Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Wednesday Woo-Woo~ The Vampire Fad

The recurring vampire fad is one of life's mysteries - to me at least. It comes and goes, each generation seeming to experience its own period of vampire fandom.

I've never been able to see entertainment or educational value in stories involving the sucking of blood from the neck of a human being. Still - whatever floats yer boat! The classic Dracula was just about acceptable, as a novelty, but beyond that I'm unlikely progress within that genre.

A September 2009 article by Christopher Beam and Chris Wilson at Slate, titled The Garlic Years has an interesting timeline of the ebb and flow of vampire fads between the 1960s and 2009/10. They call the years of ebb "Garlic Years". Their research covered movies, TV and books, and threw up 4 such periods when the vampire fad faded:

1960 - 1965
1975 - 1976
1980 - 1984

It'd be intriguing if those periods corresponded with some particular astrological patterns, but so far I haven't identified anything specific to just those years. It'd be necessary to consider the age groups mainly involved in vampire fads too: late teens/twenties? Their natal years and positions of the generational planets during those times would also be significant as would be any peculiar alignments to those planets occuring during the "Garlic Years". That could get very complicated, and I'm not a complicated gal! Astrological connection to the vampire legend itself must have a very strong link to Pluto/Scorpio, the planet and sign of its domain represent all that is dark, erotic, and with links to death. That's as far as I'll go down the astro road on this.

There could well be some more mundane reasons for the Garlic Years, from the fans' point of view anyway. The presence of an alternative fad or concern, or even a lack of stress related events. I have a feeling that in stressful times, such as those we are currently experiencing, vampire tales provide something of a release valve for young people. The Twilight series, as well as True Blood and others, in TV and cinema, have provided a mega-fad during the past 2 or 3 years.

In the 1960-65 Garlic Year period the Beatles and the hippies provided alternative fad focus.

In 1975/6 the Vietnam war ended - a relief from stress in the US at least. (For the UK though the IRA were wreaking havoc in London and elsewhere.)

In 1980-84 the Reagan years in the US - a recession in the early 80s had improved by 1984. Was there an alternative fad then? The first rock video cassette appeared in April 1980 and spawned a whole new industry - and fad. By 1983 MTV had conquered the New York City and Los Angeles markets, as well as network television.

1997 - I don't even have to research this one: Princess Diana was killed in a motor accident in France, and it seemed that the whole world went mad with grief = alternative fad focus.

For whatever reasons, astrological, mundane or a mix of the two, we now find ourselves in the midst of some very non-Garlic Years!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Lena Horne ~ Susan Hayward: Astrological Twins

Tomorrow, 30 June, would have been the birthday of Lena Horne, who died this year, and Susan Hayward who died in 1975. Both women were born in Brooklyn, New York, at 11:45 PM and 4:01PM respectively. Astrodatabank has given Susan Hayward's birth time a DD rating though, which means it's not verified.

Their charts are very similar, rising signs being the only major difference. Aries rising for Lena Horne, Scorpio for Susan Hayward (if time of birth is correct). Just 5 degrees of Scorpio separates their natal Moons.

These two are almost astrological twins. It's an interesting exercise to compare significant points in their lifestories, noting whether they coincide with any planetary transits.

Both women were glamorous, exuded sensuality, and both had early ambition to act, though Lena Horne's African American background prevented the same meteoric rise in that sphere as was enjoyed by Susan Hayward. In those days, racial and social integration in the USA still had a long way to go. Lena, though, had an alternative talent, and in her case one that was far more valuable: music.

For the purpose of this brief post, I'll concentrate on just two periods when events in these women's lives show them to have been in tune with the same astrological transits.

In the mid 1950s Susan Hayward was filming in Utah, starring with John Wayne in the movie The Conqueror.

Of the 220 persons who worked on The Conqueror on location in Utah in 1955, 91 had contracted cancer as of the early 1980s and 46 died of it, including stars John Wayne, Susan Hayward, and Agnes Moorehead, and director Dick Powell. Experts say under ordinary circumstances only 30 people out of a group of that size should have gotten cancer. The cause? No one can say for sure, but many attribute the cancers to radioactive fallout from U.S. atom bomb tests in nearby Nevada.(See HERE)
That event set the scene for Susan's too early demise in the mid 1970s when she succumbed to the brain cancer diagnosed a few years earlier.

