Saturday, October 31, 2009

Hallowe'en! Bram Stoker, Dracula, Whitby, astrology..

Hallowe'en! A look at Bram Stoker, author of "Dracula" and other stories touching on the weird and the occult.

Wouldn't you just know that he was born with both Sun and Moon quite close together in....Scorpio?
8 November 1847 in Clontarf, near Dublin, Ireland. His time of birth isn't known, but the Moon would have been in Scorpio whatever the time, and quite likely not far from his natal Sun.

Mercury, the writing planet in Sagittarius, in helpful trine to Uranus, planet of the unexpected and futuristic can clearly be seen coloring his weird and wonderful tales, blending with Scorpio's sinister darkness. Jupiter, planet of publication and exaggeration forms another helpful trine, this time to to his Sun (and maybe Moon too), reflecting the spread of Bram Stoker's stories both before and after his own death.

In the town where we live, in south-west Oklahoma, Bram Stoker is remembered and honored in this amazing Hallowee'en display in someone's front yard - spotted (you can't really miss it) by my husband this week, camera at the ready!.

Inspiration for Stoker's famous Gothic novel "Dracula" came from a visit to Whitby - I know it well - a town on the north-east coast of England, not too far from my own old hometown.

(Whitby)" is an ancient village first settled in the 5th or 6th century AD. In 637 AD a Catholic abbey was built nearby.... In 1077, the abbey was rebuilt in the foreboding gothic style of the medieval time. Now, the abbey ruins (see above) brood on the outskirts of Whitby. The commanding presence of towering stone façades pierced with sightless arches can cast the eerie shadow of folklore on even the most unimaginative mind.

It was into this harbor of history and myth that Bram Stoker sailed in 1890. He had been working on a novel inspired by Hungarian adventurer Arminius Vambery who had regaled Stoker with eastern European tales of the blood-hungry living dead. Whitby proved to be the perfect setting for Stoker to derive some of the more intriguing details for his book. He was so impressed by the surrealistic, menacing aspects of the immense stone abbey and St Mary’s Cathedral looming over the small town, that he used Whitby in his novel Dracula as the place where the seductive Count meets and kills Lucy.

While in Whitby, Stoker stayed at a small inn on the river. Every evening at dusk the local pigeons would sit on the window ledge and tap mindlessly at their reflections in the glass. Stoker incorporated this sound into his novel as Dracula tapping with long, sharp nails on Lucy’s window, demanding entrance. The bats residing in the stable behind the inn lent another aspect to Stoker’s main character: his ability to shape-shift into not only bats, but also black dogs and mist. (Right: Christopher Lee as Dracula)..............................
Stoker visited Whitby several more times over the next few years. The novel Dracula was completed and published in 1897 to little acclaim. The book did not become widely popular until Hollywood began filming versions of the work in the early 1900s, a few years after Stoker’s death in 1912.
(Read the rest HERE)

A postscript for astrology buffs: in another of Stoker's books, "The Jewel of Seven Stars", at chaper XVI, Powers - Old and New, one of his characters has something to say about astrology:
".........Once, in the midst of a most learned dissertation on the growth of Egyptian Astrology, he broke put on a different subject, or rather a branch or corollary of the same:
'I do not see why starlight may not have some subtle quality of its own! We know that other lights have special forces. The Rontgen Ray is not the only discovery to be made in the world of light. Sunlight has its own forces, that are not given to other lights. It warms wine; it quickens fungoid growth. Men are often moonstruck. Why not, then, a more subtle, if less active or powerful, force in the light of the stars. It should be a pure light coming through such vastness of space, and may have a quality which a pure, unimpulsive force may have. The time may not be far off when Astrology shall be accepted on a scientific basis. In the recrudescence of the art, many new experiences will be brought to bear; many new phases of old wisdom will appear in the light of fresh discovery, and afford bases for new reasoning. Men may find that what seemed empiric deductions were in reality the results of a loftier intelligence and a learning greater than our own. We know already that the whole of the living world is full of microbes of varying powers and of methods of working quite antagonistic. We do not know yet whether they can lie latent until quickened by some ray of light as yet unidentified as a separate and peculiar force. As yet we know nothing of what goes to create or evoke the active spark of life. We have no knowledge of the methods of conception; of the laws which govern molecular or foetal growth, of the final influences which attend birth. Year by year, day by day, hour by hour, we are learning; but the end is far, far off. It seems to me that we are now in that stage of intellectual progress in which the rough machinery for making discovery is being invented. Later on, we shall have enough of first principles to help us in the development of equipment for the true study of the inwardness of things."

