Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Carrying the Weight ~ Responsibility ~ Saturn

Recently I've been playing a particular CD over and over again as I surf the net and type, type and surf. Symphonic Beatles it's called. The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Louis Clark plays classic interpretations of 15 Beatles' numbers. As a result of this CD I'm a late-coming fan of that odd little medley which closes the famous Beatles album Abbey Road. Never having been a fan of the Liverpool lads when they were at their zenith, I've only come to appreciate their music - and interpretations of it - since arriving on these shores.

Anyway - that odd little medley includes Carry that Weight (see video below) -
Boy, you're gonna carry that weight
Carry that weight a long time
Boy, you're gonna carry that weight
Carry that weight a long time
Sources on the net offer the theory that Paul McCartney wrote the song, as a shout to John Lennon that because of his breaking up the band due to his liaison with Yoko Ono, he was going to have to "carry the weight", of having killed off THE BEATLES, for the rest of his life. Another theory is that the song also refers to Paul's own situation after Brian Epstein died. Paul then started managing the band, and realized what a huge undertaking that was. He had to "carry the weight" of running this (soon to become) iconic band.

So the little Carry That Weight ditty is basically all about responsibility. In astrology the concept of responsibility is generally thought to connect to planet Saturn, zodiac sign Capricorn and 10th house. I see the sign of Virgo being rather tightly involved too. It'd be a very diluted Virgo-type who didn't take any responsibility they might encounter in life, or have foisted upon them, very seriously indeed.

"Responsibility: A detachable burden easily shifted to the shoulders of God, Fate, Fortune, Luck or one's neighbor. In the days of astrology it was customary to unload it upon a star." ~Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary, 1911.

20th century UK astrologer C.E.O. Carter in his Encyclopaedia of Psychological Astrology wrote this:
Responsibility (Sense of) is due to a strong and well-placed Saturn. Whether there is the ability to bear the responsibilities placed upon the native will largely depend upon the strength of the entire horoscope. A prominent Saturn, whether strong or not, nearly always denotes that responsibilities will be encountered.

Irresponsibility is mainly a Jovian feature (i.e. linked to Jupiter) and especially is connected with Pisces, although it is doubtful if Neptune rising always gives a childlike inability to shoulder burdens. Afflictions to Saturn, especially from Mars, or to Saturn placed in Aries, tend to weaken the sense of responsibility. On the other hand, Saturn in Water feels its burdens too much, and is often driven to renunciation in consequence.

I have Saturn in Aries, but without any definite afflictions - a trine from Venus is helpful. There could be a square aspect to my natal ascending degree in Cancer, but the exact degree isn't certain. My birth time is known only to within an hour or so; the astrologer who carried out a rectification told me that he was not certain of the exact rising degree of Cancer. However, I do have a fairly strong sense of responsibility. This is likely connected to Sun in Aquarius (traditionally ruled by Saturn), with Mercury in Saturn-ruled Capricorn, and a Grand Trine linking Earth signs Capricorn, Taurus and Virgo.

The track that inspired this post:

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

"The Rhythm Of Life is a Powerful Beat,"

Whether or not we realise it, our lives unfold to a particular "rhythm", depending on how the planets and points were aligned when we were born. One's "signature" rhythm can be clearly identified only with hindsight. What an astrology textbook states may or may not be true for each individual, only experience confirms or denies accepted astrological lore. We each have opportunity to discover our own unique "rhythm" - and to notice any "beat" changes, if astrologically inclined.

Several astro rhythms or cycles are going on simultaneously for us all, some too subtle to notice. One's individual signature rhythm will be constant though - but the beat can change. Beat = emphasis. When a planet importantly placed at a person's time of birth reaches a significant point, alignment or conjunction, the beat to which that person has grown accustomed might be emphasised or change temporarily - or permanently.

At the times of most pivotal events in my own life I had no means of investigating their astrological connection. Back then I was quite unaware which transits were occurring, although I did have a rough idea of some planetary positions in my natal chart. In a way this ignorance was a good thing, it meant that I had no part in chosing dates, manipulating events, so as to coincide with astrological positions.

I've found, looking back on my life history, that there has been a distinct rhythm. Important turning points have taken place in time with the cycle of the lunar nodes. The Moon's nodes, points where the orbit of the Moon crosses the ecliptic, take around 19 years to complete a full cycle. Significant events have coincided with the Taurus/Scorpio nodal axis returning to its position at my birth, or to its inverse position, and/or with a transiting planet conjoining one of the nodes. Perhaps, in my case, this rhythm is intensified because of my Cancer ascendant, ruled by the Moon; or because Uranus (natal Sun's ruler) is conjunct natal South lunar node. Both my marriages, important career changes, a major operation, and significant love-related first meetings have these connections.

Nodal rhythm exists for all of us to some extent, but other rhythms could override it, depending on natal chart configuration. Another commonly noted planetary rhythm - perhaps the most common of all - is Saturn's cycle, culminating as Saturn returns to its natal position every 27/28 years. The lunar cycles, mentioned in yesterday's post, present another commonly noted "beat" in the rhythm of our lives.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Music Monday ~ The Song Not the Singer ~ It Was a Very Good Year ~ 7-year Cycles

Frank Sinatra fans (like me) will easily recall this song. It was written by Ervin Drake in 1961 , not for Sinatra but for Bob Shane of The Kingston Trio whose more stripped down folksy version is said to be more in line with the writer's original intention. Sinatra's Grammy-winning version from 1966 has lush orchestral arrangement, not at all folksy but equally attractive in the hands of The Guv'nor and Gordon Jenkins.

From the opening paragraph of a New York times article on the occasion of Ervin Drake's 90th birthday in 2009:

“STORY of a guy’s life, told in wine vintage terms.”
As Ervin Drake tells it, that was the note to himself that led to his writing a song, back in 1961, that earned a Grammy for Frank Sinatra.

