Monday, September 30, 2013

Seymour Hersh, Journalism - Astrology Fits!

Articles about Seymour Hersh were doing the rounds online at the end of last week.
One by Lisa O'Caroll appeared in The Guardian:
Seymour Hersh on Obama, NSA and the 'pathetic' American media.
Pulitzer Prize winner explains how to fix journalism, saying press should 'fire 90% of editors and promote ones you can't control'

I was cheering inwardly all the time as I read it, even cheering outwardly too, at times. Loved every word!

I took a look at Mr Hersh's natal chart at to see whether his astrology fits. It does, of course! I'll put up his chart here, from my own software, using data (given an AA rating = good as it can be.)

Seymour Myron Hersh born on 8 April 1937 at 08:05am in Chicago, Illinois.

He was born a couple of weeks or so after my husband - maybe it's not surprising that I felt positive vibes; although my husband doesn't share most of Mr Hersh's views, sadly.

Aries Sun - sign of the pioneer, impulsive, driven by enthusiasm for his task. This alone wouldn't be his astro signature though. What is? Mercury and Venus conjunct Uranus! Uranus the rebel planet, the urge to be different, to take risks, to "go where the buses don't run", and Uranus lay close to his communication planet, Mercury - how very appropriate! With Gemini (the writer's planet) rising, how could Seymour Hersh not have become a fearless investigative journalist?

Moon in Pisces is evidence of a softer side to his nature, it is opposed by Pisces' ruler, Neptune. His generation's Neptune in earthy Virgo, is likely to have long ago reined in any dreamy illusions, kept his imaginative inner feet on terra firma.

There are lots of planetary aspects in the chart, too many to list; another which helps define what we know of him is: a T-square formed by Pluto opposite Jupiter (Cancer-Capricorn), each form square aspects to his natal Sun.

Jupiter opposite Pluto: I'll use Michael McClain's interpretation from Skyscript in case a passing reader might suspect I'm making this up!

Jupiter opposition Pluto
The opposition of Jupiter and Pluto shows questioning of social ideology. You challenge dogma by asserting your own views, which may often be out of step with those of society. Autocratic attitudes and a lack of humility can cause a loss of popularity. This is a powerful placement for Jupiter, the planet associated with religious and philosophic issues. You may have much to offer in correcting social injustices.

This opposition in Mr Hersh's chart is linked to natal Sun by stressful 90 degree aspects, connecting it to his core self.


Sunday, September 29, 2013

Curtains For Breaking Bad

Tonight will bring Vince Gilligan's brilliant TV series Breaking Bad to its finale, titled Felina - re-arrage the letters, then listen to the words of Marty Robbins' old song El Paso. Do those lyrics give a hint of what to expect?
The song ends:
Felina is strong and I rise where I've fallen,
Though I am weary I can't stop to rest.
I see the white puff of smoke from the rifle.
I feel the bullet go deep in my chest.
From out of nowhere Felina has found me,
Kissing my cheek as she kneels by my side.
Cradled by two loving arms that I'll die for,
One little kiss and Felina, good-bye.

We're pretty certain Walter White aka Heisenberg will die, either from his cancer or the ricin he has in his pocket, or under a hail of bullets from the neo-Nazi gang who has his former co-meth-cooker Jesse imprisoned. But Vince Gilligan, creator of the series, often takes the plot along strange byways. Not much would surprise me tonight, except perhaps one of those dreadful faux get-outs such as the one about Bobby Ewing in Dallas, in decades gone by. The whole of one season's storyline, including Bobby's death, was disclosed as having been nothing but his wife's bad dream. Viewers wouldn't stand for that these days, and Gilligan wouldn't stoop to it, I feel sure.

Two links of interest, the first not only for Breaking Bad fans, but generally:
a very good piece by David Sirota. He proposes a theory I've had at the back of my mind for some time, but could never have put into words as well as he has:

Walter White’s sickness mirrors America
"Breaking Bad" strikes such a nerve because Walt's ills of body and soul are also those of our country

Here’s a theory: Maybe “Breaking Bad” has ascended to the cult firmament because it so perfectly captures the specific pressures and ideologies that make America exceptional at the very moment the country is itself breaking bad.
A piece on Vince Gilligan's natal chart at Mountain Astrologer.

Gilligan, the show's creator has Sun in Aquarius, Uranus conjunct Pluto in Virgo. A good fit becomes obvious right there!

Whatever end awaits Walter White, and the rest of the cast, Mr White will stand as one of TV's best-remembered characters, and Bryan Cranston as having breathed life into such a complex being, giving what I think will be remembered as one of TV's most brilliant characterisations ever.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Bill Maher's California

Bill Maher. Reading his piece at HuffPo yesterday, "New Rule: Conservatives Who Love to Brag About American Exceptionalism Must Come Here to California", I was reminded how much of a hero he was for me in my first few years on this side of the Big Pond. As sometimes happens with infatuations, my previous fan-worship of Maher has gradually worn from thin to non-existent. His donating $1 million dollars to the Obama 2012 campaign was the last straw. Hadn't he got Obama's number after 4 years? I feel certain there were Green or other candidates on the ballot for him, to whom his dosh would have meant far more than it did to our Deceiver in Chief.

We still watch Bill Maher's weekly Real Time show, to hear the views of his guests rather than his own.

Anyway, forget about my naïveté when it comes to TV stars and politics - back to Maher's piece published yesterday, and used in his show last night. He extols the virtues of his now home state, California, contrasting them sharply against red states' blinkered idiocies. I've never visited California, other than overnight stops in Los Angeles, close to the airport, on a "once in a lifetime" trip to Hawaii back in 1984. From what I've read, we wouldn't be able to afford to live in California, no matter how idyllic the political scene there. One pays - high price or bargain basement - for what one gets, in a variety of ways in life.