In the mid 1950s Lena Horne's civil rights activism and friendship with (Paul)Robeson and others marked her as a Communist sympathizer. Like many politically active artists of the time, Horne found herself blacklisted and unable to perform on television or in the movies. For seven years the attacks on her person and political beliefs continued. During this time, however, Horne worked as a singer, appearing in nightclubs and making some of her best recordings. (See HERE)

In the early 1970s, around the time Susan Hayward received that fatal diagnosis, Lena Horne

... had found in her growing audience a renewed sense of purpose. All of this came crashing down when her father, son and husband died in a period of twelve months during the early 1970s. Horne retreated almost completely from public life. It was not until 1981 that she fully returned, making a triumphant comeback with a one-person show on Broadway.

In the mid 1950s and mid- 1970s transits of Saturn reflected challenging times in both women's lives. In the mid-1950s Saturn was transiting the middle degrees of Scorpio where both women's natal Moons lay. In the early to mid 1970s Saturn transited Gemini and early Cancer where both women had Sun and three personal planets, Mercury, Mars and Jupiter.

QED (as we used to write in school):
quod erat demonstrandum = which was to be demonstrated.

(Click on charts to enlarge)

Monday, June 28, 2010

Music Monday ~ Moondog

In astronomical terms a Moondog is a kind of optical illusion caused by Earth's atmospheric moisture which results in the seeming appearance of a second Moon - sometimes even a third one. In terms of the musician, composer, singer who chose the pseudonym Moondog, I doubt that even Earth's atmospheric moisture could produce another like him! As Sun is now in Cancer and Cancer is ruled by the Moon, Moondog seems an appropriate subject for this Music Monday, he did have 3 planets in Cancer, too.

A classic eccentric: Louis Hardin aka Moondog, born on 26 May 1916 in Marysville, Kansas, son of a peripatetic episcopalian minister. He was blinded in an accident at age 16.

From Wandering Star with excerpts from Moondog, The Viking of 6th Avenue by Robert Scotto, in UK's The Guardian newspaper:
Louis's older sister, Ruth, read to him every day for years following the accident, and his encounters with philosophy, science and myth helped to bury whatever was left in him of his parents' Christianity. One book, The First Violin by Jessie Fothergill, inspired him to choose music as his life's work. Until then he had been interested in percussion, playing Indian drums for the high school band, but from the time he read The First Violin he was overtaken by the desire to be a composer. His father may have been a poor man of the cloth, but he was also well educated and an eccentric in his own right; his library contained many books on warfare and recordings of march music......................................

For more than two decades, he was a musician, poet, seer, "beggar", living on the streets of Manhattan. ....... His self-reliance became legendary.......

In 1969, however, his life changed dramatically, thanks to the release of Moondog by Columbia Records in its Masterworks series, backed up by an extensive promotional campaign..... From being a cult figure and local treasure, he became a celebrity of a different order: an internationally famous composer of classical music who was also a unique and easily recognisable personality. ....................

...... he fulfilled a long-delayed dream by travelling to Europe and, in so doing, returning to the site of the ancient culture that he had kept alive for so long in his clothes and his music. Except for one brief, triumphal return tour in 1989, he never returned to the US........ for the first year or so he lived on the streets in several German cities, not having the airfare to return to America.
In 1975 he met Frank and Ilona Goebel, whose family - appalled that such a talented and sensitive man could be left to fend for himself, blind, cold and uncared for - took him in. With their help, he soon enjoyed a working environment unlike anything he had ever known. In Germany, he wrote enormous amounts of music...... and produced more albums than during any other period of his life.

I'm disappointed not to find a birth time for this wonderfully whacky and talented character.
A 12 noon chart has to suffice.