Whenever I hear the song astrology springs to mind. There are 7 year cycles in life, thanks to certain celestial rhythms. Our Moon's cycle of 28 days (4 x 7)provides a backing and, possibly more significantly, Saturn's cycles and aspects coming around every 7 or 8 years provide the "beat". See article at Matrix Software website Saturn: The "Cosmic Chiropractor" by Bernie Ashman.

Although the first verse of It Was A Very Good Year (describing life at age 17) doesn't fall within the 7 year pattern, following verses do:

When I was seventeen......
When I was twenty-one It was a very good year.....
When I was thirty-five It was a very good year....etc

YouTube has lots of versions of the song on video, as well as Sinatra's.
Some links:

The original by Bob Shane, Kingston Trio.

Nice jazz instrumental by Ira Sullivan.

An interesting piano version by Josh Charles in the style of Chopin+New Orleans
"inspired by James Booker, Ray Charles and Chopin-- it's musical GUMBO"

Friday, August 26, 2011

Weekend Grab Bag ~~ Herding Black Swans

Black Swans, of one sort or another, can be found gliding around all over the place:

The Movie and Ballet

First, and what usually comes to mind first these days, particularly apt as we swan into zodiac sign Virgo: last year's movie, Black Swan, Oscar nominated re-telling of the Swan Lake ballet, exploring the perils of artistic perfection. The heroine (Nina, played by Natalie Portman) gradual cracks into two separate personalities. Her mental breakdown reflects the ballet’s duality embodied by the White Swan and the Black Swan. Traditionally, these characters are portrayed by the same dancer and while Nina is the right dancer for the White Swan her attempts to embody the Black Swan bring about trouble.

In Philosophy and Writers' Trope/Figure of Speech

Recently I've been noticing journalists comment that we're in a "black swan
situation". A little light Googling explains:

The Black Swan Theory or Theory of Black Swan Events is a metaphor that encapsulates the concept that The event is a surprise (to the observer) and has a major impact. After the fact, the event is rationalized by hindsight. The theory was developed by Nassim Nicholas Taleb (born 1960), a Lebanese American essayist whose work focuses on problems of randomness and probability. His 2007 book The Black Swan, was described in a review by Sunday Times as one of the twelve most influential books since World War II.

A "black swan event" sounds like a job for planet Uranus does it not? Uranus, with its eccentric orbit is the planet linked to "the unexpected" in astrology. I wonder if Mr Taleb has Uranus strongly placed in his natal chart - but I can find no birth date for him, other than 1960 - when Uranus was in Leo.

A black swan is an outlier, an event that lies beyond the realm of normal expectations. Most people expect all swans to be white because that's what their experience tells them; a black swan is by definition a surprise. Nevertheless, people tend to concoct explanations for them after the fact, which makes them appear more predictable, and less random, than they are. Our minds are designed to retain, for efficient storage, past information that fits into a compressed narrative. This distortion, called the hindsight bias, prevents us from adequately learning from the past. ~~ Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Derivation ~~~ The term black swan derives from a Latin expression, its oldest known reference comes from the poet Juvenal's characterization of something being "rara avis in terris nigroque simillima cygno". In English, "a rare bird in the lands, and very like a black swan." When the phrase was coined, the black swan was presumed not to exist. The importance of the simile lies in its analogy to the fragility of any system of thought. A set of conclusions is potentially undone once any of its fundamental postulates is disproved. In this case, the observation of a single black swan would be the undoing of the phrase's underlying logic, as well as any reasoning that followed from that underlying logic.

On Signs
In towns, cities and villages all over the UK you'd have little trouble finding pubs called The Black Swan with lovely illustrated signs hanging out front.

On a Flag

The Black Swan is the official state emblem of Western Australia, and is depicted on the Flag of Western Australia, as well as being depicted on the Western Australian Coat-of-Arms. The symbol is used in other emblems, coins, logos, mascots and in the naming of sports teams.

The Black Swan is also of spiritual significance in the traditional histories of many Australian Aboriginal peoples across southern Australia. Metaphoric references to black swans have appeared in European culture since long before the real-life discovery of Cygnus atratus in Australia in the 18th century.

In Reality
The Black Swan (Cygnus atratus) is a large waterbird, a species of swan, which breeds mainly in the southeast and southwest regions of Australia. The species was hunted to extinction in New Zealand, but later reintroduced. Within Australia they are nomadic, with erratic migration patterns dependent upon climatic conditions. Black Swans are large birds with mostly black plumage and red bills. They are monogamous breeders that share incubation duties and cygnet rearing between the sexes.

The Black Swan was described scientifically by English naturalist John Latham
in 1790. It was formerly placed into a monotypic genus, Chenopis. Black Swans can be found singly, or in loose companies numbering into the hundreds or even thousands. Black Swans are popular birds in zoological gardens and bird collections, and escapees are sometimes seen outside their natural range.

In Dreams:

White swans in dreams are symbolic of cleansing and purifying ourselves and our lives. Black swans indicate deep mysteries within us that are longing to be set free to express themselves creatively.

In Song

Nina Simone with Black Swan

Thom Yorke's Black Swan

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Zodiac Sign VIRGO

There are already several archived posts on the topic of zodiac sign Virgo, easily accessible by clicking on "Virgo" in the Label Cloud in the sidebar. As the Sun has once again moved into that sign, here's a 20th century astrologer's take on Virgo, in an excerpt from a long out of print little book by Ingrid Lind, of the UK: Astrology & Commonsense(1962).


Quality: Mutable
Element: Earth
Ruler: Mercury

In Virgo we come to a sign made up of what would seem thoroughly uncongenial factors. How can earth be mutable and Mercurial? It involves a struggle, certainly; a struggle to confine the Mercurial, mental quickness within the earthy Virgo vehicle; and this induces a tendency to worry. Everything has to be right. What is thought of has to be brought to fruition through earth, perfect in every detail.