Friday, October 30, 2009

Horoscopes for Elders ?

On an internet wander the other day, I happened upon a blog called "Time Goes By". Among the comments following 28 October's post, "The Essence of Elders", was one which brought up a point I'd never even considered before.

The blog post itself had addressed the issue of advertising aimed at elders (those generally labelled "seniors") in a way which is quite often not appealing to them. Ronni Bennet, the blogger, points our that
"....... advertising aimed at elders almost always feels irrelevant to me – they are trying to appeal to old people with the memes of youth. This also applies to just about every aspect of the culture in relation to elders: television, movies, clothing, technology, vacations, etc., soaked with sexual innuendo and status seeking."
Commenter "Pete" had this to say:
"I always get such a laugh out of horoscopes. All they talk about is love life. Someone who wrote horoscopes for elders could do very well!"
Hmmm. You know, after I'd thought on this for a while I decided that the best Sun sign column writers do actually write in a non-age-specific style. Jonathan Cainer at and Rob Brezsny at Free Will Astrology are my own two favourites. I don't ever recall feeling alienated by their writings, as one of their readers who passed her first flush of youth when they, probably, were still in diapers.

The really bad Sun sign columns, such as appear in our local newspaper, syndicated stuff which the paper probably buys for a few dollars a week, are dreadful and ought to be outlawed. It could be such columns to which "Pete" referred, or perhaps he had been borrowing some women's magazines, or reading 'em in the dentist's waiting room. These do tend to carry content slanted for younger women, who make up their readership.

I've given the subject some more thought, and even chatted to my husband about it, wondering whether I could possibly stretch myself and write an Elder Horoscope as part of this blog. Unfortunately our conversation descended into some rather dark humour and giggling when considering the type of content I might include. I shall say no more! You know, I reckon we don't take our elder status seriously enough for me to to be of any real use in this context. Most of the time we're not even aware that we are indeed elders; if others find that a problem - then it's their problem.

We did go on to wonder at the amazing talent of daily and weekly Sun sign writers though - how they can come up with so much material day in, day out, week in, week out. It's a special and rare talent. I could probably write one day's worth of content, then I'd be done!

However, should a stray astrologer pass by here, read this post, and fancy the idea of writing an Elder Horoscope column, please leave your URL and I'll pass it on to "Pete" and others.

I'm going to think longer on this topic myself, perhaps I'm missing something!

Thursday, October 29, 2009


In a list of births, famous and infamous, ocurring this week in past years I didn't see many inspiring enough to get my fingers rattling the keyboard. Lots of sports people appeared in the lists though. I guess that fits Sun in Scorpio whose traditional ruler is Mars - Mars rules sport. Eventually I noticed the name Fanny Brice - it would have been her birthday today! Her name is familiar mainly because of two popular movies, "Funny Girl" and "Funny Lady" starring Barbra Streisand, and based (albeit loosely and with liberties taken) on Fanny Brice's life story.

Fanny's forté was her talent to entertain, and the ability to integrate humor into music.

The daughter of immigrant Jewish saloon owners in New York, Fanny was drawn to a life on stage early on. She appeared in burlesque revues and the Ziegfield Follies, honing her craft, developing her humor. Later, from 1930 onwards her radio portrayal of the character Baby Snooks, "a bratty toddler" brought her national fame.

