Thursday, April 30, 2015

Seeing signs......

When we're out and about and see signs, husband can never resist snapping them. Here are a few examples, signs of life as she is lived in "flyover" America. Captions are mine. Clicking on an image will take you to its original location on husband's Flickr pages ~~~

We're not responsible for anything, it was all god's idea.

"gods' "....which ones are involved in this I wonder? Mars, Jupiter, Apollo?

Small town retail

Hmmm...erm...(never mind)

Well, maybe.

We're like...spontaneous ya know, unpremeditated - or maybe meditating.


I do not want to wonder if there is a connection!



I don't understand.

"No worries"? I'd be very worried indeed having a massage in that place, on my back or on my front!

Sign of the times

Do we have to tick a box as we enter the store then, to indicate our preference, should it come to that? (Hope they're getting me on my best side.)

There's a message in there somewhere.

(We're mere reflections of ourselves in this one).
As husband (anyjazz) responded to one of his commenters, "..if no one tells you to get stuffed, you're not trying hard enough."

PS...Next post will be on Monday. It's our wedding anniversary (11th) today, 30 April so, weather permitting, we'll be slipping into north Texas for a couple of days in celebration, and for a change of scene.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Fixed Stars in Taurus

Continuing the series of monthly posts on Fixed Stars in each tropical zodiac sign.

Data for Taurus from Astroweb (HERE), showing star positions in 1900 in the left-hand column and in 2000 on the right. Click on the list for enlarged view.

Alternative lists of Fixed Stars are available online, most give star positions for the years 1900, 2000, or 2010. A good overall list, including traditional interpretations, is an updated one from Rob Tillett, see HERE. Repeating a word of caution: ancient astrologers were either a tad gloomy or way over excitable about a person's prospects. Take the interpretations with a large pinch of salt!

I'm picking just a couple of Stars about which to scribble further. I was tempted to choose Algol, but there's already a detailed archived post on that Star of ill repute - SEE HERE. Also, clicking on "Algol" in the label cloud in the sidebar will lead to other posts where Algol has been mentioned.

I've chosen to scribble a bit today about Fixed Stars Hamal and Menkar, underlined in yellow on the star map below. Clicking on the image should bring up a slightly sharper version.

Hamal (roughly translates to head of the ram/sheep), is the alpha, brightest, star of constellation Aries, though its current zodiacal position is in Taurus. The star marks the ram's forehead. Long ago, between 2000 and 100 BCE, Hamal held more importance for astronomers, and presumably astrologers, than it does today. Back then the Sun aligned north and south with Hamal at the spring equinox (northern hemisphere) in March.
See EarthSky HERE and Wikipedia HERE.

Ptolemy, for some reason likened the stars in the head of the ram to Mars and Saturn in nature, whereas those in the tail were likened to Venus, those in the hind foot to Mars, in the mouth Mercury and Saturn. (Skyscript HERE).

Hamal was generally considered unfortunate in interpretation, associated with violence, danger, and head injuries. Ancient astrologers were a gloomy lot, couldn't see a positive side in anything! Modern astrologers might be inclined to interpret Hamal, if tightly conjunct a personal planet natally, as indicating a headstrong independence in some area related to the conjoined planet or, perhaps, as emphasis on great strength of mind or body, in sport for instance -as in a boxer, wrestler or athlete.

I had originally intended to scribble about The Pleiades but there's so much related and interesting information on that star cluster it'd need a full post. So I changed mind and, as I happen to have Menkar conjunct Uranus and south Node of Moon, thought I'd use this star instead - not out of self-interest particularly, but to discover and show whether Fixed Stars might have any interperative value when highlighted natally. In my case, because the star is conjunct an outer, rather than a personal planet, it's perhaps not an ideal example (my generation will all have Uranus conjunct Menkar), but as that outer planet is my natal Sun's modern ruler and is also conjunct South Node of the Moon - it might be more significant.