If we follow the feminine Sign-sequence, it may seem odd at first that the Mother (Cancer) precedes the Virgin, although perhaps when considered mystically the Virgin could be said to be beyond or above average womanhood. But when considering the qualities of Virgo it will be seen that woman has progressed through primitive femininity amd motherhood to a more thinking and evaluative state. It is almost as if she has discovered she has a mind and can do without men if she feels so inclined. The virginity can be assumed deliberately as evidence of her own fastidiousness.

The main characterisitic of both men and women with this Sign strong is discrimination. They are thinking types with a practical down-to-earth streak. The "virgin" quality must not be taken too literally, and in practice it manifests in high ideals of perfection accompanied by marked critical gifts. In their search for perfection Virgo-types will endlessly develop their techniques or pick on weak spots in the techniques of others. A weak Virgo-type is prone to dissatisfaction or to giving up in despair if things are difficult; but those who have Virgo prominent in a strong chart can go very far in mental achievement or the perfecting of a talent.

Virgo qualities
Steady application to the job
Discrimination and power of analysis
Quiet dignity and reserve
High ideals

Virgo faults
Martyrdom or hopelessness
Unscrupulousness due to excess of cunning

A quote which could be said to be Virgo-types' motto:

Perfection is our goal, excellence will be tolerated.
(J. Yahl)

And some of the lyrics from Sweet Perfection, a song written by Martin L. Gore of English band Depeche Mode:

The sweetest perfection
To call my own
The slightest correction
Couldn't finely hone
The sweetest infection
Of body and mind
Sweetest injection of any kind
I stop and I stare too much
Afraid that I care too much
And I hardly dare to touch
For fear that the spell may be broken

Finally~ (wink)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Handmaid's Tale ~ Margaret Atwood & Astrology

Mention of the novel and movie of Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale came up in a post last week. I've since watched the movie version on tape. I don't feel inclined to depress myself further by reading the book, though. It was first published in 1985, the movie was released in 1990, its screenplay begun by Harold Pinter, but he is reported to have abandoned it partway through, to be completed by another writer.

For anyone unfamiliar with the story: a dystopian novel along the lines of Fahrenheit 451, 1984, Brave New World, Revolt in 2100, and others. The Handmaid's Tale is somewhat different, it focuses on the situation and lifestyles of of females, at a time in the "near future". Of course, the near future in 1985(book) or 1990 (film) would have been 2000 or earlier. We ought to feel lucky, I guess, to have reached 2011 relatively unscathed! It's a trap sci-fi and other futuristic authors often fall into: not setting their stories far enough into the future. The movie falls down badly on this score, because computers, fashions, cars etc are not the modern versions of 2011 or later. Visuals say 1990 - which does kind of negate the thrust of the plot. That aside, the movie is well acted. The late Natasha Richardson played the lead; Robert Duval and Aidan Quin have supporting roles.

From Amazon
In the Republic of Gilead, formerly the United States, far-right ideals have been carried to extremes in the monotheocratic government. The resulting society is a feminist's nightmare: women are strictly controlled, unable to have jobs or money and assigned to various classes: the chaste, childless Wives; the housekeeping Marthas; and the reproductive Handmaids, who turn their offspring over to the "morally fit" Wives. The tale is told by Offred (read: "of Fred"), a Handmaid who recalls the past and tells how the chilling society came to be.

This nightmarish situation has arisen following ecological degradation, nuclear war and radiation which, together, have rendered many women infertile, and some men impotent. A theocratic, male chauvinist dictatorship has been established following a staged terrorist attack which killed the President and much of Congress. The US constitution is suspended under the pretext of restoring order.

From Wikipedia, link above (on the novel):

Taking advantage of electronic banking, they were quickly able to freeze the assets of all women and other "undesirables" in the country, stripping them of their rights. The new theocratic military dictatorship, styled "The Republic of Gilead", moved quickly to consolidate its power and reorganize society along a new militarized, hierarchical, compulsorily Christian regime of Old Testament-inspired social and religious orthodoxy among its newly created social classes.

In the movie, by the way, I didn't catch sight of a cross at any time, nor any mention of Jesus. The New Testament seems to have been completely overlooked - unless, perhaps, the film censors had refused to allow certain depictions (?) I did notice the symbol "the all-seeing eye", which is usually connected to freemasonry. How significant that is meant to be, or if it is in fact described in the novel, I do not know.

In a New York times book review from 1986, written by Mary McCarthy I noticed something interesting. Ms McCarthy wrote:
Surely the essential element of a cautionary tale is recognition. Surprised recognition, even, enough to administer a shock. We are warned, by seeing our present selves in a distorting mirror, of what we may be turning into if current trends are allowed to continue. That was the effect of Nineteen Eighty-Four, with its scary dating, not 40 years ahead, maybe also of Brave New World and, to some extent, of A Clockwork Orange. It is an effect, for me, almost strikingly missing from Margaret Atwood's very readable book The Handmaid's Tale, offered by the publisher as a "forecast" of what we may have in store for us in the quite near future.

Still, even when I try, in the light of these palely lurid pages, to take the Moral Majority seriously, no shiver of recognition ensues. I just can't see the intolerance of the far right, presently directed not only at abortion clinics and homosexuals but also at high school libraries and small-town schoolteachers, as leading to a super-biblical puritanism by which procreation will be insisted on and reading of any kind banned. Nor, on the other hand, do I fear our "excesses" of tolerance as pointing in the same direction. Liberality toward pornography in the courts, the media, on the newstands may make an anxious parent feel disgusted with liberalism, but can it really move a nation to install a theocracy strictly based on the Book of Genesis? Where are the signs of it?

Well, Ms McCarthy, a lot has changed since 1986. I can quite easily see that "essential element of a cautionary tale" here - more easily even than in the novels 1984 or Fahrenheit 451.

A passing reader might be interested to see my post dated Saturday 20 August 2011.