The benefits Bill Maher describes somehow result in sky high property prices, and I'm sure that's just a start. That'll be fine for multi-millionaires like Bill, of course - for the rest of us, not so much. Cost of living in general will be much higher in California than in Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas and other red states. In my old homeland, England cost of living was much higher than here. Property prices, hotels, gas, utilities eating out are all expensive there as compared to Oklahoma. Part of this is due to the fact that staff in some occupations are better paid (restaurant, fast food, hotels) and, though unions are less common than they once were, they are still more prevalent than in the USA.

Now, for the benefits of living in a nice house in a nice area, owning a decent (if aging) car, the ability to afford occasional road trips with motel stops, I have to live among people whose politics disgust me, needed to give up the UK's National Health Service and instead pay through the nose for Medicare supplement and a further supplementary medical insurance, and for all medications, in order to to get me anywhere near to the same level of protection healthcare-wise I'd have enjoyed for free if still living in England.

Swings and roundabouts.

I hope Bill Maher is right, in that California's political flavours might eventually bleed out and affect other states, if not in total, then in ways which could begin to bring balance.

That well-known old quote of Will Rogers, like my earlier fan-worship of Bill Maher, also seems to have worn thin over the years: "When the Okies left Oklahoma and moved to California, they raised the average intelligence level in both states."

Friday, September 27, 2013

Nuts? Yes, We Certainly Are.

With nuts still in mind from yesterday's post, I cannot resist this:
An Even Dozen Signs We’re All Nuts
by Jaime O'Neill at Smirking Chimp this week.

Mr O'Neill puts the 12 in reverse order #12 to #1. I'll summarise them here #1 to #12, but only in a couple or so words, it's well worth skipping to the full piece.

1. Shootings & NRA
2. Repeal ACA?
3. Vets & suicides
4. Donald Trump
5. Heads up asses
6. Bieber's millions
7. Student debt
8. Limbaugh's $$$$$
9. Sports coach pay
10.Bachmann HIC
11.Walmart wealth

“We are in the process of creating what deserves to be called the idiot culture. Not an idiot sub-culture, which every society has bubbling beneath the surface and which can provide harmless fun; but the culture itself. For the first time, the weird and the stupid and the coarse are becoming our cultural norm, even our cultural ideal.”
― Carl Bernstein

Thursday, September 26, 2013

End Justifying Means?

What follows was written by my husband, first published on Flickr the other day. I use it with his agreement (of course), because it highlights something easily overlooked - especially in these days of water shortages. In our town recycling, on a grand scale, has come late but hey, better late than...

The recycling company engaged by town authorities demands that items for recycling and collection: paper, cardboard, plastics, cans, glass, should be reasonably clean. Husband's problem arose due to the nature of peanut butter, a food I seldom eat. My solution to his dilemma is: leave the glass peanut butter jars in the ordinary garbage bin without any pang of conscience - glass will not do the same harm to the environment as the demon plastic. Any other ideas?

First I scraped all the peanut butter I could from inside the jar, applying it sparingly to my toast. I licked the spatula too.

Next I soaked the jar and spatula in water and a squirt of detergent. I ran the water until it was hot. Cold water would not have made any advances toward loosening the peanut oil remaining in the jar and on the spatula.

I ate my toast.

I went back to the jar in the sink and ran more hot water into the jar, and scrubbed it with a sponge.

I wiped the spatula clean and dried it with a tea towel. The oil came off the spatula fairly easily.

But not so the jar, which required a third wash with fresh detergent and hot water.

Finally the jar was nearly clear of any remaining peanut butter or oil. I wiped out the inside with the tea towel just in case.

Now for the lid, it was the same process basically but some of the peanut butter had begun to dry out on the inner side of the lid. It took an extra washing and finally a wipe with the tea towel. I tossed the tea towel into the washing machine because it was rather smudged now and probably wouldn’t do for drying any dishes or hands.

Finally, I had the jar ready for the recycling bin. Just doing my bit for conservation.

That reminds me I need to add dish detergent and peanut butter to the grocery list.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Stops on a Mythical Journey

Once upon a time, back in 2008, two of my favourite Sun sign astrologers, Rob Brezsny and Jonathan Cainer both coincidentally included, in an Aquarius weekly or monthly forecast, mention of such Lunar or mythical locations as the Sea of Clouds, Sea of Fertility, Sea of Ingenuity, Sea of Nectar; Problem Volcano, Fountains of Fear, Marshes of Myopia, Rock of Realism and Valley of Vulnerability.
I was reminded of John Bunyan's "Pilgrim's Progress" and his Slough of Despond, Doubting Castle, etc. I keyboard-scribbled a brief outline of the stops on some other imaginary heroic journey travelling via these locations.

When I re-read my old post the other day I, surprisingly, quite liked it. Here's that mythical journey I once imagined:

Setting out from the Sea of Clouds.....Here I stayed a while, gazed into the surface of the Sea of Clouds and saw, far away, a blue sphere - beautiful, spinning slowly, serenely among myriad stars.

When I reached the Sea of Fertility and gazed into its depths I saw, with magnification, life, teeming and multiplying on a beautiful blue planet. In seconds I saw a thousand generations of live creatures pass through, as the planet's surface changed, and changed again, and again.

Soon the Sea of Ingenuity lay in my path. Here I stared deep into it and saw, magnified again, the skills and talents of the creatures of the blue planet. I watched in awe, as time swiftly flashed past, and noted that they were soon able to perform the most wondrous tasks, transforming yet again a large part of the planet's surface.

At the Sea of Nectar I rested, gazed languidly into its calm surface and saw, in horror, the creatures of the blue planet fighting for sustenance. They must surely have drained all goodness from their once fertile habitat.

At this point I began the second part of my journey, approached the Problem Volcano, gingerly drew near to look into its inferno and saw the inhabitants of the far away blue planet becoming troubled, worried, many were fighting.

