Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Pluto's Transit of Capricorn ~ Getting Into the Groove?

Are we standing far enough back yet to discover how Pluto's transit of Capricorn is manifesting ? Inspecting a large oil painting up close, one sees nothing but wild brush strokes, a jumble of colours, stand well back and a clear picture emerges. Astrology in life is like that. Not many of us want to believe it though. We want to see prompt results for planetary transits and major moves.

Pluto moved from Sagittarius into Capricorn in 2008. We have more than three years of evidence now. But three years years isn't a lot, isn't enough. Pluto's Capricorn transit will continue until 2024 - more than 12 years still to go! We've hardly scratched the surface yet. Are there any broad clues available though. Are we "in the groove"?

Before the transit began many astrologers offered predictions of what the new astro-era would mean for the world. Pluto is known as the transformational planet (or dwarf planet, or whatever). Capricorn is the cardinal Earth sign linked to business, structure, tradition. Not surprisingly most early predictions indicated changes to the structure of society, consolidation of corporate power, upheaval of the status quo and traditional institutions, political or religious.

What we've seen during the past three years is starting to match those early predictions. Banks (institutions) in trouble; "Arab Spring" a challenge to tradition in the middle-east; the strengthening of corporate power on government in the USA and in other parts of the developed world; a massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico might, in time, have outcomes and restrictions as yet not envisaged by the general public; earthquakes and tsunami in Japan - likewise. We are at the start of a path now, these factors are only stepping stones, or clues as to the direction in which the path will eventually take us.

In January 2008 Australian-based astrologer Douglas Parker made a good clear assessment of what Pluto in Capricorn has meant historically, and what he considers it will mean for us in the future, at his website. See the section headed Pluto in Capricorn

I've picked a handful from his list of predictions, and added comments of my own:
Massive popular revolts are likely to occur in countries, that will shake the very foundations of government and power of those countries.(This one is working out well, so far!)

There will be a Peoples Revolution against Big Business and the way in which governments function. Laws will be written to control the power of BIG business. (This is the one I'm waiting for. Bring it on!!)

Massive volcanic eruption, possibly in January 2020, causing global climate change for several years is possible. If not, massive, devastating earthquake activity is possible, as are tsunamis. Global climate change shocks will become apparent between 2008 and 2023. (We can already see some evidence of this one coming to pass)

Some of the greatest Empires in history were born or destroyed with Pluto in Capricorn. A great country will be formed or will begin to crumble into dust during this time. Also some of the great conquerors, like William the Conqueror and Napoleon, were born in this time. So a warrior leader with gigantic power will be born in this time. (Interesting. We shall see!)

The greatest explorers in history set out with Pluto in Capricorn. Last time it was James Cook, The time before that it was Magellan. This time another great explorer will write his name into history before 2023. (Will he/she be a space explorer, I wonder, or an explorer beneath the oceans, or into another dimension? Exciting!)

Another great Golden Age in the history of Music and Art is beginning. (I'm not feeling it yet!)

Thank you Mr. Parker. Good job! We do appear to be "in the groove".

What's absolutely certain, is that by the end of Pluto's journey through the sign of Capricorn the world will have changed, just as it has changed since Pluto moved from Scorpio to Sagittarius in 1996. During the period 1996 to 2008 my own, personal, world underwent transformation in every respect. Nothing, not a single thing, is the same for me now as it was then. I may not be around to see Pluto move from Capricorn into Aquarius in 2024, but do hope to see some indication of how things will turn out, before my final exit. I hope it'll turn out to be, as they used to say back in the '60s, "Groovy man!"

Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Peace Pipe ~ Longfellow ~ Memorial Day

In the USA it's Memorial Weekend. Memorial Day itself, the last Monday of May, is traditionally set aside for honouring American servicemembers. Originally known as Decoration Day, it commemorates U.S. citizens who died while on military service.

I shall forever feel grateful to, and honour the memory of, American servicemen who came to the aid of Britain during World War 2. Beyond that, I'm ambivalent about the military. I hope and wish for peace, so there would no longer be a need for the cull of human life, brothers and sisters snuffing out the light of each other - for what? The greed for power of their masters. In that vein, an extract from The Peace Pipe from Longfellow's Song of Hiawatha:. (See below for Longfellow's natal chart etc.)