Wondering about Margaret Atwood's astrology, considering this dark and rather frightening storyline, I took a look at her natal chart. She was born in Ottawa, Canada on 18 November 1939 at 5pm (Astrodatabank).

In an article about a more recent book by Ms Atwood The Year of the Flood (more dystopian fare) is this snippet:
Ms. Atwood, writing in longhand, creates a tree of characters and charts that pinpoint their birthdays, and even casts their horoscopes. She sees in astrology a device to get people to talk about themselves.

“You wouldn’t want your character to have the wrong horoscope any more than you would want them to have the wrong name,” Ms. Atwood said mischievously

So - an interest in astrology! That is good to know. I'll give some of her books a try.

Sun in Scorpio - there's a start, Scorpio is the signature sign for darkness, paranoia and suchlike.

Ms Atwood's chart is well spread out, with a multitude of possible "patterns", which I'll not go into here, except to say that it's an indication of someone with varied interests and skills.

Moon is in Aquarius, conjunct Mars, and in challenging square aspect to her Scorpio Sun. She obviously has a pull towards futuristic scenarios - though not the spaceship/aliens type of futuristic fiction. Still, Aquarius Moon would indicate a pull towards the unexpected, and any kind of future - both.

Uranus, ruler of Aquarius is in Earthy Taurus and opposes her Sun. This provides a balancing of her Moon/Aquarian drive to the outlandish with a more down to earth attitide. Which does describe, rather well, her type of science fiction, or as she prefers to label it "speculative fiction".

Her Scorpio Sun reflects darkly creative imaginings. The link to religion seen in The Handmaid's Tale, also perhaps in her other works, could link to the trine between Sun and Jupiter (religion) with, also Mercury and Venus conjoined in Sagittarius, a sign ruled by Jupiter.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Music Monday ~ The Song Not the Singer ~ For What It's Worth. + Stephen Stills, Neil Young

For What It's Worth, written in 1966 by Stephen Stills for his then band Buffalo Springfield (members: Stills, Richie Furay, Neil Young, Dewey Martin and Bruce Palmer). Strange title, quite unrelated to the song's subject matter. The song is more easily recognised by the lines "hey, what's that sound
everybody look what's going down."
The story goes (from Wikipedia)
Stills said in an interview that the name of the song came about when he presented it to the record company executive Ahmet Ertegun who signed Buffalo Springfield to the Atlantic Records-owned ATCO label. He said: "I have this song here, for what it's worth, if you want it." Another producer, Charlie Greene, claims that Stills first said the above sentence to him, but credits Ahmet Ertegun with subtitling the single "Stop, Hey What's That Sound" so that the song would be more easily recognized.

I wasn't ever a fan of the relatively short-lived band Buffalo Springfield, or Stephen Stills, or Neil Young, another well-known Buffalo Springfield alumnus. Yeah - I know - I'm not, nor ever have been, "cool".

For What It's Worth has gathered a lot of acclaim over the years as a protest song/anthem. Personally I don't see it as deserving of that. It was a song written about a very local little furore on Sunset Strip in Los Angeles between police and local rock music fans. (Details at the Wikipedia link, above). But....whatever floats protesters' boats, I guess!

The song has been featured in movie soundtracks: Lord of War, Tropic Thunder, and Forrest Gump, among others.

What got me listening to the song again after not having heard it for donkey's years was my husband's insistence that a current TV commercial is using the opening notes of the song which are, actually, quite distinctive. So he got out his Buffalo Springfield LP and had me listen. He was right.

The first line ("something happening here") always reminds me of a Bob Dylan song, written around the same time - I wonder if Stephen Stills intended the line as a kind of homage? Dylan's Ballad of a Thin Man has these words (which I often quote in relation to astrology!)
Because something is happening here
But you don't know what it is
Do you, Mister Jones ?

There's something happening here
What it is ain't exactly clear
There's a man with a gun over there
Telling me I got to beware
I think it's time we stop, children, what's that sound
Everybody look what's going down

There's battle lines being drawn
Nobody's right if everybody's wrong
Young people speaking their minds
Getting so much resistance from behind
I think it's time we stop, hey, what's that sound
Everybody look what's going down

What a field-day for the heat
A thousand people in the street
Singing songs and carrying signs
Mostly say, hooray for our side
It's time we stop, hey, what's that sound
Everybody look what's going down

Paranoia strikes deep
Into your life it will creep
It starts when you're always afraid
You step out of line, the man come and take you away
We better stop, hey, what's that sound
Everybody look what's going down
Stop, hey, what's that sound
Everybody look what's going down to astrologise this ramble? Let's look at Stephen Stills' and Neil Young's natal charts. They apparently got along in spurts. Asked about the split-up of Buffalo Springfield, Stills said, "Neil was resenting the fact that I was starting to play lead guitar. I was the arranger, and all of a sudden I was treading on his territory, so he started getting into mine." So...possibly two big egos, two male divas, each trying to mark their territory and retain it, each wanting to be thought "the best". (Stills is on the left in the photograph, from the 60s. More recent photographs below).

Born around 11 months apart, they naturally share certain generational similarities, in that the outer planets are in the same signs for each and not too far apart by degree.

Stills has Sun in Capricorn, Moon in Virgo and Virgo rising. Young has Sun in Scorpio, Moon in Aquarius and Libra rising. From that thumbnail astro-sketch alone it's possible to see that the two would be likely to irritate each other at times.

Stills is probably the more down to earth of the pair, more of a perfectionist, more demanding, yet not averse to change. Young is going to be much more of a maverick, a wee bit stubborn and unpredictable, yet with a certain charm, in spite of his air of oddness.