I hurried on to the Fountains of Fear, where I hoped for brighter visions, but none were to come. Through a silvery mist caused by the sparkling fountains I saw a vision of the blue planet's inhabitants dejected, careworn, now fearful of what the future might hold.

Not far from the Fountains lay the Valley of Vulnerability, and from my distant vantage point there, I understood how weak and fragile are the inhabitants of the blue planet, how little defence against dangers facing them.

Glancing back I noticed a side track leading to the Marshes of Myopia, travelled there and stared across the steaming, stinking marshes eventually realising how it was that those on the blue planet had become so vulnerable. In spite of their skills and talents they had failed to look ahead, far enough into the future, or at all.

I strode away sadly but with determination towards my last venue - the Rock of Realism. A hard place in the near distance, but the only one from which it was possible to obtain a clear view of the future. What did I see? A vision yet part-formed, its completion lay in the hands of the inhabitants of the blue planet.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

White Privilege? Asian Offence?

Racism has been a blot on mankind, and a particularly big blot on the USA's past. I guess that I shouldn't feel surprised that race remains imprinted so clearly on the consciousness of people here. Still, finding elements of racism in fictional entertainment when, really and truly it's not there, isn't helpful or wise, but seems to be the in thing just now. I recall mentioning in a blog post not long ago comments about why Dr Who is always cast as a white male (see here). At the weekend two articles at Salon touched on what the authors see as racism in TV dramas.

“Breaking Bad’s” racial politics: Walter White, angry white man
Walter's brutal meltdown shows genius way "Breaking Bad" deals with white privilege, and men who can't get enough
by Todd Van Der Werff.


5 most offensive Asian characters in TV history
"Dads" is just the latest sitcom to employ crude racial stereotypes. Remember Ling Woo from "Ally McBeal"?
by Anjana Sreedhar.

I can only comment on those of the mentioned dramas and shows we've seen.

Breaking Bad, in my view doesn't deal in racial politics or "angry white men" at all. It deals in moral decay, not "white privilege". There's nothing in the drama differentiating between the races in any detrimental way. There's a dark-skinned Latino guy who is equally as evil and "can't get enough" as is Walter White, and, as far as we know without Walter White's initial motivation to safeguard his family after his death and to pay for the best possible cancer treatment. Drug cartels in Mexico, South America, the USA and Czechoslovakia are involved - blame spread equally between contintents. Angry white man? That might be more accurate if expressed as angry 99%, colour irrelevant.

As for the "offensive" Asian depictions, we've seen Lucy Liu in all seasons of Ally McBeal and Margaret Cho in the single season of All American Girl.

Well.....we are unable to detect anything offensive in either portrayal, but then we're not Asian. Ling, Lucy Liu's character was perhaps smarter than the rest of the characters put together, richer than most and went farther than the lot of 'em - is that offensive? Margaret Cho's short-lived comedic series might have taken stereotyping of her and her family too far, but then, in comedy that's par for the course isn't it? We found the series (seen via DVD) entertaining, funny and didn't leave any bad taste about Asian Americans - rather an affectionate after-taste. Maybe that's offensive to some?

What is it about some factions in the USA who keep gnawing on this bone of race? Are they trying to drum up further trouble? It would seem so to this relative newcomer to the scene. When the ugly spectre of racism does actually raise its head it should be confronted loudly, no argument about that. Searching for it in every nook and cranny, and finding it where it is not, is not the way forward.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Individually Collective, Collectively Individual....

Blog-buddy mike, some time ago, recommended Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead as a good introduction to her writing style, and an easier read than Atlas Shrugged. I got me a used copy of The Fountainhed, advertised as trade paperback but turned out to be a mass market paperback. Small tight print in a bulky volume. I did read a couple of chapters, but if I'm ever to get much further I shall have to find a hardback copy. In the meantime I acquired a DVD of the 1949 film version of the novel.
We watched it on Friday evening.

The film is badly dated in syle. Well - 1949 - it would be wouldn't it? Gary Cooper, never a favourite of mine, did his best with what was in the script, as did Raymond Massey. Patricia Neal, though, as love interest, was almost comical in her hamminess at times. Dialogue (also screenwritten by Ayn Rand ) was uncomfortably stilted, characters were cardboard cut-outs used only to drive home, with a sledgehammer, Ayn Rand's belief that what she saw as individualism is more important than what she saw as collectivism. Key words: "what she saw as"!

Basic plot: An architect who has avant garde ideas on design and construction, refuses to compromise his designs to make them more acceptable to the public; rather than do so he opts to go manual and work in a quarry for a spell. (The quote in the illustration, by the way, relates to his designs, not to his woman!) His bloody-mindedness wins through. He also, eventually, gets the gal. The end.

The book is likely to be far more nuanced than the almost 2-hour film. The novel's long enough, if it's not more nuanced, then what on earth is the rest of it about? The bare storyline could be told as a novella or short story.

Individualism versus collectivism? Why does it have to be one versus t'other. They could, and should, quite happily complement and compliment one another in my view. I admire individuals - those with vision, inventiveness, foresight, not of the crowd, marching to their own drummer. I also admire those who aspire to make life better for the rest of humanity, those who consider others equal to themselves, those who think of themselves as part of a whole. Why did Ayn Rand decide the two could never relate, never complete the picture together? Because she had a mind-block, possibly brought on by whatever it was she endured in early life. Because she had no tolerance, no sensitivity, no empathy. Perhaps it had been knocked out of her. It isn't for me to judge her, but that's the picture I'm getting thus far.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Thoughts at Equinox: Who Laid The Tracks?

