Saturday, October 31, 2015

Bring on the Long-Leggedy Beasties!

It's not clear whether that litany originated long ago in the churches of Ireland, Scotland... or was it Cornwall? A prayer to be recited on 31 October, the vigil, or eve, of All Hallows (All Saints Day), the eve now popularly known as Halloween. Most writers in the USA have dropped the apostrophe (Hallowe'en), I'll follow suit.

Ireland, Scotland or Cornwall? Opinions vary. Ireland sits apart from Britain, a stretch of sea between them, Scotland is the extreme north of Britain, Cornwall the extreme south-west, all tend to retain traditions for the longest time, the sweeping brush of modernity takes longer to reach there to clear cobwebs. Ireland, Scotland or Cornwall - all could be correct....or none of them. The saying could just as easily have been dreamed up by some Victorian entrepreneur to help sell Halloween to The Great Unwashed.

Halloween: a special night during the time our Sun is moving through zodiac sign Scorpio, whose ruler is Pluto, planet of darkness, power and transformation. How better to represent all of this, cheerily and safely within the real world, than to do dress-up, an easy way to transform ourselves; then, using October's crop of pumpkins, carve frightening faces to be lit by a candle, so dispelling the darkness?

It's fun for the kids, and for the rest of us, as we open the door, bowl of candies in hand, to see the faces of the tiniest ones filled with excitement and puzzlement, wondering what the heck this is all about.

I like these verses from Haunted Houses
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow - they're kind of apt for today:

The spirit-world around this world of sense
Floats like an atmosphere, and everywhere
Wafts through these earthly mists and vapours dense
A vital breath of more ethereal air.

Our little lives are kept in equipoise
By opposite attractions and desires;
The struggle of the instinct that enjoys,
And the more noble instinct that aspires.

These perturbations, this perpetual jar
Of earthly wants and aspirations high,
Come from the influence of an unseen star
An undiscovered planet in our sky.

And as the moon from some dark gate of cloud
Throws o'er the sea a floating bridge of light,
Across whose trembling planks our fancies crowd
Into the realm of mystery and night,—

So from the world of spirits there descends
A bridge of light, connecting it with this,
O'er whose unsteady floor, that sways and bends,
Wander our thoughts above the dark abyss.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Arty Farty Friday ~ Oleg Shuplyak, Master of Eye Trickery.

"Trick or treat" time will come around again tomorrow, so for this Friday's Arty Farty subject here's an artist who delights in giving viewers a treat by tricking their eyes: Oleg Shuplyak. He's from Ukraine, born on 23 September 1967 in the Ternopil region.
On first glance, Oleg Shuplyak’s dreamy paintings appear to be classically-styled landscapes, or portraits of figures from art, culture and fiction. On second glance, the optical illusions are actually both—classic landscape imagery and figures are carefully styled to represent eyes, noses, mouths and hair to their larger counterparts (who happen to be figures like Vincent Van Gogh, Charles Darwin and John Lennon).
See the two other paintings mentioned HERE.

Shuplyak must surely have been inspired by an artist from centuries past whose work has always intrigued me, too: Arcimboldo (see archived post HERE)

There's a selection of Oleg Shuplyak's work at, among other websites, Art Galaxie. Thumbnails there will enlarge by clicking on them. Google Image will bring up further examples of his work.

From YouTube:

It's occasionally an effort to get the correct focus (squinting will sometimes help a lot) before the trick becomes fully obvious.

.........Oleg Shuplyak lives and works in a small historical town in Western Ukraine called Berezhany. He basically lives as a reclusive artistic hermit.

Let's have a look at the artist's natal chart, perhaps his talent for eye-trickery will be reflected there.

Born on 23 September 1967. I've set the chart for 12 noon in Ternopil, Moon's position will not be exact and ascendant will remain unknown without a correct time of birth.

His natal Virgo Sun conjunct Uranus and Pluto has to be the first clue! Uranus, planet of the unexpected, and of invention; Pluto's transformative nature and unusual depth of scrutiny - all in meticulous Virgo - what could better reflect this artist's special talents? The Virgo cluster is flanked by a semi-sextile to Venus (planet of the arts) and Jupiter in Leo on one side and to Mercury in Libra on the other. Astrologers sometimes write that semi-sextiles are "uncomfortable" aspects. I don't agree - not in the case of every semi-sextile anyway, and not in this case. The planets flanking his Virgo cluster sextile each other and, I'd say help to harmonise the whole grouping. Neptune (imagination creativity), from 22 Scorpio, joins the harmony too with a sextile to the Virgo trio, but also forming a square to Venus/Jupiter. If seen in context of his specific style of art I could see that square as representing a challenge to a viewers' eye.

The artist's natal Moon position can't be properly established without a time of birth, but it's very likely to have been in Venus-ruled Taurus, and perhaps in trine aspect to at least one of the Virgo cluster.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Pluto 's trip through Capricorn - how's it going?

Pluto slowly nears mid-sign Capricorn (it'll be around a year before Pluto reaches 15 degrees). I decided to re-read a 2-part piece by astrologer and historian Neil Giles, written some eight years ago, with Pluto about to enter Capricorn from Sagittarius.