Uranus simply has to be prominent in the natal chart of such an individual. I'd be surprised if it wasn't very close to one of the angles (ascendant, midheaven or opposite points). We can't know this, though, without a time of birth.

Uranus was in its own domain of Aquarius, at 19 degrees when Moondog was born and in very close trine (in harmony) with Mercury at 19 Gemini. I feel certain that one or other of those planets had to be either rising or at midheaven.

Venus (the arts) and Saturn (limitation)were conjoined in sensitive Cancer, with Neptune (creativity) in the same sign. These connect to his musical talent and the limitation his blindness placed upon him - though never dimming his creativity.

Mars in Leo and Moon likely in Aries, both dynamic Fire signs, link to his characteristic toughness and determination.

Moondog died in 1999, aged 83.


FOG ON THE HUDSON (a demonstration of various musical rhythms - I like this, but get lost after "5"!)

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Oil, USA, and the love affair with cars.

The chart for the "birth" of the USA which appeals to me most is that for 2 July 1776, shown below - the Armistead Chart. I prefer it over the popular 4 July charts for reasons of both history and symbolism. The sharp opposition (red line vertically crossing the circle) between Moon/Pluto (public/passion) and Mercury (communication, mental processes) symbolises, for me, the sharp, passionate divisions of opinion which have arisen in every important matter throughout this nation's relatively brief lifespan. In the US I, as an outsider, sense this as a far more bitter, all encompassing and absolute division than generally occurs in other countries.

The other very interesting alignment, given current circumstances, is a harmonious trine (the blue diagonal on left side of chart) between Neptune, representing oil, and Moon representing the public -& Pluto representing passion and potential threat.

Chart copied from Astrodatabank.

In the USA, more than any other nation, the people simply love their vehicles. Beloved cars, SUVs and trucks need gas/oil of course, and here's where that harmonious trine (oil/people) manifests. Vehicles represent that highly-valued sense of freedom craved by The American People. Vehicles are also a necessity in many areas. Much of this vast country isn't served by public transport. There is little or no access to sidewalks (footpaths), so use of "Shanks' Pony" is strictly limited - if one values one's life.

Motor vehicles then, outside of metropolitan areas, are the only means of transport. In some cases several cars are owned by a single family, to meet the the demands of differing job/school/college locations. From such necessities has arisen this love of Americans for their vehicles. As an extension of that, there is an insatiable need for gas (petrol). I ought to mention also that the US Military Industrial Complex - a truly gargantuan entity - uses gazillions more gas than the average Joe.....and the MIC is indeed insatiable.

The current tragedy in the Gulf of Mexico has to be bringing home to many (or should be bringing home to many) that halcyon days in the love affair of Americans for their vehicles are almost over. We are rapidly reaching a fresh state of affairs. Things must, somehow, change if we and the planet are to survive.

There's a must-read article on the topic by Johann Hari at Huffington Post: We Are All Trapped in a Global Oil Slick. The piece closes thus:

And so we are all left slithering in the global oil slick. Yet the anger of the sane citizenry -- those of us who don't want to engage in collective self-destruction -- has been weirdly muted. Most of us know instinctively that we can't carry on like this. Most of us know Big Oil is a swelling tumor. But it is still much more common to see protests for cheap oil than to see protests to build a world beyond it. We wait passively for a rational politician to emerge through the corruption, when we should be relentlessly pressuring them all.

The oilman John Paul Getty once joked: "The meek will inherit the earth, but not the mineral rights." If the sane proponents of a post-oil world stay so meek and mild, we may not inherit much worth having at all.

There are doom-laden articles and comments about the oil leak all over the internet at present. I avoid such writings for the most part, but occasionally feel a nagging responsibility to investigate these cries of "Wolf!" There is talk of methane gas deposits exploding and causing earthquakes or a tsunami. Talk of movement of tectonic plates. Talk of oily/poisonous rains falling when noxious fumes are carried up into the atmosphere; and of hurricanes still to come.

O joy!

