"The English are meant to be eccentric. To be removed from the centre, quirkily brave in opinion, individualistically creative in behaviour, is a proud English boast in both the republic of letters and in the parliamentary monarchy of daily governed reality. Nobody does eccentricity better." (From: In Praise of English Eccentrics - Hywel Williams,
So.....Happy Birthday to one of England's eccentrics:
Being English myself, and having natal Sun in Aquarius to boot, I claim eccentricity credentials, but fail - by miles - to match David Icke's masterful embrace of the trait.
I've posted about David Icke before, as have many other bloggers. My 2008 post is HERE, and one from 2007 by my blog-buddy R.J. Adams is HERE. Talented astrologer Jude Cowell of Stars over Washington blog wrote about Icke last year HERE - each of those posts has interesting comments from readers too.
Mr Icke goes too far, that's my overall take on his propositions. Had he chosen to be a sci-fi author he'd be world famous and very rich today. He has such fluency of ideas and expression, such wide ranging imagination and creativity. I intend no sarcasm here, this is a sincerely felt opinion.
In trying to extract some feet-on-the-ground useful kernel from Icke's writings and speeches, one has to admit there has been, in the past few years, further evidence that at the very heart of Icke's meanderings something valid lies. The thought that, as Bob D. wrote in his lyrics, "something's happening here, but we don't know what it is, do we, Mr Jones". I suspect (whether showing my innate eccentricity or not) that there are people pulling strings behind the curtain we call reality, in politics and in finance.
As R.J. Adms pointed out in his post linked above, Icke's views are not new, others had been treading a similar path long before before he set out on his. And for sure, he'll not be the last traveller in that direction.
From David Icke's natal chart, above, with data from Astrodatabank, it's not hard to see "where he's coming from". He's coming straight from Moon conjunct Uranus in Cancer - and on the midheaven angle of the chart. Moon=inner self is at its purest in home sign Cancer; Uranus = eccentric pure and simple. Neptune (creativity, illusion, delusion) in his first house of self underlines what Moon/Uranus is telling us. Had Saturn been found a few degrees closer to Neptune, calming and limiting its visions the world might have welcomed a much less less whacky author of brilliant novels.
The blog will now be on hold. Husband and I taking off to celebrate our 8th wedding anniversary (bronze, I think). Back in a few..
Sunday, April 29, 2012
Saturday, April 28, 2012
The movie, and books, are meant mainly for "clean slates", who, though brought up with TV, internet and violent video games haven't really endured much in the way of real adult strife, though teenagers do tend to see their own versions of life obstacles everywhere - in school, in college, at home.
At the end of the show my first words were - "Well, better than I expected - I wasn't bored!" Response, as we stumbled about in the half light, last of the handful of people attending an afternoon screening, "Hmmmm....erm...." Later husband said he'd felt somehow uneasy throughout, realising that the ending could only be sad and ugly - also, he'd thought that if technological progress had reached the level depicted in some of the story's themes, how come life had descended to such an horrendous level for so many? There was too much of a disconnect. Human nature wouldn't allow that, rulers need to enjoy at least some praise from the masses. I didn't agree.
A little more background as to how the extremely nasty idea of holding Hunger Games, where 24 children aged between 12 and 18 must fight each other to the death, had arisen might have helped in understanding the whys and wherefores of it all. This background was absent, apart from some quick explanatory text at the start of the film. I understand that more detail will follow in the sequel(s) - three of these are planned.
A wild guess at a date in our future when the story's events could be set: I think we'd have to look at a time beyond 200 to 300 years hence. The Games have been held annually for 74 years when the story begins. They originated after a rebellion against ruling classes who had set themselves up to oversee what remained of North America, following a series of disasters, natural and war-driven. A people's rebellion was put down. Annual Hunger Games were created as a punishment, so the people of Panem would never forget the result of rebelling against authority.