The chart factor helping them most to get along professionally, is Venus, planet of the arts. Their Venus placements are in harmonious trine - even though "out of sign". 27 Aquarius (for Stills) and 00 Scorpio (for Young)are both "cuspy" - on or close to the joining of the two signs - and within limits of an harmonious 120 degree aspect even though Scorpio and Aquarius, as signs, are generally not considered harmonious.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Weekend Warning ~ Dominionism ~ Theocracy ~ New Apostolic Reformation. (No astrology)

Each passing reader will have to decide for themself whether what follows is some kind of conspiracy theory, a report of just another sect of whackos embracing the most outlandish version of Christianity it's possible to concoct - or something in the wings which ought to be understood and taken seriously. Any reader who might immediately settle for either of the first two conclusions, though, should recall how ordinary German people, back in the 1930s would never, even in their wildest nighmares, have believed what actually did come to pass in their country between 1939 and 1945.

The quotes below are from an article at "God Discussion" dated 13 July 2011:
Christian 7 Mountains Dominionism Unleashed: The 300, Perry and the Presidency

A heretical sect has risen in America, and it's stepping onto the political stage.

Dominionism is the belief that Christians must literally reclaim planet Earth from Satan and hold it like an occupying army until Christ's return. This twisted theology targets seven "mountains", or spheres of influence, that must be taken: Church, Family, Education, Arts and Entertainment, Business, Media, and, of course, Government............

Regardless of the nuances of their respective theologies, the endgame is the same: Everyone must conform to their form of Christianity. Mormons, Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, Catholics, atheists, agnostics, the “spiritual but not religious” and everyone else not “the right kind of Christian” are expelled from the kingdom.

At the core of all of this is something called the Lausanne Movement.
It was started by Billy Graham in 1974 with the Congress on World Evangelization held in Lausanne, Switzerland. A year later, two of the Lausanne conference leaders — the late Bill Bright, founder of Campus Crusade and Loren Cunningham, founder of Youth With a Mission — announced the Seven Mountains Mandate.......................

At the Cape Town conference, a mission statement was formulated that envisioned a worldwide domination of the seven cultural mountains. Earlier this month, the Lausanne mission announced that it had formulated its 10-year plan to achieve its objectives. Those objectives, generally include:

There will be no wall of separation, as government would be based on absolute "biblical truth" and no pluralism.

The workplace will become an evangelistic mission field.

The media will be saturated with "the biblical worldview."

There will be an increasing Christian message in arts, music, movies, plays and other forms of entertainment.

Science, technology, and healthcare will embrace "biblical truths." Healthcare will embrace "the sanctity of human life;" i.e., no termination of pregnancies and no assisted suicide.

Christians are encouraged to attend or teach at secular universities in order to influence them with "biblical truth." Christ-centered schooling is honored as a form of academic excellence.

Everyday conversation and culture will be filled with the Christian viewpoint, where Christ is the truth of the universe and the center of all human life.
Writing for Religion Dispatches, journalist Sarah Posner noted on July 7 that there had been approximately 80 religious leaders gathered in Texas in June for a closed-door meeting to determine their strategy in defeating President Obama in 2012.
...................................Members of the Lausanne Movement, The Oak Initiative, the Perry prayer partners, and the Christian leaders meeting behind closed doors have not named a specific candidate. While their chosen candidate is not known, it is becoming more clear that they are working closely together to dominate the government mountain.

They have now.....named a specific candidate, I mean: Rick Perry! With maybe a second-string in Ms Bachmann?

This "movement", if that's what it is, latest name = New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) has been growing and maturing slowly for decades. There's no possible way that it could ever simply take over in a country as diverse as the USA. But "softly, softly, catchee monkey" - at some advantageous point when a large slice of the population is disaffected and disillusioned by government as it stands, there could be a "Bingo!" moment. In a few years' time we might be wondering: "What happened? Why couldn't we see what was going on right under our noses?"

There are, I hope, some pointers against that scenario coming to pass. The Powers That Be, the guys behind the corporations, that legendary 1% who more or less own the USA, would probably object strongly to any coup d'état by Dominionists, unless that is, they or some fairly strong faction of the 1% were in league with 'em. That is the key.

See also blog: God's Own Party?.....also article on same topic HERE.

Here Amy Goodman interviews ex-evangelical Frank Schaeffer

NOTE: Science fiction, or as some call it, speculative fiction, came up with stories of theocracy in the USA years ago - two well-known examples are, from 1985 Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale, and long before that Revolt in 2100 by Robert Heinlein (1953).

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Renaissance Man ~ Renaissance Woman: Peter Weller, Barbra Streisand

Renaissance Man: a person whose expertise spans a significant number of different subject areas.

Peter Weller, best known for his starring role in RoboCop, but has appeared in a gaggle of other sci-fi TV shows (Odyssey 5 - see yesterday's post - is one example), run of the mill movies, and some oddities such as Naked Lunch in which he played William S. Burroughs. He's recently joined the cast of Showtime's Dexter. But more than this, Weller has directed for TV, writes for travel magazines, hosted his own series, Engineering Empires, on the History Channel. He also holds a master’s degree in Italian Renaissance art history, is self taught on the history of late Republican-early Empire Ancient Rome, developed and teaches a course, ‘Hollywood and the Roman Empire’ at Syracuse University, and conducts field trips for Syracuse University in Florence. Weller, in 2007, was finishing a Ph.D. at UCLA, in the history of fifteenth-century Venetian art, with a minor in Ancient Greek and Roman art. All of that, as well as playing jazz trumpet in a bebop sextet in Los Angeles. (More here)

Renaissance man ? I guess!!

Peter Weller was born on 24 June 1947 in Stevens Point, Wisconsin at 4.47 AM (Astrodatabank).

Any indication of his multi-talented nature, draw towards sci-fi roles, art, ancient history, jazz?

Ascendant, Sun and Mercury in Cancer connect to Weller's love of history. I'm not clear exactly why Cancer connects to history. It's probably to do with roots. Cancer needs roots, home, family etc. and what is history but a deeper level of that same thing?