Anyway... first where is Menkar? It is the second brightest star of constellation Cetus, the Whale or Sea Monster. Menkar is located on the creature's nose. Cetus is one of the 48 original constellations charted by Ptolemy and remains one of the 88 constellations recognized by the

International Astronomical Union. The majority of the constellation is just below the ecliptic plane, bordered by Aries, Pisces, Aquarius, Sculptor, Fornax, Eridanus and Taurus. The whale is said to represent the human collective unconscious.

In an article in Mountain Astrologer magazine in 2013: Thoughts on a Few Fixed Stars, its author, Mary Plumb opened with this:
I have always thought of the fixed stars in natal astrology as operating at a deep stratum in the psyche. That impression was in part formed by experiences of people in my life with Menkar, the brightest star in the constellation Cetus the Whale, in a prominent place. The early myths of this constellation connect it to a massive sea monster that is destructive and all-powerful. He arises from the depths of the sea, unannounced and terrible. We understand that the sea is a symbol of the unconscious. Of Menkar, Bernadette Brady writes: “The unconscious becoming conscious. The sudden emergence of deep unconscious issues.”

I have seen Menkar (13°37’ Taurus) conjunct the Sun in the radix of someone who suffered from devastating mental illness and someone else who is an astute psychological astrologer. Another person has Menkar conjunct Jupiter (the Ascendant ruler); this is the nativity of a psychologist who focuses on bringing the unconscious into consciousness in quite dramatic ways.

I heard John Frawley say once that the fixed stars influence the body, not the soul (except in rare situations).
I found an interpretation of my own Menkar placement at Constellations of Words website :
With Uranus: Active mind, artistic, scientific and mystical interest and ability, troubles through opposite sex, loss through fire and false friends, good fortune and misfortune alternately, severe injuries from animals. [Robson*, p.177.]
Well...I've not had any severe injuries from animals - a nasty bite from a dog when I was a child has been the worst, I can still detect a faint scar on my arm - but it didn't put me off loving dogs! As for the rest, yes indeed, I can relate on some level, especially to "loss through fire". I lost everything, absolutely everything except the few clothes I was wearing, my purse and our car, as a result of a fire in 1996. Whether Menkar's input to events has any bearing isn't clear - the fact that transiting Uranus was 2 degrees from my natal Sun at the time....well!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Bernie's Going Into the Fray!

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) will launch a campaign seeking the Democratic nomination for president in 2016 on Thursday.

Sanders will be the first official challenger for the Democratic nomination to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who launched her campaign earlier this month.

Sanders' decision was first reported by Vermont Public Radio, and confirmed by The Huffington Post.


There's a 12 noon natal chart for him in THIS 2013 post.

Now...let's see who else is game for a fight....

Dramatically Licentious Syzygy

In an X-Files episode titled Syzygy, Episode 13 of Season 3 (via Netflix) astrology played a role!

Scully and Mulder were sent to investigate a series deaths all involving boys from the same high school. They find the town in uproar, rumors of a satanic cult are spreading. Everyone in town seems to be acting slightly out of character, including, eventually, Mulder and Scully.

Mulder's visit to a local astrologer, Madame Zirinka, reveals that an unusual planetary alignment is currently in place. The astrologer tells Mulder that the planets in question, Mars, Uranus and Mercury come into such an alignment only once every 84 years. If certain additional alignments are present, anyone born on January 12, 1979 (birthdate of two female school friends mentioned in the episode) will have all the energy in the cosmos focused on them.
See HERE and HERE.
The planetary alignment which was stated to be the cause of the problems was between Mercury, Mars and Uranus. The alignment was shown onscreen in the episode and was depicted at night near a full moon. A full moon is always opposite from the sun and so Mercury could never be in a visual alignment with a full moon. Additionally, Uranus is not visible with the naked eye.
(See HERE)
Dramatic license was obviously in play, but did the episode's writers bother to consult an actual astrologer, I wonder? The 84 years equates roughly to the time it takes Uranus to orbit the Sun, so it's Uranus' party we're dealing with, I guess. On 12 Jan 1979 Uranus was at 20.7 Scorpio, but that doesn't tell us much. It's all about those "additional alignments" happening on the uncertain date of these X-Files events. Crafty scriptwriters!