The USA's version of "middle class" is different from the UK's version. Here the middle class seems to refer to anyone not living in actual poverty, yet not of the 1% of elite bankers, financiers, corporate CEOs, "celebs", multimillionaires and billionaires. In the UK middle class is understood to relate to the professions: doctors, lawyers, professors, scientists - that sort of thing. Ordinary folk, tradespeople, craftsmen, office workers, factory workers, store assistants etc. are the working class. Bearing that difference in mind, yesterday I read a good article by Edward McClelland at Salon.

RIP, the middle class: 1946-2013
The 1 percent hollowed out the middle class and our industrial base. And Washington just let it happen

Here's a paragraph from the piece:
When I was growing up, it was assumed that America’s shared prosperity was the natural endpoint of our economy’s development, that capitalism had produced the workers paradise to which Communism unsuccessfully aspired. Now, with the perspective of 40 years, it’s obvious that the nonstop economic expansion that lasted from the end of World War II to the Arab oil embargo of 1973 was a historical fluke, made possible by the fact that the United States was the only country to emerge from that war with its industrial capacity intact. Unfortunately, the middle class – especially the blue-collar middle class – is also starting to look like a fluke, an interlude between Gilded Ages that more closely reflects the way most societies structure themselves economically. For the majority of human history – and in the majority of countries today – there have been only two classes: aristocracy and peasantry. It’s an order in which the many toil for subsistence wages to provide luxuries for the few. Twentieth century America temporarily escaped this stratification, but now, as statistics on economic inequality demonstrate, we’re slipping back in that direction. Between 1970 and today, the share of the nation’s income that went to the middle class – households earning two-thirds to double the national median – fell from 62 percent to 45 percent. Last year, the wealthiest 1 percent took in 19 percent of America’s income – their highest share since 1928. It’s as though the New Deal and the modern labor movement never happened.

The highlighted sentences are what I latched onto immediately. At this time of equinox and balance in the natural world, doesn't it seem peculiar that any kind of equinox or balance has never, ever existed for humans - anywhere on Earth? Balance, even partial balance, of the distribution of wealth and bounty of planet earth?

We, in the west at least, have moved in cycles of vicious feudalism/slavery, to a much milder disguised form of the same, back to a variation of the more intense form, under a different name.

Why is this? Why does it have to be like this? Karl Marx and others throughout history must have asked the question and tried to answer it. Their solutions didn't take, anymore than it would be feasible to try stopping a toy train on circular track and causing it to take a different route where no tracks existed.

But who laid those tracks in the first place? The elite (for want of a better description of the planet's early rulers). How did they become rulers, and capable of doing this? Why did they think it was the right thing to do?

If astrology works at all, it has to be something inherent in humans due to our physical position in our solar system. Our very nature must drive us along these already laid tracks, and divides us very unequally into rulers and ruled. I wonder where it says that in planetary language? Is it due to the Sun's rule over life itself? That could explain the need for leaders - a ruler: king, emperor, president, whatever, but it doesn't explain why things are, and have always been, so unbalanced; or when efforts to bring about even minor adjustments are made, results are short-lived at best. We soon veer back to the same old tracks. The part of DNA relating to greed for wealth and control must be fairly rare but very, very powerful.

That little lot spewed, unbidden, right off the top of my head and could well be utter rubbish. I needed to let off some steam.
“The first man who, having fenced in a piece of land, said "This is mine," and found people naïve enough to believe him, that man was the true founder of civil society. From how many crimes, wars, and murders, from how many horrors and misfortunes might not any one have saved mankind, by pulling up the stakes, or filling up the ditch, and crying to his fellows: Beware of listening to this impostor; you are undone if you once forget that the fruits of the earth belong to us all, and the earth itself to nobody.”
― Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Discourse on the Origin of Inequality

Friday, September 20, 2013

Art for Equinox

Five suitably autumnal paintings (below) for the autumnal equinox coming up on Sunday. These are by Sir John Everett Millais (1829-1896). He was one of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood whose paintings I've always loved. The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, from around 1848 in England, began as a secret, select group of artists: Dante Gabriel Rossetti, his brother William Michael Rossetti, Thomas Woolner, William Holman Hunt, Frederic George Stephens, James Collinson, and John Everett Millais. They banded together to rebel against the current art establishment, the British Royal Academy and their then formulaic approach to art instruction. More HERE.

Sir John was never my favourite member of the Brotherhood, but I suspect the digital images below do no justice to his paintings. I've seen some of the Pre-Raphaelites' works "in the flesh", and they are breathtaking. There's an old post of mine on those artists and their natal charts here.

It'll be several weeks more before the Oklahoma autumnal scene catches up with the season shown in these paintings; at the moment it still seems like high summer. I wait with increasing impatience!

(For enlarged versions click on the images.)

 Sound of Many Waters

 Autumn Leaves

 Winter Fuel

 A Dream of the Past

 Rosalind in the Forest

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Spouse Mix ~ National, Astrological.

Below, some throw-away information I was led to via Eschaton the other day.  Really and truly it's "of little use to man or beast" as we used to say in Yorkshire - hardly likely to be of any great interest to many, but even so was worth a mention, I think.  It's a nice change, for me, to feel that I'm some part of percentages other than the dreaded 99%. I explain my being part of this statistic as due to having natal Venus in Sagittarius - the travelling sign, aided and abetted by the rapid spread of internet communication in the early 2000s.

The U.S. Census Bureau reported today that 11.4 million married-couple households, or 21 percent of all married-couple households in America in 2011, had at least one spouse born in another country. About 13 percent (7.3 million) of households had two foreign-born spouses, and 7 percent (4.1 million) had one native-born and one foreign-born spouse.