By way of antidote - or not - I decided to pull 3 cards from my tarot deck. I asked "What do I need to know about the future in relation to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico?"
Strength/7 Wands/7 Cups emerged after a good shuffle and cut.
Hmmm - definite cause for some slight feeling of relief? The Strength card is the most important one of the 3 as it comes from the Major Arcana. Its meaning is obvious, really needs no further interpretation.

7 of Wands = showing defiance and holding out against pressure, resisting authority, showing conviction. 7 Cups = procrastination, avoiding being pro-active, lacking focus, having a variety of options but being indecisive. Is this a picture of the current US administration?

7 Cups is the dangerously undermining card of these 3, otherwise hopeful, cards. Strength could and should overcome it with the stamina, courageous outlook and unshakeable resolve indicated by the card.

Looks like the tarot is casting a dividing line reminiscent of that in the US chart. In this case it's Strength v. procrastination and indecision.

(Illustration above is taken from Prop Art, by Gary Yanker, on my bookshelf. This poster and the one earlier in the piece were issued in 1970 and 1971 after an oil spill off California.
When will they ever learn?

Friday, June 25, 2010

Arty Farty Friday ~ Aaron Douglas

Over the past 4 years I've covered all types and nationalities of painters, photographers, illustrators, cartoonists, sculptors, but unless I'm overlooking something I haven't yet covered a black artist. Black musicians and poets - yes, painter - no. I shall rectify that now!

Aaron Douglas, "The Father of African-American Art." I didn't choose him because of the title bestowed by his peers and those influenced by his example, but rather because I love his work and style. What better reason? His style is described in an exhibition catalogue as "combining angular cubist rhythms, seductive art deco style, and traditional African and African American imagery to develop his own unique visual vocabulary”.

From a short biography HERE
Aaron Douglas was born on May 26,1899 in Topeka, Kansas. He was a baker's son at a time when a black was expected to be a servant or a laborer. However, Topeka had a thriving black community. They followed progressive intellectual and social doctrines and had strong leadership which provided Douglas with many role models at an early age. Douglas was encouraged at an early age by his mother to continue his creative interest in art. His most serious decision in becoming an artist came from his exposure to the African-American printer, Henry Ossawa Tanner.

Douglas educated himself despite many obstacles. He joined the exodus to the north after high school, in order to earn money to pursue a college degree. In 1917 he attended the University of Nebraska. He graduated from Nebraska with a B.A. in Fine Arts in 1922. Douglas taught art at Lincoln High School in Topeka for two years. Douglas was then accepted as the illustrator for Dr. Alain Locke's new book, The New Negro, published in 1925.

Douglas and his wife, Alta, went to Paris, France, where he expanded his knowledge of painting and sculpture. In Paris, Douglas got a chance to meet his idol Henry Ossawa Tanner. On his return to the U.S. in 1928, Douglas became the first president of the Harlem Artists Guild. In 1929 he traveled to Chicago to create a mural for the Shermon Hotel's College Inn Ballroom. At the end of 1930 Douglas created another mural for Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee. For his efforts, Douglas became known as the "Dean" among his fellow students. From 1939 to 1966 Douglas was a professor of Art at Fisk University. He later became department head before he retired in 1966.

Aaron Douglas is probably best known for Aspects of Negro Life, a series of four murals completed under the sponsorship of the Works Progress Adminstration in 1934. The murals trace the history of African Americans from Africa through their migration to America's northern cities. In Aspects of Negro Life: Song of the Towers, Douglas presents jazz iconically in the figure of the saxophone player. The musician is an emblem of the intersections of African heritage, African American culture, and national identity.

A 12 noon chart has to suffice as I can find no time of birth for Mr. Douglas.
Born 26 May 1899 in Topeka, Kansas.

Sun, Pluto and and Neptune in Gemini opposed by Moon (more than likely), Saturn and Uranus from Sagittarius. Mercury and Venus, planets of communication and the arts respectively were in Taurus, home sign for Venus and arguably one the most appropriate placements of Venus for an artist of any kind.
The Taurus planets are opposed by Jupiter from Scorpio. So, all in all the chart is dominated by oppositions indicating a "see-saw" dynamic: the need to constantly react until, with experience, it becomes clear that compromise between two opposing forces of the personality is the key to peace of mind. I wouldn't presume to guess what opposing forces were involved in Mr. Douglas's case, but being born long before racial integration in the US must have presented him with a feeling of "being in two minds" about many matters, in spite of the fact that he was fortunate in growing up within the support of a thriving black community. His work, while celebrating his roots, records the wrongs and hardships his fellow African Americans have faced.