And they stood there on the meadow,
With their weapons and their war-gear,
Painted like the leaves of Autumn,
Painted like the sky of morning,
Wildly glaring at each other;
In their faces stem defiance,
In their hearts the feuds of ages,
The hereditary hatred,
The ancestral thirst of vengeance.
Gitche Manito, the mighty,
The creator of the nations,
Looked upon them with compassion,
With paternal love and pity;
Looked upon their wrath and wrangling
But as quarrels among children,
But as feuds and fights of children!
Over them he stretched his right hand,
To subdue their stubborn natures,
To allay their thirst and fever,
By the shadow of his right hand;
Spake to them with voice majestic
As the sound of far-off waters,
Falling into deep abysses,
Warning, chiding, spake in this wise :
"O my children! my poor children!
Listen to the words of wisdom,
Listen to the words of warning,
From the lips of the Great Spirit,
From the Master of Life, who made you!
"I have given you lands to hunt in,
I have given you streams to fish in,
I have given you bear and bison,
I have given you roe and reindeer,
I have given you brant and beaver,
Filled the marshes full of wild-fowl,
Filled the rivers full of fishes:
Why then are you not contented?
Why then will you hunt each other?
"I am weary of your quarrels,
Weary of your wars and bloodshed,
Weary of your prayers for vengeance,
Of your wranglings and dissensions;
All your strength is in your union,
All your danger is in discord;
Therefore be at peace henceforward,
And as brothers live together.
"I will send a Prophet to you,
A Deliverer of the nations,
Who shall guide you and shall teach you,
Who shall toil and suffer with you.
If you listen to his counsels,
You will multiply and prosper;
If his warnings pass unheeded,
You will fade away and perish!
"Bathe now in the stream before you,
Wash the war-paint from your faces,
Wash the blood-stains from your fingers,
Bury your war-clubs and your weapons,
Break the red stone from this quarry,
Mould and make it into Peace-Pipes,
Take the reeds that grow beside you,
Deck them with your brightest feathers,
Smoke the calumet together,
And as brothers live henceforward!"

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow commanded, in his heyday, in America and Britain the fame and celebrity we these days accord to rock stars. His poetry is now looked upon by some as unfashionable, not by me. It's easy to read, and to understand. Accessible is, I think, the term used in literary circles. Fashionable, as applied to poetry, usually means a good helping of affectation, the result proving to be unintelligible to the average reader.

Longfellow's epic poem The Song of Hiawatha has long been a favourite of mine. Its rhythm is hypnotic.

Born in Portland, Maine on 27 February 1807, Longfellow's ancestors hailed from Yorkshire, England (my own native county).

(12 noon chart used as no time of birth known)

An appropriate natal chart for a poet. The element of Water dominates. Sun Mercury Pluto and Venus all in Pisces, and trining Uranus, Saturn and Moon in Scorpio. (Moon's degree unknown for lack of birth time).

On-line biographies indicate that Longfellow was a gentle person, but from a young age ambitious for fame as a writer. His Scorpio planets would have been the driving force, I guess, whilst those 4 Pisces planets fired his imagination and vision.

Jupiter at 00 Aquarius squares Aquarius's ruler Uranus at 00 Scorpio. Mars in Virgo opposes the stellium of Pisces planets. These are challenging aspects in a chart which would otherwise have seemed serene. Some events in his life may mirror these challenges. Longfellow married twice. His first wife died following a miscarriage, his second wife died as a result of her clothing catching fire. No doubt the melancholy which seeps through some of his poems stems from these sad events.

Walt Whitman is reported to have said, after Longfellow's death:
"He comes as the poet of melancholy, courtesy, deference--poet of all sympathetic gentleness--and universal poet of women and young people. I should have to think long if I were ask'd to name the man who has done more and in more valuable directions, for America."

Friday, May 27, 2011

Arty Farty Friday ~ Barbara Kruger

Barbara Kruger is an artist whose work, once identified, is immediately recognisable from then on. She incorporates text and old photographs from magazines, or her own photographs, to present provocative messages. These concern consumer culture, stereoptying, feminism, politics etc. In recent years she has moved into video art and installation art.

One of Ms Kruger's best known slogans “I shop therefore I am” mocks consumerism.

She also uses her artwork as a platform to make known her political and social views on some controversial issues such as abortion i.e. “Pro-life for the unborn…Pro-death for the born.”

In an interview with Barbara Kruger conducted by Thyrza Nichols Goodeve in the November 1997 issue of Art in America, titled “The Art of Public Address,” Ms Kruger explained:

The brevity of the text is about cutting through the grease. I just want to address people in a very forthright manner. It is why I always use pronouns, because they cut through in the same way. Direct address has been a consistent tactic in my work, regardless of the medium that I'm working in. I try to deal with the complexities of power and social life, but as far as the visual presentation goes I purposely avoid a high degree of difficulty. I want people to be drawn into the space of the work. And a lot of people are like me in that they have relatively short attention spans. So I shoot for the window of opportunity.

Barbara Kruger was born into a working class background in Newark, New Jersey on 26 January 1945. After graduating from Syracuse University, she enrolled in Parsons School of Design in 1965. Shortly after, she was given a job at Mademoiselle.