North America's new name is Panem (from "panem et circenses" = bread and circuses). The country, or what was left of it, was divided into 13 Districts each with its own raison d'etre: agriculture, animal farming, coal mining, engineering, lumber/paper, etc etc. Some districts were easier to live in and rather more desirable than others. Katniss, the film's young heroine, comes from District 12, one of the poorest of all. She and a male companion are chosen or volunteer to fight for their lives as "tributes" in the 74th Hunger Games, along with 22 others, 2 from each District.
District 13 was originally responsible for the Rebellion and thereafter destroyed, leaving only 12 Districts. Our movie theatre had a big map in the foyer, based on the one below, showing the Districts. Our part of Oklahoma is shown as being underwater! This map shows only the USA-as-was, not the rest of North America, but online there are other overall versions of the map - see here. Wikipedia's page The Hunger Games universe explains each district.
The Hunger Games serve as both punishment of the Districts and entertainment for the elite in The Capitol, who watch on screens, gamble and manipulate via advanced technological doo-dads which I haven't yet got my head around.....some of this made no sense to a semi-thinking adult! A fun - nay ridiculous - part of the movie for me was the way the weathy, spoiled inhabitants of The Capitol were depicted. These people would be the future equivalent of what we now call "the 1%".
Costume designers must have had an overdose of early 18th century French rococo farce - or too much Lady Gaga! Capitol men have names culled from days of the Roman Empire: Claudius Templesmith announcer at The Games (Toby Jones - see right), and Seneca Crane for expample. Below is Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) with Effie Trinket (Elizabeth Banks), who acts as official escort to the young "tributes" once they've been appointed.
Some details in the movie's theme originate in today's reality TV shows: mentors, stylists to provide make-overs, manipulation by those running the show/Games; playing for sponsorship/ votes by using sad backstories; an urge for celebrity. Other ideas hark back to mythology and ancient history: token sacrifice & gladiators for instance - mans' inhumanity to man.
Below: my own favourite character from Hunger Games Haymitch Abernathy (Woody Harrelson), the only prior Hunger Games victor from District 12 still living. He now resides in The Capitol, acts as mentor to the young "tributes". He drinks a lot, but his shrewdness and cunning are instrumental to the story's outcome.
During the movie I thought more than once about a recent post of mine Humans: Risen Apes of Planet Earth. The irony of our sitting in a theatre watching this spectacle didn't escape me either. That said, it was a thought provoking film and can perhaps can be seen as a warning signal about much that passes for entertainment nowadays, as well as being a vehicle to present a basic theme of ugly oppression to young minds in an accessible way.
The Hunger Games has elements of allegory - possibly not picked up by younger viewers; fantasy, which youngsters adore; and a background of dystopian USA, which some of us could well imagine without much coaxing. Love rather than sex is emphasised, and that can only be a good thing in my view. Violence is ever-present, in sanitised form, no close-ups of severed limbs, lots of wobbly camera work to blur and distract, no horrendously sickening sights of how starving people actually look. The people of the story's Districts are said to be near starvation, but all looked fairly robust to us, including the movie's heroine Katniss. This was possibly a direct intention, considering the target audience.
As in all decent movies, and books, aimed at a certain demographic, there are deeper layers waiting to be discerned by a different demographic. This is definitely the case in The Hunger Games.
Friday, April 27, 2012
Pinup art is highly skilled airbrush work - not easy to do I'd bet. Getting to the point of this post - George Petty, one of the foremost pinup artists of his day, was born this day in 1894: 27 April, in south Louisiana. He died in 1975.
Petty's father's profession - photographer - no doubt had influence on the younger Petty, especially as his Dad enjoyed producing photographs of women, often nude women. The family moved to Chicago where George grew up, attended evening classes at the Art Institute. He later studied in Paris at Académie Julian, famous for its alumni , John Singer Sargent, Alfonse Mucha, Matisse, and particularly influential to George Petty, J.C. Leyendecker. On return to the USA George wasn't drafted to serve in World War 1 as his father had died, leaving him as head of family.