It was nice to see astrology given a role in an X-Files episode. Not before time! It was all a bit nutty, lots of X-File in-jokes, an episode not meant to be taken too seriously. Whenever astrology manages to edge its way into drama, the only way the writers know to go is "nutty". Pity! Still, I did enjoy the Syzygy episode.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Music Monday ~ Actors brave enough or good enough to get up and sing...

We watched a DVD of a movie from 2000 the other night: Duets, one of my favourite actors, Paul Giamatti, surprised me by singing! The film in general is a bit clunky, but Paul Giamattti, never disappoints - it was worth the price of the DVD for his part alone! His character in Duets gets himself involved in a karaoke competition, singing with a hitch-hiker who, it turns out, was on the run from the police. Here's his duet, Paul does not lip-sinc, though his partner does.

The actors who sang their own tunes in the film...: Huey Lewis, Gwyneth Paltrow, Paul Giamatti, and Maria Bello. Arnold McCuller sings all of Andre Braugher's songs [Paul's partner in the duet]....

That got me chatting to anyjazz and remembering other actors who have surprised us by being able to sing - sing well that is!

My second contribution, from another favourite actor, Robert Downey Jnr, in his part in the TV series Ally McBeal. He got up to sing to Ally, a song written by Sting - and Sting joins him on the stage as he sings. As someone, somewhere, wrote "you don't just get up and sing with Sting"...well, not if you can't sing!


Here's a link to RDJnr singing with Sting again, elsewhere, to prove he wasn't doing a lip-sinc for Ally.

Anyjazz rumaged in the garage for a few minutes and came back with two LPs, one by Robert Mitchum, one by Rhonda Fleming. Hmm - oldies eh? I found a couple of YouTube examples of their singing talent:

Robert Mitchum, live on a British TV show - he warms up considerably after the halfway mark!

Ms Fleming could definitely sing!

Throwing this open to any passing readers. There are several lists online to refresh memories, by the way.
Who, among well-known actors, has surprised you by demonstrating their singing talent?

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Jim Webb - a 2016 Contender?

So far, although several Republican presidential hopefuls have eagerly thrown hats into the 2016 ring, with others "still considering" doing so, Democrats remain coyly reticent, possibly unwilling, or financially unable to face the colossus that is the Hillary Clinton campaign. Bernie Sanders hasn't yet said a definite "No"; Elizabeth Warren has, several times. This piece by Andrew Levine, at Counterpunch, puts another name, Jim Webb, into the mix: The Last Chance to Derail the Clinton Juggernaut?

Now would be a good time to dust off an old idea: “critical support.” That idea, along with much else associated with the Left, effectively went missing during the 1980s.

It may seem like splitting hairs, but critical support is not quite the same thing as unqualified support. When critical support is offered, support is qualified and disagreement is expressed. With straight out support, disagreements, if any, are overlooked.....................................

However, there is a candidate running for President in the Democratic primaries next year who will merit at least critical support from the Left — what is left of it, that is.That candidate is Jim Webb, the former Senator from Virginia. Webb has not yet declared his candidacy, but he is showing all the signs.

Voters who could care less where a candidate fits on a left-right spectrum – the majority of voters nowadays – may find, as they learn more about Webb, that they have no problem supporting him outright.

But those of us who look forward to a time when an authentic Left reemerges, do care. We care that Webb is soft on capitalism, not that any other Democrat is better; and we are queasy about where he still stands on the Vietnam War. He may not be the best candidate in the field on gender issues either, though the evidence on that is ambiguous at best.