Other highlights from the brief:

Among the mixed-nativity married-couple households — households with one native-born and one foreign-born spouse — the foreign-born spouse was more likely to be the wife (55 percent) than the husband (45 percent).
Foreign-born spouses in mixed-nativity married-couple households were more likely to be naturalized U.S. citizens (61 percent) than non-citizens (39 percent).
Foreign-born spouses in mixed-nativity married-couple households were most likely to have been born in Latin America and the Caribbean (40 percent), followed by Europe (26 percent) and Asia (23 percent).
Foreign-born husbands in mixed-nativity married-couple households were more likely than foreign-born wives to have been born in Latin America and the Caribbean. In contrast, foreign-born wives were more likely than foreign-born husbands to have been born in Asia.
Among all states, Hawaii (16 percent) had the highest percentage of married-couple households that were of mixed nativity, while Mississippi, South Dakota and West Virginia (2 percent in each state) had the lowest percentages.

All of which led to thoughts on relationships and astrology in general.

Relationships and astrology - a tangled web involved, with lots of ways to untangle it. For many years I lived with the idea that there is reliable compatibility between certain Sun signs, and a definite no-no between others. "Aquarius and Libra are a wonderful match", we were often told. In my youth I, an Aquarian, married a Libran; it was a disaster on every level. My parents were an Aquarius/Libra combination though, and they lasted 55 years, until one of them died. Is there a logical 50/50 chance of success or failure, whatever the astrology? That's the $64,000 question. After the first disastrous marriage I took up with an astrological no-no, a Sun Taurean, and that relationship lasted 33 years, until his death.

Sun sign is but the shadow of the tip of an iceberg. Harmony between certain zodiac signs, and disharmony between others is undeniable, but still is only a basis for further investigation. Harmony, or otherwise, relates to the astrological principle that each zodiac sign is connected to one of the 4 elements - Earth, Water, Air, Fire. Air and Fire are harmonious, as are Water and Earth, whereas for example, Fire with Earth or Water would not be an easy combination. This is the first strand in that tangled web.

Harmonious Sun signs and/or Moon signs are definitely a sound basis from which to start; certainly there will be initial feelings of understanding between two people whose Suns and Moons are in tune element-wise. However, this connection of fundamental understanding, though excellent for business or friendship, might not provide enough of a zing for serious romantic relationship to blossom.

In a booklet called "How to Handle Your Human Relations" by Lois Haines Sargent (Published 1958 & 1970 American Federation of Astrologers) the author stated "It is a law of attraction as true in metaphysics as in psychology and astrology that our attracting or being attracted to certain persons or environments is rarely, if ever, pure chance." A fascinating thought!

A few interesting points from the booklet follow:
"Individuals born in signs ruled by the same planet, such as Libra-Taurus, ruled by Venus; Scorpio-Aries ruled by Mars; Gemini-Virgo ruled by Mercury; Sagittarius-Pisces ruled by Jupiter; Capricorn-Aquarius ruled by Saturn; (using old rulerships for Scorpio, Pisces, and Aquarius) will be easily adaptable to each other provided the mental-emotional-spiritual requirements are satisfied. Many individuals are attracted to others born in signs in which the respective decans are sub-ruled by the same planets".

Another proposition:
The ruler of the ascendant of one partner is in the sign ascending in the other's chart. Example:Aquarius rises in one chart. Ruler is Uranus. Uranus is in Sagittarius in the other chart and Sagittarius is the sign ascending in this chart.

The author lists several other variations on the theme of ascendants, descendants and ruling planets. The descendant (7th house) opposite the ascendant, is the astrological house pertaining to relationship matters; the ascendant and 1st house represents the self we show the outside world, so the two factors are bound to be important when considering relationship issues.

Another theory:

"An excellent sign of understanding and compatibility occurs when rulers of respective Sun signs are in partner's Sun sign. Example: Sun in Gemini and Sun in Cancer -- Mercury, which rules Gemini, is in Cancer in the Gemini's chart. Moon, which rules Cancer is in Gemini in the Cancer's chart. "

The overall message to be gleaned is that simple Sun sign compatibility can be a promising start - or not. Countless other factors, many others not even touched upon here, account for times when, seemingly against all astrological odds, two hearts manage to blend as one.

 René Magritte's "The Lovers"

A lesson I learned: it's never wise to discount a potential partner on astrological grounds, at least not before delving more deeply into the matter. Even then there could still be other factors, outside of astrology, exerting a powerful pull outweighing natal charts.

As the booklet's author said - "attraction is rarely, if ever, pure chance".

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Future Tense

A couple of off the wall thoughts upon which to ponder - if one dares.

"The internet is a new lifeform that shows the first signs of intelligence". So says brain scientist and serial entrepreneur Jeff Stibel. He argues that the physical wiring of the internet is much like a rudimentary brain and some of the actions and interactions that take place on it are similar to the processes that we see in the brain.

I've thought before that we are actually computers originally constructed by some highly evolved beings aeons ago. This idea kind of feeds into that...kind of...

See the brief video at this link. I find the presenter's rather obsessive passion for his subject a tad scary though.

How long before we have our own version of "Hal" dictating to us?


A comment beneath an article at Huffington Post at the weekend proved more interesting to me than the rather old news contained in the article about time travel. Part of comment from commenter "cp35":
...........General Relativity is as old as 1919 I think. You want something that is also old but that will probably be bigger news to those who don't know or understand Physics? Because light is indeed going at the speed of light (time stops completely at the speed of light), and light from the beginning of the Universe is still traveling, the past still exists in some time frame. Indeed, the future also already exists. And that is profoundly more mind blowing, because we experience the past as no longer there and the future as still having to come, but that is not really the case.
I suppose that seers and clairvoyants, through the ages, have always known this.

Postscript: I don't know, anymore, what there is to say about mass shootings, as yet another one blots the scene in the USA.