Pluto in Capricorn - another kind of power

Powerful, hidden forces are the gift of this unseen and distant planet, elected by some in modern astrology to be the true ruler of Scorpio though tradition still accords that role to Warrior Mars. Pluto rules obsessions, driven behaviour, the subconscious and our deepest urges and desires. He is a god of hidden forces, of the depths where they gather and of their ruthless, irresistible or uncontrollable eruptions. He works secretly or for reasons concealed or unknown, sometimes even to himself. It's important to remember our discovery of Pluto marked the rise of Fascism and the Third Reich, and oversaw the experiments that created The Bomb. As Pluto's looming presence was detected, we split the atom, releasing its hidden forces, but we also discovered something about the makers of the bomb – ourselves. We discovered a shadow force in our nature that aspired to wield an ungovernable power, thus risking extinction by our own hand. From Hiroshima to the Cold War to the threat of nuclear holocaust, Pluto forced us to face a bomb inside us, one waiting to explode and unleash our hidden feelings or desires as we stood at the brink of global catastrophe, wondering if we could survive the war that no one might win.

Pluto is remorseless in his search to know where the limits lie and what the inner forces will do. He will persist in this until he knows what can be overcome and what cannot...... With this ruthless investigator at work, there will always be a death of the old, a transformation and a rebirth for Pluto is the god of elimination and regeneration, teaching us that all things that live must die and all things that die will live again.
Pluto, marker of generations, had spent the past thirteen years in Fire sign Sagittarius. Pluto's ingress into Capricorn marked its transition from Fire to Earth. The author's assessment of Pluto's journeys through Capricorn, in history, remain interesting, but I wondered how his predictions for 2008 onward have turned out, so far.
There will be powerful or dramatic events affecting travel, communication, transport and electric supply. Incidents with firearms and explosives will become increasingly prevalent. The volcano, the eruption, the fated event and the clash of arms and opposing ideas will walk with us until we can learn to communicate and function in such a way as to solve the problems of the abuse of power and refrain from the constant usage of abusive powers. With our 'dig it up', 'knock it down' and 'shoot it' mentality, we have treated every species, including ourselves and the Earth as an enemy to be beaten, an opponent to be overcome.

In such a pressure-cooker as this coming cycle, it may eventually occur to us as a species that we cannot continue trying to solve our problems with a bullying thrust of violent intervention. Just as we will have to look to alternative energy sources, we must also realize that we cannot keep building roads to the future by blowing up everything that gets in the way of our intended path. Obstacles to our desires are there to teach us, not frustrate us. It is time we learned that salutary lesson from Pluto. The sign of Capricorn teaches the proper sense of organization and responsibility required for effective social contribution. With Pluto in Capricorn in the coming era, the imperative is to learn how to make one, how to put aside the power-mongering and the drama and do something that works. The destiny that is written in the stars is also in our hands.
Let's see... "powerful or dramatic events affecting travel, communication, transport and electric supply. Incidents with firearms and explosives will become increasingly prevalent"?

Travel: a still lost huge plane (MH370) carrying hundreds of passengers, and another plane from the same airline shot down with all passengers lost not long afterwards. Those were, and still are dramatic events concerning travel. There have been others too, but I guess there have always been some such happenings, during any given time span, so not too convincing as being in any way representative of Pluto in Capricorn.

Drama in communication: the rise and rise of social networking and constantly updated smartphones! Dramatic, and potentially powerful! Yes, tick that box. One factor I see also as especially Plutonian is the implementation of Big Brother-like surveillance of our extended communication abilities.

Transport - see travel, I guess.

Electric supply: perhaps the ongoing spread of wind turbines and solar energy in the last few years fits this heading.

Incidents with firearms and explosives increasingly prevalent. Yes indeed! The bombing at the Boston Marathon, numerous mass shootings in schools, colleges, theatres...need I go on?

Opposing ideas: these have been with us always, so I don't see them as particularly in the realm of Pluto in Capricorn, though it's true enough that, in the USA especially, the divide of 1% vs the Rest of Us has become more sharply defined than before, first due to OWS activities a few years ago, then the current surge of support for Bernie Sanders' in the 2016 presidential campaign. Ever more right-wing stances by the opposing party, as time has gone on, add to the sharpness of this divide.

We can only hope that the second half of Pluto's journey through Capricorn will teach us the important lessons this author hoped for. We have been rather poor students thus far.

While on this topic I may as well add brief clips of other predictions from noted astrologers, culled from my archived posts from 2007:

Eric Francis :

"Pluto in Capricorn is, among other things, about massive changes to the structure of society. It is about the consolidation of corporate and government power to a degree that far exceeds anything we have seen so far."

Tick that box!

A period of some 12 to 14 years is involved in this transit of Pluto and Eric Meyers' interpretation could well form a stage two, to commence when other outer planets have moved on into new positions:

"When Pluto moves to the earth sign of Capricorn, our structures and institutions are bound to face upheaval and drastic change that will reflect the shifting spiritual and moral processes that are currently occurring while Pluto is in Sagittarius.

Leagues of people will be challenged to release attachments to paradigms and structures they thought were stable and enduring. Changes in government, education systems, infrastructure, organized religions and the general sociological organization of society could endure needed face lifts in order for our collective evolution to take its next step."

All kinds of scenarios could finally bring about a swing from corporate and government clamp downs of stage one, to the kind of collective evolution described by Eric Meyers. I may not be here to see Pluto move from Capricorn into Aquarius, but do hope to see some indication of how things are turning out before my final exit!

I liked Maya del Mar's attitude - she wrote:

"We are, in fact, fortunate to live in such an intense period of tremendous challenges, and tremendous opportunities. This is our chance to create a new and better world."

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

The bells, the bells....