From an interview at Dazed Digital

I felt like a Martian at Syracuse University. Most of the people there were very wealthy and had a lot of facial surgery. After the first year at college I saw little reason to stay. And my father had died, so I wanted to be closer to my mom in New Jersey.

I transferred to Parsons School of Design and studied with Diane Arbus. She was the first female role model I had that didn’t wash the kitchen floor six times a day.
I left school at 19. I didn’t have the money to continue. Initially, I got a job as a telephone operator. Then I was hired at Condé Nast as an assistant designer at Mademoiselle Magazine.

In the beginning, it was thrilling to work for magazines because it was all new, and I thought I wanted to be Art Director of the World! But I soon realised that I just didn’t have it in me to be a designer. Designers have to construct millions of different images of perfection to suit their clients. The have extraordinarily broad skill sets. I admire that tremendously, but I could never do that.

I didn’t have a pot to piss in so I started to take all these teaching jobs. Without a degree you couldn’t get a real job, so I just got visiting jobs. I first went to CalArts in 79 and I think at that point I realised I liked LA. I’ve been in Los Angeles for almost 22 years now.

(12 noon chart - time of birth not known.)

No wonder I've been cheering on every example of her slogans I've uploaded for display here! Ms Kruger's natal Sun is in the same degree of Aquarius as my own, and she, too, has Mercury in Capricorn. Socially aware, interested in communicating in a straighforward, no nonsense fashion! There the similarities end though.

Without a time of birth I cannot ascertain rising sign or exact Moon position, but whatever her time of birth Moon would be somewhere in the sign it rules - and possibly the most "female" of all the signs - Cancer, which I think clearly links to her connection with feminism.

There's a lovely Grand Trine in Air in her chart. Uranus in Gemini and Neptune in Libra link to each other in harmonious trine, and both link to her Aquarius Sun, and underline her Aquarian traits of slight eccentricity (Uranus ruler of Aquarius), and creativity (Neptune).

Many more examples can be seen at Google Image.

QUOTES of Barbara Kruger:

I think that every so-called history book and film biography should be prefaced by the statement that what follows is the author's rendition of events and circumstances.

Listen: our culture is saturated with irony whether we know it or not.

Look, we're all saddled with things that make us better or worse. This world is a crazy place, and I've chosen to make my work about that insanity.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Predictions of Gin Chow & The Sexagenary Cycles

In The Best of the Illustrated Astrological Journal (1933-35), an old volume I picked up in an antique store some time ago, a brief article Gin Chow, Chinese Prophet of Lompoc -by Thomas F. Collison, caught my interest.

Gin Chow, an immigrant from China, lived in Lompoc in the Santa Inez River valley, Santa Barbara county, California. He gathered the reputation of being a sage and prophet due to an ability to accurately predict the weather and timing of earthquakes.

The article tells that Gin Chow made no claim to be clairvoyant, and denied that he was a soothsayer, yet his fame spread. He used Chinese astrological doctrine, "The Yellow Road zodiac", ancient lore touching on the "fates of men and the fates of nations, and the way of the rains and the droughts and the hot spells and cold spells and earthquake phenomena", using cycles of 60 years.

Gin Chow correctly predicted that Yokohama would quake in 1923 and that Santa Barbara would fall in ruins in 1925. He believed that the destiny of China and United States "They tied up together....China is old man, Amelica is infant, but wise baby. China not been wise. She pay too much 'tention to ancestors, by Amelica she benefit much if she help China".

Other predictions by Chow cited by Thomas Stroke in his 1958 book California Editor include a a 1932 prediction of a United States war with Japan that would end in 1946 (World War II ended in 1945).

Wikipedia has a page on Gin Chow, and records that
Chow's last prediction came in 1932. He had been seriously gored by a bull and doctors believed him to be on his deathbed. Chow assured them that he would die one year later. He died in June 1933.

Chinese Astrology follows the cycles of the Moon. A complete cycle of sixty lunar years is made up of five twelve year cycles. The twelve-year cycle is sometimes called "The Yellow Road of the Sun".

I searched online for more information and found this. I suspect some astrologers might argue with the first sentence!

All astrology derives from ancient Chinese philosophy developed between 4000 and 2000 BC. At its heart is the concept of complementary opposites, and the interaction between elemental forces within a 60 year cycle dominated by the Moon. No one force or element dominates another, but each requires the others for its existence. As time progresses through the cycle, life forces change, but are always held in balance by an opposing force.
The present 60 year cycle started in 1984 – the year which George Orwell foresaw as a new world dominated by what he believed to be the dark forces of information technology in an age of fearsome new weaponry – and will end in 2044.