In any case, the plusses swamp the minuses – to a degree that is unprecedented in recent decades. This is why, for us, critical support seems about right...............

A complete natal chart isn't possible without a time of birth, which isn't known at present, but here's a 12 noon chart for Jim Webb's date & place of birth:
9 February 1946, St. Joseph, Missouri. Let's see what his astrology has to say:

There's a nice Airy circuit going on! Sun/Mercury/Venus conjoined in Aquarius; Jupiter in Libra; Uranus in Gemini. This guy is not lacking in mental acuity - thinking "on his feet" comes naturally to him, as easily as deeper, analytical, thinking. His natal Moon could be in Gemini too, depending on time of birth, otherwise in late Taurus.

Mars conjunct Saturn in Cancer links to his military family background and career.

I like what we know of his natal chart! The two planets in Cancer will have been "feeling" recent opposition from Pluto in Capricorn, also linked to the pesky set of Uranus/Pluto squares of recent times. Beyond that, I don't see anything major coming up for him soon, though by November 2016 Pluto will be back at 15 Capricorn, opposite natal Mars after a few months of to-and-fro.

A piece, The Jim Webb Story, mainly a book review written in 2008 by Elizabeth Drew on one of Webb's books, A Time to Fight: Reclaiming a Fair and Just America, includes dozens of clues about Jim Webb's personality, aims and more about his Scots-Irish and military background, his entry into politics. It's an all-round interesting read, and one I'll go back to, if and when Webb confirms he will run in the 2016 presidential election.

A few snips from the piece:

Relating to his campaign for a Senate seat:
Webb ran an unconventional campaign, going more with his intuition than with the advice of Democratic Party professionals, who at times despaired over him. He chose his own pacing and for a stretch in the summer evinced little interest in campaigning at all. He is not one to be guided by focus groups; he doesn’t play the angles. Like a boxer or a military man, Webb decides on his targets and charges straight at them. “We picked our themes and stuck with them,” he says. His three campaign themes were the war, the growing chasm between the wealthy and the working class, and the exceptionally high rate of incarceration in the US.........

Reid considered Webb such a valuable new asset to the Democrats—a moderate with military credentials from a swing state—that he also took the unusual step of inviting the freshman to give the Democrats’ response to the President’s State of the Union address. Webb tore up the draft supplied to him by the Democratic leadership staff and wrote his own speech. He gave the staff members fits by refusing to show them his version until shortly before the speech was to be given. In his speech, Webb went straight at Bush over the war in emotional and somewhat personal tones,

So Jim Webb arrived to the Senate with a reputation for being unpredictable, even a little weird, a little bit out of control, a little hotheaded. The sense in Washington that he was—well—different was enhanced by his famous first encounter with President Bush after the election, when at a November White House reception for newly elected members of Congress, Webb refused to shake Bush’s hand....
The author of the piece found a different personality:
When I was about to meet with Webb for the first time, in 2007, I expected to find someone who would be difficult to talk to, a little bit strange—someone with whom I had to be very careful not to put a foot wrong, lest I set off some land mine. What I found was completely surprising. Webb turned out to be an easy conversationalist with a low, gentle voice, a ready smile, and a sometimes very full laugh. During an hour-and-a-half-long conversation over sandwiches in his office, I kept waiting for him to be weird, but that never happened. Even Webb’s looks are surprising: on television his large, flat face, with its broad forehead, looks like a potato—pale and pasty. In person his complexion is ruddy—with piercing blue eyes that suggest a man who might in fact have a wild side, a man whom one doesn’t want to cross. Yet there is an air of almost preternatural calm about Webb, of a man who knows who he is. He is reserved; one gets the sense that he’s seen things he just doesn’t want to talk about. (This is a characteristic shared by other Vietnam veterans.)
From talks with his colleagues and others in and around the Senate, it became clear that his reputation belied the actual Webb. A senior Senate Democratic aide said, “He’s proven all that wrong.” Others described Webb in unusual terms, as applied to elected politicians: “polite” (I heard this several times), “shy,” “modest,” “a very nice person.” His close friend Claire McCaskill, of Missouri, also a Democratic freshman senator, told me, “The fact that Jim is so grounded separates him and makes him seem more complicated than he is. He’s not a complicated person.”
This different kind of senator doesn’t much share in the folk habits of the body he serves in. He’s not a back-slapper; he doesn’t engage in the touchy-feely behavior of most of his colleagues on the Senate floor, and, as McCaskill put it, he’s “not much of a schmoozer.” He knows that a certain amount of collegiality is necessary to being effective in the Senate, but he doesn’t go overboard. Webb is as plainspoken on the Senate floor as he is elsewhere; he observes the required courtesies, but his speech is unadorned with the flummery of much senatorial oratory.