This little story came to contributor johndamos at The Smirking Chimp in an E-Mail. He knows not where it originated nor who wrote it, but my thanks to him and to them, whoever they are.
The Story Of Butch the Rooster

Sarah was in the fertilized egg business. She had several hundred young pullets (young female chickens) and ten roosters to fertilize the eggs.

She kept records and any rooster not performing went into the soup pot and was replaced.

This took a lot of time, so she bought some tiny bells and attached them to her roosters. Each bell had a different tone, so she could tell from a distance which rooster was performing. Now, she could sit on the porch and fill out an efficiency report by just listening to the bells.

Sarah's favorite rooster, old Butch, was a very fine specimen but, this morning she noticed old Butch's bell hadn't rung at all! When she went to investigate, she saw the other roosters were busy chasing pullets, bells-a-ringing, but the pullets hearing the roosters coming, would run for cover.

To Sarah's amazement, old Butch had his bell in his beak, so it couldn't ring. He'd sneak up on a pullet, do his job, and walk on to the next one.

Sarah was so proud of old Butch, she entered him in a Show and he became an overnight sensation among the judges.

The result was the judges not only awarded old Butch the "No Bell Piece Prize" they also awarded him the "Pulletsurprise" as well.

Clearly old Butch was a politician in the making. Who else but a politician could figure out how to win two of the most coveted awards on our planet by being the best at sneaking up on the unsuspecting populace and screwing them when they weren't paying attention?

Vote carefully in the next election. You can't always hear the bells.

(If you don¹t send this on, you're chicken …… no yoke! )

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Fixed Stars in Zodiac Sign Scorpio

It's time to look at Scorpio's batch of stars in this series of monthly posts on Fixed Stars in each tropical zodiac sign.

Data comes from Astroweb (HERE), showing star positions in 1900 in the left-hand column and in 2000 on the right.

Astrological interpretations for most of those stars, if found to be tightly conjunct a natal personal planet, or important point, are available online. A good, all-encompassing website to investigate for this is Constellation of Words.

My choices to feature further this month are Zuben Elgenubi and Toliman aka Bungula - the former because I've come across it while researching particular posts in the past, and the latter because it's conjunct my own natal Mars.

Zuben Elgenubi

It's in the southern claw (or south scale) of the scorpion in constellation of Libra.

I noticed this star when researching for a post on radical activist Jack Reed in 2010 -Reed, Reds and Radicals,

[Reed's] Natal Jupiter, in 1887, lay smack-dab on fixed star Zuben Elgenubi (Southern Scale or Southern Claw of the scorpion). This star had a bad press from ancient astrologers, considered unfortunate whatever planet it conjoined. However, I found one interpretation of Zuben Elgenubi which does fit the present case well(see here)

ZUBEN ELGENUB -- 15SCO03I -- #19975 -- mag2.9
The alpha star of Libra and the southern scale. Both stars of the scales of Libra can be considered twins and, therefore, represent the polarity of a concept. The concept is of social reform and this star, although traditionally seen as the shadowy, more difficult star, is actually the one linked to the positive side of social awareness. When this star is strongly emphasised, the individual has a desire to be constructively involved in social reform.
Influence: Positive social reform
Ptolemy - the Southern Scale Jupiter & Mercury Medically, this double star has Mars/Sat characteristics. If conj a malefic, it may present health problems.

And, more recently I met Zuben Elgenubi again in a post about Russell Williams: Officer and Murderer

When Williams was born, Neptune at 15 Scorpio was conjunct fixed star South Scale, aka Zuben Elgenubi. Interpretation of South Scale with Neptune:
With Neptune: Morose, melancholy, isolated, shrewd, cunning, evil use of occult powers and of poisons or drugs, cynical, dangerous, broods over some secret, peculiar death, often suicide. [Robson*, p.206.] (See Constellation of Words.)
It was reported that Williams did actually attempt suicide in his jail cell. A generation had this Neptune/South Scale conjunction in their natal charts, but not all had it connected by aspect to personal planets. Williams had the conjunction in harmonious trine to his natal Sun, also in uncomfortable square aspect to Saturn. Coincidentally film director, screenwriter, producer and actor Quentin Tarantino, born around three weeks later than Williams, in the USA, also had Neptune & South Scale square Saturn. In his case it could be said that his films' subject matter, an "aestheticization of violence", and neo-noir style reflect this aspect.

I'm guessing that latent negative characteristics, indicated by the Neptune/South Scale conjunction's aspects to personal planets, were triggered when Uranus conjoined Williams' natal Pisces Sun - whose ruler is Neptune.


Located above the right front hoof of the Centaur.

 click on it for clearer view

Alan Oken, in his "Complete Astrology" wrote:

That clip came from HERE, the passage continues (taken from my own copy of Oken's book), but the individual may attract many enemies. It is so placed in the horoscopes of Robert Kennedy and Indira Gandhi. It is found conj. the Ascendant (along with Jupiter and Neptune) in Disraeli's chart as well as conj. the Ascendant in the natus of Henry Ford. In Churchill's map it is close to, but not exactly conj. the M.C.

From Constellation of Words:
With Mars (as in my own case): Physical endurance, considerable mental power, speaker or writer, little prominence. [Robson*, p.149.]
The last bit's correct, anyway: "little prominence" !

From Terry Nazon, under the star's alternative name, Bungula:
Occult and philosophical learning, self analysis, honours, stubborn, cruel.
Hmmm....I have, over the years, gathered a soupçon of occult information, and can certainly be stubborn - but the rest doesn't fit.