Thursday, June 24, 2010


British Astrologer C.E.O.Carter had this to say about intuition in his "little green book" An Encyclopaedia of Psychological Astrology
In a general sense intuition, or the power of perceiving certain truths without the ordinary process of investigation and reasoning, would probably come under Uranus and Neptune, especially in connection with the 9th house.

He goes on to warn that "truths" intuitively grasped are subjective - what may be a truth to one person can be a fallacy to another. He also says
The word "intuition" is often used when "instinct" is meant, as when it is said that someone is "intuitively" disliked.
He considers that heavy afflictions to Mercury, and, in religious and occult matters, to Jupiter Uranus and Neptune, will cloud intuition:
...the native will only reach the truth, if at all, after many mistakes.
I suspect that there are various levels of intuition, ranging from a quite rational but rapid analysis of a situation or person, based on minute details subconsciously perceived by extremely sharp observation, processed in a nanosecond. That'd be at one end of the scale. At the other end of the scale, truly psychic insights arising from exceptional, almost clairvoyant skills. Both levels, and all those inbetween, will involve Mercury, that's for sure. A strongly placed Mercury, challenged by few or no difficult aspects must surely be a basic requirement. After that, I'd say a lot depends on the sign/element placements of Sun and Moon, maybe ascendant too. Water or Air are going to be the easiest elements in which intuition can blossom well. Earth and Fire seem too direct and outwardly active. Yet the analytical skills of Virgo might be instrumental in that first level of intuition, the kind arising from minute, almost unrealised observations.

C.E.O. Carter specifies Uranus and Neptune as other significant planets involved in intuitive ability. Easy aspects between those planets and Mercury will be a definite "plus", especially if one or both lie on or near to the angles (ascendant, midheaven, descendant and nadir) or conjoining one of the Moon's nodes. These are all extra-sensitive points in the natal chart.

Chatting about this subject with Himself brought up the comment that females are generally more intuitive than males. He thinks this stems from a male dislike of being thought "limp-wristed" or overly-feminine. Intuitive ability can be masculine too, I pointed out. Think of jazz musicians improvising, they intuit what others in the group will play and how to complement it. And any sportsman in a sport involving others can, and probably does, gain considerable advantage by using intuition. Perhaps these men just don't call their intuition...intuition.

It's more than likely that we all have the potential within us to be intuitive, but some don't accept this, so fail to use it. Astrological placements and aspects are going to be instrumental in such lack of acceptance. Difficult aspects, in most cases, can be worked on and overcome, but the wish to do so must be strong.

As for me, I think I have, and use, some low level intuition. In my natal chart Mercury is near the descendant angle, in trine to Neptune and also, widely, to Uranus. All three are in Earth signs though. Had these planets been found in Water signs I might have become a psychic phenomenon!

The intuitive mind is a sacred gift
and the rational mind is a faithful servant.
We have created a society that honors the servant
and has forgotten the gift.

-Albert Einstein

(Edited and adapted from a 2007 archived post)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Two Olivias - Benson and Dunham

These are, of course, fictional characters from TV's Law & Order SVU and Fringe respectively. Olivia Benson played by Mariska Hargitay and Olivia Dunham by Anna Torv.

The portrayal of both characters by these actors is top notch - I never fail to enjoy their performances in every episode. We're currently renting DVDs of Fringe in order to catch up with lots of missed episodes. This is an excellent series - somewhat akin to The X Files and Twilight Zone. Law and Order SVU is a classic, we watch any new or repeated episodes whenever they appear on the schedule.