He worked for an advertising agency, won first prize in the 1933 Chicago World's Fair poster contest. When the magazine Esquire was launched George Petty was engaged as a cartoonist. He lost no time in including in his presentations evidence of his fine talent for illustrating beautiful females. This led to more advertising work - swimsuits, cigarettes and more varied work for Esquire, True magazine and for calendars - those for the Ridge Tool company were to become internationally famous.
What came to be known as The Petty Girl had arrived. Petty never looked back. Petty Girls were idolised by military men of World War 2, Petty Girl copies were famously painted by military artists, The Girls were carried into battle on the noses of war planes. Below is a (possibly not as Petty-like as some) example of nose art from my husband's vintage photograph collection. Click on image to link to it + comments at Flickr.
Shrewd businessman as well as talented artist, Petty always retained secondary rights and kept his original artwork; use of his work on playing cards, glassware etc was strictly licensed. The core of his business was kept within his family circle. His wife added her ideas, son posed as date to Petty Girls. His good-looking daughter Marjorie was always his main model. All of which, for me, indicates there was no sleazy soft-porn intention to any of his work, rather there was an innocently teasing feel to it, never crossing the line, hinting only, sometimes quite pointedly but never vulgar.
Not a lot to say here. Sun in Taurus, and in first decan (tenth) of the sign, the Taurus decan, underlines his artistic temperament - Taurus is ruled by Venus, planet of the arts.
There's actually more emphasis on nextdoor sign Airy Gemini though, with Neptune, Pluto and Jupiter fairly close together there, and with Mars in Aquarius and Saturn in Libra an harmonious Grand Trine in Air signs is formed - could be seen as a nice reflection of his skills with the....AIRbrush ? Or even - the carriage through the AIR of his Petty Girls - on the noses of aircraft ?
In that Airy triangular circuit he had Neptune (creativity), Pluto (erotic), Jupiter (wide publication), Saturn in Libra (fair-minded business sense) and Mars in Aquarius - (ambition, energy, unconventional) - all seem fitting for what we know of George Petty!
Born before 6:00 AM his natal Moon would have been in business-oriented Capricorn, if later in unconventional Aquarius - either would fit and blend with the flavour of his chart. It's a pity no birth time is available, we can't know his rising sign or exactly where the planets fall in relation to the chart's angles.
A few examples of his Girls, many more can be found via Google Image:
Thursday, April 26, 2012
An old fruit tree used to grow in our backyard, close to the house, but it was dangerously weakened by the nasty ice storm we had two or three years back; it had to be removed. Before that sad occasion a woodpecker, during the previous spring, got busy noisily making a home. My husband watched him regularly, got a series of nice shots. He put his own captions to a series of them on Flickr, but with his permission I seconded a few of the photographs and added my own captions, more fitting to an astrology blog. The photographs show a house of sorts, houses are part and parcel of astrology.
1st House. (The self)
"HI! THIS IS ME!"
2nd House (property, possessions)
"AND THIS IS MY HOUSE!"
3rd House (communication)
"HELLO Y'ALL! CAN YOU HEAR ME?"
4th House (home, mother/parent)
A MOTHER'S WORK IS NEVER DONE!
5th House (children, creativity)
6th House (hygiene, health)
"THE KIDS MAKE SUCH A MESS. TIME FOR A CLEAN-UP"
7th House (partnerships, relationships)
"WHERE'D YA GO, WENDY? - I'M WATIN' FOR YA."
8th House (sex, passion)
"DO I LOOK SEXY IN THIS?"
9th House (religion, travel)
"SHHH....THE PASTOR IS AT THE DOOR. I'M STAYING AWAY!"
10th House (work, career)
"IT'S HARD WORK HOUSE-BUILDING"
11th House (friends and wishes)
A FRIEND AT THE DOOR - "CAN I COME IN FOR A CHAT?"