Can anyone else lay claim to one or more of Scorpio's fixed stars, and if so, do traditional interpretations fit?

Monday, October 26, 2015

Monday Movie ~ Circle

Saturday evening's viewing fare for us included an indie film available via Netflix: Circle. It's one of the most frustrating yet potentially very interesting movies I've seen lately. There's no scenery to speak of, one "special effect" and a group of 50 actors standing in circular formation throughout...until their demise that is.

We're left to guess what's going on - as are the actors' characters who have arrived in this huge space by some unknown event none can clearly recall. There's a sci-fi element, a Twilight Zone flavour and even, at times, a vague touch of the ol' X-Files. Scully or Mulder would have been a very welcome addition to help sort out the plot for us!

The film's 50 characters, we find, are being executed at the rate of one every two minutes. Why? By whom? Group members have their own idea, based on memory flashes, that some kind of abduction has taken place. Was it alien abduction or otherwise though? And again, why?

The characters quickly come to understand that they themselves are able to control who is next to be executed. I was probably slow on the uptake, but never did find out how this part worked. The people somehow controlled the executions by clenching a hand into a fist and pointing...or "voting". The interest, and point of the movie is in the arguments and deductions the group put forward in choosing who will die next. Politics, religion, race, age, sexual orientation, immigrants, truth-telling - all the big issues are brought up, briefly, and used.

As 50 thins out to 40, 30, 20 and less, it dawns on the survivors that one person will survive in the end only if.....well, I'll leave it there and refrain from revealing the ending - which itself offers only clues.

I guess the film purports to present a snapshot of human nature, as found in Los Angeles of 2015 - that's where the movie is set, by the way. One character suggests that the group, captured by extra-terrestrial beings, is being used to study human values. I didn't find that premise believable. Alien beings would a) have to have certain human characteristics to have devised this grotesque set-up; and b)would have had to be highly intelligent and skilled enough to travel to Earth from - wherever - and would have more sense than to set up some kind of Big Brother or Survivor cheesy TV show scenario - or so I would hope!

My guess, at first, was that this was the brainchild of some future US government, to winnow the nation's population, so that only one in 50 would survive. That was a wrong guess - unless (another guess) the perpetrators had come from a future Earth, had travelled back in time.

Something that occurred to me while typing this post: the film's broad content, minus any sci-fi element, could act as a metaphor for our real-life voting exercises - elections, and how we make our choices, and why.

Husband and I both decided that the film's core idea was a good one, but that the movie could have been improved with a tiny bit (not too much) of explanation, either at the film's outset or by its ending.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Another Early Corporate Pioneer: John H. Patterson of NCR

This vintage cash register, beautifully restored by an expert with connection to its maker The National Cash Register Co. aka NCR, came under our admiring gaze in an antique store in Checotah, Oklahoma, on our way to the Missouri border this week. The store owner saw us admiring the piece and came over to demonstrate its working and uses. At $8,500 it was, I informed the lady, though a marvellous piece, "well above our pay grade!"

On seeing the photograph husband had taken of the cash register I casually took a look into its maker's history. The man: John H. Patterson. He was born on 13 December 1844 in Dayton, Ohio, and by all accounts he was quite a character!

The cash register idea had originated from another man, James Ritty.
From here:
John H. Patterson, Prophet of Change

A Dayton cafe-owner named James Ritty developed the first cash register. He got the idea on shipboard at sea as he watched an indicator register the revolutions of the ship’s propeller. He had been losing money in his business. What he wanted was a machine which would give publicity to sales and thus remove temptation. The propeller indicator provided the clue. The first cash register was the result. That crude mechanism, born in the dawn of what has become a magic era of mechanization, was as logical in principle and as unerring in purpose as the telephone and the automobile.

While operating his coal mines John H. Patterson ran a general store at Coalton, Ohio. Although he did a big business he found he was losing money. The moment he heard of the cash register he ordered two for the Coalton store. With their introduction his profits increased because the leakage stopped.

The purchase of those cash registers marked the decisive turning point in Patterson’s life. He saw far more in the cash register than a mere recorder of sales. He envisaged it as a necessity to retail business - a keeper of the business conscience. Realizing its vast potentialities for development, he and his brother, Frank j. Patterson, bought the National Manufacturing Company which made the first registers. In 1884 it became The National Cash Register Company which will always be synonymous with John H. Patterson’s career.

NCR became his life and passion, charged with something of the fire and fervor of a crusade. Under his compelling, driving power and his effective technique of salesmanship, both geared to intensive product improvement, he reared a world-wide organization. Like that famous Revolutionary shot fired at Lexington, the bell of the cash register today is heard around the globe.

What, then, were the qualities in John H. Patterson that made him an outstanding industrialist and humanitarian? For one thing he had the simplicity which always attaches to greatness. His energy and enterprise were almost without limit; his vision boundless.......

The above article and several others online tell of the strange mix of humanitarian and control freak that was John H. Patterson. It appears that he treated his employees very well, was a pioneer in offering employee benefits virtually unheard of elsewhere in the industrial world. For instance: hot meals were followed by rest periods, dining rooms, medical service with a dental clinic, visiting nurses, health education, recreational grounds, motion pictures during lunch, clubs for employees, night classes, and vacation and educational trips. He was, though, equally adept at firing his people - en masse at times, if they dared to displease him, even in minor ways. Patterson is named HERE as one of the 10 Worst Bosses. That has to be a tad unfair. He went to extremes both in aiding employees and in firing them though, that's for sure.