Hmm. Using that 12-year count we are currently in the span 2008 to 2020, the third of five 12-year segments since the previous cycle ended in 1983. I feel no affinity at all to Chinese astrology, so am drawing a blank here. There's more detail on the Sexagenery Cycle in Chinese astrology at Wikipedia

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Astrology FAQs - the website

It's always good to discover a new (to me) astro-voice. I happened upon a website I'd not seen before the other day: astrologyfaq.com, and enjoyed the read.

So, spreading the word:

From the website:
About the author
Titan O'Connell is many things. Aside from being a cheerful giant that no one forgets, Titan is a professional software engineer of many years with powers of logic that rival those of Mister Spock. Some say he likes astrology to balance his computer programming side, but he would tell you about the similarities between these two forms of wizardry. A native of the state of Vermont, Titan is among the many interesting, creative, and outside-the-box people that reside nestled among the beautiful Green Mountains. Also a growing health nut, Titan boasts of never having even tried any illicit drugs with alcohol and caffeine being the worst he has used. He continues to study astrology and hopes to make a solid contribution to the subject in time.

There are sections headed as follows:
What is astrology?
Astrology is not a religion.
Astrology is not a science.
Astrology isn't even necessarily spiritual.
Astrology is not a rip-off.
Astrology is not the daily horoscopes you see in the newspaper.
Can astrology advice apply to everybody?
Where does astrology come from?
How does astrology work?
Why does astrology work?
Is astrology consistent?
Is astrology inconsistent?
Is astrology inconsistent with astronomy?
Why is astrology not widely accepted?
Why write this FAQ?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


I'm returning to Ingrid Lind's Astrology & Commonsense (1962) for her take on this Airy, Mutable, Positive sign, ruled by planet Mercury. Sun is in the zodiac sign Gemini from (give or take a day) 21 May to 20 June each year.

In Gemini primitive man has progressed through the settling-down stage and discovers he has a mind. This is indeed an enormous discovery: and he goes to extremes of rationality, cuts himself off from the intuitional, heart-qualities that served well in Aries and Taurus, abondons what he will call childish things and decides that the important thing is to KNOW.

People with an overdose of this Sign can only appreciate, and will only accept, what has been ratiocinated and 'proved'. Everything must be talked over, argued (if necessary anyway), as it were demonstrated or abolished verbally. Gemini will sit up all night, if he can find another Geminian, splitting hairs. Aries, we may say, is primeval Fire, Taurus primeval Earth, Gemini primeval Air, in which element man gets his feet off the ground and experiments with the freedom and expansiveness of thought.

With the average man or woman, where Gemini is found strong in the chart, need for communication is the keynote. They have an urge to impart whatever they learn by speech or writing and it is a necessity with them to feel they are 'in the know'. The symbol for Gemini, the Twins, pictures the deep need for communication, if only with 'the other half' of the personality. The duality is also apparent in the Geminian gift, if it is a gift, of many-sidedness, in versatility and the ability to live a double life.

Geminian Qualities
Variety of Interest
Understanding (in the sense of a quick grasp)
Agility of mind, hand, foot.

Geminian Faults


That summary will apply to some - perhaps the majority of people born when the Sun was in Gemini, but in many cases there will be modifying factors, or another layer of characteristics. These will come via personal planets (Mercury and Venus at least) in the neighbouring signs: Cancer and Taurus, as well as additional characteristics inherited from Moon's sign and rising sign. So, what Ingrid Lind wrote is only part of the complete picture.

I've met Sun Gemini people whose personalities were far from what astrology leads us to expect. I recall a boyfriend from my late teens, nice enough guy, enjoyed that pastime beloved of Englishmen "having a pint" down at the pub, and watching a game of soccer. I joined him for both on a few occasions. Though we had few interests in common, we did manage to get along quite well, in a pedantic, uninspired kind of way. I suspect he had some strong Taurus impacting his Gemini - ouch!!

Then again, I've met some who might have been "made to order" to fit the above description and any other Gemini description in any astrology text book. My maternal grandfather was one such, and a female workfriend.... and my husband's son-in-law is another - possibly the most true-to-form Gemini-type I've met so far.....oh I'm forgetting our good blog buddy R.J. Adams, I don't know him personally but will hazard a guess that he's pretty true to Gemini form.
My mind rebels at stagnation. Give me problems, give me work, give me the most abstruse cryptogram, or the most intricate analysis, and I am in my own proper atmosphere. But I abhor the dull routine of existence. I crave for mental exaltation."
-- Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, author, b. 22 May 1859.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Music Monday ~ Musical Maturity - in the '90s stars? + Stevie Nicks

Was there something in the air, or more significantly in the planetary line-up, during 1993 and 1994, when today's 16 and 17 year-olds were born which endowed them with a certain maturity of talent?