Futuristic Uranus in Gemini sits ten degrees from Sun in one direction and ten degrees from Venus in Gemini in the other. Ten degrees, though not representing a tight conjunction, in this case provides a kind of planetary sandwich linking a Cancerian love of history with a draw to comminication of all kinds (Gemini), art, music (Venus) and futuristic endeavours and jazz (Uranus).

Moon in Virgo indicates that he's meticulous as well as versatile - that's a fairly unusual, and valuable combination! Often versatility comes with a need to skim over a variety of interests, studies, hobbies, becoming competent enough to get by in each but without delving too deeply, just enough to satisfy a restless mind. Not so in Weller's case. His Virgo Moon will insist on going all the way in any and all endeavours. He must have felt particularly frustrated by the unplanned, sudden cut-off of showtime's Odyssey 5.

Barbra Streisand easily qualifies for the title Renaissance Woman. Singer, actress, writer, director, producer, with countless awards for her many albums and movie roles. Possibly the best known of all her film roles was Funny Girl, both the Broadway and film version for which she won the 1968 Academy Award for Best Actress, the first of two Oscars. Her film hits continued with Hello Dolly, 1969, On a Clear Day You Can See Forever, 1970 and The Way We Were, 1973. She starred in and produced A Star is Born in 1976. The Prince of Tides was the first motion picture directed by its female star ever to receive a Best Director nomination from the Directors Guild of America as well as seven Academy Award nominations. With Yentl, which took 14 years of development and persistence, she became the first woman ever to produce, direct, write and star in a major motion picture.

She hasn't plumbed the full depth of her talent yet though. Not content with such incredible success in multiple spheres, Ms Streisand has written and illustrated with her own photographs: My Passion for Design. In addition to her other talents she has become a connoisseur of Art Nouveau furniture and vintage clothing, and has designed and overseen the construction of a luxurious compound in Malibu. Her design notes are said to show that she brought to her design projects the same intense perfectionism that she brought to her movies, recordings and concerts. She has become an expert on the design periods that she’s passionate about, such as Art Nouveau and Art Deco. (See here.)

Barbra Streisand was born in Brooklyn, New York on 24 April 1942 at 5:08 AM (Astrodatabank).

With four planets, including Sun in Taurus - the Earth sign ruled by Venus planet of music and the arts in general, her gravitation to, and talent for, singing is no surprise. These Taurus planets also reflect a love of art... and worldly security.
A quote credited to her: "I can't stand to see red in my profit-or-loss column. I'm Taurus the bull, so I react to red. If I see it, I sell my stocks quickly."

Midheaven point in Capricorn underlines a good business head - her need for, and talent in, obtaining financial security.

Moon in Leo and Aries rising - without these placements I guarantee the world wouldn't not be nearly as aware of Barbra Streisand as it is, and has been for decades. Leo and Aries add the fire essential for pushing the self into the spotlight and, at times, into areas where others have not yet trod. Saturn conjunct Uranus in Taurus adds a touch of the unexpected and daring to her undeniable Earthy work ethic. Moon in Leo conjunct Pluto puts power into her showmanship and glorying in her place in the limelight. Moon conjunct Pluto in Leo might also be translated as "Diva" - a term often applied to Ms Streisand.

Neptune (creativity) in (perfectionist) Virgo is in harmonious trine to the Saturn/Uranus conjunction describing well Ms Streisand's legendary demand for perfection in all her endeavours.

Similarities between the two charts which might relate to Renaissance-ness:

The Pluto conjunction with a personal planet: Saturn in Peter Weller's case and Moon in Barbra Streisand's. Saturn in Streisand's chart is conjunct an outer planet (Uranus). So as we are looking for similarities in career/work styles Saturn is the planet most related, and in both cases Saturn is conjunct an outer planet, adding significance and another layer of meaning. I don't know for sure, that's my own interpretation - but if I discover more well-known Renaissance people I'll check back!

Hmmm - didn't take long! When looking for something else in my archives I noticed a post from 2008 on Shel Silverstein, who I'd called a Renaissance Man-lite; John Lennon was also mentioned there. At that point I wondered whether Fixed Star Alpheratz/Sirrah conjunct a personal planet might have something to do with Renaissance man-ness. However, looking at the chart for Silverstein I see that he had Pluto conjunct Jupiter and Mars! another Renaissance man-type with personal planet conjunct an outer planet. Lennon had a looser conjunction of Uranus/Saturn/Jupiter in Taurus at 25, 13 and 13 degrees respectively. I don't see Lennon as clearly Renaissance-ish as the others mentioned here though - but he might well have evolved that that way.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Mercury Retrograde & Odyssey 5

We're around midway through a Mercury Retrograde period at present. During such periods, lasting 3 or 4 weeks, astrologers expect more communication hiccups of various kinds and transportation difficulties. Reviewing the past is also something in tune with the Mercury Retro "atmosphere".

All of which brings to mind the theme of a sci-fi TV series in which five occupants of a space shuttle have their consciousness sent back to Earth to inhabit the five bodies as they were 5 years earler. The five individuals are to try to re-write history. It takes a while for the full implications of that 5-year leap back, with current consciousness intact, to sink in, I found.

Think about it. Think about being yourself 5 years ago, but knowing what you know now. During some periods of 5 years it wouldn't make a big difference for me, but during certain other periods it would be a horrendous, painful and awkward thing to live through again, knowing the future.

Anyway - a little about the TV series in question -

Showtime cut off the series, Odyssey 5, in its prime after 19 episodes. I bought the "Complete Series" DVD set, knowing it was incomplete, and we'd never know the ending. The storyline sounded intriguing enough to warrant investigation.

On 7 August 2007 space shuttle Odyssey with 6 people on board: 4 astronauts, a scientist, and a TV news reporter is in space on routine duty. Those on board watch with horror as a red glow creeps over planet Earth and it implodes. The shuttle is sent out of control for a while, one astronaut dies. Remaining crew members: Commander Chuck Taggert (Peter Weller) and his son Neil (Christopher Gorham), Nobel Prize winning geneticist Kurt Mendel (Sebastian Roché), newscaster Sarah Forbes (Leslie Silva) and shuttle pilot, Angela Perry (Tamara Crag Thomas) resign themselves to their fate and wait to run out of oxygen.