Described in numerous good online articles variously as: brilliant, innovative, dictatorial, mercurial, undersized, with gray eyes, florid complexion, sandy hair and bristling moustache; a little man with a dynamo inside, who was both doer and dreamer.....simplicity which always attaches to greatness; energy and enterprise almost without limit; vision boundless.

Does his natal chart reflect any of that?

I have found no birth time for Patterson, so a 12 noon chart has to suffice. We cannot know his rising sign, and Moon's exact degree isn't known though it'd definitely have been in Aquarius.
Born on 13 December 1844 in Dayton, Ohio.

His humanitarian side is immediately reflected by three planets in Aquarius.

Sagittarius Sun in harmonious trine aspect to Pluto in Aries points to a powerful persona, and one not unlikely to go to extremes.

Saturn (Aquarius's trad. ruler) in Aquarius, and in helpful sextile to Uranus (Aquarius's modern ruler) in Aries, ticks several boxes: pioneering Aries; Saturn the stickler for regimentation and rules; Aquarius the humanitarian and innovator; Uranus the forward-looking.

Mercury in realist and business-oriented Capricorn sextiles energetic, dynamic Mars in it's home sign, Scorpio.

Dreamer though? Well...Neptune sextiles Sagittarius Sun on one side, and Aries Pluto on the other - those two in harmony could well bring forth some powerful dreams !

There's likely to be much more, but those factors stand out to me.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Sampling The Ozarks

We spent a quick but very pleasant exploration, in Missouri, of a tiny part of the huge and beautiful region known as The Ozarks. We were mainly hoping to see some lovely Fall foliage. We saw lots of it, but in places where it wasn't possible to stop and take photographs. Areas of the Mark Twain Forest offer vistas of quilt-like mixes from dark green, through bronze, copper, a little gold, and many shades of brown. Private yards and municipal gardens often provide the most dramatically coloured trees: orange, pink, and golden Maple-types. Foliage up in Missouri is much further along its Fall costume change then in our area of south western Oklahoma, where it still looks much the same as it has all summer. Some Missouri trees are already shedding their leaves, making the drive in forest areas both a happy and sad experience at the same time, as leaves fluttered past the car windows.

Missouri. It had never been a state holding the same magnet of strong attraction for me that New Mexico, Colorado, and even Texas still do. However, on this brief showing I've found that Missouri can rival any of those states in beautiful scenery and lovely old small towns. We stayed a couple of nights in Rolla (in the yellow area of the Ozarks map below).

Ozarks? Strange word, I thought. According to Wikipedia it's a linguistic corruption of the French abbreviation "aux Arcs" - that then spawns a selection of further possibilities of the "Arcs" origin.

Noticing a place convenient to stop and take photographs of some pretty trees in a graveyard in a small town, Hartville, we saw this: one third of a three-part illustrated historic marker commemorating a battle near the town, during the Civil War.
"A Sullen, Stubborn, Bloody Fight" the marker tells us. (For a clearer view click on the image.)

The Battle of Hartville was fought January 9–11, 1863, in Wright County, Missouri, as part of John S. Marmaduke's first expedition into Missouri, during the American Civil War.

In a cemetery close by:

Waiting to greet us in an antique/vintage store we visited during the trip:

Husband's photograph of our motel corridor, which, unintentionally, recalls dramatic scenes where a character is advised...."Walk towards the light...." We resisted the suggestion!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Aspirant Blogger

We got back yesterday evening. Nothing prepared for today so...
One of my earliest "still wet behind the blogger's ear" posts from September of 2006:
Astrology's Future

I have read that some astrologers are of the view that at some point in the future, maybe the far future (if man survives), through advanced computer technology and the cooperation of scientists, it will become clear that astrology and the "mechanism" behind it is far more complex than anyone can currently envisage. Astrology is VERY complex now, so the mind boggles at the thought that this is but the tip of an iceberg.

I've chewed on this idea, and amalgamated it with an idea of my own which has formed after many years of interest in astrology.

When, at last, astrologers and/or scientists are able to pinpoint the "mechanism" by which the planets can affect humans and their personality, I believe that it will prove simpler, not more complex than we think. Any complexity will be due to what happens when "whatever" is mixed with the multiplicity of inherited family traits we all carry in billions and billions of combinations and proportions. Astrologers will then need to be psychologists, biologists, and perhaps physicists too least it was short!

Friday, October 16, 2015

Arty Farty Friday ~ Patrick Hughes and Angular Perspectives

Just a brief Arty Farty post this week.
Subject: Patrick Hughes,

Born 20 October 1939 in Birmingham, UK, curently living and working in London.

He is the creator of "reverspective", an optical illusion on a 3-dimensional surface where the parts of the picture which seem farthest away are actually physically the nearest.

As explained by the artist:
Reverspectives are three-dimensional paintings that when viewed from the front initially give the impression of viewing a painted flat surface that shows a perspective view. However as soon as the viewer moves their head even slightly the three dimensional surface that supports the perspective view accentuates the depth of the image and accelerates the shifting perspective far more than the brain normally allows. This provides a powerful and often disorienting impression of depth and movement. The illusion is made possible by painting the view in reverse to the relief of the surface, that is, the bits that stick farthest out from the painting are painted with the most distant part of the scene.