I'm not sure what it is that I find so engaging about both characters (who are probably nothing at all like the actors involved). So many portrayals of female characters in movies and TV leave me either cold, annoyed or wanting to throw up. These two are different. Could the fact that both actors have Sun in an Air sign (as do I) have anything to do with this? I dunno - it's the characters I like, and don't know anything about the actors themselves.

Mariska Hargitay was born 23 January 1964 in Santa Monica Ca. (Astrotheme has 5.58AM birth time) : Sun, Mars & Saturn in Aquarius. Capricorn rising.
Anna Torv, born in Melbourne Australia on 11 June 1978 :Sun and Mercury in Gemini.

It's a weird feeling I get when I'm "attracted" to some TV character, or someone in real life, later to find that there's a likely astrological reason. I still feel the odd goosebump, even though it has happened so many times that I ought to be used to it by now.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


Cancer, for me, is a difficult sign with which to tangle, and far from my favourite, even though it was rising as I came into the world. As I explained last year on this blog (see post here) it's not a sign about which I can easily wax lyrical. (NOTE: I'm writing about the sign and its recognised attributes - its essence, not about a person with Sun, or Moon or other planets, or points in Cancer natally.)

Sun is in Cancer between 22 June and 22 July - give or take a day. Sandwiched as it is between sociable, communicative Gemini and sparkly limelight-seeking Leo, poor old Cancer was bound to feel a wee bit inadequate. Hence Cancer is known for a certain reticence often verging on shyness or tendency to become reclusive. Still, Cancer is one of the 4 Cardinal signs marking the solstices and equinoxes (Aries, Libra, Capricorn are the others) These signs represent initiation and leadership (irrespective of what Aries and Leo might think - if signs could indeed think!)

Cancer is also one of the 3 Water signs (Pisces and Scorpio the others). Water signs represent emotions, feelings, sensitivities, so in Cancer's Cardinal case, emotions sensitivities and feelings over-ride all else. Cancer is ruled by the Moon - not surprising then that the Moon is said to affect our emotional states.
In Alan Oken's Complete Astrology he uses the tag line "Cancer - I seek myself through what I feel" on the section dealing with zodiac sign Cancer.

From just two factors: Cardinal & Water, are derived all the characteristics found in astrology textbooks under the heading "Cancer".

We ought to keep in mind, when considering the personality of those born with Sun in Cancer, that planet Mercury will always be either in Cancer along with the Sun or in one of the adjacent signs, Gemini or Leo. Venus can be in the same sign as the Sun, or up to 2 signs away. The position of these two intensely personal planets will colour a personality strongly - one reason (among many) that someone with natal Sun in Cancer can display many traits which strongly contradict textbook descriptions of "A Cancerian".

Cartoonist Ronald Searle's depiction of Cancer from
Searle's Zodiac

Monday, June 21, 2010

Summer Soltice with Walt Whitman & Charlie Parker

Walt Whitman's prose is as lovely as his poetry. He had natal Sun in Gemini by the way. His natal chart was covered in a 2008 post HERE.
This piece of his prose fits rather well on this Summer Solstice:

An Early Summer Reveille

Away then to loosen, to unstring the divine bow, so tense, so long. Away, from curtain, carpet, sofa, book—from “society”—from city house, street, and modern improvements and luxuries—away to the primitive winding, aforementioned wooded creek, with its untrimm’d bushes and turfy banks—away from ligatures, tight boots, buttons, and the whole cast-iron civilize life—from entourage of artificial store, machine, studio, office, parlor—from tailordom and fashion’s clothes—from any clothes, perhaps, for the nonce, the summer heats advancing, there in those watery, shaded solitudes. Away, thou soul, (let me pick thee out singly, reader dear, and talk in perfect freedom, negligently, confidentially,) for one day and night at least, returning to the naked source-life of us all—to the breast of the great silent savage all-acceptive Mother. Alas! how many of us are so sodden—how many have wander’d so far away, that return is almost impossible.

And - more pure class: Charlie (Bird) Parker with his version of Gershwin's wonderful Summertime.