12th House (seclusion)
"A BODY NEEDS TO GET AWAY FOM IT ALL SOMETIMES"
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Something as lowly as mildew and wheat disease would seem hardly suitable oversight for a member of the celestial hierachy, yet in those days a crop blight could condemn a farmer and his family to starvation; also Roman economy relied greatly on agriculture, bad harvests were something to be dreaded. I guess, actually, that rather than seeing Robigus as a god he/it represented for the people a personification of the dreaded mildew, so sacrificing to that personification probably helped, psychologically.
Robigalia involved a public procession through Rome and around the fields to a shrine where a rust coloured dog and a sheep were sacrificed, with prayers, incense and wine. Why the dog? Why a rust coloured dog? The colour probably links to the reddish-brown wheat rust. Romans believed in sympathetic magic, meaning anything red, like blood, could also be connected with wheat rust. Mars, the red planet, in Roman mythology was the god of both war and agriculture.
By the year 600 a Christian procession had replaced the pagan one. Rogation Days are April 25 ( Major) and the three days before the Feast of the Ascension ( Minor). The Major Rogation replaced Robigalia, and was shrewdly timed, probably, to counteract the existing "heathen" event. Rogation Day (from Latin rogare = to ask or beseech) was instituted by Pope Gregory I to atone for a lack of sobriety and continence during Lent. Prayers at that time ask for blessings on the fields and agriculture. In colonial America, and even still in some places, Rogation Sunday (the Sunday prior to Ascension Day) was the day farmers and clergy would walk the newly planted fields, praying for healthy crops.
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
So then, now I'm up to scratch - George Takei played Star Trek's Mr. Sulu, starting from the second pilot episode, Where No Man Has Gone Before. He played a mathematician. The series took off and he became helmsman and a part of the bridge crew.
Mr.Takei was born in Los Angeles, lived there until the the attack on Pearl Harbor, when he and his family with 120,000 other Japanese Americans were re-located to spend the war years behind barbed-wire enclosures of United States internment camps. He spent most of his childhood at Camp Rohwer in Arkansas and at Camp Tule Lake in northern California.
Mr. Takei's initial aim, during college days, was to become an architect, but he decided to change his major to Theater Arts. By the dawn of the 21st century Mr. Takei's acting career had spanned more than five decades with more than 40 feature films and hundreds of television guest-starring roles to his credit in addition to his long run playing Mr Sulu in Star Trek.
As well as acting George Takei has many other strings to his bow. In 1979 he co-wrote with Robert Asprin a science-fiction novel, Mirror Friend, Mirror Foe. He wrote his autobiography, To the Stars, it was published in 1994.
His very distinctive voice has put him in much demand as a narrator and voice-over artist. He's a long distance runner, has completed five 26 mile marathons and carried the Olympic Flame in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Torch Relay. He has often been actively involved in politics and civic affairs. In 1972 he was a California representative in the Democratic National Convention, and in the fall of 1973 ran (unsuccessfully) for Mayor of Los Angeles. Mr. Takei was appointed by President Clinton to the board of the Japan-United States Friendship Commission, where he served two terms.
A member of the Human Rights Campaign, the largest national lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender political organization, Mr. Takei was a spokesman for HRC's Coming Out Project. In April 2006, he embarked on a speaking tour, Equality Trek in which he talked about his life as a gay Japanese American. He has been in a committed relationship with his partner, Brad Altman, since 1987.
In October 2007, an asteroid, 5 miles in diameter, located between Mars and Jupiter, was named in honor of George Takei. The asteroid's official, scientific name is 7307 Takei.
Currently George Takei and Lea Salonga are developing a new musical: Allegiance, a story set during the Japanese American internment. Also Mr Takei has a huge following on Facebook (around a million and a half according to Forbes).
Yet again our paths have not crossed - didn't do Star Trek, don't do Facebook......Maybe there's something in the astrology?