Fanny married three times, each marriage eventually failed. She is quoted as saying “I never liked the men I loved and never loved the men I liked.” Her marriage to Julius "Nicky" Arnstein made famous by the movie "Funny Girl", was likely the most heartbreaking of the three for her when it ended. Another of her quotes: "With Nick Arnstein, I was miserably happy. With Billy Rose (3rd husband), I was happily miserable."

"Nicky" in real life was even more of a rogue than portrayed by Omar Sharif in the movie. He was certainly a charmer, good company, an inveterate gambler, but a criminal too, and one who managed to leech away much of Fanny's fortune. There's an interesting piece about "Nicky" HERE.

Arnstein's date of birth, other than simply "July 1879" isn't known. Natal Sun would be in Cancer or Leo. Either could account for Fanny's attraction to him. Her Watery Scorpio planets would be compatible with Cancer, and her Leo ascendant matched his possible Leo Sun. I'd not be surprised to find that he had Sun in Cancer with some personal planets nextdoor in Gemini, or Leo, or both.

Fanny was born in New York on 29 October 1891 at 12.03am (Astrodatabank.)

As Fanny Brice came into the world, the sign of Leo was coming over the horizon. There could hardly be a more fitting overture for this lady, whose life was to center on show business and entertaining the public. In her own words:
"Listen, kid! I've done everything in theatre except marry a property man. I've been a soubrette in burlesque and I've accompanied stereopticon slides. I've acted for Belasco and I've laid 'em out in rows at the Palace. I've doubled as an alligator; I've worked for the Schuberts; and I've been joined to Billy Rose in the holy bonds. I've painted the house boards and I've sold tickets and I've been fired by George M. Cohan. I've played in London before the king and in Oil City before miners with lanterns in their caps."

Her natal chart reveals a Scorpio stellium (cluster of 3 or more planets close together), comprising Sun, Mercury, Uranus and Venus. Now, I'd say that Scorpio Sun, left to its own devices is neither very funny nor very musical. Here though, the Sun is joined by Uranus, a planet often linked astrologically to humor, and Venus, planet of music and the arts, as well as Mercury, communication planet. Jupiter in Pisces is in harmonious trine to this Scorpio cluster - Jupiter planet of luck, expansion, publication, helping to bring Fanny's talents to a wide audience.

Fanny's natal Moon conjunct Saturn in Virgo points to a broad streak of perfectionism in her astro-makeup, and a solid work ethic.
"Brice was so meticulous about the program (Baby Snooks) and the title character that she was known to perform in costume as a toddler girl even though seen only by the radio studio audience.

Baby Snooks writer/producer Everett Freeman told Katkov that Brice didn't like to rehearse the role ("I can't do a show until it's on the air, kid") but always snapped into it on the air, losing herself completely in the character: "While she was on the air she was Baby Snooks. And after the show, for an hour after the show, she was still Baby Snooks. The Snooks voice disappeared, of course, but the Snooks temperament, thinking, actions were all there.""

Pluto and Neptune, two generational planets were exactly conjoined in Gemini when Fanny was born. People in her age group had a creative powerhouse to draw upon, especially if their personal planets linked to these two outer planets; in Fanny's case Mars, planet of energetic drive, was in helpful trine from Libra.

A rare sample of the voice of Fanny Brice herself:

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Falling Blogs

While they're not dropping off quite as fast as the autumn leaves, personal blogs sure seem to be slowing down these days, if not to a complete standstill, then to a crawl. Every blogger has his or her own reason, but I do see a generally changing pattern.

Perhaps blogging, as practiced by The Great Unwashed, has now passed its peak. Each new internet activity tends to do so with increasing rapidity these days. Message boards, though not completely extinct yet, are much less used than they were a few years ago. Blogs aren't likely ever to disappear completely either, but the number of small, personal blogs is certain to shrink in future, with other enticing options now available.

Facebook and Twitter have been upstaging blogs to some extent. Internet communication is evolving ever more rapidly as equipment becomes slicker and possibilities more exciting and inviting. Bloggers, too, are evolving, having honed their skills over two or three years, they may be feeling now that it's appropriate to post less frequently in order to maintain quality level, or so as to leave time for newer interests.