Charlie Parker was born in Kansas City, Kansas, on 29 August 1920. Raised in Kansas City, Missouri, found fame in New York City as a jazz saxophonist. He's counted as one of the legends of that genre, died as a result of drug abuse at the tender age of 34. He had 4 personal planets in meticulous Virgo, opposed by maverick planet Uranus and Moon in Pisces (time of birth unknown, but the opposition of Moon is more than likely). I'd say that this opposition is key to both his musical genius and his inability to free himself from his addictions.

Parker's soaring, fast, rhythmically asymmetrical improvisations could amaze the listener; nevertheless close inspection shows each line to hold a complete, well-constructed phrase with each note in place. Parker's harmonic ideas were revolutionary, introducing a new tonal vocabulary employing 9ths, 11ths and 13ths of chords, rapidly implied passing chords, and new variants of altered chords and chord substitutions. His tone was clean and penetrating, but sweet and plaintive on ballads. Although many Parker recordings demonstrate dazzling virtuoso technique and complex melodic lines he was also one of the great blues players. (From a potted biography HERE)

Solstice Greetings!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

THE BIG O (no, not him!)

Somewhere on our travels recently I picked up an old copy of Newsweek in a junk shop. The image above was the first thing I saw as I flicked through it. It was one half of a double-page advertisement placed by a corporation: FMC

Part of the advert's blurb on the opposite page read:

Ironically the issue of Newsweek is dated 12 November 1973.
Ye Gods! Progress on developing those "different fuels" has been negligible to non-existent in the intervening 37 years!

Oil in astrology is thought to be "ruled" by planet Neptune. I'm a wee bit unclear as to why. Neptune rules the oceans - that's clear enough via mythology; extrapolating from that, all liquids come under Neptune's rulership I guess -including oil - and alcohol (other Neptune governorships include dreams, illusions, mysticism etc. etc.)

In 1973 Neptune was in early Sagittarius. As I type Neptune is in late Aquarius, in the interim period having passed through the rest of Sagittarius (Fire), all of Capricorn (Earth) and most of Aquarius(Air). Neptune will enter 00 Pisces (Water), its own rulership, in February 2012.

Aspects made by or to Neptune, most importantly involving the other slow movers, are significant of course, but the zodiac sign in which Neptune spends a long period - around 14 years in each, is also very important. In a compatible (Water) sign, perhaps there will be a more helpful "astrological atmosphere", and a new era where oil is concerned.....with oil largely staying in its own home, under the ground or ocean.

Let us hope sincerely that Neptune, when settled into Pisces, the sign where it is most at home, will somehow bring about the right atmosphere for an end to the insanity that has been our quest for oil. Let that be our dream (dreams also being part of Neptune's domain).

Saturday, June 19, 2010


I was prompted to write on this topic by astrologer Robert Phoenix who included my offering (below) along with his own thoughts and articles by other astrologers in his blog last weekend.

In case a passing non-astro reader feels curious, the planetary configuration in question is a currently slow-forming "cross" within a "square", outlined by 2 sets of 2 planets in opposition, with all 4 in 90 degree square aspect to one another. Such a configuration isn't that uncommon - it's often found in natal charts. In the current case though, the configuration is more notable because it is being formed in the 4 Cardinal signs (Aries/Cancer/Libra/Capricorn) known as dynamic initiators - and by some slow-moving planets known from experience as "heavy hitters", tending to reflect their situation on the world at large rather than on an individual: Pluto, Uranus, Saturn and Mars, with other planets involved at various stages. The configuration will be forming gradually from June to a completion in early August, then very slowly moving apart again. My own thoughts on the current cardinal cross follow:
Coming from the perspective of a non-professional astrologer, but one who has watched astrological events and their results with interest over many years, first thoughts on the upcoming cardinal cross are: it will not augur any single, immediately dire, event.

My view on astrology generally is that, at its core, there's something very, very important still to be discovered, but on its periphery there are rather too many assumptions held. I do note these titanic alignments and configurations, remain aware that there'll be something radically different in the astrological atmosphere, but without a clear idea of what that might be, or of what it could lead to.....or when.