The survivors accept that their own deaths are inevitable, but then the shuttle is sucked into a kaleidoscopic crystalline object, a humanoid figure appears: "The Seeker", an ancient non-organic being of artificial intelligence. The Seeker tells the five that he has seen 50 other worlds meet the same fate as Earth, but was never able to find survivors in time to help. He explains that he has the ability to send them back in time to attempt to avert the tragedy - but no more than 5 years back, and not their physical bodies, that would not be possible. Their current consciousness can be sent back to inhabit their 2002 bodies.

An extra layer of intrigue is added as the five find themselves back in 2002, five years younger physically, but with an added five years of experience. They have still to deal with physical problems of their younger years: unhappy marriage, corrupt father, drug problem, sick child, high school mentality.....classic cases of "If I'd known then what I know now" - in this case they do!

The 19 episodes document the search for perpetrators of Earth's destruction, and reasons behind it, all played out against the backdrop of said personal problems, and other new ones. Thanks to Showtime the series was not allowed to reach conclusion, so each viewer must invent their own version. No problem really - that's what we have to do in real life..... isn't it?

Monday, August 15, 2011

Music Monday ~ The Song Not the Singer ~ Manhã de Carnaval ~ Barack Obama ~ Luiz Bonfá

Some days, while out trawling the internets for tid-bits, I'm expecting to find references to Barack Obama all over the place, but at other times his name never enters my mind as being relevant to the topic under scrutiny. Surprising to find his name, then, while searching for information on Manhã de Carnaval, (Morning of the Carnival) the piece I'd decided would be a good candidate for The Song Not the Singer slot. Various versions have emerged since the late 50s when it was written by Luiz Bonfá.

It was composed for the movie Orfeu Negro (Black Orpheus) a Brazilian/French/ Portuguese production which won Grand Prize at the 1959 Cannes Film Festival, an Oscar for Best Foreign film and a Golden Globe. The film is a transposition of the Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice to 1950s Rio, Brazil at Carnival time.


Well, I learned that in his autobiography "Dreams From My Father", Barack Obama recounts how while he was studying in New York his mother and sister visited the city, sometime in the early 1980s. During their visit his mother noticed that Black Orpheus was showing at a local cinema and wanted them all to go see it. It had been the first foriegn film she'd seen, as a teenager. She had thought it "the most beautiful thing I had ever seen."

Barack wasn't impressed. He wrote:

"We took a cab to the revival theatre where the movie was playing. The film, a groundbreaker of sorts due to its mostly black, Brazilian cast, had been made in the fifties. The storyline was simple: the myth of the ill-fated lovers Orpheus and Eurydice set in the favelas of Rio during carnival, in Technicolor splendour, set against scenic green hills, the black and brown Brazilians sang and danced and strummed guitars like carefree birds in colourful plumage. About halfway through the movie I decided I'd seen enough, and turned to my mother to see if she might be ready to go. But her face, lit by the blue glow of the screen, was set in a wistful gaze. At that moment I felt as if I were being given a window into her heart, the unreflective heart of her youth. I suddenly realised that the depiction of the childlike blacks I was now seeing on the screen, the reverse image of Conrad's dark savages, was what my mother had carried with her to Hawaii all those years before, a reflection of the simple fantasies that had been forbidden to a white, middle-class girl from Kansas, the promise of another life: warm, sensual, exotic, different."

Well now. I must strive not to be judgemental. But damn - it was a film - a piece of art! It was never meant to be social commentary! From the clips I've seen (see below) there was no stereotyping of the unfortunate kind African Americans were used to seeing about their race in some early American movies. This movie seems to portray life exactly as it was for some Brazilians at that time, and showed their joie de vivre in spite of poverty and challenges.
(Note: I'd stored this completed post in my drafts some days before we went to the flicks to see The Help.Odd, then, that a similar sentiment arose there. See Sunday's post.)
I'd have felt like giving young Barack a slap up the side of the head when he decided he wanted to leave halfway through the show, had I been his Mum...."don't be such a self-absorbed prig our Barry, get with the dang music why don't ya?!"

Sun, Mercury, Uranus and North Node of Moon all in Leo. Yep! A dope slap might have sorted out that egotistical narcissitic streak of his !

Okay - that's out of the way.

Back to Luiz Bonfá's gorgeous melody, Manhã de Carnaval. Portuguese lyrics are by Antonio Maria, various lyrics in other languages have emerged year by year. One of the best known English language versions is A Day in the Life of a Fool. Personally I think the melody is best left without lyrics and played to perfection in any number of variations of instrumental combinations.
The timeless music is considered to have helped establish the Bossa Nova movement in the late 1950s. It's now considered a jazz standard, still performed regularly, around the world, by musicians of several genres, sometimes with vocal, sometimes as an instrumental or solo piece.

Bonfá was born in Rio de Janiero on 17 October 1922. Four personal planets in Libra, ruled by Venus, planet of the arts is his defining astro-signature. I'm not a bit surprised that his music is so beautifully melodic.

Here's a video containing some brief clips from Black Orpheus, including the song in its original setting:

As in the Greek legend, Orpheus is a legendary minstrel among his neighbors in the slums above Rio. He also works as a streetcar driver, where he first meets a naive county girl, named Eurydice. She has run to the city to escape from a jealous suitor that means to kill her. Orpheus protects her, and they fall in love. Death finally catches her but unlike the snake in the Greek myth, in the film she's bitten by the electrical sting of a hot cable-car wire. Inconsolable over his loss, Orpheus searches for her in the land of the dead. The underworld in Rio is the Bureau of Missing Persons and a Macumba ceremony, where Orpheus attempts to contact her spirit. With the help of Hermes, Orpheus is finally guided to the city morgue where he finds his deceased love. Despite it's tragic ending, the film ends on a happy note with the children singing "Samba de Orfeu." The legend of Orpheus and Eurydice lives on.