I'm not sure whether there's any astrological reflection of this changing pattern. The only slower-moving planet changing signs soon is Saturn, moving from Virgo into Libra. Saturn has been in Virgo, ruled by Mercury, planet of communication since September 2007. Before that Saturn transited Leo, the public performer's sign from the summer of 2005. Blogs were around before then, but in fewer numbers. Leo and Virgo, being emphasised in succession by a slow-moving planet such as Saturn which represents discipline and work, would facilitate growth and popularity of blogging. Saturn's move into Libra shouldn't dampen things down. Libra is Cardinal Air sign, mentally based, not unhelpful to bloggers I'd have thought.

It'll be interesting to watch how things unfold.

I'll carry on doing what comes naturally, blog-wise... until it doesn't any more.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


When searching for some information the other day I found an excellent piece on Scorpio's ruler, Pluto and its transits through the 20th century. This is actually a diploma thesis, in pdf format, written by Jo Munro. A link to the pdf can be found on this page - scroll down a way....

In conclusion Ms Munro states:
To my knowledge, no-one has written about generations in this context. The research I have undertaken in the process of writing this has clarified my understanding of the personalities of the signs and shown me the clear meaning of a Pluto transit. I do believe that the information that is provided by the transit of Pluto through a sign without any other astrological references can be used as a reasonable predictor of future patterns. Finally, it also shows the important contributions and legacy that each generation leaves behind for the next one to continue.

Some thoughts on Scorpio with recipes for a Scorpio birthday dinner displayed as extracts from "An Astrological Cookbook" to which one can subscribe HERE.

Fancy a Scorpio tattoo?

"Moon In the Scorpio" at Limbonic Art, with lyrics and illustrations. A preview of title track and others at Amazon HERE. The cd, if new, is priced at $179 though - and in general not recommended to lighten the spirits!

Tarot and Scorpio - another somewhat depressing view, I think.... cards associated with the sign: Death, The Lightning Struck Tower, and Judgment.

Ending on a positive note: a lovely story about an eagle, the alternative symbol for Scorpio. It's written by Jeff Guidry, an account of his experience with "Freedom" the eagle, at Sarvey Wildlife Center.

Monday, October 26, 2009

MUSICAL MONDAY ~ 4 Sons of Aquarius

Four singer/songwriters with natal Sun in Aquarius are enjoying the presence of helpful Jupiter in their Sun sign. Jupiter entered Aquarius soon after New Year 2009 and will remain in the sign until mid-January 2010 when it'll slide into Pisces.

The four guys have each made news this year:

Garth Brooks (7 February 1962) has recently come out of several years' retirement to star on-stage in Las Vegas. Reports say that Garth mused that his fans might have moved on. He was wrong! Tickets for his first 20 shows sold out in less than five hours.

Robbie Williams (13 February 1974) has recently released a new album which is looked on as something of a re-launch for him, after spending some years in the doldrums, and periods of fighting addiction. It was anounced last week that Robbie will receive an award for outstanding contribution to music at the 2010 Brit Awards. He has already won 11 Brit Awards in the past, but this one is special.

Neil Diamond (24 January 1941) played to a still adoring audience at Madison Square Garden in his hometown, New York a couple of months ago, the concert was also shown on TV and there's a cd/dvd of it avalilable. His new album was released earlier this year too. I recall that Neil 'tweeted' nervously "....but will they still like me?" The answer was plain to see: "You betcha!"

And the newest star in the Sun Aquarius stable, Adam Lambert (29 January 1982), is featured singing the theme song "Time for Miracles", in the new movie "2012" due for release next month. His first solo album, since being declared runner-up in this year's American Idol, will drop on 23 November and is titled "For Your Entertainment". His album is rumored to be quite different from the "2012" song in style - more avant garde, as befits Aquarius.

Fortune has smiled on this talented and charismatic young man all year long, and continues to do so. By the time Jupiter leaves Aquarius, Adam will have established himself firmly, and will be heading for superstardom. That's one prediction I can make without the aid of astrology.