Take a look at some of his paintings on this website (click on thumbnails for enlargements) or at Google Image, or the couple below - then look at the patterns made by aspects in his natal chart. Do you see what I saw? It kinda, sorta looks like one of his paintings! All those square angles!

Click on images for a better view.


Born 20 October 1939 in Birmingham, UK. Chart set for 12 noon.

I'm leaving it there, because we have places to go, people to see and later, fall foliage to find. I'll just add links to a brief but interesting interview with Mr Hughes ("I've got a tremendous lot of clothes – at least 40 suits made for me by David Chambers..."). No Bohemian he then! And at Amazon we can take a peek into one of his books, yes he writes too: Paradoxymoron: Foolish Wisdom in Words and Pictures.

Blog will be on hold for a few days, unless anything of intense interest crops up.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Horoscope Under Microscope

Which planet or element is most prominent in one's natal chart? It's not just a question of natal Sun, Moon, or even counting the number of planets in each element. That, it seems, doesn't necessarily come up with the right answer, though in some cases it might. Position of the angles, and aspects to and from each, along with other considerations, could make significant differences. has a section under their Extended Chart Selection (linked in their sidebar), called "Pullen Astrolog" where, after having keyed in your birth data, you can go to Pullen's "Simple chart delineation" and scroll through a huge amount of of information about your natal chart. Eventually, after scrolling through reams of it, arrive at a group of statistics where the "strengths" of planets and the 4 elements in your natal chart are painstakingly calculated, expressed as percentages. This method didn't give results exactly as expected for me. Percentage-wise Mercury was "strongest" planet, Pluto next, then Uranus, Mars and Jupiter. "Strongest" sign Scorpio (huh?), then Aquarius, Aries, Pisces. Elements in order of importance natally: Water then Earth, Fire, Air.

Mercury's strong position near to the descendant angle, natally, accounts for its prominence, and Pluto's natal first house position made it runner-up, I guess. Not sure how Scorpio managed to beat the rest, sign-wise, though.

How about you - any surprises?

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Dem Debate #1


Hat-tip for the above to Avedon's Sideshow



I thought that Bernie Sanders did an excellent job, and was well appreciated by the audience.

Hillary Clinton was more practiced and polished - obviously, she's done this many times before, Bernie hasn't.

The other three remain "also rans" to my mind. O'Malley kept making Maryland sound more like wonderland, but he spoke well. Maybe a good VP for someone. Jim Webb would be a good Sec. of State. Chafee - not sure about, didn't seem quite strong enough, though a nice guy.

The winner ? It depends who one supported beforehand. I doubt anyone changed their mind on this showing. I found it an interesting and pleasant enough two and a half hours.

Any other conclusions?

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Wilson & McCartney - Similar Yet Different - Why?

Twenty years or so of the internet and access to astrology software means that there's not a lot that hasn't already been written about just about any facet of astrology. Most well-known individuals' natal charts have been dissected over and over again. It's not easy to be "fresh".

I encountered this problem again when discovering, for the first time, that two modern musical geniuses, Paul McCartney and Brian Wilson were born just 2 days apart.

We watched a DVD of the recent movie Love and Mercy, about The Beach Boys, and Brian Wilson in particular. The movie's focus is on Brian Wilson's mental and emotional states. Interesting enough to set me seeking his natal chart (it's available at A note there states: Born 2 days after Paul McCartney.

Oh, thought I, comparison of those charts could make an interesting post, especially as Brian Wilson has suffered so severely mentally yet Paul McCartney seems like the most level-headed person in pop music. I find, of course, that such a comparison has been done already, by Victor Kahn:
Curious Events: The Astrology of Rock Music - The strange coincidences between The Beach Boys & The Beatles.
A dual natal chart is included there. It's a good article, but the author's astrological conclusion doesn't completely satisfy me.

Yes, Brian Wilson's Virgo Moon has a lot to answer for, regarding his self critical nature and constant striving after perfection, but that's not enough to convince me - there has to be more. The most glaringly obvious factor is that the two guys were born some 5000 miles apart, and almost certainly have different rising signs. gives an AA rating (= accurate) to their time of birth for Brian Wilson, putting it at 3.45 AM. Taurus is rising, ascendant angle at 27 degrees of that sign. Bells ring in my astro-head. The dreaded "demon" star, Algol! In 1942 Algol was less than 2 degrees from Brian Wilson's ascendant angle. Enough said! Paul McCartney's exact time of birth isn't known, but it's highly unlikely that he also had Taurus 27 on his ascendant angle.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Tribute to an Unknown Cousin

Cousins. Most of us have 'em. I have, or had, 15 in all, from both parent's sibling(s). I didn't know any of them well, even in my younger years, and one or two of them not at all, due partly to the scattered nature of my father's nine siblings, partly to the rather reserved nature of his family members. Four of the 15 cousins have already passed on, 3 of whom were quite a bit older than me, one was 10 years my junior. This piece is about the latter, Stephen, who died in late October last year. Today would have been his birthday. This is my way of honouring him, for although I never knew him I shall, eventually and very surprisingly, along with many other cousins, benefit from his estate.