Three different renditions of Manha de Carnaval

Toots Thieleman harmonica/guitar - I like this one a lot.

Paul Desmond Quartet - featuring Desmond on clarinet - the husband's favourite.

Susannah McCorkle - a lovely vocal version - part English, Part.. erm Portuguese(?)
Her voice was gorgeous.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

"The Help" - the movie (non-astro)

On Thursday evening we saw The Help. Neither of us had read Kathryn Stockett's 2009 novel of the same title. I'd read only an outline of it's storyline. We both thought it "a good movie, well-acted", and had little more to say to each other about it because, when we arrived home from the cinema, we found our hot water tank had sprung a leak - it was almost 10 pm.

We were unable to find any tap, valve or other device for stemming the flow now seeping through to carpeting indoors and out under the porch wall . My husband rang his son AJ, a heat and air expert, who lives quite close by. AJ came to our rescue. After examination it was decided that we'd need a new tank as the damage was internal and unreachable. He took out the old tank, coupled the water pipes to the cold water supply so's we could use all bathroom faucets. AJ was back next evening to complete the work, and we are now all-systems-go once more.

After mopping up and drying out, discussion of The Help, was far from our minds, overlaid by gratitude for our own helper, a tired but very willing AJ.
Before drafting this post I scooted around a few reviews and comment threads about the movie, and the novel. I was surprised to find that there's a sizeable body of dissent from what I thought was a fairly unanimous opinion that it's a good, entertaining movie -and that most readers had seen the novel as a darn good read.

For a passing reader unfamiliar with the storyline, The Help, starring Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, Emma Stone, Bryce Dallas Howard, among others, is set in 1963 Mississippi, around the time of civil rights protests, the killing of Medgar Evers, assassination of JFK, etc. Those events feature only as background material, seen on TV screens, however. Focus is on the lives of some black domestic servants of wealthy southern households. The novel's sets "Skeeter" (Emma Stone) a daughter of one such wealthy household, something of a maverick among her peers, as "heroine". She comes home from college aiming to be a writer and looks for a job as a journalist locally. She obtains a very modest job on the town's newspaper, but as a sideline decides to try to write a book about how the local black women, domestic servants, view their lifestyles and their experiences in the town's well-to-do white households.

Skeeter's wet behind the ears, a tad too wet considering she's been in college for several years during some intense racial conflict. Yet she seems not to fully realise the can of worms she's attempting to open. The white women employers, her peers and "friends" are portrayed as uniformly horrendous - rascist, classist, selfish, self-obsessed snobs. I thought them caricatures but my husband assures me they are true to life for that era in that area of the US. There's only one half-decent white person, outside of that category, in the movie besides "the heroine": a ditsy Marilyn-type married to one of the local socialites, to the chagrin of local female socialites who class his Mrs. as pure trailer-trash.

It's probably pretty obvious from the above that the movie works basically via stereotype....both black and white. Which is alright, as long as that's kept in mind. Not all southern people were wealthy socialites, nor were they all racist - though in Mississippi in the 1960s it was the prevalent mindset I understand. Segregation, rascism and bigotry continued apace - black domestic servants were degraded in such ways that I began to wonder if I'd mis-read that bit of US history about "freeing the slaves". This kind of degradation was, to my mind, almost equally bad as slavery, it was wholly hypocritcal. I hated the wealthy white women on that silver screen with a hatred unbecoming to the peacelover I'm supposed to be.

The root causes of it all (and I do understand that a layer of racial prejudice was a substantial additon to the problem) the root is truly in class-distinction, which, in the UK we were always led to believe was absent in the USA; and in discrepancy in distribution of wealth. Today that two-headed hydra, class/wealth is rearing its head and roaring once again (not that it ever completely disappeared).

The gist of dissent about book and movie, often coming from African Americans, I discovered, is that the movie is patronising to African Americans, condescending. The scenario portrayed: a young white "heroine", would-be writer looking for a saleable book to make money - would be money off the backs of those suffering degradation. In the movie, though, some of the proceeds from Skeeter's book are shared among the black participants. (The objection could apply to novelist Ms Stockett.)

Skeeter, the young white writer figure, seems to many African Americans to be just another example of a regular pattern in novels of "white" rescuers coming to the aid of the black community. A novelist's tool to pander to the white guilt-soothing idea that there were some good white people ready and willing to play savior. Even that national treasure of a book To Kill a Mockingbird is mentioned more than once in commentary as using one of that ilk of "white savior" plots.

I'd have to argue that, though I can see what's behind the objection in general, it is an unfair objection to those kinds of novels. Logically - where would a black attorney have come from to fill the shoes of Atticus Finch? Were there any back lawyers in the US south of the 60s and before? It was no fault of the African American community, to be sure, but the fact is that black lawyers in the deep south in those days, would have been few and far between. Likewise, would a young black writer have dared to approach the subject matter presented in Ms Stockett's novel? I guess not. So, it was necessary for a white "helper" to step forward from time to time in order that tales of what went on, in fact, could be fictionalised in a credible way. Rosa Parks, for instance needed no white helper, nor did Dr. King, and countless others, but in the world of small town domestic servants, any stepping out of line by black people would be immediately dealt with in very unpleasant ways. The appearance of a white helper was possibly the one and only opportunity to "get the word out", in the case of The Help to show those horrendous travesties of the female sex for what they were.

While AJ was scrambling around our dripping water tank he asked about the movie we'd been to see. I told him: The Help.

"Was it a weepie or was it funny?" he asked.

"No not really a weepie, it was funny in parts, but serious. It's about black women domestic servants in the deep south in the 1960s and the white women they worked for who were all arseholes - and I suspect they really were back then."

"Yes... and even now", he replied with a rueful grin.