Surely there was.

Consulting my 20th century ephemeris, I find that throughout those years, 1993 and 1994 Uranus (the unexpected) and Neptune (creativity) were conjoined and transiting through.....CAPRICORN! Capricorn, ruled by Saturn - aka Old Father Time/Cronos, represents (among other things) age and maturity. I immediately see a connection here to young people who display a level of creative maturity entirely unexpected for their age group.

Take these 5 examples for starters:

The three lads who make up the Italian group Il Volo - two aged 16 one aged 17. These teenagers, "more popular than pizza" in their native Italy, are ready to make a name in the USA and world. Their debut album has already been certified platinum in Italy.

Listen, please:

Then, the two American Idol finalists, Scott McCreery (17) and Lauren Alaina Suddeth (16). Listen again, please: these two video clips are from the early auditions last summer. Since then these two have battled through a dozen or more rounds to become the last 2 standing and will fight for the title on Tuesday/Wednesday this week.

Scotty, now aged 17

Lauren, now aged 16

I rest my case. However, as I rest it on the astro point, I'll raise another. Both Scotty and Lauren sing country. Country music can be fun, can be emotionally moving, can be sickeningly maudlin or dangerously nationalistic. In whichever guise it presents, the best renditions, I find, are always by artists who can actually relate to the lyrics and situations described in the lyrics. Lyrics are the core of country. For singers who are 16 or 17, however mature their voices, there are very few sets of lyrics which embrace, engagingly, the life and emotional experiences of a teenager. It's a bit like being given a sweater by your Gran - it's 3 sizes too big, but you wear it anyway. You grow into it though - in time. As for Il Volo - as only the Italian speaking among us can interpret the lyrics - the lovely lads can get away with 'most anything - and get away with it superbly!

And now for something completely different:

Stevie Nicks. Her birthday is later this week - she was born on 26 May 1948 - Sun in Gemini, Moon in Capricorn.

Two of the best known songs written by Stevie, and performed by her with Fleetwood Mac are Rhiannon and Landslide. These two songs might be said to reflect Air and Earth, Gemini and Capricorn, her two astro "trademarks".

Airy Gemini:

Rhiannon rings like a bell through the night
And wouldn't you love to love her?
Takes through the sky like a bird in flight
And who will be her lover?
All your life you've never seen a woman
Taken by the wind
Would you stay if she promised you Heaven?
Will you ever win?...........

Earthy Capricorn:

I took my love, I took it down
Climbed a mountain and I turned around
And I saw my reflection in the snow covered hills
Till the landslide brought me down

Happy Birthday, on Thursday, to Stevie Nicks!

Saturday, May 21, 2011


Well guys and gals, it's here. Are y'all feelin' it yet? The Rapture. A thought crosses my mind as I wait - "I hope that God is as kind a judge as American Idol's J-Lo and Steven Tyler, then whatever my list of sins and indiscretions, he'll declare me "beautiful - you gave me goosebumps!"

Today seems a timely date on which to post about a good book I read recently. It deals with what might follow any Rapture-related purge.

I'm a picky reader, didn't used to be when younger, but these days if I don't immediately feel some kind of resonance with the author, his writing style, the storyline, where the story is set, or some other element - I can't be bothered. Life's too short!

I don't recall what led me to seek out Earth Abides, by George R. Stewart first published in 1949. Someone, somewhere online, must have mentioned it and perked my curiosity. I found a used paperback copy at e-bay, it had me by page three!

It's a post apocalyptic novel, written in the mid-20th century and presents the reader with a rather different perspective from books of the same genre written more recently. The novel is said to have been the inspiration for Stephen King's The Stand. I haven't read The Stand, but have seen DVDs of the TV miniseries. I much prefer the style and general flavour of Earth Abides.

I'll not go into detail about the beautifully written storyline in case others might be curious and decide to read it for themselves. It's the drawing of fine detail, issues other novelists deem too minor, which separates this novel from others in the same genre. I knew only this much before reading the novel: it's set in California, Berkeley area, mid-20th century. A worldwide epidemic (pandemic in 21st century jargon) of some kind has swept across the USA leaving the country practically devoid of human life. A university student, William Isherwood, known to the reader as Ish throughout the novel, is in the mountains, recovering from days in a stupor, having been bitten by a rattlesnake. He staggers out of a cave into the sunlight and begins his hike back to the city where he lives with his parents, unaware of what he will find........ (That's all I knew about the novel before reading it).