Stephen, like me, was an only child. I saw him just once, when he was a student. He was with his parents and visiting the East Yorkshire town where our paternal family grew up. He and his parents lived a long distance away (by UK standards). My only memory of Stephen is of a "geeky" young man in horn-rimmed spectacles sitting alone at a table in my uncle's pub, away from the group of family members gathered at the bar. His parents told us that the aim of Stephen's university studies was towards a career as an actuary. That evening, far from where I stood, I recall that he seemed intent on reading or writing something. Information I've received recently, from a friend of Stephen's, suggests that he could have been pondering over a crossword puzzle. He was, I'm told, quite a crossword whizz in his young days, able to solve quite easily even the most horrendously difficult of puzzles. If I'd had the self-confidence then that I have now I'd have approached Stephen, opened a conversation, and tried to get to know him - perhaps I'd even have made a friend.

The information about his love of crossword solving came to me from a longtime work friend of my cousin. I discovered this gentleman in a rather strange way. While looking around my genealogy stuff on one day, intent on tidying a few bits and pieces, I noticed that someone else had started a separate, single-line family tree, of my recent paternal relatives. I wondered if it had been part of a solicitor's research in relation to Stephen's death, or perhaps the recent death of an aged aunt, my father's youngest sister, whose estate had been distributed among we cousins earlier this year.

Now, I shall do one of those "flashbacks" beloved by makers of film and TV drama:

9 months earlier :
In my regular Christmas card to a female cousin in Yorkshire, I'd enclosed a copy of my family history blog posts. In cousin's card to me was a note informing me of an aged aunt's death, and that my address had been given to the lawyer dealing with aunt's estate. She also told me that cousin Stephen had died. At the time I was shocked, but knew nothing more. Solicitors dealing with aunt's estate, in due course, informed the cousins that as Stephen had no spouse or sibling, and had died intestate, we as his next of kin would be beneficiaries in his "not insubstantial" estate, being dealt with by other solicitors, in the south of England.

Flash forward a few months from there:
I, ever curious, wanted to know more about the circumstances of cousin Stephen's untimely death, so wrote to the solicitors asking for information. I was sent a copy of the death certificate, along with a photograph of Stephen which had formed part of the order of a funeral/memorial service. I noted the name of the person who had reported Stephen's death. It was the same surname of the person I'd noticed searching my family members at I sent a note to this person via the messaging facility there. I received a response from Bill, a person who, it turns out, had been a longtime work-friend of my cousin. We have now exchanged several e-mails. The mists of not knowing my cousin Stephen have cleared - somewhat.

After university Stephen worked in Central London for Legal and General, a major insurance company, from 1970 for 30 years. He began in their Pensions Actuarial Operations section, later became a member of the Investments Team. For much of Stephen's working life, his friend has told me, he was a fund manager who specialised in investing in a specific area for clients of Legal and General.

From an address given at Stephen's funeral:

....His life revolved around his work and the friends he made there. His easy going nature meant that he was well liked by his colleagues, clients and contacts. He was always available to answer questions without ever forcing his views on anyone. He was reliable and conscientious and, ironically, you could count on the fingers of one hand the number of sick days he had while working at L & G. He was an ever present at the regular Friday night, after work, drinks sessions. Indeed, his towering presence in a crowded pub was a blessing for late comers as they were searching for his group of friends. Inevitably, he soon earned the nickname, “The Beacon”.

His tastes in life were simple and, from an early age, he took great pleasure from days out at horse race meetings and as a long standing member of Surrey County Cricket Club. He set himself the target in retirement of visiting every race course in Britain and, although he was well on the way to completing this task, a few venues will now never be blessed with his presence (and losing bets!).

His enjoyment watching cricket was never quite matched by his own playing ability. He was a founder member of the Legal & General Investments cricket team, “The Shambles” whose title, I’m reliably informed, perfectly described the team’s performances on most occasions. Like so many things, he was happy to be part of such groups, including “The Old Lags”, without perhaps realising that it was him that set the tone and standards for the group. A number of you are wearing your Shambles club ties today and I can inform you that Steve is wearing his too.

And from letters to me from Stephen's friend:
Steve's sudden death, a fortnight after his 65th birthday, was so unexpected. A (select!) group of us totalling 11 in number, all previous employees of Legal and General, had formed a Retired Gentlemen's Lunch Club which met 7 or 8 times a year although we were often in touch at other times. Steve had been the only ever present at all the previous gatherings so when he didn't turn up for our drinks and lunch on 28th October 2014 and hadn't informed us that he wasn't coming, we tried contacting him without any success. By the following morning, no-one had heard from him so we called the police in Ealing where he lived and asked them to check his flat. They had to break in and found him dead on the floor in his living room. It is unlikely that he had been dead for more than 48 hours. As a result, the post mortem gave his date of death as the day he was found (29th October) and listed his cause of death as congestive cardiac failure due to coronary artery atheroma.

So, as I ponder on the strangeness of finding myself one of several beneficiaries in two family estates of which I was previously quite oblivious, I send grateful thanks out into the ethers, to my aunt and to my cousin Stephen. In one, or perhaps both cases the unexpected windfalls inherited by me and my cousins may, or may not, have been the conscious intention of our relatives, we'll never know this for sure - which does emphasise, even further, the strangeness of it all. Lawyers are still dealing with my cousin's "not insubstantial" estate and the several complexities arising, likely to further delay distribution.