Well, well, well....I'm now hoping for Jim Webb the presidential candidate - it'll make the "race" as a whole and especially the struggle for Democratic nomination far more interesting!

Friday, April 24, 2015

Arty Farty Friday ~ George Petty

I wasn't particularly inspired by any artist born around this time who'd not already been under the Arty Farty Friday microscope, so... a tidied version of something from past pages, featuring a pin-up artist, one of the best and foremost of his day: George Petty. He was born on 27 April 1894, in southern Louisiana, died in 1975.

In one particular genre of art, USA artists cornered the market: pin-up art. I enjoy it, admire it and don't give a damn what feminists have to say about it. Pin-up art is highly skilled airbrush work - not easy to master, or so I'd guess. One of my very early blog posts, from 2006, features several pin-up artists and their "Neptune connection" - that post is definitely in need of a tidy-up, but the information is readable.

George Petty's father's profession, photographer, no doubt had influence on the younger Petty, especially as Dad enjoyed producing photographs of women, often nude women. The family moved from Louisiana to Chicago where George grew up. He 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 - see archived post HERE. 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.


Sun in Earthy, Venus-ruled Taurus, and in first decan (tenth) of the sign, the Taurus decan, underlined his artistic temperament. There's emphasis on neighbouring sign, Airy Gemini, generational Neptune & Pluto with Jupiter are close together there. Mars in Aquarius and Saturn in Libra form a loose Air Grand Trine with the Gemini planets - could be seen as a nice reflection of his skills with the....AIRbrush ? Or even carriage through the AIR of his Petty Girls - on the noses of aircraft ?

In that Airy circuit Neptune (creative), Pluto (erotic), Jupiter (wide publication), Saturn in Libra (fair-minded business sense) and Mars in Aquarius - (ambition, energy, unconventional) - all fitting for what we know of George Petty.

Born before 6:00 AM his natal Moon would have been in business-oriented Capricorn; if born later, natal Moon would have been in unconventional Aquarius; either would fit, and blend with the general flavour of his natal 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 23, 2015

By George!! (Saint or Adamski-style)

(Origin of post title)

Today, 23 April is St. George's Day, patron saint of England. St George was a Roman soldier revered by early Christians for his defence of their beliefs, and his eventual death because of it. As the St George stone rolled along it gathered mythology about dragons and stuff. That's all there is to tell really - so how about a look at another George, one who didn't wait for mythological moss to grow, but created his own: George Adamski.

When we were young(ish) we each had our own favourite sphere of the fantastical - unless, that is, we were hopelessly and absolutely boringly realistic and pragmatic at all times. My favoured sphere of the fantastical was Erich von Däniken's world of ancient alien spacemen. I wasn't overly excited by more contemporary UFO sightings, such as the Roswell thing, and Adamski's ramblings, which even in my more gullible younger years seemed loopy and much too far out.

Wikipedia's page has most of the facts/fiction on Adamski; various skeptics' forums have, over the years, gleefully deconstructed his many stories.