The draw to post apocalytic stories has always been strong for me. Dystopian novels such as 1984 and Fahrenheit 451 though fascinating are downright depressing. Post apocalyptic takes us past that, and through challenging hard times, but with a distinctly cleansed feeling about scenarios described. An original British TV series from the mid 1970s, Survivors, written by Terry Nation, had some of the best, detailed, post-apocalyptic storylines I know of. Earth Abides has a similar "feel" to Survivors; I'd be surprised if Terry Nation, as well as Stephen King hadn't drawn inspiration from George R. Stewart's novel.

Post apocalyptic novels, with their rather odd magnetism, must rely greatly upon the personality, and experience of their authors as to the general direction in which the plot develops, and how the novel eventually draws to a close. I've read novels in this genre with extremely depressing - though inevitable - endings. And some with endings left wide open for readers to supply their own conclusions. Then there are some which end with an eternally obtuse optimism. I'm not giving away into which category Earth Abides falls....others might see it differently from me anyway.

There's a passing mention of astrology in Earth Abides - page 294 -
The stars in their courses! No, he did not believe in astrology, and yet the shifting of the stars showed that the solar system too, was changing, and that the earth itself was becoming a more or less habitable place for man. Thus, at some profounder depth of reality, astrology might be right, and the changes in the sky could be taken as symbol of all the grinding wheel of circumstance. The stars in their courses! What was man, little man, to withstand them?
George R. Stewart was born in Sewickley, Pennsylvania on 31 May 1895, he died in August 1980. He was educated at Princeton, received his Ph.D. in English literature from Columbia in 1922, and joined the English faculty at the University of California, Berkeley, in 1924. He was a sociologist, toponymist, founding member of the American Name Society, and author of more than twenty books.

A 12 noon chart has to suffice as no time of birth is available. Ascending sign isn't correct and Moon's degree isn't reliable, but Moon would have been in Virgo whatever his time of birth.

Sun in Gemini, Moon in Virgo = excellent astro-credentials for a writer. Sun in Gemini with Pluto and Neptune conjoining it adds creativity (Neptune) and a touch of darkness (Pluto).

A cluster of his other most personal planets in Cancer brings undeniable sensitivity and a certain softness of approach into this writer's emotional toolbox - readers of Earth Abides will recognise this sensitivity at once.

Saturn and Uranus, the old and the new were both in Scorpio as Stewart was born. Saturn trines Mercury/Jupiter in Cancer; Uranus trines Mars/Venus in Cancer. Symbolically there could hardly be a better astrological configuration for Earth Abides. The old ways, the new ways, linking and blending. This author was writing exactly to this strengths when he wrote this book - no wonder, then, that it has become a classic of its genre.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Arty Farty Friday ~ David A. Hardy - Space Artist

David A. Hardy, space artist, one of the first of that ilk, internationally renowned as one of the world's leading astronomical, space and science-fiction artists. His cover illustrations and short stories have appeared in many major science-fiction magazines, book and record album covers.

He was born on 10 April 1936 in Bournville, Birmingham, UK. After service in the Royal Air Force he worked in the Design Department of Cadbury's (best chocolate there is - but only the kind bought in Britain, not the US version!) He created advertising art and packaging for Cadbury chocolate products. From mid-1960s he went freelance.

He has illustrated around 20 books, many devised by himself. An example: Challenge of the Stars. He is said to be passionately interested in rock music too.

His natal chart, set for 12 noon as time of birth is unknown:

No prizes for spotting the obvious here: Mars conjunct Uranus - Uranus being the planet most assiociated with the future, technology, space etc. tightly linked to a personal planet, Mars (energy, drive).

Not so obvious: there are no planets in Air signs, which I find quite surprising - if his rising sign were to be Aquarius, Gemini or Libra that would add balance things - if not - then I could fall back on the theory of some astrologers that when an element is missing from a natal chart, all attention goes to that element and what it represents. I'm not sure I agree with that though. Seems like a bit of a cop out.

Jupiter is the another planet I'd expect to see in a significant place here. Jupiter represents travel, long distance travel, which must include space travel and interest in same. In Hardy's chart Jupiter is at 24* of its own sign, Sagittarius - a good position, allowing all of its essence to "shine through". Jupiter is in harmonious trine to Hardy's pioneering Aries Sun at 20* Aries.

Neptune in Virgo lay in harmonious trine to the Mars/Uranus conjunction, pulling in creativity to the mix of drive and futuristic subject matter. These planets are in Earth signs, Virgo and Taurus, which might seem to be counterprodictive for an illustrator of space subjects. But I see this as an indication that these futuristic scenarios are being brought down to Earth, for us all to appreciate and wonder at.