During the time I was preparing this post, some days ago, I read Rob Brezsny's Weekly forecast for Aquarius at Free Will Astrology (LINK).
"I haven't planted a garden for years. My workload is too intense to devote enough time to that pleasure. So eight weeks ago I was surprised when a renegade sunflower began blooming in the dirt next to my porch. How did the seed get there? Via the wind? A passing bird that dropped a potential meal? The gorgeous interloper eventually grew to a height of four feet and produced a boisterous yellow flower head. Every day I muttered a prayer of thanks for its guerrilla blessing. I predict a comparable phenomenon for you in the coming days, Aquarius. "

Those words could act as a nice metaphor, I reckon, for my cousin's "not insubstantial" estate being spread to the four winds (in months rather than days though) - a guerilla blessing, like Rob Brezsny's sunflower, (in this context guerilla being used as secondarily defined in The British Dictionary: "a form of vegetative spread in which the advance is from several individual rhizomes or stolons growing rapidly away from the centre, as in some clovers".)

Normally it's Music Monday here; not forgetting that tradition, a lovely song by Joni Mitchell which is kind of apt: The Circle Game

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Officer & Murderer

Last week we watched An Officer and a Murderer on Netflix, it had originated on Lifetime TV channel. I wasn't aware, until the movie ended, that it was based on real life events, though the way the film moved on to its final scenes did arouse suspicions of that. The tale was, indeed, a true one. It is based on events involving Colonel Russell Williams between 2007 and 2010 in Canada, "a walking Jekyll and Hyde" who suddenly embarked on a life of crime in 2007, escalating from panty thief fetishist to murderer.

There's a good, all-encompassing article about the actual events, written in October 2010 by Jim Rankin and Sandro Contenta, staff reporters at the
Col. Russell Williams: A serial killer like none police have seen.

SNIPS only - to give brief outline:

In Ottawa, a burglar was stealing lingerie in a middle-class neighbourhood, careful to break in when no one was home.In Tweed, 200 kilometres west, two women were sexually assaulted by a man who took pictures but did not attempt penetration. In Brighton, south of Tweed, an air force flight attendant was badly beaten, raped and murdered.

The modi operandi could not have been more different. Police considered a link to the Tweed sexual assaults when Jessica Elizabeth Lloyd, 27, went missing in late January from her home near the village. But nothing could have prepared them for the suspect they finally caught. Col. David Russell Williams — who this past week indicated through his lawyer that he intends to plead guilty on Oct. 18 to two murders, two sex assaults and a string of fetish break-ins — is a serial killer like none they have ever seen.

“This guy is quite unusual,” says psychologist Vernon Quinsey, who spent 16 years assessing criminals at the Oak Ridge maximum security psychiatric hospital in Penetanguishene.
“We haven't seen guys like this in the past and we don't expect to see a lot of them in the future.”

Williams had a successful career and a long, apparently loving marriage, and didn't embark on a life of crime until he began a series of fetish home burglaries in September 2007, at the age of 44.

“It's very unusual for a guy who's got his act together like that ... to all of a sudden start committing crimes at a late age,” says Quinsey, professor emeritus of psychology, biology and psychiatry at Queen's University.....“Almost nobody starts a life of crime when they're in their 40s.” Equally unusual was his escalation from panty fetish to sex assault to murder. Most serial killers assault and kill in tandem, right from the start.

Williams seems a walking Jekyll and Hyde: by day, commander of CFB Trenton, the biggest air force base in Canada; by night, a sexual predator.

But Quinsey dismisses suggestions of a split personality, describing it as a popular but misused term, long associated with schizophrenics. And Williams is no schizophrenic...........

Both Quinsey and Woods speculate that a sudden, significant event might have triggered Williams' life of crime. “We all have stressors that put pressure on us and we all have different ways of relieving it,” says Woods, who left the RCMP in 2007 and now runs a company that trains police forces on criminal profiling. “Some people go for a run, others have a glass of wine, and sexual predators go out and rape.”

Says Quinsey: “The only scenario I can think of is that this guy had these interests for a long time, but he was able to control them. And then something sets him off and he can't control them any more.”

What set him off?.....


Crime experts were surprised and puzzled - I'll don my Sherlock Holmes hat and try to discover whether astrologers would be surprised and puzzled too.

Russell Williams was born on 7 March 1963 in Bromsgrove, UK. No time of birth is known, chart is set for 12 noon, so Moon position will not be exact, nor will rising sign.

First impression, in general: lots of oppositions. It doesn't surprise me that this man had two distinct sides to his nature. Many people have charts with configurations such as this this though, without weird outcome.

Getting to the nitty-gritty...what was going on in 2007 that might have triggered Williams' crime spree? Transiting Uranus, planet of change and the unexpected, conjoined his natal Pisces Sun!

When Williams was born, Neptune at 15 Scorpio was conjunct fixed star South Scale, aka Zuben Elgenubi. Interpretation of South Scale with Neptune:
With Neptune: Morose, melancholy, isolated, shrewd, cunning, evil use of occult powers and of poisons or drugs, cynical, dangerous, broods over some secret, peculiar death, often suicide. [Robson*, p.206.] (See Constellation of Words.)
It was reported that Williams did actually attempt suicide in his jail cell. A generation had this Neptune/South Scale conjunction in their natal charts, but not all had it connected by aspect to personal planets. Williams had the conjunction in harmonious trine to his natal Sun, also in uncomfortable square aspect to Saturn. Coincidentally film director, screenwriter, producer and actor Quentin Tarantino, born around three weeks later than Williams, in the USA, also had Neptune & South Scale square Saturn. In his case it could be said that his films' subject matter, an "aestheticization of violence", and neo-noir style reflect this aspect.

I'm guessing that latent negative characteristics, indicated by the Neptune/South Scale conjunction's aspects to personal planets, were triggered when Uranus conjoined Williams' natal Pisces Sun - whose ruler is Neptune.