Monday, September 16, 2013

The B in the Beat of Life

In the April/May 2007 issue of Mountain Astrologer there was a re-print of a very good article by astrologer Bill Herbst: "On Coincidence". He related a real life event to planetary positions and transits in his natal chart. He warned:
"Don't presume that a certain combination of symbols means what you read in a textbook or hear from some hot-shot astrologer at a conference. Instead, file away the insight as a "possible" meaning and let your own real-life experience gradually confirm or deny that particular interpretive slant".

That was as good advice as I'd ever read !

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 personal experience confirms or denies accepted astrological lore.

Get Rhythm

In my own case, at the times of most pivotal events in my life I had no means of investigating their astrological connection - quite unaware, then, which transits were occurring.

I've found now, looking back on my life history with a little more astrological knowledge,  that there has been a distinct rhythm. At the times when important turning points took place, the Lunar nodes were involved. Either my Taurus/Scorpio nodal axis had returned to its position at my birth, or to its inverse position, and/or a planet had conjoined one of the nodes. Perhaps this rhythm is more significant for me due to my Cancer ascendant, ruled by the Moon, and further intensified because Uranus (natal Sun's ruler) is conjunct natal South node. Another intertwined rhythm for me is connected to the vertex, which, if my birth time is correct, is conjunct natal Mars, also in Scorpio.

The Beat Goes On (Sonny & Cher 1967)

Scorpio/Taurus is definitely the 'b' of the beat in the rhythm of my life. Both my marriages, important career changes, and all the significant love-related first meetings have these connections. Another important event - my only stay in hospital so far , also followed this rhythm.(I'm using only real celestial events, no progressions or directions.) In August 1985 I was admitted to hospital for, first, investigative procedures, then, in early September for a major operation (hysterectomy). The nodal axis was in the inverse natal position, exact when I entered hospital in August. On the day of surgery, in September, Jupiter was one degree away from my natal Sun (6.46 Aquarius). A couple of days after the operation the surgeon described me as his "star patient", because my recovery had been so much faster than that of other women who had the same operation on the same day! I was obviously under a benign sky! Transiting Saturn conjoined natal Mars, in Scorpio, a short time later , just as I returned to work, in November, good as new, after several very pleasant weeks off on full pay. Had I been in a position to look at my own chart in those days I'd have expected November to be the problematic never can tell!

Several astro rhythms or cycles are simultaneously occurring 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 could change temporarily, or permanently.

Sammy Davis Jnr & Rythm of Life from Sweet Charity

Nodal rhythm exists for all of us to some extent, though 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.

Cue Waylon...."Gimme a beat boys and free my soul....."

Saturday, September 14, 2013


(For bigger versions of photographs, just apply a click)

I tend to use punctuation as I see fit when I'm the one doing the writing, so articles like these are only sources of amusement, and surprise that anybody would care enough about where and when to type any kind of a dash (who knew there was more than one?)... or a row of dots.

For the passing pedant dottily dashing around:

Why everyone and your mother started using ellipses ... everywhere.
by Matthew J.X. Malady.


You're using that dash wrong
by James Harbeck

Erm...wrongly? (Wink - I can do pedant too).

 From husband's vintage photograph collection

"There is geometry in the humming of the strings, there is music in the spacing of the spheres."

Yesterday at Huffington Post

Tom Coburn Wants Federal Employees To Turn Off The Lights Before Leaving The Office

Sometimes I'm flabbergasted to find that the USA is literally decades behind the UK in stuff like this. In every government office where I worked, from the 1960s onward (quite a few), there was a notice posted prominently demanding that all lights must be switched off when leaving any office or other room empty.

As we might say, back in t'old country: "Mr Coburn, did you know that Queen Anne's dead?"

My grandmother used to describe a person who was vastly overweight as being "fat as Fanny Watson". I'd always assumed that Fanny Watson was someone Gran had known locally. I accidentally stumbled upon evidence to the contrary the other day. See Yesteryear Once More, here:

New York City. — Too fat? Lots of people are — but not many have the thrilling experience of Fanny Watson, who awoke one morning to find herself getting thinner and getting paid for it.

Fanny does a stunt with her sister in vaudeville, and of course she’s always adding new quirks and turns to her act. The other day she — but let her tell it.

“Of course I knew I was too fat,” she admits frankly, “but I was lazy — like a lot of women. I hated exercise and I loathed dieting. So I went on my sugary, near-obese way until that glad morning when my dress bands began to overlap and I had the merry whim to get weighed. Maybe you won’t believe it, but as near as I could figure I had lost ten pounds in two weeks!"

How on earth my Gran, in a tiny East Yorkshire village, had heard about Fanny Watson in New York is a mystery.

On the topic of of weight watching, how about this for a test of will set by Weight Watchers? How cruel was that? The smell of that fudge alone could drive a gal to sin.

 Spotted  by husband, somewhere in Texas

During research into my family's history I discovered a family(or branch of a family) of the same surname as my paternal grandfather, Scott (or Skott), in the same general area of Suffolk where he was born. This family, who may or may not be linked to mine further down the line, emigrated to The New World in 1634 on a ship called The Elizabeth. One of their relative's also appears on the list of tradesmen and bankers financing the trip. I found this article interesting anyway, it relates to
The Great Migration........Snip:

There were a few key factors that caused so many of our ancestors to leave East Anglia. The region had been the economic power house of England but it was hard hit by an economic depression in the first half of the 1600s. Perhaps not coincidentally, the Puritan movement developed deep roots in East Anglia and its bordering counties. Dedham, Essex, for example, was considered a "hot bed" of Puritan agitation. The Church of England eventually tired of this and helped drive the militants to the new world.

Most were from the East Anglia region northeast of London which was then known as the Eastern Association. This pattern is consistent with what is known of the more general immigration patterns of the "Great Migration."

The Elizabeth left Ipswich, Suffolk, England on April 10, 1634. The ship's "master" was William Andrews (Andrewes) (Andres), arriving in Massachusetts Bay. The date of record,in this case, is some six months after the ship departed. The ship arrived safe at Massachusetts Bay. Both the master and ship are known to have made subsequent trips although no record (other than departure) of this particular voyage remains.