Samples of his work:




SELF PORTRAIT - Biker on Mars




Thursday, May 19, 2011

Dr Cornel West Speaks Out about the President

I'm happy to hear one of my American heroes, Dr Cornel West (natal chart below), speaking out against the current US administration and President Obama. First came a report of Chris Hedges' interview with Dr. West (see HERE). Some snips:
No one grasps this tragic descent better than West, who did 65 campaign events for Obama, believed in the potential for change and was encouraged by the populist rhetoric of the Obama campaign. He now nurses, like many others who placed their faith in Obama, the anguish of the deceived, manipulated and betrayed. He bitterly describes Obama as “a black mascot of Wall Street oligarchs and a black puppet of corporate plutocrats. And now he has become head of the American killing machine and is proud of it.”
“When you look at a society you look at it through the lens of the least of these, the weak and the vulnerable; you are committed to loving them first, not exclusively, but first, and therefore giving them priority,” says West,
“I have to take some responsibility,” he admits of his support for Obama as we sit in his book-lined office. “I could have been reading into it more than was there."

"I was thinking maybe he has at least some progressive populist instincts that could become more manifest after the cautious policies of being a senator and working with [Sen. Joe] Lieberman as his mentor,” he says. “But it became very clear when I looked at the neoliberal economic team. The first announcement of Summers and Geithner I went ballistic. I said, ‘Oh, my God, I have really been misled at a very deep level.’ And the same is true for Dennis Ross and the other neo-imperial elites. I said, ‘I have been thoroughly misled, all this populist language is just a facade.....

“We have got to attempt to tell the truth, and that truth is painful,” he says. “It is a truth that is against the thick lies of the mainstream. In telling that truth we become so maladjusted to the prevailing injustice that the Democratic Party, more and more, is not just milquetoast and spineless, as it was before, but thoroughly complicitous with some of the worst things in the American empire. I don’t think in good conscience I could tell anybody to vote for Obama. If it turns out in the end that we have a crypto-fascist movement and the only thing standing between us and fascism is Barack Obama, then we have to put our foot on the brake. But we’ve got to think seriously of third-party candidates, third formations, third parties. Our last hope is to generate a democratic awakening among our fellow citizens.

Then came this appearance with Ed Schultz on MSNBC.

Dr. West has courage! We need more of this. A variety of viewpoints can be found in commentary around the net, but the best single-liner I've seen is one I'd have used myself: Dr. West simply said what needed to be said : the Emperor has no clothes.

For more on this topic and a response to Ms Harris-Perry's remarks by Kevin Gosztola - see HERE

I wrote a little about Dr West and his natal chart back in 2008 - here is the gist of what I wrote then:

Dr. Cornel West, author, lecturer, public speaker, social activist, democratic socialist and major figure in African American academia, including the illustrious Princeton and Harvard. I've seen Dr. West on several occasions as a guest on Bill Maher's "Real Time". Each time I've been impressed by his eloquence, charm and ability to hold my interest, whatever the subject under discussion. He obviously has a brilliant mind, yet his approach is straightforward and lacking in all the scholarly affectation so often encountered among the egg-head community.
A descriptive paragraph from here:

"...... an eloquent lecturer, whose lithe and energetic body was
totally involved in the torrent of words and ideas that tumbled from his mouth. He asked his listeners not only to hear what he said, but to enter into his thought processes and share his enthusiasms or generate their own thoughts and enthusiasms. His speaking style was symbolic of his convictions, which rejected the divorce of body from mind, of emotion from intellect, characteristic of much philosophy since Descartes. In a time when many philosophers would be horrified to be called preachers, West (although not an ordained minister) was not embarrassed to preach an occasional sermon. For him a passion for social justice was as intellectually respectable and demanding as the most rigorous intellectual analysis of propositions, and the two were never far apart in his philosophy."

Born on 2 June 1953 in Tulsa, Oklahoma (I didn't have him down as an Okie!)Birthtime unknown.

Sun and 3 planets in Gemini (the sign of mental process, communication, a quick mind). Good start! Two of the Gemini planets are conjoined, Mercury and Mars at 22 degrees. Mercury is at home in its own sign, Gemini, therefore unadulterated by other influence, though strengthened and energised by Mars. (PS: Here I have to eat my words, written in the post about Newt Gingrich's Gemini planets earlier this week : "too much of a good thing" I said. My prejudice was showing. My bad.)

Saturn and Neptune are conjoined in Libra (diplomacy and justice), Moon is in Aquarius between 9 and 22 degrees (social awareness). So, Air, the mental element, rules - Gemini, Libra and Aquarius predominate. Gemini and Libra planets in close trine, and the Moon is very likely in trine to both, though how close we can't be sure. What a circuit, enabling all kinds of mental acrobatics!