Interestingly, Adam's first album title, "For Your Entertainment" bears a close resemblance to the title of a single from Robbie's first album - "Let Me Entertain You", (from "Life thru a Lens"). All four of these guys are spectacular entertainers and a credit to Aquarius!

Below: a taste of "2012" and Adam singing "Time for Miracles" (if it isn't taken down by the copyright police.) I understand that the song was written by a husband and wife team, when the wife was fighting cancer. She has since died. That makes the lyrics even more pognant than when applied to a general "end of world" scenario.

Time For Miracles

Adam Lambert | MySpace Video

Sunday, October 25, 2009

(No astrology).SUNDAY SUPPLEMENT ~ Remembering a life change.....

It's exactly 5 years since I arrived in the USA to live here permanently. Looking back, I realise that it was one of those situations where I'd had to switch to mental auto-pilot. I do a similar thing sometimes at the dentist's or doctor's office, a useful habit of blocking out peripheral stuff, and thoughts in the subjunctive, about things that could possibly go wrong; retaining focus on a time in the near future with awkwardness gone. I stayed that way for a while, then, one day the enormity of the move hit me. I was worried. My husband was worried. Adding even more chaos to an already daunting situation, we decided to move house from my husband's home of many years. That occupied my mind and blocked out the nerves for a while. I took two brief visits back to the UK in the spring and fall of the next year, which helped a lot. I haven't been back to England since.

I've now got the hang of light switches being "up" for "on"; it's the opposite in the UK. I no longer go to the driver's door to get to the passenger seat, because for my hardwiring, in the US the driver sits on the "wrong" side. I'm still, even now, finding it difficult to use American terms for things like taps (faucets), car boot (trunk), footpath (sidewalk) and so on. American spelling comes and goes in my writing, depending on where, when and to whom it's directed. I'm not going to worry about stuff like that - I kid myself that it'll all add to my (ahem) old world..... charm.

Much cursing and complaining accompanied a four-year, very frustrating, trek through the US immigration process to citizenship. I'm thankful the trek is behind me now. If I'd known in 2004 what I know now, would I have tried to persuade my husband to stay in England with me? I often think I should have done. I'd have missed such a lot by so doing though, even if I could have succeeeded. The USA is a vast and beautiful land - can't help but love it. I've left my shadow among the petroglyphs in Arizona's Painted Desert, stood inside The Alamo, explored the Anasazi dwellings at Mesa Verde, explored the wonderful Rocky Mountains National Park, beautiful Santa Fe, travelled in Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Wyoming. Who'd have thunk it? And there's still more adventuring to be done.

Some attitudes here continue to rankle though, and I still have to perfect a way to ignore what irritates me most. "Take the rough with the smooth" the best advice for me I guess.

Emigration from my homeland was probably my destiny - my fate. A fortune teller told my mother, when I was still in early teenage, that I'd marry a foreigner and end my life abroad. I remembered it, but didn't ever really believe the last part. Marrying a foreigner wasn't difficult - I did it twice! I'd toyed with the idea of spending my retirement in Spain, but deep down knew that was not much more than a pipe dream.

If I could, would I go back to England? I ask myself this sometimes, then realise it's all hypothetical and hypothetical questions can be dangerous and misleading. There's nothing there for me, my family and loved ones are all gone. My family is here now. I can't go back, and that's good.

Scuffling through an old purse the other day I came across a card bought just before I left England. It bears this piece of prose by Vicki Silvers; I read it over and over then, and again in my early days here in the US. I'll copy it. Perhaps a passing reader who is also on the brink of a big life change might find it helpful:

"There comes a time in your life when you realise that if you stand still, you will remain at this point forever. You realize that if you fall and stay down, life will pass you by. Life's circumstances are not always what you might wish them to be. The pattern of life does not necessarily go as you plan...

Beyond any understanding, you may at times be led in different directions that you never imagined, dreamed, or designed. Yet if you had never put any effort into choosing a path or trying to carry out your dream, then perhaps you would have no direction at all.