It seems to me that George Adamski must have either
a) actually seen or experienced "something" - not necessarily exactly what he wrote and spoke about;
b) had a screw loose, some chemically related mental imbalance; or
c) had an acute business sense and the imagination required to write best-sellers and promote them with a straight face.

 Excerpt from George Adamski: The Toughest Job in the World by Tony Brunt-HERE


Adamski's natal chart might reveal a clue or two:
Born on 17 April 1891 in Bydgoszca, Poland,
at 2:07 AM.
(Astrodienst "A" rating)

His impulsive Aries Sun itched to have him be a pioneer...of something! He wanted to be a pioneer of extra-terrestrial contact didn't he? Uranus (planet of all that is futuristic, unexpected and eccentric) was in opposition to his natal Aries Sun from Libra, maybe encouraging eccentricity, even in opposition managing to drown out any more practical, realistic impulses he might have experienced. Likewise, restrictive Saturn in sensible Virgo was in opposition to expansive, adventurous Jupiter and Venus in imaginative, dreamy Pisces - it appears the Pisces "flavour" won this tug-o'-war.

Outer planet Neptune (ruler of Pisces)was conjoined with Pluto in Gemini - for a whole generation; in Adamski's case the pair were conjunct his North Node of the Moon, and in sextile to his natal Leo Moon, drawing Neptune's penchant for illusion close to his inner nature.

UPDATE @ 6pm~
I've just noticed that Astrodienst has calculated natal chart for 2:07 AM, and I followed suit, but according to their source note it should be 2.07PM

Luc de Marre quotes him in a letter to Wilhelm Konig in 1954 "between 2:00 and 2:15 PM."

Here's a PM chart, ascendant and angles have moved as has Moon's position.

Moon Leo, Virgo rising, Saturn on ascendant. A Leo Moon fits his craving for publicity and limelight.
Neptune at top of chart giving it prominence. Virgo rising with Saturn close....not sure about that fitting him too well....but...

Wednesday, April 22, 2015


Three quotes for Earth Day 2015:

“Earth processes that seem trivially slow in human time can accomplish stunning work in geologic time. Let the Colorado River erode its bed by 1/100th of an inch each year (about the thickness of one of your fingernails.) Multiply it by six million years, and you’ve carved the Grand Canyon. Take the creeping pace of which the continents move (about two inches per year on average, or roughly as fast as your fingernails grow). Stretch that over thirty million years, and a continent will travel nearly 1,000 miles. Stretch that over a few billions years, and continents will have time to wander from the tropics to the poles and back, crunching together to assemble super-continents, break apart into new configurations- and do all of that again several times over. Deep time, it could be said, is Nature’s way of giving the Earth room for its history. The recognition of deep time might be geology’s paramount contribution to human knowledge.”
― Keith Meldahl, Rough-Hewn Land: A Geologic Journey from California to the Rocky Mountains.

“I realized up there that our planet is not infinite. It's fragile. That may not be obvious to a lot of folks, and it's tough that people are fighting each other here on Earth instead of trying to get together and live on this planet. We look pretty vulnerable in the darkness of space.”
― Alan Shepard, astronaut.

“He who knows Mars, Venus, Mercury or Jupiter very well will also know very well how very precious our earth is!”
― Mehmet Murat ildan.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Astrology and Sexism

Skimming through my archives, looking for something to click a switch in my head and lighten inspirational darkness, I hovered on a post from the summer of 2011:
Thoughts on Misogyny, Misandry & Sexism. With Hillary Clinton in the presidential campaign run once again....hmmm.