One more point - in January 2002 Dr. West underwent surgery for prostate cancer. Saturn (restriction, limitation) visited Gemini from May 2001 to Dec 2002, hitting his 4 Gemini planets one by one along its journey, reflecting what must have been a very worrying and restricting time for Dr. West.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Automobile

As we enter the second decade of the 21st century the lifespan of the automobile, in its current gas-guzzling form which, it has to be said has served us well, must be nearing its end. Fossil fuels have brought us this far. It now becomes a challenge for today's younger generation to find replacement fuels or some new, revolutionary technology to take the place of oil, coal and natural gas. As we drive towards such future change, I'll take a look into the rear-view mirror.
"3 April 1885 – Gottlieb Daimler is granted a German patent for his engine design."
There was a definite atmosphere of innovation around in the late 1800s, especially evident in German engineering. Daimler was not the only engineer/inventor working on designs which would later evolve into the vehicles which now clog our highways. Several engineers were working on broadly similar projects - unknown to one another: Otto, Maybach, Benz for example.

Two of these, Daimler and Maybach, did join forces. A look at their nicely compatible natal charts supports that part of astrological doctrine which states that Aquarius and Uranus strongly connect to innovation and invention. Gottlieb Daimler was born on 17 March 1834 in Schorndorf, Germany. Wilhelm Maybach was born on 9 February 1846 in Heilbronn, Germany. Background information taken from here:
Reutlingen in the summer of 1865: the 31-year-old engineer Gottlieb Daimler is the workshop manager within the engineering works of the "Bruderhaus", a social institute with adjoining production facilities built and run by orphans and the homeless for orphans and the homeless. Out of the young adults who work there, his attention is caught by a 19-year-old with a sparkling talent for drawing, who produces an endless stream of design drafts in the factory's own design offices: designs for paper manufacturing machines, for scales, as well as for all manner of farming implements. His name is Wilhelm Maybach.

The two soon form a close bond: the younger Maybach, who was tragically orphaned when aged only ten, sees an inspirational father figure in Daimler, a much travelled man who is well versed in the ways of the world. The older man, on the other hand, immediately recognises Maybach's potential as a designer. This marks the beginning of a partnership that will continue for many years.......................

Following Gottlieb Daimler's purchase in 1882 of a large property in Cannstatt, still an autonomous municipality close to Stuttgart at that time, he and Wilhelm Maybach set up their workshop in the garden shed that made up part of the property. Both worked tirelessly day and night to redevelop the fast-running four-stroke engine, and devise numerous inventions, such as the hot-tube ignition system.
The charts are set for 12 noon as times of birth are not known. Moon's exact position and rising signs will not be accurate as shown here. Stand-out factors here are the planets in Aquarius and the position of Uranus. Of the two men I'd say that Mayback was the "born inventor" - he had Sun conjunct Saturn and Neptune as well as Mercury all in Aquarius. Uranus in Aries in helpful sextile to Mercury providing a mental orientation in tune with all that was new.

Mars conjunct Jupiter in Taurus were in square aspect to Mercury though - keeping Maybach's feet firmly tethered to Mother Earth. The direction of his inventive genius and subsequent business successes reflect this.

Daimler had Neptune, and Mars conjunct Uranus, all in Aquarius (Uranus being Aquarius's ruler was here present in its purest form).

Mars conjunct Uranus in Daimler's chart conjoins the Aquarius stellium of Sun/Saturn/Neptune in Maybach's! Here is the reason they could collaborate so well for so long. Another point of similarity: they were born 12 years apart, the approximate time it takes for Jupiter to complete its cycle - so both men had natal Jupiter in early Taurus, Daimler at 6 degrees, Maybach at 4 degrees.

Also, Daimler's 00 degree Aquarius Neptune conjoined Maybach's 2 degree Aquarius Mercury blending their creative mentalities.

A couple of sidelights noted along the way: one about the origin of the name Mercedes, as in Mercedes-Benz (see here).
When Daimler died, he left control of his company to his chief engineer Wilhelm Mayback...... By November 22 of that year, Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschat had produced a special car for Emil Jellinek. Jellinek named the car after his ten-year-old daughter Mercedes. Lighter and smaller, the new Mercedes had 35 hp and a top speed of 55 mph!

And the now world-famous "star" logo:
When the patented name "Mercedes" was registered in September 1902 Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft had a successful brand name but still lacked a characteristic trademark. Then Paul and Adolf Daimler - the company founder’s two sons, and now in charge of the business - remembered that their father had once used a star as a symbol.

Gottlieb Daimler had been technical director of the Deutz gas engine factory from 1872 until 1881. At the beginning of his employment there, he had marked a star above his own house on a picture postcard of Cologne and Deutz, and had written to his wife that this star would one day shine over his own factory to symbolize prosperity. The DMG board immediately accepted the proposal and in June 1909, both three-pointed and four-pointed stars were registered as trademarks. (Here.)
They say one should always end with a song.... cue Janis....