

Yes, I liked Breaker Morant - Edward Woodward was and is a great favourite of mine, and any anti-war movie has to be good.

I don't think I've seen any others in your list - I'll watch out for 'em at Blockbusters. :-)
Thanks. 3 and 4 sound to be right up my street.

I'd have to put Crocodile Dundee 1 and 2 in my list. Classics!

Robert Phoenix said...


I forgot Galipolli and who can forget the cult classic, "Young Einstein" starring Yahoo Serious?

Twilight said...

Two more for my list! There were many, many years when I didn't go to the conema at all - so I missed a lot of movies (catching up on HBO though!)

Yahoo Serious - lol - sounds like somebody's screen name! Never heard of him - this I must see.

Wisewebwoman said...

Oh you will love Muriel's Wedding, T. A delight.
A few more come to mind too, one about a travelling cinema/projectionist which was stunning and the name escapes me, drat.
I too loved all versions of A Town Like Alice and Bryan Brown has had my heart forever.
There was one flick where he starred with a little girl, gone alas from my sievey head too.
I can't stand Mel.
I hear Australia, the movie, is dismal, I will await your take on it.

anthonynorth said...

I like the geography in this post. Geography is an important feature in much of history. Although I would add a revolutionary spirit and relatively easy access for Europeans to America.

Twilight said...

Hi WWW~~ The movie you mention, with a little girl, sounds a bit like the old Peter Finch one - think it was called "The Shiralee" - maybe it was re-made with Bryan Brown?

We saw "Australia" last night.
It's no classic, that's for sure!
I enjoyed it though. It's fairly predictable, a kind of Aussie version of several old western movie themes, combined with an Aussie version of a WW2 theme.

The movie is definitely mis-titled in my opinion. It should have been called "Drover". It's about 2 or 3 years in the lives of three people - not about the country at all.

My husband kept saying, during the first half - "this is comic book stuff!"

Oh - and it's too long. With that length tp play with they could have put in lots more about the aboriginies' way of life.

Hugh Jackman is dishy! Which makes up for a lot.

Twilight said...

Hi AN ~~ Oh yes, the access from Europe was a big draw for the USA - but folks wouldn't have made the arduous (in those days) journey if all there was at the other end was a vast desert, I guess.