First - I'm not surprised to find that Mr Takei has a splash-type chart - that's a chart where planets are scattered around the zodiac signs. My software categorises his chart as "splash", but, for me it's not classic splash because though planets are well-scattered, there are no planet in an Air sign. Be that as it may, planets are dispersed throughout most of the chart sufficiently for its bearer to be versatile with many talents and interests.....that certainly fits!
It's nice to see Sun conjunct Uranus planet of all that's futuristic, in the chart of a guy who made his name in a futuristic TV series. That Uranus placement too would link to his political and civic activism. It wouldn't surprise me at all to find that Mr. Takei has Aquarius rising - but there's no indication of his time of birth at online sources. The chart above is set for 12 noon.
Unless he was born before 1:00 AM Moon would certainly have been in Virgo and likely to have been close to Neptune, planet of creativity. Neptune links, in what astrologers call a Grand Trine, with Jupiter in Capricorn and Mercury in Taurus, a configuration connecting planets in the 3 Earth signs. I have something similar in my own chart, and think it provides a kind of three-pronged anchor to assist stability - keep the feet on planet Earth. In Mr Takei's case, with no planets in Air signs it's possibly even more of a stabilising element, but with Neptune involved, is never going to lead to bo-o-oring!
Boring isn't a word anyone could attach to Mr Takei or his natal chart. My software, often over-eager to find planet patterns, indicates that theres a very rare pattern among those to be found here - a Grand Hexagon, sometimes called Grand Sextile or Star of David pattern. I'm not confident that in this case it's tight enough to be acceptable, but anyway still interesting to think about. The diagram on the right shows the chain of sextiles in Mr Takei's chart and consequent oppositions. The diagram, left, shows two Grand Trines which will also always be present in such a chart (from whence the name Star of David arises). There's a good description of such a configuration at Lunar Living
but in a nutshell it's the result of an evenly splashed splash chart, where planets relate to one another, being in roughly similar degrees of relevant signs. It signifies, again, great versatility but carries the danger of scattering one's energies to widely.
Mr Takei's Hexagon planets fall, in all but one case, in "passive" or "feminine" signs. Mars is the only planet in a masculine/positive sign but fairly near a cusp, so with a generous orb has been included in the sextile chain. Interpretation at the link above explains.
Monday, April 23, 2012
(Illustration: Cover of the first edition of Pagliacci published by E. Sonzogno, Milan, 1892)
Cavallo, at the time a little known composer, is said to have been inspired to write an opera in the verismo (= realistic) style which had brought success to Pietro Mascagni with his Cavalleria Rusticana - verismo being a push-back against the old-style romantic operas which until then had dominated the Italian operatic scene.
Leoncavallo's father was a judge; the plot of Pagliacci was, according to the composer, based upon a murder trial over which his father had presided. However, this proposition is questionable. Leoncavallo was accused of plagiarism by the author of a play La Femme de Tabarin which had a similar theme to that of Pagliacci. Perhaps there was some truth in both possibilities.
First performed in Milan in 1892, in London and New York the following year, Pagliacci was an immediate success. The aria "Vesti la giubba" (= "Put on the costume" or sometimes "On with the motley") has been sung at some time by any male opera star one could name.
The story of Pagliacci is set in 19th century southern Italy. A company of travelling players/clowns is led by Canio whose wife Nedda is lusted after by the opera's villain Tonio, but loved by Silvio, a local lad. When Nedda rejects Tonio’s advances but is seen in Silvio's embrace, Tonio tells Nedda's husband Canio, resulting in double murder and tragedy. The opera's style of a play-within-a-play adds to the intrigue of it all. Shakespeare showed how this style could be successful in, for example, A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
I'm not going to miss an opportunity to feature one of my own first musical heroes: Mario Lanza. The first record I ever bought using my own saved pocket money was an LP by Mario Lanza! He may not have been lauded by the starched shirt operatic "in-crowd" but he always reached me - still can. This video is from his last movie: For the First Time.
To act! While out of my mind,
I no longer know what I say,
or what I do!
And yet it's necessary... make an effort!
Bah! Are you not a man?