Typically, ships making this voyage weighed between 10 and 100 tons (the Mayflower was quite big at 180 tons) and traveled at 7 - 10 knots with a passenger load of around one hundred. Interestingly, Master William Andrews was known to be an Ipswich (Suffolk) man and he eventually settled in New England, on or after 1635.

William Stafford was such a comfortable poet, that's the way his work affects me anyway. He, other of his poems, and his astrology, are mentioned in two archived posts

One of his:


It is time for all the heroes to go home
if they have any, time for all of us common ones
to locate ourselves by the real things
we live by.

Far to the north, or indeed in any direction,
strange mountains and creatures have always lurked-
elves, goblins, trolls, and spiders:-we
encounter them in dread and wonder,

But once we have tasted far streams, touched the gold,
found some limit beyond the waterfall,
a season changes, and we come back, changed
but safe, quiet, grateful.

Suppose an insane wind holds all the hills
while strange beliefs whine at the traveler's ears,
we ordinary beings can cling to the earth and love
where we are, sturdy for common things.


Just the first verse of another of his poems,
At Cove on the Crooked River

At Cove at our camp in the open canyon
it was the kind of place
where one might look out
some evening and see trouble
walking away.

I love: "...and see trouble walking away."

 Husband took this one winter morning at sunrise from our kitchen window

Friday, September 13, 2013

The Ides of September & Chocolate Day

13 September: Romans called it the Ides of September, and on this date celebrated with a feast known as Epulum Jovis.
In ancient Roman religion, the Epulum Jovis was a sumptuous ritual feast offered to Jove on the Ides of September (September 13) and a smaller feast on the Ides of November (November 13). It was celebrated during the Ludi Romani ("Roman Games") and the Ludi Plebeii ("Plebeian Games").

The gods were formally invited, and attended in the form of statues. These were arranged on luxurious couches (pulvinaria) placed at the most honorable part of the table. Fine food was served, as if they were able to eat. The priests designated as epulones, or masters of the feast, organized and carried out the ritual, and acted as "gastronomic proxies" in eating the food.
Another description of the proceedings, this from The Roman Festivals of the Period of the Republic by William Warde Fowler:
........We may agree with the latest investigator of the Jupiter-cult that the origin of the epulum is to be looked for in a form of thanksgiving to Jupiter for preservation of the state from perils of the war season, and that no better date could be found for it than the foundation date of the Capitoline temple. This epulum was one of the most singular and striking scenes in Roman public life. It began with a sacrifice; the victim is not mentioned but it was no doubt a heifer, and probably a white one. Then took place the epulum proper, which the three deities of the Capitol seem to have shared in visible form with the magistrates and senate. The images of the gods were decked out as for a feast and the face of Jupiter painted red with minium, like that of the triumphator. Jupiter had a couch, and Juno and Minerva each a sella (chair), and the meal went on in their presence.
The Capitoline Triad was introduced to Rome by the Tarquins, and perhaps was an Etruscan creation. It is possible that the Etruscans looked on Minerva as a goddess of destiny, in addition to the royal couple Uni (Juno) and Tinia (Jupiter). In Rome, Minerva later assumed a military aspect under the influence of Athena Pallas. With the advent of the Republic, it is thought that Jupiter became the only king of Rome, rather than simply the first of the great gods.

That was then, this is now - today we content ourselves by celebrating International Chocolate Day (who knew?) Hey, at least we don't have to sacrifice a white heifer!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013


Small steps.
#1 When the UK stepped back from allying itself with the US on proposed military action in Syria.
#2 when President Obama decided to take his case for military action in Syria to Congress for approval.
#3 The suggestion by Putin that if Assad allowed inspectors to quarantine and destroy his store of chemical weapons that would preclude any US military intervention.
#4 President Obama, in his speech, hastily re-jigged due to fast-moving changes, postponing Congressional vote on the issue, agreeing to await outcome of proposed solution.

Small steps which would, ideally, have been taken in reverse order - beginning with efforts to solve the crisis without force and further pain and bloodshed in Syria, this time at our hands. But as always, we take what we can get and feel thankful for the breathing space, with hopes that a crisis can, for once, be solved peacefully.

I did watch President Obama's speech on Tuesday evening, unusual for me, because what he says usually bears no relevance to what actually happens, so I tend not to bother. I was curious to see how his speech writers would have managed to spin the re-jig in light of fast changing events.

I called out to the screen just twice, towards the end. Once when the Prez said
To my friends on the left, I ask you to reconcile your belief in freedom and dignity for all people with those images of children writhing in pain and going still on a cold hospital floor, for sometimes resolutions and statements of condemnation are simply not enough.

I shouted back: "And what about the children lying dead or writhing in pain as a result of your kill lists and drones Mr Obama?"

Then at the end of the speech, when he said:
That’s what makes America different. That’s what makes us exceptional. With humility, but with resolve, let us never lose sight of that essential truth.

I shouted "You are not exceptional, and you are not humble. Simple as that."

But.... small steps can lead towards peace, so we'll take whatever we can get!

Received this a few minutes ago with request to share wherever


Nine-eleven, numbers forever engraved on the hearts of every person in the USA. I recall that last year, maybe in previous years too, some writers suggested that it's time to stop marking the anniversaries as they pass. That's something for each of us to choose to do, or not. It's certainly not for anyone to dictate. I wasn't in the US at that time, I didn't have a computer either, so relied on the TV and newspapers for information, but still recall vividly the breaking news that day, and how I first heard it, and how I felt.