Rather than wondering about or questioning the direction your life has taken, accept the fact that there is a path before you now. Shake off the "why's" and "what if's", and rid yourself of confusion. Whatever was - is in the past. Whatever is - is what's important. The past is a brief reflection. The future is yet to be realized. Today is here.

Walk your path one step at a time - with courage, faith and determination. Keep your head up and cast your dreams to the stars. Soon your steps will become firm and your footing will be solid again. A path that you never imagined will become the most comfortable direction you could ever have hoped to follow.

Keep your belief in yourself and walk into your new journey. You will find it magnificent, spectacular, and beyond your wildest imaginings."

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Signs within signs, wheels within wheels. Bells within whistles?

Pulling a slim bright yellow volume from my bookshelf I considered writing about its contents. "The Zodiac Within Each Sign" by Frances Sakoian and Louis Acker focuses on the division of each zodiac sign of 30 degrees into 3 cells of 10 degrees (known as decans or decanates), then into 12 two and a half degree cells (known as duads). I'm in two minds as to whether this astrological tool is useful. If we're not careful, bringing in everything but the kitchen sink could result in being able to make, or force, anything to mean anything. That's why I stubbornly stick to a minimalist system.

Still, decans and duads can be an interesting study, and I understand that it's a time honored system stemming from ancient astrological doctrine.

Each decan, or third of a sign is thought to have a different ruler. The first decan of any sign is ruled by the whole sign's ruler. Using myself as guinea pig, and for simplicity sticking strictly to the Sun's position: 27 January, 6.46 degrees of Aquarius, first decan, ruled by Aquarius's ruler Uranus. The second decan is ruled by the ruler of next sign in the same element - Air in this case, so it's Gemini's ruler, Mercury. The third decan is ruled by the ruler of the next Air sign Libra, so = Venus.

Taking another example - Aries: 1st decan ruled by whole sign ruler: Mars. Second by the next Fire sign Leo's ruler: Sun. Third decan by next Fire sign's ruler, Sagittarius = Jupiter.

And so on for each of the 12 signs. Diagram below is from the excellent website Skyscript.

Taking the system a layer deeper, duads split each sign into 12 cells. One theory is that rulership of each 12th goes like this - first 2 and half degrees ruled by whole sign ruler. Second by the next sign on around the zodiac, moving one sign for each 2 and half degrees. there's a helpful list to assist in calculation at Wikipedia HERE.

This system reminds me of.....

Using myself as an example again, as my Sun is at 6.46 Aquarius I'm in the third duad of Aquarius, ruled by Aries. Taking whole sign ruler, decan ruler and duad ruler into consideration gives me a Uranus/Mars or Aquarius/Aries flavour. Which is fine because my Moon and Saturn are both in Aries, so it would have been apparent without the decan/duad calculation that I have both Aquarius and Aries traits. Things might not be so simple for another person though.

I'll try my husband's chart - Sun at 1.48 Aries - first decanate ruled by Mars - he's an Aries-Aries. 1.48 Aries puts him in the first duad also, so again Aries, he's a triple Aries! That didn't tell us much that we didn't know already, and by the way he also has a strong Pisces presence in real life.

My mother's Sun was at 4.16 Libra - first decan - A Libra-Libra. Second duad though so duad ruler is Pluto (Scorpio's ruler - next sign along). Now that fits - and yet her Mercury was in Scorpio, so we could already have known she'd have a touch of Scorpio.

My father might be a better example - Sun was at 18.52 Aquarius which is 2nd decan, ruled by Mercury (Gemini's ruler). He's 8th duad, ruled by Virgo's ruler - Mercury again! Now I don't see that as accurate for him. He wasn't a great communicator, he was a quiet, shy guy. He was a self-employed master baker for most of his life, then a sub-postmaster, so I guess he was versatile (a Mercurial trait), but I'd have seen a better reflection of him had his duad ruler been Moon/Cancer.