You are Pagliaccio!
Put on your costume,
powder your face.
The people pay to be here, and they want to laugh.
And if Harlequin shall steal your Colombina,
laugh, Pagliaccio, so the crowd will cheer!
Turn your distress and tears into jest,
your pain and sobbing into a funny face - Ah!
at your broken love!
Laugh at the grief that poisons your heart!
Leoncavallo's natal chart is interesting. He was born in Naples on 23 April 1857. No time of birth is available, the chart here is set for 12 noon.
This is a good example of a natal chart with planets in what astrologers term "bundle" shape: all planets within a 120* span, the outside planets in trine aspect - here the outside planets are both in Water signs: Pisces and Cancer. Characteristics of people with this, quite rare, configuration are thought to include an unusual intensity of focus, concentrated energies, specialising in areas indicated by signs/houses involved.
In Leoncavallo's case his energies are focused on Taurus, ruled by Venus planet of the arts, and dynamic Aries, where his Moon would be, with Jupiter whatever time he was born. Neptune in Pisces and Saturn in Cancer are the only planets outside of the Taurus/Aries cluster. Creative Neptune at home in Pisces harmoniously sextiles Venus and likely semi-sextiles Moon/Jupiter too. Saturn in Cancer sextiles most of the Taurus planets.
He even looks very Taurean - as did Paul Poiret (Friday's post) - a commenter described Poiret as "a bull of a man", and here's another! With such emphasis on Taurus, even if we were unaware of its owner's identity, this would have to be the chart of someone involved in art or music.
Sun conjunct deathly dark Pluto, and Uranus conjunct the allegedly unfortunate/intense Fixed Star Algol, which lay around 24/25 Taurus, are elements of his natal chart which exactly match the tragic storyline of Pagliacci.
Saturday, April 21, 2012
Have you noticed how seldom we hear a poem recited properly, with exactly the right mood, expression and emphasis? Even beautiful voices of talented actors or narrators tend to be reduced to an expressionless flat drone when reciting poems, denying us the emotion of the poets' clear intention when he/she wrote the lines. Perhaps there's some kind of rule book about this, some custom which dictates that emotion, when reading someone else's poems, will not be tolerated?
In honour of this Poetry Month I did find a couple of examples of actors who know their stuff and do a very good job with two short but lovely poems:
Dame Maggie Smith with Winds of Fate by Ella Wheeler Wilcox, and Alan Bates with A.H. Clough's Invictus ~~~
2) Sunday 22nd April is EARTH DAY
To give President Obama his due, his promotion of wind and solar energy and his ordering of higher vehicle fuel efficiency are laudable steps. But when he brags, as he did at a recent campaign event while posing in front of vast stacks of oil pipes, that his administration has “added enough new oil and gas pipeline to encircle the Earth” while also increasing oil drilling to record levels, Obama forfeits whatever credibility he once had as a politician who cares about the looming catastrophe of climate change. All of the above also violates Obama’s promise, at the 2009 Copenhagen climate summit, to reduce US greenhouse gas emissions to what amounted to a scientifically paltry 5 percent by 2020 compared to 1990 levels. But apparently the president feels he can get away with such betrayals without paying much of a political price..
and ....DIDN'T KNOW ~~
Jared Harris, who currently plays Lane Pryce in Mad Men, and Dr. David Robert Jones in Fringe is a son of the late Richard Harris. Richard sang the definitive version of MacArthur Park, as well as personifying Dumbledore, King Arthur, A Man Called Horse and countless other characters in film. Ah yes - I see the likeness now!
Astrologically it goes like this:
Richard had Sun @ 7 Libra Jared has Mars at 4 Libra.
Jared has Sun, Pluto and Mercury in Virgo, Richard had Mercury & Neptune in Virgo.
Richard's Moon was in late (27) Capricorn, Jared's Moon (depending on his time of birth) is somewhere between 29 Capricorn and 14 Aquarius, and quite likely to be close to his Dad's Moon!
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