Misogyny: The hatred of women. Misandry: The hatred of men. Sexism: The belief that one gender is superior to the other........................
C.E.O. Carter in his Encyclopedia of Psychological Astrology has no entry for misogyny, misandry or sexism. I suspect because in the mid 1920s when the book was written these were not yet perceived as problems; or if so, in certain enlightened circles, an author - even an astrologer - might shy away from voicing an opinion on the matter, if selling books and maintaining a reputation was the aim. I've noticed quite a bit of sexism arising in casual turns of phrase in old astrology books I've picked up in antique/junk stores.
I doubt that a tendency towards sexism or gender conflict is identifiable in a natal chart. These are most likely the result of life experience, or era-related societal culture. I've noticed, even more often, since writing that post, that sexism does creep into the text of some older astrology books. Scratching around the net for more on how sexism might have crept into astrology generally, and why, I came upon a good piece at the CURA website (most reliably good astrology articles on the net are there, in my estimation).
The Repression of the Feminine in Astrology by Shelley Jordan

SNIP from introductory paragraphs:
Astrology's Hidden Agenda

Anyone studying the techniques of traditional astrological interpretation with eyes open will inevitably be struck by its prejudicial assumptions. Most astrology texts state flatly that certain factors in the birth chart lend themselves to either ease or difficulty of life and expression. For example, detriments, exaltations and the like still send chills of fear or excitement up and down the spines of many astrologers. After all, isn't it supposed to be 'good' to have a planet in exaltation and 'bad' to have a planet in detriment? And in spite of a recent well-intended and humanistic stretching of definitions, aren't certain planets still considered fundamentally preferable to others?

Even more pervasive and persistent in its judgmental nature is the evaluation of the aspects as either 'good' or 'bad'. An insidious dichotomous thinking surrounds aspect interpretation, which, at its roots, is both sexist and racist. There is a largely unknown historical, numerological basis to this dogmatic but unrecognized prejudice that precludes the possibility of reform and evolution in the field of astrology.

The major Ptolemaic aspects, the trine, sextile, square and opposition have traditionally been divided into two general categories. Trines and sextiles are typically considered favorable, desirable, harmonious, easy, creative, and soft. Squares and oppositions are described as discordant, afflicting, stressful, frustrating, challenging and hard. Astrological erudition has, until very recently, been dominated by cookbooks representing trines and sextiles as patently good, squares and oppositions as inherently negative. It is commonly asserted that a chart for an auspiciously blessed life will preponderate with trines and sextiles between beneficent and well-placed planets. The infelicitous and the unendowed will have baleful squares and oppositions to afflicted bodies. This superstitious and erroneous litany regarding the dangers of certain astrological conditions permeates nearly the entire corpus of astrological literature.

There's more food for thought in that piece. We have to keep in mind, though, that astrology's basic doctrine comes from eras and cultures where societal norms were so very different from today's in the West. It's easy for us in 2015 to do a bit of revisionism, criticise early and even much later astrologers; we "know the ending", or the results as far as we've reached to date. What we should be criticising is any astrology/astrologer who continues to allow any hint of sexism into their writings, interpretations and advices.

A natal chart does not indicate gender. The "masculine/feminine" polarity dictated by astrological lore is usually referred to as masculine/feminine or positive/negative; both less than ideal ways to express what the polarity indicates in human terms. Some astrologers use Chinese terms yin and yang instead. (Wikipedia) In Chinese philosophy these describe how apparently opposite or contrary forces are actually complementary, interconnected, and interdependent in the natural world, and how they give rise to each other as they interrelate to one another.

Virginia Woolf put it another way:
“It is fatal to be a man or woman pure and simple; one must be woman-manly or man-womanly. ... Some marriage of opposites has to be consummated.”
~ Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own

What the world is missing is more of what humans have come to see as "the feminine" in all humans - not necessarily just more female humans in power, though I guess that could help on the surface, depending on the female humans involved! A healthy respect for "the feminine" in all humans, alongside equal respect for "the masculine" would be a good starting point; seeing people first as people, not as a gender would help too.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Music Monday ~ Brought to mind by a few of today's birthdays.....

Glancing down a list of birthdays for 20 April I decided to pick three names which immediately brought some song or piece of music to mind.