Anyway, the theory is that taking into account another, more subtle, layer of traits associated with the ruling sign of your natal Sun's decan and/or duad could explain why your basic standard Sun sign description isn't a good fit. There are many other, possibly better, reasons of course. And the system of decans and duads can be used not only for the Sun's position, but for every planet and point in the natal chart. This promises to throw up an unintelligible soup, which doesn't appeal to me one bit, and could end up making anything mean anything.... and nothing!

As it happens, I did once make use of this system in a 2007 post about Dick Cheney: see here. I made it work for me then. If you go in deep enough, almost anything can be made to work in favor of the result you want to see, and that's the problem with bringing in too many astrological tools and methods. There's more than enough potential for complexity in a straightforward natal chart, no bells, no whistles.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Arty Farty Friday ~ William Henry Jackson

Nowadays tourists flock to the American West and Yellowstone, cameras at the ready, from the most expensive Nikons to cheapo pocket models. Once upon a time though, people of the eastern states and Europe had little or no idea of the wonders of the West. Any sketches of western scenes, geysers, rock formations, hidden canyons etc were often thought to be fanciful exaggerations. William Henry Jackson's photography in the region changed all that, and was instrumental in persuading Congress in 1872 to establish Yellowstone as the United States' first National Park .

Jackson was drawn to artistic pursuits from an early age; he painted in childhood, later worked as a photographic retoucher, and served as a staff artist in the 12th Vermont Infantry, for the Union army in 1862. After the war, in 1867, he opened the Jackson Brothers studio, with his brother Edward in Omaha, Nebraska. Two years later he photographed along the newly opened Union Pacific Railroad.

William Henry Jackson was a true pioneer in his field something of an adventurer as well. As a professional photographer of the 1870s he had the ability to do everything: composing, focusing and exposing the picture, to sensitizing the plate and developing it. Heavy equipment needed hauling to the scenes: huge cameras, glass plates for negatives, lenses and tripods, chemicals and a tent to use as a darkroom. It was a far cry from today's digital photography!

In 1870 Jackson began an eight-year assignment as official photographer to the U.S. Geological and Geographical Survey of Ferdinand V. Hayden, producing important views of the grandeur of states in the American West. He went on to become a photographic publisher and entrepreneur in Denver, specializing in commissioned landscapes for the railroad. In 1893 Jackson was the official photographer for the World's Columbian Exposition.

In later life he reverted to painting; his vast collection of memories must have provided ample inspiration. He lived to the grand old age of 99.

What can we see from William Henry Jackson's natal chart then? A few words in the above serve as clues. Pioneer? Aries. Photography? Pisces/Neptune. Adventure and travel? Sagittarius. Breaking new ground? Uranus/Aquarius.

It's all there! Sun in pioneering Aries, along with Pluto. Sun in Aries is trine Mars in Sagittarius. The pioneer, the drive (Mars) and the traveller combine. Venus planet of the arts, Mercury (communication), and Uranus (breaking new ground) all lie in Pisces, ruled by Neptune, the photography planet. Nextdoor in Aquarius we find Neptune and Jupiter conjoined - the ruling planets of photography and travel/expansion in groundbreaking Aquarius, blended together and reflecting once again what we've seen from the foregoing sentences.

Sometimes natal astrology can be breathtakingly accurate!

Saturn, planet of structure and work, lies in its home sign of Capricorn and in helpful sextile aspect to Mercury and Uranus - bringing the discipline of hard work into what could otherwise have been a rather haphazard and flighty scene, likely to achieve little of value.

Without a time of birth it's not possible to know the Moon's degree, but unless Jackson was born before 1am Moon would have been in flexible Gemini. That's a good fit for his versatility and willingness to bend his talents in different directions, taking on a variety of projects as need dictated.

Man With Sheepskin (in India)

Mount Moran


In the Rockies

The Hayden Survey Party

One of WHJ's paintings: Chimney Rock & North Platte River (we saw this scene, minus wagons, on our last trip!)

Portrait of two Cheyenne

Shoshone family at South Pass, 1870.

More information at