Whatever alarms, changes or transformation might be indicated by the upcoming configuration of planets, I doubt that much will come to a head at the exact time the planets form this cardinal cross in early August. Things have been coming to "boiling point" for some years, and will continue to retain a lot of heat for some years more. Events have been stacking up: earthquakes, oil spills/leaks, volcano eruptions, political unrest. The same trend is likely to continue. We're talking about an era rather than a few days or weeks of this summer. The cardinal cross of 2010 is akin to a very loud thunder-clap during a storm as it passes right overhead.

Cardinal signs linked together indicate something of a climax. The planets involved can be heavy hitters. I tend to respect predictions based on Pluto, Uranus and Saturn more than most others. All three are involved here. Astrologers' predictions related to the cardinal cross need to be kept in mind, though not with an expectation of massive and immediate upheaval. A climax does not need to be all that dramatic, it can simply be a point at which there's a turn-around. In 100 years or so, when historians and astrologers look back, they'll be able to pinpoint a span of around 10 years when things on Earth, and lifestyles for its inhabitants, changed irreversibly. The summer of 2010 will, I suspect, be at center of that span.

In matters of the environment, energy, politics, the corporatocracy, militarism, religion there have been areas of serious concern building for some years. This cardinal cross could simply be a reflection of what we've been living through, and will continue to live through for a while longer.

We are in a period of gradual change, but then we always have been. The now isn't a lot different from any other time in history. We should try to avoid hyperbole, remain hopeful and remember John Steinbeck's words in "The Grapes of Wrath":

"This you may say of man – when theories change ... and crash, when schools, philosophies, when narrow dark alleys of thought, national, religious, economic, grow and disintegrate, man reaches, stumbles forward, painfully, mistakenly sometimes. Having stepped forward, he may slip back, but only half a step, never the full step back."

With a nod to Douglas Adams, the best advice of all....always:

Friday, June 18, 2010

Arty Farty Friday ~ Suzanne Valadon, Utrillo's Mom

Here's an interesting female artist: Suzanne Valadon. Before picking up a paint brush she was a circus acrobat, later an artists' model working with some of France's most legendary painters. After watching her employers' techniques closely she taught herself to paint, with a little help from Toulouse-Lautrec.

By all accounts she was something of a maverick with an urge to sample a variety of lovers - several painters, a composer, a banker, among others. She married some of them briefly, then wandered off again. Her son, father unknown, found fame as an artist: Maurice Utrillo

Wikipedia describes her as
A free spirit, she would wear a corsage of carrots, kept a goat at her studio to "eat up her bad drawings", and fed caviar (rather than meat) to her "good Catholic" cats on Fridays.

Her painting is described in this on-line biography

She painted portraits, landscapes, still lifes and, especially, female nudes. Her images are unforgettable in vibrant and powerful colors reminiscent of the Post-Impressionist and Fauve styles. Her use of color and her bold representations of female sexuality challenged the traditional male constructions of femininity. Valadon's powerful renditions of women's bodies probably arose from her own experience as an artist's model and circus performer

I'd expect to see the maverick planet Uranus figure prominently in her natal chart. Let's see:

She was born on 23 September 1865 in Bessines-sur-Gartempe (near Limoges), France. According to Astrotheme she was born at 6.00am.

If Astrotheme's birth time for Suzanne is anywhere near accurate, then Uranus was right at mid-heaven when she was born - one of the strongest points in the chart.
Her Sun, in the earliest degree of Libra, is right on the ascendant angle, the strongest point of all, and in square aspect to Uranus. This is an antagonistic aspect, which in this case could be seen as an antagonism between Libra's pull to art and beauty, and Uranus's pull towards an urge to be different, and a wee bit obtuse. Also in Libra, ruled by Venus, planet of the arts, are Mars and Saturn, adding weight to her innate urge to make art of some kind. Moon in Scorpio - her strong draw to sexual adventures and eroticism.

Some examples of her work are below. I don't see these as being in any way exceptional, though they're pleasant enough. I guess that her connections to "big name" painters and the emergence of her son as one of them did a lot to help her own painting to gain attention. As always, it's not what you know or what you can do - it's WHO you know!