First, surprisingly, was Adolph Hitler (20 April 1889) whose name comes up in the signature tune of an old British TV series (1968-1977) - Dad's Army:

Next, Jessica Lange (20 April 1949). She played Patsy Cline in a movie about the singer's life - I've seen and enjoyed it several times : Sweet Dreams.
Ms Lange lip-sincs to Patsy Cline's recordings - it works well:

Movie trailer:

Also Luther Vandross (20 April 1951), gone too soon! Here singing a longtime favourite of mine from Man of La Mancha, Impossible Dream

Any face from the list linked at the top of the post bring a song or piece of music to a passing reader's mind?

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Netflixing: Cedar Cove, Knife Fight, Halt & Catch Fire.

Our Netflix diet of late has been a potpourri of The X-Files, Quantum Leap, and Cedar Cove, judiciously arranged so that soothing Cedar Cove episodes come just before bedtime. Retiring to bed after some of the more gruesome X-Files episodes can endanger a peaceful night's rest!

Cedar Cove, we've discovered, is one of those "comfort food" series: undemanding plot-lines, idyllic setting, pleasant, good-looking characters, decent script and acting. It originated on Hallmark channel, to which we've not had access, but I can well imagine most of its fare being of this good-natured ilk.

Cedar Cove is based on Debbie Macomber's novels of the same name. The series focuses on Municipal Court Judge Olivia Lockhart's professional and personal life and the townsfolk of her small town, Cedar Cove. The Judge is nicely played by Andie MacDowell. Her "love interest" (there always has to be one of those) is Jack (Dylan Neal) the newly arrived from Philadelphia leading (only) reporter on the town's newspaper. See Wikipedia for full cast list. Filmed on beautiful Vancouver Island, the series' location is actually meant to be Port Orchard, Washington State, a dozen or so miles from Seattle.

If anyone's looking for a bit of undemanding comfort viewing as antidote to ubiquitous slam-bang nastiness, this series acts as welcome relief.

Decent movies, as against TV series, on Netflix have proved harder to find. We've begun watching several only to dump them after 20 minutes or so. The majority are definite "C", "D" or "E"-list fodder - in our estimation at least. Last weekend we tried a movie newly introduced to Netflix, Knife Fight, subject matter not as one might expect from the title. The film is about shenanigans in the American political campaign business. Rob Lowe (once of the wonderful West Wing) heads a cast which also includes another West Wing alumnus, Richard Schiff - the pair share a couple of the best scenes in the film, bring in much-needed chuckle-worthy one-liners. I really enjoyed the film, but most critics panned it. American politics and their shenanigans being comparatively new to me, I'm probably more easily pleased. I've seen several other movies of this genre, and for me, though this isn't one of the best, it's definitely better than some critics would have us believe, and worth a viewing, especially as full-on campaign season is about to come down on us once again.

Another, fairly new to Netflix, series devoid of slam-bang is Halt & Catch Fire. It originated on AMC channel, which has a good record of screening excellent series such as Breaking Bad and Mad Men. With those two as recommendation we decided to give Halt and Catch Fire a try. It's set in Dallas, Texas in the early 1980s, when personal computer development and production was in its infancy. Whereas Mad Men is about the advertising industry and its personalities, Halt & Catch Fire is about the burgeoning personal computer industry and those involved.

I didn't much enjoy the pilot, but as husband was intrigued we stuck with it, and I eventually became hooked too. One doesn't really need much, or any, deep tech know-how to appreciate the story lines - they're all about the characters, and their creative aims and dreams. The show is worth a look-in if you're tired of police and courtroom dramas, or hospital tales, or historical themes, or nasty slam-bang - this is something different, not top-notch but interestingly different.

PS~~ Halt and Catch Fire, known by the assembly mnemonic HCF, refers to several computer machine code instructions that cause a computer's CPU to cease meaningful operation. (Wiki)