I'd decided that this year I would simply put something in the sidebar today to mark the anniversary of 9/11/2001, but on Saturday night, as we continued to plough through our DVD set of the 5-season long Ally McBeal series from the 1990s and early 2000s, the tragedy was brought to mind. An episode we watched, which I later discovered had been aired in December of 2001, was a subtle tribute to those lost on that terrible day, and to the many people grieving in various ways.

The usually zany, irreverent writers and cast were in a more sombre mood for most of the episode, set around Christmas-time, dealing with a couple of court cases. One case was about a former church minister who had lost his belief in God after his wife had been shot dead. This led to him being removed from his ministry. His son, a leading choir member, had lost his will to sing. A second case was one brought against the mayor of a town where a big factory had burned down, killing several employees and 6 firemen, leaving the town bereft, and with many unemployed citizens. The mayor ruled that their annual Christmas parade would be cancelled. A concerned citizen had brought him to court to fight him on this.

I didn't, at first, connect these themes to nine-eleven at all, but as the episode progressed I began to suspect that there was an undercurrent of some kind.

The stories were actually reflecting some of the real-life feelings which must have been around in New York - and everywhere - in the months following nine-eleven.

The episode ended as happily as possible with the minister regaining his faith and his position in his church, his son (played by Josh Groban) found his lovely voice again. A grieving town won their case against their Mayor and held a very respectful parade - seemingly miles long - with little children carrying the helmets of lost firemen. It was at this point that the relevance to nine-eleven eventually clicked into place in my head. I waited to see the date in the end credits - yes it was - 2001! Checking on-line later, I confirmed that the episode, titled Nine One One, was aired in December 2001. I hadn't noticed the heavy clue in the episode's title which had been explained in the episode by the minister recalling that his wife's last words before she died were: "Call nine-one-one".

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Symbolism, Occult & Otherwise ~ Metropolis, Hide and Seek

It's a while since I inadvertently stepped into one of the internet's many rabbit holes, but did so at the weekend. On Friday evening TCM was showing a 2010 restoration of Fritz Lang's 1927 silent movie Metropolis. I couldn't recall ever having watched it before, at least not in full, nor could husband, so we decided to give it a try. I'm not a fan of silent movies but this one has some very nice art deco architectural bits and backdrops going on, which was enough to keep me interested for the almost all of the 2 and a half hour film. It's a curiosity, if nothing else, with dystopian elements later tackled and enlarged upon in finer detail by George Orwell and others of his genre. There were scenes, however, which reminded me more of Monty Python or Benny Hill sketches than dark dystopian scenarios, but that had to be excused due to the film's age.

For anyone who hasn't seen Metropolis, in a nutshell it's a tale of a city of the future - 2026 - further into the future for audiences in 1927 than it is for us. The city is divided into two, part for the workers and part for the thinkers. The workers live and toil in an underground section of the city, slave-like,down-trodden, sheep-like, ill-treated, providing the life blood of the city above, often quite literally. The thinkers, the equivalent of 21st century's real-life Elite, the 1%, capitalists, the Oligarchy etc. live in luxury in the city above.

Bear in mind that Fritz Lang was Austrian-born, the film was made during the Weimar period in Germany, history has proved him to be something of a prophet in many ways. A love story develops in the film - rather too rapidly - under what seems to 2013 eyes very contrived circumstances, but it is a necessary plot device. The king pin of Metropolis has a son who appears to be a little more liberal-minded than his fascist capitalist Dad. He falls in love with a gal, a teacher to kids of the workers. She promises the children, or prophesies to them, that there will be a better life in the future, a "mediator" will come along to help them.

We then meet an inventor with occult leanings and a pentacle on his door, and the fun begins.....

Now...I was going to write a straight ahead review of Metropolis when I stepped into the rabbit hole mentioned earlier. Looking around the net for reviews to ensure I hadn't missed anything crucial while out during the film doing the dishes, I found a website called The Vigilant Citizen with a long and interesting article about the film, pointing out stuff I'd half recognised but dismissed as artsy pretension. I'll leave a passing reader to take a look at VC's article.

On the VC website sidebar I caught sight of one of the writer's other pieces, reviewing a movie we'd seen just a few nights earlier on HBO, Hide and Seek, 2005 movie starring Robert de Niro and Dakota Fanning. The story tells of a traumatised child who sees the results of her mother's apparent suicide. Neither of us had enjoyed the film much, thought it ridiculously contrived, but stayed with it to discover the ending - which revealed quite a twist neither of us had foreseen. Vigilant Citizen saw lots and lots more in the movie than we did. More symbolism than would fill a book in fact! Symbols of MK (as in MK-ultra) mind control and how it can be used in popular culture among other things.

There's no denying, once made aware, that symbols were present, in both Hide and Seek and in Metropolis. Were they put there, in the case of Metropolis, as artsy devices by a writer who had a genuine interest and some knowledge of occult practices; and in the case of Hide and Seek in an attempt to be superficially darkly edgy and "hip" 21st century style?

Vigilant Citizen discusses several other movies as well as some pieces of pop music and music videos with occult symbolism, and some "MK" in mind. After skimming a couple of these I began to experience a familiar rabbit-hole queasy sickness and retreated.

For any of stronger constitution there's more at The Fortean Times too: The Illuminati X-Factor.

Occult, and other, symbolism exists, of course it does. Occult symbolism has existed for thousands of years. Does it have any serious relevance today though, beyond pretentiousness in art, seeking to portray a knowledge of secret, dangerous, dark stuff that few are aware of? I suspect that, where any kind of symbolism is found in popular culture nowadays it stems mainly from affectation. In the case of Metropolis I'm not so sure. Fritz Lang was possibly making use in his film-making art of the symbols of one of his other interests - the occult. He was said to have had a definite fascination with aspects of the "dark arts".

On my way out of the rabbit hole I noticed a book for sale on E-bay ($400!!). Follow My Stars by astrologer Louis de Wohl, it is inscribed by the author to none other than... Fritz Lang.